When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Too much, too late!

I’m finally getting my system back on track. For the past two days I’ve paid the price of too much coffee too late in the day. Several years ago I nearly lived on coffee, well not literally, but you know what I mean.

One day I was rushing around to take some supplies to one of the satellite sites and I had a sudden cutting and enduring pain in the bottom of my chest. I have a pretty high pain thresh-hold but this one made me stop a minute or two and notice it. I finished loading the van but the pain persisted. It was so severe that instead of going to the site I drove to the doctor’s office. I went in to the receptionist and said, “Either I’m having a heart attack or this is the absolute worst case of heartburn ever!!”

That got me into an examination room immediately. A half hour later and two hefty doses of the doctor’s special chalky goopy stuff I was feeling a little better. Turned out it was heart burn. When I asked what could have caused it at 11 AM the doctor asked how much coffee I’d had that morning….Hmm. Well I was a chain coffee drinker. You know the cigarette smoker who lights his next cigarette from the one he’s finishing….yeah. Well, I “lit up” the cold coffee in the bottom of my cup by refilling the whole cup with hot from the pot…probably 4 maybe 5 good-sized mugs that morning. THAT had caused the severe pain.

Now one would think I’d learn, but no, it took a few more months and a stomach that burned and stabbed constantly before I realized that all that coffee was not good. I cut back to one (okay, it was large) cup in the morning and another (smaller one, normal for most people) just before lunch. Then no more coffee! And basically, I’ve stuck to that pattern for I can’t remember how long and I love my coffee!

But Monday afternoon I just had a hankering for some hot coffee. It was gray and rainy and I just felt like a cup of good coffee would warm me up and brighten the day. I asked Rachael if she would drink some if I made a half pot. She said sure she would and I made the coffee while she was fixing supper. Turned out between then and eight o’clock she drank about half a cup and Vondi drank the rest! Bud-deeee! Did that get my heart pumping and my toes jiggling-until about 2:00 in the morning! I think I calmed down enough to sleep by around 3:30 and woke up again at 6:30. Of course I ran out of steam about two in the afternoon and fell asleep a couple hours which made me wide awake again when most people were sleeping, which messed up yesterday too.

For two days now my sleep pattern has been weirder than usual. Last night I finally got back to normal. I guess from now on I’ll leave the coffee alone after noon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Christian Rap"

A few days ago I was in a Christian discussion group where some were proclaiming the positive aspects of “Christian rap” and “Christian rock.” The proponents of this type of music say it is the message that matters and not the music. They say this is what kids are listening to and using this style of music will catch their attention and win them to the Lord. There are two problems with that statement as I can see. Laying aside the music issue for a moment, if we look at the lyrics alone, we find a shallowness in them that betrays their essence.

I quote just a portion of the lyrics form one song:Why are you striving these days/ Why are you trying to earn grace/ Why are you crying/Let me lift up your face/ Just don't turn away” That’s the first verse. The chorus goes: “Cause I, I love you/ I want you to know/ That I, I love you/ I'll never let you go” The entire song goes on in the same vein.

There is NO mention of Christ, no mention even of God. It isn’t even clear who is speaking. Hearing it in an isolated situation, one would never guess it is a “Christian song.” It might rather be a popular love song. The total emphasis is on love. Not that there is anything wrong with talking about the Love of God, but that isn’t all of the Book. Yes, He loves us. But to experience His Salvation is such a deeper, richer process. I reviewed the lyrics of several “Christian” rap songs, just to be sure I wasn’t generalizing too much. But I wasn’t. By and large the lyrics follow the same pattern of generalization and the same shallowness of experience.
Stop just a moment now and compare that to. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; /For Thee all the follies of sin I resign./ My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;/ If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now……I’ll love Thee in life,/ I will love Thee in death,/And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;/ And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,/If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. Can you see the difference?
The first has generic lyrics. You could lift them from the situation and apply them easily in a very worldly entertainment atmosphere. No one would know the difference. No one would complain. The second makes no mistake about the subject of the song. It speaks of love and commitment. It speaks of sacrifice and endurance. And it is very clear that Jesus is the center of it all. Can you imagine the effect it would have is someone were to stand in the midst of a rap concert! People would definitely notice the difference.

