RSS

Category Archives: Photography

Uncover and Confess Sin (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Uncover and Confess Sin
August 16
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

Here is the way of mercy for a guilty and repenting sinner. He must cease from the habit of covering sin. This is attempted by falsehood, which denies sin; by hypocrisy, which conceals it; by boasting, which justifies it; and by loud profession, which tries to make amends for it.
The sinner’s business is to confess and forsake. The two must go together. Confession must be honestly made to the Lord Himself, and it must include within itself acknowledgment of the wrong, sense of its evil, and abhorrence of it. We must not throw the fault upon others, nor blame circumstances, nor plead natural weakness. We must make a clean breast of it and plead guilty to the indictment. There can be no mercy till this is done.
Furthermore, we must forsake the evil; having owned our fault, we must disown all present and future intent to abide in it. We cannot remain in rebellion and yet dwell with the King’s majesty. The habit of evil must be quitted, together with all places, companions, pursuits, and books which might lead us astray. Not for confession, nor for reformation, but in connection with them we find pardon by faith in the blood of Jesus.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let No Evil Remain (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Let No Evil Remain
May 7
And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and show thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers. (Deuteronomy 13:17)

Israel must conquer idolatrous cities and destroy all the spoil, regarding all that had been polluted by idolatry as an accursed thing to be burned with fire. Now, sin of all sorts must be treated by Christians in the same manner. We must not allow a single evil habit to remain. It is now war to the knife with sins of all sorts and sizes, whether of the body, the mind, or the spirit. We do not look upon this giving up of evil as deserving mercy, but we regard it as a fruit of the grace of God, which we would on no account miss.
When God causes us to have no mercy on our sins, then He has great mercy on us. When we are angry with evil, God is no more angry with us. When we multiply our efforts against iniquity, the Lord multiplies our blessings. The way of peace, of growth, of safety, of joy in Christ Jesus will be found by following out these words: “There shall nought of the cursed thing cleave to thine hand.” Lord, purify me this day. Compassion, prosperity, increase, and joy will surely be given to those who put away sin with solemn resolution.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Working on a Business


As many of you know I have health problems, and some of those health issues cause me to be susceptible to every virus that is brought around me.  That is one of the struggles when you have Epstein-Barre Syndrome, every time someone has the flu, a virus, colds, strep throat, or any other such thing, I get it.  So my last few weeks have been filled with these things.  I spent a lot of time down with the flu, a sore throat and a ear infection, along with dealing with my pain from arthritis, bone spurs, and fibromyalgia.  But I didn’t let this all keep me from doing something constructive…something that I’m still working on.  With the cost of things  going up in the U.S., and government budget cuts that affected my husband with a 6 month layoff, we found ourselves in the same position as many Americans, living from pay day to payday, well actually more like payday to the week before the next payday.  So I set out to find a way to help my husband with finances, despite having to spend so much time in bed due to pain.  A couple weeks ago while straightening up things in my room, I found a program that my husband got me that allows me to design cross stitch designs.   I can use my photos, clipart, or my own artwork to create beautiful design instructions for other cross stitchers.  For those who do not know what this is, it is a type of embroidery where simple X’s are made on canvas to complete a design using embroidery thread.  I’m still working on getting designs together, but I’m also researching ecommerce sites that offer what I need to have my own site.  I’m praying God’s leading, direction and blessing on this endeavor.  I’m hoping that it will be the help my family needs to get through this tough time.  However in doing this I’m not able to spend too much time blogging, or on other things.  I’ve had to cut down other activities on the computer, even time on Facebook and on my email.  I know once I get it up and running I will have more time for other things though.  I wanted to share some of the designs I’ve finished working on in this post.  Each design comes with…

  1. the original photograph or artwork I used,
  2. a jpeg of the finished design,
  3. a pdf of a black and white representation of the design with symbols showing wear each color goes,
  4. a stitch pattern pdf showing what the finished work looks like in cross stitch,
  5. a color key pdf showing the colors of embroidery thread used for that design, and the measurements of it.
  6. a pdf with color blocking of the design, for those who prefer to use a color graph without symbols
  7. and a pdf with color blocking with the symbols.

I’ve worked on hard designs for those who are looking for a challenge, medium designs for those who are at the intermediate level, and easier designs for those who are new to cross stich along with children who are just learning how to cross stitch.

