Guest Jeneal Rogers: From My Front Porch

jeneals-dawn-2

Today I’m happy to share a beautiful piece written by my dear friend Jeneal Rogers. Sit back, relax with Jeneal on her front porch, and let her words usher in peace and beauty. Let them transport you to the thin edge of dawn.

From My Front Porch

It’s the thin edge of dawn. I sit in the rocking chair, on my front porch. Crickets and tree frogs still harmonize. A squirrel scolds emphatically. I wonder. Is it her children she so passionately lectures? Or has her mate somehow unwittingly incurred her wrath?

I watch a spider scurry up the post in front of me. Hurried. Intent. Eager, perhaps, to begin her morning weaving.

Birds start to tune up for today’s concert.
Coos, chirps, and twitters.
Tweets, whistles, and caws.
The rapid percussion of a woodpecker, searching for his breakfast.
An arrogant cardinal warms his voice, “pretty, pretty, pretty bird.”
I listen for the satiny call of the owl, asking his perpetual question. “Who? Who? Who cooks for you?”

Leaves, twigs, and acorns fall from the huge oak.
Plunk
Pop
Tap
Announcing Autumn’s arrival as surely as the air of chilled fog.

How blessed I am. My weekend filled with warm love and laughter.
Friends sharing
Meals
Stories
Hopes
Dreams
Pieces of their lives, graciously offered
Gratefully received.

A beautiful gift, wrapped up and adorned with this sweet symphony of nature, received on my front porch, this early morning, at the thin edge of dawn.

Writer and visual artist Jeneal Rogers of southeast Missouri enjoys writing essays, short stories, and poetry along with creating visual arts of all kinds. An illustrator for Armonia Publishing, Jeneal is currently working on creating an illustrated book, New Wings For An Old Bird, which will combine her love of written and visual media. Jeneal invites you to keep your eye out for the book.

*Photo above by Jeneal Rogers

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One current or new subscriber will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Wedding Registry to Consider: Sur La Table!

3384439742_f141ff993a_z

Mother of the Bride, when it comes time to register, your sweet girl might want to consider Sur La Table for one of her registries—especially if she and/or her groom love to cook and spend time in the kitchen. A cooking specialty store like Sur La Table will surely hit the spot for them, right?

The Sur La Table website has all kinds of registry helps: Creating, Finding, and Managing a Registry, Top Registry Gifts, Reasons to Register, Tips and Guides, information on Special Registry Events, and also a Gift Registry Concierge to assist you. You can receive help in the store, by phone, or online.

Sur La Table also offers free gifts for the couple. Some they’ll get just for registering and others they’ll qualify for after items from their registries are purchased. Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

So MOB, if your Mr. & Mrs.-to-be plan to cook up more than passion after they’re married, why not send them over to Sur La Table? They might even thank you by inviting you over for dinner sometime!

*You might also like to read A Fair Trade Wedding Registry: Ten Thousand Villages, A Wedding Registry to Consider: Williams Sonoma!,  Wedding Registry to Consider: Pottery Barn!, and A Wedding Registry to Consider: Best Buy!

The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Gary Soup, Creative Commons License

A Time to Focus on Family

18992726109_d920899bc8_z

“‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” Mark 5:19

Remember the biblical account of Jesus healing a man who was possessed by a legion of demons? No one had been able to subdue this man, no one had been able to help him. Until Jesus. Jesus cast the demons out and restored this desperate man to his right mind.

How grateful he must have been. In fact as Jesus was leaving, this newly healed man begged Jesus to let him go with him . The man’s reason for wanting to accompany Jesus may have been an overflow of gratitude, a desire to be part of Jesus’s powerful life-changing ministry, fear that he had nowhere to go since he had destroyed all his relationships with his family and friends, or possibly a combination of these reasons. Whatever the reason, Jesus had another plan for him.

Instead of saying yes to the man’s request to go with him, Jesus told him to go home. He wanted him to tell his family how much he had done for him. To tell them about the mercy he had shown him.

