Thursday, October 30, 2008

Willingness - Pt 1

We all know people who are willing to jump in and participate in things. Sometimes the purpose is quite casual and other times it is for a very important cause. Being willing can be an admirable trait. This does mean you are setting yourself up for the opportunity to succeed, to fumble through, or even, but hopefully not, to fail in what you are doing. When we say "I'm in on this", we ultimately don't know what the path will bring.

There were many who said "I'm in on this" throughout the Bible. Read this passage - Mark 1:1-9

You gotta love the Book of Mark. It is from a regular man's view. The shortest gospel book is straight up. Real talk for real people. We are going to look at John the Baptist for this post.

You don't find it here, but in Luke 1, John's parents, Elizabeth and Zacharias, were described as childless and past their time of being able to conceive. They were God fearing people - rock solid believers of their day - Zacharias was a priest in the Temple. They had told God "I'm in on this". John was miraculously conceived and born into this Godly home. His parents were full of the Spirit of God and prophesied. John grew up a PK.

At some point in his life, John decided to say "I'm in on this" to God. It had to come to that - no one could decide it for him. It was prophesied of John that he was to be a prophet of the Highest, preparing His way, imparting the knowledge of Salvation... Wow! What an honor! What a calling! What a ministry!

Dare I say that I think that John's "ministry" did not go the way he imagined it would. Yes, he was willing, but did he envision life in the desert, eating bugs and bee jelly, wearing camel hair clothing and looking like a wild man? His spirit grew strong and he cried out for people to repent and be baptised, but many thought he was kind of scary, or maybe on the nutty side. This was not how the religion of the day looked or acted.

How long was this to go on? When would the time come for him to proclaim the way of the Lord? Well, it did come...and it is covered in Mark 1:1-9. All that preparation in his life leading up to such a brief moment in time - the water baptism of the Christ. How long did that take? Maybe 5 minutes? The next time you hear about John is in Mark 6 which recounts how he had been taken prisoner and killed at King Herod's command.

I see several important lessons in John's life and in his example of his willingness. These are soul-searching, motive-analyzing questions:
1 - Time is needed to prepare for service to God. What's my priority - am I still willing?
2 - It doesn't matter how much time a work lasts. Each is an integral position that someone must fill. Few missions will cover a lifetime, most of them are for short seasons. Is my pride in the way - am I still willing?
3 - It won't always make sense how God is going to accomplish His purpose through you but He sees the big picture and you can trust Him. Where's my faith - am I still willing?
4 - There will be people who won't understand what you do for Him. They may make fun of you or even hate you for what you are doing. What do I believe - am I still willing?
5 - The ultimate sacrifice may be in your future. You could die because of your commitment to your God. Do I desire God's truth and righteousness to prevail - am I still willing?

There will be more posts on this topic. Maybe the next one will be about Ruth.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Glorious carrots

I finally harvested my carrots. That sounds impressive, doesn't it? It's just the opposite, really. I mean, it's not like I had a successful garden this year. Everything I planted in the ground petered out on me. No onions, no peppers, no tomatoes. My lettuce grew in a planter, but is was not that tasty. The beets did nothing but grow big greens - eeuw - not a beet green fan. So my last hope for home grown produce were my carrots.

You probably remember seeing ones that were picked a few weeks ago. They tasted fabulous! I cut them up and put them in our big dinner-sized salads. No store bought carrot ever tasted so good.

My dad said that carrots take a long time to grow. I wanted to wait as long as possible before I picked them. Now that we're getting frosty at night, I thought it was time. Here's the rest of what I wound up with...

Container gardening is an interesting concept. It definately has it's drawbacks. Seed gets planted in a small area so it gets packed in tightly. I have rabbits in my yard, so I wanted to keep the leafy greens up on the porch. The containers seemed like the perfect solution. I think I have to continue to experiment with this before I get it right!

Regardless, I was so excited to pull my carrots out of the dirt and see what was there. I had 28 carrots remaining. They are of varying sizes but they all smelled so carroty-good! After washing them up and lining them up in a camera-ready row, here's what I harvested...

Aren't they awesome!?!?!? The smallest one doesn't even really qualify as a bite of food! But it is a carrot! And that one looks like a headless, legless body... a carrot! There's one that is kinda spiraled and most of them are pretty normal looking. All carrots! My carrots!! Have I said it enough times before? I'll say it again - It doesn't take much to make me happy!

