Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Time for Disappointment

Hello friends,

No matter how happy I am, no matter how successful, no matter how rosy the future seems, I can always count on those times of disappointment to suck the hope right out of me. Disappointment is that distasteful experience that life gives us, especially when our hopes are most high. Why is that? Don’t we deserve a nice smooth road, all the way to the finish line? It would be nice, but as everyone knows, that is never the guarantee.

The Bible is filled with disappointment. The writers were often in difficult situations, even life threatening situations, and those were the times that they burst into song. The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalms 119, and the shortest is right next door, Psalms 117. That small chapter probably was written at a time when the Psalmist felt most alone, even forgotten, yet he wrote just one verse to celebrate his stubborn trust in the Lord.

As a writer and a poet, I am intimately familiar with those times when words fail me. How can I tell God how much I love Him, when I’m feeling numb? When I’m so low that I have to climb three flights of stairs, just to reach bottom, how can I be grateful? When depression falls on me like a steel safe, what can I say? Well, this must have been how the Psalmist felt, who wrote Psalms 117.

“Praise the Lord all you Gentiles (Nations)!
Laud Him, all you peoples!
For His merciful kindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!”

All those exclamation points, every phrase tells me that the Psalmist cried out, against all odds, perhaps against his own disappointment; yet in spite of every discontent, he would praise the Lord. He actually invites and exhorts everyone to do the same. Be firm. Be stubborn. Shout. When all else fails, there is only One to turn to! Now, everyone Praise the Lord!

I love Psalm 117, not because of its great beauty or because of its great poetry. I love it for its stubborn declaration, no matter the odds, even if we can’t possibly win, turn to God, and praise Him with everything you’ve got.

Today is a day of great disappointment for me. The particulars do not matter. I feel a bit of despair, and I have no answer to my problem. It would be nice if God would give me a clear answer. I would welcome a memo. Just a few lines that explain why all this is happening. Sometimes God makes things clear, and sometimes He doesn’t. As He says, in Isaiah 55:8,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

This is where I find comfort. God’s words tell me that I’m not in charge, and I am thankful for that. I don’t HAVE to be in charge. I can wait for Him. His thoughts are greater than mine. His ways are higher and more pure. He has the answer, and when knowing that is just killing me, I can trust Him to make all things clear in His time.

How sad it is to expect to have the answer. How despairing it is to depend on oneself. Because when one has failed to solve the problem, who does one turn to? Where do you go from here? This may not make much sense to those who hold the illusion of control, but for someone like me, it is the perfect answer. I can trust my God. I don’t have to be in control, and I can thank Him and praise Him, just because He is. Praise the Lord!

Accepting His Grace

Was I grateful enough when the heavens broke
And the angels cried real tears?
Was I humble enough when He healed my heart
So laden with burdens and fears?

Do I understand His sacrifice?
Can I possibly comprehend;
That He loved me before I was lovable,
And each day He loves me again?

I am broken inside when I think of all
His love that He poured out for me;
Drop by drop within my heart
Filling eternally.

How can I lift my eyes to His
When for me He suffered such pain?
How can He see me as I am,
Yet love me again and again?

Unworthy though I surely am,
I must accept His grace;
For heaven will never be heaven unless
I forever behold His face.

© Jaye Lewis, September 22, 2005

Lord, this is my testimony. I will trust You, when all my hope is gone. I will praise You, when I am filled with doubts. I will have faith in Your answer, when my faith is small, and I will thank You, when I feel my teeth on edge. Thank You Lord that You are in charge, so that I don’t have to be.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Time for Prayer

Hello friends,

As I was reading through the Book of Psalms this evening, I realized that I’ve been reading the Bible on a nightly basis for over ten years. Yet, I can remember a time when I thought ‘no one can read this book, burying him or herself day after day, without getting overwhelmed.’ How na├»ve I was. The Bible can be read again and again, as it has been, for over five thousand years, and it never gets old. I’ve only been reading for around ten years, now, and I’ve never become tired of it. I wish that I had tried this earlier.

I began this journey with a smaller view. Why try to read the entire Bible in a year, or two years. What happens if you get behind? Haven’t you failed? And how do you catch up so that you’re now where you should have been? I wondered all these things, and made myself anxious over nothing. God doesn’t care how you read the Bible. He just cares that you read it. You see, the Bible is a love story. It’s God’s love story to each of us. So, when I read the words, “Come, my beloved…,” I know that God is saying that to me.

