On Eagle's Wings

On Eagle's Wings
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31


Saturday, September 21, 2013

More About Summer Vacation :-)

Remember writing those themes? Well, here I am still reminiscing about what we did this summer, organizing pics, that kind of thing, (and already DH is trying to plan our next one). 

The length of our recent vacation was 14 days. About halfway through, I was ready to come home and told myself (more than once) that two weeks is too long to be away from home.

On the other hand, the trip seemed too short-lived. When you do a vacation tour with a guide, a group of people and a specific itinerary, you don't really, really get the chance to thoroughly and completely soak in the sights. It is so brief. "Get off the bus, folks, take a pic, look around for a few minutes, check out the gift shop, and then we're moving on." They really don't quite put it that way, but still  ...

There were a few days that extra time was allotted to us. We had a little more freedom when we got off the bus to walk around (away from the guide and the others), stay for a little while, take in the sunshine ... (perfect weather every day) and the views ... (breathtaking.)

We saw a lot of sights along the way, and heard the history, which was both informative and interesting.

But when I'm riding along and see a beautiful forest,
I want to stop and walk through it.

The sight of a clear lake brings a desire to sit beside it,
maybe skip rocks,
take a swim, or row a boat.

The mountains beg to be climbed
(by someone other than me.)

I need to wade in the creek as we did when we were kids ...

take time to explore a path
(if I had more than a few minutes).

Maybe even hug a tree?
I've done whitewater canoeing and rafting.
Wonder what it would be like to go freely over a waterfall
without danger and then float on down the river?
My thinking during those moments was
heaven will be a place
where we can do all those things,
and so much more than we can imagine
unhindered by time constraints, location, or physical limitations (age).
It's just fun to think about all the endless possibilities.
He has planted eternity in the human heart.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Linking to A Rural Journal for the Random 5 inviting you to share 5 random facts about you, your day, your pets, your kids, whatever!

1. Last night a storm came in and brought with it MUCH NEEDED and wonderful rain. Ahhhhhhh, so refreshing. We opened the window and listened to the sound of thunder and rain. Only little glitch is trying to get the dog to go outside and TCB.

2. Up early this morning to work on my Bible study. Went outside in the rain with my dog, Trudy, who very promptly did what needed to be done and came back in for a treat! Yay! Trudy!

3. Birthday lunch yesterday (Mexican food) with one of my long time friends, and now looking forward to lunch again today (more Mexican food) with more dear friends.
Blessed, blessed, blessed am I.

4. Having my frustrations with the computer. Trying to download a study and make a DVD. I don't make DVDs often enough to remember the steps each time.

5. Ta-da!!! DVD completed! Now for a shower and dress for my outing with friends.

Hope everyone has a great day!
My little ditty for my Texas friends today.
 ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
Rain, rain, you've come today.
We won't ask you to go away.
Would be so nice if you could stay
Just one more day, for this we pray.
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Here are my answers to this week's indulging in the Hodgepodge from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. You can answer the questions on your own blog then link with Joyce and the others to read everybody else's answers. 
1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

We sang happy birthday to our granddaughter in August. Our grandkids sang happy birthday to me back in May for my birthday. I have friends who call me on my birthday and sing. Although I don’t like being the center of attention, I do love for the grandkids to sing to me.

2.  Name a famous or 'infamous' person (living or deceased) who shares your birth day and month. Is that someone you'd like to meet in person if it were possible?

I see that Bob Seger was born on my birthday. Although I don’t need to meet him, I think it might be fun to have him sing to me. Roma Downey also shares my birthday. I think I would like to meet her and discuss her shows - the Bible and Touched by An Angel. It would be interesting to hear how the decisions are made in writing the scripts and producing these shows and her thoughts on taking liberties with the Bible.

3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow...what are you hoping to find inside?

Growing up it was always my hope to find a pair of roller rink skates in any box that was big enough to hold them. These days I’m thankful that there are people who care enough about me to give me a box tied up in a lovely bow. Gift cards to the book store are always welcome.  

4. What can you guarantee about yourself?
I will be there early or on time.

5. Talking art and beautiful cities here...'The Last Supper' in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan Italy or 'The Mona Lisa' in The Louvre, Paris...which would you most like to see up close and in person?  Why?

Would choose to see The Mona List in The Louvre since I missed it when we were there. It’s just pleasant to look at. (But it's probably not going to happen since I have no desire to return to either place.)

6. Your favorite dessert?

Choose one??????? Coconut cream pie with whipped cream - no meringue (we call it "calf slobber").
Chocolate pie, brownies with ice cream and hot fudge, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, or bread pudding.

