My Passions

Proverbs 31:8 - 'Speak up for the speechless.'
Intent to be a voice for voiceless / the unborn.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Veil So Thin

~ between the here and the hereafter ~
What's it like there?  The hereafter.

If I could only get a glimpse.

I've heard the veil is thin.  Thin enough for some who are teetering between the here and the hereafter to see through.  To go there for a time even, and then share their journey through the veil with those of us who remain right here.

A little spooky.  Even a bit frightening.

I used to disguise myself as fearless.  After all (I told myself and others), I know where I'm going when I leave this world for another.  Permanently.

But when I remove the fearless mask, I am indeed scared.  At least a little.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't.

I've carried my fear of the unknown for as long as I can remember.  And as each new year comes and goes, I find myself caught deep in thought about the afterlife.  My own.  And even more so, the afterlives of loved ones who have passed on before me.

What are they doing there?  Do they think of me from time to time?  Do they wish I'd make better choices with my life?  Do they miss me?  I sure miss them.

I'm not-at-all a fan of unknowns.  Oh, I don't mind a good mystery now and then, as long as it can be solved quickly.  You know, like in hours or days.  Certainly not my whole lifetime.

Every time someone close to my heart leaves here to encounter the hereafter, I'm reminded (eventually) that at some point I need to rely on faith and belief.  My faith in God, and my belief that He has prepared a perfect place for me.  And His promise of eternal life for all who accept Him.

I choose to believe that from the very moment I accepted Christ as my Savior, He began the project of constructing a perfect home in Heaven just for me.

And I'm certain that I'll be reunited in the hereafter with loved ones who preceded me from the here to the hereafter.

So that's it then.  What it's like there.  Perfect.

Maybe that's all I need to know, until I pass through that thin veil myself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Without Her

This is her 2nd Christmas in Heaven.

Her stocking still hangs on the mantle.  Her photograph still sits on my nightstand.  And her memory still lingers on.

I miss her sweet face, her soft brown hair, and the feel of my cheek against hers.  I miss her smiles and laughter too, but sadly those faded several years before she made Heaven her home.

I believe her Heavenly home is more beautiful, more peaceful and more 'heavenly' than I could even begin to imagine.  I believe she's having the time of her life ~ running, playing, singing, laughing, and smiling as she picks all the prettiest flowers surrounding her home on one of Heaven's gold streets.

It would be selfish of me to wish to take all that away from her.  She is realizing every little girl's dream.

But I miss my Princess, my sweet Granddaughter, Lindsey.

It's her 2nd Christmas in Heaven.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


LIFE  CHAIN - 2016
SUNDAY - October 2, 2016
2:00 - 3:30
Hanes Mall Blvd. - Winston-Salem
(Sidewalk, West of Stratford Rd.)
Join us in peaceful prayer for 90 minutes for the lives of unborn children and for an end to abortion.

* Let's increase Winston-Salem's participation.
* Invite your pro-life friends, family, neighbors,
   church members, youth group, and pro-life club.
* We need you.
* Bring your children.  The presence of youth speaks volumes to passersby.
* Last year, we had nearly 100 participants.
  • Safe and Legal.
  • We have a permit from the city of Winston-Salem Police Department.
  • Our permit allows us to occupy the entire length of the sidewalk - west of Stratford Road - on Hanes Mall Boulevard, from the stoplight @ the corner of Hanes Mall Blvd & Stratford Rd to the stoplight @ the corner of Hanes Mall Blvd & Jonestown Rd.
  • Approved signs will be provided for you.
  • Pick up your signs at one of the tables on the sidewalk in front of Home Depot and/or Kohl's.
  • Do NOT bring home-made signs.
  • This is an annual nationwide event.  Same day/same time.  Winston-Salem's 29th year.
  • Thousands of cities across the US and Canada participating.
  • Park @ in the parking lots (closest to the sidewalk) @ Kohl's, Home Depot, and/or Chick-Fil-A.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lindsey's New Home

Lindsey & her Daddy
Soccer Fans
Lindsey passed from this life to the next on July 5, 2015 at 5:31 p.m. - a Sunday evening.  She was just 12 years old.

