"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's All About the Cross

              This weekend my family will be celebrating Easter along with other Christians worldwide. Though society tries to discount the meaning of Easter and make it all about cuddly bunnies and chocolate eggs, for those of us who acknowledge Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, it’s all about the cross of Calvary.

The Cross Declares the Love of God and the Sinfulness of Man

            My sin caused a chasm between God and I that could not be breached through my own efforts. My death was required as payment for my sin. Yet, God loved me so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross in my place. I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt He did not owe.

The Cross Demands Acceptance and Repentance

            God offered me the free gift of everlasting life. I accepted His gift of love when I was sixteen years old. Repenting of my sin has given me a heart bursting with joy. His gift gives me abundant life now and life with Him in eternity.

The Cross Divides the Spiritually Blind and
the Spiritually Blessed

             Do you know the Jesus of the cross? He died to set you free from the chains of your sin. He came back to life three days after His death to go live with His Father and prepare a place for you to live with Him forever. He loves you and He wants you to be His child. The cross presents you with choices: accept or reject the love He offers. Take a look at the cross this weekend and make your choice. He’s waiting for you to decide.

Going out with joy today-


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Running the Race - Part Two

Cathy running thru the pink zone at
The Color Run in Asheville, NC
 I am finally getting back to Part Two of my exercise/race series which has been delayed by holidays, sickness and life in general. Thanks for your patience. You are an awesome group of people. Click here to revisit Part One to refresh your memory. As I told you, I’ve been using a walking DVD to get back in shape. As the instructor gives directions, I hear words like Stand Tall, Reach, Keep Moving, Choose, and Expect.

            Stand Tall – When I stand tall during exercise, my muscles can achieve peak performance. Standing tall improves my attitude and gives me a sense of confidence. Surveys of Human Resource Managers shows that job applicants who stand tall during an interview are hired at a much greater rate than those who slouch in with shoulders in a defeated position. Standing tall is as much an attitude as a physical position. I know a lady who is wheelchair bound, yet she portrays an attitude of standing tall. The wheelchair is a circumstance, but it hasn’t affected her confidence in herself.

            Reach – When I stretch and reach, my muscles are lengthened giving me a longer, leaner look. Setting health improvement and other life goals should cause us to reach beyond our comfort zones. If I can reach my goals without reaching and stretching toward them, they probably weren’t appropriate goals.

            Keep Moving – Any kind of movement is healthier than no movement. When I think I am at the end of my strength, I force
Cathy and Mary Jane (in yellow shirts) at
Meet Me at the Fountain Run, Forest City, NC
myself to keep moving for another minute or two. Push yourself. Not quitting will do amazing things for your self-esteem. When I’m doing a 5K race, I usually breeze through the first mile. The second mile my body wants to get a little slower and the third mile is torture. I often want to stop but by then I’m a mile into the race. Heading toward the finish line only makes sense.

            Choose – One bit of encouragement the instructor offers is that because you made the good decision to exercise, you will likely make other good decisions that day, possibly good food choices. One good choice leads to another and another. Ever hear the phrase: sit, soak and sour? The choices to stand tall, reach, and keep moving will keep me us from stagnating.

Group Shot after the Race
Light the Night, Forest City, NC
Expect – As I make right choices, I can expect good results. Do you hear that recording playing in your head that says, “Be a good girl and clean your plate?” I’ve seen a change in my thought pattern that tells me I can quit eating when I am full. I don’t have to go away miserable because I overate anymore. Our body is miraculously designed to tell us what it needs. Listen to it. It will tell you when it’s hungry, or thirsty, or tired.

            I hope my experience will help you stand tall in confidence, reach for your goals, keep moving in a positive direction, make good choices, and expect great rewards for your effort.

I’m going out with joy today, thankful for a body that still moves-


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Running the Race

I never fancied myself much of an athlete. I don’t have the competitive edge needed to be successful at team sports. I am much better at individual activities where I only have to meet or exceed my own expectations. The only team sport I ever semi-excelled at was bowling when my husband and I joined a team when we were first married. In elementary school, I was the marble champion of the playground, but, again, that is more of an individual sport.

In May, I decided I needed to do something good for my health. My doctor had asked me numerous times what I was doing for exercise. My response of, “not much” wasn’t making her smile. I started by buying a DVD walking program with the option of doing one, two, three or four miles and a cool down. The first and fourth miles are 15 minute miles which is the pace I had done years before when I was on a regular exercise program. I knew I could do it now because I had done it before. The second mile is a 12 minute mile, accomplished by including a two minute running portion. The third mile is a 10 minute mile and includes, you guessed it, two running sessions of two minutes each.

