Wednesday, April 30, 2008

aw, i have to???

Okay, I know this is the day God has made and I'm supposed to rejoice and be glad in it. It's just that I'm having a hard time doing it. This morning was okay. This afternoon I had to buy groceries. I was at Wal-Mart and the bank inside was just across from where I checked out. I pushed my cart around and stared right at a hundred dollar bill on the counter in front of the teller. She couldn't see it because it was down on the little shelf in front of her. I picked it up and showed it to her. Her eyes got really big. I asked her if I could keep it. She told me no! She said the guy had just walked away that it belonged to. "Yeah, I bet," I found myself thinking; "you'll probably pocket it when I leave." Now I'm showing my true colors. I would be such a mess without Jesus. Why do I have to be so honest?? I really could have just walked away with it! Except I knew I couldn't get away with it. It wouldn't be pleasing to Him who lives inside me.

It's just that it came at a good time; or would of if I'd kept it. I found a hundred dollars one other time and the person claimed it so I had to give it back also. Again, I could of just pocketed it and no one would have known. Except God and the little man who lost it. Okay, those of you who know me well know that there's no way I could keep quiet about it. But I digress from my original subject.

So I get home still pining about my lost riches and Ben tells me they fired Avery Johnson, the coach of the Dallas Mavericks. I guess I have to say their former coach. That really made me mad. I feel strongly about my boys, even their coach, and I remain a faithful fan even if they did get their butts kicked. They are still my team! I get to liking someone and it really upsets me when they get traded or fired. I've been through Steve Nash, Eduardo Najera, Raja Bell, Devin Harris, Desagna Diop, and others. So the way I deal with it is that I end up liking the other teams they go to. The world of sports is a cruel world to those who lose. I hate that part.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

never good enough

Pastor Paul made a comment Sunday that we approach God intellectually. He also said that we can't impress Him. How many times in my own life have I tried to do just that? In my legalistic days (I like to think of that as my former life.) I "tried" so hard to be a "good" Christian and do what God wanted me to do. I mean I REALLY TRIED HARD. I made a good Pharisee.We gave up our TV, got rid of all our secular music, went to every church activity; heck, I even wore dresses ALL the time. What did all those things do?? Well, it mostly made me miserable.

Now if you do any of the things I mentioned and God told you to do that, then hurray for you. You should obey God. You shouldn't come up with your own list of things to impress Him though. None of those things brought any of the peace and joy that I sought. I was so busy trying to do things to get close to God that I left Him out of it. All He wants is a relationship with me. If He wants me to do anything else He will let me know.

Living in grace is the most wonderful thing. It has transformed my life. I actually have the peace and joy that I sought all those years. How did I get it? I didn't. God gave it to me. Once I gave up trying to please God and just loved Him instead, He brought such peace and joy in my life. God does that for us in a relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. He gives us His Holy Spirit to lead and direct and convict us if we need to be convicted. A father who loves his children has to chasten them for their own good. If I need chastening God does it in such a gentle way it breaks my heart. I don't want to walk alone anymore. I want to walk with Him.

Now I still find myself trying to fall back in my old life. Just like we talked about in Sunday School week before last........old things are passed away; however we still have the same old brain in our heads.

That can take me down another path, but I don't have time to meander along today. I had an awful headache all day yesterday and didn't get much done. Today I am doing what I should of done yesterday AND what I need to do today. I already have dinner planned; I even have a cake made. Now I'm off to do more laundry and possibly some ironing. It's a beautiful spring day and I am so enjoying it. I wish I had time to work in the yard!

Friday, April 25, 2008

kitchen can be used for cooking

I'm still tired. Daniel's birthday was a success. His caps arrived at 4:00, just in time for the festivities. It was the perfect gift; you would have thought he had picked it out himself! Trying for a bit of sarcasm here, if you read my blog you know he did that very thing. Nevertheless, he was thrilled. Rebekah took pictures for me, but I don't know how to download them from her camera. I'll try to post those later.

