October 29, 2013

Signs in the Sky

I would never have classified myself as a signs and wonders type of person. I mean I always knew God could perform signs and wonders if He wanted to, but I didn't think they were necessarily something for my daily life.

But y'know what? That is changing. It's not that the signs and wonders weren't there before, it's that I didn't recognize them. I wasn't looking or expecting anything. God is working all the time, all around us. He wants us to join in and notice......to be grateful and mindful of His power and presence.

A couple of weeks ago, Maggie and I were driving in to Albuquerque for a driver's education practice and I looked up at the mountains that divide Albuquerque from our East Mountain area. I always look at them when we're driving and since she was driving, I was really looking. It's a beautiful view of the green covered sweeping mountain ridge, lately with patches of yellow aspen. Right above the top of the ridge--I kid you not!--was a semicolon. It was made from a couple of small clouds. It was the only patch of clouds I could see, sitting there all alone in a perfect backwards semicolon. I even pointed it out to Maggie and she said yes, it was a semicolon and added that I was weird. (I was a little excited, that's all)

Punctuation in the sky.

It gets your attention. It is weird.

I dropped her off to drive with her instructor and then I had to google semicolon to see what it's purpose is because, clearly it was a sign of some sort.

--A semicolon is used to join 2 independent, yet somewhat related, statements.
--Semicolons are described by writers as old fashioned, middle class, and optional.
--Semicolons can be used to link transitional phrases.
--Semicolons are used to separate words of opposed meaning.
--They also allow for a rapid change of direction in a sentence.

 In full time ministry lifestyle, we are constantly praying for God to put a kind of symbolic semicolon into people's lives.

Charlie used drugs to escape the emptiness of life; when he turned his life over to Christ, he was set free and now has direction and Hope.

Susan's life was all about fighting for cause after cause; God showed her true purpose in life, to let Him love others through her.


Our church has been prayer walking together at least once a month in different neighborhoods. It is amazing what you are led to pray for someone by just walking by their property. It gets very personal and it's obvious that people need a semicolon these days. The last 3 uses listed anyway.

--To link transitional phrases.
--To separate words of opposed meaning.
--Allows for a rapid change of direction in a sentence.

On October 31st we will be taking the children of our church trick or treating in a neighborhood near our church. As the children go to the doors, the adults will be covering that household in prayer. The children will hand the person answering the door a small gift bag with a little gift and a card that tells them we care and have prayed for their household.

We want to see that huge semicolon inserted into people's lives....transitions, radical changes, true Hope where there is now only emptiness.


September 3, 2013

Snapping back

This past week my mind has snapped back into action. Toward the end of last year, I asked God for a word for the year. I do this each year, the past few years and it is amazing what God shows me. It opens my eyes spiritually. The word He gave me for this year is war. NOT a lackadaisical kind of word....not one you really look forward to having for a whole year.  Not a real pleasant word. But then I thought about how God works. I remembered I had a  Pinterest board about it. Just looking at the pins on that board, mostly Bible verses, I feel strength to jump back in....because I got lazy and the enemy gained ground.


So anyway, being snapped back into action and all. I was reminded like a slap in the face, that I am in a year of warfare. And war is proactive. There is nothing passive about it unless you want to get creamed.

And I don't want that.

So I am stepping back on the battlefield today, right now. I thought maybe someone who reads this may need the same encouragement to get back in their armor. We are all involved in this battle. And it is never in vain. We must fight for each other.

God help us.


August 16, 2013

The Dovecot

I love it when I'm doing something ordinary and something extraordinary happens.

My sister Julie asked me to send her Hannah and Bradley's new address. They are on their honeymoon, so I was trying to figure out their house number on my own. I looked it up on Google maps and then clicked on the street view option. I couldn't see the house number but while I was looking at it from different angles something else jumped out at me.

So I took a screen shot of the Google map view.

In one angle of the street view, there are two birds (they look like doves) taking flight right in front of the one eave on the house. It is a tiny, tiny house....400 square feet I think. When my sister Julie saw it last week, she said it reminded her of the little cottage where Meg and John Brook live in Little Women. They called it the Dovecot.

I love how symbolic it is that the doves are just taking off in flight, just like the newlywed couple.

Many, many blessed times and years to them.

August 2, 2013

Caged beauty

My dog, Maisy, eats my pansies. They haven't bloomed all summer until now

....inside their cages. 


I tell them it's for their own protection.

Maisy has moved on to squirrels, but she hasn't gotten to taste one yet....though not for lack of digging after them into their holes.

July 30, 2013

Autumn came in my mailbox today

We haven't live in New Jersey since 1997, but a bit of NJ autumn arrived in our mailbox today!

Ivins' Spiced Wafers...... I wrote a whole post about these little cookies once ( and here
and here). The recipe there is a good ginger snap recipe, but it's really nothing like Ivins'.

I have talked about them so much since moving away from New Jersey that my friend Sue thinks of me every time she sees them in the store.....which is only during the fall! They only make them for fall. The rest of the year you must have to anticipate (or stockpile them in your freezer).

Well this year, when Sue saw them in the store, she not only thought of me, but she bought me some and mailed them all the way to New Mexico. (the postage cost more than the cookies) She is that kind of wonderful. And it made my day! Sue, you are a really cool friend and I thank you, thank you, thank you!

Oh and the reason I don't have a picture of the actual cookie is because I must wait to eat them until I have a tall glass of ice cold apple cider to accompany them.


July 17, 2013

Oatmeal Marmalade Cookies

Tomorrow Maggie is coming home! She's been gone for 33 days now. Mission trip and then visiting in Phoenix. My sister is driving her home tomorrow and will be here to visit for a few days.

I got some baking mojo last night, so that I'd have some treats for company,  and baked a new kind of cookie, so I thought I would share the recipe (because I am that nice). :)



 When we moved into this rental house, our landlord baked us cookies as a housewarming gift. (there were even homemade dog biscuits that were pumpkin flavor) She labeled each kind and one was Oatmeal Marmalade Cookies....chewy oatmeal cookies with a slight orange flavor. I've made 2 recipes and this is the one that turned out the best.





Oatmeal Marmalade Cookies
IMPORTANT: Do not mix the marmalade in with the wet ingredients. Follow the instructions and stir it in last, with the raisins, after everything is mixed. They will not turn out right if you mix it in. (been there, done that)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg


1/3 cup softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

1  egg

1 tsp. vanilla


1 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and set aside.

