Sunday, November 30, 2008

...what kind of people ought you to be?
You ought to live holy and godly lives
as you look forward to the day of God
and speed its coming.
-2 Peter 3:11b-12

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Color of the Day...

One of Olivia's favorite snacks is chocolate covered pretzels, so when I spied this candy mold at KMart the other day, I decided that perhaps it would be a fun thing for us to do together.

...and it was fun...for the first ten minutes until my patience ran thin. Warning: Don't try this at home when you're exhausted and grumpy because after working all night you rode with your friend 20 miles to the next town in order to pick up a Christmas layaway only to discover that your layaway slip is not in your purse. The line for layaway was long - and not moving. What was I thinking attempting this on 'black Friday'? There's a reason they call it 'black Friday'. I absolutely hate shopping on this day. This is the reason I usually have my Christmas shopping done in October. I should have known better.

I came home and took a nap. It didn't help. I still can't find the layaway slip that is lost in the black hole that is my house.

Black Friday.
Black Hole.

My layaway is still in the store. I'm not even sure why I have a layaway. Why I just didn't purchase the items on the day that I put them in layaway is beyond me. I guess I was thinking that it's less items that I have to store. Let them store them for me.

Let's go out to dinner....too late. Brillo Man and Olivia had already gone to a restaurant while I was sleeping. Enter frozen microwaveable burrito and a glass of Black Cherry pop.

Black Friday.
Black Hole.
Black Cherry.

Okay - back to the Christmas Tree Pretzels...they didn't turn out too badly for a six year old's first attempt.

I ate one too. What's this? ugh. A hair. One of mine...eewwww. There's a reason that the cafeteria ladies wear hair nets.

Black Friday.
Black Hole.
Black Cherry.
Black Hair.

Tomorrow we're going to my sister's for our family celebration. I'm hoping for a different color....

...gotta go work on my attitude...I'm praying for Pink.


Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
-Psalm 51:12

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Now, our God,
we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
-I Chronicles 29:13

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Lesson in Forgiveness

Last night at work, an RN phoned to say that she was attempting to add an order for a certain blood test on her patient who was due for bloodwork in two minutes. She couldn't get the information to go into the computer and she was afraid that she was going to miss the phlebotomist who had already left the lab on her way to draw this patient.

Yes - she missed the phlebotomist. Michelle had already left to go to draw the patient's blood. I commented to Aimee RN that in order to avoid having the patient have a second needlestick, she was going to have to intercept Michelle before she got to the patient's room because Michelle only had orders to draw one green top tube. The additional test requested required a blue top tube.

Aimee quickly responded with, "well, doesn't she have a bleeper or a doodad pager thingy or something?!" "Yes, Aimee, I will be happy to page Michelle, but there's no guarantee that she will answer the page before she draws the patient."

I paged Michelle.
No answer.

I called Aimee back. "Aimee, Michelle hasn't answered her page. You're going to have to go stand in the doorway of the room - or write a note to have her see you before she draws the patient in order to avoid having the patient stuck twice."

Aimee: "I can't! I can't! I have to go to report!"

At which point I wanted to scream! Forgive my language here...but 'screw report!' It takes two minutes to write a note and place it where my phlebotomist will see it in order to avoid an extra needlestick on a poor woman who is already a pincushion because she's a "hard stick"...a woman who is unresponsive (oh, so that means it's OKAY to stick her again and again...) who is unable to tell the phlebotomist that the doctor ordered an additional test and would you please check with the RN because you'll have to draw an additional tube of blood....

Right at that moment that Aimee was having a fit about being late for 'report', the phone rang - it was Michelle, answering her page. Situation handled. The patient was only stuck once. Thank you Lord.

Meanwhile, back in the lab, I was reduced to tears. And why? Because a patient's care may have been compromised due to the fact that this RN was going to stick to her schedule no matter what and give report at precisely 11:00pm? No...that's not why I was reduced to tears - although it certainly did upset me that the patient care may have been compromised. No...I was crying for another reason entirely...

