Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Perfect Vacation

What a delightful vacation we had! Everything worked together to create an ideal time away. The weather was totally cooperative (except for a short storm in Georgia). But Jeff was driving and I felt perfectly safe.

Savannah is a beautiful city, the only city not destroyed during the civil war. In fact, General Sherman is said to have presented the city to President Lincoln as a Christmas present. Designed by James Oglethorpe, it is centered around 17 squares, each one as quaint and beautiful as the next.

We spent hours strolling along the Savannah River, enjoying the shops and restaurants. Most of these restaurants along the river are housed in restored cotton warehouses. The cobbled streets are constructed of stones used as ballast in the ships coming up the river to receive shipments of cotton. As a lover of history and a former teacher of history, we truly enjoyed this historic trip.

Oh yes, did I mention the food? Both in Savannah and at the beach, we had sumptuous and scrumptious meals. To say nothing of the wonderful pecan pie and other desserts.

Once we arrived at the beach, the sun came out and "rolled around heaven all day" for all the days we were there. If you have read my previous blogs, you might notice that I love the beach. I was grateful to my friends and husband who allowed me to spend hours and hours on the beach.

All too soon, it seemed, time came for us to leave the beach and continue on with this dream trip. The last leg of the trip was to Winter Haven, FL. where our old history teacher, coach and High School Principal lives in retirement. We hadn't seen Mr. Hofer since our wedding day, 39 years ago. This man is highly esteemed and respected by every student who passed through his classes. It was really special for my husband to have a moment to tell him just how much he had influenced his life both as a coach and teacher.

Another bright spot was that our friends Bob & Janet could join us in our visit to Mr. Hofer. We hadn't seen them in over ten years, so you can imagine what a great reunion we all had. We had lunch in a charming little seafood restaurant not far from Mr. Hofer's home and then went back and sat on the porch of the clubhouse in his development to continue our trip down memory lane.

And now we are home once again, our bodies rested and tanned, our minds filled with wonderful memories and our souls refreshed and soothed having been privileged to spend time with dear friends, both present and past.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By the Sea, By the Sea...

Actually, it's not the sea, rather the Gulf of Mexico. It's been just a little over nine years since I last had the joy of sitting on this gorgeous beach. I had forgotten just how much I love it until I walked onto the beach this past Saturday morning. For the first hour all I could do was sit quietly and praise God for allowing me to partake of this part of His glorious creation.

We had just been talking in the car on the way down here about how really weird it is that some people could actually believe that all of this just happens. Just one look at the world around me proves that an intelligent, loving Being created all this and then gave it to us to enjoy.

Sitting on the beach with the waves washing against the shore totally soothes my soul. In the hours I have been spending on the beach this week, I have allowed my thoughts to wander. One of the questions that has been flitting into my mind all weeks is whether perhaps my mansion in heaven could be on the beach. Just in case, I have found one I think would do.

It doesn't really have to be this big. A smaller one would be just fine.

We are so blessed to have generous friends who will share their lovely beach getaway with us. This has been a week of lots of laughing, sharing memories, and enjoying the gift of friendship we share with this dear couple. We've known each other since we were young married couples raising our children on teachers' salaries. Now, here we are on the "other side", marvelling at how God has blessed us.

Besides pondering the logistics of heaven, sitting on the beach has also allowed me lots of time to read. I have just finished Carol Kent's "A New Kind of Normal". What a blessing it has been to my soul. I had previously read "Laying Isaac Down". Both of these books have encouraged and enlightened me. I am reminded, once again, that "God is not through with me yet".

As our last day here comes to a close, I'm being called to appetizers on the deck and then a nice dinner by the water. As I reflect on these past few days, I can only hope that it won't be another nine years before I return.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Neither Rain Nor Snow Can Postpone the Church Picnic

And rain it did. Given all the dry Sunday afternoons we have experienced this arid summer, wasn't it Murphy's Law that this past Sunday would be an all day soaker? But it didn't deter the hungry congregation of our church from gathering in the Town Park for an afternoon of food and fellowship.

To the credit of our dear Pastor, he praised God for the much needed rain and trusted the appetites of congregation both for physical and spiritual sustenance. And, as usual, we didn't let him down. In spite of the weather, a healthy crowd gathered at the appointed time. As in the past, folks of all ages came out to enjoy each other's company.

Some spent the afternoon dry and cozy in the Park's Dining Room.

Some braved the moister air of the outdoor pavilion. Our visiting missionaries from Papua, New Guinea didn't seem to mind the weather. I guess when you consider the hardships of their everyday lives, this was a minor matter.

Then there are those to whom the call of a mud puddle supersedes all other concerns.
Does this make you yearn for those days of your youth when you ran through the rain and splashed in mud puddles. I remember so well my brother, sister and I putting on our bathing suits and running in the rain. My mom never seemed to worry about the mud and dirt, just lightening. In fact, we weren't allowed to take a bath, wash the dishes or talk on the phone in a thunder storm. I liked the washing dishes part.
Anyway, it was a wonderful afternoon in spite of the rain----or maybe because of it.