Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Little Word: March - Take Action

         Welcome One Little Word blog hoppers.  For those of you who don't know, One Little Word is a class hosted by Ali Edwards at Big Picture Classes.  Read about it here.
     This is the third month of my journey with the word dwell.  I have been finding my word continuing to pop up in unexpected ways.  I have also been deliberate in keeping it in mind.  I made a wordle, printed it, and framed it to place on my desk.  I also added a hand stamped charm to the necklace I bought for last years word.  
      Ali suggested that March was a time for action with our word.  Everyone who knows us knows that our house is full of action.  Nonstop action much of the time.  My husband and I have six children.  We have one son who is married and lives too far away.  One adult son who lives with us.  Another son who is away at school.  He will graduate in May.  And a daughter and two more sons who are still in school.  The younger three have school and activities which keep us busy.  We also have a dog and five chickens.  I planned several family fun things to do for the month.  There were a few that were for the entire family and others that focused on individuals.  I made a few dates with my husband - dates that did not involve a trip to the grocery store.
     Still I wanted my action to be that ripple in a pond that Ali described in the March prompt. I have to tell you about two separate things in order to describe how I came up with my action.  
      Our family sponsors ten year old Jimi who lives in Indonesia through Compassion International.   For $38.00 a  month, Jimi is provided with education, health care, hygiene training, and supplementary food, in addition to the opportunity to hear about God’s love.  We send Jimi letters, stickers, and coloring pages.  We have watched him grow in size, hope, and God.
     On February 18, 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was found on my yearly mammogram.  Ladies, I encourage you to be diligent with those inconvenient and uncomfortable tests.  I do not have any risk factors, so it came as a surprise.  Having cancer changes a person.  Life is sweeter and moments are treasured.  Sure I thought I was aware of those moments before, but now I am more conscious of them.
    I wanted to express my gratefulness to God for taking me through that particular fire with an action involving Compassion.  My husband and I talked about what we could do.  We discovered our answer right at our feet.  Literally.   Our chickens were gathered about eating spaghetti.  You can read about our girls here.  We decided that we would purchase chickens for families through Compassion.  A chicken can provide a family with a steady supply of eggs, a source of income, and manure for the vegetable garden.    Chickens are only $16.00.  Besides, chickens are also just plain fun.  
   Each month on the 18th, I intend to buy a chicken.   I am so excited about it. 
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  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 2:14-18

What will you do to cause a ripple?

Thank you very much to Margie for hosting the Blog Hop.  Please visit as many of the blogs as you can.  I know everyone loves comments, too.  Thank you.











Donna   You are here.

Coley  Go here next.






Orange Gearle



Melissa S


Missus Wookie






Thursday, March 29, 2012

Project 52: Details & The Great Auto Heist

         Here are my pictures for Details.  I am also sharing a seasonal, but funny story about an auto "theft" that has everything to do with God knowing the details of our lives, but nothing to do with the pictures.
     God always gives me a story.  The events in my life could not be made up - they are far too humiliating.
     I had gone to visit a friend at our local hospital.  I parked my car in the parking garage on the upper level in the open air.  As I was leaving the hospital and walking up the ramp, I noticed a young man standing by a sporty looking red car with a big black bra on it, a few cars away from mine.  At first glance I thought it was my friends son.  So I walked over in that direction.  As I got closer, I realized it wasn't him, but someone else.  I continued walking.  I glanced at the fellow again.  I noticed that he had a wire clothes hanger that he had flattened out and was inserting between the window and the door in an attempt to unlock the car.  I passed him and thought I should see if he needed me to call for help to get his car unlocked, when "Pop," the door opened.  
     I got into my car.  I thought, "Wow, that was pretty quick.  I could never have gotten in the car like that.  You'd think he had practice."  As I drove by on my way out, I saw him take his wire cutters off of the roof of the car and get in.
     I was halfway home when I began to wonder.  Was he stealing the car, or had he just locked himself out?  I felt really dumb.  I did not know what to do.  I decided to go home and ask my husband.  Forty-five minutes later, I ended up calling the Sheriff's Department.  I told them my story explaining that I am indeed a bit of a ditz who knows nothing about cars.  The officer laughed and took down all the information I could give him including a description of the young man and the car.  Red, sporty, big black bra.  No model, make, or clue.  I added, "I sure hope he wasn't stealing that car."  The kind officer agreed with me and assured me that he would call me if he had a report.
     I spent the next two days in fear that the Police for Stupid People would come arrest me, either for seeing a car theft in progress and being too dumb to know it or for seeing a guy who was locked out of his car and being dumb enough to report it.  The result is that I was never called, so I guess the car wasn't stolen.
     About two thousand years ago, the owner of a common method of transportation attempted to reclaim what was His and there were some questions then, too.
Luke 19:28-34
"Jesus...sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden.  Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?" tell him, "The Lord needs it."
    Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as He had told them.  As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "why are you untying the colt?"They replied, "The Lord needs it." "
      Apparently, Jesus had given them the right answer, because the disciples did bring the donkey colt to Jesus.  He rode it into Jerusalem fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.
     Here is what we can learn from this bit of scripture.  The disciples followed Jesus' instruction to "Go."  This is the same command that He gives us today.  He sent them to a nearby village.  He sends us to our homes and communities.  He said, "You will find a colt..."  Jesus knows the details of our life journey.  He knows what waits for us around every turn in the road.  The colt was tied, as we have been tied, perhaps not by a rope but by circumstance or sin.  The colt was one on which no one had ever sat.  This colt had an unbroken will.  Jesus said to "Loose him."  We receive freedom from whatever it is that binds us.  The disciples brought the colt to Jesus.  We are to bring ourselves and our loved ones to Jesus.  "If anyone asks..."  There will always be someone who will ask or question.  There will always be public opinion.  The reason He gave, "The Lord needs it."  Here is our purpose.  The Lord needs us.  He needs us to share our gifts and talents, to share our homes and lives, our prayers and thanksgiving.  The stubborn will of a donkey submitted to allow Jesus to sit on it and direct it by His will.
     I'm sure that someone reported the suspected theft of a donkey that day to a local police officer, I'm just grateful that it wasn't me.
     For more great pictures of details visit Darcy at my3boybarians.