Flashback - 3:00 pm June 28, 2002. Olivia was three days old. I had just been released from the intensive care unit and had not yet seen or touched my baby girl. Because I was so critical after her birth, I was relegated to the MICU while my daughter was in the NICU... Finally, I was well enough that they were going to take me to see her. I had begun my journey down the hall an hour earlier - but because of some medical complications that had to be addressed, I got a later start and my husband didn't wheel me into the NICU until 2:55pm.

Problem. Change of shift. Nurses give 'report' at change of shift. No visitors allowed during 'report' time. Because of confidentiality reasons, they didn't want anyone to overhear anything about any other baby in the unit. At that moment in time, all I would've heard was my sweet Olivia. I could have cared less about anything else in the world. All I wanted was to see my daughter for the first time.
Enter Cindy, RN. "Mr. and Mrs. Erskine, you'll have to leave, it's time for report." At which point, I completely lost it. I had waited THREE days to see my only child and now, as I'm standing within six feet of her isolette for the very first time, you're telling me that I have to leave because you're afraid I may overhear something about Baby A and Baby B while you stand and give report 25 feet away?! Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck at that point. I completely lost it. With sobs wrenching from the very center of my being, I allowed my husband to wheel me away from our daughter into the hallway where we had to wait for the longest 30 minutes of my life before we were allowed back into the NICU.

Olivia is six. years ago, I was hurt and angered by Cindy, RN. And last night at work, when those words came out of Aimee, RN's mouth..."I have to give report...." I realized that for seven years I have held onto the hurt and the anger of not being able to see my baby after waiting for three days. I have not forgiven Cindy, RN...all these years later.

Lord, finally, after seven years, you're causing me to see my sin. The sin of unforgiveness. Your Word says that every seven years a year of Jubilee was called. A year of debt forgiveness. Realizing that the debt was monetary....but similarly, this was a debt. An emotional debt. A debt caused by an RN who was so bent on sticking to her schedule that she wouldn't be flexible enough to delay giving report in order to allow a brand new Mother to see her baby for the first time. Perhaps it's because she had no children herself, that she didn't understand the yearning in my heart to see my child. Perhaps it's because she had worked in the NICU for so long that she had become calloused or desensitized. Whatever the reason. She owed a debt to me that I needed to forgive. Obviously, Cindy, RN knows nothing of this debt. For the forgiveness is not about her - but about me and the attitude of my heart.

Father, please forgive me for holding on so long to the anger I had toward this nurse whom You placed in a position to care for my precious daughter when I was unable to do so. Thank you for using such a creative way to get my attention - and for not letting this attitude of my heart go on for one more day. I ask that you bless Cindy, RN - wherever she is today. If she is still nursing, bless her hands as she works and cares for the babies you have placed in her care. Cause her to be loving and compassionate and not forget nor dismiss the emotional fragility of the brand new parents whom she deals with on a daily basis. May she know you as her Lord - draw her close to Your side. In Jesus' name, amen.

I have forgiven her. I am now free!

And when you stand praying,
if you hold anything against anyone,
forgive him,
so that your Father in heaven
may forgive you your sins."
-Mark 11:25

Monday, November 24, 2008

Days off....

Tonight I go back in to work --day number six of ten hour shifts. I am SO READY to be off for two days. Then back for one more ten hour midnight shift on Thanksgiving night...then off for FIVE GLORIOUS DAYS! Yahoo!

We'll be enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with my friend Dawna's family. Her daughter Mindie will be hosting at their home. On the menu: Turkey! I'm looking forward to spending time with them and their family and getting to know Dawna's mother, Beverly. I rarely have a chance to sit and chat with her. My guess is that she's an incredible woman, because she has produced an incredible daughter!

On Saturday, we hit the road and travel to my sister's in Ohio. Yahoo!!! Most of my family will be there to celebrate the holiday together. It's an annual get together for my family, which usually happens closer to Christmas but this year we've moved it closer to Thanksgiving with the hopes that we'd avoid bad weather. Mind you, two days ago, we were dumped on with 10+ inches of snow! Today it's been raining all day, so the 10+ inches of snow is now 3+ inches of slush which will probably freeze into 1+ inches of ice! That's usually how it goes. But, whatever the weather, our family always has a great time when we get together...and we always leave saying that we don't get together often enough...