I diligently used the DVD in varying lengths every morning for about four weeks. When grandchildren were here, they had fun doing it with me, especially the running sets. We’d run through the house and out the back door and around the deck and back in time to do the next part of the video. I was feeling very accomplished.

Cathy and Mary Jane crossing the finish line
Color Run, Asheville, NC

About that time my daughter sent an email advertising a 5K Color run/walk in nearby Asheville, NC. The proceeds would support two local charities. We talked it up and several of us signed up, along with some friends. It sounded like fun and we had 6 weeks to get ready for it. The only hitch in the plan was that I did all my training on level ground and Asheville is very hilly. There were several smaller hills that I managed to navigate without much trouble, but then came the granddaddy of all hills. The sight of it made me groan. It rose in front of me like an impenetrable wall. I made it about halfway up before I had to stop and rest. I am so thankful for my dear friend and running/walking partner who waited with me and encouraged me to keep going.
First Place Medal

Since then I have done three more races and have three scheduled for November (what was I thinking???). The funny thing is that I have won first place medals in my age group at all three of those, not because I am fast, but because there aren’t that many people my age running 3.1 miles. Come back next week to find out what I have learned through all of this.

Going out with joy today-


Saturday, September 20, 2014

What a Friend we Have in Jesus

My favorite picture of
Ruth Thompson Brown
My friend of 40+ years, Ruth Thompson Brown, passed away in her sleep on August 30, 2014. A determined woman, independent in her thinking and a little quirky around the edges, she made me smile. She lived a colorful and fruitful life. She taught school for 48 years before retiring. At 99 years old, she had lived more history than most of us have read about. I joked with her one day saying, “You didn’t have to study history, Mrs. Brown; you lived it!” She chuckled and said, “I guess you’re right.

Ruth loved people and saw the potential in them. Using unconventional teaching methods, she was able to teach many who had already been counted out by the system. I think they knew she loved them and wanted them to be successful. Ruth and I met when her Granddaughter, Lorie, and my daughter, Nanci, were in Kindergarten. Lorie invited Nanci to go swimming and when I dropped Nanci off at Lorie’s Grandma Ruth reassured me that she would see that they were safe.

Nanci had a watch on and, in her excitement, jumped into the pool before taking it off. It quit working immediately. Mrs. Ruth felt compelled to have it fixed. After a week, she went to pick the watch up at the jewelers only to find that he couldn’t fix it. Mrs. Brown’s reply, with eyes sparkling, was, “I know a man of your caliber and talent can fix this watch, so I am going to leave it another week. I know when I come back next week, it will be fixed.” And it was!

Ruth loved God, her church, and its people. She thought everybody ought to have a church. It troubled her that “people just flat out won’t go.” When she invited someone and they showed any interest at all, she would call them early on Sunday mornings to see 

Gilboa United Methodist Church
Rutherfordton, NC
if they were up and getting ready. That’s how she got the Crowder family involved in Gilboa United Methodist Church, her church home. She faithfully played the piano there and directed the Charge Choir for oodles of years. If she didn’t think the congregation or the choir was singing with all the gusto they could muster,

she’d stop playing, stand up next to the piano as tall as she could stretch her 5’3” frame, and say, “Look-a here. I think you can do better than that.” And the second time, we did!

Ruth loved her family. You could see it in her eyes; sense it in her spirit. She shared their successes with glee and, being a realist, she shared their failures with sadness. She loved that she could help the ones she could and she wore herself out trying to figure out how to help the ones who had more potential than they were using. I loved the family stories she shared with me. She was four when they moved by horse and buggy to the house she lived in until her death. She loved to garden so, while others cooked and cleaned, she worked outside with her father and brothers. Almost totally vegetarian (she would occasionally eat some sausage or bacon), she had a passion for fresh vegetables which carried over from her childhood.

The last time I saw her, she woke from her pain medicine induced sleep enough to look at me and smile and say, “I love you. . . . . all the time.” I said the same to her, and she lapsed back into her slumber. I sat next to her bed for awhile singing hymns, She lifted her feeble arms and played air piano when I sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” her favorite hymn.

I love you, Mrs. Brown . . . . all the time.  Thank you for loving me.

Going out with joy today, thanking God for a blessing like Mrs. Brown-