Thursday, March 31, 2011

God is an ocean and so much more!

      Today I have been thinking how much God is like the ocean.  The ocean is beautiful, vast, unfathomable, nourishing, mysterious, powerful, unchanging, bringing forth treasures for us to find.  And so is God, only much, much more!
      I often say how much I love the ocean, but how little I really know it!  I walk along the shoreline, sometimes getting my feet wet, sometimes even getting in up to my knees.  A few times I have swam in the ocean and once in a while I take a sight-seeing boat trip farther from shore.   I have even gone on 3 or 4 ocean cruises--but how little of it I have really seen or experienced!
     My experience with God is that way, too.  I have seen Him from a distance, even getting my feet wet occasionally, but very seldom have I understood even a tiny bit of His vastness and power.  It’s my desire, though, to know God more, to experience His love and power as much as I possibly can!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


       Last weekend we went to hear the Terre Haute Symphony.  We love going to the symphony because the musicians play beautiful, interesting, and unusual arrangements of the classics but also include popular music in diverse ways.  We especially appreciate the conductor, David Bowden.  He is passionate about music and tries very hard to impart some of that enthusiasm to all who attend.  Before each performance he oversees what he calls Concert Conversations.  At this time he brings out the guest artist for that evening's performance so the audience can get to know a little about his/her background in music and thereby begin to understand the musician's passion for the instrument he/she plays.  Mr. Bowden explains why he has chosen the specific music for the evening's performance.  He also tells something about the composer and points out things to be listening for in each piece.  Then during the performance he interjects additional background material that helps us better understand what the composer was trying to achieve through the music.  For those of us who are not very knowledgeable about classical music that is very helpful and adds so much to the pleasure of the evening.  It provides a wonderful, relaxing, educational experience.
     The evening begins with a cacophony of noise as the orchestra is tuning up before the conductor comes out.  And then when he raises the baton all is quiet and the most exquisite sounds begin to come forth from the instruments.  I often think how very much we are like that in life without God.  We are playing 'our own tune' making sure our instrument is finely tuned, often making a lot of noise, but then when we turn our attention to the Great Conductor He is able to use each to the maximum potential creating an experience of beauty and harmony.
      That's one reason I love the symphony.  There are so many lessons to be learned about life just watching the conductor and the musicians.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What a day!

       What a day I've had!  The Dish Network guy came--I thought to put in the new antenna--but he said only to hook up our DVD player to the internet--that he would have to come back for the antenna.  I was resigned to that fact, but at least one job would be done.  No way!  He couldn't get the DVD player to work so he said he would have to come back some other time.
       I was a little irritated that I had waited on him all morning and still nothing was done, but decided that's just the way it is sometimes, and then I went to check my email.  I could not get online!  I tried all the things I knew to do, restart the computer, shut off the modem for 10 seconds, do them both together--you may already know the routine.  Nothing worked so I began a series of phone calls in which much of the time I was on hold or pressing "1" for this or that.  Then when I finally would get through to an actual person and explain my problem their response was, it was somebody else's department and they couldn't help me.
     I finally called a local technician who came out right away and was able to get me back online about 3:00, but could not for the life of him figure out how to get the "an application has changed your internet address" sign off my Systems Preferences.  Therefore, if I happen to open System Preferences--which I usually do only by instruction from technical support, so I'm not too worried about it--I have to Force Quit my computer.  Don't you just love electronics?????
     The Dish guy came at 9:00, so it only took 6 hours to get back to where I was before he came--checking my email and trying to decide what to post today on my blog.  I guess the only thing accomplished today was determining a blog topic!  :o)  I hope your day was more productive.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amena Brown again

       I am so in awe of Amena Brown's way with words that I decided to post this poem entitled "You," too.  This one and the one posted yesterday were the two she did at the Beautiful Things concert Friday night.  What a wonderful way to worship!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Amena Brown - He is here

       Last night some friends and I went to Gungor's "Beautiful Things" concert at a church in Decatur!  It really was wonderful!  All members of the band are extremely talented.  They played a great variety of instruments, sometimes in ways the instruments are not usually played, to bring forth hauntingly beautiful music!  Michael Gungor was absolutely phenomenal on the guitar!  At one point, as he played, you couldn't even see his fingers because he was strumming so fast!   I didn't know a guitar could be made to do some of the things he did with it!
        What a creative concert--difficult to explain what happened, but very beautiful and moving!  The girl in the video below is Amena Brown.  She spoke her poetry two different times during the concert, and was amazing, inspiring awe and worship with her words.  She is only touring with Gungor through April, so she won't be at Elevate 2011, but I thought you would want to know about her.  She has other videos that are just as moving on YouTube.

