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Archive for October, 2010

I happened to stop by my daughter’s house a few days ago to say hi, but wasn’t expecting to go searching for a lost little boy! As soon as Ezra knew I was there, he called out to me, “Nana, come and find me!” Searching his room, bathroom, closet and his Mama and Daddy’s office, I was at a loss as to where he was hiding! But his Mama knew right away where he might be…she looked in his closet and saw a few little toes peeking out!

I can see one little toe!

There must be a little boy attached to those toes!!

There's that boy with the sweet smile!

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Deterioration

by Charles R. Swindoll

1 Kings 3, 11

Solomon’s life reminds me of the swing of a pendulum. Smooth and graceful . . . silent and elegant . . . yet periodically given to extremes.

Wisdom, loyalty, diplomacy, and efficiency marked his attitude and acts during the early years of his reign. Best of all, “Solomon loved the LORD” (1 Kings 3:3). His achievements could not be listed on ten pages this size. When visited by surrounding magistrates, he was viewed with awe. And rich? Multiplied millions annually. And creative? He was an architect, songwriter, artist, author, and inventor of unparalleled ability.

Things slowly began to change, however, as the pendulum began its tragic swing. Farther and farther . . . and farther.

Solomon seized the reins of wrong and drove his glistening chariot of gold onto the misty flats of licentiousness, pride, lust, profanity, and paganism. Silently, gradually, like eroding soil near the banks of a deep, angry river, he began to believe the lie that has captured many a top executive . . . or super salesperson . . . or successful physician . . . or athletic prima donna . . . or film star . . . or TV celebrity.

Materialism, polygamy, brutality, and idolatry now crippled his steps. Revolts fractured his nation, and irrational decisions characterized his rule. All to him became “vanity and striving after wind” (Eccles. 2:26). Nothing satisfied him any longer. The normal, God-given drives lost their appeal as deterioration took its final toll. And when death finally came, Solomon left in his wake a confused following and a broken, rebellious family.

Deterioration is never loud. Never obvious. Seldom even noticed. Like tiny cracks in a stucco wall, it hardly seems worth our time and attention. Never sudden.

Character threads don’t “suddenly” snap. As the British expositor of yesteryear, F. B. Meyer, once put it, “No man suddenly becomes base.”

Slowly, silently, subtly, things are tolerated that once were rejected. At the outset everything appears harmless, maybe even a bit exciting. But with it comes an “insignificant” wedge, a gap that grows wider as moral erosion joins hands with spiritual decay.

Be on guard! Those of us who stand must take heed lest we fall.

The pitfalls are still present. Still real. As unobtrusive as the ticking of a clock. As attractive as the swinging of a pendulum . . . until . . .

“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Solomon, Prov. 14:12). 

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…and you’ll feel better.” I used to say this to my 3 daughters whenever they complained about a stomach ache or headache, trying to get out of going to school. This actually went on even up through highschool. Sometimes I look back and wonder if I was too hard on them. But I wouldn’t send them to school if they had a fever or if they were really really not feeling well. I guess I was brought up that way….not babying myself. Not coddling myself…sucking it up and going on, no matter what.

Today I felt like my girls did…only I didn’t have to go to school. But I had lots of work here in the shop facing me. But all I wanted to do is to do …..nothing….. and to snuggle up in bed a little longer. I just wanted to take some time for….nothing. I wasn’t running a fever. I was just tired of being at the beck and call of so many things. I wish I could have been like this mother…

……just taking time to nurture and comfort them, even though I knew maybe they weren’t deathly sick. Everyone needs this time….everyone needs to feel adored and cherished. Not because they did something….but just because. I hope you forgive me for being so merciless…….I hope you three wonderful women have time now to just snuggle up in bed for just a little longer. Everyone needs a little time of peacefulness, a little time of contentment.

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What I learned…..

          

I’ve come away from my cello workshop utterly exhausted but very much filled with more desire to learn the art of playing the cello than I had before. The workshop was a challenge. A huge one. We were on the go the whole day so I wasn’t able to get any pictures. Our visiting instructor was great and so forgiving!! All I can say is that there is so much more to learn….I will be patient and I will just love the process I will go through to play this wonderful  instrument! And what I learned is ….it is an art.

