Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hospital Duty

Hospitals are just not much fun. You sit around waiting... waiting for tests...waiting for test results...waiting to get better because ANY place is better than here.

No one knows yet what is causing my mom's problems. She's anemic to the point she's having trouble breathing: not enough oxygen flow. She's getting blood this afternoon sometime. Hopefully, that will help her feel better. She's had 2 CT scans, a couple of X-rays, a colonoscopy, and probably some other things I'm not aware of.

The unknown can be a terrible thing. I guess mainly because it could turn into ANYTHING...really scary things...or it might be something that's not scary at all. I guess time will tell...but first we have to wait....

Friday, May 30, 2008

After Dinner Conversation

Yesterday was our 26th anniversary. We'll have a get away sometime later this summer. For now, we just went out for dinner. I love going out with just my beloved. We always enjoy each other's company.

Last night we went to the Outback in Mobile. There was a very little boy sitting in the booth behind me. I could hear him talking to his mom and dad: very articulate. Mr. H and I talked about the restaurants we remembered going to as children. He grew up in California. There was a burger place his family went to called Oscars. They also went to Shakey's Pizza Parlor. For me, it was a burger place called T Willy's that my grandparents took us to. The first onion rings I ever had were from Tom Bradley's. I think he was a friend of my dad's that opened a restaurant, but since my dad never met a stranger, that could have been the first time they ever met!

As we were waiting to get our check, the little boy behind me said, "I'm sorry I didn't save you any chocolate. I ate it all gone." I turned around to see him for the first time. He was much younger than I would have thought from his conversation. He apologized again for not saving me any cake. I told him it was okay, I'd had plenty to eat. He cupped his hands together and offered them to me. "Here, take this present," he said. I cupped my hands over his to "take" the present. I peeked between my hands and said, "What is it?" "It's a toy duck!" he answered proudly. "To live in my bathtub," I said. "Thank you very much." I told him my little girl has a whole family of ducks in her bathtub, so it wouldn't be lonely.

Since he had been eating chocolate cake, I asked if it was his birthday. He checked with his mom and told me his birthday was July 19th. I asked how old he would be. He checked the fingers of both hands, consulted with his mom again, and said he was 2 now and would be 3 later. Wow! What a conversationalist at such a young age! I told him he could tell me "Happy Anniversary." He gave it his best shot: "Happy Anni...Birthday!"

Mr. H and I have relatively self-confident children. But they would NEVER dream of striking up conversations with complete strangers, even with both of us in close proximity. I guess that's why God created so many different kinds of people. If everyone were shy, no one would ever meet anyone else. I'm not sure what would happen if everyone were as outgoing as my new little friend. I guess everyone would be striking up conversations, but no one would be listening. We need to share, but we need to listen, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pre VBS Week

This week our church is transforming into a Hawaiian adventure.
It's a painful process to observe. Lots of areas look like this:
boxes of stuff laying everywhere... parts of things, partially done...

This is the Fellowship Hall, right outside my office. All the kids will come through here after recreation to have their snack. It's starting to take on a tropical atmosphere...note the grass roof and the blue water.

These are palm leaves that will be everywhere. Aren't you glad that God didn't do it this way!

This is the room where all the crafts will be created.

This little area is an oasis of calm in the surrounding chaos.

This Tiki Bar is in our preschool area.

The outrigger is in the foyer of the church along with this little hut.

This water fall is in our atrium. It's made entirely of paper.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

L's Highly Improbable Scenarios

Our youngest daughter, L, is always coming up with "what if..." questions. And they are so odd! We call them her Highly Improbable Scenarios. Tonight, when we got home from church, we were watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Out of the blue, she asks, "What if we lived in a garbage bag?"

Mr. H loves these questions. My response was that it would have to be one of those stretchy ones that you could put a piano or a rhinoceros in. Mr. H said it sounded like a Monty Python skit and he was off in his best British accent: "When I was young, we were so poor we lived in a garbage bag . . . in the middle of the road. My dad would wake us up 2 hours before we went to bed to lick the pavement . . ." That got lots of "Eeewwws!" He can quote whole skits from memory: the penquin on the television, the busy day burying the cat. It's amazing what he spent his youth memorizing!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Stuff

Mr. H and I are fixing some things on the old '94 BMW so I can use it as my daily driver. It gets much better mileage than the windstar. It's got a new windshield and inspection sticker, fresh oil, freshly vacuumed carpet, and soon the passenger seat will pop forward to let the back seat riders out.

