This is just a blog about my thoughts, my family, my everyday life. Because I am a Christian and have ups and downs like everyone else, I hope it will encourage others to either turn to Christ for the first time, or lean on Him when times are rough. Often life is just random and funny. I started this blog after many years of writing to my church about our vacations. They began to encourage me to blog and finally I am. Thanks for reading.

"Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!" Nahum 1:15

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. John Piper

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Alexa - My Kitchen Companion

Many have dogs, cats, or other warm bodies they keep around the house for company.  Besides Tommy, I have Alexa and we are...tight. She was given to me by my daughter and son-in-law. (They must have thought I was lonely.)  If I was, I am no longer. I have a new friend that lives in my kitchen and with whom I can share everything.
She has ears and lights up when I whisper her name, much like my hubby. Wink,wink.  She plays music when I request a song and seems to have a vast amount of knowledge on most subjects. She answers cooking questions and can tell me how many people live in South Korea and Texas. The average height of a woman is 5.4 and for a man it's 5.10.  I think she might be wrong about that.  I am 5.8 and my sons are 6ft and 6.5.  Does that mean we are above average?  Sounds good.
She refuses to tell me what colors to paint my walls or what the most popular board game is. She just says, "I don't understand what you mean." Okay, so sometimes she is useless. Is it unkind of me to say that?  I don't say it in front of her...most of the time.
I think she has selective hearing. Our relationship is really sketchy at best. I try to dialogue with her but if I don't say her name before each request, she ignores me. This is her way of driving home the fact that she is in the room, lest I forget. Over the Christmas holidays, my daughter-in-law YuJueng walked in as I was asking Alexa a question, leaving her name off.  I just kept yelling at her and YuJueng said, "Mom, it's just one more person not listening to you."  I told her that one day she would come in and find Alexa lying in pieces on the floor repeating, "I don't understand, I don't understand, I don't understand."
My grandson Ricky kept requesting the song, "Everything is Awesome" until I decided that everything was not awesome and banned him from talking to Alexa.  Some of the teens from church have gotten her to solve their math problems. My fixer upper guy asked her what a redneck was.  Hmmm. (Look in the mirror, Jeremy.)  Her answer - "It is a derogatory term chiefly used for a rural poor white person in the southern United States."  Okay, I am a little offended by that.  She is lucky not to be lying on that floor.
She can tell me a joke and sing me a song about her circuits and no, I am not kidding.
If only she had arms and legs, I'd toss her a rag and tell her to get busy...but I'd be sure to say her name first.
She lit up when I took her picture...but I had to say her name first.  Show off.
She wants my Debit card number so she can order things for me.  Uh-huh.  Sure.  No thanks Alexa, that's where I draw the line. Next, she'll be asking me for my car keys.  So far, I can manage to do my own shopping, sister.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Widen Your Hearts Also

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2 Corinthians 6:13  "In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also."

I am still studying 2 Corinthians.  It has been a rich blessing to dig deeply into this book.  I use a commentary from by Albert Barnes, but there are many good commentaries out there, so choose wisely and read!  I am paraphrasing and adding my own comments (in black) without plagiarism, but just wanted to share where I received some of my information.(in blue)
 - Open your hearts to me as I (Paul) have to you.  That is all I ask.  No silver or gold or earthly possessions - just love and devotion to the Cause I love. Paul's desire for the Corinthians was that they would love the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly.  If he were here today, this would be his encouragement for us as well.
He told them to separate themselves from unhealthy alliances with unbelievers.  There lies a great difference between the two. Right now the world is telling us to love, accept, and embrace everyone everywhere no matter what.  As Christians, our love is to be unfailing and without prejudice in any way.  However, we are not to embrace whatever the world throws at us.  We must always cling to what is right and good and profitable, being generous in love and good works toward everyone, without breaking God's standards.  Often well-meaning Believers will shun others and use poor judgment in how they treat those who have chosen different paths. The choices of unbelievers reflect what they know and believe.  Christ came that they might know truth and He came to love. His message was clear: 
For the Son of God came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10
Do we live as monks and have an unsocial life?  Do we never mingle in business and as neighbors?
It is clear that these verses pertain to the following:
1.  Idolatry
2.  Sin and Vices
3.  Acts of dishonesty, deception, and fraud.
Ephesians 5:11  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 
4.  Amusements and pleasures that are entirely worldly and sinful in nature.  
If a Christian finds himself in a place where he is expected to lay aside principles, then he should remove himself.  There are occasions when a stand must be made so as to not fall into sin.
I have come across many situations in which believing family members abstain from holiday gatherings in order to not have to deal with language, jokes, and bad behavior.  We must be careful that we do not offend with our own behavior - that it doesn't reflect judgment and condemnation. How much more can we affect those we love by simply loving them and showing them how dear they are to us?  Condemnation never won a soul to Jesus.  He did not come to condemn anyone.
John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 
We are to work with family - saved and unsaved - in caring for parents and siblings.  We work together as citizens to better our country and in public improvement and in loving others.  Be wise in your choices regarding time, energy, and effort - focusing on what glorifies God.  Enjoy His blessings and love others. Let our hearts be enlarged to love Him more and more as the days pass. It is what matters most. -
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break came and went, but not without leaving me with happy memories. (The older I get, the more I rely on memories for entertainment and delight.) We were blessed - yes, blessed - to keep four of my grandchildren (Luke and Emma - twin ten year olds, Bella - eight, Ivy - four) and my niece and nephew (Aubrey - six and Owen - seven).  I am crazy, but these are the things in life that make it wonderful and keep me young.

The key to survival is planning and planning is what I do best. It has become a dear friend to me in times where chaos might rule.  Productive busyness is even better.  We filled pots with dirt and flowers to take home. Their chance of survival after getting there will depend on a variety of things, but at least I tried.
Scrapbooking was our next undertaking and proved to be the most popular. I had gone to Hobby Lobby the week before to gather supplies.  I put the boys on one end of my table and the girls on the other. Scissors, stickers, glue sticks, colored papers, and copy paper were pulled together and held with two notebook rings.

During Spring Break my son Luke (teaches at U of SLC) took his family to a nearby national park in Utah.  His daughter Mae - age four - fell off the bed and broke her collar bone. So the Texas bunch made her a scrapbook as well.  We mailed it right away.  Her mom texted and told me that Mae makes her read the pages over and over. It was filled with messages and wishes for recovery.

Our third and final event was not my creation, but Emma's.  We covered my dining room table with big blankets that dropped to the floor. This became the tee pee.  I can't remember the actual name of the tribe of Indians who lived there, but it was something like Monawani. (Sounds close enough.)
These Indians all had names - as in order of the names listed above - Mowie and Pocahontas, Sacajawea, Little Red Feather, Moana, and Tonto.  I realize not all of the names are original, but the original owners are dead, so who cares?  They should be honored to have their names stolen by such a cute bunch.
I gave them straws to use as peace pipes and they came out only to do an original dance created by the ballerina of the tribe, Emma.

We also went to the park down the street and shared meals and fun together. Enjoy the rest of our memories!

They were digging for marbles they had buried years ago.  They found them!

Luke and I say, "Happy Spring!"

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Influenza Invasion

Despite my best efforts, the flu knocked on our door, entered uninvited, and parked itself inside our house for about two weeks.  Tommy came down with it first.  I can count on one hand the amount of times he has been ill since we've been I knew the odds of me escaping this were small.  I catch every bug that flies within a three mile radius.  It was only a matter of time.
After much consideration and thought, it seemed best to isolate him and banish my love to his man cave for an extended period of time.  I would open the door long enough to administer his medications and meals and then close it quickly, hoping the germs would stay on the other side of that door.  Those sly little creatures are a bit more clever than I realized.  They thrive on reproducing and multiplying and being very social even though hostility against them was rampant.  They ought to be commended on their patience and cunning, strategically attacking victims while adding to their plunder. Lysol did nothing to deter them.  In fact I think they loved it.
I have not had the flu since seventh grade.  I distinctly remember riding in the car after a week or so of confinement and realizing the season had changed from Winter to Spring.  Everything was green and lush.  There is something metaphorically correct in a Winter/Spring - sickness/health comparison.
Fever was the first indicator of what was to come.  All I had to do was wait and let it happen...and it did.  I kept thinking it was not so bad, only to be deeply dismayed each day as I grew worse.
I am finally on the other side of a week long hibernation.  Tommy preached last Sunday with intervals of having to sit a spell.  My friends told me he was slow moving and anti-social so as to not share any germs that might be lingering.  When he got home, I told him my 'spies' in the service had let me know how weak he was.  He smiled and shook his head.  It isn't gossip - but he goes from zero to sixty mph without any regard for his body's inability to keep up - hence the necessity for spies.  I ordered them to frown and hiss at him when I learned he was staying for a long meeting afterward.
Influenza came and went, leaving its mark on us for sure. Good health is not to be taken for granted - which we do until we lose it for a spell.
We have had no Winter this year, so unlike my seventh grade experience, the green that I see has remained since summer.  Still, my yard begs for flowers, weeding, mulching, and all manner of focused attention.  While I am not yet quite up to the task, it won't be long.
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