As far as the music goes, I can “appreciate” most kinds and styles of music. And yes in the sense that it achieves the rhythm and style intended, I can see the point of rap. But very frequently in popular rap, the words are lost in the rhythm and extraneous sounds. And that is okay, because it is the entire sound experience the artists are trying to embody. That said, I have to point out that many, many of the raps that are popular today have themes that society in general condemns, violence, sexual promiscuity of the worst kinds, racial overtones, and sin in almost any form.

When the Lord truly saves us, he takes every bit of that spirit out of us. He puts His Spirit within us. That spirit is the same one that Habakkuk speaks of in 1:13: Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: How then does the born-again child of God cling to those things of Sin?

As the people of God we are told to Abstain from all appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:22. When the world passing casually by our window cannot distinguish the music they hear from that of the most degraded forms in the world, we have a serious problem with the appearance we are presenting to the World.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Morning Monday

What a wonderful start to my week. I was up early enough to fix a egg/cheese/ham muffin for Rachael..She had to leave at 6:30 this morning. Maxim came tearing downstairs as soon as I opened my door. Boy, that dog can hear. I declare I hardly breathed. Anyway I let everyone outside for their morning constitutional and fixed Rachael a bite to eat.
Then when I sat down for a few minutes until Michael would be up and moving, Notah called. Nothing terribly exciting, just saying Hi to Mom, but it's always good to hear from him. This is the longest I've gone without seeing him since he was born! Moms never change I guess. Their babies will always be their babies, no matter how old and responsible the grow up to be. What is kind of surprising is how we add our babies' spouses to the family in our heart. Now I have a second daughter and a second son. I never expected that.
I went in and fixed my second son two little mini-sausage biscuits. We talked a minute and he headed on, rushing out this morning because he had to stop someplace before work. I got myself some coffee and let the dogs back in. Everyone except me is sacked out snoozing. I've had such a peaceul day.
What a good Monday morning.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

When I think about the security I have I my spiritual life, my mind always reverts to the many people I know who seem to have no assurance regarding God’s promises or any foundation in the things of God. While it is true that our security in God rests in our faith in Him, it is greatly strengthened by our knowledge of His Promises.

I have one dear friend who loves the Lord, I know, and who follows him, I know, but she is very easily swayed by false doctrines. Not that they cause her to be led astray, but they cause her much stress because she has not established the Word of God in her heart. Every false doctrine that comes across her path sends her into a tizzy of worry. The doctrine doesn’t sound right, but she is worried because the false teacher uses scripture to “prove” his points. She is never reassured until we can sit down together and look at the Word and find out what God is really saying. It always takes outside intervention to get her back on track

I don’t know where I developed the habit, from my parents I suppose, but somewhere along the line in my 60 years I learned to not just sit passively and soak up the preached word of God, but to take the notes and the scriptures and study them through for my self. That way, I wasn’t just taking a man’s word for what God said, but I was going back to Him and saying, "Lord, this is what the preacher says. Show me if it’s right and if I’m understanding it right.”

Now I’m not swayed by ‘every wind of doctrine’ because firm doctrine has been planted deep in my heart and those winds of doctrine blowing around cannot move it.

When I dealt with teaching children we recognized two kinds of learning. The first kind was “rote.” This is the way young children learn to count. They just chatter off the numbers in a long string. Or they learn the alphabet that way—all in one long string. And proud parents say, “He can count” and “She already knows her ABC’s!” But if you ask the child to count the blocks he chatters away and five blocks come out as “eleven.” The reason for this is that he hasn’t established the idea that “counting” implies a one to one relationship. To him, counting is simply rattling off a string of numbers. And if you ask the little girl to show you a ‘J’ she may point to almost any letter, because she again associates the ‘J’ with simply a string of syllables not with a specific shape or sound. These things have been learned by rote.

The other type of learning is by ‘internalizing’ the information. The best example of this that I’ve ever found is the young person who is memorizing the drivers’ manual in preparation for his driving test. He memorizes the fact that the vehicle must slow for curves and remain on the right side of the road. He knows it, he puts it on the paper and passes the test. The fact is not internalized until he takes a curve too fast, swings left of center and is involved in an accident. THEN the writing on the page becomes real to him. It is ‘internalized” He would have been ahead to not only memorize the rule but to incorporate it into his driving practices.

It is the same way with the word of God. Many people are simply memorizing the words and not incorporating them into their lives. We can’t just sit and listen to a pastor as he preaches the word to us. We can’t just memorize special passages. We must take every word and make it part of our daily practices. We must seek to understand why God said those things, what they mean in our lives and change our actions to fit them. When we have done that we are established in the Word and cannot be swayed by winds of doctrine.

I’m so thankful to have been raised by parents who not only kept me in church, but taught by example that the words of the pastor were to be studied and hidden in our hearts until they became a part of us. They taught by example that we didn’t just read the Bible but burrowed into its pages until the depths of them were so much a part of us we could not be moved from solid doctrine. That’s what my soul’s security is based on!

Friday, February 20, 2009


The Savior’s Hands

As a Mother’s hands hover over her child’s first toddling steps,
As a woman cradles an exquisite and beautiful flower,
As a potter touches a most fragile and delicate vessel,
As a father’s hands reach protectively toward the wonder of his first born,
So do the Hands of God enfold His Own.

Thus we walk through all manner of trial,
Stand through bodily discomfort and pain,
Rest in the midst of the most dismal and foreboding physical surroundings,
Face uncertainties and fears,
Secure in the knowledge that our inner most vital being
Is protected in
The Loving Hands of the Savior.

Vondi Howe
For Marilyn just before Tim was born, 1979

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anecdotes from the Grocery store

The Lost Hat
One of the seniors who visit the store came in a few days ago. Everyone is familiar with her and she has her own unique way of facing life. This time she was looking for her lost hat.

Rachael stood in the inner office listening while another assistant tried to deal with finding her hat. When did you lose it? Uuuuh, last week maybe. What color was it? Wellll, uuh. Maybe it was red..or no, blue, maybe. Yes, red or blue! Fred looked. No red or blue hats. Well maybe it wasn’t all red, maybe it was just trimmed in red. Nope, none like that either. Fred was getting frustrated and the little old lady becoming belligerent. Rachael took pity on Fred and went to help.

“Hi! What seems to be the problem?”
Well duh. Evidently the ‘young man’ just didn’t care about her lost hat. From past acquaintance Rachael pretty well knew that the lady had two hats—a black one and a white one. She was wearing the black one.

“Was it your white hat that was lost?”

Yes, yes! Maybe that was it. She couldn’t remember. Another check in the box. No white hat either. There were a couple brown ones, a gray one, and whatever. All rather nondescript, not new or especially attractive. Except for one. It was black plush with a faux leopard brim. Pretty hat. Nice hat. Nearly new hat. After a bit more discussion and confused, evasive responses from the little old lady, Rachael and Fred gave up.

“Here,” one of them said, “Do you see your hat?” And they set the box of lost hats on the counter.

Guess which hat the little old lady zeroed in on! You got it! The nice black plush with the faux leopard brim! Pretty hat. Nice hat. Nearly new hat!

Are you sure this is your hat? It isn’t red or blue and it certainly isn’t white. Yes, yes, yes. The lady remembered now. This is her hat. Rachael said, “Well, if you lost it last week, this one has only been here since Tuesday…”

Were they trying to keep her hat!? She wanted to see the manager! This was her hat! They wanted her nice hat for themselves. (oh, yes. Like Fred wanted the girl-y hat! lol)

They had her sign the lost item pick-up slip and she trotted out of the store with her nice hat.

I wonder if the real owner ever came looking for her nice black plush hat with the faux leopard brim.

