Let Us Sing for Joy

I have always loved music. I love how it can lift your spirits no matter what. I love how you can connect with others through it. I love how some songs can make you cry and others make you laugh. I love the memories that go along with music. When I was told about my father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease in the 8th grade, music was something I liked to do when I needed to relax and escape reality. I thought I would share with you the songs that I love and always lift my spirits. 

  • Blessings by Laura Story. This is a Christian song that I first heard riding around in the car with Momo Malphrus. The lyrics are about the obvious blessings (like prosperity and healing) we pray for and how those are great, but sometimes our blessings don’t look like what we imagined when we prayed. Our blessings may actually  look like rain drops and sleepless nights. My favorite line from the song  is “What if trials of this life the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are your mercies in disguise.” This line always reminds me that I don’t always understand God’s ways and see the big picture. When my father was diagnosed, I knew that I had to consider it a blessing because God was going to do something great and this trial was a blessing because it brought me closer to Him.
  • Cecie’s Lullaby by Steffany Gretzinger. This is a BEAUTIFUL song. The first time I heard it, I was in one of my best friend’s dorm. She was playing it over & over because it is that good. But what I love the most is how it is like a love song from God to us.  The song always reminds me to call on the Lord whenever I am exhausted and worn out from life.
  • I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin. This one is another classic and it is something you can listen to no matter if you are happy or sad. It will bring your mood from a low to a high and a high to a higher high. Haha!
  • In Christ Alone by Travis Cottrell. This song is SO powerful. It reminds me of the power of Christ in me. My favorite line “no guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me,” ALWAYS gives me goosebumps. I love how it always brings me back to the life I can live with Christ as my savior, it is SO FREEING!!!!

“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” -Ephesians 5:19

Grits on a Thursday Morning

In the south, grits play a huge role in a delicious and complete breakfast. There is nothing like the mixture of salt, butter, grits, and bacon. Bacon? Yes, bacon. Grits without bacon to me, is like a tortilla chip without salsa; bland and boring.

History of This Special Ingredient

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Where did I hear about this special ingredient you may wonder? It was something my dad taught me when I was a young girl. When my family moved to Fernandina Beach, my dad and I would wake up before the sunrise and travel over to the lighthouse. He liked to take pictures of the beautiful sunrise that God made just for us that day. Dad loved the beautiful colors that would surround the lighthouse and that overall scene. He would take excellent pictures; however, I guess you really can’t mess up a picture of the sunrise? After the sun had risen and dad was satisfied, he took me downtown to eat at the Marina for breakfast. The first time we went, I had a basic breakfast complete with grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. As we started to get more into our food, I noticed how he added little bits of bacon into his grits. I thought I would give it a shot, I mean, dad usually knows what is good. Once again, he was right. From then on, the way I ate grits was forever changed. As we have eaten grits together several times through the years, dad would always give me a smile or nod of approval when he saw me add our special ingredient.

What Would Jeffrey Do?

IMG_1276Today, I went to the new Beach Diner in town. Without really thinking, I ordered scrambled eggs, toast, grits…and bacon. When the server laid my plate on the table, the feeling of nostalgia rolled over me. I had a throw back to the memories of our many, early morning breakfasts together. It was sweet and sad at the same time. I knew what dad would do if he was there, so I added bacon to my grits and thought of him while setting it all up. It was delicious as always and I knew that if he was there, he would have been giving me that same smile and nod of approval that he gave me while growing up.

Challenge

Find something unique that you do and share it with someone you love; it can be a family member or friend. You never know when that little quirky thing that you do may bring comfort to your loved one when they need it the most.

The Surprising Truth of What True Love Looks Like

Everyone has their visions of what true love looks like.  A common desire in our culture is to find the one that we are supposed to spend the rest of our lives with and live happily ever after. We see this belief reflected in all of the movies and even in TV shows.

Love Isn’t Always Rosebuds and Perfect Eyes

At the beginning of this year, I was at home from school watching the TV show, The Bachelor. My dad was sitting on the love seat and my mom was passing through the room. While she was doing so, she heard one of the contestants whining about how she does not get to spend much time at all with Chris (the bachelor). My mom, jokingly says, “aww Jeff, I only get to see you 24/7, there is just never enough time.” At this time, my dad was having to constantly be watched because of the progression of his Alzheimer’s Disease.

After my mom said this, it really put things into perspective for me. I am sure as a child, she like I, dreamed of love being easy, effortless, and glamorous. But to her, love started to look a lot different. Love became more of an action than a feeling.

Actions of True Love:

  • Love is patient. There were many days when love was answering my dad’s same questions over and over and over again. Patience was answering that question like it had never been asked before.
  • Love is not easily angered. Sometimes it was waking up several times in the middle of the night to answer my dad’s questions about where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. Whenever this happens, my dad was already confused. An aggravated tone would only make things harder on him. It may take a while but my mom’s gentle tone would eventually comfort him back to sleep.
  • Love always perseveres. My dad has had to take many different medicines throughout his years. As other problems arose from his disease, my mom had to take charge in giving my dad his medicines. To keep his body in balance, my mom would have to wake up early in the morning and stick to a strict routine so that no other problems would arise. She persevered even when it wasn’t fun and the last thing she wanted to do was wake him up when she had only gotten so few hours of sleep.

But Where Does True Love Come From?

This isn’t about bragging on my mom and telling everyone how great she is. This is bragging about the love and strength that God gave my mom, to give to my dad. My mom had to seek the Lord DAILY for this love. Without God’s love, my mom could have let someone else take care of my dad and left him high and dry. But that is not the example that God has shown us and certainly not what he expects out of His followers.

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29

Nobody dreams or even plans on love looking like this. You sure don’t see it in the movies! But this is the kind of love that can only come from God.

Love can still be fun like snuggling up on the couch and watching a good movie. 🙂

Challenge: Set this photo defining love as your wallpaper on your phone. If you feel like you have not mastered one of these parts of love, ask the Lord to help you in that area that needs work. Remember, love is not just about loving a spouse, it is about loving everyone around you. It will not always be easy, but the reward is priceless.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)