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seasideFour years ago today, Paul and I were married. [Insert the time flies cliché here.] Seriously, it’s really hard to believe it’s been four years because this is my life now and that other life feels so very far away. Life is funny, y’all, and I know that’s not the first time I’ve said that here.  I could never have predicted the twists and turns in the story God has written for me. But you know what? He’s the best Author!

Without divine intervention, our paths would never have crossed. But a friend of his mentioned something to a friend of my mom’s and then we went on a blind date (my first and last!) and here we are.

This is the second marriage for both of us, and as the pastor who married us counseled, that can actually be a real blessing. We know some pitfalls and are alert in ways we might not have been the first time around. It’s also a challenge because we married as adults in our 40s and 50s, “set” in our ways, with very different backgrounds and experiences. We’ve had to figure some things out as we learn how to live with each other and our histories.

But as we’ve traveled this path for these four years, this man has taken my hands nearly every morning and prayed for us, our marriage, our families, and others we know who need prayer. He thanks God for me and us. (He learned to pray about everything from his mom, and I really wish I could have met her – I will one day!).

I’m grateful.

God is good, and that’s not just some trite little phrase trotted out on a special occasion.

He is really good and faithful in ways that astound me.

Grateful and surprised and content,

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

[From 2013, but still true! Happy Birthday, Mom!]

mom

Let me tell you a little about my mom: My stubbornness and hers often bumped into each other when I was younger, but I have a fuller appreciation for her (and the stubbornness!) as I get older. She has always been there for me. She was with me for Lamaze classes when I was expecting Will and his dad was deployed, and she helped me through a traumatic experience giving birth to him. She was there for me when Caroline was born and her dad was deployed. She’s been with me through all of Caroline’s surgeries, my wisdom teeth removal when I was thirty and home alone with two little ones, and my recent move back to Georgia. She’s calm in a crisis and never lets me feel sorry for myself. (That has irritated me a time or two, but it has been a gift.) She has a gift for serving in practical ways. She loves Jesus and her family. She makes things lovely.

She hates having her picture taken, so it's hard to find any of her.

She hates having her picture taken, so it’s hard to find any of her.

She loves my children well. She has always been interested in the details of their lives — knowing who their friends are, their activities, their interests. She and my dad have traveled around the world to see us and know their grandchildren. They’ve missed lots of the daily things because we were far away, but they have tried hard to be there for the big ones. And as Will has been at college in Georgia while we were living in Europe, they’ve gone up for his birthday every year to take him out to dinner. Efforts like that make a family a family.

I love my mom more than I can say, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

[This time I’m adding one of my favorite photos of her, taken a couple of months before I was born.]

mom-table

Happy Birthday, Mom!

 

aaaachoooo!

claritin
Spring has sprung, and my eyes and nose have sprung a leak. It’s too much for a daily dose of Claritin to handle.

Every surface of our front porch is covered in pollen, and we’re tracking it inside onto our dark wood floors. My car is a dusty yellow, when it should be charcoal gray.

weather-channel

A light rain has been falling this morning, and I’m hoping it will turn into a heavier shower and rinse everything off.

And yet, my daily commute is lovely, and spring green is such a cheerful color. Those old-fashioned formosa azaleas are putting on a show, and dogwood trees are still in bloom. The hydrangeas on my front porch get prettier every day.

front-porch-hydrangeas

I remember enduring long winters years ago when we were stationed in Maine. One year, it snowed on my birthday – at the end of April! I knew that my home state was enjoying a beautiful spring while we were still stuck inside, looking out at barren trees and muddy slush. I truly understood seasonal affective disorder.

But I was allergy free!

You know what? I’ll take the sniffing and nose-blowing and watery eyes in exchange for green and pink and sunshine and no snow. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m glad to live where I live. (Until July.)

Happy spring y’all!

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a book recommendation

johnAs folks around the world and web remember R.C. Sproul’s life and influence, I’d like to point you to one of his books that you may not have encountered. This past fall, I went through his commentary on John very slowly – a chapter a day – and I highly recommend it as a devotional. Here are a few passages I marked along the way:

All light finds its origin in Jesus Christ, who is the fountain of all truth.

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Therefore, if you have in your heart today any affection for Christ at all, it is because God the Holy Spirit in His sweetness, in His power, in His mercy, and in His grace has been to the cemetery of your soul and has raised you from the dead. So you are now alive to the things of Christ and you rejoice in the kingdom into which He has brought you.

[I love that phrase “…to the cemetery of your soul and has raised you from the dead.” I didn’t need to be persuaded or wooed to come to Christ. I was doornail dead and had to be brought to life.]

—————-

The whole of Scripture speaks to us of the love of God for His people, but so often we fix our attention on God’s love for us that we forget that the ground of that love is the love that the Father has from eternity for His Son. Remember, we’re not the natural children of God. We’re the adopted children of God, and even our election must always be understood to be in the Son.

—————-

We have to keep a close watch on what we do in worship, asking ourselves: “Is this according to the truth of God? Is this God’s teaching in His Word?” Our worship must be based on God’s self-revelation in Scripture. He is truth and His Word is truth.

[This is completely counter-cultural.]

