Saturday, September 9, 2017

Getting Ready For What Lies Ahead

There are preparations of all kinds going on here in Pooler. 


Before I speak of the preparations at hand, let's talk about weddings!
I'm sure you heard that Mikaela & Ethan are now engaged. We've started some preparations for their wedding day in May. Mikaela had an opportunity to go with a friend to check out some wedding dresses. We saw some very beautiful dresses. But clearly, that is way outside of our budget but it was fun to go try some different styles to see what she liked.

Grandma & Grandpa's Wedding Day
In truth, Mikaela has always wanted to wear my wedding gown which happened to also be my mother's dress handmade by Grandma in 1956. So we searched to find a seamstress who could work with antique fabrics and make the gown into a dream gown for Mikaela. Mike's family in Waycross suggested a lady they use. So we made the 2-hour trek to meet with her. 

We loved her instantly.

Me in the gown - 1989

Ms. Tammie is an accomplished seamstress and was recently featured in the Okefenokee Living Magazine (Look for "She said 'Yes" to her Mother's Dress) for a transformation she recently did remaking a 1980s gown into something stylish for the 21st century. She has some wonderful ideas for our dress as well and we are very excited to see what she does. You MUST come in May to see it!

 Mikaela & Ethan - Aren't they cute?
We also met with a friend of mine that has offered to do the catering and to help us design and hand-create the invitations. We're still working on the final decisions on the Save the Date card. In the meantime, you can go ahead and pencil in on your calendar Saturday, May 19, 2018 here in Savannah, GA. Do you think you might come? Make sure I have your address to send the invite.


Of course, everyone is talking about the hurricanes lately. It was so sad to see all the damage in Houston. And now, even as I type the entire state of Florida is under Hurricane Warning. And it's coming to Georiga!

Flooding in Houston

Here in Savannah, we were under mandatory evacuation, but now that the hurricane is headed up the middle of Georgia, the governor has lowered the evacuation to voluntary .. except for the coastline. We'll still get some tropical force winds and surge though.

We were going to run across the state to our cousin. But since the storm is headed their way, we decided to stay put and weather the tropical storm forces here. So now we are getting things together to be prepared for losing electricity for sure. You know, water, batteries, candles, important papers.

Preparing our Souls

I got to thinking about all the tragic things happening in our world. It certainly seems that "all creation is groaning" under the evil. Here are just a few of the world wide events that are going on.


Sierre Leone

Flooding and Mud Slides in Peru

Monsoons in Asia

Monsoons in Asia


Dengue Fever

Hurricanes Katia, Irma, & Jose

Mexico Earthquake after math

Does This Remind You of Anything?

All of these things cause me to think that we are very near the end. Jesus describes all these things in the book of Matthew.

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you,

This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

 So I must ask you,

 "Have you prepared your soul for the coming day?"

"Do you believe that Jesus, the Son of God, came to die for your sins and give you eternal life?"

"Have you accepted this free gift of life by believing and trusting in him?"

"Have you turned your heart and life over to His control?"

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11New International Version (NIV)

"I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation."   2 Corinthians 6:2 

It's as Easy as A, B, C

ACCEPT that you are a sinner.
BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ.
CONFESS your sins to Him.

It's that simple. Do this and receive eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

1 John 1:9New International Version (NIV)If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

So how about it? Are you prepared for the day of His return for His Bride?

Look up! For our redemption draws nigh!

P.S.  I'm hosting a Q&A event about fibromyalgia this fall. Go to my special Facebook page to follow along. I'm actually working to put all this in a book! Here's the link

                            "FIBROMYALGIA - IS IT FOR REAL?"

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Savoring the Bittersweet

 Ezekial 3:14 The Spirit lifted me up and took me away.
 I went into bitterness and turmoil, but the Lord’s hold on me was strong.

The Bittersweet of Pain
We can taste the bitter and the sweet. That’s how the past few years have been for us. Really, long before that, in 2011, I tasted the bitterness of chronic pain. Pain that lasted for not for days, but for months. A portion of that time was in stillness on my bed. But I savored that stillness as I fellowshipped with God. Drawing, oh so close, to Him as he taught me and brought me to a readiness to face even greater giants; just as He did in the wilderness with His people, Israel. I still fight chronic pain but I feel the sweetness of being still.

The Bittersweet of Job Loss

In the fall of 2015, our family tasted the bitterness in the realization that our society had become a place with no need for the mature. The bitter reality was that churches no longer desired the more “senior” pastor. And though Michael had 40 years of pastoring under his belt and a family with multiple talents, we found ourselves with no place to serve. We were left as scraps on the table and forced to take an early retirement which we really could not afford.

But these past two years are a testament to God’s faithfulness and providence.

We moved to greater Savannah. It ripped out our hearts as we pulled away, leaving our son, Brian, on the far west side of Georgia; but, oh the sweetness of reuniting with our oldest son, Daniel and his family.  Our grandson, in his late teens, barely knew us at that point. But it’s a different story now. Our home is right off the highway where Daniel traveled for work, play, and church. And we had the privilege of weekly visits on the spur of the moment for a while.
They have moved into town now. But we still enjoy worshiping together every Sunday and have regular get-togethers for food and fellowship.

The Bittersweet of Financial Loss

It was eye opening to watch our bank account diminish with our now much lower income but additional living costs.
BUT GOD is faithful to the most minute details. Oh the sweetness, in finding a check in the mailbox just as the right time or cash in the hand from a friend at church. God has never let us down. He provides every need.

The Bittersweet of Lost Friendships
Our hearts broke as we left behind 13 years of wonderful friendships. Our younger children had grown up there and really knew no other place to call home. But friends, old and new were waiting for us around the bend. Oh, the sweetness of reuniting with friends from years ago when we pastored in Savannah. Plus new friends that embraced us as if they had known us all along. There were even “college friends” to get to know.
Just a week before we arrived, the church we now attend hired a worship pastor. Wouldn’t you know that this pastor and wife attend Asbury College at the same time as me! We didn’t know one another then, but we have mutual friends. It’s a small world!
This turned out to be the sweetest of all blessings. You see, their son, Ethan fell in love with our daughter, Mikaela! And in July, he proposed! And we are now preparing to celebrate a marriage possibly next spring! The date has not been set yet.
Here’s a little video from the engagement that Brian put together. Thanks to Eric Grimes for pictures and music.

 Psalm 34:8   Taste and see that the Lord is Good.

I share all this just to say, “There is always a silver lining.” 

We are still tasting bitter with the sweet but God has been faithful.

Don’t give up when the chips are down.

Mandy, et al