Monday, December 28, 2009

A Look At Those Who Go Before Us

In this year 1528, nine brethren and three sisters were apprehended at Bruck, on the Mur, in Steyermark. They were condemned for their faith, and taken in bonds out of the city, to the place of execution; but they were glad and of good cheer, and said, "This day we will suffer in this place for the word of God, and offer to Him our sacrifice." Rom. 12:1; II Tim. 4:6. They also earnestly admonished the lords of Bruck, that they should know that they rendered themselves guilty of innocent blood.
A ring having been formed, they all knelt down (Acts 7:60; 20:36), and earnestly prayed to God; that they might now finish this their evening sacrifice. They then arose and submitted to the sword. The executioner was sad; for he did not like to do it. The youngest of them all entreated his brethren, that, since he felt of good cheer and bold, they should let him suffer the first pain; he then kissed them, and said, "God bless you, my beloved brethren; today we shall all be together in Paradise." Luke 23:43. Thus these nine brethren were beheaded in a green field; they were so undaunted that it was astonishing to behold-it.
They knelt down; and thus poured out their blood through the smiting of the sword. The three sisters were drowned; they would in no wise depart from God and His truth. The youngest one laughed at the water; which was seen by many a one there. Some held that the devil had hardened them; but others were moved in their hearts, so that they confessed that God must have given this, since otherwise it could not be possible. Thus they valiantly testified to the holy and divine truth.
Who of us in this day and age have the boldness to die joyfully in the name of God? I would not wish this for any of my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, but the truth is; It could happen. And to think these people in 1528 were being persecuted for their faith BY people who called themselves Christians! But these martyrs were being accused of doing something unthinkable: They were re-baptizing themselves as adults! This was seen as a crime worthy of death.
Would you joyfully allow someone to behead you for this belief? Or be drowned for this sake? These are the people that paved the way so that you, an adult believer can be baptized without fear of death.

These people were known as *Anabaptists*...which translates into; *twice baptized*.
My intention is to post a bit about these people who died for this privalidge now and then. I love history and I appreciate knowing about their sacrifices. It gives me a feeling of determination in my own faith. It makes me grateful for the freedoms I've always known in my life. It reminds me that my life is not my own, it is Gods, and whatever happens in my life, it should all be to glorify The Lord, even unto death.
May I have the grace to live EVERY moment joyfully for God and God alone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Cozy Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all! I am sitting here feeling the chill in the air, and looking for snow. Yes, it snows in Texas and I believe we are in for a dandy of a winter!

This season, my husband Scott and I choose to keep the Christmas chaos to a minimum and just have a simple holiday. This stemmed from the same thing that has effected us all; The Economy. However, it was probably one of the best choices we've made in a long time.

We kept out decorations to a bit of greenery and a bow here and there. No lights on the house, no wreaths on every window... just a simple candle here and there and a red tablecloth, and cards strung across a string in the kitchen. It's a simple kind of lovely.

Gifts are also limited, but as a result; no last minute rushing about. No traffic to deal with, and no pushy shoppers or check out lines.

For the first time in years, I am completely relaxed and enjoying the simplicity and joy of Christmas!

I have noticed the same with my Mennonite/Amish friends as well. We are all enjoying baking, children, board games, and laughter... all a result of keeping it simple. A Mennonite friend who has a special needs daughter wrote an email that explained her daugher Mary had unwrapped EVERY GIFT they had while Mom was in the basement cleaning. What a laugh we all got, and surely sympathized with her mother, but joy comes in many facets. What fun Mary must have had?!

The snow is beginning to fall... My husband is cutting up a ham... The dogs are all in and being good, thankful that they don't have to be in the cold. Oh, the flakes! If you could see the giant flakes of snow coming down?! It's beautiful. Before long, my birdbath, and the tree branches will be trimmed in white. Tonight we will start a fire in the woodburner... and soak up the warmth, while putting the last minute touches on tomarrows Christmas menu.

My life is good. My friends are many. My joy is abounding all because I appreciate the smallest of things and find contentment in a bit of crocheting, or a wholesome novel. Sometimes, it's my animals that make me laugh out loud with their silliness. A phone call from my children, and grandchildren brighten my day. Just knowing they are all happy brings a smile to my face and a grateful prayer to my lips. All very small, easily overlooked happenings, but if I'm not distracted with too much business, I can clearly see the the small stuff that makes for much contentment.

I am so thankful for this very moment and all the moments that lead up to today. I'm grateful for my friends both here and on the internet who keep me focused on God, and keep me laughing through the year. I am honored that they pray for me and allow me to pray for them.

May you all have a blessed year in 2010, and may God help you overcome adversity, embrace simplicity, and be aware of the joy that comes in the smallest of ways.


Sis Kelly

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Way To Indiana

2009 has been an interesting year, spiritually speaking. I have witnessed many Christians trying on new *hats*, based on how the Holy Spirit leads them. While this isn't anything new to ME, as I have witnessed many friends change spiritual directions. I'm sure my friends would confess the same to me, for those who have known me for years.

I started out as a child who's parents did not actively serve The Lord. I became a Baptist because my neighbors took me with them to church, and because my parents did not. But my Grandmother took me to her Pentecostal Church often, and I think this influenced me greatly. Later on in life, I became a Mennonite, because I found great fellowship with the denomination, and I believe they live The Word to the best of their ability. They are devoted followers of Christ and humble lovers of God. I think I am who I am based on those who helped mold me. That doesn't make anyone else who serves God differently wrong.

As an example: I have friends who started off as Catholics, but later became Mennonite. They served faithfully until they found something that apparently interested them a lot, and became Messianic. They were very much full of zest for the Messanic life, and eventually started keeping the dietary laws, and eating kosher. Last I heard from my old friend, she and her family became Jewish, and have given up any hope of Jesus as her Saviour. She openly denounced Christ as the Son of God.

I have had Baptist friends become Catholic and Penecostal friends become Lutheran. It doesn't matter to me as long as your genuinely serving God. Apparently, from all the arguing I have witnessed this year, I'm in the minority.

I have many friends who have gone down different paths for a myriad of reasons. I do not try to change their mind, or argue the differences. I try to hold steadfast to what I believe and where God has brought me. I try to be a candle on a hill in case my friends loose their way on their journey. I love them all and owe them this as a Sister in Christ. After all, I have chosen a different path myself... so who am I to judge?

Besides, the path they sojourn on isn't wrong... it is simply different. Unless it leads them, and the attention they were giving to God, to rules and restrictions that distract. I'm not here to tell them otherwise.. it isn't my job. Besides, I doubt any would listen, because they are so excited to be doing something interesting and new. What happens when the new wears off? Do they look for something new, or stay steadfast?

The truth is, (based on my experience):
Some go back to the beginning, where they started their journey and start over. Others become stifled and indifferent. Others get humble and seek God on a very child-like level. They are my favorite of all. I believe God can do so much more with a child-like heart than a willful spirit. Some do manage to make the change to a new belief system, and take to it like a duck to water!Regardless of wear the spirital road leads them, they need you to be there for them in prayer.

