Friday, October 31, 2008

Faith on Friday

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:11-20

16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. Romans 5:16-18

6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes, I Actually Still Knit!

My friend Tina from Take Heart Farm and my Christian Artisans group surprised me with a lovely box full of fibers to spin and three skeins of her own handspun. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so surprised. Some of the lovely fibers were things I have never spun, but have wanted to, like Teeswater and Cormo and there was the most luscious gray Shetland I have ever seen!

The photo doesn't give justice to this beautiful yarn. The colors changes are softer and more subtle but the flash sharpens that all up. I started making a Calorimetry (head band from Knitty) and as I saw how the colors unfolded, I knew it had to become something else... can you guess what it is? I'm starting with the variegated and finishing with the natural brown. I need to find out from Tina what fibers are in this. It's so soft.

Ooh! Too bad I can't have any more babies... this would be a beautiful Baby Surprise Jacket (from Elizabeth Zimmermann).

Wellness Wednesday

Well, it's Wednesday and I survived. Phew! What a day! I am happy to report I am down another pound. This is especially exciting since I was given the go ahead to start my exercising again and then was unable to start due to some other medical things going on and some increased pain. Today the PT Assistent gave me some different exercises to do and I go back next week to speak with the actual Physical Therapist. After that my Hubby and I will pray about the next step as far as whether or not to do surgery. As uncomfortable as the knee continues to be, it's the bursitis because of knee malfunction and lack of exercise that is actually the most painful! So, no exercising this week... but hopefully soon. I am so missing it!

After the appointment the kids and I went to a park nearby. It was nice to sit outside and not sweat or broil, though the sky still has the tannish smog cast to it, hanging over the city. We are expecting a rain storm coming in and I am actually excited and energized. Crazy I know, but I love the refreshing that comes.

So, nothing else new on the wellness front, BUT, I have to tell you that my Mom has continued to walk with the Leslie Sansone DVD and she has LOST 16 pounds!!!! Way to go Mom! I am so PROUD of you. She is new to blogging, why don't you go over and congratulate her! (I don't think her comments are set up to be able to answer, but I know she will appreciate the encouragement!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Faith and Politics

While I openly share my faith here, I do try to avoid politics. In general I hate them and consider them a "necessary evil." I hate the lies, the compromising, the system - it doesn't matter what candidate or party, you have to admit, politics are basically "dirty". My Mom sent me something though that reflects what I've been reading on different blogs and hearing in discussions. This list by Pastor Mark Cox of Sterry Church in Roswell Idaho, hits the nail on the head as far as I am concerned.

Ten Predictions No Matter Who Wins The Election

1. The Bible will still have ALL the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God anointed preaching.
6. There will be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin

VERSE(1):The splendor of a King,Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
All the earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide,
And trembles at his voice,
And trembles at his voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God,and all will see How great,
How great
Is our God

Age to age he stands
And time is in His Hands
Beginning and the End,
Beginning and the End
The Godhead, Three in one
Father, Spirit, Son
The Lion and the Lamb,The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God,and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Name above all names
You are Worthy of all praise and
My heart will sing how great
Is our God

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,and all will see
How great,
How great
Is our God

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,and all will see
How great,
How great
Is our God

Pray and Vote. Vote your conscience. Our HOPE is in God.

Psalm 62
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault a man?

Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 They fully intend to topple him

from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.


5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;

he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.


9 Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion

or take pride in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
11 One thing God has spoken,

two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.

Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

El Shaddai

Today in church we had special music when K, R and MJ played guitar and sang El Shaddai by Michael Card. It has to be on my top list of favorites of all time. The hauntingly beautiful music and lyrics have been part of a soundtrack of my walk with the Lord. This was recorded by Amy Grant (as well as others, including the author Michael Card) and I don't know if it was written for her, but it suits her voice perfectly. I have sun this song in jubilant joy and in agonizing desperation. Considering this Friday's Faith on Friday post, I felt it fitting to choose a song about "the God who really sees."

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of Abraham;
Through the power of your hand,
Turned the sea into dry land.

To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God who really sees,
And by Your might,
You set Your children free.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
We will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Through the years You've made it clear,
That the time of Christ was near,
Though the people couldn't see
What Messiah ought to be.

Though Your Word contained the plan,
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of Your Son.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
I will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
El-Elyon na Adonai,
Age to age You're still the same,
By the power of the name.

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,
Erkamka na Adonai,
I will praise and lift You high,
El Shaddai.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Faith On Friday

This week's journey with Abram brings us to Genesis chapter 16 and the story of Hagar. My friend Susan has a great post today on waiting for God. I don't think it's possible to be alive and not experience waiting for God at some point in time. Through the years, I have lost count of how many times I have sat in God's waiting room. Yet again, here we sit, waiting for his word on whether or not we can move back to Washington. We've been waiting about 9 years now. Still, I would like to hope that my Husband and I would not go to the measures that Abram and Sarai took!

Naturally, in our day and age and in our culture, we would not find it acceptable for my Husband to acquire a concubine like Hagar. But, can you say that you have never taken an action to rush God's timing or will? Put in that perspective, I feel humbled. Some of the biggest messes I have found myself in, have occurred when I tried to take over from God and figure things out myself.

The mess Abram and Sarai find themselves in is a result of Abram's earlier lies and adventures in Egypt. Hagar, an Egyptian slave, likely was one of the maidservants gifted to them by Pharaoh. Can you imagine how you would feel if you had to share your home and husband with his mistress? In Sarai's shoes, I think I would have wanted to scratch Hagar's eyes out. Hagar may have taunted Sarai, but her conception of a child with Abram was not a sin the culture of the day. She did as her mistress commanded her. The law of the time allowed Sarai to punish Hagar, but not kill her.

Admittedly, I find it hard to relate to Hagar, but God showed amazing compassion and love (in spite of liberal interpretations of the Bible saying that the God of the OT was a misogynist!) to her. She must have felt alone, abandoned, lost, scared and that quite possibly she could die on her way to Egypt or when she arrived.

God heard Hagar's cry. He met her in the desert and spoke with her face to face. Our pastor said that this is the only place in the bible where someone gives God a name - El Roi - The God Who Sees Me! The name He gives her son - Ishmael - means God hears.


He sees me.

He sees you.

How powerful is that? I have spent most of my life feeling "invisible", insignificant and misunderstood, but the God of all the Universe sees me! Doesn't it feel good to know that we are not really invisible, forgotten and misunderstood. The God who created us is watching, working things together for good in our lives and sees our needs even before we can verbalize them. My job is to trust that He does know what He is doing and to wait for His will and His timing.

This is the lesson that Abram and Sarai had to learn in heartache and trial. We would do good to watch their missteps and not re-create them, but it seems like it is human nature to learn through mistakes.

Do you see a theme here? Abram/Abraham needs to learn to trust God. It doesn't come naturally does it? There are trials in life that test our trust and faith. In the end (see Hebrews) Abraham is considered faithful and his faithfulness is credited to Him as righteousness. Our righteousness comes from Christ alone, but it is no less important for us to believe, trust and walk in faith. For me there is comfort in knowing that Abraham was not successful in his first test, but that he improved in time. That means there is hope for me! :o)

Pastor Mike has done an excellent job each week summarizing how we can apply the Biblical truths in each lesson to our lives today:

1. We should wait patiently on God's timing to fulfill His promises. (2 Peter 3:8-9) If we are waiting there is a good reason. God isn't just "twiddling" His thumbs.

2. We should not think that God needs our help to fulfill His promises. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) He makes everything beautiful in His time.

3. We should trust God to fulfill His promises even if it will take a miracle. (Genesis 18:14a)

4. We should be comforted by this reminder that God sees our troubles and desires to rescue us.

Lastly, he shared a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a wise Christian martyr:

"But everything has its time, and the main thing is that we keep in step with God, and do not keep on pressing a few steps ahead - nor keep dawdling a step behind. It's presumptuous to want everything at once..." (Letters and Papers From Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, page 169)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Some of you who are just getting to know me may not realize that scrapbooking is not a new "obsession" for me. As a matter of fact, I have a long history with scrapbooking - not surprising since I have a long history with creative crafts and photography as well. In the 1890s my Great Grandpa Tisdale took photography classes at Hamline University in Minnesota. A few of his photos remain, which I think is really incredible!

