Sunday, October 26, 2008

Count Your Blessings

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

'In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of Christ Jesus
concerning you.'
I Thessalonians 5:18

Song: 'Count Your Blessings'
Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr.
Music by Edwin O. Excell

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Family Time

Today is the day we have waited for. We are so excited! Out-of-state family is arriving in just a few hours. We can't believe that we will soon meet them at the airport and hug them. And hug and hug and hug!! I still have some things to do at home to make my time with them a bit more relaxed - you know, those last minute things that must be done. And I will be at a care center where I am the chaplain for a bit of time today. Over the next days I will check in when I can, peek at your blogs to see what you have to share when I can and maybe - just maybe - give you a little idea of what we are up to. Until then I have things to do, places to go and people to see! See you soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Football Fan

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day in our part of the state. We drove over half an hour south of our home to join our son and his family for the drive a ways farther on to our oldest grandson's flag football game. Mr. R. is nine years old and he has been waiting for us to watch him play football. He is a good athlete, a very good sport and enjoys having his family on the sidelines. Mr. R. is the quarterback for his team, The Ravens. It was fun watching him call for action when they had the ball. The coach kept him in the game for quite a bit of defense, too, because he is such a good player. Both teams were well coached and had good players. I was impressed by the spirit each team showed. And the parents and friends on both sides of the field minded their manners, too. My back was bothering me so I stayed in my chair through the whole game and let my sweetheart run around with my camera. Because he was taking pictures we took my 'old' camera. It's familiar to him and I knew it would be easier for him than trying to adjust to my new camera. Once we were at the game I really wished I had taken my new camera, too. I could have taken some incredible pictures from my chair! Oh well, live and learn. Both teams played hard and did a good job. Mr. R.'s team won in the end. It was a close game - very exciting. These pictures will give you a little idea of what fun this grandma had at the football game. Mr. R., the quarterback, calls for action.The 'snap', giving Mr. R. the ball at the beginning of another play. In the huddle with the coach. Mr. R. is the second boy from the left.Mr. R. after the game - walking with his dad, Mr. J.After the game we went back to Mr. J. and Mrs. K.'s home and ate supper with them and their three boys. I have more pictures to show you from our time with them on Saturday. We're still talking about what a good time we had together. There's nothing like a good football game - especially when your grandson is the quarterback. But it doesn't begin to compare to time spent together with our family. That's the best - a real winner!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn Leaves

Here in our part of Oregon we have had the most beautiful, crisp and cool Fall days. We've had sunny skies for many days and I think we are getting spoiled! Yesterday morning we had some rain with periods of intermittent sunshine. The big maple tree near our front door is gorgeous! It doesn't matter if the sun is shining on it or if the raindrops are highlighting the brilliantly colored leaves. It is just gorgeous!!! Yesterday I worked at home - a combination of preparation for my chaplain ministries this week and housework. I found myself constantly drawn to the front windows of our little home and the center of my attention was always the tree and the leaves that have fallen. Normally I keep the mini-blinds on the windows down but open. Yesterday I couldn't leave them down. I wanted to clearly see the artistry of the season. So, I raised the blinds, let a bit of the world outside in and enjoyed the view for the rest of the day and into early evening. Not long after 'letting Fall in' I decided to take pictures and share with you what I enjoyed all day long.

Through the living room window. . .
And down the hall just a ways, the view from the office/sewing room window.The leaves are covering the front walk. . .The mophead grass. . .And they are filling the little concrete leaf below.Someone has to rake the leaves - a big job! But for today I'll open the blinds again, let the sunshine in and enjoy the colorful view of the world just outside my window and door.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Power Of Prayer

If my people
who are called by my name
will humble themselves
and pray and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sins
and restore their land.
My eyes will be open
and my ears attentive
to every prayer
made in this place.

II Chronicles 7: 14-15
New Living Translation

In just a few days, in the United States, Election Day will be here, bringing with it the privilege to cast our vote for candidates and issues across this great country of ours. The outcome of these elections will determine the direction of every part of our lives in our neighborhoods, cities, counties, states and the entire nation. We need to pray like we've never prayed before!

People everywhere are being asked to call on God for His intervention on behalf of our country. My dear friend, Katherine, at Yellow Rose Arbor, challenged us to pray for one minute every night at nine o'clock p.m. Eastern Time for the election. (See her new blog, Power of Prayer.) The Presidential Prayer Team has called us to join together to pray for the election. Their website states: 'Prayer is the most significant way you can impact our country. When you bring the political process before God, things happen—by God’s initiative, and in your mind and heart. It’s a powerful and empowering process. We urge you to try it and see!'
An Election Eve Online Prayer Rally has been organized, calling us to join together to seek God's guidance as we vote. You can read more about it here. I have signed up to join thousands of believers as we humble ourselves and pray and seek God's face for this critical decision. Won't you join us and pray ?

Artwork (top): 'Prayer Warrior' by Danny Hahlbohm

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Camper's Prayer

In a few days some of our dear out-of-state family is coming to visit. We can't wait for them to arrive and we are busy making plans and preparations so we can relax and enjoy every minute they are here. Part of the plan includes our sweet little travel trailer. I shared pictures of it with them recently and told them they were welcome to stay in it during their visit - a little guest house! They were excited and quickly took us up on the offer. So, we are busily fluffing and fussing to have it ready for them. It just returned from my sweetheart's deer hunting expedition so there is more than the usual cleaning to do. They travel over some pretty dusty roads on their way to the place where they hunt. Just before the men take the trailer hunting I take out a lot of the extras - the pretties! Now it's time to add them back - plus more. I'm adding some touches that I had hoped to do this summer. Now I have a reason to get it done soon.

Since we bought our little trailer last year I have been adding homey touches to give it some personality. To make it our home away from home. Through the summer months I worked at my plan little by little and I accomplished a lot. It's amazing how a candle or two here, an afghan and a couple of throw pillows there can give new life to a little trailer. But something was still missing - the walls were bare! It needed pictures so I decided to mat and frame some of my own photography and add it to the trailer decor. I chose scenes from our travels around Oregon and have been working to get them ready. I wanted to include a little blessing or prayer - something appropriate for our travels. An online search quickly located one that seemed nearly right. After a bit of tweaking, changing a few words here and there and eliminating a few sections because of the length, I printed it on a parchment-type paper and framed it for the trailer. I thought you would enjoy reading the prayer. It's just what I wanted. Just right. And it comes from our hearts.

Bless our little trailer, Lord,
And those who sleep within it,
Please watch and keep us from all harm
Through every mile and minute.
Oh, guide the hands of him who drives,
And help him keep alert.
Let no disturbance come along,
And accidents avert.
And when we reach a camping place
We know You will be there.
Your Spirit is within us, Lord,
Your love goes everywhere.
If other campers we should meet
Though many or a few,
We’ll ask no gain if they need help,
We’ll do it, Lord, for You.
The walls are close in this small room.
And closer drawn are we
To eat and sleep and play and pray,
Wherever we may be.
Our mode of living is relaxed,
But grace is asked the same.
Lord, bless our food and those who eat,
We ask in Jesus’ Name.
And when the time has come to leave
And we are homeward bound,
We will recall the memories
Again at home when safe and sound.
So bless our little trailer, Lord,
And fill it with Your peace,
That all who enter in its door
Will find their worries cease.
Author unknown

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Joy Of Giving

A few days ago a van slowly pulled to the curb in front of my house. A young girl got out and came to my door. She had the sweetest smile and quickly asked if I would allow her and her aunt to have some of my flowers for something special they were doing at their church. I told her I would love to share them with her. She pointed to the hydrangeas at the end of my house so we walked toward the fall beauties that had caught her eye. I waved and motioned to her aunt to come join us and soon we stood together looking at my big display of gorgeous flowers. The colors were breathtaking!I cautioned them of two things - a place where the ground seems to have fallen away at the edge of the flowerbed and a sprinkler standing tall just in front of the shrub and I asked if they would leave a few for me. Their joy at my gift to them and the celebration at their church seemed nearly overwhelming. It wasn't long until they had gathered two armloads of stems, waved their appreciation and drove away with incredible smiles on their faces. They left so many blooms for me - I wish they had taken more!My heart was full of joy! There is something so special about giving to others. It was such a small gift, really. No big sacrifice! They will never know the gift they gave to me - the pleasure of giving with a happy heart - a grateful heart. The truth of Scripture still rings in my heart - it truly is better to give than to receive!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Autumn Leaves

Leaves are falling, soft as snowflakes,
Red and yellow, gold and brown;
The breeze laughs gaily in the treetops,
Shaking all the color down.
Leaves are covering the gardens
As my blanket covers me.
When cold winter comes, the flowers
Will be warm as warm can be.

