Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Rainbow



 

The Rainbow

A Special Poem

for Ryan, Tiffanie & Hollie

by Cindy Hester

  
It's finally the day,
You make her your bride
So lovely she looks,
As she stands by your side.

A miracle of God,
You two become one.
Here on this earth,
To be divided by none.

So happy and free,
Little Hollie, so sweet,
Smiles as the family
All gathers and meets.

I wanted to be there,
To share in your love,
But God in His wisdom
Took me Home up above.

I'm sure you were sad
When it rained on your day
But it was no mistake,
God made it that way.

I had a present
I wanted to send,
So you'd know how I love you
And help some hearts to mend.

A rainbow from heaven
Was my special gift.
Made by our Father
For your hearts to lift.

See a rainbow's a promise,
From God up above
To show us His mercy,
His grace, and His love.

A miraculous sign,
A covenant of grace.
I wanted you to know
Heaven's joy in that place.
The place that you chose
to make Tiffanie your wife.
To love, cherish and honor,
For the rest of your life.
So don't be discouraged
When you have days of pain.
Just remember the rainbow
Comes after the rain.





Sunday, August 19, 2012

Angels in Disguise

It has been a challenge to get back to writing since returning from our trip. It seems as though I have been playing catch up ever since we got home! However, God in His perfect timing reminded me of some happenings which I must share before returning to my "Simpler Times" excerpts. The incidents described below not only reminded me of God's loving concern over even the smallest matters of life, they also served as confirmation that heaven exists and our loved ones watch over us.

Before I begin my story, I want to remind you of the sight our family witnessed at the farm on the day my Dad was buried. All of us kids loaded up and rode out there after the funeral because, other than church, that is where we feel closest to Dad. As we all sat in silence on the front porch of the little cabin we had enjoyed together so many times with him, we witnessed one of the most beautiful, unusual sunsets any of us had ever experienced in all our years being there. It was as if God was showing us that Dad was with Him and knew all things perfectly now, and that it had been worth all of the suffering it took to arrive.


 Most of you are aware of the significance of the trip to Colorado as told in my previous writing. It was made in honor of a promise to Dad as well as being a time to get away and reflect upon the one year anniversary of his going home to be with the Lord. As with many good things in life, numerous challenges came up that caused us to question whether we were meant to take this trip. Wildfires ran rampant, I had to have unexpected surgery the week before the trip, Melody's grandbaby was due any moment, it was forecasted to rain all week in Estes Park...let's just say we had begun wondering if somebody was trying to tell us something.

We all talked and prayed about it, and we decided to forge ahead. I had my surgery, but the doctor said I could take the trip as long as we waited a full week, and as long as I got out and walked along the way. The day Charlie and I left it rained so hard we could hardly see the road in front of us. We debated on turning around and waiting until the next day when everyone else was planning to leave. Being the picture taking fool I am, I texted everyone a picture of the blinding rain we were driving through. Within a mile, the sun came out! I texted again asking, "Okay who prayed?"













A few miles before we reached Hunstville, Texas our low tire pressure light came on. I was quite annoyed since we had just bought a new set of top of the line tires. Charlie asked me to check on my phone to see where the nearest Discount Tire was. Before I could even get my phone out, one appeared on the opposite side of the road. It turns out we had a nail in the tire, and that was the last Discount Tire store until we made it to the Dallas/Fort Worth area four hours away.

Still wondering whether we should forge on, we set aside all doubt and headed on to Amarillo arriving around 1:00 in the morning. Just as we drove into Amarillo, guess what? The low tire pressure light comes back on. Once again we see a Discount Tire store just ahead of us on the way to our hotel. By the way, if you ever need friendly service, good restrooms, and fresh coffee on a trip, Discount Tire is a good place to stop. (Personally I wold recommend Buc-cee's over Discount Tire, but under the circumstances...)

After getting a good night's sleep, we returned to Discount Tire to find that one of our tires was slowly leaking pressure. Thankfully, it was an easy fix and we could assuredly go on with our trip without fear of another flat or worse, a blowout. At the time I viewed each of these instances at least as inconveniences and as pure unfair aggravation at the most. As the trip unfolded and more things developed, however, I saw how God was showing us His protective blessing and perhaps Dad's joy that we overcame the obstacles to follow through.

As we continued on our way we got into more clouds and rain soon after entering Colorado. Although excited to finally be in a place I had always dreamed of going, I was a little disappointed in the weather. Quite honestly all I could think of was being cooped up with all of those kids, bored stiff, excited about doing things but not being able to get outside. I began to question our sanity!

