Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Off The Road & Back Home.......For a Little While

Seems like I've been gone for a long time and it's really only been a week. My clothes are still in my travel bag. I see no sense in taking them out when we are leaving again by the weekend. My dogs are not sure just where they are going to be from day to day! Each time we get the bags out, they stand with a look on their faces like "do we get to go this time?" When we get in the vehicle and leave, they do not relax until we pass the kennel where they stay while we are gone.

Our trip to Charleston was short but good. Hubby is working on some pictures I hope to post soon. We crammed alot into a short time, but we had fun and wished we had more time. We will be going back and hopefully in the near future. Son's truck is on it's way to Hawaii (after some quick information recovery, thanks to bethanne) and will be there, according to the company shipping it, by November 19th. Please continue to pray for Kenneth, his transition to Hawaii and then an almost immediate transfer to Iraq for 6 months. Kenneth flies on a P3 Orion which, for those of you who are like me and do not know what that is, basically is used to hunt enemy subs but while in Iraq will be looking for terrorists. He has only 2 years until retirement and I am praying that the six months he is deployed will be so busy that it will pass quickly so that he can enjoy his time in Hawaii.

When we got home, we immediately went to the campground for a cook out with the other 3 campground host couples. What a great time! T-bone steaks, baked potatoes, salad, banana pudding, and German chocolate upside-down cake. All cooked and eaten outside. The campfire was huge, and the fellowship sweet. This is the first year since we have been working at the park that all the couples are Christians and, believe you me, it shows in the way that the office is run. There is a spirit of love and concern, not just for each other, but for the people we meet who have come to camp. Each couple working has had or are facing different problems, whether it be health related or family related or something in their life beyond their control. We pray for one another, encourage one another and look forward to seeing how the Lord is going to answer prayers in each other's lives. The park is beautiful this time of the year. The color is deep and the deer are plentiful. They do not have any fear of people and walk right up into the camp sights. The mornings and nights are crisp (30's) so a campfire feels great. I must admit, I do not look forward to pulling our camper home. Guess that will make next spring even sweeter to think about when the snow blows this winter.

Today is getting away from me. I have a bed to make, bible study to do (really to catch up - this is our last night), clothes to wash, my part of a ladies event to get together, a wrinkled outfit to get ready for Sunday (thanks LuAnn!), and most important of all - a beautiful fall day to enjoy!
Actually, I think I might just surprise my dogs and take them for a walk. They would love it and I NEED it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Critters and Other Stuff

Nothing much happening here in upper East Tennessee except beautiful fall weather and lots, and lots of LADY BUGS - yes, I said lady bugs and they are driving me CRAZY! In the early spring and in the fall we are overcome by lady bugs. Because we are adjacent to the Cherokee National Forest and because the hemlocks are endangered by a bug called the woolly adelgid (I think I spelled that right) and because the lady bug is the ONLY thing that eats the woolly adelgid, the National Forest Service releases millions and millions, did I say millions, I meant trillions of them from the air into our atmosphere. It would be no problem if they did the job they were released to do, but at this time of the year they seek warmth - that means the sun - the sun on my front porch each afternoon. If we did not have to open our doors now and again, I could see them from afar, but because we do ever so often have to go out, they fly in the door, thereby requiring me to suck them up in my vacuum. One other small bit of info - they STINK when they are challenged by man or vacuum and I have discovered, in a really big challenge, they bite! Now this little problem just began on last Friday and we probably are in for a couple of weeks of these pesky visitors. The only relief I can foresee is frost or rain. They do not like rain and the frost will kill them, but not before they have laid their eggs for next spring. It is a never ending battle. I think the Lord sent these pests so we will welcome winter instead of dread it. Oh yes, I failed to mention that I am not the only one that these little critters have chosen to visit. They are EVERYWHERE. There was even a segment on the news how this region is plagued by them - sort of like the locusts in the Bible. The only difference we don't have any people to let go!

Next problem - field mice. Thankfully, I have a courageous husband who does not mind emptying traps when they catch the mice that seek warmth in our garage. We not only live on mountain, we are surrounded by woods - thus field mice. Since I have no resident cat, they prefer my house to my neighbors who has 4 resident cats. My two dogs, yorkies (whose heritage is to seek out and kill rodents), are of no help. They have risen above working in this life, and would not know what to do with a mouse if they caught it.

