Friday, October 27, 2006

Something Scary - A Friday Five

From RevGalBlogPals and the "Friday Five" fiesta:

1. Do you enjoy a good fright?

2. Scariest movie you've ever seen
Bambi? Um, I'd have to ask my husband - plenty have scared me and I don't like to remember them.

3. Bobbing for apples: choose one and discuss:
a) Nothing scary about that! Good wholesome fun. b) Are you *kidding* me?!? The germs, the germs!
To be a non-conformist. C) Which is... neither really. But it is a great way to get water up your nose.

4. Real-life phobia

See picture. 'Nuff said.

5. Favorite "ghost story"
Sorry. None. I don't like scary stuff. I guess it is because I "feel" it too deeply.

Possibly the most boring of all the entries...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Two papers to go...

Some days just start slow... and with a long way to go... There's good news though... Only two papers left and it's time for modular week and my Spiritual Formation class.
(I'm not sure, but I think that the next sign reads "drink coffee".)

zzzzzzzzzzzingly yours-


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Take Out for Lunch?

One gorgeous red shouldered hawk... one less squirrel!
Spotted during lunchtime today in our back yard.
Isn't she BEAUTIFUL!??

From our Darwin-less squirrel home to yours...

Lessons from 1000 Women

He gets it. Read Pradeep's article...

Cool stuff!

From our bejeweled home to yours...

Monday, October 23, 2006

The cat is eating my lunch and other things that happen when I am multitasking..

I know, I know...

It's my own fault... I left my lunch on the table to go answer the door and then... heard the dryer buzzer and went to grab the perm. press stuff from the dryer before it wrinkled and THEN... answered the phone while away from the kitchen.

I came back to find my lovely plate of skim cottage cheese with fruit, whole wheat toast and almonds being "taste-tested" by one of our cats (who shall remain nameless.) She did not even look guilty when I scolded her. And she didn't hurry away from my plate, more like a casual saunter across the counter and then hopped down to the floor.


We are not amused. And yes, I fixed myself a fresh plate before finally having lunch...

From our home to yours...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Keep stepping towards the Water...

I have tried. I really have. And now I feel like giving up. I have reached out over and over again to an individual. She has not only spurned my overtures, she has been downright ugly about refusing them.

"You don't understand," she says. "You don't feel what I am feeling. You haven't lived where I am living now. You are happy and you don't understand."

I try. I listen. I make offers to spend time with her, take her places, do things together. I am rebuffed. Lunch? "No." Errands? "No." Sit-and-chat? "No."

I get scolded for not calling. I call. "You should have written me a note." I wrote a note. "You could have come by." I come by to visit. "I don't feel like talking."

This is hard. Now what???

It's as though I am standing in the lake, swimming deeper and deeper in God's Love, and she is determined to stay where she's always been. She's mad because her life is changing, because things are hard, and the Water seems to be retreating. "God does not hear my prayers." She's hurt that we don't stay beside her in the dried up lakebed and commiserate.

No. I will swim. I will roll in the Water, the Living Water. I will embrace the waves of Love that wash over me. I am floating in His Divine Embrace. I hit my own share of waves, I swallow too much brackish water... but I wait. I keep trying. I keep swimming.

Now I am in a place where I can not say or do anything. Everything I say or do is misconstrued. I don't retreat. But I don't go out of my way, either.

Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can share its joy.
Proverbs 14:10

"You don't understand," she says. "You don't feel what I am feeling. You haven't lived where I am living now. You are happy and you don't understand."

In a way, she is right. I have never lived where she is choosing to live now, though I've come close. A broken engagement. Hurts, pains and rejection in ministry. Family struggles. Not getting the job I wanted. Things that leave me gasping for air and thirsting for water... so I RUN back to God.

So much of what I will do in the future months and years will be to speak words of Water to the Thirsty...

Lord, I do not have much to offer. Just love. Your Love. May it overwhelm and nourish the broken...

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

From our home to yours...

Friday, October 20, 2006

RevGals Friday Five - Word Association

From RevGalBlogPals:

Friday Five: Word Association

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.






(Yes, they're all from Job 38.)

lost inside i turn and twist
Lord God can there be more than this?
which way's up and which way's down?
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground..."
don't zap me Lord, i know i sin
i'll make the same mistakes again
the lion seeks to shred my soul
and yet You keep me safe and whole
though evil still pursues his prey
i know You will protect my way

....I won't quit my day job, but somehow this required poetry...

from our home to yours...


