Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Three Boys Filled the House !!!

Wow--yesterday, I was in Aunt Joyce heaven. I got to babysit my three nephews. It was fun. When my dear sister-in-law called, I should have run to the store and stocked up. I had a grocery list ready, but Aunt Joyce got caught with a very empty frig. The boys did not seem to mind peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And I pulled out a package of provolone cheese. That was a big hit. Food in huge circles---just right for boys.

And it was too hot to play outside except to play in the sprinkler. That was fun. And the grass needed it. Brothers are funny in that they'd prefer to play WITH (torture) their brothers. Crimping the hose, or chasing a brother around the yard to give him a shower was much more fun that playing in the sprinkler by yourself and having the whole backyard to yourself.

Certain DVDs were declared, "too babyish" but BABE, the story about the talking pig was a hit. I love the music, and beautiful scenery of the movie. But, little guys don't stay glued to it for long.

I used to keep the nephews a lot. Especially when they were babies, it was fun to give their parents a break. They don't remember that, and were not real sure how we were all related. I had not seen them since May when our middle son accepted his commission.

It is so funny what little kids reveal. It would probably mortify their parents just how much they know and observe. And simple things---like how they love their momma's sweet coffee, but dad is more of a tea man. I have pictures of our grown boys on the walls, and those pictures sure came in handy for answering all their questions. They were fascinated with the old toys I pulled out and how we have two of most toys---like two Thomas the Tank trains, two Gordons, two sets in the huge Brio set. I tried to explain that we used to have two little boys (only 14 months apart in age) and they had a big brother and just like in the Toy Story movie, our boys wrote their names on the bottom of toys. The nephews enjoyed playing with Buzz and Woody. Some puppets and some action figures. It was so cute to hear the little make believe dramas that the nephews would enact with their daddy as the hero. I wonder if my brother knows how much they adore their dad.

When applying Balneol to a rash on one nephew's behind, I dripped some on the carpet. He looked at me in horror, and asked if I was in trouble. Too cute. And the nephews were fascinated with my huge flabby arms. I tried to just repeat what Joy Nash says in her You Tube videos, "people come in all shapes, colors and sizes."

Questions. Questions. Questions. And sometimes from ALL three of them at once. Their momma and daddy must be worn out mentally and physically at the end of the day. And I forgot that little boys, ages 8, 6 and 3 are not so good about putting the seat up...

Aunt Joyce is not very with it when it comes to video games. The nephews tried to bring me up to speed, but I could not get all the characters straight. And why is it that even when you have baskets of toys, the one your brother is holding is THE one you want. I have forgotten so much.

The nephews are so intelligent, and articulate, and smart. They don't miss a thing, and challenged me when I used a word they did not know. We have been so blessed to live close by and watch them grow. I keep telling their folks that these years will fly by and then their house will be too ours. Today they fly north and go visit Grandpa John and get to see the eagles on his island. Grandpa John is SO going to enjoy these three very inquisitive, very active, very fun BOYS !

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dark Knight

Saturday, I went with Bob to the Dark Knight movie. We attended the 11am showing at our local Rave. (Even though the Rave website is still no help at all as to when shows start.) Thirty minutes of ad and previews on top of a two and half hour movie seemed excessive, but it was an exciting and intense movie.

I usually do not enjoy these kind of movies, but since the boys have all flown the nest, and I knew Bob wanted to see it, and I had read conservative bloggers talking about how good it was, I was curious.

Metaphors. I agree with Bob, that this movie is full of metaphors. I wonder if the writers and director intended that?? The movie is making millions. $300 million in its first 10 days. Blowing out of the water all other movies by making more than the top ten combined. When will Hollywood get the message that we enjoy seeing bad guys get blown away by the good guys. And that there are such things as morals, good and evil, and while no one is perfect, talking to a crazy terrorist doesn't get 'er done.

A few things disturbed me. When attending a fancy party with like minded people, and a crazy guy shows up, the odds are that if a few jump him, someone might get hurt, but the majority will be protected. Take a clue from the church in Tennessee today---three guys jump the shooter and tackle him to the ground. Heroes in my book.

