Friday, April 21, 2017

Taking Stock Friday

Several years ago, I saw this idea on someone's blog and thought it was so much fun.  Today being Friday is the perfect day to repeat it.  Since I borrowed and adapted it, you may feel free to share as well.

Making :  Meal plans for the rest of the week and weekend

Cooking :  Will cook Tilapia, baked potato and mixed green salad for tonight and that's about as far as I have gotten 
 

Drinking :  Advocare Spark and gallons of water

Reading:  I just started a sweet little book titled "The Road to Testament" by Christian author Eva Marie Everson.  After reading the nail-biting "Jet" series by Russell Blake I needed something light.

Wanting:  Time with my whole family
 

Looking:  Forward to an upcoming trip to see our Indiana kids
 

Playing:  Catch-up in my house.  Time to get to those chores I've neglected this week

Wasting:  Time doing those less than important things
 

Sewing:  Haven't sewn in years.  In fact, got rid of my machine when I downsized 10 years ago.
 

Wishing:  I could lose this extra stuffing around my middle
 

Enjoying:  Spending time with and getting to know not-so-new friends better
 

Waiting:  For our trip to Indiana and Mackinac Island, MI
 

Liking:  That my new exercise routine seems to be better for my body and that I get the most wonderful weekly massage from the best massage therapist healer around
 

Wondering:  What is going on in this crazy world of ours
 

Loving:  These cool mornings before the horrid deep south heat and humidity slams us
 

Hoping:  To lose a few pounds and still be able to wear the new larger clothes I just bought
 

Marveling:  That our beautiful daughter will actually be 46 years old today.  Why it was only yesterday she was an infant.
Needing:  Someone to appear at my door asking if they can please come in and clean my house
 

Smelling: The "Fresh Linen" fragrance from my Lamp Berger'

Listening:  "Veritas" CD and happy, chirpy birds outside

Wearing:  My workout clothes.  Had an early morning Pilates class and just haven't showered and dressed yet.  Refer to the Wasting answer above.
 

Following:  Several new bloggers I have found recently.

 
Noticing:  That God has heard my cries and answered my prayers.  Thank you Father!
 

Knowing:  Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior is the most important thing in my life
 

Thinking:  That I need to get off this computer and get ready to do something a bit more constructive - refer to the Wasting answer above.

Feeling:  Grateful for every new day
 

Bookmarking:  Menus and recipes that will fit into our new way of eating these days
 

Opening:  My heart to where God is moving and how He wants me to be involved
 

Giggling:  I don't giggle, but did share a laugh with my sister on the phone a while ago
 

Feeling:  Very grateful for my life, my husband, my family and where I am right now.  Also, feeling like I need a good night's sleep since I haven't had one in quite a while.  Insomnia is not for the weak.


"Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You.  Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all."
1 Chronicles 29:11 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Flights of Fancy

We are back on the Hodgepodge this week and all joining Joyce at
to answer her well thought out questions.
From this Side of the Pond
 Before you start reading my answers may I suggest you click on this video and listen to the music while you read.  It may put you in the mood for all these questions on flying.

1. Tell us about a time you felt like you were 'flying by the seat of your pants'.

I suppose it would be when I became the Chief Facilities Officer for the five Louisiana Technical College Region 7 campuses.  I felt like I could do the job although I had had no prior experience doing so.  It was literally a daily 'flying by the seat of your pants' situation for a while.  But, with a lot of support and prayer, I did a pretty good job.

2.  When or where would you most like to be 'a fly on the wall'?

I think it might be interesting to see first-hand how Trump and his cabinet conduct their meetings and then to fly around and see what is discussed privately afterward.

3. 'Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.'-Henry David Thoreau 

Would you agree? Why or why not?

One thing I know is that we are not promised happiness; joy in the Lord, yes, but not necessarily happiness.  Things, people, situations, occasions, seeing something pretty, a hug, etc. are things that can make us happy; however, that emotion can just as quickly vaporize and be replaced with another emotion.

