Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crock-Pot Sundays

Those who know me well, know that a while back we began making more of an effort to make Sundays more of what God intended. Along that line I'm starting a new tradition...Crock Pot Sundays. Today - as it was snowing on the way home from church, it was so nice to come home to a home that smelled delicious b/c dinner was waiting to be had - rather than waiting to be prepared :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Christmas Card for you(!) - from me :)

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The ABC's of 0ur 2008

A - Aquarium (Boston)
B - Butterfly Conservatory
C - Cycling (Spokes) & Camp Cherith (Strike)
D - Doanes Falls & Diving off floating deck
E - Eventually I'll think of something!
F - Family Reunion (Wedding)
G - Gardner Newspaper (Front Page!)
H - Hockey & Homecoming (Playmaker's first school dance)
I - Inspired to start a blog (yours truly)
J - j & j (that's us!) married 22 yrs
K - Kayaks
L - Longsjo / Leaf Peeping
M - Many memorable moments
N - New refrigerator
O - One year older (all of us :)
P - Piano (Playmaker) & Picking Peaches
Q - Quote given to Playmaker on her 1st day of high school:
"We each leave our mark on the world every moment of every day through the choices we make and the actions we take."
R - Rhode Island - The Breakers/cliff walk
S - Softball (Strike) - Sledding
T - Tubing
U - hiked "UP" Mt. Monadnock
V - Virtual Baby - (Playmaker's School Assignment)
W - Water skiing
X - Exploring Laurel Caverns (PA)
Y -
Z - Zip/Zilch (can't think of a thing!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Don't forget to say grace (give thanks!) today

Happy Thanksgiving!! Praying your day is filled w/ food, fun & fellowship w/ family & friends - & that your mind is so full of all that you've been blessed w/ that it pours out of your heart & mouth in the form of GIVING THANKS :)

Found this over at ( just happened upon it but it looks like a great little site to poke around at):

My Kitchen Prayer

Picture of Old Wood Stove -

God bless my little kitchen,
I love its every nook,
And bless me as I do my work,
Wash pots and pans and cook.

And may the meals that I prepare
Be seasoned from above
With Thy great blessings and Thy grace,
But most of all Thy love.

As we partake of earthly food,
The table before us spread,
We’ll not forget to thank Thee, Lord,
Who gives us daily bread.

So bless my little kitchen, God,
And those who enter in,
May they find naught but Joy and Peace,
And Happiness therein.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just a (musical) note

This past Sunday Playmaker & Strike shared this song
of worship - Be Unto Your Name - during our evening service.
It was their first time performing together w/ their instruments.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A long overdue makeover (for my blog)

Thanks to my friend over at From the Narrows --- and her link to Lena ...and some help from Spokes, I have a fresh new look .... finally! Just in time for the holidays :) I still have some fine tuning to do but a thousand thanks yous - & then some - to all three of you!!!

Butterflies & Worship

Our church is focusing on worship this month & last night I shared a lesson "For the Kids" & tho' t to post a slightly edited version here...

Butterflies & Worship

When I was asked to do Time for the Kids I tho't to share an object lesson w/ butterflies & asked Strike if she had any ideas b/c often I share something we’ve learned together - & she suggested butterflies too. Then I remembered I should focus this talk on worship - & figured I should probably go in a different direction.

I remembered part of a verse that included the word “worship” in it. Looked it up – & it says in Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.Then I read more of the context & the very next verse says: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The Greek word for “transformed” is MetamorphoĊ - to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. From it we get metamorphosis & we tend to think of caterpillars & butterflies! So I sensed that three times the Holy Spirit nudged me to talk about butterflies… so butterflies it is….

I bro't some butterflies tonight. W/ the understanding that God has revealed Himself to us both in His Word & creation, I’ve learned to try to figure out what God might have been wanting us to better understand when he created certain things – & I really think we can better understand God – what He’s like & what He wants us to be like – by studying butterflies.

I have a story. You may have heard it. It may seem I’m getting off track but stay w/ me & I’ll try to tie it all together at the end.

As the story goes…A man found a chrysalis. One day a small opening appeared. He watched the butterfly for hours as it struggled to force its body through it before it seemed it could go no further. Finally the man decided to help – so - he cut the chrysalis to allow the butterfly to emerge easily, which it did. And the man continued to watch. He expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge & expand to support the body, which would contract in time, but neither happened - & in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body & shriveled wings - & never was able to fly.

The man didn’t understand that the restricting chrysalis & the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the butterfly's body into its wings so it would be ready & able to fly when the time was right & once it achieved its freedom from the chrysalis.

The transformation caterpillars undergo while in the chrysalis is amazing. When they come out they’re so very different from how they used to be.

Christians kinda metamorph too. When we confess & repent of our sin & accept Jesus as our Savior, we’re instantly changed from eternally dying to eternally living & that’s no doubt an amazing transformation! And - once we’re saved, we should then become more like Christ - which can be a long - & at times, a difficult process.

