Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's a New Year! (almost)


"We will open the book. It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and it's first chapter is New Year's Day."


Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It is Christmas every time
you let God love others
through you. . .

Mother Theresa

Only Two More Days~

This is a reminder to myself that if and when I feel over stressed this holiday season,

I promise to stop, take a deep breath, and say to myself the words, "everything in love". If love is my focus, it brings a peace to my heart and things seem to come into focus. (at least it's worked before!)


Look to the LORD and his strength,

seek his face always.


Psalm 105:4

May the Lord bless your families this Christmas season.
May He hold you in the palm of His hand.


Monday, December 21, 2009

the Christmas spirit... are you lacking?

The Christmas spirit. . . .


I've been thinking alot on this lately, what it is exactly, is it the same for all? When I was young, I always waited for it.  I waited on that warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by Christmas lights and cookies baking in the oven and decorating the tree. I didn't give it alot of thought back then. I always knew it would arrive just in time to go out and buy presents. Some years it was Christmas Eve before I felt moved to go buy presents for my family. No worries...life was simpler then. 


Christmas can be a hard time for those who are lacking. Lacking in anything really~ family, friends, time, money . . .As I've grown older, a panic sets in at times, realizing I'm responsible for my family's Christmas and feeling inadequate.


Just a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the commercials on tv with increased cynicism. I found myself wondering who was behind all of this commercialism anyway. The baby Jesus was born in a simple barn, with hay for his bed. How does buying the latest gadget for our loved ones celebrate his birth? I felt no Christmas spirit. In fact with $4.49 in the bank to last another 4 days until payday I was seriously considering celebrating Christmas with no gifts.  I was reading up about others who had accomplished this successfully and I was trying to come up with creative ideas for other things we could do. I felt peace in God's provision, but for the most part I was feeling very lacking. Lacking financially, and most of all, lacking in the Christmas spirit.


I'm sharing this only because maybe you have felt the same.  I woke up the next morning and I had a message that one of my photos had sold. That was my first little encouragement that God hadn't forgotten about me! Then a couple of days later came more totally unexpected blessings that only God could have sent. I then had to reconcile my latest blessings with my recent thinking. The Christmas spirit was beginning to take over! I entered into that crazy crowd of people looking for just the right gift for their most special people. I didn't feel cynical, or hypocritical. I felt joy! Warm and fuzzy joy! It's Christmas!


"Where did this come from?", I analyzed. I felt God's love and His presence in my everyday doings. I felt peace and began to see things a little differently. Remember how we as children watched our parents prepare for Christmas and experienced the joy of opening our presents on Christmas morning. We in turn tried to imitate this gift giving in our small ways. Making gifts with paper, scissors, glue and glitter or going to the store and buying small gifts that felt like treasures in our small hands.


Well, isn't that what we're all doing at this wonderful season of the year? God gave us His son, His most precious gift. What were the wise men and the shepherd's reaction? They showered Him with gifts somehow sensing the treasure they had been given.


Yes, we will get caught up in a little bit of materialism, watching for the best prices and driving all over town for just the right color or size. We're merely children, giving to those we love, imitating our Father, who showers us with gifts. God sees us as we see our children. Running around trying to give back just as we have been given to.


So, give yourself the gift of Christmas. It's Ok! You don't have to spend a fortune that you don't have. Enter into the joy. The Christmas spirit will sneak up on you.  Remember that what we're lacking at this time of the year seems magnified, but also the blessings ~ the simple gifts  take on new and a greater meaning. Homemade goodies, hand made gifts, time with friends or your children. Take time for the simple things. Remember what a difference one day can make. Open your heart.

It occurrs to me, as I finish this, that all that I have and all that I am is because of that baby sleeping in the hay. Isn't that all that really matters?

Merry Christmas!


"God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,


He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.


His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.


This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. "


2 Corinthians 9:8-11
 
(Now go read my friend's The Bus Stop. I guess great minds think alike!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!! We'll be headed to Oklahoma this afternoon. I've been enjoying getting my house in order and baking lots of banana bread.
I always wonder how the days know how to "look" just like Thanksgiving time. The air is crisp, the sun is shining brightly, the leaves and pecans are on the ground. . .
Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go!
Love to all!