So, do you know someone who is journeying? Are they hiking the heavenly trails? Is it producing good fruit in their spiritual walk? Good for them. Be a supporter, not a killjoy. Try to understand why they seek this path and what good things our heavenly Father brings to them as a result.
You will see that many people attack those who walk a different path. Anything out of their own version of *normal* must be a slippery slope! Sound familiar? Those who go against the *norm* will get a heap of criticism. We need to be prayer warriors that God keeps them on his path and they don't loose their way.

I had a conversation with a dear Christian friend recently about those who believe differently than I do about things such as: dietary laws, Sabbath Keeping, headcovering, modest dress, and
Titus 2 issues, and numerous side-issues that one could argue if you had the energy.
I am not speaking of people who serve other deities, but of Christians who might put more enphasis in one area, but not so much in another. People who are not a cookie-cutter version of ourselves. People who are of different denominations, and influences.

I asked her what her opinion was of all this? She said: "Sister, there are many roads to Indiana, but there is only ONE Indiana!"

Where are you on your spiritual journey? Has God lead you to practice differently than the rest of your family and friends? Do they criticize your efforts or minimalize them, as if it shouldn't matter?

It seems we all have a spiritual roadmap. A path that we can look back on and see where God has brought us. May God lead you as you walk your own.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Bells

I am so amazed... I am listening to the radio, and I hear a song that was written in 1864... by my GGG-Grand-Uncle, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

My GGG- Grandfather was Stephen Longfellow, Henry's brother, named after their father.

The group singing it is *Casting Crowns*...I'm still in awe as I wonder how this simple message of *PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TO MEN* has managed to keep resurfacing in a new format. I am resolved to believe the message is eternal and not original to Longfellow. He simply penned it in a way that would make us all stop and remember that God is in control regardless of our circumstances.
Longfellow wrote the poem after several years of hard circumstances. The above picture is of his first wife *Fannie*, and their 2 children. Fannie died after her dress caught fire, and Henry tried in vain to extinguish the flames. He would never be able to shave again, as his hands and were burned so badly trying to help her. Thus the famous beard.
How odd to be connected to such delicate history, no matter how many generations later. How bittersweet to hear the song being sung again, well over a hundred years later.
*And in despair I bowed my head,
"There is no peace on earth", I said
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
Simple church bells inspired such moving words. They echo the message of The Gospel.
May they bless you this day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Joy To The World!

I know we all look through the prism at a different angle. We all have a different perspective and opinion about most things common. I don't think we need to agree about peripheral issues, that do not threaten our salvation or relationship with God. If someone chooses not to celebrateChristmas, I certainly am not going to give them any grief over it.
But don't scorn everyone else who doesn't want to stand arm in arm with you, rallying against Old Saint Nick, Christmas Trees, and the fact that it isn't the REAL birthday of Jesus, not to mention the pagan origins of December 25th. Please avoid spending too much time defending your choice, because the rest of us Christians are having fun and we really don't want our Jesus-Parade rained on.
Just simply ignore the day if that is your choice, because none of this takes away from the fact that my family is taking a special time of the year to be more generous than usual, feed the hungry, help the poor, and celebrate family, food and tradition.
Be happy and content in your choice to ignore the season, knowing that I completely support your choice. See, we aren't supposed to be getting on to each other about what each other celebrates, or eats or drinks. The Bible says so. If you genuinely feel convicted not to celebrate Christmas, then simply don't. It's OK.... and I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise.
However, please reciprocate the same courtesy to me. Obviously, Christmas gets under some peoples skin for various reasons. But at our house, it's a very happy time.
I realize that Christmas has pagan origins, thousands of years ago... but it seems that a few hundred years ago, some thoughtful Christians got the bright idea to turn that pagan tradition into a Christian one, and I am very grateful. I certainly wouldn't be having all this fun if it was STILL a pagan holiday! It's not a sin to do so.. unless your convicted otherwise.
But here's the good news: At The Hunt household, we can all relax and sip our hot cocoa and sing Christmas Carols with no fear that one of our own will be lured into paganism as a result of singing Silent Night, Holy Night, and JOY TO THE WORLD- THE LORD HAS COME!!!
When my children were very young, we did play Santa. This is my only regret... I lied to my kids. But I was young and that was how I was raised. I didn't know any better at the time.
But we also baked a birthday cake for Jesus, and they were all taught the story of Saint Nicolas, who was a real person, and lived such a Godly life, that the *spirit* of Saint Nick lives on in us all when we display our love for one another, and our fellow man. Usually, during Christmas, my children and I found a way to help someone in need. But this act is repeated during the year because we should have a willing heart all year round.

But there is an area of commonality that I do agree with about: Over-indulgence and materialism. It's a crying shame the way people put their focus on spending rather than celebrating Christs birth. I'm not saying gifts to each other aren't appropriate, but the focus has become one of material gain. Can't we as Children Of The King take responsibility and change that?
Christmas hasn't lost it's meaning to Christians, but it is sometimes difficult to find for the non-believer.
If the focus isn't adjusted within the family HOME, the message can get lost in translation. For the lost, Christmas is a time to celebrate things other than Jesus, and Saint Nick becomes an idol, vrs. a witness, and good example. It can easily become a message of *ME ME ME*, and not of looking after our own brothers and sisters in Christ. Eventually, joy gets substituded with greed and stress.
It is up to us as parents and grandparents to teach our own families traditions that reflect selflessness, helping the poor, and demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ under our own roofs, within our own walls. The message of Christmas NOW, in the year 2009 should be: *And unto you this day is born, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ The Lord.*
Isn't that alone enough to make you celebrate? To take joy, to look around and count your blessings? To reflect on your own salvation? Can't we celebrate the story of Jesus birth?
We CAN be content with having enough and enough to give to others, and the message can be turned around to reflect the greatest gift, that of; eternal life through Jesus as our Savior.
Bless you regardless of what you celebrate. :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween & Christians

I'm going to be honest: I don't know where to draw the line at Halloween. Annually, there are internet debates, hurt feelings, and general nastiness over whether Christians are to celebrate various holidays.

Well, Halloween rubs elblows with The Occult and that is my issue with it, not how it started 600 years ago. Frankly, I'm not a pagan, and I don't worship mother earth... I don't dance naked in the moonlight... I just want to eat some candy corn and enjoy the season of harvest.

Yet- There are many who feel even Harvest Festivals are a sin, because they apparently have possible pagan origins. Well, if your giving God the Glory NOW, does it really matter that heathen civilizations didn't hundreds of years ago?

What's wrong with Autumn, Harvest, Sweet-Corn, festivals and letting the kiddo's dress up as bumble bees and pumpkins? I'm genuinely asking. Here's what the Bible says; (thank you Carla),

2 Corinthians 6:14, 19: What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness...Therefore come out from among them, and be separate."

So obviously, we must stay away from any and all activity that envolves evil and wickedness. This would include scary movies that involve murder-for-entertainment... haunted houses, and costuming that glorifies evil, etc... that's a given, right?

My question to the reader is: how adament are you about Halloween vrs. Harvest? Does your church participate in alternative activities for the children? Do you think *some Christians* are over-reacting, or do you think the issue is glossed over and churches need to wake up?

I'd like to hear your honest opinion... nevermind what I think, because opinions can change. We should be like iron sharpening iron, so let's hear it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Genuine Gratitude

You know the song; "Count your many blessings name them one, by one... Count your many blessings, see what God hath done!" I remember singing it since I was a little girl. As I write, the song is dancing through my head like an anthem, not a hymn!
Gratitude, from the deepest place in my heart cannot be explained in a word other than THANK YOU LORD. Today I am grateful for the generosity that the family of God has shown my family recently. I actually was wondering not two weeks ago if there was anyone who would reach out to me in the event of a crisis? If something were to happen to my husband, would I bear the brunt of this alone? Who do I know that would reach out and help me emotionally??? Financially??? Physically??? Spiritually???

Several family members come to mind... I know there are a few who would and maybe a one or two more that would if asked. But I don't really have the genuine confidence that anyone other than my children and very immediate family really care much about me. I spoke to my husband about it and honestly, he didn't have a lot of confidence that anyone other than my children, my Step-Parents, and possibly a brother care one way or another about me. It perplexes him, as his family is so close.
So the pity party lasted about an hour, and I quickly left the topic and the party behind me. Trust in The Lord with all thine heart... lean not unto they own understanding.
As I went about my usual business, I noticed my husband was rather quiet of late. I was concerned that he may be depressed? He said no, but he had some jobs cancel on him, and told me we'd best sit on our hands. Without going into detail, we have suffered some financial blows in the past few months. I wrecked our car, thus we had to put money into a new one... jobs cancelled, so and so forth. The reasons don't really matter, but to get to the point: We were getting nervous.
Because I am naturally a survivalist, I make a list of all we have, what we will need, and what can wait. Scott is planning the bills based on priority and we are both at a loss as to handle what was left in our bank account. To make things worse, we were charged for an ATM withdrawal that never happened. The ATM was out of cash, but they docked our account...
Now, you've all been there. The downward spiral of disaster seems to defy gravity at times, doesn't it? But oddly, at the very same time that we are scratching our heads, God does his BEST WORK with those who love Him. Honestly, I'd think He was showing off, if I didn't know any better?
I had friends reach out to help us with clothing, as I've gotten rather portly as of late and have few winter clothes. I was given a brand new, made just for me dress, and several hand-me-downs that are so pretty, I feel almost skinny again!
Food has magically appeared in my freezer. MAYBE I forgot I bought it, but I wasn't counting on it and to top it off, I found 3 coupons for FREE bread product OF MY CHOICE at the Bakery Thrift Store!
Then a check comes. A substantial check from a dear friend. He and his family didn't have to, they joyfully volunteered. This was initially hard to take, because I am usually on the flip side of the coin. And help comes in various forms, but we try to assist when we see the opportunity. Sometimes it's just listening to someone... or helping someone with clothing, food, or household goods. We aren't wealthly, so usually, it's just pitching in and being there.
We never thought of ourselves as the ones who would need a hand, but suddenly; there we are. You have to swallow a little pride to put yourself on the receiving side of charity. But isn't that the point? I don't think I have ever felt so grateful... so CARED FOR.

Then it hit me; there are people who love me enough to reach out to me in a crisis. My family consists of both those who are blood relation & those who are related to me through the blood of Christ.
Thank you all for reaching out and letting us know we are sincerely loved.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jumpin Jack:-)

Jack is doing well.. The Vet has treated him for the tapeworms and he's had his first round of shots.
The doc says he IS part Rottwieler and part COON HOUND! Is that funny or what?
He's still wild... but getting calmer every day. Star is good at showing him the ropes around here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Introducing: JACK!

Our new puppy Jack! He's part Jack Russell and ??? At least that's what we think. Who knows?
Jack has been with us a little over a week, and tomarrow is our first Vet visit. Poor boy has tapeworms, but otherwise seems healthy.

Star is *coming around* and not growling at him near as much and he's learning what *gentle* means around Minnie Lou.
He will make a great camping dog! He doesn't try to run away and just stays at your heels. We love him already.

Transition To Modesty

Most people have mixed feelings about my wardrobe and my beliefs in general. I would suspect that because of most peoples defensiveness, they think I project my beliefs onto them. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Everyone who becomes a believer in Christ becomes a follower. We learn to follow the Word and thus a transition of the heart begins at the moment we realize we were nothing but dirty rags to begin with, and through the blood of Jesus, we are saved. In other words; We don't deserve it, and there is nothing we can do to earn it.

However, being a Christian is not without responsibility. Some get hung up on GRACE, and while I believe in grace, I don't believe you just pray the prayer and go on about your business. Grace is there to bridge the gap between your weakness and Gods Holiness.

So the subject of dress comes up quite often between family and friends. It is often suggested that I don't need to dress modestly and God doesn't care what I wear. Well, I think God cares about everything! The Bible says so. You certainly don't want to be responsible for causing a brother to stumble do you? Appropriate dress isn't just *suggested* in the Bible.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows".
Matthew 10:29-31

Did you know sparrows are mentioned over 40 times in the Bible? God used them as an example that nothing is beyond His concern.... this includes our dress and our intentions.

Which leads us back to dress: Do you really believe God doesn't care what you wear? Now, I am not suggesting a cape dress = salvation. It doesn't make you holy, and the quote from my Mother comes to mind: "Pretty is, as Pretty does". Wearing a cape dress doesn't make you any holier than standing in a garage makes you a car.
But, modest dress is an outward reflection of your desire to honor God. As you progress on your journey heavenward, ask God what he wants of you? What would HE like you to wear?

Trust me,.. He will show you if your heart is open. It may not be a cape dress at all. But it will be modest, and reflect your desire to serve The Lord as you put one foot in front of the other.

Go forth, and serve.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Appreciate What You Have

I admit that I have a lovely home. It suits our every need. It is far more spacious than the apartment we lived in for eleven years. It was cramped, but we never felt like life would be better someday when we _________. (fill in the blank)
I can't say that I am any *happier* now, than then. Am I more satisfied? Yes, in some respects; Knowing that I am buying my home and somehow contributing to my own welfare, verses paying someone else to live in their abode is gratifying. But it isn't what brings me genuine contentment.
Mowing my lawn, planting trees, nuturing the land, repairing the home as it needs it is all rewarding by virtue of it's own design. But my contentedness comes from my love of God and family. God has shown me in His word that my needs are simple. It is society that puts the pressure on us to have luggage and purses of certain varieties that send the message to the world that we are on board with whatever the latest fad is and willing to pay a premium, no less.
I am not against a quality product. I prefer certain brands over others, but do try to find my favorite brands at outlet prices, or better yet; gently used. I know that Ralph Lauren and Eddie Bauer Comforters outlast the Walmart brand by a longshot, and buying a cheap product often times results in a short life-span of the article, therefore causing more expense in the long run.
But when are our appetites satisfied? Well, I will tell you something that many a Grandmother knows: What is appreciated most is what was created with your own two hands. The things I treasure most in my home are probably not a lot to look at, but someone who loved me took the time to stitch it, spin it, crochet or knit it. I have a little bit of cross stitch from my Sister In Law that reads: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.". It is lovingly hemmed in red ribbon and has hung in my home for years. I know the love she put in it and wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China.
So while magazines, and the government are pushing us to spend, spend, spend... may I suggest gently to the reader that this will never satisfy. You must create contentment from within, and it simply cannot be purchased.
As a Christian, I fall on this scripture : "I belong to my Savior and God, and He is the almighty One. I am the recipient of His love and of His grace. Therefore I am heir of the kingdom of God. All things are mine" 1 Cor 3:21
So yes, I agree we all have needs, but do we really understand the difference between a desire and a need? Looking at the homes I grew up in, they were very small in comparison to todays rambling 3000 plus square foot houses. I fear that some people think they couldn't bear to live in less and that makes me rather sad. Sometimes, it is the closeness of family... of cousins sleeping in the same bed, or brothers, and dogs, and whatever else we could manage to sneek in that brings me the greatest joy in recollecting. Learning to share space, time and manage is a greater lesson that we can pass on to our children that will give them temperance and compassion as adults. Is giving our children the very best of everything really helping them or hindering them? Not to fear; I do not begrudge anyone a happy childhood, but my question to you is; what creates an atmosphere of happiness and contentment? Is it your own room and all the electronica your parents can afford? Does this produce happiness?

