December 29, 2010

A Melancholy Day

Today seems like the end of...well I don't know what to call it.  But it's kinda sad.  There are a lot of different emotions tied up in this day and I think it will continue to haunt a few of us for a while.  Anyway, it is out of my hands and influence so there's not much I can do about it...not that I could before but I tried.  I really did.

Sometimes I don't know what to say

Caution; Personal, and perhaps tedious meanderings!  Danger of incoherent flow of thought.

When life happens and the consequences are confusing and I see hurt in my daughters' eyes, sometimes I don't know what to say.  It's true; although there are those of you who will have a hard time believing such a thing.  Of course there's the comfort of prayer and the standard "leave it at the Cross", but sometimes that doesn't look or feel very real to a person who's been hurt.  I often ponder how I can help in a situation where the feelings of another can't be understood.  I know what you're thinking...Who am I that I need to know or fix things?  Well, I'm a mom, that's what we do. 
We encourage and train without breaking the will and spirit God has given our children. And we want to help them through the difficulties as we train them to face trials in the future.  If we break their will and their spirit to mold them into what we want them to become, sooner or later, they're going to turn on what we've taught them with scorn because it's our belief but it's not real to them.  They can parrot back the correct answers or tell us what we want to hear to avoid punishment or controversy but they can't figure out how to use it for themselves because our training was one of rules and punishment or rituals that show the world that we've raised perfect, godly children but didn't give them the foundation they needed to handle life on their own.

Many times the conclusion I come to is that folks aren't raised with the courage to be honest.  They don't know how to talk.  Airing dirty laundry is forbidden.  Parents often feel that they should be obeyed without question and while there's some merit it that approach, it doesn't explain to the wondering minds of our children why things must be that way.  It's easier to hurt someone than it is to be open and talk about things that may make them...or us...uncomfortable. Of course there are those who will never admit that they've done something hurtful and will try to turn it into some shortcoming of yours or make light of your feelings because they believe they are superior in one or many ways.  You know...they have their image to protect.  But the truth is that they are just sinners like you or me and although they may put on a good show, a fly on the wall would see right past all the facade to the real person underneath.  But, I digress...

How do we take the comfort of the Bible and turn it into real life; into something that we can apply to our lives on a daily basis and give understanding of to our children so they can go on to live a life for Christ because that's what they believe, not a meaningless set of rules they've followed because we demanded it of them? 

When they look around at the world, it may not seem fair that they try so hard and yet a blatant sinner is blessed while they are hurting.  That others have what they would like to have in possessions or relationships or status.  Or that someone could be so hurtful or inconsiderate or dishonest.  But God never promised us a life free from the hurtfulness of others.  Only that He would give us what we need when we need it, walk beside us through life and carry us through adversity.  But still, the struggle comes when we don't understand what's happening.  Or why?  Sound familiar?

December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve results

Lovely!  As always.

December 24, 2010

Melancholy Christmas Meanderings

It's 3 AM on Christmas Eve Morn and I'm wide awake.  This is not a good thing because I have so much to do tomorrow/today and I know it's going to be a long night.  We've been practicing an old German Christmas custom in our home for the past 27 years; one I've enjoyed most of my life.  Father Christmas brings our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after the children have gone to bed.  My girls have loved waking to the treat of their first glimpse of the tree on Christmas Day.  That was a gift in itself.  It's been fun even though Mr. Scrooge, who lives here too, has never enjoyed sharing in this tradition from my childhood and tried to sap my joy every one of those past Christmas Eves.  Now that the girls are older, it seems that other things are pulling on our time at Christmas and I resent the urge to change our tradition to allow for more modern or should I say less traditional activities.  But this tradition of Christmas is one they don't want to give up even though they will help with the trimming now that they are older.  Since they are helping keep the tradition alive now, it's even more fun because I have someone who shares my enthusiasm for the magical feeling of the Christmas ornaments from their childhood. Strings of wooden beads mixed with twinkling lights, real candles lightly clipped to the tips of the branches to be lit for one anxious moment while Scrooge looks on with trepidation and warnings, ruining any chance for one peaceful, magical moment of contemplation.  We no longer hang the silver strings of icicles on the tree because I got so tired of listening to the complaints even though he never touched one icicle, either to put them on or take them off the tree.  Some people just never have the's so sad.
Here's my itinerary for the day.  Preparing as much of tomorrow's Christmas feast in advance as I can.  We're going to be spending the day here at home and I'm ever so thankful for that.  We'll be celebrating with family on the 26th.  So, we're having a Middle Eastern style feast including leg of lamb, spinach balls, tabbouleh, haroset, rice pudding, hummus and baba ghanooge, flat bread and spumoni.  I'm really looking forward to it!  If I had more time or had planned ahead, I would have added more to the spread with lamb stew and stuffed grape leaves; a favorite here.  And then there's spinach flats and stuffed mouth is watering!  But I had to be reasonable with my menu so we'll have those things another time.  Or maybe we'll just add another dish to the menu every day.
Next is last minute wrapping, then Christmas Eve service (the girls and a couple friends are doing a ribbon stick "dance" as part of the service) and Chinese for dinner.  And last, the trimming of the tree.  We're clinging to our past and hoping for more good memories but life seems to have a way of pulling us into another time.  The girls and I will have fun with it.  We'll break out a bottle of sparkling cider and a few Christmas goodies to share while we listen to Christmas songs.  Scrooge will consider it his gift to us to be in the same room watching the proceedings with contempt.  The we'll each open a gift, always a new pair of pajamas, and say "Good Night!"
That's our hope...but I think the tree trimming will be moved to earlier in the day to avoid too many grumpy remarks and because I am now wide awake and don't foresee getting much more sleep in the meantime.  When we brought the tree inside so it could thaw and put it in the stand, I, in my haste, put a deep gash in my hand that will slow me down a little today.  Resisting the urge to get a few stitches, I pulled it together with a butterfly bandage and some of my homemade salve and I think it will be fine if I can keep it dry. 
We'll still have fun and it is, after all, still the birth of our Saviour but I'll miss those bright little faces full of excitement and magic as they peak into the living room after our traditional breakfast casserole and the Christmas story to see the tree for the very first time.  But I pray that I'll always be able to see them in my mind from memories of Christmas Past.  I guess I'm just wishing time would slow down and waxing nostalgic as I sit here in the dark...remembering.

December 23, 2010

A Christmas Blessing

I've been fighting with my gas range for about 12+ months.  My side slowly losing ground.  After battles that have been growing in length over the past 3 months, it has finally won the fight and refuses to light the oven at all.  The stove is about 18 years old and I know I should just give up hope that I can salvage it.  I spoke with a reliable repairman who has sold and serviced our appliances for the past 28 years.  He told me that if he could even find the parts, it would be expensive to repair the tune of $175-$275 plus labor depending on what was wrong and even then he couldn't guarantee that it would fix the problem.  Very disappointing.  The very last thing we needed this Christmas was another major expense.
But if we were going to have Christmas dinner, something had to be done.  We went shopping to see just how much a new gas range would set us back...yikes!  As we looked at one of the major stores in the area, the salesman asked us about our reason for this major purchase so close to the holidays...was it a gift?  We explained and he told us that he had been a repairman and had fixed lots of stoves with "symptoms" just like ours.  He gave us the number for the parts distributor and told us what to order.  About $75.  The part came in 2 days.  I had it installed within 20 minutes of it hitting the porch!  I told the girls to pray and I held my breath as I turned the knob.  Voila!  The oven lit in a very short time and we were back in business! 
I know that the man who helped us works on commission and forfeited what he would have made on our purchase.  I called to thank him and let him know that we will seek him out when we reach a point where we need to make an appliance purchase.
I'm saying a prayer of thanks for this man and his generous heart at this time of year when everyone could use a few extra dollars.  What a huge blessing this stranger was to us this holiday season!

Again, God bless us every one!

December 18, 2010

You never know

Life can be surprising, to be sure.  Sometimes pleasantly so and sometimes not.  When it comes to reaching out to others, I think I should go with my gut instinct.  There's something about a hurting soul that can be so clear and then it can be so hidden that you don't want to assume anything and you let it go. 
I'm feeling the regret of not following my instincts over the past months.  Looking back, I can see several indicators that should have been a tip off knowing what I know now.  But at the time, I just thought that maybe it was a tender spirit that needed to talk a little and I listened and encouraged without actually doing anything.  But I always had this nagging feeling that there was more to the story than meets the eye. Turns out it was someone in need of help.  Thankfully, the thoughts came out in another arena and were very clear this time.  Intervention was done and I'm hoping some love and understanding will mend this heart.
But from the outside looking in, I never would have guessed at the depth of the hurt.  Yes, I knew it was there and having been through some pretty hurtful things myself, I thought I should do more but wasn't sure of my place.  I'm kicking myself now and praying that I won't make that mistake again.  Better to step out of bounds and be put back than to watch from the safety of my little box while someone thinks about taking serious actions to end their pain, even though I didn't know that and do nothing for fear I'll step on someone's toes.  Much better.  And if I make a fool of myself or lose friends, who cares if I've helped a friend in need.   Who cares if I try to help even when there isn't a problem.  Right now, not me. 

Sometimes a brave soul can only bear to give out little hints at the misery they are facing because they don't want anyone to think they can't handle it or that they are not trusting God.  But that brave soul wrapped in one of the nicest personalities you could meet, might have a tender heart inside that needs some love and attention.  And if they don't get it from the people they expected to get it from, they can't see their own worth.  Wow!, that hits closer to home than I care to think about.  The pain is clearer to me now and I'm wondering why I didn't realise what was happening. Or why I hesitated when I suspected there might be more to it.  I'm so tired of second guessing myself.  Call it intuition, or gut instinct, or insight; I'm willing to admit that it all comes from God so why do I drag my feet?

To God be the glory for the answer to this hurting soul that kept them from harm.  I'm prayerfully asking to be a better part of their lives; one that stops thinking about what someone else might think and just follows my gut.  Dear Lord, guide my heart in the way it should go and make me more keenly aware of the times when I need to be a reflection of you or even a physical you to someone in need and give me the courage to just do it.  For them and me.


December 16, 2010

South and back again

E's last final was on Tuesday so we left home around 8AM to drive to VA to bring her home for the holiday break.  Two other students will be riding back with us on Wednesday.

As we left home, the temp was 18 and the wind was picking up.  Snow on the ground of course but the weather channel was calling for snow over most of the eastern US.  Our route took us over the mountain and at the top, the temp was 4!  The roads were wet and in those temps that means icy so we made decent time but were driving slower than normal.  And then, eureka!  We crossed into Maryland and the weather became sunny!  Not any warmer but a little more cheery.  We were blessed with clear roads all the way to VA.  The winds continued to increase and we felt like we might actually lift off a couple times! 

Arrived at college around 3:30 and met E at her dorm.  We decided to load most of her stuff into the car while it was daylight.  Wondered if we'd have room for the other two students! :) 
She had some farewell plans with a few friends so we went to a friends house for chili.  It was wonderful and made me warm on the inside!  She is such a blessing to us!  The car was white from all the road salt so we found a car wash with a drier.  The ramp into the wash was frozen so we actually had to use A4WD to get inside...wonder what the southerners do?  We slid out the other side.

After E and her friends came back to campus and she helped her room mate pack her car, we drove to the extra parking lot...the pick them up.  We all went to the basement of the central building on campus to "hang out" and meet some of her friends.  Well, when the guys got there, everyone decided that we should hang out at the student union, which is across campus, instead so they promptly decided to ride the bus and took us with them. 
So we went to the student union and spent a few hours playing Apples to Apples with a group of guys and gals.  It was fun and nice to meet the faces we've seen in pictures.  But as it got closer to 10PM, we thought we should turn in for the night.  So we went to the other end of the building to wait for the bus back to our car.  The schedule said it should be there about 10 after... no bus.  We were relieved to see one coming and ran out to get on quickly...the temp was 15 and windy!  Alas! was out of service but told us another would be along in 3 minutes.  So...40 minutes later as the crowd waiting for the bus grew, we decided it wasn't coming.  So H and I bundled up and started walking.  The shortcut through the stadium was closed so we lost a little time there and had to go out and around it.  Even being a hunter from PA didn't make this trek easier.  Because at home, I'm smart enough not to go out in weather like this!  We were froze by the time we got back to the car which took us about 30 minutes.  I thought my lungs would explode!  I don't recommend a hike like that if you're anemic. 
After we stopped shivering, we went back to the union to pick up the others.  Silly college kids wanted to stay so we took one fellow and E back to their dorms.  The others walked back later!  Not even smart enough to wear hats or warm coats!  I feel old!
Fell into bed and eventually warmed up.  Wasn't sure if the ache in my chest was just cold or what but was thankful to wake up in the morning feeling better. 
We were treated to home made Belgian waffles!  Wonderful...Santa, I'd like to have a waffle maker for Christmas!
Went back to campus to get E and find the other students to load their things.  Being the master packer that I I sound a little prideful?...we got it all in the back with only one casualty.  The dish that Tim's pet snail calls home slipped out and smashed on the pavement.  After Sarah ran back to her room to get a cup for Luther to ride in, we started for home.  It was a fairly uneventful ride with kids crashing and me driving.  Then we had a few rounds of caroling, 20 questions and listened to a bit of Radio Theater's The Screwtape Letters to break it up.  Stopped once for gas, made a pit stop around 1:30 and another around 4.  Made it home by 5:45!  It's good to be here.
We brought all the "stuff" in from the car so we didn't have to go out again and sat down to dinner that Tom had made for us. 
Many thanks for all the prayers, safety and fair weather.  It's good to have Goosie home and not have to worry about cramming everything we want to do into a few days. I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday but who am I kidding?  Plans for Narnia with friends this weekend, a little shopping, baking- if I can get the oven to work- and finishing the decorating now that E is here to be a part of it.  Good times! 

December 13, 2010


It's been a tough week.  This may sound a little insensitive but I think most wives out there can understand what I'm saying.  We tend to get used to a certain schedule and our own plans to get through the day...and then, for whatever reason, the husband is home for the day...or the week.  Need I say more?  Suddenly everything changes, all your plans are shot, the minute you start to do a job, they need you.  Not for anything important...just to get something for them or find something for them...things that belong to them and all at once, it's your fault if they can't find it!  And the worst part is that when you go to the place you told them to look but they couldn't find it, THERE IT IS! exactly where you thought it should be!!!!  And when you take it to them with a look that says it all, they say, "Oh, now where did you find it?"  When you tell them it was right where you told them, they say, "It couldn't have been.  I just looked there."  About that time the hair on the back of my neck begins to prickle and the corners of my mouth begin to twitch.  I unsuccessfully attempt a small smile and turn away quickly to return to my previous job...but, alas...there's more!  Could you get my slippers?  What's for lunch?  What are you doing?  Have you seen my glasses?  When are you going to do...?  Could you...?  Now, it's one thing if they're sick or hurt but COME ON!   My sympathy and compassion are waning. Could they bring their dishes to the sink after eating in front of the TV watching movies they've seen a dozen times or put things away after they've used them?  Suck it up, Nancy!  The doctor said you should move around and move!  Believe it or not, people have lives to live, things to do, other people, WHO ARE STILL CHILDREN, to help and teach!  And it's Christmas with all the extra things I'd like to do.
And my all time favorite from this man who can usually make me laugh, is when he calls me back into the room immediately after I've completed several of these tasks, when he thinks I've almost reached the place where I started and innocently asks, "How far do you think you'd have been if I hadn't called you back?" Grrrrrr! I plead temporary insanity!
Thank you for listening while I vent and thank God for this new week!!!

We'll covet your prayers as my youngest and I travel to Virginia tomorrow to bring my eldest home from college.  We'll be returning the following day.  The forecast isn't favorable so I'm praying for fair traveling conditions and safety.  I do love snow and I can handle driving in it but I worry about other drivers.  Especially those who are not used to driving in snowy conditions.

December 11, 2010


From reading my posts in the past, I'm sure you know what a love we have for the theater.  Little Bit is playing in "A Christmas Carol" this season at college.  That's about 7 hours from here so it was a real blessing to be able to go down to see the show.  It was amazing!  I'm so proud of her!  There's no way I can describe the play with words and do it justice.  So many lovely costumes!  She had at least 4 that I can remember.  Dancing, singing and flying spirits!  Wonderful!  I'm so very glad we were able to see it!

My youngest is playing in "It's A Wonderful Life!" here at home.  Also a wonderful performance with the 6 show run being sold out every night!  It always amazes me that a little community theater in a small town in the middle of rural PA can bring together such a great cast with costuming and sets that really "set the stage" for a show that's sure to please.  One of the players in this show comes from Indiana, PA which is about 45 miles from here and happens to be Jimmy Stewart's home town.  To commemorate his contributions to the screen and to our country through his stint in the armed forces in the midst of his acting career, the town started a Jimmy Stewart museum years ago.  As the memory of this great actor is replaced by more recent stars, the museum has seen a decline in attendance that threatens to force them to close their doors.  After each performance at our theater, donations have been accepted on behalf of the museum.  The story has even made the local and national news.  Folks are taking up the cause and helping George Bailey one more time.  A very touching tale.
The director of "It's A Wonderful Life!" and one of the players are employed in areas that work with folks who have various mental and physical challenges.  The last dress rehearsal was dedicated to a show just for them.  About 50 folks from various homes in the area were escorted to the theater and they enjoyed the show very much.  It was very sweet to hear stories of their appreciation and to hear the impact that their presence had on the cast.  I'm so proud of our little theater and how they've reached out to the community in so many ways this holiday season. 
Tonight's the last show for both plays and it's been a rewarding experience for the girls and me, as their mom.

What a privilege to see both of them doing what they love and hearing them talk about how they'll use their love of theater to reach out in one way or another to help people.

December 10, 2010

Why am I so scared?

When things don't turn out the way I want them to;
Why am I so scared?

If everything falls through that I've planned to do;
Why am I so scared?

If I need some assurance but can't find my cue;
Why am I so scared?

