~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hope and Prayer Equals Joy

I don't want to be a complainer, but I keep praying I'll get over the daily fatigue that's a result of pain and medication to give me more energy and time to blog. I'm trying to get our house cleaned up of clutter from the past eight years we've lived here. I was so ill when we moved and had to stop working which has been a huge adjustment. I"m doing better, but I got so far behind in homekeeping. I'm not sure I've completely adjusted to this life that is considerably different than what I had planned it would be. I keep trying to do the things I used to do, especially at holidays, and I've got to accept I can't do it all anymore.

I finally hired someone to help me get rid of stuff. It was too overwhelming and daunting a task to do alone. Hubby offered to help and would have been delighted to just chuck everything in one fell swoop because he doesn't have the patience to sit by while I consider what I want to keep and what needs to go. Therefore, having a Christian woman to share the task, who apparently enjoys helping weaklings like me, will save a lot of frustration and perhaps our marriage!

Oh, the anticipation of having our home cleansed of the stuff and nonsense that's no longer useful. It will feel like a heavy burden has been lifted. In some ways it is difficult because some of the things that need to go are objects associated with dreams that will never be fulfilled. But it's time to let them go so that without distraction God can begin to do a different good work in me.

I'm thankful for the journey God has given me. It hasn't always been pleasant. In fact it's been frustrating and quite ugly at times. Yet, what I've learned is that God is full of love and compassion toward us. He sacrificed his only Son, Jesus to suffer for and with us and to be our Savior friend. He has "turned mourning into joy, and will comfort and give joy for sorrow." (Jer. 31:13) This joy that I have isn't always apparent to others, but God and I know it's there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Song for Sunday

You Go To Your Church

You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together
Our fathers built them side by side
So let's walk along together
The road is rough and the way is long
But we'll help each other over.

You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together
You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together

Our Heavenly Father is the same
So let's walk along together
The Lord will be at your church today
But he'll be at my church also
You go to your church and I'll go to mine
But let's walk along together

Author: na
Version: Stanley Brothers
Notes: This is an old Bluegrass song.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Me Too!

I love Cindy's (Letters from Midlife) Quote of the Day: (11-22-08)
"When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothing." - Erasmus

If I have to choose between buying clothing or a book, buying a book wins almost everytime. Of course, I can go to one of the one-stop-buys-all shops, those that sell gently-used items, and get both. However, if the budget is tight I can always find clothing another time, while that one book, a rare find, may get snatched up before I return a month or two later. It's a no-brainer for this bibliophile.

I know I'm supposed to let at least one to two books go whenever I buy one, but what are the chances that's going to happen! I become attached. "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will set me free from this life that is dominated by...contradictions?" Romans 7:24-25 paraphrased from NLT & Msg.

Even though I want to simplify my life, free myself from stuff and nonsense, I'm a slave to my wants and desires. Between grandkids and the fact that I don't get everything done as expeditiously as I used to, when do I think I'm going to read or study all the books I have?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chores and other stuff

I'm trying to get everything done each day that I need to keep up with the Holiday Spirit. That's why you haven't seen much of me for the past ten days. I'm doing extra housecleaning that I've neglected for awhile. Then, I need to get all the items needed to fill two shoe boxes for the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child Project. Those have to be done by Sunday or before.

Tomorrow I go to spend the day with our grandkids. Papa (my hubby) went Monday and I couldn't go with him because I went to pick up my sister at the Wichita airport after she came back from Las Vegas where she visited her daughter and family. That was the last nice-weather day we've had this week. I liked it warm and without much wind. Now it's chilly and windy. Why am I complaining? The weather is what it is. It just seems to bother the aches and pains more, and I'm sure I have lots of company. Maybe I should go visit Betty in Paraguay where Spring has just begun.

Tuesday evening a friend and I went to see the movie: The Secret Life of Bees. We highly recommend it. It moved a little slow in places, but that's life, and that's what I liked about it. Even I could keep up with the plot. It had a really good message of love and hope which is more of what we all need while wandering through life.