I’m rejoicing to have found some way of using my own drawings and photos in a way to help my family.  Please pray with me that this works out, and that God will bless each step and open the doors along the way.  Below are some of the designs I’m finished with.  Enjoy!

An angel, one of many I drew and designed.

A chocolate milkshake from my

art.

Woman with the Alabaster Jar of oil.

A parfait from my artwork.

Blueberry Muffin

A Cupcake with Pink Icing and Sprinkles

Stained Glass design

Original artwork

Stained glass design done in cross stitch.  It looks better without the glare from my camara.

Very colorful parrots

A secluded waterfall.

King Solomon

Bird and Flower

Fashion Face. I love designing hats, shoes and clothes. Jk wants me to make a bunch like these and make them into a quilt for her bedroom.

Patchwork Boot…my artwork

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now For a Few Awards I Designed

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on compiling a list of awards that are here on WordPress.  Some of these awards many of us have received over and over, so I thought we needed some fresh ones to share.

The first one is The Full of Heart Blogging Award.  It is to be given to bloggers who write from their hearts, no matter what the emotion, but you must be able to feel their heart through their words.

Rules for this award are…

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Share the people or things you love most in an anagram using the word HEART.

     (Example:  H…Hearing laughter from my family

                        E…Every single day that I am alive.

                        A…All my family

                        R…Reading Books

                        T…The Bible

       3.  Nominate 7 other bloggers, and notify them of their nomination.

Since I designed this award I will thank God for the inspiration to design it.  My anagram is the example listed above, but I will nominate 7 bloggers to recieve this award.  They are as follows…

http://momentumofjoy.com/

http://thelmac.wordpress.com/

http://birdmartin.wordpress.com/

http://adifferenceforyourlovedones.wordpress.com/

http://93percenttrue.wordpress.com/

http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

http://kyllingsara.wordpress.com/

 

 

Award #2 is The Super Sweet Blogging Award.  This award goes to those bloggers who give the sweetest comments, or have the sweetest blog.

The rules are…

  1. Say something sweet about the blogger who nominated you, thank them and then link to their blog.
  2. Answer the following questions…

     a.  Cookies or Cake?    (My answer is both, because it depends on my mood and the type.)

     b.  Chocolate or Vanilla?  (My answer is Vanilla, unless it is a candy.)

     c.   What is your favorite sweet treat?  (Mine is Chex Turtle Mix)

     d.   When do you crave sweet things the most? (Not often but usually when I real low on energy.)

     e.   If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  ( Mine would be Chocolate Covered Cherry)

  1. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) other bloggers for the award and notify them of their nomination.

    Since I designed this award I will thank God for inspiration and my husband for fixing my computer and keeping it running right.  My answers to the questions are in parentheses next to the questions, and here are my nominees for the award…

    http://kyllingsara.wordpress.com/

    http://waltbrite.wordpress.com/

    http://terry1954.wordpress.com/

    http://thehomeheart.wordpress.com/

    http://iftodaywehear.wordpress.com/

    http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com/

    http://childdrivenlearning.wordpress.com/

    http://twisteddomesticgoddess.wordpress.com/

    http://redwhiteandgrew.com/

    http://throughthehealinglens.com/

    http://lynnecobb.com/

    http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

    http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/

    That’s my Baker’s Dozen, and they are really sweet people who deserve to be noticed.

     

     

    #3 of my awards is The Crafty Blogger Award, and is an award that I believe should go to those bloggers who are crafty and are always posting things they have made or want to make, or share craft ideas with their readers, or who share their creativeness through art or photography.

    The rules are..

    This award should be given to those who show crafty projects they have made on their blog.

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, and place a link to their blog in your post.
    2. Tell about the greatest home made gift you gave or received.
    3. Nominate 5 other bloggers for this award and notify them of their nomination.

    Since I designed this one I will thank all those craft bloggers who have inspired me throughout the years, and God who gave me the gift of being creative.

    I’ve had the joy of making special gifts for many others and for being given great homemade gifts, so I will mention one I was given, in fact I’m given every year.  My sister-in-law started a tradition a few years ago of making clear glass ornaments with special things in them and a slip of paper attached with an encouraging thought.  She has encouraged us to have faith, to dream, to love, and more through these ornaments, and it is one of my favorite Christmas gifts each year.  I can’t wait to see what she has come up with each year for us to add to our Christmas tree.

