Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Speaking of Tents and Serious Stuff

A friend, a fellow cancer patient, asked me if one ever gets over the apprehension that is always in the back of the mind and which suddenly jumps forward with every bodily twinge or change. Does one ever get over it? I'll repeat here what I emailed to her. Here's what I wrote with a couple edits here and there.

It may be a blessing to have cancer. No, it IS a blessing to have cancer for it forces us to stop assuming that all the world should be ours and that earthly life goes on forever into some imaginary "old age" of 95. My cancer has forced me to focus on the fact that Christ has defeated Death for us. And Death defeated is not Death to be feared. I Cor. 15:50-58.

So if death is not to be feared, then how do we live? The answer is that we learn to live in the "now". We enjoy the "now". We look around us in wonder at the richness of life and learn exquisite gratitude for the now. We find joy in trusting that even though the "now" is indeed precious and good, we trust also that the "eternal tomorrow" will be even more excellent, most stupendously excellent, for there will be no more tears. None. Nada. Only eternal joy to be first-hand in the presence of God.

And if Death is not to be feared, and if we are trusting God to be with us in all things, then in order to not fear and in order to trust, we must lay everything down and let go of our human desire to control the things of life. Our self. Our children. Our relationships. Our sorrows. Our fears. Our very lives. We must lay it ALL down at the feet of Christ where he sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father. Right there. At the throne. And we bow down in humble submission and grateful joy. Joy that can be found in Christ alone.

And so, today's Scripture:

2 Cor. 5:1-9
1For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,
3inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
4For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.
5Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
6Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--
7for we walk by faith, not by sight--
8we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
9Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

The Supremacy, the Majesty, the Awesomeness of Christ

Today we're heading to Omaha to see my oncologist. Since I've finished my six sessions of chemo (and considering staying or not staying with the clinical trial drug), we'll be heading out early.

So today's post is a suggestion to go over to Josh's blog and read his post for today. Josh is working in India and is new to the blogging world. His insight amazes me. You can read his post for today here. If you like what you read, sign up as a follower and read him daily.

His main blog page is here and here you can read his previous posts. Tell him I said, "Hello!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

But We DO Know How Much It Cost!

This week in church we sang....

"Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that You're My God, You're altogether worthy, altogether lovely altogether wonderful to me....
I'll never know how much it cost , to see my sin upon that cross.........

We've sung it many times before. But somehow this week I keyed in on the the words, "I'll never know how much it cost". I thought about those words for a bit, trying to see how they could be true, theologically speaking.

It's possible the author meant that we might never comprehend the entire breath-taking magnificence of Christ's death on the cross on our behalf. And I suppose in that sense the words would be true.

However...the words might be more literally interpreted as "I'll never understand the cross...never know what or how much Christ accomplished on behalf of His people".

But we DO know exactly what it cost to see our sins upon that cross. We know that it cost the life and death of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The entire Bible speaks to sin and redemption. The cost and manner of our redemption is spelled out very clearly. We know everything there is needed to know salvation.

So to say "I do not know" or "will never know" the cost of our redemption is simply not true. The New Testament writers laid it out very explicitly.

It would be more accurate to say that "we do not know" the depth of the Holiness of God and how deadly offensive is our sin against our Holy God.

And it would be explicitly accurate to say, "We'll never know" what it is to drink the cup of God's wrath against sin. But we do know that Jesus Christ drank that cup for us.

We know that Christ died for us. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, and Peter (did I miss anyone?) can be pretty specific in the details. So how can I sing, "I'll never know how much it cost...?" Their presentation of the exact cost for our salvation is quite clear. They preach Christ crucified.

The Good News is that the Messiah, the Savior, Emmanuel (God with us) came into humanity (John 1:1-3, John 1:14), lived the righteous life that we could not live, took our sins upon Himself at the cross (our sins were imputed to Him), and in exchange He imputed His righteousness to those who believe. When we stand before God, we are seen by God as "clothed in the righteousness of Christ" and not standing there in our own unrighteousness. Christ's righteousness is ours and so we stand "clean" before a God that demands complete righteousness. We know what it cost. If we do not, then we do not understand the Gospel (the Good News).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Petunias are BumbleBee Heaven

I love this hanging plant that we purchased at a local family-owned spring nursery. The label did not mention its name but I'm sure it is a variety of petunia. In the past I have not had good luck with hanging planters...mostly because I forget to water them.

We've gotten in the habit, however, of making certain this plant is watered daily. I can see it when I stand at the kitchen sink which is a good thing for it reminds me "Water!" And look at it! It's just lovely.

A couple days ago I noticed this bumble bee buzzing from flower to flower. It was difficult to photograph him as he moved so fast. First he'd bury himself up to his ankles to reach the pollen of each flower...then he'd back out and quick as a wink be burying himself in yet another blossom. I just kept snapping photos, hoping one of them would catch him "in the act".

Sure enough, here he is...if you look closely you can see his wings in movement. (You can click on the photos for a much closer view!)

I think it's pretty cool that bumble bees are covered in furry hair. They sorta remind me of black and white panda bears. Bumble bees are fuzzy little critters that just go about doing the work that God gave them to do. Aren't they cool?!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Air Force Jets and Country Kids

From regards to the Sioux City Air Base of the 1950s/60s

"During the 1950s, ADC (Air Defense Command) based the 521st Air Defense Group at Sioux City beginning on 15 February 1953 as part of the Central Air Defense Force. The 521st had the 14thprop Globemaster, 87th and 519th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons, equipped with F-86 Sabres, F-84 Thunderstreaks, and F-102 Delta Daggers. In 1955, the 521st was reassigned and replaced by the 13th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which flew with the 14th FIS from the base until 1960."

I give you the above info as background for the following post:

I and my siblings grew up on a small farm in Iowa about 35 miles southeast of the Sioux City Air Base as it was then known. For several years in the 1950s/60s the pilots from that base flew their practice routes over our farm. The planes would come in from the south over the ridge of the hills.

They flew in low, skimming the hills, as if they were practicing flying undeF-102r radar. The sound of the jet engines would not hit us until the planes were almost directly overhead. They flew single or in formations. Now and then there would be other planes as well, a prop Globemaster, and an occasional 6-prop aircraft. They were in the air all day long. One day we counted over 80 aircraft. It made good entertainment for kids of the 50s.

If we were outdoors when the planes came over we always stopped what we were doing to wave aLoess Hillsnd then follow them with our gaze as they headed toward the airbase. If we were indoors we scrambled to get outdoors before the planes left our "air space". We were in awe. And I admit it felt special that we were in their direct line of flight. We knew this was something big and important and somehow, we felt privileged to be so close to it.

Today, someone else's blog about jet planes jogged my today's post is something I wrote in my journal years and years ago.

It's a two-way and memory.

Today I thought again of those days on the farm when we were growing up.

Do you remember the jet planes the pilots brought in low over the ridge of the hills?

Their roar was upon us almost before we had a chance to scramble outdoors to wave.

Sometimes so low we could see the pilots in the canopies.

Daily they'd tip their wings in salute to country kids with upturned faces and waving arms.

That summer it was our daily ritual to run outdoors and salute "our" planes.

In retrospect I wonder if they, too, looked forward to our daily "hello".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lots of Good News On This Wednesday Morning

Today's good news is....
  • My CT scan for cancer came back clean with no change from three months ago
  • My neighbor is having a surprise 80th birthday party and so far I have not blabbed and ruined the surprise
  • Fresh sweet corn is still available by the guy who parks his pickup downtown at the corner of the stoplight (we have only one light in town so you'll know where I mean)
  • My cucumber patch is producing like crazy and I'm headed there right now
  • I'm looking forward to a trip to visit my daughter and grandson in a couple weeks
  • God is still in control of all things and that's the best news of all

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yuri, Gus, Alan, Scott, Wally, Deke, John, Gordon, Buzz, Neil, Mike, and all Those Guys and Gals

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of their spacecraft and planted the flag of the United States on the surface of the moon. The two, along with fellow astronaut, Mike Collins, had voyaged to the moon aboard Apollo 11.

It seemed last evening that there were numerous programs on TV about the early days of NASA and the US space program. We happened to watch the movie, "The Right Stuff", about the first team of American astronauts and how they prepared to launch into space. They were greatly disappointed when Russia's Yuri Gagarin beat them to the punch and was the first man to launch into space. Then America's John Glenn became the first man to orbit the earth.

All of last night's TV programs glorified man's accomplishments in the space program. None that we visited gave glory to God for His creation.

My friend, Josh, over at Focused on Christ, says this: "The heavens are provided by God as a visual aid to help us apprehend His glory. That is one place to start in apprehending the majesty of an infinite God" .

Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork."

An infinite God has created a universe that to our finite minds seems itself infinite. I try to wrap my mind around the immensity of space and I simply cannot comprehend it. It's astounding! It's magnificient! And in its astounding magnificence it reveals an astoundingly magnificent Creator.

In Romans 1:20-21, the apostle Paul reminds us in regards to man's sinfulness that "...since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

As Josh points out, man's foray into space can be great opportunity for us to witness, and can be a place to begin conversation, to point out that God is the Creator of all things, heaven and earth.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Take-Two on Global Warming In My Own Backyard

I commented on the so-called global warming January 15 when we hit a new overnight low temp of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit for that date here in western Iowa. You can click here to read what I wrote in January. I also mentioned the fact that Iowa has experienced several glacial ice-ages with glaciers moving down from the north and covering much of Iowa in acknowledging that climate does indeed change.

I didn't plan it (I promise I had nothing to do with it!) but it appears we are having an exceptionally cool summer. The middle of July feels more like the middle of June.

And not a soul in town is complaining.

Yes, yes, I know the "new" term is "climate change". Well, I am not ancient in terms of climate time, but even in my short span of years I notice that we experience climate change all the time. We've had drought cycles where the corn dried dead by early August. Then we go through several years of above-average moisture. Then we do the drought scene again. One summer will have a horrific number of days with temps above 100 F and another summer will never see 100 degrees. Every year is different. And this year is cooler. And I have to continue in my belief that "global warming" is a huge political thing that has no basis in real honest-to-goodness scientific fact.

By the way...the forecast for the next ten days, which will take us nearly to the end of July, includes highs in the 80s with only ONE day reaching a high of 90 degrees. That is exceptionally cool for us! Nighttime temps will range from 53 to 64 degrees. This is COOL, People! Way Cool! Our great-grandparents would have loved to see this weather in the 1930s! (The ten-day forecast has changed since I wrote this yesterday. To "cooler". In the next ten days we are not expected to have temps higher than 86 degrees. Overnight lows will hover around 62 degrees. This is definitely not typical July weather for Iowa.)

Global Warming. Bah, Humbug!

Momentary Light Affliction

A friend mentioned that the sermon in her church today was based on 2 Corinthians 4 and so I went to read that chapter. I particularly like what Paul spoke in verses 16 through 18. Those verses remind me that my stay here is temporary (as is yours) and that regardless of whatever befalls me (and you) betwixt now and the moment of my (and your) death, it is but light affliction when we consider it in relation to the eternal life that God gives us through Christ. I will say it is light affliction with emphasis on the "light". Let's read those verses...

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul says something similar in Romans 8:18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

Paul certainly did experience suffering. Because he was preaching the gospel he was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned. 2 Cor. 11:25. So when he speaks of suffering he speaks from experience and yet in spite of the suffering he spoke from joy. And while our suffering may not be from beatings or stonings or imprisonment (although there are those who experience these for the cause of Christ) we must recognize that our particular suffering stands alongside Paul's sufferings. Through it all we recognize, as Paul did, that God is sovereign over all and that He works in all our circumstances to bring us good.

