Secretariat

This photo is from http://movies.disney.com/secretariat.

 

My husband and I intended to celebrate our anniversary last night but he wasn’t feeling 100% so we stayed home and put in a DVD to watch. If ever you feel a need for encouragement when the odds are against you, this is the movie to watch.

Walt Disney productions started Secretariat, rated: PG, and released on October 8, 2010 with Scripture; God is speaking of the horse:

Job 39:19, (GNB):  “Was it you, Job, who made horses so strong and gave them their flowing manes?

Job 39:20  Did you make them leap like locusts and frighten people with their snorting?

Job 39:21  They eagerly paw the ground in the valley; they rush into battle with all their strength.

Job 39:22  They do not know the meaning of fear, and no sword can turn them back.

Job 39:23  The weapons which their riders carry rattle and flash in the sun.

Job 39:24  Trembling with excitement, the horses race ahead; when the trumpet blows, they can’t stand still.

Job 39:25  At each blast of the trumpet they snort; they can smell a battle before they get near, and they hear the officers shouting commands.”

Disney may not have started the introductory speech at the beginning of Job 39:19, where God calls Job by name, but the Scripture is quoted powerfully at the start and finish of the movie.

It’s very apparent that Mrs. Tweedy, aka Penny Chenery has faith in God, but it’s very subtle. The movie is about the amazing “Big Red,” as the owner likes to call Secretariat. Yet, it significantly portrays human struggles and risk taking and dreams placed in the heart of a child by her father. The race took place in 1973 and the American culture is being shaken to its roots by anti-war protestors and the hippie movement. This movie abounds with strong personalities and loving confrontations and respect for individuality in the midst of exciting horse races.

Secretariat is based on a true story and it made me want to get out of my chair and do something big with my life.

The only thing I had to guard my heart against was the slights to housewives which I also encountered occasionally over my years at home when many of the moms were off to the workplace.

Writers Mike Rich and William Nack showed Mrs. Tweedy’s servant heart at home in a positive light as well. The link by the photograph tells all the wonderful actors and other movie personnel’s names with useful information.

May God bless your day.

Fun on a Sunday

Sunday morning we went to a picnic spot with a pond and a pavilion. We enjoyed a beautiful sunshiny day and lots of pleasant company accompanied by some tasty food. I got to know some of the people better that visited this year.

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE POND(photo from: (www.timberlandbait.com)

 

Usually we cancel our evening service the day of the picnic because people are tired. I tried to rest a little and then it was time to choose worship songs. Not that I had much of a voice left. 🙂

 

After singing, my husband left the sound booth so we could pray. Seven folks gathered and he didn’t feel like a sermon was the right route to go.

 

“If we keep canceling Sunday night service, people will stop showing up.”

 

Then he gave us some direction. “Let’s pray like Jesus taught the disciples – starting out with ‘Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.’”

 

He went on to explain that hallowed denotes honor and praise. “How can you show God the respect due His name? What words can you describe Him with in the form of a prayer?”

 

We began talking to the Lord and when someone asked for needs to be met, my husband told the person that we’d get to that, but now is the time to exalt our Savior. A bit later, we did pray for personal requests with the addition of the phrase, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

Jesus said in the New Testament, in Matthew 18:20, (KJV): “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

 

We didn’t linger a long time, but as we left each face exhibited peace and contentment.

 

Then, my husband and I began our Sunday night ritual: “Where should we eat?”

 

Sometimes I cook on a Sunday night, but if I’m tired and we’re able to, we eat out. There’s not a lot of restaurants open at that hour of the day.

 

I told my hubbie I was going to pray about it. We have a number of small towns around our little home spot and I’m not familiar with them all.

 

I felt impressed to head north and he was okay with it. We found a new restaurant, to us, that we both enjoyed and hope to visit again sometime.

 

I said, “What a nice day we had,” and he agreed.

 

This is the second Sunday night we’ve prayed at our church over the last thirty days and the people really liked it. Both times it was spontaneous and I missed the first one for a family member’s milestone birthday party in a nearby city.

 

I’m glad I made it for lots of reasons but when I saw the glow on one of the ladies’ faces outside of the church after the meeting, I thought, Aw, wish I’d been there.

 

God gave me the desire of my heart this last Sunday.

 

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing My Calendar

 

I cleared my calendar for this week when my grandchildren showed up for a little more than a week last Sunday.

They are getting old enough to sleep away for a week in the summer from their folks at home. My father-in-law used to have our kids over for a week in the summer, so the tradition continues, although I think he took them one at a time. He used to hire them to help around his place and I intended to do the same on a lesser degree, but the time is flying by. Plus, we’re making plans to see some attractions and extended-family, so it may not work out.

Years ago, a pastor younger than my husband and I told me if I ever wanted to get my house spruced up, invite people over. It proved true for me this week. I emptied a closet out in two rooms and re-organized them, threw stuff away and placed some items in a give-away spot.

I kept waiting for the weather to warm up so I could apply house numbers to our mailbox that I bought in Feb.

I cleaned the outside of the mail receptacle, rinsed it and dried it. I carefully affixed the large numbers at around 9:00 at night. I’m expecting a few more family members tonight. I even washed fingerprints off the screen doors’ glass around 10:00 p.m. because it’s been driving me crazy and the children are sleeping.

We tried to read about Moses tonight for their Bible story, but unfortunately, last night they were so stinking cute and I was tired and I got laughing and they got laughing and we cut it short. Then the second born told me we didn’t get to read about Moses, so I promised we’d do it tonight. They like to act the story out and I didn’t let them last night because I was not up to it. So, they tried to act it out tonight. The last born decided he wanted to be God in the story, but halfway through God’s speech to Moses where God says His name is “I AM,” the little one decided he wanted to be the king instead. The oldest told me that’s because Jesus is the “King of kings.”

I was beginning to agree to that and suddenly everything ran amuck. The second born starts laughing because he likes to laugh and he’s remembering last night, but it’s just when the youngest says in the lowest voice he can muster, “I AM.”

It seemed so awe inspiring to me, that I didn’t want laughing at that juncture and then my husband comes into the room and says, “How long of a Bible story are you going to have tonight? Are you planning on going on until 11:00?”

By then, my granddaughter who got tired of the small amount of lines from Pharaoh’s daughter had decided she’d be God instead of her abdicating brother. Her oldest brother, Moses was trying to stay the course but every once in a while one of the younger ones would give him an unexpected hug from behind that was almost a tackle and he’d start laughing. I gave up.

I hope you’re enjoying this month. I write to someone in Bolivia and it occurs to me that when we’re finally getting sunny days in between this rainy spring that they’re heading into winter.

By the way, have you cleared your calendar lately?

May God bless you!

cropped-family.jpg

God loves His children!

The Next Generation

My grandchildren and I watched Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” one recent morning while their mother caught up on some neglected sleep.

Image from http://movies.disney.com/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs

It took a while to get my computer working. So, here I am, able to blog, finally!

On Good Friday, I offered to do a service at the Nursing Home like it was no big deal. I do the worship without too much trepidation, but when I needed to speak before twelve people stretched out in a line in their seats or wheel chairs, with a worker present, my heart beat sped up and I wondered what was I thinking to volunteer. With the busyness of the holidays and with company from Thursday to Monday, I wrote a blog on Saturday ready to post it and never got it typed, let alone sent out.

So, this is a modified version of that blog.

There’s nothing like sitting with little ones and entering into their world for a little while. Sometimes they want to watch too many shows or play electronic games, so their mom limits the time allowed so they interact with people.

We settled into comfy chairs to watch old fashioned scrolls with introductory words describing the setting and some of the plot as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” began. I read the first page a bit after it appeared to the children. I finished the words as the second page showed up. My older grandson’s eyes widened. “How did you remember the words from the first page and then read the second page like that?”

I know he was giving me a compliment but he’s at the age where it can go either way.  Sometimes I’ll tell him something and he’ll tell me I’m wrong. Then, after he finds out I wasn’t wrong he’s not sure how to act. I’ll say, “I did go to school, you know.”

Then he ponders it all. He’s a deep thinker. His mom tells me he may come back 24 hours later with a new angle and then be ready to argue again at 48 hours.

During the movie we talked about such a variety of topics: skulls, death, Black Magic, Christianity, meanness, kindness, jealousy, love, and imagination making things worse.

It’s amazing how watching a program with young people and being open to their thoughts and questions can get a conversation going. Sometimes I’d ask him what he thought of certain situations.

When the queen, who was sometimes called a witch, used magic to change her appearance so she could poison her step-daughter, I told the children afterwards that evil often backfires and hits the person set on hurting another. It makes the case for that logic in Proverbs and in the Psalms, but I didn’t quote them book and verse.

