Saturday, November 28, 2009

Joyeux Noel

This is what I watched while folding 4 loads of laundry today.

"Synopsis: Set in 1914 amid the muddy trenches and flying shrapnel of World War I, JOYEUX NOEL is a touching tale of an unlikely, if fleeting, reconciliation amid battle. French director Christian Carion begins his movie--which is based on a true event--by highlighting how startlingly close the warring factions are located to one another. Trenches occupied by French and Scottish troops lay a mere hairbreadth away from their German counterparts, to the point where an alarm clock in the French trench can be heard in all three dugouts. Carion adds a generous helping of gallows humor to this and similar scenes, although he makes sure to carefully rein in the comical elements of the movie to portray the fear that grips the men as they face their enemies. Suddenly, and entirely accidentally, Christmas Day brings a magical event that would forever sear the history books with a moment of humanity in the midst of bloody battle. The Germans place Christmas trees above their trench simply to get them out of the way, while Scottish bagpipers play along to the operatic voices they hear wafting over from the German camp. Then, as if by magic, all the men are united in No Man's Land for a festive celebration. The men tentatively make friends, show each other pictures of faraway lovers, and play soccer across the snowy landscape, all the while knowing that the coming days may find them killing one another. Carion crafts an emotional picture in JOYEUX NOEL, but never shirks from highlighting the horrific fates that possibly await his collection of characters. Although the occasion around which the film revolves is celebratory, JOYEUX NOEL is full of suitably melancholy antiwar sentiments, making for utterly compelling viewing."
-from "Rotten Tomatoes" movie review. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

When the Lights Come On

Today we decorated for Christmas.  It's bittersweet this year and I'm very pensive.  We have all of Dad's Christmas stuff, but not Dad.  We used his tree this year.  It's bigger than ours and nicer, too!  I got out the whole Christmas village (with one addition from Dad's place, a church).  We've been collecting pieces to this over the years.  A lot of it is from "It's a Wonderful Life" (the Bijoux Theater, Gowlers's Drug Store, Bailey's Building and Loan, Martini's Bar).  I plugged everything in but the only ones to come on were the Drug Store, Potter's Bank and Martini's Bar.  The churches (we have two in our set), and the houses remained dark.  Hmmmm, what does this say?  I see symbolism in most everything.  Anymore, the churches do seem to be dark.  Fewer and fewer are there.  The drug store, banks and bars are full.  Maybe we should spend more time out where the people are while bringing light back into the churches.  "Shine your light and let the whole world see.  We're singing for the glory of the risen King!" 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Psalm

"I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
      You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.

  O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
      and you restored my health.
  You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
      You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

  Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
      Praise his holy name.
  For his anger lasts only a moment,
      but his favor lasts a lifetime!
   Weeping may last through the night,
      but joy comes with the morning.

 When I was prosperous, I said,
      “Nothing can stop me now!”
 Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
      Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

 I cried out to you, O Lord.
      I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
 “What will you gain if I die,
      if I sink into the grave?
   Can my dust praise you?
      Can it tell of your faithfulness?
 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
      Help me, O Lord.”

 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
      You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
      O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!"

-Psalm 30

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful for... (part deux)

Thanksgiving Holiday
Fall weather
a fire in the fireplace
beautiful flowers from my neighbor
God's acceptance of me
my very caring husband
God's faithfulness!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm Thankful for....

each new day that I wake up
hot showers
orange juice
hot tea and cozy blanket while reading my Bible in the morning
my new job
the new "kids" I'm getting to know at my new job
how well my kids are doing at school
my husband's work and new ministry
food to eat
clothes to wear
Rachel's impish grin
Debra's cute giggle
Michael's wonderful sense of humor
Joseph's pretty blue eyes
Jim... and all He is!!
my brothers and sister and our friendship that has grown into "adulthood"
long time friends who love me as I am
Judy A.
God's grace
God's forgiveness
God's mercy
God's love
God's faithfulness

to be continued....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"As we come to Christ and learn to rest in the good news of the gospel, we learn to be real with ourselves and other people.  We no longer need to live for the approval of other people because we now we have the favor of God upon us. Because we are becoming more honest with our own sins and weaknesses we become less judgmental of other people.  We learn to demonstrate grace as we have been shown grace."
-Brennan Manning

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Elisabeth Elliott

I get a daily devotional from Elisabeth Elliott.  This was today's.  

