Saturday, October 31, 2009

Celebrate Saturday: Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

........Joyce Kilmer

He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3

Friday, October 30, 2009

Heroes: Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin may be the most recognized name in United States history.
He smiles to us on $100 bills; many towns and cities are his namesake.

He was apprenticed as a printer when he was 12; in a few years, he published the Pennsylvania Gazette, then Richard's Almanack. Franklin was a lover of words, knew words could form nations.

Franklin was a statesman, inventor, scientist.

He was the dream designer for our country's infrastructure, giving us paved streets and fire departments.

This son of a candle maker was curious, knew how to think outside his comfort zone.

In the early 1700s, books were rare, and only the wealthiest families were able to afford them. Some managed to own a Bible, some lived their entire lifetime without seeing a book.

In July, 1731, Franklin and some friends drew up an agreement to form a library. Fifty people invested forty shillings (two pounds) each, and pledged ten shillings per year to buy more books.

Franklin and fifty people created the greatest service our government provides for its citizenry; free, unlimited use of books!

Buildings of books that are ours to consume, books that can take you from darkest Africa to beneath the ice at the South Pole, from Siberia's cruel winds to the balmy sand of Jamaica, from despair to happiness. Books that can instruct on everything from cooking to Christianity. Books that can transport.

Books. Glorious books!

Thanks, Benjamin!

Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it."So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Ezekiel 3:3

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nashville Flea Market

It's the end of an era.

Meeting at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, the Nashville Flea Market has been a monthly event for years and years..

It is consistantly voted the top flea market in Tennessee, and is among the top ten flea markets in the country.

Vendors come from thirty states,

they come with their trash

and they come with their treasures.

Thousands of shoppers descend from everywhere, some by the busloads.

We look for rare coins, vintage clothing, the last dish needed to complete a collection.

We haggle, consider, enjoy the process while munching kettle corn.

The fairgrounds, opened in 1891 as Cumberland Park, are closing in June 2010.

The flea market will be relocated. It may be even better than now.

It will not be the same.

.....changes and war are against me...Job 10:17

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ode to Summer

We waited as the darkness of winter relented.

We waited longing for leaves, for warm nights sleeping with the window open, insect songs and the smell of honeysuckle.

We cleaned debris from the deck, envisioning friends in lounge chairs, sipping iced tea.

We cleaned perennial beds, searching for green.

We stacked the leftover firewood, winter's detritus in a dustpan swept up like the icy wind.

Summer was born, a painful birth with pangs of thunder.

When summer was new, we went for walks, caught fireflies, cranked up the grill.

As she grew, with heat and humidity, we ran to hide in air-conditioned rooms, and we forgot.

Then, while we weren't looking, summer leaked through our lives like water through our hands.

Now its dead, ended, not a trace remaining.

The block party, the week-end trips, Saturday afternoon cook-outs. Horseshoe games in the backyard, building a water fountain, transplanting vines. All the things we meant to do that are not going to happen this year.

God grant us the extreme honor of living to see another one, another chance to get it right.

"The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved."
Jeremiah 8:20

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Multitude Monday on Tuesday

holy experience

The Gratitude Community is a reminder to be forever thankful. The site will link you to others who are sharing their lists. This week, I am especially thankful for:
26. Good coffee beans
27. Candles
28. Sleeping on sheets that smell like October
29. Fall weekends
30. Hearing
31. Crock pots
32. The smell of supper greeting me at the door after work
33. Order
34. Blank paper
35. Surprises in the mailbox
36. Leather shoes
37. Young voices calling to say goodnight
38. Sherlock
39. Yellow leaves on the deck
40. Things that stay the same
41. Things that change
42. Airplanes
43. Huckleberry bushes
44. Sweet students
45. Charlotte
46. Storm doors that let the light in
47. Hymns
48. Wildflowers
49. Buzzards
50. A bountiful crop of peppers

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mama's Birthday

Violet Beatrice Gean Stricklin
October 26, 1917-November 11, 2007

It's my mama's birthday.

The sun revolved and seasons changed ninety times while she was here.

Uneducated, but wise.

Beautiful, work-roughened hands never still.

Her life was taking care of her family, and that she did well, even when the road was hard.

She did massive amounts of laundry on a wringer washer; her clothes lines full every sunny day expect Sunday.

She could coax nutritious vegetables out of tired clay soil, rising with the sun to do battle with weeds.

Her quilts still warm our beds and our hearts.

Known for her incomparable biscuits, she made enough in her lifetime to completely fill a Cracker Barrel.

More familiar with pain than joy, she endured.

She lived to see adult children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

We are educated, talented, well-traveled, scattered.

She lives in all of us.

In heaven, we are promised a mansion, blissful rest.

