Friday, October 30, 2009

The Postman Cometh

Day before yesterday, this arrived in my mailbox:

So today, this is my kitchen table:

"My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You. When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. " Isaiah 26:9

Be blessed this weekend,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Midweek Mary Moment

A word of hope for you this week...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bibliophiles Unite!

After posting a few of my favorite books the other day, I started thinking how it appears that my reading material is about as fluffy as cool whip. On that particular day, I had no thoughts deeper than a teacup. At any other time, however, it is impossible for me to name all the books I've enjoyed. The list just keeps growing. Being in the library is like Templeton the Rat going to the fair; it's a veritable smorgasbord of delights. Contrary to what the content of my first book list would suggest, I do read meaningful books on occasion. ;-) (Though I love a good laugh, meaningful or not.) So without further ado, I bring you my incomplete list of "deep water" books:

1) The Holy Wild by Mark Buchanan: This book is an insightful, elegantly written study of the character of God and,specifically, His trustworthiness in each of those traits. I've read so many portions to my Sunday School class that half of them can quote it with me. His treatment of the Good Samaritan will change how you read that parable forever; once Buchanan points out the grammatical problem with the common interpretation, his perspective seems so obvious that it seems amazing that I'd never caught it before. Are you intrigued? You should be.

2)The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges: Ouch. Convicting and challenging.

3) Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper: Piper's a South Carolina native, albeit from the city, so I hope he wouldn't be offended by my country-girl compliment: this book needs to be chewed like a cow nursing a cud. (Anyone else know what I'm talking about? Anyone?) Read this book and think about it. Not to be taken lightly.

4) Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose: The best Christian biography I bet you haven't read.

5) A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place, The Patriarchs, and Jesus the One and Only ...and anything else by Beth Moore. 'Nuff said.

6) Captivating by Stasi and John Elderidge : Every woman should read this book.

I'm not done, but I'll stop.

Just a Few Non-fluffy Fictional Faves
1) Peace Like a River and So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger: I have no idea if Enger is a Christian, but these beautiful books certainly suggest a Biblical worldview. Loved them.

2) The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo: Yes, I know these were written for 10 year olds. Who cares? Borrow someone's kids and read them these exquisite stories. Again, I don't know if DiCamillo is a believer, but these are almost allegorical to the Christian reader.

What's on your reading list? Share a favorite or two!

Here's to a cup of tea and good read,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Frugal Fashionista Fun/Blogging Nightmare

*Unskilled Blogger Alert...Jen's marvelously helpful mini tutorial on linking has encouraged me to try linking with her Frugal Fashionista party at Beauty and Bedlam. (I think I did that part right!) However, every picture I've tried to post has inserted itself at the top of this post, not in the place I wanted it. If I don't figure out what I am doing soon, this will either be a) a picture-less post, where you simply imagine the cuteness of these outfits, or b) the weirdest blog post ever, with all the pictures at the top, so you can keep scrolling up and down to match the descriptions to the outfit, or c) the non-existent blog-post, in which I give up, go make myself another cup of coffee, and try to come up with some sort of profound post that was really what I intended to write about today after all, really.

Here goes nothing...As I have been trying to tell you for the last 30 minutes before this ridiculous computer so rudely interrupted me (Hmm...why does that line sound familiar? Oh, wait, I have pubescent people in my house.), I have discovered a treasure trove of thrift stores in my neck of the woods over the past year. Spray paint, soap, and water solve a myriad of issues. With three females in my house and a teeney-tiny clothing budget, we need all the creative options we can get. Hence, my thrifty excursions.
I'm sold.
I've worn better brand names in the past year than I've worn my entire life. My husband was complimenting one of my thrifted outfits last week and joked, "One day someone is going to come up to you and say,' I used to have a skirt just like that,'" to which I replied, " And I will tell them, ' I paid a lot less for it than you did!'"

Outfit #1

(Ah ha! I did it!! Yes, it is in a goofy location and is not centered! It is also NOT at the top of the page! YES!) Denim jacket: $2.00, black turtleneck sweater: $2.00, black crocheted skirt in my favorite bohemian style (goes with my bohemian hair) w/ Steinmart $40 tag still attached: $5.00. Favorite cross necklace: gift. Total: $9.00.

Outfit #2Brown Ralph Lauren sweater: $2.00, wonderfully thick cozy vest: $8.00, which I know does not qualify as a huge thrifting score, but the fabric and color are luscious. Necklace: gift. Total: $10.00.
I am still on the look-out for jeans that fit. You will hear me shouting if I ever find them.
BTW, thrifting is the way to go for teens who wear nothing but jeans. Trust me on this.

Since posting this was utterly exhausting, I think I'll go have that other cup of coffee. Jen, I so hope I get the 2nd part of linking down pat. It won't be your fault if I fail. I am recovering from the Infamous Photo Fight.
Happy Thrifting,

PS Could someone share how you are really supposed to post internal pics? I am quite sure that I did it the hard way. Or, since we are talking technology here, maybe the hard way is the right way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Midweek Mary Moment

One of my two hundred favorite songs...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Flavors to Savor

*In my quest to learn bloggy skills, I am going to attempt to link this to Jen's Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Very cool blog!*

At our house, we love food. All those I-just-eat-to-live people leave us scratching our heads in wonder. Who doesn't savor the nuances of seasonings, the luscious textures, the endless variety? (Kinda reminds me of the rat in Ratatouille as he rhapsodizes over chimney/lightening smoked cheese.) Each season brings new favorites. Spring's first tender asparagus, summer's tomatoes, squash, and tiny field peas, winter's hardy beef stews. This week, we were discussing our fall flavor favorites, and choosing just a few was impossible. Last night's easy-peasy but yummy combination won out for today's post.

Smoked Sausage Stir-fry
(serves approximately four, but I really just eyeball this)

1 package turkey smoked sausage, sliced
3 tart apples, sliced (we like Winesap or Arkansas Black, but more common Granny Smith or Gala would work as well)
1/2 small cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1 tsp. dried rosemary or 1 tbl. fresh
1/2 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray, or melt a little butter. Saute turkey slices lightly until beginning to brown. Add apple slices and onion. When the apples and onions start to carmelize and soften slightly, add the cabbage and seasonings, stir-frying until cabbage is tender-crisp.
This one-dish meal is good with cornbread. Sometimes I throw in a bell pepper or substitute chicken breasts for the smoked sausage.

So how about you? What dishes mean fall is here at your house? Since I eat everything except brussel sprouts (and my hubby and DD#1 eat those), we'll probably try it and add it to our long list of favorites.

Hope your day is blessed with much to enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Migraine Ramblings

Today I am home with no car. That means that, even if I wanted to, I can't go anywhere because my only choice is the truck with a faulty fuel injector. This is actually good news, because today is a migraine day. Not the full-fledged tomahawk headache (that was yesterday), but the I'm-okay-as-long-as-I-don't-move-too-fast headache. Bleck.

Which means I'm boring. Sorry.

I wanted to do some sort of funny, clever post after a few days of deep thoughts. Deep thoughts are impossible today; they hurt. Unfortunately, clever hurts today, too. Since brain mush is the best I can do, today I serve you the infamous 10 Random Things post:

1. I reread books. The Mitford series by Jan Karon is my all-time favorite reread. I go through them about once a year. If you haven't read them, you must. It's important.

2. I have also reread Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy and Rosemunde Pilcher's fluffy but sweet books numerous times. Very British.

3. Favorite wickedly funny book: Dorthy Cannell's The Thin Woman, and the rest of the Ellie Haskell series. Very British. Very corny. You are my friend if you like these. (And what is not to like about books with titles like Bridesmaids Revisited and The Importance of Being Ernestine ?)

4. On that note, I love corny jokes. Recently I spotted this bumper sticker: "Support bacteria. It's the only culture we've got left." I laughed. DD#1 rolled her eyes.

5. Just thinking about laughing made my head hurt.

6. My bucket list: 1) Learn to take pictures like King Au (Have you seen his work in Life Beautiful? It will make you salivate.) 2) Visit the British Isles 3) Go to Australia 4) Learn to play the cello...and the banjo.)

7. Chocolate chip cookies are the BEST dessert ever. Umm. Raspberries and good French roast coffee complete me.

8. My husband is my favorite person in the whole wide world. I really love him, and I really, really like him. A lot.

9. Turning 40 brought great confidence and freedom. It's a good life season.

10. If you are still reading this, I like you a lot, too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Our Sunday School class has been working our way through A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place, Beth Moore's study on the tabernacle. It's one of my top two, y'all. My all-time favorite is Patriarchs, but this one is the closest of close seconds.

This morning I read this:
"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,but a body You prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings You were not pleased. Then I said, Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll--I have come to do Your will, O God. " Hebrews 10:5-7

...Can you imagine the excruciating transformation of going from having absolutely no limitations to being imprisoned inside about 170 pounds of human flesh? How many times do you suppose He would have liked to burst out of that tent and to unleash His awesome power? We have nothing to compare to the confinement of omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God in the flesh."

Oh, my. No, I cannot imagine.

How much time do I spend puffing myself up, trying to make my life seem bigger, more significant....while the Creator of the Universe, Who can speak things into existence, zippered the fullness of the Godhead into the oh-so-inconceivably-much-smaller body of an ordinary man?

A body prepared by God the Father.

On purpose.

Before the foundation of the world.

Just to tabernacle here, so that one day you and I will be with Him there.

In the video Indescribable, Louie Giglio quotes an astronomer who was astonished at a photo of Earth taken from millions of light-years away. This scientist notes, "Every life that has ever been lived happened on a dust mote caught in a sunbeam."

We are smaller than Horton's Who.

He is bigger than anything my mind can conceive, because we have nothing to compare to the confinement of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God in the flesh.

Some days I take myself too seriously. I need to know that I don't just feel small, I am small.

That's why Paul was able to call his suffering a "momentary light affliction." He remembered the size of his God. Then he got a view of life's troubles that was like looking through binoculars backward; things that were looming large were shrunk down.

He got perspective. I need some, too.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A People Person

I want to thank you all for your encouragement! We are still praying about this decision; if you think of me on Thursday, please pray! I will be in a meeting that day about the temporary position.

DD#2 just walked by the computer and said, " That's a pretty picture!" I was happy to tell her that it is one she took of our fall arrangements. She's tickled to be a published photographer. Her creative soul was blessed to " fallify" our house for our guests Friday night. The last of the cosmos, the first of the leaves. Together they made beautiful harmony.

So did our friends. One of the wonderful, humbling privileges of being part of our praise team is the opportunity to work and worship with some folks that have been blessed with great talent. That ability was put to dubious use playing Encore. Have you played that game? It is tons of fun if your guests aren't shy! Teams battle to see who can remember the most songs that belong in particular categories (i.e. songs about cars) or have a certain word in them (like yes or school). Since we had everything from pre-teens to aging hippies among us, the selections ranged from "My Darling Clementine" to the national anthem of Columbia (one guest grew up in Bogata)!

We have several bags of leftover chicken taco meat in the freezer.

All that fun, food, and fellowship got me thinking about the hurdles our modern lives place in the path to hospitality. Relationships take work, but the rewards far outweigh the effort. The people who came to our home are vital to our spiritual well-being. They lead us in worship, encourage us, challenge us. It shouldn't take me months to get around to thanking them.

How about you? Does hospitality come easily to you these days, or are you struggling to fit that in among your other obligations?

I want to get better at making pockets of time for relationship-building. I want connections--both in cyberspace and face-to-face--that reflect the heart of Christ toward others, because the bottom line is this: people matter.

They matter so much to Christ that He gave His life for them.
They matter so much that He lives to intercede for them.

The least I can do is make them a chicken taco.

Or write them a note.

Or remember their name, for goodness sake-- something that is increasingly difficult with the onset of peri-menapause.

Because you matter.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Seasons Changing

Last week, I finished Phase I of my least favorite household job: switching out one season's clothing for the next. I despise this job. It's messy, with piles for keeping and piles for giving away littering the bedroom floors. Invariably it leads to moments of indecision: do I want to keep that blouse? Have I gained too much weight to keep those jeans? Is that sweater hopelessly out of style?
My reward for completing this task is that first morning when I put on my favorite sweats and drink my coffee sitting in my rocking chair snuggled under a fluffy throw. Summer is officially over; autumn has arrived.

I thought about this transition between seasons when we studied the Israelites' disobedience at the doorway to the Promised Land. Instead of trusting God's oft-repeated word, they chose doubt, unbelief, and rebellion. They were stuck in perpetual transition and never received the blessing of inheritance that God had offered them. Warren Wiersbe's commentary of these events begins with a powerful statement: " It is a dangerous thing to trifle with the will of God." Not an uncomfortable thing. Not a worrisome thing. A dangerous thing. It made me wonder... no, it made me cry out to Him in prayer. How often am I cavelier with decisions? How often do I believe I can postpone God indefinitely, until I'm a little more comfortable with what He's saying? I want so desperately to be in the exact center of His will.