I'm not sure there are even enough here to make a carrot cake! That was alot of work and growing time for a couple dozen carrots. They will taste awesome in a couple of dinners, though. If it was the year 1820 and I were trying to stock my root cellar for the winter, my family would definately not make it til Spring. I will try gardening again next year. Maybe I can grow enough for a main course and a dessert!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Legal Lingo


scoff-law [skawf-law]
1. a person who flouts the law, esp. one who fails to pay fines owed.
2. a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.

This is mostly identified with people who get traffic tickets and don't plead, or go to traffic court and get their infraction resolved. The DMV then flags your license with Scofflaw, so the cops can take appropriate action if they find you.

Why does the legal world always have to be so ominous? Because it is constantly dealing with right and wrong. Mostly convincing people who are wrong, although they think they are right, that they are actually wrong.

If you need a lawyer, then seek one out. But if it is in your control, it is better to keep your nose clean, and do not be a scofflaw!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The best (blanks) ever...were made by (blank)

Let me fill in this for you before the imaginations run wild. "The best pies ever...were made by my grandmother." We can all fill in accordingly. We all have our cooking heroes that we adore. But, it is a no-contest answer for me...and everyone in my family who ate them would agree... Grandma's pies were it.

She could cook great meals, but her baking was amazing. I never saw her use a recipe. She just threw in some of this and that, and then added enough liquid until it felt right. Rolled it, pricked it, baked it in her anciently old oven. It's unbelievable really, since baking is so fiddley and exact. Her crust was flaky and tender and whatever she chose to put inside was always perfectly spiced. Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I don't know if anyone learned the pie secrets from her. There were no special ingredients, no family recipe handed down from generation to generation. I seem to remember flour, lard, salt, and water. The measurements? Your guess is as good as mine. She only had a son and a daughter and I know my Dad didn't learn how to make her pies! Did my aunt? I don't know. She never seemed like a baker type; I don't remember ever eating a pie made by her. I made an apple pie today (GF of course) and couldn't help but reminisce about Grandma.

Somehow, she knew how to make things special. The pie is in the oven...what do we do with that leftover dough? Make cinnamon sticks with it, of course! These were way better than cinnamon toast or cinnamon rolls. They were made with her crust, afterall! I attempted to make some with my leftover pie crust.

I know, they don't look like much, but they are really good! Here's what to do.
Take your leftover crust, shape it into a rectangle. Dot butter along the center out towards the edge, but not all the way to the edge. Top with sugar and cinnamon. Roll into a tube. Pinch ends closed. Place on baking sheet and cook until golden brown. When you take it out, you can cut it into circles (like cookies) or leave as a log. Eat it nice and warm with a big glass of cold milk.

Try it - You won't be disappointed! Maybe you will become the one who makes the best (blank) ever.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Today is the big day! The family's October events celebration. We have SEVEN birthdays or anniversaries to party over. Yes, SEVEN. That's the equivalent of someone being born or married every 4.3 days during the month! But next year it will be EIGHT events, since one baby was just born this year, but he will have to wait to join in on this party.

So here is my post of joy to all you October people..........
Mar. Happy birthday! Sorry my present was so late!
Norm. Happy birthday, BIL!
Renee. Happy birthday! Half way there to baby time!
Laura & Nick. Happy anniversary! I still have to get over to see your house!
Dad. Happy birthday! You are the best; I love you so much!
Bob & Melissa. Happy anniversary! Love you guys!
Bob. Happy birthday, my brother!
and last, but not least.......
Ethan. Welcome to this world! See you at Christmas.

Now it's time to make a pie for the party. ttfn

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

50's Pink

I don't know exactly why, but the era from 1955 to 1964 seems to be the perfect time in history. Maybe because people had more dignity and respect. Could be the last ten years that the nation was actually God-fearing as a whole. Or the incredible cars that were made. Innocence and doing right was good. Pink and turquoise were the "in-colors". You have to admit, they just don't make stuff like that anymore.

My love of the 50's mostly stays in the kitchen. Take a look at these babies:

I found them at an antique store in Vermont. They weren't too expensive because they had a little bit of rust on the base of one of the canisters, so I snatched 'em up. Once they were in my house, I cleaned them (don't have a cow, they aren't valuable) and started using them in my cupboard to hold stuff like boxes of Jello and tea bags and egg noodles. Well, that's not what they house now. I actually have flour (GF of course) in the flour tin, white sugar in the sugar tin, brown sugar in the coffee tin and baking soda in the tea tin. OK, I know, it's not exactly right, but it's the way I like it!

Now, check out this stuff:

These came along after I started picking up various 50's kitchen items. It all started with the Kitchenaid 325 watt stand mixer. My wonderful boss found it and got it for me for my birthday one year. I almost passed out when I saw it! What a gift! It has proudly stayed on my counter ever since. When I saw the blender for sale at Kohls, it was a must-get. Every Kitchenaid appliance needs a friend! The yellow timer and the turquoise toothpick holder came out of storage and made their homes next to the big boys.

The latest find at Target:

Can you believe they were selling pink pots and pans? I couldn't, until I bought them! Now that the inside of my cabinets looks like a 50's cadillac with all that pink and chrome in there, I just can't help but smile when I cook. It doesn't take much to make me happy!

There is more nostalgia to share with you, but it will be another post. I have to remove my ham steak from my pink pan and drain my peas from my chrome pot. Ta ta for now!

Stampin Up party

If you missed the party last night, you missed a whole lotta fun. We had eight ladies all stamping and talking and just having a fun & creative night out!

At the next party in November, we will be making Christmas cards. It's going to be another great night. More details to come soon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little Eliana

Do you want someone to pray for? Some friends of ours had a baby girl early Sunday morning, and today she's having open heart surgery. See her beautiful pictures and read about her story here:

We are all praying for her to get through this surgery, and be a testimony for God throughout her life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alias names

I thought this was really fun! We can make up alias names. Try it!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put “The” in front)

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)

9. SWEETIE-PIE NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy)

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names)

What's your alias?


Color is everywhere. We perceive it easiest with our eyes, but color is in sound, it is in an emotion, it is in our very being. We take color for surrounds us constantly. If you are sighted, you have a perception of what color is.

How can you hear a color? I'm not really sure how it happenes, but it does, or else we would never have heard of an entire music genre called "The Blues". A happy sounding song might be perceived as yellow. We also know what it means if someone describes a band, or music, as being "dark".

Marketers are experts on using color to get you to do what they want. Fast food restaurants are full of brightly colored decor, like red and yellow. These colors excite your emotions and cause you to eat faster and open up the tables for more diners. Blue has been proven to be calming, and orange (blue's compliment) is not.

I have been thinking about this concept for some time. I think it warrants more study. My favorite color is dark purple. That color means something to my being. What is your favorite color?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Artistic Frenzy

I have been in a card making frenzy lately. Maybe it's my new stamp sets, or the change of the season, or the fact I need to give away a bunch of them real soon so the need for them is great. Yesterday, my desk was chaotic but I managed to squeeze out 20 cards out of the mess. Yes, that's right, tuh-whun-tee.

One thing I like to do is make one design in a whole bunch of different colors. It amazes me to see the same layout and design with each one, technically the same, yet saying something unique. A red card is going to invoke a different reaction than a green one or a purple one. Some people like yellow, but others are drawn to blue.

A fun thing about creating is being able to give the finished piece to someone. I already know who will get the green card, and who will flip over the turquoise one.

When a card is finished and I am satisfied enough with the results to pass it on to a recipient, the creative cycle is complete. Artists have a need to create, but what good is it if you cannot pass it on? Passion drives you to develop your skills, but we eventually have to have purpose.

The incredible painter, Helen Van Wyk, would say on her teaching programs, "No one will ever appreciate the labor intensity behind your work. Once you can accept that, being an artist is tolerable. I will take hours to complete your piece, but that will never be realized by anyone except you. Your work will speak for itself." Even as accomplished as she was, she spoke from experience. There's alot to learn from her words. She created with passion and with purpose.

What is your frenzy? Where is your passion? Is it in music, dance, cooking, design, crafts, painting, writing? Have you found a purpose?

Now I have to start thinking about battening down for the night. My alarm will be set for get-up-when-it's-still-dark obnoxiously early tomorrow so I can get to church an hour before the doors open for the C3 conference. Why? All I can say is "choir practice". So much for sleeping in on a day off from work. At least there is a purpose involved! Ta-ta.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Creative chaos

I love creativity. It is so much a part of who I am that I don't realize how much it shows. The upside of it is having something come from it. When the creative sparks fly, you gotta start the fire! Sometimes that fire will make chaos. Take a look at my workspace to see what I mean (click on the picture for a bigger view):

I have to admit, there's not a lot of wiggle room on it right now. There are a whole lot of sparks flying, though!

At the end, when you wind up with something like this coming out of all that chaos,

it is all worth it.

The next Stampin' Up party is on October 21st at 7 p.m. If you want more information, leave me a message. We'd love to have you there!
Let's be creative together. . . but with less chaos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Calling all creative Christ-followers

If you are interested in creative ministry, this is the conference you need to get to:

My church is holding an incredible conference on Monday, and you can read what Pastor Buddy has to say about it here:

We have amazing opportunities in the age of communication. Consider attending C3. Come out and be charged up. I will be there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why.... gasoline $3.39 in Clifton Park and $3.61 in Latham?
...when we would get the reports of the price of oil going up and see it reflected at the pump, sometimes more than once a day, but we do not see the same process as the price goes down?
...does Sparkie not care about any of his toys until you pick one up and say it's yours? it so hard to get up on on a work day and so hard to sleep in on a day off? the papers you need to get your hands on seem to magically disappear and then show up again when you don't need them anymore?
...does every incoming line of the phone ring at the same time?
...are "green" shopping totes made out of not-"green" plastic?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dear Beloved one...

Did you ever get those e-mails where someone from a far away place tells you that if you can help them release eight hundred million pounds, they will share it with you? Come on, honestly! Those spams are getting REALLY old. And why are you calling me a beloved one? Is it because you have no idea what my name is? And if you are some hot shot banking professional in London, why in the world do you think I can be of any assistance to you? They are crazy bits of bait, aren't they?

I am wondering how similiar those spams are with our prayers. Hey God, I got this really incredible thing in mind, but I can't pull it off unless you pull some strings for me. I will call you by the cookie cutter name that everyone else calls you, if you don't mind. Hey, I'll even share my good fortunes with you if you come through. He's not impressed with any of that. God isn't a genie in a bottle. His Word never promised instant blessing or an easy path.

He did say that He would be with us always, and that His word would give us wisdom and understanding to get through this life. Sometimes it doesn't take much wisdom to figure out what is true and what is bait.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mouse damage

This is a deceptive title, actually. We do not have mice in the house. The only one we did have was promptly zero-ed in on by our trio of cats (when we still had a trio). They were acting all attentive in the back room, looking behind a little stand in the corner. When I went to investigate, sure enough, there was a teeny grey house mouse under the tv stand. Well, Tiki wound up with the prize and did not want to let that little thing go. But in favor of him not eating it and leaving bloody guts on the floor as a provisionary act of love so we too could have a snack later, we pryed his mouth open enough to get the scared little creature out of his mouth, and set him free in the forever wild area behind our house. He was probably the same mouse that made nests in the motor of our riding lawn mower and set up his winter penthouse suite in the box that stores the plastic holy family lawn figurines that I set up in the front yard at Christmas time. That's what you get when you try to be nice to rodents.

I am talking about our cat. She has some weird ideas about how her daily life is supposed to pan out. When I found her, she was a wee little kitten up for adoption by a shelter. We have been pretty good at finding decent, homeless pets from shelters, Mouse included. She was so small and cute and I couldn't go home without her, which was ok because I was looking for a kitten that day. She really bonded with Vince. He would pick her up and let her sprawl out on his desk while he talked to her and pet her. Since she liked being on the desk so much, we decided to call her Mouse because she would lay on the keyboard of the computer and be right at home. As she grew bigger, this was no longer possible. I think this will explain why...

She is a big girl! Can you imagine that laying across your keyboard? And she always thinks about how she will get on one of the desks to hang out. Only this time, it was my desk she jumped onto when it was covered with craft stuff, and in a panic she peeled out across my keyboard and popped the letter "C" key off of my keyboard. Vince was able to get it back on, crookedly. Have you ever played Scrabble? Do you have trouble finding a way to get rid of the letter "C"? You don't realize how many times you use it until you are typing something. So far, in this post, I had to use that one little cock-eyed key 30 something times.

Nevertheless, Mouse is a loving and sweet kitty. If you pet her, she'll be your friend for life. She is fluffy and soft and has the biggest, whitest wiskers on her pretty little face. This is the only Mouse damage I can put up with in my house.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Memorization -pt 3

As you have read in previous posts, I have been wanting to memorize verses. The best book to do that out of is the Book of Proverbs! So for the last week, I have been reading the Proverb that falls on the day's date, and have been taking note of the one verse (or the few verses) that pops off the page at me as the one I want to remember.

The interesting thing is I don't seem to remember them very well, if at all. Another interesting thing is I find myself thinking about these popping verses while I am ready to drift off to sleep and can come up with what they are, only not perfectly yet. Is there something to that? Is the quietness of the evening a help to be able to process the Word better? There is a definate advantage in being quiet and getting still when focusing on God. "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10

Well, today there were about four verses that popped at me so my brain will have to work overtime on remembering them all. I will share the one that sums them up:
"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding" -Prov 2:6
In days like these, how can we not look to Him for wisdom, knowledge and understanding? It is so important to remember that He is our Source.