Next problem - raccoons - big, fat raccoons that gorge on my sunflower seeds and suet. I love to feed the birds. We have a multitude of different birds that live in our woods - doves, cardinals, nuthatches, titmice, blue jays,wrens, finches and more. The raccoons and opossums raid the feeders at night. I put out new suet yesterday because it attracts woodpeckers and I love to watch them. This morning - suet all gone. No bird ate all that suet from late yesterday afternoon till this morning. Besides, my suet feeders were open and that is a sure sign that the culprit was bigger than a bird. No wonder the raccoons that I see when I take my dogs out before bed are fat - I'm feeding them lard!

After five years of living here on the mountain I guess I should be accustomed to sharing space with wildlife and bugs. The joys far outweigh the nuances. We are beginning to see, with the shedding of the leaves, the view of the mountains toward North Carolina and evening sunsets. Yesterday afternoon's sky was breathtaking with the pinks and reds. A good way to close out the day remembering that there is with the bad (bugs) also good. God is good! Thank you Lord Jesus for the privilege of living in this world you made.

I almost forgot - no more blogging for a few days. Hubby and I are off on a little adventure. His son, who is in the Navy has been in Japan for three years and is being stationed in Hawaii. We have his truck and are taking it to Charleston SC to be shipped by the Navy so he will have a vehicle when he arrives in Hawaii in December. He will leave for the middle east in January and will be there for six months. Please pray for our safety in travel goin to SC and Kenneth's safety in this transition and in his deployment. All this moving is a big deal - lots of paper work and planning. Believe me, he really needs your prayers at this time in his life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


It's absolutely unbelievable that I would post two days in a row! Something MUST be wrong with me! Actually, I have no great people to quote today and no real words of wisdom to utter; I am just so thankful for my life and my situation. This morning in the paper there was no encouraging words to be had. All doom and gloom. A killer convicted, landslide in Yosemite, corrupt executives, a child abandoned at medical facilities, economy still not even starting to recover, candidates at one another's throats, loss of benefits for workers, loss of jobs - all of these are a sign of the times. My situation is so good compared to many. My hope is not in this world or in our leaders. My hope is in Jesus and the anticipation of seeing Him one day.

This morning in my bible study, which this week is on gentleness, some of the scripture was in Acts and some in John. The lesson title is Gentle Giants - about Paul and Peter. As I read scripture that I have read hundreds of time before, I began to question whether I exhibit any gentleness in my life. Gentleness - a life surrendered to real power (Beth Moore's definition). I had never thought about gentleness being submission. I think I had always coupled gentleness with timidity. So gentleness means not being stubborn or pig-headed - not fighting God's will in my life - a life surrendered to the Highest Power. For me, stubborn as I am, pig-headed as I am, that is a tall order. I am so glad that God never, ever gives up on us. That means there is still hope for me!

While reading scripture about Paul, the lesson had us list some of the ways Paul had suffered for Christ's sake - beatings, jail, angry mobs, exhaustion, hunger, sleeplessness, stoning, pain, cold, thirst. I have suffered nothing for Christ. I have, we all have, real cushy lives compared to the Saints of the Bible. They did not live in fear of what was coming, they lived in anticipation. They wanted to suffer for Christ. Paul said, and I am paraphrasing, his suffering meant he was a partner in Christ's suffering all the way to death itself. Wow! I don't have a clue what real suffering is! Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not into wanting to suffer, but what will Christ be able to thank me for when I stand before Him. Since we live in a different time and age, I suppose the up-side-down crucifixion, stoning, and beatings don't apply, but the anticipation
of what is coming does. We never know when circumstances in our lives are going to change and we may be required to take a stand. If the wrong people (liberals) get elected to high positions, we may, as Christians, find ourselves persecuted even to the point Paul and Peter were for their beliefs. Will I meet the test? Will we as Christ's body meet the test? I pray that I will. I pray that we will. I pray that in our weakness we would find strength to be a partner in Christ's suffering all the way to death itself like Paul.