Monday, November 2, 2009

today

I'm at home today with a "code in my dose". The sun is shining beautifully outside. I've been wishing for a whole day to spend at home to catch up on laundry and clutter but now that I'm home for a day I don't feel like doin' nuthin'!
~
Oh well. I guess we all need "nothing" days now and then. Maybe I'll go try to read a book and take a nap.
~
Hope you all are enjoying this November day!
A..a...a...a...Chooo!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Devotional

Here we go again! (I like to repost this from time to time as a reminder of where I've been and where I am going).

If you are a single mom, regardless of the path that brought you here, this is for you..so you can know that you do not have to walk alone.

For all of the women who share the role of single mom, including me, we belong to a very large group of women who share the same heart, the same struggles and the same needs.


In learning how to be single, sometimes we attempt to attach ourselves to another human being, hoping they will be able to meet our deepest needs and heal our hurts. We miss the feeling that we are part of a whole. In our “neediness” we think another human being might hold the answer. So we reach out to relationships that only pull us farther away from where we need to be and bring more hurt into our lives.

The most important truth I can share with you is this. . .

There is someone who I have fallen in love with. I am committed to Him and love Him with all my heart. I am not alone anymore. He meets every need I could ever have. He never leaves my side. He is faithful. He is strong enough to protect and provide for my children and myself. Spending time with Him every day has become my greatest joy. I have learned that I can trust Him in any situation. Regardless of how impossible the world may see my plight, He can bring blessing from it. He has shown me that the greatest blessings in my life have come from my greatest difficulties.

He is my God and my Savior Jesus Christ. He loves me. He loves you. There is nothing we have done or will do that can change that love. We have made mistakes, we have made wrong choices. Those we loved have made mistakes and wrong choices. These do not limit God and His power to restore. His grace and mercy are greater than our weakness. For it is in our greatest struggles that we see Christ. Only His pain on the cross is enough to save us from our greatest pain.

When we get to the place in our lives when there is no one else, no place else to go, nothing left to believe, Jesus is there waiting. His arms are stretched out to us in love and forgiveness. We can find Jesus in His Word, in the books we read, in the music we listen to, and always in our heart. I found that after years of wondering if I could ever be welcomed back into God's arms, I was the one who had looked away. All I had to do was look to Him. My eyes met His and He was right there with me. No human being could ever be as close.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Romans 8:1

We Do Need People

Hi all,

Everytime I read my devotional for single moms (devotion of a single mom) I feel like something is missing. When I say that we don't need another human being, I mean that we can't look to another person to fix us and I'm referring to romantic relationships. Because the truth is, God created us to need other people. We need to be around strong women who depend on their faith daily and who have been through what we're going through. We need our families. We need to spend time talking with women who need our help in facing the struggles they're in.

We do need each other. So don't isolate yourself as you live life as a single mom. We were never meant to live in isolation. It's easier to be strong when we have people to hold us accountable. Find a Bible Study for women or single parents and you'll find out you aren't alone out there. Find a singles class who like to do fun things together and include the kids.

Life as a single parent does have it's difficulties, but it has it's joys and triumphs too. Remember the definition of courage: doing something in spite of being afraid. It's not the absence of fear, but acting through your fear. When you get to the other side you'll be a stronger, more courageous person! It's really rather exhilarating!

(and then maybe someday . . . a long way down the road. . .or maybe not. . .whatever God has in mind.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back to Nature




~

We did have a great camping trip. Complete with tree climbing, swimming in the river, hiking, all the things a boy needs from time to time. For Mom, sitting back, listening to the locusts and crickets and birds, sleeping in a tent, just being surrounded by the healing power of nature. It's always surprising how a little time soaking up God's creation can calm and help to erase the little daily stresses and even the big ones. We had a little more warmth and sunshine than expected but overall we had a great time.
~
The evening we returned home, we watched the PBS special about our National Parks. My camping confidence renewed, we made plans to camp more often and see more of the natural beauty both nearby and far away someday. The show talked about how real God's presence is felt and the healing to our mind and spirit we experience when surrounded by nature. I had to agree!
~
We came home with a second walking stick so I now have my own for our next hike. Those things come in handy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's the Weekend!

We're getting packed up to go camping tomorrow morning early. My son is bringing a friend he's known for 10 years and we're meeting my class from church. We'll be sleeping in tents and cooking outside and fishing and hiking. I'm looking forward to the quietness of nature. We're going to Dinosaur Valley State Park. There's a Creation Evidence Museum next door that I've always wanted to visit, so maybe we'll get to this time.