I  agree with the statement based on the fact that focusing on ourselves will never bring lasting happiness because it is a very fickle emotion and we are fickle beings.  It is only when we give of ourselves to others and seek to enjoy those things that do bring happiness that we are truly happy.

4. Share a favorite movie, book, or song with flying in it's title, lyrics, or theme somewhere.

The first thing that came to mind was an old, old 1956 movie with a star-studded cast, "Around the World in 80 Days."  It starred David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, and over 40 famous performers made cameo appearances, including Marlene Dietrich, George Raft, and Frank Sinatra.  Shirley MacLaine and Glynis Johns are the only ones still living.  It was a hilarious tale of Niven and his manservant traveling around the world in an air balloon.
There are many others such as "Flight", "Top Gun", "Air Force One" and most recently "Scully", which was a great movie.

As you can tell, a song that came to mind is "Fly Me to the Moon and let me play among the stars.  Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars".  It was first sung by Kaye Ballard in 1954.

5. What is one task or chore you tend to do 'on the fly'? Is this something that really needs to be done another way?

Dusting and yes, it probably needs to be done in a more concerted effort where I thoroughly do the whole house at one time.  It's just easier to swift something when it gets dusty.

6. What was happening the last time you thought to yourself or said aloud, 'Wow, time flies when you're having fun', and you meant it.

I guess it would be our trip to Fredericksburg, TX several weeks ago with friends.  There was so much more we wanted to see and do but just ran out of time.

7. This Thursday is National Garlic Day. Will you add garlic to your menu on Thursday? Do you like garlic? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?

I do like garlic but I doubt I will be using it on Thursday.  That night we will be joining other couples from our church for a "Domino Night" and everyone brings a snacky something.  Loading up on garlic to be shared is probably not the best idea.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Dick is a realtor and until it sold this past Monday - HALLELUJAH! - had a house and 30 acres in a very rural part of another parish.  Yes, this is Louisiana where we have parishes instead of counties.  I had never been there, so was delighted to join him on a recent visit.  We enjoy just getting out and riding sometime and this was a perfect afternoon for me to accompany him even if it was work related.
This will give you an idea of just how rural it was.
In a nearby village, there was a sight that can only be seen in rural USA - the General Store.
As you can tell they sale everything anyone within a 50 mile radius might ever want to purchase.  From hay, food for cattle, lumber, to hair brushes, clothes, food, band-aids, and a refrigerator, you can find it here.  Folks, these are a very rare breed.  I wish we had had time to just go in and rummage.  That's another road trip.

We crossed a beautiful lake where many well-to-do folks have mansions, and some not so well-to-do have shanties.
One of the things I love about this lake is the diversity.  You go from the open expanse to a more dense grove of cypress trees, to the typical Louisiana swamp with moss covered cypress.

Sorry about the blur of the pictures above but we were moving and I was using my phone out the window.  But you get the idea.

Then, we drove past this view and had to turn around and go back for a closer look because we couldn't believe what we had seen.
There were twice this many commodes placed around this tree and the circular drive.  Right on the side of the road!  I especially want you to notice the satellite dish hanging on the tree.  Of course the frayed US and LA flags rather speak for themselves in this part of the country, but the dish?  Someone suggested its there for better reception while sitting and watching a movie.  I don't know.  Some things just defy explanation.

Have a great week while flying around!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lessons From An Old Book

Today while looking for something specific on one of our bookcases, I saw this old dusty, brown leather ring binder that brought back so many memories.  Memories of my daddy.  Porter, the country preacher.

Memories of it sitting on his desk or propped up against other books on his bookcase.


I pulled it out and began thumbing through it.  It was a textbook my dad had used when he was in seminary back in the early 1940's that remained a study book for him and place to write notes in the margins and a place to leave notes for some future sermon.  It still has a strip of tape to hold it together from who knows how many years ago.

I love looking through this treasure and seeing what my intelligent and sensitive father thought was important enough to notate or highlight.  I wonder about the notes written in different colors; was there a reason?  Did he use red for something he thought especially meaningful, or blue because it touched him in a certain way?  Or was it simply because that was the pen he had closest by on that particular day?