    My 5 nominees for this award are all bloggers who inspire me through their crafty posts, their art, or their photography.  They are…

    http://e1aine.wordpress.com/

    http://blackcatoriginals.wordpress.com/

    http://futureflyingsaucers.wordpress.com/

    http://artbycamila.wordpress.com/

    http://jumpoutthebox.wordpress.com/

     

     

    #4 of the awards I designed is The Creative Writer Blog Award, and is meant to be given to those who share their creativity through writing stories, poems, and themselves through their writing.

    The rules are…

    This award should be given to those who have written a poem, a story, scripts, or some other creative form of writing for their blog.

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award, and link to their blog.
    2. Write a 8 line poem about yourself.
    3. Nominate 4 other bloggers for the award and notify them of their nomination.

      Since I designed this one I will again thank God for the creativity and inspiration he gives me to share this gift of writing.

      Here is my poem…

      Every morning when I rise,

      I wipe the sleep from my eyes.

      I wonder what the day will hold,

      And if my daughter will do what she’s told.

      I talk to God to start the day,

      And ask for help when I pray.

      I know that I will make it through,

      As the Lord helps me with all I do.

      My 4 nominees are…

      http://thelmac.wordpress.com/

      http://5gsandacupofjoe.net/

      http://allinthelifeofjk.wordpress.com/

      http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

       

       

       

      #5 of the awards I designed is The Dining Blogger Award.

      The rules are…

      This award goes to bloggers who share recipes, cooking stories, or cooking tips, canning tips, or food gardening tips on their blog.

      1. Thank the blogger who nominated and put a link to their blog in your post.
      2. Answer the following questions…

          a.  Is the cup half empty or half full?    (Always half full, but don’t mind if it’s overflowing.)

      b.  Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing?          (Salad dressing, preferably Miracle Whip)

      c.  Butter or Margarine?                            (Butter)

      d.  Favorite food?                                     (Seafood or Chinese)

      e.  If you could have a meal cooked by any famous chef who would you choose?  (Guy Fieri)

      f.  What was the last thing you cooked or baked?  (My homemade 3 cheese lasagna)

      g.  Party style, Buffet style, or Family style?  (Family style)

      h.  If you could have one last supper, what would you want?  (Boiled crab and lobster, shrimp cocktail, hushpuppies, fried clams, and boiled mussels, all with garlic and butter sauce.)

            3.  Nominate 6 others bloggers for this award, and notify them of their nomination.

      Since I again designed this one I will thank all those chefs on television who inspire me to cook, and who keep me hungry!   My 6 nominees are…

      http://rantingchef.com/

      http://letsgetbasted.wordpress.com/

      http://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/

      http://myhomebaked.com/

      http://justafrugalfoodie.com/

      http://modernchristianwoman.com/

      Two more awards to go!!!!!!

       

      #6 of the awards I designed is The Imaginative Youth Blogging Award.  This award was designed because of all the homeschooling parents out there sharing ideas for our children.  So it is meant for those who share things for our youth, whether lessons, crafts, words of wisdom, or such.  But it must be things that help young people, not hurt them.

      The Rules are…

      1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.

      2.  Share a story from your youth, or if you are still young (20 or younger) share a hope and dream you have for your future.

      3.   Nominate 5 other bloggers and notify them of their nomination.

      Here is a story from my youth…wow, I just went blank…lol.  Hmmm.. .okay here is one I haven’t written about.  When I was 7 and 8 years old we lived in Biloxi, Mississippi, because my dad was stationed there.  We lived in base housing that was surrounded by a swamp filled with snakes, including water moccassins.  Across the swamp from where we lived was the V.A. Hospital, where there was lots of land surrounding it, big enough for a few sports fields.  My brothers and I, along with a few other G.I. brats use to climb a large tree that had a branch that crossed over the swamp, and we would drop into the Hospital lawn.  We would play ball and other games until we got caught.  One day the military police were waiting for us as we started dropping out of the tree.  After taking us all home, they chopped down our favorite branch so we couldn’t do it again.  I won’t tell you what we started doing to get back at them, but let’s just say it involved other trees, netting and snakes as surprises as they patrolled the sides of the swamp.

      My 5 nominees for this award are…

      http://homeschoolyear.wordpress.com/

      http://creationscience4kids.com/

      http://canadianmommytime.wordpress.com/

      http://naturallyfundays.wordpress.com/

      http://childdrivenlearning.wordpress.com/

      I love sharing things from these blogs with my daughter, Jk, and so they are well deserving of this award.

       

      Finally, here is the last award I designed.  It is The Family of Bloggers Award, and was designed with the thought that there are many guys who also blog that might not want the Sisterhood of Bloggers award…lol.  Really, I’ve come to think of many bloggers as a part of my family and so this award was designed with them in mind.

      The rules are…

      1. Thank the person who nominated you and tell them what family member they would be if they were really related to you.
      2. Place a link to the blog of the person who nominated you in your post.
      3. Tell what attributes you bring to the family, using an anagram of the word FAMILY.

      (Example)…F…Fun

      A…Artistic side

      M…Maturity

      I…Intelligence

      L…Laughter

      Y…Youthfulness

      4.   Nominate at least 4 other people to be in your family of bloggers, and for this award, and notify them of their nomination.

      Since I designed this one I will thank all those bloggers who have been so warm and encouraging that I have felt like part of their family, like that crazy aunt…lol.  Here are my 4 nominees…

      http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/

      http://birdmartin.wordpress.com/

      http://kyllingsara.wordpress.com/

      http://terry1954.wordpress.com/

      Well, that’s it folks!  I’m finally through blogging awards.  All that is left to do is add pics to this posts in editing, and notifying all the nominees for all the awards I blogged today!

      Yay!!!!!!

     

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

One Lovely Blog Award

Here we go again with the music in my head!  I see this one and for some reason here is what I hear in my head… I feel pretty, oh so pretty.  I feel pretty, and witty, and gay…”  Yep, those old musicals can pop up at the oddest times, and this song is what I hear when I see this award.  In fact, as I started posting on this I was singing it out loud and my husband walked in to see what I was up to and started laughing at me.  I often do this, and he always knows I am up to something when I’m just singing some random song.  It’s even funnier when I’m sitting in bed, curled up under my snuggie (or call it a slanket), and I’m singing to my laptop.  That is exactly how I looked when he walked in this time.

Anyway, I was nominated for this award by Michelle at http://forgoditestify.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/one-lovely-blog-award/ , who is a lovely blogger, as well as a homeschooling mom. She has a wonderful blog and writes on many topics such as parenting, homeschooling, church, and more.  If you get the chance, and family is important to you, take time to visit her blog.  Thank you Michelle!

Now, for the rules of this award,

1. Give generous thanks to the blogger that nominated you.

2. Write 7 things about yourself.

3. Make a list of 15 Bloggers you admire and let them know how awesome they are.

Wow, another 7 things about myself…

1.  I’m short…real short!

2.  I always say “Good things come in small packages and so does dynamite, and I’m both!”  This is my answer to short jokes.

3.  I have eyes that change colors depending on my mood, and my husband is pretty much the only one who can decipher the mood by them.  I can tell you this much…stay away from me when they have a golden glow about them…lol.  Okay you might want to stay away when they are brown, hazel, green…hmm, just approach with caution no matter what color they are, and inquire on my mood…lol.

4.  I’m allergic to just about everything it seems, and some of those allergies are severe ones.

5.  I love color…lots of color, and my favorite color changes everyday, although red seems to be my most favorite and seems to reoccur in my daily favorites more often than others.

6.  I was born with long, black hair, but by the age of 1 and 1/2 years old I was a tow-head blond, by elementary school I had light brown hair, and then as an adult it has been blond most of the time until the last 3 years when it has gotten darker with wings of silver on the sides which is slowly taking over the front of my hair.

7.  My mom could always tell what I thought of a person by the way I acted around them.  If I liked someone I teased them.  If I didn’t know them well, I would be polite but quiet and watchful around them, always studying them to see if they could be trusted.  If the person was someone I did not like, my mom used to say I would stick my nose up in the air and walk away without acknowledging them.  To be someone I did not like you were either rude, a bully, or treated others with disrespect.  Mom always said I was a person that you would get back what you gave to me.  If you treated me with respect, I would treat you the same way.

