Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Jesus can turn water into wine, but He can't turn your whining into anything."
-Philipians 2:14

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing..."

In the country church we pastored, it was common for the hard working farmers used to working outside to fall asleep when they came in and sat down whether at home or in church. One poor fella nodded off between the passing of the bread and the cup and no one knew whether to wake him or not. It reminds me of his disciples who could not stay awake to pray with the Lord in the garden when he asked them to. Tomorrow, communion is served.

Here is a teaching from Focus on the Family, April 1999...

Wine for the Bride
"In the first century, when a young Jewish man reached marrying age and his family selected an appropriate wife for him, the young man and his father would meet the young woman and her father to negotiate the 'bride price,' the figurative cost of replacing a daughter. The price was usually very high.

With negotiations complete, the custom was for the young man's father to pour a cup of wine and hand it to his son. His son would turn to the young woman, lift the cup and hold it out to her, saying, 'This cup is a new covenant in my blood, which I offer to you.' In other words, 'I love you, and I'll give you my life. Will you marry me?'

The young woman had a choice. She could take the cup and return it and say no. Or she could answer without saying a word--by drinking the cup, her way of saying, 'I accept your offer, and I give my life in response.'

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples sat together celebrating Passover. The disciples knew the liturgy very well; they had celebrated Passover all their lives. When it came time to drink the third cup of wine, the cup of redemption, Jesus lifted the cup as the disciples would expect and offered traditional Seder thank, which are used to this day: 'Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, for giving us the fruit of the vine.' And then He offered it to them but said something they probably didn't expect: 'This cup is a new covenant in my blood, which I offer to you.'

There are many meanings to that statement, but one of the, in common, ordinary language, was 'I love you, and the only picture I can think of that will describe the power of my love for you is the pure love of a husband for his wife.'

It's hard to know what those disciples thought that night. Maybe a few chuckled a bit at the picture of Jesus making a marriage proposal, which must have seemed totally out of place in a Passover Seder. And yet, they may have understood Jesus' willingness to die, be buried, and eventually raised to say, 'I love you, and as my Father promised your fathers, I'll pay the price for you."

Whenever Christians celebrate the Lord's supper, we must be mindful of Jesus' offer. He still says, 'I love you.' He still says, 'I offer you my life. Will you be my bride?' The taking of the cup is a solemn moment, for it is in that moment that one looks to the Heavenly Father and says, 'Yes, I accept your love, and I give you my life in response.' "

Petals in the Wind

The pear tree wears her bridal-white austerely,
And hold a prayer book in her tranquil hands.
The apple tree is cheerfully romantic.
She scatters love-notes in the grass,
And shares secrets with the bluebirds.
The cherry tree is pink and ethereal
Like the startled and breathless dawn of first-love;
Tremulous but believing.
-Ruby Robinson Wise, my grandmother

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I just realized that I am the inspiration for the cooking show "Chopped." They must have heard how, with the clock ticking towards dinner, I open my cupboards and find a strange assortment of ingredients with which to concoct a meal. With great zest, I can stretch a half pound of pink slime hamburger, Taco Bell hot sauce packets, the last of the crumbs of a bag of chips, wilted lettuce, and the last tomato from the garden with the chopped green sprouts from my old onion. Grabbing olives from the pantry and grated cheese and sour cream from the fridge, I can serve taco salad, first course! For presentation, I read how one mother served hers in individual snack bags of D...chips. For the main course, I can whip up "Weinie Zuchini," made with three ingredients sauted together, sliced hot dogs, zuchini, and chopped tomatoes seasoned with sprinkles of chili pepper and minced onion. For dessert, popcorn, marshmallows, butter, peanut M&Ms, and gum drops, melted and mixed together into a winning cake! I think I'm a sweet genius. After this, we can go compete on "Biggest Loser" show. My cooking motto is "necessity is the mama of invention."

"One of the great joys of life is creativity. Information goes in, gets shuffled about,
and comes out in new and interesting ways."
-Peter McWilliams

We live in a land of plenty in the breadbasket of the United States of America. Yet, in today's economy, some people slip through the cracks instead of pulling up to the table. We need to keep our eyes and ears and hearts sensitive to needs closer than we imagined while at the same time counting our blessings. It's okay, even popular, to be creative in the kitchen putting together strange combinations: it's not your mother's Betty Crocker. So too, it's okay to put together a new mix of faces around the table from time to time.

From an article, "How Much Money Is Actually Enough?" Michelle Blake tells "what it took for her to do the math, stop feeling financially strapped and start counting her blessings." She concludes after time spent with a good friend whose grandparents came to this country after WWII as "penniless survivors of a concentration camp in Kiel, Germany," that his perspective summed it up: "I know one thing. If you lined up everyone in the world, front to back, from most fortunate to least fortunate, I figure I could see the front of the line." In other words, "We are safe in our houses at night. We choose where we want to live, what we will wear, how we will make our living. We wake up rested and know we will be able to feed everyone we love, all day long." (More, Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012)

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything You gave me.'" -Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"She looks well to the ways of her household."
-Proverbs 31:27

Sometimes I go into overdrive: gotta get this, he needs that, can't forget this. Looking well to the ways of the household has a limit to what is needed and what is questing-nesting-enough fluff stuff. Some Christian blogs are challenging fiscal fasting for a day or for a week. Since I haven't recovered from the Daniel fast yet, this appeals to me. For me that means staying away from thrift stores. I was feeling so lousy that I went a week without going, a recent record for me. I can stay away from the mall for months, or even the big name stores for weeks going to Walmart or Grocery Outlet for necessaries when I can't put it off any longer, but treasure hunting is almost always a temptation. Lately, I have been finding awesome books. When there are so many grandchildren to shop for, it is treasure hunting with a purpose. I have found American Girl dolls, Steiff stuffed animals, and other expensive toys in mint condition at bargain prices. I call it gleaning, which sounds very Biblical. I do feel like God goes shopping with me sometimes, with prayers of thanksgiving on my lips when I find special gems. My husband's method of shopping is have brief case-will travel and sit in the car studying while I go on forays.

