Here are the welcome messages from
June 2004

6/1/04 June 1, 2004
6/9/04 June 9, 2004
6/15/04 June 15, 2004
6/23/04 June 23, 2004
6/30/04 June 30, 2004
June 1, 2004

Wow!  I'm glad the weekend is over!  My husband and I did a lot of stuff around the yard.  Well, it seemed like a lot of stuff.  We finally finished the boardwalk in front of the barn.  My husband had been holding off hoping to find some more free wood.  We finally went and bought the rest that we needed.  Then I got to play a couple of games with the wood.  One of the games was to mix the old and new.  Another game was mix different widths.  Another game was put the narrower ones over supporting framework so they wouldn't bend when we walk on them. 

Then I had to spray it all with bleach.  The bleach took the bright pink out of the new wood so it didn't look so fresh and it killed off any termites in the old wood.  That really works, by the way.  I buy cheap garden sprayers (the bleach is caustic and it doesn't take long before it ruins the sprayer) and put straight bleach in them and spray any wood that has termites. 

I haven't seen any evidence of more termites in the old wood we used for decorations on the side of the barn.  The only thing is that it may bleach out the wood you spray it on.  That was fine with me since we wanted our barn to look like a rustic town.  Oh, yes, you also have to wear clothes you don't care too much about in case you get overspray on yourself.

We have some Flowering Plum trees in our back yard in the grass area.  I put three in a group so we can have a nice clump of shade in the mornings during the summer.  However, I had to think of some way to make it so my husband wouldn't have to mow and weedwack in between the three trees.  So, I took a bunch of bricks that I wasn't using and made a zig zag border around the perimeter.  That was another game I played.  I had to get the beginning and the ending brick to match up.  You should have seen me going around and around the trees moving the bricks into different positions.  I finally got it.  Now I need to go find some rocks to fill in the center.  That was one of the things we were going to do yesterday and didn't get a chance.

My husband was working inside the barn on his work area.  He was hanging things and finding places to put everything.  He's moving his work benches and stuff out of the garage into the barn.  So, a lot got done out there, too.  We wore our poor little selves out!

I finished organizing the Sunday School supply room at church!!  Done done done!!  It is even inventoried.  After I finished that I was able to concentrate on the Information Booth.  I can't finish it until I find out the final arrangement of the counters.  After we came up with some ideas the pastors remembered that they might be cutting into the sanctuary to enlarge the women's bathroom.  So, the location and design of the Information Booth is still up in the air.

However, I stationed myself there Sunday morning.  My friend, who agreed to help me since she has been going to that church a while and knows more people, didn't show up for a while.  I was standing there feeling rather strange.  If someone asked me a question I probably wouldn't have the answer.  Then, a woman came up to me and asked me a question!!  OH NO!!  She asked me my name!  Uh, uh, uh.... wait!!  I know the answer to this question!!  LOL!

My friend came in and pointed out two young men who were new.  They were standing by the door and nobody was noticing them.  So, there I went!  My first really important customers!!  Wow!!  How exciting!

I am still focusing on my quest toward holiness.  I am very ashamed of how much compromise I have allowed in my spiritual walk.  Like I was saying last week, I had a lot of "good" reasons to keep sinning those "little" sins.

I'm having to say, "NO!" instead of, "Just this once."  I'm not allowed to say, "I don't want to think about it right now."  God expects me to be obedient to what He wants me to do and not to do all of the time, not just when I feel like it.  I don't want to be a "good time Christian!" 

God blessed me last week.  I told you I needed to clean my camper.  I bought some cleaner for rubber roofs which required scrubbing.  The entire time I was scrubbing and washing my camper roof as well as the entire time I washed all the rest it was overcast and cool!  As soon as I finished wiping off the last little bit of water the sun peeked through the clouds.  It was like God was telling me He loved me because He held it back until the very instant I was done.

As I was mopping and scrubbing the camper roof the thought passed through my head, "It's hard enough having to mop and scrub my floors in the house and here I am doing a ROOF!"  So, when do I get to go somewhere and enjoy the fruits of my labor??

Actually, that may be soon.  My husband may not get a summer school teaching job and that will make him available to go places in the camper.  Of course, if he isn't teaching summer school then we will be short on money by the fall.  The way the gas prices are will hinder us from driving very far.

