Friday, July 31, 2009

Shake Your World

This was my last kid's camp. I started going to Kid's Camp when our eldest was a 3rd grader. She'll be 21 in November!! In all those years, last summer was the only one I missed. This year the theme was Shake Your World. If we love God, love our families, and love our friends and others, we really can change the world. The past several years, we've gone to Waukaway Springs. This year we went to Twin Lakes Camp in Florence.

These guys look like they are plotting something, don't they?

El and my youngest nephew had fun at the waterfront.

Here's El on the zipline.

This was called the redneck water slide. It is a pool liner spread out on a hillside. With a little assistance from a few bottles of soap and a fire hose, it works pretty well for kids and adults.

I did something this week that I never thought I would: I climbed a 7-story fire tower...
...of my own free will!
This is the view from the bottom:
But this is the view from the top!!
Wow! I'm glad I went up there!
El took my picture so Mr. H would believe I made it. He knows me well. (My hair doesn't look that short in my mirror, but my brother did comment that his was longer than mine!)
We had a great time at camp.

You can see all the pictures I took here.

Now to wash all those clothes and repack them for vacation. White-water rafting, here we come!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Slight Change

I've put some changes here because there were comments in a language I didn't know. They may have been really good comments, but since I couldn't read them and neither could most of you, I've deleted them and added comment verification. Those others were posted anonymously, which leads me to believe they might have been malicious.

Now I'm off to camp with El!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not For Sale

Mrs. Mac, our church secretary, got a very interesting call yesterday. A woman called and announced that she was "shopping for a church." I've heard the term before, but never really gave it much thought. It has a lot of implications that really are quite alarming.

If you are "shopping", you are comparing, which doesn't seem like a bad thing on the surface. But WHAT are you comparing? Are you lining up the color of the carpet in this church against how comfortable the pews are in another? Are you holding a timer to the preacher to see if one keeps you longer than another? Are you looking for a bargain? 'This church only meets twice a week instead of 3 times, so we won't have to invest as much of OUR time.'

If you are looking for a church that can do a lot FOR you, you're going about it all wrong. Churches are not here to provide meals for your family when you lose a loved one. They are not here to provide activities for your teenager or to babysit your children. They are not here to make you feel good. While all of those things probably do happen at some time at any given church, the church has a much more important purpose.

The church (meaning the people, not the building) has a two-fold mission: 1) to worship the One true God and Jesus, His only Son; and 2) to show the world how much God loves them. The church meets together to hear from God's Word and then to do what that Word says so we can make the Love of God visible to the world.

A church is not found by 'shopping.'

It is found by listening to God.

...Is His Word spoken from the pulpit?

...Is His love stirring in the people?

...How can I serve in this place?

It's not about shopping.

It's about being obedient.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

El's Kitty Pictures

El loves to take pictures of our cats. Her camera is full of them. A few nights ago, she took one of Grisabella on the back of my rocking chair, so I thought I'd check out the collection of kitty pics.

This can't be comfortable.

Mrs. Jones likes the eldest's bed.

She also likes El's bed.

Gris likes to hide in El's bed. (Awww....)

I know...this borders on terminally cute.

Mrs. Jones is not fond of having her picture taken. You have to catch her unaware.
(go back and look at her eyes in the previous pictures, if you don't believe me!)
She usually looks like this:

This is about as close as Gris and Mrs. Jones ever get without spitting at each other.
Look, Gris' tail is almost touching Jonesy's back.

Uh, oh ... terminal cuteness again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fair Trade

I am a notary public. A church member came into my office this morning with a handful of gorgeous flowers to trade for having something notarized. That's what I call a fair exchange!

The church kitchen has all kinds of vases in the cabinets, so I went looking for something big enough to hold these.

In my search, I came upon an odd glass to be found in a Baptist church kitchen: a pilsner glass. I'm assuming someone used it as a vase...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Some tasks that we are called on to do are just more fun than others.

Take this one, for instance:

I hand-copied this map (and then cut it up, as directed) for the children's Sunday School large group to use at some point in September. It was fun and I enjoyed doing it.

Other tasks aren't as much fun. Some are boring, some may be heart-breaking, or they may just be disagreeable. But still they are MY tasks: things that must be done in my specific area: things that are my responsibility.

That's true for all of us, in every aspect of our lives, whether it's concerning our vocations or our private lives. It's up to each one of us to do the things that must be done. We can grumble and complain the whole time, or we can use the opportunity to bring glory to God.

My Grandma Nell had this poem framed above her kitchen sink:
Thank God for dirty dishes.
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry
we're eating very well.
For by the stack of evidence
I shouldn't want to fuss.
With home and health and happiness
God's been good to us.

There is a world of wisdom there. Thankfulness is not practiced nearly as much as it should be.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sign of the Times

I got a really good laugh when I went to wake Em up this morning!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chips Ahoy

I made Jambalaya for dinner tonight. I had to make a trip to the produce stand to get an onion and a bell pepper first, though. While I was there, I saw some really nice tomatoes, so I got a basket. When I got home I wished I had picked up some chips, because those tomatoes were gonna make some great salsa. The girls decided that since they had experience making chips last week, they would do it again.

They also decided that they wanted round chips instead of the traditional triangles.
Little bitty balls of corn masa made the rounds you see to the left below.

Here are some on the griddle. (they tried going straight to the oil from the press, but it doesn't work well: they puff too much.)

After the griddle, they went to the oil.
(You can see one of the few triangles they made at first.)

Then to the paper towel to drain.

While they were doing the chip thing, I made salsa.

