Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Corner view---reflection

Reflection of 'stuff'
an accumulation of individual items
each with its own spot and purpose.

But jumbled together so some remodeling could be completed
to aid in selling the house,
the result is more of a hodge podge
that does not effectively reflect our lives.

Now the hodge podge is all packed away
in carefully marked boxes
and stored until we buy another house.

This photo was taken before the stripping of walls
and packing of boxes.

You see a contemporary metal vase
with real-like flowers,
a stained glass edged mirror,
and a tiny print of Ireland
where we celebrated turning 50 together.
This is a much more coherent reflection of the mix that is us.

But if you look closely at the mirror,
you will see a corner of 'something' reflected

It is a quilt made by a grandmother
handed down with love.

This reflects our foundation:
love mixed in with frugality
and a strong work ethic.

There were daughters in the family and no sons.
This graced one of their beds.

There are other reflections.
Those of nature in bodies of water.
I find peace in water.
I can sit and ponder beside a lake or the ocean for hours.

Some reflections are bright.

Others are more somber.

At those times, my thoughts aren't as clear
just as the water is murky and less reflective.

Sometimes, the reflections can seem menacing,
showing forms hovering.
Other times the reflections are crisp and clear
and I perk up just gazing at them.

Reflecting with God's Word:

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee,
saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand,
and when ye turn to the left.
Isaiah 30:20

Looking up

I think this was one of those moments when I took the camera
and pointed it up the massive rock
into the sky winking at me

I like looking up
and I like just pointing the camera up and clicking.

I don't look up as in, "Wow, look how far I have to climb!"
I really, really, really try not to be that type of person.
I prefer looking down and saying, "Wow, look how far I've climbed!"

Despite chronic depression, I'm an optimistic person.
 I don't shout it from the roof tops;
mine is more low-key foundational. 

I do let my depression visit occasionally.

I find that if I don't invite it in for a short visit,
it sneaks in and hides.

This creates far more havoc,
because depression then insidiously nibbles
at my mind and emotions 
while I blithely think,
"Hey, I'm doing great!" 

I don't permit lingering,
but we do exchange thoughts.

After its departure, I know myself
a little better
my compassion and patience jar is a bit fuller.

Then I take my camera and look up in wonder and awe
and then look down in wonder and awe.
The wonder and awe parts
are the key
at least for me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday's Prayer

The greatest dream I have for my life and the deepest desire of my heart is
(name your greatest dream).
I surrender that dream into Your hands this day.
Take the desire for it out of my mind and heart
if it is not of You,
and help me to die to it completely.
If it is Your will for me, I trust Your to resurrect my hope
and make the dream happen in Your perfect timing.
I give You all the gifts and talents You have put in me
and ask that You would use them for Your glory.
I rest in the joy and peace of knowing my life is in Your hands.

Blessed be the LORD, because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusted in Him,
and I am helped;
therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
and with my song I will praise Him.
Psalm 28:6-7

Blessings to you as you begin your week.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Inspectors and the End of the Week Psalm

End of the Week Psalm

Mike and I got two burdens dropped on us
 the termite inspector
the building inspector.

The termites were dealt with five years ago and are gone.
However 'dust' from that time was not cleaned up properly.

Therefore we have to have a termite specialist
come in and spray or whatever they do
(to kill the non-existent termites)
at a cost to us, of course.

Mike is a builder, a plumber, and an electrician.
There was nothing to be found wrong in the house.

But he feels building inspectors have to find something wrong
or they're not doing their job.

So Mike has to replace the main water valve
which is supposedly leaking.

It is not; Mike knows what the guy did for it to appear that way.

The city of Cincinnati will have to turn our water off.
Mike will have to replace the valve;
the city will have to turn the water back on,
and the inspector will have to approve it.

My husband was quite discouraged last night
and plain angry.
He's beginning to feel that this house in Cinci is going to bury or 'drown' him.

I pray that no more 'snags' come our way
and that we close on it May 13th as planned.

The following photos are of the stream that runs next to our park lake/reservoir.
I was tromping around there last Sunday afternoon.
SAVE ME, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.

I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters, where the floods overwhelm me.

Psalm 69: 1, 2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
 shall abide
under the shadow of the Almighty
[Whose power no foe can withstand].

I will say of the Lord,
'He is my refuge and my fortress;
 My God, in Him I will trust.'

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the perilous pestilence . . .

Psalm 91: 1-3

He shall call upon Me,
and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 91: 15

He sends forth His commandment to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.

He sends out His Word, and melts [ice and snow];
He causes His wind to blow,
and the waters to flow.

Psalm 147: 15, 18

Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you,
and you shall glorify Me."

Psalm 50: 14, 15

Blessings to you all as you enjoy the weekend!
Meanwhile my husband is rearranging his basement workroom and sorting and tossing.
Hmmm--a release of frustration perhaps?!

(I'm staying upstairs.)

UPDATE:A friend in Cincinnati who is a plumber (who does work on the side)
 is going to take care of the water valve problem.
He has the equipment to turn the water off and back on
(something your average homeowner doesn't have).

It will cost Mike a case of beer one evening this week.
The guy has the new-fangled valve that the inspector wants put on,
so the logistics of that problem is settled.

Mike is less irritated tonight, but still frustrated. 
His time in Cincinnati this week has become more complicated
and will have to last longer.

Please keep the closing of the house in your prayers.
Thank you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Signs of Spring

 Tiny signs of spring erupting in my yard.

 I had to look harder to find them at the park lake, but they were there.

I zoomed in on these branches, not sure if I was seeing correctly.
I couldn't get closer unless I wanted to risk falling in the lake.
That decision was a 'no-brainer'!
Happily, I was seeing correctly (while keeping dry).
 The buds showed up wonderfully when the photo was downloaded.

 I grinned when I saw these two---a sure sign that southeastern Ohio has agreed
 to allow spring to show its many 'faces'!

Blessings to you all as we wrap up the week tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Corner view-four-legged

No-kill cat shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio

They have 600 cats about half of which are FIV (feline version of our HIV) and
or have feline leukemia.  Obviously the sick ones are kept apart from the others.
All the folks are volunteers and they do an awesome job of caring for these lovely
creatures.  There is also a dog part of the shelter, but this visit was of the cats only.

                                            Part of Francesca's Corner-view-four-legged

Monday, March 21, 2011

More on Hocking Hills and The Beginning of the Week Prayer

Here is a picture of the cabin we stayed in last August on our Hocking Hills vacation.
This is a view from the back.  If I stepped back a little bit more, I'd be in the lake!

We left for this vacation the day after my husband's last day with his company in Cinci
(at least as a 'company man'---he's now an independent consultant for them).

We were about to begin a new phase of our lives---living together continually again
after living apart for six years.
We had concerns.
We were stressed.

So we headed to a beautiful area of southeastern Ohio for some peaceful privacy.

This is a photo of part of the private lake.  A young couple are carrying on the family business
of protecting the land and yet sharing it by renting the cabins built by family.
The rates are quite reasonable and you don't have to rent a cabin for an entire week
which is often required by such set-ups.

Now, time for the Beginning of the Week Prayer!

Dear God,
I lift to You the things in my life that try to steal my peace and my rest.
I surrender to You the situations
I face that I feel I cannot accept.
Although I get impatient for these things to change,
help me to learn to  be content and peaceful
in the midst of them
because I trust You to do the right thing.
I trust that You love me enough to always bring good out of the situation.
Help me keep my eyes on You and look ahead to the day
when these things will no longer trouble me in any way.

By Stormie Omartian

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
Philippians 4:11

The Rock House Area near Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio

We have accepted an offer on our house in Cincinnati.
Please pray that all inspections and the bank appraisal goes well.
We are tentatively to close on it May 13th.

Blessings to you all as you begin your week!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Psalms, students, research projects, and Hocking Hills

Saturday night and still no Psalms. 
 It was a tiring week that ended
with me sending three boys to the office second period
making three other boys stop watching basketball (on in the library!)
work on their research projects instead (6th period).
That same period
I wouldn't allow a girl to work on her history homework instead of researching
her project.  

Then seventh period two boys were roaming the halls instead of sitting  in my room
watching To Kill a Mockingbird.

I was not a happy teacher throughout parts of Friday.
I was also not a popular teacher throughout parts of Friday.

Popularity is over-rated.
Happiness is not.
So I looked and found it:

 Testing is over and for that I'm grateful.

A quiet girl rattled on and on to me about her home
and her dogs and her life while we waited to be released from the testing rooms
to our regular classrooms.
I didn't know she could talk that much
 smile that much!

 The other 27 students in sixth period
were busy researching their projects on modern day slavery
and excited and shocked and curious and astounded.

They chattered and wrote and brought up sites, crying out,
"Hey, look at this!"

Some topics: child brides in Afghanistan
boy soldiers in Uganda/East Africa
human trafficking in: France
human trafficking in India
also in Ohio (yes Ohio)
and Texas
Nike's sweatshops
Chinese sweatshops
Hong Kong (not sure what direction that one is taking)

This is a follow-up to our American lit unit that touched on slavery
the underground railroad, and the Civil War.

They thought slavery had been eradicated.  That bothered me.
They are our future. 
 Shouldn't they know what's happening,
 so maybe just maybe
 they can help stop it?

Besides, I was tired of reading research papers on legalizing marijuana,
right to life vs. abortion, pros and cons of capital punishment, etc.

The projects have to be multi-media and their imagination is the limit.

I'm excited. 
 So are they--except for the three boys who wanted to watch the basketball play-offs.
Wah! (Big smile on my face).

{The girl trying to do history ended up finding an outstanding news video clip
on her research topic.
She was thrilled.  So were her group mates.  So was I.}

  Time for the weekly Psalms.               

Here are some pictures from our vacation in Hocking Hills this past summer.
I'm not sure how well they fit with the Psalms, but I wanted to use them anyway!

O Lord God of hosts, who is a mighty one like unto You, O Lord?
And Your faithfulness is round about You.

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
the world and all that is in it,
You have founded them.

The north and the south,
You have created them;

You have a mighty arm;
strong is Your hand,
Your right hand is souring high.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before Your face.

Blessed (happy, fortunate to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound;
they walk, O Lord in the light and favor of Your countenance!
In Your name they rejoice all the day, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.

For you are the glory of their strength [their proud adornment],
and by Your favor our horn is exalted as we walk with uplifted faces!

For our shield belongs to the Lord. . .

Blessed be the Lord forevermore!
Amen and Amen.

Psalms 89: 8, 11 - 18, and 52

Blessings to you as you finish up your weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Balancing Act


A Balancing Act

With sensitivity to God's guidance through His Holy Spirit
neither friend falls off.

I'm especially grateful tonight to a friend whose experience is helping me balance.

And hope maketh not ashamed;
 because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the  Holy Ghost
which is given unto us.
Romans 5:5

A brief bit to share with Emily's Imperfect Prose on Thursdays

Monday, March 14, 2011

Give Thanks

When you arise in the morning,
give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength.

Give thanks for your food,
and the joy of living.

If you see no reason for giving thanks,
the fault lies with yourself.

Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

Monday Prayer, Aaron's birthday, and OGTs

This was Aaron on his first birthday. 
This past Friday he turned two.
When I get an emailed photo of
him on that day, I will post it.

You can check him out on Aaron's Day

Here are pictures of his birthday party.
I was supposed to be there to help
out, be a part of this celebration,
 and see my newest grandchild.

But God told me "No."  He said
this quite a few times--I felt a check
in my spirit every time I'd get online
to get plane reservations.

I did ask for the reason, so that I could
better explain it to my daughter as this had
been set up early in her pregnancy with Abby,
his now new little sis.

Sara knows of my 'gut feelings' and knows them to be on target.  Still I wanted a definitive
reason besides "I have a check in my spirit--God is telling me not to come." 

 I revealed and she understood and respected/appreciated that I was obeying. 
 Obedience has not been a strong point of mine in the past.  It's an area in which
 God and I have been working together on improving. 

So Aaron turned two with me in Ohio.  I called him on his birthday and made a
special e-card with photos and music that he can watch on the computer.
 Some gifts are on their way.  Mike and I hope to go down there in June
 and spend some vacation time in Dallas with Sara and family
and go on down to Austin for a few days.  I've never been to Austin
 and have wanted to go, so this might be a good time for that also.

Therefore my newest grandchild, Abigail Elizabeth Allen will be four
months old before her fourth set of grandparents see her. 
But that's okay---it has to be.  I will be able to be much more relaxed
and will also be able to spend more time being grandma to her and her big brother.

Anyhow, it's time for the Monday Morning Prayer. 
We begin OGTs (Ohio Graduation Tests) today and they will be for
two hours each morning all five days.  Only the freshmen and
sophomores will take them, so the juniors and seniors get to
sleep in and come to school at 10 instead of 8.

The freshmen will take a half of a practice test and then grade
 their work with the teacher.  This helps them know what to expect
and helps us teachers get it graded.  We have a stat sheet set
up to record the data to help us know what to work on to get
 them ready for the 'REAL ONE.'

The sophomores have five grueling mornings covering science,
social studies, math, and two tests English:one in reading and one in
writing.  They have to pass all five to graduate at the end of their
senior year.  They can retake them multiple times.  We presently
 have five students who 'walked' last year with their class,
 but their diploma case was empty.  And until they pass that one or
 more OGT, they will continue to not have a high school diploma. 

It will be approximately two months before we know who passed what.
 We handle these test like their gold bricks from the US Treasury
Department. They must be sent back to the state with no mistakes
in how we handled them.
 It's all in paper form; no computer testing for us.
Mrs. E's. state has it done on computers and
they know the results almost immediately.
 Oh and their testing time is much shorter.

To say I don't agree with Ohio's system is putting it mildly.  However, the tests
 are much better than the ones we used to do.

Please pray for patience for me and the other staff members.
 This week is tough on us all.

Here's the Monday Prayer by Stormie Omartian:

Lord, I commit my work to You, knowing You will establish it. 
 May it always be that I love  the work I do and be able to do
 the work I love.  According to Your Word I pray that I
will not lag in diligence in my work, but remain fervent in spirit,
serving You in everything I do.

Establish the work of my hands so that what I do will find favor
with others and be a blessingfor many.  May it always be
glorifying to You.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen.

------------------------GOD'S PROMISE----------------------
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. 
     When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy,
                            and it shall be well with you.
                                       Psalms 128: 1-2

Praying for a blessed week for us all!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

End of the Week and Beginning of the Weekend Psalms featuring sky photos

[Sing praises] to Him Who rides upon the heavens;
the ancient heavens;
behold, He sends forth His voice,
His mighty voice.

Ascribe power and strength to God;
His majesty is over Israel,
and His strength and might are in the skies.

Psalm 68: 33, 34

The clouds poured down water,
the skies sent out a sound {of rumbling thunder};
Your arrows went forth {in forked lightning}.

The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind,
the lightnings illumined the world; the earth trembled and shook.

Psalm 77: 17, 18

Yet He commanded the clouds above
and opened the doors of heaven;

Psalm 78:23

THE HEAVENS declare the glory of God;
and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork.

Psalm 19:1

Let heaven (the angels) praise Your wonders, O Lord,
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones (the holy angels).

For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the mighty [heavenly beings] can be likened to the Lord,

A God  greatly feared and revered in the council of the holy (angelic) ones,
and to be feared and worshipfully revered above all those
who are round about Him?

O Lord God of hosts, who is a mighty one like unto You, O Lord?
And Your faithfulness is round about You
[an essential part of You at all times].

Psalms 89: 6 - 8

HE WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall remain stable and fixed
under the shadow of the Almighty
[Whose power no foe can withstand].

I will say of the Lord,
He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God;
on Him I lean and rely,
and in Him I [confidently] trust.

Psalms 91:1, 2

{For me Friday night is neither part of the week or the weekend;
it is the short period of time in which I recover--not plan, not do--recover.
This recovery time is to appease my  fibromyalgia.
It requires this rest time
and I've learned to comply 
so it doesn't wreak havoc in and on my body.}

This is my explanation as to why this weekly post is done on Saturday mornings
and not Friday nights.

May the "End of the Week and Beginning of the Weekend" Psalms
bless you as you go about your lives.