And I hope this movie does not give our terrorist enemies any ideas---implanting bombs inside live criminals. Please think twice about giving criminals their "rights" when it comes time to let them have their phone call. Check out the number first, why don't you.

And would the squeamish women put on their big girl pants and get a clue that sometimes you have to meet fire with fire. Let's learn how to raise warriors and men and women who can do covert operations.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Middle son tells us that listening to us play Scrabble is like watching paint dry. Bob suggested that maybe he meant listening to paint dry?? But, no, middle son says that is quieter. But, it is not every night that I fill Bob's tummy with yummy steak, and whup his behind at Scrabble. Tonight I laid a word across two double words scores. Whoop. I have started storing the calculator under the board within easy reach. Nineteen times four---Bob does it in his head so quick.

Maybe we need to take a picture of our Scrabble board after a game and post them online ! Wouldn't that be fun ! Tonight, Bob started the game with OVA. Yikes. I made it OVATIONS just to stretch out the board a little and give us more options. Bob bingo-ed twice with PATHOGEN and UNRULED. It was easy to add an S to his PATHOGEN, but a more fun addition came when I saw that I could add an N to TOW and made TOWN and DEFAMING.

It never ceases to amaze me that each board looks different. I did add AMAZED to a triple, too !
And I got rid of that pesky J with REJOINED on a triple word score. 396 to 311

100 degree days here in Texas

Hot ! Hot ! Hot ! And it is depressing. Maybe, I need to focus on the positive.

I am thankful for AC. (How did folks survive these summers one hundred years ago??)

I am thankful for two or three showers a day. Plenty of clean towels, and fresh, clean water. I am thankful for clean, dry clothes, and a fancy washer and dryer to feed.

My quest this week has been trying to find those blank Texas themed cards to use for snail mail. I bought some a couple of weeks ago at Walmart, and used up the last one and thought that every Walmart carried them. Wrong. It took my third try at the third Walmart I frequent to stumble upon them. They are so much cheaper than Hallmark cards, and lots of blank space inside to write my own greetings. I bookmarked the website this time: And placed an order for more cards on sale for fifty cents online !!! Fifty cents for a birthday card, anniversary card !!! Can't beat that. Displayed in a wooden case a few rows back from the cards at Walmart near the new Cowboy stadium, the cards feature beautiful bluebonnets, Texas flags, and one card has bluebonnets in a Blue Bell Ice Cream tub. Texas critters and Texas skylines for the more manly needed greetings like armadillos and fancy license plates. I am now ready for any event needing a card.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scrabble Friendly, the Z list

ZADDIK or TZADDIK a righteous or saintly person

ZAFTIG or ZOFTIG pleasingly plump woman

































































































Sunday, July 20, 2008

Huge Cones of Yarn

Huge cones of cotton yarn arrived in the mail on Saturday evening from my dear friend in Ennis. We had each mailed each other a box on Friday. I sent her knitted dishrags. And she sent me yarn to make more and money for postage. Wow. One lady she knows down there wants twenty in "shaded denim". It is a pretty, soothing color. I am trying to remember to keep track on the inside of the cardboard cone with little marks exactly how many one of these huge cones make. A regular ball of yarn, solid color makes two. These cones sure feel heavier than a pound. (it saith pound on the label)

Three down, and seventeen to go. I am glad my friend is finding all the dishrags I knit good homes down there in Ennis.

And we played a couple of games of Scrabble today since Bob was done with his Sunday School lesson. The word, JAWBONED, lays across two triples very nicely for 153 points. At first, I was going to be happy to just lay JAW on one triple in the upper left hand corner, but then I saw the opportunity to make it a compound word. Bob bingo-ed with SARDINES during the first game.

We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. And McDonald's premium salads for supper. Chick-fill-you-up salads are better, and bigger, but Chick-fill-you-up is not open on Sunday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Homemade Ice Cream for Breakfast

I have been mulling the thought of homemade ice cream. I found PROMISED LAND cream in the 14 ounce plastic bottle at the fancy store---an item our Kroger and Tom Thumb swore they could ONLY get at Christmas. Right.

What are the elements of ice cream? There is that Boy Scout ice cream-in-a-baggie-of-ice recipe. But, that sounds messy---potentially ruined, as some recipes warn of dire things if the bags leak or break.

