31 March 2013

High School Banquets

Twelve years have flown by since my last high school banquet.  If I went to the last one, that is.  I don't recall!  I remember some fun ones with really nice guys who were simply my friends, but the years run together a little.
So it's funny and fun and all that kind of crazy that I'm attending one again, with my husband at the staff table, with wonderful and solid and heaven-sent friends. 
Isn't the decor pretty?

26 March 2013

From the Journals: My Teenage Thoughts on Marriage

I've been journaling my devotional thoughts since as far back as 2000.  Somehow that year, I bought or came across a daily planner for Christians.  But instead of having a calendar type appearance, it simply had blamed lines, about half a page of them, for each day. 
I've been wanting to read through them for some time, and watch my spiritual life and learning from the perspective of years.  Would you like to come on the journey with me?  I'm not the type to share every little personal detail, or to take kindly to readers snooping the journals without permission, but when and if I occasionally come across a little sweet gem?  I'd love to have you peek over my shoulder.  A little.
From Sabbath, January 1, 2000.  {I was a junior in academy/high school.}
"Many things are listed as better than a quarrelsome wife.  {Was I perhaps reading Proverbs?  I apparently was not very good at referencing.}. And no wonder!  Fish and company stink in three days, but a quarrelsome wife stinks a huge lot sooner.  How to keep from having a rotten marriage?  Renew love daily.  Isn't that what we do with God?  And that relationship is often strained (at our fault).  Be patient and go out of your way to do something they like."
What do you think?  Was I on the right track?

25 March 2013

Tiptoe through the Tulips

My husband knows me well.  Thus, when he goes to buy me flowers (which he would do way more often if I wasn't such a strict controller of the budget), he doesn't buy red roses.  {very often}  He knows, however, that I love beauty and spring and all those glorious things, and he knows I love the pink of fresh tulips.

He came back from his physical on Friday with flowers for the Sabbath table, not quite open, just so they would last and bring beauty to our home and delight me longer.

Can you see such flowers and not marvel at their unfurling petals, soft curves, and pointed tips?

I never get tired of fresh flowers from my husband.  {My mother knew that when she told him he could marry me if he would still buy me fresh flowers every now and then.  Although of course my parents told him other things too. :)}  I never tire of these hints that spring is drawing near, and I enjoyed seeing them again this morning, fresh snow as their background outside the dining room window.

24 March 2013

The Herbs

You know what?  Last week I got another exciting package from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  Oh, I could hardly wait to tear into it!  And you know what?  They included another free packet of sunflower seeds.  I could NEVER have too many sunflowers, but I'm not sure we would have bought any this year because we are trying to build up our edible and money-saving plants. 

So I was overjoyed with not only the first, but also the SECOND package of sunflowers.  Those folks over at Baker Creek really know how to make a girl happy.  (Visit them at www.rare seeds.com)
Here's the list of seeds we ordered.

Common Thyme
Dill Vierling
Emily Basil
Genovese Basil
Parsley:  Giant of Italy
Sage Broad Leaf
Slo Bolt Cilantro
Wild Zaatar Oregano

Some of the ones planted I side already (some wait until we can plant them straight outside) are already coming up.  I love to see their tiny pin-prick green!

One thing I didn't find was Rosemary seeds.  I'll be looking around for other heirloom suppliers for those.  Any suggestions?

And I'm thinking a friend promised me some mint roots when she cleans hers out this spring.  I'll have to check with her again in spring.  Then I'll need to be taught how to make that delicious mint chutney I've had at Indian restaurants.

22 March 2013

First Things

First leaves are out, on this little thorn bush, as well as some tiniest of the tiny leaves on the willow trees.  Is that not a happy thing?

21 March 2013

Out With the Old

This morning, my Sabbath school lesson sent me to those familiar verses in Ezekiel 36:26, 27.  They struck me to the core with the beautiful love and creative power of our Savior.  Will you read them with me today?

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you..."

Wait a minute.  Have you ever been tempted to think that your desires for things that aren't good for you, aren't what God wants for you, will never go away?  That the struggle against temptations will not only never go away, but also never get easier?

But what if we really accept this promised new heart by faith?  Will our desires change then?  Or do we fight so much because we like to live from the heart we've always had, the one that always gets us into selfish messes of trouble?

