Thursday, December 21, 2006


I don't think I'll get to a 1000 this year. So many times I think, "I need to write that down" and forget. I'll keep doing this in my journal, and may share occassionally. Thank you, Ann, for suggesting this journey. It has been eye-opening and life-changing to become more aware and affirm the gifts God gives me.

346. My Mom, depite the rocky issues I still have my Mom and one of my dear friends is facing Christmas without her Mom for the first time and another is facing that possibility.
347. My brother who drives me to insanity often; but again, he's mine and I have him
348. My Dad and his unconditional love
349. Weekly phone calls with my Dad
350. Dixie because she has made my Dad happy for the first time in years
351. Dad going back to church with Dixie
352. Tina (my niece)
353. Landon (my nephew)
354. Aunt JoAnne
355. Beth and Jim
356. Hospice care to support Beth and care for Aunt Jo
357. Airplanes
358. Maintenance engineers that repair wings before planes fly
359. text messages of safe arrivals
360. Skype
361. My brother-in-law, and the hope he will someday be my brother in Christ
362. Church Christmas programmes which teach the truth
363. The joy of knowing that so many in the crowd are on the verge of experiencing their "first Christmas". Praise God!
364. The privilege of understanding the real meaning of Christmas
365. Saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Christmas" and not worrying if the other person would rather it be just a holiday
366. Christmas lights reflecting in the lake
367. Gingerbread cookies, now decorated, on the cabinet
368. Hearing Jewel say "I really loved decorating Mommy"
369. Knowing a memory was made
370. Laughter as friends helped them decorate
371. Aromas of baking cookies
372. dipping the gingerbread in my coffee
373. orange flavoured hot chocolate on a cool morning
374. fog rolling in as if hugging the house
375. Christmas carols
376. cheap flights
377. anticipation of a holiday in Ireland
378. the blessing of a downtown hotel so a car will not be needed
379. much needed time to be with family
380. excitement
381. hope
383. a new prayer partner
384. prayers for our husbands
385. prayers for our children
386. prayers for ourselves
387. knowing that God heard those prayers and honours prayers
388. more to come...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A New Song: Psalm 96

Note: Every year in my church, members are asked to take one of the advent scriptures and write a devotion based upon it. This year I chose Psalm 96. The theme of the devotional guide was "Journey to the Manger." Today's reading is my entry. I decided to share it with you as well. Blessings all...MiPa

I took my first journey to the cross via the manger 30 years ago. I was a seven year old when I made a public profession of faith and sought to be baptized. With thirty years of practice, you would think that the journey to the manger would be easy. The songs I sing along the way I should do by rote. The path should be memorized. But it’s not. I still need to read the map of the gospels each time I take the journey. I still need a guide in the Holy Spirit to get me there. Leaders still point me in the right direction. I am still surprised by God all along the way. And He still teaches me new songs to sing.

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.” Psalm 96:1-2

The psalmist does not advise us to sing last year’s song or follow last year’s path or do what is traditional. He does not make suggestions that perhaps it would be nice to do something new. Instead he commands that we are to sing a new song. A new song about the current journey. A new song celebrating the salvation that God is bringing into our lives now. A new offering of worship to Almighty God. Why a new song? Because we are a new people. God is the only constant. We change. Our circumstances change. The specific blessings that God pours out into our lives evolve with what we need. We should not be standing in the same place we were standing a year ago. So the song of praise we could sing a year ago should not be the same song that we are singing now.

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all the people.” (v. 3)

As we grow in Christ we should be developing a deeper and deeper understanding of Him. We should be able to describe him in richer tones. The symphony of the song should grow from year to year as we add the layers of new understanding upon the old foundations. A new song that is our offering of worship in thanksgiving for what the Lord is doing in our lives.

“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” vv 7-9

I am grateful that I am not the same person I was when I started this journey 30 years ago. I am thankful that those first notes of praise are now full with the experiences of the journey. My song is richer than it was. But, I am more grateful that the song is not finished. God is still adding lyrics. He continues to deepen the tones. And, by His grace, the song I sing next year (or five or ten or twenty years or as many years as He allows) will be new again.

This advent season, praise God for your new song….and sing it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IOW--What is the Spirit of Christmas?

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I really want to to agree with this quote. But I am holding back. This time of year we often hear if people would just have the Christmas spirit all year, wouldn't the world be better. By this they mean, as Coolidge states, mercy and goodwill and peace. And those things would make the world better. They are things that we as Christians should manifest 365 days a year. But, I believe we fall way short of the mark. We are just as to blame as the rest of the world for getting caught up in our little worlds and missing the needs of others. We don't care for our own or the world very well.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

We don't act justly--we act for ourselves. We don't love mercy--we expect others to meet their own needs. And to walk humbly--oh my!
These are qualities that are desperately needed to be on display in a Christian's life. They show our obedience. They mark us as His. They set us apart.

But they do not define the spirit of Christmas.

The Spirit of Christmas is that God loved us too much to leave us in our mess. The Spirit of Christmas is that no matter how merciful, or good, or peace seeking we chose to be, we could never achieve those things without God. And God could not be at peace with us because our sin separated us from Him. The Spirit of Christmas is that God chose to do something about it. The Spirit of Christmas is that God came to us--Emmanuel! The Spirit of Christmas is Jesus!

The Spirit of Christmas is Jesus! And if we allow the definition of the Spirit of Christmas to be watered down to our attitude, then we are missing some of the miracle. I know that it is not politically correct to talk about Christmas being about Jesus (apparently that was even the case in Coolidge's day to a lesser extent). But without Jesus there is no Christmas. Acts of kindness can be performed by anyone. Only followers of Christ can share the Spirit of Christmas. Will you help me share this week?

In Other Words is being hosted by Darlene this week. Please join us there!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Menus

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Here is my menu plan for the upcoming week (actually thru Christmas). The girls and I are on our own until Friday, so I'm keeping things more simple to their liking. Go to Laura's site for other great menus for the week.

Monday: Lentil Soup and Bread in the bread machine
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas
Wednesday: Spaghetti and salad
Thursday: Grilled Cheese and Ham Sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks
Friday: Lasagna, salad and garlic bread
Saturday: Slow Cooked Pork Roast, Roasted potatoes, Steamed Carrots
Sunday: Fish Chowder
Christmas: Ham and Sweet Potatoes
Boxing Day: eat out in Dublin ;)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Quilting and Stitching finishes

I've been quilting a bunch for Christmas gifts, and framing some stitching. So here are pics to prove I really do stitch!

This table runner is for my new step-mom who is decorating in reds and blues. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These table runners are for 3 friends in Missouri:
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And corresponding pictures and a pillow for the husbands of the ladies in Missouri:
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Jo's Flower Garden and Beth's Flight table runners (gifts for German's aunt and cousin in Arizona) plus a framed pic for Beth's DH.
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I also stitched "Texas" for my Dad, but forgot to take a pic before I wrapped it. *blush* I'm still finishing my Mom's (it says Grandmother) but should finish it this evening.

Thanks for looking!

Stitching Insanity

There is talk on the cross stitch message board I frequent about 2007 stitching plans. So I thought that I would go ahead and put my *ahem* lofty plans in writing. Several of us have dubbed 2007 the Selfish Stitching year to do some things for ourselves. Although I am going to do quite a lot of selfish stitching, I’m also going to be doing the usual Round Robins and exchanges. I can’t help myself, lol. It is also the year of “Finish the Finishes.” It’s time to actually frame or make into ornaments all of these lovely projects done over the years.

So here are the plans…
Projects to Complete:
1. Jean Farish America Land that We Love (to be finished well before the end of January if I stitch a state a day as planned)
2. Rosewood Manor Flag Sampler (goal end of March)
3. Jeremiah Junction There is a Time (goal end of March—over 80%)
4. Bug Sampler (goal end of April)
5. My Neighbourhood Round Robin (goal end of June)
6. Stoney Creek Break Time (goal end of November)
All of these projects are currently started and just need to be finished!