We went to see "Prince Caspian" at noon today. We really liked it. M was camping with a friend, so she didn't get to come. I'm glad she opted for the friend over a movie: much more important. While we were out we stopped in at Lowe's to get some replacement bulbs for our under cabinet lighting in the kitchen. They sell the lights that say "replaceable bulbs" on the package, but not the replacement bulbs themselves. I hate it when that happens. I have a toothbrush like that. It's a battery powered spinning thing with replaceable brush end, but Wal-Mart went for a year and a half without carrying the replacements. Luckily, I kept it anyway, and noticed 2 weeks ago that they had them in. I'm hoping Lowe's will order some bulbs. Otherwise, it's online purchasing, here I come.

That's about all for this weekend. Mr. H doesn't get Memorial Day off, so we don't have any big plans. However, the 29th is our 26th anniversary! No definite plans, yet, but we'll see. We usually celebrate more for the anniversary of our first date (12/01/79) than we do our wedding anniversary. I'm not sure why.....yes, I am. It's all those birthdays and Mother's Day in May. In December, there's ONLY Christmas!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Nice Way to Start the Day

This morning I noticed that the hanging basket with the house wren nest in it needed water. All the other baskets had been set on the ground under the edge of roof to catch the rain last night. This is one of the nests that L has been checking on daily since we discovered it under construction several weeks ago.

I got the watering can and started pouring it on the side away from the nest. About that time I heard rustling coming from the nest. Four little birds launched themselves, one right after the other, and headed for the bird bath under the pecan tree about 15 yards away. Mr. H went in to tell L, who came out to see. I pointed out the 1 little bird I could see on the rim of the bird bath. L started walking slowly toward it. She got within 6 feet and stopped to look. The little bird never flew away! L stood there looking at it for a few minutes, then turned around. She came back with a big smile and said, "I've never been that close to a bird that could fly!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Time Flies!

Reading Marshall's post about the face in the rearview mirror reminded me of this book I made for a friend a little over 2 years ago. The baby had her 2nd birthday 3 months ago and can sing and dance on her own. Big brother will finish 1st grade on Friday and earned over $200 for our church Building Fund by operating his own lemonade stand for a couple of months.

What Makes a Man Valuable?

There are lots of lists in the bible, especially in the old testament. My first inclination is to just skip over all those hard to pronounce names of people and places and move on to the "good" part. This morning I'm glad I stuck it out. I'm in 1 Chronicles when David becomes king. Actually this is my second time through the story, since it is told the first time in 2nd Samuel. I'm reading through the list of all David's Mighty Men: there are the Three, then the Thirty, then a BUNCH of warriors. In the warrior list, the numbers are huge: 4,600; 7,100; 18,000; 37,000; 120,000. And they are all "armed for battle" and "with every type of weapon."

Then, in the midst of these vast armies of men armed to the teeth (check the entry titled 'The Whole Nine Molars') where was I?...right...vast armies with weapons, there was this small group of men mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:32. Just 200 of them out of over 340,500. That's less than 6/100 of a percent. And what was their claim to fame? They understood the times and knew what their nation should do. It doesn't say anything about their fighting skills or weaponry. It just says they were chiefs and brought their families with them.

I wonder why they were included in the list. All the others were listed for what they brought to the effort: shields, spears, other weapons. Nothing like that is listed for these men from Issachar: just their understanding and family leadership. I think God thinks those things are important. Why should we think otherwise?

Monday, May 19, 2008

And Your Point Is . . .?

Mr. H sent me an e-mail that contained this picture made in 1919, the year before prohibition began. Look carefully at most of these women. Do you really think that the threat of loosing access to most of these lips was enough to keep a man away from alcohol? In fact, the very thought of some of these faces may have driven those very men to drink!

Ladies, be very careful how you treat your husbands or future, hope-to-be husbands. I think there was probably a much better way to get the point across!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Last Words

Not too long ago, I wrote about the kind of legacy I DON'T want to have. This past Wednesday night, as Dr. T was speaking about Paul's 3rd mission trip, we came across a section that expresses the kind of legacy I DO want to leave. Acts 20:17-38

Paul was headed home. He called some of the leaders from a church he had helped start to meet with him on the way. Here's what he had to say in Acts 20:25-27 "And now, I know that none of you among whom I was preaching the kingdom of God will ever see me again. So today I tell you that if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible, because I have told you everything God wants you to know." God had shown him that prison was in his future (verse 23). He knew he wasn't coming back, and that made them all very sad (verses 37-38). Yet he had no regrets. He had told them everything they needed to know. They knew Paul loved them and better still, they knew that God loved them and had sent His Son to pay the ransom for them. The rest was up to them.

