Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Prayers for peace

     Busy day.  Gotta get to Columbus early.  Ladies night at the church was grand last night.  Thanks to all including my sweet husband who made that happen. Rough weather day or rather evening.  Be careful out there. 
     "There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life--happiness, freedom,and peace of mind-- are always attained by giving them to someone else." 
                              Peyton Conway March ( he had a long military career--look him up)
Peace to all of you,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daily love connections

     Tonight the ladies at my church get a free ride: no cooking, no dish washing, no cleaning off tables.  Just a night where the men do it all.  Of course, my life is this charmed most of the time.  I do wash dishes and set the table but my husband is the cook.  I'm not sure how our roles got divided that way.  It's just developed over the last 30 years.  I do laundry, bills, garbage, and yard play. He cooks and does the yard work.  We have a fabulous cleaning lady who comes twice a month and we pick up and do light cleaning in-between.  Donnie made up our bed for years and one day I decided that I'd take that task.  We both shop for groceries usually on Friday night after date night and we both help plan the menu for the week.  We both help each other with tasks for our jobs.  This didn't always go so smoothly and we still have to take our calendars to a lunch that I arrange so we can schedule a vacation and get away time.  We also enjoy at least two days each week eating a  brown bag lunch together since we both work in the same church. 
     Research by John Gottman, a respected family therapist, promotes daily connecting time with your spouse as an important part of a healthy relationship.  Morning coffee together, chats about your day, phone calls, texts, winks, smiles--all of these count.  How are you doing? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hands for Christ

     It's our last chance week to use our hands for healing in February.  My devotion this morning from Madeleine L'Engle was to be aware of your hands and your opportunities to be Christ.  Mine have already been in the dishwater because I know my husband has a thing about dishes in the sink.  I do them so he will have a pleasant trip to his coffee.  Oh, I made coffee too.  It's always lovely to wake up and experience the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. "Jesus chose me for a sunbeam" is going through my mind as I type. So random as my mind races back to going with my neighbor, Emily, to her Baptist church for Vacation Bible School and learning that song. This is one of those 50 year memories!   My hands have also been busy paying bills today.  Guess that is to settle my own spirit and to make sure all my payments are on time.  I have a thing about that!
     How will your hands serve Christ this week?

Beautiful Sunday

     Wonderful, fabulous,nippy spring day.  It was my turn to keep the nursery today at church which is always a hoot.  One of my babies loves to watch "Happy Feet" so today we added raise your flippers to our happy feet dance.  She made my day by calling the two little boys in the room, "brother". Takes those babies to lead us on Sundays. 
     Another fun part of the day was getting to visit with my niece during a car ride from Atlanta to my house.  She lives in Colorado now so visits are briefer. We reviewed our states we'd visited and fun stuff to do.  She and her husband are good about having adventures with their boys and educating them on what the good ole USA has to offer.  She had never heard of Devil's Tower, Wyoming or the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". Guess I'm old??  I spent my 26th birthday there sleeping in my car with my dog because it was too windy--and scary --to put up my tent.  It's a pretty cool place to see or was back when I was 26.  Of course, that was in 1979.  You will have to do the math.
     February is winding down.  Gotta get ready for Monday again.
My prayer for you is a peaceful path so you can enjoy the beauty of nature that is springing up with bird songs, bright flowers, and cool breezes. God bless your night.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Somebunny to love

     Feeling a little guilty that I didn't garden today.  I did pull a BIG bucketful of weeds while my dog was sniffing every blade of grass prior to finding "the" spot.   Instead I gathered things to take to my booth at Bluffton Antiques in Lanett, AL.  Sadly many bunnies went there today so they can bring life to someone's Easter basket. I remember those days of hunting for just the right bunny for my daughter's basket.  Some years there was more than one "right one" plus you know about rabbits and what they are famous for...needless to say, we have lots of rabbits.  Not to worry, I still have many on my staircase and my daughter has many of her favorites at her home.
     Time to go to bed before I fall in that "rabbit hole" of nostalgia. Pleasant peaceful dreams.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

