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Camping Vacation!! Where Else Would I Be??

This is another camping vacation for hubby and me.  It is the same, yet different!  I have never cooked on a gas stove or with a gas oven, so today I decided to undertake it.  I have lived to tell about it!  :)  I let hubby light it because I was a tiny bit scared.  I guess you could say he lit my fire and I was cookin’ with gas!  HAAA!!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist…must be the fresh air.

It is cold!  For us, anything in the 20s is blizzard conditions.  Hubby went out to look at the lake and the dock was icy.  He did get to hear the duck hunters hunting in the distance.  I didn’t see anything but my eyelids…sleeping in is half the fun!!  I finally felt guilty that hubby was outside in the cold and decided to rouse myself from my beauty sleep.

The morning had begun and I started with yummy bacon!  All southerners MUST have their pork in the morning!!

bacon at camp

How good does that look??  Thick slices of smoked, yummy goodness!

gracie waits patiently for her piece of baconGracie waits for her piece of bacon.   How sweet is that??  She knows I can’t resist that wagging tail and expecting eyes…I am such a softie!

It took longer than I expected.  I thought gas stoves were supposed to cook faster than electric, but we got there.

eggs at campFresh eggs straight from…Wal-Mart!  :)

daryl eating breakfast at campAnd a happy hubby!  I guess it turned out pretty good!  Hey, I didn’t blow us up with the gas stove!!  We ate and live to tell about it…YAY!

Have a great day, precious reader!

 

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Fulfilling Dreams and Visions

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My Thanksgiving day was wonderful!  My Thanksgiving night was a nightmare!  I woke up with gastritis and all of its nasty symptoms!!  But, I had one of the best Thanksgivings I remember by far!

My mother had found an old box of pictures as she was cleaning out a closet a couple of weeks ago. She wanted me to go through them with her.   It contained old photos from when I was a baby and old, antique photos of my grandfather’s side of the family.  There were pictures of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, great aunts and uncles, and cousins from years long past.  My mother began to tell me about each one.  Her favorite aunt, the cousin we had that was a Methodist missionary to Africa, and that is the one I couldn’t get enough answers about.

It seems this particular cousin had left at a young age to be a missionary to Africa.  He married and adopted a child from there.  That is the only thing I know.  I have searched high and low for him and there is nothing on google that comes close to him. 

It is my understanding, he married a sweet Methodist lady, they adopted a little boy, and my cousin died there working all of his life as a missionary.  He never quit or retired.  He served the Lord until the day he died.  It saddens me I cannot find out more.  As children we just aren’t interested and, as adults,  we often wait until the grandparents that could have told us everything we want to know have died, and the valuable information with them.

I don’t want birthdays and the dates of deaths.  I want details of lives, the dreams, the visions, the acts of kindness, their philosophy of what was really important!  I want the wisdom that accrued through the years.  I want to know if their children are alive and where they are.  

I have friend who prays in an abandoned cemetery.  This is a true story, as bizarre as it sounds.  I asked him why he did that.  He said it was because nobody is there at 6 a.m. and he won’t be interrupted or disturbed.  My friend is a very successful businessman.  There is always a demand on him for something.  This cemetery is his “alone” place with God.  You truly can’t get more quiet than that!

One day as my friend walked among the tombstones, praying, the Lord spoke to him and asked him to look and tell Him what He saw.  He told the Lord he just saw markers of where the dead had been buried.  God spoke to his heart and said, “No, what you are seeing is a dream that never became a reality, a cure for cancer that was never found, the evangelist that was to have been used by Me to bring thousands to salvation, the one who could have been a mighty leader in government and stopped catastrophes that didn’t have to take place, but they only saw themselves and their weaknesses.  They never grabbed hold to what I had planned to do through them, and so the cures, leadership, and ministries died with them.  You are seeing unfulfilled visions, purposes, and dead dreams.”

How sad, precious reader!  So many lives birthed to make a difference and  death came before the difference could because someone thought too much of what people thought or for their failure to prioritize God’s agenda over their own.  They let their own lack of belief in what God could do through them outweigh what God was waiting to do the entire time with them!

My cousin, Ralph was not one like that I don’t think.  He left on his mission, gave himself fully to it, and never returned because ministers never really retire.  There is always another soul to reach for, another person in need of healing, another young life to mold for Christ because there is no time to waste!  They always have that unction to keep going because that unction is the anointing and it never leaves us!

I will continue to search for any tidbit about Ralph I can get.  Maybe I will be able to find his son or grandchildren.  I must say, I am quite curious about this man who saw opportunity instead of obstacles!  I hope I have some of that in me! 

God bless you, dear reader!  I will see you soon!

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Happy Thanksgiving and a Special Thank You To My Readers!

 

 

 

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I cannot let this day go by without saying Happy Thanksgiving to my WordPress family and readers!  This year has been phenomenal and I am praising God for it and sincerely thanking you!  Our numbers at simplyjuliana more than tripled this year and I NEVER received anything but positive feedback.

I started writing when I was 50 years old and 2 years later, here I still sit, thank God!  God is wonderful and He has blessed me beyond words.  I had no idea what all He had in store for me.  My mother,  who went into heart failure twice after open heart surgery that was unsuccessful in stopping atrial fiberlation, brushed death twice last year.  Today, she is healed and a feisty elderly woman, glory to God!  He healed her and restored her health before our eyes.  I also had health issues, and God has touched me in a mighty way and am feeling better daily!

Little did I know this little blog would turn into a book that would sell out on amazon twice.  God is good!  No matter what your age or what you have faced, God’s blessings await you in ways you never knew possible!  Never give up!!

Thank you for sharing a little of your day with me!  I praise God for you, precious reader!!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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What a Day, Oh Glorious Day!

white church in a fall setting

 

Today is a very happy day for me.  I know there is a difference in joy and happiness, but today I have had the privilege of having both.  I am going into my second week of prayer with the Lord and I am anticipating it being incredible.

Today, I went to Sunday School and church.  Our praise and worship was wonderful and the message was so beautiful and anointed!  I love my church and I LOVE my pastors!! 

After church we went to my friend and fellow parishioner’s restaurant for the “Blue Plate Special” (just like on ‘The Andy Griffith Show‘).  It was yummy…hamburger steak and gravy, homemade mashed potatoes, corn, homemade rolls, fried okra, and banana pudding cake or “Soapapilla” cheesecake…if you got one you could have the other, too for just fifty cents.  It is a place where everyone is your neighbor, they know you by name, and they sit with you and chat while you eat as though you are family.  It is just a small town, warm, homey atmosphere!  

We came home for football, friends stopping in, and another great service followed tonight.  I am so grateful for my pastor, my church family, and the move of the Holy Spirit we have there.  The messages my pastor preached was right on target and I gleaned so much from them.  

I am off to bed soon, and as I go I go with a big smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart!  God is good and I am so grateful for His love for me and my family!  God bless you, sweet reader!

 

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Gracie…My Saving Grace

gracie taco

Gracie, my baby Chihuahua,  is pictured here wearing her costume for the Fall Festival at church.  She is going as a taco.  Isn’t she the cutest?  Gracie is basically my second “all my own” dog.  We have had dogs since 1999, and I loved them, but they were really for my children who are grown now.

I knew they taught responsibility, caring, and gave great joy.  I knew children that had pets matured more quickly, were more responsible as a whole, and seemed more secure so I knew getting them a pet was a good idea.

When my kids became adults and moved out, we kept my daughter’s Pomeranian.  The reason we did was because in her dorm she could not have pets.  There was no choice but to leave Prissy with us.

I loved Prissy and formed a very strong bond with her when the kids left home.  I didn’t empty nest well and she was now my “baby”.  I led a very busy life at that time.  I was on the “Library Board” and volunteered many hours at my local library, and with a “Crime Victims Assistance” program in our county.  I did volunteering for a local hospital, as well.  I was active in my church (the one we attended at the time) so Prissy was left alone quite a bit.

I began to think about this.  Prissy was used to gleeful and boisterous play when Kate came home and hubby and I didn’t “play” the way she did.  I began to sense there was a loneliness in Prissy and I began to cut back on being gone so much.  Still there were days that pulled me away, even when I didn’t want to be.  I determined, at that point, I was going to say no a bit more forcefully to some things and give Prissy the attention she deserved.

As this new-found freedom to be home began to dawn on Prissy, she bonded all the more with me.  She followed my every step and would put her nose under my door in the mornings, she was so anxious to be with me.  Hubby had a rule back then of no dogs in the bed.  That rule has since been changed.

Prissy died suddenly and without warning and I was devastated.  Gone was my baby with her sweet ways, her adoring, unconditional love, and the fact she was no longer my inseparable buddy was almost more than I could bear.  I cried and grieved!  It was as if I could not shake it.  I felt so much guilt that I had spent too much time away from her in the beginning of my empty nest transitioning, that I had not fought harder to secure a place in my bed so I could be with her that much more.  I felt guilt over things I had no control over.  I knew God had given Prissy to us and now my gift was gone forever!

I looked for other puppies, hoping another would help fill the void, but none bonded with me or me to them as Prissy had. Actually, none bonded to me period!  I thought this was so strange because I had so much love to give.  I began to wonder if this was my punishment for not appreciating Prissy as I should have.   A friend told me Prissy was one of a kind and I would never find another like her.  I began to believe that myself and it deepened my grief beyond words.

I watched as other dog owners would pick a puppy and the bond was totally natural.  What was wrong with me??  That question went through my mind over and over.  Finally, one day I began to pray about this.  I told God Prissy was a dog, not a human and although she was irreplaceable, He could make another one for me with everything I needed, which was loving and companionable!

It was funny, because it takes me days to name a puppy, but as I prayed that prayer the name “Gracie” came to me.  God let me know another puppy that loved me unconditionally was coming and to name her Gracie because that is what she would be…my saving grace from oppressive grief.

One day I took one more look at the classifieds online (I was not familiar with rescues at that time).  I saw her and called immediately.  The lady wanted to know how I got her number because it takes 24 hours for an ad to post and she had only posted ten minutes before the phone call.  I knew God was up to something!

We met in a Wal-Mart parking lot the next day.  At first I had misgivings about her.  She seemed nervous, uncomfortable, and overly shy.  Again, a rejection I thought.  My friend told me to watch her as she held her.  Every time I would say something, she would turn her head as far as it could go to look at me.  There was another puppy that didn’t do that.  It had bonded with the breeder.  My friend looked at me and said, “This is the one, I can tell it.  She wants you!”

Gracie had on a bulky sweater and I stripped it off.  She relaxed in my arms.  I handed the lady the money for her and gave my keys to my friend.  I wanted to hold her all the way home.  I stopped off at my husband’s office and he thought she was beautiful!!  He isn’t a dog person like we are…or I should say WASN’T….he loves her, now.

Gracie and I went shopping with Kate for Gracie’s Fall Festival costume yesterday.  Gracie is two years old now, so her costume from last year doesn’t fit.   I drove and Kate held Gracie.  She shook and trembled and panted the whole way there.  The poor baby thought she was going to the vet!  We got to the shop and Kate said Gracie was making her hot.  Kate had been fishing and she was still pretty layered up, ready for a blizzard in south Texas…she is my Aggie!  :)

When I took Gracie, immediately the shaking, trembling, panting stopped.  I felt her little body totally relax.  I don’t need signs anymore to know Gracie and I have bonded, but when I get them they warm my heart and bring me such joy!

I will always miss Prissy.  She was one of the best dogs we ever had!  But, Gracie is, too.  She fills my heart with so much love!  The old rule of no dogs in the bed is long gone.  She snuggles right next to me at night and greets me with loving wet kisses in the mornings.  She lets me dress her, put rhinestone collars on her, and baby her to my heart’s content.  Her attitude seems to say, “Whatever makes Momma happy, makes me happy and that is what it is all about!”  If you are a dog owner, you will know as crazy as this may sound, it is very normal and true!

The lady in the pet store said to me yesterday, “Ah, a rescue dog….one you rescued and one that rescued you!”  I think that describes Gracie and me perfectly!

If you are thinking of a dog, precious reader, please, adopt and don’t hesitate!  You won’t regret it!!  They are great for your health physically and emotionally and you are great for theirs, too!  Check your shelters and organizations such as ”Dogs Bound For the Pound”.  They will be loyal and loving companions for life and for the fact you saved them from the unthinkable!  Somehow, they know you literally saved their lives!

Please, let me hear your story of you and your precious pet!  I know it is a beautiful one!!  I will see you soon!

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