Oh, if I could go back 23 years before he went to be with His Lord and ask him these questions.

They would have never occurred to me back then.  I was aware of the book but don't recall ever even looking inside all the years I lived with this special man of God.  That may be why the few little jotted lines of an incomplete sermon outline had such an impact on me today.

Wedged between the pages of Matthew chapters 25 and 26 was a folded sheet of yellowed paper.  It was folded because this is the way Dad wrote most of his notes.  I'm guessing because they fit easily into his Bible for reference on Sundays.  Another unasked, unanswered question.


The Bible reference was Matthew 26:6 - 13 about a woman (Mary) pouring out an expensive ointment on the head of Jesus.  These are his handwritten notes:

1. She has done a beautiful thing - extravagant.  Equal in value to a years wages

2.  A timely thing - some opportunities never come again

3.  A feasible thing - she did what she could

4.  An insightful thing - "anointed my body before hand for burying".  Mary believed Him!  Only Mary had the sensitivity of heart to understand what was happening.
5.  A memorable thing

And that's all.  I don't know if he ever preached it or if these were just thoughts and revelations as he studied.  I wish I knew.

But, one thing I do know without having to ask.

My Daddy loved the Lord and knew about doing the beautiful, timely, feasible and memorable things in life.  He taught us by example!

He loved unconditionally everyone he met.  He gave his life unconditionally to his "Calling."  He lived every day for our mother and our family.

Easter 1954
He gave what he had to bring honor and glory to the Lord who had saved him and called him into His service just as Mary had done.

Yes, there are so many things I wish I could sit down and talk to Daddy about.  Dick said just this week, "Will we ever stop missing him?"  No, we won't and in some ways the missing is as acute today as it was the day he died.  But, I am so grateful that I know without wonder or doubt the important things my Dad taught and lived.

Oh that one day our children will sift through the things we leave behind and be as grateful that our lives reflected the Lord we served.

May all who come behind us "Find Us Faithful!" 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Friday: The Beauty of Christ

This is a repeat post from several years ago, but I thought it appropriate enough to share again.

John Piper is one of my favorite preachers.  I have read and incorporated many of his sermons into Sunday School lessons I have taught.
John Piper is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org.  He was the founding pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for 33 years and is an author of more of 50 books.   He recently spoke at the Speaker Panel in Atlanta.
I have been listening to these profound messages on Podcast.
One of his sermons was on "The Beauty of Christ" based on 2 Corinthians 4: 4-6, and he made an interesting statement.
"The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ."

Piper had my attention!
Based on the title of my blog, you will know that I espouse to the belief that it is Christ within us that makes us truly beautiful - BEAUTY WITHOUT WITHIN!
So I was intrigued with this whole line of thought.
 
What does that mean?
"The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ."
Piper went on to add,
"The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ, to satisfy my soul forever."
Forever?  How can this truth make a forever difference in my life?
1)  The root of my saving faith is SEEING the beauty of Christ.  I must see His satisfying beauty.
What is this beauty?
It is the "illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, the Messiah, Who is the image and likeness of God." (Amplified v.4)
The Gospel is the "Good News" and the Good News is the Glory of Christ.
It is the beauty of Christ because He is the image of the radiance of God.
2)  Before one is saved they are blind to the beauty because they are blind to God.  We aren't just rebellious and stubborn.
We are blind!  No sight!  Can't see a thing kind of blind!
Verse 4 tells us that the "god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving" so that we can't see the Light.  We can't see the Gospel.  We can't see the Good News.  We can't see the beauty of Christ.
Satan has blinded us to the beauty of Christ because we have joined him in darkness.  Remember Adam & Eve?
Jesus explained it like this in John 3: 19-20:
"And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
Okay, so one day I decide that I'm tired of living in the darkness and I am just going to sing "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus," "walk down the aisle," say a prayer and make it all better?
Hold on, there's more.
3)  We can't decide to see the beauty of Christ without God shining His revealing Light of the beauty of Christ into our heart.  It is a GIFT!
My conversion was a miracle of God's gift of spiritual sight.
Look at this in 2 Cor. 4:6:
"For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the ONE who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
Piper likened this to an art student being shown a painting that he absolutely hated.  There was nothing appealing about the colors, the composition, the style of the painting.  Nothing!  And yet, the professor insisted that the student love it.  How can the student love something he hates?  Is it enough for him to "decide" that he is going to love it?  Will he ever truly see the beauty of the painting just because he decides he will?
Of course, the answer is a resounding "NO!"
But, isn't that how we try to convert someone?  Make a decision?  The act of free will?  Make up your mind that you want to be saved?  Decide you will love God?
And yet, the scripture is so plain that only God can reveal the Light, the Gospel, the Good News, the beauty of Christ in ones heart.

He reveals Himself to those who did not make a mental decision to seek Him.  God does all the calling, choosing and literally dragging of people to Him.  That is a mystery and seeming paradox.

Nobody decides to save themselves by choosing God.  God alone is in control of salvation and to whom and when it comes.

 God is absolutely sovereign over His creation.

 Verse 7 completes this teaching like this:
"But we have this treasure (Jesus Christ) in earthen vessels (us), that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves."
Christianity is built on the truth that God has acted in the form of man, Jesus Christ.
And, He is the beauty for our everlasting enjoyment.
It is God's revealing Himself to us that we are able to even desire to see Christ's beauty as a reflection of God's image.
No man is capable of this.
That is why Christians sing and rejoice and herald, then sing, rejoice and herald again and again.
I will close with this statement by John Piper:
"The objects of the miracle become the agents of the miracle."
We don't know who God is revealing Himself to, so we must continue being the agents of the miracle of His gift to us.
 
I pray you know
The greatest gift of God is the gift of the beauty of God Himself in Jesus Christ, to satisfy your soul forever.

HE IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! 
Linking with:
Imparting Grace 
Writer Wednesday 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Inspiration to Myself

With no Wednesday Hodgepodge today, I thought I would throw together a quick post on my own.

Disclaimer:

This is a selfish post because I am the one who needs inspiration for putting together outfits right now.  I have become very lackadaisical with my wardrobe of late.  I love seeing other women's ideas and combinations and thought why not post a few of mine from times past and I might add a few I like from others as well.

I hope you may get some ideas that will spur you to shop in your own closet as I need to do.
This is a fun outfit and is so comfortable.

This is just one look from a capsule I put together a couple years ago for a trip.  The brown-on-brown is so practical and can be altered in so many ways.

You can never go wrong with black and white stripes.  Change to a pair of white jeans or crops but since the top doesn't cover the derriere, forget the leggings.
For a dresser look, I love my gray suit.  The look is timeless and the ways to alter the look are unlimited.

This is just a classic look with white jeans and a simple tee.  Throw on a light weight jacket or cardigan and you're ready to go.  Don't forget a statement necklace with this simple look.

 My Stella top is one of my favorites.  It will go with any color jean or dress up slacks.  The hat was just for fun.

 And this is my look today.  It is fun and will go just about anywhere, which is why I love it.

********
Now for some inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers on fashion for women my age.  No doubt they are a lot younger than I am, as are most people, but they have such an ageless style.

 I absolutely love this lady's sense of style.  Beth is one snazzy dresser but relate-able.  I think I can safely say I enjoy her blog the most simply because I would love to be able to wear everything she puts on.
Style At A Certain Age

Jennifer is perhaps closer to my age, but don't tell her I said that.  She is a very stylish and classic dresser.  I follow her on her blog as well as Instagram.
Chic at Any Age

I learned about Diana about fifteen years ago when she wrote one of her first e-books, "Wardrobe Magic".  She was my guru on wardrobe planning as I bought almost every e-book she put out.  I used her materials in my seminars which was an invaluable resource.  She is the most knowledgeable fashion consultant out there, as far as I'm concerned.
 
Fashion For Real Women

I follow Jennifer by email as well as following her blog.  She is a petite cutie who gives very down-to-earth fashion advice.
A Well Styled Life

I hope this gives you some good ideas and resources as you plan your spring/summer wardrobe.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WEDNESDAY HODGEPODGE

Join us at
as we join together for Hodgepodge fun today.

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what's the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

I'll give us a 6Negatives:  The English Hawthorns and Azaleas need to be trimmed now that they have bloomed; Boxwoods need to be shaped; still have weeds instead of grass in places.  Positives:  Lawn is landscaped and beds are planted and plants are healthy.  Plans are to pay yard man to do what needs to be done.

2. "Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there."~Thomas Fuller  What does this quote mean to you?

Due to shortage of time and mental dullness this morning, I will interpret it literally.  As I have said before, we have new breeds of weeds in our grass and flower beds that I definitely did not sow and seem to be resistant to Round Up weed poison.  This does not make me a happy person.

3. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

My Abba - Father

4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

I probably would talk too much or not at all.

5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black eyed susan...which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?
 
I do like it but it isn't my favorite color by any means.  I have one yellow sweater that I rarely wear and the only thing in my decor would be artificial lemons.  My favorite yellow bloom would be the day lily.

6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Both!!

7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you'll carry out this month.

I will be at our daughter's house for Palm Sunday which I am looking forward to.  Our church will have a traditional Maundy Thursday service which we will attend, then worship on Easter Sunday where we will celebrate our Risen Savior with our church family.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

While in Dallas this weekend, we will celebrate our oldest grandchild's 24th birthday.  She has always brought us and those around her such joy!
 Happy Birthday Sweet Chandler!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mansion on the Market

 This beautiful, former cotton plantation in Northwest Louisiana could be yours for $1,750,000.
Dixie Northrose Plantation is 10.516 acres and a completely restored and remodeled historical home.
Step with me into history in this one-of-a-kind home which will be open for the Dixie Sunflower Festival Saturday, June 17, 2017. 
In the early 1880's, W. H. North purchased 4,000 acres of prime cotton land and began farming following the Civil War.

He built his family home on a bluff overlooking the meandering waters of the Red River.  Its banks eventually eroded and forced him to move the home in 1903.  Using log rollers and mules, the plantation home was moved two miles to the picturesque yet slower moving Cottonwood Bayou where the original home's bones still stand.
In 1922, the home burned to the foundation and was rebuilt the following year using plans by a well-known architect who had designed many of the distinguished homes currently in Shreveport.

The home has since had several owners and uses.  While the land has been divided up, the Dixie area is known for the Sunflower Trail where row after row as far as the eye can see of the beautiful, yellow blossoms.
Original to the house is the 1903 brick foundation as well as oak flooring.

Come inside this 6,917 sq ft main house.
The large front foyer features a grand piano and opens to the living room.  Here is a restored original concrete/limestone designed mantle.
Off the front foyer is the Library with large built-in bookcases and handcrafted mill work.
Beyond the front foyer is the grand staircase leading to guest rooms upstairs.
 There is a den and poolroom that overlooks the pool and gardens.
A screened sleeping porch off the master bedroom overlooks the pool.
The master suite is a resort worthy space with spa bath.
 There is a delft designed shower stall in the elegant bath.  There is also an office and hobby room off the master bedroom.

  Off the kitchen is a reading nook and large sunroom that overlooks the pond and pecan tree grove.
The chef's dream kitchen features an original 1923 glass fronted cabinet and handcrafted walnut bar.
On the second level are three guest bedrooms and baths.
Bedroom #2 and adjoining bath
 Bedroom #3 and shared bath.
On the 3rd level is bedroom #4.
There is a guest house, a 3-car garage, an 1800 sq. ft. workshop, a 500 sq. ft. storage building, as well as pool house and outdoor kitchen.
Should you be interested in seeing this wonderful property contact
Sharon Martinelli at 318-78-8377.

Linking with Amaze Me Monday