A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In 1975 my thinking about suffering in life was challenged in a profound way.  A film depicting the Ten Boom family during WWII called “The Hiding Place” was playing at a local theater.  Once I saw it, Corrie Ten Boom became my favorite person on the planet.  I’m thankful to everyone involved in the film.  Nobody understands why my favorite movie is about such a horrific time in history.  Well, I suppose it’s because this film taught me about adversity in life and how to react when bad things happen.

We don’t like to think about storms, do we?  And yes, I guess this movie could be considered a “downer” to some people, but I walked away with the thought that if Corrie Ten Boom was able to lean so heavily on God and trust Him to see her through something so unbelievably evil, then I can trust Him for any bad situation I find myself in!  I was not depressed after watching it – I felt a peace and a hope that God is sufficient for any circumstance in life.  He is and always will be enough.

One day a psychologist friend asked me how I’m able to function in life.  We had talked a bit about how bumps in the road of life can affect us in negative ways as Christians.  The first thing people notice about me is that I don’t have children.  They become uncomfortable at that point.  Nobody knows what to talk about with me because the “go-to” subject of any conversation is kids.  How old are your kids?  What school do they go to?  It’s the most predictable conversation people have when they meet for the first time.

But when they ask if I have children and I say no, they’re at a loss.  They have no idea what to say next.  Once in a while I hear, “Oh, then you probably have fur babies then, right?”  Well, yes I did – but we lost our fur baby a while back.  Sometimes I just smile or nod yes to save face.  I don’t want two pity pauses in the conversation.

I was chatting with a friend recently and the subject of childlessness came up and I said something to the effect that I felt like a freak.  She said, “It stinks.”  It’s true – it does!  There’s not a thing I can do about it, but it does!  Sometimes you just want someone to acknowledge the fact that something stinks, ya know?  I felt better after she said that – I felt understood.

When I was younger, it was difficult to be around the women my age who were having children.  I kept thinking it would get easier as I got older, but now those same women have grandchildren and no…  it’s no easier to deal with that either.

The Bible says that children are a reward… which makes a childless person wonder if they are being punished Everyone’s quick to tell me that’s not the case, but that’s not how it feels.  One of my friends told me that the Lord may have saved me from worse heartache because perhaps a child of mine could have had serious health issues or something like that.  Well – I guess that could be true too.  I just don’t know – but I have to trust God.  He knows what He’s doing and I need to accept it.

God does surround me with songs of victory.  He helps me cope with all kinds of loss.  I can’t really explain it except to say I know in my soul that God’s helping me.  When it storms and I’m tempted to give up, I hear that sweet song of victory and I know it will be okay.  The Lord is with me.  Oh, and even though Corrie Ten Boom is no longer alive, she’s still my favorite person.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

905bb6eff125ed45baec0cf0ac4e97bc_six_columnOn this day in 2007, the 8th PIXAR film, RATATOUILLE was released by Walt Disney Pictures.  As I think back, it’s the last movie I went to see in a theatre.  I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was completely void of social or political “agenda”.  Few films, including Disney / Pixar releases of late, can say that.  I’m tired of movies, even the ones for kids, pushing a particular leftist agenda off on the youth.  I just want to be entertained – that is ALL.  That’s my agenda…  and it’s the agenda of many others, including Lucinda Berry Hill.  ❤MY AGENDA

Ratatouille was directed by Brad Bird, who took over from Jan Pinkava in 2005.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know that ratatouille was a French dish – or that the main character in the film would be…  a rat.  It was so cute and cleaver!  RATatouille – and Remy is a RAT.  Who thinks of this stuff?

I’ll do my best not to spoil the ending for you – but basically, Remy the rat has a goal to become a chef.  He goes about achieving this dream by making friends with a Parisian restaurant’s garbage boy.  I can’t remember his name – hey, it was 2007, give me a break.  Anyway…  Ratatouille was released on June 29, 2007 in the United States and enjoyed box office success!  It also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, among other honors.

Will Remy realize his lifelong dream of becoming a renowned French chef???  Why would I spoil the ending for you?  I know – most of you have probably seen it.  If you have small children you may have seen it more than once and less than a hundred times.  I don’t like everything Disney does (okay, don’t smack me) – but this is one movie that gets two thumbs up – really high – from me.

Have you made ratatouille?  There are a bunch of ingredients, but it’s so worth the expense and the time because it tastes so good and is so healthy.  I found the link for Disney’s recipe – did not know there was a recipe from the movie – but here it is!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222006/disneys-ratatouille/

I’m thankful for the odd movie that is just cute and fun for everyone without political correctness injected or obvious agenda pushing parts.  Are those days over?  I hope not.  I’m looking forward to the next really good movie from Disney and Pixar.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

https://youtu.be/EwcbYDcjZGg

I know I’m not supposed to question God’s plan, but I see others with their children this time of year and think, “You know, if I had children, we’d go to the pumpkin patch and we’d rent the big inflatable things for them to play on once in a while.”  I watch the neighbors with their children – and they throw the coolest birthday parties!  October would be the coolest time to be a parent.  How fun to take them to pick out just the right pumpkin – or at Halloween to go to the Field of Screams or some other fun place.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  – John 1:16

You’ve seen the images – the children tug at my heartstrings!  These are photos that are just too precious not to share.  I really love fall – especially where kids are concerned.  I could imagine myself taking these kinds of photos with my kids…  if I had them.

Little Apple Cheeks
Little Apple Cheeks

If I had a child, I imagine I would dress them in orange at this time of year.  I tend to wear orange and brown more, I suppose because of the colorful leaves falling all around.  I think I would be a frequent flyer at Zulily.com and be on the lookout for the newest and cutest clothing and shoes for my child.

Such a sweet face
Such a sweet face

When I was a kid, we had a big maple tree in the back yard and I loved to play in the leaves.  I was supposed to be raking them, but mostly I played in them!  I imagine if I had kids we would play in leaves – every day of autumn!  What a wonderful motivator to remain active children must be.  The desire to keep up with them is surely strong.

Playtime would be every day
Playtime would be every day

I would be more enthusiastic about decorating if I had children.  Most of what adults do are for their kids.  I would decorate with hay bales and potted mums and pumpkins – if it mattered.  I’m not excited about doing those things for myself necessarily.  If I had kids I know I’d want to surround them with beauty and give the very best I could.

Everyday Autumn Moments
Everyday Autumn Moments

If you have a child, do me a favor and enjoy every moment you have with him / her.  You are blessed beyond measure to have that charge.  🙂

AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

TL AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

SIMPLIFY – To make simple or simpler: as a :  to reduce to basic essentials 

b :  to diminish in scope or complexity :  streamline <was urged to simplify management procedures>

c :  to make more intelligible :  clarify

A SIMPLE LIFE

It seems to me that it should be simple to simplify, ya know???  No matter how much effort we put into trying to simplify, it seems we work twice as hard to make it happen.  Now, does that make any sense to anyone?  No, I didn’t think so.  :-/
Well, here’s my take on simplicity.  I honestly believe that it begins within.  How high-maintenance are you, and what would you be willing to live without?  I’ve had many friends through the years and have traveled with a few.  I never let them know I was doing this, but I was secretly observing the luggage they carried.  You see, the things we travel with are the things we are not willing to part with.
The more stuff you are willing to live without, the more simple your life will be.  If you truly desire simplicity in your life, it’s necessary to let go of some non-essentials.  I know they seem like essentials right now, but stay with me.  This may make you re-think things.
For example, do you need a ton of makeup when you travel?  I’m not suggesting you go without makeup altogether (oh, heaven forbid) – but there are ways to travel with less.  I take one container of mineral make-up, a tube of mascara, a shadow, brow pencil and lip gloss.  Choose one color of lip gloss and plan your wardrobe around that theme color.  I usually choose red in the fall/winter months or dark pink in the spring/summer months.
I believe simplicity begins with the discarding of extras.  It’s about organization and pre-planning.  To make life easier, surround yourself with less.  It sounds like you would be denying yourself of things, but it is the most freeing experience to rid yourself of clutter and get organized.
Recently I went through my closet and took out pieces that I have not worn in the past year – for whatever reason.  If you have not worn a piece of clothing in the past year, you probably don’t need to keep it.
In the kitchen, organize with cook ahead cookbooks, or go online to find some great recipes.  Here are 20 of my favorites!  http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/quick-easy/make-ahead-meals-0
If you cook on the weekend and freeze each serving, that frees up the weeknight to relax and enjoy your family.  Simple.
Teach kids to pitch in and help with things like laundry.  Even boys will need to know how to do that at some point when they get older, so you’d may as well get them involved now.  They will feel like they are helping out and it will take some of the load off you…  get it – load – laundry?  Never mind.
 When you make a conscious decision to make do with less, that is when simplicity will become a reality.  When you organize things a bit and enlist help from the rest of the family, it will pay off in the long run.
Give it a try…  and bask in simplicity!  🙂

VIOLIN DAY

TL 12-13 VIOLIN DAY

 

12-13 FOLKSY OR FANCY

If you were in your school’s orchestra and happened to play the violin, your parents were saints!  When a person is first learning to play the violin, it can sound like fingernails on a chalkboard!  It was bad enough for my parents to have to hear me practice the piano, but there is nothing like the sound of a budding violinist!  But once you get past that stage, with encouragement, practice, love, and fiddle camp, this can happen:

Or this:

Today is VIOLIN DAY!  I played the clarinet in many orchestras and got to see the instruction given violinists.  It’s interesting to watch the unspoken language between the conductor and the first chair violinist.  So much goes on in the orchestra that most people aren’t privy to.  It’s not as easy as they make it look – trust me.

This is precious – I love to watch the little ones, don’t you?

I know – this was 8 years ago – but one thing is for sure – now he is potty trained!

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.  – Leopold Stokowski

This blows me away – such beauty from one so young!

There is no shortage of young talent on You Tube!  Listen to this!

Honestly, at 7 years old, I was out making mud pies after the rain!  I’d like to say that experience helped my culinary skills, but I still have not made my own pie crust – shhh…  don’t tell!

I’m so impressed with the talents of these youngsters, but to be honest, my musical taste veers toward the “fiddle” sort of violin.  There’s an old musician’s joke:

What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin?  You don’t spill beer on a violin!

Yee-haw!  Let’s go to the Grand Ole Opry! 

Here he is on his own front porch:

Dang, boy!!!

Nailed it!  Does she have a country soul, or what?

He will be playing at barn dances – probably already does!

There’s a thin line between country fiddlin’ and Celtic fiddlin’…  learn to play those rolls an’ there ya go!!!

Makes me want to put my clogs on!  Wait…  I don’t have clogs.  How about fuzzy socks?

Bravo to all the young talent around the world!  Your talent does not go unnoticed and we appreciate the contribution you make to our lives!

Silent Night…  Holy Night.  That about says it all…

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  A safe, peace-filled, worry-free, no-stress, love-enriched New Year.  May God bless you as only He can.  🙂

If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift, may I suggest a new devotional book by Lucinda Berry Hill?  Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx

SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY

TL 12-2 SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY

 

12-2 A GOOD IDEA

Raise a glass (of apple juice) for the 10th anniversary of SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY!  As we reflect and reform for the future, we also think back to the day that former President Ford signed  IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

IDEA was ground-breaking legislation and provided education for all children with disabilities.  Although we’ve come a long way, we need to think about education in the future.  Back when I was in school, taking special education classes because of severe dyslexia, there was such a stigma that followed me and my friends everywhere we went.  It is extremely frustrating (even now) to be a slow learner.  Sometimes I don’t “catch” things very quickly and I hear someone say “duh”.  Just a quick note about that – it’s rude!  It’s also very rude to call us retarded or stupidIt’s sad that I even have to mention it.

I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until my mid-30’s.  Long days and nights in the library in college produced a collection of C’s.  Twelve of 13 medical schools rejected me.  I was told that I was the least talented person in my residency and advised not to go into cardiac surgery.  Time and again, I was told, “Don’t do it.”  But sometimes the best advice is that which you don’t take.  Instead of listening to people who told me to quit, I heeded the quote that sits on a small placard on my desk:  “What can be conceived can be created.”  I discovered only recently that it was from a 1980’s-era car advertisement.  That’s OK, though, because it reminds me that dreams should be lofty.  – Toby Cosgrove, M.D.

I’m sure kids today are more tolerant of their classmates who need a little extra help.  There’s so much awareness these days about bullying and hopefully the kids in special education are not teased like we were.  Through positive thinking, a patient teacher and innovation a child with special needs can be taught and one day be a vital, contributing member of society.   Basic criteria include patient teachers, pro-active schools and loving parents.

This day was created to honor progress in special education and celebrate students with disabilities.  We tip our hats to the teachers, schools and the patient parents and wish to open up a dialogue between them so that the children might benefit.  Hopefully as a result, appropriate reforms will be made as needed.

One reform that was launched through Special Education Day is SpedEx, an innovative and successful child-focused dispute resolution model that is free for schools and parents.  It works to create trust between the parties. For information about SpedEx, please visit www.spedexresolution.com.

If you are interested in hosting  a celebration large or small in your school district or community, contact SED at info@specialeducationday.com

I’m happy to know that special education has advanced from when I was a kid!  Hopefully through good communication, reforms will move special education forward, improving the teaching and learning for kids with special needs.  😀

Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!  Lucinda Berry Hill’s poetry makes a great Christmas gift!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 



NATIONAL METHAMPHETAMINE AWARENESS DAY

TL 11-30 NATIONAL METHAMPHETAMINE AWARENESS DAY

 

11-30 NOT EVEN ONCE

We recognize November 30th as NATIONAL METHAMPHETAMINE AWARENESS DAY, in order to generate awareness about the damaging effects of meth abuse on individuals, families and American communities.

A picture says it all.  I watched this and cried.  I’m not just sad, I am mad!  The dealers are getting rich, knowing they are systematically killing their customers.  It’s blood money, but in most cases the dealers are just as hooked as the customers.  Where does this end?

Meth labs are in decent neighborhoods.  Some people move many times in an attempt to escape drugs.  A friend told me there was a meth lab about a block away from their house – in a small abandoned cinder block house.  Meth makers are like rats in the dark.  They wander around looking for an empty building to inhabit.  They’ll use any kind of building and they don’t care if there are children playing next door.  Actually, they count that as a bonus.  Dealers have no conscience and will get anyone at any age hooked on meth.  Remember, if they’re making their money that’s all that matters.  They don’t care where the kids get the money (they often steal it from their parents).  Meth dealers are selfish and destructive.

Even if a person moves to a so-called “upscale” neighborhood there is no guarantee there will not be drug dealers close by.  Some of the more affluent areas are where the high schools seem to have the worst problems with drug use.

Some things are simply out of our control.  All we can really do is teach our children about the evils of drug use and warn them about what could happen in their high school.  We pray over our neighborhoods and our schools and hope the kids listen to our advice.

If you have a neighborhood watch or a homeowner’s association, make sure they are on board with drug issues – on the lookout for any suspicious behavior and ready to report it to the authorities.  At any cost we need to protect the kids as much as possible.

Unfortunately, addicts often become thieves in order to afford their expensive habit.  Please see this link for common sense advice about displaying wrapped gifts in front of open windows.

http://www.crimedoctor.com/home_security_3.htm

It’s tempting to have your beautiful Christmas tree displayed in a large picture window with presents underneath.  Think about how tempting it would be for someone to smash your picture window and take the gifts.  Even if you feel secure in your neighborhood this sort of burglary can happen.  Addicts will do anything to get the money for their next high.

I pray for the ones who are addicted – and for the ones who fund their habit by selling to children.  I pray for the children who are tempted to try drugs or feel peer pressure to give in to temptation.  I pray for our neighborhoods – that God would bless us and protect us from this evil behavior.  I pray for the rehab facilities set up to help addicts and that the addicts would see their need to take advantage of those facilities.  I pray for the 12-step programs offered in churches.  May they help many addicts in Jesus’ Name.

This is the day we recognize the problem exists, raise awareness and remind each other that we need to be more vigilant about where our children go in the neighborhood and who they hang out with.  We love our kiddos and want to protect them.

Leave me a comment here if you vow to never try any drugs.  By leaving a brief note such as I PROMISE, you are being proactive in your determination to stay away from this temptation.  I hope after reading this post you will take a moment to leave a message.  I promise to pray for you – that God will help you to keep that promise.  ❤