They have a river you can cross on foot. First you have to take off your shoes and socks and step over the rocks through the cool water. It's lots of fun! This photo was taken a few years ago. I'll share new pictures when we get back home.
I hope you all have a great weekend. I plan to enjoy my two days off! Yippee!




Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My heart this morning

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Psalm 42:1-2
This is my heart this morning. I've got to run and get ready for work.
Blessings to all who stop by!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Trust in the Lord

Trust God from the bottom of your heart,
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go
He's the one who will keep you on track.
~
Proverbs 3:5-6
~
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
~
You know, sometimes life doesn't make sense. Sometimes we feel a burden we can't carry on our own. Sometimes we feel that we're being asked to do something that is more than we are capable of. Even when we can't see what God is doing, we trust. We won't try to understand, we will simply look to God and listen for Him everywhere we go and in everything we do.
~
My heart trusts in you, Lord. I'm listening.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I wanna be good!

The sweet children in my classroom are already teaching me lessons in faith and in life.
~
There is a little boy who when he realizes he's gotten off track and said or done something impulsively, something he knows he shouldn't have, he looks up at me with big eyes and says " was that mean?" "I don't wanna be bad", " I be good", " I wanna be good!", or some variation of that. I look him in the eyes and tell him "you are good" and get back to the lesson at hand. Sometimes it takes reassuring him more than once.
~
Last night I found myself praying about a situation and my heart was yearning, speaking to God with the same words, realizing my own foolishness, "I wanna be good, I wanna do right and listen to you, Lord" and in the silence I heard it. My own words echoing back to me. I heard God saying back to me "you are good. You are loved."
~
Thank you Lord for being there always.
~
"Never will I leave you
never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Little Willow






Bend, little willow
Wind's gonna blow you
Hard and cold tonight
Life, as it happens
Nobody warns you
Willow, hold on tight
.Nothing's gonna shake your love
Take your love away
No one's out to break your heart
It only seems that way...hey
Sleep little willow
Peace gonna follow
Time will heal your wounds
Grow to the heavens
Now and forever
Always came too soon.
Little willow
Nothing's gonna shake your love
Take your love away
No one's out to break your heart
It only seems that way...hey
Bend, little willow
Wind's gonna blow you
Hard and cold tonight
Life, as it happens
Nobody warns you
Willow, hold on tight
.Ahhh, little willow

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New days and blessings

Gee, it's been a long time since I have written! I've been missing all of you out there in blogland! It's been a busy time around here, moving my daughter off to college, getting my son ready to start 7th grade, beginning my new job, getting used to an emptier nest, enjoying my daughter's first visit back home for the weekend, and the start of school.



I love the sweet children in my class at the middle school. I'm a teacher's assistant in a classroom of 9 children with varied disabilities. The challenge right now is to discover what each child is capable of learning and what they already know. They are all such characters and completely unpredictable.



While I'm so thankful for God's provision for my daughter to go away to college, (for me that part is a pure miracle) I find myself asking Him to give her the strength to face feeling homesick at times and that she will find friendship that she is missing right now.



I'm thankful for my two jobs and for that regular paycheck that will start arriving September 15. I'm counting the days!



I'm thankful for my 25 year old son who is now living and working in Denver, Colorado. He is in the perfect job for a young man who loves adventure and is great working with people. He sells roofs to homeowners who live in areas damaged by severe storms. So in the past few years he's had the opportunity to live in in Orlando Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Austin and now Denver. I'm so proud of him and his success.



I'm thankful for my 23 year old daughter who lives nearby and is patiently waiting for that marriage proposal. (Pray with me on that one) I won't be surprised if one day she just up and goes to law school and advances in politics. I'm very proud of the gracious young lady she is becoming.



I'm even thankful for my puppy who finds a new shoe to destroy every day!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Whirlwind

Wow, what a week we've had and it's not over yet! I've seen God's hand at work in so many ways, just in the working together of the details and providing what was needed at the time. One week ago today, I sent Chad off to church camp for a week. Because Shannon had to be at Oklahoma State on Monday morning for sorority recruitment week, he went to stay at his older sister Suzannah's house on Sunday. He got to go fishing and swimming and then on Monday morning she drove him to church to catch the bus to camp!

In the meantime, we drove up to Stillwater, Oklahoma so that Shannon could be there bright and early Monday morning. The girls are staying in the dorm she will be in permanently so she actually got her permanent room assignment for this week too. Then I drove back home in time to celebrate Suzannah's 23rd birthday Tuesday. I then had a few days of empty nesting and working. I received a few heart wrenching phone calls from my homesick daughter but she made it through the week and had alot of fun.