We don’t know all of Jesus’s reasons for asking the man to go home. The Lord certainly wanted the man’s family to hear this amazing testimony of Jesus’s love and power. We know Jesus wanted more people to come to know him. But maybe he also knew the man’s family ached for news of him or that the man himself needed to be reassured of their love. Maybe he knew this family’s reunion was what was most important for that group of people at that moment in time.

Whatever his reasons, Jesus wanted this man to focus on his family. And there are times I’m sure that his plan and task for us is the same. We may have a desire to go somewhere or do something big for the Lord or we might just wish we had a more exciting role in life and in God’s kingdom, but sometimes in some seasons God shows us our main ministry is at home. Our main ministry is to be focused on our family.

The Lord has called me to such seasons at times. Whether staying home to raise our girls or serving in caregiving roles for loved ones with health problems or giving my time to help with our twin grandsons this past year, I’ve seen that at times serving my family is indeed a major part of my role in life and in ministry for the Lord. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t be involved in other activities, but I did have to say no to many things in order to fulfill the ministries to family that God placed before me.

I wonder if today the Lord is leading any of us to focus on our families? Is his plan for us to “go home” for now? If it is, let’s accept it as from him and go joyfully and in peace. Let’s shine for the Lord at home.

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 5:4

*When has God called you to a season at home?

*Don’t miss out on the One-More-Chance Starbucks Giveaway. Deadline to enter is Feb. 10th!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out early last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Ryan Smith Photography, Creative Commons License

The Pull of the Past

IMG_2126

Is there an activity, a place, an aroma, a taste, a sight, or a sound that transports you back in time? Most of us long for times gone by on occasion. We long for loved ones no longer with us, we yearn for a simpler time.

Nostalgia can be good for us. It causes us to remember our blessings and even inspires us to look forward to a heavenly home where we’ll be reunited with our loved ones, where we’ll be safe and happy in the presence of our Lord.

So indulge in some nostalgia today, friends. May my “Pull of the Past” give rise to your own. And may it lead to all our eyes looking heavenward!

The Pull of the Past

As I travel down the country road
the pull of the past is strong.
Decades suddenly disappear
as my heart is drawn like a magnet
to the farms, to my grandparents,
to our family as it was then.
The crunch of gravel under the wheels
and the smell of dust wafting behind
stirs memories so deeply held
my heart aches from the longing.
Oh to go back in time,
to find everyone at home
waiting with ready smiles and welcoming voices,
waiting to share the day together.
Those bottled memories
so real yet just out of grasp
stir a precious joy
trailed by a touch of sadness
that keeps me lifting my eyes
to the sure hope of the future,
to the promise of reunion.
And so the pull of the past
becomes the hope of heaven
where one day I’ll find
everyone at home
ready to share forever together,
ready to praise and serve our Lord.

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” Psalm 143:5

*What triggers the pull of the past for you?

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*My photo

Wedding Registry to Consider: Pottery Barn!

15907978033_1301112ac7_z

Mother of the Bride, have your daughter and her beloved decided where they want to register yet? When most of us think of bridal registries, two or three of the standard registries come to mind, but it can be so much fun to throw something else into the mix, too. Guests love having several options to choose from, and the newlyweds can end up with some cool gifts they might not otherwise have received. Fun, huh?!

With that in mind, why not suggest Pottery Barn to the soon-to-be newlyweds? Pottery Barn offers a little bit of everything for the home, and their products are super classy. Your sweet couple can start the process on the Pottery Barn registry page. From there, they can also click on registry benefits where they’ll find some helpful tips for registering. Pottery Barn also has registry experts ready to help couples one-on-one by phone or in their stores.

MOB, Pottery Barn is sure to add to the excitement and fun of the registry process so encourage your happy couple to consider them. They might just find some of their most favorite items there!

*You might also like to read A Fair Trade Wedding Registry: Ten Thousand Villages and A Wedding Registry to Consider: Williams Sonoma!

*Flickr photo by Jeepers Media, Creative Commons License