Here are the welcome messages from
April 2004


4/1/04 April 1, 2004
4/8/04 April 8, 2004
4/20/04 April 20, 2004
4/28/04 April 28, 2004


April 1, 2004

I've been working in my garden this past week.  I didn't let it get overgrown with weeds during the winter like I usually do so it has been a lot easier getting it ready for planting.  Yes, where I live the weeds grow all year long.  They don't grow as fast in the winter, but they grow all the same.  So, where we live has good and bad associated with the fact that we don't get snow in the winter.  One of the goods is that I can work in the garden during March.  I actually could have started getting ready last month, but there is always the possibility of a late frost.

My husband bought me a pig for my garden.  No, it isn't a real pig, it's a topiary pig.  It is chicken wire bent to the shape of a pig and it has a shrub growing inside of it.  When it fills in I will have trimmed the shrub parts around the outside of the shape and it will be a shrub pig!  It is awfully cute.

Hmmm... there's another weird word thing.  Awfully cute.... same as wonderfully cute.  Awful is supposed to mean icky, nasty, bad.  OK, my shrub pig is cool... no, wait, it is hot.  Both those words can be used to mean neat or interesting.  "That's good" can mean the exact same thing as "that's bad."  We've got way too many words in the English language.  We could make do with a lot less, couldn't we? 

I started cleaning and organizing the Sunday school supply room at our new church Tuesday night.  Whew!  I had to just wander around a while and look to see what was there and what my options were.  I have some ideas of how I want to store things, but need to find out if I can move the shelves around.  I also need to find out if I can fasten them to the wall.  They are those tall metal shelves and they are very unstable.

There is also an assortment of other shapes and sizes of storage units.  There are various shapes and sizes of boxes and such as well.  I am going to have to go to the dollar store and buy some more containers.  There are a lot of things that could be separated even further.  Lots of the existing containers have ill-fitting, broken, or missing lids.

God has given me an ability to make order out of chaos.  This job is going to take a while.  There are lots of leftover parts from different lessons and crafts they've done in the past.  There are some items that don't fit well on the shelves so I will have to come up with creative storage solutions.  I enjoy a challenge. 

I almost had this done yesterday and just couldn't finish.  I was so tired I almost fell asleep in front of the computer.  Usually I only get about six hours sleep each night so have to take a nap every couple of days to catch up.  I haven't been able to do that this week.

Yesterday I was waiting for my niece to arrive.  She brought a bunch of her stuff to our house to store it in our garage for a few months.  She will be going to school in northern California and will be staying with her mom in the meantime.  Her mom has no place to store the bed and the boxes of stuff.  Our garage has turned into a storage facility for various people.  Maybe we should draw lines on the floor and charge rent!

Anyway, I didn't know what time she would arrive so I had to stay awake.  I ended up going outside and working in the garden.  I finished spreading my compost around and mixing it in.  Funny, I made my body tired to keep my mind from falling asleep.

I'm leaving this afternoon to go visit my mom for a couple of days so won't get a chance for a nap again today.  I'll get an opportunity to sleep a little later tomorrow morning so might catch up. 

I have a confession to make.  I've been allowing myself to be emotionally beat up.  I've been allowing people to fill my "joy reservoir" and have been expecting people to care as much about me and the things I do as I do about them.  When those people ended up draining my joy and hurting my feelings I got angry and somewhat depressed.

What had happened was I turned inward and threw up protective barriers to shield myself from further hurt.  That isn't what I should have done.  I should have let God be my provision.  I should have looked to Him for any and all joy, recognition, approval, help, and strength.

Am I where I should be now?  No.  He's helping me to drop all expectations I have about what other people should do and say.  I need to focus on what He wants me to do and say irregardless of what is going on around me. 

Link to the 4/1/04 Bible study


April 8, 2004

I'm making progress!!  Yay!

Oh, you want to know where I'm making progress?  Picky, aren't you?

Most importantly, I'm making progress in allowing God to provide me with any peace, comfort, joy, or support that I need instead of looking to people to provide those things.  I confessed to you last week that I was having a problem in that area.

I haven't really been working on that problem.  It's more like I'm learning to relax.  Instead of taking the wounds that people inflict on me and poking them to remind myself I've been wounded, I just shrug my shoulders and remind myself that I am God's precious child.

