Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prayer Request

My Mother has had a hiatus hernia for almost as long as I can remember, but it has recently begun to cause her a lot of pain and shortness of breath.  After having some extensive tests and scans done, the doctors have determined that her hiatus hernia is behind her heart and is quite large.  The opening is so large that her entire stomach has moved up into her chest!  The doctor said that he needed to operate ASAP as it is likely that her spleen and colon could also come up into her chest.

She is scheduled to have surgery on Monday morning and the doctor plans to move her stomach back down where it is supposed to be and suture everything in place. He also plans to try to close the opening in the esophagus to make it smaller. She will be in the hospital for approximately 6 days.

The cardiovascular surgeon doing the surgery is Dr. Travis and my mother's name is Jeanne. Please pray that everything will go smoothly with the operation and that Mother will have a speedy and complete recovery.  She is very nervous about the surgery and she is also worried about her husband during her time of recuperation because he can no longer drive due to macular degeneration.

Faith and I plan to leave tomorrow morning to drive to GA to be there for the weekend prior to her surgery and will return home next week.

Thank you in advance for your prayers! 

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Baby Lewis"

Turns out that Lewis absolutely LOVES riding in E's babydoll stroller!  

He gets in the stroller on his own and she runs through my house, full speed, and he makes no attempt to get out of the stroller.

When he wants to ride in it, he goes up to the back side of it, stands up on his hind legs and pushes the stroller across the room until it runs into something.

I'm not sure who is having more fun --"E" or Lewis?!?!??

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I have a new GRANDDOG!!!!

My son, Josh, and his girlfriend, Michelle, got a very special, long awaited shipment all the way from California on Thursday night!
Meet TURK!  He is a third generation Labradoodle and is he not the cutest thing ever! We all think he needs to be named Teddy because he absolutely looks just like a little teddy bear.
Josh has wanted a Labradoodle for quite some time because they are virtually hypoallergenic and he has such extreme sensitivities to so many things in the environment. He has been talking to a friend of mine that is a breeder of Labradoodles about possibly being a Guardian home for one of her dogs and they finally got their special little guy!

Josh and Michelle love dogs and have always been so good about coming over to play with Champ and take him for walks, but now they have their own little guy to love. (Champ seemed sort of sad last night when they came over for a visit because, as you might guess, all of the attention was directed on this precious little face!)

I now have three little Granddogs to love - Calie, Mason and now Turk!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times!

Our next door neighbors, Tom and Denise, spend the Summer in New York and the Winter down South with us.  Denise's Mom and Dad, Vicki and Chuck, recently retired and moved from New York to our area. Walt and I were invited to their beautiful new home tonight for dinner and we had the most wonderful time! Denise had already told me that dinner at her mom's would be like dinner at Martha Stewart's house and, boy, was she right about that!

Vicki had the most beautiful table set when we got there and dinner was ready to go on the table.  

We were all laughing because Tom always thinks he has to eat at like 5:00 on the dot and we were not eating 'til close to 6:00! (But look, we were sitting down BEFORE the 6:00 hour, Tom!)

We started with a tomato salad with basil and it was delish!

She had cooked these gorgeous pork chops in an iron skillet and served them with these yummy sweet potato fries.

Here's Vicki serving Chuck some of these delicious pork chops.  I don't know how both of them stay so trim with this kind of good cookin'!

She had green beans she had gotten at the market.

Here are Walt and I seated at her beautiful table.  Unbeknownst to Vicki, pork chops is one of Walt's favorites!  

And we ended up on homemade peach pie with Breyers vanilla ice cream.  Oh my goodness! 

What a way to come off the South Beach Diet I've been back on for 2 1/2 weeks, huh?

We had such a wonderful time with friends tonight.  Thank the Lord for fun times with friends!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


All of us are concerned these days about the rising cost of gasoline. My husband and I have been looking for ways to improve our car's fuel efficiency.  Some of the best strategies to improve our gas mileage have to do with making sure that our vehicle is in good running condition.

There are some basic maintenance needs that have to be done to keep our vehicle running at peak efficiency.

One of those things to help our fuel efficiency is to keep our engine tuned up. If we have a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test, it may decrease our mileage.  We also need to keep our air filters clean.  When the filters are clogged with dirt, bugs and dust, the engine has to work much harder and that causes our car to be less fuel-efficient. Another recommendation is to get the "junk out of the trunk".  A weighed down car uses more fuel.  We should carry only the basic emergency necessities and items we really need.

Another often forgotten thing that we can do to improve our gas mileage is to make sure that our tires are properly inflated.  One report that I read said that your gas mileage can decrease by as much as 15% by driving on under-inflated tires.  Driving on them under-inflated can also reduce the life of the tires by 15% or more.   

We can still drive our car when it is not properly tuned up; just not as efficiently
We can still drive our car with a clogged and dirty air filter; just not as efficiently
We can still drive our car with under-inflated tires; just not as efficiently
We can also drive our car with the trunk loaded down; just not as efficiently.

Isn't our spiritual life a lot like that?  When I forget to perform my daily "spiritual maintenance", I can still perform my normal daily tasks; just not as efficiently. And, because it may happen so slowly, I may not even notice that over time I have become spiritually ineffective --- until one day, I "break down somewhere on the side of the road".  Stranded!  All because I failed to perform basic daily spiritual maintenance.

I have experienced this in my own life, so I know what I'm talking about here!  Things seem to be "running" okay until one day you break down with no help in sight because you have not done the basic maintenance that you knew to be doing all along. The maintenance that you knew was necessary for you to operate efficiently!

What basic spiritual maintenance do I need to be performing on a daily basis to make sure that I continue to run efficiently?  

Bible study - "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth."   
2 Timothy 2:15

Prayer -  "Pray without ceasing"  
I Thessalonians 5:17

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." 
Phil 4:6

Praise - "Through Him, then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that give thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15

Worship  -  "For you shall not worship any other God"
Exodus 34:14

Thanksgiving  - "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"
I Thessalonians 5:18

"Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father"
Ephesians 5:20 

Obedience - "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One that called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior;"

Service -    "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall my servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."
John 12:26

Renewing of my mind - "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
Romans 12:2

  • Have you checked recently to see if you are running on all of your "spiritual cylinders"?
  • What kind of "emissions" are you producing? 
  • Have you checked your spiritual air pressure lately? 
  • What about your spiritual air filter?  What are you breathing in? Can God permeate your filter or is it clogged up with the "dirt" of this world?
  • Are you weighed down with a lot of excess "baggage" that is not necessary? Are you carrying around a lot of "junk in your trunk" that God wants you to cast on Him?

It's time for us to get out our "Owners Manual"and see what "Our Maker" recommends to keep us in top shape so that we can operate efficiently!

Remember.....failing to do your daily spiritual maintenance may leave you stranded somewhere and it will definitely cause you to operate at less than optimum efficiency!

Father, I thank You for reminding me that there are certain things that You have recommended for me that will cause my life to operate much more smoothly and efficiently.  I ask that You would forgive me for the times in my life that I have operated without consulting my Owners Manual, thinking that I was still operating efficiently. Thank you for always being there to rescue me when I completely break down on the side of the road somewhere and you have to completely rebuild me!  I pray that in the future You will help me to never try to operate outside of Your recommendations, but to realize that in order to operate at peak efficiency I have to perform basic daily spiritual maintenance .  Amen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Random Thoughts From Here...

Today was the first Wednesday that I have had off in a while, and I was soooooo excited about not having to get up at 5:30. Well....unfortunately, Lewis did NOT get the memo about the change in my schedule!  At 5:32 this morning he started playing with the beads on the lampshade on my bedside table.  When I got him to stop that, he proceeded to knock a stack of papers and books off the table beside me.  (The scary part is that Champ sleeps in HIS bed right below all of this commotion!)  Then it was onto my bed and there he started with the biting!  That was it!  At that point I just gave up and got up out of bed.  So much for a nice restful morning on my much-needed day off!

I went to the living room with my Bible.  As I was reading, I came to the following verses:

"You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Do you realize that we may be the only Bible that some people will ever read? 

I don't know about you, but that is a very sobering thought for me.  When I think back on my life since I was saved, there have been so many times that I am sure that my life has not given an accurate representation of the Word of God. 

I had to go to the doctor today for my annual physical.  I first met Faith in a parking lot to "hand off" "Miss E" for some Nana and Bubba time.  From there I headed into the parking garage at my doctor's office.  After making so many laps around the garage looking for a parking spot that I now needed Dramamine, I went into the building where my doctor's office is.  There were a handful of patients in the waiting area as I walked in and I walked straight up to the Reception Desk.  This was totally a misnomer in this office!  There was no reception about it!  The woman at the desk looked up at me and I said with a very cheerful voice and smile, "Good Morning!"  Just so you know, she hasn't spoken to me yet!  I signed in on a pad of paper and I am waiting patiently for them to take my insurance card and the volumes of paperwork that I had completed ahead of time as requested, but no one ever says anything!  Maybe because she is TEXTING someone on her cellphone UNDER her desk!  (Now mind you, there is a huge sign at the front desk which reads "No Cellphone Usage Allowed In This Office"!) Finally, she realizes I'm standing there and she says, "Ma'am, just have a seat! We'll call you back up in a few minutes."  

