Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - and Twin Update

This is #5 in my series called "I Used To . . . " It has been fun going down memory lane and realizing how many things my hands created when I was younger. This edition is a look at my "stitchery stage."

I remember when I started stitching pictures to decorate my house. I had embroidered dish towels when I was a young girl - I don't remember who taught me, but I hadn't done any embroidery for years. I bought this kit to go in our bedroom - it was the beginning of a many-years-long love affair with needles, yarn, and embroidery floss.

Soon after this first venture, I discovered a party plan called "Creative Stitchery." I hosted parties, went to parties, ordered kits, and even pondered the idea of becoming a Creative Stitchery employee. I nixed that idea when I realized I would have to be gone most evenings, if I succeeded in this venture. I'd rather stay home and embroider! I soon had enough to cover the large area above my couch in the living room.



I decorated a bathroom with these.

When I was pregnant with Kristen, I did the nursery in light green, with gingham curtains and all sorts of green touches - even painted the chest of drawers and the crib green - those were the days. I bought this counting chart kit and had so much fun doing it. It was in the shop being framed when I went into labor.

These others were added to the kids' rooms as time went on.

I did these with embroidery floss. They were in Kristen's room for years, but now live in the downstairs bathroom - I just couldn't store them away.

This was in the kitchen.


Can you tell this was in the 70s, when everything was gold, brown, and orange??

These still hang in my house, in the upstairs bathroom.

I still put this one up every Christmas.

Somehow I became interested in counted cross-stitching. I had so many pattern books, dozens of skeins of floss. Believe it or not, this was the first one I did - nothing like starting with a real challenge. It still hangs in my living room.


The detail on this picture was incredible - I got mixed up on the fence along the front, with all the flowers - and had to improvise - I did NOT want to tear it all out. You can click and enlarge, if you want to.



I went a little nuts with counted cross stitch. Everybody got one for a wedding gift - and Precious Moments were my favorite. I have no idea how many of these I made for wedding gifts - each personalized with the couples' names and wedding date. This was on 18 count fabric - the last one I did, I had to sit in front of a window in the bright sunlight to be able to see the white on off white - the veil was made of sparkling floss - you can't really see the veil, because it's not outlined with the brown floss.

At some point I realized that I didn't have any in my house, so I made a set for each of the kids. I gave Kristen's to her when she had girls, and could not get a picture. But these are Kev's, and are waiting to go to his house when he has a boy, hopefully.

I used to work on these things every evening as the t.v. was on. DC would ask me why I couldn't just relax - I told him this was how I did relax. I finally gave all of my floss to my SIL, Morning Glory, who lost all of her floss when their car was stolen and her floss was in the car. I had developed tendonitis, and my hands couldn't take it any more. But I'm glad I have all of these good memories of productivity and creativity.

As for the twinnies - they are doing new cute things all the time - they'll be 7 months old on Thursday (how can it be??)

Katie chillin' --

Learning to hold their bottles --

Rolling over, and being frustrated that they can't seem to roll back -- Emma is comforting Katie

For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog,
There Is No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God is Doing Wondrous Things

The services in our church Sunday were blessed. I was so amazed to see all of the family members who had not left yet file into church for the early service - 8:30 a.m. The choice of choir song was inspired by God. Here are the words:

Carry me, Father God,
On your strong eagle wings of love.
Through the storm keep me safe;
Through the tears and all my shame,
Carry me.

This world is full of trouble,
And in the night I stumble,
But you never will forsake me.
You see me when I fall,
You hear before I call,
And You're always there to save me.

Carry me, Father God,
On your strong eagle wings of love.
Through the storm keep me safe;
Through the tears and all my shame,
Carry me.

I need Thee; O, I need Thee!
Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee!

Carry me. Carry me.

Dan's next older brother, Ryan, was scheduled to speak in the morning service. He and his wife, Emily, were being commissioned that day by our church for their departure to the hinterlands of Alaska for three years (minimum) of mission aviation work. I never thought he would attempt it, considering he had lost his brother 4 days earlier. He prayed about it and told Pastor that he wanted to do it. He and Emily shared their journey and their hearts with us. God has provided every single need. She got a teaching job exactly where she needed to - and was hired on the spot because she came for an interview - a very unusual occurrence in that part of the world. Most of the hiring is done by internet and phone. But - God is in control here - they had to take a trip up there for the mission to familiarize themselves with the area - just at the right moment. What an awesome God we serve, who micromanages details for us!

There were few dry eyes in the House that morning. Can you see another amazing thing that God orchestrated? In the midst of all the sadness and pain, He arranged for all of these loved ones of Ryan's and Emily's to be in the service that day to bless them.

At the end of the message, the altar was full of folks praying for a closer walk with the Lord. Then Pastor asked all ordained elders to come and pray on the platform with Ryan and Emily. Understand that our church is small in relation to many of yours - we run 200 at most in worship. But that morning there were 9 ministers in the audience - What a blessed way to end the service.

But the blessings weren't over yet! My nephew, who has recently moved to Olympia, Washington, to be senior high pastor at a large church, was Dan's youth pastor and drove back for the service and for the family's sake. As a serentipity, we got to hear him preach in the evening service. He is such a special young guy as well. Thank you, God.

I know I'm not alone in sometimes getting discouraged and worried about the future of our land. But when I saw the evidence of Dan's faith and the legacy that he left, and then I saw Ryan and Emily heading for a tough place to serve God - a place that doesn't even have one established church in the village - and I saw my nephew serving God in ministry, and I saw Brook, Dan's girlfriend, who had to return to India early from a mission she had been working on this summer, and I saw all of the others on the platform, several of whom are young, and I thought of Katie who is in Argentina volunteering this summer, and I thought of Pastor's son and DIL who are missionaries there in Argentina, and I thought of Jessica who is serving the Lord while in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, and I thought of the large group from our church who are going to Peru in August, and I saw the young pregnant woman who is giving of herself to direct VBS next week, and I saw all the young folks from our church who were working at the camp where Dan died - well, I was just overwhelmed with joy and hope. Thank you, Father.

Dan's life is having an impact already - he had planned to go to Focus on the Family Institute, whose goal is to train young people to make a difference in their world. You wonder why God allows someone with such an awesome goal to die so young. But ours is not to know why. I do know that already, two of my blog friends have shared Dan's story with their late teen-aged sons. I pray that they will be inspired to make a difference for God.

Everyone was pretty much emotionally wrung dry by the end of this week. We praised Him once again when we learned that Dan's younger girl cousin, who spent some time with friends after the funeral home viewing, was going to be okay after being hit in her town by a drunk guy who was driving in the middle of the road with no lights on. Thank you, Jesus.

Another amazing thing is that the company owned by the Walker family (where DC works) is having a huge get-together which they call a Family Reunion this coming week-end. People will be coming from all over the world to celebrate the 100,000th mower coming off the assembly line. They did this for the 50,000th several years ago and it's an amazing thing to see people come from so many states and countries to celebrate with us. Many of their family members were able to stay after the funeral, and have been there to comfort Dean and Suzanne. Thank you, Lord.

Suzanne is the coordinator of the trip to Peru that I mentioned above. Please pray that God will give her the direction she needs to know what to do. And the strength to do it.

(If you have not been by lately, please peruse the previous posts to make sense of this one).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Memory . . .

From the official obituary:

Daniel Max Walker, 22, passed away July 23, 2008. Dan passed away during his sleep due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Dan was born Aug. 29, 1985. He graduated from F C H S in 2004, where he participated in football, lacrosse and track.

After high school, Dan attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., graduating in May 2008 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

At Olivet, Dan was a four-year member of the football team, a football captain a member of Testament Men’s Choir, built and raced a Baja car and was a stellar disc golfer. Dan was currently working as an activities director at Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center. . .

Dan was a pilot, enjoyed the outdoors and was an excellent potter. Dan was a committed son, brother, friend and follower of Christ. His friends’ sentiments are…

“You were a living testimony to what God teaches us through Jesus Christ. It takes great character to live out your belief, and that trait was very evident in you.”

“You are an inspiration, a true man of God, one day I hope that I can be like you.”

“I know you lived your ‘grown up years’ as a man of God ... a true Testimony of Christ!”

“You set the standard ... you were a great example and an amazing Christian man.”

“You were a Man of God that everyone could lean and rely on. You have not only been a leader to your peers but to the family around you.”

I have been to many funerals in my life, and have played the organ for many as well. I have been to very sad services, and I have been to celebrations of life. This was the latter. Of course we're sad. Obviously there were many tears. But there was laughter and joy as well - our church building isn't large enough to handle the outpouring of love for this family, so we went to a large church in the town just north of us.

I wish I had known Dan better - based on the stories told during the audience participation, he was a truly amazing young man. He was wise beyond his years. Here are some excerpts from his application to the Focus on the Family Institute, where he planned to be for the fall semester.

"I'll probably never be in a full time ministry position in the church, but I'm convinced that I should be very involved in and contribute to the ministry and health of the church."

