Monday, August 30, 2010


"The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to keep still."

A friend posted Exodus 14:14 on her Facebook page this week and the verse resonated in my soul.

There is the "famous" verse in Psalms 46 about stillness -"Be still and know that I am God." I have always seen this verse to be about knowing God by slowing down and spending time with God. On the other hand, Exodus 14:14 is about standing back and allowing God to work.

Being still is tough for many of us - I know it is for me. When I try to be still with God I find myself wandering. It just seems so hard to sit and wait; to listen for the small voice that is God saying, “Here I am and this is what I want you to know.” Surely God could just send an email and speed up this process, right!?! Maybe a text message!?!

But waiting and being still is something that God calls us to do. Yes, sometimes He calls us to action. Sometimes, though, He wants us to stop and realize what He can and will do for us.

Recently I went through a very tough time that had me wanting to fight and make sure everyone knew the truth. Multiple people betrayed me. People I trusted and called friend let me down in a huge way. It hurt like heck and I wanted to make it stop. I needed to fight back, to restore my reputation. I wanted to force the people who did this to realize and admit they were wrong. I wanted to fix the situation and let life go on as it had been.

God, however, had a different idea. He didn’t want me to fix the situation. Today I realize that He was saying the same thing to me that Moses said to the children of Israel:

But Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.

My mom once said, “You decide you want something and you make it happen.” Every bone in my body is crying out to right this wrong, to make my will happen. My New King James Version Bible ends this verse with “you shall hold your peace.” I don’t want to hold my peace, I want to fight!

God is calling me to hold my peace. He is asking me to trust that He is delivering me. So I back off and stand firm in Him. I am pretty independent and it is very hard for me to do nothing. God didn’t call me to clear my name or fight to make things right. He called me to be still in this situation. He is fighting for me. I don’t know what He is doing in the lives of those who betrayed me. That is up to Him now. Instead I am still and holding my peace. God is working things out in His own way. I try not to worry about what that means to my Egyptians.

Here in my waiting and trusting God is blessing and growing me. He is opening my eyes to greater things than what I was holding on to in this situation. He truly is delivering me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Moonshine Marley

Glancing first over his shoulder to make sure no one was around, Marley slipped into the cool darkness of the forest. The trees were thick along the road and Marley was grateful for their shade and shelter. Moving steadily deeper into the woods he went carefully making sure to leave no tracks. One could never be too safe in days like this. Finally after many minutes the dense undergrowth gave way to a small clearing. Marley dropped the burlap bag that contained the jugs and ingredients for a fresh batch from his shoulder.

“Good Evening Bella.” Marley stroked the copper still lovingly. He had worked hard to create this little retreat. It was something to bring in a little extra money. Filling his cup he sipped the liquid and sat on a log. “My goodness Bella, who would have thunk that I would end up running moonshine? It was never in my nature to go against the laws of this country, but what’s a fella to do when the country goes crazy with this prohibition? Humph, look at me out here in the woods talking to a chunk of copper like it was real.”

Getting up from the log he went over to empty the contents of the sill into two brown jugs. Plugging them with a cork he placed a flat rock on each to hold the cork in place. He filled the still and checked to make sure everything was running smoothly. Grabbing the jugs he headed back the way he came. With any luck he could make it into town and deliver the hooch tonight so he’d have some bucks in his pocket tomorrow.


The roaring 20s were an interesting time in our history. A time of fabulous excess even as the prohibition laws attempted to strangle that excess. It was a time when everyday folks became criminals as they used hidden stills to create the whiskey and other spirits they enjoyed.

Dad tells me at one time there was an old still back in the woods behind my uncle's cabin. He wonders if it is still there. I wonder that also. I would love to go looking for it someday. It would be amazing to find a little bit of history tucked away like a treasure.

This rock formation called Jug Rock is found near Shoals, IN. The story goes that the formation looks like a jug with a rock placed on top just like the moonshiners used to do to keep the cork in the jugs when they didn’t fit correctly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Thursday!

