Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy New Year!

We may not have had a white Christmas,
but the frost was so heavy this morning
it looked like a light coating of snow!
The sun reflecting on the frosty ground looked like
millions of glittering diamonds.
(If you click on the picture,
it should enlarge so you can see the sparkles.)

A few of the leaves that remained were edged in frost particles.
With the temperature dipping down to 19* F last night,
these leaves will probably not last long!

Each blade of grass was thick with the coating of frost.

The book of Job, chapter 37:10 says,
"By the breath of God frost is given..."

Well, that kind of dispels the Jack Frost myth,
doesn't it?!!!

I can just imagine God blowing out His breath,
and the ice crystals forming.

Hmmmm,  it sounds to me that whoever created "Jack Frost"
had an understanding of how frost was created!
What do you think?


(Written on Christmas Eve)


Link-ups to this post:
and


Next week, my other blog Rock4Today will be back
as we return from the little vacation Jenny Matlock has given us!




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A few Christmas scenes from our house:

The wreath on our front door
The nativity scene on our front porch
The Christmas carolers by our front door



We are looking forward to having family together to celebrate at our house on Christmas Eve


FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

If you've never been to Branson at Christmas, enjoy a few scenes from
"An Ozark Mountain Christmas"
with the singing done by my friend, Mark Christian.






Linking with Jenny Matlock, Tracy, Laura, and Charlotte.

If you'd like to see my latest posting of Names for God, click on this link:  Rock4Today.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wierd, Wacky, and Wonderful Instruments!

On today's Joy4Today, I want to feature the unusual musical instruments
that are the invention of my brother-in-law, Lorne Collie. 
 He takes anything, ...and I do mean ANYTHING,
...and can turn it into a musical instrument!  
Here are a few examples:


Here he is with one of his cookie tin creations.
I think this is a moose antler.  Quite unique, eh?!!

This is his ax/pick creation.
The violin duet:
 Helen's instrument made out of an ice scraper 
and Lorne's made from a "peace pipe"

This duo has been making music in spite of some trying circumstances.
In 1985, my sister Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer,
and underwent a radical mastectomy.
She said 1986 was her toughest year in that battle.
She told me that one of the things that she credits her success
in this battle, along with her faith in God, was maintaining a positive attitude,
and surrounding herself with cheerful, encouraging people.


The stop sign guitar!

The snow show instrument.

And one of Lorne's favorites, the snow shovel electric guitar.

Lorne has his own story of healing as well.
In 1988 he suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma
for an extended period of time.
It was after he recovered that he began making all these unusual instruments.
I asked him if God appeared to him and gave him these ideas
while he was unconscious.
His reply made me laugh.
"No," he said, "I just had a lot of time to think. 
My brain never stopped working even though I couldn't respond outwardly."


Lorne's work room

HOPE, that's what it's all about.

I hope this encourages you not to give up if you are going through tough times.
The Bible says that "with God all things are possible."



Linking with Laura for Brag on God Friday and
Charlotte for "Spiritual Sundays"


Visit my Rock4Today blog for this week's encouraging name for God!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Feeding the Hungry

This morning I had the wonderful privilege of watching the joy on the faces of the realtors of North Arkansas as they helped load up the food they had purchased for 10 area food banks.  Please allow me to share that joy with you!

When we arrived, the fork lift driver was already hard at work unloading the big truck.
Gary found the person in charge to find out where we were to be in the pick up line.
All the cartons were unloaded before any food bank representatives picked up their share.

Then the realtors jumped in and began loading trucks, vans, and trailers with the food that they had graciously provided.  Representatives from area banks also helped with the loading.

At least ten area food banks were given donations, plus area shelters and the Salvation Army!

Then came our turn to receive a donation for the food bank alliance we represented.


We took the delivery to a church that graciously shares its space for an area food distribution center.

This is inside one of the food rooms.  This volunteer is showing me the empty shelves after supplying 96 families with food the day before.

My husband Gary wheeling in the food we picked up which the realtors had purchased.  We are blessed to have a great bunch of realtors who stock the food bank shelves every Christmas Season!

Just a sampling of the foods...

And of course, peanut butter and ramen noodles!

