This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Prayer for our Nation as we Prepare to Elect our Leaders

O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

We thank you for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to you.

We thank you for your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.

We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.

Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation,
Their response to you requires that they be politically active.

Awaken your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.

Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.

Awaken your people to a commitment to justice
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
And not one moment later.

Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of your kingdom.

May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pray for our country and for those who serve in any capacity.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall into Reading 2008/Thursday Thirteen

My favorite time of year is fall. Once again Katrina over at Callapidder Days is hostessing the Fall into Reading Challenge. Last year I participated in the carnival and had a great time. Due to time & family commitments I haven’t joined in any reading programs for a while. So I’m really excited to “read with a plan” for a while, again.

Thirteen books seems manageable for a twelve week reading challenge. But which ones to choose? Books I didn’t finish the last challenge? Books I didn’t finish the challenge before that??? Pull off the top of the stack nearest my chair? (Yes I have multiple stacks!) Start at the bottom of one of the stacks and work up? Check out a lot of new & recommended books from the library? Go to Half Price Bookstore and buy more? Oooooooooooooooh…tempting.

Well, I kind of did a little of everything and came up with these thirteen. And since I wanted to resume my participation in the Thursday Thirteen posts, I thought I’d combine the two. (Reviews or notes in italic are from the publishers.) So we have:

(Thursday) Thirteen Books for Fall into Reading 2008

1. But Who Do You Say I Am? by Bishop John A. Marshall

Bishop John A. Marshall looks at the Gospels from a unique persepctive by examining every question that is asked--by Jesus, by his disciples, by his friends and his enemies. The result is a lively, practical and profound book which gives the reader a vivid sense of the issues and conflicts that Jesus faced.

I purchased this at a Christian bookstore I was sad to see going out of business. I want to say I spent less that $2 for it. I couldn't pass it up.

2.Sabbath, Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller

In today's world, with its relentless emphasis on success and productivity, we have lost the necessary rhythm of life, the balance between work and rest. Constantly striving, we feel exhausted and deprived in the midst of great abundance. We long for time with friends and family, we long for a moment to ourselves.

Millennia ago, the tradition of Sabbath created an oasis of sacred time within a life of unceasing labor. Now, in a book that can heal our harried lives, Wayne Muller, author of the spiritual classic How, Then, Shall We Live?, shows us how to create a special time of rest, delight, and renewal--a refuge for our souls.

We need not even schedule an entire day each week. Sabbath time can be a Sabbath afternoon, a Sabbath hour, a Sabbath walk. With wonderful stories, poems, and suggestions for practice, Muller teaches us how we can use this time of sacred rest to refresh our bodies and minds, restore our creativity, and regain our birthright of inner happiness.

I read this book before, about seven years ago, checked out from the library. It was wonderful. It is time to read it again. It really is time.

3. The Solution by Laurel Mellin,

These days, it's fashionable to look at the problems of overweight people and write them off as too much food and too little exercise. But for many it's more complicated than that, and Laurel Mellin has identified six root causes of the behaviors that lead to obesity. She believes it's never too late to develop the skills to overcome these problems, whether the root is an inability to set limits or a life lived out of balance.

This book was recommended to me by one of the women who is part of a weight loss blog I belong to. The library had it and hopefully I will see some positive results from reading it.

4. Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate, M.D.

Like countless other parents, Canadian doctors Neufeld and Maté woke up one day to find that their children had become secretive and unreachable. Pining for time with friends, they recoiled or grew hostile around adults. Why? The problem, Neufeld and co-writer Maté suggest, lies in a long-established, though questionable, belief that the earliest possible mastery of the rules of social acceptance leads to success. In a society that values its economy over culture, the book states, the building of strong adult/child attachments gets lost in the shuffle. Multiple play dates, day care, preschool and after school activities groom children to transfer their attachment needs from adults to their peers. They become what the authors call "peer oriented." The result is that they squelch their individuality, curiosity and intelligence to become part of a group whose members attend school less to learn than to socialize. And these same children are bullying, shunning and murdering each other, as well as committing suicide, at increasing rates. The authors' meticulous exploration of the problem can be profoundly troubling. However, their candidness and exposition lead to numerous solutions for reestablishing a caring adult hierarchy.

I saw this book over at Jen's Conversion Diary (formerly Et Tu?). What can I say? It just looked like a book that I had to read.

5. Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

In Making Ready, Wangerin contemplates the miracle of Advent, Christmas, and God's kingdom, and once again illuminates, in richly personal detail, what those who were actually there must have seen, heard, and felt. As he considers the possibilities of each key figure-- Zechariah, Mary, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Joseph, Jesus, Simeon, and Anna--he applies their reflections to our own readiness for Christ's coming.

I was supposed to read this book last year during Advent, during my Reason for the Season series. I got overwhelmed and didn't. So, I'm taking another try. It looks fabulous.

6. The Bias Against Guns by John R. Lott, Jr.

Slicing through the emotional--but factually wrong--arguments of gun control advocates this book busts a number of myths, demonstrating with hard statistical data and riveting anecdotes.

7.Category 7 by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson (Finished the review is in the link on the title.)

This was an impulse buy at the grocery store. I never do that. I am all about cheap, so this better be good.

8. A Bride so Fair by Carol Cox (Finished the review is in the link on the title.)

This has been in the pile for a long time. I am going to read it.

9. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

I've wanted to read this series for several years. I found the first four books at the Half Price Bookstore for a dollar each--could not pass them up.

10. Wild Country/Little Britches by Ralph Moody (Finished the review is in the link on the title.)

This has been on my list since I began homeschooling. It is on Roo's reading list for this year too. I try to read some of what he's reading. It's getting harder to keep up.

11. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Criton

I read this in high school. It is always interesting to read things from a (hopefully) grown-up perspective. I see that there are two movies made from the book--one from 1971 and one from 2008. If the library has them, I may check them out.

12. The Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday by Garth Nix (Finished the review is in the link on the title.)

A juvenile fiction book, that caught my attention. I've been trying to get it read for a long time. Now seems as good as any. If I like it I may pass it on too Roo and my neice. We'll see.

13. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (Book One in the Earthsea Cycle)

A recommendation from a stranger in a hospital waiting room. I've read good reviews from other bloggers, also. I found the first three books at (you guessed it) the Half Price Bookstore for $1. (I'm starting to sound like a broken record.)

Six non-fiction, seven fiction. We'll see how I do. We'll see what gets me side-tracked. I'm looking forward to getting more reading done.

Consider joining Katrina and other reading bloggers for the Fall into Reading challenge--you'll find an

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. What do you do? Write Thirteen things about yourself, summarize your week in one entry, make it easy for other bloggers to get to know you on a weekly basis. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Bear Canyon

Dieting, Did You Know...?

1. If you eat something, but no one else sees you eat it, it has no calories.

2. When drinking a diet soda while eating a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled by the diet soda.

3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.

4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, e.g. as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.

5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.

6. Movie related foods (This includes but is not limited to: Milk Duds, Buttered Popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots, Tootsie Rolls, Gummi Bears, etc.) do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.

7. Cookie pieces contain no fat-- the process of breaking causes fat leakage.

8. Late-night snacks have no calories. The refrigerator light is not strong enough for the calories to see their way into the calorie counter.

9. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples are peanut butter on a knife making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon making a sundae.

10. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and white chocolate. NOTE: Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.

11. Foods that are frozen have no calories because calories are units of heat. Examples are ice cream, frozen pies, and popsicles.

12. Powerbars and other type energy bars make you thinner. In all my years of exercising (at least three times a year) I have only seen thin people eating energy bars. Ergo (therefore) they must make you thin.

13. Snickers is the same as an energy bar (see #12)

14. Tasting other people's food does not add to your calorie count.

15. Containers of food that list the number of servings as greater one are lying. Every container includes one serving. Half gallon of ice cream, box of cereal, bottle of soda, bag of chips are all one serving.

16. If you eat the food off someone else's plate, it doesn't count.

17. Carrot cake counts as a serving of vegetables.

18. If you eat standing up the calories all go to your feet and get walked off.

19. Food eaten at Christmas parties has 0 calories, courtesy of Santa.

20. Go to the paint store. You can get thinner there.

Just remember--STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backward.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Being gone five nights a week is taking its toll on my usual plan of staring at the refrigerator and cabinets a few hours before supper and hoping for inspiration. Soooooooooo... (a year later) I'm back to Menu Plan Monday. It worked the first time. Don't know why I stopped, other than I'm lazy. Maybe I'll get it together. At least we'll be eating better while I try.

My honey's on the road this week, so I'm just feeding the boys and I. This is our last Monday night that we will be home by 7p.m. Starting next week we will get home near 9p.m. OUCH!! So it will be sandwiches in the van next week, I'm thinking.

Monday--Goulash and Doo Doo Bread.
Tuesday--Popcorn Chicken, green beans and rice
Wednesday--Nachos with trimmings, fresh fruit
Thursday--Breakfast for Dinner: pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage
Friday--Lasagna, garlic bread and salad
Saturday--grilled steak, broccoli, mashed potatoes and salad
Sunday--Grilled chicken, mixed veggies in the grill wok, salad

Personally, I am struggling to eat a low carb diet, modifying a couple mainstream diets to fit my health needs. But the boys definitely don't need to eat that way so I cook for them and eat around what I can and substitute salad and low carb veggies a lot for me. So a couple of those nights, I'll be vicariously enjoying (especially those pancakes--I had one last week and need to not do that again!)