I started off the day by making his cake. He requested a strawberry cake. My mom's recipe is so yummy. Then I made homemade yeast rolls and while those were rising made the icing for the cake. After they were baked I made Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter cookies for the Home School Enrichment Class Open House tonight. Baking cookies take forever. My oven is small and I only bake one tray at a time. Let's see 72 cookies, a dozen a tray, at 8 minutes 10 seconds per tray, well, you get the idea. After that I had to run an errand and buy a birthday balloon and coke in a glass bottle to tie it to. I ended up finding an old Clint Eastwood movie in the $5.00 bin at Wal-Mart which I decided to buy for another present. Then it was back home to make the lasagna and steam the broccoli. We all ate together, which actually happens occasionally (large family, different schedules) and then Daniel opened his presents. We had cake and then watched an episode of Psych. The kids have been getting them through NetFlix and they are so funny!

By now, I'm sure you see why I'm still tired. I used to cook like that every day. Maybe it's because I'm older or smarter, probably both, but I don't do it anymore. Just on birthdays and special occasions. Bethany's birthday is next week so I have to get rested to do it again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

seventeen years

Seventeen years ago early this morning Donald rushed me to the hospital. I was pregnant with Daniel. I remember it as though it were yesterday. I had placenta previa and an emergency c-section. I wasn't sure what was happening at the time, but I knew it was bad. Donald was rushing me into the car, but I did take time to go look at our children. I really thought it might be the last time I saw them. I am not trying to be dramatic here either. I remember I started shaking in the car on the way to the ER. Then all at once I had such peace. I wasn't scared anymore, it was as though I was just along for the ride.

Daniel was born way too early. They care flighted him to Baylor in Dallas. The doctors didn't give us much hope that he would live. Maybe I was still in shock, but I had total peace. It was really like water splashing off a duck's back. I know it was God's Presence. He had prepared Daniel for this day. He weighed a pound more than he should have at that time. He lost it later of course, but it was a very important pound. Never in my life have ounces meant so much.

I had a friend who was outside when the helicopter flew over; she prayed for whoever was in it. She had no idea at the time it was our Daniel.

He was in Baylor neonatal for a week and then in the hospital here for another month. After he came home it was round the clock care for him. I had to feed him every three hours and it took almost an hour to get him to eat. Then I would lay back down and sleep for maybe two hours and start over again.

Long after I would find myself in the kitchen in the middle of the night frantically looking for his medicine. I couldn't find it and couldn't remember what I was supposed to give him. It was a trying time. I was exhausted and still taking care of the other kids, homeschooling, cleaning, and cooking as usual. If I had had any sense I would have put homeschooling on the back burner for a while; but not me, not at that time of my life. School must go on!

He was on an apnea monitor and one day it started beeping. It would beep if he stopped breathing. I took him to our pediatrician. Dr. Clark took one look at him and carried him to the ER himself. That was a hard time for me. The first time around I had perfect peace. This time I struggled.

Today is Daniel's seventeenth birthday. I think his name is appropriate. Like God delivered Daniel in the Bible from the mouth of the hungry lions, He delivered our Daniel from death also.

He is a fine, healthy young man and one of the joys of my life. God is faithful.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beyond and Above

Yesterday was my anniversary and I missed it. One year ago yesterday I started this blog. I remember saying I didn't have anything to say. Seems I found a few words, huh?

In honor of the day after I would like to explain how I chose the title of my blog. I wanted something really great. I love Ephesians 3:20 and based it on that verse.....

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think--according to the power that works in you-- (Holman Christian Standard)

God has done that exact thing in my life. It is indescribable. It is more wonderful that I could ever have imagined. I still have trials and problems and worries, but He has enabled me to trust Him with them most of the time. I still struggle at times, but it doesn't destroy me as in times past.

God wants us to love Him and enjoy life. He makes everything different.

Monday, April 21, 2008

life goes on

I did something yesterday I have never done before. I visited three different cemeteries in one afternoon. Donald had to go to Mt. Pleasant where they are opening a new cancer center. The kids were all busy, so I went to see my mom. We decided to visit her sister. My mom's parents both died within a short time of each other when she was eight years old. She and her siblings were taken in by various people. Fortunately they all lived close by and were able to stay in touch with each other. Aunt Madeline died six years ago and it has certainly left a void in our lives, especially my mom and aunt. I took them to the cemetery and to see the old house where she lived. It makes me so sad because it is literally falling down and the once immaculate yard is overgrown and ugly. But in my mind I can still see it through the eyes of a child, beautiful as it used to be.

