Marvalous Landscaping

I have picked up a new hobby, mowing the lawn. It may seem odd. However, I find it quite enjoyable. I have a modest sized back yard that I maintain. I get up early on Saturday morning and get to work in my back yard. My husband takes care of the rest of the lawn. Thank you, Ted! I must admit that I am cultivating my own green thumb by trial and error, help from Home Depot, and what I am learning on the internet. Below are images from some of my gardening successes.

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Enjoying nature, even in my own yard, is a great way for me to connect with the Lord and His creation. I do not want to ever take for granted even the smallest gift that I have received from God.  I recommend that you find a way to connect with Him through nature by creating your own garden, going for a walk, or looking up at the clouds in the sky. During that time, experience God’s goodness, pray, thank, and praise Him for all of His magnificent creations. It is a simple, yet, excellent way to add joy and beauty to your life.

A Perfect Saturday Morning

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A perfect Saturday morning starts with the day light gracefully flowing into my bedroom while the robins and sparrows serenade me to wakefulness…

Okay, my morning did not quite start like that. Actually, I woke before the sunrise to bring my mother to the airport for her vacation in New Orleans. (Lucky, Mom!) I made it back home around 8:00am and decided to go for a walk. What a beautiful morning it was! It was sunny, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, and the temperature was perfect. I could hear the birds chirping, watched squirrels scatter about as I approached and even a few bunny rabbits. I could hear a few bees buzzing about and the breeze whistling through the trees.

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Being enveloped in such a beautiful surrounding, I started praying and thanking God for everything. I thanked Jesus for His covering over me, His love, His guidance. As I took in each breath during my prayer, I became even more aware of my abundant blessings. That time in prayer was so good for me. I love how time spent with the Lord allows me to refocus on what is important, i.e. His light shining through me and sharing that with others. Fifty minutes later, I came back home and then made breakfast. My husband left to attend a Christian Men’s Conference, so the boys and I will enjoy some pancakes. Don’t these pancakes look good? They were!

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However your Saturday morning starts out, it is a blessing to have another start. Yes, another opportunity to  allow His light to shine through you and share it with others. Have a “marvalous” Saturday!

Happy Anniversary!

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Ted and Marva Goins at English Turn Country Club, New Orleans, LA on July 5, 1997

Today, my husband, Ted, and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage.  Eighteen years is quite an accomplishment, considering that up to 50% of marriages end in divorce. Reaching this point has been the most challenging, most rewarding, and happiest times of our lives. The road has not been perfect. There have been tears shed, fights lost, and battles won. Yet, the beauty is found in that we made the journey together. Our priority, then and today, is our marriage. It is not only important for us, but for our children, too. The growth and development of a child in a loving Christian home with both parents is a blessing.

I want to say thank you and I love you to my loving husband, Ted. He understands and tolerates my flaws and appreciates my strengths. I love how our strengths compliments each others weaknesses. I really appreciate how we pray for each other and our boys. I love how he serves in the church and our community. I love that he is my coach and I am his cheerleader. I love how we can be our true authentic selves around each other. May God continue to bless our marriage. I look for to celebrating our 20th, 25th, 50th, and as many more as we are blessed to enjoy with each other.

Ted and Marva

Ted and Marva Goins at the Dallas Arboretum in May 2014

Open and Closed Gates

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On a recent trip to California, I was struck by the beauty of the entry gates to homes in Beverly Hills. They were just beautiful. I thought about installing a similar gate to the one pictured above at my home in Texas and how lovely that would be. I took several pictures of these gates with plans to post them in my blog. My intent was to discuss outdoor landscaping and the use of gates. However, divine inspiration has taken me elsewhere.

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One of the definitions of a gate, according to Miriam Webster, is “a movable barrier.” What gates or barriers in our lives are we striving to open? Is our heart set on opening a gate that the heavenly Father has closed to us. Do you ever wonder why after your best efforts that you cannot get that gate to open? We could be working hard to open a gate that will lead us to heartache, disappointment, or even danger. Further, this work takes us away from the plan that God has for our lives. And frankly, it takes us further away from God.

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It is hard in our limited knowledge to understand the wisdom of God’s ways. Therefore, we must trust that He loves us and wants what is best for us. He wants to bring us ever closer to Him. And at times that means, further away from any distractions or deterrents by keeping the gate closed. I encourage you to pray for your clarity in His guidance of you, such that you recognize when the gate is closed and turn away from it. Also, pray for peace in your heart to not question His judgment on closing it or leaving it closed. I want for us all to one day say, as Jacob did, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17, NIV). For everything that we do should be focused on passing through those gates.