Sunday, May 30, 2010
Another time-consuming hobby that I had to zone in on this week was our chickens. Big Buff as we call her, has gone "broody". In other words, she has decided to nest. Since all our hens use the same nest (and wherever the first one lays that day, the others will follow), she claimed all six eggs the first day. As soon as she hopped out for water, we scooped the eggs. Day two, she had a cohort. Red took her place any time she left the nest. By afternoon, I took the flat end of the hoe and tried to prompt her away. She attacked the hoe. This morning she had moved all the eggs and herself to the far end of the hen house, our of my reach. We are assuming she claimed all six eggs again today, for there are no eggs to be seen anywhere in the house. I'm thinking she can't set on much more and maybe tomorrow we'll get eggs. I mean, if we have more than a dozen biddies at one time I might just go crazy. And of course they'll probably hatch while we're out of town. I'd rather cook the eggs than the birds down the road - a lot less mess to clean up.
I guess some excitement in life I actively seek; the other kind just seems to happen. That's the kind I could do without. :) Biddies, anyone?
Friday, May 28, 2010
Can you tell I've been quilting this morning? I'm about four hours shy of having 1/5 of Bobby's quilt finished. Yes, sadly, you read that correctly. I've found a blogger in Raleigh who is not only a Christian, but also machine quilts. While reading and looking at all the beautiful work she does, I'm impressed with how much any hobby or activity requires a lot of practice (there's another p word!) and learning to master all the intricate techniques. In short, everything takes a lot of time.
Parenting (yep, another p word) usually demands a Mom or Dad sacrifice their own pursuits in the interest of the child and his or her development. We were laughing Sunday at how I had told Lydia we'd meet them at the hospital at a certain time, only to be there an hour later. I had forgotten how much longer everything takes when little ones are involved! It was a great reminder to send those upward thoughts on behalf of my friends who are parents. Their job is not a simple one!
Weight loss is another area that seems to be taking FOREVER! It's one of those "disciplines" where I find it's as much a battle of perseverance as it is a mental battle. Did someone say chocolate? Bread? Dr. Pepper? See, it doesn't take much for me to get off track in this area.
Devos. Yeah, those things we're supposed to do every day. It never fails that whenever I stop and think "I need to get this done." something sidetracks me before I make it to the dresser where my Bible and books are. Sad, but true. For seven years I faithfully did my devotions every day. Then for reasons I won't go into, I decided to switch things up and started attempts to have my Bible study time in the mornings. It has been a struggle for me ever since, even with trying to move it back to night. Perseverance.
Practice - whether it be the piano or the clarinet, practice time usually comes about because I have a piece I need to play, not a disciplined activity I do every day. And it shows in my playing.
Housework...do you ever feel like throwing up your hands and saying "What's the point?" We make up the bed only to undo it at night. We wash dishes and clean up the kitchen only to turn around and cook another meal. We sweep the floors, only to work outside and track in a ton of dirt (or mud from the rain). Housework definitely requires perseverance (or else a mental evaluation, I'm not quite sure which).
I've been reflecting on that verse "Don't be weary in well-doing for in due season you shall reap if you faint not." a lot today. I think that's why we persevere in things, whether it be our faith, a hobby, housework, or a relationship...there's a reward at the end if we don't quit. It's selfish, I know, but I think if we're all honest we'll admit the truth behind it. We normally only finish something because we have a vision of the end result and what we want that to look like. And for me today, that's just enough to keep going.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Years ago, my younger sister cleaned out her son's toybox and kindly delivered a box and two tubs of toys to our house. "You need toys for children to play with" she told me with a laugh. Then the Belarussians came for four summers, and we found our toy stash growing by leaps and bounds. But I've found no matter who the child is, their favorite toy at our house is Mr. Bobby (or Uncle Bobby).
The Belarussians about drove me crazy every day asking what time Poppa was coming home, and when other children have stayed with us, it's the same question almost every hour: "When does Mr. Bobby get home from work?" AND, about five years ago, I answered the phone one morning only to hear nothing. I kept saying "Hello" and was about to hang up the phone when I thought I heard a sob. It scared me a little bit and I was wondering if everything was okay on the other line, and then I heard my sister-in-law say, "Say hello." and a little five-year-old voice cry, "But I dialed the number you gave me and that's NOT my Uncle Bobby!" I wasn't sure whether to laugh or feel sorry for her.
We enjoy having kids over, though there's no doubt in mind who the kids are really coming to see!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
When I stand before the Lord, I'll be standing alone.
This journey is my own.
Still I want man's advice, and I need man's approval, but this journey is my own
Why would I want to live for man and pay the highest price?
What would it mean to gain the world, only to lose my life?
So much of what I do is to make a good impression. This journey is my own.
So much of what I say is to make myself look better. This journey is my own
I have never felt relief like I feel it right now. This journey is my own.
'Cause trying to please the world it was breaking me down, it was breaking me down
Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one,
now I live and I breath for an audience of one.
Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one, 'cause I know this journey is my own
You can live for someone else, and it will only bring you pain.
I can't even judge myself. Only the Lord can say, "Well done."
from the CD Conversations by Sara Groves
I've thought about this song a lot during the last two weeks. I often struggle with where to draw the line between expectations of others, maintaining unity in the body of Christ, and being faithful to who I am as both a person and a daughter of Christ. Many of God's commands are clear-cut: Honor your parents. Don't lie about other people. Keep the Sabbath holy. Don't bow to idols. If you don't work, you don't eat. Those commands are plain and simple, very clear-cut. Other issues are only addressed by principles, leaving believers to hold to a wide variety of principles and standards. And that's where things get sticky for me. But I have to continuously return to the premise that when I stand before God almighty, I won't be giving an account for everyone else. I'll only give an account for me and my life. That simplifies many things, but still leaves a few questions. When am I helping a fellow believer, and when do I cross the line into "enabling" someone to continue a bad habit? How do I discern when to know whether or not to "answer the fool" as Proverbs commands?
As I each day passes, I comprehend more and more why the Scriptures say our hearts are deceitfully wicked and cannot be known. And I've also begun to wonder whether or not the phrase "well done, thy good and faithful servant..." will apply to every believer, or just the ones who deserve it. Do you reckon some might hear "You made it; come on in." or "Not bad; come on in." How horrid would that be?
Monday, May 24, 2010
The geese chase the dogs.
The garden plants are growing.
Baby kittens, dogs, chickens, and geese (though thankfully not at our house!)
And the proverbial spring cleaning.
Okay, maybe the cleaning isn't quite fun, but it is nice to have/see the finished project. One hall closet finished and um, well....a whole house left to go.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
And the books... I spent yesterday reading one and skimming the other. The one I read was "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Josh Harris. I had heard a lot about this book, and my niece actually informed me it's his younger brothers who wrote the best-selling "Dare to Do Hard Things" book. I was very impressed with the dating book. It's not an arrogant "this is the way things should be" book, but a heartfelt listing of why he personally quit dating. I was reading the book to make sure a) it was something Emily would read, and b) that there wasn't anything doctrinally off the wall. What I was not expecting to find was things that struck me, in my life, today. Here's some of the quotes from the book that meant something to me:
Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God has loved us. If God sees a sparrow fall (Matthew 10:29), do you think he could possibly overlook the broken hearts and hurts we cause in relationships based on our selfishness?
We've been playing in the sandbox; God wants to take us to the beach.
Christians have always had a choice to imitate the Master or slip into the more enticing pattern of love provided by the world.
A model wears clothing to attract attention to the designer's creativity. The model displays the designer's work, but the designer's reputation, not the model's, is on the line. In the same way, as Christians, we model God's love, whether we realize it or not.
The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, "This is love." God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, "This is love." ...True love always expresses itself in obedience to God and service to others. Good feelings are nice but not necessary.
When we extract the poison of self-love, our entire motivation in relationships is transformed. ...We shouldn't allow feelings to set the tone or the pace for our relationships.
Part of the reason we've adopted the immediate gratification mentality is because we've lost sight of the biblical principle of seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)...Just because something is good doesn't mean we should pursue it right now.
Waiting for God's timing requires trusting in His goodness and wisdom. We develop patience as we trust that God denies us what we think is good only because He has something better for us -both now and in the future.
We often have pricked consciences but unchanged lives.
If we really examine our hearts, we'll find lies, selfishness,lust, envy, and pride...It's like discovering your sweet old grandmother's picture on the FBI's most wanted list at the post office. This one made me laugh, but it's oh so true!
We don't define a person's true character by the image that person wishes to convey or the reputation he or she hides behind, but by the choices and decisions that person has made and makes every day.
