Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A few declarations...

We have finished the critical part of the porch rebuild.  All the windows and doors are up; it's closed back up and there's a floor of sorts now.

But we've got a ways to go before it's done, and we're going to have to stop here until we've got some more resources.

However, one of the things we wanted to do from the time we bought the house was put a sliding door between the family room and the sunroom and take out the goofy windows that are there now.  So, despite the fact that we weren't really in a position to do that just yet, since everything is dismantled, now is the time to do it.

That's the next step.

So, I did a little look through the NIV concordance and put some verses up on the part of the wall that needs to turn into a door... declarations such as:

A new and living way opened for us - Heb. 10:20

One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out.  Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head -- Mic. 2:13

See, I am doing a new thing! ...I am making a way. Is. 43:19

I pray that now at last the way be opened - Rom. 1:10

Pass through, pass through the gates!  Prepare the way for the people  - Is. 62:10

Knock and the door will be opened - Matt. 7:7

To him who knocks, the door will be opened - Matt 7:8

A great door for effective work has opened - 1 Cor 16:9

The Lord had opened a door for me - 2 Cor 2:12

See, I have placed before you an open door that no man can shut - Rev. 3:8

I don't know how long those verses will stay up, but they will...eventually...give way to the door.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Faithful Friday Faves: The Summary

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The journey actually started with Genesis on Sept. 3, 2010...take one book a week and look through it for one verse/passage that caught my eye or spoke to my spirit that week.  I finished with Revelation last week and I thought it would be interesting to just do a summary post and list all the verses in one go. So here it is: the summary, without the commentary.  Most of these are NIV; I'll try and note which ones are from other translations:

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

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

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

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

'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

 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

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

 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

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

'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 

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

 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

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.   -- 1 Chron. 15:13

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. - 2 Chron. 16:9a

"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

...Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, [KJV: eat the fat and drink the sweet] and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. -- Neh. 8:10

When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. - Est. 2:15

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. - Job 32:18-19 
Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. - Ps 127:1 KJV

 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you.
Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.
- Prov. 9:8 - 9

 The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. - Ecc. 10:2

Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot wash it away - Songs 8:7a

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word the LORD has spoken against him:.... -Is. 38:21-22a

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'" - Jer 6:16

 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself,"The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. -- Lam. 3:21 - 26

 ...the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. -Ez. 1:1b

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. -- Dan. 3:26 - 27

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. - Hos. 10:12

And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And so on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
-Joel 2:28-29

"I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'" - Amos 7:14-15

Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever. On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like them. - Obadiah v. 10 - 11

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion upon them and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. - Jon. 3:10

 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD's wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness - Mic. 7:8 - 9

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him - Nahum 1:2  

 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign God is my strength;
He makes my feel like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to go on the heights.
-Hab. 3:17-19a

Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder. - Zeph 3:9

"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house." - Hag. 1:9

This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.' - Zech.7: 9 -10 

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.  -Mal. 4:2

 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." -- Matt 5:17-18

 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. - Mk 1:35...Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." - Mk 6:31

"You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him , "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. - Lk 18: 20 - 23

 Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?"
Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows you will disown me three times!
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be where I am." - John 13:36 - 14:3

Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed that she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, 'Peter is at the door!'
'You're out of your mind,' they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, 'It must be his angel.'
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. -- Acts 12:13 - 17a

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.   -- Rom. 12:2

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.   - 1 Cor. 13: 4 - 8a

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,  and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  - 2 Cor. 10: 3 - 5

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. - Gal 5:15, NKJV

 Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.  -- Eph. 5:15 - 17

 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure - Phil 2:13 NKJV

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form - Col. 2:9 

 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. - 1 Thess. 4:7 - 8 

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. - 2 Thess. 3:13 NKJV

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love , in faith and in purity - 1 Tim. 4:12

For this reason I remind you  to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of  timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline - 2 Tim. 1: 6-7

 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age - Titus 2:11-12

 If he has done you any wrong or owes you any thing, charge it to me.  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.  I will pay it back - Philemon 18 - 19a   

 For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  -- Heb. 4:12

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  - James 1:2-4

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. ( 1 Peter 1:13)...The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)...Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)   

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  - 2 Peter 1:3 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched -- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you that we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. -- 1 Jn 1: 1 - 3

 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning.  I ask that we love one another.  And this is love:  that we walk in obedience to his commands.  As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love - 2 John 5 - 6

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. - 3 Jn 4

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.  -- Jude 20-23   

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints ( Rev. 13:8b)... This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. (Rev. 14:12 )


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Literary sidetrack...

