Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Wishes to You

With 2007 's departure, comes the introduction of 2008. The changing of the guard always makes for a time of reflection.

One highlight in 2007 was getting acquainted with the amazing world of blogging. It is a world that allows me to capture and pen my views, thoughts and emotions (wonder if that’s good?? oh well, it’s fun). Thank you to all for so graciously accepting me into this place of expression and inspiration.

  • May GOODNESS and MERCY be yours;
  • May a hedge encircle you as a PROTECTION;
  • May you find PEACE in life's storms;
  • May you be anointed with perfect LOVE that only comes from above;
  • May you have JOY unspeakable, and full of glory;
  • May HAPPINESS and laughter fill your home and heart;
  • May PROSPERITY be yours in the things that really matter; and
  • May an abundance of untold BLESSINGS be yours.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Preston - You're the Man!

Happy 8th Birthday
You are Awesome!

Keep throwing touchdowns,
Enjoying horse camp,
Getting your dirt bike ready for the desert trails,
Memorizing your Bible verses,
and Loving Jesus.

You are so Special. Love you, Nana
PS: Go Ducks!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Place of Beauty

Wanted to share some pictures my daughter Kellee snapped during our visit to Gallup & Stribling's Orchid farm. G&S is one of my favorite places - the orchids are breathtaking. The farm occupies 48 acres along the central California coast just south of Santa Barbara. If you get the chance to visit, be prepared to walk away with a beauty or two (its warehouse prices are irresistible - my house and yard enclosure are testimonies to the fact).

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Child Is Born

Jesus Is the Reason for MY Season

May an Abundance of Blessings be Yours
as We Celebrate Jesus this Christmas Season

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas is Coming - The Goose is Getting Fat
I took this picture of Canadian Geese while in Bend Oregon in October.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Angel Awareness Week

I would like to declare this as Angel Awareness Week (or at least what’s left of it). Why not? There is an Awareness Day or Week for everything else - and it being the Christmas Season, what better time to recognize angels. The angels of which I speak are not ones with halos and wings nor affixed to the front of Christmas cards or in department store displays. My angels are flesh-and-blood and walk into our lives daily.

I always get excited as to where and when my angel will make an appearance. My angel may knock at my door offering a surprise visit, call on the phone to have a chat, or send a “love” note, card or letter. In any case, it will be a message conveying the sincereness of genuine concern for me and mine.

My angel may visit with the nod of a warm greeting while in a crowd, graciously make a path for me to maneuver my cart through an aisle, or offer their chair for me to sit down. My angels also love to visit church. They are there to greet me, encourage me, give comfort, and just plain show their care for my keeping. At times, they speak through the Word, or sing a beautiful song that touches my heart and I feel heaven has touched earth. The ways my angels visit are so varied and so unique that I don’t dare take the time to list them all because I'd never complete my post.

If you still don’t believe that we entertain angels, just take another look at your children and grandchildren. These angels provide blessings beyond measure, and their heavenly communication could only come from above. Need I say more?

During Angel Awareness Week may love lead us to our angels. In fact, better yet, let’s reverse the role and be an angel ourself.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tis the Season to Give [What?]

December is a time of gift giving. I was wondering what gifts should I give this year? Will the cost of the gift determine how much I love and care for someone? No, the price should never be the measure of my love. If that is considered the joy of giving, then let's start leaving the tags on. Or better yet, let's make sure the tags are in conspicuous places so they'll be noticed right away. Let's let our children, our parents, and our friends know they are worth $24.49, or $49.89, or $98.95, or $229.59, or (I’m sure you get the point).

Looking back, my greatest gifts came with a love price tag. Please allow me to share some. A bouquet of wild flowers picked by my husband for my 22nd birthday, slightly wilted and the stems in lengths of various degrees but still an everlasting memory gift. A green ware Nativity set from my two sons, Mark and Cameron, when they were teenagers. It was a birthday present in 1976, and a total surprise. I opened the package at midnight (been at hospital all day as my husband was in ICU at that time). A priceless gift, which is proudly displayed all year round. A snapshot of daughter Kellee (at 7), grinning from ear-to-ear (front teeth missing), wearing an apron that fell to her shoe tops, but the snap proudly proclaimed she was cooking in her class - and going to share her baked goodies with me. An absolutely adorable memory, framed close to my heart and kept in my special memories box. A bright orange construction-paper cookbook from youngest daughter Alisha (at 6). Its pages contained cookie recipes (having more glue on the pages than anything) . On the cover, handwritten in her original words, "Mommy's Cook Bookie." I still have the “bookie” in my memory box, and look at the love creation from time to time with a chuckle.

Another special Christmas gift was via a tiny grin from granddaughter Zoe (at 3-1/2 months), when her mother Barbara tried to get her to play with toys we'd given her that were for children ages 3 and up. Zoe loved the toys but just couldn't get the hang of how to use them. We lost Zoe less than two months later so I would not take anything for that gift memory. Oh yes, the two handmade ornaments from granddaughters Madison and Cassidy when they were 3 and 5 . Their little hands made ornaments with their pictures prominently displayed inside with glitter encircling the outside. They were proud as punch to give them to me, and I was equally as proud as punch to get them. These ornaments are still part of my annual Christmas decorations. A drawing by grandson Preston when he was 4 years old showing Santa driving a race car around a race track (even at 4, he wanted to share something we both loved and that was NASCAR). Four years later that drawing is still an everlasting gift, tucked away in my heart.

No money could buy any of these gifts. There are all priceless. Guess I’m melancholy but this year I don’t want currency, checks, gift certificates, or expensive presents to take the place of giving love memories. Bring on neighbor Judi’s homemade goodies, Auntie May's embroidered dish towels, or Grandma Gracie's crocheted tablecloth. Bring on special handmade gifts from the grandchildren. These are all fashioned with love.

Oh dear Lord, please let me give gifts that last. . . gifts wrapped with a portion of myself. Tis the Season to Give LOVE.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Altar

After posting the "praying" bunny yesterday, I started thinking about prayer lives. Many of us are victims of the whirlwind, being tossed to and fro with life. We have no choice. Exasperated, tired, watching ourselves go in one door and out the other at the same time is the order of the day. If we wait to use the prayer closet, we may be robbed of our daily devotion with Him.

Now, with retirement, I have more time for the luxury of praying in solitude, but before retiring from my job in San Francisco, I spent 8-to-10 hours a day at work, and approximately an hour commute to and an hour commute from work. Attending mid-week church service added an additional hour to and an hour from church to home. Plus there was dinner time and the normal daily chores (occasionally there was the adding of time for special events). I just didn't have the time (nor the strength) to give God what He truly deserved. My situation required me to reprogram my thinking as to places for My Altar.

Expanding prayer surroundings can allow one to experience the beauty of spontaneous prayer. We can pray almost anywhere and be effective. We can pray in our car while commuting to and from work, in our office/workstation, in a crowd, on an elevator, a bus, train or plane. We can pray while feeding or bathing a child, eating lunch, doing dishes, mopping floors, buying groceries, in the shower/tub, and the list goes on. The Lord never turns away a sincere prayer. He accepts our visits no matter where we are, or what we are doing. An Altar can be anywhere our heart cares to travel. Hopefully, I've appropriately expressed my feelings in this poem.

My Altar is not made of wood or of stone,
nor permanently anchored to stand all alone.
Nor was it designed as a ritual where I praises could sing,
but built as a foundation for supplications to bring.

My Altar is anywhere my heart cares to travel,
there to present my petitions and life's mysteries unravel.
No appointment is needed for a request to submit,

for I may be a prayer away for a wayward soul to acquit.

My Altar is truly the place dearest to my heart,

for it is where all my heavy burdens depart.

Upward intercessions soar for the Lord to capture,

Yes, I consider My Altar the true gauge of my stature.

Your Altar has no limits, and can bring victory to your weary soul. So today why not consider scouting out the land for special places of prayer? You will never be the same, believe me.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Need An Answer?

(i.e., people, finances, jobs, attitudes)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, Shut My Mouth

"Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” Psalm 141:3

Ever put your foot in your mouth? Days come when no (or few) words fair far better than a mouth full of nothing. It's days like those where it seems that no matter what you say, it is of little (or no) benefit.

Tomorrow, I've decided to just listen - listen for that small, still voice. It is The Voice that never says anything unless it is of value. Speak to me Lord.

