Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Looking for Love in All the Right Places

Getting to celebrate life with my special loved ones and friends in Tulsa brings such joy to my heart. Here's what my World of Love's "right places" looks like:

I have precious friends in the community where I live. We laugh, celebrate life, many of us pray for each other and share meals with each other. Several of us are the face of Hyde Park and we represent our community to guests that stop by to visit us. Love in the right places!

My Life Group meets in my home every Tuesday. We share our triumphs and tests, we pray together, celebrate together and do life together. The latest triumph was the birth of this precious baby girl, Ragan Rainey. We prayed for her Mom & Dad to be blessed with her, and indeed they have been. Her two grandmothers attend my Life Group (yes, that's them having received their coronation bouquet) -- so of course, that little girl had no choice but to come into this world with God's blessings. Love in the right places!

I have the most wonderful "family of friends" at Church of the Madalene where I have attended for over 16 years. The women in this church, The Women of the Madalene, are par excellence. They are the most giving, loving and caring women ever! To them, there is no task too great or small when it comes to serving God and His people. Serving with them is truly an honor. Love in the right places!

As if having a family of friends at one church isn't enough, I have a host of friends at Life.Church, which is just a half block from my home. I love serving with these precious people who rock my world (literally) every weekend. I am a part of the Host, Chazown, Baptism, and Operations Teams. Being fully devoted followers of Christ is all about "loving in the right places" -- and the greatest blessing of all is witnessing so many people coming to Christ at each service. Last Sunday, at our Jenks campus alone, over 150 people were baptized in water. Love in the right places!

Then there is my precious godson and his siblings. They are my Tulsa family -- I love these kids and their love for me blesses me so much. All of them have February birthdays -- so of course it's the Month of Love for them AND me. Owen, my godson, is a treasure beyond words to me. He sits by me in church, snuggles close to me, puts his arm around me or holds my hand. Yes, I feel kisses from heaven each time. Love in the right places!

My dear Mom-in-Law lives here in Tulsa. Mom has been such a dear friend to me for 55 years now -- 5 years before my Sweetheart and I married. She has encouraged, prayed for and loved me like a daughter. Last Sunday, Valentine's Day, we had a "Sweetheart" lunch together at Olive Garden. Of course, we talked about the two men that were our loves for a lifetime and because of the richness of those loves, we can be so thankful they're no longer in our past....they are in our future! We'll be with them again one day. Love in the right places!

Tomorrow, I'll be heading to Post Oak Lodge for the Christ the King ACTS Retreat -- Thursday thru Sunday. I was once a retreatant, but now I'm on the leadership team for the retreat. We've met every Monday for the last three months in preparation for this weekend where women will come and be made to feel like princesses -- daughters of the King. It is a weekend like no other I've ever witnessed. Encounters with the living Christ that causes all of our hearts to melt in His presence. We come to know the true meaning of loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds. Love in the right places!

AND, if all this LOVE in Tulsa weren't enough to bless this heart of mine, I'll be heading to Seattle on Monday for a feast of love with my family there for two weeks, and then back for a week with my Texas family -- no shortage of love there because it's "Love in the right places"!

People ask me "Why are you so happy all the time -- after all, you live alone, you're a widow, you have to handle life and all it gives you by yourself?" I think by now, you know. I'm still here. I'm not done with living. I celebrate each day with as much gusto as I can. Life isn't a destination. It's a beautiful, wonderful, living-life-large JOURNEY of finding love in all the right places. I recommend living this way -- self pity, whining, and complaining is not found here on this journey -- it's all about an attitude of gratitude each and every day! It's finding love in all the right places!