Friday, December 31, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Ezra

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Long passage this week...there's a story here, which I'll summarize:

The Israelites had been given permission by Cyrus, king of Persia, to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. They got the foundations laid, but folks round about got nervous that the Jews were rebuilding and harassed them so relentlessly that construction on the temple came to a halt. Then, these obstructionists wrote a letter to Darius asking if Cyrus really and truly had issued such permission. It was duly researched and found to be true, and Darius sent this reply back to the folks who opposed the Jews in their building project:

"Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you, their fellow officials of that province, stay away from there. Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.

Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God:
The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans- Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed -- young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem -- must be given them daily without fail, so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well- being of the king and his sons.

Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble." - Ezra 6:6-11

Is that not the coolest thing? Not only were the Jews vindicated, but their oppressors were ordered to help them and give them whatever they needed.

The thing is, the Jews themselves had nothing to do with their relief; their oppressors brought it about themselves.

Can you imagine being one of the Jews who got up every day, day after day, and saw the unfinished temple from his window...suddenly finding out that the king had ordered the very people who were causing the delays to facilitate the completion of it?

We never know when God is going put everything into reverse and make up for the time lost. 'Cause that's the way He does things...

What situation in my life am I seeing as unchanged day after day that I can trust God to 'suddenly' cause the opposition to become my support system?

Christmas Wrap Up

Because I'm still wrapping Christmas gifts...

Tomorrow night, after we toast 2011 with sparkly grape juice, the youngsters will hang their stockings and head to bed and we get to play the Santa game...goodies in the stockings, presents under the tree, and the pickle ornament secured somewhere in the branches.

On New Year's day we'll get up to baked egg and sausage casserole, cream puffs, beef and cabbage soup in the crock pot, and a day of Christmas cheer and family games.

But I'm a little nostalgic this year; it's the Princess' last Christmas at home, as she and her Prince Charming are planning to tie the knot next fall. She'll be an old married lady by this time next year...or at least a starry eyed new bride. In any case, she won't be celebrating Christmas the same way.

I've seen several discussions about what makes a perfect Christmas for the kids...the 'IT' gift? Family traditions? Careful attention to the true meaning of the holiday?

I don't think there's a formula that works for everyone. We're bucking all of society by spreading our Christmas out...and, to be completely honest, if I could pull it off I'd do significant church services on Dec. 24 and 25, have parties with friends and family for the next 11 days and have our family Christmas, with stockings and everything, on Epiphany.

But the kids are always back in school before Jan. 6; that just Wouldn't Work.

So, we spread it out as much as we can...from Christmas to New Year's Day...and try to ignore the drying trees by the curb, the Superbowl promos in the grocery stores and the Valentine's candy on what was the Christmas aisle just a few days ago.

We'll take the tree down on the last day of Christmas break, having extracted the last drop of Christmas cheer from the season.

Now, if I could just remember what that last present was for The Flute Player, and where I put it...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Nearly Painless Breakdown...

In 30 years of driving back and forth to Indiana, we've had a couple incidents of car trouble, but nothing that couldn't be dealt with so we could get back on the road.

There's a first time for everything, right?

We'd just had some front-end work done on the car which didn't get rid of some odd noises that had been going on for a while; I mentioned it to My Sweet Baboo; he said he thought it was the power steering pump...we'd get it looked at when we got home.

About 5 minutes down the road on the return trip yesterday, he completely lost the power steering.

We pulled off just before we got onto the interstate and he checked under the hood to make sure the accessory belt was not being hindered by the non-functioning pump, but it looked just fine and wasn't making any noises, so we got back on the highway and kept going...rather carefully.

At lunch, he called a car dealership that we'd be passing in just a bit to ask if the non-functioning pump could cause additional problems, or would we be ok if we kept going? The service guy told him that as long as he didn't mind the muscle required to go around turns, he should be fine.

So we kept going.

Just north of Nashville, I heard a slight noise that I thought was in the music playing on the car stereo...only the noise didn't really change from one song to the next. I turned the music down, but MSB said he thought it was something caught in the fan. We kept going.

We hit a traffic snarl at the I-24/I-65 junction and had to slow down to a near stop; suddenly we smelled something that smelled like hot brakes. Surely it was the brakes on the big truck in front of us...right?

We kept going.

South of Nashville, I heard the noise again...a little louder this time. I turned the fan off and the noise didn't stop. 'That's not the fan' I said.

'I don't know what it is.' MSB replied...suddenly, there was a thump and the noise quit. 'Must've been something caught in a wheel' he ventured.

But a couple of moments later, he exclaimed and began to try to pull across the highway. 'That was our belt' he said.

I knew from a past experience that that meant the belt that ran everything...the power steering, the water pump, the engine fan, the alternator...all those systems were dead.

And we were in the High Occupancy Vehicle (far left) lane of I-65, going 70 MPH, at about 4:50 PM...just in front of Cool Springs Mall.

Somehow, we managed to get across all the lanes of traffic, to exit at Cool Springs Boulevard and kind of coast down to a Shell station just past the stoplight at Mallory.

Fortunately, we have AAA premium road service, so MSB began making phone calls.

We were within the 100-mile free towing radius (the dealership to which we would be towing the car clocked in at 93 miles), and they could get us a discount with Hertz on a rental. The tow truck would be there within 45 minutes.

We had less luck w/Hertz. There was an rental office in Franklin, but it was closing at 6 and MSB didn't know where it was. The only other option was the office at Nashville Airport, which was not at all close to us and we'd have to call a taxi to get there.

He relayed this to us, but kids grabbed their smart phones and googled the Franklin office, which looked to be about a mile or a mile and a half away...we could walk it if necessary.

He called them back, only to find that that shop had moved to the next interstate exit about 4 miles away. Not possible to walk. And, besides, they didn't have anything that would hold 6 people.

Just at that moment the tow truck pulled up, and a young guy hopped out and looked in the windshield at a car full of folks. 'Holy Cr*p' he said, then offered to take MSB to the Hertz place down the road. So they took off, in plenty of time to get there before 6.

At about 10 after, the tow truck and a Kia minivan pulled up and while the ailing van got hitched up for the ride back to the Rocket City, we transferred almost all our luggage and Christmas cheer to the rental.

'I thought they didn't have anything that would hold 6 people?' I asked MSB...he replied, 'This came back in just before we got there. It hasn't been cleaned, but as long as we bring it back with as much gas as it's got now (about 3/4 tank), we're ok.'

The Artist rode in the tow truck, just to make sure he knew where to go, and the rest of us hopped into the Kia. We'd been off the road for a little less than 90 minutes.

I got the rest of the story after we were going. Turns out that our young tow truck driver had gone to high school with the clerk at the car rental desk, and offered to tow the rental back to the rental place...which was almost just across the street from the tow truck save us the 1-way drop off fee...since he had to come back to Nashville anyway. The clerk was fine with that.

We followed the tow truck almost all the way into The Rocket City; they turned off just north of town to go to the car dealership while we headed on to our end of town. We filled the rental tank, pulled up to the house and had the car unloaded when Tow Truck Guy brought the Artist home and hooked up the rental for the trip back north.

All of the extra bother cost us less than $100, including a tip for Tow Truck guy. It remains to be seen what the repairs to the van will cost. Guess it's a good thing we've got a little bit of Christmas money in our pockets.

It could've been sooooo much worse; the timing on everything, from when and where the car belt broke, to My Sweet Baboo nursing the car across all the traffic and to the gas station, to which of the tow truck drivers came to get us, to the return of the Kia van...was truly amazing. God is very good. Very, very good. I'm incredibly grateful this morning.

Oh, and there another first...this was the first time there was snow on the ground for the entire trip. It was a White Christmas for everyone...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm not even gonna try to post any more before I want to wish all my friends and followers (all 4 of you! :-) ) A Very Merry Christmas!

My prayer...for all of that Christmas is an opportunity to slow ourselves and hear God's still quiet voice speak hope and encouragement and direction.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tree Talk

About 2 weeks ago, Linda at Second Cup of Coffee asked everyone to post photos of their Christmas tree and favorite ornaments.

Swamped with church directory work, I wasn't able to post mine in a timely fashion.

However, what's the point of a tree if you can't share it?

We have a very kinetic blinks, bubbles, spins and talks (if you push the right spot on Linus' stage...). So I tried a little video. It was about a minute and a half long, of exceptionally poor quality, but I thought I'd give it a try, as you could kinda get the gist of it.

And Blogger sat for over an hour trying to upload it without giving me a clue as to how it was progressing. So I gave up and will just have to make do with photos:

I didn't take a close up photo of it, but if you can see it, the star at the top is from My Sweet Baboo's childhood trees. Ain't that cool?

