What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rainy Days and Mysteries...

We've had quite a few rainy days lately, although as I am writing this today the sun is shining for the first time in almost a week.  But yesterday this was my view from the sunporch...(or, rainporch?) 

 Looking out into the Secret Garden from the Sunporch...

It was the kind of afternoon to sit back with a cup of tea and read a good book...

 Here I am, deep in the throes of a good mystery...

Oh, hello!! You caught me!

I just discovered these great little books written by Laura Childs..."A Tea Shop Mystery" series...each one set in the old city of Charleston, South Carolina, filled with just the right blend of southern charm,  suspense, and delicious tea-time recipes and fun. 

These suspense-filled stories make for some thrilling summer/rainy day light reading...especially if you like tea and southern hospitality laced with a good murder mystery  (is there such a thing as a "good" murder? No, definitely not, but only if you enjoy reading books that keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next...)

This would not be what I would consider "inspirational fiction"....but they are interesting, clean mystery plots that will keep you guessing "who done-it" all the way through.  Each book also includes some delicious tea time recipes and ideas for special tea times.

So, if you are looking for something a little different to read this summer...check out these books from your local library (or order online).  There are several more books in the series, but these are the only ones I've read so far.

However, if you want some excellent Inspirational Historical Fiction to read this summer, I can heartily recommend any book written by Lynn Austin.  She has quite a long list of powerful Christian historical fiction, many focusing on the dynamic roles and lives of women across the century, starting in the Civil War, and continuing through both World War I and World War II...and how their lives were impacted by the times and seasons of very turbulent times. 

These  (below) are just three of the many books I've read written by Lynn Austin, but there are many, many more, including "Hidden Places", which received a Christy Award and was made into a Hallmark Channel Movie. (Although I watched the movie, and don't feel that it did justice to the real story behind the story...they just couldn't include everything in the movie, and it was sadly lacking the depth of the book). 

I found all of these books at my local public library.  As much as I'd love to purchase every book I've ever read, I can't do it...so I am very thankful that our public library does have an excellent selection of inspirational authors to choose from.  So, if you are looking for something good to read this summer, "check it out" at your local library!  If they don't have what you are looking for, perhaps you can make some suggestions to them!

Here's a couple of Proverbs for today:

"Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
For surely there is a hereafter,
and your hope will not be cut off."
Proverbs 23:17-18

"Do not be envious of evil men,
nor desire to be with them;
for their heart devises violence, 
and their lips talk of troublemaking.

Through wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled 
with all precious and pleasant riches."
Proverbs 24:1-4

Have a blessed and beautiful summer!
If you have read some interesting books that you think we'd like,
please share them with us!!

Here's a link to some of the summer reading I did last summer...  You may want to check out these books, written by one of our own favorite blogging friends, Martha Jane Orlando. (Meditations of My Heart).

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

God: First Person, Present Tense

Exodus 3:14-15

14. "And God said to Moses, 
"I AM WHO I AM".  And He said, 
"Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 
I AM has sent me to you."

15. Moreover God said to Moses,
"Thus you shall say to the children of Israel:
"the Lord God of Your fathers,
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.
This is My name forever, and this is 
My memorial to all generations."

We studied this in our Home Bible Study this morning.  Do you realize that "I AM" is in the present tense?  Therefore, God is self-identifying Himself in the first person, present tense. He is announcing to Moses and to all the children of Israel, and to US today, that He is a PRESENT GOD, in the PRESENT tense...therefore, He is ALWAYS PRESENT...ETERNALLY PRESENT....  

So, my friends, if you are ever feeling discouraged, thinking you are all alone, just stop and think about what God has said.  Who is He?  I AM.  First Person, Present tense...always present...yesterday, today, and forever...always present - eternally!  

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

In honor of Memorial Day, I would like to present these two renditions of the beloved
"Battle Hymn of the Republic".
First, sung by the United States Army Field Band, and then later sung by the Gaither Homecoming group, featuring Squire Parsons and David Phelps.
I love both versions of this marvelous song. We sang it yesterday in church, but probably not quite as well as these folks, and yet we all put our hearts into it and sang it heartily.
Won't you join in and sing along? You can't just sit still while listening to these marvelous vocalists.
Let us remember those who have fallen, fighting for our freedoms,
and those who are still fighting every day.

