Friday, March 27, 2009

Isn't this cool? They had this "application" on Facebook and really liked it! This was done from a photo taken of my daughter and me at a mother-daughter retreat last year. I wish I had a big print of this, or even better, wish I could draw like this (or knew someone who did!).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Son

My son, Joseph. I'm very proud of him, and all my kids. My boys (Michael and Joseph) are juniors in High School and maturing in so many ways. Here's something Joseph just posted on Facebook. I thought it was so good that I wanted to put it on here. (This, by the way, is NOT our car... it's the driving school's car). And, this post from Joseph applies not just to teenagers but to all of us.

"After reading Don't Waste Your Life by Jon Piper, and most of Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, I feel inspired to write a note. I am writing to those of you who call yourselves Christians. To Be a called a Christian in today's culture doesn't say much. I mean, how hard is it to go to church once a week? Even the Christian culture had low expectations of Christians, basically, the culture says that God is just another way to be happy, and that our happiness is the goal. That is not the goal of Christianity! The purpose of everyone's life is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your life, by enjoying him forever. Glorifying God is what this life is all about! To do God's will should be our happiness. Now, that may include a nice house or a good job, but not necessarily. We need to be content to do God's will wherever it leads us. Another point I have is that teenagers are capable of so much, and very rarely are there teens who do anything higher than the expectations set for them. Do not waste your teenage years, or the rest of your life. Only what's done for God will last. Think about that. As Christians, we need to be living the Gospel. Otherwise, we are wasting our time here. I want to close with the idea that we (as teenagers) need to look at high school with the idea that this is another opportunity to show God's glory and to evangelize. We need to get out of the habit of counting down the days to the end of the year, or until break. We need to face every day with the attitude of "How can I further God's glory today" I am not claiming innocence in this, I need to work on this too. Just remember that Every day it an opportunity to show God's glory. Don't waste even one."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"A Word With You"

Ron Hutchcraft is one of our favorite people. He has a daily "word with you" that we get on email. Today's was so great I just had to share it with you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"I have an inspiring view out of my office window. I look out at a mountain with this rolling field in between me and the mountain. The field dips down into a hollow, or a "holler" as they call it down South. In the spring, some of the trees in the hollow start to bloom in living color. The redbud, the dogwood, they just start setting out their blossoms in all their glory. Last spring, someone walked into my office, glanced out that window, and said, "Well, look at those beautiful trees down there." They are beautiful, but they're in a spot where very few people ever see that beauty.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beauty in Out-of-the-Way Places."

God doesn't reserve His beauty for places where lots of people can appreciate it. He also plants some beautiful things in out-of-the-way places. Maybe you're one of them. Not many see beauty when it's in an unlikely or a little known place, but it's no less beautiful.

As Jesus is evaluating each of the seven churches in Revelation 2and 3, He seems pretty unimpressed with the ones that look beautiful to everyone else. Like the church at Sardis that has "a reputation of being alive" but Jesus says to them, "You are dead" (Revelation 3:1). Or the rich and powerful Christians at Laodicea who Jesus says are actually "pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17).

But then there's this church - this out-of-the-way, little known church that Jesus thinks is beautiful. He says in our word for today from the Word of God in Revelation 3, beginning in verse 8, "I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word." Then He promises them something that He offers to none of the other, highly visible churches, "I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut." He's going to give them special blessings and opportunities because of their quiet faithfulness.

For someone listening today, that's exactly how He feels about you. You've been asked to serve Him, to be faithful to Him in a little place, maybe a hard place, a place where you receive little or no appreciation or affirmation. Maybe you work or live in a situation where no one appreciates the beauty of Christ in you. But God wants you to know today He loves to look at you. He thinks you're beautiful!

Think about Hannah in the Old Testament. She was a childless woman who kept on trusting the Lord. She was beauty that no one saw except God. And He made her the mother of Samuel, the greatest spiritual leader of his time. And then there's Mary, the little known girl from a ridiculed, backwater village called Nazareth, but God knew all about her and He looked to her when it came time to find a mother to carry and to raise His Son. God seems to have special rewards for quiet, unnoticed faithfulness.