This week, my husband and I have to make a decision. On the surface, it is small and of temporary consequence. It would generate some much needed income and open doors for future opportunity. It also could mean much upheaval and misery in the short term. I wonder, is this God's provision, or is it a distraction, something to throw us off the course of what God seems to be on the brink of bringing about at our house? Though a small decision, it seems a dangerous one.

This is the place where faith and obedience meet. We are praying for a clear answer and decisive circumstances thoughout this week. We want to step into our Canaan with our feet firmly planted on His path, following our God Who is good but not safe.

( The will of God. How's that for a profound topic? Next week, I'll choose something simple, like election or speaking in tongues. )


Sunday, October 11, 2009


Add Image"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you."
Joshua 3:5

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Martha Days

Oh, my. I might be officially addicted. I keep sneaking back to this blog every few hours to check for comments. They might be my new love language.

Yesterday I did not post because I spent from 12:00 noon to 7:00 last night running errands. That's right. Seven. Hours. I just about came unglued, people. Unglued. At 9:00 last night, I was fast asleep. Ten hours later, I got up and made these:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
2 T. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110*to 115*)
4 eggs
1 cup shortening
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup warm milk (110* to 115*)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1/3 cup instant butterscotch pudding mix
1 tsp salt
7-8 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
3 T water
2T butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the next nine ingredients and 6 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. It will be sticky.
Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Roil out each portion into a 12x8 rectangle.
Brush with butter. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of dough. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, starting on a long edge. Cut into 12 slices. Place cut side down in two greased 13x9 inch pans. cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350* for 22-28 minutes or until golden brown. In a small mixing bowl, combine the water, butter, and cinnamon. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Spread over buns. Serve warm.

You will need 10 hours of sleep to attempt these. They are my husband's love language. After being the unglued mom yesterday, I owed them to my family. They might make even the non-Southerners among us beside themselves. Try them if you really want to impress your family over the holidays...or if you need to earn brownie points after going over the edge.

I was overrun with errands because we are hosting our church's praise team for supper Friday night. Fourteen people will be eating at my house. Fourteen. People. Tomorrow I'll attempt my first picture post of all the marvelous fall decor my girls and I created today. Eventually, I will have something profound to write about, but yesterday and today were Martha days. My goal tomorrow is to be a Mary, and enjoy sweet fellowship with our guests.

Praying for Mary moments for you this weekend as well.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cast of Characters

Last night a discussion ensued at my house about bloggy pen names. In the interest of internet security (and to save my kids any unnecessary humiliation), my husband and I decided that rest of the family would remain somewhat anonymous. My first thought was to call my girls by their nicknames. I LOVE nicknames; we just add to the growing list of them periodically. Consequently, my kids were to be known as Mel and Squeak. I failed to take into consideration that one of my kids is 13, and that means everything I do is embarassing.

"Do you," she asked her sister, " really want to be known all over cyberspace as Squeak?" The younger one pondered this.

"At least it's not 'Doodles' or 'Munchkin'."

This went on for a while. Though it is tempting at this point to refer to them as "Thing One" and Thing Two", we have settled, for the time being, on DD#1 (short for "Darling Daughter") and DD#2.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the folks who rock my world! (Actually, they are my world.) Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Big Red is my husband. He picked his handle all by himself. This should tell you quite a lot about him already. He is God's gift to me. As a teacher and coach, the Lord is using him to shape the lives of boys who don't have a loving father, and I am immensely proud of him. We laugh, we talk, we argue, we adore one another. He's my best friend.
is officially a teenager. She is funny and smart and insightful, and when she remembers that teens are allowed to use words other than "stupid" or "unfair" or "amazing", she is one of the most interesting people I know. God has taken this child on a fast track; in many ways she has had more than her share of trials, but He has begun a good work in her, and He will be faithful to complete it. She loves children and books and her small group at church. She wants to be a nurse, and she will be fantastic at that.
DD#2 in those golden years between lower elementary and teendom. She is independent and thoughtful and shy. She is a born encourager; we say sometimes that DD#1 might cure cancer, but DD#2 will hold your hand when you've got it. She wants to be something new every day: an author, an artist, a missionary, a preschool teacher. None of those things precludes the others, so I say, go for it, girlfriend. When she doesn't have her nose in a book by herself, she still lets me read to her. This child is directly responsible for this blog's existence, so let's add persistant to her list of characteristics!
Frisky is the dog. He weighs about 45 lbs and sheds dramatically, so if I pet him, he gets in my lap. I pet him cautiously if I don't have time to change clothes.
Greyley is the cat. She and Big Red have a grudging respect for each other, because he is bigger, but she is the superior hunter. She and I get along fine; she sniffs approvingly at her Walmart brand Urinary Health cat food, and I leave the room with all the dignity of an English butler.
That's our wild household. Nice to meet you!