Or does the decisiveness of the parents that LIFE IS GOOD, and it's not based on how many toys you have, or what kind of car you drive. The fact that your alive, healthy, and able to help others is what you teach those children, and amazingly, the cycle will continue with their children if you plant the seeds of joy now.
I have never spent one moment happier in better living quarters. But I have had many moments that I realized how happy I am regardless.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Riding The Fence

Do you ever find yourself riding the fence between what you know your supposed to do and what society deems acceptable behavior? I do nearly everyday. Most recently to make my hit list of things I refuse to indulge in: Professional Wrestling.
Now, before you laugh... hear me out. This is just one slight example of how television, marketing, and greed have brainwashed us into accepting something that should be unacceptable.

Watching cable tv, I am stunned at the amount of indecency that has made it's way into our living rooms. I remember 15 years ago when wrestling was an exaggerated form of machismo and acrobatics. There was always a *Dick Dastardly*
type bad guy set up to loose the fight (at the last minute) as children's hero's such as Hulk Hogan flung them against the ropes and pinned them to the ground. Me and my children cheered as The Hulk or any other *good guy* defended their title and paraded around the ring, belt held high over head. Back in the day, that's what little boys did...scream at the tv and talk about who their favorite wrestler's. Mom's just tried to look enthusiastic, clap and cheer when the boys did and nuke another bowl of popcorn.

Those days are history. Not that it was ever a dignified event.... sure, it's cheesy, but when did it become so"porn-like"??? Yes, I know even boxing matches have pretty girls between rounds, but what I saw in 30 seconds or less would have made a sailor blush! Next channel! But the next channel is filled with music videos of young girls gyrating on a pole... next channel: Desperate something or another... Next channel; bloody simulated violence. STOP.

I am all for art, and freedom of expression. But enough is enough. I am stunned when I think that I am 47, and remember when the word *sex* wasn't used on television, and Ricky and Lucy slept in separate beds. Samantha and Darren were *expecting*, and no one needed to see how they arrived in that situation on the 6 previous episodes. Do we really need ALL the details, regardless of how graphic they are? Sitcoms are now making jokes about things that I would get fired for if I discussed them on the job. Why? Because jokes of a sexual nature, in most everyday situations such as work, social events, church, school, etc.. would be considered, even TODAY, as indecent, infringing, and at the very least; tasteless. But apparently television is the exception? We can all gather in our living rooms and have a laugh about things that would otherwise embarass us to no end if we were sitting in an office with our coworkers, or our Sunday School Class, or the PTO Meeting? Isn't that a double standard?

Yes, I know every generation worries about the one after them... but the amount of deception, and vulgarity that everyday America is exposed to is frightening. An entire generation or more is completely desynthesized from what was not too long ago considered obscene. I am not in any way suggesting that sex, in it's rightful place is obscene, no, that is not the case. Sex is beautiful and intimate... an absolute mystery that is never completely unraveled between two people. They spend their whole married lives loving each other as God intended in a delicate physical union, and THAT is beauty at it's finest. Children most often spring forth as a result and the cycle continues. That type of intimacy is often times a way to say to a spouse, what words fail in every detail.

But the way it is minimized, and portrayed in the media to be so meaningless and slight tells me that not very many people care. That it IS becoming as common as light bread, and noone really values it as a loving act between a husband and wife. Very few revere it as sacred anymore. That chills me to the bone.

I am going to get off the fence and stop my bad habit of *channel-flipping*. I am going to memorize the good channels (yes, there are still channels that are not corrupted), and only view what is edifying to my mind and spirit. Maybe just a good book instead? A walk around the block, or a vigorous hoe in the garden? Will you join me? We may just change the world one network at a time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thinking Ahead; The Golden Years

My Dad is 72 and I don't think of him as *elderly*. He has a very active life and between him and my stepmother, who is a bit younger, they take full time care of my 42 year old brother "Clark", who has Huntingtons Disease.

My Mother-In-Law is 73 and she spends summers with family, she still travels and winters alone in Arizona. I do not think of her as elderly either. She has had a knee replacement and gets around like Mario Andretti from all accounts. She is spunky and happy... but I've seen her ups and downs as she's adjusted from life as a stay at home wife, to selling her home after her husband passed away. It was very difficult, and getting through that kind of transition took a lot of courage. I've always admired her for her "GO GET 'EM" attitude. She makes me realize that life is about living and not about where you live it.

My Grandmother is 93 and yes, she is elderly, but was running a roto-tiller well into her 80's. She still gardens some and has too much spunk to let anyone take care of her. Why, that would be an insult! It helps that her husband (she was widowed), is 20 years younger. Go Grandma! They cut wood and sell it for extra income and I believe although she is pretty well *set* financially, she's no fool. She still strives to bring in some money and save all she can. Thats a lesson learned during The Great Depression, and making do a lot not just because you have to, but because it's the RIGHT thing to do.

My husbands Father is remarried and he is 79, and she is 89. They are entering the elderly stage. It's a fact. Dad is in good health, but is having occasional issues, and Mom's had back and ankle surgery years ago, and neither healed right. She lives in constant pain. Dad is a good caretaker, but who's taking care of him?

All this rambling about my aging loved one makes something crystal clear to me; We are here to serve each other. My husband and I can't always be where we are needed, as family is spread all over the place, but at the same time, we are more than willing to help by offering a home to any of our parents who need it when the time comes.

Our current plans are to expand into our garage and add on new garage along the same roofline, or maybe make a larger shop/garage on our side lot. The new addition will hopefully be plumbed and have a private entrance. This would give us the ability to put a small shower and toilet to accomodate anyone who needs this as private quarters. We must plan ahead and be as prepared as possible. Our home is not huge, but even "as is" would accomadate another person. I just know all my family and they would love a private place where they would feel safe, yet close.

Isn't that my job to give them this as much as possible? How will you prepare for your parents as they age? What can we do to be a servant to them? This question has been on my mind recently and I have come up with a few answers, but mostly; love them with the love of Christ and be there for them. We can't cure an illness, or take away all the pain. But being there to hold their hand and let them know they are loved is the best plan of all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Aunt Bee's Letting Her Hair Down

I watched some old black and white episodes of Mayberry RFD this weekend and was thrilled that Frances Bavier, aka; Aunt Bee allowed herself to be filmed with her hair down.
The scene called for it, since she had been rudely awakened in the middle of the night by Gomer.

