Friday, April 30, 2010


Other than singing about marching to Zion, I really wasn't sure whether Zion was a place or what. So I pulled out the trusty Nelson's Bible Dictionary and looked it up. First, Zion was the name of a fortress. Then the name Zion was associated not only with the fortress but the hill on which the fortress stood. When Solomon built the temple on Mount Moriah and moved the Ark of the Covenant there, the name Zion expanded to include the Temple and the Temple area. It was a short "trip" for the name to include the city of Jerusalem, then the land of Judah, then the people of Israel as a whole.

In the New Testament Zion has been given the Christian meaning of God's spiritual kingdom, the church of God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Is it too much of a stretch to think that God started with Abraham, then expanded to Abraham's family, the nation of Israel as His chosen people, then adopted the rest of us into that family? The word Zion has taken on a whole new meaning.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


YOU are infinite. YOU are Jehovah. YOU are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. YOU are glorious. YOU are Holy. YOU are loving and full of grace. YOU are merciful. YOU are sovereign. YOU are wise, faithful, and wrathful. YOU are Lord, Master, and Father.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Little C got a new xylophone. It makes noise so he is happy.

Several years back, #3 child decided she wanted to be a percussionist in the school band. No, said I. You have had years of piano and you must play something "musical." She insisted on percussion. Shows how much I know - she can play tympany, bells, marimba, snare, chimes, and a few other things I can't remember. Amazing.

So here comes Little C. We think he is a musical genius.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is an antique scale from England. It even has the weights, although I have not tried to actually weight anything on it. It does make a lovely and unique fruit bowl!

Some of the most chilling words in the Bible are from Daniel: You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Not a direct quote - and perhaps better known as the handwriting on the wall. Found wanting - before God I never want to be found wanting.

Do I weigh my decisions and my words carefully enough? In the "big" things of life, yes. In the little every day things, no, not so much. And then that law of unintended consequences jumps up, but that is another post for another day.

And do I sometimes put too much weight on my world? Does it matter too much how many comments I get to a post? Do my fellow bloggers like what I said? Is the office newsletter okay? Enough of that. . .this could turn into a post on Worry!

We do need to weigh our words and actions before the Lord. Because of His great love for me, His atonement on the cross, His resurrection, I will not be found wanting before God. Hallelujah!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Friend RP and his wife recently vacationed in St. John, USVI. He told me about the trip before they left, sent pictures while they were gone, and shared more stories after they returned. I tried to travel with them vicariously - and without jealousy - until I can make my own trip to USVI.

Jesus' death on the cross was also vicarious and substitutionary - for my sins. It is not a trip I can make myself. "My sin - oh the bliss of this glorious thought - my sin not in part but the whole was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more - praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul."

From the spiritual to the practical - no one is going to vicariously visit my house and vacuum. I am in the market for a new vacuum cleaner and need some advice from my blog world friends. Favorites?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Has anyone said to you: "You deserve it." Maybe it is a pair of shoes or a new car that you are contemplating. "Go ahead and get it; you deserve it." This really bothers me. The idea that I "deserve" something as justification for spending, getting, having is no justification at all. It is perhaps an excuse.

I don't deserve God's love and favor. I don't deserve salvation. It is a gift from God. Perhaps that carries over into the everyday - I don't deserve the nice house or the new car. I have both (although when I am still driving the same car in 10 years it will be the old clunker!) How can I use them to the glory of God? How can I share them with those in need? How can those undeserved parts of my life serve others? I don't have all the answers to these questions. The questions and answers can become part of my daily walk and service to the Lord.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Until recently, tea has gotten a bad rap in the US. Something about unfair taxation and brewing a big pot in the Boston harbor. Now tea shops are springing up everywhere and afternoon tea is offered daily in wonderful sophisticated settings. The idea of taking a moment mid-afternoon to brew a cup, maybe add a snack (low cal of course) and just sit - hoping the phone doesn't ring - well, it is calming.

This week has been crazy busy - anniversary party at work, prison ministry papers, house remodel project (see yesterday's post), work, baby, class, friend's retirement party - a moment for calm was called for and never taken.

The Bible doesn't talk about tea but it does talk about spending time in quiet, sometimes solitude, reflection - taking the time to be calm. Jesus was calm, don't you think? I want to be like Jesus.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I cannot remember what I ate last week but I know all the words to "Do Ron Ron". How is this possible? It is so much easier to remember songs than anything else. It seems like there is always a song rumbling around in my head as well as on the radio. Favorite groups right now include Dave Crowder Band and Third Day, though there are many more that will be favorites next time I turn on the radio.