"I'm by no means perfect, but I have convictions that I hold on to, and I think people respect that."

"There are a lot of people that talk about God without basis or understanding, and I think that one thing I'm called to is to let people know of God's word for them wherever I am, and I know the need I have to know God's truth in order to do that effectively."

"Being a Christian also shapes how I look at everyday tasks. Something very powerful was when I learned that everything, no matter how trivial or menial, can and should be seen as an act of worship to God. So when I see the world through that lens, doing my homework, playing football, or even art takes on a powerful new perspective."

Dan's girlfriend, who would probably have been his fiancee soon, has spent the last month or so in India, doing a mission that was amazingly challenging for such a young woman. She shared with us that the last time she and Dan spoke face to face, they sat on a patio down at the camp and talked about heaven - about the streets of gold - how something we value so greatly here on earth is used for paving the streets in heaven. Did he have some inkling of his future?

I don't presume to understand God's thinking. But I have to say that I have thought often in the last 3 days of how close we came to losing Kev so many times during the years of his lostness (See Kev's story on my sidebar, if you don't know what I am referring to). I am so thankful for the grace of God that allowed Kev to live long enough to be ready to die. Dan was ready. And he will never more feel the sting of death -

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday Fun History

It's been a rough week in our world - if you haven't been over this week, check out the last two posts. Thank you who have been praying and caring for our friends and our church family.

Last week I was at our church convention, which I enjoy every summer. My sis and I stayed together, along with our friend, Suzanne, the one who just lost her son. It's hard to believe we had such a good time such a short time ago, rather a slumber party feeling, and now her life has turned upside down in a heartbeat.

During the proceedings, which were a celebration of the 100th anniversary of our denomination in Colorado, this beautiful old pulpit was on the platform:


It was brought to the convention from a very small church in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado. We were told that Uncle Bud Robinson had preached from this pulpit. Uncle Bud is a colorful part of our denomination's history.


"Bud Robinson was born in the mountains of Tennessee on January 27th, 1860. His family was very poor, and they lived under meager conditions. Growing up with twelve siblings, space and food was scarce. He did not receive an education, but rather had to work early in order to make a living. His father died in 1872, and in 1876 his mother decided to leave the Tennessee Mountains and move to Texas. Bud worked on a farm and joined the wild town life. He was known as 'a tough one' among the Texas boys.

"In 1880 he attended a local tent revival. In his one pocket he had a pistol, the other one held a deck of cards. But God spoke to him and after a long struggle he made his way to the altar where he gave his life to the Lord. As soon as the meeting was ended he ran outside and got rid of the gun, then threw the cards into the fire. Later he crawled under a wagon to go to sleep, but he only lay there and laughed and cried. That night under the wagon, with his head on a tree stump, God called him to preach.

"About three months later he attended his first Sunday school, which he was about to refuse, as he could not read. But the Sunday school lady convinced him that she would do all the reading, and so he came along. After that, he slowly started to learn how to read.

"Bud received a preaching license and started in his evangelistic work, which he would carry on till the end of his life. Most people tried to discourage him from preaching because of his stutter. But in spite of them Bud followed His call. In the first year he had 300 conversions. He would go out in his Sunday shirt and straw hat, with his pony, a Bible and songbook in hand. In the first four years he received a total of $16 for his ministry.

Every day Reverend Bud Robinson prayed like this:

'Oh Lord, give me a backbone as big as a sawlog, ribs like the sleepers under the church floor, put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, give me a rhinoceros hide for a skin, and hang a wagonload of determination up in the gable-end of my soul, and help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I've got a fist and bite him as long as I have a tooth, then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ's sake. Amen.'

"Many were amused by it, but for him it provided strength for each new day, the strength he needed to be the incredible example that changed so many people's lives.

"Never was he the pastor of a church. He was uneducated and had many odd ways. But for exactly those quaint ways people loved him. They called him Uncle Bud. He was just himself, totally unaffected, always sweet-tempered. In his simple way he criticized evil and wrong. Still, he was a friend to everybody.

"Probably the most remarkable characteristic about him was his humor. He put things into figures of speech that nobody else would think of. He was a beloved figure; anytime you announced him for a service or a meeting you could be sure you'd get a crowd of people. His native wit and his lisp gave him wide renown.

"His entire life was devoted to preaching the good news of Christ's death and resurrection to the people of his country. He travelled extensively all over the United States and preached in many churches. People loved him and came to listen to him wherever they heard he was coming. Thousands were converted, and many more encouraged through his ministry. They called him Uncle Bud, and he influenced many of the great leaders of the our denomination.

"One time when he was in California, he started across a street and a car hit him and he was hurt so badly that he literally flew through the air. Quite a few broken bones were the result and he spent weeks and weeks in hospital. But he recovered, and once more took up his responsibility, and followed the call."
You can find the audio recording of his hospital experience here, if you're interested: (hospital experience)

In 1942 he died of old age. After his death, a newspaper ad read:

"An evangelist who claimed to have preached 32,176 sermons and won 200,000 converts, Rev. Reuben "Uncle Buddy" Robinson, is dead today. The thirteenth child of a poor mountain family of White county, Tennessee, he had an impediment of speech and could not write a word or spell his own name when he was converted at 20. But he overcame these handicaps to preach an average of 500 sermons a year to 72 denominations in his 61 years on the sawdust trail, and to write 10 books of which 500,000 copies were sold. He died last night in his Pasadena home. He was 82 years old."

Written by Dorli Gaschwandtner (from the archives at Southern Nazarene University).

Uncle Buddy preached in this pulpit in this little town in the mid to late 30's. The church at that time was a strong church out there in the Valley. The train stopped off there to get water for the steam boiler and the people stayed in the hotel there. The hotel is now the church. It was a revival that Uncle Buddy preached in that church. He was never the pastor there.

I was told that Uncle Buddy was approached to take place of Will Rogers as the humorist for the nation, after Will's death in an airplane crash in Alaska, with Wiley Post. He declined, saying that he would only preach the gospel.

Below is the church, with the pulpit in place - the pastor is now retired and a member of our church - this was approximately 40 years ago, when he was pastor of this church.



On yesterday's post -

My sister just got a call from Suzanne and the coroner has ruled that cause of death was a burst aorta - a congenital, genetic weakening that chose this moment to burst.

All of the men on both sides of the family are to be tested, because it could have been treated had it been known - but it's not something routinely checked, I guess. So incredibly sad.

Ryan and Emily are supposed to leave for their 3-year aviation mission assignment in Alaska a week from Monday. Ryan was to speak Sunday at their send-off service. The funeral is Saturday, but I don't know the time yet. It will be at a very large church in the town north of us, because we don't have enough room in our church.

I just keep thinking of Dan going to bed that night and waking up in heaven. It is the only comforting thought right now - and the fact that he obviously did not suffer.

Thanks for your comments and your prayers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Very Sad Day . . .

. . . in the life of our church. Our church is a family, in the truest sense of the word. The choir is a small group of our family. Some of us have been singing together for over 30 years.

Dean and Suzanne are two of our dear friends who have been in our church and our choir for the entire time. We have watched them grow their family with 4 of the finest young men you would ever want to know. All of them. They've had their share of physical challenges - many trips to the emergency room and knee/shoulder surgeries, but all because the boys are so athletic. All of them have gone to college on athletic scholarships. Three of them have graduated - the last one just this past May. One more to go. All went to the same Christian college in Illinois. Two have married lovely Christian young women. One couple is heading to Alaska for mission aviation work in Alaska in another week.

The third son, Dan - wonderful, handsome, healthy young guy, who was spending his summer working at our denomination's camp in the mountains. His plans for the fall were to go to Focus on the Family Institute (commissioned by Focus on the Family, exists to provide a unique Christian educational community that nurtures passionate and persuasive leaders who are committed to Jesus Christ, equipping them to promote healthy families, vibrant churches and a civil society). His girlfriend is spending the summer in India doing mission work. They were going as a family to Peru next month. They were one of those families who just seemed blessed in every way.

This morning, all of that changed. Their life will never be the same. My heart is just aching. I can't imagine how you continue life when your first call in the morning is to tell you that your son died in his sleep in his bed - at summer camp. Unfathomable. Absolutely incomprehensible.

Please pray for Dean, Suzanne, Ted, Ryan, Kyle, their spouses, their very large family on both sides. And for the roommate who found him this morning. And for all the staff at the camp. And for all those kids who were at camp this week. And for our church, because we are their family, too.

Thank you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some More Randomness

Once again, many things are running through my mind that I want to share. But none of them merits an entire post.

Yesterday morning at 6:00 we went to a wedding. Well, let's back up a minute - we thought we were going to a wedding. To clarify, my niece was getting married over in England and it was supposed to be fed to us by Internet link so that we could be there in live time. It was 1:00 p.m. there, thus 6:00 a.m. here. We arranged to have my folks, my sister, and her husband over for breakfast and the wedding. There were others in other areas of the US and the UK who were going to watch. We logged on, but alas, there was a glitch in the feed, so none of us got to see it. It's supposed to be loaded on the web site later this week, so hopefully it will work, but it won't be quite the same as live - at 6:00 a.m. But it will be fun to see. Thankfully, the 5 days of rain decided to end just in time for the occasion.

It's time to acknowledge some lovely awards. From Crackerjacks, mom of two darling little girls, I have been privileged to be considered worthy of this one:

And Hootin' Anni passed this one along:

What fun to receive awards. Thank you, ladies!

The other day dear Becky at
Butler's Wife said "My stars and garters" in one of her posts. It brought about some interesting comments. Turns out that I have actually said those words in my lifetime. Something else I say often, according to Care Bear, is "Oh, for crying out loud!" Does anyone else say this silly phrase? It means absolutely nothing, but is something that everyone in my family seems to say. It really irritates Care Bear. She is a very astute young lady. What other goofy things do we say that mean nothing, when you attempt to analyze them?

So - you know that I'm on a weight loss mission - again. I haven't posted the ticker, because I haven't lost any since the last time. But I have to say that I went to church convention and ate out for 3 days and didn't gain. That's the good news. But I want to share something I found in a newspaper insert this week. It was an article about three people from our town who have lost lots of weight with diet and exercise alone - the only way it'll ever happen for me. One of the ladies was quoted saying this:

It's hard to be overweight, it's hard to lose weight, it's hard to maintain weight. YOU JUST HAVE TO PICK YOUR HARD.

That is seriously one of the most sensible things I've ever read when it comes to the fight against being overweight.

I put a lot of books on hold at the library rather than buying them. Sometimes I have to wait a long time to get them, because they're brand new and others do the same as I do. So what usually happens is that 3 or 4 of them come in at once, and they're all due in 3 weeks, with no renewal allowed. So right now, I'm trying to finish quite a few books - not all are new, so I'm reading them first and renewing the others. Here is what is waiting on my shelf, besides about 8 magazines.

Last - the beautiful sunset yesterday evening, as we headed up to see Kev and Sema's new abode. Sorry about the traffic signal - DC was shooting the pic as I was steering from the passenger seat. Yikes!

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - and Twin Update

This week's Show and Tell is a bit random. I hope nobody gets whiplash!

When we learned that Kristen was having twins, and her life was a bit on the hectic and stressful side, I contacted the Multiples Club of our area. I asked if any of their members had a double stroller and car seats we could buy before the spring garage sale. It wasn't long before they came over to our house with two really nice car seats and a top-of-the-line double stroller and GAVE them to us - what a blessing! We never did learn who they were from so we could properly thank them.

In order to not have to change bases every time I needed to transport them, I bought another car seat, and we were given a fourth one by Kristen's cousin. So now we each have 4 car seats in our mini vans.

I still wanted another double stroller, so we didn't have to keep trading the one back and forth. And I knew just which one I wanted - but I couldn't find it on line. But then the spring garage sale by the Multiples Club came and they had three of them for sale - for the first time they'd ever had any. Timing is everything! Here is what it looks like:


It doesn't look like much, does it? But - the greatest thing about it is that you just take the car seats out of the car and plunk them onto the frame - the bars can be adjusted to fit different brands of car seats. It is wonderful if the babies are asleep - they don't have to be disturbed to be put in the stroller.



Here is a picture of the stroller that we were given - Peg Perego brand.


On a totally different subject, the other day DC was out in the front yard when this amazingly huge swallowtail butterfly willingly landed on his finger - (edited to give him credit for taking the picture - the butterly must be quite old, because it was in no hurry to get away - thankfully for us!)


Then it flew over to the little neighbor girl's hand --


Then - my one and only successful rosebush (as I mentioned before - we have planted so many shade trees that we have a hard time raising certain flowers). But I just love this one!


I am not a shopper - really, truly, not a shopper. But I do love Hobby Lobby. I feel like I've been to church when I go in there and listen to the music as I shop (I find myself singing or humming along). Last week, besides the little wicker table noted in the last post, I got in on the half price picture frame sale. I found this darling frame, and was happy to find two of them - one for me and one for Kristen. We can change the pictures periodically.


Last - Care Bear really wanted to bake a cake this evening. In spite of the unappealing aspect of heating up the kitchen, we did it - it meant so much to her. She was dying to frost it, but I kept telling her that it was not cool enough yet. At 8:30 p.m., Care Bear, Feisty, and the Two Blondies came over to frost and decorate the cake with sprinkles. They were so excited to take a piece home to eat and one for each of their parents.


And the twin update - in their favorite summer outfits:


And playing with each other - a bit roughly??


For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.