Pardon a little literary geekiness.

With the trailer for the first part of the Hobbit readily available for viewing online, there's been some discussion around about the movies made from Tolkein's books, which has kind of evolved into a discussion of movies-made-from-literature in general.  I'm not going to link to all of that, but I have stumbled across some of the discussions.   I will admit that they tend to be way over my head anyway, mostly being conducted by actual published authors and liberal arts majors.  However, it has brought the topic to mind.

I will, no doubt, see The Hobbit, because I am a great LOTR fan (Why, yes, I have probably read the whole series about 20 times over the last 35 years).  Good vs. evil, iconic nobility vs. foul wretchedness...the sacrificing of one's own agenda for the Great Cause...classic themes of literature.  Not to mention the incredible beauty of New Zealand, which seems to fit my mental picture of Middle Earth to an amazing degree.

But, as so many of the discussion participants have also mentioned, I'll be going guarded.

I saw the first movie, Fellowship of the Ring, rather guarded, but allowing for reasonable artistic license and the necessity of combining characters/places/events to get a reasonably-lengthed movie, I left happy.  So much seemed right that the things that were off didn't seem to matter.

I left the second movie, the Two Towers, disappointed.  Basic motivations of main characters were skewed;  people said and did things that were completely inconsistent with the way Tolkein crafted  the characters.

The Return of the King made me angry.  The nobility that was so present in the text was totally missing from the movie.  The motives of the Good Guys were not so different from that of the Bad Guys.  It was wrong --- it was wrong --- it was wrong.  Who else will have the chance to tell Tolkein's story in such a grand way??  To have that opportunity and then do it wrong seemed such a waste.  We have the movies on DVD, but I can't bring myself to watch them, because I know how the series declines. 

So whose to say how The Hobbit will turn out?  True to the story, or just another fan fiction knock off in which the producers tell their interpretation of the story, instead of telling the story the author wrote?

I see the same sort of thing happening in Christianity today...people who feel they can improve upon what we have been given; modify the text, make it more palatable/exciting/ suitable to a modern audience.  I'm not talking about new translations here...I'm talking about totally disregarding the themes of the text, altering motives of the main characters, disregarding what was written for the way we'd prefer the story to go. 

But corrupting a story will just be disappointing to folks like me, who look for the real thing.  Corrupting HIS story...that's dangerous ground...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Invisiblity, part...3? The Facepalm...

Isn't weird how sometimes things that are so obvious take so long to register? 

Somehow, I have been reflecting over my current position(s) teaching the Girl's Ministry classes...and how long I resisted the pull to do that.  I'm thinking it was at least two years, and even when it became obvious that I was going to be teaching for at least a while, I prayed that God would send someone I could train to do it so I could get on with other stuff.  It took a pretty blatant word from Him before I recognized that it was, indeed, what I was supposed to do.

Do you know what my resistance was?  I had this gut feeling that if I went back to the Girls Ministries hallway I'd disappear.  Drop off the face of the church at large.  Go back there and never come out.

Become invisible.

And I didn't want that.  I didn't want to disappear.  I wanted to be Involved with The Main Thing...whatever that was.  I wanted...Credibility. 

It has only been lately; literally, during the fast, that I put that up against the word I had when we first got involved with this church that I was to be 'invisible' and realized that this was really what I was intended to do all along.

I just didn't get it.  I don't think I wanted to get it.  How else could I have missed it?

Now, of course, it is so obvious.  How could I have been so dull?

Because I wanted MY definition of invisibility...freedom to take a break, not be involved, not be responsible.  And I only wanted it for a season, while we caught our breath, found our feet, got refreshed.  Then I wanted to be visible again.  Doing.  Something that 'mattered'.

As if teaching young ladies didn't matter.  What a doofus.

There really is nothing that matters more than teaching young folks...getting them grounded and founded in truth.  It is the most influential position in the church...any church.  Let me tell you, that has been a paradigm shift for me.

Now I don' t know if I could leave.  For all its frustrations, this is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

Invisibility and all. ;-)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 41

So, technically I've come to the end of the 40-day fast.

Aside from being obedient to the call,  I really think it was good for me.

I have lost cravings for some of the foods that I know were bad for me.  It's funny...of all the things I put down for the duration of the fast, the only thing I found myself really missing was cheese.  Four or five paper-thin slices of really sharp cheddar cheese is one of my favorite snacks; that will no doubt make it back into my daily food routine.

But I'm hoping consumption of white stuff...bread and sugar...stays at a minimum.  I just can't go there.

I didn't get as in depth and retrospective in either my blogging or my prayer journaling as I had hoped, but the (almost) daily blogging here is a step in the right direction.  Again, I need to continue to press in to that even though the fast is over.

I haven't missed Facebook as much as I thought; 'course, I cruised through a few times because that was how I had to communicate with some folks, but I didn't spend hours on it.  I flipped through my home page a bit today, but didn't feel compelled to hang out.  Maybe I can keep to minimal involvement there, too.

And the 862 blog posts waiting for me on Google Reader will most likely see a quick 'mark all as read'...just because I don't have time to catch up so many.  I will go back and read where necessary to understand what's going on now...but old news is old news.

As I wrote in an earlier post,  I need to be careful about how much time I spend w/online friends vs. actual human beings.  I've missed a few of the blogs...but by and large...I learned I don't have to read everything everyone writes.  Which feels really hypocritical, because of course I want folks to read what I write. ;-).

But mom reads it (Hi, Mom!), so I suppose that's enough.  If my hubby and my kids don't think the blog is worth reading, I can hardly expect other folks to feel that way.  I just have to recognize that, first and foremost, I blog for me.  So as long as I'm finding it pulls and stretches me, then I will keep going.  When I went into the fast, I wondered if I would discover that I should put down blogging and move on to other things; for the time being, anyway, I've realized that answer is 'No.'  It's still beneficial to me...and if it's beneficial to anyone else, that's just icing on the cake.

Actually, in many ways, the fast was just phase 1 of change was about breaking bad habits.

Now it's time to work on building better ones.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Faithful Friday Faves: Revelation

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

Ok.  Wow.  Nothing like a skim through the book of Revelation to shake up a quite Friday morning.  I remember reading through it as a teen, thinking all that imagery was so wild.

But now, given the condition of the world and what is in the newspapers every day, much of it seems, well, not so far fetched.  It doesn't take a great stretch of the imagination to see the possibilities of those things that John saw and wrote about in the vocabulary he had available to him at that time.

So, what to pick from the summation of things which were, which are, and which are to come?  The encouragements to the saints, the promises of glory, the warnings to the unrepentant, the wonderful praises and poetic worship?

There is no one verse that can adequately convey the essence of Revelation; I'm very grateful that that wasn't my objective.  Just one verse from the book that speaks to me at this moment.  And what caught my eye this morning was a phrase that I hadn't even underlined yet...but it is stated and then repeated in short order:

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints - Rev. 13:8b

 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.  - Rev. 14:12

Both passages are discussing the time of judgement and distress.  I'm not going to get into who exactly those saints will be at that moment; this isn't the forum to discuss the intricacies of pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib, Rapture or no Rapture.  It is enough to note that there WILL be faithful followers around when judgement is falling and life is unraveling and  everything humans have considered safe and secure is shaking and crumbling.

For the saints of God, the instruction is patient endurance.

I don't think this is stick-your-head-in-the-sand endurance, or go-hide-in-the-hills endurance, it is maintaining your faith in God and not trusting the schemes of governments or charismatic leaders for deliverance.  Which will likely go against the prevailing 'wisdom' of the day.

Don't. Give. Up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Offspring can Write

So, yeah, I'm off Facebook pretty much for the duration of the least, as much as possible.  I've checked in a time or two because I needed to communicate with some folks and that was the best way to catch 'em, but I haven't been spending time reading posts.

So The Actor walked in a couple of days ago and asked me if I had read the Note he posted to Facebook.

Um, nope. 

