Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

This week I am aware of a great need in our prayer life.  That is the need to pray for churches.  My father has been a pastor for over sixty years.  Because of his long experience and his great compassion and wisdom he is often called by troubled churches and asked for help.  I have recognized this week that even the "best" churches are one mis-step away from fracturing and falling.  It seems that the churches that are not in danger of this kind of spiritual attack are the ones who are not preaching and teaching the Word of God. 

As members of these churches, we have a tremendous responsibility to pray over our Preachers, our teachers, and our leaders.  Pray that God will guide them, encourage them, and correct them.  Be bold to pray the risky prayer that the church would be a reflection of the true nature of God.  Recognize that this prayer will lead to great spiritual battle.  Be aware that this battle must begin on our knees in our prayer-room.  Be willing to devote time to pray for your church.  Be willing to even drive to the church on a day other than Sunday or Wednesday and pray over the church.  Pray that God's Light and Truth would shine.  Pray that God will be glorified in the church. 

My Father reminded me this week that Jesus prayed that God would be glorified in His (Jesus') work.  That was the prayer He prayed just before going to the cross and being crucified.  So pray that God will be glorified in our churches and be aware that this may come with a great price.  Have the attitude that God's glory is worth any price we may have to pay.  Be aware that any price we may have to pay will be nothing compared to the price that Jesus has already paid.

There are many other needs floating around, all of them important.  Some of these needs are critical.  But this week, as you cover the critical needs of which you are aware, please be diligent to pray for your church, and for the church at large.  Pray for God's church in America, pray for God's church in Korea, pray for God's church in Peru, pray for God's church in the Middle East, Pray for God's church in the Sudan.  Pray for God's church.

His peace to your hearts and homes.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Walkabout

I knew when I left home that blogging might be challenging.  I brought my camera and my laptop.  My Dad has a computer ~ which usually works ~ and a wi-fi router.  Unfortunately, no one seems to know the network security key for the wi-fi.  And while his computer usually works, it is protesting a little bit this week (of course).  So unless I decide to drive 30+ minutes into the closest Starbucks, there might not be much blogging happening for the next couple of weeks. 

Oh the stories I will have to tell when I get back!

God's peace to your homes.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Big Walkabout

Yup, I'm off once again! 

Tomorrow Jr. and I are headed to South Carolina.  He will spend Saturday at Boone's Hall Plantation outside of Charleston playing with Palmetto Pipes and Drums.  Check it out if you are in the area.  Just remember, instead of hollering, "Play Freebird, Man!"  you should call, "Oy!  A bit of Steam Train if you please!".  (Junior may have words with me for that)

Junior will then head back to life in Birmingham and I will stay for a visit with my parents.  Mr. Marvelous will join us the next weekend, and there might be a trip to the beach in our future. 

Then comes October 2.  A month or so ago, my Dad called and said that my middle sister wanted he and Mom to come to Seattle for a visit.  Unfortunately, Dad's schedule of regular preaching and several Bible Conferences will not let him get away before May or so of next year.  He wondered if I would like to join Mom and go with her as her travel companion to Seattle and Everett? 

You know me, I am always ready for an adventure!  Another trip with Mom?  You betcha!  We thought it best to ditch the train idea.  If we left from Florence, SC on a Friday morning, we would get to DC that evening.  On Saturday we could go to Chicago.  Sunday we would leave Chicago for Seattle and get there Wednesday morning.  While I love the train and would not really mind being on one that long and getting to see so much of the country, this trip is more about being with my sister and less about the getting there.  So we are going to (gulp) fly this time.  Five days on the train vs. five hours in the air?  Yes, the plane does make better sense.  But don't worry; when we fly back to Charlotte the next week, the plan is for me to hop on the train and come back to Alabama that way.

I will be taking loads of pictures.  I will be walking a lot.  I have the pedometer active again, (and I'm hoping it doesn't conk out on me again), so perhaps I will make a little more progress through the Pacific Ocean.  Next week I will introduce you to the companion who will be going with me.  No, it's not Jack this time.  Jack is a little burned out on travel and asked if he could stay here to help Mr. Marvelous and watch over the animals.  Since planes have pretty strict weight limits, I agreed to that.

I'll be scurrying around the house today, finishing last-minute chores and packing my bags.  Tomorrow Jr. and I will head out hoping to squeak through Atlanta in between rush-hours. 

Wheee!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning Prayer Warriors, and thank you for your faithfulness in the work of prayer!

This week let's remember to be thanking God for the following:
  1. The men's Tres Dias weekend was powerful and eventful as I understand.  Thank you for helping with this.
  2. Miles is at home and continues to improve.  
  3. Chris is doing well with his new LVAD and is well enough to be being evaluated to go back on the transplant list
  4. Faith's tumor has shrunk!
Please remember the following this week:
  1. Brenda goes on Thursday to find out about her surgery
  2. Tiffany is having complications from a bone-marrow transplant 
  3. Please continue to pray for Miles as he continues to heal
  4. Mr. Marvelous Jr. and I will be out of town this weekend.  Please pray for our travel and pray for our time with my parents
  5. Please particularly remember Meaghan's family this weekend as we remember her life and grieve her death.
God's peace to your hearts and homes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Homestead Update

We had a good year on our little hill.  Lots of rain, lots of sunshine, and fairly moderate temperatures (we slept with windows open and fans blowing for most of the month of August ~ August!).

Things are winding down now and unless we can find some seed potatoes, we may not do much of a fall garden this year.  The Pepper Plantation however is still going strong!


Sometimes Mr. Marvelous goes out and picks one and cuts a tiny little piece to try.  I sit and watch his face turn red and sweat pop out when he does.  We are still waiting for them to turn red, because we understand that they get even hotter when that happens.  I won't even touch them!

The artichokes are hanging in there and I am hoping for fresh artichokes to feast on next year.







I found these in the woods this week.  I wish I knew enough to know if they are safe to eat, but since I am ignorant I am leaving them alone.







We will be breeding rabbits soon, and I will have baby bunny pictures for you to enjoy sometime in October, I hope. 

The chickens are laying like crazy to make up for their lazy summer.

And then there's our roosters.  Poor things.  They are beautiful to look at but their sound is less than melodious.  It's downright funny! 

This is Neo (yes, as a matter of fact, we were re-watching The Matrix just before we named him!).
He tries so hard to get it just right:

video

And this little guy is Screech.  Bless his heart!  Neo tries to tutor him on the finer points of crowing ~ not that Neo is that great of a tutor.

video

Poor little Screech!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Memories

Last week I found a little garden shop I had not visited before.  Honestly, it isn't really little; it is rather spread out and they have a little of everything there.  The owner was very gracious in allowing me to wander around with my camera.  I am impressed not only with his grace, but with the way he cultivates and cares for the beauty of God's creation.

















In case you are wondering, this is Hanna's Garden Shop on 280 in the Greystone area of Birmingham.
Thanks, Andy!

May your hearts and minds be drawn to the Creator!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday, September 11 2015

There are so many memories that surround this date.  We all have our own set of them; the confusion, the horror, the panic, the immediate need to contact loved ones and just be sure that they are all alright (whether they were in New York or Mississippi).  I could write several paragraphs about the experiences of myself and my family. 

Instead I am going to give you my strongest lasting impression of the day and ask you one question.

The one impression that has stayed with me is the image of the first responders who rushed in to danger in order to rescue as many people as they possibly could.  The fire-fighters and the policemen in New York, the Marines at the Pentagon, and the civilians rushing the cockpit of a plane flying through Pennsylvania in order to stop the terrorists from hitting another unsuspecting target.  That is what I remember every time I see a fire-fighter, a policeman, or a member of our military.  That is why I thank them for their service every time I see them, often with tears in my eyes.

Where is your comfort and hope?  Is it in the work of these heroes?  Your financial portfolio?  Your skill as a "prepper"?  Your love for your family?  The skill and ability of doctors and nurses when your family are ill? 

Where is your hope today?


May God's grace, mercy and peace fill your heart and your home as you remember the day today.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jack's Date

Jack had a date with a Princess on Tuesday and I went along to chauffeur.  We had a lovely time with a young lady whom I love dearly.   We had a busy day; Jack was not ready when I had to go get her, so after picking up his date, we had to come back up to our house to pick up Jack.

We admired the chickens...






 ...and the bunnies...








...and then came in to get Jack.

While we were at the house, our neighbors called and needed to bring us something.  They were delighted to get to meet the Princess.  We were talking when the neighbors pager went off ~ he is the local fire chief ~ so they had to rush off to help some hurt people.  After they left, the Princess and I prayed for the hurt people and for the rescuers who were helping them.

We left the house and went to the drugstore in Leeds to get Auntie 'Ginia's medicine.  Mr. Kyle works at the drugstore and when he found out that the Princess was looking for bubbles, he kindly found us some.  We also found some sticker books!

We decided to go to Miss Lisa's shop after that to see all her pretty flowers.  I informed the Princess that Miss Lisa has a puppy named Eddie, so we stopped at the grocery store to get some treats for Eddie.

The princess and Jack were so happy to meet Miss Lisa.  Eddie was not there that day, but we gave Miss Lisa two treats for him (not three; two) (because the Princess says so).  Miss Lisa is a fan of Jack's and we had talked about letting him have a day to wander around her shop.  Jack said it was a lot more fun to do that on a date with the Princess!









Sometimes Jack is silly and the Princess has to giggle.

  
 





Miss Lisa can show you all kinds of wonderful things about plants and gardens.  AND she likes to play with dirt!! 






Miss Lisa has a big frog by her gate.







The frog suggested to the Princess that she kiss him and see if he would turn into a Prince.  The Princess thought that was kind of gross.






Being a Princess, she politely explained that she already has a Daddy, a brother, AND Jack.
Her Prince quotient is pretty full right now!

After we left Miss Lisa's shop, the Princess was starting to feel ready for some dessert (we had elevenses before we left my house).  After much discussion about the virtues of ice cream, cup-cakes and doughnuts, we decided that a pink doughnut would be the best choice for the date.  On our way to the doughnut shop we drove by Uncle Marvelous' office, so we rode up to the circle by the front door and waved to his window (I think).

Ah, the doughnut shop!  What a wonderful place!!  The princess asked Jack to stay in the car and guard our treasures and she and I went in to have a treat.  A picture was made, but the Princess asked me not to put it up here as her mouth was quite full when I snapped it.

As we were leaving the doughnut shop, we looked over and saw a BIG DOG in the back of a pick-up truck.  We all laughed at the BIG DOG.  Then the Princess remembered that she still had some treats for dogs.  We found the nice man who owned the BIG DOG and gave him two treats (not three, two) (because the Princess says so).  The man was so nice that he took us over to share the treats with the BIG DOG.  Then he had the BIG DOG sing a song for the Princess!  As we left, I mentioned that the Princess was with me so that her Mommy and Daddy could be with her big brother.  The nice man said that he would pray for the Princess' brother.  Wasn't that nice?!

We went to Nana's house after that.  Jack and the Princess were both more than ready for a little down-time by that point.  Nana's house is a wonderful place.  We found juice.  Nana has a spare pacifier and the Princess was quite ready for that by then too.  Nana has Mac & Cheese in her cupboard!!  After a snack

and some snuggles,

Jack and the Princess decided it was time to go blow bubbles.


 














 

 I promise we rinsed off the porch after that so Nana wouldn't slip and fall!

We played with the sticker books.

The Princess is magic.  She turned part of Nana's kitchen into the ocean and took Jack swimming.

Jack was pretty tired after that.  The Princess did NOT need a nap (in her opinion), but she did make sure that Jack got some rest.


I think the Princess and Jack had a good time.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning Prayer Warriors, thank you so much for your help over the past 10 days of the roller-coaster ride with our little Miles.  The ride continues, and every time we think we are past the worst of the set-backs another one rears its ugly head.  He had another frightening seizure two nights ago, but the last two nights have been better with no fever and no vomiting.  Please pray specifically today that the insertion of a PICC line for blood draws and IVs will go smoothly, pray that the side-effects of the different medications will calm down, and pray for continued grace, strength and peace for his parents, grandparents, his sister, and all the extended family.

Other prayer needs today include:
  1. Austin is 6 weeks old and had open-heart surgery yesterday.  Please pray for healing for him and comfort for his parents.  Pray that they would be a testimony of God's grace and faithfulness in all things, and ask the Lord to send them unexpected encouragement and joy while they are at the hospital.
  2. This weekend is a Men's weekend for the local Tres Dias Community.  It is not at all unusual to see one or two crises during the week before in the lives of workers and the men planning to attend.  This year it seems that there is an all-out assault on both.  The level of crisis and the number of those affected seems to be profound.  Please pray for the men working and the men attending for the first time, that God's will would be done throughout this weekend.  Please pray too for the women's weekend that will be happening next week.  
  3. Please continue to pray for Brenda as she waits to find out about her surgery.
  4. Callie is a little girl who has been at Children's Hospital for over a month now.  Please pray for her, her family and her doctors and nurses.
  5. Bryan is having significant problems with blood pressure.  Please pray for healing for this young man. 
  6. Many churches are planning a week of special services in the upcoming weeks.  Please pray for God to be honored and glorified through these services.
Thank God with me this week for the following answers:
  1. Nancy's chemo week went as well as chemo week can go.  She said that her strength came back a little more quickly this time.  That is a tremendous blessing!
  2. My parents are safely home from their trip and had a good time visiting with family and teaching at the Conference.
  3. David is safely back home after traveling out of country.
  4. Tom's surgery went well and he is slowly getting back to normal.
Please remember to pray too for our churches and our pastors.  Pray that we as God's children would be wise and discerning about the work He gives us, and faithful to do that work whole-heartedly and cheerfully.

