Before & After

Revelations 21:5

And he that sat upon the throne said, behold, I make all things new….

Encourage you to make time to get alone with God today. Read revelations chapter 21 and 22! Get excited about heaven and the wondrous eternity God has planned for us.

Have you ever had something new?A new outfit? A new car? A new home? There really isn’t anything quite like new. I’ve only ever live in a new home twice in my lifetime (as far as I can remember). My parents built a new house when I was eight years old. I was excited to observe the building process! We actually lived in an RV in the front yard as the house was being built. Sharing a room with my little sister was not a problem. Our room seemed gigantic compared to the RV.

My husband and I have lived in seven houses and moved eight times in our 29 years (we lived in one house twice). Only one of those homes was brand new! I remember the pride we felt creating our own blueprints, designing each space, and selecting colors and elements that were specifically our taste. One special memory, as we were wallpapering a nook in our son’s room, our two-year-old daughter walked in and said, “where is my some of that?” Of course, we went out and bought her a beautiful, extra-wide border with bunny rabbits on it. I loved every detail of that house because I had created it!

Older homes are a bit more difficult to tackle. Regardless of how many new coats of paint, sometimes it still does it feel new. However, we recently stripped our master bathroom down to the plywood floor and re-created a masterpiece. As I look around the room, I scarcely can remember the outdated wallpaper, broken fixtures, and dirty carpet that was once there. Through the skilled laborers of many, behold, I have a new room.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of a song that my husband used to sing called My Heart is Like a House. The lyrics referred to our hearts having many rooms, in particular, a secret, dirty room where we won’t let anyone enter.

When I have guests over, I never would invite them to use my old bathroom. Now, I need to work on keeping my bedroom clean, so everyone can walk through to see my new place!

The song lyrics continue, “…one day I let the Savior in… And when I think of that room now, I’m not ashamed anymore because I know that hidden sin no longer hides behind that door….”

Jesus is the master craftsman. He was there when you were created, and if you open up the door to your heart, He will come in and re-create you. He has the power to make all things new, especially you!

When others look at you they’ll scarcely remember the one you were before and they will only see the masterpiece that you are after the Savior has visited.

Big Beautiful Brown Bunyard Eyes

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 

Today, I want to share some memories of my Great- Aunt Jeirenne. Now, Aunt Jeirenne had a reputation for being quite the talker, but when I think of Aunt Jeirenne three special stories come to mind. 

First of all, I cannot remember a time when Aunt Jeirenne didn’t greet me with the following phrase. Oftentimes, she would grab my chin with her hand, look me in the eyes, and proclaim, “Look at those big, beautiful, brown Bunyard eyes.”

I have done some research and over 55% of the people in the world have brown eyes. Brown, in reality, is not such a special eye color. But, to me, I have always loved my “big, beautiful, brown Bunyard eyes” because Aunt Jeirenne instilled a sense of pride in me with her words of affirmation “fitly spoken” to a young girl. 

Another memory of Aunt Jeirenne floods my mind every time I gaze upon my antique, yellow cornucopia vase. I absolutely love my vase, but that hasn’t always been the case. As an 18 year old bride-to-be, I excitedly open wedding gift after wedding gift until I reach the box from Aunt Jeirenne. Before me I find various “used” vases wrapped haphazardly in newspaper. Trying to hide my confusion and trying not to laugh at the unusual gift, I smile and offer thanks. Little did I realize, this costly cornucopia would one day become one of my most treasured decor pieces. Thank you, Aunt Jeirenne.

My final memory of Aunt Jeirenne happens to be on my wedding day. My groom stands at the front of the church awaiting my descent; my bridesmaids line up before me; Daddy and I stand outside the church awaiting our turn to enter the foyer; and, Aunt Jeirenne arrives. Some might say she’s late and others claim she’s just in the nick of time. She happily greets me with a hug, a kiss, an appreciation of my big, beautiful, brown Bunyard eyes, and we wait for her to be seated as the wedding march begins. 

As I grow older and memories grow fonder, I hope I can impact my nieces and nephews in a memorable and uplifting way. I strive to hug them and smother them with kindness every chance I get. Perhaps some day they too will pass the torch onto another generation with words fitly spoken to uplift, encourage, and instill confidence.

Aunt Jeirenne made the mundane seem extraordinary. What a gift! I still love my big, beautiful, brown Bunyard eyes. Thanks again, Aunt Jeirenne. 

