Wednesday, December 30, 2015

One Word 2016

I have finally settled on my One Word 2016. Out of a potential of about 15 words, I have chosen "yes."

I am so tired of saying "no" most of the time because I feel incapable, doubtful, fearful, or lazy. This year I want to say "yes" as much as I can to things that will challenge me, stretch me, and cause me to grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I know I will be yanked out of my comfort zone, but honestly, my comfort zone has gotten boring.

I still have some health limitations that will require me to say "no," but my hope is that I will break out of the habit of automatically saying "no" and get into the habit of saying "yes" instead, even though my knees might be knocking and my heart might be resisting. 

I am sure that the capable, believing, confident person I once was is still inside me -- I just have to remove the rubble under which she is buried and set her free.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Welcome to Little Golden Book Land

I finally found time to make a list of all the Little Golden Books I own. Oh, the memories of snuggling on the sofa with Sunshine and reading and re-reading and re-reading them to our hearts' content. She needs to hurry up and have a child so I can again sit on the sofa with a wee one and introduce him or her to these books that filled their mother's childhood (or perhaps I'll just have to borrow a kindergartener once a week and work my way through the books with them!).

Here are the titles:

~*~

101 Dalmatians
A Book of God’s Gifts
A Child’s Year
A First Airplane Ride
A Fox Jumped Up One Winter’s Night
A House for a Mouse
A Visit to the Children’s Zoo
Aladdin
Alice in Wonderland Meets the White Rabbit
Animal Daddies and My Daddy
Baby Dear
Baby Farm Animals
Baby’s Christmas
Baby’s Day Out
Bambi
Bambi: Friends of the Forest
Beauty and the Beast
Bettina the Ballerina
Bialosky’s Special Picnic
Bible Stories of Boys and Girls
Bunny’s New Shoes
Buster Cat Goes Out
But, You’re a Duck
Cars
Christmas Carols
Cinderella
Colors Are Nice
David and Goliath
Doctor Dan the Bandage Man
Donald Duck’s Christmas Tree
Dumbo
Eloise Wilkin’s Mother Goose
Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book
Favorite Nursery Tales: The Gingerbread Man and The Golden Goose
Finding Nemo
Fire Engine
Forest Hotel
Four Little Kittens
Fozzie’s Funnies
Frosty the Snowma
Good Night, Little Bear
Hansel and Gretel
Heidi
Heroes of the Bible
Home for a Bunny
How Things Grow
How to Tell Time
I Can Fly
I Don’t Want to Go!
I Think About God: Two Stories About My Day
Jack and the Beanstalk
Jingle Bells
Kitty on the Farm
Kitty’s New Doll
Lady and the Tramp
Let’s Go Shopping
Let’s Go, Trucks!
Little Golden Book Favorites
Little Golden Picture Dictionary
Little Pussycat
Little Red Riding Hood
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Minnie ‘n Me: Where’s Fifi?
Minnie’s Slumber Party
Mister Dog
Mother Goose
Moving Day
Mr. Bell’s Fixit Shop
My First Book of Planets
My First Book of Sounds
My First Counting Book
My Home
My Little Golden Book About Cats
My Little Golden Book About God
My Little Golden Book of Cars and Trucks
My Little Golden Book of Manners
My Puppy
Noah’s Ark
Noel
Oh, Little Rabbit!
Old Mother Goose and Other Nursery Rhymes
Peter Pan
Pierre Bear
Pierrot’s ABC Garden
Pinocchio
Pocketful of Nonsense
Poky and Friends: Tails of Friendship
Poky Little Puppy
Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas
Poky Little Puppy Follows His Nose Home
Poky Little Puppy’s Naughty Day
Poky Little Puppy’s Special Day
Polly’s Pet
Puss in Boots
Prayers for Children
Precious Moments: Put on a Happy Face!
Rabbit and His Friends
Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Little Gray Kitten
Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Rainy Day Circus
Raggedy Ann and Andy: Five Birthday Parties in a Row
Raggedy Ann and the Cookie Snatcher
Rags
Rapunzel
Richard Scarry’s Best Balloon Ride Ever!
Richard Scarry’s Best Little Word Book Ever!
Richard Scarry’s Floating Bananas
Richard Scarry’s Hilda Needs Help!
Richard Scarry’s Just For Fun
Richard Scarry’s Mr. Frumbles’s Coffee Shop Disaster
Right’s Animal Farm
Romper Room Do Bees: A Book of Manners
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rumpelstiltskin
Rupert the Rhinoceros
Santa’s Toy Shop
Scuffy the Tugboat
Shy Little Kitten’s Secret Place
Sleeping Beauty
Sleepytime A B C
Smokey the Bear
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Stories of Jesus
The Animals’ Christmas Eve
The Animals of Farmer Jones
The Big Brown Bear
The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree
The Cat That Climbed the Christmas Tree
The Christmas Bunny
The Christmas Donkey
The Christmas Story
The Christmas Tree That Grew
The Color Kittens
The Colorful Mouse
The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
The Cow Went Over the Mountain
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Fox and the Hound Hide and Seek
The Friendly Book
The Fuzzy Duckling
The Gingerbread Man
The Ginderbread Shop
The Golden Egg Book
The Jungle Book
The Large and Growly Bear
The Lion King
The Little Golden Book of Hymns (2)
The Littlest Christmas Elf
The Little Mermaid
The Little Red Caboose
The Lively Little Rabbit
The Musicians of Bremen
The Night Before Christmas
The New Puppy
The Nutcracker
The Pied Piper
The Prince and the Pauper
The Princess and the Pea
The Rescuers Down Under
The Saggy Baggy Elephant
The Sailor Dog
The Shy Little Kitten
The Silly Sisters
The Sleepy Book
The Snowstorm Surprise
The Store-Bought Doll
The Story of Jonah
The Tales of Peter Rabbit
The Taxi That Hurried
The Three Bears
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Very Best Home for Me
The Whispering Rabbit
Tawny Scrawny Lion
Theodore Mouse Goes to Sea
Theodore Mouse Up in the Air
There Are Tyrannosaurs Trying on Pants in My Bedroom
This Is My Family
Three Bedtime Stories
Three Little Pigs
Thumbelina (2)
Time for Bed
Tom and Jerry’s Party
Tommy Visits the Doctor
Tootle
Uncle Remus
Uncle Wiggly
Underdog and the Disappearing Ice Cream
Water Babies
We Help Daddy
We Help Mommy
Welcome to Little Golden Book Land
We Like Kindergarten
Whales
When Bunny Grows Up
Wild Animal Babies
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Patch
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger
Winnie the Pooh: Eeyore, Be Happy!
Winnie the Pooh: The Grand and Wonderful Day
Winnie the Pooh: The Honey Tree
Winnie the Pooh: The Sweetest Christmas
Yogi Bear