He really wanted me to read it; it had been generating some interesting comments.  I probably should've just gone and read it, but since I'm so close to the end I told him I would read it this weekend.

Then, this morning My Sweet Baboo sent me a link.  A blogging buddy of ours picked up on The Note and got The Actor's permission to post it as a guest post on his blog.

Not making any comment about spelling and grammar...but if you want some food for thought and a glimpse into his thinking, here's the link:

This is Christianity

The Leadership Institute is making a difference.   I am greatly encouraged.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Cost of Restoration

I have mentioned from time to time about the, um, issues we've had with the sun porch that was added to the house some time before we purchased it.  First, it was a leaky roof, which we repaired as best we could, then a hail storm wrecked the repair and our insurance company paid for a new roof.  But the actual cause of the leaks wasn't the was the flashing around the skylights, which had been bent out of shape the last time the house had been re-roofed and would no longer seal.

So we spent a little extra money on new skylights.

But the water damage to the inside wall was still present, and we knew we'd have to deal with that eventually.

Early last summer, the in-wall  heat/ac unit (just like what you see in hotel rooms) died.  More research discovered that it was just about $150 more to purchase a complete new unit than it was to replace the motor in the old one.

So we ordered a new unit.

When we pulled the old unit out, we made a horrifying discovery:  it had been installed such that it tilted inside the house instead of toward the outside.  All the condensation from the unit had been running down the wall behind the wallpaper and pudding under the rug.  For years.

As we pulled paper down and carpeting back, and eventually sheet rock down, we discovered that the whole wall had rotted around the unit; the sillplate for the wall was rotted, and there was about a 6" hole rotted through the floor.


We got a bit more money from the insurance company to cover the water damage from the leaky roof, but in post-April27-2011 Alabama, that number was figured very lean.  And we were on our own to cover the rot, and to replace the windows and sliding doors, which had all lost their seals and had moisture collecting between the panes.

So, we got estimates and borrowed against the 401k and proceeded to do what we had to do to fix things.  Not to make it fancy, but to just make it sound.

I'm not going in to detail, but we found as we continued that the same mentality that had set the AC unit in tilted backwards had pretty well built the room.  The farther the contractor went in pulling out bad stuff, the more bad stuff and incredible workarounds he found. The latest was dirt packed between the rim board and the patio slab...which had held moisture and fostered a huge worm colony and rotted out a goodly portion of the rim board.

The upshot is that we have pretty well just jacked up the roof and demolished everything under it, one wall at a time.
We've run through all the funds we had amassed for the project; now, we're down to the annual bonus check My Sweet Baboo should get this week and hoping the tax refunds are not delayed.  After that...well, we may just have to tell our contractor friend that we're going to have to put the brakes on for a while until we can get some more cash saved up.

Now, none of this was in our plans when we bought the house.  Overall, the appearance of the house was good.  The home inspector found only minor things that needed work and gave us a good report. We did what we knew to do to protect ourselves against just this sort of scenario.

But the folks who owned the house before us were very big on appearances and very blase' about sound structure.  Nobody foresaw this. But now we've got this situation and it must be fixed.

I have seen many applications from this experience; the one that struck me today as we were discussing the estimated cost to just finish what HAS to be done is this:

The cost of fixing a poorly done job is always greater than the cost of doing it right the first time.

We humans messed up our 'first time'...and couldn't pay for the restoration.  But God loves us so much that He paid that cost a much dearer price than we will end up paying for the repair of the sunroom.

If I can trust Him for fixing my fallen humanity, I've got to trust Him for fixing the falling down porch.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Day off the Wagon

Prince Charming's birthday was last week; however, he was on a business trip so appropriate celebrations didn't happen in a timely fashion.

So we had a family dinner after church today to celebrate him.

By request, I made Chicken fajita soup (or Mexican chicken soup or Chicken tortilla soup or just 'chicken soup'...the recipe I got had no name on it and we just kind of call it whatever comes to mind first), and chocolate cake.

Now, I have taken the fast quite seriously and really pretty well stuck to my plan, although I had to modify it a bit after the trip to the ER, since it became obvious that I would have to actually eat food so I could take medicine I had to take.