Bubble lights:

Our tree is full of personally significant ornaments. We decided long ago that whenever we took a trip, our souvenir would be an ornament for the tree. This one is from this year's trip to the Smoky Mountains:

This is the second year for us to have a cat in the house at Christmas. Last year, we skipped all the glass ornaments and spinners and other things likely to attract attention...we got some LED lights and some plastic balls to fill in the gaps.

It was a boring tree.

So, this year we got brave and decorated it *nearly* as we usually do; I did leave off some of the more fragile ornaments that we've had for 30 years, but by and large, this is our typical tree.

HOWEVER, this is not the tree of my dreams.

The tree of my dreams would have Cool Touch Frosted Globe lights on it. Surely someone out there remembers those lights...round bulbs, about 1 1/2" or so in diameter, in different colors, with what appeared to be ice crystals on the bulbs.

They were about the only lights my mother approved of, since they weren't supposed to get hot (unlike bubble lights, which we begged her to put on the tree each year) and so were less of a fire hazard. I thought they were goofy when I was a kid, but now...well, I'd sure like about 4 strings for my tree...but Google can't even find 'em.

Anyway, ideal lights aside, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas...a wonderful time of celebrating our Saviour's birth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: 2 Chronicles

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Gee, if I don't hurry, I'll be late again! (as the clock chimes 11:30 PM)

See, I thought I'd just take the easy verse, 2 Chron. 7:14, as that is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. But, as I flipped to it, I had a feeling that I'd already discussed that verse...and, when I looked, I discovered I was right. I didn't really have anything new to I started from scratch.

Sure enough, another verse caught my eye:
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. - 2 Chron. 16:9a

God is looking for fully committed hearts.

It sounds so fully committed.

But, in all honesty, on my best days I may be about 75% committed. I don't know if I'm even aware of how much I have committed my heart to traditions, to social norms, to personal agenda and not to God. It slips in so insidiously.

But look at that promise! God looks for fully committed hearts: so He can give them strength. None of that other stuff can hold a candle to that. What personal strength do I get from traditions, or from our society, or from my own messed up thinking?

That stuff doesn't give drains it.

What a challenge...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Movie Musings: Voyage of the Dawn Treader


(I just had to get that out!)

If you've hung around Beer Lahai Roi very long, you know that I tend to be something of a literalist. If someone is gonna make a movie from a book I love,they jolly well better tell the same story the author originally wrote.

And I'll say straight up that the screenwriters for Dawn Treader pretty much took the major elements of the story C.S. Lewis wrote and mixed them up and put them on film in an almost unrecognizeable manner.

But they told the same story.

Unlike the producers of Prince Caspian, who changed the character of multiple characters, altered the basic motivations for the actions of those characters, and minimized the trustworthiness and the character of Aslan, all of which left me disappointed and rather wary of how the rest of the movies would be made.

But my hopes are up for the rest of the series...the question is, can they get the movies all made so that the growing kids are the proper ages? The Actor and I were talking about it; for the kids to be the right ages, they should shoot the films in this order:
Silver Chair (Eustace should only be a year or so older than he was in Dawn Treader)
Last Battle (Eustace and Jill should only be a year or so older than they were in Silver chair)
Magician's Nephew(Give the kids playing the Pevensies time to reach young adulthood)
Horse and His Boy - Pevensies are all young adults

But, of course, they should be released in the original order of the books:
Silver Chair
Horse and His Boy
Magician's Nephew
Last Battle

Just my opinion, of course.

Anyway, I left the theater happy. Whew.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves - 1 Chronicles

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The two books of Chronicles are always the true test of determination to any Biblical student who is steadfastly reading straight through the scripture; after having just covered the entire history of pre-exilic Israel/Judah, at 1 Chronicles 1:1 we go right back to Adam and Eve and begin the whole thing all over again, with extensive genealogies, focusing on the history of the southern kingdom of Judah. If you're actively studying it, there's great stuff there, but if you're just trying to wade through it...well, it can be a challenge.

But, for today, I'm going to focus on the key event of 1 Chronicles...David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem. It's certainly the central event, occupying chapters 12 - 15 out of the 29 chapters of 1 Chronicles.

I'm not going to go over the whole story; it's right there if you want to read it (and, as an aside, if you want an interesting character study, take note of the name 'Obed-Edom' and see what part he plays in the book of 1 Chronicles).

But I'm looking at the verse that jumps out at me right now...1 Chron. 15:13:
It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the LORD our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him how to do it in the prescribed way.

I'm remembering something that happened about 12 years ago...The Artist, being about 9 or 10, had a friend over from school on a warm day. I'd made sun tea, and The Artist decided they needed to have some to drink and poured two glass fulls.

When he saw the glasses, his friend protested that he didn't like tea.

However, The Artist was so sure of the deliciousness of sun tea that he assured his friend that this tea was good. So, the friend was a good sport and tried it.

Nope. He didn't like tea.

But The Artist was still not persuaded that anyone could dislike something he liked so much. "I know what will make it good!" he said...and proceeded to put about 4 spoonfuls of sugar into his buddy's already-sweetened tea. "There! Try that!" he said expectantly.

Of course, the friend still didn't like tea, and ultimately the whole glass was dumped...because the Artist thought he knew what his friend would like and didn't ask him what he wanted to drink.

I thought at the time how similar that was to the way many of us treat God...we believe we know instinctively what He would desire, and go about it without even an inquiry as to whether or not that fits His plan.

Oh, we're in good company...the Bible is full of stories of people who charged ahead without inquiring what God wanted. Sometimes the results were fatal, sometimes they were humiliating, but there were always consequences.

The take home lesson for me is that my instincts are not trustworthy...but God is always available for inquiry.

And it is so much less painful to inquire of Him first, and see Him smile, than to pour a glass of unwanted tea down the drain and start over.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Checkin' In

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Gee, I didn't mean to be off line for so long...missed my Friday Faves post and everything! Last week was the annual state drama competition...and I did my annual mom-as-chaperone gig...saw some great drama, and even slept a bit. The Flute Player came home with a third place trophy for her duet scene from The Importance of Being Earnest, and both kids got medals for other short scene work. It was The Actor's last competition, which is a little bittersweet.

That means it's just three more for The Flute Player and me... it'll be her last one before we know it...and then I'll be done!

It is, however, rather amusing to find that my average hits per day has actually CLIMBED, despite the fact that I haven't posted anything new. I'm up to an average of 9 (yes, that is an increase of about 3!) per day now. People are stopping by last year's post about The Christmas Pickle. Too funny. Maybe one or two have even looked around a bit past the pickle post...

I do have some more meaty stuff to talk about; we had a guest speaker over the weekend at church and I've got some things percolating about that might make it to a post.

And I *will* get my pick from 1 Chronicles up on Friday. Can't believe I forgot that last week....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: 2 Kings

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
This has turned into my weekly blog post...once the Really Big Project at work is wrapped up, maybe I'll have time to do some real blogging again...

But, at least I've got a topic to keep me updating at least weekly. This week's book is 2 Kings...the decline and fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, followed by the decline and deportation of the southern kingdom of Judah 135ish years later.

They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do. - 2 Kings 17:15

A number of years ago, while we were still in our denominational church, the annual meeting of that denomination passed some resolutions concerning the roles of men and women in marriage. Typically, the press picked up part of the story and made a huge deal of the wording of the resolution as it pertained to women (they totally ignored the wording of the resolution as it pertained to men, instructing them to love their wives sacrificially as Christ loves the church). Taken out of context, it gave fodder to those who were looking for opportunities to be offended on behalf of modern women.

Despite the Biblical basis for the resolution, groups around the country decried it. Even evangelic Christians were offended, making statements to the effect of 'The world is different now; people should not be held to those standards."

Not taking any position on the wording of the resolution, because that's not my point, I was dumbfounded by the reaction of people who believed that the world sets the standard for the behavior of people who call themselves followers of Christ.

Imitating the people around them is what led to the downfall of the people God called His own; do we expect Him to allow His people to fall into that same pattern now?

Although our society is not quite as paganistic as the nations that surrounded Israel/Judah, there are certainly a number of things that vie for our time and attention and even our devotion.

Are we brave enough to confront the worthless idols that deceive us?

Am I brave enough to identify and confront the worthless idols that deceive me?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: 1 Kings

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Do you see the scene in your imagination? It's the time of the evening sacrifice; the people had been standing around all day watching the priests of Baal throw themselves into a frenzy around a hacked-up bull on a pile of wood, but the only thing that had fallen on the sacrifice was no doubt a cloud of flies.

Then Elijah steps out and rebuilds the ancient altar, each stone a representation of the people who stood in front of him. He lays the wood, cuts up the bull and arranges it, then does something truly unexpected...he digs a trench around the altar and calls for water.

It's amazing that they managed to find 12 large jars of water in that prolonged drought, but the water came from somewhere and the sacrifice, the wood, the altar, and the ground were all drenched and the trench was full. Then Elijah stepped forward and prayed.

Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The LORD, he is God! The LORD - he is God! - 1 Kings 18:38 - 39.

Would you have liked to have been there that day? I would've...every time I read one of the stories about God manifesting Himself to his people this way I get all chill bumpy. Can you imagine? Seeing something like that?

I've often wondered, 'God, why don't You manifest Yourself again to us? Show everyone that You're real?'

You know what the answer is?

He put *us* here to represent Him. To be the ones who manifest His presence everywhere we go.

What if everyone who calls him/herself a follower of Christ really and truly represented the heart of God on earth?

I honestly think it would be every bit as big a shock to the unbelieving world as the fire that incinerated Elijah's altar.
Imagine THAT...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Faitful Friday Faves: 2 Samuel

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Once again, I had a difficult time deciding which verse to choose. I think I just need to state it now: it's gonna be a hard choice each week.

This week's choice is pretty much because we just sang a song in choir that included a paraphrase of this verse:

'I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.' - 2 Sam 6:21b - 22a

We have somehow turned worship into a list of appropriate behaviors and attitudes; David's wild dance of celebration would be way out of place in most houses of worship today.

I think we tend to forget Who our audience really is...not our fellow churchgoers, but the One who created us.

We all know the story of David's words with his wife Michal over her opinion of his uninhibited worship...but somehow, in reading this in the past, I missed the part where he said, 'I will be humiliated in my own eyes'.

It's one thing to disregard others' opinions about one's own behavior...but to choose to do something personally humiliating as worship is a whole 'nuther level.

I'm not gonna try to make judgments about what real worship is; I'm just going to let this verse raise a couple of questions:

How predictable is my worship? How can I get out of the rut and let my spirit really respond to the true awesomeness of God?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movie Musings: TRON (1982)

Just did something with the family that I haven't done in I can't remember how long...we actually all sat down and watched a movie.

A pretty old video, actually, dating from many many moons ago when we actually were cable subscribers.

It was Disney's 1982 TRON. The Princess's Beau had never seen it.

I, on the other hand, well remember being dazzled in a theater by it.

But, you know, the Gospel is in that movie.

Leave Flynn's lack of plan aside for the moment and consider:

The Creator takes on the form of His Creation and leaves his place of power to interact with His Creation

Evil forces rampant in the Creation recognize him immediately and try to destroy him.

Ultimately, he sacrifices himself in order to defeat the evil and restore communication/communion between the creator and the creation.

Yeah, I know, it's a stretch.

But it's there.

I don't necessarily think the sequel coming out next month will continue that train of thought, but I've thought that was cool ever since I figured out the similarity about the same time the movie ran on the Disney Channel...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Faithful Faves: 1 Samuel

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

I had a difficult time picking out a scripture today. But one stirred up some old memories as I read it, so I thought I'd talk just a minute about it.

Who can lay a hand on the LORD's anointed and be guiltless? - 1 Sam. 26:9b

Let's just say we spent a looonnng time in one particular church. Like, 20 years long.

You don't stay that long in a church and not see stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff and sometimes truly awful stuff. People are people and sometimes we lose sight of what it's all about.

Sometimes it's the pastor that gets his priorities slightly off kilter; sometimes it's the church lay leadership. Sometimes it's both...or one leads to the other. Anyway.

Anybody who's ever been in a church meeting in which folks who have not attended the church in time out of mind come for the 'vote of confidence' in the current pastor will recognize where I'm coming from.

Now, I'm not here to excuse gross abuse of position. I'm talking about situations in which the pastor and the lay leadership find themselves at odds over procedures or processes or what color carpet to put in the sanctuary, and some well-meaning person who believes the Pastor is totally out of line feels it is their duty to the congregation to lead the charge to see the Pastor replaced.

Be careful. Proceed only by much prayer and seeking God, with honest evaluations of one's own motives, according to all scriptural (and denominational, if it applies) directives for handling such things.

And remember David's caution.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mysterious Ways...

So, early last week I walked into Publix and saw vacuum packed pork loins on sale for, like, $3.50/lb. I didn't have an immediate need for one, but thought I could make use of it before the 'sell by date'. Besides, I'd seen a recipe online for crock-pot pulled pork that I wanted to try. So I put a 6+ lb piece of meat in the cart and went about the rest of my shopping.

Fast forward to Monday. I needed something to cook for a church-staff carry in dinner yesterday and decided I could do the pork loin in the crock-pot overnight and it'd be ready to take. I was just gonna cook about half of it and stick the other half in the freezer, but My Sweet Baboo suggested I just cook all of it. I had to cut it into two pieces to get it to fit into the crock pot, but it fit. I woke up at about 3:30 yesterday morning and smelled it cooking all the way upstairs. Yum.

I pulled the pork before work, put half of it in the fridge and took the rest to church (in the crock pot). I was one of two folks who brought pulled pork, and mine was down the table a bit so the other one got mostly eaten. Mine mostly sat in the crock-pot (which was on). So I took it home and figured we'd eat a lot of pork this week.

But, no sooner had I gotten it into the fridge than I got a text message from The Actor. Rehearsal was running late; was there any way I could pick up pizzas or something so the cast/crew of the one act could eat?

Y'all, I had enough pulled pork already cooked to feed 'em. I put the leftovers back in the crock-pot, along with the first part I'd stuck in the fridge that morning, added a bit of water and put it on high while I went to Target and got a case of water (on sale), a couple bags of chips (on sale) and some cheese sticks and buns (on sale). By the time I got home, the meat was all heated through, so I unplugged the crock pot, set it in the car and headed to school.

I marveled all evening that I had food ready. And it was just exactly enough. I brought home an empty crock-pot.

That's the way God causes us to work a lot of the goosebumps, no visions or trumpet blasts...just, wow, He makes everything work out.

Even with pork. ;-)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Repeat as Necessary

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Back in late August, my pastor boss came in to my office and rather casually said, 'I want you to find out who did the photography for the West Campus directory and get us set up to do one.'

Well, one thing leads to another and, believe it or not, the church directory has sort of turned into my project.

And there have been moments when I have not been the happiest camper in the park. Just bein' honest.

Kind of as a joke, when the 'poor me's ' began to creep in, I started declaring, 'Thank you, Jesus, that I have this opportunity to crucify my flesh, grow in grace and develop the fruit of the Spirit in my life.'

But after one particularly potentially frustrating afternoon in which I had repeated that little phrase several times over, I made a discovery.

It made a difference in my attitude. It made a difference in my focus. It made the frustration recede.

It was spiritual warfare. Who'd a-guessed it?

I think that little statement is going to find its way into my thoughts on a more regular basis.

Because I *do* thank God for the opportunity to grow and mature. I just need to remind myself of that - out loud- a little more frequently. ;-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Ruth

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

What a respite the book of Ruth is! After the dismal end to Judges, suddenly a little story that is full of hope and promise appears to remind us all that God is in even the small details for those who love Him.

I've got a special place in my heart for was the first study I did on this blog (it's linked on the from the bottom up if you click through). I still go back and re read the study from time to time to remind myself that God is working even when it looks like everything is falling apart.

But...I've decided that, since I've looked at some pretty heavy choices from Joshua and Judges, I'm going to go with the obvious pick from Ruth:

But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.' - Ruth 1:16 - 17

That, my friends, is a Quality Decision. True commitment. I'm not going to harp on today's standards of commitment...just hold that up as a shining example for all of us of how to put one's hand to the plow and not look back, no matter how hard the going gets.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fading Gold - RD Exeunt

Who can blame her? It's been rolling for quite a while now...continually amazing me at the seemingly unending supply of really random questions.

But, sooner or later, wells run dry, inspiration fades, what was fun becomes a chore and then a burden. So Linda's giving serious thought to letting (at least the weekly version of) Random Dozen go the way of all flesh.

Maybe the loyal RD Fan Club could develop a rotation, and take turns hosting it each week? Each person's turn would only come around once every three months or so...but it's Linda's baby, so if she continues it monthly, well, we'll have fun with it once a month.

Anyway, this week's Random Dozen is a Random Pair...sort of.

1. What scares you the most

A) Physically
B) Emotionally

Why does it scare you, and how do you cope?

I'll be honest. I Do Not Want To Answer This Question.

So I'm going to wimp out and only answer it halfway.

Because it scares me to see my fears in print. Out in the open. Exposed. I've had long journal entries discussing my fears and why I have them. Some I understand. Most I don't.

Physically...I'm afraid of a lot of things. Big dogs. Or little dogs with bad tempers. Spiders. Being in a car wreck. Severe storms. Heights. House fires. Snakes. Terrorist attacks.

The Usual.

Coping with physical fears...well, we all do what we can to avoid those things that scare us. The things that can't be avoided, we try to prepare for to minimize the impact. As if we COULD prepare, but at least that's a way of dealing with the fear of an event. Dealing with the event itself is entirely different and I have to completely rely on God's grace to give me whatever I might need in the event of a true emergency.

Emotional fears...I was telling the truth. I can't put that out here. Not yet(and that, in and of itself, says a lot, no?). Because one of the ways I cope with my emotional fears is to give them as little air time as possible. Out of sight, out of mind...mostly.

2. What comes to mind when you read the phrase, "Nothing gold can stay?
Honest? The first thing that came to mind was, 'Stay gold, Ponyboy...'

After that, it's a whole host of golden moments that flashed by and were gone. The feel of my grandmother's lawn on my bare feet; the crunch of snow under my rubber one-button boots; singing in the school Christmas program; pulling numbered ducks from the tub at the school fall festival; making music in the high school band; wienie roasts and hayrides, My Sweet Baboo stopping time for about three heartbeats during the last week of December in 1979 by asking, 'Will you marry me?'; laughing with friends; holding each of my children for the very first time; those and many, many others...all gone. Pass the Kleenex.

But, then comes the thought that there are just as many yet to come in different places and with different people. And then, the final gold, the great sunrise, which never fades.

And the ship went out...and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then, it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's a Trap...

Mousetrap. I wanted to play Mousetrap. You roll your dice, you move your mice. Nobody gets hurt. - Bob the Tomato

Friday night was the annual Girls' Ministry sleepover. Kindergarten thru high school, all at once. The theme (chosen by the national office) was 'Time for Tea'...and our Coordinator decided to make it an evening brought to you by the letter T. We went to Chuck E. Cheese, where the girls spent Tokens, then returned for some Treats, and a devotion about the significance of Tokens.

After the devotional, the girls I teach...both the middle school and the high school classes, headed down to the opposite end of the building where we did our own 'T' evening.

I managed to procure enough Mouse Trap games that the girls all split up and played. They had a surprising amount of fun building the Rube Goldberg style mousetrap and eliminating each other...but it was a wonderful illustration.

None of the things used in the contraption looked particularly dangerous. Yet they all work together to trap the mouse who gets caught in the wrong spot.

That'll preach, eh?

The sneaky part about a trap is that it NEVER looks dangerous. NEVER looks like it could cause problems. That's why it's a trap.

Then we watched a movie; half the girls and I just stayed up all night.

I don't know why I even bother taking my sleeping bag to these things. I never even unroll it...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Judges

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sigh. Judges is, to my reading, one of the most dismal books in the Bible. It tracks the history of the country from the death of Joshua, when the folks had taken the land and loved God, through the repeated and increasingly desperate downward spiral that ends with the near annihilation of the tribe of Benjamin by the other 11 tribes and the summarizing statement for the state of the nation:

In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. - Judges 21:25

In other words, there was no absolute standard of what was right/wrong; there was no one who had authority to determine those standards. Somehow, and if you read Judges you'll see this is the case, generations that had learned to obey God failed to transfer their knowledge to subsequent generations, and those subsequent generations fell into the beliefs and practices of the pagan societies around them, which led to bondage to other nations until God raised up a deliverer who would conquer the oppressing foe and turn the hearts of the people back to God. But a generation or two later, the folks would forget God and the pattern would start all over again.

We shake our heads over this folly, this failure to learn from past mistakes, but, my friends, I submit to you that we in America have fallen into the same pattern; spirituality in this country has turned into exactly what is described in Judges: everyone does as s/he sees fit.

And we have a standard right in our hand...Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

But so few folks...even regular church attenders...actually know what the Bible teaches us regarding so many issues that well-meaning people actually consider things that are clearly presented as wrong in Scripture as being issues of tolerance. They are not issues of tolerance. They are issues of obedience.

But, in a culture where everyone does as s/he sees fit, obedience is an oppressive obscenity.

Will we learn from the pattern of Judges before it is too late for [the] US?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two Lids and a Random Dozen

Well, Linda had a rough week, so Linda dropped in with a pinch-hitting batch of random questions.

Check out the post at 2nd Cup of Coffee for the explanation behind that...and click on the icon to find all the participants in this week's guest Random Dozen:

I wasn't going to play this week, but these questions just pulled me right in...
1. Do you prefer to read the book or see the movie?
Oh, DEFINITELY read the book! The book is almost always better. I don't know why movie producers believe they can mess around with an author's story and make it better. The book was a hit because the story was great. Don't change the story!! Please!! Tell the story the author wrote! (Um, can you tell this is one of my Personal Pet Peeves?)

2. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving. I cook dinner and we eat it...all of us at the table together. And we have a myriad of traditions...from eating Pillsbury orange rolls for breakfast to tearing up the bread for the dressing while watching the Macy's parade to putting off the pie because we're too full from the meal to eat it. No pressure to go anywhere or do anything away from home. I love Thanksgiving!

3. Which do you like better - the mountains or the beach?
This is a very tough question. Probably the beach, but only by a whisker.

4. If money were no consideration, what vehicle would you drive?
Current year Ford Mustang. White.

5. What is your favorite cold-weather beverage?
Russian Tea I've already made...and we've already batch this fall. I discovered that Kroger sells a store-brand orange drink mix that is the generic equivalent of Old Tang, so that's what I use now. The New Tang, with sucralose, just doesn't work anymore.

6. How do you communicate most often with your friends: phone, email, text, face-to-face, or Facebook?
probably Facebook...

7. How do you receive your mail? Mailbox on the porch, at the end of the driveway, down the street, or post office box?
In the box at the end of the drive. But it's a standard city driveway, so it's not a big deal. Nothing like taking the .6 mile round trip down to the mailbox and back at the house in which I grew up.

8. Of the four basic personality types - sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and choleric - which is your strongest? Which is your least evident? (See definitions below.)
Oh, I've Blogged about the Personality Test before (in fact, it's one of the most frequent search engine hits on my sewing blog)
I generally come out about 50% Sanguine, 24% Melancholy, 24% Choleric and 2% Phlegmatic.

9. What do you miss the most about being 20?
Hm, I wasn't married yet when I was 20, so I'll have to say I miss living without creaks and aches and pains and having to Be Careful of What I Do so I don't Hurt Myself.

10. How long from the time you get up, does it take you to get ready to walk out the door in the morning?
I *can* be ready to walk out the door in about 10 - 15 minutes if the need is urgent and it doesn't matter what I look like. However, in general I set my alarm for about an hour and a half before I need to leave.

11. Who handles the car maintenance and pays the bills in your family?
My Sweet Baboo deals with the cars; we kinda split up the bill paying.

12. For those in the US, how many states have you visited? For those outside the US, how many provinces/other countries have you visited?
*stops to count, wishes she had a map, then hops over to the Weather Channel site to look a the map* 22, if I counted right. 'Course, that includes states that I've just driven through a teeny bit of on the way to somewhere West Virginia and Maryland...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Faithful Faves: Joshua

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

There's so much good stuff in the book of Joshua; I once counted four or five separate applications from the narrative in chapters 6-7-8 alone. I picked one of those for today's discussion.

When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath. --Josh. 7:21

This, my friends, is the progression of sin in our lives. Look at the verbs there:
I TOOK and
I HID (implied).

In a nutshell, that's what happens when we do wrong. Think about Eve in the garden, David and Bathsheba...isn't that the same progression?

The actual error begins somewhere in step two: I coveted. I think this is why coveting is specifically called out in the 10 Commandments as something we are not to do....that's where the trouble starts. Seeing the plunder was not the problem...everyone saw the plunder. Probably a number of folks grieved a little that such nice things were to be given over to God (either by destruction or by going into the treasury for the future temple...and there's a sermon there, too...). But only Achan let that grief turn into desire turn into coveting turned into thieving.

So here's the take home thought from this verse: the 'Danger: Bridge Out' sign for us is when that little tinge of interest in...or, as I've heard it described by others, the inclination to take a second look at... something we have no business having/doing/seeing/tasting/pursuing/etc stirs.(Note for any folks inclined to take 'second look' literally; I'm not necessarily meaning that one refuses to look at something more than once; it's the measuring look to see really what is there and what it means to oneself that I'm talking about) True, there's no actual harm in a second look, but...that's when we need to take action to 'nip it in the bud,' as Barney Fife would put it. Recognize that the interest in taking a second look is the Y in the road; not taking the second look will break the progression between 'I saw' and 'I coveted;' interest will never become overwhelming desire and there will never be a need to hide anything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lovin' My Mama's Prayin'

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I spoke to my mom Monday, just to catch up, since we hadn't talked for a while, and told her about the intimidating work week I faced this week...trying to pull some data from the data base that really had no way to be pulled.

She said, 'I'll just pray that God gives you a creative answer to the problem.'

I sorta felt like my brain just bounced off the floor on that; there was nothing I could see that would let me get this particular existing reports, nothing to query on...I was, well, intimidated.

But yesterday when I was able to really focus on the problem, I suddenly realized I could create an attribute and add it to the data I need to pull, then search on the attribute.

