Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fifty Years

With my brother
With Aunt Louise & younger sisters
Last weekend I realized that  Saturday, February 6, marked 50 years since I became a Christian.  That is a notable date to be remembered.  

I was eight years old - old enough to understand clearly that I was a sinner and that only Jesus, through his death and resurrection on the cross, could rescue me from hell.   I never doubted that Jesus saved my soul that night in the old Landersville church.

Granted, later in life I had to make another decision about whether this salvation decision was going to rule my life or not, and I have never regretted living my life openly for God.

That night saved my soul and sent ahead a reservation in heaven.  However, fifty years of being a Christian have provided many other rewards than just being "fire insurance."  Salvation at an early age also:

--protected me from much riotous living that would have brought a lifetime of regrets.  

--protected me from addictions that would also have brought much grief.

--guided me to know that I didn't have to choose a man just to have a man in my life, thus sparing me some bad decisions and keeping me from the misery of being married to some profane man.

--allowed me to have a fulfilling career of working with young people in Christian school settings.

--gave me many great Christian friends from every era of my life.

I'm still a sinner, doing wrong things that need forgiveness and having to face the consequences of any sin.  But salvation at age eight was a protection for life as well as for eternity.  God's mercy and grace are boundless.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 2/5/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Host Blog

 1. We took my dad out to his and my mom's favorite restaurant, overlooking the lake, last night for his birthday.  Great food (their fried shrimp is the best), great service.  Nice night.

2. This big heart on the wall in our high school hallway.  The Bible teachers put it up.  Students and teachers can write on a small heart how they have seen Jesus in a classmate or someone at school.  It's really an encouragement to read some of the things that students have observed and written down.

3. Last weekend, in five minutes on Saturday morning, I watched fourteen species at our bird feeders.  It was a riot of activity and looked like a bird airport, there was so much coming and going.  It was a big treat to watch.

4. Almost done with a child's blanket that I am ready to get finished.  Don't know whom to give it to yet, but at least it will be done and I can start on another one.  I know better than to crochet a blanket with mostly one color of solid yarn.  That's boring.  But I broke my own rule this time, and am eager to get it done.

5. Several nice times of being with my sister this week, who is visiting from Texas.  She's always glad to just fit into what's going on around here, and I've enjoyed being with her the last few days.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Things I Learned in the Winter Storm

We had about 36 hours of enforced togetherness/cabin-fever during last week's winter weather event. I learned much about many different things.  Here, in no particular order, is the list:

  • Just because I have an extra day off does not mean I'll get a lot of extra things done around the house.                                           
  • A female purple finch has somewhat obscure striping on its head but the female house finch has a completely plain head.  That's the only way to tell them apart.                                                                        
  • A male purple finch usually is "purpler" than a male house finch, but not necessarily so.  It does not have any streaking on its sides, whereas the male house finch is heavily streaked on its sides.                                                                                         
  • Yes, I can go 24 hours without any makeup whatsoever.  Not even concealer around the dark eyes.                                                                                             
  • Snow will melt more quickly off a metal roof above a cathedral ceiling than over attic space.  (Noticed on a neighbor's house.)                                                                                                
  • One reason ducks are scarce this year, even with the very cold weather, is because there is so much water in our area this year that there are many more little puddles and water-filled places where they can hide.  They don't have to come to the open ponds where they are more readily observed.  (This piece of information courtesy of Mike.)                                                                                          
  • The land where a pool has been filled in does not get snow accumulation.  This, along with the observation about the neighbor's roof, interests the former science teacher in me.  Why not?  There must be air pockets in the pool fill-in that harbor heat.  Or some other reason, but whatever it is, heat is held in there somehow.                                                                          
  • Lining a bread pan with waxed paper makes getting the bread out much easier and cleaning the pan up much simpler.                                                                                                                             
  • I am ready for a new crochet project but have to get the current one done.                                                                                                                                                  
  • Watching too much Cops during forced solitude at home, after getting out, makes a person suspicious of every car on the road.  "He's getting away!  Pursuit!  Radio for another unit!!"                                                                                                                                  
  • And finally, Mike gets a little stir-crazy too.  He was concerned about a pot of potatoes on the stove.  I assured him that they were merely peeled potatoes, covered in water, that I was going to boil the next morning, and they were fine.  His response?  "If I die of food poisoning, I'll never speak to you again."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 1/22/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five Host Blog

1. A snow day today!!  Always a treat.  Throughout all the forecasts of the past couple of days, we have been right on the border of the line between frozen precipitation and cold rain.  So I cautioned the students not to be surprised if we did have school today.  I thought it would be more of a situation of coming in and then being dismissed early.  So it was a pleasant surprise, after my alarm went off at 5:40, to see our school name come up on the local news website, and then get a phone message five minutes later as well, saying that we were CLOSED today.