Edited:  I took these photos with my kit lens.  I had read that if you take the kit lens off, turn it around and focus, that you can get almost the effect of a macro lens.  These are the first pictures I tried it with.  It does take some coordination.  You have to hang onto the camera with one hand and the lens with the other.  You also have to move in quite close.  Also remain steady.  Have a wonderful week.  I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Project 52: Hunger

     My husband and I have five Barred Rock hens.  There names are Molly-Come-Lately, Mabel, Mildred, Myrtle, and Maybe-It's-Maybelline.  The girls are always hungry.  They happily run about our yard greedily gobbling bugs.  
     As much as the girls love bugs they also love table scraps.   The cry of, "Here chick, chick, chick!" brings them scampering for a handout.  
     Spaghetti is one of their favorite treats.  Dangle a handful of pasta over the beaks and the girls become world class athletes.  They leap off of the ground, point their toes and pluck the spaghetti out of our fingers.
     They seem to enjoy the game as much as we enjoy watching them.  
     Nice jump, Myrtle!
     This is how they usually spend their days.  Strolling through the daffodils, eating what bugs them.
    In Psalm 63 (selected verses) King David compares his longing for God with hunger.  He prays:
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;  
my soul thirsts for you, 
my body longs for you in a dry and weary land 
My lips will glorify you.  
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; 
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

       Did you know that you  can provide a chicken through the Compassion Ministry for a family in need.  A chicken is much more than a meal for a family living in poverty.  One chicken can provide a source of income, manure for the vegetable garden, and a steady supply of eggs.  Visit their gift catalog.  

     What are you hungry for?
     To see more great photos on hunger visit Darcy at my3boybarians.
     Also linking with Imparting Grace.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Project 52: The "Eyes" of March

    This week all "eyes" were on Anthony.
   The 1920's were a decade unlike any other.  For the first time in America more people lived in cities than on farms.  Many Americans had extra money to spend.  They bought ready-to-wear clothing and home appliances like electric refrigerators and radios.  People enjoyed going to the movies.  Cars were big.  Penicillin was discovered.   It was a time of prohibition and speakeasies.  Anthony is studying the roaring twenties.  As part of a project he had to dress up as though he lived in the 1920's.
     He was pretty excited when we put the whole costume together.
     From the hat on his head to the shoes on his feet we were able to capture the era in style.
     He will remember how much fun he had with this for the rest of his life.
     The "eyes" have it!
     For more great "Eyes" of March photography please visit Darcy at my3boybarians.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hope in the Rain

     One morning a few weeks ago the skies were dark gray and a steady downpour of cold rain fell.  The temperature was just a few degrees above freezing.  It was the kind of day that made you want to stay in bed under the warm covers.  I floundered through the rain and went to work.  Dark puddles abounded and water streamed across the roads.  I thought of a friend of mine, who would be attending the funeral of a loved one.  It was a day for despair.  Somehow this didn’t seem to be a day that God had created.
     But that afternoon was a whole new day.  The warm sun shone.  The skies were crystal blue.  Puffy white clouds floated gently across the sky.  The temperature was like Spring.  It was clearly a glorious day from God.
     One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 27.  It was written by David.  Here is verse 13 in the New American Standard and then in the New International Version, because I think together they reveal the depth of God’s love for us.
     Psalm 27:13      
(NAS)  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
(NIV)  I am still confident of this - I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
     In this world, threatening clouds of despair seem to hang over us all the more often than we would like.  Sometimes life seems to be a steady heavy burst of soul chilling rain.  
     We worry about our son or daughter.  An unexpected illness comes on us.  Our job is suddenly not as secure as we had believed.  Our husband or wife has become distant or cold.  We find ourselves asking, “Where is the hope?”
     Here is the answer.  Psalm 27  I would have despaired unless I have believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
     Not His goodness in the next life, or after we get to heaven, but here in the land of the living.  It doesn’t matter how bad things look, the clouds will part, the rain will stop and we will feel the sun falling softly.  God knows our heart.  We are engraved in His hand.  The very hairs on our head are numbered.  He collects our tears in a bottle.  He knows when a sparrow falls.  He cares for you, collectively, individually, desperately.

Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation
  whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the lOrd,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord 
all the days of my life, 
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord 
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
He will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, O Lord’
lead me in a straight path
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Our God gives us hope, even in the rain.
Linking up with Picket Fence.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Project 52: Be Still

For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 
the flowers appear on the earth; 
the time of the singing of birds is come, 
and the voice of the turtledoves is heard in our land. 
 The fig tree puts forth her green figs, 
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  
And the groom says to His bride, 
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Solomon 2:11-13
     The verse that I included in the picture is from Psalm 46:10.  I was blessed by the lovely crocus blooming in my garden.
     I also used this photo for a post about the loss of a dear friend.  You may read that post here.  
     Which season of the year is your favorite?  For more great photos of "Be Still," visit Darcy at my3boybarians
Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Will Fight For You

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Psalm 20:6
    Eighteen years ago a friend asked me to pray for Denis and Lori, a couple who lived next door to her.  Lori had just given birth to her fourth son and due to complications had almost died.  Almost a year later Pat and I met the two of them at a Friendship Sunday.  We became the closest of friends.  In September Denis left us to be with the Lord. 
     Over the years we shared so many things with Denis and Lori.  We camped, shared meals and laughter.  We have ridden bicycles, gone hiking, and rode horses.  We have built decks, shared holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, searched for temporarily lost children, waited for teens, visited hospital beds, spent many a night discussing Bible passages, gone to movies, weddings, graduations, and ice cream parlors. There was fishing and fireworks, singing and stories.  Denis created treasure hunts for my youngest children who loved to find coins buried in the sand.  Denis always carried a toolbox that had any kind of widget in it that might be needed.  Pat once mentioned that he was going to the hardware store to replace a very specific light bulb and Denis said, “I have one right here.”  Denis had a heart to serve.  Denis and Lori were not just friends, but family.
     Our pastor went to visit Denis when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Denis shared with Pastor that he had a dream that he was in a battle that he knew he could not win.  And just as he began to give in to despair he heard the Lord say, “I will fight for you.”
     “I will fight for you.”   Those are the words God spoke to Moses before the parting of the Red Sea.  Moses was reminded of them just before Joshua led the people into the promised land.
     Deuteronomy 1:29-31   Then God said, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
     The things that were true about God before Denis became ill are still true today.  We are more than conquerors.  Greater is He that is in us.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
     God did fight for Denis.  Every child of God has access to a warrior who has never lost a battle.  He fought for Denis.  He will fight for you, too.  The battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s.  Jesus already won the battle on Calvary’s cross.
     Jesus told us that there is a narrow gate.  Sooner or later all of us must pass through it.  The time may come unexpectedly or, like Denis, we may be be given time to prepare.  That narrow gate will be wide enough for two - You and your Savior.  The One who has led you all through life will not desert you, and where He is, there you will be also.  
Exodus 14: 14
The Lord shall fight for you and you shall be still.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Project 52: A Great Leap

     It was a warm evening in June the first time I glimpsed my beautiful daughter Patty.  She was three years old.  Her brown eyes peered up at me from behind the leg of a Social Worker.  Her brother, Anthony was thrust into my arms.  They both had the chicken pox.  Patty had a tattered doll clutched in her arms.  I loved her the moment I saw her.  She followed our boys around the house.   Fortunately, they all had the chicken pox already.  They soon had her laughing and giggling.  

     Patty turned seventeen this week.  I don't know where the time has gone.  I must have blinked.  Surely, she is still only three, or maybe four.

      Patty wants to be a pastry chef.  She enjoys baking cakes and cookies.  My husband baked her birthday cake.  She told him what she wanted.  Patty likes camping and shopping, not necessarily in that order.  Her favorite color is purple.  She loves pandas.  Patty can not resist chocolate in any form.  She drinks tea - not coffee.  She is good at math.
     The family went to dinner to celebrate at Red Robin.   Patty loved it when the wait staff clapped and sang a birthday song to her. They presented her with an ice cream sundae.
     The "big leap" is me realizing that my baby has grown into a very special young woman.  I can't wait to see what life holds in store for her.
Sing to God, sing praise to His name,
estol Him who rides on the clouds -
His name is the Lord - and rejoice before Him.  
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows
 is God in His Holy dwelling.
He sets the lonely in families.
Psalm 68:4
For more awesome pictures of Great Leaps go to Darcy at 3boybarians.
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