It's a little tedious, but it works.

Thanks for praying, Mom... ;)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random Dozen: Happy Birthday to our Hostess!

It's Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee's birthday, and for today's list of a dozen random questions, she asked her loyal blog readers (of which there are at least about a gazillion) to each supply a suggested question. So she has posted the 'guest' questions not only this week, but says she has enough left over for next week as well.

So, rather like Billy drawing Family Circus on Father's Day, here are the Dozen Random Questions from Readers, Part 1.

You can click on the icon to see everyone's answers, or even link up your own!

1. From "Men Are Dumb ....": If you had a theme song that played whenever you walked into a room full of people, what would it be?
Based on this week's true life adventures, it would be a slight paraphrase of the Veggie Tales Hairbrush Song:
Oh wheeeeere are my car keys?
Oh wheeeeere are my car keys?
Oh where oh where oh where oh where
Oh where oh where oh where oh where oh wheeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrre
Are my car keys?

2. From Pam of "Alert And Oriented x 4": Which of your shoes are your absolute favorite, and which are of the object of your most painful shoe-buyer's remorse?
I have some nice Clarks that are comfy and my size (6.5 wide) and they're even a little cute. They probably rank as the favorite, although I'm lovin' my new New Balance walking shoes, too (yup, this gal's headed into fuddy duddy territory)
Painful shoe buyers remorse...I bought a rather pricey brand of European shoes with tassels on them a couple of years ago, despite the fact that I'd promised myself never to purchase shoes with dangly doo bobs on 'em, since the dangly doo bobs always fall off. But these *were* pricey European Shoes, not some cheap pair from the discount overrun store, and I was in sore need of some wear-'em-every day shoes, so I plunked down the credit card and took 'em home. Sure enough, after about 2 months, one of the tassels fell off. They sat in the closet for quite awhile while I fumed about it, but I finally took a pair of scissors and cut off the tassel on the other shoe. I still wear 'em, mostly because they fit and I'm determined to get my money's worth out of them. No more tassels!!

3. From Susanne of "Living to Tell the Story": Tell about your favorite birthday celebration that you've personally experienced.
We never 'did' birthdays when I was growing up; my hubby took me to Opryland last year for my 50th, which was very nice, but in all honesty the best birthday celebration I've ever experienced was the surprise party I put together for My Sweet Baboo's 40th birthday (um, that's been a WHILE ago!). I did it with a 'This is Your Life' theme and friends and family came to town to surprise him. He was surprised, and the party was great. But I'll never try to pull something like that off again!

4. From Lori of "Just me and My Life": If you were a flavor of ice cream, which would you be?
Plain Vanilla

5. Cindy Swanson of "Notes in the Key of Life" asks: Have you ever had a crush on a movie star? Who was it, and are you still crushing?
I really don't remember having a crush on a movie star, but when I was about 6 I did have a crush on Johnny Quest. Still crushing? Nah, I don't think so...

6. Jill from "Jill Boyd's Place" inquires: Glasses or braces--if you had to wear one, which would it be?
I had both. At the same time. Not just glasses, big ol' 1980's swallow-your-face glasses. And I was in a friend's wedding with both. Here's a picture; I'm the one on the bride's immediate left. With the glasses and the braces. (from 1984)

7. Nel from "Fasteneau Facts" asks: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Where I could watch the sun rise in the morning, see the sun set in the evening, marvel at the stars at night, and listen to the quiet all day.

8. Thena from "Patiently Waiting" wants to know: If money were no obstacle, what would be the perfect birthday gift to receive?
Ok, this is turning into a one-panel Peanuts cartoon in my head; the team is on the ball field and each of them has a question: 'Why is a birthday gift different than any other gift?' 'Is there a gift that is better given as a birthday gift than a Christmas gift?' 'And does it depend on who's doing the giving?' 'What about gifts that money can't buy?' 'And how could you put a value on a handmade gift?' 'IS there any such thing as the perfect birthday gift?' 'Real Estate.'

9. From "Life Through Bifocals," LynnMarie asks: What is your favorite birthday meal?
That's I don't have to cook! And I bet that's the most common answer to this question!

10. Debby at "Just Breathe" checks in with: Do you still send hand-written thank you notes?
Um...sometimes? VBG

11. Linda from "Mocha with Linda" poses this question: What is something you've done that you never thought you'd do?
Won a state athletic championship. And I did it 1983 and 1984. I was Alabama's State Women's Frisbee Champion. 'Course, there WERE only about 5 ladies in the competition either year...and the real pros didn't come....Anyway, that is clearly the Most Unlikely Thing to Happen that Actually Happened in my life. At least so far.

12. Jewel, my homegirl from Indiana who writes at "Musings from the World of Jewel," is very insistent that we answer this: Mount Rushmore honors four US Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. If you could add any person to Mount Rushmore, who would you add and why?
Oh, tough question. FDR, perhaps, for guiding the country through the second world war; Harry Truman, perhaps, for stopping the buck on his desk; JFK, perhaps, for starting the Peace Corps and starting the drive to the moon; Ronald Reagan, perhaps, for the end of the Cold War...I'm glad I don't have to decide.

For the regular BLR readers who will be expecting the Friday Faithful post this week...My Sweet Baboo and I are heading to Gatlinburg w/ the Royal Rangers/Girls Ministries leaders for a couple of days. So, rather than worry about trying to post from the Smokies, I'll just give it a break. We'll start the Books of History next week. ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Deuteronomy

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

'Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!' - Deut. 5:29

I know, I know, that's probably not the first verse that pops into ANYbody's mind when Deuteronomy is mentioned, spoke to me as I skimmed through and noticed how, over and over again, God instructs the people to obey His commands for their own sakes.

See, we have the idea that keeping God's commandments has something to do with salvation; it really doesn't. We are not capable of perfect living; salvation is a gift and totally not earnable. That's why they had the sacrificial system; sin cannot be erased by simply living has to be cleansed. The blood of animal sacrifices covered it temporarily, but to cleanse it so people could live with God forever took a better sacrifice. I don't think that's because God required blood; I think that's because sin is a stain, and, like any other stain, has a specific solvent that will remove it.

The Bible is very clear that only blood can remove a sin stain. Blood that did not have the sin-stain itself.

But I digress.

What keeping the commandments meant was blessing - peace, safety, health and prosperity. This verse, to me, shows the intent of God's heart to bless His people. It is, in a single statement, a summary of one of the key themes of Deuteronomy: that God yearns for His people to be in the place of blessing.

But He cannot bless us if we are not in the right position to receive blessing. If we chose disobedience, we move out of the place where the blessing is.

I know, as a parent, there have been times I've had blessings planned for my kids. Blessings that, due to their personal choices, I could not bestow. Blessings that would do harm, not good, if they were given under those circumstances.

It breaks my heart every time it happens. Maybe that's why this verse jumped out at me so. God doesn't instruct us to obey Him so He can judge us when we don't...He instructs us to be obedient so He can bless us all the time.

So that it will go well with [us]and [our] children forever!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Numbers

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

'You must present as the LORD's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.' - Numbers 18:29

I really was planning to post a different verse for Numbers, but when I was flipping through reviewing the book, this one grabbed my eyeballs and wouldn't allow me to go anywhere else.

Because, really, do I give the Lord the best and holiest part of ANYTHING? Let alone EVERYTHING.

Do I give Him the best and holiest part of my day?
Do I give Him the best and holiest part of my labor?
Do I give Him the best and holiest part of my devotion?

Ouch ouch ouchy ow ouch!

Now, for context...this was direction to the Levites, and their sustenance was to come from the offerings/sacrifices given by the people. We're mostly talking things like meat and grain here, you know. Their food. They were to give the best and holiest ('most special') part to God; by doing that they were guilt-free in consuming the rest.

You know that mental picture we all have of the offerings being burned? Go back and read all the specific directions and you'll find that, for most of the offerings, only certain portions were actually burned. The rest was eaten by people...either by the priests and their families or by the folks who made the offering (e.g. the Passover lamb).

It's a novel concept to me that we sacrifice things to God by presenting them to Him and then enjoying them in His presence...but, that's the gist of it. the midst of that enjoyment, we still should give the best and holiest part to Him.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Falling into the Random Dozen

So what if the thermometer in my car informed me that the temperature outside was 99 degrees Fahrenheit when I left work at 5 PM today...the calendar says Fall starts this week.

I should break out the flannel PJ's and the turtleneck sweaters any day now. RIIIGGGGHT.

Whilst we wait for more seasonally appropriate temps to move into the Tennessee Valley, here's this week's Random Dozen to take my mind off the heat and the cha-CHING cha-CHING of the air conditioner...

1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything? (I just came from my dad's ceremony wherein he was given a medal of honor by the French government for service in France in WWII. Pictures to follow.)