My first impulse was to be a little bit angry that the woman was so rude to me. But I thought about it for a minute and  from that moment on, I took it as my personal mission to make this woman speak to me and maybe even possibly smile.  She called me back up and took my papers, my insurance card, and, of course, my money and I FORCED her to have to speak to me.  Before our interaction was over, I think she may have even smiled one tiny little smile.

After my visit, I was eating lunch with my husband at home, and while sitting there at the table, the Lord brought to my remembrance what He had whispered to me in my quiet time this morning -- "You may be the only Bible she may ever read!"

Now, I don't think that in this instance that I really did a lot for this lady just by being pleasant to her, but it did get me to thinking about how none of us know what someone else is dealing with in their  life.  This woman could be in an abusive relationship at home.  She may be facing a dire financial situation.  Maybe she has a terminally ill loved one in her family.  Her husband could be unemployed with no job prospects.  Perhaps she is miserable in her job.  Maybe she just didn't feel like being cheerful and smiling today.

I started to wonder what perception of God's Word we would give someone if they were "reading" us:

  • When we are in a hurry at the left turn red light (that lasts approximately 5 seconds) and the lady in front of us is applying her mascara and causes us to miss the entire light.  

  • When that person at McDonald's enters the drive-thru from the wrong direction and beats us into the line because we go the proper way AROUND the building. 

  • When that person that we thought was our friend lashes out at us with hurtful accusations and comments.  

  • When that person at work tells a dirty joke and everyone around us is laughing. 

I pray that the next time God places me in a situation where someone is "reading" me, that somehow, in spite of all my imperfections, that they would see Him.  That my life would give an accurate representation of His Word.  

Maybe somehow I lightened that lady's burden just a little bit today. At least, I'd like to think so.

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

Friday, July 11, 2008

Our "Noisy" Lives

Many times when my husband and I are riding in the car, I find myself saying, "Can we just turn the radio off?  I would just like to hear some peace and quiet!" 

I started thinking about how bombarded we are with the TV, the internet, email, text messages, etc., from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we drift off to sleep at night. 

Each day when I arrive at work, music is piped in through speakers throughout the entire office. Many mornings before I ever get to work, I have had phone calls or text messages from family members or co-workers.  If  I go out for lunch, there is music playing in the restaurant as well as a giant screen TV in the corner of the restaurant. I walk in the door at home after a long day at work and the TV is on a 24 hour News station. And this is not even mentioning the text messages, phone calls and emails received and sent throughout the day!  

If we go into a place that requires that we turn off our cellphones, as soon as we come out we immediately turn them back on.  It is almost like the cellphones contain oxygen that we have been deprived of! Many of us are now capable of walking (or driving) while texting our friends, returning emails, and making phone calls.

I can't help but wonder...

  • Is there a spiritual danger in all of this?  
  • Does God just become one more thing that we try to multi-task?
  • If we have all of this "noise" bombarding us, are we even able to hear the still small voice of God?
  • Do we have the same level of commitment to spending time with God as we do to our favorite TV show?

Would we be willing to cut out one 30 minute TV program or 30 minutes spent on the internet so that we could turn off the "noise" and spend time alone with God?

I believe God is calling us to come apart from all the "noise" in our lives. It  may be by an internet fast, a TV fast,  or maybe by a silent retreat. We could do it by taking a walk (leaving our IPods at home) or by journaling.  Even riding in the car can be a great time to pray and think and, also, memorize scripture. 

Every step we take to quieten the "noise" in our lives may bring us that much closer to the Lord.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lewis Update

Lewis had to go to the vet on Wednesday for his last round of shots and he is doing really well.  The vet was very relieved to see that he had not DOUBLED in weight again like the last visit!  He is, however, still living large!  He weighed in at 5.2 pounds -- a weight he should not attain until he is approximately 5 months old and he is not quite 4 months old yet!  ( I can relate to that -- I am having the same problem!)

I caught this picture of him watching a little golf, while perched atop his scratching post.  (Of course, being a feline himself, he is usually pulling for "Tiger"!  LOL)  He also likes The Animal Planet!

Walt and I went away for a few days and we almost had a stowaway go with us on our trip!   

Wish we could have taken him and Champ with us 'cause we both missed them like crazy!  I'm not sure who was more glad to see the other one -- us or them!

So glad to be back home!