Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: new things. Grace has lost her first tooth and is excited that she's growing a new "sweet tooth!" A new school year is coming. I still remember the smell of the clay and oil cloth   required for new classroom supplies.   Now, it is pencils, pens, and papers, etc., new things.  Joshua 3:4 "...for you have not passed this way before." God leads us down new paths. The priests feet had to get wet before the Jordan curled up to make a dry path for the nation of Israel to cross with Joshua.  There was a parting of the water at the beginning of the Exodus, and again, as they walked in obedience from the wandering in the wilderness to the Promised Land. 

"Israel sent on the ark of God.  It was the right symbol that the Lord was with them, and they sent it ahead into the swollen river..How we toss ourselves into a fever of the fear of the untrodden way!  Fear is a poor hand at finding a place to wade across.  Fear is a sorry bridge builder...Fear drowns the music of today. It hears nothing but the rushing of the river.  But Israel sent on the ark of God, and that made all the difference, with a conviction that God is ahead...let us go the high adventure...for we have not come this way before."  George Morrison (1866-1928)

"Another year lies before us like an unwritten page, an unspent coin, an unwalked road.
How the pages will read, what treasures will be gained in exchange for time,
or what we find along the way, will largely depend on us."
Esther Baldwin York 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the road less traveled.  Coming home from Tahoe, traffic was heavy, road construction narrowed the lanes to almost an Olympic bobsled event speeding along the curves.  It was a relief to turn off at Yuba Gap and follow the road less traveled.  Four lanes, to two, yet it became a peaceful journey home.  Tahoe was absolutely beautiful, but it had to be shared with more people than was comfortable.  The lake shore was lined with those who came to be seen instead of the beauty of the scenery.  The rowdies that filled the campground usurped the quiet and rest that belong to the forest.  Even the bear felt squeezed as his nightly tramp caused screams to pierce the night and others to bang their camp pots and pans to scare him away.   Bumper to bumper traffic whooshed past our tent. Too many people!

"I used to be a people person, but people ruined that for me."

"Do not hesitate because so few people follow the narrow way and so very many follow in the paths of self-gratification.  Do not let this quench your eagerness.  Keep before your eyes the devout examples of the saints...follow them.  Imitate them.  The world is getting cold, the fair roses of holy devotion are beginning to wilt.  There are more sharp thorns than white lilies.  Therefore, fair roses of the spiritual life, remain firm; surround yourselves with thorns against the encroachments of creatures, hide yourselves from the world.  Open your hearts and desires to the fresh spingtime dew of the heavenly sun, so that you will understand what He desires of you."  Henry Suso, 1366.

"But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose."
Anne Bronte

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Matthew 7:13-14

Friday, July 27, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: camping. By the time you read this, I hope to be on the way to family camp at South Lake Tahoe, Camp Richardson.  Looking forward to God's beauty, rest, restoration, and sweet fellowship.

"We're tenting tonight on the old campground. 
Give us a song to cheer...and friends we love so dear."
Walter Kittredge, song, 1864

"The last, fine day...I have not yet grown weary of looking at the water,
doing nothing, thinking idly in a haphazard sort of way."
Doris Grumbach

"To lie awake in the marvelous is always refreshed by the night up there."
Mabel Luhan

"I walked far down the beach, soothed by the rhythm of the waves,
the sun on my bare back and legs,
the wind and mist from spray on my hair...
And then home..
full to the brim with my day alone."
"Gift from the Sea"
Anne Morrow Lindberg

"Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break
upon the idle seashore of the mind."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Then followed that beautiful season...Summer...
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Summer night
even the stars
are whispering to each other."
Kobayshi Issa

"As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for Thee, O My God.
My soul thirts for God, for the living God..."
Psalm 42:1-2

Next post: Monday.
Knee-deep in Summer: I can see August from here!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: history.
"Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened."
Thomas Hardy

"I would feel more optisitic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness."
E.B. White

We are heading to the wilds of Lake Tahoe.  Will we see bears?  Racoons?  Eagles?  There was a time when most of America was unexplored wilderness.  Grizzly bears couldn't be brought down with a single shot, buffalo roamed by the 10,000s, elk in herds of hundreds, deer almost tame. 

"Explore, Dream, Discover."
Mark Twain
I finished a biography of Meriweather Lewis, "Undaunted Courage," by Stephen Ambrose.  I remember my mother reading biographies of him as she studied our family's history since several ancestors were named after him.  (Be thankful, son, that I did not continue that tradition!)  Evidently, our people were neighbors with his people and one of them married into one of his families.  Oral history has it that some of the young ladies of our family had a crush on him, so I wanted to read about the catch that got away as he never married.

Meriweather was also neighbors with Thomas Jefferson who took an interest in the fatherless young man and encouraged his education, watched his military service, then brought him to the White House as his personal secretary.  Thomas Jefferson made the incredible Louisiana Purchase, trying to secure the vast uncharted wilderness for Americans instead of the British and the Spaniards.  Together they plotted an exploration no less extraordinary, some say, than Columbus' discovery of the New World.   Lewis chose a close friend, Clark, to equally share leadership.  It was an incredible journey, being the first white men many natives had ever seen, documenting the flora & fauna with species unknown before, starving, freezing, trading with Indians with only one battle on their way home.  They went on foot, by canoe, by keelboat, by horse and ate fish, roots, big game, horse, and dog.  They lost one soldier at the beginning to probably a ruptured appendix, but that the rest of the thirty men survived is miraculous. Meriweather was accidently shot through the buttocks by one of his own men on their return trip, but recovered after weeks of riding on his stomach in a canoe.

They would have been dead men without a French trapper's young squaw, Sacagawea.  She kept her cool and saved supplies when they were threatened to be capsided, she translated, and helped in many ways to ensure their survival, much more than her husband did.  When they met the hostile Sioux, who should be the chief, but her long lost brother.  What a small world!  She had been stolen by a rival tribe's raid on her people as a girl then was sold to be married to the trapper.  She was only fifteen when they left on the expedition, had a baby, and was attended to by Meriweather himself who gave her ground up rattlesnake rattles (as instructed by the Indians) after a long and difficult labor: she delivered 20 minutes later. 

Unfortunately, alcohol and depression overtook Merriweather Lewis after being appointed by Jefferson as govenor of the Louisiana Purchase upon his return.  He committed suicide.  He went from the highest society in the New World, to the White House, to being an incredible leader in the wilderness against all odds--a man's man--documenting with extreme precision and artistic ability the discoveries of soils, plants, trees, animals, fish, and Indian cultures and language, etc.  Truth is stranger than fiction.  I can only imagine what his neighbors, the young ladies of my ancestory must have thought!

"There is an appointed time for everything...He has set eternity in their hearts."
Ecclesiastes 3:1,11

"That tranquility of life, which is no where to be found but in retreat,
 a faithful friend, and a good library."
Aphra Behn

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"
Henry Ward Beecher

"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure as lasting."
Lady Montagu

"There are no faster or firmer friends than those formed between people who love the same books."
Irving Stone

"The love of reading enables man to exchange the wearisome hours of life,
 which come to everyone, for hours of delight."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: fishing.  Once upon a time, I loved to fish.  Fly-fishing with my dad in the snow-fed cold rivers in Colorado was so exciting, trying for the perfect cast without being carried away by the current while standing on numb legs.  I could eat fried trout hot or cold, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then came the cost of getting a license and the hard work of helping the kids fish: the dreams of fly-fishing have faded.  It's on my bucket list of 'to do again,' but sometimes buckets get holes.

The disciples used nets.  Jesus called them to be fishers of men.  One of the main jobs of a sailor or fisherman was to mend the nets.  I Peter 5:10 says, "And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."  At Genessee I read a devotional which said that "the word Peter uses for 'make you perfect' here is used for mending the nets.  It is as if Peter had said, 'The God of grace...will mend your nets for you...'  There is the tearing of the heart strings.  Faith is shattered...God's hands are powerful and can grasp tremendously when the wind is high and the waves are raging.  But (His hands) too, with a delicacy infinite and with tenderness, can mend the broken nets on life's shore."  George H. Morrison

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet."
L.M. Montgomery

"Every moment is a place you've never been."
Mark Strand

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve its beauty.
Maya Angelon

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude:  a collection of friends.   Growing up with cowboy heroes Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, my favorite song was, "Happy trails to you, until we meet again..." We have moved many, many times and have cherished friends we hold dear scattered over the trails.  Just because we aren't always together, doesn't mean that they aren't in our hearts.  Sometimes God moves people away to enrich others' lives, and we send our blessings grateful for our time together. 

"And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back--if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory..."  C.S. Lewis

"The simple thought of a life which is to be the unfolding of a Divine plan is too beautiful, too captivating, to suffer one indifferent or heedless moment.  Living in this manner, every turn of your experience will be a discovery to you of God, every change a token of His fatherly counsel.  Whatever obscurity, darkness, trial, suffering, falls upon you; your defeats, losses, injuries; your outward state, employment, relations; what seems hard, unaccountable, severe, or, as nature might say, vexatious--all these you will see are parts or constitutive elements in God's beautiful and good plan for you, and, as such, are to be accepted with a smile."  H. Bushnell, "Joy & Strength."

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

"Keep your face always toward the sunshine
and the shadows will fll behind you."
Walt Whitman

"Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life."
Marcel Proust 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: an hour glass figure.  Actually, I think that means the sands of time have sifted the weight down around the hips.  Or rather, "I think I figured out my figure type.  It's the hour glass
with extra minutes!"

"I always want only two things: to lose weight and to eat."

"I'm sad when my food is over."

"If only mosquitoes sucked fat instead of blood."

"I've been on a diet for two weeks,
and all I've lost is fourteen days."
Totie Fields

"It's day seven of my diet.  What have you lost so far?  My will to live."
B.C. Cartoon

"Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands-
and eat just one of the pieces."
Judith Viorst

"The beach was crowded, people tossed like ripe corn buttering themselves as they went."
Anne Sextor

"I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic
who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night."
Erma Bombeck

Planning ahead, I'm thinking about camp food.  I'm good with it, especially since I read there is an ice cream shop in the campground.  Imagine that!  I don't have to try to keep my gallon from melting in the ice chest now.  Camping means s'mores: s'more of this and s'more of that.  What are your favorite camp foods?  The good thing about camping is the extra exercise helps cancel out the extra splurges. 

"My meditation of Him shall be sweet."
Psalm 104:34 

To counter all the calories in this blog, here's a healthy recipe:
Crispy Edamame:
12oz pkg shelled edamame
1 T. olive oil
1/4 C. grated parmesan
salt & pepper
Bake 15 min. in a 400 oven.

Lake City Colorado, Soda Fountain

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: happi-nest.  To enjoy happiness, you must begin at home in your own heart.  It is not bound by outward circumstances, but can be anchored by joy.  This can't help but effect those around you like ripples in a pond. 

"One is happy once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness: simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience." 
George Sand, 1812-1876

"Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness;
it has not taste."
Charlotte  Bronte

"All who joy would win
Must share it -
Happiness was born a twin."
George Byron

"Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands,
but let it go, and you learn at once
how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

"It's so hard to forget pain,
but it's even harder to remember sweetness.
We have no scar to show for happiness."
Chuck Palahniuk

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

"...there is no true happiness apart from holiness,
and there is no true holiness apart from knowing what it means to suffer unhappiness...
It's through suffering unhappiness that God may beckon you into deeper happiness in Him."
Ann VanKamp

Is your happiness dependent upon outward circumstances?
Do you have an anchor of joy?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Only  a boy...

Attitude of Gratitude: river rocks.  A cocky young kid shows up and starts bugging the soldiers who are so intimidated by a giant that they take their wrath out on him. The giant has challenged the Israelites to send someone to battle mano a mano.  The winner would take all.  The losers would become slaves of the victors.  No one stepped up to the challenge.  King Saul, head and shoulders above anyone else in his kingdom, was willing to let the kid try.  Didn't he understand that the whole future of the kingdom depended on his victory?  It wasn't like, feed the giant a kid today, and a soldier tomorrow.   It was now or never.  And he still let David, with his armour laid aside, walk by himself to face the enemy picking up five little river rocks on the way. It had to be out of pure desperation.  What was the army thinking watching the pipsqueak walking up to the big man?  Probably, "stupid, stupid, stupid!"  I'm sure they were getting their running shoes on. This kid was sent to bring his brothers their lunch, but ending up serving a rock sandwich to a fat head.  After the slingshot fell the giant, David heaved up the Philistine's own sword and the mere weight of it falling beheaded him.  David walked away dragging Goliath's sword and weapons in one hand and his bloody head in his other.  What a sight!

I've been drawn to find new light on this classic history lesson to apply to my life.  How are we Davids?  Has God sent prior battles into our lives to strength us, to give us faith in victory against wild things that attack?  Not a bear, not a lion, but a human was the worst enemy.  This extra-tall man size put his britches or loin cloth on the same way they did, but they were afraid.  The Philistines wanted what the Israelites had, their land, their flocks, their homes, their servitude, their power.  We have an enemy of our souls who taunts us but is jealous of our Kingdom.  We may be just a kid's meal with a toy sling inside against supersized big beefy, but it is enough: five river rocks and unreasonable faith.  "Upon this rock I will build my church."  The battle is the Lord's.  There are one or two impossible taunts in my life.  How long will I hesitate on the sidelines while the enemy insults?  If we go forth in His power, victory is ours and others will follow our lead instead of quivering in the valley.  What's in your hand?  David picked up five river rocks, but God just used one of them.    Read the whole story in I Samuel 17. 

The enemy just took out a lot of innocent victims in Colorado.  Al's sister Laura's cancer has returned.  Marriages are hurting.  Money is evaporating.  Whatever the situation, God can cause all things to work together for good.  Good is on our side.  "Whom have we in heaven but Thee?"  And another thing, why do so many "Christians" want to go out and dance with the giant and think they will come out unscathed, bowing and scraping with the enemy?  "OOoo, what big muscles you have, Goliath!" The sides are drawn, and we need to stay on the winning side.

David was a man after God's own heart.  Can God see His heart reflected in your heart?

"The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why."
Mark Twain

Friday, July 20, 2012

Today is a sad day for Americans, especially those in Colorado.  There is no explanation except evil exists.  We all have the same enemy of our soul, and Scripture says he is a liar and the father of all lies.  He is also called a murderer.  He is lurking for those he may devour.  We have a Savior.

Attitude of Gratitude: maturity.  Little ones are cute in their innocence, but there's nothing uglier than immaturity with a face that looks like it should know better.  It's like an eighty year old woman in a bikini.  Immaturity can mature with grace or be stunted by carnality and self-centeredness and a loss of self-perception.  My grandmother, a very wise woman, said that Christians should be the most exciting people to know because they are always growing.  Her vision of heaven was unending growth in wisdom, truth, and knowledge.  The good news is, we can still maintain childhood wonder as we mature.

"...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
II Peter 3:19

"I have a lot of growing up to do.  I realized that the other day in my fort."

"We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public."

"Adults need to have fun so children will want to grow up."
Erica Baumeister

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."
E.B. White

"Work for a cause, not applause.
Live to express, not impress.
Don't strive to make your presence noticed,
just your absence felt."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude...simple pleasures

*the smell of a freshly washed cotton comforter that was hung outside to dry
*clean sheets
*the blue-green color of sea glass
*home-grown tomatoes
*a letter from a friend
*sharing laughter
*shade on a warm day

When my brother and sister-in-law owned a family log cabin resort, The Texan, a majority of their laundry was hung out to dry.  Their long-time repeat customers sometimes fought over the privilege of hanging out the sheets.  To them it was nostalgic.  To the owners, it was more than tradition, it was cost saving.  It was a task I often helped with when we were on vacation, especially running out in the rain to bring it in before it was more than sprinkled on. There's nothing like the smell of cotton scented by plein air.  I hung our own laundry out on a line in the backyard when we lived in San Diego: it didn't rain on a Saturday for an entire year!  My rusty old washer would be wheeled over so that it's drain hose could fit down the kitchen sink.  Sometimes I'd turn it on forgetting this step and getting suds all over the floor.  Who knew you could wash and mop at the same time, killing two birds with one stone.

"Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."
Psalm 51:7

"A shaft of sunlight at the end of a dark afternoon,
a note of music,
and the way the back of a baby's neck smells...
these are the important things."
E.B. White, "Stuart Little"

What are some of your favorite things?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the simple life.  I was born in the wrong century.  I had natural childbirth, heated our house by wood fires for years, grew fifteen feet tall okra in our garden, made my own leather sandals I wore through junior high, and used to make itsy bitsy stiches by hand in the day when I could see well enough to thread a needle. 

It's hard not to resent the fact that machines don't like me.  I take it personally when something mechanical refuses to cooperate when I touch it.  Take for example, at a huge conference I attended once along with hundreds of other women,.  I got in line for the Coke machine.  It gladly rolled out cans for everyone ahead of me and those who came after me, but refused to give one to me.  I handed my quarters to the next person in line, and they got it for me. This sort of thing happens so often, I've given up drinking soda: I got tired of asking for help from the next person in line.  I opened a metal screen door to enter the cafeteria and it came off in my hand.  Recently, I got a new phone.  It refused to send or receive calls in a timely manner.  It worked for everyone but me, and my daughter who got my unmechanical genes.  I thought I was going crazy, but I finally convinced them to take it back and give me a new one: it worked, and I kept my sanity.  My claim to being a diva is when I stopped pumping my own gas.  The nozels refused to work for me, or if they did, they spit at me--yes, they did--a spittal of gas.  My husband pampers me because I have conquered the washing machine, dryer, stove, oven, and refrigerator, and toaster.  He makes the coffee, because that machine is a little touchy: I don't trust it.  The dishwasher pretends to start, then stops when I walk away.  I won't allow an electric can opener in the house. I'm handicapped when it comes to remote controls.  Other than that, I'm fairly safe at home.  I gave up sewing when I sewed through my cousin's fingernail in 9th grade Home-Ec.

At church, I'm not allowed near the copy machine.  It will cooperate with everyone but me: I've even offered exhibits to show off my disfunctional relationship with the machine which then cuddles up and purrs with the next Sunday School teacher in line who pushes the exact same buttons I did, only with results.  Sunday, I was the substitute for the substitute power-point typist.  They were desperate.  I typed the words, clicked "insert" and they instantly turned pink and shrunk to the size of ants, invisible on the big screen: we sang by memory.

See! My computor refuses to move my photos when I click "clockwise."

On vacation, one hotel had laundry facilities for their guests.  I put the dirty clothes and the dryer.  I'm the lady in front of you at the store who zips their ATM card over and over and over in the machine to no avail.  Have you ever gotten free gum-balls out of the machine?  That's because they refused to come out for my quarter.

 My worst moment was at my first time facing new security procedures at the K.C. Airport thirty years ago.  A gruff woman ordered me to come on through.  Seeing no way around, I saw a machine and froze.  She barked at me again.  So I submitted to the machine and was about to climb up on the conveyer belt, until she parted my sea of confusion and waved me on through on dry land.

I balk at the sight of anything mechanical, and they know it.  The metal tests my mettle.   I've been robbed by candy and soda machines that even small children can conquer.  I've been humiliated in my own home by inventions made to simplify our lives.  I've gone to work with Eau d'Arco de Gasoline.  I've been brought to tears by my own phone.  How about you?  Do you have any phobias or am I alone left to face the robotic Giants in my land?

"God doesn't give us what we can handle, God helps us handle what we are given."

"But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."
Romans 8:37   

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the cool fall temperatures in July! What a difference a few days make from 108 to highs of 82!   Some scientist who study tree rings say that we are in global cooling: I'll take it even if it is only for a few days.  Looking forward to family camp in South Lake Tahoe.  Beating the heat up under the pines, sitting by one of the world's most beautiful lakes, hanging with friends in unhurried fellowship, it will be a little piece of heaven. 

"The summer night is like a perfection of thought."

"Summertime, oh, summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fadeproof lake, the woods unshattered."
E.B. White

"There was just enough heat to enhance the value of the breeze, and just enough wind to keep the whole sea (or lake) in motion, to make the waves come bounding to the shore,
 foaming and sparkling, as if wild with glee."
Anne Bronte

"Then he...rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm."
Matthew 8:26
I pray that our time away will be perfect, a rest from rocking boats and the storms of life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: counting summer's days and making them count.  We are at the tipping point of summer.  School comes earlier and earlier each year. Grace and Madylen will be in kindergarten this year, so I would like to postpone fall indefinitely.  The stores have put out their stocks of school supplies.  We are collecting backpacks and the things students need to fill them to benefit foster children through Children's Hope.   There will be a car and dog wash at the church  August 4th to help raise money for this cause.  Savor the summer days while they are here.  Books are where summer and school meet.  A vacation is just a book away. 

"Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning."

"The love of learning,
the sequestered nooks,
and all the sweet serenity of books."

"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting."
Lady Montagu

" you love me?...Tend my lambs."  
John 21:15   

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: escapes.  We were puzzled after several days of locking our mini dog into her cage before leaving and coming home finding her running free.  Each accused the other of not properly locking her cage doors.  Finally, the man of the house put her in to make sure the job was done right.  When we came home she happily greeted us as free as a bird.  We realized that the little chubby wubby could climb up the bars and escape between the larger space in the ceiling of her cage, a tight squeeze.  She is a wienie houdini!  A new trick for an old dog.

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." I Corintians 10:13

Harriet Tubman helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom.  The last stretch meant crossing a swinging bridge to Canada below Niagra Falls, sometimes with slave catchers on her heels.  She used a loaded pistol to prod the timid from turning back.  Now, that is a way of escape!  Have you ever felt God prodded you to make the right choice?  Sometimes it is a glimpse of the future, the natural consequences if you continue down the wrong path.

Has God provided you an escape from temptation? 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Attitude of Gratitude: compliments.  They are the bacon grease in the gravy.  Last night's dinner was fried chicken tenders & mashed potatoes & gravy and lean green beans.  There was a giant sucking sound and happy grunts, before their dad informed our sons that it pays to compliment the chef.  "Thanks, Mom, that was really good!"  Today, Hank was bugging me to hurry up & take him to Walmart.  He said, "Have you put your make-up on yet, mom?"  His dad pounced on a teaching moment again, "Henry, did you even look at her?  You never ask a woman if she put her make-up on yet!"  Still without looking at me, he said, "Oh, yeah, Mom, you look nice. Can we go now?"  He knows which side his bread is buttered on. 

"As a child my family's menu had two choices: take it or leave it."
Buddy Hackett
If you take it, you better compliment the chef.

When my father took over more and more tasks as my mother's alzheimers progressed, he became her hair stylist.  After moving to a senior living facility, and unable to locate a hairbrush, he bragged, "I used a fork to comb your mother's hair!"  One visit to the rest home, my sister found our mom looking more like Brutus.  Dad boasted, "I do her make-up!"  He didn't scrimp on the eyebrow pencil.  They were such a cute couple: Ms. Alzheimers holding hands with Mr. Dementia.  He hung on to the coat tails of his life to be able to care for his little wife, the best way he knew how, over sixty years. She was always beautiful in his eyes and she knew it.   Just wait till Al starts doing my hair and make-up!

  Grow old with me, and the funniest is yet to be!

An apple a day...
"Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances."

Have you complimented someone today?  This week?  This month?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: smelling the roses.  I read an excerpt from The Shattered Lantern:  "Imagine taking a walk in a beautiful  forest on a splendid summer's day.  The earth is ablaze with the fire of God and the sights, sounds and smells are enough to make you want to take your shoes off before the burning bush.  But if your mind and heart are hopelessly torn, and if, for will see virtually  nothing on this walk-not just of beauty and creation, but nothing at all.  You are torn by your pain, endlessly reviewing past and future conversations, possibilities, and fantasies.  For all you are actually seeing, hearing, or smelling of beauty and nature, you could just as profitably be walking in a parking lot or a rubbish dump.  You are locked in an inner worldwhose obsessive reality absorbs all your awareness."  Don't let anything and everything steal your joy.  Don't take fear on the walk with you.  Walk through life as through the Garden in fellowship with your Creator.  Smell a rose for a rose is a rose even with the thorns. 

"Hope is the dream  of a soul awake."
a French proverb

"I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart, and with all My I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them."
 Jeremiah 43:41-42
A walk in the garden: "The closer you walk with god, the less room for anything to come between."

"Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
 The winds will blow their own freshness...and the storms their energy."
John Muir

"Then followed that beautiful season...summer...filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"When thou art weary, I'll find thee a bed of mosses and flowers to pillow thy head..."
John Keats

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: our Weimaraner.  Today is the day we spring him from jail.  It has been killing my husband especially since he is his walking partner.  Instead, Moe's been couped up on a cement floor behind bars. Other than his daily walk, he's used to being a couch potato, the soft life of a spoiled dog.    Every morning when my husband wakes up early and comes out of our room, Moe is there to greet him at his door nuzzling his hand with his nose.  He is our comic relief.  Before this episode, his worst crime had been eating socks or underwear.  When his tummy hurt, he wanted to sit in mommy's lap, all 85 lbs of him. We understand he had to pay for the error of his ways: we just wish he could understand it.  Hopefully, the joy of homecoming will wipe away all his pain of punishment.

Here are a few dog quotes (no the dogs didn't say these, just their best friends)...

"Even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Matthew 15:27

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you than you love yourself."
Josh Billings

"You call to a dog & a dog will break its neck to get to you.
Dogs just want to please.
Call to a cat & its attitude is 'what's in it for me.'"
Lewis Gizzard

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
Andy Rooney

"I loathe people who keep dogs.  They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves."

"In my day, we didn't have dogs or cats.  All I had was Silver Beauty, my beloved paper clip."
Jennifer Hart

"In dog years, I'm dead."

"To err is human, to forgive, cannine."

"...having a dog makes you rich."
Louis Sabin

"Every boy should have two things: a dog & a mother willing to let him have one."

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not better for it."
Abraham Lincoln

"In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him."
Dereke Bruce

"My goal in life is to become as wonderful as my dog thinks I am."
Toby & Eileen Green

We should have protested saying our dog was indispensible as a companion service dog: the newest research points to the fact that children are healthier who grow up with a dog in the house.  Our Moe withdrawals will soon be over.  Welcome home, buddy! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: china.  When we lived in Oregon, a fellow pastor & wife were in their senior years after a life of service on the mission field.  They often went to MacDonalds for an inexpensive dining out experience what was affordable on their limited budget.  They were such good customers, the staff fell in love with them.  When the manager found out they were soon to celebrate an anniversary, she prepared a surprise.  The special day arrived and their usual meal was served on china, with candlelight, & crystal, at MacDonalds. 

"Start living now.  Stop saving the good china for that special occasion.  Stop withholding your heart until that special person materializes.  Every day you are alive is a special occasion.  Every minute, every  breath is a gift from God." Mary Morrissey

My father-in-law once remarked after another beautiful meal cooked by his wife, "How come we have to eat on plastic?  Don't we have your grandmother's china?"  I never once saw it used, not even displayed.  It stayed packed away.  As far as I know, it stayed packed away when it was passed on.

After being served for five days in the beautiful victoria elegant dining room in the Genessee Home, it reminded me of the difference, the special touches make in an atmosphere.  There was no milk jug on the table or a pan to scoop out of.  Let your family know they are cherished and deserve your best.
That's how my home was growing up, but how easy it is to let it slip.

"Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else."
Judy Garland
(Give your best as you serve others.  What are you saving yourself for?)

"And the loveliest things...come simply, so, it seems to me."
Edna St. Vincent Millay

"Blessed are those who  are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
Rev. 19:9


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the luxury of reading.  Recently I have been reading about princesses and queens, but not fairy tales.  Their real lives are more interesting to me.  England celebrated Queen Elizabeth's long reign recently, her 50 years reign Jubilee, but as a child she was known as 'Lilibet."  I call my newest grandchild Elizabeth, 'Lil'bit.'  Who knew! 

 A girl loves her bling!

The king loved Esther more than that he set the royal crown on her head..."
Esther 2:17

I just read a biography of the Queen's mother-in-law Alice, also known as Princess Andrew of Greece.  She was one of the great granddaughters of Queen Victoria and she remembered her years with her very well.  However, Alice's life was filled with difficulties like being being born nearly deaf, organizing hospitals on war fronts and serving as a nurse without training working under primitive conditions without medicine or even food for the wounded, being exiled as part of the royalty of Greece which was constantly being embroiled in war.  The worst was the many years spent in hospitals for the mentally insane which happened when her youngest Prince Phillip was quite young.  Thus, Queen Elizabeth's husband was raised here, there, and everywhere while his mother recovered. Eventually she was able to return to a semblance of normalcy, though never the same. 

Now I am reading another biography of one of my heroines, Queen Victoria.  She became queen at age 18 and vowed, "I will be good."  The Victorian era was her influence.  The emphasis on family and morals were one of her great effects on society.  Her romance with Albert was almost a fairy tale, certainly a whirlwind.  As a queen, she proposed and they were married three months later: it was practically love at first sight.  Her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren were married into the ruling classes all over Europe including the Tsar of Russia, whose wife was her granddaughter.  It was a personal grief to the royalty of England when that family was all murdered, including Anastasia.    Victoria reigned longer than any other English royalty celebrating her Jubilee and then her 60 years Diamond Jubilee.  She died at 81.

"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."
Henry Miller

Monday, July 9, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: a blessing.  A blessing goes beyond good manners.  Our sixteen month old grandson's most common words besides "ball," is "tank you," said in his deep, husky voice.  Besides, "please," and "thank you," is learned early on the simple, "bless you."  Isn't it ironic that the most common blessing is given when one sneezes, followed by, "Bless you!"  Even strangers say it to you.  Wouldn't it be great if we could as freely give a blessing to each other.  In the South it is the attitude of, "Bless your heart," expression of sympathy or empathy, or more deeply felt, "Bless your lil' pea-pickin' heart."  Sometimes church services are closed with a blessing from Scripture pronounced over the congregation as a benediction.  There have been a few times that godly people have given a blessing over us before we parted company.  A dear woman among us is gifted in giving blessings on fb, so treasured because it is so rare.  A father's blessing to his baby daughter at  her wedding brought tears with the toast.

"Je te benis."
Words written in an old French prayer journal
"I bless you."

"Make me a blessing."
Sometimes a blessing is wordless, shown in deeds of kindness.  But, "love unexpressed is love unknown."  We need to pronounce blessings over our children, our loved ones, our friends.

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
 and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you."
II Cor. 13:14
Grace, love, & fellowship...that's a blessing!

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."
Emily Post

A blessing is more than good manners, more than positive thoughts directed at you, more than wishful thinking over your situation.  It is reaching one hand to heaven and the other hand to another connecting both through your heart.  It is agreement with the mind of God for someone.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: Salvation Army.  They are more than thrift stores and red buckets & bells at Christmas time.  They were organized like an army to reach the lost with the message of holiness.  My great-grandfather was friends with Col. Bringle in the early days of the holiness movement.  My grandfather went from a tiny Texas town to Washington D.C. and played on street corners in one of their bands.  Here is a quote from the founder, General William Booth...

"...I consider the chief dangers that confront the coming century will be
religion without the Holy Ghost,
Christianity without Christ,
forgiveness without repentance,
salvation without regeneration (being made new),
politics without God,
heaven without hell."

"My joy consists in the knowledge that God is so good and this gracious good is my friend.  In Him I place my entire confidence.  I write to you so that you will long for this good with great desire...Do not hesitate because so few people follow the narrow way & so very many follow in the path of self-gratification.  Do not let this quench your eagerness..."
Henry Suso, 1366

"Your kingdom come."
Luke 11:2

"The Bible is a book of hope.  It always speaks of a best that is still to be.  We read of Eden, of a time when the world was free from pain & sadness, because humankind was free from sin.  Their home was a garden, all nature served them and God was their familiar friend...People lost everything by sin except hope."

"The devil's tomorrow is worse than his today; but the morrow of Christ for everyone who trusts in Him, is always brighter & better than his yesterday...sin...always gives the best wine at the start...sin is so fair & pleasant at the outset & hides its afterward with such consummate mastery that the reckless heart becomes an easy prey.  If sin conceals the worst behind tomorrow, may it not conceal the worst behind the grave?
George Morrison, 1866-1928

"To hope is to desire with expectation." 

This is a Methodist Church that a circuit riding preacher established in Sierra City in the1849.
There is another in Downeyville.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: Starbucks.  It wasn't the coffee, the iced drinks, or the coffee cake samples.  It was the fellowship on the patio in the shade of the umbrellas and the favor of a cool breeze.  There was honesty, sharing of burdens, and laughter. 

"...I may be encouraged together with you while among you each of us by the other's faith,
 both yours and mine.""
Romans 1:12 

"In the Greek, 'to encourage ' means to 'share your strength with others' as well as 'to be mutually comforted.'

"There are the days...when the breeze is a blessing and the shade is a sanctuary."

"Don't go through life, grow through life."
Eric Butterworth

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

"We are so hilarious, I feel bad for the people who don't get to listen to our conversations
 & enjoy our hilariousness."

Join these women in August when we meet again for Bible study & precious fellowship.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: eating off the land.  Strawberries are plump and sweet.  Tomatoes are ripening in the sun.  Slugs are faster than we are--they are eating more than us.  It's war!  The winner gets the spoils in the garden.

"Deer walk upon our mountains...Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness."
Wallace Stevens

"berries, summer's brightest jewels, 'precious refreshments' of the fruit"
Thomas Jefferson

"The months between cherries & the peaches are brimming cornucopias
which spill fruit red & purple."
Elinor Wylie

"I have eaten the first fruit of the season & I am in love."
James Wright

Little slug, little slug,
I wish I could squish you like a bug.
If you take another bite
of my strawberry, I will fight
you to the death!
"What was Paradise, but a Garden."
William Lawson
God had a pest in His garden.  Here's a better poem I wrote a few years back.


In perfect pastoral peace, a garden grew
Glistening in the sun, lush in the shade,
Bejeweled with droplets, verdant, this Eden,
A trysting place of intimate fellowship
Where prints of footsteps along narrow pathways
Drew closer together in fresh turned soil
Ever careful not to crush new growth,
So close, nothing could come betwist
But a snake.
Even Edens have serpents.

In my peace and joy of growing grace
Bearing fruit, grafted in the Father's vine,
Water washed, blest by the light,
We walk and talk, but He says,
"Beware the beguiler.
Oh, woman, you must hate the snake."
Enmity in a garden.

But He knelt beside me
To labor with love,
Toiling, pruning, sweating
Great drops of blood
Digging in His heel
In fresh turned soil
Upon a narrow pathway
Bruising the serpent's head
That I might be
A first fruit
Among His creatures. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the homing instinct.  We had a lovely time away, but we also looked forward to coming home, to those we love, to home comforts, to familiar routines, and yes, to our dogs & cat--, our goldfish, not so much.   But our life here is like Bunyon's Pilgrim's Progress.  To the question, "Is this all there is?" the answer is "no."   "I go to prepare a place for you," is a promise from the lover of our soul.  It is impossible to get upside down in the real estate values in heaven.  Paul said, "I say, and prefer be at home with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8). 

"Deep in the human heart is a homing instinct...There is something in us that earth can never satisfy...I believe that there is in us a homesickness for heaven, that the ache which earth cannot satisfy can be satisfied by God...God has put in the heart of everyone of us a longing for Himself."

"Wickedness is not the homeland of the soul, and the unrest and the dissatisfaction of the wicked is the craving of the heart for home.  We are not fashioned to be at home in sin...We will always be dissatisfied, always homesick if we try to live in any other land...The individual who is homesick is always lonely.  Sin is a power that makes for loneliness...And the sins we call social sins, the sins that begin in fellowship and company, are the very sins that leaves you at last utterly alone.  That loneliness is homesickness of the soul.  It is the heart craving for home again.  If you are drifting away on a great sea of self-indulgence, God grant that, drawn by the heart of Christ, you may come home."  (Luke 15:17)  William Sangster

"It is not the one who lives in bonnie Scotland who feels most deeply how beautiful Scotland is.  It is the exile, yearning for the mountains and glens." We are aliens and exiles waiting to go home. 

Genessee Valley

Robin said as a toddler, "I know!  God loves us so much, He wants us to come to His house!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: freedom!  We are preparing to celebrate the independence of our country with a loved one behind bars:  Moe, our dog.  He's under solitary confinement at the pound.  My boys were participating in their favorite summer sport, fighting.  They came in tattling on each other again. The air was full of their tension, gesturing, and accusations.  Derrick then stridently motioned to a couple of neighbor kids who came in to watch telling them to get out of Dodge.  The dog thought he was telling him to go after them.  The dog bit the poor little girl, scraping her leg through her pants.  I'm glad she is going to be okay, but our peaceful existence has been shattered.  Fighting leads to aggression.  Now we can't trust our dog around the neighbor kids, the dog who loves the grandchildren, and whom we love with his silly golden eyes.  His protection has gone into overdrive.  Now,  he'll spend the next ten days in the slammer.

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

As for the boys, the pound wouldn't take them too.  Something about the shot for Parvo and Kennel Cough.  Jacob's boys weren't perfect either, fighting, throwing one brother in a dry well then selling him to slave traders, etc.  But here's his parting blessing found in Genesis 48:15-16:

"May the God before whom my father Abraham & Issac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from harm (who also dislocated my hip in a wrestling match),
may he bless these boys."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: celebrating birthdays & anniversaries.  So what if my cupcake was guten-free!  So what if I required a different menu at the restaurant, I still have my teeth and can eat out!  Growing older is better than the only obvious alternative, death.  So, with the wisdom of an advanced year and 39 years of marriage, here are a few tips I've collected...

"Two Simple Steps to Success in Marriage:
1.  Be near to God. 
2.   Be nice ." 
Pam Ford

"Today try to be Captain Nice!"

"The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart."
Tip: Watch your tongue. Anatomy lesson: the tongue is directly connected to the heart which is directly connected to your thoughts.  "Out of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matt. 12:34)

"Love never fails."
I Cor. 13 
Ask God to help you live the Love Chapter.

"I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God."
Exodus 20:5

"He loves with a love so burning and intense that He is passionately jealous for His people."
George Morrison
So don't be unfaithful to God or to your husband..."Oh, be careful little eyes (ears, hands, feet, heart) where you go, for the Father up above is looking down in Love..."  Don't go, see, hear, do, or entertain what you wouldn't include Jesus or your husband. 

"The enthusiasm of youth may have departed, the strength we once enjoyed may have weakened, the freshness may have been rubbed off things thru ceaseless handling of the years.  But if, here and now, facing the unknown in our Lord's fashion we sanctify ourselves, tomorrow will be more wonderful than yesterday."
George Morrison
"Grow old with me.  The best is yet to come."

"Try to get the honey from each  moment."
Suffragist Lucy Stone
In other words, stay optimistic and treasure the blessings of God.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: comfortable friends.  Robin has a name for life-long friends who have worn well through the years: "oatmeal friends."  They bring goodness in a healthy relationship.   Well, maybe they are the blueberries & cream or brown sugar on your oatmeal.   

"They have proved a comfort to me." Paul in Colossians 4:11.  This is the only place in the New Testament that comfort (encouragement) translates to be like a medicine that mitigates or alleviates pain.

"Come in the evening,
or come in the morning;
Come when you're look'd for,
or come without warning,
Kisses & welcome you'll find before you,
And the oftener you come here,
the more I'll adore you!"
Thomas Osborne Davis

"Bless'd be the spot,
Where cheerful guests retire...
Oliver Goldsmith

"May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends."

"Happiness flowed from the sight of so many dear people
 of all ages enjoying the day together."
May Sarton

"With true friends...even water drunk together is sweet enough."
Chinese proverb

"What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other."
George Elliot

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: delighting in creation!  We spent six days in a beautiful valley in the mountains above Quincy, out of Taylorsville in the Genessee Valley at a Pastor & Wives retreat.  We took daily walks soaking in the beauty.  When we arose, it was there.  When we sat down to eat, it was there.  When we enjoyed fellowship, it was there.  We were surrounded by the beauty of creation that could not be ignored. 
Jesus delighted in creation:

"Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men."  Prov. 8:30-32

My  ten month old grandson relishes creation.  His mother found him happily chopping and smacking away and checked to see what was in his mouth: a caterpillar. 

"Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first  bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word."
Eleanor Farjean

"Ever since I first read G.K. Chesterton's work, Orthodoxy, I have been intrigued by the notion that God is still creating the world and everything in it.  Chesterton proposed that just as a child delights in seeing a thing done again and again, so God delights in the 'monotony' and repetition of creation every day.  "It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every evening, 'Do it again' to the moon..."we begin as a gleam in our Heavenly Father's eye and are shaped by Love into a unique, immediate that we come directly from the inventive heart and hand of God."  David Roper