Finishes to be Finished:
1. Neuschwanstein Castle (frame)
2. Snow Seasons RR (frame)
3. Jeremiah Junction seasons (wall hanging)
4. Stitch it Forward 05 (frame)
5. Stitch it Forward 06 (?)
6. Rosemary (stitched by Velda—put on memory book cover)
7. Gemma (stitched by Margaret—put on memory book cover)
8. Cruise RR (memory box)
9. Beatitudes RR (quilted wall hanging)
10. Cardinal Welcome (frame)
11. Quilt RR (frame)
12. Jingle All the Way (not sure)
13. Preamble Sampler (frame)

Starts I’d like to make:
1. Mystic Stitch Solitude (after flag sampler complete)
2. Hinzeit Missouri
3. Hinzeit Texas
4. Hinzeit Washington
5. Hinzeit Alabama
6. Bent Creek Season Rows (all 4)
7. Noah’s Submarine (plan to start in September, goal to finish 12/08)
8. Mirabilia Stargazer (#88)
(to be my weekend project once flag sampler is 50%)
9. Mirabilia Fairy Moon (#2)(after Stargazer)

UFO Projects to find a good home for or dispose of:
1. Confederate Soldier group
2. Prayer for a Busy Day
3. Remembrance egg
4. Union Soldier group

How to accomplish all this? The rotation:
Monday and Friday: Obligation stitching (quilt squares, round robins)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Focus Piece
Saturday, Sunday: whatever I want (especially Stargazer, Solitude)
Focus Pieces:
January: ALTWL, Hinzeit MO, Flag Sampler
February: Flag Sampler, Hinzeit TX
March: JJ There is a Time, Hinzeit WA, Solitude
April: Bug Sampler, Hinzeit AL
May: NRR, Bent Creek Rows
June: NRR, Bent Creek Rows, Solitude
July: Bent Creek Rows, Stoney Creek, start ornaments
August: Bent Creek Rows, Stoney Creek, finish ornaments
September: Noah Submarine
October: Solitude
November: Noah Submarine
December: Solitude

You can forward all of my mail to the asylum. I think I must have lost my mind, lol!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You are invited

You are invited to come and share your dreams for 2007. This is more than New Year's Resolutions. This is writing down the goals you have and the expectations you have coming into the New Year. Laurel Wreath invites us to come and share together the first week of January. Please join us! (click the button for more information--the button will also be placed in my sidebar later this week)

More Gifts

Before I list gifts, I just wanted to say that I pray that yesterday's post was not painful for some of my faithful readers. I realize that sometimes marriages end no matter how committed one party is to the marriage. Perhaps the other party is not committed or there is abuse that cannot be tolerated or there are safety issues for yourself or your children. God looks at those latter instances with mercy. If you have committed and your partner did not and left you desolate, God has grace for you. Those are not the case in the marriage I mentioned yesterday. Further both parties claim the name of Christ and therefore it is even harder to fathom the treatment that is taken place. If you were pained yesterday by what I wrote, my heart goes out to you. Blessings....

Now more gifts:
311. Feeted pajamas on little feet
312. The words "Mommy, potty" said spontaneously by Flower (& she went!)
313. The laughter I hear as they play tea party in the next room
314. A God who is Compassionate to the Grieving
315. A God who Mends Broken Hearts
316. A God who Mends Broken Dreams
317. A God who displays what commitment is and upholds my commitments
318. The joy of watching Anne's sons watch her and their dad renew wedding vows
319. Friends who drop everything to pray--even when all I say is "just pray" (thank you Kristin!)
320. Celtic Harp Christmas carols
321. Carolers on the street
322. houses lit up for Christmas
323. Jewel running around the house singing "Happy Birthday to you, Jesus"
324. Knowing that they *get* that Christmas is about Jesus
325. Quilted table runners wrapped for Christmas gifts
326. Gingerbread cookies (or at least the ingredients on my cabinet waiting to be made)
327. New cross-stitched ornaments on my tree
328. Orange flavored hot chocolate--yum!
329. Pain medication for a loved one in such pain
330. Airplanes to take German home to see her
331. Peace that she is in God's hands
332. Hope that her daughter and her son will see the Savior through this illness
333. Joy that we get to be ones who share the hope of God with them
334. Time to enjoy our families
335. A few extra hugs and kisses
336. Jewel's discovery of art books
337. Jewel's joy is deciding who would love what picture
338. My joy that she understands what art makes mommy happy
339. O Holy night drifting up the stairs
340. A phone call with my aunt yesterday (on her 76th birthday). Miss you Jeannie!
341. Contentment
342. Security
343. Christmas cards through my door
344. Recalling faces and good times with the people who signed their names to those cards.
345. Flowers blossoming speech
346. More to come...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Being Married

These may seem like random thoughts, but they do really all come back to what it means to be married; trust me.

I've been quite distressed the last twenty-four hours since we received the message from our friend that his wife had left. They have had lots of ups and downs the last several years, but I've continued to believe that God would work a miracle there. He may still work a miracle, but it is harder to believe today. And it makes me so sad. One of her complaints and reasons for leaving was that he spends time doing things with their kids that she does not enjoy, so she is left at home. And that got me to thinking about being married and spending time together. Do we have to enjoy the activity to spend time with our spouse? I don't think so. I have spent countless hours at car shows Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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neither of which I thoroughly enjoy but German does, so I go (and often even enjoy myself). He has tagged along to more than one art museum or quilt show--definitely not his cup of tea but he makes a genuine effort to feign interest while we are there. We joke about the fact that early in our marriage we made a deal--I'd go to a NASCAR race with him if he would go to a symphony with me. He slept through the awesome performance of the symphony. I stood in my chair and screamed for 3 hours straight and became a huge race fan. Needless to say, now we just go to the races, lol. But the bottom line is that we make an effort to share each other's passions, at least from time to time.

This morning I was catching up on my blog reading and came across Tracey's entry at Laced for Grace. There she was illustrating my point--going to her husband's company event even if it really wasn't her favorite thing to do. I had to laugh. I love to dress up and get very few opportunities. My husband would live in jeans if it was allowed. But last weekend was his team event and he had planned a dress up affair for the team and spouses because "every now and then we need to give our wives a chance to dress up." It was a brilliant evening. And it was a first for this team (spouses are never invited). It was a huge success. And it was nice to dress up. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting (And just between us, I think he liked having an excuse to wear a tux.)

So I think that part of the secret of being married is in how we choose to share each other's lives. This morning I watched a video of a friend who renewed her wedding vows yesterday on her Silver Wedding Anniversary. The renewal celebration was carefully planned by Anne. The festivities were taking place in Las Vegas. The minister who performed the ceremony made the comment that he did not know Anne and her husband, but he knew a lot about them. He said, for instance, he knew that they made no promises to one another twenty-five years ago because it is too easy to break promises. Instead, he said, he knew they made a commitment to one another because that is the only way you make it to 25 years--by committing to one another. It's true. My friends mentioned at the start of this post stood before friends and a minister and made some promises--but I'm not sure they both truly committed to one another. The course of their marriage says otherwise. Separation and divorce have always been kept as an option. And that makes me so sad for them. German and I have had some difficult times in the eleven years we have been married, but I can honestly say that separtion has never been an option. We took that card off the table before we ever started and said that we were committing to making this work. And by the grace of God we have been able to do that.

As I look at friends who are separating I am sad. As I look at Anne and her husband I am joyful and hopeful. It is possible to make a marriage work. I thank God that He gave me a husband that loves me and is committed to me. But mostly I thank God that He is the third strand in this marriage that holds it together. Some days I just need to be reminded of that. Maybe, you needed the reminder as well.

Some Prayer Requests

I'll be back later to post a *real* entry, but this really shouldn't wait until then. I have a couple of prayer needs that if you feel led, I'd appreciate if you would lift up today.

First, my dear friend Tina lost her brother yesterday. Please keep her, her boys, her parents, and his girlfriend in your prayers as they grieve.

Secondly, dear friends of ours are struggling in their marriage. They seem to be at a crisis point. Please pray for God to intervene with compassion and wisdom.

Thank you for praying. I believe that God cares about us as individuals and will meet our needs. Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

IOW---What's the Temperature?

"I am the one holding the keys to the atmosphere in our home."
~ Terry Maxwell ~
Author of:
Homeschooling with a Meek
and Quiet Spirit

I grew up in a home where my Mom did not hold the keys to the atmosphere well. As a teen I can remember my Dad coming through the door asking "What's the temperature today?" My Mom had three states---cold and withdrawn to her room, able to get along, or hot and raging. Often, too often, it was raging. I determined from an early age that was not going to be the atmosphere in my adult home.

But if I'm honest, it is a struggle. I have inherited much of my Mom's temperament and the rest I learned from years watching her. For her withdrawal was because of depression. For me, I will want to withdraw because I am an introvert living in a household of extroverts--I get tired from being around people. And, if I'm not careful in how I cope with frustration the learned behavior of raging can take over. That is something I do not want my children to experience. So I must be aware of my internal state and control it.