As I left a friend's house yesterday I saw a bunch of bumblebees buzzing around her flowers and couldn't resist pulling out my camera. I got one good picture of the festivities.

Hope you all have a wonderfully, sweet Thursday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Channeling my Great-Grandmother

We all have fond memories of foods from our childhoods. But, over the years when I have tried to re-create family recipes for my dad he has said they were good, but were missing the mark on the way his mother or grandmother made them.

Dad has often talked of a cake that his maternal grandmother made. When we were in Indiana recently I asked my Aunt Becky if she had the recipe for Cold Water Cake. She did and graciously sent it to me.

Dad's birthday was last week so I decided to make the cake to see if I could get it to taste "just like grandmother made it."

The cake has a rich, spicy flavor and it has molasses in it which just  happens to be one of my favorite ingredients.  The secret of the cake, though, is in the ice cold water used. I measured, mixed, and chopped the ingredients with aplomb all the while wishing I had a fancy apron like the women of the 50's wore when cooking so I could really look the part.

The taste of the batter - yes, I know you're not supposed to eat raw cake batter since it has eggs in it, even refused to let my 5 year old nephew taste it - tantalized my taste buds. The smell while the cake was baking was absolutely heavenly. Oh my how I salivated at the thought of what the cake would taste like!

When the cake was done and cooled it was time for the frosting. The recipe for the cake didn't include a frosting and honestly the cake could be served without frosting or a light glaze. But, Dad remembers the cake with a deep, dark chocolate frosting that Grandmother made with coffee. It basically was powdered sugar and cocoa mixed until the chocolate was slightly sweet. Then I mixed it with a strong coffee just until the mixture is spreadable. Surprisingly enough the coffee darkened the frosting, but didn't add a coffee flavor to it.

When I served the cake Dad said the frosting was spot on. The cake was very close although he remembers it being spicier and a darker color. I figured the next time I make the cake I would double up on the nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. However, Dad mentioned it was usually served cold so we put the remaining cake in the fridge.

When he had a piece for breakfast the next day he declared it tasted just like Grandmother had made it! Ah, sweet success. The cake was so good that my sister devoured a piece despite having raisins in it. She hates eating raisins that have been cooked!

What fun I had stepping into the past and enjoying some old fashioned baking! And, yes, if you have read recent posts you know that I have been stepping into the past quite a bit recently. I can't help it, really, since my trip to Indiana earlier this month I have been enjoying my family history. I will get to the end of the historical posts soon and move on to something else, I promise.

Don't forget to come back on Friday for moonshine!!

PS, the sprinkles were courtesy of my nephew who feels that no cake is complete without them!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Farm Blood Runs Through My Veins!

I've said this over the years, but only in recent years have I really begun to appreciate my roots. Dad and I recently spent a week in Southern Indiana where he and Mom grew up and most of the family still lives. It was a great trip full of history and beauty.

During the week I was intrigued by old barns, farm out buildings, and old houses. These places just seem to be living, breathing the history of our country and the people who lived and worked there. Fueled by facts and stories that Dad and others told me my imagination took over and soon I had characters and story lines running through my head.

Here are some of the buildings that fed into my stories that will someday find themselves on a computer screen exposed for all the world to see.

This first one is a picture of my Grandpa T's granary that still stands on the homestead.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In Case You Were Getting Too Comfortable

Dear friends, this post on The Journey blog broke my heart and brought me to tears. I want to share it, not to bring you down, but as a reminder to pray for Uganda.

As I was sitting here this morning catching up on stuff at home like laundry and paying bills I have been pondering my life. I am at a transition time and a time of having to watch the pennies I spend. This is not something I have had to do much in my life. God has blessed me generously. Then I open Katie's blog and read about Nabakozo who is suffering from her lack. She is probably going to die soon because of her poverty.

I am once again humbled by how much I have and how totally ungracious I am about that at times.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Have you heard the story about the man who was so enthralled with his wealth that he contacted God and asked if he could bring it to heaven with him? God told him it really wasn’t allowed, but the man insisted. He had worked hard all his life and he requested a special dispensation to bring at least one suitcase of stuff along when he died. Finally, God relented and okayed one suitcase.

