"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 25, 2019
When I was a kid, I was not a good traveler. I was constantly asking, "How much further?" or "Are we almost there?" or "When will be get there?" I'm sure it was frustrating for my parents.
The thing is, we didn't vacation or travel very often. But the summer that my sister got married, I had my 6th birthday. She and my brother-in-law moved to western Kansas, where he did sharecropping. I believe it was about a 12-14 hour drive between our house and theirs. We didn't get to visit them often, but did make the trip from time to time during the two years that they lived there.
In my mind, it seems as if we generally would leave in the evening after Daddy got home from work and would drive overnight to get there. Back then our cars didn't have air conditioning, so it was probably cooler to travel at night with all of the windows rolled down; plus we girls would also sleep more and Daddy and Mama wouldn't have to listen to our chatter and singing the entire trip.
I remember one particular trip when we were traveling after dark and were somewhere in Kansas. In the distance I could see the lights of a house and asked Daddy where we were at. He replied that he didn't know. How could he not know?! I questioned him about it, and he tried to explain that since we weren't near any towns he didn't know our exact location. I pursued my questioning, "But those people have to have an address so they can get mail! So we can't be in the middle of nowhere. So what is their address?" I understand now, but as a young child it made no sense that Daddy wouldn't know the name of the town that we were near wherever we were on our journey.
On the other hand, I fully trusted that Daddy would get us to our destination. I never doubted his ability to safely get us where we needed to be. I never feared having car trouble or a flat tire, because I was confident that my Daddy could fix any problems we may encounter. Even when he didn't know the name of where we were at during our trip, I had full trust in him!
We are all on a journey through life, which began at birth. There are highlights and stops along the way.... sometimes we break down and face obstacles and the unexpected.... sometimes we become weary of the journey and long for home. There may be times when we feel confused about where we are at and don't understand our location; and although our Heavenly Father may know, He may not always reveal that information to us. Other times we may ask our Father the same questions over and over again and ask why, and we aren't quite satisfied with His responses.
The truth is, our Father can be trusted! We don't need to worry and fret about what could go wrong and the "what ifs"; don't have to fear that something may break down or go wrong during our journey. We can trust the love and protection and care of Father God. He loves us so much more than any earthly father could love their child; so if we can trust flesh and blood, we should even more so trust the one who knew us even before we were conceived in our mother's womb.
Now that I'm an adult, I enjoy traveling and experiencing new adventures. My sister, Janie, and I have made two trips to California and three to Orlando. Her deaf son, Devin, travels with us. One trip to San Jose, CA was made to the National Deaf Fellowship Conference where Janie's husband, who passed away in 2012, was to be honored. The other four trips were made to the General Council of the A/G, where Janie was working as a sign language interpreter. When we've gone to Florida, we choose different routes there and home so that we can see more parts of the country. We leave early before she needs to arrive, so that we can vacation and sightsee; because we are ready to get home as soon as the conference is over.
On one particular trip to Orlando, we drove across Kentucky, then into West Virginia before heading south. Neither of us are even sure how this happened, but we ended up in this small mining town in West Virginia. We had stopped at a particular location and was trying to find our way back to the interstate. It is funny now, but at the time, it was the oddest thing ever! It was like there was no way out of the town. We would think we were taking different routes and it would circle back into the town. We stopped and asked one man who was walking beside the street and he had just moved there and had no idea how to give us directions. We finally found a mining museum and Janie went inside to ask for directions. There was a man and two ladies there, and apparently had very few visitors. They asked Janie, "How did you all ever end up here and find us?" They were able to help us and we finally got out of the town and found the right highway.
There may be times in our journey through life that we find ourselves in a place that we never imagined that we'd end up in. The harder we try to get out, the more confused and frustrated we become, and it seems as if we are just going around in circles and there is no way out. Often we are there due to circumstances of our own making; not because God placed us there. But even then, when we ask Him for help, God is always willing to show us how to get back on the right path.
Regardless of where we find ourselves in life, we can always trust that our Father knows best. He loves us and it is His greatest desire that each of us make it to our Heavenly Home safely. None of us know when we will arrive Home, but we can have confidence that as much as we desire to get there, God is eager for the eternal arrival of each of His children; and will love us and help us during earth's journey. Until our arrival, God has a plan and purpose for each of us to fulfill. May we each run life's race with perseverance and a heart filled with faith and trust in our Father!
One of the stages in a child's development is to come to the realization that their parents aren't omniscient or omnipotent. Sometimes it is an event, like asking where you are and they can't answer perfectly. Or it could be when we suddenly realize you can't walk to school and home uphill all the way both ways. Or when we see them try to pull up a stump and fail.
Once we realize they aren't perfect, we can become cynical. And then we tend to apply that cynicism everywhere. We stop trusting advertisements, politicians, friends, family, teachers, and even God.
But Jesus said that we need to come to God as little children. As those who haven't become hard-hearted and cynical. We need to return to that case when we know we don't always get an answer or always get the answer we hope for, but we know that God knows it all, and can do it all.
Mama's Vegetable Soup
Amounts depend on how much you want to make:
*Boil chopped potatoes, chopped onions, and carrots together in water until tender.
*Add any leftover vegetables that you may have in the fridge. Mama always used leftover pinto beans, corn, green beans, and any vegetables. If there isn't enough leftover, you can used canned or frozen veggies. Do not drain the juice off.
*A quart jar of canned tomatoes.
*Salt and pepper, to taste.
*Add a chunk of bell pepper. (This is for flavor only. We did not eat the pepper and would remove before serving.)
*Turn down heat and cook for a while until thoroughly heated and flavors have time to blend.
*Right before ready to serve add about 1/2 cup of milk to the soup and cook a few minutes longer. Do not boil again.
*Serve with cornbread.
A new fall season has arrived! Many of us enjoy the promise of cooler temperatures, less mowing (yay!), and the changing colors of the tree leaves before they drop from the trees. I enjoy making chili and soups when the weather is cooler; which are great crockpot meals.
But I miss the longer hours of daylight that we have during summer; making homemade ice cream and fresh garden items; lightning bugs, green grass, and trees full of leaves that shade our yard; and having carefree summer days.
Then there is winter when we have short, cold days; not knowing if we'll have ice and/or snow; having to bundle up warmly and cold temperatures; brown grass and no leaves on the trees..... is there anything good?! But we also get to celebrate Jesus' birth at Christmas and welcome in a New Year; which are always exciting.
We know that the day will come when the spring season will arrive! The grass will once again turn green, leaves will bud out on the trees, and flowers will bloom. After the coldness of winter, warm temperatures come once again.
No matter which season we like best, we can always find something to enjoy and like about the others!
If you want God to close and open doors, let go of the door knob. -unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon