Saturday, March 29, 2008

How Deep Is His Love

This is one of my favorite hymns. I can't say that I fully understand how deep the Father's love is for me. It is too deep for my mind to comprehend.

There are a lot of things in this world that I do not know. I don't know where I will be living this time next week. I do not know that I will be able to pay all the bills next month. I don't know for sure that my husband will always love me or that my children will take care of me in my old age. (If I live to an old age.) And the list could go on forever.

But this I know with all my heart....

His wounds have paid my ransom.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Theif In The Old Blue Dress

You all know, if you've looked at my profile, that I want to write. You know, full time and get paid for it. ;) We all have a dream. And I'm just old enough and blessed enough to have a few moments to spend on my dream, and I'm just silly enough to take a writing course (correspondence). I'm not saying it is a realistic dream, but I'm spending time and money on it anyway! Now, because I was in the mood to post something on my blog, and because I had nothing really important to say, I'm posting one of my homework assignments. I hope you get a grin from it.
The Theif In The Old Blue Dress

I never called the police or reported the crime though I could easily recognize the face of my perpetrator in a line-up. I can still recall the hideous way she was dressed. The woman was an aid to demons and a menace to her own soul. This was the woman who robbed me on my way to church.

It was a beautiful morning in mid-May. Church activities left little time for resting on Sunday, so I took advantage of the early morning and stayed in bed a few extra minutes cuddling my husband. When I finally got up, I fixed myself a cup of coffee, ran the tub full of hot water and lavender-scented bubble bath, and settled in for a relaxing soak. I even left the lights off. Ah, I though to myself, this is going to be a good day.

When I came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel, my husband, who was still in bed, said, “I don’t think we will make it to church this morning.”

I looked at the alarm clock on my nightstand “If you can get ready in fifteen minutes, then I can too.”

Quickly I slapped on makeup except for mascara. I decided I could do that on the way. Then I grabbed the only dress I owned that didn’t need at least a gentle caress from a warm iron. It was a perky little light-weight blue and white number with a red bow tie. It wasn't exactly a fashion statement but it would do. I was in a hurry!

My husband, daughter and I piled into our big Ford truck. As I closed the door, Rebecca looked at me and laughed. “Do you know how old that dress is?”

"Sure I do—I think. It's older than you are!"

Wait a minute! My daughter was laughing at how I looked. The triumph I felt from such a wonderful morning suddenly gave way to self-conscious defeat.

My euphoria started to wear off when the demon of trendy fashions handed me a full length visual image of myself in the old blue dress. The elastic, which used to fit snugly around the waist to make the bodice blouse a bit, had lost its life. Now the puffy part of the top was not at the waist but at the hips. The skirt tapered drastically toward the hem so my stride was shortened. Have you ever watched a woman wearing heels trying to rush to church doing the baby-step? The red bow tie drooped like a gerbera daisy plucked from a week old bouquet. The only thing perky about the dress was the oversized shoulder pads. One shouted “I love Nancy Reagan!” and the other cried “Bring back the 80s!” Even without wrinkles I was a fashion faux pas.

That’s when it happened. I was robbed. My joy was gone. What started as a blissful day, given to me as a gift from God, was now a day I wished I could forget. I couldn’t even make myself dig my mascara out of the bottom of my purse. I wanted to crawl back in my steaming tub of bubbles and drown.

It is true that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Equally true is the fact that most of the time he doesn’t have to put out much effort to accomplish his task. There was no real battle going on in the heavens that morning concerning me. There was no need, for I sat right there and handed my joy over to the father of lies, believing my outward appearance was significant. I took from myself joy and peace, the mercies of the new day.

Guilty! For certain I was guilty of the sins of pride, vanity, self-absorption, and discontent, just to name a few. There was but one thing, had I done, that would have kept me from those niggling sins. Resist. James 4:7 says, “… Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”(NAS) In the words of Nancy Reagan, “Just say NO!”

You can be sure I have learned my lesson. I don’t worry so much about how I look when I go to church. Now when my heart is filled with joy I watch out for the liar who set me up that day. I resist him, and I am victorious! It is easier now too, I threw the dress away!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

There are those times when your routine gets out of step and you just seem to lose track of time. No, on second thought, you lose track of days. Whole days. You happen to look at a calendar and wonder where the week went. That's me today!

Last Wednesday we flew home. Flights and people were backed up due to bad weather in Dallas the day before. We got to the airport around 6:30 a.m. as our flight was to depart an hour later. When we tried to check in, we discovered our flight was canceled. So, we began our day of "stand-by." We "stood-by" all day. What was supposed to be about a 4 1/2 hour trip turned into an almost ten hour ordeal.

We finally made it home and spent the next two days with family. We returned to Marietta yesterday. The trip back was quick and easy--under four hours!

Today is Easter Sunday. We really miss being with our kids and getting to watch the granddaughter hunt her Easter eggs. Rick had to work and I've been cooking, washing dishes, and doing a little laundry. I'm really glad that the circumstances in our lives can't change the fact that we have a risen Lord and Savior. Even when we don't celebrate by getting dressed up in new spring clothes, hiding eggs for the little ones, and sharing a big dinner with family, we are still redeemed. We still have victory over death. Eternal life is still ours. That's something to celebrate every day!

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Sweet Memory

Rick's grandmother passed away this morning. Our hearts are sad, but our memories are sweet.

I’ll never forget standing beside the hospital bed that held our ninety-six year old, seventy-three pound grandmother. “Grandma, does it hurt when they feed you through your feeding tube?” I asked.

Her voice, weakened by the tumor in her throat, quivered. “Oh, I can feel it, but it’s not bad enough to complain about.”