The United States Army Field Band performs "Battle Hymn of the Republic". Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe; Music by William Steffe; Setting by Peter J. Wilhousky and Arranged by James Neilson. Led by First Lieutenant Alexandra Borza.

Kenneth W. Osbeck  - The History of The Battle Hymn of the Republic

CBN.com -- To have implicit trust in God's faithful care and protection is never easy in times of danger or strife. Yet even in the midst of the terrible Civil War between the Northern and Southern states, a remarkable woman named Julia Ward Howe proclaimed her confidence in God's triumphant power in this inspiring text.
Deeply anguished at the growing conflict between the two sections of the country, Mrs. Howe watched troops marching off to war singing "John Brown's Body," a song about a man who had been hanged in his efforts to free the slaves. Julia felt that the catchy camp meeting tune should have better words. In a desire to phrase her own feelings about the dreadful events of the time, she "scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper." The national hymn first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine in 1862, as a battle song for the republic. Before long the entire nation became inspired by her text and united in singing the new words with the old tune.
Mrs. Howe's hymn has been acclaimed through the years as one of our finest patriotic songs. At one time it was sung as a solo at a large rally attended by President Abraham Lincoln. After the audience had responded with loud applause, the President, with tears in his eyes, cried out, "Sing it again!" It was sung again. And after more than a hundred years, Americans still join often in proclaiming, "Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on!"
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, 
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; 
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps; 
they have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; 
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat; 
O be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet 
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, 
with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; 
as He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, 
while God is marching on.

Chorus: Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

Here is another video of this same song by the Gaither Homecoming group, featuring Squire Parsons and David Phelps.  I hope you will sing along with this group. You cannot sit still and just listen...

Have a blessed and glorious Memorial Day.  Pray for our nation and our leaders and our soldiers. Thank you.
Our flag is flying today...

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sermon Notes: Holy, Holy, Holy....God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity

Today is Trinity Sunday...the day we focus our scriptures and thoughts upon the Holy Trinity of God...God in Three Persons...God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit... 

Most Christians have sung that hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy" at some time in their lives...I know I've sung it many many times.
(Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing Holy, Holy, Holy)

1. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! 
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee. 
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, 
God in three persons, blessed Trinity! 

2. Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee, 
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea; 
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, 
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be. 

3. Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee, 
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see, 
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee, 
Perfect in power, in love and purity. 

4. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! 
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth and sky and sea. 
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, 
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

But how often have we actually stopped to think about just WHO this "Blessed Trinity" is?  The concept of "God in Three Persons" seems to be a difficult thing for most people to grasp.   Our guest lay-minister today termed the Trinity as "The Great Mystery...Three personalities of God in One Essence...The Trinity".  We understand The Trinity to be God The Father; God The Son; and God the Holy Spirit. 

Our speaker today shared several vignettes focusing on the relationship between the Father and Son first of all...

Jesus, the Son,  the 2nd Person of the Trinity, God in the flesh...Who, when He came to earth in the flesh, had some "limitations" because of being in human form...

According to Matthew 24:36, Jesus did not actually know when the second coming of the Son of God would be...

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  NIV

Another example was the miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana...
See John 2:1-11.  When Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to him to tell him that they had just run out of wine, He said to her in verse 4:

"Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."

Nevertheless, Jesus went ahead and told the servants to fill six waterpots with water, and so they did. And then He told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast (verse 8), and when he tasted the water that was turned into wine, he declared in verse 10 that they had kept the good wine until now!    

Jesus, in His human form, was often faced with challenges to balance his needs for rest and times of solitude away from the crowds with the pressing needs of those around Him. Even though He knew "his hour had not yet come" to be sacrificed for the sins of the world,  He could not ignore the pleas of those who were suffering.  