"Daily shopping appears to cut a woman's risk for early death by 23%, according to a study in the "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health." Researchers suspect that shopping's health benefits come not just from the pleasure of spending money but also from doing the physical activity that running errands requires, socializing with people you meet along the way and enjoying the fun of getting out of the house..." "" December 2011-January 2012.

"Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden."

But here is a wonderful fast to prepare for the Holy week coming soon...

"Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.
Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace.
Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment,
Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Fast from pride,and feast on humility.
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Fast from fear, and feast on faith."
--Arthur Lichtenberger

"Is this not the fast that I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free,
And break every yoke?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry,
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?"
-Isaiah 58:6

O.W.L. = Our Wonderful Lord

O.W.L. = Our Wonderful Lord

What is the craziest thing you've ever had in your freezer? Once upon a time, we had an owl in our freezer. My father brought the road kill home as a gift for me. There was a young, self-taught taxidermist in my class, and we conspired secretly to have the Great Horned thing stuffed even though it was illegal to have one in our possession. He did a great job, but I turned from my life of crime and gave it away: too many moves ahead in our lives to cross state lines with it. Give unto Caesar what is Caesars. I didn't think Uncle Sam would miss a little road kill as a donation to the arts. What laws of the land have you spurned? I don't take this too seriously, but it reminds me of rebellious acts of sin.

Sin is first rationalization. Secondly, it is never done in isolation: it always affects others. Thirdly, it is never forgotten like a pair of owl eyes peering through your shoulder blades. Finally, after all, no matter how tempting, it is just road kill no matter how guzzied up and fluffed up it is made to appear.

"...each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death."
-(James 1:14-15) 

Sin is usually a slow climb up the ladder and then a fast slide down with a mud puddle to splash in at the bottom.

The thing the devil conveniently forgets to remind us of when he is tempting us, is the precious cost sin required with the blood of Christ. There is no such thing as cheap grace. It is available, but at an exorbitant cost that does not take sin lightly. With every sin is a way to escape, power through the Holy Spirit to overcome victoriously, and if we do sin, forgiveness through Him who was tempted in every way like us but knew no sin.

"Only the rays of God can cure the heart,
Purge it of evil; there's no other way
Except to turn with the whole heart to God."
-William Allingham

"Thou wilt be near me, Father, when I fail
For Thou hast called me now to be Thy son,
And when the foe within me may assail,
Help me to say in Christ, "Thy will be done;"
This ever calms, this ever gives me rest;
There is no fight in which I may not stand,
When Christ doth dwell supreme within my breast,
And Thou uphold'st me with Thy mighty hand."
-Jones Very

"An old man at church once told me never to give the devil a ride.
Because if he likes the ride, soon he'll want to drive."
-Anne LaMott

"Sometimes grace works like water wings when you feel you are sinking."
-Anne LaMott

"Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!"
-Ezekiel 18:31

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Overheard in an Orchard
Said the Robin to the Sparrow:

'I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush around and worry so?'

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
'Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.'"

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow,
neither do they reap, nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they?"
-Matthew 6:26

Who has not found the baby bird fallen from the nest, put it in a shoe box and dug for worms?

Even if we feel like we've fallen from our nests, God is willing to come to our rescue. Have you been to any bird barns? They do not store or hoard. They do not borrow trouble or sorrow for the morrow. God wants us to trust Him for each day.

"Flowers...are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It was inevitable, I suppose, that in the garden I should begin,
at long last, to ask myself what lay behind all this beauty.
When guests were gone and I had the flowers to myself,
I was so happy that I wondered why at the same time
I was haunted by a sense of emptiness.
It was as though I wanted to thank somebody,
but had nobody to thank;
which is another way of saying that
I felt the need for worship.
That is, perhaps, the kindliest way
in which a man may come to his God.
There is an interminable literature on the origins of the
religious impulse, but to me it is simpler than that.
It is summed up in the image of a man at sundown,
watching the crimson flowering of the sky and saying--
to somebody--'Thank you.'"
-Beverly Nichols

An element of genuine faith is the unseen, a piece of eternity."
-Jeannie McCullough

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sitting in the cold on a school night waiting an hour for an umpire to show up for a Little League game is not my favorite evening outing. Do they call late games for bedtime? We weren't singing "Take me out to the ballgame" but "Take me home to my warm bed..." Do we even need an umpire? Couldn't they just play for fun? Are you kidding? This is a heart beat away from the Big Leagues! Whoever said, "It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game," must have been from the sport of "Duck, Duck, Goose" or something. We play to win! "V,"V," "Victory!" Even I was thinking of getting my "ump" on: "Ball five, take your base!" Fortunately Blue finally showed up: "Safe!"

It's not human nature to settle for less than victory. Who goes to war without a plan for victory? (I won't answer that...this is not a political rant). Yet Christianity has been told they are losers, who have to settle in this life for a defeated life being daily whooped by sin. Jesus didn't die to SAVE us so we can waffle in hot and cold, or plain ol' lukewarm sinning religion. He came to set us free, to win a victory over sin.

"No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us."
-Romans 8:37

"Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God."
Psalm 20:5

"The Spirit's law of of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death."
-Romans 8:2

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
-I Corinthians 15:58

"...and this is the victory that has over come the world--our faith."
-I John 5:4

Our team didn't win, but we played to win, and there's always tomorrow.