~*~

Big Happy Sigh. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Forgiveness = Freedom

The older I get the more I understand the freedom that comes from forgiveness. The older I get the less willing I am to carry the burden of unforgiveness, the less willing I am to let the poison of unforgiveness destroy my heart.

I see unforgiveness in the lives of some people and how it imprisons them, drags them down, sucks the life out of them. I wish I could just take them by the shoulders and somehow convey to them that forgiveness doesn't say that what was said or done is okay; forgiveness says that what was said or done is not okay, but by letting go of the pain and the hurt, *I'm* okay. I long to unclip their wings, unlock the cage, and set them free.

When I think of all that I have said and done in my life that required another to forgive me, I am humbled. When I think of all that Christ suffered to pay the price for my sins and to set me free, I am grateful. To be washed clean, to be loved, to be welcomed, to flap my wings and fly -- I cannot put it into words.

I pray that God gives each one of us the desire and the strength and the ability to offer the gift of forgiveness this Christmas season.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Review: Messy Grace



Title:  Messy Grace
Subtitle:  How a Pastor With Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction
Author:  Caleb Kaltenbach
Genre:  Christian Life
Publisher:  WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group
Number of Pages:  212
My Rating: 5 out of 5

There is much in the news these days about the LGBT community, from the passage of the same-sex marriage law to Olympian Bruce Jenner's transition from male to female. This book offers readers two things: the opportunity for Christians to learn about and to love the LGBT community without compromising Biblical conviction; and the opportunity for the LGBT community to learn about and to love Christians in spite of a history of hurtful words spoken or actions done by them.  Any prejudices and barriers that exist, exist on both sides and must be dealt with in a loving, respectful way.

As Kaltenbach states, "I didn't write this book to tell you what to think. I wrote this book to share my heart with you and to hopefully help you think on a deeper level about this issue." He succeeds in doing this by weaving personal anecdotes about growing up as the son of separated gay and lesbian parents and the precious people in the LBGT community whom he encountered through the years, both before and after he became a Christian. Not once does his decision to follow Christ and the Biblical lifestyle cause him to disrespect or disavow his family and friends; if anything, his decision to follow Christ stirs up a greater love for them as he realizes that they need the Lord as much as he does (as much as any of us does).

Kaltenbach doesn't shy away from calling homosexuality a sin, based on his Biblical beliefs, but he is also not shy about inviting, even urging, Christians to pursue meaningful relationships with individuals in the LGBT community so that we can "think critically and talk comfortably about the issue of homosexuality." Christians "need to overcome our inner resistance to getting involved with those who are different from us" and "to lose our us-versus-them mentality" because we're all sinners in need of God's grace. He also reminds us that is is "not our job to make gay people straight; it is our job to lead anyone and everyone to Christ." Amen to that!

I commend Kaltenbach for presenting a complex and often divisive issue in such a humble, sensitive, and practical manner, and I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about relating to and responding to the people of the LGBT community with grace and truth.



Disclaimer:  I received this book from www.bloggingforbooks.org for review. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day. Be still my heart. I love reading poetry, and I love writing poetry (particularly haiku).

To celebrate, here is a poem I wrote in 2006:

Carry Me Close

I've wandered away
From Your comforting arms,
And the beat of Your heart
Has grown faint;
Search for me, God,
And carry me close,
Close to Your heart again.

I've left the green pastures
You led me to,
And the sound of Your voice
Has grown faint;
Speak to me, God,
And carry me close,
Close to Your heart again.

My soul needs restoring,
My cup's running low,
And the shape of Your face
has grown faint;
Shelter me, God,
And carry me close,
Close to Your heart again.



(inspired by Isaiah 40:11 ~ He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Houston, We Have a Plan!

Sorry I've been "missing" from the blog for a bit, but My Hero and I are busy with decluttering and reorganizing our little house now that our girls are grown and moved out.

First, we downsized the stuffed game and puzzle closet, giving most of the contents to the girls and the thrift shop. We kept a few things, like Monopoly, Scrabble, Chess, etc., so we could amuse ourselves into old age. Then we moved the 14 cartons of homeschool memories and materials that had been stuffed into our coat closet into the old game and puzzle closet, freeing up our one and only coat closet to actually be, you know, a coat closet. It also now houses the vacuum cleaner and ironing board, both of which had been sitting out in plain view for an embarrassing number of years.

Our next project is to turn the playroom/bookroom into the living room/tv room. It's small, but cozy. And the current living room will become the dining room. Yes, I'm grinning ear-to-ear over this! I have never had a dining room, making do with eat-in kitchens my entire married life. Now we'll be able to have people over for a meal and not be crammed around our lovely table in a too-small space.

We also hope to bring up the washer and dryer from the basement and put them behind louvered doors in our kitchen (along with shelves above them for a small pantry). This will free up space in the basement to put in a powder room, which will make My Hero happy since his man-cave is down there. And we'll be on the look-out for a two-seater breakfast table to go in the kitchen as well for simple tete-a-tetes.

No idea how long all this will take, since My Hero is swamped with work lately, but Houston, we have a plan!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Book Review: Miss Brenda and the Loveladies






Title:  Miss Brenda and the Loveladies
Subtitle:  A Heartwarming True Story of Grace, God, and Gumption
Author:  Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:   WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group
Number of Pages:  228
My Rating:  4.5 out of 5

What an interesting story. A Christian woman on a mission to minister to female ex-convicts by providing a "whole way house" (rather than a "halfway house") for them to live in upon release from prison sees dramatic changes in not only their lives but in her own life as well. Who knew that a wealthy businesswoman facing her own brush with the law would end up meeting and living with some of the toughest yet most endearing women she'd ever encountered?

Brenda Spahn (nee Lovelady) decided she wasn't satisfied with the way things had always been done and set out to change the system. An outspoken but humble entrepreneur used to living a privileged lifestyle, Brenda opened her home to a rag-tag group of women whom she was sure she could rehabilitate through a combination of tough love and Christian empowerment. Little did she know how hard it would be.

In spite of the many challenges and difficulties that Brenda and her daughter, Melinda, faced, they were committed to the program and the women depending on it to rebuild their broken lives. It wasn't easy. Some of the women resented her authority, some of the women had major trust issues, and some of the women relapsed. But all of the women ended up knowing they were loved by the crazy lady who became a true mother figure and friend to them when they desperately needed one. 

Through perseverance and a hope in God that just wouldn't quit, Brenda saw her vision grow from serving about 20 women in a fancy house to over 400 women and children in a former hospital reborn as a facility that to this day provides housing, counseling, drug rehabilitation, childcare, and job opportunities to women who need a new lease on life. (To learn more, visit www.LoveladyCenter.org.)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this inspiring story about a woman with a dream and a desire to make a difference. God bless Brenda Spahn, her family, and all her "adopted daughters" who have been given a second chance to become "whole," not "half," because of her willingness to love and to serve.



Disclaimer:  I received this book from www.bloggingforbooks.org for review.