      After hearing Gungor in concert, we are even more excited about Elevate 2011!  What an amazing line-up of bands we have!  I can hardly believe we were able to get such talented musicians and groups this year!  You won't want to miss it, if you are at all able to come!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Favorite Houseplants, continued

      As I think about my favorite houseplants, I must admit I am so partial to ferns that if I had to slowly get rid of all my houseplants, the ferns would be the last to leave and the ones I would miss the most.  I love the graceful fronds of Boston ferns, but I also have a fern whose feathery fronds are even more beautiful than the Boston.  (I actually have two of these because I divided the first one.)  It was given to me by my friend, Michel, at least 20 years ago.  I only recently learned its' name when I saw several in a local nursery.  It is called a Whitmani fern.  The Whitmani has such a striking appearance that almost everyone who sees it comments on it's beauty and uniqueness.  These ferns seem to be rather rare since the only two I've ever seen are the ones I have and the ones in the nursery.
      The top picture includes two of my Boston ferns.  These are in an east window.  The Whitmani, in the lower picture, is in a west window but since we live in the woods tall trees block most of the afternoon sun.
     Ferns are relatively easy to care for if you give them plenty of light, but not direct sun.  They also seem to need more water than most of my plants, but don't like soggy soil.  They actually seem to enjoy an occasional drying out.
     The one drawback to ferns is that they are rather messy, always dropping dead leaves if you don't keep after them.  I've found that if I give them a good shake so that all the dead leaves fall at once every time I vacuum it takes them about a week to accumulate again to the extent that they are constantly dropping.
     I must say though, that the beauty they add to our surroundings far exceeds the little extra trouble they cause me with their messiness.  So if you're looking for a beautiful plant that packs a lot of interest I highly recommend a fern!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Air traffic in 24 hours

     This link was in our internet service provider's monthly email newsletter today.  The video was taken from a satellite and shows the air traffic across the globe over a 24-hour period.  It has been condensed down to one minute and 12 seconds.  From space, it looks like a beehive of activity that flows from continent to continent, day to night. 
      It is amazing there are so many flights in each 24 hour period!  What a wonderful safety record the airline industry has!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Printing info from this blog or other webpages

     Someone asked me if it is possible to print directly from my blog.  The answer to that is "yes" and "no".  The 'yes' means you can print the blog, but as in the case of recipes, all the recipes will print when you are asking for just one.  The 'no' means then that you can't print only one specific thing directly from the blog.
     There is a way to do that, though.  Let's use a specific recipe as an example.  You can go to the Recipes page, find the recipe, highlight it by holding down on the mouse button as you scroll across the info in the recipe that you want to print.  Then copy the highlighted text by pressing the word "Copy" under "Edit" in the browser toolbar.  (On a Mac, you can also press Function (Apple key) and C at the same time after you have highlighted the text as a shortcut to copying.  I'm not sure if those are the 2 keys to use on a Windows computer but it will tell you under Edit in the toolbar).  After you have done this open up a new blank Word document, click the cursor at the beginning of the page and press "Paste" under "Edit" from the browser toolbar (or press the Function and V keys together as a shortcut to paste.)  The text you want to print should now appear in the document and you can now change the format, font size, or anything else you want to do and then print it from this document.
       You can also save it for future reference, if you desire, in My Documents by choosing "Save" under "File" in the browser toolbar.  And then telling it to save it to "My Documents" when the 'where to' words appear.  I have created a folder labeled "Recipes" in "My Documents" for that purpose and then every new recipe I receive from others, or type for myself, gets sent there.
     If by some chance you don't have Microsoft Word, you can also follow the above directions for copying, but then instead of Word, open up your email as if you were going to send a new message.  Paste the info in the new email according to the instructions above.  You can then print the email even without sending it.
      I hope this helps.  You can use this same method for most anything you would like to print and/or save from any web page, if you can't print directly from that web page.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ian Andrews

    I am so excited!  Ian Andrews is going to be speaking at out church April 15--17, Friday & Sat. nights at 7:00, and Sunday morning at 9:30.  I first heard of him a couple of years ago through the owners of Aqueduct Conference Center, but I had never heard him speak until recently when I discovered a podcast of one of his talks in Michigan.  I was so impressed by what he said and did at that meeting that I searched for other podcasts on the Internet and discovered that Chiswick Christian Center in England has several.  (I posted a link to Chiswick on the Speakers page.)
    Here is Ian's bio and vision copied from his websites and   

