Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday Memories

I am not a musician. 

I have played the violin (rather badly) and the piano (somewhat better), and I have always enjoyed choral singing.  But I am not one of those gifted few who can sit down and make the kind of music that makes someone's heart soar to God.

No, I am not a musician.

I do, however, appreciate and love music.  It is one of the languages of my heart.

I enjoy good, thoughtful, well-written lyrics; but the notes with the melody, the harmonies, the varied tempo, and dynamics are what I love the most.  I can stand in my kitchen sometimes with the music going in the background and suddenly I forget everything else around me as I hear the notes.  Music can put me on my tip-toes, holding my breath as I wait for the story of the notes to unfold.  When it is finished and I come back to earth, it is to discover tears on my face.

Last weekend was the 68th annual performance by the Alabama Civic Chorale of Handel's Messiah.

I have attended almost every one of these since we moved to Alabama. 

This year was the best one I have heard them perform.  I regretted that they did not do the full oratorio.  However since that would last over 2 hours, I suppose I understand. 

As we come to the end of a month of remembering to give thanks to God for all He has done for us (and may that not be restricted to just one month of the year!), and prepare to begin the season of Advent, may our focus be on the glory of Who God Is.  May we focus on celebrating the first coming of our Saviour.  And may we eagerly prepare for and anticipate His glorious return.

May the music of the season make your hearts fly to Him.

His peace to your hearts and homes.



The past few days with the dinos have been a time of exploration and broadening horizons.  They learned a lot ~ and got into a lot! ~ over the Thanksgiving weekend.

For instance, they discovered turkey

(they like it)

They discovered that Mama makes her own broth to can

and that "Safety Third" is not necessarily the best policy!

I informed them that we prefer turkey broth over dino broth.

They were relieved.

They finally got to be friends with the guardians.

They kind of got to be friends with the cats.

Kind of.

Since it was the end of the month and time to make menus for the next month, 
they picked out some of their favorite recipes,

and helped me with menu planning.

They wandered out onto the back porch where they found some things to play with.

 The observant one noticed something:

They had a little conference about what they discovered.

But in the end, they came to a consensus.
It was time.

They found a window,

and they slipped out.

I managed to catch a few glimpses of them playing on the porch.

They stayed around for a few more minutes,
but then they were off.

I wondered if they would ever be back??
"Don't worry",
he whispered.

"We left you a little something for next year!"

Oh my!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

As we reflect this week on the many gifts of God for which we are thankful, let's remember to focus too on the Giver Himself. 

Continuing the discussion from last week about praying to God about God, think this week about God's wisdom.  When we speak of someone being wise, we generally think of someone who is older with a lot of life-experience.  Yet that alone does not make someone wise; we all have encountered plenty of folks who are older with lots of life experience who are far from wise (Hollywood is full of such figures!).  No, the picture of a wise person is someone who is older with experience who has learned from these experiences and is available to help others who are in need of guidance.  I think we generally incorporate compassion and empathy into this definition, and a strong, genuine desire to be a help and an encouragement to others who want help. 

God is wise.  His wisdom is so big that it is impossible to measure.  There are no limits to His wisdom in either space or in time.  His wisdom has not changed from before time was created and will not change after time has stopped.  It is infinite and eternal and unchanging.  In His wisdom, He shares that wisdom with us.  I frequently complain to Mr. Marvelous (both Sr. and Jr.) that "I am just not very wise".  To be completely honest, I often use that as an excuse.  Listen to what the Apostle James has to say about that:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8

Convicting, isn't it?!

This week as you celebrate a time to give thanks to God, please remember these needs.
  1. Many are traveling.  Please pray not just for safe travel, but for wisdom to see opportunities to speak up about Jesus, and boldness to grab those opportunities and make the most of them.
  2. Rejoice with Edith in God's many blessings through her family.  Please pray that the young members of the family will appropriate God's wisdom and stay close to Him, rather than chasing after the world.
  3. Baby Ava is not doing well.  She has had two heart surgeries already ~ at not quite 12 months.  Please pray that her Mama will be wise about when to call the doctors and how to respond to Baby Ava's needs.
  4. Please pray for wisdom for young men in our Christian family, especially for young husbands.  Being the spiritual head of the home is not an easy job and there are few good, solid role models for these young men these days.  Pray for not only wisdom, but also for boldness in accepting this role.  And remember to pray for their wives, that we would accept that leadership!
  5. Faith will be having chemo again this week.  Pray for this precious little girl, for her parents, and for her doctors and nurses.
  6. Doug is in need of wisdom this week as he makes some business decisions that will affect a lot of people.
  7. Pray for our pastors and church leaders, that they would be wise in how they lead God's church, and that we would be wise in submitting to their leadership.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness in prayer.  It really does matter!

God's peace to your hearts and homes.

Dinosaurs Day 25

It is Thanksgiving week.  Did you know that?  

The dinos have been completely banished from not just the kitchen, but the entire front half of the house.  Unfortunately while I was busy in the kitchen, they discovered my hats. 

Oh dear! 

Wait, is he....??

Oh dear.  And that was the honeymoon hat!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Memories

It is Thanksgiving week.  Our family will be gathering this week to give thanks to God for His goodness and mercy to us this year.  We have so much for which to be thankful!
  1. Nancy's cancer came back and spread to her lungs.   After months of chemotherapy, her scans are showing that the tumors are shrinking and dying in the middle.
  2. Our dear Roberta is safely home.
  3. My dear friends Mark, Susan and Rachel have been approved to work with Christ College in Taipei, Taiwan.
  4. My brother John has made terrific progress this year in healing.
  5. Mr. Marvelous and I have found a loving and welcoming family/church/community.
  6. Mother and I were able to travel to Seattle this fall to spend time with my middle sister and her family, and while there I got to meet Max, one of my "newer" nephews and a very welcome addition to the family.
  7. Andrew graduated with a Bachelor's degree from UGA.
  8. Ben graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Covenant College.
  9. Great-nephew #4, scheduled to make his appearance in April!
  10. And finally the huge blessing of Miles.  We were afraid this summer that we were going to lose this precious treasure, and that if he did manage to survive his illness, the effects would be devastating.  Miles is a running, laughing, playing, all-boy, miracle.  And we are thankful for God's mercy in letting us keep him with us a little longer.

This week as we are all busy traveling and preparing for our family gatherings, my prayer for you is that the busy-ness of the week would not be a distraction from the week itself.  It is not a matter of sitting with family and eating ourselves into a turkey/pumpkin pie-coma.  Whether your year has seen miracles similar to what we have experienced or not, whether you are rejoicing in healings or mourning the death of a loved one, whether your table is filled with good things to eat and loving family around you or the meal is a peanut butter sandwich in solitude, God is good.  He is worthy of all our thanks and gratitude.

And if you are facing a solitary peanut butter sandwich, give me a call.  We'll find you a place at our table!

God's peace to your hearts and homes.

Dinosaurs Day 23

Mr. Marvelous and I share a car.  Granted, we also have Mama's Little Red(neck) Truck, but Mr. Marvelous worries about me taking it on trips of more than about 10 miles.  Since we live more than 10 miles from the Big Town, that means that when I need to go shopping, or doctoring, or visiting, I take Mr. Marvelous to work and then go do whatever needs to be done before picking him back up in the afternoon.

This morning I have a doctor's appointment, so I dropped him off and work and went to Chick Fil A.  This is where I hang out and drink coffee until things open up. 

I carried my backpack and purse in, ordered my coffee and sat down in "my" booth.  Guess what I found when I opened my backpack?!

I guess they were tired of hanging out with the cats and the Guardian Gnomes.

Or they were tired of having to clean up their messes.

Oh, those dinos!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Homestead Update

It was a busy week last week.  I had decided earlier in the month to skip fall housecleaning.  I changed my mind.

Often, Mr. Marvelous is less than enthusiastic about seasonal cleaning.  That does not bother me, because the reason he is not enthusiastic is because he worries that I am doing too much.  It is his sweet expression of concern for me.  I have learned over the years to stop being irritated about his lack of excitement and appreciate the concern.  He has learned to curb his worry.

So around the homestead, the fall house cleaning ~ with the help of the dinosaurs! ~ is finished.
The garden is finished for the year.
We are waiting to see if Curious George will have baby bunnies next week and then breed Woolly Booger and Smoochie.
The chickens are laying ~ even the little hens.
Mr. Marvelous is having fun getting ready to garden.  He has cleaned up his part of the basement (he does fall housecleaning too) and started ordering seeds.
My friend and I are learning some new homesteading skills and having fun making mozzarella and cream cheese (I may have to try some brie soon, Laura!).