One such example was the story of the woman from the region of Tyre and Sidon, found in Mark 7:24-30.  This woman was a Gentile, and she had a daughter with an unclean spirit.  In verse 24, we see Jesus had gone to a house where He had hoped to rest and wanted no one to know where He was for a while...perhaps He needed a "vacation"... but the scripture says "He could not be hidden".  His fame was too great...

But this Gentile woman heard about Him, and fell at His feet, begging Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.  Jesus said to her in verse 27, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs."  This meant that He came first for the Jews, the chosen people of God,  but this woman was persistent (and I believe Jesus knew she would be, and was testing her faith, but that is my opinion), and she said "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs."    And Jesus said to her (vs. 29) "For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter..."   It was not quite yet His time to minister to the Gentiles...and yet, Jesus honored this woman's great faith.

Jesus, God the Son, was paving the way for God, the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Trinity, to come after His death and resurrection and ascension into heaven...Read John 16:1-16...

7.  "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away;
for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."

13.  "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;
for He will not speak on His own authority,
but whatever He hears He will speak;
and He will tell you things to come.
14.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
15.  All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."

Finally, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His Great Commission to all of us who believe in Him and belong to Him...His time had finally come...as well as the time for the Gentiles to be included in this great commission:

Matthew  28:18-20

18.  "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of 
The Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit,
20.  Teaching them to observe 
all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, 
even to the end of the age." 

What is this "mysterious relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...?"... "God in three persons, Blessed Trinity!"

We were admonished to search the scriptures for ourselves, get into the Word of God, The Bible, and as the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy in II Timothy 2:15 ~

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth."

And then, go and do as the disciples were taught, and make disciples of all nations...
baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit...
And God, The Trinity...God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 
will be with "you always, even to the end of the age."

This rainbow stretched across our path as a reminder that God is with us always...

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given.  I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously.  Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said.  Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear...  That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts.  So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Thank you for your continued prayers for our Pastor. He is improving day by day, but will still be out of the pulpit for a few more weeks. Next Sunday please pray for my hubby, as he will be delivering the message on Sunday morning.  I hope I will be able to give a "good report" of his sermon notes! :)

Friday, May 25, 2018

"The Mighty One" - Updated 5-25-2018

I originally posted this on 5/31/2014, just one week after the passing of our son Matthew...after his 4 year battle with a deadly foe that just wouldn't give up.  (Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor- DSRCT).  Today, 5/25/2016, marks the 2nd anniversary   5/25/2018, marks the 4th anniversary of his passing from this life into heaven. I repost this today to hopefully encourage someone out there who may be going through a similar trial and time of grief.  I can honestly say that it does get a little easier with time...but only in the sense that we move from raw, unabashed sorrow and tears to a quieter, sweeter kind of grief. Acceptance? Perhaps.  I know that in my head I do accept the fact that our son is gone from this earth forever...and that he is now in heaven...forever.  But I still miss hearing his voice and seeing his face and feeling the warmth of his hugs.  I will say that there are many times that I feel his presence near me...I really don't think heaven is all that far away.  If only we could just reach through that veil and grasp onto each other again...but that is not to be...yet.  

Someday I, too, will pass through that veil from this life into the next...and I truly believe that my son will be standing there, next to Jesus, with arms open wide...ready to welcome me "home".  Until that day we will continue to carry on his memory in our hearts and in little things that we can do to keep his flame burning brightly.  I pray that these words will bring comfort to someone today whose grief is still fresh and glaringly painful.  May God's peace be your peace today.  May you place your hope in Jesus...and trust Him to carry you through. He will.
Our Memorial Garden in our back yard, in loving memory of our son. A wonderful place to pray, meditate on God's Word, and remember a marvelous son.

Original Post 5/31/14:

"The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

It is hard for me to realize that it was just one week ago today that I said my last farewells to my son Matthew.  It would be several more hours, in the wee hours of the next morning that we would receive the word that he had taken his last breath here on earth.  Can it be that a week has already passed? I believe I have been floating in a cloud mixed with sorrow and relief all week long.  Sorrow that my wonderful son is no longer with us here on earth, and relief that my wonderful son is no longer suffering from disease and that he is now totally healed and safe in heaven.