It's easy to get discouraged and even down on yourself when you've been asked to bloom for God in a place where few can see you, where few appreciate your service or your sacrifice. But God sees you. You are His "something beautiful" in an out-of-the-way place. And although there aren't many who see you blooming there, like those glorious trees hidden in the hollow outside my window, your life is no less beautiful."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why I Love The Psalms

Jim and I have been reading in the Psalms together since 150 days before we got married. We started with Psalm 150 and went backwards to Psalm 1, both reading the same Psalm every day, until the day we got married and then started over again with Psalm 1 on our wedding day. We have been reading one Psalm per day since then. I figure we've read the Psalms about 43 times since we started.

Back to the reason why I love the Psalms. Most of them were written by King David, a musician, a king, and "a man after God's own heart". David and the other Psalm writers expressed what was on their hearts to God. No matter what I'm going through I can find it expressed somewhere in the Psalms.

When I'm afraid: "The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid." (Psalm 27)

When I'm so glad to be forgiven: "Oh what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight." (Psalm 32)

When I'm in despair: "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to my God." (Psalm 40)

When I blow it: "Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin." (Psalm 51)

When things are hard and I'm questioning: "Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will He never again show me favor? Have His promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be kind? Has He slammed the door on His compassion?" (from Psalm 77)

When I wonder if God knows anything about me: "O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away... You know what I'm going to say before I say it..." (Psalm 139)

When I just need words to thank and praise Him: "I will praise You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever..." (Psalm 145 and SO many others!)

David and the other Psalm writers went through a LOT of stuff... hard things, good things and God allowed that so that they could write down these songs (psalms) for us! When I just don't know how to express myself I find solace and comfort in these great words.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

"The Purple Lady"

I just found this on the Verizon home page. You never know how your life will affect others. I love the quote at the end of the article, “every decision you make is a life decision, whether it affects you for 10 minutes or 10 years or for the rest of your life.” She's my new hero. Read on....

Myrtice McCurdy, 100, longtime teacher who wore purple

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Friday, March 13, 2009

Myrtice McCurdy could see people she taught 75 years ago and tell you what they were like in the fourth grade.

Her students never forgot her, either. Her fourth-graders of 1945 have held reunions with her. She invited them to her home for the last one, about 10 years ago. Twenty of the original 28 members attended.

“She taught us more than the three ‘Rs,’” said Annette Slaughter, a member of that class. “She taught us to respect our families, to respect our God and our country. And that’s something that stuck with us forever.”

Myrtice Pinckney McCurdy, 100, died March 11 at her home in the village of Stone Mountain. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Stone Mountain First Baptist Church. Wages & Sons is in charge of arrangements.

Miss McCurdy was 6 years old when she and her six siblings lost their mother, Mamie McCurdy, in 1914. Their father, Dr. William T. McCurdy, never remarried.

After graduating from Decatur High School and then Atlanta Normal School, a teacher training school, Miss McCurdy began teaching at the age of 18. She apparently wasn’t a fan of change.

She taught fourth grade at Stone Mountain Elementary School for 43 years. She taught Sunday school at Stone Mountain First Baptist Church for 50 years.

She wore purple clothes only, and size 6 purple shoes, said her niece, Emy Blair. And except for milk, she drank nothing but Coca-Cola, her niece said.

Miss McCurdy never married and never moved away from “Papa’s home,” the East Mountain Street house her family settled into in 1918. She lived there with her sister, Mary, who taught for 45 years at Stone Mountain High School.

For three decades, they hosted weekly Saturday night sleepovers for generations of nieces, said one of those nieces, Nan Vogler. The girls wore the matching pajamas Miss McCurdy bought them each Christmas. All purple, of course.

Every summer through last year, she took her nieces and nephews on beach vacations. She took her Sunday school students on field trips to the mountains.

“She and her sister paid college tuition for so many children, I can’t even begin to count,” Mrs. Blair said. They either paid it themselves or found funds for them, she said.

Every Sunday for at least 25 years, the sisters hosted dinner for as many as 30 family members and friends. There’d be a beef roast or pork roast with varying side dishes, but fried okra and homemade yeast rolls were always on the table.

“They never knew who was coming, but the food was always there,” Mrs. Vogler said.

Mary McCurdy cooked. Myrtice McCurdy didn’t cook, just as she didn’t drive. She prepped and cleaned up.

