Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh The Places I've Been and The Things I've Never Seen

We've been here in Shepherdsville/Louisville for a month now. Rick has worked at least twelve hours a day almost every day. The weather has been mostly cold with some rain, ice, snow, wind, and more rain. All that has limited my excursions. In the last month, I've been to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and the mall one time each. We went out to eat a couple of times. I've walked across the highway to get a jug of milk at the nearest convenient store, and I've walked around the campground (it's a small place) a few times. We poked around the flea market that is just behind our camper for a few minutes one day, and I've scratched the lama that lives across the road.

Do I have to tell you that the walls of my tiny home were starting to close in on me in a big way? When winter refuses to end and I'm confined to a small space I start to get grumpy, frumpy, slumpy... I needed to get out!

Rick needed a few hours away from the computer too! Thankfully he had a light load last Sunday so he took me into Louisville for a little sightseeing.

Now let me see...

I've been to Carlsbad Caverns when the bats were not there. I've been to San Juan Capistrano while all the swallows were some place else. I've been to Charlot, NC when all of NASCAR was running in Texas. I've been to New England before the leaves turned, and now I've been to Churchill Downs. While snow flurried around my face I gazed upon the track where the horses run--a couple of months from now. I bet if I go to Rome, all the Romans will stop doing whatever it is that Romans do! That's how it is when you don't get to plan your trips.

I thought I'd share my pictures with you anyway. Now you know what beautiful Churchill Downs looks like in the dead of winter.See the big concrete vault inside the chain link fence? The 2006 Derby winner, Barbaro, will be buried here soon.These spires and the original center part of the buildings is well over 100 years old. The first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875.The walkway by which the horses make their way to the track. How cool would it be to sit at one of those picnic tables and watch them go by!Here you see the dirt track, the turf track, and beyond the bare hedge, the board where the postings are shown, and beyond that, the infield. For $40 you can stand or sit on the ground or lawn chair, along with several thousand people, and "watch" the race. (Though I can't imagine you could see a whole lot. Especially as short as I am.) I'd rather have one of the very uncomfortable bleacher seats in the foreground. We did get to go into one of the "cheap" suites. It goes for a piddly $25,000 on race day.
And the white post you see marks the finish line.
And the winner's circle! It's not much to look at with snow and dry stubby twigs where beautiful red geraniums and begonias grow in the spring and summer.

And here's my Thoroughbred standing in the starting gate! We were freezing cold after our tour. We were thankful for the Kentucky Derby Museum--a place to warm up and see the history of the Derby, jockeys, horses, etc.

Yes, I've had many unplanned trips--been many places. And I've missed seeing many main attractions. I'm sure I'll have many more unplanned trips and who knows what I'll see--or not see. But I know of one trip I'm going to take some day that may be somewhat unexpected or unplanned, but I'm certain I won't miss the main attraction!

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3) Whoo Hoo!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What Does God Require of Us?

The High Calling Blog Community celebrates poetry every Friday. Okay, so I know today is Monday, but to participate in the Random Acts of Poetry, (RAP) you have to post a poem during the week and let the decision makers over at High Calling know about it. Then they have a few days to look over your poem and see if they want to feature it at some point.

So while I'm working on getting some pictures off my camera, onto the computer, and then onto my blog, I though you might enjoy reading a poem that God gave me several years ago.

I was up to my armpits in church activities, job, homeschool, family... I couldn't decide whether to continue serving on a certain ministry team. Seeking God's answer to my question I prayed, and He answered. I wrote down our conversation and the fact it turned out to be a poem is simply one of the amazing things about God. He is beautiful, and wonderful, and fun. Enjoy.

What is Required

I seek Your face, Your will to know
God, what do You require?
Upon the alter sacrifice
Consume it all with fire!

Good works abundant oh my God,
I’m busy for You Lord.
All tasks complete but for your Word
No time can I afford.

I seek Your face, Your will to know
God, what do You require?
Upon the altar sacrifice
Consume it all with fire!

If I would sell all that I have
And give it to the poor,
Oh, would that please You well my Lord?
Would You require yet more?

So I will sing with voice of spring
And dance with all my might.
I’ll lift up holy hands to You,
Preach “Jesus is the Light!”

I seek Your face, Your will to know
God, what do You Require?
Upon the altar sacrifice
Consume it all with fire.

To church I go my faith to show
Committed to the core.
With service done elsewhere I run
And still You want but more?

In silence deep your Spirit speaks
Your will–my heart to know.
Be still my child in humbleness,
Be sure I love you so.

You strive to please both God and man
With sacrifices made.
The song, the dance, the good works too,
One day they all will fade.