Speaking of gas prices, if California has lots of oil then why are the gas prices the highest here?  I buy Mobil/Exxon gas.  My mechanic has a list of the types of gas that cause car problems and Mobil is one of the better brands.  It is around $2.35 near here.  It's just plain greed is my guess.  Since we tend to drive farther then they are taking advantage of us.  Shame shame!

Well, off to the Bible study.  I need to get this online because my husband is taking me out to dinner.
Link to the 6/1/04 Bible study.
June 9, 2004

I finished writing the article, A Call to Holiness.  It takes what we've been studying the last two weeks and goes into more detail.

I just can't escape it.  God is showing me that there is no "accidental" sin.  It is all choice and mostly, if not all, self-centeredness.

I'm starting to get my first produce out of my garden.  I've gotten squash and string beans.  Yesterday my first sunflower opened.  Everything looks real lush and green.  I planted a few different kinds of squash and pumpkin.  Next year I will move them somewhere else.  My garden isn't real small, but seems small when the vines takes over.

I'm not a serious gardener.  There are years when I just don't plant one and there are years when I allow the veggies and weeds to duke it out.

I really do love fresh tomatoes, though.  If I planted only one thing in my garden it would certainly be tomatoes!  I keep trying to get my husband to build me a greenhouse so tomato season can be longer.

My poor Bug.  He's one of my cats.  He's been scratching himself.  He has created a bald spot on top of his head and a raw spot on his neck.  I keep combing him with the flea comb and there isn't a flea on him.

Yesterday I took him to the vet.  The vet thinks he may have allergies.  He thinks Bug also has a staph infection so he gave him a shot and I have to give him an antibiotic twice a day.  Well, I think he had a bad reaction to the shot.  He was sick all day today.  Poor little guy.  I hate it when my kids were little and they'd get sick and when my pets get sick.  It makes me wish I could take it off of them and have it myself so they wouldn't have to suffer.

I've made the comparison before of a mother's heart being the closest thing to God's heart.  If I love my children and pets enough to get sick for them, think of the love Jesus had for us to die for us!  Wow! 

I wasn't sure what this week's Bible study would be and now I am stuck on God's love for us.  There's nothing else better to be stuck on than God's love, don't you think?  Ahhhhhhh.....wonderful!

Link to the 6/9/04 Bible study.
June 15, 2004

In case you didn't get to read it last week, here is the finished article, A Call to Holiness.

I've been struggling against behavioral habits I have.  When certain things happen I react in a particular way without thinking.  I have to keep thinking about God.  After I say something I shouldn't have said I realize I should have asked God first what to say.  There are times when I know I need to say something and I feel resistance from my "self."  Many times I say something that the other person "deserves" to hear rather than keep my mouth shut according to God's wishes.

God doesn't work by our rules.  Moment by moment we need to seek His will.  We need to be prepared to fight our habits and our urges to say and do things we shouldn't.

I read something that gave me a new perspective on the far-reaching extent of being holy:
"Eternal destinies are involved in the matters of thy holiness and thy faithfulness and thine obedience to My direction and will; but My love for thee is independent of these factors."
From Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts

I hurt my back this weekend.  You're not going to believe this.  I hurt it picking up my toothbrush.  I turned to the side and bent over slightly and felt something give way in my lower back.

I must have done something before to get it to that state.  I had gone shopping and bought some heavy things.  I am aware that my back is tender and always try to lift properly.  However, I know that it wasn't just picking up a toothbrush that did it!  Oh please, somebody tell me that I'm not so weak that a toothbrush is too heavy for me!!!

I've been using the heating pad and trying to take it easy.  It feels much better.  It doesn't hurt every time I take a step now.

It has been very difficult for me today.  Tomorrow my husband and I are going away in the camper for five days.  Tomorrow is the last day he has to be at the school (he's a teacher) and Monday starts summer football practice.  So, we are leaving on a short vacation.

I've been trying to get things packed as well as catch up on things around the house.  Well, I can only do so much and will have to let the rest slide.

One of my dogs got sick last Saturday.  He had a fever and we aren't sure what else.  He is almost 12 years old and there are a lot of things that could go wrong at that age.  My husband took him to the vet and he got some shots and antibiotics to take (the dog, not my husband).

I don't know what is going on.  First it was my cat, who finally seems to be feeling better.  He had a bad reaction to his medicine.  I took him off of it and he seems to be fine.  My other cat is not eating properly.  He can't afford not to eat because he is so skinny already.

