A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
Author Lori A Alicea and her beloved husband David of 29 years thank you for sharing a moment of your day with them at Apples of Gold Encouragement. It is their desire you experience their heart for family, love, encouragement and God through the words God has put on Lori’s heart to write. They are hopeful you discover a few treasures of encouragement, realizing we all share common threads in our lives. Be blessed in your day.
Close your eyes and pause, and listen in the hush of the night; eavesdrop into the joy and harmony of the choirs rejoicing in unison…oh do you hear them?
In the calm and quiet of one December evening two thousand years ago, do you sense the sacred presence of a miracle?
Does the core of your being burst as Angel voices echo the heart of heaven, setting the scene of one Holy Night when God emerges and speaks again after four hundred years of silence through the cries of the Christ child breathing his first, who now sleeps in a manger of swaddling clothes?
Do we cast our gaze towards the east of the night and in our hunger for Him, we seek Him and travel thousands of miles as the Magi did, following the star to Bethlehem where Jesus lay, and fall to our knees in wonder while opening treasures to Him?
Does the weight of this wonder cause you to fall on your knees and prostrate face down in worship to a Holy God who sent his only son to be born for our sake?
Oh, do you hear them?
The Angel voices are singing…
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born O night divine, O night divine.
O Holy Night (Excerpt from song By Placide Cappeau, Adolphe Adam) Christmas is personal.
Our Heavenly Father longed eternity with us and made a way through His son being born of a virgin.
The Christ Child’s long awaited birth announcement lists his name as…
Prince of Peace…
Jesus came to be our Savior for all who would receive Him.
Surely, this news of great joy would cause the world to pause and fall to their knees in wonder and join the choir of Angel voices echoing the heart of heaven, setting the scene of one Holy Night when the cries of the Christ child remind us, He was born this night for our sake.
Let’s revisit that Holy Night.
(Matthew 1-2 NIV)
A CHRISTMAS CHILD IS BORN
By Lori A Alicea
Two thousand years ago began,
The story of one night.
Appears to shepherds keeping watch,
An angel caused them fright.
The angel said, be not afraid,
I bring you news of joy.
The Savior has been born to you,
The barn he sleeps this boy.
In Bethlehem, a sign awaits,
Where swaddling clothes are worn.
When find a manger bed, rejoice,
The Christmas child was born.
The shepherds left their flocks at night,
To Bethlehem they went.
They hurried off, amazed to see,
The child that Heaven sent.
That night a Christmas star appeared,
From east three Magi see.
The star would lead them to their King,
The place this child would be.
Bowed down three Magi worshipped him,
This child’s face behold.
Presenting myrrh and frankincense,
To Him their gifts of gold.
A barn received Immanuel,
No royal robes were worn.
Expecting grand, so many missed,
A Christmas child was born.
Dear Lord, the shepherds left it all,
To see if this was true.
The stories told them long ago,
To get a glimpse of you.
Might I be willing, leave behind,
The minute when you call.
Might I be stirred for one small glimpse,
Of you to leave it all.
The Magi traveled far because,
Their heart was for their King.
Prepared to share their love for Him,
Arms full of gifts they bring.
Might I come bearing gifts myself,
For you this Christmas Day.
Surrendered heart I give to you,
My life, please have your way.
This Christmas child no room for him,
No vacancy the inn.
Two thousand years ago one night,
His story does begin.
Remind me when I leave no room,
Or vacancies within.
No guest room but the Master Suite,
Reserved for you my Inn.
And though from heaven you were sent,
To live with us on earth.
The baby born a manger lay,
A barn received your birth.
Might I allow you to grow up,
From manger where you lay.
Who died for me then lives again,
On Resurrection Day.
Dear Lord, you are my gift today,
A treasure wrapped in Thee.
Immanuel, our God with us,
My present ‘neath the tree.
There’s been a flurry about the air these beginning weeks of November and we haven’t even seen our first snow fall.
With endless lists to complete of gift giving, meal planning, and travel arrangements, we have stirred up a snowstorm of busyness and crowded the streets, the stores, and aisles of all kinds, and the weather of our holiday conquering isn’t letting up anytime soon.
With mere days until we families take our seat at the Thanksgiving table, I dared walking thru the doors of the local grocery store for last minute items on my part of the menu just yesterday, not dressing appropriately for those flurries inside.
It was just a few days earlier when the weather was calm and quiet inside the Uptown coffee house where I regularly share a café mocha extra hot with a dear friend over conversation for two.
With not a snowflake in sight, the still and quiet of the morning greeted me as I walked thru the doors and took my place in line; noticing my friend of over thirty years already seated at our familiar place by the window overlooking the streets of our town.
Placing my café order and about to insert my debit card, the barista stopped me before I could as Thanksgiving came early from an unknown patron paying it forward to complete strangers for the duration I was sitting there and beyond.
This unexpected kindness caught me off guard, and for the remainder of the day, my thoughts kept returning to a stranger who chose to slow down, notice and touch the smiling, the hurting, the unemployed, and the numb during a season we are meant to enjoy and celebrate, while some are just trying to get through.
Returning back to the snowstorm of buggies jammed up in traffic of the grocery store aisles, I thought of my sister and her family trying to get through their first Thanksgiving dinner with the empty seat of her husband and their father / grandfather pulling their heartstrings for another meal with him.
Did anyone slow down long enough in the grocery aisles to notice my sister’s heaviness of heart in the meat section struggling in her first attempts to find the turkey her husband used to select?
What about the other first-time widows or widowers?
What about those recently losing a child or job?
What about those with a newly discovered diagnosis?
Did anyone look up from their scribbled grocery list and notice these just getting thru the holidays and pay it forward with a smile, a comforting word from a stranger, or maybe even a swipe of their debit card for a customer who’s struggling at the register with insufficient funds.
Sometimes those paying it forward come when you least expect, yet at a time when you need it the most…
My sister Debbie in her own words. Today I decided to go shopping for Thanksgiving and get my turkey.
This was the first time I ever bought a turkey without Andy. Picking out the turkey, cooking it, and slicing it up, has always been his job.
You think you are fine for the moment, but grief just creeps up on you out of nowhere. I was fighting the tears, and my heart was getting heavy as I was trying to pick out a turkey. I was just feeling lonely and alone. I found what I was looking for and headed home. When I got home there was something waiting for me by my front door. A fall flower arrangement from two dear people in my life; almost made me cry.
