Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lion of Judah



    Like the family in this touching video, our family sponsors a child through Compassion.  We have the privilege of sponsoring Jimi from Indonesia.  A gift of $38 a month changes a child's life forever.  Sponsorship provides a child with nutritious meals, educational opportunities, health and hygiene training, medical checkups, the caring embrace of a local church, and the message of God's love.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds"  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."  ~James 2:15-18  
Sponsor a child through Compassion International
     Please consider being a sponsor.  Please be an answer to a child's prayer.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"I Am Tired of This Life Lord"


     I started Holimess as a place to put what I share at Church on Sunday mornings, but it has expanded to include book reviews, recipes, and even diy projects - at least the ones that I finish.   Through Holimess, I have become friends with people that I have never actually met in person.  I know about their families and struggles and they know about mine.
    Those of you who have blogs know this, but for those who are readers, let me explain that there is an area for the writer called Stats.  Stats is important to tell you how many people have visited your blog, what they have read, and where they are from.  It will also   tell you what Google searches have brought people to your blog.  My most popular post, by far, is Lizards, Snakes, and Prayers about going to a Reptile Exhibit with Patty and Patrick.  I took a picture of Patrick and a man who is a famous Youtube snake expert.  Because I am clueless, I did not know this when I took the picture.  The man is Chewy from Snakebytes.  If you google Chewy Snakebytes under Images, that picture comes up first.
     Typical Holimess google searches are things like “Jesus, I believe,”  “Buying cookies at Grand Central,” “Breast cancer,” “Cake Boss,” and assorted scripture verses.  But this week, I had a Google search that tugged at my heart.  Someone had googled, “I am tired of this life Lord.” 
     When I noticed this search, I immediately offered the person to God in prayer.  While I do not know the source of their pain, God does.  I asked God to hold them gently in His hands. To give them support and encouragement.  To let them know that whatever battle they are facing, they are not alone.  To breathe upon their situation and to bring them grace, healing and peace.
     But over the week, I kept thinking and praying about the depth of pain that could lead a person to google “I am tired of this life lord.”  I wondered if when they got to Holimess they landed on a post that God could use to provide support.  (God has been known to use a talking donkey so I guess He can probably use me.)  So I repeated the search “I am tired of this life Lord” to see if I could figure out what post Google would have led them to.  I went through pages of the search on the web, but found nothing.  It wasn’t until I switched over to images, that I found a familiar picture.  About half way down the first page of images was a picture of Patty running in a bubble ball on the water at Otter Lake.  I clicked through to my post.
      Memories washed over me.  Our first summer camping at Otter Lake with our friends, Denis and Lori.  I still had burn marks on my chest from radiation treatments.  I was tired, very tired, but happy.  Life was renewing its rhythms.  Hope blossomed.  My children were walking on water.
      I want to assure the weary searcher that Jesus knows what it is like to be tired and hard pressed.  Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
     On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus went to pray in a grove of olive trees called the Garden of Gethsemane.  A “gethsemane” was a huge stone basin where olives were crushed by another large round stone that was rolled around by yoked oxen until the oil flowed. When we feel tired of this life and pressed on every side, our Lord Jesus – who was crushed beneath the weight of undeserved condemnation  and hung on a cross for my sins and yours, feels your weariness.  He invites us to exchange our yoke for His. Jesus is more than able and willing to bear our burdens.  The grace that He offers is weightless.
     In Psalms it says ‘Be still and know that I am God’.  Come before God, away from the noise, away from the commotion, away from the busyness. Not with a shopping list, not with a list of demands, but actually with no words at all – just with a heart that is open to listen.
And in the quietness, in the stillness, in the tranquillity – the voice of God whispers and we become refreshed.
     Underneath the wind, the waves, the weariness, and even the bubble, are the everlasting arms of God.



This post was mentioned by Karmen at Chairs From the Curb.  Karen shares about life, family, and  old chairs.  I loved her post about riding horses on the beach.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Invention of Wings

     The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, is a poignant, imaginative story of Sarah Grimke and her slave, Handful.  Sarah Grimke was a real, but not widely known historical figure.  On Sarah's eleventh birthday she was gifted a slave girl named Handful.  Even though young Sarah has been raised with the wealth and power of the Southern aristocracy, she is appalled at the idea of owning Handful and attempts unsuccessfully to free her.  Sarah and Handful are bound by the laws and attitudes of the people around them.  Both girls yearn for freedom.  The story is passed back and forth between Sarah and Handful.  The contrast between the two women is riveting and moving.  
    Sue Monk Kidd used the framework of actual historical figures and events.  Sarah, and her younger sister Angelina, were two of the most famous women of their day and regularly interacted with many other notable figures of the time.  The women became outspoken abolitionists and early women's rights advocates.  One of Sarah's pamphlets influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe's writing of Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I have to wonder why the Grimke sisters are not better well known.
     The Invention of Wings will remain with you long after you have turned the last page.

     Please note:  There are two versions of this book.  One has annotations by Oprah Winfrey.  Readers claimed that in the ebook form the comments by Oprah became very distracting.  You may want to keep this in mind, if you read with a Nook or a Kindle.  I decided to read the book on my Kindle without Oprah's notes.    



PS:  I did not receive payment to review Invention of Wings.  I purchased it on Amazon.  If you should click from my page to Amazon to purchase it, you will not pay more.  I might make a small amount through your purchase.  The book in the sidebar is a link to Invention without Oprah's notes.  It can be a little hard to find on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pat's "Big" Mac April Fool Burgers

      So, I came home from work tonight and Pat had cooked up these wonderful April Fool Burgers!  They are so adorable.  We loved them!  Can you see why I married this man?!

