Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Lesson from Vera

Vera. Even the name conjures up thoughts of a Vera-type girlie you may have known. The Vera books are written by Vera Rosenberry and it's my guess her life inspired the life of this little girl we've grown to love. Vera's become a favorite around here.

Today we read how Vera lost her tricycle and then her dad refurbished her sister's broken down bike and Vera learned to ride. Rebuilding bikes must be a theme for us this week. Our middle son just finished reading a story in his reading book about a boy whose dad refurbished a broken down bike because they couldn't afford a new one, so they worked hard together and created "Lightning" the speedy slick "new" bike.

These days, it's hard to imagine someone working on a broken down bike, sanding it down, repainting it, reassembling it and then gifting it as a new bike. But not too many years ago that's how we did things.

I remember my dad rebuilding a bike for my brother. He took it apart, sanded it down and painted it a beautiful candy-apple red color. It was super shiny and a lot of love and care went in to giving it a new life.

In our current consumer society we've lost some of these fun aspects of making due, or reusing what we already have.

In our family we laugh about how we used to wear our jeans until the were so faded they'd just about lost all the denim look. So, because times were tight, my mom would go buy a package of RIT dye and we'd wash our jeans in blue dye and lo' and behold...we had blue jeans again.

Or darning socks. I recently had a friend chastise me for darning the holes in my boys' socks because my time darning was wasted considering how cheap we could purchase new socks at Target. Maybe so, but sewing up the holes just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Hmm...

With the recent economic changes, maybe it would be prudent to reuse or repair some old items. I'm not ready to go buy the RIT dye, but cut-backs are probably in order.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Well, 52% of America Has Spoken

I woke up kind of numb.
Here we are...Day 1 of a "Yes We Can," "Change" and "Hope" for America new frontier. The media on broadcast television seem drunk with enthusiasm. They can barely stand themselves. Tears for the new president and the new direction of the country are run again and again. Questions like, "Do we have a new 'Camelot?'" are the main topics of discussion.
I had prepared myself for this possibility, but the fact that it is here is sobering.
I dragged myself downstairs at 6:15 am and reluctantly opened up my bible study. It was an "I know I should," more than an enthusiastic "I can't wait." Just like God promises, he met me where I'm at.
I'm doing a study called, Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur. I'm on Day 2 of Week 1. David is anointed by God. When Samuel was instructed to find David, God told him in 1 Samuel 16:7 "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart."
How many people looked at Barack Obama's heart? How many looked at his character? How many looked at his outward appearance?
The study brought about many other fabulous points. David wanted God's presence to be central to his every day life and wanted this God-consciousness to be the center of the life of Israel. Our prayer should be Exodus 33:15 "Lord, if Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from this place."
God continued to work through our morning. The kids and I are reading Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler. We're on Day 2 of Yahweh Shammah- The Lord is There. Once again God provided perfect timing. If you don't have the book, it is fabulous!
The verse for today was Isaiah 43:2,
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
She continues,
"Praise: That he is always with us.
Offer thanks: For God's presence in the midst of trouble.
Confess: Any tendency to conclude that you are alone in your struggles.
Ask God: To protect you and your loved ones."
The rest of the days devotion recounts the life of Genelle Guzman-McMillan. She was the last survivor pulled from the rubble of the North Tower collapse following the September 11th attacks. She recollects how she was buried amidst tons of debris and how someone named Paul held her hand and comforted her while rescue workers tried to pull her out. He stayed by her and reassured her until she was safe. After the rescue she learned that there was not a man named Paul involved in her rescue. God had been there with her and kept her completely calm. She remembers, "God was there when I needed him. He made sure I was found."
Like Genelle, today I feel like God is There. He knows how I feel and how so many other people in this country feel right now. He is holding our hands and comforting us. He will stand with us today and in our tomorrows. He is our Yahweh Shammah!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day!

Election Day. It's finally here. This has been one LONG race and the constant coverage has been interesting to say the least. There were times when I thought, really, "Is that relevant?" or other times when there was little reporting of a fact that I thought, "REALLY, That IS relevant!" Today we'll see how America votes.
The kids and I are reading a book about the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution. They wanted to worship God freely separate from the State Church of England. Men had been hanged and threatened for such ideas. In fear of such treatment, friends and relatives argued with the early Separatists to abandon their beliefs. When William Bradford heard such pleading he replied calmly, "To keep a good conscience and walk in such Way as God had prescribed in his Word, is a thing which I must prefer before you all, and above life itself. Wherefore, since it is for a good Cause that I am likely to suffer the disasters which you lay before me, you have no cause to be either angry with me, or sorry for me. Yea, I am not only willng to part with everything that is dear to me in this world for this Cause but I am thankful that God hath given me heart so to do; and will accept me so to suffer for him."
This is the heart that our Country was founded on.
Many have departed from this ideal, but my heart stands strong. God has given me a heart to Stand for God, My Country, My Family.
After the failing of the Speedwell Dorothy Bradford was discouraged. William placed his arm around her shoulder and quoted the words of Master Brewster, "It is not with us as with other men whom small things can discourage, or small discontentments cause to wish themselves home again."
Our country faces a pivotal decision today. Despite what many may think it is not just the economy that is at stake. We've become a people who live for momentary pleasure, but somehow fail to look longterm at the consequences of our decisions. We live in a "Me" centered society. God's standard has been thrown out the window and our measure of right or wrong is relative to what our neighbor is doing. We compare ourselves with the world and have removed the standard to which Jesus died for.
Sad indeed.
Life is in the balance. The life of the unborn, the old, the disabled.
Traditional marriage is in the balance.
One or two Supreme Court seats are in the balance.
If we look at this election and look at what God values our decision should clearly evident. There are no gray areas.
I have read many messages that call us to fast and pray for this election. I pray that people will go to the voting booth and at the last minute will be convicted to vote for the more conservative candidate. (I just heard a lady on TV say she did just this...Praise God!)
I am not discouraged. The Bible tells us that God places kings in power and he removes them. Sometimes his people need to be challenged and he will place the necessary ruler over them. God's people have lived in prosperity and they have lived in oppression. Either way we still know who sits on the Throne!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crazy for a Cleaning Product

I'm a gal who can get a little crazy for a new discovered cleaning product. The last one I was really excited about was the product line by Method, but this weekend I found a new FABULOUS addition to my cleaning arsenal.
I should first explain that we are "County Folk." We don't live in the city and so we have our own well. As many county folk can tell you when you have your own well there are a number of staining issues you may end up dealing with.
Before we moved in our house the water was on, but the filtration was not set up yet and we ended up with dark nasty stains in our sinks and a ring in our toilets. I've tried a number of heavy duty products but hate using the chemicals. I would say I lean a little toward the "green" side when it comes to chemicals. I have precious little ones and who knows what these chemicals will do to their little bodies in the long run. In addition we're on a septic system and I don't want to send something out there that will kill the good little bugs that are doing their hard work decomposing our waste.
Consequently, being the cleany that I usually am, it's a little embarrassing when we have company over. I don't want them to think lack of flushing or cleaning has caused these terrible stains.
So, this weekend while wandering the cleaning product aisles at Wal Mart I picked up a little Bathroomstone by Earthstone. I almost didn't buy it because it was a whole $3, but it piqued my interest. It is made for "heavy duty cleaning and scrubbing." It has no harmful chemicals and is completely safe. The packaging reads, "It easily cleans even the toughest hard water, soap scum, and mildew on porcelain or tile and grout."
I brought the little stone home and took it to our guest bath. I gently applied the stone in a gentle circular motion as instructed and in stains quickly disappeared!! I couldn't believe it. For four years I've battled these awful menaces and in just seconds they were gone!
So, here's my endorsement for the Bathroomstone by Earthstone. I think I'll check out their website and see what other goodies I might find
Happy Cleaning!