Now I am going to break the last rule and only nominate 7 others for this award.  My nominees are…

Heather at  http://thehomesteadatspringcreek.wordpress.com/

Diane at  http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/

http://futureflyingsaucers.wordpress.com/

Loopyloo at  http://loopyloo305.com/

http://todayiprayed.wordpress.com/

Camila at http://artbycamila.wordpress.com/

Robyn at http://throughthehealinglens.com/

Thank you all for being such lovely people with such lovely blogs!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Summer Bruchetta Sampler Dinner

We’ve had a great deal of heat lately here, ozone warnings, and humidity too.  It’s just too hot for a stew, chili, or any other heavy meal.  Since Jk likes to cook, I wanted to teach her something new, easy, and light for such a day as today.  While grocery shopping yesterday we found bags of bruchetta bread on sale.  When I saw that I thought…”Hmm great snack food for those times when I don’t feel like eating much.”  But after watching Iron Chef last night something else came to me…”Why not teach Jk how to make Bruchetta?”  So tonight after a day of running errands, I decided it would be the perfect time to do just that.  We made Chicken Salad Bruchetta, a simple Cucumber-Garden Style Cream Cheese Bruchetta, Ham-Asparagus and Mozzarella Bruchetta, Tomato-Basil and Mozzarella Bruchetta, and last a Portabello Mushroom-Sweet Pepper and Ham Bruchetta.  At first she didn’t think she was going to like anything but the Ham and Asparagus ones, but as we cooked I had her taste everything to make sure the seasoning was alright.  I wish I could really describe in a few words the look on her face with each taste.  Her eyes widened, then closed as she savored each bite.  Then finally a big smile would cross her face and she would say…”Oh Mom, that is so delicious!”  Needless to say, she didn’t just eat one piece of each type of Bruchetta.  In fact, I quit counting how many times she went back for more after the third time.   Her favorite was the Tomato-Basil and Mozzarella Bruchetta.  My granddaughter, Aubrey, loved helping and her favorite was the Chicken Salad Bruchetta.  My husband and I loved them all, but we aren’t as picky as the two girls are.  Talk about a successful adventure into new foods…this was one!  Here are the pictures of our Summer Bruchetta Sampler Dinner.

Tomato-Basil and Mozzarella Bruchetta

Portabello Mushroom-Sweet Peppers and Ham Bruchetta

Cucumber and Garden Style Cream Cheese Bruchetta

Ham Rollups with Aspargus and Mozzarella Bruchetta

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Picture It And Write It, Prompt #28

I’ve been dealing with being physically and mentally drained for a few days because of some meds for fibromyalgia and for bone spurs on my spine.  After a 6 hour nap yesterday I finally feel like I’m back on an even keel today, so I thought I would try to spark my creativity by taking Terry’s lead, from http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ , using a writing prompt to boost my imagination.  She gets the writing prompts from  Picture it & write or   Ermiliablog, and I thank all of these blogs for sharing this picture with me.  So here it goes…

It had been years since Charity had been back to her hometown, but it was time now to face her past and the sin that had held her captive.  She must go back to the beginning, and just a few moments in her mother’s home looking at old photo albums was enough to trigger many memories, both good and bad.  Now driving down to the lake, she hoped that some of those memories would explain to her where she went wrong.  Not much had changed except the lake seeming to take back some of the land that surrounded it, a result of the Spring storms that inundated the region, pouring down flood inducing rains for days.  Mom had said the flood had reached over the top of the old dock, crumbling it like a pile of matchsticks.  The city council had decided not to rebuild it, since there was a new pier available at the new Marina just a mile around the lake from the old pier.  Pulling into the Marina, Charity marveled at the beauty that had been put into its creation.  Beautiful oaks grew to each side of the entrance, giving shade to the long drive into the Marina.  A variety of flowers stood like a welcoming committee as they lined the street under the shade of the oaks.  As Charity entered the gate, she was greeted by a security guard, who welcomed her to the Marina, and made small talk about the weather today, and how he hoped she enjoyed her time at the new Marina.  After collecting her five dollar parking fee, the security guard gave her a receipt, a pamplet of services offered and planned activities of the day, and waved her on.  He reminded Charity of a programmed robot, showing no emotion, and repeating the same mantra over and over.

Back in her childhood days, Charity would not be going to a marina on a Sunday.  For years every Sunday she would go with her parents to the little church just a few miles south of the new Marina.  She remembered how much she loved Sundays back then, the singing, people praising God together, and a sermon from Pastor Smith that left each person meditating on their relationship with Jesus Christ.  The old church had been a place of solace, of love, and a beautiful place filled with peace.  Peace…that is what Charity needed now.  Life had taken its toll on her, and nothing in her life brought peace.  After she checked out the new Marina, Charity decided to drive around the lake to the old church and see if she could make the evening service at least.

