Monday, September 29, 2008

Taste This: It's Nasty!

Earlier today, L and her little buddy from down the street both came running into the house wearing YUCK faces and making a bee-line for the sink. They leaned over the sink and squirted the spray nozzle into their mouths and did a lot of spitting.

I asked them what they had gotten into their mouths and they said they had tried a persimmon off the tree in our yard and it wasn't ripe.

Let's look a little more closely at this story: "a persimmon" and "it" wasn't ripe. Sounds like a single piece of fruit to me. Did they break it in half and try it simultaneously? Or was it more like, "Eeeewww!! Taste this! It's NASTY!!"
"Ooooo, really? OK."

Book Meme

I got tagged by Jen

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your blog along with these instructions.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.
* Tag five other people to do the same.

"Let us fear to leave Him. Let us be always with Him. Let us live and die in His presence. Do you pray for me as I for you. I am,

This is from "The Practice of the Presence of God" written by Brother Lawrence in the late 1600's as letters to friends.

Boy, this makes me sound super spiritual, doesn't it? But really, I had forgotten where I put this book. It was beside my laptop under a pile of mail. And I haven't even gotten to page 56 yet and the whole thing only has 112 pages.

I tag my eldest, her best friend (the Mississippi girl), Dr. T, Leagle Eagle, and dhcoop.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

POST #200

Today was spent mostly outdoors, accomplishing some projects, planned and surprised. The unplanned project was setting up his birthday present, the weather station we got for him last night at Bass Pro Shop.

I took pictures of the progress. Here he is mounting the wind gauge and temperature & pressure sensor. They are mounted on a corner post of what, at one time, was the back deck of our mobile home. When we built the house, we moved it out into the middle of the yard for the girls to play on. It went from being the deck to being a fort.

Here are a couple more of the weather station on the fort.

The rain gauge needed to be mounted on a level surface about 3 feet off the ground. Wandering around Lowe's this morning, we decided on a PVC post with a flange on top. It's close to the propane tank so it doesn't create a new obstacle to mow around.

All the sensors are wirelessly connected to this command center. Tomorrow the plan is to get it all to download to Mr. H's computer. We're hoping we can set up a feed to weather underground. There's not anything located in George County there.

The planned projects were making a secure place for our garbage cans and working on the TV antenna. Mr. H is, at this moment, watching a game on ABC. The only reason he's not watching it on channel 13, WLOX, is because they are not broadcasting it in HD. Channel 3 from Pensacola is in HD. We haven't been able to watch 13 for a while without putting up with digital breakup. Earlier today, Mr. H aimed both the mid-range antennas toward the west and the UHF long range portion of our old antenna to the east. All our stations a screaming now.

And, last but not least, we can sleep soundly tonight knowing that our garbage will still be closed and upright in the morning, no matter what raccoons or rogue dogs do to them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. H

Today is Mr. H's birthday. He wanted to ride up to Hattiesburg this morning, so as soon as the girls were delivered to school, off we went. As we turned onto Hwy 49, I could see something up in the sky. As it moved closer, I recognized the Goodyear Blimp! By then, we had stopped in at Hattiesburg Cycle, so I pulled out the camera. (You can click on the picture and read the "Goodyear")

We had a good time just looking around. Mr. H got a new pair of riding boots and a new face shield for his helmet. We had lunch and headed back to George County so we'd be on time to pick up the girls. (Had to get to the house to get the car first!)

I remembered that I still had the camera in my pocket, so I took some pictures as we got within a few miles of the house.
We cross this river at least twice a day. It's the Escatawpa, but is locally known as the Dawg River, not to be confused with the actual Dawg River in Mobile County.

The next few are what would be considered our neighborhood. I love the look of these hay bales just after they have been harvested.

This last picture is our next door neighbor's place. They used to live in the upper level of the barn, then built a house behind it.

Tonight we went to Bass Pro Shoppe and let Mr. H pick out his birthday present. Here's the one he picked. We know what he'll be doing tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keep Looking Up

DC, our maintenance guru, just came into my office, broom in hand, and asked if I wanted to see something funny. My first response was self-defensive: "Is it a snake?" He assured me that it was not a snake, so I followed him out onto the front porch of our office. He had been getting rid of spider webs and dirt dobber nests. One of those mud nests was on the side of a light fixture on the porch. When he reached up with the broom handle and bumped the cover of the light, I was expecting something to fly out.