PS Clueless Blogger Question #2: How do you add links to other blogs on your sidebar? The other blogs I read have about a zillion followers already, but I'd like to do this just for fun.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dwelling Place

I am, as we say in the South, beside myself. Thank you, blog friends, for your sweet words of encouragement. My husband said, " You are officially a techie, Ginger. You have cyber-friends."
Techie and my name should never be used in the same sentence, but I am delighted that the second part is true!

Naming a blog is a bit like naming a child. We contend that God named our children; both of them have names that suit their personalities to a T. I am praying that God named this blog, and that it will somehow develop a personality fitting with its title. "Dwelling in the House" is taken from Psalm 27, one of my favorites. Back in the late 80's, I discovered Christian radio (when I was 10--NOT), and loved a song based closely on the words of the Psalm.
" One thing I ask of the Lord
One thing will I seek,
Simply to dwell in the house of the Lord
All my days.
To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
And to seek Him in His temple
Where no foe can cause me harm..."
I can't remember who sang this, but I still break into song whenever I get to those verses.

As I have spent some time in Psalm 27, I have grown to love verse 8, especially in the New Living Translation: " My heart hears You say, "Come and talk with Me," and my heart responds, " Lord, I am coming!"
I want those words to be true for me every day.
So in one sense, this blog is my accountability partner, a daily reminder to be seeking His face, truly dwelling in His house. I can't write under that heading without being convicted of where I am actually living out my life.
In another way, however, this blog is about dwelling in my house, the place God has placed me to be the light of His glory in a earthen vessel. It will probably reflect the messy, mixed-up, bumbling way that we live as spouses, parents, and believers. I might share a recipe or decorating idea I stole from some other wildly creative blogger. I'll tell you when God knocks me over with the hugeness of His character.
It will be a place for this former English teacher to hone her writing skills, since she started every sentence in that last paragraph with the letter "I".
No matter what this blog turns out to be when it grows up, I pray it is a place where you can come when you want seek His face and dwell in His house with someone else on the same journey, and we can help each other hear His beautiful voice.

Walking with you,

PS Clueless Blogger Question #1 (of many): How do you add that cutie-patootie thing at the end of your blog for a signature? I love the wallpaper I found at Shabby Blogs ( and was beside myself when I actually got it on my blog), but I didn't see anything about how to do the sign-off thing. Suggestions?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Belated Bloggy Birthday or Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

I confess.
I'm nervous.
I feel like a middle-schooler at dance.
In my heart I'm dancing, but my feet won't move.
What if someone laughs at me? What if I make a complete fool of myself?
What if no one ever reads this and I'm just making a fool out of myself into cyber-air?

A year ago, I barely knew what a blog was, and when I did figure that much out, I never expected to become a blogger. I mean really, does anyone care what I had for breakfast (raisin toast), what my kids did this week (made me laugh, encouraged me to write this post, occasionally got on my nerves), or even what God is speaking to me (trust me on this one, Ginger)? I'm still not sure about that.
But I am sure of this.
Many of you bloggers out there have made me care what your kids did this week, what God is speaking to you about, and even, every now and again, what you had for breakfast.
After stalking the LPM blog for several months, I randomly clicked on a link and discovered a whole sisterhood of Christ followers, hungry for the Word, sorting out big and small life issues, and fellowshipping with a whole host of wonderful, encouraging "imaginary" friends who'd never laid eyes on each other.
What an amazing invention, the blog.

There is much I don't know yet.
How to give a huge linky shout-out to His Princess and Leah over at the Point for being willing to follow me before I even wrote a post!
How to link you to some of my other favorite imaginary friends on the Web.
How to post a picture of myself...or maybe a picture of the incredible cosmos in my yard, which is way more photogenic than I.

I'll figure it out. I'll follow my sweet, encouraging daughter's advice:"Mama, leave comments and ASK FOR HELP!"

In the meantime, I'm still praying and asking the Lord to take this blog on the same wide ride He's been taking our family on for a while now. May He use it for His glory.
For Your Name and Your renown is the desire of my heart.

Looking forward to meeting you,