Sunday, November 30, 2008

Agreeing with God- Part II

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:9-11

When I read this, I asked myself, "When is the last time I really "spent" myself in behalf of the hungry? (ESV says "pour yourself out"). Does making dinner for my family every night count? (Some nights, it seems so :-)). But then, how have I ever really helped the "oppressed". And malicious talk? ... yes, earlier today I did some of that. And yesterday, and the day before.

Sitting in darkness, feeling tired, hungry and thirsty as I often am these days (and I mean more than physically)... do I seek a solution in the act of pouring myself out to others? Or do I go and run a hot bath or grab a bag of Twizzlers or take a nap? I have all sorts of solutions for making myself feel better... but most are not really in line with God's solutions. I think one reason for this may be that I don't agree with God that his solutions will lead me to the places I want to go. They seem so contradictory and counter-productive. ("Spend myself" when I am already completely spent? How is that?)

Recently someone very wise said to me that it is time for me to really claim the promises God has made. And I can't figure out why that is such a hard thing at times. Until I realize that my own thinking isn't always lined up with God's, as it ought to be.

God, increase my faith.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moon Landings- Hoax or Reality?

Just kidding- I don't really think the moon landings were a hoax. When you live in Huntsville, you're not allowed to think those blasphemous thoughts. Ha. Today we saw the IMAX movie, "Magnificent Desolation". It was good. :-) I have lots of thoughts floating around about the movie and NASA and space exploration in general... but there are too many people in my house right now to allow me to form any of them into complete sentences. :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Highlights from our Thanksgiving Dinner

We missed you, dad!

Peeling & mashing potatoes:

Pies and turkey:

Hard at work:

Kids' Table:

Adults' table:

Washing dishes:

First puzzle in progress:

First puzzle finished Friday morning:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pictures tomorrow.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


When I was in 2nd grade, I got a makeup set as a gift that I really, really loved. One day after a friend played at my house, the makeup set disappeared. The next day at school... the friend had an identical makeup set with her!!! When I told the teacher it was mine, the friend claimed her aunt had visited and given her the set as a gift. She was adamant and the teacher had no grounds to believe me over her even though I knew it was mine, because there was a little nick out of the applicator in the compact, the same as had been in mine. Oh, how angry I was. Later, my mom called the girls' mom, but she lied and said she had no idea what we were talking about. I never got it back and never got any satisfaction about it until .... today. 31 years later God has blessed me with peace about this situation. My dad has gotten re-acquainted with this girl, now a grown woman and a christian, and when he first mentioned her to me a couple years ago, I asked him, "Did you ask her where my makeup kit is?!". I was joking, but isn't it interesting that even after all these years, the mention of her name immediately brought to mind the injustice she had done me? Of course, he never asked her about it, but then today he told me that she recently admitted to him that she had once stolen something from our house!!!!!!!!!!!! She didn't say what, but I know it was my makeup kit that she is talking about. Have patience and the truth will always come out! And the truth is so nice! Yay!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Agreeing with God- Part 1

"Agree with God and be at peace" Job 22:21 (ESV)

A couple years ago my Jehovah's Witness friend (I call her a friend because she has visited several times and I kind-of like her) came to my door and told me that when Jesus comes back to set up His earthly kingdom, then we will have peace. "Won't that be great?" she asked. I know that she spoke of peace on a global scale (which certainly would be great!), but I said to her, "Don't you think God promises us peace now?" This is something I believe with all of my reason... (as I believe Jesus will never come back and set up an earthly kingdom)... that peace is available to us in Christ NOW. It is not something we have to wait for Jesus to bring in the future- He has already made it possible and it is available to everyone now despite, and in the midst of, all the suffering and trauma of the world.

And I believe that. But, I sort-of felt like a hypocrite at the time, asking myself, "Brenda, have you really experienced that peace that you are so sure is available? And if not, why not?" My response to myself was "Just shut up, Brenda". Ha ha. :-) But, I do continue to really desire that peace that passes understanding.

I LOVE this verse in Job that I re-visited today and have decided to make it my new life motto... something to write on my doorpost and bind on my forehead. I plan to spend some time seriously thinking about the areas where I have a hard time agreeing with God and imagine the possibilities if I were only to surrender.

More on this subject later.....

Monday, November 24, 2008


If you like to play games on the computer- I have discovered one that is alot of fun and I am kind-of addicted to. It's called Alchemy and you can find it on AOL games. Just go to and then look for games (on the left side) and click on it. Search for Alchemy. Play the tutorial, it's really helpful. Then have fun. And don't say I didn't warn you - it's addicting. :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Psalm 100:4-5 (from The Message)
"Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever".

Thank you, God, for all that you've done and are. :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Funny for the Day

Someone scheduled holiday pictures at school on the same day that the kids were supposed to dress up in clothes representing what they want to be when they grow up. I actually forgot about the holiday picture thing all together. The result is below. Please let me know if you want to order any. Ha ha.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things I Amuse Myself Thinking About....