But, the whole idea---mixing it to break up the ice crystals while the cream sets--hum. I wondered how this would work if all you had was a blender. So, I took out the bottom basket in the freezer (we have a side-by-side) and fixed a bowl of ice with salt sprinkled on it. Into the blender I placed the PROMISED LAND cream, a splash of milk, brown sugar (we don't even have white sugar in the house since the boys moved out) a teaspoon of kosher salt, a dash of coffee, and whirled. Then I set the blender part with the handle (not the motor) into the bottom of the freezer in a bowl of salt water ice cubes. And set the timer for 10 minutes. Every 10 minutes, I take it out and stir/pulse/whirl. What fun !

I could add eggs, but I want to stick with a recipe that would be kid-friendly. Grandbaby friendly, to be precise.

My Mother will not be surprised, but it is fun to give it a taste and see what it needs---and I am eye-ing those frozen cantaloupe pieces. Won't Bob be surprised when he gets home for supper.

Someday, we may break down and get a ice cream maker. But, ours is a small house, and I don't need any more gadgets. And the tee-tiny ones I have seen that fit in your freezer don't make enough to bother, nor can you experiment. I remember my Mom used to add a junket packet---but what strange chemical is that?? I'd rather keep it free of preservatives and hooves.

Time to put it on the blender motor!!!

Update: Yes, frozen fruit did the trick. Used up some not-so-sweet cantaloupe, and finished bringing the ice cream to a good thickness. I divided the mixture and put some plain in a bowl for Bob for later, and "tested" the cantaloupe ice cream, and wow---I won't need lip stick, as it leaves a very creamy layer on your lips. And I'd better wash off the tail-tell globs off my face and glasses which occurred when I peered into the blender without the lid to see if it was mixing, and the blender burped. If someone asks what I ate for breakfast---cantaloupe and cream... Looks like tiny bits of butter were forming on the blender blades. I am over fifty years old, and now I can say I have made homemade ice cream and butter. Not that my figure needs either one. Ha.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bats !!

Two little bats are patrolling our street here in Texas at 6:11am. The sun is not up, but the sky is light enough to seem them swooping up and down the street. Hope they eat lots and lots of mosquitoes. They are smaller than sparrows in body but maybe a little longer wing span. I wonder where they nest around here. Maybe someone has a bat house. And hey, the Batman movie comes out tonight. One reviewer says its pretty gory. Too violent for children, but will parents keep their kids away?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What are you holding?

Genesis 21:17, 18 And God heard the lad crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”

Deut. 11:22 For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you, to do it, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.

Deut. 32 (Moses’ song) …For I proclaim the name of the Lord, ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He. …He has made you and established you. …Remember the days of old…See now that I, I AM He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My Hand. Indeed, I lift up My Hand to heaven, and say, as I live forever, if I sharpen My flashing sword, and My Hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, and I will repay those who hate Me.

Joshua 22:5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Psalm 73:21-23 When my heart was embittered, and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before Thee. Nevertheless I am continually with Thee, Thou has taken hold of my right hand. With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Isaiah 56:1 Thus says the Lord: Preserve justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed. How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it, who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

Jeremiah 2:13 For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cistern, that can hold no water.

Matt. 6:24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve god and mammon.

Matt. 12:11 And He said to them: What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into the pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out?

Matt. 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him: O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

Mark 7:8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.

Luke 8:15 And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

Col. 1:17 And HE (Jesus) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

I Th. 5:21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Rev. 2:25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.
Rev. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me: Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Deut. 10:20 You shall fear the Lord your God, you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.

Deut. 13:4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

Joshua 23:8 But you are to cling to the Lord your god, as you have done to this day. …the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you. So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God.

Psalm 63:8 My soul clings to Thee, Thy right hand upholds me.
Jeremiah 13:11 For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me, declares the Lord, that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory, but they did not listen.

John 20:17 Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to My brethren and say to them: I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”

Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow

Tony Snow defines conservatism in his speech in February. I highly recommend it.

I don't know how long c-span will keep it up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

When God Speaks

I just love Quickverse. Its a Bible study aid online. Mine is New American Standard, but you can get one in almost any version. It is so easy to type in a word or phrase and see how many times it appears in the Bible.

