Archives for September 2010

It Must Be Fall

I’ve decided it must finally be fall. This past week signs of that glorious cooler season rushed in all at once — and not a minute too soon. After all, it’s nearly the last day of September.

How can I tell that fall finally arrived? Well, here’s what happened around here:

It must be fall at my house because:

1. I had to break down and wear shoes instead of sandals to church the other day. I didn’t want to, but common sense prevailed :)

2. I chose jeans instead of capris for the first time this season. Thank goodness the jeans still fit :)

3. I put the electric blanket on the bed. Can’t stand getting cold at night. Panic sets in quickly if the electric blanket goes on the blink.

4. I spotted some gold leaves on a neighbor’s tree. Since our big tree got butchered this summer (my husband calls it “trimmed back”), I’ll see very few leaves turning colors in our yard. Darn!

5. For the past few days, I’ve been wearing sweat pants instead of shorts for my comfy at-home pants. Thank goodness comfy pants are available for every season, right?

6. I actually heated up my corn bag the other day to warm up my hands. Before long, the trusty corn bag will be my constant companion. Just ask my family :)

7. It finally felt cool enough to justify getting my fall decorations out. It’s just not right to have fall decor up when the only cool air we can find is coming from the air conditioner.

8. I had to wear a jacket when I headed out the door the other morning. Okay, so it was only for a few minutes, but still… :)

9. I pulled my houseshoes out of the closet the other evening when my feet finally got too cold for flip flops. Sure wish someone would invent flip-flops that could keep our feet as warm as real shoes… Electric flip-flops, anyone?? :)

and the ultimate sign that it must be fall:

10. I left my oven door open after baking something the other day. I love standing and toasting next to any kind of heat source. Yes, I’m almost always cold. Even my hot flashes aren’t that hot. I call them warm flashes :)

More signs of the season will be coming soon, I’m sure. These are just the ones that unfolded this past week. What about you? How can you tell when it’s fall at your house?

Hope you all enjoy some beautiful autumn days in the coming weeks. Let them remind you of the Creator of it all!

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31a

*p.s. Thought of something else I did this week that should have made the list. I checked my supply of mini marshmallows. Gotta be ready to make hot chocolate soon! :)

*Flickr photo by Jesse Kruger, Creative Commons License

Heaven Seems a Little Closer

Teewinot 2

Ever have days when heaven seems a little closer? I had some this past week when our church secretary passed away.

Paula had a loving, helpful spirit that welcomed and ministered to all who called or stopped by the church office. Over the years, she also offered me great support in various ministries I’ve been involved in, and most recently she faithfully encouraged me in my writing journey. And yes, she was one of my blog readers. She even asked for help in learning how to leave a comment. If she had too much trouble with it, she’d been known to drop me an email or give me a call to let me know she enjoyed a particular post.

As I worked through my thoughts and feelings upon first hearing the news of her death, my heart went out to her family, friends, and our church staff who worked beside her each day. I thought of their loss and how deeply it must hurt.

But then I thought of Paula — alive and in heaven. I thought of all she was hearing and seeing for the first time. I thought of my friend Amy, who was taken from us so unexpectedly last year, and how she and Paula must be once again laughing and talking together. And in that moment heaven seemed so much closer.

Have you ever felt like that when someone you know and love passes from this earth? Does it make you feel a little closer to heaven?

I’m thankful there are other things — easier things — that can make us feel closer to heaven, too. Enjoying the sights and sounds of God’s creation ushers me into His presence without fail. Times of prayer and worship can carry me there as well.

What about you? What makes heaven a little closer for you?

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:1-2

*This one’s for you, Paula…

*My photo

My Blessing Bonanza

Remember last week when I told you about being conference bound and friendship bound? Well, the weekend did not disappoint. The blessings just kept coming. Let me fill you in — and thank God at the same time for the blessing bonanza He poured into my life last week. Here’s the short list (or should I say long list?!):

1. A huge catch-up session with my good friend Jeneal (above left). Lots of long overdue girl-talk time as we traveled to the conference together and also shared a hotel room.

2. Meeting Angela (above center), our friend of over 20 years whom we hadn’t seen in years and years, for dinner and another huge catch-up session on the evening of our arrival. We could have talked and laughed all night — though I’m sure our server was glad when we finally left :)

3. Getting to meet Vonda Skelton (below right) and Mary DeMuth, both who have acted as online writing mentors for me through their blogs (links under “For Fellow Writers” on the right sidebar) and through Mary’s participation in The Christian Writers View 2. These ladies blessed us with outstanding keynote presentations as well as the classes they taught.

