Archive for February, 2010
After spending an entire afternoon cleaning out our “home away from home” a couple years ago, Amanda and I penned this giggle instigator. 🙂 For a long time it hung on our van window. I just happened to spend another entire afternoon cleaning it again today, and I remembered it, so I decided to hang it up again and then share it with all of you. Have fun! (BTW, feel free to use this in your own cars. It is a humorous way to get people to think about the mess they are leaving in their area, and hopefully change their ways. 🙂 )
Rules for Travel
If you wish to take a journey
In this family van of ours,
You must memorize these principles
To preserve the happy hours:
1. If you spill crumbs on the floor-board
You must brush them all away
In consideration of the ones
Who cleaned it yesterday.
2. Be sure you never touch the windows
With a sticky, greasy finger
Because the nasty stain you leave
Will always seem to linger.
3. If you want some entertainment
As we travel the world around
You must put it in a tidy bag
Not exceeding twenty pounds.
4. When you wish for something to eat or drink
Don’t ask in a whiny way.
Take a moment to stop and think
What you are going to say.
5. The secret for a peaceful van
Is “Never scream or yell.”
Be sure to consider others’ ears
When you have something to tell.
6. The last rule (certainly not least)
When you board this van of brown
Is put on your best smile
And leave behind your frown.
Several years ago, on January 1, 2001, Grandpapa Neely (my Dad’s father) remarked to his family as we were all gathered to celebrate the new year, “I have a feeling that the year 2001 will be different from any other year we’ve ever lived.” Little did we know that his prediction would be true in more than just one way! For just a few months later, while visiting his daughter and her family (our aunt), he was diagnosed with a Stage 4 cancerous brain tumor. After the first surgery to remove it, he was told that he would have, at most, eighteen months to live. Three more surgeries and seemingly endless chemo and radiation treatments later, the Lord finally called Grandpapa home to Himself, in July 2002. We had been blessed with the full eighteen months that they predicted, and we were left with an unbelievable spiritual heritage. Though we grieved for his loss upon earth, and though we still miss him greatly, we rejoice in the hope that one day we will be reunited in Heaven through the grace of our Savior!
Last Wednesday marked what would have been Grandpapa’s 76th birthday. That evening, as we sat around the table after supper, Dad pulled Grandpapa’s Bible off of the shelf. The cover is worn; the binding falling apart; the pages are yellowed and wrinkled with age and frequent use. However, it is a treasure beyond calculation, not only for the sake of the Word of God, but also because of the countless insights that are marked along its pages, and the numerous quotes, poems, and thoughts that he wrote on the flyleaves. Sadly, almost half of my little siblings never had the privilege of knowing Grandpapa, and some were too young when he died to really remember him well. But what a TREASURE, a wealth of spiritual RICHES we have in his Bible!!! So even the ones who never knew him can still partake of the incredible legacy he left for us – how I thank the Lord for that blessing!!!!!!!
But getting back to my story… When one of our little ones observed that Daddy had “the wrong Bible” (instead of the chronological Bible that we usually read after supper), he replied, “Well, today was your Grandpapa Neely’s birthday. So I thought that we would read some out of his Bible tonight, and see what he has to say to us.” Immediately, I felt a choking sensation in my throat, and I wondered if I would be able to make it through this without crying. As we read through some of the the things that he had printed inside, some things brought a smile upon recollection; others even made us laugh; many were very thought-provoking; and a few even moved us to tears. As I sat there, I felt as if I had stepped back into time and was once again sitting with Grandpapa, hearing him read or quote these very things…
“FAITH – Forsaking All, I Trust Him”
“If a sermon pricks your conscience, it must have some good points.”
“Some will hate you, some will love you;
Some will flatter, some will slight.
Cease from man and look above you;
Trust in God and do what’s right.
Though the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely, strong or weary;
Trust in God and do what’s right.
Perish policy and cunning,
Perish all that fears the light;
Whether losing, whether winning,
Trust in God and do what’s right.
Simple rule and safest guiding,
Inward peace and inward might;
Star upon our path abiding,
Trust in God and do what’s right!”
“If we please God, does it matter whom we displease? And if we displease God, does it matter whom we please?”
One poem that is not written in his Bible, but which he quoted to us regularly, still makes us laugh:
“Whenever you feel like a grump, and you look like you’re down in the dump,
Oh, how I dread when you get out of bed, and go moping around like a frump!
BUT… When you can get up and say, “My! What a wonderful day!”
It’s hard to be sad; you’ll surely be glad, for God is Who made it that way!”
“Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind.” – Dr. Harvey Springer
“Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right; and nothing is ever settled right until it is settled with God!”
“My fear is not that I will fail, but that I will succeed in things that do not matter in eternity.”
“The Clock of Life” by George H. Chandler
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed; to lose one’s health is more;
To lose one’s soul is such a loss as no man can restore.
The present only is our own; live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in the future – for the clock may then be still.”
“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”
These are just a very few of the things that are written in Grandpapa’s Bible. However, probably my favorite is a poem called, “We’re Home,” by Willard Thomas. Daddy read this one at Grandpapa’s funeral, and to this day, I cannot read it or hear it being read without the tears coming to my eyes. That night around the table, Dad started to read it, but tears forced him to stop at the end of the first six words. Then he looked around the table, and, sure enough, we were all crying! After some shaky laughter and much debate over whether to finish reading it or not, he finally mustered up the will-power, and read the sweet, heart-stirring lines. This was the heart cry of Grandpapa; one which my parents have taken up and still press untiringly on toward; one which is my heart’s desire for my children someday; and one which I pray will continue to be striven for in our family until the Lord returns!