Then I took Aunt Bertha Lee by her husband's grave in another cemetery. After taking her home, mom and I went to my dad's grave in Dodd City. I miss my dad. Sometimes just a word or thought will remind me of him.

When I talked to Mother last night she said they both had such a good time. Neither of them drive and have to depend on others to take them places. They mostly go the grocery store and the doctor. It took just a few hours of my time to make them happy.

I really need to do things like that more often.

Note: The house in the picture looks great compared to the house where my aunt lived. I wish I had had my photographer with me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

birthday shopping

I've been birthday shopping. Daniel's birthday is next week. We just ordered civil war caps, expensive civil war caps. They are the kind they wear when they do the reenactments of the battles. He was going to buy one and really wanted one from the confederate and the union. Bingo! A birthday present that he will really like. I'm not telling a secret; he knows what he's getting. He picked it out. I'm not about to pay $55 for a cap he doesn't want or like. That's what I consider being wise.

Bethany's birthday is coming up shortly also. My birthday shopping isn't over yet. It's nice to shop in my comfy chair in front of the computer. I'm rather enjoying it. Or I will until the bill comes!

Donald got quite a bargain when he married me. He doesn't have to birthday shop. He just has to pay for it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

what i didn't know

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

I came across this quote from Albert Einstein. That got me interested so I found some of his other quotes.

"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

"A person starts to live when he can live outside himself."

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

I don't really remember much about him, just the pictures of the guy with the wild hair. After I read these quotes I wanted to find out his beliefs. I went to Wikipedia and found this: Einstein clarified his religious views in a letter he wrote in response to those who claimed that he worshipped a Judeo-Christian god: "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

I find this sad. Such a waste for a brilliant mind.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

brown thrush

It is almost ironic that my post yesterday gave me an opportunity to experience it in an unforeseen way and with unexpected emotions. I was out in the yard walking around the house looking for nails. Last spring we had our roof torn off and replaced and I have picked up hundreds of nails that the magnet didn't catch when they went over the yard. Maybe I am strange, but it gives me great satisfaction to find them still. Each time it rains more can possibly be uncovered. (Someone is probably thinking I need to get a life. I like mine just fine, thank you.)

On my trek around the front of the house I heard a tiny noise. Then I saw him. A brown bird was laying on his back in front of our bedroom window making the most pitiful sounds. I started crying and immediately came into the house and asked Ben to come. He put on thick gloves and picked him up: it was most obvious he had a broken leg. He was frightened and had some fight left in him so we put him in a shoebox with some soft old socks. I got a dropper and Ben moistened his beak.

There were no other obvious injuries but he died before 8:00 last night. Ben dug him worms and I bought wild bird feed and we put water in his box. I hope we made him more comfortable in his final hours. This has touched me in a way I don't understand. I have seen many birds in our yard, but this one was different. I prayed for him and asked God to be merciful if he wasn't going to get better. And I cried real tears before and after he died. God answered my prayer and for that I am most grateful.

God cares for that brown thrush. Ben was so sweet to him and me; God will bless him for his kindness.

Matthew 10:29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father."

Monday, April 14, 2008

weird happenings

Note to self: Don't make egg salad for city council meeting a day ahead. It disappears before lunch the next day.

Okay, I'm off to Wal-Mart to buy eggs and bread......again.

the time is now

My friend Connie was talking about bird watching yesterday. They had a bunch of yellow finches feeding in their backyard. How awesome! I decided I'd get a bird feeder to go along with my humming bird feeder. I love to sit outside and watch my hummingbirds. They are so incredible.

My hummingbird feeder is hung under the eave of our house though. If I got a bird feeder I would want to put it in the tree.

Here's my dilemma. Hannah's cats are mighty hunters. Donald and the boys are continually having to bury dead birds, squirrels, mice, etc. It seems they love to bring their "offerings" into our garage to let us know they've been busy. I guess it's their way of repaying us for all the cat food we buy them.