Just seek My face My will to know,
I’ll tell you what’s required.
Upon the altar, sacrifice
Is all consumed with fire.

The things that last, those which remain
Are what I want from you.
A heart of faith both true and clean
Not all those works you do.

Obey me now tis my delight
For that does please me most.
So in Me only then my child
Will you have right to boast.

Now, run in freedom, sing your song,
And dance with all your might.
I am your Lord; I am your God,
And yes, I AM your Light!

I seek your face, Your will to know.
You gave what You require.
Upon the cross the price was paid –
Consume me, Holy Fire!

-- Lavonda Pflug
Other Random Acts of Poetry:
Andy C's For Me
Marcus reads excerpts from T. S. Eliot's Ash Wednesday
nAncY's On the Road
L.L. Barkat's Life, Ect.
The Unknown Contributor's Orchid

Friday, February 20, 2009

Purple Cows and Stiff Necks

I never saw a purple cow;
I never hope to see one;
but I can tell you anyhow;
I'd rather see than be one!
by Gelett Burgess, written in 1895

Most of the time my mind is a bunny on a long and winding trail. The day this old poem popped into thought I was out for an afternoon hop.
Actually I was ironing a bunch of my husband's shirts. I was using some starch to make the collars stand up nicely when a scripture came to mind. Acts 7:50. An expanded translation by Kenneth S. Wuest puts it like this--"Stiffnecked, stubborn, headstrong, obstinate, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, as for you, incessantly do you strive against the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so also do you."
Let me set the stage.
A couple thousand years ago church was happenin'! People were getting saved, needs were being met, the sick and lame were getting healed and even some of the big time preachers were starting to walk the walk. (vs just talking the talk)
There was one guy in particular, Stephen, who was full of grace and power. He was working all sorts of miracles and creating quite a stir among a bunch of churchy bigwigs from the "Synagogue" because he was talking about Jesus and grace and faith and freedom from the law and death.

One day these bigwigs started an argument with Stephen, but he buried them. My Bible says, "And yet they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking." They were frustrated and ticked!

So, they made up a bunch of lies about him, found themselves some false witnesses and took him before the Council. They claimed he bad-mouthed the Law and the holy place and, of course, he mentioned the name of Jesus.
Once they gave Stephen a chance to speak, he let them have it. And in his speech, he called them a bunch of stiffnecks! (See the scripture above.)
Finally the spiritual bigwigs and Council got so upset...

Verse 54 says, "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him."
(EEWWW! That sounds very uncivilized.) Anyway, they ended up throwing rocks at Stephen until they killed him. (VERY paraphrased)

So what does all that have to do with starch and purple cows? Word association I guess.

That particular day I worked very hard to make the necks of my hubby's shirts stiff. I didn't want those collars to fold or fall. I wanted them to stand their ground (so to speak). That's okay when you're talking about collars.

But then I thought about my own neck. It is stiff. Stiff from whiplash (more than once) and old age. So stiff it is, that I find driving hard to do--even dangerous (until I get limbered up) because I can't look over my shoulder to see if cars are coming. I'm in a lot of pain most of the time. Having a stiff neck is not good.

Then I thought about what it means to BE a stiffneck--a spiritual stiffneck. Spiritual stiffnecks can't look around to see other people. That makes them self-focused. They can't watch for trouble coming up from behind so they are bound to get taken by the enemy. They can't bend or bow to a Higher Authority, so they are proud and haughty. They are stuck, like they are, and can't be changed. That makes them unusable. They causes a lot of pain for The Head, and for the body. If a stiff neck doesn't get limbered up, it is a problem and a danger, and so is a stiffneck.

So I got to thinking...I have a stiff neck, but I sure don't want to be one. (I think I might would rather be a louse.) I often think about what I want to be. I want to be a writer, a good mother, a lovable mother-in-law, a praiseworthy wife, a millionaire, a skinny beauty, a spiritual giant, and the list goes on.
In my pursuits of what I want to be, am I sometimes a stiffneck, resisting the Holy Spirit and what God wants me to be? I hope not, but I should make sure I stay limbered up.

Hopping on down the bunny trail, I thought about a purple cow. I've never seen one, but I'd rather see than be one!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm a louse.

Take a human heart overfilled with love, bind it very tightly with 100 ropes of fear, soak it for eight weeks in a vat of volatile female mid-life hormones, sprinkle it repeatedly with bad news, injustice, and unpleasant surprises, stuff it in an earthen vessel with a really big mouth, then stomp on it! What do ya get? A knee-jerk reaction comparable only to the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens.