Then there is the dog.  I think the enemy is trying to fluster me to distract me from my working toward holiness.  After all, it is when I am busy or tired that I mess up the most. 

My garden is starting to produce zucchini, yellow squash, and beans.  I've got some sunflowers smiling at the sky, too.  I also have a bunch of healthy looking weeds in there, but I can't do anything about that until my back feels better.

This morning I made a great bunch of food for my son's iguana.  I used all sorts of veggies, those from my garden and others from the store, to make a delicious feast for him.  When my son fixes food for him he usually only gives him green leafy vegetables and nothing else.  So, since I am such an animal lover, I told him I'd make the food.

Now the iguana loves me.  Not really.  He doesn't love anyone.  He is probably mad at us for keeping him in a cage instead of letting him out to find his own food.  What he doesn't know is that dogs or cats would have finished him off a long time ago.

That's what I do a lot.  I think that something else would be better than what I have now when all along I have the best thing.  I need to be counting my blessings and even counting things that don't seem like blessings.

Link to the 6/15/04 Bible study.
June 23, 2004

Last Wednesday was the last day my husband and the rest of the teachers had to be at the school.  We had planned a camping trip from Wednesday night through Sunday.  My husband had to be back in time for summer football practice Monday night.

One of the other teachers had gone to a campground about 90 minutes from here and had recommended it.  So, that is where we went.  It was nice and quiet until the cub scouts got there.

There were lots of trails that we walked.  They were hard enough to ride bikes on as well.  On one of our walks my husband and I saw a bobcat!  At night we heard coyotes nearby.  There were lots and lots of ground squirrels, gophers, and jackrabbits, too.

They had a catch-and-release fishing hole where my husband went to fish.  It was a relaxing trip.  Well, except when I fell coming out of the camper carrying my dinner.  I'm not quite sure what happened.  All I know is that I ended up flat on my back on the ground.  I've got a big bruise on my back just above my tailbone and I have a large lump on the back of my head.  My head took the worst blow.  I was wearing a plastic hair clip and landed right on it.  I blew the clip up into a million pieces.

So, now I guess I am working on cracking my head open from the back.  Maybe next time it will split in two from the blows I've given it in the front to the blow I've given it on the back.

I had lasagna from one of myself to the other.  I must have flipped my plate up in the air.  I've got to practice being nicer to myself, don't I?

We had a sad thing happen on Wednesday.  My dog, Bubba, whom we took to the vet with a fever the Saturday before, got worse.  He. all of a sudden, got to the point where he couldn't walk.  When my husband came home from school we had to pull poor Bubba out of the doghouse and carry him to the vet on a blanket.

Bubba either had intestinal cancer or something equally severe wrong with him.  We had to put him down.  Oh gosh, it is so hard to lose a pet!  My husband and I were crying as we went home.

As we were driving to the campground I kept thinking of things about Bubba that made me cry.  Heck, I'm crying again as I write this.  Time to move on to the next topic! 

I was working on my garden yesterday.  Things were getting a little out of hand.  The vines were doing a marvelous job of vining... in lots of places they shouldn't!  The weeds were doing a good job at being weeds.  The tomato plants were climbing everywhere except where they should.  So, I went out there and hacked and whacked until I got everyone to shape up.

I still have a lot more weeds to pull.  There is still a plethora of prolific and pretentious weeds parading pridefully through my plentiful preponderance of produce!  (Impressive, huh?)  Silly face

My husband didn't get to teach summer school this summer.  That's one of those good news/bad news sort of things.  The good news is that he will have time to get a lot of things done around the house.  The bad news is that he won't be making the money we need to do things around the house.  So, I've been mentally making a list of the things that don't take much money.  There are plenty of those, but they aren't things high up on my husband's list of fun things to do.
Link to the 6/23/04 Bible study.
June 30, 2004

I was observing some birds finding things to eat in our back yard.  A Mockingbird was running around picking things out of the grass.  She was moving her legs like we do, first one, then the other as she ran across the grass.  Unlike crows, whose body kind of sways as they walk, the Mockingbird's body didn't move any more than ours does as we walk.  She would stop, watch, and run when she spotted something tasty.  If anyone was outside she would occasionally stop and jerkily open and close her wings in our direction to warn us to stay away, I guess.

The sparrows hop.  Their legs seem to stay stiff and they hop hop hop.  It made me wonder if they get headaches with all the jarring their heads take as they hop.

