Thursday, May 30, 2013

a bowl full of strawberries

God made these you know.
No one but God can cause strawberries to appear on the vine.
We had guests for dinner last night
and everyone agreed that these were the most delicious
of the season.

On Monday we went down to Jacksonville,Florida ,
to celebrate Memorial Day.
We had breakfast at I Hop and lunch at PF Changs.
One of my favorite things at PFC's are the
fortune cookies.
Always fun to see what your future holds.

Lucy is industrious.
Yesterday she made fortunes for everybody.
Here they are....

David ~ you will be great
Erika ~ you will have three more babies
Harry ~ you are good - use it for good
Gus ~ you will write 100 poems
Grammy ~ you will write 10 poems
Grand daddy ~ you will be a singer.

So there you go.
I love the mind of a 7 year old.

May all your strawberries be naturally sweet!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

may flowers

"And why do you worry about clothes?
See how the lilies of the field grow.
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
will He not much more clothe you,
O you of little faith."
Matthew 6: 28 ~ 30

Faith according to our Lord's teaching in this paragraph,
 is primarily thinking;
and the whole trouble with a man of little faith is that 
he does not think.
He allows circumstances to bludgeon him.....

We must spend more time in studying our Lord's lessons in
 observation and deduction.

The Bible is full of logic, 
and we must never think of faith as something purely mystical.

We do not just sit down in an armchair
 and expect marvelous things to happen to us.
that is not Christian faith.  

Christian faith is essentially thinking.  
Look at the birds, think about them, draw your deductions.  
Look at the grass, 
look at the lilies of the field, 
consider them.....

Faith, if you like, 
can be defined like this:
It is a man insisting upon thinking 
when everything seems determined
 to bludgeon and knock him down
 in an intellectual sense.  

The trouble with the person of little faith is that, 
instead of controlling his own thought,
 his thought is being controlled by something else,
 and, as we put it,
 he goes round and round in circles.

That is the essence of worry....
That is not thought, 
that is the absence of thought, 
a failure to think."

Martyn Lloyd Jones

To think like a Christian takes a lot of work.
Get to know what the Bible says,
and then think everything through 
according to the truth you learn in God's word.

Monday, May 27, 2013

to his sweetheart

My dad sent this to
"his sweetheart"
from Fort Sill, Oklahoma,
in the early days of his enlistment in the
United States Army.
It still looks brand new.

Just thought I would post this since it's 
Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

they fought & died that we may live

It was a stormy night on Lake Garda, in northern Italy......
April 30, 1945.

24 United States soldiers 
from the Tenth Mountain Division
were on a mission
 carrying supplies and ammunition
to an American military camp near the town of Torbele,
 at the northern tip of the lake.
The men were from the 605th Field Artillery Battalion
of which my Dad was a part.

Soon after it left the shore,
the six wheel, two ton amphibian duck boat,
 sank to the bottom of the lake.
The water was freezing.
Of the twenty four men, only one survived.

This boat sank just days before the end of fighting in Europe
and the armistice with the Germans on
May 8, 1945,
making it all the more tragic.

My Dad traveled on the truck with those 24 men 
 to the shores of 
Lake Garda that night.
They were riding along making merry, 
realizing that the end of their ordeal would soon be over.
The horribleness of war would soon be behind them.

My dad had good writing skills.
Just before he stepped on the boat that fateful night,
someone called his name.....
"Ed, we need you to go back to headquarters to
send an important message for us."
Before he left his friends,
he gave one of them his jacket....
"Here, take this, you will need it more than I will."

I live today because someone called Dad back from that boat

Memorial Day
We remember those who died,
who gave their lives for our country.
I am thankful!


 in December of 2012,
sonar equipment found the remains of the boat 
lying at a depth of 905 feet,
 the reason it had never been found.
A remote controlled camera
 found the boat intact and sitting upright 
with lots of objects around it.

What a find...
it makes me shiver.
God is sovereign over our lives.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

hilton head from harbor town

Never forget!


"O believer, learn to reject pride, 
seeing that you have no ground for it.
Whatever you are, 
you have nothing to make you proud.
The more you have, 
the more you are in debt to God;
and you should not be proud 
of that which renders you a debtor.