"Aww, he's gone!" he said.
"Who?" I asked.
"The mouse," he answered.

Apparently there had been a mouse running around inside the plastic cover of the fluorescent light fixture, probably hunting bugs. When DC came to get me, it took the opportunity to make his escape. Now I will be anticipating mice attacking from above every time I go out there.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shadow of the Tree (part 2)

Here's what Charles Spurgeon had to say about the shadow of the tree:
The way to learn a truth thoroughly is to learn it by experience, and the way to learn more is to use what you know. Jesus casts a shadow; let us sit under it. Jesus yields fruit; let us taste the sweetness of it. (p. 29)

If Jesus is like an apple tree among the trees of the wood, do not keep away from Him, but sit under His shadow and taste His fruit. He is a Savior; do not believe this fact and yet remain unsaved. As far as Christ is known to you, make use of Him in that measure. . . .we are at liberty to make every possible use of Christ. Both the shadow and the fruit may be enjoyed. . . . Christ Jesus our Lord exists for the benefit of His people. . . . He is as free to us as the air we breathe. What are fountains for, but that the thirsty may drink? What is the harbor for, but that storm-tossed ships may find refuge? What is Christ for, but that poor guilty ones like ourselves may come to Him and look and live, and afterward may have all our needs supplied out of His fullness? (p. 30).

I mentioned before that I love it when pieces of the puzzle come together. Here's a PUZZLE PIECE: Jesus is eternal life. (And I love the consistency that runs throughout the Bible.) Where is the very first time we hear about eternal life in the bible? One of the two trees in the midst of the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life. Trees are named for their fruit. If we remain in the Shadow of the Tree that is Jesus Christ, one of the fruits that we have access to is eternal life.

The last time the Tree of Life is mentioned in the Bible is in the last chapter of Revelation. Revelation 22:1 talks about “the river of the water of life … flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb”. The next verse, 22:2, says that “On each side of the river stood the tree of life.” I’m not sure what that means, the tree being on both sides of the river. Maybe it’s just that big, so that there is room for every one of us under its shadow. Revelation 22:19 contains the last warning in the Bible. “And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

ANOTHER PUZZLE PIECE: the cross is often referred to as “the tree.” So we come to the shadow of the tree to find shelter. Spurgeon again:
Did Jesus suffer in my place? Then I will not suffer punishment. Did He bear my sin? Then I will not bear it. Did God accept His Son as my Substitute? Then He will never strike me down. Was Jesus acceptable to God as my Sacrifice? Then what contents the Lord should certainly content me. Consequently, I will go no farther, but I will sit down “under his shadow” and enjoy a delightful rest. (p. 32)
When you have your quiet time, where is the place you go? A friend of mine has a physical place that she goes to meet the Lord. In his book Ordering Your Private World, Gordon MacDonald talks about a “special, intimate place where we commune with the Father in a way that no one else can appreciate or understand.” This “place of the spirit” he calls “the garden of our private world.” For David (the shepherd who became king) this place was a pasture where God was the shepherd. It had green pastures and calm waters and was a place where the soul was restored.

For me, the idea of a garden clicked into place. I picture it as a real place. I know all the details about it: the tall wooden fence around it; the latch on the gate; the path from the gate to the swing hanging from the big tree. And I picture God waiting for me at the gate. I always wondered if it was okay to physically picture God. Then I read this in a devotional book called In God’s Presence: daily devotions with J. I. Packer: “All sorts of things can go on in my active imagination which have nothing to do with my body, for instance. And if I can have a personal life without a body, so can God. …If we don’t think of God as fully personal, we think of him as inferior to ourselves. The truth is that He is more personal than we are.” (entry for September 6)

Deep down in my heart, I could never picture more than God's hand, the hand that Michelangelo painted giving life to Adam. Even now, what I see is God’s hand reaching out to me at the gate and holding my hand as we walk down the path to the swing.

So what does all this mean? What do I do with this information? Find a place that, for you, is under the Shadow of His Tree. Think of the most restful, quiet, solitary place you can imagine. Furnish that place as the garden of your private world. Make it uniquely yours. You don’t have to share it with anybody if you don’t want to. Go there often so that you know the way. Know how to get there in a hurry. When you are there, talk to God as only you can. Don’t try to pray like someone else. You aren’t someone else.