The other thing I'm making progress on is the Sunday school supply room at church.  I went Tuesday night and was finally able to move all the shelves and tables to opposite walls from where they were.  I fastened the shelves to the wall.  That, in itself, was an interesting thing.  I took my stud finder.  Where there were no studs I was going to screw in those little plastic thingies that hold screws in drywall.  There were a couple of places where there was a stud higher up in the wall but not down lower.  I broke a few of my plastic thingies trying to screw them into studs.  Very strange.  It's times like that I'd like to have x-ray vision.

Oh, yes, I got to use my own power tools again.  That's really neat being able to go to one place and find everything I need for drilling and screwing screws.  Maybe I can think of a reason to use my skill saw, too.  Have you ever seen the show "Tool Time?"  The star, Tim Allen makes a gutteral, growling noise in his throat... "uh uh uh" and says, "more power!"  That's what I've got now with my new tools... more power! 

Skil power tools

I went to visit my mom last week.  I wanted to leave Thursday afternoon so I could avoid traffic jams, but ended up not being able to get out of here on time.  I was finally ready to go around 6:00 PM and BOOM!!!  It started to pour down rain.  There wasn't just rain, there was lightning and thunder as well.  I came really close to postponing my visit.  I don't like driving in the dark and I really don't like driving in poor weather conditions.

It had been quite a few months since I'd been able to visit my mom so I decided to place myself in God's hands and go.  It was great!  He had all the cars around me slow down.  Usually people around here (Southern California) drive fast no matter what the weather is doing.  We were all going about 20 miles per hour less than the speed limit because of the limited visibility and the slickness of the roads due to not having rain for a few weeks.  Praise His HOLY NAME! 

Daylight Savings Time.... PFFFFT!

I just found out that different people in different states are told why it exists.  Here, in California, we are told that it conserves electricity.  Because we have an extra hour of daylight at night we don't turn on our lights until an hour later.  Yet, how many people still get up at the same time... which is now one hour earlier??  Now we have to turn on the lights for an hour longer in the morning instead of the evening.  How does that save money?

About 30 years ago I wrote a letter to my senator about it.  I told him that little children have a hard time adjusting to the time change, not to mention everyone else.  Even our animals are expecting to eat at the same time as before which doesn't fit into my schedule.  His reply was the one I told you about conserving electricity.

My friend in Michigan is told it is for the farmers.  How about you?  What is the official story where you live??

If we all hate it so much, why don't we just just overpower the ones who continue the tradition?

Speaking of overpowering, if there are so many Christians in this country then how come there is so much satanic programming on TV and at the theaters?  How come the "separation of church and state" has been allowed to take over more than it was originally designed to do?  How come we aren't overpowering the enemy's tricks? 

Sunday is Easter.  Have you seen the movie "The Passion of the Christ" yet?  It gives a whole new meaning to the sacrifice that Jesus made.  It makes the physical sufferings so much more real.  It can't show us the spiritual suffering of being separated from God by taking on the sins of the world, however.  We can't even imagine how bad it really was for Him.  Yet, He knew.  He knew and He chose to go through with it because He loves us.

How can we ever understand that kind of love?  I guess we don't have to understand it.  We just need to accept it. 

NOTE:  If you are on the Clarion Call mailing list you need to be aware that I will have to delete your email from the list if your email returns to me as undeliverable.  So, if you don't hear from me for a while perhaps something went wrong with your email provider and I had to delete you.  Just go re-add yourself. 

Link to the 4/8/04 Bible Study


April 20, 2004

Don't look now, but I think we are back on schedule with this Bible study.  For some reason I was having difficulty getting it done until Thursday of each week. 

Last week I didn't do one at all.  It was Spring Break and my husband, a teacher, had the week off.  I ended up doing a lot of work in the yard.

Remember the barn I told you we built?  (Picture)  All the wood that we used to decorate the side was scrap wood.  We got a bunch from a neighbor and from my husband's "collection" he has been working on over the years.

Our yard was littered with the leftover wood.  Here's a picture.  My husband and son made three trips to the dump.  Some of the wood had been chipped up and my husband and I spread the chips over the ground.  We still have one more trip to make to the dump to finish it off, but I finally have the rest of my back yard back!!  Yay!!  It was a BIG JOB!

While my husband was removing wood I was putting drips on my potted plants.  Now I have all my yard on semi-automatic watering.  My garden and the grass are on timers that will go on automatically.  My potted plants are on timers that need to be turned to set the time.

I figured that whenever I go on vacation I will need to have someone feed the animals, so they can also turn on the timers.  It is easier than watering them all with a hose.  I always used to lose some potted plants when I'd go on vacation.  Now it should be simple enough that they will all survive.

My poor body is all worn out, though.  My hands are especially tired.  I should send them on vacation.  Oh, wait, if they go on vacation then I will have to go with them.  Wonder if anyone will notice that I am gone. 

I have two cats.  Reeboks is an older cat that I've had for a long time.  Bug is only a couple of years old.  Every cat I've had up to Bug has been able to handle it when I leave kibble (dry food) out for them all the time.  They would just eat what they needed and leave the rest for later.  I would give them a little canned food in the morning and they were self-feeding the rest of the time.

Well, our Mr. Bug is a different story.  That cat will eat until he pops!  So, now I get the pleasure (?!?) of feeding the cats three times a day.  I can't put kibble out all the time.  I have to separate the cats while they eat so Bug doesn't eat too much.

Their first meal is right after I get up in the morning.  You would be fooled into thinking the cats loved me so much that they couldn't wait until I got up in the morning.  They are right at my bedroom door when I open it and they follow me around until they get fed.  Then you see the real story.  They LOVE THE FOOD!

Their second meal comes around 10:30 or 11:00AM and the last one at around 5:00PM.  Unfortunately for me, Reeboks usually starts trying to get my attention around 9:00AM and around 4:00PM.  He actually used to be more accurate on the time, but the past few months he has been trying to trick me into feeding him earlier.  Once he starts following me and talking to me then Bug joins the parade.

Reeboks doesn't actually talk to me.  Ever since he had his heart problem his meower has been broken.  He meows like he has laryngitis.  Every once in a while he lets out a very loud, raspy meow.  Most of the time it is very quiet and sometimes his lips move and nothing comes out.

Bug has learned how to be a quiet cat from Reeboks.  He doesn't meow unless he sees food and thinks he's going to get some.

As I look to my left I see my two hopeful, hungry cats.  If I get up, they will follow me.  I'm going to go feed them now.  Then I will finish hanging out my clothes.  Once I finish that then it will be time for me to go to the store.  So, I will have to finish this when I return.  See you in a while! 

OK, I'm back.  Did you miss me?

Tomorrow is Secretaries' Day.  There are about 13 secretaries at the school where my husband is a teacher.  Every year I try to come up with a new kind of container to put candy and other things in for the secretaries.  This year I got some pretty clear glass fluted vases.  I will fill them with candy.  I got a bunch of really pretty and unusual roses.  They are red and yellow stripes.  He can give each secretary a candy-filled vase, a rose, and a thank you card.

After I'm done putting this online I will go make some cards for him to use.  Tomorrow night my husband will take me to dinner because I am his secretary.  Smart man!  Winking face 

Last week God showed me something that simplified and explained something I've been struggling with.  I often find myself saying things I shouldn't and regretting it immediately.  God showed me that the Holy Spirit tells me what God wants me to say.  My own brain comes up with what I want to say.  So, every single time I open my mouth I have the opportunity to choose between the two.

I need to take that extra split-second and choose which thing to say.  It's like a continuing stream of two-answer multiple-choice questions.  What will I choose?  Self or God?  Self or God?  Self or God? 

NOTE:  If you are on the Clarion Call mailing list you need to be aware that I will have to delete your email from the list if your email returns to me as undeliverable.  I won't have any choice.  So, if you don't hear from me for a while perhaps something went wrong with your email provider and I had to delete you.  Just go re-add yourself. 

Link to the 4/20/04 Bible Study


April 28, 2004

What in the world is wrong with our weather?  It is still April and the temperatures here are over 100 degrees!!

This morning I sprayed our entire yard for bugs.  After half an hour of lugging around the hose and sprayer I discovered that my sprayer was clogged.  So, I had to go back over the areas I had already covered.  After spraying the front and back yard I used my pump sprayer to spray the foundation of the house and around the windows and doors.  It only took me around three hours.  The bugs took revenge while I was spraying.  I have at least three bug bites!

Then I trimmed some of my neighbor's oleander bushes that are hanging over into our yard.  I hate them.  Not only are the leaves poisonous, but they drop a bunch of dead leaves into our pile of firewood.

Last week I trimmed a bunch of his plants that hang into our yard in the front.  He has planted a whole bunch of things that are invasive.  The worst is the ivy.  It is putting big cracks in our driveway.

Then, this afternoon, I gave my two dogs flea baths.  They hadn't had baths since last summer.  They look and feel so nice now.

I wore myself out.  I had planned on working on this when I got all of that work done, but my son was on our other computer when I finished.  He's still on the computer.  So, I unhooked my laptop and am sitting out on the back patio.  It is only 90 degrees now at 6:00PM.  It's funny how 90 degrees can feel cool after you were exposed to higher temperatures!  I set my air conditioner in the house to 84 degrees.  Lots of people are shocked at how high I set it.  It's all relative.  If it feels too hot all we have to do is go outside for a little while and then go back in the house.  It feels good, then! 

I have another job at church now.  I volunteered to type information about activities, times of the services and Bible studies, and whatever other information was necessary to pass on information about activities.

(We have some tiny frogs near our fish pond and one just started croaking.  It's amazing what a BIG sound comes out of such a tiny body!)

There is a little counter area inside the door of our church.  As I was talking with our pastors about how to distribute information that area became my responsibility since it is used as an information area.  I'm still in a state of shock.  Usually you have to attend a church for a while before anyone gives you any responsibility.  It is so wonderful to be in a church that welcomes new people's gifts and talents with open arms! 

I need to go pick some more pink grapefruits off our tree and send them to school with my husband.  We don't eat many grapefruits and our tree has a bumper crop this year.  I imagine we will get over 100 grapefruits off of it before the season is over!

He takes bags of them and puts them in the teacher's lounge.  They disappear quickly.

The story behind that grapefruit tree is kind of funny.  We bought this house from my husband's parents.  They had planted lots of evergreen trees and lots of fruit trees.  The nursery they bought the trees from had misled them on a few of the trees.  This one was supposed to be a lime.  It hadn't produced any fruit until we bought the house.  There was one lime on it.  I watched that lime grow.... and grow..... and grow....  It got HUGE!  I didn't know how to tell when it was ready so I just let it grow to see what would happen.  When it was about the size of a softball it began to turn yellow.  That's when I pulled it off the tree.  When I cut it open it was PINK on the inside!  It wasn't a lime tree after all!

It's a pretty tree so I don't want to get rid of it.  So, I just pick the fruit and give it to people who will enjoy it. 

Being spring I have found my days to be filled with lots of outdoor activities.  I've had to pay a lot of attention to my garden as well as the other things I've been telling you about.  I still have to finish painting our barn.  The trim on the back side is going to be really hard.  That needs to be painted to protect it from the weather.  On the front side I need to paint for decorative purposes.  I want to differentiate the different portions of the front.  I figured that I could leave the hotel the same color and paint the jail and general store different because they are on either side of the hotel.  The hotel is the biggest section.  Did you see the picture of the side of the barn last week?  If not here it is.

I would really like to have an extra four or five hours every morning.  Mornings are the best time to get things done.  Would you be willing to email me some of your extra morning hours? 

I didn't get this online Monday night.  I kind of figured I wouldn't.  My brain begins shut down at around 7:00PM.

I was sure I'd get it done Tuesday.  I asked God for a topic during my devotional time and didn't get any direction.  I sat in front of the computer and prayed and still didn't get any inspiration.  Today, Wednesday, God finally let me have the topic.  Then, on the other hand, it could be that He was telling me and I finally heard it!!

It would have been done earlier this morning but I had to take my dog, Moo Moo, to the vet.  Somehow Moo Moo ripped the toenail on his dewclaw.  The toenail was still attached and I couldn't cut it off.  I'm a blood wienie.  I get faint when I see something painful and icky.  I felt dizzy just looking at it.  So, I have to pay the money to have an expert do it.  Heck, the vet wouldn't even touch it till he sedated Moo Moo.  That's better.  He won't suffer as much.  So, my mind has been elsewhere today. 

Link to the 4/28/04 Bible Study

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