It's been a couple of weeks since I blogged, so I have a little catch up to do. I don't know why I even blog...this is more or less a journal of my life's journey...the events of my life more than the emotional thoughts. I'm wondering, who really cares? And yet each week there are a few who check in. I've thought about stopping this blog, but for now I am being persistent.
I am so tickled over the number of page views I have on the Genesis blog, for I quit publishing that almost three years ago, yet the traffic keeps coming. I've never published a book, but I have readers all over the world reading my reflections on Genesis. That's cool! I wish I could get motivated to get back to First Peter. Maybe that will happen this winter, but for now I am still too "busy" to spend the time with it. I think it's a great book of the Bible, and God has much to teach me in I Peter. I just need to discipline myself to put my focus there. It will come...I hope!
Well, a recap of the last couple of weeks... We left after work on Thursday, November 3rd, for Cleveland, TN, to attend my college reunion/homecoming. We drove to Louisville and spent the night. I think that is such a cool city. I want to go back sometime with the granddaughters and spend some time there. They have a neat city skyline. I'd love to go to Churchill Downs, and some of the horse farms in Kentucky. I'd like to walk the streets of down town Louisville...many neat places. Perhaps we will go to the Gospel Quartet Convention some year...it's always held in Louisville. Definitely a destination spot for the future! We spent a few days there last February at our denominational conference M-11, and that was when I was first enticed to make it a vacation spot some day.
Back to the TN trip. When we arrived in Cleveland on Friday afternoon, we went to Lee University to register for Homecoming, picking up our tickets for weekend events. The campus is absolutely beautiful. The president has been there 25 years now, and it was stated that he has basically built a new building each year of his presidency. When I attended there in the late 1980's (I was a late bloomer...graduated from college at the age of 41), there were 1500 students. They are now approaching 5,000 students. The campus has grown with the student body, and it's mostly done in colonial style...lots of brick, stones, and columns. Very nice landscaping. I noticed on this visit some of the staff now use golf carts to get around...just like our campground!!
We drove around the town and out through our former housing subdivision. We drove past our golf course, which has discontinued to be a golf course. How sad to see the fairways overgrown and ragged. Some condos for senior living has been built where the former swimming pool area and roller rink was. I could live there! Whenever we move to the next stage in life, I'm all for getting a maintenance free condo!! We met a friend for supper at our favorite restaurant...The Gondolier. Paul and Bill had pizza, but I opted for my old standby...Italian Steak Sandwich... mozzarella cheese melted on the outside of the sub bun...sooo good!
We stayed at our friend Marilyn's house for the weekend. She had her two grandchildren with her for the weekend also, and it was nice to get to know them, and get updated on Marilyn's life. We weren't at her place very much due to the weekend activity, but it was so nice to go "home" to her place while in Cleveland.
Saturday we attended the Homecoming Basketball Game, and Lee won, of course. Very interesting...close...game. We met a couple of friends for supper. Dick and Paul started work at Olin Chemicals on the same day, fresh out of college back in 1976. Again, it was good to get caught up to date. I love going out with friends from the past and just picking up from where we left off. Dick mentioned that many others we knew from that company are planning to retire in Cleveland because that's where their friends are. Maybe that's where we will have to retire, for we certainly have most of our friends there, even though we moved away in 1994...17 years ago! Funny how on this visit (we had not been there for several years) we brought up the topic of retirement with most everyone we met with...tells me we are at a different stage of life, preparing for what's ahead. We had planned to retire in Hendersonville, NC, on the other side of the Smokies, but Cleveland would not be a bad choice. It's just more humid there compared to Hendersonville. North Carolina still gets my first vote as far as a unique place to live. Cleveland gets it if we base it on friends.
Saturday night we attended the Musical Festival put on by all of Lee's musical choirs, groups, ensembles, brass, and even a couple of performances by a group of fiddlers! Now that was down south!! Yee-ha!! Fantastic two hour concert. By the way, we grabbed some Chick-Fil-A for lunch that day (can't get that in Michigan), and had supper at our favorite Cleveland Mexican restaurant, The Monterrey.
Sunday morning we attended a former church of ours...Cleveland First Church of the Nazarene, and went out to eat with a group of friends from church...11 of us. We chose to go back to The Monterrey...group choice. Sunday afternoon we drove out to Polk County to our friend Bill's house. He has a organic farm now (sheep and pigs) and we wanted to see it, plus meet his new wife. They've been married three years now, and she is perfect for him, as he is for her! Great couple. Felt like we have known her as long as we have known Bill...34 years. We spent the afternoon with them, and they drove us up into some of the foothills of the Smokies...the fall colors were beautiful. They took us out to eat at the Gondolier...another branch of our favorite restaurant.
We chatted with other friends, but did not have time to see them. Sunday night we spent time with Marilyn (her grandkids were gone home). She was a terrific hostess, putting up with us coming and going as we felt like. She had to head to work the next morning, and we headed out to our next destination...West Harrison, Indiana, Higher Grounds Camp and Conference Center for our annual Nazarene Camping Assn. conference. As we left Cleveland, we drove by the Olin plant where Paul worked almost 18 years. Sometimes I wish he could go back there.
The Cleveland years hold for us the best of times, and the worst of times. But God has brought healing to my memories and my past, and I can recall the worst of times without any pain, and I cherish the best of times. We were blessed to have lived in Cleveland most of the time we raised our boys. I am glad to be a graduate of Lee University and The Pentecostal Theological Seminary. Cleveland is a very nice city...has grown tremendously since the time we lived there. It was there we fell in love with dogwood trees, Bradford pear trees, and azaleas. There is no prettier place to be in the springtime than Cleveland, TN in its full bloom!
On our way to Cincinnati....West Harrison, we stopped in Florence, Kentucky at a mall and walked the mall just to stretch our legs, and to get Paul a pair of Clarks shoes. Got to Higher Ground in time to check in and join several other couples/camp directors and family for supper at O'Charley's. We had two staff members join us at the conference...our Facilities/Operations Director and Events/Hospitality Director. We also met up with our two closest friends in camping...the directors from the Adrian, Georgia campground. We met them in 2004 at our very first camping conference, and have been good buddies ever since.
Tuesday - Thursday noon we enjoyed our time at the conference, getting to know many of the other directors. There were about 70 of us from around the US. Each year we meet at a different campground to get exposed to how other campgrounds are laid out and running their programs. Next year we are headed to Camp Taconic in New York. Look forward to that as I have never been to New York. Wednesday night we were all treated to a riverboat dinner cruise on the Ohio River...after dark, to enjoy the city lights of Cincinnati. Very nice time.
We drove home Thursday afternoon, and as we crossed the Michigan state line, it was snowing. By the time we picked up our dogs from the boarding kennel, and picked up my suv from the repair shop, snow had accumulated enough for me to have to brush and scrape my windshield! Welcome back to Michigan!! Our first snow of the winter. It melted the next day, but it was a bit nasty Thursday night.
Friday was a long day of catching up on all the mail at the office, after being gone for a week. I worked on Saturday for a bit also, plus getting all the laundry and things at home caught up. Did my shopping in Portage, including some Christmas shopping. I like to get it done early and avoid the crowds after Thanksgiving! It gets so nutso with the traffic then, so I don't even enjoy going to Portage for that month. Hubby spent Saturday mowing and mulching leaves on the campground. They've been piling up for a while!!
Today we attended worship at Chapman Memorial and then took a friend out to lunch at Logan's Steakhouse. Spent three hours chatting with her. She's a widow, and very lonely. She has health issues that give her some limitations, but her mind and her spirit is so very energetic. We enjoy our time with her. When we got back home I walked the dogs...found a mommy and five new kittens (oh, no!! more cat trapping...I'm so weary of that!!). Then came that long nap, and then this long blog. Let me insert my devotional material...rather brief for two weeks...but I did keep up with it!!
The Word for You Today
1. Don't Limit God
- with humility comes wisdom
- God values truth and honesty - be truthful to Him, other people, and yourself
- speak truly, deal truly, live truly
2. Pray Every Day
- there is no recovery at the physical or emotional levels without paying attention first to the spiritual level within us --- that means spending time with God
3. What Paul Prayed For
- understanding the will of God and obeying it
- living lives that please God
- bearing fruit for the kingdom
- being strengthened by power from God to be able to endure
- having grateful hearts and an attitude of praise
4. Don't Be Afraid
- there are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible...one for every day
- God does not want us to worry -- it means we don't trust him
- For God is not unfair. How can he forget your hard work done for him, or forget the way you used to show your love for him -- and still do -- by helping his children? And we are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward. Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won't become bored with being a Christian, nor become spiritually dull or indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience. (6:10-12)
- You need to keep on patiently doing God's will if you want him to do for you all that he has promised. His coming will not be delayed much longer. And those whose faith has made them good in God's sight must live by faith, trusting him in everything Otherwise, if they shrink back, God will have no pleasure in them. (10:36-38)
- If anyone sins deliberately by rejecting the Savior after knowing the truth of forgiveness, this sin is not covered by Christ's death: there is no way to get rid of it. (10:26)
- What is faith? It is the confidant assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. You can never please God without faith, without depending on him. (11:1)
- Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely look for him. (11:6)
- How can men be wise? The only way to begin is by reverence for God. For growth in wisdom comes from obeying his laws. Praise his name forever. (111:10)