Walking around the Marina, Charity marveled at the beautiful, white marble columns that adorned the entrances of the club house.  There was everything a community could want at this marina, from a large resteraunt, to a conciearge to fulfill your every need.  There was an 18 hole state-of-the-art golf course to the north of the main building, a series of boating docks and a pier lined with old fashioned street lights reaching out into the large lake.  One dock was lined with paddle boats and canoes for rent.  The other docks were lined with ski boats, family cruisers, speed boats, pontoons, and bass fishing boats, all just waiting for the owners to take them out on the lake.  It looked like there were many families, fishermen, and water skiers preparing to make excursions out on the lake for the day.  Charity wondered about why none appeared to have come from a church service, none were in church clothing, and all seemed to be more involved in family and friend activities, and the seeking of worldly enjoyment than on giving any acknowledgement to the Maker of this day and of the creation they were about to enjoy.  This was quite different from when Charity was a child, because it was stressed that this day was the Lord’s and a day of rest.  Church would have been a families first destination, and their last destination as well.  In between there might be a picnic at the lake or a family dinner at home, but to spend the whole day on the lake was not something that was even considered for a Sunday.  Although this way of spending a Sunday was common in the city, Charity began to wonder what caused this change here in the small town she loved.  Were there even churches in the community anymore, or had the churches changed their day or times of worship to allow this activity?  She began to wonder more about the little church around the lake where she had attended as a child.  Looking at her watch, Charity decided a quick lunch and tour of the clubhouse would allow her time to drive to the church, and make it just in time for the evening service.

An unfriendly hostess, led Charity across the diningroom to a table by the main row of windows.  She mentioned that this was the area the mayor liked to sit in the most, because he was able to see money rolling into the town’s bank account.  Charity was amazed at how materialistic that thought was, and a feeling of nausea filled her stomach.  One of the things that had made her leave the big city was the materialistic attitude that seemed to permeate the rude behavior of soceity there.  No one seemed to care about their neighbor, only how they could take advantage of them.  Consideration, compassion and respect were absent for the most part, and because they were missing the feeling of community and neighborhood were absent as well.  After perusing the menu, whistling at the high prices, Charity settled for a simple bowl of New England Clam Chowder, the House Roll, and a Chef Salad for lunch.  Bowing her head, Charity gave thanks, not only for the food but for being back in a community where God was still put first.  As she raised her head, Charity realized that many eyes were upon her, as if she was doing something unusual.  She looked around the diningroom and realized she was the only one who seemed to be bowing their head in prayer before their meal.  That nauseated pit in her stomach began to grow even more.  Finishing up her food, paying her check, Charity quickly walked around the Club House, took in the Gift Shop, the Golf Pro Shop, the Rental Desk, and perused the rack of pamplets of things to do at the Marina and in the area.  Taking a few, Charity walked to her car, stopping long enough to take in one more view of the whole Marina, before she got in and drove back through the oak and flowered lined entrance.   It seemed that this visit to the Marina had only left a larger feeling of loss and anxiety in her.  Where was the peace that she had come back to her hometown to find?  Charity was beginning to wonder what had happened to the hometown she remembered.

At least the gravel road leading to her old church had not changed, and the forest that lined part of the road were still in tack.  Charity remembered hunting mushrooms in this forest, and gathering raspberries and blackberries from the bushes that grew at the edge of trees.  She always came back with enough for Mom to make pies for Sunday dinner, along with pockets full to snack on herself.  Mom always laughed at the stains of red and purple on Charity’s face, that told the truth about how many berries had actually been eaten as she picked them from the bushes.  A sense of impending peace filled Charity’s soul, only to be shattered by reality a few moments later.  Coming into the clearing of the parking area near the bridge that led to the little chapel of her youth, Charity stared in disbelief.  Her childhood memories of the little church were battling with the reality that lay before her eyes at this very moment.

The lake had all but swallowed up the land the little church set upon, and the bridge that once lay over a small creek set over a river of water from the lake that now surrounded the church, leaving a little island of land, with the church perched on the edge of it.  Where the bridge had once gleamed of white washed boards lining it, was now nothing but old damaged wood with rusty nails, and missing boards.  The path that once had been lined in beautiful wild flowers, was now lined with mud and cracked dry dirt in places.  The once well-kept lawn of the church grew wild with grass, weeds, and brush.  Only a few scraggly trees still stood near the little chapel, that looked like it would fall apart should a slight wind blow against it.  Not a drop of white paint had graced the outside of the church in years, and it was obvious that the community had let it fall into disrepair for some time.  At least the steeple was still on top, and the little metal cross that had been made by the local blacksmith as a gift to the church, still stood, watching over the lake side of the church.  As Charity looked across the lake beside the church, the glow of the gleaming white structures of the Marina spoke of where the community’s focus had been.  It wasn’t on God anymore, not on his church, but on the materialistic enjoyment of the worldly things.  Charity’s heart sank even more.

