Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The wordless wonder...

That's me.

The wordless wonder.

I don't seem to have a creative word to say these days, at least not on my blog. There is plenty going on around here, everything but writing...

Funny thing is that it doesn't seem to be bothering me, so I will be visiting your blogs, as always, but sitting on the sidelines with other bloggers in our own special group for an undetermined period of time. We come and go. It's okay. It isn't even my first trip to the sidelines.

Make sense??

I knew it would. I've seen some of you in this crowd before, and others who may visit down the road.

Apparently, just telling you this took quite a few words, so maybe they aren't ALL gone. :)

Until later...


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rumors abound, all around...

Ebola here, ebola possibly there... 

Ebola seems to be everywhere right now. For sure it's been here in Dallas where the first U.S. Ebola patient died this week. He was at the hospital where 2 of my 3 children were born and where I  visited my own doctor through the years before he retired. By the way, it's a wonderful hospital, despite what has happened.

My point is... Ebola, just like fear, abounds in the world around us. It's bad enough that I lean in that direction without much help needed, but now... this world is so full of reasons to be fearful. The news, the papers, the world situation... it all paints pictures that inspire worry and fear.

Where is God in all of this? 

HE IS RIGHT HERE WHERE HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND ALWAYS WILL BE. FOREVER UNCHANGEABLE.

He still holds this whole world within the powerful grip of his hands, and he holds me there as well, and you too.

Do you believe that? In a world that tries to give us every reason not to, on a daily basis, do you still claim that God is still God?

Yes He is, and yes I do!

2 Timothy 1:7, and I love the King James for this one:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love and a sound mind".

Don't you know that satan is laughing with gleeful malice at the world we are living in, and that he understands full well the doubts and confusions that trip up saints and sinners alike when fear abounds.

So what do we do about it all?

The very same thing we have always done, after we wring our hands and worry our hearts about it all... we go straight to the God who never changes, whose faithfulness is the same yesterday, today and forever. And... we leave the rumors and the fears of what we know and what we don't know... IN HIS HANDS, one more time.

There is no other solution...
There is also no better solution...

Ebola, wars, rumors of wars, terrorists, finances, families, sickness, small faith, large fears ... all of it!

Not one of these things, or any other thing is surprising to our God. I already KNOW that, but sometimes I need to be reminded again, and when I am... 

Back it all goes to Him...

Praying, as I literally 'dump' all of it into His care... 

Exactly the place where 'it' and 'I' belong. 

Don't you love the sense of calm that comes when we do that? Nothing has really changed, the world is still full of chaos and our problems may still be unanswered, but my heart is still, and my faith is steady.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tiny Round Top, Texas, and even tinier Warrenton, Texas...

Janette, you started it!!

For 14 years I had an antique booth at the Warrenton and Round Top, Texas Antique Fair, every April and October...

I stopped doing it about 5 years ago, it had become so big, and lasted so long, and was a lot more fun in the early days. But... I still get withdrawal symptoms when April and October roll around.

This year Janette went to Round Top, so her blog and comments have me all excited again...

Those days, and those years, were some of the most fun I have ever had. Lots of my friends in Dallas shared the spaces all around me, and we all became family. They are still some of my closest friends.



Round Top is now the home of the Junk Gypsies, but their first home was right outside of our little antique show, down the highway 4 miles, in Warrenton... 
with their pink car and longhorns mounted on the front, and their huge white tent where they sold their goods. We used to chuckle at them, they had so much fun and such a funky flair with their decor. I'm not chuckling anymore... I am wide-eyed at their amazing run... tv show, huge decorating business, their compound at Round Top, and now a line for Pottery Barn teens. 





 
I started out at Zapp Hall, a small former dance hall with wood floors and no AC, run by an amazing family who lives in Houston, but all of the kids and cousins spend many weekends coming out to this family compound and they all pitch in to help run this show twice a year. They are all Christians, and we have had some amazing fun and fellowship through the years.

Later, since Zapp Hall has no AC, I moved down to the Red Barn in Round Top, where my friend from 35 years ago in Austin, Susan Franks, bought the original show and continues to do it so well... this girl does NOT know how to NOT work hard!!
So... 

If you are looking for some fun, to walk until you are worn out, and to see a little bit of everything and maybe even buy a few treasures, not to mention the good food... you MUST get to Round Top one of these days, and if you do... 

stop by for Janette and I, and we will go with you and have a bloggers blast! 

Right in the middle of nowhere!




Monday, September 8, 2014

What do you want?...