Friday, the buses arrived with the church camp kids. My son had a wonderful week and couldn't wait to introduce me to the new friends he made. He can't wait until Sunday now. That's cool! Answered prayers there!

We drove back up to Stillwater yesterday, and after dropping Chad and our little dog Oscar off at Grandma and Grandpa's, I met up with Shannon to see her new sorority house and celebrate with her. I wasn't in one in college so this is all new to me. Since she's going off to another state without any of her friends from home, I'm praying this will give her a good place to belong. Because the week wasn't an easy one for her and the decisions were really difficult, this was a faith building time for her. She prayed that God would put her in the sorority that He wanted her in, that she was supposed to be in. When she received her invitation it was obvious to her and all who had been praying with her, that her prayers were answered. The house even has a beautiful little prayer room in it. Her aunt and cousin shared in the day with us and it just felt like a blessed day all around.

We left Chad with his grandparents for a few days and drove back home late last night. Today, I had the special treat of spending the afternoon with BOTH of my girls. We went antique shopping and just looking and had wonderful, rare girl time. It was especially special since Shannon is leaving this week to move into her dorm and get settled in for school to start next week on Monday.

Life is full of changes and new beginnings. I've seen God's hand rescue me and just give me the strength I needed for the moment many times this week. I've seen Him work in my kids lives. I've seen Him stretch time and money to get us where we needed to be.

Trust in the LORD and do good.
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.

Psalm 37:3-7

Thank you, Lord. Our days are in your hands.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice,
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:3
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone,
my hope comes from Him.
Psalm 62:5

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Grandma's House

My Grandma loved her church.


She loved welcoming us into her home in the country, standing at her blue painted front door, graciously giving out hugs and "I wuv u's" to all of us grandkids. I haven't stepped inside her home for several years. When she moved into the nursing home, my mom and uncle were able to sell her house to eight members of my Grandma's church. They rented it to various tenants.

My Grandma's house was situated on acres of Oklahoma farmland. It was beautiful to this Oklahoma girl's eyes. There were chicken coops, hay barns, water troughs, a windmill, bird houses, red clay creekbeds winding for miles it seemed, leading to treasure troves of antique finds, acres of pastureland to explore. . . heaven on earth for this city girl and her little brother. Breakfasts of musk melon and toast with sorghum molasses, long summer walks with my Grandma through pastures to find treasures, old glass bottles or tools, we never knew what we might happen upon. Climbing down the steps into the damp basement to help with weighing eggs, or canning. Dinners of fried okra, sleeping upstairs with the windows open, watching and listening for the birds as the sun came up.

One of her bibles, with her name inscribed on the front, has been my treasure since she passed away several years ago. I'm always finding words she had written alongside and verses underlined. The embroidered birds I shared with you in a previous post were lovingly stitched by her hands.

We were in Oklahoma for a family reunion yesterday. On the way home, I decided to drive by my Grandma's house. I knew she gave some of her land to her church. I didn't realize they had already completed their new building across the pasture from her home. All of the creek beds were leveled and the trees were gone. The barns and windmill had disappeared as if some hand had brushed over the surface of the land. On a whim, I turned into her driveway. There was a man there removing the garage door. "They're tearing the house down tomorrow, so they wanted me to remove the door today", he says as we approach. Evidently black mold has made the home unlivable and so the church has decided to tear it down to build a parking lot.

It was like stepping into a moment in time that was meant to be. Walking into her home still filled with memories and love, tears filled my eyes as I ran my hand over the walls and doorways, remembering days and moments, sights and smells. I watched my own kids look around with awe, the realization of the history and meaning our memories held shining in their eyes. Members of the church had already removed all of the glass doorknobs. Dust and cobwebs filled the window sills and corners. Upstairs we found sloppily painted purple walls, and a poem painted into the closet where as children, we had played with the same antique toys enjoyed by my mom and uncle, left for a new generation of kids to discover.

Wanting to take something of these long lost memories with us to hold and keep, we were able to remove some handles from her cabinets, a window from the front door, and two beautiful solid wood doors. I know my Grandma would love the fact that people from miles around are worshiping God on her land. I know she isn't holding onto her home any longer. It's not needed where she is, but my heart still aches a little as I let go of it today.