I know, I have already said these things to you.  I don't need to remind anyone about these events that have transpired this past week, especially not myself.  Everyday brings fresh reminders to me as we prepare for his memorial service and think of ways to honor him and keep his flame burning bright.  Sweet memories flash before my mind's eye, pictures of a precious little baby born earlier than expected and who lived a marvelous life and  left this earth earlier than expected, 41 years later.

The one thing I am mindful of is how the Lord has been carrying me in His arms this past week. This morning as I read my daily devotions, the verse written above stood out in bright highlights to me. Especially the part about "He will quiet you with His love..."  Yes, He has done just that. I have felt His love tenderly quieting my heart every time I have given over my mind to grief. When the tears began to overflow out of my eyes, I felt His hand gently wiping them away as He caressed my face.  I believe I could hear Him singing a sweet lullaby as He held me close and rocked me like a little child who needed to be comforted.

This same One who saves us, rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love, and rejoices over us with singing. I've heard Him singing...He has filled my heart with songs of joy, peace, promise and love.  I have been flooded with songs in the night, the daytime, and at times when I didn't even think I could or should be singing.

Some of you may not understand how I could feel this great comfort...you may think I'm a bit daft in the head. But for those of us who have been there, we know how wonderful it is to have such a "Mighty One" as this Lord our God in our midst. "The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save..."  

I take comfort in knowing that this "Mighty One" takes the time to notice my sorrow...He is touched with my grief.  And He assures me that 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

I cannot say enough about this "Mighty One"

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."  (Psalm 34:1)
This is the way I love to remember our "Deer" son.  Always smiling and full of joy and mischief.

For another post from Zephaniah 3:17, Click Here

Friday Foto Friends - A Day to Remember

Hello Friday Foto Friends

It seems like Friday comes and I have already posted all my interesting pictures throughout the week either here or on Facebook, and then I realize I didn't save much for Friday.  So I went back through the week to see what I might have missed that you would enjoy...So here goes:

We've had a lot of rain lately, with much more to come this weekend.  One morning I noticed these mushrooms on the front lawn, looking like little flowers blooming...
I love to see all the different varieties of mushrooms that appear throughout the year. They are each so unique and interesting...Here's another example from a previous post

One rainy afternoon I decided to sort buttons from my hubby's grandmother's button collection...(Nanny Martin).   I loved looking through them and imagining what dresses or blouses they may have been on...Nanny Martin had four daughters, so she did a LOT of sewing for her girls as you can imagine.

I keep them in this old blue Mason Jar.
 Remember this picture from last Friday?  Do you recall that I told you that the picture was of some "borrowed ancestors" that we really have no clue who they are...

Well, I finally updated this plaque with a picture of "Nanny Martin" when she was a young bride (age 15).  She is the creator of that lovely old quilt, and the scraps of fabric on here are from the quilt...
I also added one of her pins...on the bottom left corner of her picture...it has an aqua gemstone in it (but some of the other smaller stones are missing), and I also added the larger key, which I believe was a key from her house.  So now this picture plaque has more personal meaning and looks nice in the guest room...

Totally changing gears here...This is a Pawpaw bush, and these are young pawpaws developing.  Just thought you'd want to know...they grow wild here in our woods ....and they will get much bigger when they are ripe. The animals apparently like them. I tried one once...they are edible fruit, but not exactly what I like to eat, so the animals are safe to have them...

This Bird Sanctuary birdhouse sits in The Secret Garden.  I've never yet seen a bird go in it, but these two lizards seem to have made it a home. Every time I go by there I see them on it.  Notice, the small one on the left is the female, and the large one on the right is the male. They are very territorial too...

Now, if you have watched the news this past week you may have seen that there have been some large sinkholes forming in The Villages, Florida, which is about an hour's drive from where we live.  I had to make a trip to The Villages this past week to see a specialist for some therapy, and I can tell you that the sinkholes are not the only thing stopping traffic in The Villages.

This Florida Soft-shelled Turtle was also stopping traffic on a busy road in the middle of The Villages.  He had apparently wandered out of a neighboring pond onto the road. Thankfully someone was stopping to put him back in the water...

