Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Focus, Focus, Focus

A few weeks ago, twin sister and I were out and about. Her granddaughter Arabella came along.

At some point, Arabella got restless, and I took out my cellphone and peeked in the backseat with my camera, hoping to distract her.

Once she spotted me, she immediately ceased fretting, and we exchanged smiles for a few priceless moments.


She reminded me of myself.

Between you and me, the past few weeks have found me struggling in my car seat, road weary, deeply grieved about things I can't change, my heart so heavy at times breathing is a real struggle. I don't like the detour life has demanded. The road is rough. The road is long. I want out of the car.

But just when I think I can't go another mile, I get a call from a special someone, or I see a vivid sunset, or I read a timely word, and I remember my Creator, and how he cares about me, and provides for me, and has promised to never leave me alone in my weakness. And for another day, I find strength to sit still and journey on.

Philippians 4:8 says: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things...and the God of peace will be with you."

In other words, you'll never have peace if you're focused on the bumpy road. You have to commit the road to the Driver, and focus on something good. ♦


"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

I'm linking to:
Grace at Home, a beautiful blog
Spiritual Sundays, a blog focused on faith

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday's Musings

While waiting to board a plane a few days ago, I sat by the windows and watched a flurry of activity on the ground. Thankless jobs, for the most part: Workers carrying bags of trash from the aircraft. Mechanics inspecting whatever they inspect. Drivers waiting to transport cargo.

None of those employees greeted me upon boarding, of course, but they affected my experience, nonetheless.

The same is true in life.

No matter how invisible we may seem, or how insignificant our roles may be, we affect the experiences of others as we travel along.

We can compliment, or we can criticize. We can calm, or we can anger. We can cheer, or we can boo. Only we get to decide what type of influence we'll be, and we make that decision every day.


Help me, Lord, to use my power wisely. ♦

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Blurry Days of August

I'm certain I blinked, and August vanished. Here is a run-down of how the days went by in a blur for me.

As I often do, I made memories with my grand niece on her memaw's couch one evening after work. She melts my heart, and is growing as fast as the days are going by. How I wish our precious babies could stay small, and innocent, and carefree.

Big Sister invited me to share dinner at Black Sheep Bistro one evening...her treat. I'd never been, but oh, my! What a treat it was!

Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with Soy Garlic Spinach

Chocolate something-or-other. So smooth and creamy beneath the crunch.
I can't wait for a return visit!

And again....Big Sister invited me to join her and hubby and granddaughter for a Sunday lunch. It was a wonderful time. Have you ever seen such cuteness?

I ordered some new shoes. Yay. Yes, I can still wear high heels. As I told someone recently, it's in my DNA, and they'll probably bury me in mine.

The twin and I often drive to church together. We have a habit of stopping at Cracker Barrel for a bite of dinner and a whole lot of chatting before church. Nothing better than good food and the twin!

Three of the males in our family have birthdays in August, so to celebrate, we gathered at Minute Maid Park and cheered the Houston Astros on to a great victory! Here I am, smiling in the parking lot with my beautiful niece Anna. I love her so much and am amazed at how strong she is.

And finally, tomorrow (the 31st), I will have been divorced 14 years. It seems impossible at times. This picture of me, slumped in a chair, looking less than cheerful, while my belongings are being moved into storage—until I can get steady on my feet—makes me a little teary-eyed. Not because of the challenging times that followed, understand, but because of how far I've come.

As I write, God's blessings and gifts astound me, and the smile on my face is real. Life isn't perfect, of course—and I can't know what a day might bring—but the future looks bright, and I'm happy to be me. 

And now...on to September!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pain, Purpose and a Plan


As a person of faith, I should never be speechless when it comes to God’s ways and his timing, but the last few weeks have rendered me a little speechless, I must say. I keep thinking about a message I heard one Sunday morning, months ago, while visiting my parents.

On the way to church that morning, I prayed a simple prayer aloud in my car, “Lord, you knew I would be here today, and you know the heartache I’ve carried for so long. I need a word from you. What would you have me know?”

When the pastor announced the title of his message, I felt goosebumps everywhere, and I knew, beyond all doubt, that God had sent me to that church that morning. 

The title of his message was: “The Countenance of Faith,” and within a few sentences, God’s word for me was delivered to my front door: As much as you trust my ability to do something, you have to equally trust my timing in doing it.

Now I’ll admit, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear—heartache fosters impatience, after all—but it was exactly what I needed to know, and I clung to it for all I was worth.

In the weeks following, whenever my grief would overwhelm me, I would revisit the message, and hold tightly to what God had said: Trust my timing, Gayle. Not yours. Mine. It was the hardest thing I've ever done—trusting through my tears—but I did.

Fast forward to today, and although the fog of heartache hasn't lifted, I clearly see God's hand, rearranging the clouds, unfolding a beautiful rainbow in ways I could never have imagined or would have believed. A beautiful, unexpected, perfectly-timed rainbow just for me.

I shared that to say this: If you’re desperate to escape from your misery, your confusion, or your grief, remember that, sometimes distressing things have to happen in our lives in order for God's master plan to be accomplished. He doesn't necessarily send the crisis, but he allows it to happen, and he uses it as a means of placing us where we need to be when we need to be thereemotionally, mentally or even physically sometimes.

Remember Joseph? He could never have saved his people from starvation if he had not been in Egypt. Yes, he arrived there as a scared boy, sold into slavery by his own brothers, no less. But through it all, the Bible says that God was with Joseph. And in the end, Joseph fully understood that the pain he endured had purpose, because Almighty God had a plan. Joseph's words to his brothers, after years of separation were: "You thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good."

So, my friend, regardless of the situation you find yourself in today, don't despair. If your faith is secure in God, and your life is surrendered to his ways and his timing, all things will work together for your good. Hold tightly to his promise and believe. 

Linking up with Charlotte at:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Savoring the Moments ~ Arabella and Me


Friday afternoon, I was needing some of my grand niece's sugar, so I texted her mother and she said come on over. They were looking out the front door when I drove into the driveway, and seeing their smiles made my heart glad.

Arabella is growing so fast, and learning something new every day, I'm sure. I wish I could pause the moments of her life, but all I can do is savor the ones we share.

As I sat next to her on the couch, breathing in her innocence, I thought of the world in which we live, where evil runs rampant. It's a dark place in many ways, but thank God for kids, the song says. They give us reasons to keep loving, and hoping and praying for brighter tomorrows. ♦

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ties That Bind


It was a good 4th. Those who could, gathered among the pines with Mom and Dad at the old home place. Twin sister brought a roast with the trimmings, I brought potato salad, and Mother fixed a pot of pinto beans.

At one point, twin sister sat down at the piano and played patriotic tunes. Of course, harmonies soon followed, and prayers for our country were spoken aloud.

As the sun sank into the west, we retreated to the front porch for a picture. The trusty tripod captured this shot, while we battled the stifling humidity. Twin sister's hubby (my dear B-I-L) had a wounded toe. Thus, the one shoe.

In Daddy's usual fashion, we formed a circle in the living room and prayed before departing. As I squeezed the hands of those I love, I thanked God for the genuine joy in my soul and for ties that bind in a world that's unraveling. ♦


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