Eat well!! And visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas!

Grains of Gratitude and an Award

What a wet and wearing week! I thought I might mow the lawn for my husband while he was away, but that proved impossible in all the rain. I’m going to have a jungle to mow when it dries. That said, there is much to be grateful for, and I am very grateful for:

Safety in storms. We’ve not had near the horrible weather that has attacked Texas and other southern states, but Friday night we were away from home when the tornado sirens started wailing. Thankfully for us, there was no tornado in our vicinity and our home was safe when we returned. It was very stressful. We continue to pray for the victims of Ike and all who have been affected by this year’s hurricane season.

Protection for my husband. He is on the road and sampled some chicken wings at the hotel he was staying at. Apparently he didn’t eat too many, but was subject to some food poisoning which subsided in less than 24 hours. Unfortunately some hotel guests had to visit the local ER because their bout with salmonella was more eventful. My guy seems to have recovered and has a few good meals and a better night sleep under his belt, so I think he will be fine.

Flexible children. The boys accepted the news that their father would be gone longer than planned better than I thought they would. Part of his being gone meant their plans got changed and they had to accompany me on attending to things that needed to be addressed. They accompanied me to therapy I mean Hobby Lobby, and were very patient at looking at paper and beads. We ventured down the model and science kit aisles also and that helped. I found a couple ways to reward them that they weren’t expecting and they were quite happily surprised.

New friends for the boys. Roo met a boy a couple years older than him this summer. We hoped he might join the boys at the ballet school and things worked out so he could. What a great young man! He and Roo seem to have hit it off and he is smart and has many of the same interests as Roo, he’s nice to Boo also (not all friends are nice to little brothers). He is homeschooled and so has some of the same experiences as Roo does and he has a sweet younger sister who…

Has become friends with Boo. She’s a year older than he is, in fact she’s just about in between both my boys. But she has an easy going personality and she and Boo have found some common ground and really enjoyed each other’s company. There was a wicked storm that rolled through while we were waiting for the older bothers’ class and Boo was really upset (storms really stress him out.) This sweet young lady found things to distract Boo and they rode out the tornado sirens and heavy rains together. Her mom says she doesn’t like storms either, so I think she bucked up the courage to help someone more afraid than herself.

Old friends that remain. Last year was a struggle with a few friendships, but blessedly both the boys and I have had a few friends remain true. One particular mom and her children we get to see twice a week now, where last year it was only once a week. Both children get along with both boys and watching the four together is a treasure.

Another longtime friend graciously watched the boys for an afternoon when I had to be gone. She is a new mommy and so she and her baby girl (my god daughter) and the boys watched sign language videos together. I guess they had a great time.

Blogging friends. You know who you are. Your blogs are like a special greeting card from a friend. My sweet and transparent friend at Do You Weary Like I Do? gave me this lovely award--which I would give right back to her.

The rules were:

* Display your award.

* Link back to the person who gave you the award.

* Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

* Put links to those blogs on yours.

* Leave a message on the blogs of the people you've nominated.

* Enjoy your award!

I could never limit the blogs I love to seven, every blog on my side bar gives me inspiration, joy, hope, laughter, renewed faith, a fresh view--I'm sharing the award with all; but here are seven who bless me daily:

Renee at 2 Peas in a Pod (even though she got the award already). She blesses me!

Heidi at God's Grace in Practice. Her blog title says it all.

Annie and Izzy at Pray for Izzy!. Annie has another blog that I love too, but at Izzy's I lost my heart to this precious girl. Their courage has been inspirational.

Gemma at searching and pondering. Gemma tells it like it is and has been so supportive to me as I'm daily fighting with weight loss.

Linds at Rocking chair reflections. I somehow don't picture her in her rocking chair (although she really should rest her knee more!!) and truly enjoy a trans-Atlantic trip each time I read her blog.

Carrie at Quite the Normal Life. I don't know about the "normal"--she has quite an eventful life, but I always feel like I'm visiting someone I've known for a long time when I stop by.

Christine at Brady's Bunch. Christine is the originator of Grains of Gratitude. She needs to know that this award is for both her and darling Brady who also stole my heart from the first time I visited them.

Whew! What a long post! Thanks if you made it through.

My prayer for each one of us is that this week is filled with "an attitude of gratitude."