But I feel pretty strongly about not fasting on feast days.  Celebrations are meant to happen (there are more annual feasts than annual fasts in the Bible).  So I had a dilemma.  Should I fix the party food and then eat yogurt and cottage cheese, or should I celebrate with the family?

I bet you can guess which one I picked....although I did hold off on the 'extras' that go in the soup, like tortilla chips and sour cream and cheese.  Points for that...then I lost the points by overindulging in the chocolate cake.  I started out with a two-bite piece, then I got another two-bite piece, and one more two-bite piece; I think I ended up eating about the same amount everyone else did.

Which goes to prove that I will have to maintain some pretty tough discipline on myself once the fast is over on Friday.  I can NOT go back to my old patterns and habits and indulgences. One day every once in a while for a celebration is not a problem, but I can't give in to cravings and desires on a daily basis.  I really have been feeling much better the last few days; I need to keep the healing going by continuing to monitor my food intake.

And I'm PLANNING to add some exercise to the regimen  starting next Monday.  That's gonna take more will power and determined discipline than watching what I eat; that will require getting out of bed when it's still dark and chilly in the house...not something I am good at doing at all.

But this is the best chance I'm going to have to get myself back into any kind of shape.  I can't let myself miss it.  I just can't.  (Hear that, Self???)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Checkin' in on the Survey...

About two and a half years ago, I posted about the Bible Survey we were preparing to start in the high school girls' ministry class.

Since I was still working on my 'read the Bible in 3 years' I'd started with the Middle School class, I didn't start my work on the Survey until about a year ago...I just squeaked in the last of my Bible reading while I was dealing with mononucleosis.

 I *mostly* finished the allotted portion of Scripture by the end of the Summer, only missing about the last half of Psalms, and I started in with the girls in August on the third of four portions of Scripture...which is Job, Song of Songs, and the Major and Minor Prophets.  I'm behind on my reading...but I'm ahead of most of the I'm just now starting into Isaiah.

To refresh:  The idea is to write a one-sentence summary for each chapter, then, based on those summaries, do a rough outline of the book and state the theme of the book.

It really is not difficult, but it does need some discipline to finish.  Last year, only two of the 4 girls in the class completed the scheduled chunk of reading...and they both crammed it in at the last minute.

I'm telling them that they really won't want to procrastinate on this year's portion; being 90% prophetic, it can get a little overwhelming.

But I'm enjoying what I'm reading.  It's a good counterpoint to the skim through I've been doing with the Faithful Friday Faves series.  It's still not an in-depth scripture study, but it is a good overview, and I think the girls who are really working on it are gaining some good basic scripture knowledge.

I remember the Flute Player commenting on something she read last year that she hadn't realized before, so, yeah, it's a Good Thing.

If I could just get them motivated to keep up with it instead of putting it off...Hmmm....Think...think...think...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Faithful Friday Faves: Jude

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Wow.  Jude.  The end is near.  In more ways than one.

It's interesting that Jude speaks of the apostasy of the end times; observing the seeds of such apostasy even in his own day.  From the beginning of the spread of the Gospel, there were those who wanted to twist it to suit their own agendas.  He warns his readers to beware of such folks, who claim affinity with the followers of Christ but do not follow His teachings, even to the point of denying the unique sovereignty and lordship of Jesus.

Sounds pretty current, doesn't it?  Jude's instructions to true believers dealing with such issues still holds for us today:

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.  -- Jude 20-23


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 32

At choir tonight, our worship pastor spoke to us and asked if anyone had any thing from the fast that they'd like to share; the comment was made by one of the other choir members that, for most of the 21 days, they felt like they were just following orders...not really seeing much results.  But at the overnight prayer meeting, things suddenly started falling into place and afterwards, they felt like there was a real shift...which was pretty close to what Daniel experienced when he began praying and Gabriel arrived with his answer 21 days later.

Pastor B. nodded, and added that many times the time of fasting is not necessarily when God speaks, but it often sets up a new revelation afterward, because the positioning is right.  The seed has been sown.

That was really encouraging to me;  I don't feel like I have focused on spiritual issues myself, personally, as much as I intended to; I got caught up in health issues that really took a lot of my time and attention.

But I don't think that was coincidental; there is a significance to the timing of it.  I had one direction I thought I was going to go; I went another. 

