Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Antidote for Worry: Prayer

Left to my own sinful nature, I tend to be a worrier. I'm one of those people who would worry about not having something to worry about.

Fortunately, the Lord has been showing me that excessive worry is truly a sin. I am so thankful that God is in control of our circumstances, and our world, and I can trust Him to work out everything in my life for His purpose.

I recently came across some statements on worry, and I thought I would pass them along to you.

Worry pulls tomorrow's cloud over today's sunshine.

Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

Worry is today's mouse eating tomorrow's cheese.

Real difficulties can be overcome; it's the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.

Of all our troubles, great or small, the greatest are those that don't happen at all.

Wrinkled with care and worry? Get your faith lifted.

Phillipians 4: 6, 7 Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

I was going to try to make up some clever words to the song from Oliver, but just couldn't get that creative. Doing this collage took most of my creative juices. (Actually, I just had to figure out the program, and after a trial and error period, I think I finally got it.)

All of this to say, we ate at some really great places on our trip. Some of them we sort of found accidentally; a couple of them were reccomended by local people. The food "presentation" was really wonderful at some of them, and it was also delicious--what a combination. If you are ever in New Hampshire, we can recommend Peg's and Texas Toast for breakfast. I highly recommend Fox's Lobster House if you visit the Nubble Light. And then there were the food vendors at the Highland Games! You can get an idea of the huge and wonderful strawberry shortcake from the top middle and center middle pics.

The lower left and middle were served at Texas Toast for breakfast; Brenda had French Toast with strawberries, and I had an omelet and hash browns that were beautifully presented and super good.

The lower right picture on the bottom was served at the Lobster House; it was Lobster Mac N' Cheese. The mac n' cheese was superb and had pieces of lobster in it. The top right was a fried lobster that I had--I forget the specific name for it. Bob also had a lobster dish (middle left) and Rog had scallops, I think. (middle right)

As you may have guessed, the old "eating healthy" routine was sort of abandoned for that week. But then, after all, it was vacation! As Julia would have said, "Bon Appetit!"

A Place of Respite,and Some Regal Scots

I kept thinking I was done posting about our trip out East. However, it's hard to decide what to include, or exclude, so I will share a few more pics; at least I know you have the option of not reading it, so I won't feel bad about another post or two.

On our last full day of the trip, Brenda happened to come across this absolutely wonderful little park, in the middle of the small town of North Woodstock. The rest of us were "chillin' " at the condo so she came back to get us. She said it was definitely a 'must see' . Would she steer us wrong--never! It was a quiet, peaceful wooded area with a brook and was just absolutely restful.

Brenda and Rog actually walked on rocks over to the wooded area in this picture.

I was totally content just to put my toes in the water and sit and enjoy the sound of the brook going over the rocks and the light breeze in the trees. It was absolutely delightful and was a wonderful respite that afternoon.

We happened to be staying close to the town of Lincoln, where they just happened to be having the "Highland Games" that weekend, a Scottish festival. We spent most of the day there, and thoroughly enjoyed the activities. The above pic is of the "Red Hot Chili Pipers" (not Peppers), a musical group with bagpipes, guitars and drums.

We saw many girls doing the Highland dances, and some of them were really young. This group did a dance for opening ceremonies.

Part of what made this so interesting for me was to see all the scottish kilts and costumes. There was such a variety, some really lovely, some just kind of interesting!

Also very impressive: They had many many bands that performed for opening ceremonies. I don't know how many there were, but when they filled an area that was probably the size of a football field.
My brother-in-law, Bob, is actually Scottish so this was very interesting for him. Brenda has a very creative blog
about our vacation, complete with her original poetry, inspired by the song "Down by the Bay".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not Quite Peak Color, But Beautiful!

Some of these were taken at "The Flume"; this is a deep gorge, and we did a walking tour through the gorge and the surrounding wooded area. It has quite a history, and is part of the national park system there. (In New Hampshire).
Some were taken in a little park, very close to where we were staying. A couple were taken along the road where we stopped for a scenic view. However, even if I had taken more pictures, I could not have captured the absolute beauty of the trees and the mountains that we saw, almost everywhere when we were driving through New Hampshire, VT, and Maine. It was so restful and beautiful, and as my sister Brenda said, "It really 'fills your cup'. We just gave praise to the Lord, for all of the beauty and the magnificant trees, mountains streams and bodies of water that He has created for our enjoyment.

About A Mountain and Some Moose

On Friday, plans were made to go up on top of Mt. Washington, via the cog railway. There are many things that are only learned through experience, and this was one of them! For starters, we had already reserved our tickets, and there are no refunds or changes. (As you can imagine, on a day with bad weather, this isn't the tourist attraction of choice.)

Another thing we didn't know, but learned through experience, is that Mt. Washington has a web site, with information about the temperature and general weather conditions on the mountain. At any rate, we had our tickets, so we set off on this adventure.

It was about 59 degrees with some fog and cloud cover early in the morning. But being the optomist that I am, I was sure the fog would burn off, and it would be a great day on the mountain. It would be an understatement to say that my prediction fell a little short of what we actually encountered.

Going up on the train was pleasant enough. We could see the scenery and mountainous terrain as we went up. This was our engineer for the ride up. You can see the tracks going up--and this was at the beginning of the ascent.

Never let it be said that we did not meet our goal of reaching the summit. The weather was great!--if you like 60-90 mile-an-hour winds, with zero visibility, clouds and a rainy mist. Did I mention, the temperature at the top was 35 degrees with a wind chill factor of 18 F. We literally could not even see the visitors building from the train when we got off and it was probably only about 500 feet away. (that's an estimate from someone who knows very little about distance.).

This sign pretty much says it all! We were told that they do have some really beautiful, clear days at the summit, with a great view, but they also said there are a very low percentage of these days. (As a side note, if we had waited until Monday to go up the mountain, it would have been 57 degrees, with 5 mile winds and a clear view. But who knew?)

This was a picturesque brook at the base of the mountain. You can see by my hair that it was taken after we got back down! I would highly recommend this adventure, but you might want to check the web site first.!

That evening, we decided to go on a Moose hunt. No--not with guns, or anything! We just wanted to see a real live moose, as they are apparently prevalent in that area. We boarded a bus with about 25 other people, and our driver and our guide set out to try to find some "wallows" where some moose might be hanging out.

We boarded the bus at 7 pm, and drove a while, with no success. After a brief stop at a little store (where we were told we must try the homemade fudge--and we did!) we continued on our search. At about 9:30 pm, one of the ladies said, "I see one!" and sure enough, she had. We turned the bus around, so as to be on the same side of the road with the moose. The guide shined a spotlight on the area. There was a bull moose and also a female (called a cow). I could not believe how huge these animals are! The driver said the bull was probably about 800 lbs and the cow probably 600 lbs. Both of them stayed there for several minutes, so we all got a good look at them. We also heard a "moose call" as they called out to each other. After several minutes, they wandered off together, back into the woods. Our driver said most likely romance was in the air.

Unfortunately, our camaras did not work well in the dark, so I had to resort to someone else's picutures. The bull moose we saw really looked almost exactly like this one. We continued to be on "moose alert" on our own, the rest of the trip, but didn't see anymore. Apparently, they are not out as much at this time of year. We were very excited that we at least got to see both a male and a female moose. The only thing better, would have been to see a baby (calf) moose also.

New England Lighthouses

One week ago today I left home to join my two sisters and their husbands in New Hampshire. They had started their trip on the previous Saturday. They picked me up at the Manchester, NH airport about 2:00 pm. It has beenwonderful week of sight-seeing, and beautiful, awe-inspiring scenery!

We first drove down into Massachusetts. Brenda and Bob are beekeepers, and they were checking out a honey extracting equipment company there.

From there, we drove up to York Beach, Maine, to see the Nubble Light, the most photographed lighthouse in Maine and one of the most-photographed in the United States. I love the water, and it was great to just be able to see this landmark and enjoy being by the water.

There was a seafood restaurant there by the lighthouse, and we were able to have a table with a great view of the water, while I enjoyed my very first lobster ever. It has a good flavor; I think the texture takes a little getting used to, but I enjoyed it.

On Sunday afternoon we went to Portland, Maine. We took a trolley tour of the city and then took a ferry ride on the bay . The trolley stopped at the Portland Head lighthouse, for us to be able to enjoy this site (and of course--take pictures!).

During the ferry ride. we saw several other lighthouses, so I included some pictures of a couple of those. It was a beautiful day! The trolley and the ferry were great ways to see the sights of Portland. What an enjoyable afternoon!