Thank you both so much for loving and caring about me on a difficult day.
God ALWAYS knows.
Somebody thought of and paid it forward to my sister and made a tangible difference in her Thanksgiving holiday.
During the snowstorms of November and December when the season might not be merry and bright for a complete stranger in the traffic jams of the grocery aisles, oh that we would notice and take off our mittens to be a hand of hope and pay it forward a joyous act of our kindness for someone struggling just trying to get thru.
The pages of my Christmas Past are written from the overflow of my thankfulness for what God has given in wrapped gifts of family and friends, of neighbors and acquaintances, of good times and yes, even hard times.
God is the bow and ribbon which ties up every good and perfect gift He has allowed and added to enlarge the borders of my heart for His glory.
I am a blessed woman because of a good and generous God, who has given me sixty-two Christmas’ thus far to celebrate, sixty-two Christmas trees to decorate with ornaments which tell the stories, the longings written from the pages of my Christmas past.
Years of history is on display at our house during the holiday season, yet one might not notice among the bright lights and fancy decorations set out in each room for a child’s delight during Christmas.
Sometimes it takes the little girl still living inside her adult self who remembers and re-counts the stories written so long ago, to give you the grand and wonderful tour of her Christmas pasts.
The centerpiece of our home growing up was always our mother, who gave her five daughters and one son the happiest and most memorable holidays a child could ever ask for.
We didn’t have much although we didn’t know it, because mother stretched Christmas and our memories for weeks with a freezer full of homemade cookies baked in our mother’s kitchen, greeting cards in the mail, tree decorating, children’s plays at church, visiting Santa, her homemade coffee cake served on Christmas morning and those few but specially picked presents we six kids couldn’t wait to open gathered around the tree.
As an adult now longing for her mother at Christmas, I set out her nativity scene and holiday lights every year to have a small reminder of the centerpiece who gave six children the best December’s to write about.
At the age of twenty-one and twenty-six I became a mother of two, and strived to create those Christmas’ my children would one day write about among the pages of their Christmas pasts.
A small tree is reserved for those ornaments my elementary age son and daughter created with their young hands to give as gifts and hide beneath the tree for this mother until Christmas morning.
There’s even a Santa ornament I made with my own elementary hands hanging on this miniature tree.
I delicately wrap each of these treasures individually to persevere the history of their childhood and will one day pass these ornaments on to them in their Christmas future.
Passed on to this adult granddaughter were a set of my grandmother’s vintage angel ornaments.
I was beyond grateful to have a piece of history I remember enjoying on my grandmother’s tree when we celebrated Christmas Eve for years at her house.
I long for those evenings with her and our grandfather, aunts, uncles and cousins celebrating the holidays together, though sadly, December 24th has never been the same since our grandparents stopped hosting our family tradition.
Then David and I became grandparents of eleven, with one getting ready to experience the joys of the holiday for the very first time this December, adding his picture to our grandchildren’s memory wall and all the trimmings of Christmas for him.
The longing for our ten grandchildren to be little again is an understatement, as somehow these ten have outgrown their holiday pajamas almost as quickly as they put them on.
The Christmas faces smiling at their grandparents are no longer babies, toddlers or young children.
They grew up behind our backs and in a hurry.
Our two youngest are six years of age now, our oldest is an adult and driving, there are two teenagers and two close enough: all grown up from those cherubs posing in their Christmas pajamas.
For a few years, my sisters and I added to the holiday stress of exchanging homemade Christmas crafts with each other.
There was a season when the cousins even began their homemade ornament exchange.
This tradition ended as all good things do, but these crafts from my sister’s hands are a treasure on my tree, although stirs a longing when sisters couldn’t wait for this wonderful reveal from Christmas pasts.
Displayed is a holiday tea set given to me by a dear friend as God’s reminder of friendships and the gift they are meant to be received.
Once every month, breakfast served with coffee and tea is scheduled among friends, my friends, in an intentional way to keep our love and friendship in full bloom with one another.
Time Spent Over Tea By Lori A Alicea
A cup of tea among dear friends, A place where memories start. An afternoon of words exchanged, Refreshment for the heart.
The music of the spoken word, Could listen all day long. When played, sweet life it does impart, Creates a special song.
It may be just an afternoon, Of time spent over tea. But conversation shared with you, Means all the world to me.
As much as the pages of my Christmas pasts are filled with great joy, there are those chapters stained with our tears from broken hearts over those we have loved in our good-byes to them.
Our family has become the intimate few from the crowded houseful we once knew and terribly miss when mother was still with us.
So many vacant seats now around the holiday table to remind us of those memorable Christmas’ we once knew as a family in mother’s home.
An ornament mother gave me hangs on my tree to remember her by.
Another ornament reminder from my stepmother Joyce.
The longings from Christmas pasts are stirred every year in these memory ornaments of my father, mother, sister Mary and Belinda and brother Mark.
I look at my sister Debbie’s ornament and am saddened of the pain which is still fresh from this summer good-bye of her husband Andy.
The emptiness and agony have been unbearable at times for our sister and their children and grandchildren. We grieve for them in our prayers, text messages, telephone calls and time spent together.
Navigating Christmas is an hour-by-hour array of emotions this year.
My sister Debbie shares the same heart ache and pain with our niece Amy Lynn who has shed an ocean of tears over the most recent good-by of her husband Buzzy.
Amy Lynn and their son David are numb and without joy to decorate for Christmas this year.
As best as we can, our family wraps their arms around these two to bridge the miles which separate our long-distance lives.
This homemade nativity scene was created from Buzzy’s woodshed and now decorates my tree for which I’m beyond thankful to have a tangible piece of his heart.
Christmas present would not be complete without creating new traditions to fill in the voids and longings from Christmas past.
Giving our sister Debbie something to fill an empty heart with as well as sister and niece time for us, dinner is now being served once a month with each taking a turn to host a meal around their table.
I hosted dinner just the other day with comfort food our mother used to make.
This tradition of getting together has been a beautiful gift to open, especially during the holidays.
The past twenty-nine Christmas’s has been spent and shared with the love of my life, David.
He has been the gift I treasure most around the Christmas tree of my heart.
David is a gift I open every day we wake up together, and him coming home to me is the only gift on my Christmas list each day of the year.