Today, I spent a good portion of the day setting the house in order. I love my family very much. So, it’s worth it to cook and do dishes and move the toys into the living room so we can gather together. They helped pick up before they left, but by the time the cars left, we’d eaten another meal and they needed to get on their way. I decided to do some extra cleaning beyond the ordinary after the company went home. I guess it felt good to get at things. I’m still organizing.

I finished the kitchen and now I’m on to the next room. It took me longer than I anticipated because of the curtains, which I had to point out to my oldest daughter. It’s funny the things that stand out to me and others don’t even notice.

May God bless you!

Dining with Friends

Once a month my husband and I dine with friends and catch up on what’s been happening in their lives and sometimes in the political arena. So we did that tonight. I brought the main meal this month. We switch off. I told them I’d bring the devotional in February. I don’t do that very often. It’s nice to talk to Christians from all different churches and some varying kind of worship services. We differ, yet we’re in solid agreement on the basics of belief. One is a retired pharmacist married to a retired nurse, another couple is a retired art teacher married to a retired nurse, and my husband and I are not retired. We have fun together and sing to guitar music and then delve into the Word of God.

Yesterday after our morning service, a lady from church and I decorated the Christmas tree after some others helped by setting it up and a young couple got the supplies up and down a bunch of stairs. Her grandson held the string of lights for me as I placed them around the tree and her son-in-law’s parents gave us the tree from their tree farm, freshly cut that morning.

Afterwards, we were tired and hungry, and she offered to treat me. We chose an out of the way seat by the restaurant’s brightly decorated artificial tree and got to know each other better. I’ve always thought she might make a good friend. We chose that seat because that’s where she sits when she comes in alone to eat. She said it was nice to have someone to eat with for a change.

I live in my own world, as we all do. She’s got a large loving family; she works a few different jobs. She has grown children living with her and other family members living nearby. I had never thought about her eating in a restaurant alone as a widow.

I think because our good friend died this week and I’m very aware that his wife, my friend is now a widow, it has opened my eyes to the world of a widow more lately.

I take dining with my children or my husband for granted. Very rarely do I eat by myself in a restaurant. It says in James_1:27, (KJV): “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ ”

I’m asking God to help me to be a better friend to the widows God places in my path.

May God bless you this week.

Writing and Life

This morning I picked up a book from a shelf in the living room that I dedicate to writing books. A year ago or so I went into an area at the library where they sell used books as a fund raiser. I bought The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, published by Harper & Row, Publishers; New York, NY. Annie Dillard copyrighted it in 1989. I bought it because it looked interesting. Later, it was listed in another writing book as a book writers should read.  So, I was glad I bought it. It’s a fun, serious book. Her wordplay delights the wordsmith in me. 🙂

The Writing Life

Inside the front book cover on the leaf it starts out, “In a surprising narrative, Annie Dillard describes the working life of a writer. These are vivid and ironic encounters at a desk.”

Those sentences made me want to look inside. The day before Thanksgiving, I had pies to bake and beds to make. My husband sat in his recliner chair eating brunch and watching a comedy sitcom. So, I joined him in the living room, eating my brunch, reading this book and watching television. I felt so relieved when he turned it off. I told him it was sucking me in and I had stuff I needed to get to.

My pie crusts are like puzzle pieces straining to connect. My youngest daughter said, “Mom, they always look like that. The insides taste great though, and that’s what counts.”

I smiled and then as my husband turned to YouTube for yet another kitchen appliance tip, I got reminded by him that if I wanted to improve my pie crusts, I could always find a demonstration on YouTube. His turkey is prepped for the morning, with all the fresh spices and a lemon and onions in the interior. Butter everywhere. We’ll see if we like it.

I listened to the Bible while preparing the pies since I didn’t get an early start to my day, as I mentioned above. 1 Thessalonians is where I started, and I might have finished at Hebrews. I listened to Paul admonishing believers to work or they shouldn’t eat. He made mention of refraining from arguments. Then he talked about being hospitable. A lot of points got mentioned, but I thought the few that got highlighted to me really hit home on the eve of a holiday. My daughter invited a single mom and her two young boys to our full house tomorrow. Then she said something about inviting another single mom and her little toddler boy.

She said, “It’s funny, when I lived here, I didn’t feel so free to have people over. Now, I just tell them that we’re eating at mom and dad’s, come on over.”

