This blog was born in 2012 when my first novel was about to be published.
I had carried this dream in my heart since my grandmother died in 1979. I wanted to capture her story in a way that our family would get to know her as a person, not just an old lady we loved and adored. I had no idea how this journey would evolve in the years to come. My first post titled, Officially Yours brings you into the purpose of this blog.
My grandmother’s name was Grace–and my book is titled, Through The Eyes Of Grace. I wrote it as if she were telling me her story. I guess I was pretty convincing because I actually had a cousin mad at me because our grandmother gave me her journals. I told her that this part of the story wasn’t true; thus the fiction part of my historical fiction. There were no journals from which to discover her story–how I wish there were. This is why I’ve been keeping my own journals since 1989. I don’t expect anyone to write my story, but I do hope they will learn from my life and the challenges through which I’ve had to walk.
117 posts and 9 years later this blog has become a compilation of my thoughts about family, faith, food, history and asking good questions. It feels somewhat of a new beginning doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge with this blog. It’s like putting myself out there for you to get to know me.
We all have a story, but most of what we learn in life is lost with our last breath.
Today, I’m looking forward and inviting you to join me these next few weeks as I share with you life through my eyes.
This is Day Three in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.
Surrender is normally considered a form of weakness. You realize you aren’t going to win, so you decide to surrender before you lose. This happens in Poker, board games or on a more serious note–war.
Surrender is not usually something encouraged. But when it comes to my relationship with God, surrender is not only encouraged, but necessary for me to grow. This is why Christianity is often called the Upside-Down Kingdom. Things aren’t done as we would naturally do them. It takes a lifetime to learn this well.
I love to sing, and hymns are some of my all-time favorites. There are so many ways these hymns speak to my every day needs. Take this familiar hymn titled, I Surrender All. It was written by J.W. Van deVenter (1855-1939). He was a high school art teacher, but when God started stirring his heart to step out in faith into the ministry, he hesitated. Finally, during a revival at his church he surrendered all and became an evangelist.
His greatest influence from the pulpit was a young Billy Graham. They met while Billy was still in seminary. Mr. Graham recounts that he modeled much of his ministry and preaching style after this former art teacher turned evangelist. We make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps. Following is one of Mr. DeVenter’s most popular songs written shortly after he surrendered all with my personal thoughts on each phrase.
All to Jesus
All life is born from our Creator God. Life was His idea and He has faithfully cared for it since the beginning of time. His Son Jesus invites us in to relationship with Him and at age 10 I accepted the call. Grateful doesn’t begin to express how this one decision set my life on a trajectory of goodness and mercy. As I grew in my relationship with Him I realized what was next…
There comes a time in every believer’s life when complete surrender is required. It isn’t a one time fits all kind of surrender. It is a regularly occurring choice to surrender completely my hopes, my dreams, my desires to His plan for me. Sometimes the two are the same, but more times than not, it’s completely unexpected and different from what I would have chosen. Always it is good–whether I see it or not. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Once I’m postured in this way, then…
All to Him I freely give
The key word here is freely–“freely have you received, freely give” as Matthew wrote in chapter 5:8b of his gospel. Jesus never demands what He asks of us. He is patient and understands what we are made of. He knows that our grip on this life is firm. We love what we can see. Loving what we don’t see requires something outside of ourselves; it requires Faith. “Faith is thesubstance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11. Faith is a gift available to all. If you want faith, but lack faith, ask Jesus to help you in your unbelief. He loves us to ask. And only then can we say…
I will ever love and trust Him
This is my daily prayer–to love Him and trust Him more. He is my hope and help on good days and difficult ones too. Our family has endured some very difficult times the last couple of years. I have learned what it means to truly trust Him. I used to say I did, but when life is going as expected it’s hard to tell if one is trusting God or simply resting in the good of life. But when 2019 hit, I was challenged in a way I’ve never experienced. I realized my trust was weak at best. Add to that another challenge with the pandemic, then a grandson born at 24 weeks, 5 days, and my healthy brother dying in only 5 weeks due to complications with Covid. I found that trusting in God was the only safe place where I could collapse. Everything around me was changing drastically; things I had no control over. Yet God reminded me that He is unchanging–always good, always trustworthy. Which allowed me to…
In His presence daily live
I wake up each morning not knowing what the day will bring. I can take that first step in fear or in faith. It’s a choice to love and trust Him. He alone knows what lies ahead of me, and is the One who makes all the difference in how I handle what will happen. Even this blog challenge is a stretch for me in this difficult season of my life, but I had to follow God’s stirring. He wanted me to do this, so I will trust Him.
I love the start of things. There is always much anticipation with common questions–Can I do this? Am I ready? Have I considered the cost? Am I prepared for the unexpected? Will I complete what I’ve begun?
My rose-colored glasses are in place and I’m ready to take on this challenge, The Ultimate Blog Challenge for November.
I know I can do it, I’ve done these before and loved it. Thank you, Paul! I think I’m ready, I have all the tools needed to write, edit and publish. The cost to me personally will be honestly facing my time limits and using them wisely. The unexpected is hard to prepare for, but that’s why the challenge is so good; I’ll be writing alongside of others taking the same challenge; We will become friends as we write together for 30 days straight.
Ah! But it’s that last question that haunts me–Will I complete what I’ve begun?
I am good at beginning something (e.g. the start of a project, reading a book, being organized), but it is the finish line that often eludes me. Or I elude it. In either case I tend not to get there.
This morning our community hosted its first 5K Spooktacular Run. It was fun to be up before dawn welcoming the participants to the challenge. Some were obviously used to the drill. They were stretching, warming up, had their number pinned to their clothes and were ready when the start signal was sounded to GO. Others came dressed in costume (e.g. a pirate, Batman, a wolf, and believe it or not–a magical unicorn), and it was clear they had no intention of timing themselves. They wanted to have fun, and they succeeded from the start. The most notable to me? They all finished!
I came home having enjoyed this so much, not thinking of how appropriate it is to my own 5K Blogging Spooktacular. But the similarities are there. I’m stretching my creativity by showing up to the start line. I’m warming up my fingers on the keyboard allowing them to type as I think. I have no idea what number I am in the line-up, but I do know others will show up too.
My blogs will post at 6a. each day. If you’d like to see my progress and cheer me on from the sidelines, add your email address and follow along. I could use the encouragement.
Which brings me to my part of the 5K run this morning. My husband and I set up chairs along the route to cheer each runner, walker or partier (i.g. those in costume), as they passed by. Being a former cheerleader, my voice carried to each and every one. Their smiles indicated their need for the encouragement to keep going.
“You can do it!”…
“You’re over halfway to the finish line!”…
“You’ve got this!”…
A 5K consists of many steps, each one taking their turn being next. The key to finishing is to not stop. It’s that simple!
So as I conclude this first of 30 posts, I’m donning my rose-colored glasses with confidence. And I hear the crowds shout, “You’re one step closer to the finish line. You can do this!”
This is my first post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.