Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Care Bear!


The day you become a grandmother for the first time is indescribable. It wasn't supposed to be for 3 more weeks. What excitement! Kristen describes the day in detail. The room was full of people awaiting the arrival. When Kristen was born, nobody was allowed in the room except Daddy. Only our pastor could visit after she was born. My sister and her husband came running to the hospital when we let them know we were there, but they had to stay in a different room and talk to me on the phone as I was in labor. What a change!

We all left the room as Care Bear actually arrived - we thought it was a moment to be shared with the Mommy and Daddy, without so many spectators. But we were there moments later. What a thrill to see this new tiny little life.

The picture was taken on my birthday. I was in another world as she snuggled on my shoulder. Life took on a whole new dimension when she was born. All of the memories of new motherhood came back so clearly. All of the joys and struggles rushed back as if they were yesterday, not 27 years before. If you go to Kristen's post, you will see the picture of Care Bear in church for the first time, wearing the dress her mommy wore on her first Sunday in church, when she was one week old. What a special day for me!

The last four years have gone so quickly. Care Bear, as she is called in blogland, has brought so much joy to our lives. She is incredibly bright (I would go so far as to say gifted). She "gets" so much of life at such a young age. She has an amazing vocabulary and uses the words in the correct context. I am consistently amazed at what she knows and understands. My greatest wish and prayer is that she will become the person God wants her to be. I know God has a plan for her life, and I want to watch that plan unfold. Happy Birthday, sweet Care Bear!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Call Me Grandma Dawn???

I have only been blogging since June. It has been fun. At first I thought I'd never be able to come up with posts very often. Now I find that I see everything as a possibility to write about. This has been a gift to me.

I must give credit to my daughter of Mama's So-Called Life. She introduced me to Partners in Prayer for our Prodigals and it has taken off from there. I am technologically challenged. I wasn't even really thinking about blogging, but had been reading and posting as "Anonymous." One day she called and said, "You're all set up, Mom. All you have to do is go in and create your first post." She also told me that she had named my blog "Call Me Grandma Dawn."

There is a reason for that name. Obviously, I am a grandma to her children. If you've read me, you know that I take care of them half time while she works - we work at the same university and share job time, but not the same job. We're incredibly fortunate to be able to have these schedules.

But the name Grandma Dawn really started with her step son, whom she has named Anakin for anonymity. He has been in our lives since he was 2 and now he's 8. His paternal grandma lives far away, and his maternal grandma is not in the picture very often (fortunately for him, I feel). He began calling us Grandma Dawn and Grandpa Dwight as soon as he could talk. He initiated us to grandparenting and we loved it.

These kids have so many grandmas and grandpas living close to them that it can get confusing. So sometimes Care Bear also calls us by those names. Feisty probably will as well as time goes by. It's fine with us!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Happy Monday!

I thought this would be a good way to start out the week. The picture below is referred to here. Double click on the picture to see it better.

jumping bridesmaids (Medium) (2)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Novel Approach

I have been tagged for the novel idea. I realized that I can put words together fairly well, but simply am not a story creator. I can tell a story of something that happened, and if I wrote a novel, it would definitely have to be based on fact. I have a hard time making up a story for my grandkids! The question is:

If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be?

Believe it or not, every time I woke up during the night (more times than I wish!), I tried to think of a subject for a novel. Pathetic! I devour novels, probably more than I should. But I just can't think of an original idea for another one.

So - I really don't have a good comment for this idea. I do have a book in my head. I've been ruminating on it for years, but haven't put anything down on "paper." The title came out of a period of time when things were really tough for us. I wanted to call it It's Out of My Hands, But it's Still in My Face. The idea came one day when a co-worker and I were commiserating about the yucky stuff in our lives at that time. I said I wished my kids were still little so I could still have some control over their lives. She said, "But it's out of our hands!" I lamented, "I know, but it's still in my face!"