Paperdolls for Darfur

Kids take the lead...

Read about some seventh graders in Highland Park, Illinois who have started a Paperdoll Campaign to remember the victims of genocide in Sudan. There's an easy pattern to download. We're cutting some out and will be sending them along. How 'bout you?

Grateful for peace in our neighborhood...
From our home to yours...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just As I YAM

Gotta love LoVe LOVE FlyLady!

(For those of you who are not of the proper Flyspective, let me explain.
FlyLady helps those of us who are organizationally challenged to fool the rest of you into thinking we are minor geniuses at home management. And, most of the time, it works!

Anyway, right now FlyLady is taking all of her Flybabies (that's people like me) on a "Holiday Cruise". The idea is to do my prep for the holidays a little at a time (and not freak on December 20th when nothing is done and everything is happening, partying and baking all at once!) In preparation for my "cruise" I started on my
checklist. I also started reading all of the "SHE shouldn't" pages... They sound too much like my life!

And so, here are some stories of my true nature. Only my family will not be shocked at the following... the rest of you, well, it's "Just as I Yam" time...

Gift giving award:
My family does give practical joke presents, but these were totally errors of late night senility. I had purchased records (back in the day - as one daughter called them "those big black CDs") for my dad and for my sister. They were of rather different genres. I also had purchased clothing for my nephew and my mom. They were of different sizes (and styles) but were packaged in identical department store gift boxes. I was wrapping presents VERY VERY late on Christmas Eve and of course I got the tags wrong. On all four of those presents.... which prompted my brother-in-law to say, "I'll have what she's drinking!"

This is too easy... let's move on to another category:

House cleaning award:
Long before I met my beloved bearded spouse, I was hosting a party for my friends in the church singles group. I had a coffee table which had lots of nicks and dents in it, and wanted to cover up the places where the veneer/stick on paper had been chipped off. So, I got out my markers and "colored" the "grain" back on my coffee table. Looked great... EXCEPT... that I used washable markers. Oh yes, I did... and when I sat on the edge of the coffee table chatting with my first guest, one of my best friends (in my white wool Christmas pants and cute holiday sweater, I might add) I discovered that the marker had pretty much rubbed off and I had an unintentional pattern on my pants...and my cute holiday sweater... which both quickly went in the dry cleaning pile... And the table, which looked as bad as ever, got covered with a large towel. And no, I didn't see that I had a striped behind until my next guest arrived, and the two of them laughingly helped me cover up my errors.

Culinary mistake award:
I was making Russian tea cakes, which is probably a family favorite, particularly when I make them into
"Chocolate Sugar Bombs". (FYI - The link takes you to my OAMC pages on my other web site.) I followed the recipe carefully, for a change, and did the double dusting of confectioners sugar, once when warm from the oven, once when cooled. It coated really nicely for a change, which surprised me, but I chalked it up to humidity. Just because the cook ALWAYS samples her wares before serving them, (yes even cake batter with eggs, who cares about salmonella??) I popped a cooling cookie in my mouth. And gagged... Who knew??? The container which was labeled "C.S." by my own hand was NOT "confectioner's sugar" but "Corn Starch!" GAG!!! SPEW!!! Yup. Tossed the whole batch of those puppies into the trash and started over. THIS time I found the true "CS" container. And yes, the two canisters are now labeled with their full Christian names...

Culinary mistake award #2:
I tried to bake yams because I thought they would be more healthy and different from the usual recipe. I washed them and planned to bake them whole. I did not trim off the extra root hair parts. I put them on the bottom of my gas oven. Did you know that root hairs of yams burn a pretty green?? And that some smoke alarms do not reset until you pull out the battery? I opened a can instead and heated them with brown sugar on them. Not as pretty. Much less smoke! No one was fooled by my scented candles trying to cover up the smell... NOPE. Just as I YAM. I was caught...

Now I wonder what I will manage to cook up this year... I'll keep you posted!

From our home to yours...

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Hidden Talent ??

I have power?? Mwah hahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!! (not) Gotta love these blogthings!

Your Hidden Talent
You have the power to persuade and influence others.You're the type of person who can turn a whole room around.The potential for great leadership is there, as long as you don't abuse it.Always remember, you have a lot more power over people than you might think!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Don't Go There!!

