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A gorgeous day here.  Beautiful blue skies, cool breezes, copious amounts of sunshine. Green all around. Just gorgeous.  A day this wonderful can't possibly hold any evil, can it?  Like paradise.  As I make my loops around the park, I cannot but help notice the playground.  It is a sight of destruction.  Men in bobcats scooping up debris and concrete.  This destruction is planned.  The beginnings of something new. A new play area with arise soon. I loop around again.  My mind cannot but help think of all the destruction and absolute horror in the news coming from Japan, and my heart feels a little guilty.  Why am I spared,  walking around in this lovely park , while others face another day of loss and despair--maybe still without food and shelter? Thousands dead. Bodies washing ashore,  Nuclear reactors exploding.  How do I respond to such terror; how do I even pray about such a thing?  There are no easy answers and I offer none.  My heart aches for the unfathomnable abomination that has happened to them.  Totally unexpected, an act of --God?  Well, we call it that, but it is yet another example of the effect of sin on this world. And, a disaster could happen here, to me too.  But God is good--and I do pray that through this, some how, some way, He will shine--through His people as they seek to show love, care, and aid to those caught in this awful mess.

 I have set the LORD continually before me;
         Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 NASV

Old Entry (from last summer)

  This is an old draft that I started last year and never posted, so I'm posting it just because. (March 14, 2011)


Had a very nice Fourth of July, in spite of the rain.  It looked pretty bleak, but the rain cleared out and Joe and I proceeded to Largo Central Park to meet up with daughter and friend who were already there.  Bikes are beautiful things.  Some good friends braved the iffy weather,  and all in all, it was a beautiful night!  I almost got a little teary-eyed seeing and hearing the big brilliant booms in the sky, remembering all those years we used  work so hard to shoot the fireworks with friends for the City of Clearwater off the causeway.  Ahh such memories....

Ashley spent last week at Kid's Camp (with our church) helping with the ponies and horses.  She returned safe and sound and exhausted Friday night.

(Now read the next one for a new  journal entry.)

Let 'em Eat Crow

 When I got back from dropping Ashley off at school, I got a wicked surprise.  Practically on my doorstep was a rather large inky black dead crow.  Did I mention that it was dead?  Oh yes.  Now, I live in the land of stray cats, so I was kind of hoping that one might find it and drag it off for lunch, but no such luck.  What? They can invade my garage and even get in my attic, but they didn't want a crow sandwich?  I waited until about noon--still no takers.  I decided it would be better to get it out of there  before the stink began, which probably wouldn't take long lying there in the warm Florida sunshine, its ebony feathers glistening and the flies beginning to hover about.  Yes, I did get it into a trash bag without my bare hands touching it. . I wonder if there was some sort of lesson in that.  I'm reminded of Alfred Hicthcock for some reason...

I have thoroughly enjoyed our newest county park, Eagle Lake.  I have been there three times and it has been fun to explore.  Monday I took my early morning walk there.  It was a gorgeous day with a cloudless blue sky.  Hardly any humans in the park.  I will try to remember to bring my camera next time.  It beats the monotony of walking in Largo Central Park every time, and now that I know how long it usually takes me to walk two miles, I can pretty well calculate my distance.  It's not really about the distance anyway, but the time.  I've had a great time taking the trails into unfamiliar territory.  I didn't know where I was going...(sounds like part of the Easter sermon I heard.) 

Speaking of Easter, it was wonderful: great weather and wonderful Church service, lunch with friends, a trip to the dog park (at Eagle Lake Park), and then, relaxing with the family at home.  Most important, of course, a time to reflect on what Christ really did for us through His suffering, death, and glorious resurrection--His payment for sin, the forgiveness He offers, eternal life in heaven forever. O Death, where is thy sting! Yes, I know where I'm going...and I'm not talking about a walk in the park.

Oh yes, check out the last link on my list for a new conservative blog written by two of my friends--Sharon, probably my oldest friend in the world, and Ward, who is probably my newest. :)

Happy Spring!!

Two Hawks on a Light Post

The other day, while taking my morning two mile walk in the park I noticed two hawks on the light post. I have seen one, on occasion, but never two together. Although, not crowded, the few people walking around that morning seemed to not notice the hawks at all. They were beautiful birds and I was glad to see them. They sat up there for a while as I made my loops around the park. I learned no great and grand lesson from seeing them. I have no deep truth to relate it to. It was a simple blessing. That is all. To me, amid all the noise and grit of life, things like that are like a little treat from God. He reminds me that He is with me. Corny sounding, maybe. But He knew I would like to see them, so they were there.

I hope everyone had wonderful holidays. I know we did here. My oldest daughter, Rachael did not come down for Christmas, but she was just here in November. Still missed her much, and still do.

Life rolls on.  We finally got our heat fixed! We had a very severe cold snap...that seemed to last forever! Ok, a couple of weeks, I guess. During that time, our central air/heat unit malfunctioned.  When turned on, a very strong, burning smell would fill the house. It was NOT dust burning off the heat strips, as I got told over and over. We had to put off fixing it until we could afford it.  We subsisted on some portable heaters. For days the house never got up to 70. Turns out the fan motor was overheating and had to be replaced.  I know it is worse in other places, but hey..WE ARE FLORIDIANS!

