Thursday, April 1, 2021
Monday, March 22, 2021
The PROBLEMS have been many. But as with most problems, mine were only temporary. I am literally "over the moon" excited to be back online with Embrace the Grace!
Thank you for not forgetting that this site exists. It has literally been weeks of frustration trying to figure out what was going on with the different formatting. Suffice to say, Kristin's husband Cody eventually found the solution and my gratitude could not be deeper!
While we were on radio silence, there were several developments.
- Joy passed all her state board exams to become a licensed cosmetologist!! (So, her BA in ministry and her minor in business will combine to make her the best stylist of all time.)
- I found a loveseat at a consignment store that was exactly what I had in mind for our living room.
- We sold my adorable little convertible. (It just so "happened" that Stella was also be the grandmother's name of the lady who bought her. Can't make it up.)
- We've been a one car family for weeks while I've searched for a replacement.
Yep, I took the plunge and went back to a short haircut. I'm still getting used to the styling part. And occasionally, I startle myself when I first glance in a mirror. But Joy did a great job talking me through the decision. Did I mention how much her ministry degree will be utilized in her salon work?
As I mentioned earlier, Frank and I are still on the hunt for the ideal used car to meet my needs while also accommodating some of my biggest desires. So, I need to wrap up today and be ready to leave when he gets home.
Because you've waited so very long and have been so incredibly patient, I thought I'd include a few extra pictures to make you smile today.
Noah and Madi spent an afternoon with us recently while Meagan was out of town. Dad gave permission for lunch at McDonald's and every kid needs an frozen drink now and again, don't you think? This is the two of them finishing their drinks while pondering the deeper things of life - like how to avoid a brain freeze.
John and Spencer went on a camping trip to celebrate his 10th birthday. (Our first double digit grandchild!) So Noni and Papa made dinner for Joy and the three youngest. Abby, Zach and Ava also needed some DQ so off we went in search of chocolate dipped in chocolate cones. Obviously, I was in the back with plenty of napkins.
This picture is just for the purpose of providing the McGhee family with a picture, too. This was taken in my office before the great haircut of 2021. Parker's face just makes me smile all the time!
Frank and I actually took time for a little date last week. For our anniversary this year, we bought an annual pass for Bok Tower Gardens. It's the highest spot above sea level in Florida. A beautiful pink marble tower stands as the centerpiece amid acres of native flowering plants and hidden parks which delight children and adults as well.
Bok Tower Gardens was one of our first dates as a couple. We strolled the walkways; admired the flora and fauna; sat at the overlooks and sneaked a kiss here and there. How fun to return after 41 years of marriage. The tower itself also houses one of the greatest carillons in the world. Concerts are given daily at 1 and 3pm. You should check it out if you ever come to the area.
This picture is taken where we sat to take in the concert.
Frank knows that when taking a photo of his over fifty wife, the higher the camera the better the picture. Typically. Here he is trying to get the best possible angle...
We're nothing if not dramatic!
So many more wonderful things to share but I'll close for now. I've chosen a few pictures taken of flowers growing in our yard. The first is an orchid that has only bloomed a couple times in the many years I've owned it. The last big blooming took place for Kristin's 30th birthday. She was waiting to meet her husband and we took it as a promise since orchids are her favorite flower.
This plant is now a huge bush that blooms every spring. A church member, who is now gardening in Heaven, gave me a small cutting almost twelve years ago. It was a favorite flower for his own mother. He explained that it's referred to as an I Love You Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush. The flowers first bloom purple, then turn lavender and finally turn white before dying. Such a beautiful promise of love to me...
The final photo is one Frank and I snapped during one of our many car shopping expeditions. We had driven all the way to Orlando after work. It meant battling the horrible 5PM traffic during rain only to be disappointed by the vehicle we found. When we stopped for a bite to eat as we left the dealership, this is what we saw...
Did you find the full rainbow? Yet another reminder that God's promises can be trusted. An orchid to remind a young lady that love would blossom in due season. A bush reminding us that love is for always: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Finally, a rainbow that spoke to two discouraged people searching for a needed item, I see you and I'm aware of your needs.
Hopefully, all these pictures have given you a smile.
Hopefully, the main message has encouraged your heart. Problems may be many but they are only temporary. Promises are what last forever and can be trusted completely.
Thank you So Much for being a reader of Embrace the Grace! Blessings!
How about you? Have you encountered problems that were temporary and promises that proved to be forever? We'd love to read about your experience in the comment section.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
How often are we tempted to throw up our hands in frustration and declare to whomever may happen to be standing near enough to hear, "This is just TOO Much!"?
