“My Beloved Is Mine And I Am His”

My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.

Song of Solomon 2:16
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;

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the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.

Song of Solomon Chapter 2

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As my daughter prepares for her marriage, I am reminded of my beloved and our passionate 25 years of faithful love. I’m overwhelmed with the greatest love–Jesus–, who calls me His beloved.

His love never fails.

God is love.

Arise, my beloved, let me show you just how much I love you!  Today may His love be evident, and may you see His love in tangible ways.

He adores you…

 

Wedding Veils

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Visiting Great Aunt Polly to announce engagement!

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Looking through mom and dad’s wedding book for ideas!

Ringing the Marriage Bell at one of the Venues

Yesterday our family went on an adventure to find the perfect spot for my oldest daughter’s wedding. We had time in between two places so went home for brunch–sausage and gravy with homemade biscuits.

Our discussions lingered on flowers, budget, decorations, and the veil came up. As she looked through my wedding album and held the wedding Bible I went down the aisle with 25 years ago, I remembered I still had my veil in my closet.  I ran upstairs to retrieve this beautiful adornment for a bride that had laid dormant for 25 years.

We laughed as we tried to put the veil on–some metal parts were exposed and scratched her head. Ouch!

A quick fix and in an instant my daughter was a bride.  My mother happened in and began to cry, too.  Three generations.  How did I get to be 48 years old and my sweet girl is wearing my veil?

Bridal Veil

Not only does the bridal veil show the modesty and purity of the bride and her reverence for God, it reminds us of the Temple veil which was torn in two when Christ died on the cross. The removing of the veil took away the separation between God and man, giving believers access into the very presence of God. Since Christian marriage is a picture of the union between Christ and the church, we see another reflection of this relationship in the removal of the bridal veil. Through marriage, the couple now has full access to one another. (1 Corinthians 7:4)

 

(http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2012/09/do-or-dont-wedding-veils.html)

 

 

 

The Desire of Our Heart

Our small village has a unique gift shop, in which, my girls and I happened inside one day.  I saw the sweetest sunflower bracelet, but my goal that day was to shop for a birthday gift for my daughter’s friend.  Another day, perhaps, I’ll purchase this beautiful bracelet.  Sitting with my Woman of Worth ladies, a sweet girl gave me a precious gift and note of encouragement.  She found the bracelet as a media message from another WOW girl.  From this, her family went to the store to purchase the bracelet, and ,of course, it was “the last one left”, shared my sweet friend.  She had no idea that months prior I had wanted the bracelet.  God gives us the desire of our heart.  He cares in the most intimate way. He is a personal God.

The tag with the sunflower bracelet symbolizes optimism, compassion, and resilience.

God give me Your Joy and help me be the Proverbs 31 woman who “smiles/laughs at her future!”

God give me Your compassion to love when loving is hard.

God, when my strength and hope are fading, give me Your strength to run the race.

This special flower is unexpectedly strong and optimistic, as it is constantly rising up from the ground, turning its face toward the sun.  A bright symbol of faith, the sunflower exudes happiness, from its vibrant petals to its resilient roots.  An encouragement to seek joy on the darkest days, the Sunflower Charm celebrates the power that grows from staying ever positive, facing toward the light.

The purchase of this bracelet supports the Alzheimer’s Association, to advance research and enhance care and support for those living with Alzheimer’s.

As I wear the bracelet from treasured friends, I will remind myself that I only can receive optimism, compassion, and resilience from God alone.  He alone-the Son–fills me to this capacity.  I’ve tried to grow sunflowers in my current home without success because the shading of all the oak trees blocks the sun.  No daily sun (Son) keeps the sunflower from maturing and growing.  Enough said!

I also remember the many people in my life suffering from Alzheimer’s and those who are in heaven after battling this illness.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

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Oh Jesus–may we delight in You.  Give us Your joy.  Help us to see You in all things provided to us and for us.  Thank you for using those we love most to remind us of Your redeeming love.  I love you….

 

Sweet Teas Southern Cuisine

After our post on The Roosevelt, I received several recommendations for our next adventure.  My dear friend Gail recommended Proper Pie:

I love the Roosevelt! A block up is Proper Pie…another wonderful place with pot pies, meat rolls and the best dessert pies around.  I agree with you Anna, Church Hill is magical.  –Gail

Other suggestions from my friend who works at VCU were Anthony’s on the Hill and Sweet Teas.

As my oldest daughter was away for her surprise engagement, I had to keep busy.  After working for most of the day at VCU with my precious Capstone group for my last year of school, I headed home and, as a family, we researched these restaurants.  We decided upon Sweet Teas!

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I had to keep my joyful mind busy!  The anticipation of the call, “I’m engaged!” caused this mama to keep busy! I even called a beloved friend, Sandy, who grounds me.

Sweet Teas is located on 1800 E. Main St. in Shockoe Bottom Richmond.

As we drove around the block to find street parking, we happened upon a wedding party!  GREAT timing!  Where is that phone call!!!!

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This was truly a joyful restaurant!  Families and couples came to celebrate true Southern food like collard greens, fried chicken, fish, mashed potatoes….

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She hasn’t called yet!  My youngest is just as excited as me.  So we decide to ask for crayons and write on the white paper they provide on each table.

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I’m so distracted, I spell Spencer’s name wrong (the future groom) and have to creatively correct my error. While coloring, I notice the delicate plates and southern patterns.

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She calls!  We rush outside so we can have a conference call!  My baby is engaged!

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What a great place to celebrated “the call”!  I highly recommend this restaurant for some good family fun.

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For more information on the owners and history:

http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/food-review-sweet-teas/Content?oid=1988180

This picture from Style Weekly captures the spirit of the place:

Co-owner Shane Thomas shows why customers feel at home at Sweet Teas, where the chicken and waffle is a top-selling dish.

Permission and Blessing

Life comes at you fast.  One moment you are teaching long division to your fourth grader and the next minute she’s engaged.  We saw this coming, but you can never know your feelings and thoughts until the day actually arrives.

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My oldest’s boyfriend for 7 years came by the house to ask permission from my husband to marry our daughter. Their “anniversary” of their first date is January 1, 2007.  The start of a new year.  Their proposal came on the first day of summer, June 21, 2014.   7 is a Godly number.  In Deuteronomy, every 7 years, was a jubilee.

“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release.”  Deuteronomy 15:1

Taking liberty to use that as a metaphor, I think of the last 7 years as being a time of training, seeking God, and establishing their lives, and now they are released to each other to build a Godly marriage.

This will be a year of jubilance–great joy!

God orchestrated a beautiful time with my husband. The most touching moment was when the groom-to-be shared with tears in his eyes all the wonderful reasons he wanted to marry our daughter.  I actually came home in the midst of it all and was able to be a part of the discussion.  A month ago, God had impressed upon my heart the importance of the mother’s role alongside her husband.  I was thrilled God gave me the opportunity to speak my heart. We covered all aspects of marriage, and the reality of how challenging marriage can be, but in putting Jesus first and “never let the sun go down on your anger” –promise to work things out and communicate–marriage can thrive.

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We read Ephesians Chapter 5.  The most amazing thing is that God orchestrated during this time for our pastor to preach on baptism and the next Sunday, on Father’s Day, on a Christian household.  God prepared so many wonderful moments to prepare our families for the proposal.

Instructions for Christian Households–Ephesians 5

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The greatest gift a man can give his wife is a daily washing with God’s Word–the greatest love story ever written!  As you allow God to work His Word and will in your life as leader of the home, your wife will be radiant!  Glowing with the love of the Father poured forth by you–her husband.

The greatest gift a woman can give her husband is accepting and, most importantly, respecting this love and leadership.  When Christ is center “all these things shall be added unto you”.  Seek Him first!

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.  Proverbs 31:25

Laugh at the days to come my sweet daughter!  God has given you a wonderful man to love!

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A Prayer and Blessing for the Engaged

We know that all of us need God’s blessing at all times; but at the time of their engagement to be married, Christians are in particular need of grace as they prepare themselves to form a new family.

Let us pray, then, for God’s blessing to come upon this couple: that as they await the day of their wedding, they will grow in mutual respect and in their love for one another; that through their companionship and prayer together they will prepare themselves rightly and chastely for marriage.

