Thursday, December 25, 2008

In Love with Christmas

Well I'm finally getting around to publishing this post from Christmas Day! I'm either really really early or a little late!

There's a song by Third Day (I Want to Feel Christmas) that really touched my heart early in the Christmas season this year and stayed with me all during the season. It is about feeling Christmas like a child. It touched my heart because it is what I have been seeking for several years. I have been trying to find the wonder and the awe of Christmas that I felt as a child.

I remember one year when I was about eight when we were shopping a few days before Christmas. It was dark and we were leaving a department store in the Buckhead area of Atlanta when I looked up and saw a shining cross floating in the air. It was on the top of a church steeple but I couldn't see the steeple. I still remember the wonder I felt at seeing that bright cross in the night sky. It stirred something deep within me.

There is another memory I have of standing in a circle with my parents and sisters. It was cold and dark and we were singing Silent Night. I remember wondering what a "rounyon" virgin was. I also remember looking up into my mother's face when we sang the words "mother and child" and feeling secure and safe.

I remember Christmas plays, family parties, live nativities, midnight candlelight services and the beautiful evening star (actually the planet Venus) that I always associated with the star of Bethlehem. Christmas was a magical, awe inspiring and wondrous time.

It's funny to me that I remember a great deal about the anticipation of what might be under the tree on Christmas morning but I remember almost nothing about what I actually found under the tree. That tells me that Christmas as a child really wasn't about the gifts. It was more about the wonder of shepherds and angels and wise men and the star and the Christ child. It was about waiting with anticipation for something wonderful to happen.

This year I was determined not to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. We went to Pittsburgh to visit my husband's family before Christmas. We saw loved ones we hadn't seen in several years and met new family members. We baked cookies, told stories and played games. We exchanged the most important gifts of all, the gifts of love and laughter and time spent together.

We came home to a house barely decorated and had a lovely little Christmas with very few gifts but lots of yummy food and the gift of family and beloved friends.
A very different Christmas but a very good one indeed!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Weekend & Beyond - Fabulous Giveaways

I discovered a few giveaways that are going on right now that are too good not to share.

Alyce at At Home With Books is a stay-at-home mom who used to work for a publishing company. Now lucky Alyce gets to take care of her little ones and read, read, read. Fortunately, for those of us who are bookworms, she is giving away a gently used copy of Jenford by Hendrik E. Sadi. Visit her website (click on Jenford, under the heading "Current Giveaways on left sidebar) for details about the book and if you like what your read, sign up for the giveaway! Leave your comment and you're entered. Simple as that! Continues through Sunday, November 30th.

There's a delightful little snowman in a globe up for grabs at
Paddywack Designs. Simple to enter. Drawing is Tuesday, December 2nd.

How about a gorgeous Lands End Cashmere sweater with lots of colors to choose from. Visit Mom Fuse for a chance to win. Chances for extra entries. This giveaway ends Friday, December 5th.

If you know someone who is about to have or just had a little one, check out My Three Sons Designs. This giveaway lasts through Friday and is for a Bib, Two Burb Cloths and a Blankie in really cute fabric.

If you're in the market for a fabulous bag, Everything Up Close is giving away two Tom Bihn bags. This giveaway continues through Monday, December 1st.

Last but not least is the opportunity to win a lovely little poncho from Po Po's Ponchos. To enter go to Babies Gotta Have It and follow the instructions. This giveaway is good through Thursday, December 4th.

Well, that's all I have for now. I'll add any new ones that I happen to find. In the meantime, I'm going to be thinking about my own giveaway. This is fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thinking about Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day is almost here and I've been counting my blessings. These are difficult times and there is a great deal of uncertainty even for those who aren't facing homelessness or job loss. How easy it is to be grateful when things are going well and there is food on the table and money in the bank. We have to dig a little deeper to have a grateful heart during times of financial hardship, grief, sorrow or fear. Even in the darkest of times there are blessings if we can only allow ourselves to find them and to recognize them. It is when the times are the hardest that we should be our most grateful. Thankfulness and gratitude increase our faith and our faith sustains us in our times of need. This Thanksgiving it may be necessary to look a little deeper to find our blessings but your heart will be happier if you do.

With that in mind, I thought I would do a series of posts of lyrics, scripture and quotations that remind us to be thankful...especially when times are the worst!

A few years ago during a bad drought and a difficult financial time for our family, this Nichole Nordeman song, "Gratitude" gave me a much needed attitude adjustment. It made me realize that there are lessons to be learned and an increase in faith to be gained in all of the difficult times we face.

Gratitude
Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quilt Giveaway at the Old Red Barn Company

You could be the lucky winner of one of three gorgeous quilts. Of course, so could I and that is precisely why I am blogging about this contest. If I plug it on my blog, I get more chances to win. Also, if I put this little button on here to direct you to the sponsor of the contest, I get extra,extra chances. You can do the same thing which will, of course, actually reduce my chances of winning but I'm a nice person so go ahead and push the button and find out about how you can win one of these beautiful quilts...but you don't have to blog and do all that other stuff to get extra chances because that wouldn't be fair because then you would be reducing my chances even more and then there wouldn't be any point to me doing this and okay, I'm confusing myself here...so just push the button, okay? Okay.

Button (Link)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day and Remembering My Mom



I wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of those who are serving and have served our nation in the armed services. My dad was a Marine and my uncle was an Air Force pilot (WWII) and my nephew is currently serving in the Army. There were quite a number of other military men and two women in my family's history.

My mother was very patriotic. She loved movies about WWII. I think she watched Kelly's Heroes about a hundred times. She was raising two little girls while my dad was off serving our country. She was only about 24 at the time. Times were tough but she scrimped and saved and did her part to help the war effort. Mom was a song writer and in 1945 she sang one of her songs on a radio show called "That's My Tune" on WGST in Atlanta. The song she chose was "My Bill, USMC." Part of it goes like this, "My Bill, USMC, though he gets his mail as Sgt. William. He's Bill, sweet as can be, the year that he's been gone seems like a million. He writes me every night...." Sounds kind of corny but a lot of what they were writing in the 40's sounds corny to us now. Anyway, it has a beautiful melody and I'm partial to it since it was about my dad. He literally did write her every night. I have all of the letters. They are tied up in ribbons and stashed in my dad's "foot locker" that was issued by the Marine Corps. It holds all of my mom's poetry, her songs and other odds and ends of hers and my dad's that came to me as the official family historian.

Anyway, I guess you wonder why I'm spending so much time writing about my mother, who was not a veteran, on a day that is set aside to honor veterans. Veteran's Day was always special to my mom. When I was a little girl, we would watch old patriotic movies together and she would tell me about how she felt when she heard the news about Pearl Harbor being attacked, about all the things that were rationed, how difficult it was to have her husband so far away for so long, the different projects to support the troops and buying war bonds. It was a time when women had to step up to the plate and do things they were not accustomed to doing. She taught me that serving this country and protecting our freedom is an honor and a duty.

So, for me Veteran's Day is not only about the brave veterans who have died serving our country and those who were willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom, but also the women and men who supported them back home and especially my mom.

Veteran's Day holds an even more important place in my heart because ironically and appropriately Veteran's Day, 2006, was the day my mom left this world. Mom, thanks for teaching me how important it is to care about our country and the men and women who serve it.


My Dad, Marine WWII

Cousin Dot, Waves WWII

Uncle George, Air Force Pilot, WWII

Grandfather George, Georgia National Guard, Border Patrol, Fort Bliss, TX 1916

Great Uncle John, Navy, WWI

Last But Not Least, My Mom circa 1944

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fingerprint Friday



We have the most beautiful sunsets here on our farm. There are so many nights when the sky is full of fire and it's hard to believe it is simply the sunset. Like there's really anything simple about a sunset. Science tells us it's the dust particles in the atmosphere and the refraction of light through those particles that cause the intense colors of a sunset. One way to look at it is that pollution in the lower atmosphere causes magnificent sunsets. I don't know about you, but I believe only God could be so creative as to turn our ugly pollution into something as magnificent as this sunset! Sort of like the way that Jesus can take the ugliest life imaginable and transform it into something of beauty. Yep! God's fingerprint is all over sunsets and transformed lives!

To participate in Fingerprint Friday, please visit PamperingBeki and sign up by leaving your name and commenting on Beki's post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Angela's Contest

One of the very talented members of CAST (Christian Artists Street Team) is having a contest and the joyful winner will receive a 5x7 photo of his or her choice from her shop. All you have to do to enter is go AngelasHeartWork and choose your favorite photo and then comment on her blog at Angela's Heartwork and tell her which photo is your favorite and why.

Angela is a gifted photographer and poet. Her photography reveals the beauty of God's creation and she has an amazing gift for matching the perfect verse of scripture or one of her lovely poems with each photograph.

My favorite is a beautiful photograph of the ocean and a ship at sunset and verse 10 of Isaiah 42. that you can view by clicking on this link:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13396262

You have nothing to lose and the opportunity to gain a beautiful 5x7 photograph, so visit her shop, pick your favorite and then visit her blog and tell her why you like it and she'll add you to the drawing!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Well, what a surprise to be tagged! I had no idea what that meant but fortunately, if you follow the trail, it leads you to the source and the rules for this game!


I was tagged by The Coffeehouse who has some very interesting random facts that will probably make me look a little like Ms. Boring, especially since she's still a youngster and I'm one of those boomer peeps!

Here are the rules:
Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their name as well as links to their blog.
Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are the 7 random facts about myself:

♥ I didn't marry until age 42 and married my best friend.

♥ I suspect that I have adult A.D.D. however, I prefer to call it E.M.T.C. or extreme multi-tasking capability. One of my ex-employees recently told me that I was the best multi-tasker she had ever known. This just proves that you can use your disorders to your advantage if you try.

♥ I broke the glass ceiling at the company where I was employed for 27 years, by being the first female Vice President.

♥ I was a cheerleader in High School and a member of the Beta Club, proving that cheerleaders are not dumb! But I was blonde and still have blonde roots from time to time...if you like know what I mean.

♥ I love history and genealogy and have traced my family's roots back to the 1600's on both maternal and paternal sides. Have uncovered the good, the bad and the ugly. Not always pretty but always interesting.

♥ I have had five dogs since I have been married and they all were rescued in one way or another. A shepherd mix from the pound, a golden retriever who was abandoned and had heartworm disease, a shih tzu that no one wanted because it was too big and who had epileptic seizures, a toy poodle that was abandoned at the vet's office with breast cancer and other significant problems and a yorkie that was purchased by a woman who couldn't take care of her. They each turned out to be fabulous dogs who were happy and healthy and a great blessing to our family. Only two of them remain - the poodle and the yorkie.

♥ I have traveled to 25 of the 50 states. I hope to travel back to about five of them and to the remaining 25 before I die.

Notice that I didn't include being a Christian because it is neither random nor weird and besides anyone whose been to my blog knows that already.


Check out these seven favorites of mine that have now been tagged!
Mama's Little Ditty
Sunflower Songs
Standing at the water's edge
Artist on the Farm: Gina of RoseThistleArtworks
JUSTSO - terryann
J
Ginabee's Creations & Musings

Okay, so we probably don't have time for this but it's kind of fun and besides I want to know all the random and weird things about everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

North Pointe's Women's Conference

Last Saturday our church held our 2nd annual women's conference. Our guest speaker was a woman named Debbie Williams who has written several books, including Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion. We were very blessed by her presentation and learned great techniques, like how praying God's attributes, A-Z, will help transform your life. We received a Prayer Journal that Debbie designed that helps keep track of prayer requests. She also pointed out how the Bible is filled with God telling his people such as Abraham and Moses to go to do something He wanted them to do and so they went! We need to strive to be God's Go/So women! We were particularly blessed that our conference was the kick-off of Debbie's nationwide tour to deliver God's message about prayer. If ever this country needed to be reminded of the importance of prayer it is NOW! Each of us could probably use some help in organizing our prayer life, as well!

If you would like to find out more about Debbie Williams and her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.hillcountryministries.org/ . You can purchase her books there and if your church would like to host a women's conference and invite Debbie to speak, you can find out about that on her website as well.

We were very blessed that Jenny, one of the women in our church, found Debbie's blog and heard about her P.R.A.Y. tour and took the initiative to contact Debbie and tell her our church might be interested. Debbie had asked God for confirmation of all that He was telling her to do and she received Jenny's comment and one from someone in Florida as confirmation! We are also excited that, Laura, a very talented person from our church created a video presentation for Debbie that will be traveling all across the nation with her! What a blessing to know these go/so women! There is no doubt that God's hand is all over her ministry and this tour. If you would like to keep up with what Debbie's doing, check out her blog - see the link for You Go Girl for God under favorite blogs in the left column of my blog or visit her website at the above link and click on blog!

Women, You Gotta Love'em

Our church's second annual Women's Conference was this past weekend and Friday night we all got together at the church to prepare everything for Saturday's conference.

Friday started out as a terrible day for me, filled with contention and divisiveness and hurt feelings and lots of pain. I'm not a big crier. Some people cry easily but I don't. If you see me cry it is probably because I am being significantly moved and melted by the Spirit or I am mourning for someone I love. I cried on the way to the church Friday night. Not boo-hooing, but a weeping of the Spirit. I had allowed myself to lose my joy and I was weeping for some women who I have come to know and love and who had attacked one another and literally caused the Spirit within me to groan and my heart to break. I haven't known these women long and I've never personally met any of them, yet they have become part of my eternal family. They have shared their trials, their joys, their pain and their happiness and I have prayed for them and rejoiced with them. They are all Christians and I met all of them through an online organization.

In a way it seemed incredulous to me that I could care so much for these women that I have never even met face to face but what was more incredulous to me was to realize at any given moment we Christian women each have the capability to quench (extinguish, put out, cool off) the fire of the Holy Spirit (1 Th 5:19,) both within ourselves and to some extent in others, by our actions and our words. We are each capable of the evil that Paul talks about in Galations 5:19-21, if we allow ourselves to give into the desires of the flesh. Some might look at that list and immediately see the "bad" sins such as murder, adultery and lewdness and overlook some of the other sins like contention, jealousy, selfish ambitions and outbursts of wrath. Maybe because these are so widespread in our society as normal behaviors, we don't consider them "bad" sins like we do murder and lewdness, but Paul put all of these things together for a reason...they are all equally as offensive in the eyes of God and to the Spirit within us. When we engage in any of these behaviors, we are quenching the fire of the Spirit. We can do this so often that we reduce the fire to a glowing ember that has little effect on the enemy. Paul cautioned earlier in verse 17 that the "flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another..." The Spirit doesn't leave us, but we can quench the fire of the Spirit to such a degree that we don't even know the Spirit's there and we stand virtually defenseless against the enemy and the sins of the flesh.

When I arrived at the church, I guess my day was written all over my face because no one believed my semi-permanent response of "good" or "fine" when asked how I was. Concerned, they probed and not wanting to get into it all, I justsmiled ruefully and said what I've heard my husband say so many times before, "I just don't understand women!" and kept walking. Considering the feelings I was having about women at that moment, I didn't want to be among those who were lined up in the hallway, chatting happily while they ironed tablecloths. So I dropped off my ironing board and iron and went to clean the nursery and kid's rooms. This I could do alone. Yes! While I dragged rugs into the hallway and swept and cleaned, I could hear the women talking about their lives and I found myself wanting to add a comment here or voice a word of comfort there and gradually I opened my heart to these women that I love and I felt my joy begin to return. I went about my tasks happily as I allowed the fire of the Spirit to grow within me and while we each reached out to be an active part of the body. We worked and ate pizza and laughed and listened to our worship team practice and we shared our excitement and I left believing that God was going to do great things in our church, in our community and across the nation.

I still don't understand women mind you, but God is working on that. He's helping me realize that I don't have to understand them, I just have to love them. I have to love them with agape love, not human love. Agape love is unconditional. It is the love that comes only from the Spirit and when we allow the fire of the Spirit to be stoked, that agape love starts pouring out and that's really all that matters!

I'll have to write about the conference later but I will say that we were right about God...He showed up and He showed out!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fingerprint Friday


There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you.
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true.
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.

For some reason this photograph of the sky reminds me of the Sistene Chapel. When I look to the heavens and when I think of SCC's song, I am reminded of Psalm 8:3-4:

"When I consider Your heavens;
the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which
You have ordained,
What is man that You are
mindful of him...

Visit http://pamperingbeki.blogspot.com/ to join in on Fingerprint Friday!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday Night Lights in a Small Town

My husband loves the TV show Friday Night Lights. He used to live in Texas so he knows that Texans are truly serious about their football even at the high school level.

We live in a rural area in NW Georgia that takes it's football seriously too! We go to a very large church in this small community and on Sunday mornings we usually get an update on the latest local high school football news because our Pastor also announces the games! The small towns all around us love their sports! My husband and I have lived here for about 16 years and we've been to high school baseball, fast pitch softball, basketball games and recreation league softball to support friends and family but it had never occurred to us to go to a high school football game because we really didn't know anyone who was playing.

Early Friday morning my husband said, "why don't we go to the Adairsville game tonight. I think it would be fun to go listen to Jim call the game." We usually go out to eat on Fridays and I was lukewarm on the idea but said, "sure, if you're sure that's what you want to do," while kind of hoping he might change his mind but I didn't say anything. If he really wanted to go, I could handle it! I like football but I'm kind of particular about what I watch...Penn State, Dallas and the Steelers or any important games that might change their place in ranking...but high school...hmmm! When I watch sports, I like for it to be something that I can get into from a "we gotta win" kind of thing. My husband will tell you that I get really nervous in a close game when my team is up or down. I pace, I speak in my "outside" voice at the players/drivers, the manager/coach/pit crew, the umpire/referee. So, when I thought about going to a H.S. football game where I didn't really know the players, I didn't figure it would be all that exciting for me.

We arrived early and perched ourselves on the 50 yard line. Not too many people were there yet and I didn't see anyone we knew. Our pastor normally calls the games but we didn't see him anywhere around. Turns out he was out of town. We go to a very large church in this very small town, so there were a lot of familiar faces but no one that we're really close to seemed to be there. I started looking around and just taking in all of the activity around me. It brought back lots of memories of my own high school football games. I was a cheerleader and football season was always the best time of the year for me. Cold nights in short skirts (not by today's standards of course), pom poms, greasy concession stand food and wondering where we were all going after the game and, of course, hoping that we would win so it would be a really good time!

It made me think about the crowd at our football games back then. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Atlanta and it's just not quite the same thing as growing up in a small town. Everyone here knows everyone else and most of them have been here their whole lives. Kids know that if they do something wrong, mom and dad will most likely hear about it. It's hard to get away with much in a small town! I noticed the younger kids (ages 5-9) were running around and had the freedom to disappear from sight without much parental consternation because someone who knew them, possibly a distant cousin, would most likely be keeping an eye out for them where ever they went. Encouraging myself, I told my husband that I would at least have fun "people watching."

Some pretty close friends of ours arrived with their friends and that lifted my spirits quite a bit. I was beginning to get over that feeling of being a stranger in a strange land. Our friends and their group are the official cheerleader fan club because most of their daughters are cheerleaders. Very good cheerleaders, I might add! We did a fair bit of tumbling and cartwheeling back in the day but these girls are amazing! Cheer leading today is much different from the way it was then (we won't discuss how long ago "then" was.) They have much shorter skirts, cuter uniforms, less individual jumping, more being thrown in the air and definitely more tumbling! All in all, much more athletic I thought!

It was a beautiful warm night and the Adairsville Tigers were playing one of their big rivals, the Calhoun Warriors. I was a little concerned looking at the difference in the teams. The Calhoun boys looked a good bit bigger than our Tigers but I was hoping that maybe it was the white of their uniforms that just made them appear larger. All women know that white makes you look bigger. Right? See, I was already beginning to get into this a bit, I had begun thinking of them as our Tigers.

Well, the game started out with a 60 yard touchdown by the Warriors that was called back because of an ineligible receiver down field. They didn't let that get them down and later managed to score on a two yard run. Meanwhile our Tigers kept stacking up penalty yards and were definitely doing the two steps back, one forward kind of thing. It looked like yellow flag day on the field. Even with all the penalties, the Tigers managed to put the ball in the Warrior's red zone at the close of the first quarter and came back in the opening of the second quarter and scored on a toss and five yard run, tying the game 7-7.

Nothing much happened in the way of scoring during the remainder of the second quarter but I was beginning to think, " hey, this is pretty good ball, even if I am having a hard time concentrating." I am easily distracted because of my A.D.D so I missed some plays while watching the cheerleaders doing back flips and somersaults down the track and observing family weekend reunions across the bleachers. Then there were also the three boys who had painted their upper torsos and faces in the dark green and white school colors, each with a painted letter for AHS on their chests who were doing their own brand of cheer leading and dancing to band music. All very entertaining stuff...truly!

Right before half time we made our way to the concession stand to grab a burger and then back to our seats so we could see the half time entertainment. Half time is something that I always enjoy but that you never get to see on TV anymore. Again, very entertaining.

The first half had ended with the Tigers receiving a personal foul penalty (surprise, surprise) , which was enforced on the kickoff to start the second quarter. This gave Gordon good field position. The Tigers defense were able to stop the Warriors in spite of their advantage. During the third quarter Adairsville lost one of their key players when his ankle popped. He was out for the game. Their quarterback also left the field with cramps. The replacement quarterback was able to continue making headway into Warriors territory and then was able to make a 17 yard pass to put Adairsville outside the Warriors red zone. The original quarterback returned to the game and the third quarter ended with the Tigers in possession of the ball and in scoring position.

In the fourth quarter, our quarterback moved the team into the Warriors red zone and was able to make a 3 yard pass for a score. The kicker missed the kick, leaving the score at 13-7 with 10 minutes left in the game. Very exciting stuff. The crowd is getting noisy. Gordon continued to move the ball, trying to take the game but were intercepted with 5:41 on the clock. I'm beginning to get into nervous mode...my team is up but can they score and if not, can they continue to hold Gordon? All this time, the crowd is going nuts being egged on by the players on the field, the players on the side line, the cheerleaders and the three guys with paint. It is getting crazy fun!

Adairsville missed their opportunity and weren't able to score but their punt put Gordon on their own 19 yard line with 3.5 minutes to go. Things are looking better but not for long. The Warriors were able to move the ball 81 yards to the inside of Adairsville's 10 yard line. There was less than one minute remaining and the Warriors were in scoring position. Okay, I admit it. I was a little disheartened. It was really not looking too good for us.

Not quite biting my nails but with them in the general area of my mouth, I nervously watched as the Warrior's quarterback found a receiver at the edge of the end zone and made the pass, the receiver dragged his feet while catching the ball and scored tying the game at 13-13. The kicker made the point and we were down 14-13 with 42 seconds in the game. Things weren't so noisy anymore. We were all in a state of quiet disbelief! My husband half-heartedly said, "it's not over 'til the fat lady sings, but she's humming pretty loud right now." Never one to give up, I am thinking they could do this but at the same time realizing that probably won't happen. I mean 42 seconds! Get real. I figured our guys were as disheartened as the crowd and I didn't expect much effort to be put forth to try to score.

Fortunately, the Warriors put the ball back into their own territory on the kick-off. Our quarterback looked for a receiver and found no one, so he ran for a 32 yard gain and went out of bounds to stop the clock. Okay, this crowd is absolutely deafening. I am screaming at the top of my lungs. Feet are stomping, hope is renewed. My husband's yelling, "kick it." They don't. Our quarterback makes another run and gets to the Warriors 3 yard line but the clock is still running because he didn't get out of bounds. There are three seconds on the clock as our quarterback gets his guys lined up, spikes the ball to stop the clock, leaving 8/10ths of a second on the clock. Okay remember how the game would be tied right now, if the kicker had made that extra point back in the second quarter? Now there's all this pressure on this young kid, who it turns out, is the grandson of two of our favorite people in our life group at church. I am holding my breath. He kicks it. It is good! The Tigers win, the kid who could have been the goat is now a hero and the crowd storms the field. I am in a state of shock. This has been one of the best football games I've ever seen and to think I almost missed it!

Unfortunately, the Tigers will play away games for the next two weeks but I'm hoping that three Fridays from now my husband will say, "wanna go to the game tonight?" If he forgets about it, that's okay because I won't and I'll be the one asking.

Small town, Friday night, some bright lights and a football field - what a great place to be!

Note: My husband just yelled for me to come watch the end of a football game. If you want a replay of what I just described, check your sports station for the last two minutes of today's game between Chicago and Atlanta. Wow!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Virtuous Wife

Proverbs 31: 10-31 describes a virtuous wife by the standards of King Lemuel based on what his mother taught him.

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil,
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

I have heard some say that Sarah Palin, as a Christian woman, should not be working and should be staying at home with her children. Those who said this weren't even believers. Yes, a woman must manage her household but that does not mean that her husband and others cannot be a part of her management plan! Many would have us believe that the women of the Bible are little more than domestic servants. This passage tells us the virtuous wife is a very busy and influential woman. She is an excellent wife and mother but she is also a manufacturer, farmer, importer, realtor, seamstress, merchant, and manager.

She makes sure that what she does is profitable. She works late into the night and arises early in the morning. She is strong and industrious but has the time to be concerned about the poor and less fortunate. She is self-assured and does not fear for the future.

Her strength and dignity come from her reverence for God! A footnote in my Bible says, "In our society, where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character."
The woman described in this passage is obviously in a position of high social standing and has many extraordinary gifts. It is likely that this is not one woman being described but the composite of an ideal woman. None of us will have all the attributes of this ideal woman but the skills and strengths that we do have will be strengthened and enhanced by our devotion to God so that we can each be the woman that He made us to be.

I find it sad that people have made vicious attacks on Sarah for her faith, her choices to do the right thing and they assume that she is ignorant because she is from a small town in a remote area of our country. God raised her up for this moment in history and whether she makes it to D.C. or not, she will have made an impact on godly women everywhere by the choices she has made and her willingness to fight the system for what is right and her belief that this country belongs to its people and not the greedy and self-serving "good ol' boys" and girls, in Washington.

In my book, Sarah Palin fits the profile of a virtuous wife!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ballet Painter Boutique

I love dancing! I think it is one of the most wonderful things we can do as humans. The rhythmic movement to music that allows us to physically express our joy, passion, emotion and even love! Psalm 150:4 tells us to “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance.” David danced before the Lord with all his might (2Samuel 6:14) and Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that “there is a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

My favorite form of dance has always been ballet. There is incredible depth to the art form that is ballet. It has the capability to eloquently communicate a complex story by using movements and steps that appear to be so simple, yet are so difficult to master that it takes years of training and dedication that most are not willing to endure.

Loving dance the way that I do, it is not surprising that it would be the subject of a Treasury that I put together on Etsy recently entitled Dancing in the Light. The treasury included items that celebrated or demonstrated various expressions of dance. While putting it together, I discovered a beautiful painting by Tricia Walsh entitled Tying Her Ribbons at Midnight. This painting captures the gracefulness of the young dancer as she bends to tie her ribbons in the glow of light from an unseen source. The artist uses the light to add an element of mystery to her subject and to capture the dichotomy that is ballet by demonstrating the physically demanding stretch of the dancer’s right leg and foot as she bends with elegance and ease to tie the ribbon of her pointe shoe.



I am struck by this artist’s ability to capture in her paintings, the sheer joy and love of the dance and I am excited about the opportunity to share her work with others who perhaps have not yet discovered her Ballet Painter Boutique. Her shop provides a combination of original paintings, prints and ACEOs that will accommodate almost any budget and also includes some of her beautiful wildlife paintings.

Here is a little about Tricia in her own words:

“I love painting all forms of life. I began drawing and painting twenty five years ago ... I stood at an easel with paper and charcoal, in awe at the beauty of the model before me, and suddenly plugged in to a whole new source of energy. The beauty of the human form was and still is infinitely mysterious. Later I moved to London and began to focus on portraiture. Eleven years ago, I was blessed with a daughter. This young lady has become a focused ballet dancer. This allows me to spend many happy hours at her ballet studio, drawing and painting what I observe there.”

Pointe Shoes Aren’t for Wimps: “Years of study, exercise, and ankle strengthening were required before taking my daughter to buy her first pair of pointe shoes. The first time I saw her rise up confidently on her toes was unforgettable for me. The lines and extension of her body reminded me of a tall willowy tree. And the illusion of weightlessness . . . . as an artist I was hooked.
Over the years I have acquired huge respect for the discipline, and the athletic ability behind what you can see on stage or on the dance floor. The strength required is often hugely underestimated. Dancers cannot show their sweat or pain as football players do. A dancer must conceal any sign of pain or exertion and make it look effortless.”

I think you will find that Tricia’s work captures the essence of the world of ballet and I hope you will visit her shop and spread the word about this very talented Etsian!

Additional work and information about this artist can be found at Squidoo.com

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fingerprint Friday


There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.
I see God's fingerprint in a little girl playing dress-up in a princess dress for the very first time! So excited and feeling so beautiful that she has to look herself over from head to toe to believe it's really she! This picture made me pray that she would feel that beautiful each day no matter what she was wearing because to me she is always beautiful and I know that her Father above sees her that way!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obedience to God

I originally wrote this Sunday, September 21st on my Ruebee page but decided to post it here as well.
This Sunday was a wonderful day for me. I went to church and one of our beloveds who travels to distant places to work with the oppressed people there, gave the sermon this morning. It was about being obedient to God's purpose for your life and your calling. Her calling is to go into a country that is ravaged by war to help those who are oppressed. This is very dangerous business and she admits that if given a choice she would not go but God has called her to do it and she is obedient. One of her points this morning was that obedience comes out of a desire to please the Father because you love Him. Not because you necessarily want to obey.  He equips her with all that she needs to accomplish His plan.  People ask her all the time how she can be so brave and do this and she pointed out this morning that obedience comes when we are in a loving, living relationship with the Father and know that we can trust Him. Trust is the cornerstone of being obedient to the Father. We must know with certainty that we are His beloved children and He wants what is best for our lives. She further assured us that if someone had told her 10 years ago that she would be literally risking her life to go to a war zone to teach and help people who might want her dead, she would have thought they were crazy. Yet, she spent six months there last year and will spend at least three this year. It is difficult during her final days here preparing for her trip but when she is settled onto the plane she says that she feels His presence surround her completely and she knows that she is fulfilling her purpose in this world. She explained that obedience comes when we have Him on the throne of our lives and believe that He has a plan for our lives and that His plan is best.

Not all are called to be missionaries in foreign lands but we are all called to something. Daily we are called. We are called to help those who are in need in our own communities and to reach out to the lost and broken. We are called to teach children and clean churches and sit with a sick friend. We are called to send a note to someone who is in pain. We are called to reach out to the single mom who is holding up the line at the grocery store because she is trying to decide what she has to put back because she doesn't have quite enough money to pay her bill. So often these thoughts come to us to help, to go, to do and we dismiss them because we are busy with the business of this world or we feel someone else will help or we don't feel confident in our ability to help . But when we do that, are we choosing to be disobedient to our Father? Not responding when God calls on you will not keep you out of heaven but it will keep you from meeting your full potential and receiving all that God has planned for you. So, the next time God calls you to move out of your comfort zone and obey His plan for your life, what will your answer be?

My friend will leave this week and will take a young woman with her who has also been called. I would ask that those who read this post would spend some time in prayer for these faithful women of God. Please pray for their safety and their strength, courage and continued obedience and trust in our Lord. Pray for their safe return to their families and for success in the work that God has planned for them.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fingerprint Friday

I see God's fingerprint especially in the hands of those I love. I can picture in my mind's eye the hands of each person that I love. Hands are the things I remember first about a person.

I can remember exactly what my grandmother's hands looked like. A simple ruby engagement ring was on her left hand and a lovely opal birthstone ring was on the other hand. Her nails weren't long but well manicured. Her hands cooked meals and made delicious desserts, dug through dirt to grow beautiful flowers, knitted and crocheted purses, sweaters and Christmas stockings, sewed dresses and aprons and quilts. God's fingerprint was in my grandmother's hands.
My mother's hands were such lovely hands in her youth. Long fingers with perfectly shaped nails. They wiped tears from my face, cleaned my wounds when I scraped my knees, brushed my hair from my face, taught me how to make things and they lightly spanked my bottom when I needed it. My mother's hands became gnarled with arthritis and no longer were beautiful - by the world's standards anyway - but still they would pick up a pen and jot down a poem that praised the Lord and the world he made or draw a little sketch of the things she loved. Her bent and pain filled hands would pat me on the knee as she said, "I'm glad you're here today" or touch my cheek when I kissed her goodnight. God's fingerprint was in my mother's hands.

Babies' hands are so tiny and sweet. They touch things to see how they feel. They bring things to their mouths to see how they taste. They reach out to their mommies and grandmommies when they are hurt or are afraid or just need a hug. Babies' hands leave prints on our hearts and in our souls. Babies' hands are about exploring and learning and loving and innocence and trust. They are about the potential of a tiny little being, a gift from God. God's fingerprint is in a baby's hands.

Thanks pamperingbeki for sponsoring Fingerprint Friday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Painting Again

It has been a long time since a paint brush has been in my hand. Well, other than to paint walls! I have done a few little ACEO's like the one in my post on being invisible, but other than that, I really can't say how long it has been since I seriously painted.


A couple of days ago, I felt the urge to pick up the brushes again but kept putting it off. Probably a part of me wasn't sure I still had it in me. Each time a painting is born from my creative effort, my reaction is always, "how did I do that?" When I am really inspired to paint, hours go by while I am completely lost in another world.


Well, on Wednesday I finally made myself go to my studio. I put paint on my palette, went through some of my sketches for inspiration and came across something I started about a year ago. The creative juices started flowing. I got a little work done on it and then had to quit to go to Bible study. That broke the spell and yesterday I never made it to my studio at all.


Today I had to go to the studio to get a package ready for shipping. I was compelled to pick up my brush again. I finished the painting and am very happy with the way it turned out. It is unlike anything I have ever done and is the first painting that I have done with a representation of Jesus. As I worked on it, it became evident to me that this was the betrayal.

I offer it here for your viewing and comments.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On Being Invisible



I think we all have days when we feel invisible. No one speaks to us or smiles at us or acknowledges that we exist. This ACEO that I painted, entitled "She Always Seemed to Fade into the Wallpaper" speaks to that. 

It is hurtful to be overlooked and ignored. In my own experience when I have reflected back on days when I felt invisible, I found that it was usually because I was not open to others for one reason or another. Maybe it was a bad hair day, hormones were acting up, had a disagreement with someone, or I was just preoccupied with myself for whatever reason. I believe that our emotions can be sensed by others and can either draw them into us or push us away.
Of course, there have also been those days when I was on top of the world and everyone else seemed to think I was in the pit. Those are the days it's really hard to understand why we go unnoticed. But I guess just the very fact that we notice that we are unnoticed speaks to our looking inward instead of outward. Those are the days when we need to go out of our way to be extra kind and generous to others and remember that God loves us even if no one else seems to!

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Month, New Season

September! A new month and a new season on the way and it's one of my very favorites!

In the South, the promise of the cooler weather of autumn is always graciously welcomed after a hot and humid August! Most of us start thinking about lovely autumn weather long before it actually arrives in mid to late October.

The pace of life picks up speed with a flurry of activity brought on by school starting and the promise of football season kicking off. The vacations of summer are over and there is a revival of church activities - Bible studies, youth programs, picnics, outreach events and church suppers.

There always seems to be a bit of excitement in the air in the fall. Autumn breezes and crisp, cleaner air push away the inactivity of the lazy days of late summer and encourage us to head outside and plant a shrub, weed the flower beds, take a walk, go on a picnic, paint a porch or play a little touch football with the kids.

Parks and pastures are filled with apple festivals, arts and crafts shows, county fairs and fall rodeos. Neighborhoods become village markets with tag sales, garage sales, yard sales or whatever your particular region calls them. Houses are filled with the smells of home baked breads and pies and jellys and jams as we work to enjoy and preserve our late summer harvests. Blankets and quilts are brought out of storage and aired out in the fresh air to be ready for soon to come cool nights sitting in porch swings. Firewood is cut and stacked and ready for the first cozy fire of the season.

The pumpkins on the vine are getting fat and will be harvested soon for Halloween. The fragrance of fresh mowed hay brings to mind hay rides, campfires, spiced tea and s'mores! The trees are being painted in glorious hues of reds and golds and yellows to usher in our Thanksgiving observance and the Advent season.

It is a time to reflect on our past and our future and to recognize that no matter what our circumstances we have much for which to be thankful. It is a time to come together with family, friends and/or strangers to share our bounty and to offer up our praise and gratitude to God for all of our blessings. It is a time of expectation and excitement as we await the day that has been set aside to honor the birth of the Savior of the world!

It is my sincerest hope that your fall season will be filled with a bounty of gratitude, family, friends and opportunities to serve, but most of all I pray that it be filled with the everlasting peace of knowing Jesus Christ.