February is a special month to me since it includes the celebration of Valentine's Day. Sharing our love for those we care about is a nice tradition at this time of year. It doesn't have to be all about romance. In fact that doesn't need to be a part of it at all. I think of Valentine's Day as a time that reminds me how much value Jesus placed on love. He said that the world would know we were Christians by our love for one another. That doesn't seem to be happening these days, but that doesn't mean we can't keep working towards it.
I have a 36" wide vinyl heart that has to be blown up and then can be hung from somewhere. When our son was growing up it hung above the breakfast room table where it was pretty much in view other than when we slept. We're going to celebrate the holiday with a trip to Richmond (less than an hour away) to visit the Science Museum of Virginia
and view the IMAX film, Born To Be Wild
We got a great deal on Groupon for $16 that gives us both admission to the museum and the IMAX film. WOW! We've had a few other great deals with Groupon which is a local discount site for businesses to offer amazing deals, usually 50% off. Admission for both would've normally been $32 for two of us. If you're not signed up for Groupon
emails, it's a great way to get a deal on things you may be waiting for at a better price.
Another place I'm signed up for is Living Social. We've had some cool deals on there also. Great variety of things. Seems when we're waiting to do something, it comes across on Living Social not much afterwards. I love a good deal! Check to see if Living Social
is in your area. Donna at Shenandoah Caverns
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I finished addressing my Valentine's cards this past week and I flashed back to this photo taken on July 4th, 2012, since it was such a victorious day for me. It's not a photo that I really like of myself, but if I think about the man who was taking the photo (my sweet husband) I guess my look tells all ... he certainly made me smile many times as I went through my heart crisis
avoiding the recommended surgery.
Forgive me for yet again visiting my awe and wonder of God in His provision for us. I keep praising Him for what He has done and what He is doing in me. I want to be a picture of what Christ gave to us through His atonement on the Cross. It's going slower than I would like, but I guess I have a thick skull. I want too much attention on details and that's not walking in faith.
On this July 4th, other than needing to gain a few pounds and build my strength back, I was free of all symptoms from the beginning of the year only six months before. The 25 lbs. of fluid were gone; the racing and erratic heartbeat was gone; I was off the oxygen and ready to return the machine; no drugs or supplements being used; I was able to sleep flat in my own bed instead of the guest room; able to walk distances more than 6-7 steps; and many more things that I still rejoice in. Just being able to eat without nausea and not care how much sodium is in a food ... on and on. [Read: Valentine's Day Reminds Me of God's Love
The photo was taken when we spent an entire day over in the Shenandoah Valley celebrating Independence Day in a different way. The places we visited on July 4th was a covered bridge
(1892), Shenandoah Caverns
(opened in 1922 and really awesome), and a museum of parade floats (opened in 2000) called American Celebration on Parade
(think Thanksgiving Parade, etc.). Bluebird Looking Up
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I have always been very "independent" and so in charge of my life. As my friend, Joni, mentioned awhile back, it's our helplessness that moved the heart of God. He saw man incapable of not sinning, so in His love, rather than wiping the slate clean and beginning again (as He did with Noah and The Flood), He came to earth in human form to pay for our sins so we wouldn't have to. What an amazing thing for the Creator of the Universe to put Himself into a human body and limit Himself to the limitations of humanity. We need to "look up" before we look within on every issue in our life.
Our acquired independence still tends to make us think that we have something to do with all the benefits that God has given us through His Son and The Cross. There is nothing we can do to add to Jesus' sacrifice for us, but our doing and work-oriented society has a hard time simply receiving the grace of God and His love for us. We see all of our faults, and He only sees us through His Son, Jesus. As He is, so are we in this world (I John 4:17). That means we are like Jesus now in our spirits and that's how God sees us, in the spirit.
When we begin to grasp His love for us all fears will fall. I meditate a lot on I John 4:18: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love (HIS LOVE) casts out fear, because fear has torment." When we trust in Him, He will take all our fears away and we can rest in His love that will refresh, restore, heal, and rebuild anything that is broken. Trust is a key word! Historic Drugstore (1927) - Scottsville, VAView Enlarged Image
We had one beautiful Sunday with the sun shining brightly and warm enough weather to take a country drive with the windows down. We decided to head toward the town of Scottsville, Virginia, since we had not been there in many years.
We walked the historic downtown area and then went to Canal Basin Square. They had built quite an exhibit along the James River that we had not seen, but only read about in the local free county paper. View photo album of Scottsville, Virginia
The drive there and back was so refreshing and the walking to see the exhibit was great along with some time by the river and a walk back over the bridge. It felt so good to be outside. I'm not much for walking for no purpose (like just to "exercise"), but give me a purpose for being outside and I'll walk until I drop especially if it's a nature trail.
On Sunday night I had some food on the deck and when I looked out I saw a raccoon right up against the deck door window which is where I place the plate. His face was buried in the dish in the corner, so I sat down and leaned my forehead in to watch. He turned around at one point and our noses were only about 5 inches apart. WOW! What an encounter. I was thinking that it was the biggest raccoon I had ever seen, but then I had never seen one that close before.