Last night a couple of my family members spent a lot of time and energy telling me what a louse I am and how badly I behave. In keeping with my 2009 resolve, they are right.

Though they have greatly misjudged the intentions of my heart, they have right to criticize my behavior.

So to those I love so deeply that I have hurt so badly, I say--I'm sorry.

If you can, through forgiveness, look past the crudeness an imperfections of the big mouthed clay pot, scrape off the layers of circumstantial crud, wash away the unstable hormones, and somehow cut through the tethers of fear, you will find more love, pride, encouragement, support, and hope than you can measure. I love you. I believe in you, and I'm proud of you because of who you are, not because of what you do. No other woman could have finer sons and daughters and I'm blessed to be married to a man that tells me when I'm acting like a jerk.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an old broken jar that I need to hide away in the closet so it can cry itself to sleep.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Faith of Hanna

The last few days my sweet husband has been checking my blog to see what wonderful wit, wisdom, or wild thoughts I might have posted. So last night he told me it was about time I put something new here.

I've stayed away from my blog because I've been overwhelmed. Not with the normal overwhelming things like work, or illness, or business, etc. I've been internally overwhelmed. Those of you who are mothers, especially mothers of adult children, know the feeling. Sometimes your heart is so heavy for your children that you simply can't find the strength to lift yourself up and pursue your own interests. That's where I've been.

All my kids have their individual sets of circumstances, trials, hardships, decisions, challenges... And this mother's heart feels their pain, knows their frustrations, understands their longings, hopes for them, fears for them, wants for them, rejoices with them, cries for them...and prays for them.

A young mother of three girls once said to me, "I guess parenting is not as intense for you now that your girls are older." Boy, did she have it all wrong! Broken toys and boo boos were easy fixes. Lost jobs, financial stress, career choices, time investments, influence of friends, life lessons, disappointments--now you're talkin' intense parenting!

As I've poured my heart out to the Lord on behalf of my children, a voice in the back of my mind (or in my heart) keeps telling me I need the faith of Hanna.

You remember Hanna. She was the one that went with her husband every year to worship and offer sacrifices to the Lord. And every year her husband's other wife would tease her, make fun of her, and talk trash to her because she didn't have children. Finally Hanna had all she could take--"And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she made a vow..." (See I Samuel 1: 10&11) Remember? She asked God to give her a son. She prayed so hard that Eli, the priest, thought that she had had one too many sips of the hard grape juice?

Oh no! I know what you're thinking! Don't worry! I may need the faith of Hanna, but God has blessed me with lots of common sense. This old gal knows that she's past her prime and I'm not crazy enough to ask God for more kids. (Grandkids? Yes! Kids, no!) You'd KNOW I had one too many at that point!

The faith of Hanna that I need is found in I Samuel 1:19-2:11--the keeping of the vow.

When I was a little kid I was taught the story of Hanna in Sunday school. Secretly I thought she was a pretty lousy mother. What kind of a mother could just take her kid to church, drop him off, and leave him there. Didn't she love him? How terrible! I remember one teacher I had trying to reassure me that it was okay because Hanna could go visit Samuel every year when she went up for her annual worship service. Humph! I still didn't like the woman!
But now, I respect her. She knew she was simply a vessel belonging to God, put here on this earth for God's purpose and glory. She knew, even before Samuel was in her womb, that he belonged to God too. She simply wanted the privilege of bringing Samuel into the world so that she could give him back to God--a gift of love and gratitude.
Hanna knew that God was a good parent--the best parent--a better parent than she. Her faith was in a God who could care for, provide for, guide, and teach her little boy like no other parent could. Not even...well, you know.
I think of Hanna now and how she might have wished she had not made that vow to God. I'm sure she cried long and hard every time she left the temple, and her baby boy. Did she hug him until he couldn't breath? Did she hold on to his hand until both their arms were stretched out tight as she walked away? Did she wish for the days when he was a tiny baby and she could cuddle him and hold on to him? And when she was back home, was her heart so heavy with thoughts of her son that she could hardly pull herself up to pursue her own interests? Maybe so.
Yet her faith in a God of all hope and possibilities caused her to make a vow, and that same faith enabled her to keep that vow. She gave her son back to the Lord for His service. I need the faith of Hanna.
The most intense part of parenting? Letting go.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is it an Award, or is it Tag?

Remember my new friend Sarah? I told you about her in yesterday's post. Well, she passed on this award or tag or a combination of the both. It has rules. Y'all know I'm not always good with rules. But here they are anyway.

