Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pressing On

Life can be challenging even for a tulip.

This is my favorite spring flower, my salmon colored tulip, but I'm afraid it's growing old and tired. It was much prettier last year and even then I thought it looked somewhat lethargic. This year it has no stem and reminds me a little bit of a water lily. I think it desperately needs a new home so maybe tomorrow I will search out a spade, dig it up, and transfer it to a new home where hopefully it can recover and bloom into a prize winning beauty once again next spring. I can always hope.

I am tired today too, but Thursdays are often my toughest day. Lots of little ones and up too late watching a movie last night, no time for a nap and yet the daily tasks must be accomplished. Ben is out working with James, Hannah is going out with a friend tonight,... I think Josh and I just might go to Burger King...

Monday, April 27, 2009

One Shoe Off...

Josh is doing his best to look as though he was also in a car accident. On Saturday he tripped over his own feet and bumped the bridge of his nose on a toy building. Today he has a bump on the top of his forehead. I'm not quite sure where it came from, although he did fall over on his way to bring me a clean diaper. He cried then but I didn't see a mark until after he turned the treadmill on and tossed himself over the edge. (We try to keep it turned off and unplugged...) He knows how to open the back door and I am happy to say that before he sneaks off on me he is quite likely to tumble down the steps and set off howling. (We are keeping the door locked...) He also thought riding Ben's scooter would be a great idea. So far, so good...

I called Bethany this morning. They are in Nashville now and have a rental car for the week. They will fly home sometime Saturday and probably get a new car when they get back. The other vehicle still has to be evaluated by the insurance company but they are pretty sure it is a total loss. We are just blessed that they are okay. Cars can be replaced but they can't.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bursting Forth

The world is turning green again. A little warm weather can go a long way when it comes to dressing the trees. Each day brings a little more color to this part of the world and a little more promise of summer. The leaves are making their appearance and it is grand! You can't see the green in these photos but it's there, a little greener today than than it was on Friday when Alysa and I took our walk.

I haven't talked to Beth or Adam today but James did talk to her this morning. Adam has four staples in his head and Bethany has 33 stitches in her arm. Her arm was against the glass when the car rolled and the windows broke. To complicate matters, they were having trouble with their bank account and rental car company making Adam feel almost like buying tickets and flying back home. James told Beth they needed to find somewhere to rest before making any big decisions. Adam's dad was also trying to find a way to help them out. Right now I'm thinking no news is good news and praying things go good from here on out and that they have a great time together in spite of the rough start.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Taste of Summer and an Answer to Prayer Unprayed

The heat wave arrived in our area sometime early this morning. I even ate my breakfast out on the back steps! We hit at least 82 degrees. If I closed my eyes I could pretend it was summer, but when I opened them up I found there are still no leaves on the trees. It won't be long though.

We have a small house guest for the next week. Josh has come to stay while Beth and Adam spend the week in Nashville. Adam has to take two classes for work so they're making a vacation of it. Late in the week, while Adam takes his class, Beth plans to spend a bit of time with an old friend who lives in the area. Those were the plans anyway...

A couple hours ago Beth called to let us know where they were and say good-night to Josh. All was well. Sometime between then and the next call (about 20 minutes ago) they were hit by a drunk driver and rolled their vehicle. Bethany says they are both okay but Adam has a bump on his head. They are going to the hospital to make sure. When they left this morning, the thought of car accidents went through my mind. I can't say I really prayed (some warrior I am!) but I'm sure the Lord knows my heart. Sometimes He answers even unspoken prayers! Thank you, Jesus!
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
Psalm 24:8

Friday, April 24, 2009

Warrior Princess

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
Exodus 15:3 (NIV)

This afternoon my thoughts are on becoming a warrior. I have no plans to join the military or learn how to wield worldly weapons. I hardly think the US Army or Navy would give me second look, instead my heart is burdened for my friends. I want to become a prayer warrior.
After visiting one friend at the hospital late this morning, I stopped in to give the other a hug and tell her that I love her. How could I stay away? (I previously said we weren't necessarily close but I lied. There are some ways in which we really are.) Just sending a card seemed almost the easy way out and I was relieved to find a second reason to visit the hospital.
There are some trials that leave us too tired and distracted to pray. At those times we have "brothers and sisters" to lift us up before the Lord and intercede. I pray that I am able to do this for my friend, that she will be strengthened by the prayers of her friends and family, and feel the peace and presence of the God who loves her and her family so very much. Please pray for me as I look to pray for them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Touching the Hem

Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well. Mark 6:56

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sinus of Spring

Although slow to arrive, spring is on its way. My allergies said so. I have been trying to remember my medications and drink plenty of fluids, but for all the effort I still feel the dull ache in my sinus. I must not forget the decongestant during the next month or so.

It was a gorgeous morning, warm and sunny, with no cold lake wind. My headache put me on the couch this afternoon so I'm glad I had a chance to go out early in the day. I had a nice phone call from a far-away friend and a short nap while Troy slept. This evening the cold has returned and I will likely head out to Wegman's to replenish the supplies in my kitchen cabinets so I can stay home tomorrow. (Maybe I'll work on those puzzles I started back in January...)
Please continue to keep my friends and their daughter in your prayers. She started chemo on Saturday and will have a minimum of 4 months treatment. Her brother is arriving from Japan this evening (he's in the Marines) and Michelle will be taking time off work as a nurse practitioner to be with Paige at the hospital. If anyone has any good ideas of ways to help or bits of wisdom for me, please send them this way. We are more than acquaintances of the family, but not necessarily all that close. (Although in her years as an OB nurse Michelle did almost deliver one of my children and she could always tell when my allergies were kicking up.) We attended the same church for many years, spent some time together as friends, and have had some heart to heart talks. I guess you could say the years have distanced us. I've never had a family member need an extended hospital stay so I'm looking for advice on how to be an encouragement without getting in the way.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Prayers Needed

Whenever I am afraid,I will trust in You.
Psalm 56:3
Please pray for our friends, Mike and Michelle and their 18 year old daughter. Paige was diagnosed with AML leukemia last week and started treatment this past Saturday.

It Was Loaded

Early last week my washing machine decided to stop working. I figured it probably had a bad belt or something relatively simple like that, but no. Apparently this particular model doesn't have a belt, it has a "gearbox" instead. My Darling says it is not an inexpensive fix. Even a belt would not have been simple in this case. In order to get to the machine it must be removed from the bathroom, and in order to remove the machine from the bathroom, the bathroom sink must be taken out and the dryer also. To top it off, somehow, in less than a week's time, each and every (okay, not quite but almost) towel in my bathroom cupboard has ended up hanging on a hook or over a cupbord door somewhere in the upstairs bathroom. There are only four people living in my house, we had one overnight guest on Thursday, and one towel to dry hands on. That makes six towels, yes? Then why do I have a dozen or more in need of laundering? Since no one is confessing I am supposing that somehow towels come to life in the dark of night, haul themselves off the shelf and out of the cabinet, and then manage to hang themselves up all without my knowledge. Luckily, I have a plan. Somewhere I will aquire a large plastic bucket with a tight fitting lid in which to store my many extra clean towels. I'm fairly certain towels cannot free themselves from within a bucket with the lid snapped tightly in place. If plan #1 fails, I have a backup plan. Turn them into cleaning cloths and dust rags. That should teach them!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Anniversary Party

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22
Yesterday afternoon we helped my cousins celebrate my aunt and uncle's fiftieth wedding anniversary. I thank God not only for my own parents, who have been a model of love and commitment, but also for my aunt and uncle who have loved and encouraged us through the years. I pray that James and I can be to others what these beautiful couples have been to us.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ready or Not

Spring is struggling to arrive in upstate NY. My daffodils bloomed overnight but the trees are still naked and bare. Today is almost balmy, next week is forcast to be cold and rainy.
Next week I will paint puzzles, visit the laundromat, and do my shopping. Warm temperatures will return (I promise, Stacy) but I'm not sure when.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Control Yourself!

I read a news article the other day that suggested exercising self-control might actually be "bad for you." Seems they figure the more one deprives himself early in the day, the more likely he is to wear down his "self-control mechanism" and lose it altogether later on in the evening. Interesting... Of course I don't believe it, but I still find it interesting.

Speaking of self-control, I lost mine. I'm not quite sure where I traded in the salads and high protein meals for sugar and carbs, but I did. I feel as though I have fallen off the diet wagon and am bouncing along in the dirt behind. The earlier in the day that I consume sugar the more I crave it all day long. The more I sit in my chair, the less I feel like going for a walk. Self-control is what I desperately need.

Today was a sleepy day. Although the sun was shining and the air not quite so brisk as Tuesday, I couldn't seem to wake up. It was as if someone had thrown a thick blanket of fog over my head. Maybe the pollen counts are picking up or maybe it was the brush fires in the orchard, I'm not sure, but whatever it was I don't like it. I don't plan on sleeping through spring, there are too many great things to do. Listen, I hear my treadmill calling me. See you later!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Answered Prayer

In a world where pregnancies often end abruptly God still hears and answers prayer. It is quite possible that I will never be able to look at the face of this small child without remembering that his life is a miracle, an answer to many tearful heartfelt prayers. Although his daddy claims atheism, I pray this little one will come to know and believe there is a God in heaven who loves and cares for him, and that his life has purpose beyond this world. Not all prayers are answered in the way we hope, I know that, but I also know that if I fail to pray I will never know the blessing of being answered.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunshine Freeze Pops

The day seems to be growing colder as the afternoon wears on. A lake breeze has picked up letting us know that the waters of Lake Ontario are still bitterly cold. It chased me inside when I returned home from Webster this afternoon. The sunshine is inviting but the temperatures are not. In spite of the cold my daffodils have decided to bloom. They are braver than me. Very soon the temperatures will warm and I will be out enjoying the sunshine too. Until then you will find me in the house.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hope in Christ

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
1 Corinthians 15:19

I am always in wonder when a Sunday morning sermon touches on so many aspects of the previous week. It's even more amazing when I find the pastor preaching the exact passage I looked up the night before (especially when he's going through the book of Matthew and it was 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 I had been reading). I love when God confirms what He has been teaching or showing me. Each time this happens I'm sure I feel Him smile... Is that possible?

Following is a story of forgiveness that touches my heart and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Many of you have heard the story before but perhaps there is another someone out there who will be blessed for the very first time...

It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. ...

And that's when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent. ...

"You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk," he was saying. "I was a guard in there." No, he did not remember me. "But since that time," he went on, "I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, ..." his hand came out, ... "will you forgive me?"

And I stood there — I whose sins had every day to be forgiven — and could not. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it — I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." ...

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling."

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

"I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"

For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.

Corrie died on April 15, 1983 in Orange, California, on her ninety-first birthday.

References:Ten Boom, C., Sherril, J., Sherril, S., (1971): The Hiding Place. New York: Bantam.Ten Boom, C., Buckingham, J. (1974). Tramp for the Lord. New York: Jove Corrie Ten Boom by Cheryl Cheek Guidepost article ©1972 "I'm Still Learning to Forgive

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Day

"He is not here, for He is risen." Matthew 28:6

Saturday, April 11, 2009

She Was Bookin'!

It's finally finished. Mom will be happy tomorrow and she will spend hours this next week pouring over the pages of her new book. I hope she likes it. Although it's not perfect (I found way too many typos), it's still a satisfying project. A year's worth of blogging bound into one book. If I spent more time making books I might be able to work out the mistakes I make in putting them together but the finished products always make me smile just the same. At this year's library sale I will be looking for old books to dismantle and make into new books. The covers are recyclable!
In the past I've made recipe books for my kids and sisters. I gathered old family recipes and all- time favorites and put them together into one great little collection called "The Over-Used Recipe Book". They made wonderful gifts. Last month Hannah and I bound small autograph sized books for her friend's birthday and I'm thinking about possibly putting together a little devotional book with all my "scripture ponderings". It will be a good way for me to remember how much the Lord has taught me over the past few years. He is good!

Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday and also my dad's birthday. I made him an apricot upside down cake and we will be having the whole family here for dinner and I'm looking forward to it.

Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweepin' the Clouds Away

Sunshine. I love how it looks, I love how it warms my skin, I love how it makes me feel. I am just waiting for the air temperatures to match and then I will be outside rambling around instead of staying cooped up inside. Soon the flowers will be calling.

I should have been out in my yard today but instead I was trying to finish my mom's Christmas present. (I'm a little late...) I think I will have it finished in time to give it to her Sunday. Since she loves reading my blogs but doesn't have a computer, I print them off and bind them into a book for her. It makes her happy and I like that. She has been more than patient this year.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Planning to Be Flexible

Is it possible to plan for flexibilty? Being flexible is not one of my strong points. I like to know what is going on and don't like being left hanging wondering what to do. God is working on that. He is teaching me that I will not always know what each day will bring and that like clay on the potter's wheel, I must be willing to yield to His touch. When my heart is hard and stubborn, more water must be poured over my life, more of His holy word, to make my heart soft and my spirit willing to be shaped and molded for His use. When pressures mount and it I feel pressed on every side, will I see His loving hands wrapped around my life? Will I yield or will I struggle? This day my prayer is that I will allow my Heavenly Father to turn me in His hand and make of me a vessel of honor.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Jeremiah 18:4

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Upside Down

Monday was James' birthday. We didn't have any big gathering or anything but I do want him to know he's loved and appreciated, so I baked him a pineapple upside down cake. It's one of my favorites too but I resisted the urge to taste and had vanilla ice cream instead.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Snowy Day and More Cobblestones

That's right, we woke up to snow this morning. Not surprising here in western NY, but distressing just the same. It won't stick around long and maybe by next week, during spring break, we'll be enjoying sunshine and walks in the park. We can always hope so.

After visiting the eye doctor this morning we stopped at the public library. I found a book, Cobblestone Quest, to help me in my study of Cobblestone houses. Although there are a few scattered across the United States, 90%, are within 65 miles of Rochester, NY. This is The Maxwell Creek Carriage House which serves as a Bed and Breakfast. I'll have to look for it next time I drive that direction. (The photo is from their website.)
The book I borrowed doesn't give much information on the homes and buildings, just general information on construction. What it does do is take the reader on several mini tours. The tour closest to my house takes me past 25 cobblestone structures including those I posted yesterday and this one here. Built in 1839, it was originally the First Methodist Church of Williamson. The datestone identifies it as "Ridge Chapel". When the weather perks up I think I'll set off on a tour or two and take my camera along. Sounds like a great homeschool field trip!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sticks and Stones

It is another gray day. Lately we have had a rather checkerboard weather pattern; pleasant and sunny one day, soggy and cold the next. Due to all the rain, we once more own "waterfront" property as Teal Lake comes and goes with the precipitation. Maybe Troy will get a chance to float boats after all.
I have lately taken a fleeting fancy to cobblestone houses. If the Three Little Pigs had lived near Lake Ontario this is the type of house the Third Little Pig would have built. No wolf can blow one down. They are strong, sturdy, have thick walls and usually a good chimney or two in case a wolf gets angry enough to try and sneak in like Santa Claus.
All long the lake shore are smooth, round stones in abundance At one time they were collected, sorted and used as building material. They make a very pretty and unique building form. Nicer, I think, than bricks.
In the eighteen-hundreds everything from houses, churches, and stores, to barns and outbuildings might be made of cobblestones. My great grandfather once used them to line the edge of his driveway and build both a lamp post and a miniature lighthouse.
Most area cobblestone buildings are well kept, treasured by both their owners and historical societies, but here and there I find one sadly neglected. The owner of this property is not interested in selling and so this treasure is left to the mercy of vandals and the elements of nature. So sad.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Heart of Christ

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under [her] wings, but you were not willing!"
Matthew 23:37
This verse has come to mind or been mentioned several times in the past couple of weeks including this morning's message. Of course the people of Jerusalem are not the only ones unwilling to be gathered into the arms of Jesus. It wouldn't have mattered if God had called the country of China, the citizens of Italy, or the people of North America, the rejection would have been, and still is, the same. Although He has given His all for His creation, we are all too often resistant to His calling. Today I pray for a willing heart and an obedient spirit that when He calls I will not only hear but heed His voice.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Eating Out and Moving Day

Last night James and I finally made our way down to Canandaigua to eat at the Rheinblick German Restaurant. In spite of the rainy weather we had a very nice evening together. After a quick hug from the hostess we were shown to our table by the lovely Miss M. It is so hard to decide what to order when dining out. After much deliberation I chose the Kassler Rippchen (otherwise known as pork chops and sauerkraut) and James the Wiener Schnitzel. Mmmmm, yummy! We almost left without dessert but when the smiling hostess came out to show us the choices, we couldn't resist; Heidi’s K√§sekuchen and Linzer Torte. A wonderful evening in a beautiful place. Thank you, Gudl!

Today we are once again downsizing our family. Where have the years gone? Could it really be almost ten years since we dropped our eldest son off at college? We have watched our collection of children dwindle from seven down to three, and now two. Nathan has packed up his things and moved into an apartment with his buddies, Max, Roman, and Matt. It is a nice place not too far from church and these are good guys. I'm sure they will be fine as they face new challanges in the days to come. More prayers rising heavenward and a little less laundry for me... uh, maybe.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fighting Battles

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
There are days when I feel like anything but a conqueror... It often seems as though I fight the same battles day after day and year after year. Somehow, through it all, I must trust that I am being shaped and molded into His image, that no matter how many times I fail, I can continue to follow because He is leading me.

I went looking at last March and April's blogs to see when the flowers will bloom (they aren't far off) and found these two blog entries.
A Messy Trough
Am I still fighting the battles? Well, yes I am, but I also know who wins the victory in the end and I believe we're making progress.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Little Guys

My week has been busy with watching little people. Josh keeps us entertained with his funny antics and use of language. He is quite the talker and often surprises us with what he will say. Hannah told us how he sat on the bottom step and said "I sit down." He is a smiley little guy and it's easy to forget what a sober faced baby he once was. Poor little boy cut all his teeth at once and just didn't feel like smiling. He's making up for it now.

Lucas is 3 months old already. Smiles are easier to come by now and so are the sweet baby coos these little ones make. He is a wiggler and absolutely can not hold still while drinking a bottle. He prefers to be held, even while sleeping, which can prove to be challanging. Bethany brought me her baby swing to help keep him settled. I'm hoping it will help him sleep when it's time for me to put him down.

Today's weather was gorgeous. I didn't get to spend much time outside as I was in with small children. Josh got outside with Ben and Hannah while Lucas was sleeping. Lucky guy! I hope the nice weather returns while I have a chance to enjoy it.