Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: angels.  I like candy, I like autumn, pumpkins, the warm hues of fall leaves, but I don't like Halloween.  Hideous creatures and a celebration of death is not my cup of tea or in my definition of "Whatsoever things are lovely..."  If I want to get scared, I'll ride a roller coaster or ride along with a teen driver.  I'll live a happy life if I never see a horror flic.  About a fourth of Trick or Treaters are older teenagers or adults now who no longer wear cutsie costumes.  I hate the little girls' costumes that make them look like hookers instead of princesses.  I think an angel costume is a good choice.  One writer suggested that we become angels in disguise.

"So amid trivial things we may be...pleasing God, that is, leading angels' lives, in that they are doing His will on earth, as the angels in heaven.  They are 'servants of His, doing His pleasure.'"
Edward Pusey
"Your life is hid with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:3

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: mermaids...  Need a Halloween costume idea?  Be a mermaid because they
 "have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living."   Surround yourself with family and friends who have found the deep waters and aren't satisfied with kiddie pools, those who eat meat instead being bottle fed.  It can't be found in the mall or in front of a mirror, or in a closet.  Read history, plunge the depths of human thought.  Find safe friends who will listen and exchange ideas, and swim to the depths to find treasure.  Weigh them by the truth of God's Word. 

"Ripe age gives tone to violins, wine (I wouldn't know), and good fellows."
John Townsend Trowbridge

With years a richer life begins, the spirit mellows."
John Townsend Trowbridge
"The well of nature is full today.
Time to go outside and take a drink."
Diane Ackerman
"Bring bread to the table and your friends will bring their joy to share."
French Proverb
"At my table, I set a place for surprise. 
I serve opinion and sometimes fact.
I simmer good conversation."
"I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendents for generations."
Beatrix Potter
"Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run..."
John Keats
"How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to choose understanding rather than silver!"
Proverbs 16:16

Monday, October 29, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: adverbs and adjectives.  Life would have been boring without the descriptive words in our vocabulary describing the flourishes that God has written into the universe.  It's the difference in cursive and block letters figuratively.  I am captured by quotes that paint pictures with words colored by brilliant hues and a suggestion of a crisp bite...

"Yellow, mellow, ripened days,
Sheltered in a golden coating;
O'er the dreamy, listness haze,
White and dainty cloudlets floating;
Winking at the blushing trees,
And the sombre, furrowed fallow;
Smiling at the airy ease,
Of the southward flying swallow
Sweet and smiling all thy ways,
Beateous, golden Autumn days."
Will Carleton  
"Autumn is the bite of a harvest apple."
Christina Petrowsky

"The Hebrews have a saying, that God is more delighted in adverbs than in nouns 'tis not so much the matter that's done, but the matter how 'tis done, that God minds.  Not how much, but how well.  'Tis the well-doing that meets with a well-done.  Let us, therefore, serve God not nominally or verbally, but adverbially."  (Vening)

"It is not the deed we do,
Though the deed be ever so fair,
But the love that the dear Lord looketh for,
Hidden with holy care
In the heart of the deed so fair."
Harriet McEwen Kimball
"I know your deeds and your toil and perserverance...
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love."
Rev. 2:2,4

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: a hotel for children.  Aunties are awesome.  Little Laura told her mom, "We love you and want to live with you, but...Auntie's is like a hotel for children and so much fun!" 

"Childhood memories have attached me to this house with ties of affection and well-being..."
George Sand
"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days
 which occur more frequently in memory than in life."
P.D. James

"We don't remember days, we remember moments."
Cesare Pavese
"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came--
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Pofessor Wind the band."
George Cooper 
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure,
children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation,
in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.."
Philippians 2:14-16
an easy gluten free recipe for bbq pork ribs in a crockpot...
small can of tomato paste
apple cider vinegar
brown sugar
gf katshup

Put the boneless ribs in the crockpot with gf seasonings of choice.
Let sear for an hour then drain liquid.
Mix the sauce ingredients to taste.
Let cook for several hours.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: embracing sorrow.  Our friend is a bird with a broken wing who doesn't know if he will ever fly again with the loss of his wife.  More than anyone we know, his genius mind flew  above the earth while his wife was the wind beneath his wings enabling him to soar.  His feet never touched the ground, until now.  He doesn't know what to do walking around, scratching dirt, when all he has known for forty years has been the upper altitude.  He has to come to terms with his God who used him many times to help bring miraculous healing to others, but not for his wife.  Instead her life ebbed away when it wasn't supposed to. 

"Faith is when you come to the edge of all the light you have known,
and are about to step out into the darkness.
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen.
There will be something to stand on or
you will be taught how to fly."
"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."
Robert Frost
"O Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods.
And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt,
And night by night the wintery blast
Wails in the key-hole, telling how it pass'd
O'er empty fields, or upland solitudes,
Or grim wide wave; and now the power is felt
Of melancholy, tenderer in its mood 
 Than any joy indulgent Summer dealt."
William Allingham
and again...
"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact
you must give it to no one, not even an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries;
Avoid all entanglements. 
Lock it up safe in casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.
It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. 
To love is to be vulnerable."
C.S. Lewis 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: well-chosen friends.  I got a hand-written letter in a beautiful, familiar script from a cousin, not often heard from, but no less dear. The sweetness lingers. Then last night we got a call that one of our dearest friends died.  We didn't even know she was sick.  We had shared so much laughter, found out we were pregnant together several times, loved each other's kids,  drove many miles to be together, even planned vacations together.  Now she enjoys the unimaginable blessings of heaven while her family is helpless in grief without her. 

I am not privileged to live near many of my long term friends or family members of my generation, but absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Past friendships have helped me to know the real thing when I make new ones.  May you cherish those special people in your life who laugh or cry or pray with you.

"Nostalgia, a deep bond we have with the Greek, nostalgia literally means a pain from an old wound, a twinge in your heart far more powerful than the memory alone...
and takes as to a place where we ache to go again."  Don Draper

"In the sweetest of friendship, let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures--For in the dew of little things, the heart finds the morning and is refreshed."
"Never blame anyone in your life.
Good people give you happiness.
Bad people give you experience.
Worse people give you a lesson,
And the best people give you memories."

"We're all just walking each other home."

"Our deepest instinct is heaven.  Heaven is the ache in our bones,
the splinter in our heart."
Mark Buchanan

"To die would be an awfully big adventure."
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)

"A friend loves at all times."
Proverbs 17:17

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: domesticity.  When Laura was in second grade she came home from her Christian school and said ashamedly, "Mom, today we had to fill out a paper that asked about sex."  I was taken aback until I realized it was a form for male or female.   I am proud to declare on forms when asked profession to put down "homemaker," check.  There are many times I have worked outside the home.  In fact I have applied along with the multitudes for several positions.  Now that my husband is bi-vocational again, I am the one to stay home.  I appreciate all those who do work outside the home.  However, I know myself: there's only so much of me that can go around.  My energy is not limitless.  My heart is at home, and I thank the Lord I am able to be an at home mom.  It is an event if I bake cookies, my house is not spotless, sometimes my laundry piles up, dust is the patena on my furniture: Martha Stewart doesn't live here.  Growing up I despised recliners thinking them the ugliest furniture ever made, but now I am one with my barko-lounger.  I am able to do what I love, writing, and a little artwork, along with being home for my boys.   As a grandmother, I am on call to help as needed: yesterday, I helped three families. There's no social security besides my husband's, there's no workman's comp when injured on the job, and there's not even any egg money like former housewives of past generations kept in their pocket.  We live by the choices we make.  To some, it is more important to have a better lifestyle, a fatter retirement, but for most, a choice of necessity to survive.  I do get a paycheck from adoption assistance from our state government that we didn't see coming when we decided to adopt.  It is a monthly reminder that child raising is not free, but of value.  If you are a stay-at-home mom, know you are of irreplaceable value.  

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. 
All other careers exist for one purpose only...
to support the ultimate career."
C.S. Lewis
"No man is poor who has a godly mother."
Abraham Lincoln
"And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sun
Are the little family gatherings when the busy day is done."
Edgar A. Guest
"She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her..."
Proverbs 31:26-28
Which verses in Proverbs 31 inspire you?  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: a frown turned upside down.  When we babysat the eighteen month old twins,  it was amazing the things we would do to make them smile, exhausting ourselves to hear them laugh.  Addie and Ezra have just learned of the wonderful game of Duck, Duck, Goose: we would all bow our heads, even the dogs, to be "ducked," then the wild goose chase would begin ending in belly laughter. 

"It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving,
 but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living."
F. Scott Fitzgerald  
"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant 
"I'm wearing the same smile you gave me."
"I love it when someone's laugh is funnier than the joke."
"She can laugh at the days to come..."
Proverbs 31:25

An easy gluten free meal...
Wendy's chili (cheaper than home made)

baked potatoes
 toppings like cheese, onions, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: fall weather.  Fall has fallen.  It came with pouring rain, hail, snow, and tornadoes.  The clouds came fast and furiously with bright white billowing to dark and threatening doing a dance swirling, whirling.  In between dances, the sun tapped on the shoulder begging to take a turn, but was quickly refused.  Then the thin white finger from the heavens tapped and no one dare refuse the dangerous twister and the dance turned wildly serious.

"My sorrow, when she's here with me,
thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be;
she loves the bare, withered tree;
she walks the sodden pasture lane."
Robert Frost 
"Oh hushed October
Morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind,
If it be wild,
Should waste them all."
"He hurls down His hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand His icy blast
He sends His word and melts them;
He stirs up His breezes, and the waters flow...
Praise the Lord from the earth...
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do His bidding..."
Psalm 147:17-18 & Psalm 148:7,8  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: mustard seeds.  Teenie-tiny seeds of faith the size of the dot under an explanation point, can grow tree-size, and even move-mountains, (Matthew 13:31-32 & Matthew 17:20-21).  Sometimes mountains are moved when hidden behind a fog or cloud.  Now you see it, now you don't.  It moves out of sight silently..."I saw old Autumm in the misty morn, stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence,"(Thomas Hood).  I have also seen part of a mountain come tumbling down, an immense crashing as boulders as large as cars came down bounching like rubber balls, crumbling like cookies in a landslide.   At least part of the mountain moved.  Do you have prayer requests like I do that are as huge as mountains and seem to make faith seem miniscule?  It's all in the perspective.  You are the teenie-tiny dot, the mountainous problem is huge, but there is One who is bigger.   He can hear better than Horton hears a Who with your tinnie-tiny call for help. Hold on for God's landslide of answers.  I taught a song to the toddlers in church today, "My God is so BIG, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do."  Now to have the faith of a little child.

"Look down from heaven and see from your lofty throne holy and glorious...Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
"For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you." 
Isaiah 63:15 & 64:1,3

"God answers prayer, not advice."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: oatmeal cookies warm from the oven.  Now that we've had a turn in the weather, I've baked two batches of oatmeal cookies (gluten-free).  They fill the air with the yummy smell of cinnamon and sugar.  Autumn is the season for coziness and domesticity, wool and plaids, a fireside, a plate of cookies, and a good book.  The books I've curled up with recently...

Voices of the Faithful, Book Two, by Kim Davis and Beth Moore, devotional
When the Father Holds You Close, by Cynthia Heald, devotional
Bad Childhood, Good Life, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Judeo-Christian ethics and Counseling
Where the Wild Rose Blooms, Lori Wick, light Christian fiction, okay reading
Tales of the Western Heartland, Harry Chrisman, history
The Fur Trade and Early Western Exploration, Clarence Vandivee (yeah, I know...), history
A Stolen Kiss, by ? Eden, a modern day Jane Austen style fiction, a fun read
Miss Ruby from Texas, by me!

"There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it.  It is like falling in love." Christopher Morely

The best book of all I love, the Bible...

"The Lord's message rang out from you..."
I Thessalonians 1:8

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude:  authorship!  My books have arrived: Miss Ruby from Texas!!  I received 30 books.  When I receive more, I will plan a book signing party since most of them have been sent out already.  Hopefully in November, TBA.  In the meanwhile, here are some bookwurmish thoughts...

a book: "A little kingdom I possess,
where thoughts and feelings dwell."
"Neighbors will never complain that your book is too loud."
"Books have stopped bullets--reading may save your life."
"Dinosaurs didn't read.  Look what happened to them."
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel,
must be intolerably stupid."
Jane Austen said this, not me.
"Even the world itself would not contain the books which were written."
John 21:25
Attitude of Gratitude: weaning.  It is a difficult time for mother and child whether being weaned from nursing or from the bottle.  Nursing or the bottle is vital to existence, for sustenance as well as bonding of being cuddled skin to skin in mother's arms.  I had to leave town to wean my first two, one at fifteen months, the other at seventeen months.  The third was two years old when she fell and bit her tongue and could no longer nurse.  My last two babies, Tristan and Hank, got as many bottles as they wanted all night long from this bad mommy.  However, not too many school children hit the bottle proving that we all are weaned eventually.

" Weaning takes the child out of a temporary condition into a state in which he will continue for the rest of his life: to rise above the world is to enter upon a heavenly existence which can never end.  When we cease to hanker for the world we begin hoping in the Lord.  O Lord, as a parent weans a child, so do thou wean me, and then shall I fix all my hope on thee alone."
Charles Spurgeon

"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.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever."
Psalm 131:1-3

"Crying doesn't indicate you're weak.  Since birth, it has always been a sign that you're alive."
Sarah Dressen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: chirping.  There's nothing finer than waking up in the morning hearing a mocking bird sing its repertoire of songs.  It's like a bird symphony.  I miss my parakeet whose dander made my sons-in-law's eyes swell up and noses stuffy.  I had to choose between them or the bird.  Life is full of difficult decisions.   What I don't like is a chirping smoke alarm.  Two electritions and many batteries later, it continued to chirp.  (Even my computor quit working and only cheeps now; it must have learned it from the pesky smoke alarm.)  Yet, I will heed its warning as it is there for protection.  Smoke inhalation is the biggest killer in house fires.  So, I will keep feeding it batteries and have electricians visit it as needed.

"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy,
and heed the things which are written it it;
for the time is near."
Revelation 1:3

Check your end time detector.  Are your batteries up to date? 
Take heed.  He will come as a thief in the night.  

"Autumn asks that we prepare for the future--that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping.
But it also asks that we learn to let go--to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness."
Bonaro W. Overstreet

"O Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being
Then from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven like ghosts from enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-sticken multitudes!
O Thou who chariot their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
...With living hues and odours plain and hill;
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer, and preserver;
Hear, o hear!
Percy B. Shelley

Attitude of Gratitude: clean slates.  Overheard at Ladies Retreat: a woman about my age was bragging to her pastor's wife about her new "Christian" tattoo on her breast revealed by a low-cut blouse.  However, to be fully read, more would have needed to be revealed, plus I would have needed to approach her up close and personal in order to be able to read the small lettering.  I didn't want to go there.  What is our culture coming to?  Would Mary have tattooed herself similarly, "Jesus ate here"?  Tattoos began with uncivilized pagan societies, then it was only on the "bad boys."    Hepatitis is out of control from tainted ink and instuments more than the shared needles of drug addicts.  Now it is featured on TV reality shows; so is Honey Boo Boo.  It is certainly NOT a salvation issue, but a light issue.  Tattoos are nothing new.  Leviticus 19:28 " shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord." In our study of Revelation 7:3, His name will be  inscribed on our foreheads.   That is the only mark I want written on my body.  Is your slate clean?  "You are the temple of the Holy Spirit."  I Cor. 3:16  "And the Lord said to him, 'Go through the midst of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its not touch any man on whom is the mark..." Ezekiel 9:4.     There are much worse things, but sometimes I sigh at our culture and how it has made its way into the Church.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: green pastures...When I read "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," a preschool Jay said aghast "Is that in the Bible?  It says I shall not want the Lord as my shepherd."  Fortunately, that misunderstanding was corrected. The following are selections from the devotional book, "When the Father Holds You Close," by Cynthia Heald.  Sheep can't fight so they take flight: they run.  The presence of the shepherd calms them.  Our Shepherd makes us feel safe and secure: "Fear not, for I am with you," Isaiah 41:10.   Charles Spurgeon thought that the green pastures refer to the Word of God: "Sweet and full are the doctrines of the gospel; fit food for souls, as tender grass is natural nutriment for sheep.  When by faith we are enabled to find rest in the promises, we are like the sheep that lie down in the midst of the pasture."  "Great peace have those who love Your law," Psalm 119:165.  "When sheep lie down in green pastures, they ruminate--'to ponder, to reflect on, to chew on.'  We eat and then in a time of quiet, meditate on its meaning for our lives."

"David sat before the Lord; he was quiet before his God.  Even if we have not a long time to spend in the morning with our God, much can be received in a very few minutes if only we are quiet.  Sometimes it takes a little while to gather our scattered thoughts, and quiet our soul.  Even so, don't hurry; make it sit down on the green grass."  Amy Carmichael

A friend's little dog was shaken to death by a coyote recently.  It needed a shepherd.  It is a wicked world out there, but we can be led to green pastures.  "Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart.  What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear."  Harriet Beecher Stowe (Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: keeping house open to hope.  "Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope." John Anthony Ciardi.
Waiting is heart rending.  There remains a deep ache in the heart when there is an empty chair in the Father's house. 

I have always found it difficult to understand Jesus words, in red in case there is any doubt, "...children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved...Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother...and a man's enemies will be members of his household...He who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."  Matthew 10:21, 34-37.  There is only one choice for me: God is our Father first and we pray the generations will follow.  Whether or not they do, we can still say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  If others leave the household of faith or reject the faith of their fathers, it doesn't change the commitment for me and my house.  There will be a home for the Prodigal to come back to.  Let the sword be the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to fight the spiritual battle, even if it is for your own family. 

Note, the Prodigal's parents didn't insist on letting him throw his parties in their home, buying the booze, closing their eyes to his sinful lifestyle in order to keep peace at all costs.  They let him go.
They let him squander his resources.  They let him suffer the consequences, even letting him choose the pig slop.  It is up to the Spirit of God through prayer to reach out and bring them to repentance and a change of direction that turns them back to home.

"Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never, mended well." 
Ben Franklin
"Live an honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back,
you'll be able to enjoy it a second time."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: woodland creatures.  By the shores of Lake Tahoe, by the shining big blue water, I spied with my little eye, vibrantly blue stellar jays; a fat family of quail, all lovey-covey; and daring, darting grey squirrels; itsey bitsey baby chipmunks in their stripped pajamas; flitting, fluttering chickadees; and no bear because Gail prayed it away.  The animals' condos have lake views that I could never afford.  Woodland creatures are part of the pleasure of autumn walks.    My niece posted from Oregon that she heard an owl hoot.  Her sister wrote, "Where?"  She replied, "Outside."  She's a hoot.  "All creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all."

"The luminous birds, goldfinches and orioles,
Were gone or going, leaving some of their gold
Behind in near-gold, off-gold, ultra-golden
Beeches, birches, maples, apples..."
Robert Francis

Those are wild turkeys.

"Just before sun-up, I get up and yell:
Good morning, birds!
If I can wake up the birds, I'm happy."
Debbie Smallback

"Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands;
Thous hast put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
Also the beasts of the fields,
The birds  of the heavens, and the fish of the sea..."
Psalm 8:8

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: the bite of a harvest apple.  "What do Eve, Sir Isaac Newton, and Johnny Appleseed have in common?  Apples, of course."  This time of year is for the harvesting of this tempting fruit.  When I went away to college my first fall, my parents gave me a box of Granny Smiths, picked fresh from an orchard, to keep in my dorm room: they helped sustain me for the entire quarter and perfumed the air in the stuffy room.  There's no comparison of the apple picked from the bough and that bought at the supermarket. The season is called fall, perhaps after the falling fruit that has been accused of being the temptation in the Garden that led to the fall.

Here are some other things that fall...

"I hate it when my leg FALLS asleep in the middle of the day, 
because that means it'll be up all night."
Steven Wright
"The laws of gravity cannot be held responsible for people FALLING in love."
Albert Einstein

"Speak clearly, if you speak at all;
carve every word before you let it FALL."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

" bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core..."
John Keats

"The goldenrod is yellow
The corn is turning brown
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down."
children's song

"Autumn is the bite of a harvest apple."
Christina Petrowsky

"...for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye..."
Zechariah 2:8

Attitude of Gratitude: godly leaders.  What attracted me to my husband is that he always wanted to grow and be a better man of God, a better husband and father.  I thank the Lord that he has been a faithful servant to the Church.  We left one denomination partly because they did not keep the standard of God's Word on the qualifications for ministers  allowing those caught in adultry to be reinstated with little consequence. 

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity...not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." I Timothy 3:2-7.

In our Bible study last week, Beth Moore's summary of Rev. 6 opening of the seals is that godliness does matter.  It couldn't be described in more graphic terms.  As a warning, there are some churches who do not keep these standards.  I believe that a person has only one chance at being a minister of the Gospel and once that trust is broken through unfaithfulness, they may be redeemed, but not trusted with the care and keeping of souls.  There is one church locally who has hired someone in the midst of unfaithfulness who has been handed ministry on a platter.  Talent doesn't matter.  Godliness does.  I would rather be counted among the remnant that remains.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: still waters that run deep.  Deep friendships don't have as many ripples.  Fishermen look for those deep, dark calm pools where the best catch can be found.  Lake Tahoe is so vast and deep, but its surface is seldom calm.  Sitting at the lake shore, I listened to the waves breaking at the shore.  It was a constant crashing against the rocks rather than the ebb and pull of the waves on the ocean.  If Jesus was preaching at this lake, it would be hard to hear over the constant battering, not the gentle lapping on the shore.  Sometimes, relationships are turbulent, beating against the rocks, exhausting, sucking you down, beating you up.  "Peace, be still.   Even the wind and the waves obeyed Him."  May you find those friendships of deep, calm that are not carried about with every wind or wave, double-minded, unstable...

The best friendships to me are with those who share my deep faith and who love enough to hear my hurts and burdens and will pray for me and I for them, and with those who can laugh with me.  Sometimes, time and distance separate the availability of the time together, but true friendships pick up where they left off, barely missing a heartbeat.  I'm thankful for the many wonderful friendships God has blessed me with.  The world is full of rejection, which makes their acceptance all the more dear.

"Friendship: It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others."
C.S. Lewis
"Love is the beauty of the soul."
St. Augustine
"A friend is someone who does things that count, but doesn't stop to count them."
"It is the things in common that makes relationships enjoyable,
 but it is the little differences that make them interesting."   
Todd Ruthman

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made.  The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as autumn air."  Eric Sloane

Home again, home again, jiggety-jog...

"They travel with a constant companion, autumn."
Cullen Bryant
"I think that I shall never see a billboard as lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,  I'll never see a tree at all."
Ogden Nosh

It was a wonderful weekend with some of my favorite lovely ladies.  So beautiful!  Details will emerge as I blog along in the days ahead. 

"Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."  I think if I were Jesus and my Father decided to send me to earth, I would have picked LakeTahoe instead of the Holy Land to launch my ministry on this earth.  I realized as I sat viewing the lake, I was feeling a little sorry for Jesus not coming to such a place.  He had a place more beautiful in mind, I guess: heaven.

"Pain Perdu or Lost Bread
Adapted from one of my favorite blogs, "Tongue in Cheek," a French version of French Toast:
Cut the baguette (or loaf of gf bread) into oversized bites, put them in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl whip 4 eggs with 1 cup of half & half, 2 T. vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tsp. cinnamon.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread and mix thoroughly.  Butter a baking dish with a heavy hand.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar on the buttered pan, then add slices of one apple--or for me, blackberries--Pour egg battered bread mix in dish.  Bake 300 for 15-20 min.  Serve warm with maple syrup--or for me, a runny powdered sugar mixture with lemon juice.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: a collective conscience.   I like collections: just look at my house: books, dogs, antlers, green glass, etc.  My favorite collection is my grandchildren though they are so hard to round up for even a picture. The Wesleyans have produced a booklet with some of the following outlining a collective conscience..."We believe that good morals are the fruit of a people who are individually reconciled to God and who seek to live transformed lives within a culture that may not reflect godly values.  Redeemed people should manifest a commitment to social righteousness rather than to evil.  Righteousness that is rooted in the experience of being a new creature in Christ should translate into a redeeming and remedial influence upon society.  In the spirit of the apostle Paul's admonition to "stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you" (II Thess. 2:15), the Wesleyan Church addresses these contemporary social issues from a biblical and collective conscience perspective.  The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and guidance to believers as they seek to discern personal boundaries for holy living." 

"...These (collective conscience) statements are believed to be important enough that they should be a part of the identity of the Church and should characterize the lifestyle of those who are a part of our specific family within the larger body of Christ.  By speaking collectively, the Church also provide examples for and encourage young disciples, recent converts, new members, and its friends in conforming to Christ's likeness in areas of personal conscience not yet informed by personal study and understanding of biblical principles."

"Our heavenly citizenship affects how we live out our earthly citizenship while we pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10)." Where would society be without the collective conscience of the church?

My favorite collection!
(even though it's missing several new ones)

Here is one example..."The Wesleyan Church believes that its members should exercise responsible stewardship of their time for worship, work, rest, personal leisure, and service to others.  Special care should be given to honoring Christ in one's choices and pursuit of entertainment.  This will include refusing to patronize and to carefully regulate the use in the home of activities, media, and communication where they feature the cheapening of human life, the gratuitously violent, the use of immoral or profane language, and the sexually explicit and pornographic."

My teen wants to see a popular movie; however, I told  him I wanted to protect him from images of teens killing one another. Once those images are in there, they never leave.  I do not want to desensitize him to the taking  of life.  Like Beth Moore said in Bible Study on Revelation, the blood will cry out from the ground, like the martyrs' blood in Rev. 6 or when Cain killed Able.  There are times for war, for justice, even movies that show the cost in lives for these events, but not for children's entertainment.  We cannot protect them from everything, but we can teach them the "why," and refrain from paying for such amusements.

This month with Halloween's celebration of the dark side, we should especially put our mind on Philippians 4:8  "...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

"If you don't stand for anything, you will fall for everything."
Attitude of Gratitude: beauty of fall & fellowship.  I'm posting Friday & Saturdays blogs today, because I'm leaving for Lake Tahoe, Ladies Retreat.  It is getting down to thirty degrees at night up there and a pleasant seventy in the day.  Make that 29 degrees and in the sixties!)   The golden leaves should accent the stunning blue of one of the  most gorgeous lakes in the world.  We will be getting our fall on, wearing sweaters, kicking through the leaves, inhaling cold air that pinches pink in our cheeks.  Even better, we will be fellowshipping with sisters in the Lord, worshipping together with beautiful songs, breaking bread together, hearing annointed speakers, seeking healing of our souls, laughing together, and soaking in the beauty of God's creation.  Here are some thoughts of fall to give you a taste of what is to come...

"...very lovely in the autumn..
.earth scents and the sky winds
 and all the magic of the countryside
which is ordained for the healing of the soul."
Monica Baldwin
"Autumm burned brightly,
a running flame through the mountains,
a torch flung to the trees."
"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant
"All the hills blush..."
Henry David Thoreau 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Like blowing on the dandelion, I hope that I can spread seeds of delight. 
Attitude of Gratitude: birthdays.  Yesterday was my one year anniversary of writing this blog.  I celebrated eating a dark chocolate, gf, Dove Bar, not one, but two!  It is an accomplishment but also evidence that I cannot contain myself: I am so full of words that they spill out.  That is why I love writing.  If I write it, I don't have to talk as much.  I used to always have to have my say, interject my opinions, express myself.  Now, I feel more at peace to let it all out here.  Thanks for listening.  I've asked myself, if I did not have readers, would I continue?  I admit, some of you keep me going with your "likes." but I don't think I can stop writing as it is a form of journaling that is "even as unto the Lord." God has more to say to us than we could ever receive.  "His words are the joy and delight of my heart."  My writing is part of my response back to Him.  You are just icing on my cake.  Thank you.  I love it when you comment and hope I can be a blessing.

"When I stand before God at the end of my life,
 I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say,
 I used everything you gave me."
Erma Bombeck
"The world is wide,
and I will not waste my life in friction
when it could be turned into momentum.
Francis Willard, early suffragist
"Thy words were found and I ate them,
 And Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Thy name...
And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
You will become My spokesman."
Jeremiah 15:16, 19

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Attitude and Gratitude:  a way out of pits.  Jesus said, "What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out?  Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep!"  Is someone you love in a pit?   Are you?  God can lift you out any day of the week.  We are more valuable than sheep, hopefully smarter too.  Of course, the object is not to fall into a pit in the first place.  Sometimes the pit is anger, grief, selfishness where the only one you can think about is yourself, or it is sin.  All have sinned.  We have all needed help to get out of the pit we couldn't get out of by ourselves.  How sad to be content to live in a pit, or to think there is no hope to get out of the pit.  I read one author who said, "Don't smuggle hamburgers to the prodigal," in otherwords, don't enable someone to be comfortable in their pit offering them pillows and comforters and free food.  The object is to want to get out of the pit and to call on the only One who can lift us out.

"Sorrow and scarlet leaf,
Sad thoughts and sunny weather.
Ah me, this glory and this grief
Agree not well together!"
Thomas Parsons, 1880
"We've got to live,

 No matter how many skies have fallen."
D.H. Lawrence 
"Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly."
Langston Hughes
"Hope is to desire with expectation long for something with the certainly that
the desire will be attained."
"Hope is a waking dream."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: squeaky clean books.  I came across a good read in a Jane Austin style, "The Kiss of a Stranger" by Sarah M. Eden.  I usually read old books so as not to have my sensibilities offended.  Just as there are seasons in the year (Did you see the beautiful Harvest Moon Sunday night?), there are seasons of life: may you have a beautiful season of reading.  Here is just a beautiful anonymous quote I came across...

"I think of thee when soft and wide
The evening spreads her robes of light,
And like a young and timid bride
Sits blushing in the arms of night."
And when the moon's sweet crescent springs
It's light o'er heaven's deep waveless sea,
And stars are forth like blessed things,
I think of thee! I think of thee!"
"She was very beautiful --
in his thinking,  the very pink of feminine grace, and replete with charms --
soft in voice, soft in manner, with just enough of spirit to give her character."
Anthony Trollope
"In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He has brought me to his banquet hall,
And his banner over me is love."
Song of Songs 2:3,4

Monday, October 1, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude: lost and found, with emphasis on the found.  Have you ever dug through the boxes at the school to see if you could find the sweatshirts, coats, and lunch bags that your kids have lost?  My remote was lost for over two weeks recently.  I had given it up as lost for good even though it obviously was somewhere in the house.  It finally fell out of one of my many stashes of paper, catalogs, mail, etc. that I hadn't thrown out yet.  Even Jesus in His humanness lost things, or at least sympathized with us who do, because He told parables about lost things, a lost coin, a lost sheep, a lost son.  Sometimes things accidently are lost (a coin), sometimes in stupidity things wander not knowing better (a lamb), and sometimes they knowingly walk away from the One who loves them (a prodigal).  He found a coin in a fish's mouth: it was just a thing.  He sought the lost innocent lamb: leaves the 99 to bring back the one in danger. He waits with open arms for the Prodigals.   He is not willing that any should perish, but it is a possibility.  There's a difference in lost things and God seeking the lost, from those who knew the love of a relationship with the Father and walk away.  They suffer the pig slop consequences.  God waits.  The Holy Spirit reminds them of what they are missing.  He waits with open arms.  The decision is theirs.  The Parables are to teach us to be diligent, to protect the innocent, and to pray for those who walk away so the Holy Spirit can bring repentence.  

"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.  My own wisdom and that of all about me insufficient for that day."
Abraham Lincoln
"Some people are born into wonderful families.  Others have to find or create them.
  Being a member of a family is a priceless membership that we pay
nothing for but love."
Jim Stovall
"Never let a problem to be solved, become more important than a person to be loved."
Thomas Monson
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son
 that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16