I'll bet my mama's has a clothesline, white robes waving in the breeze.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed. Proverbs 31: 27,28

Friday, October 23, 2009

Saturday Celebration

Celebrate today with Brugmansia arborea. This Angel Trumpet grows in the back yard, a beautiful toxic plant that struts her stuff in autumn.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Matthew 6: 28-29


Just because you have seen something doesn't mean you understand it.

Maria blows the stars around, and sends the clouds a'flying.
Maria makes the mountains sound like folks were up there dying
From the Paint Your Wagon soundtrack; They call the Wind Maria.

The wind is blowing tonight,
blustery at times as a cold front pushes in.

It rushes past my bedroom window, and I wonder where its going,
where its been.

Did this gust that scatters yellow over the deck begin small, a whisper that
soothed another? It may have been born much colder, growing gentle as
it mingled with warm counterparts that had spent the day racing over the
Gulf, giving rides to sea gulls, sprinkling sand on tanned bodies.

The soft wind that gently supports the wings of a butterfly in Africa can travel
across the Atlantic, feeding as it goes, then push ocean waters over entire cities, entire communities, entire lives, before it loses its energy.

The same wind that is harnessed for electricity can be the refreshing breeze that tickles the wind chimes.

The wind is mighty, a physical entity that God set in motion at creation, power that is revered and feared.

Tonight, it's a lullaby.

They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!' Mark 4:41

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Heroes: Alexander and Ruth Kerr

It was a big gamble.

In 1902, debt-ridden Alexander Kerr borrowed money to buy a patent on a glass vacuum jar that could be sealed at home. A San Francisco glass works company believed his dream, and four years later, the business was thriving.

When the 1906 earthquake devastated most of San Francisco, Kerr was informed that his factory, in the heart of the conflagration,had undoubtedly been destroyed. When the fires died, the Kerr factory was found intact within the smoldering ashes, not one glass jar broken.

The two-piece canning lid, invented in the Kerr kitchen in 1915, increased their business explosively. It is still being used today.

When Alexander died in 1925, Ruth took over, managing the successful company in comfortable shoes and the Bible on her desk.

The Kerr's business motto: Every time Kerr makes a dollar, God gets a dime.

It works.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty. "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little Things

We've been told since childhood that little things matter.

We didn't believe it.
We know the biggest wins.
Biggest house, biggest car, biggest checkbook.
Biggest resume, biggest menu, biggest circle of acquaintances.

We break our backs and hearts working for the biggest.
We forget the little things.

In the fourteenth century, Yersinia pestis, a desert-dwelling bacterium, very little things, found a new home in the guts of a flea. The flea, in turn, moved on up to bigger home on a rat, happily regurgitating infected blood to its host. The rat, never one to stay in the same place, found a bigger home on a ship heading for Europe. Without great effort, they killed twenty-five percent of the population of Europe by spreading the Bubonic Plague.

Topsoil is full of little things. In a fertile shovelful of dirt, we can see earthworms, tiny bugs, other unidentifiable creatures. What we can't see, without a powerful microscope, is about six billion organisms, more than the number of humans on this planet, at work keeping the soil friable. Without them, our food-producing soil would turn to concrete.

There is much we can't see, but it is in the plan, it is working for our good.

We can't see the forest for the trees.

Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, we want to see.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Its in the news.

Astronomers excited about seeing for the first time many
earth-like planets in the solar system.

Twenty-first century technology allowing a peep into the heavens;
images that Galileo and Copernicus couldn't fathom.

An Austrian astronomer recently estimated the number of stars
to be approximately 70 sextillion. 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
More than the grains of sand on Planet Earth.

They have been there since the fourth day.
They have been in their place, waiting,
serving their purpose.

Twinkle, twinkle little star.
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

Monday, October 19, 2009

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Ann Voskamp began the Gratitude Community to list at least 1000 gifts from our Heavenly Father...a list to praise the Giver of Gifts and remind us not to overlook the good things in our lives.

My list starts today.

01. My Father, and his mercy
02. Jesus, and his redemption
03. Holy Spirit, and his comfort
04. My good husband
05. My first born son
06. My baby boy
07. Two daughters-in-law
08. Two grandaughters, the joy of my life
09. My earthy family
10. My spiritual family
11. Clean water
12. Sunshine
13. Topsoil
14. Books. Books.
15. Freedom
16. Education
17. Bats
18. Birds
19. Banjos
20. Bach
21. Salt
22. Shelter
23. Taco Soup
24. Toothpaste
25. Teaching

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Work of His Hands

Celebrate this day by seeing what's around you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

Heroes: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein,1879-1955 , is the most famous scientist on this planet.

The father of modern physics, he is best known for his
theory of relativity. Einstein is known for other works including modern quantum theory, equations of motions, wormholes...the list is long.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, and other prestigious awards adorn his career.

On January 3, 2000, Time Magazine named him "Person of the Century".

Amazing, what one man can think of!

