Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Hand ! *WARNING! This is gross and tacky!

Hubby went grocery shopping last night (he is much better at it than I am), so when he brought all the bags home, I started unpacking them on the kitchen counter.
And then I pulled THIS out of the bag!



Actually, it's a gummy candy hand!

After I calmed down, I laughed my head off!
And I hope you didn't miss the note on the package about "...with crunchy candy bones inside"! I mean, what's a gummy hand without the bones? Seriously?
Hubby thought this was cool and bought it for James -I think it's a guy-thing. I think it is just gross and tacky...????
So, what is your gross and tacky gag purchase story? (Keep 'em clean, ok?!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Colors at Cloudland Canyon

Last weekend Rachel and I went on a hike with some friends to Cloudland Canyon, which is located on top of Lookout Mtn, south of Chattanooga. Although it was cold and windy, there wasn't any rain, so it was a lovely day for a hike amongst the beautiful canyon and gorgeous fall colors. Here are the girls at the start of our hike!

Here's the view from the top of the trail...

And looking across the canyon at all the fall colors...

zooming in for a closer look!

The maples are a really vibrant red color this year. Absolutely gorgeous!

We hiked about 0.8 miles down to the bottom of the canyon...

One of the trees in the bottom of the canyon had some weird scale-like growth on the trunk. When I took a closer look, I saw they were actually mushrooms growing on the trunk of the tree!

After our easy hike down, we were rewarded with this lovely waterfall and pool in the bottom of the canyon...

The water from the pool flows out down a sweet little stream...

Here are the happy hikers after the hike!

All in all, it was a lovely place to see Fall in all its splendor!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Memphis LPL - Part II

Recap - The Key Scripture was Exodus 34:6-7, which is God’s disclosure to us, His description of what He is like.

God tells us 7 things about Himself that we will like and one that we won’t:

Seven Things We Will Like

· Compassionate
· Gracious
· Slow to anger
· Abounding in love
· Abounding in faithfulness
· Maintaining love
· Forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin

One Thing We Won’t Like
· Does not leave the guilty unpunished, punishing the children and their children to the third and fourth generation

I covered the point about not leaving the guilty unpunished here.

Now, let's move on to the things we will like!

1. God abounds in love

God’s Word tells us over and over again that He loves us, far beyond what we can imagine or understand. John 3:16 is the classic verse. And in Ephesians 2:4-5 we read that “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” And in 1 John 3:1 we see ”How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

The Hebrew word used in Exodus (for abounding?) is ‘Hesed’ (I think I probably spelled this wrong) which means “steadfast, loyal” love. God is fiercely loyal. Beth reminded us that one of the very first things most of us learned in Sunday School as a young child was “Jesus loves me, this I know”. And when we struggle and suffer, when times are difficult, we so often lose sight of this simple truth.

2. God maintains His love

The word ‘maintains’ means to guard, protect, keep watch. It is the same word that is used in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Beth talked about we are so careful to guard our hearts against things – heartbreak, loss, rejection, etc. But God guards his heart for something, not against something. God maintains His love means that He does not let His love for us diminish, change, or fade; He maintains His zeal and passion for us. Romans 8:38-39 tells us “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Beth asked “Do we guard our love in the same way?” Sadly, no. I am guilty of this – of letting my love lose strength and passion, not maintaining my love. Love is a choice, a willing to do good, as well as the emotional feelings. Beth challenged us to open ourselves up to loving with that zeal and passion again, both the emotion and the active choices we make.

Beth gave an outstanding example of how we mess this up. She talked about parenting teenagers, especially those who may become rebellious or sullen, and how we can easily become a victim to our kids. God guards His love for us (He always loves us passionately) but He gives or withdraws blessings, based on our obedience to Him. As parents, we often keep blessing our sullen, disobedient kids, by lavishing them with cars, clothes, food, money, stuff, but we withdraw our love, the passion and emotional part. Beth said we are essentially “…funding our kids’ rebellion!” We think that blessings = love; this is backwards from God! He always loves, but withdraws the blessing; we always bless, but withdraw our love. When our kids are being rebellious we need to stop blessing them but keep loving them. This point was huge to me, as Rachel and then James will be hitting those teen years very soon. I know it is my personality type to fall into this trap of blessing them but not loving them.

Beth closed on Friday by reminding us that Moses asked and pleaded with God for His Presence to go with them. God was present with Adam in the Garden of Eden, but somewhere along the way, the presence of God became something that would “…flat out kill us!” But people were still desperate to experience it, to see the presence of God. The revelation of God became something worth risking everything for. And we should seek it for ourselves with that longing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Memphis LPL Notes - Part I

Living Proof Live – Memphis, TN Oct 9th-10th, 2009

Friday Night Session:

Luke 8:22-25 tells the story of Jesus and his disciples on a boat. Jesus fell asleep and the disciples were afraid during a storm that threatened to overcome the boat. They woke Jesus up and he rebuked the storm, to which they said “Who is this?” Despite the time they had spent with him, all they had seen him do and heard him say, they did not really know him at all… In Matthew 13, Jesus told his disciples that the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven was given to them, but yet they really didn’t know him.

The theme for this LPL event: Let’s go on wild God chase, a journey where God will reveal Himself to us, to me. In John 14:15-21 Jesus promises that he will send his Spirit, and that “…you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” The word translated “show” here means “to reveal, disclose, exhibit, manifest”. So it is the promise of Jesus that he will show himself, reveal himself, and exhibit himself to those of us who love him and obey him. See also Jeremiah 29:13 that tells us “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Beth asked the question, “Why was John chosen to receive the Revelation?” She believes that it was because of all Christ’s disciples, John was the one who was altered, fundamentally changed, by every fresh disclosure of Jesus. John was present with Jesus at his transfiguration, with him at the Garden of Gethsemane. Beth challenged us to ask ourselves, “…when was the last time you were altered and changed when Jesus showed you something new about himself?”

Key scripture passage for this weekend was Exodus 34:1-7 First, some context: In Exodus 31-33, Moses is on Mt. Sinai, and God gives him the two stone tablets, inscribed by the finger of God with God’s commandments. Meanwhile, the Israelites are growing impatient waiting for Moses to come down the mountain, so they tell Aaron “come, let us make gods who will go before us”, and they form the golden calf. Moses descends from the mountain, and in his anger (that is putting it mildly), he breaks the stone tablets, grinds the golden calf up into powder and makes them drink it. This is followed by a purging where 3000 of them are killed. God then tells Moses to get them together and leave the land, and Moses pleads for God’s Presence to go with them.

There is a great passage here in Exodus 33:14-17 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Aside - Moses must not have been listening because he goes on to say, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (NOTE – this is the thing that distinguishes us today from all the other people on the earth – the Presence of the Living God in us!) God (instead of telling Moses, weren’t you listening???) says “I will do the very thing you have asked because I am pleased with you and know you by name.” Then Moses (in a display of amazing boldness) tells God “Now show me your glory.”

God tells Moses that he, Moses, cannot see God’s face, so God will hide him in the cleft of the rock and Moses can see his back. Now we go on to Exodus 34.

1 The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.
3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.
5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

This passage, Exodus 34:6-7 is God’s disclosure to us, His description of what He is like. God wouldn't (couldn't) showMoses His glory, so instead, He tells Moses what He is like, revealing himself through HIs words. In God's words we find 7 things here we will like, and one that we won’t like:

Seven Things We Will Like:

· Compassionate
· Gracious
· Slow to anger
· Abounding in love
· Abounding in faithfulness
· Maintaining love
· Forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin

One Thing We Won’t Like
· Does not leave the guilty unpunished, punishing the children and their children to the third and fourth generation

We will cover each of these, starting with the last:

“Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

The Hebrew word used here for “punishes” in the phrase “…punishes the children and their children…” is used 119 times in the OT to mean “visits”, and 31 times for “punish”. Beth pointed us to Ezekiel 18, which describes a righteous man (A) who has a wicked son (B), who in turn has a son (C) who sees the evil his father has done and does NOT commit these sins. This chapter tells us very clearly that the wicked man (B) will “surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head”, but the wicked man’s son (C) “will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live.” Ezekiel 18:20 says “The souls who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him and the wickedness of the wicked man will be charged to him.”

So God doesn’t literally mean that children and grandchildren are punished for the sins of the fathers. Beth explained that what this passage in Exodus 34 is really saying is that the effects, meaning impacts, and consequences, results of sin are visited on the following generations. Also, 3-4 generations are the most that could possibly live together, and probably did live together as extended families at that time. So the impacts of sin would be felt and shared by the whole family, which would span 3-4 generations and include children and grandchildren.

See also Exodus 20:4-6, where God punishes sin to the third and fourth generation, but shows love to 1000 generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. be continued...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stinky life in cubicle-land....

Life in cubicle-land (aka, the workplace) can be downright annoying, or in this case, stinky.

The guy in the cubicle next to me has taken to eating these for lunch.... his office.....

Which means my nose is not happy....

...because the smell reminds me of this:

Hope you are all having a blessed and non-smelly day!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 2009!

When I was a kid in the 70’s, my best friend and I would watch ‘Science Fiction Theater’ or 'Action Theater' on Saturday mornings. We would huddle on the living room floor with pillows and blankets, and scare ourselves silly watching old monster, alien, and space travel movies, hiding under the blankets if things got especially scary. We had such great fun. One old movie, in particular, stuck in my memory - 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. It was very creepy, and for weeks afterwards, whenever someone behaved even the least bit strangely, I was absolutely convinced they had been snatched by aliens, like the victims in the film. The movie was about a doctor from a small town in California, who starts hearing from many of his patients that their family or friends are acting strange. While they still look the same, their behavior has changed, and they are cold, distant, and just “not themselves”. The doctor eventually discovers that aliens are taking over the town, using huge seed pods, which they have sent to earth. The pods had been stashed in the basements, attics, or garages of people’s houses, and at night when the innocent townspeople go to sleep, aliens emerge from the pods, and assume the exact physical appearance of a targeted human being, who is then destroyed. Talk about scaring the daylights out of two girls! I don’t remember the ending, except that all ends well, but I remember vividly the creepiness of this movie, and the saying it seems to have spawned in popular culture; i.e. when someone acts strangely, I’ve often heard people say “OK, where’s the pod???”, implying that their behavior is so strange that they must actually be an alien.

So fast forward to 2009. My house. In small town Tennessee. And my son, James, is clearly NOT acting like himself. This is a stereotypical 10-year old boy, who normally leaves a trail of clutter, shoes, and laundry behind him. I dread entering his room because I know it's usually a disaster zone, with books, footballs, and toys tossed on the floor, dirty socks and underwear (eeewwwww) kicked under the bed, and things generally just left wherever they were used last. As hubby often says, James lives how bears would live IF they had furniture. But last weekend I spent a whole day cleaning the house, and it was exhausting work – countless trips up and down the stairs, and hours of sweeping, wiping, dusting, and putting things away, and by the end of the day, I was wiped out. So I wasn’t surprised when later I overheard my hubby telling the kids that “…. We need to help Mom out, because we’re relying on her too much to keep this place clean…” Mental high fives! Yes! Thank you Lord! Now if only they would just take those words to heart....

And then last night, I was stunned when James came bopping down the stairs carrying a laundry basket with the sheets from his bed, passed by where I was sitting in the living room, and headed into the laundry room where he proceeded to load the sheets into the washer and start the wash cycle. And then load them into the dryer when they were done. And that’s not all... He took the sheets out and MADE HIS BED when the sheets were clean and dried. I am not kidding. And there's more! He even gathered laundry from our room and his sister’s room, and washed, dried, and folded three more loads, insisting all the time that he could do it all by himself saying“… I can do this. You need to take a break, Mom!”. Totally blew me away; I’m about to faint just thinking about it! And when I wake up, I’m gonna go and find the pod. It has to be hiding somewhere…..

Update 9/24/09: James did ANOTHER load of laundry last night. I'm still looking for the pod...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day, in our Small Town

Yesterday we attended the local Labor Day parade, and I was struck at just how "typical" our parade is for small town America. People lined the streets, some with flags, and children clutched their plastic bags, eagerly awaiting the candy thrown by the people on the floats. We dropped James and Rachel off at 7:30 to complete preparations and get on their floats (for the Pee Wee Football team and Cheerleaders) and promptly at 9am, the parade began!

First up after the Parade Marshall and the Shriners in their crazy mini-cars were the classic cars, including this BelAir. My dream car is a red and white '57 BelAir...

Immediately following the classic cars were the convertibles with all the "Parade Royalty" - Labor Day princes and princesses, including these ladies in a very regal carriage.

There were local politicians and local businesses...

And a float weighing in on the health care debate...

Followed by floats from a few of the many churches in our community...

The local high school football team and cheerleaders, very proud of their 3-0 season thus far...

Then the Pee Wee Football float!

And the Pee Wee Cheerleaders...

After the floats, I think every remaining school-aged child in the county was in the parade on an ATV...

... or a horse!

This photo is Tom's grandfathers old old old Ford truck, which has been completely (and beautifully) restored by his Uncle Dennis. He didn't enter it in the parade, but parked it by the road and lots of people came by to take a look.

After the parade we went to my in-law's for a cookout. Here's Rachel:

And James...

And just for grins, here's a photo of James holding a 7.5 lb sweet pototo, which my father-in-law grew in his garden. We asked him if he was going to enter it in the upcoming County Fair, to which he replied "Naaaah - Everyone would say 'Who is that dumb guy who didn't know when to harvest his sweet potatoes?' !!!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

...she would do Boomama proud...!

I love Boomama! Her blog posts are hilarious, her stories are just full of southern wonderfulness, (which I can appreciate as a transplant to the South), and the lady loves cheese. And I happen to think cheese is a love language, of sorts. So last week, when Rachel and I were out for some school shopping, we stopped in at Steak-n-Shake for a quick lunch, and here's what she ordered:

Y'all - that's a grilled cheese sandwich, a side of cheese fries, and a side of cheese to dip the sandwich in, just in case it wasn't cheesy enough! The girl loves her cheese! I think Boomama would approve..... And no, that isn't a big black bug on the plate - it's the logo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rolling on the River

Our property is bordered on one side by a river. We often go and sit on the bank and watch it flow, look for fish, and last Fall, we saw beavers swimming in the river. But generally, we don't go IN the river.... But last week, when it was quite warm, the kids begged and begged to be allowed to swim in the river. Honestly, I was a little horrified. I mean, who knows what is in that water? But hubs reminded me that people have been swimming in rivers for years, and calmed my fears by pointing out that the river is down really low right now so it is very shallow. After eliciting promises from R&J to NOT SWALLOW THE WATER!, and to shower thoroughly after swimming, I relented. So we all headed down to the river...

I got a little bit distracted by the gorgeous leaves and flowers on this vine, which grows everywhere on anything that is standing still....
Here's the river...

Dogs like to swim too...

I think the dog is telling her "Come on in, the water's fine!"

In my prowling around my the bank, I found these! Wild blackberries! They are small, but the ripe ones are delicious!

More pretty flowers (weeds)...

The kids had a blast, and it was fun and relaxing to sit and watch the river flow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Memory Verse - July 15th

Lately I have been praying up a storm with intercessory requests, and as far as I can tell, I don't see them being answered. I saw a cute little placard in a store recently that said "God has three answers to prayer: "Yes", "Not now", and "I have something better in mind". So I'm reminding myself to TRUST HIM, and that even when I don't see things happen, He is at work. So the verse I chose to memorize is:

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday - the Bucket List

Jenni is hosting “Tuesday Top Ten” lists, and today’s top ten list is our “Bucket List”, things we’d like to accomplish before we depart this earth. Not something I think about often as I tend to focus too much on what I need to do this week, today, IN THE NEXT 10 MINUTES (shriek)!!!

But anyway, here’s my “Bucket List”, and you can check out Jenni’s here.

1. See my kids grow up

Yes, it’s painful at times, but after so many years of struggling with infertility, I have been richly blessed to be “Mom” to these two…. They are well on their way, and I want to see their journey unfold.

2. Fulfill my purpose

As corny as it may sound to some, I believe with all my heart that God DOES have a specific plan and purpose for my life, and I don’t want to leave this earth having missed it. I don’t think it is necessarily just one thing, or some grandiose task that He has planned for me, but perhaps, my purpose is fulfilled in millions of everyday moments. Whatever it is, I want to fulfill it.

3. See the Northern Lights

I’ve always been fascinated by the whole idea of the Aurora Borealis, and I even love how the name just rolls off the tongue. To me, it is God’s show of dancing, shimmering light, his version of a laser light show without the obnoxiously loud rock music and raucous fans…..

4. Make something beautiful (or many things beautiful!) in stained glass

Sunshine streaming through stained glass invokes such vivid colors, unlike anything that can be achieved on paper or canvas. And yet working in stained glass requires precision, math, and technical skill, which all appeals to the left-brain part of me. Artistry by engineering, if you will!

5. Learn to play the piano

I’m not interested in learning to play classical pieces for a recital, but would be thrilled to be able to bang out some chords and a recognizable melody. I can picture us now, all gathered around the piano like the Waltons, while mom (me) plays a hymn. Oh, I'm kidding... That is NOT my family at all...!

6. Plan and plant a gorgeous garden

I’d love to have massive beds with gorgeous shrubs, flowers and such and garden benches and a gazebo to make the garden an inviting place to just…be. And yes, I’d also like to have a great kitchen garden too, with fruits, veggies, and herbs. I enjoy all aspects of gardening EXCEPT the heavy digging needed to prepare the beds and soil, which is probably why this is nowhere close to a reality…

7. Leisurely travel

I’m not interested in the “see 7 cities in 7 days!” types of travel. Hubby and I like to be able to take our time and noodle through a place, with no agenda or time constraints. Some of the places I’d like to linger are Venice, Ireland, Australia, Scotland (my heritage), and Austria.

8. Take a balloon ride

Only because I am really afraid of heights, and I want to show myself that I can…..

9. Make amends and restore relationships
Honestly, I don’t want to be on my deathbed realizing I am leaving behind broken relationships. I’d love to leave with peace of mind and no regrets about the people I love.

OK, there you have it! Leave me a comment if you post your own list, as I’d love to hear yours.