I am most thankful to God for him.
The pages and chapters of my Christmas pasts are filled with an abundance of joy, of laughter, and even sorrow with many tears.
Yet, God is the bow and ribbon which ties up every good and perfect gift He has allowed and added to enlarge the borders of my heart for His glory.
When my mother’s life began among the stained-glass windows and church pews where her own mother played piano. A surrendered life to God in salvation and baptism would be the spark that set Kingdom brush fires in the hearts of her future children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, only to set aflame those generations beyond her life.
Now, growing up in a family of six children, my mother passed on her old fashioned, spiritual heritage to us; the pews, the stain glassed windows, and hymns we’ve treasured throughout our lives.
My heart still leaps when I hear The Old Rugged Cross, How Great Thou Art, and I Surrender All played from the piano during worship at church. These songs never collect dust or lose their power. They resurrect that old reminder that God never changes; He is good and faithful yesterday, today, and forever.
One of my favorite songs I remember singing as a child seated on the pews of the old country church my mother took us to was Blessed Assurance, especially when getting to the chorus…
BLESSED ASSURANCE …This is My Story Written by Fanny Crosby
Composer Phoebe Knapp
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.
I praise the Lord with my song…
This is My Story…
I can close my eyes and still remember as if it was yesterday.
A lighthouse known for its glorious steeple lifting its countenance upwards towards the heavens in praise, whose doors swing open into a haven of peace and refuge, an old-fashioned church of my childhood.
Counting our blessings… naming them one by one.
There are certain snapshots of my childhood recalled from the albums of my memory which take me back to the potter’s wheel, a place of molding, making and fashioning a little girl who would one day surrender her heart to Jesus.
An old-fashioned church with an old-fashioned pastor, a congregation of sheep who God sent to lead, to preach and sing often his signature song I still hear in my memory, when Jesus left the ninety-and-nine for the one who strayed away.
Mother didn’t drive for many years when we were young and with dad working around the clock, we got to church the old-fashioned way, on foot where mom walked us to a country church, we attended one block away from home.
Mother always made sure her six children attended church.
No matter the weather, we ducks marched single file behind mother (who carried the youngest) in a direction towards a stately steeple, our neighborhood lighthouse to guide the way.
God’s love on a bright morning illuminated a sanctuary of stain-glassed windows in a little girl’s mind.
With only a piano, organ, and Brother Bob Allen to lead our congregation into song and consecrated prayer, mother and her six children took up an entire pew as we worshiped together dressed in our Sunday best.
Mother always made sure we kids attended a week of vacation bible school in the summer. Back in the day when mothers didn’t work, scores of children lined the church steps at 9:00 am where selected boys and girls carrying the American Flag, the Christian Flag and the Bible led the way into the sanctuary for a few songs before class.
Vacation bible school was about getting kids excited to learn and watch those famous bible stories come to life on flannel graphs, following up with related crafts, and snacks. Walking single file for a brief recess, I loved being a kid passing the kitchen table reaching for a Styrofoam cup of Kool-Aid and cookies stacked in twos. Best of all, the five days of vacation bible school ended with a Friday night celebration where parents enjoyed a program from each class, then traveled room to room to see their child’s work from the week on display.
In addition to vacation bible school, mother diligently saved through the year so we girls could attend a week of church camp located a few hours away. Girls from all over the state enjoyed cabin living, swimming, hiking, boating, crafts, bible lessons and the best food ever served in the mess hall. Mornings began around the flagpole where prayers welcomed the day. In the evening seated in an outdoors theatre type setting in full view of the lake, we enjoyed Vespers together, a time of singing and preaching.
I gave my heart to Jesus at church camp one summer, remembering the moment like it happened an hour ago.
Following that life-changing week at camp and as a young girl during the song services of the old hymns, we as a family sat together and took our seat on a wooden pew near the front.
The words on those reverent hymnal pages sounded a different tune and stirred a desire over the years for Jesus to shine His bright light from my life much like the morning rays blinding our eyes through the windows on each side of our Southern Baptist church and make me a blessing to someone today.
MAKE ME A BLESSING By Ira B. Wilson (1909)
Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing. Out of my life, may Jesus shine. Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray. Make me a blessing to someone today.
Growing up during a Sunday morning altar call in our small Southern Baptist Church with those wooden pews and God’s love shining through the wall of windows, a place of sweet memories to a little girl, the organ quietly played as the Lord wooed our hearts to Himself for the secret place…
Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling
By Will L. Thompson
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me. See on the portals
He’s waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me.
That Sunday while God beckoned His children to Himself through the song playing in the background…
Come home… Come home… Ye who are weary Come home.
This thirteen-year-old took those steps of surrender to an old-fashioned altar and made a public profession of faith how I gave my life to Jesus at church camp a few days prior.
Growing up my whole life in church didn’t save me from an eternity without God; but confessing my sin and asking for forgiveness and thanking Jesus for taking my place on the cross to die an unspeakable death for my guilt would, allowing me to live with Him forever.
For God so loved the world That he gave his one and only Son, That whoever believes in him Shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
You Lord, are my Shepherd!!!
Decades have passed since my mother and her six children attended an old-fashioned church with an old-fashioned pastor, leading a congregation of sheep who God sent to lead, to preach and sing often his signature song to.
Sitting now in my living room is an old-fashioned pew to remind the little girl in me her great heritage sitting next to her mother, brother and four sisters on an old-fashioned pew singing the old hymns of our childhood.
A part of my heart remains here in this church.
I was baptized in this church.
I was married in this church.
A part of my history is baked in these four walls known to us children as
First Southern Baptist Church of South Haven.
Decades later, the old-fashioned hymn and anthem of my heart is still the same…
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray. Make me a blessing to someone today.
The November Door of Thankfulness has been unlocked and opened for just a few days, yet Mother Winter surprised us with our first snow before those fall leaves could take our breath one final time during their encore burst and presentation of color, foregoing some leaves their chance to perform before we raked them into fall’s good-bye.
Things happen which catch us off guard and unaware and make it easy to miss an opportunity to be grateful. I must confess though, my husband and I had hoped for a few more sweater wearing afternoons seated together for a stolen moment on our couple’s bench listening quietly to music the wind was playing while running its fingertips through the chimes.
Sadly, the theater of fall has had its final curtain call a few days ahead of schedule, closing its doors until opening day next year, with a reminder to be grateful no matter the season.
