Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I Learned in April

     April has brought us flowers peeking through the snow.  So happy to see them.  This winter has been long and cold.  I can't believe that it will be May tomorrow.  We are so excited that the warmer weather is coming.
  1. One of the most important things that I learned this month is that it is important to pay attention to the reasons people stop to visit my blog.  I had a guest who had Googled "I am tired of this life Lord."  I pray that the words that this person found ministered to their heart and that they will visit again.
  2. At the risk of making you all envious, I would like to share that my husband is a pretty creative person.  He came up with a wonderful idea for April Fool's Day.  These mini hamburgers were a big hit at our house.  We had such fun with them.  Find the recipe here.
  3. Hope Runs is an awesome book about a chance encounter that changed the course of the life of the people involved.  I could relate to the feeling that Ortiz describes of feeling the earth shift beneath your feet and that nothing will be the same again.  I had that feeling when a Social Worker led three year old Patty into our home and placed her younger brother, Anthony, in my arms. 
  4.  Did you know that there is a DINOSAUR exhibit at the Bronx Zoo!  We spent a fun day at the Zoo and because it was misty and a little rainy, we had the place almost to ourselves.  I think that there were more workers than guests.  We purchased a yearly membership so we can visit more often.  We'll spend many more rainy days there!
         What have you learned in April?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What I Read in April

     The smoke alarm goes off in my kitchen to let me know that once again I have burned my toast because I was so involved in reading a book that I failed to notice the smoke filling the room.  Can you relate?
     Here is a list of the books that I read in April.

     Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected, Lisa-Jo Baker:  I so enjoyed this book.  Even though my youngest is twelve, I remember the weariness and joy of those early parenting years.  The magic of the first glimpse of each child and the wonder of it all.  From the first time they cooed to the first time you were doused with vomit.  Lisa-Jo shares her experience with gentleness and encouragement.
     Lisa-Jo takes us with her on her journey to motherhood.  She swore that she would never have children, when she lost her own mother as a young 18 year old.  It is a story of healing and patience and working through fears.  It is beautifully told and well worth reading.  Surprised by Motherhood makes for a thoughtful Mothers Day gift.
     The Invention of Wings,  Sue Monk Kidd:  Read the book review here.
     Still Life With Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen
     Maya's Notebook, by Isabel Allende:  I read this with our local Book Club.  The group really enjoyed this book.  
     Missing You, Harlan Coben
     I've Got You Under My Skin, Mary Higgins Clark
     Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, A Story of Redemption, Claire Diaz-Ortiz and Samuel Ikua Gachagua: This book is about how a chance encounter changed lives.
     Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with seven other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.
      Claire Diaz-Ortiz was on her way to someplace else when she met Sammy.  This is the story of how their meeting changed the course of their lives.
Book Trailer
     A Circle of Wives, Alice LaPlante

     What have you read lately?

Disclosure:  I purchased each of these books myself.  I did not receive payment to review any of them.  The opinions are my own.  Should you visit Amazon from my blog and make a purchase I could receive a small percentage of your purchase price.  It will not cost you more money.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Leaving LoDebar

A figure from the fountain at the Bronx Zoo

     Mephibosheth was a grandson of the first King of Israel - King Saul.  King Saul had died and David, of David and Goliath fame, had become the new king.  It was very common for ancient rulers to kill the relatives of a previous king in order to further establish their own claim to the throne and eliminate any competitors.  Mephibosheth was five years old when the news came that both his father and grandfather had died.  His nurse picked him up and fled to save his life.  Unfortunately, in the chaotic turmoil, Mephibosheth was dropped and his legs were permanently damaged.
     Fifteen years passed.  Mephibosheth grew to be a man, still dreading the knock on the door, hidden away in a town called  “the place of no pasture,” LoDebar.   LoDebar was barren and desolate, a place without nourishing green grass.  Mephibosheth went from prince to servant, from the lushness of the palace to a land of desolation, from wholeness to cripple, from security to fear.  Mephibosheth expected to die on the sword of the king, instead he received a blessing
     David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’  Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba.  They called him to appear before David.  The king asked, “Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”  Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.”  He is in Lo Debar.”  So King David had him brought from LoDebar.  When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.  David said, “Mephibosheth!”
     “Your Servant.”
      “Don’t be afraid for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.  I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
     Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
     Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.  You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for.
     So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.  Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table and he was crippled in both feet.  ~2 Samuel 9:1-13  Edited for length, but not meaning.  Please read this in your Bible for the complete text.
     When Mephibosheth met David, he fell flat on his face in submission and recognition of his tenuous situation.  He confessed that he had the worth of a dead dog, back when a dog was just a dog. Crippled Mephibosheth was restored by the anointed king.  He was invited to dine at the king’s table, to share the king’s bread, and to sit in the place of the king’s sons.  Instead of living in the place of no pasture, Mephibosheth lived in Jersualem, the king’s city, the city of peace.  He was no longer a helpless and poor cripple hiding in fear.  He was a wealthy and powerful man who enjoyed daily access to the king.
     Mephibosheth is a picture of you and of me.  An unhappy sinner hiding and running from God; exiled in LoDebar.  We have been made lame, dropped while running for our lives.  We do not walk the way that we should.  We know that someday we, too, will have to face the King.
     But the merciful Father rescued us through His Son.  Thanks to Jesus; His life, His death and His resurrection, we are suddenly taken out of LoDebar and invited to the city of peace.  We are brought to the banquet table in the household of the King. We are no longer orphaned and lonely.  We are made rich in Jesus and through Him have direct access to the King of Kings.
     Jesus says:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.  ~Revelations 3:20
     Mephibosheth continued to be lame in both feet, but now those feet were under the king’s table.  I invite you today, to leave LoDebar and place your crippled feet under the King’s table.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari: Mysteries Revealed

     We traveled into the past last week at the Bronx Zoo, Dinosaur Safari.  The 2 acre dinosaur enclosure was wonderful.  My sons and daughter were delighted with the animatronic dinosaurs that waved their tails, gnashed their teeth and roared.  Fortunately for us, the dinosaurs were not hungry!
     The dinosaurs were impressive.   They came in a range of sizes.  Some were little, only about a foot long.  The largest dinosaur was about 25 feet tall and 45 feet long.
     We traveled through the dinosaur habitat in a safari wagon.  It was like a hay ride, only without the hay.  The onboard "paleontologist" told us about the dinosaurs we were viewing.  The ride included many photo opportunities.
     The dinosaurs look so realistic that it is easy to forget that you are not looking at live animals.  I noticed that the adults on the ride enjoyed it every bit as much as the kids.
     We visited the Bronx Zoo on a misty, not quite rainy day.  This provided an extra bit of ambiance for the ride that added to the fun.  In addition, we had the park almost to ourselves.  There wasn't a line for this very popular exhibit.
     The ride ends in a hands on field center.  Children can manipulate a T-Rex, check out some dinosaur fossils and even pose for pictures with a friendly dinosaur model.
          We had a great day at the zoo.

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    
  • 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


  • 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.
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