"Nothing is Lost
A pastor's wife asked, "When one witnesses a work he has poured his life into 'go up in flames' (especially if he is not culpable), is it the work of Satan or the hand of God?"
Often it is the former, always it is under the control of the latter. In the biographies of the Bible we find men whose work for God seemed to be a flop at the time--Moses' repeated efforts to persuade Pharaoh, Jeremiah's pleas for repentance, the good king Josiah's reforms, rewarded in the end by his being slain by a pagan king. Sin had plenty to do with the seeming failures, but God was then, as He is now, the "blessed controller of all things" (1 Timothy 6:15, PHILLIPS). He has granted to us human beings responsibility to make choices and to live with the consequences. This means that everybody suffers--sometimes for his or her own sins, sometimes for those of others.
There are paradoxes here which we cannot plumb. But we can always look at the experiences of our own lives in the light of the life of our Lord Jesus. How shall we learn to "abide" (stay put) in Christ, enter into the fellowship of His sufferings, let Him transform our own? There is only one way. It is by living each event, including having things "go up in flames," as Christ lived: in the peace of the Father's will. Did His earthly work appear to be a thundering success? He met with argument, unbelief, scorn in Pharisees and others. Crowds followed Him--not because they wanted His Truth, but because they liked handouts such as bread and fish and physical healing. His own disciples were "fools and slow of heart to believe." (Why didn't Jesus make them believe? For the reason given above.) These men who had lived intimately with Him, heard His teaching for three years, watched His life and miracles, still had little idea what He was talking about on the evening before His death. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him. The rest of them went to sleep when He asked them to stay awake. In the end they all forsook Him and fled. Peter repented with tears and later saw clearly what had taken place. In his sermon to the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2:23, PHILLIPS) he said, "This man, who was put into your power by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed up and murdered.... But God would not allow the bitter pains of death to touch him. He raised him to life again--and there was nothing by which death could hold such a man."
There is nothing by which death can hold any of His faithful servants, either. Settle it, once and for all--YOU CAN NEVER LOSE WHAT YOU HAVE OFFERED TO CHRIST. It's the man who tries to save himself (or his reputation or his work or his dreams of success or fulfillment) who loses. Jesus gave us His word that if we'd lose our lives for His sake, we'd find them"

With God, nothing is ever lost.  From a human perspective it may look like failure and loss but God's ways are higher, wiser, greater, better than ours.   

Friday, November 13, 2009

8 Years Later

Eight years ago on this date we arrived in California to begin the task God called us to... planting a church here in Exeter. We never once doubted God's call. What we also know is that God's call to serve does not come with a pain free guarantee or problem free existence.
A few days before we arrived here my mother went to the hospital for emergency surgery. She passed away exactly 4 weeks after we arrived. We were able to see her and spend some time with her before she passed. One of the reasons God had us here was to be here for my Dad who was left alone after 55 years of marriage to my mom. We had 8 good years with my Dad. We often talked about how much we were there for each other. I'm so grateful to God for allowing us those years together.
The church plant was a growing experience yet was not without problems, pain, and difficulties.  In spite of those difficulties - God was, and is, faithful.  We never doubted His call on our lives and stayed "at our post" to serve faithfully where we were called.  There were highs.... times of growth and wonderful worship and learning. There were lows... the loss of families and, ultimately, the death of the church (which coincided with the death of my father). 

 Where are we now - after 8 years?
We've all grown - older and wiser.  Our sons are seniors in high school, one of our daughters is a sophomore and the other in 5th grade.
We have entered a new phase of life and ministry.   Both Jim and I are working full time outside of the home and outside of the church and we are both working part time in a new ministry.  Our experiences over the past 8 years have prepared us for this point.  We are finding more and more opportunities to serve where God has placed us and we are excited about what He has planned for us and our family.  As always, we continue to trust in His grace, mercy, compassion and faithfulness!
"His grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home". 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Honor of My Dad

My Dad, Robert Mixter, was proud to be an American, proud to serve in his community and church, proud of his family and proud to have served his country in the U.S. Army.   He's been gone 3 months now.  I miss him greatly.  Here is the Obituary that was published in our local paper.  Happy Veteran's Day, Dad!