It's hard to make out in this picture, but as I was baking a Betty Crocker carrot cake tonight, I noticed on the box the phrase, "With Carrot Flavored Pieces". That really begs the question (in my mind).... Carrot flavored pieces... of what?! Rubber? Grass? Cat teeth? Just what?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Pet Peeve of Mine

Should this bother me? It's not the fact that Jacob has a project to do that bothers me (although who likes school projects? No one that I know....), but it's the fact that it's called a "Family Turkey Project" that bothers me. Since when can the school assign homework to our whole family?!.. and we all know that specifically means who? Yes, the mommy. I'll be okay- just wanted to share this little pet peeve of mine since it has happened more than once since my kids have been in school.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pretty Flowers

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

Okay, well.... don't we wish??! :-) I love Fall, but as Fall slowly turns into Winter and I sit here with little icicles for fingers typing, then I start to remember that I like Spring, too! :-) This is one of my favorite pictures that Tim has taken. I like it so much that we had it printed in an 8 x 10 with the intention of hanging it on the kitchen wall, but haven't gotten around to it. Now that I am reminded... I will renew my efforts to find the perfect frame.

Monday, November 17, 2008

He Separates the Night

Did anyone in Huntsville tonight (Monday) look at the sky in the West about 5:00? If you did, it was kind-of cool because there was a very dark cloud just above the horizon that was making an almost perfectly straight line across the sky and below it was a constrasting bright sky, mostly orangeish, from the sunset. I SOOO wish I had a camera with me, but I didn't. The picture above is something I found on the internet that will sort-of give you an idea of what I'm describing... but it wasn't stormy or raining. It was just a cloud like this. It was pretty enough to cause Jacob, who was riding in the car with me on the way to hockey, to comment about how neat it looked.

And I almost hesitate to tell these stories at times, because I feel like someone may think I am making them up... but then, I don't know if I really care if you think I'm making it up. Ha ha. :-) I know it really happened this way. Just as I was turning onto the expressway to head West and was taking notice of the sky, I was singing along to my Tenth Avenue North CD .... these exact lyrics: "Lord of brilliant light, You separate the night...." from the song "You Are" (full lyrics below). It was a pretty neat moment. Very full of God.

Lord of empty space
You breathe and then create
Before the earth was made
You are

The King of every age
Outside of time and space
The heavens speak Your name
You are You are

Lord of brilliant light
You separate the night
And everything inside
You are

The One who calms the seas
And every part of me
With just a word You speak
You are You are.

I give You all of me for all You are
Here I am
Take me apart Take me apart, etc.

Angels bowing down
Beneath the rushing sound
A voice that thunders out
You are

The one who holds the stars
And the beating of my heart
Exalted above all
You are You are

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Design on a Dime with Brenda

I had a decorating idea while I was upstairs painting the last couple days. I had seen someone else do this, and thought it was cute.... I went to Michael's and got various scrapbooking papers and put the paper into black picture frames to decorate the upstairs bathroom and just outside the bathroom. The fixtures in that area are black and the walls are turquoise and browns.

First are the bathroom pictures. The papers were 79 cents each (not on sale) and the frames were on sale for $4.99 each... so this is a relatively inexpensive decoration that anyone can do. The bathroom is small, so it was pretty impossible to get a picture of the entire bathroom, but they are above the toilet opposite the wall with the sink and mirror, which is black (sort of wrought-iron looking) and oval. To give credit where it is due, I wasn't planning to do these two pictures (just the one you will see below) but Sonja was with me and when she saw these, said they would look good just framed by themselves. I think they turned out really, really pretty. She's good to have around!

Below is the one I put outside the bathroom on the wall by the steps going up to the bonus room. (That's why it may look kind-of high on the wall in this picture, but really, it's not). We already had this frame from a while back and never had used it. These papers were on sale for 25 cents each- so that's $1.25 + whatever the frame cost.

A closer view:

I'm proud of me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Recipe Box

Tim's aunt Sharon recently put together these really nice recipe boxes with recipes she collected from the family. I think she did this especially because her son was getting married, but she was so thoughtful to make one for each family to have. I am now thinking about doing one of these for my family... as I think it will be a wonderful heirloom.

She collected recipes from family members and then printed (and laminated) each individuals' recipes on the same color cards. Mine are the bright turquoise green. :-) The actual box she picked out is so pretty. I really am enjoying this box and plan to try alot of the recipes very soon.
Just wanted to share. :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Libby's Aquatic Frogs

Until Libby brought these guys home from school last year... I had no idea there was such a thing as an "Aquatic Frog". These are frogs (and we have two of them) that are small like a goldfish and actually live in water in a fish bowl and never live on land. When I agreed she could bring two of them home... I figured they would live about as long as a goldfish normally lives in a bowl... (a couple weeks if we were lucky)... but these guys have been with us for about six months, I think. They have names... Lindsey and Frogert ..... and Libby can tell them apart. They are reasonably low-maintenance pets... they need to be fed once and day and their water has to be changed at least weekly because it starts to really smell icky. I don't do anything special when I change the water- just run new water into the bowl at what I think is about room temperature... and add the anti-chlorine drops. I haven't killed them, yet. :-) The biggest issue is that they are hard to get out of the bowl while I am cleaning it. The reason is that they can leap surprisingly high when they are out of water. It's hilarious. So they will try to jump out of the net and they have succeeded a couple times. Sometimes they land in the kitchen sink and I'm afraid they will go down the drain. Once one of them landed on the kitchen floor and started hopping around, while Libby screamed "Oh no!" and I screamed, "Tim! Help me!"

A friend from church "babysits" them for us when we go out of town and even once called and asked if she could come get them for a day so her granddaughter could enjoy them. They are hilarious to watch... they often have their "arms" straight out and they appear to just be falling backward.

Below are some pictures- but it is really hard to get pictures of them. If you click on the pictures, they will get much bigger and you should be able to see them better.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Religion

So I was thinking about the question "What Religion are you?" and how often (at least among Christians in the U.S.) that question actually means "What church do you go to?" or really, "What demonination of Christianity do you claim?" I understand the question... we often see a vast difference between Baptists and Presbysterians and Methodists... and as a member of a more obscure one, the Church of Christ... who was taught we are NOT actually a "denomination", but actually "the one true church"... it was extra hard for me to ever answer that question as a child. :-) Really, though.... what the rest of the world sees is just one religion... Christianity, as opposed to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or any others. And we really have more in common than we do in differences. And that' just how I see it.

I don't think that really has anything to do with what I am about to say, though. Ha ha. I am just supposed to blog on the topic of "religion" this week and that is my way to cover that base, I think. Because what I want to say isn't about what "religion" I am... but about what church I grew up in and still attend and how I think that identifying with a particular church can be a good thing. This train of thought started when I joined a group a couple days ago on Facebook called "The 728B Fan Club". Now, if you didn't grow up in the Church of Christ, you have no idea what that means, I suspect. If you did, then you are probably singing in your head right now- trying to hit those REALLY high notes in your dreams, since you can't in reality. :-)

And I started to think about all of our little Church of Christ "inside jokes" and how I guess most churches probably have their own. Even though I grew up in Michigan, most of my friends at church down here in Alabama know the same jokes, just for having been in the Church of Christ. We are all MOTC (Members of the Church) and we know which church that refers to. Ha. :-) We all know why we don't have instrumental music, but no one really knows why, if you know what I mean. We know that the contribution is "separate and apart" from the Lords's supper, even though we always do those two "acts of worship" back-to-back. And it goes on. Also, there are jokes I share with those I grew up with... like... every time I hear the song "Each Day I'll Do"... I insert "to meet Berniece" in place of "to meet the deeds"... which was the nickname of my childhood friend, Denise. And it's funny (at least to me)... and that's sort-of nice, I think. In all families, there are traditions and they serve to bond the family together.

Also, recently, a friend at church just came back from a far away mission field and her husband found a job at a church that is closely related to the Church of Christ, but is not a Church of Christ. She talked about how weird it will be to switch to a new tradition that way... where the people don't know the same things she does, or identify with the same christian colleges, that sort of thing.

I think sometimes "traditions" get a bad wrap because of the way that they tend to take over and become the "main thing" when really Christ is the main thing. Sometimes we can't see Christ through the traditions, I guess. And that's sad. Sometimes, I suspect, newcomers can feel excluded when they don't get the inside jokes. Obviously, we have the example of the Pharisees to look at to see what "traditions gone wrong" looks like and I have seen these tendencies in my life, my church and the lives of those I know.

But, kept in perspective, I think traditions can actually be a healthy, beneficial thing. They can be a way to laugh at ourselves (always fun), to feel comfortable with our church family, to form a sense of family identity and to find common ground with others who believe the way we do. For its shortcomings, it would be very hard for me to ever think of leaving the Church of Christ. It is part of who I am- my heritage. And I hope that honors Christ. I think it does.

My Morning With Sam

I had what I thought was a great idea for something to say today on the important subject of "Religion", but I have Sam today and that means I can't concentrate on anything- so it may have to wait until tomorrow. :-) Instead I thought I'd share some pictures from the morning's activities before we go get a bottle (both of us!) and lay down for a nap. Ha ha. We've had a very busy day.

First we did some house work... Sam helped dust the floor, choose a pan to make dinner, load the dishwasher, clear off the clutter from the door of the fridge and so much more....

After the housework was done, we had time to compose a new song and play with trains:

Then Sam wanted to explore the fascinating world of electricity, but I told him that would have to wait until another day.