So, ten or eleven years ago, I decided that I wanted to hear God call me “beloved” every night, before I sleep. Since then, it has been a rare night that I have not read His word. In recent years, of course, holding a large Bible, even a smaller Bible, has become painful. As a result, I switched to a PDA (a small pocket type of computer) which has been a blessing for me.

The Book of Psalms has a particular hold on me. Where else can one listen to the cry of the human heart in its many voices? Why me, God? Where are you? Are you listening? Are you even there? When, Lord, when? How long? Help me, Lord! Come to me! Vindicate me, oh Lord! And so many more cries. I can hear them all. And so does God.

There is not a human prayer that has not been heard, nor one that has not been answered. The answer is not always the one we seek. Who wants to be told, “Not yet” or “Not now” or “Wait…have patience…I hear you…give it time.” Everyone wants an answer, now, including me. I’ve got to be the most impatient child of God in the world. Oh, you thought you had that all sewed up, yourself? I think that’s why I get to wait. I’m impatient. God’s not finished with me, yet. And I’m not finished with Him.

The Bible is God’s love letter to us, and our prayers are our love letter to Him. I know that there are those who laugh at this, but I wonder, when the lights are out, and no one is in the room, how alone are you? When I’m alone, in the middle of the night, and I feel as though no one is there, I know, someone is there. That certainty, and more, is why I pray.

Father, there are times that we feel so alone. We cannot see You, and we are making so much noise, that we cannot hear you. In spite of ourselves, let us know that you are with us, and when we cannot even imagine ourselves being loved so much, help us to believe, without knowing.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Time for a Happy Heart

Today is one of those gray days, where the mountains are covered in a smoke-like haze. It’s neither raining nor snowing, and everything looks drab and dull. It is also my little dog’s birthday. Yes, Happy Dog is ten years old today. There should be noise makers and balloons, and a wonderful liver pate´ cake, for that lovable little dachshund of mine.

Happy Dog has had a challenging life. At a year old he was struck with demodectic mange, an auto-immune system disease that can often cause an early, lingering death. It felt like my life was over. Yet, Happy survived. At six years old, Happy had to undergo spinal surgery, very common in dachshunds. A month later he had to have surgery again. Yet, still my little weenie dog triumphed. His surgeon was stunned. He had never seen a dog so resilient and stubborn to live and grow well. And well, little Happy Dog is. He is unstoppable.

Happy is getting older, but so am I. You might say that he is in his senior years, as I am. I keep him slim and muscled. A dachshund will eat until it explodes, so it is imperative to stick to a strict feeding schedule. Yet, there is still room for a treat or two, if you figure it into the equation.

Happy is slowing down, as I am. No continuous playtime for him. He wants his morning nap, under the electric blanket, and he does not want to be disturbed. He does love to play ball in the early evening, when everyone gets home. And he still loves me best.

I don’t want Happy to grow old. It’s as though a part of my heart belongs to him, as with no other dog I have ever owned. Today we will have a party for a little dog who has never done anything except ruin what can easily be replaced, love me with all of his heart, and make himself irresistible in my heart.

Happy Dog has helped me to understand what truly matters, and it isn’t cars, furniture, fashion, or any of the world’s treasures. I would not trade this dog for all the money in the world. It’s an easy choice. After all, Happy Dog has been by my side through heartache and illness; through sorrow and joy. In fact, Happy Dog has shown me how to have a happy heart. I don’t always pass that particular test, but because of Happy Dog, I know what happiness is.

Happiness is the face, heart, laugh, and warmth of the one you love. Happiness is laughter to the ear and music to the soul. Happiness is the lifetime companionship of a noisy, funny, faithful little clown of a dog, who loves you with a heart that will never tire of you. Happiness is in my heart every time I need a sloppy kiss to tell me just how wonderful I am. Happiness is the joy I feel every day this dog has been in my life.

Today is Happy Dog’s birthday, and I am going to celebrate his life, just as he has always celebrated mine. I hope that this day, there is a Happy Dog in your life, and I hope that he or she has given you a happy heart.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Time for Forethought

Hello friends,

While I try to keep my focus on God's grace in this blog, I find myself becoming more and more agitated by our American election primaries. So, I apologize in advance, for you to have to put up with me.

