"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, May 24, 2009


When I got to the Alzheimer’s wing today to see Mr. Malcolm, the lady at the desk asked me if I was family. I said, “Sort of.” She put her hand on her chest and said, “I’m so sorry, but he died this afternoon and the family has just left.” I’m sure she watched my eyes glass over, and so she continued. “If you’d like to go in and see him, you may.” I whispered, “I do.” After all, my purpose in going today was to tell him goodbye. And so I slipped quietly into his room and closed the door.

I stood silently and still by his bed, and then for just a moment, we danced. My feet here and his feet There, rejoicing together at his new found freedom. I applauded, I thanked him for his life, especially his wonderful sense of humor, and then I said goodbye.

How great is our God! Just ask Mr. Malcolm. He knows Him face to face.

Farewell, dear one. We will miss you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's All a Matter of Perspective

My hubby and I took a little vacation this week – a 30th anniversary kind of thing – to Tybee Island, GA. When he asked me what I wanted to do, since this was somewhat of a milestone year, I said, “Disney World!” Whereas I meant it, I think he thought I was only joking. So off to Tybee we went and The Ocean Plaza Hotel.

First of all, websites lie – or may I say, can be highly deceptive. The picture showed a grand hotel sitting on the sand dunes of the Atlantic Ocean. But upon further inspection – like when we had actually checked in and unloaded the car – we found that there was public parking, and lots of it, behind those sand dunes and directly below our 3rd story balcony. And, of course, there was the street light directly in front of our balcony to give light to that busy parking lot below.

Oh, yes. The balcony. Did I mention all the birds and their droppings? Yes, if I tracked it in once, I tracked it across the carpet a half dozen times! But that’s only because it rained the entire time we were there and I could barely get out on the sand! And when I did, it was gale force winds. Did anybody see Mike Seidel this week on the weather channel?

The lock on the sliding door was no longer in function, and so the establish- ment had put a “hook” into the wall. Moths had played havoc with the curtains. There was no refrigerator, no microwave, no continental breakfast, and NO INTERNET SERVICE, though each time we called the desk, they said they were “Wireless” and “It must be the weather”!

Why anybody would choose outdoor dining on a stormy night, I don’t know. But following the hostess through the rain in the mud between lightning strikes, we did get “indoor” seating at The Crab Shack. “Indoor” meaning screened, sitting on posts above a body of water.

We spent of our first morning going in and out of stores on River Street in Savannah trying to stay dry. (Have I mentioned it rained just about the entire time we were there?) Downtown on Broughton was no better. Neither was parking.

Plans for our anniversary morning were to spend it at Fort Screven touring the museum and fort. At least we’d be inside out of the rain and wind! When we got there, we found it was “closed for renovation” until the summer. So we took in a junkyard. After which we stopped for two cups of coffee which costs us $25. We didn’t know you had to pay to park.

As our usual routine, we watched episodes of NCIS from our brick hard bed that sat about a foot off the floor. But even those concluded at 9:00 and nothing else was on but WWE. World Wrestling Entertainment. And we watched it. (I cannot believe I just admitted to that atrocity.)

Before leaving the island on Wednesday morning, we took a quick walk – it had stopped raining and now the humidity was 100% -- to a highly recommended breakfast establishment. So recommended that it was packed and we had to sit at the counter on one of those old fashioned bar stools with no back support and sweat to the heat of the grills directly in front of us.

This was definitely an anniversary to remember.

OR – it could go like this.

My hubby and I took a little vacation this week – a 30th anniversary kind of thing – to Tybee Island, GA. When he asked me what I wanted to do, since this was somewhat of a milestone year, I said, “Disney World!” Whereas I meant it, I think he thought I was only joking. So off to Tybee we went and The Ocean Plaza Hotel.

Just as the website dictated, we had a grand view of the beach and ocean from our 3rd floor balcony. The room was spacious and clean, and the staff and room service attendants were all kind and helpful. And as long as I have a working coffee pot in the room, then I am happy. Room service even gave me extra decaf! And the light outside our balcony gave extra security at night.

Oh, yes. The balcony. I was so thankful for the balcony. It was spacious and kept us from all the elements – the wind and rain which seemed to be the object of the week. Did I mention all the birds? What fun entertainment they gave us. When the wind got so terrible, the little things would fly by in slow motion, eyeball me, lose their concentration, and be blown straight off in another direction. I didn’t even need my “children and animals” feature on my camera to slow them down enough to get a picture. They just sort of hung there in space. What fun it was feeding them, too. (Yes, we shelled our $10 bag of peanuts and threw them to the seagulls.) The pigeons actually ate out of our hands!

We were able to get out on the beach only a couple of times. The wind was rough, but it was absolutely exhila- rating. I felt like I was in some type of “B” horror flick with the sand swirling by me and moving down the beach. And the “art” it left in its path was breathtaking in places, though I do understand the concept of beach erosion now.

The Ocean Plaza took extra measures for security by placing a lock on the sliding glass door. And at night while lying in bed, it looked like the stars were out as light peeped through tiny holes in the curtains. A nice effect indeed. I’m sure it was an inconvenience for any one on business, but we didn’t need their internet service – except to check emails if we desired. But this was suppose to be a vacation, so it worked in our favor.

Dinner at The Crab Shack was a memorable experience – and their crab stew is about the best you can find anywhere! So thick you can eat it on a cracker. And have you ever experienced a thunder storm over a marsh? Wow!

We love Savannah – rain or shine. This trip introduced us to a new little place downtown called The Savannah Bee. I bought 4 bottles of honey! Some of the best I’ve ever found. And nothing’s better than a Starbuck’s French vanilla Americano on a rainy day on Broughton.

Plans for our anniversary morning were to spend it at Fort Screven touring the museum and fort. But when we got there, we found they were temporarily closed due to renovation. And so we checked out some of the little shops around the island. Unique “treasures,” to say the least. (And, yes, that's a $25,000 price tag on that flying turtle!) In the meantime, we found a little coffee shop, and next door to that was a candy shop that served “artisan” gelato. Both places were owned by locals who gave us the scoop on island eateries.

As our usual routine, we watched episodes of NCIS from our spacious king sized bed at night. And whereas my father-in-law would buy a spy magazine on his vacations, we watched WWE. I must admit I have never laughed so hard as I did at Randy Orton and Ric Flair! They were just too much.

Rain or shine, eat is what we like to do and eat is what we did. The Crab Shack, The Cotton Exchange, The Oyster Bar, The Chart House, The Sundae Cafe, Seaside Sweets, and Leopold's Ice Cream on Broughton! (Their rum bisque ice cream is the best ever!)

And then on Wed. morning, the rain had subsided, and before leaving the island for home, we took a quick walk to a highly recom- mended restaurant called The Breakfast Club. So recommended that it was packed and we had to sit at the counter with the locals on one of those high old fashioned bar stools. I looked at my husband, and with a big grin on my face said, “I thought it couldn’t get any better. But this just caps it.”

This was definitely an anniversary to remember!

Linda Dillow writes in “Calm My Anxious Heart,”
Two women looked through prison bars
One saw mud, the other saw stars.

What do you see when you look at life?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seasons of Study

One of the greatest delights and privileges I have had on my faith journey has been that of leading women’s Bible study. My very first study was in 1999 at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond Hill, GA where we undertook Beth Moore’s first study, “A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place.” I was as green as the dear woman sitting next to me in that circle in those days, but I knew it was something I just had to do – or bust.

That was ten years ago. Much water has flowed under the bridge since those days. A major move to another city; basketball games; proms; graduations; the excitement of beginning a new church and the heartache of losing an old one; three marriages (my children’s, not mine); tragedy; triumph; and the renting of more U-Hauls than I thought imaginable in a lifetime. Even the word “change” itself has become normal vernacular for this 50 year old body.

But one thing that has remained constant for me through this period has been the joy to meet with women each season both in the calendar year and in the seasons of their lives to study God’s Word. Some of us have been together since the fall of 2000. Others have joined as recently as this past January. Some have come in for a season only to depart. And some have even departed this life for another more glorious one. But one truth stands out: the Word is the power of God unto salvation, and when He sends it forth, it does not return void.

You have sent Your Word into the hearts of these women, Lord, and nothing is impervious to it. Allow it to dwell within them in all its richness, imparting life to their spirits. May it truly be a light unto their path and a lamp unto their feet for they have shown themselves approved unto You. Some plant and some water, but it is You, O Lord, who gives the increase. Accomplish now in them all You please.

Spring 2009 Ladies Morning Group

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And the Little Children Shall Lead Them

I know that everyone who reads this entry will not agree with the situation which I describe today. But for the sake of the blog, will you please look past doctrine to the lesson itself? It’s too precious to miss.

We celebrated the Lord’s Supper at church this past Sunday. It’s always a special time as we remember the death and resurrection of Christ and all that was accomplished there on the cross at Calvary. In and of itself, it was and is and always will be enough. But the receiving of the elements took on a little more meaning for me this week as I watched the children come forward to partake. Our children have their own worship service, but on this particular Sunday, they come in to “big people church” when it’s time to receive communion – their parents meeting them in the back to come forward.

The scene is undoubtedly one of the most precious sights to see. Four of our elders stand down front with the elements as the congregation makes its way forward to partake of communion by intinction. We cup our hands as one elder places a piece of bread in it, and then we take the bread and dip it into the juice which another elder is offering. I noticed a difference, however, from the way the adults would approach “the table” versus the way the children came. Adults waited until they were just about to receive the element to cup their hands while the children kept their hands cupped the entire time they were waiting in line. How precious to see the anticipation in those young things as they approached the front.

One might see a numerous things while watching. On one occasion, I thought a little fellow’s bread was actually going to dissolve in the juice as he left it “soaking” so long. Another child got all into the receiving and dipping, but when it came time to actually put the piece in her mouth, she decided it was better if grandmother ate it. To see mothers and fathers teaching and instructing their little ones, blessed my heart. But what struck me the most was when my little nephew approached the front.

One of my brothers was holding the cup, and I had been watching his 4-yr. old son Harper come down the line with his mother – with his hands cupped, of course. Harper is a ball of fire and doesn’t lose a beat anywhere he goes. He exudes life. And Sunday was no different. After receiving the bread, he took a step to where my brother was standing holding “the cup.” And looking straight up into the eyes of his father, a huge grin came over his face, and he exclaimed, “Hi, Daddy!”

And we think children don’t have a clue!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).