Archive | May 2010

Memorial Day


we sat around the table, my husband, Dave, his mom and dad and grandma, our kids.  We’d just gorged ourselves on eggs, sausage, bacon, and waffles with fresh blueberries, strawberries and whip cream.  Yum.

With full stomachs all around we shared memories.  Good ones from our childhoods, our early married years, or more recent.

Christmas trains, playing in the the rain, all wove together down memory lane with loved ones past, years gone so fast, here then past in the blink of an eye.

but we remember…

and we remind ourselves how good God was to give us each other to make memories with and pray together for better ones to come.  God is good.  Let’s never forget, God is good…

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”  ~ Psalm 143:5


Dieting?  Join the club.  Wanna recipe for a yummy, healthy snack that feels like a splurge?

Mush together a whole banana, natural chunky peanut butter (check the ingredients to make sure it’s only peanuts, maybe some salt, but nothing else.), and plain yogurt.

Stir in a goodly handful of rolled oats (uncooked), organic cocoa powder to taste, and a smidge of raw honey.

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

Here’s a picture of it.

Peanut/Oat/Banana Mush

It came out looking a little bleh, but looks can be deceiving.

Take the Bible for instance —

At first glance, it might look a little bleh, too, especially compared to the latest movie, or the funnest TV show — think Glee, my daughter’s favorite.

But you need to look inside:

Alison's eye/Steve Young, photographer

And not just a quick glance…Sometimes you need to “look intently”.

See what I mean?

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.   For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;

my daughter, Liz, in the mirror

for once he has looked at himself and gone away,  he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” ~~ James 1:22-25

Stop, Drop, and Pray!

I wanna be blessed.  Don’t you?  Let’s pray:

Let’s pray:

Oh, Father,  I wanna be blessed like the verse promised above.  Of course, to be blessed, I need to obey, the verse also says.

Did you ever notice “obey” is a 4-letter word?  I’m just sayin’….

And here’s another one — “hard”.  As in, it’s HARD to obey!

But, I know, Father, that the more time I spend with you, the more I want to do what You want me to do.

So, draw me to Your side, to Your table to eat, ’cause I know that’s where the healthy food is.

Thank you for all You do, and for all of Who You are.  Your not bleh, You’re glee!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Do You know Him?  Click the pic below to be introduced:

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" Galatians 5:22

Peony Faith

Peonies, Hidcote Garden, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire taken by UGArdener, a flickr photo

“But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalm 3:3

“…thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35

(You can open the following link in a new tab/window to hear Fernando Ortega sing  Give Me Jesus while your read…)

A sad sight caught my eye as I left my neighborhood this morning.  It tugged at my heart-strings.  All along the road the beautiful blooms on my neighbors’ peonies  had been smacked down to the ground by yesterday’s driving rains, like the peony in the photo above.

The gardener in me wanted to stop the car, run over and lift up their pretty pink and yellow faces.  I wanted gently shake the water off, and restore their dignity, poor things.

Often the driving rains of life smack me face-down into the mud, too.  Just when I’m in full bloom and the weather’s fine, along comes a downpour.

That’s when I need a little help, ’cause, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to lift myself back up again.

I have to call for the Gardener to save me.

And when, in particularly desperate times, I add fasting to my pleas, it seems to hurry him up.

He lifts me up, shakes off the rain, restores my dignity.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

Let’s pray:

Oh, Father in Heaven, I’m so glad to be one of the flowers in your garden.  You are the Master Gardener.  You provide all I need to grow  — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. ( Galatians 5:22)

Take over today, Father.  May I be a bright, beautiful flower that brings You and the people around me pleasure to be around.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

P.S. Know any flowers you wish were in God’s Garden?  Take a moment to pray for them. 🙂

P.S.S. Click on the fasting links to the right for lots of tips and encouragement to get growing!