But I still have 8 days left.  I was really encouraged tonight by the word that it is not necessarily the time of fasting that is the time of insight and growth; it is the time of alignment and pressing through.  So even if I have not been able to follow *my* plan precisely, I know I'm doing what I can to follow the leading I had, whether it goes as expected or not. 

Now is not the time to slack up, even though everyone around me has finished.  There is still some ground to cover.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Follow up

So, today we saw the electro-cardiologist, who explained to me that what I was experiencing could have two different being the nerves that govern the heartbeat, the other being some nerves that are in blood vessels coming from the lungs right were they join the atrium.  Since I really do have a pretty mild case of arrhythmia, he prescribe a six-month regimen of a medicine meant to treat the first case, to see if that improved things.

He also said that sometimes those nerves get irritated (under stress, for instance) and the symptoms kick in; with medicine to 'calm them down', the problem could resolve itself somewhat and I might possibly be able to go off the medicine later on.

If the medicine doesn't help, then it's probably the second case and a trip to the heart cath lab would be the next step.

So it was good to hear that I have a chance to miss the 'procedure'; and it was also gratifying to see that my blood pressure was back down to pre-hormonal-shift levels.  Apparently the blood pressure/slow the pulse medicine (I'm taking what he called a 'baby dose') worked really well.

But I'm hopeful that if I can manage to pull off the 'get fit' portion of the change 2012 plan, maybe  I can lose the need for the cholesterol pill AND the 'baby dose' by just improving my general health.  We'll see...That's  the lifestyle change that will have to follow the end of the fast, and I realize that's probably going to be tougher than the fast itself.

One aspect of the fast is that it is basically just practice for a disciplined lifestyle.  And I need all the practice I can get. ;)

Monday, February 6, 2012


Yup.  I remembered.

Dunno how I forgot.  I've been chewing myself out over this for about a month now.

It was the emergency room trip...I was in the little treatment cubicle and an older lady who reminded me a bit of my grandmother wheeled in a portable X-Ray machine, stating that the doctor (whom I still hadn't seen yet) had ordered a chest X-Ray.

We chit-chatted a bit while she was setting it up and then taking it down, about I don't remember what, and suddenly she said something to the effect of, 'Well, we just all try to do the right things so that we can go to heaven.  Don't you agree?"

For some reason, that question caught me completely off guard, and I was overwhelmed at the thought of having an apologetic theological discussion with someone with whom I had no credibility.    Particularly when I was wearing that humiliating hospital gown sitting on a gurney hooked up to all kinds of monitors, feeling shaky and lightheaded and distracted.

There was so much in her statement that I disagreed with that I couldn't even think where to start.

But she was waiting on an answer.

To my astonishment, what came out of my mouth was, 'Well, I really don't want to open that can of worms.'

She smiled but didn't let me off the hook, 'Why would you say it was a can of worms?'

Actually, I was appalled that I had used that terminology; but I still didn't want to argue theology there, so I tried again, 'Well, I believe the Bible tells us what we need to do, and if we do what the Bible says, we'll be fine.'  Still a non-answer, but better.

She nodded.  "That's what I think, too." and wheeled her cart out.

I was left fuming with myself.  A can of worms!!! How lame!  How insulting to my Savior!  I had an opportunity to speak for Christ, and I blew it!! 

It wasn't until several days later that it occurred to me that she was perhaps trying to witness to ME.  And what I meant by  'can of worms' was a theological argument, not the Gospel.  But how could she know that?  And how could she know that years and years ago I worked with a guy who wouldn't have anything to do with Christianity, but stated how he hoped to do enough good to go to heaven someday, so fixed in his own ideas that there was no discussing Biblical truths with him at all?

So I've been going over and over that little exchange, wondering what I could've said that would've been less of a wimpy cop out and more of a declaration of the truth...

If the Bible says that all the best things we can do are no better than a stinking pile of used sanitary napkins, just what 'right things' are going to be capable of getting us to heaven?

Or maybe Corrie ten Boom's favorite conversation starter, So, how long have you known the Lord?

Or even I know whom I have believed in, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed to Him until that day.

Any of those might have opened up the opportunity to state that my entrance into heaven is not dependent upon what I do, but upon what He did.