My grandma loved her church. I hope the church treasures her gift for generations to come. (They'd better. I wonder how long this parking lot has been planned? Sorry, just the cynic coming out in me.)

p.s. Can you believe I forgot to take a picture? When I find an old one to scan I'll add it here!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Rain

We arrived home from church today just in time to enjoy a little rain and thunder. Very refreshing, perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

video

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Walk in July

The quiet morning drew me outside to spend some time walking and contemplating. There was enough of a breeze to breathe coolness into the start of the day!

Beautiful Texas Bluebonnets, right in my own flowerbed!
We bought the seeds as souvineers on a trip in the spring and they finally bloomed~



This little guy scampered along with me for awhile~
I was finally able to capture him with my close up setting. He's found a nut of some kind~


He scampered up a tree and is enjoying his find~



Bright eyed and bushy tailed~!



Beautiful Sunflowers this morning along the way!



And another. . .


Wow! What a Sunflower!


My huge Cottonwood tree towers over my rooftop. Even though some people think it doesn't count because it's just a Cottonwood, I love my tree!




Moss roses in my flower pot. I'm still enjoying this macro photography thing!
Have a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rest and Trust

I'll be heading off to work here in a little while. I've watered my flowers and enjoyed my coffee. Just wanted to wish you all a happy day and that God will be with you in all you do. I found myself caught up in striving and stressing over my job situation or lack of, yesterday, exhausted mentally and emotionally from looking for a second job. (I have a part time job this summer, and a job lined up for fall, but that's a month away). Until I saw myself and realized how silly I was being. God is in control, no matter what it looks like to us. Trust. That's my word for today. Rest and trust.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him

Psalm 37:7

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shadows




Today is my son's 13th birthday! But, since he and his friends are still sleeping, I thought I'd sneak in a quick post. The Brenda Photo Challenge this time is on Shadows.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Watch for the Unexpected Miracles!

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.
I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.
All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing.
These days have been filled with joys and blessings, God showing me His answers to my long sought after prayers, and moments of pure panic. When I'm reacting to a situation with worry and fear, then I'm not trusting in God's provision and presence. Regardless of how things may appear, I can know with confidence that God holds my hand. Even though there is no fruit on the vines, and no blossom on the fig tree, God will be my strength. He will give me the ability to walk and climb in the steep places.
God's answers are not always, or usually, what we expect. But they fit into God's picture He is creating in our lives. Sometimes I'm so busy looking for what I was expecting that I miss the miracles God is providing!
"The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The reason is these animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see". . .(God's Plan for My Life, Living by Faith by Cooper Abrams)
If I didnt' have times of need in my life, I wouldn't have moments of realization and reflection like this. God wants me to draw near to Him and when I do, He comforts me and gives me the strength and faith to take the next step (or leap!)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As for us, we will walk
In the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.

Micah 3:9

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1
If I remain for a time in a position of being covered and protected by God, the Most High, then, I will continue in the place of His reflected image. Just my own late night attempt at paraphrasing. I started out my day memorizing and repeating this verse in my head, over and over. So, I guess it's right that I end my day thinking on the same words. I looked up the definitions of the words in Webster's, trying to find a way of making them more clear, more alive.
I like this one too.
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8
Goodnight All!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

PHOTO CHALLENGE MACRO

Good Saturday Mornin' to ya!
Welcome to "Get Up Close, Using Macro", our new Brenda Photo Challenge for today hosted by none other than Janice at Butterfly Gardens! Join me in visiting all of the participants and viewing their gorgeous UP CLOSE photos! I've decided I need to start using my old Nikon 35mm. I did capture a few in focus, but the cool breeze we have this morning kept things moving!

An old chain hanging from something outside the old, unused backdoor into the garage that we never use. I liked how the grain on the door is sharp under the actual chain and fades softer under the shadow.


No, this isn't my silhouette! However it looks like it could easily be! This is a dried leaf, sitting on my deck, one side curled over itself.

Can you guess which is the bush, and which is the vine that is taking over! It's taking over everything! We didn't have vines that this in Oklahoma!




How about Jack and the Beanstalk? An upclose look at the twists and turns of the vine as it takes over another unsuspecting victim.



And, finally a flower! I didn't have much luck with flowers today.
Have a great Saturday! I'm off to find some special treats for breakfast!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Strange Day Indeed


This is the moment when I wish I had a British accent and a mustache I could twirl. If I did, I would say, while twirling my mustache and peering over my spectacles, "this has been a strange day. Yes, by george, a strange day indeed!"

