Monday, September 12, 2016

The Best Love Letter

Watched "Letters to Juliet" tonight. Cute movie. Better than I expected. The movie is a fiction "what if" romance story with a happy ending. It was inspired by the nonfiction book of the same name. I looked up the book to see what it's about and if any of the movie is true.

The book is the true story of how people send letters to Verona, Italy seeking advice about love from "Juliet"--as in "Romeo and Juliet". Of course the letter writers know she can't answer them. But there are volunteers there who are called the Secretaries of Juliet and they answer the letters. They've been doing it for over seventy years.The book tells the story of this group and has samples of letters they have received and answered over the years.

One comment on Amazon said the book is "for romantics the world over." The book sounds sweet I guess. But a little sad too. One comment said you can hear the pleading in the letters. It doesn't say what happens to the letter writers after they get the answer from the "Secretaries". Was it good advice? Did they follow it? Did their love last?

It got me thinking about love and letters and love letters and advice about true love. Which led me to thinking about the most important book about the most important love. It is advice about love and a love letter all in one. It's the best advice. We can always trust it. It isn't always clear how best to follow it. I wish it was clearer sometimes. But like the character Clair in the movie says, "life is the messy bits." Sometimes it's easy to doubt what it says about love. It takes faith. That's the way with any love letter or advice letter about love. We have to believe in the letter writer and the lover or we won't take the advice or trust the lover.

I'm thankful:
1. I can trust in God's unfailing love (yes, in case you didn't guess who I mean, He is the Lover and the Bible is the truest and best love letter)
2. Even when I can't see or feel Him he is still there
3. He has a plan for my life
4. It's a plan to prosper me and not to harm me. (Jeremiah 29:11).
5. His love letter has already been translated into my language!

More Women's Mission Convention photos

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Women's Mission Convention

I'm so thankful:
1. for the inspiring convention today here in Sydney
2. that the women enjoyed what I shared
3. how the organizers did such a good job to accommodate my dietary restrictions
4. that John made it safely to Dallas for his conference
5. for the lovely friendly ladies that I've met and re-met this weekend

It's very late (way past my bedtime) so won't write more now. Hope can write more when I get back to KG

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We're here! No kidding, right? it's been how many days? Sorry I haven't written sooner.

Lots going on.

I'll try to write about more of it soon. And post a few photos.

This Monday we moved into our little unit here at the Wycliffe Centre in Kangaroo Ground, Vic. While unpacking our boxes of things we keep in our church's attic I rediscovered a study guide that I worked on during our last furlough. It doesn't have any dates marked in it so it could be even older. It's a study guide on Jerry Bridge's book "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts." It was very good. But since I thought it unlikely I would do it again I wondered if it was worth keeping. Then I started thumbing through it from the back, as I tend to do, and noticed I had not completed the last chapter. Imagine my surprise when I came to the chapter title, "Giving Thanks Always." 

I never could have guessed when I left that book here four years ago, that I would be giving a talk on that very subject this furlough! Maybe this is just the boost I've been needing to help me finish preparing for the talk.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Is this day Five or Six?

More frantic than yesterday. Nearly packed. Furniture mostly packed in back bedrooms.

John in one of the few places left to sit. Who knew an upside down table would make a handy coat rack?
Still pretty but looking a little tired now--like us (the tired part anyway)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Day Five - Frantic Mode

John wanted me all packed by end of today. So what are we doing? Suitcase shopping. Makes sense, right? Sigh. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to get the blood pumping!

I stole a moment to peek at--and photo--the plumeria when I went outside to hang the shower curtain on the clothes line. Glad I did as it is really outdoing itself today.

I'm thankful:
1. that we got some new suitcases. They're the kind with four wheels. I keep thinking of them as the swirly kind--can't remember the real term. John is at another store getting another one as I write. My feet hurt too much to go. Meanwhile I'm supposed to be going through my toiletries...

2. For God's peace. I was feeling panicked earlier today. But feel much better at the moment.

Well, need to get cracking!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day four in my countdown to furlough. 

My devotional verse is very appropriate today:
 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
                                    John 14:27 (NIV)
Current events and furlough prep certainly don't give peace. Quite the opposite in fact. Even beautiful flowers can't really give peace, though it is a blessing to have them. But only Christ Jesus can give real and lasting peace, even in the midst of chaos, strife and uncertainty.

Lord Jesus help me to trust you despite what I read in the news! And despite all the things we still have to do to get ready to leave Monday morning.

I'm thankful:
1. for God's peace.
2. for all the work we did get done yesterday.
3. for yesterday's devotional verse: Isaiah 30:15. "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength"
4. for a few minutes of quietness and rest yesterday before the fur began to fly!
An all too rare morning tea on the patio.

John taking time to smell, and see, the plumeria.

He had his usual glass of water. He hates hot drinks!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day three.

I'm thankful:
1. Got a good report at the dentist (actually a periodontal reconstructive surgeon) yesterday. My extraction/implant looking good. Was relieved, and a little chagrined,  to learn that the pain I was still having was due to a bit of food somehow getting stuck in the gum--yuck. He removed it, and now no more pain.

2. We found a less stressful way to come home from Plano yesterday. For you Dallasites, George Bush Turnpike to Beltline to 1382. I know Beltline has signal lights but they are well timed so it wasn't bad. Our GPS was sure we had made a mistake and kept trying to direct us back onto the turnpike. That got a little annoying so we turned it off. The Geo Bush is a better road than 35 and with less traffic and fewer semis too it was a real relief. It may take a little longer. But it's worth it.

3. I got some important jobs done yesterday--sorting the last few weeks' mail, catching up bills for my Mom and ordering her monthly incontinent supplies.

4. Most of the bills from recent medical tests arrived yesterday. So we can pay them before we leave.

5. For these gorgeous plumeria flowers that are giving me something special to look forward to each morning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day Two in my countdown to furlough. And I'm not ready!! My clothes are almost packed and the house is getting that way. But mentally and emotionally I'm not. I know it's only for 5 months. And yes there are good things about going. Seeing friends and family, for example. But in order to see them there, I have to leave friends and family here. It's never easy either way. I always feel sad to leave them there when we come back here too.

Being transplanted is never easy.
I noticed this morning that the hostas I thinned this weekend are looking distinctly more perky than the ones I dug up and transplanted. I tried both ways to see which one was better for next time. I guess getting dug up, separated, shook off and transplanted is more stressful than just doing a little downsizing and thinning even for plants. I know the feeling.