You see, my blog is my journal. I've always kept journals, which were private and written with my own hand. However, my hands and my mobility are not what they used to be, so I'm keeping my words in this blog. As a result, those who want to, are able to visit my thoughts, my disappointments, my hopes, and my dreams.

One of the things that I find offensive during this primary season, is the attitude of news commentators. It seems that if you don't have that third degree from Harvard, you are merely an ignoramus, without thought or the ability to compose a sentence. It makes me sick!

I live in southwest Virginia, that part of Virginia that most folks don't know exist. A kinder, more generous people, I have yet to meet; and I have found that to be the case in most rural regions, throughout this country. It hurts me to hear people of faith and goodness talked about as though they don't matter. Who do those news commentators think run farms, so that they can eat? And who do they think transports their food to the market, so that they don't have to? I could go on, but I will spare you my tirade.

My childhood was not a good one. I've shared several times what it was like. But I would like to pay tribute to those who made my life easier. Good, generous people, who were kind simply because that was who they were, gave me love, compassion, and affirmation. These are the type of people that we hear marginalized on the nightly news, today.

So, from one kindred soul to another, thank you. You are somebody to me. And you are somebody to God, himself. Jesus did not come to save the educated or famous. He came to save the soul who was willing to be as humble as a child.

I have seen more humility in the hearts of good, everyday people, than I have ever seen wearing the umbrella of "higher education." What about the teacher, who spends part of her own income to see that her students have what they need. You know of whom I speak. I'm speaking to you and to those whom you love. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You mean the world to me.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Time for New Beginnings, Again

Hello friends,

It’s difficult to say when I began to understand that, as a people, we were poisoning the earth, to the point of no return. Maybe it was when my asthma became worse, so that I, literally, could not leave the house between late spring and late fall. Or it could have been when I realized how close my neighbors have come to starting uncontrollable wild fires, because they must burn everything in the middle of their lawns. Perhaps I became painfully aware that many of my countrymen were hiding their eyes from the truth that any idiot can see: We are poisoning our planet, and I don’t think that we will stop soon.

Recently I saw a T.V. interview with a man who once had great power in the Congress of the United States. He has since stepped down, being indicted for fraud, and, yet, he is still interviewed as a person who will tell the truth. Amazing! The interview went something like this:

“So, Congressman, do you believe in global warming?”

“Well, I think the hoopla is ridiculous! There is no reliable evidence!”

“Are you saying, then, Congressman, that you don’t notice that our planet is getting warmer?”

“Well, I do believe that we are experiencing global warming; but humans are not responsible.”

Wow! I’m impressed. NOT!! I wonder if the former Congressman ever read Isaiah, Chapter 24, which speaks to us about our misuse of the earth? I will quote a small, significant passage, beginning with verse 4:

“The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate,
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left.”

Pretty chilling words. And I believe the Word of God with all of my heart.

I’m not certain why some people can’t see their hand in front of their face. Are they looking? Are they hiding their eyes? I’m not a very liberal person, but I don’t think that we are talking about liberal versus conservative. I think we’re talking about common sense. I also think we are spitting in the face of God, and He is not amused.

In the southern Appalachian Mountains, where I live, we have not had a serious snow storm in ten years. Further south, they have been digging out all winter. We’ve seen tornadoes in the Deep South on Christmas Day. Floods. Famine. Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Fires in the West, and deep snows in the northeast, as well as the mid-west, all at the same time. Disasters of every kind fill the news reports every day. Just this year, China has been crippled by freezing temperatures and record snow storms. Every country in the world has been wracked with one devastating weather event after another, and yet we hide ourselves from the truth. Why? So we can gather more nickels and dimes?

Thankfully, many Christian conservatives are distancing themselves from those who refuse to see. What is that old saying? There is none so blind as he who will not see! Well, I refuse to be blind. I am responsible for my little piece of earth, and I’d better take care of it. I tremble before the power of God Who holds me accountable. He knows my heart, as He does each one of us.

In Luke 8:17, Jesus said:

“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.”

I have to be honest. I care about these things, just as I care about my children. Even as I care about your children. What kind of world will I leave to them? For me, honesty is not only the best policy; it is the only policy. I know I have sinned, and I’m ashamed of it. I want to honor God with all my limited strength. I’m a realist. I know that we are poisoning our planet, and I have helped, blindly. But I have changed.