Years later the man died and arrived at the pearly gates with a suitcase full of gold bricks. St. Peter very nicely told him he could not bring it in to heaven. The man asked him to call God and verify that it was okay. So St. Peter called up God and posed the question. God asked St. Peter to look in the suitcase and tell Him what this man deemed so important it had to come to heaven with him? St. Peter said, “Well, sir, his suitcase is full of road paving material.”

I heard this story several years ago and laughed. But it really isn’t a laughing matter when we begin to value the things of earth so highly. I am guilty of this myself. Today as I was driving to a meeting I was thinking about the closet in my office. It is stuffed and overflowing right now. My kitty cat loves to explore in there, but he gets lost and often causes stacks of stuff to slide with him riding the avalanche down to the floor. I have been meaning to clean out the closet for some time and just never seem to get to it.

Living in a small house means I have to try to be diligent in not accumulating too much stuff. I do that; accumulate stuff. I won’t call it treasure because a lot of it really is just stuff. I checked the Bible once, and it does encourage us to store up treasures. I didn’t find the words “office closet” in any of those verses; they all reference storing up treasures in heaven.

So, when the junk begins to overflow in my house I begin to go through and, as my mom always said, rid out. Ridding out isn’t easy. I, like many people, become attached to my stuff. I think, “I may need this someday, it could be important, as soon as I throw it out I will miss it.” Truth is that rarely ever happens. Once I get rid of stuff I forget about it. And life flows along smoothly until the next time my possessions threaten to take over. Then I start all over again. I hope that someday I learn enough to not accumulate, then I won’t have rid out.

As I drove today and thought about this I couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that my physical possessions aren’t the only things I store up. There are those non-tangible things that get stuffed away in the nooks and crannies of my heart, those things that God doesn’t want in heaven either. They definitely aren’t paving stones in heaven, rather stumbling stones here on earth.

Ridding out the closets of my life always gets me to thinking about the closets of my soul. There is a song called “Open Me Up” by Watermark, a Christian husband and wife duo, Nathan and Christy Nockels. In the song they sing asking the Lord to “come clean the shadows and closets of my soul.” My heart and soul needs that good cleaning on a regular basis.

I find it’s not any easier to rid out my soul than it is to rid out my closets. I cling tightly to things that have no purpose or value to me anymore, some never did. It’s easy as I store up those thoughts to think they serve some purpose and to believe I will need them some day, they might be important, as soon I as rid myself of it I will need it. Truth is I don’t and I am better off letting them go.

People talk of spring cleaning. My big cleaning tends to come in the fall. Since the weather will soon begin cooling down and the leaves will begin to change I am thinking of cleaning. It definitely is time for closet cleaning and soul cleaning.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To Live in the Past or Not to Live in the Past

Hey, remember this post from last Wednesday? I ended the post by saying that we should live in the moment and not get lost in the past or too focused on the future.

Well, I have something I want to say about that. Recently, my dad and I spent a week in Southern Indiana. The main reason for the trip was the wedding of my cousin, Steffi, to her high school sweet heart, Florian. They met while Florian was an exchange student from Germany. Now six years later they have joined their lives together. Congrats Steffi and Florian!!

Another purpose of the trip involved family history. Dad is actively researching our family history and since both his and Mom’s family came from the Southern Indiana area the trip was ripe with details of days gone by.

I was enthralled that week as we drove around the area and saw the location of my parent’s first apartment. The location of their first date. The house on New York Avenue where Dad grew up and the one day the street where Grandmother and Grandfather Faries lived. Then there was the general area where my Grandmother and Grandfather had a restaurant when they were first married. It had a name like Easy Stop or something like that….Dad couldn’t remember exactly, but then again that was before his time. Dad told stories of his childhood and young adult years. He told me of the beginnings of his and Mom’s relationship.

Their specialty at the restaurant was BRAIN SANDWICHES! Can I just say yuck!?