Someone later told me that it was a negative idea - that if I truly trusted God in all of my problems, I shouldn't consider it to be "in my face." What I meant by that statement, and by the title (I thought Barbara Johnson would like that title), was that no matter what happens, whether or not you can have any input or control, good or bad, if it happens to your family members, it affects you. You can't just pretend it didn't happen, or ignore it.

I know I didn't answer the question at hand, but that's the best I can do. If I get a flash of inspiration at a later time, I will be sure to let you know!

Several commented from my engagement story that they'd like to hear the volleyball story I mentioned. I'll try to make to short and sweet - especially sweet!

I was living back in my parents' house after a couple of years of teaching and being in my own place. It was pretty hard, though my folks and I got along just fine. But finances dictated that I do this for awhile. I was driving 100 miles to and from work every day and loved the job I had. (On a side note, I had a little Mustang and spent about $10 a week on gas! You could get a Big Mac, Fries, and a Coke and get change from your dollar, as I remember the commercial - the change was a penny).

I was really lonely, because there were very few young adults in our little church, especially of the male persuasion. My dad, who was also my pastor, was very involved in the association of evangelical churches in our town. This was before mega churches, when we all needed each other for fellowship, because we were all under 100 people in attendance. He and his pastor best friend suggested that I contact all of their fellow pastors to see if we could get a group of young adults together for fellowship, and maybe make it into a regular occurrence. I happened to know that this friend of Dad's had a son about my age - according to the grapevine. Unfortunately, he wouldn't introduce us, so I had to take matters into my own hands.

I truly did try - I called all of the churches. I couldn't seem to get much interest aroused. But I did get the name and phone number of the pastor's son, and learned that there was another young guy in that same church, who had just moved out from Illinois.

At that time, our SS class was playing volleyball every Thursday night. I alluded to my clumsiness in the engagement story. I don't know how it happens that sports entered into two of my big romance stories. It is quite ironic, since I really don't actively participate in any sport -the closest I come is walking and bike riding. I was one of those who was chosen last at recess - painful memories! I was fairly good in basketball in P.E., but only because I was so tall and could actually make a basket.

But I digress. After I had the two names of the single guys, and didn't have much luck getting any more (or maybe I quit trying very hard, I can't remember!), I made a suggestion to my SS class that we invite their church young adult SS class over to play volleyball some Thursday night. Nobody suspected my ulterior motive. I even went out and bought a new pair of slacks and a top for the occasion - red gingham pants with a red shirt. Yikes! All the other girls came in their usual grubs for the game. You gotta use all the ammunition you can get!

I am REALLY lousy at volleyball. I can't serve, I duck every time the ball comes toward me. I basically hate volleyball. I just liked the fellowship every Thursday night. This particular night, with these two young guys who did show up (they loved sports of any variety), I fell down more times than I can count. Truth be told, I was spending most of my time flirting with the pastor's son, kind of ignoring the other one, the new guy in town.

Sorry - this is turning into a book! I went away for the week-end to visit my college roommate, fearing that one of them would call and I would miss it. Worse news! Neither called!

But -- the next Tuesday night, New Guy in Town called. We had a great conversation and it ended in a date for a Sunday drive that week-end. The next night Pastor's Son called and asked me to go to the Icecapades on Saturday night! I couldn't believe it. My social life had been a total desert for years. Two dates in one week-end! And I kind of made it happen!

As Pastor's Son and I headed out of town on Saturday night, New Guy in Town saw us. We didn't see him. The Icecapades were great - I'd always wanted to go. Pastor's Son didn't ask for another date at that time. New Guy and I had a great ride. We talked and talked and talked - had so much in common as oldest pastor's kids. We'd both been through several traumatic romances, had lived by ourselves long enough to know what we were looking for in a mate. He mentioned at least a dozen possible dates for the rest of the summer. We did many of them.

Well, there's much more, but this is too long already. Suffice it to say that we fell in love, got engaged, got married 8 months after we met, and it's now almost 34 years later. We introduced my sister to Pastor's Son when she came home for our younger brother's wedding. They began a long distance romance and he told her he loved her at our wedding reception. They were married 11 months later. We have been best friends and relatives ever since.

Not The End, but a good stopping place!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

They're Ba-a-a-a-a-ack!!!

I love my job. I really do. Most of the time. I am into my 14th year shepherding MSW (master of social work) students through the grad school process, which can be pretty niggly and not very student friendly, IMHO. I am known as Mother Dawn here instead of Grandma Dawn. This is a gift that was given to me by the Class of 2001.

reunionbikes 003

I feel it is my calling to be light and salt in this place where the lessons taught are often counter to my beliefs. Each year I have at least one Christian student who really needs a soft place to land after a day of being hit on every side by non-Christian ideas.

But I have to say that I like summers on campus a lot. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that the reason we exist is for the students. But summer is so nice! Even though there are conferences almost every week and hundreds of future students come for orientation, it is still so peaceful and beautiful. Lunch hour is a true break.

Unlike now - all 27,000 are back! Almost 4,000 freshmen are here! Have you ever gone to the parking lot and forgotten where you parked? Imagine this sight as you come out of class and are ready to go home ~~~~ This is one of the larger parking areas, among probably 30 of various sizes.

reunionbikes 001

I am a people watcher. I love go sit at the airport and watch people. I enjoy the people at the zoo almost more than the animals. We are fascinating creatures. I cringe when I see some once-handsome young man who has died his hair BRIGHT BLUE - I feel for his mom! I can't tell you how tired I have become of belly buttons - I look forward to winter when they have to cover up. I am fearful for the guys whose pants are so loose - they have no hips to hold them up. It's almost OOPS sometimes. Scary!

I almost lost my lunch one day as I gazed out of the windows of the student center at the panorama of the mountains to the west. It was an awesome view - until I zeroed in on a young couple sitting on the hill eating their lunch on a beautiful spring day. She had her back to me and suffice it to say that her jeans or slacks or shorts, or whatever she had on, were not sufficient - her entire thong was on display for the world to see. YEWWWW!

One day I decided to count the students wearing flip flops. Just for fun. It was fun. I couldn't believe it - on my lunch hour, I counted over 350 pairs of flip flops - all varieties, colors, materials, sizes. It was hilarious to me.

Yesterday I almost laughed out loud as this young man walked by me. I'm sorry, I just couldn't help it. I don't know if he was a wanna-bee Pirate of the Caribbean or what. He had jet black hair (not given him by God, I am sure). He was wearing black leggings with almost hip-high pirate boots - leather with the top folded down. Quite dramatic (wish I'd had my camera!). Did you ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry was supposed to go on the Tonight Show wearing this really frilly shirt? That's what this young guy had on. It was like watching a train wreck - it was painful to see, but I couldn't help looking! It made my day.

When I was in college, we worried so much about having our hair combed (teased, sprayed, covered with a scarf so the Oklahoma wind didn't take it away!) We couldn't even wear pants! My, my I am getting old. Better stop reminiscing.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Humor is to life what shock absorbers are to automobiles. Proverbs 17:22 (The Message) "A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired."

Have a cheerful day!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Of Roller Skates and Diamond Rings

I felt a strange sensation this morning - a shiver. It's been a long time since I've been chilly. It's been such a hot summer. But there is a nip of fall in the air at times. The first gaggle of geese flew overhead the other evening, with their raucous honking hailing the promise of autumn. We will undoubtedly have our share of Indian Summer days yet, but there is hope.

I love autumn. My birthday is in the autumn. I loved the beginning of school each year in autumn. I love the colors. I became engaged in the autumn.

The owners of our local roller-skating rink announced this week that they are retiring from the skating business. They have not been able to find a buyer. They have hosted millions of elementary kids over the years for fund-raisers for their neighborhood schools. I don't have any fond memories of this place, but my children enjoyed their times there.

I heard this week also that the rink in the neighboring town closed sometime back. I did not realize it. It was the only rink close by for many years before ours opened. Two major events occurred at this rink. My pastor dad broke his leg and was in a cast for six months while skating with the youth of our church at this rink. I became engaged at this rink.

I love my romance story, and will someday share more. But this is about the engagement. DC and I had gone together for only a few weeks when we began to talk about marriage and actually picked out our rings. We were 25 and 30 and had been through several relationships each, and knew what we were looking for in a life partner. We chose a diamond with a microscopic flaw to remind each other that neither of us is perfect. We chose a beautiful setting, and for some reason the diamond had to travel to Kansas City to be mounted. Don't ask me why!

One autumn Saturday I went shopping for fabric and came upon the perfect material for my wedding dress. I stopped by DC's apartment and told him we needed to tell our parents we were getting married, because the fabric was only going to be on sale until Monday. I didn't really think I should buy my wedding dress material before my mom knew I was getting married! DC was watching a football game and seemed to be a bit more concerned with it than with my quandary. Little did I know.

We were going skating that evening with his sister and her husband. I was living in a basement apartment in my folks' parsonage at the time. DC came to pick me up and we went to the neighboring town for our skating date. I am a clutz, plain and simple. I am not a good skater. But I did many things for this guy that I wouldn't do for anyone else.

We were having a good time, and I wasn't doing too badly. The lights went down, the younger kids were told to clear the floor for the adult skate. The romantic song, "Ebb Tide" came on. We were enjoying ourselves and each other. I wasn't falling down! DC began to ask me very interesting questions about what I would do if we were married. Some of these questions would seem quite old-fashioned and inappropriate to the younger generation, I am sure. They didn't seem so to me. I answered them honestly. We were heading around a curve on the skating floor when he brought a little box from his pocket and showed it to me. He proposed right there in the middle of the skating rink as the beautiful romantic song played to lowered lights. I was in such shock that I lost all of my skating ability and ran right into the wall! Fortunately, I didn't break my leg as my dad had, and didn't even fall down and make a spectacle of myself.

As the story unfolded, shortly after I left DC's apartment that day, with his assurance that we would soon tell our parents, he received a phone call from the jeweler. The ring was in. I had gone back to the fabric store and purchased the beautiful velvet material and pattern for my dress. We had decided upon a right-after-Christmas wedding, since everyone would be here for Christmas and likely would not be able to turn around and come back for a spring wedding.

He rushed to the city north of us to pick up the ring. As I was preparing for our date in the basement apartment, he had come early to get my dad's blessing on our engagement - an old-fashioned and thoroughly wonderful custom, as far as I'm concerned.

I can't remember if I've ever skated since that time. Sometime I'll have to write about the volleyball game where we first met! But for almost thirty-four years I've enjoyed married life with this man, who still enjoys surprising me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rush to Justice

Today's title is a term you hear often if you watch detective/cop shows. Need I apologize for watching Law and Order? The term refers to the tendency to blame someone for a crime before all of the facts are in.

I am afraid that I have been guilty, along with most of the known world, of rushing to justice in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder case. For ten years, I have been in agreement with the Boulder justice system that John and Patsy were "under an umbrella of suspicion." After all, Patsy had to be a bit crazed to put her daughter out there for the world to see, dolled up like a woman 4 times her age! Or maybe it was the much older father. Or maybe it was the slightly older jealous brother. Or maybe it was her step-brother.

There didn't seem to be any obvious evidence that someone came into the basement from outside the home - no tracks in the snow, no broken windows. John and Patsy took their surviving young son and ran back to a place where they wouldn't feel the constant scrutiny. But they couldn't escape the National Enquirer, the Globe, or any number of other supermarket rags constantly reminding us that the murder was still unresolved and that some "new evidence" still pointed fingers at Patsy.

Patsy died in June, having fought ovarian cancer for many years, even before the tragedy that forever changed their lives. I can't help but speculate that all of the negative press could have shortened her life.

I am so happy that someone has confessed. I am so sad that this man had taught school and was seeking another teaching job. Who knows what other horrors he has inflicted upon children. I imagine we'll learn more than we ever wanted to know. But there is so much I want to know.