November weather may be crisp from the kitchen window I allow to be open throughout the winter season to usher in the sounds of life outside to keep me company. No need to worry though; a space heater warms me during my tasks at the kitchen counter, much to the raised eyebrows from my husband paying the bills.
Nothing stokes the embers of gratefulness in me more than the songs of Christmas and holiday baking.
I’ve never been one who celebrates the holidays according to their order placement on the calendar.
Whenever I am missing my mother terribly and that little girl inside longs for the Norman Rockwell greeting card ambience mother presented for her five daughters and one son every year during the month of December, I recreate mother’s Christmas kitchen to bring me a bit closer to her.
Oh, if I could go back into Mother’s boxes and set aside an apron or two for holiday baking before we sadly packed up her house. While I’ve never worn the old-fashioned aprons while baking, I wish mother would have dressed us in aprons during those memory making moments while teaching her children to cook.
Mother needed her aprons as in her excitement, she stirred up a windstorm of flour while rolling out sugar cookies and pie crusts and leaving her indelible handprint of grease onto the recipes she followed. I was always grateful for this hilarious visual of mother; even more grateful when it wasn’t my week to do dishes during holiday baking.
My sister Denise inherited mother’s cookbook of traditions she gave us during the holidays. The Thanksgiving meal and memories of stuffing, sweet potatoes, turkey and gravy and all those pies remain in mother’s recipe box, albeit some were handwritten on lunch bags or the back of envelopes. Yet no matter how we followed each menu item to the final tablespoon, there was always one special ingredient missing: our mother.
The invitations of holiday’s past remind us that mother’s name has been absent from the guest list going back three long years, with our Thanksgiving table being the first to sadden our hearts with mother’s empty chair.
As the years have passed us by, so has a few of the traditions mother instilled into our family scrapbooks.
Mother would be mortified to witness her son ‘n law Brad baptize Brother Tom into a deep fryer instead of her method of roasting the turkey throughout the day beginning at the start of Macy’s parade. Thankfully, mother’s daughter Denise kept the tradition in place and another turkey was prepared for those family members who liked their memories just as they were.
Though we loved mother’s stuffing recipe when she prepared it, a new stuffing has made the holiday table; a recipe I learned from my children’s southern grandmother in Kentucky. This will be our family secret.
The card table has a new shark to take mother’s place, albeit by force and coercion. Turns out I proved to be a great competitor in mother’s chair; oh, she would be proud.
We laugh, and still cry at times for our mother during the holidays when we remember the angel on the Christmas tree she was to our family. She lit up our lives and our memories, and neither has been the same since her untimely good-by.
So, whenever I am missing my mother terribly as I was just the other day, and that little girl inside longs to reminisce her Norman Rockwell greeting card presented every year during the month of December, I recreate my mother’s Christmas kitchen to bring me a bit closer to her.
My efforts might fall short to mother’s homemade pies I recall as a child, which is probably the reason I am never assigned the pies for holiday dinners.
But I’m forever grateful for the kitchen memories she gave us during the holidays.
Dedicated to a family’s collection of memories which become their square in a patchwork quilt of the life of their daddy, their papa, their brother, friend or husband, an heirloom to wrap themselves up in and glance at their square of remembrance, to warm their heart on those cold winter days when they just miss him so terribly.
So I begin.
It is written in Jeremiah 1:6 NIV
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were ever born, I set you apart….
It is also written in Psalm 139:15-16 NIV
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
None of us is here by accident.
Every one of us is part of God’s plan.
He knew us in the beginning and wrote about us in His book before we were every born.
God thought about you.
He planned for you.
He had a purpose for you in mind.
God also had a purpose and a plan for our beloved Buzzy.
With pen in his hand, God has been writing and lining the shelfs of heaven’s private library with our stories.
Today, we are going to pull from our Father’s finest collection, a personal favorite of His titled
“The Life of Gilbert Walker Jr.”
On January 11, 1950, Gilbert and Mary Alice Wiles Walker gave birth to a beautiful boy and named him Gilbert Love, a junior to his father.
This child of bright promise, whose name and meaning revealed what would be truth about their son during the 73 years he’d live.
A Cherokee Indian whose ancestors could be traced through the trails of the Appalachian Mountains, yet born and raised in Paris, TN his entire life, Gilbert would share the love of his parents with two older sisters, Evelyn Smith and Dorothy (Larry) Connell.
Through the years after realizing both Gilbert Sr. and Jr. would answer to the hollers from the cook in the kitchen, Gilbert Jr’s mother solved this confusion by nicknaming her son Buzzy after the Buzzy Bee toys he loved to play with, dressed in his homemade cowboy clothes as boys do on the floor.
Gilbert’s nickname followed him all the days of his life. I have to imagine this mother smiled and continued to see her adult child still playing with Buzzy Bee toys every time his nickname was called. Children have a way of never growing up in their mother’s eyes.
Earlier in his working life, Buzzy earned a living employed at the local sawmill and raising tobacco. He even wore the badge of a police officer as did his father for a brief few years together.
An older Buzzy drove big rigs and also fixed them as a mechanic for Denton Trucking, usually working 2 or 3 jobs to support his family.
Buzzy’s passion included riding motorcycles, his endless projects in his woodworking shed, playing guitar for his daughter Charity while she sang for the church, spending quality time with his loved ones and best buddies, Frank Beecham and Wesley Hill.
But his proudest achievements came from those who called him daddy or called him papa…
Buzzy’s daughter and two sons are…
Charity (Jayson) Pierce, Timothy James (Dana Rae) Walker and David Timothy Walker.
His five grandchildren are Walker, Olivia, Keith, Courtney and Katie.
Buzzy’s legacy continues in those great-grandchildren of his named Presley, Brent, Rylee, and Alayna.
All who held and pulled on their daddy or papa’s heart strings with a smile and a kiss.
On March 22, 2013, a secret was kept from us Northerners when Buzzy and our sweet niece Amy Lynn decided to get married, or hitched as they say in the south.
As a wedding event decorator and had I known in advance, a large package would have been sent overnight to Amy’s front door containing all the trimmings for such an event called, Wedding in a Box.
Oh, there’d be a wedding dress full of lace, centerpieces, and linens, reservations to a fine hotel for dinner and compliments for the night at their honeymoon suite. I’d locate a few volunteers to throw rice on the newly married couple. I’d even pack a few doves if I thought they’d survive.