The Ramifications of Peace

Well, everyone has gone off to work and peace has settled over the house. At least as much peace as is possible with two little dogs and one big brown lummox. Maxim goes out in the morning and comes in invigorated by the fresh air and his relieved bladder. Then he is ready to romp and the little dogs are ready to sack out again for a couple hours. The ensuing disagreement is very noisy. Two 10 or 12 pound terriers can’t really have much impact on an 85 pound lab, but they certainly give it their best shot. Grandma always has to step in and say, “That’s enough. STOP!” before everyone finds a nap spot and quiets down. It’s like having kids again. Sometimes Maxim even gets sent to timeout in his cave under the kneehole of the desk.

So now, Sebastian is on my lap, Gable is curled up among the bed pillows and Maxim is using one pillow in the appropriate way with his head and ‘arm’ cradled on it. The cats are sitting on their tower and the window seat looking out at something…I don’t know what. I can’t see anything, but they evidently have very good imaginations. Soft music is playing and the whole neighborhood is quiet. This really is a wonderful place to live. It is an upscale area where almost everyone in gone to work or the office by 9:oo am and there is very nearly no traffic, no kids and not even housewives walking a dog. Except for the one house I can see out my window, I could easily believe I was ten miles out of town in the country.

I was thinking this morning of the verse in Psalms, Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165) I was focused on the thought of ‘Great Peace” and how blessed it is. When I consider the state of our country and economy and society in general it would be easy to be caught up in the turmoil and have my peace destroyed. But our security rests in the Word of God and the things He has promised us. Jesus told us, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ( John 16:33) What a blessed assurance. And He even told us the source of that peace, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.” You know the wonderful thing about the Lord is that He prepares us for every thing we will have to face and He tells us ahead of time to be prepared. And all we have to do is love his law. Then we not only have peace but we have great peace. Fantastic.

And then in Psalms David says, “nothing shall offend them” That is those who love the law of God will not be offended by anything. I considered how often today people choose to be offended. One of the words I find overused in our vocabulary today is “disrespect” and we often hear it said, “He was disrespecting me.” (What is unfortunate is that it is most frequently used by those evidencing no traits worthy of any respect) But my point is that these folks are choosing to be offended by something someone said or did.

I used to tell my staff who became upset when a child called them a nasty name, “If the shoe doesn’t fit, you don’t have to wear it.” In other words, if you haven’t done anything worthy of the name they cannot offend you, or “disrespect” you by using it. The name doesn’t describe you. It doesn’t fit you and you need not claim it. Only if you claim it does it 'disrespect' you.

Okay, I’ve gone around Robinson’s barn, but my point is that some people choose to be offended at words; so can we choose- allow- our peace to be offended. We can choose to worry about the state of the economy. We can choose to be in turmoil about the morals of today’s society. We can choose to be radical about the political climate in our country. I’m not stupid. I know the state of the world today. And I know that many scimitars hang over the head of our country. But I choose not to allow those things to offend, to disturb, me. And all of those things, if we allow them, will offend us, destroy our peace.

Or we can love the law of God. We can focus our thoughts and our energy on the Word of God. We can rely on Christ’s words and know that even though we see and have tribulation all around us we can still have peace in Him!! But only if we choose it!

Now isn’t that mind boggling.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chrsitmas visit!

Donna and Ron, Michael’s parents, visited Sunday afternoon.
This was their Christmas visit that got delayed for some reason that I don’t remember. They’re wonderful people and I was as happy to see them as Rachael and Michael were. They are both the kind of folks that you feel you’ve known your entire life from the moment you meet them.

Donna is one of those great moms who love to give their children things and happens to be in a position to do it. She is able to get things whole sale and at reduced prices through her job—my kind of job, I think. She came bearing all sorts of exciting things from Kleenex in bright foil boxes to Johnsonville brats, to specialty teas, to tiny jars of Knott’s jellies, to boxes of sugar-free hot cocoa mix , to fancy holiday nuts and I can’t remember everything! Oh yes, three big jugs of Tide laundry soap. Wow! I was like Christmas all over again. Which, I guess, it really was since neither they nor Rach and Michael had been able to make the trip over the holidays. They live 6 hours south in Kentucky.