Sometimes it is important when the work is done, to stop and have some fellowship and fun.  So I decided to host a craft party.  I would call it a Sit & Stitch, but some folks do other types of crafts.  The ladies gathered and we had a wonderful time of fellowship, introduction to new crafts, and time to be crafty.  I am hoping to start doing this monthly (I would love to do it weekly, but schedules....).  If you enjoy time with ladies and time to craft, feel free to come join us some Saturday.  If you don't have a craft, we have plenty we would love to teach and share with you!

Lots of laughter, lots of learning, lots of fun, and lots of girl-time!


The dinos are at it again.

I had a gathering of ladies at my house to sit and craft and visit together.

The dinos were enthusiastic about the opportunity!

Not exactly helpful,
but enthusiastic!

 Oh, those dinos!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Prayers

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

I became involved in an interesting conversation about prayer at the Monday evening Bible study.  It was not the focus of the study for the evening, but it came up and being ladies, we ran with it.

I asked the question, how would it change our prayer lives and our entire perspective on life if the focus of our prayer time were more about God and less about ourselves?  Intercessory prayer is so important; there are so many deep and significant needs in the world around us.  Many of us have family members who are dying, either physically or spiritually.  There is so much illness, so much tragedy, so much violence and hatred for Jesus in the world around us.  These things are so important to remember in our prayers.  Yet how often do we spend all our prayer time talking to God about ourselves and these important needs, and how often do we talk to God about...well...God Himself?

Several years ago I spent one morning a week at the large church where we were members to pray for some specific needs in the church.  I discovered that when all the time was spent praying for those particular needs it was difficult to stay focused and difficult to stay for the committed time.  I decided to try spending the first hour talking to God about God.

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism Question #4 asks, "What is God?".  There is a fascinating story behind the answer which you can find here but the answer to the question is, "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth."

That's a big answer so I like to break it down this way.

God's being and therefore presence has no limits in space or in time, and never changes.
God's wisdom is unlimited in space and in time and never, ever changes.
God's power is so great that it has no boundary in space and extends throughout all of time and eternity and never changes.
God's holiness is so perfect and complete that it is unlimited in space and in time, and never changes.
God's justice is without limits in time or in space and can not change.
God's goodness extends through all of space and all of time and can not change.
God's truth has no beginning or end in time or in space and will not ever change.

As you can see, this one brief question and answer is quite large!  You can also extend this to Galatians 5:22-23.
God is Himself perfect in love, and the source of all love.
God is joy, and the source of all joy.
God is peace, and the source of all our peace.
God is patient, and the giver and worker of patience in the lives of His children.
God is kind and all that is truly kind flows from Him.
God is good at all times and in all situations ~ whether we recognize that or not! ~ and all that is truly good comes from Him and through Him.
God is faithful, and our faithfulness is a gift from Him.
God is gentle, and all gentleness comes from and through Him.
God is in control, and our ability to control ourselves begins in Him.

So for the next several weeks (at least) on Wednesdays I want to encourage you to talk to God about God.  Let's focus on one of His characteristics or descriptions each week.  As we pray for the needs around us, let's ask God to reveal that particular characteristic to the person in need.

This week, let's focus on God's unlimited and unchangeable presence.  You might even pray about how God wants you to have a "ministry of presence" for the people around you.  He is here.  He is Immanuel.

Please remember the following needs this week:
  1. Pray for France.  There are so few believers there; pray that God's people would speak God's truth to the hurting.  Pray for a spiritual awakening!
  2. Brenda's husband was able to get home in time for her surgery.  She is recovering well and waiting for the pathology report.  Please pray that in the waiting, they will be very aware of God's presence.
  3. The mother of Pat's co-worker died last week.  Because of this, he was not in Paris on Friday.  Please pray that he would come to recognize God's presence in this situation and be drawn to that presence.
  4. Doug needs wisdom and guidance in some business decisions.  Pray that he would discern where God wants him to be.
  5. Anita's nephew finds out this week if he has cancer.  More than physical healing, this young man is very much in need of spiritual healing.  Please pray that he would open his eyes to the presence of God.
  6. Jenny is ill this week.  Please pray for her as she rests and pray that she would be very aware of God's presence.
  7. Pray for Denise and her sweet baby as he has some procedures today. 
  8. Little Miss Catherine (the Princess) will have to have surgery soon.  Please pray for her and her Mama as they prepare for this.  Pray that they will be overwhelmed with the presence of God as they wait.
  9. There are so many in our lives who are battling cancer and chronic illness.  As you pray over them this week, pray that they will recognize God's presence in their lives.  As you pray for physical healing, pray too for healing from any spiritual wounds or illnesses. 
  10. We are coming into one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.  Please pray for those who are on the road or in the air.  Pray that they will have many opportunities to share God's presence with the lost, and to encourage fellow believers.
  11. Remember to keep your pastors and their families in your prayers this season.  Ask God to speak to them and through them as they proclaim His word.  Pray that they would be re-directed when necessary as they prepare their sermons, pray that they would succeed in balancing church and family, and pray that they would rest in the goodness and presence of God.  
Thank you for your continued work.

God's peace to your home.

Dinosaurs In BIG Trouble

I have had my good old TI-31 calculator since 1981 when I took Statistics.  I loved that class, by the way.  That calculator has gone everywhere with me since then.  It has survived 18 moves.  It survived the Junior High students I taught for two years.  It weathered a baby/toddler/little guy/Jr. High student/Senior High son.  It has kept my family finances in order.  I have tried other newer calculators, but they are not laid out "right", they don't have the "right" functions, the keys don't work "right" and they just don't feel "right".

Unfortunately I did not keep the door to the office shut one day last week.

The dinosaurs made their way in and trusty TI-31.

They tried to tell me that they had heard me fretting about it not working as well lately.

They said they wanted to be helpful and fix it for me.

They are in trouble.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dinovember Day Fourteen

Mr. Marvelous caught the dinos last night.  They seemed fascinated by this.

My brother ~ the one I call the Rock Doc ~ was amused.

Friday, November 13, 2015



Looks like someone dropped an anvil.

Have a fun weekend!

Dinovember Day Thirteen

Before I tell you about the dinos today I have to confess that all I can think today is that wonderful line from a wonderful movie:

"On go".
"Not on go, it's always go"
"Alright then, triskaidekaphobia"

And then I want to run jump on the bed.

But don't tell the dinos.

The dinos have had a busy week.  They have gotten into trouble, made messes, and suffered impressment to clean up said messes.  I thought today we might do something a little different.

After we got Mr. Marvelous out the door and off to work (because what he doesn't know won't hurt us), I loaded up Mama's Little Red(neck) Truck, and off we went. 

Fortunately Lisa and Luke at Green Up Garden Shop know me pretty well by now.  When I pull up and say, "I brought the dinos!", they laugh and tell me to make myself at home.

So we did.

At Green Up Garden Shop there's treasures everywhere.

They liked the brontosaurus squash
(upper left corner) 

They discovered that with just a little teamwork, even dinos can ride the giant tricycle.

They enjoyed a little climbing

until the wind started blowing.

Then they were hanging on by their teeth!

Unfortunately that did not deter them from more climbing.

Which did not end well:

They tried to blame it on the wind.
I'm not buying it.

They have learned this week that Mama demands they clean up their own messes.

Apparently they have also picked up some teamwork lessons.
Or most of them have.

They found some remnants of the pumpkin patch.

And I decided that perhaps we needed to go before they did any more damage.

Before we left, we took a minute to go sit on the front porch and visit.

 My friend Eddie wasn't too sure about them at first.

 They came to a peaceful understanding before we left.

Eddie's friend Baby-Girl was playing hard to get!

I hope they are ready for a nap now.
I have housework to do!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homestead Update

Fall Housecleaning.

I thought I would skip that step this year.  Then I looked around a little bit.

It is not as overwhelming as the Spring cleaning was a couple of years ago

when I dragged everything out of every closet and turned the whole house upside down and inside out and scrubbed.

But it is still a little.....busy.

Should be done by tomorrow, if I can get up and get busy.

And the cream cheese turned out quite well.

Dinosaurs Day Twelve

They found the dirty laundry.

They did not stop at tipping over the basket.
Oh no, they had to drag it out in the hall!

I did not think it was as funny as they did.
You know me; No-nonsense-Mama was not going to let it stop there.
I informed them that they could just march right down to the laundry room and get busy.

He seemed a little worried about something in the washer...

Someone needed a bath?
Or just a game of King of the Washer gone bad?
Either way, the clothes are where they are supposed to be now.

And those dinos are learning that at my house they clean up their messes!