I think this book will be one I'll pass on to other kids in the future. Whether they decide to date or not, like the author says, is a decision each believer must decide for himself. But he's got some excellent points that every single believer needs to evaluate and consider about the body of Christ and our role in it.
In addition to jaw-dropping prints and too good a deal to pass up quilt tops, I've also accumulated about three boxes of scraps.To a quilter, scraps are remnants of fabrics that are not big enough to be made into clothes. Two boxes came from my Grandmother, and one from a friend. Earlier this year I took an applique class, and for the required fabric I went to these boxes to see what I could salvage. After the class, I decided I had enough similar fabrics on hand to actually piece the majority of a twin-size quilt top. I'll have to post pictures later, but I'm a little over half-way appliqueing all the 6" hearts onto the squares. Hopefully after the June run-off election I'll be closer to 3/4 finished with the top.But now that I know how to applique, I have several other quilt ideas I've stashed material for in the past that are running around in my head. I've determined Bobby's quilt is NOT coming out of the frame until it is finished, but new quilt tops can be worked on during road trips or other times when I have to sit and wait on things. PLUS, I've found the blog of a Christian lady in Raleigh who does beautiful machine quilting for people. So if I find myself needing to do a quilt as a present but not having time for the actual quilting, I can check into hiring her to do it.
My grandmother did this quilt for someone and I thought it was one of the most beautiful patterns I had ever seen. I've also seen this at a few quilt shows, and I love the repetitions, variations, and HUGENESS of the finished project. Bobby bought me a book for Christmas that shows variations of this pattern. I know this particular quilt won't be started for some time, but it is definitely on my "must do at least once" list.
I also have two pre-printed quilt tops that I'd like to quilt or cut-up and re-design.
If my hands could work as fast as my brain, I'd be in business!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I do understand and sympathize with people who are so desperate to work that they will do almost anything. But when the desperation crosses the line of the law, then according to many, I become "intolerant". I guess I've seen and heard of so much abuse from people who have no respect for our country and its laws but yet want to benefit from its privileges that I'm one of the few who applaud the state of Arizona for actually trying to do something about the illegal immigration problem. When a drug pusher gets arrested for selling drugs, we don't stop and sympathize with the person because they have children and need to work. We look at the harm they are doing to others and society and hold them accountable for their "job". Why should our stance on illegal immigration, which does greatly impact our society in numerous negative ways, be any different?
I understand our immigration system has a lot of flaws and needs a lot of work. We need to change it, without a doubt. Our education system also needs work, but students who simply drop out of school because it's too much of a hassle and then falsify documents on job applications and college applications are considered to be horrid, delusional people. So why should we treat people who ignore the immigration department and falsify even more important documents as less so?
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Since Bobby and I are not heat tolerant, visiting three houses was about all we could stand on a "it's spring but it sure feels like summer" Saturday afternoon. We chose to visit homes on the northern part of the beltline as we've never hit that part of the tour before. The last home still has me in shock. Everything they used to build their hen house (and it's literally a house) came from Habitat for Humanity's resale place.
you now, so the chickens now what time to call for room service
the side of the house
I'm assuming this is either where they gather the eggs or sweep out the "fertilizer"
a) the keys in the combination lock at the side door don't open the front door
b) have a cooking table set up in three different classrooms
c) bring extra extension cords
d) one plug can only handle two waffle irons, or ONE coffee pot, or ONE blender, or ONE griddle
e) don't forget the coffee
f) the fuse box is behind the rolling bookcase in the front kid's room
g) designate one person to be in charge of cooking, one person for decorations, one for the craft, and one to be a greeter/photographer
h) buy a food warmer
i) start the food early and use the warmer rather than cook it to serve hot and have the fuses continuously blow and not be ready on time
and now we know. And according to G.I.Joe, knowing is half the battle.
I'm thankful for our CBC ladies and their loving attitudes and helpful hands. I am SO blessed to have such wonderful Christian sisters who not only care about events, but who also care more about the PEOPLE. I have learned so much about servanthood and the body of Christ since being at our church, and I look forward to what God has in store for us.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I've thought a lot about muscles this week. On Monday and Tuesday I spent some time helping a friend move boxes into storage, and my arm and leg muscles have reminded me about that activity every day since. It's strange to stop and think about the fact that muscle pain actually comes from small rips that use or exercise puts in the muscle. The "healed" muscle is supposedly a stronger and leaner muscle. The more you exercise, the more you tear down and build up the muscle.