Psalm 139:1-4. 1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
God knows who you are, better than you do. Be who you are and let God be who He is. Listen to Him. Take what He has to offer you. Learn to be comfortable in His Presence. Unless you are comfortable in His Presence, you can’t take comfort in His Presence.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Legacy

Yesterday, several independent threads came together to form a strong cord for me. The last thread, the one that brought them all together in my mind, came from one side of a conversation I overheard. My 13 (very soon to be 14) year old daughter M was on the phone talking to her best friend. Apparently there had been a conversation at school involving another friend and that friend's church youth group. I heard M say (I'm paraphrasing here) that this other church's group must not all get along with each other and that she thought that was odd because everyone in her own youth group was friends with everyone else in the group.

The previous thread that had been dangling, waiting in the background, was a post about Integrity I read on Marshall Ramsey's blog. Marshall wrote about the effect of our lives on others' lives, what kind of "wake" we leave.

The first thread that is part of this cord was put in my head by Bro. Neil Wigley's sermon Sunday morning. It was about stewardship, not of our money, but of all that we are. He talked about the difference in spending and investing. Spending is for immediate gratification, investing is for the long term.

When I heard M's half of the conversation, all these threads came together and one name came to mind: Mark Williams. Five years ago he was called to be the youth pastor at Agricola Baptist Church. I was on that search committee and I remember some of the issues that were at the top of our list. Our kids were very clique-ish. There were certain groups that didn't mingle with other groups. The parents were concerned, with good reason, I think.

Mark came in and began, not just spending time with these kids, but investing in them. I look at the juniors and seniors now, who have been with him the longest, and I see leaders. He invested in the lives of these kids and the dividends are starting to pay off. Mark isn't the youth pastor now. He is filling a new position in our church--Equipping Pastor. But he is continuing to invest in our kids. Many of these same kids are leaders at his summer camps. They lead the worship on Wednesday nights here at church. They are roll models for our younger children through their participation in KidStuf. One is the assistant coach on the soccer team Mark coaches.

Mark is trying to create a smooth wake, and not just for his own family and church family. He has teamed up with our local elementary school principal to form a mentoring program for 6th graders. He and some other parents pair up with students, hopefully to pass on some core essentials for life , but sometimes just to listen and let the kids know that someone out there cares what's going on in their lives. His family appears to be flourishing, too, judging by the videos he posted of Micah and Malaree recently. And not just every guy eats lunch with his wife almost every day. Mark and his wife Melanie are partners in every aspect of their lives, and it shows.

All this adds up to a legacy that is priceless. He is not the youth pastor any longer, but the youth ministry is still reaping the benefits of his investments there. His own children and countless other children whose lives he has touched through camps, KidStuf, and Agricola Essentials will be able to sail life's sea a little more smoothly because of his influence. I am eternally grateful that my Gracious Lord brought this man with such a servant's heart into this place at this time.

Thanks, Mark, for the outstanding work you do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Shadow of the Tree (part 1)

(Remember: I'm a girl; therefore, this is written from a female point of view)

Song of Solomon is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I discovered the treasure that it is several years ago when my husband was on an extended business trip. He sent me an e-mail that closed with a Song of Solomon reference. Naturally, I looked it up. And, then, naturally, I looked to find one that I could close my next e-mail to him with. Song of Solomon has two levels of interpretation. 1) Solomon and his bride or 2) Christ and His bride. As close as we are to our spouses, we should be even closer to Christ.

If you are married, do you remember when you first fell in love with your husband? Do you remember how you tingled? Do you remember the first time you touched him: held his hand or touched his face? Can you remember? That is what it should be like in Christ’s presence. He is the lover of your soul.

Mr. H is the closest person to my heart. When he goes away on a business trip, I can’t wait for him to come home. It’s not because he might be bringing me a present. I don’t really care about that. It’s because I want him: his presence.

Most often, when we as children of God pray, when we go into His presence, what do we do? WE TAKE THIS LIST!! How would Mr. H feel if, every time he came home, I met him at the door with a list of everything that had gone wrong while he was away, and a time-table as to when I wanted it fixed. No hug, no kiss, no “How was your trip?” or “I’m so glad you’re back.” So often, we seem to treat God and Christ as merely gift-givers. We go to God only when we need something, something that only He can give. We treat Him more like a wishing-well than the Sovereign of the Universe. As much as we want to be with our human loved ones, we should desire, above all else, just to BE WITH God.

"Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected." ~~Song of Solomon 1:6

The Beloved rested in her Lover’s shadow. She knew what it was like to be tired. In SoS 1:6 she says she had to take care of the vineyards. She was so busy that some of her work didn’t get done. Only when you are truly weary, do you truly recognize the value of rest. She could appreciate shade because in v. 1:6 she says she was sunburned. She knew about the burning sun, so she valued the shade.

"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me." ~~Song of Solomon 2:3-6

The word translated “sit” (yaw-shab’) in SoS 2:3 means to dwell or to settle down. When we settle down, we usually get comfortable. The Beloved’s action makes sense. It is a perfectly natural thing to do. There is nothing formal or ritualistic about it. There was the tree: she sat down in the shade.

The Beloved was refreshed in her Lover’s shadow. His fruit was sweet to her taste. If she hadn’t been in His shadow, she couldn’t have reached the fruit. But since she was right there, all she had to do was accept what surrounded her. She didn’t even have to get up. It was all right there at her hand. She could have starved to death if she hadn’t accepted what her Lover was bestowing upon her. How often do we say, “No thanks” to blessings that God is offering us? It’s because we don’t recognize who is doing the offering and what it is that’s being offered. He is the giver of every good and perfect thing. Hebrews 4:16 tell us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Family Tradition

My eldest has a blog now. It will definitely be on my "daily read" list. She is one of the best writers I know. (Okay, I may be a tad biased, but I stick by the statement!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cake in a Mug

Here's the scoop on the chocolate cake in a mug. The recipe is at the bottom of this post.

When it was cooking in the microwave, it was twice as tall as this. It sinks back down when the heat is off. It doesn't make a mess in the microwave, either. : )

Here's what it looks like right out of the mug. It rather reminds me of date nut bread that comes in the can. (My mom got that every Christmas.) I ran a knife around the edge to make sure it came out, but I'm not sure it was necessary. It looks a little rough, but not to worry.

For those of you for whom presentation is everything, I cut it in rounds and arranged it around the plate. It would probably be good with cream cheese or peanut butter (or your preferred "goes with chocolate" topping)

5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients Needed:
4 TBSP - Flour
4 TBSP - Sugar
2 TBSP - Baking Cocoa
1 Egg
3 TBSP - Milk
3 TBSP - Oil
3 TBSP - Chocolate Chips (Optional)
Small splash of Vanilla Essence (vanilla extract)
1 Coffee Mug

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add egg and mix throughly. Pour in milk and oil, mix well. Add chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla essence and mix.

Place mug in microwave and cook for 3-minutes on high. The cake will rise over the top of the mug while cooking.

Allow to cool and tip out onto a plate if desired. Can serve two.

Note: After consideration (and a hint from my eldest), we decided that if you have any EggBeaters on hand use 1/8 of a cup (half of what they consider to be 1 egg) because 1 egg makes it a bit on the heavy side.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Direct Deposit

I write the checks here at the church. Occasionally, someone loses or destroys a check and I have to issue a replacement. Below are last week's AND this week's paychecks from a church employee. No, they did not go through the same wash cycle. It was two separate instances. That individual now has direct deposit: I will take the check directly to the bank and deposit it into the appropriate checking account. I think it will make both our lives easier.

Shadow of the Rock (part 2)

Hannah knew about holding on to a rock. The baby she had yearned for, prayed for, wept for finally came. And yet she still kept her promise to give him back to the Lord. In 1 Samuel 2:2 she prays, “ . . . there is no Rock like our God.” If you've never read her prayer, take a look. Wow, she knew Who God Is!

David faced so much opposition in his lifetime, before and after he became king of Israel. In 2 Samuel 22:2-3 he said, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior."

In the Psalms, David refers to God as “his rock” or “the rock” 18 times:

18:2, 31, 46
62:2, 6, 7 94:22


and talks about being set “on a rock” 3 times: 27:5; 40:2; and 61:2

In the first part of talking about the Rock, I mentioned pieces of the puzzle. Here's another piece that fits right into the whole: one of the OT rocks was the rock that Moses struck to get water for the Israelites -- water from a rock. (See Exodus 17:1-6) Jesus is our Rock and from Him we get living water so that we will never thirst again. I have heard people say that the Bible is just a collection of stories, that it is not divinely inspired. It would be very hard for one person to be so consistent over such a large work, much less for so many men over so long a period of time.

