Monday, September 26, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas

As some of you may know my husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I was allowed to choose where we went on our anniversary trip and I chose Las Vegas.
Now, I know some of you may be thinking that was an odd choice for me to make.
I have dreamed for years of seeing the Grand Canyon. So, I thought, for some reason, that Las Vegas was very close to the Grand Canyon.
It is a lot closer than I am sitting in my living room right now, but not as close as I thought.
But, off to Vegas we went. We stayed at the lovely Venetian Hotel (Casino) and took in a couple of shows during our stay.
But the highlight of the whole trip for me was the time we spent exploring the area in our rental car (my husband rented a convertible, which was a wonderful experience, but left me cooked).
We ventured out to Red Rock Canyon and found a neat little "Old West" re-enactment town. I had no idea they had wild burros! They were everywhere!
We also made it to Hoover Dam that same day which was a sight to see!
Then we got up early the next morning and headed to the Grand Canyon. It was a great drive over and I cannot even begin to explain how affected I was by the sight of the canyon itself.
I don't see how anyone can doubt the greatness of God when standing at the edge of something so magnificent.
You know, Las Vegas itself is an interesting city. It definitely lives up to its nickname of "Sin City." Since prostitution is legal in the city guys stand on the street passing out cards telling you how to get girls "2 for $99."
Maybe its mean of me, but I took great pleasure in making those guys make eye contact with me and seeing how long they could hold contact before they looked away. For SOME reason, they usually did not try to pass us a card. hahahaha
Las Vegas is lush, brimming with every indulgence that you could possibly desire. Everything there is larger than life and attractive, pleasing to the eye.
The lights flash, the fountains spray, the fire shoots out of the fake volcanoes. You can be lured in to anything that you would desire to do. Everywhere you look, there is beauty and opulence.
Until you drive outside of the city, just a very short distance.
Surrounding this luscious "paradise" is a land so barren that you would be want for just a small spot of shade as Jonah was.
There are bushes in some areas, but no real trees, no grass, only dirt.
Because, you see Las Vegas for all of its supposed riches is sitting in the middle of a desert.
A dry, barren desert.
When you fly in and out of Las Vegas it almost seems like you are looking at the surface of Mars.
And sitting out in the middle of all of this is "Sin City."
I love to watch people. It seems to me that it is not only pockets that are empty in Las Vegas. I saw a lot of empty souls. And as many times I we had to pass the casino floor to get from one place to the other in the hotel I never once heard someone cry out from joy as they won the big prize.
My husband made an astute comment while we were there. He said, "Look around you. This place wasn't built because people were winning."
Las Vegas is beautiful, but it is a beautiful facade. They have a fake Eiffel Tower, a fake Venetian Canal, a fake New York skyline......only imitations of the real things.
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" may sound like a good slogan to entice you to lose your inhibitions and let it all hang out since no one will "tell" on you later.
But even if no one ever tells, you know. And regret can be as dry and as barren as a desert when you are trying to escape it.
And although Vegas was fun, it wasn't a comfortable place for me. It was a place that sells sin. I have learned the hard way what a high price sin can have on my life. And I don't think the people of Las Vegas were very comfortable with me either. But, that's OK.
When I left Las Vegas behind I left with some fond memories, some great mementos, and a ton of pictures.....but no regrets.
I am thankful today for Your unchanging hand, Your protection and the sweetness of living this beautiful life. I wouldn't trade You for silver or gold.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I've Got Dreams To Remember....

I think one of the most wonderful things about getting older is that you lose your concern with trying to prove things to others and decide to prove things to yourself. I guess that could be seen as a form of mid-life crisis, but I don't feel like I am in crisis.

I can give some very good advice to all of you young people out there on the brink of your lives and that advice is.....


For every action there is a reaction. And even when you cannot see the reaction immediately it will come.

You can see it years later in regrets that you never thought you would have.

I hope that doesn't make me sound like Debbie Downer, because that is honestly not what I am trying to do.

But I definitely have things in my life that I wish I would have put a little more thought into before I acted.

I can look back over the years and see where I made decisions to please others without thinking them through to see what was the right and smart thing to do for me, for my future and for the future of those I love.

I remember some of those dreams that fell to the wayside because of decisions made without taking the time to consider the long term reaction to those decisions. It is a lot harder to go back and live some dreams with your pockets filled with bad decisions.

Just one second, one minute into something you know you should avoid can have ramifications years down the road.

And you can wake up staring into the face of the consequences of yesterday for the rest of your life.

I have still got dreams that I want to see come to pass, dreams that the Lord has given me, dreams that I have let life get in the way of.

But, I am determined to see them happen, maybe not as they once could have, but they can still happen.

To my children: Don't be in such a hurry to live your life that you miss what He has in store for you. He has a plan for you, and if you enact your own plan without waiting then you will never know what could have been.

Wait, I say wait....upon the Lord (And be of GOOD courage)

I have dreams to remember.....dreams of your lives lived within His promises....just hold on and you will see....He is good...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

He Sings Over Me

My Pastor was relating recently that he had been awakened in the night with a verse from the Bible. The verse was Zephaniah 3:17.
The LORD in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
This verse just stayed with me. To think that the LORD of heaven would sing over me with joy. I just cannot imagine.
So, Saturday I was working in my house and I was missing my Mama. I was thinking about her, and her death. And I was saying to myself that I just couldn't understand why she had to leave so soon and how much I miss her and wish I could talk to her again.
I went to sleep that night and in the early morning hours I had a dream.
In this dream I was in bed and my Dad came in. It was the Dad I remember from my teenaged years. He told me that he had a song to sing for me, a song about why my Mama had to die when she did.
And in the clearest voice he proceeded to sing verse after verse of the most beautiful melody.
A song that perfectly explained why she was gone.
I woke up feeling peace, but having no memory of what the song said.
But, I am certain it was from the Lord.
I know it was my earthly Dad singing to me in the dream, but I believe the song was from my Heavenly Father. He sang to me, sang a new song that replaced the sorrow I felt.
What GREAT love is that for His child?