I dunno...does the General Foods Family Leader of Tomorrow Award(formerly known as the Betty Crocker Future Homemaker Award, or some other such thing)when I was a senior in high school count? My mother actually laughed so hard she could hardly stand up when her friend the Home Economics teacher whispered to her that I'd won...and then wouldn't tell me what was so funny. But if you looked at my house right now you'd probably laugh along with Mom.

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military?

My Father-in-Law. He was among the replacement troops sent into France immediately after D-Day, and was wounded by shrapnel from a tank round after only about 2 weeks. The guy he was with was killed outright; Dad lost an eye and has scars that elicit questions from the grandkids. I believe he was 19.

3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you.

I am a real patriotic sap. I have to fight the urge to say 'Amen' at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance, school kids waving flags at parades uncork the tear ducts and I choke up and lose my voice every time I'm in a crowd singing 'The Star Spangled Banner.' (just out of curiosity...who among you knows the third (oops...need to fix this...)  fourth verse -
'Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the wars desolation.
Blessed with vict'ry and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just
And this be our motto, 'In God is our trust'
And the Star Spangled Banner in vict'ry will wave
O're the land of the free and the home of the brave.'

I learned that two or three years ago, just because it is so amazing...)

4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality?

I'm numero uno; my next sibling is a fuzz less than two years younger than me. And I have no idea if that played into my personality. Maybe just a pinch...but, as Aslan says, 'No one is told what would have happened.'

5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents.

My grandparents had an amazing work ethic...but they also knew when to stop work and enjoy a little relaxation, even if it was just a break in the middle of the day for half an RC cola or a slice of watermelon.They worked hard when it was time to work and saved some time for real rest. At least, that's how I remember it.

6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo?

I actually prefer to wear skirts...but, in my life, pants are much more practical. So I'm normally in pants. Sigh.

7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep?

I've got some low back/sciatica issues right now, and I wake up once or twice a night. But after I rather carefully and laboriously roll over I usually drop right back off.

8. Share a favorite movie quote.

Oh, this one is HARD!!! So many great lines!!! But the first thing that popped into my mind was this one: "Whaddya think I am, dumb or somethin'?" - Lena Lamont, "Singin' in the Rain," (that MUST be quoted with the full-out Lena nasal accent) which is one of my Absolute Favorite Movies of All Time, full of great movie moments. The payoff at the end is marvelous!

9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent?

Alas, I'm one of those folks who really don't handle scents well at all. However, a good pine-scented candle doesn't give me a headache. Last year The Princess gave me a Mountain Pine candle from Yankee Candle Co., and it almost made up for the fake Christmas tree that doesn't smell like a Christmas tree.

10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to?

Roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and eating s'mores! But not while the AC is may be a while for that one.

11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently.
Um.....(pulls pizza out of oven and eats it with kids while playing half a game of Racko and then returns to the computer)'s not that pleasant things haven't happened, it's just that I haven't been really surprised lately...

12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be?

December 30, 1978...I carpooled into my job in Indianapolis, and My Future Sweet Baboo drove all the way from Elkhart to Indianapolis (a fuzz over 3 hours) to collect me a little after noon (I'd worked extra so I could leave early), then turned around and drove back to Elkhart. We arrived at his folk's house just in time for supper. His Mom taught high school biology, his dad taught high school chemistry and some math, both his brothers were engineering students and his sister was a high school senior. The topic of conversation at that meal was, I kid you not, the thermal effects of hardening concrete, and about halfway through the meal I knocked my glass of milk over. We were off to a great start...I was certain I was way below the family average IQ and proved myself a klutz to boot. Fortunately, my in-laws were and are gracious people and they didn't let that first impression ruin our relationship.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Leviticus

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own -- Lev. 20:26

I have a note scribbled by that verse that reads,'Key verse/theme of Leviticus'...from my BSF study of the Life of Moses, I expect.

And it's interesting because I've been reading The Messianic Church Arising! by Robert D. Heidler, which contained a quote from one of the worship leaders at his church that really got my attention and made gears shift in my brain, "The opposite of holy is not sinful or evil. The opposite of holy is ordinary."

I know I have heard many times that the definition of 'holy' is 'set apart', but it is so strongly ingrained in our spiritual culture that holiness has to do with sinlessness that 'set apart' becomes secondary, as in 'you are set apart because you behave less sinfully than the world around you.'

No. We are holy because God, who is holy, has set us apart.

Like wedding clothes, the interview suit, the good china, the white linen tablecloth, the guest towels, the Christmas decorations...special. And, you know, it's the use of/presence of the special thing that raises the occasion above the ordinary.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Miss Diane's Prayer Dare

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We had breakout sessions on Friday afternoon of the conference; one of those sessions was team taught by two of the ladies in our church...both women of great spiritual credibility, for all they are from different generations.

Miss Diane, who is an amazing woman of God and one of the very first women I met when we first visited the church nearly 9 years ago (she brought the 'visitor bread' by the house!), challenged us all to pray a prayer she has been praying since her now-grown children were small.

In fact, it turned into a Facebook pray this prayer every morning for the next 30 days (I have Miss Diane's permission to share it with you, my faithful bloggy buddies):

Lord I submit myself to You today!

I ask You to use me in any way that You will!

I ask that You give me knowledge, wisdom & understanding & let JESUS shine through me in all that I say & do today!

Love Your people through me!

I ask that You give me the words to say in the hour that I need to say them & let my speech be always with grace!

Filter every word that comes out of my mouth through Your Holy Spirit!

Give me great favor with everyone that I come in contact with today!

In the name of Jesus! AMEN!

(Scripture references from which she drafted her prayer: James 4:7 - Submit; John 14:12 - Use me; Ephesians 1:17-19 & James 1:5 - Knowledge, Wisdom & Understanding;
Matthew 5:16 - Shine; 1 Corinthians 13 - Love; Matthew 10:19-20 - Words to say; Colossians 4:6 - Speak with grace; Romans 8:14 - Filter (led by the Holy Spirit); Acts 2:47 - Favor)

But, she cautioned us...over the years she's learned that, if one has a heart to pray this prayer and mean it, the Comfort Zone is very likely a previous address.

Anyway, I'm in! Anyone here game?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Different Kind of Conference

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
Credit where credit is due: my pastor posted this photo taken with her cell phone to her Facebook page...there are about 300 ladies in this picture!

Photo credit Leisa Nelson

It really didn't feel like any conference I'd been to before. I think that's largely because the emphasis wasn't so much on what *we* were getting, but what we were *giving*.

Saturday morning we did an outreach. 9 rented school buses were lined up in front of the church when I pulled into the parking lot; I was surprised to find that I suddenly teared up. It was apparent that something was goin' on.

We had groups who went to (mostly) low income neighborhoods and one (the group I was in) went to a nursing home. Our group took gift bags that contained a stuffed animal, a comb or brush and some lotion to the residents of the nursing home; the other groups took reusable grocery bags w/kitchen supplies, rice, potatoes, canned goods and the like and went door-to-door, giving away the filled 'hope totes' and offering prayer.

The stories we heard in the afternoon were amazing. People were touched...not just the folks who received the bags, but all of us who went out. I think this is going to be a part of our women's conference from now on. you remember what I wrote about being prepared for the conference? God stirring my heart for an elderly lady?

How incredible is it that I was assigned (and it was a random assignment...they slapped the code dots on the backs of the nametags before they ran them through the printer to put names on them) to go to the nursing home?

I'll be honest...I don't handle nursing homes well. But I knew as soon as I heard my assignment that it was no accident. I was able to go and participate and smile and pray and get on wheelchair level and look into eyes and hold hands. And the faces of the folks I spoke with are still coming before my heart. They're all on my permanent prayer list.

We had no inkling that a nursing home was going to be part of the outreach. God was preparing my heart better than I could ever have.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Exodus

Posted a tad early by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock."- Ex. 33:21

Of all the gems in Exodus, this is the one that jumped out at me this week. So literal: God placed Moses on the rock as He passed by...and so prophetic: on Christ, the solid Rock, *I* stand (I suppose if you didn't grow up in a hymn-singing church, you might not recognize that..)

God has a place near Him where I can stand on a Rock.

Because I'm purposely limiting myself to the Faithful Fave scripture reference, I'm not gonna dig into 'Rock'...but if you get some time, pull out your concordance and see what significance attends the word 'rock'.

That episode in Moses' life has always intrigued me; he secured the promise of God's presence for the entire journey of the Israelites, then he actually asked God to allow him to see His glory.

And God said No. Not because He wouldn't allow it, but because Moses physically couldn't endure it.

But I you suppose God just postponed it?

