Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Lemonade Stand

We all need some positive and uplifting thoughts and stories to remind us of God’s goodness and simple joys. It’s that time of year when kids set up homemade lemonade stands! I think, if possible, you should always stop and buy a cup of innocence and hope and entrepreneurship. The smiles they return will be pure bonus! Below you will find a sweet and not-so-usual story of my nephew’s lemonade stand. 

Designed in the spring of 2009, seven year old Thomas drew his plans for his idea. Together, Thomas and his dad built his design the summer of 2009, with Thomas doing all the painting and lettering. This Lemonade Stand served countless everyday boys and girls, moms and dads, strangers and friends, police officers and sheriffs and soldiers, and probably a few dogs. It proudly stood summer after summer on the side of the road just off Main Street in Raeford, NC and spent the winters just off ‘Me’s Road‘ (in the back yard!).

Not many can claim such distinctions, but this Lemonade Stand has been in a parade, traveled to fundraising events, appeared in several newspaper articles, and raised money for child development and a church’s new building, along with bringing awareness to Childhood Cancer and celebrating God’s healing! Even after several updates and fresh coats of varnish, sadly, its time came to an end. Immeasurable memories remain, and the ordinary days of selling lemonade will always echo a time to dream, a time to plan, a time to build, a time of simplicity, a time of purpose, a time of joy, a time of innocence, a time of moving forward… dho

Thomas, an Eagle Scout and High School Honor graduate, is now a senior at Appalachian State University. A Brain Cancer survivor since 2011, he continues to have annual Brain MRI’s (for life) at Duke, but currently he continues to be cancer free! To God be the Glory! 

** previously posted on this blog - Donna Oswalt

Thursday, June 22, 2023

One Thing

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple. Psalm 27:4

The world rumbles with distractions and disappointments and gives voice to self-focused agendas. Desire for approval and applause comes from every direction. More replaces need. In the chaos of so many possibilities, our ability to discern God's voice diminishes. Our minds become numb, and our deeds become rote. How do Christians live in the world and in God's presence?

The presence of God must become my dwelling place, the one thingmy heart's greatest desire. To dwell in God's presence brings peace even in troubled times, gives assurance in uncertain times, offers hope in all times. To "meditate" is to be in "constant communion". Without listening in prayer for His voice or being in study and contemplation of His word, we do not see God's beauty and overlook God's faithfulness.

This verse in Psalms reminds me of where I need to stay ~ in constant communion, to dwell in God's presencePaul tells us in Philippians 3:13 that while he has not achieved complete success, "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead." Reaching forward toward God's call through Christ is the goal. Paul's words give voice to my efforts, my striving toward the goal, even when I fall short.

LORD, my soul needs constant communion with You. Help me nurture our relationship that I may dwell in Your Presence all the days of my life, to behold Yourbeauty and to meditate in Your Dwelling Place~dho

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Sign-post People

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 

Travel Group Ireland/London 2023

Expected and unexpected people, the sign-post people God allows to cross our paths, influence our journey. From parents to adults-like-parents, siblings to friends of siblings, school teachers and Sunday School teachers, friends and almost-friends, either brief or lasting, historical or current, God uses these encounters to speak to our lives.

God speaks regularly to us through the people who speak to us about the things of God. Henri Nouwen, Discernment

How frequently we forget or dismiss or overlook our many God-appointments; these are the people God sends with words of encouragement, applause for effort, signposts pointing to truth, reminders of His presence, hugs for tears. In his book Whisper, Mark Batterson writes, “Part of the genius of Jesus was His ability to see potential in unlikely places and unlikely people.”(Whisper; p140)

Sign-post people offer new perspectives, ask different questions, and suggest other options. Sometimes they bring opportunities for us, like a chance to give more, to step outside ourselves, to sense another's loneliness, to hear a deeper need, to respond like Christ. God embraces us with love and encouragement but also has designed us for purpose - His purpose. God asks us to take our God-given talents, to reach out into the world, to share Jesus. 

Whether the sign-post marks the way with a stranger or friend, lasts for a season or a lifetime, comes full of mystery or simply as a reminder, God is speaking to you and me. Could it be a completely new direction, a familiar path with a new attitude, a change of location, a closer connection within a current community, a new passion, or renewed passion? "No one is in your life by accident; everyone is there by divine appointment.” (Whisper; p142) Are we listening? Let's not miss our sign-post people! ~dho

Thursday, June 08, 2023

New Perspectives from Old Stones

 “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  William Butler Yeats

In this Irish whirl wind of landscapes that linger, there is much to tease our senses. Too many to list, in fact! Nature’s pictures defy the lens. God’s grand design that has evolved through the ages still mystifies the soul as to how and why! We each stand in the grandeur and whisper prayers of glory to God. 

Ancient temples and cathedrals cause my breaths to grow quiet and still with reverence. These sacred stones surround us. I find my soul at peace, knowing God’s plans are His, never failing; His story is told through the centuries of time. To God be the Glory! Amen. dho

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Irish Thoughts

 “Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sands, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.”  Oscar Wilde

This is Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. With a rich history dating back to Medieval times and Anglican worship traditions, its multiple, beautiful stain glass windows give the soul pause. The artistry of carved wooden choir rows and and an enormous pipe organ above the choir, with someone actually playing live organ music, test the imagination. Handel first performed his masterful composition of “Handel’s Messiah” right where I stood. Catacombs and stories, magnificent tapestries and historical documents like a copy of the Magna Carta fill all the corners. Such a beautiful place of worship. How many prayers have been lifted and how much Scripture has been read and who could begin to count the incalculable music notes played, all stand in reverence without answers. To God be the Glory! This beautiful place touched my soul! -dho