Sunday, June 15, 2008

Time is up!

Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

My husband, daughter and I are at the Interstate Battery Convention in Washington, D.C. It has been a relaxing trip for me, work, work, work for my husband and daughter. It's a lot of behind the scenes people who pull off a large convention.

Traditionally on Sunday of the convention, Norm Miller (owner of Interstate Battery) holds a "church service" of sorts for all the convention goers. Norm became a Christian years ago and offers the same opportunity for everyone who's at the convention.

This morning's service was to be a question and answer time with Jimmy and Patty Makar and the guest singer was to be Toby Mac (formerly of dc Talk). Norm and the Makar's sat on the stage and talked about their partnership, how they initially met, their teaming up with Joe Gibbs racing, choosing Dale Jarrett as the original Interstate race driver (Patty is his sister) and how the Makar's came to give their life to Christ at a Super Bowl chapel service. It was interesting listening to their reminiscing about the past, and I think everyone was enjoying the time. We all knew once Norm was finished speaking with the Makar's he would offer an opportunity for all to make a decision for or against Christ. He was explaining about Grace and God's free gift in the form of His Son, Jesus. He went on to say that time is short...we do not always have time to decide...

All of a sudden my husband jumped up and rushed out. My daughter and I were startled and didn't know why he was running from the room. Looking up I saw a crowd had gathered around someone on the floor on the opposite side of the balcony from us. I could also see someone doing CPR on whoever was on the ground.

Norm didn't realize what was happening in the balcony and had continued speaking, but was interrupted by someone calling for a Doctor. Several nurses came running to their aid and they began taking turns doing CPR. My husband called immediately for an ambulance...it felt like forever for those of us watching before the EMT's arrived. CPR continued...each yelling as the next took over to keep the compressions going. The EMT's worked along side the nurses and would yell clear each time they shocked him...4 times they yelled "CLEAR"...to no avail.

Time seemed to stand still. Henry, the Interstate Chaplain came up to be with the wife of the man on the floor. As he knelt down beside her I heard someone near me praying and I could see most of the crowd had their heads bowed praying for the EMT's, for the man on the floor, for his wife, and for Henry as he comforted her. Norm prayed several times from the stage as we all waited in silence, willing him back to life.

Twenty-four long minutes passed before they got him up on the stretcher and moved him out to the hospital...but in my spirit I knew...he was gone.

Norm announced that the service was over and they would not continue on with the music. It seemed fitting to end now. All left the large banquet room in silence. Norm's last words from earlier filled my mind..."there's no time like the present. We don't know when life will be over."

We heard after the fact that it was the wife, who is a nurse, that immediately began the initial CPR. She kept telling the others, that were also working on him, that he was gone. She knew as soon as she began the CPR that he was gone. She told Henry that she felt his presence leave, but she was at peace. Her husband did know the Lord. He had spent the morning with her, happy at breakfast and was smiling as Norm and the Makar's were speaking...nodding in agreement that no one knows the hour they will be called home.

Who knew, that at that exact moment, he would be called home? None of us knows the hour or day that our time here on earth is finished, but we do know we will each stand before the Lord to account for our time here. I pray that each of my days and moments are honoring to Him and that I am living my life to the fullest knowing at any moment I'm ready to leave. What needed to be said has been said, what purpose I have been given is being completed and I can stand and hear..."Well done, good and faithful servant. "
SELAH!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

McKinney Garden Tour

Yesterday was the McKinney Garden Club Home and Garden Tour. There were 5 houses and Gardens on the tour this year. Each garden was lovely, and each was different...and most of the homes offered a fest for the eyes!

Great Koi pond!
We loved all the mailboxes on the fence.
I liked this antique wheelbarrow.
Pretty home entrance. My husband needs this sign for the side yard!
One way to keep your house cooler...

We loved how this bucket filled up with water, then dumped it's contents. There were also cute little birds on this water feature.

Great fireplace area outside. My favorite home - patriotic - red, white and blue...my kind of home!
Door to nowhere!
And my winner of the day was the Kerby home. Built in the 1920's it was once a duplex (the side door to nowhere!) The house was renovated from a duplex to a 3 bedroom 2 bath house that is now warm and inviting and definitely red, white and blue...I loved it all. They just need to move out so I can move right in! I'll start packing..............

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Blogging is GOOD!

Blogging is Good for you . . . Or so says Scientific America!
But...we already knew the benefits.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bad News

I got a call from my dad...my step-mother’s cousin, Nelson, is sick. His daughter, Laura, called to break the news that his cancer is back. He had prostate cancer and has been clean for several years, but Laura said today that it was back. It has metastasized in his liver, he has a mass in his stomach, and there is a tumor (or a clot) in his main artery.

I just saw Nelson two weeks ago! We made a very spontaneous decision after Sunday lunch to go for a drive and ended up in Henrietta (116 miles). We stopped by his house to surprise him. His granddaughter, Brianne, was there...she was supposed to be cleaning his house, but she was outside with her horse. Nelson was inside taking a nap and Brianne said he wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t want to wake him, but Brianne insisted she’d be in big trouble if Nelson knew we’d been there and she did not wake him from his nap. Because the trip was so last minute I had not grabbed my keys to the gate of the farm, so I also needed his key to get into the pasture.

He looked tired, but as always, his spirits were up. He doesn’t have much by today’s standards, but he has a joy and sincerity that you feel just by spending time with him. He loves his laid back life, his horses, his little house and his two daughters and his grandchildren. Nelso, and his family, have had a huge influence on my life.


In 1959 everything in my life changed...my dad remarried and three months later my brother, sister and I went to live with him and my new "mother".

Over night we had adults in our life everyday...people who seemed to care about us...but I was suspicious. We'd been abandoned before! I was ever vigilant and always looking for signs that we'd be dumped again. I lived in fear that we'd be sent back to my mother...and once again I would be in charge of the three of us. But... I was wrong. Order came to our chaotic lives. We had food, we had consistency, and to top it off, we gained a whole new family.

The Steindam family was my step-mother's aunt, uncle and cousins. They lived on a farm, 100+ miles North of us and once school was out, church camp was over and the summer stretched before us, my brother and I would be sent to "Aunt Sadie's" to spend a couple of weeks.

Aunt Sadie never met a child she didn't love with her whole heart...and she lavished that love on my brother and I. We were sponges, soaking up every kind word and gesture. I think back on that time and know it was the only time, as a child, I truly felt safe. She didn't treat us like the "step-children" we were. She reinforced daily that we were loved and told us continually about the love of Jesus.

Each morning Aunt Sadie made us breakfast - fresh milk and eggs (I preferred yesterday's milk because it was cold!) In the evening's I rode behind Nelson on his horse to herd the milk cows home.
Nelson was 10 years older than me and my brother and I thought he could do anything! He was a "bigger than life" cowboy. He could ride, he could shoot...and he spent time with us. He took us with him when he left the farm. He talked to us like we mattered...and I think that meant more to us than anything. Aunt Sadie, Nelson and his sister JoAnn - they heard us. They listened. They cared...and for two love starved children it went a long way toward healing us and creating a trust in adults we didn't have before.

Nelson's farm is down the road from our "little farm house"...and it's where my children spent many magical hours. He is still a bigger than life cowboy to my children and they love him deeply. They knew Aunt Sadie...and knew the same love from her that I received as a child.

Aunt Sadie has been gone for several years...and now, Nelson is sick. My family is losing a great uncle, loving father, grandfather, brother and most importantly a friend. In my selfishness I want Nelson healed...but the Lord loves Nelson (more than all of us)...and He has his best interest at heart. SELAH

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blackberry Time

I can pick blackberries morning and evening - but we can only eat so many a day! This is just a "small" area of where the blackberries are taking over. There are so many new ripe ones each morning when I wake. I try to get out early (before the heat) to pick the over night ones - and back outside again, after dinner when the sun is low to pick the ones that have ripened over the course of the day.

I pulled out my recipe box to look over all the goodies I can (should) be making daily...plus always putting a bunch into the freezer for later in the fall!

This morning we had a handful on our oatmeal. Another hand full (just picked) for snack. I also made a pan of sherbet. I actually made the base yesterday afternoon. What a mess! I neglected to screw the bottom on the blender properly, so when I picked up the blender to pour the mixture into my chinoise to strain out the seeds....well, let's just say it looked like a flowing fountain. All over the counter & the blender...lovely site.

Once cleaned up...I made more and poured it into my pan to freeze for 8 hours. Once it's frozen I have to break it up and mix it with a blender/mixer...then back into the freezer for 3 more hours. That's where I'm at now - ready to put back in the freezer so it will be ready for dessert tonight.
YEAH! Now what? Cobbler? Jam? Pie? Cheesecake? Rote Grutze? Blackberry blintzes? Kuchen? (Wonder if I can make pflaumenkuchen and substitute blackberries...think that's on my list for tomorrow!)
For now...I'm thinking I need to perfect a blackberry margarita recipe...refreshing for those "front porch Friday's".....off to the kitchen.........................................

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fear

I have been working on several mixed-media projects for my Best Friend RT and her two nieces. I finished a book of “heart” scripture for RT and made a collage’ for M, who is graduating from High School. I have also finished a book for H who lives with fear and can, at times, feel paralyzed by it. She is afraid of flying, fearful of the future (the price of rice or gas), whether she will have enough money in the future, a job? So much worry! I can’t even imagine that kind of fear...so I thought I would make her a little book full of scripture she could turn to when she feels fear creeping into her life. She can also record her thoughts and her blessings.FEAR! Does everyone have a secret (or maybe not so secret) fear that plays into who they are? What they will, or will not do? Do my fears paralyze me or propel me forward? Do they prevent me from doing/trying new things? Are they strongholds in my life? Have I missed out on opportunities in my life? Do I talk myself out of “great” experiences and opportunities because I am fearful of not measuring up, not succeeding and more importantly...failing miserably. Yet, I know I have made choices in my life to try and down play those fears. I have chosen to live my life, up to this point, by only undertaking tasks in areas where I know I am gifted, accepting opportunities that play to my strengths. Obviously I only take “risks” when I can predict the outcome!
By living my safe, somewhat “wallflower” type of life-style, I have discovered that if I’m not willing to fail, I’m ultimately choosing not to succeed at anything. All my life I have assumed that I was the only one who had been affected by my decision to not take chances. In the end…I may have regrets of not being involved in something, or I may wish that I would have engaged in this or that. But I had convinced myself that “it’s not hurting me or anyone else.”
But the more that I thought about how fear had incapacitated my life, I began to think about what it had done to me spirituality. I began to wonder…“How many opportunities had God invited me to be a part of that I had blatantly responded by saying, ‘No, God, I won’t do it.” An even scarier question is…“What if my fear has such a stronghold in my life that I will never be who God called and created me to be?” The obvious follow up question then is, “Am I choosing to ignore God’s will for my life because I’m not willing to trust Him fully to equip me to do the things He called me to do?”
I do understand that fear translates to mistrust. By living in a constant state of fear, I am ultimately telling God that I do not trust Him to meet my needs. I don’t trust Him to know what is best for me, and I don’t trust Him to be who He says He is. So for me, I had to ask myself what type of God I was talking about. I am talking about the One who, in Jeremiah 29:11 says that He has, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Does this sound like a God who I can’t trust? One of my favorite scriptures that captures the very heart of God is Psalm 139. I like to meditate on how much God truly cares about me, how intricately He created me. Based on these verses there is no doubt in my mind that the God who created me in His image, created every specific detail of my being, created me for a specific purpose and has a clear-cut plan, or will, for our lives. This is the God who decided the color of eyes I would have, what my laugh would sound like, the things that make us each come alive, and how many hairs are our on our head. He knows the things I will do even before I have a chance to do them. The only problem with becoming who God called me to be and fulfilling the plan that He has for my life is that I have a choice in the matter. I can either accept the invitation to the adventure that God has called me to. Or I can, out of fear, choose not to.
Scriptures to Combat Fear: Psalms 34: 4; Isaiah 35:4; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 54:14; 2 Cor 7:5; 1 John 4:18; Psalms 23:4