Friday, October 30, 2009

Kicking Our Heels Up

Last Saturday, we got to experience a good old fashioned Barn Party!

Our friend Mike & Alison Bailey, along with their 5 kids, hosted us (and 314 of their other friends) for an evening of some real down home Southern fun!

First, there was the food . . . . lots and lots of food!

Then there were the friends. . . lots and lots and LOTS of friends!
(ok, so we didn't know them all. . . .)

The Bailey's had arranged some great entertainment for the throng!  Lots and lots of great bluegrass music!  Our dear friends the Travers performed. . . . . .

(my pathetic attempt at artistry.  I stumbled across this shot while getting something from our van.)
(this is a candid shot of three Travers kids - Evan on bass, Michael on dobro, and Bethanne singing)

If any of you are familiar with the Homestead Blessings series put out by Franklin Family Films, these are the West ladies, singing some really tight, beautiful vocal harmonies.  

And then, the famous Pie Contest.
Here's my entry - Pear-Cranberry Crumble Pie.  I invented it myself!

and it didn't win.  But at least I have a yummy new pie recipe!

The kids had a great time visiting with their friends. . .   

and then. . . .the Square Dancing!!!!

Yurii & I even got to dance a set - and much to the hilarity of the onlookers, we couldn't hear the caller, which made for an, um, interesting experience.

Emily and Hannah enjoyed the dancing. . . .

and even Amy got into the act!

By the end of the night, we all felt like this:

Couldn't have asked for a better evening!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(not quite) Wordless Wednesday

 The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6: 24-26

or as Mr. Spock would say:

Live long and prosper!

(*editor's note:  the top picture shows the traditional position for the hands of the high priest as he blessed the congregation.  Leonard Nemoy, himself Jewish, used this as the basis for the famous Vulcan salute.  Neat, eh?)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday's Sentiments - Change I Can Believe In

It's all about change lately, isn't it??

You know the drill.  Hope for change and change for hope.  Yes we can.  Become a better you.  Your best life now.

No one is satisfied with the status quo.  There must be a better life, a better you, and a better tomorrow just around the corner.

Scripture calls it "transformation".  But how does this transformation take place, and what is the result?

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

"For God, who said, 'Let the light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Transformation takes place through beholding the glory of the Lord, through the face of Jesus.

Not through knowing ourselves, knowing our hearts, or becoming self-actualized.  Not through an extensive list of rules and regulations, creeds or rituals.

Knowing Jesus.  Fixing our eyes upon Him, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

And just how will we be transformed? 

You may not like this.  I often don't, that's for sure.

We will be transformed into the image of Christ.  Jesus, the humble, obedient servant of God.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  (Philippians 2:6-8)

"I . . . urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. . . . " (Ephesians 4:1-2)

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."  (Philippians 2:3-4)

That is the transformation I seek.  Not to be exalted, but to be laid low.  Not to find myself, but to lose myself for the sake of Him Who lost everything that I might gain Him. 

That, my friends, is Change I Can Believe In.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My New Job

I've found the perfect job!

Charmin toilet paper is hiring five "super-fun, enthusiastic" people to work in their sponsored restroom in NYC (Times Square). . . . . .

And BLOG about it!!!!

The salary?

$10,000.  For about 6 weeks of work.

What do you think? 

I shared this with the family - Amy thought it was a great idea.  Her direct quote:  "Great!  Then Daddy can stay home and play games with us!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Providential Ponderings

Well, THAT was unexpected!

Today, I got word that I won a trip to the Family Life Marriage Conference here in Birmingham, November 13-15.   Our local Christian radio station held a drawing. . . .and they picked my name!

On so many levels, I am rejoicing in the providence of God.

The biggest?  You see, November 12th is Yurii's last day of work -- our long journey of living apart from each other during the week is about to end.  We've joked about the fact that the adjustment may be tougher than we think.  Somewhat akin, I think, to the transition military families go through when a loved one returns from a deployment.

And now, the Lord drops this blessing into our lives.

At a time when we most need it, but can least afford it.

Isn't that just like Him?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It came out as a response to an innocent off-hand question.

I had no idea.

Some people carry a pain for years. . . . . . and years. . . . . . .and years. . . . . . . . . . .

On the outside, I attend a church full of "pretty, shiny, happy people".  Moms I secretly envy, with their beautiful happy children, nice houses & cars, employed husbands, coiffed hair and nails.  It's all so perfect, you know?

But no, we don't know.

We don't know the pain of past hurts, the anguish of secret sin carried and nursed and finally given over to the Lord that the healing might begin.

Let this be a lesson to me.

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7

And praying for God's grace, mercy, and healing for my new friend.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lovely Ladies

It's Girl Weekend!!!

While the boys are away at Boy Scout Camp (in 40 degree weather!  Better them than us. . . . .) the girls are having a little special time of our own.  So we're cutting out dress pieces, headed to the fabric shop and thrift store, and watching the Princess Bride. . . . . . . .and enjoying a special meal together.

Who knew that cutting quiche into small bites and serving juice in wine glasses would bring such delight to my lovely ladies?