Here's the Link!

If you read through the saga of Gramma's injuries from that most distressing bicycle accident, I mentioned attending their church on Sunday and the excellent, excellent message. So now, here is my gift to you for "Word-Filled Wednesday." This would be Word, as in God's Holy Word-Filled way...

This church is unique, (at least very different from my church in my hometown). They have different venues for their services. The sermons are fed by video into several different meeting areas and everyone sees it live. The truly unique thing is each venue has a different style of worship prior to the sermon. There's Country, Traditional, Loud, Louder and Loudest....you get the idea.... And the really cool thing is that there does not seem to be any 'competition' between the venues. Everyone is just happy to be there and lovin' everybody.

So if you have half an hour devoted to devotions today, maybe this would be a fun option. Check it out. Click here: SearchableSermons.com North Coast Church Video Sermons. The one to play is titled, "Same Old Problems, Same New Solution" from the "Scripture's Believe it or Not" series. Of course, you are free to play more of them if you want. Children, laundry, walking the dog and dinner can all wait. Grins.

Enjoy "Word-Filled Wednesday."


Sent with Love...

I was checking into my 'junk mail' slot - just to make sure nothing was there by accident, and found this amazing letter. It's from James Robison who is a minister based in Texas and it's written for Oprah Winfrey. I would occasionally hear "Brother Robison" on TV when I was a teenager. (Christian TV was brand new then, so if you didn't watch it, how in the world could you be a true Christian....) But aside from that, I don't know too much about him or his ministry. I've seen some of the recent news about Oprah and it's been very puzzling. She has so much talent, ability, intelligence....well, y'all know what she's got!

This is a beautiful letter, well written and heartfelt. But what struck me while reading it was the reminder that just like 'we' may have missed portraying the full truth of the reality of Christ, His Love, Grace and Mercy to Oprah... hmmm.... The people who live next door are intelligent, prosperous, gentle, kind, loving and they accept all religions. They were raised that way - all ways are good ways. How does that old song go? "Open my eyes, Lord..."

Here's the link: A Love Letter to Oprah. I'm not going to stop checking in on Oprah once in a while (I don't watch much daytime tv). But I'll watch it with my eyes opened a little wider and my ears tuned in a little closer. And I'll watch for more opportunities to have the neighbors over for ice-cream...


Over the River, Through the Woods....

Sunday morning we loaded up the car somewhat similarly to the famous scene in the movie "Vacation"...no not really, I exaggerate horribly at times. But we did put a towel in the back seat and Master Max was thrilled to be able to ride along for the adventure of a trip to Gramma & Grandpa's house. We were met at the door by the bouncing Miss Lexus and the fierce Miss Mercedes once again showing us she is certainly in charge of this house. Max was not at all sure whether he should play with Lexus or run in terror from Mercedes. At the very least, we gave Gramma a well-needed laugh!

Gramma is certainly thankful for everyone who has said they are praying for her! She is normally a very busy woman and the next few weeks will be a challenge, I'm sure. I assured her that there is a reason God created pain pills, and although we don't want her to overdue it, it is important to stay on the schedule the doctor prescribed. I also took along a copy of The Shack for her to take her mind off of the injuries.

DJ, Grandpa, DJ's sister and I went to church and left Max there to comfort Gramma. We dearly love attending Gramma & Grandpa's church. It is quite contemporary, and they do everything they do with excellence. As soon as it's posted, I'll give you a link to yesterday's sermon. I checked earlier and they probably take Mondays off....

It looks like it will be a hot one here in Sunny. Master Max is recovering from the day with the cousins and I'm spending some time looking through a wonderful book a new friend has asked me to preview. You would all be jealous if you knew what a great story I'm reading before it's actually in print. How cool is that!

Once again I'm reminded...we do receive so many blessings each day. We have sunshine, or rain, protection and comfort, laughter...sometimes tears, family and friends traveling in our journey with us. All gifts from God. And how cool is that!


Please Pray

We've had a bit of bad news here in Sunny today. Our dear Gramma (of 'Gramma & Grandpa') had a very bad accident on her bicycle and has a broken arm along with several other injuries. She is in quite a lot of pain and will have the cast put on in a few days.