When we talked about the difference, part of it is because God has changed me, I told her. If things weren’t completely tidy, I was embarrassed. One afternoon listening to Dr. James Dobson on Focus on the Family some years back, he said the reason people don’t open their homes to their neighbors and friends is because of pride. That resonated with me. Pride is a downfall. I’m not perfect by any means, but when she told me she’d already invited the families, I checked with my husband, and he was okay with it, and then I gave my okay. Avoiding having people over because my furniture is getting old or I have some clutter on the kitchen table made for some lonely days in my younger years.

If you’re alone for the holidays, maybe you can bless someone else who is alone or participate at a food center. One year in the city, our young family helped the church we attended provide Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of people. My kids said that was the best Thanksgiving they’d ever had. Our church does a Christmas meal for anyone who wants to show up. If the attendees can bring a side dish, that’s great. If not, come along anyway.

May God bless you this November day.

Imposter

I started reading the book, Imposter today, written by Davis Bunn; published by WestBow Press; Nashville, TN and copyrighted in 2006. The title grabbed me. Then I read the fly leaf summary and felt compelled to read it.

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I like reading suspense novels that deal with politics and people’s motives. It’s a fast moving story with lots of interesting twists.

My husband got invited to a men’s retreat this weekend with our youngest son, and I invited myself to visit my daughter and her family for the weekend. Other times I’ve stayed at home. I felt a need to see my loved ones and to take a break and rejuvenate for a bit. I brought the book with me and am actually taking time to read it. Often times, I’ll bring a book and some writing and not touch them once. I get involved with the kids and the rest of the family and it feels as if immediately the time is gone.

Ephesians 5:15-17, (ASV) says “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I’ve written these verses before, but I don’t apologize for it because I feel as if in the background, I have a clock ticking, almost like the crocodile with the clock in his belly in “Peter Pan.” My clock is not so loud or insistent, but on occasion I wake up to it and realize it’s still there. Reminding me that time is not standing still.

We have a full weekend planned and I arrived here early, so it occurs to me that I ought to take advantage of the quiet and go to bed. The children arise with the sun and then everyone else is awake whether they are ready or not. 🙂

God bless!

Talk Already

This week I read Sarah Dessen’s book, Saint Anything, copyrighted in 2015 and published by Viking, The Penguin Group; New York, NY.

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The main characters show up on the first few pages right in the middle of a life changing event.

As the family and friendship dynamics play out, occasionally I want to take hold of these fictional characters and say, “talk already!”

In real life, people don’t always talk things out. I’ve definitely waited for the right time to approach my husband with a question or bad news when I saw he was completely worn out. Proverbs_25:11, (KJV) says: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Anyway, reading Sarah Dessens’ books points out a fatal flaw in my fiction writing.

In the past, I’ve told what was going on and didn’t leave enough mystery. With no intrigue, the reader is not going to want to bother reading on.

Additionally, writing instructors often say, “Show more than tell,” so I’ve worked on that.

A tell is: “the boy likes the girl so he shows off for her.”

The show is: Sonya ran outside to get the mail and then she noticed Peter’s slow grin widen and his eyes light up as he jumped off his bicycle by her mailbox. “Hey, Sonya I want to show you something.”

She looked up at the sky almost as if she was checking the sun’s position to estimate the time of day. “I’ve been practicing stunts on my bike.”

“My mom told me not to dawdle.”

He leaped back on the bike. “I’ll just show you one, okay, or two at the most.”

She smiled and he yelled out, “just watch this” and he sped down the incline and took one hand off the handle. Faster now on the bumpy street with occasional rocks from the Ottinger boys appearing like shapes in the fog – suddenly.

Now two hands off the handle bar. As he turned his head to see if she was watching, Sonya ran down the hill with her hands clenched and with sweat forming at the back of her neck. “Peter, hey Peter, wow! Why don’t you come back before…”

Cars started honking, a man hollered. “Are you out of your mind?”

A lady screamed.

 

Well, you get the idea.

I got to go to Letchworth Park once again with my husband and friends today. I took pictures of flowers and gourds placed in interesting arrangements. I planned on downloading them to my computer tonight and then blogging about our time there. Hopefully I’ll do that on Monday, since I forgot tonight. We got home and put things away and then my daughter and her husband stopped in for a quick visit.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you.

