But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you.
For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.
Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.
May the LORD do so to me and more also
if anything but death parts me from you.”
Ruth 1:16-17

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sweet 'Beginning's and 'Sorrowful' Endings


This year of 2017... has been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. It has reminded me somewhat of a musical scale as there have been so many variations of emotions, moods, ups and downs, variations of atmosphere's while always trying to find the center... hoping to stay on course. There has been a 'Tearing of The Veil' in this year of 2017. We had to adjust our pitch while trying to find our harmony once again. We are resilient and resolute and we will move forward it is within us and without us to do so as we await the New Year...


Sun setting on 2017
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.'
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
 
In January of each year we begin anew. We move forward. We look towards the future. Our vision is clear, new, fresh and clean as we embark on a new journey. We do not know what is to come...

Our lives, the people, the places, and the events and circumstances that surround us all unites us and binds us together. We are all intertwined within our small flocks and this is where we learn, we love, we nourish and we lean together. God made us that way. One of the cryptic sayings that I find so truthful is 'there is no I in TEAM' It applies all through our lives. We did not arrive in this world without a team. 'Father, Son, Holy Spirit...God, Father, Mother. We enter and exit as a member of a team, a flock, a united front, our village who knows us inside out. God in his infinite wisdom designed His world of humanity in such a way that we require a flock forever and always. So many times when writing, the word 'me or my' comes onto the page, when ' we or ours' is in truth the reality. We have never been just a 'me', but a 'we' always.

The reason I have written the above is to emphasize how intertwined within our flock we are. When one experiences joy, we experience joy too! When one experience's triumph's we too share that experience! When one embarks on a new journey we travel with them in spirit. When one celebrates we celebrate. When one is ill, we feel ill. When one is sad, we too are sad. When one experience's the loss of another, we too experience the loss. Emotion's, feelings, all characteristic's that abide within us.  

During this past year our family, our friends, our neighborhoods, our world have been challenged, tried and brought to the forefront.  There have been births, there has been extreme joy, there have been untimely deaths, and sorrow. There have been unexpected life changing health issues far from home, bringing challenges far and beyond the need for recovery. Having to relearn and to re find your way.  There have been the lingering declining illnesses' and the constant requirements and durability of the care giver. There has been loss of mind and spirit, questioning and trying to understand the why's and wherefores. There has been loss of jobs creating uncertainty and discontent and upheaval. There have been weddings, family gatherings, wonderful moments and memories made. New life, new love relationships formed, and expanded into unexpected life altering realities. Jobs offered, moves made, changes intermittently unexpectedly bringing resolve to problems. Amazing joyful news of babe's coming, of dreams hoped for and received with joy, while moving forward towards life goals. Gathering's of family and friends coming together as a team to provide support for a cause. Joining together in Thanksgiving...then once again waiting, sadness, sorrow and loss. Our flock has leaned on God's Strength, and courage, while relying on each other and others this year making the journey one step at a time.


Ronnie and Amanda Weaver, joyful Grandparents

Ben, Brittanie, Mason Weaver

MAWS CAUSE 
a SIDS foundation started in honor and remembrance of
Mason Archer Weaver 4 months old
 

Nancy Lewey Johnson, Jim Johnson, Jo Dee Johnson Molina, Rebecca Johnson White
JoDee Johnson Molina, Jim Johnson, Rebecca Johnson White, Mindy Johnson Pittman  


Blessed beyond measure, so thankful for more time given and the ability to recover, change lifestyle and look towards the future,  waiting to see what plans God has in mind for this 'Grand' Papa to be in the New Year!
Katie Johnson Wade, Andy Johnson, Drew Johnson

Brother's Andy Johnson, Jim Johnson
Michael Dewey Duffy July 2017 on his boat 'Irish Risky'
living life always. Son to Jimmy and Sandy, brother to Karen, Trisha, John,
beloved husband to Kyra,
Dad for Travis and Taylor
Simply the best to all the rest...

New Years Eve brings with it a finality as well an end. Some years the parting is bittersweet, causing us to want to cling to and hold on until the last second... but letting go and letting God is how this year must end and so it will. Heaven has taken in some of our flock this year and has blessed us with the knowledge that they are abiding within your keeping dear LORD...so we say thank you for your loving grace, and the peace of your keeping until we all meet again.

Closing with these words of an Irish song, it has spoken to our heart and our heritage...yes dear Michael even though we were not related by blood we now know for a certainty that we are related by heritage and that is a good thing.


The Parting Glass
Oh all the money that e'er I spent
I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done
Alas, it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
Oh all the comrades that e'er I've had

Are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I've had
Would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call

Good night and joy be with you all

Good night and joy be with you all
  



 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

~The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go~ John Muir

When Fall begins it's lofty descent, I get this yearning inside of me to head for the hills. Living in East Tennessee I do not have to travel far to reach the hills, the mountains, the rushing rivers and the peaceful valley's that have been so thankfully preserved by some wise senior statesmen for future generations.   Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Nature always wears the color of the spirit" and the changing of the seasons does effect my spirit both outwardly and inwardly.
Sunday I was in Norris, Tennessee to be a part of a 5K run/walk for MAW's Cause.  The layout for the race was centered around and through the small community of Norris. Part of the course was on Dairy Pond Road which is long and winding and hilly. I have driven that road many times over the years, and walked on parts of it but mostly it has been taken by car. I am not known for my athleticism.  I know my limitations, even though my husband, our son, our daughter, and now our grandson's have wonderful athletic abilities, they did not get that from me.  I  watched as the large crowd of participants, many with young children in tow, set out on the race, it took me back to years long ago when Curt and I were first establishing ourselves as young marrieds and had been given the opportunity through TVA to live and work and raise our young son within those tree laden hills of Norris. Recalling the many times we had participated in events to raise money for a need or a cause within the community or through the church we attended, or through a work related charity, those were special years to be a part of. The circle of life then seemed slow, steady and for certain while we were secure and content to just be...We did not get to remain in Norris, as so many of our friends did, Curt's work world had other plans for our family so we picked up and  moved around the Tennessee Valley. Ironic really because I influenced Curt to get out of the Air Force, where we had met, wanting to settled down and form roots. The roots did come after many moves later but only after we got to know and call home many of the small communities within the Tennessee Valley, teaching us  to look to one another, and the friends that we met along the way for encouragement when we encountered rough waters.



 
When we were living in Rogersville, Tennessee, Curt was assigned to the TVA Phipps Bend Nuclear Plant Construction Site, in Church Hill, Tennessee. While living there, we were blessed to become a part of The Rogersville United Methodist Church which  helped us to forge ties and relationships within that community which created several life long friendship's. The years spent in Rogersville were where I first felt like I was finally home. Not long after we moved there the church planned a day trip to Cades Cove in Townsend, Tennessee to help raise money for the youth of our church who were working towards a mission trip that summer. The plan was to bicycle around the 11 mile loop at Cades Cove and for each mile you cycled per person it raised a certain amount of dollars for the mission trip. Well of course the Lane's were in, we did not have bicycle's other then Chris's,
Christopher Todd Lane on his red bike 6 years old
so one of the generous church members offered us a tandem bike with a seat on the back for baby Amy. So we  loaded up our bikes in trucks early on a Sunday morning left Rogersville, stopped in Wears Valley to attend  a small Methodist Church service, then off we went to enjoy a beautiful fall day at 'The Cove'. While driving the cove has problems of its own, because of a narrow road and everyone is stopping and gawking at 'The Cove' nature's and animal's like deer and bears and other wildlife, but riding a bicycle built for two, or in our case three, plus a six year old bicyclist wobbling his way up and down the small winding roads of the cove, did not make a day of leisure for me. I loved my husband dearly but riding a tandem with him just about changed our relationship permanently! I enjoyed the Dr. Dolittle stories and the 'Push me Pull me Llama, and the memories of this wonderful family, church inspired, fund raising day in 'The Cove', with Curt, Linda, Chris and Amy all together, on a tandem bike was a push me- pull me experience of grand proportions that should of and could of been on You-tube now-a-days. We would have had so many 'Hilarious' likes that we could have raised enough funds to help many programs go forward. Although this story is now funny, then it was the most challenging family athletic event we had ever participated in and it was a very long day. We finally  made it around the loop just as it was getting dusky dark, in time for hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and sandwiches which tasted like manna from heaven. After we filled our bellies, we loaded up our bikes and climbed on the wagon for a hayride around 'The Cove', we shared our days experience with one another, laughing as our church friends chuckled and shared their joy of watching The Lane family maneuver the 11 mile journey,  watching our expressions and antics and frustrations and then the plain old giddiness that took over when we were near the end. Oh my goodness the lessons we learned that day were priceless in the building of family unity, forbearance, trust, and love for one another. So when I say the 'Mountain are calling and I must go, they are words of truth with meaning forged within me over 38 years ago, the Cades Cove area holds a kinship within me and it calls me back every fall season...saying it is time to come, to renew and refresh your soul...and so I go...and I pause and reflect and remember the sacred shared times of those precious journey's to the mountains, with family, friends and now although I go alone, I carry with me gentle spirits and memories as I say thank you LORD for giving me, your humble child and servant, so many opportunities to take in the glory of your world.
Reminding us that we must make the most of today, because tomorrow is not promised, but if we live this day to it's fullest, then we have done our best.

"God makes three requests of his children: Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now"