Friday, August 31, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: family & friends.  Little Laura's chosen birthday theme last year was "meat & cheesecake."  The theme for my man's surprise birthday was family & friends & meat!  Al could not have imagined what was in store for him on his birthday.  Thank you to our darling children for making it happen and to all our friends and family who joined in the surprise: amazing evening, a hint of heaven. 

"There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures and feeling that your presence is an addition to this comfort."
Charlotte Bronte
"I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily.
"I don't exactly want to make people know more...though I know that is the noblest ambition...
but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me...
to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed
if I hadn't been born."
Lucy Maude Montgomery
""Some people, no matter how old they get,
never lose their beauty.  They merely move it from their faces
into their heart."
Martin Buxbaum
"The best antiques are old friends."

What a night!  Aunt Beth and family from Oregon & Rocklin, twin sisters singing together, dear friends from Yreka days, and all the rest who gathered, and the special entertainment was the icing on the cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: imperfectionism.  "The definition of a perfectionist is someone who takes great pains, and gives them to others."  I am not a perfectionist, especially when it comes to housekeeping and cooking.  I think I would like it better if dust bunnies were pets or I didn't have to follow the recipe rules on the box.  Maybe it had something to do with starting our married life in a converted girl's dorm with a hot plate on an orange crate and two toilets, two showers, and three sinks in the bathroom.  I had to be creative in cooking with an electric skillet, crock pot, and no oven.  No matter how clean it was, it was still ugly with our hand-me-down furniture where bunk beds used to be.  But it was perfect because we were in love and in college. 

God tells us to "be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect," (Matthew 5:48).  The only way to reach this goal is to understand God's requirement is "perfect love."  God wants our heart, to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  This kind of love is willing to spend a lifetime remodeling an interier that changes ugly to beautiful as we abide in Him. Our decore no longer has a '70's look, neither is my heart stuck in a previous era of  hand-me-down faith and immaturity. His mercies are new every morning!

"It is human to err; it is devilish to remain willfully in error."

St. Augustine
"Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow,
and to love Him as they love their cow
for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them.
This is how it is with people who love God
for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort.
They do not rightly love God, when they love Him for their own advantage.
Indeed, I tell you the truth, any object you have in your mind,
however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost Truth."
Meister Eckhart, 1260-1327


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: aged to perfection.  I'm about to be married to a sixty year old man.  I've never done that before!  The thing that attracted me to him and still does is that he has always wanted to grow.  He's never been a "stale mate!"  The quote from Popeye, "I y'am what I y'am..." only goes so far.  It's a sorry excuse when we are at our worst. 

After Grace's first full day at school, she came home and told her mother,"Mom, today I tried being one of those kids who sucks their thumb when they are sad or scared."  Grace was a late-bloomer thumb-sucker because she had not ever done it before.  Fortunately, it's not a bad habit she decided to pick up at this late stage.  Bad habits are never good ideas.  We should get better as we age.

The world says,
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter,
 and those who matter don't mind." 
Dr. Seuss
Scripture says,
"Encourage one another, and build up one another...And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men...hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."
I Thessalonians 5:11, 14, 21,22
I'm glad God doesn't just pat us on the back, but has given us His Son and His Spirit to enable us to grow to be more like Him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: a full life...In God's good, great, green earth, there is so much to learn and do that I hide from the sandman. I passed it on to my babies and grandbabies none of whom are good sleepers.  If someone said they "slept like a baby," I felt very sorry for them.  "I am greedy for life," (Joanna Reed).  "I wonder why I don't go to bed and go to sleep.  But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherant I am, I can skip one hour more of sleep and live," (Sylvia Plath). 

"What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;...
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers,
I fall on grass."
Andrew Marvell
"Live in each season as it passes:
breathe the air, drink the drink;
taste the fruit."
Henry David Thoreau
"Inspiration is like a deep breath that awakens our soul and opens our eyes to what is possible."
Anne Frank
Look at art,
Write a book,
Study the Bible,
Research your geneology,
Write a letter, pen on paper,
Go on a nature walk,
Put your hand to art,
Look at Pinterest
Take pictures,
Do a craft,
before you sleep.
"My soul thirts for God."
Psalm 42:2

Monday, August 27, 2012

Attitude of gratitude: a quiet place and a holy people.  Sunday was spent with some of God's finest.  From Grandma Marge to little Elizabeth, the fellowship was precious.  I held my toddling twins on my lap during worship.  Then it was my little granddaughter Jane's first day of Toddlers Church.  She ran to class with great excitement and kept her halo on straight enjoying being one of the big girls.  I remember begging to go to Sunday School and being so disappointed in how boring it was sitting on cold folding chairs and listening to a story told using an ugly flannel graph.  It's been my ambition to let the little children say, "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord."  Children's Church can be fun!  In a bad, bad world, we can be a place that says, "Let the children come unto me and forbid them not..."

"This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden under the shadow of these vines.  But if I climbed some great mountains and looked out over wide lands, you know very well what I would see...brigards on the land, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds, under all roofs misery and selfishness.  It really is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world.  Yet, in the midst of it, I have found a quiet place and holy people.  They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life.  They have overcome the world.  These people, Donatus, are Christians..."
St. Cyprian, 3rd Century

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: lost & found summertime.  It's kind of like Hank today.  He didn't show up for dinner so we knew something was amiss.  Phone calls determined he wasn't at his friends' houses.  He wasn't with family.  Just as we were to leave to search for him, he stumbled out, blurried eyes: he had fallen asleep UNDER his bed.  He was lost at home.  Summer is like that.  It is still here, but hidden in a new school year.  The AC is going strong, the grass is thirsty for water, the sweaters are still packed away, and fresh fruits and vegetables are in the garden or farmer's market.  I feel sorry for the teachers and kids toiling by the sweat of their brow.  I still search each day to find summer joys.

"When I was a little kid, of course, I was brown all summer.
  That's because I was as free as a bird - nothing to do but catch bugs all day."
Roy Blount Junior
"Yellow butterflies look like flowers flying through the summer air."
Andrea Willis
"The dandelions and buttercups gild all the lawn: the drowsy bee stumbles among the clover tops, and summer sweetens all to me."
James Russell Lowell
"Who has not dreamed a world of bliss on a bright, sunny morn like this?"
"And let it be that angels lead us in peace
to leafy streams where cherries tremble in the air."
Richard Wilbur
"Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes."
Guy Clark
"Teach us to number our days,
That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

  • Attitude of Gratitude: history lessons.  Sometimes they are sad.  How we treated Indian tribes was abhorant.  There were atrocities on both sides.  The governor of Tennessee, John Sevier, served under Washington then won a decisive battle in the Revolutionary War.  He also went on over thirty campaigns against the Indians.  His war cry was "Kill the nits & kill the lice," meaning women and children were targets.  A man who served under him took it to the extreme and attacked 100 helpless Cherokee women and children who gathered to go to a Presbyterian school started by Rev. Blackburn who also was the founder of Brainerd, a well known ministry to Indians.  That was his war cry.  Another time, Governor Sevier was invited to visit one of  Rev. Blackburn's Schools.  The man began crying saying, "So these are the nits."  The irony was that his daughter was made a special member of the Cherokees and served as a translator and his son married into the tribe.  Soon after the horrendous  Trail of Tears was forced upon them.   

Mankind was so awful that God sent the great flood.  The ark represents salvation.  When the dove was sent out to seek dry land, she came back the second time with an olive leaf, the symbol of peace.  Apart from God's salvation, there is no peace in this land. 
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful

John 14:27
"Look not mournfully into the past.  It comes not back again.  Wisely improve the present, it is thine.  Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, August 24, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude:  music.  Yesterday I started singing "Two Little Ducks" to the twins and they came running like I was the best thing since the Beatles.  They wanted to hear it again and again.

"The only escape from miseries of life are music and cats," (Albert Schweitzer).

"...let this be my epitaph:
'The only proof he needed
for the existence of God was music."
Kurt Vonnegut   
"One dew-wet morning, filled with song..."
"One of these morning's
You're gonna rise up singin'
Then you'll spread your wings
And take to the sky."
"Porgy & Bess," George Gershwin
One court musican of the past said there were only three nations in the world who naturally sang in four part harmony: the Zulu, the Ukraines, and the Wesh.
A very early Welsh historian, Geraldus Cambrensis, wrote in 1187 that the "Welsh sang in as many parts as there were people, and that even your children could harmonize."
"Dying saints testify that music fills their souls with delight."
"Earth has no sorrow, but heaven's music can transpose into lenses
 through which to see the gates of pearl."
"Music, the heavenly maid."
An old Welsh Song, "A Pure Heart"
"I don't ask for a luxurious life,
the world's gold or its fine pearls:
I ask for a happy heart,
an honest heart, a pure heart.
A pure heart is full of goodness,
More lovely than the pretty lily:
Only a pure heart can sing,
Sing day and night.
Late and early, my wish
Rise to heaven on the wing of song, to God,
For the sake of my Saviour,
Give me a pure heart."     

"Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely."
Psalm 135:3

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: perspective.  When Laura was teenie-weenie, I overheard her older siblings having an argument about her.  "Laura couldn't hurt anyone.  She's too little."  "Yes, she could if she jumped off the empire state building and landed on someone."  Look out for falling teenie-weenies if you ever walk around New York Skyscrapers!  Sometimes we loose sight of the big picture looking at others through a microscope or using a magnifying glass on someone else's faults to their hurt.  The proper perspective is humility. 

"A mountain shames a molehill until they are both humbled by the stars."

"We should give God the same place in our hearts as He holds in the universe."

Humility is perfect quietness of the heart.  It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.  It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised.  It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness,
 when all around and above me is trouble."
Andrew Murray

"True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit;
it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us."
T. Edwards

"O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me."
Psalm 131:1

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: a baby's giggle.  Little 3 month old Elizabeth on my lap was looking everywhere else till we locked eyes: then she burst into belly laughs.  I was that funny looking I guess.  We all like to laugh.  "Laughter is inner jogging,"( Norman Cousins).  That's as close to jogging as I get, but I do try to exercise my belly that way as often as possible.  Here's a few summer thoughts that I hope will put a smile on your face...

"I didn't make it to the gym today.  That makes five years in a row."

"I bet deep down you wish your mom would still take you clothes shopping
 every August for the next school year." 
Bridget Willard

"Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it."
Mark Twain

"What dreadful hot weather we have.
It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."
Jane Austen

"Heat, ma'am.
It was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it
but to take off my flesh, and sit in my bones."
Sydney Smith

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."
Sam Keen

"Laziness is nothing more than resting before you get tired."
Jules Renard

"Laughter is good medicine for the soul.  Our world is desperately in need of more medicine."
Jim  Stovall

"A joyful heart is good medicine."

Proverbs 17:22

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the honest truth.  Five year old Grace was asked, "Where did you learn to run so fast?"  My twin taught me."  "What is her name?"  "Ella."  "Where does she live?"  "In the basement."  Make believe, fiction, fantasy, and a lively imagination are endearing qualities in a child or even in an author.  If an adult has an imaginary friend, however, they would be considered half a bubble off.  S.E. Hinton said, "I lie to myself all the time, but I don't believe me." There comes an age of accountability where we must face the truth.  We can either lie, deny, and point the fingers at others or embrace the honest truth.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."  Proverbs tells us that wisdom cries out in the street, but do we really listen?  Unfortunately, more often,  "We believe what we tell ourselves."  "Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom." (Merry Browne)  The most dangerous place to be is of those who "exchange the truth of God for a lie" and are given over.  That is the sin against the Holy Spirit when we choose to harden our hearts so much that truth is forever denied entrance.  What was the first sin?  Believing a lie.  If perfect people in a perfect world could fall, we must be on guard.  The source of all truth is Scripture and is found in Him, "And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True..." (Rev. 19:11)

Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them by the truth; Thy word is truth."  It is truth that makes people holy.  Earths unholiness began with a lie.  Regard the Bible as that which we are to use as the means of becoming holy."  John Broadus

"...Thou dost uphold me in my integrity,
And Thou dost set me in Thy presence forever."
Psalm 41:12

Monday, August 20, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: lounger moms.  I'm not a helicopter mom.  I've officially not gotten off the ground.  I'm a slacker mom, or more specifically, a lounger mom.  I'm trying to invent a remote control for kids, but I haven't got all the kinks out of it yet. 

Let me give you an illustration.  Hank is really a mathmatical whiz at finding the shortest distance between two points.  In laymen's terms that means while getting dressed, it is faster to forgo the underpants, belt, or socks, than take the time to enter the world fully clothed and in his right mind.  One time I took him into his pediactric cardiologist for a test.  There he was with pants sagging, no belt, no whitie-tidies to cover his crack as he held his jeans up with one hand and running on the treadmill holding on for dear life with the other.  A laughing nurse put her finger in his belt loop to hold his britches up so he could continue his jog.  As a slacker mom, I refuse to do underwear checks every morning.  I wish I could say that such embarassment has changed his behavior, but I fear not.    Nevertheless, I still rely on natural consequences to reap their due, clearly understood consequences. If we are no longer unaware of his lack of underwear, he can't leave the house that day.

My husband agrees but sometimes lets them work out the consequences by themselves. When I was gone awhile back, my husband was tired of the boys tattling and fighting so he sent them out to the backyard arena to bop it out.  The winner sat on the other for the countdown. They came in much more subdued, and with no serious injuries, I might add.