I watched footage of Patsy's funeral where her pastor eulogized her in a way that made me realize she truly loved God and was living for Him. John was quoted this morning saying he would not speculate or comment on anything he knows, especially in light of the trauma they had been through as a family. He said that we should all learn a lesson from this "episode" - that we should be very careful to jump to horrendous conclusions. I thought he was very gracious in light of what they had endured.

The news reports say Patsy knew before she died that there was a viable suspect. I hope God gives her a peak at the news today and that she can rest in peace. I know in the theological part of my mind that she knows no sorrow in heaven. But in my mother's heart, I want her to know that she has been vindicated. I hope she and Jon Benet are having a great reunion.


I hope we didn't rush to excitement, now that so many things are out about this guy. I wish the media would cool it. The first thing I read that concerned me was that he said he picked her up at school and took her to the basement - it was Christmas night, for crying out loud!! Whether or not he did this horrendous crime, he needed to be caught. And put away. Forever.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

God has a Funny Bone

We have talked quite a bit about God's mysterious ways of late. God also has a sense of humor. How else do you explain the giraffe, the platypus, the kangaroo?

Saturday evening we attended a beautiful wedding reception. The wedding was held in the bride's location, and most of the church people were not able to attend. The groom was a part of our body of Christ since he was born - a fine, Christian young man. I remember hosting his baby shower and making his cakes - a teddy bear and a giraffe, if my memory serves me correctly. I was so creative in those days. On another subject, my most oft uttered phrase these days seems to be, "I used to . . ."

The groom went to college about 6 years ago, seriously dating a beautiful girl he'd met in high school and had brought to youth group. The young lady became an inspirational Christian and it was a joy to watch her growth in God. They went to separate colleges for the first year, but couldn't take the separation, so she joined him at his school for their sophomore year. The summer after their junior year, to everyone's shock and sadness, they broke up. She went back to school, met another great young guy, got married . . .

The young man got a job back in the Midwest where he went to school, bought a house, rented rooms to college friends, and seemed to be happily settled as a young bachelor. He came home during college spring break, to spend the time in the mountains at his family's cabin. His cousin brought a friend with her, and each of his brothers had brought friends, so there was a great group of young adults up there having a great time. They took off one morning on their four-wheelers in fresh new, beautiful spring snow. The cousin and her friend were on the vehicle ahead of the young man. The friend was on a tube. She fell off the tube just as the young man turned around to look behind him. He did not see her fall off the tube and land in the soft, deep snow. He drove right over her! Amazingly, she was protected by the deep snow from any injury. She had an angel riding with her that day.

The young man and the young woman had not really become acquainted yet, because there were so many kids. But soon after this incident, he took her for a ride in the family plane and they began and long, getting-acquainted conversation. At the end of the vacation, they headed in opposite directions to their careers, never to be the same!

The young man became very dissatisfied with his job, resigned, put his house up for sale, and headed back west. He moved to the town where she lived so that they could become better acquainted. As you can imagine, they soon became engaged and began planning their wedding.

I really had a strong feeling that this would happen and imagined the great story they could someday tell their children. I just learned this week-end that the cousin who brought her friend to this gathering had been praying for several years that these two young people would meet. She just KNEW they were right for each other. God answered her prayers - and in such an amazing way! The picture of the bride and her bridesmaids jumping with joy in the air said it all - the friend/cousin who introduced them had the most glorious smile on her face. Now she and her best friend are cousins!

God's mysterious ways!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Memories of Grandma S.

There have been quite a few grandma memories lately, which led me to think of my dad's tiny little mother. I began a growth spurt leading to my lofty height between fifth and sixth grade. I outgrew my little Swedish grandma in about the 4th grade. Grandma was so tiny that she had a hard time cooking and washing dishes in normal sized kitchens. She had her old farm kitchen remodeled to fit her size. I had a hard time helping her with the dishes from the time I was 10 years old.