However the next night when there wasn't any food out when he returned so he thought he'd explore nearby areas which necessitated him to tear the screen and metal frame off of the screen door to the porch. That porch has a kitty door in it since Squeek's litter box is out there. Am I ever glad we heard it and opened the door right away. The next day was warm and beautiful and Randal spent several hours figuring out a way to reframe the screen and get it fixed before that evening. Naughty boy! Aliya and Isabella, The Baby Goat
My friend, Elva, in Texas has baby goats galore from their goat herd, but sadly, with the cold and with mothers who don't want to feed them, many die. She's a brave soul trying to keep any one alive that she can and right now she's got her hands full with goats. Her granddaughter, Aliya, is especially fond of one she named Isabella. She wears a diaper so she can run about the house and Aliya put one of her brother's jackets on the goat. So cute!
Elva is one of my animal heroes ... having the guts to take on an almost hopeless task and having the faith to love them through to life or love them through till death. At least they have had a season of love in their lives. I figure they're all going to be at her farm in Heaven when she arrives.
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has switched trees for which we are thankful. We had a flock of Robins come through on Monday. There were so many it was like clouds crossing our yard. We have a dozen holly bushes/trees and they love the berries. They come in ever year and it's always a great thing to see. This is the second flock we've had. Reminds me that Spring is around the corner. February sounds so much more like Spring than January did. I hope the weather begins warming also. We've had mostly temps in the teens. Filling feeders on the front porch isn't even much fun with that kind of weather, but I know that folks further north have even lower temps to deal with. Weather has become a strange topic.
I had a wisdom tooth taken out two days ago. I don't like the dentist. My faith didn't get me to schedule that appointment for months after half of the tooth had broken off exposing the filling. There was no pain, so the motivation wasn't there. I just didn't want to think about it. However, the delay was not good since it was very infected with much dead tissue and a cyst to remove also. He couldn't even put stitches in since he said he had no firm tissue to work without after he'd scraped it all out. It wasn't a bad experience though and I tried not to think about all the pain people have told me about when wisdom teeth are removed.
The tooth came out right away since even the bone area was dead, so that wasn't a problem. What amazed me the most is that the next day I had no pain and have had no pain at all. I mean not even a dull ache! I kept telling myself that I did not have to have pain just because somebody mentioned it, but you know when something like that works out, I still am amazed and don't seem to be able to believe it ... so I don't know how much faith is involved in such a process but it must be there for it to work.
Sometimes I just ask Jesus to be the "bridge" between my soul and my spirit (where everything is totally healed because I am in Christ). I imagine Him lying down by this great chasm with the darkness of SOUL being on one side and the brightness of Light being on the other with all that Jesus is being in me. Faith is the bridge that brings things from the spirit realm into the physical realm and I see my belief isn't strong enough for much of that, but Jesus' faith is. In Him "we have all that pertains to life and godliness"
(2 Peter 1:3). One of my favorite verses I believe is going to be my "signature life verse" is Acts 3:16:"It is the name of Jesus and the faith that comes through Him that has given me this complete healing as you all can see." World Traveler Puzzle
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I'm grateful to have my tax returns done and sent off. Getting them over with early in the year is a must for me. I don't want to ruin any wonderful Spring days with the thought of having to do taxes.
For those of you who have been enjoying the puzzles we've been putting together, here's the one I mentioned in the last newsletter. World Traveler with 1500 pieces. It was fun finding a few places that we've been to and fun doing the puzzle of course.
For the first 25 years of our marriage Randal had no interest in puzzles. He sure has changed from that and so has he ability to see more details around him, so we'll keep doing puzzles. It seems to have broadened his "horizons" especially when we're hiking since he spots things many times before I do.
Last year's photos of Bluebird Cove Garden and Critters are totally archived on the photo gallery. If you'd like to stroll our yard and garden or see the critters that visit us all year round, here's the links:CrittersGarden
If you're tired of all the cold indoor time this winter, you may want to travel somewhere else that's warm ... even if it's only a photo tour. Maybe you'll want to find a place to travel to for your next vacation. I've There's United States and International (right after Illinois) albums in the travel gallery. Take a trip now
. Donna and Randal - Downtown Greenville, SCA Beautiful April 10, 2010 - Our 33rd Anniversary
Please share details of what you're planning for Valentine's Day. Make it an event. It's good for us to take time to celebrate the little things in life. And showing love to people is being Jesus to them also. There are lots of options. Ask God to show which one is best for you.
My friend, Robin, has made some gifts to drop off at the nursing homes she visits with her therapy dog. She's another one of my animal heroes. She's a good one to make people smile too.
So, tell me what you'll be doing on "love day" or what you'd like to be doing if you had time and money to do anything you want. It's fun to dream and I'll dream with you and pray that your dreams come true! You can leave comments without your name .... leave a comment
. Share a dream, share a prayer request. I love to make contact with those who read all about me ... let me know something about you!
Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.