Reflections………………………………………………………..2014

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Peyton’s Graduation

A writer, maybe more appropriately a ‘blogger,’ strives to express himself through his words.   What he writes is the way he sees life and how he wishes others could see and live life. I endeavor to convey the things that are important to me—–the closeness of a family, the warmth of friends, times and places in history that helped shape our heritage and those special times and special people that touch the heart.  Underlying it all is an enduring faith in a loving God.

Each ‘blog’ I write begins with a thought, a set of circumstances, an event or something special that has come into my life and stays in my thoughts until released in words. I cannot think of a time when I said “today I am going to write.”

Taking these thoughts into consideration I reviewed 2014 and combined some magical moments with some quotes I have found to be thought provoking.  You, the reader, will have difficulty  establishing a “base line” but you can apply your own thoughts.

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Gary at Seaside Beach in Florida

“I thank you Lord that I am placed so well,

That you have made my freedom so complete;

That I am no slave of whistle, clock or bell,

Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.”    

…………………………………………Badger Clark

Hannis Port, Cape Code, Massachusetts

Hyannis Port, Cape Code, Massachusetts

Long may this land be bright with freedoms Holy light,

Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.

           

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June at Golf Shores, Alabama

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Peyton, Natalie and  Kyle’s son, in football game

                  ………..a moment in time.

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Granny with Kyle’ and Natalie’s foster children

Oh , Give thanks to the Lord for He is Good .

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Gary and June with foster grandchildren ,Uriel, Lucy, and Brian atop mountain in Sewanee, Tennessee

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Kris, Luke and Rebecca Coker

June, Gary on back in woods

O’ the memories, how sweet they are

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Luke Coker, Kris and Rebecca’s son.

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Kelley, Adie and Kerry

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The Coker Boys, Kerry, Kyle and Kris

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Claire Coker (on right) homecoming court Hebron Christian School.

                            There is a land where the mountains are nameless, and the rivers all run, God-knows where”

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I wonder’d lonely as a cloud, that floats on high o’er vales and hills———- Adie in the midst of daffodils in Sewanee, Tn

Thank you God for tea! What would the world be without tea?  How did I exist?  I am glad I was not            born before tea.                                                                                              

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June and Gary –Hilton Head Lighthouse

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Kyle and Natalie with four foster children and biological children Claire and Peyton

                                                                                                            “The  gentleman and the ocean.”        It doesn’t  get any better.                                                                                               

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Granddaddy and Luke

To most onlookers this profile would appear to be a collage of pictures.  However, to me they represent stories.  Stories of life, joy and happiness.  For this we are thankful.

Ramblins……………………………………No Vacancy

get-attachment.aspxStanding outside a local church,  surrounded  by other adults, one of the individuals made the comment “I hear the same thing every year.” I am sure it was an attempt to at least be sympathetic with the plight of the preacher preparing for Christmas Eve.

There is only one story to tell at Christmas, the story that has given birth to more stories than any other story. I am of the opinion the birth of Christ should not be probed too curiously with word speech. What needs to be said is beyond the ability of our language to convey. And yet, the story is so simple that a child can tell it. Nevertheless we still live in a world where Herod still reigns and where nations still believe the myth that peace can be purchased through war. God comes down in flesh into a world where love still gets nailed to a cross. The Savior is born in a world where every last one of us is like those shepherds who were in desperate need of a Savior.

Listening to the news of the day or  observing the world stage and the behavior of so many radicals,  sometimes I feel like shouting “God! Why don’t you get down here and do something?”

There was no room in a little village on the edge of nowhere for a poor pregnant woman and her low-wage day-laborer husband. No room for Mary’s child to be born. Thomas Merton maybe captured the way this story can speak to us when he wrote. “Into this world,  in which there is absolutely no room for Him, Christ has come uninvited……………………..”

Thinking about that “No Vacancy” sign, appearing at the inn where Joseph and Mary arrived  I realized that we all have them. We don’t like to admit it. It takes many experiences and prayers to arrive at a point where you have it all together, where there are no empty places. We eventually arrive and  we can take the No Vacancy sign down and remove the dark places around our souls and identify the conflicted corners of our world. Until we can arrive at this point of spiritual maturity there will continue to be No Vacancy signs to some rooms into which we do not want Jesus to go.  None of us really want to acknowledge the vacancy in our souls, the emptiness in our hearts, the hollowness in our compassion, or the shallowness of our hopes.

Christmas is a good time to take down the No Vacancy sign and let Christ be born anew. With the removal of the sign you will be standing on the threshold of infinite possibilities.

Merry Christmas!!

Gary

         

 

 

 

 

REFLECTIONS…………………………….My Child

 

My child you may not know me, but I know everything about you.  I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered,  for you were made in my image.

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Cross on campus of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee

In me you live and move and have your being,  for you are my offspring. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake,  for all your days are written in my book.

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. I knitted you together in your mother’s womb, and brought you forth on the day you were born.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made.

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.  I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  It is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand,  for I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope,  because I love you with an everlasting love.

My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand on the seashore and I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you,  for you are my treasured possession.

I desire to establish you with all my heart, and I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.  Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart,  for it is I who gave you those desires.  I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.  I am your greatest encourager.

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are broken hearted,  I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb,  I have carried you close to my heart.

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes and I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.  I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.  In Jesus, my love for you is revealed.  He is the exact representation of my being and He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you and to tell you that I am not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.  His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.  If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me and nothing will ever separate you from my love again.

 Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.  I have always been your Father, and will always be Father.

My question is…….. Will you be my child?

I am waiting for you.

 

                                           Love,

                                           God

 

Footnote: Each sentence in this ‘blog’  is a direct quote from the Holy Scripture. Books and verses are available upon request. The ‘Reflection’ is not a duplicate but is derived from ‘A Father’s Love’ and is used by permission.

Special note and challenge to the reader:  Go to a private place without sound or interruptions and read the blog each day for a week.  Afterwards read the blog once a week and in the future when you are feeling a need to be close to your Heavenly Father.