Years ago when I was down at Auburn, I would often take my free afternoons and leave campus just to get away and think. I would drive out Wire Road a few miles to Kiesel Park, find a shady, grassy spot by the creek and throw out my beach towel. What a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of college life and dorm living?! Once settled, I'd usually journal or work on my weekly Bible study. Never homework; that was for the library. It's amazing how God can speak to us in the 'tiny-est' whisper or cool of the breeze or whistle of the wind when we get still, quiet and listen. The trees would blow, the willows flapping and I could hear God. Oh those Autumn days long ago.
Well, Autumn is finally here in Birmingham and I was outside enjoying the cool weather this morning and heard the chimes singing in the wind!! God is there... He's here....Adam is there...but he will be back!! The wind chime of blue and green glass is special to us as Adam and I picked it out in Tocca, GA this summer to remind us of our times together, and remind me while he's in Kuwait. Our trip outside NSA Athens that morning was a DATE, believe it or not! He surprised me as we drove for over an hour in "hiking" clothes. We did attempt to hike Mt. Curahee but ended up at the top before we knew it in Adam's truck. Off-roading describes it I think. We did happen upon the beautiful Tocca Falls and quaint town. Love some meat n'three.
I can hear it now as the wind continues to blow even this afternoon. Thank God for the blessings of cool breezes, windy days and for His promises for us!
"Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed" -Joshua 23:14
'Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.Our troops need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety. If it be God’s will, give these men and women the strength they need to prevail.
"Lord, please hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."
Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine & others deployed in harm’s way, Prayer is the very best one!'
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This weekend I was in Charleston, South Carolina-Mount Pleasant to be exact-for my aunt's 80th birthday. Wow! I sure hope to be as sharp and energetic as she is at that age! Anyways, normally my family stays with her at her house and I usually get up in the mornings and run Pitt Street Bridge, the causeway to Sullivan's Island or drive to the foot and run the new Arthur Ravenal Bridge. However, we did not stay with Aunt Betty this time; we stayed at a hotel near the foot of the bridge, on the opposite side of the walkway. I woke up with a determination to get to the other side of the highway somehow and run the bridge like usual. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't mind deviating my path this morning and often do on runs when I "just feel like it." As I stepped out on to the sidewalk towards palmettos and dune bushes, I suddenly decided that "I just felt like it" and starting running.
I hopped from roadside to roadside seeking the more shady side, only to discover that if I had stayed on "my original side" I would have been closer to the back beach. I later discovered that the back beach was actually the mouth of the Cooper and Wando Rivers meeting in the Charleston Harbor. Back to the sidewalk...so I crossed, and once in front of the new condo building, I realized that I could have stayed on "my side" and gone off the sidewalk onto a gravel and crushed oyster trail along the back of the building and ran along the marshy, coastal reeds.
You already know what I did....I deviated. I took the path less followed. I took the scenic, sentimental, off-beat path. And man, am I glad I did. The smell of the marshy, silty sand and reeds took me right back to Pitt Street and back to my many of days running in Mount Pleasant. However, today, this wonderfully cooler and cloudy September morning brought me to new places, new memories, new blessings and discoveries. I had finally took the time to listen to myself. And stop and listen is what I did next.
Eventually, I would end up at the new Visitors Center and Memorial Park and Pier; however, I had no idea that is what lie ahead. Beautiful and true to the landscape, I ran from the trail and through the park and onto the pier, which led out into the Charleston Harbor, and right under the Bridge!! I came to a stand still, stretched a bit and just breathed. Breathed in the salty air, the calmness of the water and the cry of a pair of dolphins swimming by. Can you imagine what I would have missed if I would have stayed on the sidewalk and taken the sharp left under the bridge? I can...missed opportunities, missed blessings and new mercies that were given to me this day.
God has truly blessed me on my runs when I have deviated. Sometimes I deviate off my path in life, the one that's spelled out-job, events, expectations, etc and in return, I have often been either steered back to it or taken on a joyous, spontaneous and merciful ride. Adam and I are on one of those rides right now. I thank God for him and this new adventure in the US Navy, our 1st year of marriage and for my surprisingly beautiful morning run on Saturday. I was quiet and still and waited on the Lord and he heard me.
A old view from the foot of the bridge. Arthur Ravenal on the Left, old Cooper River on the Right. The Cooper has since come down. I cannot take credit for this photo. I did not expect anything to be new to my eyes that morning. I was wrong. What a sweet reprimand for straying?!
I was fortunate enough to be invited, along with other spouses and family members of Adam's group, up to Williamsburg to visit Adam for the long Labor Day weekend! It was a weekend of sheer bliss! I got in as close to "on-time" as you can get flying through ATL these days and was with Adam enjoying the afternoon by 2pm. We had a nice seafood dinner with Adam's buddy, Chuck and wife, Mitzi along with a wonderful evening stroll through Old Town Williamsburg and The College of William and Mary.
On Saturday, we went and walked around Colonial Williamsburg, reported for PT Insanity workout at 1800, watched some college football and visited with other couples, then crashed. Sunday, I made, yes made Adam enjoy Busch Gardens for 7 whole hours. Thank you Heroes to Heroes for letting military in the park free this past weekend! Monday came and we enjoyed a nice cookout and gathering by the City of Williamsburg and USO. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. Surprisingly, a few trees we starting to turn to muted oranges and reds already.
I am so thankful that we got to spend time together before he leaves for the Middle East later this month. I will treasure that time with all my heart. I love you Adam and pray for you everyday.
This afternoon I spent sometime in the yard. It's a beautiful yard that Adam (mostly) and I have worked hard to maintain. A cooler 92 degrees drew me outside to tend to the garden and shrubs for a few moments. As I made my to the back to toss out the old flowers, I couldn't help but get excited thinking about the many new blossoms in my front yard. I love cutting fresh flowers and my mom said one time that, "when you cut and give, you will receive more in return." My mom is a great woman of faith.
The "knockout roses" were bountiful and budding as bright as Seattle summer roses and my gardenia bushes had begun to bloom again! What a joy to have inherited all of this at our first house. Somewhere between the compost pile and my lovely arrangements of fresh cut flowers, I contracted 19 mosquito bites between my chin and my shin. It was all I could do to run in and shower off as quickly as possible, thus robbing me of my joy that I had gained from enjoying our yard just moments ago.
God blesses us with a beautiful earth and flowers and sometimes we get taken back by the things that get in our way or rob us of our joy. The mosquito bites were my enemy today. As I got out of the shower, smelled the sweet gardenia and looked at my small vase, my joy returned. All too quickly, we let the enemy slip into our daily lives by way of procrastination, gossip, selfish desires, and so on. But if we look to God, the one who gives us joy, then we can press on. God gives me hope. Hope that Adam will return safely, hope that our marriage will stay strong, hope that there is always a God who loves me.