Friday, June 27, 2014

Beauty for Ashes

Life sometimes consists of one trial after another.

God stretches us, he puts his thumb on a tender spot 
and rubs and digs and shapes us...and then another...
and sometimes another....

We struggle against it. We wriggle and squirm. 
And we cry out to our Maker for deliverance. 

And when the time is right, SWOOP, God arrives 
on the scene, with a breath of the freshest air, 
and delivers in ways unexpected and beautiful.

And we find that we are changed, and the stretching 
and rubbing and digging and shaping had purpose all along, 
and that it was all for good.

We've grown into something beautiful!

Aaaannnnd often fascinating...

as we shine a little more of our Father's glory, 
and it spills out in splashes of Spirit-fruit 
on those around us.

Pray for these in the midst of the struggle:

Rita & Tony
Mary & Theresa
Mac & Peggy
Lezlie & Mark & baby Kate

Some struggles will end with the exceptional glory and beauty of heaven, 
some will end with a surprising deliverance into a time of peace here on earth 
(for deliverance never looks the way we expect it to).
And we can say with confidence, "It's alllll good!"


I consider that our present sufferings
are not worth comparing with the glory
that will be revealed in us.

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.
--The Apostle Paul(in his letter to the Romans), a man who had more than his share of trials!

Do not lose heart, my friends. Deliverance is on the way.
Our God loves his children dearly. The glory's comin'!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm Getting Soy Old

Doesn't this look delicious?

Welp, it's not.

Not really, but I can live with it...I must...I'm FIFTY now.

And so I drink soy protein (well-doctored). 

 It goes pretty well with chocolate cake, I must say.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tasty Treat, Fun to Eat

If you are a local, and one hot, humid day this summer you get too uncomfy, 
and too sweaty, and a little whiny, 
drive straight to the nearest Pelican's Snoballs. 
Do not pass GO; do not get distracted by some ol' soft-serve shop; 
do not, under any circumstances, settle for a so-so Slurpee. 

Order an icy-smooth snow cone, perhaps Strawberry-Lemonade, 
or Luscious Plum, 
or Georgia Peach.
And if you're feeling a bit barmy, go out on a limb and order Dill Pickle. 
You can thank me later for the best advice you've been given 
since Pinterest taught you forty-'leven uses for an empty toilet paper roll. 

And, as if the incredible flavor isn't enough, 
you get the bonus of a chartreuse tongue for the evening! 

Also, if your kid is lucky, the evening will include a great photo-bomb opportunity.

So go make some sultry summer memories!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Balancing Act

"Time is a circus, always packing up and going away."

Spring's gone, summer's here and Christmas is...well, you know....

The children's Olympians program is finished for the year and Backyard Bible Club has begun. Our last theme for Olympians was called "Superior," all about what's good vs. what's wayyyyy better: would you like a box of animal crackers, or...

...a trip to the circus?

The Hebrews had embraced the Messiah but were having second thoughts as pressure came their way. The author exhorted them to remember that Jesus is superior to all that the Old Testament alone offered.  

We need to have a superior faith, too, if we're to have a genuine relationship with God - faith that is proved by our actions. 

Our last lesson was all about running the race well - avoiding distractions, letting go of burdens, running with perseverance. 

Then I can perform my daily responsibilities without tripping up or losing my balance or falling flat on my face!

"...let us throw off everything that hinders 
and the sin that so easily entangles. 
And let us run with perseverance 
the race marked out for us, 
fixing our eyes on Jesus, 
the pioneer and perfecter of faith. 
For the joy set before him 
he endured the cross, 
scorning its shame, 
and sat down at the right hand 
of the throne of God. 
Consider him who endured such opposition 
from sinners, 
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
--Hebrews 12:1-3

Life may be a circus, but don't lose heart!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shop Like You Mean It

You'd think I'd steer clear of flea markets and thrift stores after the many years' worth of junk treasures that have paraded past me at Victory Home Thrift Store. But. 

Can't resist a poke around a flea market now and then...
I mean, look, LOOK at this adorable birdhouse. 
I love the colors.

And this piggy! Almost as wacky as Pinocchio, 
who looks like he', that's not a potty.

 But this is!

And while we're on the subject...

On the way home from the flea/farmers' market, 
I like to stop at the neighborhood garden center for a quick look-see.

I've begun working at our thrift store in the mornings, sorting through the 8-foot high mounds of donations and setting up displays of all the wonderful stuff. 
I can hardly walk by the time I'm done, thanks to a bum ankle, but, boy, I do have fun. 
It just doesn't get old!

The sale of these lovely donations supports Victory Home, and after a very, very tight winter, Victory Home needs all the help it can get.

We pay rent and utilities on four homes, the thrift store and two warehouses. We employ four staff members and pay stipends to over a half dozen others. We spend over $200 a day on gasoline, for Pete's sake!

Fifteen men and four women are staying with us right now. We teach them about transformation (because who wants to reform an old, beat-up, sin-loving heart when we can have a completely new one) and we teach them a new way to live.

Here's one principle:

(Regarding temptation) 
When you want to stay, flee. 
And when you want to flee, stay. 

This lesson has often helped me! (Except, drat, when I'm standing in front of the fridge.)

And these girls (who are demonstrating a portable dry heat sauna, circa...1980's...and it sold in a day - what??) have just completed their six months and have chosen to stay on for a while longer. I'm so glad. I just love 'em!

So I work, work, work for their sake, and if you'd like to get involved, too, we can use volunteers to:

  • help at the store, sorting cool stuff, assisting customers, hanging lovely clothes...
  • provide or help with a meal (groups welcome)
  • collect needed things, such as hygiene items or food
  • help with transportation needs
And this is a big one: you can SHOP!! Yep, shopping will benefit Victory Home. Do it early and often. And so shall I. You may not want a-30 year old portable dry heat sauna, but you may want a cast-iron horse bank, or a foot-high garden fairy, or an old copy of Black Beauty, or a glow-in-the-dark moon, or a porcelain canister with a little chalk board patch for you to write on, or cute little Iron Man pajamas, or a pair of elbow-length black velvet gloves...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chop Chop

Sometimes I just.want.something.yummy. My guilt kicks in if I begin to daydream about sweet things, like Pop Tarts, Cocoa Pebbles, or Chocolate Chip Hot Fudge Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Sundaes.

There's more to life than sweets, right? Or so I've heard. 
So before I go down that regretful road, I grab some veggies and start chopping.

Throw in a touch of cheddar.

Boil me some pasta.

 Toss the whole thing with some of this (plus a can of sliced olives):

Et voila, I am the Queen of healthy eating! 

Delishus, I must say. 

A good thing, too...we ate it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I gave away a huge container to another family, and our houseguest ate from it, too. I tend to go just the teeniest bit overboard with quantities sometimes.

I suppose that's all right when you're talking about a giant vat of veggies; it's when I fill a 3-quart bowl with Lucky Charms and eat them with a serving spoon that it's not...good. Not that I'd ever do such a thing.

I'll be back...gotta make a run to the store...need flakes...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pullin' Out the Big Guns

Had fun with a Sharpie and some poster board for our children's program last week:

Carise became heavily muscled for the evening.

We've got some STRONG kids!

The kiddos are learning how to build character, 
and as you know, character is extremely flabby and weak in many people today.

F - Forgive
L - Look for ways to help others
E - Encourage
X - Be an eXample

Flex them guns, people; the world needs a heavy dose of strong character!