A Lovely Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Today was Dad's 83rd birthday and we had a lovely day. We had a nice lunch with friends. Here is a photo of Dad (on left) and his best friend John (who turned 83 two days ago). Can you tell that John is a delightful British gentleman? We celebrated with wine, good food, cake, candles and song. After a great meal, we decided to go to a local site called Garvan Gardens here in Hot Springs. OMG, it was fabulous. It is almost 300 acres of gorgeous wooded gardens, waterfalls and walking paths. The horticultural students at the University of Arkansas plant hundreds of bulbs, shrubs, trees and plants and it is just breathtaking and beyond peaceful.

In a few weeks, I am sure it will be even more beautiful when all those bulbs open up. The recent snow they had here confused things a bit, some were blooming, some not. There are various garden areas - a children's garden, a Japanese garden, Daffodil Hill, Camellia Trail, etc....just amazing! What's more it houses one of the most beautiful chapels you can imagine.

The Anthony Chapel is made of wood, glass, and stone and is definitely a place where you feel God's presence. It is 57 feet tall and has 9860 square feet of glass providing a breathtaking view of the surrounding woodlands and Lake Hamilton. Can you imagine how beautiful the weddings and special events are that are held there? It has accompanying structures of the Millsap Bride's Hall, Evans Groom's Quarters, and the Evans Celebration Garden as well as the Anthony Family Carillon. The Carillon is a 59 foot tall tower comprised of 16 copper-clad columns. It chimes the time and then plays hymns reminiscent of a pipe organ. I am told that in the winter holiday months, they have millions of white twinkling lights everywhere and it is just a site to see! If you are ever in this area, I definitely recommend stopping in. What was really nice for us (since Mom and Dad can't really walk any distance) is that they have wheelchairs available and they have golf cart tours that take you through many of the paths on the acreage. It was a great day and was so good for all of us. Fun, fresh air and friends - perrrrrfect!

DH and I leave in the AM for home. After our busy day out in the fresh air, I am sure we will all sleep very well and dream of beautiful flowers and waterfalls :-) Oh how I wish my acreage at home could look like that! Wouldn't it be lovely if we all had a nice park in our backyards? :-)

I took this snapshot of a quilt I made Dad not long ago. It is made of flannels and does have batting for warmth. I have a close up of a block showing the pattern I used to quilt it. It is one of only a few ventures into what I refer to as "sane" quilting....I am really a CQ girl!


My recent studies in Matthew focused on marriage and divorce. I have to admit that whenever we get to verses concerning divorce - I tense up and get a bit unsettled. Why? Because, I have divorce in my past. Jesus doesn't mince words about divorce - he states that God hates divorce and outlines the definition of adultery pertaining to divorce and remarriage. Well, I am also remarried. Imagine how I feel when I read these verses - (like crawling under a rock!) However, an amazing realization came about during this particular study. I had always had feelings of guilt, failure and uncertainty when I read Bible verses concerning divorce and marriage in the past, feeling like I had really fallen short in God's eyes. Obviously, God's plan for marriage was that it be an inseparable bond, instituted by Him for His purposes and His glory. He did not intend for us to forsake our wedding vows at all, even when it gets rough, unpleasant or seems impossible. Well, without going into personal details, I wound up divorced at a fairly young age. I don't think divorce is the answer, but things happened and there I was, a young divorcee with two very young children. I went through some extremely difficult times - emotionally, financially, spiritually - the whole package; but in looking back now, things actually worked out for the best. God watched over me each and every day, even when I had my doubts. My first husband and I have both happily remarried people much better suited to us. One of my major concerns; however, was that I have a marriage blessed by God, and I still had doubts given my past. I have asked God for forgiveness and His insight in many, many things; one of them being divorce and many decisions surrounding that first marriage relationship and the relationship that resulted in my present marriage. During this recent study, God showed me that I am forgiven and can move on in a marriage He recognizes as one that will glorify Him. God assured me that when we go to Him and ask for forgiveness with a contrite heart, He forgives and we are reconciled with Him. He knows our hearts and He can guide us into a blessed relationship with Him as a new couple. And, I feel He is doing just that. God is at the head of my present marriage and I am so very thankful for that. The Bible verses regarding marriage and divorce are to educate and encourage us. Education - for those considering marriage so that they understand God's original intent regarding marriage and the responsibilities involved. Encouragement - for those who may be having problems in their marriage to persevere. But as I recently heard my BSF leader say "you can't unscramble an egg" - reconcile with God and go forward with God at the helm and you will be forever blessed!


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