Problem: Car will not start. Key will not turn in ignition. (Yes, the battery is fine!)
Solution: Call towing service that is FREE with "unnamed-road-and-map-service-company" membership.
Results: One lock cylinder, two car keys
Cost: $600
Why: We called the "free" towing service. They arrived, took a large hammer, put the key in the ignition and WHACKED the key. Yes!!!!! Now the key turns. No.... no.... The key is bent. BAD key. Bad, BAD key!!! Car is towed in to company of our choice (NOT the place of the towing company's!!!) for a new lock cylinder. New keys. 5 hours of time. $600. Yuck. Well, that credit card HAD been paid off.

Lesson #1: Never trust a towing company that is paid by the call, not the mile.
Lesson #2: "Free towing" never is.
Lesson #3: When someone who is not even trusted to drive a tow truck suggests how to fix your car, ignore them.

With a horse, at least you have something to put on your garden...


From our home to yours...

Friday, October 13, 2006

of Bloganalities and other things

My Spiritual Formation class has been draining this week. Partly it is the process of self-analysis/dialysis over my present strengths and weaknesses, coming up with vocational goals, physical and social traits, etc etc etc...

So, because I am tired of all that, here's some things that are much more fun (and interestingly, also true... Well, maybe not the LAST one!)

My Bloginality is ESFJ!!!

My Personal DNA: "Benevolent Director"

My German Name: Ilse Tatiana?
Your German Name is:

Ilse Tatiana

OK, OK... I'll get back to studying...

From our home to yours...

Friday Five: Creature Comforts

As a part of this week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five...

Maybe it's the arrival of crisp October, my favorite month. Or maybe it's the fact that the divine little miss m has been sick all week (and if the baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy). Whatever the reason, my thoughts have been turning to cozy creature comforts--those activities and spaces that just make a person feel good. And so...

  1. Comfort beverage: Mmmmm.... warm spiced cider.... or hot lemonade
  2. Comfort chair: any couch with the "Mommy blanket" (a fake plush fur blanket made for me during my college days and loved by humans and felines alike)
  3. Comfort read: hard one... but probably Jan Karon's "Mitford" series
  4. Comfort television/DVD/music: soft Celtic, like Moya Brennan or maybe a little rockin' Chris Rice. TV not so much unless it is football season!
  5. Comfort companion(s): beloved bearded spouse, purring cats

Makes me want to take a nap on the couch! But no... studying awaits!

From our home to yours...


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Memorizing Colossians 3

The challenge last week from my Spiritual Formation class was to pick a passage and begin memorizing it. NOT picking a bunch of great verses in a little packet (although that does have its place in my life!) but a whole section of the Word. The choices included Romans 5, 7 or 8 or Colossians 3. Who are you kidding? Romans vs. Colossians? No contest. I'm memorizing Colossians 3!

It's been refreshing to sit and steep myself in one chapter. Not for the purposes of making observations and crafting questions to interpret, but just to read it and learn it in its entirety. I'm making slow progress in actual memorization, but I'm trying to take it carefully and slowly. I want this in long-term storage, not a quick fix.

As I read over the passage, I keep getting drawn to the second paragraph (vv. 5-11). As a woman, I love to jump to the end of the paragraph because of the declaration of unity and inclusivity I read there. But I have to go back and read carefully again and again, because of the things that are specifically NOT included in that Spirit of unity and inclusiveness. Things like sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed are listed in verse 6. And verse 8 tells me to get rid of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. How often do I pass over the "don'ts" because I am so happy with the "do's"? How can I justify not saying something to a fellow believer who insists on living in adultery? Or who won't clean up their dress, their job ethics or their speech? How can I excuse myself for my "little indiscretions" when God calls them practices of the "old self?"

No, I remain silent because I am afraid. I want to be seen as having put on that "new self," clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I want to speak the Word of Christ that teaches and admonishes. I want to put on LOVE - and exude it through my words and my actions. I do not want to join the ranks of the finger-pointing and self-righteous on the airwaves, pounding pulpits, or in blogs everywhere. (Geesh. They get enough press.) Besides, I mess up plenty and am not perfect. If you were to go find everyone in my past, they would have plenty of stories. I am not proud of who I was, but then again, I don't pretend to be someone I am not!