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I just returned from my first Suzuki Workshop and I really did enjoy it!  This picture is from another workshop, but I will post pictures tomorrow from the one I went to. I forgot how much fun it is to play with other adult students…especially adult cello students!  I attended a Master class with a visiting cello teacher. I was scard stiff! But I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I had to play in front of her and 2 of my other classmates, it really wasn’t bad. She was great and I came away feeling as though I really learned something.  We also enjoyed a concert played by the visiting teachers plus some of our own Suzuki teachers. It was really wonderful.

I think that the cello is one of the hardest instruments to play. My cello teacher says you use 54 (or somewhere in that number) different actions in your brain and body to play. I believe it. There is so much to remember.  I am doing my brain a big favor by taking these lessons at my age of 64, don’t you think!!?

Tomorrow I will attend an Orchestra class and some other group classes. Then we will have a concert. Will report back!!

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Simplify!

by Charles R. Swindoll

John 17

High-tech times lead to high-stress tension. The never-ending drive for more, mixed with the popular tendency to increase production and intensify involvement, leaves most folks in the workplace not only exhausted but dissatisfied.

Instead of Saturday being a change-of-pace day, it has become an opportunity to squeeze in a second job. And Sundays? A time for renewal and refreshment? You’re smiling. No, it’s the day most type-A high achievers start another to-do list in preparation for the new week.

Every time I officiate at a funeral, I’m reminded of the things that really matter . . . things that last. Stuff that seemed so all-fired important yesterday loses its steam when you stand on a windswept hill surrounded by weather-beaten grave markers.

At that moment, something within you cries: Simplify!

Jesus mastered the art of maintaining a clear perspective while accomplishing every single one of His objectives. Though we never read of His hurrying anywhere, He managed to fulfill the complete agenda. Just before the agony of the Cross, He told the Father that He had “accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). And only seconds before He drew His last breath, He made that epochal statement, “It is finished” (19:30). Nothing essential was left undone.

I believe that a major reason for His being able to say those things was that He simplified His life. Jesus followed His own agenda instead of everyone else’s. He set predetermined limits: He chose twelve (not twelve hundred) whom He trained to carry on in His absence. He maintained His priorities without apology. He balanced work and rest, accomplishment and refreshment, never feeling the need to ask permission for spending time in quietness and solitude. He refused to get sidetracked by tempting opportunities that would drain energy and time. He was a servant of His Father, not a slave of the people.

He was firm yet kind and gentle, quick to hear and slow to speak. The complexities that tie us into knots never complicated His life or cramped His style.

What’s happened to us? When did we buy into all this hectic hassle that steals so much of the joy of just plain living? Who convinced us to feel guilty for taking time to balance work with play? Get off the treadmill and reorder your life. Go back three spaces and clean out the clutter that led to all this nonsense of busyness. Simplify!

How much longer will we keep adding nonessentials to our agenda? Simplify!

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Jim’s 30 Minute Salad

Such a healthy salad!

Jim has created this salad that he calls his 30 minute salad. Not only does it take almost 30 minutes to make (not really) but….and this IS true……it takes at least 30 minutes to eat! Below is his recipe he said I could share:

Jim’s 30 Minute Salad

8 oz Dark Red Kidney Beans                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Large stalks of Celery chopped in small pieces                                                                                                                                            2 oz Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese                                                                                                                                                                  5 medium Sweet Gherkin Pickles                                                                                                                                                                           2 oz Julienne Cut Carrots                                                                                                                                                                                          2 oz Shredded Cabbage                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Radishes thinly sliced                                                                                                                                                                                              1 cup Iceberg Lettuce torn                                                                                                                                                                                   1/2 cup Lightly salted (sea salt) peanuts

Layer these ingredients in a large bowl in the following order:    

  1. Lettuce
  2. Celery
  3. Carrots
  4. Radishes
  5. Cabbage
  6. Pickles
  7. Cheddar Cheese
  8. Kidney Beans
  9. Peanuts
  10. Salad Dressing of your choice

Enjoy!!

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