In addition to celebrating the holiday together, my cousin's little girl, Makayla. will be turning five and we'll celebrate her birthday. On the menu: Ham and BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Then Sunday, it's off to Erie for two days. A friend at work walked in this morning and handed me an envelope with a gift certificate for an overnight stay and passes for four for two days to Splash Lagoon. She wasn't going to be able to use them before they expired and thought perhaps we'd enjoy some family time together. God is good! It would cost $300 if we were paying for the stay. But we only pay the tax --$20.23. I'll take it! An overnight stay at the adjoining Comfort Inn in a King Whirlpool Suite. One King-size bed, one-full size bed, a whirlpool tub, a refrigerator, microwave and big screen TV in our room. And we'll be "connected" to a HUGE water park with numerous restaurants and all kinds of fun things to do! Olivia has agreed to miss a classmate's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheeses because, "Mom! Splash Lagoon is WAAAYYYY better than Chuck E. Cheeses!!!"

I'm looking forward to all the fun times in the next week with friends and family. And I count myself super blessed. God has given me many gifts. None of which I deserve.

My prayer this Thanksgiving season is that we all truly look at our lives, and give thanks for the things that matter most. A relationship with Him - there's nothing that compares with knowing Jesus...

Be blessed today!!

I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
-Philippians 3:8

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I am blessed.

We have 12 inches of snow here. And the snow continues to fall.

For the past two nights at work, I've looked out the window of our 2nd floor laboratory down on my van - covered in snow. Four to five inches deep covered in snow. We're talkin' lots of snow. Throughout the night, every time I look out, there's MORE snow on the van. ugh.

This is NOT my van, but this is pretty much what it looks like from my vantage point --you get the idea...

Both mornings, I have dreaded the thought of going outside and cleaning off the van before heading home. Both mornings, as I'm putting my coat on to leave, I look outside and miraculously, my van is devoid of snow!

God has been sending an "angel" to clean my van! I don't know if it's my lab assistant or the guy from housekeeping or the maintenance man or some mystery person, but someone has been blessing me tremendously!

Whoever you are....I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things For Which I Am Thankful

1.) An unidentified coworker who cleaned the six inches of snow off my van this morning so I didn't have to do it --especially since I don't think I have my snow/ice scraper in the van!!

2.) A hot mug of peach chai latte tea and toast for breakfast.

3.) A 2-hr delay for school - which means no rushing around this morning.

4.) My very best friend who has invited our family to join their family for Thanksgiving dinner. Now I don't have to cook!

5.) Egg Salad sandwiches. I don't know just popped into my head...and now I'll have to go boil some eggs so I can make some egg salad later today.

6.) Brillo Man's agreeing to buy me a remote starter for the van so I can walk out the door at work on mornings like this and enter a nicely warmed vehicle. That's what I want for Christmas. I remote car starter. I don't know why I haven't thought of this sooner!

7.) Learning to knit (via YouTube) note: my very best friend did not teach me, although she did supply the knitting needles, so I guess I'm grateful for that!

8.) A warm house. Did I say warm? I meant HOT!

9.) Olivia's joyous excitement about all the snow. (Someone needs to be excited about the snow and it's not going to be me!) She wants to go out and play in it, before school. Nope....there will be plenty left when she gets home. In fact, they're calling for eight more inches.

10.) Being done with my Christmas shopping. Almost...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Room With a View

I awoke this morning to this magnificent view out of our bedroom window.

I just love to look at God's creation when it's draped in all that fluffy white stuff. (Note: the operative word in the previous sentence is "look".) I do not like to be out and about in this fluffy white stuff. This morning I opted to drive Olivia to school rather than have her ride the bus because I was meeting The Hens for breakfast. (HENS = Honoring, Encouraging, Nurturing, Sisters in Christ! Upon driving Olivia to school, twice I almost skidded into another vehicle. The roads were very slick. Today would've been a good day for a 2-hour delay start time....however, since our school district needs to have five feet of fresh snow on the ground and white out conditions before they call a snow day...we were outta luck. I had to deal with the roads. I'm grateful to the Lord for keeping us safe and for clearing the way when I had to steer the van into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of me.

