Monday, April 30, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #20: Singing.  A song in the heart keeps it  full of delight.  One old time singing
family said "There never was a ... who couldn't sing.  They used to say that when a ... baby was born, it didn't cry; it sang." Clara Haggard Comstock  When we are born again, we should have a smile on our face and a song in our heart.

Have you seen the car commercial where the man sets up his Christmas decorations on his lawn, his Halloween decore, his Thanksgiving ones, Easter too?  The point is he wanted a perfectly clean garage in which to park his new car.  I'm determined to finish cleaning my garage, without decorating my lawn, and park our car in it just to show it can be done!  I'll take a picture.  Perhaps I'll frame it and hang it in the garage.  I still have a few more trunks to clean out to take things to the ladies' yard sale this weekend. Rome wasn't built in a day and my garage won't be cleaned in a night, but we're making Progress.   Spring clean fling!

"Don't let your possessions possess you!"

"A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot,
and know how blessed you are."

"Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward...He has also empowered rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.  For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart."
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #19: the beauty of love long lasting.  Thank you Craig and Shannon for your example at your 40th anniversary celebration!

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases..."
John Keats

Another thing of beauty which is everlasting is II Peter 1:1-11.  These words are stunning and worth pondering a lifetime.  Without God, what have we?

Oh, lovely, lovely Grace.  She moved with a royal air all dressed up today pretty as a princess.  Just yesterday, however, she was in the backyard with her mother and said, "Mom, this is just me time.  Just myself and me.  All by myself with just me...and my bugger (pulling her finger full out from behind her back.)  Aren't we a mess all by ourself!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #12: Baby Zane Comer, two years old with red hair and glasses.  Does it get cuter than this? Yes, his spirited attitude like when Auntie in the church nursery was teaching him to share, he stomped to the gate with arms crossed across his chest and said, "I'm mad at you.  I'm leaving. You are fighting me.  You are fighting Zane Comer.  I am Zane Comer!"

A boy+sticks+dirt=happy.  Little one year old Ezra played happily forever with a spade in a small piece of the yard where grass was sparse.  He even wiggled up a worm.  Since he didn't eat it, I left him be to the joys of the earth.

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy,
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom."
Marcel Proust

"O wind, where have you been,
That you blow so sweet?
Among the violets
Which blossom at your feet.
The honeysuckle waits
For summer and for heat,
But violets in the chilly Spring
Make the turf so sweet."
Nursery Rhyme Book, 1870

"We weave a web in childhood
A web of sunny air."
Charlotte Bronte

"May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you."
Attitude of Gratitude #18: the sound of solid rain.  I was listening to the awesome talent on American Idol, yet in between songs, I muted the show to hear the beautiful lyrics of the falling rainshower.  It's a wonderful time of year when it is warm enough to leave the windows open to hear the rain.

"Music is the quickening art."

Did you see the you-tube video of unresponsive elderly Henry in the rest home?  Upon given an ipod to play his favorites from bygone era of song, he perked up.  Music woke Henry from his dementia.  He said,
"The Lord came to me, made me holy.  I'm a holy man.  So He gave me these sounds."

"Music and rhythmn find their way into the secret places of the soul."
Plato, 428-328 BC

"Life exists for the love of music or beautiful things."
G.K. Chesterton

"Those who wish to sing will always find a song."
Swedish proverb

"Life has been your art.  You have set yourself to music.  Your days are your sonnets."
Oscar Wilde

"Flowers are my music."
Sir Thomas Arnold, 1842

Friday, April 27, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude#17: twinsies!  If something is good, doubling it makes it twice as good!!
We were with little one year old twins Addie & Ezra today.  Addie has conquered the upright walking evolution thing, while Ezra is just now getting his sea legs.  Beaming grandparents encourage him on with horrays as he toddles back and forth between us.  Addie even joins in the clapping of his cheering fans.  Ezra always looks to make sure everyone is watching before he attempts the challenge with a big smile. 

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..."  Hebrews 12:1-2

For your children  are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that (they) should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"Then family home..There were rules of conduct by which I retained mydignity...and I was protected, absolutely protected, at home." Hannah Arendt

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.  One of these is roots; the other, wings." Hodding Carter

"You too, my mother, read my rhymes  for love of unforgotten times, and you may chance to hear once more you may chance to hear once more the little feet along the floor." Robert Louis Stevenson

"The little child, when it sees a star sarkle, stretches out its dimpled arms; it wants that star.  To want a star is the beautiful insanity of the young." Countess de Gasparin

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #16: a craving that's deep and dark, chocolate.  

"Chocolate doesn't ask silly questions.  Chocolate understands."

"A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot,
and realize how blessed you are."

"Just when the caterpiller thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly."