7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)...what is something you do to get ready for fall? What is one thing you're looking forward to on your fall calendar? Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

I have a tablecloth and a garland of leaves for decoration. I just don't do decorating, except at Christmas.
Though I love Spring and all the beauty of it, there is something about Fall that just feels so cozy and warm. It’s a break from the horrible heat where we live, a crispness in the air-I feel energized-there’s the hope of rain or maybe even snow.  It’s football season for the guys and that means Sunday afternoons of listening to the excitement in the living room in front of the TV while I take a nap or read a book. Time to invite friends over for chili, soup, beans and cornbread, etc. The colors are gorgeous and there is the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. So much excitement! Also, I was married in October and remember everything about the joy of that day. I could go on and on.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My random thought today is the sadness of the tragedies that are happening in this nation. I think everyone else feels this way, too. I pray that God will have mercy on us.
On a lighter note, when the questions ask for my favorite something, wish I could really narrow it down to just one thing. :-)

Thank you, Joyce.
And a very happy, happy birthday to you.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Without Fail

Every Sunday morning ... 9:00 a.m., without fail, there will be a pot of coffee and some sort of breakfast goodies on a table set up in the room where our Second Wind Life Group meets.

We rotate the duty each week so that everybody gets a turn at providing the treats for our class. Now, every time I sign up for this voluntary duty, I think, this week I will do something different. So, I diligently take the time to pore over recipes, Googling this and that, looking at and drooling over different breakfast cookies, muffins, coffeecakes, etc. This week I found a recipe that sounds so good: French Breakfast Muffins(I have got to take time to make these!)

And then when Saturday has come and it's time to bake, what do you think? Without fail, I go to my standard offering:

Sour Cream Bundt Coffee Cake
(I sprinkle mine with powdered sugar, but have also put glaze on it.)
I found this recipe a couple of years ago and the reviewer promised that it would be so moist, I wouldn't even need a cup of coffee! That is just what I was looking for (cannot afford to waste calories on a dry cake), and my pantry had all the ingredients needed to bake it. This is a recipe that has always come through, without fail. DH craves it and begs me to bake one. So, invariably, that is what I end up bringing when it's my turn. (Not only is it tasty, but without fail, it is always a "pretty" cake, and our sweet daughter-in-law called it "the bomb." Once I did try the Barefoot Contessa's sour cream coffee cake, which did bomb for me, but I will tell you that eating the failure was a true delight. Need to try that one again.)

So now my cake is in the oven and it will soon be time to pull it out. It has always come easily out of the pan without fail and then it will be time for the pleading. (DH knows I will always give in to him so he can "make sure it ain't poison.")

I love making this cake for our life group ... over the years they have been a group of friends you could count on without fail. Through thick and thin, troubles and trials, heartaches and happiness, they have encouraged, lifted up, prayed, and been "just plain fun" to be with throughout the years.

Here are a few of the guys from our group. The cake on this particular occasion was for the wedding of one of the couples in our group. Their love and appreciation for Second Wind was so great that they wanted to have their wedding on Sunday morning! Sweet! That is just one of the many examples of the caring and sharing that goes on here without fail!

Wow! I hit publish.
Then realized I failed to mention that the one this class is centered upon:
Jesus Christ!
He never fails.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Heat Goes On!

Whew!!! It's still so hot outside it makes me tired. Soon it will be Fall, so I won't rant and rave and complain about the heat because I know cool weather will come any day now. Hopefully, the cooler weather will bring with it enough rain to bring our lake level back up to normal because it is our source of water, and is now 7 feet below what it should be. 

Checking out weather forecasts frequently and finding even 30% chance of rain excites me!

I hope, hope, hope ... and pray for rain.

I am very thankful (and I stay thankful) for the abundance of water that we so often take for granted. First thing in the morning, a hot shower relieves me after a good night’s sleep, or refreshes me when I come in from working in the yard. I can satisfy my thirst at any time, wash my hair whenever I want, and keep our yard watered sufficiently (although we are on water restrictions, at least we can water a couple of days a week).

It wasn't that long ago that the convenience of running water and indoor plumbing were luxuries to most of our parents and grandparents (at least mine, that is). The lack of those things brings to my mind the summer when my cousin Charlene and I stayed with my Grandpa and Grandma McCoy for a few days.