And then there are the old songs, especially the old hymns. One of the favorites is "It Is Well With My Soul." I hope that there is always a song in my heart - and in yours.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


We all have them. I grew up with lots. My mother was the youngest of 8, my father the youngest of 5. Every summer we gathered in East Texas at my uncle's lake house for the maternal clan reunion. So many memories tied up in those trips. My father's side of the family lived in the same city. Cousins down the street, aunt and uncle around the corner, another aunt just up the road, and other cousins everywhere!

To me the word "cousin" meant so much: no introduction needed; memories forever back; conversation starts in the middle. Yes, we had some quirky people in the family but they were still family. It was not until years later that I realized not everyone grew up like this or had family like this.

Last summer I went to reunion of the members of a high school church choir. 40 years had passed, but we picked up conversations in the middle. We sang some of the old songs. We laughed and talked and the years fell away. We were bound together by our love of the Lord - and our fabulous choir director! We too are relatives. We came together again a few months later to help a former member in need - his house was falling down around him. Volunteers stepped in and fixed what was broken. We helped our own - he is a relative.

During the month of April, I have met some more distant (physically) family members - brothers and sisters in the Lord who are scattered all over the US. Put us in the same room and we too would start our conversation in the middle. We have a bond. We are relatives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


My dad had a theory about questions: Ask a lot. He felt that curiosity was one of the most important things we human beings could be. Dad taught us that the best way to have a conversation with someone was to ask them questions - be curious about them. When the visit was over, you would know a lot, and the other person would think that you were the best conversationalist ever!

Jesus asked a lot of questions as well. "Who do men say that I am?" was and is a very important question from our Lord. C. S. Lewis once said (and I am not quoting here) that we had to decide whether Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. Which one do you say that He is?

Monday, April 19, 2010


I am not a fan of paperwork. Last week I had "paperwork day".

This is my desk before paperwork day. Most of that stuff is junk mail. Yuk.

This is my desk after paperwork day. Whatever happened to the Paper Reduction Act? Wasn't that a law or something? But I digress.

DH works for Apple. So we were well into the hoopla of the launch of the iPad. One of the features of the iPad is an electronic book. You can actually "flip" the pages like a real book. It would certainly cut down on paper and may have a future! :-)

There is one "real paper" book I cannot give up for an electronic version - my old Bible. An electronic Bible cannot replace the margin notes, the memories of the Bible studies, the life lessons on those pages. It is just too precious. The Word of God is written for all. My Bible makes those lessons and words personal. No, I won't be "flipping" the pages on an iPad - I will be turning the pages of an old school Bible.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


A while back our book club read Knitting by Anne Bartlett. The story is not really about knitting at all, although the heroine, Martha, does knit. The interesting thing that Martha does is take a small suitcase and two large bags with her everywhere she goes. To church, on the bus, to work, to tea in the afternoon, everywhere. The bags are cumbersome, hard to maneuver, and sometimes rule where she goes, where she sits, whether or not Martha can do the things she wants to do. The story weaves around the relationship between Martha and Sandra, Kate, and Cliff. It is not until the end that we find out about those bags and the suitcase: they contain all of Martha's knitting mistakes. Everything she has ever done wrong and intends to fix but either cannot or does not have time. In the end, the knitting mistakes do get corrected, but not by Martha. I won't reveal how - in case you want to read the book!

I have a couple of small knitting mistake projects. One has been in a bag for about 5 years, another for 2 years. There they sit, reminding me that I didn't do something right. They just sit in the craft room - I certainly don't want to take them anywhere with me!

How many of us are guilty of carrying our life's mistakes everywhere we go? My hand is raised high in the air right now. It is where the evil one can push my buttons. I can dredge up things I did in my childhood and they will bother me and haunt me. Our pastor challenged us on the first Sunday of 2010 to lay down those things that burden us and haunt us - lay them at Jesus feet and let them go. The things we drag around are just as heavy and burdensome as Martha's bags and suitcase. Yet we continue to drag around junk with us all the time.

This is still a challenge for me. I am not there - God is not finished with me yet. Am I alone in this or there others who are dragging stuff around that has no purpose in their Kingdom work? Let's pray for each other to dump the useless stuff.

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is so out of order for the A-Z challenge but I had to share this with you! I came home from work today a little after 5:00. DH had left for work about 4:15, so there was not a serious time delay between our times at home. I noticed as I let the puppies out that there seemed to be a lot of bees flying around the back yard. Well, the lavender is blooming, and DH had planted a lot of seasonal color in the back yard (later post, it looks beautiful). Maybe the bees were just happy to be in Texas in the spring. But there sure were a lot of them. A really lot of them, hitting the windows and stuff. Called DH. No bees when he was home. Hmmmm. Then I saw it. In the picture. The huge brownish blackish thing in my tree. See it? Bees. Lots of bees. Oh, and on the ground, big mound of bees. Uh, oh. This can't be good. Googled Beekeeper. Called Beekeeper. He will be right out. Whew. I went out with the girls. Come home, no bees. Whew again. This was a new one for me. Beekeeper is my new hero!


