Saturday, August 30, 2008

Material Girl!

Did you think this was going to be about Madonna? HA!

Quilting is quite popular these days, perhaps you thought I'd be writing about quilting. Not the case! I don't even have any CDs of Madonna's, nor do I have any quilting material. If you must know, had to cry to get a D- in high school in my mandatory sewing class. That class came in handy though, I had to sew a button on my blouse today and it only took me 5 minutes to thread the needle and I only poked myself 3 times while doing so!!!!

I'm going to move one of these days when the house sells. Toward that end, I've packed over the past two years. I really thought I didn't have much left to pack. Surprise! It seems like it never ends. So this week I have had a few things going on. I started pulling out more items from cupboards, drawers and every cranny in the house.

I realize over the years I have acquired a lot of STUFF. In the past ten years I have moved long distances 2 times. This year should be my third and hopefully my last. Each time I have moved I have gotten rid of nearly half of my belongings. Who wants to pay to transport STUFF?

I never thot of myself as a material girl. Sure I like nice things all right; thank you to my Mother. I really don't hold a candle to her though; however, that's all relative! I have had and still do have too much STUFF!

Because money is an issue right now, I decided to sell some STUFF. I started off placing my beloved Mary Engelbreit collection on Ebay. My auctions end today and tomorrow. It's not my entire collection because MOST of it was already packed in 2006. It's up on shelving in the garage. I have leftover product from when I sold Mary Kay and that's on Ebay also. I only kept back what I use regularly.

I went through my jewelry...I really don't wear much jewelry, earrings mostly, a few rings..but it seems I have a lot of jewelry after all. Some of it is on Ebay. Some of it is going to be appraised and then sold. I came across an old-fashioned pin, with silver and enamel and handpainted front of iris's. I thot well who knows where this came from; it's not even my style. It had some markings on the back so I put them on the Ebay site and within 10 minutes I had someone watching the item, and writing to me. From what the research showed me and what this person mentioned, I jacked up my low bid from $19.99 to $44.95. Once I knew it was from Norway, I realized it was something of my mother's that she had picked up as a souvenier on her trip there in the 60s.

I took a big bag of clothes to the Goodwill this morning. Just last month I gave about three bags of clothing to my friend who volunteers at a thrift shop. Pretty sure I will have even more to give away before this process is finished.

I have many treasures of a material type. I have tried to sell my favorite antique. My heart is getting a sorting while all of this is occurring. I have been wasteful, not careful of the resources God has blessed me with in the past. I never had to pay attention to how much milk might cost or finding a bargain on meat, bread or eggs. If I found an outfit that cost $400, I bought it. I love shoes and but never kept up with Imelda Marcos!! Even though I didn't have to pay attention to these things, it was wrong of me to not be a good steward.

Had I been more frugal, I wouldn't be in the pickle I am now. Until my home sells, pickles even cost too much to consider! I have been blessed this month with my Social Security being kicked up due to a provision for parents who were dependent upon their children for support. I happen to fit into that category because when I came to care for my Son, Jeff, I had to quit my job in Idaho. But because of his good stewardship and frugality and long-term planning, it was he who was able to pay for and provide everything we needed. So Social Security enables me to pick up on his benefit rather than my measly own.

I have been blessed this month by four friends who supplied my need. I am so grateful and humbled by this. I do not deserve it.

So even at my ripe old age God continues to refine me. It is not easy, refining fire is difficult and painful. You endure things you never considered. But my heart is soft and I am glad that the work He began in me He is finishing.

I don't want to be a material girl.
I want all my treasures to be ones in heaven.
I want to be His girl completely!

- - 0O0 - -

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys,and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" Matthew 6:19-21

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pears, Pears, Pears - Comice Pears

Comice — Available August through March
Is hard, green, and rounder than a Bartlett, but similar in flavor and texture. One of the largest, sweetest and juiciest varieties. Best used fresh in salads, served as an elegant dessert pear, or as an excellent accompaniment with cheese.

What can I say? Pears, pears, pears...that's what I dealt with today: Pears! I told you they had to be picked yesterday. Then a friend said they would make pearsauce which I guess is like applesauce but I dont know what one would 'pair' it up with. (OH, am i clever with that wording or what?) I love Pork and applesauce and I imagine I will soon find out what pearsauce likes to hang out with on a plate or on my palate.

So, due to all that peeling and slicing of zillions of pears, you can understand why I have taken an Aleve for the pain in my pointer finger. You can understand why this won't be a long blog today as well. Who wants to type with a sore pointer finger...if I get tendonitis, I'll never peel another pear!
I googled Bartlett's Quotations to see if he said anything about pears
because I thought that would be hilarious, but alas, nothing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Grapevine

I live in the beautiful Wine Country of Northern California about a mile away from Kendall Jackson Winery and enjoy a lovely ride through many vineyards out to the Korbel Champagne Cellars from time to time which is about 10 miles down the road. They have a great deli! One of their champagnes was Jackie Kennedy's favorite! I am not a wine drinker (unless you count Sangria) certainly not a connoisseur!!!

Now, while I enjoy things from a garden, I am not a gardener either. I have grown tomatoes, lemon cucumbers (yumo), mint, scallions and other easily adaptable-to-neglect vegetables and herbs. Currently,the lemon tree looks sick, the tangerine tree dead, and the limes are doing okay. The pear tree is glorious and fully laden and needs to be picked TODAY before all the pears fall off. I take no credit for anything that does well in the garden - the drip system was in when I moved here. Animals in the night often scurry about and knock the drip deals out of the barrels that hold the miniature lime, tangerine and lemon trees, so I take the blame for not checking on those often enough...if ever.

I had asked the real gardner to rip out most of the mint because it was overtaking the raised bed and interfering with the grapevine so I sauntered over to check that out and noticed that much to my dismay many of the clusters of grapes were already past their prime.

Sidenote: A fun memory I have of the grapes is picking them with my grandson and making grape juice...he wanted me to squish them with my feet but we just pushed them through a sieve with our hands and drank the wonderful fresh juice.

So here I was with a big problem: icky sticky grapes....some dried and shriveled. There are a few clusters hidden that are almost ready and you can bet your farm I will go and check on them every single day until they are perfect. Then I will pick them and eat them and all free and fresh, not $3.99 a pound. I used my scissors (ok laugh) beause who knows where the small hand clipper deals are...and the scissors worked fine. For the most part the clusters really almost fell off in my hand and into the garbage bag i had ready to bring in the overdone crop.

I have a friend in Oregon, Nance, who has a farm and raises cows. She is one of the funnier woman I have met on line!!! She can take a normal everyday occurrence and use words so explicitly funny you feel like you are with her in person laughing til your sides hurt!! She also talks about getting up early and harvesting this or that, green beans, fruit, etc. Her poor cow went to the butcher the other day too, but provided the family with mucho lean meat. She tends her garden and she tends it well. Smart woman. She has provisions to keep through the entire year to next harvest.

ALL THAT TO SAY: The parables about the vine and the fruit and all that never meant much to me in literal terms. I understood what the point was, but I had no working knowledge of it until today! Think how many times I might have heard a study on this subject from the book of Matthew since 1974!!!

The vine is one my son planted when he bought this house in 1999. Now its sturdy, gnarly even..strong and its expanse is about 20 feet in width. He would have been quite proud of that vine and its fruit. He would have tended to it better than I have. He loved gardening. He planted that pear tree that is bearing so much fruit today as well. He wanted to live off the land as much as he could while contained in his tract home with a small backyard. No cows!

The first time grapes are mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 9:20 - cultivated in Noah's day after the flood. Scripture contains many references regarding grapes and vineyards. Jeremiah 25 refers to "shouts of joy" during the grape harvest. I wish I had taken better care of the grapes so I too would have had shouts of joy this morning instead of disappointment.

In John 15:1-6 Jesus uses the vine to illustrate the spiritual union between He and His followers.
1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."

Let's remember that without Him we can do nothing on our own...we are just sticky splitting grapes, past our prime, ready to wither on the vine and fall to the ground. We all know what pruning feels like as we sojourn together on earth, and we know that pruning produces the best fruit's all worth the pain, disappointments, trials and tribulations. We need to tend to our walk by abiding in Him continually so that the fruit He produces gives Him the glory." GREAT SHOUTS OF JOY AT HIS HARVEST!!!

Ok, gotta go pick those pears!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cluttered with Conflicts

Sometimes life seems overwhelming. I have an old book of Psalms in modern language written in 1973 (Phelps, Corita - Psalms Now). I try to read one every day. I was glancing back yesterday and found one I marked as "significant" May '08. Do you ever do that? Mark some area of your Bible with a date because that area of Scripture spoke to your situation and you were encouraged by it, convicted by it or felt it necessary to highlight in bright yellow and then often months or even years later you find yourself in that passage again and wonder why it was significant ... whatever it was had come and gone.

I remember May this year though. I was worrying about provision to keep the house afloat until it was completed and ready for sale. Fretting about trying to figure out what to do to take care of the situation. I applied for loans, but hey though I have equity, I don't work (not that I hadn't been looking), the problems with those 'bad' loans were surfacing right and left and lenders were beginning to reign in their lending practices. I hit roadblocks wherever I turned. So an older woman with no job, small social security etc. made me fall into what previously would have been an easy loan with the calls that would let me know I was yet again turned down.

What I love about David's psalms is that quite often they begin complaining about his situation to God, whining even, and then as he spends time in communication with God his whole attitude changes - his outlook becomes brighter even though the circumstances are no different than when he sat down with God. By the end of these types of psalms you find him totally praising God. This is the miracle of the Holy Spirit's work, isn't it! It's totally supernatural!!! Why we do not take our problems to God right away is just because we are as dumb as sheep! At any rate, in May this year I was conflicted and this Psalm spoke to my situation and I too was renewed by God.

Be encouraged. Spend time with God. He likes it and we benefit in ways we cannot comprehend it's so mysterious, yet real.

"O God,
my life is cluttered up with conflicts.
And there are times when you seem so oblivious to it all.
The pitfalls before me, the weaknesses within me -
all this is most depressing.
I feel as if I am groping in utter darkness.

Break into my darkness, O God.
Set me free from my hang-ups.
May these daily pressures that threaten to strangle me
drive me to Your fountainhead of grace.
Then night will give way to the dawn,
depression shall resolve into joy,
and I shall sing Your promises once more.

O foolish spirit,
why do you fret over so many things?
God is here!
He knows all about your troubles and trials.
Renew your faith in Him, and rejoice.

I shall rejoice!
No matter how black the night,
God is ever-present and eternal Hope."

Psalm 43

Monday, August 18, 2008

Missing him ...

The first picture is of my son in Machu Pichu, Peru and the second surfing in Costa Rica...the third is his handsome face.

Today I'm just missing my son, Jeff, who died June 9, 2006 at the age of 41. I'm happy he is with the Lord and out of pain...but dang, I miss my boy! I was his caregiver for 5 years as he struggled with MS; it was my joy to do so. He had a great sense of humor which he wore well even as his disease progressed so quickly in a downward spiral. There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't say thank you. He was very brave about the way his life had turned and was an example to many always.

Any peace and comfort I have is from trusting and knowing God is perfect and sees the bigger picture. I'm grateful for His grace and grateful He is comforting me in this grieving journey.

John 14:18, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

Friday, August 15, 2008


I'm happy to be a sanguine personality.
I prefer it over all the others!

The Philosopher who subscribed to these
was Hippocrates**Physician/Scientist

The four personalities are: Melancholy, Choleric, Phlegmatic and Sanguine

I know that melancholy personalities are deep and artistic, intelligent and logical. That's nice to be so gifted. Cholerics scare what if they are born leaders? So what if they get a lot accomplished? Control is their deal...but at what cost? I was told it was easy to get along with a choleric...just do what they say, do it NOW and do it 100% perfectly. Phegmatics are easy-going and relaxed and a bit unmotivated. Sanguines are happy, enthusiastic, partiers!!! They can drive all the other types nutzo!!!!!

Each personality is usually a blend of two...but one will generally be far greater in percentage. (My minor personality is a phlegmatic.) You can take tests on line to find out what you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to understand yourself and others!! If you'd like a good site, one is:
Obviously God created all of us - and gave us the basic personalities which are often skewed by people or life experiences in our youth which change us, but the basics remain...and God doesn't take them away when we commit to Christ and His ways. Because the Holy Spirit is also "Convicter" we are often reminded of our weaknesses. It's best to let God work on those (that clay on the wheel deal) so that we become a light to others and are able to serve each other in a more positive way.

I was reading my list of weaknesses and don't agree with 50% of them!!! I love the positive attributes though, I am just the type of person I like to be with. HAHAHA. Actually I have come to appreciate each individual and do my best to be accepting of those vastly different than me. I have quite a few pals who are not sanguine and I enjoy their company immensely as well...I learn a lot from them in terms of discipline, logic, organization, and hear thoughts so deep I wonder if I have a brain at all!!!!

The little image above is by Mary Engelbreit, my favorite artist..oh yea I like the Impressionists, but who can afford that art? ;) Mary just creates the greatest cards and tons of other things...many of which are in my kitchen. Nothing beige about Mary E. All primary colors, bolding announcing in the best of ways, her views on life.