But Amy knew all of this about me and kept her nuptials a secret. A box like this would have quickly been returned to sender. As Amy and Buzzy were boots and cowboy hats kind of people, mere simple folk whose greatest joy was only to become Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Walker Jr., to live happily ever and they did, who exchanged their wedding vows before a judge at the local courthouse, wearing uniforms they had on that day from work.
The story of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Walker Jr. became a ten-chapter book as man and wife, a chapter for every year they lived, loved and laughed together; with a few pages stained from their tears.
She was his sweetheart; he was her babe.
They colored each other’s black and white world into a dream come true; adding their son David, the abundant joy between them.
Date nights always included the three of them, dining at their favorite Pattie’s 1880 Settlement restaurant, a magical evening known for its decorations during the Christmas season, a tradition for the Walker family who enjoyed the holiday lights throughout the month of December.
The Walker scrapbooks at Christmas documents Amy Lynn trimming and decorating the tree, leaving the star for Buzzy and David, as well as setting up the Polar Express and village as father and son.
Each year during the holiday season, the Walkers would take the day to find a new and unique ornament for the tree, closing out another chapter in their book.
As extended families often do when gathering together during the holidays, they rummage through their grandmothers’ drawers and pull out those old family photo albums and reminisce the night away.
Seated around the dinner table and laughter captured from every family member in their seat, one would speculate if that famous story revolving around a cow named Ol Jersey, a rodeo with Ol Jersey and a cowboy shirt Buzzy’s mother made him that went missing for thirty years was resurrected, adding a few details in the telling.
The evening gets quiet for a moment to relive that black and white photo of Buzzy and his sisters Evelyn and Dorothy all grown up, making those intentional Monday night telephone calls to each other, bridging the miles between themselves over coffee and conversation.
With Buzzy being the baby, one would speculate which sister was boss over the other two. As a sister among five sisters myself, there’s always a ringleader in the bunch.
I sure would have loved to join the party line back in those days and eavesdrop their Monday nights together over the telephone. It is in our intentions of showing up where memories never fade through the years.
A handful of moments frozen in time were found of Buzzy and his son Timmy seen at the races, those proud father and son moments entering the derby cars they created together in the woodshed Buzzy was known for.
Timmy was photographed behind the wheel with Buzzy as part of the pit crew between heats. Those were the days between father and son.
Found between the old pages of the family albums, were not pictures but words from Buzzy’s daughter Charity, who shared her father’s middle name Love albeit a different version of the word, making Charity the fourth generation to sign a portion of her name as did her father, her grandfather Gilbert Sr., and as her great-grandfather Eunice Love Walker did.
Here is Charity in her own words… When I was asked to write down my favorite story and memory about Daddy, I thought no problem. That will be easy, but it turned out to be anything but.
I have a lifetime of incredibly touching, loving and the most hilarious stories involving Daddy.
To pick just one has been impossible. However, that is the point after all. He lived a life that left so many memories behind that can’t be numbered or valued one over the other because there are so many and, so precious.
The memories we leave behind are the only legacy that really matters after we’re gone and Daddy’s life left a truly amazing legacy in the hearts of everyone who knew him.
Thank you Daddy for all the precious memories you have given me and everyone who knew you. I love you Daddy.
Then there was Buzzy and his youngest son David, two peas in a pod with a son walking behind in his father’s shadow, following in those famous footsteps he one day longed to fill.
Back in the woodshed were those teachable moments being passed from a father to his son, a woodshed appearing to be in total chaos, a disaster Amy Lynn chides who attempted to organize but was sent back to organize the kitchen cupboards instead.
A woodshed where I feared for David’s ten fingers staying attached to his hands, yet a woodshed where the love of a father and son was baked into the walls from the laughter of these two, the teaching, and time spent together that David and his father will hold onto when he’s missing his daddy so terribly.
This woodshed was also a place of generosity where gifts from their labors were presented to their family up North; a biscuit cutter, a bowl, and a rolling pin from their kitchen to mine, and Christmas ornaments for the others to name a few.
A memory I’ll treasure a lifetime was a gift Buzzy made for my husband and I celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary, with two wedding rings encircling and intertwined around a cross on a stand, and beautifully carved above, Two Become One.
As lovely as this gift was to us, the signature of the craftsman scribbled underneath the stand was priceless, Gilbert Walker, 2019.
Buzzy isn’t signing his name anymore, and I’ll never forget the love from his hands presented to us in person only four years ago.
Memories we pull from our grandmother’s drawer from up North are all the visits Amy, Buzzy and David sacrificed to see us.
They truly demonstrated keeping the family-ties knotted tight, by showing up and making the eight-hour journey for all our gatherings, albeit joyful or sad.
I do have to admit, they do things differently in Tennessee though.
Arriving at our doorstop many times unannounced or at least a surprise to some of us, wearing cowboy boots and a hat with jeans and a buckled belt to match their southern drawl, sometimes took our Northern breath away with us in flips and a pair of shorts, causing us to wonder if their arrival was a throwback from the old TV show Bonanza, minus the horse.
I often wondered what the minimum age of first-time drivers is in Tennessee. David is seen behind the wheel on social media and appearing to be flirting with someone in the other seat not shown. I asked Amy Lynn if David is driving now; she doesn’t answer, just laughs.
David’s uncle Michael tried to take the wheel when I picked him and Amy Lynn up for a camping trip decades ago along with their four other cousins up North, all under the age of twelve. What was I thinking? For five straight days my nephew, who hadn’t even shaved yet, would laugh and beg to drive. Trying not to crack a smile during these hilarious moments with four determined hands on the wheel, this aunt had to tell him to stand down a few times.
It was always a hoot celebrating with the Walkers, and I’m so glad Buzzy never denied or said “no” to Amy and David in their traveling the miles up North.
It was only three months ago that we here up North saw Buzzy for the very last time.
The sacrifice for a man visibly sick yet determined to once again make the journey up North with his family and honor an uncle who passed away did not go unnoticed.
His final year didn’t go unnoticed either.
For Buzzy’s birthday earlier in the year 2023, the Walkers shared a hearty laugh as a family.
With Buzzy lamenting his age through the years and claiming he was old, to which Amy and David always replied, “Nah, you aren’t old.”