Poem: 'Leaf Blankets'
Written by Irene B. Crofoot

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Providing For My Needs

My God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory.
Philippians 4:19
How thankful I am, Lord, that I don't have to depend only on my own resources to provide for my needs. My happiness isn't dependent on earthly treasures. Instead, You know very well what I need.

When I do the best I can to make ends meet, I remember I belong to You and You will help me. As I trust in You and share my tithes with You, I will not lack in what You know I need. Thank You for not withholding the good things from me as I follow along Your paths of righteousness. I trust in You.

When I'm tempted to toss and turn because of financial worries, I can cast my cares on You and thank You already for the answers to come. Then as I trust in You, I have a peace greater than anyone can comprehend.

Have You counted the hairs on my head? (I must keep You busy when I tear my hair out from worry. Forgive my distrust, Lord.) Do You really know each time a sparrow falls? How valued am I? Certainly more than a bird, yet they are important, too.

Each time I work to make the money stretch, remind me, Lord, to come to You with even the small needs. I know You care about those, too. I praise You for each blessing and miracle You give.

from 'When I'm Praising God'
by Anita Corrine Donihue

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Return From The Hunt

The hunters have returned. Safe and sound. They came home tired but happy. They have lots of stories to tell - and venison for the winter! My sweetheart and our son returned last evening, proudly displaying their trophies from the hunting trip. Our son got the bigger of the two deer. This was a wonderful experience for father and son. It was the first time in several years they have been able to hunt together. Their stories have just begun - I'm sure there are many more to tell. They met up with other family members in the mountains of Eastern Oregon and spent time together trekking through the woods as well as times around the campfire in the evening. It was good for both of 'my' guys to get away from the routine and hard work of everyday life - just time together, doing what they love to do. And time with family and friends. That makes it even more special. In a few weeks they will join some of the family members in another place in Eastern Oregon where they will hunt for elk. Our son-in-law hopes to join them then and the three of them will return with even more stories to tell. These times together are so good for them. Sometimes people tell me that hunting costs much more than buying meat at a local market. They miss the point! My answer is always the same. It's not just about the meat - it's the good that comes from being away from home in the fresh air, doing something they enjoy, with people they love. Time to relax and think and reflect. It's cheaper than therapy! And sometimes they can catch up on their sleep.Maybe just a bit.

Edited to add: Our son just emailed me the picture my sweetheart took of him and his deer. The picture was taken with our son's cell phone. Love that new technology!

Poster: 'Deer Hunter' - Kate Ward Thacker
Photo: 'Sleeping On The Job' - Charles Alsheimer, photographer

Monday, October 6, 2008

On A Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon, after church, my dear little mother and I had lunch out together in a neighboring town. On our way home we stopped at the Goodwill. My dear mother was very disciplined and she came away with nothing. I - on the other hand - couldn't help myself. I just couldn't leave two things I found. It seemed they called my name. They needed to come home with me! The minute I saw this one, I couldn't resist. Into the basket it went! (It's about twenty inches tall, with nearly six inches from the top of the bottom basket to the bottom of the one on top.)This little cutie was waiting for me on a shelf nearby. (It's about eleven inches tall.)

Both of these pieces need a bit of cleaning and some paint. I haven't decided what color they will be or exactly how I'll use them. I would love to hear your suggestions. You may give me ideas I've not thought of yet. You'll see them again when they are finished. You'll be the first to know!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dawn's Promise

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself,
'The Lord is my inheritance;
Therefore, I will hope in Him!'

Lamentations 3:22-24
(New Living Translation)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tale Of A Toolbox

Do you have a toolbox of your own? I do! My very own toolbox, specially put together just for me. I use it often and at times my sweetheart uses it for small in-the-house projects. It is kept in a very convenient place and comes out for small repairs, hanging pictures and odds-and-ends of little jobs.

Several years ago my sweetheart asked me what I would like for Christmas. I know he wasn't expecting to hear my request. A toolbox. I wanted a toolbox. Just a small one of my own! At the time we lived in a small house that had no garage and not much storage area inside. His big toolboxes were in a large storage shed a short distance away from the back door of the house. It just wasn't convenient to go out there to get a screwdriver or hammer or some tool for small things that needed to be done in the house. In the winter months here in Oregon we have rain. Lots of rain. It was especially not fun to have to bundle up, run through the rain and unlock the shed just to get a small tool for a one-or-two-minute job. So, you understand my desire for a little toolbox of my own that could be kept in the house with tools that were mine. For convenience. I had seen simple toolboxes for sale that would have been great. I imagined that my sweetheart would purchase one of them, wrap it and put it under our Christmas tree. I imagined something like this.

Or this.But that is not what I got that Christmas morning! No, my sweetheart couldn't just go out and buy a ready-made set. Not him! He is a very thoughtful, creative, fun person who enjoys doing special things for those he loves. Especially me! Add to that the fact that he works for Stanley Tools and you can imagine that I must have the BEST. It wouldn't do for me to have just any old tools. Not cheap tools. Not any brand. (See his shirt?)You can imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when I opened a box that didn't seem to be the right size for the gift I had requested. But I soon found that what he gave me was not only a practical toolbox - it was a gift of love. Something special. Like no other toolbox. And there was no other lady on earth with a toolbox like this one!

I had a little red toolbox. A Stanley toolbox!

I opened it, not knowing what to expect inside.And inside I found tools - and an extra surprise. Something completely unexpected! My favorite perfume! My signature perfume.After the happy surprise and a hug or two I looked to see what tools he had included. Would you believe Stanley tools? Not the ordinary, anyone-can-buy-them Stanley tools. No, some of them were special, promotional or available-only-to-Stanley-employee tools. Look at the set of screwdrivers. Bright, pretty handles! A little Stanley wrench.A special Stanley tape measure. Flourescent green. How could I ever miss it?And a little level. My sweetheart quickly added that he had not included a hammer, which he knew I would need. He explained that all of the small hammers that usually are added to toolboxes made for ladies are not strong and would break soon. He wanted to add a hammer that would last but he wanted it to be one that fit my hands well and had good balance when I use it. Custom-fitted. Just for me! He had one in his toolbox he wanted to suggest but it didn't look new and he didn't want me to think he just put an old hammer in with these nice, new tools. He quickly went out to the shed and came back with two or three hammers. The first one he suggested was the one! That's the hammer I use all the time. Is it any wonder that I smile every time I reach for my toolbox? Since that time I've added other little things that are handy to have around the house. No, it doesn't always look this neat. I recently cleaned it out and removed a few unnecessary things that had accumulated there.Not too long after I received my little toolbox we moved into the home where we live now. We have an attached garage where my sweetheart's tools are easily accessible. But I usually don't have a reason to find a tool out there because I have my own. In a convenient spot that works for me whenever I need to use it. And I always think of the surprise that Christmas Day and the look on my sweetheart's face when he gave me such a wonderful gift. Not just the gift of a toolbox but the gift of himself and his love all wrapped up inside. This little red toolbox will always be a treasure to me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Hunting He Will Go!

Very early this morning, long before dawn, my sweetheart bid me fond fare-thee-well, climbed into his trusty, old hunting truck with our dear little trailer securely attached behind it and rode off into the sunset! Oops, that doesn't quite fit the timing of the story, does it? He rode off down the street, turned the corner and headed toward the freeway south a ways where he stopped to pick up our dear son before heading east for the opening days of hunting season here in Oregon. This is an annual event. We prepare our thoughts and supplies all year long for this time. I know it's coming and I usually have plans for my time at home while he is away. That's the way it is this year, too. But this time, as I stood at the edge of the driveway and watched him turn the corner and drive away, my heart felt like it was in my throat! Along with a few tears, too!! This time I wanted to go with him. Not to hunt. Just to be there at the trailer when he returns to camp where I could have a warm pot of stew ready for him, our son, my sweetheart's brother and a few other family members. And I wanted to be there to see the joy on his face when he returns to camp with the prize - a deer, venison for more stew in the months ahead. I have not gone to hunting camp with my sweetheart since our children were in elementary school and I have not had a problem seeing him go. I've always been fine with it. But this time it was different. This time we have the little trailer and I love to spend time camping with my sweetheart. It wasn't possible for me to go with him this year so I will anticipate his return in a few days. And look forward to a time in the future when I will be sitting on the seat of the truck beside him as we drive away, headed for hunting camp.

In the meantime, I have plans. Big plans. Oh, it wouldn't be exciting to some people. I just plan to do some things I've not had a chance to do. Things that make a mess and must be picked up before day's end. Now I can make the mess and leave it until the projects are complete. Messes than involve paint. I hope to paint new, cut-to-size baseboards that will be ready to install when my sweetheart returns. And I have plans to paint a few other things while he is away. One little Friday find that you haven't seen before is waiting for attention. I won't tell you what it is but I'll show you just a bit. Very soon it will be ready to make its debut. When that time comes I'll show you the before and after photos so you can see how much my sweet little piece was transformed. So, without further adieu, here it is!

You will like it. I know you will! Soon it will find it's way to the final place planned for it. Until then I'll work hard and fill my time with things planned - and a few unplanned, I'm sure. I'll watch grandchildren this afternoon and spend some time with my dear, little mother and paint. And paint some more. And watch a chick flick or two. And defrost the big freezer in good faith that my sweetheart will return with meat to fill the shelves! Until then please feel free to stop by and say hi. I'm never too busy to visit with you. I may hand you a paintbrush and put you to work. Couldn't we have fun chatting and painting and just being together?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fence Me In

The words to an old song keep going through my head. 'Give me land - lots of land - with the starry skies above. Don't fence me in!' But that's not true this time. I want to be fenced in. Fenced in my own back yard! I was told that some time years ago, when our little home was newly built, none of the homes had fenced yards. The neighbors planted gardens and everyone shared what they had with each other. They wandered in and out of each other's yards, helping themselves - picking produce from their gardens, borrowing ladders and whatever was needed. Now that was a long time ago. It was a different time in our little community. A different world! Then fences began to appear. When we moved into our little house the back yard was fenced in. Six foot fence sections enclosed two sides and a little decorative fence - about waist high on me - enclosed the other two sides. From our back yard we could see into our neighbor's yard and onto the side street beyond. Not only that - anyone driving on the nearby side street could look into our back yard and see whatever was there. A large grapevine provided privacy in the summer months but it was still too open for the security of our young grandchildren (who grew tall enough to climb over the little fence and gain access to the very busy street in front) and for the security of belongings placed in our yard. Plans were made to add six-foot sections to that side of the yard and one day, not long ago, my sweetheart began the process. Holes must be dug for the strong posts that hold the fence. A hard job to do by hand. A rented post-hole digger made the job much easier.When that task was accomplished it looked like a giant gopher had run through our yard!The next step seemed simple. Put the posts in the holes and put the dirt back in. Not that simple. My sweetheart does precise work, making sure the job is done right and will last. He carefully placed each post in place. Making sure the post was straight and level, he mixed cement and poured it into the hole. Not a quick process. But worth it. Well worth it.The cement had to dry overnight before the cross pieces and fence boards could be added. Once that was accomplished our yard began to change. Slowly. Carefully. With precision. A fence!And then, with design and purpose, a double gate was built.Now our plans and dreams for this project were reality. Security and privacy. And safety for our grandchildren.

The double gates will give access to my sweetheart's little boat, the lawnmower and whatever needs to be moved from one side to the other. The fence needs to be satined, landscape changes need to be made, more projects completed and a structure added to protect the little boat through the rainy winter months. When it's all finished we will sit on the patio and enjoy what was once just a dream. Land. Lots of land with the starry skies above. And we're fenced in. All fenced in!