Listen to the words of the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: 13:4-13

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

The Roosevelt

My husband and I visited a lovely restaurant called The Roosevelt.  This quaint dining experience is situated at the corner of 623 North 25th Street and M street at a roundabout in Church Hill.  We were seated at the window–a table for two.  The sun poured in and watching the people of the neighborhood and busy roundabout was entertaining.

Right outside our window was a beautiful vine growing on the gate.

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The host greeted us with an engaging smile and warm hospitality.  Our waitress was gentle and answered all of our inquisitive thoughts about the place and the food.  They had a coconut cake that engaged a conversation surrounding my Nana’s famous coconut cake.  Nana would love their rendition.

We ordered

CROSTINI, RICOTTA, with local honey as an appetizer to share

and

SCALLOPS, CAULIFLOWER PUREE, SWEET ONION/CAPER/RAISIN RELISH to share

Parish and I love to share a meal together.  I find it romantic and practical.  Good thing we have similar taste buds!

The inside decor was crisp, simple, and clean.

Across the street is a bakery.  I encouraged my husband to go inside, “What if they have rosemary bread?”  Guess what?  They did!  They make their bread in a wood-fired oven.

For more information about their menu and history please go to

http://rooseveltrva.com/

Reservations are encouraged; however, walk-ins were accommodated at the bar or space that was available.

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Historic Church Hill has a lot to offer!  And, the drive was beautiful.

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The Mountain of God

Reflections from Priscilla Shirer, One in a Million, Chapter 10

God is taking you to a new level.  You’ve had confirmation and set backs.  The destination of this new level seems so out of reach, and your progress seems, well, stagnant and confusing.  You start to question.  After reading chapter 10 several times and discussing its personal meaning with my husband, I realized that camping out at the mountain of God IS “Far and Near” (the title of the chapter).

The Israelites were instructed to pitch their tents and camp for an extended time at the foot of the mountain–“the mountain of God”; and He would speak to them–come to them.  It wasn’t the promised land that God was leading them to, but it was a time near to God and His voice.

I’d rather be camped at the foot of the mountain than hiding in a bush.  My husband argued a point that they were promised this land of milk and honey.  Oh yes, but aren’t we longing for our promised land–heaven?  Until that time, I want to be camped out at the foot of God’s mountain listening to His voice.  I could hide and ignore because of pain, shame, bitterness, or apathy.  I could skip out and make sure I pack light and not pitch the tent as God commanded them to do.  I could find a nice cool spring somewhere and fill my days with activities that distract and pull me away from His voice.

Whenever God speaks to my soul, He gives me pictures in my mind’s eye.  I envision this beautiful mountain that seems impossible to climb, move, or fathom, but there I am with my family, camped out, trusting and listening to Him.

“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.  Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 5:3

I want to wait expectantly for God to redeem and restore.  Think of it.  Time has proven God’s Word and ways to be true…

Psalm 139

Look deep into my heart, God,
    and find out everything
    I am thinking.
Don’t let me follow evil ways,
    but lead me in the way
    that time has proven true.

Go back over your life and consider how time has proven His truth.  As you pitch your tent to stay at the foot of the mountain, listen to His voice.   Allow God to look deep into your heart and do a work.  All the work is required for where He is taking you–the promised land.

Did you know that the “mountain of God”, Mount Sinai, was the same mountain that Moses experienced the burning bush and call of God as well as the 10 Commandments!  What a great place to start as a family this summer.  My mom gave me a book years ago called The Ten(der) Commandments.  A great summer Bible Study for our family as we camp out.

 

Ordering Book:

http://www.amazon.com/Ten–Commandments-Reflections-Fathers-Love/dp/1576733041/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403272214&sr=1-2&keywords=the+tender+commandments

 

Synopsis of Book:

 

The Ten Commandments are often portrayed as ominous warnings — cold, harsh words from an all-powerful and vengeful God. This paperback release of the popular hardback The Tender Commandments recasts them as messages of love — ten declarations of our Creator’s love for us. Pastor and Gold Medallion award-winning author Ron Mehl interprets the Ten Commandments as guiding steps that can keep us from being bruised and broken by the deadly traps of a fallen world. He shows how, rather than running into the same brick walls of life, clawing helplessly up the same impassable sandbanks, we can be led by God’s guiding Hand and walk through life with confidence.