Walking the Walk, #4 Smell Walk

OH how fabulously wonderful You are, Lord. Absolutely fabulous! In who You are! In where You are! In how You are! I am so blessed to have met You here in this new favorite place You have given me. You have been whispering this place to me for quite some time, and I have tried to research as much as possible on how to meet You here. Yet today, You have spoken clearly, and delightfully surprised me!

It’s known for its gardens, but this is winter, so it was “barren” of the flowers everyone brags about. Yet I feel like it’s an earthy wonderland! It’s so beautifully designed. A beautiful use of concrete and earth in perfect blend… if there can be such a thing. It’s outdoors and yet so clean! Pristine! You are beautiful… wonderful… in Your time… in Your place! ❤ I go inside.

You first catch my attention with heritage… and have me think.

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What is an important tradition in my family or community?
The only thing that comes to mind are family dinners we use to have at my grandmother’s house. My mom’s family use to have holiday dinners there. There was no certain time of day. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren and several family friends would come and go throughout the day. When my grandmother passed in February of 2000, we no longer saw each other much, unless it was a funeral.

What have I learned by being a part of it?
Family can be so precious… even dysfunctional families. Enjoy the time while you can. It won’t last. It makes me think of one of my favorite gospel songs every time I lose someone I love…. I’ve Got More to Go to Heaven For (Than I Did Yesterday).

I’VE GOT MORE TO GO TO HEAVEN FOR
I’ve been on my way to Heaven… For a long, long time.
And many things have happened… That clouded up my mind.
But I am more determined… To walk the narrow way
For I’ve got more to go to Heaven for… Than I had yesterday.
CHORUS:
There’s a golden street to walk upon… A bell I’m gonna ring,
A brand-new angel in the choir… I wanna hear her sing.
There’ll be a lot of friends a-waiting… When I walk through the gate
I’ve got more to go to Heaven for… Than I had yesterday.
I’ve been through lonesome valleys… I’ve climbed the highest hill,
I’ve known the joy of living… In the center of God’s will.
I’ve watched the angels come and take… My loved ones home to stay
I’ve got more to go to Heaven for… Than I had yesterday.

You continue to have me think on family tradition.

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Banana Pudding was our family tradition…
for every holiday… sometimes every meal.
Banana Pudding and Sweet Tea! ❤
“O taste and see that the Lord is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

– Psalm 34:8 KJV

Now You turn my focus to water… Your gift to life.

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Seeing this makes me think of the struggle I have with dehydration, and this makes for a great motivator and reminder! It also reminds me of when I was doing Lovely A’s 21 Day Self Care Challenge on her Discovering Your Happiness website. My response was noted on Self Care Challenge Day 8: Water. I actually took the picture thinking of her! ❤

Chewing Gum comes from a tree! Wow! I did not know that! 🙂

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I love corn, beans, and squash! A tasty dinner to me, Lord! 🙂

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After hearing some Native Americans narrate different nature topics and traditional stories, I venture outside. I have no pictures. I started just enjoying things when I sat down for the stories. I’m walking where there are normally gardens and flowers, so says the guy when I came in and every touring person that passes me. Yet I am not the least bit disappointed. Perhaps because I have not come to see them. I have come to see You!

Again the place just seems like the most tenderly fabulous earthy wonderland! I find one of the many beautifully designed areas to sit in, and just take You in. The sun is so bright and beautiful on this winter day, and the wind just does what it wants with my hair. But it’s OK. It’s comforting… because it’s You… being playful… being tender… being loving… being personal… being You! This place reminds me of places people have introduced to me in the past. For some reason I start thinking of those special faces.

Counselors, teachers, friends who have taken moments out to sit and talk with me… knowing that I am claustrophobic… and very uncomfortable with talking inside closed walls… while a clock ticks… reminding of how unimportant my words are, so make it quick for the one who is listening. But not here. Outside in a warm sun… with no clock hovering over me. It makes me miss them so. I have so much I wish I could talk to them about. They broke protocols and rules to go out of their way to help save me from things in my life when I did not know I needed saving from anything. My heart aches for them. I miss them as much as I miss family… even if some them were dysfunctional as well.  How human we all are. Yet we are Your humans! Thank You, Lord, for going out of Your way today to meet me here. I will be back!

As I start to walk away from this area, a smell permeates my air. And I can smell how beautiful it is! So pleasant! So comforting! There’s just something about it that smells like… You! I see nothing but barrenness until suddenly I see a sign that says Lily of the Valley! *GASP* Oh dear Lord! My favorite song! My grandmother’s favorite flower, and a name sweetly referenced to You!