It is good, in the midst of suffering, to bow down to our Lord and to experience the joy of knowing the depph of His love for us. We can rest in that.

Friday, July 17, 2009


My siblings and I have a quirky sense of humor. It's in the genes. I can't help it. I just have it.

But today I surprised even myself at how far my brain goes in that direction.

You do remember that I have ovarian cancer. I've finished six rounds of chemotherapy. That means, yep, I have no hair atop my head nor do I have eyelashes or eyebrows. It's really difficult using an eyebrow pencil to draw fake eyebrows when you have no line to follow...getting both to match can be tricky! "Fake" eyelashes are not quite so difficult...I simply use eyeliner and hope that people from 20 feet away won't notice that my eyelids are bare. Without brows and lashes I look rather like an egghead. (The noise you hear is me, sighing, waiting for hair/brows/lashes, which I figure will be around Thanksgiving.)

This morning I stopped at a yard sale. Right there on the table was a pair of fake eyelashes! My first thought was "I can use those!". Then I had second thoughts and figured people might recognize how really weird I am. Even though they were a mere 50 cents I used restraint and self-control and left them on the table. That was probably a good idea for these were not the normal black or brown. On the other hand, they would color-coordinate with any t-shirt in the closet!

I'm not complaining about lack of lashes, mind you. No, sirree! I'm blessed that chemo has been easy for me and as I often point out, at least chemo doesn't cause your teeth to fall out. I'd rather lose my hair any day than lose my teeth. Hair grows back. Teeth do not.

Today's verse? Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cucumber Slices Like My Mom Used to Make Them

We grew up on a small farm in western Iowa. Each year we planted plenty of tomatoes, beans, peas, sweet corn, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots. The potatoes were in a larger area in the nearby field. By fall the cellar would be full of canned vegetables while a large wood bin held the potato crop.

One of my favorite garden foods (along with fresh sliced tomatoes with sugar sprinkled on top) was cucumber slices in vinegar. Oh, Yum!

Today I picked a handful of cukes and sliced them for this delicious treat. If you'd like to try them, here's a simple dish. You will want 2 to 3 medium cucumbers. (I used about five smaller ones.)

First, wash the cukes. Then peel with a parer that peels paper-thin. (If your cucumbers are too mature, they will be seedy. Small immature seeds are okay. The older ones are hard and you will want to remove the seedy core and just slice the leftover flesh. But if the seeds are still tiny and chewable, leave them.)

Slice the cukes thinly and sprinkle with salt. No water. Just sprinkle with salt. About 2 tablespoons or more. Mix the salt in so the salt is dispersed throughout the slices. Let sit for an hour or so while the salt causes the slices to wilt down a bit. They will become juicy.

After an hour, rinse thoroughly to remove as much salt as possible. They will still retain a bit of salty flavor but you do want to rinse them to remove the excess salt.

At this point add a small amount of thinly sliced onions.

Then add the following mixture:

1/4 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Mix together. This does not seem like enough liquid for the cucumbers but they will juice up a bit overnight. Put them in the fridge overnight to let the flavors blend. (If you really do need more liquid, just increase the amounts a bit.)

By the way, I love these old pyrex bowls with glass lids. They are perfect for storage in the fridge and I much prefer them to plastic ware.

Today's scripture for your reflection is James 1:17 where James writes this... "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Is This Heaven? No, It's Iowa. Be Prepared to Be Tested!

I can't remember a better spring/summer in our part of Iowa. Many years winter lingers on and on. The calendar tells you it is "spring" but then comes another snow or another ice storm or a late frost that kills the budding plants. Or perhaps spring comes at the right time but lasts mere days before the hot, humid, muggy days begin. Or spring begins with rain, rain and more rain over such a long period the farmers have difficulty getting their crops planted. Crops freeze. Crops drown. Crops are late. Winds blow. Storms brew. Tornado warnings appear on the weather channel. Spring is always an "iffy" proposition.