 Bio "Ian is the Apostolic Director of the International Association of Healing Ministries and the Founder of Citadel Ministries. He also serves as a part of the R.A.I.N apostolic team. He has been actively a leading figure in the healing ministry for more than four decades and has authored two books which are available at this web site.
     Ian has traveled to over 65 nations bringing the good news that every believer can and should heal the sick. He has also been used to start several revivals throughout the world. Ian is married to Rosemary and they live in the West Country, UK they have one grown son who lives in USA. . ."
      "Ian was called by God whilst practising Accountancy as a Chartered Accountant at a time when he had little or no faith for healing as he stammered very severely and could never imagine becoming a preacher. Over many years God performed His own version of SOZO on Ian and slowly Ian began to be healed! From the very first day Ian was surprised as God regularly performed miracles through him. The meetings were mainly small in size but that did not stop God using Ian to perform creative body part miracles from the very start of Ian’s ministry."

Vision: "Our primary burden in these days is to see the healing ministry restored and fully functioning in the body of Christ, so that everyone can move in healing.  So our focus is on equipping people and releasing the anointing so that they have the confidence, knowledge and faith to move ahead in praying for people and seeing them healed..."

      After reading the above information, I'm sure you can see why we are excited that he is coming to Crawford County Christian Center.  Why not listen to one of the podcasts? If you do and you are anywhere near Robinson, Illinois, on April 15-17, I know you will try your best to be at these meetings.  I believe they will be life-changing.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Favorite Houseplants

     As I began thinking about what I wanted to say in this post I was reminded of a quote by one of my favorite authors, Glenn Clark, who founded Camps Farthest Out.  He used to say, "The answer resides in the question."  The question I was asking myself is, "What are my favorite houseplants and why?"  As I pondered this I realized the answer to that question is that my favorite houseplants are those that are easy to grow.  The reason people think I know how to grow houseplants well is because I find out what will grow (usually by trial and error) in a certain place and then I let it.  It isn't that I am good at growing things, I am just good at discovering what will grow in certain areas.  That is the key--to discover a plant that will grow in the conditions that I have--place it there, water it appropriately (see earlier post) and then let it grow.   That's the way I garden, too, by trial and error.  If something isn't growing well in a certain spot I move it and try to find something else that will grow there.
    I think over the years I have had at least one of almost all the popular plants growing in my house at one time or another.  Some died, some didn't flourish, and some were just too much bother, so I threw them away, but not without a twinge of guilt. There were a few, though, that seemed to be very happy, so I replaced the rejects with more of the ones that flourished.  As I mentioned in an earlier post I have many plants in my house, but I have narrowed the species now living here down to only a few--keeping only those that are easy to grow and don't require too much time other than watering.
    Of all the plants I have tried to grow, pothos is by far the easiest.  (If you're interested, I posted a link to more information on pothos on the Favorite Plants page.)  It is one of my favorites because it doesn't need much light and therefore will grow almost anywhere--except in the hot sun of a south window.  It will grow in soil or even in water.  I actually prefer to grow them in water because they don't get so 'leggy'.  Since they are so easy to grow I stick them anywhere I need a little greenery.  
Pothos in water
     Whenever I need another plant, or I want to share one with friends, I cut off several stems from one of them, stick the stems in a jar of water, sit the jar in a basket and let it grow.   I have three of them in water on the bookshelves lining the hall to the garage.  There are no direct windows so the main light they get is from the canned lights in the hallway.  One of the three has been there--living in water--since we built our house.  Another one, also in water, is sitting on the divider to the kitchen.  Some of the potted ones are hanging off the plant shelf over the entry.  I am adding pictures so you can see what I'm talking about.  

These are growing in soil.  The plant on the right is the parent of all of the others plus lots more!  It was given to me almost 30 years ago by friends, Sam & Carol, as a house gift.
     Since this post is getting rather lengthy, I will discuss some of my other favorites in a later post.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is just around the corner!