God said... appears 46 times in 46 verses. 46/46
The Lord said... 233/232
God spoke ... 12/12
The Lord spoke... 133/133
The Word of the Lord... 256/254
...declares the Lord. 346/336
...says the Lord 502/494
Jesus said 116/116
Jesus spoke 9/9
Jesus answered ... 62/62
He said... 315/300

How else it worded when God speaks?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bible Study

Reading Through the Book of James
A few days in a row now
What jumps out at you?

James was Jesus’ half brother. Right? Same mom, different dads. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. James had both Mary and Joseph’s genes.

But, James calls himself a bond-servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. He writes to the twelve tribes dispersed:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, (not IF, but WHEN) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Dear Heavenly Father, It says here to ask for wisdom, so I’m asking—how to parent grown sons, how to encourage and support them. And how to be a good wife, daughter, sister, friend. And we need wisdom about hiring someone honest to do our roof. And please help James get a clear understanding about what he is suppose to be doing until the next step in training at Fort Sill in August. Please prepare him for what You’d have him do. And help us spend our time and money wisely. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.


Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, and with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Look intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty…

Bridle your tongue…
Pure and undefiled: visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Beware favoritism. Do not show partiality.

Let not many become teachers, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. (and then a whole chapter on the tongue)

I Peter quote: God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Isn’t this an OT theme, too?

3:1 says, Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. (this one gives me pause. Is my blogging a desire to teach? To share? To encourage?)

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Be patient. Do not complain…

As an example of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

James takes his own advice to “take the prophets” when he uses Abraham, Rahab, Elijah as illustrations. And look at all the visuals James uses: bridle/bits for the horses’ mouths, rudder on ships, springs of fresh water, fig trees, olives, vines, seed/fruit/farmers, sowing, the sea, grass/flowers in a scorching wind, conception, birth. As teachers, the world is full of illustrations, and teaching should never be dull.

Thanks for reading the book of James with me. What jumps out at you?

Target McDonalds

I'm a Walmart gal. But, this morning I needed to venture into Target in order to procure the gift for the upcoming birthday buddy's baby shower. I know Target and Walmart are just trying to save money by keeping their thermostats at 80 degrees, but I sweat easily at 80 degrees, and come home needing another shower. Yikes. I think it was cooler outside, and there is a breeze outside.

The post office is another one that keeps their temps way too high. But, I braved the machine today as the line was too long. And I was mailing stuff to our Sunday School secret pals and did not want grief about no return address. I just hope they get delivered.

Now about McDonalds. I like their cute little glass old-timey coke glasses they are giving away with a meal. Last time, I received fries WITHOUT salt and they tasted so good, I ordered them this way. I was fully prepared if they argued that they did not do fries that way, that I had enjoyed them that way last time. But, there was NO argument. I spoke no salt into the speaker, and at first she thought I meant no tartar sauce, as that is what appeared on the screen. But, I said, no, I like tartar sauce, its the fries I want no salt upon. And they did it. Yipeee !!! It says "designer" on my receipt. I could hear them yelling "no salt" from the lady who takes your order over her headset to the guys who make the fries. This local McDonalds is usually super heavy on the salt. So, this is great. Now to remember to order it thataway next time.

I like Chick-fill-you-up salads. But, our Chick-fill-you-ups are across town. I will make a special trip but try to wait until we are over that way to save gas. I saw a story the other day about a guy who lost weight eating McDonald's salads. One of these days I will have to try one. They do feature Newman's Own salad dressing which is yummy. Anybody tried the McDonald's salads??

Monday, July 7, 2008


I put it off too long. Time for some housework. So, I vacuumed, and then dis-assembled the washable filter. Yuck. But, good to go for next time. And I mopped the kitchen floor. Those cheap $5 plastic foam shoes from Walmart are great for keeping your grip on a slippery kitchen floor. And I cleaned toilets, and the sheets and blanket from the bed are in the washer and dryer. Even the dishwasher is humming. See, even though I was tempted to hire a maid, I got'er done. And because its just the two of us now, it'll stay clean a little while. Ha.

