Sunday, March 28, 2010

Take Ten In '10, Week 13 Reading Schedule

After many computer glitches and problems, I bring you next week's reading schedule 30 hours later than usual and beg your pardon for any problems they might have caused.


Schedule for March 29 - April 4th, 2010

Monday, March 29th
Deuteronomy 31, 32
Acts 12, 13

Tuesday, March 30th
Deuteronomy 33, 34
Acts 14, 15

Wednesday, March 31st
Joshua 1-3
Acts 16

Thursday, April 1st
Joshua 4, 5
Acts 17

Friday, April 2nd
Joshua 6, 7
Acts 18, 19

Saturday, April 3rd
Joshua 8, 9
Acts 20, 21

Sunday, April 4th
No reading. Finish any that were missed.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Experience Needed

An opportunity presented itself today to encourage someone dealing with a difficult situation. This person confided in me about a problem she was experiencing and knowing that I am a pastor's wife she figured that I might know someone who had encountered the same thing. I assured her that, yes, I did know someone who had been through the same thing. When she asked if that person would mind speaking to her privately I assured her that she would not and that "that person" was talking to her right at that moment. She was somewhat taken aback. Pastors' wives evidently are only supposed to know of others who have struggled but are not supposed to actually struggle themselves. Oh, if only that were true!

Inevitably, she asked how I had handled it when confronted with the same problem. "Not very well," I told her. Again, the surprised look of one who expects that God just automatically programs a pastor's wife with enough wisdom and grace to travel the paths of life without getting cuts and bruises or picking up burrs and nettles along the way. Again, oh, if only that were true! I explained that while I had failed miserably God had triumphed gloriously.

After we concluded our discussion I thought about this unexpected encounter. It became clear that our experiences can make us an encouragement to someone who needs it. Who can know the grace of God when one never has a bad day? What use is faith that looks toward better things if all one ever sees are good things? Why believe in an omnipotent God if one never has an impossible burden that He needs to carry?

At times I have had trouble understanding the words of I Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you," but not so much anymore. It is a blessing to see that God can use our experiences to give someone hope.

I thought of trials God has helped me endure and the people He placed in my path at a critical point in their lives, but there are many things that I have never experienced and pray I never do: the death of a child, widowhood, death of a parent, divorce, arrest, cancer, bankruptcy, or other heart-breaking situation. But maybe you have. If so, someone out there needs your experience to help them through their own time of pain. I pray that the Lord puts someone in your path this week like He did for me and that you will be willing to share what He taught you at just such a time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rollercoaster Day

I wish I was telling you about a ride at the local amusement park, however, two things make that impossible. The first is that the park is closed for the season. The second is that it's a bit too cold here to be outside riding roller coasters even if the park was open.

This is about the roller coaster of events and emotions. It's been one of those days that comes equipped with many ups and downs but no seat belts or warnings that signal the ride is about to begin. Well, unless you count the alarm clock going off this morning. I guess that should be warning enough.

Without going into details that might embarrass anyone or give away too much information that might not be mine to share in the first place let me map the emotional descents, ascents, twists, and turns:

7:30 a.m. - on the straightaway (Wake up and smell the coffee. Literally.)

9:00 a.m. - beginning ascent (Leave for homeschool co-op.)

9:30 a.m. - rapid descent (Find that someone who shall remain nameless - except that it is not I - forgot certain important things needed for one class. Lecture Discussion begins.)

10:00 a.m. - level off again (Discussion ends. Class is missed. World goes on turning.)

10:30 a.m. - small left-hand turn followed by a rapid ascent (Finds that instructor had a certain missing item that nameless individual should've known was missing before today. Smiles all around.)

11:00 a.m. - level off again (We both go to the class where nameless individual is student and yours truly is teaching assistant.)

11:30 a.m. - extremely steep descent (Nameless individual finds himself lectured about something he didn't do, but not by yours truly. N.I. proclaims innocence. Y.T. believes it is so since she was right there when alleged incident occurred.)

12:00 noon - quick right turn (Eat lunch with other parents and students. Jokes made about separate tables needed to divide anti- and pro- "recent political event" from each other. Contents of stomach threaten to reappear.) Sigh

12:30 p.m. - a stomach-lurching sharp turn followed by quick ascent (Text message received from a different nameless individual. Hope springs eternal, as they say.)

2:00 p.m. - quick descent (Send email to instructor asking for clarification of alleged incident. )

5:45 p.m. - rapid ascent (Instructor admits misunderstanding. Nameless individual cleared. All is well with the world once more.)

The vehicle pulls into station and passengers disembark. What a ride!

If any theme park desires a new ride feel free to use this schematic. It provided me quite a thrill today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Take Ten in '10, Week 12 Reading Schedule


"And now, Israel [substitute your name here ], what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all they heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" Deuteronomy 10:12-13

Schedule for March 22-27, 2010
Monday, March 22nd
Deuteronomy 14-16
Acts 5

Tuesday, March 23rd
Deuteronomy 17-19
Acts 6

Wednesday, March 24th
Deuteronomy 20-22
Acts 7

Thursday, March 25th
Deuteronomy 23-25
Acts 8

Friday, March 26th
Deuteronomy 26, 27
Acts 9, 10

Saturday, March 27th
Deuteronomy 28-30
Acts 11

Sunday, March 28th
No reading. Finish any that were missed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Fever

Click on image to enlarge
The weather was so nice today and I just couldn't stand staying in the house so after the inside chores were completed I headed outside to work in the flower beds. Our yard has several beautiful oak trees but the downside of oaks is that the raking takes place in the autumn and in the Spring. Many of the leaves fall off with the pre-winter storms and the rest get pushed off by new growth the next year. So I did the Spring raking. Need any bags of leaves for your compost bins? See me.

It is important to get the oak leaves off the flower beds because underneath are plants waking up for the new season. Such is the case with these blue hyacinths. The picture is from last year, but I saw the buds for the ones that will be blooming soon, sending their fragrance wafting through the open windows. Mmm. I can't wait!

And in my spring fever mood I decided to play around a bit more with some of the digital elements that I recently downloaded. Vicky and I are going to be at the same conference in a few weeks and she has promised to show me the ropes. But you know how impatient I am. I just couldn't wait to experiment. :)

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

The missionary's Power Point slide showed children in the Congo selling field mice skewered on sticks as I watched from my seat in the balcony yesterday. Mouse shish kabob. At that very moment I realized that I had forgotten to take the previously frozen dinner roll dough out of the refrigerator.

Four preachers - two of them retired jungle missionaries - were going to be dining at my house for Sunday dinner and I had every detail of the menu planned. I had completed everything that could be done in advance and had written myself notes on Saturday about what needed to be done before I left for church on Sunday morning. I'd just neglected to write myself a note reminding myself to read the note!

What to do! What to do!

I thought about running home between Sunday school and church, but this presents its own set of problems. I know, because I've done it before. We don't live in a parsonage next door so it takes a little time to get there and back. That would require missing a few of my other obligations such as singing in the choir. And going to the house would require dealing with Pepper. No need to upset her if it can be avoided.

As I pondered the options I breathed a silent prayer for wisdom. The Lord answered immediately and He had two good points:
  1. Serving food is admirable, but hearing the message is important. The account of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 came to mind. Since I'd read this passage recently it was readily available for the Lord to use.
  2. The missionaries had eaten such things as mice, monkey, porcupine, snakes, and rats. They weren't going to be impressed by the rolls (or lack of them) one way or the other.

So I remained at church and forgot about the rolls.

When I got home I set them on the counter while I completed other steps on the list toward getting food from kitchen to dining room table. In that interval they doubled in size. I've never had them rise at such a quick rate before! It wasn't the feeding of the 5,000 but it was a wonderful display of God's provision all the same. And we weren't even serving fishes with our loaves! :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Take Ten In '10, Week 11


Schedule for March 15-21, 2010
Monday, March 15th
Numbers 35, 36
Luke 20, 21

Tuesday, March 16th
Deuteronomy 1, 2
Luke 22

Wednesday, March 17th
Deuteronomy 3-5
Luke 23, 24

Thursday, March 18th
Deuteronomy 6-8
Acts 1

Friday, March 19th
Deuteronomy 9, 10
Acts 2, 3

Saturday, March 20th
Deuteronomy 11-13
Acts 4

Sunday, March 21st
No reading. Use this day to finish any that were missed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Personal Healthcare Crisis

(Note: this post has been edited because portions of it were inadvertently deleted before uploading.)

I know you're all tired of hearing about mice. On that we are agreed. I just hope you're not too tired of hearing about the health care crisis, although if you stick around you'll find that this post has nothing to do with Obamacare.

I had my annual doctor's appointment today which is always a much anticipated day. Not!

The last couple of years my primary care physician and my ob/gyn have been keeping close tabs on my blood pressure (which kept going up) and my weight (which was doing likewise). Both docs are nice people who never actually told me "change this or die." Both admit that their lifestyles are worse than mine and they both struggle constantly with their weight. They'd let me cheat for them at their own physicals in a heartbeat. But we all stand on the scale alone, even if it feels like someone else is standing with us, so we each must give an account for our own numbers.

Today's appointment went as well as could be expected. Being female, I've resigned myself to submitting to cancer screenings for areas of the body that we don't talk about in polite society. It helps that my doc is a woman and that she has hysterical cartoons plastered on the ceiling, except that it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "it only hurts when I laugh."

At the end of our meeting - or what I thought was the end - the doc went over the highlights :
  • Blood pressure in the normal range
  • Dropped 14 pounds in the last 2 years
  • Visual and manipulative exams show no abnormalities
  • Keep up the good work!

At that point I was ready to hop off that table, get dressed, and exit the building as fast as my pudgy little legs would carry me. It was not to be.

"We need to take several vials of your blood before you leave," she nonchalantly said while peering at her computer.

"What!!!!!" I yelled. Good thing she and her stethoscope weren't standing too close or she would now be visiting the auditory specialist down the hall.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I don't "do" blood. Change diapers? Okay. Clean up vomit? Not my favorite activity, but I can do it. I. Don't. Do. Blood. Or needles either. Blood and needles combined rate a nuclear reaction.

I think I looked ready to faint on the spot because the doc and her nurse hurriedly moved me to a reclining position. They teased me as they looked over my file. "Didn't you have all 4 of your children natural childbirth?" As though that had anything to do with the procedure in question!

Of course I had all of my children natural childbirth! I just didn't look while they were being born because I didn't want to see blood. But both were really guffawing when I told them that one time I remember coping as best I could through very difficult labor when the doctor decided I was dehydrated and needed an i.v. Yes, I really did faint that time. Fortunately nothing like that happened today, although if I'd known they were going to draw blood I would've had someone drive me to the appointment.

Changes in one's health care can be quite a shock to the system!

This "Might" Explain Yesterday

A friend of mine sent me this link after hearing about yesterday's misadventure. We use peanut butter in our traps but maybe our mice are building up their strength from the food they're finding in other peoples' traps.

Monday, March 8, 2010

NOT A Mouseketeer

While it is true that I visited Disney World a few months ago it is not because anyone here has ever been a Mouseketeer. I don't care how cute Mickey and Minnie are, I just can't find it in my heart to feel all warm and fuzzy inside over an animal that scares me out of my wits on what seems to be a more and more frequent basis.

This morning I actually had time to eat breakfast before leaving for our homeschool co-op. I can't tell you how much that seems to be happening on a less and less frequent basis. But I'm almost sorry I had the time today because within moments the experience was anything but appetizing.

My attention was drawn to the corner where we have a mouse trap placed behind a plant stand. It's there because in December we discovered an honest-to-goodness Tom and Jerry mouse-hole when one ran past my feet and made its escape. The trap had remained undisturbed until this morning when I noticed that it had been moved several inches. It was pulled under a plant leaf close to the wall and the tail was all of the rodent that I could see.

Oh! Look at the time! Gotta leave for co-op!

When the Bear and I returned we found that Pastor Dad had also arrived. I started to point out our prize when I suddenly felt my heart skip a beat. The trap was upside-down on top of the mouse. Either the dog had moved it, or - perish the thought! - the mouse had!

I excused myself so that I could visit the little girls' room. It seemed a reasonable thing to do. I had just returned home from a busy day of classes. Besides, mousework is a man's job in this house.

A few minutes later I heard Pastor Dad and the Bear laughing with too much exuberance to be a victory dance. Sure enough, the mouse had just been hoping for someone to release its tail from the spring. Off he went through the hole in the wall while they watched in surprise.

Great. Just great. Now we had a mouse running loose somewhere in the house and stains that could be either blood or remnants of the purple shamrock plant (oxalis) that sits nearby. I've yet to gather up enough curiosity to find out.

Several hours later I heard a trap downstairs snap as I was sitting quietly taking my blood pressure. (Guess the numbers of that reading for the grand prize! Just kidding. I'm not admitting anything even if my monitor does have a memory chip.) No way this guy was playing 'possum. But my quick preliminary investigation didn't show blood stains or marks on the tail so perhaps we're dealing with a whole Clubhouse. Either way I'm hoping soon to be able to say, "Show's over!"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Take Ten In '10, Week 10


In my opinion, the Book of Numbers is interesting. It begins with a census of the families who left Egypt for a journey to the Promised Land. This is a census year in America and the every-ten-year event is one that someone with my interests finds, well, interesting. I'm a genealogist and the information found can be illuminating. By studying the answers our ancestors gave we can learn so much about them. Remember that as you fill out your forms this summer. Your descendants will one day be poring over them searching for clues about you.

We find a numerical census in Numbers that helps us understand just what a large slave workforce had departed from Egypt. No wonder Pharoah was loathe to let them leave! We also see how much that Jacob's family had been blessed in the intervening 400+ years. Do you find it hard to believe the numbers? One might think them unbelievable unless compared to more modern-day folk. See the number of known descendants of the Pilgrims, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, here if you need some convincing. And remember that these are only the known ones. It can be seen that after approximately 400 years this couple's offspring are numerous even with so many unknowns and the modern limitations of family planning.

On a more spiritual note, I'd like to point out something I noticed as a passage in Luke was juxtaposed with one from Numbers. In Luke 6 Jesus explained that anyone who obeys His words is like a man who builds his house upon the rock so that it will stand when faced with adversity, but the person who doesn't obey is like the person who builds a house on a sandy foundation that will give way at the first sign of trouble.

Right after this I read Numbers 13. This is the passage about the 12 spies that returned with a report about the land God had promised them. Two spies (Joshua and Caleb) knew that the battle was God's to fight so they suggested proceeding immediately. They were building their houses upon The Rock. But the other ten spies were discouraged because they knew that the enemy was stronger than they and could not be defeated in their own power. They were building their houses upon the sands of frail humanity. Do you find it ironic that God left them all to die in the sands of the wilderness as punishment? I don't think that's just a coincidence.

Make sure you believe God because He will deliver on His promises! He expects obedience so that you can take possession of them. He already fought the battle. And won!

I pray you have a blessed week with the Lord as you study His word.

Schedule for March 8-14, 2010
Monday, March 8th
Numbers 20, 21
Luke 11

Tuesday, March 9th
Numbers 22, 23
Luke 12

Wednesday, March 10th
Numbers 24-26
Luke 13, 14

Thursday, March 11th
Numbers 27-29
Luke 15, 16

Friday, March 12th
Numbers 30, 31
Luke 17

Saturday, March 13th
Numbers 32-34
Luke 18, 19

Sunday, March 14th
No reading today. Finish any that have not been completed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hey, Vicky!

My good friend, Vicky Day, of Project 365 has been encouraging me to try digital scrapbooking. She even went so far as to offer some free files, not just to me but to all of you. I downloaded the freebies and waited until I had some freebie time.

What can I say? I'm not techno-savvy and I knew that before I even attempted anything. So yes, I know Polly has a daisy in her eye and that the frame is not in its original proportion. But this was still a successful first effort for me because it took me days to figure out how to get the photo behind the mat. Then there was the problem of getting it uploaded. For some reason, it just wouldn't happen last night. The answer to that problem came to me during the night. I got up this morning to test my theory and voila! it uploaded quickly.

Perhaps in the future I'll get more freebie time to learn more of the steps to creating beautiful digital layouts. In the meantime, this first effort would probably rate a C unless it was graded on the individual steps involved. Then I would probably rate an A for layering and a B for figuring out that uploading problem. And my choice of subject matter was flawless as the model grandchild always rates an A+.