My grandparents lived in the country in a farm house which had no indoor plumbing. All the water was drawn from the well behind the house and, in the back room, there was a bucket with a ladle (or dipper) in it. That was drinking water for everybody!!! When you were thirsty, just go to the bucket, grab the dipper, take a big swig and PUT THE DIPPER BACK in the bucket!!! Oh my. I don't think that would fly now. :-(

That particular summer day stands out in my memory because Charlene and I had played all afternoon, and came indoors hot and sweaty as only 8 year olds can. (I think it goes without saying that the house wasn't that much cooler, although it did provide relief from the blazing sun!) There was no place to take a bath! My very bold cousin went straight to the bucket, stripped off her clothes, pulled out the dipper, and began to pour water all over herself. Being a very modest person, I was shocked! But never will I forget the visual of the relief and joy on her face as she stood there in the altogether being refreshed by the water and her delight as she poured it over her head and body.

There are times in my life when it feels as though I am going through a dry spell and need more refreshment than usual. Hot wouldn't be a way to describe that as much as feeling weary, parched and thirsty in a very dry land.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2.

My relief I find in Jesus and His Word. When He asked the Samaritan woman at the well for water, (John 4), her response to Him sparked a conversation with the One who could offer water that would quench her thirst forever. While the water at the well (or from the faucet or bucket) will temporarily refresh and satisfy our thirst, the "living water" He offered becomes in us a “spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Whoever will drink of that water will never be thirsty again.

Because of Jesus and what He did for me, when I am dry and thirsty, I can go to Him at any time, drink from that well and be satisfied. Ephesians even says that that I am “washed” in the water of His Word--He makes [the Church] “holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Ephesians 5:26. Like Charlene, I can be washed by the water of His Word for refreshment. Really, the best part is that I don’t have to “wait” until I’m dry and panting. I fill myself daily with drinking water to keep my body hydrated. Immersing myself each day in the water of God’s Word keeps me hydrated spiritually. I desperately need it - it never ceases to amaze me how life can leave us spattered and grimy with the  daily things. World events, daily news, hurtful words, mean thoughts, thoughtless actions, and so on can harden my heart if left unchecked and unwashed.

Thank You Jesus that Your Word, coupled with Your Spirit, will wash over us and bring refreshment ... and peace, like nothing else can.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Trudy

After our sweet dog Allie passed in 2001,
a search began that September to adopt another one 
 "just like Allie."
Visits to different pet shelters, and traveling all over the metroplex,
always left us feeling disappointed. 
A lot of time was spent viewing pics online until I (not DH) finally settled on a dog named Rex,
who didn't look anything like Allie, but he was a Schnauzer mix at least.
When we went to check out Rex, Dear Heart said an emphatic no. 
After describing and showing a pic of Allie to the Richardson Humane Society rep,
we left our phone number with her, and went to lunch. 
Just as our food arrived, the phone rang.
It was the RHS lady calling to tell us that,
as we were driving away, a little girl and her Mom had walked up with this cutie.
(I felt sad for the little girl who cried and cried because Mom
wouldn't let her keep the dog that she had named Trudy.)

While she seemed quite docile on the way home and in the house (even somewhat boring), we found out very quickly that Trudy was not boring, she was a people person and a "bolter." A door cracked open meant she needed to run. Many times at the beginning, I had to run like the dickens (usually barefoot) through the neighborhood to catch her, and many times, Dear Heart had to get in the car and drive around until he found her.

Trudy enjoyed several years of being the center of attention until the first grandchild came along. Then another, then two more who actually stayed at our house often and took priority over her. I have to say that Trudy has been a real trooper through all these changes in her life tolerating noises, banging, love pats, kisses, etc.

Trudy has a few little quirks about her, too. She has to take a nap with DH every day. She stands and waits for me to make up her bed each night before she will get in, she will stop and scratch the carpet, then sniff, which always causes me to wonder, hmmmm, what in the world is she thinking or smelling? (Even worse, what has traveled there before?) She always joins me in the kitchen when I am cooking, and then very politely stands at a little distance from the table while we eat knowing a very small bite from each of our plates will be saved for her.

Now, at 14, though her joints are stiff, cataracts cloud her eyes, her hearing may be off just a tad, this dog still can, when inspired, run like the wind.

"Tell me again why there's a limit on treats ...
'cause I don't agree."


Thursday, September 5, 2013

No matter how far I roam

There's no place like home.

We've been on vacation for the last two weeks. I've tried to keep up with everyone's blogs, but most of the time, it just wasn't possible because we didn't have much access to the Internet.

Our trip was interesting, fun, sometimes tiresome, traveled with some nice people, just about wore our eyes out looking at God's gorgeous creation, and I have lots of photos, but will only share bore you with a few.