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The deepest theological question that I can think of, the one for which I have no adequate answer, is the question, “Why me?” My students come to me with all kinds of conundrums from theology, but they rarely ask, “Why did God save me?” It sometimes seems as if we’re thinking: “Why wouldn’t He save me?” Yes, we have little aphorisms such as, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Do we really believe that? Are we really amazed by the measure of grace God has poured out on us? Can we say with John, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on its, that we should be called children of God!”

“Why me?” indeed. Why do I live in a time where solid, rich biblical teaching is at my fingertips day and night? Why was I “introduced” to R.C. Sproul’s teaching as a very young woman so that I could benefit as I grew in my relationship with Christ?

Amazing grace.

 

amazing love! how can it be?

On Memorial Day weekend, we attended the baptism of sweet Kenna. I was moved to tears – so many tears! – of gratitude that she has believing parents who are part of a joyful, loving church family. She will always hear about Jesus and the gospel. One of the hymns we sang that morning was a favorite of mine, and Kenna couldn’t help dancing to it, either.

I grew up with the original version by Charles Wesley, but I love the Indelible Grace arrangement. So much joy!

Amazing Love

1. And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me who caused His pain!
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be That
Thou, my God, should die for me?

Chorus: Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

2. He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

3. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

4. No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own

 

lately

Things have been busy but good around here. Most notably, Paul and I traveled to Tennessee last weekend to have Christmas with my children and their families, along with their father and his wife. It was a wonderful time of celebrating together, and all of us were grateful for the healing and grace that allowed us to gather. My daughter and her husband hosted us for a delicious meal, and my sweet granddaughter was passed around and cuddled. She’s a gift!

 

I knitted some gifts this year. Below are a scarf for Anna, and a cardigan for Kenna. I forgot to take a photo of the scarf I made for Caroline:

(I couldn’t resist getting Kenna some skinny jeans! Jersey-lined, with an elastic waistband!)

We continued our tradition of visiting McKay’s, and I finally stopped by Genuine Purl and picked up a skein of yarn I can’t get locally. We also had some Mojo Burrito.

Outside of Genuine Purl, these leaves took my breath away:

ginko

Caroline cut my hair, too! I got the luxury salon treatment and a new do! (Photo by Caroline – @haircrash on instagram):

hair

We gave the kids record players! (totally Paul’s idea!). We celebrated to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin:

record

Paul washed dishes, and I snuggled sweet baby girl:

I’ll leave you with this one (photo by Will). It cracks me up every time I see it!

amazed

Gotta run — super busy Saturday!

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saturday

It’s my third day off in a row from work, and there’s still one more to go! And it’s starting off well — coffee and reading in bed. And — true confession — watching a variety of Kick Six videos. (This one is a classic.) I never get tired of that!

Yesterday I decorated the house for Christmas, and Will came in for the weekend. Today my big plans include watching the Auburn/Alabama game with him on the big screen.

(I’ve got soooo many blog posts in my head, including one I mentally composed while decorating the Christmas tree yesterday. But today is unlikely to be a day I can actually put those thoughts to virtual paper.)

Thanks again to all of you who have encouraged me to keep blogging. I’m amazed that anyone reads what I write, and I’m surprised that you have stuck around through my blogging famine. I really appreciate it!

Happy Saturday, y’all! And Waaaaaar Eagle!

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a change of plans

That’s allowed, right? I’ve changed my mind. Shortly after I decided to give up on blogging, I got the urge to start again. Isn’t that the way it goes? So, I’m going to recommit to updating this little corner of the internet more regularly, and I plan to do a little remodeling. It will take some time to get back into the habit, so please stay tuned.

Many thanks on this Thanksgiving Day to those of you who left kind comments, and to my husband who encouraged me not to give up. I appreciate you!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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saturday miscellany mashup

Whew! After a tough week, it’s Saturday, and I’m so very glad. I slept until 8:30, made some coffee in my new Keurig (the one I’ve had for over four years finally gave up, and Paul couldn’t resurrect it), and got back in bed to read. I’ve caught up on the news (none of it good), and I’m about to pick up The Nightingale from the tall stack of library books on my nightstand.

Paul told me that today is Anne Day*, but I still haven’t decided what to do with it. For now, I’ll enjoy this quiet time in our room. And I think that later I want to hit up the sale at Fuzzy Goat.

Knitting has been a reliable stress reliever for me these days, and I’ve got some finished projects to show for it. Recently I completed a self-fringing shawl that got me back into my knitting groove:

fringeshawl

And I made my sweet granddaughter a cardigan and hat. I just need to block the sweater and add a button and then it will be done:

libertyset

Last night on a whim I cast on for a shawl with Zauberball Crazy yarn that is really driving me crazy — the yarn keeps tangling. But it’s in the perfect Auburn orange and blue, so I will persevere — much like I hope our team will persevere tonight.

Here are a few links I’ve bookmarked this week and finally been able to read this morning:

~ Ina and Jeffrey: A Love Story

~ In the pot nine days old

~ Stop acting immutable

~ The gift of sleep

Oh, Saturday! How I love you! And Paul, thank you ever so much for giving me an Anne Day!

Happy Saturday to y’all!

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*If you’re new around here: Anne Day is this sweet gift Paul gives me. Essentially, it means that I get to do whatever I want to do. This means that we spend the day together doing fun things instead of chores. 🙂