Consider your origin,
 look back to what you were.
.Consider what you would have been but for divine grace.
Look upon yourself as you are now.....
Doesn't your conscience reproach you?
Don't your thousand wanderings stand before you, 
and tell you that you are unworthy to be called
 His son or daughter?

And if He has made you anything,
aren't you taught thereby that it is grace 
which has made you to differ?

O you who are valiant for truth,
you would have been as valiant for error 
if grace had not laid hold upon you.

Therefore, don't be proud, 
though you have a large estate...
a wide domain of grace.
Once you did not have a single thing to call your own
 except your sin and your misery.

Oh! strange infatuation,
 that you, who have borrowed everything, 
should think of exalting yourself."
Charles Spurgeon

*the man is profound!

Friday, May 24, 2013

pistol packing mamas

Don't even ask!
Thought you would like a good laugh this evening.
Funny we all wore turtle necks under our fancy clothes.
I like the look on Teri's face...
she means business.

Picture taken after dinner at the
Casa Bonita
in Denver, Colorado.

January 25, 1977

Thursday, May 23, 2013

enoch walked with God

I love this.....
been saving it for just the right time.

"Enoch walked with God 
because he was His friend and he liked His company, 
because he was going in the same direction as God, 
and had no desire for anything 
but what lay in God's path.

We walk with God when He is in all our thoughts, 
not because we consciously think of Him at all times,
 but because He is naturally suggested to us 
by all that we think.

As when any person or plan or idea has become important to us,  
no matter what we think of,
our thought is always found recurring to this favorite object,
so with the godly man,
 everything has a connection with God 
and must be ruled by that 

When he falls into sin,
 he cannot rest until he has resumed his place at God's side 
and walks with Him again.

This is the general nature of walking with God.....

 A persistent endeavor 
to hold our life open to God's inspection 
and in conformity to His will.

A readiness to give up
 what we find does cause any misunderstanding 
between us and God.

A feeling of loneliness
 if we have not some satisfaction in our efforts 
at holding fellowship with God.

A cold and desolate feeling 
when we are conscious 
of doing something that displeases Him."
Todd Bolen

{Getting to the place in your life where,
  when you are not walking with God,
you are absolutely miserable
and cannot wait another moment
to be walking by His side again.

Grace He gives,
grace upon grace 
to us wayward sinner children of His 
that He loves so much.}

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

happy birthday bubba

Cracks me up!!
This picture was taken at my mom's house.
That is one of her luscious cakes.

Just look at the
Happy Birthday decor.

For some strange reason,
Bubba is standing on a chair and touching the ceiling.

This is what my mom had written on the back of this picture....
"My son-in-law on his 44th birthday,"
We always acted crazy...
this is a reminder of just how crazy we were.

Big celebration tonight
over at David and Erika's house.
Let's hope he behaves himself and doesn't climb the walls.
I love birthday parties...
The May Birthdays have always been my favorite.

we have lived so long together.
We have watched the years go by.
We have labored,
and played,
and traveled all over the country
 since our babies were tiny.
We have laughed and cried together......
we have built a family that keeps growing
 and bringing so much joy.
Every day is filled with excitement...
No way I could ever be bored living with you!!!

But the greatest thing you ever did for me
was to take my hand,
now well over twenty-five years ago and say,
we need to seek the Lord together.
We need to read our Bibles 
and pray 
and read good books.
We need to get in a church where we can learn and grow.
There is nothing more important."

"Husbands love your wives,
 just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 
that He might sanctify and cleanse it 
with the washing of water by the word,
that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, 
not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
 but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So husbands ought to love their own wives
 as their own bodies;
he who loves his wife loves himself."
Ephesians 5: 25 - 28

How many husbands love their wives like this?

Monday, May 20, 2013

happy birthday jake

Eight years ago today 
you burst into the world 
changing it forever for all of us.

You, dear one, 
were the firstborn grandson
 and you pretty much took our breath away....

Grammy forgot what to do,
your mommy didn't know what to do,
but we figured it out and just look at you now.

You almost waited to be born on your granddaddy's birthday,
but you went ahead and came the day before.
That's okay,
 because you were the greatest gift ever.

Just look at you now, sweet boy...
finishing up with second grade,
the star of the play,
an exceptional swimmer,
an artist in the making,
and the most sweet & loving little boy ever.

We love you Jake,
You have made our lives so happy!
We cannot wait for you and Eli to get here
so that we can have a great, big birthday party.

Forever & ever,

Sunday, May 19, 2013


beautiful things stir my soul.
The immensity of the passion in my being
overwhelms me at times.

The flowers up there 
are sitting on my counter.
When I look at them I realize that 
much greater than myself made them. 
The intricate detail, 
the smell, 
their beauty.
No one but God can make a flower.

A song,
the instruments,
the words...
so powerful, so beautiful, so intense.....
able to move my soul.

A child,
their honest eyes,
a hand reaching out for yours,
unconditional love,
a little bouquet,
a Gram I Love You.
There is no better!!!

words that make you just unleash your insides 
and let it all flow out
cleansing your soul.
If you make me laugh,
I love you.

Good food....
prepared for loved ones.
the colors and flavors and textures and scents.
Sitting around a table,
 eating, and laughing with
no better pleasure.

A book...
classic literature,
well written and intense,
produces a real sadness when you come to the end....
the characters have become your friends,
your constant companions.

The beach, 
the place where the ocean meets the sand.
The place where you can look forever and never see the end.
The place where your bare feet leave impressions in the sand.
Of all places, my favorite.

A passage from God's word...
knowing He wrote those thoughts,
those words of truth
to us...
that He loved us so much to do that.
That those words are capable of changing our hearts
from dead to alive.

so deep, so emotional, so lovely...
capable of producing  
 that go deep 
and last a lifetime.

I am a deeply passionate person.
You probably already know that.
Sometimes I cannot contain myself.
That is why I write this blog.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

26 ~7

twenty-six hours with a seven year old.

Last night I fixed a scrumptious meal for the fam
and then Lucy spent the night.

I know now why the Lord led me to teach third grade.
Kids at the age of seven or eight 
are utterly fascinating.

After her parents left,
Lu and I got cozy on the sofa and watched
House Hunters ~ Renovation.
We covered up with Lily the blanket
and watched until nine oclock.

This morning she was up at the crack of dawn.
After breakfast,
I gave her a spa shampoo
 and a bath tub
filled with more bubbles than the law allows.
She stayed in until she shriveled up.

First stop when we got to town was
Red Lobster.
We split a steak and crab leg dinner.
She lucked out and got to handle 
a new crop of lobsters 
that had just arrived by UPS.
You would have thought someone had given her a 
bucket of gold.

Next we stopped by to see Snookums the tortoise
at the reptile and amphibian shop.
completely out of place, 
was a cage full of baby rabbits.
She wanted one so badly, and I almost succumbed.
She had already named her favorite.

Barnes and Noble...
What can I say?
She and I spent a long time
sitting in the childrens's section reading.
I found a kid's book about the Titanic that sucked me right in.
I bought her two new books.

Before we hit the road for home,
we stopped at the frozen yogurt shop
 and filled some cups with 

This afternoon I taught her how to play jackstones,
one of my favorite childhood pastimes.
She is a quick learner, but is easily frustarted.
We laughed till we cried.

Tonight after eating leftovers from last night,
we took a walk.
Walking and talking...
we found several leaf fossils
 which brought on a good discussion 
about evolution.

Granddaddy has taken her home. :(
I am writing this so I won't forget
how wonderful it is to be a grandmother.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

amanda's mother's day

These two little boys,
Jake & Eli,
are Amanda's gifts from God.
This picture was taken on Mother's Day Sunday, 2013.

Love the matching ties!
Love the converses!
Love the smiles!

In about two weeks
 these little guys 
are coming to stay with Bubba and I
 for a whole seven days while their
 mom and dad
go on a vacation to Amelia Island.
Cannot wait for them to get here!!!

There will be beach and pool time,
playground and pizza.

Most importantly,
there will be a big celebration.
Jake turns eight!
There will be a huge Spiderman party
just for him!!

"A wise son (or sons) makes a glad father."
Proverbs 10:1

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


"Blessed is the man 
who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, 
nor stands in the path of sinners, 
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
but his delight
 is in the law of the Lord,
and in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree 
planted by the rivers of water, 
that brings forth it's fruit in its season,  
whose leaf also shall not wither; 
and whatever he does shall prosper."
Psalms 1: 1-3

His delight is where?
In the law of the Lord....the Bible.

When does he meditate or read God's word?
Day & night.

Whatever he does shall prosper.

Love this!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

"that we will live the years together"

My heart and my head are filled with "Les Miserables."
The CD tract is in my car.
Every time I go somewhere, I usually have a long way to go.
That music is on very loud,
and each time through, it tells the wonderful story again.
I sing the songs over and over.
The above quote is from
"I Dreamed a Dream."

I can't even imagine living this life without grace.
It is by grace that we are saved,
by grace we are sustained.
by grace we were chosen in the first place.

"Les Miserables"
is the story of law and grace.
In the hard fought battles of life, grace prevails.
It is a story of how far we had sunk down
and how high we are lifted up 
by the free gift of our Savior Jesus Christ.

So good to be entertained 
by something true and right and good
for a change.

That's Bubba and I 
on the beach at Hilton Head yesterday.
He shows me grace every day of my life.

ps...that's a tiny sprig of jasmine in my buttonhole...
a gift from Lucy.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

happy mother's day

When the nurse 
handed that tiny little bundle that was David to me 
back on January 23, 1973, 
little did I know the implications of what was to come.

"Children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is His reward."
Psalm 127:3

What a reward!!
Look at all of us up there,
and there is one more over in China,
just waiting to join this family.

My joy comes from the Lord 
and from these people pictured above.

These grandchildren are such gifts...
I pray daily for their hearts
that God would draw them to Himself at an early age.
That He would put love in their hearts 
and a desire 
to please Him in all they do.

A mother, a grandmother....
there is no greater responsibility...
no greater joy.

"The Lord has done great things for us,
Whereof we are glad."

Headed to Hilton Head to celebrate!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

at the beach

No other place I would rather be
than at the beach with my family.

*using Bubba's new tripod
and the self-timer on my camera.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

black nike' whaduya think?

Amanda bought a pair about a year ago 
I've been looking at them for a while and thinking....
Do I want a pair of black Nike's?

Amanda is a ceritified Zumba instrutor in
Williamsburg, Virginia.
She is really good.
They look great on her.

Well....Bubba and I have been in Atlanta for the last couple of days,
and this morning,
just before we left to come home,
I bit the bullet 
and purchased a pair.
I really, really like them a lot.

I had my yearly appointment with a doctor that I love,
whom I go to this time every year,
and Bubba had a meeting with some co-workers and friends.
A little short getaway in the midst of
our crazy busy life
is always appreciated.

A short list for you ...
we hit them all ~ all of our favorites....

The Varsity
Star Provisions (I get my Lemon Meringues here)
PF Changs
Einstein's Bagels
Neiman Marcus Orange Souffle Chicken Salad for lunch
(all by myself ~ Bubba was eating lunch with his buds.)
The above is a secret obssession!
Cheesecake Factory
Fresh Strawberry Cheescake for dessert
Johnny Rockets
on the way home
The Dairy Queen...
You see why we can only take short little trips.

To bed early tonight and no supper,
but first,
I must model my new black Nike's.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

almost christians

"There are many whom I must call
'almost Christians,'
for I know no other expression in the Bible
which so exactly describes
their state.
They have many things about them which are
and praiseworthy in the sight of God.
They are regular and moral in their lives.
They are free from glaring outward sins.
They keep up many decent and proper habits.
They appear to love the preaching of the gospel.
They are not offended at the truth as it is in Jesus,
however plainly it may be spoken.
They have no objection to
 religious company, religious books, and religious talk.
They agree to all you say when you speak to them about their souls.
And all this is well.
But still,
 there is no movement in the hearts of these people
that even a microscope can detect.
They are like those who stand still.
Weeks after weeks roll over their heads,
and they are just where they were.
They sit under our pulpits.
They approve of our sermons.
Any yet like Pharaoh's lean cows,
they are nothing the better,
for all they receive.
There is always the same regularity about them~
the same constant attendance on means of grace~
the same wishing and hoping~
the same way of talking about religion~
but there is nothing more.
There is no going forward in their Christianity.
There is no life,
 and heart,
 and reality in it.
Their souls seem to be at a deadlock,
and all this is sadly wrong."
~J.C. Ryle

Sunday, May 5, 2013

opera house in italy

I continue to find things that are so interesting
in the boxes and 
endless stacks of papers
that my Dad left at home when he departed this earth.

This is the opera house in 
Florence, Italy,
where he saw his first and probably only opera.
It was Madame Butterfly.

Above you see a post card of the opera house,
the program,
and the green entry ticket.
This was a special performance for the 5th Army.
Seems to me they entertained their boys well back then.

I am very excited that I scanned this.
I have a new printer 
and I have actually figured out how to use the scanner.
From now on I can scan my old photos rather than take pictures of them.

Sun came out!
Maybe the cold and rain is over.
Looking for some warmth.
I've had quite enough of this longest ever winter.

Praising God for David's sermon this morning.
"Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Here by Thy great help I've come."

Saturday, May 4, 2013


It was a planned event.
Bubba had a pig-pickin' last evening...
perfect time for me to watch
Les Miserables 
on his big screen TV.
An evening alone sounded not so bad at all.

Settling in,
I got my soft warm heide-han (blanket),
turned out the lights,
 and began my journey.

I wasn't prepared for the emotion.
Let me say this...
I am not a crier.
I am very seldom overwhelmed,
I don't know why,
and sometimes I am ashamed of myself,
but I just don't cry easily.

Last night,
right here alone (thankfully),
I cried.
I cried for the loss of my Daddy
and probably lots of other things as well.

I must see this story in the theatre
before I die.
I must experience
 this beautiful story of redemption in person.

I will read the book...
I am listening to the beautiful music.
(David & Erika had given me the CD for my birthday.)
I will think on this for a long, long time.

"On my own
pretending he's beside me
all alone
I walk with him til morning
without him
I feel his arm around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
and he has found me...."
"On my Own."

So many things in this life are truly beautiful.

Friday, May 3, 2013

remembering nana

Her birthday would have been today.

We had some good ole times with her.
Wish our loved ones didn't have to go away.

I remember how she loved to cook.
Every Tuesday night she filled her table with good food.
Back in those lean days,
having a meal cooked for us was a marvelous thing.

She really loved her grandchildren.
She was never happier than when they were nearby.
Nana was generous, 
even when she didn't have much herself.

She sewed quilts for her grand babies....
so much love went into those squares of material.

She loved to be outside,
working in her yard.
Her sister Dottie had a garden just outside the kitchen window,
and it was her pride and joy to cook veggies
that were grown there.

Nana loved going to the beach for a week
with her children and grandchildren.
In the picture above you see her frolicking by the ocean.

I am thankful for the memories...
for having had her as a 
and a friend.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

happy may day

The month of May is here.
This month has always been associated with 
lots of birthdays in the Cleland family.
One day in May
 is always set aside to celebrate the "birthdays."
Some have left us now,
but more have been "born in."

I love the month of May.
May starts the summer in the south.
The flowers are blooming,
the air is warm, but not yet hot,
the days are long,
the nights are short.
It stays light until after eight in the evening.

In some parts of the Untied States 
May baskets are made.
These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats 
and left on someone's doorstep.  
The giver rings the doorbell and runs away.  
The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. 
 If they catch the giver a kiss is given.

The above scenario has never happened to me.
I have never had a basket of flowers left on my doorstep on the first of May.
I am a little sad about this,
but hey,
the day is just beginning...
it may yet happen.

"One generation passes away,
and another generation comes:
but the earth abides forever."
Ecclesiastes 1:4

Happy May Day.
Wish I could put a basket of flowers on your doorstep.