Exodus 17:6 “ . . . I will stand before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

1 Corinthians 10:4 . . . for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them and that rock was Christ. (speaking of Moses and the children of Israel.)

The Rock is amazing. But a rock is not really a personal thing. Charles Spurgeon put it this way: “BUT, there is something awesome about this great shadow. A very large rock is often so high that it is overwhelming. There is massive greatness but no gentle fellowship.” (p.20)

The next shadow of God that we will look at is more intimate. It is the shadow of the tree.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Song in the Road Bed?

I talked to Mr. H earlier this evening. He was in the lobby of his hotel, waiting on the other guys to come down so they could go to dinner. There was a television tuned to a local news station that was running a story about a roadway that played music. That's right: a musical road. The roadbed was cut with grooves so that as you drove over it, you generated the "William Tell Overture" (the Lone Ranger theme). Wait a second...
I'll be right back....

I found a video of it.

Here's the same tune with words you've probably heard all you life, just never delivered this way.

A Song for Today

Somewhere in this tree is a very vocal mockingbird. I'm wondering if it's the same one that used to sit and sing on top of this utility pole. I heard him when I went out to the mailbox, but noticed that the pole was bare of birds. I couldn't see him, but he was belting out a song.

Yesterday I saw Mark's pictures of the moon. When I took the garbage out early this morning, I noticed how big and bright the setting moon looked. It's odd how something that so dominates the sky to the human eye is just a bright spot in a photograph.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Wii Little Journey

A couple of months ago, our Wii died. No lights, no power, nothing. This summer being what is was, the Wii was not at the top of my priority list. It came back up there when we were stuck in the house when Gustav came through. I got out the receipt (yes, I still had it!) and saw that not only did I buy it in February 2008, but I also bought a 2 year warranty.

I called the number for the extended warranty and they pointed out that it was still under the original manufacturer's warranty and gave me the phone number. The process was much simpler than I thought it would be. Nintendo e-mailed a FedEx shipping label to me along with instructions on how to pack it and what to send and not to send. I had to go buy some bubble wrap (less than $2.50), but that's my only expense. I'll drop it in the drop off box tomorrow and we'll see how long it takes us to get back to Guitar Hero concerts.

Oh, yeah, here's a hint: if you find a power failure troubleshooting suggestion for removing the the battery from its compartment, DON'T DO IT!!! Whatever that little screw (that holds the battery compartment closed) screws into will fall off and rattle around inside the console.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mrs. Jones, the secret blogger

I always knew Mrs. Jones was not like other cats.

I was busy baking this morning and my laptop was on the kitchen table. I turned around and there she was: exposed as a lurker on the MRBA.

I left the room a bit later and found this when I came back: I think she has a secret blog! I'll have to investigate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I've done it.

Confirmed her suspicions.

L's GA teacher called to borrow something. She figured that if anybody had what she needed, it would be me.

The GA's are having fried rice as part of their mission experience tonight. She wanted some chopsticks. Who could she call that might possibly have a pair? You got it: I'm sending 2 pairs with L tonight!

What can I say? Our family is just a little different from the George County norm.

The Shadow of the Rock (part 1)

When Mr. H and I first got married we lived in Virginia. With both of us being from Mississippi, we were fascinated by the mountains. They were foreign and exotic. We took several weekend day-trips to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail. These are the only mountains that I am now familiar with, and they are not what I always imagined mountains to be. I thought a mountain was just a big pile of dirt. Not these mountains! These mountains are enormous rocks. They have a bit of dirt on the surface, but the dirt is not the mountain: the rock is the mountain. If you are on the sunny side of the mountain, you will get hot. But if you are on the shaded side of the mountain, it’s a different world. The air is cooler and feels moister... fresher. You can see because you’re not being blinded by the sun. In fact, all your senses can tell the difference. Not much can survive for long on the sunny side. No place to hide, no water, no shelter.

I did a word search on “rock.” In the Old Testament it usually it refers to 1 of 4 things: 1) the Lord Himself; 2) a literal hiding place (like when David hid from Saul; almost every Old Testament person who ever went into hiding, hid among the rocks); 3) the rock that Moses struck with his staff to bring water to the Israelites at Horeb; or 4) another specific rock as a place identifier.