"In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
(...whether you garden or play baseball!)
-Margaret Atwood

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Family Planning

Family Planning

We thought we wanted three children, we planned for three children, were happy to have three children and I even contemplated naming my third "Finale" during labor. Little did we know that in our late forties we would become new parents again.

I loved my dogs. I didn't mind my babies growing up and happily flying the nest as long as my dogs stuck with me like fleas on a frog. I didn't want to be a poodle-in-the-purse kind of old lady whose hair matched the white curls on her cur (half dog-half baby). I just liked my dogs' adoring eyes and happy fits when I walked in the door.

Then my oldest daughter began working for a foster agency. I felt guilty. My animals were getting more love and attention than some of these children. Our first two foster children were preschool versions of Shirley Temple and challenged brother of Shirley Temple. They were a handful. Then we added two more, a darling toddler and a young teenager siblings. Our hearts were stretched. When our toddler was taken, we grieved and got two more, a toddler and preschooler, brothers. There were more appointments than there were days in the month: doctors, dentists, eye doctors, psychiatrists, parent visits, foster care visits, home health visits, social welfare visits and more. Our hearts were permanently wounded over their wounds. No children deserve to be abused by those who should have loved and protected them. God hovered over their abyss, separated darkness from light, and gave them to us.

Our first two were adopted into a loving family. It broke my heart when their new mother later brought Shirley Temple back to us for closure: I was the only other mother she remembered and my little darling wanted to know why I gave her away at four years old. We knew that her brother had more challenges than we at our age could tackle, but that wasn't the answer we could give her. We cannot contact them, but our prayers can follow them so long as we both shall live.

We knew our boys could not handle any more "breaks" being taken and given back, taken and given back from foster homes to terrible times back with their birth mother. Lasting damage had been done. The psyche can only take so much and sending them away to an uncertain future was not to be considered. They were ours. Our teenager was a keeper and part of our lives as if there had never been any life apart from us. Our older children were supportive of this decision so were decided to raise our new family with the grandchildren who began arriving. Now as parents of six children, a daughter in law, three sons-in-law, two boys at home, thirteen grandchildren with another one on the way, and one grandson-in-law and great-grand baby, our quiver is full. And yes, I still love my dogs and cat.

Max Lucado reminds us that "adoption is not something we earn; it's something we receive. To be adopted into a family is not a feat one achieves but rather a gift one accepts. The parents are the active ones. Adoption agencies don't train children to recruit parents; they seek parents to adopt children...Can you imagine prospective parents saying, 'We'd like to adopt Johnny, but first we want to know a few things. Does he have a house to live in ?...Does he have a ride to school every morning and clothes to wear every day? Can he prepare his own meals...?" The same is true with God. He doesn't adopt us because of what we have. He doesn't give us his name because of our wit or wallet or good attitude."

"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." Romans 8:15-16

"But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law that we might receive the adoption as sons." Galatians 4:4-5

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

You would think that the second time around raising a family, we'd have it down pat. Unfortunately, we are not the perfect adoptive parents as God is, but we can introduce our second family to God as their true "Abba Father." It's a good family heritage.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It was Spring cleaning today. Zane and Mady like nothing better than to come to Grandma's, dress up in cowboy hats and boots, and vacuum. Little Zane would say, "Won't somebody plug this in for a cowboy?" I drew the line at vacuuming the back deck.

" We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy,
even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry."
-E.B. White, author of "Wind in the Willows"

but as for me, I tend to think...
"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."
-A.A. Milne, author of "Winnie the Pooh"

Now with Easter on the horizon it's time to think of springtime heart cleaning.

"Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself."
-Leo Tolstoy

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 1:6

Friday, March 23, 2012

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold ...

When it is summer in the light and winter in the shade."

Charles Dickens

The Spring fashion is popping out in shorts and tanks tops layered with sweaters and coats!

The dogs and cats don't know whether to lay in the sunshine or in front of the fire.

Speaking of fires, our smoke alarms went off at 3:30 a.m. without a whiff of smoke in sight.

After a few screams into the darkness, they settled back into a deep sleep:

smoke alarm night terrors.

"In everyone's life, at sometime, our inner fire goes out.

It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.

We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the spirit."

Albert Schweitzer

"A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it,

and passer-bys only see a wisp of smoke."

Vincent van Gough

"Your Lord is a fire; do not let your heart be cold, but burn with faith and love.

Your Lord is light; do not walk in darkness."

Father John

"Is not My word like a fire?"

Jeremiah 23:29

Thursday, March 22, 2012

House Calls

In the early days of pastoring, we made house calls, like politicians do: shake hands and kiss babies or leave pamphlets as if your next vote counted on it, and it did. You could bank on it, the pastor would knock on your door as sure as the electrolux or the Kirby salesman. When we were in college the hottest product for door to door sales was a fantastic knife set which included scissors that cut through a penny. It was a great product, but this didn't last long: would you invite someone into your home with knives in their hand? There are times for personal pastoral visits where real ministry happens, but cold turkey calling, intrusions into personal space, have gone the way of knife salesmen.

Back in the day, I was weary. Weary, dutiful me went calling with my husband because that's what pastors' wives did in those days. A lovely retired couple had finally been able to purchase a home after a lifetime of renting and were graciously happy to show us all around the house and yard proudly showing which flowers they had planted. Later as we sipped lemonaide, I tried to say, "Isn't it nice to put roots down like your tulip bulbs." Instead, tired me said, "Isn't it nice to put your roots down in your toilet bowl?" Needless to say, it was my face that flushed.

It's times like these that it is amazing to think that Christ willingly came down to take on our humanity, our frailties, to know temptation, yet without sin. He made the ultimate house call knocking on our hearts door. Did you let Him in?

"But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death

to present you holy in His sight..."

Colossians 1:22

"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character, the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower." F.B. Meyer

Like Christ who stooped low to earth...

"He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The door to Springtime has flown open. My very small great nephew Jack was enjoying barefoot weather and said, "There's something stuck between my toes! Maybe it's my brain!"

Just like the rain and sunshine are playing hide and seek, so the little ones are playing one moment and sick the next. Little Grace, though sick, found a moment of sunshine, discovered a frog and brought it in to comfort her while she rested inside. It must be Spring!

"The warm rain drops aslant the sun

And in the rain the robins sing;

Across the creek in twos and troops,

The hawking swifts and swallows wing.

The air is sweet with apple bloom,

And sweet the laid dust down the lane,

The meadow's marge of calamus,

And sweet the robins in the rain.

O greening time of bloom and song!

O fragrant days of tender pain!

The wet, the warm, the sweet young days

With robins singing in the rain."

"...their life shall be like a watered garden..."

Jeremiah 31:12

"For winter's rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins...

And frosts are slain, and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins."

Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1837-1909

"The blood of Christ does not cover your sins, conceal your sins, postpone your sins, or diminish your sins. (He) takes away your sins, once and for all time. Jesus allows your mistakes to be lost in His perfection."

As a watered garden, along with new growth, weeds will grow. Let the gentle Gardener pull those things that choke so that you may grow and produce fruit. Let there be death to sin and bursting forth of new life.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"I'm surprised at you knowing ten such accomplished young women at all."

Jane Austin, "Pride and Prejudice"

I would like to order my days to accomplish what busyness' swarm has kept me from all my life. Wouldn't it be great to read a little, write a little, draw a little, enjoy a little music, with time to pray, walk for the constitution, enjoy a little solitude, with a little time to be socialable. What! That doesn't leave any time for cleaning and just a little for cooking. Alas...No wonder it's hard to feel accomplished. I did take a little walk today, and the blossoms on the trees were blushing! As for young mothers of preschoolers, you may read a little board book, write a little in a baby book, draw a little with crayons, sing a lullaby, pray without ceasing, go on a walk with a stroller, lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes peace if you're lucky, and smile and nod to unending babbling. You are a very accomplished young woman indeed!

"Thus came the lovely spring,

with a rush of blossoms and music,

flooding the earth with flowers."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"For the winter is past,

the rain is over and gone.

The flowers are springing up

and the time of the singing of birds has come.

Yes, spring is here."

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone,

but in every leaf in the springtime."

Martin Luther

Monday, March 19, 2012

When we wake up in the morning, it will be Spring!

The Lion has been caged and the lamb has ventured timidly forth. It's a good thing that the little lambie has a wool coat. After days of much needed rain, the sun stayed out to play all day, but could only pretend to be warm.

Tomorrow we can say, "Spring is sprung; the grass is riz--I wonder where them flowers is?"

Old rhyme

"Gold and crimson tulips, lift your bright heads up.

Catch the shiny dewdrops in each dainty cup.

If the birdies see you as they're passing by,

They will think the sunset dropped from out the sky,"

Old song

"A bird came down the walk--

He did not know I saw;

He bit an angleworm in halves

And ate the fellow, raw."

Emily Dickinson

"If I might see another Spring,

I'd listen to the daylight birds

That build their nests and pair and sing,

Nor wait for mateless nightingale;

I'd listen to the lusty herds,

The ewes with lambs as white as snow,

I'd find out music in the hail

And all the winds that blow...

If I might see another Spring--

I'd laugh today, today is brief;

I would not wait for anything:

I'd use today that cannot last,

Be glad today and sing."

Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

One of the unpleasant tasks of the Spring is for my husband to climb up on the roof and suggest to the pigeons that they find other nooks and crannies than our porch eves to build their nests. Their droppings are known to eat holes through the toughest roof and cause a lot of damage in our neighborhood. The trick is to serve eviction notices before the eggs are laid. I birthed three children, adopted three more, have two boys still at home, have thirteen grandchildren with one on the way before May, one great grandchild; throw in two dogs and a cat and my nest is full. Move on pigeon squatters! I do like birds though. I tried a parakeet and even managed to find a perch for the cage high enough out of reach of the cat. However, three son-in-laws were allergic. A bird in the cage or son-in-laws feeling bush...Hmm...I kept the boys.

Here's a poem of mine...

"There's nothing so absurd and sacred

As a flock of birds the heavens swelling

Careless of the still-falling patter

Lifting wings of glory

Emerged in the purge

Of a rain-washed sky.

Reckless in their fickle search

For a pine-drenched perch,

Like children irrepressible,

They dart again to splatter wet on feathers

With the same urge that causes young boots

To stomp unfathomable depths of earthly puddles

Which common sense decries.

No mother chides them;

Only a Father guides them

And counts each sparrow as it falls.

Better to die in joyful abandon and be counted

Then careful never to fly at all."

"Let us leave tokens of our joyfulness in every place."


Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Don't ruin an apology with an excuse."

Kimberly Johnson

The world has shrunk more than a wool sweater in hot water! A simple blog once sent can fly to far kingdoms and countries. A sweet comment came from India from a stranger, now a friend. Welcome! With this freedom comes responsibility. "Let the words of my mouth (and blog) and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14. I would hate to be said of me like Job of his so called friends, "Sorry comforters are you all. 'Is there no limit to windy words?'" Job 16:2-3 Here's a poem from the Sunday School Times of 1898...

The Two Words

One day a harsh word, rashly said,

Upon an evil journey sped,

And like a sharp and cruel dart

It pierced a fond and loving heart;

It turned a friend into a foe,

And everywhere brought pain and woe.

