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This is what my neighborhood looks like right now! Blooms everywhere! I loooove spring!
But if you look closely, you see these beauties are beginning to fade.
These fading tulips inspired me to appreciate the remaining blooms that much more. To take more time walking around my neighborhood enjoying every single flower.
Inspired me to be grateful for my sight.
Inspired me to thank the One who created this buffet for the eyes. The smorgasbord of colors and textures. The sheer variety of spring blooms.
If spring in Virginia can look like a fairyland….what does spring in His Kingdom look like?
Point to ponder while you wander….
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8 ESV
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1
Point to ponder while you wander…Father God knew both the wonderful & the unwise choices the human race would make, so before any of our mistakes happened He planned to redeem us by sending Jesus. And Jesus agreed! So grateful to be loved that much.
Looking around my apartment this morning all I can see is blessing. Furniture and other items inherited, gifted to me, and items I purchased with money I received from a job I like going to every day.
And I am grateful.
Sigh. Unpacking sucks.
I recently moved and as I slowly (seriously snail paced) unpack my totes and suitcases, I realized there were still things I should have given away…things I just don’t need.
Tonight I started opening my totes of books…I will spare you the number of them…but in one of the totes I thought was books, I discovered my family tree research. More than that…it is multiple notebooks compiled by my Nana Jana.
When I opened the tote…it smelled like her house and tears overflowed my eyes. I may have hugged notebooks. Her notebooks.
She gave them to me about a month before she died. I didn’t want to take them, because I knew why she was giving them to me. But she insisted. It was much easier to take them than to argue with her. You really couldn’t argue with her. Ever.
I just miss her. So. Much.
She is the reason I am our family historian and researcher. All the information I started with came from her. She started researching in the early 1990’s. Right around the time she lost her Mom. Maybe it was her way of carrying the legacy forward. Maybe it was the way she dealt with her grief. Not sure 100%. But I’m grateful for the foundation I had because of her.
All the information she gave me she got the old school way…calling and writing letters to the family elders. Then she got stuck. She didn’t know how to proceed.
So in 1996 she asked her granddaughter, who was going to England for a semester, to check into some things for her while she was there. The granddaughter was really busy studying and flirting with foreign guys and didn’t really do anything. In her defense…she didn’t know how to look up that kind of stuff.
Then in 1999-2000-ish, same granddaughter..aka me…started looking things up online for her Nana. And got hooked by solving the mysteries for said Nana.
So my unpacking is currently delayed by me hugging her notebooks and running my fingers over her handwriting intermixed with mine, where I filled in blanks for her.
Even though I proved conclusively we are not related to William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame)…I did find interesting ancestors and entertained her with stories about our people. It was our thing. Like Scrabble and Dancing with the Stars.
So you have Nana to thank if you enjoy mysteries and family history. Cuz…
She started it.
Saw this little bird at the bus stop this morning, and my first thought was gratitude. God is my provision. Not my paycheck. Not my intelligence or talent. God Himself.
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!” Luke 12:24
Point to ponder while you wander…Nature is created. It isn’t to be worshipped. But should invite you to worship The Creator. Like today with that little bird at the bus stop.
Music. I love it. It is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. And the people who make the music, they are gifts too.
I’ve always desired to be musical. I joined band in elementary school. Probably the worst flutist ever to pick up the flute. I begged for a keyboard and piano lessons. I got the keyboard, but that whole two hands doing two separate things at the same time thing. Yeah. I cannot do that. I was in elementary school choir. I was in junior high choir too. In eighth grade, I was directed to sing so softly that I couldn’t be heard at a concert.
I realized then that maybe music wasn’t in the cards for me. Didn’t stop me from singing, I sing all the time. I also dance (AKA flailing) and paint (AKA creative therapy). But those are stories for another day.
What’s the my point? There is only one Kim Walker Smith. There is only one Martina McBride. There’s only one Natalie Grant. There’s only one Loretta Lynn. There’s only one Aretha Franklin. There is only one Doris Day. And there’s only one Jill Nicholson.
Jill Nicholson? Who’s that?
That’s me. I am Jill. I have gifts and talents chosen by God and entrusted to me to cultivate and grow. But for years I felt that because I couldn’t sing like I wanted, that I wasn’t talented at all. That is a lie straight from the enemy. Unfortunately, I believed it for too long and wasted years I could have been tending to the natural abilities I WAS entrusted with.
I believed the lie. So I took my ball and went home.
The parable of the talents comes to mind here because I did bury what I had inside and hide the talents I did have. I didn’t take photography classes because I was afraid I’d be told I wasn’t good at it. Then I couldn’t take photos anymore. I didn’t want a repeat of the choir concert incident. I only wrote for class assignments. Research papers and essays essentially. When I did write other things, I didn’t let anyone read them. I still struggle with letting people read my creative stuff.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 MSG
I know the context of this verse is Jesus speaking about His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection. But this is what Jesus woke me up at 3:30 am to show me…If we take the gifts and talents that we have been entrusted with by God, both spiritual and natural, and we keep them to ourselves they are wasted. But if we take the time to develop them, and sow them into His kingdom, those gifts are multiplied beyond what we could ever imagine.
Nothing given to Jesus is ever wasted. It’s always multiplied in some way. I’m still chewing on this, because I know there’s more here, but this is initial revelation.
Point to ponder while you wander…Appreciate the gifts and talents in those around you, not be envious or jealous of them. Be grateful for the abilities YOU WERE given and be good stewards of them.
PS: Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25.
Today is my birthday. Here are some thoughts…
Random Thought 1:
Number of candles doesn’t matter because me, myself, and I voted unanimously to be 25 on the outside and 7 on the inside forever. #youthrenewedliketheeagles
Random thought 2:
My name means youthful heart and my lifetime passage of scripture based on that definition is: “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from deathand crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!“- Psalm 103:1-5
Random Thought 3:
I have this scripture of the day calendar. It’s one without the year so I can use it forever. I don’t always flip it everyday, because I sometimes need to stick with one particular verse for multiple days. But I always check out my birthday verse and it is:
.”Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.“- Psalm 36:5
This was been my source of praise through the 2 year suckfest and again now in a time of deep loss and grief. I am profoundly grateful for His unfailing love and that He never leaves me when I am in need. Such a wonderful Father.
Random Thought 4: Last year was a milestone birthday…and I wasn’t upset about the age. I was amazed at the fabulous friends I was surrounded by and had a party to acknowledge & celebrate them. I loved telling these amazing women what is special about them. Most of us cried. (Now I am singing it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… HAHA) It was my best birthday party, because I left ealing loved and oh so grateful for my amazing friends.
Point to ponder while you wander…if your birthday number is large…don’t focus on that and get all sad about how much of your life is over. Instead concentrate your celebration on the people who’ve made all those years full.