And here is our friend "Smiley Bear", who stopped by one evening for a drink.  I love how he literally smiled for the camera!!!  (yes, I was inside the house sleeping when this happened. Our wildlife camera had the honor of capturing this lovely photo.  No humans were eaten in the filming of this bear)

Now I know everyone watched the Royal Wedding last Saturday.  I recorded it and watched it later in the day.  Everyone has already posted their favorite pictures of the Prince and his lovely bride, but I thought it would be good to give some attention to the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.  I understand that Prince Philip is almost 97 years old, and he was able to walk in and be a part of this royal wedding.  I think that is pretty remarkable and deserves some applause.
 I think they still make a very handsome couple...and we may not have too many more times to see them together like this...

Oh, and by the way, did any of you wear a hat to the wedding? Here you will see the corner of my  hat as I took this 'selfie' while watching the wedding...Yes, I wore it for the whole wedding. That was the only part of me that was "dressed up", hence you only see the corner of the hat.  The rest of me was sans makeup and in my old house clothes...
 I took a lot of pictures of the wedding, but I really liked this view at the end of the wedding, while they are waiting for their carriage to arrive.  I love all the people watching, and all the chimneys standing at attention in the background...

Switching gears again:  We went to visit a friend in the hospital yesterday, and this was the view from his window...they are adding on to and remodeling the outside of the hospital, so there is scaffolding everywhere...this worker was busily working while we visited...Not sure I'd want workers outside my window while I was recuperating in the hospital....

Also, outside the hospital was this "horse"...If you have ever visited Ocala, Florida, you will know that it is well known for its horse farms and breeding of race horses.  Click here for more information about these painted horse statues, that you will find scattered all over Ocala.    Here is a Pinterest Link to more of them...

This is the plaque for this particular horse, "Mistaken Identity".  Someday I would like to drive around and see how many of these horses I can find to photograph.

I will close with these pictures of this beautiful rose, that was blooming in "The Memorial Garden" this week.

The Memorial Garden was established four years ago in memory of our son, who entered heaven's gates on May 25, 2014.  

I'm afraid the garden is looking a bit jungle-like right now since we've had so much rain, but I was so thrilled to see the rose blooming, as well as the Rose of Sharon bush behind it, which was also planted in memory of Matthew.

Later today we will be participating in a Memorial Service for our daughter-in-law's mother, who passed away several weeks ago.

I trust that you and yours will have a safe and memorable Memorial Day weekend. May we always remember the sacrifices that so many have made for our freedom, as well as take a moment to remember our loved ones who have gone on before us.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints."
Psalm 116:15

Now let us travel over to Deb's Place at Breathing in Grace and see what our other Friday Foto Friends are sharing...

Also, I just learned that "Networked Blogs" is discontinuing its service today. Not sure how that will affect any of us...I believe it mainly was the service that automatically connected my blog to Facebook, so I will have to do that manually.  I have removed it's "widget" from my blog per their instructions, so if you disappeared as a result, it was through no intention of my own.  I truly hope it doesn't disconnect any of my wonderful followers.  Please give me feedback if you know more about how this loss of service will affect our blogs.  I value each and every one of you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Oh Deer! What Can the Matter Be?

I am wondering what this deer is saying!

She may have been warning others to stay away...  (aren't her facial markings interesting?)

Or perhaps she wanted to let them know that she'd found some tasty tiny baby grapes and grapevines

Actually, she was alone, having a grapevine feast all by herself outside our kitchen window this evening.  She's been coming around the house frequently this week...and as I look at that bulging tummy, I'm thinking she is eating for more than just herself... what do you think? Time will tell.

I'll be watching to see what "develops"...

I thought you'd enjoy this enDEERing moment!! 

Jesus said in  John 15:

1.  "I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, 
that it may bear more fruit...
5.  I am the vine, you are the branches. 
He who abides in Me, and I in him,
bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing.
8.  By this My Father is glorified,
that you bear much fruit,
so you will be My disciples."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sermon Notes: "Plane Ol' Mission Trip"

Our Sunday sermon this week was "preached" by the children! And was it ever good!!!  I just wish I had taken my camera  to take some pictures...they were so cute...but anyone who has ever been to a children's program at church can understand how cute they are...no picture is needed. 

