Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 9-28-18

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1. First big thing:  I wasn't going to be able to post anything today due to being at our annual regional Christian school convention in Myrtle Beach SC.  However, it was canceled a week ago due to floodwaters reaching that area.  Now, usually I do enjoy going to the convention, and I'm saddened that the reason it is canceled is due to the hardships of the flooding.  But this year, with all the home renovations and several other things going on, it was a wonderful break to be home for 2 1/2 days more than usual.  We can't really try to have school after all, because parents have made plans, looking forward to this break.  So we just got it off!

2. The wood floors are DONE in the entire house.  At left is a picture from a couple of weeks ago, and at right is from exactly a week ago today.  Carpeting in the den was completed on Wednesday.  It is so nice to have the floors done in the entire house. We are slowly getting furniture moved back in place.  It's a little difficult when Mike has shoulder issues and I have lower back/knee issues.  But piece by piece we are getting everything back to where it belongs.

3. Furniture was delivered today.  I don't want to post a picture yet - not till everything is right.  But here is a sneak peek, actually taken at the furniture store a couple of weeks ago.  The ottoman matches everything else in the den, so can be moved around from piece to piece.  The lady sitting there looks very comfortable.  :-)

4. This one makes me sad, but it is still sweet.  This is the recliner that we got 30 years ago this week, when I was in the last months of pregnancy with our first child.  It's on the loading dock of our local rescue mission's thrift store.  I remember we didn't have two nickels to rub together, but we scraped together enough to get it on a $300 / 3 month same as cash deal, and we thought we were royalty.  I survived two pregnancies and reared two children with this chair.  It's survived a lot of tears, a lot of roughhousing, a lot of reading, a lot of everything.  But it was time to let it go.  There is still some good living left in that chair, and I hope someone else appreciates it as much as we did.

5. Thankful for safety when a tornado touched down north of our town last night.  We were leaving Home Depot and saw the cloud and the funnel.  It could have been very bad, but fortunately little damage occurred.  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 9/14/18

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It's been awhile since I've done one of these.  The start of the school year can really keep me busy.  

1. We are doing renovations in our house - thus have been living with our bed in the den.  That and our two recliners are the only places in the house to sit right now.  Oh, and there is one stool at the kitchen counter, and two places at the kitchen table.  And that is it.  Bedrooms - completely empty.  "Big Room" - full of stuff.  Oh, and I guess I can count the bathrooms too.  Anyway, I am thankful for at least a few places to sit.

 2. Great progress being made on the wood flooring.  The installers should finish at the first of the week.  That makes for another weekend of sleeping in the den. . .but by next week maybe we will have a bed in the bedroom again.  :-)  The pic is of the entryway, partially done.  I've learned a lot about how wood flooring is installed.

3. This picture was in another post, but here are my newly painted kitchen cabinets. They were finished at the end of the week.  I am LOVING them.  This is the first time I have ever had a really nice kitchen.  It makes wanting to work neatly in it so much easier.

4. Thankful that our son and his wife have been willing to come over every weekend to move the furniture that needs to be moved at that time.  Mike's other shoulder is giving him trouble, so he can't move it right now.

5. It appears that Florence will just give us a lot of rain.  Of course, it's too soon to know the exact track, and those forecasts are notoriously fickle at the end, but right now cities just 30 miles away are slated to get much more.   We shall see.  Very thankful for a warm and dry house when major storms like this are coming. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Kitchen Before and After

The top picture was taken in April 2017.  The tile and wall painting got done back then, before all our surgeries set the project back for close to a year.

This picture was taken yesterday, September 8, 2018, after the cabinets were painted.
Right now we are living in the den and the "big room," because the wood flooring installers come tomorrow.  Then the furniture will be moved out of the den; it will be painted, and then new carpet will be installed.

Exciting times - that we are ready to have over with.

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.