I wouldn't want to set up any bird as their prey. I guess I'll probably just stick with my hummingbirds. I'm on my way to put my feeder up.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

be joined to the vine

This morning in Sunday school Greg made this statement. I can't remember if he read it from the book we are going through or if they were his own words. It was so profound I want to share. Drum roll please (use your imagination here)...........

"There is a difference between Christ being in my life and being my life" (emphasis mine).

I'm afraid I've lived most of my Christian life in the first category. I couldn't figure out why Jesus' words like Matthew 11:30, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light, seemed untrue. Now I believed God's Word to be true; I just couldn't figure out why it wasn't true in my life. It seemed I struggled all the time and could never measure up to what I thought God expected of me.

Most of my problem was that I was making it all about me. I can't manufacture or earn peace, joy, love, kindness, hope, or any of the things I longed for. For me, they only came in Him. God had already given me all I needed to live a victorious life in Him. Not apart from Him, IN HIM.

He desires the later category for us; so much so that He sent His own Son to make it happen. I love the way "The Message" puts it: But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him (Romans 5:8) and (John 15:4-5) "Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

no title

Jeremiah and Josiah are over today. They are spending the day with Bethany and Bright is so enjoying having them here. Josiah has been playing ball with Bright; he is playing with three tennis balls instead of the one Bright is used to. Bright grabs one in his mouth and doesn't know what to do about the other two. He will be exhausted tonight! Right now they are watching a movie and eating popcorn. Bright enjoys popcorn also. I bought a hot air popper and he always comes running when he hears it because sometimes a piece will fall to the floor instead of into the bowl. Then he sits patiently waiting for us to toss a piece to him every so often.

It is nice having them here today. Thanks for sharing Jeff and Vicki. :o)

Donald is in Dallas earning continuing education credits for his therapy license. One benefit from this is that my van got cleaned really well! Since several of his co-workers were going also he volunteered to take "Big Red" so they could all ride together. For some reason he thought the dog hair should be vacuumed out of the seats. Hannah cleaned it out really well and then he took it and washed it like it hasn't been washed in oh so long! When I wash it my wrist and hand hurts from an injury quite a few years ago. So I'm never able to wash it long enough to really get it clean. Also I am short and I'm not able to clean the top of it because I can't see it. Kind of like the top of the refrigerator: out of sight, out of mind. Then when I finally remember to clean up there I am aghast at what I find. Oh well.......

I'm just rambling really. I've had a sinus headache the past few days and have been reserved. When I don't feel well I tend to get quiet and seek aloneness. And yes, that really is a word because I looked it up to be sure. I was intending to use it anyway though because it was exactly what I wanted to say.

Psalms 34:4 (The Message)
God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.

I Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dare to Dream

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Thursday, April 10, 2008


How exquisite your love, O God! (Psalms 36:7a, The Message)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. (Psalms 34:8-9, The Message)

(Photo credits belong to Rebekah and were taken in the Orchid Garden in Singapore last spring.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

no paparazzi for me

I just found out I have a new title. It's kind of like having a new pair of shoes for me. I don't buy shoes very often, unless you count Old Navy flip flops. Rebekah said she and Bethany have a new name for me........mamarazzi. It has something to do with me and this blog and our family and all the pictures I post.

Whatever can they possibly mean by that???? I've just posted twice today. And the other pictures were of our termites, not of them.


They're back!!!!!!!!

We have uninvited guests. To be honest, we have fought their relatives for years. Last year was the first year we didn't see any of them. Quite a few years back they ate through the tile in the boys bathroom, the next year it was in the wall between the living and dining room, then they moved to the garage, and the year after our exterminator drilled a hole in the garage floor and hit the mother lode (he actually drilled into their nest). He was so excited! Last year we only saw carpenter ants and he sprayed for them. Alas, the termites are back. They are actually eating the moulding of our wall and that is all we are actually seeing. I'm sure I would hate to see the damage they've done inside it. At least I "think" they are termites. Last year I mistook the carpenter ants for termites. Our exterminator pointed out the difference, but they still looked like a termite to me.

If you live in Texas, more than likely you fight termites or carpenter ants also. They get really active in the spring. They are NOT wanted though as I really don't care to have our house eaten by them!