It was during this thought process that God chose to capture my attention with a sight that left me completely humbled and awestruck. In the middle of my complaining negativity, I happened to look up from checking the map and saw that the clouds had opened just enough to let the brightest, most beautiful beams of light shine from the heavens above. I sat there speechless with tears in my eyes as I viewed the distant mountains reflected under the light. Immediately my mind was drawn back to the sunset at the farm on the day of Dad's funeral. It was at that moment my mindset and attitude was changed. I thought to myself, only God could know how much my heart needed that confirmation. I think Dad knew, and he approved. Even more important, God knew, and He approved.  

However the story does not stop here...it gets better. The second day we were in Colorado Springs Charlie and I decided to visit the Garden of the Gods. For those of you who have never been, it is a fascinating area of different geological formations. The park is popular for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, etc., and it is an absolutey beautiful display of God's creativity and appreciation of beauty. It covers approximately 3,300 acres of numerous marked trails and sites to see. One could easily get lost by straying from the marked roads and paths.



As Charlie was getting out of the car at one of the sites, he had grabbed his iPhone to take a picture of some of the formations to share with family and friends. We continued on walking through different trails and watching two rock climbers repelling down one of the taller formations. After about an hour, we decided to return to the car and drive through more of the park. As we reached the car I asked Charlie if he had his phone. He felt around his pockets and said no, he thought he had left it in the car. I reminded him he had been taking pictures as we walked toward the trail, so I knew he had it with him when we began the hike.

Feeling a little panicked we began searching the car but with no luck. I decided to call Charlie's phone to see if possibly he had dropped it near the car and we would hear it. It rang several times with no luck, and just as I was about to hang up, a voice on the other end said, "Charlie?" I explained that I was Charlie's wife, and he said, "Ah, Cindy." Puzzled, but not really questioning it, I then handed Charlie the phone. As the conversation continued I could visibly see the tension melting from his face. I heard him tell the gentleman that we were still in the park, and he attempted to describe where we were. He hung up the phone with a huge smile on his face telling me to hurry, we had to meet this man and his wife back at one of the rest stations to get his phone. Remembering there were two pavillions exactly alike at this particular area, I waited at one and he proceeded down the path to wait at the other farthest pavillion. We had exchanged descriptons of what we were wearing so we could recognize each other once they arrived.

After what seemed like an eternity I became a little anxious. Having watched too many movies I tend to imagine the worst scenario in situations like this. I imagined Charlie being knocked in the head and robbed with me being kidnapped as the next part of the evil plan. Eventually I saw Charlie walking slowly up the hill in my direction with a serious look on his face. It was not a look of concern or worry, but a look of reverence. He looked as though he had experienced something very difficult to describe.

Curious and somewhat concerned I asked if everything was okay. He sat silent for a few minutes as he stopped to catch his breath. After a long pause he began telling me what had just transpired. At first he said, "You are not going to believe this story. I attempted to give the man a reward, but he would not take the money. I tried again, explaining how much it meant to me that an honest person had found and returned my phone, but he would not hear of it. He simply told me to pay it forward."

Charlie went on to explain that he had told the man a little about our trip as well as the reason behind it all. He told the man how difficult it was to find people who lived by honest beliefs and values. He revealed that Dad had been a minister and told how Dad always lived by his beliefs and treated others as he would want to be treated. The gentleman then turned to Charlie, smiled, and said, "You know that's funny, I too am a mininster." It turns out that he and his wife jog in the park every day, and he just happened to notice Charlie's phone sitting on a rock where we had stopped to have our picture taken.

Not long after finding the phone it rang, and the minister answered. It turned out to be John, a friend who works at the City of Pasadena with Charlie. He had asked John where we were from and if he knew how to get in touch with us. John had told him to scroll down and find Cindy or Rachel - that Cindy was his wife, Rachel was his daughter, and we were both on the trip with Charlie. The picture then became clear as to how he knew my name. As soon as he hung up with John, I had called, he answered, and we were able to meet up to get Charlie's phone.

Now to you these events may seem nothing more than mere conicidence. To me, the fact that anyone would find the phone was incredible enough. To think that it was found by a person who was interested in attempting to return it was even more incredible. The fact that it was  a fellow minister who found and returned the phone was to me nothing short of a miracle.

Before Charlie could get much further information from the gentleman, he handed Charlie the phone, with these parting words, "I am blessed...and you know we are blessed in order to bless others. Be blessed, bless others, and enjoy your trip." Then he and his wife turned and jogged out of sight. Thank You, Lord, for your angels in disguise.





Note the "cross" in the upper right-hand corner of this picture. I think
it must have been a portion of the window frame, but I noticed it the other
day. To me it looks like a cross surrounded by a teardrop.