By the time breakfast with The Hens was over, the roads were perfectly fine. Great -time to go shopping! ...And all is well in my world. At least until I realized that the Christmas shopping overdrew our checking account and I had to make a mad dash to the bank just minutes before they closed in order to make a deposit to cover my spree! Oy Vey!

I should've just stayed in and enjoyed the view!

He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
-Psalm 147:16

Monday, November 17, 2008


Today was my adenosine stress test. Brillo Man opted to stay home and pray for me as he is unable to sit in hospital waiting rooms for very long without experiencing severe pain in his hip. Therefore, my friend Dawna joined me this morning.

She knows everybody. And I mean everybody. So while we waited, we talked with everybody. Then she kept apologizing for talking to everybody! gee whiz! No problem! I was enjoying the much-needed distraction. All her jibber-jabber kept my mind occupied so I didn't have to think about the dreaded adenosine portion of my test!

While she talked she crocheted. In fact I'm not sure which moved faster, her mouth or her crochet hook! (Dawna, you know you love me!) Last week, when she waited with me in the Emergency room, she crocheted this neat little soap scrubbie holder thingy. It holds a bar of bath soap with a drawstring closure - for easy swapping of bars! She gave it to me. I love it.

Today, she crocheted a facecloth. Very similar to the ever-popular crocheted dishcloths, except the facecloth is made with a half-double crochet as opposed to a double crochet, making the stitches a little tighter, causing the surface area to be less nubby, allowing for a softer cloth. (Her explanation, not mine.) And guess what? She gave it to me. I love it.

I was thinking of making an afghan for Olivia's bed, but with work and all the other things I have going on in my life, I'm thinking that I don't have the time. Just how many hospital hours do you think I'll have to put in if I ask Dawna to make it for me while she waits?!?

....the results of the stress test haven't come in, although my cardiologist said that he's predicting they'll be normal and we'll be able to control this whole cardiac problem with medication. I'll let you know as soon as I know!

Thanks for ALL your heartfelt prayers! They were indeed felt by my heart and I'm filled with joy in knowing what wonderful sisters I have in the Lord!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fun at The Zoo!!

The Ascent to the Zoo

Moon Jellyfish

Posing with the giant polar bear statue.
We didn't get the statue though...don't ask.

Some kind of sparkly fish.

The Rhino

At the Waterfall

Polar Bear

Their paw prints sure are big!

The Bear Trap

One of two new baby elephants...
...eating her mother's fresh dung...

Posing at The Aquarium

One of the many gorgeous varieties of flowers

Popping up in the center of the stingray tunnel.
They crawled through and looked at the rays swimming all around.

One of many rays they saw.

His Regal Highness...

Inside The Elephant House.

Dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Recent Adventure

SO....I'm on my way to work last night....feeling not so good...having some achy, tightening, chest pain going on...with a lot of soreness in my neck, arm and shoulder on the left side. Mmmm? What to do. I'm on my way to work...supposed to work at 10 hour shift. I had called of the night before (something I rarely do - have only missed two days this year....) Now what?

I picked up my cell phone and called Dawna. Since she's a nurse and I didn't want to worry my sister (also a nurse) and my Mom (former CCU aide - with masterful knowledge of the workings of the heart due to her former job and life experience with Dad)...I called Dawna. I was hoping she would say that it was probably just gas or something. I knew better. But I was counting on her to lie.


She said, "I'll meet you in the ER." - and she hung up and that was that.

I arrived at work and told Sandy in registration (one benefit of working in a small-town hospital - you know everyone) that I was having chest pain and that I was just going to run upstairs to the lab to tell them I was going to be late while they checked me out. Nope. Sandy said, "SIT."

Within 30 seconds, they had me headed toward triage...and before I could take two steps, in walked my friend, Dawna. How she managed to get there so fast, I'll never know. She must've dropped everything when I called and out the door she went.

After the initial assessment, they wheeled me into a room and Renee wired me for sound - Jim started my IV and then some very sweet woman from radiology came and took me for chest x-rays. (wow...someone I didn't know...) I got some morphine for pain and some benadryl for the reaction I had to the morphine, And I even got an oxygen cannula for my nose...which I promptly put in my mouth. (don't ask.)

