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Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day


Thanks so much to all the brave men and women who have served (and are serving) our country so that my family and I can have many freedoms that other countries do not enjoy.  Thanks especially to my dad, sister, brother-in-law, and various other relatives who have served during times of peace and times of war.  I am so grateful!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Family Circus



"Family Circus" creator, Bil Keane, dies...

I didn't know Bil Keane or his family but I certainly felt like I did!  I grew up reading "Family Circus".  I was about 7 or 8 when my dad brought home one of their books.  I still have it--even after 47 years!  It's falling apart and I've since bought another copy but I still kept that one.

Ever since I received that first book I've been collecting them and have almost the entire collection.  To me, "Family Circus" celebrates marriage and family life back in the day when it was a more innocent time.  When family values were important.

I know his cartoons were cheesy sometimes but they were very sweet, too.  I guess I am really nostalgic about them.  They remind me of growing up in the 1960's when it was so much different than today.  His cartoons were about things that I could relate to and about families that I knew.  Did this ever happen in your home?




I don't know if his son will continue his legacy but I'm glad I have a lot of his books because I will never be too old to read them.  It will be a sad day, indeed, when there's no "Family Circus" on the funny pages.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Focusing On Gratitude


It is only the beginning of November and already I am seeing Christmas lights, hearing Christmas music and seeing Christmas items displayed in the various stores around town.  What happened to November?  What happened to Thanksgiving?  I am probably in the minority but I think it is way too early to start with all this Christmas stuff!!

This month I want to focus on being thankful.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  God wants us to be thankful for everything that comes our way.  He doesn't want us to be thankful only when times are good, money is abundant, children are behaving and our health is well.  He wants us to be thankful in ALL circumstances.  How can that be?  How can we be thankful when things go "wrong"?  Because God says that ALL things work together for good.  ALL things.  Even when we don't understand that, He says it is.  God is sovereign and is in control.  Everything He brings our way is to conform us to the image of His Son.  He uses it all for good.


I am most thankful for my salvation.  I'm thankful that God choose me, rescued me, saved me and adopted me.  Thank You, Lord, for loving me--who was dead in my trespasses and sins--and making me alive in Christ.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Hiding Place

  

For the last few days whenever I'm in my car, I've been listening to The Hiding Place from Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre.  It is so good (as all their productions are).  What an amazing story of God's grace and  the power of His love in peoples' lives.  Corrie had every reason to be bitter, especially after the war when one of the Nazi guards asked Corrie to forgive him.  But, she chose love instead.  Only God's grace could do that!

If you get a chance, please listen to this!

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Recipes

I tried out some new recipes and added them to Serving Recipes at Home.  They include:  Unstuffed Pepper Casserole, Chili, Rolls and a Banana-Nut Cake.  I hope you'll go over and take a peek!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Quiet Days at Home


This week has been full of quiet days at home.  I enjoy those so much.  I am able to catch up on chores, complete the entire cycle of laundry (wash, dry, fold AND put away), bake some goodies, spend time studying the Word and have a leisurely hour or two of reading.  I still have to take and pick up Julianne from classes but the rest of the days are gloriously free of obligations.  I try to savor them when they appear because lately they have been few and far between.

I finished Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World.  As Kay Arthur said, "Every Christian who is actively serving the Lord needs to read it...and then keep on the shelf to be read again, for it contains timeless truths I need to keep as intimate friends."  I agree!

Up next is:


The subtitle is "A Woman's Guide to Intentional Living".  One of the things that I truly am striving for is live intentionally.  Not to just go along during the days, weeks, months and years without a specific plan or just reacting to what comes my way--but to live for Christ intentionally.  Seeking ways to serve Him and others.  Enjoying fellowship with Him.  Those things don't happen naturally.  I'm looking forward to reading this.

On quiet days it sometimes feels like I should be "doing" something...some activity or service...but then I realize that I am doing something.  I am serving my family and the Lord.  Even though I am home, I can still send a card of encouragement or make a phone call.

