Sensual Thanksgiving

As I ruminated this week on what I have to be thankful for, I was thanking God for my five senses; sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch. While I pondered on each sense, I began to think of how blessed I am. We take our senses for granted.

Without my vision, I could not be a photographer. I would never know the beauty surrounding me in a visual perception. I would not be able to see the glorious colors and the uniqueness of every plant, each person, every food, and the nature that I hold captive through my lens.

I also thought how monotonous eating and cooking would be without the sense of taste! I love to create in the kitchen, to blend savory spices and make wonderful culinary inventions. There is sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami! I particularly like the umami (savoriness) in home grown vine-ripened tomatoes! Whatever the flavor, the consumption of food would be rather humdrum without the sense of taste. My grandmother blessed me by teaching me the fundamentals of cooking. I’ve grown and expounded from the principles she shared.

How would I enjoy those palatable delicacies without a keen sense of smell? It is a glorious thing to walk in the kitchen and smell the aroma of apples and cinnamon baking. Then there’s the fresh scent of my grandkids after a bath, all cuddly and loving. Aromas elicit memories. I can open a bottle of talc my great-grandmother used to wear, which I have, and be flooded with a plethora of memories! Oh, how she would sing all the time or whistle! She was such a happy person.

I remember walks with her down the quarter-mile path to our house on a crisp autumn day. I loved the smell of our pecan orchard, a bonfire burning in the field, moist fall leaves exuding fragrance, and the perfume of the woodsy breeze which surrounded us. She would always have a song to sing and the thought of being able to hear her delightful melodies brings a smile to my face. I reveled in listening to her stories of how she grew up and the jokes she shared. How different my memories would be without having her voice to reflect back on. Often at this time of year, I think of the folk songs and hymns she sang and how they have enriched my life. She was white-haired, blue-eyed, ample-busted, slightly rotund, diminutive in height, and constantly smiling!  Furthermore, she was a very loving person who had to have a hug every time she saw you, even if it was just later in the same day. I relish those hugs from long ago and I try to pass them on to my grandkids.

To cuddle, to enjoy snuggling up with one of my grandkids sitting on my lap while I read them a bedtime story or sing them a lullaby is delectable! I miss the feeling of touch when I am separated from those I love. A hug from one of my kids or family can really brighten my day. I love walking hand in hand with my husband on our treks into the woods to hike or capture nature. To feel his hand touching mine and be comforted by the fact that he is near brings contentment to my heart. A gentle loving touch is so important! When we hug someone or touch their hand to let them know we care, we impart love.

   

Embrace the senses you are blessed with and Thank God for blessing you. May your Thanksgiving be a visible, delicious, aromatic, and euphonious caress of all your senses. If you lack any of the five senses, I pray that God blesses you more abundantly in those you do have. Relish that God made you Uniquely you! I wish I could share a hug or gentle touch with all who are reading this!

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 
      you formed me in my mother’s womb. 
   I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! 
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 
      I worship in adoration—what a creation! 
   You know me inside and out, 
      you know every bone in my body; 
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; 
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
   The days of my life all prepared 
      before I’d even lived one day. Psalm 139:13-14

Banished for Our Good…

God banished Eve from the garden of Eden so that she would learn to Trust Him again and be obedient. She tried to learn things in her own time and in her own way when she followed the serpent. She decided God did not know what was best for her when she listened to the serpent. She Allowed the serpent to convince her that God was withholding something from her. How often do we think we know better than God? How often do we seek out the advice of others before we seek out God’s advice? God instructs us through His Word to ask him for wisdom in James 1:5-8.

Anything we put before God, we risk losing. For some it is their career, their family, or something they value more than their time with God. Whatever we devote more time to and give our heart to is our treasure. Matthew 6:21

All He asks for is our Trust in Him and our obedience, it still comes down to that after All these years: Obedience to His word and Trust in God.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: Isaiah 1:19 (KJV)

This verse in Isaiah is simple. In the Hebrew, the word willing means to rest content, the word obedient means to hear attentively. We (as Christians) make it so difficult. When we rest in His will for our lives, when we Trust Him and are obedient to His Word, we are blessed (eat the good of the land)! When we Trust with our Whole Heart (spirit, soul, and body) He provides for us Anything we Need.

Even when we fall away, He promises to be there for us, when we seek him with All our heart and soul:

“But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.” Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT)

But that is no excuse to fall away, it is not a safety net to fall back on. We are called to live by His Spirit which makes us holy and not return to our former ways.

God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace… So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:2, 14-16 

But let’s not think that solely through our obedience we will be blessed by God. Following God is not through rote. (definitions of rote: routine; a fixed, habitual, or mechanical procedure; without thought of the meaning, done in a mechanical way.) We must have Faith (which is Trust) in God!

“Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.” Romans 4:13-14 

Prayer: Father, help me to Trust in your ways and be obedient to your will for my life. Thank you for loving me. Help me to know when I don’t hear your answer that I have not asked correctly or I’ve allowed my own thoughts to take precedence. I know you have my best interest in mind, help me to walk in your timing and not my own. In Jesus’ Precious name, Amen.

Wedding Bliss

My fiance and I have shared our story to anyone who will read or listen. I will share my version.

I used to write a political blog through a publication which I enjoyed. I made many friends through the years and have kept loosely associated with some of them. My moniker was ‘Str8_talk.’ (Not associated w/McCain!) One of the other bloggers I met was Jonathan Alligood, known as ‘Good Al.’ I occasionally read his posts. I had gone through a very anguished  relationship and I wasn’t looking to marry again or date anyone. At first I was adamant that I wouldn’t marry again but later I said “God will have to show me if I am to marry again, then I will know it is meant to be.”

I was writing from Kansas City, MO when I first encountered Jonathan through blogging. We found out that each of us were on Facebook, so we connected in that venue just before I moved in with my daughter in VA. I was looking to converse with someone who shared similar beliefs to mine. We shared what we both learned or believed in our faith in God’s Word and we had some very lengthy discussions on the Bible. We agreed on just about everything and we grew in the Lord together.

Fast forward to my son-in-love’s transfer to North Carolina, which is Jonathan’s home state. Jonathan had shared with me about a church in a suburb of Jacksonville, NC. I really enjoyed what he said about their beliefs and it felt right in my spirit (the spirit that I received through my salvation). I told him I would visit there because I would be looking for a home church.

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. Ephesians 1:13 (NLT)

The day I walked into Kingdom Life Fellowship (then known as Praise Tabernacle) I knew I had a church home. It was good, the worship and the message were phenomenal and I knew I had found rest for my soul. I am not a bystander though and I plugged in wherever I could. I worked a couple of times through the food bank and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting those people. If it weren’t for the generosity of my daughter I might have been one of ‘those people.’ I also helped with other areas, and served two days in the soup kitchen. I want to share the joy and peace God has given me. I love people of all types, isn’t that what we are encouraged to do?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:1

I met another guy through a different ministry who asked me “What are you looking for in a man?” I told him “I am Not looking for a man, I am in a relationship with God and it is the most important relationship in my life.” I have continued to seek God first in my life. I wasn’t looking for a relationship or someone to marry. I just wanted to know God more; if and when I was meant to be involved with someone God would show me.

In December, I met Jonathan face to face. In the past, he had been at our church to hear teachings and the theatrical performances by the drama team. He came to see a play that our drama team put on which I was privileged to be a part. The next day he came over and visited for a few hours. By this time we were good friends and we shared more of the Lord. We knew each other better than friends we’ve had for most of our lives because we had a strong spiritual connection.

In January, I attended a seminar at his church three hours away with another friend from my church. This was not to see him but to continue on my spiritual journey and learn more about God. There were two sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. During the praise and worship portion of the service, I felt like God told me “Jonathan will be your husband.” It was quite a shocking revelation but I had said all along that God would show me who, when, and IF I was to marry. I said “Okay God, you will have to show him as well, then I will know it is from you.” I didn’t change in the way I acted towards Jonathan but God was working on my heart in how I viewed him, moving from friend to eventual partner in life and ministry. I continued to be his friend, knowing that if God was in it, He would work on his heart as well.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 

Obviously, if you know us or looked at the title, you know that God did start revealing to Jonathan that I might be the woman for his life. In April I mentioned to Jonathan that I wanted to go somewhere and shoot some photography. I asked his advice on the state parks since NC is his home state. He told me he might not be available on that Saturday and I asked him why he said this. I hadn’t been hinting for him to go, I just wanted his perspective as a native Carolinian. He said he needed to get out and he would like to go. We spent the day together at Raven Rock State Park hiking the beautiful trails with the dogwood in peak bloom. That evening we went to an authentic Italian restaurant where the song playing when we walked in was “I Can Only Imagine.” This seemed to set the tone for the day. 

        

After dinner, we went back to the park for more hiking. We ended up getting caught in a thunderstorm together and walked back in utter darkness except for the occasional lightning strikes and light from the small flashlight which I had grabbed before we set out on our second hike. We managed to get back to our cars by making all the right turns.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We have had many dates since April and feel very blessed to be in each other’s lives! On July 23rd, Jonathan proposed to me at my church. We will be getting married on August 20th! We look forward to a shared ministry together.

You may read Jonathan’s version of our story here: 

Good Al is Getting Married to Kimberly


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