If you only knew…

John 4:9b

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 

We moved to the country when I was eight years old. So many of my childhood memories are from country living, and the majority of my dreams occur in the setting of our country home. Living just around the corner from my Grannie and Papa, I spent many days and nights at my grandparents house. Memories: the chickens, the cows, the garden, the early mornings, the embarrassing (to me) pink asbestos siding, the coconut cake, the dishwashing liquid bubble baths, the evening snack of popcorn & glass bottled Dr. Prpper, the half piece of gum, and so much more. 

One of most unique memories from Grannie’s house revolves around the water bucket. Sitting to the right of the kitchen sink, up on the counter, rested an old enamel pot and ladle, white with red trim (I’m still searching antique shops for a red trimmed ladle of my own). Each morning, Grannie would fill the pot with fresh water, maybe from the well, I really don’t know. 

All throughout the day, we would work and play, and whenever we needed a drink of water , to the bucket we would go. Grab the ladle, scoop up some water, and drink away! Mmmmm…refreshing. No worries or concerns for germs, we all drank from the same ladle and bucket. At my house, we had no pot or ladle. At my house, we had to use a cup! But at Grannie’s house, I loved to drink from the ladle. 

Jesus does not want you to settle for drinking out of a boring old cup. He offers living water! I love this passage of scripture: “If you only knew….” Praise God, I know! Jesus is God’s Son, and He holds the bucket. Let Him saturate you. All you have to do is ask. 

Brahma Mamas (or Don’t be the Devil’s Happy Meal)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

I stand at the gate looking out over the pasture before me. “Where are the cows grazing today?” I think to myself as I scan as far as my eyes can see. Some days the Brahma Mamas are down in “the bottom”. “The bottom”, now that’s a field just past the pond, and I can’t see it from my house. Sometimes we haul hay in “the bottom” pasture, and sometimes we take and dump brush into a big ditch over the side of “the bottom”.  Because even though it’s called “the bottom”, it seems to me that it’s a high spot on the land, but I suppose that’s because it rises up just passed the dam that forms the pond.  When the cows are in “the bottom”, I have no fear.

Today, though, I’m not so lucky. There they stand. To my right, not far from the barn, the fifteen or so Brahma cows are grazing on the new spring grass. It’s a wonderful view; some might even call it peaceful. The white and red cows graze the Kelly green field, majestic humps upon their shoulders and ferocious horns on their heads, without a care in the world. There are only a couple of white ones, I suppose in actuality they are gray, but I’ve always called them white. They are my favorite to watch, but at the same time, I find myself most afraid of them. 

Then I hear the barking and look to my left under the only clump of trees in the open field, I spy the dog pen. To fulfill my duty, I stand here at the gate with food bucket in hand. One of my chores, every afternoon after school, is to feed the dogs. The excited dogs jump and bark and eagerly await my arrival. I, on the other hand, dread the walk down the trail to the dog pen amidst the Brahma Mamas. 

I imagine to myself, “If the cows charge me, I can run to the dog pen and close myself safely behind the fence, then I will yell for help.” Discouraged by my plan, I realize no one would hear me yelling that far from the house. Sometimes I would imagine being trapped in the dog pen, surrounded on all sides by cows, forever. As an adult, I realize the ridiculousness of this scenario, I am sure after 5 minutes, if I didn’t return to the house, my mom would have come looking for me. Even so, as a preteen girl, I felt my fear was valid. 

“Okay, Amy, you don’t have all day, just do this.” I pep talk myself as I open the gate. Sure enough the gate creaks. It always creaks, and I always pray it won’t, but it does. I freeze, look at the Brahma Mamas who stop their grazing, lift their heads, and seem to look me in the eye. My mantra begins.

Eyes on the trail set before me, gate locked behind me, dog food in hand, I walk and pray: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Over and over I quote my scripture of safety to God, from gate, to dog pen, and back to gate. I open the creaking gate and relieved enter the safety of my backyard unscathed. Looking back, the Brahma Mamas stand grazing in their same spot as before, unmoved, and unconcerned by my intrusion upon their territory. 

The threat of danger never existed or my parents would not have given me the chore of feeding the dogs, but to me the threat was very real. I faced my fear daily and believed if it weren’t for the grace of God, I would have been a Brahma Mama Happy Meal. God continuously protected me. 

As I embark upon this daily walk down my trail of life, the devil spews threats of danger on every side, and sometimes I fear I might be surrounded. The threat of danger cannot affect me or my Heavenly Father would not have given me the tasks for which He has called me. So, I face my fear daily and trust in the Almighty God to bless me and keep me, to make His face to shine upon me, be gracious to me, lift up His countenance upon me, and give me peace (Numbers 6:24). No Happy Meal here; the devil will have to go hungry another day!!