For the past few years, Taylorville UMC has hosted an Agape meal the week of Easter. Although the Agape meal originated with the Jewish faith, Christians have embraced this tradition as a way to gather in Christ and reflect of his time on the cross.
Our Agape meal was - as it should be - extremely simple. We had grape juice, cheeses, simple baked chicken with no seasoning, grapes, olives, apples, bread and nuts. We ate by candlelight, family style.
It was quite awesome and reflective to think back on the days when Jesus dined with his disciples before his death and resurrection. Such a great opportunity to remember why we celebrate HIM and the undying love this time of year!
We spent a little time with family last night. One of the best moments was when my Pop and I were talking by ourselves about the camp, and all of Daddy's plans to expand and add on that are in progress. He said "Well Sis, if you work hard all of your life you can have things like this. Most folks don't have anything to show for it. But with this, you have something. It's family."
I've thought a lot about the little things in life lately. Family being one of the most important!
Aunt Nay and Pop...
The absolute best porch swing on the planet.
The playground for all those gran-kids Nan-O and Poppy want to have one day. One of the coolest things ever. Complete with a tunnel slide, fireman's pole, wave slide, play house, swinging bridge and mini rock wall. I want one!
Daddy telling Mama about the plans for building the additions.
The best steak you'll ever eat is ALWAYS cooked by my Daddy. No one else comes close.
We hauled the load back to the camphouse, dumped the dump truck and Daddy got on the big road grater to spread it out. They kinda have a thing for heavy equipment! :-)
Josh loading gravel in the loader....
Dumping the gravel in the dump truck bed...
That's ME moving dirt! I must confess, this was a lot of fun. My daddy probably wouldn't have let me be so adventurous on machinery, but my bubba will! :0)
Clarence, being raised a city dog, was a little unsure of the ride in the big ole, loud dump truck. He snuggled up on Uncle Josh.
Daddy with the road grater spreading out our load of gravel.
The boys left to go turkey huntin', so I got on the 4-wheeler and went and found the nearest mud hole. Being a kid again is SO much fun!
There is nothing more fun than letting loose in the middle of the boondocks. It's peaceful, quiet, and there's room to think. Not to mention I think the oxygen from all of the trees is good for the soul! And yes, you can wear swarovski crystal sunglasses on a tractor or mud riding with jeans and your cowboy boots. City girl, country girl, whatever you may be, it does work. I could and would have done it all in heels. :o)
I split the rolls to make a gigantic sandwich. Then I made a concoction of Italian dressing, mustard, mayo and a tad of curry. I put the spread on both insides of the giant sandwich, loaded it with ham and cheese, baked it a few minutes, and voilà! Yummy supper sandwiches! Delish! I'll eat salads tomorrow! :-)
Finding a new church home is one of the most difficult things I have done in my life. If you're not from the south, you may not understand the entire church family thing. I have Had the same church "home" my entire life. I've visited multiple churches in Tuscaloosa, but nothing could compare to my home family church. Southern churches are social and family networks. Everyone attends the same church for generations, you sit on the same pew with all of your family on Sunday and you leave for Sunday lunch as a family afterwards. Trying to find that new church family has been one overwhelming task! Now it's time to find a new church family.
I've made other decisions lately, also. One of the biggest was to slack off with Daisymaes. Having two full time jobs has been rewarding, but not what I need to be doing with my life right now. I've decided to focus on my family and real job (which I do love) and slack off with Daisymaes. We'll be focusing more on just the website, and less on traveling doing shows and markets this year.
Do you ever feel like God just knows what you need to hear?
These past few weeks we've started baby steps. I've been doing a lot of reading, praying and talking with friends about my faith and the difficulties we have in our walk with Him. I've started searching seriously for a church home, listening to more Christian music and radio, I've started a prayer journal, I've started daily devotionals. These are baby steps, but they are steps.