A kind word followed it one day,

Flew swiftly on its blessed way;

It healed the wound, it soothed the pain,

And friends of old were friends again;

It made the hate and anger cease,

And everywhere brought joy and peace.

But yet the harsh word left a trace

The kind word could not quite efface;

And though the heart its love regained,

It bore a scar that long remained;

Friends could forgive, but not forget

Or lose the sense of keen regret.

Oh, if we could but learn to know

How swift and sure one word can go,

How would we weigh with utmost care

Each thought before it sought the air,

And only speak the words that move

Like white-winged messengers of Love."

Here's a poem I wrote a few years back...

Apologies of Heaven

When we enter through the womb of dawn

And are blinded by the Morning Star,

When darkness is banished

And we gain true sight

In the light of His presence,

Will we say, "I'm sorry, oh so sorry?"
When what is hidden is revealed?

When frail viewpoints grow panoramic,

When we shall know even as we are known,

Will we say, "I'm sorry, oh so sorry,

I'm completely undone."

When we no longer see thru a glass darkly,

When we shall be face to face,

Will apologies whisper over heaven

Beating as softly as a Dove?

"I did not know or understand.

Please forgive me. I'm sorry, oh so sorry."

For there fellowship will be unbroken

And all hearts will beat as one.

He's forgiven and forgotten,

There'll be no remembrance of the former things,

No tears, no pain, no sorrows.

But first in the presence of the Holy,

In the wind of worshipping wings,

Will we bow and say,

"I'm sorry, oh so sorry?

Bring a burning coal

from the fire

Of consuming love"?

Celia Jolley

"Mercy is an act of kindness.

It is also an expression of tenderness."

R.C. Sproul

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye;

looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature."

Henry David Thoreau

Slow learners...

"If you get too big for your britches, you will be exposed in the end."

Hank had his fourth bike stolen this last year. I think I'll put a sign on the lawn:


We used to replace them at birthdays, but we've given up. His brother even chased down a bike thief and fought and won once to retrieve it. Derrick had carved his brothers initials into the brand new bike seat to I.D. it more easily if stolen. Hank refuses to lock his bikes or put them away even when reminded. He's always distracted before he makes it back outside: so many toys, so little time. The word has gotten out: we are an easy mark. Very kind neighbors gave him his last two hand-me-down nice bikes feeling sorry for him, but they too have disappeared. Every time the dogs bark, I think, there goes another bike!

It has made me think about our lives with the enemy of our soul who lurks about like a lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Is there an area in your life which you have been loose with, unprotected, careless with instead of treating it as a gift from your heavenly father? Don't give the devil an inch; he'll take a mile.

"A wise son maketh a glad father."

Proverbs 10:1

"The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--

and let the air out of their tires."

Dorothy Parker

Friday, March 16, 2012

When Robin was three, she told a playmate as they were going outside, "Put your coat on. Don't you know it's weather out there!" We've been having "weather out there." It's almost like the anticipation before Christmas: Spring is almost here! Easter is coming! My wisteria is ready to burst from bulging brown lumps into purple wonder. I planted two little tomato plants by faith that they won't freeze as a down payment on my garden plot. It is like getting a nursery ready for the baby. It's almost time to put roots down. The only problem is that once I get down on my knees to work in the dirt, I don't know if I can get back up again!

"They considered keeping the soil constantly stirred about the roots of growing things the secret of success...The process was called 'tickling.' 'Tickle up old Mother Earth and make her bear!' they would shout to each other across the plots." Flora Thompson

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day. When the sun is out and the wind is still, you're one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, a cloud comes over the sun...and wind comes off a frozen peak, and you're two months back in the middle of March." Robert Frost

"Autumn arrived in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day."

Elizabeth Bower

"In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there.

To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep, the hopes I breathe.

I know they are there to evesdrop for the angels."


"A bird in hand is a certainty,

But a bird in the bush may sing."

Bret Harte

"I love spring anywhere,

but if I could choose,

I would always greet it in a garden."

Ruth Stout

"A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain

speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring."

William Carlos Williams

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,

And do not return there without watering the earth,

And making it bear and sprout,

And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me empty,

Without accomplishing what I desire,

And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

Isaiah 55:10-11

That's a promise for a rainy day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"My Stars!"

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world."
-Harriet Tubman

If this had been said by someone else, I would have thought it was a sweet platitude. But these words are by a slave woman who worked like a man in the field, who ran for her life and freedom then went back and back and back again, a Moses setting her people free. She worked with abolitionists like the Quakers and the Wesleyans along the Underground Railroad. She even packed a handgun as she herded her fugitives on the last mile to freedom crossing a swinging bridge below Niagara Falls into Canada with slave chasers behind her and pointing the gun on her faint runaways who wanted to chicken out and go back like the Israelites to Egypt.

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"
-Audrey Hepburn

"Do not wait for leaders...Do it alone, person to person."
-Mother Teresa

"When you are covered by His wings,
it can get pretty dark."
-Corrie ten Boom
(Once again, written by a woman who knows what it was like to survive in darkness."

"If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years,
how we would marvel and stare."

"Every starry night was His design."
"Where were you...when the morning stars sang together?"
-Job 38:4,7

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pet a cat and live a healthier life. Walk a dog and live longer. Are you a cat person or a dog person? My granddaughter Jane is the ultimate animal lover.

See Jane hug the dog. See Jane pet the cat. See the cat swat at Jane. Oh Jane, sensitive soul, cried for more than half an hour because my kitty let her know she had claws and could use them. It was just a warning, but it broke her two year old heart. It has set me to thinking of the original animal lovers, Adam and Eve. Dr. Doolittle had nothing on them! They talked to the animals, named the animals, played with the animals, tooth and nail-free. Then Eve listened to the snake.