The Honest Scrap Award: A) First list 10 honest things about yourself - and make it honest (hence, the award 'Honest Scrap'), even if you have to dig deep!

B) Pass the award on to 8 bloggers that you feel embody the role of the Honest Scrap. (This is an award only to display on your blog that everything you write on it is in truth, sincerity, and integrity.)

Now I don't know exactly what to do. I'm trying to think back and remember if everything I've ever written in every post is the absolute truth. I've been known to exaggerate sometimes, if I think of something funny. But for the most part, I am a truthful person. Do I accept the award or decline?

If it is a tag, then I can play tag, but to follow the rules and pass it along to 8 other bloggers I find difficult to do. I don't follow that many blogs and I'm afraid that they might get sick of me always tagging them. And I don't want to make them want to run away when they see me coming.

So, here's what I'll do. I'll let you know 10 more honest things about myself, but I will skip the tagging. If you stop by here and see this post as inspiration and want to get tagged, then grab the award and run with it! If you'd just as soon your readers not know honest scrap about you, then leave it alone. How's that?

Okay, honest scrap. Let me see...

1. I started going gray at the tender age of 25. My hubby doesn't particularly like my silver strands and he likes for me to get my hair color out of a bottle. So, that's what I do. But the honest scrap roots are salt and pepper.

2. Day after day I don't see very many people or talk to anybody except my kids or my mom. (On the phone) So when I get around people I have a tendency to talk too much. That's the honest scrap.

3. I love my husband more than words can describe. But the honest scrap is, some days (and they are very few) I don't like him very much. But that's okay because some days he feels the same about me. (I'm not always a sweet nice person.) That's how marriage is sometimes. I'm glad that love conquers all.

4. Sometimes my arms ache to hold my grandchildren and hug my children. Honest mommy scrap.

5. My thumbs hurt. I guess I'm getting old. Opening jars has turned from a thoughtless action into a major ordeal. That's OLD honest scrap.

6. I might, statistically, be un-churched. Our on-the-road living and working rarely allows us to go to church. That makes me sad. But thankfully the Holy Spirit doesn't live in a brick building with stained glass windows. That makes me glad. Honest trying-not-to-backslide scrap.

7. I've told you this before, but I HATE washing dishes. I wish I could just throw dirty dishes, pots, pans and all, out the window after every meal. Honest lazy scrap.

8. I'm not scared of dying, but I'm not crazy about the dying process. I want to go instantly. Morbidly honest scrap.

9. I love my kids more than life itself. They are all my "favorite." Sometimes they frustrate me, but that doesn't change how I feel about them. More honest mommy scrap.

10. I'm tired of trying to think of honest things about myself. Not that honesty is a problem. It's just that I've got other things I need to be doing. Like vacuuming the floor. That's real life honest scrap!

If you pick up this award, let me know so I can read your honest scrap too!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Say Cheese! I'm Pleased!

There is a sweet gal named Sarah blogging about her family, her Bible study, and just life in general. She's got a beautiful design and a heart focused on God. God may not be finished with her yet, but He's done a great job with her so far. Please take a few minutes to click over and visit her.
Sarah has blessed me with a photography award. I'm honored! I'm not sure I deserve an award, I just get snap happy from time to time. I don't know anything about lighting or shutter speeds or f stops or anything like that. I've got a middle of the line camera that is great for dummies. It's obviously smarter than I am, and it takes great pictures. Sarah, I'm glad you've enjoyed them.
I've tried to label a few of my posts. I'm slowly but surly trying to get them all labeled, but if any of you want to see more of my pictures, you can find the label in my side bar. If you click on "Photos" it will take you to the posts that I've gotten labeled. There are probably still some with photos that I've not labeled, so check back again some other day--maybe I'll get more done.
I've got a few photos that are my favorites, but I'd like to know your favorites. So if you have time and want to go back and enjoy some of my older posts, make a note of your favorite photos and let me know. Thanks.
Now, like the Lemonade Award that Ida passed on to me, I place this one at the feet of Jesus because as I think about all my favorite photos, I realize that the subject matter of each of them is something beautiful that God has allowed me to see or be a part of. It's all because of Him, so it shall be all for Him. For His glory I write and for His glory I capture and post pictures. If people who stop by here find pleasure or joy from what they see, then I'm blessed. I'm pleased.
Thanks again Sarah! Say "Cheese!"

Friday, February 6, 2009


There is was again. I wondered, is that thunder? Surely not. The sound started in the distance a while before sunset. But as the evening wore on and nighttime pulled the shades over the sun, the thundering sounds came closer. Kaboom! Kaboom! No longer a noise but a sensation, the explosions vibrated the ground and rocked my travel-ready home. What in the world?!?

