Friday, January 29, 2010

Mark Lowry has a blog

On Mark Lowry's blog yesterday, the teacher talked about how Isaiah 40:31 starts out with eagles soaring, then running, then walking. Kind of how when we start out the day with a Bible Study, and then how we leak all we need constant renewal.

Isaiah 40:30, 31: Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will oar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

NAS version puts verse 31 this way:
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Word Searches: Death and Dying

Where is the first mention of dying in the Bible?

Genesis 2:16, 17 from any freely...but from the tree of the knowledge of good and will surely die.

Where is the first lie in the Bible, and what does it have to do with death?

Genesis 3:4 the serpent said to the woman, "you surely will not die!"

Where the the term dust to dust originate in the Bible?

Genesis 3:19 ...till you return to the ground because from it you were taken for you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Why did God make them garments of skin and send them out of the garden?

to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.

Right before the next death, what did God say to Cain??

Genesis 4:7 sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.

What did God say to Cain after Cain murdered his brother, Abel?

Genesis 4:10 the voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground.

What is Cain's punishment? Cain is cursed to be a wanderer and no strength from the ground, as in nothing he grows will bear strength.

What was said about Abraham's death?

Genesis 25:8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.

Who changed a name given at a birth and a death?

Genesis 35:18 as her sould was departing (Rachel) named him Ben-oni but his father called him Benjamin.

Who was buried by two estranged sons?

Genesis 35:29 Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age, and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Where was the first death by fire recorded?

Leveticus 10:2 And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them and they died before the Lord.

Where was the first death by plague recorded?

Numbers 16:49 by plague 14,700...besides those who died on account of Korah.

How long were you declared unclean for touching a corpse, soldier slain on a battlefied by the sword or naturally?

Numbers 19: 13, 16 seven days

What happened at Aaron's death?

Numbers 20:28 Aaron's priestly garments were tranferred to Eleazar, his son, then Aaron died on the mountaintop, and was buried there, and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain.

Where is death by fiery serpents recorded?

Numbers 21:6 The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people so that many people of Israel died.

What happened with Korah?

Numbers 26:10 the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up along with Korah. 250 men.

What happened when directions were not followed precisely?

Numbers 26:61 N. and A. died when they offered strange fire before the Lord.

What was the punishment for a murderer who used an iron object as a weapon?

Numbers 35:17 death

What was the punishment for a murderer who used a wooden object as a weapon?

Numbers 35:18 death

What was the punishment for murderers who used ambush?

Numbers 35:20 death

What was the punishment for murderers who murdered with their hands?

Numbers 35:21 death

How about if the murderer used stones, rocks or dropped a rock on someone?

Numbers 35:23 death

Who was told to die on the mountain???

Deuteronomy 32:50 Moses is told to die on the mountain where you sacend and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor...

Where is it recorded that this was fulfilled?

Deut. 34:5

How old was Moses, and how was his health at the end?

Deut. 34:7 120 years old when he died and his eye was not dim nor his vigor abaded.

When is it recorded that hailstones killed people after the 10 plagues of Egypt?

Joshua 10: 11

Fun facts playing with the word search on Biblegate. Nothing like a funeral to send you searching for where did this custom get started?!

Another thing that struck me yesterday when I was singing in the car on the way to the funeral: Be still my soul....the CROSS of grief or shame. Grief is a cross we bear, those of us left behind. Bob had pointed out to the widow that God had honored her with being the one left behind. Another way to look at it, eh? That being the widow is the gift as it might have been harder on the other to be left.

I should have brought an extra flag, because the one presented to the widow became something precious to her, and she no longer wants to give it up to the first wife. I had warned her son to tell the funeral director we'd need two flags, but the funeral director was an idiot.

I don't want to forget how my friend, now a new widow, taught me by example to thank servicemen and women in uniform for their service. I walked over to the funeral detail and shook their hand, looked them in the eyes and thanked them for coming, and for serving. They were suprised. I don't think they get thanked very often. It was a funeral detail from Fort Hood. Then the new widow, flag still in her arms, walked over to the three soldiers, and you could see the suprise, almost alarm, in their eyes. She thanked each one, and shook their hands. wow. One soldier had the most beautiful green eyes. Then my friend asked me to get her out of there. So we did. We left. Went on to the church for a delicious lunch.

Me and my big mouth. I don't know what to say, and sometimes speak without thinking. The weather was gorgeous, it was a privilege to pray with her, and be there, and I hope it was a help, not a hurt. But, these events can be so wearying, and the widow was tired. When I left her yesterday to come home, as she returned to family duties, she said something about the day, and I said, "it was fun". Not exactly the right thing to say to a new widow. But, it was fantastic to see how smoothly, and how our prayers were answered, and my gift of giving her my whole day was indeed a privilege. Someday, if/when grief stricken, I hope someone reminds me to go to the bathroom, wash my hands, drink water, and sit. She did not need me, as she has plenty of caring family, but, I know she'd do the same for me if the roles had been reversed.

Last Wednesday, her husband came home from work, as was his usual routine. His faithful dog met him at the end of the drive, as she knows the sound of his truck. He was sick in the night. Was it flu? Something he ate? Congestion from a cold or cough? Thursday morning, his heart stopped and he quit breathing. My friend had to give him cpr three times. But, by 2am Friday morning, he was gone. My friend had to shop for a casket, and was so gracious to let her extended family have input. Carried along by the custom of our day of visitation, she was on her feet for over eight hours greeting the whole town and everyone at her husband's company. Then the funeral yesterday. I tried to distract the little toddler with chocolate cherrios. Bob spoke as he'd been asked...and while we had taken separate was so strange to hear his voice from the back of the room. And to not see him again until that evening. I was afraid to look at him, afraid to break his train of thought.

It has not even been a week, and my dear friend's life has been turned upside down. Please comfort her, Lord. Please protect her and walk with her. As that sunset last night showed. It looked like You were done. The clouds were gray after the pink got swallowed up. But, a ray broke out and colored againt he clouds with a pink and You said You were not finished with this sunset. Please guard my lips, and make me a help, not a hurt.

There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother...I hope I was that friend yesterday, that sticks closer than a sister.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pioneer Woman Pound Cake: Cherry Dr. Pepper Version

Pioneer Woman posted the scrumptious looking, easy pound cake. I was hungry for chocolate, so I made a few changes. And since I don't have a bundt cake pan, I used my angel food cake pan.

The Pioneer Woman Pound Cake

3 sticks of butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 each teas. lemon flavoring, rum/vanilla
3 cups flour
1 cup sprite or Canada Dry

bake 325 degrees for one hour and ten minutes

The Twilight or Chocolate version I made:

instead of lemon flavoring, I just used Watkins vanilla. big splash
instead of sprite or Canada Dry, I used Cherry Dr. Pepper
and I used half a cup of Hershey's unsweetened powdered chocolate

It turned out pretty good. A little leakage because of the angel food cake pan, so now I have chocolate lava formations on the bottom of my oven. Looks like chocolate cake poop.

Bob and I could not wait for that whole invert on a plate and let cool part. We ate ours steaming hot straight from the pan. Yum. Moist.

I wonder if a half-teaspoon of salt would help or hurt the next time?

And I used brown sugar, and you can smell or taste a hint of the cherry Dr. Pepper. No need for baking soda nor baking powder. I buttered the angel food cake pan, and the cake slips out easily. It is fun cooking with soda pop. And since it only calls for one cup, the leftover Dr. Pepper quenches the thirst of the busy cook. Next time I may cook it five or ten minutes more with the oven turned off just to make sure it is done. Pioneer Woman said until no longer jiggly.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Grief played out on facebook. again.

Last week, Bob's uncle died, and while it was not a suprise, I was amazed how facebook is where we first learned, and before the phone calls could be made, many had kept up with updates on facebook. And I watched different ones communicate with each other on how they were doing, as well as memories and wonderful videos on facebook.

I missed the first facebook message yesterday, but saw it after my friend called me to give us the shocking news that her husband had quit breathing, and she had had to perform cpr on him three times waiting for the ambulance. Her daughter had posted a call for prayer on facebook a few hours before my friend called from the hospital because it did not look good. My friend's husband's brain had gone too long without oxygen. And he was dying.

As soon as Bob got home from work, we drove down to the small town regional hospital, and tried to comfort friends and family. The hospital room was full of family and it was just going to be a matter of hours. Waiting. My friend wanted to sing Amazing Grace, as that is her husband's favorite hymn. So we did. And she asked Bob to show her how to salute. So, Bob did. That slow, respectful, heart-wrenching salute given to fallen soldiers.

God provided the most loving, gentle, kind doctor who patiently explained to the family what was going on, and what to expect, and he answered all their questions. The nurses, too, patiently answered the grandchildren's questions as they quietly worked on IV bags, and changing out medications. It was amazing to watch. The ICU unit was not very busy, and they allowed all of us to be there and say goodbye, and comfort each other. There is something to be said for these small town hospitals.

My dear friend took on the sad title of widow this morning at 2:12am. She is the first of my friends my age to walk down this path ahead of us. I know widows at church, but they are in their seventies. And while one of Bob's sisters is a widow, it was sad to hear Bob's sister talk about how she lost so many friends when her husband died. Her social life severely re-arranged. Maybe a younger widow is a threat to shallow people. Maybe they were fair weather friends?

Amazing day. Amazing week. And the sun is shining, and it is suppose to be warm again today. Seventy-two degrees. We have dandelions blooming in our yard.

My thoughts and prayers are with my friend and prayer partner. We hurt because we know she is hurting. And we desire to bring all thoughts captive for Christ. The good message we heard the other day from Denton Bible Church came to mind, as Pastor Tommy Nelson reminds us, as does the pastor at Mars Hill---that we are always worshipping something. Not just on Sunday or Wednesday nights...but every moment of every day, in our decisions, words, actions. I pray that we continue to honor the memory of loved ones, and comfort each other. And realize we are not here long, and some are given the test of being left behind for a time. And we don't grieve in a vacuum, but God invented the family where we get sandwiched and loved, and we are given teachable moments for the next generation.

I could tell that one of my friend's step-daughters would have preferred to have her daddy all to herself. This girl frowned upon our words, and laughter, and looked down up my friend who is very outgoing, and vivacious. My friend sorta thinks out loud, and is generous with her praise and thanks. And maybe this step-daughter had some regrets, and desired her daddy to come back so that things could be resolved. Maybe this step-daughter thought that deathbeds should be somber, sad places like the way they are portrayed in movies and on tv. So, I am suspicious that no matter how the funeral and graveside go, certain family members may look down their nose at our joy. As Christians we have such joy and are thrilled to know our departed one is no longer suffering, but is face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ. One of my favorite songs---No more pain, no more tears, no more death neither dying again...praises to the Great I AM, we will live in the light of the Risen Lamb. (google it---and let your speakers blast away!) David Phelps does a great job with this song.

Please help us turn, Lord, and comfort others, and know what to say to the bitter, and folks who judge our grieving as not appropriate. It will be a funeral they will never forget. But, check my motivation, Lord. Help me be a help, not a hurt. Help us grieve in such a way that honors, You, Lord, and points to Your Son as the One Who conquered sin and death.

In Jesus name. Amen.

I wish I could tell my friend that I saw two shooting stars on the drive home last night. Meteorites fall to the earth all the time---but I saw those two. spaced out by thirty or more seconds. Two dazzling lights that flashed into the west following each other. Not together, but when I saw the one, I was alert for the next. But, even then, my eyes only see a fraction of the sky riding in the car going west.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tornadoes in January

Yep. Right down the road on I-30. Canton, Texas.

Here I was watching Brietbart TV online yesterday afternoon, so I did not have the radio going, and bad storms travelled right through here and tornadoes formed east of us and took out a Chevron station. One worker/owner said he did a Dorothy whent he tornado heaved him up to the overhang and he broke a lightbulb with his head.

Same bad looking storms in Oklahoma, too. I wonder how our friends and family fared. A cell went through north of Wichita Falls, Texas.

We have not needed the furnace for the past two nights. Windows open again today. Mountain cedar pollen is bad, so I keep the south windows closed.

Spring in Texas. Complete with tornadoes. Houses were damaged in Van Zant county. They did not get much warning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What our eyes see...

As a knitter, I notice texture, and weave, and patterns.

As a mom, the alert 24/7 mother hen is alive and well in me, and rises up.

And when we attend a funeral, we can't help but compare it to the other ones we have attended. When we attend a wedding, we harken back to our own, or to the ones somehow toggled in our memory to the present one.

A few years ago, as we were flying down the road to Nagadoches, our son dropped the bomb-o-news on us that he'd be doing funeral duty. We learned later (by dragging the information out of him, or by asking his patient wife) that this was an honor, that it was something he volunteered to do, and that it was a hardship on his own family, as he travelled to a funeral in the five state area around where he was stationed. I ask lots and lots of questions. I wear my family out with questions. And I marked the calendar so we could pray more surgically on his week. He'd be on this duty for a week, then off for four unless needed for a big, active duty one. Most of his funerals were the WWII vets dying in their nineties. Buried in small cemeteries, in the snow, and in the heat. He saw it all. And he does not talk about it. But, when I tried to ask him specifics last week, he deferred to the funeral director.

What the grandsons and their wives saw: Military precision, care, quiet honor and grace. What my husband saw: wrong one presented the flag, dishonor, missed opportunities. What I saw: this is what my firstborn did when he was on funeral duty, and while I never saw my son present the flag, it is done the same. Quietly. With dignity. Honor. Strength. and humility. In their fancy, dress uniform, they get down on one knee to present the flag. At no other time do we ever see a man in uniform bow nor get down on his knees. The salute is different.

And as women, I feel so superfluous at a funeral. Too emotional to speak, too out of shape to be of any help. I am easily way-layed by a tripping hazard, cold bench, (and in some irony---I had to lean against the shelter at the funeral before this one, as my back was out, and I could not stand up straight). And at a military funeral, at a military cemetery (national cemetery) they are in a hurry. They do 15-20 a day, and on these shorter winter days, there is only so much sunlight. They have a schedule to keep, so move your car, thankyou, and take your sniffling somewhere else. Show gratitude to the volunteers, and be thankful you came early.

But, as this death would have it, the memorial service will be on the 13th of February, so we have plenty of time to organize our thoughts, write, and ponder how best to comfort each other. Selfishly, I want my husband Bob to wax eloquent about his uncle because Bob is a good writer. And I love learning more about folks. And we are at that age where we look back at memories with the eyes of parents and being grandparents ourselves, and marvel how loved we were. And we did not always know it, nor acknowledge it. We took so much for granted. And if Bob writes about it, it is a gift of love, for in my opinion, his love language is words. I should not push, as grief has its own time table.

But, there is an urgency in that I have this strange desire to slap certain ones upside the head and admonish them not to muck this up. Here is a captive audience of impressionable young men----our sons, our nephews, and nieces, double cousins, almost all new is your chance oh, pastor, to teach. Maybe they won't remember whatall you say, but for half an hour, they just might listen as you wax eloquent about their grandpa, their great uncle, and our culture lies to them what a real man is.

I am expecting the sons to talk, and cry, as they did when their dear mom died. And that tells our sons, and relatives that it is okay to cry. I am expecting stories, and lots of laughter---for our family is strong on lots of laughter. I was not there, but at Bob's Mom's funeral, the then only granddaughter of 22 months shouted, AMEN, when the preacher said something she recognized. And it brought them all to tears trying to contain the laughter that bubbled out until they could climb back inside the limo. I love that story. Uncle Bill would want us to laugh, and be a family that loves each other, and comforts each other, and laughing together is part of that. Maybe the tears and laughter are the pressure releases in grief.

We all express our love in different ways---some like gifts, time, actions, words and hugs. And my eyes see through the mom-lense, and I do not want to miss any opportunities presented. Nor do I want to be accused of being controlling. or irritating. or a nag. I want to do what is right and good, for that honors the memory of the one who has passed. I am so glad I know he is partying with his loved ones in heaven. What does he see now? In that place of no more tears, no more pain...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Springtime in Texas

It was only suppose to get up to 63 degrees today. It is over 65 degrees, and we have the windows open, 'cause it is 75 degrees inside. They are predicting temps in the seventies all week! wow. Guess we need to take the trash bags off the whirly birds on the roof.

Spring is here.

Short winter.

In Texas, they called it an "Artic Blast" but it was but a taste of winter for 59 hours. 59 straight hours of temps below freezing. Big whoop. Broke a lot of pipes. And we can see snow as late as Valentine's Day...

Good thing Bob put the pre-emergent on the yard yesterday. And the fertilizer. ha

Looks like the weather will be gorgeous tomorrow morning when we attend Bob's Uncle's graveside. Fog this morning. I wonder if fog still reminds my sister of when she buried her first husband.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A percontation point

Sometimes I spot a fun, new word and decide to try and use it in a Scrabble game. Today, I succeeded in starting a game with RHETORICAL and then later, after much planning, and Bob's letting me (by not blocking the set up) I placed PERCONTATION. Fun words both. Whoppers of a score, too, because big, big words often stretch over two double word scores, or a triple triple. A percontation point is like a sarcasm punctuation mark for a rhetorical question. I saw some discussion online of inventing one or re-inventing one from the 15th century so as to be clear when you are being sarcastic. We would not want any misunderstanding in our written text, would we?!? Some just use an upsidedown question mark.

Bob got the pre-emergent and fertilizer down the earliest ever in the year. If you wait too long, the weeds sprout first before the grass can get a good toehold. Chickweed and dandilions then spread across the yard. Seemed kinda at cross purposes to put down the pre-emergent and the fertilizer in the same day, but we will see... I think the fertilizer stains, as Bob came inside with a yellow mark across his nose and cheek as if someone had written upon it.

Then, I looked upon a video attachment from friends at church of this cute little kid (turns out to be his son) stealing the show during a Christmas show of Tennessee Ernie Ford. And we You Tubed our way through his hits and hymns. Ah, for the good old hymns. And You Tube means you have a musical library at your fingertips.

A little laundry, a big lunch, and some more Tennessee Ernie Ford. I don't think I took a bath and got dressed until late afternoon. And our little neighbor, Pedro, gave me a fire and ice rose! Fancy. White with an orange-pink tips and center. Am I spoiled or what? I drool over the roses at the grocery store but cannot justify buying them. And I don't know where Pedro gets them. We keep him well supplied in candy, crackers and drawing materials. Maybe one of Pedro's relatives works at a flower shop. It is a mystery.

Tonight we have improved our minds with a few documentaries on Hulu. We learned about the Vikings. As in Greenland and Iceland settlers type Vikings. They went east and west. Into the Mediterranian, too. And we learned about the Burger history of California in Burger Town. And we watched the crazy Mac people. I think you have to be an artist to own a Mac. I about fell asleep during that one, but revived, and made some popcorn.

I am on the hunt for a fifteen letter word. There are fifteen spaces across the Scrabble board. A compound double would be nice. That way, it might look believable. APERCONTATIVELY might just do the trick. or DISPERCONTATION. or NONRHETORICALLY

The problem with super big words in Scrabble is that the board has to be laid out such that you have the space. It is so sad to have a really big word and no place to put it. Our board was top heavy, so it just worked out. But, I am sure that Scrabble purists would have a conniption fit. But, the big words keep me sane. Bob just likes to play. He plays with seven tiles and bingo-ed twice right off the bat yesterday. And he was so humble about it.

Hey, we already have a percontation word: NOT

Friday, January 15, 2010

How to pray for Rifqa

Dear friends and supporters of Rifqa Bary,
Thanks for your continued prayer and support for Rifqa during this critical period of time. Many of you have asked about an update regarding Rifqa’s situation, as well as ways that you can pray and support her. I’d like to give you a quick update about her next hearing, as well as share a couple of urgent requests that you can be praying about specifically for her.
The next important date for you to put on your calendar is Thursday January 28’th. This is the date that her trial for dependency is set to begin. Obviously this date may change, but at this point this is the date that the Franklin County juvenile court has set for her trial regarding dependency. Obviously, I am convinced that this trial is a matter of life or death for Rifqa, and it must be taken very seriously. Some of you have asked about the court date set for January 19’th. This court date on the 19’th will be a minor court date that will deal with legal motions. Dependency will not be addressed until January 28’th however. If you would like to show up to the courthouse to support Rifqa in prayer, please make plans to come to the court house in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday January 28’th. There will be an update with more specific details about the court date on January 28’th as we get closer to that date.
What Rifqa Bary really needs right now…
Many of you have asked about some needs that Rifqa has right now, and some specific ways to pray for her. Before I get into that let me just reiterate, in spiritual terms, why I am convinced that God has elevated Rifqa’s case to one of the most significant cases in our nation today. I am convinced that Rifqa’s life of tremendous love for Jesus and commitment to radical prayer in the face of tremendous suffering is a challenge and example to much of the sleeping institutional American church. In addition to challenging the American church, Rifqa’s courage in standing up against the brutality and injustice that many other women and converts out of Islam face from Islamic ideology is breaking the dam of fear that millions of others currently live under. Simply put, Rifqa’s courage to live will continue to give scores of people the courage to break free from this bondage as well.
The key factor in all of this is Rifqa’s testimony. Since the beginning of all of this, there has been a concerted effort to keep Rifqa quiet, and her testimony from getting out. There has also been a concerted effort to direct attention away from what is really important in this case…Rifqa’s story! The enemy knows that the more that Rifqa’s life is made known, the more that the truth will be exposed. Groups like C.A.I.R. have an agenda to paint a positive picture of Islam at any cost, and that is why this powerful national organization is advising and directing Rifqa’s parent’s attorneys in their attack against her character and testimony, as well as an attack against those that have helped her.
So what does Rifqa need? Is it more money? Is it more silence?
I am more than convinced that in order for the lies to be exposed and people to be set free, the truth about RIFQA’S conversion to Christianity, (and the threats that she faced as a result), must be told. It must not be watered down to something that it is clearly not. I am asking people who understand and believe in the power of prayer to pray for Rifqa. Without getting into too much detail, you must know that Rifqa not only faces an enemy on one side (as has been the case), I believe that Rifqa has now been surrounded by enemies on all sides. Some of these enemies you would expect, but some you would not. That is all I can say at this point. Please pray for lies to be exposed and for ‘the house’, so to speak, to be cleansed. Please pray for Rifqa to have wisdom and much courage in the days ahead regarding decisions that she will need to make, and please pray for an opportunity for Rifqa to get the truth out to the court and the nation regarding her true testimony of Jesus, and the threat and opposition that she faced as a result. I believe this is very significant!
In order to get the word out about this urgent need for prayer, please feel free to pass this message on to anyone you would like.
For the truth,
Jamal Jivanjee

Life played out on Facebook

The latest death in the family is being played out on Facebook among the next generation. It reminds me of that line in the movie, "The Blind Side" where friends are asking Luanne what her father would think of her adopting a black son. She admits he'd be spinning in his grave.

Bob's parents died before Facebook. So, in order to explain how people chat on the computer back and forth, you'd have to explain or show them facebook. I love it because it is not as intrusive as a phone call, yet an outlet for today's moms. Being the mom of small children, trapped at home for weeks on end, especially when one or more are sick means you are pretty isolated. Even from church. And we thank you not to bring your germs to church. But, facebook gives these parents an outlet.

Facebook is putting the post office out of business. And this is good, in my opinion, having had very negative experiences at the post office for years. It is not "free" because most of us pay through our phone or cable bill for internet service.

Facebook makes sharing photos so easy. It is even easy to crop the pictures. Preserve history.

Bob's nephew, Scott has a girlfriend on facebook we have gotten to know---and since they live across town, and are busy with work and school, we might not get to know them otherwise, and Becky challenged a week of retro pictures. So I have been posting all the cute little kid pictures we can find. And Lauren wanted that picture of them as eight year olds taken on vacation. And I wondered if Clarissa wanted to show Clara her namesake close to her age. She did. What a wonderful service. What a wonderful gift. Tool. Help.

And to see the memory pictures and stories on facebook, and how the sharing helps those who never knew Bob's aunt and uncle to get a small, yet precious glimpse. Amazing technology. One grandson even posted an eleven minute movie. Wow. What a blessing.

So while the generations long gone may wince and look askance at our open ways and grieving played out in such a public forum, why fight it? Why scold? I am just glad we are talking. I am glad different ones are reaching out to comfort. Help. Remember.

For a time, the deceased were fantastic letter writers. Everything they thought and felt was poured out in those letters, telegrams, and cards. It was slow, but it was all they had, and it fulfilled a need to communicate and love each other with words. I think facebook is fulfilling those same needs. And while my great grandparents might be spinning in their graves to see such open displays as words plastered on a roadside billboard, we will someday marvel at how our own great grandchildren chose to communicate with each other. Life is messy, and fun, and technology makes the waiting for a letter from a son or brother at war a thing of the past. I have even found that posting things on my husbands facebook is easier than an email, as I know he goes there to play his farm challenge game.

What will they think of next?

More a Twitter thought than blog post...

Suppose the next generation will think we are yelling at each other when we play Scrabble because all the letters are in upper case? (all caps)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shadow over Substance

Last night at Bible Class, our pastor was trying to explain a concept to our biggest (and rowdiest) crowd. Instead of marveling that Jesus was dying on the cross as the Lamb of God, the actual once-for-all sacrifice, the religious crowd was back at the temple during the cruicifiction slaughtering little lambs for Passover. It was no accident that Jesus chose to die for the sins of the whole world on Passover. Because for centuries, God had passed over the sins postponing the judgement to the only perfect, sinless man who could bear this unique substitutionary work that Jesus was born to do. Ruling the world will come after---at Jesus' second advent.

