When Ordinary becomes Extraordinary

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I love to drive the back roads of southeastern Kentucky where I live.  Every season is different. Driving along in a hurry, it is very easy to see only an ordinary piece of pavement leading from Point A to Point B.  But with a different purpose in mind than just arriving somewhere at a particular time, the ordinary road becomes and extraordinary pathway of beauty.  Wildflowers are blooming in profusion, pushing their glorious blossoms through dead leaves, sticks, and twigs that covered them through the winter.  Every inch of soil beside of the road was bursting with new life stretching up in search of sunshine.

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Revisiting Places We Love – Queen of Ordinary – March 31, 2015

IMG_5970  Special places are worth revisiting.

Pine Mountain Settlement School celebrated its Centennial birthday a couple of years ago.  I’ve been going there for almost thirty years with students, and taking visiting family to see a bit of paradise.  There is so much amazing history at the school that a person could spend years reviewing information in the archives.  Environmental education programs are top notch.  The landscape is beautiful and the buildings amazing.

I love this place in every season.  Spring and fall are my favorites.  The March blooms (Easter flowers, or daffodils as some call them) are already lined up in proud profusion, nodding their yellow heads in the spring breeze. Larkspur is beginning to bloom and tulip leaves are pushing their way up through the soil.  In another week or two, there will be so many domestic and wildflowers on campus that a new delight awaits in every direction.

I never get tired of walking across the fields, up the gravel roads, or looking out across campus from the chapel door.  William Creech’s vision for his community and his desire to education his children and build a strong and wholesome learning opportunity on his side of the mountain set all of this in motion over one hundred years ago.

It is a place I will never tire of revisiting.

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WHO Does GOD Say That You Are? – Queen of Ordinary – March 26, 2015

FotoSketcher - DSCN7940  WHO does God say that you are???

• I am a child of God.

But to all who have received him–those who believe in his name–he has given the right to become God’s children … I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me–and I in him–bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. I am a friend of Jesus.

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father I have been justified and redeemed.  But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus .  My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin.

• As a child of God, I am a fellow heir with Christ.  And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)–if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him .

 I am a new creature in Christ.  if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come.

 I am no longer a slave, but a child and an heir.

I have been set free in Christ.

New Friends Add Joy to Life – Queen of Ordinary March 23, 2015

IMG_0089   To be blessed with friends is a blessing indeed!

People come and people go through the doors of our lives.  When we first meet a new person, we really have no idea how long they will choose to stay in our lives or how long we will let them.  The ones who become friends have a connection within us and beyond us.  The deposits they make in our life and we in theirs is far more significant than a mere acquaintance.

When I traveled to Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales last fall with Sloan Travel Co., I came home with the borders of my heart enlarged because of all the wondrous things I had experienced, but also because of the people with whom I had shared the journey.

Our tour guide, Coty Sloan, came to visit my home town this week-end and meet a few people who had expressed an interest in travel to Ireland.  Although Coty is a world traveler, his upcoming May tour and another tour this fall are to Ireland.

It was a joy to share my hometown and the mountains I love so dearly with the person who has shown me a chunk of the world I had only dreamed about prior to the trip.  Most importantly, it is a joy to know that God has ordered our steps not only for the sake of travel, but definitely for the sake of friendship.  I hope to experience the wonder of travel with one of Coty’s tours again in the future, but I will always cherish the blessing of his friendship.

The Gift of Memory

I seldom reblog, but found this beautiful and encouraging.

From the Inside Out

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“There it is, Mom, “ Steve remarked, as he pointed to a little white house in the middle of a city block. “That’s where we lived when I was growing up.”

“Oh, yes,” she replied. But did Mom really remember?

We were on an excursion through Columbus, Ohio, taking Steve’s mother past the landmarks of her life. Alzheimer’s disease had already stolen away much of her vibrancy and warmth, and, of course, her memory.

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Steve drove by West High School and continued his commentary. “That’s where we all went to school, you, Dad, Karen, and me. You were the very first homecoming queen.  How about that?  No wonder Dad asked you out.”

She murmured assent to Steve’s comments, but added nothing of her own.

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We drove past the brick ranch they built out in the country in 1966. Horses used to reside beyond the back fence. Just…

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“ONE SHADE OF WHITE” – Feb 12

I’ve heard a lot of discussion about this book and am horrified at the open door in our society to normalize pornography and sexual cruelty in relationships of married and unmarried people. The gift that God gave is being grossly perverted by the enemy of all that is good and decent. You don’t have to touch fire to know that it has destructive power if you’ve ever watched a fire consume an object. Surely it is not necessary to dive into sexually exploitive behavior to know that it is harmful. I haven’t seen or read this and am not even enticed to want to hear more than I’ve already heard on TV, radio, and internet.

A DEVOTED LIFE

“And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of the heart of man, comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”  Mark 7:20

50ShadesofGreyCoverArtI appeal to you brothers and sisters in Christ, do not watch the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. If you do not know anything about the book and movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, you may count yourself blessed.  The book, has sold more than 100 million copies and the movie adaptation will be released on Valentine’s Day.  I have not read the book and I have no plans to watch the movie.  My appeal to stay away from this latest Hollywood offering is based on the same rationale as staying away from pornography. There are many good…

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The Wooly Worms Lied. Will Groundhog Do Better? – Queen of Ordinary Feb. 2, 2015

FotoSketcher - IMG_1541  Will the groundhog tell the truth on Groundhog Day?

Every year in the part of the country I live in (Appalachia), people check the colors of the woolly worm to see what kind of winter we will have.  A solid orange woolly worm is thought to mean a mild winter. Solid black woolly worms mean a horrible winter is ahead.  Sometimes woolly worms are black on one end and orange on the other, or maybe black on both ends with orange in the middle or vice versa.  This means having a winter with some bad weather and some mild.  At this point the woolly worms have lied to us this winter.  They were totally black in the fall, but this has been a very mild winter.  Although it is snowing today, it doesn’t appear that it will be a serious snow fall.

Today being Groundhog Day, I was curious about whether or not he saw his shadow.  He definitely did not.  The Weather Channel said it was the worst weather on a Groundhog Day in 18 years.  The good news is that if he did not see his shadow, spring will come early.  With the weary dreary days of winter, I will be especially glad to see the arrival of spring this year!

Let us hope Mr. Groundhog’s predictions are correct!

God Has a Sense of Humor – Queen of Ordinary – November 30, 2014

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I think God smiles more than we realize.  I’ve always heard that if we want to make God laugh, we just need to tell him our plans.

He spoke to me about something this week that cracked me up and I could honestly feel Him chuckling.

Sometimes we get so stressed out and worried about our circumstances that we make a bigger mess by trying to fix things ourselves.  I am guilty of worrying more than I praise, and fretting over things I can’t change.

There is not a single day that God starts out by saying, “Oh, NO!  What am I going to do today?  How am I going to fix the problem in (insert your name)’s life?  I better call and ask (insert any name) and see if they can tell me what I need to do!”  And this is where he chuckled.

No matter what comes our way, no matter if it shocks us, it doesn’t come as a surprise to God.  No matter how big of a mess our lives might be, God knows how to untangle the disasters if we’ll let Him.  AND He doesn’t have to ask anybody else for their advice, their opinion, or their instructions on how to do it.

Pray.  Put your needs before the Lord.  TRUST.  God is big enough to handle anything we put before Him….

Who Ever Thought I Could Fly a Falcon? – Queen of Ordinary – November 11, 2014

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Ireland – School of Falconry

I had seen movies of hunters working with their falcons back in Medieval times and thought it was fascinating.  Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would get to work with a falcon one on one.

On our recent trip to Ireland, I was surprised when I looked over the itinerary and saw an afternoon dedicated to “School of Falconry.”  Our tour guide had already done it before, loved the experience, and was very excited to take our group there.  There was a little bit of fear factor when we first saw the raptors sitting on their perches in enclosed places.

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We had a preliminary lesson before we ever interacted with the birds.  When the instructor asked for volunteers, I jumped at the chance.  I had been more interested in photographing the process before we got there, and thought I wanted to concentrate on the falcons in flight.  But I was hooked from the moment our instructor started talking.

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My falcon’s name was Wilde.  I got to walk him into the woods along with another lady in our group and her falcon.  Releasing the bird was the easy part, but holding steady when that hunter came flying back in to land on my arm was a whole different thing.  The bird knew more what he was supposed to do than I did, but after the first landing we were a team.

When we switched with the other people in our group, I did have a few good moments with my camera.  I wished we could have stayed for hours, or have gone back another day and done it all again.  If I had to pick one thing we did out of twenty six days to do again, flying falcons would definitely be among the top choices on my list.

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