Thursday, May 31, 2012

First time ever Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! Clue # 1 Starts at noon MDT.
clue #1 at 
 The winner will get over two dozen books from this contest, plus most of the participating authors are offering bonus contests so be sure to take advantage of those.
I am SO doing this!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Now Hear This

I've been trying to record my One Thousand Gifts ( on my iphone app. I am pondering what it means to really live fully, every moment, every second...I think it means engaging the senses moment by moment and connecting them to the heart. It is hard to block out the noise, the "have to" moments and pay attention. 

My family and friends know that I am hard of hearing. Oh, I hear everything, I just can't understand what people are saying unless they are looking at me. Today I am focussing on the gift of hearing, hearing with "love colored glasses".

What gift did you "hear" today?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day



 Thank You With All My Heart

Remarks at Memorial Day Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery
May 31, 1982~Ronald Reagan
Mr. President, General, the distinguished guests here with us today, my fellow citizens:
In America's cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor. 

In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their ``last full measure of devotion'' were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage -- not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words. 

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. 

Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. 

Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves. 

It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. War will not come again, other young men will not have to die, if we will speak honestly of the dangers that confront us and remain strong enough to meet those dangers. 

It's not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well. We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances. We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us. 

Our understanding must also extend to potential adversaries. We must strive to speak of them not belligerently, but firmly and frankly. And that's why we must never fail to note, as frequently as necessary, the wide gulf between our codes of morality. And that's why we must never hesitate to acknowledge the irrefutable difference between our view of man as master of the state and their view of man as servant of the state. Nor must we ever underestimate the seriousness of their aspirations to global expansion. The risk is the very freedom that has been so dearly won. 

It is this honesty of mind that can open paths to peace, that can lead to fruitful negotiation, that can build a foundation upon which treaties between our nations can stand and last -- treaties that can someday bring about a reduction in the terrible arms of destruction, arms that threaten us with war even more terrible than those that have taken the lives of the Americans we honor today. 

In the quest for peace, the United States has proposed to the Soviet Union that we reduce the threat of nuclear weapons by negotiating a stable balance at far lower levels of strategic forces. This is a fitting occasion to announce that START, as we call it, strategic arms reductions, that the negotiations between our country and the Soviet Union will begin on the 29th of June. 

As for existing strategic arms agreements, we will refrain from actions which undercut them so long as the Soviet Union shows equal restraint. With good will and dedication on both sides, I pray that we will achieve a safer world. 

Our goal is peace. We can gain that peace by strengthening our alliances, by speaking candidly of the dangers before us, by assuring potential adversaries of our seriousness, by actively pursuing every chance of honest and fruitful negotiation. 

It is with these goals in mind that I will depart Wednesday for Europe, and it's altogether fitting that we have this moment to reflect on the price of freedom and those who have so willingly paid it. For however important the matters of state before us this next week, they must not disturb the solemnity of this occasion. Nor must they dilute our sense of reverence and the silent gratitude we hold for those who are buried here. 

The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI's of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way. 

Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, ``just the best darn kids in the world.'' Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience. 

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice. 

Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem -- I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask. 

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just sayin'


I try not to ever be subject to "one of those days". You know, Pollyanna, make lemonade kind of gal... but....sometimes no matter what I do, I'm either tested or attacked, and then it's an opportunity to grow. Oh, man, yesterday! By the time I got home and got in the shower,  I was crying from exhaustion. Nothing serious. Just one stressful, frustrating thing after another. 

I kept slipping away to pray, kept declaring the Word of God, kept smiling. So do I consider yesterday a failure? 

Yes, and no. All day I kept my smile, tried to do my best at my job, and attempted to look at frustration through love colored glasses. But I barked at my husband when I finally got home. He was only trying to help me.  Even though I was not a happy camper, he kept trying to serve me. 

So, I still have a long way to go in growing up in Jesus. I am so grateful that He never fails me, and that His forgiveness is available every time I flub up.  The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER CEASES. His merices NEVER come to an end. They are NEW EVERY MORNING. Great is Thy faithfulness!!

How do you handle "one of those days"?

Sunday, May 20, 2012


1966...Fifth Grade
Happiness Is....

I don't remember anything between the title and the last line that went

"and at school work, doing your best."

     I got to get out of class and go to the Principal's office to print my poem on
a large piece of poster board. It was placed in the display case at the entrance to the school.
     My Fifth Grade heart was a little overwhelmed with the feeling that I had done something important, that I had made a difference somehow. It felt right.
So I scribbled along through the years, writing poems and diaries to my heart's content. "I'm going to be a writer someday."

Someone looked over their glasses at me once and said, "You are a writer when you are PUBLISHED, until then, you just write." Whoosh, I flushed the dream. I went to college for my other passion, Music, but always writing, scribbling, dreaming. I married and the two of us wrote six living epistles:

I took this picture with a bun in the oven....

During these years I wrote homeschool curriculum for myself,  Vacation Bible School curriculum, reported club events to the newspaper, and wrote articles for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) newsletters. I wrote a book.  My Bible said to me, "As a man thinks in his heart, SO IS HE." I realized what I knew deep down, but have never said aloud until today.

So... I look over my glasses and I say to myself and the WORLD...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I trust your Mother's Day was special. I thought I'd just post some pics of our day. Let's let the sweetness of the weekend filter through our days this week. Care to share your Mother's Day in the comments? 

Happy Mother's Day

Speedy Ontiveros and Calamity Lil

A beautiful gift made for me.

 And these folks were sorely missed!

How was your Mother's Day?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Devo Thursday


“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows like Jesus.” That’s me, singing tongue in cheek. I tend to have a Pollyanna outlook most of the time. I don’t like to hear complaining. Yada, yada, yada, get over it. Not very compassionate I know.
Not really. I am more of a positive person and try to be encouraging. But weary? Putting some honest thought to it, I guess am weary of one thing.
 I am pretty sick of the areas in my life where I continually fail. I keep doing and thinking the same things over and over and expecting different results. Dumb.
I really like acronyms, anything that I can use for a handle. Here's a new one:
Worn out Excuses Are Ruining my Year. I have goals, plans, and dreams for 2012. Success is coming along in the things I always have success in, and failure is mocking me in all the same areas in which I usually fail. Ugh. Yes, I guess I am weary.
I wonder why I am perfectly willing to be uncomfortable in order to grow in some areas, and in others I am not only unwilling, but down right wimpy.
Galatians 6:9  (NIV) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Psalm 68:9 (NIV) You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.
Yes, I do give up too easily in some areas. I need the Father's abundant showers of refreshing forgiveness and grace, purpose, direction and motivation. I know that I don't go to Him often enough with these things. I know that Jesus is the answer, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, and not in my own strength I will soar.  Isaiah 40:3 (NIV) " But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
So instead of Worn out Excuses Ruining My Year, it can be Wondrous Energized Achievement through Radical Yielding; every moment, hour, and day being filled with the grace and mercies of Christ. Now that adds up to some kind of a wonderful year.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Post

This is one of the most precious people that God has ever put into my life.
 Joani Burchett is my guest today. Please enjoy her post and then go over and visit her blog. You'll be glad you did!

She writes about her journey with Bell's Palsy
So, you guys all know me by now… and you know I love smiles, I like encouragement, and journeys intrigue me.  Today, I want to write about a life-story of mine that isn’t so easy.  In April, 2010, I embarked on a journey that truly loomed to be one of those “no-fun” journeys.  (I know you have had a few yourself….)  The onset-of Bell’s palsy gave me some hurdles physically and emotionally to overcome.  If you have read some of my other posts.. you know that I really missed my smile; and that I learned some crazy awesome lessons about gratitude, that I truly needed.

At the time I was living in Grand Cayman, BWI.  (Yes, go ahead and be jealous.  You should.) I flew back to the island after a brief weekend trip to dance my shoes off with a beautiful friend for her birthday in Texas.  The evening of my return trip, I laid in bed with my snuggle-partners as is our normal routine, and we sang our bed-time song… and at that moment I first felt a tingling in my face.  For a few weeks prior, I had noticed a shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue — but most people will understand when I say that with five boys, a husband in Vet school, and ALL the many tasks that go with life… you kinda brush off the fatigue and chalk it up as, “Eh, it is what it is.”  :)   After this night-owl actually going to bed at a decent hour that evening, I slept fitfully, and awoke with the left-side of my face paralyzed.

Through this journey I have had AH-mazing friends.  You all know who you are, and you cannot imagine how you helped my heart smile, when my face could not.  One such beautiful couple ensured that I went to the ER, and reminded me of Who was in control in my life.  The ER gave me the typically advised treatment of prednisone, and acyclovir – along with some mild pain meds.  Within 24 of onset, the full brunt of symptoms had fallen on me:  great fatigue, full paralysis of left-side facial muscles (which included the inability to shut my eye or blink & drooling from left corner of mouth), hearing inconsistencies (loss of hearing at times on left side, and then very heightened switching back and forth), and my taste was effected for about one week.

This post will probably be followed with a few others to answer any questions you might have, and to tell the story a little more….  Encouragement is a wonderful thing.  Through this trial in my life, I had relief through the love shown by others.  Hugs, words of hope, iced coffees drank through a straw, fresh vitamin-filled juices daily delivered, and helping hands gave me reason to lift my head and look up.  I also LOVED searching the blogosphere for people with the same condition, reading their own tales, and knowing that one day this would pass, all helped shed light when life felt a bit overwhelming…. and so thus I post this story today.

This is me… I think this was day 15     .Joani's Video Journal/Bell's Palsy/Day 15

Check out Joani's Blog  Post-its and Sharpies

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Contest Tuesday

 How about a Mother's Day Haiku? Can't wait to see what you all come up with!

 Last Week's Winners:

Such sweet, unselfish thoughts about having a million dollars. You all inspired me. Prizes for all! Need addresses:)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Guest Post

I do not have a guest post today. So hey, you be my guest. I thought it would be fun to post your favorite summer memory. I'll go first.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Contest Tuesday

 This week's contest: Finish this sentence: "If I had a million dollars I would...." in 25 words or less. I'm writing a story where a woman inherits millions. Looking for some brainstorming ideas. Winner gets a prize (but it won't be a million dollars).

 And the winner for last week is Amanda! Girl, I've got a prize for you.
C'mon baby let's show them how we do it. *shake your groove thing shake your groove thing yeah yeah*