Before their part of the service got started, the kids were sitting up front in the choir loft, anxiously waiting for us to get finished with all of the necessities of having a church service...you know, the prayers, singing a couple of songs, the offering...and as I watched them fidgeting and wiggling and giggling, tears sprang to my eyes...and I was overwhelmed with a feeling joy mixed with sadness...joy to see children in the house of the Lord, ready to perform and sing for the gathered parents and congregation...and sadness as I thought of the years when my own children were a part of such programs...and then the many times that I myself led such children's programs in various churches where we had served...it was almost so overwhelming that I wrote down on my bulletin:
"Why do I have tears in my eyes as I think about these dear children ready to minister to us today?"...and then I began to pray for them, and for the message that they would bring to us...

The title of the program was "Plane Ol' Mission Trip"... (Lillenas Music Publishing)

The kids were all gathered at the airport with their suitcases and backpacks, ready to go on a mission trip to "Paris, Texas".  One of the young ladies was a real fashion diva, and she kept saying how excited she was to be going to Paris, where she could see all the latest designs in fashion...and the other kids had to keep explaining to her that no, they were going to Paris TEXAS, on a MISSION trip...she just didn't quite get it...

Anyway, just as they are getting ready to get on the plane, there is an announcement over the loud speaker that their flight has been delayed due to inclement weather.  So, with a groan, and much flustering by their leader who wasn't sure how she would manage these kids for another hour in the airport, the kids sang a song about being stranded  "Just Plane Stranded Blues"... and as they chatted back and forth, there were more delays, and somehow the idea came across to them that they really didn't have to go far away to be on a mission trip...there was a young boy sitting nearby, not with their group, who was lonely and scared, and didn't know about Jesus...so the other kids told him about Jesus and said they would pray for him...and then the fashion diva expressed some of her fears, and the other girls reached out to her and they became better friends...God was ministering through each of the kids as they reached out to each other...right where they were...

These songs helped to get across the "big picture" of what God was teaching them throughout this time of delays and anxious moments:

"Sometimes I get caught up in my little world of life 
and I forget the truth
This world's full of wonder 
and I must remember to see from Your point of view
You see the big picture
The great adventure of Your plan
The window to the world is in Your hands
You are the great painter
You made this awesome masterpiece
And You know every inch there is to see 
in the Big Picture
When I see the world through Your eyes
I begin to realize the great things You do
You see the Big Picture..."

"Faith is what I hope for but can't see
Trusting that the Father knows my need
I take His hand and see His plan
Me and faith we make a great team
through any kind of weather
Me and faith, we make a great team
We gotta stick together
Whenever I'm filled with doubt
Faith comes in and knocks it out.
Faith reminds me I can't work alone
Life is never easy on my own
His grace saved me
Through Faith I'm free
Me and Faith, we make a great team..."

"All the hurting hearts tonight
Lord we need to see Your light
You know what we're going through
Let us place our trust in You
Lord, You are all we need
We will follow where You lead
Give us faith to understand
When it's hard to know Your plan
Help us all to see
Lord You are all we need"

"Jesus Loves Me this I know
for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus Loves me
The Bible tells me so!"

"You are all we need!
We will follow where You lead
Give us faith to understand
When it's hard to know Your plan
Help us all to see
Lord You are all we need."

Finally, after many delays, but many moments of finding truth and encouraging one another,
the loud speaker announced that they could take off for their mission trip to Paris, Texas!
And the kids (and we adults) had a better understanding about trust, faith, and letting God lead us wherever He wants us to go!!  I think we could see "The Big Picture"!

I hope you enjoyed this little journey with me on this "Plane Ol' Mission Trip".  We are blessed at our little church to have dedicated people to work with the children and volunteer many hours to put such a program together.  What a blessing for all of us!!

And yes, please continue to pray for our pastor. He's on the mend, praise God, but it may be a few more weeks before he is ready to come back to church.  In the meantime, God is working through those who are willing to be used by Him...young and old alike...and it is a great blessing to see how people have faith to take a step forward and serve Him.