After the fall of man, death happened. Blood was first shed: God used an animal skin to cover their knowledge of sin, nakedness. Then God had to protect them from further disobedience and sent them away before they could eat from the other tree "lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." (Genesis 3:22) God wanted us to live with Him forever, but sin separated us from God and He did not want us to live forever apart from Him. There was a plan from the foundation of the world that also required bloodshed.

What about the animals in the garden? They could smell the scent of death on Adam and Eve. Did they shun them? Did the claws come out? In the new heaven and earth, all will be restored again and there will be no more tears. Little Jane will lie down with the kitty.

"I want to grow up to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am."

"It's really the cat's house. We just pay the mortgage."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Good news and bad news...

Christians live longer. Six major studies found frequent worshipers to live anywhere from 18-35 % longer. The bad news is that we are 62% more likely to be obese! I don't think we can blame once a month potlucks on this, but it doesn't seem to be good stewardship. It took me two months of being sick to lose 10lbs. At that rate I might have to be sick a year before I could come close to getting out of the overweight category.

If you could have one last meal, what would it be?

I have to go back on my regular eating habits before my scheduled endoscope--just when I was feeling better. Now, I feel like a prisoner who gets his last meal request. If I have Celiac disease, many foods will be prohibited for the rest of my life. This is my last chance for certain favorites.

The funny thing is, after being sick, I would rather be safe than sorry and have to force myself to eat those things which might be causing the trouble. Food cravings are not what they used to be: that would be a nice side affect. If I could eat anything for the last time, I want yeast bread warm from the oven, a good pizza, Alfredo pasta...or not. I can take it or leave it. That's a good thing. Holiday meals may be difficult, but I don't want to live to eat. I want to eat to live and count my blessings for every good and perfect gift.

It's not the length of life, but the width of life that counts, and I'm not talking about girth.

"And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know...

that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord." -Deuteronomy 8:3

"All I need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
-Lucy from "Peanuts

"A family is like fudge, a few nuts but mostly sweet."

"Never eat more than you can carry."
-Miss Piggy

"Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!"

"Life is a glorious banquet, a limitless and delicious buffet."
-Maya Angelou

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected."
-Jonathan Edwards

"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound..."
-John Newton

Last night we went to hear Gungor in concert.

It was an orchestrated creative offering in music, art, and poetry to the glory of God lifting the few thousands of listeners in unison of praise.

"It was the effect of some great orchestra when all the separate notes have melted into one swelling harmony, that leaves the listener conscious of nothing save that his soul is being wafted upwards and almost bursting with its own emotion."
-William James

"Beauty is an all-pervading presence. It unfolds to the numberless flowers of the spring; it waves in the branches of the trees and in the green blades of grass; it haunts the depth of the earth and the sea, and gleams out in the hues of the shell and the precious stone. And not only these minute objects, but the ocean, the mountains, the clouds, the heavens, the stars, the rising and the setting sun all overflow with beauty. The universe is its temple; and those men who are alive to it cannot lift their eyes without feeling themselves encompassed with it on every side.

Now, this beauty is so precious the enjoyment it gives so refined and pure, so congenial without tenderest and noblest feelings, and so akin to worship, that it is painful to think of the multitude of men as living in the midst of it, and living almost as blind to it as if, instead of this fair earth and glorious sky, they were tenants of a dungeon. An infinite joy is lost to the world by the want of culture of this spiritual endowment. The greatest truths are wronged if not linked with beauty, and they win their way most surely and deeply into the soul when arrayed in this their natural and fit attire."
-William Ellery Channing

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful
we must carry it with us or we find it not."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty."
-John Keats

"The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is exalted above all the peoples.
Let them praise
Thy great and awesome name;
Holy is He...
Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His footstool;
Holy is He."
-Psalm 99:2-5

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunshine, Clouds, and Rain...

Pastoring in farming and orchard country, one might pray for sunshine for a picnic at the same time a farmer might pray for rain. Another time, rain would hurt the crops, when some prayed for relief from heat and dry gardens. Sometimes God allows dark clouds to gather in ways we don't understand.

"Fearest sometimes that thy Father
Hath forgot?
When the clouds around thee gather,
Doubt Him not.
Always hath the daylight broken,--
Always hath He comfort spoken,--
Better hath He been for years
Than thy fears."
-Karl Rudolph Hagenbach

"If thou art blessed,
Then let the sunshine of thy gladness rest
On the dark edges of each cloud that lies
Black in thy brother's skies.
If thou art sad,
Still be thou in thy brother's gladness glad."
-Anna E. Hamilton

If someone you know is in a dark hour, be a light or pray for a ray of God's light to shine into their heart. Turn an opportunity for gossip about someone's sorrow into an opportunity for prayer by telling God instead of someone else.

"Let all that ye do, do in love."
-I Corinthians 16: 14 (RV)

Friday, March 9, 2012

My niece came upon her toddler reading the Bible,
Listening in she heard him say, "Yo's a pirate's life for me!"

Truth is stranger than fiction...

Henry Hudson's journals on his voyage in 1608 to discover a water route through the New Country to the East, instead discovering Hudson Bay:

"All day & night cleere sunshine...This morning one of our companie looking over boord saw a mermaid, and calling up some of the companie to see her, one more came up and by that time shee was come close to the ships side, looking earnestly on the men. A little after a sea came and overturned her. From the navill upward her backe and breasts were like a woman's, as they saw her, but her body as big as one of us. Her skin very white, and long haire hanging downe behinde of colour blacke. In her going downe they saw her tayle which was like the tayle of a porposse, and speckled like a macrell. Their names that saw her were Thomas Hitles and Robert Rayner."

Henry Hudson was so intent on seeking a waterway beyond Hudson Bay that he caused his crew to spend a horrible winter iced in. With the thaw, there was a mutiny and six sick sailors were set adrift including Hudson, his young son, and feeble friends. Most believe they had to have perished; however, there are legends of a white-skinned Indian who claimed to be a descendent of a ship's captain in that vicinity years later.

1610 to 2012 is a long time to stretch truth. Mermaids? Hmm. Our eyes may play tricks on us, or our minds may have lapses, but we have the Truth which never changes! Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." John 14:6 And He promised, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth..." John 16:13

The greatest story of all time is not fiction, but Truth!
It is more than anyone could have ever dreamed!

Scottish Rumbledthumps!
(similar to English "bubble and sqeak")

It's a delicious comfort food new favorite:
Cut up red potatoes into chunks.
Add in diced yellow onion to taste.
Cook with water covering, S/P to taste.
Add chopped cabbage (green, purple, and carrot mix)
Cook in the potatoe mixture 10 min.
Lift out of broth and put into a baking pan.
Cover with sharp grated cheddar cheese

Bake till melted.

Top with chives and serve alone or with sliced ham, bacon or sausages.

(rumble means mixed and thump means mashed)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oh, little Jane, tender soul, who cannot even say "This little piggy went to market..." and get to "this little piggy had none," without tears welling up in your toddler eyes: such compassion for little piggies who have no roast beef. The Lord knows there will be a world before you who needs such a sensitive heart as yours.

"Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses."
-Psalm 107:5-6

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
-Matthew 5:6

"Thou hear'st the hungry ravens when they cry,
And to Thy children shalt thou not send bread,
Who on Thy aid alone for help rely,
And in the steps of Christ alone would tread?"
-J. Very

"Honest sighing is faith breathing and whispering in the ear..."
-Samuel Rutherford

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain and you think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thinkish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."
-Winnie the Pooh

"Oh the things you can think up if only you try!"
-Dr. Seuss

Such a blessing to find a publishing home for the book about my grandmother, "Miss Ruby from Texas."

Thanks to Schmul Publishing House, Schmul Wesleyan Book Club, it will be available in July or August. The book tells of the family beginnings in Georgetown, Texas, immersed in the history of the early days of Texas and of the holiness movement. As Ruby Robinson grows, it follows them to Pasadena, California, in the early years of Pasadena College, then the beginning of the Pilgrim Holiness Church. The fun part is the weaving in of the coming of age and falling in love story of a remarkable woman, my Gram. We are privileged to have many books on record of my great grandfather to draw from. My great grandmother lived in the home where my mother grew up. My mother spent more time than anyone listening to her stories. I wanted to capture these memories for others to cherish.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."

"Eyes to see, a heart to feel, and paper to catch the words that fall."

"She's not daydreaming;
She's wandering through her story,
Collecting words to bring back to the page."
-Stephen Parolini

"Fiction writing is the art of finding better homes for the people who live in your head."

"A goldsmith of words where deepest passion has been to rescue
the silent experiences of human life from their muteness."
-Pascal Mercier

"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."
-Madelaine L'Engle

"My heart overflows with a good theme...
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer."
-Psalm 45:1

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Sorrow in me bones!"

This post is a reminder to myself. I have sjogrens. What is sjogrens?

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system targets moisture-producing glands and causes dryness in the mouth and eyes, and the skin. Primary Sjogren's is just that. Secondary Sjogren's is that and more, usually with other autoimmune diseases involved. Both are systemic disorders but in primary form is more limited.

Sjogren's syndrome is a rheumatic disease which causes inflammation in joints, muscles, skin, etc. It is considered a disorder of connective tissue which is the framework of the body that supports organs and tissues (joints, muscles, and skin).

People with it often have skin, lung, kidney, and nerves problems as well as disorders of the digestive system and connective tissue. For example, because of lack of moisture, it is easy to choke and aspirate food into the lungs. Inflammation like bronchitis, etc. is easier to get. GERD is another common problem due to lack of moisture keeping the balance. For me, it wasn't the acid reflux normal feeling, but a cough that kept me up night and day from GERD for over a year before diagnosed. I usually had bronchitis and pneumonia several times each winter. It brought on asthma, but these systems are controlled by an inhaler: I have not had bronchitis or pneumonia in the last three years since I have been thus treated. Sjogren's also goes hand in hand with thyroid problems: check. It is common to have other autoimmune diseases such as Celiac disease: check. The stomach, intestines, kidney and pancreas can all be affected.

It is thought to be hereditary set off by perhaps a virus or bacterial infection in which the immune systems goes wrong and starts attacking healthy cells. Of those diagnosed, 90% are women. Main symptoms are dry skin, dry eyes, dry mouth, thyroid problems, joint and muscle pain, pneumonia, numbness, and tingling in the extremities, and sometimes extreme fatigue: check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.

I have lived with extreme fatigue and pain for years: sometimes it went beyond excruciating to what I called "exquisite pain." There have been times I could not roll over in bed or walk. Christian doctors treated me for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and low thyroid which helped immensely. Depression is another side affect. An othmologist was the first to suggest Sjogren's Syndrome. A rheumatologist confirmed it without doing all the tests because my symptoms were conclusive, like swollen glands along my jawbone next to my ears. This January after the Daniel fast, my body protested getting sicker and sicker with what were Celiac symptoms. A gluten free diet is finally bringing healing, but my osteoarthritis or just plain, "sorrow in me bones," is keeping me sidelined. This too shall pass, and I usually am able to get back in the game.

It is humbling to admit weakness. Many have much worse things to deal with, but it does take adjusting life and putting some things on pause for the time being, like being an active grandma.

I am thankful for a supportive husband. It has taken years to connect the dots medically. I considered my diagnosis to "a bad case of the weirds." My faith is not based in medical expertise, since I know who is the Divine Physician...

"for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that His is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."
-II Timothy 1:12

"Life is short. Wear a crown!"

I am, after all, a daughter of the King!!

"So build in little luxuries in your life."

For me that would be appreciating beauty wherever I can find it, good books, and a bowl of tapioca or a gluten-free brownie and a fajita bowl from Chipotle! Oh, and my cat and dogs who are perfectly content with my "laziness," as well as my newly-adopted dust bunnies!

Monday, March 5, 2012

With help, I was able to go to the library book sale today.
A girl of very small size was begging her mother, "I want a book about Poohcoohonus!"
It put a smile on every grandmother's face amongst us browsers and book lovers.
Hopefully she found her treasure of girlhood heroine.

"Whatever you write on the heart of a child,
No water can wash it away.
The sands may be sifted
When billows are wild
And the efforts of time may decay.
Some stories may perish,
Some song be forgot,
But this engraved record,
Time changes it not.
Whatever you write
In the heart of a child
A story of gladness or care--
That heaven has blessed
Or that earth has defiled,
Will linger...there.
Who writes it has sealed it
Forever and aye.
He must answer to God
On that Great Judgement Day."

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."
-Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-1887

"A man finds out what is meant by a spitting image
when he tries to feed cereal to his infant."
-Imogene Fay

"Come, cuddle your head on my shoulder dear,
your head like the golden-rod,
and we will go sailing away from here
to the beautiful land of Nod."
-Ell Wheeler Wilcox

"Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens,
and happy children."

"Today we have a visitor.
She just fell asleep.
Is there anything more peaceful
than a sleeping baby?
A wonder to behold, a joy."

"Then shall thy smile discover many things,
Why laugh the hearts of children at play,
Why skip the lambs, and why the skylark sings."

"When the first baby laughed for the first time,
the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and went skipping about
and that was the beginning of fairies."

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called
children of God; and such we are."
-I John 3:1

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Random collected thoughts...

How thankful that I have a husband who understands,
"You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way,
as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman;"
-I Pete 2:7

I have a hiking stick. How ironic that I am not going on a tramp through the woods,
rather am thankful to walk across the room.

"Whate'er I do,
Thou dost not change.
I steadier step when I recall
That, if I slip,
Thou dost not fall."
-Arthur Hugh Clough

"The difference between try and triumph is a little 'UMPH.'"

"Dear March, Come in--
How glad I am --
I hoped for you before--
Put down your hat--
You must have walked--
How out of breath you are--"
-Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

"Imagination is the highest kite we can fly."
-Lauren Baucall

"The morning pouring everywhere, its golden glory in the air."

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching, or cool the pain,
or help one poor fainting Robin into his nest,
I shall not live in vain."
-Emily Dickinson

"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...
find the place where all beauty came from...
Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing?
The longing for home?"
-C.S. Lewis

"Lord, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator
for all I have not seen."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
no higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two
And let the face of God shine through."
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Be happy.
It is one way of being wise."

"Little faith will bring your soul to heaven;
great faith will bring heaven to your soul."
-Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Foiled Again! Now I'm down and out with my back: too many weeks of being weak. I'm thankful for the internet, books, and a loving husband.

I'm reading a biography of Martha Washington (somehow her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, was a relative). Martha was a godly woman who rose at four am and spent her first two hours behind closed doors in her private devotions. She knew the loss of two little ones and her first husband after a first few years of a happy marriage. She was a loving, faithful wife to the amazing George Washington, and he was never happier than when he was home with her.

I've also started "Queen Victoria's Sketchbook." She was a gifted artist. Queen Victoria was one of the great women of all time. She and Albert were deeply in love and their children were cherished. They were godly examples. When she woke to find herself the next in line to the crown as a teenager, she vowed, "I will be good, " quite a change from the sad line of kings before her. The Victorian age was not just a style but a virtuous way of living. Oh, for those days. I don't believe our founders dreamed that free speech would give way to the profane, obscenity we are faced with daily. Virtue is important in our leaders. This next election is vital, and moral issues are pivital.

"Books to the cieling

Books to the sky,

My pile of books is a mile high.

How I love them!

How I need them!

I'll have a long beard

by the time I read them."

Arnold Lobel

(dedicated to my son-in-law Andru)

"Books are whispers of the past

heard well into the future."

Keri Douglas

"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them--

with the books themselves,

cover and binding, and the paper they were printed on,

with their weight and with their possession in my arms,

captured and carried off to myself."

Eudora Welty

You know I don't feel well when I had to return home today before I reached the Sutter County Friends of the Library Sale, an adoption program for homeless books!

"...and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

II Timothy 3:15

Friday, March 2, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

I believe I recognize the young man's face in the paper today who won a million dollars, one of my Sunday School boys. He wants a better life than the one he's had for himself and for his friends and family: he wants to provide employment and make his community better. He has offered to buy his mother a new car with his winnings: she refused, satisfied with the modest one she now has. Life has been very hard for them. I pray that God will give the wisdom of Solomon with the new riches.

"Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more...It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."

Melody Beattie

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;

but remember that what you have now was once among the things only hoped for."


"Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more--

a grateful heart:

Not thankful when it pleaseth me,

As if thy blessings had spare days,

But such a heart whose pulse may be

Thy praise."
George Herbert

"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you

take things for granted or take them with gratitude."

G.K. Chesterton

"Cultivate the thankful spirit! It will be to you a perpetual feast."

John R. MacDuff

"It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows.

A proud man is seldom a grateful man; he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves."

Henry Ward Beecher

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him...

overflowing with gratitude."

Colossians 2:7