Apparently, a man who was talking on his cell phone and oblivious to the world around him walked right into her path and the tumble occurred as she swerved to miss him. It was a very nasty fall and break. Lots of emergency people helped her. (Whew!)

Just tonight, DJ and I took Master Max for a walk at the lake and I mentioned how disturbing it is to see the Dapper Dans on their phones, working deals, while they are walking around the lake --- talking, talking, talking and intruding on nature. Gramma was riding at the beach and probably on a biking trail. Gramma definitely stays on the pavement, goes with the flow, and is not a mountain biker.

Dear God,

Please help our Gramma to feel all better really soon. Help her bones to get all smooshed back together in the right way. Please help Grandpa as he makes the coffee and tries to cheer Gramma up. Please help Miss Lexus and Miss Mercedes to be good doggies and not irritate Gramma needlessly. Help them to be awfully good snugglers when she needs snuggling.

In Jesus' Name,

Grace, DJ & Max


Stuff Christians Like: #175. Once again, I'm in hysterics...

I have some friends (very dear friends) with whom I know I should never sit with at a public function. Wisdom prohibits this. Although I enjoy being at a 'fun table' at any dinner I must attend, there are times when you know, you just know, you will cross a line and people will look at you because you must be doing something sinful to bring about such laughter. That is definitely what would happen if I were to meet the host of the 'Stuff Christians Like' blog.

This morning I took a few minutes to read his seven or eight most recent posts. As this whole blogging-shebang is still a bit new and random issues still pop up occasionally, I found out that you must get to this blogsite through a link instead of just typing in the address. He probably has some Nazarenes who are upset over something.... Just joking! I love Nazarenes! Go Vicki & Dan!

Oh, my. This is Thursday, not Word-Filled Wednesday and I've chattered on and on.... Please, Please, Please, go to this site and read the top seven posts (there's one serious one, just so you know...). Do not miss the one on clapping (#169). Promise me you won't... http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/04/175-godisgoodandbeautiful777yahoocom.html

On a far more serious note...isn't it great that we can laugh! Life brings us some plain ol' yucky stuff way too often and if it wasn't for the ability to say, "God is Faithful - Regardless" and have a chuckle with family and friends....wow.... I sincerely hope my newly formed playlist is spinning "Let's Go Fly a Kite" right now...

Hope you have a Terrific Thursday!


Word-Filled Wednesday

"Jump Start"

Ah...Yes...JJ will be home soon and we're sure to have a similar discussion.

Lovingly shared for Word-Filled Wednesday.

God Bless Lord Andrew...

Things were certainly interesting on American Idol last night, weren't they! We watch this show with some frequency. We've never voted, tend to agree with Simon, and cheer on the underdogs...But last night.....last night.....did you catch Sir Andrew's advice to young David???

"There's two pieces of advice I would give to you. The first is to open your eyes. And the second is 'open your eyes.' The eyes have it. That's why people say that."

"Little David has a real musical soul to him. But he just must keep those eyes open. I can't watch somebody whose got their eyes closed all the time."

We cheered.* I don't expect to see this advice reprinted in Worship Leader Today or Christianity Today or at worshiptogether.com. But I may keep last night's show on our DVR for a few years just because....

*If you're part of a traditional church denomination, this entire post will be meaningless....we, however, have been led in worship by the cewts (closed-eye-worship-teams) for many, many years and have often been quite puzzled.....


I remember....

Today is one of those days....an anniversary you wish you didn't have. Four years ago today, my mom called in the middle of the night asking me to take her to the ER. She'd had a bad cold. I arrived to find her dressed in a nice suit, the bed was made perfectly, she had her little hospital bag packed and we figured we'd be back the next day at the latest. Little did we know....

I could write a novel about my mother. She was truly amazing. But this is not the day for that... Mom thought she might be having a stroke (thanks to a head's up from a guest in their Sunday School class). She knew something was definitely wrong. The ER was frustrating; they didn't want to believe Mom when she said she couldn't swallow. She looked fine. She couldn't raise her arms as high as she normally did doing her nightly stretches. "So?" was the look we saw on their faces..... Within 24 hours, Mom was on a ventilator, fully paralyzed except for her eyelids and toes. And her brain was not affected in any manner. Imagine. We were told she had been attacked by this most unusual syndrome: Guillain-Barre. Oddly, even those who are the most severely stricken usually recover. Mom was recovering neurologically months later, she actually had the best physical therapy session of the six month ordeal the day she moved to hospice. It had all been just too much... 27 weeks after calling me, she ran to meet Dad and they danced together with Christ. My guess is there was a pretty big party that morning with more hugging than we can imagine.