3 1/2 hours later, they wheeled me into my room in MAC (Medical Acute Care) and wired me for more sound - telemetry for the night.
In those 3 1/2 hours, I tried to phone Brillo Man at least 20 times. He wasn't answering. His cell phone must be out in the truck and he went to bed so he won't hear or see the house phone flashing that a call is coming in. I wanted to call my Mom, but didn't want her to worry - because I knew she would - but I also knew she would pray - but I also didn't want her to worry....ugh. I realize now that I made a mistake in not calling her - she is, after all, the one person in this world who cares about me more than anyone else ever will. I love you Mom, and I'm sorry I didn't call. Truth be told --I really didn't want people to worry and deep down inside was thinking that I'm not worth it - don't worry about me - there's more important things and people to worry about. Now there's a therapy topic for my next session with Lucy....

Anyway - Dawna and I spent 3 1/2 hours, laughing, crying, talking and just being the best of friends...having the kind of friendship that comes along very rarely in this lifetime. There was a time when I thought that we'd drifted apart for good - we took a "sabbatical" from our friendship for over a year. And now God has brought us back together - for reasons that are so clear - just as the reasons we drifted apart are so clear. Suffice to say that God's timing is perfect.

At 1:08am (I know it was 1:08 because I'm weird like that - and notice stupid, little details...) when they wheeled me into my room, Dawna left (without getting my my IPOD from my jacket pocket even after she said that she checked the van over for anything else I couldn't live without after I sent her out for the THIRD time to retreive stuff for me!) (What's up with that?!)

Jim, my ER nurse and friend, took both my hands in his and said with such sincerity that I cried (of course), "Deb, it's been a pleasure to take care of you and God Bless You." I was now in the capable hands of Amy and Sara. (Ironically the same names of two other awesome nurses I know but don't know!)

I still was unable to reach my husband, so I tried without success to sleep. I read my Bible, I prayed - not for me - but for my friend Dawna, for my coworkers who were covering my shift, for my caregivers, for my husband, my daughter, my Mom and the rest of my family. I had a wonderful time enjoying God's presence in the quiet of my room.

This morning, I was informed that while my heart remained in normal sinus rhythm while resting, it went up to 125 whenever I got out of bed to walk to the bathroom - a mere ten feet away. As a result, I will be undergoing an adenosine stress test first thing Monday morning. I'm not looking forward to that. I've had one before. Since I'm unable to walk on a treadmill for as long as I would need to do so (because of the MS and the stupid heel spur in my left foot), they will inject me with medication to simulate the conditions of intense exercise.

I'm trusting that it will all be good. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think.

The chest pain is gone (99% of the time). Praise God. The racing still continues. Praise God. The fatigue remains. Praise God. ...I have learned in whatever state I am in...
...Praise God.

Thanks for all your heartfelt and continued prayers!

Tomorrow ---the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium awaits! The animals will be having an early Thanksgiving feast with pumpkins, gourds, yams and more!

Olivia is excited! Mom is concerned..."are you sure you should be walking around the zoo?"..."I'll get a scooter, and besides, if anything happens, I'm closer to the hospitals in Pittsburgh which is exactly where I would go if anything serious happened here."

...And I will be thankful, along with the animals, for all God's blessings, for all His faithfulness, for His gift of a true friend, and for the healing yet to come!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Mack Truck

I have a cold.

A miserable cold.

A sinus infection cold.

I hate it.

I feel so crappy that I actually called off work last night - something I never do.

MS and colds don't go together. When you have MS and you get sick, it totally drains all your energy and you feel like you've been run over by a Mack Truck.

Today, I think I feel worse.

Today is a Mack Truck day.

My nose is dripping and stuffed and dripping stuff.


And I'm tired of having to get up from where I am just to get a tissue - which is always where I'm not.

Therefore, I have come up with an inqenious creation. I'm thinking of selling them on my etsy site. What do you think?! (Don't put it past me to wear it to work tonight...)

By the way...I covet your prayers!!

And the prayer offered in faith
will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise him up.
If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
-James 5:15

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Funny you should mention....

When I as a kid, one of my chores was to (every Saturday morning) scrub the kitchen and bathroom floors. And it wasn't good enough just to slop a mop over the mess. I had to sweep the corners out with a broom - vacuum the floors - and then get down on my hands and knees, wash AND rinse the floors - one section at a time.

To this day, I don't consider a floor clean unless it's cleaned the "proper" way. We have lived in our home 4 1/2 years and my kitchen floor has never been cleaned properly by me. Brillo Man cleaned part of it that way once not too long ago....but I've never been on my knees in this kitchen for the purpose of cleaning the floor! There have been other occasions when I've been on my knees in the kitchen, but that usually involves tripping on a crayon or other such wayward toy...

Last evening, I looked at the table which butts up against my computer desk. It was piled SO HIGH with STUFF that I had to crane my neck to see beyond the junk into the living room. So, at 2:00am I started sorting through the junk. At 3:00am, I called it quits and went to bed. A few moments ago, I asked Brillo Man if he had noticed that I began to clean off the computer desk/table. ..."oh yeah, the pile that was two feet high is now only six inches high..." I said, "Didn't you see the huge bag of papers and junk that I set by the front door to be thrown away?" "uh, I saw a small bag of junk..." He just doesn't get it.

Seriously, I have been under GREAT conviction to get my house in order and be the best homemaker that God created me to be. Albeit almost impossible since I am working full-time hours. I will be cutting my hours back at work --probably shortly after the holidays. I'm not sure how well that will go over at work --but it's either shorter hours or no hours because I will have to quit if they won't grant my request. This full-time job has been for a season....and the last time I checked, the seasons were a-changin'! If I'm every going to live up to that woman described in Proverbs 31, I have a LOT of changing to do!

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
-Proverbs 31:27

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today, join me in honoring all the men and women who haved served or are serving in our armed forces.

We are proud of your commitment and honored by your sacrifice. I think of Brillo Man and my brother, Rob, both of whom served proudly in the US Army.

But I especially think of my Dad. He served in the Marine Corps and was the most patriotic person I have ever known. He erected a flag pole in our front yard before it was 'fashionable' to do so. Every morning he would raise the flag and every evening he would lower it - always before the sun set.

One day, I came home to see that he had added the USMC flag below the American Flag. So now there were two flapping in the breeze. And I remember how proud he was to fly those flags which represented to him all the good for which America stands.

Ironically, Dad was buried on Veteran's Day. Recently, on November 7th, we marked thirteen years since he has been in heaven. Thirteen years since those flags flew over his earthly home. Seems like only yesterday...yet seems like forever. He was honored at his funeral by a color guard, the playing of taps, and a 21-gun salute. I know he stood at attention in heaven that day as he observed that honor given him.

I miss you Dad. won't be long...'til we'll meet again.

In a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
-I Corinthians 15:52

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gas, Liquid, Air, Solids

Olivia started a new science unit in school.

Some solids are pointy,
Some solids are bendy,
Some solids are twisty,
Some solids are smooth,
Some solids are hard,
Some solids are flat.

Name a solid that's:


That's all. I have nothing else today....due to the fact that my BRAIN IS FRIED!! THE STOVE HAS HEATED OUR HOUSE TO 80+ DEGREES!!! It snowed here today...the windows are open, the ceiling fans are on. We're thinking of hosting a Hawaiian Luau...

I said to Brillo Man, "So how do we regulate this heat?"
His response, "We open the window."

Then he went to practice his fire twirling...

He ordered the furnace heated
seven times hotter than usual.
-Daniel 3:19b

Sunday, November 09, 2008


After working the midnight shift last night and coming home and crawling into bed, I was awakened mid afternoon by the smell of buring wood. Ah...Brillo Man has completed the wood stove project in the basement.

Last week, with the help of some neighbors, a chimney was erected which houses the stove pipe---up, up past the peak of the roof. Thank the Lord for neighbors who can climb ladders as Brillo Man is unable to do so due to his hip problem. We are blessed with neighbors who are more than willing to lend a hand to help with whatever needs done. God is good. And I am so grateful to Bob and Butch for their help with this project. Not to mention Brillo Man...who has worked so hard to provide this awesome treat for our family.

The stove was purchased for a mere $200 --what a steal! Another blessing. It will save us a lot of money this winter as we will be burning wood instead of propane. Brillo Man has been cutting wood for weeks. A little at a time. He has several piles --not yet stacked --I'm wondering if it will ever get stacked. But it's cut - so it's burnable. It will fit into THE STOVE.

I've decided that we can't talk about THE STOVE without referring to it as THE STOVE. It's a monster. But a warm one! We still have to cut out some more of the carpet --and clean off the ashes which have already accumulated on the front. Then it will look a little better. Right now, THE STOVE is keeping us warm.

And we are blessed.

Now whose job is it going to be to tend this beast?

The fire must be kept burning
on the altar continuously;
it must not go out.
Leviticus 6:13

Friday, November 07, 2008

Illustration Friday: Vacant

My illustration for Illustration Friday is an old, empty chair.

Vacant, but full.

Full of memories of years gone by...

Of stories told to young children as they snuggle on laps.

Of cats curled on the cushion
as the midday sun shines through a nearby window.

Memories of days before there were TV remotes
and you actually had to get up off the comfy chair
to turn a knob on the television.
And then you adjusted the rabbit ears
and twisted the aluminum foil
and asked a child to 'hold it right there'
because that's where the best reception was.

Memories of crocheted doilies and cups of afternoon tea
shared with friends who dropped by
while pots of homemade soup
simmered on the on the stove awaiting dinner time.

Memories of giggling laughter as
as kids gleefully pounded on the cushions
to release the shimmering 'diamonds' of dust
long hidden between the threads of the upholstery
to dance in the streaming sunshine.

A place to rest at the end of the day,
put your feet up on the ottoman
and reach for your book on the side table.
Books read by the fireplace on a cold, wintry night.
Mysteries and Suspense novels,
Sagas and Romances,
Historical novels and books of poetry.
Poe and Hemmingway,
Dickinson and Shakespeare.

A place where the carpet is worn
on the floor in front, where many times,
knees were placed while prayers were said.
Where hearts were changed and folks talked to God.

A vacant chair? I think not.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ruby (Tuesday) Thursday

I decided to join the ranks of those who are posting red photos on Tuesdays and include some recent photos. In some, you may be hard pressed to find some red...but I'm sure it's there somewhere!

This first one is Olivia jumping in the jumping castle at our church's recent Harvest Party. The mesh was red, her jacket is red - I think that this definitely qualifies as red!

Next is Olivia and Miss Gracia at the Harvest Party. Miss Gracia is the teacher for the King's Kids at church - ages 3-5. Even though Olivia is now in Kids on the Move, she still runs to find Miss Gracia every Sunday so she can get a big hug. In fact, everyone who knows Gracia runs to her for a hug - even us grownups. She is filled with God's love and is always willing to share!

Barkley and Olivia at the Harvest Party. Olivia has no idea that Barkley is really Miss LuAnn in disguise!

This next photo is one of some of the kid's singing and signing Our God is An Awesome God. Olivia is to the left of Alvin, the Chipmunk!

Here is one from yesterday. Each year, the sixth grade classes from a local school take a ride out to our land and are presented with a talk about Great Blue Herons. Bordering our property is the largest Great Blue Heron rookery in the state of Pennsylvania. Warden Chapyn informed us that last year, the Game Commission counted 550 nests in the treetops. That's a lot of birds! Of course, not all the nests are in use - some are old, abandoned nests. And some are 'extras'. Apparently, the male heron starts building several nests and the female decides which one she will use and then they finish it together. If you look closely, you will see the red tie back in the girl's ponytail right in the center of the photo. I think that qualifies for the "red" requirement...

There they go...hiking around the pond on the way to find the Heron nests. I asked them to return in the Spring when perhaps they'll actually get a glimpse of the birds themselves. Not a day goes by when we don't see them fishing in our pond. At this time of year, they've flown south to warmer climates. (If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see that there is some RED in this one too!)

And finally, here's something fun I painted recently. I'm thinking that this "Sister" is going to need one, big, wonkin', long scarf if she joins The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf!