Sunday, January 31, 2010

No Snow For Haiti











These pictures show two of my friends in Haiti. Joe Arbaugh on the right, with his brother James. And my friend Karen, sitting at the table. Karen had to get a shot of cortisone in her hip before she left, and she took her cane, just in case. The other two pictures show the big snowstorm we had last night. Sunday School and church were cancelled, and schools are closed on this Monday. The snow is beautiful. It covers everything. It is white and cleansing. No snow for Haiti.

It is too cold and snowy to go out.
My friends are battling heat and humidity in Haiti.
I ate a frozen pizza for dinner, and burned my mouth.
I thought of my freinds in Haiti, eating rice and gravy.
I took aspirin because my back hurt.
I thought of the ones with broken backs and legs in Haiti.
I don't like having to get up early tomorrow.
Haiti.
My hair looks awful and needs cut badly.
Haiti.
Life is all about perspective, isn't it?

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in.
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me..."
Matthew 25:35




Saturday, January 30, 2010

Country Church






What's this we have here? A charming country church for my Sunday post. Let's get closer and take a peek inside, shall we? Well, there's a Christmas tree, an altar cloth, even a piano. But the poor pastor must have been having an extremly bad hair day! He looks kind of like he's gotten a bad electrical shock from all the surrounding lights! My,oh my, someone bring a comb quick! But there's something that's just not quite right about our little church...I confess it's not an actual church! In fact, it's barely four feet high, and I towered over it as I took my pictures. This is another display from the Festival Of Lights in the city of Staunton. I just had to get out of the car in the dark, carefully walking around all the cords, and peek inside. And my eyes beheld this room full of worshipping little people! I walked away charmed, but feeling the need to diet stronger than ever.

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." Matthew 18:19,20



Friday, January 29, 2010

A Blog Award!!!!


I got an award for my blog!! Have you noticed this on my sidebar in the last couple days? I know I maybe shouldn't be bragging, but in a way, that's what these awards are for. And this blog is about what happens to me in my everyday life. The award is from my blogging friend, Stephanie V. in Canada. She has a great blog loaded with interesting photos and stories. She posts often, and it's always fun to check out her blog. You can find her on my sidebar, "Hookin', Knittin, & Livin'". Thanks so much, Stephanie! You've made the New Year for me!!! Stephanie said this award was for my look at life in all it's oddities. Well, I never even thought of my blog that way!! Sometimes it can be surprising to find out what others think of us. Come to think of it, I don't think we can see ourselves as others do. Wouldn't it be great if we did? If your friends could describe you in one or two sentences, what do you think they would say? What would you want them to say? Anyway, I just love her description of me! I love strange, offbeat things, and am glad that I have imparted some of that in my blog.


"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Great Wall?













On the news today, it was reported that that China has just built a chocolate theme park, using 176,000 pounds of chocolate. Everything in the park is made of chocolate, including clothes, real size cars, and a replica of the Great Wall Of China. When it showed The Great Wall Of Chocolate, I snapped the first two pictures. That's when I knew what today's post would be. The rest of the pictures are the real Great Wall, as taken by my son and daughter-in-law when they went to China three years ago. That is them in the last picture, Mike and Melissa. The Great Wall is one of the seven wonders of the world, over 2,000 years old, and the largest man made structure in the world. There is a fanciful tale that a friendly dragon traced out it's course, and the workers just had to follow it's tracks. The other day I laughed when I read that the day after the wall was completed, the neighbor's dog got through! Seriously, though, people being what they are, it didn't take long to figure out how to get through. They simply bribed the guards. There's probably not a wall anywhere that someone can't get through if they really want to. What say you, are walls ever a good thing, except for protection against floods and nature? Back in prehistoric times, when I was a girl, if a neighbor built a very high fence, it was called a "spite fence". But I haven't heard that term used in many moons. Here is the account of a perfect, impenetrable wall. Zechariah 2:3,5 says "Jerusalem will be a city without walls....and I myself will be a wall of fire around it," declares the Lord, "and I will be it's glory within." They will need no walls, because they will have God himself as their wall. Nothing can get through a wall of fire, can it? Fire can expand to accomodate more, or shrink to protect better. A promise of hope and comfort for the future to encourage the people of Jerusalem. Walls and fences, do they divide or protect?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Have You Seen The Little Piggies?