That phrase is often accompanied by, "I simply cannot believe this!" And the ever popular, "What were they thinking?!"
I've been tempted to fly headlong down that pathway many times. But especially this past week with all the election chaos going on I found myself asking, "Just exactly how much is TOO much?"
Let me start out with a picture of this adorable kid, which will help you smile in the evaluating . . .
This was taken of Andrew Ryder who turned 1 year old in August. Isn't he just squish-ably delightful?! (That was, of course, a rhetorical question.)
Andrew is number four on the Smith lineup of children. He is the bonus blessing which Meagan and Nathan joyfully welcomed into their little tribe. People often react with shocked expressions when told they have four children and that the last two boys are only 13 months apart.
Sometimes people even respond, "Wow! I don't know how you do it. That would be Too Much for me." And yet somehow with God's grace, Meagan and Nathan carry on; usually choosing joy and smiles.
|The Smith Family|
Now, please don't misunderstand. They are both very hard working individuals. Nathan works long hours for the Publix Corporation in Lakeland. Meagan is a stay-at-home mom who also nannies and runs a business on the side. They both volunteer in several areas of our church. Their life is one of constant motion.
The above picture was snapped a few weeks ago. It happened very quickly before everyone broke free and took their loud selves dashing off in four different directions. This picture gives you a better glimpse of their current reality . . .
|Date night - 2020|
Last night, Frank and I offered to stay with the children after they were in bed so Nathan and Meagan could take a little ride. We had started a movie and they both sat down to watch with us a few minutes before leaving. This was the state of things after about 20 minutes. (Made me smile, too.)
Meagan asked me last week why I thought she was feeling so overwhelmed. I almost laughed out loud before I realized she was totally serious. So I took a moment and ran down the quick list of why I thought "overwhelmed" might be a legitimate feeling for her.
Sold their home. Bought a home. Glitches of a new build. Moved in to two bedrooms [with parents] while waiting for house to be completed. Babies kept waking each other up sharing the bedroom with Meg and Nathan. No sleep for anyone. Noah sent home from school as a classmate had Covid. Oh, wait! School became virtual for two weeks, so he had to be kept on task while she simultaneously wrangled three little boys 2 and under. All the while making decisions about what to purchase for the new home . . . on a tight budget.
Whew! Now, that would be too much for my plate. However, their unsettled life seems to be a perfect picture of the things we're all currently facing.
As I've talked with different friends, many have been asking, "Why do I feel so overwhelmed? Why does everything just feel like it's Too Much?!" Maybe you're wondering the same thing. (You may also be wondering what my point of encouragement is today.)
I think it's found in a simple truth Frank often rehearses for me. When we start feeling overwhelmed by life, we must remember God's promise to provide Grace equal to or greater than the trouble.
Years ago, we read a story from the life of Corrie ten Boom whose family hid Jews during the years of the holocaust. The Nazis did eventually discover their attempts and arrested them all. Corrie was the only one of her family to survive the concentration camp where they were sent.
In the story, Corrie told of expressing her anxious thoughts to her father during the earliest days of their work. She was afraid it was all just too much.
"Papa, I don't think I have the courage I need if they come for us." Her heart was seeking comfort from her father. His profound answer to her has carried us many times.
"Corrie, when we travel on the train when do I give your ticket to you?"
"Just as we get on the train, Papa."
"You don't need the ticket before we get on the train, do you?"
"That's how it is with God's grace. When you need the courage, He will give it to you. You don't have it today because you don't need it yet. So don't worry, little one. When you need the grace and courage, He will give it to you."
Don't you think that truth is appropriate for you and I today? Life right now (especially here in the United States) could be overwhelming. A Pandemic. Lockdowns. An Election. Great Uncertainty. But there is also GRACE available for us if we will simply lean in to the One who so lavishly provides.
May I echo the words of Corrie's wise father for you today, Dear Reader? When you need the courage to speak up or to remain silent, you will have it. When you need the grace to keep moving forward, it will be available.
Don't give way to worry, fear or anxious thoughts. This moment in history is not Too Much for you and I to navigate, if we are trusting in Christ. We were born at this time for a purpose. Let's choose to Embrace the Grace available and step into the roles assigned to us.
Grace to match and exceed every need? Now, that is just Too Much, isn't it?
If you'd like the Embrace the Grace family to pray with you during this time, just leave your name or a short request in the comment box. We will gladly pray with you for the courage you need.