       Yesterday was a beautiful day--73 degrees and sunny!  In my opinion that is perfect!.  I picked up sticks for several hours, (Country Guy helped me in the afternoon) but we still have some to do yet.  Picking up sticks is a never-ending chore when living in the woods!  It is amazing how many fall after a storm or strong wind.  What good exercise, though--all that walking and bending over, and then the result is a nice big pile to burn for a wiener roast!
The results of our labor.
         I learned from my North Carolina friends that they plant pansies in the fall because they flourish in cooler temperatures and will survive and thrive in their mild winters.  How wonderful to have blooms all winter!   In late spring they dig them up and plant summer blooming annuals.  Since our winter is harsher than theirs, I knew they wouldn't survive all winter, but realized they would be fine much sooner than I used to plant them, so yesterday I filled the pots at our front door with pansies.  Don't they look cheerful?  I have been so eager for spring that I just had to get a head start on a little beauty.  (If you look very close you can see my reflection in the door as I'm taking the picture--in case you forgot what I looked like.  :o)
     Country guy also helped me dig daffodils from a spot on our property where they grow wild.  We moved most of them to the new garden I started last year in an area where several trees died.  (It seemed to me a garden would be a good way to cover up the stumps left from the removal of the trees.)   I have tried to move a few daffodils every year since we've lived here, so this year there should be a great many blooming when spring arrives.  In another week it will be very beautiful around here!
This picture was taken last year when I had a different helper.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paul Zerdin, a Ventriloquist without a dummy

My sister sent this today. What a creative--and funny--idea!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beef and Noodles, Chicken and Noodles

      As I promised earlier, since this is Country Guy's favorite meal, I am adding a post on making noodles.  Many of you are better at making noodles than I am, I'm sure, but while living in Nebraska I discovered that a lot of people not only don't make their own noodles, but they had not even heard of serving them over mashed potatoes which is the favorite way to eat them in our part of the country.   If you've never had these, give them a try.  It is easier to do than it sounds and much more tasty than you can imagine.

Beat as many eggs as you want depending of the size of the crowd you're making them for.  (Let's start with 3-5.  Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt,  a little pepper and enough flour to make a stiff dough.  (Start with about 1 cup and add more as needed.)  Turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate enough flour to keep dough from being sticky.  Roll out into a thin circle, adding more flour if dough tends to stick to surface.  (If using several eggs, you may want to divide the dough and roll each part separately).  After rolling, cut the circle into quarters and stack them together.  If they are sticky, add flour between the layers.  Roll up and slice into noodles (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick).  Separate and remove as much loose flour as possible, and let dry on the counter for a few minutes up to a couple of hours, depending on how much time you have.

Beef & Noodles/Chicken & Noodles   In the meantime cook a chicken, or a beef roast to which water, salt & pepper have been added--either in the oven, or by boiling.  Reserve the broth, add more water if necessary, and some of the cooked meat to the broth.  Bring the broth to a boil and slowly add the noodles--trying not to add much excess flour if there is some left on the counter.  Continue to stir as you drop the noodles into the water so they won't stick together.  (You will probably need to add more water or canned chicken, or beef broth so that you will have enough broth to cook the noodles, and to keep the sauce created from the flour in the noodles from becoming too thick.  If you add too much liquid, you can always pour some off before serving, so don't get anxious.  After making these a few times you will be better able to estimate how much is needed.)  Cook about 15 minutes, or until done.  Serve over mashed potatoes.  Serve the rest of the meat as the main course.  (I especially like cooked frozen peas served with this meal, and fresh chilled tomatoes when they are in season.)
    You can use these noodles in any way you would use packaged egg noodles.  (I make them for chicken noodle soup, and stroganoff, too.)  For chicken noodle soup I only use 1 or 2 eggs making a small amount of noodles for the soup.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Salt and Light

      As I said in an earlier post, I have been journaling through the Sermon on the Mount.  Through this tool, the Lord is expanding my understanding of the scripture and making it much more exciting and applicable to my life.  An example:

      My journal entry for Matthew 5:13-16:  You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
   “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
     After picturing myself sitting with Jesus on the hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee as He was teaching His disciples, I read the above passage in Matthew,  and then asked, "How can I better be salt and light to those in my sphere of influence?" I began writing the thoughts that came to mind.
     You are the salt of the earth.  If you do not flavor and preserve all that you come in contact with, what good are you?  You are the light of the world because I am the light of the world and I live in you, let your light shine so that they may see your good works and glorify the Father.
    How can I better do this, Lord?
    You can be conscious of this assignment so that you are not hesitant to be salt or light when the situation arises.  Salt is a flavoring and a preservative; light illumines darkness.  You need to be aware of which is needed in each situation you find yourself.  You can add flavor to conversation.  You can preserve my values.  And you can shed light on wrong ideas.  Be alert.  Be sensitive.  Don't try to be light when you need to be salt.  Sometimes--even though the person is in darkness--what they are needing is encouragement to see they are valuable, to help them continue to hope.
     Lord Jesus, make me wise.  I see why you were so pleased with Solomon because he asked for wisdom.  I can know all these things, but if I don't know how and when to apply them, they are of no use...