Very tasty!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Half Made

I just walked into my room and noticed that my bed was only made on one side. I had been interrupted in the process of making it up and hadn't been back into my room since the interruption. I'm glad I went back in when I did.

What kind of statement would it make to one's mate to only make up one's own side of the bed!

Monday, July 13, 2009


There is something very nice about being surprised by your own favorite music. I put my mp3 player on shuffle tonight while I was sewing and heard some things I'd forgotten were on there. Jim Brickman, Pink Floyd, Third Day, Selah, James Taylor, Norah Jones, Eileen Ivers.

Some are old favorites, some are new favorites.

Some have great vocals, some have no vocals at all.

I love that music is a language all its own.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Evening Storm

I sat outside on the front porch for an hour this evening. There was a thunderstorm passing our way and I couldn't resist. I took a cup of tea and a shawl and pulled a rocking chair close to the house so I wouldn't get too damp.

I've never paid that much attention to the different voices of thunder. There's the booming, rolling roar that is felt as much as heard, and there's also the quiet, rolling whisper that seems to go on and on. When the storm was right on top of me, it sounded more like a hammer shattering a gigantic pane of glass. The peals of thunder would overlap just behind the flashes of lightning.

The storm finally passed and the voices of the thunder were replaced by the voices of the birds. I could hear several jays screaming at each other in a tree up the lane. There were 3 mourning doves on the wire along the lane... not together, but solitary distances apart. The whoooo whoooo they called seemed the perfect sound to follow the pounding of the thunder earlier.

Those birds were all at a distance from me. The hummers were not.

My rocking chair was about 4 feet from the hummingbird feeder. While the rain was still pouring from the sky, the first hummer arrived. He buzzed up to the feeder and was immediately joined by another who beeped at him and they both zipped off. In the passage of an hour, those 2 and at least one other made stops at the feeder. Sometimes one would drink quietly alone, and other times one would run another one off. When they whirred off, they would head to one of the pecan trees and light on the end of a leaf. They aren't heavy enough to make the leaf stem bend.

It was such a sensory experience to sit out there for that time. I want to keep the sound and the feel of it in my heart, just in case I need it.....

Update: El just pointed out the back window. I had to add these:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Really Big Bug

When I came back from lunch today, this guy was at the door to greet me.

To give you some perspective, here's my foot next to him.

I'm glad this guy doesn't bite or sting!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fear and Faith

As I sit and write this, I'm not speaking from my own experience, but from observing friends around me. I have a friend who, at this very moment is at UAB while her 12 year old son is receiving cancer treatments. I have another friend who is wondering which of his co-workers will be unemployed by the end of the day. There are things to be afraid of in this world.

And yet, God is in control. He knows the answers. Nothing surprises Him. He can do ANYTHING!

Isn't that an amazing thought!!


...the possibilities are absolutely endless...

So what are we supposed to do?

Simply whatever He asks us to do. And what is He asking me to do? you ask.

It's right there in His Word to us:

Trust Him

Love each other

Don't hold on to the world too tightly,
because we're just passing through,
after all.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Yesterday, I saw 2 very interesting and totally unrelated things. Well, being in a rural location probably works in my favor. We'll say "rurality" links them.

The first was on my way to work. I think the reason it made such a big impression on me was because it was turning left in front of me and I had to slow down for the entire thing to clear my lane. It was a large pickup truck pulling a big camper trailer pulling a boat on a trailer. It was more like a train than a truck. Which leads me to a question: Is it really legal (or safe) to pull that many things behind one vehicle? If so, is there a limit other than the one imposed by the horsepower of the towing vehicle? If he had wanted and his truck could handle it, could this guy have added another trailer full of 4 wheelers or dirt bikes to his train? It just made me wonder.

The other interesting sight was on the way to the high school to get Em's reading list (that we just found out about!) I was on Cook's Corner Road and a hawk flew right over the hood of the car. I see them on utility wires quite often, but not usually that close or that low. The thing that really caught my attention wasn't so much the hawk itself, but the snake it was carrying! I am SO thankful that the hawk was able to keep a grip on it and not drop it on my hood!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Last week, a little girl came to my office. She was very excited. (actually, "bouncing off the wall, about to explode" is probably a better description than "excited") She'd had an idea. She had been saving money in a piggy bank for a special purchase, but she wondered what would happen if she gave it to God instead.

She thought she had about $40 and decided that she would give it to the building fund. When the decision was made, she got her mother to help her count it out. The total came to $62. (God was already blessing her decision to give to Him!) She was able to give her original gift idea of $40 , and STILL had $22 for the special purchase.

She was going to miss Sunday because her family was going on vacation, but she couldn't wait to give her gift. Her mom brought her to the church on Friday afternoon so she could give it before Sunday. You could feel the excitement radiating from her as she dropped the envelope into the safe. As she closed the drawer, she turned to her mom and said, "I wonder how much there will be on Sunday!" Her mom, a wise woman, replied, "There's just no telling what God can do!!"

There really is no telling what God would do if we were all as willing... as excited... as delighted... as this child was to be able to give a gift to God.

So, do you want to know what God did?

The total given just this week to the building fund was $15,008.00!! I don't believe it's a coincidence that another family chose this week to make a large gift to the fund. That child's sacrificial gift and that family's sacrificial gift were each part of God's big picture. And those were not the only gifts - -and they all came together on this one day as a great blessing.

God's timing is perfect. I suspect this is a lesson that one little girl will never forget. There's just no telling what God can do.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Expectant Ferns

My ferns must know it's going to rain today. Instead of hanging in their usual places on the front porch, they are now sitting expectantly in the grass just past the overhang of the roof.