Beat together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir by hand until almost combined. Add the raisins and marmalade, and stir until just blended.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 2” apart on a cookie sheet. Parchment paper really helps them not to stick to the pan! Bake for 15–20 minutes, until deep golden all over, but not brown (see photo). Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

The Mountain

The mountain opened up again yesterday after being closed because of fire danger, so we took a walk.

We're so thankful for the rains recently!

July 13, 2013

Things I haven't blogged about lately...

This is my catch up list! (with very fancy bullet points)

- I sent Maggie off on a mission trip. Our youth group went to Oakland/San Francisco, California to help clean up a neighborhood and be Light to the people there. They have some wonderful stories too!
- Sent Charles off to Phoenix (you are seeing a trend here I assume) to perform a wedding and to pack up our outdoor furniture, grill, chiminea, lawn mower, weed whacker, and assorted other outdoorish things. We didn't have room in our original moving truck for these things and have been begging and borrowing lawn mowers and eating only indoor cooked foods since we moved here so...YAY! We've also broken every folding camping chair we had except one because we sit on our deck so much. Love having our furniture set again. Love having a mowed lawn and grilling food outside.
- I flew to Phoenix 2 days after Charles to attend Hannah's wedding shower at her sister-in-law-to-be's house. Then we went whirlwind shopping to try to find a bridesmaid dress for Emma which was unsuccessful but fun. Then I met Charles at the church, where the wedding he reception he was involved with was wrapping up, hopped into the small moving truck drove with him back to Albuquerque (from which I flew away early that same morning). We arrived somewhere around 3:30am, bleary eyed and almost in an altered state! ;)
- Youth mission team arrived back on Monday night but without Maggie. Her sisters picked her up as they drove through Flagstaff and she has been in Phoenix visiting ever since. She helped with our former church's Vacation Bible School this past week and left yesterday to go to youth camp with her old youth group until Tuesday. She will be home Thursday, when my sister will drive up to visit for a few days.
- I have found that life around here is either full steam, barreling ahead or it's completely quiet and peaceful until your ears are ringing. Maggie described it that it's like being dropped in honey....every. thing. slowwwwwws. doooooown. Meditate on this for a while. It's taken a while to get used to but we are enjoying it now. I think it's healthy and was needed. And now imagine floating in honey without a Maggie in the house. You've gone from honey to molasses in January. I am cracking up because that is exactly what it was like for a week or so. .....and then the barreling starts.
- In one long weekend we volunteered at a field day for the community center's children's summer recreation program. I manned the dart game.....with real darts with one inch stickers on the ends. (Yes, that was as intimidating and stressful as it sounds when you are assisting keyed up K-6th graders with dangerous weapons) Sunburn number one happened.
- The very next day, our church put on a block party. Our church does a block party every summer as a way to get to know the community better. But this year we also did it as a fund raiser for a neighbor of ours named Steve. On Memorial Day weekend, our neighbor 7 houses down the road lost his house in a fire. Sometimes it takes something tragic to bring people together and we have seen how God's used this tragedy to bring our neighborhood closer. No one was hurt in the fire, but he lost everything. As a single dad, he's been blown away by the community's concern and help for him. We had tons of help at the block party, but with prep, set up, greeting and visiting with dozens of new people, helping an out of town youth group get set up and know what to do, and standing for 7 hours, hooo, baby, I was wiped out. We didn't feel it until we hit our front door. It was a great day, full of energy and neighbors becoming friends, and people pouring out money and concern for Steve.
- Had the out of town youth group over for the afternoon after the block party while they did their debriefing and finished their blog and photo booth projects. Fed them tacos. (Thankfully they cleaned up my kitchen afterwards! Very cool.) Then they left for the next leg of their mission trip and we basically collapsed into a heap. :)
- Sunday was youth led worship and service. They all gave testimonies about their mission trip and what God did in their own lives. Leadership team meeting after church until almost 6pm. I did not contribute much, just kind of sat there and tried to stay focused and take notes for the newsletter.
- This week, I demanded Charles actually take a day off. He was very willing after that busy weekend. So we decided to tour northern New Mexico. We drove up to Taos, visited a place he wants to take our young adult group for a retreat in a month and drove home that evening. It was beautiful weather and scenery. This is a spectacular place with a lot of unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty. There is not even a big highway that goes up there, you have to take little state highways and figure out your route carefully to get where you want to go.
- The forest fires here are mostly out now and the rain has finally been falling....almost daily! It's like everything in our yard has come back to life and the trees of our field are clapping their hands in delight of moisture and blessing. It's refreshing to the human soul as well.
- I've been getting curriculum and classes lined up for Maggie because we are going back to homeschooling this year! She is done with dramatic drama in schools and is ready to focus on school and enrichment studies without the anxiety. She auditioned for a concert choir in a homeschool enrichment studies program and made it in. And in a week she will begin driver's education class at a school in Albuquerque. Our last girl to start driving. I find it is one of the most stressful times in my life, when my kids start driving. But God uses it to grow my faith and trust in Him every time! I will have to write on that in another post.


God is good. He is giving us vision and showing us where to join in with Him in this community....where our church fits in and how we can be effective here to show His love and be His Light. 

- ETA: The men's breakfast was held in my house this morning, giving me time to hide out in my room and write this post. Last night I told someone I wasn't going to come out of my room until the kitchen was clean. And it was! Thank you to the guys! My husband made bisquits & sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and orange juice ...another man brought bacon. And now my kitchen is all clean and Charles is out mowing the lawn while I was adding some Miracle Grow to my gardens. Everything is growing great now that the air has a little moisture in it and it's been raining each day. I will try to post a picture soon. 

July 1, 2013

Snakes in the laundry room

This happened today....


Our landlord took our back door off to get a new one the correct size. In the meantime someone (named George) took full advantage of the situation.

Even though he looks dangerous, he is only a bull snake and harmless, unless you are a songbird or mouse. They also chase away dangerous snakes from your yard, so we'll keep him. Charles wrangled him out the door and we covered it up and chased him into the part of the yard where there are gopher holes. ;) 

Go George go!

June 18, 2013

Blog subscriptions

If you use Google Reader to read the blogs you like to keep up with, you probably already know that they are discontinuing blog subscription service on July 1! I have over 100 blogs that I like to keep up with, so I was researching today on what other options are out there.

