Tuesday, February 27, 2007

For Johnny and Others

Johnny Farese is a man with a wonderful ministry. He has his own website which contains a wealth of useful information, and he faithfully emails devotionals, prayer requests, and various announcements on behalf of and to the Christian community on a daily basis. I don’t have the figures on how large his mailing list is, but I know that it’s HUGE. The thing that makes all of this so remarkable is that Johnny is completely bedridden and immobile with a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Actually, he uses speech recognition software to operate his computer. What a blessing this man is to so many of us.

I am one of those on his mailing list and get several emails a day. His name in my inbox is a staple. There have been a couple of prayer requests recently that have darkened our sunny days with the velocity of a summer thunderstorm. I know they have mine.

A few weeks back prayer was asked for a young couple who were married just last year. The husband’s oral cancer has spread and it all can’t be removed.

This morning, a woman was killed in an automobile accident, leaving a husband and two children and her father and mother, who some time ago had also lost a son in a car accident.

Also, on one of the blogs which I read, we were informed that a young wife, the mother of a one year old, has learned that her leukemia has returned. There are apparently few options left for her.

I don’t know any of these people personally, but it’s been hard to stop thinking about them. I know, too, there are many more in similar situations that I’ve not heard about. God knows them. He knows exactly who they are and what they are going through. These are the things that none of us can explain and we have to leave these dear people in His gracious hands. Thank the Lord for the privilege of prayer.

I had wanted to post a hymn this week and I can think of no better one than “Be Still my Soul”, one of my favorites. Instead of posting it, though, I’ll refer you to the Cyber Hymnal to read the words and hear the tune, as my eyes are very tired and I can’t really type any more. This hymn is dedicated to Johnny Farese and the three families mentioned. May they know the truth of the words:

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In every change, He faithful will remain.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mind Exerciser Number One

Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Job 38:36

I’ve begun to notice a few bloggers who are adding to the brightening of our days by including fun stuff from time to time. Thanks to those of you who are contributing to our well being in this way.

I recently have had the urge to make my own little offering towards brighter days for folks who might come to visit here. Actually, I need to admit that part of the reason for this desire is that it would be an excuse for me to indulge in what is something of a weakness, or passion, or whatever you might call it: I love puzzles, riddles, mysteries, fables or almost anything that requires “figuring out.” Not only do I like to do them or read them, but also to write or rewrite them. I guess you could say these are favorite pastimes.

So, from time to time, I’m going to post one of these aforementioned items to help exercise your brains a little. Please give it a try—partly for fun and partly because it could lend itself to a sharper mind to better serve your God. Some of these writings will have only one correct answer—some not. Aesop’s Fables have always been favorites. It’s fun to adapt them a bit to teach Biblical principles to children (and to us). Sometimes I want to give that a try also. I’m not sure how often to do this—maybe weekly or bi-weekly. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll end up being the only one who enjoys it!

Here’s the first one—a riddle. I am looking for one particular answer. The first person who gets the right answer gets. . . . . . . . . . no prize! But I’ll post the answer next Friday and if there’s a “winner”, I’ll give their blog a short “ad.” If they have no blog, that’s okay too. My daughter, Mrs. S, (
The High Calling) is disqualified on the riddles—she’s heard too many of them before. Okay, see what you think:

Count on us, if ever need be,
Flexible and useful, so are we.
Always available, if ask you would,
Helped small men and great men who knew we could.
In times past, tramped to find what you need,
Now call on helpers who have much more speed.


Note: FIRST right guess is “winner.” Try something else if you see your answer there already, just in case. No sense duplicating another answer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sneaky Nutrition - "Skinny Pancakes"

Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

Pretty soon, we’re all going to be teaching Selena and her friends about their need to share. So I was thinking about the fact that as our children grow older, one of the best ways to teach them about sharing is by example. Then I wondered “What do I have to share with my friends?” and I thought of something.

From my kitchen to yours—enjoy these pancakes one day soon. These have always been a favorite at our house, formerly being called the “skinny pancakes”, now referred to as the “cottage cheese pancakes.” I particularly like them because you can sneak in lots of nutrition to start your day. Don’t tell your kids (or your husband either for that matter) that these hotcakes are good for them, but they are:

1 cup low fat cottage cheese (with added calcium)
3 eggs
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup wheat germ
¾ cup fat free evaporated milk, undiluted
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tablespoon sunflower oil
2-3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional)

Mix in blender and pour onto hot griddle. This makes about four servings.

Don’t make a big deal with your family that they’re getting an abundant supply of protein, calcium, fiber, Vitamins A, D, and E, but they are. Don’t dare mention words like folic acid, magnesium, phosphorous and iron to them. It might scare them off. Just set it before them and watch them savor all that good stuff their bodies need. And when spring and summer come and you dump some fresh strawberries or blueberries on top, whatever you do, don’t say you’re adding Vitamin C and antioxidants! Just do it and let them enjoy!

Let me also share a portion of one of the songs from our “Verses and Hymns for the Very Young.” These are good words to teach your children at mealtimes:

Father we thank thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the day so fair.

~ Rebecca J. Weston, 1885

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Rose as a Reminder

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love….Jeremiah 31:3

Today, as he has done countless times before, my bridegroom of over thirty-six years brought me home a dozen red roses. I was as completely delighted as I was when I received the first dozen years ago. And as always, the beauty of these precious flowers will continue to brighten my heart, even as their beauty fades in a week or so.

I thank the Lord for these lovely roses, because they are a reminder to me of the affection behind them, which hasn’t faded since that hot day in June when we made our vows. When they become drooped and wrinkly, the love behind them will stand firm. It’s a bit like what my dear hubby and I see when we look in the mirror. We see physical beauty that has started becoming more drooped and wrinkly. But the beauty of the love for one another that was given by a kind and merciful God will continue to be fresh and vibrant.

I’ve put one of the twelve roses in a little vase in my office as a reminder of my bridegroom’s fidelity. And I’ll think too, when I look at it, about my beloved Heavenly Bridegroom who has given to both my husband and to me a love and devotion that is more lovely than roses…and is everlasting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Brrrr! It's Cold!

Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word.
Psalm 148:8

Yay—it’s winter! It’s finally here! I repeat, winter is finally here! It’s bitter, bitter cold out there and I am so glad to report that our area is having real winter temperatures. We’re still lacking in the snow area, but at least we can experience the deep freeze. Fro (my dog) and I just came in a bit ago after going out to replenish the seed for the birds (actually Fro acts as the “bouncer” to throw out the squirrels who faithfully visit). Even though I almost had my head bitten off by the cold, it was fun. All of my little feathered friends came rushing to our restaurant, which had begun to run out early in the day. They were so happy to see me and it was enjoyable seeing and hearing them fluttering about, especially my favorite patrons, the cardinals and juncos. I even put out some suet, which is a favorite when the temps plummet.

Almost six months ago exactly, I wrote a post on one of the hottest days of the year. Selena had not been born yet. Even though she thankfully has arrived safely, the thoughts expressed then still apply now. I was recently reading in my daughter’s science book about the earth’s orbit of the sun, and how our view of this great created fireball changes as we take part in the spectacular event, year after year. Again, what I said six months ago still applies as our planet reaches almost exactly the other extreme from then.

I was reminded of that post (Whew! It’s Hot!) as I came running inside today. I thought about it when the cold pinched my cheeks and as I watched and heard my little feathered customers come rushing over to enjoy the buffet being set out for them. Some of them won’t make it until spring, but many of them will survive to do the bidding of their Creator to multiply. It’s amazing that they will live through cold like this, but actually, all of these things are just further proofs of the One who “upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Remember that, friends, the next time the cold takes your breath away or the heat saps your strength. If it’s acting like winter where you are—enjoy! Remind me of this when the thermometer approaches one hundred again.

Ye creatures in the sea
And creatures on the earth,
Your mighty Maker praise
And tell his matchless worth;
Praise him, ye stormy winds that blow,
Ye fire and hail, ye rain and snow.