"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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Twenty days, a Wedding and Goodbye

We were enjoying the simple pleasure of time spent together. We’d been engaged for two months and had only known each other for about five months so there was still a lot to learn about each other. We weren’t in any hurry to set a wedding date, until…

Larry was in the Army, stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA, when we met. He ran into a friend from High School on the Base one day and, since I don’t believe in coincidences, God had arranged for me to work with his wife. Linda and I worked in a bank in downtown Augusta and had become quick friends. As you might have guessed, one thing led to another and Johnny and Linda decided that Larry and I would be perfect for each another. They arranged for us to meet at their house and the rest is history.
We met in the Fall, were engaged at Christmas, and now it was mid-February, 1969. The country was in turmoil over Vietnam and our lives would soon be affected by it as well. Larry came to visit me one evening with the news that he had orders for Vietnam. He had to report in twenty days. And he wanted us to get married before he left.
The plan was to take ten days to get the wedding planned, have ten days of honeymoon and then say goodbye for a year. My mother advised me not to get married until he returned from his tour of duty. She said, “What if he doesn’t come back?”  My reply was, “Then I will have had ten wonderful days of love and joy. Some people never have that opportunity.” 
She acquiesced and we set to work like little beavers. A seamstress friend made my dress and veil, as well as the two bridesmaid’s dresses. The cake and flowers were ordered. Invitations were selected at a printing shop. When they were ready, Larry and I picked them up, addressed them on the way to the Post Office and they were in the mail in plenty of time for friends and family to attend. The reception would be held at my parent’s home with various friends helping with the food. We even had a couple of showers in the midst of all the chaos. In ten days, with lots of help from friends, we were married at Advent Lutheran Church, Martinez, GA.
We celebrated our forty-third wedding anniversary this month. I am overwhelmed when I consider all that God has brought us through in those years. How in the world did we make it work? We live in a throw-away society. If something doesn’t work, we throw it away and buy a new one. We use paper plates, plastic baggies and paper towels so we can toss them. If you wake up tomorrow and decide you don’t like your husband/wife anymore, you get rid of them too.
I think what made our marriage work is sticking. A friend once told me, “If you’re gonna make it in this world, you gotta stick.” There’s much truth in that statement. Here’s how the Bible says it:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:13
We stood our ground. We honored our vows to God and to each other. It’s a miracle only God could perform, but now, through thick and thin, and everything in between, we find ourselves working on our forty-fourth year on the way to forever. And that brings me joy!
Will you join me in looking for the gems of life today? When you recognize them, will you leave a comment and share them with my readers?
Wishing you joy for the journey-

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Remember the Christmas song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?  Just in case you don’t, here are the lyrics to the first verse:
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
This song came to my mind today as I was contemplating how to write this blog. My purpose here is to show you the gems that God places along our paths to make the journey a little sweeter. I witnessed a real life example of comfort and joy a few months ago when a young friend had to have what turned out to be a fairly serious surgery. This comfort and joy came from two everyday objects that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider to be special gems from God.
 After the surgery and a time in the Recovery Room, Millie was finally wheeled into the room that would become her home away from home until the next day. The anesthesia had done a number on Millie’s system and she was one sick woman. Her husband and I did all we could to comfort her. As Millie became sicker and sicker, she asked her husband, Scott, if he had brought her stuff in out of the car. He told her he had brought in the backpack she had packed for the trip.
“But did you bring in my Chapstick © and my pillow?” she asked.
He replied, “No, but I’ll go get it in a few minutes.”
A few minutes passed before the subject came up again. In a frail voice she asked pitifully, “Scott, will you please to go to the car and bring in my Chapstick © and my pillow?”
He left the room immediately, having heard the desperation in her voice. When he returned and handed her the items she had requested, she immediately used the Chapstick © and placed “her” pillow across her stomach to cushion the incision when she coughed. The hospital had other pillows she could have used, but there was an uncommon comfort to be found in that pillow. The two items – her Chapstick © and her pillow – became somewhat of a lifeline for her.
She continued to get sicker and sicker from the anesthesia and an overnight stay turned into a three night stay. It took her that long to be able to keep any food down. Day and night, the two friends from home stayed close enough to be within reach. Day and night, they comforted Millie and made her feel better. Her health gradually improved with the help of these everyday items. They became beautiful gems for her to hold onto as she traveled down a road she hadn’t planned to navigate.
The carol above reminds us that we shouldn’t let anything bring us dismay because God has provided our comfort and joy through that baby born in a manger. As unlikely as it seems, He loves us enough to provide a way to bring us comfort and joy everyday – even if it involves Chapstick © and a pillow.
What brings you comfort and joy?  I’d love for you to share your story with me.

Let's make today a joy-filled day-


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Shift in the Universe

“Hey, Dottie, why don’t you tell us about your name?”

“Ok, my name reminds me that even though I am a tiny dot in a huge universe, God knows me and He loves me. What about your name, Jewel?”

“Ok, a jewel is a precious gem created by God. I am one of those gems. God puts the sparkle in me. Hey, look, Dottie. These people are some of His gems too. Look at them sparkle!”

And so begins a clown routine for the Silly over the Savior (S.O.S. Gang) Clown Troupe. I am “Jewel” in this duo. It brings me great joy to be part of this unique way to spread The Good News to people of all ages.

In our hospital ministry, Dottie and Jewel come across people at all stages in their life’s journey. Our mission is to change the atmosphere in that hospital room for just a few seconds. It has been proven that if you can do that, there is a shift in the universe. It’s similar to ripples in a pond. The ripples move out in circles and end somewhere beyond our sight.

The Bible tells us a heart filled with joy is like a soothing medicine that heals us. On the flip side of that, we are told that a downcast spirit leads to our bones drying up. Isn’t that a pitiful thought?  Bursting with joy and thriving - or – down in the dumps and dried up.

The purpose of this blog is to remind you of the little gems that God has placed along your path to bring joy to your journey. They are there, but sometimes, for whatever reason, we fail to see them. My hope is that each blog post will change your focus just enough that your universe is affected and your journey is filled with joy.

The choice is yours – joyful or downcast, thriving or dried up. Which will you choose today?
Wishing you a joy-filled journey-
Cathy (a.k.a. "Jewel the Clown")