I sure miss our boys. Andy is busy with his own now, and James sounded kinda down last night, and no word from Ben since my birthday.

I can hear the washer beeping.

update: clean sheets tonight, dearest, so you know what that means !

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Prophets: God's servants. God's anointed.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Founding Fathers for the Fourth

Wasn’t there an old mother-in-law joke, where the punch line is: “Take my mother-in-law, no, seriously, take her, please!”??

Well, it is no joke in the Bible in the book of James chapter five. We are told to be patient, do not complain, and as an example of how to cope with suffering and patience, TAKE THE PROPHETS who spoke in the name of the Lord.

I just love that phrase, “take the prophets”. It doesn’t say, “consider” nor does it say, worship. But, in order to TAKE the prophets, we are responsible for knowing who they are, and their story. In other words, we are responsible for the Old Testament, too. And since JESUS called John the Baptist a prophet, he is one, too!

How many prophets do you know? How many will you be able to ask intelligent questions in heaven?? When you do a search on the word, prophet, in Quickverse, the prophetess Miriam is first on the list. Hers is not a sterling example. There was that leprosy thing at the end. But, she was healed.

What did the job profile of prophet look like? It was a calling. And sometimes they were called forward for one speech, one sermon, one warning. They lived their whole lives doing what they were suppose to do, and maybe one or two big events are highlighted in the Old Testament. And the hearers, the ones they are sent to warn are not always happy to receive the news that they have messed up. Theirs was often a downer message. But, delivered with courage, with stories, with sermons, and even a miracle, they bravely girded their loins and got the job done. And then faded away. We don’t often hear the end of their story, but Jesus does say that many were murdered.

Was Miriam the first? Who else is sandwiched between her and John the Baptist??

Take the prophets. Take two prophets and call me in the morning.

The word, PROPHET, occurs 486 times in 451 verses according to a Quickverse search. The book of Jeremiah has the most instances of the word.

Gen. 20:7 …restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live…


Exodus 7:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharoah and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.


Exodus 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.


Numbers 12:6 Moses: more than a prophet


Deut 18:15,18,20,22 God promises to raise up a prophet like Moses: “…I will put My words in His mouth…”
And the command to put to death any prophet who speaks presumptuously in God’s Name.

Judges 4:4 Deborah, prophetess and judge

Judges 6:8 an unnamed prophet? (right before the Lord appeared to Gideon and called him, “O valiant warrior.”

I Samuel 3:20 Samuel confirmed as prophet of the Lord. The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh. (v.21)

I Samuel 22:5 the prophet Gad warns David (2 Sam. 24:11)

2 Samuel 7:2 Nathan the prophet (12:25, I K 1:8, 10, 22, 23-)

Shemaiah the prophet (2 Chr 12:15)

Ahijah the prophet (I K 14)

Jehu the prophet (I K 16)

Elijah (I K 18)

Elisha (I K 19)


Huldah the prophetess (2 K 22:14)
Oded (2 Chr 28:9) a prophet of the Lord meets an army






John (the Baptist)

Anna (Luke 2:36)

I Cor. 12:28, 29 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, …

Acts 21:9,10 prophetesses, and a prophet warns Paul

Ephesians 4:11

I Tim 4:14

Beware false prophets

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
This year I’m fifty-two
And, next year fifty-three
(rhymes better)

And Bob and I trade this year in that I was born in ’56 and he turned 56. And he was born in ’52 and now I am 52. Should be easy to remember how old I am. Ha

My folks called and sang to me already this morning.

When I was a little girl, I thought the fireworks were just for me. My Grandpa would take me to this fireworks extravaganza at the old stadium in Champaign, Illinois. And I thought that fireworks and my birthday went together.

I don’t remember getting a good watermelon last year, but the first one I picked out at Walmart yesterday was good. It sure was heavy. And thankfully, it had this tough skin rind as it rolled around the back of the minivan trunk area. I had hemmed it in with one of the seats which collapse into the spot, but I should have collapsed the bigger one making a smaller square to contain it.

