Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
and to make you stand
in the presence of His glory
with great
Jude 24
Have you ever roller skated hanging on to someone for dear life with legs going in thirteen directions?  Hang onto God because life is hard when you fall.  We were not meant to go solo.  You end up looking like me at a skating rink pulling myself slowly around by the bumpers having anything but fun. 
In the dictionary, "stumble" is between "stability" and "stupid."
My heart is heavy for the stumblers, the fallen, the giver-up-ers, those who landed ungracefully flat on their backside.  We all know that pain.   The difference in those who make it and those who don't, is that the ones who do, don't quit.  They get up. 

There is no sin that He is unwilling to forgive, only those ones that we are unwilling to let Him have.  Do not use the Lord's name in vain by being a wimp of a Christian crying,"I've fallen and I can't get up!"  Jesus did not say, "You made your bed, now lie in it."  He said, "Take up your bed and walk."  He is not a God who leaves us lying in a pool of our own sin.  He died in a pool of His own blood and gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us to live a holy life.  We cannot pick ourselves up by our own bootstraps or skate laces.  We have to come to the point of,  "I can't," but "He can."  Just as we cannot look down on someone unless we are helping them up, but neither can we help them if we are down on the ground with them saying, "Get comfortable in your fallen state; don't worry,  Jesus can't see your sin." That's like saying no one saw me fall down at the skating rink; yeah, right, then why are they laughing?  All have fallen, yet I have learned that I dare not go round unless I am holding onto the arm of Him who is able to keep me from falling.

It gets complicated with addictions and being under the influence trying to get free.  How about getting under His influence?   Is He powerful enough to break your addictions and to forgive your cherished sins?  He might even help you forgive yourself!  Look up at that verse again.  Is it true?  What will you do with it?
"Rock bottom became my solid foundation
on which I rebuilt my life."
J.K. Rowlings

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

After thirty-eight years of marriage, I learned something new about my husband.  Well, not new, just I  see it more clearly than ever: he is not cool.  He doesn't care if he's cool.  Two Sundays ago he preached in my glasses.  Last week he preached in honking glasses from Goodwill that make Hilary Clinton's look like Ralph Lauren's.  This week we get insurance, and he will get a new pair hopefully soon.  He has the gift of poverty: it was what he ranked highest in a psych. test he took to prepare for ministry.  He is humble and wants to deliver the word of God to the neediest who need deliverance.  He relates.  He is one beggar telling another beggar where the bread line is.  He will never be a flashy preacher, a charismatic preacher, or an ear tickler.   But he is a great preacher of the Word of God.   This is the man I love doing what he loves.  Did you know he helped spare a very young girl from a predator this week?  As a shepherd, he guards the lambs from the wolves.  Do you know anyone as cool as that?   He's my hero.

"One universe
20 planets
204 countries
7 seas
and I had the privilege to fall in love with you!
"Don't shine so others can see you,
Shine so that through you others can see Him."
"Let me be patient,
Let me be kind.
Make me unselfish
Without being blind.
I may have faith
To make mountains fall,
But if I lack love,
Then I am nothing at all.
"I solemnly charge you...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for theselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth...But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
II Timothy 4:1-5 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Please excuse the mess, the children are making memories."
"La vie est faite de petits bonheurs.
"Life is made of little moments."
When you've had twelve grandchildren over on the weekend, you're knee-deep in the mess of making memorable moments.  It's a beautiful thing from the paper-sissors-tape chef's hat, to the improvised kick-the-twine-ball-down-the-hall game, to being served all the fake food a grandma could ever hope to eat off doll dishes, to GI Joes meets Barbie, to computer games, to skate boards in the kitchen...and so on.  Add on to that, Grandma's got nominated as the best snack shack in the world: tonight's fare included microwave chicken wings, tortilla chicken triangles, popcorn, apples, oranges, Captain Crunch cereal, Reeces PB Cups, gingersnaps, bagels and cream cheese.
There is one guest who I never have to clean up after...
"God is the Head of this house,
the unseen Guest at every meal,
the silent Listener to every conversation."

If He's comfortable in this mess, then I'm happy.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him, and will dine with him,
and he with Me."
Rev. 3:20

It's hard to hear anyone knocking over the din, but I hope He likes microwave chicken wings!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Jane Austen fan here.  Today is the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice.  When I was little, I read Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" books over and over; as a young woman, Lucy Maud Montgomery and her "Anne of Green Gables" books and movies; and now Jane Austen books and movies, and last night the continued saga of "Downton Abbey." I saw a great shirt for the man of your life the other day that said, "I am Mr. Darcy."  For Christmas I bought myself a journal, "Jane for a Day, With 365 Witticisms by Jane Austen."  So this year's blog is sprinkled with her quotes.  Here is one...

"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.  I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."
"Northanger Abbey"
She was a break-out author by the fact of being a woman.   A woman's creative work belonged by law to her husband, which she had none.  She was an observer of human nature in a manse (parsonage) where her father was a pastor in England in the 1700's.  For never having been married, she has romance down!  Sadly, she did not live a long life.
"Someone should write a book where the main character slowly falls in love with the reader."
"It is a risk to love.  What if it doesn't work out?  Oh, but what if it does?
Peter McWilliams
"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
Charles Eliot
Which Jane Austen movie version is your favorite?
As for the best selling book in the world, there is not a movie made that is close to being as good as the Book.
"Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge,
To make you know the certainty of the words of truth..."
Proverbs 22:20-21
By the way, Jane Austen was sent to live with a caregiver a few months after her birth who nursed  and cared for her until she was past toddlerhood.  Then a short few years later, she was sent away to boarding school at the tender age of five.   One brother was sent away who was a deaf-mute with some kind of fit or other.  Another brother was adopted by a rich relative, inherited their estate and was able to care for his mother and both unmarried sisters after their father died.  Jane did seem to fall in love once, but the families thought the couple was too poor and prevented them from seeing each other ever again.  A rich clod proposed--her best friend's brother, who could have generously cared for her and her family, but she accepted only to quickly decline the loveless offer.  Jane was content to live at home after her school days and write, was close to her sister and her next older brother Henry who helped get her publishing career going.  Happy Anniversary Jane! and Happy Birthday to my Laura!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

(a reprint from, 2013 when Addie was a toddler)

Have I mentioned my menagerie lately: two dogs, one cat, two fish, and a host of dust bunnies?  The baby twins were over and Addie discovered one of the latter in a corner and ate it.  Oh my!  No wonder, she hardly ate her dinner.  How often are we like that?  God has spread before us what is good, but we prefer to nibble on the dirty fluff of this world.  Yuck!  Spit it out and wash out your mouth! 

"May we be consumed the Creator of all things
rather than with things created."
"Knowing the Bible is one thing,
Knowing the author is another."
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good."
Psalm 34:8
Have you eaten any dust bunnies of this world lately?

Days don't always go as planned.  Yesterday was one of those days spent in the ER with family, third time in a little over a week that different family members have gone in.  The what-if's could have easily had a different outcome: the seat belt was worn this time when our son was rear-ended on the highway, and it prevented greater injury.  Robin's co-workers in the ER are getting to meet quiet a few of her relatives.  Little seven month old Elizabeth's croup is threatening to send her in unless she takes a turn for the better and Grandma Juanita (almost 90) just fell and is going in to have her shoulder X-rayed (arm not broken thankfully).  Unfortunately, that might set a new record, three in one day.  Let me see, I'll schedule you in for an accident on Friday in the morning, and you I'll pencil in for the afternoon, and you for the middle of the night.   Last week Hank's croup filled the Thurs. slot and Jane's chopped finger filled out the Friday opening, and I almost had to take Hank back that same night.    Not what the day-planner is for.

Jay works in a call center that trouble shoots for customer's problems: Jay, "Okay, sir, you have an appointment for Wed. the 23rd." Elderly customer, "What day is that?  Friday?  I'll have to check my map."

Sometimes that's how I feel.  It is all so confusing when life comes at you fast and furiously.

"Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the Presence of Christ."
Sheila Walsh

"For He Himself is our peace..."
Ephesians 2:14

Robin in EMT training (fake blood).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Soul Rest.

"There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart."
Jane Austen

To a mother, this can happen even after a trying day, rocking and singing to her precious child falling in love all over again with the imp's long lashes laid to rest on a plump pink cheek with cherabic lips: a melted heart is a tender heart.  In my reading I've come across some very old lullabies, the universal language of the nursery.  My children were not sleepers, so I became a singer, and I sang and sang and sang. Some of the Jolley grandchildren inherited this unfortunate trait of not sleeping, and the lullabies continued. I think perhaps the lullabies are for the mother as well as the child.  Sadly, I don't know the tunes to these...

"A little fairy comes at night,
Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown,
With silver spots upon her wings,
And from the moon she flutters down.
She has a little silver wand,
And when a good child goes to bed,
She waves her hand from right to left,
And makes a circle round is head.
And then it dreams of pleasant things,
Of fountains filled with fairy fish,
And trees that bear delicious fruit,
And bow their branches at a wish."
Here's another...
"Lullaby, Oh, Lullaby!
Flowers are closed and lambs are sleeping.
Lullaby, Oh Lullaby!
Stars are up, the moon is peeping;
Lullaby, Oh Lullaby! 
While the birds are silence keeping
Lullaby, Oh, Lullaby!
Sleep my baby, fall a-sleeping.
Lullaby, Oh, Lullaby!
 Christine Rosetti
(Remember my Dec. post on her?)
"Slumber on, my love.
Gentle as a dove.
Angels from above
Guard thy little bed!"
(I will post more another day.)
"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
...It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved
even in his (her) sleep."
This is my prayer for the weary,
especially for young mothers,
"Please Lord, give to your beloved
even in their sleep."
Even better, the Lord promises...
"You shall find rest for your souls..."
Matt. 11:29
"There is no pillow so soft
as a clear conscience."

Have you read the one about "out with the old and in with the new," all the stuff you should throw out as the new year begins?  It starts with your old mattress.  My husband and I have never had a new mattress, so I think ours' has a few hundred more years of use in it.  I do occasionally switch out pillows: when they are flat as a pancake I can throw them out or serve them up with syrup.  But throw out my spices?  Have you smelled your spices today?  They say if they have no pugency, they have no flavor either.  Sure enough, I sniffed away and found my chili pepper bland as baby food.  No wonder I kept putting in more and more thinking I had built up as much tolerance for the spicey stuff  as a Louisiana hot grandma in a tobasco factory.  Some of us are like that in our Christian walk.  Our label says one thing, but our Christ-like aroma says another.  True Christianity doesn't have a long shelf life.  It needs to stay fresh.

"You are the salt of the earth;
but if the salt has become tasteless,
how will it be made salty again?
It is good for nothing anymore,
except to be thrown out
 and trampled under foot by men."
Matthew 5:13
Is your Christianity tasteless or savory?
The strong desire for spices to add zest to food drove explorers and nations onward to search for shorter sea journeys to obtain them, from Columbus to Hudson to many others.  Sure they planted  flags for their countries, whether protestant or Catholic, and some lusted after gold, but they desired the shortest path to get rich from the spice trade.  Since that wasn't found, they had to be satisfied with a fur trade here in America which also caused wars among nations bribing different tribes to join them in battle one against the other: Spain, France, England, Canada, and the Colonies.  The world truly desires to have that something more in their life, even though they get sidetracked and battle for gold or possessions.  Has the Church offered something different lately or are we more in the world than something out of this world: bland, blah, and worthless or BAM, that was good!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We have an amazing contagious malady at our house: somebody else did it, said it, ate it...
It takes many forms but has frequent bouts throughout the day.  The poor dogs, even they get blamed.
For example, somebody left a bag of Reeces Pieces under their bed which formerly had been in my bag of Sunday School supplies leftover from a snowman craft as the eyes, mouth, and buttons.  The leftovers were for my boys, but somebody stole them before I had a chance to offer them, lied about it, and blamed the other.  It requires the skills of Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of these mysteries.  It's hard to help guilty parties receive grace and learn obedience because confession needs to happen first.
"...according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
 through whom we have received grace..
.to bring about the obedience of faith..."
Romans 1:4-5
more simply,
Spirit of holiness,
received grace,
obedience of faith.
I came across a small book,
"The Dance of Heaven,
Swept Away into the Arms of God,"
writings and reflections by Christian women recording artists
I was struck by their brokenness and openness. 
Bonnie Keen talks about the "nose-dive" of sin.
"I acknowledged my sin to you,
and my iniquity I did not hide...
then you forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin."
Psam 32:5
"I finally took the 'bungee jump of faith'
into the arms of God."
The difference in a nose-dive of sin and a bungee jump of faith is who is there to catch you.  One has serious and painful consequences.  You choose.
Mozart wrote,
"Remember, merciful Jesus, that I am the cause of your journey."
"...this kind of scandalous, otherwordly forgiveness given so freely to me--
demands that I extend this grace to others.  It would be insane for me to believe that I could be so sweetly and completely absolved without being moved to give this gift as often as possible to those who have sinned against me.  Forgiveness wipes away bitterness.  Forgiveness opens the door for second chances..."
Second chances..."You can get off grounding as soon as someone confesses or you can get the TV back which magically disappeared when you were found to be watching it after bedtime, when you pick up all the doggie droppings in the back yard, and yes, the dogs confessed: they really did do those." 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lions, and tigers, and girls, oh my!  My thirty-something son walked in on my eleven year old the other night talking on a walkie talkie with a younger woman, a ten year old neighbor girl a couple houses away.  Lord, help us.  I wish I had a couple of Peter Pans, boys who will never grow up, but even Peter Pan told Wendy...

"You know that place between sleep and awake? 
The place where you can still remember dreaming,
That's where I will always love you.
That's where I will be waiting."
Should I be worried?  Build a mote around our house and get a couple of alligators?  Ban all electronics?  Walkie-talkies--who knew?  Tell him to quit taking baths, brushing his teeth, and wear girl repellant? Maybe I should relax and quit crossing bridges before I get there.
"Worrying is stupid.  It's like walking around
with an umbrella waiting for it to rain."
Wiz Khalifa  
Instead I should use knee-mail and pray for our dear Christian friends whose fourteen year old daughter takes off and stays gone all night, to who knows where.
Lord, please help them and their precious one.
"Train up a child in the way he should go;
Even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Prov. 22:6
I wish it said, from henceforth, now  and forever forward, he will not depart from it. 
Sometimes, there is a lot of heartbreak between the "training up"
and "when he is old."
There are two times you need training pants: when you are potty training,
 and when you are old, with a whole lot of accidents inbetween.  Stinky, stinky, stinky. 
It doesn't need to be this way.  God's grace can give us the ability to live a victorious Christian life through His Holy Spirit.  Just, some people "slide down the banister of life with all the splinters pointing upward." 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Do you have a favorite old t-shirt?  My husband has many from the years of church sports teams most of which can never see the light of day again.  My special shirt had seen better days.  It was just a generic brown T-shirt from Old Navy that I had worn at least once a week for several years until it had more holes in it than a prairie dog village.  It had no sentimentality except for pure comfort.  I felt like there should be a ceremony, a bugle blowing taps at the garbage pail.  I couldn't watch myself toss it in.  Some of us have seen better days ourselves...

"When you think things are bad.
When you feel sour and blue,
When you start  to get mad,
You should do what I do...
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
You're really quite lucky!
Some people are so much more...
Oh, ever so much more...
Oh, muchly, much-much more
unlucky than you!"
Dr. Seuss
I have a sweet new neighbor, a vivacious Christian young women with so many interests and talents.  However, she has Lupus of the worst kind, no kidneys, has had more surgeries than Roadrunner has anvils, is on dialysis three times a week, can no longer drive because she has seizures, just spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia and counting her blessings because she didn't go into a coma this time.  I offer her rides as much as possible yet bringing her home, I had to pull off the highway so she could throw-up: not a fun life.  A normal life would be so appreciated, but is denied her and her loving husband more often than not.
"To be content doesn't mean you don't desire more,
it means you're thankful for what you have
and patient for what's to come."
"What a wonderful thought it is
that some of the best days of our lives
haven't happened yet."
"Even the darkest night will end
and the sun will rise."
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo
If I feel the need to have a good cry, it won't be over a worn-out t-shirt: I'll go see that movie.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

"I've learned so much from my mistakes that I'm thinking of making a few more."
Even redeemed, including holiness people, make mistakes and will until we go to heaven.  Alas, we are puny weaklings stuck in this human condition of fraility. We are responsible to walk in the light, and in that light He will reveal mistakes that can turn into sin if we do not deal with them.  We are also responsible for those sins that are rebellious "No's,"  shaking our fist in the face of God in rebellion. My way or the highway is not the highway to heaven. 
"God's plan is bigger than your mistakes (or sin)."
Sometimes it is as simple as,
"I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry."
I know what it feels like to be a mama bear coming out of hibernation,
every day at 4:00: why do I have to cook dinner when I'm feeling the most tired and hungry?
I want a maid and a chef.  When they don't appear, I get grouchy.
"The words of the tongue should have three gate keepers:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
"Never go to bed mad.
Stay awake all night and plot revenge."
Sometimes it is handing over those thoughts and attitudes which a situation deserves,
 but in which only God can hand out His justice. 
Sin is the hand caught in the cookie jar.  The opening is too small to remove your fist with all the cookies in hand.  You must let go of them in order to get your hand out.  Let go of sin.
Has your hand been in the cookie jar lately?
God says to let go.
This is one of the sweetest lovers of God I know.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hank is barking like a dog.  It's a combination of croup and asthma.  It is cramping his style.  Hank was "Born Free," as free as the wind blows.  He is an outdoorsie, get on your horse and pedal, kind of guy.  He is in Hanky hel... rather, he is not in Hanky heaven.  It doesn't matter how many electronic games, DVD's, Netflicks, legos, GI Joes, bookshelves full of books, computor and tablet games, Hank is bored.  If it isn't outside and happening with friends, it's not a good time.  In the meantime, I'm stuck in the hot place with Hank.  God bless his dad who went out and played catch with him a few minutes before dinner. 

"Millions long for immortality
who do not know what to do
with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
Susan Ertz
"No man can be called friendless
who has God and the companionship of good books."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How short is our attention span when it comes to the things of God?
It's a good thing "His mercies are new every morning."

We were in the ER Thurs. night.  Fri. night was poor little 3 yr Jane's turn: they had to sew the tip of her pinkie back on which got slammed in the shower door by repentant siblings.
Fri. night late, Hank began screaming in terrible chest pain 45 min.  He had forgotten to take his beta-blocker med.  This morning he woke up telling us about going to heaven last night.  He said he stopped breathing two minutes and he found himself in heaven. God was shining like the sun and said, "Come."  He met my parents and Al's parents.  I asked how old they were.  He said they were young.  I asked if anyone said anything to him.  He said they said to "take care of us."  He said the streets were beautiful, made of gold and everyone was so happy.  No one was angry.  I asked what he was wearing.  He said he was wearing his clothes (PJ pants and a Giants sleeves T-shirt) but they were all shining.  He said that he was "teleported back."  He had been so afraid when he was in such terrible pain, that this dream/vision/visit??? was a real comfort to him.  I hope this encourages someone else too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh that we all had the persistance, determination, and drive that a teeny, weenie, weigh-nothing neighbor's chihuahua has.  How could something so small that it could float in my coke, dig his way to China with a layover at our house?  He has dug out, climbed through, and burroughed under to come play at our house three days in a row.  Chico thinks Mi Casa is Su Casa.  His pea brain has succeeded in outsmarting his owner who has tried every thing he knew to fence the little fella in.  He's not even our next door neighbor dog, or over the fence canine, but a catawampus, next back yard down kind of mineature brute. He has not only broken into our yard, but into not one, but two other neighbors' yards to get to us.  It's the call of the wild; only Chico hears, "Fiesta Time at the Jolley's!" He romps with the big dog 80 lbs heavier than he is.  He is in love with the fat old lady dachshund who can only play a minute before becoming tongue hanging tired while he is still going "boingity! boingity! boingity!" bouncing circles around her.  Have you met your neighbor on the next block who doesn't even live directly behind your house? I am now on a first name basis with this perfect stranger and have his phone number in a prime time slot on my frig.  Alas, when Mr. Neighbor came to retreive his runaway again today, Chico seemed so sad to leave...

"...there is nothing so sad as parting with one's friends. 
One is so forlorn without them."
Jane Austen
"A house is not a home without a dog..."
but my own dogs will do, thank you very much.

"Since we have received mercy, we do not lose heart."
I Cor. 4:1

Chico is all heart.  Where there is a will, there is a way to our backyard.

Have you lost heart lately?  Don't give in or give up.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy, happy, happy: thoughts on the grandchildren...

Jimmy said he was thinking about shaving his moustache.  Little Laura said, "No, I don't like it when men don't have facial hair!"  Her mother said, "What about Grandpa?"  She said, "He grows good nose hair."

On an excursion in the country, Tifani and Zane came across a dead dog.  Zane asked, "Did the dog go to heaven?"  "...Yes."  "Did Jesus read him a story?"  "...Yes."

My, my, my!!!

Grace was playing with the girls and said, "I know!  We can line up our dolls and they can all worship the turtle!" Goodness Gracious!   The same girl who says, "I wish I was never born or already in heaven so I wouldn't have to go to kindergarten!"

"If you've never jumped from one couch to the other to avoid the lava, you've never had a childhood."

"The way you talk to your child becomes their inner voice."
Peggy O'Mara
(Actually, we want the Holy Spirit to be their inner voice, but we don't want to hinder His working.)
The pretty picture painted on the plate glass windows of Toddlers Church had a wide base of black paint.  This absorbed heat.  The extreme cold combined with a portion of heated glass has managed to crack the huge windows.  Object Lesson: You can't mix darkness with  the light.  It becomes too dangerous for little children to be around.

"...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them...for all things become visible when they are exposed by the light...Therefore be careful how you walk..." Ephesians 5:7-15

I need to be careful how I walk as I had eleven out of fifteen grandchildren, six kids and spouses, my sister and another house guest and six neighbor kids, two visiting dogs to add to my zoo of a cat and 2 dogs in residence, and a patient husband all here this weekend.  Happy, happy, happy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"I write because I don't know what I think until I write it down."
Flannery O'Conner
I'm thinking about doing my next books on kindle.  Would you read them? Please let me know what you think in your comments.  Which one would you most likely read?
"At the Divide," a historical romance set in 1870's in the Lake City, Colorado area. (56,000 words)
"Winter Wren," a contemporary Christmas romance short story with the shadow from a past grief hindering Wren from moving forward.  (12,000 words)
"The Lass from Glenwellan," a Edwardian romance set in England during Wesley's day. (45,000 words)
"Nest, a Welsh Indian," a historical fiction romance that tells the story of a Welsh Indian and the Cherokees in Tennessee before the Trail of Tears, a tragic story with redemption.  (45,000 words)
Why romance?  God is the author of romance wooing us as the Hound of Heaven:  first comes love (set in a garden), then comes marriage (surrounded by forest creatures,) then comes Adam & Eve pushing the baby carriage (the first wheel that was ever created.)
"Ancient lovers believed a kiss would literally unite their souls, because the spirit was said to be carried in one's breath." (God breathed life into man.)
Eve Glickman
"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love,
from love to matrimony in a moment."  Jane Austen
Picture for "Miss Ruby from Texas," Schmul Publishing
I would like my line of books to be called "Squeeky Clean Romance" or "Pure in Heart"  (which do you prefer?) because there's nothing so disappointing as reading a novel, getting all involved in the characters, only to find out they have trashy lives, 50 shades of puke.  I prefer pure, uplifting stories with redemption offered for damaged lives. I hope I can get some up soon on kindle, at least by Valentine's Day!  Do you read e-books?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How can the same person love Duck Dynasty and Downton Abbey?  Antiques Roadshow and Hoarders?  Doc Martin and The Untold Stories of the ER?  Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Bean?  Jane Eyre and  Ernest?  Sherlock Holmes and the Pink Panther? American Pickers and Househunters International?  Is anyone else a split personality like that? 

Am I a "cotton headed ninny muggins?" (Elf)
I prefer to think I'm a well-rounded person, an educated idiot who loves to laugh.
or rather...
"We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy."
There is a strange, but true story in the Bible which has more opposites than black and white, night from day, heaven from hell:
Abraham and his kid named Laughter
Of course when the angel told the old, old woman Sarah that she was going to have a baby, she spit out her soup and laughed.  She was embarassed, lied and argued with the angel, but she named her son Laughter.  Isaac was the Son of Promise to Abraham.  Then the father thought God was asking him to do child sacrifice, anathema to God and strictly forbidden.  So here walks an old man and his juvenile carrying fire wood for a father-son campout up to the top of a mountain.  I can only imagine the sounds of the kid with an adolescent voice changing from the screams of a girl to the hoarse, deep yells of terror as  adrenaline rushed into the old man's muscle one more time to overcome and tie his one and only begotten to the wood pile.  The knife was raised.  How they could hear the bleating of a ram caught in a bush is beyond me in this macabre scene: Laughter about to be murdered.  God provided a sacrifice and saved Laughter, only no one was laughing.  Can you imagine the scenes in heaven when God provided His Son to suffer and die on a cross?  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brothers Grimm...One went on a venture looking for a claim to fame, but stumbled across an ancient book of folk tales.  He asked his brothers to come help seek out more tales from the locals in the countryside, and together they compiled the Grimm's Fairy Tales.  As grim as they were, the boys  cleaned them up to make them a little more PG.  Many were too scary for the nursery, but had been passed down generation to generation as moral tales.  One went clear back to the New Testament, Jesus telling the story of the three little pigs--well sort of.

 "But let each man be careful how he builds...For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it will be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.  If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward  If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."
I Cor. 3:10-15
We all know what it is like to have the wolf at the door huffing and puffing.
Did he blow your house down?
Run to the house made better than wood, hay, or straw
that's built on the rock.
"And the third little pig built a house of bricks..."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mr. Potato Head goes to church...

We are the body of Christ, but we all play a part.  Some of us are the brains; others, the heart; others, the lips; and others, the little toe which gets stubbed.  But a Mr. Potato Head with its pieces scattered is a sad sight.  Watching kids TV, it showed Mr. Potato Head going on a date with Mrs. Potato Head, but he left his left hand back with the guys playing poker so he could hold his cards.  If we get out there on on own, we can pretend we are in love, but have hand out where it should be slapped.  As we gather today at church, think of us as a gathering of Mr. Potato Heads.  Do we come with missing eyes, or hands, or noses, or lips?  We all have gifts to bring.  Don't leave yours at home!

"We are all gifted, just some of us never open it."
"If we thought of life as a gift, we might not demand nearly as much of it.
And if we lived more graciously giving of ourselves more freely to the well-being of others,
many of our personal concerns would disappear and life would become easier for us all."
Part of this lesson
"For even as the body is one and yet has many members...If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body'...And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body...If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?  If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?...And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'; or again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'...God has so composed the body...that there should be no division in the body, but the members should have the same care for one another.   And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it...Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it."  I Cor. 12:12-27 
Another children's church illustration of this is to take flour, eggs, salt, baking powder, etc. and ask if anyone wants to eat each of these ingredients.  Of course not.  It is only as they come together do they make a cake worth eating.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

  This land of Evermore: "Eden restored and Paradise gained..."

We finished Revelation in all its glory.  The word for Shekinah Glory has the meaning that His dwelling settles down with us.  Beth Moore's concluding thoughts were that we can never be truly at home until we are at home with Him in eternity.  Our Emanuel, God with us, is preparing a place for us where all of heaven is the Holy of Holies.

"And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street.  And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations...And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them..."(Rev. 22:1-5) 

"Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain..." (Rev. 21:3-4)

"This land of Evermore, part of it exquisite beauty is those things that will be nevermore."
Beth Moore
In eighteenth century England, it meant instant death if you were found to have cut down a cherry tree. (It's a good thing George Washington grew up on the other side of the pond!) I'm sure one of the months this tree of life yields will be cherries, then peaches, then oranges, then...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Nesting: I believe it all started in fourth grade learning the Kansas State Song, "Oh, Give Me a Home..Home, Home on the Range..."  Home Sweet Nest.  I'm not an empty nester--I'm a full nester: I like it in my nest.  I'm a stay at home mom and comfortable in my jeans doing it.  The full appreciation of the nest is when you must go out into the world, hunting and gathering, early-bird worming,  and you can't wait to come home.

"Ah, there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."
Jane Austen, "Emma"
"It is great absurdity--...The folly of not allowing people to be comfortable at home--
and the folly of people not staying comfortably at home when they can!"
Jane Austen, "Emma" 
"Clutter is the poetry of our homes.
It is an intimate view that is not aways perfect
--a few dishes in the sink,
books piled next to the bed.
A lived-in room exudes comfort and warmth."
Mary Randolph Carter
My sister is coming and the youngest's room needs to transform into the guest room.  Hank is a nester too.  He is knee-deep in his mess, I mean nest.  Ahh, the chores of nesting are calling..."I'm going in!"
"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it."
Psalm 127
A home not built upon the Lord is a nest not securely fastened, not strong against the winds of adversity. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Singing grace.  In family gatherings growing up, sometimes instead of prayer we would sing before a meal, "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow."  Raising my wee ones, oft times we would sing, "Thank you God...for our food..We are very thankful...Yes we are..."  This has been passed down to the next generation as well.  I came across an old English "Daily Grace"...

"With happy hearts and smiling face,
We come to sing our daily Grace.
A crumb for me,
An' a crumb for thee,
An' a crumb for the lil birds on the tree.
For warmth and light and sunshine bright,
For cheerful day and quiet night,
And may we still be glad to share
With those whose lives are poor and bare,
With happy hearts and smiling face,
We come to sing our daily Grace.
A crumb for me,
An' a crumb for thee,
An' a crumb for the lil birds on the tree.
I think this needs to be revived with a catching tune to be sung in our homes after lying dormant a couple hundred years.  Simply humming, I found it can be sung to the tune of "Jesus Love Me" verses. (The chorus can still be sung, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me.")  I have also put it to a melody I wrote years ago which has a bit of a celtic sound.  Perhaps I'll teach it in children's church.
"I will give Thee thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to Thee..."
Psalm 138:1

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A friend posted a 60 sec. video of her baby cooing and smiling on facebook.  My twin 20 mo. old grandbabies wanted to watch it over and over (fifteen times in a row).  Actually, I rather enjoyed it myself.  It was a pause button to stop being frantically busy and rather to enjoy the sweet things in life, babies watching babies.  When the twins returned again today, they walked in the door saying, "baby."  I gave them baby dolls which they rejected.  They walked straight to the computer to watch the baby video again, and again, and again.  The expressions on their faces were priceless.  Have you watched a baby smile today? 

"Whatever may be the tensions and stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace."  Howard Thurman.

"From the mouth of infants and nursing babes
Thou hast established (glory) and strength."
Psalm 8:2

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Though your sins were as scarlet, they will be white as snow."  Isaiah 1:18
We had a snowball fight in children's church Sunday with huge marshmallow snowballs. Yes, we did have a couple wounded, but overall a very fun fight.  Or course, I did have to warn them not to eat dirty snow (marshmallows).  As part of the lesson we learned that snowflakes are formed around a particle of dust or dirt, then the beautiful crystals are formed.  In this life, there is dirt, but God's transforming power is that He can make a thing of beauty through forgiveness.  Even more amazing beyond any laundry detergent ad, is that the scarlet of sin, can be washed away with scarlet, the color of Christ's blood that can wash away any stain of sin just as if we never sinned.  He does not take away the consequences of sin, but can make our hearts as clean as the pure driven snow.  I'm thankful that from our corner of the earth where we live, on a clear day we can see Mount Shasta, Mount Lassen, and the Tahoe mountains covered in snow as a reminder how vast are His mercies.  That's a lot of snowflakes!
When Laura was little on a Christmas trip to Colorado she was looking out the car window saying excitedly, "No, no, no!"  We finally realized she was lisping, "Snow, snow, snow!"  Just say "No" to sin.

Monday, January 7, 2013

"Wisdom is better than wit, and in the long run will certainly have the laugh on her side." 
 Jane Austen

"Now I must give one smirk, and then we can be rational again."
Jane Austen
Wise Men

"Young men are apt to think themselves wise enough,
as drunken men are to think themselves sober enough."
"Most persons proceed as if they expected to obtain wisdom
as though they thought oysters got their pearls by gaping."
Need a pearl of wisdom?
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,
who gives to all men generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.
But let him ask in faith without any doubting,
for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
being a double-minded man,
unstable in all his ways."
James 1:5-8 
Another pearl...
"God's punishments are consequences, the results of His all-righteous laws,
never to be escaped from, but leaving forever possible the blessed hope of His forgiveness,
but no one ever yet outran his sin or escaped from its inevitable result."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Watching 18 month old Addie playing with a Barbie trying to put a pink, puffy gown on her.  Fairy Tales start young; I heard her say "Princess."  Fairy Tales: they usually are about love.  So why are they called fairy tales and not stupid cupid tales?  Because in make-believe, there is effortless  happily-ever-afters with  relationships as solid as fairy dust.  All you need is to go to a ball, and maybe a pumpkin and some mice. At least a tooth fairy leaves evidence that it is real.

"I have been looking for you ever since my first fairy tale."

Barbie & Ken
Cinderella & Prince Charming
Romeo & Juliet
Elizabeth & Darcy
Corey & Topanga
I hate to break it to you, but they are all fiction. 

"You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner."
Jane Austen in "Pride and Prejudice"
(Well, Elizabeth & Darcy did have a rough go of it for awhile before happily ever after.)

But what can we learn from fairy tales?
How long can one look in a mirror and say,
 "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" 
Not long enough to sustain a relationship.
"Live like there's no midnight."
"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
C.S. Lewis (Narnia)
"If you want your children to be intelligent,
read them fairy tales."
"You don't need to promise me the moon and the stars.
Just promise me you will stand under them with me forever."
We can learn that the real happily ever after is in heaven with the One who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Real life couples are like
Adam & Eve
Abraham & Sarah
Noah & Mrs. Noah
Lot & Mrs. Lot
Hosea & Haggar
David & Bathsheba
Mary & Joseph

whose lives had a little more plot in them, and it wasn't all easy.
 In fact, they usually messed up big-time!
In my sister-in-law's church, most of the women wear tiaras to show they are daughters of the King.
I don't need bling to remind me of that:  He left me with His Holy Spirit as my promise to be His bride.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Grace is beautiful in a princess sort of way; like "Tangled," her thick long locks were always tangled.  Besides, Grace never met a pair of scissors she didn't like and tended to give herself random hair cuts on a regular basis, even if she had to climb onto the refrigerator to retrieve the hidden scissors.  For her 6th birthday she was given a professional hair cut, short, in order to make getting ready for kindergarten easier.  She is as beautiful as ever, even without the "Tangled" princess look.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Beauty does not reside solely in another's looks or in scenery.  We come to viewing it with love or disgust or somewhere in between.  What if we look at others or things of creation with God's eyes.  David says in Psalm 17:8, "Keep me as the apple of the eye,"(the pupil, the daugher of the eye).  Or in Deuteronomy 32:10, "He guarded him as the pupil of His eye."  Proverbs 7:1-2, "My son, keep my words, and treasure my commandments within you.  Keep my commandments and live and my teaching as the apple of your eye."  And finally, Zechariah 2:8, "...he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye." We know that when our interest is stirred, our pupils dilate. God's eye of love is upon you.

"How thankful I am that God did not despise beauty!
He is the sole provider of it here."
"How much I do love beauty!
How I delight in the beauty of any one I love!
How thankful I am that I am not beautiful!
My self-love would have known no bounds."
Fanny Kemble, (tongue in cheek)
"To look almost pretty is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain for the first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive."
Jane Austen (Northhanger Abbey)

Be the "daughter of His eye." He thinks you are beautiful when you are in love with Him.
"The stars (in her eyes) are shining like one vast incrustation of diamonds..."
Fanny Kemble
Do you have eyes to see?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thrift Store Thrill: it is contageous, though some have a natural immunity.  One of my special treasures is a CD "Great English Classics," and sure enough it has an arrangement of "Greensleeves" by the London Symphony just like on my grandma's record that I LOVED when I was a child.  Because of it, one of my first purchases with my allowance when I was in junior high school was of a record with it on it.  Fifty years have passed, but I am still moved by this music.  Sometimes I have whispered to God while shopping this past year, "I would love to find that symphony arrangement," and here it is.  Perhaps, it would have been easy for you to find on itunes, but this is my cheap thrill.  God adds in little blessings just to make me realize I am His child.  Do you have cheap thrills or little blessings from God lately?  It is part of walking with eyes of wonder and gratitude in this life in spite of troubles or hardships. 

"Nothing is too difficult for Thee who showest lovingkindness to thousands..."
Jeremiah 32: 17-18

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Run mad as often as you like, but do not faint." Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
Limitations.  Since I don't run after kids as often as I used to, I don't run much.  I can still outrun a two year old: that's my limit.  This new year I am realizing my limitations.  Just as I tire more quickly, I can't seem to run the universe as easily as I used to be able to do.  Usually when I pray, I have it all figured out and just let God know the plan.  This year, I don't.  He's got a great, big surprise as to what He's able to do beyond what we can even ask, think or imagine. 
"Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity."
"The path of sorrow, and that path alone 
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown."
If I'm not mistaken, sorrow is grief over loss, limitations, and sorrow for sin which we must all experience in order to repent and receive forgiveness for Sin.
"I like living.
I have sometimes been wildly despairing,
acutely miserable, racked with sorrow,
but through it all
I still knew quite certainly
that to be alive is a grand thing."
Agatha Christie  
"The problem is not that there are problems.
The problem is expecting otherwise
and thinking that having problems is the problem."
"Have a heart that never hardens
A (good) temper that never tires,
and a touch that never hurts."
Charles Dickens
"Always be
"Thou wilt make known to me the path of life;
In Thy prescence is fulness of joy;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever."
Psalm 16:11 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Attitude of Gratitude: the clean slate of a new year.  Here are some quotes to spur you on...

"I'm taking life one day at a time.
At least today I am."
Will McKiver
"Yesterday I was clever
so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise,
so I am changing myself."

"Be a Fruit Loop in a world of Cheerios."
"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"
"When you stop doing things for fun,
you might as well be dead."
"A day without laughter is a day wasted."
Charlie Chaplin
"Every time you are able to find some humor in a difficult situation,
you win."
"A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything."
Irish Proverb
"To succeed in life, you need three things:
a.) a wishbone
b.) a backbone
c.) a funny bone
Reba McEntire
"Make glad the soul of Thy servant,
For to Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness
to all who call upon Thee."
Psalm 86:4-5
And a friend just posted...

"Therefore, your desire to know the future is really
nothing more than a desire to know God."
David Stephens

"Your future resides with the One who made it."


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Since I didn't get Christmas cards mailed, I'm thinking of sending just a few long-distance New Year's letters.  Here's what a year in retrospect looks like at our house: we began the year with a fast at church.  Consuming so many whole grains, I got sicker and sicker for  weeks, months.  After many doctors visits, I found out in May that I had celiac disease.  I was so sick of being sick that it is not hard to follow the new diet.  I have had only one terrible episode since of accidently eating the wrong thing which certainly motivates me to stay on the straight and narrow of the celiac diet.  What I can't replace are Laura's home-made pecan sweet rolls!   The important lesson learned: sometimes it takes a great deal of pain to find healing.  It is easier to do with a diet than with other life lessons.  We've had some of those this year as well.

We also had a new sweet grandbaby Elizabeth join her siblings, Jane, Grace, and Ben and cousins Laura & Noah; Avery, Ella, Addie, & Ezra; Madylen & Zane, and little Oliver (all 9 & under). We do get to see them all quite often enough to feel our age. Our boys grew up, quite literally, overnight it seems as Derrick (14) is almost as tall as his dad and Hank (11) is hoping for a growth spurt as well.  Derrick enjoys his computor games and Hank, being outside.  He became quite the slugger this year in Little League.  They are having a good year in their new school.

I have been writting a daily devotional blog for over a year now ( well as have published a book, Miss Ruby from Texas, (Schmul Publishing) the story of my grandmother Ruby Robinson Wise's early years.  Writing has been a daily joy.  There is no pleasure in writing without readers, so I thank my gentle readers.  I had fun writing and directing our Children's Christmas Play again this year.

Al is back to being bi-vocational again, working full-time at the Salvation Army as well as pastoring our church.  Other than being overly tired, he does appreciate working with the homeless and that
 organization.  Both my grandfather and great grandfather were in the Salvation Army, a sister denomination to the Wesleyans.

Our two dogs and cat are our comic relief; the goldfish, not so much.

We embrace hope for the new year.