This post is not intended to be a tear-jerker. But please, just in case one of your loved ones might be one of the 'one-in-one-hundred-thousand' who fight this illness...please take five minutes and check out this site. Guillain-Barre Syndrome Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) It can hit any one, any age, any sex, any where, at any time.

I promise to post something humorous tomorrow. Really.


Marvelous Monday

Our bottle-brush tree is now blooming to its hearts content. It certainly seems that spring is here in complete fullness. We even have hummingbirds in our yard this year for the very first time! They're just darling. And.....yesterday we had two coyotes (one at a time) come through our yard. The second one was right outside our bedroom door. oooohhhh. Too scary! That is a sign of spring which I do not enjoy. So sadly, Master Max will be inside much more than he prefers for the next few weeks.

It seems change is in the wind for lots of people in our little world here in Sunny. New jobs, moving from over-there to off-yonder, internships, caring for parents, welcoming grandbabies..."Change is the ultimate certainty." That must be a famous quote. I, however, do not know precisely to whom it should be attributed. Maybe one of my English major friends will let me know. (They're very good about that sort of thing.) The quote could also be from many parts of Ecclesiastes. Boy, that might lead to another post entirely!

Regardless, if your world seems to be spinning today as fast as the hummingbird's wings...just relax. You're in good company.


Oklahoma City Bombing

Such a sad day this is.... Has it been thirteen years already?? Dedicated to the Oklahoma City Bombing, this website is worth checking out when you have time. Be sure to grab a Kleenex --- maybe you should keep the whole box beside you if you're tender-hearted.

When the bombing occurred, my parents were living about ten miles from downtown in Oklahoma City. They heard the bomb explode. Yes, they heard it!

In 1979, I had a part-time job in the heart of the city and used to meet my mother for lunch in the Murrah building once in a while. It was such a nice place. Mom worked at the Kerr-McGee company for a few years which was just a hop, skip and a jump away. (She always enjoyed being right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the business world.)

I'll never forget visiting the bombing site with my parents. The new fence was in place and filled to the brim with flowers, ribbons, notes from guests, toys, photos....all tokens of love. The silence was overwhelming. It screamed at you. Then we walked across the street. Amazingly there is a church there (St. Joseph's) and in the garden area of the church is a prayer corner. I remember coming face-to-face with a huge statue of Christ, the "Jesus Wept" shrine. He is facing away from what was the vacant lot (and is now the national memorial). His head is bowed and carved in the statue are tears. (I have never seen this included in any news story about the Oklahoma bombing.) The beautiful church was built in 1903. Although it was incredibly close to the explosion and heavily damaged, it ultimately survived.

I think you can make the same statement about the people of Oklahoma City. They were heavily damaged and as a city they have survived. And they know great strength is often found through tears.


Join Us...

I sincerely thank all of you for your patience with me while I've shared the comings, goings, snugglings, adventures and joys of life with our Max. However, it certainly became aware to me yesterday that DJ and I may be seriously over-attached to our young four-footed boy. Thankfully, our real son will be home for the summer soon! (We can't wait to see him and pray for him every single day...)

Here's what happened....

I sent an e-mail to a good friend on Thursday (yes, Thursday) to see if she and her husband would like to go to dinner sometime this weekend. She sadly had to decline for a multitude of reasons. One delightful reason was needing to watch her grandchildren while her husband would be away on a camping trip. I extended an invitation to her to join us at church where the kids could enjoy some time in Sunday School and she might have a bit of peace for a few minutes.

Later in the e-mail exchange she relayed that the kids would actually be picked up on Sunday morning --- Maybe we can go to dinner another time next week.... I suggested Panera and explained how fun it was to take Max along and how nice it was to sit on the patio with him....