~
Seriously, though, I needed to inject some humor into this day, if only for myself! This morning started out fairly normally until the UPS man showed up on my front porch. An unexpected UPS envelope was left outside of my door because of the barking of my dogs inside of the door. So...I picked up this very thin envelope and read the senders information. Hmmm, no one I know. From California. . . I open the envelope and lo and behold. Three, count them 3, USPS money orders, each for $975.25 each. My first thought was "Lord"? Nah. Couldn't be. My second thought was, "I'd better start investigating this." I noticed upon closer inspection that the name and address signed on the money orders was different than the return address of the sender on the envelope. *Aha. First clue.
  • I sat down at my trusty computer and did a search for the sender's name. Nothing. Then I tried doing a reverse lookup search using only the address. Voila! A different name attached to the address with a phone number. I dialed the number while my son stood by my side. . . A lady answered. I said to her, " Hi. You're going to think this is strange, but do you know someone by the name of __ _____? She said, "Well, first of all, no it isn't strange at all. And second, no I don't know anyone by that name, but you're not the first one to call and ask me that question. She then began a 30 minute recounting of everything she knew, which did NOT include how and why this person would have her address and be using it to send unsuspecting people all over the country either checks or money orders. She had received a call from a lady in Tennessee and from a man in Florida. She has also gotten to know her local UPS person on a first name basis, and they keep anything returned to this name and her address in their "fraud file" to investigate further. She said that no one had been able to figure out how this person got their name and address and why they would send this to them. She had seen a report on some news show about a scam where the crooks want you to deposit the checks into your bank and then they are able to see your bank and account information and empty out your accounts! Egads! She proceeded to give me the police report # she has filed at her county sheriff's department.

  • After hanging up the phone I received 3 phone calls from an "unknown" source. All 3 were some man with a very heavy foreign accent trying to tell me something I couldn't understand a word of.
  • Next, I received an email, telling me they were glad I had received my package and would I please follow my instructions and do as I was told.
  • What instructions? It was then I discovered I had indeed been sent an email at 10:30 pm last night telling me what to do with the money. Help! I was to forward it to somebody in the UK by Western Union and give them the confirmation # afterwards. But I didn't do it.
I'm too smart for that I said to myself. I would never fall for anything so sinister. Then some of the wording in his email started to click, sounding vaguely familiar. Oh boy. Am I an idiot. I know better than that. How could I be so stupid? About a week ago, I received an email from a Secret Shopper company wanting me to be a mystery shopper for them. I had tried to sign up about a year ago to do something like this, so I thought, well good, that would be fun to do! So, I sent them back all of my information. Aha. There it is. That's how they found me. In fact, in the original secret shopper email, they promised me a 200.00 fee for completing my assignments. And in the email I received today, they told me to keep 200.00 and forward the rest to them.
  • To make a long story a little bit longer, I printed off all of the emails. I have them in the UPS envelope with the money orders. I have also saved all of my phone messages from this criminal. I'm thinking the money orders are stolen probably from the USPS. So, I think I'll contact them first.

I hope this is the end of it. But all day, I felt so creepy. Like someone was spying on me, or worse, trying to take something valuable from me.

  • I proceeded to my 1:00 job interview at a well known coffee shop and will find out Monday if I will be working there for the rest of the summer.


  • I went to work at my job this evening and when I got home, my daughter called me asking if I had seen her wallet. We then embarked on a heartrending search for her wallet, which contained many, many valuable items. My heart was breaking for her and me both. I drove back through the gas station, where she remembered using it last. I retraced her drive watching along all of the curbs and in the grass on the corners. I got out and actually looked in all of the trash cans at the gas station and on the top of all the gas pumps, while customers looked at me like I was a suspicious character! Can you imagine!! My daughter called her bank and reported her card missing. I drove on back home, remembering that her address was on her DL and maybe, just maybe, as I fervently, fearfully, prayed, that the person finding the wallet, would be a kind, honest sort and would find our phone number.

  • I was home not very long when the phone wrang. rang, I mean. It was a very young sounding young man, who asked if I was my daughter? I said "no, but this is her mom!(with every hope in my heart)" He said, well, I think I found your daughter's wallet. " I wished I could have reached through that phone and hugged that boy. I told him "Bless you! Oh Bless You!" He offered to meet us at a local elementary school parking lot to give it back. He had found it at the gas station. I can't describe to you, the renewed faith this gave to me! I had been calling this day a stinky, awful, stressed out day. And within seconds, I was praising God and telling this boy"God bless you!".

So, my daughter's wallet was returned with everything still intact. I'm so thankful. And, I think we both learned valuable lessons today.
  • I forgot to mention, at some time this morning, running out of breakfast cereal and the fighting between siblings and parent that ensued and as a result, my son storming off on his bicycle while I'm worrying myself silly over him. Then, hugs and forgiveness afterwards. Oh, my. No wonder I'm tired.

  • Well, I couldn't waste a crazy day like this. I hate to admit my foolishness in such a matter, but let it be a warning to all!

  • Oh, did I mention I got soap in my eye while showering to get ready for my job interview? Oh, never mind.
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise." 1 Corinthians 3:18

  • Oh, shoot. I hear strange noises out in my garage! Will this day never end? I hope it's the neighborhood cat. Sigh. . . .


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

new growth





One of the perks of not working full time at the moment, is I have ttttiiiiimmmmeeee to read and reflect that I didn't always have before. In reading the post about pruning on The Master's Artist blog, I remembered my old rose bush that I trimmed way back earlier in the spring. It was here when we moved into this house a little over 10 years ago. It had grown to be as tall as the house itself and was looking very woody and dead in some places. So, I trimmed it back, as far as my clippers would allow and sort of forgot about it since it's towards the back, on the side of my house.
*
The amazing thing about it is, new green growth is growing out of what looked to be dead, and the roses are a bright pink color instead of the deep, dark red they were before! Even they are expressing the newness of new life.
*
Maybe that's what I'm experiencing in this in between time. Maybe this is a time to be open to newness, new color, new growth, new ideas. . . For some reason, worry about money hasn't hit me yet. I'm just more aware of God being in the details, details I see in the beauty of creation around me, details in creating and accepting what I have been given to create, and the joy in all of that. I think it's a kind of healing for me. I can certainly use all of that I can get!
*
Well, my dogs can't decide whether to play or take a nap. I think they've decided on the nap. I just put my tea bags in for some fresh brewed iced tea for today, my daughter's still asleep, my son's not home yet from his sleepover, I've emptied the dishwasher, and I'm soaking up the quietness of the morning. Love to you all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweet Lamb of God

Lamb of God

Your only Son, no sin to hide

but you have sent Him from your side

to walk upon this guilty sod

and to become the Lamb of God.

~

Your gift of love they crucified

they laughed and scorned Him

as He died

the Humble King

they named a fraud

and sacrificed the Lamb of God.

~

O Lamb of God sweet Lamb of God

I love the holy Lamb of God

O wash me in your precious blood

my Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.

~

I was so lost I should have died

but you have brought me to your side

to be lead by your staff and rod

and to be called a lamb of God.

~

O Lamb of God sweet Lamb of God

I love the holy Lamb of God

O wash me in your precious blood

'til I am just a lamb of God.

I woke up in the night singing this song over and over. When I woke up this morning, I was still singing this song. I'm not sure where it came from, well, yes I do. It's very comforting. I didn't know all of the words, so I was just sort of humming the tune in my head. I've been searching for a beautiful version of it to share, and this is the best I've found. I love being able to read all of the words too. Karen over at Loved and Engraved gave me the idea. Maybe we could have a classic hymn sharing blog theme. (or something like that). Anyway, sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.

(*A beautiful arrangement of the Christian hymn "Lamb of God" played on my Abell D Irish Whistle, the same one that Sir James Galway plays on The Lord of the Rings. Accompaniment CD is from a book available online. Flutemark)

Monday, June 15, 2009

No Fear in Love

There is no fear in love,
but perfect love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
1 John 4:17-19
Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14
So, it occurrs to me, that if I am living my days in the presence of God, who is love, that my fears will diminish, and love will increase. I'm reading a book by Jan Karon called " Home to Holly Springs". It fills me with the sense that God is in the details of my life. If that is true, then the details take on new meaning. I have tended to skip over the details, because the big picture is what matters. However, the big picture is made up of all of the details. If I take care of the details, then the big picture will take care of itself. (I think). I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I'm learning to trust that God will help me with the details that I'm afraid of, and if He cares about the details, then they aren't so overwhelming to me. The big picture is too big for me to take care of, anyway. I think I'll trust Him with that. Jan Karon's books are precious. Her characters often refer to "praying the prayer that never fails". And that is my prayer today, for your day and mine.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sing Out Loud

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can do only a little. Do what you can."