For the greater part of her short life, she battled a rare terminal illness - Tay Sachs Disease.  Indeed, Lindsey Bowser was a fighter.  The strongest little girl we've ever had the pleasure of loving.

Though we were full aware that the chances of her beating all odds were slim-to-none, still we remained hopeful that in her lifetime a cure might be found.

It still has not been found.

Further, we felt confident we'd well-prepared our hearts and minds for the moment Lindsey's body determined it could no longer sustain her.

We still were not prepared.

Emptiness moved in and has taken permanent residence in our hearts.

That's the 'down-side' of Lindsey's story.

Here's the 'up-side'.

Lindsey lives in Heaven now with Jesus.  I have every confidence that one day Lindsey and I will be sharing stories, hugs, and laughter while walking hand-in-hand down Heaven's streets of gold.

I am Lindsey's paternal grandmother.  At her memorial service, her paternal Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ghiata, her PaPa Joe (paternal grandfather), and her two paternal aunts - Shelby and Shannon, asked me to share these thoughts for them ...

Lindsey's Daddy's Sister / Aunt Shannon said:  'When someone passes away, most people say "rest in peace."  Lindsey, my wishes for you are to run, jump, play, blow bubbles, laugh, skip, be silly, pet puppies, swim, skip, ride a bike, make friends, and eat ice cream!  Do all the things your earthly body could not allow!  I hope you experience the full freedom, love, peace, and FUN that Heaven offers.  I love you so much and I'm thankful that your pain is forever over.  We shall meet and play again one day sweet niece.  Your Aunt Shannon loves you.'

Lindsey's Daddy's Sister / Aunt Shelby said:  'Sunday evening, my niece Lindsey passed away after a long, hard-fought battle with Tay Sachs Disease.  She was the strongest little girl I have ever known.  I am heartbroken ... For the precious little girl that I loved so much ... For the life that she wasn't given the opportunity to live ... For my brother, whose daughter was the love of his life ... For my mother, a grandmother who loves her children and grandchildren with every ounce of her being.  I am sad.  I am angry.  I am confused.  I am a lot of things.  But as hurt as I am, I cannot help but to feel some joy as well.  Joy because I know where Lindsey is and who she is with.  I know that it's a place that's far beyond anything this world has to offer, and that what she's experiencing is far more amazing than any of us can imagine here on earth.  She has WON the battle.  She is running, jumping, laughing, singing, skipping, playing.  She is FREE.  We will all see you soon Princess Lindz.  Take care of Scrappy for me (Shelby's yorkie who passed away earlier this year.)  Your Aunt 'Shuby' (Lindsey always called her that) loves you.'

Lindsey's PaPa Joe (paternal grandfather) said:  'Lindsey touched many people's lives and brought out a part in each of us that we didn't even know we had.  Her gift to us will last forever and enrich us for the rest of our lives.  She launched a new career path for some.  She taught us to "just do it" even if we didn't think we could.  She taught us to live life day to day, and don't expect tomorrow to be the same.  She taught us to love deeper than ever thought possible.  She taught us to be strong, to cry, to take action, to be patient, brave and compassionate.  Lindsey gave us so much and expected nothing in return.  We love her so much.  My deepest memory with her was taking her to the swing set to play as we walked slowly hand in hand, talking along the way, and her letting me be that special grandpa for a while.  Every time one of my grandchildren calls me 'PaPa Joe', I think of her - because that's the name Lindsey gave me.

I shared some of my own memories as well ...

Lindsey - Some of my own sweet memories are:  When you picked the tops off all the flowers in my front yard - as your gift to me.  Now you can pick the tops off the prettiest flowers ever.  When you hid behind our couch, pulled off your eye patch, and stuck it to the back of the couch.  You thought I'd never notice.  So I pretended I didn't.  I still have your eye patch, even though you'll never need it again.  When you would run down the hall at our home - over and over again - as fast as your legs would carry you.  Now your perfect legs are allowing you to run again ... all over Heaven.  As fast as you want.  Forever.  My favorite memories are your hugs and kisses.  I miss them.  I miss you.  And I love you.  Until we meet again ...