During this trip I finally learned all of Granddad’s (my paternal) brothers and sisters. Who knew there were 11 of them!? Charlie, Jack, Owen, Joe, Starry, Patty, Judy, Edith, Ollie Jane, and June! I met Judy and Starry on the Friday while we were there. I am now working on the rest of the Grandparent’s siblings. There were a bunch of them.

Throughout the time we not only talked of family history, but national history. We talked of wars, prohibition, farming, the tough years and the years of plenty. It was a marvelous blending of characters and stories that came alive for me.

I was drawn in not only to the family history but that of our nation. We have a rich history here in the United States. We may not have the long history of other countries, but we have a proud one. We are a country that has fought for our beliefs and the chance to be who we are. The years that birthed our nation and grew it up into what we now know have always fascinated me and as we wandered cemeteries and museums I was transported back to other eras. I was totally entranced and I have new characters and stories running around in my head and looking for ways to get out.

Still on the agenda are the tales of ghosts and moonshine!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ode to a Little Cabin in the Woods

Oh little cabin in the woods how I love thee.

Traveling the winding road in the woods to reach you,
Fills my heart with anticipation.
My soul wells up with peace and joy,
As the trees give way to the first sight of you.

There you stand all wrapped in a hug by your portico,
Fans spin lazily on the ceiling, Insects serenade humanity.
Your porch has seen late night laughter, stories and beer.
Only to wake to calm, quiet mornings in the sun
Of reading, praying, meditating, enchanting.

Inside your walls I find rest, retreat, renewal.
The solitude you offer fills my spirit and energizes.
Here it is always Christmas, even midsummer,
With an evergreen proudly displaying its merriment
And no regard to season or month.
Truly you are a vacation in and of yourself.

Not Timothy, the turkey, standing sentinel
In the living room year after year,
Nor the deer skulls hanging in the tree outside,
Not even the lizards that rest in the shade of the veranda.
Can damper my enthusiasm for you.

Trees encircle you and provide protection
From the outside world, from hustle, bustle and stress.
Inside their green walls you wait.
Always with open arms for the world weary
And tired. You offer contentment so willingly.
Yes, little cabin, I do adore you,
And often long to return to you. Many thanks
Go out to you and to Kev, such a gracious uncle,
One who ranks high on my list, for forgoing your charms
To allow me some respite, For sharing you with me.

Oh little cabin in the woods how I love thee!

I spent a week in the heartland recently and was immersed in family history, but also our nation's history. I have some stories to share with you and so I will be doing that this week. This little ditty was written about my Uncle Kevin's hunting cabin which is tucked away in the woods near my Grandparent's farm. I love this cabin and Kevin is very generous to allow me to stay there when I am in the neighborhood.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to Catch a Man

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This is what the old wives say  and I don't know whether there is any truth to it or not. All I know is that when I saw this recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait on the Smitten Kitchen website I had to try it. I loved the name and the recipe sounded so delicious! The recipe was easy enough to make and it turned out buttery, sweet, and full of blueberry yumminess.

Blueberry Boy Bait

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (I used fat free since that is what I had in the fridge, but it probably would have been better to use whole milk. My batter was a little thin.)
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease and flour the pan.

Cream together the sugars and butter. In another bowl whisk together 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the eggs one at a time mixing just enough to incorporate them into the batter. Then add 1/3 of the flour mixture, again mixing just enough to incorporate. Add ½ of the milk and mix. Add ½ of the remaining flour and mix. Add remaining milk and mix. Then add remaining flour and mix.

In separate bowl toss blueberries with the 1 tsp of flour and then gently fold into the batter. Spread batter in the pan. Top with remaining blueberries. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle across the top.

Bake on the center rack for 45- 50 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The original recipe said to cool 20 minutes and then turn out on a serving platter. I found the cake was still too warm to come out of the pan nicely. If I make again I will probably leave it in the pan to serve. Can be served warm or at room temperature. Store in air tight container for up to 3 days.