"The end of an era was marked this last Tuesday with the passing of one of Exeter's great citizens.
Robert 'Bob' Mixter passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Aug. 4 after a very brief illness and hospital stay. He was 87 years old. The name Mixter will be familiar to most long-time Exeter residents; it is the name that marked the family pharmacy that stood on the corner of Pine and E streets for most of the 20th Century.
Bob was the last member of the Mixter druggists that owned and operated the landmark business. The family drugstore was established by Bob's grandfather Frank W. Mixter in 1905, originally occupying a building a half block to the west of the better known site.
Frank Mixter had the two-story brick Mixter building built in 1909 and in the 1930s passed the family business on to two of his eldest sons, Norbert and Earl. Earl set up shop in Visalia, and Norbert continued the business in Exeter. In 1946, Bob joined the business with his father, later becoming a partner, and upon Norbert's retirement in 1973, Bob became owner of the store with his wife and fellow pharmacist Eleanor Mixter.
Bob was born on Feb. 25, 1922, the only child of Norbert and Mabelle Mixter. He attended Exeter Schools, graduating in 1940. He attended Visalia Junior College, Cal Berkeley and the UCSF School of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, Bob enlisted in the Army and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant; he was stationed briefly in Germany as part of the 970th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment, and was part of the post- war reconstruction.
At the end of his tour of duty, Bob returned to his hometown of Exeter to marry his college sweetheart and classmate Eleanor Oltmans. They were married on Oct. 20, 1946. While Bob began work at the family drugstore, Eleanor worked as a pharmacist when needed at the family business and for other pharmacies, including Porterville State Hospital. In 1952, Bob and Eleanor started a family with the birth of daughter Grace. Bruce followed in 1954, Jean in 1957 and Neal in 1959.
While active in the family business, Bob also found time to serve on the Exeter Union Elementary District school board, was a member of the local Masonic Lodge, and served as Lions Club treasurer for 25 years.
He was a life member of the Exeter Alumni Association and still met with his Class of ë40 friends.
In later years, he served in the First Presbyterian Church as a Deacon and Trustee. Even into his last week he faithfully attended to his duties at the church serving as an usher, proofreading bulletins and coordinating communion servers.
Bob loved the mountains. He grew up hiking and fly-fishing at the family cabin in Mineral King. Bob and Eleanor introduced their children to the mountains at an early age.
Some of the best childhood memories of Grace, Bruce, Jean and Neal involve summer trips up the long windy road in the back of dad's 1952 Ford pick-up.
In later years Bob and Eleanor enjoyed visiting the family cabin (from Mabelle's side of the family) in Wilsonia.
Bob was planning a trip up to the cabin with sons Bruce and Neal on the day he took ill.
Bob and Eleanor closed the family business in 1985, when Bob retired and Eleanor continued working as a relief pharmacist for other pharmacies in Tulare and Farmersville.
In 1991, while it was undergoing remodeling, the Mixter building was destroyed by fire.
Some of the highlights of Bob and Eleanor's later years together were a trip to the Holy Land, trips to Europe to visit Bruce and Jean, an Alaskan Cruise, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
For their 50th wedding anniversary, they treated the entire family to a trip to Disneyland.
In 1998, Bob had the pleasure of helping to dedicate Mixter Park, honoring his grandfather and former State Senator F.W. Mixter, at the site of the family business and landmark building.
Bob was preceded in death by his mother and father, and in 2001 by his beloved wife and best friend Eleanor.
He is survived by his four children, Grace Ogas-Todd of Cleveland, Tennessee; Drs. Bruce and Julie Mixter of Austin, Colorado; Pastor Jim and Jean Newman of Exeter, California; and Neal and Bunny Mixter of Reedley, California.
He has eleven grandchildren, and was awaiting the arrival of his first great-grandson due the end of this month."  (baby Jonah was born a week or so after Dad's death)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finally, Training for Pastor's Wives!

 Warning:  Before reading this, please note that it is another "Lark News" article.  It's sarcastic, it's funny, it's meant to be laughed at.  For those of my readers who are pastor's wives... enjoy!!  For the rest of you, you can enjoy it too... and then pray for the rest of us! :)

"LAFAYETTE — This Fall, King of King's College welcomed its first candidates for a groundbreaking minor in pastor's wiving, the first such degree offered in the country.
    "After years of grasping in the dark, pastors' wives can now get all the knowledge they need in one place," says professor Helen DuLac, the minor's director.
    The college created the degree in response to complaints from female Christian college students that they receive an overabundance of "book learning," but comparatively little practical help for their eventual careers as pastor's wives.
    "With a normal degree, I may learn a few facts about the first-century church," says Debbie Kraus, 19. "But what good is that when my women's ministry group wants me to lead them in making a cute and clever seasonal craft?"
    The minor doesn't require any academic courses.
    "To be a pastor's wife you don't have to speak Greek and Hebrew, just be able to listen to it with an expression of sincere interest," says DuLac.
    In the chapel on the King of King's campus, twelve well-dressed female students sit on the front pew, their hair perfectly groomed, their nails painted a modest pink. Bibles are open on each lap. Though nobody is preaching and the room is all but empty, they nod and smile in silence, occasionally throwing in a demure "That's right" or "Amen." Finally, an instructor with a stopwatch yells, "Time's up!"
    The students collapse in their seats, rubbing their necks and cheek muscles.
    "We have to do that every Sunday?" one asks.
    "And Wednesdays, and special events," groans another.
    These aspiring ministerial mates are learning how to smile pleasantly in the face of devastating criticism, how to lead women's ministry groups rife with in-fighting and how to worship in demonstrative yet non-offensive ways, appropriate to their church setting.
    The professors take pride in "getting real" about pastor's wiving.
    "They'll have to deal with whiny women seeking marriage advice they won't ever use. Children who go through extreme rebellion; board members who accuse them of secretly controlling the pastor, and being called the 'b word' on occasion," says DuLac. "Our saying is, 'Slay 'em and smile.' This is more than a career. It's all-out war with your congregation."
    Students must keep tight emotional control in the midst of intense scrutiny. In the classroom they must be instantly ready to sing a solo or give a "good word" of support for their husband. Bonus credit is given to those who, while testifying, can oscillate quickly from tender tears to godly resolve — all while displaying utmost femininity.
    "I never thought it would be this tough," says one student after a grueling craft-making mid-term. "Maybe I should be a schoolteacher." •

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Taste of Heaven

Last night we attended a dinner honoring local Pastors and their wives.  This is the 4th year in a row to have this in our small town.  Mary S. organizes, plans and prepares all the food (with help) and has a special program each year. 
The tables were set beautifully with fancy dishes, beautiful flowers, candles and home made gifts for each couple.  The food was fabulous (as usual) and the companionship - heavenly!
Last night, instead of having one person pray for the meal each table spontaneously held hands and prayed, thanking God for the meal and the time to be together.  As we sat and ate and talked I was thinking that this really is a small taste of heaven.  Each table was full of faithful pastors and wives talking about their experiences, lives, ministries, missions, etc.  and even mundane (but wonderful) things, like houses, yards, kids, etc.  It was such a joy to fellowship with fellow workers.  What was even more wonderful is that we were from all different denominations, but did not have even one "argument" about theology, doctrine, etc.  We just shared our lives together for a few hours.  What was clear is that we all believe the basics about Jesus, salvation, and the need for those who do not yet know Christ to come to know Him.  We are all burdened for our small town. 
At the close of the meal we went into the sanctuary where we were treated to a program put on by two girls, ages 7 and 11.  They were amazing!  The 7 year old spoke, encouraged us with Scripture and sang beautifully!   The 11 year old is a harpist (who takes lessons from the Harpist for the Fresno Philharmonic) and played 3 beautiful pieces. 
The whole evening for me was a small taste of what heaven will be like someday.... people from every tongues and tribe and people and nation (and denomination!) together worshiping God and sharing stories of their lives on earth. 
"O taste and see that the Lord is good!"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Last night the EUHS Madrigal choir sang for the Citrus Mutual annual dinner (meeting?).  We sang in the convention center in a large ball room.  The singing went well, but what impressed me was, after we sang the National Anthem we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, which always moves me.  After that there was an invocation.  I didn't know what to expect but was presently surprised.  The woman who prayed asked God's blessing on the coming year's crops and protection for them as "we" provide food for the world.  I was really touched and grateful that we live in a country where a large group like this has the freedom to acknowledge God and ask for His blessing and protection.  I was impressed by their humility in acknowledging God.  I'm thankful for the freedoms we still enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pet Diaries - part II

From a cat's diary:
Day  983 of my captivity...

My captors  continue to taunt me with bizarre little  dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on  fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are  fed
hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the  rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat  something in order to keep up my  strength.  The only thing that keeps me  going is my dream of escape.  In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the  carpet. 
Today I decapitated a mouse and  dropped its headless body at their feet.  I had hoped this would strike fear into  their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what  I am capable of.  However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little  hunter' I am.  Bastards.
There was  some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight.  I was placed in solitary  confinement for the duration of the event   However, I could hear the noises and smell  the food.  I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.'  I  must learn what this means and how to use it to  my advantage.
Today I was almost  successful in an attempt to assassinate one of  my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he  was walking.  I must try this again  tomorrow -- but at the top of the  stairs.
I am convinced that the other  prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.  The dog receives special privileges He is  regularly released - and seems to be more than  willing to return.  He is obviously  retarded.
The bird has got to be an  informant.  I observe him communicating  with the guards regularly.  I am certain  that he reports my every move.  My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an  elevated cell, so he is safe.  For  now................

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pets Diaries - part I

Excerpts from a Dog's  Diary......
8:00 am - Dog food! My  favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My  favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park!  My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and  petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch!  My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in  the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm -  Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00  pm - Milk Bones! My favorite  thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My  favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched  TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00  pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite  thing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Sorry

It has been brought to my attention that some of the things I've written on here have caused offense.  My desire is to honor God while at the same time being honest and saying what's on my mind and heart.  I guess I have not honored God in some of my blog posts.  For that I am truly sorry and I will try to be more careful in the future.
For those of you who have been offended, I am also sorry.  I wish that you had told me personally rather than my having to find out in a rather round about way.
Please - if you have a problem with me or my blog posts -I'd appreciate you contacting me in person.
Thank you!

P.S. Meanwhile I have deleted some of my posts.  Hope this helps.