We Need Each Other

 

Hebrews 11:1-3, (NKJV) says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

My husband preached a little from Hebrews 10 on Sunday with a selection from Genesis 2 where God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone so He made woman from Adam’s rib, a helpmeet for him.

By faith, Christian and Jewish believers accept Genesis’ account of God creating the world by speaking it into being. “…things which are seen were not made of things which are visible,” as referenced above in Hebrews 11:3 and here in Genesis 1: 1-3, (ESV): Gen 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Gen 1:2  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Gen 1:3  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

God continued to speak the Creation into being in the beginning of the book of Genesis.

I wrote a letter to a man undergoing cancer treatments in Buffalo. In the letter I told him that some decades ago our newborn son contracted a virus that ate 90% of his liver. The head doctor of the infectious diseases department warned us that it could move to his heart or other major organs. When we listened to her we didn’t react much. “Don’t you hear what I’m saying?”

“We hear you, but we are praying,” we responded.

I think she wondered if we’d lost our senses.

I wrote this man with cancer about our experience with sickness to encourage him to hold onto God’s word even in the midst of a bad report.

Now, I’ve never been able to manufacture faith. It is a gift of God’s Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV), “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit.”

I think as people exercise their gift of faith and see God’s faithfulness, it helps faith grow. But when our son battled for his life for thirty days, my husband and I believed together some of the time and many times when my faith floundered he felt confident that God would heal our son and when he struggled to believe, my faith in God buoyed him up.

As it turned out, God heard our prayers and those of family and friends. A week before he came home from the pediatric Intensive Care Unit, my husband felt sure God was directing him to tell our church to stop praying for healing, but to thank God for the healing before we saw it happen. Someone else told him they had the same impression from God, which he received as confirmation, before he spoke to the congregation.

God answered all those prayers and chose to restore our son’s liver and destroy the virus’ power.

In Hebrews 10, this Sunday my husband reminded us that we need each other. Here is part of the Scripture in Hebrews that he preached about: Heb 10:21, (ESV), and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

Heb 10:22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Heb 10:24  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Heb 10:25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Believers in Christ are to “meet together” not only for worship and the reading of the Word of God, but also in casual gatherings so they can get to know one another. They need to learn to get along together and to speak the truth in love to one another if someone needs correction. They need each other if some should suffer lack. Then the other believers can learn of their predicament and share from their plenty. There are lots of reasons for believers to assemble. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs to preach the gospel, to deliver people from demonic influence, to lay hands on the sick so they would recover.

Well, anyway, we need each other, if it’s to keep from being discouraged, or to keep from being lonely, God made mankind to rely on one another, as risky as that may seem if you’ve been hurt. In addition, we need God to direct our paths and to trust Him to take care of us as we develop friendships and relationships.

May God bless you and protect you and lead you in paths of righteousness.

Revenge or Forgiveness?

 

Phil. 2:1-4 (NKJV), says, “Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

My husband and I went to see “Ben-Hur,” the new movie produced by spouses Ramona Downey and Mark Burnett, made by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Paramount Pictures.Ben-Hur

The movie was written by Keith Clarke and John Ridley, based on the book written by Lew Wallace in his 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, now in Public Domain.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-Hur_%282016_film%29

It stars Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur, Toby Kebbell as his adopted brother, Messala; Morgan Freeman as a sheik/horse trainer who owns chariots for racing and winning bets; Nazinin Boniadi as Ben-Hur’s love interest; Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus Christ; Ayelet Zurer as his mother, Naomi; Sophia Black D’Elia as his sister, Tirzah; and Pilou Asbaek as Pontius Pilate. Timur Bekmambetov directed the epic film.

The movie spoke about family love and loyalty and lots more. An action film filled with conflict and violence and poignant tenderness. Jesus Christ is a minor character in the movie and for once He’s not portrayed as a “pretty” man, weak. In the movie He never speaks of hell, which was a term Jesus didn’t shy away from, and repentance as well. I found the movie stirred my heart. I would have preferred less violence, but I always feel that way when I view action movies.

I expected to write this blog last night, but my computer kept saying there was a problem with the internet. My husband checked our connection on his computer, and it worked perfectly. Sometimes I feel God allows me to face interruptions because the timing isn’t right, or because I’ve made a grammatical error in a query letter, for instance. A no-no for a writer! 🙂 So I gave up and figured I’d type another day.

May God bless you.