Sunday, February 24, 2008

I admit it; I'm sick. Mark is too and, unfortunately, so is Dan. I gave in and am taking an antibiotic (Mark is too), and I'll be thankful when I can sleep through the night without coughing. Dan apparently has the flu. So he'll go to the infirmary for sick call in the morning and hopefully will get something to knock this out. Blah!

We are praying that we all recover quickly and that Dan can move along with his studies and Mark can get to Tres Dias this week. I'm hoping that I can go and spend time with Nancy while Mark and Robert are at the conference.

In the meantime I have been stitching. On Friday I was so miserable that all I did was sit in my chair, play silly computer games, listen to stuff on the 'net and watch TV. But yesterday I got two small figures done and today I got one of the larger ones done, so Moses and Makenna's Christmas is moving right along. I'd love to get this finished up in the next week or so and start another project in March. I think I know what I am going to do next, but I may change my mind (I am a woman, after all!). Below are some pictures of what I have accomplished and I will say that I probably won't do a whole lot more stitching on black fabric. The ladies in my Christmas Cross stitch group shared some great ideas for back-illumination that helps make the holes in the fabric more visible, and stitching on black fabric is rather striking, but it shows every piece of lint and cat hair in the room!

Have a good week and keep the three of us in your prayers.

From Psalm 84:

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Monday, February 18, 2008

When Dan was seven, we moved from Warner Robins, GA to Chattanooga, TN. It was the first time Dan ever moved and it was a difficult transition. One of the hardest things for him was going to a new doctor. Dr. Ves had known and prayed for Dan since before he was born and Dan knew and loved both Dr. Ves and his wife, Mrs. Margaret. After consulting with the doctor I worked for, I chose an older woman who was fairly well-known and very well-loved in the Chattanooga area. The first time we went in to meet her, Dan was introduced to the receptionists, the nurses, he was shown around the office, and we finally met Dr. Susan. Dr. Susan is rather plain-spoken and no-nonsense, but she loves her patients and they know that. She put Dan up on the exam table, came and sat on the table beside him, put her arm around him and explained that there would probably be times when he would have to come in to her office and she would have to do something that would hurt. She promised him that any time that happened, she would sit with him just as she was right then and before anything happened she would whisper in his ear, "This is the time to trust. This is the time to trust." That has stayed with me for many years. Every time something happens that is uncomfortable or unhappy, I remember that lesson from Dr. Susan and I can feel the Spirit putting His arm around me and whispering in my ear, "This is the time to trust. This is the time to trust."
That being said, I'm sick. Blah!! Worse, I won't be able to go see Jennie this week. Triple-Blah!! So pray for me while I am sick, pray for Jennie, and pray that we would be able to get together soon. And thank you, Dr. Susan!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mark and I have often talked about how our society is so prone to wearing masks. We like to pretend that all is well and we have everything together all the time; our life has no problems, our families and our finances and our spiritual life are always in perfect order. I think that this is particularly true here in the south (although I may be mistaken; it may be just as prevalent in other areas of the country). We want everyone to think the best of us, from our families, to our employers or employees, and particularly the people we go to church with. I believe that this is a form of arrogance and self-idolatry. If I am capable of providing such a perfect life for myself and my family, I do not need God to do anything for me except to sit back, watch, and smile over what a good job I am doing. This is a very dangerous trap. Once I step into this vortex, escape is almost impossible. The longer I go pretending that everything is fine and that I have everything together, the worse things get and the more difficult it is to finally admit that I desperately need God to take control. Self-sufficiency has long been one of the most admirable traits in our country. We talk about the pioneer spirit and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. So we try to hide our inadequacies, first from others, then from God, and finally from ourselves. We live a lie and we live in fear that someone will find out that our life is a lie. Worse, we get to a point where we have ourselves fooled (our Sunday School teacher, Kyle Howell, says that the 11th Commandment is, "Thou shalt not kid thyself"!).

This week I read the novel When Joy Came to Stay by Karen Kingsbury. This is the first of her books that I have read. I find that a lot of Christian fiction is poorly written and boringly predictable. You know the outcome of the story and can even predict much of the dialogue before you finish the first chapter. This book was different and it dealt with the topic of lying about mistakes. In this case, the character who was lying had such overwhelming fall-out from her lies that she wound up in a psychiatric hospital. Mrs. Kingsbury demonstrates through her characters how once we begin listening to the lie that we are "fine", it becomes more and more difficult to listen to the Spirit of God telling us that we need Him. I wish that I could purchase about 1000 copies of this book and start handing them out to everyone I meet. Instead, I will be content to simply recommend that you visit your local library and borrow it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

(No, I can't claim this picture!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Did you know that God can answer prayer with a broken tooth?!
Last week I talked to my bff in Chattanooga, Jennie. Jennie and I have not visited in person for over a year and I miss her very much. Mark and I were talking about going to visit her on our way home from Birmingham the end of the month so that Jennie and I could visit. I talked to Jennie last week and her schedule meant that we would have to visit her on the way to B'ham, on Wednesday. We were both very excited about it. When Mark got home, I talked with him about this and it turned out that we could not visit on the way over because he did not have that Wednesday off. I was VERY disappointed. Over the weekend, I found out that my Dad is taking my brother to Nashville next week and I began to wonder if I could maybe hitch a ride with them as far as Chattanooga and visit with Jennie while Dad and John went on to Nashville to see a doctor. Mark and I talked about it and Mark gave his stamp of approval to the idea. Unfortunately, Dad and I kept leaving messages for each other but could not seem to connect.
On Tuesday, Mark and I went to see the dentist (the wonderful Dr. Mike). I was fully expecting everything to be fine and was even rather smug about it. After my teeth were cleaned, Dr. Mike came in for his inspection, started poking around at a tooth that looked a little suspicious to him, and wound up putting the probe right through a back molar. Ouch! I left with an appointment for next Wednesday to have this fixed. On the way home I stopped at Dad's church to see him and talk about going to Nashville. Turns out the trip was scheduled for next Wednesday, the day I'm scheduled to have my tooth fixed. I was in quite a dilemma! I hate to reschedule appointments, because I know how hard that is on the staff at the office. So I started praying and asked the Lord to figure this one out for me. On Wednesday morning, I took a bite of something and the tooth cracked and chipped from top to bottom. Ouch!! I called Dr. Mike's office, and got an appointment scheduled for the next day. So yesterday, I went to Dr. Mike's office, had two shots of novocaine (ouch!!!), and got the tooth fixed without needing a crown. AND, I don't have an appointment next Wednesday and can go see Jennie!!!! Yipee!!!!
So sometimes God answers prayer with a broken tooth.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Here is my quote for the day before I turn in for the night. This is my favorite Narnia quote, from The Horse and His Boy. The scene is where Shasta has just done a very difficult, dangerous task and is utterly spent from the work. Rather than being praised and rewarded with a much needed rest, he is given another more difficult task to do.

Shasta's heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward is usually to be set to do another and harder and better one.

We are not promised rest and refreshment here on earth. We are to be thankful for those times when they do come (and for most of us there are those restful moments), but we are to labor on, focusing on Jesus and obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit as we do the work God calls us to do, regardless of the cost.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The reindeer is really, truly, completely (except for framing) finished!! I am so happy! I did run into some problems with the rocking chair cushion this week, though. I realized that I had made a significant counting mistake in the first figure (why does it always take so long to figure that out???). Then in the process of correcting it, I realized that the fabric I am using is 21" x 21" instead of 24"x24". Three inches can be quite a problem, unless the designer of the pattern was overly generous in her estimate of how much material is required. Turns out that Mary Englebreit apparently was overly generous (whew!). So now I can correct the problem and move along.
Here is a picture of the pattern I am working on and a final picture of the reindeer.

We are having a regular, nothing special Saturday and that is so nice! I have felt well enough to be able to do a bit of the housework, Mark is home and piddling (one of his favorite past-times), and it is warm enough to have the door open from the bedroom to the porch.
Tomorrow's story in K church is about the feeding of the five thousand, so I'm going to make a mural and put as many people on it as I can. I'm looking forward to my story time. I love my little ones and enjoy Sundays with them so much! We are blessed to have a fantastic K church team at Grace Baptist. Between Sergeant Tracy and Miss Misty, Gabby the Gardener, Texas Tina, Miss Fancy Shoes, Aunt Polki-Dot, Miss Debbi (known to the rest of us as The Boss!), and Miss Pockets, not to mention all the other wonderful folks who regularly give their time and energy to these little ones, we have a great time on Sunday mornings!
Remember to pray for the folks who were injured in the explosion in Savannah, GA this weekend. The burn unit here in Augusta has accepted 20 of these people and most of them are in critical condition with full-thickness burns. Pray for the patients, their families, and the medical workers who are taking care of them. Pray for the churches here in Augusta, that we will take this opportunity to minister to these folks!