Well, shut my mouth - I’ll talk with you later.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Faith Is

FAITH is such a small word, with so much potential. There is not a day that goes by when we don't need to exercise FAITH.

Sometimes it is difficult to keep FAITH. Our natural man wants to take care of matters without any help (from anyone). What a mess that can turn out to be. FAITH, standing alone, definitely does a better (more complete) job.

Here’s my definition of FAITH (written from first-hand experience):

Faith is a song,
Sang when all is silent.
Faith is a book,
Read when all is illegible.
Faith is a medicine,
Prescribed when all is incurable.
Faith is a road map,
Followed when all is lost.

Now FAITH IS the substance of things hoped for. . . then taken care of by the Lord.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Got Ou-ees?

A band-aid is a fix-all for almost any child's hurt. I always looked forward to having grandchildren. My plans being to keep a various assortment of band-aids on hand to soothe any "ou-ees." There would be various types for various hurts in various colors, sizes and shapes - ones displaying animals, birds, cartoon characters and who knows what else. I felt that band-aid dispensing was a requirement of "Nana-hood". Oh what fun! Me, gladly heeding each grandchild's request for an adhesive strip stuck here or there; in fact, a whole box, stuck everywhere, if they'd like.

I would then visualize their parent's reaction when picking them up from Nana & Papa’s - a ribbon of "hurt helpers" running up or down an arm or leg, or maybe both. Best of all, I wouldn't have to remove the sticky marks left behind after the band-aid was removed - that would be their mother’s job (i.e., mothers know how to remove anything with a little rubbing and scrubbing until the skin is medium rare - right?).

Amazing the comfort band-aids are for a child’s hurt. As adults, many of our hurts cannot be taken care of so easily. I have often asked the Lord, how many "ou-ees" are required in a lifetime? Hurts that can’t be fixed by applying an adhesive strip - deep wounds with the potential to leave tremendous scars. The psalmist David wrote, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous . . . " What kinds of afflictions was he talking about? Afflictions to the mind, the heart, the soul, and the spirit.

Maybe you have an "ou-ee" that isn’t healing - its open sore is daily causing you pain. Well, the Great Physician is available. He makes house calls (day or night), charges no fee, and has never had a malpractice suit. And, believe me, His assortment of band-aids is far beyond any we could ever imagine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hold On

Ever have a day when you feel like you’re barely hanging on? Well, why not take a deep breath, say a simple heart-felt prayer and hold on to what really matters. Before you know it, your footing will be firm once again.

Trust me - I just had a dangling spell and thought I would surely fall, but He came on the scene just in time. He always does.

Hold On - To His Word

Hold On - To His Truth

Hold On - To His Promises

Hold On - To Him

Monday, November 26, 2007

Signs of Our Time

Although, the sign displays only two words, “Keep Right” - it caught my eye while visiting Portland’s Rose Garden a few months ago. Its message speaks volumes and gave me food for thought.

Just think how important it is, as Christians, to follow the signs that the Lord sets before us. The Signs of Our Time are sometimes blaring ones, and sometimes non-obtrusive. However, every day He offers a multitude of "Signs" to guide our lives. A lot of times they are the ones we see everyday and take for granted.

As for me, I plan to heed His messages - and most importantly, Keep Right.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Lighthouse that Guides

While living in the Bay Area, there was a small lighthouse just about a half-mile up the coast from us - both it and our house were cradled along the shores of Seal Cove. Every night the lighthouse's beam would dance across the waters directing vessels along their course or giving warning to those etching too close to shore.

Our lives are like the sea, either turbulent or peaceful. Oft times we drift along in life's circumstances and are unaware that we are moving too close to possible danger. I am so thankful that God's Lighthouse warns us before we shipwreck and offers us a course of safety. How wonderful is His guiding light that brings assurance and serenity to our very being.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank You Lord

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us. Thank you Lord for giving me such precious grandchildren. Each provides such an abundance of love in their own unique ways. What wonderful blessings!

Zoe Claire....................Madison & Cassidy..................Preston

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy "Thanks" "Giving"

Thanksgiving is not only a time of Pilgrims and Indians but of Family and Friends. This week may we enjoy the many blessings that have so graciously been bestowed upon us. Thank you Lord for giving me a wonderful family and great friends.

To all, Happy "THANKS" "GIVING".

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wash Day

Washing clothes doesn’t have the same meaning it used to. Nowadays, we just whip clothes into the washer, place laundry agents into designated slots, press buttons, and poof! The load is off and running. When through, just a flip puts the laundry into the dryer.

Not so magical when I was a girl. We had a Maytag wringer washing machine that danced all over the back porch (thanks to its powerful agitator - a major selling point). After the clothes were beaten to death, the next step was the wringer, which required taking the clothes out of the (usually) very hot water, and then doing the wringer thing so to place the clothes in a tub of bluing (blue liquid mixed with water to brighten clothes). Next you’d stir the clothes around in the bluing, and then take them back through the wringer until dry enough to put in a clothes basket (wood-weave, not plastic). Sometimes more than the clothes got wrung - on occasion, it was a sleeve of what you were wearing or a hand. Yes, a Hand. In panic mode, you hit the wringer release and pull whatever was caught out. What an ordeal!

Clothes were dried naturally (i.e., held by wooden clothes pins on wire lines stretched between two posts). The Results: Sheets were stiff (but smelled fresh). Towels were rough (imagine drying your wet body with one). Colored clothes faded in no time (unless turned inside out when put on line). And unmentionables waved in the breeze, exposed for the world to see. Wash Day took the greatest part of a day because laundry was done once a week - usually Monday.

Washing clothes parallels our lives as Christians - to be spiritually clean may mean pressing our buttons, or putting us through the wringer. After all, we never know when we will be hung out for the whole world to see.

Wash Day 1945 - by Grandma Moses

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Endangered Landmarks

By now I am sure most of you are aware of the major oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. It has caused great concern - and endangered many landmarks and thousands of species of wildlife. Now along the coast south of San Francisco, thick oil globules have hit the shoreline at the town of Montara, thus raising concerns for the Fitzgerald State Reserve at Moss Beach (only a mile or so down the road). I know Moss Beach well having lived on the cliff above the southern tip of the Reserve. Daily I was blessed to observe the various birds and sea lions - and on occasion walk the Reserve's beach, looking into the tide pools filled with little creatures. What will happen to all this beauty and God's little creatures? It became food for thought: What else may be in danger? With pen and paper came expressions of concern.

Preserve all that is threatened is the cry of the land,
Protect the endangered from the destruction of man.
Numerous species in jeopardy in this hour and day,
Confirming that we have not always guarded the way.

Sharing and caring no longer seeming a part of our life,
Self-fulfillment replacing goodness, then embittered by strife.
Measures of stewardship all but diminishing from sight,
Sadly confirming no sincere concern to spread the Gospel light.

Many incapable of emitting genuine love for mankind,
Substituting hatred and jealousy, alas to charity blind.
Earnest supplications but silenced, altars seemly bare,
Prayer vanishing as if caught in some other care.

But one of the greatest endangerments is God’s Holy Word,
Once passed through generations, now to some found absurd.
With landmarks near extinction, please consider the cost,
Without preservation, life’s greatest resources are all but lost.

Let us guard the resources we have as Christians, and keep them from becoming endangered species. Preservation is a must!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lord, May I Have A Flour Sack Walk

The Flour Sack poem brought back memories as a little girl in late 1940s. Most of you are way too young to remember flour (or feed) sacks. My dad would use the feed for the chickens, my mother would wash the sacks, cut out a dress, and sew it up. She made aprons too. The plain white sacks would be hemmed into dish towels with my grandmother embroidering them into the days of the week. I remember wearing many a "sack" dress. No one considered it embarrassing back then - it was a way of life. Have we come a long way? Yes, we have but sometimes I am not so sure it is for the best (my personal opinion). We've lost the "wonder" of innocence, of loyalty, of faith, and the list goes on and on (but I'll hush).

THE FLOUR SACK by Colleen B. Hubert

In that long ago time when things were saved,
When roads were graveled and barrels were staved,
When worn-out clothing was used as rags,
And there were no plastic wrap or bags,
And the well and the pump were way out back,
A versatile item, was the flour sack.

Pillsbury’s Best, Mother’s and Gold Medal, too

Stamped their names proudly in purple and blue.
The strings sewn on top were pulled and kept;
The flour emptied and spills were swept.
The bag was folded and stored in a sack
That durable, practical flour sack.

The sack could be filled with feathers and down,
For a pillow, or would make a nice sleeping gown.
It could carry a book and be a school bag,
Or become a mail sack slung over a nag.
It made a very convenient pack,
That adaptable, cotton flour sack.

Bleached and sewn, it was dutifully worn
As bibs, diapers, or kerchief adorned.
It was made into skirts, blouses and slips.
And mom braided rugs from one hundred strips

She made ruffled curtains for the house or shack,

From that humble but treasured flour sack.

As a strainer for milk or apple juice,
To wave men in, it was a very good use,
As a sling for a sprained wrist or a break,

To help mother roll up a jelly cake,
As a window shade or to stuff a crack,
We used a sturdy, common flour sack.

As dish towels, embroidered or not,

They covered up dough, helped pass pans so hot,

Tied up dishes for neighbors in need,
And for men out in the field to carry seed,

They dried our dishes from pan, not rack
That absorbent handy flour sack.

We polished and cleaned stove and table,
Scoured and scrubbed from cellar to gable,
We dusted the bureau and oak bed post,
Made costumes for October (a scary ghost)

And a parachute for a cat named Jack.
From that lowly, useful old flour sack.

So now my friends, when they ask you

As curious youngsters often do,
“Before plastic wrap, Elmer’s Glue

And paper towels, What did you do?”
Tell them loudly and with pride don’t lack,
“Grandmother had that wonderful flour sack.”

Please Lord, let my walk with You be as versatile, as durable, as adaptable, and as useful as a flour sack.

Girls in picture whose dresses have floral patterns were made from flour (or feed) sacks.

Colors were bright and cheery as seen in the patches.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Our Unsung Heroes


Thank you for protecting our freedom to worship
and freedom of speech.
We are forever grateful.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Madison, the Birthday Diva

Madison Kaitlin Hopper
Granddaughter Extra’ordinaire

Have a wonderful fun-filled day, and throughout the year an abundance of blessings. You are so special! LOVE YOU, Nana

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On Second Thought - Thank You

I, the customer became the victim this week. Yes, I was treated like a second-rate citizen. It happened when I bought and paid for $75.38 worth of goodies at a (will not name) Mart.

Here’s the scoop: I zapped my WaMu card, did a quick ID pen, and just like magic the bank cleared payment. Alas, the blessings and curses of the plastic card. The clerk (associate or so frequently called, the manager in training) hastily “threw” my items in plastic bags. Then she shoved my receipt into my hand and flopped my bags to the end of the counter. I “faked” a half-way smile, she frowned - AND IT WAS RIGHT THERE THAT SOMETHING AROSE IN ME AND I HAD HAD ENOUGH. This type of treatment had been happening too often. Just where are they getting their help? But before I could utter a word to inform her of her shortcomings, a thought raced across my mind like a giant marquee, Do Unto Others as you would have them do unto you. Oh no, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be ugly. Please Lord, let me be ugly (verbally that is - don’t touch my body - it has enough problems).

However, I couldn’t argue with the Boss of Bosses so I sheepishly smiled at the clerk, and said Thank You, have a nice day. I thought to myself, am I missing something here?. I am the customer, she is the employee. This scenario is all wrong. Wham, it hit me, all wrong to whom, me or God? Come to think of it, would it really hurt me to say Thank You? Well, I guess not.

You know, when someone is rude, the words "Thank You" can make all the difference in one’s day. It changed my frame of mind, and I hope it did hers. When I got home it brought to mind a poem I penned years ago (guess I've had problems with this same thing before - Sorry God).

Thank you is a small simple phrase
But to the receiver it's an expression of praise

Its utterance can make a bleak day bright

Allowing thoughtfulness to burst into sight.

Saying I appreciate all you have done
Will link hearts to diligently work together as one

Lifting the soul above a customary routine
In the words “thank you”, there is true happiness to glean.

for visiting with me. HAVE A NICE DAY. (See God, I'm getting the message).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Merry Meds Do Wonders

"A merry heart doeth good like medicine. . ." Prov 17:22

Sometimes fears, anxieties, or worries affect the way we feel. What’s the cure? Go for a walk noting nature's beauty, have lunch with a special friend, spend time laughing with your children, or (do whatever will make you happy).

Remember Merry Meds do wonders for the aches and pains in the soul.