Serves 12


So, are the old wives right? I don’t know, but if any of you single girls try this recipe and catch yourself an amazing man, please invite me to the wedding!

What I do know is that as a naïve 17 year old high school junior I thought I would test out the theory that you could hook a boyfriend by cooking for him. After all, during my high school years I thought having a boyfriend was the end all and be all.

During my junior year I spent my spring afternoons, evenings, and weekends with the baseball team as the manager. It was a magical time as I fell in love with the sport and not surprisingly, a player or two. I learned the lingo and learned how to score the games. I knew the throwing, batting, and catching habits of the players. And, for some reason junior year I decided that a good way to get the boys’ attention was to make cookies for them. A onetime deal morphed into making cookies for them to enjoy after every game.

This wasn’t some great scientific research experiment, but I can tell you that all the baking didn’t net me a boyfriend. No, sadly, the only thing to come of that experience was some wicked cookie baking skills that have languished over the years. In college I made a mean lasagna that netted me not one, but two marriage proposals. Thankfully, by that time I knew that a strong relationship is not built on how well one cooks.

Since those days I have learned that being married or having a boyfriend is not the end all and be all that I once thought it was. In the intervening years I have come to know myself and my God and to understand that He has a plan for my life. Up to this point it hasn’t included marriage. Part of my purpose in life was to be there for my mom and dad during Mom’s illness. Marriage would have complicated that purpose. I know now my singleness was a gift from God for that period of time and that being in the center of His will for me was better than being in the center of a relationship that wasn’t right.

When people ask me if I want to get married I tell them that I am open to marriage if it is for the right reasons with the right person. My mom and grandma have been known to say to me, “Jede topf hochzeit deckel.” The way Mom and Grandma pronounces it is like this....yayduh hoffa hotzai daigle. It is German for every pot marries its lid.

I'm still looking for my daigle and if he shows up then I will definitely take a walk down the aisle. Until that happens I am going to enjoy the life God has given me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thoughts on a Wednesday

Up early this morning, relatively speaking; the smell of freshly mown grass drifting through the open windows. The sounds of mowing, trimming, making right again. We’ve had quite a bit of rain these days and the yards were looking a little wild. I’m thankful for “people” who keep my little community neat and pretty. I love having “people” to do these kinds of things and they are totally worth the monthly home owner’s dues. I mean, they even put my paper on my porch if I haven’t already retrieved it from the middle of the yard where the paper deliverer tosses it in the wee hours of the morning. You gotta love people!

Plan for today is to write early in the day while my mind is still fresh. Then off to Dad’s to clean his house, measure his window for curtains that I have been remiss in getting made, and borrow some sand paper. I have been in a creative mood and plan to refurbish an old bulletin board for use in my office. I want to sand down the frame and paint it. Then cover the cork with fabric. It will be my idea board for my writing and projects.

I am also trying to come up with a good, creative idea for birthday gifts for my three friends. They share birthdays and I have once again been invited to join them on their annual birthday celebration. Granted, it’s not as grand as the year they went to New York City (but it will be fun to spend time with them and reconnect. It has been too long. And, adventures with friends can be grand regardless of the scope!) Thankfully, this year their celebration is within my unemployed budget.

Unemployed is such an ugly word, though. I much prefer something like hiatus or sabbatical. Sabbatical just kind of rolls off the tongue in a beautiful sort of way. Sabbatical more accurately describes my life right now anyway. The Oxford American Dictionary describes sabbatical as related to the Sabbath which is, of course, a day of rest. It also refers to the time off granted to professors to study and travel. I think both of those definitions fit this time in my life even though I am not a professor. I consciously chose to leave employment and pursue my writing. I am taking a rest from years of employment, working to pay the rent but forgetting that life is more than just bills. I am taking time to study, travel, renew. Sabbatical is a good word to describe this time in my life.

This morning as I was lying in bed listening to the quiet sounds of the neighborhood waking up I chatted with God. During my conversation He pointed out that I have spent much of my life living in the past or the future. Even during this time I have been focusing on what my life was like the last few years and where I am going now that that part of my life is over. He encouraged me to stop and focus on right now, today, this moment.

There is value in reviewing the past and learning from mistakes. I know there are things in the last two years that I didn’t do well and there are lessons to be taken in. And, I am sure God doesn’t want me to totally ignore the future. I will need to return to money making employment at some point and I should plan for that before I am facing a crisis. Learning and planning are important parts of life.

Lingering in the past or future, though, is not the way we were meant to live this life. In James we are encouraged to focus on today:

13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; 14whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

It’s easy to get caught up in what has or will happen and forget to enjoy life right now. Instead, now is the time to live in the moment.

PS - Coming soon - - pictures, stories, and thoughts from my trip to the heartland!! Moonshiners and ghosts involved!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome Home

Around the world Sunday morning is a time when families get up early, dress in their best clothes, and head off to church. For some it is a time honored tradition. For some it is a time to see all their friends. For some it is a time to learn and grow in the Lord.

Acts 2:1 encourages the reader to not forsake meeting together. Since the days Christ walked this earth His followers have met together to pray, to encourage, and to learn. This time of fellowship and study is important to the life of the Christian.

This Sunday morning I found myself sitting in the same pew in the same church I have attended for years; except for the last year that is. When life got busy, when my time was limited, and when things got tough I pulled into myself. My faith community always came from the church I have attended since late 2000. In pulling away I missed that community and I felt its absence although I tried to deny that.

I’ve struggled during the last year. Much of that struggling was done in solitude since I wasn’t keeping up with friends and I didn’t want to tell my family how hard life was for me. You know, life is hard for everyone so why should I add to their burden? So, I retreated into myself when I could to try to re-energize and renew. On the Meyer’s Briggs personality profile I am as much of an introvert as a person can get. I gather my energy from being by myself. It is my MO to want time to myself when I am stressed or frustrated. But, that quality isn’t always the best thing.

There is sweetness in my soul after returning to church this week. I was welcomed with open arms. The prodigal daughter returned and my friends didn’t care that I had been away; they were just glad to see me again. I sat there and was enthralled with the singing, the family life updates, and hearing the Pastor speak. It was an incredible feeling and I wondered why I had stayed away so long.

I forgot about Acts 2:1 and the importance of community. I plan to keep this lesson close to my heart in the months and years to come. So, on Sunday mornings if you need me you will more than likely find me there in that pew meeting together with other Christians.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting to Know You

I have been reading the Getting to Know You answers that Karina from Siestas and Cupcakes provides each week and have been dying to join in the fun. Getting to Know you is the brainchild of MannLand5.  Click the picture below to find out more and see other participants. Anyway, I had a few minutes today, so  I am jumping in.....

Getting to know YOU

1. Do you think mustaches are sexy?

Only combined with a little goatee.

2. What's the last concert you've been to?

Hmmm, I think that was Martina McBride.

3. What was your favorite 80's sitcom?

Bosom Buddies, seriously, after the Tom Hanks post you thought there might be some other favorite sitcom from the 80's!?!

4. Were you named after anyone?

Don't think so, but Dad does like to sing the old song, "Tammy, Tammy, Tammy's in love" to me. It was one of his favorites.

5. When you buy new clothes, do you wash before wearing?

Depends on the clothes....bras and underwear always before wearing, other stuff not always.

6. If you didn't blog, what would you do with your spare time?

Hmmmm, eat bon-bons and watch soap operas! No, not really, there are so many other more exciting things to do out there most of which I do plan to do at some point in my life.
7. What is your favorite department store?

I don't like to shop much but Super Target is my soul mate. Does that count as a department store!?

8. If you were to get Laser Hair Removal..where would you get it?
All the trouble spots 'cause I hate the razor!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

House on Fire

I recently found the Your Story contest on the Writer's Digest site. It runs every other month with a prompt for a short piece of writing. This month the editor gave the beginning of the first sentence and the last sentence. The writer was to create a story of less than 750 words using the given sentence prompts. I missed the deadline for entering the contest but thought it sounded like fun. So, here is my story with the given prompts highlighted....