2. Mike's training test for work was postponed, so he was home most of the day also.  (He didn't find out until he drove 45 minutes to the training center at work.  Naturally. . . .)  He went outside and cleaned up all the feeders and refilled them, as well as pruned the bush that was right in front of the picture window, so that we could see all the birds that were feasting at the sunflower and suet feeders.  We had quite the day at the feeders - at least 15 species made their way to our "banquet."  One was a first for the year, and there was also one mysterious bird that we couldn't quite identify.  It looked like a female purple finch, but we haven't had one of those here for years, so I'm hesitant to say that that is what it was.

3. A new twist on banana bread.  :-)  I only had one banana but the recipe called for two.  So I added a half a cup of orange juice and used orange flavoring instead of vanilla.  It was deliciously moist and deliciously flavorful!

4. Wednesday night I had nursery duty at church.  Only one little girl was there (we had bad weather then also), and she appeared to be "wide open."  I anticipated an hour of chasing her around as she crawled all over the nursery carpet.  But she came right to me, sat in my lap as I looked at a book with her, and I could feel her relaxing.  Sure enough, she dropped off into a 45-minute nap while seated in my lap.  It was so pleasant to hold a sleeping 10-month-old, sucking her thumb, that what could have been a "one more thing to do this week" experience turned into a sweet and restful hour.

5. A warm and dry house during a snow/ice/freezing rain weather event.  Perhaps we all need to stop and be more thankful for that.  Meanwhile, I am very much enjoying the enforced break at home!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 1/15/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Great spirit week and homecoming last week.  I don't have any pictures on here of the homecoming, but it was the best we've ever had.  We tried having alumni games instead of interscholastic ones, and it really worked.  We had more graduates than ever to return.  Now to make it even better next year.

This pic is of the students who won on "superheroes" day for spirit week.

2. Wewalka pizza dough.  My family never liked my homemade pizza.  They said the crust (the canned pizza dough from the refrigerator section of the grocery) wasn't good.  A couple of weeks ago I noticed that our grocery was carrying something new - a pizza dough that was rolled up on parchment paper.  I tried it at the end of last week, and we loved it.  So much better than the other, and easier too - all you do is unroll the parchment paper.   They also have croissant dough and puff pastry.  The website said it is a new import to the U.S. from a European bakery.  I will make pizza more often now, and maybe will try some of their other products also.

3. Navy bean soup from my mom for our supper on a cold winter day.  Kept me from having to make salads or rustle up something else to eat.  Thank you.

4. We had a fun night sitting up late to watch the National Championship Football game.  It was too late to have company or go anywhere, but it was a great game, and fun to watch.  And I slept surprisingly well, having gone to bed so late, so didn't feel too many aftereffects the next day.

5. Exams are over, a new semester has started, and though I have to be at school Monday for parent-teacher conferences, students don't come back until Tuesday.  So it's essentially a three-day weekend, and it should be a quiet one.  Always nice!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"If You Give a Mom a Muffin"

I saw this today and wish it were an original.  So clever!!  Brings back a lot of memories also.
If You Give A Mom A Muffin
If you give a mom a muffin,
she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She’ll pour herself some.
Her three year-old will come and spill the coffee.
Mom will wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks.
She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry into the washer,
she’ll trip over shoes and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She’ll look for her cookbook
(How to Make 101 Things With a Pound of Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse,
which is being dumped out by her two year-old.
Then she’ll smell something funny.
She’ll change the two year-old.
While she is changing the two year-old, the phone will ring.
Her five year-old will answer and hang up.
She’ll remember she was supposed to phone a friend
to come over for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some more.
And chances are,
if she has a cup a coffee,
her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Misc.

--We had three nice Christmases - two with Mike's family and one with mine.  Always nice to see family once again.

--I took my sister to the airport this afternoon.  We met Andrew and his girlfriend at an Atlanta Bread Company for lunch first, which was nice.  She got safely on her way, while I went into town to a bookstore I always like to visit.  A waste of time and gasoline - it is closed until Monday, January 4.  So I came back home, and made a detour to take a huge bag of stuff to my favorite thrift store, one run by Mennonites to support an orphanage in the Caribbean.  (It's clean, well-organized, and well-run.  And I can usually find decent skirts there.)  I noticed ominously that there were no cars in the parking lot.  Sure enough - closed until Monday, January 4.

--Each Sunday for months I have faithfully cut out the Sunday crossword from the comics in the newspaper, and since it has been a very busy semester, I just "filed" them on a stack on the bottom shelf of the end table.  This vacation I've started doing some of them.  The one I finished yesterday was quite interesting--the long clues all were about various things that are "not found online."  For instance - "Poe story not found online?" or "Rink group not found online?"  etc.  And the first few answers I got (in these cases, "The Purloined Letter" and "Curling team") oddly had letters missing.  Then I realized--the answer to all of the answers was that "URL" was missing.  All the answers contained the letters URL somewhere.  Either someone is incredibly clever or someone has too much time on his hands to make up crosswords.

--If you have too much time on your hands:  Some of the other clues were "Rare plants not found online?"  "Coffee bean holders not found online?"  "Stitch pattern not found online?""Alien greeting not found online?"  "Hard candies not found online?"  I'll put the answers at the end.

--I love rain.  I love to sleep to the sound of rain.  But it is incredible the amount of rain we have had this fall.  It is better than drought.  But it is a lot of rain.

--Several things to get done this week.  I have a fleece blanket to sew (one that matches our bed better than the USC Gamecocks that I throw on top of it now, when needed), some cherry jam to make, Christmas stuff to get put away, and several other small projects.  But this is a great week for such things.  I love this week every year.

--Finally--the Christmas card that did not get out as early as it should have.  So--Happy New Year!!

Answers to above: Fo(ur l)eaf clovers, B(url)ap sacks, Knit one p(url) two, Take me to yo(ur l)eader, and So(ur l)emon drops.  Clever!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

18 1/2

Well, I am down 18 1/2 pounds since early July.  That might not seem like much for that much time, but it was hard won.  For the last month I've been stuck at a plateau, but that is OK too.  Just maintaining during the holidays is good enough.

But even 18 1/2 pounds is enough to notice some significant changes.

  • My clothes fit better.
  • I don't snore as much.
  • I haven't had any reflux (not major, but still not easy to deal with in the middle of the night) for months.
  • It is easier to bend down to pick things up off the floor.
  • And most of all, my knee is not giving me as many problems.
This isn't something I care to address often in a public forum.  But it's like a Christmas present to myself.  Happy 18 1/2!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday's Fave Five, 12/18/15

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

This is actually being written on Thursday, as the next 36 hours will be a zoo. Finish the day, make cookie dough for tomorrow and bars for tonight, all-school Christmas program tonight, half-day school tomorrow, then my homeroom is coming to my house for a party.  Then I will be completely, totally spent.  So I will write this today and then set it to upload tomorrow morning.

1. I had a very nice birthday on Tuesday.  We went out to a nice restaurant on Monday night; I got many remembrances on Tuesday; and Andrew bought and repaired a doorknob that night after I went to bed.  Some people may scoff at practical presents; I love them!!

2. I read recently that the lesson plan for all teachers for the week before Christmas is:
  • Scrape students off the ceiling.
  • Repeat.
and that is really true.  But it has been a good week.  Spirits are very high, and we have a good group of students here, so it's a good thing.

3. Our neighbor Dawn gave us a beautiful poinsettia that is gracing the center of our kitchen table.  It is huge - I've never had such a big one.  That was really kind of her.  

4. I got to play for a quartet on Sunday Morning - "Oh, What a Savior" - and it was really fun.  Really fun.  Sometimes playing is stressful; sometimes it is fun.  This was fun.  :-) 

5. And finally, the lady who helps me once a month bought my elliptical--and it wasn't even actively for sale.  It's been sitting on the porch ever since we filled in the pool and took everything out of the pool house (thinking we were going to sell the house).  She posted on FB that she was looking for one.  I don't use it much; I prefer going to the gym.  So she bought it.  A little extra Christmas $$ in the pocket--

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"The Cherry On Top" of the Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a good day.  We went out the night before to a nice restaurant, and all day yesterday I received birthday greetings by cards, email, Facebook, text, and in person.  That's especially nice for a December birthday, because some years, through no one's fault, December birthdays do get a little overlooked - just because of the busyness of the season.

Also yesterday, the knob on the pantry door jammed completely.  Mike had to use a screwdriver to get it open.  It's been more and more difficult to get it open in recent weeks, but was one of those home maintenance jobs that gets overlooked sometimes simply because there is no urgency to get it done now, when other things are more demanding.  But I am getting some (I assume) arthritis in my right thumb, and opening that door was becoming more and more of a challenge.

This morning, functioning in the usual early-morning fog, I went to the pantry, and immediately noticed that it opened fairly easily.  More easily than it should have just because Mike had forced it open last night.  Then it added up.  Andrew and his girlfriend had gone out last night, bought a new knob, and after we had gone to bed, he installed it on the pantry door.  It looks like, but is nicer than, the old one.  I am very grateful.

It was a great birthday present.  Kind of like a cherry on top of the "sundae" of a good day.