This is how I remember my grandmothers hair. It was an incredibly nostalgic moment for me. I remembered brushing out Nanny's hair at night, and it was very long, and thick, almost white with a few remaining threads of dark hair remaining.
As a child, I dreamed of the day when I could be a grandmother and pass that same memory on to my grandchildren. At age 7 I was imagining me with long white locks, and granddaughters standing behind me brushing it out methodically. I also had round specticals and an apron on, for effect.
Funny, how history repeats itself. My hair isn't very gray, but it is getting long. I love aprons and have worn glasses for 20 years.
I was also impressed with the church-scene where Andy, Opie and Aunt Bee are all at church, and I noticed every woman had their head covered. Has it been THAT long ago? Perhaps.
I personally love hats, and where them often, whether to church or any place else.
It's every bit as much a covering as a veil in my opinion. If it weren't, why don't men where them in church?
Well, it's nice to be able to look back at life through the rose colored glasses of Mayberry.
Food for thought.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Definitions And Busy-Bodies

People who really know me well, know that I don't pretend to be *plain* in the most literal sense of the word. However, people who I encounter routinely, such as; neighbors, the mail-man, coworkers, etc.. would describe me as very conservative, and somewhat religious, especially my mail-man, since he see's all the Christian literature I subscribe to. But he's a nice guy and doesn't give me a hard time:-)
I have many *Plain* Anabaptist friends, because this is where my journey has led me. They all pretty much accept this as fact: "It is what it is".
So I'll get directly to the point: Some people need to mind their own business. There are people on the internet who like to pose as *plain*, and have a pretty harsh opinion of anyone who doesn't measure up to their standards. They may wear a covering, or suspenders, given the gender, and belong to 30 different plain groups. But the problem is; that doesn't make them a Christian. That's a heart issue. And meddling in other peoples affairs is only an open admission to a serious character flaw.
There are also people I have gotten to know over the internet that I've become very fond of over the years. Some genuinely know me. I am who I am. I have vascilated over the years as I have tried to find my *happy place* with God, and who hasn't? I have also spent too much time trying to please people, verses God.
Please pray for all the lonely people who have nothing better to do than judge people who post innocently on Yahoo Groups, Myspace & Facebook. It seems that once someone figures out what 1 Corinthains 11, & Titus 2 is about, many make a mission in life to show others their superior knowledge and condemn anyone who second guesses themselves or the advice given, ad nauseum, of those who have been enlightened.
How is that making the Love Of Christ attractive to seekers?

I am amazed that lonely, bitter people gravitate towards such dark, negative behavior, when there is a heavenly bounty of love just waiting to be poured upon them for simply loving thy neighbor.

And although I have blogged about this numerous times, I am still confused as to why people feel the need to monitor other people on the internet, let alone have very, very strong opinions about those who may not be led in the same direction?
I understand perfection. I understand Godliness, but not everyone is lead in the same direction at the same time. People are flawed! (Another blog, another time), and God uses those flaws to bring us to His throne, when we bend our will to His. However, you can look Godly on the outside, and still not be Godly on the inside.
What happened to "Get thee behind me satan?" Why do we not control our impulses just as we are biblically instructed? (Or at least try?)
Before we point a finger, lets remember we all fall short...
In Christ,


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Relying On Each Other

Star and Minnie Lou have become unlikely companinions this week. Star and her brother Hutch were from the same litter. When he died this week, I feared mostly for Star.

Hutch was the quiet, almost stoic dog who protected his home. Star is kind of a silly, sweet dog with a touch of ADD. (Look, there's a squirrel!) Both lived mostly outside unless the weather was bad. They were both trained to behave inside, but at 80+ lbs, were happier romping around our half acre backyard.

Minnie Lou is the inside dog, who's job it is to alert me of suspicious noises in the night (or so she thinks).

Scott suggested I leave Star inside for a few days to help adjust to Hutch's absence. What a great idea! I left her in Friday while I worked, wondering how she would do. My answer was immediate upon opening up the door. Both Star and Minnie Lou were side by side to greet me. They haven't separated since.

It's a good thing, having those you can rely on. Death, even in an animal can be upsetting, and even a shock. How reassuring it is to know that regardless of the circumstance, you have those who care about you, and will be there for you to see you through the hard times.

Maybe I'm a little fixated on my dogs??? It's possible, but I see that I need to draw closer to those around me and let them know they are appreciated more. I also need to remember I can rely on them as well.

Troubles come in many forms, not just death. Our society is so obcessed with material wealth, that I wonder if most are aware of what really makes one rich? It isn't money, because money cannot take away cancer, blindness, or bitterness. But to have family, and the support that comes with it is something money cannot buy. It's a treasure that is too often not sought until it's too late, or taken for granted when we focus our desires on what the world has to offer.

May we be thankful, even grateful to God for the little blessings each day, for the compassion of friends, and the joy of family.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Euthenasia- It's Not For Everyone

Tomorrow I will meet my husband at the Veteranarians Office to have our beloved Rottweiler *Hutch* put down. (Hutch in picture at right, with sister Star)

This descision has been a tough one. Hutch ate something toxic (we will never know what) and has Acute Kidney Failure. I've been keeping him alive since December on a homemade concoction of pumpkin, yogurt, barley grass, and vitamins. He does eat bread, chicken, and occasionally a prescription dog food, however he has dropped nearly 30 lbs.. In addition to the diet, I give him Sub-Q injections of Normal Saline daily. Sadly, he is not thriving. He's lost most muscle mass and is shaky just standing in one place.

I've talked to people about Euthenasia, and I get mixed responses. Some say they would never do something *like that* to their animal. Other people seem to think I should have put him down months ago, due to the stress of the situation, and the financial upkeep of the process.

Scott and I came to the conclusion that we would keep him comfortable for as long as possible, whatever that means? Dogs do not show pain like humans do. It's hard to know when they are in pain. Obviously, we decided to wing it.

At last visit to the Vet, Hutch's bloodwork showed a BUN level of 9. (40+ is healthy). The Vet said it is rare to see a dog up and around like Hutch is with that lack of kidney production. She said it's Cats that usually hang on and refuse to let go.

I realized Hutch was hanging on, because of all his good traits, he is obediant above all. Here I have been, day in and day out telling him to try to eat, try to fight, C'Mon buddy, you can do it! He's not supposed to BE alive according to his bloodwork. But Hutch lives to please us. So, we are going to put our selfishness aside tomarrow and let him rest. He's worked so hard, for so long. He deserves to be pain free.

Frankly, I'm not looking for approval on the subject. Those who believe they would never make this choice have either been lucky enough to have a dog go in their sleep, never been in the situation to know first hand, or keep the animal regardless of the pain its in. I can't bear to see him suffer anymore. Is this choice the right one? I don't know... It's the right one for us. I can't say that it would be the right choice for everyone. Each situation is different. If I could be there with him 24-7, maybe I would chooce differently? I am just guessing. I put Muttley down because she was howling in pain for hours. I just can't bear to witness pointless suffering, so I rushed her to the animal ER and I've never regretted it. It was the last act of kindness I would be able to give her. Hutch deserves no less.

The thought that; I could probably keep him going for another month or two flits across my mind about every 20 minutes, but because my husband travels, if he were to die at home, I couldn't bury him. It's just too big of a task. So this is the best solution for us. It breaks our hearts to know he has less than 24 hours to live... and so sad to see him go. But there is peace in knowing he won't hurt anymore, and he's not living for the sake of pleasing us. He stopped playing several months ago, and spends most his days just sleeping.

Keep us in your prayers. It's a hard choice to make. But I believe, childish as it sounds, that Hutch will be reunited with Muttley, and Landry, and Friday... all the dogs that have passed on before. And if heaven is even one smidgeon as grand as I believe it is, there is plenty of room for our pets there too.

In Him,


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't Tell ME What To Do!

Some days I have difficulty with my flesh. I want to please myself and find myself wondering what is legalism and what isn't? Most of the time, I argue with myself find a loophole for my comfort zone.
In the 80's, the term *legalism* emerged. It swept through churches across the world and suddenly; we were free from any rules. Is that what the Bible actually teaches? Anyone?
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
This is New Testament teaching. So HOW do we validate what is legalistic and what is modest?
The word modesty is from the Greek term kosmios. It means: orderly, well-arranged, decent, modest, harmonious arrangement, adornment. This Greek word also appears in the Septuagint (Ecclesiastes 12:9) and is translated "set in order" and is applied to Solomon's proverbs. Kosmios is derived from kosmos which means: order, regular disposition, ornament, decoration, embellishment, adorning and is used, among other ways, of the world on which we live (Matthew 13:35; Mark 16:15). Kosmos is used of modest attire and translated as "adorning" in 1 Peter 3:3.
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel."
It's pretty obvious to me that God desires a pure heart in His believers. But as my Mennonite Preacher and friend recently commented; "A cape dress or suspenders will not get you into heaven". So WHY this either or mentality? Why is there not balance? When did it become acceptable to wear shorts, spaghetti straps or push up bras to church??? Why do some who do dress modestly scorn anyone who doesn't dress like them?

Here is why: God wants you to pray and figure this all out yourself. He wants us to read the Bible and apply it liberally, but not to the point that you believe your clothing merits a ticket to the Pearly Gates. The Bible doesn't teach that Grace=Loopholes and no accountability. Not at all. Grace is the what bridges the gap between what you truly understand and what you don't. Not everyone is convicted at the same time, over the same issues. Some are convicted strongly over issues that you may rarely consider. I genuinely believe that a person feeding the poor, loving the unlovely, helping the widows, etc.. is more in tune with what is biblical, even if she is wearing pants. The issue of modesty has simply been ignored, or overlooked.
*If* you are someone with a rebellious nature, you don't like being told what to do. Period. Rules are always questioned. But the Bible has pretty clear answers. Be cautious of accusing those convicted in dress of being legalistic. And those convicted, be patient and do not judge those who don't share the same exact convictions.

Perhaps you don't understand what the big deal is?? Lust. That's the big deal. And our society is selling lust in many pretty packages. Men are visual creatures and the problem is in all of our minds. If we go to church showing off our figures as women, or if men go into assembly LOOKING for the slightest provocation... our hearts are not following Gods.
Lust is a sin which especially men are cautioned in Scripture to avoid; is it any more praiseworthy for women to dress provocatively and excite lust? Lust is viewed by our Lord as adultery only not yet enacted (Matthew 5:28). Lust is a sin for which souls will be lost (Titus 2:12; Romans 6:23; James 1:14, 15; 1 Peter 2:11).
This is serious stuff.

So before you dish out the term: *Legalistic*, just so you don't have to follow a rule or abide by a rule... pray about it first. Be cautious using the term, because the Bible does have applications in the New Testament. And yes, Jesus came to set us free, but not free to do whatever we want and call it "Grace".

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

In a sermon I heard not long ago, a Mennonite Preacher recalled how his own Grandparents behaved towards each other, even in their old age. He said; "They were so kind, and loving towards each other... like two old *sweethearts*. He went on to describe their behavior towards each other as *unselfish, tender, and thoughtful*.

I've put a lot of thought into the subject of marraige and aging since that sermon. Ok, let me be direct; I've put a lot of thought about MY marriage and aging since then! This verse immediatley comes to mind:

EPH 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

That sounds very balanced and equal to me. My Grandmother quoted it as; "Wives, show all respect to your husbands, and husbands likewise!"... of course she was paraphrasing. But it sure makes sense.

I'm watching my parents and in-laws age. I can sense the defiance they all posess at becoming *the elderly*, just as they watched their parents do the same. But something my family all has come to treasure in their golden years is their relationship with their spouse. They become cemented over time, and stand together as a united front against what time ebbs away. And most of all; they are loving & respectful towards each other. It is a blessing to witness this love, open affection, and know it doesn't have to be lost just because ones hair turns gray, or crows feet appear.

I admit; it must be a struggle to keep your inner sweetheart alive, when your challenged with physical and maybe some mental decline. But in keeping that reverence for each other, you have something that noone can take from you. As a couple you retain a lively part of your youth, simply by holding hands, or giving your spouse a peck on the cheek. I cannot imagine a day when I would not feel loved, and valued from such actions, can you? May we all press on, and love our spouses with the same enthusiasm now and tomarrow as we did when we first married. Let us be known as *those old sweethearts* to our children, so they may do the same. Amen?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Keeping It Real *Simplicity*

The issue of *SIMPLICITY* keeps coming up over and over in my life. Simplicity is the sister to *CONTENTMENT*, and together they equal: *HAPPINESS* in the most genuine form.

I rarely buy anything for my home, and when I do, it's heavily discounted. I admit it; I'm not just frugal, I'm downright cheap. If you visited my home, you might be tempted to think I intended to decorate. Actually, it evolved over the course of my many years, and is accumulations of gifts from friends, inherited artwork from long-dead relatives, or stellar finds at the local Goodwill. I am an opportunist where deals are concerned and love to shop at flea markets.

I have a pretty home and comfy surroundings. But if I had to live in a tent, I would make it comfy too. I would find joy in the sunrise, in my health, in the ability to breath and pray for others. Our society preaches MORE! MORE! MORE!, but I believe that is a lie. Over my 40-some-odd years of living, I have aquired a lot. But the *stuff* I have isn't all of a use to me. Would it be to someone else??? This is the question I am struggling with.
Even the most humble home today seems extravagant compared to the homes of average Americans 40 years ago. What most would consider a *rent-house* or at best a *starter home* would have been the average abode for a family of 4-6 in 1968. One bathroom, small closets, and about 12oo square feet was the norm. Look at us now. When I hear stories of people with walk in pantries, heated toilet seats, and closets as big as my guestroom, it amazes me. I understand there is no sin in being wealthy, but it amazes me regardless! We seem to need so much room to hold so much STUFF!
I once offered my brother a set of ornamental tables that had belonged to our Mother. He rejected them and I couldn't understand why? Later my Aunt passed. I inherited more *knick-knacks* and *stuff* that had belonged to her and held sentimental value. As I tried to pack it all in my already cluttered home, I realized he wasn't refusing Mothers memory. He was trying to keep his balance. I now understand. But the question of what to keep and what to give away isn't so simple. If I give away something useless but pretty, am I just enabling someone else? I hope not. And there is nothing wrong with having something pretty, like a picture, or a piece of art. Although I admit my favorite pictures are 20 years old, and made from macaroni and crayon.

I have friends who also share my passion for simplicity and contentment. They inspire me daily with their choices to be happy... so find beauty in God, and His creations. We share our thoughts on the little things that bring us joy. This in itself is a wonder to me.

On the other hand, I know of people who wear simplicity as if they were shackled to it... as if it was a burden. Even though they have more than enough to eat, a roof over their heads, and their health, they whine, moan and lament about their lot in life. As if they have been victimized by society,... as if they are the butt of a cruel joke. I do not understand this mentality. Many of these people I speak of are lazy. They have *expectations* that society should provide for them.

I suspect television is the reason so many are so unsatisfied. It's a gadget, just like a computer, or telephone, or wheel for that matter. But it can be abused. The message sent out is: What you have isn't good enough.... you need the newest version of __________, and it doesn't matter that what you already have isn't worn out. Just buy it. We need to be careful what our little eyes see.
Have you heard of; *Peace Pilgrim*?
She walked to bring attention to simplicity and peace.
Now, as I purge my collection of *stuff* I will try to keep what is sufficient.. what is purposeful, and utilitarian. I will also keep some of my mothers belongings, what brings back good memories, and let go of the rest. I will find contentment in that which serves to bring me closer to God, what feeds my body and soul, and leave behind that which diverts my attention from God to what the worlds deems as desirable.
I also will not compare what I have to what others have, more or less. We all walk daily on our journey heavenward, and have different trials, successes, and convictions. I would hope that those who have more than us give a fair amount away. I hope those who have less, never do without what they need, and I pray that I we all do our share to help each other. A person could have lots of money, but still be lonely. A poor person could have their health, while a rich person can't buy it back. Mostly, I wish for my loved ones; contentment. You do not see a U-Haul behind a hearse.
Find you peace in God and your contentment in your ability to help others.. in the simple joys that are present in daily life.

Longfellow said it well:
How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust & heat, In the broad & fiery street,
In the narrow lane; How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs;
How it gushes & struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout.
Isn't that an example of an overlooked joy?
Have fun finding yours.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Crisis: Overindulgent Americans!

When will Americans get a grip on their appetites for excess, and start living within their means?

A coworker recently commented to me; "I feel so sorry for all these people who have mortages of $1600.00-$1800.00 (that was her figure, not mine), a month, children in private school, and car payments.... so many are getting laid off from their jobs!"

Ok, is it JUST ME? Or am I being snarly? I don't have a lot of sympathy for someone who has to take their children out of private school... period.
That's a luxury. I tried to make that point to my co-worker and her response was: "Well, it's still an adjustment for everyone". .... Okay... so it's an adjustment. There are children who are malnutritioned, abused, and illiterate. That's where my sympathy goes. Not to the spoiled, over-indulged Americans who decided to live beyond their means and buy more house, school, and food than they need. I tried to make this point to my co-worker as well. It was met with: Why shouldn't they have what they want???

Ggggrrrrr.... I told her that anyone who lives beyond their means, will have to live with the consequences if they loose their job. It's sad, yes, but, these people who are *loosing everything* will definately have to learn to adjust, yes, but they'll be better for it in the long run.

I got a good tongue-lashing that included: "Not everyone lives within their means Kelly".. Not everyone lives like YOU DO ..(What does that mean???) ... and proceeded into: "People are loosing all their possesions".. and it's a crisis.
Hmmmm..... that isn't what my parents, my friends, or my grandparents think. Heavens, my grandmother lived in a chicken shack in the great depression and speaks of it rather fondly now. She learned how to get by... and she was proud of that! My parents still save bread-wrappers and twistie-ties, and rewash ziplock bags.

I was raised to calculate the cost of every garbage bag. We used small plastic store bags and wrapped small amounts up at a time, to save money. I used cloth diapers, rubber pants, and still make my own lunch to take to work, in you guessed it; a recycleable plastic container that gets reused daily. It's no great sacrifice on my part.. it's just how I live. I also use cloth napkins, and insulate the dickens out of my attic and turn off lights when I leave the room. Last months electric bill? $66.00 on a 2000 square foot home that is heated mostly with a wood-burner.

And our mortgage can be paid on one income if we needed to. We actually QUALIFIED for over $300,000.00 for a home loan. Unbelievable. We knew it would be ridiculous to even conside half of that, although it was very flattering to our ego's. We argued with the loan officer AND the real estate agent about how much house to purchase. They kept insisting that we can get more house. I know what we qualified for, and I'm sorry if I have to keep bringing up good ol' common sense and smacking everyone in the snout with it, but if you can't PAY for 300k worth of roof, why bother? We bought no more than we need. We are paying not only on the front end of the loan, but also against the principle in a separate check monthly. We want to pay it off fast, so we can enjoy it as our own.

Now, I am not against having some possesions. I am not agianst having quality.
But if it's not paid for, it's really not yours to begin with. I call myself a *homeowner*, but the truth is; The BANK owns my home until I finish every last payment I commited to making when I signed the contract.
Now, my old cars? MINE. Bought and paid for and I have the pink slip to prove it.
I could NOT get through to my Navigator-Driving Coworker, that we all have to make conscience choices and if we put oursleves out on a limb, we ASSUME that risk.

I'm not heartless, and I'm sure it is a difficult transition for ANY family who looses a home, and/or cars, assumed lifestyle, etc.. But they aren't dying of cancer... right? Their kidnsey aren't failing, and their children aren't in a hospital with a rare disease. They just took on too much debt, and didn't count on an economical collapse. It's happened before and it will happen again.

I do place part of the blame on pop-culture, for telling us we aren't living right if we don't have the latest style, car or gadget. I blame the financial institutions for approving people for loans over and above what the family genuinely needs or can pay for. But I want to slap the daylights out of the parents who are raising the next generation to believe if they want something they should have it!

Has noone ever heard of delayed gratification? Or better yet; Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without???

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Haley Has Diabetes..Please Pray

Your prayers for Haley would be appreciated. She was diagnosed with with diabetes (type 1) this weekend, and she's a little uneasy about it.
I told her that I'd be praying for her ... and praying that angels keep a circle of love around her at all times. Would you support me in this prayer?

Every year in the United States, 13,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and more than 1 million American kids and adults deal with the disease every day.

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in the blood. Glucose comes from the foods we eat and is the major source of energy needed to fuel the body's functions.

Haley's body isn't using the glucose the way it's supposed to, so she will need insulin to help. This is a tall order for a little girl.

Type 1 diabetes (formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes) results when the pancreas loses its ability to make the hormone insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the person's own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Once those cells are destroyed, they won't ever make insulin again.
Although no one knows for certain why this happens, scientists think it has something to do with genes. But just getting the genes for diabetes isn't usually enough. A person probably would then have to be exposed to something else - like a virus - to get type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes can't be prevented, and there is no practical way to predict who will get it. There is nothing that either a parent or the child did to cause the disease. Once a person has type 1 diabetes, it does not go away and requires lifelong treatment. Children and teens with type 1 diabetes depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood glucose levels.

