Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kitchen Window September 26, 2014

The temperatures are finally cooling off.  The air-conditioner is turned off for the year.  
The colors are changing more rapidly. 
  It has been a full year of taking pictures from my kitchen window. 

These little patches of God-light

Maybe this next year I will take pictures from the back porch....

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Memories: Trust

Many years ago when Mr. Marvelous Jr. was a little guy, we moved to a new city.  One of the most difficult challenges as a mother was finding a new pediatrician.  Our doctor in Georgia had begun praying for Junior as soon as we knew he was going to be.  He was a deacon in our church and he and his wife were dear friends.  How do you replace someone like that?

I asked around and finally found someone I thought would be worth trying.  On our first visit to her office we were given the tour of the office and instructed about office practices, precautions that the office took for those with allergies, billing procedures, et. cetera.  Finally we were taken into an exam room where we nervously waited for the doctor to arrive.  

She came in gently and her body language let us know that this time was for us and no one else; she was prepared to devote to us as much time as we needed.  Quietly and calmly she began talking to Junior.  She asked him about school, about home and about how he felt about our recent move.  She listened to not only what he said, but how he said it.  

After she gave him time to talk and ask questions, she began to explain to him how things worked in her office.  She sat beside him on the exam table and said, "Sometimes when you come to see me, there are going to be things that I am going to have to do that you are not going to like.  Things that might hurt or be unpleasant that have to be done to help you.  When those times come, I am going to sit beside you, just like I am now, and I am going to wrap my arm around you and whisper in your ear, 'This is the time to trust.  This is the time to trust.'  You must trust that I am here to help you, not to hurt you, and that I care about you."

That moment has preached to me hundreds of times since that day.  In the times when life has seemed to be more painful and unpleasant than I can possibly bear, I see and hear that gracious doctor with her arm around my son.  I feel the Spirit of God wrap His arm around me and He whispers in my ear, "This is the time to trust.  This is the time to trust."

I rest my head on His shoulder and as I surrender my self to Him, I gather the strength that He gives me to keep on going wherever He wants me to go, and doing whatever He has for me to do.  I do that knowing with rock-solid certainty that God alone is worthy of not only my praise, but also my trust.

He has not let me down.

Friday, September 26, 2014


The gardenias are blooming again!

And I wanted to share them with you.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Symphony For Meaghan's Family

I love classical music.  Hearing an orchestral symphony makes my heart soar to the heavens.  I love the deep, mellow sound of the cellos, the oboes and bassoons, and the french horns.  The stirring sound of the trumpets, the high dancing notes of the flutes, the heart-wrenching wail of the clarinet, the lilt of the violins and violas and the undergirding of the percussion.  I love how the composer makes them all fit together just so.   Have you ever studied music and seen the different pages for the different instruments?  Each instrument has their own score.  The individual players will practice until they master their own particular part.  Then the instruments will get together and work on their music until they are all playing the same notes at the same time.  They will gather by sections ~ strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion.  Finally they will gather as a symphony and work together to produce the sounds each at just the right time to make a thing of beauty that brings tears to the eyes of the listener and sometimes even makes them forget to breathe as they listen.

I think intercessory prayer is like a symphony.  When God's people are called to pray over a need, each person is impressed with a different piece of the situation.  Someone may be burdened for the physical health of the person in need.  Another will be mindful of their spiritual health and still another of their emotional situation.  Someone else will be moved to pray for the persons' husband or wife and a young person might find themselves concerned for their children.  The elderly may be thinking about the persons parents and others will be praying for the medical staff who are entrusted to care for the person in need.  Others will be praying for the persons friends and for their pastor.  As each responds to the urging of the Holy Spirit, all possible aspects of a need are bathed in prayer. 

Meaghan Elizabeth McNutt, my beloved niece, died early this morning.  Please come to the symphony of prayer this week for our family.  We need you!

Thank you! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Easter Wrap-Up

This weekend our family is in need of prayer.  Our Meaghan is in the hospital and the situation is grim.  Yet I can assure you that no matter what happens, beyond the shadow of a doubt we are trusting and resting in the assurance of God's love, grace, mercy and peace, which He promises in abundance to His children.  Please join us in praying.  Thank you!

The grief of Friday.

The emptiness (and anticipation) of Saturday.

The overwhelming joy of Easter Sunday!

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen." 
(Luke 24:5-6 NASB) 

I hope that you made time to let it soak in this year.  I hope that you found a church that preaches the Bible yesterday.  I hope that the pastor of the church you attended spoke with the same passion that we found at our church.  I hope that after worship you were able to look around you and find the thrill of all that God has accomplished in your world over the past year.  

2013 was a challenging year for our extended family.  There was a stroke (in my generation, not my parents'), two of my in-laws lost fathers, there was the tree-incident, little Judah's birth and rushing over to the NICU across town, and there was a cancer diagnosis.  In the middle of all of that, Mr. Marvelous had a back injury that kept him off work for about 6 weeks, pneumonia, a probable torn meniscus in his knee, and his on-going, monthly bout of respiratory infection.  


My brother is completely healed from his stroke.

 The in-laws have the comfort of the assurance of heaven for their fathers.

Matt is so much recovered from the tree-incident that he is back to working on trees.

Judah was home by Thanksgiving and is doing great.  The doctors find no residual effects from his early birth and illness.

Nancy is half-way through chemotherapy.  Not only does she look great, she was able to hostess the Easter gathering this year!

Mr. Marvelous is doing well this month and has found some good doctors who are a tremendous help to him.  

And we are thankful for all of it.

But I can tell you right here and right now, that no matter what, whether we had seen all these amazing miracles and all these evidences of grace poured out on us or not, God is good.

It's not about what we have or what we get.  It is all about the eternal hope we have through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  My family does not lead a charmed life.  We have had 
(and continue to have!) our struggles and trials.  But in every trial, every hard situation, every dark moment, we have the confidence and assurance that a loving God is in control of every aspect of our lives.  To quote the hymn, "Our hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness".  Not on having good times, good health, financial success.  Only on Jesus' blood and righteousness.  

  Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11-13  NASB

May His peace, His mercy, and His grace fill your hearts and your homes this year!


Friday, September 19, 2014


I promise this is real and not photo-shopped.
That was our front sidewalk.
The other end was over on the driveway.

As you go through your day today and through your weekend, please pray for my niece Meaghan.
Thank you.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


For an explanation of the Names Project, please see this post.  Thanks!

My Names Project has slowed down the past month or so.  I have been focusing on other Bible studies and other books of the Bible.  Earlier this week I went back to Jeremiah and got back to work.  I was reading in the thirty-ninth chapter about the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.  In the fortieth chapter we are told that Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem after the initial deportation of God's people.  Then in the forty-first chapter God tells the story of how Gedeliah, the appointed Governor, was murdered.  That is the back story for what happens in the forty-second chapter. 

God's people have been left in Judah.  These are "the poor people who owned nothing" (Jeremiah 39:10).  The people are distressed and anxious.  They are few in number and their Governor has been murdered.  They come to Jeremiah and ask him to please pray to "The Lord your God" on their behalf.  Did you catch that?  "The Lord your God".  Twice they ask the question and both times they refer to Him as Jeremiah's God.  Jeremiah hears their request and he answers and agrees to pray to "The Lord your God".  Isn't that wonderful?  He is reminding them WHO God is; He is not just the God of the prophet Jeremiah ~ He is THEIR God.  The people then respond to Jeremiah and promise obedience to whatever "The Lord your God" tells them through Jeremiah.  I was on the verge of rolling my eyes and thinking, "Didn't they get it?!" when I went on to verse 6.  There they promise Jeremiah that they will obey whatever "The Lord Our God" tells them to do.  Twice they affirm that God is not just Jeremiah's God; He is Their God too!

The remainder of the chapter, and the next chapter too, are not encouraging.  Things don't get immediately and remarkably better for God's people.  In fact, for another season of time, they get worse!

But there was one moment when the sun shone through the clouds and God's people saw that one little patch of God-Light.

It is my prayer today that you and I may boldly claim to everyone around us, "The Lord is MY God".


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I am, and always have been, a book worm.  I love to read, primarily (though not exclusively) fiction.

When I was growing up the one thing I did not like about summer time was the lack of book reports as an excuse to read.

When I was in college I longed for breaks because then I could read whatever I wanted!  That was my definition of pure unadulterated bliss.

There are a number of funny stories in our family about books and my penchant for reading.  I might share one or two of them with you some Monday.

Sadly, we are a house divided on the issue of what makes a good book.  If you live in Alabama, you understand that "house divided" phrase.  Around here it is used to describe a home where one family member is a rabid Auburn fan, and the other a rabid Alabama fan (I know, I know; that adjective is redundant because there is no other type of Auburn or Alabama fan).  The division is almost as strong in our home.  Mr. Marvelous rarely reads fiction.  Bless his heart!  I rarely read non-fiction.

Over the years we have reached an uneasy tolerance for each others' peculiarities of taste.  He accepts that I love fiction (or what he refers to as fluff), and I accept that ~ bless his heart! ~ he does not (with the exception of anything written by Frank Peretti, Pat McManus, and most of Ted Dekker's books).

Recently I ran out of books.  It was a desperate feeling!  I posted the crisis on Facebook and received a few suggestions (thanks, Ladies).  My sister-in-law posted that she was shocked that I was asking for suggestions; I should be the one giving suggestions.  I let that percolate for a while and decided that I needed to add a category to the trusty blog posts: Good Books

Stay tuned!

One of the large cast-iron book alcoves that lined the Main Hall.
The Old Cincinnati Public Library courtesy of Buzzfeed.  Oh, how I wish!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kitchen Window September 15, 2014

Ever so slowly the view is starting to change.  In the winter it seems that it stays bare forever.  In the summer it stays green (or dry brown!) for eons.  We are about to hit that season, though, when things change daily.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Memories Our Family and Books

One morning when Junior was eleven years old, I noticed that he seemed rather sleepy at breakfast.  We had the following conversation:

"Are you alright?"

"Yes Ma'am"

"Did you sleep well?"

"No Ma'am"

"Were you ill?"

"No Ma'am"

"Did you stay up too late?"

"Yes Ma'am"

"How late were you up?"

At this he looked a little sheepish and finally confessed, "I think it might have been until 3?"

"THREE a.m.???!!!!"

"Uhm.  Yes Ma'am?"

"Why in the world were you up until three o'clock in the morning??!!"

"Uhm, well, remember when we went to the library yesterday?  I found a book."

"Oh.  Okay."  What could I say at this point?  He was being just like me!

"Well, what book was it?"

"Ben Hur"

"Ohhhhhh.....I see!  How many pages is that book?"

"I think it is about three or four hundred pages.  I didn't start reading it until after supper and I just couldn't stop and then it was really, really late, but I thought I could finish it, so I did.  And you said I could not watch the movie til I finished the book......"

"It is a good book.  Did you like it?"

(grinning now) "Yes Ma'am, it was great!"

We talked about what he had learned, which included things like,
  1. Was that really what things were like then, or was that just what the author thought things were like back then?
  2. The issue of slavery during the time of Jesus and in the Roman Empire
  3. As a nurse, had I ever had a patient with leprosy?
  4. What was leprosy anyway? 
  5. Could such a story really have happened?
  6. What was the plot of the book (you get that answer by saying something innocuous like, "Tell me about the book; it's been a long time since I have read it....")  
And so we had covered for that day lessons in History, Literature, Health, Social Sciences, and Bible.  He went back to bed until lunch time.  I really couldn't fuss at him too much considering how many nights I have stayed up to do the exact same thing.  I was rather proud of the fact that my son had read Ben Hur in one sitting at the age of eleven.
Just for the record, it is still not that unusual for someone in our house to be up until midnight ~ or later ~ to finish a good book.  We do have a few of them!

Image © Johns Hopkins
Photo Courtesy of Designed To Improve Life.  I just WISH it were my library!

Friday, September 05, 2014


Mr. Marvelous and I went for a walk around and about last night.  We found some interesting things.

Have you ever seen these?

I have.  I have liked them and wished for a set.

I discovered that I don't need a set; we have the natural kind.

 The natural ones are much more interesting and imaginative.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A Little Fun


Remember my fascination with Fairy Gardens?

It is enduring.  The last one I made was never quite exactly what I wanted it to be.

A few weeks ago I decided to try again.  So I did.

I went and visited my friend Lisa at the Green Up Garden Shop in Leeds.  If you are local and have not been there yet, you are missing out!  I told Lisa what I wanted to do.  I told her that moss was important.  I asked her about small plants that needed the same amount of water and sun as moss.  Oh I so wish I had talked to Lisa the last time I wanted to do this; she is brilliant.  Lisa helped me find two plants:
an asparagus fern

Photo courtesy of Flickr
and a Creeping Wire Vine

Photo courtesy of gardendirect.com
I came home and got busy.  And before you know it, I had not one but two Fairy Gardens!

One for a birthday gift

and one for the front porch!

FYI: I just figured out how to add a Social Media widget.  In honor of the DVD release of the movie Mom's Night Out, you may now share the blog on Pinterest.  And if you haven't seen the movie yet, it is a must-see.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday: Water, Water Everywhere.....

I could feel a little disconcerted and overwhelmed.

I would not have to try very hard.

All I have to do is measure where I am on the map and see how many more miles it is to Hawaii.

I have come a very long way.  I have a VERY long way left to go.

BUT.  I refuse to be daunted!  I refuse to whine about it.  I am on the trip of a lifetime and if it takes me a lifetime to get where I am going that is just fine.  While I may try and find some ways to increase my monthly mileage (!) I will not give in to discouragement, disconcertment or overwhelmedness.

Here are the numbers.  I have increased my mileage slightly over the past month.  The August total is one hundred thirty-five and ninety-two one hundredths miles.  That's 135.92, thank you very much.  That brings my trip total to two thousand seven hundred seventy-seven and thirty-four one hundredths miles, or 2777.34  That is not a distance to sneeze at.

I am approximately four hundred and thirty-eight miles off of the coast of California, so I am into deep water and (as best I can tell) out of the California Current.

Now for the rest of the numbers.  I have to date walked 2777.34 miles.  I have approximately 2093 more miles of walking on water to get to Hawaii.  Yeah, I think it is time to increase my daily average!

I will get to Hawaii for tea, or breakfast (with gardenias, please!), with one of my favorite authors.  It just may take another year.  Or two.

In the meantime, I'll be watching for whales,

and turtles, 

   and big ships.                                     


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Kitchen Window August 28, 2014

Summer is winding down, but there is still a lot of green.

With just a little red on the dogwood