    Journaling this passage gave me new insight on what it means to be salt & light.  They are two entirely different things and are needed in different circumstances.  New insight like this is one reason I love journaling so much!  I hope you, too, are discovering its' benefits.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Buddy Greene at Carnegie Hall

Buddy Greene is so talented!  Did you know that William Tell's Overture could be played on the harmonica?  I certainly didn't!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Indy Flower Show

    Country Guy and I visited the Indiana Flower Show with friends today.  We had a wonderful time, but I must say the gardens were a little disappointing this year.  The theme was "Neighborhoods."  There were not nearly so many flowering trees and plants as usual, but instead most of the gardens included brick walls and outdoor fireplaces and grilling areas and lots of huge rocks.   I guess these might be useful in city landscape designs, but they really aren't very applicable to my life in the woods.  Therefore,  I didn't get many new ideas.  The beautiful flowers seemed to contribute to my eagerness for spring to come though.  The pictures below are of what I considered the most beautiful gardens.
    Aren't the tulips and forsythia stunning?
    Can you see the reindeer and it's baby in the first picture?   Some people are extremely creative!  Who would have thought something so cute could be made from logs and sticks!  (Clicking on the picture will make the picture larger.)

     Oh, well--there's always next year!  A stroll through beautiful gardens is never a waste.  I was just hoping for some inspiration to get me started on spring clean-up.  It seems there's nothing that gets me going like the potential for a new garden space!  But then again, maybe I already have enough to take care of this year.  :o)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

John Paul Jackson

I thought this was a very good reminder from John Paul Jackson of how much God loves us and wants to spend time with us.

"You Are Wanted " (February 2011 Newsletter)                                        
       A few years ago, I dreamed that my father offered to give me a ride to my car.  My car was only a block away, and I could have easily walked there.  But after some lighthearted insistence on his part, I finally agreed to let him take me.

     Instead of going the most direct route, he ended up taking me all over the area: down one-way streets, through parks and office communities.  Forty-five minutes later, we were back to being within one block of my car.  Frustrated, I asked my father to stop so I could just walk.
     As I got out of the car, my father remorsefully said, “I just wanted to spend some time with you.”
      It was then I heard a voice from Heaven say to me, “This is how you treat Me.” 
       “No,” I quickly retorted, “I’m not like that at all! I make time to talk with You.”
        But His response left me aghast: “Yes, you are ready to talk with Me when you want, but you are not available to talk anytime I want. You are more interested in reaching your goals than spending time with Me.”
        Needless to say, that dream was a wakeup call for me. It helped me better comprehend the heart and thought processes of my Father God.
        Genuine relationship with God is a marriage of two hearts, and like any marriage, it needs timeand focus in order to grow. It also requires both people actually understanding where the other is coming from. Let me explain what I mean by that.
          God’s love for you is extravagant. His love for you is greater than anything that has ever been seen before. His love for you is more than you could imagine. It is more than you could ever expect, even on your best day. And this God who loves you more than you could ever hope for wants you to be an active participant in His life.
          This is not an invitation to feel condemned. Don’t think, I never spend time with God. He must be disappointed in me. Or, I know He wants me to spend more time with Him, but I just can’t right now. Don’t read this article and allow your soul to become troubled. Instead, realize how much you are wanted.
         If this is a difficult subject for you to grasp, purposefully set out to change your mind about it. For the next month, try to wake up in the morning with this thought: Today, God desires me.
         As our weeks and months go by and we struggle through our valleys and trials, it can be so easy to forget our passion; the understanding of His heart for us can slip through our fingers. Then, when His invitation comes, we often respond in fear: I’m not doing enough! He’s probably upset with me! How could He ever want me? I’m not one of the faithful ones. If I come to Him now, it’s probably going to be at a great personal cost!
         But again, the invitation is not meant to make you feel condemned for your actions or thought processes (Romans 8:1). It has been issued solely because He wants you. And the result of spending time with God is that you become God focused. Your life changes. Your mind, your will and your emotions become aligned with His. Your hope flourishes. You discover real, genuine, true life; you discover the real you in the middle of His affections.  
         When you wait on Him, He speaks. When you spend time with Him, you discover that He has been wanting to speak. He has been waiting for you to  wait, so He can talk, so He can move, so He can inform, so He can touch, so He can hold, so He can caress, so He can embrace you.
         Let today be your day. Go find yourself in God’s affections. Spend time with Him and discover His heart for you. And remember that you are wanted so fully and completely that when you begin to understand His desire for you, the path will straighten out beneath your feet; your questions will be answered, and you will discover a peace that passes all comprehension.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Laugh for Today