Now I love puzzles, putting things together. When a piece doesn’t fit, it bugs the fire out of me. When I started looking at these rocks, some pieces just fit perfectly. The first is that God is our hiding place. He protects us from the burning fires of sin. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way:

Now, I take it that this is where we begin to know our Lord’s shadow. . . The way was (weary?), and the heat was great: our lips were parched, and our souls were fainting; we looked for shelter, and we found none. We were in the wilderness of sin and condemnation. . . --pg 19

Jesus is our Rock of Ages. Here's another quote from Charles Spurgeon's book:

The shadow of a rock is denser, cooler, and more complete than any other shade. Beams of sunlight cannot reach through the rock and into its shade, nor can the heat penetrate as it will sometimes do through the foliage of a forest. . . . Jesus is a complete shelter, and blessed are they who are under His shadow. -- pg 20
There are so many references to the Rock that I decided I'll look at them in the next post instead of making this one incredibly long.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Only Way to Shop

This evening I did something I don't usually do: go grocery shopping alone. Mr. H was working on the lawn mower and the girls didn't want to come. I'm still driving the eldest's car and it has an auxiliary jack for mp3 players. I pulled mine out and started listening on the way to town. When I parked the car, I put the ear buds in and took the music with me.

As I walked in the door to Wal-Mart, the Chicago albums started. Walking around the store to "25 or 6 to 4" changes your outlook on braving the hordes. I didn't hear the first crying child or fussing mother. In fact, as I was pushing my nearly full buggy past the meat counter, I saw a young dad swinging his little boy from side to side, then catching him way up high in front. The little boy was loving it! The soundtrack was "Saturday in the Park."

On the way home, "Just You 'n' Me" came on. I love that song.

You are my love in my life
And you are my inspiration
Just you 'n' me
Simple and free
Baby you're everything I've ever dreamed of

Give me your own special smile
Promise you'll never leave me
Just you 'n' me
Simple and free
Life is so easy
When you're beside me
I know it sounds corny, but that's my life. That's how I think of my husband, my true love. (Yes, the girls were watching "Enchanted" when I came in the door, so all those drippy Disney lines are running through my head right now, too!) But it could be worse: I could be trapped in a M Night Shyamalan film with a rap soundtrack playing in my head.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shadows: Intro (part 4)

I know it seems that this introduction goes on forever, but I wanted you to understand some of the background that made it a real quest for me. This is the last set pf questions that I pondered before getting into the actual Shadow:

4. Could another reason we are still looking for Him be that we don't recognize Him? Have we listened to Him enough to recognize His voice? Do we know His hand when we see it?

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ~Psalm 91:1

This is my favorite verse in the bible. I can close my eyes and feel the comfort and rest promised here. It really is a 911 verse for me.

Remember the devotional book I found on the chaotic trip to the bookstore? (last paragraph of that link) The following excerpt is from Joy in Christ's Presence by Charles Spurgeon:

“The shadow of God is not the occasional resort of the saint, but his constant abiding-place. . . . We ought never to be out of the shadow of God. . . . It is to dwellers, not to visitors, that the Lord promises His protection. . . . As the people of God, we are always under the protection of the Most High. Wherever we go, whatever we suffer . . . we are always ‘under the shadow of the Almighty.’ . . . Yet, the experiences of the saints differ greatly from person to person. Though they are all under the shadow of God, they enjoy His protection in different ways.” (Spurgeon, p. 18)

The Bible speaks a great deal about the different shadows that God casts. Remember: for something to cast a shadow, the something must be there. Even if you can’t see it, it’s there. Consider the part of the world the Bible was written in. In a dry, arid place, shadows and shade are sought after. Remember Jonah outside Nineveh and how the gourd came up and made shade, and how angry Jonah was when the worm came and destroyed it. Shadows and shelter are valuable things. The first shadow we are going to look at is the Shadow of the Rock.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Sun Is Shining...

I don't think I've seen the sun since Saturday. It is so bright outside right now. But it wasn't that way yesterday afternoon. M (percussion section: bells) had to be at the football game at 5:00. During the 7th grade game, I noticed that clouds were coming in from the west. With 10 seconds left in the game, the bottom fell out. The 8th grade game was still played, but we weren't there to watch it.

The band had to load all those instruments into the buses in a torrential downpour to go back to the middle school. We were soaked by the time we got to our car. I was so glad that we had gone by the store to get L's science project supplies before the game: foam balls, black project board, craft glue (we already had the paint).