A caterpiller is a symbol of resurrection.  God takes something that's plain old ugly, and turns it into a beauty. Has that happened in you spiritually or do you inch through life forgetting that you were made to fly? 
Recently, I've changed physically to a new kind of freedom.  Living gluten free has huge restrictions on what I can't eat, yet I feel so much better: it's freeing.  I have had a blob life the last few months and now I can do several chores a day instead of struggling to do one.  Guess what's still okay to eat?  Chocolate! Tonight I even made a gf cake from scratch.  It's deep, it's dark, and even flourless!
Don't even try unless you like semi-sweet chocolate...

Flourless Chocolate Cake (Shana Hilman)
4 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
3/4 sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder,
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease an 8 inch cake pan & then dust with cocoa powder.
In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter.  Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 min.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool.  

"Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it 
Than a house full of feasting with strife."
Proverbs 17:1 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: #15 Miss Madelyn flits in our door bestowing blessings all aglow, blonde hair shining, and happy smiling.  Methinks she is a fairy!
"The power of words is immense.  A well-chosen word has often sufficed to stop a flying army, to change defeat into victory, and to save an empire." (Emile De Giradrdin)

John Wesley wrote the following to William Wilberforce in 1791 after Wilberforce faced defeat in his attempt within the English government to abolish Britain's slave trade: "Dear Sir, Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils.  But, 'if God be for you, who can be against you?'  Are all of them stronger than God?  O 'be not weary in well doing!'  Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery shall vanish away...That He who has guided you from your youth up, may continue to strengthen you in this and all things, is the prayer of, Your affectionate servant, J. Wesley."  Four days after writing that letter, John Wesley died.  Wilberforce was defeated again, and the years ahead he faced many disappointments.  His opponents made many attempts to kill him.  He was tempted to give up the fight more than once.  But every time he became discouraged, he returned to Wesley's letter.  It never failed to encourage and strengthen him." (Deanna Downard) Finally, Wilberforce was the leading force in Parliament which brought an end to slavery in England decades before it ended in America.

"There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God--admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world." (William Wilberforce)

Francis Asbury who John Wesley appointed to lead the Methodist in the colonial days of America went to George Washington during the forming of the country and asked him to take a stand against slavery.  He did not commit, but he did make plans for the freedom of his personal slaves upon his death, yet allowed for his wife Martha to keep hers. 

"...knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:6)

Are you a slave, a slave to sin?  Your freedom has been purchased.

"I used to ask God if He would come and help me; then I asked God if I might come and help Him; then I ended by asking God to do His own work through me." (Hudson Taylor, early missionary to China)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Between you and God

Attitude of Gratitude #13: Five year old Grace is grace in the making, awaking: she will be kicked out of the Garden after one last summer of freedom and go to school for the first time this fall.  May she learn from her teachers and may her teachers learn from her.  May her creativity never shrivel up and blow away.  May she grow in the knowledge and grace of God. 

If you run for the reward, you might be disappointed, especially if you are like me, unathletic.  If softball teams were being picked in elementary school, I would be picked last.  I was the safest bet, so my 6th teacher  picked me to tell the class, "If Celia hits a home run, I'll buy the whole class ice cream."  I did not hear him say that, but coming into home as my ball dribbled slowly past the pitcher, the second baseman, and even the center fielder, the crowd went crazy!  It wasn't till much later, after the ice cream reward was reaped, that I realized that my home run probably had a little assistance from ice-cream-coveting ball players who had bloopers fielding my ball.  That was my one and only home-run.

My greatest athletic achievement was walking thirty miles in sunny, smoggy Pasadena to raise money for hunger in nineth grade.  My fellow students who sponsored me were astonished that I had walked so far and had no way to penny-up their nickel-a-mile pledges.  Again, I was the safe bet.  I in my combat boots completed the route none thought I could.  I did it for a good cause, not for man's applause.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men."
Colossians 3:23

"...whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
 giving thanks through Him to God the Father."
Colossians 3:17

"Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspires are..."

"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."

"Don't assume malice for what stupidity can explain."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #12: for the beauty of the earth...
"Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of Spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing."

Fellowship is sweet.  However, in the ebb and flo of life, solitude can be too.  Christ sometimes needed to get away by Himself.  What about you?  Are you looking forward to some time away?  Do you prefer the mountains, or the ocean?  A tent or a cabin or a hotel?  Would you settle for 5 minutes peace locked in a bathroom?  A jog?...(I wouldn't know.) 

"...He withdrew from there in a boat, to a lonely place by Himself..."
Matthew 14:13

"I would build myself a house
On this mountain top today
Not to shun the world, or feel it was shutting me away.
But that I might come at times
Little things had baffled me,
And look out at set of sun
On immensity."

"There is a pleasure in the pathless wood,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes
By the deep sea, and music in its roar.
I love not man the less, but nature more."
Lord Byron

"It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in hand.
It was quiet.
What God was there made Himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye,
In movement of the wind over grass
There were no prayers said.
But stillness of the heart's passions--that was praise enough;
And the mind's cessation of its kingdom.
I walked on
Simple and poor,
While the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread."

"True silence is the rest of the mind.
It is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment."
William Penn, 1644-1718

Loneliness, the pain of being alone.
Solitude, the glory of being alone.
The Dutchess

If you plan a time away, you enjoy it twice: in anticipation and in the actual time spent.
Plan it!

Family Camp at South Lake Tahoe in July
Ladies' Retreat South Lake Tahoe in Oct.
Quiet time available.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #11: our little Jane, tender Jane, loving Jane who is about to become a big sister!

What! They may stop making pennies? How else are we going to teach children to give to the church? Oh, teach them to give dollars instead of cents. A penny is, after all, a mere tithe on a dime. I shook Jay's little fist, then took to prying his tight fist of fingers off his first penny offering. In my grandmother's diary of the first year of my mother's life, I read how she gave my darling mother a penny to put in the offering only to have little Harriet pop it in her mouth: it was difficult and disruptive to retrieve it. Like Jesus, she had to fish the coin out. Remember, Jesus found a coin in a fish's mouth. (You can bet his fishermen friends checked their catches' mouths one by one after that.)

"Money is the root of all evil..." (I Timothy 6:10)

just ask anyone who has had a root canal: it's one of the biggest expenditure a person can have in one sitting!

"Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes."

Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888

"Happiness is a butterfly, which pursued, is always just beyond your grasp,but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."

Nathaniel Hawthorne

"It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire." Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894

"There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich."

Marlene Dietrich

Are you rich?

"I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven. No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace. The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take Joy. And so...I greet you with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away." Fra Giovanni, 1513

"Live in the sunshine,

Swim in the sea,

Drink the wild air."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #10: our newest arrivals from the cabbage patch, Addie & Ezra. They are such precious miracles. We will never be the same after spending the time in the NIC unit with Ezra remembering the sobering night the doctor told us something was severely wrong with him according to his MRI. God had a different report. We liked His better and are grateful.

Thoughts from the garden...

"Don't wear perfume in the garden unless you want to be pollinated by bees."

Anne Raver

"And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight."

Genesis 2:9

"Happiness is the result of an attitude of mind. I believe you can build it out of small things, out of hearing someone calling across a garden, a robin in a hedge, a cat in the woodshed."

"Four daffodils greeting me in the garden...the earth has surely awaken from its winter slumber..."

"God loved the flowers and invented soil. Man loved the flowers and invented vases. God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages."

Jacques Deval

A Little Song of Life

"Glad that I live am I,

That the sky is blue;

Glad for the country lanes,

And the fall of dew.

After the sun, the rain,

After the rain the sun,

This is the way of life

Till the work be done.

All that we need to do,

Be we low or high,

Is to see that we grow

Nearer to the sky."
Lizette Woodworth Reese

The next poem was read at my husband's mother's funeral. He was twelve and she was thirty.

There had been a fire leaving six children motherless. This was blazed into his memory:

"God didn't promise days without pain,

Laughter without sorrow,

Or sun without rain,

But He did promise

Strenght for the day,

Comfort for the tears,

And light for the way."

"Tears are words that the heart can't express."

"Nothing in the world is meaningless, suffering least of all."

Oscar Wilde

We rejoice in the beauty of the changing seasons, but so too with the seasons of life, this too shall pass. There is an eternity ahead somewhere over the rainbow.

Attitude of Gratitude: #9 thankful I am too lazy to cook everything that looks so good in recipes!

"Calories: tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night."

We went on a walk today with the dogs and little Grace and Jane. How convenient. The exercise part of the park is the closest to our house which means I don't have to walk very far to exercise! Hmm. I did the stair stepper and didn't fall off the balance beam. That's as physically fit as I've been for years! The rest of my work-out routine is called housework! I read online another blogger calls her housework "a family blessing," an attitude adjustment exercise for the unpleasant down side of having a tidy home.

"He had made up a little hum that very morning,

as he was doing his Stoutness Exercises

in front of the glass: Tra-la-la, tra-la-la,

as he stretched up as high as he could go,

and then Tra-la-la, tra-la-oh, help!-

la, as he tried to reach his toes.

Winnie-the Pooh

A.A. Milne

Really, the kind of body-building I am into is in Ephesians 2:19-22

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwellng of God in the Spirit."

House work advice:

"Always keep several get well cards on the mantel. That way, if unexpected guess arrive, they'll think you've been sick and unable to clean."

"You never know what you have clean your room."

"I'm waiting to do the floors until someone invents the ride-on vacuum like they did the mower."

On a Tired Housewife

"Here lies a poor woman who was always tired,

She lived in a house where help wasn't hired.

Her last words on earth were, 'Dear friends, I am going

To where there's no cooking, or washing, or sewing,

For everything there is exact to my wishes,

For where they don't eat there's no washing of dishes.

I'll be where loud anthems will always be ringing,

But having no voice I'll be quit of the singing.

Don't mourn for me now,

Don't mourn for me never,

I am going to do nothing

For ever and ever.'"


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #8: eight year old Ella-the-Sweet, Kind and Considerate who wants to be baptised with her sister.