Thank you to the realtors for donating their time as well as food at this Christmas Season.Thank you to this church which so graciously provides space for a food room.  And thank you to the many volunteers from the area churches that work together in this food alliance to feed the hungry in our area. It was our joy to be able to have a tiny part in delivery!  






This reminds me of the words of Jesus from Matthew 25 where Jesus says, 
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

From the words of some wonderful 6th graders as quoted in a former post,
EVERYBODY CAN DO SOMETHING!







Monday, November 28, 2011

Finding the Keys

I don't know about you, but at our house we sometimes have trouble finding the right key.  We have a "key drawer", but it seems that the key we need has not found its way there!  ...And so the hunt begins until we find the place where they have been laid!



This morning as I was doing my First Place 4 Health Bible Study,
the verses from Deuteronomy 30:19-20 jumped out at me:

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death,
between blessings and curses. 
Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. 
Oh, that you would choose life,
so that you and your descendants might live! 
You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God,
obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. 
THIS IS THE KEY TO YOUR LIFE..."

My choices are the keys!
What choices do I need to make today?

Well, I know one of the choices I need to make,
and that is to put good food into my body!
(This is especially applicable after some of the rich
foods that were consumed over Thanksgiving!)

The First Place "Balanced Living" study says it like this:
"We can choose to treat our body as God's temple or as a trash receptacle."

Wow!  That's really saying it like it is!
May God help me in finding the keys to good health
by making right food choices today!






Sunday, November 27, 2011

"I guess you'll do!"

"You're not exactly what I wanted, but I guess you'll do!"

Have you ever been told those words?

Not exactly a morale builder, are they?!!

The good news is, God never says those words to us!

He says, "I made you.  I want you.  I have a special job for you!"

 "For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things
He planned for us long ago."



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Defender

Okay, so I just wrote a pretty heavy subject on my Rock4Today blog,
so I need to do something a bit on the lighter side on this one!


This is me at the CRAFTSFEST this past week,
where I enjoyed visiting with many people
as I had my rocks, cards, and "Joy in the Mourning" book for sale.


This was the post I was planning on doing for
based on the words from Isaiah 51:22,
"Your God and Defender."





And this is my brave little dog
that thinks he alone is my defender!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Beauty of Small Things

I have a friend who revels in the beauty of small bouquets.  Nothing makes her happier than to present her with a few tiny flowers in a teensy vase.

To give you an idea of the size,
this little vase is actually an empty vial,
and is only about 1 and 1/4 inches high!


When thinking about how much my friend appreciates these tiny acts of kindness, I began to think of the significance of seeing beauty in other small things - small creatures, whether human or animal.




Then I thought about deeds that we do for others that we deem unworthy of attention, but are beautiful - little acts of kindness; maybe brushing someone's hair, tying their shoe, holding a door, or even giving a smile.  Tiny random acts that show love can mean more than costly gifts or large gestures.  Things we all can do.



Gary - Giving words of reassurance to his Mom

It's often the little things that count.  Little seemingly insignificant things.  I need to remember that today.  Small things that are "not about me" - things that are major to someone else; things that put a smile on their face or ease their fears.



Shoebox filled to be delivered by Samaritan's Purse


One of the small things that I can do today - fill a shoebox with items that will bless a child this Christmas!


Linking with Charlotte's Spiritual Sundays and Laura's "Not About Me" November

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seeing God in Nature

   I've been taking part in Laura Krokos' "Not About Me" challenge.
Today as I thought about what to post, I thought about Job.
Job probably thought a lot about himself and his terrible circumstances
until God showed up and opened his eyes to the wonders around him.

Today, I just want to look at some of the awesome
handiwork of God that is near me.
If you wish to enlarge a picture,
just click on it!

Swans and Canadian geese at our neighborhood duck pond

God's beauty in the clouds

God's beauty shining at Buffalo National River

 God's beauty showing in ivy growing on our oak tree!


Sometimes I just need to remind myself that
I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place!
Taking time to enjoy God's wonderful nature
takes my mind off ME and reminds me
how BIG and how AWESOME God is!


For more about the greatness of our God,
click here to check out my other blog with
the Names of God on Rocks!




