Roadside view of Cane Creek Mountains

Some days I don’t drive this part of this old road, but seeing glimpses like this makes me remember what a beautiful place this is. You can’t see the creek in this picture, but it is there, meandering through the landscape from pasture to pasture and field to field.

There are higher hills a few hours to the west, and larger bodies of water nearby as well. The colors change with the rhythms of the season, but for me these hills are timeless, always just beyond the tree-line from my back porch. Quiet, almost hidden, these Cane Creek Mountains are the very picture of perfect spring green on this April afternoon.

~ Enjoy the everyday beauty~

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Reflections on the passing of Rev. Billy Graham

This beautiful spring-like morning in this little corner of North Carolina the sunshine is playing peek-a-boo through the clouds. A family of cardinals is enjoying the cover of the sentry cedar outside the bedroom window. and the air is filled with joyful sounds of squirrel chatter and songbirds.
Here, in this scene I have learned of the passing of Rev. Billy Graham. And, while I’ve never met him face to face, I have been one of the many in the crowd at a “Crusade” in Greensboro when I was much, much younger, and I have had the benefit of reading, watching, listening and reflecting on his sermons throughout my life. And for that, for that example of being a conduit or merely a thread for others to see Christ, I am truly grateful. This world is a much better place for your 99 years here, and while you will be so missed, today it seems this corner of North Carolina is celebrating your life in a beautiful, natural, peaceful manner.
November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018, What an abundant life was shared in the span of that dash.  Rest in peace and may the angels lead you into paradise, Reverend Billy Graham.
“Well done, good and faithful servant….” Matthew 25:23

Later…..

Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.

But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.

Hello, Tuesday! It’s good to be here.

Hello, Saturday.

Strong coffee in a sturdy mug, blue jeans with a crease in the left leg from being laundered on a trip in 2014, an old blue shirt so frayed around the edges it could almost be mistaken for white trimmed, still deciding between sneakers, hiking boots, flip-flops, socks or nothing on my feet at all, and sunlight playing peek a boo through a gathering blanket of clouds.  The day is wide open,

Hello Saturday, it’s good to be here.

Sunday Afternoon ~ Coffee with the Cardinals.

Sometimes, the birds in this back yard play peek-a-boo.  Singing and chirping their greetings from the deep cover of the bushes, or just out of sight behind the branches of the trees. The resident cardinals are especially good at keeping hidden, despite their briliant red feathers.

This week, however, they seem happy and content to be seen, and I absolutely love seeing them.

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Snapshot through the screen: Cardinal surveying the melting snow.

My grandmother, Ava, was the one who began and encouraged my fascination with cardinals.  She was a wise woman.  If I can only remember half of the things she told me or I overheard her say during the short years I knew her, I should be fine.

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Snapshot through the screen. Cardinals enjoying sunshine in an old oak tree behind the swingset.

A quick glimpse of a cardinal has always been special for me, but an afternoon of these beauties allowing me a few pictures is enough to make me smile for a long time.  All but one of these pictures was taken through the screen as I tried to not disturb the birds too much.  So (giggle) these are literal “Screen Shots” .

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Snapshot through the screen:  Enjoying the sunshine and chirping in the warming afternoon air.

Birds aren’t known for staying still long, of course, and these are no different.  Eventually they left to survey other areas.  Perhaps looking for nesting sights, perhaps looking for food, perhaps just enjoying the afternoon sunshine, perhaps all of that and more.

 

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On a higher branch, watching the other birds.

So, having whispered my timeless wish upon first sight, and spending time enjoying their lovely company I settled back onto the porch with my afternoon coffee, and made myself a note to more often remember to focus on the beauty and peace in these little everyday moments.

~Peace~

Out of Obesity, Chapter 3

We are snowed in here in this little corner of the world. This part of North Carolina is closed due to winter. I can’t get out of my driveway because of the snow, and I love it.  I have friends and loved ones who must travel regardless of, and even because of the weather, so I am helping keep them safe by staying off the roads.

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Snowfall in January 2018 ~ Looking East and loving it!

This beautiful scene will be short-lived, the melting began yesterday and should continue  for the next few days as well, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying this wonderful southern snowfall, and reflecting on this journey of mine.

There is this thing called patience,  I looked it up.  Merriam Webster simply defines it as “the act of being patient”.  Then I looked up “patient” and found the fourth definition:  steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity”.   Well, there it is. For me, this journey out of obesity is getting difficult and is being met with opposition from nobody other than myself.  My last post on this journey was 22 days ago; at that time I had lost 9 pounds, and was officially out of the obese BMI range into Overweight.

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I’m using the “Big Day Lite” app to keep track of the time on this, now in progress, journey. 

Oh yeah, I was happy with myself.  I was on the downhill slide and feeling quite smug.  Right about then I imagine this is what happened:

My body:  “Hey, wait a second, what is she up to?  She can’t take the fat away…the fat is so cushy, comfy, snuggly.  The fat is gooooood!!  Fat!! Don’t Go!!”   (Or something along those lines.)

And so, the fat decided it had a pretty good gig here in this body, so it decided to stick around.  For 21 days my weight stayed within the 9-10 pounds lost range.

Frustrating?  Yep.  Aggravating? Yep.  Enough to toss in the towel and settle with being overweight?  Nope.

This change, this journey, was never about quick weight loss, although I was quite happy with those initial results. Habits take time to change. Bodies take time to adjust to those changes.  And, frankly, not becoming discouraged and gaining any back during those 3 weeks that seemed like a stall, is quite a success in itself.

Here one month into this journey, the refined or added sugar aspect is fading from the central focus. It has been dealt with and given the proper attention, and no longer drives my appetite.  Now the focus shifts into other aspects of healthier foods, hopefully more physical movement throughout the days, and patience.  And I have renewed hope, because here, one month into this journey, there is finally another change.  Here, on day 31 I have a weight loss of 11 pounds total, and even as much as my body loves that security blanket of fat, my internal organs and my spine are, quite literally, relieved.

I also have this reminder that even though I may not always use it, and others may not always see it (I should work on that too) I do have that wonderful virtue, that gift of the Holy Spirit  that is patience.  It may be difficult, but I can do this, and it will be worth it.

It already is.

This entry is simply to mark my thoughts and progress, and to note that I’m pleasantly surprised I made progress over the recent days.   Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it continues……

Class ~ One must observe before one may teach.

I get to meet the most amazing people.
Early in our youth ministry season, I received a call from a senior at a nearby university seeking an opportunity to observe a class in our program.  After our standard background check and an interview, she quickly became part of our group and settled in with the eighth graders and a few of the best mentors in a youth setting that anyone could ask for.  The youth love seeing her. The volunteers love seeing her.  We all love seeing her.
I remember walking into the lobby at our first meeting and having this beautiful young lady ask me nervously ask if her service dog would be allowed to stay with her. I couldn’t believe she would even ask that, and I felt sad that she had ever had to ask such a question. The dog and I became great pals, and we’ve both been placed in time out for playing while she was on duty, but only once, we got the message.
Today she and I sat down at the same table where we held her first interview. This time, however, she was interviewing me for her class. This was a final step in completing her project. Her time with us is drawing to an end.
Before she left, she let me record a short little “goodbye” video for the youth from her.  Ah! What a beautiful soul in such a caring young lady. She is going to be so missed.
There’s a deeper point to this story, however. I can’t remember the number of places she told me she had contacted about observing, but she told me I was the only person who called her back. To those who did not call her back, I would say two things: First, you missed out on an incredible opportunity to get to know someone and help her pursue her goals. Second, thank you, because you did not return her call, she found her way to our program. Her presence, I know has enhanced our classroom group and I hope the experience has been enriching for her as well.
These young adults with whom we’re entrusting our future need experience, need encouragement and need safe places to pursue opportunities. If you are in such a position to offer those opportunities, I would ask and encourage you to consider doing so. I can only imagine, and I may never know how this young lady will impact the lives of others in the future, but I believe she will be a powerful force and great asset wherever she chooses to be, and we were blessed to have her observe and be part of our program for these weeks that passed far too quickly.