My devotional this morning was appropriate: Isaiah 26:3
"You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you." (NIV)
Anne S. White, the devotional writer said, "If our minds are really stayed on Him, we shall know which things He intends for us to do and how they can best be accomplished."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Count Down to take off



 A week from today we leave for our five month furlough in Australia. Everyone is envious. They think Australia is so exciting. It reminds me of the Aussie lady I met who was surprised to learn that living in Dallas is not as exciting as the TV show. In fact I've never even met J.R. Ewing!   

I was thrilled to see this morning that my plumeria buds are beginning to open. I got this plant a while back at my garden club. This is the first time it's budded. I hope it opens all the way before we go. I'll try to post more photos of it. It can help me count down to take off.

I just read that plumeria flowers are sometimes used for making leis in Hawaii. That seems appropriate since we'll be having a week long stop over in Hawaii on our way to Australia.(yes you can be envious about this part! at least I would be if it was me. I mean if it wasn't me and you were me!) This is a slightly belated 20th wedding anniversary celebration. (Our anniversary was December 31st) We'll be staying with a coworker of John's who lives on Maui. We also hope to have the 2nd half of the celebration on our way back. That time we plan to be on Oahu. We are thankful for the special gifts that have made this possible!

I'm also thankful for all the work my friend Fran and I got done on separating the African hostas this weekend.

Lest you think preparing for furlough is all about sitting around watching flowers open, this next photo is of the beginning stages of packing most of our stuff into the two back bedrooms. John is measuring furniture as I write this to see if we can fit the rest in. I'm lobbying for down sizing a little more. But he would rather wait on that. We'll see who "wins."

Our to-do list keeps growing. This is page one of the third installment. There must be a murphy's law about to-do lists. No matter how long and detailed a to-do list is, it will only ever account for 1/4 of the things that need doing. If Murphy didn't think of that one already, we can call it "Thomson's law."

Monday, July 11, 2016

If my people

So much has happened since my last post. Especially here in Dallas last week. It feels like anything I write will seem trite. But today on my way home from the bank and other errands I remembered again how important thankfulness is--especially when it seems hardest. It can keep us sane and connected to God and keep us from giving in to fear and bitterness.

I'm thankful:

1. For the impromptu prayer time we had with my Mother's caregiver Sunday. She is a strong Christian who happens to be black. It was an important time of healing, reconciliation and crying out to God for our nation and city.

2. For the positive interactions I had today with many black people I came across. Not all, unfortunately, but the vast majority. The, predominately black, staff at the banks and post office where I went were even nicer and more helpful than usual. It was a relief. I was kind of nervous about going out. 

3. For this positive news item from Fox News. ( I posted it on facebook too. It helped to bring a healing and more balanced perspective on the tragedy. 

4. For this promise from 2 Chronicles 7:14-- "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

5. For Christ's example. The only perfect sinless person who ever lived was murdered unjustly and yet he forgave and prayed, "Father forgive them..." He calls us to do the same.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hanging on by my fingernails

Feeling grumpy and tired. Recovering from a root canal yesterday and preparing to have another infected tooth extracted next week. After weeks of endless doctor visits and various tests and feeling really sick a lot I'm struggling to be thankful. Been feeling sad about that. Not just because I'm supposed to be giving a talk on "giving thanks in everything" in a couple of months! But because I felt like I was losing my ability to trust God and be thankful. I keep asking God to help me trust Him and be thankful despite everything. But I feel like I'm hanging on to a cliff by my fingernails sometimes. Even just finding one thing to be thankful for has been a herculean effort.

It does help when I make the effort though. Sometimes I can only think of one thing, but even just one thing can help lift my spirits and then sometimes I think of others.

Had an MRI of my brain a week or so ago. Even with my special very powerful pink earplugs that I brought from home it was very loud. My first thought was panic--My earplugs aren't working! Help something must be wrong!! Then the thought, "just think how bad it would be without them" came to mind. I had a mental smile--not a real one since I didn't want to move or they would have to start the whole thing over again. Started thanking God for my ear plugs. Then I noticed that the sounds changed at times (and yes, got much louder too!) and even paused occasionally for a few seconds. At least I could be thankful for the less loud times and the breaks. And I was thankful that I could see the opening quite well. Eventually it ended. I was so thankful for that!!

It was certainly not a fun experience! I hope I never need another one. But I got through with my sanity intact.

A few other things I'm thankful for:

1. I was able to get the root canal done on #31 before the other tooth (#14) gets pulled next week.
2. The crack the Endodontist found in tooth #31 is not vertical and doesn't go into the root.
3. She said the crown will likely hold it together, so maybe getting the crown on it last Fall wasn't a mistake after all (despite all the problems I've had with it since then!)
4. I've been taking the antibiotic Keflex for almost a month now and I'm still tolerating it.
5. For the yummy pumpkin banana smoothies I made today. I froze them for next week. Also made avocado smoothies recently and froze those too. They sound weird but are quite good.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Keep our focus right

Worked in the garage today. It's been looking like something from "Hoarders"

Why is it that no matter how big organizing bins are, they are never big enough? They may seem so nice and roomy at first, but the next thing I know they are running over.

No matter how many fancy tool sets my husband buys he always needs more. And I don't think he ever gets rid of the old ones. Why not, if they weren't good enough and the new ones are so much better?

Why is it that no matter how many packets of screws, nails, washers, grommets, widgets, and so on, my husband buys, his next project will call for something else? Is it a vast home improvement store conspiracy? Or maybe he can't ever find the thing he needs because no matter how many clever organizers we have they never stay organized. Ever.

Maybe it would be better to just throw away the unused packets of screws, etc when the project is done. Why not, the next project won't call for them anyway. Wouldn't it save money and time in the long run? We wouldn't need to create or buy so many storage systems, bins, cupboards and shelves. And we wouldn't need to spend any time organizing them. Or, I wouldn't anyway, he never does.

As I write this I started having a feeling of deja vu--I hope I'm not repeating myself.

