Faded Faire

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Miss This One!!

I have a most delicious Sunday morning routine. I brew a cup of coffee, open my Bible and my journal and listen to a podcast sermon. Last posting I told you about Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll from Seattle. This posting I must tell you about possibly the most important sermon I have listened to this summer...you will find it here under the date of July 20, 2008. I urge you to set aside an hour, follow this link and listen. This could be a life changing hour for you. In just over an hour, you are walked through the righteousness of God, the sufficiency of Christ and the necessity of faith. It is delivered by David Platt from The Church at Brookhills (where Celeste works in Birmingham) who is an incredible 30 year old man who teaches the Gospel with intelligence and passion. Let me know if you have listened and what you think.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ahhh...The Weekend

Saturday and Sunday...these are the two days I long for M-F and they go by so quickly. I give so much in terms of time and energy at work that my evenings during the work week are pretty nonproductive. I often have phone calls I need to make to students after I get home and and these days I have papers to grade. In the "old days" I would say I have stacks and stacks but now that I grade almost everything online, I guess I would have to say I have boocoodles of bytes in the queue.

The furbabies are on twice weekly baths right now so Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon gets consumed by that activity (they both have a skin fungus--they have to share everything--so bathing also means soaking...they have to have the shampoo in contact with the skin for 10 minutes--have you ever tried to distract a wriggling 4 pound sudsy critter for 10 minutes???) From wet down to blow dry, it's about a 90 minute to two hour project. The upside is that they smell clean and look positively adorable all the time right now, as you can clearly see in this picture. Comments complimenting the furbabies are shamelessly solicited.

I typically despise shopping and avoid it at all costs but this morning I decided I wanted a new Bible. I have been reading the English Standard Version online at Bible Gateway and finally decided I wanted an actual book. Isn't it pretty? I didn't have red in mind when I went into the store and I tried to talk myself into practical brown or gray but this red one just kept begging to go home with me. The cover is so pretty I couldn't bear to mar it with my name of the front, so I had it put on the back. It's so slim yet the type is big enough for me to read without my cheaters on and right now, it's so new! I love books, especially new ones. I love to breathe in the smell of the ink but I think with this Bible what I mostly smell is new leather. The English Standard Version came out in 2001 and is a word-for-word translation. It is considered the most accurate of current translations. I want to read through the ESV because it is so highly recommended by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. (Which brings me to a new paragraph.)
If you have not ever listened to Mark Driscoll preach, you are missing out! He podcasts and videocasts (although I prefer just the audio b/c I am a self-confessed iPod junkie). He says it straight up, no holds barred, no backing away from the hard questions and he does it with both humor and seriousness. I have learned so much. I started listening to him because this is the church that David and Missy attend and I wanted to be able to talk to David about what he was hearing at church. Now I listen because Mark Driscoll's preaching makes me want to seek God with all my heart. Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. Here's the link for the audio feeds--you can subscribe through iTunes. Click on Mars Hill if you want to learn more about Mark Driscoll and the church that has grown to 3-4 campuses and over 10,000 members in 10 years. Weekends are the time when I listen to a new podcast and sometimes review an old one. I urge you to have a notebook and pen in hand because you are going to want take notes and look up references later.

I almost always put in several hours on the weekend grading papers, reading or writing for work. But, really, when I get to do that lounging on the couch or laying in the hammock, can I really act like this is a tough life?? One weekend earlier this month I had three books and eight articles to wade through so I chose the hammock for my study hall. As my neighbors strolled by, one remarked "You've got the life!" and I had to agree. This weekend has been a hot one and with the rain that keeps coming, it's also humid. The hammock experience proved to be a sweaty one and plagued by mosquitoes so I had to "suffer" through grading in the air conditioning. I always want just one more day off but...Monday is coming.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back Home Again

Welcome home...there was a perfect bloom on my rose bush by my front porch when I got back from Birmingham. Is there anything more beautiful than a rose? The fragrance, the colors...who but a magnificent God could create such perfection?

I returned from Birmingham on Sunday evening while there was still enough light to water my gardens and inspect how things had grown in the five days I was gone. I am slowly learning about plants and gardening but have figured out a lifetime will not be long enough to really become an expert. This year I decided to try out a few new annuals in my beds and added several perennials in my quest to have a low maintenance yet showy flower garden.
I salvaged two small, sickly-looking verbena from the half-price annual section at Wal-Mart because I liked the challenge and I needed something for a sunny planter. They took to my TLC like wildflowers and in fact, I found out they are both perennial and wild in some parts of the US. I love them because they put out a purple flower--my favorite. Come fall, I will transplant my "annual" and cover it over and enjoy it next year.

My mom has had hen and chick plants for as long as I can remember. This spring, a friend shared with me several plants she had divided and now I have one too.
I also planted threadleaf moonbeam coreopsis in the sunny bed in my backyard. In the container they looked tall and compact so I planted them in the back. Out of the container, they spread out so now they short and wide...I see transplanting in their future!
I definitely got two sedum from friend but the bloom is a mystery to me because there are so many varietals of sedum that until I see a flower I have not idea what color or variety I have growing out there. The brave little transplants withstood the shock of a new home and have looked droopy and pathetic; when I got home on Sunday I noticed there is a bloom shoot developing so soon I will know.

You've been so patient to stay awake through my flower ramblings. I am back at work and missing my sweet Celeste. It is a bittersweet moment when I have to leave her...I am so proud of who she is and how she lives her life. She is right where God would have her right now and yet, I wish for some more time in her presence. For now, these special moments will have to suffice. Maybe someday, God will see fit for us to live in the same area again. Living in His wil and in His time, that's the best we can ask for!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Quiet Time & Celeste Time

The rhythm of my life beats to an academic calendar so when I talk of a year, it is a year that begins the middle of August and marches around the calendar from that point. So I am about to close out a "year"...a year that has flown by at a frenetic pace, packed so full of work and school and family that I can scarce believe 12 months could hold it all. I am blessed by work that I LOVE but some days in the midst of the busy-ness this past year I longed for a vacation, longed for quiet and solitude. Today I have it.

I have come to the beautiful city of Birmingham to visit my sweet Celeste, the daughter I longed for and prayed for. Thus the opening song on my blog is "In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride. I don't want any of you to think I am making an idol of her so it will only stay in that position for a few days.

In my quiet time today, I read the 91st Psalm in several different versions at Bible Gateway.com and was blessed over and over by reading it through. Verse 12 says the angels' work is to catch me, lift me up, keep me from falling so that I won't even hit my foot against a stone. On August 11, I will blog about walking off a roof in Haiti. That day, I will tell you why verse 12 means so much to me.

Today is the 27th anniversary of the day I found out that my son Scott had died while I carried him. It was a day of shock and tears and disbelief. He was born on July 14, 1981 and I only got to hold him for a little while before I had to let him go. Psalm 91 is my favorite psalm and verse 11 is on Scotty's memorial stone: "He will give His angels charge over you." So while I continue my life here, I am reassured that the angels are tending him until his mommy comes home.

The baby I thought I might never have arrived in God's perfect timing and she was/is well...perfect (for a human being). Celeste means heavenly and she is certainly that. A godly woman who loves children and adults alike (although I do have to admit, somewhat perplexedly, she is not a big fan of animals...does this make her less than perfect?). She is a relationships person and to ask her to not love and minister to people would be like asking her to not breathe. She is a woman who has committed her life to the Lord so sincerely that she truly means it when she says she will go anywhere to do anything the Lord asks of her. (Now as a mother, that commitment scares me more than a little bit because I have always tried to keep her safe and the anywhere/anything part doesn't necessarily sound all that safe.) During my stay with her, she goes to work during the day and I have the solitude and quiet I so longed for. In the evenings I have "Celeste time"...it's a perfect vacation. For those of you who have not heard me say it, I will post it here--I will always be grateful that I got to be Celeste' s mother. For now, I leave you with some of the many faces of Celeste. (Don't be jealous my beloved David and darling Missy, my blog about you two precious ones is coming.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Magical Moments

I spent the last week of June with occupational therapy students at a day camp for children with learning differences. Kudos to the incredible therapists and staff that make it happen every year. They volunteer their time all year long to make this one week of magic for children who would not be successful at other summer camps. Because of their dedication, every child succeeds. I could write on and on, but the pictures say it all.