Does my title look familiar? It's a line from an old Beatles song. I think it is called "Piggies". Probably my least favorite of all the songs they did. Here are some images of pigs that I've run into lately. The first three pictures are from a festival of lights in Staunton, Va.. It's a display made by our local credit union. And I must say it's clever, since pigs are associated with greed, and this is a banking facility. The other picture was too adorable to resist snapping. It's a piggy bank at a local art show. I snapped the last picture from our T.V, just for fun. It is Dora The Explorer; an episode when she runs into the Pirate Piggies. When the three year old girls come over, they adore Dora. Pigs get a bad rap. They are all smarter than dogs, and can learn new tasks within five to ten attempts, on a par with or better than a chimp. They will learn to follow word commands, and years later still remember them. And the mother pig sings to her babies while she's feeding them. Remember the story of the mad man in chains who Jesus cured by sending the man's demons into pigs? The pigs then ran off a bank into a lake and drowned. This story must have a pretty important message, because it's in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all three. Two interesting things I found in this story. After Jesus performed this miracle, the men told him to go away. Yes, they were afraid, but they didn't like it that their source of livelihood, the pigs, were dead. Financial gain was more important to them than people. But not to Jesus. He saw this repulsive man in chains living in a graveyard, and helped him, thus showing us not to let appearances sway our decisions of who we help. The cured man then wanted to follow Jesus, and in one of the few times ever, Jesus told him no, to stay, and go witness to his family. My commentary says this makes sense because the people there had seen the way this man had been before, so would really believe he had been healed. So he needed to stay where people knew him in order to have a believable testimony. They say you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but I think in this case, Jesus did just that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Garden Of Spiders
















This is another post from The Festival Of Lights at Louis Ginter Botanical Garden. The Garden Of Spiders, ick!!! We had to walk past them quite a bit to get to most of the other things. The last two shots are about the same, but the last was taken with a flash and the one before it without one. By now you know that I have arachnaphobia (fear of spiders). To read about my history with them, and read what kind of webs they weave on drugs and in space, check out my post from Oct. 8, 2009 "A Wisp Of Gossamer". Have you heard of a Spider Orchid? It doesn't look like any kind of flower. It's a plant to induce nightmares. To see the pictures I took of one, check out "Spider Veins" from Oct. 24, 2009. I am still very afraid of spiders, but have gotten a nice reprieve from them with all the snow. Yet ever since autumn I keep running into images of them to post. So though they are mostly gone, their images are everywhere to haunt me. When I took my pictures of hay bales, sure enough, there was a bale made to look like a spider! You can check that one out from Nov.19 "While the Sun Shines". So I still continue my quest to find ways to get rid of them or kill them without getting close. The best was my bug stick shooter, but I broke it from overuse and can't find another. Till then I will continue to keep you updated on any and all spider run-ins. As usual, I'm sure there will be plenty.

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea"
Psalm 46:1

Monday, January 25, 2010

Flower Power







I took these pictures earlier this month at Louis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va.. Their festival of lights is incredible. This is a giant coneflower made from lights. I wish now that one of us would have gotten in one of the pictures to show the scale. Each petal was 20 feet long. We made two trips there in order to see everything, as there was so much walking involved. A freezing night to walk around, but worth it.

"You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
My God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop,
With my God I can scale a wall."
Psalm 18:28

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cloudy With A Chance Of WHAT?













A while back, our local T.V. channel had a tour for seniors and we got to go behind the scenes in the studio. The weatherman showed us the green screen that the maps are shown on and let us stand in front of them and pretend to be weathermen. The first picture is my friend Debbie and me (I'm the one pointing) and the next picture is Phil. Look at the T.V.'s behind us, we are weathermen! You can even see me taking Phil's picture. The real weatherman showed us all his weather computers and told us how they predict the weather. And this weekend, that very same weatherman said that there was a chance we might get FROZEN FOG. Yikes! I had never heard of such a thing, and was so curious that I researched it. I found out that there are at least 13 kinds of fog! Who knew? Remember those strange misty photos I posted last week? That was Valley Fog, or Tule Fog. Among others are Upslope Fog, Hail Fog, Precititation Fog, etc. Frozen fog is also called Ice Fog, Air Hoar, & Frost Fog. It is a fog where the droplets have frozen into extremly tiny crystals of ice in midair. They actually hang in the air and do not fall. I don't think we got any, at least I never saw it. I did not take the last picture, but it shows leaves with frozen fog on them. It is light, soft, and feathery, not like ice. It can cover whole houses. Here's something else that God did with frost that is even more amazing "When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor." Exodus 16:14. The Israelites didn't know what this was. Turns out it was food made by the hand of God, because they had been in the desert a long time and were hungry. God actually made their food and sent it special delivery from Heaven. And I'm sure it had no trans fat, preservatives, or gluten! Every single thing a body needed was all in that one perfect food. The great love of God did this. And He's the only weatherman that really knows anything.
"He sends His commands to the earth;
His word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool
And scatters the frost like ashes."
Psalm 147:15

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rebounding




Boing , boing, boing!!! Guess what I was doing just a few hours ago? We were at our friend's house checking out her new trampoline. Excuse me, that's rebounder. Trampoline is not the poltically correct name anymore. My friend is amazing. She has osteoporosis, and is always looking for new gadgets to build bone. But not the usual kind of thing. Wacky and wonderful gizmos, one after the other. Once she got a vibrating disc to stand on. That scared the cat. She has medical studies on the science and physical benefits of rebounding. Improves circulation and balance, aerobic etc. So I thought this might just be the thing for me. Because, let me say that you will never know anyone clumsier than me. I have bruises constantly from walking into door knobs and frames. I had to go to the E.R. once due to an injury from putting on my underpants. Feel free to laugh. Have a good one on me. I also have no balance or equlibrium, and suffer from vertigo sometimes. So can you even imagine me just trying to get on this thing? Phil got on first so he could tell me how to. Everyone was probably amazed that I got on. Then I began to bounce. Just bouncing, as my feet never even left the thing. I had my sturdy Crocs on, and did not want to jump out of them. Boing, boing, boing!! Every time I went up, my head got pressurized. It felt like my brains were coming out of my ears. I am still dizzy. It affects no one else this way, only me. Sigh. I might have known. But I don't need this thing, because I am already a human rebounder, and so are you. We go down, then rebound again and again every time God forgives us. And he forgives us every time. Isn't it amazing, there's no number or limit on it. No "Three strikes, you're out". In a previous post, I said that I don't think New Year's eve is all that special, because every morning is like a small new year with God. "...his compassions never fail. They are new every morning..." Lam. 3:23. Every day we wake up to a new chance and a new start, from the One who makes all things new. This clumsiness is only my earthbound body, not me. My real citizenship is in Heaven and my real body strong, powerful, and glorious. And that would be due to all the rebounding.


"Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins....
He will not always accuse,
nor will He harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103


Friday, January 22, 2010

The Face Of An Angel











Come along with us and our little friend, Ella, on a trip to Mardi Gras. Just kidding! Ella is so sweet, and has the face of an angel, and a few days ago, we gave her a sheet of stickers when we got in the car. Upon looking back at her, this is what we saw. She had made a sticker mask over her pretty face! She asked us to stop twice and remove some because they were in her eye and covering too much of her nose. But she still wanted to wear as many possible. The last time I removed a few, she was dejected. "Oh, no!" she wailed, "Now I don't look silly anymore!" This gave me quite a chuckle, and I assured her that she still looked plenty silly. Do you remember who had to cover their face in the Old Testament? Moses, after he had talked face to face with God. In Exodus 33:20 God says "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." But Moses did. In a way, anyway. I'm assuming that God modified His presence somewhat. But even so, just being in God's presence made Moses glow so brightly that the Israelites found it hard to look at him, and he had to wear a veil after he would speak with God. In the New Testament, here's someone else whose face may have glowed. Stephen, when he was on trial. Acts 6:15 tells us "All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel." Now some folks believe this means that Stephen looked very peaceful and calm, others believe it was a true transfiguration, so his face would have actually glowed like the face of Moses. I chose to believe this supernatural explanation, because why else were they all staring so intently at him? My husband said this shows that people whose hearts are very hardened won't even believe a miracle when they see it. I guess the most important thing was for them to be right. We may not have the face of an angel, but I believe that we glow just as brightly to God when we do his works. And some work I need to do in the morning is getting all the stickers out of the car!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birds And Booze




Today is the answer to my mystery bush. Who would have thought it would have a direct connection with hard liquor? But I'll get to that in a minute. Beverly and George in Tennessee guessed what it is. A Juniper! Juniper berries have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, including king Tut's. The Greeks used them in many of their Olympic events. They are used as seasonings in foods, and McCormick sells bottles of them in a dried form. Juniper is what is used to flavor gin. That's right! The name "gin" itself is derived from the French "genievre" or the Dutch "jenever", which both mean "juniper". Juniper berries are not tasty, and wildlife leave them alone till the winter, when they fall on hard times. Junipers help pull the wildlife through really tough times. They provide shelter, food, protection, and are one of the top ten plants for wildlife. All kinds of birds, including grouse, turkeys, and bluebirds devour the fruit. During one cold day, a single bird may gulp down 200 berries. And I've never heard of even one getting drunk!!


"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they." Matthew 6:26

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue Berries In Winter







We saw this shrub the other day
With berries that were pretty blue
Out came the Nikon from my purse
What was this bush? I wish I knew

Against the wall of "The Olive Garden"
It grew unkempt and wild
And as we went inside to dine
It really made me smile

I asked a waitress passing by
What the shrub could be
She said she'd never noticed it
But now she's curious to see

The meal we ate was wonderful
Our trip had been so merry
And as we ate I had to wonder
Would the birds eat those blue berries?

I said to Phil "Our friends will know
As soon as we get home"
A girlfriend knew; it's in her yard
So then I wrote this poem

So can you guess what this shrub is
With berries brightly blue?
Come back tomorrow, when I'll say
Or else you'll wish you knew.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti


Today when I looked at our local paper,this is what I saw. This is a picture of our friend, Joe Arbaugh, and his brother James,in Haiti. Joe is our minister of missions to Haiti,and his brother James lives in Haiti,working at Hospital Albert Schweitzer. Joe left for Haiti almost immediatly upon hearing of the earthquake, to join his brother in helping.Both of these men have a deep love for the Haitian people and many friends there. His e-mails from Haiti are filled with unimaginable horror. I don't have the words for this post, so I will write parts of a prayer for Haiti by Diana MaCalintal:


Lord, at times such as this
When we realize that the ground beneath our feet
Is not as solid as we had imagined
We plead for your mercy.

As the things we have built crumble about us
We know too well how small we truly are
On this ever-changing, ever-moving
Fragile planet we call home
Yet you have promised never to forget us.

Comfort them, Lord, in this disaster
Be their rock when the earth refuses to stand still
And shelter them under your wings when homes no longer exist.

For though the mountains leave their place
And the hills be tossed to the ground
Your love shall never leave us
And your promise of peace will never be shaken.

Our help is in the name of the Lord
Who made heaven and earth
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Now and forever. amen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Black And White World








Our Shennandoah Valley is nestled within a circle of mountains, and yesterday a mist had settled down in the valley. Driving around to do errands in the middle of the day, I took these pictures, which have not had the color modified.

When the mists have rolled in splendor
From the beauty of the hills
And the sunshine, warm and tender
Falls in kisses on the rills
We recall our Father's promise
In the rainbow of the spray
We shall know each other better
When the mists have cleared away

If we err in human blindness
And forget that we are dust
If we miss the law of kindness
When we struggle to be just
Snowy wings of peace shall cover
All the pain of endless days
When the weary watch is over
And the mists have cleared away.

Annie H. Barker & Ira D. Sankey
slightly modified by me

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Have You Seen The Saucer?










If you did not read my first post about our new flying saucer, and the funny story which happened the first time we tried to fly it, check out "Our New Toy" from December 20. This little saucer is amazing; it is not remote controlled! So we've been having a blast showing it off to friends and family over the last few weeks. But while they are watching the saucer, I am enjoying watching them when they see it. Everyone is amazed. But along with that, they all seem to have slightly different reactions. Some are skeptical, some laugh out loud, some can't wait to touch it and try it out,some are puzzled, some are kind of scared. So it's been interesting to see how our different friends personalities react. In a much earlier post, I wrote that I don't think real flying saucers should be of any concern to us. This is because if it was important, Jesus would have said something. And also, we have enough concern with being our own little light here on earth, so we don't need to go looking for mysterious ones not of this realm. Satan is, in fact The prince of the power of the air. Watching the reactions to the saucer got me to thinking of people's reactions when Jesus returns. There will be plenty of amazement then, but we as Christians will certainly not be puzzled or skeptical.


"So if anyone tells you 'There he is, out in the desert',do not go out; or,'Here He is, in the inner rooms', do not believe it. For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son Of Man." Matthew 24:26 The only thing that we need to be looking up for that matters is Jesus.