Anyway, I'm thankful:

1. the garage is looking a tiny bit better.
2. I went to the endodontist Wednesday. There is some infection in my tooth :(. That's NOT the part I'm thankful for! But I am I thankful that I went and had it checked.
3. He prescribed the same antibiotic I took in December and I'm tolerating it well.
4. He said the tooth is partially healed from the surgery last April and even if it regresses he can do another surgery on it which he thinks will do the trick. (I hope it won't come to that of course!)
5. from this reminder from Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" I think the key to this is the phrase "in the Lord." No matter how bad life seems, there are always things to rejoice in the Lord about. He never changes. We have real hope in Him. He is good and His mercy endures forever. He is loving and faithful. His word is true. I could go on of course. There are so many reasons to rejoice in Him. We just need to keep our focus on the right things.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Back in the blogosphere

I have no good excuse for not blogging lately. I was not run over by a truck. I did not break both arms.

I did record some thankfulnesses in my paper journal a few times. But over all I have not been keeping up in the thankfulness category.

A friend loaned me a book recently by Bill Johnson called, "Strengthen yourself in the Lord." It has a chapter on thanksgiving. It says on page 56 that, "thanksgiving keeps us sane and alive by connecting us to the source of our life and purpose." I certainly have felt disconnected from my Source lately.

Johnson also said on page 53 that, "the things we practice as a lifestyle equip us for difficulties." This weekend I was reminded of my need for that equipping. I noticed swelling and pain in the tooth that was operated on last year. It's had so many procedures done on it over the years that it seems unlikely anything more can be done for it. If it is infected again it may just need to come out. I don't have time for this! Or energy!! Doctor and dentist visits were already eating up what little time and energy I do have. I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm wondering if the tooth may be why I have had even less energy the last few months and had some other scary symptoms.

I saw my dentist today about something else and had him check it. He wants to try something called ozone therapy on it. It sounds far fetched to me. 

Anyway, at least being thankful might help keep me sane and that's not far fetched!

I'm thankful:
1. That I already had a dentist appointment scheduled for today.
2. For the encouraging verses in my Bible reading this morning: 1 Peter 5:6-10
" 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
3. I am thankful for the promise that God will restore me and lift me up eventually. Even if it's not until heaven. Heaven will be glorious and eternal!  And even though this life feels awfully long sometimes, compared to eternity it is really very short. (verses 6 & 10)
4. That He cares for me and listens when I dump my anxieties on him. He can take it! (verse 7)
5. That although I often feel alone in my sufferings, there are people who can relate and do care.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Take time to smell, and see, the roses

I'm thankful:

1. This week I received the name of the Bibleless people group I've been assigned to pray for. It's Bulgarian Sign Language. Bulgarian Sign Language is one of 130 languages in the Deaf Sign language family. The European Union of the Deaf estimated in 2014 that there were 50,000 users of the language. According to the Joshua Project they have no part of the Bible in their language. If you want to get a Bibleless people group to pray for go to: To learn more about the Bulgarian Sign Language group, see these links: The Ethnologue and the Joshua Project.

2. My climbing pinkie rose bush has been really beautiful the last several days. I've been stopping to the smell the roses every time I go by. I also stopped to take several photos. Here are a few of them. Sorry I can't include the fragrance too :-). This first one is from my new 'smart' phone. The others are from my regular camera. The water droplets you can see on some of them is from the heavy rains we had during the night. I was pleased to see how well the roses weathered the weather and were still so pretty afterwards. If you click on the first one you can see a larger view of them in a slide show format. 

3. John took a half vacation day this Thursday. We have a lot to do as we look ahead to furlough. We got a lot done.

4. No one got injured today when John helped friends pour cement today.

5. I finally filed some papers that have been laying around getting in the way for the past couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Visa granted!

I'm thankful:

1. my Australian visa renewal was granted! Faster and for more months than expected!
2. we didn't have any damage from the big storm that came through last night! (John woke me a little before 3 a.m. to say we needed to take shelter away from windows. So I sat on a cushion on the floor in our inside bathroom until it passed about 30 minutes later. It took a while to fall asleep again after that, but i eventually did.)
3. I did not actually say the word that was on the tip of my tongue tonight when John slammed on the brakes to avoid a crazy driver.
4. the crazy driver did not hit us!
5. I managed to have a conversation with B that I was kind of dreading and it went well.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Catching up

I'm thankful:
1. I finished my Australian visa renewal application and submitted it Friday. We celebrated with dinner at Pei Wei and coffee at Barnes and Noble afterwards. (I brought my own gluten-free dairy-free brownie to go with it.)
2. that i got a few accounts caught up in Quicken today.
3. for the big batch of sweet and sour meatballs that John made for tonight's dinner and to help restock our freezer.
4. that i was able to have a good chat with my dear friend C Thursday evening--first time in two years! Definitely an answer to prayer!
5. for the blue jays that are building a nest in the shrub near our kitchen window. I can't see the actual nest as the bush is too thick. But I've seen the jays going into the bush with long grass and twiggy things in their beaks. (I hope they have better success than the pair that nested in our tree a year or two ago. That time a squirrel raided the nest. It was very sad for all concerned! --My husband just said the squirrels at least were thankful :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Let's finish the job!

This song by Will­iam P. Mer­rill, 1911, has been on my mind a lot lately. It was even a little annoying it went on so long.

"Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings."

and verse 4:
"Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!"

Then Sunday the special speaker's wife prayed for me to, "rise up." I'm not sure how to apply that yet, but I think I'm supposed to rise up in some way. (The word "man" in the song is sometimes sung as "church")

Anyway the second line. "Have done with lesser things" was also on my mind. I sometimes wonder if we Christians, especially here in America, have lost our way-- or as my Aussie friends might say "lost the plot." I know there are things to be concerned about here in this country, but I wonder if they could be considered "lesser things"? I am including myself in this. It's easy to get caught up in various controversies and concerns and forget the most important things.

Jesus gave us a job to do. It's called "the Great Commission." You know, "go into all the world and preach the gospel..." In case you aren't aware, we haven't finished it yet! Of the approximately 7000 languages in use around the world.* There are still about 1800 languages where Wycliffe believes there is a need to make God’s Word available, but work has not yet begun. This represents between 165 and 180 million people without any access to God’s Word in a language they understand. Revelation 7:9 says there will be a great multitude "from every nation, tribe, people and language" around the throne worshiping Jesus. But that can't happen until they hear the message. I know not everyone can go. And maybe you can't afford to give more than you already are. But you can pray. Jesus said to pray that laborers would be sent into the harvest field. That's something we can all do. We don't need to brave the jungles of anywhere. We can even do it from the comfort of our favorite recliner. It might help to turn off the tv, though.

I found this great video about how our prayers can make a difference. Check it out. 

While you're there, you can also read some current prayer needs and sign up to pray for a Bibleless people group. I just did. It's simple just give them your name and email address and they will send you info about a Bibleless people group who need your prayers.

As my husband likes to say, "Let's finish the job so we can all go home!"

*, October 2015

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Those who live in darkness have seen a great light

I'm thankful:

1. A nice time of prayer, talking and snuggling with John this evening.
2. A fun start to our morning to ;-)
3. that we finally got our income taxes submitted and they were accepted without any problems. (we use Free fillable forms on sometimes there are technical glitches and it takes a couple of attempts to get them sent.)
4. for how B, Mom's care-giver, is having my Mom say a Bible verse each morning. Her first time she said, "Behold, the lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)! B was blown away, as was I when she told me.
5. For this inspiring story, "Truth on the Tundra" from Wycliffe's website. Praise God that even in this dark place the light of God's Word is dawning.:
Salekhard, Russia, is a place where few would choose to live. In this city — one of only two in the world located on the Arctic Circle — the average annual high temperature hovers around minus one degree Celsius (29 F). During the months of November through January, the sun comes out for an average of 14 minutes per day. Praise God that even here, in this faraway city, the ministry of Bible translation and Scripture engagement is taking place among the Nenets... To keep reading go to:

Friday, April 8, 2016

everything and the kitchen sink

I'm thankful:
1. I'm Finally making progress renewing my Australian visa. Filling out the form anyway. But that is huge. I guess that 'round tuit' I mentioned in my last post is really big :-)
2. Learning how to use my new 'smart' phone. It was handy and fun to use it to show my Mom a couple of photos her sister and brother-in-law sent.
3. We had a nice 'date' dinner on our patio this evening. It's lovely weather at the moment. The dining table in our kitchen is so messy and cluttered with papers i didn't want to look at them for our date night dinner.
4. John is very thankful that the 'magic-erasers' are doing such a good job of cleaning our kitchen sink that I'm thinking we won't need to replace it after all.
5. The plumber got us all fixed up Wednesday afternoon. When he removed the old pipes he discovered they were all terribly corroded. He said it was surprising they held together as long as they did. It's nice to have my kitchen put back together again. And I down-sized some stuff that was under the sink so it's a bit more organized.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Finally got a "round tuit"

I'm thankful:
1. For communion yesterday. I found it especially moving. The music was much less dominant than usual so I could really pray and think about Jesus--imagine that! The exhortation was given by a young lady that I appreciate and admire who had some really good thoughts on God's strength in our weakness. And I finally got up the courage to take a gluten free cracker for myself to use. (I usually break a crumb off of John's piece of communion bread. But my doctor said since I have celiac I should not even eat that little bit of gluten.) I wasn't sure how it would feel to take my own. But I did not feel weird or self-conscious. And it was a blessing to have it.

2. I finally had the Ellis AC people come out today to clean out our clothes dryer vent hose. It's the part that goes up through the wall and vents the hot air out through the roof. It's been almost three years since they did it last and the dryer was getting less efficient. I kept meaning to call them, but somehow, it never seemed to get to the top of my todo list. Now it's done and should last a couple of years. And tonight John took the front of the dryer apart and cleaned that too, so we are set for a while.
        Did you know that accumulated dryer lint is one of the leading causes of house fires? I'm not talking about the filter. We clean that after each use. But there is always a little lint that doesn't get caught by the filter. It accumulates and needs to be cleaned out every couple of years or so. Maybe more often if you use your drier a lot. I can tell it needs doing when it starts taking longer to dry the towels.

3. This weekend I discovered the product: Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser (I actually bought a cheap knockoff version). They were mentioned on-line as an easy way to clean stains from some types of kitchen sinks. I bought some in hopes that it would fix the stain problems with our current sink. Not sure if it is a good long term solution for that yet. But I discovered they make a lot of other cleaning jobs super easy. With one or two quick swipes they clean coffee and tea stains out of mugs, hard water deposits out of drinking glasses, and the scuff marks off the skirting board at the base of our kitchen cabinets.

4. I also managed to finally do some heavy duty dust removal in my room today. Some of my decorative dolls, stuffed animals, a lamp shade and top shelf were covered in a thick layer of dust. I've been meaning to clean them for a while. Today I finally got to it.
5. since the first two actually have multiple thankfulnesses listed i actually have more than five even without doing this one!

I detect a theme today. It seems that some how without my even knowing it, I must have gotten my very own "round tuit". :-)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sink recommendations wanted

I'm thankful:
1. for the nice comment on my blue bonnets post from D! :-) Thank you!
2. my new "VeryKool" smart phone safely arrived today. (yes that really is the brand name! :-). There is a lot of set up to do of course, but for now it is charging happily next to my old flip phone and pda devices. Hopefully they don't realize they are about to be replaced!
3. I was able to run the dish washer today despite the broken pipe under our right-hand kitchen sink. John was working under there last night to repair another (minor) problem and pulled on the pipe to help maneuver himself. It broke apart where it was soldered (?). It looks like it is too damaged from hard water deposits to weld back together so we'll need to get a plumber out to replace the pipes. I've been wanting a new kitchen sink--the surface is very damaged and worn. So this seems a good time to replace it. We aren't sure what sort of sink to get, so this morning John duct taped the pipe back together. It only leaks a little. Any sink recommendations would be appreciated! Please also include advice on pros and cons, and care and feeding.
4. My dentist appointment was postponed until next Tuesday! Yay. The day they called to reschedule I had just been thinking how much I wished we didn't have deal with that today! I love it when that happens!
5. I managed to scan more old family photos recently and added them to my Mom's digital picture frame yesterday. She was very happy to get them.

a few favorites:

 Dad (on right) in 1959 Rose Parade in Pasadena CA. Click on the photo to see it better.

Brother with Grandma

Brother's first birthday
1975. My Brother and I on his 14th birthday. I was 11 at the time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My thankfulness addiction

I'm thankful:
1. I feel sad when I don't record my thankfulnesses every day. I wonder if that means I'm a thankfulness addict? At least a thankfulness journal addict. It's still a challenge to have a truly thankful heart all the time. But worth working on!
2. for a book I'm reading called, "Healthy Brain, Happy Life" by Wendy Suzuki. She is a neuroscientist who specializes in studying how exercise affects the brain--it's good for it! Not only does it increase several good brain chemicals but it also increases neurogenesis and cognitive function. Now I really want to exercise more.
3. that John ran the dishwasher tonight
4. that my head stopped hurting
5. that the package (my sim card for my new smart phone) arrived safely today. (mail and packages often get misdirected by a certain delivery company. But this time they did well! yay!)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Blue Bonnets

"Above all else, guard your heart,
    for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23 NIV

So much bad news in the world. It's hard not to feel swamped by it. Also hard to remember that there really are things to be thankful for. I've found that when it's hardest, then is when it is especially important to try.

So here goes:
1. I'm thankful that my brother could come down for Easter dinner yesterday. We had a nice visit together here and went and saw our Mom too.
2. That I was able to do a bit more work on checking our taxes today.
3. Tonight John and I worked on correcting the errors I found in our taxes--without getting mad at each other! 
4. We had our annual hike to see the blue bonnets in the Cedar Ridge Preserve Saturday. It was a perfect day for it. They seemed even more beautiful than usual.
5. John ordered my new cell phone. It should arrive soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The perfect quote

"Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will deserve to receive greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple graces as especial favors. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God." --Thomas a' Kempis
I came across this quote tonight in Jan Karon's book, "A New Song." How does she do it? She always manages to have the perfect quotes.

I'm thankful:
1. That I discovered the leak and puddle of water under our kitchen sink before it had caused any more damage. Near as we can tell it's because the built in soap dispenser had come loose and when I washed the sink, water came through. Good thing I don't wash it very often or the damage would be much worse! :-)
2. That the bone around my dental implant is forming well and I'll be able to get the tooth part attached soon.
3. That I was able to do some more down-sizing a couple of days ago. I've nearly managed to condense two boxes of cards, letters and mementos into one. Hoping I can reduce them down a bit more. There are lots more where those came from, though. But every little bit helps!
4. We have almost settled on a "smart" phone to replace my old flip phone. The flip phone seems to be falling apart which is providing more incentive to finally settle on one and be done with it.
5. for the fun lunch with my friend S. today.

Monday, March 21, 2016

thankfulness at bedtime

Listing thankfulnesses before bedtime is supposed to aid sleep.

I'm thankful,
1. we got a lot done on our Wycliffe brochure tonight
2. had a nice chat with T this weekend
3. wrote in blog this morning
4. John and I had some quality time this weekend ;-)
5. John finished first draft of taxes this weekend (now I need to check it)

Let's start a revolution!

The last several days I've been feeling awfully grumpy. Did some research on gratitude to try and jump start my thankfulness muscles.

Found this excellent article by Amy Morin, titled "7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round" In it she reports that, gratitude improves physical and psychological health. It reduces toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. It increases happiness and reduces depression. It enhances empathy, reduces aggression, and improves sleep. Studies have also shown that gratitude "not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma."

I also discovered that various religious thinkers and philosophers for many centuries have considered ingratitude as the "root of all evil." Reading the definition of "ingratitude" I noticed that the word "nonrecognition" is listed as a synonym. The definition of "nonrecognition:" includes this: "refusal to acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of something."

Sounds like Paul in Romans 1:21: "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him."

Not glorifying him as God sounds like "nonrecognition." If nonrecognition is a synonym for ingratitude then Paul seems to be saying: They were ungrateful and thankless! Repetition is a way of emphasizing a point.

What did this ingratitude and thanklessness lead to? "...their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Then begins a litany of all the evil that resulted from their foolish, thankless, darkened hearts.

And in verses 28-29, "...Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God,"  Sounds like "nonrecognition" again. The result was, "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity" Then follows an all inclusive list of all types of sins. Contrary to popular belief Romans chapter one is not just about one type of people doing one type of sin!

It's a warning to all of us, yes--even Christians, that when we are ungrateful to God we too will descend into dark, foolish thinking and evil behavior.

It doesn't even take very long. Even just a few days of ingratitude can lead to some pretty dark thinking. Just try it some time... Just kidding! I'm sure none of us need encouragement to be ungrateful.

Instead let's start a revolution of gratefulness to God!

St. Ignatius believed ingratitude to be “the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins.” - See more at:
St. Ignatius believed ingratitude to be “the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins.” - See more at:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Christ's love beyond understanding

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

I'm thankful,
1. God's glorious riches are at my disposal
2. That God is strengthening me in my inner being
3. For Christ who is dwelling in my heart
4. For the love of Christ that is so wide and long and high and deep that it is beyond may ability to understand or fully express
5. That God desires to fill me with his fullness

I can't put enough exclamation points in here to express my feelings as I write this. I would have to put them after each point. So please just add them in your mind as you read this!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Being thankful even if I don't want to

I'm thankful,

1. Although I didn't like the way it was done or the reasons given, I'm thankful we have been relieved of our commitment to work in toddlers and nursery this year

2. for clarity regarding deciding about trip to Israel. I don't think I can handle the stresses involved in making a big, busy, demanding trip right now, so we need to cancel it. Maybe we can just take a virtual tour. Last night we had fun looking at photos and info on-line about the various sites the tour group will be going to. We also have all those boxes of slides from John's long-ago trip to Israel and Greece that we've been planning to scan and digitize sometime.

3. That God is in control even if it doesn't feel like it

4. For my patient husband who is willing to cancel our plans--even if we don't get a full refund.

5. That being thankful really is good for me even when I don't feel like it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Red Bellied Woodpecker back

I saw the red-bellied wood pecker again. He was in our next door neighbor's tree. It was too far away for a photo. But it's nice to know he is still in the neighborhood.

We don't get many colorful birds in our area. Blue jays are about it. On rare occasions I'll see a pair of cardinals. Audubon says red bellied woodpeckers are, "Most common in deciduous forest, especially along rivers and in swamps." I wonder if they are here now because of all the building going on in our area. Acres of forests and wetlands are being replaced with gargantuan warehouses.

I hate to see it. Acres of stark impersonal buildings--no windows, no store fronts, no architectural embellishments, no parking lots, no people, no landscaping, no color, just miles of high blank beige walls with--seemingly--no doors. It's hard to imagine any people working in them. Driving past, I feel like I've landed on another planet. It gives me the shivers. John said it's because of the internet. Everybody buys on-line now.

It's almost enough to make me want to stop buying on-line. Almost. But it's hard to beat the convenience. I have the world at my fingertips. Anything we need or want is just a few clicks away. For example, each month, with the push of a few buttons, from the comfort of my recliner, I can order my Mom's incontinent supplies and have them shipped directly to her residential care home. And sometimes things are only available on-line. So what's the answer? I don't know. I just wish we could keep our forests and wetlands and still order things on-line. If you are in a place that hasn't been invaded by acres of giant ware-houses, be thankful.

I'm thankful,
1. The red bellied woodpeckers are able to adapt to the loss of the forests and wetlands (see above Audubon page)
2. John fixed the problem we were having printing financial reports this weekend.
3. We got our accounts in Quicken reconciled through the end of 2015.
4. I restarted my cassette digitizing project and finished digitizing the church history series.
5. We took a walk yesterday and I did not have trouble with my foot. Maybe I will be able to cope with our trip to Israel in May.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

O for a thousand tongues

The hymn, "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" has been on my mind the last few days. It's featured in my devotional reading today.

I looked it up and learned that, it comes from an 18 stanza poem that Charles Wesley wrote in 1739 to celebrate the one year anniversary of a profound renewal of his faith. He had been seriously ill and was plagued with doubts. A group of Christians ministered to his physical needs and shared their testimonies with him. As he read his Bible, Wesley was deeply affected and found peace with God. His strength began to return soon after that.* 

"Wesley acquired the title phrase of this text from Peter Böhler, a Moravian, who said to Wesley, 'If I had a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ with them all'"** 

I pray that I will have so much love for God that I will praise him more with the one tongue that I do have! 

I found the original 18 stanza poem written by Wesley on Wikisource. Here are the first six stanzas that he wrote for the poem to commemorate his spiritual renewal. Although they aren't included in our hymnals, they are well worth reading. I love how they both teach the Gospel and tell the story of his renewal. I especially like the fifth stanza. I too feel a crescendo of joy welling up in my spirit, along with the author, as I read of Christ's atoning blood and love for me. The verses we sing are taken from the remaining 12 stanzas. The title phrase occurs in the first line of the seventh stanza.
"Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart."
Then the part we sing starts here:
My hymnal has 5 verses. I found this version on  It comes from "Lutheran Service Book" 2006. Wesley's poem of course has about 12 more stanzas to go, but that seems a little long to quote here.

1 Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

2 My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy name.

3 Jesus! The name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life and health and peace.

4 He breaks the pow'r of canceled sin;
He sets the pris'ner free.
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood avails for me.

5 Look unto Him, ye nations; own
Your God, ye fallen race.
Look and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

6 See all your sins on Jesus laid;
The Lamb of God was slain;
His soul was once an off'ring made
For ev'ry soul of man.

7 To God all glory, praise, and love
Be now and ever giv'n
By saints below and saints above,
The Church in earth and heav'n.

My hymnal also includes, "Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb, Your loosened tongues employ; Ye blind, behold your Savior come; And leap, ye lame, for joy."  

*You can read more about the song and Wesley's renewal at

**"(Böhler was actually quoting from Johann Mentzner's German hymn 'O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte')."

Monday, February 29, 2016

..."losers, weepers!"

This weekend John discovered that I seem to have lost an important serial number. It was for the new duplex scanner he got me for Christmas. He needed it to access some important software for a special bonus feature to complete an important project with the scanner. The number was printed on the flimsy paper sleeve that the scanner cd came in. I vaguely remember throwing something like that out recently in an organizing attempt.

We had a tense evening after that. After fruitlessly searching for what seemed like hours--me for the cd sleeve, and him for the serial number on their web-site, he finally emailed customer service and resigned himself to waiting until today when he hoped they would get back to him.

I was very relieved when I learned that they did get back to him this morning and gave him helpful advice--wow! customer service that really serves the customer!

This has high-lighted, yet again, how incompatible our personal filing methods are.

John's 'system' is sort of the "Frozen" (Disney movie) method -- "let it go, let it go." Combined with a natural mulch approach-- Papers drop off of him like leaves off a tree. They start to form layers and I suspect would eventually biodegrade like so much mulch, if I let them.

After 20 years of marriage I have given up on trying to keep him perfectly tidy and organized. I file things I notice that I know are important. But, I confess, I turn a blind eye to a lot of it. You have to pick your battles, right? Eventually though I reach my maximum mess tolerance limits. Then I tend to go on a ruthless organizing rampage. Sometimes this is good and I get us organized, at least for a few days. Other times, like this one, I let zeal overcome wisdom and I throw away something important.

Maybe a better system would be: once a week I could gather up all the vagrant papers from around the house. I could take care of ones that I know what to do with. The rest would go into a box. Then once a month, or once a fortnight, I could try to cajole John into helping me deal with the ones still in the box. It's worth a try.

Anyway, I'm thankful:
1. John forgave me for losing the serial number
2. the customer service people were helpful
3. we finally decided to "just do it" and sign up for the trip to Israel (see the last post)
4. I finished filling in my sample ballot. So I am ready, for better or worse, to vote tomorrow.
5. I didn't fall flat on my face when I stumbled on the stairs at the play Saturday.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Rejoicing in Suffering

Battling frustration since last night.
     Don't know who to vote for in the Republican primary election next Tuesday. The election is becoming a nightmare! Praying a couple of the candidates will drop out before next Tuesday to narrow the choices down a bit. Of course the one I really wish would drop out won't because he is doing too well! (I'll let you figure it out.) Several other races here in Texas also need deciding on and I have even less information to go on about those candidates.
     Then my doctor has ordered a slew of blood tests--modern doctors don't need leaches, they just order blood work. I don't want to lose more blood, energy and time! I'm just getting my energy back (from reducing the potassium last week, maybe?) Have a lot I want and need to get done. Got on a roll yesterday with updating finances in preparation for tax time. Still lots more to do.
     Also need to get busy on our applications for the Israel trip, if we're going, that is. Reading the travel advisory on the U.S. State Dept website last night made me just want to stay home! At least they didn't mention any problems in Israel to be concerned about. But the info seems to be several months out of date. Not a real confidence booster!
     Isn't this is a modern, first-world problem, though?
     "Where, of all the wonderful places in the world, should we jet off to to celebrate our anniversary?"
     "Gotta check off our "bucket list," and see the world before we're too old!"
     A couple of hundred years ago people stayed put didn't they? Well, except for all those plucky pilgrims and pioneers who came and founded this country, that is. They risked their lives to start this "new world." I've been wondering lately, "what would they think if they could see us now?" Would they wish they had just stayed put in the old one?

Devotions this morning took me to Romans 5-- "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God..." Ah, isn't that nice?...
I kept reading, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings..."  Wait a minute--what was that? We, "rejoice in our sufferings!"
Oh. Sigh.
How? why? "Because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope."

This reminds me of how my Dad used to say, "It's good for you! It builds character!" when I complained. I didn't appreciate it much. Now that I have a few more years experience, I can see the wisdom in it. But then, he also joked that burnt toast was good for me. He said, "it'll put hair on your chest!" I'm glad he was wrong about that!

Anyway, as I thought about my litany of complaints this morning. I noticed there are things in there I could be thankful for. At least I can try:

I'm thankful:
1. That I have a lot more energy this week!
2. That I made good progress on finances yesterday.
3. That John was willing to take the time (and is well enough) to help with some of the financial tasks I needed his help on last night.
4. That we still do have a free country where we can vote as our conscience leads.
5. That we got a special financial gift recently so that we can take special trips "before we are too old to do it" (I sometimes wonder if it's already, "too late") But I am thankful for the gift and the thought behind it!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

"Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee"-- I love this hymn* featured in my devotional reading today.

He is the "God of glory, Lord of love!"

Like the hymn writer, I too want my heart to open to the sun/Son above. He is the "Giver of immortal gladness." Only he can "melt the clouds of sin and sadness" and "drive the dark of doubt away."

During breakfast I noticed the birds outside sounded so cheerful that I opened the window to enjoy them better. I guess they are enjoying the warmer weather and the welcome rain we had last night. It seemed fitting when I came to this line in verse two:
"...chanting bird and flowing fountain, call us to rejoice in thee."**
I don't have a fountain, but the birds seemed to be outdoing themselves in calling me to rejoice with them.

I'm thankful:
1. For the cheerful birds
2. that i'm regaining energy since i stopped taking extra potassium supplements. (I thought I needed extra, but I think I over-did it.)
3. that John was well enough to go back to work this morning
4. for the rain last night
5. For God's forgiveness! Like the song says He is "giving and forgiving."

Here is a particularly good rendition on Youtube with on-screen lyrics:

*written by Henry van Dyke, music by Ludwig van Beethoven from Ninth Symphony
**sometimes "singing bird"

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trying to feel better

Devotional today says, "Our beings are so constructed that we begin to feel like what we affirm."*

I definitely want to feel different at the moment. Thankfulness has not come easy lately. Too sick. Worrying symptoms. And now, when I am about to go to the doctor, some of them have subsided. I hope that means I don't have anything very badly wrong! It's confusing. Hope the doctor doesn't think I'm imagining it.

So how do I want to feel? Healthy of course! Happy naturally! I sort of want to feel thankful. But mainly because it might help me feel happy. Not sure that is a very good reason. Also because I want to write something here. Seems suspect too. How about, because God tells us to be thankful in everything. That should be a good enough reason. He can sort out which of my other motives are off.

I'm thankful:
1. I am feeling somewhat better.
2. That R read my blog and liked it!
3. That I have warm clothes to "rug up" in on a cold day.
4. For the nice things that R & J said about my writing this morning
5. That Mommie seemed to like the daffodils from our garden that we took her Sunday. Not really traditional Valentines Day flowers, I know, but they were so pretty I wanted to share them! And I felt too unwell to bother with doing anything else.

*White, Anne S., "Healing Devotions," page 36

Friday, February 12, 2016

God is our reward

Looking for things to be thankful for. This classic hymn I played on my flute this morning seemed a good place to start: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." (by Martin Luther)

the notes at the bottom of the page say it was based on Psalm 46. So I looked at that.

Psalm 46:1-7
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah"
I'm thankful:
1. That God is my refuge and fortress
2. He is my strength
3. He is with me in trouble

verse 8 is a little surprising:
"Come and see the works of the Lord,
the desolation he has brought on the earth."

We don't like to think of God bringing desolation or trouble of any kind. It's an especially mind bending thought given the desolation that is happening in the world right now due to ISIS and similar groups in the Middle East and Africa. We pray it will end and especially that it will stay far away from us. The cause, to our materialistic Western thinking, is primarily flawed foreign policy decisions. Our answer, especially during an election year, is to, "vote the bums out." But, could this desolation that we abhor so much actually be brought about by God himself? This passage seems to say so. Why?

verse 9
"He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

That's better! We want wars to cease!

verse 10
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

Maybe this is the point of verses 8 and 9. He is God. We are not.

We like to say "God is in control." But we mainly think that means that he will fix whatever problem is troubling us. Does it?

Author, Larry Crabb doesn't think so. In his book "The Pressure's Off" he writes that he believes it means,
"nothing thwarts His plan for His people. What is the plan? To give us a Better Life now, as we define it? No. It's to reveal Himself as the greatest treasure the human heart could ever imagine." 
"The plain fact that we moderns have trouble grasping is that God is not cooperating with our agenda to make this world a safe and wonderful place to live." 
 God is moving, even through trials and tragedies, to reach His agenda: to "have a people who think He is the greatest, who value knowing Him and worshiping Him and serving Him above all other blessings." 
Sometimes it seems, for me anyway, that I need to go through trials before I really see that knowing and loving God is really the most important thing. Like God said to Abraham in Genesis 15, God himself is our "very great reward." Abraham had suffered losses and reversals (read chapters 12-14). He also had not yet seen the fulfillment of God's promises to him. But God's word to him was, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." He did eventually give Abraham more blessings and the answer to his prayers for a son, but what God seemed to really want was for Abraham to value knowing God above every other blessing. I believe that is what God wants for us too.

...I am thankful...
4. That we can know God.
How about you? Leave comments here or on facebook to help fill in #5. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kitchen organizing

I'm thankful,

1. John installed the new magnetic strip and hooks inside the cupboard door last evening.
2. The cutlery organizer arrived yesterday.
3. Muscle spasms and twitches on my left side are less today.
4. i finally scheduled an appointment with the rheumatologist
5. for the beautiful warm clear day today--i even have the door open and can hear occasional bird song.
6. that i got some old photos scanned this morning

 We also "downsized" our knife collection-- that is we stashed the rarely used ones in a back bedroom along with the old knife block. I expect we'll get rid of them if we don't miss them after a while.

I may replace these measuring cups with plastic ones. They sound like crashing cymbals whenever I open the cupboard.
 The new cutlery organizer. It has brackets that hold the the spoons, forks and knives in stacks so they take up less space.
My newly de-cluttered kitchen counter.
Now I need to work on the counter on other side of the stove!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Short prayers and crepe myrtles

I'm thankful:

1. We cleared out a lot of space in a cupboard last night. I had a collection of empty jars of various sizes. It was definitely getting out of hand-- two shelves full and I didn't use very many of them. 
          How did we wind up accumulating so much stuff? Even after getting rid of large piles, bags and boxes, we still seem to have clutter every where I look. But, I know, this is not supposed to be a gripe session! :-)

2. for the sermon on prayer yesterday. It was timely and helpful. I've been trying to pray more consistently for John and a few other people. I am keeping the list very short so I can keep it up. but even with a short list I was getting discouraged. My brain seems to freeze every time i start. I just could not think of much to pray most of the time.  Pastor said that most of the prayers in the Bible are short. We looked at several and it was true they were short. Some were also quite simple. He compared it to children in a family. The older children might say, "Mom, please pass the bread." The little ones might just say, "bread" while reaching for it. And the baby would just cry. But all would have their needs met. Though I'm not a little child, I sometimes feel like one. Besides Jesus said we are to come to Him like little children.

3. I ordered a nifty looking organizer for the cutlery drawer. I'll try to remember to post more about it when it comes (with photos).

4. i discovered today that there was a comment waiting to be moderated! The first time I looked i did not see it. Then i looked a few seconds later and there it was.

5. We got our crepe myrtle "trees" pruned this weekend. No we did not commit "crepe murder." At least we tried not to. We're trying to encourage them to grow out fuller like a tree. I say them because there are two. One on either side of the fence. For years we never trimmed them at all. They just grew straight up. They don't get much light there, so they looked like sparse very tall paint brushes. We trimmed them for the first time last year, but I thought they needed more off this year.  Next year I think they will just need a little clean up at the bottom and the insides. Here's a photo.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Clearing clutter addictive!

"supposed" to be working on homework for small group, but want to list a few thank yous instead (I guess you could say I'm procrastinating on the homework because it was making me think too hard!)

I'm thankful:
     1. that my sudden fever and unwell feeling last night passed and I feel better this morning. So I was not getting the full-on flu after all! (was afraid I was as I had the stomach flu last Sunday.)
     2. that we were not able to reach S in time last night to tell her not to come over for dinner and meeting. She came and helped with dinner and I felt better after a little rest in my recliner. So we had a nice time at dinner and the meeting went well.
     3. since I don't seem to be getting the flu, I can stop worrying that I infected Mommie when I went to see her yesterday.
     4. that Mommie got a good chuckle (not quite a full laugh but close!) yesterday when I told her about something funny that happened a few days ago
     5. That I made more progress with clearing clutter off the kitchen counter yesterday. This time it was a couple of plants that John hated. I used to like them. But I got over it. I seem to be craving the uncluttered look. It's addictive. I cleared one area and I like it so well now I want to do more and more! Dinner prep is easier and it's easier on the eye not to see clutter everywhere I look.
     6. I also got a load of stuff ready to donate and John helped put it in the car so I can get rid of it this morning when I go out for small group.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

God is good and His love lasts forever

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Cry out, 'Save us, O God our Savior,'"
1 Chronicles 16:34-35
It struck me this morning when I read this passage that even though the people of God were facing trials and needed God to save them, they were still commanded to give thanks--even before he saved them! God is good even when we face trials. His love is still real and will never diminish no matter what.

Something to think about.

God help me to keep hanging on to that, and really believe it. Sometimes life seems too dreary to find anything to be thankful for. But even if circumstances seem impossible, we can still be thankful that God is good and his love endures forever.

I'm thankful:
1. That I am nearly recovered from the stomach flu--I even made the bed and had a shower this afternoon.
2. That I found a possibly useful article about how to manage my auto-immune atrophic gastritis--take HCL/Pepsin supplements, among other things.
3. That I did not die from taking the high potency one of those last night even tho it seemed like I was starting to have a reaction to it. I think I'll try the lower dose one instead. Maybe "Digestaway" (sp?) would help too.
4. That my Mom's doctor's office finally found and posted the payment I made in November!
5. And that John figured out the problem with our fax machine!
6. That God is good and His love endures forever! :-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

"This is My Father's World"

This morning after breakfast I saw a red-bellied woodpecker on our "fruitless peach" just outside our kitchen window. I've never seen one before. It was so eye catching with it's red cap and black and white wings. I ran to my bedroom to get the camera. When I got back with the camera it was on the opposite side of the trunk where I could not see it. Then it flew to our big tree at the back of the yard so I raced back to my bedroom to see from that window. But the bird was too high up and again on the wrong side. Then it flew away. I keep hoping it will come back so I can get a photo. It's so exciting. I love seeing new birds. I usually drop whatever I'm doing to get the bird book and the camera. It reminds me of an essay E. B. White wrote called "Songbirds." He wrote that "Spring is a rush season on any farm. On this farm of ours spring becomes an almost impossible season because of the songbirds, which arrive just as everything else is getting under way and which have to be identified. They couldn't pick a more inconvenient time."* I don't have a farm, but I can relate to the feeling that any new bird has to be identified! (I found this photo on-line. )

It seemed like a fitting start to the day--seeing the bird. The delight of God's world was already on my mind when I got up. Last night, or early this morning, I dreamed I heard a choir singing "This is My Father's World." It was so clear. Really beautiful. When the song ended I just basked in the beauty of the words, trying to soak up every syllable and remember it for later.  

Later I looked it up on-line. The words of verse three seem especially appropriate given world and national events, "O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." Verse four was a funny coincidence. The author wrote of seeing God's face in a dream. I did not see God in my dream. I just heard this song. But with the author, by faith, I too can say “The Lord is in this place!”

The words below are from (they and Wikipedia tell more about the song and author too.) When sung the song is usually condensed to three to six verses (wikipedia)

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

To hear the hymn go to: 
The author, Malt­bie Davenport Bab­cock, was a pastor in Lockport, NY.  Babcock. He liked to hike in an ar­ea called “the es­carp­ment,” near Lock­port. Before going out he often told his wife that he was, "going out to see the Father's world."  ( (wikipedia)

*(White, E. B., "Songbirds." in One Man's Meat, ed. E. B. White, pg. 227, Tilbury House, Publishers, Gardiner, Maine)