When the bills mount and I don't know what to do;
Why am I so scared?

Because I try to manage it all alone instead of holding my Father's hand.

Been a while

It's been awhile since I've been here.  Lots going on and lots to try to deal with so I guess I'll just write about a few.

My husband fell on the ice and jammed his spine.  He's been off work for this week trying to loosen things up so he can move comfortably again. He really didn't need any other health issues to deal with.  Things have been hard for him for about 10 years.  He could use a break.
Of course the usual head colds and dryness that comes with the season.  It's kinda unusual for us to have such cold temps so early but we've had a lot of teens and expecting single digits next week. 
My youngest and I will be traveling to VA to bring Goosie back for a month long break over the holidays.  Praying for safe travel down and back and no car problems. 

It sounds like Goosie's used computer is shot and we'll have to get her a new one.  That's quite disappointing.  Her hard earned money down the drain.  It's given her trouble almost from day one so that's a lesson learned the hard way and generating a bit of ill will.  Not sure where the means to purchase it will come from but she's already been one semester without a computer so she really needs to have one to take back for next semester.  Makes things really hard when you have to trek across campus just to check your email which she's required to do every day. We purchased a camera for our computer so we could skype with her but were only able to do it twice.  It will be really nice to have her home so we can see her.  I think there was more than one lesson here.

My younger cousin passed away and the funeral is today.

So, yeah...I'm just a bundle of glad tidings, huh?

Sometimes I feel like I really don't have much to say and no creativity to write or even talk I don't and it's not a good thing.  All the stuff that just keeps running around in my head doesn't go away; it can't find it's way out and grows until I feel like I'm suffocating.  But, I just need to give it over and let God before I burst.  No more than I can handle, right?  Thank you, Jesus!


November 29, 2010


Feeling rather dull at 1:30 AM as I sit here with too many thoughts and stories running around inside my mind but absolutely unable to put any of them into words.  I guess I'm feeling like I need to be so cautious about the words I write and the way I use them that I feel guilty using any at all.  Blah!

Guess I'll go read some Austen.  I do so enjoy the way she uses words...ways I can easily understand and yet feel so "grown-up" when I read them because people don't talk that way any more.

Goosie is safely back at school and probably in the C-lab taking a bio test or was before midnight.  More computer problems and no funds to purchase another at this time.  Damn.  Arrrrrrr!

November 28, 2010

That was fast!!!!!

Goosie is on her way back to school after spending a week here at home with us.  It was so much fun having her here and I can't believe it over!!!  But on the up side, she is in her first college play and we'll be going to see her, and then shortly, bringing her home for a long break, between semesters, over the holidays and beyond.

It's almost the same but not quite.  And I know it's true for everyone and only to be expected but once they've been on their own at college, they've officially become grown-up to a point.  Used to answering to no one, living in a schedule that centers on their world with hours that make me tired just thinking about it.  Not that it's a problem...just different.  So, it's a little strange coming back home where not much has changed and you find all the things you've missed but you've left part of yourself in that new world where life is so much faster.

Anyway, I'm feeling like such a bad mom because I just realized that we didn't take one picture while she was here...not one!  It was just a laid back time with little excitement and time just spent being together.

This week is the opening of It's A Wonderful Life! here in town and my youngest daughter will be playing in that one so we'll shuffle in a trip to see Goosie.  Plenty to do in the next few weeks and then the holidays will be upon us and gone. 

Now, let's think about those Christmas decorations!!!!

November 18, 2010

On the road

My second daughter and I are driving to Va to pick up Goosie from college for the week.  Can't wait to see her!  Please pray for safety travelling down and back.
Hopefully we'll be able to get her computer fixed and she won't have to spend so much time at the C-lab.  Let's pray that it won't cost an arm and a leg to get the parts and have the work done.

I'd just like to take a minute to say that it is so refreshing to meet a young man who knows what it means to be a gentleman and does so effortlessly.  Knows how to behave with a young lady, courteous, friendly, godly, nice, polite, funny, sweet, handsome and huge (6'3").

November 13, 2010

Times and Bible boxes

My, how time flies!  It's hard to believe it's nearly Thanksgiving already.  This year has been full of change but I won't wax nostalgic...yet.

We've seen prayers answered in ways that we'd hoped for...asked for...and some in ways we never imagined...others we realized weren't meant to be at this time.  Some doors have closed and others have opened; some are just now beginning to unlock.  There are lots of things that fill our days with laughter and sorrow, peace and anxiety, understanding and wonder.  The worst parts are the misunderstandings, the needless, wordy, jumping to conclusions or the outright hurtful things we can't understand.  It's part of living in a fallen world and even if we try to be set apart, we still struggle to rise above it because there's little to separate us from everyone else except for accepting grace.

In a round about way, I was accused of being narrow-minded the other day, and teaching my kids to live in a "bible box" because they've been raised in a Christian home.  Hey, we have our problems same as anyone else and we don't always handle them in ways that are leaning on God or even glorifying Him.  They've seen some of the ugliness of the outside world first hand.  The argument was that there's no way a child of 13 or 14 could possibly know enough about anything to believe in one thing over another.  That there is a God or that He actually interacts with us or is benevolent on our behalf.  It's a little, well, a lot, cliché but there's an old country *eek!* song that says, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."  It doesn't stand to reason that we are required to guide and teach our kids about every other aspect of life but we are to leave them on their own to sort through all the different beliefs out there.  If we are to shepherd them in anything, it should be faith.

I often wonder what causes a nonbeliever to hold to the same values of moral behavior for their kids as those who base their lives on the Bible.  It's one of those perplexing questions that keep me awake, pondering.  As far as knowing for sure if there's a God or not, I think He's shown himself time and again by various means, but folks are so worried that they are going to be misled or closed minded that they actually become closed minded.  They block out any proof or comfort or pardon the pun...heaven forbid...any faith that might put them in a position where they have to apologise for what they stand for.  So who is really sticking their head in the sand?  Those who are open to every thing that the world says for fear they might be vulnerable or those who are open to putting their faith in something. 

Supernatural phenomenon are prominent in our culture today as far as the entertainment field goes and folks are all wrapped up in different worlds and powers.  Let me ask you...what is more supernatural than God? 

This may be a bit jumbled but for now, that's all I have to write.

November 9, 2010

I feel old...

Ya know, I'm beginning to feel old! As I've written here before, my oldest, after working hard for a year and trying to be frugal with her money, started college about 6-7 hours away.  I miss her a lot and with the problems she's been having with her computer and her phone, communications have been pretty limited.  It stinks!

My youngest daughter is still at home.  We're homeschooling and having fun.  She's in 9th grade this year.  Part of our homeschool curriculum is a worldview course.  I have a little more time to spend with her on this than I did with my older child but not much.  The things we're talking about raise some very interesting ideas and questions.  And you know me and my questions! 
In the book How To Read Slowly by James W. Sire  the author gives a set of guidelines for the Christian to use when reading other works to help them comprehend the meaning of the text and glean how the author views the world based on the things they write.  After the basic steps that you'd probably find in any book about comprehending what you read, including that there's no place for speed reading in reading world-viewishly (his word), the author gives a few more specific points. These questions are asked in the light of the worldview you hold but it's not about what you, the reader believe; these questions are about the author and why he or she wrote what they did.  Every piece of writing won't lend itself to answer every question on the list but it's a good guideline to form a picture of the author's own worldview.
Here's a basic list of questions to ask about the author;

What is their view of prime reality?
What do they consider to be the nature of the universe?
What does the author believe to be the nature of humanity?
What do they believe happens to a human being at death?
What do they consider to be the basis of morality?
In their opinion, what is the meaning of history?

You can learn a lot about where an author is coming from based on the answers to these questions.  Even Christian authors, whether writing to instruct, entertain or record information, leave clues or offer key things about their heart values that flow through the words they write.  Hmmm....I think we've talked about this before.  Words, words,'s so important how we use them.

Back to the reason I'm feeling little girl (nearly 15 and taller than me) has always been my biggest tomboy. She's tougher than some of the boys she knows and loves doing more "guy" things than most girls her age.  She's always balked at the girls section in the Vision Forum catalog with it's ruffly dolls and hair ribbons preferring to shop from the boys section where all the action/adventure stuff was shown.  Swords, bow and arrows, spy equipment; all good things and better than silly little tea sets to her mind.  The Taylor Swift song that compares a girl in t-shirts and sneakers with another in short skirts and high heels is a perfect description of her and her best friend.  Or it was.  Before my eyes, I've seen this cute, tomboy go through a bit of an ongoing transformation toward a lovely young woman.  I never thought I'd see the day.  Now, I'm sure there are parts of her that will always favor the more adventurous, tomboyish stuff because she's too much like me to give it up completely but it's certainly been curious to watch what's happening.

She's cute with snappy dark eyes, big dimples and lots of thick, dark hair.  She's never been interested in cute clothes or hairstyles much less makeup or heels, preferring to wear torn jeans and t-shirts with her favorite dirty sneakers.  But all that is changing!  This year has been a year of changes for her.  First preparing herself for her sister to go off to college.  They are really close.  Then adjusting to a new reality.  We started a new schedule at our house where I was gone from the home about 5 hours every week day morning.  It was a big adjustment for both of us but she was a trooper and picked up some slack around the house and completed as much school work as she could without me.  When I got home we'd  finish it together.  Then came soccer after school.  As a homeschooler trying to fit in to a group of kids who go to school together everyday, it's a little rough at times even if they are some of your friends.  Then there's theater...her home away from home.  This Christmas they're playing "It's A Wonderful Life" by Frank Capra.  She's a little too young to play Mary or Violet so they're making her into an older townswoman who has a speaking part in one of the scenes and is in a lot  of the others.
I've noticed over the past few weeks that her interest in looking nice and fixing her hair (which usually just falls into place without any effort anyway) and a little makeup have been higher up on her list of to do's before going out.  Hmmm...I wonder if a certain young man may be the reason for all this?  Hahahaaaa!  So, yeah!  I feel old!

November 7, 2010

It's been awhile since I've written here.  I'm trying to get things up and running over at The Woodwife's Journal.  So far it's going very well.  There are just a few things that need to be added or tweaked.  I've set some goals and I'm working to make them reality.  There's so much to learn.  HTML - yikes!  If you haven't had a chance to take a look, why not check it out.  It might not be for everyone but I'm also open to suggestions.  It's taking on the original purpose of this blog which was to share the little I know about herbal remedies, recipes, gardening and a whole lot more.  But it doesn't reflect any of the personal stuff - heart and mind issues - that I write about here.  I'm trying to keep it on a more focused path.  It's kept me more focused on other things too but the old meandering queries are still there...just pushed aside for a time.

It's been a struggle and it's still an uphill climb.  It's gonna be for a while.  Rather discouraging but I'm trying to have a positive outlook...put my best face forward...persevere...yeah.  It's going to be OK.

The battle to regain my strength still needs a few reinforcements to get the job done.  As I try to reorganize things so I can keep my head above water, I feel a peace that I fail to understand and yet I know where it's coming from.  Part of the battle is resting there and not running off on a crazy tangent that saps my energy and doesn't help me reach my goals.  So, yeah...that's where I find myself right now.

November 3, 2010

A tweaking of my world view

As I mentioned earlier, I'm working through a worldview course with my 9th grade homeschooled daughter.  As we were reading together today a thought/picture popped into my head and it's been flittering (my word)around my brain trying to form in to a complete idea that I could share.  It involves a bit of tweaking to my present world view because even though I've always thought of God as the center of my life, I've never really pictured it this way.  Here's a rough idea of what I saw.

As we look at the whole scheme of existence, we often look at the earth as the center of the universe or of creation.  Perhaps our view of life, and/or how we live it, would change dramatically if we looked at all of creation with heaven at the center of things.  Imagine God at the center of a sphere with his all seeing eye and all knowing (omniscient) mind able to view what's going on around Him at the same time (omnipresent).  Almost like time standing still at the very center and moving on as usual on the sphere where we live and maybe in retrospect at layers closer to the center that represent times past...HIStory.  Then as the sphere expands beyond our level, and grows bigger, there is anticipation with the foreknowledge of what's to come as His view can fathom the depths of eternity.

As HIStory progresses, and HIS plan becomes reality, instead of thinking of heaven as "somewhere, out there" in the vast expanses of space (which can be very intimidating) it's at the core of all that there is.  Some levels or eras are a bit brighter than others, such as the years when Christ lived on earth.  And as Christians pass and their souls become absent from the body and present with the Lord, the strength of the core of Heaven surrounding God is strengthened.  Eventually as the timeline for our (man's) earthly existence begins to wind down, that core is preparing for an expansion that will rock the universe.

Whew!  I don't think that's the whole thing but it's a big start.

Bear and stuff

It's one of those days when I probably shouldn't be writing here but I have this stuff running around in my head and it needs an outlet.

I have one of those headaches that goes in a cirlce right around my head just above my ears and feels like the entire top is going to pop right off.  Where's my peppermint oil?
I think it has to do with a couple of things.  Stress and worry for one, and some health issues I've been dealing with for another.  I should start a page just to deal with that.  I could record my entire battle over the past 6 years.  But I'm not sure it would be something anyone would like to read about. Wow! Am I ramdom today? 

When we came home last night about 8:15PM, we let the dog out and soon she was barking like something was wrong.  I thought it was deer since we've been seeing them right outside the back door for the last week or two.  So my daughter and I looked out the door but all we could see was a dark spot just inside the wood line beside the tree house.  A BIG dark spot. And the dog was barking right at it.  Thankfully she has a radio collar that stopped her from going closer!  We grabbed the flashlight and I stepped outside the door so I could see past the screen...the dark spot stood was a HUGE bear!!!!  I've smelled that pungent aroma in the woods before but wasn't sure what it was.  Wow!  Exciting!  He just turned to look at me and lumbered up the hill for a short distance and stopped again.  The dog came back into the house but kept looking at the door so we opened it again.  We couldn't see the bear but we could hear him rummaging around in the leaves just beyond the reach of our light.

If you're reading this, I have a very specific need that I've put before the Lord.  I would really covet your prayers as Friday is the day and I'm a little nervous.  It's one of those things where He gives you peace and you feel alright for a while but when it starts to get down to the wire, the old anxiety begins to creep back into your heart and mind.  But He is good to me and I know something will happen and it will be ok and if it's not, He'll still be right here.

I can't seem to pin down the rest of what's meandering through my mind so I guess I'll ponder on that for a while and see if I can't figure out just exactly what it is and what needs to be done.  Sometimes the words just seem to flow but today I'm grasping at straws.

And for those who are following, Gimbledorf has herded the wild straws deeper into the forest as the cold temps advance.  They have a little hollow over the next hill where they set up camp for the winter.  Removing them from civilization calms them down a bit and reduces the amount of theavery and pillaging they do even though most folks probably don't know they're around.  It's kind of sad to see Alexander go but I'm sure we'll catch up with him in hunting season and he will fill us in on what's happening.  I suspect that when he's out there he meets up with some of his family and friends who are more timid and afraid to be seen by "big people."

Hmm...maybe I have some material here to spur me on to chapter 3 in Gweneth's story.

Ok, I'm stopping now....

October 31, 2010

Amazing Grace

I've been thinking about a lot of things lately.  Have you ever thought about the words to the old but ever popular hymn, "Amazing Grace?"  It's one of my favorites.  It's especially moving, even without words, when it's played on the bagpipe.  I have a friend who plays it beautifully and blessed our congregation by playing it in our church while visiting.  Sent chills up my spine.

"Amazing Grace" - the fact that any one would show grace to me when I can be so wretched is absolutely amazing.

"How sweet the sound" - it's such a blessing to my heart to hear that promise.

"That saved a wretch like me" - I am so undeserving.

"I once was lost" - born with a sinful nature I was separated from God forever.

"But now am found" - Christ's death paid the penalty and when I put my faith in Him, it removed the barrier that separated me from God.

"Was blind" - Sometimes it's hard to see the folly and sinfulness because we want to believe that we are really good at heart.

"But now I see" - Once our eyes are opened to our sinful condition and we reach out to accept, through faith, the payment He made on our behalf, we can also begin to see the Glory of our God.

It's such a peaceful feeling to rest in the promises of our heavenly Father.  Just knowing that I no longer have to face the joys and trials of life alone gives me a feeling of surrender.  Not giving up, but allowing Him to rule my life.

He chose me but it doesn't stop there, I have to accept.

One way to look at it is like a team.  You can be chosen for a certain team but you don't have to be on that team if you don't want.  You have to agree to play for them before you can reap the benefits of the championship.  And that leads me to another of my favorite songs that I especially enjoy hearing Gerald Wolfe sing, "Champion of Love."   

October 28, 2010


Hey, real quick, here's the link for Chip Ingram's radio cast today from Living On The Edge.  It's about how we can know God's message for our daily lives.  Chip seems to be a little hot headed.  I can relate.  His message really spoke to me today so I thought I'd pass it on.  I know there are some of you who have been pondering this point along with me so here's Chip's msg.

October 26, 2010

Bummer #2

Last week was Fall break so we had our Goosie home for a few days.  That's my saving grace in this situation. This coming weekend is Fall Family weekend and we were planning to go down to see her.  Well, the whole thing has been an uphill battle.  First, we thought we weren't going to have the means to go because I am no longer working as a part time helper.  Then through some creative bill arrangement, we thought we could make it work.  Now, her schedule has changed with the beginning of rehearsal for the Christmas Play and she will be tied up most of Saturday.  That leaves us with a little time Friday and Saturday evenings.  We've talked it all over and in light of the tight means we find ourselves in right now, we've decided that making a trip for a few hours doesn't make good sense. 
In just a few weeks, she'll be home for Thanksgiving and a few weeks after that, she'll be home for the Christmas holidays and a month long semester break.  In between the holiday breaks, we'll be traveling down to see her play. So, this trip was really just for fun but I was looking forward to it.  All that to say that it's kinda a bummer.

October 25, 2010

It's a long, long road

"It's a long, long road with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where...who knows where?"