His inspiration? Einstein said, "I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, October 16, 2009


The morning sun lightens the eastern sky;
it peeps above the horizon. Its a new day.

Showers running, breakfast clatter, phones ringing, traffic
outside increasing. Lost shoes, television blaring, did you
sign the permission form?

Noise pollution inside, outside.
Our bombarded brains scream.

Priorities set by popular culture, we are controlled by clocks,
datebooks, deadlines. Seeking to satisfy standards we don't
set or understand, we can't spare time for what's really important
in our own lives, terrified we will lose our spot on the merry-go-

The best things in life are neglected while we scurry to make more money
to buy more stuff to impress more people that we don't even know.


Be still.

Our life here is short, too short to be spent foolishly.

We pray for direction, but can't hear when He answers through
our shroud of commotion.

Calm. Down.


Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Angels Watching Over Me

It's a big, scary world out there.

Twenty-four hours a day, multimedia saturates with information. Some useless,
some just plain silly, the majority unwelcome. News of terrorism, wars,
natural disasters, impending epidemics, fuel prices, abuse, unemployment--it never ends.

Christians are promised that we will never left alone or unattended. Legions of angels hover about, guiding, clearing the road ahead. Not scared of the darkness or what lies waiting, they are in complete control, obeying orders sent from the throne.
Mighty warriors of God gently hold us in their hands, moving us out of harm's way.

Clothed with power too wonderful for earthy eyes, they comform to recognizable images: the kind man with salt-and-pepper hair wearing a black turtleneck, the grizzled old man in a battered Ford who gets you to the airport on time, the homeless unkept there at just the right time.

We are told of accidents where trees were missed by mere inches, where a young father was pulled from wreakage just before it exploded.

Someone shows up unexpectedly to help just when all hope is gone.

The guide points us to an unfamiliar road, where the treasure we were really seeking is found.

Some say its just luck.

I've got angels watching over me, every step I take.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thou fooot against a stone
. Psalm 91:11-12

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Harvest time is here.

The tiny seeds we planted in April have grown abundantly.They have produced blossoms to lure insects, striving only to reproduce themselves, but inadvertently providing food for our families in the process. The plants have consumed copious amounts of water and minerals from the soil, and have grown tall.

Leaves colored and brittle now, plants lean against the October winds that have pushed out the humidity and opened windows. Butterflies and honey bees abound, rushing for that last bit of nectar before its gone. Squirrels scamper across the back yard, jaws puffed with nuts, adding all they can to their stash. Hummingbirds stop by for a bite before they head across the Gulf of Mexico to winter.

Every living thing was created by God with instincts to prepare for lean times, to gather the harvest, to reap Earth's bounty before it is gone.

Multicolored quilts wave from clotheslines, getting fresh for snuggling. Firewood is stacked, dry and waiting.

Beautiful, fleeting October! What a celebration of beauty among the dying, of gathering and preparing in our youth for the time when the summer is past.

Bring it on, Winter! We're ready.

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. Genesis 8:22

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Gift of Today

Every day is a gift, time to try again, another chance to do it right.

We wake up and decide. Twenty-four empty hours that we fill up, knowing after they are spent, they will never come again.

Before we let the dog out or the aroma of coffee fills the kitchen, we can choose to make this good day. There may be speed bumps to avoid, some so enormous that we scramble to find an alternate road. Mistakes made yesterday, or the day before, or the year before, will rise up, seeking to influence our thinking, but they are powerless, gone, forgiven, a part of the past, not a part of this new day.

All of us have regrets of time and opportunities wasted, sometimes simply because it was easier not to try; fear of failure can be so frightening.

Determine to make this day special! Fill it with things that will bring good memories, smiles when we remember it. If we make a small difference in some one's life today, we will make a large difference in our own.

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Monday, October 12, 2009

Living Proof Ministries retreat

It was a rainy weekend,storms threatening.

We were determined to go. It had been a long time since the last retreat, and we were thirsty.

One of us was missing. Saddened, but at peace with God's plan, we continued.

Sisters together, we challenged interstate construction, inept hotel staff, parking decks.

We stood in line for an hour to get a good seat. Rain dropping on our umbrellas, we became part of the crowd, the excitement building until we could hardly contain it. The doors opened. As one living creature we surged inside, blessed by an usher who opened her section just when we got there, seats that God had surely reserved especially for us!

We stood fourteen thousand strong, raising our hands and voices in praise to our sweet Lord, an Earthly rehearsal for the time when we will praise the Lamb around the throne of God. I cannot imagine how it could have been any better.

During our time in Memphis, we experienced and enjoyed the ducks at the Peabody. We ate too much barbeque at the Rendezvous, we walked in the music of rain accompanied by jazz. Beale Street offered a history of the south, of the Mississippi, of our human culture. It was all good. Very, very good.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4