Just like a man who loves his wife carries around a picture of her to show and worship instead of the real woman, the Jews were thinking that killing lambs was going to remove their sins. The lamb sacrifice was a picture of the coming Lamb of God. The promised Messiah. The Savior of the World.

I leaned over to Bob and snarked that carrying a picture of the wife would be easier. And Bob snorted in laughter, which made the pastor ask what the joke was. And instead of pointing to me and saying the woman God gave me said it would be easier to carry the picture than his wife, Bob just said it would be easier to carry the picture--which made everyone offer him a ride home, as they assumed I'd be mad. Ha. I just smiled.

Now I have been compiling a list of why a picture of the wife would be easier than an actual wife:

a picture would not talk back

a picture would not ask you to read her rambling blogs

a picture might not make you coffee in the morning, but at least you would not have to work around her big butt

a picture would not need food, clothing, visits to the chiropractor

a picture of your wife would be a better listener

Can you think of more? Its a game. a challenge. a quest.

Now I have an excuse to go to glamour shots. Do those places still exist?

the whole pointy sharp elbows. mine are especially rought this time of year

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rejoice with me!!!

Luke 15 Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she callers her husband on the phone at work and exclaims: Rejoice with me, I have found my lost wedding ring!!! In the same way, I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

It is just a plain gold band.
When my fingers swell up, I transfer it to a little finger to give my ring finger a rest.
My hands got cold taking out the garbage last night, and that is when I noticed it was missing.
So we searched the garbage.
I went through each piece in the recycling bin that I had just taken to the street.
With flashlight in hand, Bob meticulously searched the drive, the street, the sidewalk, the curb, under the cars, and the gutters.
I went through the trash, the laundry, the sink---everything I had touched. We both checked the Scrabble bag.
We looked high and low.

I had lost them once before in the dryer. My hands were cold, then, too, and I had not even felt them slip off. I have a larger one I bought at Walmart for when I cannot comfortably fit this one on my ring finger.

But, somehow, when either putting towels in the washer, or checking them, the ring slipped off my little finger, and made it through a few washings and high speed spinnings that rattle the whole house with jet-like humming.

There it sat. Sitting on the lip of the rubber sides of the washer by the drain. Waiting for me.

The whole time we were looking last night, a load was washing and sloshing and spinning.

It is not the ring I was married with.
Bob reminded me of that this morning when we gave the drive one more look with his headlights.

When Bob and I got married, I had forgotten to give the ring to the best man. So, in the middle of the ceremony, "with this ring" was my Dad's wedding ring, a huge, bevelled, platinum washer-looking bracelet. My Dad had noted the best man's face, and handed his forward as a substitute for the ceremony. "With this ring?" became our poise undoing. We all laughed, and to the chagrin of our first-time preacher (Bob's oldest brother)performing his first ever wedding, and who was so intent on his notes (as he had typed out every word lest he become flumuxed) that he had missed the ring exchange...he even asked us after if we had taken our vows seriously???

I found it. Thank you, Lord!! And the mix of tears and laughter had me doubled over. And I went straight to the phone. And told him who had helped me look. That is an hour we can never get back. Instead, it is an hour that said with his actions that he loved me, and he helped me look, and he did not berrate me for being a silly woman. Only encouragement, and assurance that it would be found...came from his lips.

Bad thoughts crowded my mind last night. My carelessness, the price of gold, my sloppiness, and of all days---when Bob's uncle had died. I wondered if I never found it, would the two be mixed forever in my mind. Because yesterday, we lost a jewel of a man, a silver shield; a golden baton has been passed to the next generation.

New Era

We live in a new era, and I am still amazed. To learn of Bob's uncle's death on facebook first kinda sucked the air outa my lungs. It was then a race to reach my sons by phone before they saw the facebook laments by one grandson, and the other grandson's wife. Whew. I was too late. Even in the field, James had noticed the facebook entries. Then the race to reach Bob's siblings before they, too saw it on facebook. Too late. Sister in Albuquerque and brother in Frisco had already noticed.

Maybe when calls were made, the sad initial calls with the news, maybe, just maybe someone should have had the presence of mind to say, "hey, call one of the El Paso cousins, and tell them they are responsible for getting the word to all their siblings. They can delegate this or call everyone themselves, but, ready, set, go!" Just maybe.

But, on the other hand, it is funny. If it is my time to go to heaven home tomorrow, my friends and relatives will learn about it on facebook first. That is a hoot. And no use trying to fight it. Because certain ones do not believe in being organized. Propriety is gone. Years ago, certain news was never delivered by phone, but in person. You phoned someone close to in proximity to the one who had suffered the loss, and you met them face to face. You never broke the news over the phone because it was considered cruel, mean, and dangerous. And that was BEFORE cell phones when people think nothing of talking on the phone and driving. Bad news, if it had to be broken by phone, was prefaced with, "are you sitting down?"

But, times have changed. We are in a hurry. The grieving wanna share. Certain family members were "hurt" but when I told Bob their names, he kinda snorted, and did not want to be associated with them.

Customs change. Good manners change. My ancestors of only one hundred years ago would be shocked to see whatall I wear to church, let alone a funeral. Gotta roll with it. Gotta be flexible. And at our age, betwix and between generations, there is no time to grieve when you first hear bad news, because the race is on to try to let loved ones know.

So, I pulled out the address book, and girded my loins, and started with my sons. Time change conversions---those three hours to Alaska, was it tooooo early?? Surely, he'd be up and about? Youngest, was he on a roof? Did he have a dangerous power tool in his hands? Was he driving?

And what to do when I knew middle son was in the field? Wait until he came out? Let his bride break the news? But, my distress was all for naught, for his fancy phone keeps him plugged into facebook, and he had already noted the grandson and the other grandson's wife's laments. Thankfully, I had been taught how to email a short forty character note via cell phone, and requested he call me if possible. When my Army son called at noon, he said he'd had duty all night, but had not been able to fall back to sleep after getting up to go to the bathroom, and his first question was, is the funeral this weekend? By then, I knew more from emails from the daughter and sons. So, I could reassure him he would not miss it.

But, what a strange day. I just was reluctant to even take a shower or run errands until I had talked to Bob at work, and heard each of my sons voices.

I know this post sounds so self-serving. And it is not like the news of Bob's uncle was a suprise. The family was so good about email updates, and the hospice predictions. But, I am slow to learn things. And I wish someone had warned me that when you receive bad news, and when the wind gets sucked from your sails first thing in the morning...if possible, stop. Rethink the errands list. You are going to feel distracted and should not be driving. Take it easy. Pray for wisdom. Pray for gentleness, restraint. Wait. Listen. And the bittersweetness of the day unfolds into a blessing in that you might get to hear the voices of the ones you love. And even on facebook, memories will be evoked that you had forgotten.

For example, one niece mentioned that when she last saw the dear uncle that died, it was at her own grandpa's funeral. And when he came down the hall to get her, the resemblance of the two brothers took her breath away. I remembered then at my own grandpa's funeral that his brother came by the house, a great-uncle I had not met, and the resemblance made me think I was seeing my dear Poppy who had just died. Same white hair, same body, same build. He probably wondered why this 13 year old girl kept staring at him. It took my breath away.

We so desire to take care of each other during a death loss. We so desire not to step on toes or further injure the grieving or suffering. He was not just Bob's uncle. He was a lot of people's DAD, Grandpa, Uncle, cousin, mentor, neighbor, fellow-church member, teacher, friend. And we desire to honor him as a World War II veteran, upstanding husband, father, citizen.

I hope his cousin that knew him in her youth, and remembers welcoming him home from WWII will come forward with some neat stories. I hope whoever does the service mentions all his overcoming disabilities, his tender love for his own Mom, and gentle ways. We have so many pastors and teachers who are sons, nephews, and even one married to a niece, that it will be interesting who is tapped to speak. At his wife's service, the sons spoke, so I am sure they will here, too, and while it is painful for them, it is such a wonderful lesson for all the great-nephews sitting there...and I am sure they will each ask themselves, "what will I say about my Dad when it is his time?"

For a death in the family reminds us that we are only here temporarily. Even if that life stretched 93 years, it is but a breath, and flies by. His was a life well lived. He was an honorable man. He would be the first one to tell you, advise you, encourage you to love your wife, take care of your children, defend and protect your country, stay alert, yet with a gentle unbendable strength. I don't think I ever heard Bob's uncle raise his voice. I don't think I ever heard him even yell a warning. I asked Bob last night if as a little kid, did his uncle ever have to correct him? Bob said no. Bob said it was not necessary. In my opinion, Bob's uncle was pure preventative when it came to kids. He kept them busy, and thus, kept them out of trouble. To hear the oldest grandson speak confirms this. For he was the only grandson for quite a while. Ten years stretch between David and Doug. And whenever he talks of his Grandfather, he tells of being the center of attention, loved, and engaged with a Grandfather that focused on him whether in the garden, or playing in the yard. What a wonderful example of fathering and grandfathering, and being an uncle. Showing men by example how to be that gentle strength, that iron like power of true masculinity. A leader. Not a showman. Not selfish. Not yelling nor abusive. Yet a force for all that is good, and pure and right. By contrast he made other men look small and mean. And that was not his goal, in fact I wonder if he realized that his very humbleness before the Lord was a threat to the criminal mind, and the males that think they are men.

To the one doing this service, I have this urge to get in their face and say, don't mess this up. Here is your opportunity to preach it to the next generation. Set the emotion and blubbering aside. Here is the time to explain to the grandsons, greatgrandsons, nephews, greatnephews that when they wonder what a real man is, when they are looking for heros, remember this man. And know it is your turn now. He was the last of his generation. He believed in the power of prayer. He believed in being alert to what was going on. He knew how to handle difficult women, he knew what to do in a crisis, and he knew how to raise God-fearing children. His legacy is one he would be uncomfortable to be made to sit and hear. He did not like being the center of attention, nor did he enjoy being praised. He knew he was a sinner saved by grace. He knew how to get to heaven thanks to what Jesus did on the cross. He lived a good life as unto the Lord, not because it gave earthly praise or rewards. But, because it was the right thing to do, and that God would want him to, and because he could do no less. May they say the same of us someday.

What does a real man look like? Someone who perseveres until the end, with daily looking into God's Word for direction and principles to live by.

A real man is known by what he does and also by what he does not do.

A real man raises good children, so he does not have to worry when his body gives out, because they took wonderful care of him. Surrounded by children that loved and respected him, he was so ready to go home years ago, but instead, God kept him here to teach us all. Lesson learned.

Code Pink supports murdering our soldiers!

Why won't the media talk about the Islamic hatred of Rifqa?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Life Well Lived

Bob's Uncle Bill died this morning. He would have been 94 in July. His dear wife died back in December 2007.

Uncle Bill Williamson was a very Godly man, a true gentleman and wonderful example to his children grandchildren and myriads of nieces and nephews. He was a prayer warrior---praying for all by name.

When you marry into a family, meeting all the new relatives can be daunting, and Aunt Mary made sure I was welcomed as a new bride over 31 years ago. They lived in Carlsbad, New Mexico most of their married lives, so whenever we visited, they treated us like royalty. And they kept us abreast of the goings on of all the cousins coast to coast.

Over 12 years ago, they moved to Coppell to be close to their daughter, and we so enjoyed visiting them, and hearing the family history.

What a bittersweet day this has been. Notifying our sons, and talking to Bob's siblings, enjoying pictures Uncle Bill's grandson and granddaughter-in-law posted on facebook...wondering whether to leave messages with those still as work or teaching classes, and getting to hear the wonderful voices of most. We saw most of them all at Christmas and New Years, but some are best contacted by phone to get caught up on their news since then. It was good to hear the rest of the story of the group that got snowed in in the Ozarks. I am so glad everyone enjoyed that reunion. Can't wait to see the pictures. And I am looking forward to hearing more family stories.

Uncle Bill was the last of his siblings. Another WWII veteran who spent four years in Europe fighting for freedom, and then came home, got married and raised three wonderful children. (two of his sons would go on to spend twenty years each in the Army and Marines)

When we tried to add up the years of service starting with Uncle Bill and Bob's Dad during WWII and their sons, and now grandsons, we came up with over 100 years of service. And the legacy of Biblical principles of freedom and patriotism continue to this day. To know that Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary prayed for us all by name for years and years is such a humbling blessing.

And thanks to Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary getting married after WWII and starting a family---that is how my husband's folks met. Aunt Mary's sister, Clara came to see her new baby nephew, and met Uncle Bill's brother, Joel, also recently home from WWII. They met and married and raised eight wonderful children, and their third son is Bob, my husband. So, the Carlsbad cousins were actually double cousins, sharing the same set of grandparents. As a little five year old boy, Bob remembers getting lost walking between Aunt Mary's house and Aunt Helen's--the third sister who had also moved to Carlsbad to be closer to her folks. All Bob knew was to tell the policeman that he was walking to Aunt Mary's house---but when Aunt Helen pulled up and the policeman asked, is that your Aunt Mary? Bob said, no, that is my Aunt Helen.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Uncle Bill's sons and daughter, and their grandsons and granddaughters. What a wonderful legacy. What an awesome example. What a life well lived. I am so glad Uncle Bill is now face to face with his dear wife, and brother and sisters, and the Mom he loved to tell us about. What a fantastic reunion. What a party that must be!

May we honor his memory by living lives that honor Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 11, 2010


My favorite line in the movie, My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding was where the aunt says, "no problem, I make lamb."

Lamb was on sale at Tom Thumb. $2.50 for a package of ground lamb.

Then the stove burner blew. How to "brown" lamb without a stove? I buttered a glass cassarole dish and covered it with a lid. It browned up nicely, but kinda tough. Then I added a box of cornbread dressing mix, and a package of lima beans. Voila'. A cassarole.

But, I could still taste the wild gaminess that is lamb. Mustard helped. Lots and lots of mustard. There is enough for tomorrow. Any takers?

You don't like meat? No problem. I make lamb.

Maybe if I added some chunks of cheese. Or eggplant.

It is a challenge---cooking without a stovetop.

Bob wants me to brag that I just beat his butt playing Scrabble. 358 to 243

But, I need to confess that Bob spotted the best place to lay the word, JOKE where it married up with CODA sideways slipping the word JOKE into the triple word score for a total of 92 points for just one JOKE. I don't usually tell good jokes. I would not have seen the space for JOKE. I also used four of the triple words scores. That helped.

And what a wonderful time we had with Amber. We got to pretend for 24 hours that we had a daughter. Wow. I got to walk thorough Hobby Lobby with someone who gets Hobby Lobby! Wow. What fun! I baked the eggs in buttered pyrex bowls for our breakfast. They were a little dry. Next time, I will cook the bacon first, then lay the eggs inside the circle of bacon and bake them. They were almost hard boiled. James is in the field freezing his you-know-what off, but they did get to do some live fires, I think. HOOHAH.

Hope I have not said too much, as loose lips sink ships. And as an Army mom, I know enough to just be dangerous.

Investigating Worship

How did we get here? How did Church History bring us to the assembling, service, and singing we call, church? How did we get from Jesus ascending into heaven and the great commission to drums on the stage and people sitting on bar stools crying about the lack of enthusiastic singers and volunteers?

I'd so love to challenge our church to do a Daniel, meaning, pare down the just veggies for a month, and see if things improve. Cut the crap. One hymn. One sermon involving lots and lots of scripture. No cute family stories or fluff. But, I have not the energy, nor voice. I am just angry. I am just an old, fat, angry old lady. And I feel like I am watching our church die. And it is so sad.

We can't compete with Hollywood. We can't compete with the temple down the street where people pay $500 per seat to be bombarded for a few hours with noise, smoke, and strutting football players. And even Veggie Tales teaches concepts better than we do to our children.
But, how did we get here? Jesus never went to church as we know it. And the huge medieval churches of Europe sit mostly empty except as tourist attractions. The mega churches seem to be thriving, but they, too, suffer the same laments as the small churches where a handful of people do most of the work.
My dream church? An every day place, like where I attended as a teenager, where feeding on the Word daily was as important as feeding physically. A place of daily Scripture reading, prayer, a hymn or two--one at the beginning and one at the end. Sounds almost Catholic, except instead of rituals, candles, and genuflecting, the daily teaching would require a pastor who studied constantly to dig out the nuggets. So, visitation, funerals, weddings and other things that drain a pastor's time and energy would need to be delegated to different ones with those gifts. And it would take maybe a stable of pastors to rotate in and out of the harness.
And in my dream church, children would be encouraged to sit and listen when able. Children's church would not be a holding area nor entertainment as much as preparation for learning in big church.
We cannot obey Jesus Christ's commands if we do not know them. And we cannot know them unless we have the structure and discipline to learn what the Bible says. Understanding how the Bible was written, the mixture of stories and doctrine, principles and warnings--these are so vital, and yet we have let other things creep in. We do things backwards, trying to attract others, when we should be doing our jobs as unto the Lord and let Him bring in others who want to learn and live as He has directed.
What does true worship look like? What is God's plan for this dispensation? Only God can keep us from getting rigid and legalistic. Only God can show us how to use His money wisely, and fulfill our purpose of sending out missionaries. But, how can we send out missionaries when our own are not being taught? How can we send out missionaries when our own are not being inspired nor called?
Was Jesus among us last Sunday? The chairs were half empty. The service so much fluff, emotion, and alarming display of interviewing the staff. I hoped and prayed no visitor chose that day to check us out. But, we are Christians, and as a Christian woman, admonished to keep quiet in church. So, instead, I come home and implode here. And cry out to heaven to correct this situation. I no longer want to vote with my dollars there. And the ultimate irony---our church buildings were broken into a week ago. The alarm was ignored because they thought it was a false alarm. They did not check it out because someone thought who would break in in broad daylight in the afternoon? Who would break the glass with a rock and ransack an office? The repairs will cost thousands. The criminals now know that we ignore alarms. The thousands paid for alarms, alarm companies, upkeep, tickets for false alarms---those thousands are such a waste. Might as well take what we have given over the years and flush it down the drain.
Cut the picnics, cut the dinners, cut the fluff. We need to get back to the bare bones of Bible Study---but our one Bible Study is attended by only a handful on Wednesday nights. Something is so very wrong here. And all I can do is call out to heaven: please do not give us what we deserve. Please rescue us from ourselves. Show us how to worship You, Lord in Your Way that honors You and that is attractive to others You seek to draw in. Change us, and change me. Please take away the anger, and critical judging spirit. Our church is suffering. We are top heavy for the number of pastors we support, all poorly. A youth minister, college minister, music person, secretary, and seminary student meeting in one of the schools. Our outreach is puny. Small. Our missionary support is embarrassing.
And another irony? Here at the Christmas season, where we celebrate Jesus' birth, our church takes a holiday---with a month of fluff: plays, music, substitute preachers, and cancelled services in the name of not wanting to interfere with family time. Well, guess what, our families are not going to survive on such weak, emotional fluff.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