This year has been unusual. In our part of Iowa we've had a surprisingly long period of mild, sunny days. The fields were planted on time. A possible dry spell was alleviated by adequate rains. You wouldn't believe the crops in the fields! An old expression (and I mean "really old") in regards to corn was "Knee high by the Fourth of July"! But with today's hybrid seed corn and with this year's near-perfect weather we've seen corn tasseling just days after the Fourth. The fields are a lush green.

Perhaps if every day and every season were perfect, we would become oblivious to the beauty of this spring and thereby lose the enjoyment and fail to experience gratefulness. It is the knowledge of those "less than perfect" springs that makes this spring and summer so appreciated.

I think it is that way in our personal lives as well. If all is well all the time in all things we might risk acquiring an "entitlement" to all things good and an inability to endure the bad things that happen in life.

In James 1:2-4 the writer advises us to "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God puts us through stresses and troubles and predicaments and by so doing, He strengthens our faith. There is no promise in the Bible that the life of believers will be a rose garden. The disciples themselves endured persecution, tribulation, beatings, stonings, stabbings and death. (And I remind you that there are Christians in other parts of the world who still experience those things! There are countries where a Christian risks death to become a follower of Christ.) God does not provide a promise to Christians that they will live a life of ease. Nor does God promise that we as His people will never have to suffer the ailments and disease that all of mankind suffers. Regardless of the false promises of the "name it and claim it" movement, that just simply is not so. We live in a world broken by sin. We are not immune to that brokenness.

There will be times of blessings. There will be times of hardship and trouble. And while we rejoice in the blessings of life, we also learn to bow down in humble submission during the bad times, knowing that God is sovereign, that He rules over all things, that His purpose will be done. And this is His purpose...that He will save a people for Himself. And in so doing, He will be glorified above all!

Let me conclude with Romans 5:3-6 where Paul writes, "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."

Friday, July 10, 2009

We Can Comfort Because We Have Been Comforted

Tim Challies of has posted an interview today that he did with Terry Stauffer. Terry is pastor at a Baptist church in Edson, Alberta, Canada. Last September Terry and Jaunita's 14-year-old daughter, Emily, was attacked and killed while she was out for a walk. Nothing can be more terrible to a parent than to lose a child.

While I deal with cancer, or you deal with some other pain, it is important that we know that we are not in this pain alone. On one hand there are others who deal with worse pain, much much worse pain. We are not alone in experiencing pain. On the other hand as Christians we have the reassurance of the gospel, that God loves us, that He is sovereign and rules over all things, that He is the active agent in our salvation. And that no matter how fearful our path may appear God assures us that we are safe in His hands. No matter what. John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

I hope you will take the time to read Tim's interview with Terry. Especially if you, too, are dealing with tough things in your life. You can find that interview here.

Today's Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Snowman in July or How to Get Ready for December

Well, no, we don't have snowmen in July. That is, not unless you live down under in Aussie land. But I'm writing this post as a challenge! For next winter! Start collecting your snowman gear now so when that fFisherman snowmanirst warm snowy day appears you'll be ready.

Every year I make a snowman. Last year I made two. One in December, another in January. The snowy fisherman in December was planned. I found one of those horrid talking fish at a yard sale for a dollar. It was a real pain to get the fish off the plaque (took pliers and strength) and of course, he has a hole in his side where he was attached. But I figured he was healthy enough for my fisherman snowman. He was well worth what I paid for him.