Haley is trying to process all this right now. She needs your prayers. So do her parents who are asking themselves why this is happening??? Pray they seek comfort from God and in each other. May this bond them together as a family and may Haley find the courage to be an example to others and teach other children about this disease. She is the only child in her school with Type 1 Diabetes.

From my perspective; Haley is my new hero.

Simplicity Simplified

Simplicity is no more than the absense of confusion.
While we all strive to declutter and simplify our lives, you may look around at your home and not *feel* the simplicity.

Do you feel distracted by having too many items displayed or do they belong together and make sense? Do they serve a purpose?
As you clean up your home, start with putting away anything on counters, (pill bottles, pens, crochet hooks, etc..) and put them away wherever they belong. Maybe now is the time to make a special bin for your crocheting hooks and yarn? Label it while your at it and you won't be sorry.
If taking on your whole house at one time is overwhelming, try it room by room. Still too much? Divide the room in halves or quarters and work it one section at a time to stay focused. Make a list, and cross it off as you go for a sense of accomplishement.
Some of the most beautifying items I've seen in homes are utilitarian. Kerosene lamps, cleaned with a fresh cut wick...just waiting for a power outage. Pretty plants that are medicinal... Aloe Vera, is an exoctic look in a window. A bundle of wood in a copper pot... winters not quite over. All these SERVE you, you don't serve them by keeping up with them for naught.

Put your thinking cap on and work at making your home serene, & functional by simplifying and limiting the amount of items you keep *just in case*, and the items your keeping for no reason at all. If you haven't used it in a year, chances are you won't use it at all. Give it away... get the tax reciept and appreciate the order.
More to come on simplifiying...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Well, it's time to plant here in Texas. Last year my garden was my joy!

My tomatoes produced until late November. The earth rests, and I give it a little organic help to rejuvenate. When I till it up, it seems as though I am scratching the back of this world, telling it to *Rise & Shine*!

Seedlings are planted, and looked after tenderly until they are hardy. Vines sprout and curl, and corn pops in perfect rows with little arms extended in a *V* for Victory stance.

As the days get longer, and the soil warmer, I strain to win the fight against the nutgrass. It's usually a draw. But the plants prosper and an abundance is laid back for next winter, either in jars, frozen or dehydrated.

By late July I am exhausted, and making loud proclamations to noone imparticular that I will never have a garden again! It's just not worth the effort, and the heat exhaustion, and backaches. Yet, come next January, my Seed Catalogs will arrive, along with a renewed interest in some heirloom seed or hybrid plant that I just can't resist. I will have long forgotten about the blisters and callauses on my hands, and the pain of standing back up after weeding. Days of 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity will be like a faint dream.... And the cycle continues.

I hope when I am old, I'll still have container gardens and reflect fondly of the years when I was able to tame the earth with a hoe in one hand and a water bucket in the other.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One Hundred Years Or Less

Just think, 100 years ago or less, depending on where you lived in the USA, most people built their own homes, and most were under 700 square feet... and if you were lucky, you might add on in time. An 18' X 20' is an pretty sprawling abode. Maybe they made the peaks high, and used the upstairs for sleeping?
It's amazing to see our hunger and greed for more and more grow in less than 100 years. Not to say theirs anything wrong with having elbow room, there's not. But the homes that I considered *mansions* in my youth, are just roomy homes by todays standards.
I guess my concern is the feeling that we need to aquire more, bigger, better, and follow the latest trends, verses preserving what we have and appreciating the feeling of contentment.
I have always loved driving throught the mountains, (Ozarks, Appalacia, both north and south), and collecting little things I find from old cabins, and homesteads, and barns... Sometimes it's a cool rock, or the one remaining cast iron leg from a stove, found buried under the dust and dirt near a foundation. Somethimes it's a near-rotted childs dress, that I hand wash and iron out. These represent a simpler time. And, as I look around my home... these little souveniers are all over the place.

I have a tiny glass bottle that I found in the remains of a barn that burned after being struck by lightning. It contains charred dust that used to be the barn. I had been going up to that old barn for years. Abandoned and behind an old homesteaders cabin, I got permission to poke around from the family. Noone had lived there since the 1970's and I would guess whoever was there had fallen on hard times and just needed a port in the storm. I have taken little amber medicine bottles, a rusted old hay hook..a piece of an old saw... just forgotten junk. But I take it home, clean it up and put it around the house so it gets a second life. Now before you think I'm stealing, most of this wouldn't qualify for trash... none has any cash value. Usually, it's just a piece of history rotting away.
While all this makes for a conversation piece and a memory of my explorations, it also reminds me that life is short, and you can't take any of it with you when you go.
Like I said; I had been going to the old homestead on the mountian for years when I was in the area...just to see if it's still standing. Take one more gander.... The last time I was there, the house, which was once just a one room log cabin and still raw log on the inside, was still standing strong. There was a well out to the side of the house and an enamel pan, nailed to the outside porch area as well as a 1930's soapdish. This must have been where they bathed in good weather. On the inside there was a cupboard. I had never opened it before, but I got nosey and did so. I open the hand-hewned wooden latch and peered inside. Mason jars! Maybe 20 or more? STILL full of green beans. They had to be 40 years old or more. (No, I didn't take any..)
So I slid on through the kitched and looked out the back window. Where was the barn? For a moment, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I know this place inside and out.
Stepping outside, the sun is shining on a heap of charred wood. The barn, that I have pictures of from every visit... of my dog sitting in,.. and pictures of the old tools and tobacco jars left behind is simply gone.
I kick around the blackened wood looking for a sign of anything that I remember. There is nothing. As I turn to leave, the sun bounces off a shiney piece of something buried in the blackness. I kick at it with my boot, and a little bottle, less than 2" high emerges. I pick it up, and blow the dust off. That's all that survived? Well, I scooped up some of the irrodescent blue-black coal dust and put it inside to carry home. It's really a very pretty object and people ask me about it when they see it in my guest bathroom.

What's that little bottle full of? Memories, I say. And thus the story begins, of life on a mountain, of people I never knew, but take time occasionally to honor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Miso Pretty

Well, here she is in all her glory! Miss Minnie after her first grooming. Not happy. Not happy at all.
The bows lasted about 2 hours, and whatever they sprayed on her as a deoderant made her go into seizures, so before the day was out, I had cut off those stupid bows, and given her yet another bath. She recovered quickly in her *Pirate Puppy* T-Shirt Scott bought her in Seattle. It's the polar opposite of this picture. The shirt is black with a skull and crossbones on it and in red it reads "Pirate Puppy"... But you know what?? She loves that shirt.
So it just goes to show you that sometimes you can wear the outfit, and othertimes, it's more like the outfit is wearing you.
Poor Minnie Lou... I will have to learn to groom her myself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Minnie Lou

Just sharing a candid of Minnie Lou taken with my cell phone.

She's 5 months, and is a whopping 7lbs. 3oz.... She's actually outgrown her XS clothing and is in a S. Can you believe it??