Have you heard this quote?

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

There some real truth to that statement. We all have 'stuff' to contend with, some far more than others, but life holds challenges for each one of us. If you don't believe that... just wait a minute, it's coming!

Don't you find that word choice cropping up over and over again? I do. Sometimes I make my choices right off the bat, even some hard ones, knowing that it's the best thing to do. Other times, I postpone or deny the obvious, and eventually have to make hard choices anyway. 

Not choosing to do what I know is the best thing, is also a choice.

Going a step further...

I remember a former pastor saying:

We have as much of God as we want.

That truth hits right into the heart. 

How much of God do I want? 

God invades... when we really want Him and His will, it is often NOT comfortable, sometimes even painful, but always... ALWAYS... it is the very thing that fills our hearts and makes us sing, even in the midst of hard things and faith testings. He will not leave us alone if there is 'stuff' that needs dealing with. It's like my brother used to say... 'sin is not fun anymore'...

When we desire more of God... He is going to give us more, and the process doesn't always look or feel as good as we want it to, but the results are SO worth it!!

Finding myself wanting more of who He is and what He wants for my life... I am pushing deeper, finding again that the age old truth...trust and obey...is what He wants from me... God's simple and plain truth is always the answer... sometimes we are guilty of watering it down or even ignoring it. 

He has a way of bringing us back to the basics!

There is no other way, and there is also no better way, than to take Him at His word and ...DO it!

He has already promised to both be there in the midst of it, and lead me through it.... His song is growing, deeper and stronger...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Speaking of heroes...

I have written so many things about my dad during these blogging years, and all of them are true. He was the minister, and we all looked up to him. 

But SHE was the light in his eyes, and the sparkle in our home...

As I reflect now, so many years later, I can see clearly why God lead my dad and mother together.

He was deeply spiritual. So was she, but she was also down to earth, practical, realistic, and... so much fun! She always used to say that while he had one leg in heaven, she was pulling on the other one to bring him back to earth!

My dad traveled all over the world, preaching and teaching, equipping the saints. My mother stayed home and raised 3 little urchins, trying to make them into 'future saints'.

He went into his study and prayed, and pored over the scriptures, writing books and preparing sermons.

She read and prayed every day, in the midst of the reality of raising us, keeping a home, working as a nurse, and speaking to women's groups all over the country, lots of it while dad was in another country.

He was strong.

She was strong.

Dad always knew that she was handling the home front as he traveled. She was! It gave dad the freedom to study, write and go preach.

As I look back now, I think what a blessed necessity it was for my father to have my mother. She supported him in every way, and he knew it. She was never a little quiet person in the background either, her personality drew others to her, she was one of those 'special ones' that people love to be around. There was always lots of laughter wherever my mother was, especially in our home.

I wonder how often she crunched the numbers and tried to stretch the dollars while dad was preaching overseas. She never made us feel like her budget was slim, even though it always was. She cooked like a chef, made life fun every day, and her joy was full. 

It was always important to them that we have good home cooked food on the table every day, and... good shoes. The rest of it was always on a shoestring. That makes me smile now. We always had both the food and the shoes, and somehow if we were short on the rest of it, we never felt it.

My mother celebrated life, every day. 

Today I'm celebrating her life. So much of who I am is because of who she was. I learned from her when I didn't even know I was learning.

Her life gave deep meaning to the phrase "little is much when God is in it". 

I am so thankful to be one of the 'nuts' that fell from their tree...



(the above photo is my mom with our daughter some years ago.)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Swatting at nothing...

Here I sit,  trying to work on my computer...

A tiny tiny head-of-a pin sized gnat is flying around in front of my screen. He actually doesn't fly, not in a direct easy to hit line, this one jumps around erratically.

Have you ever tried to GET one of those things??

I have swatted... fast, I have clapped my hands thinking I was trapping it in the middle... and as if to mock me, it flies around right in front of where I just clapped!

It just flew by again and landed on my nose. That does it!

Now I'm stopping everything, on high alert... I dare it to come by again.

I am sitting as still as a statue, going to fool him this time. 

He knows.

He is nowhere to be found.

Maybe I got him during one of those claps.

He isn't here anymore... 

Now I'm getting back to work.

It does make me wonder though, if his sisters and brothers are lurking.

It's now about 5 hours later, I'm back... and he just flew by! I KNOW it was him,  I recognize his flight pattern.

The moral of this story...

Don't just swat at those pesky little irritating habits that buzz around and distract your attention... deal with them decisively, or they will be back, maybe even bringing their sisters and brothers...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I'm not flunkin' the Dunkin' test...

For 5 months, I've passed the sign, about 1/2 mile from the area where I live. 

COMING SOON.. DUNKIN' DONUTS.

Now it's almost ready to open.

I have a long standing love (craving, weakness...) for Dunkin' Donuts. Krispy Kremes were never a big temptation, they just didn't taste the same.

But THIS is a serious test, one that will be a daily red flag as I drive by. I wish it were not that way, but I know it will be. Certain foods just draw you in, so here is my plan...

I'm not going there. 

If I never park my car in front, or drive through their drive through... I will not eat donuts!

The reason this is important is because I am not one of those who casually orders a donut and goes on her way.

I am not a one donut Dunkin' Donut girl. 

If I only had one, I would be thinking of the one I ate and the one I didn't eat, until I went back and got the other one, and you just can't do that every day as you pass the place. Some of you would be fine with just doing it once in awhile, not me.

So... if I never have a Dunkin' Donut (and for about 35 years I've managed not to), then I will be fine. That's my plan.. to just keep driving.

(Of course, if I ever DID stop and have one, it would be either Bavarian Creme filling, Lemon or raspberry filling or even just the plain old cake donut, but for sure, one of each.)

I know there is a spiritual lesson here...

There are certain things, certain areas of life, that for us, are better left alone. We know what they are. They may not be sinful in and of themselves, but it may be risky territory for me.

Sometimes The Message says things in a way that makes me laugh out loud...

Proverbs 23 
Restrain Yourself ] [ 6 ] ... Don’t gobble your food, don’t talk with your mouth full. And don’t stuff yourself; bridle your appetite. ...

Rather than gobble and stuff, I intend to bridle. 

That's my plan and I'm stickin' to it!



(Dedicated to my family, who knows this about me, but loves me anyway! :) )


Friday, July 25, 2014

Love...

This photo and scripture doesn't need a further sermon from me. 

It's at the very core of the gospel. It's what makes ALL the difference. 

God... loved me enough to create me... then to give his life for me. 

The knowledge of this truth is what sets us free... At my darkest, my greatest need was to know that he loved me. It still is. If he loved me then, he will love me always.

He did... and he does!

How about THAT truth to begin this new day?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Christmas in July... in Norway!

Please join my friend Anita, here... as her viewers share their European adventures, in person... or in their dreams. Mine have included both. 

Take a little break from the summer heat and enjoy... Christmas in Norway. I am sharing a blog from a few years ago...


Tromso, Norway...

Way up in the cold frozen northern part of Norway, beyond the arctic circle, is where my Christmas traditions began, in the childhood home of my mother.

In her words, as she shared this story with women's conferences and church groups all through her life, and as I read them tonight on these now fragile sheets from her journal...

"Let me invite you to take a trip with me to the land of the midnight sun, to my country, Norway. We will fly over the top of the north pole, but you won't see much there, only snow and frozen land, and finally, after landing in the capitol city of Oslo, we board a small plane and fly much farther north to Tromso. Now I invite you into our large old home to share Christmas with us...

My father was the mayor of the town, and there were 7 of us children, and a constant flow of guests coming and going. Christmas came like a bright light every December, and we children were filled with expectation and excitement and we all pitched in to help shine the copper pieces that hung on the walls, and bake the never ending sheets of cookies that went in and out of the oven. All month the cookie baking continued and they began to fill the jars and tins, which were stored up in the attic.

For days, leading up to Christmas Eve, friends and neighbors would drop in and visit each other in their homes, bringing their cookies and baked goodies, and their children. They would sing Christmas carols together and no one seemed to be in a hurry.

We celebrated each day as 'tiny Christmas', until Christmas Eve finally arrived and all the planning and baking and cooking was almost finished. All the children were scrubbed in a hot steam bath in town, and our braids froze on the way home. The shoes were lined up to be polished, the goose was filled with apples and prunes and ready to bake, and the last excited secrets were whispered between us as we wondered with expectation what would be in the boxes. The gifts and the Christmas tree were decorated and kept in the large parlour where NO ONE was allowed to go until Christmas!

I remember as a child hiding up in the attic about 3 or 4 in the afternoon and listenting to the church bells ringing in Christmas. I hadn't yet come to know Him, whose birth I was about to celebrate, but I stood by the window, looking out at the blinking lights and boats in the harbor, and I knew that God had sent Jesus to be born at Christmas, and I worshipped in a child's way, Him who I didn't yet know.

And then suddenly, the bells started from one church, then from another, and soon together they joyously chimed all over the city as they rang in the news 'Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord"...

Now me...



When I visited Norway more than a year ago, we had to fly that same route from Oslo far to the north, into Tromso... There, on the main street of this most picturesque and beautiful city, was my mother's family dry goods store. When we were there, we saw the building, it has been modernized, and like many things that have changed, the new isn't nearly as wonderful as the original! (This photo isn't the store, but looks like it...)

In northern Norway, during the winter months, it was not only cold and piled high with snow everywhere, it was also dark. One of the most cherished memories she shared were the lights, all around Tromso, in homes, in the windows, in the stores and on street lanterns, tiny dots of light made the whole scene like a dream. Candles and lights were always part of our growing up Christmases in California, and I still love them.

Side note on the attic in her home... During the winter, they hung their washed sheets in the attic to dry and they were as stiff as boards from the cold frozen temperatures. My mother did confess to playing among those sheets and if I know her... there was probably some peeking and snooping along the way as Christmas came closer!

At her dad's store in town, each window was decorated with a different Christmas scene. She said they covered all the windows with brown paper while they got busy and created a picture for the people of the town. When the windows were unveiled, people came from all around excited to see what this year would bring. Each family had candles which they lit as they viewed the now gleaming window scenes. One window depicted a cozy warm home with a fireplace with a Christmas tree and candles glowing everywhere, one might be a candy store scene or a church choir... it was magical to the children to be part of such a tradition.

Then Christmas Eve finally arrived...

The whole family bundled up and headed out into the snow to their large 'state church', for the Christmas Eve service where by candlelight they joined together singing Silent Night and heard the familiar scriptures read. Finally they all headed back home for the feast ahead and 'the gifts'...

As the final preparations were put together and the goose was browning for the last few minutes, my mother would take a quick walk through the empty snow piled streets with her father, and pass by the lovely homes where they could often watch through the windows at the people singing and walking around their Christmas trees, hands joined, in a circle, babies to grandparents.

After the feast had been devoured, her father read the Christmas story one more time from Luke, and prayed with the family. Then they all shook hands, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, she said their was a lot of handshaking with 7 kids and all the relatives. Then they each sat in one place until every gift tag was read by her father and distributed, before anyone could open a gift. And then, the papers and ribbons flew!

I can't sing or hear Silent Night, without thinking of Norway. It's a funny thing, but I have tears in my eyes, good tears, as I write this and remember Christmas in Norway, even though I was never there in December. The memories and stories and the twinkle in my mother's eyes as she shared her December dreams of long ago, are as real to me as if I had been there myself. When she met and married my dad, and followed him to America to begin life as a preacher's wife, all that was familiar and dear to her was left behind in her beloved country, but she instilled it in each of her 3 children with great joy. She kept her traditions going in our home as I grew up.

I am keeping that love for Norway alive in my heart and in our home...

 

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm not a contest winner...

I have filled out forms, dropped them in boxes, submitted them online, tried all of it except for the lottery, and I never win anything!

Do you??

I have to admit that my attempts to win anything are both sporadic and half hearted. I don't usually waste the time to enter contests or pursue it very hard. I do sometimes enter Pioneer Woman's giveaways... she has such special things to give away... cowboy boots, good kitchen knives, and pots and pans... :)

I also entered HGTV's dream home in Lake Tahoe, California. I had this strong feeling that I might actually win that house. So much for strong feelings...

The odds of ever winning one of those contests are staggering, against it. Picture 10 warehouses filled with huge carts, full of tiny strips of names and addresses, and only one will be picked. The odds are very good that it will never be me.

Isn't it an amazing miracle that we are not dependent on a random drawing out of millions of entries for the very best gift of all, our salvation. 

It's the only free gift that we must have, and it's ours.

My mother had a dream when she was a little girl. God's arm scooped down from heaven to earth with a giant dust pan. She stood and held her breath each time that pan came close, hoping she would be scooped up.

We don't have to wait in fear, cross our fingers, or hope with all our hearts that we will be scooped up. The great news is that because I have believed on Jesus and He is my saviour... I WILL be on that dustpan.

There has never been a contest with a prize like that. If there were, the whole world would be falling over each other to enter and re-enter, hoping to win.

God's gift... the real prize... is free, and it includes everyone who will accept. His prize was bought and paid for with the blood of his only son.

No wonder the world's contests don't have a deep pull on my heart... I've already won the only one that matters, and it was offered to me, free, on a solid gold platter that held only one thing, the cross.