So many memories - where do I start and what do I cut out?? Many of the memories are not mine, of course, but my dad's. He was ten years old when he walked down the aisle of the church to be dedicated with his two older brothers. Grandma and Grandpa were not converted until they lost a baby to stillbirth. The pastor of the church they attended told them that the baby was not safe because she hadn't been baptized. My grandfather had a major temper at that time and ordered the pastor away, and told him never to return. A young pastor in town heard about the loss and came to their home to express his condolences and to pray with them. He assured them that an innocent stillborn baby would not be in hell. They were converted shortly afterward, and had their children dedicated. My dad became a pastor and his two older brothers became missionaries. There were subsequently two more children.

My earliest memories are of Christmas celebrations at their old farmhouse with the cousins who were home on furlough from Africa. What great times we had in her cold upstairs playing missionary, or Billy Graham Crusade!

Grandma was a wonderful cook. My other grandma, who lived only a mile or so away, was younger and worked in town. She had wonderful store-bought goodies and pop in her house, but Grandma S. always had homemade goodies in her freezer to pop out when anyone stopped by for "coffee." My fondest memory is the teeny-tiny pieces of cake that she would serve still frozen. To this day I love frozen cake!

I inherited one of her idiosyncrasies - she had to go through her entire list of kids before she got to the one she was talking to or about. I do that with my brothers' names. Must be a gene thing. She had the greatest laugh - and her eyes crinkled closed when she got tickled.

Lilacs, strawberries, raspberries, "cukes" (cucumbers), African violets, the sound of mourning doves - all are things that take me instantly back to her house. We grandkids had such great times making clubhouses out of the outbuildings, creating "Five Rock Patio" under a circle of trees in the back yard, burying a bird in Five Rock Patio. My brothers, sister, and cousins all had great times in the hayloft, but I was unable to join that fun because of my fear of heights.

The most incredible story about my grandparents is hardly believable. She lived on the farm down the road from his family. He was 10 years old when his mother took him down to visit the new baby. He looked in her crib and said, "That's the girl I'm going to marry." Truly! He spent the last ten years of his life following a heart attack in a depressed state, lying on the couch, with his back to the room. He died when I was 17, so I can't say that I really knew him. I just remember his gigantic hands and how much taller he was than she. But Grandma never lost her joy in spite of it all.

One of my clearest memories is of the time after Grandpa died. Her 4 sons were trying to talk her into selling the house and moving into town. She wasn't ready to do that yet, and she was standing in the middle of the circle of these large men, telling them in no uncertain terms that she was not going to sell. She didn't! At least not for a few years. She did eventually move to town and continued to attend church - the folks who picked her up found her unconscious on the floor one Sunday morning. It's a good thing she was in town. She ended up in the nursing home for the last 5 years. She didn't really remember me when I took my first baby to visit her. It was sad.

But the saddest thing of all was when my folks and I took her on a long ride one day, to all of the places where she'd lived in her life that we could find. She remembered everything about them as if it were yesterday. We took her back to the nursing home, said good-bye to her, and she stood on the sidewalk waving until she couldn't see us any longer. Dad realized he'd forgotten his glasses in her room, so he went back within a few minutes. She was still standing on the sidewalk (I don't know why nobody had helped her back to her room already), she looked at Dad and said, "Who are you?" Heartbreak for my dad! A few days later, when they'd gone back to Arkansas, she died. My dad had the privilege of officiating at her funeral. I wasn't able to go to the funeral, because I was going back there for my other grandparents' 50th anniversary two weeks later and I couldn't afford two trips. I was heartbroken. My sweet husband came home that night with an African violet for me, not knowing that it was one of her favorites.

My latest memory happened a few years ago when my sister, cousin from Africa, and I decided to go out to the old property and see what was still there. It had been sold years before, but nobody had ever done anything with it yet. Among the high weeds we found that all of the building's foundations were still there. We found evidence of our old clubhouses, and little bits of the lilac bushes. My sister, who is very creative, picked up several souvenirs, which to me looked like junk, some barn wood for a frame, brought them home, and made a wonderful memory-filled collage. Isn't that just what God does? He takes what looks like junk in our lives and can turn it into something wonderful if we allow Him to.

As we were tramping around in the weeds, I said, "I wonder what people would think if they drove by here and saw us out here in the weeds." My cousin, the missionary kid who had grown up to be a missionary said, "They'd just think we were a bunch of preacher's and missionary's kids searching for our roots!" So true!

I just heard that a huge Wal-Mart sits on that property now. I don't think I want to ever see that. I will stick with my wonderful memories!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thirteen Things I Will Never Understand

thursday thirteen

  1. Vandalism - why kids are out at 2:00 in the morning doing damage to the library, the senior center, schools, the rec center, bronze sculptures in their town.
  2. Thong underwear.
  3. Drivers who jump into the fast lane and then slow down, causing me to have to almost hit them.
  4. Cell phones in church - and the people who forget to turn them off!
  5. Girls who wear huge words on the back of their shorts or sweats.
  6. The allure of Las Vegas - to me it seems like a huge monument to greed and false hope.
  7. People who have dogs that they never play with, who bark 24/7 and drive the neighbors crazy. One of our neighbors told the complaining neighbor that if they didn't like it, they could move!
  8. Lousy editing in the newspaper - typos and usage errors in headlines and stories. My English teacher personality wants a red pen in hand as I read the paper.
  9. Adults who can't follow directions - I work so hard to make things clear and easy to understand and I still get too many questions.
  10. Wearing flip flops in the snow.
  11. Why some people have such great hair and I DON'T.
  12. Why people walk around in groups of friends, each one talking to someone else on the phone.
  13. Why time goes faster every year!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Toilet Paper Blessing??

It seems that everything I've been writing about lately has been written by someone else. But this one I can't resist.

It came out in the call-in part of our "overgrown small town" newspaper. People love to complain about everything and anything, and they don't have to identify themselves, so it gets pretty crazy sometimes. Evidently there's been quite a bit of tp'ing going on around here lately. Several people have called in to complain. But yesterday there was a letter to the editor that looked at it with an entirely different slant.

The letter was entitled "God works mysteriously through toilet paper." The woman who wrote the letter belonged to a Bible study group. They were discussing miracles one day when the leader told this story about her dear little aunt, who was a true woman of God. "She lived on very limited Social Security payments, but never complained. One night she was praying, 'Lord, I know you provide all my needs and I trust in you. I won't receive another check for four or five days. Now, Lord, I can manage everything else, but I just don't know how I'm going to manage being completely out of toilet paper.'

"That night she went to bed assured her needs would be provided. The next morning she looked out the window and the entire front of her house had been tp'd. She went out and rolled up all the toilet paper and had enough to last her the rest of the week.

"True story. Now, I never look at a house that has been tp'd that I don't recall this story with a smile."

It made me laugh out loud. I'd love to meet this little old saint! I also love the fact that the headline writer actually "got it!"

Sunday, August 06, 2006


When I began this blogland journey, it was at the time of the return of our prodigal. I received such a tremendous amount of encouragement and love from people I will probably never meet. Diane organized a cyber-welcome home party. It was wonderful.

It's been two months now and he is doing well. He and his wife are renewing their relationship. He will be taking two courses this fall until he can be a fully admitted student in the spring.

The other day I was discussing his experience at Teen Challenge with him. I remarked that I don't consider his experience to be "rehab." I didn't even think of it as "recovery." He said, no, not even "restoration." He said "deliverance" is what has happened to him. Praise the Lord!

Deliverance isn't a word we hear often. But God has interesting ways of bringing things to our attention. The next week at my church convention, I heard the word at least three times from the pulpit. The following Sunday, there was an article in a church periodical on this very subject. Here is what it said:

The children of Israel were delivered from their bondage in Egypt in the same way in which sinners are delivered from the fetters of sin today. Let us examine the elements of their deliverance, which also apply to us.

  1. Recognition of personal bondage. They admitted they were slaves under the heel of the enemy. So must every sinner. This is the first step in the direction of victory.
  2. Complete abhorrence of the fetters that bind. If a person loves sinful habits, he or she is not a candidate for deliverance from them. Hating sin is a prerequisite to deliverance from sin. Israel found it so.
  3. Admitting the utter failure of self-deliverance. Humans always try to save themselves. Moses tried to deliver the people in his own way, but failed. Many are in bondage today because they try to deliver themselves.
  4. A daring faith in God's power to deliver. Moses had to come to that place where he trusted God to make a way where there seemingly was no way. There is no deliverance without faith, for faith brings God's power into play.
  5. Explicit obedience to and cooperation with God's methods of deliverance. God has ways to deliver that we know nothing about. Naaman had to go God's way. So did Moses. So will you. His methods may seem strange, but results come.
  6. Joyfully give God the glory for deliverance. The first thing the children of Israel did following their deliverance was to sing. The joy of the Lord is still our strength. When God delivers, give Him the credit.
  7. Continued obedience avoids a return to bondage. Israel had trouble at this point. So do some people today. The way to insure a continued deliverance is the way of continued obedience. You can keep the victory!

- Fletcher Spruce

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Subject of Difficulty - Part II

Yesterday I quoted Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest on the Discipline of Difficulty. Yesterday was one of my days at home with the little kiddoes. I don't mean to infer that they are "difficulty," but last evening I was unusually tired from my day of grandmothering. Part of it, I deduced, was because of a change in the weather - I used to notice when I was teaching school that when there was a drastic change, the kids went berserk. (By the way, we got some relief from the heat, which helped immensely). At the library story time yesterday, most of the kids were figuratively climbing the walls (mine were unusually docile by this time). The poor story lady! But this all went together to kind of take the stuffing out of me.

I decided to ditch choir practice last night and be lazy at home. That's when I reread my post - the part that says "If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength." I know that I always feel better after choir practice, no matter how tired I am. So I went.

I'm glad I did. We sang one of the songs that has always blessed me when we do it. Here it is:

Just Stand
Regi Stone and Michael Popham
Weeping only lasts a night. How long will this night be?
In the shadow of your burdens, it's hard for you to see.
Though the trials you may face may bring you to your knees,
There's no better place for you to be
Than at the end of your abilities.
When you've done all you can to stand, stand on Him!
Though all the world around is sinking sand;
When it seems that you just can't go on, in your weakness, HE'LL BE STRONG!
When you feel like you've done everything you can, JUST STAND.
If it seems there's one more mountain, one more war to fight.
One more time you feel forsaken, and there's no hope in sight;
Remember where He's brought you from and what He's brought you through.
There's nothing that's too hard for God to do.
For through it all He's always seen you through.
Stand upon His promises, stand upon His Word.
Every step He takes with you, every prayer He heard.
When you've done all you can, just stand on Him.
Though all the world around is sinking sand;
When it seems that you just can't go on, in your weakness, HE'LL BE STRONG!
When you feel like you've done everything you can,
When you feel that you have finally reached the end,
When you're feeling all alone, JUST STAND on his Word.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Discipline of Difficulty

I am feeling, after reading so many of your blogs that I am a shallow thinker - some of your insights and studies of the Word make me feel like a real slacker.

So many difficult things have been shared in cyberspace these past few weeks, and we've prayed and seen great things happen. We've also seen things that are still very difficult that are happening and don't seem to be "resolved."

I am always amazed at how God has writers put things in devotional books or other literature that is to be read on a certain day. He knows just what we're going to need on a certain day in history and that we're going to read it! He is an awesome God.

That said, I'm going to quote from Oswald Chambers verbatim today - even the title.

John 16:33 - "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

"An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in (italics mine) trouble, which is very difficult. 'He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High . . . there shall no evil befall thee' - no plague can come nigh the place where you are at one with God.

If you are a child of God, there certaily will be troubles to meet, but Jesus says do not be surprised when they come. 'In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, there is nothing for you to fear.' ... God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.

The temptation is to face difficulties from a commonsense standpoint. The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God."