However, of late it seems to me that I have too much ignored the gentle, challenging words of the Apostle Paul. Whether it is PC or not, and with apologies to my fellow sisters and brothers who are more liberal in their theology, I have to say it: sexual activity outside of God's intended boundary of marriage is sin. It's called adultery. I didn't make it up. I didn't write the Law. In fairness to the other Commandments, it isn't any worse to disobey this one than it is to disobey the other Nine! It's not like you're a SUPER SINNER and need more forgiveness than if your favorite disobedience is adultery, instead of one of the other "shalt not's."

No... God calls all of us to put to death all those things of our "earthly nature." Those are all suuposed to be in the "used to do" category. Does it mean that we won't sin again? That we'll never struggle with our favorite sin/s? On the other hand, does it mean we have an excuse? ("It's just my earthly nature, Lord... You understand, don't You?")

It isn't easy. It's not a canned thing, with robotic brain cells magically following into the Land of Perfect Obedience. (As if...) But we do have a Savior who understands.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Lord, I look to You... I cling to You. I believe that because of Your life intersecting in mine, I can change. I will stumble again. But I am changing...little by little by little... Thank You for the many times You forgive, and the unending ways Your mercy transforms my life... Amen.
The words of Kathryn Scott express it so well...

Hungry, I come to you, for I know you satisfy.
I am empty, but I know Your love does not run dry.
And so I wait for You, So I wait for You.

I’m falling on my knees, offering all of me.
Jesus, you’re all this heart is living for.

Broken, I run to You, for Your arms are open wide.
I am weary, but I know Your touch restores my life.
And so I wait for You, so I wait for You... I wait for You...

© 1999 Vineyard Songs (Administered by Mercy / Vineyard Publishing).
From our home to yours,

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Family Pic

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October 2006

Yes, the girls are getting that tall! Fortunately, Ken's grey shows up more than mine does. (HA!)

From our (tall girl) home to yours...


Is it a weed or a blessing?

I have not done much weeding over the last 2 months. First it was vacation, then August's humidity and mosquitoes. Then it was getting settled in school, ministry, and so on. Now I can claim that I MUST study and don't have time for yard work. Yet it's funny how I have more blog entries in the last two months than all summer... go figure! Since I hadn't been doing all that yard work, my lack of weeding gave me a great contrast to consider.

Yesterday I was actually doing some studying and heard one of our cats just going bonkers at a back window. I knew from the amount of chattering and 'chk-chk-chk-Merrrroooo!' from the window that it had to be something tasty on the wing close by. It turned out that the pokeberries out back were being assaulted by a flock of robins! There were six or seven of them, sitting on the stems and pecking at the berries, with lots of fluttering and flipping around. The pokeberries bobbed up and down with the weight of so many birds on them, but by the time they left, the berries were just about gone. To think that I had looked at that stand of "weeds" just a few days earlier and wished I could go out and uproot the blasted things... but didn't because it was pouring rain at the time!

So I had to ponder... weed or blessing? Well, in terms of the gardener in me, a definite "WEED", worth putting some vinegar or other natural weed killer on in hopes of knocking them down before they re-seed for next spring's growing season. But the birder in me was thrilled to see so many birds in a natural backyard habitat, having a joy ride and munching on berries all at the same time. I felt like I had a new picture of what pokeberries could be good for - bird food!

So many times I see things through one perspective: mine! I have no concept of God's bigger picture. I miss His grand ideas because of my own agenda. I give Him my laundry list of requests instead of sitting and watching and listening to His direction for my life.

So here's to pokeberries, and robins, and hearing God's Voice...

from our home to yours...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Peace in times of struggle

I took these photos during our recent trip to Dolly Sods, WV... To me they picture "peace in times of struggle". Enjoy... Hope God speaks gently to you through them...

from our home to yours...


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Blooming where I am planted...

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Even when it seems like I'm heading into darkness...

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Or when the sun doesn't shine...

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I cling to the Rock, by tender roots...
I know He will be with me...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Five: Civic Duties

This week from RevGalBlogPals...

  1. How old were you when you voted for the first time? 21
  2. What was the contest at the top of the ballot? Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter (If you are too young to remember, Carter won!)
  3. Can you walk to your polling place? Yes - about 10 minutes because of all of the backyard fences. Plus, I hate the gauntlet of political gladhanders in the parking lot. If I walk, I can avoid them.
  4. Have you ever run for public office? NO WAY! I don't like being dissected.
  5. Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board? Yes, and lost every time. Something about being a woman who speaks her mind...