In reading this week through the book of Revelation, I am struck by a description of Jesus in the opening few chapters.  Over and over he tells John to say to the churches, "I KNOW....."  Jesus knows their strengths, their weaknesses, their victories and their sin.  He reveals those things to them.  Often we forget that Jesus KNOWS not only what we are doing and saying, but the very thoughts of our hearts and motives.  We may choose to try and hide those failures and run from them, or we may ask Jesus to show them to us, confess them and move on.  We may see our victories as an opportunity to share God's glory, or we may use them to glorify (and thus idolize) self.  May God help us to remember that He is all-KNOWING.  May we be comforted in that.

God's peace to your homes.









Miles during one of his better moments.






Alayna with her new friend Jack!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tuesday Update

The last nine days have been a little chaotic.  My oldest nephew's son is in the hospital and is a very sick little boy.  Miles has viral encephalitis and meningitis and after nine days the doctors are still confounded as to the exact cause and the particular virus that is causing this.  It has been a difficult and ~ I must confess ~ anxious time for all of us.  We are helped and encouraged by the many prayers being offered for this little one.  It seems that every time I start to yield to fear and anxiety a friend sends me a verse of encouragement or reminds me that they are praying for all of our family.  My brothers and sisters and I are close; our hurts and joys are shared.  This young man's Nana is my oldest sister and she has always been generous to share her children and grandchildren with me.

Today Jack South and I will be spending a part of the day with Miles' little sister.  I'm planning on some errands, perhaps a trip to a park, and definitely some bubbles!  Perhaps the Princess can help Jack find a suitable wife.  I will be sure to post pictures of our time together on Thursday, and the Wednesday prayer meeting will go up as usual. 

There may be days over the rest of this month where my regular Monday through Friday blog posts are missing.  I will try to keep you updated about Miles' progress as we go along.  We anticipate another 14-21 days in the hospital for him. As you think of him today, please pray.  He is having to have several unpleasant procedures.

Thank you.

                          God's peace to your homes.

 Miles
  and Alayna

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning,
Many of you have received the word that our great-nephew Miles was rushed to the hospital Monday morning for a prolonged seizure.  It was a difficult time for all the family and I want to thank you for your prayers on our behalf.  Miles has been a pretty sick young man.  He was quite improved last night and we were anticipating that he could go home today.  However, in the night the headaches, the vomiting and the fever spikes came back.  Please continue to pray for healing.  Pray especially that the doctors will be able to see what is going on.  Pray too for his parents and grandparents, that even in their distress, they would be Light-bearers.

Other prayer needs this week include the following:
  1. Please pray for Meaghan's family.  We still miss her a lot.  Her death still hurts.  A lot.  We rejoice in her new Life and look forward to seeing her again, but we are still in the here and now.
  2.  Several weeks ago I asked you to pray for little Ty, who was having his second open-heart surgery at not-quite three months old.  Ty is doing remarkably well and your prayers are appreciated.  Let's spend time this week thanking God for His mercy and healing in Ty's life.  An update may be found here.
  3. Please keep the family of Police Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz in your prayers as they mourn his murder.  Let's also remember to keep all our police officers and their families in prayer this week.  When you see them, let them know that they and their families are in your prayers.  You might even ask them if there are specific needs about which you may pray.
  4. Nancy had chemo this week.  Please pray for a quick recovery and return of her strength.
  5. My parents are flying to Utah this week to visit family.  Please pray for their travels and pray for my Dad as he helps his Grandson with some special services at his church.
  6. Many of your churches are preparing for Homecoming services this month.  Keep these services in your prayers.  Let's specifically pray that it would be a time to glorify God and what HE has done in these churches, rather than what WE have done in these churches.
  7. Brenda is waiting to hear when her surgery will be.  Please pray that the insurance process will proceed quickly and smoothly, pray for the surgeons, and pray that she will be a source of Light to everyone she meets in the hospital.
Please feel free to leave comments to let us know of other prayer needs in your own life.  Let us support you in your needs, whether those be needs of intercession or needs of praising God for who He Is.

In reading this week I have made it all the way to the book of John's Revelation!  I'm excited to be almost finishing this project.  However I have to confess that every time I go back to the Old Testament, I discover Names and descriptions that I missed the first time through.  Some project take a lifetime....!

In I Peter 2 I found a very familiar verse:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
I Peter 2:9   ESV               

There is so much packed into that verse; a description of who we are and what our purpose is.  But what I am focusing on here is who God is and here we see that he is Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.   That is a lot to think about this week.  Meditate on the truth of that through today and this week.  May that meditation redirect your heart and your focus onto Who God Is.  

May His Light fill your life and your home and spill over onto everyone you meet.

The Symphony of Prayer