Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Book Review

With the computer out of the picture last week and weekend, I actually had some extra time to read.....a book! I really enjoy reading - in fact, I used to be somewhat obsessed with it...until that obsession was replaced with blogging and so the cycle goes. Just about anything needs its proper perspective, I suppose. Anyways, back to my topic.

I found a book (through Mama Hen) that was completely different than the other Christian fictions I am usually drawn to at the library. Bess Streeter Aldrich in A Lantern in Her Hand has a very unique writing style. I'll admit, it took me a bit to get caught up in the story but there was so much emotion - that I could identify with - that I kept coming back to the story...until I was hooked.

I would recommend this book - especially for all mothers...you will relate to Abbie's heart - and love her perspective. I wanted to give you a "teaser"...to introduce you to Abbie, whom the story revolves around. She is enjoying a lazy afternoon with her youngest granddaughter, Laura. She is reminiscing and Laura asks her about her favorite memories.

"There are many memories. But I'll tell you the one I like to think of best of all. It's just a homely everyday thing, but to me it is the happiest of them all. It is evening time here in the old house and the supper is cooking and the table is set for the whole family. It hurts a mother, Laura, when the plates begin to be taken away one by one. First there are seven and then six and then five...and on down to a single plate. So I like to think of the table set for the whole family at supper time. The robins are singing in the cottonwoods and the late afternoon sun is shining across the floor. Will, your grandfather, is coming in to supper and the children are all playing out in the yard. I can hear their voices and happy laughter. There isn't much to that memory is there? Out of a lifetime of experiences you would hardly expect that to be the one I would choose as the happiest, would you? But it is."

My goodness, I couldn't have said it better myself!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Story, A Lesson and A Praise!

Hello my fun blogging friends. I have been without a computer since my last post - last Wednesday - and have missed not only adding my own two cents but also not being able to read your thoughts. So nice to spend the quiet of Sunday afternoon (always a nap zone at our house) to "catch up" a bit.

Last week, we noticed the computer was "acting a bit funny" with random pop-ups about being infected.....and yada yada. Indeed, it was infected - this wonderful "courtesy" warning was actually the virus. Wednesday morning, Hubbie announced he had to take the computer for some much needed "help"....no problem, I thought. However, he did not return with the computer. In fact, he had to leave it overnight and then we were told on Thursday morning the computer was going to have to be wiped clean. Without warning - and without my saving precious files anywhere else!

I was devastated. Files of baby pictures. Files of poems, letters, songs I have written to Tyler, devotionals I've done. Files of work done, work to be done and work that I am now doing. All gone because I had neglected to back them up on a disk or memory stick.

As I try to do when I am overwhelmed, I asked God, "What am I supposed to learn from this?" (This, of course, after the many cries of "WHY???") And there was much to be learned - such as always back up your files! - but in the midst of it, my heart heard God say, "I have no back up file."

As I thought about that - what a blessing that was to me. When God forgives....He (permanently) deletes all record of my sins, my failures, and the stain of my past. I, on the other hand, am way too often returning to my past - especially during those "overwhelming" moments. But God is not reminding me of past mistakes or bringing up the regrets of yesterday.....He has forgiven - and forgotten! Thank you, Lord.

And, after my lesson from the Lord....the story has a happy ending! Hubbie returned with the computer - and ALL the files intact. Nothing had to be wiped off....except the nasty virus! Yayhoo. I guess there is something else to be done this afternoon. Backing up files!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some Real Signs of Spring

Wordless Wednesday..........

Yellow Forsythia




and even those Bradford Pears!!



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Excited About the Dentist

My little buddy, David, had a dentist’s appointment yesterday…his very first one! He has been waiting for this appointment for weeks and we were excitedly looking forward to his visit the night before after our evening service. Just to be a tease, my hubbie told David to “beware the drill”!! Now was that nice?!? Didn’t even faze David…he didn’t get it. You see, he’d never been to the dentist…..there was no reason for him to be apprehensive about cavities – and drills (unlike some adults we know!)

I was thinking about our chat – and giggles – later after I’d gotten home. It occurred to me – there was no reason for someone else’s experience at a dentist to ruin or tarnish David’s trip…..he couldn’t get there fast enough! I could apply this lesson to several things in my life. There have been things I have wanted to try – even things I believe the Lord was asking me to try….yet, I allowed someone else’s negative experience to shake my confidence (in myself and in God’s leading) or even deter me. This need not be the case. Whatever path the Lord leads me to walk down, I can go confidently….even excitedly – expecting great things!

Just because certain someones have had one too many cavities, does not mean I need to fear the dentist!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Dependable One

What are some things that you can publicly thank God for, in relation to your husband?

Today’s At the Well topic was a great exercise for me. And a bit admonishing, I’d have to admit. As I began to think over the things I am so grateful for with regards to my husband, the thought occurred to me…how often do I let him know how much I appreciate these things? Whether specific acts, wonderful memories of certain events, or particular traits that I love…am I purposeful to tell him and to thank him? Certainly, not as I should.

There were several things that really stood out to me but, one in particular, I thought I would share today. My husband is dependable. The dictionary gives some synonyms for dependable as: reliable, devoted, faithful, sure and steady. For many, he is reliable. Whether as an employee or as a “servant” at our church, he will be in his place and giving his best effort. For friends and family members, he is devoted and faithful. For certain, he is sure and particular! (Oh, but we love him for it.)

To me, especially, he is steady. He anchors me and gives me a sense of security – and a calm when life’s winds blow and the rains come. I am never promised what tomorrow might be…a sunny, peaceful day or a dark and stormy day…but God has given me a partner to steady me and to hold me tight. Thank you, Lord, for my husband.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lovin' That Stink!

I hope this doesn't expose too much of my weird side...but I stepped outside yesterday and it stunk!....and I loved it!! You see, our neighborhood association has a lawn service for all our common areas and the men had been busy all day - laying fresh mulch...and the aroma of...well, manure..filled the air. It stinks, no doubt. But, oh it so reminds me of my dad!

My dad - like his dad before him - was a gardener extraordinaire....not the lettuce and beans type gardener but the landscape type. His passion was working in the yard and he spent many an hour...mowing, planting, pruning, weeding, fertilizing, watering and whatever else one can do for hours on end in a yard! Honestly, his yards would rival any landscape spread on a Southern Living cover!!

Let me be quick to say...I did not really inherit this gene. But, although, my green thumb is anything but....I so appreciate the beauty of a manicured lawn and beautiful flower beds. Life (for Dad) went in very predictable cycles according to the yard work. Once the forsythia bloomed (which was just last week here), it was time for the fresh mulch. And that fresh manure aroma simply meant a good day's work was done! Dad would be so pleased!

And, trust me...not far behind will be the blooming of the Bradford pears - a stinkin' tree, for sure - but, oh so beautiful!! I can just imagine what Dad's job is up there in Heaven - and I'm sure he is having himself a grand time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Sweet Smelling Blessing

Thankful Thursday...and I would like to share a blessing I had this week. Before I do, I have to look back at Tuesday's list of "things I love" ...seems quite a few of us enjoy that sweet smell of our babies right out of the bath!! My little ones usually had baths in the evening and I know it was one of my favorite times....snuggling one, two - or all three - of them in their fresh jammies, slightly damp hair and that sweet, squeaky clean scent after their bath! Of course, there aren't any babies at my house anymore but there are just some things a mother's heart holds onto, I suppose.

Which brings me to yesterday. I have recently begun volunteering at the Children's Hospital downtown. In fact, yesterday was my "first day on the job" with the patients (there have been a lot of training days before that) and I was quite excited but really didn't have a great idea of what to expect. I shadowed a veteran volunteer for a couple hours until she had to leave but I still had a half hour for my shift. A call came down from a nurse asking if a volunteer was available and "my boss" asked if I was comfortable going by myself (since it was still my first day, I suppose.) Sure.

When I got upstairs, a really relieved nurse met me, "Are you the volunteer?" She was standing beside a crib trying to comfort a fussy baby girl.
"Yes...," I said.
She explained that the baby's mother had just left to go home for a bit and the baby had been fussy (not really crying...just missing her mommy, I'm sure) ever since.
She said, "I'm trying to get her to calm down...maybe fall asleep. I've just given her a bath. Could you just hold her for awhile?"
Could I just rock a sweet baby for awhile? A sweet little girl fresh from her bath, no less?? Is our God good, or what? When I thought about volunteering, I thought, perhaps, I could be a blessing....to a tired parent, or a nurse pulled in twenty different directions...to a lonely, bored patient or even a baby missing her mommy.

But, as He often does, God blessed me instead! That little place in my mother's heart that misses my babies....He filled to over-flowing yesterday! God knows everything on my list "of things I love" and He wants to give good things to me. I thank Him for loving me!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eight Months Old

Wordless Wednesday....
I could just eat you up!!
A note from Mommy....these are the eight month pictures (hence, the title) but Miss Roo is nine months old today!! WooHoo

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh, I love These

Elaine, over at Matters of the Heart is having a "Love Fest" contest to celebrate her 200th post. Everyone is submitting a list of things they love. Where to start? and where to stop? (so as not to go on forever...at the risk of boring the readers!) Some of the comments and lists left there were so sweet....then I couldn't help myself and I had to join the fun. Here's my list for today....

Just a few of the things I love:
*the smell of babies right after a bath
*receiving (unexpected) hand-written letters or cards
*"senior saints" and their stories
*unsweetened ice tea
*talking about Tyler
*a certain grandbaby
*finding a treasure-among all the other "junk"
*the smell of fresh cut grass
*teaching a Bible story to my three-year olds that captures all of them
*enjoying coffee with a friend
*imagining Heaven

Monday, March 16, 2009

Iron sharpeneth Iron

Over At the Well today, the discussion is about being a friend with our husband. I thought about this quite a bit last night and then saw this morning, today's writer had chosen the same verse I had in mind - but that certainly wasn't planned and I'll share my thought anyways.

My husband certainly is my friend....we have many of the same interests and have a good time enjoying them together (even antiquing!!) We share goals, and hopes and dreams. We like talking and laughing....or just being together. However, the verse that "jumped out" at me when thinking about friendships was not one I expected.

Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpeneth iron..."

Websters says that to sharpen is to make more effective. According to this passage, as my friend, my husband can make me a better me!! Yes, he does compliment me but I think this verse means more than that. He knows me better than any of my other friends....he knows my heart and, therefore he is best able to (sweetly) criticize my faults, expose wrong motives or hidden agendas, and strengthen my weaknesses - assuming, I will allow him.

To be sure, I don't often want to be exposed and/or critiqued - but I do want to be sharpened...and made more effective. Who better to help me, in love, to do so?? One of the keys here is iron with iron....two of the same. My husband and I have very different personalities. We have different backgrounds and family histories - and we look at life through different colored glasses, to be sure. But we are both born-again believers and, therefore, share the same Bible perspective. Knowing this, allows me to trust my husband's "sharpening" to be for my good.

How grateful I am for a Christian husband...and, yes, even for those times of beneficial "sharpening" .....although, I really do prefer our shared antiquing trips!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Yesterday, I mentioned my "Chit Chat Chocolate" event..and all the wonderful goodies we had. My sweet friend brought this wonderful cake to share!! So yummy - I just had to share the recipe. One warning...its not exactly for the faint of heart (otherwise known as dieters!) - just for serious chocolate lovers!!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Cake
1 cup margarine
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
Cook in a large saucepan until it starts to boil. Stir frequently.

Mix in:
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour into a 9"x13" pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely. Leave in pan.

Filling
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
Mix together and spread on top of the cake.

Frosting
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup cocoa
6 tablespoons buttermilk

Cook in a saucepan until it starts to boil, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until smooth. (I like to use a whisk for this.) Pour on top of the peanut butter.


My addition.....pour large glass of cold milk....and enjoy!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Women with Compassion

Thankful Thursday....and so much to be thankful for this week. Just to get me started - I received a letter from Jordan!! (I might have already mentioned that on Tuesday!) It has been one of those week where God's "working all things for my good" has been so evident - and I am feeling so encouraged. There are several things I could talk about today for Thankful Thursday but I'll mention one in particular.....God has given me a new ministry opportunity with a group of ladies at church that we fondly call "Women with Compassion". We have several of these groups at church - smaller groups of ladies designed for fellowship and to meet needs/be a blessing among the church family - and I was recently asked to take leadership of one of these groups.

This is very exciting for me - and a direct answer to prayer. I look forward to working with these ladies and seeing what God can accomplish through us. I wasn't really anticipating one blessing....and that was the joy I had in opening my home and having all the ladies to my house for our meeting this week. While I don't exactly have the gift of hospitality, I do enjoy planning and preparing to have folks over and opening my home to them.

My hubbie and I used to this quite often; however, since Tyler died (or it seems since then), Hubbie does not really enjoy this as much. He loves getting together with our friends but just not at home so much. Apparently, I've missed it more than I even realized. I had such a good time this past Monday.

We had a "Chit Chat Chocolate" evening.....loosely interpreted is "talking and eating all things chocolate"!! Ladies brought things to share (yummy recipe coming tomorrow) and I made some wonderful candies - check out this recipe and this one, too....and even one for brownies! My point, here, is not so much the evening I had but how God knew my heart...knew my need...even more than I did - and He is always working for my good to meet those needs.

This Thankful Thursday...I'm praising Him for answered prayer, grateful for this new ministry, happy to find new (chocolate) recipes...oh, and did I mention that I got a letter from Jordan?!?!?!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...a spoiled pooch

Someone got a haircut!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some Funnies

A few good chuckles for your Tuesday....remember to smile - or even laugh outloud!! It feels good (just like the first letter I received from Jordan yesterday...WOO HOO!!) So, for some funnies...

The Senility Prayer:
Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do and,
The eyesight to tell the difference.
Know how to prevent sagging?
Just eat till the wrinkles fill out!
When asked the best thing about turning 104,
the senior lady replied,
"No peer pressure."
and my personal favorite
I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape,
So I got my doctor's permission to
join a fitnesss club and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.
I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.
But, by the time I got my leatords on,
the class was over!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Folded Napkin

I wish I could say this post is "original" but this was actually forwarded to my husband - and it listed no author - but I so enjoyed it...I thought I would pass it along.

The question was why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection as noted in John 20:7?

The Bible takes an entire verse to explain that the napkin was neatly folded, and placed at the head of that stony coffin. When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, the stone had been rolled away. She ran to get Peter and the other disciple. When the other disciple arrived (as he outran Peter), he stooped, looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived, he did go inside and noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.

Is this important? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes! In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a bit about Hebrew tradition of the day. The folded napkin had to do with the master and servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master finished eating, as he would not dare touch the table until the master was finished.

If the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth and clean his beard, and would wad up his napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin and laid it beside his plate, the servant would dare not touch the table, because the folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'

Bold
He is Coming Back!! I hope that thought will influence all you do this week!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Photo to Share

Okay...here is the cute couple! Sorry I did not get this up yesterday (goodness, this gorgeous weather - just days after the snow, mind you - has me all off schedule!!) but wanted to share with everyone. Thank you so much for all your sweet comments and best wishes....my blogging friends are wonderful!! I'm sure I will be turning to all of you often as we move forward with wedding plans.......oh my!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Ring!!.....Part Two

Thankful Thursday ....and about that ring?!?! That was given to my beautiful daughter last week (yes, the very same week that my son left...goodness!) by her boyfriend....who is a "real keeper"!! That's right, I'm soon to be a mother-in-law! Like I said, it was quite the week last week.

It was about two months ago that Em's boyfriend asked us out for breakfast.....interesting, for sure, but we rarely turn down free meals! But it was more than just a meal....he wanted our permission to propose! After quieting Dad's "WOO HOO...Take her - she's yours!!" (just kidding), we talked for quite awhile. They have been dating for just about one year, and I certainly cannot say I was completely surprised....nevertheless, what a moment in a mom's life!!

We didn't press for details about the proposal but have been quietly (well, sorta) waiting for the big event. I was sure it would be Valentine's Day - but, no, the boyfriend had all his wisdom teeth pulled that weekend! But apparently, he and Jordan were in "cohoots" that right after her brother left would be a good time for Em.....she did, indeed, struggle with her brother's leaving! And, well.....the rest is history.

Dad and I are very happy....and proud to be able to (soon) call Tony our son-in-law! I had hoped to share a photo with all of you but it is not working out this morning - I will as soon as I have one, though!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Ring!!




















WORDLESS WEDNESDAY...
Have Mercy!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Perseverance

I enjoy stopping by "the well" on Mondays but didn't yesterday because I was struggling with the topic.....perseverance! The discussion questions were "What are some ways that you have persisted when you have been knocked down? How have these circumstances brought glory to the Father?"

Honestly, this is something I have been challenged with for several weeks lately. When I am honest with myself, I have to admit that I am easily discouraged...and easily defeated. I see this evidenced in my spiritual life, my social life, my personal life (think exercise!), and so on. I have tried to make excuses for myself but keep coming back to the bottom line....Lord, this is something I want to work on in my life - but I certainly need your help!

Stumbling blocks, difficulties, trials...and many other (big and small) things that side-track me and ultimately defeat me - can, indeed, bring God glory...but only if I will persevere, push through and allow God to give me victory. I have been challenged. I am making purposeful plans to allow God to help me in this area.

James 5:11 "Behold, we count them happy which endure...."
More thoughts on this subject in a few days. Last week, I mentioned exciting news!!! Be back tomorrow - Wordless Wednesday - and on Thankful Thursday!! And check back on the Lady Farmer's blog - in the Sewing Room - for another give away! She made it herself!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Check it Out


Was catching up with my blog friends and, wouldn't you know...a give away. Check out the Farm Chicks blogspot to enter a surprise give-away!! Just for fun...

And for more fun - and smiles - check out this post from the Lady Farmer!! The pictures are too cute!

Hope everyone is enjoying the snow. Our white chili is simmering away - has been all day - and I made some no bake chocolate cookies for a treat. So easy - so yummy!!

Happy Monday Morning

The first fall of snow..is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different.