Little two year old Zane is wearing glasses. He is adorable, but they are more than a fashion statement. His observant mom noticed his eyes weren't exactly tracking together and took him in for an exam. One eye was severly near-sighted. If not corrected, the good eye would have taken over, and the sight in the other would have deteriated until blind. Spiritually, we all need our sight corrected so that we do not become those spoken of in Ezekiel 12:2, "Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see..."

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known."

I Corinthians 13:12

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened..."

Ephesians 1:18

"So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."

II Kings 6:16-17

"One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before?

What if I knew I would never see it again.'"

Rachel Carson

Monday, April 16, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #7: Baptised Ben, age seven, who is passionate about what he loves including his God.

He enjoyed the sound of his clapping feet on our wood floors and asked, "Grandma, is being a tap dancer a good job?" How would you answer such a question? The proper response would probably be, ask your dad, but I mumbled something about it is better to dance for the fun of it than plan on it being a job. Back in the day of the Mickey Mouse Club House with tap-dancing Mousketeers, I longed to be a tap-dancer and practiced with thumb tacks in my shoes on the tile floor of the church foyer every Sunday. I know your desires, Ben--dance on!

Victorian Dancing Etiquette

Once should be scrupulous and not wound the prejudices of a friend by sending her an invitation to a ball when it is well known she is conscientiously opposed to dancing."

"Dance with grace and modesty, neither affect to make a parade of your knowledge; refrain from great leaps and riodiculous jumps, which would attract the attention of all toward you..."

"A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance."

Eccesiastes 3:4

"And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod...So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord and she despised him in her heart."

Here is a poem I wrote...

Dance into Joy

The Ark was coming home,

God's presence to abide.

David, a heart after God,

Had nothing to hide.

David danced back to the Garden

That day, unashamed,

Celebrating God's presence,

Oneness reclaimed.

He danced before the Lord

With all of his might.

One looked on also,

But despised the sight.

David, shameless before the Lord

Where intimacy uncovers

Knew 'tis better to be chosen and live

Where the Spirit hovers.

For judgement from afar

Is bold, but barren, spurned.

Oh, dance into joy!

Has the Ark returned?

"We may appear like deluded or demented people to the Michals laughing at us from the window; but the ark of God is with us; we know we have the truth; our own mouth is filled with hold laughter, our heart with praises; and so we can stand with perfect resignation the amusement of an unbelieving world."

Rev. B. Carradine, "The Old Man," 1896

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lovely days, good people, delish food, beautiful children, wonderful worship, counting God's blessing...

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Attitude of Gratitude #6: Letticia, who faces the world with a smile even when she is crying inside, trusting God for her healing.

"One act of thanksgiving when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations."

Saint John of Avila

"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy

because the praise not merely expresses

but completes the enjoyment;

it is its appointed consummation."

C.S. Lewis

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant."

Robert Louis Stevenson

"Spring had come once more...lingering along through April and May in a succession of sweet, fresh, chilly days and pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth."

Lucy Maude Montgomery

"Life has loveliness to sell,

All beautiful and slendid things,

Blue waves whitened on a cliff,

Soaring fire that sways and sings,

And children's faces looking up,

Holding wonder like a cap.

Life has loveliness to sell,

Music like a curve of gold,

Scent of pine trees in the rain,

Eyes that love you, arms that hold,

And for your spirit's still delight,

Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,

Buy it and never count the cost..."

Sara Teasdale

Friday, April 13, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude #5: our granddaughter Caitlin is a true treasure, an unexpected joy when she was discovered and became ours.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field."

Matthew 13:44

I relate to this passage as we were in on the first wave of metal detector mania. Vacations camping in Colorado in the ruins of miner's cabin sites found us digging in the dumps of the original residents of a hundred years before. We found purple bottles, broken bits of dishes, old tobacco tins, and even a tiny, broken china doll head, treasures to be sure. Imagine the excitement of a pirate treasure chest unearthed. Think of the findings of sunken treasures. Now think of the precious treasure when miners are trapped underground and finally rescued: the world rejoices. What of a small child who falls in a well and the great care at all costs to bring the little one out alive while people everywhere heave a great sigh of relief. We cry at little kittens or puppies who are rescued from pits or pipes deep in the ground.

This passage is given to illustrate the value of the Kingdom of heaven. It should be worth more than anything else to us. If you flip this picture, however, think of what price Christ paid to purchase our salvation. He paid the ultimate price because He thought each one of us worthy to spend eternity with.

More specifically, young women need to realize the extreme value they are in the sight of God: they are a beautiful treasure like precious jewels hidden away until the right time to be chosen above all others. In contrast, Proverbs describes immorality as "springs...dispersed abroad, water in the street" as opposed to "water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well." The precious treasure of your life should not be treated as gravel thrown out on the street to be trodden upon into the mud of this world. You are chosen and loved "You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you" (Isaiah 43:3) "For you are a chosen people...God's very own possession." (I Peter 2:9) Don't settle for less.

"Beauty without intelligence is a masterpiece

painted on a napkin."

"I think of thee when soft and wide

The evening spreads her robes of light.

And like a young and timid bride

Sits blushing in the arms of night.

And when the moon's sweet crescent springs

It's light o'er heaven's deep waveless sea,

And stars are brought forth like blessed things.

I think of thee!

I think of thee!


Attitude of Gratitude #4: childhood imagination, not make-believe but real-belief!

Something I've learned while watching my grandchildren Mady and Zane:you can't argue with make-believe--it's in a parallel universe, much like faith. Perhaps childhood's imagination is a training school for trusting in the great Unseen.

Quotes from the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp...

"Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness."

Simone Weil

"The life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration. It does not grow elsewhere."

J.I. Packer

"Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God."

Alexander Schmemann

"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek...all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to seek him in his temple."

Psalm 27:4

"Nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.

Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear.

To lack faith perhaps isn't as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God

as fear and distrust that there is a good God."

Ann Voskamp

"Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on."

Ann Voskamp

"Gratitude is the memory of the heart."

Jean Baptiste Massieu

"The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness."

Brennan Manning

"Pride slays thanksgiving...a proud man is seldom a grateful man,

for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves."

Henry Ward Beecher

"God does not give rights, but imparts responsibilities--response-abilities--

inviting us to respond to His love-gifts."

Ann Voskamp

"I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service,

I acted and behold, service was joy."

"Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your conciousness that you are...

a divine choice."

Henri Nouwen

"Oh my soul, thou art capable of enjoying God,

woe to thee if thou art contented with anything less than God.
Frances de Sales

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: #3 Avery. She is one of "for this child I prayed," we all prayed, a very gift of God who loves her daddy to the moon and back.

Yesterday's weather was perfect: sunshine, big fat raindrops, hail, thunder, emmense clouds white bright to deep, dark gray. It was entertainment from on high. The dogs whined and barked, the boys got drenched then ran from the cloud grumbled thunder back to the safety of the porch, only to dart out again to gather a cupful of hail to live in the freezer alongside their snowballs from a donated drift dumped in the driveway. It was like a Spring buffet or a Spring bouquet of mixed blossoms.

"When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock, and cover you with my hand..."
Exodus 33:22 Sometimes, we see the backside of God's glory passing by: just a peek is all we can stand.

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Attitude of Gratitude: #2 one Noah boy who survived a rather large, difficult birth to become enamored with a love for his mother that endears us to his red-headed heart.

Sunshine for a cloudy day...

Luv Song dedicated to one Noah boy who loves hedgehogs

"I am in luv wid a hedgehog.
I've never felt this way before I have luv fe dis hedgehog.
An everyday I luv her more an more,
She lives by de shed
Where weeds and roses bed
An I just want de world to know
She makes me glow.
I am in luv wid a hedgehog.
She's making me hair stand on edge,
So in luv wid dis hedgehog
An her friends Who all live in de hedge.
She visits me late
An eats off Danny's plate
But Danny's a cool tabby cat.
He leaves it at dat.
I am in luv wid a hedgehog.
She's gone away so I must wait.
But I do miss my hedgehog
Everytime she goes to hibernate."
-Benjamin Zephaniah

"I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
The wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand.
So what could I do but laugh and go?"
-Richard Le Gallienne

"I'd rather lie on a sofa and read a book than sweep beneath it."
-Shirley Conrad

"Life is too short to stuff a mushroom."

Instead, here is an easy-peazy recipe...

Chocolate Goodness

1 8-ct. tube of refrig. crescent rolls
1/3 c. semisweet choc. chips

Heat over to 375. Place 10 choc. chips on the bottom third of each triangle of dough and then roll up the dough around the chocolate. Put on a baking sheet (lined with parchment if you want) and bake 12-14 min.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Grace played in the yard today with a stuffed lamb saying, "I'm going to Lambland and get some more!" That's kinda like Jesus who seeks and saves those who are lost and who told Peter, "Tend My lambs." -John 21:15

"Aren't the heights of our joy always dependent upon the depths of our thanks?" -Ann Voskamp

Have you ever read a book you wish everyone would read? I am. It's "One Thousand Gifts," by Ann Voskamp. It can be a life changer. For the hurts and pain of her life, the author realizes that God teaches us through the eucharist, communion, the practice of giving thanks that actually changes our life from ingratitude to gratitude to joy. "'Eucharisteo,' thanksgiving envelopes the Greek word for grace, 'charis.' But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word 'chara,' meaning 'joy.'"

Communion: thanks in remembrance of Him

"And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'" -Luke 2:19

She quotes the ancient Julian of Norwich who says, "The highest form of prayer is to the goodness of God...God only desires that our soul cling to him with all of its strength, in particular, that it clings to his goodness. For of all the things our minds can think about God, it is thinking upon his goodness that pleases him most and brings the most profit to our soul."

When a friend suggested she make a list of 1,000 things for which she is grateful, Ann realized in the naming of them, it is back to the garden when it was man's task to name the good things God had made. This is the practical way of giving thanks. I'm going to start my list. How about you?

"God is great, God is good, and I thank Him for this food," was the first prayer I learned. Knowing God is good held me through dark times when I could not deny His goodness.

Attitude of Gratitude

Joy #1. My oldest grandchild, beautiful brown-eyed little Laura who exuberantly embraces the curiosities of life. Thank you Lord for her life and bless and multiply it I pray for your glory.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
-Joshua 24:15

The blessing of Easter is to have a covey of grandkids who are being raised in homes who have chosen "as for me and my house we shall serve the Lord." All the cousins from age 1 to 8 got along beautifully in the gift of sunshine and flowers yesterday playing outside. Only 2 year old Zane had a wee bit of trouble being infatuated with a hand-held device from his older cousin's Easter basket and refused to give it back. When it was taken from him he came in and tattled on the sweet as honey twins, accusingly saying, "They were fighting me!" Me-thinks he fought temptation and lost! We battle ourselves more often than not.

"Tigger kept disappearing, and then when you thought he wasn't there, there he was again, saying, 'I say, come on,' and before you could say anything, there he wasn't."
-Winnnie the Pooh

Have you ever played the prairie dog game at Chuckie Cheese? Just when you think you've got the bad boy beaten down, he pops up somewhere else. This is the carnal self.

"Barabbas and Jesus cannot both live within us. One must die...but the decisive, the fatal question remains, Shall he die? Yes, he or Jesus...We may have, indeed, imprisoned him, we may have resolved that he should die--shall we now release him from restraint, and let him go free? If we do, we know now what must happen--we know between what alternatives we choose." -Theophilup Parsons

Easter is about death and resurrection. There can be no resurrection without first dying. Jesus has called us to die to self, to take up our cross. We choose, Jesus or Barabbas. Unfortunately, I have known a murderer: even though he paid the penalty for his deed serving his time, there was still an aroura of evil in his presence. Either we have the Spirit or we have the spirit of this world.

We make our choices then our choices make us."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"At the breaking of the Easter dawn
May the Risen Saviour bless your home with grace & peace from above,
With joy & laughter, & with love,
And when night is nigh, and day is done,
May He keep you safe from all harm"

"...daffodils greeting me in the garden...
the earth has surely awakened from its winter slumber."

E -arly in the morning
A - bout the break of day
S - ounds waked a sleeping garden
T - hen the stone was rolled away.
E -ternal Life had conquered pain
R - ejoice, O earth, He lives again!

As Tennyson passed the cottage of an aged lady, he asked, "

"What news this morning?"

Replied the aged lady,
"Lord Tennyson, I know only one piece of news--

that Jesus Christ died for all mankind."

"Madam," said Tennyson,

"that is old news and new news and good news."

"He is not here, He is risen!"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A few years ago our three year foster daughter was like a princess lost in make believe. When she saw a handsome young man who agreed to be Jesus in our Easter play, she flew into his arms! There was no doubt in her mind that he was Prince Charming. Also, the historic Catholic church a block away was always called by her "Cinderella's castle."

Jesus is our Prince. He will come again riding on His white horse to take us to be His bride. He loves us so much He has laid down His life to come to our rescue. This is not make-believe.

Who Overcame Evil by Good
They stretch Him
On a cross t die--
Our Lord who first
Stretched out the sky
Whose countenance
The cherubim
Dare not gaze on...
They spat on Him
And gave Him gall to drink
Though He
Brings us wells
Of eternity.
He prays for them
"Father, forgive..."
For He was born
That all might live.
Round the sealed tomb
Of Him they've slain
They set a guard
In vain, in vain
Round Him
Creation can't contain,
Who dies for us
To rise again.
-M. Whitcomb Hess

"But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you
holy in His sight..."
-Colossians 1:22

Friday, April 6, 2012

This week I saw a Robin bird poised on a vine covered wall as if to show Spring was accounted for. In a nearby field of new green grass, a gathering of rabbits, numbering at least twenty, with the sun shining through their pink ears was another sure sign of Spring. They were circled as if receiving their instructions for the coming Easter basket deliveries! Hank and I were amazed at the sight.

"The merry bells ring, to welcome the Spring..."
-William Blake, 1789

Recently I read that in France there is no "Easter bunny." Instead, the children are told the ringing bells of Easter bear their presents, but the bells are always silent on Good Friday.

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried..."
-Isaiah 53:4

On Another's Sorrow

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor he with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small birds' grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! Never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give His joy to all.
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And Thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy;
Till or grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
-William Blake, 1789

Good Friday

"The pain passes but the beauty remains."
-Pierre Auguste Renoir

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Baskets fill my closet until I'm lucky I can still climb in and get dressed! Stuffed animals and books for the grandchildren and ahum...guns for my boys. Yes, I'm a bad mama. They are old enough to pick out their own Easter "surprise," and guns it is. There were soldiers in the Easter story and even one of them repented and believed, so isn't it consistant with the Easter symbols theme? Oh yeah, guns weren't invented back then. Yet, fighting is as old as mankind, since Cain killed Able.

My yard is turned into a war zone nearly daily with the neighborhood boys. We live in a military community area. My husband grew up on military bases and has fond memories of such wars. My boys would be just about as happy with some nice big sticks as they would be used for the same purpose. Raise your sons to "serve and protect," to become a knight in shining armor.

"Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King."

"How to Raise a Modern Day Knight"

The violent death of our Saviour could have been prevented if He had only called for legions of angels. He certainly didn't need a swash buckling Peter who was good at slicing off an ear to protect His Lord. The paradox was that His life was not taken, it was given.

He who is the Bread of Life began His ministry hungering.

He who is the Water of Life, ended His ministry thirsting.

He was weary, yet He is our rest

He paid tribute, yet He is our King.

He was called a devil, and cast our devils.

He prayed, yet He hears our prayers.

He wept, yet He dries our tears.

He was sold for 30 piece of silver, and redeemed the world.

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and is the Good Shepherd.

He died and gave His life, and by dying destroyed death.

Sunday School Times

"Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, 'Certainly this man was innocent.'"

Luke 23:47

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter is about new beginnings, new birth, new life through the power of God offering us hope...

"What can be hoped for which is not believed?"

St. Augustine

"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope."

Martin Luther

"Hope is the poor man's bread."

George Herbert

"In the land of hope there is never any Winter."

Russian proverb

"While I breathe, I hope."

Medieval proverb

"All this drudgery will kill me if once in a while I cannot hope something, for somebody...If I cannot sometimes see a bird fly and wave my hand to it."

Willa Cather

"If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes."

St. Clement of Alexandria

Hopeful coming attractions...

*Family being together for Easter,

*Welcoming a new grandbaby in a month,

*Warmer weather, not hot mind you, just warmer,



*Cleaning out my garage with a yard sale so I have more room for my yard sale finds,

*Yard sale-ing,

*Getting healthy!

Making summer plans:

*a husband and wife get away to Genesse Home, end of June

*my book coming out in July or August!

*a trip to San Diego to the church district conference July 10-12, staying with my sister,

and shh...surprising the boys with a trip to the zoo!

*church family camp at South Lake Tahoe July 13-15!

*Losing thirty pounds, oh wait, I shouldn't be too hopeful: "Probably nothing in the world arouses more false hope than the first four hours of a diet," or "Never give out while there is hope; but hope not beyond reason, for that shows more desire than judgement." William Penn

*Notice I did not include winning the lottery in my lists of hopes...recent events have shown that a VAST majority who had high hopes were left hopeless: my odds would be better to hope to be struck by lightening twice in the same spot and living to tell about it writing a best seller book that sold millions. I'm picky where I place my hope.

"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is."

Jeremiah 17:7

Apple Blossoms

"Of all the months that fill the year,
Give April's month to me,
For earth and sky are then so filled
With sweet variety.
The apple-blossoms' shower of pearl,
Though blent with rosier hue,--
As beautiful as woman's blush,
As evanescent too.
On every bough there is a bud,
In every bud a flower;
But scarcely bud or flower will last
Beyond the present hour.
Now comes a shower-cloud o'er the sky,
Then all again sunshine;
Then clouds again, but brightened with
The rainbow's coloured line.
Ay, this, this is the month for me:
I could not love a scene
Where the blue sky was always blue,
The green earth always green.
-Letitia E. Landon, 1802-1838

In one northern California church we pastored, the Easter egg hunt was canceled due to snow.

In another, the eggs were carefully placed in the grass along side the parking lot until one member drove up: our frantic waving was misinterpreted as friendly, and he waved back while driving over a multitude of eggs which quickly turned from hard-boiled to hard scrambled.

While in college we taught a first grade Sunday School. While attempting to tell the Easter story one little boy put his head in his hands and said, "That gives me a headache. Don't tell me anymore." In another church we ran into a former student and asked why she hadn't been back to Sunday School. She said, "I gave 'em my nickel and they didn't give me no milk and I wanted to see Jesus and they wouldn't let me." Another child was asked and he said, "All they talk about is dead people." Let's do our best not to scramble the Easter message. Give them hope!

Five year old Grace stared intently as her Sunday School teacher told the class of Christ's death and resurrection last Sunday. She said, "I've never heard that before. My mother never told me about that." Since Grace is my granddaughter and her mother is the most diligent of Christian mother's, this is an example of spiritual ears to hear when God speaks to souls. Never quit sharing the gospel story: it might get through sometime.

"For me 'twas not the truth you taught--
To you so clear, to me so dim;
But how you lived, that brought to me
An overpowering sense of Him!"

"Encourage your children to express their enthusiasm and delight. Let them believe that the world is full of wonderful things, and they themselves are full of splendid possibilities. they can learn self-repression in later year; but enthusiasm, once lost is lost forever."
-Bruce Barton

"Some folks are like Easter eggs--ornamented on the outside and hardboiled on the inside."

"This new day is fair and sunny,
I have friends and I have money.
I have cookies for the baking,
I have flowers for the taking,
Life is good today.
And if it should rain tomorrow
I can laugh and maybe borrow
Your galoshes and rain bonnet,
Or stay home and write a sonnet
Surprises either way!
-Ruby Robinson Wise
(my grandmother)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Springtime, young children's thoughts turn to baby animals.

Yesterday, my granddaughter Grace went to the park with her grandpa: it is her inalienable right. Birdzarre! Someone was selling a chicken there. She kept coming over to him saying, "I want that chicken." Almost thou persuadeth me...he even called her mother to ask, who has a chicken soft spot in her heart. Her daddy answered instead: no chicken.

When we lived in the country, Robin and Laura kept several chickens who were sweet pets, only angering our neighbors who resented a rooster who would cross their property to visit our hens on a daily basis. Then again, Caitlin and Tifani had a turn with the chickens in our little neighborhood. Chicken soft spots are an inherited gene.

In the early '60's, when we were young kids in Lawrence, Kansas, my siblings and I walked to the mall where a giant Easter egg hunt was planned. If you got certain colored eggs, you won real live chicks! We came home with three. The only disappointment was that they were ordinary yellow ones instead of the dyed hot pink, blue, and purple ones. Somehow, chicken soft spots run in the family, and we were allowed to keep them until grown when they were sent to the farm.

With dogs, chickens and bunnies are not good mixes. In a perfect world, we would have chickens still. Memories of a chicken-dinner loving wienner dog spoiled that pretty picture. We had a wild bunny that lived in our backyard last year and entertained our big dog every waking moment. They played a game of chase before it dove safely under our deck, allie-allie-in-free! Finally, one day we found a little white fluff from a tail. Little Bunnie Foo Foo escaped, ran away, only to be hit by a car. Like I said, it is not a perfect world.

When Jay, Robin, and Laura were young, we babysat a lamb for a short while. It was a bummer lamb, rejected by its mother. We kept it in our bathtub where we fed it with a bottle, not exactly green pastures.

"Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bade thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little lamb, I'll tell thee;
Little lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by they name,
For He calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild,
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little lamb, God bless thee!
Little lamb. God bless thee!
-William Blake, 1789

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
-Luke 12:32

"...He must have His own way concerning His children, into what wonderful green pastures of inward rest, and beside what blessedly still waters of inward refreshment is the soul led that learns this secret. If the will of God is our will, and if He always has His way, then we always have our way also, and we reign in a perpetual kingdom."
-Hannah Whitall Smith

"We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture."
-Psalm 100:3

"Shall there be a mutiny among the flocks and herds, because their lord or their shepherd chooses their pastures, and suffers them not to wander into deserts and unknown ways?"
-Jeremy Taylor

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My son in law says of my husband in his marrying-burying suit, "He puts the 'fun' in funerals.'" Afterall, isn't a last name like Jolley an oxymoron for such occasions? Not very many other people have a hearse pick them up and drop them off at home to and from a funeral when their wife accidentally has all the car keys in her purse leaving the preacher stuck at home without wheels. There are the horrid preacher stories like the speedy hearse drivers late for a funeral who had trouble finding the church, finally spotted a church with cars filling the parking lot, hurriedly pushing a casket up the aisle only to find they had interrupted a wedding: wrong church. Or a friends' father's service whose funeral was interrupted by a horrific crash as a car came careening through fences stopping short of their folding chairs: Jaws of Life on the crash victim and all sorts of emergency vehicles put a long pause in their parting ceremony.

I have just buried my parents this year but it was a release to a blessed freedom from the chains that bound them in their last years more than a grief. My husband and his five siblings lost both their parents at very young ages, ten months apart, and then my husband lost his brother tragically at too young an age leaving a grieving widow and three young nieces. I have not experienced that kind of sorrow except to weep with those who weep. There are widows and widowers and orphans, but what label do you put on someone who has lost a child through miscarriage, still-birth or who had their baby plucked from the bloom of childhood or youth? A blogger named settlemonroe.blogspot is walking through her grief with eloquent words fresh from the loss of her three-year old this past fall. This is a site to walk with raw wounds for healing.

"Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime,
falling into at night."
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

This is what makes the Easter season such a celebration:

"The greatest victory in history happened in a graveyard."

"Oh, death, where is your victory?"

-I Corinthians 15:55

For the Christian, death is not the final word. Between this veil of sorrows and heaven, there is grief. "Jesus wept." (John 11:35) As you walk in the valley of the shadow, fear no evil for He is with you. Hosannah!

"Show me that river and then take me across,
Wash all my troubles away.
And I know the lucky old sun,
He's got nothing to do,
But roll around heaven all day.
Send down that cloud with a silver lining,
Lift me up to Paradise..."
-old song