Linking with Winsome Wednesdays and Women Living Well Wednesdays,
Alphabe-Thursdays, Brag on God Fridays, and Spiritual Sundays.


 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not About Me - Keeping balanced!

Some of the best advice I received in Bible College could be summed up in two short words from  L.E.Maxwell, the founder of the Prairie Bible Institute. 
What were those two words? 
KEEP BALANCED!

This morning before my feet hit the floor and I was soaking up the last bit of comfort of being under warm covers in a soft bed, my thoughts turned to the "Not About Me" challenge from Laura.  Caregivers immediately came to my mind - caregivers of all kinds, those who are not only carrying their own load, but are carrying the burden of meeting others needs, many of them having to do it 24/7. 



Taking care of Grandma Reba

I thought of grown children who care for their aging parents, many of them still having their own children at home that need them.  I've been there -  holding a nursing job while trying to juggle the every day crises that arise with teenagers,  aging relatives needing help with shopping, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, doctor appointments, and general care, as well as trying to be a help-mate to a busy husband involved in a political career and the challenges of owning his own business.

As I lay there, I thought about parents who have special needs children.  As a Home Health nurse, I saw many of these parents s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d thin with all the caregiving requirements.  I saw spouses putting their own needs on the back burner as they were stretched thin emotionally and exhausted physically - "looking out not only for their own needs, but for the needs of others" (Philippians 2:4).

So, when I write this "Not About Me" note, ...what about them?  For some of them it's been "Not About Me" for years, and they are about to fall apart.  They need some time apart to care for their own bodies or they will not be able to provide care for others. 

Did Jesus have anything to say to caregivers?  I think so.  In Matthew 11:28 He urges people to come to Him to find rest.  In Mark 9:2-13 Jesus does this as He takes Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain away from all the demands of ministering, and reveals His true identity to them.

Taking time to spend with God and His Word, making sure I eat right, get plenty of rest, and plenty of exercise - that's taking care of myself so that I can take care of others.  That is actually part of what "NOT ABOUT ME" is all about! 
But like Mr. Maxwell challenged us, sometimes the hardest thing in life is to 
"KEEP BALANCED!"





  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Not About Me" - Putting Love into Action!


This morning I'm glad I didn't give in to the temptation
to crawl back into my warm comfortable bed.
One of my husband's employees says,
"Don't let yourself fall in love with your bed!" 

That sounds like it came straight out of the book of Proverbs,
doesn't it?!!!

Why am I so glad I made myself stay up?
Well, for one thing, I wouldn't have been able to have
 any alone-time with God if I had crawled back in bed.

And I probably wouldn't have seen that verse
at the top of the page.
It was on the calender, and caught my attention
when I flipped the page over to the new month.

As I saw it, I asked God how He wanted me
to put love into action today.
I didn't have to wait long -
A call from Gary,
A granddaughter out of school with an injury,
A grandmother needed!

How have you put love into action today?


Linking with Jenny Matlock, Tracy, and Laura.

To follow my A to Z names for God, click here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Lively stones!"




"Lively Stones!"

What are "lively stones"?
I didn't think stones were living things!

It had been a long while since I had read out of my old Bible
that I used back in my Bible College days up in Canada.
It's the old King James Version, full of "ye's", "thee's", and "thou's".
But, for some reason, I picked it up this morning
and opened to this verse in 1 Peter 2:5:
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 

So, because of my curiosity about what a "lively stone" could be,
I got out about 5 other translations to check it out.
I was amazed as I studied, to find out how this related
to yesterday's "Not About Me" challenge about "The Sacrifice of JOY".

The New Century Version helped a lot
when I also read the verse preceding it.
"Come to the Lord Jesus,
the "Stone" that lives...
You also are like living stones,
so let yourselves be used to build a spiritual temple -
to be holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God.
He will accept those sacrifices through Jesus Christ."

My New King James Study Version by Thomas Nelson
had footnotes that further explained it:
"Stones here refers to stones that are shaped and
ready for use in construction, as opposed to natural rock...
All believers are priests who have the privilege and responsibility
of offering spiritual sacrifices to God."

What are those "spiritual sacrifices" that we can offer?
Guess what?
At least some of them are those mentioned in yesterday's blog:
the "sacrifice of joy", the "sacrifice of praise", and
the "sacrifice of Thanksgiving"!



