Blue Horizon

This weekend we spent in Virginia Beach in a gorgeous beach house named “Blue Horizon” celebrating the marriage of a family member. Aptly named, for the horizon of the new union stretches far in front of the nuptial couple, a blend of both blue and gray hues, some clouds and some storms, in the vast expanse of sky that stretches before them, like a canvas waiting to be painted.

As I write, I am sitting in front of a bank of windows, staring out at the Atlantic Ocean, mesmerized by the never ending crash of the waves. Even in the brisk temperatures of the February air, the calming effect of the gray-blue waves and white caps soothes my soul. This moving painting never gets old; I’d be content to be here forever, giving my heart and soul to the sea.

We have enjoyed our time with family and new friends, celebrating and enjoying one another’s company.

The evening was filled with special moments, funny moments, tremendous laughter and much love 💕

Tomorrow, it’s back to reality for us; the hustle and bustle of conference calls, even as we return home, followed by a week of meeting planned, after school activities, evening lessons, etc.

Back to reality for the newlyweds as well. Both the bride and groom have been previously married, and bring children into the union, and so far, family blending has gone well. As anyone married for more than a month knows, though, life is hard. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah and Michael as they navigate these waters.

Best wishes, Hannah and Michael. We’re thrilled for you!

The horizon is blue

SB

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Love is

Happy Valentines Day, my friends. For some of you, today comes easy, as you look forward to spent time with the one who makes your heart sing.  I celebrate with you. You are blessed. I wish you a wonderful day.

For others, today is a painful reminder of a hurting heart, longing to be understood by someone, longing to know someone who loves you more than life itself and isn’t afraid to show it. I hurt with you today.

Love is…. complicated. Or maybe it’s that we complicate love.

A week or so ago, I read a passage in Philippians 1:9 and the phrase in bold has been haunting me ever since. Praying today to learn to love appropriately, as God would have me love.

9 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings  10 so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. 

I am reminded often that Gods ways are not ours, especially as I watch life unfold. In the Old Testament is a story that exemplifies this, and Judah Smith delivers it so effectively. It’s a little long, but worth the time.

May you all feel Gods love today, regardless of your circumstances.

Love you all, my friends.

SB

Judah Smith. The love of the Father

Snow Angels

A few years ago, my son and I made a trip in February to Virginia to visit a college. It was a weekend visit complicated by the fact that our older daughter had a scholarship interview at the college she’d be attending that fall – scheduled for Saturday of the same weekend. Since his trip was from Thursday to Sunday, that meant that I had the privilege to drive to Virginia on Thursday, stay the night, drive home to PA Friday, to daughter’s college Saturday then back to Virginia for the concert being held on campus that night and home again on Sunday – lots of miles, lots of driving, lots of adventure.  I’m always up for adventure… even in the winter.

As we pulled out of our driveway, the snow was falling and the windshield quickly needed cleaning, but when I sprayed my windshield nothing came out, so I assumed the wiper fluid tank was empty.   We stopped at the local gas station and bought a gallon of fluid, but when we went to put it in, found the tank was full.  I imagined I was crazy but we had a deadline and an 8 hour trip ahead of us, so we started out.

As we entered the PA turnpike, the roads slush and filthy, I found it wasn’t enough to rely on the snow being kicked up onto my windshield to wipe off for clear vision.  I couldn’t go more than five miles without having to pull over to clean the windshield.. and how exactly did we do that when the squirters wouldn’t work?   well..   my poor son had to get out of the car with the gallon of fluid we bought, open the jug an throw some fluid on the windshield for me to wipe off.   Honestly, it was a scary situation because in some spots, I couldn’t pull  very far off the road and there was a lot of truck traffic that day.  He said his part was far harder than my part…

After just a few stops along the turnpike, I thought to myself, this is going to be a REALLY long day.   After a couple of hours, we made it to Breezewood, then south in to Maryland.  As soon as we crossed the border into Maryland, the weather warmed up a few degrees and … you guessed it… my squirters worked.   Frozen.  I had recently had my oil changed at the local shop and apparently they Topped off my fluids with water, not wiper fluid…

From that point, it was a much more pleasant ride. Eventually we made it to campus and connected him with his weekend roommate (who was a friend of ours from home!)

I found the hotel I had reserved for Thursday and Saturday nights, and settled in.  The next morning, I attended a few of the parent meetings at the campus and then headed back toward PA.  The state of Virginia has about a million antique stores, so I took my time and stopped at quite a few along my way home. I returned home late Friday evening with a trunk full of antiques  (yikes!).  Early the next morning, the girls and I headed to college again for the scholarship interview (which went well, by the way).   We had lunch and headed for Virginia – except this time I thought it would make more sense to take a different route since we were starting from her college which is near the PA / West Virginia border.  Thus, we travelled through the Appalachain Mountains… in February… in my stupid van (sorry, Nellie, but it’s true – you’re terrible in the snow!). I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea. Sometimes hindsight is 20/20.

I’m convinced the state of West Virginia had declared a state of emergency because there were literally no other cars on the road for many hours as we drove through – save the snow plow which was throwing the freshly fallen powder so high in the air we could see absolutely nothing! When the road cleared, we were literally on the other side of the yellow line.

This was the actual picture my daughter took. We can’t see the snow plow, but it’s in front of the giant pile of snow blowing our way.

I drove, white knuckled, for what seemed like days, up steep roads that made my driveway look like Ohio, without seeing another soul. I didn’t want to vocalize my concerns to the girls about what would happen if the van couldn’t navigate one of the hills, or if we broke down. Then, just as I was beginning to loose hope (and REALLY had to pee), in the middle of nowhere, a convenience store!

We pulled in and ran to the bathroom, the gathered some snacks and had a brief conversation with the clerk. When we got back in the car, we all agreed that it felt like we were in a Twilight Zone episode.

Shortly after our stop, we began to descend the mountains. I had been concerned about our car making it UP the hills, but to be honest, coming DOWN the mountain was even scarier. I felt like we were in a giant luge. Still hardly another vehicle on the road, we made our way down the mountain. I was never so glad to see a “Welcome to Virginia” sign in my entire life.

This weekend, my husband and I will be traveling to Virginia Beach for a wedding. I doubt we’ll take a shortcut through the West Virginia mountains! (And somehow I don’t think he’ll want to visit the antique shops!)

Be blessed, my friends!

SB

Leave the water jar

In my post,Domino’s, I talked about the story of the woman at the well, and how sometimes we need to do the will of God so that Gods will may be done in the lives of someone else.

Today, I heard another interesting perspective from the very same story. After talking with Jesus, the woman left her water jar at the well and went into the town to Summon them to come and see Jesus.

The water jar would have been important to her, as she would need it for drinking and cooking, and other things. Yet she left it because she had something more important to do.

There are times when you have to leave your water jar to do something God is asking you to do, to leave something important to you in favor of something God has for you.

Perhaps you’ll come back to it later, as the woman probably did. Or perhaps it will become less important to you, and you may never return to it.

The point is to hold on loosely to that which you deem important and always be willing to go where God is asking you to go or do what he’s asking you to do.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

Khloe

In previous posts, I have mentioned my youngest daughter and her faithful prayers… she has been a prayer warrior since she was a little.

One of the little girls on her list was my friends’ cousin, Khloe, who was diagnosed with cancer at three years old. Khloe fought valiantly and went into remission for five years. In 2017, Khloe’s cancer came back with a vengeance.

We struggled to understand God’s plan in this. It was so hard to accept, and so hard to watch such a precious child suffer so much.

My friend and another family member organized meal trains for Khloe and her family. As we prepared some of Khloe’s favorite meals, my daughter said she wanted to do something special.

She brought to me a prayer book my husband and I had gotten for her in 2015, when, at the age of ten, she made a decision to be baptized. (In our denomination we dedicate babies to the Lord, and save baptism for individuals who make their own decision to do. I mean no disrespect to other denominations with other practices, and only make the distinction to demonstrate my daughters choice in both the baptism and in the note she wrote)

Completely on her own, now at twelve years old, broken-hearted about Khloe’s sickness, she wrote the note below in the inside cover of the book. We took it to Khloe along with popsicles and some of her favorite meals. Khloe died a few weeks later.

We sometimes don’t know the impact of our actions but are called to be obedient to what God is asking, even when we don’t understand, and even when we don’t like the outcome.

“I accepted Jesus as my savior and because of that I know I’ll live forever. I want you to be able to live forever, too.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I am blessed, my friends.

Love,

SB

Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana Group…

Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana… part 2

Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana…. part 3

Cheyne, Shane, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana…. part 4

Cheyne, Shane, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana part 5….