    How about a little humor today.  I love to laugh, don't you?  A friend sent me a link to this a few weeks ago.  I thought it was hilarious!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More New Recipes

      In case you haven't checked lately, I have added more recipes on the "Recipes" page.  My goal is to add at least 3 or 4 per week.  The "Recipes" page seems to be very popular.  I guess you're all like me in that you love getting new suggestions of good recipes someone else has been making for years.
      I'm still hoping you all will share your favorites with me.   Some days I can hardly get myself to go to the kitchen.   On those days I can't seem to remember a thing I used to cook.  I guess that's one good reason to post my favorites here.  Eventually I will have an extensive list to which I can refer.  Think how much better it could be, though, if I had some of your favorite recipes for inspiration, too.
     Country Guy asked me the other day why I didn't post Beef and Noodles, or Chicken and Noodles, because those are his favorites.  I told him I was saving them for a later blog post, since they are sort of like making bread--you're either familiar with the process, or you don't have any idea where to begin.  So for those of you who have never made noodles, but would like to know how, check back later.
      I also plan to add posts to the other pages as time is available and inspiration hits.  In the future--hopefully the near future-- I am planning to add my favorite houseplants and also my favorite trees to the "Favorite Plants" page.  I would love to hear about your favorites, too.
     And of course, I have lots more books to add on the "Books" page.
    I have been thinking that soon I will be working in my gardens (I can hardly wait for spring) and may not have as much time to keep my blog updated.  I am hoping at that time you will find the information in the "Pages" section to be beneficial between posts.

   P.S.  I love it when you leave comments.  The feedback is so helpful.  I think it would be great to get discussion going on some of the topics, so any  comments, questions, corrections, inspiration, etc. are welcome and desired. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Firecrackers Jump Rope Team

      I love this video!!!  It was taken at an Army/Navy basketball game during the performance of the Firecrackers Jump Rope Team from Kings School District in Ohio.  These girls are 4th to 8th graders!
      I have watched it so many times, always trying to see if I can figure out how they can do all those things while jumping rope!  The routine goes so quickly I can't even see what they are doing--let alone how they do it,  but they never lose step!  Can you imagine the energy expended in one performance?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


       Is it your desire to have a more intimate relationship with God?  Would you like to understand His Word better?  Would you like to know how He sees you and what His plans and purposes are for you?  The Bible says, “My sheep will hear My voice,” but if you’re like me, you are not always sure you’re hearing.
      I believe journaling—and to be more specific—two way journaling, where both you and God are talking and you are recording it on paper, is a great tool for achieving this.  I have been attempting to journal consistently several times a week now for several weeks and have been excited about the results!  I wish I could talk every one of you into trying it for three months because I believe you would be astounded and inspired by what you hear and would be "hooked."
      As I’ve mentioned before we have found Mark Virkler’s material extremely beneficial in this area, so I am including a brief outline from his book, 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice, in case you are interested.
      He says there are 4 keys to hearing God’s voice and believes that if a Christian will use all four keys at one time he, or she, will hear God’s voice.  (God’s voice is defined as the still small voice within, which we recognize as spontaneous thoughts and pictures that light upon our mind.  Fyi: we are not talking about the audible voice of God here, which very few people have heard.)  Mark is so certain of the effectiveness of this method, he says he guarantees it will work. 

The 4 keys are:
    1. Stillness—quiet yourself down—find a quiet place where you can be alone and become still.
    2. Vision—fix your eyes on Jesus—focusing the eyes of our hearts upon God causes us to become inwardly still, raises our level of faith and expectancy, and makes us fully open to receive from Him.
    3. Spontaneity—tune to flow—becoming aware of spontaneous thoughts and pictures in our mind.  These are not thoughts we have ‘thought up’ but instead they seem almost to float into our conscious mind.
    4. Journaling—write them down.  Record what you are saying, hearing and seeing.