On a grey, windy, drizzly, COLD Saturday morning, Ashley and I set out to an event to get information on high school magnet programs. Somewhere in Pinellas Park my car slid out of control as I attempted a left turn. Slid on ICE, I might add. Scary stuff for someone used to wearing flip-flops all year. Luckily, I was able to slide away from other vehicles and into a small parking lot. We were both pretty shook up for a few minutes. I NEVER want to experience that again. NEVER!

Much is on my heart now, but I'm so glad to be held in God's amazing hands.
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9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.  From John 15 (NKJV)

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

"All my springs of joy are in you." Psalm 87:7 (NIV)

My life has gone from tumbling out of control to settling into some sort of normalcy. It has been a while since I blogged. Something just went out of me for a while, and although thoughts would come, I never got the umph to write them down.

I am working part-time at our church thrift store--The Buzz, and enjoying it immensely. It is fun to see all the stuff we get and to get some good bargains for myself and my family. I like our store--it is not junky, dirty, smelly, or messy. It is set up more like a boutique style. We have lots of good bargains, and also sell a lot of collectibles, vintage items, antiques, and unique things. My oldest daughter recently visited (more on that later) and she bought vintage (1940's) cashmere sweater jacket with a mink collar (detachable) and it looks wonderful on her. She got a super deal on that.

Thanksgiving is coming and I am so thankful on many levels for all the Lord has seen me through. Although we've been going through some rough things, God is our sustainer. I am thankful for all the support and help of family and friends. What a blessing all of these special people are to me. This year has been so special in many GOOD ways. I have seen some dear old friends that I hadn't seen in years and years. I have connected with others through Facebook. It is so cool and I hope to connect with even more.

My daughter Rachael was just down for a visit last week with her boyfriend Todd. I am "uber" thankful for that. ("Uber" is Ashley's newest overused word.) Todd is a nice guy, and he was a good sport about visiting all the family. I think everything went well, and I hope he doesn't think we're too odd. hehe. The only real snafu that happened was that Rachael left her phone here on my desk and I had to overnight it to her in Maine. But she got it safe and sound. Some pictures of that visit can be found on my Facebook. We ate and ate and ate--so I feel like I already have had one Thanksgiving, and now I'm gearing up for the second round.

I've been trying to walk on days I'm not working--about 2 miles. I usually go to Largo Central Park and do the loop 4 times. If it's marked correctly, that's 2 miles. I'm being bad this morning, 'cause it's raining. I really am going to try and go later. If I pretty much go first thing it works better for me. On days I take Ashley to school, I go to the park before going home. I don't have an ipod or anything, but I kind of like it that way. I talk to God, give thanks, and clear my head. Sometimes, no, often, God talks back.

Ashley is certainly growing up--just amazing to me that she is 14!




My two girls!!

Well, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Too Many Books?


Tomorrow I work, but today I'm off.  Ashley went to school yesterday, but has become so congested I let her skip school again today and rest up.  I don't think she has the pig virus.  She hasn't eaten any pork or kissed any hogs lately.  Just kidding!  She hasn't been all that sick, no fever, etc.  Seems to be just a common cold.  She was bored stiff today.  I think she'll be able to return to school tomorrow after taking it easy today.  That would be good, because I have to work tomorrow.

I have joined a reading group that includes two of my bestest oldest friends, Sharon and Elaine.  We are reading Catch-22 and will be commenting on it regularly.  It is a totally on-line group as Sharon is in Alabama and Elaine lives in California. There are a couple of other members, too.

  I think I may be reading too many books at once.  What I am reading now in addition to Catch-22 by Joseph Heller:

H.A. Ironside:  Ordained of the Lord by E. Schuyler English--this is an old book published in the 40's while Ironside was still living. I bought this at a Library book sale for pennies.  It is quaint but interesting.  I started it a while back and misplaced it, but lately while cleaning out my bookshelves, I found it.

The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg--Almost done with this one.  This book I have incorporated into my devotion time, especially by using the Reflection questions and Bible verse in the back that go with the chapters.  From the cover :  "When God really wants to get your attention he doesn't just whisper something once...he echoes...he echoes...he echoes..."  I'm almost done with this one.

Captivating:  Unveiling the Mysteries of a Women's Soul by John and Stasi Elderedge--I'm reading this for a small women's group I'm in.  We are not an official church group, just a group of friends who wanted to meet once a month for prayer and fellowship.  I confess that I have tried to read this before and could never get very far, but in small chunks for a monthly group it seems doable.  I really am liking it better this time, and it does have good stuff in it.

I just finished a rather difficult and somewhat dreary book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called The General in His Labyrinth.  Although fiction, I did learn a lot about Simon Bolivar.   The book is a novel recounting the last months of his life and is pretty true to the history of the time . Marquez usually writes in a syle called magical realism, but this book contains very  little of that.  Don't ask why I read this. 