He's been "stepping on my toes" a lot these past few weeks, really tugging at my heart. It's been quite a struggle for me to learn just to be quiet, open up the Bible, open up my heart and listen. It's been so long since I've been in that quiet place, and it's definitely taking some adjustments for me to start building back the relationship with Him.
This morning's devo was on Joy in the Doing. It was about how many of us, as Christians, don't want to know the will of God. We don't want to stop and listen. Much less take joy in whatever it is He calls us to do. Maybe it touched me so because I typically know the difference between right and wrong, yet the wrong can be so much more fun and exciting! There have been so many moments where I've ignored my conscious and ignored God. We all do it. We all think we know what is best for us in our own lives.
Maybe it touched me because I'm on this massive search for joy in my life. True JOY!
I had a really good friend tell me this past weekend to basically give it up. Until I find God's joy, I wasn't going to be happy. (I LOVE my friends.)
I'm learning the real joy in our life comes from DOING God's will, not just KNOWING God's will. Now comes the exciting part, can I be quiet enough to listen?
Most importantly, is how suddenly I see how God should fit into this picture. It doesn't matter where you were, what's in your past, or how far you've come. All that matters is this moment and how you choose to live today. Every situation and person has a reason for being in our lives and touching our hearts in some way. No regrets, just onward we march, on our knees! :-)
It's kinda like that old saying - "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". I'm learning that the relationship you have with God is a lot like that saying. If you don't have your joy filled through Christ, you'll never be happy. There will always be voids that need filling. No matter how much running you do from God, we each have to be reminded daily that our marriage to Him as Christians should remain the most important thing in our lives, or we won't (and can't) be blessed in other areas.
God gives us experiences to build our character, not character to build our experiences. It's what you take, learn and GROW from each encounter that defines who you are growing in Christ to become. I have been nurtured in the past few weeks by awesome friends, and I thank God each day for my little village. I pray that my village of friends continues to grow with friends of faith.
I'm a conservative, one who strongly believes that big government is not the answer for a democracy. When you put the government on the side of taking care of the people, instead of giving the people opportunities for their own advancement, you begin to create a socialist society. I work hard for what I have....REALLY hard. It's my belief that the more people begin to depend on the government for handouts and to take care of their basic needs, the less likely they are to get off their rears and show initiative. The less opportunities are there to grow character if there is no struggle to make yourself better.
I'm from the old school of thought that the government should be in place to protect the people from enemies and the evils of the world. A democracy is when the government looks out to make sure the people have free will to use their moral compass to make their own decisions and choices; there is no room in democracy to continuously take from others to meet the needs of the less fortunate. That job should be on the hearts of our countrymen and churches as neighbors to take care of each other. But, oh...wait, we don't give our children the opportunity to learn about morals and values any more, because the government didn't see it as important enough to be included in the curriculum for the kids of this country. Parents don't teach morals or values, schools can't teach it, churches don't instill values enough....so that leaves a country of citizens who don't understand values, character, hard work ethics - or any root of what this country was founded upon. We have become a country who expects hand outs and has little patience for the hard work it takes to meet our basic needs on our own. Even as Christians we don't do a good job of helping those who are less fortunate, when it is our job. We have become so selfish and bitter towards everything that is handed to certain folks, that we resent having to be nice. Very, very few in our country have ever been truly neighborly. The moral compass of America is dying.
The health care bill scares me. I attempted to read the 1990 pages of one hot mess. Should we have some form of regulation? Sure. There are several scary things that can happen with the health care system we have in place. What really ticks me off is the way this bill passed. No attempt to get both sides on board. No bipartisanship at all. Just a bunch of secret meetings forcing out the democratic process. Did you know the last 400 pages are about medical care for Indians? Haven't heard much about that in the news. Who even knows what is in this thing! No stages for progress. No baby steps at reform. Just trillions of dollars spent while we're all in a recession. Way to show Americans how to be responsible with money. Oh, wait, it's OUR money. Not yours, Washington. *Insert serious eye rolls of frustration and aggravation.*
I hope the foundation of America can survive, and I pray for Godly individuals to be on our ballots....soon.