This morning, she took her poster to school showing the sun and first 3 planets as well as the phases of the moon. She loves to paint and the sun was really spectacular: 1/2 of a 6" foam ball painted bright yellow with a bit of orange blended in here and there. The moon phases were pretty basic: all 2" hemispheres, 1 all black, 1 left all white, and 3 in varying degrees of black coverage. Her idea to label the planets was to make little flags of white stickers with the name printed on it, folded around a toothpick, stabbed into the foam. It looked great and most of all, she was pleased with it.

Shadows: Intro (part 3)

Here's a third question I looked at before I started this study:

3. Where is the Presence of the Lord? He tells us Himself over and over:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. --Isaiah 41:10

"Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. --Jeremiah 1:8

Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. --Genesis 26:3

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. . . --Isaiah 43:2-5

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. --Matthew 28:20

So, if He is with us always, WHY ARE WE STILL LOOKING FOR HIM?

Think like a small child again. You're in a big store, you look beside you, and Mom is not there. Where did she go? We know that a parent would not sneak off and leave the child. Sometimes the child wanders. Sometimes the child is just looking in the wrong direction and can't see that the parent is still close by. God has not left us: we are precious and honored in His sight. We don't have to be afraid because God is here: we are simply looking in the wrong direction to find Him.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Another Trip Down the Stream

It happened again: another float down the stream of consciousness.

first the stream, then the translation:

....took a time-out from the Shadows study....hurricane time-out....last year's heat time-out during a tropical storm....heat time-outs

When posting the Shadows entry last night, I realized that it had been a while since the previous Shadows post. I guess I took a hurricane time-out. Last year, I remember going to a George County football game during the remnants of a hurricane, Humberto, I think. I remember the hood of my rain poncho beating against the side of my face. It was in September, so the game officials had to call the mandatory heat time-outs in each quarter, even though we were quite cool with the combination of wind and wet and wanted that game over as soon as possible. In Mississippi, and probably other southern states, high school football games in September have a heat time-out each quarter to rehydrate the teams: don't want any heat-related tragedies on the field.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shadows: Intro (part 2)

I had a few questions in mind when I started this study. This post looks at the first two.

1. What is a "presence?" Random House Webster's Dictionary says: 1) the state or fact of being present. 2) immediate vicinity. 3) personal appearance or bearing. The words translated as “presence” in the Bible mean “face” or “front.”

Here are a few passages from the Bible that refer to the face or front of the Lord:

Because He loved your forefathers and chose their descendants after them, He brought you out of Egypt by His Presence (FACE) and His great strength. --Deuteronomy 4:37

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence (FACE). --Acts 2:28

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence (FRONT) whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. --1 John 3:19-20

His Face brought them out of Egypt and fills me with joy. Being in Front of Him sets our hearts at rest.

2. Is the Lord's presence important to us? Why? What is the most basic reason why? Think as a small child thinks. Do (or did) your children always want to be with you? When she was small, M always, ALWAYS wanted me to hold on to her hand, not just to let her hold my hand. Sometimes if I didn't hold it tight enough, she'd let me know. I believe that the Lord's presence is important to us because that's the way He made us. We need that presence. I don't think it is something that we should outgrow. Moses thought that the Lord’s Presence was very important:

The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then Moses said to Him, "If Your Presence (FACE) does not go with us, do not send us up from here. "--Exodus 33:14-15

Moses was unwilling to go anywhere if the Lord didn't go, too. Should we be any different?

Monday, September 1, 2008

What a Long Day!

Today has been one of those endless days. It started early with bad weather that just kept getting worse. We were lucky here in George County: just wind and rain. Nothing like 3 years ago. But hurricane weather keeps you inside, on edge, glued to the news: TV if you have power, radio if you're operating on batteries.

Luckily for us, we didn't lose power or internet access. For a stormy day, that's amazing! As a result, I experienced a first: an e-mail from my uncle. Not the one that paints watercolors, but the one that moved from New Orleans (post-Katrina) to Lancaster, PA. I am so glad that he doesn't live in the city below sea level any more.

The e-mail that I received had a link to the Fulton Theatre's web site. Ed has always been involved in theater. I remember seeing pictures of him in "Brigadoon" on the walls at my grandmother's house as I was growing up. Whenever I get a post card from him on his travels, he mentions the shows he has seen on the trip. It doesn't surprise me at all that he is the writer for Understudy, the theater guide for the Fulton Theatre.

I'm glad this long day is coming to a close.