A topic that led them to search Google, wondering at what age is one considered old? Google replied to the answer as 73.
So, for Buzzy’s 73rd birthday this year, printed on his birthday cake was the saying,
“Google says you are old.”
They laughed for days.
Their last vacation together as a family was centered and celebrated around Buzzy’s Indian heritage, traveling the history of his life thru those trails of the Appalachian Mountains.
During Buzzy’s final year, he and his son Timmy were working on their last derby car together as father and son, with Buzzy longing to share this moment watching him race one final time from the pit crew, but never got the chance as this father’s heath held him back.
Buzzy honored his wedding vows in sickness and in health to the very end, by making and bringing Amy’s lunch to her every day at work.
On October 11, 2023, Amy would hold her husband’s hand as she did many times throughout the ten years of their marriage.
That same evening Amy would lean over and kiss her Buzzy goodnight as she did every night always knowing she’d wake up the following morning beside him.
But that evening on October 11, 2023, Amy and their son David left Gilbert Love Walker Jr., aka daddy, papa, brother, husband and friend, the man who held all their memories in his hand behind at TriStar Skyline Hospital in Nashville, TN, pulling into the driveway of their home that first night on E L Walker Rd without him.
Unable to sleep with such heaviness of heart, Amy Lynn covered up under the blanket of loneliness onto the couch, while David fell into the comforting arms of his father’s chair.
I can’t imagine their first morning realizing the things Buzzy used to do didn’t get done on October 12th, one day after their unimaginable good-by on October 11.
Did Buzzy make the coffee? Did he make the bed? We know he made the lunches. We know he made their day special.
How quiet the world of the Gilbert Walker’s family has become without him.
But then the questions start coming.
Why God Why?
We each drink from the cup of unanswered questions, and long for clarity and comfort from God to quench our thirst.
Nancy Lee DeMoss Wolgemuth writes from her book titled Heaven Rules…
God is sovereign over the events and happenings and the details in our individual lives. It’s true even when the script turns out far different than what we would have written if the pen had been in our hands.
The answers to our whys might not be revealed until we meet our Lord face to face.
All God asks of us is…
To have peace…
To take heart…
To find rest in Who He Is…
The One who overcame the world.
The one who has been writing our story from beginning to end, from the introduction to the very last page.
The family begins arriving at Ridgeway Funeral Home to celebrate the life of Gilbert Walker Jr.
One can’t help but notice all those honoring Buzzy in their wearing red, his favorite color. With Buzzy’s middle name being LOVE, I look out among the crowd today and have the sense of Valentine’s Day in our midst.
It’s almost as if the connection of these two were a Valentine message from Buzzy to us.
To honor such a connection, I’m enclosing a small excerpt from a Valentine blog I wrote years ago that I believe might convey Buzzy’s heart.
LIFE IS SWEET, LIFE IS SHORT
By Lori A Alicea
I sure do love the smell of roses.
Bending over a bouquet of flowers like my sweet granddaughter who also enjoys the simple pleasure of drinking in its fragrance is too beautiful for words, I’m convinced roses came to us as heaven’s perfume.
Placed in a vase of water with a small kiss from the afternoon sun,
Roses wake in a gentle yawn and slowly stretch as a newborn baby, revealing a hidden loveliness for our eyes to see.
As beautiful as a bouquet of roses are,
The lifespan of cut flowers taken from the vine is measured in breaths.
To frame and capture a vase of loveliness where every bloom retains its perfect softness, vibrant color and perfumed fragrance as a lifetime keepsake is a wonderful sentiment, but the passing of a few sunrises will reveal a roses destiny.
As beautiful as these roses were when they left their garden home,
A few days away from the vine that sustained its life, finds these blooms weeping slightly over, letting go and saying that first good-by to leaves that once provided it shade.
Such is the life we live.
Born into a mother’s arms perfect in every way, soft whose petals of life haven’t opened yet, until morning after morning a mother’s kiss stirs a yawn and a child’s stretch, opening and revealing a hidden destiny before our eyes.
Just as the lifespan of cut flowers taken from the vine is measured in breaths,
So are the days accounted to us; a mere breath.
Life is short.
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14 (NIV)
Life is sweet.
In life we’re given a “heart box of chocolates” filled with family to enjoy.
God, our Valentine says “I love you” with those special someone’s given as our Valentine gift, a present of your favorites to satisfy the longings of our heart.
Life is sweet, but the thought remains that life is short,
Both measured in breaths.
May everyday find us bending over like that small child captured by the lure of a flower’s smell; drinking in the moment of every moment she’s blessed with.
Life is too sweet not to smell the roses.
Life is too short to be taking anything for granted.
Because the lifespan of cut flowers taken from the vine is measured in breaths.
To my beloved niece Amy Lynn, I have a personal word of encouragement for her.
Only being 43 years of age, you are a very young woman to shoulder such a loss. At times like these a daughter more than anything else needs her mother.
While I wish I had a private telephone line to heaven so you could find some comfort in hearing her voice.
I do have a portion of the only page in her book that she began to write, and I believe its encouragement was written all those years ago for her daughter today.
Here is that word of encouragement from your mother…
…When certain life’s tragedies come to us, sometimes it’s out of our control. But what we can change is how we respond to it. You can be bitter or angry or turn your thinking around to the point where you can help other people with what happened to you. It gives them hope and it also gives to them an expectation of seeds of faith that you have left them.
It’s so important that you choose to live.
“Long life will I satisfy Him.” Psalm 91:16
“I shall live and not die.” Psalms 118:17
Your trials may be a physical situation or a mental situation. But whatever the case, choose to live and not die from it. Fight the good fight of faith.
“I have set before you life and death. Therefore, choose life that thy seed may live” Deuteronomy 30:19
In your mother’s own words she couldn’t say it enough:
Continue to Hope. Continue to Believe. Continue to be encouraged.
Continue to remember that no matter what, You’ll always have God.
One final square sewn to the family quilt, one remaining sentiment from son David to his father, written in his own words… You are supposed to be able to sum up one’s life in a few simple words, but this man you just can’t because the words to fill that box have not been invented.
If I had to say, there would be the four things he was… A hard worker, A fighter, A loving husband for my mom,
And a loving father for my brother, sister and I. He always said he would work to the end, and he did. The very weekend before his passing he was with his two sons doing what he did best, working on trucks. He fought until the very end.
He did not stop while he was in the hospital.
He did not give up on his family.
Finally, he was the best father or husband one could ask for because he had the biggest heart, willing to do anything for anyone, especially his family.
He always kept his promises, except his final one of seeing me graduate from school.
We loved you Pop through the good, the bad and the ugly.
There is a Secret Place my husband David and I retreat to every year during the fall colors of October, setting aside a weekend to honor another wedding anniversary God has so abundantly blessed us with.
Our Secret Place has a front row seat to this beautiful lake, a living portrait of waves slow dancing to its own music, a private reception of splashing and swimming to the sandy shores like young love on their honeymoon.
The hours David and I spend reflecting together the love we share so deeply rooted in our hearts, fully alive because of the well in God we draw from.
David and I celebrate the pearls in our marriage, as to create such a pearl of great price are those irritant’s that force you to your knees in surrender to God; the author who scripts the pages of true love.
It’s during this getaway a candle burns as a remembrance of the continual love that shines through the eyes of two people who can’t see one without the other.
Our weekend is a patchwork quilt of small moments of just “the two of us” stitched together with memory threads by the fire over coffee and a new book we read every anniversary as an investment into our lives as husband and wife.
Our Secret Place is a treasure chest we open every October to hold close and remember the gifts of time already shared together, adding another weekend of Newlywed love and laughter until those anniversary leaves begin to fall again next year.
Just as young love desires a Secret Place to express itself, God desires that Secret Place to share as just “the two of us.”
Pondering the heart of God in the Garden he masterfully created in the beginning, eyes are blind and inadequate to imagine the grandeur and beauty of such a Secret Place he designed to share such intimate time with us. Even though the Garden closed its gates forever due to our fall, God still longs to inhabit that Secret Place of our heart.
Walking with God the paths of this Secret Place, I hear a symphony of birds singing in unison while being led to the hidden places for two.
Waters lapping the rocks during its swim downstream echoes as a rain forest through the trees while walking the fields of wild flowers blooming for our amazement.
God’s Secret Place longs to overwhelm our hearts in His love. Sitting together at this intimate spot for two, one might be nervous for an appropriate response for Him.
But do not fear:
“We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love he has for us. God is love!….” 1 John 4:16 The Passion Translation (TPT)
With God encompassing all love, communicating our love in return could reflect itself through many mirrors as in “The Five Love Languages”, Written by Gary Chapman. While Mr. Chapman’s book is written for persons communicating love to one another, since GOD IS LOVE, surely he responds though the five love languages of “words of affirmation, gifts, meaningful touch, acts of service and quality time”.
I imagine the heart of God swelling when we speak our WORDS OF AFFIRMATION to Him as spoken in Psalm 22:10 TPT:
“Since the day I was born, I’ve been placed in your custody. You’ve cradled me throughout my days. I’ve trusted in you and you’ve always been my God.”
Surely God joyfully receives the GIFTS of our praises as in Psalm 69:31 (TPT):
“For I know, Yahweh, that my praises mean more to you
than all my gifts and sacrifices.”
We express MEANINGFUL TOUCH to God in our prayers:
“Protect me from harm; keep an eye on me like you would a child reflected in the twinkling of your eye. Yes, hide me within the shelter of your embrace, under your outstretched wings. Psalm 17:8
Our ACTS OF SERVICE speak loudly to the ears of God when we pray:
“Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.” Romans 12:11 (TPT)
And more than anything, our QUALITY TIME delights a loving God as spoken in James 4:8 (TPT):
“Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you….”
God also delights in our time when we:
….wake the dawn with my song. 9 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations. 10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Psalm 57:9-10 (NLT)
God desires to share that Secret Place of your heart.
God desires that moment in your Secret Place as “just the two of us”.
May we without hesitation make room for Him in our Secret Place.
May we like young newlywed’s run barefoot through the wild fields of love to that Secret Place to be with our God.
Dedicated to the valley of loss we each find ourselves travelling thru at some time in our lives.
The loss of a job…
The loss of a relationship…
A loved one…
As with my niece…
I personally dedicate these words to her
Whose heart has recently let go of,
And kissed good-by the love of her life…
Their son, his wood-working teacher and dad.
Our hearts are shattering. Into a million pieces Because he is our rock, Our pillar of strength, The patriarch of the family.
From Amy Lynn and their son David Dear Lord,
My days in the valley have been many.
The lonely nights of my soul have stretched for weeks and longed for the calm of daybreak, though sensing you close beside in perfect step along each turn of the unknown with me.
Because of you, I never walked alone, nor was I afraid.
When my surroundings overwhelmed and the hands of a thief stole my breath, you expanded my lungs and breathed in my place, keeping my heart in perfect rhythm with yours.
You have been the Good Shepherd during these days in the valley, leading, guiding, and protecting with your staff, while being a soft pillow of comfort for my weariness and unrest.
In you, I never lacked; my every need sustained.
But now Lord, my tiredness longs for those lush green meadows to renew my strength.
Oh, take my hand and lead me to those peaceful streams of quiet.
Set me beside still waters.
The empty cup of my soul can draw for a drink to be refilled, restored.
While my heart might sadly measure half-full in understanding your way and will during my stay in the valley, I’m confident the questions I have will find clarity in another time and another place when I walk along those glorious streets of gold.
But, for the quiet moments beside still waters,
I’m finding much needed rest with you.
“Stay as long as you need beside these still waters,”
The Good Shepherd comforts.
But, when the emptiness of your soul is re-filled…
When the empty cup of your soul is restored…
When the calm has returned during the morning hour of daybreak…
Then rise with the sun and return to the unknown of the valley…
Because valleys aren’t places to stay…
To set up house…
To change your address to…
Valleys are places you walk thru… To continue your journey thru…
To continue your healing thru…
Even when I walk thru the darkest valley I will not be afraid, For you are close beside me… Psalm 23:4 NLT
Because valleys, when you face your gaze towards God and the heavens,
You discover that valleys hold hands with two mountain top expeditions in your life; a journey of travel where God pursues you with His goodness and unfailing love all the mountain top and valley days of your life.
I praise you Almighty God, Amen
Psalms 23 (NLT)
A psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths,
Bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
For you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
Protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessing.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me All the days of my life. And I will live in the house of the Lord. Forever.