Something was criss-crossed completely on my part. I felt so silly. My dear friend replied in total honesty: "Where are you going now? I can't believe (but I guess I can) that Max goes with you to church."

Wouldn't that be something?!? We may have to look into it soon....

"I'd like the organ side...."



Oh my. I sincerely hope JJ isn't going to check in here today... He'll say "Oh, there she goes again with her 'Society is just falling apart speech'." I just logged on and glanced at the yahoo.com page which is my home page. I saw the list of top searches for the day and found myself shaking my head....Cynthia Nixon who is an actress from Sex in the City and revealing her struggle with breast cancer (I do have compassion for her) and Bill Cosby both topped the list over Pope Benedict XVI. Now if the pope was still at the Vatican preparing for Sunday Mass and tending to his normal duties, this would not surprise me. But he is here (!) in America and it's his birthday as well (at least that's what the number one news story said, "White House crowd sings Happy Birthday to the pope"). Interesting.

I'm not Catholic, but certainly this papal visit is huge news for America. I wonder....if Billy Graham were to visit the Vatican; would the Italians be more interested in news of last night's Italian Idol? hmmm. I'll try not to bring this up next time I talk to JJ. He'll appreciate that, I'm sure....

"Viva il Papa."


Spell Check

Last weekend, or should that be 'week-end,' we watched the news with Charlie Gibson. DJ is just now getting acquainted with Charlie, but he seems like my old buddy from all the years he was at Good Morning America. Anyway....they had a story about this relatively young man (about 30 years old) who was traveling across the country correcting spelling when he came across mistakes on signs in stores, on billboards, menus, that sort of stuff. One has to ask... "Is he sponsored?" Do they have marathons somewhere like at Yale or Princeton to help him with his expenses? Maybe he's just got a stash of money somewhere. He looked like a nice guy who mostly wants to help people get things right, not point out their mistakes. I certainly can relate to him. But I've observed people usually don't want to know if they've goofed on printing something. Even if they ask you, they don't want to know.

Today I was at the mall having some minor surgery performed on my all-too-new cell phone. Whilst waiting, I stepped into the Hallmark store across from the Verizon outlet. (Although I should mention there were two Verizon stores there; one for technical support and one on the opposite side of the mall for sales. That really annoyed me. But I let it go...) I passed by the Mother's Day items quickly as they made me lonesome and found my way to the Precious Moments, Hallmark movies-of-the-week, and touristy-stuff collections. I looked up to see those ceramic jars they sell everywhere now. They say things like: Retirement Fund, Vacation Fund, Life-Savings and such (some captions are not appropriate on a family-friendly site). My eyes then stopped on the top shelf and I saw them, a dozen of them: "To Much Information" --- cast in ceramics to last until the end of time and available in bulk most likely at Hallmark stores all across America....Sort of a bizarre, "Raise your glass to the technical age, gossip of the week, or brand-new-parents-who-share-the-whole-birthing-experience stories.

I should call that guy. Maybe I can send him a container for his birthday. On second thought he'd probably like one that says, "Travel Funds" better.


Fred Basset

Oh my goodness! There's nothing quite like seeing yourselves portrayed in the funny pages. In honor of Super Saturday here at our house, please take a peek at today's (4/12) Fred Basset: Fred Basset, comics, editorial cartoons, email comics, political cartoons

I tried my best to put the comic strip right here for you to view, but it appears there is a copyright issue and the folks who own gocomics.com want you to stop by their site to see the funnies. That's fair enough! Or maybe you've got today's paper on your kitchen table right next to the apple fritter and hot chocolate, so that's even better.

Last night we all (DJ, Max and myself) watched a scary movie (that we didn't know would be a scary movie...) and every time a creature would surprise us or a stairway would crash from the creatures leaping onto it --- there was Master Max! Jumping into Dad's arms, practically crawling into his shirt or trying to sit up behind me on the back of my neck. Truly an interesting sight as he is just about 40 lbs. now!

And JJ thought we should train him to stay off the furniture when he was tiny. We would have had no comfort at all last night had we been so strict back then....

Enjoy today!


Beautiful Sunshine

To friends and family in the Midwest...I'm sorry, really I am, but it is just so amazingly beautiful here today. Wish you were here. Wish we were having a tall glass of sweet tea out on the patio. I'd even take out some chicken in the new packages from Costco to thaw so we could barbecue later on....

