Friday, May 27, 2016

Flashback Friday: One Year Ago Today

Twelve months have passed since this little group, plus some other friends and family, prayed and hugged and said, "See you later!"

And God has been so faithful and kind to us to help us to stay in close touch via different methods. The Lord has kept our family safe on the other side of the ocean and has given them many examples of his love and care for them.

That day was not the saddest day ever and neither is today. May 27 is just a day we remember in our family and can see God's faithfulness to all generations.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ordinary day, extraordinary God

It's a gray day in Nashville and my mood is kind of gray as well. On my way to work, I was praying/thinking about my day ahead and my mood and asked God to change my heart and to make me glad and joyful. I asked God to let me see his work today.

It is an ordinary day at the office. Tasks to get done, people passing by my desk, phone calls coming in. But God is doing extraordinary things and he allowed me to see some of it today.

Some lights were needing to be repaired in a couple of offices and the electricians came to fix them. As one of the guys was passing by my desk on his way out to pick up a part, I commented about a small stack of worship CDs he had in his hand.

"Are you going to listen to some music?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, "and I'm going to India on a mission trip and I'm going to take some to the pastors there."

Skreech. Ordinary turned to extraordinary as we listened to the electrician tell about how he and his wife had been saving money for a new house, but felt called to use that money and to use all of his vacation time to travel to India to do whatever was needed in the region where they have some contacts.

"I'm not a preacher," the electrician said. "In fact, as of Monday, that guy out there (pointing to his coworker out by the truck) is now a follower (of Christ), but I'm don't do that kind of thing all of the time.

This guy and his wife just want to go and serve alongside pastors and believers in India. They know that they might face opposition and that their travel could put them in danger. But they are choosing to trust our extraordinary God and go where he sends them.

"I guess I'm kind of like Barnabas," he said. "I just want to go where God sends me."

After he left to go pick up the part he needed, I told my coworkers that I had needed to hear that today. I'm so thankful that God answered my prayer and had mercy on my grumbling, complaining, downcast-for-no-good-reason soul!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Strawberry Patch

 My friend Debbie and I like to go on little adventures together. Last year we drove out to Hartsville, TN, to the Starlite Farm for The Strawberry Patch sale. As the founder of the sale says, this makers mart "is a marketplace filled to the brim with artsy goods such as handmade soaps, pottery, antiques, painted furniture, custom lighting and eclectic vintage finds."

This year's Spring sale was last weekend and it turned out to be a beautiful day for a drive to the country. We love walking around to see all of the creative things that people are selling, plus the fun setting and vignettes that the founder sets up to make the atmosphere inviting and inspiring. And there's also food.

I think this is becoming one of our traditions that we'll keep going back to year after year!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Favorites: Daughterhood/Motherhood

I realize that I'm almost a week too late for this post, but I didn't want to overlook two of my favorite roles in life: being a mother and being a daughter.

Last Sunday, Mother's Day, I got to spend the afternoon with my mother, having lunch and getting pedicures and then hanging out on my deck. I am continually thankful that God allowed Nancy Ryals to be my mother and that I was chosen by Him to be her daughter. I don't ever want to take for granted how special it is that we get to live in the same town and have for 16 years of my adult life.

I am equally thankful daily that I get to be Mom to Daniel. He needed to stay in Knoxville for a few more days, so didn't make it home for Mother's Day this year, but I got a text and enjoyed his Facebook/Instagram posts commemorating the day.

And when he did get home this week, he came bearing gifts:  Starbuck's card and he had gotten a hair cut (his idea). I also got to spend the evening hearing him play the piano and hearing about what he's been up to at college. It's definitely different in this stage of our mother-son relationship, having him be away and gaining independence, but I'm still so grateful that we can stay in touch and are never more than a text or phone call or Facetime away!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

East Tennessee and the Dogwood Arts Festival

It's been a while since I have written, and last week a friend told me that she reads my blog, so I thought I should post something.

The past few weeks have been filled with some fun outings/activities. At the end of April I drove to East Tennessee to visit the Goddards who were visiting Doug's parents in Dandridge. Part of the reason for the trip was also to see Daniel play with Briston Maroney at the Dogwood Arts Festival at Market Square in Knoxville.

On Saturday morning, Doug, Leanne and I went out on the boat on Douglas Dam and had a relaxing time just drifting around while Doug fished, Leanne knitted (and drove) and I colored. Very chill and very fun to just be together!

Later that afternoon, we headed to downtown Knoxville and walked around the Dogwood Arts Festival and listened to some great music (I'm a little biased). It started to rain during the show, but we had umbrellas and made it through. While we were eating dinner afterward, the rain got a lot harder and we were thankful that we weren't sitting out in it then.

I love getting to spend time at the Goddard farm in Dandridge. It is somehow calming and peaceful for this born and bred city girl to wake up in the morning and look out the window at cows and horses grazing on the hillside meadows. And I always love a barn!