I use the image "SHE WHO LAUGHS....LASTS" as my computer wallpaper to remind myself that this is the true me and on my 'down' days its a good reminder to get that smile going again! It's not denial - it's good physiology.. if you smile when you are depressed, something in your innards sends rushes of seratonin as if you ran many miles and have that "Oh boy this is a great day" feeling!! It's also biblical to be cheerful! I want to last. I want to go the distance.

Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Way to Go! Olympics 2008

I love swimming and I always have. Many great memories of summers in the sun, zinc oxide carefully placed upon my nose, laughing with friends, racing in the pool...even synchronized swimming with nose plug in place, toes pointed, routines completed after long, exhausting and rigorous practices of just swimming laps to create endurance. Coaches encouraging and demanding all at the same time. But there was nothing like the day of the 'performance' itself. Familes in place in the stands, whooping it up, calling your name, clapping in appreciation when it was all over.
So I am enjoying the swimming events in the Olympics this year. I love the gymnasts too although I've never ever stood on a balancing bar. Sand in my toes is not my idea of fun so volleyball on the beach never appealed to me. We have such great olympians from the USA. We take great pride in their accomplishments and yell and clap when they win -- right in the privacy of our own homes, even sitting alone!
What brings a smile to my face each time Michael Phelps finishes his race he looks to the stands to see his Mother, Deborah Phelps who is, of course, overjoyed and hyperexcited that her son has won another gold medal. The story of how Michael got into swimming is interesting since he was a child diagnosed with ADHD - between Deborah and his physician they felt that sport would help him focus. Well I guess that worked! :)
It's always been intersting to me to see super heros look for that approval from their mothers in the stands....NFL players saying, "Hi, Mom" to the tv cameras, watching my own son, Jeff, as he grew up playing tennis, basketball, softball, and being on a swimteam for a few years, do the same exact thing....'Hey Ma, look at me; I won!""
Mothers can be the best cheerleaders, the best encouragers! A "way to go" from a mom means the world to them. I'm not leaving out fathers...look at Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods! You know they were encouraged as well, but dads have the rules, the systems, the timers, and the advice. Moms just yell, "Way to go, my child!" High five's abounding. I know there are moms who drive their children with the rules, systems, timers and advice....but most of us just want our kids to know they can be anything they desire to be if they just give it their best...whatever that we encourage them to the hilt to do so. We provide the opportunities available in the community, the resources and our time to make sure it happens.
It's really how we should be with everyone we meet. Find the best, encourage and root them on to individual victories whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual. We should do whatever it takes - opportunities, resources, time and the spoken word. Most people hear negativity day in and out and that is what they remember. We can be the vessels that provide the soothing balm of spoken encouragement.
I was encouraged by a friend in the Lord today who had noticed I had not blogged in a few days. It helped to read her words to me just sharing that she was glad I was blogging and that she felt I had a lot to share. What a difference that encouragement made. It lifted me back up, set me toward my blog site and what was on my heart for this day. Thanks Lori.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up." ~ I Thessalonians 5:11~

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Am I really sassy?

1 : impudent (naw)
2 2 : vigorous, lively ( can see the picture)
3 : distinctively smart and stylish (You cannot deny how smart that headband is!)
Waiting for "What Not to Wear" hijacking!

Lively in spirit! yeah, that's it!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Fellowship of Believers Updated

The Fellowship of the Believers Acts 2:42-47
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

That's how it was then...let's move on to 2008!

I think some people do go to church every morning and my experience on line shows me that things have changed somewhat from the early believers.

Gathering with other believers every day still occurs, and it occurs early!!! It happens in the Christian Living chatroom on AOL. If you are on the West Coast you have to get in there by 4-5 AM. Now that works out for a couple of us who have sleepless nights (Women in Transition). I love that there are people from Indiana, New Hampshire, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Virginia, Florida and Michigan as well as California and Washington State, all gathering together as believers in Christ Jesus. The early believers had to hang with folks who were local (which is also wonderful) but we get to learn how to make Indian Bread, and cook southern food, as well as how to "put up peaches." We from the West Coast share about sushi and sprouts.

We have not sold our possessions or our goods because in order to hang out together like the early disciples, necessities like a computer, an ISP, etc. all cost money. The Christian Living people do share greatly to those in need of care, comfort, friendship, prayer, and when my son passed away in 2006, I received a beautiful plant from some friends online who had gone together to let me know they were thinking of me. Others gave to the Blind Center that my son attended and still others sent meaningful cards of condolences. No one can ever tell me that online chat friends are not real. They are. They have sustained me as I was isolated in Idaho, as a nearly homebound caregiver for my son in California, and during the past two years as I have moved through grieving. They have become my church family. (Some are not in Christian Living, but in Christian Forum as well). I just really wanted to write about Christian Living today because it has been such a blessing to me, but don't want anyone feeling left out if they read this and are my friends from the Forum.

We do break bread - most are having coffee and some are talented enough after years of experience to even eat copious amounts of food while typing away as fast as possible. We know who is going to work and where, how many children and grandchildren are born - pictures shared of course! Many of us have met in person and many have gathered as a group in Missouri and Michigan. We know who is struggling and who has come through a storm; we are in it together.

The early morning bunch have great fellowship! There doesn't seem to be a lot of nitpicking about doctrine. No one is demanding to know if you are a Calvinist or Arminian (in 1997 when someone asked me that in Christian Chat, I was stunned. I thot," My goodness, why do they think I am from Armenia?") We come from many different backgrounds and while each of us may celebrate Christ in different ways, we hold in common a faith very dear to each one of us knowing we have been saved by grace alone and that God is in control. Jesus receives our praise - in fact he inhabits it.

We come together with sincere and glad hearts - come join us if you are on AOL! The best time is in the early morning!

Christian Living

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Queen of England & Other opportunities

Yes, my friend the Queen of England in a wonderful pose that she reserves only for her best friends! She writes to me quite often but for someone of her influence and stature, she somehow ends up in my SPAM folder!!!!! You would think she might have a technology servant who could somehow find a way to get right into my genuine email. I've written her to let her know I really appreciate her emails and have put her into my best buddy list.

Why the fellow in the UK can't get to my acceptable email recipients is beyond me as well; I am very open to cashing in on the lotteries I have won and would be happy to travel to England to negotiate with the attorneys for big businessmen who need my help by setting up an account here in the US. Best deal ever! They promise people will begin to send me large checks and all I have to do is deposit them, take my percentage cut, and then send the rest of the money back to the UK!

At 65 years of age I am receiving many opportunities to get my degree on line. I think I want to be a neurologist and hope they send me the online link soon so I can get my M.D. degree within 18 months! I have no interest in becoming a forensic specialist or a bookkeeper at this late date. I need to garner funds quickly and am pretty sure Kaiser Permanente would hire me with my 18-month degree in a fast minute!

You can imagine my glee when my SPAM mail shocked me with the information that i could lose 6 inches in my thighs in just a week! Let me buy a gross of that as I have more than six inches to lose! And to think they haven't teamed up with the people who say I can trim my tummy in only one month if I would just buy their product with a 30-day money back guarantee!

Bank of America, Wells Fargo all want me to call them immediately because there are problems with my accounts!!! I dont bank at either bank!!! Wait, maybe that is the problem!

These must be working or we would not receive them daily, right? People are bilked everyday; we need to warn them! Some people are just getting started on the Internet and have no idea that people are out to scam them. Early on in terms of computer savvy, one friend told me this: "I got locked up in a box with someone I didn't know and I couldn't get out." (This was an IM on AOL). Today that friend locked in the IM Box can perform a function on comast email that alludes me to this day...cut and paste! She has come a long way!

I'm a sucker for things to buy at 3 am which appear on TV, however ...

Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God
Karl Barth ** Swiss Theologian

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn - Dec 11, 1918 - August 3, 2008

When I read of the death of one of my favorite authors, memories rushed my mind and heart remembering his book which I read 46 years ago....

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
was a book that changed my thinking and enlarged my world view in a profound way. Though quite trivial in most of my pursuits at age 19, I did love to read and One Day In the Life was the Book of the Month Club's offering. An unassuming little book physically, it was to become a classic, earning the author a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1970.
Both this work and Gulag Archipelago were sobering, eye-opening, sad, depressing, truthful and shameful. I learned of the suffering inside Communist prison camps via this brilliant author who knew first-hand of such a horrific experience. While he said we cannot really understand that which we have not endured, I do believe his words imprinted strongly on my heart and helped open my eyes to conditions in the world so different than my own.
In one of his poems he writes:"Bless you, prison, for having been in my life." "God of the Universe! I believe again! Though I renounced You, You were with me!"
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus - I Thessalonians 5:18