Remembering III

My oldest, Steve, when he was 10 or so. As you can see, had a flair for fashion. 🙂

♪ ♫  “Meeemrieeees… can be beautiful and yet…”

Been scouring old journals and photographs these days. Found this picture of my oldest of three, Steve, now 21 and living on his own.

Three words to describe Steve: creative, smart, individual.

You can see his individual style choices in the photo. 🙂

Here’s a peak at his creative side from my 1998 journal:

“Steve (10) made bugs all over the house with his “no-ends”.  (“No Ends” are white plastic building toys with colorful connectors.  “There’s no end to what you can create with them.”, it says on the box.)

Steve made a giant ant, a giant spider, a fly…  The spider he put under my black exercise mat, an ant he put on the kitchen counter with its head poking into a bag of apples.  The fly’s wings were made with [his little brother] Andy’s favorite blankie…”

When Steve was little, I had to watch my step when crossing the family room floor because there’d be Steve-creations everywhere; a Lego battle here, a no-end space ship there or a cardboard brick maze set up for one of our guinea pigs to meander through.

God made each one of us with special gifts/talents to use for his glory, didn’t He?

We’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” God-creations! (Psalm 139)

Stop, Drop, and Pray!

Let’s pray: Oh, Father, thank you for loving us and creating us.  We are created in Your image, the Bible says, and, since you are The Creator, it make sense that we are creative, too!

Thank you for building good things in my life.  I know anything good in me comes from you because the Bible says so:

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” ~James 1:17

I’ve changed over the years, in good and bad ways, but You don’t change.  You are ALWAYS good, ALWAYS kind, and you ALWAYS love me.

Help me to ALWAYS love you, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.” ~Psalm 73:28

Do you know the “Father of Lights”?  Click on the updated pic of Steve to be introduced:

Steve now with girlfriend, Audrey. And 10 yr. old Steve on the mantle. 🙂

Remembering II…

My youngest, Andy, when he was almost 4, sitting with our cat, Peaches. Look how little and cute he was! Now he's tall and cute, and I have to look up when I talk to him. 🙂

Imagine Barbara Steisand serenading you as you read… ♪ ♫  “Meeemrieeees… can be beautiful and yet…” ♫ ♪

I’ve been musing over old journals and photos lately.  It’s bittersweet to remember all the funny things my 3 children (now grown) used to say and do.

I came across this entry about 4 yr. old Andy, for instance:

Kids and I were having a Bible time.  We were learning the 10 commandments, and everyone was supposed to be repeating after me, “Honor your father and your mother…”, etc,  when Andy popped out from under a nearby laundry basket where he’d been hiding, ‘Howdy, mom!  How’s it go?!”  Andy has been doing better these days, listening when we read the Bible, singing when we sing the songs, but lately he’s been slipping back into his distracted ways.”

Andy was a typical, ADHD-y kind of boy at that age.  But, no matter your age, it’s easy to get distracted when reading the Bible, isn’t it?

Our Father who art in hea–hmmm, I need to make a dentist appointment today…hallowed be Thy name...what time is it?! Oh, my! better hurry this up….ThykingdomcomeThywillbedoneAmen!

Well, before we get distracted this time, let’s get to praying.  I’ll include Bible verses, too, so it’ll be a two-for-one time saver!

Stop, Drop, and Pray!

Oh Father, thank you for your Word.  It’s full of power, the Bible says, and it’s “sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.” (Hebrews 4:12)

It’s worthy of my attention!

Here’s how I’ve been distracted, lately (this is where You can tell him all your worries, the nagging concerns, AND the things, like Facebook, or gaming, or TV, that maybe you’ve been distracted by.  ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?!  DO IT! 🙂 )

Thank you for loving me, and wanting to spend time with me, Father.  You are awesome!  In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Do you know the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the One Who is wiser than Oprah, smarter than Dr. Phil, and funnier than Seinfeld?

Click on the pic below to be introduced:

Andy as the handsome prince in Beauty and the Beast last year.


Old picture of my daughter,Lizzy, in curlers, from a scrap book she put together when she was little. She wrote around the picture: "Me after a garage sale. I was sopposed to sell stuff."

Sing with me:  “Memories… can be beautiful, and yet.”  sigh…

I’ve been reading my old journals lately and looking through old family photo albums. This picture was taken when my daughter, Lizzy (now, “Liz”, thank you very much),was all of 7 or 8.

Our family had hosted a big garage with some other families all day and Liz had sold off a bunch of her old toys and stuffed animals.   But, funny thing was,  she’d managed to replace a lot of them with new toys and stuffed animals from the other family’s tables.

So, at the end of the day, she’s posing with some of her “new” finds, and I wrote in my journal that night,

“Just put Lizzy’s hair up in curlers for church tomorrow and wrapped a scarf around her head for her to sleep in.  In the morning she’ll have a new head of hair.”

Lizzy getting rid her old toys and buying new ones, and waking up with new, curly hair in the morning reminded me of this verse, which I also recorded in my journal:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  ~2 Corinthians 5:17

I need you every hour...

Ready for something new?

Let’s pray:

Thank you, Father, that all things are new in Christ.  You’re all about new.  “Behold, I’ll do something new…” (Isaiah 43:19)

And “those who wait on you will gain new strength.  They will mount up on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31)

Help me to have re-newed faith in You.  Do something new in my heart and life.

Help me to let go of old habits and old ways of thinking that get in the way of the new, like ______________ (list some old habits or thoughts that you think hold you back from all the good the Lord wants to do  for you.)

Thank you, Father that this old memory has filled me with new hope for all You can and WILL do in and through me.

Out with the old!  In the with the new!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Lizzy now. :), Abby Riley, photographer

Say What?!

“…habitual weakening of the flesh.”
~Colin Smith, pastor.

I heard that phrase on the radio this morning.  The pastor was explaining, with a charming Irish accent, about strongholds, sins that have a death-grip on our souls.

He explained that each time we say “no” to the flesh we weaken its grasp on us.

Saying “yes”, of course, strengthens the flesh, and makes it harder next time to say “no”.

Sometimes a stronghold — like alcohol, pornography, or anger — can seem too big a monster to resist.

Like a shark circling around us, it’s just a matter of time before we’re  lunch.

So, we offer ourselves up to it again and again.

“Here, fishy, fishy…gulp!”

flickr photo from "OnlybyGrace"

But, to resist, we need only look down at the step in front of us, not all the steps ahead.

Just focus on this moment.

We can say “No”, this time.

And next time it’ll be easier….

and the next..

.and the next.

Baby steps…

“Step by step You’ll lead me

And I will follow you all of my days.”

~~Rich Mullins

And I wonder if it wouldn’t help to imagine God walking on ahead of us.  (I’m on a beach here in my mind.)

Imagine God walking on ahead of you in the sand

Look down at how big His footprint is and put yours firmly inside.

Like a child following along behind his/her daddy.

“And I will seek You in the morning

And I will learn to walk in Your ways.

And step, by step You’ll lead me

And I will follow You all of my days.”

"The Best thing about Sand...God made every grain" photo by "OnlybyGrace"

Let’s go for a walk:

Oh, Father, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Yet, in the end it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)

You said, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” (Revelations 3:19)

I do earnestly repent, Father.  Here’s the sin that I’ve been saying yes to so often lately:______

But, thank you, Father, that, although You DO rebuke us and discipline us, like in that verse above, You also promise NOT to leave us to suffer alone.  You come alongside and help.

You promised that in the very next verse, in fact:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

I’m opening the door right now, Father.  Come in.  Bring Your Son and Your Spirit, and let’s have a REAL party!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Have you opened the door?  Wanna meet the One on the other side?  Click on the pic to be introduced:

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock." Rev. 3:20