Thank You, Lord, for quiet days at home where I can savor You and serve You and enjoy life to the fullest.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Path of Life


You have made known to me the path of life; 
You fill me with joy in Your presence, 
With eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

Friday, October 07, 2011

Take Time to Be Holy


Take time to be holy
Speak oft with thy Lord
Abide in Him always
And feed on His Word;
Make friends with God's children
Help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy
The world rushes on
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone;
By looking at Jesus
Like Him thou shalt be
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.

Time time to be holy
Let Him by thy Guide
And run not before Him
Whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow
Still follow thy Lord,
And, looking to Jesus,
Still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy
Be calm in thy soul
Each thought and each motive
Beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit
To fountains of love
Thou soon shalt be fitted
For service above.

(W. D. Longstaff)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Third Day Preview

Just a few; more to follow:




Friday, September 30, 2011

Others


Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for - Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for you
Must needs be done for - Others.

Let "self" be crucified and slain
And buried deep; and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again
Unless to live for - Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven's begun
May I forget the crown I've won
While thinking still of - Others.

Others, Lord, yes others
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live for Thee.

(Charles D. Meigs)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding Focus in a Whirlwind Life (Part 3)

More wisdom from Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World:

But a busyness that isn't God-directed and God-motivated is not God-blessed.  Busyness can ravage the soul as thoroughly as idleness can.
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Even when activities are worthwhile, to diligently occupy ourselves doing what we want, to keep from doing what we ought, is not commendable or wise.
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The emphasis is not on learning to pack more into each day, so much as learning to order our day according to God's will.  We must recover our time from wasteful activities, and liberate it for God's purposes.  Again, reading the Bible and considering His truths are essential.
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The Christian life should have a rhythm--doing and resting, speaking and listening, giving and receiving.  The life of Jesus illustrates that perfect balance.
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Jesus and His message are inseparable.  He stands as the perfect embodiment of all He proclaimed and taught. His totally integrated life and ministry reflect His union with the Father.  His work, the expression of His life, is worship.
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Service in the kingdom consists not of isolated acts for the benefit of mankind, but of acts of obedience done for Him, in Him, because of who He is, and what He is like.

Likewise, solitude without service easily degenerates into self-absorption.  Time with the Lord must quicken us to our needy world, not provide a soothing insulation from it.  The natural fruit of looking at God is a heightened zeal and vigor to serve Him.  As we ponder His grace and love, we long to express our gratitude in acts of obedience and to communicate Him to others.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World (Part 2)

More highlights from Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World:

God directs us through His Word and His Holy Spirit.  They are our Director's (God) gracious provision for us. The Bible is God's most complete revelation of Himself to us.  Through it we grow in our understanding of what He is like, what He has done, what His plans are for the future, and what He wants from us.  If Christ is to be our Center, our Director, we must develop right notions of God and of ourselves, through His words to us.
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...His voice is quiet, and our spiritual ears must be trained to listen for His instruction and leading.  Before opening your Bible each morning, ask Him to teach you and make clear God's ways and will.
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Busyness isn't always the culprit.  Even in slack times, we can be so preoccupied that God can't get our attention.  Life becomes cluttered with too many options and competing interests.  Decisive living requires the selective burning of bridges.
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More tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Birthday Celebration

I had a wonderful day celebrating with friends and family.  A few of the lunch bunch ladies treated me to lunch at a nearby French restaurant.  Oh la la!  I had the quiche Lorraine and it was very good.  Better yet was the fellowship.

Then in the evening, our family (plus Jessica's beau, Anthony) all went to my favorite restaurant, Firebird's.  I love that place.  We had a nice time celebrating my birthday.  I was just happy to have everyone there.  With the kids' schedules and Michael being out of town a lot, it's hard to get us all together.

I am so thankful to the Lord for my family and what they mean to me.  As a mom, I didn't really need any presents except them!  As a wife, I am so happy that I married the man of my dreams!

Here's some pictures from the evening:

Anthony, Me, Jessica
Birthday cake!
Jared, Michael, Anthony
Julianne and Jared

Julianne, Me, Jared

Michael and me

All of us.  This is what makes me happy:  everyone together!

My present from Jessica (a beautiful picture from with pictures of her and Anthony, our family and his family
My present from Julianne (a drawing of my dad)
Close-Up of my Dad

Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World



One of the pages on this blog (well, the only page so far!) is my books to read.  I have been reading lately but not the books on my list.  I went through some of the books the other day and realized that a lot of  them have about 10 or less chapters in them.  If I read a chapter a day, I could finish a book in about 2 weeks!  So, every evening I've been going upstairs and reading one chapter.  The first book I'm reading is Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World.  I kind of thought this was going to be a "how to" one simplifying life but it's so much more.  The author, Jean Fleming, talks about focusing life, not simplifying it--or even balancing it--that that is key to truly Christ-centering living.  I have lots of things underlined so I won't share all of them but here's a few to encourage you.  I believe this book is out-of-print but you can still find it used online or perhaps at a used bookstore.
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The Apostle Paul's obvious center was Christ.  His writings never digress from Christ.  They ring with the steady, predictable hammer striking the anvil of life:  life is in Christ, of Christ, through Christ, by Christ, with Christ, for Christ, from Christ.  To live is Christ, and to die is more of Christ.  (Oh that this would be the center of my life also!!)
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[when going through trials or any event in our lives] ask only a few fundamental questions:  How can I know and experience more of Christ in this situation?  What does Jesus want me to do?  How can this situation bring Him glory and honor?
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Demonstrating our love for God through our obedience to  His direction is the surest indicator of His work in our life.
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The practice of spending time along with God has been called the Morning Watch, Personal Devotions, and the  Quiet Time.  By any name, it is essential to the focused life. Make God your Director by setting aside time each day to read the Bible and pray.
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More tomorrow...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Catching Up



It seems that September has flown by and here we are a few days away from October!  It still feels like summer here with temperatures in the 80's and the high humidity.  But...I looked at the forecast for the weekend and it's supposed to be cooler.  And today I'm seeing out my window something that has been missing for the past few weeks:  blue sky!!  We've had 7.27" of rain so far this month.  I wonder if our winter is going to be as wild as the rest of the year has been?
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One of the things that I have been working on is my household notebook.  Now that I'm no longer homeschooling and my schedule has changed, I needed to make a new one.  I'm using a mixture of Mom's Home Journal and The Intentional Planner.  I really like both of the forms in each of these!

I'm trying to hone my daily routines, meals, etc. since I am now at a different stage in my life.  I'm no longer homeschooling and have been devoting more time to what I call my "encouragement ministry".  I really enjoy talking with women about the Lord and His Word and how we can implement it in our every day lives.  I want to be able to do my work here in a timely manner so I can be available if needed but I don't want to neglect my family for other people!  It's a different time now as Michael is out of town a lot, Julianne is in college and Jared is working and in college.  Mealtimes are not always a sit down affair but I want to be able to provide good food no matter what the evening looks like.
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It seems on Sunday when I go to church that my week is pretty clear but by the time I go home, it's filled.  This week is no exception.  Tonight I'm meeting a friend for Bible study; tomorrow is our monthly Lunch Bunch, I'm getting my hair cut, and our whole family is going out to dinner to celebrate my birthday; Wednesday I'm babysitting for a friend (4 boys!) while she goes to the doctor; Thursday I have a dermatologist appointment; Friday some of the ladies at church are going to teach us non-knitters how to knit scarves.  We hoping to make 120 by December 6 in order to take them with us when we serve the homeless.  Saturday is my day to clean the church and that night a bunch of friends are getting together for a potluck/get-together to encourage a friend who will be undergoing breast cancer surgery soon.  And Sunday evening is the Third Day concert in Charlottesville.  But as Cheryl over at Copperswife says, I have learned to "hold my plans loosely".  To me that means to be prepared for God's appointments, which we call interruptions.  To be ready to minister to those in need.  I don't want to be so tied to my schedule  and my routine that I miss opportunities to serve.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bookmobile Memories


I like the above poster because it reminds me of going to elementary school in the early 60's.  It was such a simple time then!  Our school didn't have a library but we did have a bookmobile that came every week; at least I think it was every week.


I can remember lining up just like this and waiting to go into that wonderful bus.  It was filled with books!  Every week I would hurry up and pick out the books I wanted to read.  The reason I rushed was so I could have time to read the other books that were there.  One of my favorites was (and still is) The Little House.  Oh, I loved this story and would read it over and over!!  Others books that I liked were Harry the Dirty Dog and No Roses for Harry!  How fun these books were to read and I'm so glad they are still in print.  As my children were growing up, I was able to read these to them and they have come to love them as much as I do!


I remember the inside of it looking like this with all the shelves full of books and I would sit near the back, out of the way, so I could read, read, read!!  I don't know if there are still bookmobiles out there.  I hope so!  But if not, make sure you take your children to the library on a regular basis.  Cultivate in them a love of reading.
Now, go read a book!!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Weather News


Since August 24, we have had over 10" of rain in our area.  There are no longer any water restrictions!  The last two days we have had heavy downpours and thunderstorms but today was mostly sunny.  Thankfully, our area has not had the devastating floods like the Northeast.

I'm looking forward to the cooler weather and the things I love:  sweaters, soups and stews, the beautiful autumn foliage, warm days and crisp evenings, and sleeping with the windows open. It shouldn't be too long before a good cold front comes through and gets rid of all this humidity.

Since the weather has been so crazy lately, my husband is looking into getting a generator.  Hurricane season still has two months to go and then winter.  Our area is right on the rain/snow line so we get a lot of freezing rain and sometimes ice.  We haven't had a bad storm in a long time but this winter might be different.

I found some puzzles on clearance the other day and hope to work on those this coming season.  I also like to work on my embroidery!  In a few weeks some of the ladies at church are going to teach a knitting class. We want to make 120 scarves to give to the homeless.  I hope I can knit one or two...I'm not sure how easy it is to learn to knit!!

Even during these times of uncertain weather, it's comforting to know that God is still in control.  From Trusting God:

Whether the weather is nice or bad, we are never the victims or even the beneficiaries of the impersonal powers of nature.  God, who is the loving heavenly Father of every true Christian, is sovereign over the weather, and He exercises that sovereignty moment by moment.

Thank You, Lord, for Your sovereign control over every area of our lives!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hurricane Debris

Hurricane Irene didn't do much damage to our yard; just branches and leaves everywhere.  We were without power for two days, which is nothing!  Several friends were without it for a week or more.  

We ended up spending one night at a friend's house.  It was so nice to have a warm meal (that wasn't fast food) and to sleep in the a/c.  Little things do matter.  

Two men from church came last week and took away all the debris I had raked together.  That was such a blessing and I know it was to Michael also.  He came home on Monday from 10 days in Honduras and I wanted to have the yard all clean for him.

The morning after the storm

Our backyard yard

After I cleaned up!

Excellent Deal!!

I read (actually listened) to this book last year and it is excellent.  Now it is on sale for $1.99 for the Kindle.  Remember you don't need a Kindle device to read it.  You can download the Kindle app to your computer, laptop, phone, etc.

Here's the link:


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane

It seems while all of Richmond was talking about the earthquake Hurricane Irene was headed our way.  It was supposed to pass east of us and we were only going to get rain.  Ha!  It turned out that the Central VA area actually got worse winds that Virginia Beach.  Our power went out at 5 pm on Friday and it just came back on tonight.

I will have pictures to post tomorrow but we are all safe and happy to have electricity again!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unusual Day


Yesterday at 1:51 pm while I was in an art store buying supplies for Julianne the ground began to shake...and it kept shaking.  The clerk and I looked at each other and I said, "This is an earthquake"; we then walked out of  the store along with everyone inside.  (Which I hear from my CA friends is a no-no, but what do we know here??)  It was a little disconcerting; I mean, the ground shook a lot to the point where stuff was moving on the walls and a few things came off the shelves.  

The worst part was that cell service was completely out and I couldn't get in touch with Michael or the kids.  It took about 45 minutes to get through and for me to find out that everyone was safe!!   What is really strange to me is that we have had 3 aftershocks, though I only felt one of them.  I associate those with large earthquakes but apparently they happen after any kind of quake.

As the news winds down about the earthquake, we are preparing for Hurricane Irene to possibly come near our area. Last I heard, it was heading mostly east so we might only get rain...which we need.  Oh, and today you can sometimes smell the smoke from the Great Dismal Swamp fires.  These are strange times, indeed!!

