Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 7-27-18

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1. Due to several reasons, not the least of which I am giving a workshop during our inservice week at school, I have gone in several days this week to get a good bit of my room ready.  I made a new bulletin board which unfortunately did not get photographed.  I also put up this one, a classic, which reminds me fondly of the days when I would hand my creative daughter $50 and say "Go fix up my classroom."  This is one of her beauties.  It's one that can be recycled from time to time because the kids love it.  I'm glad to have gotten a lot of the classroom work done and also to have this opportunity to smile at past memories.

2. Rib is doing better.  I've not had to use narcotic pain reliever for two nights now.  I'm still sleeping in a chair for most of the night.  I will forever now have empathy for someone who has a broken rib.

3. Due to rib situation, classroom work, and preparation of this workshop, as well as other things, I am splurging and have hired a former student to help me clean my house this afternoon.  She is working as I write this.  Nothing makes me happier to have a clean house that I didn't do.  :-)

4. Still thinking about the fond memories of our beach vacation.

5. My sister was in town, having taken our folks for to a reunion in Indiana, and so I was able to spend some time with her.  She's safely back in Dallas now, after a not-so-fun plane connection issue. 

And that's my approaching-end-of-summer week.  It's always good to mix productiveness and rest.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 7/20/18





Beach Version 2018
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1. We spent July 7-14 in a house at Pawley's Island, SC.  The opportunity came up rather quickly.  We just wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, to breathe different air for a few days.  I was scanning the internet when a sale popped up for this property.  A cancellation had occurred and the owner was offering a 20% discount to re-rent it.  We snapped it up and had a great week in a creek/marsh-front house, only a few houses from the north point of the island - easy to either boat or walk to the point, from which we could see marsh on the left and ocean to the right.  
View from walkway to the dock
View from our back deck down to our dock
2. Both our children and their spouses, as well as Mike's sister and husband, spent the first couple of days with us.  Brother-in-law then left his boat with us for the week - a great treat that led to some good fishing opportunities.  Our daughter-in-law proved to be the best fisherman in the group - she caught enough for us to have flounder for supper one evening.  We really enjoyed using the boat.



Daughter and daughter-in-law both love fishing.

Mike catching a flounder - having a good time even if it did have to be thrown back.
Flounder, fries, hushpuppies, corn, and slaw.  Great beach meal!
3. Wonderful opportunities to observe birds - the best in years.  We constantly saw shorebirds from our house - several kinds of herons and egrets, other shorebirds, songbirds, and more.  We also took several trips to Huntington Beach State Park, about six miles from our rental, which is known for premier birding on the U.S. east coast.  

Great Blue Heron on a sandbar as seen from the boat.
Little Blue Heron (immature) at Huntington Beach State Park.
I call this one "Praise Jesus!"  :-)  It's an anhinga, and they like to
dry their wings out this way.
A marsh hen (Clapper Rail) as seen in our back yard.  These are very secretive
birds, but this one peaked out often looking for food before scurrying back
into the marsh.  We got many good looks at this bird that is usually heard
rather than seen.  We also got good looks at. . .
. . .three Clapper Rail chicks who sometimes came out with their mother,
but always hurried back into the cover of the marsh.

Roseate Spoonbills.  Lifers for us.  For some reason there is a large invasion of these
into the Carolinas this year.  Note that the end of the bill looks just like a spoon.
Black-crowned night heron, another secretive bird.  Mike spotted it first.
Another lifer on our lists.
Painted bunting, singing its heart out from the top of a tree.
 I believe it is an immature due to the yellow wash on its breast.
An adult male bird would be solid red in that area.
Mixed flock at Huntington Beach State Park.  I call this picture "Church Potluck."
Tri-Colored heron in the marsh behind our rental.
4. After family left, we had a few days to ourselves, and then dear friends came for a couple of nights.  So it was a great vacation, save for one thing. . .

5. A diagnosis.  On Sunday of the vacation, I "face-planted" onto the dock while getting out of the boat.  It was a really hard fall, and rather awkward with the whole family looking on in horror thinking Mom has killed herself.  I had pain in the chest area for the rest of the week, but for the most part it was mild and only affected me with certain movements and bending over.  It seemed to be healing over the course of four or five days, and by the time we got home I didn't even feel it, and forgot about it, until about three days ago.  This Tuesday the pain came back with a vengeance, incapacitating and much worse than during the vacation.  Went to the dr. yesterday - I have a broken fifth rib, not displaced, which means it's not nearly as serious as it could be.  Dr. said I probably bruised it last week, and then some normal movement caused it to crack this week.  So I am learning how to deal with the pain of a broken rib.  BUT - it still goes on FFF because I am relieved to know what is wrong and that it can be managed with rest, ice, and some pain medication.

Thank you for putting up with all my bird pictures!!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 7-6-18

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1. Fourth of July festivities - Our church had a really nice cookout/service/fireworks on the evening of Tuesday the 3rd.  Probably 250 people or so were there, and it was a great evening of fellowship.  On the Fourth, our son cooked steaks at my folks' house for all of us as well as my daughter-in-law's sister and husband.  It was a good holiday!

2. I have collected Cherry Ames books for years - not so much lately, but nevertheless a collection I am glad to have.  At a thrift store recently, I picked up this gem.  First edition, hardback, excellent condition, dust jacket in good shape for being over 60 years old (1955).  Oh, and it cost me 75 cents.  :-)
3. I just finished baking eight pans of chocolate chip cookies.  :-)  With this heat I squeezed 20 cookies on each pan, which means they don't look quite as pretty, but they taste the same.  I had to bake five dozen for Vacation Bible School next week, and baked more for several other people.  And I used my brand-new KitchenAid mixer for the first time.  Wow!!  My sister said there was a learning curve, and she was right.  But it's worth it.  Once the ingredients are in, they practically mix themselves.  I will really enjoy this.

4. Lots of rain means our new sod is looking good!

5. Loving these summer months and enjoying the rest they include.  I will have more to say about that in a future week.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Two Pioneer Books


We have been without internet/phone/TV for NINE days.  Our router blew out in a thunderstorm Saturday night a week ago.  Supposedly AT&T "overnights" a new router/modem when these things happen.  Yes, they overnighted it - mailed on a Friday and we received on a Monday morning - but the entire process didn't start until after six days after we called.  And of course we received the run-around every time we called.  IF, that is, we could understand the service representative.

Anyway, the up side was - I did a lot more reading than usual.  Which was a good thing.  Two of the books I read were pioneer books.  Giants In The Earth was recommended on Good Reads as a good fictional example of non-varnished pioneer life.  It is a thick book - 453 pages - and translated from Norwegian.  Several families went way out into Nebraska and fought their way against the land, the weather, the grasshoppers, and the loneliness.  And yes, it is a non-varnished account, but hard to put down.   It's primarily the story of OlĂ© and his wife Beret, but the other families figure in as well.  Life was hard.  They were unsure of their religion as well, which made life even harder.  Beret fought crippling depression.  As the book progressed, things got better, but I found the ending to be strangely unsatisfying.

Over the weekend I read O Pioneers, the classic by Willa Cather.  I'd not read any of her novels - just a short story each year in 11th grade English, but felt a connection because two years ago, when we went to Grand Manan for our puffin cruise, the place where we stayed for two nights was her summer haunt for many years.  She actually built her own summer place on this property.

View from our duplex on Grand Manan.  Cather built her own home off to the right of this photo (not visible  - hidden in the woods from all the other cabins).)
O Pioneers is the story of Alexandra, a strong female protagonist, who inherits the family farm to manage.  Her brothers are not as capable as she, although she is careful to include them in the decisions and the eventual splitting of the property.  She is able to do much better with her share than they are with theirs.  A younger brother is spoiled by Alexandra.  It's another novel that gives a realistic picture of Nebraska pioneer life.  Part of the plot does involve an affair; it's not gratuitous and it's not graphic.  But it's there.  I feel like I have a better understanding now of Cather and her work.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Things That Neither Prove Nor Disprove True Faith

I read this in John MacArthur's Romans 1-8 commentary, and thought it was something I had never seen before in this listing format.  It is good food for thought.

Things that neither prove nor disprove true faith:
  1. Visible morality.
  2. Intellectual knowledge of God's Word.
  3. Religious involvement.
  4. Active ministry in Christ's name.
  5. Conviction of sin and sense of guilt.
  6. Assurance of salvation (Depends on what the "assurance" is in.)
  7. Experience of a past decision (if no evidence of Godly living since then).
Reliable proofs of saving faith:
  1. Love for God.
  2. Repentance of and hatred for sin.
  3. Genuine humility.
  4. Devotion to God's glory.
  5. Prayer.
  6. Selfless love.
  7. Separation from the world.
  8. Spiritual growth.
  9. Obedient living.