In January we had a perfect day for snowmen. The temp had been just above freezing long enough to make the snow wet and sticky. (Powdery snow just won't work.) The day was nearly over and I rushed outdoors before the snow had a chance to re-freeze. But this time I was unprepared. I fi blonde snowman snowladynally found some black stones in the landscaping to use for eyes. Then I grabbed some dried asparagus ferns, mums, and blazing stars. The red asparagus berries made a perfect necklace. I like my fluffy blonde snowlady. She looks pretty sharp for a spur of the moment project.

My challenge for you. Begin thinking NOW for your snowman this winter. Find some yard sale sunglasses, a cap, a scarf, gloves and stash them away for winter use. You'll teach the neighbor kids a thing or two. Most of them don't even know how to make a snow angel anymore. What's the world coming to!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Those 20,000 Words Will Convert to 500,000 Tomorrow

I've heard that women typically speak 20,000 words a day while men speak 7,000. That may or may not be true and certainly must not always be true for my man can outspeak me anytime anyday. Except Days 1 and 2 after chemo.

I have ovarian cancer and was able to receive my sixth and hopefully last chemo today. Last night I took several pre-chemo pills and today the first IV of several included more meds that work to reduce risk of reactions. Those pills and meds have me in high-energy mode the next couple days. I will make myself a long to-do list and I will get most of them done. And I will be talking, talking, talking.

Tonight while we were out for a walk I asked DH what his plans were for tomorrow. I told him I needed to know because for the next two days I will need to get out at least 500,000 words. He's my ears. And he must not interrupt for I won't be able to stop. Duct tape couldn't stop me. No, sirree, I'll be talkin'.

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Fix Your Broken Car Key! The One With a Chip Inside and Which Costs Zillions to Replace!

Our car has one of those keys with an electronic chip inside the plastic coated handle. That means in order to buy a replacement key we have to go to the dealer and spend about a zillion bucks! I don't like to spend zillions! It makes me flinch!

So when the handle of my key broke in one corner I figured I could fix it myself. I probably could have found some brand of glue that would fasten the plastic pieces back together in a secure fashion but I didn't do that. Instead I dug out a roll of black electrician's tape from the tool box and a couple twist-ties from the kitchen drawer. (You can click on the photos for a closer view.)

Since the repair needed some strength beyond what the tape could provide, I used the two plastic wire bread ties to reinforce the tape. I could have used one, but I figured two would add extra reinforcement. The ties were just the right length to run the full length of one side, up over the top, and down the other side. I placed two small pieces of tape in a couple spots to secure the ties. Then I cut a length of tape about three inches long and cut it down the middle to make a narrow piece of tape. This I used to wrap the handle, stretching the tape snug as I wrapped.

Then I cut another piece of tape several inches long. This piece was wrapped around the main body of the plastic part of the key and secured all in place.

The wire twist-ties add reinforcement to the broken area. The key is back on the key ring! And I still have my zillion dollars!

Potimarron! And No, I don't Know How to Pronounce It!

Monday Morning News! Yay, I passed my blood tests and can do my final (hopefully) chemo this Wednesday.

Other Monday news. My squash vines are looking a bit dry so I'm giving them a soak with the soaker hose. Potimarron squash are a winter squash from France and are supposed to be one of the best for baking and roasting. We're big fans of winter squash (and summer squash for that matter). The photo is from the Seed Savers Exchange where you can purchase seeds for heirloom veggies. I got mine by begging CinnamonGirl to save me a few last summer. Her garden is a lot bigger than mine and I envy her energy and her veggie harvests!

More Monday news. Ants are setting up housekeeping in the cracks of the sidewalk. Ants must stay out in the garden area. It's a rule at our house that they must not build homes under our sidewalks. Hence, out comes the Terro. If I could convince them to move in some other fashion I would. But I can't. Sorry, little ants.