Charity was thankful that she had decided to wear tennis shoes this morning, especially when she saw what she would have to traverse to get to the little church building.  There were sticker bushes lining the broken and missing boards of the path to the bridge.  Rusty nails stuck out of the walkway, and the rail across the bridge.  Near the water’s edge the mud was slimy and thick, but the ground around the little island still appeared dry and cracked, much like her soul had felt for the past few months since losing the one man she had loved to a car accident, and then suffering a miscarriage just days later.  These losses had left her feeling empty, dry of the ability to shed tears, and as if her heart was cracked beyond repair.  Somehow this old church and its surroundings spoke with empathy to her very being.  Charity gently opened the creaking door at the front of the church, and cleared the cobwebs that hung like spooky lace curtains inside the room.  She stopped a moment at the greeter’s stand that still stood by the center entrance to the church sanctuary.  Blowing dust off the visitor’s book, and flipping through the pages, Charity noticed that there were fewer and fewer entries in the book over the last decade and a half, until finally there were no more in the last 4 years.  A sadness filled her soul, as she realized this book marked the last heartbeats of the little chapel.  A tear dropped upon the now graying silk of the book’s cover, as Charity mournfully closed it.  Walking into the sanctuary, Charity noticed that the heart of the church, although dingy, filled with cobwebs and aging broken pews, still held a warmth to it.  It was obvious that someone had been in there in the last few years, as there were areas on the velvet covered altars that were free of dust.  The shapes of elbows and knees impressed upon the knee rest and along the top of the altar spoke of someone’s journey to the church to pray.  Charity dusted off a seat in a pew near the altar where the prints were and she sat.  Could these be the prints of someone hurting like her?  Were they the prints of a parent remembering a child who was loss,  or a wife mourning the loss of a husband?  In her heart she asked the Lord to give peace to the person who had traveled there to pray, and seek peace in their stormy life.

Leaning back, Charity’s memories took over.  She could hear the old piano playing, and a small choir of usually 7 singing…”Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling.  Calling for you and for me.  Here on the portals he’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me.”  Charity heard herself join in on the chorus of the old prayer hymn…”Come home, come home.  Ye who are weary come home.  Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling ‘O sinner, come home.”   Tears streamed down her eyes, as Charity felt drawn to the alter, to fill in the empty impressions with her own knees and elbows.  Prayer crept for her lips, as she asked for healing for her broken heart, and peace for her weary soul.  An arm filled with love and warmth reached around her shoulder, and a soft prayer was being raised beside her, for a daughter who had been lost to the world, but now had come home.  There was a thankfulness for many prayers finally answered for the child, and another prayer for healing and peace, then a simple amen to close it out.  Teardrops and another set of imprints of one handprint and two more knees joined the other imprints on the altar.  As Charity looked up, the tears flowed even more, as she realized it was her mother who had made those original imprints on the altar.  It was her mother who had come weekly on Sunday to pray for a loss child, and ask the Lord to bring her home.  It had been her mother who asked God to bring peace and comfort to a child who had suffered loss.  It was Charity’s mother, whom she had left alone in her hometown over 15 years ago, after her father had passed on, who had faithfully held onto her child in love, hope, and prayer.  Tears streamed faster down two faces now, as the welcoming of a Prodigal Child now happened.  This was not the superficial one that they had shared earlier, but the welcome that God always has for his child who has been lost, the welcome of a parent who had poured out prayer to a Heavenly Father for a child that they shared concern for.  This was the warm welcome and celebration that one who has found their way home longs for, and it was Charity’s to treasure forever.  As the two women, old and young, walked arm and arm out of the rugged, empty chapel, out into the evening, Charity and her mother turned for a moment to look at the church that brought them back together.  The glow of the sunset, gleamed like candles in the dusty windows, and at the top, the sun gleemed off of the metal cross, making it shine with golden warmth.  Charity felt the peace she had longed for bubble over inside her, and knew that although the church had been abandoned and broken down, God had not abandoned it, nor had he abandoned her.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: