Thursday, November 27, 2008

Am I ready for Thanksgiving? I was asked that question the other day. Let's see; the turkey is in the oven. The jello salad is made (and half eaten ;>) in the refrigerator. The dressing is ready to go in the oven. There are two pies (pumpkin and pecan) sitting on the china cabinet. All that is left to do is make the potatoes and the gravy and set the table. I even have an extra pitcher of sweet tea made up. Mark and Dan and I are safe at home. Dan has the crud, but we have a warm home, lots of liquids and medicine to combat that. Mom and Dad are doing well. John has made some significant improvement this year and it looks like he will make even more next year. Diana is having a better year at school. Liz is almost finished with her master's degree (you rock, Liz!). Mia is safely here and she and Kelly are both healthy. Moses and Makenna are doing well and Doug is, too. Not to mention the fact that he is excelling in seminary (of course!). If you have read this in the past month you know that Jeff and Wyatt are safely home from Iraq and that I am VERY thankful for that. Fred and Nancy are doing well and Fred has just instituted a really neat (and pretty impressive) study at his church before starting a capital improvements project. Laura is happy in Europe. Aunt Janet, Uncle Doug, Uncle Robert and Aunt Emmi are all still with us and doing well. Those who are no longer with our family here on earth are waiting for us in heaven. Well; I could make this a VERY long post today, but the turkey wants to be basted. So to those of you who are not mentioned by name, I'm sorry and I love you very much and I am very thankful for you, too! My college girls, I'm proud of all four of you!
Praise God for the moment and don't waste time fretting over the what-ifs. May each one of you reading today be especially blessed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday afternoon at the Messiah.

The Alabama Civic Chorale presented their 61st annual performance of Handel's Messiah yesterday afternoon. What a blessing! Listening to the music, the orchestra, the organ, the choir, the soloists is a lot to take in musically. I felt a little like I did at the new mega-store the other day when all I could do was stand there and turn around in circles trying to see and hear everything. Handel is a baroque composer and the themes of the music get tossed back and forth between the different instruments and then handed off to the soloist or the chorus. I think I need to spend an hour or two each day between now and Christmas just listening to it over and over to try and take it all in. Every word comes straight from Scripture. He wrote this entire piece in 24 days. There are a total of 52 songs in the entire work and rarely will you hear the entire thing performed at one time. If you do hear the entire version it is approximately 2 1/2 hours long.
These are simple, cold facts. When I hear the Messiah, whether a recording or live, I can not sing the Hallelujah chorus because when I get that teary I lose my voice. This is one of the best demonstrations for me of what the Trinity is. I hear God the Father throughout and of course, God the Son is the central focus of the entire work. But as I listen to the music I hear God the Spirit and I certainly feel the Spirit moving my heart and soul. May you be equally blessed if you have an opportunity to hear this, whether live in-person or on a recording.

Today I am thankful for so much! I'm thankful that I am physically able to spend the day cooking for my boys. I'm thankful for my boys and the rest of my family (especially this year for Jeff, Wyatt, and Miss Mia). I am thankful that I live in a country where I have clean water and plenty of food. I am thankful that I can worship and serve my Jesus freely. I'm thankful for God's grace and my salvation. Have a blessed weekend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It was a big day for us today. This afternoon Mark and I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Miriam Rebekah McNutt, Mia to family and friends. What a gorgeous young lady! She looks so much like her Mama's baby pictures, and quite a bit like big sister Makenna. However, as her Mama commented, for all that she is very much her own person. Mark and I made the trip to Demopolis late this morning. It is such a pretty drive to Demopolis from Birmingham. Doug was at the hospital when we got there, so we got to see him. Doug is celebrating No Shave November (see and celebrating it quite well. He has an impressive beard at this point and his children are going to have great fun pulling it!
Kelly is an amazing woman (I seem to say that quite a lot, but truth is truth!). For a woman who had been in the hospital for the better part of 10 days trying not to have a baby and then had gotten quite ill just before the baby came, not to mention someone who had just gone through child-birth, she looks terrific. Shoot, Kelly looks terrific for someone who had just come out of a beauty parlor, what am I saying?
Mia. Oh, Mia! She is the tiniest baby I have ever held at a mere 5 pounds and down around 8 or 10 ounces. Kelly indulged me and let me hold her most of the time that I was there. She opened her eyes and looked me over a couple of times. Uncle Mark decided not to hold her this time for fear of breaking her (silly Uncle Mark!). Here are one or two pictures and trust me, there will be more! Isn't she gorgeous?!

Today I am still thankful for Mia and for Jeff being safely home. I am also thankful that when Mark and I decide to go visit family we are able to just hop in the car and go. We can afford gas to get there, we have a reliable car that will get us there, we have the freedom to move about, and my body can handle it. Whew. That's a lot to be thankful for, isn't it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

We finally have a new baby! Miriam Rebekah arrived last evening and while she is tiny at not quite 6 pounds, she is safe and healthy. She and Kelly are both doing well. Moses is enjoying loving the baby and Makenna is apparently quite curious. What a relief to have her here! I am looking forward to meeting her soon and making her acquaintance.

In other news, our nephew Jeff (aka, Captain Mackinnon) is safely home. What a week! As I think about Jeff getting safely back home again and about Miriam's safe arrival into the world, I realize how little other "stuff" matters. We have a lot to rejoice over, it's just a matter of keeping our focus on what is important and not being distracted by unimportant peripheral stuff.

This picture is of Robert and Nancy's den window. One star for Jeff and one for Wyatt. They are both home and the banner comes down today. Praise God!

Today I am thankful for Mia and Jeff, of course!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I have a confession to make. Trust is rather difficult for me. I was thinking about an incident this morning and my thoughts took a different direction from usual and I wanted to share that today.

Suppose Mark and I had a critical decision to make. As a Christian family, Mark is unequivocally the head of our home. I give input and Mark considers it and we make decisions together, but in the end he casts the final vote. This means that I must trust Mark to love me as Christ loves the church. I must trust that he will carefully and prayerfully consider my input into these decisions. I must also trust that the final decision is one he has made in faith believing that this is God's best way for us. What if his final decision flies against my common sense and judgment? What if his decision contradicts sound advice from experts? May I then disagree with him and go my own way and make a decision contrary to his? If it were just a matter of trusting Mark, perhaps I could. But in our marriage, I am also called to trust God to lead Mark and direct him. Let's suppose Mark's decision goes against what I think and believe. We talk about it and I present my case but Mark chooses to do something else because that is what he believes God is asking him to do. If I then rebel against Mark, I am also rebelling against God. This rebellion is not only against God's plan for the situation, but also against God's plan for our family. This is a hot topic these days, partly because the concept of submission is abused by (hopefully) well-meaning Christian men, but also because our culture states that wives have just as much say and spiritual authority as husbands.
Let's go a little further. What if Mark makes a decision, we follow it as a family, and the outcome is bad. Perhaps there is a financial set-back. Perhaps someone is hurt emotionally or physically. Perhaps there is a spiritual wound resulting from the decision. What then? Do I sit him down "in love" and point out to him that if he had done things my way, we would all be better off? Do I instruct him on how to do things better in the future? Do I generously offer to remove this burden of authority from him so that he doesn't have to bear it any more? Do I offer to be a "co-authority" to give him a break? Not if I love him and trust him! (remember that love is not the way we feel about people but the way we treat them). Taking it further, not if I trust God to love me and care for me. Perhaps we needed to be shed of some financial burden. Perhaps the physical or emotional wound is necessary for God to show Himself. Perhaps the spiritual wound is there for God to heal. I am not saying that God desires bad things to happen to His children. However, our definition of "bad" may not be His definition of "bad"! I do know that God's intent is for a christian marriage to reflect Jesus' relationship with the church. Mark is to love me and care for me and do what is necessary for me and our family even when it is painful or difficult. I am to trust and respect him and lovingly follow him. I am to pray for him and encourage him to keep on his knees and keep seeking God's will for the family.

Today I am thankful for godly men who love their wives and work hard to discern God's will for their families!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am moving oh so slowly this morning and that has got to stop as soon as I finish this post because after all, it is TUESDAY! I like Tuesdays. I have my piano lesson on Tuesdays. I have decided that 40-60 minutes of practice is not going to be enough so I am either going to have to start practicing twice a day or just double my time. I am enjoying this so much, though.
Yesterday I got to talk to my brother John. John is an amazing man. He is a PhD in geology and very, very smart. After he got his PhD he got a letter to his house one day addressed to Dr. John Reed. His oldest daughter had the privilege of collecting the mail that day with one of her friends helping her. The little friend was quite impressed when she saw that Mary Kate's Daddy was a DOCTOR! She commented on that and Mary Kate told her it was OK; he was just a rock doctor, not a people doctor. John will always be the Rock Doc in the family since that incident! John redeems the time better than anyone else I know. It doesn't matter that his body will not let him go to an office or do any kind of work. He lays in bed and writes books and articles about how a Christian should respond to scientific fallacy. He is not only a scientist but an apologist as well. I am not a scientist and not nearly as smart as John, but I can learn from his example that my time should be spent in doing what God has given me to do each day. Sitting and thinking up excuses for why I can not do what God has told me to do (and created me to do!) is a dreadful waste of time. We often hear preachers preaching about tithing income and some of them will even touch on tithing our time. Over the past 9 years, John has preached to me through the example of his life about tithing my energy and using it to bring glory and honor to God.

Today I am thankful for my family and the heritage of faith that I have. I encourage anyone who reads who does not have this kind of heritage to start one! You may not have had a Grandaddy and Granny like mine who prayed over their children and grandchildren and their spouses twice daily. You may not have had a Mama and Daddy like mine who do the same thing. But you can be that kind of Mama or Daddy or Granny or Grandaddy for your children and let that heritage start with you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A new week. Isn't it nice to sit back and wonder what is in store? No matter what is coming, my Heavenly Father is in charge of it all so as I wonder what is coming this week I can be confident that no matter what, it's all OK.

Last night Mark and Dan and I went to my brother's home and got to visit with them and with Doug and Kelly and their two children. Kelly got to leave the hospital Saturday but will have to stay in Birmingham until Friday or until the baby comes, whichever comes first. It was so much fun to get to visit with her and to play with Moses and Makenna. I love listening to Moses laugh! Please continue to pray with us that the baby will come at the right time and that this time would be soon.

Today I am thankful for so many things; for family, for new babies, for my computer and the internet access I have, for my blogging friends. I'm thankful that I am able to get up and clean my home, that Mark and Dan both have jobs, that we have food to eat this list is endless!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Waiting. Isn't it hard to be patient? Not always. Last night we got the call that our dear niece Kelly had gone into labor. Kelly is not due until December 22, so this is a prayerful situation. Today the ultrasound showed that the baby seems to be further along than was thought, and Kelly has been given steroid injections to help the baby's lungs develop, but we are all praying. There is a silver lining to this cloud; Kelly and Doug are here in B'ham so I get to see them! I'll even get to visit my newest baby in the hospital. But we are asking anyone who happens to read this to pray with us for Kelly and the baby, for Doug, for Moses and Makenna who are back home with their grandparents (and for their grandparents!). Please pray that the baby will not get here until the right time. So you see, this time it is a little easier to be patient.

Today I am most thankful for good doctors and nurses taking care of our family, and for the knowledge that God is taking care of this little one and Kelly.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

After a busy few days Thursday and Friday and some running around on Saturday and church on Sunday, I crashed yesterday! I don't think I did much of anything productive all day....except cook supper for Marvelous Mark. It was good to rest and catch my breath; now I can jump back in and get busy.
Today was piano day again, and once again I had a wonderful lesson. I told my teacher before we started that this was the day when she would find out if she had over-estimated my ability. Last week she pointed out that I was playing Bach as if he were a romantic composer rather than baroque and showed me what I needed to do to fix that. It was funny how difficult that turned out to be; however, all is well! Today she was pleased with what I had worked on, so I am VERY happy myself. I'm even happier after she gave me my assignment for the week; TWO Chopin preludes!!
I'm sure my neighbors are equally happy that I will be varying my playing a little.

Tonight Nancy and I are going to a tea seminar at Miss Rosemarie's Tea Room. Tonight's talk is how to have a Christmas tea. Given that my last time Christmas tea was less than spectacular, this should be educational as well as fun.

Today I was thinking about the fact that it's veteran's day and realized that my family has had either a blood relative or someone quite near and dear to us in each major war since WWI. My Grandaddy Reed served in WWI until the flu side-lined him. My uncle Robert and Grandpa Clark served in WWII. Mark's father and our dear Mr. Ralph Jackson served in Korea. Mark's cousin Larry and Curt Wuestenburg served in Vietnam. Larry came home. Our pastor and many other we knew served in the first Iraq conflict, and now we have two nephews serving in Iraq. Welcome Home, Wyatt and Hurry Home, Jeff!! Thank you, Lord, for those who are willing to serve our country in this way!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Today is a big day here in the 'Ham. The Christmas Village is here and Nancy and Melanie and I are all going. This is a BIG arts and crafts fair downtown and a BIG arena. I got to go to the spring fair earlier this year with Nancy and did not dream that I would be here for the Christmas one this month. I like shopping with Nancy and Melanie and I like getting ideas of things I could do. I'll try to remember to take the camera so you can see how huge this thing is.
Mark got home safely last night. YAY!!! It is so nice to have him home again. It's nice to see his handsome face sitting over there on the couch while I am typing this. I did find a wonderful husband.

Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband and son, of course!

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's going to be a busy day today as I get ready for Mark to come home. Yipeeeeee!!! He's been in North Carolina for 2 weeks of training and I sure will be glad to have him back this evening. I've got to get busy finishing up housework and then I can sit around this afternoon and craft. Today I'm going to paint a certain rocking chair for certain extra-special little ones. Then its back to stitching Christmas cards. I did have to make an early morning run to WalMart to get some thread and tape so I could stitch today. The WalMarts here in our part of Alabama (we have two within about 5 miles of us) both have a craft section, something that was eliminated from all the WalMarts in the Augusta, GA area. I rushed out around 6:30 this morning so I could get back in time to fix Dan's breakfast and let him have the car for work.
If you live in the Birmingham area you might want to be sure to pick up a copy of the paper this morning and turn to the sports section to read an interview with Blake Burgess. Blake was asked about how his baby brother's death had affected him. God's grace is reflected quite well in Blake's answer. If you can't get a paper, go to where Blake's Dad has put a copy of it on the website. As the holidays approach, continue to hold up in prayer the Burgess family and others who have lost a loved one this year. You never really "get over" a death but the first year of celebrating holidays are certainly difficult.

Today I am thankful for God's grace to get us through any situation, even the ones that feel like they just can't be gotten through.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I have a question this afternoon. Is it better to be wrong but be blissfully ignorant that you are wrong, or is it better to know you are wrong and have to work your tail off to correct the problem? After spending 40 minutes on the piano bench, my neighbors are probably voting that it is better to be blissfully ignorant...that doesn't sound as bad as going back and re-teaching the fingers to do it right. Sigh! This is what I get for drilling in to Dan that anything worth doing is worth doing well. If Bach seems to be frowning in the picture it definitely at my playing :}
I really like my piano teacher! What a nice lady. I think the two of us are going to communicate quite well together. I just hope she doesn't over-estimate my ability. I'm looking forward to working with her and I'm sure the boys and the neighbors are looking forward to an expanded repertoire.
Yesterday was a busy day. I got my ironing done and even (maybe) finally finished the battle with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. That means (maybe) I can finally get an Alabama driver's license. I have been fighting this battle for several weeks now. It seems that the state of South Carolina suspended my driver's license 5 months after I moved from South Carolina to Georgia and got a Georgia driver's license. The reason? We had to change our car insurance from the South Carolina state-approved policy with the state-approved company to the Georgia state-approved policy with the (more economical) Georgia state-approved company. Then we had the audacity to NOT register our cars in South Carolina anymore! Apparently we were either supposed to get their permission to move, or continue to register our cars in South Carolina and Georgia simultaneously. Go figure! It has been interesting going through this process, because I keep remembering a Bible study lesson that I taught about showing grace to the world around us and using DMV as one of my examples. I remember telling the ladies that when the Apostle Paul wrote these words he did not know about the DMV....but he had met the Roman authorities! I'm pretty sure it was Ephesians 4, although it might have been Titus 3. Wow, I have wished my memory were a little more lacking throughout this process because I have not been a great example of peace and grace through all of this at all times.

Today I am thankful that Dan found a job and is able to go to work!

Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV)
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Titus 3:1-8 (NIV)
1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

and finally (in conviction)
Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It is finally going to happen. The moment I have been waiting for is almost here. Today I get to go to my piano lesson! I am so excited about this. I'm thankful I have had some exercises to be working on while I wait; that has been fun (for me; I don't know how my neighbors feel about it!). Early this morning I also got to go up to the Rick And Bubba Studio and sit outside the window holding up silly signs. What fun!
Yesterday my blogging friend Ashley was blogging about a new nail polish she had found. I decided that the color she was describing was just what I have been trying to find. You can read about it here:
Here is the story about my trying to get a bottle of the polish.

I went to Target to get some nail polish this evening. Got there and realized I didn't have the nice little piece of paper where I had written the nail color. So I called my sister on my cell and got the name from her. I had several items to get and when I got to the register the young man confided in me that this is his first day solo on the cash register. Unfortunately the cash register did not like my grapes but we finally got through that. Dan (my son) and I made our way to the car and he was unloading everything from the cart for me. We were almost through when he pointed to the seat of the cart and said, "Did you pay for that, Mom?" pointing to the nail polish. We looked at the receipt and OH MY GOODNESS, I'M A THIEF!!!!! So I rushed back inside to find someone to pay while Dan finished loading the rest of the hot that had been paid for. The young girl at the cash register couldn't believe I came back to pay. I couldn't believe that 1. I forgot to take it out of the cart so I could pay for it and 2. The security system at the door didn't catch it. Yikes
So there you have it; confession is good for the soul. Now go vote!

Today's Thankful Thought:
Today I am thankful for the many men and women who are willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, to protect my freedom. May God bless our military and all those who serve us in law enforcement! Be sure to thank each of them you see today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yesterday Dan and I went to a new area in our new home-town. I know where we ended, I had directions, so I know how we got there, but I really have no idea where all we went in the process. It was such a pretty trip, though. Unfortunately, we could not stop along the narrow, winding road for me to take pictures, but they would have been gorgeous. This part of Alabama has some of the prettiest places to drive and enjoy fall colors. We ended at the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. I know it seems an odd place for a couple of conservative Presbyterians to be on November 2 (reformation Sunday), but there was a purpose to the whole trip. Yesterday Saint Nicholas had their annual food festival. They open up the parish hall for a meal for the community and have a little gift shop, a bakery and LOTS of folks from the area who come in to enjoy the fellowship. The bishop was even there in full robes, hat and everything! My purpose was to try and find someone who was familiar with the art of pysanky who might be willing to teach me how to do it. I think I was successful; the lady in the gift shop took my name and number to pass along to the lady who does this, so we'll see what happens. I'm going to buy a map today, so that I can figure out where we were. I love maps and looking at my routes and trips on maps. Somehow the computer is just not quite the same as looking at the trip on paper.
I have decided that today I have got to stop being quite so lazy and get busy with some projects that need to be completed. I tend to get impatient with people (OK, with Dan) when they don't use their time wisely but I realized over the weekend that I am just not being a very good steward of my time and energy myself. Painful realization!
My friend Ashley over at is encouraging folks to take time this month to list what we are thankful for. Today as we head into the election tomorrow I am thankful that my hope is NOT in the political process. Whatever happens tomorrow is important but even more important is the realization that God is in control and my hope is in Him.