59 hours of below freezing temps!

We survived the big freeze! The weatherman said we went 59 hours of temps below freezing. It is below freezing again tonight, but during the day, I put a themometer on the back brick wall that gets full sun and it said one-hundred degrees! So, thanks to the sun, our back wall of brick heats up nicely in the winter.

Gave Bob his haircut inside, however. And cooked more using the oven broiler. The sound and/or smoke drives our Sallycat bananas. She starts howling, and wants outside. The broiler has a fan motor. And the smoke alarm did not go off, but you could see the smoke in the sunbeams.

Bob beat me at Scrabble. And we watched the Cowboy football game tonight. They beat the Eagles by a lot. Third time they played them this year.

Tomorrow, the 10th, our granddaughter turns THREE ! And Amber is coming over as James is in the field training. And when I talked to Ben on the phone on Friday, he was busy moving to his new apartment on I-20 and 287.

We are gonna be yawning in church tomorrow if we do not go to bed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Over $200 MILLION a year for the show trials

Did you hear? The city of New York wants over two hundred million a year for security. Sure sounds like it woulda been cheaper to keep the whole mess in Gitmo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, dear. (another boring post office story)

I love to knit dishrags.

I love to give them to folks that enjoy them.

A certain lady who wanted all I had made the last time I saw her at her grandchild's wedding over a year ago, had a birthday so I thought I'd send her some more in her favorite color. I guessed what the postage should be using my trusty kitchen scale, and used math man to come within pennies using the stamps I had on hand. But, since the post office had but one lady in the line, I decided to have the package checked just in case. I just hate to send a package and as a gift the recepient has to pay for it on the other end.

Our post office has a new character. And by character, I do mean rare bird. Last Monday, before the cold artic air forced most indoors, he had to go on break when the line stretched out the door. And announced to everyone that he needed a drink. The other clerk said that long lines bothered him.

Maybe the post office is forced to hire anyone breathing.

Maybe the post office can no longer be selective.

Maybe the post office cannot ask important questions like bi-polar?

This guy had the spiel down, and would not be swayed from it. He started with overnight express. I already had actual stamps on the package. But, it needed more because it was more a package than a large envelope. If I had laid the dishrags flat, I might have gotten away with it. He started at the top of the list, and why I would want to add $44.00 to a small package is beyond me. Then there was the the contents list. I admitted out loud that it contained knitted dishrags. He did not want to hear what they were. He wanted to hear a "no" to all his questions, and only, "no."

I tried to keep a poker face. I was almost ready to pay anything ('cause I think they make it up, anyway) just to get out of there. Wow. Maybe this is part of the post office's push to make you think twice about using them. Ever. Again.

The clerk then sighed, and got out his drawer calculator to subtract the postage I had mistakenly attached from what is actually due, and figured I needed to pay thirty-four more cents. Sounded good to me. I promise I won't come back. Life is tooooo short.

Maybe the competitors are flooding the post office with these bozos so that we will go elsewhere?!

While in line...while this guy was waiting on me, another lady being waited on by the only other clerk recognized my clerk and they exchanged pleasantries. Sadly, my clerk could not do calculations and talk at the same time. The whole time he regaled us with his new haircut, and how the customer still has a tape of him singing at her wedding, his fingers hovered over the touchscreen. He sang at the other lady's wedding. wow. I was afraid to ask if maybe he desired to return to that occupation? Or, how about a bar, please sing us a song. Might as well. I was not going anywhere. This was turning out to be the most bizarre, outlandish visit to the post office. The other clerk hit a button and her machine started spitting out a ten foot receipt. I kid you not. I wanted to ask whatall she bought, as I wanted to avoid that long a receipt. The lady literally had to stop, put her purse down, fold and refold the lengthy receipt just to stuff the mess away in her purse. I will not need to go to the circus this year. Going to the post office has fulfilled that need. I walked out of the post office muttering to myself, "blog fodder". It was the only way to stay sane. I did not dare make eye contact with the next victims.

I predict the post office is going to go under. bankrupt. out of business. And people will lament, and be astonished. But, you and I will know why. It will not be a suprise to me at all.

Leave a Message after the beep...

I just had too much fun. Doesn't take much.

I just re-recorded our call notes message for the new year:


And yeah, I shouted it.

I was tempted to leave the banally boring: you have reached someone who is at Walmart...or in the tub...or on the ...

It will never be as famous as the one we had our son record years ago when he was home from college: Hello you have reached the Williams....(and me interrupting yelling, "don't give out our name!") and my son saying quickly, "the smiths..please leave a message after the beep." That one got a pulpit mention with lots of encouragement to call and hear it. It was a classic. I shoulda had him re-enact it when he was home at Christmas.

I hate "unknown" or "private". Don't call me if you are unknown but to God. Now, every once in a while I will recognize my sister's 601 area code. But, most of the time, we play phone tag. And if you are so dag gum private, why the heck are you calling me??

And don't get me started on recording calls or calls for politicians. They make my blood boil. I have even asked politely to be taken off calling lists, or I have reminded callers from some politician that we are on the no call list and they have had the audacity to tell me that the no call list does not apply to them. Well, it does now. (insert explitive of choice)

My home is my castle. A place of refuge. I am not gonna kill myself diving for the phone. Life is just toooooooo short. And when you say, "call me" you'd better remember to say, "please".


I don't know where I got this misperception, but weren't we suppose to enter the new century not needing firemen? Weren't houses suppose to be made better, and technology improve to the point that business would no longer need them? Instead, our firemen are busier than ever. Christmas trees continue to be a fire danger. Every year. And our news is full of reports of firemen battling fires in the summer and suffering heat exhaustion, and now in the winter, with temps in the teens, our firemen are suffering cold soggy clothing.

Yesterday, I had to call 911 as sparks were flying of the neighbor's power line into branches and dead leaves...and the operator insisted on sending a firetruck. I met them at the curb and explained the situation. They did not even have to get out of the truck. But, their call to the power company brought the prompt visit from the contracted tree trimmers who worked the rest of the day to remove tree branches from along the power lines behind three neighbor's houses. The tree trimmers even have a truck that eats branches---their own chipper.

Our neighborhood recently got a brand new firestation. They build the new one behind the old one, then tore the old one down. I wonder how they like it.

Did anyone else grow up under the impression firemen would no longer be necessary in the future? Or, was it just me?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Live Blogging the Artic Blast

The dire warnings have come true. Right after midnight, the wind turned around. Rain is hitting the north windows. I think our high was 47 for the day. It was suppose to get up to fifty, but I don't think it did.

Cloudy conditions all day and south we will see how this condenses and falls as rain or snow. Bob covered the whirlybirds with black heavy plastic bags and bungees.

Sallycat is sleeping under the computer desk. Usually she sleeps at the foot of our bed, so this is strange.

This has been the 1am report. The temp is suppose to drop into the teens and not get above freezing now until Saturday. Will the front shrubs survive? Will ice form on the bridges? Will Bob have to scrape the windshield? These questions and more....stay tuned.

7:49 am This may be my last post for a while because I am watching the power lines spark next door above Pedro's two story playhouse. The strong winds are pushing the tree branches into the powerline causing a pop, spark and fireworks. So, it may be just a matter of time before we lose power. I have a battery operated radio.

noon: so thankful the power is still on. the sky is clearing. Whoop! Looks so pretty outside. I don't know about you, but cold is easier to bear when the sun is shining in on the carpet warming up spots.

streets are dry. ice spots on plymouth windshield all gone. dry. I may venture out. I have a package to take by the post office.

Sallycat is sleeping a lot in the sun patches on the carpet. She reminds me of the kitty we lost to the sleepy disease. We had Sallycat vaccinated against it after losing that kitty with the best personality, but either the vaccination did not work, or it has worn off. And Sallycat would rather hang by her claw in your clothing than put weight on that back leg.

1:30pm tree trimmers just finished. so glad they came and took down the neighbor's branches that were rubbing the lines and making them spark. whew. wish they had done our oak tree under the line. nothing like the sound of chain saws to insure the lights will stay on. And it was so nice to talk to a person on the phone when I called the local power company. Now I wonder what prompted such quick action---sending the tree trimmers, my call to 911, the firemen calling the power company, or my calling the company?? or all of the above?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Woman At the Well

John 4
Jesus Goes to Galilee
1Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
2(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),
3He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.
4And He had to pass through Samaria.
5So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph;
6and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
The Woman of Samaria
7There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."
8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
10Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
11She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?
12"You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?"
13Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
15The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw."
16He said to her, "Go, call your husband and come here."
17The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband';
18for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."
19The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
20"Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
21Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
24"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
25The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."
26Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
27At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why do You speak with her?"
28So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men,
29"Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?"
30They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.
31Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
32But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."
33So the disciples were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?"
34Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
35"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
36"Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
37"For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.'
38"I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor."
The Samaritans
39From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all the things that I have done."
40So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
41Many more believed because of His word;
42and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world."
43After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee.
44For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

Did you read through this story?

Did you notice that Jesus stayed with them for two days, and taught them everything they needed to know about eternal salvation, and how to live as the new first Christians?

Did Jesus ever get some water from Jacob's well?

When the disciples come out of the city with some food, Jesus refuses it. And speaks of food they do not know about. (did you notice that the disciples did not do much "witnessing" while buying food. They don't even come back with some curious.) The woman abandons her water pot and runs into the city and brings out those curious, yet they believe and tell her point blank they they don't believe just because of her, but from hearing it themselves: Jesus is the Saviour of the WORLD.


The Samaritans are living on borrowed land. Jacob gave this land to Joseph, and in the future, all this land will belong to Israel again.

But, Jesus stopped there to rescue, love, and save some people who believed. A fallen women---failure at five marriages. Shacking up with another guy. And Jesus reveals to them all that He is the Messiah. He is the Promised One.

What did this city think when they heard the rumors later about Jesus dying on the cross? This story comes early in Jesus' ministry. What happens to this city after the Resurrection? Is it mentioned in Acts?

Do Peter or Paul ever come there again?

And like the Road to Emaus story, no one records what Jesus actually said for those two days. The title of this post could be: The Lost Messages, Jesus Saves a Town.

Jesus speaks of Living Water. And springing up into eteranal life. Worshipping God in spirit and truth. no longer do we need to travel to Jerusalem nor Samaria. God sets aside Israel for a while. But, His promises are still there to restore, and center future history upon them.

Jesus is weary here. Did you see that? Jesus took on human form to come and talk to us about water, our needs, our fallen state, our bad choices, our failures, and here Jesus was His own Herald. They had heard a Messiah was coming. And He came to declare He was Here.

Two days.

What did he tell them for two days? The disciples were sitting around, so they heard it, too. It did not suprise them, nor is it recorded that they challenged Jesus on anything He said.

What happened to that woman? We are not given her name. What happened to that town? Did the next generation also hear about those special two days when the Messiah came to visit? When the Savior of the World chose their little village, their city, and instead of Passing Over, He stopped and shared. Even though they were fallen, dirty, and the known enemy of the Jews. Jesus saw their hearts---their positive little blips of belief. They worshipped the Savior of the World. with only two days instruction.

Jesus does this again---saves, rescues someone, and when they ask to tag along, says, no---go tell. Just share what has happened to you. That is enough. That is sufficient.

Jesus was also Creator. He created our bodies to need water every three days or we die. Jesus was Creator, but then took on human form and dwelt among us for 33 years. He knew hunger, and thirst, and weariness. On the cross He says, "I thirst" and they stick nasty vinegar wine on a dirty sponge and shove it in His face.

And other verses come to mind---when Jesus said that whenever you give someone water to drink, you do it to Me. Whenever you give someone clothing, food, shelter---when they have need, you do it to Me.

We can't give Jesus water. He is no longer thirsty, weary, hungry or dirty. (And Jesus took care of dirty feet at the last supper, too--another story about serving others, and water) But, He has left us with a job. A Mission. Meet the needs of those around us. Engage them where they are and tell them that Jesus came to save them from their sins and has the eternal gift of eternal life. Jesus left us here, and has a Plan, and is coming back someday. He will set all things right, and make everyone get along. And He will remove the bad guys. Judgement Day is coming.

Will we learn her name in heaven, this woman at the well?

And the townspeople who declared that Jesus is the Savior of the World...will we hear them tell this story? Will we see again the amazement in their faces? That Thou My God would die for me? Amazing Grace. That saved a wretch like me. I once was blind, but now I see.

Jesus taught them how to worship in two days. I'd like to attend that seminary. Wouldn't you?

I have been learning about Jesus since I was ten years old, but now in my fifties, it is always fresh and new, and I have more questions, and see more in a story when I hear it preached. And I think we are meant to read and re-read God's Word because it is Alive and Powerful. God's Word shapes us and cures us. God's Word tells us about God. Reveals God. Reveals what He thinks, feels, says. God's Way is Truth, sanity, order, best.

Am I worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth?

Am I keeping the message simple and letting my neighbors see my life and do their hear the Gospel, the Good News from my lips?

Am I alert to the needs of those God puts in my path?

Well, that was too much excitement...

Here I was, making supper. Using the back burner to boil rice to round out our pork chops and asparagus. And the back burner blew. Blew as in blew up with a loud pop, and spark and flames, and burn marks on the glass bowl sitting next to the stove, and browning the bottom of the rice pan as if with brown paint. I turned off the burner. And tranferred the rice and water to the microwave safe bowl, and finished the rice cooking in the microwave. The big burner still worked, so I finished the pork chops. And microwaved the frozen asparagus. Those little freezer bags of steam-in veggies are just right for two people.

The house was full of smoke, so I opened the windows. The cat wanted out. And when Bob pulled up ten minutes later, he asked why the cat did not want back inside. I guess he thought I'd been mean to the cat or something. And he wanted to know why the windows were open. Had I lost my mind?? He wasn't too keen on hooking up the hose for me either, as I wanted to flood the north side bushes before the deep freeze. And it was also garbage night. Sheesh. Can't I do anything?? He has farming to do on the computer.

And he does not want to watch the orange bowl. There is nothing else on.

Oh, well. At least the cat still likes me.

Its been a pretty good day.

He says he just planted corn to feed his cows, 'cause they make the cows fat. The corn? or the corn syrup?

click. click.

update: another reason to keep kids out of the kitchen when cooking: that burner blew and embedded pieces of metal in the pyrex bowl next to it. I have tried washing the bowl, as a brown paint like dusty coating did come off. But, what if that had been my face? or hands? time to look into burners that do not have wires or metal showing. The stove top burners are probably thirty years old or older. The old mustard yellow paint on the stovetop kinda dates it older. One other burner had dropped out its middle, so I was needing to replace the other small burner. Time to go shopping. It is a wonder I did not burn down the kitchen. I think my guardian angel was working overtime.


The weathermen are predicting the coldest temps in years. It may stay below freezing from Wednesday night until Saturday. And some temps in the teens! So, the stores are packed today with people stocking up.

I went to Walmart and enjoyed buying a wedding Barbie for our granddaughter's birthday. And a Sleeping Beauty and her horse with a long mane. The wedding Barbie even comes with bendable wrists so she can show off her wedding ring. They had the ugly Barbies from 1965, too. I remember getting a bubble hairdo Barbie as a young girl. And you could not comb her hair. And little girls like to comb hair.

It is so fun to shop on the pink aisles!! I wonder if they make a toolbox type of contraption to hold all the Barbie shoes, and outfits??!! Surely. See the practical side is coming out again. I just can't help it!