I wrote the following after doing the Bible Study Fellowship study on the Life of Moses, back in the spring of 2002. (I posted it on the sewing blog in Jan. of '08, but I think it fits so well I'll repost it here)

Crossing Over

I was foolish when I was young; I ran from my folly and hid until he called me.
I was yet foolish when he called me – “Send someone else!”
But he would not. Instead he gave me my own staff,
a charge to bring his people out of slavery,
and a promise to be with me.
And he told me his name, and I went.

Only one request of mine did he deny –
to blot out my name from his book
if the people’s sin was unforgivable.
But he said no – those who sinned against him
would be blotted out of the book
I could not substitute my name for theirs—
And the people suffered a plague for what they had done.

Only one request did he partly fulfill –
‘Show me your glory!’ I begged,
Desiring to see at last the face behind the voice
To know even as I was known.
But he said he would show me his goodness instead,
For no man could look on his face and live—
And he proclaimed his name as he passed by the shelter he gave me.
I saw only his back, and it was too wondrous to describe.

All the rest he granted. Every last one.
He sent the plagues on Egypt, gave us water when there was none,
Sent his own presence with us, healed my sister…year after year,
What I asked for, he gave. You’d think the people would’ve noticed the pattern.
But each hardship seemed to confuse their memory—
Egypt, they remembered as a place of comfort and plenty (They were slaves!)
The miraculous provision they’d had since they left there they remembered not at all.
I finally lost my temper and hit the rock. Twice.
He had told me to simply speak.
What can I say? I was wrong.

At the very end, I asked one more favor -- to be allowed to go in and see the land beyond the Jordan.
But that request only made him angry; I will get no special dispensation.
I must bear the consequences of my own sin…just like the rest of my generation.
So now I am foolish in my old age, and Joshua will lead the people into their inheritance.

It has been a long walk from Egypt.
One more walk up the mountain to gaze into the land I on which I will never walk.
It is a good land, and green. If the people learn obedience, they will do well there.

Here I am. Yes, Lord, I remember asking to see your glory.
Do you mean NOW?

Ah, my Lord and my God! The glory! The glory! The glory…!

But, you said no one could see your face and live…
Why are you laughing?
I did?

Oh. I hadn’t noticed.

She Rev: I am Hope

This has almost snuck up on me this year; it's a different conference with a different emphasis and for some unknown reason I didn't make my 'preparatory transition'...just suddenly, boom, it's September and time for the women's conference...

But, you know, maybe that's ok. God may be preparing me in ways I wouldn't have pursued if I was setting about it myself.

Case in point:

I was out at lunchtime today; I had a chiropractor appointment that ran late, so instead of making a sandwich I stopped at the local burrito eatery and got a to-go grande burrito w/sour cream (naughty, but since supper will be light tonight I splurged!), then hopped in the car and headed home.

As I was easing my way through the parking lot towards the exit, I noticed a white-haired gentleman pulling a wheelchair out of the trunk of a car. In just about the same glance, I took in the open passenger door, and an elderly lady sitting hunched over in the front seat.

In the time it took to register that, I was past them and trying to pull out onto South Parkway. Suddenly, my heart broke for the little hunched over lady. All through my five minute drive to the house, I just felt overwhelmed with the feeling that I'd missed something...wishing things had been timed just a little differently. I don't know what I could've done, other than asked if I could pray for her (there is a doctor's office in the same complex as the burrito place, but I don't know if that's where they were headed). But maybe she needed someone to just say, 'God pointed you out to me and I just want to pray for you.' Oh, I still prayed for the little lady, but she doesn't know it.

Then I felt the Holy Spirit say, 'When you feel My compassion moving, that's the time to pray.'

So Saturday, when we head out into the streets with our Hope Totes, you can bet I'll remember this lesson.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

RD: The Post-Labor Day Edition

Once again, Linda delves into the realm of the trivial, the obscure and the pensive... click the icon to peruse other answers or link up your own!

1. Describe the best sandwich in the world, according to you.
Two well-toasted slices of whole wheat bread upon which is spread a liberal amount of mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip!!!), containing thinly sliced, peeled, vine ripened tomatoes and a slice of Velveeta cheese. MMmmmmmm......

2. Which inspires you more: a good conversation, a song, a book or movie?
I love love love good conversation (don't get much anymore, do we?), and a a movie will, now and again, get me connecting dots in my head, but books consistently send me to my journal to record a response.

3. What is your favorite board game?
That's easy! Scrabble(R)! No, wait, it's Clue(R)! I mean, Trivial Pursuit(R)!

4. As you grow older, are you more or less patient with small children?
Probably less. I'm in a stage of life where I'm not around small kids very much at all; I've lost touch with my patient persona. Hopefully it will return about the time grandkids show up.

5. Name one item you never let yourself run out of.

6. Do you agree with Tennyson's assertion, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?" leaves a legacy.

7. Name one national treasure or monument that you have visited.
The National Mall. Covers a bunch.

8. Which is more painful, to be disappointed in someone else or to be disappointed in yourself?
Probably to be disappointed in myself. I will eventually forgive and release someone who disappoints me...after all, they're only human and all that, but I'm still agonizing over mistakes I made and things I did that I wish I hadn't done years and years ago...arrrrggghh!

9. What makes your kitchen uniquely yours?
The MESS it's in right now!! No one else could slop up a kitchen so fast and then take so long to get it back to's one of my gifts...

10. Are you a crafty person?
If by 'crafty', you mean 'can I take string, paper plates and Wal-Mart bags and make something cool to decorate my house?' the answer is absolutely not. But if you mean 'Can you make things?', I'll just refer you to My Sewing Blog and you can judge for yourself.

11. What is your favorite traditional picnic or bbq (cookout) food?
Chicken and dumplings. Really. When I was a kid, about the only picnicking we did was the annual Warren Reunion...and it wasn't a picnic so much as it was a carry in dinner held at the local park. My grandmother always made a big pot of chicken and dumplings. It was one of my favorite parts of the reunion meal.

12. Name one leisurely activity you enjoyed over Labor Day Weekend.
I sewed! Put two new tops in my closet! Hence the wreck in the kitchen...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Faithful Friday Faves: Genesis

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The LORD had said to Abram,"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." - Gen. 12:1

When I began contemplating the idea of doing this series, this verse immediately presented itself as the choice for Genesis.

It has always amazed me that, on this simple directive, Abram took off and went to a place he'd never been.

I mean, how did he decide whether to turn left or right when he got to the end of his father's driveway? He didn't have a pillar of cloud to lead him around; all he had was that nudge in his heart, which he had to trust.

I've often wondered if Abram was the first person to whom God gave that directive...or if he was just the first person who heard it and obeyed.

And what was Abram leaving?
He was leaving everything he knew and was familiar and comfortable with; he was leaving his place of position as the son and heir and going to a place where he was just a traveling nobody, with no authority and no credibility and no status. He was leaving 'being known' and traveling to 'being unknown'. He was leaving stability and predictability and heading into total dependence on God.

There was a time in our lives in which this verse was exceedingly significant. After serving God steadily in a little church for a fuzz over 20 years, we began to feel God stirring us to change. We weren't sure just exactly what form of change that would be, so we stepped out of our positions of responsibility for a season to see where we would be led. Were we going to a new city? Were we to, perhaps, change our focus and start a new ministry in the church we were in? Were we being led to a different church? We weren't sure.

But when we began our sabbatical, suddenly we began encountering Genesis 12:1 in all kinds of messages that we listened to on tapes, in meetings that we attended, in discussions with friends...over and over again 'Leave...and go to the land I will show you.'

When we finally left our little church and headed out to see where God would lead us, we were doing very much the same things, although on different levels. We didn't change countries...but we didn't just leave the church we'd been in, we left the denomination we'd been in. Not because we disagreed with anything, or had issues over anything, but because God said 'Go to the place I will show you.'

That was 9 years ago. I have no doubts that we are serving God where we are meant to be serving Him. I may not understand everything about the way He does things, but I do know that I can trust Him.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random Start to September

I don't know about you, but I am NOT believing September is here already! Leading off with Linda's Random the icon to see the rest of the answers, or to link up yourself!

1. What insect are you most afraid of? Feel free to post a picture.
I *would* say a spider, but, technically, a spider is an arachnid, not an insect. So I'll have to go with large bugs with stingers and bad tempers, like bumble bees and yellow jackets.

2. What is the greenest/most organic thing about you or that you do?
I do some recycling...

3. Tell me about a recurring dream that haunts you.
Variations on this dream have occurred for YEARS: In the dream, I am in a public place...usually a shopping mall, but it has also been an office complex of some sort. Once it was a funeral home. In the dream, there is no solid, conventional way to move from one level to another. Rickety ladders is the norm, but it has also involved rock climbing, or stairs that are very open and unsecured to any real support. Usually I find myself climbing up because I *have* to, but at some point a couple of levels up I get hit with vertigo and just freeze where I am. The odd, dangerous stairs/ladders/climbing surfaces never seem to bother anyone else.
Of course, I've tried for years to figure out what all that's about, but I've never really had any real insight.