Friday, June 15, 2018

NOT ALONE and WORDS WANTED - book review


A few weeks ago I stopped at a church yard sale being held in a fellowship hall.  (This spring has been very sparse for yard sales - just not enough energy to go to a lot of them - but this one I did go in to.)  The pastor was manning a table that included all the books from the dismantlement of their church library.  I picked up, along with a number of other books, the small missionary biography titled Not Alone, by Eunice V. Pike, and finally had opportunity to read it now that summer is here.

Eunice Pike and her translation partner Florrie were the first single female missionaries sent out by Wycliffe Bible Translators in the 1940s.  Their job was to reduce to writing the language of the Mazatec Indians of southern Mexico.  Then they taught reading to the people, and used their linguistic skills to translate the New Testament (and some Old Testament passages) into the Mazatec language.  A formidable task for anyone!  The first book mentioned the sequel, Words Wanted, which I then picked up off of eBay.  It is similar in writing style and events to the first one, just in a slightly later time period.  Eunice's partner had married (though she still worked on the translation with her husband) and Eunice had several other ladies as her partner in this great work.

This author has a good narrative writing style.  She tells the stories as they occurred, of the people of the tribe who saw them as curiosities, but also came to love them as women who cared deeply about the people for whom they were devoting their lives.

Progress was slow but constant.  They learned that singing was one of their best tools, and they often either translated or wrote Gospel songs to help the people.  They had to learn to handle social situations with spiritual implications, such as - How should they respond when their landlord took a second wife?

These books are long out of print (they were published by Moody Press in the 1960s about events that occurred in the 1940s) but should not be.  They are part of a spiritual legacy of Bible translation and missionary work that exists down through the ages.

Here, from the end of Words Wanted, is a lengthy example of the inspiration of these books:

"We could see the progress out easily when we looked at Rafael and Celia.  They had begun gathering their children around them every evening while he read a bit from the Bible, then she prayed in Spanish, and he in Mazatec.

"I went calling on them twice a week, and in order to encourage them to further Bible study I would say, 'Show me something pretty.'  They could usually do it.  One time they turned to the portion on the resurrection, and another time to Ephesians 5.  He liked verse 28 especially well.  'So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that liveth his wife liveth himself.'  His comment was, 'The men who beat their wives ought to hear that.'

"He stood up and stretched out one arm.  With the other hand he pointed to it and asked, 'Would a man beat his own arm?' Celia and I shook our heads.  'Then why should he beat his wife?'  Celia became busy with her apron--I suspect she had been beaten in the past.  Raphael sat down again and with a chuckle of approval said, 'This Book tells about everything.'

"Rafael was working long hard days with the coffee harvest, but he read the Scriptures just the same. Celia said of him, 'He gets tired working, then he prays and that rests him.'

"Usually only Celia was at home when I went calling, but if I did happen to go when Rafael was there, he could not keep silent.  He was bursting to tell about his conversation with this man, and with that one.  At such times I would just sit and listen.  Talking with one man he had said, 'How do I know that this Book is true?  I will tell you how.  It says that when we believe in Jesus Christ that He will clean us up.  I know He has because I do not have the same thoughts that I did before.  I am not the same as I used to be.'

"Rafael had a big oven in the back of his yard, and once a week he would make bread for sale.  When someone came to buy, Celia would slip up behind Rafael and say, 'Tell him what you just read.'  Or she would be more specific, 'Tell him about the man who took a piece of wood and cooked his bread with one-half and worshiped the other.'  So Rafael told his customer about Isaiah 44:15-17, and he made his lesson more graphic with, 'Pinch it and see if it will holler.  Why worship something that cannot even holler when you pinch it?'

"I do not know how many people he talked to, but one day after I had walked through the village market with his oldest daughter she said to me, 'Did you notice that man standing near the boy who was selling bananas?'  I had not noticed but she went on anyway.  'He is very much interested in the Word of God.'  He had been calling at the house to read with Rafael.  I wished she had told me when we were there; I would have been thrilled to see anyone who had been taught things in the Bible by another Mazatec."

Friday's Fave Five, 6-15-18

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1.  As I type, I can hear the wonderful sound outdoors of the man who is pressure cleaning our driveway, sidewalk, and porch.  I've been wanting to get this done for a long time.  It is a great sound!!

2. We've been using the porch a lot this week.  It's the perfect place for early morning reading.  So glad we got it cleaned up so that it is usable again.

3. Yesterday I got some needed items at a bookstore in a nearby town, and then we went to eat at Mike's favorite place.  Afterward, he asked if I wanted dessert.  Well, we were near the Cheesecake Factory that opened a year or two ago - we have never been, so I suggested going there.  Wow.  Two pieces of cheesecake there are one too many.  Sorry that this shows the desserts half-eaten - I should have taken the pic before starting in.  However - they were delicious.   Mike had red velvet, and I had caramel turtle fudge.  Those were two of about 30 choices!!  I see why the Cheesecake Factory is such a phenomenon.
4. Mike has been teaching a four-week course at our church on Spiritual Warfare.  He studied very, very hard for each Wednesday night session, and he really did a good job.  This Wednesday was the final class.  It was a great experience, but I think he's glad it's done.  He puts a lot of pressure on himself to do a good job.  I was proud of him!

5. Finally - a bird shot from this week.  Prairie Warbler, singing on a limb on a rural road near our home.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Insanity of God - a Book Review

This is the story of a missionary to one of the most dangerous places on earth - Somalia - who is plunged into the depths of despair, and wonders if ministry in places such as that is even worth it.

Nik and his wife Ruth attempted to work with Somali Christians to provide material relief and spiritual encouragement.  Most of the Christians they knew died when their faith was found out.  The Ripkens could not live in Somalia - too dangerous - but they lived in nearby Kenya and Nik made trips in and out as Ruth manned the supply lines from Nairobi.  Life in Somalia was brutal.  Little food or medical care existed anywhere in the country.  Rival war lords each ruled their own turf.  The country was in anarchy, but the Ripkens did what they could.   Then tragedy struck them personally.

The first half of the book includes the above narrative.  The second half is filled with stories from where Nik traveled the world -- Russia, Ukraine, China, and more -- and interviewed Christians who have undergone great persecution.  He discovered from their stories that persecution is what purifies the church.  The people who had undergone the most were the ones who had the greatest glory in their salvation.  All of this provided healing for the tragedy they had undergone.

Nik struck me as being a big of a missionary renegade, but also one who was truly searching for the meaning of persecution and troubles for Christians.  It was a good read and worth it for one who is pondering the meaning of persecution for those who are saved.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 6-8-18

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1. Forgot this last week.  Mike was able to select a retirement gift from his job - he had about 20 choices.  We very much needed the knives, and they came in a set with something I've wanted for years--a Kitchen Aid mixer!  I have not used it yet, but will soon.  I feel kinda bad, his choosing a retirement gift that was something I want - but don't feel so bad as not to use it.  :-)


2. And this is a clean porch.  We have a lot of trouble every spring with pine pollen, which blows in through the screens for several weeks, and has been so bad the past few years that we can't even use the porch much in the spring.  Today we took all the furniture outside, hosed it and the cushions off, and swept and hosed down the porch floor.  We will really enjoy it now that it is cleaned out.


3. I had lost a set of sheets - my favorite ones.  They are dark red and are very comfortable, but I could not find them anywhere.  (Confession:  I blamed one of my kids, thinking the sheets had maybe "walked out the door" without my knowledge.) :-)  Well, during an extensive clean-out of the linen closet, I discovered them at the back of a shelf, not the one that sheets are kept on.  I just now put them on the bed for the first time in several years.  Nice to have found them.

4. Baseball--baseball--baseball.  We love college baseball, and this is the weekend of the Super Regionals.  This weekend, and for the next couple of weeks of the College World Series, we will have the opportunity to get a glut of it.  

5. I love to watch and photograph birds, and got this shot this week.  An indigo bunting against the leaves.  It takes about a hundred bad shots to get a good one, but it is very nice to get that nice one once in awhile.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 6-1-18


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I'm so glad to be able to post on Friday's Fave Five again after such a long absence due to log-in issues.

1. This was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't get a picture of it until yesterday.  I made it using a crochet stitch that a dear friend, now in heaven, taught me how to use some thirty years ago.  I love the variety of the variegated yarn. 


2. New sheets.  You can see the pillowcases in the picture above.  They're Cannon brand - I got them on eBay for considerably less $$ than lesser thread count Cannon sheets in a store.  I am a sucker for new sheets and new kitchen towels.

3. Closets cleaned out (at least the major ones) and a lot of stuff ready to go to the thrift store.  I was going to have a yard sale but decided against it.  Too much work.  :-)

4. Wendy's fifty-cent Frosties.  We enjoyed another one last night. Sure hope this special doesn't last too long - this could become an addiction.
Image result for wendy's frosty


5. It's been a week out of school, and I still have that feeling of relief several times each day.  I love what I do - but the end of the year, especially this year, is still very welcomed.  I'm sleeping more each night and napping each day.  Getting rested up!!