Friday, February 27, 2009

Sweet Spot Friday

Have you tried Sweet Tart Jelly Beans?

I'm not a big jelly bean fan but I do enjoy sweet tarts, especially the chewy ones, so these jelly beans are a hit with me. Finally jelly beans I can feel good about buying!

Have a sweet Friday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Have You Had Your King Cake Yet?

Tomorrow is the last day for King Cake!

We had our King Cake tonight and it was so exciting! This is only the second year I've had King Cake so it has not been a long standing tradition, but I love traditions old and new.

From what I have read about this tradition the baby hidden inside represents the baby Jesus. The excitement is in the search for the baby. It is symbolic of the three Kings having to search for the baby Jesus so many years ago. If you find the baby you are entitled to special privileges, but you also have the obligation to supply the next King Cake. Some cultures have this as part of Christmas celebrations, but here it is part of the Mardi Gras season. I read that King Cake is not available until Jan. 6th and that some people have weekly King Cake parties up until Mardi Gras.

The little girls were thrilled to have the beads and gold coins from the top, but they were more thrilled when we decided to eat the whole cake so that we could find the baby. It was a rather festive time with laughter and excitement as we kept eating and searching. After eating the whole cake (yummy) we still did not find the baby. Wonder what it means if your cake was sans baby? Wonder if one of the girls was eating so fast she ate the baby? Wonder if the bakery worker was having a bad day and left it out on purpose...I can hear a wicked laugh as she was boxing it up...."Ah-ha-ha-ahahahahh! I have the King Cake Power!"

Of course, in reality it is meaningless, but oh what fun! Happy Mardi Gras!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Making Mud Pies

The sermon at church today encouraged us to serve an audience of one...doing the right things for the right reasons. A sermon like this does make you question why you do certain things. Do our acts of kindness or our service (ministries) fulfill a need for approval, keep our egos fortified? When we serve, do find ourselves feeling frustrated when no one tells us how helpful, wonderful, smart, talented, giving-fill in the blank- we are?

It boils down to this: our reward comes from whom we serve. If we seek man's pleasure then his words are our reward. If we seek God's pleasure our reward is in Heaven. Hmmm... temporary or everlasting? What am I after? If we do things for the right reasons we aren't offended when others don't recognize our greatness. If we do things quietly, just letting our lights shine out of love for God, then we are doing things for the right reasons, for the right rewards.

Pastor Dean used a quote from C.S.Lewis that struck me. Lewis likened our desire for man's praise to a child making mud pies in the slum, content with this, when what the child is really being offered is a holiday by the sea. OK, now I'll be the first to admit I Loved Making Mud Pies in the Holler! BUT, if I had realized I passed up a chance for a trip to the beach I would have been put out with myself.

Think about it. Man's praise is like mud my mind fun while it lasted but oh the mess it made...and if you didn't have indoor plumbing, oh how long the mud stayed. Didn't feel so good dried and cracked on the skin you missed as you swiped over it with a cold washcloth.

Oh how easily pleased we are by man.

My prayer is that I find my significance in Christ alone...and you as well. We certainly won't please all people all the time (trust me, I've spent years learning this the hard way with many sleepless nights) so why not just try to please One...God.

May you find the center of His will and live there.

What Happened to February?

Hey, has anyone seen where February went?

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Grandfather's Journals

I never knew where my love of journaling came from until recently. It turns out that the only other person in my family who we know journaled was my grandfather Graham. He was my mother's father...yes the one who orphaned her when she was barely a toddler...stories of him from several different people have portrayed him as quite an ungodly man.

I spent January engrossed in them, living in 1927 and then the last of the 30's and early 40's. We have about 12 years of his life recorded. They have been amazing to me for many reasons, but one is that we never knew this man and my mother's memories of him are not good. He is a complete stranger to me, yet I feel like I have gotten a chance to know him. Yes, he certainly had a dark side, but there was also a side that struggled with a relationship with Christ.

As I have read them I have "watched" the progression of a man home from the war, newly married with his first baby, making a place for himself, to one who allowed bitterness and several different women to lead him along a path of many frustrations. A man of gritty determination given to long hours of work, yet one who at times prayed nightly with his family. A man of great worldly success but little success with demonstrating love for his children. From his determination to buy a new Ford and teach himself how to drive and care for it to the man who wrote the letter to the local orphanage asking them to take my mom who he couldn't figure out how to care for...from his work as an engineer and politician to his being a man who fancied women to the point of being a doormat as they used him for his money...from his being a man of the world and all it could offer to the man who wrestled with the offers of God.

Through these journals I have been given the only picture of my amazing grandmother Pearl I have ever seen. A copy of an old black and white, with her head turned a little to the side. She was diagnosed with a "female" cancer when she was 39 and pregnant with my mom. She died when she was 42. Her life was a legacy that is still talked about in her hometown...not who she was in a worldly sense, but who she was in Christ. God's love was so alive in her life that whenever anyone mentions her name it is not without a testimony of her walk with God. As far as I know she did not journal...her life was an open book in and of itself.

My twin stayed with me this week and saw the picture for the first time. Young, blond, the picture of health sitting in front of the boarding house they owned with 5 small children (my mom wasn't born yet). I have heard my mom looked just like her and that I look just like my mom. Susie and I have had many great discussions about their lives, our legacies. Thoughts of Pearl and Nelson have played in the shadows of my mind all this week.

These journals have changed the way I am journaling and have compelled Susie to start journaling more. After reading Upsidedown B's post a little while ago, I have to agree with her. We are little history makers and how awesome for our children to know that God was the most important part of our stories... His Story. It has been exciting to not only read about the daily life of my grandfather, but also to know that God was a part of his grandmother did not live to see it, (no mention of him seeking God until after Pearl died) but her prayers have long outlived her. At least now I have hope that his soul was at peace with God when he died where before there was none.

Favorite February Scripture

I read these verses early in the month and have found myself clinging to the forgiveness and love they call us to time and time again. I tried to share this verse with a friend one snowy night and was unable to recall the words. I have not memorized them, but have clung to the message within.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy, and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

May God's love and forgiveness be so real in each of us that it is absolutely uncontainable.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Coins in the Meter

Where does the time go? The weekend is ticking away and I can't believe it is just about over. I try to put lots of coins in my meter so I am recharged for the week. It was a weekend packed full with fun things and special people...the coins that make life more joyful.

Hope you got plenty of coins to put in your meter this weekend.
Have a joyful week!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope your day is filled with sweet things!

Book Review #6-If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name

If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende
Pages: 281
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book is an enjoyable quick easy read. Heather Lende incorporates stories about other people from Haines, Alaska as she tells the story of her life. Since she is an obituary writer there is a lot of death so be prepared for that, but she is humorous and uplifting to read in spite of this. There is much to be learned from death...much to celebrate in life that we often take for granted.

I did have hopes that there would be many pages to dog ear, many passages with great pearls of eloquently stated wisdom. While I enjoyed it a great deal, I was a little disappointed by the lack of depth. This is the reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5.

Here are the three passages I marked:

Wild places are reminders that the world doesn't revolve around us. It doesn't care about our little successes or smashing failures. The tides ebb and flow and the seasons change regardless of how we live or die.

All these great old dames make me want to be like them when I grow up. I want to spend my life in the same place with the same friends and, after all those years in the same community still surprise people.

Only adults weep with joy. Children don't. They haven't learned how rare moments of true happiness are.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday Night Fun

Erin and I met friends at the local theater last night for this play. The three performers did a fantastic about energy. That was the hardest I have laughed in a long time. They involved the audience several times which Erin enjoyed. Although she wasn't too sure about shouting the line our section was supposed to shout, "Cut the crap Hamlet..."

Key Mystery Solved

So, I got a call at work on Thursday..."Hey, I'm at your house and I'm wondering if you still have the keys?"

A very happy friend indeed when she heard I still had her keys.

Scarf anyone?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Have you lost your keys?

We haven't had any random objects appear at our house in about a year. It looks like it is time for the mysteries to begin again.

Have you lost your keys? Really, I'm serious. We found a set of keys at our house. Looks like house keys, maybe a suitcase key, office keys, and a key faub. If this sounds like your key ring that you can't find give us a call.

Also, we noticed paper towels and a magazine label. A hint, your initials are JZ and you live in Southern Pines. We'd love to meet you. You may be wondering how your stuff ended up in our living room as well. Are the keys yours perhaps?

I have had the biggest laughs over this. So far none of our usual suspects have claimed the keys, paper towels, or magazine label. We never have figured out where a lot of the random items came from last year and this may be chalked up to more of our unsolved mysteries. (It would be interesting to know who the sheriff from Texas was!) If the mysteries ever stop I think I'd be bored. I'll have to pay someone to plant things then.

Also, there is a nice scarf on the wicker couch on the porch. I'll leave it there in case you want to pick it up.

Happy Monday!