Donna and Ron visited with Freddie and his family –especially their twin baby girls!—on Saturday afternoon and evening. Rachael and Michael drove down to be together with them in the evening after Rach got off work. They had just moved into a new house a couple or three weeks ago and everything is still topsy-turvy (Can you imagine moving and organizing a household with 2 ½ month old twins, a pre-schooler and a 7 year old! Give me grace. I’m surprised they are still sane.) But none of that mattered. Everyone enjoyed the time together. And they brought back lots of pictures to show me of the baby girls—cuties for sure!

Ron got busy with Michael and we had the first “roaring fire” that our den fireplace has had since we moved here. What is it about a fire in the fireplace that makes things feel homey and cozy? I dunno, but it does.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

cat haiku

paws tucked under
snoozing daintily
peaceful catnap

Living in the World

I was studying this morning on the idea of ‘eternal security.’ I frequently deal with those who claim to have been saved, but their lives reflect nothing of salvation. Oh, their mouths claim it on regular basis, but no one sees it in action. Long ago, brother Emerson Wilson spoke on the subject and I came upon the sermon. That is what I was studying in conjunction with my own notes.

How blest we are to be able to live a victorious life in Christ. So very many people are falling so far short of what God has for them without even knowing there is something better. I once attended a Baptist service where my cousin was speaking. My heart ached at his sincerity and his yearning to draw close to God. And yet, yet the damnable doctrine of “we can’t live without sinning” was blocking him from stepping into all the glory of true fellowship with God. I thought of how dark the glass was that he was peering through; he had an inkling of what was available to God’s Children but was barred from reaching it because he refused to acknowledge that there was sin in his life that he did not even see the need to remedy.

What is even sadder is that there are thousands of men and women yearning to know God but bound in that false doctrine. They are taught by a ministry that is ordained by Satan and continues to teach that “sin you will, sin you must, sin you can’t help yourself.”

It is even sadder to consider that many of those trapped in the teaching feel that they cannot even understand the Word of God by themselves. Oh they read it, but when they find things that would indicate that they must live righteously before God, they take the revelation of the Holy Spirit to a false minister! There they are told that they do not understand what the Word of God is telling them because it is in direct opposition to denominational doctrine! Thus, they believe that they, individually, must be led by a Man rather than by the Holy Spirit.

We are missing our calling when we spend so much time fellowshipping with those who are following God in the fullness of truth. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, we NEED that fellowship; we are blessed and encouraged by it; there’s nothing wrong with it. But we need to be spending more time among those who are being deceived by Satan, not to fellowship with them (because there can be no true fellowship with false religion) but to have acquaintance with them that they can see our daily life portraying righteousness. Sometimes we view our witnessing as just going to people and telling them what truth is. And somehow we think that our simply telling them should carry enough weight for them to change their lives—on nothing less than our say-so. But they need to SEE the truth in action and they cannot do that unless we are spending time with them.

Some times we so compartmentalize our lives that our real contact with people in the world is minimal. We go to work for eight hours and rush around doing our jobs—doing them responsibly as unto the Lord, but still very involved with the “Job.” And when someone seems depressed or in need of a kindly ear or a moment of sympathy, sometimes we don’t have time (because we do need to give our employer an honest day’s work) When someone comes to us with ‘boyfriend’ problems we can only see that they are living in fornication and not take the time to really listen for an opening to demonstrate the beauty of salvation with them. But we are so involved with living our lives in the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in the Lord that we can’t take an afternoon to have dinner and shop with them to open the door of communication. And that is he only way we are ever going to win them.

Of course, I look at it from a woman’s point of view, but I’m sure there is a similar track that men follow.

The situation is serious. The once-in-grace doctrine has made tremendous inroads among sincere people. We must make ourselves available to be the instrument that reaches out to portray truth to them, not by “preaching” (as we are so prone to do) but by putting ourselves in the position that they can see our godly life on a day-in, day-out basis.

Only by demonstrating the truth of the claim that righteousness and holiness is possible in our lives can we put a lie to the doctrine of “sin you will sin you must, sin you can’t help yourself.”

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I recently read a devotion that quoted the scripture from Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: but the word “mind “ was replaced by the word “imagination” "Thou wilt keep him peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee."

It took me aback at first because I immediately noticed that the verse was not "translated" quite right. Then I looked into a couple other translations, (KJV and the amplified) and began to understand what the writer was getting at. So many times we view the imagination as a negative activity, one to be avoided in our Christian walk. But we can put it to work in our life for God. A person devoid of the capability of 'imagining" things that are not seen ( even Paul knew about this! ) has no basis for comprehending all the glories that God has for him. Imagining can provide greater heights and ambitions in our Christian walk if used properly. For instance, what can we imagine God can ever do for us?

We must, within the envisioning power of our "imagination," comprehend what He has for us. The worker for God who has no imagination will easily become bogged down in the day to day grind and the trials of his work. He cannot see how God will bring him through the hard places. When the time of trial comes, our faith and the Spirit of God and our ability to "imagine" better and more glorious times will make us able to comprehend the great possibilities of what God will do for us to bring us through the trial!

As we stretch the limits of our imagining power to comprehend all the mighty works God has done, we can envision all He has promised. Our imagination reaches out to create a marvelous image it all! And that image strengthens us and encourages us. I've lived my entire Christian life this way and NEVER realized it!

One of the greatest images of my experience has been from the old testament when repeatedly the Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm of God is portrayed. (And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders Deut. 26:8 for one example) In so many trials and hard places when my faith was at low ebb, I had an enduring vision of that Hand and Arm of God doing the same thing for me that He had done for Israel. Read that verse. Can't you just SEE it before you! And you know what? That arm has done exactly the same thing moving on MY behalf--so real I could almost see it with my physical eyes. Praise the Lord!

Oh my goodness. I'm blessed!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Anecdotes from Krogers

My daughter works at Krogers. Yeah I know, exciting fact. Anyway. She seems to have an affinity for the elderly and those who have special needs. We learned early on in our family that some thing that would frustrate and anger us beyond sanity lost their edge if we could find the humor in them. So without any intention of maliciousness she gets many chuckles from the many characters she meets daily. You will hear these from time to time since she comes home and recounts them to us.

Phyl-Phil and Phyllis

A woman frequently comes in to purchase her groceries. She introduces herself as “Phyl, Phil and Phyllis” She is truly a multiple personality and when she speaks with the staff it is key to know which person is speaking because another may interrupt the first to dispute a statement, either yours or her counterpart’s.

The first day my daughter met her she came in with a handful of coupons. She took a cart and started down the aisle. As she walked through the store she was muttering to herself. When she came closer to the desk my daughter realized that the personalities were arguing among themselves as to whether or not they could afford certain items and whether or not a certain product was liked by the other two personalities! The purchase of the item depended on either the more forceful personality (at that moment) or a vote of 2 to 1 carrying the issue.

Amusing, but fascinating. How amazing is the human mind!

flu haiku

head aches, sore throat, too
tired body, I’ve got the flu
oh groan, let me sleep

Monday, February 9, 2009

Flu Bug

Michael was off work for two days last week--stuffy head, sore throat, generally achy. He is pretty determined about not missing work but the dizziness that accompanied the whole thing finally put him down. He got back to work on Friday and said it seemed like Monday all day,

I got a little chuckle out of the whole thing. He suffers so well. Men can be strong and carry out their work against heavy odds, but when they are sick or injured, They can be so pathetic. And they love being babied! Notah was the same way. I'm sure he still is.

Rachael was coming down with the same thing last evening. She only put in a partial day today, coming home at 3:30 or so instead of 5:30. I already had the roast on for supper so she could go straight to bed. She slept till nearly 7 and I was in the process of getting supper together when she came downstairs. She already had something planned so she took over and put the rest of supper together quick. Michael cleaned up afterwards and got the dog food ready. Rachael went back to bed until about nine then got up for a hot bath and vicks then back to bed. Fortunately tomorrow is her day off. She looks pretty pathetic, too.

I told her I would have something ready for her to eat if she'd give me a call when she was ready to get up tomorrow. That way she won't have to do much moving around and can go back to bed quickly. Hopefully we can get her over the worst before she has to bo back in to work Wednesday at three.

Whatever this bug is it is really tearing through the population. Michael said there were four people off at his place of work. And several had called off at Krogers. Whew.

Ghost Towns

For someone who is to all intents and purposes, a ‘shut-in’ my days are really full! But now I’m back.

The other day I was looking for some scenery pictures of NM to put on my screen saver. A rich part of the history of the southwest is the many ghost towns. Small settlements would spring up for a while because of a mining strike or crossroads area; they would exist for a few years and then when there was a change in local circumstances would be abandoned. Sometimes the inhabitants took time to pack all of their belongings but other times they left with only food and clothing, leaving tables, chairs, stoves and other furnishings. The history is rich and intriguing.

There is a fascination in looking at the photographs of lives gone past. There is a degree of sadness attached also. You can’t help but wonder what events caused the moves that left the empty lonely rooms. The abandoned houses are slowly falling back into the earth.
I saw one photograph of a house in Tennessee (I believe.). After much peering I finally made out the remains of a chimney and some boards of a fallen roof beam. Everything else was covered with vines and bushes. Young trees had grown up where a woman cooked and children played. Wild animals have burrowed and lived under the decayed floors. It was a sad picture.

Those abandoned towns…Some of them the people probably left voluntarily, others had time to prepare for the departure. It is evident by the contents of the abandoned buildings. Some had evidently been prepared for the departure. Belongings had been packed and removed tidily and efficiently. And the people had left the empty house in good order. Others had obviously been forced to leave quickly and against their will. Their belongings were left scattered and broken with the empty buildings.

I thought how much it was a portrayal of the way we abandon our earthly bodies when God declares that our time on earth is ended. We leave it. Instantaneously. We take nothing with us. We “walk” away and abandon it.

Men and women may spend all their days furnishing their earthly life with fine things, but when God says “It is enough” they leave it all.

Those of us who have lived for the Lord have our affairs in order. We prepare for death and put away everything of importance. When the time comes to leave these empty houses we leave without a backward glance. We have the assurance that we are moving on to a better place.

The rest of the world spends their days collecting bits and pieces of earthly valuables, not necessarily concrete physical objects, but the trappings of emotional attachments and security. They are placing value on the things of this world rather than things immortal. When
God ends their time, they cling desperately to the things they have gathered until, at the last moment, they must leave it all behind.

But whether we have prepared or not, our earthly houses of clay fall back to the earth from which they were made.

My life is in order. My emotional valuables of earth are all packed away and disposed of. When the Lord calls, I can leave this house with never a second thought. There will be nothing to hold on to nor anything to regret leaving.

Now don’t worry, Notah, Rachael, Dianne, and Buster. I’m not being depressed and morbid but I was just thinking. Just remember But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. Philippians 1: 22 -24

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Carbohydrates, sugars and diet!

I’ve spent the last few minutes going through my saved websites regarding carbohydrates. The doctor says don’t have diabetes but I must control my blood sugar because it is higher than she likes. Cut out the simple carbs. Period. I’ve been fascinated by the whole carbohydrate picture. It is very complicated, but I think I have a handle on understanding it. I have cut the breads, pastas, crackers. potatoes and rice from my daily diet. I’ve been eating just meats, vegetables and fruits, generally fresh, allowing myself only one simple-carb per day, maybe potatoes for supper or toast for breakfast. And Wow. The impact it has had. Not only does it control blood sugar, but there is a weight loss component included as a bonus!

Rachael went on the same food agenda as I did (mostly to keep me encouraged I think) and because her excess poundage was much less than mine, the weight loss was immediately apparent! Her clothes are noticeably looser in a little less than two months! I keep teasing her about her baggy pants and she keeps complaining that she is afraid of losing them!

I knew the starchy-carb free diet would be good for me, but I never suspected it would have such an impact on weight. I guess that was kind of stupid but I really didn’t. I mean I liked fruits and veggies and meat anyway, but I was eating them in addition to the bread and so forth. Leaving them out has really had an impact. I wish I could say I’m looking like a skinny Minnie, but that will be a while.