“Good,” I said. “We don’t want you to complain about anything.”

She grinned. “Now, I’m not going to give that up! That’s a right I’m going to reserve.”

Grandma liked to complain. It was her way of stating her opinion. She was not a negative person, just a sweet-spirited complainer. She once told me complaining was her right because she had lived so long. Current fashions and hair styles, government, doctors, and various imperfect human behaviors were a few of her favorite things about which to complain.

Grandma was a good mother and grandmother. She was a hard worker and provided well for her family. But what I will remember most about her was the way she let you know what she thought and believed through complaints. Then, when she had felt that she had said enough, she would add, “But you can’t do anything about it, so there’s no need to complain.”

We will miss her very much. Rick and I will fly home for the funeral but will return to the Atlanta area as Rick still has work to do here. Your prayers will be appreciated.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We All Need Someone To Lean On

Me and you, you and me, together we will always be.

Just Plain Squirrely

Here are some pictures Rick took of our funny little visitors.

To our list of feathered visitors we add:

Brown-headed Cowbird
Chipping Sparrow
American Goldfinch
These are Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Does Anyone Know?

Okay, I do more than just take walks and snap pictures. Really I do. I've been up to my armpits in receipts from 2007, building spreadsheets, and trying to get all our fiscal ducks in a row, because April 15th is just a month away. I've also been trying to get caught up on my homework assignments from the correspondence writing course that I am taking. And then there is always laundry, meal preparation, dishes, reading, and naturally ... blogging.

But this post concerns walking and snapping pictures. This time on my walk I saw a plant (I don't know whether to call it a tree, a bush, or a shrub) and I don't know what it is. You know I come from the land of prickly pear, cactus, mesquite bushes, etc. and nothing like this would ever grow in our desert land. So, I'm counting on my wonderful readers with more plant knowledge than I to identify this for me.

Here are some pictures of the blooms. The tree type bush is about 8 foot tall. (I've see it in Hot Springs and that one was even taller.) The leaves are very sturdy, almost hard, like a holly leaf. They are a dark green and are very shiny. If you know what this plant is, please leave a comment! Thanks!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Winter Returns Updated

Grumpy Squirrel
So much for all the spring flowers! It is snowing today! No snow is collecting or sticking to the ground, but the air is full of white fluffy flakes none the less. The temperature is below freezing and the wind is blowing. Just like "spring" at home!
All the song birds are hiding out today. We have a bird feeder that we put out when we set up camp. We've had a nice variety of feathered friends to watch. I tried to get some pictures but these birds aren't used to having to pose. I've been unsuccessful.
We pulled out our field guide and identified the birds that have taken advantage of our all-you-can-eat buffet. You can look them up for yourself if you are interested. (You can find lots of nice pictures by searching here. Here is my list.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Brown-Headed Nuthatch
Dark-Eyed Junco
Red House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Mourning Dove
American Robin
Blue Jay

And... a couple of grumpy squirrels have taken their share as well. I finally gave them their own little bowl of squirrel food so they are leaving the bird feeder alone now.

Rick is taking advantage of the cold miserable day and getting caught up on his paperwork. I will try to finish organizing our tax information and read a bit. I will have to clean house before the day is done, but that won't take long. (A benefit to living in a fifth-wheel!)

After posting this the first time, Rick and I were able to capture just a few pictures. Here they are.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Tufted Titmouse

Brown-Headed Nuthatch

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I've Been Tagged

When I was a child (and when I had children & young nieces and nephews) I played a game called Chase. Some of the city kids called it tag, but us country kids called it Chase. I'm sure you know the game. One kid is IT and IT has to chase all the other kids around and try to touch one of them, thus making that kid IT. There was always a base -- an object that the kids being chased could touch and be protected from becoming IT. All the kids playing the game would usually gang up on the slow-poke of the group and make him (or in my case her) IT. They would run around taunting the slow IT until they were board with making fun and teasing, then one of them would slow down long enough to get touched or tagged, then they would be IT for a while. But, almost always, right before the game ended, (recess was over or your mom called you in to eat or take a bath) someone would tag ol' slow-poke and she would remain IT until the next time the group got together to play.

Well, low and behold if this don't beat all. This is about as crazy as reality TV but I've been tagged over the Internet! And I didn't even know I was playing chase! Leave it to the kids to think up a new game that allows them to pick on us ol' slow-pokes and never get their backsides off the couch! (Where's base?)

This new game my niece introduced me to is 123 Meme. To play the game I'm supposed to pick up the nearest book of over 123 pages. Turn to page 123 and find the first 5 sentences. Then I'm supposed to type the next three sentences. Then I'm supposed to TAG five more people and make then do the same thing.

Now, I see history repeating itself. I used to be the slow-poke so I could never catch anybody and make them IT. Now my problem is this... I don't know five people who read my blog that have blogs that I can tag. I'm going to be stuck being IT until Jesus comes again!

But I promised my niece I would play her new game with her, so here's my three sentences taken from page 123 of The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg. (Published by Zoondervan) It just so happens that the first sentence after the first five sentences starts a quote by Bonhoeffer.

Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words...It must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him. (end of Bonhoeffer quote)

This behavior flies in the face of the conventional wisdom today, when saying "everything that occurs to you" is taken as an essential component of mental health.

Now, any of you folks out there that read my blog and have a blog, feel free to consider yourselves IT. Leave a comment so I'll know who you are!

Love ya Sarah!

Signs of Spring

Sometimes you have to think outside the fence.

Spring is just outside my window.

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. (2 Sam. 22:3 NAS)

Cozy as a cone!

Don't worry, "bee" happy!

I took a little walk yesterday. Oh how I love to see God's presence in tiny details!