The other day an unnamed child lost his temper and screamed at me.  It was so bad the dogs were barking at him, both dogs.  I almost joined in the barking, but decided to rely on the way we parents have of controlling the reigns by making his account due and payable for his charged up card manner: it cost him.  He was on restriction for the rule, if you can't get along at home, you don't get to leave the house, clearly understood consequences for behavior.  The mantra, "You don't understand," is responded to by, "I have heard you and understand what you are saying, but I don't agree with you.  Since someone has to make the decision, and since we are your parents, this is the decision your father and I are making.  I'm sorry if you don't like it."

Dr. Dobson used to say that a policeman shaking his fist at speeding motorists blowing his whistle does little to nothing to curb behavior no matter how red in the face he becomes.  It's his ability to pull us over and to write the ticket that makes us face the consequences. 

Here are some examples...

"I'm older and should be able to stay up later."  "Okay, we'll give you an extra half hour as long as you are able to get up by...If not, the bedtime will return to what it was before."

"Pick up your socks, or the dog will choke to death on them, or if they pass on through, you will clean it up."

"Brush your teeth or your friends will know that you forgot."

"Put your clothes in the dirty clothes or they will not be washed."

"Be home for dinner or there might not be anything left for you and you will be grounded from...a week."

"If you don't put in your school lunch order, you will be making your own lunch for the week."

What kind of parent is God?  When we are but little lambkins, he tenderly carries us and tells His disciple to "Tend my lambs" (John 21:15). "Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms...I led them...with bonds of love...and I bent down and fed them" (Hosea 11:3-4).  But He lets us suffer the natural consequences of our decisions.  He warns us, but He lets us choose to obey or disobey.  He forgives us, throws our sin in the deepest sea, but doesn't spare us the consequences of our sin even after repentance.  We still get the stomache ache after eating too much forbidden fruit.

"Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me in the wilderness where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw my works for forty years.  Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; and they did not know My ways; and I swore in My wrath 'They shall not enter My rest.'  Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin...."   Hebrews 3:7-13

"I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts.  And I will be their God, and they shall be My people...for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more" (Hebrews 8:10-12).           

"So my people are bent on turning from Me...How can I give you up, O Ephraim?  How can I surrender you, O Israel?...My heart is turned within Me, all My compassions are kindled"  Hosea 11:7-8.  That's the kind of parent God is. 


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: shepherds.  Have you ever met one?  When we camped in Colorado growing up, a  Basque shepherd lived in his horse drawn sheepherder's wagon leading the sheep to the green pastures at the high altitudes.  He  knew little English.  His only companions all summer were his dogs: they were amazing running circles around the flock keeping them together or leading them by still waters, moving the flock wherever the shepherd wanted. My parents invited him to Sunday dinner around the campfire, canned chicken.  Yum!  As we attempted conversation,  the shepherd told us that he had to shoot one of his dogs, one of the ones we had watched with amazement, because it had started killing lambs.  We all were heart broken together, a Basque shepherd breaking bread with a little family camping, our tent in the middle of a grazing flock.

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and not spare the flock."  Acts 19:28

"Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the inner life?  Because they neglect their (prayer) closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word.  They have the wheat, but do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it."  Charles Spurgeion

"The world has lost its transient lure--
It's evil spell I shun;
I've set my course for higher things
Till earth's brief race is run."

" The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom...If people do not exercise their souls, they acquire no muscle of soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber,
nor beauty of spiritual growth."
Hennry Drummond

Repentance is changing directions...

"Do not ask God to guide your footsteps...if you're not willing to move your feet."

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back sooner is the most progressive."
C.S. Lewis

John Wesley designed a church in London.  All around the interior of the big balcony are beautiful reliefs of a white dove encircled by a gold serpent.  Why?  It is a reminder to protect the church by being as "wise as serpents and innocent as doves."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: buses.  Back to school brings mental images of little red school houses and yellow buses.  I'm not a big fan of buses.  I rode one a few times home from school. Believe you me, it wasn't the fast track going from Morro Bay, almost to San Luis Obispo, back to Los Osos, a one hour senic drive.  We even rode Greyhound round trip from Marysville to San Antonio once to attend a family reunion, the only ticket in our budget.  Hitchhiking would have been faster; both means of transportation introduce you to the seamier side of life.  However, I do like to watch that extreme make-over show where they shout, "MOVE THAT BUS!"  A total transformation is revealed.  You know, kinda of like the huge stone at the tomb.  Can you imagine if the disciples had caught on to what Jesus had told them and a crowd gathered to watch the stone be rolled away shouting, "Mr. Angel, MOVE THAT STONE!"  Maybe we are the ones who still don't get it that Jesus is in the business of moving huge boulders of impossibility in our lives to reveal total transformations!  He conquered sin and death.  What are we doing with that?  We may think that was nice for Him, but our problems are bigger, more impossible.  Bigger than sin and death?   Do we prefer to mourn over the dead bones of the past instead of enjoying resurrected life?  C.S. Lewis called it being on tip-toe with joy, waiting expectanctly for what God is going to do. 

"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
Emily Dickinson
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 and 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 to sin, except hope."

"Totally without hope one cannot live.  Hell is hopelesness..above the entrance to Dante's hell is the inscription, "Leave behind all hope, you who enter here."
Jurgen Moltman

"At death we are going to  lose something, each of us.  We are going to lose the physical.  We are going to lose our possessions...our shrouds will have no pockets.  But there is something that death cannot take away from us.  It cannot rob us of ourselves.  If the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cleanse you from all sin, do not be so mad to expect the cleansing at the hands of the undertaker, the shroud, and the coffin.  The truth of the matter is that God has no way of getting anyone into heaven who has hell in his or her heart.  You cannot mix the living with the dead...though some people are lost, no one needs to be lost.."The one who comes to Me, I will certainly not cast out." John 6:37
Clovis Gilham Chappell

"I have read true piety defined as: loving one's destiny."
Karen Blixen

"Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in the these two words,
'Wait and hope.'"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude:  sick days. Unlike Atlas, I put the world down off my shoulders. I caught the germ making the rounds, fevor, stuffy nose, blahhs.  It's always good to find out the world can keep rotating without you.  What a joy to have good friends, Pastor Don & Sharon, friends who brought over a timely gf dinner to encourage us in our recent loss.  The boys were in hamburger heaven.  Who knew you could make oatmeal and peanut butter flourless gf cookies!  My motto today is "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow." (Mark Twain) or..."Procrastinate now, don't put it off!" 
Here is my Laundry Schedule:
Sort today
Wash later
Fold eventually
Iron - HaHaHa!

"The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter."
E.E. Cummings
So, I watched America's Funniest Videos. Slap stick humor gets me every time.

"I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward."
Charlotte Bronte

"When you lie down your sleep will be sweet."
Prov. 3:24 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: lessons. Grace came home from her first day of kindergarten, which she loved, but told her 2 year old little sister, "Jane, school's not for you.  You have to learn a lot of stuff and sit in time out on the hard rug."  Sometimes we need to learn a lot of stuff and even sit in time out from time to time. What lessons have you learned lately?  CS Lewis has offered this lesson...

"When we are tempted, we must remember that just because God wants for us what we really want and know the only way to get it, therefore He must, in a sense, be quite ruthless towards sin...The more He loves you, the more determined He must be to pull you back from your way which leads nowhere, into His way which leads you where you want to go...You may go the wrong way again, and again He may forgive you...But there is no hope in the end of getting where you want to go except by going God's way..."

And he continues, "Christ says, 'Give me all, I don't want so much of your time and so much of you money and so much of your work: I want YOU...Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked - the whole outfit.  I will give you a new self instead.  In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours....'  When He said, 'Be perfect,' He meant it.  He meant that we must go in for the full treatment.  It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder - in fact, it is impossible."

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of  God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."  Galatians 5:19-24


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: shut doors.  I have put out a few fleeces to see if I am to work outside the home.  One, I had to take a two hour test with fifty people trying for the same position.  I ranked 13th and would have been under consideration but they decided not to fill the slot.  Sometimes the slam of a door closing is a happy sound.  Another time, I was bypassed by a bilingual person.  Bam!  Another door closes and I am unruffled.  Earlier, my BA and teaching experience lacked a certain junior college credit even though I had sufficient units in the subject to qualify.  Bang!  It can be peaceful after a door slams shut.  God tells us to knock, seek, and ask.  We don't need battering rams.  He says He can open doors no man can open and close doors no man can shut.  I trust His decisions.  Now this week my man was asked to be a hospital's hospice coordinator, a meaningful position he has enjoyed in the past.  His interview is today.  We pray believing "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

"I want to read the employment section of the Bible.  I think it is simply called Job." 
Jacob Kintz

Contented Living
"Health enough to make work a pleasure.  Wealth enough to support your needs.  Strength to do battle with difficulties and overcome them.  Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.  Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.  Chairty enough to see some good in your neighbor.  Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.  Faith enough to make real the things of God.  Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: home comforts.  My favorite place in my home is the leather lounger by the slider with a view of the green, green grass of home, the wysteria, and honeysuckle, and little visitors in feather suits.  Click your ruby red slippers together and say--after your kids go back to school--
"There's no place like home."

"The real things haven't changed.  It is to be honest and truthful; to make the  most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

"I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post which any human power can give."
Thomas Jefferson

"I have lived through much and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness.  A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor--such is my idea of happiness.  and then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children perhaps.  What  more can the love of a man desire?"
Leo Tolstoy 

"Rules for Happiness

Something to do,
Something to love,
Something to hope for."
Immanuel Kant

"The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely."
Louisa May Alcott

"Believe there is a great power, silently working all things for good,
 behave yourself and never mind the rest."
Beatrix Potter

As for our family...
"Love is patient,
Love is kind,
It does not envy,
It does not boast,
It is not proud,
It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs,
Love does not delight in evil,
But rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Always hopes,
Always perseveres,
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8

That's where I want to live!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: aspirations.  Today over hamburgers and fries the boys talked about what they wanted to do when they grew up.  The oldest thought he might want to work at In-Out Burgers.  The youngest said that he wanted to be, if not a marine, a security guard the President: that is a mental picture, Hanky and the President!  What did you want to grow up to be?  Since I didn't get to become a cowgirl or ballerina, I think being a mom is a pretty good job.  Some people can walk and chew gum.  Not me.  I'm happy doing one thing, standing still and blowing a big pink bubble.  Don't burst it.  Yet, there is room in the soul for great depths, room in the head for great thoughts, room in the heart for great love. 

"Go into the arts...The arts are not a way to make a living.  They are a very human way of making life more bearable.  Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake.  Sing in the shower.  Dance to the radio.  Tell stories.  Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.  Do it as well as you possibly can.  You will get an enormous reward.  You will have created something."  Kurt Vonnegat

"You use a glass mirror to see your face;
you use works of art to see your soul."
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

"...a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in a bottle on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation or a commsion, or money, or love.  And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back."
Neil Gaiman

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

Oscar Wilde

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: quirkiness.  Reading a volume of family history on my father's side, of the Merediths, I came across a few choice names.  Too bad my grandchildren have all been named.  My great grandfather was Julius Cezar Allford Meredith.  He named his children Thorough Luther, Jessee, Maude Enner, Marion Allerson (my grandfather), John Harvy, Rual Benson, and Roy Victor.  My grandparents Marion and Annie Fairy Stovall Meredith named their children Opal Viola, Archel Rowland, Dollie Audine, Herschel Allison, Haskel Otis, Kenneth Troy.  They knew how to pick 'em didn't they?  Did your ancestors do better?  The first treasure secretary of the United States was a Meredith and "loaned" the new country $120,000 to get started (never repaid).  Another Meredith went in the printing business with a loan from his father and a knowledgeable young printer named Benjamin Franklin. (Unfortunately, he was an alcoholic.)   Another was a ship merchant who was lost at sea with his son and never heard from again.

The Merediths were of Welsh origin.  The name means "of the sea."  They fought the invading Danes and Kings of England for Wales.  There is a legend of the discovery of America long  before it was discovered by Christopher Columbus by one adventurer "Morgan of the Morgan ap Meredith line.  A Missionary to Texas in 1866 met a tribe of Indians which he describes as White Indians.  The early explorers accepted them as white.  They came to be called the "Welsh Indians."  It was a tradition that a prince of Wales discovered the new world as early as 1170 and returned and led some of his people there.  Many of the Indians on the upper Missouri had light hair and eyes.  Lewis and Clark were also looking for these "Welsh Indians" on their expedition.  Custer in his life on the plains states that he thought he found traces of the Gaelic in the Indian speech.  There is also similarity in the name of one of the Indian chiefs to this explorer.  This fits in with tradition of ancient times with the history of Morgan the third son of Belddyn ap Meradudd (an early spelling for Meredith) who died on a pilgrimage in the 1100's.

Truth is stranger than fiction and quirky!  Whether your name is Meradudd, or Thorough Luther or Julius Cezar, Annie Fairy or Archel, Herschel, or Haskel, it's okay as long as we resemble our Father and honor His name.  Afterall, he called us his peculiar people.

Petroglyphs of by the SW Indians

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own (peculiar) eager to do what is good."  Titus 2:11-14.

"All of us have a place in history.  Mine is clouds."

"One lives in hope of becoming a memory."
Antonio Porchia 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: gracious girlhood.  The world tries to squeeze us into its mold, as plastic as a Barbie and gives us a mirror to talk to to say, "Who's the fairest of them all?"  We are bombarded by images of wordliness instead of godliness.  It is not a high bar to leap over but a limbo bar to bend backwards under to see who can dip the lowest.  It is hard to find an ideal or example to put before their tender eyes to look up to.  Then we have Gabby who said upon winning her gold, "The glory goes up to Him and the blessings fall down on me."  Thank you Gabby. 

As mentors we need to Befriend them, help them Belong, lead them to Believe, and guide them to Become.  "Don't shine so that others see you.  Shine so that, through you, others can see Him."

"You are beautiful.  Your beauty, just like your capacity for life, happiness, and success is immeasurable.  Day after day, countless people across the globe step on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.  Get off the scale!  I have yet to see a scale that  can tell you how enchanting your eyes are.  I have yet to see a scale that can show how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it.  I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile.  Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perserverance when challenged in life...It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, possibility, strength, or love.  Don't give the scale more power than it has earned."
Steve Maraboli

"Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be?  Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive,' 'jealous,'
'vain,' ... or 'cruel'?  Not to me."
J.K. Bolling

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her."
Max Lucado

"Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe."
I Timothy 
"Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
Proverbs 31:29-30 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: swing sets.  Life has its ups and downs, but enjoy the ride, even if you sometimes need a push from a friend.  The last of our son's move last year included moving the swing set.  He couldn't go under it, or through it, or around it, so he went over it and carried the swingset over the roof to the backyard!

"The swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home.  Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentally as desparately as I did this afternoon.  It's all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your children will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: no matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can't go all the way around."  John Green

Pushing hard we say...

Sit up straight,
Chew with your mouth closed,
Use your napkin,
Say please and thank you,
Don't play with your food,
Be nice,
Keep your elbows off the table,
Clean your plate,
Say your prayers,
Eat your vegetables,
Turn off the light,
Shut the door,
Brush your teeth,
Turn it down,
Don't mumble,
Wash your hands...

Then we push them one last time hoping they've learned to pump themselves.

"Don't let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you alread have one."
Glennon Melton
"A poor, yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king
 who no longer knows how to receive instruction."
Ecclesiastes 4:13

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: humor.  Laura had just found three year old Jane with the thermometor in her mouth, the one that had been in baby Elizabeth's-well, not in her mouth.  When Laura expressed her dismay, Jane's eyes got really big, then she got a sly smile and laughed a naughty life, "Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing." Jorod Kintz  "Humor keeps us alive.  Humor and food.  Don't forget food.  You can go a week without laughing." Joss Wheldon 

"I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud.  And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes.  I want to eat cold tangerines, and sing out loud in the car with my windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up al night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now.  I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down and I want everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that He gave life to someone who loves the gift."  Shauna Niequist, "Cold Tangerines: Celebration the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life."

Have you made God laugh today?

"And Sarah laughed to herself..."
Genesis 18:12

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: light.  "With Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light."
New research says that the blue light of electronics interfere with sleep cycles.  However, in the winter, I feel like a little chick that needs a light for warmth; some need a night light for fear.  In heaven there will be  no night, a fact that kids universally love to hear: no more bedtimes!  There will be no need  of a sun.

 "The longest way must have its close--The gloomiest night will wear on to a morning."
Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin") 

"If we walk in the Light as He is in the Light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." I John 1:7.  Light is cleansing and brings healing.

"We see always what we are looking for, and if our mind has become trained to look for trouble and difficulty and all dark and dreary things, we find just what we see.  On the other hand, it is quite as easy to form the habit of looking always for beauty, for good, for happiness, for gladness, and here, too, we shall find precisely what we seek."  J.R. Miller

"You can't live a positive life with a negative mind."

"If you keep telling the same sad small story, you will keep living the same sad small life."
Jean Houston

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."
A. Nin
"How beautiful our lives may be; how bright
In privilege; how fruitful of delight!
And lo! al round us His bright servants stand..."
Henry S. Sutton

God leaves the light on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: lemonade. If life gives you lemons...Little Ezra had a doctor's appointment.  It was an ear infection causing his high fever.  As sick as he was, he wanted to communicate with me and said, "Doc-tor," a new word.  He was proud of himself.  He squeezed something good out of the moment.  Then he started singing the theme song to his favorite kids' program, "Toodoo...toodoo..."

"When you're happy, you enjoy the music.  But when you're sad, you understand the lyrics."

"Without music, life would be a mistake."  

"Singing is the language of heaven."

"Happiness...not in another place but this place, not for another hour, but this hour."

"Always be on the lookout for wonder."

"They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away."
Isaiah 51:11

To make lemonade, you must squeeze the lemons.
squeeze a little joy out of each moment.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: winning the gold.  Al's sister passed the finish line Sunday morning two weeks after she found out her cancer had returned.  Laura took her last breaths here then took in the air of heaven.  She was 58, mother of five, a loving grandmother, and a Christian.  She isn't wearing a gold medal, she's walking on gold with her parents, grandparents, brother Will, and a grandchild. 

"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down on the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:1-2

This race is different than an Olympic event in that the goal is not who crosses the finish line first, but that we all help each other cross.  The cloud of witnesses includes us here below as well as the saints above.  There was an Olympic runner in recent years who pulled a hamstring, but did not want to quit limping toward the finish line.  His father jumped out of the stands, put his son's arm over his shoulder and helped him make it to his goal.  That is the picture of the Christian race.  "The difference in those who make it and those who don't is that those who make it don't quit."   Is there someone we need to help to the finish line?
The Attitude of Gratitude: the last sips of summer.  Have you shopped for the needed school supplies yet?  I'm a procrastinator. I don't even know when school begins, do you?  When did summer shrink?  I don't think school should start until September.  I'm not done with it yet.  There are rivers to wade in and day trips to make.

"We should enjoy this summer flower by flower, as if it were to be the last one  we'll see."
Andre Gide

There are certain preparations to equip your young folks with before sending them into the world.  Here are a few I've gathered from pinterest and other places...

  The words of the tongue should have three gate keepers:
Is it true? Is it kind?  Is it necessary?
"Danger happens when we fill in the blanks of others' lives with our own emotion."

"You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel."

"A bad attitude is like a flat tire.  You can't go anywhere till you change it."

"Life is like writing with a pen.
You can cross out your past, but you can't erase it."
E.B. White

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will bive grace to those who hear."
Ephesians 4:29

Friday, August 3, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: sleep of the blest. A little shut eye...40 winks...Nighty, night, sleep tight....Sweet Dreams...Hey, Mr. Sandman...Mr. Moon, Moon, Great Big Shiney Moon...Sleep like a baby...Rock a Bye, Baby...Dormez vous? I see the moon the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me...Winken, Blinken, and Nod...Star light, star bright...go to sleep counting sheep...Sleep my child, and peace attend thee, all through the night...all night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord..."He gives to His beloved even in their sleep."

One of my favorite lullabies is a Welsh one from 1784

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels, God will send thee
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale, in slumber keeping
All through the night.
I my loved ones watch am keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.
Angels watching ever round thee
All through the night
In thy slumbers close around thee
All through the night
They will all fears disarm thee,
They will let no peril harm thee
All through the night. 

And Brahm's lullaby...

Lullaby, and good night...
your mother's delight
Shining angels beside my darling abide...

A little wee one was born tonight to Corey and Allicia Lucich: welcome Roman!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: sanity.  None of us are completely normal.  We all have the crazies from time to time.   "Normal is a setting on the dryer."  Yet, some struggle for sanity more than others.  We live on a spectrum.  I battled severe depression and am thankful to live in a day when medicine is available to help the deficits in the brain synapsis.  I can feel like myself again. Yet, I can sympathize with those who have a harder time finding emotional/mental balance. 

When you adopt, you wish love was enough.  Sometimes it's not. Sometimes children are damaged by abuse or even a bad roll of the gene dice.  Children's depression, even manic depression's swings, happen often throughout the day rather than swings of weeks or months as with adults.  Post trauma looks, feels, and acts the same as manic depression. All the love, medicine and therapy in the world doesn't help if the child lies and doesn't take his meds.  Insanity!  If you haven't lived with it, I wouldn't invite you to join us.  It is scary and unpleasant.  The future can mean success or be foreboding.  Thankfully, we have a Saviour who loves us and goes before us. 

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
Corrie Ten Boom

"To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death."
Pearl Buck

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering, it will be happier."
Alfred Tennyson    

"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

"Feelings are much like waves; we can't stop them from coming,
but we can chose which ones to surf."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the Olympics.  I once won a ribbon for the standing broad jump.  I was eight.  That is the sum total of my athletic achievements.  It went downhill after this accomplishment, so I live vicariously through the Olympics.  I'm grateful they no longer do the events in the nude.  I'm proud to be an American, even with the made-in-China uniforms which I think look spiffy.  My favs are gymnastics and swimming.  This is a spoiler if you haven't kept up: gold for the young women in gymnastics!!!!  (According to our President, they didn't actually achieve this, somebody built the roads, bridges, and buildings they traveled and used to practice in, and somebody--probably in China--even made their leotards.)  A seventeen year old gold medal swimmer praised God and her parents for her win: may her tribe increase.  Spoilers are when the news leaks out before the event is broadcast.  I have another spoiler: the best is yet to come as we go for the streets of gold.  We can achieve the gold as we run the race with perserverance:

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2

Practicing for the gold, silver, and bronze!