But all I came up with was a can of worms.  Good grief.

Thank God that His mercies are new every morning.  I needed my full day's supply right then.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I hate it when that happens...

Earlier today, I was musing over something that was just kind of a bee in my bonnet; something that was bugging me about myself.

And I thought, 'I should just write a blog post about that.'  I didn't want to, but I felt something in me agree...yes, that should be a blog post.

Only now, after spending about 4 hours doing data entry so I've got work ready for my new volunteer trainee tomorrow, I can. NOT. remember. it.

Not even a hint of a clue of what it was seems to be hanging around in my brain.  It's GONE.

Now, it may come back...and I may be mulling over the same thing some day in the future and suddenly have the revelation of 'THAT'S IT!!'

You can bet when I do I'm gonna grab the nearest writing implement and scrap of paper and write it down.

Potential blog posts, no matter how much I would have to grit my teeth to put it out there, are too valuable to let slip away.

I think I need some sleep...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Short Day

The corporate fast finished up with a 24-hour prayer/worship event, with a service at 7 PM last night.  I didn't manage to get to church yesterday for the open worship time, but the choir was involved with the service so My Sweet Baboo and I did make it to that.

My Sweet Babboo went straight from work, I went from the house so we had both vehicles at church.  He and the Actor were both planning to  stay the night; I wasn't sure I'd manage it but when the closing prayer time rolled around at 7 AM I was still there.

I went to bed at 7:45 this morning and slept until a little after 1.  And, as both kids needed to be at church tonight, I went back.

So...I spent most of the afternoon updating the background on the sewing blog.  I'm not blogging there because of the fast, but I've been meaning to update the template for a long time.  I'd originally tried the new Layouts on this blog, but got frustrated because I could NOT get it to allow me to add side bar links and reverted to the old classic templates.

I think they've got the bugs worked out of it; I'm moderately pleased with how it's looking.  I still have some work to do, but it is working better than the old template, which had some problems.

Maybe one of these days I'll update things around here, too...

And when I'm more awake I'll talk about the all night service. ;-)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Faithful Friday Faves - 3 John

Posted By Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Continuing with our look at the writings of John the Beloved in his old age, he states clearly the heart of anyone who has parented kids, mentored kids, taught a Sunday School class or a Bible club or even just prayed for kids:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. - 3 Jn 4

To which I can only add, 'Amen!'

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gotta Retrain Myself

We've had a wholesale club membership that My Sweet Babboo gets through work at a reduced rate  for, oh, maybe three years now that we've rarely used;  I was intimidated by the whole 'must have a membership card' thing, and the parking lot was always crowded, the merchandise presentation confusing, and it is not in a convenient location.

But after my last few trips to the local grocery store, I've come to the conclusion that I MUST reign in our grocery expenses somehow.  Making use of the wholesale membership is probably the most logical first step.

So today, I steeled my nerve, loaded up my poly grocery bags and headed up the Parkway to the wholesale club after I left work.

Can I just say that a first-time (for all intents and purposes, anyway) visit to a wholesale club in the days leading up to the Stupid Bowl, when there are samples of junk food available on every aisle, probably shouldn't be made while one is fasting?? That was not such a smart move on my part.

But my jaw dropped at the actual prices.  I came home only with things I actually will use, and I think I will sit down and do some price comparisons.

But there were some that I knew by heart.  Milk is 3.29/gallon at our grocery store; it was 1.99 at the club.  My preferred brand of Greek yogurt sells 3 for $4 at the store; I got a 12-pack (of my favorite flavors) for 11.59.  5 pounds of  club-brand deluxe sliced american cheese for $10.35 vs. about $4/lb for the store brand up the road. 

And so on.

There were a couple of things I wanted to get but just didn't find in my allotted cottage cheese and kitty litter...but over all I realized that I need to make the wholesale club work for us.  Just buying milk there would more than save us the cost of the membership every year.

But this is not something to do off the top of my head.  So this means I'm going to have to (gulp) start planning my shopping and making my meal plans based on what I have, not buying what I happen to plan to eat because it sounds good that day. 

I used to do that.  Or at least sort of.  Time to dust off the ol' menu lists...after the fast. ;-)