4. With limited time slots available, I was able to sign up for 15 minute personal appointments with both Vonda and Mary. Each one offered helpful suggestions and encouraged me greatly with their positive comments about my current project. Vonda even spent extra time with me since I was her last appointment for the day and since we were both eager to grow the online friendship we’d already started. So much fun to get to do this!

5. Lots of great instruction, inspiration, networking, and fellowship while attending the North Texas Christian Writers Conference.

6. I won 2nd place in the poetry category of the NTCW Conference Excellence in Writing contest! Exciting stuff, huh?!

7. I also won (as a door prize) a book I wanted! Lucky me! Woohoo!! :)

8. Getting to spend the night at Rusty and Angela’s after the conference and be a part of a surprise birthday party that members of their church threw for Angela. We helped her celebrate her 30th so many years ago, and this time we got to help her celebrate her 50th! So much fun to spend time with Rusty and Angela and to meet some of their friends in Texas.

9. Attending church with Rusty and Angela and hearing Rusty preach once again. Rusty is a former pastor to both Jeneal and me, and our church was the first church he pastored after graduating seminary over 20 years ago. Everyone in their current church got a kick out meeting such old friends of theirs :)

10. Safe travel to Dallas and back. This is no small blessing. All the construction in the Dallas area led to worse than normal traffic challenges. I did have the tiniest of fender-benders at one point, but it didn’t hurt the other car at all. I, however, came home with a souvenir. Yep, a small dent and some paint damage… Believe me, though, I was thankful to get out of there with our lives and car in one piece! :)

So there you have it — my blessing bonanza. Was God good to me or what?!!

“…O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30:12b

*Trivia Tidbit: I have now been blogging for 3 years!

A Distant Land

Distant LandI’ve been in a distant land the past few days so will just share a quick thought or two. And no, I didn’t go as far away as the ocean or the mountains. My distant land was in Texas, only about six hours away from here. But when you’re away from home, anywhere can seem kind of distant, can’t it?

Do you happen to be in a distant land of some sort? Maybe you’ve moved recently or are away at school or on a work assignment. Maybe you’re in the military and are stationed overseas. But maybe, just maybe, you’re in another kind of distant land. You’re in a new or strange situation or possibly just feeling isolated and lonely. You may have even drifted away from God — or never found Him to begin with.

Wherever you are, look to the Lord. He is your home. Don’t forget Him. Come to Him. Rest in Him. Live for Him in your distant land…

“Remember the Lord in a distant land…” Jeremiah 51:50a

Flickr photo by ((brian)), Creative Commons License

Conference Bound!

I’m conference bound! Tomorrow morning I’ll point my car towards the highway and head south to the the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I’ll be attending the North Texas Christian Writers Conference, hoping to gain valuable instruction, to get recharged and refreshed, and to enjoy wonderful fellowship with fellow writers.

The conference is not the only thing I’m looking forward to, though. Just 75 miles into my trip, I’m meeting up with my good friend Jeneal, who now lives nearly 7 hours away from me and is also attending the conference. We’ll travel the rest of the way together, renewing our long-distance friendship as fast as our lips will allow us to talk. We haven’t seen each other since late last year and have lots of catching up to do. I’m so excited I’ll be lucky to get any sleep tonight.

Believe it or not, attending the conference and hanging out with Jeneal aren’t the only reasons I’m excited. We have plans to spend time with Angela, another mutual friend we made over 20 years ago and hardly ever get to see. She’s meeting us for dinner when we arrive, and then after the conference on Saturday, we’ll spend the night at her house south of Dallas. Her hubby, Rusty, is our former pastor, and we’re looking forward to hearing him preach before we head home.

Couldn’t get much better, huh? Oh, but it does! Two of the conference faculty members are authors I’ve become acquainted with online and will now get to meet in person and hear them teach as well. Good stuff, huh?! (The authors are Vonda Skelton and Mary DeMuth, both whose sites I’ve had listed on my sidebar for fellow writers for a couple of years now.)

So, yes, I’ve got lots to be excited about. I’m conference bound, and I’m friend bound — and I’m bound to get my heart and mind filled to overflowing. Thank You, Lord, for these opportunities!

“for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.” Luke 1:49

*Flickr photo by The_Gut