I took 150 pictures on our trip, so of course I won't be sharing all of those! But I know I'm going to feel compelled to share a few more posts about this great trip to the New England States.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New England, Here I Come!

I am so very excited! This morning I am flying to Manchester, New Hampshire for a week of vacation. My sisters, Lou and Brenda and their husbands left last Saturday, driving out to the New England States. Since Tuesday, they've rented a condo, so that they can stay at one place and make day trips to interesting sites.

I can tell from talking to them and seeing Brenda's blog, that they have already had a great time. I would have liked to go with them for the entire time. However, my birthday was on Monday.(14th) and my hubby really didn't want me to be gone for my 65th birthday. (totally unknown to me, he had planned a little birthday party with some friends).

So now, my bags are packed and I'm ready to "leave on a jet plane" to join them. I truly "don't know when I'll be back again", but I believe it's sometime next Thursday or Friday. (Does quoting phrases from that song prove that I am indeed 65?!)

I'm not taking my computer, so I'm not sure how much access I'll have to a computer. It may be that I'll have to catch up on posting and reading blogs when I return.

Well, friends, I'm off for a fun adventure. See you all on the flip side.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Name's the Same!

You cannot imagine my surprise, to think that my husband actually planned a birthday party for me! He's not really much of a party person usually.

Lynn and I went out to eat at Texas Road House. When we got back, he said "let me see your cards" (I had gotten 18 cards in the mail today). I thought it was unusual that he would want to read all of them. Then I showed him my sister Brenda's blog, and the blog I had written. ( I realized later that he was being so attentive, because he was killing time until the guests arrived! (To his credit, he does enjoy reading my blogs--he says it gives him a window into my heart.)

About that time his daughter Janelle came in the back door. I thought to myself, Lynn probably had her make a cake for me. I went out to the kitchen to say hello. Then I heard someone else at the door; Lynn went to let them in. It was my good friend Rebecca, and her husband, Gary from Harlan. In a few minutes, Judy and Barry, good friends from church (and also neighbors) came. I really couldn't believe that Lynn had planned all this! My first thought was, "Oh no! I should have cleaned the house today!" However, then I remembered that quote I had heard somewhere: "If you're coming to see me, come anytime; if you're coming to see my house, make and appointment."

Janelle had made a wonderful chocolate marble cake and brought moose tracks ice cream to go with it. It was really wonderful. We enjoyed the birthday treats and had a great evening of conversation.

NOW! For the reason behind the title of this blog. Not only was it a fun evening, it was very educational. I discovered that we had four "Lynn"s at this gathering. Three of them have the middle name of "Lynn". In the picture above, there is Rebecca Lynn, Gary Lynn, my husband Lynn, and Barry Lynn. I don't think I ever knew their middle names before.

Janelle had gone home before we got around to taking pictures, so our picture isn't quite complete. But just as a side note, her name is Janelle Lynn!.

I guess, after all is said and done, turning 65 wasn't so bad after all!

Birthday Blessings!

Wow! I am overwhelmed! So much for turning 65 "quietly"! In the last few days I have received a total of 27 birthday cards, two gift certificates, and two monetary gifts. I've also received several birthday greetings on Facebook. It has actually been wonderful to read all the sweet (and funny) cards, and to read all the wonderful comments. Apparently there are those who think more highly of me than they ought to think.

I feel very humbled and blessed, and I so much appreciate all of you who have sent greetings. It was unexpected and a great surprise. I will have to say, I have a very strong suspicion that a little birthday elf was behind all of this. What do YOU think Brenda?

Lynn is taking me out to dinner tonight (my choice, and I think it will be Texas Road House); I haven't seen my cake yet, but he did ask me what kind I like, so I have a feeling it is also yet to come. So-o-o, it could look something like this.

I have enjoyed sending birthday cards, and sometimes gifts, over the past couple of years. It is something that has been fun. I think (and now I know from personal experience) that even in this age of e-mail, facebook, etc., people still like to get cards by snail mail. I have felt that it is one way I can be an encouragement to others. So thanks to all of you who have encouraged me.

Psalm 139:13, 14, 16 For You have created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well....All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

These verses have always amazed me. That the Lord had my life planned before I was even born! In the last few weeks several people have commented to me that they think I am so kind, and thoughtful and generous. However, I know that I have done nothing by myself. Whatever I have been able to do, it is because the Lord is at work in me and has given me the time, ability, and resources. My prayer, especially since I retired, is that He would use me to be a blessing and encouragement to others. I have experienced His immeasurable love, kindness, grace, and blessing in my life, and so I want to show His love and kindness to others.

Thank you for making my 65th birthday such a blessed and fun day. God bless you all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shepherd Love

This post came about because I got a new phone- -a camara phone! I was so excited to try it out, I took a picture of this sculpture. I bought this a long time ago from a lady in my church who did sculptures. At that time I was a widow, and I just liked the visual of being a lamb in my Savior's arms.

It was a bit of a challenge to upload it to my computer from my camara. In fact, it took a trip back to the camara store, with my computer. But now I can successfully upload my camara pics. (The photo in the picture is my daughter--I didn't realize it was also in the picture when I took it.)

There was a poem that came with this sculpture, and I just wanted to share it here.

Shepherd Love

His shepherd arms enfold me, so close I hear His heart beat
With steady rhythm that assures me, He's all I need.

Sweet memories of how He never left me in the past,
Hold captive any thought of dread, yielded there...I wait: At last...

Peace comes, when with acceptance In His voice, He calls my name,
"No matter what you're mine, what's mine is yours the same."

If I feel that I'm falling, He pulls me closer still,
When standing is too difficult, He carries me until...

I'll walk beside Him always looking on His face,
To see His eyes direct me, His soothing smile of grace.

Surrender to His firm embrace releases fear and doubt,
His shepherd love envelops, whether in His arms or out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Balanced Life--Praise and Prayer

Recently I came across some quotes about praise and prayer. Then I also read a devotional by my pastor on prayer. It got me thinking: I know I don't spend enough time just giving God praise for all He's done for me; and praise should be an integral part of my prayer time. So I decided to do sort of a topical study on praise and prayer.

I'm going to try to put my thoughts on this into some sort of a meaningful meditation.

Hebrews 13:15 by Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.

Psalm 100: 4,5 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. for the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 147: 1 Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!

Psalm 150: 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

So I have decided I need to make a conscious effort and habit out of giving God the praise and glory He so rightly deserves. I came across this quote: "Forget the troubles that are passed away, but remember the blessings that come each day."

Another quote I found sort of ties these two topics together. It said, "Nobody has so little that there is no room for praise, or so much that there is no room for prayer.

It is still beyond my understanding that a Holy God, Creator of the universe, truly desires fellowship with me. It is overwhelming. My pastor did a devotional on John 14: 13,14 And I will do whatever you ask, in my Name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything, in my Name, and I will do it.

I don't think I had ever considered this verse in exactly the way that Pastor Joel wrote about it. He said, "The promises regarding prayer in John 14 are given in the context of maintaining relationship with Jesus. The promises are not some magical incantation we repeat to get what we want. Rather, prayer is a method to share our heart with Jesus and to listen to His heart. ...Notice in vs. 13 Jesus gives the correct motive for prayer, "so that the Father might be glorified", in other words, prayer is to be for God's glory. ...I don't claim to have the complete answer on prayer...I struggle with prayer as much as you do. But it is the means by which I can maintain an ongoing love relationship with the Savior. "

I could go on much longer with all that I've found that has impressed me. But I just want to add a couple more quotes.

Put everything in God's hand, and eventually you will see God's hand in everything.

He who is thankful for little things, enjoys much.

Get your soul in tune with God before the concert of the day begins.

I have one more quotation I found, which just gave me such a vivid word picture. It goes along with the picture at the top of the blog. (I wanted to have the picture closer to the quote, but I had technical difficuties.) The quote said this:

Faith does for living what sunshine does for stained-glass windows.

My paraphrase: Praise and prayer do for living what sunshine does for stained-glass windows.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Tale of a Tree and Tomatoes

Today was a beautiful fall day and a good day for a couple of projects. My hubby has been wanting to cut down this tree. He said it would be in the way when he got ready to paint the house and it has been sort of an eyesore. So being the blogging husband that he is, he said, "honey, do you want a before and after picture?" Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a photo "op".

This shows the progress after the bottom limbs were cut off. I was amazed at the huge pile of branches this produced.

I think he ended up with about 3 wagon loads of branches and trunk. He will burn them over at his daughter's place.

Voila! The tree is gone! One project, out of many that he has, is completed. Before he went out to cut down the tree, Lynn helped me set up the Victorian strainer (I think that's what it's called) so that I could make tomato juice. It took forever for my tomatoes to ripen and now of course they are all ripening at the same time. I made a couple batches of salsa, which is yummy, but it took me a long time and only made 10 pints! Juice is much easier as I can just core and cut them up, cook them and put them through this contraption, and presto--juice.

The only problem was, we only have one canner, and so I had to wait for the canner to cool down in between processing. Apparently I could have just done a hot water bath, but we chose to use the pressure canner.

I ended up with 12 quarts and 1 pint. I actually did use the hot water bath for 3 of them, as the canner only holds 5 quarts at a time. So now I have juice to drink, use in cooking and casseroles, etc. Or, as my son said when he called, "spice it up a little and you'll have V-8"!

I also vacuumed, mopped floors and did some laundry, so my hubby is going to treat me to an "A & W" meal tonight! Yeah! At least I don't have to cook. Oops! I'm not done yet. Just remembered--we're going to a family potluck tomorrow, and I'm supposed to take dessert. I guess it's back to the kitchen for me after all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Unbelievable Evening!

When I was a Mary Kay Consultant, many years ago, We learned a little phrase that we would use when someone asked how things were going. It didn't matter if something really good had happened, or if we'd had a really bad week, If someone said "How was your day?" we would say, "It was unbelievable! ( as you can see, that phrase works whether it was good or bad).

As I mentioned in my last post, my sisters and I, along with a friend of Brenda's and her sister, went to hear Carrie Underwood at Ravinia--an outdoor theatre. Everything about that evening was definitely "unbelievable".

The shuttle ride from the far-away parking lot was unbelievable--People with coolers, bags, chairs etc. squeezing as many bodies as possible into the bus.

The number of people was unbelievable--there was quite possibly one trillion, all sitting around on this HUGE lawn area. But could we find a spot? Just barely!

The weather was unbelievable--clear, crisp, and rather cold--but beautiful.

We had unbelievably good food--chicken salad wraps, mixed fruit, crackers and veggies with dip, and melt-in-your-mouth home-made chocolate truffles for dessert.

The conversation was unbelievably good--two sets of sisters, laughing, talking, and just enjoying the company.

The musician was unbelievably good! We could hear her, but not see her. We did get close enough to see the screen for a little while.

It turned out we couldn't even hear very well after a while, as there were unbelievably loud boisterous people around us.

We left early (well actually it was already close to 10:00 pm) and we had about an hour's ride home to Brenda's.

Perhaps I could just sum this all up for you--We had an unbelievable evening of adventure!

A Bee-utiful Tour

My sister Lou and I went up to sister Brenda's for a couple days. We had a really fun time. We arrived on Sunday evening and went to see the movie "Julie & Julia". We totally enjoyed it. (Maybe because 2 of us are bloggers and Lou is a good cook). Monday morning we went out to breakfast with some good friends of Lou's from nursing school. THEN, in the afternoon we took a great tour of Bob's Bee Yards. At the first yard we went to, Bob was there collecting honey. He is so informative about the process. Here he was showing us the "escape" they use to get the bees out of the honey 'supers', so that they can take just the honey and not the bees home with them.

I wasn't really nervous, as Bob said the bees were really docile right now; but then he proceeded to show us a stinger from a bee that had tried to sting his glove. He didn't think it was one of his bees though, as there were also other bees in the area.

Lou and I were able to stick our finger in a honey comb and taste the honey--it was yummy! (I tried to stick it into the netting on my face and then realized I had to put my finger in a little opening at my neck to get the honey to my mouth--duh!)

The above picture is bee yard # 2. They are all in different settings and very interesting to see.

This was bee yard #3--I think there were a total of 9 bee hives here.

At bee yard #4 we also saw some beautiful flower gardens. So we had a combo of bees and beauty, as you can see in the pictures below.

That evening we went to an outdoor concert at Ravinia (but that's a story for another time).

We also heard a fantastic story from Brenda about a "bee blunder" with some honey jars. You can read about it on Brenda's blog. Although it wasn't funny at the time, we got lots of laughs out of it!

It was just fun to get together as sisters and visit and have fun together. I'm so thankful for my family and for the good relationships we have, knowing that is not the case with many families.