Pigeons have a funny way of moving their heads as they walk.  Their head goes rapidly and smoothly forward then backward as their legs move.  It looks like they are poking holes in the air in front of them.

Then there is the Phoebe, a fly-catcher.  That bird doesn't spend time walking around.  It swoops and swirls and dives after flies and other flying insects.  They are fun to watch.  They look like they are going to crash into things, but they don't.

What if the Mockingbirds tried to take over bird-land and insist that any other way of catching food was wrong?  After all, their way feels very right to them and seems to be the best way.

Isn't that what we do sometimes as humans?  I used to be that way.  If something worked for me I tried to convince everyone else that it was the best way of doing things.  I think it made me feel important to think that I had been able to convince others to change their way of doing something to my way.

If we all did things the same way and thought the same way, the world would be very different.  Gosh, we might not even be here.  Maybe everyone would have decided to be a farmer and there would be nobody left to be doctors or storekeepers or all the other things that we need!  It is important to embrace differences.

Once I did a Bible study on setting Memorial Stones.  More and more I'm feeling that maybe God wants me to expand that teaching and add more.  It really is an important concept to help us to grow in our spiritual walk instead of slip backwards.  We'll see.  The study I did was pretty basic.  I wonder how much more God wants to add.

I've had another interesting experience of finding supposed professionals that don't do their job.  Since February I've been trying to get a new camera lens to replace the one I dipped in quicksand a number of years ago.  I went to a camera shop that was recommended by Vivitar (the brand of the lens I lost) to get it repaired or to get an estimate for replacement so I could submit a claim to our homeowner association.  It was our common area that had the quicksand.  I ordered a new lens and they said it would take a couple of days.  I'm still waiting.

After they had said it would take a few days I didn't hear from them for about three weeks.  Then the guy called me to ask what kind of camera I had.  He had forgotten to write it down when I was in there.

I called them about two weeks after that to find out how much longer it would take.  The camera shop wasn't close to my house and not only did I want my new lens, but I had to get another copy of the estimate to submit it to my insurance since the copy they gave me cut the estimate cost off the bottom.

He said he didn't know how much longer but that they would loan me a used lens in the meantime.  I told him I was coming in the next day to get another copy of the estimate and the loaner lens.

When I got there nobody knew anything.  The owner, the man I talked to the day before, neglected to tell me that they had lost any paperwork for an estimate and no longer had my name and phone number.  So, even if the lens had come in, they wouldn't have been able to contact me!  He also neglected to tell anyone that I was coming in so I had to explain my story twice and wait while one of the employees called the owner at my urging.

So, they wrote me a new estimate and gave me the loaner.  That was in April and I haven't heard anything since.  Oh, yes, the loaner lens won't focus so I can't use it.

So, I decided that they really didn't want to sell me the lens and I contacted another camera place, a chain store that was not a "mom and pop" place.  I asked if they had the 28-210mm zoom that I wanted.  The guy told me about two smaller zoom lenses that they had.  I told him I didn't want a small one and wanted the bigger one.  I asked if Vivitar still made the lens and could they order one if I came in to pay.  His answer was, "Yes."

This place was closer than the other, but still a good drive.  When I got there the guy said that the only lens I could order would be one of the two smaller ones.  I asked to speak to the man I called on the phone.  I was speaking to him!  I told him what my question was and what his answer was.  He said there was a misunderstanding.  He suggested I look in camera magazines to find that lens.  Good grief!

When I got back out to my car I just had to shake my head and laugh.  How in the world do I find people who get paid to be experts in what they do that give me such ridiculous service?  It happens over and over.  I've learned how to have patience, that's for sure!

So, I went online to the Vivitar site and ordered it directly from them.  It should be here in a few days.  Then I will have to drive all the way to the first camera shop to return the useless loaner lens.  Sigh.  I should write a book!


Boy oh boy, have I been disobedient lately.  I've been failing a lot in my quest toward holiness.  I'm on a diet and I've been eating ice cream after dinner.  Why?  Because I like it.  At this time it isn't good for me, but I eat it anyway.  Why?  I'm lusting after it.  I don't even ask God to help me.  I just do it.  Then there are other things, too.  It isn't just the ice cream.  I respond in anger when I shouldn't, use the wrong tone of voice or facial expression, and more.

It seems like it isn't such a big deal, but holiness IS a big deal.  Holiness includes the small things, too.  I'm not giving up.  I'm not going to let the enemy convince me that it is impossible!

Link to the 6/30/04 Bible study.

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