Her idea of a great breakfast was a slice of toasted pound cake (broiled briefly with butter) with milk and a Coke. But her favorite meal came from an Atlanta icon, the Varsity: a chili dog, fried onion rings, fried peach pie and a Coke.

Pam Jenkins, Miss McCurdy’s companion and caregiver for the past 10 years, said the teacher never stopped teaching. “I had no idea that at age 50 I would learn the most important lesson of my life,” Ms. Jenkins said, “that every decision you make is a life decision, whether it affects you for 10 minutes or 10 years or for the rest of your life.”

Miss McCurdy will be buried in a purple casket.

Survivors include three nieces; a nephew; 21 great-nieces and great-nephews; 26 great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews; and a great-great-great-niece.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Great T-shirts

We go to "" quite frequently. They have some great shirts for those of us who like subtle sarcasm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Looking for signs of life

I know it's coming...just don't see it yet.
We planted Chinese Pistache trees in January. We've watered them. The rain has watered them. I keep going out and looking to see if there are any sprouts yet.
I know that it will come.
Lots of times we (I) think that we should see results immediately... plant a seed, go out the next morning and see fully grown plants or flowers. It doesn't work that way with plants. Why do I expect results in my life instantaneously?
Jesus promised that "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it."
There are other examples... the potter and the clay.... the refiner working with gold or silver...
a masterpiece "in process". One day there will be signs of life, growth and eventually something finished/full grown/"done".

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another "gem" from Larknews

Virtual Pastor Pleases Picky Church Goers

"LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Don Lawrence preaches three times a week to an appreciative congregation at Life Baptist church. His sermon tapes often sell out, and this year he is leading the people through a study of Matthew’s gospel.
But Lawrence is not a real person. He is a virtual, on-screen pastor whose sermon topics, personality, even mannerisms are chosen collectively by his congregation.
"We’ve never been happier," says head elder Louie Francesca. "We finally got the pastor we all want."
Virtual Pastor, a UK company, began pioneering the "virtual pastor model" in 2005, and has created a dozen lifelike, on-screen avatars which preach, joke and give personal anecdotes as if they were real people. All their sermons and personal stories are scavenged from the Internet.
When a church subscribes to Virtual Pastor, each person in a congregation helps "shape" their pastor by entering likes and dislikes into a response box during services. This live feedback is fed into the company’s servers and helps to change the pastor’s sermon topics, hair style and more in following weeks. The result is a pastor perfectly tailored to the will of the congregation.
"We unify churches and remove any reason for quarreling," says co-creator Gavin McReady, standing next to the servers in Scotland where all the virtual pastors reside. "It’s a monumental achievement."
It takes eighteen months for a congregation to fine tune their pastor so he becomes a perfect representation of what they want, he says. The shaping include gestures, physical appearance, personality, hobbies and sense of humor.
Different churches have produced widely differing results. A congregation in Huntington Beach, Calif., adopted the Virtual Pastor model last year. Within weeks their on-screen pastor stopped wearing suits and started wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip-flops.
"We loosened him up quite a bit," says one congregant with a laugh.
The pastor also stopped preaching expository sermons in favor of topical sermons like "How to Make Life Matter" and "Surfing through Paul’s Greatest Hits."
Some church-goers have been surprised by the results. A woman in Bangor, Maine, was alarmed to see her virtual pastor turn progressively more "British and tweedy." He began quoting C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, speaking in a British accent and wearing wool vests.
"My church was a bunch of Anglo-philes," she says. "You learn a lot about people by how the pastor gets shaped."
McReady and his programmers also like to throw random events into the pastor’s life, such as an unexpected crisis, decision or funny occurrence. A virtual pastor might walk on-screen one day and announce he is going on a diet to lose 35 pounds by Christmas. That theme plays out for the remainder of the year as he announces his progress week after week.
"People like surprises as long as it doesn’t impinge on their basic control of the pastor and his message," McReady says.
Churches with virtual pastors say troublemakers tend to quiet down or leave because they don’t have a real person to target with complaints.
"People can’t pin their problems on the pastor anymore," says an associate pastor who handles day-to-day matters at a Virtual Pastor church in Idaho. "He’s their creation. They can only blame themselves." •

....'nuf said

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Morning Ramblings

The other night I was at our home town "Chamber of Commerce dinner". This is an annual event to award the man and woman of the year, as well as a few other awards, one of which went to a man in our church who won the "beautification award" for fixing up a building downtown. This building (years ago) was our Doctor's office. Dr. Feldmeyer... he delivered all four of us kids... stitched up my hand when I was 5 years old (there's a whole other story for another time) and made numerous house calls. When this years' man of the year accepted his award the other night he talked about Dr. Feldmeyer and how he cared for a car accident victim for several months (this is years ago, before insurance companies ran the health care system) and accepted NO pay for it!
Which gets me to the point of this post (or nearly so)....