My husband is a genius. Well, not really. Not like my blogger friend Walter Mitty or my son-in-law, Tony. But he is often what steadies me in a shaky world. He keeps me informed, and he thinks of things that would never cross my mind. He always knows where he is and what's going on around him. (Unless he is working or watching TV and I'm trying to talk to him.)

So when all the booming and shaking and rumbling prompted too many "I wonder..." remarks from me, he pulled up a map on his computer and showed me that we are parked, as the crow flies, only four or five miles from the backside of Fort Knox.

Fort Knox is the U.S Armor Center. (Just in case you didn't know.) Tanks. Those indestructible animals of battle. And when one of those cannons perched on top of one of those tanks is fired, it makes a loud KABOOM, and the ground shakes and the windows of an RV will rattle!

Thank goodness the soldiers and marines stopped their target practice or whatever they were doing before midnight so I could get some sleep. But they were back at it again this morning. Not long ago I heard some faint RAT-A-TAT-TATs in between the KABOOMS!

I had a oxymoronal (Is that a word?) thought. The thundering and rattlings of big guns, the sounds common to battle, are somehow comforting to me. With every blast I know that there are men and women staying in a state of readiness to defend me and my property from enemies of which I may be completely unaware. They train themselves daily to protect my home, my country, my family, my freedom.

Though the ground may shake and my windows may rattle, I can rest in peace. Thank you, men and women of our armed forces, for choosing to do what you do for those of us who can't do for ourselves.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To Answer Your Questions

You sweet readers have asked a couple of questions in your comments and I want to answer them. One thing you wanted to know is how I got through the third grade in just two weeks.

My Third Grade Story

I went to Bivins Grade School at Masterson, Texas. The only thing smaller than Masterson, TX was Bivins Grade School. On average there were about 24 students K-6th grade. My class had three students, including me.

I was an A+ student without trying and my classmates had to work hard to earn their letter grades that were not as high as mine. I'm not meaning to sound proud, after all, we're talking first and second grade. Not much of a track record to brag about.

The second and third grades occupied the same classroom and were taught simultaneously by one teacher. Mrs. Doughty.

I never remember having a problem with Mrs. Doughty and I didn't know that she had any problems with me. But undoubtedly she did. I whizzed through second grade and had a good time doing it. It was the good time I had that prompted Mrs. Doughty to ask my parents if she could advance me after only two weeks in the third grade.

That teacher told my parents that I didn't apply myself. Humm. I didn't need to. I was bored out of tiny little gourd. And in my boredom I became a distraction to the other students. I cleaned out my desk, played in the sand box, and talked (imagine that) when the other students needed to work and study. I finished my work quickly and had too much free time on my hands. I needed to be challenged.

I'm guessing that if I'd stayed in the third grade all year, Mrs. Doughty might have decided to take early retirement.

But I like to think that the real thing that scooted me on through the third grade so quickly was the providential hand of God. There are many people that I would have never know had I entered Jr. High and High School a year later. My husband of 27+ years is one of them.

My history and my life would be totally different if I had not skipped the third grade. I could play "what if" for days on the thought. But what a waste of time that would be. Instead, I'll offer a "thank you" to God for numbering my days and ordering my steps. How HUGE is my God!

Now you tell me...
How has God numbered your days and ordered your steps to change YOUR life and YOUR history? How huge is your God?

Your second question is, Why do I travel about the country and call so many places "home?"
Living Like Gypsies
It's my husband's job. Rick is a catastrophic insurance adjuster. In the industry he's know as a CAT adjuster. (Sounds like a chiropractor for furry pets, huh?) It works like this--
Insurance companies employ a small number of staff adjusters. They live and work in one place handling those day to day claims like grease fires, toilet overflows, vandalism, thefts, etc.
But when a disaster strikes and too many claims come pouring in for the staff adjusters to handle, your insurance company calls up a third-party company whose business it is to supply temporary adjusters (aka CAT adjusters) to help you get your money in a timely manner.
CAT adjusters don't get paid when there are no CATS. We depend on hail storms, ice storms, hurricanes, wild fires, mud slides, floods,... You get the picture. Cat adjusters usually live in RVs or extended stay motels. We all have places we call home, but the more time we spend there, the harder it is to pay the bills.
It's a different life for sure. It has it ups and downs, its positives and negatives. Why do we do it? I don't know for sure, but I think it has something to do with desires to live by faith, help people who are facing trials, and, well, EAT.
It's your turn.
Why do you do live where you live and do what you do?