Think about this - when the man tried to help by cutting the chrysallis, he did free the butterfly - technically - but it was crippled for the rest of its life – which was likely cut shorter than it was intended to be - & most, if not all, the butterfly’s time from then on was likely spent focused on itself - out of necessity - as it struggled just to survive - b/c God’s way had not been followed.

According to God’s perfect plan, the butterfly had to go through that struggle - to the end - in order to become & do all that God intended - & to beautifully display His splendor as it enjoyed true freedom, the way God intended.

Taking it a step further - Flowers need to be pollinated - & God created butterflies in a special way to meet this need of certain flowers. What’s more - He gave those flowers jobs too – one is to feed those butterflies. I think this an illustration of what it means in Romans 12:1 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy & pleasing to God – b/c I think it means we should use our bodies to care for other in Jesus’ name & use those times to share what He’s done for us & wants to do for them.

We can offer our bodies as sacrifices, holy & pleasing to God by praying w/ someone,singing praises, sharing the Gospel, giving money or food to the needy, helping someone help themselves, or doing work for one who is unable to do it. These all involve using our bodies & some sort of sacrifice - but - did you ever consider some of these things to be worship?

It’s true - worship often involves sacrifice – but often it involves sacrificing what God has generously blessed us w/ to begin w/. When, in obedience, we use anything He’s given us - our talents, abilities, energy, money, time, etc., to serve others in His name & w/ a grateful heart, that’s worship! And often we’re blessed in return in ways that are so satisfying - much like when the butterfly, in time, becomes what it was meant to be & does what God created it to do for the flowers, & in turn the flowers feed the butterfly. They enjoy a special relationship & both elegantly display God’s splendor b/c this is their way of life – which I think is what this kind of worship is meant to be … not just something we do on Sundays - but rather as a way of life – much like dieting or exercising are sacrifices people make that need to be consistent in order to enjoy the full benefit.

And - just as the butterfly must struggle first - to be & do all that God intended - sometimes God allows us to endure certain things to help us become more like Him & so to prepare us to be & do what he has planned for us. When a person has been thru’ something really difficult, sometimes they just want to put it behind them & try to forget it ever happened, but when they use what God taught them thru’ it all, they’re able to help certain people that many others might have no idea how to help. By doing that in Jesus’ name &/or for His sake, that’s worship too!

Butterflies are a rare sight this time of year – so I’m giving you each a pretend one – to place wherever you’ll see it - m/b on your Christmas tree for a while. I hope it will serve as a reminder of how beautifully butterflies illustrate Romans 12:1-2

The more you practice worshiping this way - by offering your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, the more it will become your way of life. Try it this wk & m/b next wk you’ll have stories to tell me for a change :)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Took these pics on a trip recently to a butterfly conservatory - Magic Wings - in Deerfield, MA. What a neat experience!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whatever happened to ......

- Satisfaction from a job well done & doing a job well?

- Paying now rather than later?

- Honesty is the best policy?

- Sweat caused by working hard to earn a living - as opposed to spending hard earned money at the gym to work up a sweat?

Since our economy has flown south, I hafta think that must be where these things went too. I hope they return - otherwise it's going to be a looong winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

America's Birthday?

Slightly edited - as I continually seem to do when wrapping words around my thoughts ...

Many refer to our nation's birthday as July 4, 1776 - but perhaps it was really Nov 4, 2008 ...

First Trimester

1600's - America's conception

1700's - America's implantation - but something wasn't right from the start - and it was obvious when John Adams, the first president to reside in the White House, moved in as it was still under construction by slave labor.

Second Trimester

1800's - Painful cramping was experienced that soon turned into full blown contractions and much hemorrhaging - almost resulting in a miscarriage during the Civil War - but- it seemed, under the care of "Dr."/President Abraham Lincoln, she was on the long road to recovery from the life threatening disease of slavery.

Third Trimester

1900's - America grew and the womb expanded ... and contracted at times. Some contractions were more intense than others...but periods of bedrest seemed to ease them - and the pain.


Nov 4, 2008 - A tragic partial birth abortion was performed on America - w/ her own mother's consent! - all at a time when the new President Elect - being of African descent - was such encouraging evidence that the time was right for this nation to truly be born free as God intended! Yet - something went terribly "wrong(?)" during the procedure and she was indeed born - still alive - very sick and struggling - yes - but that struggle is evidence of her will to live - which means there's still hope - because now - to end this newborn's life would be considered murder by law and by most everyone --- except perhaps the new doctor...

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
- John Adams

Monday, November 10, 2008

Attempting to leave a legacy

Genesis 22:12(NIV) "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

Sometimes I wonder.- if I’m one of the few hs'ers who does not profess hs'ing to be the single best option across the board - & what public school would be like if I committed as much time & energy as I do hs'ing, to serving God by serving there.

A Black History Day HS Presentation based on The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles - that we prepared & shared a while back - reminded me of how powerful a childlike faith can be.

In 1960, little Ruby (6 yrs old) was the only black child ordered to integrate William Frantz Elementary School. For a time no one else would send their children there b/c Ruby was there. Angry crowds greeted her each morning as she was escorted by marshals with guns, for her protection, to a school & classroom where she was the only student, b/c she was there. Yet she seemed relaxed – smiling & ready to learn day in & day out. Twice daily she'd pray for those who hated her (When was the last time I prayed for my enemies?!).

I gather Ruby’s parents were her own personal prayer warriors. Tho' I can hardly imagine daily sending our own child into such adversity, w/ the advantage of hindsight, I admire Ruby’s parents & the legacy her family left us. Their motives & actions seem more Christ-like in many ways than mine.

Tho' our reasons for hs'ing are generally well intentioned, as are our reasons for allowing our older daughter to attend public high school (which actually seems to require more faith on our part), both decisions are tainted w/ splashes of other not so good reasons - & so, I wonder ...if the more pure our motives are - &/or the more faith that's required in our choices - no matter what option(s) we choose to educate our children - the more likely God will be to honor our good intentions - & the less likely I'll be to wrestle w/ our decisions in that regard(?).

Attempting to leave a legacy of God-fearing faith --- & not simply one of fear.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Couldn't have said it better myself.....

Stumbled on this (see below re: Redistribution of Wealth ) this AM at Just a glimpse into our crazy lives. Wish I'd tho't of it - but I couldn't have said it better than whoever did anyhow :) Please don't get me wrong here...I'm all for helping those who can't help themselves...& for helping those who can help themselves - to do just that.

Redistribution of wealth

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign the read "Vote
Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I
laughed--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him
that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood
there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his
tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The
server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server
inside as I have decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was
very grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized
the homeless guy was certainly grateful for the money he did not earn, and
the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he worked for and
rightly deserved.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept
rather than in practical application.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

77 Days

Please join me in accepting The Presidential Prayer Team's invitation to commit to pray each day until the inauguration (tho' I don't think they intend for us to stop after that :) for our new President Elect.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

May I call you Sarah?

Dear Governor Palin,

With all due respect, may I call you Sarah? ... as I feel as if I know the real you - despite the media(!) - which, in & of itself, speaks volumes of kudos on your behalf.

The joke is going around that if you could walk on water, the headlines would read: PALIN CAN'T SWIM. I know Someone personally who did walk on water - & based on His experience, I think this is a safe assumption.

I was awake much of the night - trying not to reach for the remote control & rest in knowing that God is in control.

Thank you, Sarah - for all the selfless choices you've made in both your personal & public life - thereby leading by serving with com-passion. Your name, next to Senator McCain's on the ballot, clearly defined the Republican ticket in such a way that I was honored to exercise the privilege of giving my vote to the two of you.

The Light shines brightest in the dark - which is precisely why I believe you shown so brightly (beautifully!!) while the eyes of the world were on you.

Press on my friend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please just consider this - today (Election Day)

2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Tale of Three Trees

A dear friend once shared w/ me: "What a blessing it is when God allows our children to share with us what He tries to teach us all along...."

I recently co-directed a play (children's musical) called The Tale of Three Trees. The traditional story of three trees - each w/ a big dream - & God w/ an even bigger plan. Long story short....Tree #1 dreamed of becoming a Treasure Chest - became a feed box for animals - ultimately held the greatest treasure of all...Baby Jesus -- The Savior which is Christ The LORD! Tree #2 dreamed of becoming a mighty ship worthy to carry a powerful king - became a smelly fishing boat - ultimately carried Jesus, whom even the wind & water obeyed! - & then realized God had chosen him to carry the Most Powerful King of All! Tree #3 just wanted to stay on the hilltop & point people toward God - but was chopped down & thrown in a dark corner of a lumberyard - in the "end" became the cross where Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins -- & will forever do just what she dreamed of doing -- but in a much different way than she ever imagined.

What I loved about it ....

- The salvation msg was shared in a creative way that created a prime opportunity for someone (our Pastor seized it beautifully) to share more along that line w/ those whose hearts had been tenderized in a way that it seems at times, only children can do.

John 3: 16 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

- It offers encouragement to those experiencing a time/place where they just "can't see the forest for the trees" - reminding them that God is in control & has a plan for them.

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

- Adults & children worked together, each doing their part - no matter how big or small - toward the common goal of glorifying God in song/lines (spoken word) & deed (ability) -- ministry!

Is 61:3b They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.

Relationships happened can't work w/ 15 kids & several parents for 2+ months on something as involved as a play & not get to know each other better.

- Leadership was shared three ways - 1) Music 2) Administration - 3) One woman worked specifically/beautifully(!) w/ our special needs children

- The catchy songs/lyrics - even a rap song - some simply fun & others, powerful -- all woven together & bound to remain in our hearts & minds - likely to surface just when we need to be encouraged/reminded that God is in control! (Election Day eve?! :)