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 Dozen...click 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 tonight...here'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 good...um, 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 day...ooo! 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.
Then...one 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. ;-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moldova Miracles

Our church has had a long standing relationship with Philip Cameron, and we've been greatly involved with his ministry to Moldovan Orphans.

For the last few years, he's been bringing some of the girls that have been given an alternative to the usual danger of being an orphan over 16 over to the US for a few weeks in the summer to visit churches that have been connected to the ministry, and today they made their visit to The Rocket City.

The videos of those services can be seen HERE, if you're interested; just scroll down until you see the ones that say 'Philip Cameron' from either 8/21/10 or 8/22/10 (I'd recommend either the Saturday service or the 11:30 Sunday service; those are the ones w/o time constraints and they're a little more informative).

Saturday, our church participated in a city-wide prayer event...many churches came together at the civic center and prayed for our city, our region, our students, our government...etc. The local paper put an article on their online news service about it, with the caption 'Prayer Changes Things'.

I didn't know that it was there, until a friend of mine posted the link, saying how sad it was that people reacted so negatively to prayer. Sure enough, comment after comment spewed bitterness and scorn upon this simple little prayer service.

"Prayer changes things?" scoffed one commenter, "Show me one verifiable thing changed by prayer. I'm waiting."

I thought of that as I sat in this weekend's services and heard from 15 girls whose lives have been completely and dramatically changed from abject hopelessness to a hope and a future...because someone dared to pray and follow God's leadership. I wished I could sit that person down and just let him/her hear what I heard and see what I saw.

But there are none so blind as those who will not see...

Anyway, I've already decided that I will play along with the Random Dozen this week, and I'm gonna do a giveaway related to the weekend along with it (because I get more readers when I link up w/the RD crew...more folks will have a chance to win ;) )

So...see ya Wednesday! ;)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Comin' Off the Mountain

We had a lovely couple of days at Gorham's Bluff...it was an amazing treat, in many ways.

But God surprised me in a way I didn't expect, just a bit, while we were there.

There are books all over the lodge...books in the living area, books in the rooms.... And I happened to find a battered copy of Corrie ten Boom's Tramp for the Lord on the bookshelf in our room.

I have The Hiding Place, and I've *heard* of Tramp for the Lord, but I'd never gotten a chance to sit down and read it.

It was a very quick read; somehow, I managed to get through the whole little book while I was there.

Now I'm gonna be looking for a copy of my very own (to mark up and underline, of course!)

Some things really impressed me about Corrie...and this is just what I remember from what I read; I don't have the book to go back and make sure I've got it right! She had an incredible story related in The Hiding Place, but the stories of her travels after the war really challenged me.

She lived a fairly normal, predictable life up until the Germans invaded Holland. At age 52 (that's just a year older than I am!) she was arrested and began her prison ordeal.

She learned to listen to God...really listen to Him. She would feel His direction to go to a certain country, purchase plane tickets and fly to that country without any assurance of where she would stay or what she would do there. Yet over and over again doors would open and ministry opportunities appeared.

She really didn't come into contact much with the Pentecostalism that spread out from the Azusa Street Revival, at least not soon, yet she had an experience that she considered to be her Baptism in the Holy Ghost early in her travels that seemed to parallel what many of the Pentecostal folks were experiencing.

She absolutely believed God would do what He said He would do, with no if's, and's or but's. She wasn't afraid to claim those things...and over and over again, she saw Him do them.

Her standard opening question when introduced to someone was, 'How long have you known the Lord?' Not 'Are you a Christian?' or 'If you died right now, would you go to Heaven?' but, 'How long have you known the Lord?' She asked that question of everyone. If the reply was a period of time, she rejoiced in having found a brother or sister in the Lord. If someone replied that they did not know Him, then she would begin to explain the Gospel to them. She was an Evangelist, in the purest terms.

I was challenged...and a little chagrined. It wasn't really easy to read of Corrie's dedication to serving God while I was being pampered and spoiled (and I *was* pampered and spoiled!)

I haven't completely processed everything that stirred in my spirit as I read that book, but I do know that I need to maintain the pursuit that was so easy on that mountain....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Do you mark?

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Friends Club has a 3-year curriculum, meant to be taught to grades 6 through 8, so every three years we pretty much start the cycle over again.

This actually is my first repeated unit of study since I became the lead teacher: we are doing the Bible unit first.