I would like to get our Christmas gifts bought before the last minute. I don't like to buy gifts in July like some people. I have no idea in July what everyone wants. I'm not any closer to knowing that now, unfortunately. I would love to give gift cards because of the toll shopping takes on the old feet and muscles. I think gift cards would be alright for the adults although I consider them somewhat impersonal. But why not give them a gift card so the money will stretch further at the after-Christmas sales and they can get what they want or need? I will buy the little gifts that go in each stocking (though little doesn't always mean inexpensive!). Of course, the grandkids will get gifts that hubby and I will enjoy picking out just especially for each one.

Besides having to get advice on what kind of Medicare Plan D I'm going to need for my prescriptions next year, I also decided it was time to start doing some water exercises. I can tell I'm losing balance and strength because of lack of exercise. Sitting at a computer a couple of hours a day doesn't build muscle, except, hopefully, in the brain. I may have to wait till after Christmas to get started. We'll see. The sooner, the better! Oh, and did I mention I need to make dental and eye exam appointments? I guess those could wait till next year too. Can't do everything at once.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot. We had a feast at our friend's house last Sunday evening. She dressed the table in a beautiful Christmas glitter-print tablecloth she sewed (white with green pine needles), rich brocade burgundy napkins, and beautiful china place settings complete with a charge plate under the dinner plate. The salad plate on top of the dinner plate held a luscious mixed-green salad, and she thought the five or six different salad dressings might not be enough for the ten of us. I favor poppyseed dressing even though there was Ranch is also a favorite. The main meal consisted of Mexican lasagna, spaghetti with meat balls, noodles with Alfredo sausce, mixed Italian vegetables, Texas toast with garlic butter, iced peach tea or water, and Mississippi Mud Cake. No one left the table hungry. Afterwards we watched The Christmas Card movie on DVD. This is a heart-warming romance story between a soldier on leave and a woman who had sent him a Christmas card a year earlier that he kept folded up in his billfold. I won't tell you anymore in case you want to see it this holiday season.

That about does it for now. I hope I haven't bored you. I like to record the day-to-day activities that may or may not be exciting or significant. Later I can look back and tell myself I got more done than I thought. Why that's important, I'm not sure. Until next time.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving. We're looking forward to a day spent with extended family. Praise God for all we have that comes from Him.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A quick Hello

What a week! I'm looking forward to Sunday Worship and a restful afternoon, then going to have dinner with church friends. Lord willing I'll post later or on Monday. Have a great day. See y'all later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One of Those Days

Remember that beautiful Autumn Blaze tree in our backyard I pictured below. Here's a reminder of it. Then, last week, Kansas winds came howling down from out of somewhere, maybe the Dakota prairies, and blew the leaves off in one day. Now we have many bare trees instead of only a few. Oh, it had to happen eventually. But all in one day? Below is another picture from another side. The Burr Oak tree in the background still has plenty of leaves, but it isn't as showy. I'm trying to adjust to bare trees, believe me I am. We've got to plant an evergreen in our yard.
It's one of those gray, cloudy, drizzly, chili fall days which I used to love because I knew it was time to cocoon. But now, I'm just kind of in limbo until the sun comes out again. Is it an age thing? Fall and Winter are reminders of what phase of my life I'm in and about to enter. You know, the last half or one-third, which if I'd live another half of my life I could live another 60 years, or another 30 if I'm in my last third. That's quite a few years.
I'm not one of those who believes that life just throws things at us. In most things we have a choice, and in others we at least have a choice how we're going to react to what happens. "Depression is a choice," it's been said (A.B. Curtiss). Maybe like the trees who lose their leaves and rest during the winter months, depression is a kind of rest. A time of recuperation from the activities and pressures that the sunny, longer days of summer impose upon us.
"There is a time...," said Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3. Cocooning may not be such a bad idea. Now is the time, after a rough presidential campaign, and an economic roller coaster, after a summer of daylight savings time, to put aside our striving and sit down in an overstuffed chair to read a good book. Have a happy read on a cloudy day and don't feel guilty about it to the point of depression. Just enjoy and rest.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Where Am I?

Oh, yeah, right here. It's just been one of those weeks. Yesterday (Friday) I spent most of the day with my daughter and her two babies. Well, the 3 1/2 yr. old doesn't want to be called a baby anymore. And if the two-year old could talk, he would mimic his sister, which he tries to do anyway. Here's a picture daughter sent Halloween evening: Strawberry Shortcake and the Little Farmer. I just love them bunches of baskets and buckets!