House on Fire!

I never would have purchased this house if I’d known that a family of squirrels lived in the attic. They hid themselves well during the showing and inspections; crafty little devils. I first realized there was something wrong with the house right after I moved in.

The first night in the house I left my half eaten dinner on the counter. In the morning the food was gone and the salad dressing had been smeared all over the counter. No more subterfuge from the squirrels though I didn’t yet know that’s who was sharing my house. They made a bold move to let me know who they thought was boss and I wasn’t going to stand for that. I called the pest control guy.

Rodney arrived in a cloud of cologne surrounding him like a Mumu dress. He poked around the kitchen, the back yard and even the attic. “Ma’am, ain’t nothing here that I can see. Maybe you left the window open and something wandered in.”

Four hundred dollars and that’s the conclusion. So the second night I prowled around the house before bed and made sure everything was shut up tight. I loved my new house and wasn’t going to be scared away by some little critters. Dreams of home improvement projects danced through my head like sugar plums on Christmas Eve. However my bliss was short lived. A slithering feeling on my face brought me full awake in the wee hours. Rolling over to check the time I came face to face with a squirrel. Who knew that I could screech so loud!

The squirrel jumped onto the floor between me and the door. He chattered away and shook his tiny paw at me. Then he turned and scampered away. I ran after him, but when I rounded the corner into the living room he was gone; just vanished.

The next day Rodney and his cologne cloud returned. “There is a squirrel in my house and I want you to find him and get rid of him. Today.”

I followed Rodney around as he did his inspection, not taking any chances he would goof up again today. After hours of poking through all my belongings and tapping on walls he declared. “There ain’t no squirrel in this here house. I think you might have been dreaming it, but I did plug some holes around the garage and set some traps in the attic.” He took me up to the attic and showed me what looked like mouse traps.

I was disgusted with his attempts. “I am not paying you one more dime for your services until you catch a squirrel in one of these pathetic traps.”

“Fair ‘nuff.” Scratching his head he left. Little did I know I would never see him again.

I slept peacefully that night and in the morning had renewed hope. I wandered through the house and saw nothing amiss. In the kitchen I put coffee on and went to get the paper off the porch. There on the door mat was one of those dang mouse trap contraptions, but no squirrel. I suspected Rodney was playing a trick on me, but when I called his supervisor I was told that he no longer worked there. Over the next week I found traps strategically placed on the toilet seat, the coffee table, the dressing table. I sat up all night waiting for the squirrels. They never appeared, but later I would find nuts and things hidden around the house. I called another pest control company to no avail. It appeared the squirrels were going to outsmart the whole human race.

A month passed. I spent my remaining savings on pest control but the pests remained. They became bolder, no longer waiting until nighttime to play their tricks. They brazenly took over my house. I began to see two, then three and then more of them at a time. Once I came into the living room to find rodents with bushy tails everywhere. They sat three deep on the couch. The recliner was covered with them. A huge one on the coffee table had his paw on the TV remote and was channel surfing. The chattering was horrendous.

That was when I knew they had won. The rodents would never let me live in this house alone. That’s why tomorrow I’m setting it on fire.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Unhindered Spirit

The Beatitudes

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ~Matthew 5:1-12

Oswald Chambers writes in his classic My Utmost for His Highest, “The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations – it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.”

Living the beatitudes is as simple as allowing the Holy Spirit to infiltrate our lives. Wow, did I just say that? Doesn’t it seem that there really isn’t anything simple about letting the Spirit have His way? We humans often have a hard time with the most important part of our relationship – letting go and letting the Holy Spirit take over. Well, maybe that’s just me, but I suspect there are other humans out there that have this same problem. We put so many blocks and try end runs to hinder His work. It would be so much easier if we would just stop fighting for control.

If you can relate to this, are you willing to allow Him to have His unhindered way in you? It’s a tough question – I know, I’ve been asking it of myself since reading Chambers’ words. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s that my humanness gets in the way.