July 31, 2007

The Fragrance of Life

The weather here is full of change. In Arizona we have 2 rainy seasons, the summer one is called the monsoon rains. The moisture from Mexico swirls up into our arid climate, making the humidity rise and thunderstorms sweep across the deserts and mountains. We've had lots of welcomed rain. It causes people to get that child-like wonder back for a while, to run to the windows to see the lightning light up the sky or the wind bending wispy mesquite trees around. Yesterday we were at the bank and the workers there were watching the pouring rain out the window when a lightning bolt crashed (it hit just across the street) and the women all screamed.....and we all laughed. Our ride back was adventurous, with some of the streets literally turning into rivers. We could not see the median or the sidewalks....when trucks plowed by through the 10-12 inch water, they mades 'waves' that hit our car and sounded like we were in a small boat on a big lake! It was so fun, such a thrill to be caught up in the action. We were out in the middle of it, not just watching it from a window.

The word picture was not lost on me. God reminded me today of what I caught a hint of Sunday at church. There is a change in the air....there is a wind bringing a fresh spirit and child-like wonder to the people there. During our corporate prayer time, people can come to the front to pray, while the praise team sings. It is always a sweet thing to see....people coming 'to the altar', laying down a burden or picking up a charge from God or lifting up their voice for someone else in need. Sunday as the song began, I sat down, leaned forward with my elbows on my lap to do a little repenting and laying down of burdens, when something happened that was very cool.

As I sat there with my eyes closed, I kept feeling a swirl of wind around me. People were coming forward to pray and I could feel the brush of wind as they passed by. And I thought of the Spirit, swirling around us and drawing us to God's feet in prayer or in surrender. As some passed, I smelled the scent of their perfume, each scent different from the others, yet very nice...very pleasing..... and I thought of the sweet smelling fragrance we are to those who are open to the Gospel.

2 Corinthians 2:14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.


Then Charles got up to teach out of Mark 6 and he talked about how Jesus encountered limitations in His ministry....the God of the Universe....limited? Yep....by apathy and lack of faith (in His own hometown in verses 1-6), by His being confined (by His own choice) to one human body (He needed the disciples to help minister and spread the Word, verses 6b-13), and by those who had so much familiarity with the story and like King Herod (verses 14-16), that they were no longer impressed....they were unaffected by it.

So I am seeing it like this:

Either we can be a part of the fresh wind, the new season, that can bring about a refreshing, fragrant change in our world with child-like wonder and sense of expectation tuned in to God....or we can sit back and not care, not go and tell, not seek Him, but ignore it because we've heard it a hundred times. Because does it really matter, and will I really make a bit of difference?

When I sat there during corporate prayer on Sunday, I was blessed by the people who were being drawn. I could feel something changing for the better. And I want to be a part of the 'fragrance of the knowledge of Him to those who are being saved'.

The fragrance of Life, the 'knowledge of Him'....let it swirl around in your atmosphere....let it bless those who are open to the Gospel. And don't take it personally if it occassionally reminds some of the smell of death.....because they are rejecting it. Our job is just to let it swirl and set it out there. God will do the rest.

July 28, 2007

Where have you been?

I found this over at Robin's blog, Pensieve. So I had to see what my map would look like. GEE whiz! Most of these visited states are states we have driven through on the way to somewhere, but it's pretty impressive hmm? I really need to get up there to those Great Lakes states some day. Kentucky and South Carolina may not count, as we've only crossed through a small corner of them. The right side of the map is not showing for me unless I drag it to the url box. But the only state NOT highlighted on the east coast is Rhode Island.



create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

If you do your own map, let me know!

July 27, 2007

Friday's Feast #153

The Feast is a weekly meme that helps bloggers and friends get to know each other better by giving random questions that make you think of ideas and stories to share. To host your own, go to Friday's Feast, get the questions and leave a comment so people will come visit you.

Appetizer
Describe a toy you remember from your childhood.

I had a medium sized, pink bear named Pinkie. I remember it, but it disappeared sometime during my childhood. My mom tells the story that I lost the bear when I was a toddler and one day in a grocery store, I saw a pink bear just like it. I cried "Pinkie! Pinkie!!!!" until my mom had to buy it for me. It seems I've had a special connection with stuffed animals my whole life. The last one I had in my life was a large koala bear I got during college called Rusty. He had to leave a few months after I married Charles.....seems he was a little jealous kept pushing Charles down off the bed. ;)

Soup
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how observant are you?

I'm not...unless something particularly strikes my attention. Like a robber running out of my house with my computer under his arm. Yeah, I could describe that guy to a T! For those of you who care to know, the detective did call today and went over the description of the suspect again. They are closing in on tracking him down.

Salad
Where would you rather be at this very moment?

Rather be, rather be....hmmmmmmmm. Maybe by the ocean at a seafood restaurant.....I don't know why but I'm craving seafood lately.

Main Course
When was the last time you learned something new?

I had to learn to use Blogger and it's much different settings and functions than Angelfire. (and it's much easier to use)

Dessert
Fill in the blank: I have ____________ but I haven’t ____________.

I have a new puppy, but I haven't quite got her housebroken.....yet. :(
It seems she is a vengeful pooper. One of my kids was watching her the other night and instead of really watching her, she just put the dog in the kennel. We came home to a sad dog in the kennel and let her out to the yard with no results. But when she came back in, she headed straight for my daughter's room and pooped on her floor. Then she peed....twice. grrrrrrr

July 26, 2007

Sneaking around

Our camping trip was fun. We met some friends up in the mountains at a place called Big Lake. For three days we scurried back and forth between campsites, rigging up tarps (a story in itself), cooking meals under tarps (rainrainrain), we puttered around the lake in a rented fishing boat (the fish were not biting), and we tried to make fires in the rain. It sounds like a pain, doesn't it? But it was fun. The weather was very cool and refreshing, the camper was cozy, the bathrooms had flushing potties and there were showers. And it is a beautiful place! Spruce and fir trees mixed with aspen and tall pines right by the water, were absolutely inspiring! Then our friends went home....and some new campground 'neighbors' moved in. It was actually 3 families, several large trucks, campers with GENERATORS (loud and smelled like a lawnmower engine, only magnified), teenage boys who liked to shoot their AK3 paintball guns into the woods at the trees and at their little brother, and oh yes, AND the country western music blasting from their 'stereo' (their 4 wheel drive jacked up Suburban).

We lasted 2 days and then decided to sneak home and still pretend to be on vacation.

It's hard to feel like you're on vacation when you're at home....and there is a boatload of camping gear to unload and ice chests to muck through. And there was a pile of mail on the counter that contained letters from Maggie's new school and my new job, telling us of all the things we needed to do in the next couple of weeks. I don't mean to complain, but it is a little bit of a letdown with the kids all going in seperate directions again and the real world creeping in on our togetherness. I told Charles today though, that I finally feel really relaxed. Camping is fun, but it's a lot of work. There is always something to prepare or to keep dry and you're never really, fully relaxed or comfortable. Floating in the pool in the privacy of our backyard was fully relaxing and very, very comfortable. So I am glad we came home and get these few days to unwind before we swing back into gear again.

Tonight we packed up the folding chairs (that still smelled strongly of campfires) and took off to downtown Glendale for the last Music of the Night free outdoor concert. It was perfect weather for it since the storm that came through yesterday left Phoenix with unseasonably cooler temperatures. (This just means that it didn't get over 100F today, but who's complaining? Not me!)

Tomorrow we will take Hannah out to eat for her birthday (2 weeks late) and spend our last official vacation day together. Next week will begin with a whirlwind: Hannah is going back home Saturday, Bethany will be off to her last summer missions appointment in another town on Sunday, Emma has band camp again this week beginning on Monday, as well as Maggie going to a jump start program for new students at her new school each day this week.

Oh, for those of you who live here, no tattling that we're home! We still have another day of vacatin' from real life!

July 20, 2007

We now pause your regularly scheduled highly stimulating reading....

Taking a little break from blogging while I concentrate on family things.

I'll get back to it next week sometime!

=)

July 19, 2007

Friday's Feast #152

**To prepare your own feast, go to Friday's Feast, copy and answer the questions and leave your comment on the FF sight.**

Appetizer
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how much do enjoy watching sports on television?

HA....negative 5 The commercials are much more entertaining.

Soup
If you could completely memorize any one work of fiction, which one would you pick?

If I did that, I would not have enough room up there to remember really important stuff! Wait....I can't remember that stuff anyway....ah nuts....Well if I had to pick something, I would choose the Princess Bride....and yes, it's a book!...I could prattle on for hours and hours and bother everyone within hearing range.

Salad
What is your favorite breakfast food?

I love breakfast foods, but usually don't even eat breakfast! I'm contrary that way. Here is a list of good stuff:
Currently I love Mountain High vanilla yogurt with peaches on top.
2 eggs, over medium, 2 slices of wheat toast with blackberry or apricot jam
Multigrain pancakes with real maple syrup
Bagels (pumpernickle, blueberry, cinnamon, egg, or plain) from Einstein Brothers bakery with whipped cream cheese
Stuffed french toast with blueberry syrup
Honey bran buttermilk muffins
Breakfast burritos while camping
Denver omelette
Toasted english muffins with real butter melted into the holes
Hash browns...yum!
etc etc etc I'll stop now

Main Course
Name something fun you can do for less than $10.00.

This!
Go for a walk
Picnic
Sit in a coffee shop with a cuppa and a friend
The matinee
Free concerts in the park in Glendale
Free movies in the square in Flagstaff
Take the back roads up through the desert or forest
Walk around Sam's Club at lunchtime and visit all the sample ladies
Float in the pool
The Drive in movies (always a double feature)

Dessert
How long does it usually take you to fall asleep?

Usually quite a long time. Between an hour or two hours. Often I lie on my side, surfing the internet until I completely can't hold my eyes open. My husband says this cannot be healthy behavior, but it keeps my mind busy and off of anxious subjects while i'm waiting to fall asleep.

For reals

Imagine: Studies find Restless legs syndrome is real. As someone who gets the 'jimmie legs' quite often, I find it really funny what people say about it...or how they describe it.


-

July 18, 2007

Make my day mister, go ahead and walk down my street!

I'm such a weirdo.

I went out to get our mail today. The mailbox is right in front of our house on the sidewalk. And two men just appeared behind me, walking down the street. I did not see them when I approached the mailbox, which is double weird for me. I'm usually more aware of my surroundings and see people. It startled me. So I stared at them til they got to the corner and turned it. HA! Just STARED.... If I had had a baseball bat in my garage I would probably have been holding it and tapping it on my other hand while staring. They kept stopping and one of them kept looking back to see if I was still watching them. One was carrying a small carry on type bag (or maybe a bowling bag) and the other one was messing with what looked like a wireless microphone like Charles wears on Sundays. He kept fiddling with the wire that went into a box on his belt.

I'm a little paranoid. But I like feeling like I am the intimidating one way better than I like feeling anxiety because I feel intimidated. I did have a thought later that maybe they were prayer walking because they kept stopping and looking at houses. I can just SEE the headlines, "Pastor's wife beats prayer walkers with a bat."

Just now my doorbell rang and it was a guy in bermuda shorts, a Hawaiin shirt, straw hat, and full head of thick hair and full beard, holding a clipboard. I talked to him through the security door and he said he was out selling doors and window replacements. No arguement or further 'selling' points when I said we weren't interested. He just said thank you and left. Now what is a guy who is in the business of going door to door in the high afternoon Phoenix heat doing sporting a full beard and such casual clothing? Makes me suspicious and I hate that!

I should have gone out and stared him down the street!!! (I'm going to invest in a baseball bat)

I think I may need a sedative or something....

July 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Cutie Camo



**For more WW photo entries go to Wordeless Wednesday or Five Minutes for Mom.**

I found a happy place


I gave a huge sigh of relief last night when I read the comments about how easy this page is to load and comment on!

YAY!!

Now, on to my regularly scheduled blog....

Here is a picture, which I EASILY uploaded onto is blog. Maggie and Maisy snuggling yesterday.

July 16, 2007

Starting over

Well my old server was getting too many glitches and troubles, so here I am at Blogger.

Recent updates:

*We're getting a home security system in place this week.
*It's rainging. =) In the desert it is a rare and glorious thing.
*Puppy training is going well. Last night she cried and barked after I put her in her kennel (cage) so I took a chance and put her outside again. She pooped right away. I put her back in the kennel and went to bed. Not another peep out of her.
*Tonight she pulled the same thing. yapyapyap, outside, number one and spent 10 minutes musing around the yard, back in kennel. She yapped again. Oh no, not twice in one night. She finally stopped.
*I have spent 4 days looking at blog templates. I finally found ONE I liked...only one. oiywiththepoodlesaleady.
*I have only 3 more days to pack for a camping trip.
*VBS was so good this year, but I'm so glad it's over! One of the kids from my class brought her family on Sunday.
*Bethany's mission team is doing TWO Vacation Bible Schools this week....one in the morning and one at night. I hope their reward someday is grand!
*Maggie has grown 2 inches this summer!
*I feel a little out of sorts and jumpy this past week. (after catching a burglar in my house last Monday afternoon) We have a new flag on a pole attached to the house just outside the front porch. If the wind catches it as I walk by sometimes, I have sudden terrors that someone is running up to the house wearing a red and white striped shirt. It makes adreneline squirt out all in my tummy area. It is not a good feeling and makes me shaky. I am reminded that I laugh at my puppy for being jumpy when she sees her reflection in the glass door at night and I am glad dogs don't laugh at us.

*I've been tagged by 2 people for 2 different memes....I will work on that tomorrow.

*Do you like the new look? Do you get annoying pop up ads here or is it slow to load at all?

July 10, 2007

Aftermathish

Just an update on us. I wrote this in an email so I just copied and pasted it since my brain needs a rest from thinking about it again.

I just had a little crying fit.....the first/only one since it happened. I think I'm fine, but just tearful today. I had to hold it all in this morning to get through Bible School, trying not to talk about it or think about it. VBS had me distracted all morning so that's good. I realized as I told Maggie she could go to a friend's house for the afternoon and Bethany that she could go to lunch with friends, that I might be going home by myself after VBS and it gave me a panicky feeling. But Emma didn't have plans and I let her bring 3 kids home, so it's all noisy and full in my house, which was a relief to me. I'm just hiding in my room though because my eyes swell huge when I've cried. And I don't need a bunch of teenagers feeling sorry for me. ;)

People from the church have been so good to us. The men have been calling and leaving messages for Charles about coming to help if anything needed fixing or doing. There was no damage though, not even a broken window. I don't think he was even in the house more than 3-5 minutes. 

We're talking about security measures now too....and we disagree, so that was making me cry more! Charles wants to get a motion sensor for inside the house that calls police, etc, but I want bars on the windows so no one can get in at all! With the motion sensor they are already IN the house. We'll talk more later about it, he wasn't set on that idea, but he thinks it is the best.

So that is how I'm doing....hiding and crying and busy.... Charles seems to be doing fine, just stressed out from trying to make our banking and credit stuff secure. The girls seem to be okay. One good thing was this: when I told Maggie what the policewoman asked about her room, she cleaned it all up and got it tidy!! The policewoman asked me, (when looking the house over for dna or fingerprints) "Is this room normally like this or was it ransacked?"

She was serious. Maggie was horrified. So was I.

Thank you for your kind comments and friendship. I looked at my mailbox today and several of you PW ladies had left messages on the blog. It just made me weep again! 

July 9, 2007

Bye bye laptop, it's been a nice ride

You literally won't believe my day.

VBS flew by and everything went fine. We stopped at Taco Bell and had lunch with Chas before heading in seperate directions....him to the office and me home. I just wanted to go put on my jammies and relax in a cool house. I had to take my two younger girls...9 and 15 to babysit for my sister, so we made a quick stop by the house to grab their swimsuits and let the puppy out to go potty.

Then I took them over to babysit and was back within 10-12 minutes. (I grabbed the pup and took her with us in the car so she wouldn't have to go back in the kennel) I pulled up to our house and clicked the garage door opener from my remote access clickermabob and saw the garage door going up. There was a blue Isuzu Rodeo across the street from our house, parked on a corner so I thought someone had brought my 17 yr old daughter back home after lunch, although I didn't recognize the car.

And that's when everything changed. A man came running out of my front door, with MY laptop and a few other items under his arm. I knew he was robbing our house, but at the same instant couldn't believe it and thought 'this must be something else!'

Not so...

He ran across in front of my car (I was just a few feet from him), which I was desperately trying to get in gear to ram into him (kind of a dramatic knee jerk reaction, but there it is, I wanted to ram him)....then I thought I would just bump him, but finally thought better of that, afterall, I didn't want to go to jail! So I got the car in reverse and tried to block his driver's door with my car.....all while he was scrambling to get in it. (I can't believe I did that now that I look back on it, but he DID have my laptop and it was getting under my skin!) I was shouting at him the whole time even though my windows were rolled up. I can't remember what I said, but I do remember sounding like that woman on the 'Jack my price up" commercials, where she's yelling and can't make clear sentences. (or maybe that is just a local commercial?) Here I am going, "NO no no no....you can't ....don't....don't get in that car....come back....eeeeeerg...what are you....don't you....don't do it!"

I realized it was very stupid to block him because he could ram my car or have a gun, so I pulled away.  He finally got in and drove off and I followed him a ways down our street and got his license plate number. Then I stopped in the middle of the street, shaking and angry...oh I was angry! And I called 911. I gave them all the info and pulled my car into the driveway and at that instant I realized my 17 yr old was supposed to be home from lunch with friends by 1:30 and it was very close to that. So I panicked and thought maybe she had been in there while this criminal was in there. The 911 operator yelled at me not to enter the house, so I had to wait, wondering about her until the police got there.

She finally pulled up with a friend just before the police were going to go through the house, guns aimed, to search to see if anyone else was in there. No one was.....the only things he'd had time to grab was my laptop, which was out on a side table in the front room and a wooden box from my husband's dresser. Charles thinks he had some old credit cards in that box and he knew a lot of our passwords and social security numbers were in my computer, so we had to look up our credit info and cancel cards. The police woman who was here told us to go to somewhere like credit report. com and they give you a full list of any credit accounts you have! That is valuable information. Then we went to the bank and changed accounts over and put passwords on them. Now we have to call Social Security Fraud Report and get a 7 year alert put on our numbers. They will call us if anyone uses those numbers to sign up for anything.

I am wiped OUT. I have a very low opinion of humanity right now. There is nothing like feeling vulnerable, even in your own home.

Anyway, gotta go....love you all...daughter wants her computer back.

This will be hard....sharing computers.
_________________

July 7, 2007

They're heeeeeere...

MY FAMILY IS HOME NOW! 

They drove all night and got home at 7:30am from youth camp! I was still asleep (having a vivid dream about rearranging our bedroom furniture...including moving the built in closet off the wall where it is...lol) and they all came and put their dirty selves on me. So I got up and made them pancakes. Then the girls and I watched Bridge to Terabithia and we all had tears streaming down our faces! Man, that's a good movie! And they were both coming off of a sleepless night riding in a van to add to the emotion of the movie. 

I gave the lil pup a bath! She smells like Johnson's lavendar baby shampoo now! Some of her latest antics:

*Climbing the furniture. She can jump her little 5 pound self up on our high couches, then climbs up the back of them to explore. It is entertaining because the couch back cushions are so cushy that sometimes one leg falls through and she slips, or her whole fuzzy self almost disappears sometimes due to gaps between pillows. 

*Chasing things. This dog is so jumpy. She runs away at first and then usually attacks it. At night our porch light casts our shadows long and big across the lawn and back block fence. I have to stand perfectly still or she will see the shadow move and go zipping into the house again! Then I put her back out there and she attacks the shadows....especially if I make them move. hehee She likes it when I make my hand a shadow spider and it 'gets' her. The light also makes little flying bugs more noticeable and she pounces around trying to catch them. Pouncing is an adorable trait in puppies!

*She thinks there is a fuzzy white dog in our back room. At night, she sees her own reflection in the sliding glass door and it startles her. She jumps back *backward pounce* and YAPS at it with a sharp, high pitched bark. 

*She is sneaky. When she wants something, she will wait until you aren't looking and try to get it. Tonight I had to take away a ball of purple chalk...it is the shape of an egg...and I put it on the piano. Our love seat backs up to the piano, so Maisy did the back of the couch walking, sniffing everything on the piano until she found the chalk. And just before she grabbed it, I grabbed her. I put her on the floor, where she gazed at the wonderful purple chalk. She wanted it! She was frustrated because I was watching her instead of the tv. So she came back onto the couch and laid her head on the back of the couch near the chalk egg. She was staring at me and I was laughing so hard. She saw her opportunity and pounced up there licketty split to grab the egg, but alas, I swiped her up again and put her on the floor. Don't you love it when a dog just looks at you hopelessly and lets out a big sigh?

July 5, 2007

Movie review: Ratatouille

I took my daughter and neice, both 9, to see the new Disney movie today. You just need some nice cool place to go on days like this....when the heat hovers around 116F and even lazing around in the swimming pool makes your head pound. So we grabbed our Harkins 'loyal patron' cups and went to the matinee. 

First of all, it was a really cute movie....good characters, setting, and writing. It was very charming and I loved that.

I just can't get past it being about rats.

Rats crawling around kitchens, through sewer pipes, slinking about in the dark and stampeeding in a full hoard of swinging tails and weird noses and the slinking......aaaarg! Not to mention preparing food in a restaurant! I hated it I hated it I hated it! Even now my stomach is feeling lurchy just thinking about it. 

The girls loved it though.

Maybe it is because I grew up in the Willard generation.....*shudder*

If you've seen the movie, did this bother you? Or am I just over sensitive? I just know I don't think I"ll watch it....ever....again.

EVER!

ps....notice, no use of graphics or html links on this post....no word from angelfire 'help' yet. *grumbling*