Sometimes I feel like I'm going in circles trying to accomplish things and ending up right back where I started.  That can be a little discouraging after a while but eventually things straighten out and I can see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

But it's such a tiny glimpse.

October 24, 2010


Well, since Goosie's laptop isn't working, we can't skype, email or facebook.  She can't load pictures or look at mine.  She can't check her blackboard unless she uses someone else's computer or goes to the C-lab.  Bummer.

October 22, 2010

Chapter 2 cont.

Next morning, she opened the door to let in the warm sunlight and was startled to see a haunch of venison hanging from a tree near the house. Jumping in surprise, she closed the door partway and peeked around the jamb to take another look. There wasn't anyone around but the venison was accompanied by another bouquet of wild flowers. This one tied with a silk ribbon and a note which read, “Thank you for your tender care of my hand after I carelessly fell into the fire. Your attentions were greatly appreciated. Please accept this venison as payment for the services you rendered me and for your care of Dynny. Philip”

She smiled and looked around the forest for a glimpse of her benefactor but found none.

Still smiling, Gweneth took the meat down and went inside to prepare it for storage. She found herself singing as she cut the meat into strips for drying and built up the fire to cook a pot of stew with the tubers she'd dug in the forest, a few wild carrots and some leeks. As the aroma filled the cottage, she pulled out some bread that had been rising in the cupboard and opened the door to the stone oven above the fireplace. After testing the temperature by sticking her hand inside quickly, she thought it warm enough to bake.  Placing the loaves inside, she quickly closed the door and began to prepare the pie crust. This would be a meal fit for a king!

 In return for the help she'd given her friends, they'd left a bit of honey, a basket of eggs, a bag of flour, a large piece of suet and a pitcher of milk.  My, what she could do with all this bounty!  Since some of these things were not easily found, she wanted to preserve them for use in the winter when the snow would limit her foraging and travel.

 But in the crisp morning air of this fine autumn day, she felt like celebrating.  The forest was full of end of the season berries, and there were a few old apple trees near the other end of the clearing where the village had stood.  She could dry them to use later.  There were more tubers to dig and wood to gather for the fire so she'd work up quite an appetite by the time she was ready to eat all the wonderful food that was filling her little cottage with mouth watering smells.  

The stew was simmering, the bread was baking and the pie was cooling on the window sill. Fresh water from the spring was steeping in the sun with mint leaves picked along the edge of the woods. She hadn't had this much food in a long time. Feeling rather selfish to have prepared so much for only herself, she longed for company. There was just enough time to stop by the nearest farm to invite the mother and two small children to come for dinner. Knowing the farmer to be away from home for a few days, she started out the door. As she turned the corner, she came face to face with the mama bear and saw the cubs standing on their hind legs trying to reach the pie on the sill. Slowly, she backed away but the bear could smell the delicious food and followed her. Running quickly in the door and closing it behind her with a bang, she let out a sigh of relief. Remembering the pie in the open window, she ran to save it from the marauding bears and closed the panes. She could see their little faces looking up at her from just below the window. Their expressions were priceless and she couldn't help laughing.

Her laughter was short lived, however. She could hear the mama bear scratching and thumping against the wooden door. The house was old and in need of some repair. She wasn't sure how much of an attack it could stand. Suddenly she heard shouting and the drumming of horses hooves outside. There weren't any windows on that side of the house and being afraid to open the door, she could only wonder what was happening.

Words and integrity

I've written here about the use of words and our responsibility to use them appropriately in the past.  Here's a word to consider; integrity.  Webster defines integrity as an unimpaired condition; firm adherence to a code, esp. moral or artistic values; incorruptibility; the quality or state of being complete or undivided.  syn: honesty.

Psalms 26:1-2 reads: "Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity; I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. I have walked in thy truth."

Prov. 11:3 says: "The integrity of the upright shall guide them."

2 Cor. 8:21: "Providing in honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."

The point of all this is to say that the use of words from our mouth or our pen (or keyboard) hold a responsibility to God and to our fellow man.  No matter how elevated an opinion we have of ourselves and our station in life, or the career we strive for, we still have that responsibility.  Perhaps those who influence the most people have even more responsibility to use words carefully.  As musicians, authors, and speakers the words we use show a deeper understanding of our hearts and our worldview.  As a result, the words we use, the subjects we discuss, the issues we raise are a true picture of what's inside us. The core of our heart's condition.

Point made and following up with the knowledge that as sinners, we'll be sure to make mistakes, use a colorful metaphor here and there, or laugh at a risque joke if we think no one is watching.  But don't use the excuse that you have some special privilege to do so because you are an artist of one sort or another.  We are not at the mercy of the world to allow them to dictate what subjects we will discuss or how low we'll stoop to grasp their attention by the use of offensive or misleading language.  That's what the world says, is that who you represent?

October 21, 2010

More chapter 2

Coming back to the present, she moved around the fire. Taking a blanket from the packs, she spread it over Philip. His sleep seemed more peaceful now. He'd be alright and if he followed her instructions, his hand should be good as new in a few days. When she was sure that he was resting comfortably, she tiptoed off toward the path. As she turned to look back, she saw Dynny looking at her wistfully. She waved and whispered, “He's all yours, now. Take good care of him.” After taking one last look at the huddled figure lying beside the fire, she disappeared into the bushes.

For a couple days she stayed near the cottage fearing that she might meet Philip again if she wandered further into the forest. Something about him haunted her like a reoccurring dream calling her back to a time in the past. Had she seen him before? Was he a farmer from one of the neighboring farms? She just couldn't figure it out. Why couldn't she remember?

Time went on as usual with daily chores and visits from folks needing remedies from her stores of salves and teas. She was glad she had something useful to offer her friends. They often relied on her to help them heal their families when they were injured or taken with illness. When the plague had threatened to steal the lives of a few families further down the valley, they had come to her. The silver cross pendant that hung from her neck was a stark reminder of just how quickly things could change. The tea that she had made from rainwater steeped with the silver cross had stopped the disease from claiming the lives of entire families. How had she known what to do? She wasn't sure.

The following morning, she felt sure that Philip would have returned to his home and it would be safe to go into the forest again. She gathered a few herbs to dry for winter and even found a patch of tubers that she could prepare like potatoes. When she returned, she was surprised to find that her berry basket, filled to the brim with blackberries and a bouquet of wild flowers were waiting near the back door. Looking around, she found herself quite alone and was surprised to notice that she felt a little pang of regret. Then, chiding herself for her foolishness, she went inside.

Thoughts of Philip and his inquisitive steed kept her company that evening as she sat close to the small fire in the fireplace. It was the first of the autumn season. The nights had been warm enough so far but there was a chill in the air that made her shiver. She wondered if he had a warm place to sleep. Was his hand healing properly. Had he been able to go on with the hunting that he'd mentioned? She began to nod in her rocking chair. The warm blankets on her bed were a welcome comfort as she slid underneath their weighted protection. She drifted into sweet daydreams in which she saw herself in a sea of tall grasses; laughing and dancing through endless flowers...their heady scent...filling....the warm....sunlit......field. Sleep.

October 20, 2010

Time and times

Sometimes I think that being a child of God is so clear and plain that I don't understand why everyone doesn't get it.  But then there are times when it's not so clear and the answers are not as "cut and dried" as I thought.  What's changed?  I'm pretty sure it's not God.  So...that leaves me.  What has clouded my thinking?  Or is it my view that's changed?

It's easy to look at things through rose colored glasses when the world is all "rosy" and bright but when the shadows fall across our path darkening the picture, it becomes a wee bit harder to keep up the outlook.  That's why it's a really good thing that I don't have to keep it up by myself.  Besides having God to lean on, I have family and friends who seem to know just when I need a little boost.  It's like a net that catches me when I fall and lends support to every other knot that makes up the network of ties and strings.  All the links don't need to be strong at once because the power and strength of the ones beside it can hold it up for a time. 

So my weakness becomes strength as I take off my rose colored glasses and face reality head on.  No matter what's out there, I can be assured that God can reach down here and pull me out of the net into the safety of His loving hands.  Time and times...each time we fall or stumble, even crash and burn, we don't have to go it alone. It's inevitable that we're going to need the support over and over again but it's kinda nice to know that next time, my link may help hold someone else up when they fall.

This week, I'm holding on in hopes of guidance for some very important issues.  It's probable that my link is not doing it's part right now.  My outlook hasn't changed and I know He has all the answers for me but I guess the clouds have blocked out some of the light.  Here's looking for clearer sight tomorrow.

October 19, 2010

Too many things

Well, the load just keeps getting heavier.  Thank goodness I don't have to carry it alone.  God is good to me even when I don't deserve it and I know He loves me so I'm resting in Him.  Still a little anxiety creeping in but trying to push it aside.  It's going to be ok...right?

October 18, 2010

Goosie is safely back at school.  I miss her.

Well, things have taken another crazy turn in this meandering life I live.  So I'm looking for alternate ways to deal with stuff. 

Sometimes I get so discouraged by others.  I know I'm not without fault and make plenty of mistakes but seriously, do people really think they can do whatever they want?  I guess so.  Some folks don't seem to want to be content or happy.  They are most satisfied when they are feeling sorry for themselves.  It doesn't seem to matter how much money they have or how easy they have it.  They are working hard at struggling against their blessings .  In some strange way that seems to give them peace about the wealth that surrounds them.   Oh, well.

It's looking like a worm eating morning...So, yeah.


October 17, 2010

Too fast

Well, I've just lived through the fastest 3 days ever!  We'll be taking Goosie to meet her ride back to school this afternoon and I can hardly believe fall break is over.  It's been great having her home for a few days and of course we'll miss her a lot.  This has been the longest stretch of time that she's ever been away and it's taken some getting used to.  From now until the end of the semester we'll have a chance to see her more often with holidays and family weekend as well as a trip to see her play.

As a family, we're facing some specific needs that I can't name and I'd covet your prayers.  Thanks.

October 16, 2010


I've always enjoyed a good story.  There's a certain knack to telling stories that can hold people's attention. One must make the reader feel as if they are a part of the story.  As if the good folks are their dear friends and the villains their mortal enemies.  They must stake a claim in the outcome, emotionally invest in the characters, long to hear how the story ends.  There's nothing worse than becoming involved in a story only to find that the ending leaves you wondering what just happened.  By all means, throw a twist in the plot; bring in new characters who muddle the outcome; but a story that ends with disappointment is a waste of my time.  It's not entertaining, it's not something that makes me say, "My, wasn't that clever!"  If I've invested in the story only to have the rug pulled out from under me with the fate of the characters in unhappy circumstances, I'm not likely to read it again or recommend it to others.  And, trials must be a part of the tale but I don't think one tragedy after another paints a very realistic scene and even if, in some cases it does, I think a story about it only compounds the grief.

A biography is one thing and the story written for entertainment quite another.  There are times when real life is very disappointing and the outcome leaves me wondering, "Why?" but that's been discussed elsewhere.  Now don't get me wrong, there are lots of real life scenarios with unhappy endings but that's just the reason why stories should turn out better.  And I guess there are times when a tale takes a turn for the worst that makes me cry along with the characters but disappointed as I am, I don't feel cheated by the end.  When Robin Hood was dying, I shouted for Little John to do something!  And yet, I knew why he could not.

Like my girls, and probably part of the reason they feel they way they do, I really like the old classics, full of mystery and adventure.  As a girl, I could imagine myself sword fighting, rafting, sleuthing out clues or being a sharp shooting archer right along with the best of them. After all, Lady Marion could do it...but she had something that I lacked.  As well as being an adventuress and full of courage (things I thought I could muster quite well) she also knew how to be a charming lady of quality.  As a tom boy, whose parents didn't have any boys, I felt rather inadequate to fill that role.  Or as one of the ladies of Longbourn, who would never dream of soiling their gowns...except Elizabeth.  Well, maybe...

I'm glad to see that my girls have followed in my footsteps. It's not enough to dream of being the princess, high in her ivory tower, untouched by the perils of her people, living the life of luxury far from the regular folks who earn their living or even their survival, the best way they can and having the handsome prince swooning at your feet like a lovesick puppy.  Well... that may be worthy of a few fleeting moments of thought...but I wouldn't want to live there!  How dull!  A truly wonderful tale is one full of the heart, of noble people who are not afraid to work, or fight, along side those whose fortunes or circumstances in life are far beneath their own.  The reason is that in many cases, nobility comes from the heart.  Take Arthur for example, he didn't know who he was until he was thrust into the kingship after pulling the sword from the stone.  The most unlikely to fill the long vacant throne and yet the one who could do it the best.

All this to say that when I've read all the wonderful stories, I get the urge to write my own.  To create a world in which the hero or heroine emerges as likable and worthy of the regard of my readers.  Someone who inspires them and makes choices that are noble and virtuous in nature even in trying situations.  Doing what's right in times of happiness and plenty doesn't take much effort. Not to say that they never make mistakes or disappoint but all in all, they try to do what's right.  And they will probably live happily ever after because they deserve it. Like the underdog, or the girl with the courage to defend what's right when she stands to lose something important... and, of course, the man who loves her for it.

On a bit of a side note; a must for a good character is a little common sense.  It's tough to stand behind someone who continually makes decisions based on half truths or that don't make any sense to the reader as if they are based on something the author knows about the character that we'll never learn.   I despise coming away from a story with unanswered questions about what happened.  Even if I don't agree with the decisions the character makes, at least if I can understand why they did it that way, I can follow along with their reasoning.  Or more to the point, the lack of continuity in the characters personality that begs more information but it never comes leaves me thinking that they are not worthy of the investment.  I can't identify with someone unless I know where they are coming from.  The inability to understand why they do what they do doesn't draw me closer to them.  It only serves to do the opposite by causing me to disconnect with them and lose interest in the story, or at least their portion of it. 
I guess it's sort of wishful thinking...imagining myself in the role of someone who can persevere in the shadow of trials or who goes on to do what's right when it would be easier to quit.  Just a gal who lives a life that has meaning and inspiration to leave behind to those who follow.

After all, isn't that what we all try to do?  Through all the pain and trials that come our way and all the tough choices we have to make, we try to do what's right.  Not for what we can gain for ourselves but for those we care about.  Often that involves sacrifice and stepping back from the forefront to stand beside those we love.  But in the end, we're rewarded for it, either in this life or the eternity to come.  A legacy worthy of a princess...or even a pauper.

beginning of Chapter 2

As Gweneth quickly retraced her steps toward the little cottage hidden on the outskirts of what had once been a small but thriving village, she thought about the young man. Philip, he'd said his name was...why did that strike a chord in her memory? No time to think about that now. She quickly filled her satchel with bandages, salve and vinegar. Pausing in the small kitchen garden outside the cottage she picked a few sprigs of yarrow. She hurried back down the trail stopping only long enough to harvest some plantain leaves.

When she arrived at the campsite, Philip was sitting by the fire looking rather sheepish, cradling his hand gingerly on his lap. He looked up hopefully and moved back so she could take a closer look. Gravel from the fall was embedded in the wound and the blisters were full and red. She looked at him pitifully because she knew that initially, her treatment would hurt. Being as gentle as possible, she washed the cuts with warm water. Deftly removing the bits of stone, she quickly cleaned most of the grit from the area and rinsed it again. Philip pulled back in pain. She took out the cider vinegar and bathed the burnt area. He winced again but didn't seem to mind that she continued to care for the burns and cuts.

In his embarrassment, he couldn't bring himself to look at her. While his hand was soaking in the vinegar, she bruised the yarrow and put it in a small pot with some hot water to steep. When the infusion had cooled she soaked a bandage in the tea and held it over his hand. The pain seemed to ease a bit and he turned to look at her with appreciation. She made some tea and offered him a cup which he took gratefully. It seemed now that the tables were turned; he was the shy one, unable to look at her without blushing with embarrassment. No words to say and an uncertainty or confusion written all over his face. Was he frightened? She smiled to reassure him but still refused to speak except to give him instructions about caring for his hand.

Once the salve had been applied and his hand wrapped in bandages, she sat back for a minute. He began to look tired and before long had drifted into a fitful sleep. Thinking it best to stay with him for a while, she sat across the fire watching him. Now that she could take a moment to reflect, she began to think about her childhood and the days leading up to her life in the forest. Images that she hadn't thought of in a long time came flooding back. She couldn't put her finger on it but there was something in those memories that was trying to speak to her.

Gradually, she became aware that she was being watched, too. Looking up, she saw that Dynny was looking at her with a curious mixture of suspicion and approval. She met the horses gaze with a puzzled , questioning look. Dynny whinnied and nodded his head.

She moved closer to the steed and examined his saddle and trappings. They were much too nice to be a peasant's horse. Was he stolen? But Dynny and Philip seemed to have a familiar relationship going. Maybe it was his master's horse and Dynny was used to having Philip care for him. But it seemed like more than that. She noticed that there was a sword cleverly concealed along the saddle under the packs. Drawing it from it's sheath, she held it up to admire the craftsmanship. The horse snorted and pressed his head against her shoulder. She quickly returned the sword to it hiding place. He began nuzzling and snuffling around her apron pockets. She remembered a handful of grain that she had saved for the birds when she was grinding a bit of flour one of the farmers had traded her for some herbal salve. Taking the grain from her pocket, she slowly held out her hand to the curious animal. He licked at it gratefully, his warm tongue tickling her small hand. She giggled and pulled it back. The little bit of grain was gone quickly. Looking around, she realized that the horse was probably thirsty. There was a spring nearby so she took the pot from the fire and started off in the direction of the water. Twigs snapped behind her. She turned to see Dynny trying to follow her through the thick undergrowth. Going back, she led him to a spot in the little clearing near the sleeping Philip and tied him to a bush. He followed her longingly with his eyes as she started off toward the spring again.

When she returned with the water, the horse drank it quickly and noisily. She chuckled to herself and patted him on the head. She removed his saddle and rubbed him down. It had been a long time since she had had the opportunity to brush a horse. It was a task she had always enjoyed. The smell of warm hide; the strength of the muscles that twitched beneath her hands as she rubbed across the massive shoulders. Pictures flashed in and out. More memories prodded her mind. She stopped grooming the animal and stood starring thoughtfully into space.

