December 30, 2009

Reminder to the wannabe faithful

It's been on my mind more than usual....

7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:7-11 I am just passing on the reminder, since I've been reminded. ;) Think about it.

December 27, 2009

A little bloggy business session

Apparently Yahoo has been sending all my comment notifications to my junk mail folder. Imagine my joy when I looked through it tonight and found a bunch of comments from the middle of December til now that I had never seen before! It was like Christmas morning 2 days late! I have now put the comment notifier address in my address book. I think that will solve the problem. Anyway, I did go back and put my answers or comments in on most of the posts, FYI.

I also went back and rewrote this post because I had false information about ADOT in it. I'm sorry ADOT Tim. Thank you for your kind rebuke when you could have just nuked me about it. (I do hate conflict) I have learned a lesson in naming names when I don't really know what I'm talking about. I will try to avoid this in the future. =)


You could not imagine the feeling of relief I had yesterday upon waking. It was December 26. The holiday was over and the relief and peace of a stress-free mind was overwhelming. I ended up spending a lot of time just sitting in my bed with my heating pad, watching a movie or surfing the net, or talking to my dog. (she is such a good listener) At long last I didn't have to think about what menu I was to prepare for, gifts I needed or wanted to buy, the little pile in my closet of things to wrap or events to attend. My day, my week in fact, was free. I like that. I also like planning and attending and buying and wrapping, but only to a certain extent. When it is a constant thought in the back of my mind, it is almost like a slave-master.

Today a Christmas carol came on as I was driving home from church and I remembered the beginning of the season, when anticipation filled the air and we looked forward to bustling busyness and preparation. How then, as the anticipated holiday approaches, do I get so stressed and driven? We lose the anticipation and joy in our busyness.

Immediately after that thought crossed my mind, I compared it with the feeling of anticipation of Heaven. This all happening during one Amy Grant Christmas song, mind you. Charles had just preached about eternal life and we had sung songs about the Hope of Heaven. We sang Better is One Day and On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand and cast a wishful eye to Canaan's fair and happy land, where my possessions lie.....

In morning Bible Study we ended our study on Christ's birth and talked about what to study next. Ann suggested the end times signs and what is happening in the world to fulfill the prophecies. That really got people's attention. Someone else wondered if we should, because of all the bad things that are to happen. And that reminded me that Scripture tells us to encourage each other as the day of His return approaches.....with the Hope that He is coming again and we will be with Him. It is encouraging to remind each other of Jesus' return, of our Hope of eternal life with Him. It makes us 'cast a wishful eye' toward our future Hope.

Sometimes we get bogged down with life. There is a lot of stress in the world and it filters down to our very own lives. Jobs are lost, sickness invades, crime is more rampant. Yet we are filled with Hope and longing when we let ourselves think of God's promises and the mysteries of His return during the end times. Just like looking forward to Christmas, sometimes we forget about the fun, the mystery and wonder of it and get bogged down in the details of surviving it. We hear a Christmas carol on the radio or drive by Christmas lights on the way home and remember the wonder momentarily. The 'spirit', the joy, of Christmas fills us again when we're reminded.

And here is a thought. Can you imagine the wonderful, indescribable joy, rest and peace when that Hope is finally realized. Kind of like December 26 magnified to infinity!

So let's keep reminding each other of the Hope.....the Day....the Messiah who will return and I don't think it will be long.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

All o'er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away.

I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land

When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father's face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound,
I am bound for the Promised Land

December 23, 2009

Hope of things to come

(photo: the Eastern Gate...Golden Gate of Jerusalem...where Jesus' return is prophesied to take place)

I found this verse last year just after Christmas, so tucked it away in my purse notebook. And I found it this week as I was looking for my shopping list! Then of course I forgot about it again until a few minutes ago when I walked past our partially dried out tree, it's fragrance sending me a reminder of the cool verse tucked into Psalm 96.

I hope your tree is rustling today too...reminding you of the Hope we are to keep in mind.

Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise
before the Lord, for he is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with his truth.
Psalm 96:12-13

Happy Advent....Jesus is our Hope of things to come.

Also, I was filled with Hope as I read e-mom's wonderful article on the Hope of Advent today at Chrysalis. I encourage you to focus your mind and read's short but deep. It really resounded with my yearnings for Christ's return during this time of celebrating His first coming.

December 16, 2009

Pray for Polly

My friend in Chicago is facing a huge challenge tomorrow. Her down syndrome three year old is having brain surgery tomorrow. (her name is Polly and that is her picture on the right sidebar of this blog) Her story is on Gillian's blog. This is just a reminder to pray pray pray for this family and especially for Polly and her parents. The surgery is tomorrow, December 17th early in the morning.

Thank you!

December 15, 2009

The Cavalcade

There is nothing worse (today anyway) than ME in a craft store at Christmas time.

We have a tradition of making homemade gifts for our family, so each year I put it off until the short weeks before Christmas when sheer panic takes over and I start to wander through craft stores, waiting to be inspired. Today was no different. I thought I had a wonderful idea. So there I was in Joann Fabrics. My mission was to get a few things for very good prices, pay and leave. I filled my basket with my carefully chosen items. Then I saw something else and put all the things I had chosen back where I got them.

While I was trying to decide on the new idea, it started looking daunting, and by the way, so did my original idea. So I put back the second inspiration. Then I decided to go with the first idea again. Couldn't be that hard after all. Then I looked at the time. It was already time to pick up daughter number 3 at school! So back went the items AGAIN. BAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

And y'know what!!? I'm so relieved that I didn't buy anything. Three useless hours in a craft store. I'm just such a ninny sometimes.

Now, cheer up, there is nothing like the Cavalcade of Bad Nativities this time of year. Hilarious holiday entertainment. Click, scroll and read the captions. The best are on page three.

Oh, and make sure you are not sipping your hot chocolate while reading. It really hurts when it comes out your nose.

December 14, 2009

Tortoises and trepidations

My new job is pretty fun. Preschoolers are awesome fun in general, but when you get to work with them every day, you get to really bond with them. The teacher I am an assistant to is a hoot. She is from England, so everything is said with that English accent and sounds more interesting somehow. She has me doing the craft project in the mornings usually, which I don't mind, except for the burnt hot glue fingertips, paint stains on my hands and arms and more brain power than I usually have in figuring out how to do the craft efficiently!

One day last week, she gave me styrofoam rings, all kinds of plastic leaves and red flowers with plastic coated wire stems, little drums, pine cones, ribbons and garlands. She told me to have the children make Christmas wreaths. I said, "Okay, and how are they supposed to attach all of this to the styrofoam?" With a twinkle in her eye, she said, "I don't know! That's your problem!"

You see how it goes. But I follow orders and try to put in my 3 hours a day enthusiastically. I found out on Friday though, that I do have a breaking point.

Our school principal brought her desert tortoise to school on Friday. When she got it, it fit in the palm of her hand. Five years later, it is somewhere close to 35 pounds. It was carried to our classroom by an assisting teacher whose class was at PE. So our teacher had all the children sit on the floor in a circle and the tortoise was put in the middle of the circle and walked around inspecting the children and munching pieces of apple she had for it. The principal told us all about the tortoise and it's personality and habits and care. Meanwhile, the teacher who had carried the tortoise had to leave to get her class to another place. And after a while the principal said she had to get back to the office, but she didn't know when that teacher would be back to carry it for her. (she had a bad arm and was not supposed to carry heavy things) So MY teacher, without so much as glancing at me, says, "OH, Mrs. L will carry it for you!"

My eyes bugged out and I felt like I was choking and a huge "NO" came out of my mouth. Eh heh heh, embarrassing! She looked at me kind of amused and said, "Why NOT, Mrs. L?" I just mouthed the words I'M SCARED OF IT and of course the children read my lips and were then amused too.

I was saved in the end because the other teacher came in (in the NICK of time!) to carry the dreadful thing back.

I'm sure I'll hear about this again some day, but for now I'm just laughing at myself and a little trepidacious about other 'visitors' this teacher may have during the coming semester. (there is a chinchilla in the room in a cage, but she only lets the kids play with it in the afternoons when I'm not there....this is good because it looks like a very large mouse.

December 11, 2009

My hope for you

When I was pregnant with my second child, Bethany, apparently I had a lot of time on my hands. I painted this whole ceramic Bethlehem town and glazed it. It took a long time to paint and I remember just being obsessed with finishing it.

Unfortunately the misfits from the Island of Misfit Toys got loose in Bethlehem this year.

We now have 6+ nativity sets, including one from Israel, Mozambique and Ukraine, but the homemade ones are still my favorites. This is one Charles made from me with lumber scraps from a neighbor's home being built on one of our first Christmases together.

We usually have a good old celebration around here. We love to shop, make things, bake things, give things, surprise each other and laugh. We eat special food and do special things together. After the busyness of this next week, I am hoping the season celebrations of the week before Christmas and having all of my children home will sweep away these persistent blues and turn me towards the Focus of the season.

I hope your Christmas season is full of



gingerbread men

and gingerbread houses....

but most of all hope. Jesus came to bring us great hope.

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:9-11

December 10, 2009


The days are seemingly sliding by, making me feel like I can't keep up.

Mean days. Mean clock.

December 9, 2009

Christmas gift suggestions

I swiped this from Alida today! Thinking of the conspiracy I joined, this is a good adjustment in rethinking what gifts truly are, eh?

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”

Oren Arnold

December 8, 2009

Finishing well and winning kinda badly

Last night we had a storm come through and almost all of Phoenix was hit with strong winds, the news called it a microburst. Huge trees fell over, roots still attached. It was weird, lots of noise, big areas of the city were without power. We only lost one cactus, but it was a significant loss.

When we moved in here, I was nervous about having a jumping cactus (it's real name is a cholla "choya" cactus) because they are so horrible if anyone gets too close to it. It is called "jumping cactus" because the tips of the prickles are nearly invisible so you don't realize you are too close until it gets you, painfully, as if it jumped at you. Over the almost 4 years we've lived here no one has been prickled by it, but we have found several birds (who died really painful deaths) stuck in it. Charles never wanted to cut it down because it was so pretty. And it was pretty, all whitish and fuzzy looking (another nickname for this plant is "teddy bear cholla"), kind of the showcase of our front yard. But the storm knocked it over from the roots and I've been declared the winner of this episode. =) It was almost a "nanny nanny boo boo" moment, but I resisted.

The biscotti is all done, the first wave anyway. I give it as gifts so it's like a factory around here in December. It's an easy, yet really fancy looking cookie. The recipe is here.

Tonight's project has been grating little crayons into tiny bits so our preschoolers can make 'stained glass' ornaments with waxed paper tomorrow. It's not as simple as it sounds and I have crayon bits everywhere. Somehow they get static electricity when being grated and then they jump like popcorn out of the container or out of your hand, leaving a ring of colorful debris around the container.....and on my floor and clothing. I still have 3 colors to go and I finally got smart and melted the piles of jumbo crayons into muffin tin cups so they are easier to handle. Just wish I knew how to make the static more manageable.

December 7, 2009


***I have just rewritten this post to correct some false information. I am not a stupid motorist, but if they had laws incriminating stupid bloggers, I would be in deep doo doo. I haphazardly wrote about the roads in Arizona, mentioning our Department of Transportation, but did not realize they are not responsible for the roads I mentioned....the ones going through dry creek beds. I apologize to ADOT and hope my name is not mud there, as it took a long time for me to remember to rewrite this!! I do appreciate ADOT and love their nice freeways! ***

(In case you are wondering what I'm talking about, please refer to the comments section. I was (very kindly, thank you Tim) informed and humbled.)

I decided to try and knock myself out of this slump I'm in and say aloud and in writing that I am going to try to blog each weekday. Now I may not post it til late at night and it may be something used or copied, but I will go on! (or try....I'm backpedaling already, see?)

Today, after a not so fun morning at work (I had to use a lot of hot glue and nearly took the skin off my fingertips from hot glue), I came home in a sprinkle of rain. The sprinkle turned into a down pour very shortly and it continued to drizzle or pour all day.

I LOVE rainy days. Growing up in Phoenix will do that to you. People who are native Arizonans will rejoice over rain and go out into it to experience it, but they do not know how to drive properly in it and perhaps they are a little too enthusiastic about the rain and they crash a lot. Lots of weather and traffic news on days like this.

Also here in Arizona, there are a lot (LOT, LOT) of dry washes and creek beds. Sometimes they are dry for so long during the year that the people who build roads (and I'm not sure who this is exactly) just build roads right through them. But then they expect people to realize (even though there are usually posted signs I am told) that they should not drive through the flooding waters in the wash during rain storms.

Without fail! people drive through the flooded washes every time it rains and then their car stalls in the middle of the flood and they have to be plucked from their car roofs by rescue helicopters. Even after years of seeing news reports of really ridiculous people being rescued, people look at the flood water and think, "Well I can drive through that!" ehn, nope, you're on the news now! So Arizona now has a stupid motorist law that says people who do stupid things and have to be rescued have to pay big bucks for the helicopter rescue service.

So here in Phoenix rainy days are not only fun and make us hyper, they are also a little entertaining during the news hour.

I am currently making scads of peppermint biscotti. Photo and recipe coming up tomorrow. (that gives me a post for Tuesday. YES!)