God walks among us

     Hope all is well with you after the storms yesterday. The rain came in buckets for several hours and was accompanied by huge bolts of lightening and loud thunder claps.  I'm glad to report the snow seekers from Shawmut UMC arrived safely in NC despite all the inclement weather.  Pray for their safety today as they attempt skiing, snow boarding, and tubing. 
     Today promises to be nicer with the bluebirds braving the chill to house hunt again.  My kitchen sink offers a prime opportunity for bird watching and makes dish washing so much more pleasant.  I'm going to have get out my best cat noisemakers so they will leave my birds alone.  I don't feed the birds due to the number of cats in my neighborhood but since I have  lots of seeds and berries in my yard the birds are frequent guests.
     My Bluffton Street Antique booth will get new Easter surprises today so stop by and take home some goodies to tuck in your Easter baskets. 
    "Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep and in peace.  God is awake. " Victor Hugo.
I will only add to that wisdom with "and walks among us".  Peace.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Unfreaky Friday

     Listening to a gentle rain as opposed to the thunderstorms that were predicted.  My doggie is still snoring upstairs.  She is terrified of thunder and goes into a full tilt panic attack at the first hint of bad weather which makes her better than any weathe radio due to her sensitive hearing.  She can still hear me lift the lid on her jar of bones from across the house--even though it no longer plays "Gilligan's Island". ( A take away  present from  a youth Christmas party of days gone by.)
    Fridays is here and it's my day to do all the things that I never get done on work days.  One of the things that happens when married to a preacher is that Sundays are never considered as part of your weekend.  If he and I are going to connect it usually occurs on Fridays.  We do get to have lunch together usually three days during the work week and Sunday dinner is always a family thing, but our real time to just do what we'd like to do occurs on Fridays.
We usually end our Fridays with a grocery store date.  Spicey! We are both foodies--he likes to cook and I like to eat so finding new recipes to try is always part of our time together.  The vegan food plan (not diet) is peaking our interest in a whole new arena of foods.  Last week we added kale to our diet--so delicious.  Ok enough about food.  Haven't had breakfast yet. 
     Some of you have asked if I sleep since the clock on this blog is different from my actual life clock.  Hints on how to change it are appreciated. 
     Prayers for all our little chickens from Shawmut UMC who are going to NC for a ski trip today.  Not sure if there's snow but they're staying at Lake Junaluska so it will be a beautiful adventure.
   Thanks to all of you for reading.  Find a way to connect with someone you love today.  Happy Friday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Signs of the cross and bluebirds

     Spring outside y'all.  This morning while making coffee I got to watch a bluebird shopping for a new home.  Surprisingly he/she?? wasn't greeted by the squirrels who use those in the winter like school bus sheds.  The good news is that even obese bluebirds can fit through the extra larged size chewed out doors.  I told my husband that "we" needed to clean those houses out and he told me that he thought they should be rented "as is".  We have a new house in the garage that we've obviously waited too long to put out. 
     Didn't get to an Ash Wednesday service last night but I did make it to the fellowship meal at our church.  It was good to sit with all those folks with the sign of the cross on their foreheads.  We usually only wear those around our necks, I did yesterday and will  again today.  I remember going into a grocery store one evening after an Ash Wednesday service and a young clerk told me that I had something on my head.  When I told her that it was a cross for Ash Wednesday she still looked puzzled.  Guess that was a miss opportunity but there were others in line.  Where will my opportunity be to share what the sign of the cross means to me today?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday and the cleansing blaze

     Up in the night catching up on my worrying.  "My help comes from the Lord." Psalm 121:2.  Good reminder from a calendar beside my chair where I sit to write, worry, and wonder.  Or ponder.  Difficult to live far away from family when health issues are occuring.  Actually it's hard to live away anytime. Praying for guidance on how to help. 
     Today is Ash Wednesday.  It's my favorite day of Lent.  Those Ashes on my head remind me of baptism.  Of course, I don't remember mine since my parents did that for me as a baby but I imagine that feeling of being marked for God when I'm at Ash Wednesday.  This morning my devotion was on a spiritual fire of forgiveness and renewal.  I'm adding that to to my day and have set some things ablaze that are cluttering my heart.  Got to find a service to get to today since I'd won't be able to make it back to Shawmut tonight from Columbus.Peace to you this special day. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Opportunities for dancing...

     Today is Fat Tuesday.  We are about to eat vegan and be merry at the Lunch and Laugh at Shawmut UMC.  It will be relatively calm compared to Mobile or New Orleans.  I remember many years ago pre- marriage attending a Mardi Gras Ball in Mobile.  I looked smashing that night--in my memory.  What a lot of dancing!  Dancing is something I need to take up again.  I always look my best dancing when the lights are low.  When do you find time to dance?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Permission to be me

     Writing is so much more fun than exercising.  I just got 2 new books on my Kindle so I'm eager to get to the treadmill and start them.  I quasi discipline myself into only reading Kindle books on the treadmill.  This was blown on Saturday night when I really had to know the ending of the David Baldacci book.  The bed , a thick blanket,and the rain on the roof were too much for me. It's Monday morning now and I have my resolve again to stick to this plan so I can "want to" exercise.  Speed gardening is my favorite exercise.  Giving myself an hour to move  quickly around the yard  picking up sticks, weeding, cutting bushes back and then standing back to admire my work.  This would be a good morning to weed since we had buckets of rain on Saturday.  Hmmm. 
     Tomorrow I'm hosting a Mardi Gras party at the church. I'm still stumped on the program but the food and decorations are decided.  Lent begins on Wednesday and is one of my favorite times in the church.  40 whole days to look at life and make decisions.  I'm a ponderer as my husband would say.  I need time to think and rethink things.  Lent gives me permission to be me. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Listening for the voice of the Lord

     Sitting in my writing chair in the living room with the window open and the heat on.  The open window allows me to hear the birds that are covering my yard.  Robins, starlings, blue jays in mass eating all the berries on my acuba, hollys, and whatever they can get their beaks on.  They've been here for over an hour feasting away.  I have a quote in my kitchen that says, "The voice of the Lord strips the forest bare."  I put it there in the winter when my view of the river is uninhibited by leaves.  This morning it seems that the birds may be doing the Lord's work by stripping my yard.  It's calmer out there now with just occasional chirps and calls.  I'm guessing they are stuffed. 
    Where else will the Lord's voice be available to me today?  I'm going to dress for church in just a little while.  My husband is a minister and usually he is a good messenger for The Voice.  There are also several members whose friendships allow me to hear it. Lunch with my family is another place to listen for it. We try to eat with my daughter and her husband on Sundays.  It's a good way to catch up and to know what's going in with everyone.  Today we're having vegan Jambalaya, sauteed kale and vegan bread pudding.  Kale is definitely a voice of the Lord food --it's sooooo green and crunchy.  It's like putting part of the forest on your plate.  
     Opening the filter for the voice of the Lord today. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday thoughts

     Saturdays are catch ups days--laundry, pick up stuff and put it back where it goes, play with my dog.  She is at my feet now with her "Big AL" stuffed toy.  I have it under my feet and her strong jaws are trying to extract it.  I'm winning.  She eases up so I'll give a little.  This is going to be a hard day for her due to the expected bad weather.  She isn't a fan.  She will tremble and shake and be in and out of our laps all day. 
     Saw "Courageous" last night while some men in our community--2 from our church--were honored.  It lead me to think of all the "courageous" people in my life, men and women.  I feel fortunate that there were many of both genders.  My Mom courageously stayed with my father after he had a terrible traumatic war wound after only four months of marriage.  He was recognized for his with the Medal of Honor and she got the daily raising of four children.  She was fortunate that we were all good kids probably due to the fact that they were both there daily to attend to our needs and most of our wants.  Saturdays growing up meant grass cutting by my Dad or brother when he was older, having bar-b-qued chicken from a place in Fairfield, AL, going with my Dad to Pucketts or to my uncle Carey's store, and riding my bike or playing Barbie's in the driveway until dark.  My dog doesn't have any Barbies so I'll have to settle for Big Al.  I will open my filter for future and past courageous people in my life today.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feeling fluffy

   Time to climb back on the treadmill and get ready to win Scale Back or is it Scale Down?? Alabama contest. My husband agreed to start a vegan diet with me so I could lose weight.  When we first discussed it he suggested that we just "cut back" on our eating.  I told him that I'd been doing that for the last two years and had managed to gain 20 pounds.!! I needed a new plan.  I saw the 21 day jumpstart weight loss vegan diet at the library and now the book is on my Kindle.  Not sure of the name--will add later.  The more I read in the book regarding blood pressure and diabetes--not diabetic but have a history in my family and I do, did--teeter on BP issues, the more convinced I was that this could be a good new way to eat.  We are now about 5 weeks in and I've lost a pound a week.  I have exercised some--not enough--I like to garden as my exercise and the weather hasn't cooperated much lately.  I like not having to count calories.   
     Have a feeling it's no excuse day.  Just came in from taking my dog out and the morning is beautiful.  We have great blue sky here on the Hooch.  My daughter tells me that I should change my blogs name because people will think I'm offering a service other than counseling. Just to clarify any confusion, I live on the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and I can see Alabama from my house.  My daughter was married on the river in our backyard and when I get really good at this blogging thing I'll post some pictures of that event and my garden. 
      Today I will go fluff my booth at Bluffton Street Antiques and Collectibles in Lanett, AL.  I have a small corner that I share with my children where we sell treasures that we have grown weary off dusting.  It's a good alternative to gardening when the weather is uncooperative.  Think I may have to fluff fast today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Being more human

     40 Day Journey with Madeleine L'Engle,  her spiritual director told her one day when she was being woefully over a failure with a friendship, "who are you to thnk you are better than our Lord? ...He was singularly unsuccessful with a great many people."  It's a great quote to remember on being human as I start my day with others who are doing their best to be human and feel they are failing miserably.  I talked with my therapist yesterday about my own woeful failings.  Yes, therapists have therapists too. Hope I haven't broken the image of the human being you may be going to for guidance. My mother was surprised that I go to a therapist.  I liken it to not going to a brain surgeon who performs his own brain surgery.  Fortunately, I work in an environment that believes counseling is a sign of health not disease. My employment offers an EAP(employee assistance program) where all the employees can receive a limited number of paid sessions every year.  Ask if your job offers such a benefit if you need to talk to a counselor.  If you have insurance then you can call that phone # on the back of your card and ask about "mental health benefits" that are available to you. 
     Mardi Gras is beginning to wind down and Ash Wednesday will be here next week.  We are having a Mardi Gras Lunch & Laugh on Tuesday, February 21st at noon  Shawmut Methodist Church.  There is still time to sign up if you are local and reading this.  Call me 334-768-2341 by Friday for a reservation.
     Back to being human, more not less.  It's a daily process of being open to others and their needs and then deciding what you are being called to do about it.  I'm currently in a struggling with what I need to do about illegal aliens.  They are also God's children, just like me and you.  I'm praying that God will intervene and hoping He will send someone to do it. After all I don't even speak a foreign language. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whirlwind Wednesday

My husband and I laugh on Wednesdays about how we went to bed on Sunday and we wake up to Wednesdays.  Wondering if that's an aging thing?  I have a full day of clients today which will make the day buzz by.  My prayer this morning is that I will be a person of hope to those who come through my door for guidance or comfort.  Came across a great quote by Helen Keller this week:"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding.  I want the understanding which bringeth peace."  My family has a special connection to Helen Keller.  I have a letter hanging on my wall in the den that she wrote to my Dad after she visited him in Northington Hospital in Tuscaloosa, AL in 1945.  My Dad, Henry Erwin, was a Medal of Honor recipient.  Not enough time today to say all I'd like to about him.  It is enough to say he was a good man.  I am lucky to be married to another good man as is my daughter. 

My funny vegan Valentine

Tonight's wonderful candlelight supper was a Vegan Valentine menu of delights.  The soup was French Onion with soy cheese topping.  It was quite yummy.  The main course was a portabello steak, a spring greens salad and sweet potato baked fries.  Our dessert was a Wacky Chocolate Cake with dark chocolate sauce. I'm so lucky to be married to such a great cook who lovingly has my supper either on the table on in the warmer drawer most every night.  If you've got a great vegan recipe to share I'd be glad to share it with my chef.