Now I'm not too crazy about the idea of that happening to my heart muscle. Perhaps it's not impacted in the same way. But our emotional heart muscle is. Think about it. Something happens that hurts, whether it be bad news, failure, unkind words, a condescending attitude, or even disappointment. Sometimes the pain of those things seems to drag us down and we feel as if we'll never come up for air again. And yet, we do. And we're stronger and wiser after the event.
I'm a wimp. I don't know if I'll ever really like exercise, whether the physical or emotional kind. But I do know it helps, and that's saying something.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
And even brighter than seeing bolts of fabric stacked in every tone, shade, hue and tint of orange, I had a surprising phone call before 10am this morning. It was MOM! She was leaving the doctor's office and was free to go home and put her foot up for 3 days. She laughingly said it might need to stay up for 3-5 months (that's when the gardening season will be over) to heal. I think she was relieved it was quick and somewhat over. They didn't do the layered procedure, but instead just scooped the mole and everything within 1/8" around it. The entire section will be sent to pathology, and we should have results from that no later than a week from today. So while I'm a little disappointed they didn't do the less invasive procedure they had said they'd do, I'm thankful they're being extra-cautious and will be able to lose the knot in my stomach once we know for sure the results. Still, a quarter size spot being removed is much different than the grapefruit size of 30 years ago.
Another bright spot of sunshine was shopping with a friend this morning. That's one thing I've enjoyed about being at home - the ability to do things with other people.
Yet another ray of sunshine this afternoon was seeing two blooms on pepper plants (we've already had a few on the tomatoes) and growth on the cucumber and watermelon vines. There may be hope for my little garden after all.
So happy May 13th everybody!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
That coat my doors and clothes and car
And float through the air like smoke
That make me hold my breath and slowly breathe as I walk to the mailbox;
Even there your presence is visible as the lid showers all beneath with the residue.
Almost invisible on its own but when gathered with friends creates a monstrous harmony that we simply try to swipe away with cloth and shine, but you return and return and return.
When in the absence of your enemy the rain you multiply and billow behind cars and trucks and envelope my house, car, and being even more.
You aggravate me, and yet it is from you that I am made and to where I will one day return.
Monday, May 10, 2010
- No throw-up on me, my cart, or the floor while in Target.
- I've never had to move a car seat.
- I can shop in peace.
- I can afford to shop!
- I can actually have a focused conversation with someone without my kids running wild.
- We can afford to eat out.
- I can take a nap when I need to.
- "Couple Time" is not a luxury.
- I only have to fight with one person over the radio.
- I have time to blog about it.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
My mother admired this woman greatly, which aggravated me even more. Now, as an adult, I'm beginning to comprehend just how remarkable she was.
Like most small-towned southern women, she married young. At age 14 she found herself with a telegram stating that her husband was MIA and presumed to be a prisoner of war in Germany. He was a tall man, about 6', and they say when he came home he weighed about 80 pounds. Needless to say, the first years of married life they actually had together were rough. Years later she lost her oldest child to a troubled marriage, a domestic dispute gone bad. Her youngest daughter sowed her wild oats and was horrendously reaping them as an adult, about the time I hit my teen years.
Despite all of that, this lady returned to high school in her thirty's and earned her high school diploma. She refused to take the GED, saying that felt like the easy way out. She then went to college and earned a teaching degree, then a master's in working with special education children. She taught special ed in the local school until retirement age. She then took classes in ceramics, had a shop behind her house, and she made and sold ceramics. In her "spare time" she taught herself how to play the organ as our church had a pianist but the organ was sitting empty.
I've thought about her quite a bit today. As much as I disliked her (I actually breathed a sigh of relief when she died...and yes, immediately felt guilty afterwards), she was a shining example of someone who lived her life to the fullest. She never used age or exhaustion as an excuse.
So as I'm starting to feel as if my life is half over and evaluating my priorities and what I want to do with the time I have remaining, I'm reminded of her. The only thing that's really stopping me from attempting to do the things I want to do is my excuses.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I am the granddaughter of an alcoholic. My mother and my aunt are both tee-totalers. To them, alcohol is of the devil. My aunt will rant that she doesn't understand why our government is so anti-smoking but allows alcohol. Smoke has never abused anyone, forced anyone to hide or lock their bedroom doors in fear, caused people to lose their jobs, caused wrecks injuring or killing people, nor kept food off the table. My mother will quote you almost any verse in the Bible that gives a warning against wine or the verses that list drunkenness as one of the "terrible" sins. It shouldn't be any surprise that she remained a Free Will Baptist after leaving home, one of the few Baptist denominations that deals with the issue of alcohol in the church covenant.
My father-in-law was also adamantly opposed to alcohol of any form, and instilled in his children that drinking was a reasonable cause to disinherit. Even during the time he spent in the Army, he never once had a drop of alcohol touch his lips. He certainly did a great job of passing that sense of morality down to his oldest son.
I believe the Bible's admonitions and warnings about alcohol should be heeded. For me, those warnings are strong enough that I'll gladly leave the stuff alone. This next sentence may keep me from ever being welcomed back in FWB circles, but I don't believe it is a sin to drink. I have never knowingly drank alcohol and have no intentions of starting now, but wine is mentioned too much in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, for God to have considered it a sin. I will willingly agree with my husband that most of the OT stories where it is mentioned do not have happy outcomes, but nevertheless, I think the sin there is gluttony and not consumption.
Which leads me to my discovery last week. I was seriously debating whether or not to buy cooking wine for use in these diet recipes and whether or not it was worth causing a tiff in our marriage for doing so. I knew for Bobby to even hear me out, I would have to have factual data to back me up. So I googled the subject and was blatantly shocked by the articles I read. I fully expected to find articles by religious groups on the subject. I did not expect for almost every article on the first page to be from either state owned nutritionist groups, AA groups, or doctors. I only read the first four or five, but they were all consistent with each other. Food must be cooked longer than 30 minutes for even half of the alcohol to cook out. Here's a link to the chart which gives the cooking times, method of cooking, and the amount of alcohol that burns up: http://www.betterendings.org/Recipes/cookal.htm
I was thankful to read that white grape juice can be substituted in many white wine recipes, though this chart does state it's really best to find a new recipe that doesn't call for it. The other sites weren't as flexible, saying there really was no substitute.
So I bought white grape juice today. If I get the chance to try out a recipe or two this next week, I'll let you know what I think. Meanwhile, if anyone has a non-alcoholic recipe for shrimp scampi, could you send it my way?
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Do you remember that HUGE chicken egg I showed you a few weeks ago?
I showed it to my mother-in-law, and her eyes lit up and she said "That's a double yolk!"
I must have had a shocked look on my face, for she laughed and said, "Don't give that one away. When you open up there will be two inside; I'm sure of it."
And she was right. One of our chickens had twins. And they were tasty.
Monday, May 3, 2010
30 years ago my grandfather bought them when my mother was diagnosed with melanoma.
We've taken bulbs to transplant everywhere we've lived, and Mom brought some to my house the first few years we were here.
They've been close to blooming.
Today, after the phone call from my Dad saying Mom once again has
melanoma, I walk outside, and the flowers by the door have bloomed.
It's my rainbow, a sign of beauty, my reminder of hope.
Christ is here, and he's in the boat with me.
This past weekend where I went to college was flooded. At least five of my friends in Nashville are okay, though two FWB churches and the Randall House printing & bookstore were flooded. We're still waiting word on the college itself.
Yesterday's jr church lesson was on possessions and God's view of them.
Last night's lesson was on our possessions, the needs of others, and our willingness to share and help, specifically for those impacted by national disasters such as famines.
Isn't it neat how the lessons we learn in church are always applicable to our lives?
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Now, is Frazz saying he thinks the Bible is contradictory, or that the boy would think that? I was a tad offended, until I read the last panel. Just because you don't understand the section you are reading of something doesn't mean it contradicts the earlier parts. Or is he saying that only applies to math or science?
Either way, it saddens me greatly that the world perceives Christians as ignorant, foolish, and illogical. I know Christ said the simplicity of our beliefs would cause people to claim the faith foolishness, but we have to admit there are tons of Christians who give credence to the claims of the world. And I struggle greatly sometimes with where to draw the line on things. I feel too many Christians shun the arts (both artwork and literature), astrology, and certain branches of science because of how corrupted the world has made some of those fields. I want to guard my heart, but I also think it's important to be educated. I think of Daniel, Paul, and Moses...all who were greatly used of God, but all of whom received "worldly" educations. They were well-trained in the best worldly methods of the day.
Which leads me back to the above comic - why is it a lack of understanding for Calculus but not the Bible?