Coming back to the present, she moved around the fire. Taking a blanket from the packs, she spread it over Philip. His sleep seemed more peaceful now. He'd be alright and if he followed her instructions, his hand should be good as new in a few days. When she was sure that he was resting comfortably, she tiptoed off toward the path. As she turned to look back, she saw Dynny looking at her wistfully. She waved and whispered, “He's all yours, now. Take good care of him.” After taking one last look at the huddled figure lying beside the fire, she disappeared into the bushes.

For a couple days she stayed near the cottage fearing that she might meet Philip again if she wandered farther into the forest. Something about him haunted her like a reoccurring dream calling her back to a time in the past. Had she seen him before? Was he a farmer from one of the neighboring farms? She just couldn't figure it out. Why couldn't she remember?
Time went on as usual with daily chores and visits from folks needing remedies from her stores of salves and teas. She was glad she had something useful to offer her friends. They often relied on her to help them heal their families when they were injured or taken with illness. When the plague had threatened to steal the lives of a few families further down the valley, they had come to her. The silver cross pendant that hung from her neck was a stark reminder of just how quickly things could change. The tea that she had made from rainwater steeped with the silver cross had stopped the disease from claiming the lives of entire families. How had she known what to do? She wasn't sure.
The following morning, she felt sure that Philip would have returned to his home and it would be safe to go into the forest again. She gathered a few herbs to dry for winter and even found a patch of tubers that she could prepare like potatoes. When she returned, she was surprised to find that her berry basket, filled to the brim with blackberries and a bouquet of wild flowers were waiting near the back door. Looking around, she found herself quite alone and was surprised to notice that she felt a little pang of regret. Then, chiding herself for her foolishness, she went inside.

Thoughts of Philip and his inquisitive steed kept her company that evening as she sat close to the small fire in the fireplace. It was the first of the autumn season. The nights had been warm enough so far but there was a chill in the air that made her shiver. She wondered if he had a warm place to sleep. Was his hand healing properly. Had he been able to go on with the hunting that he'd mentioned? She began to nod in her rocking chair. The warm blankets on her bed were a welcome comfort as she slid underneath their weighted protection. She drifted into sweet daydreams in which she saw herself in a sea of tall grasses; laughing and dancing through endless flowers...their heady scent...filling....the warm....sunlit......field. Sleep.

Don't you just love Pennsylvania in the fall?!

About half of the leaves are already down but what remains are lovely and the crisp smell of autumn fills the air.  We've had a frost or two but all in all the temp's been in the 60's during the day.  I love fall...all of it...even though I know it's the herald of wintry days to come.

Chilly air gently nudges the warmth of summer into the creases of time as he begins to press toward the south; advancing over the gardens and woodlands of western Pennsylvania.  She resists but he's insistent reminding her of the promise she made earlier this year as he receded, making room for her to warm the ground for summers harvest.  The harvest is nearly past now and he's been more than generous with the time he's allowed her to linger here in the north.

We're enjoying having Goosie home for a few days.  I've missed her so much.  But she really likes school and has made some good friends and I'm so thankful for that.  Midterms are over now and she's thinking that when she gets back classes may become a little more intense.  She'll begin rehearsal for A Christmas Carol in the evenings so I'm praying that she'll be able to keep up with everything and not be overwhelmed by all of it and not get sick.  Also for traveling back to her dorm late.  Just a mom's worry. :)

Today we're going to the eye doctor and then to check out the new Walmart store.  Tonight, dinner with family.

There are some lingering doubts and fears that hold onto a person long after a sad or heartbreaking event has past.  They're stuck in the folds of our minds and sometimes rear their ugly heads to cast doubt on our lives.  It's hard to understand the minds of others.  It's hard to try to think from their perspective when you've really been pretty easy to get along with and submissive to other's desires for most of your life.  But when you come up against that brick wall, when you can't bend any more; when you've been as understanding as you know how to be and things are still hard, what then?  Some people are not happy where they live.  Or even close to where they live.  They think the grass is greener on the other side.  So instead of investing in the life they have, they are constantly trying to become someone who fits in the greener pasture.  To those of us who are a part of the life they have now, this tactic implies that they feel superior and that we are not "good" enough to fulfill their desires.  Hmmmm.... 

October 14, 2010

What to do next...

As I ponder what my next course of action should be in an effort to find a way to earn some income from home, I'm looking into making money with my blog.  Problem is that so far most of the content here is personal in nature and probably not the kind of thing that would generate much traffic. 
My sister blog is a little more focused but there are so many other blogs that carry much more in depth and interesting articles on the same topics that I can't imagine anyone wanting to read mine. far I have 6 faithful followers!  Not really what you'd call a booming site. 
Sometimes I'm inspired to write there and actually started a challenge but due to health issues and a pressing need to increase my income through other, more immediate, means, it's suffered greatly.  So I guess I'm looking for advice, ideas or inspiration regarding what I should do next.  I'm not going to invest money or risk of any kind because that would be counter productive to my goals.  But I fear that I'm not computer savvy enough and may be taken by some sort of scam.  So, yeah...any ideas?

She's home!!

Well, it's about 3:30AM and we just got back with my college girl.  It's so good to have her here with us.  She looks great and it was wonderful to hear the girls singing together again.  More catching up, today!!!  Now for some sleep.

October 13, 2010

It's time

In about an hour, my youngest daughter and I are heading east to meet my oldest daughter on her way home for fall break.  We should be home around 2AM.  I'm not sure I like driving at that time of night but this time there's no help for it. 

She's disappointed that she can't bring her computer home with her to do school work etc. but it's in the tech lab again to see if they can figure out what's wrong with it.  It seems there are a lot of files/pictures/music left over from the previous owner as well as some problem that makes it freeze up for hours at a time.  Not so good when you're trying to do homework.  Hopefully by the time she goes back to school they will have figured it out.  They talked about removing everything and doing something major to it but it's all Greek to me so I don't remember what she said. 

We're going to see a play at our local theater while she's home.  It's a two man show called "The Mystery of Irma Vep" and two of the most talented players I know are pulling it off.  I had a chance to see a little of their rehearsal last week.  It's hilarious!  They change from one character to another in a matter of seconds as they walk behind the set and emerge from another door!  I guess some of their costumes are merely the front and they velcro onto a different costume so they just pull it off as they walk.  I can't wait to see it.

Lot's going on here and I'm feeling pretty tired.  Gotta stop worrying about things I can't change and just accept that I will probably never know some of the things that don't make sense to me.  I don't have the strength for it right now, anyway.  I'd like to say that I am not going to think about stuff any more at all but that's not going to happen.

October 12, 2010

Tomorrow's the day!

Fall break begins tomorrow after classes so Goosie is coming home for a few days!!  I'm so excited!  Praying for safe travel and a nice relaxing visit although the schedule is filling up quickly.  Don't ya hate that?  But time for family and friends is a necessity I guess.  Drat!  I just want to keep her right here the whole time!  Haha!  But it's a good sort of busy and they are all family doings, so, yeah...

Sister's soccer game, dinner with extended family, a play and then it's time to go back.  But there will be time in between to just visit and cook for her and stuff like that.  Homemade oreos, chicken parmesan, yogurt, farm milk to take back...lots of good for you stuff!  Comfort food from home.

October 11, 2010

More from chapter 1

"Well, well, well...What have we here?  Seems we were right about our little runaway being close by." 

The commotion woke her too late to do anything but look out at the man as he peered under the branches into her hiding place.

"Why don't you come out here where we can have a look at you, Miss?",  he said in a friendly voice that almost made her like him instantly.  Almost...

But her guard went right back up as she slid out into the man's camp and looked up at him apprehensively.  She quickly looked down at the ground again and felt the heat rising to her cheeks as she stole another tiny peek.  She didn't see many men in this part of the woods now but she'd seen her share when they burned the village and ran off all the others.  They were cruel and rough.  Uncaring and unfriendly.  But there was something about this one.  A kindness and manner that melted her reserve and drew her eyes back to his.  She knew that there wasn't any hope of hiding anything from this penetrating, but gentle gaze.

Quietly, he spoke again, "Well, hello there!  Now, what are you doing out here so far from town?  Don't you know that it's dangerous to be out here by yourself?"  He smiled with a bit of a condescending air and drew himself up to his full height as if to give weight to his admonition. 

The thought of that made her burst out laughing.  She'd been living out here on her own for nearly 6 months now with no help from anyone.  But he couldn't have known that and she caught herself.  He stopped smiling and gazed at her with a glint in his eye.  He realized that although she was petite she wasn't as young as he'd originally thought.  And even though she had leaves stuck in her hair, she was the fairest maiden he'd seen.  He began to smile a genuine smile this time and her breath caught in her throat.  There was something about this man that seemed to tug at her heart.  He was handsome in his own sort of way but the depth of his eyes was what really drew her to him.

But could she trust him?  How could she be sure?  She decided not to speak until she knew more.

"Are you going to answer me?", he asked, kindly.

Taking a step backwards she just looked up at him, angry at herself for the awed expression she seemed helpless to change.

"Would you like some breakfast?", he asked, moving to the fire and opening one of his packs. 

Perhaps a bit too eagerly, she moved closer to see what he was offering.  While she had the means to get flour by trading syrup from her trees and herbs she'd gathered in the forest, she only had meat when she could find game to snare.  The few folks who knew she remained in the village respected her desire and kept the secret.  Most of them had small farms along the forests edge and didn't have enough meat for their families let alone any to trade or share, although occasionally they brought her a little milk and a few eggs.

The young man brought out an oily packet and unwrapped a few pieces of dried meat and a loaf of bread.

"I'd love to offer you some stew but I'm afraid this dried venison is all I have."  He offered a piece to her and she reached out hesitantly to take it but finally snatched it more quickly than she would have liked. 

"My name is Philip." the man said, smiling.  "I live on the other side of the forest.  Are you from the shire?"

When she refused to answer, only returning his gaze without indicating that she'd heard his question, he asked again. 

"Do you live around here?  What is your name?"  After a pause, he began to look discouraged.

"I'm afraid I'm not very good at interrogating young ladies.  Please forgive my rustic manners and allow me to begin again."  He reached out to take her hand.  Still drawn to the depth of his eyes, she raised her hand to his.  Taking it lightly, he bowed and brought the hand to his lips.  Dropping a slight curtsy in return, she pulled her hand away and hid it behind her back.  It had been a long time since anyone had treated her in such a gentlemanly manner.  She looked at the ground and began to rub the toe of her shoe across a bare spot on the forest floor.

"Ah, I can tell that you are a lady and have seen courtly manners before.  Now, I wonder where you belong.  Would you honor me by telling me your name?  May I take you to your home?" he asked anxiously.

Regaining her sense, she shook her head and again, backed away from the young man. Seeing the concern on her face, he too took a few steps backward.  As he did so his eyes never left hers and he proceeded to step into the fire, startling himself into tripping over the packs and sprawling across the clearing.  His horse whinnied in what sounded suspiciously like a laugh and trotted over to his master.  Grabbing him by the collar he dragged him away from the fire.  Although not hurt badly, aside from his pride, his hand had slid through the hot coals of the breakfast fire and blisters were already forming.  He quickly put the injured member in his mouth to cool the burn and turned to look sheepishly at Gweneth.

Seeing that he was hurt, she rushed to his side and took the hand in her own.  The burns weren't severe but painful nonetheless.  She knew just what to do.

"Stay here." she told him and quickly disappeared into the bushes toward the path.  As he watched her go, a small smile played across his face but quickly disappeared when his horse butted him with his head and whinnied a warning.

I'm so tired

I'm so very tired.  All of me.  But I have to keep going.  There's a lot to do.  Anemia makes your heart work harder to carry oxygen to your body because there aren't as many red blood cells as there should be.  I'm working on it but meanwhile, I'm so tired.
Nothing earth shattering showed up on my many tests so I'm very thankful for that.  I'm praying that I can get my strength back quickly and start feeling better.  The herbs and vitamins I've put myself on a couple days ago should start working soon...Lord willing.

October 9, 2010

How do you know?

How do you know what the Lord's will is for your life?  For whatever reason, I think that His desire is for all of us to be happy.  Maybe happiness comes from contentment or fulfillment and maybe it's not the smiley, contagious variety but it is always something to be shared.  Maybe I'm crazy but I think He really wants only the best for us but because we live in a world full of people just like us, things change.  Not that He's not able to overcome the things that get in the way, but sometimes He chooses not to.  So, if we're in communion with God and we talk with Him regularly through prayer and His word, we know what we're supposed to do.

What happens when you feel He's leading you to do something and you spend lots time and energy and maybe even money planning it all out and are ready to launch into it when something else, that also seems equally lead by God, comes along that is in complete or near opposition to the original plan?  Now you're in a pickle!  Do you go by what you want most?  Did the second thing happen to distract you from the first plan?  Can you let go of the first one at least long enough to take a good look at the options?  Or is it always hanging on in the back of your mind and you know that even though you want the second thing very much, you're not going to let go of your original dream. The only way the second thing can fit in to your life is to work it around the plans you've already made.  Well, I guess that's the answer. 
Otherwise you'd make your original plan secondary and make you're new "thing" the center of your dreams.  Maybe it's not so hard to figure out after all.  Or maybe your just not looking at it in the same perspective as He is.  Don't forget that He can see the BIG picture and we can only see the small, little bubble of our own lives.  Maybe for some reason, we needed to make the preparations but the goal we thought we were heading for is not where He wants us to end up. Or maybe I'm just being silly.
Of course if either of those things include other people, it becomes a whole new ball game.  So, yeah...

Where does the time go?

It's not easy thinking about time and how quickly it passes.  Of course, it's all too true what they say about time seeming to pass more quickly as you get older.  But I suspect that has to do with the increase in responsibility which seems to steal time away with all it's demands.  All too often I think about all the things that I wanted to do with my girls when they were younger but time slipped past us, filled with lots of things, just not all the things on my list.  But there are still things on the list that I'd like to do.  Mother/daughter adventures that may even mean more now that they are older.
This summer was a blur and now it seems like autumn is hurtling by at an alarming speed.  But I'm so thankful for those days when we can take a break from our regular routine and do "stuff" together.  Problem with me is that I don't mind if that something is working on a project or cleaning up the house instead of something more entertaining.  I don't think both my girls feel that same! 
Memories of time spend together are just that and it's the together that means something to me.  When someone that I love wants to spend time with me,  I think of it as a gift.  I don't need to be entertained or do something epic, I just like to be together.  That's hard for my husband to understand.  If he plans to spend time with me, he thinks it has to be something that involves travel and money.  And of course food.  And that's nice but as a consequence of not having the means to do those sorts of activities much, he doesn't think of just being together as much as I do.
On the flip side of that, if I tell him that we don't have to "do" something like that to spend time with each other, he thinks watching a movie at home will count.  Now that's ok once in a while but what I'm talking about is time spent with ME, not the television.  Look at ME, talk with ME, be with ME!!!!!  Men!
So, yeah, I guess my focus for this article is directed inward.  Too bad.

October 8, 2010

Here's looking at you!

The last few weeks have been tough.  I'm so looking forward to the weekend!  It will be so nice to catch up on a little rest.  Things can get a little scary but I know that I don't have to go through it alone.  I'll probably learn more on Monday but right now I'm just dealing with today, trying to do as much as I can naturally.

Life often throws a rock into our path or even a shower of gravel to make us slip and slide off the straight and narrow.  Sometimes I think that we experience some of these things to shake us up a bit so we can regroup or refocus on who and what is really important.  It's easy to cruise along in life leaving things up to chance.  And I think that's what we're doing when we stop being active in our pursuit and just allow all kinds of things to color our world with ideas and images of things we know are not pleasing.  We have choices to make daily about our environment and our footprint.  We hear those words the most in relationship to conservation of the earth, and of course, all that starts with our little world too, but I'm talking about a much smaller picture. But that smaller picture can have a huge impact on the big picture.

For instance, are we passive or active?  The victim of our circumstances or one who will try to do something about them?  Maybe if a change needs to be made, it's in our outlook. Our personal environment includes what we look at, what we listen to, and what we read just for starters.  What do we think about? Who are we hanging out with?  And just in our own room, is there something that may be causing us to be afraid?  Or giving us feelings that we can't handle alone? But most importantly, what do we think about God?  Who is He?  What does He mean to us?

When we feel the pressure of some of life's cloudy moments, what do we do?  What should we do?  Do we focus inwardly, looking only at the unfairness or the hurt?   I'm not saying we are made of iron and can't feel or hurt, but I am saying that we can't allow it to overcome us and stop us from being effective in our walk.
And the flip side of that is this...Based on how we react to the influences of our little personal world, what do others see?  When they look at us, do they see someone who points to God? Someone who does what's right even when it's not easy?  Or, someone who allows the world to throw rocks in their path and stumbles blindly, out of control?  Someone at the mercy of what ever it is that clouds their view?  That's bad enough for ourselves and our peers, but what about little kids who look at us and want to emulate what they see?  What are they learning from us?

That's where our influence begins to color the big picture.  Whatever we take into our lives or allow to color our view is what's going to come out.  It's what people see regardless of the facade we try to put forth.  Especially kids.  They don't try to give people the benefit of the doubt, they don't understand all the little quirks of the human spirit, they just see the bare bones truth.  What are you saying to them?

It's our world but it's not all about us. Our outward focus should always be the view of choice. God 1st, others 2nd and me last....always. It's not always easy to keep things in that perspective and I think that our personal circumstances really do affect us deeply sometimes. But that should be the goal. I think we're here for others and when we start looking at ourselves that way, we can stop being selfish and self-centered. We may just find a joy in life that we never knew. It's called love.

So when it seems that things are pressing in on you and taking over your life or your thoughts, follow Jesus's example and tell whatever is casting a shadow on you to take a hike!  Refocus, regroup and go on...because we never know who is watching and learning from us.   

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