And Barbie can do ANY job. Walmart had an astronaunt Barbie from the sixties. And the Barbie stuff is kept separate from the Disney princess stuff. What is up with that? I guess the Disney princesses are fantasy and Barbie is modern? They even had a set of Barbies in sleek black dresses. I don't think they were widow Barbies. I think they were your basic little black dress night-on-the-town type Barbies. But, with a black hat and veil, a summer widow maybe. And I saw the Twilight Kens. The "regular" Ken looked like he needed a haircut and hair gel.

Can you tell I am a mom of just boys? Waltzing down the Barbie aisle is a treat for me. They have Barbie makeup, and Barbie outfits little girl size, and tiaras. wow. Grannies could go wild.

Only at Walmart can one stock up on kitty litter and Barbies. I saved my meat purchases for Tom Thumb after going by the post office with the longest line ever--and just one clerk. There were two for a while, but the long line was actually bothering this clerk, so he put the closed sign out, and said he needed to go get a drink. Maybe if we had smiled instead of frowned he would not of felt the need. We all got to know "Meghan" as she was twirling around her mother in line. Mom was saddle down with a huge box, six month old brother in his carrier, and chasing this little girl. She was very co-ordinated. She could walk backwards a long distance along the line. Most of the time we did not have to watch her, as she announced to all what she was doing. "I am sitting" was cute along the side of the post office that holds cutsie envelopes and wrapping materials. I think the line moved as fast from people bailing as from people being actually waited on. It amazes me. In any other business, they would go OUT of business when making their customers suffer in long, long lines. If only I could figure out how to reset my pass word online I would never buy stamps at the post office again.

When cooking for just the two of us, the smaller packaged meat fits us better. And I restocked our green tea canada dry cans---so the clerk at Tom Thumb said she'd like to come party with us during the coming artic chill---what with meat and canada dry. I did not tell her that I don't have a grill. If we lose electricity, I will need to fry this meat on the small camping stove.

And I found a stash of pretty kleenex boxes. I refuse to have ugly ones sitting around the house. Life is too short. I try to stock up when I find some pretty ones. Plain, no lotion for Bob.

As that Russian commedian that immigrated to American used to proclaim: "What a country!" The sun is shining. Horse tail clouds and jet trail clouds crisscross the sky. I am so blessed with a car, and plenty of gasoline, and a Walmart and Tom Thumb to restock the frig and cabinets. Clean clothes, plenty of soap, and shampoo, and comforts. What a country, indeed!

Sallycat seems better. Back to napping in the patches of sun on the carpet. She let me administer the pain meds and the cream on her ouchees.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trip to the Vet

Man am I out of shape or what!

Sallycat was looking poorly. She was sitting in my rocking chair. I have never seen her sit in my rocking chair. I think she was in a fight this morning, as I saw tufts sticking out of her side when she then jumped up in the windowsill. She seemed to come in slowly, and was all hunched. And when I checked her out, she seemed to favor her right leg.

I tried to tempt her with greenies, but she would have nothing to do with her usually favorite treat. I even pulled out the vacuum, but she did not jump down to hide from the mean old vac.

So, I called the vet who has an office on the corner near our neighborhood. That is where we have always taken our animals. They had an opening at 3:30pm. I thought it would be less stressful to just carry her up there, but wrapped in a quilt, I was winded carrying a ten pound cat! After the vet looked her over, and adminstered pain meds and sold me some topical cream, I called my neighbor (and animal lover) to come get us. Thankfully, Mary was home, and brought us the one block home from the vet.

Now Sallycat is hiding under the desk all curled up hoping I leave her alone. That is enough excitement for one day. The vet is a scary place. They have scary barking dogs and strange smells.

Silly Sally. She was fine yesterday, and patrolling the yard and checking her pee-mail just fine. I think I have let her in and out three or four times just this morning. She prefers the side door when I am doing laundry, but will go out the front if I invite her.

She just seemed to be headed downhill too fast this afternoon. All hunched, and sad, and unable to find a comfortable position. And laying in the rocker---softer maybe, but when there is a sunny spot on the carpet? That was my first sign something was wrong. The rockers rock---they move too much. And there was this wooden rolling pin in the chair, too. Strange. When I moved her to Bob's rocker and put her on the quilt, she stayed in this odd position with her head upside down, and her back in the air. I just hate to see an animal suffer.

Usually, when she gets a bite or puncture from another cat, the spot will fester, and need antibiotics or burst and drain. And she will be poorly for a few days just laying around licking it to death. I just think she needed checked out this time. And I should have used the car. Even though she finds the car distressing, I could have rigged a soft net bag to a seat so she could not dash or jump down in fear. Then I would not have gotten so winded. But, at least I got some exercise today. And the peace of mind that our cat is not suffering. The vet said you can give a cat baby aspirin. Good to know for next time, as it would have been a lot cheaper.

She is up on her shots. Not due until May. I asked. I figured since we were there....might as well get it over with.

Pre-spring cleaning: boring alert

There is something bittersweet wrestling with the portable crib, and stripping sheets off the guest bed, and hauling the camping air mattresses back to the little house for storage. I got sweaty trying to fit the silly (expensive yet light) sleeping bag back in its little baggie. Good grief. I should have looked at the size of that dinky bag before I even started. My job will not meet certain standards. But, surely certain ones would repack the thing before heading out to the wilderness.

Our little house was built before we moved here over thirty years ago to house a relative. No bathroom, but it came carpeted, and elderly neighbors remember helping build the thing. Then the folks before us used it as a sewing room. And we have housed a seminary student there on two different occassions. But, now, it is just for storage. Old (yet keepers) toys, the Christmas tree, camping equipment, boxes, and the siding type insulation Ben's panels came in. Bob was gonna put them in the attic, but that did not happen. Probably my fault. Now what to do with them. Oh, well. Outa sight, outa mind. ha

Now that we have two guest rooms, we don't need it for a bedroom. It acts as a sundial, as it showcases dramatic shadows. The chin up bar tells me the sun is so far south now.

Today is a chance to clean up, as well as put up, and brace for the super cold temperatures coming our way. Back in the ninties, we had a week of below freezing temps that froze and killed shrubs on the north side of the house. Those kind of temps are coming, and they estimate that it may be Thursday through Saturday noon that the temp does not get above freezing. Temps in the teens may seem balmy to our relatives in Alaska, and they may snort and scoff at our fears, but our attic could use more insulation. And pipes burst in the streets when the temp stays in the teens for long. At least our plumbing is not in the attic, as it is in Houston housing.

I sure am enjoying the Collin Street fruitcake Andy and Lauren bought us. The cake batter is just right, and they own their own pineapple farm, and I think I taste dried apricots...yum. They are so generous with wonderful pecans. It has to be the best fruitcake in the whole world!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Encouraging Sermon for the homebound

If you can't get to church because of a bug your relatives gifted you...

If your kids are sick and you can't get out. This is an encouraging sermon.

And may I reccommend crystalized ginger for the upset tummy. It works. Also ginger in capsule form. and ginger tea. and ginger ale.

I just love this picture of my firstborn in Alaska. Great smile. I stole it off facebook. Thank you to whoever taught me to right like and "save as" pictures. I was so bad about taking pictures when the kids were here for Christmas. So, stealing their photos will have to do. Love you Andy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How come this story is not getting press?

45,000 policemen for one night could not stop it. What city has a 45,000 man police force?

Anne Coulter is right

The "warning signs" exhibited by this particular passenger included the following: His name was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He's Nigerian. He's a Muslim. His name was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He boarded a plane in Lagos, Nigeria. He paid nearly $3,000 in cash for his ticket. He had no luggage. His name was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Two months ago, his father warned the U.S. that he was a radical Muslim and possibly dangerous." -- Anne Coulter

Time to Badmouth Avatar

Jim Sullivan puts it the best. And NO I am not gonna go see the movie. Why can't people admit that purty plus propaganda is straight from Hell??

"oh, but it is just fun" or "oh, it is just entertaining" translates into telling me they'd go watch Lucifer himself as they'd find him more entertaining than Jesus walking on water. Good grief, people. Wake up. Why are you VOTING with your DOLLARS for a creep just because he can make a pretty movie with a horrid agenda??

I love a good writer. I love a guy or gal who have a way with words. Lets read Revelation folks. The end is not pretty for the deluded.

Symbiotic? Come on. Enviromentalists wackos are worshipping nature. Get a grip.

And on a similar note: Have you read the story behind the Danish comic illustrator who had to escape to his own SAFE room and then alert police that an ax welding assassin was IN his house??

There is a war going on here. The terrorists are islamic radicals. There is NO such thing as a moderate. Unless we all wake up and start profiling and using good eye contact like the Israelis, we are all gonna need safe rooms. And hope your phone connection works to the police department from that safe room. Unless you wanna go native, and use bow and arrows again like the Indians and Avatar smurfs. to be fair and balanced---here is a movie reviewer who sees it differently.