I do find myself giggling a little bit when I go down the chicken aisle at Costco. I wonder if they ever heard about the Chicken Crisis with the lady who doesn't like the chicken breasts in the pressed plastic sheets. Probably not. I should get one of those Chick-Fil-A shirts that says "Eat Mor Chick'n" to wear when I go shopping there. Of course, that would be silly.

With the lovely spring days and summer on its way, I do have a prayer request to mention. We have an ongoing problem in our area every year about this time with coyotes and their pups. When we moved into this house, the lot next door was vacant and the animals ran through quite often. They still do this, although there are two new homes in their old subdivision. We lost our last little puppy angel to them in '03 (although she was up in years) and she had been attacked by them twice before. Here is the concern: Master Max feels it is his duty to protect our property and he also feels he's more than strong enough to take them all on.

If you have any advice for us, please pass it on through the comments section. We'd really appreciate some good ideas. Last summer we had a couple of close calls and it is most disconcerting. As you are certainly aware; we love our Max and want him to stay safe!


Sincere Thanks....

What fun! Thanks so very much to Liz at Kentucky Bound for bestowing this lovely rating to this little blog. She's got some wonderful comments about the blogging world and if you have time and aren't acquainted yet, take a few minutes to stop in and say 'hi.'

I now have the privilege to extend awards for Blogs of Excellence to these amazing blogspots. And here we go:

Once again, I am humbled as I stand on my antique needle pointed footstool in the living room and accept this award with Max looking at me adoringly. Or perhaps he thinks I've....well, perhaps he is wondering....I suppose it is time for a good walk at the lake.

Enjoy today. Have fun with the little things.


My, My, How Interesting....

Well, we owe another round of applause to my friend from over at the University. He's done it again... I've added this link to my list of Things That Puzzle Me (for your ongoing enjoyment) and you'll need to plan on spending a few minutes here. And yes, you may need a little white hanky or at least a couple of Kleenex. At least I did. But I'm funny that way... sometimes I just laugh at the thoughts inside my head and that can make people nervous occasionally. It must go back to the only-child thing...years of experience entertaining myself....(sometimes crawling under a table while the grown-ups talk and talk and talk, just like my little friend did last week).

Oh! I've digressed something horribly! Here's the link: Strange Christian Products & Signs. You will need to scroll down just a little bit. Go down to the picture of the two plastic nuns. Enjoy....?


Part 1

This month, I started making my way through a collection of books on prayer by E.M. Bounds. A few years ago I began seeing his name referred to by Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. So, of course, his writings sounded intriguing. I titled this post "Part 1" as I'm only on book two of an eight book collection. It may take a while to get through them. (As DJ likes to comment, "There aren't any pictures for you....") grrrr.

Yesterday, a few sentences popped out at me and I've found my thoughts going back to them repeatedly:
"This is a busy age, bustling and active, and this bustling spirit has invaded the church of God. Its religious performances are many. The church works at religion with the order, precision and force of real machinery. But too often it works with the heartlessness of the machine. There is much of the treadmill movement in our ceaseless round and routine of religious doings. We pray without praying. We sing without singing with the Spirit and the understanding. We have music without the praise of God being in it, or near it. We go to church by habit...." E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer.

Now, here's the most interesting part: This book was published in 1925. 1925. So have we progressed? In some churches and circles --- absolutely! In others, sadly, I doubt it; the comments are most likely more true today than when written.

And then I began thinking about all the wonderful places in this bloggy world where we can find people just offering to pray with you. Some of us might be friends in regular (is there a bloggy term for this?) life, but mostly....we're simply people who want to prayerfully support and remind each other, "There's Hope." (See Beloved Mama or Christian Women Online for more information.)

I think E.M. Bounds would be impressed. And he probably would be blogging his thoughts every day....


Stuff Christians Like: #120. Evangelism tools

Stuff Christians Like: #120. Evangelism tools

O.K., As you probably know....I'm new to this Mr. Linky, blog my page, let's have a blog party (just select all/copy my code and post it on your elements), tag-you're-it stuff between blogs. So here's my best effort to tell you, "I give this guy a head's up and encourage you to please take a minute to check out his really interesting blogspot." How's that? Hope the link above works -- I sincerely hope it takes you to the right spot.

My good friend over at the university who sent me the Youtube video of the Muppets on St. Patrick's Day also told me about this site. Once again, I'm really glad we're friends. And I think you'll enjoy this site a whole lot. If not, you probably don't get my humour either, so I don't need to worry about it too much.

Enjoy! Or go visit Joy at Joy of Desserts. You can never be offended by chocolate.


For You Cuz!

Yes, if you've seen my flower personality test result, it says I'm a mischievous prankster....We don't really know if those things are accurate, but posting this photo must qualify me for the title.

We recently visited my only cousin on my mother's side way out in the wilderness and he is just the best cook! He fixed two of these amazing treats - deep fried turkeys. Two! We had more fixin's than should be legal. There were far too many pies and they were fabulous! Yes, we finished them all off. None were left to save in the freezer for the fourth of July. Not a bite.

My cousin is also the best cousin in the whole world. In the past few years we've discovered we share many traits. We both hate to be late getting somewhere and we don't have a whole lot of patience for those who are...we remember phone numbers easily...we highly dislike phony people and can spot them quite quickly....we become extremely frustrated with electronic gadgets when we can't get them to work properly (we'd never admit it might be our fault) and then there's that dessert thing. You can never have too much dessert. Especially on your birthday. Especially when it's a big one.

So here you are Cuz, just for you, for your very special big day this week....

Happy Birthday!


A Healthy Supplement

We're so proud of our Master Max these days....
This photo is of our Max with his best buddy, Milo, who lives next door. Every afternoon you can watch this scene between 4:00 and 4:30. That must be when Milo's family are home from their busy, busy worlds. Milo comes to our patio door as if to ask, "Can Max come out to play?" If we don't see or hear Milo ourselves, Master Max is quick to find us and start racing toward the door.
Then the fun begins.....they take turns visiting this lovely hedge and the lovely Eucalyptus tree behind them and so it goes until they're completely partied out! As this occurs in our yard every day (not in our neighbor's) we have seen a need to put Max on a healthy supplement. The advertisement on the front of the bottle, next to the picture of the beautiful Golden Retriever (probably named Buddy) has a large yellow circle stating, "STOPS YELLOWING."

Max has been a good trooper as he's started taking the pill, "To make Dad happy." So this morning, I was checking the dosage requirements as we're seeing great improvement with the disappearing dot-to-dots on our lawn. He's been taking about half of what they say a dog needs each day. There's a little chart with the caption: Give Daily To Dogs. One line down it reads, "Give at meal time (Do Not Use For Cats)." On the back of the bottle, right next to where it says your money is 100% guaranteed if it doesn't work.....in capital letters:


I honestly don't think I can make even a single comment to close this post. My sermonette about the dumbing down of society (the one that JJ can repeat to you on a moment's notice) is starting to rumble. Rumble, rumble, rumble...


Just a Prankster

"Honey" and I were trying desperately to see if Hugh Grant was at home here last summer....He never answered. If you're not a fan of "Notting Hill" you may not recognize this landmark at Universal Studios. It's the actual set of the store Hugh's character owned in that movie. Maybe. Who knows! But we sure had fun knocking and calling his name.

DJ & JJ were more interested in finding ice-cream. It was a very hot day and the ice-cream sundae was the best treat of the day! We tried for hours to appease our new friend, Honey, who had her heart set on going on the ET ride. Sadly, we discovered....it has been replaced by a visit to the dark inner sanctum of haunted tombs of some mysterious middle-eastern land. Although it's a fabulously fast indoor roller coaster --- anything that's about spooky tombs and monsters is not my thing. I far prefer visiting Hugh's bookstore.

So now a note to those reading this on the date it's posted.....you never know when someone may be twisting your earlobe. My good friend Ruby Dee was the recipient of my efforts this morning. She was informed by "Kaiser" of most interesting test results! Who knows, it might be twins! We go way, way, way back and that's a good thing or she might not forgive me real soon.....

O.K., Ruby Dee --- I owe you a Messy Sundae at our favorite spot.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22