Sunday, June 24, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: God only knows, really: He is the One who knows what is going on.  Robin reminded us of a funny Noah story when he was a preschooler:  Laura is afraid of spiders while Noah was often the knight in shining armor.  The call went out, "Noah, come kill the spider!"  He calmly replied, "I can't.  I don't have my sword."  Sometimes, we don't have the right equipment to cope with a situation.  We don't know what to do.  God does. 

I love the classic devotional Joy & Strength,  by Mary Wilder Tileston.  Today's entry, "In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me." Psalm 56:4

"If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He'll give thee strength, whate'er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days;
Who trusts in God's unchanging love,
Builds on the rock that nought can move."
George Neumark 

"If  we see, indeed, that all our ways may be His ways, if we resolve and pray that we will keep to the path of obedience, of trust, of duty; then we know that His angels are in charge of us, and that they can bear us nowhere beyond our Father's eye, His hand, His care."  John Ellerton

"Do not fear circumstances.  They cannot hurt us, if we hold fast by God and use them as the voices and ministries of His will.  Trust Him about every one and everything, for all times and all needs, earth and heaven, friends and children, the conquest of sin, the growth of holiness, the cross that chafes, the grace that stirs."  Anthony W. Thorold 

"The best proof of love is trust."
  Do you trust Him?

MEMO: We are off for a week of rest at Genessee, a retreat for Pastors & Wives in the mountains near Quincy, thus, no posts till next weekend.  (No internet/perhaps no phone service.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: strawberries from my garden. The slugs and I are enjoying them.  Strawberries are one of the easiest plantings and spread themselves without any help from me.  That's my kind of gardening.  Even our little pomegranite tree has red blooms and small promising buds of deliciousness.  Each year the garden improves with little effort, just daily watering.  It is sorta like raising boys to work by consistant effort, daily care.  The fruit will pay off later...I remind myself as they have their meltdowns.

As for other work, the author Kay Wyma's book,  Cleaning House, gives a list of "Top Twelve Things a Kid Should Know Before Flying the Wyma Coop."  She tackled a new one each month:
1.  how to make a bed and maintain an orderly room
2.  how to cook and clean a kitchen
3.  how to do yard work
4.  how to clean a bathroom
5.  how to get a job...outside our home
6.  how to do laundry
7.  how to do handyman jobs
8.  how to host a party
9.  how to work together to run errands to put others first through service to act mannerly

We've only got a little way down the list but at least we are working on it.  A manly man can be better served learning to do all these things.  I was always glad that my man lived on his own before we were married so he knew what it took to be independent and appreciate his work ethic. He had a trade before we went away to college and seminary.  One incentive for getting an education: if he went back to his trade now, he would only make approximately what he made 35 years ago. 

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
V. Sassoon

"The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I've ever seen that I didn't have to clean."
Erma Bombeck

"If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders."
Abigail Van Buren

"Opportunity is missed by most persons because it is dressed in overalls & looks like work."
Thomas Edison

"So they will be called...the plantings of the Lord, that He may be glorified.:
Isaiah 61:3
"As a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousnes and praise to spring up before all the nations."
Isaiah 61: 11

Friday, June 22, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the sweat of  my brow.  There are advantages to growing up with lean means.  It meant vacations camping instead of hotels.  I wouldn't trade those memories.  It meant entertaining ourselves instead of entertainment systems: for example, where I grew up in the Midwest, yards didn't have fences, so backyards were one long park to chase fireflies in.  By age eleven, I worked full time summers and Christmas vacations babysitting three kids for $20 a week.  From then on I bought my own clothes.  Before the nineth grade, my cousin and I planned our own vacation--visiting relatives--which included me purchasing my own flight back by myself to LAX.  We didn't go to movies; we read books, the books we walked a mile to the library to get.  The most hated chore was doing my own ironing by age ten, which was essential in the days before wrinkle free arrived.  Besides the other life lessons our parents taught us, this sweat of my brow was so valuable, I've wanted to pass it on to my children. 

"By the sweat of your face you will eat bread."
Genesis 3:19

In seminary, I saw some of the other wives having sticker shock, when the newly married moved away from mommy and daddy's standard of living to slim pickings of grad school married life.  I was glad that I was already used to frugal living.

When the children were little, I always felt like the pooper scooper at the end of their parade.  "Cleaning with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos," or "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing," (Phyllis Diller). 

In my days of what was thought chronic fatigue, my children learned to do a lot by themselves by necessity.  Jay could vacuum a tri-level 3,000 square house by himself by eight years old, for money of course.  They made their own lunches, Laura remembers even from her kindergarten days.  But there are certain children to whom cleaning their own rooms is as overwhelming as climbing Mt. Everest.  My firstborn was that way and my youngest.  Today I worked beside Hank to do a more thorough cleaning than he was able to accomplish by himself and it was an unusually pleasant time.

Now, the job lowest on the totem pole is picking up the yard, dog duty.  Usually, he does it only after bribes and threats, and wailing and gnashing of teeth and group effort.  In some gravitational pull of the summer solestice or something, he decided on his own that he would do it all by himself for the small sum it provides and did a throrough job of it at that.  Wonders never cease.  My mother remembered my grandmother saying, "I'm not raising any helpless southern boys," the class of young males who had been waited on and served by slaves.  Her sons learned to cook, clean, among many other lessons.  There was no "woman's work."  In our house the division of labor has always been whoever has the most time and energy.   I'm proud of the hard workers my children grew up being.

Day #2 Review of Cleaning House, a Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

"Work is not something to protect boys from; it is something to lead boys toward."
Michael Gurian, "The Wonder of Boys"

"Lesson 101 for children is personal responsibility; without this they are helpless to accomplish their God given purpose.  The cornerstone of personal responsibility is the character trait of Work.  To teach your children to work, to produce, to accept responsibility, for results, to bear the burden of completing a task that meets expectations is the foundation for their maturity into adults."
Chuck Bentley, Crown Financial Ministries

Kay Wyma, the author of Cleaning House, used to organize events at the White House.  Now she decided to organize her household on not entitling her children, but empowering them.  She lists the benefits:
1.  It will teach them responsibility.
2.  It will make them better citizens.
3.  It will build self-esteem.
4.  I won't have to do it myself or look at it anymore!

The author quotes Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the coauthor of The Narcissism Epidemic, "Their parents act like their servants, shuttling them to any activity they choose and catering to their every desire.  Parents are constantly telling their children how special and talented they are.  This gives them an inflated view of their specialness compared
to other human beings.  Instead of feeling good about themselves, they feel better than everyone else...They grew up in a bubble, so they get into the real world and they start to feel lost and helpless.  Kids who always have problems solved for them believe that they don't know how to solve problems.  And they're right--they don't!"

Mama's don't let your kids grow up to be the center of the universe; that's God's spot.

Tomorrow, Day #3 Review of book.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude:  Jell-O. Derrick's doctor reminded us that a child's left brain reasoning is not fully developed until their mid twenties. It's still Jell-O.  In the meanwhile, youth pick up clues from non-verbal body language as much or more than words. Author Kay Wyma, Cleaning House, A Mom's 12 Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, says she learned tips from Caesar Millan's "The Dog Whisperer." 1.  Be a pack leader.  Take control of the situation.  2.  Be detached (do not respond emotionally with their emotions.  Stay calm.  A youth's first response is from the emotional part of the brain.  If you fight fire with fire, you'll have an explosion.

She quotes Jane Jarrell, "'Children are like Jell-O...we want to pour as much good stuff inside them as we can before the mold sets.'  In the teen years, the  mold is beginning to set up, but is still jiggly in the middle.  We still have time to pour , stir and make a difference in the flavor of their lives."

Wyma also quotes Dan Meyers who wrote Biblical Parenting, "In a nutshell, the answer to childrearing is to love one's children, use good common sense, and be guided by the Bible, not worldly standards.  For parenting, "Do as I say and not as I do," is not sufficient.  You must be the person you would like your children to become.  Jesus, Matthew 22:37-39, said you can do this by (1) loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind and (2) by loving your neighbors as yourself...Remember that the goal of parenting is not to provide a successful childhood but to grow your child into an adult who is a good person."

"A family is like a team where everybody either wins or everybody loses...parents must stand united, not "against" the children, but in leadership  "before" the children.  It is the obligation of parents to make sure children feel loved and respected.  It is not the obligation of parents to ensure children feel happy."  Dottie Jones

While you wait for the Jell-O to set up, stay cool.  Show respect for the child, giving them space to be who they are becoming.  Find mutual interests.  Be kind and patient.  Thanks Kay Wymar for a parenting book well worth reading.  Thank you Andrew Meredith from WaterBrook Press for letting me review it.
Attitude of Gratitude: a neatly made bed.  My method is to pull up the sheets and bedspread around me before I slip out from under to nip and tuck the rest.  This works well unless I fall back to sleep in the comfort of cool sheets and soft pillows or unless, it's one of those mornings I need coffee first and my husband has mercy on me and does it himself. 

"When I get the urge to clean house, I lay down until it passes."

"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."
Erma Bombeck

"One person's mess is merely another person's filing system."

My nephew works at WaterBrook Press.  He sent me the book Cleaning House, a Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma to review. 

Though I have only begun to read this, there is so much to share.  The author had an ephiphany when her 14 year old son fantasized saying, "Which one of those (cars) do you think I'd look best in?  I think the Porsche...Yeah.  That's what car I'm going to get when I'm sixteen."  She asked herself if she was raising a generation with an entitled mentality or an empowered one, teaching them to become real adults ready to stand on their own two feet learning responsibilities.  Her first month's challenge was to have each of her four children make their own beds and keep their rooms' floors picked up.  If they didn't do it, the jar full of their allowance money was docked a dollar each day it was left undone.  The only problem was, what is good for the goose is good for the gander: she had to consistantly make her own bed. 

This has been our own summer strategy, to be consistant with the boys' chores, beds and floors.  I had already docked a couple dollars before reading this affirming book.  I've wondered if I needed my boys' eyes checked since they are unable to see the toys left on their floor after declaring it picked up. I will continue to offer tidbits from the book as I read it.  If it has stirred your interest, you may be too anxious and want to read it for yourself. 

How about you?  Are you a hovering helicopter mother?  The author says, "Raising independent kids is countercultural these days.  Instead of teaching our children to view themselves as capable, we step in to do everything for them.  We start when they're still young, using safety as our lame excuse, then we continue 'protecting' them...We pave a smooth pathway, compulsively clearing away each pebble of disappointment or difficulty before it can impede their progress.  By the time they reach adolescence, they're so used to being taken care of that they have no idea they're missing out on discovering what they can do or who they can be."

I have a new name for our generation of mothers: the "limousine moms."  Even in our economic downturn, are we guilty of driving them to every lesson, sport, or opportunity while we pick up the slack to free them for our home video ops?  I am guilty of forking over the bucks so that every one on the little league team got matching trophies, this year bigger and better than ever, and more costly. A friend who played professional sports once told me how it was always a shock to come home where the garbage had to be taken out after being catered to where every tossed jersey was picked up and laundered for them, etc. lifestyle. Are you raising entitled children, professional players? 

"In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.."
Genesis 3:17

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: morning people.  I went to the dentist this morning at 7:30am.  Trust me, you wouldn't want me to fix your teeth that early even if I was a dentist.  My husband doesn't trust me to make coffee in the mornings.  Afterwards, my mouth was a swollen, crooked mess.  When I saw myself in the mirror, I looked so funny it would have brought a smile to my face if I was capable of it. Instead, I grimaced.  I had the fleeting thought, "What if it stays this way?" If my dentists weren't morning people, my face might have been stuck like that.  Fortunately, the feeling has come back to my lips, but I still don't trust myself to look in a mirror. 

Chonda Pierce, a Christian comedian and author, tells about when she was five years old. "I was standing on my tiptoes to get a drink from the water fountain at church...As I drank down the cool water I could hear two gray haired, been-around-for-year saints of the church whispering to one another as they slipped in line behind me.  One patted me gently on the back of the head and said to her friend, "This is one of our preacher's daughters.  She's not very 'p-r-e-t-t-y.'  I turned around and in a matter-of-fact way answered, 'No, But I'm real 's-m-a-r-t!'"

"A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear."

"When you were born, you were crying,
And everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die, you're smiling,
And everyone around you is crying."

"If you look after goodness and truth, beauty will take care of itself."

"I thank you God for
this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for the blue dreams of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite,
which is yes."
E.E. Cummings

"For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: "Philosophy learned from 1 yr olds":  Observing my one year old twin grandbabies, Addie & Ezra on Father's Day, I pondered their philosphy on life.
*Eat, Sleep, and Play: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
*K.I.S.S.: stick to the basics like ...
--balls, Ezra was entertained for 20 minutes shooting hoops with a soccer ball.  "Ball" is the most       used word in his vocabulary.  FIND YOUR PASSION.
--Wheels: anything that keeps them in motion, riding, or pushing.  KEEP MOVING.
--Sticks: GO BACK TO NATURE, inexpensive, always available.
--Water:  essential to well being. Give them a cup of water outdoors to play with them, to drink, to spill, to splash. STAY HYDRATED & ENJOY SIMPLE PLEASURES.
--Swings: life has its ups and downs, but ENJOY THE RIDE.
--Phones: STAY IN TOUCH.
--Books: NEVER STOP LEARNING, "Mr. Brown can Moo, so can you!"
*Dance: music changes the atmosphere: DO A HAPPY DANCE!

"Behold, children are a gift from the Lord..."
Psalm 127:3

Monday, June 18, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: soul connection.  "I do vs I don't."  I saw the following on a post and want to share it with you, from "Marriage Fitness," by Mort Fertel (secular author) passed on by the Moellers, Christian Marriage Counselors:  He believes spending time on solving marriage problems is a big mistake.  While working on your problems may bring an improvement, it won't create a fulfilling marriage.  What you should focus on is love--building a soul connection between two of you.  Soul connection happens when the deepest part of who we are reaches out to love our spouse's soul.  How can we reach our spouse's heart?
*We need to connect with them on a daily basis through loving touch, loving words, and loving presence.
*We need to make our spouse the first and highest priority relationship in our life (after God).
*We need to do the things we did when we were dating or courting--and do them again.
*You can behave your way back into soul connection but it will take a change of attitude and behavior.

"You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first."  Rev. 2:5

This author will be on Total Living Network Television at 9PM tonight on "Marriage for Better for Worse," or online streaming.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: daddies.  Almost any man can father a child, but only the best can be a dad.  It is amazing that Jesus referred to His father as "Abba, Daddy."  In the Old Testament, the Jews wouldn't even say God's name, they took the vowels out, YHWH (Yahweh), because His name was so holy. 

I'm thankful for my father, as imperfect as he was, he loved us, our mother, and God.  He is with his heavenly Father this year.  Unfortunately, more and more children are being raised in fatherless homes to their detriment. Children do not bounce back from divorce ever as well as adults do studies show and carry it with them far into adulthood.  A recent study of same-sex parenting also found children at risk.  Parenting is not for the weak!  Dave Berry says, "Parenthood is not unlike Space Mountain ride at Disneyland, in the sense that both experiences involve zooming along in a carefree manner, then suddenly having your stomach get collapsed like a stomped-on Dixie cup by violent unexpected high-speed turns."  He also said, "Now that my son has turned thirteen, I'm thinking about writing a self-help book for parents of teenagers.  It would explain the complex, emotionally charged relationship between the parent and the adolescent child.  The title would be 'I'm a Jerk; You're a Jerk.'"
 Dr. Dobson tells of a scientific study to find out why young bull elephants are increasingly violent in recent years in South Africa.  They realized that a by-product of controlling elephant population by killing older animals, was that the older dominant males had kept the young bulls in line and served as role models: without them, the young orphans became juvenile delinquents of the animal kingdom. 

So to the Daddies out there, you are our heroes.  Happy Father's Day.
And yes, we forgot Jay at church one Father's Day.  It was too quiet when we got home after unloading Grandma Gladys, Uncle Will, and two girls.  Realizing what we had done,  Al went back and found a note on the front door.  We took your son to pizza.  Happy Father's Day!
"A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad." Proverbs 29:3

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: happy bones.  A tired Noah told his mother on the last leg of a shopping trip to IKEA, "I think I broke my happy bone."  He was a done son.  Shopping always breaks my husband's happy bone.  Have you broken your 'happy bone'? Bumping your funny bone hurts; breaking a happy bone is worse.  Sometimes life has a way of doing it too.

5 Simple Rules for Happiness:
1.  Free your heart from hatred. 
2.  Free your mind from worries.
3.  Live simply.
4.  Give more.
5.  Expect less.

"It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy." 

"When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile."

"Those who are the happiest never did have everything,
But rather, they are thankful for everything they do have." 

"How happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"
Psalm 144:15

Robin has not broken her happy bones.  She was in a simulated disaster emergency response class.
 "It will be healing to your body,
And refreshment to your bones."
Proverbs 3:7-8

Friday, June 15, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: trees.   Our boys swam in the river today in the shade of giant sycamore trees. Take rivers and trees out of a boy's life and you have a city boy.  When we were young, our father built us a "block house."  It was a platform on a large post that abutted the huge elm in the back yard.  It meant climbing up the wood pieces nailed to the tree to then swing over to the treehouse hidden in the leaves.  The higher you climb, the better the view.  Camping in Colorado, we badly used young, tender aspens, pulled down, mounted, and let go to be ridden like bucking bronchos. 

"Advice from a Tree"

*Stand tall and proud.
*Go out on a limb.
*Remember your roots.
*Drink plenty of water.
*Be content with your natural beauty.
*Enjoy the view.

"Again rejoicing Nature sees
Her robe assume its vernal hues.
Her leafy locks wave in the breeze,
All freshly steep'd in morning dews."
Robert Burns

"To be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wild flower...
These are the rewards of a simple life.
John Burroughs

"...he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers."
Psalm 1:3 

Of course, it is the green ribbon of trees weaving across a prairie that reveals where the stream lies.  Our roots are fed by the Word. Go deep to grow strong.

This is the old cabin site my family always camped at in the ghost town of Capitol City, Colorado, growing up.  As you can see, the aspens survived our wild rides!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: rainbows.  They are one of the uncounted wonders of the world.  Not only are they a thing of beauty, but they are a promise that God has said, "This much and no more."  When we feel flooded, over our head, drowning in sorrow, God has put a limit on it. 

"Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.  The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night...Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God." (Psalm 42:7-8, 11).  "Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why are you disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God." (Psalm 3:5).  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam..." (Psalm 46:1-3). "Had it not been the Lord who was on our side...then the waters would have engulfed us, the stream would have swept over our soul;then the raging waters woud have swept over our soul." (Psalm 124:1,4-5). "But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you...Since you are precious in my sight, since you are honored and I love you." ( Isaiah 43:1-4) 

As a child there was nothing better than body surfing at Laguna Beach, except when a sneaker wave rolled me and I no longer knew up from down.  Fortunately, I swam in the right direction and burst into the sunshine gasping for air.  I respect the power of the deep.  Even more, the promises of God.

"God sometimes takes us into troubled waters not to drown us, but to cleanse us."

If God could save a little Hebrew baby baby floating in a rush basket in a croc infested Nile, raise him in a palace, teach him to herd for 40 years in a wilderness, then use him to lead millions of Jews out of slavery walking right through mighty rivers on dry land, He might be able to save our little rocking boat even if our oars are overboard.  "Peace, be still." 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: hope. 
We might say, I hope there is sunshine today.  The fact is, there will always be sunshine even if it is hidden behind cloud cover.  The only time the sun did not shine was when Christ hung on the cross and our precious Saviour felt abandoned by His Father in His suffering.  Do you feel abandoned?  Alone in your suffering?  He took all of it upon Himself, He who said He would never leave us nor forsake us, and has invited us to live with Him forever, to give us hope.
"But now faith, hope, and love, abide these three..."
I Corinthians 13:13

"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is."
Jeremiah 17:7

"Hope is the feeling that you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent." 
 Jean Kerr

"The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope."
Samuel Johnson

"Hope is the parent of faith."
C.A. Bartol

"What can be hoped for which is not believed?

"We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If it were not for hopes, the heart would break."
Thomas Fuller, M.D.

Once again, one of my favorite little poems...

"'Hope' is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul--
And sings the tune...
And never stops--at all."
Emily Dickinson

Hope is in the babies laugh, the child's delight, the warm eyes of a trusted friend. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: Grace & goats.  The other Sunday morning arriving at church, five year old Grace ran from room to room then came back to where her auntie heard her say, "Oh good!  I'm the only one here with a goat!"  Now Grace's imagination allows her a pet baby goat robot.

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

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland
When my babies were weaned, we used goat milk because of their allergies.  Jay kept imaginary goats in a cabinet next to the fireplace.  The morning routine involved letting the goats out of the cupboard and out the front door to graze every morning .  I finally tired of the game and said the goats had to go: I let them out the front door for the last time while little Jay climbed on the couch to look out the window as his imaginary pets wandered away waving good bye.  Imaginary goats must run in the genes; unfortunately, goats are the natural condition of mankind.  There comes a time in every Christian's life that he/she must kick the goat out the door, to the curb.  Jesus said, "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right , and the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels...These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:32ff.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: leopard fur.  Normally, I'm not an exotic animal print fan preferring Made-in-America type of creatures.  Yet I like, "Can a...leopard change his spots?" (Jeremiah 13:23). 
In recent news, it was decided to "out" a comic book character: it's cartoon folks!  Maybe next it will be Porgy Pig, Bo Peep, or Mighty Mouse.  You know, we've all been suspicious of Daffy Duck.  C'mon!  We live in a world trying to change leopard spots. Will the Supreme Court have to make a decision on which of our fictional figures are gay?  Will artists and writers have to declare the sexual preference of their characters from now on?  There is one spot that can be removed: "Though you sins are as scarlet, They will be white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool."  That's the kind of spots I like, removeable ones!

Other thoughts of irony and humor...

"The human body is the most complex organism in the cosmos
 and can be created with unskilled labor."
Albert Einstein

A sign on a door:
"No soliciting,
We found Jesus,
We love our vacuum,
Our pests are under control,
Our kids are selling the same junk you are.
Seriously, we don't want anything...unless it's girl scout cookies."

"There's a fine line between tan and looking like you rolled in Doritos."

"Pugs, not drugs!"

"Laughter is the fireworks of the soul."
Josh Billings

"A laugh is a smile that burst."
Mary Waldrop

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: social security, well, not exactly, sorta.  Our government can't keep its promises, but our God can.  He says, "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth (in the belly) and have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you!  I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you."  Isaiah 46:3-4  This policy coverage is from the cradle to the grave and the life insurance covers eternity.  Let's all sing, "He's got the 401 K's in His hands, He's got the Baby Boo-mers in His Hands, He's got the Me-di-cal in His Hands, He's got my whole life in his hands."  I like the post I found this week...

 "When fear knocks, let faith answer the door." 

"Faith goes up the stairs
That Love has built
And looks out the window
Which Hope has opened."
Charles Spurgeon

"This is a hold up.
 Give me all of your fear,
doubt, pain, and shame,
 and nobody will get hurt." 

Lucy Maud Montgomery, a poem...
"Come, rest awhile, and let us idly stray
In glimmering valleys, cool and far away.
Come from the greedy mart, the troubled street,
And listen to the music, faint and sweet,
That echoes ever to a listening ear,
Unheard by those who will not pause to hear.
The wayward chimes of memory's pensive bells,
Wind-blown o'er misty hills and curtained dells,
One step aside and dewy buds unclose
A sweetness of the violet and the rose;
Song and romance still linger in the green,
Emblossomed ways by you so seldom seen,
And near at hand, would you but see them lie
All lovely things beloved in days gone by.
You have forgotten what it is to smile
In your busy life, come, rest awhile."

Silverton, Colorado
Rest in Him.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

 Attitude of Gratitude: the Queen.  I am a groupie of Queen Victoria, thus I follow Queen Elizabeth at a respectful distance.  They were singing in her reign this last week with quite a celebration.  Did you know that she has owned 30 Corgis since 1944, my kind of lady.  The queens of England have historically been dog lovers which automatically endears them to me.  Did you also know that she always carries a five pound note in her purse to put in the plate at church on Sundays?  Is that a 10th of her income, a tithe?  Hmm. 

"We can't all be princesses.  Somebody has to clap when I go by."

Actually, I want to applaud the queens of the castles, especially the ones with little princes and princesses recking havoc in the kingdom.  I've seen Laura do amazing feats of a four-ring circus taking care of her little family.  Amy is my heroine taking care of two sets of twins, the younger set having mastered the crawling to walking stage and are now on to climbing like adorable little monkeys.  How can sleep deprived young mothers still look so beautiful?  Tifani is such a good mother to her two personality-plus little ones.    Little Laura and her mommy like to watch the show ER so much, Robin decided to work there: her two are growing up to be as fine as their parents.

"Grace was in all her steps,
Heaven in her eye.
In Every gesture dignity and love."
John Milton

"The lightning bolt of a lifetime struck...when we returned from our honeymoon to the old place we were renting from my father-in-law for free...There was no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, and no money.  The only thing that house had plenty of was deer heads  They were everywhere.  And they seemed to stare at me...They did lead to the purchase of a secondhand dryer, however.  Keith bought one the day after he came in with a friend and found our underware dangling from their horns.  My groom...worked long hours out in the heat and worked with people who had no teeth.  Then he'd walk in the door, say he was starving, and look at me as if he expected me to do something about it.  Think as I may, I cannot for the life of me remember a kitchen in the Barbie Dream House.  Then it hit me.  I wasn't Barbie.  He wasn't Ken.  This was no dream, and I wanted my mother...
We drove off in our Barbie dream car and had a head-on cdollision with reality...We had expectations that exceeded the realm of possibility.  I've finally forgiven Keith for not being Ken.  I've almost forgiven myself for not being Barbie.  And by the grace of God, we've made it in spite of ourselves."  Beth Moore, "Laughter & Latte, Joyful Inspiration for Women."

"Thank heaven for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell
  While other folks go hungry, we're eating very well...
   We shouldn't want to fuss, by this stack of evidence
   God's very good to us."

"In the happy moments, praise God.
In the difficult  moments, seek God.
In the quiet moments, trust God.
In every moment. thank God."

"Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you..."
Isaiah 43:4

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: personal inventories.  Hidden away in a trunk in the garage is a relic from my junior high days.  It is a food diary.  Shocking!  How could someone in my skinniest days consume so much food?  If I wasn't so modest, I would dig it out and show you.  Afterall, I was the Taco Champion in the contest between my brother and I to see who could eat the most tacos.  Eight, I think.  Now I read that it is a great way to reduce your waistline, to shame yourself into eating less by writing down every tidbit or scrumptious pile of delicacies you just inhaled.  "Expensive coffee every morning isn't a treat, it's a habit." That's what a budget is, writing down what you actually spend, catagorizing it and see where spending can be curbed according to priorities. I read on a Christian blog another inventory idea: write down how you spend your time each day.  Edit, correct, and erase mistakes of wasted time- not relaxation- but those moments spent with worthless activities.  A fearless personal inventory is recommended by Christian Recovery Groups.  A spiritual pulse taking might find you to be anemic or needing resuscitation.  Wouldn't it be great to record that we have gorged on spiritual food?

"Too much of a good thing can be truly wonderful!"

My mother used to say, "We already have all the good deals we can afford."

"We make our choices and our choices make us."

Attitude of Gratitude: variety, the spice of life.  My granddaughter Grace has an idea for a best-selling product, the "right computer."  She owns one: it doesn't matter if it's imaginary.  Grace uses it to fact check information. If she doesn't like what someone tells her, she fires it up and accepts what it tells her.  Afterall, it is the "right computer."  It's nice to have differences of opinon as long as it is understood that I am right!  One way to listen to other views of the world is to read a book.  The books I am reading or have read this spring include "French Women Don't Get Fat" (Mireille Cuiliano), "The Children of Henry the VIII," "The Rescue" (Lori Wick), "The Life of Charlotte Bronte" (Elizabeth Gaskell), "The Bipolar Child" (Demitri Papolos, M.D. & Janice Papolos), "The Great Thoughts" (George Seldes), "John Wesley's Scriptural Holiness" (Thomas Oden), "Blood and Thunder, the Epic Story of Kit Carson..." (Hampton Sides), "The G Free Diet, a Gluten-Free Survival Guide" (Elisabeth Hasselbeck) and a couple of light Christmas stories (I know, I know...) and books of the Bible.  How do I find the time?  Sleep deprivation!

 "I stay up late every night and realize it's a bad idea every morning."

"Books can be possessive, can't they?  You're walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention.  Sometimes what's inside will change your life; but sometimes you don't even have to read it.  Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book around.  Many of these books haven't even had their spines cracked.  "Why do you buy books you don't even read?" our daughter asks us.  That's like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat: for company of course."
Sarah Addison Allen

"Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity."
G.K. Chesterton

I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: Psalm 143 for those crushed in spirit,an offer of a path to level ground.  Once when I was a child staying at a New Mexico Christian campground, we were meeting in a log cabin built up on log footings above ground.  Church was a rocking affair, especially when the whole building lurched throwing us off our benches onto the ground.  "Earthquake!"  Actually, the cabin had rolled off its foundation.  Everyone made it out alright with only a few scrapes and bruises; we were better off than the cabin.  It's hard to have church when the foundations are shaken.  Death, divorce, tragedy, mental imbalance, bad health are all things that can make it feel as if the foundation was jerked out from under us.  David, the Psalmist, understood this, calling out to God for help.  No matter who delivers the blows, God is there to lift us up on level ground. "He has crushed my life to the ground...therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me...Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143:3-4,10

"Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and...realizing you were the prisoner."
Max Lucado

"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

"You can't walk with God holding hands with the devil."

"Worry is a total waste of time.  It doesn't change anything.  All is does is steal your joy and keep you busy doing nothing."

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
Maria Robinson

Attitude of Gratitude: perspective.  There are two ways of looking through binoculars, one way works way better than looking through the other end.  We all need to view life's kaleidoscope through a proper perspective and hopefully maturity sharpens our ability to see more clearly.  Change doesn't mean disaster; it can mean lots of pieces falling into new patterns, to see beauty instead of chaos.

"I would have rejoiced in the image in my mirror every day, knowing I would never be younger or prettier.  Instead I worried about pimples, body fat, and clothes.  During chemo treatments, I looked in the mirror at my bald head and realized for the first time that I was beautiful and loved.  I regret having wasted all that time wanting to be something I already was.  I wish all women everywhere could rejoice in the beauty that is theirs every day." Mary Craig, Beaumont, Texa, "Real Simple," Sept. 2005

"I wish I was as thin as I actually was back when I thought I was fat."

"By being yourself, you put something in the world that was not there before," 
 Edwin Elliot

"Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

"Expectations are premeditated resentments."

"Happiness is a place between too little and too much."
Finnish Proverb

As John Wesley said,
"The woman who is a Methodist--how does she appear behaviorally?  She is happy in the divine love that has justified her, claimed her as a daugher for adoption into the family of God, and begotten her to a living hope.  In whatever state she finds herself, she is content, and poised to follow God's will.  In her the works of the flesh are being supplanted by the fruits of the Spirit.  All her desires are toward God."

"Remember Lot's wife."
Luke 17:32
"Do not look behind you...But his wife...looked back."
Genesis 19:17,26
Look forward!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: Sunday afternoon naps.  It's been awhile since I indulged in a little daytime shut-eye, but today was a good day for it.  I didn't see how late it was (or early in the wee hours) when I finished reading last night till I closed my book; then, it was early to rise to finish getting ready for children's church. After church, and a day enjoying the company of my oldest son and family, I drifted off to the land of nod and woke up to my youngest, Hank, covering me with his little red blanket.  When I stirred, he was bringing me a tray of food in bed!  He didn't even mind when the blt tortilla wrap he'd made was off my gf diet, since he gladly ate it for me: it was the thought that counts!  Earlier in the afternoon, Derrick had made everyone his specialty of orange juice, banana, and blueberry milk shakes.  Am I spoiled or what?  I love my boys! Today, made me feel like...

"No day is so bad that it can't be fixed with a nap."
Carrie Snow

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one."
Jill Churchill

There are a few perks along the motherhood way!  Enjoy them when they pop up unexpectedly even if it's the thought that counts.

"Hit the hay," came from the early summer housekeeping task in colonial America was to re-stuff mattresses with freshly mown hay.  Thank goodness, we have skipped that step today!

"He gives to His beloved even in his sleep."
Psalm 127:2

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: Sunday-go-to-meeting day!  I miss my family, my church family.  I want to know how they are, I want to sing with them, teach their children, hold their babies, hear the Word together, sit together, pray together, see new faces.  Our Father likes to see his children enjoying fellowship together with Him, with each other in His house.  See you there!

Here's a little Sunday School lesson...What is a Wesleyan, or in the early years a Methodist?

John Wesley wrote, as "a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air," "just hovering over the great gulf, till a few moments hence I am no more seen--I drop into an unchangeale eternity!  I want to know one thing, the way to heaven--how to land safe on that happy shore.  God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven.  He hath written it down in a book.  O give me that book!  At any price give me the Book of God!  I have it...Let me be a man of one book."

He also says, "Do you happen upon anyone who wholeheartedly loves God?  That, says Wesley, is what he means by a Methodist.  What distinguished the Methodist in Wesley's sense is praying without ceasing, loving the Lord with all one's heart, soul, mind, and strength, serving the neighbor in need, and not being enamored of the vices of the world.  The love of God is shed abundantly abroad in such a heart.  God's grace is the joy of his life, the source of life's meaning and value.  He rejoices in God's gifts even amid disabilities, crying out with the Psalmist: 'Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.' (Ps. 73:25-26).  God's encompasing love has cast out his fear.  In everything he gives thanks, saying the Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.  Whether in comfort or distress, sickness or health, life or death--from his heart he gives thanks to the One to whom he has committed all.  Anxious about nothing, he does not despair or compulsively try to secure his future...Having cast his care upon One who infinitely cares for him, he continually presents himself upon the altar before God as a living sacrifice in response.  All his talents are committed to the practical service of the neighbor, doing whatever is at hand to the glory of God whether in commerce, family, recreation, or religion, rejoicing in doing what God requires, not from fear but from gratitude.  His heart set at liberty, he delights in God's commandments, loves the nearest one at hand as himself, regards the neighbor in relation to the love of God, loves even the supposed enemy without class distinction or social, racial, or gender partiality.  He provides for his neighbor's good as earnestly as his own...Whatever things are good, wholesome, of good report, or just, he thinks on those things.  He has fundamentally one desire: to serve his neighbor as God has loved and served him...He desires only God. The love of God is cleansing his heart from every unkind temper and malignant affection.  It is love that has reclaimed his life, reaching into every crevice of his volition, driving out hatred, contentiousness, and pride, awakening kindness, longsuffering, and humility.  He has a single eye, and because his eye is single, his whole body is full of light.  God's reign has begun in him.  In all this he finds no grounds for self-congratulation."
"This is what a Methodist is, a Christian not in name only but in heart and life, renewed inwardly and outwardly in the image of God.  The marks of a Methodist are those found in anyone whose life is hid in Christ.  What we have in these descriptions are the same characteristics manifested in one whose life is shaped by unfeigned responsiveness to God.  It is not a different list.  The Methodist is neither more or less than one who takes such promises with complete seriousness.  This is 'plain, old Christianity,' and Methodists are not distinguished from other Christians in any way.  They are merely seeking wholeheartedly to live the Christian life."

 "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect." Phil. 3:12

"...when we say 'perfect,' our latinized English language yields to the static notion of perfection.  Wesley's reference to 'perfection' instead assumed the Greek notion of a perfecting (not perfected) grace, "a never ending aspiration for all of love's fullness."

Attitude of Gratitude: belly laughing, chuckling, cracking at least a smile.  Have you laughed today?
Just loosing electricity for two hours on the hottest day yet was enough to cause a happy dance, a chortle of joy, or great inner peace when the AC. and fan came back on.  I hugged my smoothie blender, and cooled off in the open embrace of my refrigerator.  I marveled at ice cubes as the invention of the ages, forget the wheel.  Hot days always make me thankful I was born for such a time as this: air conditioning.  If it doesn't cool sufficiently in the evening, I'll garden by the light of the moon. 

Here's some things that have made me laugh recently...

"When I was running, I heard someone clapping.  It was just my thighs cheering me on."

"I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned."

"Clothes make the man.  Naked people have little or no influence on society."
Mark Twain

"A good laugh is sunshine in a home."

"A laugh is a smile that bursts."
Mary H.Waldrop

"Sarah denied it however saying, 'I did not laugh;'...And He said, 'No, but you did laugh.'"
I think Genesis 18:15 is one of the funniest stories in the Bible!