And as Bugs Bunny used to say in his stuttering voice, "that-at-at-at-ats all, Folks!"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Was Struck By the Awfulness of It

Today at church, while taking communion, I was trying to wrap my mind once again about what communion means to us as Christians...that Christ, the incarnate God, became flesh and dwelt among us...that he lived in perfect obedience to the Father...that He took our collective sins upon himself at the Cross, that He absorbed the Father's wrath against sin on our behalf (Hebrews 2:17), and that, wonder of wonder, in exchange, He gave us His righteousness, clothed us in His cleanness, so that when we stand before the judgment, we are accounted as Righteous before God. I understand all of that.

Yet today, I sensed a deeper understanding of the awfulness of sin ...that it is that awfulness that is the basis for our Christ dying such awful death. The awfulness of it...the awfulness of death...the awfulness in terms of extent! It is not to be taken lightly! None of it! Neither the destruction brought about by sin nor the awesome love of God in the act of His redemption of His people.

It is so easy for us to excuse our various sins as if our "little" sin were slight and not awful. But sin is not slight. Sin is awful in its death and destruction. And except for Christ we would have no life eternal.

In Adam (as children of Adam) we die. In Christ (as children of God) we live. It's simple. In sin we die. In Christ's righteousness we live. It is an awful (awesome) thing that our God has done for us.

Romans 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience (that's Adam) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (that's Jesus) the many will be made righteous.

Thanks be to God!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Today's Question - What's On the Back of a Two-Dollar Bill?

Since this is the 4th of July I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the Declaration of Independence!

(If you've never read through the document you can find the text here.)

The reverse of the two-dollar bill is from a painting by John Trumbull, commissioned in 1817 and placed in the rotunda of the Capitol building in 1826. (No, I don't remember this from my high school history. I cheated and used google!) And, by the way, the original painting measures 12 feet by 18 feet! Whooooa!

I found this information online...Trumble's painting shows the presentation of the Declaration of Independence in what is now called Independence Hall, Philadelphia. The painting features the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence — John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson (presenting the document), and Benjamin Franklin — standing before John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress. The painting includes portraits of 42 of the 56 signers and 5 other patriots. The artist sketched the individuals and the room from life.

Oh, by the way! Contrary to what Nicolas Cage would like you to think (in his movie, "National Treasure"), there really is no secret message on the back of the original document. You did know that was fantasy, didn't you?

I repeat! There is no secret message! There is no hidden treasure trove of gold and jewels!
Don't you get it! Our National Treasure is You...and Me, and All of Us. Our working people, our military men and women, our mothers and fathers, our families, our ingenuity, our courage, our desire to do what is right and good and honorable. THAT is our national treasure.

But our national treasure can disappear. When we become a nation of whiners and complainers and takers and users and dropouts and duds and lowlifes and "everyone doing what is right in his own eyes", then we will cease to be a great nation.

It happened to the Roman Empire. And it can happen to us.

Oh, wow! I began this on an upbeat note. And ended it on a downer. Sorry about that. The intent of this blog is not always to entertain. Sometimes I'm just blunt.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chemo Scarf - Or How To Keep Your Cool When You're Not Looking So Cool!

Thanks to chemotherapy I lost my hair last March. My daughter knit my first warm cap and I knit a couple after that. I purchased a couple online so I was set for cool weather. Keeping warm was the issue and the knit caps did the trick.

But when warm weather arrived I realized that any covering, whether scarf or cap, made my head too warm. As in "Sweat". Cap, scarf, wig...all were too warm.

This week I discovered LINEN! I had a lovely linen skirt in the closet that did not fit. I had planned to make a sofa pillow with the fabric. I've done that before and loved the "cool" feel of the linen as compared to other fabrics.

While looking at the skirt I realized there was enough fabric to cut a large square for a scarf. I didn't even hem it, I was so lazeeee. Then I folded the scarf into a triangle as you would a square scarf. I placed it on my head, pulled the ends to the back, and secured them with a stretchy pony-tail tie. I cannot believe how comfortable this is. I wore it for hours and felt cool the entire time.

Then I switched to a very thin cotton scarf and I was sweating in minutes.

You have to try Linen!