Lily of the Valley – hymn lyrics by Charles W. Fry
I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll. 
CHORUS:
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tow’r;
I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His pow’r.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.
[CHORUS]
He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,
Where rivers of delight shall ever roll.
[CHORUS]

It’s not visible, but I can smell despite the darkened earth. Praise Your name I can smell! I have been trying to do the Smell Walk, #3 of the 50 Walks within the Walking the Walk Challenge with Lovely A of Discovering Your Happiness, but have just not been able to smell! I had done Walking the Walk, #3 Delight Walk in its place. But I smelled that lovely Lily of the Valley! ❤ And this was before I had the occipital nerve block last week, of which I felt it opening my sinus within minutes.

As I continue to walk, I smell another familiar aroma… Spruce… everywhere! It smells so good! And just as I think of touching out of curiosity, You remind me of my allergies and sensitivities. I’ll never forget Scratch and Sniff 203! That was my Botany class. In lab exercises we walked the college campus scratching and sniffing twigs, flowers, branches (that we were warned not to touch because of chemicals to protect them). I had the worst allergic reaction I have had involving a fever. A high fever that did not break until the 9th day of a 10 day antibiotic course. No more Scratch and Sniff, Professors! 😉

All of this beautiful smell within a seemingly lifeless foliage makes me think on how filthy I must have looked to You underneath all of my sin when my soul laid beneath the dead and broken leaves, the barren dark branches, and this uninviting view. Yet You saw beauty in me. You saw You in me! Again I think of my counselors and teachers You used to save me, to clean and toil the surface, to dig out the roots and choking weeds, to rid me of that one dark blot…. multiplied by a thousand. Thank You for coming for me! Thank You for the souls You blessed me with. Help me to thankful for those I still have!

One last sign on the way out… is a Fabulous answer to prayer!

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I continue to walk around and then find this sign telling me of several small trails! Could this be answer to prayer, and a guide for the 50 Walks in the Walking the Walk Challenge! Absolutely! Thank You for this day! For this intoxicating scent! For these fond memories of people I miss so much! Thank You for just being You! As Always! ❤

 

An Elevating Adventure

This weekend my son Anthoni and I were invited to watch a young friend sing a solo while playing her guitar. It had been quite awhile since I went to anything downtown. My anxiety and my health make it challenging just to get through my day. But Belle was singing and playing in front of a large crowd for the first time, and had personally invited us. We wanted to support her. We had known her since she was a little girl.

Many of you may remember me mentioning watching her and her little brother Trey getting baptized this summer in my post on the 30 Posts Challenge: #20 River Baptism.

Anthoni and I made it downtown. It was an adventure we had not done in quite some time. We did not know the place we were going to, so we asked a parking attendant for info. After parking and attempting to follow our given instructions, we ended up going through a hotel entrance I knew (which was the long way around, but saved the day with familiarity.) I was glad I took the time to Google it and study the map. Through the hallway, we found where we should be, and got in line. We even got to speak with Belle and her family for a few minutes before the show.

Time to buy the tickets!

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and receive our program.

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After Anthoni got some popcorn, we were able to be seated with Belle’s family. It was nice being able to say hello and catch up a little bit. They were able to tell us about Belle’s school, that the space was actually owned by a church but was being lent out to the school for the program, and what Belle would be doing. We got to looking through our program as they were explaining.

We were so excited to see it… Belle Solo!

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We had wait until after a couple of skits, a couple of bands, some others singing, dancing, and even several young people taking turns on “silks” (as it read). Silks were basically long draping silks that were being climbed, swung on, hung from, and included using a ring at times… big enough to serve as a tire swing hanging from a tree in the backyard.

Then we saw a familiar face in a beautiful dress coming to the microphone with her guitar in hand. What a lovely sound. Oh How He Loves is what she sang. I wish I had pictures, but her dad was kind enough to give permission to use a video.

I already loved this song, but oh how beautiful she made this song of how much God loves us… that He is jealous for us… in a good way. I was so thankful the Lord allowed me the opportunity, the health, and even the quality time with my son. It was awesome! She was awesome. She performed a lot of different material in the program in addition to her solo, and was able to do each task beautifully.

She was making a beautiful testimony for the Lord. If this is what she sounds like in just getting started, imagine what the Lord has planned for her as she becomes seasoned with her gifts. God will be magnified greatly!

“Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
– Philippians 1:6 KJV

Thank you, Lord, for letting us make it! Thank you for the night. ❤

Praying for you, Belle! You have become such a lovely young lady! I am confident that God has great things in store for you… for His great pleasure! He loves you! ❤ And so do we!

I Read

I read.
I read for comfort, for entertainment, for pleasure.
I read to learn, to grow, to discover,
and I read to absorb the art of God’s treasure.
The written word is such a drug for me.
There is so much to read.
This is not just a way to pass time.
This is a genuine need.
There are times reading needs a break.
To find the time to read is the true conflict.
I pray for the moment to come
and praise my Lord when I finally have it.
Now there are times I avoid reading
because I want to reject the world in every way,
but sooner or later I am drawn in by the word
and just have to know what the writer has to say.
I read.
I read because I have a need to read.
Writers, please continue to supply my joy.
God, thank you, for this artistic breed.

6-21-01 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)

Letter of Apology

Lord, I hear your whisper… an apology is in order. In visiting the WordPress Reader to keep up with posts of others and encourage, I saw Lovely Anita’s post Beat the Speed Humps on her blog Discovering Your Happiness. You gave great wisdom dealing with the humps that steal our momentum. You say Be Kind to Your Body, it is the temple of the Lord.

You brought to mind a Professor who years ago gave an assignment to write a letter of apology to a part of our body. It was to be 100 sentences long. She read her own letter to her feet for abusing them, neglecting them, and simply disregarding them when they made it possible to go everywhere, and do everything.

In hearing your whisper through Lovely Anita, I prayerfully asked you what was I to apologize to? And then you reveal who THIS apology is for.

I’m sorry to you, my stomach, for the years I starved you, for “getting rid of food” before it could hit you. For allowing others to persuade me to “try this”… speed, alcohol, over the counter medicines, prescription drugs, and things unspeakable. It’s no wonder you torture me now. I tortured you first. YOU are still the one paying for it.

Life on an empty stomach is filled with pain.

Sometimes I feel like this weight is a result or a punishment for all of those years. And I don’t know how to fix it. But there is a huge difference. God has made me stronger and wiser. He will help me to nurture you the best that I know how. He WANTS me to be healthy, and to take care of His vessel, for my body is His temple.

Fellow bloggers… if you wrote an apology… what part would you apologize to?

The Evangelistic Well

Preachers study so hard
to bring us God’s word.
Had he not been faithful,
we would’ve never heard.
Ministers serve so many
ministering to their church.
The faithful serving
helps heal the hurt.
Evangelists travel to tell
Jesus wants no one in hell.
Thank God for the evangelist
who shared from the well.

9-21-11 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)

Finding Treasure In You

Ministry and friends,
I never knew one day they’d be the same.
Friends in ministry,
I never knew I’d know so many by name.
My son and you,
I had a hope you would know each other.
You in my son,
I would have hope for no other.
Serving in joy,
I would not have thought went together.
Joy in serving,
I want that feeling to last forever.
Hope in faith,
I seek to hold onto you.
Faith in hope,
I know you hold onto me too.

9-21-11 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)

KEEP FIGHTING

Come on, keep fighting.
Don’t give up.
Life was meant
to be this tough.
It’s not that easy
to have it all.
To rise above,
you must take the fall.
To read and write
is to live and learn.
To love and care
is to touch and burn.
To have a choice
is to know to choose.
To have something to gain
there must be something to lose.
To appreciate the gift
you must nurture the object.
To pass the class
you must study the subject.

Written by Gail Brookshire
(published in Expressions, June 9, 1994 Issue, page 4,
in Expressions, July 12, 1993 Issue, page 2,
and in J.O.B.S. Newsline, April, May, June 1993 Issue, page 4)
(by the grace of God)
This poem was my 1st assignment for the campus newspaper at my 1st college for my A.A. I was surprised at the response. The Editor made a note about the beautiful poem and my talent. Students and professors said it was beautiful, some asking for an autograph. I admit I laughed because I had never been asked before and thought they were teasing. Some I had been in class with for awhile and were good friends with. I was quickly made to understand I was mocking them. Praise the Lord to sign put a smile back on their face.  They were extra thankful when I gave permission to hang the poem on their fridge, mirror, and other places. I was shocked! Most surprising was everyone calling it BEAUTIFUL. It was a last minute assignment, and I felt like I “just done enough” to get it in. God is so good! And so surprising!