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From our home to yours...


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Amish schoolhouse shootings

This information is from a friend who lives and works with some of the families involved in the Amish schoolhouse shootings... What is most striking to me is the call to prayer for forgiveness and grace to all those involved. I've never put something like this on my blog, but felt it is an urgent need and one that reflects the love and mercy of God...

With love and prayers... from our home to yours...



I work with an Amish barn building company based in Paradise, PA. While none of our crews' immediate families were killed, extended family members were killed and injured. In particular, Sylvan's cousin is in CHOP - please pray for her. Also, the Beiler's cousin’s (the Millers) two daughters were killed. They were 7 & 8, and will be buried together today. A foreman's close friend's sister is fighting for her life, as her widowed mother is trying to cope, and needs your prayers too. Several of you have been very kind with offers to help, and I have passed your wishes to my Amish friends. I now have ways for you to help. Two funds: Nickel Mines Children's Fund or Roberts Family Fund, Coatesville Savings Bank, Paradise, PA 17562

What has been incredible to witness is the strong faith in God that this community shares. They appreciate all prayers for them and the children, but are also asking for prayers for the Roberts family. They are very concerned for the gunman's wife and children. You feel a great sense of sadness, but also grace - God's grace and forgiveness- when you speak to them. I asked the Beiler's if cards or notes could be sent to the families. They thought the Millers would be uplifted know the English families were thinking of them, and most of all praying for them. Cards can be sent to: The Miller Family c/o Jane DelBianco, 835 Cherry Lane,Wrightstown, PA 18940

I will be delivering the cards next week, and weekly thereafter. Please feel free to forward this email to others. Many do not realize that the Amish do not have traditional medical insurance. Rather, they support each other and their medical bills through a common fund. They also do not accept traditional government assistance - even Social Security. The surviving girls will need help. Many, many thanks,


Creative Procrastination

I liked the way that Reverend Mommy described a task she did not want to do... She called it "the housework motivation factor". Except that my version of "creative procrastination" is more accurately called "declutter the odd corner motivation factor" or "pet the cat and daydream factor". Nice excuses... but the work still has to be done.

I am without excuse this time. And I'm not reading anything so profound as William James! No, my purposeful and creative avoidance activity is because I am SUPPOSED to be writing a reflective essay on what I have been learning from Robert McGee's book, Search for Significance. And the specific topic I am supposed to be writing about is "shame". I can't bring myself to put the words down. Huh. Now I just wonder why that is? (NOT!)

Shame - believing that I am not good enough, smart enough, or able to overcome my past or my mistakes.

Grace - offering a place to leave the past ("as far as east is from the west") and be renewed and regenerated.

I know which one is more attractive and more positive in terms of my life, ministry and spiritual growth! I know which one has the power to bind me as well. And maybe that's why I can't get the words on paper...

From our home to yours...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

where were you?

We were in "almost heaven" and I mean that! (To be specific, Dolly Sods, in east-central West Virginia.)

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The quiet... enough wind in the trees to feed my husband's heart, and enough activity to make even the most extroverted of us at peace...

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The beauty... the leaves are just starting to turn in the lower elevations and were popping out like mad at around 4000 feet...

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The peace and quiet... we did give out our phone number to the cat sitters and one relative, and no one else could find us! No cell service! No email! I didn't touch a book, write a paper or craft a single paragraph on assignments that are due this week. And it was grand.

Instead, we laughed much, listened more and walked a lot.

Good stuff...

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I heard Your voice sing through the trees.
I watched Your hand ripple the leaves.
I laughed with Your river slipping over the rocks.
I danced with the hawk in Your clear blue sky.
I whispered Your Name with the trail of the moon.
You are...
My Lord,
My God,
My Creator and King.
Alleluia for the falling leaves,
for time flying past in a whirl.
Alleluia for the songs You sing
in a world that's forgotten You...
I sing...

Sing with me, won't you?

From our home to yours...



I figured it out... thanks for your patience. (That's what I get for playing with HTML without a license...)

I was weeping and wailing and gnashing my code...

humbled yet again by a closed bracket...


Monday, October 02, 2006

I wanna go back...

It was a great break, but far too short...

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Life goes on...

From our home to yours...