I found Bloglovin is very user friendly and once you sign up, it gives you an immediate prompt to import your Google Reader subscriptions. It was so easy! And you just have to post this link: Follow my blog with Bloglovin to get stats on your blog traffic there too.

And if you follow several blogs, it's smart to subscribe to this kind of reader because it updates you every time someone has a new post up. :) (especially good if they are a slacker and don't post regularly like me)

June 14, 2013

Droughts

The days have been warm enough this week to turn on the cooler around 1pm and keep it on until evening. It does a great job cooling down the house.  It's a swamp cooler, not air conditioning. And it's very effective here in this very dry climate. I think it's a lot drier here than it is in Phoenix....my lips get chapped quite often.

We are praying for rain. They've had a few years of drought here and there are now 4 big forest fires raging in the mountains around us...not our mountain range, but near enough to see the smoke. Last night I could hear the thunder and saw a few sprigs of lightning light up my living room window, but the rain did not fall on our neighborhood. I go out every morning and walk through the powdery dust of our front yard and water my little vegetable garden. The birds all fuss at me to fill the bird bath with water. There is never any moisture left in it 24 hours later.

The other night I was invited to eat dinner with a church friend. Our husbands were both out of town, so we planned a visit. She lives at the very top of a mountain. We sat out on the patio as the sun went down behind us and watched the mountain ranges change colors, the smoke from distant fires blew down the valleys and the lights of the nearby neighborhoods and then of Santa Fe came up and glistened as we chatted. Hummingbirds zipped all around our heads by the dozens! I think there were about 2 dozen of them at least, coming to her feeders to get their last sips of the day. A few times we saw 10-12 birds on one feeder, all sitting shoulder to tiny shoulder, heads popping up occasionally to peep at each other. I loved it! There were also all sorts of birds at other feeders and coming to drink at the pond and waterfall in front of us. She and her husband had very lovingly made an oasis in the dry climate. Plants, flowers and water all carefully placed and planned out, chairs and pathways in just the right places to catch the different venues of wildlife, nature and views.

We talked about our lives, where we'd lived, our families, our coming to know Christ. We talked about our love for the area and for nature. And we talked about how dear it is to have such a great fellowship of Christian friends here in the middle of this spiritually arid climate of secular society. That doesn't just happen and it is more and more dear, the older I get.  I realized that has to be carefully and lovingly cultivated as well. It takes spending time together, just sitting together in the quiet evening, chatting about life or in each others' homes learning to better handle the Word of Truth.

As darkness came, her solar lighting came on and the landscaping made it's own little island of glowing lights. I realized it was time to drive back home. The mountain road seemed endless in the pitch black night (oh, I dislike driving by myself at night) and I was never so glad to see the main highway and know I was back to other people, to streetlights and the sure way home.

I feel the same way about our little church here, so blessed to have this community in this culturally arid climate. We need the rain, so the land will flourish again. It's nice to be in an oasis of life to enjoy when the land is so starved and dry. It's a vivid picture to me of what else we're missing....God's Word and Spirit to flow out of the oasis, so the dry souls will flourish too.

God, bless the land with rain, but most of all, bless the people here. The fires are ravaging the land, but the enemy is ravaging the people with false beliefs and sin. Send refreshing showers and the life-giving nourishment of Your Truth. Let Your love flow through Your servants like rain blesses a dry land.....


May 22, 2013

God help us after the storms

It's the time of year for dust devils. This past week I've seen dozens of them on the horizon as we drive along. Tall funnels of dust and debri towering up into the sky.


The wind here can be strong in the spring. I often have to put my folding camp chairs back upright when I go outside. Once when Maggie and I were waiting in the car for Charles at the gas company I pointed out about 70 tumbleweeds piled up on their chain link fence, frozen in mid-tumble. She looked at them and asked, "Those are tumbleweeds?"  and at that moment the wind shifted and those tumbleweeds all came tumbling at us like a stampeding herd. We both squealed because it was startling and funny. For about 30 seconds it seemed like we were being attacked by them, barreling at us and scratching on the car.

Today the wind just seemed like a very bad memory, knowing what damage it caused across the middle of the United States.

Then this morning my husband got an email from someone who just moved from this area. His former neighbor's son had just died. Charles met him briefly while helping this friend pack his truck for the move, so he felt compelled to minister to him. As we drove out to their house in the next town over, he explained to me what had happened. The man's grown son had been helping roof another neighbor's house when a gust of wind lifted the roof off beneath him and hurled him down. He was found in the rubble 300 feet away.

That was on Monday, the same day as the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

Today was calm, sunny, and peaceful. No one answered the door of the house, although the driveway was filled with cars and trucks. The wind whipped around the house.... they were probably in the back having lunch and didn't hear the knocking. So Charles left a sympathy card with his phone number on the porch, held there with a large rock so the wind wouldn't steal it away.

Dust devils spiraled up on the open fields. I counted 8-10 of them on the way back home. I had no fascination for them today, only sadness.
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12
After the wind blows through and the violence of the storm is over, God is there in the gentle whisper, in the aftermath while we are standing there disheveled and bewildered, quiet and solemn.
He is there. God help us in the wake of the storms.


May 14, 2013

...that we may live peaceful and quiet lives

We are getting more used to the slower pace of life here. It's nice.

My neck spasms are noticeably less. The last 2 years have been stressful in both good and hard ways. About a year ago I woke up and could not move my neck without extreme pain. Gradually it got better, but it is now my body's go-to stress reaction for my neck to clench and muscles spasm. I don't have to take Advil until later in the day now, although I don't think I'm down to not taking any yet.

We are doing a lot of getting to know people and getting to know the area.  I am taking lots of pictures so I got an Instagram account so that my family in Phoenix can see what we're doing here. Follow the adventure here. It's a fun way to keep connected.

The link for Instagram is also in my side bar. 

There is so much to be said for a quiet and peaceful life.  I know it's not going to always be so peaceful and quiet here, but it seems to be the general state so far.  :)


April 30, 2013

Yard life

We have spent time lately out on our little deck by a big juniper tree. The songbirds here are all over the place, so we've been watching them. (and they watch us) So one day Charles got out his iphone and opened an application from Audubon Guides called Birds.