Tuesday, August 7, 2012

If you Want to Know Someone's Heart...

"If you want to know someone's heart, observe that person's final journey." Max Lucado Wow! What an astounding statement. This hit home with me, especially after having crossed over that 50 year mark. I guess none of us really knows when our final journey begins. I was reminded that a dear friend would have been 49 years old today had cancer not taken him a couple of years ago. I think of friends I lost in high school due to automobile accidents, seemingly much too young to consider them being on the path of their final journey.

The truth is, we are not promised tomorrow...but thank heaven for today. The choices we make today make up the story of our final journey, no matter when the journey is destined to end. When I think of things in this way, it puts a whole new perspective on what I allow my mind to dwell on. It changes which battles I choose to fight and which ones I allow to slip on by.

It does, however, bring to mind all of the different personalities I have come into contact with over a lifetime. Some were worrywarts. Worrywarts always have the what-if scenarios down pat (I know because I happen to be one!) Then there are people-pleasers (again, I must confess to this trait). People pleasers have the "What will people think/say?", "Did what I say sound stupid?", "Did I hurt their feelings?", "Should I go back and apologize?", "What will they think if I do/wear this?"...and on, and on, and on...(and these were just a few of my thoughts over the past 5 minutes!) Then there are the "I don't really give a care what you think of me...this is who I am...I am not going to change, so if you don't like it, get over it." Now I refuse to mention any names associated with this trait for fear of retribution, but there are a few of these folks around.


There are also the good traits. There are encouragers, supporters, those who lovingly admonish others when we stray. I love a good admonsiher because he or she can help one to see where change is needed without leaving one feeling defeated or diminished as a person. I know several of these types...people who simply make you want to be a better person whenever something is brought to light. You realize the need to change because you were created for so much more.I am thankful for the admonishers in my life. If not for them, I don't want to think where I would be. Help me, Lord to develop the fruits of the spirit like so many in my life have displayed so that people can look back on my final journey and be inspired.
"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23




















  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Family Time in Colorado


Okay, I've been on break again, but for good reason. A little surgery here, a vacation to Colorado there, a new grandbaby in the oven for one son and daughter-in-law, and a wedding coming up the end of the month for another. The business of this brief life continues!


We had the greatest time on our family trip...a trip of a lifetime. Dad treasured family vacation and he loved to travel. He so wanted to take us all to Colorado. He didn't quite make it, but my brother, Andy, made a promise to Dad on his death bed that he would take Mom back to Colorado. He coordinated the trip and made the arrangements. We marked our calendars, saved our money, and last month, we all helped Andy follow through with that promise.












The trip far exceeded any expectations I had. My sister, Melody, and I were so excited to be seeing Colorado for the first time. Mary and Andy had been with Mom and Dad in later years, so it was a wonderful thing for them and Mom to return to a place Dad loved and where they shared so many happy memories with him. It was the perfect one year memorial of his journey Home.







Many warned we would not make it for a week in Colorado without an argument or disagreement. Not only did we prove them  wrong, we found the experience to be completely the opposite. The week seemed to only draw us closer together.




Thinking back, there were several elements which made that possible. Love, prayer, forgiveness, respect and the willingness to let bygones be bygones. Almost every morning I would see someone sitting in a quiet corner of the beautiful patio overlooking the river and mountains reading his or her Bible and spending time in prayer. I'm sure at least one of them was praying for the patience to put up with me, and it seemed to work! (Except maybe for Charlie some days, but that was because he had to ride in a car with me snoring for so many hours!)




I am so grateful for my family, and I am so proud of my Mom. She was amazing. She had asked my daughter, Rachel, to go with her as her "caretaker". Not only did she help Rachel overcome her fear of heights by holding her hand and talking her across the bridge over the Royal Gorge, she set her mind to making a hike to Adam's Falls despite the steep trail that led the 0.3 of a mile to get there. In Texas 0.3 miles may not sound so intimidating, but at a rocky, steep, uphill climb, it becomes quite another story. She even put on some exercise capris and a long t-shirt and let the girls help her into the hot tub! Among a few extremely melancholy moments, she really let her hair down and enjoyed this vacation, and her enjoyment brought so much happiness to each of us who had the pleasure to share it with her.


 Thank you, Andy, for the promise and for seeing it through. I will never forget one special moment of the Colorado adventure. I will always remember the laughter, the tears, the peace, the beauty, the togetherness that was our family vacation.





















True Freedom

by Cindy Hester A couple of weekends ago while relaxing in Galveston with family, I happened to walk into the living room of the condomin...