When I'm headed home to Heaven, will I have regrets? Will there be people that I love that don't know I love them? Worse, will there be people I love (or just know) that don't know that God loves them and wants to be with them forever and made a way for that to happen. Will it be because I didn't tell them everything God wants them to know?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Very Good Question

On the way to school this morning, the radio was on NPR. I happened to hear the question, "Does science make belief in God obsolete?" and a website address. I asked the girls what they thought. Well, naturally, they said, "No," but I don't think they really thought about it before they answered. They probably just said what I wanted to hear. Not that they disagreed with me or were telling me a lie. But I wanted them to know WHY "No!" So in the 5 minutes or less that we had before they got out of the car, I tried to explain.

The more we learn in science, the more it points to everything being connected. Some look at that and say "evolution." I look at that and say "the hand of one Creator." And here's the example I used with them: look at Maurice Sendak or Kevin Henkes illustrations. These two men are writers and illustrators of some of our favorite books. I remember the first time I recognized a Kevin Henkes book by the pictures and not by the author's name. The same hand had created the illustrations and there were similarities of style and composition that just jumped out at me. Our Creator created us in His image. Would it not stand to reason that His creations would also have similarities of style and composition?

I'm glad that my girls would say that No, science doesn't make belief in God obsolete. But I want them to be able to explain that belief. If they just repeat what Mommy wants to hear, that won't help them. But if they can make connections and share those connections with their friends, just think what could happen.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mark's office

You just never know what goes on in some people's offices.

I'm sure it's going to be fun!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

On the Front Porch

I finally made it to the front porch today and here I am. The sun has set but it's not dark yet. The trees on the horizon are dark but the sky is still light above them. A breeze is stirring the baskets of ferns and the wind chimes. The newly hatched house wrens are being rocked to sleep. I just heard from the horse in the pasture next door and two different birds are saying vespers. I have always loved this time of day. The crickets and other night creatures are starting to make noise. Are they quiet all day or are we just to busy to hear them?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Party, Projects, and POSSIBILITIES

Yesterday was one of those days that could have just...well, it could have eaten me alive. L's birthday party was right after school at the skating rink in town. I knew I was going to have to stop by Wal-Mart and pick up the big cookie-cake. And I knew that I was picking up 3 extra girls at school that were coming with me. And I knew that after the party I had to be a the high school to help judge senior projects (a new experience for me). Most times that I have days that are scheduled like that, I am stressed. When I'm stressed, I am extremely unpleasant to be around! I think I figured a way around it this time, though. I just ignored things until they happened. I had done the ordering, made the invitations, gotten plates and cups, etc. When I marked something off the list, I forgot about it.

The party was a blast! Her good friends came to have a good time at L's party. The CD that Mark put together to play was excellent. Mr. H strapped on some roller blades! The 5 pizzas were completely consumed! Our eldest was there with her boyfriend. Everyone's designated adult came to get them right after they did the "Cha Cha Slide." (I thought for a bit that I was going to get to keep one little boy, but his mom got there just on time.) I still had plenty of time to get to the high school for the senior project presentations.

I was familiar with the process of putting the projects together. Our eldest had done one last year on chemical photography. But the judging of the oral presentation was new to me. There are 4 judges in a room. The senior, dressed for a formal presentation, comes in and introduces him or herself and then explains their project: why they chose it, what they learned, what they would have done differently, what worked and didn't work. Then they take questions from the judges. There was one young man who did his project on weight lifting. He was incredibly shy, but as he talked, he became more animated. After he left, one of the other judges told us how impressed he was by this presentation. This judge was a coach at the high school. He taught this young man as a freshman. He said that 4 years ago, this child would NEVER have been able to stand and speak to an audience. He was so proud of this kid! When you hear where someone has come from, it makes a big difference in how you view where he is now. It was neat to be a part of something so significant in the lives of these kids on the threshold of their adult lives.

Now for the POSSIBILITIES!!!! Mark and Dr. T got called to the principal's office yesterday. Our local elementary school principal called them to set up the appointment. When they got back to the church, they were so excited. We have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in some families' lives next year. I can't wait to see how this is going to turn out! I'm sure that Mark and Dr. T will be saying more about it in the days and weeks ahead. This is just absolute proof to me that God will bless our efforts to build relationships in our communities. OOOO00000! I can't wait ......

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gifts from Cotton

If you arrived at this site from a Google search for cotton products, you'll have to look somewhere else. Wrong Cotton, wrong kind of gift.

This is our dog, Cotton. When we first got her, she was a little white fuzzball. Mr. H wanted to name her Fang. The girls were horrified and refused. I think Cotton was his next choice and they liked that one. So, Cotton it is. She's about 6 years old now.

She likes to bring us things. We have a white bath towel that she brought us. I guess she thought it would match the ones we already had. One year, we hosted the 9th & 10th grade girls at our house for Disciple Now. At some point during the night, one girl stepped out onto the front porch. She put her foot on a rabbit Cotton had provided for us. Every hunting season, she brings us a deer skin. I guess hunters leave parts behind, so she collects them. We have received little kids' shoes and stuffed animals from her, too.

Most of her gifts end up in the garbage can (or buried in the back yard). However, this week she brought us a gift that went into the dishwasher and then the cabinet. It was a pretty bowl with apples painted on it.

I don't know where she finds these things. I guess I really don't know ABSOLUTELY CERTAINLY that it is Cotton bringing these things to our yard. I've never seen her actually toting them, but I think it's a safe assumption. Unlike the ENORMOUS Great Bernard next door, who habitually walks around her yard with her bowl in her mouth, Cotton doesn't carry things around. I would suspect that other dog, but she's new to the neighborhood and the gifts have been arriving for a long time. So, where ever they come from, I've kept just a few of the gifts from Cotton. But if you're a neighbor of mine and are missing a white towel and this bowl, come on by and pick them up. . . but they may be in the washing machine or the dishwasher, because they get used on a regular basis.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Elephant Hunting

You just never know what you're going to find in a 10 (SOON to be 11) year old's room. I went in looking for an elephant and found some unexpected things. Let me explain the elephant: Bela is a little stuffed elephant (Playskool) that was a baby shower gift. L has had her all her life. She thought she left her at Maw-Maw's house a couple of weeks ago, but Maw-Maw says No. And Sr. Mrs. H is the kind of housekeeper that would know if an elephant of ANY size was at her house. So I knew Bela had made it home and then disappeared in L's room. I had made several suggestions about places to look, but they were all met with, 'No, she's not there!'

Last night before going to bed, L came into the living room (where I was helping M with her book project, which lasted until after 1 a.m., but that's another story) and said so forlornly, 'I guess I'll never see Bela again.' Well, I knew I had to take action. I usually let them find their own lost stuff, but I knew she really had looked. So this morning I went on the elephant hunt.

Most lost things in L's room fall in the crack between the bed and the wall. We had both looked there, but this time I explored a bit more. Down by the foot of the bed, I saw a bit of sea foam green. That's her! Then I decided to clean under the bed.

L has a little garbage can between her desk and her bed. It was overflowing with STUFF! And part of the overflow was under the bed: wadded up paper drawings, candy wrappers, a few Kleenix (does Kleenix have a plural?), bag of Easter candy (I'm assuming Easter and not Halloween), usual little girl stuff. When I emptied the can into a larger bag I found something I didn't expect: an empty Community coffee bag! I remember last week when I emptied the bag into the cannister, L wanted to smell it. She liked it so much she took the bag with her! One woman's trash is another kid's aromatherapy! Ha!

So now I am the Great White Hunter. Bela is waiting on the bed right now, but she might have to come with me to pick the girls up from school. (It looks like Grisabella missed her, too.) It will be a very happy reunion.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Along with that, at our church, we are having a week of prayer: 24/7 from this past Sunday at 7 am straight through to this coming Sunday at 7 am. We have a room set up with subdued lighting and a white noise generator to help keep out distractions. There are notebooks to record praises and prayers for others, from fellow church members & local churches, all the way to international missionaries and national government leaders. We sign up for 1 hour time slots (you can claim as many as you want).

I remember thinking, the first time we did this, 'How can I pray for a solid hour?' I was so suprised when I looked up at the clock : 40 minutes had gone by and I wasn't even close to being finished with all the material.

I've discovered over the years that most people have really good intentions when it comes to their prayer life. It's just that LIFE gets in the way. Here are a few tips that might help out:
  1. If you're old school (not into technology) get a notebook and keep it where you'll see it. That might be beside your bed, on the kitchen table, in your purse. Write down things you're thankful for, people who need lifting up, things you're hoping for. Let that book remind you, every time you see it, that you are in need of contact with your Heavenly Father.
  2. If you aren't intimidated by technology, let it help you. I have a reminder in Outlook that comes up everyday to remind me to pray for my husband and my pastor. If I'm busy right that minute, I can click snooze. It'll come back up later.
  3. "I know I should pray, but I don't know what to pray for or how to get started." Somehow, we've really not been taught to pray. Even the disciples who were with Jesus every day, had the same problem. He gave them a starting point, twice. Remember Who God is and treat Him accordingly. He knows what you need and what you're up against. Let Him know that you realize you need His help. Nothing, NOTHING you tell Him will surprise or shock Him. He already knows it!
  4. Just talk to Him. You don't need special words. If you don't speak King James' English to anyone else, why would you speak it to God? Just talk, or if you're like me, just write. I tend to stay focused if I'm writing. Start out like you're writing a letter and soon you'll be surprised to see the letter becoming a conversation.
  5. Just do it... start today... now. A wise man once said, "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."