Truth be told, it's kinda disappointing. This is one of the units that it seems that the authors put together about 4 lessons worth of material and then stretched it over the 6 lessons comprising the unit. So I supplement it considerably. There's so much good information out there...it's a shame it's not written into the material from the start. But maybe my expectations are unusually high.

Part of the supplementation is that I teach my Bible marking system...then make that the basis for the unit project.

Of course, the first thing I do is give each of the girls a 4-color Bic pen, so I've immediately earned points...then I pass out the little card with the sample system and a printout of Ephesians chapter 2 and we're off.

Some take right to it, some color in the o's and p's, and some draw pictures, but at least the idea is planted.

And there's always one or two who will not mark in their Bibles. Some, their parents have forbidden them, but most of the time it's the girls themselves who don't want to mess their Bible up.

Which kind of makes me wonder what their actual perception of the Bible is...or where they picked up the reluctance to mark in it.

So...do *you* mark your Bible? Why...or why not?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comin' up on 30...

...on a cool,rainy mid-August day in 1980, My Sweet Baboo and I began this wonderful adventure called marriage. Thirty years of growing together needs a little celebration; unfortunately, we really didn't know how to celebrate. We decided to take a couple of days off from work for a getaway to...somewhere...to make a celebration.

Lots of friends said we should go on a cruise...but, well, being inclined to motion sickness, a cruise just doesn't sound like something I really want to do. Not to mention we really only have a couple of days anyway.

I wanted to go the beach, but it's a good 7+ hour drive; we can't leave until early afternoon. It just seemed pointless to drive for a total of 14 hours in two days to spend one day on the beach...we needed something closer to home.

So we began to investigate state parks in the area; we've gone to state parks for quick getaways over the years and most usually enjoyed ourselves...although the food has ranged from The Worst Restaurant Food Ever to Just Pretty Good, and I really would like a nice dinner for our anniversary.

We had just about settled on going to Cheaha, despite the fact that I was a bit disappointed by the dining menu options. While the price for the room was pretty good, and the park itself looked lovely, I really wanted an anniversary dinner that was a little more uptown than fried catfish and hush puppies.

Then, for some reason, I remembered something someone said about a bed and breakfast place near Pisgah, AL, and hunted around until I found Gorham's Bluff.


Compared to the State Park, this place is pretty pricey...but, compared to last year's 'Lisa's Turning 50' overnight trip to Opryland, it wasn't so bad. Then I saw the dining options...including the 'Chef's Table' option, in which the chef consults with the clients personally to design a memorable meal.

Now that's a 30th Anniversary Dinner!

But, wow, all that ain't cheap. And we've been covering bills for The Artist because his part-time jobs all sort of evaporated. Cash is tight.

I wished I hadn't gone looking for the place.

But, the more I looked at the website, the more I liked what I saw. We're not fancy folks, but it just looked like a neat place to poke around and be together. Bikes, hiking, swimming...but it just couldn't happen.

Then, I happened to remember something...

Back in the day, employees at the engineering firm my hubby worked for were, um, strongly encouraged to participate in a buy-US-Savings-bonds program. So we participated, getting bonds in our name and also some that were POD to each of the kids. We had cashed out some of the older kids' to help fund their time in Master's Commission, but I wasn't sure what the status was on our bonds. I asked my dear hubby about them, but he said he didn't think we had anything at the moment. I couldn't *remember* cashing any of them, but, well, I'm not always aware of these things. I resigned myself to a few days at a state park, and made some tongue-in-cheek comments about it on Facebook.

Pastor D. came by my office yesterday and said that he and his wife had been laughing at my posts. I told him what was going on, and he said, 'Yeah, I know what you mean. We splurged for our 30th, too. You should go for it!' Then, he surprised me as he headed down the hall,'We'll just pray that God makes a way for you!'

It wasn't half a hour later that My Sweet Baboo called and said that he decided to check on our savings bonds and found that we had a number of bonds at maturity; easily enough to cover a couple of nights and at least one fabulous meal at Gorham's Bluff. We agreed that if ever there is an event worth dipping into some savings for, it is an anniversary ending in zero...especially since we didn't do anything to celebrate our 25th, having just bought a house in the summer of '05.

So, we've got one of the lodge rooms reserved and the two older kids set to cover the home front for us and we're going!!

Can you see my smile?? :-D

Monday, August 9, 2010

1st Day, 2010

The Actor, heading off to the first day of his senior year:

And The Flute Player, munching her breakfast as she begins her high school career:

You can see they are barely containing their excitement and enthusiasm.

I can't believe the summer's gone...