 Pat's "Big" Mac April Fool Burgers    
Ingredients:
  • Kebbler Grasshopper Cookies
  • Vanilla Wafer Cookies
  • Starburst Candies: yellow and red
  • Shredded coconut dyed with green food coloring
  • Red Cake decorating icing in a tube
  • a tablespoon of melted butter
  • a sprinkle of sesame seeds

Optional:

  • Can of Shoestring Potato Sticks.  We used cheddar.
     How to:
  1. Start with a Vanilla Wafer, round side down for the bottom bun.
  2. Use a little of the icing as "glue".  Add a Grasshopper Cookie.  They really do look like hamburgers!
  3. Heat the Starburst Candies in the microwave for 5 seconds.  Shape the red one into a circle for the tomato.  Shape the yellow one into a square for the cheese.  Pat is so clever; he used the Starburst wrappers under the Big Mac like a hamburger wrapper.
  4. Add green coconut for the lettuce.
  5. A squirt of red icing for ketchup.
  6. Top with another Vanilla Wafer.
  7. Brush the top Vanilla Wafer with the melted butter.
  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
The quarter is for size reference.
Serve with a side of "Fries" and more ketchup.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Baby Dedication for Violet

     This story about gifts can be found in the “Streams in the Desert” devotional on January 7, but I thought that it would be appropriate for the dedication of baby Violet.
     A story is told of a king who went to his garden one morning, only to find everything withered and dying.  He asked the oak tree that stood near the gate what the trouble was. The oak said it was tired of life because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine tree. The pine was troubled because it could not bear grapes like the grapevine. The grapevine was determined to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and produce fruit as large as peaches. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.
     And so it went throughout the garden. Yet coming to a violet, the king found it’s face as bright and happy as ever and said, “Well, Violet, I’m glad to find one brave little flower in the midst of this discouragement. You don’t seem to be the least disheartened.” The violet responded, “No, I’m not. I know I’m small, yet I thought if you wanted an oak or a pine or a peach tree or even a lilac, you would have planted one. Since I knew you wanted a violet, I’m determined to be the best little violet I can be.
     People who are God’s without reservation “have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  God’s will becomes their will, and they desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do. They strip themselves of everything, and in their nakedness find everything restored a hundredfold.
     A few months ago, baby Violet played the part of Jesus in the manger in our Night at Bethlehem Event.  Her tiny hands and feet represented the hands and feet of Jesus.  May that be said of her all the days of her life.  Violet, was created by God to be just who she is.  A daughter, a little sister, a granddaughter, and a child of the King.  May she always walk with Jesus and seek to do His will.
 
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. ~ Ephesians 2:10

Friday, March 28, 2014

What I Learned in March

    I don't think that I have been warm since September.  March has been a long and cold month.  We have had snow, snow, and then more snow.  The temperatures have been in the teens and single digits with a few days where it got above freezing.  Brrrrrr.
     On St. Patrick's Day, I celebrated the five year anniversary of my breast cancer surgery.  Five years ago while other people were going to parades, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef and cabbage with Irish soda bread I was praying for healing.  A routine yearly mammogram saved my life.  If you would like to read more about my cancer journey look here.
 
      Here is what I learned in March in no particular order.

  1. It takes a l-o-n-g time for two feet of snow to melt.  Those lumps in the snow are the tops of our metal chairs around our fire pit.  There is still snow on the ground near them.
  2.  I can take a picture of a Great Blue Heron if I don't scare him away by getting out of my car.  This heron practically posed for me.
  3. "Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up."  Brene Brown,  Daring Greatly.   I recently read The Gifts of Imperfection and am listening to Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.   Both are inspiring books with so much to think about.  Dr. Brene  Brown is a researcher who studies vulnerability, shame, courage, and worthiness.  Brown's 2010 TEDxHouston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks on TED.com.  Today it is listed as #3.
 
     In addition to Brown's books, I have also read:  
  • Wild, (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) by Cheryl Strayed
  • Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand,  I loved this!  Book Review here.
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay,  Jane Austen lovers, this is for you.
  • Irish Eyes, by Mary Kay Andrews
  • Wrecked:  When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, by Jeff Goins,  Wrecked is an inspiring book that will "wreck" your life.  A wonderful read. 
  • Winners, by Danielle Steel
  1. This is how Let It Go would sound if it were sung by Jack Sparrow, Mike Wazowski, Tigger, Goofy, and many other favorite characters.   Very fun.  (Not sure why this is numbered 1.  It is 4,  I guess I have to learn how to fix that in April!)
     Linking with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.  Stop by and see what others have learned!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Great Blue Heron

     There is a tiny pond not far from where we live.  When I drove by,  I was very excited to catch a glimpse of a blue heron.  I rushed home to grab my camera.  All of my previous attempts to capture them on film have gone awry.  See Exhibit A.
Exhibit A
     But this heron stayed absolutely still.  He never moved.  I have a million pictures of him just - like -this. 
   He stood like a great gray sentinel while the mallards splashed around him.  There was even a woodchuck swimming near him.
      How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  I hadn't realized that woodchucks were such good swimmers.  This little fellow was enjoying the sunshine and the water.
      The pond is right below a huge parking lot.  The water is surprisingly clean.  I took an environmental class a few years ago and tested the water here for oils.  The water was clear and the ph,  neutral.  The wildlife sure do seem to appreciate it.  We have seen turtles and frogs on the banks, but none were visible this day.
      Mrs. Mallard standing on the ice.  Look at those orange feet.
      Mr. and Mrs. Mallard off for a swim.
      Bottoms up!
     He is so beautiful.  I hope that he stays for awhile so we can get used to each other.
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