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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shredded Cocos Nucifera

The other day Olivia walked in the door after school and announced with such conviction in her voice, "I'm so done with Mrs. Redfoot!" "Ah," I replied, "then it's a good thing that you only have five more days with Mrs. Redfoot." "But Mom, what if I don't like my second grade teacher?" "Olivia, it's impossible not to like your second grade teacher..."

I then proceeded to share with her that even though she's loved Mrs. Redfoot as her Kindergarten AND First Grade teacher, second grade is going to be an even bigger adventure! Her school 'loops'. For the first two years - same teacher - same students - trying to give them some stability I guess. It works for most of the children and has worked well for Olivia up until this last month when she's just decided that she's "done."

After reading Margie's post it reminded me of what a friend recently shared with me. Studies are showing that it's not the "nurturing years" (from birth to age five) that shape our personality so much as it is age 7-9 (what would be 2nd grade.) Apparently, what happens in our lives at that age rather than the earlier years is far more important in helping to determine what kind a person we will be.

Interestingly, I've heard many people remark how memorable 2nd grade was to them. Margie, for one, shares of her beloved Mrs. Bacile. And I fondly remember Mrs. Levine - one of my favorite teachers - hands down.

Mrs. Levine brought in a REAL coconut in the BIG, outer shell and drilled a hole and poured out the milk so we could all taste its fabulous sweetness. (not so good - but different and interesting none-the-less.) All the while teaching us such interesting facts as how a coconut is also known by its scientific name: Cocos Nucifera. Wow! Until then, I had no idea that things had scientific names! Then she cracked it open and we all tried the coconut meat. That whole thing fascinated me since prior to that I only remembered seeing coconut shredded and in a plastic bag.

To this day, I love coconut. I thought of Mrs. Levine fondly while in the Dominican Republic several years ago on a missions trip. One of the men living next door to the school where I was painting, one afternoon climbed a palm tree in his bare feet and cut down a coconut with his machete for us to enjoy. And years prior, in college, I obtained a coconut from somewhere and mailed it to someone - no box - just a coconut - with an address written on the outer shell with a Sharpie Marker - and some taped on stamps - just for fun. I used to mail all types of strange things...and then there was the time that I received a package of DEAD FISH..(you'll have to ask Char about that!!)...but...I digress...

Of course, it wasn't just the coconut that endeared me to Mrs. Levine. She was fun, full of wisdom and interesting facts and able to keep Richard Ambrosia from flicking boogers on everyone! In my book - she was tops!

I've explained to Olivia that second grade is going to be one of the best years of her school life. She'll have a new classroom filled with some new friends and perhaps some old friends and most importantly, she'll start fresh with a new teacher! Someone who will take her on a great learning adventure and share with her all their knowledge and wisdom and probably will also have the superpower of stopping booger-flicking! Second grade is gong to be grand! And we've got the whole summer to get excited about how wonderful it's going to be!


Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
-Deuteronomy 32:2

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Song

This is my song (well, it's actually Cece Winan's song but I won't tell if you won't tell.) It's pretty much the story of my life - in a nutshell - and I'm practicing to sing this (again) in public (even though I'm getting over laryngitis and it's very late at night so I'm trying to be quiet so as not to awaken Olivia and Brillo Man and I'm crying through the last chorus....) ...but still...here it is. Tomorrow, I'll probably regret posting this. But tonight, I'm exhausted and my brain isn't working - so I'm posting it while I have the nerve.

This is for my friend - you know who you are.

God bless you! video

What's with the sound not matching up with the picture? I hate when that happens!! And then there's that tapping and the glitch at the end...and the fact that on the very last line I was supposed to sing up and not down....ugh. oh well. I've almost deleted this several times - but for some reason, somebody's supposed to listen to this very bad version of this very beautiful song. Listen to the message - not me!

And now that I've figured out how to upload videos...you'll see Olivia on here soon. She's a much better singer than her Mommy!

Goodnight. I'm going to bed!


Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus
to have dinner with him,
so he went to the Pharisee's house
and reclined at the table.
When a woman who had lived a sinful life
in that town learned
that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house,
she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping,
she began to wet his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them and poured perfume on them.
-Luke 7:36-38

Update

Hello all ---I updated on the prayer blog several days ago, most of you may not have had a chance to read the post. Brillo Man is okay --after spending a night in the hospital for observation, it was determined that he had no heart problems. Although he's supposed to follow up with a cardiologist (knowing him, he won't.) We think he pulled some muscles which was causing his pain. Better safe than sorry - I'm glad he was checked out (he is too!) Thanks for all your prayers and concern!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Urgent Prayer Needed

Hi all ---in case there's anyone up at this hour reading blogs...I just sent Brillo Man off to the Emergency Room as he is experiencing chest pain. Olivia is sound asleep and we have no one closeby to stay with her --so I'm staying behind to watch and pray because the Lord knows I'll get no sleep until I know he's okay. I'll be very surprised if he's not admitted. He'll need to be monitered for at least the night. And probably a stress test in the morning... Thanks for praying! I'll update you as I know more.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Six Favorite Unimportant Things

Okay Pat, here goes:

  • Chocolate - in any size, shape or form.

  • The act of creating art - in any size, shape or form.

  • Wasting time on the computer.

  • Scavenging yard sales and thrift shops for big bargains and reselling for big bucks.

  • Brillo Man's creative homemade soups. (He hasn't made any in awhile...I'll have to start bugging him about that. Lord knows that there's not nearly enough things that I do that bug him. ahem.)

  • Listening to Olivia sing. If it's not a "real" song, then it's one she's 'writing' on the spot!
  • Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    How Great is Our God?

    The following occurred on May 12th. I started to draft a post that day and never got back to it. I decided it was high time to spread this good news!

    ...Let me tell you....

    Sunday morning in church, we had an awesome time of praise and worship. At one point my friend Judy spoke up saying that the Lord was speaking to her and saying that He wanted to do miracles. Pastor Kent grabbed that opportunity and ran with it - he asked if there were any who wanted a miracle, whether it be financial, emotional, physical, etc. Well, God knows that there are a lot of miracles that I need in my life, so I went forward. Not for any particular need - but just to be present for whatever God wanted to do in my life.

    I knelt down at the altar. Mind you, I DON'T kneel - for it's not any easy task for me to rise from the floor once I'm there. Between the MS and the bad knees, I'm not as limber as I once was. But, knelt I did, as I followed the Holy Spirit's prompting.

    After a wonderful time of prayer and praise and singing and fellowship around the altar with all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I managed to rise without too much difficulty. (Too much difficulty in my book means that I got up without falling down again!)

    It being Mother's Day, Pastor Kent told a wonderful story about Mothers (which at this point in writing - a month later - I've seemed to have forgotten the details...) He then gave us each the most beautiful orange/peach rose which graced my table for days afterward.

    After church, I came home and went to sleep because I had to work that night. Since I had a bit of a cold and sore throat, when I left for work, I wanted to stop at StuffMart to buy some lozenges to take to work to help my throat while working. The air tends to be very dry in the lab. I didn't take the time to get an electric scooter - which is what I usually do when at StuffMart. Walking around that big store is too much for me. Instead, I hurried to the pharmacy section - then hurried clear to the OTHER end of the StuffMart Super Center because that's the only end where the registers were open - then hurried clear back to the Pharmacy side because that's where I had parked my van. It wasn't until I was almost in my van that I realized that I had just taken all those steps with not one single pain in my arthritic knees! And I worked all night long with no pain in my knees. I have been dealing with arthritic pain in my knees for months - perhaps years. God had indeed given me my miracle - he heeled my knees!

    I met my dear friend Dawna for breakfast and even she was amazed at how I was able to keep up with her instead of doing my usual hobbling around the restaurant and parking lot! God is good!

    It's now been a month --and I still have no pain in my knees! Now if I'm hobbling, it's because of MS stuff and how it affects my legs...but I'm believing that if God has taken care of one issue - He's perfectly capable (of course!) of taking care of the rest --and I'm just waiting on Him to finish the great work He has begun!

    I rejoice that He cares for me and blesses me in spite of my neglect of Him. In spite of the sin in my life. In spite of all the times when I should be spending time with Him and instead am wrapped up in myself and what I think needs to be done.

    He is an amazing God. One who cares about each detail of our lives. I'm thankful to be His child and amazed by His grace!


    But for you who revere my name,
    the sun of righteousness will rise
    with healing in its wings.
    -Malachi 4:2a

    Friday, May 08, 2009

    Mother's Day and Campfires

    This weekend Olivia embarked on her very first overnight camping trip for Brownie Girl Scouts. She was SO excited!--bouncing off the walls from the moment she arrived home from school until the moment Brillo Man and I left her at the heated camping lodge complete with modern bathrooms and comfortable bunk beds with mattresses! (Whatever happened to tents in the woods?!) Actually, for a first time overnight trip, at the tender age of six, I'm glad she's going to be warm and dry and comfortable in the lodge. There will be time for tent camping later on when she's a little older.

    Olivia at camp with her box oven.
    She tells me she baked some delicious cookies!


    ...sound asleep in the recliner.
    Her camping trip completely wore her out!



    I read something in a recent post on Connie's blog: ..."from the moment (your children) are born, you are teaching them how to live apart from you. Every step they take will take them further away and every word they learn will move them to greater independence". While Connie and I are the same age, we have two very different family situations. Her four children are grown and she is a Grandma. I have an almost-seven-year-old and am old enough to BE her Grandma! I don't imagine it's any easier though to watch our children transform into independent beings right before our eyes. No matter what their age.

    I think about my own Mother. Mom will always be my Mom - no matter how old I get to be. The feelings and love she has for me will never change. I don't imagine that it's any easier for her to watch from a distance her children's independance all the while fondly remembering her days of constant close watch over us. Perhaps there are days when she wishes she still had us all to herself...but then again, perhaps not. Just as Connie has said that she has earned her rest...my Mother has also. She's put in the long hours; praying, worrying, wiping snotty noses, caring for us when we were sick, holding us when we were afraid, doing all the wonderful and difficult things that you do when you're a Mom...and loving us....unconditionally.

    On this Mother's Day, I'm reminded, as always, what a great sacrifice my Mother made for me. There will never be words grandiose enough to thank her properly. I have always appreciated her, especially when I became an adult...but OH...how much MORE now that I'm a Mother myself! Unless you're a Mom, you can't possibly comprehend the emotion that goes along with the title. I believe that something happened in my heart the moment I became a Mom. It's indescribable!

    Even knowing all the things that my Mom did for me, I'm most grateful for her love. I now understand how much I was (and am) loved by my Mother....and my heart is full!

    I love you Mom! May you be blessed in ways that you can't imagine for all the ways that you bless me with your incomprehensible love! Happy Mother's Day!

    Of course, the photo that I wanted to post, of Mom doing the motions to "Father Abraham" while singing around our Girl Scout Campfire, is nowhere to be found, so I had to settle for this:

    Mom circa 1990 after having just been attacked with Silly String!


    Her children arise and call her blessed...
    -Proverbs 31:28

    Thursday, May 07, 2009

    National Day of Prayer

    On this National Day of Prayer...

    Father, I praise You for Your greatness, for Your unfailing, unconditional love, for Your faithfulness.

    Today I lift up our nation to You and ask forgiveness;
    forgiveness for our shortcomings, for our denial and neglect of Your presence.
    I ask that in the times when we choose not to recognize that You are our Sovreign King, in times when we don't put You in Your rightful first place in our lives and in our country's agenda, that You would extend grace and mercy to us. Help us to recognize that it is You who we need to honor with our hearts. May we be ever mindful that You are the King of Kings - the Ruler of nations, the One and Only True God.

    I pray for our government today. From our local township officials all the way up through to those who govern our nation. Lord, fill them with Your wisdom. May they seek Your counsel as they make decisions which affect our land. Guide their steps and their hearts.

    For our men and women in uniform who protect and serve our great nation, I ask first and foremost for Your protection. Keep them safe from harm. Allow them to carry on their duties and accomplish the things which You direct them to accomplish. May they do their jobs effectively and with honor. I pray this not only for those serving in the military, but also for those who protect and serve in our local community of Greenville, and in all the local municipalities and states in our nation. Grant them strength and wisdom, patience and endurance.

    I ask that You would turn the hearts of the people of The United States toward You. That in this day of uncertainty, when so many trials so often are set before us, that we would remember to keep You in the center of our lives. For without You, we can do nothing.

    You have said in Your Word that if we humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways, that You will hear from heaven and heal our land. Help us to do just that. May all the prayers that will be prayed today on this National Day of Prayer not just be lipservice to You, Lord, but may they be sincere pleas for forgiveness and for Your will to be done in our lives and in our nation.

    Grant us peace and protection. Fill us with hope. A hope that can only be realized in You. As we strive to place You first, may we be blessed.

    I ask these things in the precious Name of Jesus,
    Amen.


    Now therefore, I pray,
    if I have found grace in Your sight,
    show me now Your way,
    that I may know You
    and that I may find grace in Your sight.
    And consider that this nation is Your people.
    -Exodus 33:13

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    Creature

    There is a creature living in the ceiling. I have no idea if it's a rat or a bird or what?!!?! There's a lot of "tapping" going on...which makes me think (hope) that it's a bird and not a rat.

    Meanwhile...several weeks ago someone from church came and repaired the place where the soffit had come down so we wouldn't have to deal with critters in our house. ...which makes me think it might be a rat and not a bird, since rats seem to be able to find their way through tight places.

    Too bad Bentley can't get to it...it would be gone in two seconds flat!

    Pray that it leaves!! It's creeping me out! I have dominion over this, right?!


    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,
    according to Our likeness;
    let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
    over the birds of the air,
    and over the cattle,
    over all the earth
    and over every creeping thing
    that creeps (through the ceiling of your house!) on the earth.”
    Genesis 1:26

    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    Priming....

    With all my blog buddies sharing their home projects, it's given Brillo Man and I "the bug" to finally finish the bathroom in the basement. When we moved into this house, there was a bathroom there. However, Brillo Man tore it out after we had been here for two years because the tank under the shower floor had cracked and water began leaking every time someone used the shower. Mold and mildew were having a field day. The under-the-floor shower tank had to go!

    Over the past few days, there have been two men working here to help out with this project as neither Brillo Man nor myself have the physical capabilities to accomplish the rebuild ourselves. There are some things we can do however. Painting is one of them. With the walls rebuilt and the drywall in place, it's time to prime and paint!

    Olivia insisted on helping me prime the walls. She didn't do such a bad job and actually had less paint on her when all was said and done than I did!