And I am sure you have all heard the news, Walmart is dropping the dash. So, the way I have been spelling it for years is finally correct.
Big parade in town tomorrow, but since it is suppose to get up to 97 degrees, we will probably wimp out on going to that this year. When our boys were in the local high school marching band, we went to the parade probably six years in a row. I’ll never forget the year that my folks were holding the double plastic couch over their heads during a rain shower and the chair got heavy with rainwater and when they dumped it out, causing a mini waterfall. It was so funny.

We have pictures of our boys when they were toddlers sitting in their chairs watching the parade. The expressions on their faces show a mixture of fear and awe looking up at the firetrucks and clowns.

What do I want for my birthday? More pictures of the grandbaby. A grannie cannot get enough pictures.

And Bob’s meeting got cancelled, so he gets to stay home and play with me. Yipeee!!!!!!!!

Update: Bob gave me a pedicure, and a haircut 'round the ears, and I gave him a haircut, and he gave the back yard a haircut. And we enjoyed the silly movie, "Get Smart" and since it is hot as blazes, we enjoyed just poking around on our computers today improving our minds.

Thanks to all who called---my folk get the earliest prize, James, and Mary and Andy and Benjamin. And a few "unknowns" on the caller ID thingy. We finished off the watermelon. And have watched the doves try to get into the squirrel-proof birdfeeder. Must be the peanuts in this mix that is attracting squirrels and doves? And thanks for all the emails--Nance and James... The pictures of you repelling are great !

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Grant Us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve HIM without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days

What if you were a miracle child of an older couple who had given up ever having kids? What if you were raised with specific instructions and heard over and over all the neat things that happened at your birth? What if you did your job to the best of your ability even though it meant never getting married nor having a family? What if you ended up in prison and were beheaded for doing your best?

For the past few days, I have been reading again the story of John the Baptist. And I have been noticing things for the first time. And I have been wondering what did John know, when did he know it, and was his a covert operation?

First, let me say, I am not a “Baptist”. I attend a Bible Church. I think John the Baptist is so named as to not confuse him with the author of the Gospel of John. But, God named him. And God just called him just John.

Matthew 3 states that John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Voice

Of one crying in the wilderness
Make ready the way of the Lord
Make His paths straight

John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt. His food: locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.

Look at what John said to the religious rulers coming out for baptism: you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves “we have Abraham for our father” for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees…

John was not given a diplomatic message.

Wrath coming.
Just because you are Abraham’s descendants, repent.

John thought The Judge was coming.

When imprisoned for openly criticizing Herod’s adultery, John questions Jesus via his disciples---Are You the One Promised? Or should we look for another?

John waited for further instructions, but Jesus only said, in reply, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind receive sight, the lepers are cleansed, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.

Strange comfort. Matthew 11 states that after the disciples left to convey this criptic message to John, then Jesus praised John to the crowd. In the Mark account, after John is imprisioned, Jesus takes up the same message. Jesus picking up John’s message is like a tribute. Like a baton. See Mark chapter one.

What were John’s final thoughts? Was he at peace confident that God knows best? That God had a plan?

I love the story of John’s birth. A true miracle baby. Born to mature, Godly parents. I am sure his parents told him over and over about how he was born and how pregnant Mary came to visit John’s mother, Elizabeth, and what all they said.

Instead of following in his father’s footsteps in temple activities which he had every right to do, the instructions at his birth included: no wine. Wine was a part of temple activities, especially at Passover. John’s father told him his marching orders, and the promise of Luke 1:16-

John the Baptist will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah…to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. John’s father probably told John how he had argued with the angel Gabriel and the consequences, and how when the Holy Spirit loosened his tongue, he proclaimed: a horn of salvation, in the house of David, salvation from our enemies, salvation from the hands of all who hate us…the fulfillment of all He promised Abraham.

That, for the purpose, that we, being delivered might serve Him without fear, in holiness, and righteousness before Him all our days. You, child, John will be called the prophet of the Most High. You will go before the Lord to prepare His Ways to give His people the knowledge of salvation…by the forgiveness of their sins because of God’s tender mercy.

John lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel. Did John’s parents encourage him to live apart? Did they die soon after John became a man? They instilled in him his job, his vocation, his purpose of herald and forerunner. But we do not read of Jesus and John ever seeing each other or meeting until Jesus comes to be baptized. John was kept in the dark about that. Elizabeth, John’s mother, knew Jesus was Mary’s son. Surely, she told.

Luke 3 The Voice of one crying in the wilderness quoting Isaiah exams John’s message:

Take care of each other (clothing and food)
To tax-gatherers, be fair
To soldiers: do not take bribes, be content with your wages.

John said: I baptize with water, but One is coming who is mightier, I am not fit to untie His sandals. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

John argues with Jesus when Jesus came to be baptized. Matthew 3:13 Jesus told John: Permit it at this time, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Is it the same word in the Greek—contrast John’s “I am not fit…” to Jesus’ “it is fitting…”??

John sees the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descending as a dove and God the Father, The Voice from heaven say: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.

John saw and observed and witnessed.

Once John is imprisoned, Jesus picks up John the Baptist’s message. Matthew 4:17 Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.

I may be wrong, but I get the impression that John, like Jesus, took care of his family until he was almost thirty. And then sprang onto the scene, when God told him the time was right. Someday, we will have to ask John what that was like. To go stand out in the wilderness by himself and start yelling. When one or two walked by, he stayed faithful, and I am sure those one or two went back home and said, hey, come see this nut who is yelling to himself in the desert. And the crowds increased, and he became somewhat of a circus show. The wilderness had plenty of water. Because John baptized folks there. And someone needs to address how this new ritual of baptism did not surprise or scare anyone. The Jews were used to ritual cleansing. But, full-body dipping was reserved for the strange leper cleansing of a Gentile in the Old Testament, and the monthly seven dip of women after their period.

Maybe John lived and preached in the wilderness from age 13 on. Maybe he had a tent just like Abraham. He had disciples, so maybe they brought him supplements of fish and bread. But, why did Jesus never visit? Why weren’t they pals? Why didn’t John become one of the Twelve? Did he know too much?

John proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John had seen lambs sacrificed on the alters for his whole life. How exactly did he think this Lamb of God was going to take away the sins of the world?? If he had guessed the cross, he might have blabbed, and this was hidden from the enemy for if the enemy had known, then Jesus would have been beheaded or worse, too. God was in control. God needed Jesus on the cross to die for our sins. And when God is in control, sometimes that includes keeping us in the dark about some things. It will all make sense in heaven. But, here, when things don’t make sense, maybe God is giving me a taste of what John experienced.

Full Circle

Since our middle son is busy in the military now, I had the privilege of picking up his college diploma this morning. He received an email saying it was ready last week, but we were out of town, and unable to do it. When I tried yesterday, I found out that this was going to require a fax from middle son of his college ID, and a signed note from him that he had given me permission. So, after procuring the said documentation, I trouped back to the offices of administration, records, and registration, took a number, and waited again. This time, I was armed with a email copy of whatall the fax should look like. And the nice lady was able to call back into the bowels of the cubicles for said fax. And thankfully, she recognized him from taking a class with him. Whew. I realized that showing my drivers license does not prove I am his mom, but it does prove we have the same address. I got to sign my name and "for..." and today's date. And she handed it over. That diploma represents four years of our middle son's blood, sweat and late nights of studying. classes. labs. And I think he had perfect attendance, not that they keep track of that kinda thing in college. I don't think middle son ever missed, skipped, or was even late to a class. He finished high school in three years, and entered college that summer, so to finish college in four years shows it IS doable. And we are so proud of him. The bureaucratic nightmares are over.

As I drove away, there was a huge herd of newbies, soon-to-be freshmen clutching orientation plastic bags on a tour of the campus. I resisted the urge to yell something not very ladylike out the window. And I realized we had come full circle.

Some of the liberal-slanted classes required to graduate made college a less than enjoyable experience. Listening to the worst ever graduation speeches made us wonder what we had invited friends and relatives to experience. But, we are done. The mine field successfully navigated. Now we can safely bad-mouth the whole AISD experience. And laugh when the local college asks for more money. We are done contributing. Bitter? No, we just learned the hard way. Would I recommend the local college for someone? Only in the engineering, or nursing venue. Someday, we will ask our middle son if ROTC prepared him properly for whatall he is doing now. Someday, maybe he can go back and make it better, if that is his desire.