***

Anyway

* * *
You can spend your whole life buildin'
Somethin' from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

*

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

*
God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anywayI do it anyway

*

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

*

(Repeat Chorus)

You can pour your soul out singin'
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway

*

I sing
I dream
I love anyway

*

Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren

*Sydney Smith

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Know This Love

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!


Ephesians 3:16-21

This is my prayer for you today!~and for me, for all of us!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Do Re Mi

This video is so much fun. I just found it on facebook. Maybe you've already seen it, but if not I hope you enjoy it! It made me smile :)

Sunshine on My Shoulders

There are songs that are so woven into our memories and days that they become a part of us. This is one of those songs. Written in the early 1970's, it was one that I learned to play on my acoustic Yamaha guitar. (I even had a dream once that I married John Denver).

I'm enjoying a quiet, peaceful afternoon. Mowing my yard, thinking back over this past week, planning my flower beds in my mind, thanking God for His wonderful blessings, of sitting beside my daughter in church this morning, taking communion, of friends and fellowship, and knowing that my God is greater than can be imagined.

The sunshine is shining on my shoulders today as I work outside and I wish you the warmth of sunshine on your shoulders today, too!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I love this subject for our new Brenda Photo Challenge hosted by Karen at Loved and Engraved. This has been a busy week, but I like the fact that God is reminding me to remember the beauty of what He is accomplishing around me.
This is a beautiful sight to all proud parents who only have
eyes for one of the 1200 high school graduates. My eyes were glued on the 19th row, 7th student in from the right side. Her expression says it all! The day finally arrived! Yeah!


My amazing 12 year old son graduated from 6th grade and my wonderful parents were able to be here to share the excitement of both graduations and the beauty of new beginnings and looking to the future!
"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, June 1, 2009

Seek Him

Seek the Lord and His strength,
Seek His face continually.
Psalm 105:4

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm doing a little house cleaning and painting my bathroom tonight while listening to a really good oldies station. Boy, every song has been so fun to listen to. So, I thought I'd share a little "blast from the past" with you guys.









Ok. . . EVERY song sung by Cat Stevens is so poignant and beautiful. It's very difficult to only include three, but I've got work to do! How many hundreds of times did we listen to these songs and how did they shape our hearts when we were so young?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Doorways

Somewhere near Presidio, Texas

Jefferson, Texas

Mission Doorway, San Antonio
Inside Mission in San Antonio
I love the stenciling
Courtyard Doorway at a San Antonio Mission

San Antonio Mission

Cabin near Honobia, Oklahoma, Thanksgiving Time

The Brenda Photo Challenge is hosted this time by Annie at Annie's Blog. The theme is Doorways, one of my favorite subjects. I've probably posted some of these before.

Thankful


I'm thankful for new days and I am so thankful for prayer and friends and prayers of friends. On Friday, sitting in the room at the hospital with my daughter before, during and after her surgery, I found myself trying to worry and then this peace came over me, an awareness of God's closeness to us. She is recuperating fine, and my prayers now are for her complete healing so she doesn't have to go through this again. Love you all.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Praying this Morning

Today is the last day of my beautiful eighteen year old daughter's senior year in high school. She has one test left to take today, a portfolio to finish up, and a checklist to get signed by the principal to ensure she has everything needed to graduate. She's exempt from her finals so she doesn't have to go to class next week. Graduation is June 2. While celebrating with her and feeling her joy in this time, it's been a time of stress as well, as we all know.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul,
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for Thou art with me,
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,
Thou hast anointed my head with oil,
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I know summer will soon be here, full of relaxing, sunny days.
I pray that God will be with all of you too, as you go about your lives and days!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Born Free

Who remembers this movie? Isn't it funny how the movies and books and music we love as children stay with us? We rented this movie on Sunday and so far I'm the only one who has watched it all the way through. My old paperback copy of the book is missing its front cover, but still on my bookshelf. That's amazing. I remember what a powerful effect it had on me as a young girl and whatever pull it had on me then is still there. I love the song. I remember the cover of the sheet music, so I must have learned to play it on the piano. I'll have to look for it and see if I can still find the notes on my out of tune piano!

I will soon be moving to Africa and raising lions. I'll continue blogging from there. My heart is full!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Looking through the backyard of my life
Time to sweep the fallen leaves away

Paul McCartney

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Love this song

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...To...

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out