Whether we call it holding the keys as Terry Maxwell does, or controlling the thermostat as we say in my house, it is an important role for us as mothers. Not only does it determine how easy our personal day goes, but it sets the stage for what our children will remember about our home. I've found that the most important way I set the thermostat for my home is to get up before the girls and spend some time alone. This gives me a chance to recharge my introvert batteries. It allows me to spend time with God in prayer, Scripture and in the Godly blogs I read that encourage me in my walk. If my day is set right, then it is easier to cope with the challenges of the day. The second way I set the thermostat is in how I greet the girls as I get them out of bed. If I emphasize what a great morning it is, then it is a great morning. The third thing I do is turn on the praise music (or at this time of year Christmas music). If I'm hearing positive messages, it is easier for me to give positive messages. Even when I am not consciously listening to the music, it is helping to set the tone in the house.

Paul reminds us,
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

If I, as a mother, am thinking on true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable things then I should be acting in a true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable way. That is what my children will then learn and be able to put into practice. Setting the thermostat to Godliness and allowing God to shine in my home. That is one of my roles. I pray that I am able to do it to God's glory.

This week's CWO, In Other Words, is being hosted at Fruit in Season. Please join us there to read others' takes on this quote. Bless you today!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Menu Plans

Here is this week's menu, taking part in Monday Menu Plans with Organizing Junkie.

Monday: Fish Pie, Salads with chilled shrimp, garlic bread
Tuesday: Pepperoni Pizza, salad
Wednesday: Order in from Indian Takeout (dupiaza, naan bread, dahl tarka)
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie, Steamed Carrots
Friday: Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans
Saturday: Turkey Sandwiches (church programme to attend)
Sunday: Red Beans and Sausage, Bread in the Machine

Friday, December 08, 2006

Humbled and Honoured

It always amazes me the comments I receive and to think that God really does use the words that I write to touch your hearts and lives. That is always my prayer, but to see God answer it is just amazing. There are so many blogs that I visit that challenge and encourage me, I am honoured that so many of you find those things here.

And I am absolutely blown away this week as well. Grafted Branch's Restoring the Years blog is part of my iron regime each morning. I go there knowing that God will either encourage me or convict me. She tells it like it is and I love that about her. And this week she gave out her first awards. And she awarded me the "Most Compelling New Read" award. I am humbled. I am honoured. And I will be thrilled to display the button on my site. Thank you my friend. The company you put me into amazes me. The rest of you, check out her site and the other sites she pointed us toward.
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Thursday, December 07, 2006

More Gifts

276. A decorated Christmas tree
277. Wire to hold the tree up
278. No injuries when the tree fell over (pre-wire) on little girls playing with the tree.
279. Twinkling lights
280. Ornaments made by stitching friends
281. Ornaments painted by Cherri and Marilyn when I was a child
282. Glass ornaments (safely stored this year) provided by a BIL who quickly learned what warmed my heart.
283. Snowmen decorating the house
284. Stockings on the mantle
285. A new tradition of a Jesse Tree
286. Poinsettias
287. Mistletoe
288. Holly
289. Cinnamon candles
290. Advent readings
291. A real sense of Christ coming this season
292. Birds singing outside my window
293. A hot shower
294. Cucumber shampoo
295. Running water
296. Abundance of basic needs
297. Laughter with friends while studying the Bible
298. The dream of a tea party
299. China cups
300. sugar cubes
301. Lady Grey tea
302. My sewing machine
303. Talent given by God to create
304. Friends who taught me to use those talents
305. Quilt tops ready to be quilted
306. Cotton wadding--soft and ready to be placed in the quilt
307. Bright colors
308. Early morning time to be alone with God
309. children sleeping past when I get out of bed
310. blogging friends to encourage my journey

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

IOW--Too Distracted for God

"One response was given by the innkeeper when Mary and Joseph wanted to find a room where the Child could be born. The innkeeper was not hostile; he was not opposed to them, but his inn was crowded; his hands were full; his mind was preoccupied. This is the answer that millions are giving today. Like a Bethlehem innkeeper, they cannot find room for Christ. All the accommodations in their hearts are already taken up by other crowding interests. Their response is not atheism. It is not defiance. It is preoccupation and the feeling of being able to get on reasonably well without Christianity."
~ Billy Graham ~

Some of my Christian friends laugh at me when I pray for non-Christian friends for their salvation. They have heard me pray "Lord don't let them sleep soundly until they deal with your gift of salvation." Sometimes I pray "Lord take away their 'toys' that they think they need to make them happy. Make them unhappy if you have to in order to get their attention." These are sincere prayers. Because in the lives of most of my friends who do not choose Jesus, they are not hostile toward Him, they are indifferent. These friends have nice lives. They have upper middle class lifestyles. They can buy all they think they need and most everything they want. And they haven't come to a point of believing they need Jesus. They are distracted by their many interests. So I pray that God will take away their distractions. And it warms my heart when one of these friends tell me that they are having trouble sleeping, or that one of their hobbies isn't as much fun as it once was, or that they aren't enjoying spending so much time at work. I inwardly smile, and sometimes even laugh, because I know that God is softening them and the time is coming for me to share the true meaning of Life. I've seen friends come to know Christ after I prayed this (and no, I don't always get to be the harvester sometimes I just water the seed with prayer). I have other friends I've prayed these prayers for years, but I believe that the time will come.

Distractions. Distractions and easy lifestyles that keep people from believing they need God. But what about those of us who are children of God? Are we free from distractions? I'd venture to say no. In fact, (sheepish grin) I've been having trouble falling asleep. My mind is racing with what I need to accomplish. Busy stuff that is good but not necessarily great in the eyes of God. And once I get to sleep I dream of what I need to do. Until last night. Last night I dreamed that I was in a movie theater and the movie was about choosing Jesus. I dreamed that besides a small handful of us, the theater was filled with people who needed a Personal Savior. And we were more interested in watching the movie than sharing the truth. Distracted by the story instead of telling the story.

Even as I sit here and write this a couple are put on my heart. They need to hear the story of Christmas. My husband and I have been praying for them, but we have not had a real opportunity to share with them. I need to make an effort to have them in our home this holiday season and to share the meaning of Christmas. "Dear Jesus help me not be so distracted by the activities of Christmas that I neglect telling the story to those who need you. Amen."

Todays In Other Words is being hosted by Laurel Wreath. Please join us there!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

100th post--More Gifts

This is my 100th post. I’ve tried to decide what “100” things I’d like to write. I’m not really that good at “100 things about you” type thing. But it is also Thursday which is my 1000 Gifts day. So today I’m going to offer 100 Scriptures that I consider gifts. They are special to me for a variety of reasons. I’m giving the text only, so you’ll have to get out your Bibles and go for it (or go to to look them up). I’d encourage you to look at the context of the verse as well. I certainly don’t want to be accused of proof-texting. Finally, I’m listing them as 1-100 and they are in no particular order except how I thought of them today but for the 1000 gifts list they are 176-275. Blessings to all of you!

1. A future that is planned by God (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
2. A God who hears my prayers (see again Jeremiah 29:11-12)
3. Godly mentors (Titus 2:4-5)
4. Freedom (Gal. 5:1,13)
5. Discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11)
6. Adversity (Romans 8:28)
7. Arrows in my Quiver (Psalm 127:4-5)
8. Eternal Life (Romans 6:23)
9. God’s attention to detail in my life (Matthew 10:30-31)
10. Peace with God (Romans 5:1-2)
11. Wisdom (Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 9:10)
12. Knowledge (Proverbs 15:14)
13. Mercy (Psalm 23:6)
14. Lullabies and victory songs sung by God (Zephaniah 3:17)
15. Instruction for Life (Micah 6:8)
16. Love (1 Corinthians 13)
17. More instruction for Life (Matthew 22:37-39; Luke 10:26-28)
18. Even more instruction for Life (1 Samuel 15:22)
19. Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12)
20. Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
21. My Weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10)
22. Inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16)
23. The Communion Table (Luke 22:17-20)
24. Death is Conquered! (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:36, Luke 23:46, John 19:30)
25. RESURRECTION! (Matthew 28:6, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:6)
26. Restoration (John 21:17)
27. Appearance to Mary Magdalene (John 20:18)
28. Persistent Prayer (Luke 18:1-8)
29. A Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)
30. Heroes of the Faith to encourage us (Hebrews 11)
31. Trust when don’t know how to Pray (2 Chronicles 20:6-12)
32. Pierce my ear and my heart (Exodus 21:6)
33. My Standards of Judgment (Matthew 7:2)
34. No fear of evil (Psalm 23:4)
35. Days in God’s Presence (Psalm 27:4)
36. Flawless Words of God (Psalm 18:30)
37. Lost Sons and Daughters are Welcomed Home (Luke 15:10-24)
38. The Image of God in Me (Genesis 1:27)
39. Deep Roots (Psalm 1:3)
40. Instruction for Marriage (Proverbs 21:9)
41. More instruction for marriage (Proverbs 12:4)
42. And more instruction for marriage (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33)
43. Instructions for parenting (Ephesians 6:4)
44. More instruction for parenting (Colossians 3:21)
45. And yet more instruction for parenting (Proverbs 22:6)
46. Renewed Strength (Isaiah 40:31)
47. A Child is Born/Immanuel (Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:23)
48. New mercy every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24)
49. The harvest (John 4:35)
50. To be a harvester (Luke 10:1-3)
51. Little children in Jesus arms (Matthew 19:130
52. To lift Holy Hands (1 Timothy 2:8)
53. A Comforter (John 14:26)
54. A Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)
55. A good deposit (1 Timothy 1:14)
56. A Returning Savior (John 14:1-4)
57. A room for me in heaven (see again John 14:1-4)
58. A Cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16)
59. Worship (Revelation 5:12-14)
60. Justice (Amos 5:24)
61. Higher Thoughts (Isaiah 55:9)
62. Salvation (John 3:16)
63. A Kingdom to Seek (Matthew 6:33)
64. A Clean Heart (Psalm 51:10)
65. The (ONLY) Way (John 14:6)
66. Bread of Life (John 6:51)
67. Daily Bread (Luke 11:3; Matthew 6:11)
68. Loving each other (1 John 3:11-14)
69. More on loving each other (1 John 4:7)
70. Walk in the Light (1 John 1:6-7)
71. All will Confess Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11)
72. Confession (Romans 10:9)
73. Confession of Sin (James 5:16)
74. Strength for Today (Philippians 4:13)
75. No Anxiety (Philippians 4:6)
76. Mountains are delivered (Joshua 14:6-14)
77. Faith of a Mustard Seed (Luke 17:6)
78. A God who hears prayers (Psalm 116:1-2)
79. Better is One Day (Psalm 84:10)
80. Heart Meditations (Psalm 19:14)
81. Exaltation (Isaiah 25:1)
82. Running the race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
83. Faith and Deeds (James 2:14)
84. Words (Proverbs 16:24)
85. Teaching children (Deuteronomy 11:18-20)
86. Wedding verses (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
87. Blessing Verses (1 Samuel 1:27)
88. Quickness of the Coming (1 Thesselonians 5:1-3)
89. One Purpose (1 Corinthians 3:7-9)
90. Treasure (Luke 12:34)
91. Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9)
92. Handiwork (Proverbs 31:13, 22)
93. A crown (Revelation 3:11-12; 4:10-11)
94. By His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6)
95. Hinds Feet (Habbakuk 3:18-19)
96. Thankfulness (Psalm 105:1)
97. No longer Deserted (Isaiah 62:2-4)
98. Contentment (Philippians 4:12)
99. Benediction #1 (Numbers 6:24-26)
100. Benediction #2 (Jude 24-25)

Please add your favorite verses in the Comments! Thanks for reading this far!

What kind of day are you?

The description works, but I would prefer not to see many sunrises (I like to start a little later, lol). Thanks GB for the link.

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This week's In Other Words is being hosted by Loni at Joy in the Morning Please join us there.

"God has delivered us, He has parted waters for us, He has made water gush forth from rocks and sent us our own manna from heaven. He has brought us into our own Promised Land. Will I miss the opportunity to tell the story to our children?"
~Ann Voskamp, Holy Experience~

My paternal grandfather (Pap-paw) was a storyteller. His stories could last for hours. Stories about traveling from Texas to Nashville. Stories about the Grand Ole Opry. Stories about farming, about my dad's and my uncle's mischief, about storms he had seen, about just about everything. Everything except how God was a part of his life. Don't get me wrong, his life showed in every way that God was a part of his life. But he didn't tell the stories. And I wish he had. I know from my grandmother and my aunt that Pap-paw went through a long period of total disillusionment with the church. He came back during a revival service week soon after I was born. So the grandfather I knew was different than the man my Dad knew in his growing up years. I'd love to have heard the stories of why, how, and when did God start wooing him back. Second-hand reports are that the change was dramatic. Did he think it was? I'll never know. I'm thankful for the story his life told--loving his family, commitment to his church, integrity in his business dealings, acceptance of people. But as I am able to tell some of his adventure stories, I wish I could tell his Jesus-story as well.

I believe that there is a lesson here. To verbally and intentionally tell the stories. To pass to our children a purposeful story of faith. Sure, we must live it and mirror it, but we also need to say it. I want Jewel and Flower to know God not just because I take them to church, introduce them to Godly people, read Bible stories to them and teach them verses. I want them to know God because they know that I know God and He has proven faithful in my life. I want them to have seen it and heard it daily to the point that when God woos their hearts and calls them to follow Him, they know it is His voice and that it is real. And if I don't tell them the stories, how will they know?

What will the stories be? In part the story of how Daddy and Mommy met in a church in Washington, how God provided a job in Alabama (and then later in England), how God blessed us with the birth of two lovely little girls long after we had decided we were not able to be parents, how God provided for us when it was time to leave a job and the new job had not been offered. Those are some of the stories. There will be more. And I need to commit now to be faithful to tell the stories, to make faith real and alive for my children until the day that they start telling their own stories. What a great day that will be!

"I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and his glory,
Of Jesus and his love:
I love to tell the story
Because I know 'tis true;
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story;
'Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it,
More wonderfully sweet:
I love to tell the story,
For some have never heard
The message of salvation
From God's own holy Word.

I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story;
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it, like the rest:
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love."
~words by Katherine Hankey, 1866

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday Menu

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Monday: Pasta and tomato sauce with salad (just kids and I)
Tuesday: Chef's salads and garlic bread (just kids and I)
Wednesday: Ham Roll-ups and chips (Bible Study night)
Thursday: Taggliatelli and pork with marscapone cheese, salads, corn
Friday: Baked Trout, Steamed carrots, salad
Saturday: Decca's Chicken, Drunkard Style (from Maya Angelou's Hallelujah the Welcome Table), baked potatoes, green beans
Sunday: Navy Bean and Ham soup, Homemade Bread in the bread machine

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Just a note to regular readers: I have been struggling with what to call my husband in these posts that gives him an identity while keeping privacy (which is important to him). He suggested I use the nickname “German” because it tells something of his background. So from this day forward, German he will be.

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It was the week before Thanksgiving, 1994. I was at the church for our annual family Thanksgiving meal. As I walked down the hallway, I heard this conversation:
S: I think they are
A: I don’t think so
S: I’m pretty sure they are
A: Well here she is let’s just ask…”[Mipa] are you and German dating?”
Me (quite incredulously): Dating? No we are just friends.

I had not really given any thought to dating German. We were the only single people our age in the little church and we liked each other’s company (plus we both kept getting invited to the same things at the pastor’s house, a deacon’s home, etc. etc.) Hmmm…

It’s Thanksgiving day. I’ve ridden along with German and his brother as we travel to our Pastor’s Sister-in-law’s home for Thanksgiving. It is a long trip from Spokane to Missoula. Lots of time to get to know each other better while his brother naps in the back seat.

It’s Christmas time. I’m staying in Spokane. German is in St. Louis with his friends. We talk on the phone every night. Unbeknownst to me he is trying to change his flights so he can come back to Spokane for New Years. He gets the call from the airlines that his flight is changed.

It’s December 30. My grandmother just died. I call him to say I’m flying to Texas. He was packing to come home.

It’s January 4, 1995. He collects me at the airport when I come home to Spokane. We spend hours just driving. By the end of the week we have begun planning our life together, decided maybe we should actually go on a date if we can see forever in our future, and went our first date eagle watching in Coeur d’Alene. Quite a change from the person he first heard speak at church who said “I’m single by calling and by choice.” And I was. But God called me to something even better.

It’s Father’s Day, 1995. He officially proposes on top of Mount Spokane. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And 11 years ago today, I became his wife. I love you sweetheart! I can’t wait to see what else God has planned for us! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, November 24, 2006

What a perfect evening

We had the best Thanksgiving! The tables were set:
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The buffet was laid out on the cabinet:Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The fellowship was amazing. I have not laughed so hard in ages. We had a wonderful time and were able to send lots of food home with everyone that came. Thanks my friends for a perfect Thanksgiving. Here is a shot of all of us, and then a cropped close-up of our family.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving


I love Thanksgiving. At my house growing up it was bigger than Christmas. We would always go to my maternal grandmother's house. My brother and I would watch the parades while she basted the turkey, made the cornbread dressing and all the "fixins". Her sister would arrive with her family (her 3 children, their spouses, and collectively their 7 children). The house would be filled with the sounds of young cousins giggling, older cousins catching up on the gossip, and sisters laughing in the kitchen. No one could laugh like my Ma and Aunt Ene. (oh I miss hearing that laughter!) The men (my Dad and my Grandaddy and sometimes the hired help if they were single men) would come in from the fields since cotton harvest was often still going on. We would all sit down to eat. More food than was needed to feed a small nation. We were blessed. If the fields could wait all the guys would head out to hunt quail (this would be tomorrow's dinner instead of leftovers if we were lucky). Late into the evening aunt and uncle and all the cousins would pile into their cars to head home. We didn't do anything extraordinary, we just gathered and shared and gave thanks. And in my mind that is how Thanksgiving is supposed to be.

My husband and I live thousands of miles from *home* now. It's not even a holiday here in England (my DH has been at work since 730 and won't get home until after 6). My grandparents and their siblings are gone. The cousins have dispersed across the country. But I still long for those huge family gatherings. So tonight our house will be filled. Our pastor and his wife, his two grown daughters, his son-in-law and (maybe?)son-in-law to be, his two grandchildren, our youth minister and his wife and his three children will join my family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And we have much to be thankful for. But right this moment I'm thankful that I can carry on my grandmother's traditions. I miss her more on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

142. memories of Thanksgiving with Ma and Grandad and all the family
143. memories of Aunt Ene's laughter
144. memories of seminary Thanksgivings with Julia
145. memories of a Thanksgiving wedding
146. cooking lessons from two grandmas who loved to cook
147. Ma's cornbread dressing
148. Mashed potatoes and giblet gravy
149. Crescent rolls dripping with butter
150. Turkey roasting in the oven
151. pumpkin pies on the cabinet
152. pecan pies on the cabinet
153. baking pies with the girls
154. spilled milk
155. delight in Flower's eyes as she tasted the batter
156. intensity in Jewel's eyes as she sets about "getting it right"
157. pride on their faces as they look at what we've done
158. the blessing of having more than we could possibly eat
159. 17 friends and family gathering around the table
160. grocery delivery
161. hot showers
162. autumn breezes
163. my cup of English tea
164. delicious aromas filling the house
165. making memories for my girls
166. gathering for Bible study
167. the confidence that God can handle my questions
168. the time I spend with God looking for answers
169. the growth as I grapple with the questions
170. the joy as God answers my questions
171. the gentleness of his answer...even when the answer is harsh
172. memory verses to transform me
173. sermons to challenge me
174. Godly dreams for the future
175. anticipation
176. more to come....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Note today In Other Words is being hosted at Sting My Heart Please visit to see others' comments on today's quote.

"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time."
~ Oswald Chambers ~

Jewel's memory verse a few weeks ago was Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

It was a joy to hear my four year old walking around saying, "now fayfe is..." If you ask her what the verse means she will say "knowing Jesus is right." That is not exactly what I taught her, but that is the essence she was able to grasp. And as she grows up I pray that she will continue to believe that.

Faith is a choice. But it is also acting on that choice. My pastor reminds us frequently that if what we believe is not changing our behavior then we really don't believe it. And it is so true. I can say I choose to have faith, but if I'm not acting upon it then it is just words. This is important because James 2:14 cautions that faith without action is dead! I must make the deliberate choice to pattern my actions after the One who I say I believe. Faith is making the conscious choice "today I believe that Jesus/God is right" and then allowing the Holy Spirit to mold me more into God's character. I may not understand how His character is built in me, but as long as I know Who is at work then I will be transformed. And the transformation leads me to a greater understanding and greater faith. That is one of the best things about faith, it is a full circle. I don't have to wait until I understand. Instead I have to act and trust, and through that I will understand more and more. And then be able to act and trust in even more confidence. And on and on and on.

So do you have faith? Do you believe "Jesus is right?" If so, act in confidence like it is true. If not, I pray today is the day you find that confidence and make the deliberate choice to follow Him.
God Bless you for reading!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More gifts

126. Children's Cough medicine
127. Little arms that reach up in trust for Mommy to make it better
128. Aloe filled tissues
129. Sleep
130. Rest
131. Disney videos to entertain sick kids
132. Veggie Tale videos to entertain when Disney is getting irritating
133. Safe arrivals from out-of-country business trips
134. Belgian chocolates, from Belgium :)
135. Being asked to walk difficult paths of life with friends
136. ...And being able to share the wisdom learned from those walks with others
137. Friends to ask to struggle through hard times with us
138. Email to stay in touch with old friends
139. Computer programs to make Christmas cards with
140. 285 families on a Christmas card list
141. Fun afternoon with DH making that card and reminiscing about friends
142. More to come...


First, thank you to those who responded to my previous post. I hate to sound so whingy, it is just sometimes hard to articulate what answers I'm seeking. I'm glad the Holy Spirit knows what my heart needs and continues to work, even as I question how, lol. I took a couple of days off of the written study to just seek God. No answers yet, but that is really okay. I'd rather just be able to state the questions. I find I often learn more in classes that I don't totally agree with the material, because I seek more. And it isn't that I don't necessarily agree with the material, I just really don't like the more academic fashion of presenting it and so I'm fighting it. In discussion with a few other people in the class, they are not really happy with the written presentation either. So at least I'm not alone.
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On a much better Bible Study note, my ladies study on Friday was AWESOME! It is so amazing to see how God laid out and prepared this study for us. Two months ago I just jotted down nineteen "topics" and chose one verse that spoke to the topic and one quote that related somehow. The task was each week to just wait for God to speak on the topic and then come and discuss. The topics seemed disjointed and thrown together. But every week, without fail, the discussions have been amazing. The struggles that people are talking about in their lives or in the lives of their friends are exactly on topic. And we are seeing God mightily at work.

The topic this week was "awareness" and the verse was
"He pays even greater attention to you, dow to the last detail--even numbering the hairs on your head!" Matthew 10:30, from the Message version
We were talking about the attention God pays to us, and if that is frightening or reassuring. We also talked of when we are most aware of God and when we are least aware of God. There were some "AHA" moments during the study when God made Himself very apparent. A good discussion of how we should react (and honesty about how we often react) when God brings to our attention/makes us aware of the sin in our life followed. It was incredible. I love being a part of a study when the walls are broken down and there is honest evaluation, application and accountability. This group is reaching that level of trust. I can't wait to see what God will do next.

And isn't it ironic, just as I'm struggling with what does the Holy Spirit really do in my life---He breaks through and moves in the study I'm leading. I don't believe in coincidence. I believe that it is a God-incidence. And I'm sure the two lessons will soon become more apparent how they fit together. That is, if I keep seeking to be aware of God in my life.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Struggling with a Life in the Spirit

No, not necessarily my life in the Spirit, but this Bible Study that I am currently enduringstudying. I try not to be negative about the way studies go, but I am really struggling here. So, maybe by blogging it out, I'll find the answers I'm needing. I'll welcome feedback, but you may also feel free to skip this post as it is rambling and self-serving.

OK, the deal is that I am participating in this study. It is a LifeWay study and I was incredibly excited because the other LifeWay studies I have done have majorly changed my life (think Henry Blackaby Experiencing God and all the Beth Moore studies). I have needed to just be taught for a while, and now I have the opportunity. And although I am learning, it is more from arguing with the study than absorbing from it, if that makes any sense. And I am frustrated. But I'm more frustrated with last night's/week's study. (Note: we have the weekly quizzes ahead of time and since they are taking me longer than the 10 minutes or so in class, I'm doing them ahead).

Last week's topic was "A New Creation" and is talking about the part in redemption that the Holy Spirit plays. The question was posed,
"In this unit we focused more on Jesus than on the Holy Spirit, so it may surprise you to realize we considered at least 8 activities of the Spirit! In the short blanks, name as many of the activities as possible."
At best I could come up with 7 out of the study, and I really think 2 of them were stretching it but I did copy the list of six from the book. I listed: conviction, justification, regeneration (the author uses this interchangeably with redemption), forgiveness of sin, faith (as in empowering a person to believe), and repentence. I added the incarnation because without that the work would not have been able to start in me. I suspected that the 8th was empowering/enabling us to serve, but can't really find where he says that in the study. If I had just brain-stormed activities of the Holy Spirit my first would have been conviction followed by intercession for me at the throne of Christ. So far, intercession has not come up in the book (but we are only on week 4 of 10). I was NOT confident in any of my answers.

So class time comes. The pastor says that we are going to brainstorm these together (in other words, he didn't find 8 either, lol). But when it came time to consolidate our lists he asked for "six (not eight) core activities of the Holy Spirit." The list was put up: Incarnation, Enabling of Jesus' ministry, Sacrifice of Jesus', Resurrection, Conviction, Regeneration. He asked if we are all happy with the list. There is an uncomfortable silence. He asks again. I'm not comfortable so I speak up. I express that "maybe it is splitting hairs" but I have a problem with four of the six core activities of the Spirit relating only to Jesus and being already accomplished. I see the Holy Spirit living and working today, and this seems incongruent. He pointed me to an activity in the book which paralleled five activities of the Spirit in Jesus' life with mine (Jesus' birth parallels my new birth, Jesus's empowerment to serve parallels my service, Jesus' resurrection parallels my eternal life, etc). He contends that the activities in the Jesus life are the same as in our life. I could have pointed him 8 pages further in the book where my list came from, but I didn't because that wasn't the point. And if Jesus' birth parallels my new birth which comes by conviction and redemption, why are Conviction and Regeneration separated from the Incarnation? He asks if I'd be happier saying "significant activities" instead of "core." *shrug* It doesn't change my struggle that much. (Aside: AARGH! No wonder Christians can't agree on doctrines of the Holy Spirit, we can't even agree on the terminology.) Anyway, obviously, I still was not convinced, but no one else is talking so I shut up. And we talk about the Holy Spirit's role in Jesus' life and if Jesus needed the Spirit, who are we to say we can go it without the Spirit's help. And I see the point, but I'm left, wanting....something.

I KNOW the Spirit is alive and at work in me. I hear the daily/hourly/sometimes minutely voice of conviction in my life. I know that is the work transforming me to be more like Christ. I know that when I don't have a clue how to pray, the Spirit knows how and does pray. I know all of this. I can't tell you how I know anymore than I can tell you how I know that my children love and trust me. I just know it. And I want to know how to connect with that more. It is not that I don't believe that the Spirit was an integral part of the life of Jesus. I do. But I find it tedious to separate in such an academic sense what was the work of Jesus and what was the work of the Spirit. And maybe that is my struggle, I don't need to separate Jesus from the Spirit, I just need to learn more about the spirit at work in my life. I don't even know how to ask the questions, I just know I need something else.

See the struggle? I can't even articulate it. Which is sooo frustrating. So here is my question for you (since you got this far): In your life what are the core activities of the Spirit and how does that play out for you? Maybe by hearing your experiences I can separate from the academic study and just relate to the Spirit living in me. Thanks for staying with me!

More Gifts

66. Crisp autumn mornings
67. walks around the lake
68. teaching Jewel and Flower about God's creation
69. cloudless skies
70. thunderstorms, rare occurence that they are
71. rainbows
72. gold and red leaves on the sidewalk
73. daffodils and tulips under the earth...
74. ....and then bursting forth Spring with colour
75. wedding vows
76. wedding bands
77. commitment
78. the past 11 years
79. dreams for the years to come
80. Education opportunities
81. Teachers and professors who helped shape who I am
82. The privilege of being my children's teacher
83. Sonlight curriculum
84. Jewel writing her name for the first time
85. The joy on her face as she accomplished her task
86. Children's Stories
87. Goodnight Moon
88. Dr. Seuss
89. Caddie Woodlawn
90. Five Little Peppers
91. Beatrix Potter
92. *the Jesus book* (Jewel's first Bible)
93. VeggieTale videos
94. Disney videos
95. an enchanted look on Flower's face as she watches
96. Books to read...for mommy
97. The Classics (esp. Jane Eyre)
98. Authors who feed my soul...
99. Dee Brestin
100. Philip Yancy
101. Beth Moore
102. Les Hughes
103. Henry Blackabe
104. Max Lucado
105. Sight
106. Hearing
107. Touch
108. Taste
109. Smell
110. Rasberry candles burning
111. Wind on my face
112. Sunshine
113. Flowers blooming
114. Lavender brusing against me
115. Honeysuckle
116. Chocolate
117. Fresh ground coffee
118. grating nutmeg
119. children's laughter
120. church bells
121. the quiet of the early morning
122. stitches that line up
123. gifts to stitch and give
124. secret Santa pals
125. friends to help keep the surprise
126. More to come....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best... when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things."
~ George MacDonald~

I love giving gifts. I love finding the *perfect* gift for someone especially when it is serendipity since shopping is not my thing. I love stitching a pattern for someone that I know they will love. I love wrapping it with care and lots of ribbons and I love, love, love the joy I get when someone opens up the gift. I love gift giving. Some of my friends say that I am, well gifted, at gift giving.

But it hasn't always been that way. There was a time when I faced with dread any occassion that required a gift. So, what changed? I did. My reason for giving gifts changed. I stopped looking at giving gifts as an obligation and began to see it as a privilege. I began to see that giving gifts was sharing a part of what God gave me with others. I began to realize that giving a material gift from my heart was giving a part of myself and my God to another person. And in that change joy of sharing took over.

The gifts may have been the same. But the attitude they were given with changed. And therefore the giver of the gift was changed. And I've come to realize that it is me, the giver of the gift, who must first recognize that it comes from God for it to be at its best.

The receiver may not even know God yet and therefore cannot begin to fathom to the true breadth of the gift. I think of a family member who gets angry when we give him a gift--each year saying don't give me anything else. Not yet a Christian, he only sees the obligation and not the gift. My husband and I discuss, should we stop? But we feel that gift giving is one of the few ways we can share our heart with this person. So *we* keep giving, praying with each gift he'll see the heart behind the gift not the gift itself. The receiver may not want to see God. I think of a dear friend for whom I stitched a one-of-a-kind creation. When she cut me out of her life because of the reflection of Christ that she no longer wanted to see, she tossed it in the garbage. She totally understood that a gift was a from God and could not have it in her life. I pray for her that she will come to understand you can throw away the gift, but you can't throw away the God who gives the gift.

So, I keep giving gifts. Because God has shown me that giving gifts is an extension of giving Him. I pray as I affix those pretty bows to gifts that the presentation will bring beauty into their life. I pray that the gift inside will encourage the receiver. But most of all, I pray that they will see my God, the giver of all good things, in the person who gave them the gift. And then I sit back and allow God to give me the joy that comes from sharing.

Go here to see what other Christian Women are saying regarding this quote on their blogs.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

1000 Gifts

Ann V at Holy Experience of Listening, has begun a series of 1000 gifts and invited other bloggers to join her. What a lovely way to usher in the holiday seasons. So here is my first entry of gifts where God has blessed me. I'll try to post on Thursdays.

1. DH who loves me
2. Jewel
3. Flower
4. Extended Family
5. Church Family
6. IRL Friends
7. Computer Friends
8. Shelter
9. Food
10. Warm Sweaters
11. Shady hats
12. Shoes
13. barefeet in green grass
14. Listening to Jewel pray
15. Listening to Flower "amen"
16. Freedom to worship
17. Freedom to speak
18. Freedom to travel
19. Just Freedom
20. Ladies Bible Studies
21. Harvest time
22. Cotton bales
23. Freshly cut wheat
24. a peahen in the garden
25. ducks on the lake
26. Baby swans growing their white feathers
27. elegance of the blue heron
28. Girls' dancing
29. giggling
30. cuddling
31. tugged ears
32. hugged necks
33. kissed cheeks
34. a child's trust
35. Forgiveness
36. Discipleship
37. Sanctification
39. Cross Stitch Crazy message board
40. quilt patches
41. Stitching floss
42. Creativity
43. a warm kitchen
44. Bread baking
45. garlic cooking
46. soup in the crockpot
47. travel
48. German Alps
49. Tuscany
50. Stockholm
51. Prague
52. Scottish Highlands
53. and the Lowlands
54. Teachers of Scripture
55. Pastor Bill
56. Pastor Charlie J.
57. Brother Charlie S.
58. Brother Scotty
59. Pastor Mike
60. Jack M.
61. Dean Anne
62. Worship Leaders
63. Music teams
64. Organ music
65. Praise music

SBQ---Flossy Inventory

Today's SBQ was suggested by Jan
( and is:

How many different brands of "complete" embroidery floss sets do you own? How do you keep track of it? (i.e., spread sheet program, index cards, palm pilot, etc.)

