Thoughtful Thursday

I usually begin my mornings with devotions of some kind. I am not a routine or traditional woman but then that is not absolutely true. I have a morning routine and it usually, no … it always includes devotions. In this devotion time I usually set aside and hour to just ‘be’. I listen and I reflect after I have read Scripture and something of spiritual inspiration. Sometimes I read over a favorite passage or reading and towards the end of my time, I offer a prayer of gratitude. My favorite book in the Bible is Philippians with Psalm coming in a close second. As far as spiritual reading, I tend to lean towards writers and thinkers from the 19th century and earlier. John Baille (1886-1960) was a Scottish theologian, minister of the Church of Scotland, professor at Edinburg University, and brother of theologian Donald Macpherson Baille. This particular piece of his I read often. It is my hope that it causes you to take time to ponder the words of this theologian as I have on many cool mornings at the break of day.

Twin Lakes State Park

MORNING DEVOTION | 1936

Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of you, let my first impulse be to worship you, let my first spoken word be your name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer.

For your perfect wisdom and perfect goodness;

For the love wherewith you love mankind;

For the love wherewith you love me;

For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life;

For the indwelling of your Spirit in my heart;

For the sevenfold gifts of your Spirit;

I praise and worship you, O Lord.

Yet let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of you. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day;

Keeping me chaste in thought;

Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech;

Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work;

Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself;

Keeping me honorable and generous in my dealings with others;

Keeping me loyal to every hallowed memory of the past;

Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Thine;

O God, who has been the Refuge of my fathers through many generations, be my Refuge today in every time and circumstance of need. Be my Guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my Guard against all that threatens my spirit’s welfare. Be my Strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with your peace; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen

It’s a ‘Skeeter Affair

While sitting here is the Mississippi Delta, memories come back of days of old when the summers were long, hot, humid and slow. Growing up here, as with anywhere, you just get used to the weather and anything else the region has to offer. One of the many things that Mississippi is known for is its population and size of mosquitoes. If you were not from the area; if the high temperatures and humidity did not leave you utterly miserable, the mosquitoes would surely do the trick. No idea how we survived as children but not only did we survive, we thrived and had the best summers ever. Trust me, it was not all as miserable as it might sound or be portrayed. Here are a couple of things that I recall from when I was growing up in the Delta: parades (marching bands were huge down here), football (was and still is very popular … high school football that is …), snowballs/snowcones, ice cream trucks, watermelon, festivals (catfish, craw-fish, hot tamale), cousins, bicycles, church and mercy me … barbecue!

Now here is one that we might not be too proud of but hey, we are all still here to live and to tell about it. In the late evenings, when the sun would have ebbed and cooled its scorch of the land, a distinct sound of the city’s attempt to abate the mosquito population could be heard in almost every neighborhood. It was-the ‘skeeter truck. This was a pick up truck that was out-rigged with a motor that would spray a white cloud of foggy spray up and down the neighborhood streets. Children would run outside to play, run, and ride bikes in the fog and wave at the driver who usually had his window and returning the wave. Children would wave at this driver in the same manner they would wave at the driver of the ice cream truck. My parents did not allowed us to run and ride up and down the streets or be out after dusk dark, except when the cousins would visit. I suppose there was safety in numbers or they did not want us to run their grass down by riding bikes around the house in a circle as if the circus had come to town. However, we would be sitting outside in our yard when the truck would come by and we would just sit there like stone statues watching a parade… inhaling fumes and carrying on like this was normal; and for us it was.

What I am not sure of is whether or not DDT had been outlawed by then. Even so, it is just not good to sit in any chemicals at any time!! Yet, I lived to tell the story/memory.

It’s Traveling Tuesday!

Westmoreland State Park, Virginia

Since we are still under self-quarantine, stay at home orders, I am traveling through places we have visited before and would like to visit again. We visited this state park one Saturday after taking a leisurely drive along back roads of the Potomac River. Since it is my goal to stay in every state park in the state of Virginia, this visit does not count towards that adventure. It was my plan to make this park my first stay of the camping season and to actually stay in a cabin this time. Being campers we mostly tent camp, which -by the way is not as ancient and primitive as it use to be. But since the Spring in Virginia can be quite unpredictable with rains, winds and temperatures; a cabin or camper is the most stable way to ‘stay’ in the park in early Spring and late Fall.

This park has some of the best views of the Potomac. While some cabins are secluded in wooded areas, there are many that are overlooking the Potomac with screen porches and this is what I am hoping to capture whenever we get a chance to stay. This park also boasts an olympic-sized pool and beach! It is not a large park but it packs a mighty punch. There are a couple of beaches with one of the beaches being at the end of a mile long trail –downhill. This small beach is called Fossil Beach and is known for ‘sharks teeth’. You will find people walking and searching for them constantly. The beach is also accessible via kayak. The walk down to the beach is not bad unless you carry a lot of stuff with you and have to lug it back up. Trust me, if I can make down there, almost anyone can!! And I lived to tell the story.

There are plenty of trails of varying degrees and an overlook at Turkey Run trail which also intersects with the trail to the beach. Fossil Beach is not a large beach. The main beach is accessible by vehicle and has plenty of parking but do suspect it could get crowded sometimes. Where there is sand and water, Virginians will play all day. There are picnic tables and some trees for a break from the sun, kayak rentals, boat dock, eatery, a picnic shelter over the Potomac and a group cabin –all right there on the beach. I did see people walking to the beach from a cabin. Just be aware that the descent down to this beach is steep and most people drive it.

On this day, we hiked and walked, and sat overlooking the spans of the Potomac River while observing the wildlife. This is a great spot to bird watch if you are into it. I listened and tried to figure out what birds were there by their songs/call. The visitor’s center over looks the Potomac as well and is located on the ridge above the cliffs. There is a really nice play-park for children. This park is shaded and has plenty of picnic areas and is close to the bathrooms. It is also walking distance from the cabins that are overlooking the river.

When this park is re-opened, I plan to hike, walk, swim, picnic, read, blog, sit by a fire, smile at the sunrise, enjoy the laughter and glee of children and families and enjoy the company of my husband of 30 years. Interestingly whenever we camp, he becomes the chef mostly. But if there is electricity, there is always that favorite small appliance called … crock pot or slow cooker.