And yes, I have a call in to the exterminator. We are eagerly awaiting his arrival!

(As usual, thanks goes to Hannah for the photographs.)

UPDATE: The exterminator has come and gone. They were indeed termites. I actually called him again before he came. I went into the garage (which I had checked an hour or two earlier) and the floor was covered with a mass exodus of termites crawling outdoors! They were also on the walls and flying around and into the house! HELP! He had mercy on me and came right away. Of course by that time most of them had left in the garage; wouldn't you know?? He believed me though. At least he said he did.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Monday, April 7, 2008

a life renewed

I was reading in Ephesians yesterday and this phrase caught my attention:"to be made new in the attitude of your minds."

That is what God wants to do for us. As He is working in our lives we come to know Him better and better and He really does change the attitude of our minds. Everything may seem different although our natural circumstances may not have changed. I really like the way The Message says this.....take on an entirely new way of life.

Ephesians 4:22-24

Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything - and I do mean everything - connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life - a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

When God reproduces His character in us our attitudes do change. We can change from being negative to optimistic, from depressed to having joy, from wanting our own way to wanting what best for others, from being self-righteous to showing mercy, and the list can go and on.

How utterly different our lives can be! How exciting! How impossible in our own strength. How possible with Him!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

high places

I haven't been to Wednesday night Life Group in a while. I had forgotten how totally awesome it is. Life Group is such an appropriate name for it!

Pastor Paul called us "graced ones" last night. What an incredible fact. I love it when something true like that sinks in and I know beyond a doubt that it is a reality in my life. I love it when God speaks to me that way. Often times I have to ponder it and pray about it and it takes a while to sink in. That's okay as long as it eventually sinks in. But I am blown away when God does what only He can do. We have learned about grace and it is a life-changing experience when you get it. I realize it's true whether we understand it or not, but to change our lives I think we need a revelation from God. I am thankful He desires to do that for us.

While praying Pastor Paul said these words "engulfed by you," meaning God, of course. That immediately gave me something huge to think about. I haven't gotten it, but I desire it. Now I am terrified of the water and can't swim a stroke, but I immediately envisioned a great wave sweeping me away. I wasn't afraid! Now I used to be afraid to totally surrender my life to God; I was afraid He would send me to Africa. (You can laugh, but I'm being honest.)

I started reading "Hinds Feet on High Places" again last week. I realized I have grown so much since the last time I read that book. I can relate to Much Afraid in the first chapter because I have lived that way. It's a horrible place to live. Knowing the Great Shepherd brings so much joy and peace and freedom in our lives. I think that's why being swept away by the wave in my mind didn't frighten me. Now I haven't gotten it yet; it's one of those things to ponder over. But the possibilities are so exciting! And I'm not afraid, at least not today.

That's another thing grace has done for me. I can live in today and not worry about tomorrow.

God is so incredible!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

glue guns and cats

I am thoroughly convinced that every woman needs a glue gun. I have spent the last hour or so using mine to repair some things. They are totally awesome! The only drawback is the time I mistakenly stuck my finger in the hot glue. Let me tell you so you won't need to test it yourself, IT IS HOT!

In years past we have even used it to stick trim on our car, the Green Slime. It was the ugliest car, but absolutely the best car we have ever owned. We drove it for years and finally sold it in a garage sale. I am not kidding.

We name our cars. Donald had a huge black and white pickup truck which I named Moby Dick. His jeep now is the White Knight, my van is Big Red. I'll bet you can even guess what colors they are! Somehow we never came up with a name for the kids' car and it is just called "The Camry."

"The Camry" seems to fit it perfectly though. Our vehicles always have cat footprints on them as our cats love to lay on them, especially in the winter when the hoods are warm. If you come to our house your car will be inspected and laid on also. I have to show you this picture of Hannah's cat, Arnold. It just about sums up his life.

Photography credits belong to Hannah.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

calling it quits

The melting snow is causing their hillside cave to collapse so 21 of the original 35 people have called it quits. I wonder if they thought they would be safe underground? Cult members told emergency officials that they had had a divine vision overnight that instructed them to leave.

What a convenient time for a revelation!