The permalink to this post is:

I own a complete set of DMC and near complete set of Six Strands Sweet, and a nice start on the WDW and GAST. I keep excel spreadsheets of the total collection and how many of each colour I have. Those spreadsheets are then kept on my Palm Pilot so I have a quick guide always with me if I happen upon a good shopping opportunity. lol

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Goals and WIPs

November goals:
Stitching and Quilting
1. Start and finish 5 Hinzeit State blocks for Xmas gifts
2. Complete all states on ALTWL thru Oklahoma
3. Finish and mail ornament for exchange
4. Complete 3 table runners for gifts
1. Keep up with Life in the Spirit, including memory verses
2. Order ETC and Singapore Math books (next level)
3. Write Christmas letter and design card
4. Host Thanksgiving dinner (for 17)

In a quick recap of October goals I did finish Stef's NRR, I finished all of Preamble Sampler (not just the stripes), I finished and sent off two quilts, I started the writing curriculum with Jewel (she wrote her name for the first time today!) and I blogged regularly although not 3 times a week. I haven't been walking as much as I had hoped due to weather. I'm going to get better at in-home exercise when we can't get out.

And here is a finish (the Christmas ornament for my 12 Days of Christmas pal) and a Work in Progress (America Land That We Love). This is my focus piece until it is done!Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

IOW--Seed Planting

"Just as an inferno begins with but a spark, a field grows vast and plentiful from the sprinkling of seeds"
~ Stephanie Fries ~
Steph's Poetry Corner

I am very blessed. As I look back through generations of my family, there is a strong line of faith. My mother's grandmother taught her about God. My Dad was taught by his parents who were taught by my grandmother's parents who were taught by their parents. I can confirm at least four generations of belief that distilled down into my Dad teaching me. With this quote I've been wondering about the person who taught my great-great-great grandfather about faith in God? Did they have any idea the impact they would have on generations to come? That sharing of the Truth has led to generations of belief. I get to reap the benefit of that. My harvest is sweet because I didn't have to experience a lot of difficulty in coming to Faith. I saw it lived out in front of me, I accepted it as truth and I acted upon it for myself. I am so thankful to the people who planted those early seeds of faith in my family. I am part of their harvest. The harvest was not limited to family either. My great-grandfather was an elder in the church and from what I hear a pillar of a community of faith. My grandmother literally loved hundreds of kids into the kingdom (her children's friends and then her grandchildren's friends). My parents taught Sunday School and impacted the lives of the youth of the church. And, now, the harvest still grows.

I, in turn, have the joy and the responsibility to carry on the harvest. Sitting with Jewel each morning reading a Bible Story and teaching a weekly memory verse that I pray will be the foundation of her faith. I pray that these seeds will grow deep and she will cling to Scripture in the days to come when life gets harder. Taking Jewel and Flower to church, *singing God* together, giving money to God, going to Sunday School and teaching them how to love the body of Christ---seeds we are planting and praying grow into a harvest in their lives. How I live my life today waters those seeds in my children. I pray that a good harvest grows, devoid of weeds that could choke out the Truth. I pray that they will accept Faith in Jesus for themselves and will go on to plant seeds in their friends lives and eventually, if God allows it, their children's lives. The generations of faith continuing from early plantings.

Isn't God good?

For other writer's reflections on this quote visit here:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Menu Planning

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Well, I have been participating without posting for a couple of weeks, and this is really helping me enjoy cooking again. So, I guess I'll post my menu for the week in participation with Org Junkie

Monday: Tagliatelli with Pork in Marscapone Sauce, Salads
Tuesday: Greek Chicken, Steamed Carrots, Greek Salad
Wednesday (Bible Study night): Savoury Triangles and Crisps
Thursday: Chile Macaroni
Friday: Rosemary Pork Tenderloin and winter squash
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Split Pea Soup, Homemade Bread

Remember Remember the 5th of November

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Yesterday was Guy Fawkes Day. It is traditionally celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. Our family went to the firework display last night. Jewel was totally enthralled. Flower giggled and pointed for the first ten minutes, then put her thumb in her mouth, tugged her ear and gave that decidedly "now I'm bored" look. But she snuggled into the pram and was content for the rest of the show and the walk home. It was a lovely evening. Not so lovely were our idiot neighbours setting off fireworks in their back garden 1 foot from our fence and 3 feet from the girls bedroom window, two nights in a row immediately after I put the girls to bed (and that was well after 9:30!) *sigh*

But you really have to love the freedom you live in when a would-be traitor is celebrated with his own day 300 years later. lol!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Growing in Christlikeness

The Life in the Spirit study this week asked us to list 5 ways that the people who knew us best would say our life reflect Christlikeness and the 5 ways that it least reflected Christlikeness. Although I struggled with ways I do reflect Christ, I think that God showed me areas that by His Grace I'm faithfully trying to reflect Him. (Un)fortunately I could have listed many more than five areas that I don't reflect His likeness. And I find that a mixed blessing. Because the more I seek to emulate Him, the more I see that I don't. In an odd way, seeing the areas that God is refining in me is the direct result of seeking a Christ-like life.

Anyway, then the study did the unthinkable. It asked us to ASK the people who knew us best to answer this question for us. Instinct is to run, hide, ignore the question (and to be fair more than half the class did ignore the question). But being the student-who-can't-break-the-rules-no-matter-how-uncomfortable type person that I am, and because my husband was sitting 3 feet away doing the same study, I asked. And he reaffirmed what God was telling me and even added a couple of encouragements that I would have never used to describe myself. And, he affirmed the areas of weakness as well. He graciously only mentioned two areas that he felt I did not reflect Christ (they were my one and two as well), but it was so much harder to hear him say them than for me to acknowledge them on paper. OUCH! But I am more determined to turn those areas over to God.

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The study went on to talk about people who we admire for their walk. And it asked the question in terms of respecting or acknowledging their moral approach to life (bad choice of word but I'm too lazy to go get the book). The word that struck me was moral. And I began to ask myself, "who serves as a moral compass for me?" Who do I look at when I am struggling with the correct path to take for guidance. I mean tangible, *I've walked this path and made this choice* guidance not just Scripture guidance. Because, although I am thankful for the Spirit in me and the still small voice of God guiding me, I need real, touchable people I can learn from as well. And, as has happened a few times in the last weeks, I have been reminded I need to cultivate those people in my life. My iron has moved away and cannot sharpen by telephone as well as in person. I need that person in my life. And I'm praying for opportunities to develop that kind of accountability in friendship.

Challenging stuff. Stay tuned for more of the journey. And please, keep praying.

What's in a Name--SBQ

Today's SBQ was suggested by Lee ( and is:

How did you decide on the title of your stitching blog? Was it random, or does it have a special meaning to you or about you?

The permalink to this post is:

This is timely since I have had several people ask in the last week what my title means. Since this blog was never meant to be exclusively about stitching, wanted something that denoted speech that could cover lots of topics. Monologue seemed to fit at the time (although now I see it more as a Dialogue lol). Miriam Pauline is the name I've written under for some time. It honors my grandmothers (Mary and Pauline) and hearkens to the heritage they left me.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

IOW: Scratches of Love

"Like the proud mother who is thrilled to receive a wilted bouquet of dandelions from her child, so God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude."
~ Richard Foster~

She was four years old.

She was at granddad's house.

He had a brand new car.

She had a nail.

And she scratched her name on the back of the car.

She ran to show granddad her act of love.

Her parent's freaked out.

But granddad swept her up in his arms and hugged her and exclaimed, "she's four years old and she can write her name."

He didn't see it as destruction---he saw it as love and accepted it as such.

This story was told at my grandfather's funeral in 1996. I was 28 years old. After the service, my great aunt came to me and said, "we still have that car." My grandfather had given her to car to use twenty years before but it was always a "loan." She was not to sell it. Twenty-four years my grandfather kept that bouquet of dandelions. Twenty-four years kept that signature. Twenty-four years.

And so it is with God. He stores up our bouquets of love and cherishes them. He chooses to forget our sins and he chooses to keep the love. Go offer Him some love expression today.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Life Lived Resentfully?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThank you for your encouragement yesterday. I find myself more and more aware of the line between being faithful to share my journey and being prideful of that journey. It is encouraging that some of you find my sharing a help in your own journey. That is certainly my prayer. (And, I must consider the source in the person who questioned my motives. This is a person who seems to resent anyone doing anything that brings joy or fulfills dreams.) I know that about this person, but I must be cautious not to just discount the teachable moment as her rubbish when it could be God's small voice.

Resentment is a funny thing (funny--hmmm, not funny---ha ha). This week the son of one of my friends asked his mom "Do you live your life resentfully?" After establishing that he did in fact mean resentfully and not regretfully, they have had an on-going discussion about this. And she posed the question to some of us on a cross stitch board I frequent. The answers were interesting and in the same theme of no because of understanding God's role in life or the brevity of life or what is important. But it got me to thinking why anyone would live their life resentfully.

The aforementioned person who is resentful could trace much of her resentment back to unfulfilled dreams and circumstances she would say were beyond her control. And although the circumstances might have been beyond her control, she chose to be bitter and to give up on everything rather than face the situation. As a result she has lived for 20+ years in resentment and bitterness. Another friend would say that someone else's choice has given them the right to be resentful. But for 15 years she has chosen to not forgive and to resent anyone who points her to forgiveness. I have friends who resent my ability to travel the world, even when they will admit in the next breath that they choose to not travel in order to do other things. But their feelings go beyond wishfulness to resentment (in one case to the point that she told me she doesn't read my Christmas letters because she hates to see where I've been). My brother resents that I live overseas, although he adamantly admits he wouldn't want to live anywhere but Texas. He just can't stand that I choose to live somewhere else. He resents anyone who chooses a different path. Why???

I think it is because so many people, on some level, do not trust their own decisions. A life lived resentfully is a life lived second-guessing the choices one has made. My brother chooses to live in Texas but asks "what if?" Friends choose not to travel but ask "what if?" "What if forgiveness was better?" "What if?" Second guessing. And, the truth is in choices about where to live, what to do with time, what to do with money, etc. contentment can come with whatever decision is made. There is no reason to second-guess.

To not live resentfully is to trust yourself and to trust your God with the decisions He leads you to make. I am content with where I am--no matter where I am--because I am content that God will lead me while I'm there. I trust that by His grace and in His blessing I reside. And that can be anywhere in the world and in any circumstance and in any dream.

Does that mean I never look at someone else and wonder what it would be like to have what they have? Of course not! I would love to stitch as quickly as V, but I am content to be me and stitch at my pace. I would love to take gorgeous pictures like M, but I am content to settle for my point and shoot camera. I would love to live close enough to get together with my friends, but I am content that this is where I'm supposed to live. I would love to turn a phrase or challenge like C, or GB, or AME, but I'm content that this is my writing style and that God blesses it. I could resent my friends for having talents that I don't have, but where would that get me? Miserable and paralyzed from using the gifts I do have. Resentment comes from not being content with who we are. Life is too short to life resentfully.

But what about you? Do you live your life resentfully? If you do, why? If you don't, why not? I'm really interested in continuing this discussion. And so is my friend's son...he is tuning in for answers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Pharisee in Me

"Oh, Lord, I pray hard on my way
I try to do it every day
A publican to be I try
and beat my breast and sigh and cry
I'm hoping others round will see--
oops--there's the Pharisee in me!"
from The Pharisee in Me by Jill Briscoe

Don't you hate it when God hits you in the heart in your pleasure reading? This poem hit me hard this week. Can't get it out of my mind. I don't want to be a Pharisee. Yet someone close to me asked this week if I blog my journey for me to learn or to show off what I've learned. I pray that it is the former. Forgive me if it is the latter. And if you see the Pharisee in me show up, please love me enough to tell me. I mean it. If you don't point it out to me I might let her take up residency. And she's not welcome here.

Blessings to you all today!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Dance with Me!

I have finally finished Preamble Sampler! I started it in June 2003 and finished it today! I am really pleased with how it turned out.
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More Thoughts on the Journey

Last Sunday I was visiting with another lady as we watched the kids in creche at church (nursery for you Americans out there). Anyway, she was telling a conversation with her husband (not a Christian) and how he was offended by something she said illustrated that he was not a believer. He was offended because he said "I never said I don't believe." And she made this most profound statement. She had told him, "I never said you don't believe. But you don't act on that belief or commit to that belief so you are not a believer." How true. Our pastor often says, "If what you believe doesn't change what you do, you don't really believe it." I agree. Ok, I want to agree.

Fast forward a few days. I'm having tea with a friend. We are discussing the sin topic from Bible Study. She was saying that it a hard subject because what is sin to one person may not be to another. I had to disagree. I know that there are behaviors that are considered "grey areas." But, as I told her, God defines sin as missing the mark of His Holiness as He reveals that in our lives and we don't have any need to compare ourselves with anyone else. It is a sin for me to be impatient with my kids, to take my husband for granted, to abuse my body. The specifics of how I do that may be different from how someone else does that. But I think it is a sin for anyone to mistreat the people in their lives and the temple of God . And, I said, the purpose of talking about sin is not to make a list of "this is sin and this is not", it is to be aware of what God is saying to us each individually about the sin in our life. So then we were talking about being honest about the sin in our life. And she says, "I think that just admitting it is sin is what we have to do." I want to agree, because that is easy. But I can't. So I paraphrase what I had heard on Sunday. I can believe that an action is sin for me, but if I do nothing to change that behavior and give it to God, I am not a believer that sin matters. I want to be a believer that sin matters. I want to agree intellectually with God that sin matters. But I also want to agree by changing my behavior. It is difficult, very difficult. It hurts to change, to be refined. But the reward after is more than I can imagine. So how do I change?

Part of that answer came in this week's Life in the Spirit study. Last night we were discussing our responsibilities in a life in the Spirit. We focused on three concepts: we are to grow in knowledge (i.e. know Who God is and what He expects), to yield to His authority in our life and to trust Him. As I apply this to the area of sin in my life I realise I must know what God is naming sin and name it the same, I must yield to His authority to call it sin and to punish the sin, and I must trust that as I give Him those behaviors He will transform me and give me the power to overcome. I don't have to get rid of the sin in my life. He does the transforming. I have to yield to Him and trust Him. The closer I walk with Him, the less enticing walking in my own path becomes. So I see the last couple of weeks as growing in knowledge as He has revealed His position on sin to me. But the coming weeks and months will be the difficult task of yielding and trusting. We'll see what transformations take place.

Stitcher's Question

Today's SBQ was suggested by Carol and is:

If you were to come across a sampler chart that caught your eye and appealed to you, would you or would you not stitch it if it had a morbid or "creepy" saying on it? If not, why?

I would stitch it. I view sampler sayings in the same way I view epiteths (which I love to walk through old cemeteries and read). They are both parts of cultural history and reflect a time where talking of death was more accepted because lifespans were shorter. I think preserving the cultural history is important.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IOW---The Me I Planned

"Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace..."
~ Beth Moore~
From the poem: "The Life I Planned "

The Me I Planned...
..was to be a corporate attorney in media relations until my media classes soured that plan
..was then to be a Math teacher until student teaching proved classroom management only frustrated me
..used volunteer work in a children's shelter to make a resume' look better

The Me I planned was unmarried...never married...and working full-time in Single's Ministry.

The Me I planned adopted special needs kids.

But God said,
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

And I said, "I want the Life you want for me, Lord."

And God said,
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

The Me God Planned...
..used volunteer work to awaken a call to ministry to the needy
..was a seminary trained social worker combining His Word with practical help
..was a teacher of social workers, teaching how to interpret and apply the laws on child welfare.

The Me God Planned...
..was to marry the wonderful Christian man that He had prepared for me who would partner with me for a time in Sintle Adult Ministry and would give me the freedom to pursue my gifts.

The Me God Planned...
..had a long wait and disappointments before having two beautiful daughters

The Me God Planned...
..home educates those daughters without the class room frustration.
..teaches adult women, both married and single, His Word.

My desires: ministry, children, teaching, law
His delight: ME!

The Me God Planned took all my desires and packaged them better than I could have ever imagined and presented them to me. And, as I delight in the Me He Planned, He is delighted and honoured and glorified.

I am so glad He helped me misplace the Me I had planned.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some stitchy items

I've been neglectful of posting stitchy items, so here goes:

This week's SBQ was suggested by Vash
( and is:

Which way do you stitch, i.e. do you stitch /// followed by \\\ on top, or the other way around \\\ followed by ///? Are you left- or right-handed and do you think that this affects the way that you stitch?

I stitch \\\ followed by /// or backwards to most people I know. I am right-handed, but I do believe handedness does make a difference. I was taught to stitch by my grandmother who was left-handed and I stitch like she did!

I've been working hard on my Preamble Sampler for me. Here is last week's WIP picture. I've now completed the "long" side of all the stripes and only have 2 more shorter stripes to complete. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here is the house I stitched for S's Neighbourhood RR. It was my last house to stitch before they come home. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And finally, here is Robin's Season RR. Sorry the picture is blurry. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've also finished 2 quilts. One should have been given to it's owner yesterday and the other is in the post. Once I have confirmation of arrival, I'll post pics of both. Thanks for looking!