Every plant that we plant in our garden; every tree that we place in our ground; every green thing has a purpose. We are changing our habits, so that we can help change our world. I want to stand before God and say, “I have cherished your creation.”

Last summer, one of my daughters suffered from a neurological condition, which made walking an impossibility. She lay on our bed, facing the patio door, so we made a garden on the deck, with a birdbath, bird cakes, and beautiful flowers. Hummingbirds fluttered around the honeysuckle vine, and every baby bird visited our bird cakes and feeders. Our yard was rich with young life, and we prayed for each baby bird.

Birds of every color and description drank the water we supplied and ate the food that we provided. One day, in the heat of summer, I noticed that the main birdbath had become dry. I hurried down to wash and fill it. Just as I was washing out the birdbath, I noticed a little house finch fluttering to my left. I began to talk to the bird. “Don’t worry little one, I’m giving you water to drink.” Then I began to spray the water into the birdbath. At that moment, the little bird fluttered down into the bath, under the spray of water. I didn’t move. I kept that spray as soft as it would go, and for the space of a minute, there was an intimate exchange between one of God’s creatures and me. It was a humbling experience.

I can’t express how each plant and tree touches my heart. And the little critters who find shelter in my yard? It’s a bit of heaven for me. I owe them. God brought the animals to Noah, to save them. Can I do anything less? Can I not save those creatures, who so obviously depend on me? I must, and I will.

I wrote a poem about my relationship with God’s creation, that I would like to share with you.

It’s Personal

Everything is personal, every blessed thing.
The sunset. The sunrise. The robin’s song in spring.
Everything is personal, as I wend my weary way
Through a lonely nighttime vigil, into the break of day.

Everything is personal, sent from God above;
His grace, and all His blessings, especially His love.
He finds me irresistible. I can’t imagine why;
For me, He sends the rainbow to paint the azure sky.

For me, He dots the darkened sky, with tiny, twinkling light.
For me, He sets my soul on fire, long into the night.
To Him I turn my weary soul, when all my hopes are gone,
Then once again He proves to me, He’s loved me all along.

I can’t explain this personal friendship that I feel.
I only know within my heart that He is very real.
Trees and flowers, birds and bees are personal, you see;
Because I’m certain that my God created them for me!

© 2005, Jaye Lewis

So, my friends, I hope that you will forgive my tirade. I become angry when people, who should know better, hide their faces from the obvious. I have been guilty of that sin. I hope I am a better person, now. I do want you to know that I treasure each person who reads this message. I’m no prophet. I’m merely a child of God, trying to be obedient.

Dearest Father in Heaven, please bless each person who reads this, and may You fill his or her life with joy, peace, and true riches, beyond what the world would provide. May they seek you and come to know you intimately, and may each of us look for some small way to glorify you in all that we do. Please, Lord, forgive us our sins of omission, and make of us a creation which will honor You always.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Time for Grace

Hello friends,

I want to thank you for forwarding my blog posts to your friends and family. It means so much to me. I love the thought of someone I’ve never known, sharing a part of my heart. So, your thoughtfulness is a great blessing to me.

Friday, this past week, my daughter and I went to pick out her puppy. Now, this is the daughter who had to say good-by to her precious Schnauzer, Morgan, recently. It was a terrible blow for all of us, but especially for the one who fed her, slept with her, loved her, and cared for her. We had a lot of conferences in our family, to help our daughter decide what to do. So, on Friday I went with Jenny to look at Miniature Schnauzers.

The place was immaculate, at least as far as caring for puppies can be. This was no puppy mill, but a nice home with beautifully cared for dogs. The third puppy that Jenny picked up was white with reddish brown patches. Her eyes are a deep green. Who ever heard of a dog with green eyes? But the real miracle was her temperament: sweet and gentle, just like Morgan. Of course, we brought her home, and Jenny named her Pixel. How like a Media Specialist to name her dog, Pixel.

Pixel is sheer delight. She just makes your heart feel warm and toasty, and when she looks directly into our eyes, we melt all over the place. She makes me think of Morgan. So I can’t help but wonder. Was I patient enough? Did I give Morgan all that she needed? Did I make her happy? By the end, Morgan couldn’t hear, smell, or see, and her breathing was raspy. She seemed to struggle for every breath. And she was in terrible pain. Allowing her to suffer would have been a selfish act for us. Releasing her from pain was the kindest thing we could have done. Yet, even with Jenny’s Pretty Pixel to delight my heart, I miss Morgan every day.

Morgan taught me one of the most important lessons in my life. She taught me that no matter who you are, if you love with gentleness in your life, when you die, you will go with grace. There is a part of our hearts that will always hold a blessed place for Morgan. She was a faithful companion, and I learned a lesson that I never realized until she was gone. Morgan taught me how to grow old with grace. She taught me that the heart that is faithful, loving, gentle, and humble will live forever in the memories of the loved ones left behind.

I’m still learning from Morgan. My nearly 62 years pales in comparison with her aged loveliness. Every time I feel desperately old, I remember that Morgan lived her life to the very end, with sweetness and grace, even when she no longer knew who we were.

Jesus said that our Father in heaven knows each sparrow, personally. He also told us that we are worth more than many sparrows. I can’t help but wonder how many Morgans it would take for us to be as precious as she. So, good-by Morgan, and hello Pixel. Each little dog serves their purpose well. Morgan, Jenny’s lifelong companion, was friend, confidant, and protector, all wrapped up in a joyful, barking, tumbling, and priceless companion. Pixel has been a miracle wrapped up in the tiniest, beautiful body. Pixel is healing Jenny’s heart.

Father, let us never forget our stewardship of these precious pets, that you have placed in our charge. Help us to remember that You brought the animals (your created creatures) to Adam, and You waited (with much joyful anticipation, I imagine) to discover what Adam would name them. Perhaps there was a little black dog, named Morgan.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Time for Hope

Hello friends,

It is not easy to write with my little dogs in my lap. Happydog is in one of his soft-sided beds, and leaning heavily against my left hip. Peanut is between my pajama-clad knees, missing her Mommy, who has left for school. Jessie, our big dog is lying on his bed in the living room, simply waiting for my husband to come home. And if he waits patiently at the top of the stairs, perhaps Morgan will come home, too.

Morgan's passing has been hard on the other dogs. There is no way to explain to them. There is no way they can understand. We can only hope that our daughter's new puppy, which she will be choosing this week-end, will give our grieving dogs a reason to celebrate life. You see, I have discovered that dogs live on hope, and for me, that is one of their biggest appeals. They lean against me; they depend on me for reassurance; and they need my comfort. They watch, they wait, and they live on hope.

An example of my hope concerns the American election, most particularly, the Presidential election, especially the current one. For the uninitiated or my friends in other countries, here are the choices for American voters:

First, there are the Republicans. They break down into 3 main groups: (a) fiscal conservatives (big business will get the money, and it will trickle down to you, if you are lucky); (b) moral conservatives, (always against abortion and for traditional marriage); (c) and moderates (a little of this, and a little of that).

Second, there are the Democrats. They also break down into groups: (a) an extreme liberal (your money is everyone's money, and let us spend it on a lot of programs); and moderates (let's discuss this and see if it will work; then let’s do something about it). The difference between these two groups is thus: a true liberal has a lot of high ideals; while a moderate has a plan. In other words, the liberal is like Miss America. He or she is for world peace; whereas the moderate Democrat has a concrete plan to bring about peace, as well as championing the American people.

I must confess that I am more of an independent, having voted for both parties; but I also believe in action. For instance, my view changed dramatically at my government's inaction after Katrina. Watching for five helpless days, as the old, the very young, and the very poor suffered and died, hurt my heart more than I can express. I was disgusted, and I can honestly say that those images will be reflected in my choice for President.

Equally important is my consideration, not only for who cares, but for who will act in a time of crisis, quite frankly, the way I would. I honestly don’t care about sitting across from a candidate and sharing a cup of coffee. I have a family that I would rather be with. I doubt that most Americans care about whom they would like for a buddy. After all, not all men like Spike TV; nor are all women glued to Lifetime’s sappy movies. Where do the media get these ideas?

I also have two daughters, and I remember the harassment that I suffered in the work place. I want a different work place for them. My daughters are brilliant and talented, and they have both chosen non-traditional career fields. Who will speak for them? Who will act to make certain that they receive equal pay? Who will make certain that their voices are heard and respected?

My husband is a retired Navy veteran. He works very hard in his new career. As a veteran, who will speak for him? Trust me; our present government has a reprehensible record. I want to see some action. I don't want elegant words. I want someone who cares, and I want someone who knows how to translate that caring into deeds. I also do not want a hundred years war. I want a better world for my children and my neighbor's children. I want our food supply to be safe. Frankly, I'd like a salad that doesn't send me to the emergency room. I want our environment protected. And what about my Social Security? Who's going to take that away? When did we become a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? God, please be merciful to all of us!

There are many things I hope for, as I prepare to vote on February 12th, and like my dogs, I live in hope. I hope that God does not give us the President we deserve. I hope He gives us the President we need.

All these things are on my heart this day. I'm going to vote on Tuesday, and I hope my vote counts for something. I'm waiting and praying. I'm waiting on the American people to make their choices. I pray that they will choose wisely, as I hope that I do. So, I live on hope, too; not only in this world, but also for the world to come. I hope that I honor God, as I vote. I hope that God will bless us, as we wait for Jesus to come to bring us home.

Father, please guide us; protect us; and forgive us for all the times that we have forgotten you.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Time for Dreams

Hello friends,

When my husband and I were first getting to know one another, we discovered that we were delightfully different in many ways. It's true that we had all the important qualities in common: loyalty, faithfulness, commitment, and the welfare of our children; but, in many ways we were exact opposites. In music, he liked rock-and-roll. I, on the other hand, had hated rock and roll since I was twelve years old. I did, however, love disco. Okay, that dates me, but I loved it. Ah, the Bee-Gees and ABBA, who can forget them? So, we agreed to happily disagree, and he listened to my music, as I suffered through his.

Where we were attractively alike was in sharing a unique sense of privacy and respect, a passionate love for one another, and we shared our dreams: a better life with each other and an unquenchable desire that our children would have a life that Louie and I had only dreamed of. What we have discovered, in our nearly 28 years together, is that dreams change, but sharing one another's dreams and aspirations never has.

After we were married, with a brief stroke of the pen, Louie became the father of my children, and a better father has never walked the earth. He is tough, when tough-love is needed. He is inspiring and accepting in a way that I had never known. Louie has given each of our girls a safe pasture of unconditional love. He is a wonderful example to our girls, and he has filled in the blanks, where my abilities could not go.

As a result, we have a future engineer, who will be graduating this spring. I could not have led her down that path. Where technology is concerned, I'm still in the pop-up toaster age; yet, somehow I gave birth to an engineer. How wonderful that she has a father who can guide her in her chosen profession. She is also a gifted writer, which certainly warms this mother's writer heart.

Our other daughter is a digital media specialist, who will also graduate in the spring. How she creates in that digital world is beyond my comprehension, since it was not long ago that I swore that the computer was the anti-Christ. This young woman is also a gifted photographer, who creates poetry every time she snaps a picture.

So you see, the differences between Louie and me, have come together to form a whole, and we see the evidence, in the lives and successes of our children. Both of our daughters also have a great love of God, as they live up to His teachings in the Bible. We still share the same dreams for our children, that they will celebrate their lives where God comes first. We pray for their protection in this dangerous world in which we live. We hope for opportunity to bless their lives, so that when God calls us home, we can leave this world knowing that they can take care of themselves and one another.

Louie and I have grown closer in our musical taste through the years. We both love Country Gospel. He still loves his music a little louder than I, but we both love the Word of God and worship music. We are devoted to our daughters, and to one another. Our daughters are devoted to one another and to us. I live, finally, in a blessed life, where differences are cause for celebration.

As I have said before, I don't know why God has blessed us so. I only know that He has. So, what do I owe Him? Everything. He has brought me through every valley within my life. He has carried me across raging torrents, and He has never left me alone, no matter how far astray, I have gone. God has fulfilled our dreams, especially, the dreams that we never knew we had. To say that God is good, is a true understatement. How anyone can be happy without Him, I cannot imagine. For a life without grace is impossible for me.

God bless you, my friends. May He fill your lives with joy, and may He fulfill the expectations that you have not yet begun to dream. And may He fill your life with balance. You see, I understand now, that two halves of the same coin need not be identical in order to make a whole.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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