He started trying to figure out what kinds of birds we had in the trees around us by finding their calls. He would play the call and soon we noticed the calls around us were closer and closer. We were being closely monitored with fly-by agents and reconnaissance spies in the branches around us. It was hilarious, but I had to be quiet because it was so much fun.

The Mountain Chickadee answers back when you imitate and the Juniper Titmouse came right up to us, within 3 feet of our chairs to investigate, a look of shock to see what weird birds we were. I was holding Maisy in my lap and she just trembled with anticipation of what that bird would do as they locked eyes with each other. Then he abruptly flew off. Maisy just sighed. No one wants to be her friend. ;)

And that's the news from the animal kingdom here.

P.S.
Charles did find a snake in the front yard yesterday. It was shortish and brown but had no rattle, so he let it slither off to eat gophers.
(I am shamelessly cheering him on in that)

April 26, 2013

Divine encounter

About 6 years ago my husband, Charles, flew to Oklahoma City to pick up a car his brother wanted our daughter Bethany to have. He visited for a day or two and then started the drive back. And around Albuquerque he began to realize this car was not going to make it back to Phoenix. In fact, it died....cracked head gasket (whatever that is, I don't usually ask). He called home to tell me he was spending the night in Albuquerque with a friend of a friend. He just happened to make the connection because he called our friend Dave to ask car advice. Dave called his friend in that city and the friend dropped everything to come and rescue my husband.

He not only gave him a ride. He arranged for towing, invited Charles back to stay at his family home for the night and fed him dinner. I remember Charles saying they were people you felt like you've always known, so friendly, hospitable and kind. The next morning Dave came from Arizona to help Charles tow the car back home but he always remembered this friend of Dave's who had come to his rescue. He said he wanted to find him and invite him to dinner and to visit our new church once we moved here to Albuquerque.

You never know Who is listening when you say things like that.... ;)

The other day we went to switch to New Mexico driver's licenses. We thought it would be quick and easy, but they require you bring documents to prove your residency and also your social security cards. As we headed away from the window, the woman helping us happened to mention that if our social security cards were laminated, they would not accept them. Ehnn, yeah, about that. Years ago we did laminate them before seeing the instructions not to on the back side. So she said we had to go to the social security office and get new ones. Sssssigh...

This was our mission this morning. We headed out with our passports, old social security cards, birth certificates, etc. We did not want to be turned away because we didn't have the right documents. I had no idea this was such a big deal. As we headed in to the office, there was a security check point, metal detector and 4 police officers checking us out. Then we entered a room of about 50 people sitting in plastic chairs, waiting for their number to be called to talk to someone about their social security needs. It did not look like fun. Drat those laminating machines!

We waited to be checked in and given a number so that we could wait some more. But when we got to the front of the line, Charles beamed and called out his old friend of a friend's name. He was the one checking people in! We were all just smiling and thinking it was an amazing chance meeting. He and Charles had a wonderful few moments of connecting again. Then, just as amazing, he said he would get us to a window right away so we wouldn't have to wait in those plastic chairs with those 50 other people and then shuttled us to the next window.

I usually don't like to take cuts, but boy oh boy....that was meant to be and we appreciated it so much. The woman helping us had us out of there in about 5 minutes. And the old friend assured us he would come visit the church in a week and come to dinner with us afterwards.

Maybe....instead of that friend being there to cut us a break, we were probably the ones who he needed to connect with. I hope he comes to our little church and finds out what God is doing in his life.

Very cool morning. You never know what a day will hold, do you?


April 15, 2013

Moving Day

Well...I had a few What. Are. We. Doing!? moments this morning but once we rolled out of the driveway I was fine. Leaving our kids behind was a strange moment. Leaving didn't feel real until we were in the highway and a certain John Denver song came on. (When driving Charles' truck you have to listen to his CDs) He was singing,

Friends, I will remember you
Think of you
Pray for you
And when another day is through
I'll still be friends with you.

I started thinking about our time here and realized we have invested more of our hearts here than anywhere else. There has been flooooods of water under this bridge, folks. So many things we got to do, things we got to witness in people's lives, and best of all, so many dear, dear friends we've collected here. It's a beautiful collection. I could barely stop hugging some of them this morning when we were trying to leave.

Charles said this past week that part of leaving well is saying good-bye well. I hope we did. We love our friends and family here.

I will try to update after we arrive in our new location, but we won't have  Internet until at least Thursday and trying to type well on Charles' iPhone is making me nutsy!

On to new things...

April 6, 2013

One more week

Since Easter we have been in full on packing, sorting and pitching out mode.

We've also been to a different person's home or taken out to eat each day since then.

We have one more week in Phoenix before moving to Albuquerque.

It is getting sad to think of leaving our dear family and friends here, so I probably won't be posting much unless there is something encouraging to share. I mean, it's all been encouraging, just hard....kind of the same processing, over and over, with each group or family. And that's okay, this is part of it and we want to do it well.

Tonight we went to our future son in law's parents' home. They had family in from out of town and one of their daughters is expecting a baby, so it was a fun, happy night. They are Romanian and it's a very family upon family affectionate and close bond when they all get together. We were blessed to be a part of it.


March 30, 2013

New Life....and candy!

The Easter bunny was put out tonight because all appropriate baskets for treats have been packed. So we have 2 semi-appropriate baskets and one Christmas basket to offer him.


Happy Easter everyone!

Celebrate the new life we have in Christ 
because He was victorious over death.

 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  

 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.   

So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. ~Romans 6:8-11


March 29, 2013

Good Friday

From Psalm 53, it unfolded just as He knew it would, as it had to be. He was the final Passover Lamb, the only perfect One and His blood doesn't just cover our sins for a year, but blots them out forever. Praises to the One who was and IS and is to come....
 

He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all.....

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
    and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
    he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
    and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
    he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
    my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
    for he will bear all their sins.

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
    because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
    He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.


Stuff

There are good things, not so good things and there are bad things about having to pack up your entire house.

Bad things:

All the dust you find when you move furniture away from the walls or when you climb up to retrieve the decorations you put on high ledges and have never touched since.....like with a Swiffer on a looooong pole, of which I have one in my closet.

Pain. Neck, back, feets. So glad we stocked up on Advil.

We just cannot keep everything. Boo. I like my stuff. But the house we are moving into is a lot smaller than this one we were blessed to live in, and there will only be the three of us moving, so we don't need as much.

Not so good things:

It makes you grouchy.

Too much salt and calories in restaurant food that you have to eat because you packed most of your kitchen already.

The dog is a little whacked out by packing of any sort.

Saying goodbye to people you love. This cannot go on the bad list although it is not so good, because there are such great ways to stay closely connected these days. 

Good things:

Thinking about setting up a new house.

Blessing our grown kids and friend with stuff we've had to part with. I am even giving them their memory bags I've had in my closet since they were babies. I gave Bethany hers and she said, "Wait, we can have these?" I told her yes, they are full of things I kept for them, so they could remember things from their childhood. "But how will you remember us now!?" Sometimes she reminds me of when she was little all over again. She was full of those kinds of questions.

Finding that stash of chocolate I hid a few months ago. Actually I don't know if it was a few months, but it was long ago enough that I have no memory of ever putting it in there. (I can't say where because apparently it's a really good hiding place!)

Giving away stuff and lightening the load.

Yes, I know that was also on the bad things list, but it's both. It's hard.....and then it's freeing.  You never realize how bound you are to certain things in your life until someone asks you to give it away. And when you can give it away, you realize how much you can do without.

Freedom is good. (side note to my dear husband, this does not pertain to my grandmother's china and my pink depression glass, so let's don't go there)



March 27, 2013

Under Construction

The main street in front of our church is under major construction.

Tonight I thought it was a very appropriate picture of what is happening to our church too.

The Light Rail system that is going in on that street will soon be bringing all sorts of new people and businesses there. I am excited to hear how God will work there in the coming years too, because He is doing construction and bringing new people to the church as well.

Sometimes that means things look torn up for a while.

But it's not a bad thing....it's just preparation for change.

Remembering to remember


-Tonight was my last time to cook the Wednesday night church supper...I'm waffling between feeling sentimental and shouting "Wheeee!"  I did love doing it most of the time....sometimes, not.
-I really need to hyper-focus on Jesus right now. Too much distraction everywhere and hello, it's holy week! My focus has astigmatism....keeps changing. The blog Holy Experience really helps me to remember what's important, check it out!
-I keep forgetting it's Easter this Sunday (see above bullet point). It's getting embarrassing. I do have a lot going on, but I think there is nothing more important right now that remembering.

-Time is starting to fly with all the packing and good-bying. It is hard to imagine all the changes that will take place next month.
-Caught the last half of American Idol tonight. This is the time during each season when I start watching....they've finally gotten down to the good ones.
-Sam's Club gave out samples of chocolate covered strawberries today....I had two.

-Tonight there was a lovely full moon...

March 25, 2013

Magic hugs

Tonight Bethany was over for dinner since her husband has a seminary class. We ate spaghetti and then we all piled in the truck to go and look at a chair Charles wanted to buy from someone on Craig's List.  I didn't realize until we were pulling out of the driveway that our little dog was in the car too. She is not really a car dog. She used to hurl over and over again when we would take her in the car when she was a puppy, so we just got used to not taking her on car trips unless we had to. (do you blame us?)

She was enjoying  it tonight though. Bethany rolled her window down about a quarter of the way and let Maisy stick her head out. I fell into narration mode as we watched her learning how to do the head out the window thing for the first time. "Okay, I can do this, I'm a dog...I think this is how it's done, you just...uh....uuuuhhhh, this is harder than it looks! Wind....wind..must....put....head...out......can't keep eyes open....ears....wind....all the smells of the city at 45 miles an hour....this is great!" And then there were sound effects of wind going through her cheeks that I cannot possibly spell out for you to read.

She is mighty funny, that dog.

My mom and sister kept her for 8 days about a week ago while we were out of town. One night I was talking to my sister and she asked me if Maisy usually went into her crate voluntarily at bedtime. I said yeah, she goes in there every night at bedtime. She said, "Well I tell her to go to bed and she just goes to the door of it and stands there! I have to pick her up and put her into it."

"Oooooh," I said, "she is waiting for a hug." And while my sister knows I'm a little nutty with my dog, she knew I was serious, so she tried it.

Sure enough, the next night Jodi waited for the pause and gave Maisy a hug and she went right into her crate!

The dog is a tradition lover....or maybe more like a tradition demander.  ;)

March 23, 2013

Focus

Join me.

I'm praying for the church to lift up the Lord tomorrow, all focus on Him.

No distractions, spiritual or emotional. 

No eyes on ourselves.

Just on Jesus.

Kinda like this:



When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

I tell you, he replied, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” 

Luke 19:37-40



March 22, 2013

Bradley and Hannah

We have another wedding coming up this summer. That will make two in one year!

Bradley Cotan has been dating Hannah for almost a year now and they got engaged on Saturday night. We are so happy for them! After seeing how happily settled Jeremy and Beth are in marriage, it fills our hearts with peace and joy for Hannah to have a partner to come alongside her in life too. And we love Bradley and welcome him into the family.

God, bless them with a long, sweet, happy life together.

The couple.


The ring.




March 21, 2013

The bigger picture

....your purpose in life...

Some friends were discussing this last night. Immediately we started thinking of what we do....we are mothers, we serve in the church in various ways... and then one of my friends said, but really those things may pass away....children grow up and move on and we may not always serve in the same ways. But what is our purpose...and immediately a saying came to my mind. At first I wondered if it was a Bible verse, but when I searched it on the internet, it came up as the motto of the Navigators organization.

To know Christ and make Him known.

I like that. Simple but full. 

1. Love God-to know Christ.
2. Love others-help them to know Christ. 
The greatest 2 commandments.

Being a wife, mom, worker in church, home, or profession....these are the things we do, our roles. But our purpose as followers of Christ is to know Him and make Him known. At least I want it to be my purpose. It really helps define your life and heart when you come down to your one thing. If we are making our roles in life our one thing, we're not putting Christ first, but purposes that are temporal.

All of this is helping me to process with my friends our call from God to another place. I keep trying to clearly define for them why we are leaving.  But if He is clearly calling us, how could we not go?

My daughter Maggie, 15, who is moving with us and clearly feels the call also, wrote this last night on Facebook:

If God asked you to do something utterly crazy, would you have the guts to do it? What if He asked you to do something you really really don't want to do? Would you obey? Would you give your life for Him? Would you give Him a second thought? So many people get so caught up in their own life that they forget to look at the bigger picture. They forget the REAL purpose of their life. Life is an adventure that God gave us and he has the road picked out that He wants us to take. It may look a little scary now, but once you get going you will see that is was well worth it! :) Bring it on.

 She totally gets it. She hopes her friends will get it too. "It's not about me, it's about God," this life. And if we make it all about God, there are rich rewards along the way....like the friendships we've made here and amazing things God has let us see happen. If we had never come here, we wouldn't have had those friendships and experiences. So now can you see why we're excited to go? God has more out there, so we're going to follow. Not perfectly at all, just the best we can.

It's going to be worth it to see God's plan for our current church and for our next church unfolding in the next year or two. I hope we can all focus on Jesus and what He is calling each of us to do and not on the loss of a person's role in our life.... We're each on a journey with Christ and He's blessed us to come together on a part of it. I wouldn't have wanted to miss that.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)


March 20, 2013

Transitions are hard

Well I failed on my Lent commitment to blog each day until Easter.

But I have an excuse.

We had a pretty big announcement to make on Sunday and the distraction of worrying about how people might react had me waiting to say something here.

Charles had to announce to our church that we are going to be moving soon to another church (near Albuquerque). God has been putting it on our hearts for a year now, so we've had time to process it, lay our lives down to it and then get excited about it.

But it feels cruel to be excited about moving on when your dear friends are grieving because it is a brand new thought to them. ......this part of ministry life is really hard. The pits. No likey. Bleh.

But...
    ....right now, somewhere out there, God is putting
           .....an inkling
                  ....in the heart and mind of another pastor,
who will be the one to bring this church,
our dear church family,
      ....to the next step He has for it.

Change is the hardest when it involves parting paths with people who are dear to you. I understand it fully because we've done this before.

And each time God heals the hurt, keeps the relationships special and refined with time....and He gives new and fresh relationships and ideas and projects and ministries.

It is good and it will be okay....good, in fact. Just wait and see.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11

P.S. I will write about the new church soon in another post, when the time is right.

March 15, 2013

Finger pointing

You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others 
you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? 

Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? 

Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand 
                    and leads us into a radical life-change.  

~Romans 2:3-4 (The Message)

I love the way The Message paraphrase of the Bible makes you think about things from a little different perspective... ouch.

March 14, 2013

Cabins, better with water

We are finding that although water is really a nice asset, it's not essential to having a nice vacation.

We definitely miss it though.

We sat out by the fire ring tonight and sang Pass It On and Grandma's Featherbed and The Lion Sleeps Tonight (until Hannah said,"That's enough!"...even though we sounded awesome). Bradley kept the fire bright with pine needles and Beth and Jeremy's dog Ace played stare-at-the-woodpile-and make-everyone-guess-what's-in-there... And he's really good at it.

Everyone's back in now so I guess it's time to empty a bunch of water bottles into the kettle and make cocoa...goodnight!

Ps...this is my first blog post all typed with one finger on an iPhone. :D

March 13, 2013

When your dog has too much influence...

Maisy wanted me to show you this one.

 She thinks it's hilarious and horrifying at the same time.

March 12, 2013

March 11, 2013

Instagramming life

Today I spied a sweet thing. From my seat by the window I could see my husband and Maggie, our youngest of four daughters, taking a walk through the woods on a path that meandered back and forth on the side of a hill. Sometimes they were in step with each other and sometimes one would stop to show the other a thing that caught their interest.

A look,
    a smile,
         a meeting of the eyes,
               understanding and kinship.

                And then they disappeared down the hill, all the time in the world, today.

But we know that sooner than we like she will fly from the nest, just like the others have...

And I wanted to write it down
         to remember what a sweet scene I'd witnessed. Words, like a snapshot.

Here are the walkers 12 years ago...

March 10, 2013

Truth is....

-God is good. (all the time)
-Prayer in Jesus' name is powerful.
-Mountain air is refreshing for the soul.
-My husband is a man after God's own heart.
-Warm crescents and pumpkin soup=mmmm
-It's hard to blog every day when you're out of town.
-Hearing my daughter sing makes my heart sing.
-Seeing God's hand at work in your life...nothing beats that.


March 8, 2013

Mai-flowers



  

patio decor

Zzzzz

I was definitely thinking of something to blog about last night as I drifted off to sleep, but I didn't make it out of bed to type it up. And now it's gone. (and perhaps it's wise not to blog so late at night because I tend to tell a little too much....lol)

A good night's sleep seems to wash away the things that seem to be heavy on my mind in the night and let's me wake up fresh and wondering why my thoughts were so worrisome. I like it!

March 6, 2013

Here's Taylor!

My friend Taylor has been home for a visit! She is the friend I wrote about here and has been battling an eating disorder. A counselor at the college she was attending a year ago called her parents to come pick her up because she was too weak from anorexia to walk to classes. It was a very scary, desperate time. After spending a year at a place called  His Mansion in recovery, she's been home for the past few months but will return there as a mentor for others starting next week. Another year at His Mansion, this time as a volunteer leader and helper.

We are so proud of her. And we are in awe at what God has done in her life. He saved her...spiritually and physically and she is on a mission to help other girls.

Here is Taylor's blog Saved by Grace where she's written about her year of healing and where she will keep us informed on all that this year will hold in her life. I just spent about an hour looking through her photos from her year in New Hampshire at His Mansion, so I wanted to share one with you.

She's got peace like a river..... :)


March 5, 2013

Confidants and Comrades

Even though it was small group night at my own house, I slipped away to see my secret friends tonight. We ate fruit, tea and chocolate cake. We watched a dvd teaching session by Jennifer Rothschild about how God formed us with His own hands, so His fingerprints are all over us, like a child's fingerprints in soft play dough when they are done smooshing it around. And it makes us so beautiful and honored by Him. And that should instill in us an honor for Him in our lives...to live a life worthy of His calling.

When the dvd was over we sat comfortably and chatted about our lives. We only see each other twice a month, so there is a lot of catching up to do. ;) For three years we have met together and shared a lot of our lives with each other. All of us are ministry wives and each one has been through so much in just 3 years! We reviewed it tonight and remembered how this group has been supportive through personal struggles, church struggles, job changes, sickness and surgeries, children's marriages, heartaches, adoptions and deaths of family members. We have also rejoiced and celebrated with each other whole-heartedly in the victories in ministry and in each other's personal lives.

At the end they decided to gather round and pray for me. I sat there with each of their hands on my head, back and arm and felt so loved and affirmed by these wonderful women of God. Then they began to sing, praying in song for God to be glorified in our lives and our churches. The whole thing reminded me of this Scripture,

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Zephaniah 3:17 


March 4, 2013

Our God is Greater

Ear to the phone, I was listening to my worried daughter talk about feeling like the enemy has control right now.  What can we do? It seems like he's getting stronger and stronger, she said. She is worried for her generation, for her friends who don't take God seriously right now. So many people following the wrong path...

The one thing the enemy wants us to do is to feel defeated....to see how strong he seems to be.

Then an answer so simple, it doesn't seem possible. One of those "do this, not that" Bible verses...full of wisdom. And it comes with a powerful promise...


Don’t worry about anything; 
instead, pray about everything. 

Tell God what you need, 
and thank him for all he has done.  

~Then you will experience God’s peace, 
which exceeds anything we can understand.~

***His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.***
 
 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 

Fix your thoughts on -----> what is true, and honorable, 
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. \O/
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)


...umm, emphases mine.  (in case you wondered)

She sounded much better, light of heart....peace-filled even... when we said good-bye.
Tried and true, that is my favorite Scripture. Thank you Lord, for the Scripture and how You fill each word of it with Your Presence and power.

March 3, 2013

Springing forward



At sunset this evening it was warm enough to take our walk in short sleeves.

Smells vividly wafted out of yards and houses as we passed by. It seemed like all the plants were releasing their scent to the warm spring air. Someone was barbecuing meat, another was running their drier with a very fragrant drier sheet, the houses with little backyard farms smelled like...eh, backyard farms.

The sky was so pink. And as we turned a corner to go from eastbound to south, we were amazed by the fiery sunset to our right. A man was standing on top of his house looking at it too. The smell of a marginally legal substance trailed down to the street from his perch.

Distant traffic, dogs scolding us as we passed by, and crunching leaves under our feet were the background music to my husband's voice as he spilled out hopes, dreams and plans for the year of ministry ahead of him. If you ever want to hear what's in his head, just put on your tennies and head out for a walk beside him.

Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts, renewal of hope and a new spark of energy.

Here's to spring.


March 2, 2013

Answers

Busy day. 
This is all I have for you.
It's really all we need though.



March 1, 2013

Relaxing haiku


Have one thing to say.
Pinched nerve in neck and shoulder
Muscle relaxer.


Very relaxish.

Turn off the light when you leave....zzzz

February 28, 2013

Not our fight

When I mentioned that my word for the year is War, I didn't tell the whole story.

It scared me to have a word like this assigned to me. And then I remembered that the word I got for 2012 was scary too. It was the word Health.

I wasn't sure what to do with or think of this word. Was I expected to work on my health? This is how I understood it at first. So I started out going to the doctor. I'd been having vague but troubling pain and thought it was an ovarian cyst. The doctor, after blood tests, ordered an ultrasound. During the ultrasound the tech couldn't find a cyst on the side I had pain on so I asked her to look at my kidney since stones are my ongoing struggle. She looked....she moaned. I knew. It was full with 3 large stones and lots of little ones.

Two lithotripsies later, I finally did some research on something a friend told me about probably 15 years ago. She had recurring stones and had found out it was her parathyroid that was out of whack and after having it removed, she never had another stone! It seemed too good to be true, but I looked into it 15 years later. I had asked many doctors if the parathyroid could be the problem. They had all said that was very rare and I would have tons of stones if that were the case. So I never doubted them. And I never did my own research on it.

After my blood work in March came back with high calcium again (....always high....never explained), I did not ask my doctor what she knew about the parathyroid. I simply asked her if I could get a PTH blood test to see if my parathyroid hormone was too high. And she did order the test because I told her about the research I had done. This PTH hormone triggers a release of calcium from bones and teeth and sends it into the blood stream. It also causes a LOT of other symptoms that I never would have put all together with the same root cause. You can read about it on the Parathyroid page if you're interested. It is a lot more common than doctors have been educated to think and it is so easy to diagnose with that blood test.

My main symptoms were the stones (although not everyone has kidney stones with this) and also a growing depression and lethargy that was so alarming by summer that I seriously had the thought in the back of my mind that I was dying. I didn't know then that this was because of the hormone overload.

I put off seeing the surgeon until after my daughter's wedding in late October, but I wish I'd had it as soon as I knew my levels were high because I felt SO much better after the surgery. The wedding pictures showed me with heavy eyelids and looking very tired and worn. And that's how I felt. Three weeks later I had a simple out patient surgery to remove just one of my four parathyroid glands. They are normally the size of a grain of rice. The doctor said mine was the size of a peanut M&M, then remembering it was Thanksgiving time, he changed that to the size of a cranberry.  ;)

Now I'm feeling great and don't run out of energy by noon. I can barely remember that dreadful feeling of lethargy and apathy. And it wasn't until I was wondering about a word for 2013 that I realized that last year's word was something completely different than I had imagined. Health wasn't something I was supposed to achieve on my own.

I do think we should work to be healthier, but I'm saying my word for the year wasn't like that. It didn't depend on me. It was given to me as a gift! And I may not have picked up on God's intervention in it all if it hadn't been for my word of the year being health. He knew the journey I would be on this past year.

Realizing this helped me to understand the 2013 word War better. Spiritual warfare is active, it's a tool for us to use (every day). But it's a gift too. We don't do the fighting. We ask God to fight for us and for our loved ones, for our country and our world. And He is faithful and will hear our cry and answer us.

This year has been a time of waking up for me. I am so much more aware of things to pray about and people to pray for. I only hope I am faithful to keep alert to it because we frail humans tend to fall back to sleep so easily. Lord, keep us sharp and in tune to Your leading.



February 27, 2013

Practicing

Sitting in my small group circle last night listening to them discuss our book chapter, I had more than a little significant revelations in my own thoughts.

We are reading a book by John Ortberg on spiritual disciplines, but they aren't your ordinary list like 1) Have a quiet time, 2) Pray at least 30 minutes per day...early in the morning because that's more spiritual, 3) Give tithes and offerings 4) Use your spiritual gift and serve your local church.

The disciplines he writes about are more motivation disciplines like
-the practice of celebration
-practicing living in an unhurried way
-cultivating the right motivations for prayer
-serve people, put them first
-confessing your sins to others
-listening to the Holy Spirit
-the practice of secrecy
-true meditation on Scripture
-having a well ordered heart
-enduring suffering in life

The chapter we were on last night was on the practice of secrecy. Not tooting your own horn and being the hypocrite standing in the square spouting the good works you've racked up this week.

Wow, that is convicting. As we discussed this it was evident that I need to evaluate who I am seeking to please and why I mention certain things. I do feel God's approval in my life...but I do seek the applause of people more than I should. Or should I at all? sheesh! My thinking is needing a tune up.

I'm so glad we're reading this book. It's called The Life You've Always Wanted. And I think I do want it....not because it's a way to get God to answer my prayers or be blessed by Him.

   These spiritual disciplines are not easy.
                There is not checklist about them,
                       ...they are more like purging and setting your motivation right.
But because there is JOY in that kind of life.
       It's GOOD.
            It's rewarding and it's freedom.

I want that. hmmm

February 25, 2013

Snapshots from my Monday



Today I...

...pushed the snooze button four times. This is ridiculous. It's like starting Monday morning four times! 
...dropped off my dear daughter to take the AIMS test amid an assortment of home schooled kids....some looked atypical for home schoolers, some were less than upstanding citizens who wondered if my daughter used any substances for recreation, some had the appearance of being from another country, one wore a Muslim headscarf, all looked a little displaced and stole glances of the others when no one was looking (except for me, I was looking). It was all very awkward and interesting.
...went to Sam's Club at 8:30am....very sparse with shoppers. It was nice, but there were no samples either.
...helped Charles take my car in to the shop....far, far away in Glendale. I drove my car down Thunderbird and 51st Avenue,  he drove the truck down the interstate and Glendale Avenue. He won. Drat. (I like to win)
...returned something to ROSS and picked up Maggie from her testing site. She was starving so I let her get into the church dinner potato chips. (Okay, I did too)
...went home to make some very good grilled cheesers and boss Maggie into finishing her school for the day while Emma watched Arthur on Netflix. (which does not seem fair when you are the one who has school work to do)
...took Maggie to the second hand store to shop for jeans. We only found cute shirts and shoes (both of us). ;)
...came home and started supper at 4 pm....chicken legs in the oven, glad I put a lid on it...as they went into the oven both of my kids were invited to dinner elsewhere. (more chicken for us)
...laughed as I watched Charles at the grill. He was grilling 80 hamburgers for Wednesday night church dinner and man those pups were dripping on the flames and smoking something awful. He had this very intent (and pretty cute) look on his face, most likely going over his next sermon he'd been working on all morning, smoke pouring all over and around him while he calmly day dreamed and flipped burgers serenely. 
...had Emma drop me back off in Glendale to pick up my car (we took 17 to Glendale Ave this time) on her way to her dinner with friends. We listened to Josh Garrels on the way and got a concert in full harmony and passion from both Emma and Maggie as we drove along. Good stuff!
...waited while our friend and mechanic tried to figure out why my car was making an even worse noise and shake than it had before we dropped it off. Oopsie. I did, however, get to do something I've wanted to do since I was a little kid. After a drive with the Rick, the mechanic, around the block to hear and evaluate the noise, he parked it back in the car bay to look at the engine again. I decided to stay in the car, as I have very comfy seats in my car and it was warm and cozy in there. So as I was sitting in the warm car, half day dreaming and half texting with my friend Diana, I noticed motion. I was going up, up, up into the car bay on a hydraulic lift!! I will now get to cross that off of my "some day" list. It was quite a thrill and Rick thought I was nuts.
...drove Rick's huge double, extended, lifted up truck back home because he decided he needed to evaluate my car more tomorrow. I did not want to take that road hog on the freeway, so this time I went up 51st Ave to Thunderbird...and I didn't bump into anyone or anything! ;) So proud. Very mad skills happening here.
...got home and realized I had been gone for 2 hours and the chicken legs were in the oven at 375ยบ the entire time. Oh dear.
...ate a nice, quiet supper of well done chicken and salad with my dear husband, who had just showered all the smoke off himself and cleaned the grill.
...decided to go for my walk, even though it was dark. As we stepped outside, the moon was bright and full. 

...thanked God for a wonderful life and people to live it with. We have really seen His blessings and His hand in our lives lately. Amazing.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?
 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:3-5 NLT


February 24, 2013

Complete is relative


970 1/2 piece puzzle on the table (28 1/2 pieces in the dog)......all done. Or as done as it can be with a dog in the house.



February 23, 2013

Moonstruck over Manhattan


Our company has been fun and we're glad they are here (a pastor and wife from California). They came in the door and I told them they had to put puzzle pieces into my coffee table sized puzzle before they could eat. And they believed me! And now they are hooked.  So we've been working on this 1,000 piece mostly black, white and yellow scene of New York City at night. It's mostly done now and it's at that obsessive stage where you can't step away. (which is why I'm writing this at almost 1am)

I live in a house with 3 intuitive people. I'm the only sensing one since Bethany moved out.  I am guessing that is why they just shake their heads at me when I ask them to help me with the puzzle. Details are like a foreign language to those people. Charles and Maggie both tried to help one time each and I had to redo their sections.

And I guess puzzle pieces are delicious because the dog keeps eating them! She gets mad when we leave the house sometimes and we come home to find a few soggy pieces of puzzle on the carpet.

Now it's a 993 piece puzzle. Bad dog.

I'm driving Emma to her first grown up women's retreat in the morning to Prescott. So I'll get in on a little of the retreat before I go home. I miss being there this year!

February 22, 2013

Finding treasure

Here is something that happened while I wasn't blogging!


Our daughter Bethany got married in October. Her sisters were all bridesmaids and it was a wonderful celebration with friends from far and wide. We are so proud of her and our new son in law!

And they seem pretty happy too. :)


I wish I could give you a number on how many times we heard the phrase, "Well that's one down, three to go!" I'm sure it was more than a dozen times. 

I would only hope that they all find such a wonderful match 
and that their weddings are just as lovely and happy!

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
    and he receives favor from the Lord.
Psalm 18:22

(we have a little market going on treasures too!)