       Another way of saying this is, Hearing God’s voice is as simple as quieting yourself down, fixing your eyes on Jesus, tuning to spontaneity, and writing.  Mark says, “Memorize the preceding statement and share it with others.  It will help them break out of a culture of rationalism and discover spiritual intimacy with Almighty God for themselves.”
       He is also very insistent that we have 2 or 3 people with whom we can share our journaling to make sure it is God we are hearing.  One of these should be our spouse, if we are married.
      Under the Journaling tab, I have posted a list of journaling topics.  Right now I am journaling through the Sermon on the Mount so I have posted that, too.  Use these questions as starting points.  If another direction seems more appropriate as you quiet yourself before Jesus, be sure to go with it.  He may have something very specific to tell you.
      I would love to hear what you are discovering in your journaling.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fiction Authors I Have Enjoyed

       There is nothing I would rather do than curl up with a good book.  What a great pleasure that is!  I'm afraid though, that I am no literary scholar.  All I want in a book is that I can lose myself in it, and when I'm finished feel inspired, and as if I have learned something new.  The problem is finding one that isn't a time-waster, which is the case with many novels.  I find myself gravitating to Christian authors because I am pretty sure the books won't descend into sex and immorality.  I want to be inspired when I'm through, not reminded of the sin and ugliness that we can get into.  The problem with many Christian novels is they are very superficial.  Here is a list of some of the best I have found (many of these I have purchased through  I also find many good used books at Goodwill Stores.  They are a fraction of their original cost, so I don't feel so bad if I don't like them).  

W. Dale Cramer:  Levi's Will;  Bad Ground;  Summer of Light;  Sutter's Cross   I loved all of these so I've been waiting for him to write another.  As I was looking up these titles, I see that he has:  Paradise Valley--The Daughters of Caleb Bender.

Bill Myers:  Eli;  The Presence;  The Face of God;  The Voice;  Fire of Heaven

Bill Bright and Ted Dekker:  Blessed Child;  A Man Called Blessed  I loved these!

Ted Dekker also has several thrillers he has authored by himself which I have enjoyed.

T. Davis Bunn:  The Maestro;  The Great Divide;  The Gift

Any of the books by George MacDonald are well-written and inspiring.  Most of his books have been re-released after being edited by Michael Philips, who also has written some good books on his own.  I especially liked Philips' book series, The Secret of the Rose.

Francine Rivers:  especially the Mark of the Lion series, but I liked all of her books

Eugenia Price has written several very good historical novels about the South.  Reading her book, Beloved Invader, created a desire in me to see St. Simons Island, Georgia, which led to a discovery of Jekkyl Island, where we have had some really fun family vacations.

If you need a good book to keep you entertained while traveling, I am currently enjoying Harlan Coben.  (He is not in the Christian category but most of his books are devoid of sex and bad language.)  He writes mystery thrillers that make plane trips go by in a hurry!

Dorothea Benton Frank (also not in the Christian category) Sullivan's Island.  I have read several of her books, but Sullivan's Island is by far my favorite.

Leif Enger:  Peace Like A River  I don't know what category this is in, but I loved this author's way with words!  While looking up the spelling of his name I discovered he has another book out, So Brave, Young and Handsome, which I ordered from abebooks.  I'll let you know how I like it.

      I can think of so many more authors I have enjoyed over the years but this is a start.  I would be grateful for any author and book suggestions you have.  Since I have read most of the books written by the authors mentioned and we have a week on the beach coming up in a few weeks,  I am needing new ones.   Would you share your favorites with me?  If you want to post them as comments I'm sure others would be glad to know about them, too.  If not, just send me an email.  I really would appreciate any recommendations!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

ELEVATE 2011 Martinsville, IL Trailer

Our son and daughter-in-law put together this awesome promotional video for Elevate 2011 and posted it on YouTube.   I hope you're planning to come!

The Rest of the Story

     Since we were unable to go to Arizona because of the flood in the basement, we ended up going to Nebraska after we got the carpet dried out.  It was a very fun and productive trip even though we were only there 2 full days!  My Mom went with us this time.  She hadn't been there for 2 or 3 years so it was a blessing for her and for the little kids.  Our daughter had her kidney stones pulverized on Monday which allowed us the opportunity to babysit the grandchildren.  We all had so much fun!
     Country Guy bought a new truck while we were there.  He has been looking for one for a long time, but never could find just the right one.  The one he found is perfect for him and he loves it!  It is candy apple red and really beautiful!  He has had his other truck since we moved to Illinois which was almost 9 years ago.   The old truck has close to 200,000 miles on it, so it was time for a new one!
     When we were planning to build our house, Country Guy surprised me with a computer program called 3-D Home Architect which I used to place windows, reshape rooms, change doors and make more closets in our original plans.  I discovered that I love to do this!   Since our daughter & her husband are thinking of building a house, she has let me use this program to help her change things on their house plans.  We worked on the kitchen while I was there.  The changes we made seemed to be a major improvement in the traffic flow, so she was excited.
     On Tuesday we went to a couple of cabinet stores to look at cabinets and countertops.
     It was a perfect time for us to go to Nebraska.  The weather was good and so much was accomplished.  It was not a good time to go to Tucson.  My sister called to say it was snowing on Sunday.  The high temperature for the day was to be in the 40s with the night temp in the upper 20's.   That was the day we were to go to the Rodeo Finals--outdoors!
     As usual, I found myself thanking the Lord for changing our plans, even though I grumbled about it for awhile in the beginning.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