This may seem as though I am doom and gloom like the newspaper today, but the good news is that no matter how bad things seem or even get - we who know Christ and have Him living in us are going to be okay - in fact - better than okay. Nothing can destroy us. No one can destroy us. We have the hope of eternity in heaven with Jesus. We have anticipation of worshipping at His feet forever and I can't wait! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scriptural Answers To The "Whys" In Our Lives

I know ..... it's been awhile. I could use the excuse that I have been away which I was last week. I could use the excuse that I have been really busy and I have - but not that busy. I could use the excuse that I have not been motivated and probably that excuse is the best one of all. Do you ever get in the mode of simply not knowing or wanting to blog? Some of us are not given to great randomness like bethanne, and when I don't know what to write, I don't write!

Last month an article was sent to me by email. I read it and copied it because I really didn't have my mind fully on it at the time. I thought I would come back to it and study it a little more and search out the scripture references when I was a little more with it! I laid it on my desk and this week I found it again. As I have studied it more the past couple of days, I realized how true the article is and how I needed to read this and keep it near for future reading. I want to share this with you. It may be a little lengthy, but maybe it will be thoughts that you need in your life at this particular time - much like I did at the time I refound (not sure that is a real word) it.

Scripture References:
Romans 8:17
2 Corinthians 12:9
1 Peter 4:12-13
Job 16
Romans 5:3-4
John 14:31
Colossians 1:24
Isaiah 45:9-11
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart

Ever Been Bitter?
Sometimes I've said, "O Lord, you wouldn't do this to me, would you? How could you, Lord?" I can recall such times later on and realize that my perspective was skewed. One scripture passage which helps me rectify it is Isaiah 45:9-11 (NEB): "Will the pot contend with the potter, or the earthenware with the hand that shapes it? Will the clay ask the potter what he is making? .... Thus says the Lord, would you dare question me concerning my children, or instruct me in my handiwork? I alone, I made the earth and created man upon it." He knows exactly what He is doing. I am the clay.
The word "humble" comes for the root word "humus, earth, clay." Let me remember that when I question God's dealings. I don't understand Him, but then I'M NOT ASKED TO UNDERSTAND, ONLY TO TRUST.
Bitterness dissolves when I remember the kind of love with which He has loved me--He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. He gave Himself for me. Whatever He is doing now, therefore, is NOT cause for bitterness. It has to be designed for good, because He loved me and gave Himself for me.
Is it a sin to ask God why?
It is always best to go first for answers to Jesus Himself. He cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" It was a human cry, a cry of desperation, springing from His heart's agony at the prospect of being put into the hands of wicked men and actually becoming sin for you and me. We can never suffer anything like that, yet we at times feel forsaken and cry, Why, Lord?
The psalmist asked why. Job, a blameless man, suffering horrible torments on an ash heap, asked why. It does not seem to me to be sinful to ask the question.
What IS sinful is resentment against God and His dealings with us.
When we begin to doubt His love and imagine that He is cheating us of something we have a right to, we are guilty as Adam and Eve were guilty. They took the snake at his word rather than God. The same snake comes to us repeatedly with the same suggestions: Does God love you? Does He really want the best for you? Is His word trustworthy? Isn't He cheating you? Forget His promises. You'd be better off if you do it your way. Etc.
I have often asked why. Many things have happened which I didn't plan on and which human rationality could not explain. In the darkness of my perplexity and sorrow I have heard Him say quietly, Trust Me.
He knew that my question was not the challenge of unbelief or resentment. I have never doubted that He loves me, but I have sometimes felt like St. Teresa of Avila who, when she was dumped out of a carriage into a ditch said, "If this is the way You treat your friends, no wonder You have so few!" :-)
Job was not, it seems to me, a very patient man. But he never gave up his conviction that he was in God's hands. God was big enough to take whatever Job dished out (see Job 16 for a sample). Do not be afraid to tell Him exactly how you feel. (He already read your thoughts anyway). Don't tell the whole world. God can take it--others can't. (AMEN!!!)
Then listen for His answer. Six scriptural answers to the question WHY come from the scriptures listed above. There is mystery, but it is not all mystery. Here are clear reasons.
I hope that the above article spoke to someone's heart. I have been a fan of Elisabeth Elliott for many years and knowing the things that she has been through in her life make this article even more dear to me. As the person who sent this to me said, "if you have not been to this point in your life, you will. Save it. If you are there, this will encourage you".