Thursday, April 30, 2009

Held



The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuteronomy 33:27 KJV

Monday, April 27, 2009

Top Complete


I realized this morning that I had failed to post a photo of the completed top of the little quilt I started last month. I've been mulling over options for the backing, but I've been very indecisive.

My first thought was navy, but I really don't think I want to use navy quilting thread. Hmm...

Suggestions?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Newest Addition


Please enjoy this guest post from my younger son regarding his new friend, Velvet, who came to live on the farm last week.

Like all stories I guess I should start at the beginning.

Last Tuesday or April 14, 2009, my brother and I were watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the final edition in J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy. We had just gotten to the part of the movie where Samwise Gamgee made his "I can carry you!" speech. It was about five o'clock, so my father came home. He told my brother and me that there was a stray dog that showed up on my great-grandfather's front porch last night.

Well, my grandfather didn't feed the dog all that day and night. After the movie ended, I went out to get his mail for him. (Our great-grandfather and grandfather live on the same driveway as we do). When I walked onto his front porch I saw Velvet-- otherwise known by my great- grandfather as "that dog"-- was in a rocking chair. She was as skinny as a rail. I pretty much took the dog right away. I went inside to my great-grandfather and asked him some questions. The dog didn't have a collar.

I went back outside. She had sat right down on the porch at the door. When she saw me she wagged her tale and begged for attention. Of course, I scratched her behind the ears. Off I went back home, and of course the dog followed me.

Now, what I did next was not right but crucial to the story, so let's get it over with. I fed her. In my defense I didn't know it was not smart, but I should have asked first. She gobbled it up so fast. I blinked and it was gone. I gave her some water and went into the garage. She followed. I sat in the floor of the garage, and she sat next to me. Anyone would have melted down on those brown eyes. I named her. Now, I hadn't looked to see what gender she was yet so I named her a boy's name: Blake. Now, if she had turned out to stay a boy she would still have that name.

Dad came out in the garage to work on something and saw her. I told him I had fed the dog. He told me that now she would stay here and not go off. He told me we would take her to the vet and they could feed her. I was sad, but at least she wouldn't starve!

I went outside and saw my grandmother looking out at our garden. I walked up to her. She told me that if you feed a dog you aren't supposed to take him to the vet. Secretly I was happy. We didn't know what to do. Mom wasn't home at the time so we couldn't really decide.

I'm sure you know that we have another dog named Copper. Well, my grandmother found a doggy bed at Tractor Supply that was on sale. She bought it for Copper. Copper didn't like it. It was on my great grandfather's porch, so I went and got it. I put her out some water, the bed, and a towel to kind of nuzzle into.


Mom came home. She saw the dog and kind of liked it. She talked to Dad some. At bedtime we were coming up with names. (We had found out she was a girl.) We thought of Jade, Onyx, Midnight, Daran, Peanut (Mom's idea), Alex, and finally Velvet.

We met the next morning and decided Velvet because of how her ears felt. I liked it. I had now moved her onto the front porch so she could have more shade. Now remember she had showed up on a Tuesday. If someone had lost her, (which was unlikely because she had no collar) we would give them until Tuesday to claim her back. This was Thursday.

On Friday my sister and I went to PetSense, a store close to our house for pets. Even though we might not keep her, she needed puppy chow, a collar, identification tag, and a water and food bowl (I also threw in a rubber chicken and some doggy treats), oh, don't forget a leash!


She liked the chicken!

Tuesday came! No one had claimed her so she was now owned by none other than ME! It's now Wednesday and Velvet is, as we speak, asleep on the front porch. We've doubled in dog population!

Beautiful Kids


Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with these three. Amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pure Genius


Anyone who has ever attempted to hem a pair of blue jeans will find this tutorial from Dacia Ray to be an amazingly easy way to do it right.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE

I love this old poem, often quoted by Elisabeth Elliot, which encourages me to take small bites of life and avoid being overwhelmed by the big picture. May it quiet your soul and comfort your heart as it always does mine. Happy Weekend!

From an old English parsonage, down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration--"DO THE NEXT THING."

Many a question, many of fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, "DO THE NEXT THING."

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings, "DO THE NEXT THING."

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee, "DO THE NEXT THING."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Romans 6:23


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vanity, Vanity


Seriously, I could not make this stuff up. These things just happen to me.

Yesterday I sweet-talked my precious daughter into doing a straightening treatment on my hair. Sometimes called a reverse perm, the process straightens hair rather than curls it.

She combed the solution into my hair, saturating every strand as instructed. After testing a few times to determine if the hair was straight enough and approaching the maximum time allowed for processing, my stylist proclaimed, "I think we've got it."

At that precise moment, the power went out.

Really.

*Here we insert a little information for those who may not quite understand the gravity of this situation.*

We live in a rural area. Our water comes from a well. A pump brings the water from the well to our house. The pump is operated by electricity. No power, no pump, no water.

We sat there for a few minutes and pondered what to do. Surely the power would come back on momentarily.

It did not.

Finally realizing that I could not sit there with perm solution on my hair indefinitely, and that we could not possibly rinse my hair for 7 minutes with the water bottles we have in our fridge, we took action.

Searching in the dark, we gathered all of the tools we needed to complete our project, grabbed our shoes and purses and ran out the door.

Surprisingly, everyone in our house wanted to go on this outing. The same people who always choose to stay home when given the opportunity to go to the store or other places in town suddenly felt the responsibility to pile in and go somewhere with Mom to finish her hair treatment. I am certain it had something to do with the possibility of my becoming bald and wanting to be there if and when such an event transpired.

All of us loaded up in our van, the kids with their schoolwork and me with a salon cape around my neck and stinking to high Heaven.

I pressed the button to open the garage door, and guess what. Garage doors run on electricity.

Everybody piles out. I go back in the house to retrieve keys to another vehicle parked outside and we run out into the stormy weather which caused the power outage in the first place. As we are headed out the door, my 15-year-old son says, "Mom, can I drive?"

By sheer will, I did not clock him upside the head with my purse or snatch him bald-headed. This restraint probably also had something to do with the picture in my head of what I might soon look like if I did not get this stuff out of my hair. To be fair, he was actually trying to be helpful.

We hopped in our old van and took off to my grandmother's house who chuckled at my predicament but welcomed us warmly. We rinsed my hair extra-well in her kitchen sink and sat at the table together while my hip hair dresser completed the "do."

So far, all is well. I didn't wake up with gobs of hair on my pillow case where it had fallen out in the middle of the night. It is soft and silky, and yes, straight.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fun Read-Aloud

We just finished Scat by popular author Carol Hiaasen. You are probably familiar with another of his books, Hoot, which was made into a movie a couple of years ago. These two titles along with another by Hiaasen, Flush, are classified as eco-mysteries.

Scat is a fun and educational read sprinkled with conservationism. The kids in the story have an inspiring love of nature which is easily caught. It can really make you think.

I consider this book to be perfect for a read-aloud with its action and interesting story lines. There are, however, the occasional words which can easily be skipped over by a parent while the child can just enjoy the story and learn a little bit completely by accident.

Listen to this interview with Carl Hiaasen as he gives a little background on the story and shares his motivation for writing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen


...just as He said.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mamma


She is #1 on my list of influential people. She has made countless personal sacrifices just for me. She chose to give me life and spent every day of my growing up years striving to make that life the very best that it could be.

She inspires me to always try to be better than I am, to set high standards. She has been and continues to be my role model. She's the one whose approval I seek.

She's been my sounding board, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my prayer warrior. I thank God for my precious mamma, and I wish her the happiest birthday ever.

I love you, Mamma!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

The observance of Maundy Thursday reminds us of Christ's actions this Thursday before his death. The word Maundy is from the Latin mandatum which means "command," referring to this new command Jesus gives in John 13:34.

If you are able to attend a Maundy Thursday service today, by all means do! It is a wonderful time of reflection and definitely sets the mood for the somber attitude of the next couple of days. If there isn't a service near you, don't despair! You can easily create your family's own commemoration of Holy Thursday at home.

Begin your time of family worship with a good, old-fashioned foot washing. This act is seldom practiced in churches today with good reason, I'm sure, but within the confines of your home it can be a very humbling experience. Lovingly washing the feet of your children will help them visualize Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. If it's warm outside, allow them to walk barefoot in the dirt just before so that their little feet really need a bath.

Read together from John 13 so that your children will understand what happened during this time in Jesus' life. It is not necessary to share the entire account of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Allow it to unfold as the time passes. Your children will get caught up in the events, and the story will be more real to them than ever.

Share with them about the Passover meal, and serve your own version of the Lord's Supper. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Juice in a communal goblet is a new experience for most of us who are used to the tiny cups used for communion in our churches. Break off small pieces of bread or crackers for them to eat.

Read the account of the Lord's Supper in one of the gospels, and like Jesus and His disciples, sing your favorite hymn together.

Two Million Plus


WorldNetDaily reports that over two million red envelopes have made their way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One inside source claims this effort is one of the largest mailings he has seen in his 35 years of working with White House mail.

Hooray! You can read the full story here.

Let's pray that this message reaches the heart of our President. It wouldn't hurt for us all to drop another one in the mail this weekend. Here are the details if you are new to the Red Envelope Project.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Progress

Next will be a narrow navy border and then a slightly wider tan one to finish the top.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CollegePlus!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week

The Christian observance of Holy Week, the last week of Lent, the week before Easter, began yesterday with Palm Sunday. It is a solemn, yet joyful series of remembrances for Christians worldwide and in our little home as well.

We will be focusing on the events which led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and ultimately to his triumphant resurrection from the grave.

Please join us in the celebration of those things most worthy to celebrate.

The beautiful quilt pictured above is one of a collection displayed in the chapel at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Zesty Rice Lasagna

3 C cooked rice, cooled
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ C plus 2 T grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
½ C cottage cheese
1 lb. lean ground beef
½ t garlic powder
1 (15.5 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook and cool rice. Add eggs and ¼ C Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Combine cheeses, reserving 2 T of Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
Brown meat and drain off excess fat. Add garlic powder and spaghetti sauce and continue cooking until thoroughly heated.
Spoon one-half of the rice mixture into 3-quart casserole dish. Cover with one-half of the cheese mixture. Top with one-half of the spaghetti sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 2 T Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Makes 6-8 servings.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fantasy

I am the last person in my family to read this book. I freely admit that I read it somewhat under protest and because my 12-year-old badgered me to no end.

I often steer clear of the fantasy genre for the following reasons.
  • I refuse to read a book which requires me to learn a new language. If there is a glossary in the back, you can forget it.
  • Fantasy novels often come in series. Ten or twelve book series. I am only going to live so long.
  • There is almost always a long, exhausting, perilous quest which stresses me out. I read for relaxation and escape.

Having stated my hesitation, I have to say I really enjoyed David Eddings' Pawn of Prophecy: Book One of the Belgariad. (There are, of course, about fifty other volumes that come after this one.)

There is a quest, but it's not so bad. They don't go underground or get chased by terribly gross creatures. The characters' names are very odd, and they travel to places like Cthol Murgos. That aspect always annoys me, but I guess it's just not as fantastic if Bill and Bob pass through Wilmington on their way to capture the stolen...you know. Still, even Tolkien had a character named Sam. I know, I know, it's really Samwise.

Yet, I really did like the story. I felt like it should have been longer, which is always a good thing. It was somewhat of a teaser, so I will probably read the next one at some point.

Yes, boys, your mom fibbed at dinner the other night when I got you to spill the beans about the rest of the story. I had to know what happens to Garion! It may be a while before I move on to The Queen of Sorcery: Book Two of the Belgariad.

Essay Practice


Whether in WordPad or with good old pen and paper, writing an acceptable impromptu essay within a time limit takes some practice.

Don't you miss those days?

I remember preparing for the Regent's Exam when I was in college. I rehearsed by writing several essays from a list of sample topics I'd found somewhere. Imagine my surprise when the day of the test arrived, and my actual assignment was one of the ones I had practiced at home. Woo Hoo!

I had a somewhat kooky literature professor who required us to write dozens of in-class essays on books and poems we were required to read. I would sit at home and try to imagine what she would ask of us in class, and I would outline and write my responses. It worked more times than you can believe.

Here's hoping it also works for these two! English Composition CLEP and SAT are coming quickly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Time to Serve


Our family has been loosely involved with a wonderful little ministry in our area which sponsors some intriguing opportunities for service throughout the year. Most of the events center around a large shopping area in our hometown.

They offer free gift wrapping for shoppers and appreciation platters filled with goodies for the store employees during the busy Christmas season. There are free bottles of water during tax-free weekend in the hot, hot month of August. Once a year, they host a free luncheon for all of the store employees just to show them someone cares.

That luncheon was held this week, and we were privileged to have a small part in the event. For the last couple of weeks, we have visited the stores to let them know about the upcoming meal and collect their reservations. On Tuesday we gathered with volunteers from about 20 local churches and ministries to assemble and distribute the plates to the store employees.


Local churches had prepared the green beans, potatoes, rolls, and pound cake, while the kitchen staff from our area's Baptist Assembly cooked the yummy chicken breasts. It was truly a group effort as some spooned up the food, some prepared the boxes to go out, and others actually delivered them to the stores.


To each plate was attached a small card with scripture and an encouraging message, just perfect for slipping into a wallet or propping up where it will be seen. From time to time I've had these same kinds of cards standing on the windowsill above my kitchen sink. Little reminders of God's love are nice to have around.

It was a wonderful opportunity to serve, and there was sweet fellowship with the other volunteers. We were doing something for other folks, but it sure felt good, too.

It is truly an honor to serve, but that is not the message that permeates our popular culture. God wants us to be willing servants, just like His Son, Jesus. In our home, we try to emphasize seeking an opportunity to serve rather than waiting for an invitation. I want my children to know that serving others is beneficial for all parties involved.

So that's why you'll find us on the sidewalk one blistering hot August afternoon offering you a free bottle of water. You'll look at us strangely, and we'll say, "No, really, it's completely free. God bless you." It's so much fun!

Click here for information on how to join us.

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4 NASB