Meantime, anybody who is looking to lose weight really should look at this plan. It really is easy and because I liked fruits and vegetables anyway it hasn’t been hard. As Rachael said this morning, after about 7 weeks we have reached the place where foods heavy in simple carbs make us feel too full and sluggish. Not only that, the complex carbs keep the body satisfied longer. Last week Rachael had a very busy day and she and Michael had a lot to do so she decided we would do fast food. Carbs and more carbs!! That Arby’s French dip sub tasted really good with the fries, but by ll:30 my stomach was actually rumbling and aching. That hasn’t happened in weeks. I went to get a pear and a slice of cheese.

So take my advice, just dump all the “white foods” from your diet. (That’s the easiest way I’ve found to think about it without actually going and looking up the glycemic index count for each food.) Be honest and don’t cheat. Also of course leave out the candy and cookies that may not be ‘white’ but you know the 'white' is hidden by baking or coating or whatever.

I've found it easy. And it really works a million times better than counting calories and measuring portions.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Steel gray skies above
Frozen ground, white drifts underfoot
Winter’s cold patterns


My day started very early with a phone call from Notah. I love it when he calls. We seldom discuss anything of earth shattering importance, just the everyday kind of things about work and kids and snakes and so forth. But it is so good to hear his voice. I send mental thanks to Verizon wireless constantly that I can talk so regularly with him and Kerra and the kids. It makes them seem so much closer. I know about their dogs and cats and daily doings—not quite as good as seeing it all live, but certainly better than having to depend on letters or expensive land line calls.

After a long lazy weekend Rachael and Michael have gone back to work. Rachael had three whole days off. That is such a rare happening. Usually her days off come in the middle of the week. I like having her here all day, but Michael likes to have her home with him once in a while on weekends too. This weekend was particularly special because she got to go with him to two hockey games and watch the super bowl with him. Now she cares about as much for the super bowl as the dogs do, but she sat with him and fixed him hot super-nachos and a pizza and cheered at the appropriate places—granted not as enthusiastically as he and I did, but she made the effort. Michael was beaming. And then the Cardinals lost. Bummer.

We finally managed to get the dogs all of their rabies shots and buy their tags. In Columbus, rabies vaccinations are required before you can get a dog license. I didn’t worry too much about rabies vaccinations before I moved here. I’ve lived in town and the dogs have been in a fence with not much chance of getting bitten. But Westerville is very populated and I was afraid if they waited too long, a dog would get lose and then there would be a big hassle. I read someplace that canine rabies was pretty well wiped out, but the danger was from skunks and raccoons, etc. Hmm. That’s all I’ve ever worried about. There were never any rabid dogs around that I’d seen, but in the country there were rabid skunks and raccoons turning up every once in a while.

I remember that Grandpa Elliott used to entertain us kids with stories of “mad dogs” from the days when he drove a produce/tinker’s wagon around the Gallipolis area in southern Ohio. Once one came trotting down the road as he was loading the wagon after a sale. He paid no attention to it, but it never varied its course, going right past the rear wagon wheels closer than a dog would normally run. As he stepped up on to the wagon it nearly brushed his leg. The dog turned its head and snapped at him and kept on going. As it snapped he realized that it was drooling and dripping bits of foam from its jaws. Scary stuff when you’re 8 or 10 years old before the advent of television and special effects! He told us other stories but that’s the one that stuck with me. It is too bad that America has lost the custom of grandparents telling stories of the “old days” to their grandkids. We have lost a rich source of history and family ties.

I never saw the farmhouse my mother grew up in but I have a vivid mental picture of it from my mother and grandmother. Many other places I never saw are laid out and well populated in my mind from those stories. Too bad they happen so seldom into day’s world of movies, tv, videos and internet. Kids were much more wholesomely entertained by grandmother’s and grandpa’s stories

Then I remember some of the things that happened when I was a child and even as an adult. What a fantastic thing the human mind is. Those things are still crystal clear and a word or sound or fragrance brings them right to the front of my awareness.

But then too, did I take my meds this morning? I spent a while figuring that out yesterday. Reminds me, I’d better stop and do it now. Yep, the mind is a fascinating thing!