Wednesday, December 31, 2008

hopes and plans

I don't do resolutions.
I'm not even very good at goals.  
Let's be honest - I don't like to do things I don't like to do.

But, I do try to start each new year with at least a little direction.  Some, shall we say, plans.  Hopes maybe.  Hopes and plans.  That sounds good.

I plan this year to spend one hour per day working on my book.  I know that's lame and nothing at all compared to what I should be doing.  But it would be approximately 265 more hours than I have spent this year.  Or something like that.
My hope is that when I have written an hour, I will be on a roll and the words will keep coming.  I am hoping that just setting aside a time slot will work wonders.
I hope it will entice me to write more because I plan to have my book finished by September so I can present it to some agents.

I plan to take the dog for a walk once per week.  Ok, I know it should be daily.  But I don't do it at all right now.  If I were setting goals, I would make it a goal to walk her every day and then I would end up walking her once per week.  That's how I do goals.  But since this is a plan, I can just be honest about it.  I may end up enjoying our walks enough to do it more often.  I hope.

I plan to be more consistent with the laundry.  I plan to at least put up each load as I finish it.  I hope this becomes so routine and easy that the entire process loses it's intimidating hold on me.

I plan to spend more time with friends.  I hope they have the time to accommodate me.

I plan to be better at sticking to the way that I know I need to eat.  I hope it will become second nature to me and I will no longer feel the pangs of deprivation.

I plan to be more faithful in my Bible reading.  I don't hope, but I know that this will make everything about my year better.  Because all of my hope for life is contained in God's Word.  I need to drink it in.

What about you?  As you face 2009, what are your plans?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

book giveaway

Review for Gunfight at Grace Gulch on Books and Starbucks.  Leave a comment there, not here, and you will be entered in a drawing for a free copy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

big God

So thankful today that I do believe in God.  So glad that I know He is real and that He is present in my life - and the lives of others.

Please pray for Robbie who blogs at Joy Dance.  Her husband sustained a brain injury yesterday in a motorcycle accident.  God is bigger.

Continue to pray for Susan at Accidental Poet.  Her mom is still in the hospital.  God is bigger.

Another friend of mine named Susan has her husband in the hospital with pneumonia, kidney failure and something wrong with his blood count that they suspect may be cancer.  God is bigger.

Continue to pray for Brenda.  You can see her picture on Sharon's blog Many Hearts One Family.  She is seriously ill.  God is bigger.

Pray for my friend Claudia who's husband is in the hospital.  He had his stomach removed because of cancer.  God is bigger.

Pray for healing for all of these people.  And for God's comfort and grace for their families as they wait.  And wait.  And watch.  And hope.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

convicting sermon from an atheist

You have probably heard of the magician, comedy team of Penn and Teller.  Teller doesn't talk and Penn does.  And what Penn says, if you've ever heard any of his podcasts or radio programs is that there is no God.  He's a very vocal atheist.
But watch this podcast.  Tell me your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

blessed Christmas

So many thoughts go through my mind about Christmas.  
About the amazing idea that God took on flesh.
About the fact that He walks with us; shares our suffering and our joy.
About the fact that He threatened so many.
About the fact that He changed everything.
But every blog I've tried to write just doesn't work.
So, I will just say
Merry Christmas
And if it isn't Merry.  If life is too heavy right now,
Be blessed.  
Embrace the One who loves  you so much that He gave Everything for you.  

Monday, December 22, 2008

dear diary

Been reading my old diaries.  Oh, I hope my daughter's joy will not be dependent on boys.  As I read, I laugh, roll my eyes, and feel a bit sad for this girl who was so boy crazy.

Here's some stuff from when I was twelve. 

Jan 2, 1979 Dear Diary,
Today was a good day.  Julie went to Anna's.  Me and dad went shopping at Safeway.  We went back and forth finding things.

So, I'm wondering... was it Julie being gone that made it a good day, or the excitement of grocery shopping with dad?

Jan 15, 1979
Today _____ looked at me.  (names have been deleted to protect the innocent)

Jan 16, 1979
Today I didn't get to go skating.  I was really upset for awhile.  I think _______ knows I'm alive now.  I hope he likes me.

I continued to document every time this particular boy looked at me.  I think he talked to me once.  I'm pretty sure I pulled that off like satin -- you know, smooth.

A bad day:
Jan 20
Today was terrible.  Mom was grouchy.  I didn't feel good and Julie was noisy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

I am re-posting from last year.  I think perhaps there are some of you who didn't read it then.  To those of you who did, my apologies for the repeat.  

The history of Hanukkah as I understand it is:

After Alexander the Great died, the Greek empire split into three dynasties; one of which was the Seleucid Dynasty. One of the rulers in this dynasty was called Antiochus IV Ephiphanes. He was so evil that the Bible, in the book of Daniel, uses him as an example of what the Anti-Christ will be like.

He desecrated the Temple of God. The Bible calls it the Abomination of Desolation. He made the Israelites stop their daily sacrifices and sacrifice to other god's instead.

One day when an Israelite made one of these sacrifices a godly man named Matthias killed him. He started a revolt in which the God-fearing Jews went throughout the land tearing down false idols and killing those who worshipped them. It was a time of purging for the land of Israel.

When Matthias died his son Judah took over. He is known as Judah Macabee. These Macabees went into the Temple to purify it after Antiochus had profaned it. They cleansed it and re-dedicated it to God.

The lamps in the Temple were to burn continually. But when they rededicated the Temple, there wasn't enough oil to last for more than a day. They miraculously continued to burn for eight days until more holy oil could be obtained.

There. I find some very significant stuff for all of us to think about. Purification. Rededication. We can't go wrong spending some time dwelling on that this Season.

And the Light will never go out.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I typed Jesus came, Christ came and I came into a concordance.  This is why He came, according to the Bible.

"...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners..." 1 Tim 1:15

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."  Matt 5:17

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matt 10:34

"For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;"  Matt. 10:35

"He said to them, "Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for."  Mark 1:38

"And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."  John 9:39

"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."  John 10:10

Friday, December 19, 2008

the horror

boy: Mommy, what are you doing?

me: finding a book

boy: for what?

me: to read.

boy: WHY?  Why must you read on this beautiful day?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


A muffler, mittens,
hat, and ear muffins, too
Three pair of socks,
a coat zipped up to my chin.

But my oh my, these jeans 
are feeling mighty thin.

Marvelous, amazing, 
spectacular feat:
the invention of
the heated car seat.

Call it a pizza warmer if you wish.
I think that's kinda dumb.
I love the way my magical seat
defrosts my frozen bum.

Monday, December 15, 2008

today, thus far

We have frozen hot water pipes.

I hear the low in Denver last night was -19.  Yes, that's a minus sign.  Crazy.

Mrs. Claus looks like an old Russian granny with a babushka.  I know because they were in the car next to me at the stop light.

Yes, I had to go out.  Twice.  My dearest girl missed the bus, so I drove her to school.  Then she called because she needed lunch money.

But, I saw Santa.  He has a handicap sticker.  Who knew?

Friday, December 12, 2008

beautiful feet

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: Isaiah 53:4

Sometimes it just seems like too much.

In the past two weeks, our small community has lost five teenagers.  Four of those to suicide.  An eighth grader from my daughter's school was buried yesterday.  He was hit by a car.

Today Angie Hunt is singing at her father's funeral.

Denis has stomach cancer and will have surgery on Monday.

Brenda is having a health crisis involving several new, serious diagnoses.

Sandy's husband was murdered a couple of weeks ago.

Linda is recovering from ovarian cancer and Judy from breast cancer.

These are examples just from my small frame of reference.  My little world has this much suffering.  So multiply it exponentially to get the bigger picture.  Not everyone will have a Merry Christmas.

Yet, Jesus is acquainted with our grief.  He knows pain and suffering.  

When one of my kids asked why I had a picture of a foot on my blog, I said, "Because it's Christmas and Jesus got feet."  He traded feet like bronze for feet of flesh.  Pudgy little feet with ten little piggies.  He stubbed his toes.  He stepped on splinters and stickers and rocks.  Nails were pounded into that flesh.

I know that during the thirty-three years that He wore those feet, he experienced grief and loss.  Joseph isn't mentioned in Jesus' adulthood, so obviously he died.  Jesus knows our pain.  We are never alone in our suffering.

If this Christmas is a difficult one for you, cling to the deeper truth of the Holiday.  Jesus put on flesh, suffered and died.  God came down to walk with us.  He walks with us still.  Forget the bells and tinsel, the egg nog and cookies and cling to the one who has walked where you walk.  He hasn't been in your shoes; He's been in your feet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

thursday thirteen

Thirteen of my favorite Christmas ornaments.

I like this one, just because it is pretty, and it's a cross and that's really what it's all about.

This one is sparkly and oh so pretty!

This one is very pretty, but I like it especially because I got it at a Bible Study luncheon and I really miss those women.

We like this little birdie.  Just because.

This ornament was given to my daughter at her baby shower, before she was born.

I love sheep!  And I love the homey quality of this one.

This one just makes me smile.

We each picked out an ornament that suited us.  My girl picked this one because she loves wolves.

My son's pick.  He's a monkey boy.

We picked this one out for my dad.  He used to take me fishing.  We haven't been in a while, though.

This is my hubby's.  He loves to fly.

This one is my mom's.  She isn't a chicken; she just likes them.

When asked which one suited me, my husband chose this one.  Not sure what to think of that, but I do love it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

you are amazing

Angie Hunt had this little movie on her Facebook.  It is about 15 minutes long, but please watch it.  It has a powerful message.

Side note - please keep Angie and her family in prayer.  Her daddy died yesterday and she will be singing at his funeral on Friday.

This video moved me to tears.  The power of a kind word is underrated.  
But what was sad to me, was the way people took and took, but none had a kind word for him.  We all are aware of our own need for validation and I think we tend to think that everyone else must be confident and secure and not be nearly as needy as we are.  But truth is that we all want to know that we have value.  That we have something special.

About a year ago I decided that when I had a nice thought about someone that I would tell them instead of keeping it to myself.  But I've kinda forgotten.  But now is a good time to start on that again.

I think one of the worries I have is that I will sound insincere.  I thought this guy sounded a bit that way.  But maybe it's just because we aren't used to hearing positive comments.  Maybe we have been taught to suspect that there is always an ulterior motive.  Well, I don't care.  I will say nice things when I can say them from the heart and how people interpret that is their business. 

What are your thoughts?  What touched you most about the film?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I saw a study on BBC a couple of weeks ago noting the increase in loneliness and isolation in the UK.  There has been a huge change since the Seventies in how connected people feel and in the sense of community.

We don't need a study to know this.  It's happening in the US, too.  Probably every modern nation is seeing the same trend.  Some of the causes mentioned are increased student populations, people moving more often, and a general lack of trust.  Although the feelings of isolation decrease trust.

If you watch an old movie or TV show and see the neighbors visiting on the front porch and having BBQ's together, it brings a sense of nostalgia and loss.  At least for me.  I think it's sad that people have pulled apart.  

I am involved in church and a writers' group and a prayer group and the school.  But what about people who don't have any social network at all.  Most people have jobs that gets them involved with others, but I don't think close working relationships are the norm.  We've shut ourselves off and tend to keep it that way.

But how do people cope with life on their own?  I am so grateful for all of my friends and acquaintances.  

Since moving to this house, I have been trying to get to know my neighbors.  I have invited them all to a party at my house this weekend.  Been to one of their houses for lunch and another for a party.  I have never had that kind of neighbor involvement anywhere else I've lived.

If we don't build meaningful relationships with people, then why are we here?

What are some ideas you have for reaching out to your neighbors?  What can we do to help people feel connected somehow?  Loneliness is a shame.  People may not even realize what they are missing, it's become such a common thing.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

God so loved the world

 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz.  

His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Daniel 10:5-6

This is what *Jesus looked like when He appeared to Daniel.  And when John saw Him in a vision, He looked like this:

I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.

 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.

 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. Revelation 1:13-16

And yet...

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke 2:6-7

How do I wrap my head around that?

*Some believe this was an angel, but others, including myself, believe it was Christ.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

expanded horizons

When I lived in Colorado Springs, I could see Pike's Peak from my house.  If I stood in the right spot of my yard, so I could see through the trees and houses.  From some parts of town I could see it close up, towering and majestic.  But in my new town, I can see at least fifty miles of mountain range from my window.  And from some parts of town I can see from Long's Peak to Pike's Peak - at least one hundred miles of mountains.  I have views far beyond what I had in my old place.

My horizons have expanded figuratively, too. I have so many new friends.  New opportunities.  New church, prayer group, writers' group, etc.
But, I also get to keep my old friends because they are only a short drive away.  I've doubled my world.  My life has expanded.  It feels abundant and rich and I am grateful for my blessings!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I like noses.  I have been known to sit and admire noses.  If you catch me looking at you, I might just be studying your nose.

But it seems that most people don't like their own noses, (nose?).  I don't really like mine.  I don't hate it, but I don't love it.  It is crooked and has a funny little blob on the end.  Yet, one time I met a girl and the first thing she said to me was "You have a cute nose."  Cracked me up - still does.

I've heard other people say they dislike their nose and usually it's a nose that I've been admiring.

My cousin Q has a nose that I really like, and yet, small children have said rude things about her nose.  I guess it's all relative.

I like noses with personality.  Long straight noses are nice.  I also like roman noses. There are many perfectly good noses that don't catch my attention.  Too run of the mill.  Little perky noses are likely to go without my notice.   I like a nose that makes a statement.  Not sure what that statement would be...

What about you?  Do you like your nose?  Do you hate it?  Or is it just something you live with?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

stuff and ramblings

We had:
25 pounds of turkey, which, for the first time since I started using the bags, came out dry.
cornbread stuffing made by QOTW
Organic stove top type stuffing with cranberries in it made by me
mashed taters and gravy.  Homemade gravy made by momstheword.  I made the taters
green bean casserole by QOTW
broccoli cauliflower casserole by QOTW
sweet potato goo with marshmallow stuff made by momstheword
cranberry sauce
veggie trays
relish trays
devilled eggs
rolls - all brought by my anonymous aunt
corn - I warmed in the micro
4 pumpkin pies my son and I made
2 apple pies my cousin once removed in-law made
a gooey delicious oatmeal cake my lurker aunt made
pumpkin puff cookies my anonymous aunt made
Iced tea and coffee.

It was delicious.  It was way too much food and a lot of fun.

My cousin the QOTW dug though some old stuff that had been my grandmas.  It was like looking through treasure.
I have a bunch of old pictures that I am going to scan into my computer and will share some of them with you in time.

I am appalled and horrified about the Walmart worker who was trampled to death by greedy people trying to save a few bucks yesterday.  Absolutely sickening.  And heartbreaking.  What is wrong with people that saving a few bucks means more than a human life?

My cousin Jen has put some diary entries on her blog.  Very cute.  Inner voices of a Spinster in the making is her blog.  I'm too tired to do the link - it's on my sidebar.  I'm thinking I might dig out my old diaries and see if there's anything I'm not too embarrassed to share.

My hubby and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary this week!  We had a couple of kid-free days thanks to grandma (momstheword) and some sleepovers.  Now we're all together again, and it's nice.

We will do our Christmas decorating tomorrow!   

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm sitting here resting while the Queen of the World does my dishes.  Hmm.  What does that make me?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Warm blankets

A bed - how much of the world sleeps on the ground?


Running water and indoor plumbing

Grocery store two miles away

A 25 pound turkey in my fridge

A fridge

My hubby - a good man 

My daughter - a creative, bright girl

My son - a funny, intelligent boy

Living near family

Expanded horizons, both literally and figuratively

My hubby's job

Health insurance

Two cars

Spending money

Wonderful friends

The presence of God

Finally finding a church we love

Always being in sight of the mountains

Lots of books

Not only shelter, but shelter I love

Someone  else to pick the grain, make the bread, slaughter the chickens, milk the cows, etc

When I back off, get not just a broader perspective but a world-wide perspective, I recognize my incredible abundance.  I am very thankful.
I am thankful that God has blessed us so much.  
May you be blessed, and may you fully appreciate those blessings this Thanksgiving and always!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I read somewhere the other day that being grateful isn't thanks-giving; it is thanks-living.  
This culture does an excellent job informing us of all we lack.  We lack the right clothes, the latest gadget, the smallest rear, the most expensive car, the biggest house, etc.
The other night I was having serious troubles with my blankets.  I have issues when it comes to the covers.  And it was frustrating me no end.  But then I decided to repeat, "I am thankful I have blankets.  I am thankful I have blankets."  It didn't help the situation really, but it did bring to mind the people who would give anything to be fighting two blankets and a comforter!  They can't even imagine such a thing.
I have so much to be thankful for.  And rather than making a list once a year, I want to live in a place of gratitude.  
But making the list is a start!
I'll do that tomorrow. 
Meanwhile, tell me what you are thankful for.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Sorry, I can't really think of anything to say lately.
If you have a topic - give it to me.  Otherwise, here's something:

There Are 1 Gaps in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:


Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:







Wednesday, November 19, 2008

when you're smiling

Just for fun...
1. Put your iTunes/iPod on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get 
your answer.
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the 
meme as well as the person you got the meme from. 
I got this from my friend Sherri's facebook page.  
I'm not tagging anyone, but if you want to do it, let me know.

"Peace" (Rich Mullins)
"Do I Trust You?" (Twila Paris) - that might be right

"Perhaps Love" (John Denver)

"Great is Thy Faithfulness" (Avalon) - pretty much sums it up

"I'll be Seeing You" (Rod Stewart)

"Fairest Lord Jesus" (Natalie Grant)

"Jeepers Creepers"  (Louis Armstrong) - sheesh!

"I See You Standing" (Twila Paris)

WHAT IS 2+2?
"Tea For Two"  - Ha ha.  That's good.

"It's Not Unusual" (Tom Jones) - well, actually....

"Let There Be Love" (Tom Jones)

"Night and Day" (Rod Stewart)

"A Kiss to Build a Dream On" (Rod Stewart)  

"Holy, Holy, Holy"  (Steven Curtis Chapman) - hmmm. 

"Holy, Holy, Holy" (Keith Green)  - HA!

"Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" (Keith Green)

"Till" (Tom Jones)  - Is that what you keep money in?

"It Had to be You" (Rod Stewart) - shhhh... don't tell.

"How Beautiful" (Twila Paris) - awww.  That IS what I think!

"For All We Know" ( Bette Midler)

"Can't Stop Loving You" (Tom Jones) - Or I will die

"Runner" (Twila Paris) 

"Rushing Wind" (Keith Green) - Rushing is always funny.

"For Sentimental Reasons" (Rod Stewart) - yep.  Quite often.

"Green, Green Grass of Home" (Tom Jones) - mommy, help.

"All Creatures of Our God and King"  - That's about right

"I Need Thee Every Hour" (Jars of Clay) 

"I Remember You" (Bette Midler) - and that one time?... ouch.

"When You're Smiling" (Louis Armstrong)

who cares?

Decorate only as much as you like.  Candles are easy and go a long way is setting a festive atmosphere.  Something that smells good - some cinnamon and cloves in a pot of water does the trick.  Use themed towels and such to help decorate.  They are easy to "undecorate" too!

Use the dishes you have.  Mix and match.  Nobody cares.  They just care about what is in the dishes.  I would love to have coordinating plates and platters, but I don't.  Who cares?

Buy pre-made food.  Nobody but you knows when it is made from scratch anyway.  I usually make a couple of things and buy the rest. There is stuff out there better than I can make anyway!

Go casual.  Buffets, snack foods, easy things with a light atmosphere creates relaxation for all involved.  

What are some tips you have for saving time?  Making things easy?  Decorating on the cheap? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

let it go

Continuing with thoughts about things I'm learning when it comes to entertaining, doing the holidays, etc.

~ Let go of control.  I have a problem with control freaks.  Unfortunately, I am one.  I didn't realize it until a few years ago, though.  Oh, I knew that I was bossy, and that I had a good idea of how things should be.  But I didn't think I was controlling.  I sure got stressed when things didn't go the way I envisioned, though!
It became clear to me the year my sister came for Thanksgiving.  I had a perfect dinner planned.  A great natural, fresh turkey and all the fixings.  And mom says, "Julie wants ham, so I'm gonna bring a ham."  Ham?!!  Ham was not in the Plan.  The Plan was that everyone would eat and love my turkey.  I got so upset about it that I decided I needed to figure out why.  Turns out, I wanted all the control.  I had Expectations and no one oughta mess with my Expectations.
So, God talked to me a bit.  Made me see that truly blessing people means making it enjoyable for them.  If Julie wants me to serve Brats with the turkey... if that's what would really make her happy, then I need to provide Brats.  Those fit nowhere in my idea of a perfect Thanksgiving, but so what?

~Let go of perfect.  There is no such thing.  I have been striving for a perfect Christmas since I was about two.  The more I strive, the more I expect, the more disappointing reality turns out to be.  What makes a perfect Christmas - or Thanksgiving, or Easter, whatever- is spending time with the people you care about.  Ministering to them.  Spending time with God in Thanksgiving, or worshipping His son, or rejoicing in His resurrection, etc.  It's about letting go of ourselves and relaxing and just taking it in.  If the turkey explodes in the oven, the dog steals all the rolls, the sister expects ham... whatever.  It can still be perfect.

~Let go of obligations.  If it isn't fun-- DON'T DO IT.  The lady at the talk that I mentioned yesterday said that we should only fix four types of Christmas cookies.  Well, shoot.  I don't fix any.  Ok, I make some for my party, but that's it.  One year as I was making cookies and grumping around I thought why am I doing this?  I don't enjoy it.  I don't like making cookies.  Some of you do.  Go for it!! (And send me some)  If it's fun, do it!  If it is just because it is something that you are "supposed" to do, let it go.  That goes for attending parties, hosting a dinner, going to Christmas Eve service, making a Christmas breakfast, etc.  Do what you enjoy.  Make it a fun time, not a time of obligation.

~ Hang on to your family.  One year I suddenly heard the way I was talking to my family.  Whoa!  Snarl, snap, gripe and boss boss boss.  Awful!  I was so stressed out about impressing other families that I was mistreating my own.  They are the most important part.  If I am so stressed that I can't be nice, then I need to re-evaluate.  Something else needs to go.  There is always going to be a little tension when getting ready for a party or what-not, but there are things that can make it easier.  We'll talk about some of those tomorrow.

Please share some things you've learned. How do you make this time of year more relaxed and pleasurable for all involved?

Monday, November 17, 2008

get over it

My friend Robbie posted about the pressures of the holidays on her blog, Joy Dance.  So go read it; it's really good!
Just so you know, I am not copying her.  I didn't steal the idea from her.  We happen to be thinking along the same lines because we went together to hear a lady talk about simplifying the holidays.  Turns out, if I did all the things the lady suggested, I would have the most complicated holidays of my life!
Side note: don't be offended that I'm saying holidays instead of Christmas.  It is because I am referring to the holidays, not just Christmas.

The lady talked about entertaining in general, and hospitality -- the fact that you can be hospitable without ever having anyone in your home.  That was a nice thought.  Take dinner to a neighbor who's having a rough time.  Or send them some grocery gift cards.  That counts as hospitality!

I would like to share some lessons I am learning in these areas.

~ Get over yourself.  The lady (I'm sorry, I don't remember her name) said this too.  When you have people over, it's supposed to be about them, not you.  We, Ok - I, worry so much about how clean my house is and how the food will be -must make everything from scratch- and how gorgeous the decorations are.  Why?  Well, honestly - so I can hear how wonderful my house looks, how awesome the food is, how gorgeous the decorations are, etc.  
As another lady put it once, "Strive to bless, not impress."  That really stuck with me.  I've been in homes where the goal is to impress and well... it's just not that comfortable.  So, I repeat that little mantra now every time I am expecting anyone in my home.

~ Get over your house.  All of us have houses that pale in comparison to someone else's house.  Maybe you live in the best house among your group.  Great!  But most of us have a least one friend who has a bigger house, better countertops, nicer floors, better views, fancier stove, prettier faucets...something. Get over it.  Really.  Even the most shallow people aren't going to dump you as a friend because of your house!!  It's easy for us, especially women, to feel like people are judging us based on our home.  But I don't judge others when I go to their houses.  Do you?  I think most people don't.  The lady kept saying that people will just be thrilled that the event isn't at their house!

I'm going to do the rest tomorrow.  So stay tuned!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,

 in the middle of its street On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1-2

Thursday, November 13, 2008

thursday thirteen

Thirteen pieces of information.

1. I hit the snooze 3 times before I get up.  That's 30 minutes.

2. The wind kicked up.  Hopefully it's blowing in a storm.

3. My book club is tonight.  We just read Rebecca by Daphne Du Muerier

4. I like re-writing WAY more than writing.

5. I'm addicted to a new computer game.  Just what I need.

6. I just now realized that I forgot something I really wanted to do this morning!  Pooh.

7. We were on the Neilson Ratings.  I couldn't tell you about it because it is top secret.  You might have sent us a lot of money to watch your favorite shows and that just can't be done.  It's not ethical.  But now we aren't on it anymore, so I can tell you.

8. I very nearly forgot to do a Thursday Thirteen!

9. I am expecting there to be 15 people at my house for Thanksgiving.  I love it!

10. I can't decide if I prefer blue or black ink.  I guess black, but I really want to prefer blue.  It's happier.

11. I like anticipation.  If I get a package I will set it down and do something else for a bit before I open it.

12. I almost never eat in the car anymore.  Unless it's my parents' car and we're on a 13 hour journey.

13. I can barely hear out of  my right ear.  I don't hear very well overall, either.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

lessons learned trying to find an on-ramp to the interstate

Be very careful, use wisdom, when choosing whom to follow.

Some people don't know any more than you do.  They are lost, too.  They may seem to know what they are doing, but they don't.

Some people know exactly what they are doing.  They have the correct information and they know where they are.  But they are heading somewhere you don't want to go.

And some people are heading your way, they know how to get there, and they are happy to show you the way.

But at first glance, these people all look alike.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

thursday thirteen

I am teaching a Bible Study about the names of God.  We are using Kay Arthur's book, LORD, I Want to Know You.  I also am using Nathan Stone's book, The Names of God.
So, here are 13 names that are used for God in the Bible.

1. Elohim.  El is the word that means god.  Baal is an el.  If you are talking about Hercules, Aphrodite and their cohorts, you are talking about Greek elohim.  Elohim is the plural for el.  
But Elohim in reference to GOD denotes His creative power.  The first verse of the Bible says, In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.  And while the word is plural, the pronouns used in this passage is singular.  He.  Him.  One God, but plural.

2. El Elyon.  God Most High or Most High God.  This name denotes God's sovereignty.  There is none above Him.  And there is none equal to Him.  He is above all things.

3. El Shaddai.  Almighty God or God Almighty.  This name means "All-sufficient One."  It is the name that shows us God's ample supply for our needs.  It goes beyond ample.  The name suggest a flowing of bountiful supply.

4. Jehovah.  This is THE name of God.  When asked by Moses what His name was, this is the answer He gave.  Jehovah means "Self-sufficient One."  He exists in and of Himself.  He relies on nothing to sustain His being.  He IS Being.  The name is similar to a word that means "to be".  Nobody knows how to pronounce this name. The ancient Israelites would not write it nor pronounce it.  Some say Yahweh.  Jews say Hashem, which means simply The Name.  They believe that the sign of the Messiah will be that he will know how to correctly pronounce this name.
When you see LORD in your Bible, as opposed to Lord, it is this name.

5. Jehovah - Jireh.  The LORD Will Provide.
When Abraham took Isaac to the alter and God provided a ram for the sacrifice, this is the name given to God.  He provided a way.  This name speaks to God's ultimate provision for us through the sacrifice of His own son.

6. Adonai.  Lord.  This name has to do with position.  Do we let Him be our master?  

7. Jehovah- Rapha.  The LORD Heals.

8. Jehovah - Nissi.  The LORD My Banner.  This is a name for warfare.  Just as our soldiers fight under our flag, we fight under the LORD.  Armies as far back as Joshua's army fought under a banner.  Often it was a pole rather than the way we think of banner.  A rod.  

9. Jehovah-Mekoddishkem.  The LORD Sanctifies You.  We trust God to save us, but many times we think we can sanctify ourselves.  Only God can save.  Only God can sanctify.  So while I talk abouts living a holy life, the truth is that only God can bring about holiness in our lives.  We must surrender to it, but only He can accomplish it.

10. Jehovah-Shalom.  The LORD Is Peace.

11. Jehovah-Sabaoth.  The LORD Of Hosts.  This is a name of deliverance.  When we come to the absolute end of ourselves we find need of The LORD of Hosts.  Every use of it in the Bible is when an individual or the nation is desperate.  

12. Jehovah- Raah.  The LORD My Shepherd.  All that a shepherd is for the sheep, He is for us.  Protector, provider, supplier, guide, etc.

13. Jehovah-Tsidkenu.  The LORD Our Righteousness.  This name gave the promise of a new covenant.  The covenant of grace.  And with it the promise of a new heart.  We cannot be right with God without God.  

Two bonus names:
El Roi - The God Who Sees.  You are never out of His sight.  When you are suffering, He sees.  He knows.

Jehovah- Shammah. The LORD Is There.  You are never alone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the people have spoken

(Just to be clear - this post is NOT about politics)

So many people that I know are unhappy and even frightened about the election results.  But there has been a bigger, different "election" going on for years and most of us have not even noticed.

Why do we have so many abortions?  Why the trend toward homosexuality?  Why do so many marriages end?  Why is violence on the rise?
Because it's what the people want.
Sin is rampant and it's because the people choose it.  We, the people.  We choose it.

And while there are those of us who want to live moral lives and want to be surrounded by morality and godliness, the truth is, we are outnumbered.  The people have spoken.  They want sin. 

And the heartbreaking part is, the stats in the church are the same as the world.  Divorce rate, porn addiction, unwed pregnancies, marital infidelity, etc.  The church looks like the world.

Beyond that, what about pride?  gossip?  greed?  materialism?  fear?  We all choose sin.  We all have cast our vote at one time or another and sin won.

And we act shocked and horrified at the prospect of government funded abortion.  We are stunned at the prospect of legalized gay marriage.  Really?  We didn't see this coming?  

I don't know what I can do to make you, or he, or them choose righteousness.  I don't know how to make anyone else desire holiness and then open their hearts to God for inspection and cleansing.  All I can do is open my own heart.

We love to quote the scripture that says, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and heal their land."  But do we personalize it?  Or is it just a vague statement about the church in general.
I am His people and I am called by His name.  I must humble myself.  Fall on my knees.  Get off my spiritual high horse and don't just talk about turning from my wicked ways - actually turn.  Turn around, choose the better way.  I must do it.  Each of us as individuals must do it.  

I have a longing, a passion for holiness.  But if I don't start with me, it won't be holiness, it will be arrogance and judgementalism.

The world has spoken.  They choose sin.  Let us make a new choice.  Let us who are called by the name of Christ choose a better way.  

Because it doesn't matter who the president of this nation is.  He is a man.  He has no power over our souls.  Our allegiance and obligation is to the KING.  We must be sure that we are serving Him as He requires.  All else is secondary.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

one more time

Yes, I hate politics.  No, I wasn't planning to post about it anymore.  But...
I do wish I had heard about Chuck Baldwin before I voted.  If he runs again next election, he's getting my vote.  I actually agree with him on all the issues.
So many of the things that I gripe about, he wants to fix.  He's radical.  He would really shake things up!  And I think that's exactly what we need.

Read his article about the "wasted vote."  He says any vote for someone who doesn't share your values is wasted.  And that's how I felt leaving the polls.  I felt like I had wasted my vote.

Anyway.  The end.  No more politics from me.

Friday, October 31, 2008


What is your opinion of Candy Corn?  I love it.  I could make myself sick on it.  Of course, that wouldn't take much!

What about Egg Nog?  I like about two cups of it each year.  I like it, but it is best in small doses.

It is interesting how our tastes and preferences vary.  Movies, for example.  One of my very best friends is a lot like me in many ways.  We laugh at the same things.  We both cry.  Yet, we don't seem to like many of the same movies.

There is a wide variety of taste in books, too.  I seldom love the books that I read.  Although I love reading.  Books that are unforgettable for me are those with a deeper meaning.  Usually in some way allegorical or a parable.  I prefer books written in a more literary style.  Beautiful words and beautiful imagery will capture me.  There also has to be characters that I really care about.  I tend to read character driven novels rather than plot driven.  I like books written with a higher vocabulary.  I even like to have to get my dictionary out, as long as it is only once or twice in the course of the book.

What books do you like best?  What's your favorite halloween candy - besides chocolate?  Lets talk about YOU!  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Here is an interesting article comparing British and US teeth.  You've probably seen something or heard someone making fun of British teeth for being crooked and yellowed.  But over there, they mock Americans for their unnaturally white and straight teeth.

I've always felt I could relate to the UK.  I have crooked teeth.  And they are not white.  I would like to get them straightened, primarily because of the trouble I have in my jaw.  A little whiter would be okay.  But when I see people with really white teeth, I always think it looks freakish.  I am not self-conscious about my smile.  Mel Gibson has very crooked teeth.  It hasn't held him back any.

So, tell me your opinion of teeth.  Do crooked teeth bother you?  
  What about the color?  What dentine enhancing measures do you take?

Monday, October 27, 2008

well, what do you know

I thought I was a dork, but I'm not!!

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Pure Nerd

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test at HelloQuizzy

Two new posts on Books and Starbucks!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

i'm audrey

This is my second post for today since they are both easy.
Danica had this quiz on her blog and it was kinda fun and interesting.  I think this actually fits me for the most part.  I don't know if I meander when I speak.  Do I?
And I'm not sure how nonjudgemental I am.  I guess for the most part, but I do struggle with it from time to time.

I love Audrey, too!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Audrey!

You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure

  • * I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this

  • * Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit

  • * Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally

  • * Ask me questions to help me get clear

  • * Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery

  • * Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings

  • * I like a good discussion but not a confrontation

  • * Let me know you like what I've done or said

  • * Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey

  • * being nonjudgmental and accepting

  • * caring for and being concerned about others

  • * being able to relax and have a good time

  • * knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around

  • * my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator

  • * my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now

  • * being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey

  • * being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive

  • * being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline

  • * being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally

  • * being confused about what I really want

  • * caring too much about what others will think of me

  • * not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often

  • * feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant

  • * tune out a lot, especially when others argue

  • * are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents

  • * are supportive, kind, and warm

  • * are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy


I wonder why I have such long fingers?  Ok, so that's not a mystery.  I do wonder, though, why they are crooked!

Friday, October 24, 2008

every created thing praise Him

Have you ever walked through a park in the early morning?  The birds are singing and the ducks are quacking.  The squirrels chitter and chatter.  I suppose scientists think they can explain what all of those creatures are doing.  But I think that they are praising their creator.  

And now, scientists have recorded the music of the stars!  Please follow this link.  You don't have to read the article, but listen to the recordings.  The first two are individual stars.  The third one is a small cluster of stars.  To me, it sounds very similar to an orchestra tuning up.  And it is but a small cluster!  Imagine what all of the galaxy together sounds like!  Imagine the universe tuning up!  

I love this verse.  EVERY created thing!  Everything?  Well, what is under the earth?  Worms?  Demons? What is in the sea?  Dolphins?  Whales?  What is in the heavens?  Angels?  Stars?

And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." Revelation 5:13

Psalm 148
Praise the LORD!
         Praise the LORD from the heavens;
         Praise Him in the heights! 
    2Praise Him, all His angels;
         Praise Him, all His hosts! 
    3Praise Him, sun and moon;
         Praise Him, all stars of light! 
    4Praise Him, highest heavens,
         And the waters that are above the heavens! 
    5Let them praise the name of the LORD,
         For He commanded and they were created. 
    6He has also established them forever and ever;
         He has made a decree which will not pass away. 
    7Praise the LORD from the earth,
         Sea monsters and all deeps; 
    Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
         Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; 
    Mountains and all hills;
         Fruit trees and all cedars; 
    10 Beasts and all cattle;
         Creeping things and winged fowl; 
    11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
         Princes and all judges of the earth; 
    12Both young men and virgins;
         Old men and children. 
    13Let them praise the name of the LORD,
         For His name alone is exalted;
         His glory is above earth and heaven. 
    14And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
         Praise for all His godly ones;
         Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
         Praise the LORD!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

thursday thirteen

I've done a TT on my favorite restaurants.  One on weird foods I've eaten.  This one will be my favorite foods.  Unfortunately, some of the foods I am about to list are foods that I have a sensitivity to and can't eat.  

1. Potatoes.  I love them mashed, fried, baked, scalloped, au gratined, hashbrowned, souped, you name it... just not raw.

2. Tomatoes.  A really good, tasty tomato.  Very hard to find anymore. Can't eat them anyway.

3. Watermelon.  Not cantaloup, not honeydew.  In fact watermelon is the only melon I like.  And I  like it a lot!  I will only eat it during the summer when it is in season.

4. Chocolate.  But weirdly, I don't like chocolate cake.  I would rather have another flavor of cake.  Can't eat chocolate now, though.

5. Bread.  I love it.  I love all kinds.  But I can't have yeast, so therefore, I can't have bread.

6. Pizza.  I love it will all the toppings.  Or with just pineapple and pepperoni.  Or with spinach and onions and mushrooms and a white sauce.  I had a pear and gorgonzola pizza that was very yummy.  But since I can't have tomatoes, or yeast, I can't have pizza.

7. Ice cream.  Chocolate would be my favorite flavor, but really, I like just about any flavor.  I am picky about where I get it, though.  Which brands.  Not all ice cream is good to me.

8. Pie.  I could eat pie all the time.  Every day.  All day.  But I don't.  I have it only a couple of times a year.  I like almost any fruit pie except blueberry.  I'm not a big fan of cream pies.  I do like key lime, though.  And lemon meringue.  But, I guess those are fruits, aren't they?

9. Honey.  On bread, on biscuits, on cornbread, in tea, on my fingers, in a spoon...

10. Stuffing or Dressing or Filling, you know the crumbled up bread stuff that goes with poultry.  I like bread stuffing.  Not rice or some weird thing like that.  Stove Top is fine.  But since I can't have yeast....  

11. Fish.  I have loved fish as long as I can remember.  I remember getting it at the buffet when I was quite young.  I have never tried a fish I don't like. I prefer the fish that tastes like fish, too.  

12. Cheese.  Cheese on bread, cheese on potatoes, cheese on chips, cheese on crackers, cheese on veggies, cheese by the chunk....

13. Pasta.  I like macaroni.  I sing about Penne Regatta  and Linguini.  I like all kinds of toppings on all kinds of pasta.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I voted today.  Now I don't have to think or talk about politics for another four years!!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

what? who? where?

Last night I started a fire in the microwave.  I just wanted to soften the butter a bit.  But I had it on a napkin and it was in one of those foil wrappers.  zap, zap, zap and the napkin went up in flames.

Last night I let the dog out to potty and forgot her.  We usually let her right back in but I got distracted, apparently.  Some time later my daughter started looking for her and couldn't find her.  Then I remembered letting her out.  She was calmly sitting by the door waiting.  

Last night I went to bed and left the garage door open.  I wondered why it was so cold in the house.  I didn't lock the door between the house and the garage because my hubby was working late and not home yet.

If you see a gray, slightly wrinkled, slightly used thing... you know that thing.  I can't think of the name.....  well, anyway, return it please, ASAP.  The wind whistling through my ears is driving the dog nuts.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lisa Samson on politics

I want to share with you something that Lisa Samson wrote on her facebook page.  
I'll admit that I used to have problems understanding how a person could be a Christian and vote a certain way.  But as I become more aware of the diversity in the Kingdom of God, I have less problems with it.  
My hubby and I were talking today about how Jesus was not political at all.  He did  not try to change things through the political system.  And I'm not really sure that's working for us, either.  Perhaps if we want to change things, it needs to be done through how we live and love instead.  

God's Will Be Done

A lot of my primary colored friends, both red and blue,
 are openly endorsing a presidential candidate. It's their right . . .
 and . . . I can't blame them. I'm the gal that seeks
 to be in a state of reconciliation with my 
brothers and sisters in Christ, so I normally 
try to concentrate on what we agree upon.

I've seen the political divide do more amputation 
in the body of Christ than anything else. 
Now is it true amputation? No. But in the minds 
of believers, they have, for all practical purposes, 
cut off brothers and sisters. I'm not willing to go there. 
Jesus' last wish before his ascension was that 
we be one. Does that mean we have to agree 
on everything? No. But it does say to me, 
at the very least, I can't tell you you're not in Christ
 or even go so far as saying what one fellow 
believer said if you don't vote for his candidate, 
"As a result, many Christians are no different 
than non-Christians in their worldviews 
and their actions." NO different? Really?

This type of rhetoric is something I abhor. 
It is cowardly because it immediately says 
if you disagree, you are not Christlike, and there's 
no reason, other than disobedience to God's word, 
you could possibly feel that way so you're not 
worth talking with. (The "you're a dumb-dumb" 
if you don't agree with me is another popular 
device but a bit off topic. Just had to get that out there.) 
Either way, I find no place for these sorts of line 
in good debate, but especially between Christians.

Because if we declare that those who do not vote 
with us are not good Christians, they have plenty 
on their side to support that you're not either. 
Abortion, gay marriage are the crying card 
of the believers on the right side of the spectrum - 
poverty, war, the death penalty, on the left. 
If you're Catholic like I am, you're really in a twist here, 
because not only do you decry abortion, 
but both Pope Benedict XVI and 
John Paul II (man do I miss him!) declared the 
invasion of Iraq unjust. Both candidates 
favor embryonic stem cell research. 

What's a person to do? 

Recently I started a group on facebook called 
"No Matter Who Wins" a call for prayer for 
whoever is the next President of the United States 
and, health permitting, fasting the day before 
and/or of election day. (Can I get an amen 
that day can't come soon enough?) I know the wide
 variety of my friends on facebook, and to see 
who believes prayer matters, and how diametrically 
opposed they are to one another politically 
makes me chuckle warmly, because these days, 
there's really only one place all Christians can join
 together, one posture--on our knees--
where we are the same. 

So I do not ask you to vote for one person or 
the other, (in good conscience I cannot vote for either), 
because by Nov. 5th, we'll all know, if we believe this 
from Romans 13 that "there is no authority except 
that which God has established," who God put into power. 
Does that mean everything that person does is God's 
will from then on out? I don't think so. But it can and 
does give us comfort that God is still in the kingmaking 
business and we can do what we can, but in the end, 
the choice is his.

So, instead of telling everyone who God wants, 
maybe it would be a better choice to say what you 
can only truthfully say, "This is who I want." 
Because God may have reasons you cannot 
know when putting someone in office. It may be 
judgment, it may be for peace in a way you 
can't now predict. (Hey, nobody expected the 
Messiah to be a wandering prophet from Nazareth!) 
And then rest in the fact that God's will most 
definitely will be done, and while his choice may 
not have been yours, comfort yourself that you just 
tried to do the best you could with the knowledge 
you were given.

In all of this, let's keep praying, and not only praying, 
but seeking each day to follow in the footsteps of 
our Master, to take his teaching and his example 
seriously, to love better, live holier, give lavishly, 
and learn how to be His Body in a way that will be 
the true healing of our nation. 

Feel free to pass this on. You don't even have to give me 
credit! (I like to share.)