      Have you ever checked out the website  I love this website!  It lists more than 100 million books from over 12,880 booksellers.  There are all kinds of books included in the listings, new, used, textbooks, rare books, and books that are out of print.   I have found many books here that I could not find other places.  So many of the used books, and even some of the out of print books, are very inexpensive; some are listed for as little as $.01 so even after adding the shipping costs they are less than $3.00.
    Next time you are looking for a book, you might want to take a look at abebooks to see if the book is listed there.  In doing so, you will probably save yourself some money.  When that happens, if you are like me, you may decide you can have 2 books--or even 3, for the same price as a new one and be delighted at that prospect!  What a wonderful thing!
     Can you tell that I love books?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Health and Healing

      One of the suggestions that Mark Virkler uses to get the thoughts flowing in journaling is to picture yourself in a Bible story.  (I mentioned that we are doing his workbook, 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice, in our house group in an earlier post).  Last week, one of the assignments was to read John 4:4-15, picture ourselves sitting at the well with Jesus and hear him say, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”   What do you want to ask Jesus? Journal the thoughts that come. 

     From my journal:
     As I pictured myself at the well, I asked Jesus why I have had so many sinus infections this year.  I heard Jesus say, "If you knew the gift of God and who I am of whom you're asking, you would receive health and never need to ask for it again."
     Show me, Lord, who you are.  I believe with my head, but I don't know how to appropriate it.
     "I am the bread of life.  Feed on me.  Actually feed on me.  Take communion--my body broken for you, my blood shed for you.  Receive my life giving flow.  Just as you take your vitamins, take my body and blood every day."

     I have been taking communion daily since then, and as I do, I remember what Jesus' sacrifice did for me.  When I take the bread, I thank Him for the healing and deliverance He provided, and I picture myself receiving it as I eat the bread.  I thank Him that He is my Provider, my Protector, my Guide and My Defender.  Then as I take the grape juice, I remember that through Jesus' blood I have been made righteous before the Father, all my sins are forgiven and are remembered no more.  I thank Him for making the way for me to come to Him.   How amazing that I can come into the Holy of Holies and commune with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.  I picture myself standing before God's throne, worshipping Him.  And I see His pleasure as I receive the gift of all that Jesus did for me.  
      There is something very exciting about living this way!   If you decide to try it, let me know what you discover.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bigleaf Magnolia

      Have you ever heard of the Bigleaf Magnolia tree (Magnolia macrophylla)?  I hadn't until last May when Mom & I toured a private botanical garden near Charleston (IL) that had several in bloom.  They are spectacular!  Their leaves can get up to 3 feet long, and their blooms can be nearly 1 foot across!
     Of course my first reaction was, "I've got to have one in my garden!" And then I began a search to find one.  It seems they are rather difficult to come by.  By searching the internet I discovered a few nurseries in the south that carried them.  I called a couple of them to inquire about shipping.  They were very discouraging, saying the trees will not grow in our area and therefore wouldn't ship here.  I told them that I had pictures of one growing here.  They said it was not possible.  But I had proof they did grow here.  I had already seen them.  In fact the owner of the garden said many of the big-leaf magnolias growing on his property were planted by the birds.  He talked about how in attempting to grow them he discovered that in the natural they grow as understory trees on hillsides and higher places that drain well, but that also get a lot of moisture.   He said he had tried to get them started for several years, but had been assuming they liked moist soil so had not had any success until he discovered their preferred growing location.  I decided to continued my search.
     One thing led to another, and I discovered that Randy Netzley of Netzley Nurseries in Riley, IN, had some to sell.  I called to be sure, and then made a trip over to his place.  What a treasure trove of native and unusual plants he has!  I now have 2 Bigleaf Magnolia trees growing.  Hopefully, they have survived our dry summer which was followed by a severe winter.  I will soon find out.  The daffodils are popping up so spring is near.  Randy had so many interesting and unusual plants that can't be found in our local nurseries.  He introduced me to the Winterthur Vibernum, of which I now have three!  I can hardly wait to get back to his place to find more 'gems' for my garden.  There is always room for another plant when you garden!
     This is a picture I took of the Big-Leaf Magnolia when it was in bloom in Charleston.  And here is a site that has more pictures and information, if you want to learn more.