"...and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh..."

How many times do we joyfully take the new heart, but keep the stony heart right near by?  It's deathly, to be sure, to have a physical heart as hard as stone, but even more so a spiritual heart as hard as the rocks you don't want in your garden.  We're accustomed to it, though, and we like familiarity.  We don't let God take away the stony heart.

But think for a second if we did....What would be the result?  What would it be like to let Jesus take away that stony heart, to start living out of the new one He makes for us?  Do you think maybe our desires would even begin to change?

"And I will put My Spirit in you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them."

You see, the God I serve not only expects amazing things from my life, but also make double provision for me to make a success of right and glorious living.  As if an entirely new heart and spirit (think attitude) were not enough, He also gives HIS Spirit, to make sure that new heart and spirit He puts within me are still working properly.

Because He wants me to live well.  He wants me to live happily without devastating things in my life like becoming a murderer or a thief (think His law).  He wants me to be a beautiful and joyful success story in my life sphere in this world, and be prepared to desire the absolute perfection of the mansion He's preparing for me.

(I know I just posted a photo of a daffodil recently.  But THESE are new and beautiful and I couldn't resist.)

20 March 2013

Soon I Will Need...

Although things are still ok now, I will soon need a couple of clothing items.  In the process of thinking through what those would be (something pink to go with skirt? denim jacket? pants of some kind?), I have stumbled upon some wardrobe and style resources I have found to be helpful.

One girl's take on building a wardrobe with variety in it.  Which if you look at the photos below, you'll notice I don't have.  See all the green and blue?  And blue and green?  And maybe like two things that are pink? I know my mom says there's nothing boring about beautiful....but maybe next time I go shopping, I'll go for something that's not blue or green.  Maybe that's why I don't have exactly the right pink thing to go with the skirt that showed up in my mailbox last spring, although I do have a green and a blue that work. (Thanks, Mom!)

And this first one was so helpful, because it covered everything from colored bottoms to different ways to wear the same shirt to what to do with belts to layering button up shirts to keeping your options open when all you can find in the store are immodest tops.  (Really?  All I needed was enough of the right shells to go underneath?)

This girl wears mostly skirts.  While I don't necessarily see myself going all- or mostly-skirts, I do find her approach to be a good one, and I've been enjoying her every-day styles that seem like they would work for casual settings as well.  And she gives good hints and tips about really important things.  Like where to find shells/camis with high enough neck lines.  (Thank you!)  I'm also intrigued by her e-book on sewing denim.  Can't wait to get that sewing machine fixed!

While I've only looked on this blog a couple of times so far, I like some of her ideas on having a feminine look even when you're having a casual day.  And she has a weekly link party, so I can scroll down and see what other people are putting together, too.  (I liked this example of wide-leg pants.)

16 March 2013

Back to Life

Last summer in our move, we nearly lost my jade plant, which was a gift from my grandmother in the fall of 2002.  My husband saved one set of two leaves and one lone leaf, and kept watering them all fall and winter.

Here is the result:  each original leaf or set now has two new sets of leaves.

Which brings me to a beautiful Sabbath thought:  While there is life, there is hope.  (I've been searching for the EGW book and page for this quote.  I will update the post later when I find it, or when one of you reminds me where it is.)

Sometimes it may seem like there is hardly any life left, like with my plant.  But take courage!  Even one or two "leaves" with life still in them can be miraculously rebuilt in a human life by the same God who designed plant propagation.

15 March 2013

Anyone Can Memorize, Part 2

Since this goes right along with the theme from an earlier post this week, I thought I would share an except from our family worship reading yesterday.

"Let the more important passages of Scripture connected with the lesson [weekly Sabbath School lesson] be committed to memory, not as a task, but as a privilege.  Though at first the memory be defective, it will gain strength by exercise, so that after a time you will delight thus to treasure up the words of truth.  And the habit will prove a most valuable aid to spiritual growth."

White, Ellen G.  Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 137, 138.  Mountain View, CA:  Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1943.

14 March 2013

The Tomatillos are Starting to Grow

So are a few of the peppers and tomatoes, but I didn't take their photos.

Are you excited with me?

I constantly marvel at how strong a little baby plant has to be to push through dirt, break through a seed-case, and sometimes even shove aside a large piece of bark or a rock to get to the light, which of course essential for it to grow.

Growth isn't for the fearful little plant, the plant who says it just can't see past a piece of bark to the light.  It's for the plant that pushes and stretches through the darkness into the marvelous light, finally throwing aside the bark that seemed to keep it enslaved.

Maybe Jesus meant that kind of strength when He compared faith to a mustard seed's growth.  The kind of strength that keeps on past all the cumbersome trials, pressing through the soil--indeed, nourished by it--as it gets ready to bear a heavy crop.

13 March 2013


Tonight, the first night of spring vacation, seemed like a good time to jump in the car for the hour drive to our nearest Olive Garden.  We had a gift card, and the time to do it, so it seemed like a great adventure.
And just for the record?  I still think my husband is a date worth keeping.  I therefore told him over supper that I'm glad I married him.  He said he appreciated that about me...that I married him.  We smiled at each other, still in love.
Are you glad you married your husband?  Have you told him so lately?

12 March 2013

I Will Pour Water

Today's leftover rainwater swelled the {very} little creek nearby our house.  It reminded me of a childhood home on five acres, a brother and sister on bikes, going out for "flood patrol", which was grand language that meant we were going out to see if any of the deep ditches along our road were about to overflow.

Up and down we road, sometimes finding part of the road submerged in maybe a half inch or so of water, which of course we rode right through.  Maybe sometimes the water was higher than that.  I don't recall.

Our mother somehow knew that we would be having these outdoor adventures, and never seemed too worried about clothes getting muddy.

Eventually the water would settle, and frogs and mosquitoes had plenty of time each spring to make use of the water in the ditches.

I love spring rains.  I love the way everything in nature draws new green from the drops out of the sky.  I love the scent, the abundance, the sound of extra water overflowing their normal course. 

On a reasonable scale, of course.  I don't want anyone losing house and home and crops.

Which is something I love even more about the Water of Life, that Water poured out in abundance that can never be too much.

So reflect with me today about being thirsty.  Spiritually thirsty.  And then reflect on being....filled, overflowing, yet never wanting less.

"For I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground:  I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring."  Isaiah 44:3, KJV

11 March 2013

Anyone Can Memorize

(The daffodils that seemed to bloom under the snow.)

Things had gotten to a difficult state.  I was trying to revive my regular memory-verse/chapter/book time in my new life in Virginia, but it was difficult.  I was constantly resting (from graduate school, I thought), and each day's schedule was just a little different.  My mornings haven't been very early, so the early morning fresh air and solitude were not working as a viable memory time slot this fall.

Finally, I started forcing myself to work out one verse every day.

Slow going, I thought, since I used to do several a day during my morning walks.  But I found it harder to memorize in the house, with the day's work surrounding me and waiting for me.

Then the extra calendar came.  It's one from a mission organization, reminding me at the beginning of each week to pray for a specific mission project.  I already had a calendar for the daily appointments and other such details, so this hung next to it blank, there for the photos.

One day, however, it hit me:  I needed a Bible memory schedule, a set of goals to get me really back on track.  I wanted to do more than just review what I've learned before.  I wanted to set more goals, and not only set them, but actually reach them.  I was about to draw out a grid or make one on the computer, when it hit me:  the extra calendar!  I grabbed it, quickly worked out a system, and got back on track.  With both my memory verses, chapters, and books, as well as the reminders to pray for specific missions projects (one each day each week).

Want to know what the plan is?

It's simple, and here it is:
1.  Memorize three verses per day, from the end of a chapter to its beginning.
2.  When the three verses per day add up to a whole chapter, take one day thereafter to review said chapter.
3.  Review one other chapter from current Bible book.
4.  Review one chapter each from no more than two previous books.
5.  Cross off the accomplished goals, which are written on the calendar.  (That makes me feel really great about reaching a goal.)

BOOKS?  You might wonder how I got that far.  Well, this is the disclaimer:  I have memorized a book of the Bible, but I wouldn't say it's perfect.  I had just decided one day that if I had to memorize the music I performed (and sometimes twenty-plus pages of it), there was no reason I couldn't be memorizing large portions of Scripture.  The reason for the review is that my mind does not automatically retain the first "memorizing" of something.  I have to keep going over and over and over and over it, again and again.  But I do find that the more I use my memory, the easier it is to use my memory.

I'm on my second book, which is smaller than the first by ten chapters.  I'm hoping to have the ground work done on it in just a few weeks (if I stick to my calendar).  Then I'm planning to work on a small book, before biting off a bigger one again.

Why do I memorize?

My reasons are simple, and here they are:
1.  The things I've memorized help me to be more in tune with what I'm reading in other parts of the Bible, and thus I see it more and more as a whole, rather than separate parts.
2.  The things I've memorized come time my mind sometimes.  Why not make that Bible texts and hymns, instead of whatever I can find on the radio (and I'm not bashing all radio, but you know what I mean).
3.  The process of memorizing helps me understand passages more deeply, and challenges me to grow in my own walk of faith.  (Try repeating the response of courage Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego gave to King Nebuchadnezzar over and over and over without it humbling your own fear of trial.)
4.  And this is related to #3:  When I'm going through trial, I hope and pray that God will bring these words of faith to my mind.

That's where I am with memorizing.  You know what?  I think you can do it too.  It might take some slow going to get your memory active and in shape--don't take on a whole book of the Bible any more abruptly than you would a marathon if you hadn't been running regularly beforehand.  But set yourself some goals.  Reach them.  Then set more goals.

I know you can memorize, too.  You do it all the time.  That recipe, that song you hear over and over, that road you take to the grocery store, you name it.

I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

10 March 2013

Flower Count

Tulip count for today:  45
Hyacinth count for today:  36

I think there's even a little tomatillo poking out of its little container.

08 March 2013


I've been pleased with what the snow has done to the tallest of the tall weeds in our garden:  flattened them.  I'm hoping that lasts.

Meanwhile, I reflect on my Jesus and his pure river of water of life, both of which I hope to see soon when he comes, who makes even me white as snow.

06 March 2013

Welcome Spring?

Yesterday, I saw my first almost-blooming daffodil, and counted bulbs coming up in the flower garden (31 hyacinths, 30 tulips, plus miscellaneous).
Today, this is what I found.  Winter is putting up a fight, with its biggest show of snow all year.

05 March 2013

Garden Updates

On Friday, I found a padded large envelope in our mailbox, and wondered what it could be.

I love getting mail.  Adore it.  Even when I send it to myself.  I watch for the mail vehicle every day, hoping it will stop at our box.  Even if there’s just a magazine or catalog left behind.

So it was with special eagerness that I took the envelope out of the box, and examined it for a return address.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  Mansfield, Missouri 65704.  www.rareseeds.com.

I gasp.  I bound into the house.  I tear open the flap.  I know what’s inside.

I’ve liked dealing with Baker Creek so far.  A friend recommended them, and I immediately requested a catalog, printed.  But what’s great about also checking out the varieties online is that they often have customer reviews and comments.  So someone from my zone may have tried a particular variety before, and I can see how it went for them.  Lovely idea.

And just for fun, I’ll tell YOU what was inside the envelope, too.  It’s just a start, but we’ll be planting these today, indoors, in toilet paper rolls I’ve cut in thirds and lined up in disposable tin baking sheets.  We’ll put them in front of the living room window, because even though it will be slightly tacky, they’ll have the best light. 

I never was one to sacrifice comfort for looks.  My seeds won’t have to, either.

Are you growing anything in your house, greenhouse, or garden yet?  I’d love to know what’s working!

Here’s what came on Friday:
Pepper:  Emerald Giant
Pepper:  Santa Fe Grande
Pepper:  Golden Marconi
Pepper:  Serrano Tampequino
Hot Pepper:  Scotch Bonnet
Pepper:  Cayenne Long Thin
Pepper:  Anaheim
Tomato:  Big Yellow Zebra
Tomato:  Amish Paste
Tomato:  Ingegnoli Gigante Liscio
Tomato:  Bonny Best
Tomatillo Verde
Brussels Sprouts:  Catskill
Eggplant:  Japanese White Egg
Eggplant:  Rosa Bianca
FREE GIFT!  Sunflower Lemon Queen

Don’t worry:  we’ll find room for all of them!