January 28, 2006

She showed him!

We are out of town til Tuesday, but I wanted to check in.

My husband, Charles, was showing the girls an old penny he had come across. He showed them it was from 1941 and then showed them the S, which means it was minted in San Fransisco....both the age and mint making it a rare penny. So he said he was going to look up how much it was worth.

Maggie then took the penny from his hand, turned it over and showed him, in a much too condescending tone,

"Dad, it SAYS it's worth 'one cent'....OBviously!"


January 21, 2006

Modern Day Andy Griffith

Today's special guest blog contributor: My daughter, Hannah (known as Miss Hannah to her preschoolers) She wrote this blog entry on her myspace blog and I asked her if I could use it. I changed some details to protect certain people’s identities, however, the events are a factual account.

once upon a time in a certain small town... Current mood: amused

We have a modern day Andy Griffith in our midst! Give it up for Officer K, the greatest police officer in the entire world. To begin the story we start off at the house of a Mr. Chadwick Fields. A few have gathered there to visit as the said Mr. Fields as he was currently injured…. They sat around discussing fish and all other sorts of things which commonly occupy the conversations of youth.

There was a knock at the door * knock knock knock * and who should appear but Officer K carrying a bouquet of weeds to cheer the hapless invalid. They were beautiful weeds of a most rare kind, so rare, indeed, that I could not even tell you their names. Officer K was much distressed at the sight of Mr. Fields and begged him not to get up. Soon they were all discussing the intricate details of police work in said small town, when Officer K (with quite an ecstatic look upon his face) asked them if they would care to see the newest program he had developed for his * ahem * customers.

He led them all out to his police car and started to do something on his laptop. He finally had it ready, he turned the laptop towards them and there it was! The official and original Beverly Hillbillies show! He assured us that he had already tested his new program on his * ahem * customers, and it had been pronounced as amazing. (perhaps even stupendous, but we can’t be sure..) He had arrested someone just the other night and played his new program for them, and they had laughed all the way to jail. He hopes to upgrade soon to the Brady Bunch and COPS.

You may laugh at my story but I assure you that these events did indeed take place, and if you have any doubts, all you have to do is come see one of the many fine parades led by Officer K. The annual “Clean Yourself Parade” (in which they hand out free bars of soap and spray the audience with water guns) the unnamed parade last year featuring the cop car, the tandem bike, and a band consisting of the mentioned Mr. Fields playing his violin (much to the chagrin of the audience….) The next Parade shall be happening this afternoon in honor of a certain injured person at 4:30. Details to be discussed at the coffee shop.

Ah the joys of small towns. haha!

January 20, 2006

Little dog gone

For several days, our little dog, Millie, has been acting like she didn't feel good. On Tuesday, she began breathing weird....making hard panting noises all day. She still ate her food and played outside though. On Wednesday, she was still breathing hard and staring at us like, "Please help me." So we made her cozy nests on the floor with blankets. She played a little and tried to howl with our outside dog, but it was very weak. By Thursday she wouldn't lie down, I caught her almost falling asleep sitting up a couple of times. She just sat up all day, panting heavily, she wouldn't eat...not even a dog biscuit, which is her favorite. She drank some water, but coughed violently afterward, almost choking. I had to force half a baby aspirin down her throat, thinking it might help her be more comfortable.

She went outside in the afternoon and usually comes right back in, but when I didn't hear her bark at all for a long time, I had to go find her. She was just sitting by the gate, panting. I knew it wouldn't be long....that she was really sick and not getting well. In the evening, we looked under the dinner table and she wasn't there...her usual place. We found her back in Maggie's room, lying on a cushion, panting. Then I had to get her out from under our bed when it was time to turn off the lights and go to bed. She could barely walk to her bed in the laundry room and refused to go outside, so I just put her in bed and petted her for a while, wondering what we'd have to do the next day if she still wasn't well.

We knew the time was close for us to make a decision about possibly putting her to sleep. She's been sick for years and getting worse gradually each year. We think maybe she had cancer cuz she had some tumors and groaned a lot. We had her examined by a vet last year and they ruled out congestive heart disease, which she did have some symptoms of. Well, some time in the night, God made the decision for us and she died. Charles found her this morning before the kids woke up. We are thankful that we didn't have to witness her death or have to take her to be put to sleep.

But we'll miss that little dog! I wrote about her once on this blog. You can read it here. I may post some pictures of her sometime soon, but I can't look at them today.....

January 19, 2006

First snow

It began snowing this morning by 10am. It is now almost 1pm and there are a couple of inches of wet snow, with more fluttering and swirling down. This snow is not in any hurry…just a nice lingering, flutterish, swirlingly lazy snow. I did not get dressed as I usually do today. Today is a sweat pants and nice big, favorite old sweater kind of day….my sweater is dark blue with huge knitted in snowflakes covering the front. There are holes in it and because it’s such a heavy knit, by the end of the day the sleeves are much longer than when I put it on….which cracks me up….it grows! It is also missing the second to the last button. But on a snow day, people rarely come by unannounced, as they often do in a small town. I love people dropping by, but the point is, I’m safe to be in my big droopy sweater and sweat pants today, with no makeup….and that’s nice once in a while.

*This is really funny now, because just as I finished typing that paragraph, our friend Rainy drove up and knocked at the door.* Heehee I guess I knew she was dropping by, because she is taking Emma to lunch, but I forget things like that.

Anyway, back to the snow! It is covering the yellow/brown grass, all but the taller stalks anyway, which are sticking up defiantly. My neighbor’s yard across the creek is much more defiant-looking than ours….lol. It would look really beautiful already, if it weren’t for a few unsightly things that are not snow covered….our former toilet, waiting to be hauled off to the dump after a little remodeling project, and our 1972 Pleasure Seeker pop up trailer topped with a bright blue tarp which is held down by cinder blocks. So if the snow keeps up and gets about 3 feet high, it’ll be downright pristine out there. =)

God’s grace covers us. His grace is more like a light snow right now though, not a three footer. The unsightly, sometimes hideous things in our lives are still visible, but that is what makes His grace all the more visible. Yeah, people can still tell we don’t have it all together, but when they see God work in our lives and changing us, they know God loves and blesses and works through people even though they’re not perfect. Isn’t that the point? He’s the one Who is perfect and pristine…..it’s not us. We are just a work in progress, sticking up awkwardly, like a toilet discarded after a recent remodel, covered by His grace.

So don’t be held back and distracted from what God wants to do through you by the junk we still deal with. Keep loving and following Him, and hopefully there is some ongoing remodeling work happening in the process.

January 17, 2006

Hannah's Big Move

This is my daughter, Hannah, and her roomate, Bethany. We stopped by her place yesterday on the way to the movies. She made us lunch at her new apartment. Baked chicken legs, salad, and Rice a Roni. =)

Last Tuesday we were helping Hannah and Bethany (not to be confused with our other daughter Bethany) move into their new place. It's a studio apartment, but has a wooden divider to make the bedroom more private. Very cute place, very convenient for them and they've made it very homey and cozy. Here are some pics from moving day!

Putting up the IKEA loft bed was interesting...Brad and Kailey heave the loft bed up.

Dad looks confused, but they figured it out. ;)

Emma and Bristol moving one of  a bajillion boxes.

For Hannah and Bethany, I looked up this verse, which I have loved ever since I can remember. It is not a burden or tiresome or hard to follow God....in fact, it is the way of life.

Deuteronomy 30 :11-20 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

January 13, 2006

A Short Walk through the Word...

I got this in an email this morning. I love it! (Though the long version is much more detailed and inspired.)

The Bible in 50 Words

God made

Adam bit

Noah arked
Abraham split
Joseph ruled
Jacob fooled

Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided

Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked

Prophets warned
Jesus born

God Walked
Love talked

Anger crucified
Hope died

Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

January 12, 2006

Coconut Cranberry Chews

These are what I'm baking today. I found this recipe last year and loved them! I found it doing a search on dried cranberries, to use them up.

It is a contest winner from Sunset magazine a couple of years ago. They come out crispy and have an addictive flavor. I use the orange flavored Craisins and add about a fourth a teaspoon of orange extract instead of orange rind.

Coconut Cranberry Chews


 About 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) Challenge Butter,
at room temperature
 2 cups sugar
 1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 1 large egg
 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut
1. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until
smooth. Beat in egg, until well blended.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low
speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes (see notes). Mix in cranberries and coconut.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12" x 15" baking sheets.
4. Bake in a 350?F regular or convection oven until cookie edges just begin to brown, 11 to 15 minutes (shorter
baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). If baking two sheets at
once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then
use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.
Yield: About 6 dozen cookies

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour

NOTES: The mixture may look dry until it comes together as a dough. If its too crumbly to form into balls, the
dough need to be mixed longer; it should be a smooth homogeneous mass.

Per cookie: 92 cal., 45% (41 cal.) from fat; 0.7 g protein; 4.5 g fat (2.8 g sat); 12 g carbo (0.4 g fiber); 58 mg
sodium; 13 mg chol.

Source: Recipe developed by Sunset Magazine Test Kitchens for Baking with Challenge Butter.
Remove from oven and let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes.

January 11, 2006

Beauty of Winter Carnival

This week’s carnival of Beauty is the beauty of winter. I was way too spread out this week, so I didn’t enter the carnival, but go and check out all the wonderful entries!

And enjoy this beautiful picture my husband took a few years ago outside my sister’s cabin. He loves wood….the woods as well as just wood…stacked neatly in the corner of the yard. To him I think it represents preparation for winter’s chill, hard work from summer paying off, and a tangible reward of hard work. Since he is a pastor, his hard work he is paid to do doesn’t always show in tangible ways. =)

Our wood pile is dwindling down this winter as we stay toasty inside. But there has been NO snow this year so far. This drought is hitting the ski areas hard now, but come summer, our water supplies will be hurting badly. We can do without skiing but we kinda need water. Carol of She Lives asks for prayer for rain, as she lives in the drought stricken grasslands of Texas. I echo her request for prayer….please pray for rain, snow and relief for the parched land and dwindling water supplies of these areas, including Arizona. Thanks!

January 8, 2006

Embrace the blessing

Today I was squeezed more than I have been in a month! Well, that may be exaggerating, but I did notice the squeezing more today than other days. Maybe it was because we’d been gone for a week, maybe it was because life is back to ‘normal’….people aren’t as uptight from the stress of the holidays and more affectionate. Maybe it’s because there was a sweet spirit this morning in the services or maybe…..maybe it was just because I needed it. There’s no way they could have known it, but God knew it and sent some affection my way. We let God minister through us when we serve each other, when we encourage each other, love each other, so I associated it with God’s hugs…His sweet Spirit traveling through the congregation, touching each person in just the right way. It encircled us today and it took me until now, 3pm, to realize what it was….what made this morning so special.

Thank God for His people and how He uses us to touch each other. Not just in a physical hug, but often right to the heart and soul of our being. I think that happened for some people who were there today too. My husband just happened to be preaching partly from Deuteronomy 30:19-20, choose blessings or cursing.…choose to live for Him. And today the blessings were freely flowing all around. 

January 3, 2006

Reigned in by love

What is it about a limit that makes me want to go past it? If there’s a boundary, I want to see what is beyond it. If a sign says take one per person, I want 3. If the speed limit is 75, I set my cruise control at 79. If a diet says to eat no more than 4 ounces, I slap on another spoonful. I crave more…even if it’s just one more ounce or 4 more miles an hour. If there’s a rule, I wonder what will happen if I break it.

By the way, just because I want to doesn’t mean I do….nor does it mean I don’t. *doing a little word dance* It depends on the circumstance….and the consequence. Situational ethics creep in like in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip above. I am not sure if all personality types have that constant struggle, but mine is prone to be lacsadasical, at best, about rules. (I’ve even been know to call them suggestions.) It is ridiculous, but I’m prone to rebellious feelings and curiosity that would have killed the cat like a slam dunk. Maybe this is what Paul was talking about in Romans 7:19-21. It is a very real struggle between our sin nature and the Holy Spirit.

When I was in sixth grade, I had a group of friends who were not the best influence, but they were cool. During lunch break, we would walk the perimeter or the playground, talking. There is a word picture in there….walking the perimeters….just waiting for a chance to step beyond them. I was intimidated, yet somehow in my 11 year old mind impressed, by these girls and how ‘cool’ they were. Listening to them talk of the boys they knew and the parties they would get away with having on weekends while parents worked, made me curious.

I was with these girls one day at lunch break when we stepped out of the boundary and off the playground. I found myself running with them to a nearby drugstore, where we were going to get some candy. To my amazement and anger, when we picked out our choices (we got Pez candy because you could eat it more inconspicuously during class), the leader of our group said, “Now all you have to do is walk out, like nothing is going on. Act natural.” So one by one they walked out without paying, but I couldn’t. I stood in line at the counter and paid while they all stood outside the window, laughing at my lack of ‘confidence’ to do what they had all done. What stopped me was the thought of getting caught. The thought of my parents being informed that I had sneaked off campus and then shoplifted was more than I was willing to chance, thankfully.

Love reigned me in…. my parents loved me and I did not want to disappoint them. The boundaries were there and I had pushed them back, broken through and could have really set a rebellious precedent that day. Everyone in the sixth grade would have known how rebellious and cool I was, I’m sure…if I had gone through with it. I think that if I had the kind of home those friends of mine did, I may have done it. But I had a home where I was loved and taken care of, where I was taught to honor God and to have good morals. I was taught to respect my parents and the serious consequences of disobedience.

Gradually I stopped hanging around with those girls, but as seventh and eighth grades went by, I kept my eye on them. I watched their lives and took notice, even at that young age, of how pitiful it was to see them thinking they were cool, but knowing how awful their lives were. I had been to their homes, I knew. Wisdom and discernment started to develop in me. I had compassion on those girls, I felt pity for them, but I didn’t know at that age how to help them.

Later on in my middle teen years I learned to curb my rebellious nature by taking my own relationship with Christ more seriously, reading my Bible every morning and listening to Christian music. My pastor’s wife at the time challenged us to start a quiet time. And during the same period, a youth leader was challenging us to listen to Christian music. Choosing to fill my mind with good things, with the knowledge of the Word and encouragement from this new music helped me to be reigned in by a far greater love than even my family. I was learning how much Christ loved me and how much He sacrificed for my rebellious ways, my sin.

What the law couldn’t do, Christ does for us. His love is the motivating source of our obedience, not the consequences of disobedience. Instead of seeing how far I could push a limit, I learned to gladly accept **most** of them in my life because I knew they were there out of love for me from a gracious God.

The rebellious nature never left me completely, I am sad to say. I still struggle with it every day. I know what I want to become, I see the ideal and desire it, but everyday rebellious little choices and attitudes are keeping me from my big picture. Thankfully I remember God’s grace toward me and pick myself up to start again…. new every morning. I know He looks upon me as a daughter and is seeing the potential in me to become what He wants me to be. So I am ashamed, yet confident in His love as I go to Him and ask His forgiveness. He helps me start again, helps me to learn to go farther with Him in His infinite world of freedom…instead of remaining weighed down and stumbling over earthly things…

There is a measure in everything. There are fixed limits beyond which and short of which right cannot find a resting place.
Horace (65 BC - 8 BC)

The evil implanted in man by nature spreads so imperceptibly, when the habit of wrong-doing is unchecked, that he himself can set no limit to his shamelessness.
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

Lamentations 3:21-23 (NAS) ? This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Romans 7:19-21 (NAS) For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NAS) For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

John 8:36 (NAS) "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

January 2, 2006

Dreaming of a white Tuesday....

Well we are home now from Oklahoma. It was quite a drive, fighting high winds the entire way across interstate 40 from Oklahoma to Arizona. At times when I was driving, I had the sensation of driving through water, like on top of a wavy lake or ocean because of the wind. We only saw one accident, an overturned semi truck, but I was surprised (and thankful) there weren't more. Hopefully all this wind is bringing that cold/wet front down to us in the parched southwest!!

I'm very glad to be home! The men in our church put in a newly tiled shower stall and toilet in our master bathroom while we were gone. It looks very nice! I got a wild hair tonight and took down all the Christmas decorations. Why I did that tonight after driving all day, I don't know. I'm glad it's done though!

I am going to try something a little intimidating tomorrow. I entered a post in the Carnival on Two Talent Living last week. The carnival theme was the best of 2005, so I just picked one of my best work. But this week, there is a topic that we have to write about to enter the carnival, and it has to be a new piece. So I worked on one to enter all week while in Oklahoma and will post it tomorrow. It is a stretching exercise for me, but I wanted to do at least a couple of these carnival entries to broaden what I write about. I won't do it every time, but will let you know when a post is for the carnival.

Happy getting home and waiting for snow day!