Thursday, May 12, 2016

Homestead Update

Mr. Marvelous and I recently celebrated seven years up here on our little homestead hill.  It has been a wild ride at times, but we continue to be thankful for what God has given us.  Stewardship of this land and home is very important to us; this is not our homestead, it is God's.  We desire to use it for His glory and honor.  We believe that God is honored in our actions, but we also believe that God is honored in our enjoyment of His creation.

Several years ago Mr. Marvelous gave me a bluebird box.  We had seen one or two bluebirds flitting around, and we had high hopes of lots of little bluebird babies to enjoy.  Year after year they would come, they would look around, and then they would leave.  We never had any babies. 

This year they came back.  We noticed that this time Papa Bluebird was spending a LOT of time flitting back and forth, almost as if he were bringing food for Mama?  Over the weekend Mr. Marvelous was working out in that corner of the yard and called me to come and see:

Do you see the nest in there?!

We will keep watch for babies and try to grab pictures of them to share with you!

It makes me think of this:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love that from our birth,
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

May you find joy in His creation today!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

Greetings and thank you for your continued service of prayer for God's people.

I am reading in Psalms this week, and I found some descriptions of God that I wanted to share with you from Psalm 9.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, 
A stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know Your name put their trust in You,
For you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples His deeds!
For He who avenges blood is mindful of them;
He does not forget the afflicted.
Psalm 9:9-12     

I love the comforting descriptions we see here:
  1. God is a stronghold for the oppressed in times of trouble
  2. God does not forsake those who seek Him
  3. God does not forget the afflicted
As you pray for the following needs this week, please ask God to remind these people that He is their stronghold, He does not forsake them, and He does not forget them when they are afflicted.

  1. Kate has been battling brain cancer for several years now.  Please pray for her and her family.  I'm including a link to their latest update so you can, if you like, better know how to pray for them (you may have to create a Caring Bridge account to see this.  It is safe to do so).
  2.  Gingie is having scans this week to follow up on her cancer surgery last year.
  3.  Please pray for others battling cancer, specifically Nancy, Sandy and Sandra (who had her last chemo treatment on Monday!)
  4.  Pray for those getting ready to graduate from high school.  Pray for wisdom, for perseverance of their faith and for no compromise as they walk out into the world.  And pray for their parents, please!
  5.  Pray for those getting ready to graduate from college.  Pray for wisdom about the next steps in life, for perseverance of their faith, and for no compromise as they walk out into the world.
  6. Please pray for Baby Jude, who has been sick since 10 days after he was born last winter.
  7. Please also continue to pray for Baby Ava who has been having multiple physical problems since birth a couple of years ago, and the other Baby Ava who was born with severe congenital brain problems a few months ago.
  8. Baby Ace has done so much better this past couple of weeks that the doctors were able to remove his feeding tube!  Please pray for continued improvement, for wisdom in dealing with his heart issues, and for his sweet parents.
  9. Please pray for John.
  10. Pray for your pastor!  Pray for your pastor!!  Pray for your pastor!!!  And please also pray for his family!
Again, thank you for your continued work of prayer.  
It is important, and God is pleased with the prayers of His people!

His peace to your hearts and homes.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Further Adventures of Jack South....And The Rest of The Gnomes

Our gnome family has grown again in the past month. 

I was at Aldi's recently where I found this little fellow.
He looked so forlorn stuck in a box with plastic frogs that I had to rescue him. 
He said he was so grateful he would make it his life's work to welcome all who come to our house.
Especially gnomes.
But not plastic frogs.

I wasn't sure what his name was, and he was a little reticent.  So I had my friend who speaks fluent gnome give him a call and see if he could find out.  

Turns out his name is Jo-Jo.  

 No, I mean the gnome's name is Jo-Jo.

Just like my friend who speaks gnome.  

Yesterday Mr. Marvelous was home from the office, so he was working hard to get the yard cleaned up and the garden planted, weeded, and generally tidied up.  

I decided to take the boys out for a photo op.  

Oh, the hi-jinks!

Their poses were typcial.  

Jo-Jo was in his usual spot:
Marky was chilling in the hammock:
Sam took his nifty little spade and started "helping" Mr. Marvelous:
And Jack?
Jack struck a noble pose and oversaw everyone else!

It was a little hard to get good pictures at first.
They were just so stiff!

But after a bit they loosened up and started running around like...
...well, like feisty little gnomes.

They had a round of Hide and Seek in the corn patch
Sam was "It"
but when it was time to hunt he could not put his spade down long enough to go look.
Can you find Marky?

Jo-Jo got tired of waiting

Jack was nobly patient

After that game, they went exploring. 

They found a dead tree.
Jo-Jo wanted to make sure the birds knew they were still welcome.
Marky and Jack were cool and noble, respectively.
Sam dug a little trench around the roots "just in case".
I'm still not sure "just in case" what.

The boys also found a wood pile.
Sam actually quit digging long enough to climb a tree!
Jo-Jo wanted to make sure the chipmunks knew they were welcome.
Jack and Marky were noble and cool.  Respectively.

We went into the garden part of the front yard where the boys found
 Sam dug a path for the monster to follow.
Jack and Marky were noble and cool.  Respectively.
Of course.

And Jo-Jo?
He made sure to make the monster feel welcome.

The boys were getting tired by this point, so we started meandering over to the front porch.

They found the Scarlet Honeysuckle.

And of course, 
Jo-Jo was welcoming,
Marky was chill,
Jack was noble,
And Sam dug a little trench for his roots.

Just then we heard a LARGE noise!  You thought that first monster was monstrous??

Oh no, it did not have anything on what we found next
Now that is a monster!
The boys got busy.
Sam dug a trench of defense.
Jack was nobly unafraid.
Marky was cool about the whole thing.
Jo-Jo made sure that the monster felt welcomed.

What a crazy afternoon.

We finally made it all the way back to the porch.
Jo-Jo found a chicken to welcome
(ceramic chickens are much nicer than plastic frogs)
Marky was both chill and cool at the same time.
Jack struck a noble pose.
And Sam...



Sam apparently decided that Mr. Marvelous needed a little more help!


Friday, May 06, 2016


If you have been following my blog for more than a year, you might remember my walking project.  It has had its ups and downs.  The five of us who started are now down to the one of us, for a variety of reasons.  Over the time (4 years now), I have been through several pedometers and they kept conking out on me at the most inconvenient times.  I started keeping an eye on the new fitness band phenomenon.  Every time The Pioneer Woman would have a fitness band contest I would enter it, but sadly never won.  Mr. Marvelous, being marvelous, asked me a couple of times if I wanted one for Christmas or birthday.  I never could bring my(frugal)self to be willing to spend that much on a fitness band.

In January of this year I was shopping at Aldi's (think frugal).  On the aisle with all the stuff that had not sold for Christmas, I found it!  They had the Aldi's version of a fitness band, the Crane.  I can not find a link, but it is a watch that tracks steps, calories, distance, has a chronometer, tracks sleep, checks heart-rate, has an alarm, and oh yeah, it's a watch too.  For $25!  I called Mr. Marvelous at work and we agreed that I would get it for me for his Christmas gift to me.  I was back up and tracking my steps!  I have kept an eye on it, not sure how accurate it would be; so far I have been very pleased with it.

As of the end of 2015, my documented mileage totaled 3515.12.  Since then I have added a grand total of 530.796 miles.  That puts me still in the Pacific Ocean, but I am now only about 808.713 miles from Kahului, Hawaii.  Why Kahului, when I am walking to New Zealand?  For that matter, why New Zealand?  Kahului is because one of my favorite authors lives there.  I am hoping to have a (virtual) tea-party with her when I "arrive".  Although I suppose that means I had better get busy and read through her Young Adult books before I get there!

And New Zealand?  Have you ever seen any of Peter Jackson's movies that were filmed there?!

Again, if you are interested in joining me on this trek it is rather simple.  Send me a note.  I will send you the current coordinates and a link to the Advanced Google Maps Calculator.  Then all you have to do is drop in and start walking!  The advantage of a virtual walk is that we can walk on water. 

You never know what amazing things you will see!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Homestead Update

I love this time of year!

The chickens are laying

The eggs are incubating

The bunnies are growing

And so is the garden

We are finding new friends around and about

My favorite part of this time of year though is this:

Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them";
and it was so.
Genesis 1:11 NASB                

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wednesday Prayers, May 4th

Greetings and thank you for your faithfulness in prayer.  I recently wrote about answered prayer here.  It is easy to think that our prayers sometimes go no further than the ceiling...if that far!...but our prayers do not depend on how we feel.  Our prayers depend on The God who made everything just by the power of His spoken word.  Even when we feel as though our prayers are ineffective, He hears us and promises that our prayers are precious to Him (Revelation 5:8, Revelation 8:4-5).  This work of prayer is important.  He values it.  The body of Christ around the world appreciates it.  Won't it be wonderful when we get to heaven to finally get to meet these folks for whom we have prayed?!  Let's be diligent this week to fill the bowl in heaven with our prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and intercession.

As you pray this week, please remember the following:
  1. The Lewis family are moving.  They have 7 children.  Their tiniest little one, Baby Ava, is medically very fragile.  As they go through the chaos of moving to a home that will better fit their family, please pray for them.  Thank God for the many in their church family who are helping them get this done.  Pray for strength, endurance, spiritual protection, and please continue to pray for little Ava.
  2. Lucas was born to a missionary family a few weeks ago.  He has kidney problems which have already put him in the hospital.  Please pray for him, for his family, for his doctors and care-givers at the hospital.  Pray that even in their distress, his family would be able to share their faith and trust in God.
  3. Sandy, Nancy, Maria, and Sandra are all battling cancer.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Please pray especially that Sandra would surrender her life to Christ through this.
  4. Almaretta is a young teen-aged girl who is having surgery today.  I know no details beyond that, but God knows the whole picture.
  5. Thank you for your prayers for Jacob and for Pat.  They continue to improve and we are grateful.
  6. Hazel had surgery about a month ago.  Her healing is going very slowly.  Please pray for grace and patience through this.  Pray for her sweet husband, the children, and the grandchildren.
  7. Ashley has two co-workers who have lost close family members to death this past week.  Please pray for them, and pray that Ashley would continue to be a minister of God's grace.
  8. Pray for our fellow believers in Thailand today.
  9. Pray for your pastor.  Pray for your pastor.  Pray for your pastor.  And pray for his family!!
  10. Finally, as you go through this week in prayer, remember the following:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Monday Memories: Prayer


Having a conversation with God, my Father.

Do you ever feel as though this is difficult?  It can be more than challenging to talk to someone whom you can not physically see or hear.  It can make you feel as though you are a bit out of touch.  Sometimes it can be hard to see the answers we are given.  Sometimes it can be hard to accept the answers that are given.

I pray a lot.  I pray about little things.  "God, what in the world have I done with my keys (purse, book, phone, pen, etc.) THIS time??"

I pray about big, desperate things.  "God, please heal Miles!"  "God please save my friend!"  "Oh God, please help my other friend see you as the loving Father her heart is crying for!"

My prayers are always answered.  Some prayers are answered immediately in the way I want them to be answered.  Miles is well.  Some prayers are answered immediately, even though the answer is not what I was hoping for.  Meaghan died; she is with Jesus in heaven but we miss her dreadfully.  It is a mixed blessing.  I am still waiting on some of my prayers.  My one friend is still not a Christian.  My other friend is still struggling to understand God as the loving Father she yearns for.

Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to extend kindness to two different folks when I was at the grocery store.  I had an overwhelming sense of God wanting me to reach out to each one.  For one, I felt a strong need to pray.  Out loud.  With her.  It was a short prayer, but it was prayed "In Jesus' Name".  Right there.  In public.  The other needed the cart that I was taking back to the store.  I told the Gentleman that it was a gift from Jesus (I shop at Aldi's where carts cost a quarter).  The man who received the cart took the time to speak with me about the precious name of Jesus.  We had a good talk about faith and I left the conversation encouraged and strengthened in my own faith.  As I got to my car, the other person came hobbling over with a huge smile on her face.  The missing item we had prayed over had been found!  She thanked me for praying.  She acknowledged that she had found the missing item as a result of that prayer.

As I drove away I realized something ugly about myself.  I was feeling rather smug and self-satisfied with how good and nice I had been.  Wasn't I wonderful?  I had boldly prayed for this woman!  I had spoken the name of Jesus to this man!  What a marvelous Christian I was being!!

I hate when I do that.  That smugness and arrogance is one of the sins I most detest in myself.  I stopped and prayed, and asked God to take that away from me.  Then I drove on and finished my day.

How would you expect that prayer to be answered?  I figured I was in for a healthy dose of humiliation, or what my Mother refers to as, "Comeuppance" (look it up; it's a real word).

Sunday morning I was sitting in worship at our little church.  I have started helping lead the music and that is a point of great insecurity for me.  I worry that my singing is off-key, or just not very good.  I feel awkward and uncomfortable in front of people.  As our dear Pastor Daniel began preaching from Romans 8:26-30, he reminded us how the Spirit intercedes for us.  He made the statement that "it is God's will that the Spirit intercede."  Think about that for a minute.  The all-powerful GOD has not just desired but willed that the Spirit intercede for me!  I was overwhelmed with a deeper understanding of God being my Father.  Then, instead of humiliation and comeuppance, I felt a great sense of His gentle love for ME.  I may feel awkward when I am helping with the music, but my Father is pleased with it.  No matter what anyone else thinks.  I may grieve over my smugness about doing something "nice" for those two folks at the grocery store, but my Father received that as service that honored and glorified HIM.  I was reminded again in the sacrament of communion of my Father's great love for me.  At the end of the service after singing our last hymn, Pastor Daniel pronounced the benediction.  Instead of using the one he normally uses, he used that great benediction from the book of Hebrews:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead 
our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep,  
through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 
make you perfect in every good work to do His will,  
working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, 
through Jesus Christ; 
to whom be glory forever and ever.  
                                                    Hebrews 13:20-21               

That is the benediction my earthly father used most often when I was growing up.  Those are special words to me; they always remind me of my earthly father's great love for me.  The father who taught me that as much as he loved me, our heavenly Father loves me far more.  Those words remind me that I am a beloved daughter.  

So my prayer of Saturday was answered rather quickly.  It was not answered by me humiliating myself through my stumbling clumsiness, or screeching off-key, or fainting in the middle of a song, or having someone confront me in my sin.  

My prayer was answered by a tender, loving, gracious Father who chose to remind me in several ways that He is, and always will be, my Father who loves me. 

Father and daughter at the beach silhouette pic.

May His tenderness, His love, and His peace fill your hearts and home this week.

By the way, there was a LOT more to Pastor Daniel's sermon.  You may hear it in its entirety here.