Aunt Lori loves you beyond words Amy Lynn and David.
I promise you one day…
Turn your mourning into dancing. (Psalm 30:11) Thank you for sharing Buzzy And your little family with us, For giving us the sweetest memories To fill our family scrapbook pages with.
Thank you also for all the miles You have driven to celebrate with us And to grieve with us over the years.
The empty chair around the holiday table
Already speaks to the void
And presence you leave behind.
Go rest high on that mountain, Your work on this earth is done.
It was just an ordinary fall morning putting in my usual mileage walking around the track nearby my house.
The manicured grounds which used to hold the local county fair in the summer were re-imagined decades ago into Fairgrounds Park, paving a pathway encircling the outer edges of the grounds for walkers, runners, bicyclists, and dogs on a leash, with softball fields, a playground, an event pavilion and a skate park soon to open, each taking their place on the remaining acreage of the park.
Oh, the miles of memories I’ve made enjoying the fresh air of the mornings along this neighborhood track, with peace and tranquility sensed within the stillness of the hour.
Once pushing my toddler daughter in her stroller with her older brother crowding his sister for a place to rest his tired legs, now years later re-creating memories with her daughters and my youngest granddaughters thankfully in a two-seater model after driving their brother to school.
Nothing was out of the ordinary that crisp October morning at Fairgrounds Park.
The leaves were changing into their brilliant October colors as expected, those brushstrokes of harvest painted onto the naked canvas of fall, the season which ushers in those angora sweaters, campfires, high school football games and yes, the holidays.
Nothing was out of the ordinary as I smiled and bid good morning to walkers passing the opposite direction of me in the other lane.
While walkers and runners opt to trade the peace and tranquility for music in their ears, somehow, they return the gesture after translating their morning greeting from my lips.
After completing my first ¾ of a mile lap around the park, I noticed something out of the ordinary in a walker which took me another lap before I had the courage to stop this military veteran still full of strength and vigor, to thank him for his service.
As a military mother proud of the flag and her son serving his country as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an officer who has taken an oath to defend the red, white and blue, I was eager to hear his story.
Proud to be an American as his shirt devotedly states, the smile on this Air Force veteran was proud to share his more than ordinary service with me.
His name is Richard Burke, an Airman First Class who served the Air Force branch of the military with honor during the years 1959 thru 1963, ending his service right before the United States first entered the Vietnam War.
Richard put in his time at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana for the first two years of his service and Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico (now closed) for the same amount of time, serving alongside a team who evaluated flight crews for the KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refulers and B-52 Stratofortress bombers.
Speaking so freely and proudly, I have no doubt there is a book written in Richard which I could have listened for hours his recounted pages in the military, who selflessly read from one of his coveted chapters honoring his superior from Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, a full-bird Colonel who once served in WWII and later impacted the soldier’s life standing before me.
Richard narrated with passion and love for his Colonel, who in WWII, flew B17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers for the entire twenty-five missions allowed, when during one mission or another, his entire crew including his co-pilot sitting right beside him lost their lives in these military operations.
The full-bird Colonel received a silver cross for his twenty-five missions, while his crew received their gold star status.
“Just didn’t seem fair”, this Airman First Class remembered.
I noticed Richard smiling and shaking hands with another walker a few steps earlier, sharing stories with a soldier who deployed to Vietnam right after Richard’s time in the service had ended; details only a veteran would understand.
How interesting, as the latest book I’ve been reading is written by a soldier who gave a great sacrifice for this country while serving in Vietnam.
Airman First Class Burke left our time on the track by honoring my military son and his service to this country.
Veterans honoring veterans…
Something more than ordinary that October morning at Fairgrounds Park.
Week after week, your kindness and patience to pull up a chair and open my journal to the page or chapter I have chosen to bookmark for your viewing has honored me in ways mere words are unable to articulate.
You’ve kept me company along the mountain climbs of uncertainty and deep-ocean dives into the matters of my heart, for which a basket is overflowing on this grandmother’s kitchen table of gratefulness.
This grandmother still treasures the old fashioned ways from back-in-the-day, and is handwriting this Thank You card personally to you, those loyal and faithful visitors ringing the doorbell of my home at Apples of Gold Encouragement.
Fresh out of the oven are warm Christmas cookies made especially for you, a gift of homemade holiday love from my freezer ready to bake on a moment’s notice, no matter the calendar month.
Christmas brings out the little girl inside and memories of mom during the most joyous season of my childhood, which is why I keep the spirit of the season alive to serve the best of me from my home all year long.
I’ve poured a cup of coffee to savor with your plate of sprinkled sugar cookie Christmas trees and stars, and reserved a seat at the table for you right next to mine for a few words of conversation.
Here at Apples of Gold Encouragement, our heart is birthed from the scripture…
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11-13 ESV Where our words spoken in due season and at just the right moment can foster life and nourishment, as apples made of gold served on a silver platter.
In re-telling the stories from my life as a child, a young mother or seasoned grandmother and wife, I keep a silver platter full of encouragement for those like you who might be walking along a similar street in need of a handful of hope.
My written words have traveled thousands of miles around the world and I never know who might be knocking on my door despondent as I have been in seasons before, in need for a bite of encouragement.
That they themselves might be nourished walking with me during…
My seasons of loss of my mother, my father or siblings…
My broken season abandoned in marriage…
My weeping season of rejection…
My weeping seasons of failure…
Or celebrate together during theirs and…
My fruitful season as a mother of young children in all stages of growing up…
My fruitful season and second chance in love and in marriage…
My abundant harvest and greatest joy in grand parenting…
My personal walk with God who is the root of everything wonderful in my life…
So, with every journal entry I’ve made each week, every thought and every sentence is written with you on my mind, ensuring a takeaway, a favor left at your place setting at the table, a silver box of courage, inspiration and of faith for visiting my home. I can’t thank you enough when I’ve realized you’ve stopped by and left your COMMENTS, your LIKES or your SHARES of my words.
Even just one of you tells the story I’ve impacted and touched someone, somewhere in the world.
I’ve been told my handwriting is a disaster and difficult to read for most. But I pray the love inspired in this Thank You card expresses my deepest appreciation for you.
You will never overstay your welcome at Apples of Gold Encouragement.
A candle burns bright in the nighttime window as a personal reminder to walk on in as somebody is always home.