 Speaking of too many books, I know I probably also HAVE too many books, so in an effort to weed out, I took a few to a used bookstore for credit--toward Catch-22.  One wasn't wanted, and I got just a few cents for the others, so I'm thinking I would rather just donate books to the thrift store or the library.  Well that's my thoughts.  (And I had to buy a brand new copy because they didn't have any used copies.)  
 
I have been spending my extra time trying to clean out the piles of clutter and unworn clothes that are making my life difficult, so it's back to the stacks, and I don't mean books...this time.

Later

Trying to Get Back to This

Yes, I am going to return to the blogosphere.  I've been meaning to, but  somehow, I just couldn't get myself to do it.  My life kind of spun out of control for several reasons.  If you don't already know, then that's ok.  I do not wish to blog about it in any detail.  Let it suffice it to say that I was let go from my job under very disturbing circumstances, but God has seen me through.  Even in today's bad economy, He is faithful.  Thanks to all who helped me in many different ways during very difficult circumstances.

For the moment I have a part-time job at the new thrift store run by our church.  I absolutely love it, but I am open to where ever the Lord may take me.  It hurts to be pretty much stabbed in the back and made a scapegoat, but really, I am not bitter.  I am kind of glad to be out of that place where I was, especially now that I see the true character of those who are supposed to be examples for children.  Anyway, I forgive them and I am at peace.

Tonight my heart is to labor in prayer for my church, senior pastor, and all other leaders, staff, etc.  I am praying against the attacks of the enemy and for unity with the the leaders and ministries.  It is important that we all be unified, not divided.  My heart is heavy about some things, so that is my prayer.

I will be writing more, probably tomorrow.  I have much to do and think about.  One major concern is that I need to obtain affordable, reasonable health insurance for Ashley and I.  We cannot afford the family coverage at Joe's job at this time. It is astronomical for him to add us.  There are plans out there, and I have been looking.  Pray that we make the right decision about this.

Ashley had a good first week back at school (made up for a stressful week of preparation before--but more on that later) , but today however, she has not felt well and has a sore throat.  Don't know about school tomorrow.  Now, with the swine flu scare, they really strongly encourage kids to stay home if they are feeling sick.  Gone are the days of trying to achieve perfect attendance at all costs.

It is late, and I'm going to turn in.  More coming soon....I promise this time.

Hopeful

I know I have been away from my blog for a while.  I confess that I haven't  felt much like writing.  The economic down-turn has affected our family's lifestyle, budget etc. and we have been forced to make cuts.   It is becoming a struggle to pay everything and let some things go, but God is faithful and we are hopeful that things will improve.  I am learning good lessons on living on less.  

Ashley is going to be going to Kid's camp next weekend to be a part of the teen volunteer staff.  She will be going as  a helper with the horses and ponies that Kathi will be bringing.  I am very grateful that she is able to go.  We are praying that she will  also be able to go to the Big Stuf  Teen conference in  Daytona Beach next month.  The plan was for us to go together.  We will see.  We are praying that we will be able to pay the rest of the bill.  It is in the Lord's hands and we are trusting in Him to provide it , if it is His will.

This weekend Joe and I did a very special thing.  We renewed our wedding vows with several other couples at church.  At first, when I learned of this, I was a little skeptical of the whole thing, although Joe was all gung-ho.  But I came around and we agreed to do it.  It was fun digging out our old wedding photos and memorabilia.  (We had to provide a wedding photo for the occasion.)  The pastor had us each fill out remembrances of our wedding (separately) and also paper asking what first attracted you to your spouse and what attracts you now.  These were not shared with each other, but read by him during the ceremony.  The church was nicely decorated and we each had a turn on the stage to hear what our spouses wrote.  Some responses were very funny.  Many were very loving and sweet.  As I stood with my husband of 32 years and listened to the wonderful things he had wrote about me, my heart melted and I felt like I fell madly in love with him all over again. *sigh*    Of course we said  the traditional "I do's" in a shortened form of the vows. I felt like a bride of eighteen again as the Pastor said, "you may kiss the bride."   :)  After that there was a reception with cake and punch.  It reallly was a special time and I needed that!!

Pray that I will have patience and wait on the Lord, instead of fretting.  One thing that was brought up to me the other night  by some friends is that we are to pray with HOPE.  So that is the way I am going to strive to pray this week.

ttfn

Oops Laugh Again


That last video was, while funny, the wrong one.  Here is the one I think is the funniest.  I decided to just leave that one.


BTW, we had a wonderful visit last week from Rachael.  She got to see most of the family, and a lot of old friends.  We spent time eating out together,  visiting family in Brooksville, and going to church and the beach, among other things.  The weather last week was beautiful...unlike this one.  What a wonderful daughter she is and I love her so much.  I miss her!!!

Time for a Laugh


It has been raining for a week now and we are all suffering from a little cabin fever.  I only got to take the kids in my class outside to play twice.  Today was actually a pretty nice day with a few showers in the morning.  Then out came the sun.  Later, though, it clouded up again...so Ashley and I made a couple of videos.  Here is the one I think is the funniest: