Saturday, May 28, 2011

I love doing mission work. I remember the first time I ever heard about missionaries and the work they do in sharing the Gospel. I was 5 years old and in our church's mission friends class in what Southern Baptists once called Training Union. My teacher told a story about some ladies who were serving as missionaries in the deep of Africa where at the time it was believed that cannibalism was still being performed. We were asked to pray for the missionaries because some of the ladies were missing and no one knew where they were at the time. Even as a young child of 5 years old God tugged at my heart. I remember feeling so excited that I wanted to become a missionary and tell people about Jesus. I remember running to my mother as soon as class was over and wrapping myself around her legs and saying "Mama! Mama! I know what I want to be when I grow up! I am going to be a missionary!" Well, God had other plans for me than becoming a "career" missionary but I still have a huge heart for missions and for serving God in that capacity through various opportunities that have come my way in both serving and teaching missions. Below is a picture of me in the Philippines back in the summer of 1987. I spent 3 months there as a summer missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention. What a wonderful experience!

Summer missions in the Philippines 1987
I was thinking about this recently because my son's good friend is doing summer missions this summer.  She will be working in another country for most of the summer. What a wonderful experience it will be for her. I had the opportunity to tell her a little of what I experienced and I can hardly wait for her to come back home and hear all about her summer.
My son with his friend. Two great christian role models for their peers. Both plan to be missionaries.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ukelele dream come true!

My daughter after getting a ukelele
My daughter just up and decided several months ago that she wanted to get a ukelele. She put a post on facebook that she wanted one and started her money jar (another one!) to save money to purchase a ukelele. Well can you imagine how surprised she was when a friend of ours saw the post on facebook and said she had a ukelele she would like to give to her!!! I thought she was going to have a good old southern conniption!!! She was so excited that she learned to play it in one day!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The older I get and the older the children get, the quicker time seems to fly! I am amazed at how much the kids change and grow from year to year. I found some random pictures of our kids and family and just threw them together in a quick collage. As we celebrate Mother's day tommorow, I am so thankful that God chose me to be my children's mother. They are such a blessing! Each one is a gift from God.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bloom where you are planted

As a little girl, I loved our family trips out to Laurelwood Plantation
Laurelwood Plantation in the 1970's
This is an old southern plantation that belonged to my grandparents and after their death became the home to my 3 spinster aunts. My aunts enjoyed gardening and during our visit we would always take a stroll around the house and gardens to see what was blooming and something always was.  Roses, azaleas, camellias, and day lilies thrived with the TLC that my aunts gave them. My favorite spot on our walk was a section along the avenue that had a rose bush that gracefully climbed along a corner of the fence.  The roses were a creamy palest of pink shade and seemed to drape the fence like an elegant strand of pink tinged pearls.  I thought they were the most beautiful roses I had ever seen.
     Many years later and after my aunts each passed away and the family home ended up being sold and then later uncared for and abandoned I took my husband and children to ride by the house after not having seen it for many years.  As we drove down the avenue 
The Avenue
that leads to the house the branches and vines had overgrown so much that it gave the appearance of driving through a tunnel. The once beautiful yard and gardens had been overtaken by bamboo, weeds and vines.  The house itself seemed sad as it stood in a state of disrepair and abandonment, stripped of it's former glory.  As we drove by the section of the fence that once held the beautiful roses I saw a thick overgrowth of vines and thistles. The fence had fallen down, but there, in the midst of the rubble I was amazed to see one perfect, palest of pink rose fighting it's way through the brush to bloom perfectly and beautifully. It had continued to bloom where it was planted.
    I recently was visiting my mother at the nursing home.  While there, I try to make it a habit to stop and speak to some of the other residents that I have become acquainted with.  One particular lady who has been in a great deal of pain pulled me aside and told me that she wanted to return to her home and while there she wanted to end her own life.  I re-assured her that God was still using her and that He had a special purpose for her life.  I went on to speak to another resident who told me that she had been praying all day for the families of Tuscaloosa Alabama and other states who had experienced tremendous loss of life and their homes during a tornadic storm system that came through the south recently.  Even though she was in a wheelchair and recovering from recent surgeries and her husband had just been hospitalized that morning and was seriously ill, she was concerned about and praying for people she did not even know.  She was blooming where she was planted.  As I was reflecting on the 2 conversations that I had just had, another resident who was bed ridden had seen me walk by pushing my mother in her wheelchair. He called his nurse to his room and asked her to get a rose out of a vase that was in his room and to give the rose to my mother.  It was the most fragrant rose I have ever smelled!  We stopped by his room later to say thank you and he told my mother that he wanted her to have that rose because he knew it would make her smile.  He was completely bed ridden yet he wanted to brighten someone else's day.  He was blooming where he was planted.
    I could not help thinking about my favorite rosebush and how even though it was being choked out by weeds and did not have the TLC that it once had it had continued to bloom.  I thought about the residents of the nursing home and how even though the circumstances were tough and painful and not ideal by any means they could still choose to bloom.  I know that it is so easy to focus on ourselves and the circumstances that we may find ourselves in but wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves God wants us to serve Him.  Isaiah 58:10-11  says "And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light willrise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday11 "And the LORD will continually guideyou, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones ; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." Bloom where you are planted.  
    By the way, those roses on the avenue are still blooming...
Roses on the Avenue at Laurelwood
blooming where they were planted.