Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My baby....

My baby is about to turn 12...! She has been a treasure and a blessing from God since the day she arrived. I love you sweetheart, more than you can know.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Memory Monday

OK, I'm taking the plunge here with this Memory Monday thing.... I'm not good at memorizing verses, but I help my kids with theirs every week, and with Joanne's great example, I'm feeling challenged!

I picked one of my favorite verses, which God has used to really speak to my heart this year. I needed to start with something easy for me to remember. So here's my verse from memory (in black), with corrections (in red):

But Zion said "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion for on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:14-16 NIV

I don't know how to strikeout the "for", which is what I typed from memory.... If you know a tip for formatting font to include strikout, please let me know!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A photo on my desk

I have a table set aside where I have my morning quiet time and do my Bible study. It's my one of my favorite places, and I have everything arranged just so - I'm a little particular that way.... On my table I have a small photo of my dad and my stepmom. It was taken about 12 years ago; they're sitting on a fence with the ocean in the background, wearing their sunglasses, and smiling at the camera. A pretty typical tourist photo, nothing special.

But there's a reason I keep it right there on my desk, where I see it every time I open up my Bible and journal in the morning. I don't keep it there because we are wonderfully close; sadly, my dad and I have never had a close relationship. No, the reason the photo is on my desk is something entirely different. You see, although my dad is a very intelligent and educated man, he is as lost as lost can be, and for many years, I never understood why. A couple of years ago I got up the nerve to ask my mom about it and what she told me just chilled my heart. According to her, shortly after they were married they decided, as many newlywed couples do, that they needed to find a church. So they started visiting churches and eventually began attending a class for potential members, and that's where the wheels fell off for my dad. See, he asked a fairly simple question, "Why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn't God, who can do anything, come up with an alternative solution?" Apparently my dad's question wasn't answered to his satisfaction, and with that, he gave up on the whole "religion thing", and 50+ years later, he has never reconsidered. Foolish, but that's what happened.

I've always enjoyed Bible studies, but since my mom told me this story, it has become a burning passion for me. I long to know Him, and everytime something new is revealed to me in God's Word, I just want to know more. I believe that deep in my heart I'm trying to compensate for the events that happened so many years ago with my dad. I don't want to be a stumbling block for him, if he should ever be willing to talk about Jesus, and I don't want to be the reason anyone else seeking the truth would turn away. So I pray for my dad, and I keep seeking Him.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas is not in the trappings....

I have a friend who loves all things traditional, especially the traditional aspects of Christmas. Each year she has a beautifully decorated tree, replete with bells, angels, stars, and numerous nativity-themed ornaments. She has an ornate nativity set on display, Christmas carols play on the stereo, and she bakes up a storm. What’s missing??? She has no belief in Jesus Christ, and no relationship with him as her Savior. She partakes passionately in the holiday celebrations, without ever acknowledging what Christmas is all about. This just baffles me. I can’t imagine myself celebrating Vesak, celebrated by Buddhists as the birthday of Buddha, in the same way that she celebrates Christmas. I'm not Buddhist, so Vesak holds no meaning for me. And what gets me is that I know many people celebrate a Christ-less Christmas, focusing on snowmen, stockings, gifts, and Santa, "Happy Holidays everyone!", but it is just beyond my comprehension how someone can display all the trappings of a Christ-centered Christmas, and yet be without Christ. It saddens me to see Christmas reduced to just another set of pretty baubles and decorations, and it breaks my heart to see her missing the best Christmas gift the world has ever known. Your thoughts???

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh to be a mountain!

Psalm 125 - The Message - A Pilgrim Song

1-5 Those who trust in God are like Zion Mountain:
Nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain you can always depend on. Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles his people— always has and always will. The fist of the wicked will never violate what is due the righteous, provoking wrongful violence. Be good to your good people, God, to those whose hearts are right! God will round up the backsliders, corral them with the incorrigibles. Peace over Israel!

This was my reading this morning, and it moved me so. I read this psalm in several different transalations, but this version from The Message is my favorite.

How I want to be a mountain! To trust in God, to be totally confident and secure in Him, to be unshakable and immovable in my faith. I'm not there yet, but I'm praying and trusting Him. I love the image of God encircling me, like a ring of impenetrable mountains, always there; nothing can get to me except what He lets in.

Have a blessed, mountainous day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Siesta Ornament Exchange!

I received this ornament from Sara in MN. It's a very sweet heart shaped ornament, hand-painted with a snow scene. She told me in her note that she picked it out at a Christmas crafts fair. It looks lovely on the tree, and I really like that it is such a nice bright blue.... Really brightens up the tree.

Thanks Sara!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Meme

Joanne had this fun meme posted today... So here goes:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, with a swirl of whipped cream on top!
2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? One present for each kid from Santa, wrapped and under the tree.
3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? White
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I would if I had any
5.When do you put your decorations up? Day after Thanksgiving.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Ambrosia
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The Christmas I got my favorite teddy bear, Charlie! I think I was 7 or 8... He's the only toy/stuffed animal I have left from my childhood and he sits in our bedroom.
8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? No clue - and there was no traumatic revelation....
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We let the kids open one present each; the rest have to wait until Christmas morning when Granny and Poppa arrive.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I have a large collection of ornaments from over the years, but my favorites are the ones the kids have made.
11. Snow. Love it or dread it? Love it, especially since here it is not deep enough to be a problem.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes I can!!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Charlie bear, a Mickey Mouse watch, and my mom's string of pearls. It was a gift to her from the school where she taught for years, and she gave it to me one Christmas because I was always begging her to let me wear it. Years later she went to buy a similar necklace for my sister, and she found out it was worth a lot more than she had imagined. She shook her head and said "I can't believe I let you wear it to school all those years!!!"
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Jesus Jesus Jesus!
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Fudge
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Just being together with my family
17. What tops your Christmas tree?An angel, which was a gift from Mom. For some reason one of her eyes (angel's, not mom's) is half-closed, which gives her this puzzled expression....
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Love to figure out surprising and well-suited gifts for people, and then watch them open them.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Come O Come Emmanuel....
20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? There are so many things better than candy canes.... chocolate for instance
21. What do you want for Christmas? Time to rest and relax
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? We usually go to 1 or 2 parties, but not the same one with same people every year.
23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's? Dress up for church
24. Do you own a Santa hat? several....
25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? family

Monday, December 8, 2008

Well it's half right, volume II

I receently wrote this post about this bumper sticker, and Cindy at "Life is Good" asked me to share some more of my thoughts...
My first thought when I saw this bumper sticker was "...how ridiculous!" I initially chalked it up as a politically correct sticker, in a misguided attempt to promote acceptance of all religions, increase tolerance, and such. And then I got offended, and frankly, quite riled up. I believe that the message we are supposed to get from this is that all religions are ok since ultimately they are all worshipping the same god, and thus all are valid. And some such nonsense...

But after mulling it over, I think it is more insidious than that. If we push the stated premise just a little further, it falls apart pretty quickly. So, for the sake of argument, let's assume it is true any single religion is too small for God to "fit", and God spans more than one religion, and as implied here, He spans many or all of them. I simply can't reconcile that with the fact that the simplest survey of the major religions uncovers disagreements and conflicts on fundamental premises such as the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, one God vs. multiple gods, the afterlife, the presence or absence of heaven and hell, reincarnation, etc. You can find some info here. Contrary to what this bumper sticker is saying, all religions cannot be right; there are core beliefs about God where there is no common ground.
Secondly, I dislike using the "religion" to describe Christianity. Religion has been defined as man's attempts to reach God, to connect to the divine, whereas Christianity is about God's plan to reach and restore mankind. As many before me have said, Christianity is not a religion, but rather a relationship.

I think what it boils down to is that this bumper sticker is feeding us a lie from Satan, mainly that we can define God to be whatever we want, and make a religion that goes along with those beliefs, and we end up worshipping the God of our imagination. Truly a lie from the pits of hell...

Have a blessed day!

Oh such sadness....

There was much sadness and gnashing of teeth at our house this weekend, as our Arizona State Sun Devils lost a humiliating defeat at the hands (paws) of the University of Arizona Wildcats...
But we'll get 'em next year! Go Devils!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Thou Dost Talketh Too Much...

We were shopping in Target and found this t-shirt on the clearance rack.... Just perfect for the Principessa - it's pink, sparkly, and oh so true!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Bags!

We made these Advent bags at Girl Scouts yesterday, and they turned out great!

Here are the instructions:
  1. You will need a paper lunch bag, a printed copy of the poem below, 25 pieces of hard candy, decorations such as ribbon, curling ribbon, Christmas stickers, etc. For supplies, you will need scissors, and glue gun or glue stick.

  2. Glue the poem on the front of the bag.

  3. Cut a flap or "door" in the side of the bag, just big enough for you to reach in with your fingers and get a piece of candy.

  4. Fill the bag with one piece of candy for each day between today and Christmas.

  5. Fold the top off the bag over and glue it shut.

  6. Decorate with curling ribbon, bows, stickers, whatever you like!

  7. Here's the poem:

From December first 'til Christmas

Is the longest time of year,

It seems as though Christmas,

Never will get here.

How many days 'til Christmas?

It's mighty hard to count,

So this bag of candy

Has just the right amount.

So grab a piece each day,

Just one, and only one,

And when your bag is empty,

Celebrate the birth of His Son!


Have a blessed day!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Well, it's half right....

I saw this bumper sticker on a car this weekend... All I could say is "well, it's half right!!"

I'm sure this was intended to promote tolerance, understanding, unity, blah blah blah, but really, looking past that, the whole premise stated here is just absurd. Does this mean that to truly worship God in his entirety, I would need to follow all religions? And how does that make sense when there are fundamental disagreements, beliefs, and premises amongst religions???

What do you think???

Have a blessed day!


Friday, November 28, 2008

How far we have drifted....

Each Thanksgiving Day for the past 3-4 years, I have re-read the Thanksgiving Proclamation, issued by George Washington, and each time I am just dumbfounded when I see how far we have strayed from the beliefs presented in this proclamation. I believe if President Bush was to issue such a proclamation today, he would be lambasted and lampooned as a religious nutcase by today's media. Read the proclamation below and see what you think:

Thanksgiving Proclamation
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America A PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY of PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal savors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pass this on!

This is beautiful stuff, and while I don't know Jeanne Winters, I'm wishing her huge success with this line. Cheeck it out here! You'll be glad you did!


I was listening to the Intro session to Living Beyond Yourself (Beth Moore Bible Study) and at the end, she read a quote from George Bernard Shaw, and said it was found in
Rick Warren's book, 'Purpose Driven Life. ' I wanted to find the quote, so I did some searching, and found the full quote:

This is the true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devotes itself to making you happy - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).

I liked the quote, and although it gave me a noble definition of where we should find joy, I was looking for more.... an answer to the lingering questions in my mind. And then I found this quote:

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls - Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

And for me, this closed the loop. Our joy draws others to us, to find the source of our joy. And that source needs to be in Him, in loving Christ, laying down our lives in service to him, focusing not on our grievances and happiness, but on Him, and His larger purpose.

Have a blessed, and joyful, day!


Friday, November 21, 2008

What type of Thanksgiving Food am I???

I got this fun link from Sara, my Siesta Fiesta Ornament Exchange partner:

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable

You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hallelujah for A New Hallelujah!

My two favorite praise and worship CD's of all time are Michael W. Smith's 'Worship' and 'Worship Again' CD's. I've listened to each of them literally thousands of times, I know every note and every word, and those are the two CD's I would want with me if I was ever to be stranded on the proverbial desert island. In fact I wore out my first copy of the Worship CD and had to purchase a replacement copy.

So I was thrilled and amazed to see a new praise and worship CS from MWS, titled 'A New Hallelujah', and I've been playing it in my car during the morning and afternoon commutes for the past few days now. What musical awesomeness (is that a word???)!!!! It is simply fabulous. If it wasn't so cold in the morning, I would open the sun roof and wave a hand in the air, praising my Lord as I drive the interstate in the morning.... In fact this morning, I just sat in the car after I parked and just listened to the end of the CD. What a great way to start the day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prayer Request

Please join me in praying today for my dear friend Melana and her husband Tim, and their daughter Emily, who is having surgery today to remove a "funny" mole.... Lord, please guide and give wisdome to the doctor and all the team involved, give Melana and Tim your peace and comfort, be there to comfort Emily and quiet her fears, and give us a diagnosis that this mole is nothing serious. Above all, may you be glorified Lord, and let your peace, love, mercy and grace be seen by all in this situation. In Jesus's most precious and holy name, I pray. Amen

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Of plans gone awry....

It's been a strange day.... I didn't sleep well so I woke up tired, but after I had my french vanilla coffee and my quiet time I felt ok, so I got the kids up and going, then off we went to work and school. Just like any other day. The fun began about two hours later when I got a call from the school nurse saying James was in her office complaining he was sick, stomach cramps, etc... So I stuffed some work in my bag and headed off to pick him up and bring him home. When I arrived at the school, James was squirming and dong some very strange gyrations on the bed in the nurse's office - apparently he had the worst case of stomach cramps EVER, he was bent over double, but he wasn't vomiting and had no fever. This should have been a clue that set off flashing lights in my sleep-deprived, befuddled brain.

So we drove home, I put James to bed, and of course by then he is feeling oh so perky and fabulous; it probably was the power nap he took on the 30 min drive home. Grrrrrrrrrr!

So Tom (I love my man!) offered to pick up Rachel, so that I could stay home with 'The Sick One' and get my work done. Sounds wonderful, right??? Except I had completely forgotten I was supposed to meet Judy, Girl Scout Troop Leader Extraordinaire, right after school to get our troop checkbook and then I had plans to head over and meet someone from our Girl Scout council at a nearby church at 6pm to drop off our payment for Fall Product sales. Well, I laid down to take a short nap, fell asleep for 3 hours, and woke up to hear the phone ringing. Of course it was Judy, wondering why on earth I was at home when I was supposed to be meeting her in the school parking lot 30 miles away. So, I bundled up el-sicko, bribed him with the promise of an ice-cream at Mr. T's (I know, it's pathetic) and we hopped (ok I hopped, James was all wrapped up in a blanket so he sort of slithered) into the car, and off we went.

Met Judy, got the checkbook, and now it's 4:30 pm and Judy and I are trying desperately to find a way to meet this woman before 6pm and drop off the payment so I don't have to sit in the church parking lot for 90 minutes, but she can't meet me earlier.... Luckily, Judy found someone at the Girl Scout council office who was willing to let me bring the payment there.

Thankfully, we are home. And despite it being a crazy day, there were things I am thankful for... First, James is not seriously ill - my diagnosis is gas pains. Second, I got a wonderful unexpected treat of a NAP! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!!!! and I got to see Judy, who is one of the kindest people I know. All is well that ends well (and that my friends is Shakespeare)!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm feeling overwhelmed....

I'm feeling overwhelmed this morning.... I have a "To Do List" that simply leaves me wanting to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and escape. I didn't get as much stuff done this weekend as I had hoped, and now I'm staring down a busy week at work with all these other tasks piled on top of it. Yikes!

And next weekend will be taken up with an all day horseback riding trip for the Girl Scouts on Saturday, and then church on Sunday, so I'm going to have to get these things done during the week.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:29-30

I need to remember to rest in him today.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tom and I went to see Fireproof last night with our pastor and his wife. We had planned to meet at a Thai restaurant downtown for dinner first. Since they live north of us in the valley, they took a different route into town, and got there just fine. We drove in on the interstate, and ran into a horrific back-up, 12+ miles backup, crawling along at 2-3 mph. For the longest time we were in next to a semi-truck which had a handwritten sign in the drivers window stating "Display Hooters Proudly". Truly truly sad... But Tom knew some alternate routes, and once we FINALLY made it to an exit, we were able to get off the interstate and detour into Chattanooga. At one point in the drive, we found ourselves driving behind the (these are Tom's words, not mine) "...only remaining functioning Plymouth Volare in North America, not counting Mexico..." The Volare sputtered and lurched along, and when we finally passed it, we saw the driver was wearing ear muffs! Hmmm, can anyone say "brokern car heater!" Needless to say, Tom and I missed the dinner, which according to pastor and wife was DELICIOUS, ,but hey, we made up for it by gnoshing our way through a mega tub-o-popcorn!

Sadly, we could have avoided the whole traffic jam... About one mile into our drive we saw a sign that said "traffic work ahead, expect delays".

Tom: "Should we get off here (Exit 161) and take Hwy 41?"

Me: "Naahhh... It's Saturday night! Who does road construction on Saturday night?"

Tom (as we whizzed by our last sane exit): "OK"

And then one mile later, traffic came to a screeching halt. I don't think Tom will ask my vaunted opinion next time. *grin*

But back to the movie....

Fireproof was wonderful - the dialogue, especially between father and son, seemed a little bit unrealistic at times, but the message of the movie, that marriage requires selfless love which only comes from God, is something we need to hear. I was convicted of my selfishness and I want to do better.

And now, I'm out of time....

Have a blessed day!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fall colors

Fall colors

Since moving to TN three years ago, after living for so many years in Phoenix, AZ, one of my biggest joys has been being continually surrounded by trees, hills, pastures, and farms. We live in the Sequatchie Valley, which stretches for miles from SW to NE across eastern Tennessee. It's simply beautiful here!

The fall foliage is just glorious! I think it's God's version of a laser light show, or perhaps his way of doing neon lights. Every color and shade of yellow, orange, red and brown is present, and the colors start first at the base of the hills, and then sweep up as the weeks progress. Some of the trees seem to glow, and against the dark tree trunks and branches, the contrast in colors is staggering.

I missed this for so many years...

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Post

First Post

Well, I always like to set goals, so here are my goals for this blog:

  • Give God the glory and share Jesus. He is LIFE to me

  • Provide a journal of events, happening, and thoughts

  • Communicate...

I think that's enough for now!