Lindsey's Great Grandpa Ghiata shared these thoughts ...

We grieve for losing Lindsey.  We loved her and love you all, and are sorry we can't be there to share your grief.  We have happy memories of Lindsey.  There is a line from a song that goes, 'Memories are a gift from God, that death cannot destroy.'  God's word tells us, 'I don't want you to be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.'   - Thessalonians 4: 13-14.  Lindsey is asleep in Jesus.  2nd Corinthians 5: 8  calls it being 'absent from the body and present with the Lord.'  So then, we are confident that Lindsey's body is asleep in Jesus, and her soul is present with the Lord.  God made us body, soul and spirit.  Tay Sachs damaged Lindsey's frail body until the Lord took her soul and spirit to live with Him in Heaven for all eternity.  Revelation 21: 4 says, 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more pain - for the former things are passed away.'  This is what we look forward to as God's children.  We will meet again and all be together for all eternity.  This is God's promise to you.  Today, Lindsey has all her faculties, and is totally enjoying - beyond our imagination - the beauty and joy of Heaven.  But most of all, Lindsey is personally present with the Lord who loves her, died for her, and has taken her home.  With Love and Compassion, Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ghiata

Friends - My hope and prayer is that if you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, don't put it off.  Don't wait.  Tomorrow might be too late.  Your tomorrow may never come.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Grandma's Cutting Board

My dad's a saver.  He saves everything.  Everything!  He's undeniably sentimental.

Not me.  I save next-to-nothing.  I figure if I haven't used it in six months, I must not really need it. So, I either give it another home (via either a yard sale or a donation) or toss it in the trash.  As far as things go, I'm undeniably unsentimental.

During a trip to Ohio to visit my parents last summer, my dad (the saver) re-introduced me to things he's saved over the years.

Before the trip, I couldn't understand the reasoning behind his saving efforts.  During the trip, the reasoning became clear.

Sweet memories!

Of all the things my dad safely stored away for memory's sake, the one that brought back the sweetest memories for me was my grandmother's old cutting board.

Many of my fondest memories growing up include days spent in Grandma's kitchen on the farm (the same farm my dad grew up on) while she seemingly effortlessly prepared home-made breads, pies, cookies, and entire meals from scratch.  Without written recipes.  She knew them all by heart.

Grandma's heart went into her baking.  Most often, she could be found in her farmhouse kitchen cooking up something delicious for her loved ones.  As clear as day, I can see her in my mind's eye with her cutting board and rolling pin, and apple pies cooling in the window.  She even hand-picked the apples right from the apple trees in her own apple orchard.

I brought Grandma's cutting board back home to North Carolina with me.  Though I'm not at all fond of cooking or baking, I use Grandma's cutting board nearly every day.  So every day I'm reminded of my Grandma's love.

I'm saving her cutting board.  Forever.  Guess I'm sentimental after all.

... I brought home her rolling pin, too.

Psalm 145: 4
One generation commends
your works to another.
They tell of your mighty acts.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Easter Story

I'm not at all a fan of shopping.  It seems I'm never able to dredge up precisely what I'm seeking.  Regrettably, I leave the stores empty-handed.  This week's dismal shopping treks were no exception.

I'd simply wanted to purchase a few Easter storybooks for my grandkids.  The game plan was an 'in-and-out of the Christian bookstore in a jiffy' sort of plan.  I'd thought my strategy would work like a charm, since Easter is just around the corner.

I thought wrong.

Left empty-handed.  Again!

Oh, there were plenty of Easter storybooks alright.  Cute ones.  Some even hinted at the true meaning of Easter.  But, none told the whole story.  Not one.


I wanted to share the whole story with my grandkids.  I wanted to share it in storybook form.  In Paul Harvey-like manner, I wanted to tell my grandchildren, 'And now you know the rest of the story.'  

Determined not to let my disappointment get the best of me, and just as determined that this Easter my grandkids' hands and minds will grasp the whole Easter story, I'll create my own Easter storybook for them.  After all, I already know the rest of the story.  It never changes.

The rest of the story?  Jesus didn't have to die.  He chose to die.  He defeated Satan and sin when He died and rose again.  This is why Jesus is the only way to God.  The only way to be assured that we'll go to Heaven to live with Jesus forever after our earthly lives are over, is if we ask Jesus for forgiveness of our sins and accept Him as our Savior.

P.S.  I don't like shopping anyways.  So, it's a win-win.

Monday, March 9, 2015


There's light at the tunnel's end?

HOPE so.

Believing in HOPE
Didn't ask to go through it.  Never dreamed of going through it.

Too dark.  Too long.  Too exhausting.

Not a hint of light.  Not even a glimmer.  Not yet anyways. 

Still ... refusing to lose HOPE.

Still ... believing in HOPE.

'At least there's HOPE.' 
(said someone dear to my heart, whose heart is HOPEFUL.)

No light yet.  But it's there.
Just haven't reached it yet.  It's coming.

I KNOW so!

HOPE is:
  • not a notion, but a confidence
  • not a wish, but a promise
  • not a guess, but a belief
  • not an assumption, but an assurance
I am confident of Jesus' promise that if I believe, I am assured of HOPE.

1 Peter 3:15
'... Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.'

Romans 8:24 & 25
'... But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
Who hopes for what they already have?
But if we hope for what we do not yet have,
we wait for it patiently.'

Micah 7:7
'As for me, I watch in hope for the Lord.
I wait for God my Savior.
My God will hear me.'

Friday, October 11, 2013

Have You Ever Hugged An Angel?

There's nothing quite like an angel's hug.
My angel's name is Lindsey.
Have you ever hugged an angel?
It was my honor the other day.

There's nothing on earth quite like it.
It takes my breath away.

I hold my angel so tight, so close. 
Its not-at-all easy to let go.

I'm 'Grandma' to an angel.
And oh, how I love her so.

Though I softly whisper, 'I love you.'
I'm fairly certain she cannot hear.

But, I am certain she gets my message.
You see, I feel God's presence near.

Jesus loves his little children.
And He loves my angel very much.

When my angel is wrapped in my arms.
We both feel Jesus' heavenly touch.

Please keep Lindsey, and all of us who love her so much, in your prayers.
Lindsey has Tay Sachs disease.  She's 10 years old.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

House Bill 695 - Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act 2013

We've got rights!

Constitutional rights.
Conscience rights.
Civil rights.
Freedom rights.
Human rights.
Legal rights.
Moral rights.
Religious rights.

And, our rights are at stake.

Here's a brief summary of what's included in House Bill 695 - The Family, Faith and Freedom Protection Act of 2013:

Speak up for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.
  Proverbs 31:8
It prohibits the use of foreign law, such as Sharia law, from being applied in family court actions in North Carolina, if such action violates a person’s fundamental constitutional rights.

It expands conscience rights for people employed in the medical field who have moral or religious objections to participating in any procedure that may lead to an abortion.

It prohibits coverage for abortion in health plans offered through health care exchanges under 'ObamaCare.'

It prohibits city and county governments from providing abortion coverage beyond what is provided by the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

It bars sex-selective abortions – abortions performed simply because of the unborn child’s gender.

It requires that any time a surgical or chemical abortion is performed the doctor must be physically present for the full procedure.

To prevent Gosnell type violations in abortion clinics, the bill mandates that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services produce regulations that ensure such clinics are similar to surgical ambulatory centers.

This is an historic moment in North Carolina history.

Contact Governor Pat McCrory.  Ask him to sign HB695 into law.

Protect your rights. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Left Unsaid

Speak up for the unborn.  Be their voice.
I've heard it said that some things are better left unsaid.
I'm not entirely convinced.

I mean, if I kept my mouth shut ...
  • My family might not fully understand the depth of my love for them.
  • My friends might not fully understand how much their friendship means to me.
  • And, my neighbors might not fully understand my actions.
I'm quite aware that our mouths carry the potential of causing trouble.  In those instances, troublemakers should give consideration to the closed-mouth option.

Even greater, is my awareness that if we don't use our mouths for good - no good can come from that.

When I think my thoughts are important, I share them.  Verbally.

That being said, I have a thought to share.  I believe its important.  I believe its useful.  And I believe if its left unsaid, innocent people will die. 


So, I speak up, speak out, and speak with intention.

I 'speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.'

I speak for the unborn.  I am their voice. 

I believe if the unborn children could talk, they'd tell their moms to choose life.  Better said ... they'd beg, plead, and cry out for their lives - to the top of their lungs.

Of that, I am entirely convinced.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


That's what I'm sayin'.
I'm on my gazillionth diet and exercise plan.

A 'gazillion' might be a bit of a stretch, but I'm quite certain it's somewhere in that general vicinity.

Actually, it's more of an exercise plan than a diet plan.  At least at this early stage in the game.

It just seems a little premature to incorporate a diet along with the exercise when Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas cookies are looming just around the corner ... patiently waiting to be devoured by yours truly.

Encouraging its employees to stay fit, the company I work for has a fitness center.  Admirable I suppose since we are, after all, a group of facilities whose purpose is promoting and/or restoring health. 

At this stage in the game, I feel I most appropriately fit in the health restoration category.

Not wanting to blow my personal health restoration plan altogether, I'll wait 'til January - like everyone else and their brother - to focus on the (ugh!) diet part of my overall health program.

For now, fitness is my goal.

The fellow who runs the employees' fitness center decided it'd be a cool idea to organize a fitness contest, duly named the turkey trot since we're approaching Thanksgiving. 

Contestants are required to work out in the fitness center at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week, for the next 8 weeks.  At the end of the 8 weeks, the turkey-trotters' names are put into a pot from which one winner is chosen.  The prize?  A free one-year membership to the gym.

This is week 4.

I haven't lost weight yet. 

I can't honestly say that I have that winning feeling yet.

And I'd be lying through my teeth if I said my participation in the contest is enjoyable.  Nope.  Not even a 'ride in the park.'  Not by a long shot.  But I must say, I do feel I've done this body good at the end of each workout.

On a positive note - I'll be celebrating my 55th birthday in January.  And since I'd like to think I have at least another 30 good years left, I suppose its in my best interest to keep moving ... and not toward the cookie jar.

Gone are the days of eating whatever I want, whenever I want, while doing absolutely nothing in particular - and still fitting into those cute jeans.  Gone!

On the flip side, these days I'm reading while walking on the treadmill and watching television while hula-hooping.

Multi-tasking at its finest?

My elders always told me this day was coming.

All I've gotta say is, this better pay off ... big time.  Or someone's gonna have to relocate that cookie jar.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Out of My Comfort Zone

What just happened? 

Hadn't I already made up my mind?  Hadn't I already decided I was not going to put myself in that place again?  Hadn't I already determined stepping out on a limb was risky business?

No, the limb relationship was not romantic in nature.  Instead, it was a relationship of a much different sort.  My limb and I were to have developed a trusting and genuine friendship.  At least, that's how it was supposed to have played out.

It didn't.

My limb broke.  Hard.  And in pieces.

Then God stepped in.

Apparently, He'd determined my limb needed re-visitation.

And apparently, He was intent on persuading me to realize that the limb-stepping business isn't necessarily as monstrous a risk as I might have supposed.

Despite my determination to avoid limbs, at all costs even, my Lord scooped me right up from where I thought I'd securely cemented my feet, and transplanted me smack dab in the middle of a similar limb.  A limb I was avoiding - like the plague.

Just so you know, He and I had discussed this whole limb-thing many times over the past two months.  I'd already expressed my concern to God that limbs were not for me, and not at all what I'd bargained for.

Oh sure,  I had prayed for His divine intervention.  But honestly, my prayers weren't all that convincing - to myself even.

But oh, what a wonderful thing when God intervened anyway.  Despite my having given up on going out on a limb.

I'm gonna stay out on this limb awhile.  I believe it's a little stronger than the other one.  And, I believe I'm a little stronger because of the limb that broke.

What if this one breaks? 

There are other limbs in the forest.  Lots of 'em.

What an awesome God we serve.

I don't know about tomorrow.
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from its sunshine,
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don't worry about the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what lies ahead.
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand.
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.
- Lyrics by Ira Stanphill, 1950 -