Friend Christy is going to be teaching the book of Nehemiah in the fall. Christy is such a gifted teacher that if she developed a class on the lessons in the Chicago phone book, I would sign up. Unfortunately, I cannot go to Nehemiah. Yesterday I read through the book to see what I could glean on my own. Briefly, and in no particular order, here is what I found:

Nehemiah's heart was so tender that when he discovered all that had happened in Jerusalem, he wept. Do I weep before God when my fellow brothers and sisters suffer?

N's prayer in chapter 1, verse 5, is beautiful. In the same chapter, when N made his request to the king, he was polite. As he moved on the Jerusalem, he valued his people so much as they rebuilt the wall that he named them individually. When insults were thrown at N, he threw them straight to God in prayer. When a plot against N was discovered, first he prayed, then did the next practical thing: posted a guard. When his own people complained, he pondered their problems then acted promptly going to the leaders. N also came up with a plan repopulate the city. There is a lot of space in the book given to the reading of God's word, followed by praise, then confession followed by praise.

So what are some of the high points of this very quick read?
1. People in our lives are very important
2. Politeness is a good characteristic to have
3. Prayer to God is better than responding to insults
4. Pray first, then do the next practical thing (I think Christy taught me this!)
5. Pondering (thinking hard) is sometimes better than quick action
6. Praise should be my response to God - and often it is not

Okay, this was quick - maybe too quick. Who else is a Nehemiah fan and can add to my list? From this list I do have some things to ponder and pray about today.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Meals and Missions

Two word title! These will tie together in the end. First let's start with the dark side - we need to visit it briefly. I love housework, ironing, laundry, cooking. Please do not write me about seeking therapy for this - it is just my thing. I love cooking so much that I once got talked into planning and preparing the Wednesday night meals at our church - for about 100 people a week. That lead to volunteering to go on a mission trip and cook for 50 teenagers and adults for one week, three meals a day. The kitchen had no dishwasher, one oven, one sink, no microwave (I talked our group leader into buying one), no coffee pot (seriously) and was the size of a large closet. The stories and blessings from that adventure are too numerous to recount here.

It is happening again. Not exactly a mission trip this time but a high school (plus sponsors) summer camp. My youth minister son-in-law asked if I would like to go as chief cook. Yes! I really would. So off we go - hopefully with a kitchen and equipment better than the one mentioned above.

Cooking for 50 teenagers and sponsors is not exactly foreign mission field stuff. We are all on a mission for our Lord. Our mission field might be our office or with prisoners or even in our own homes. We are all missionaries. We all have a ministry - or we need to find one!

I am in the planning stages for the summer trip - writing menus, experimenting with recipes, and thinking through the logistics of timing etc. This brings me great joy. Don't you think our ministry and mission should be joyful?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Yesterday I was reading my favorite homekeeping website, Flylady. Our task was to clean our laundry rooms, including the dryer vent. Failure to clean the dryer vent can result in fire. What!?! In order to clean the vent, one needs a special cleaning kit. So I went to the store and bought one, cleaned the dryer vent (yes, it was pretty linty) and checked that off my list. I am sure DH and the puppies all slept better last night knowing that the probability of a house fire had been greatly reduced.

Have you ever noticed how many things in our lives come with warnings? Nearly everything actually. You know, like "Caution: Improper use of this product can cause harm or death." Do you read every warning label? I do not.

There is one thing where the warning label would be opposite of what we normally see. The label on our Bibles would way "Caution: Use of this product will lead to joy, peace, and life eternal!" That is a "warning" label I can live with! How about you?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Of course this post is about knitting! I love knitting! The project on the left is for my daughter and will someday be a shawl or throw. It has a long way to go.

It is sometime hard for those of us who are left-brains to be creative. Knitting is my creative side. Knitting is organized creativity - it is organized knot tying. It is counting. It is a process. And I love the yarn, especially the natural fibers like wool, cotton, silk, and bamboo and combinations of all of the above.

The Proverbs 31 woman is called a Wife of Noble Character. There are many ways I fall short of this ideal. Verse 13 of the chapter says "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hand." I don't know if she was knitting - probably weaving which I also want to learn - but I can identify with her and hopefully provide little things for my family. (Check my blog: for the latest little project.)

Psalm 139:13 says: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb

God also used a process when He formed us, very carefully counting and planning. It is amazing. My response must be one of gratitude and adoration and knowing that as He began the planning so many years ago, He will finish what He started - He will be with me to my old age and gray hairs. What assurance and love!

Monday, April 12, 2010


It's not the destination, it's the journey. Unknown

I love a good trip. We are in the midst of planning our vacation - hopefully this will involve a beach, sun, swimming, and grilling. We will also add in a lot of fellowship within the family and new friends that we will meet. And food - lots of island type food. (This is beginning to sound like letter F day on our A-Z challenge). Once we decide exactly where we are going and staying, the rest of the trip will be fun to plan.

You probably have guessed where this is going. As Christians, we already know our destination. That secured, we can concentrate on the journey. Rick Warren states in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, every journey deserves a journal. This A-Z challenge has pushed me to work on my spiritual journal.

One of my favorite quotes about our earthly journey is one from C. S. Lewis:

The settled happiness and security which we all desire God withholds from us by the very nature of the world. But joy, pleasure and merriment He has scattered abroad. We are never safe but we have plenty of fun and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world. . . Our Father refreshes us on this journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

Have a wonderful Monday journey.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This is not a paragraph on 401K's or IRA's, though both are good things. This is about investing of a different sort. By definition investing means to lay out money with the expectation of a profit, or a commitment of something other than money with the expectation of a worthwhile result. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he spoke of the talents - when some people received a return on their talents because of the choices they made.

It is easy to give our time to a worthy cause - a little here and a little there. It is easy to give a little money here and there. Is that investing? I don't think so. Investing myself is more than a little time. It is deeper. It is volunteering to work with people and counseling them in their impossible situation. It is being available for the adult children in creative ways. There is no guarantee of the outcome except for this. . .

There is the guarantee of the kingdom to come. The investment is in following the King.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

It is hard to illustrate happiness. Shining sun? Big smiley face? Happiness is mental - it is within us. There are obvious outward expressions that we connect with happiness - laughter and smiles for example. What about deep abiding happiness? In Philippians, Paul says:

. . .for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I know that no matter what the circumstances, God is in control. That doesn't mean that I am never angry, never sad, never concerned. It means that underneath those emotions, there is the happiness, the contentment, the knowledge that I can do, be, live because of the One who give me strength - and happiness. Will that underlying happiness spill out into the life of someone else today?

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Immortal Invisible Wise Light Blessed
Glorious Ancient of Days Almighty Victorious Unresting
Unhasting Ruler Mighty Just Good
Love Life Giver True Unchanging Father
Alpha Omega Pure Faithful Friend

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Fearless - calmly resolute in facing dangers or perils. I love this. This doesn't mean walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. That is not fearless - that is foolish. Fearless, for me, is freedom from the fear of making mistakes. For instance, I love knitting but I hate the mistakes. So I have a book called Fearless Knitting. Through that I have learned how to avoid mistakes from the beginning and how to correct them when they occur. No more fear!

Life is another matter. There is much to fear - job loss, money worries, children worries, whatever is on the news today. My friend Edward John has written a book and lectured on Fearless Living. That is how I want to live - fearlessly! And there is only one way: let the One who holds the future take over - because He knows the rest of the story!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Have you ever heard the saying "elephant in the room"? Usually this refers to something so huge that everyone can "see" it but pretends it is not there. Like something you need to talk about. A problem maybe. With a friend, a spouse, a child. Why don't we start the conversation? Maybe we think we know how it will end - badly. Or we want to avoid confrontation. Or the status quo is easier than the change that may come. So the elephant becomes our pet. We decorate around it, feed it, try not to bump into it. It sure does take up a lot of space. How important is it to get the elephant out of the room?

Monday, April 5, 2010


"Dear" is such an endearing term - something that indicates a treasure. We use it a lot in the south. I have a dear husband, dear daughters (2), a dear son, dear grandson and dear son in law. I have many dear friends. Without the dear couple pictured, none of my "dear's" would exist: my dear mother and daddy. This picture is from their wedding day - back in the day when a bride and groom dressed up to leave for their honeymoon. My dear daddy passed away in 1976. I miss him terribly - he never got to meet my children which is a huge loss to them. My dear mother passed away in 1996 after years of illness. My children do remember her and it is with fondness. I hope you have a lot of "dears" in your life.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

old rugged cross

I have lots of crosses - metal, ceramic, painted, crystal. I love them all. My favorite is this one. Made of driftwood from South Carolina by my dear friend and sister in the Lord, it reminds me of the ruggedness of the cross on which Christ was crucified. And without getting too carried away on symbolism, without Christ I am drifting. He found me, just as Anne found this wood. The beauty of this Easter is that the cross is empty, just as the tomb is empty, because He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!