“Over the years when the children would come in, they would call out, “Mom, Dad, we’re home.”
I guess we just always assumed it would be like that, we would never be alone.
But with the passing of time, circumstances, life, and duty robbed our home of this youthful beauty.
Oh, they still drop by from time to time, or call us on the phone.
They stay a while and then they leave because this is no longer home.
Now when Mama and I go out and drive around and roam,
In jest I open the door and call out, “Children, we’re home.”
It just echoes through and empty house and brings my eyes to tears.
They no longer run on little feet to meet us, and fill our hearts with cheer.
Precious memories of two fine girls and a boy,
Thank God memories are one gift of God that time cannot destroy.
One last request I would make to my God, that beyond Jordan’s dashing foam;
That Mama and I could hear our children call out, “Mom, Dad, we’re Home.”
After a long six months of waiting, the Wilkes Team was finally able to make it down to North Carolina! The meeting, after so long, was, on a small scale, what our meeting in Heaven will surely be like when we meet all of our loved ones, and most importantly, our dear Savior! We are thankful for such encouraging, uplifting friends with whom we can fellowship.
One of the blessings of being around the Wilkes Team is their constant pointing of everything back to the Lord. In our fast-paced world, it is very easy to take our eyes off Christ and become distracted with temporal cares. They are a living example of the principle found in Proverbs 3:6 – the command to acknowledge God in everything we do. Even in games, at the table, or just simply laughing over a funny incident, when we are with the Wilkes Team there is almost always a comment, story, analogy, or special insight that turns everyone’s hearts and minds back to our all-mighty Creator. What a desirable testimony to have!
Much of our time during the weekend was spent praying about and planning for NC Family Encouragement Weekend conference, which will, Lord willing, be taking place near our home on March 26-27. What a blessing it was to give ideas, plan, organize, and just work together to accomplish the common goal of getting everything in order for this upcoming ministry opportunity.
One of the fun points of their visit happened rather unexpectedly on Saturday afternoon. Someone came down after looking out our upstairs window and announced that something had been caught in Herman’s live-trap. Several went and looked again, discovering that it was a cat. Upon closer observation, it was realized that we had actually caught a young female bobcat!! We enjoyed looking at it, hearing it growl and snarl a gracious plenty for our liking. 🙂 A little later, a trapper/friend who sells animal pelts came and took care of it for us.
Sunday evening all of the young people worked together to act out a silent demonstration of Daniel and the Lion’s Den for the parents. Complete with everything from nobles, townspeople, a king, the king’s page, soldiers, and even lions, we had a blast and made quite a few side-splittingly-hilarious memories.
We love you, Wilkes Team, and pray God’s richest blessings on you for your faithful service to Him and others. Looking forward to many more such times together!
The Lord uses many ways to remind us of simple truths at various times in our lives. One way He chooses to do this is through fellowship with other believers. I had the opportunity to experience this first hand this last weekend, with our blessed visit from the Wilkes Team! We were able to spend a few days with them, and during the whole time it seemed I was constantly challenged and encouraged through the conversations that took place as well as in just observing the godly actions of the Wilkes and my own family. On Saturday evening, I finally took the time to write down the things I had been reminded of in my journal. What a blessing! (It was well worth staying up the extra time to do it!) Here are some of the things the Lord reminded me of through their godly examples and words:
– acknowledge the Lord in all my ways (Proverbs 3:5-6)
– seek a gentle, meek, and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:3-4)
– consistently honor, obey, and love my parents (Exodus 20:12; Colossians 3:20)
– treat my siblings with love and respect (Ephesians 4:32; I Peter 5:5a; Hebrews 13:1)
– pray without ceasing and constantly be seeking guidance, grace, and wisdom from the Lord (I Thessalonians 5:17)
– maintain an attitude of humility and dependence on the Lord (I Peter 5:5b; James 4:6-7; Isaiah 57:15)
– choose topics of conversation that are encouraging and uplifting to the listeners (Ephesians 4:29)
– accept all people where they are in life but seek to lift them higher toward the Lord (Ephesians 4:29; I Thessalonians 5:14)
– be ever ready to share what God is doing in my life (I Peter 3:15)
– keep godliness and godly character as a first priority in my life and obtaining knowledge as a secondary one (II Peter 1:5-8)
– control my tongue (Proverbs 10:19; James 1:19-26)
– be immersed in the Word of God – read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, share it, but most of all, live it (II Timothy 3:14-17; Psalm 119:11; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:15)
– do not allow bitterness to dwell in my heart (Hebrews 12:15; Ephesians 4:26-27,31-32)
– seek to have such a close relationship with my Creator that His joy and glory radiates from my face, words, and actions (Isaiah 49:13; Habakkuk 3:18; James 4:8; Philippians 4:4; Psalm 71:8; Psalm 63:1-2; Psalm 50:23)
Thank you, Wilkes Team, and the rest of my family, for allowing His Light to shine through you and encourage me in the right direction once again. The Lord is good!