4. Have you ever missed a flight? What were the circumstances?
I've only actually flown somewhere about 4 times in my life; I had a very close call on the last one (10 years ago) due to a delay on one leg, but I squeaked in at the last second and was ok.

5. What do you consider your best feature?
I have a nice smile.

http:/ 6. What was the last concert you went to?
Mannheim Steamroller, Christmas '08. Actually, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, but it was the Christmas show. TOTALLY worth breaking the no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving ban!! They're coming back to town this year and we already have tickets. Ridiculously extravagant, but, wow, what a show...

7. Describe the most embarrassing church moment you ever experienced.
There are a couple that I CANNOT talk about in mixed company; so this is probably about 3rd on the list: I was asked to participate in a roast of our pastor on a significant birthday; I really didn't take it as seriously as everyone else did and I didn't have anything truly prepared. The other roasters were wonderful; I was lame. EPIC FAIL.

8. Are you a whistler, hummer or singer?
Probably a hummer. I don't pay much attention....

9. George Washington Carver said, "I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in." What is God saying to you through nature today, or this very minute?
I saw a spectacular spread of stars on the tiny patch of city-washed night sky visible from my drive when I came home from church tonight. What beauty there is...and how small we are....

10. On September, 1, 1752, the Liberty Bell arrived in Philadelphia. What memorable event will take place in your life on September 1, 2010?
I'm cheating and writing this at the end of the day...and it was pretty much just A Day in the Life, memorable in its ordinariness.

11. Taco Bell or the Liberty Bell? (You must choose.)
There's lots of places to grab a bite when I'm hungry, but there's only ONE Liberty Bell...I'm going with the LB.

12. Do you believe men and women can have purely platonic friendships?
Absolutely. If she's 25 years older than he is.

Just kidding.

Yes, opposite genders can have real, true, platonic friends. But...I don't think it's common.

And...drum roll...The Flute Player just reached into my little basket and pulled a piece of paper labeled 'Momma24' out of it! So Momma24 wins the book! I'll be putting a comment on her blog to let her know...thanks to everyone who entered, and if you want to learn more about Stella's House, you can visit Philip Cameron's Web Site

Book Giveaway: Last call

I'll be drawing the winner tomorrow (probably late tomorrow...), so if you'd like to put your name in the hat for my extra copy of Stella's Sisters, be sure and let me know!

It's Scrabble (R) night's hoping I draw good letters... ;)

Um, nevermind. The next Scrabble (R) party is the last Tuesday in September

I'll just quote Anne Shirley:

Tomorrow is a brand new day, with no mistakes in it! (or something like that).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fatithful Friday Faves

I've been a little discouraged by my seeming inability to 1) post regularly and 2) keep up my intention of having a Bible Study day every week.

So I decided to start something new....I'm not sure when the inspiration for this actually hit; it's been growing for a week or so now.

Here's the plan: over the next 66-ish weeks, I'm gonna review through my Bible and list one favorite verse from each book. I'll start with Genesis next week.

Here's where the marking system comes in handy; I'm not planning to re-read/re-study each book, just skim through it reviewing the underlines and the notes I've written and look for one verse that pops out as significant. It's not necessarily going to be the Most Profoundly Meaningful verse in that book; just one that speaks to me in the week I'm looking.

Then I'll talk about it on Fridays...with the probable usual gaps of trips, holidays, and quarterly Internet breaks.

I'm excited! Some books will be hard to pick ONE out of so many; some of those iddle biddy books may be hard to find something significant. But it'll push me to post again, and that's what I need.

So...even if I can't get my act together enough to post much, I'll at least see you on Fridays! And if anyone wants to join me...well...that'd be cool too!

P.S. Don't miss the giveaway I mentioned in my previous post! So far, four ladies have put their names in the hat for the drawing. If you're interested in learning about what one man with faith has done to save orphans in Moldova, be sure and let me know and I'll put your name in, too! :-D

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Dozen - And A Giveaway!

Sigh. Usually, I do the Random Dozen meme because the questions stir something in my spirit and I just gotta post answers. This time, I said I'd do it before I saw the questions...and I'm afraid my answers are going to be pretty lame-o. Not sure if it's because I am having a creativity drought, or if it's because I'm still feeling the effects of dental anesthesia (can I claim that if it's been 10 hours since the dental appointment?). Anyway, if you can endure to the end of my lame-o answers, there's a giveaway at the end for those faint not... ;)

You can click on the icon to go to the linkup and read, I'm sure, everyone else's stellar and amazingly witty responses...

1. What is your favorite Mexican dish?
It's gotta be chicken fajitas. Because you can order it in large quantities for carry-out, eat 'till everyone's full, then take the leftover veggies and chicken and throw it in bottled alfredo sauce and serve it over pasta the next night and the family thinks you're a chef!

2. When you were a kid, did you get started on your homework right away after school, or did you procrastinate?
Procrastination was and is my middle name. But don't tell my kids.

3. What is your favorite store for home furnishings?
Um, I haven't purchased any new home furnishings in so long I can't even answer that question. I like to go in about any home store and look around. Maybe someday we'll buy something new instead of getting things from friends who are moving and buying new stuff...

4. When you were young, did you like school lunches?
At $1.25 for a week's worth of lunches, it didn't matter if I liked them or not. It was what I got to eat. Beef stew was, if I think hard, I might come up with something else that was good. Unfortunately, the salmon patties they served when I was in 1-3 grade were so awful that to this day I cannot stand the taste of salmon...

5. Is religion a crutch?
Um, I think of religion as practiced by most people as being mankind's schemes for trying to impress God. That's not so much of a crutch as it is a stumbling block, keeping people from genuine faith. God defines religion as, 'to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.' (James 1:29, AMP). Not much crutchliness there.[edited the next! I don't normally edit these things, but I just had a flash of inspiration...'Religion focuses on what I do - faith focuses on what God does.']

6. In your region, what is the "big" (most popular in the community or state) high school sport?
Are you kidding? I live in Alabama. 'Nuff said.

7. Do you consider yourself rich?
Actually...yes. Compared to the vast majority of the people on this planet, I am incredibly, unbelievably wealthy. It humbles me and shames me a bit. Ouch.

8. Which of these would you have the best chance for success in administering:
B) Heimlich Maneuver
C) Changing a flat tire

I hope I never have to find out!

9. Which dance would you prefer to learn & why:
A) Salsa
B) Hip Hop
C) Waltz
D) Swing

Definitely D - swing. We did a wee bit of swing dancing back in the day when I was in high school and it was really fun....

10. What's the worst news you've ever delivered to someone?
This is the honest truth...I know I have given people bad news, but I don't have any real memories of it. I think I've blocked 'em.

11. Name something you learned in college that had nothing to do with classes or academics.
I grew up on a farm in central Indiana. I wore hand me downs and clothes I made. I really didn't pay that much attention to style or fashion or what I looked like. Was the garment clean and did it fit? That was good enough. lovely spring day in 1978 I was at the drug store across campus from my dorm. I'd purchased a few things, and I was waiting on the light to change so I could cross the street and head back to the dorm. A really old (to my 18-year-old eyes, anyway) scruffy-looking geezer pulled up in a pickup truck and commenced to try to give me a ride. He was quite insistent that I should get in the truck and let him take me where I needed to go. I was polite, then I was annoyed...then I was scared. When the light changed, I headed across the street and went straight through campus instead of around by the walkways, so that he couldn't follow me. When I got to my room, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror...and then I took a long look at my appearance. I had on a fairly low-necked tank-top, cut-off shorts that, if truth be told, were pretty close to Daisy Dukes, and a pair of Dr Scholl's sandals. It'd never occurred to me what other folks might think to see me dressed like that.

I learned that day that what you wear can say more about you than you really want said.

12. New variation on an old question: If there's a song in your head that just won't get out, what is your favorite (or most repeated) line in that song?
I think the most often 'stuck in my head' song of late is a song that we've been doing for worship in church...Everlasting God (no, that's not our church...)...We set our hope on You, we set our hope on the Love, we set our hope on the One who is the Everlasting God...

Now, for the giveaway. Actually, it ties in a bit to my answer for number 5, about caring for orphans....

After our weekend services, we ended up with two copies of this book:

The second book was a freebie, and, even though we said we already had one, we were encouraged to take it anyway, and give it away.

Now, there are a lot of people I know who would like to have the book, but they already know the story of Stella's House and the Moldovan Orphans. I'd like to give the book to someone who hasn't heard of them before. So...if you leave a comment on the blog at any point in the next week and MENTION THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THOSE KIDS, I'll put your name in a hat and draw out someone to receive our extra copy of the book next Tuesday.

And, things being what they are (that is, knowing that only a handful of folks stop by here on a regular basis), if no one says they'd like the book, well, I'll find something else to do with it. ;-)