I'm thinking that life 30, 40 and 50 years ago was way better than now.
*Doctors made house calls (and when he came to our house for one kid, he'd check all the others just to be on the safe side).

*"Mom and Pop" stores were just that... little stores that served the community and where everybody knows your name. (We actually had one of those stores for years! It's gone now...)

*Problems in schools had more to do with gum chewing than with drugs and gangs.
Speaking of schools - They actually had orchestra, band, mens glee club, women's glee club, choir, courses in Latin, German, French, Spanish... , homemaking, woodshop, auto shop, etc. (they actually prepared kids for the real world, and not just for taking tests! See previous blog post about school tests.

O.K. now to the real point of this post(and what prompted this long rambling rant)
Like "Mom and Pop stores" and House calls... I wonder if the small church is a thing of the past (or nearly so). "Mom and Pop" stores get swallowed up by big chain stores. Small churches dwindle and "get swallowed up" by bigger churches who can offer more programs, better music, high-power preaching, and the prospect of anonymity to people who attend. Small churches take hard work and sacrifice. Like the days of the "Mom and Pop stores" (like my family's store) - when you walk into a small church, you're treated like family. And when you miss, it's noticed! When you need something, people rally to help. "Everybody knows your name" in small churches. But there are drawbacks. It is said (I don't know who said it, and in fact, I'm really just making this up to sound smart... cause it looks good when you include statistics in an article) that in any group 20% of the people do 80% of the work. So, when your congregation is 80 people (which ours is if everybody shows up on the same Sunday!), that's 16 people. Yep, that's about right.

So, in a town of 10,000 people, we have about 20 churches. It seems like a lot. There is one "Big" church in town. (It's the one "everyone" goes to). Then, there are a few medium size churches (between 100-200) and then there's our size... (we actually used to be more before a bunch left and started their own church)... about 80 people. There are smaller churches than ours... a handful and they just keep plugging along.

Hmmm,what was the point of this anyway? Oh yeah, is there really a place for small churches anymore? Do we just give up and close up shop and be swallowed up by the medium to big size churches? Or do we still have something to offer? It's Monday morning so I am rambling and thinking. *Sigh* Yes! There still is a place for us. We may not have the best music, the high-power, motivational speaker type messages, the latest programs but we do have:
Love for God and His Word and the absolute confidence in His power to save and help us in every day life.
Love for the people in our congregation.
Love for the people around us.

We are the Doctor Feldmeyer's, the "Mom and Pop" store, the simple church. "We're not in Mayberry anymore" but we can still live and act like it.

Time to turn off the computer and get some work done.

My friend and fellow sarcastic blogger Maureen tagged me with this blog award. So I will take 5 minutes (that I should be using for more productive activities) to tag some other friends.

The rules are as follows.... List 7 things that you love and then pass the award on to 7 people...tagging them and letting them know they won! You can copy the picture of the award and put it on your sideboard letting the whole wide world know you are KReATIV!

Ok, here's my list:

1. God and my relationship with Him

2. My family

3. Vacation in the mountains at the family cabin

4. Playing the piano

5. Finding a really great movie on TV on a Sunday afternoon when I'm channel surfing

6. Reading

7. Spending time with the few friends that I have

So now I will tag:

1. Jim (hubby and best friend)

2. Maureen (who already tagged me, and is one of my few friends, so I'll tag her back)

3. Alida - new friend and fellow secret agent.

4. Ted (our youth pastor who hasn't updated his blog since November)

5. Debby (we've been friends for 26 years!)

6. Larknews. OK, this is not a blog, but I really don't have 7 blog friends, and besides, this is a really funny and creative website.

7. Crickl - another fellow secret agent