I have seen some good verses posted after the earthquake but the one I posted on my FB wall was this:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  (Psalm 46:1-3)
The earth might shake but God is ever-present.  What a comforting thought!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God is Faithful...

...even when I am not.  That fact was made clear to me (again) last Tuesday morning.  The first Tuesday of every month our church serves a homeless meal at another church in the city.  We have four teams, made up of 5 people, who serve on a rotating basis.  This month was not my rotation but I was filling in for someone else.  On Monday night I received an email from the team leader telling me that they were going to be shorthanded.

Did I take a moment and pray about it?  No, I immediately started thinking what "I" could do to fix the situation. I sent out an e-mail to a bunch of people asking for volunteers.  When I woke up the next morning and checked my messages...nothing.  Did I pray about it?  No!  Again, I started making plans...thinking that "I" had to fix this!

But God is faithful...always.  I went ahead and drove to the church thinking that we were going to have to do this with just 3 people.  But while we were in the middle of preparing our meal, I get a call from a member of our church, Barry.  He heard we needed someone to help and he was on his way!  Earlier I had mentioned my plight to my husband, who "happened" to mention it to our church secretary, and Barry just "happened" to stop by church and heard about it.  God was (and still is) in control.  He was planning this all along for my good and His glory.  He showed Himself faithful and true.  He showed me that He is sovereign.  He showed me that I can't do anything without Him.

Lord, help me to turn to you first whenever I need help and not to rely on my own strength.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Gone!

I had decided to put all my vacation pictures onto a separate page but I messed something up and they all disappeared so I will have to try again...but not this week!

I am on the "craft team" for our upcoming VBS and we have been busy preparing all the crafts.  This week we have two prep days plus all the stuff I'm doing at home.  I am taking this material:


and cutting it into these squares--ALL the material!!


Thankfully I have a rotary cutter and the material is thin so I can layer it.  I have about another hours' worth of cutting to do!!

Besides the two VBS prep meetings, I am feeding the homeless tomorrow and going to our church's baptism in the evening.  Wednesday I'm getting my hair cut and prep meeting that evening.  Thursday during the day I am free and will probably do chores but Thursday night we have a deacon's meeting.  Friday the exterminator is coming over because I keep seeing ants in my kitchen and Friday night I'm going out to dinner with a friend.  Whew!

My weeks are not normally like that; it just happened that everything fell into place this week!  I'm thankful that my days and weeks are usually much quieter.
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I have been having trouble with my eyes not focusing well for close-up reading when I first wake up.  I like to do my devotions in the morning and it has been very hard to do that.  This morning I started listening to John MacArthur's sermon series on Philippians on my iPhone.  I think this solution will work very well!
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My girlfriend, Trish, and I signed up to go The Gospel Coalition's 2012 Women's Conference.  We're so excited.  I'll be able to fly down using the vouchers I got when our flight was twice-bumped coming back from my sister's in NV.  Can you imagine a whole weekend with all those wonderful speakers?  I know the Lord will have a lot in store for me!
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That's about all from here.  It has been thundering for about two hours now but no rain.  I know a lot of the country is in a similar situation.  We need relief from this heat and help for our plants!  I hope you all are able to stay cool wherever you are!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Finally!

Julianne and I at the Grand Canyon
I finally upload our vacation pictures onto my computer.  Whoo Hoo!  I'm not sure when I'll get them organized but at least they are out of my camera.  Perhaps tonight I'll have a chance to work on them.

In the meantime, above is a preview!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ogranizing!!

It was a busy week and started off a little stressful because of Julianne's classes at college.  She did get the English class she needed and at the time she needed so it has all worked out.  We're so thankful!!  Julianne starts her classes on August 22nd (Jessica's 25th birthday).  I now have three children in college.  How crazy is that?

This past week's project was the pantry and it is complete.  I emptied everything out, cleaned, discarded, etc. and now it is all organized.  I use this planner to inventory everything.  Hopefully now I won't end up with 8 cans of cream of potato soup...which I discovered I had.  I also dated each item so I can use them before they expire.

Here's what it looked like before (click to see larger):



And after:


It is such a feeling of accomplishment to get that room organized.  On my way to church this morning, I looked in and admired it.  Haha!!  

This week:  kitchen cabinets!