Linking for the first time with Winsome Wednesdays,
and also with Laura's Brag on God Friday, and  Spiritual Sundays. 
To see "Rocks that Talk", check out my ROCK4TODAY blog!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How can JOY be a sacrifice?!!

"I will offer sacrifices of joy..."


This morning as I went downstairs to spend some time with the Lord,
the "Not About Me" challenge that was given to us by Laura of
Brag on God Friday was on my mind.
I didn't have to wonder long about what God wanted to show me.
My Bible opened up to Psalm 27,
and my eyes immediately fell on verse 6 as quoted above.

God had spoken to me before about the
"sacrifices of praise" mentioned in Hebrews 13:6 that says,
"...Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God,
that is, the fruit of our lips,
giving thanks to His Name."
And now here it was again.  Was it the same thing?

 God had previously shown me that when my life with its situations
and challenges seemed out of control, they would come under His control
when I would praise and worship Him.
He would give me His peace as I placed my thoughts on Him,
and He would work out all things for my good.

Looking at notes in my study Bible, I read that although we
no longer have a need to bring the thanksgiving sacrifices to God described
in the book of Leviticus, we are to offer spiritual sacrifices.
According to Hosea 14:2, we do this by "taking words with us",
and using our lips to speak His praise outloud to Him.

So, to me it looks like the "sacrifice of joy"
and the "sacrifice of praise" are really the New Testament version
of the "sacrifice of Thanksgiving".
How appropriate is that for this season?!!!
As we praise Him for WHO HE IS
and celebrate the blessings He has given us,
He fills us with His JOY and STRENGTH!

In giving up my rights to pout, be discouraged,
or nourish negative feelings, it is a sacrifice.
I have a right to feel that way if I want to dwell on it.
But what a trade-off if I let go of it and praise God instead!
When I praise Him, I take my hands off my problems
and give Him room to work.
JOY instead of self-pity!
JOY instead of gloom and doom!
I don't know about you, but today I choose JOY!

And that's my JOY4TODAY!


To see Names of God on rocks,
hop on over to my ROCK4TODAY blog!


Linking with Women Living Well Wednesdays,
Brag on God Fridays,
and
Spiritual Sundays.







Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joplin - 5 months later

It had been about two months since we were in Joplin, and as Gary and I went back last week, it was a very encouraging visit.  The last time we were there, I could not bear to look at a lot of the damage.  (The Joplin tornado came soon after we had just seen the flooding devastation along the Mississippi River and the tornado destruction in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.) 

I'd like to share a few pictures with you of this visit, and pass on a story of survival that was shared with us.

 
Piles of rubble were evident on many parking lots
that were in the process of being cleared. 
The trees, although having put out new growth,
still looked mishapen and showed signs of trauma.


Evidence of new construction abounded with multiple port-a-potties
being one of the good indicators at most building sites!


Rows and rows of FEMA trailers gave credence
to the number of people that had lost their homes.
Someone  told me that FEMA furnishes the trailer
rent free for 18 months to give them time to get re-established.


In contrast to all the rubble and construction,
a newly opened Wendy's stood out like a shiny new copper penny.


The manager shared this story with us.
On the evening of the tornado as the sirens were screaming
the warning of the impending disaster,
she spoke to her employees by phone.
Her gut instinct instructed them to huddle together
in the men's bathroom, instead of in the walk-in cooler which
was the usual designated safe place.
She was praying to God for His protection 
as she and her husband drove to the restaurant.
A semi-truck/trailer lay on its side
where the dining room had been.
The only part of the building that remained
was the men's bathroom which contained
seven frightened employees - none with serious injuries!
Truly God had protected them.


Of course, no town in America is replete without its Walmart Store!
The motto on this trailer sums up what we saw in Joplin:
"Rebuilding Together"

A couple of Bible verses that seem appropriate
are from Jeremiah 31:3-4 where God says,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness,
I will build you up again
and you will be REBUILT..."


To see some names of God from A to Z,
check out my Rock4Today blog!



Linking with Women Living Well Wednesdays, Alphabe-Thursdays, Brag on God Fridays, and Spiritual Sundays.