Thursday night I slow-cooked an arm roast with potatoes and carrots and took that over for Friday's noon meal. We put the food in divided plates and took them out to the field for hubby and his dad who were cutting milo or planting wheat-- can't keep up what they're up to. When I was growing up on the farm all those seasonal things were so much a part of my life I hardly gave them a second thought and didn't realize how much they had become a part of me till I left and never went back. Have I mentioned I miss the rhythm of those seasons, the routine? I loved being closer to nature.

I wish I had more time to reminisce but hubby called and said he's taking me out for supper in Wichita tonight and I'd better get ready to dine in the city. Hope to be back soon. Y'all take care.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Blessings of Fall

Last Sunday we took a two-hour road trip to visit our son and his girlfriend in Topeka. It was a beautiful fall day with nary a cloud in the sky. Since they moved to a different home we took
I-70 through the northern part of the Flint Hills. It's not as colorful in fall, but you get the idea. The traffic up, was slow, but going home there was constant traffic from east to west, or west to east, whichever you prefer.

We had been taking I-35 and 335, the turnpike, through the southern part of the Flint Hills. That drive was just gorgeous last Spring, but I couldn't find pictures. You know how it is, you get to moving along at 70 mph. and it's hard to stop and get pics. But I remember stopping for at least a couple If I find them on a different card I'll post them at another time.

In the above picture you can barely see a ranch house and other buildings sheltered by trees. I can't imagine living on that windswept hill in any season except the few calm days we have in Spring and Fall. In a serious Winter snow I can imagine being shut in for a least a day or two. We don't seem to get the blizzards I remember we lived through when I was a child, but then I was a child and everything was bigger then.

When you travel I-70 from West to East Kansas, Salina seems to be smack dab in the middle of vast barren pasture lands. You get, oh, I'm guessing about 75 miles east of Salina and you're beginning to see the type of rolling hills that are reminiscent of Missouri. And by the time you're on your way to Kansas City, you can't tell the difference between Kansas and Missouri. There are lots of hills smothered with an array of different tree varieties.

About the same distance west of Salina, you'll see pretty much the same level pastureland, but with a few more farms visible from I-70. When you get closer to Hays you begin to see gentle rolling hills with clumps of trees growing at the bottom of gullies. Enjoy the reprieve, because when you get to the Kansas-Colorado border you drive through hundreds of miles of desert-like landscape till you get to Denver and can see the promising mountains west of Denver. (Ignore the date on the picture-Picasa saved the picture in the wrong file & attached that date.)

A few weeks ago, my dear friend and I decided to take the walking trail around Emma Creek just east of the Bethel College Campus. It was a beautiful Fall day with just a little bit of a nip in the air.

As you can see the trail is tree-lined with leaf-mold and chipped wood carpeting the path beneath our feet. Not too far into the trail there's a small sanctuary with a fire pit where college students and others can gather around a fire with hot chocolate, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows or to just gaze into a warm fire.

All the while we were walking our senses were wonderfully titillated with a woodsy and earthy scent. At one point a quick movement just in front of me made me realize a baby snake had slithered across the path in front of me, and not a second too soon! When we began our walk the sky was overcast and it was eerily quiet. On our way back the sun came out which seemed to wake up a couple of cardinals who started calling out to one another.

Yours Truly is trying to hide discreetly behind a bush while leaning against a tree that looks like it was seared most of its length by lightening. It must have been raining enough to keep the other trees around it from going up in flames.

We loved the walk and hope to do it again soon. I think it would be lovely with a little snow on the ground and shrouding the bare tree branches. Wish y'all could join us. It took us about an hour to walk one-third of the trail with the creek running full and singing joyously beside us after several inches of rain that fell a couple of days earlier.

I hope you've enjoyed this slice of Kansas life. I'll keep posting pictures as I'm enjoying using this blog as a pictoral journal.

What Can We Be Thinking?

Americans have chosen and I'm disappointed. Too many fell for a whole lot of rhetoric that sounded great but had little substance. Too many have been brainwashed into believing we need change, but what kind of change are we to expect? Who can tell for sure?

Too many who should have voted, didn't, because they took the easy way out. The choices weren't great, but how can people be so irresponsible? We now have a president who doesn't care about life. His past and present associations aren't flattering when it comes to the freedoms of country and individuals.

There was a concerted effort to claim the vote from people who are motivated by their ability or inability to be consumers. We were just beginning to prove that we can make adjustments to economic difficulties. But now we'll never know if we have the guts to get through it by helping each other instead of depending on big government to take care of us.

If schools are teaching the same history that I had fifty years ago, U.S. citizens would appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears it took to gain and maintain our freedom from religious oppression. How have we lost the vision and the toughness that settled and built this country? All we seem to be able to comprehend is our immediate pain from circumstances of our own making. Will Americans survive socialism? It's never worked for other nations who have tried it.

The liberal media is shameless in using communication to influence the unenlightened. Where are the journalists of the past who reported without personal opinion? An era died with Peter Jennings and others like him. If we can't trust the media to be unbiased who can we trust to give us an accurate picture of what's going on in the world?

Why should any of this surprise you and me? The Bible is full of stories of the foolishness of people who have lost touch with God. The one true God who sent His Son, Jesus, to be our salvation from ourselves. In Ecclesiastes 10, there are many verses that speak of the foolishness of man. "A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him toward the left." (v. 2) Isn't that amazing? The Bible actually predicted who are the liberals and conservatists.

Ecclesiastes 10 certainly helped me to put in perspective what just happened. But then we need to read on into chapter 11, verse 5: "Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things." It is comforting to know that God is in control. We may only guess what's going to happen, whereas he knows.

Finally, at the end of Ecclesiastes, 11:13, 14: "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether is is good or evil." What more can be said than is said in His Word?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Day Isn't Over Till It's Over

Hubby and I went early to vote and then had breakfast at our town's rec center served by the local Lion's Club--pancakes and sausage. Since then I've hardly gotten anything done. So much is riding on this election. It seems more than ever Americans are uneasy: over rumors about what kind of change Obama may be talking about. Wondering if we want another administration that might not bring about the changes we would like. I didn't think I'd be feeling as unsettled as I am.

Please pray for the USA as we face an uncertain future. Finally, I must remind myself, as a believer, that it is all in God's hands and that's where I need to leave it. "For in the day of trouble he will keep me [us] safe in his dwelling." Ps. 27:5

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We Have Pictures

Many are the days I've wondered why we continue to live in Kansas, which can be a desert in August, and a deep freeze in January. But this is not one of those days. This is an Indian Summer day: calm, sunny, and in the 70's. We planted this tree in our backyard about 4 or 5 years ago. It's a keeper! Before we planted it I watched to see where it would be the most efficient on a summer afternoon. The middle of the yard turned out to be the perfect spot. It already shades our kitchen window from the mid-to-late-afternoon sun, and offers a cool place for the birdfeeders and birdbath. I can't imagine why they call it "Autumn Blaze," can you?

Our lovely daughter celebrated her birthday this last September. She found out what 32 lighted candles look like on a square cake. It impressed me--I can't believe our children are in their thirties already! I'm still trying to get used to the idea she's expecting her third next May. That age-old question: "Where has the time gone?" comes up often in my thoughts and vocabulary. If I would just accept that life keeps moving forward, rather than trying to process it so it fits into a permanent niche in my mind. I think what I'm afraid of is losing the special moments among all the less meaningful moments, the worries and cares of life. Thank goodness for cameras which help us remember the beautiful and important things in life.

The lights of our lives, our grandbabies. I'm happy they're growing up on the farm like I did. A dog, lots of cats and kittens, riding in the tractor or big combine with daddy, picnics in the field, snakes and coyotes.

On the Lighter Side

I was delighted to find a whole book full of Will Roger's wit and humor at our used bookstore a couple of weeks ago. I'll probably be sharing from it occasionally. Here are some of his remarks about politics and politicians:

"Common sense is not an issue in politics; it's an affliction."

"Everybody figures politics according to what they've accumulated during the last couple of years. Every guy looks in his pockets and then votes."

"You can't legislate intelligence and common sense into people."

"I guess the truth can hurt you worse in an election than about anything that could happen to you."

from The Will Rogers Book, compiled by Paula McSpadden Love (a niece). Revised. Texian Press, 1971.