First day we spent at the airport waiting - waiting for mechanical things to be done to our plane. I don't understand why in these instances they can't just bring out a new plane. Finally done and we were on our way to our first stop: Chicago and the Palmer House Hotel. What a relief! By the time we arrived, it was waaayyyy past our bedtime, so this was truly an inviting and welcome sight.

Palmer House lobby
What a beautiful hotel.

Next morning, a quick look around Chicago before we boarded our Amtrak headed for Salt Lake City. My advice to you: if you ever decide to take Amtrak for a 37 hour trip, get the bedroom! Don't settle for anything less. We were the envy of coach and roomette passengers. As Dear Heart said several times, "it's a good thing we didn't bring a cat, because there isn't enough room to swing one around that little bedroom." (And even less in the other accommodations.)

Two big bodies
two small beds
tiny little sink
tight squeeze in the bathroom.
Guess which big body got to sleep on the top bunk???
(Yes, that would be me ... the one who has to make 3 to 4 trips to the bathroom during the night.)

We departed Chicago on Monday, and arrived at our destination on Tuesday night around midnight! The Doubletree was ready for us, and we were sooooo glad to be there. (There are a lot of corn fields, deserts, and small towns between Chicago and Salt Lake City.)

First thing Wednesday morning, we had a tour of Salt Lake City, which was one of the nicest cities I've seen. Very clean, a profusion of flowers all over the city, and it looks like a great place to live. What a generous city it is, too. So much is free to the public, thanks to the generosity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! The history there is very interesting and we had a very knowledgeable guide, but I will let you visit and learn all about it! ;-)

Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City

We opted out of a visit to Temple Square, but had lunch at the Lion House Pantry. The Lion House was one of Brigham Young's homes.
See the lion statue over the entry to the house?
Brigham Young was known as the "Lion of the Lord."
photo credit
Flowers everywhere
I especially liked this:
"I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me, and
I will have faith in His eternal plan
which centers on Jesus Christ, my Savior."
A group of very nice ladies known as "sisters" (serving on a mission) served up lunch featuring authentic recipes that have been passed down through generations. Best part of the meal? The rolls.
I promise you can't eat just one of these! 
Recipe can be found right here
On our way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we stopped to visit the Oregon/California trail Center, where we learned about this historic pioneer route and experienced a simulated wagon train ride and heard all about the life of the pioneer.

Really thankful that this is no longer the mode of transportation. Can you imagine crossing the country in one of these? Our guide said that everybody over the age of 2 had to walk! If you were pregnant and had to deliver on the way, better make it fast so you can catch up with the group 'cause they're not waiting! Wow! Made the little bedroom on the train a very, very welcome and luxurious means of traveling.
Grand Tetons

The Chapel of Transfiguration in the Grand Tetons

I like this view from the altar inside the Chapel

Lower Falls at Yellowstone

One of the many paint pots at Yellowstone

Old Faithful

Two bumps on a log
Christmas in August at Yellowstone
Christmas in August is a tradition at Yellowstone, which you can read about here

Glacier Park

Red Jammer
 The open air Red Jammers are a great and cool way to enjoy the beauty of Glacier Park.
The buses are called "reds" and the bus drivers are called jammers
because of the sound the gears made when shifting on the steep roads of the park.
(and part of the "coolness" comes from the fact that
Red Jammers have roll-back convertible tops ... 
blankets are provided for the passengers!!!)

View from our room at the Glacier Park Lodge

Dawn at Glacier Park Lodge
located on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana

This tree at Lake Mary reminded me of the trees in the forest
on the way to Emerald City of Oz

Sunset in North Dakota as we travel back to Chicago
Label on a water bottle
"As in life, chill for best results."

I like that little quote on the water bottle.
That is exactly what I have been doing since we've been home.
That's all!

Monday, September 2, 2013

I love, I love my little calendar girl ... and boys

Sad to turn the page on the calendar from the month of August to September.

But another couple of cuties await on the September page.

Speaking of turning,
Brady is turning 7 this month. Yikes!

and ... back to school for Brady and Noah.
They were excited, looking forward to it, and ready!
Screenshot from face time call

Backpacks on and poised for a great day!

With Mom and Dad

And their buddies

Can you see the anticipation in their poses?

Noah loved school so much that first day, he wanted to stay! Wishin' he could have stayed that day, because when he got home, he just couldn't resist - yes, that stack of wood there on the driveway for the new fence was just too great a temptation for a 5 year old boy who also likes to play hard and jump!

Big owwee!

Looks like our weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge will have to wait until this boy is ready to go.
Can't keep a good man down.
First game of the season.
Hook 'em Horns!