Not surprisingly, he passed on the love of photos to his daughter, my Grandma Holly. She never really pursued it, perhaps due to lack of finances, but she always enjoyed looking at her daughters' and grandchildren's photos. As a young woman she took photographs of her adventures and family and of course her sweetheart, the man who would become my Grandpa, Alden Hopkins. I love this above quote, in my Grandma's exquisite and precise hand, which is on the first page of her photo album, which is about 11 x 7 in size. Currently I am scanning it. I plan on making an album using the full page to preserve her journaling. I will also extract certain photographs and photo edit them to restore or improve them and feature them alongside her pages. Added to that, I will fill in the blanks of information that I know from family history, chats with Grandma and my genealogy research. I think this will be a really fun album and I am looking forward to sharing that with my family.

If you click on this, you might be able to see the photographs better, but they are small in person too. Amazingly, my Grandmother's handwriting remained exactly like this until nearly the day she died about 75 years after this page was written! These photos are from her climb of Mount Baker in July 1926. She went with a group from Bellingham Normal School, which is now Western Washington University. It looks like they must have climbed from the Heliotrope Ridge trail, which I will have to hike some day myself. The same summer, Grandpa Tisdale, her father, climbed Mt Rainier. No small feat at any age, he was 56. I believe that it was the same week. Poor Grandma Tisdale! She must have been on her knees praying.

Well, move ahead some years and I began taking pictures. My first efforts are blurry and foggy from minuscule 110mm and 126mm negatives with a few Polaroids thrown in for good measure. My Aunt Grace and my Grandpa Johnson were both good teachers and even though my equipment was poor, I learned excellent composition techniques. Grace took a million pictures of everything, many gorgeous, many throw aways, many just for memory or to use in teaching her painting courses. Grandpa, like many male photographers I know, took his time photographing just a few shots and most of the ones he got were just right! I find that I fit somewhere in between the two.

In the course of putting all my photographs into magnetic (UGH!) albums, I felt that the pictures would be much more interesting if there was a story to explain. So, I began using strips of Scotch brand "magic" tape - the kind with the matte finish you can write on - and I labeled my photos, adding as many details as I could find. Whenever we went somewhere, I also picked up brochures and postcards to add to the mix. In 1977, I was 11 and went to visit family in North Dakota for the first time. How fun to take pictures of my grand adventure! At the end of the album I cut out "THE END ND '77". Later, in 1984, I was fascinated with the old fashioned scrapbooks in Germany that held bound pages of acid free paper with interleaves. I purchased one that now holds all my postcards, pressed flowers from hikes, stickers, beverage mats and other memorabilia from my first European experience.

Things progressed and I began using card stock and 8.5x11 sheet protectors with pigment ink pens and photo safe stickers. I cringe when I think of some of those creations. Next on the scrapping journey comes post bound albums and then Creative Memories, whose high quality albums I will continue to use for my paper scrapping.

In 1997 I began teaching classes at Treasury of Memories, which is still the awesome-est scrapbook store I've visited in 4 states! First I taught beginner classes and then I began developing a heritage album class, which incorporates more of my passions - family history, genealogy and old photographs! When I came to California in 1999, I developed the class further and taught at Scrapbook Station until I became a Mommy. About that same time I was excited to have some layouts published - a "My State" layout representing Washington in a contest run by Memory Makers magazine and a couple that were in their Quilted Memories book. My favorite from that was a layout about Grandma Hopkins entitled "All I needed to know in life I learned from a kindergarten teacher" playing off of the famous poem similarly named. On the layout and around the quilt square I listed all the things that I had learned from Grandma Hopkins. I'll have to find that some time and share.

While I was pregnant with D, I scrapped over 500 pages! Phew! That was a lot of fun too. After his birth, you can imagine how things began grinding to a halt and screechingly so when I had three babies under 18 months of age! lol

Enter my current phase - digital scrapbooking. It's such a delight to be able to work as I can, in pieces without having to worry about picking up a mess, keeping little hands out of it or finding room to work.

I can't wait to see what the future holds! :o)

An Apt word...

Thank you to those who have shared so kindly. Several of you wrote me Scripture to encourage me and I looked them up and appreciated that so much - words from the WORD, alive, living, vibrant, healing.

Last night I was able to spend some time talking with my wonderful God-Gift of a Husband, pouring out my heart and praying with him and that really helped.

I appreciate you! I'll leave you with a Scripture that has long been a comfort to me:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:22-24 courtesy of

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wellness Wednesday

Hello Everyone. I weighed in today for the first time in a few weeks. 309# I was so happy to see that in spite of my decreased activity I have not gained any weight. Admittedly though I have been feeling a little bit depressed that I have not been able to keep working on my health in a more active way. My physical therapist has given me permission to SLOWLY begin walking with my Leslie Sansone DVDs, but since then I have had the type of migraine that does not want me jumping and moving around!

My knee is progressing. I do not have to wear the immobilizer, though if I do not use a cane in public, I have difficulty maintaining balance. My therapist wants me to focus on not "hobbling", but no matter how hard I try, my left knee/leg stays straight and does not follow through in a normal walking motion. In addition my left hip bursitis is worse. So, my Hubby and I are praying about the possibility of knee surgery in November. Initially we had planned to review the situation then, anyway. The surgery appears to be very easy with little recovery time. My concerns in having surgery are related to how they may or may not anesthetize me because of past medical experiences and my asthma.

Lately I have been having some possible depression and/or anxiety compounded by pain, sick kids and a few other difficult situations. The political scene, both politically and on a national level are concerning me as well. I am left with an overall feeling of being out of control of all the situations in my life. Moment of Truth! I am not in control of my life and maybe it would be a little easier if I "Let go and Let God"! I'm not talking about letting go and giving up, but striving against God. From several sources lately I have been reminded to "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10.

Whine, whine, whine! That's not my intention. From the beginning on Wellness Wednesday I have strived to be completely open and honest. Would it be genuine to offer sunshiney encouragement to everyone else when I am feeling buffeted by the winds of life? So, I am sharing this here today so that maybe we can be of an encouragement to each other. I refuse to give up. I am pouring out my concerns here and then when the kids go to bed, I'm going to spend some time alone with Hubby and talking to God. Then I'll pick myself up and keep on going in His strength, not mine.

On the bright side, I am truly encouraged that I have not gone up in weight. In the past, after losing, then being dormant, my weight goes back up to the point where it was before. Apparently, my "setpoint" has been reset and I am looking forward to seeing it go down further!

Will those of you who pray, please pray for me in these things? Thank you.

And if you have made it this far, I want to leave you with a treat. My friend began a new blog called Teresa's Table and I am looking forward to trying out several of her recipes!

Thank you! I truly love my readers!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sweet Peas

First the stats: This came from Digital Scrapbook Art, a German site (click on the Brit flag for English, but I have fun refreshing my German!). One of my new favorite designers is Verena Karolyi. I bought several of her sets because in celebration of her daughter's 5th birthday, she had a 5 day sale at 50% off. I bought the A Whisper of Romance kit for approximately $2.48 and then this page is made primarily with her free quick page. It was a horizontal page but I rotated it for this picture and added the tag, ribbon and ribbon flower from the kit. I still need to work on the tag a little because I haven't learned how to change the amount of drop shadow on my elements.
Even though I love rich color, texture and heritage type layouts, I don't generally like a lot of what I call "frou frou". Somehow this picture just screams for something special. I am going to be trying it out in several different layouts, so you will likely be seeing it again.
My Mom took this picture in color when the girls were about 1.5 weeks old and it's my FAVORITE!!! I desaturated the color leaving just a little hint of pink. At this point they still needed and wanted to be very close to each other as they had in the womb. If only they could be this sweet and quiet today! LOL This picture makes my Mama Heart ache in a million different ways and I sigh every time I look at it. After I try a few layouts, one will be chosen to be printed out and I will frame it in my room.

Faith On Friday

This week I have had sick children, sick me, doctors appointments for me and physical therapy. I was unable to go to church or Bible study and by the end of this type of week... I am dragging! Yes, I'm dragging physically because it's just hard, but I'm also dragging spiritually. If I kept in contact with my Husband the way I sometimes do with God, then I would probably be divorced!

In my youthful days as a Christian, I believed all the teachings of "thou musteth getteth upeth at 4:30eth and readeth thineth Bible..." etc. Now if you do this, that's awesome. For many of us that is just not possible! That doesn't mean I think I don't need a daily devotional time - I do! But having a devotional time with God can happen in many different ways. How you do it today doesn't have to be the same way you did it yesterday or how your Pastor does it or how your friend does it. God created each of us uniquely and we each worship and share with Him in a unique relationship.

Some days the Holy Spirit may prompt you to pray - be obedient. Other times you are nudged to look up a specific topic and research it. Perhaps you just want to sit quietly and absorb one Psalm. At various times in my life when I became overwhelmed, I put a praise CD in, sat on the floor and rocked and sang my heart out until the tears fell, release came and His peace flowed over me. I was thinking about my previous post when J said she'd "snuggle" with Jesus. I think the above is an example of how I can snuggle with Him!

However you do it, take time out to be with your Father God, who loves you more than anyone on earth ever could, who understands, who listens, who cares, who works everything together for good and in His purpose. He does not "need" us - He is God, but He desires us! Do you hear Him calling?

This week we began establishing a spiritual rhythm in our school time. We always have prayer and devotion, but I wanted to put in something special to train them in the way they should go. Our 24 Family Ways is an awesome tool to use in helping your children develop, not only faith, but compassionate, respectful traits in interacting with other people and the world. The 24 family ways are separated into areas concerning authorities in our family, relationships in our family, possessions in our family, work in our family, attitudes in our family and choices in our family.

My children are 5.5 and 7 and occasionally one of the questions is difficult, but not hard when explained. I would say it would probably work preschool to high school. There are thought provoking questions each day which put the concept into the perspective of the child's life and world. There is a time to read the Bible and then there are 2 or 3 questions after reading with an application time where the child prays and asks God to help them attain the character traits discussed. This usually takes about 20 minutes unless the children are extra talkative! :o)

The first family way is "We love and obey our Lord, Jesus Christ, with wholehearted devotion." I will leave you with our memory verse:

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 6:37-38

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wellness Wednesday

Hi Everyone. Still not much to report. Our whole family has been down with either virus or stomach bug and we are all dragging. I'm behind on answering email. I am a bad friend. I have been learning how to digital scrapbook instead! Sorry!

Digital scrapbooking has saved my sanity this week. I have been overwhelmed by kids who are super emotional when they are sick and my nerves are raw. The other night I knew I just needed to spend some time in the Word - the best wellness tool I know of! I took my Grandma Hopkins' Bible, which I love to read because of all her notes in it, and read the first couple chapters of Ephesians, making a list of all the things God has done or blessed me with as a Believer. I highly recommend this. It's pretty eye opening.

Today during devotionals in school, we had a question about what we would give Jesus if he was here right now. D answered immediately, "some" of his Legos! LOL The girls, at 5 couldn't quite understand. So, I said, "If Jesus was sitting on the couch with you, what would you give him or do for him." J said, "I'd snuggle with Jesus!" Out of the mouths of babes. Couldn't we all use a snuggle with Jesus? I know I sure could!

What picks you up when you are down?


Playing with train sets in the bedroom, the girls are discussing the people they are using. J wants one brother. A wants more. J says, "One brother makes sense. More brothers don't make sense!" A says, "I want more!" J says, "That DOES NOT MAKE SE-E-E-E-ENSE!" (at the top of her lungs). A, quietly but firmly, "I don't want to make sense!"

LOL J needs her world to be ordered and "right" just like big brother D and Mommy. :o) She has one brother whom she adores. It just doesn't make snese to have more! lol

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Six Generations

Left Side

Right Side

These were fun layouts to do. My Grandma Hopkins had her wedding bouquet pressed and behind the glass of a serving tray. This always hung on her wall in the dining room. My Aunt Grace, who is an oil artist, painted color onto the aged blooms. I'm not sure where this 78 year old treasure is, but likely my Aunt has it. I was looking at a German site, Scrapbooking Heaven and liked some of her work, but it is too bright for my usual tastes. I tend to like muted, soft or jewel tones, not bright and for fabric and paper I like an old fashioned or shabby chic kind of look with a little touch of country and a smidge contemporary - in other words eclectic, but not bright and wild eclectic! When I saw the Cherished Memories kit and Cluster package it reminded me of Grandma's wedding bouquet.

I have long wanted to do a page layout with the six generations of married women on my Mom's side. When my daughters marry that will be seven! It's so neat to have these pictures and I wanted to do something special with them. This won't go in my regular heritage album, but may go into an album that I want to create about the people who have influenced me in my life and faith. This took a long time and I probably won't do many of these "fussy" pages, but it was gratifying to accomplish something, even though we were all too sick to do much else today!

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Birthday Scrapbook Pages

This was a fun page to do because it was just playing around with the photo and the art. I used the Enjoy The Journey kit from Mary Ann Wise at Designer Digitals.

When I saw this Crusader kit by Faith at Shabby Pickle, I had to have it! D is so into Indiana Jones Legos and when he saw these pages I made, he was very pleased. You can click to read the page.

I plan on making D his own page with just his pictures and rope that he can frame and put by his bed. He really loved this and I had fun making it.

These are the left and right pages for D's birthday dinner when we went out to Red Robin. Everybody started getting sick on his birthday and it seemed to be hitting here. We had a few tears when D learned we were all going to take a much needed nap before opening presents after dinner, but the ice cream sundae helped! :o) He is highly motivated by sweets, much to Mama's chagrin since I am trying to get us eating healthier.

D's BD

Okay, I am trying something new here. These are low resolution, reduced copies of the real thing, but I am learning how to do digital scrapbooking. (You should be able to click to get a larger image) More on that at the end. First this is the left hand side of this "spread". This is D's birthday morning (Friday). We allowed him to open a present in the morning because Grandma and Grandpa got him an Indiana Jones hat and messenger bag. It was a HIT! We knew he would want to wear it all day and he did! Stay tuned for more adventures! :o) And the picture on the left here is D being kissed by both his sisters - how CUTE is that!?

This is the right hand side of this layout. We had a short trip to Apple Hill on his birthday before we went out to lunch. His birthday trip was actually on Saturday. It'll be awhile before I get that sorted out.
Now for the specs, in case anyone is curious. I'm using Photoshop Elements 6 along with a learning CD from Linda Sattgast, a lovely Christian woman who has a business called Scrapper's Guide. Her learning CD is well worth the money because everything is broken down into professional quality, screen shot videos of the program you are using. They are in small segments so you can easily go back and re-watch without a huge time commitment. Likewise, you can watch them and learn because you can do it in small snippets. I also belong to her Premium membership which cost around $35 for a year. Each month I receive a professional quality kit from various designers along with additional teaching videos to download. The kits are really nice and useful. If you are interested in learning, Linda's CD is coming packaged with PS Elements 7 for Costco members only (it either just came out or is very soon). I highly recommend her. There are other free videos at various sights, which are helpful, but then you have to track them down when you need them. Linda's are all in one spot.
As for the kit, I used Julie Billingsley's Apple of My Eye kit from Sweet Shop Designs. The 9 picture frame came from Shabby Princess's GORGEOUS Autumn Medley> kit. The number "7" came from another Sweet Shoppe kit called Apple Snapple from designer Kay Miller.
My most recent favorite place to "window shop", since I could spend at least a hundred easily (but didn't!!!) is Designer Digitals. Take a look at the designs of Katie Pertiet. (Blogger won't let me past another link!) Once you get past the first page of her designs, she has a botanical collection that is scrumptious and I will probably end up collecting many of them to use with my heritage albums. Dana Zarling, Kellie Mize Lynn Grieveson, Mary Ann Wise and Mindy Terasawa are some of my other favorite designers there.
I was also delighted to find Faith Sisters, which features kits from Christian designers, many of which are geared towards sharing your faith and Christian life/church activities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and I'm sure I'll be sharing more sites in the future. I will also talk about some of the free or "cheap" sites I frequent. If you are a digital scrapbooker, I would LOVE to hear about your favorites, your tips to a newbie and see some of your work!
More birthday posts coming. :o)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Songs On Sunday and More Vacation Pics

All five of us are sick in one form or another, so today was a family Sabbath at home. Hubby and I enjoyed a good sermon from Charles Stanley about Joseph and how he succeeded because he continually looked to God in spite of all his circumstances. D of course is busy playing with all his birthday Legos.
Soon I'll have pics up of all the busy birthday celebrations, but today I wanted to share a few more vacation pictures. These are on Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, again - I think this was the 5th day there this summer! I was so disappointed because these pictures had the potential to be a LOT better, but I had accidentally put on a PINK filter instead of my UV Haze filter!!! UGH! Fortunately I shot in raw and was able to remove a little bit of the magenta but you can still tell. Anyway, I thought Grandma would like to see these! :o)

A, J and D on the big driftwood root system they played on all afternoon!

J, A and D


J, D and A

D, "just hanging out".

D watching surf.

The kids played oblivious to the gorgeous surf pounding and crashing all around them.

J with her Indiana Jones "whip" (kelp).

I heard this song on TV this morning and the lyrics are meaningful. In my mind, I can hear George Beverly Shea singing this.

I'd Rather Have Jesus

by Rhea Miller

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand


Than to be the king of a vast domain,

Or be held in sin’s dread sway;

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;

I’d rather be true to His holy name

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

Friday, October 10, 2008

7 Seven Siete Sieben Sies

Seven years ago tonight one long journey was ending (the pursuit of parenthood, a 46 hour difficult labor ending in infection and an urgent C-section) and one was beginning (motherhood - having my heart walking around outside my body, as the saying goes!). D didn't come easy in any sense of the word, but he has been (mostly! lol) a JOY! He was such a fun baby - fun loving, adventuresome, affectionate and quick learning. It's hard to believe he is now 7 years old!

Like his Daddy and his Grandma, D is a 'chocoholic'! Here he is on his first birthday. We set his cake up on a Rubbermaid storage container because it was just his height, washable and could sit in the middle of the kitchen where there was no carpeting.

Needless to say, he enjoyed the experience. It was hilarious to watch. He had the same reaction as my little brother did on his first birthday, while my girls were quite dainty tasting frosting, just like their Mommy on her first birthday. Needless to say, he enjoyed his chocolate cake!

Today he blew out 7 candles (one not pictured) in his new Indiana Jones hat and he was quite neat about it.

His sisters, on the other hand were quite another story! This is A (poor thing has a fever but didn't want to miss the fun).

And J took total delight! More birthday pictures to follow!

Freulichen glueckwunsch zum Geburtstag mein kleiner Mann! Ich liebe Dich!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Faith On Friday

Today's Faith on Friday post will be short. (Do I hear a collective sigh of relief? lol) Friday just happens to be the birthday of my favorite 7 yo... naturally pictures are to follow! :o)

This week's lessons on Abram focused on his rescue of Lot when Sodom was attacked (Genesis 14) and Abram's subsequent meeting with the King of Melchizedek. Now this chapter gets into some deep theology that I will not even begin to tackle regarding the identity and significance of Melchizedek. Some say he is a foreshadowing of Christ, others say that he is Christ. What we do know is that Christ was a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Abram obviously loved Lot to take his men and go after the powerful kings who had taken him and his family. That we know of, Lot had not shown much thanks or allegiance to Abram and had become an inhabitant of the evil Sodom. And the King of Sodom approached Abram in a slinky, used car salesman kind of a way, as if he had any standing to make an agreement with Abram after Abram rescued all his people and their belongings.

Melchizedek on the other hand came to Abram as the Priest of the Most High God and blessed him. Abram tithed 10% of his "loot" to Melchizedek as God's Priest, long before the Mosaic law gave instructions on how to do this. Our sermon compared and contrasted Melchizedek which means "The King of Righteousness" to Bera, the King of Sodom whose name means "Be Evil." During our class on Tuesday we discussed Lot and Abram's rescue of him and what it is like to love someone who makes poor choices in their life. This struck home for me and tears sprang to my eyes easily. There are many in my Dad's family who are in desperate situations, some of their own creation, unwilling to change or help themselves. It's pretty hard to love someone who chooses ugliness and evil. But it's hard not to love them when you know they need His saving Love!

I will leave you with some application taken straight from Pastor Mike's sermon on Sunday.

1. Don't be indebted to the world. Do not flirt with the world like Lot did. First he pitched his tent near Sodom, then he was in Sodom.

2. God will lead us in victory! 1 John 5:3-5 Everyone born of God overcomes the world. We may not be able to do it ourselves, but He can. Abram only had a few more than 300 to face the armies of several kings, but God gave him the victory! (Victory in Jesus! My Savior forever!)

3. Worshipping God with a tenth of our material goods is an enduring principle in the Bible. Tithing happened before the Law and is an act of worship, not an obligation or a chain of legalism. It thanks Him for His blessings. (And it all belongs to Him anyway!)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wellness Wednesday

This morning I gave myself permission not to weigh myself. I haven't been able to exercise and it's that time of the month, so why depress myself?! I know I am not putting back on a lot of weight because my wedding bands still fit! :o) Last week I missed my PT appt because of getting the brakes replaced on the van, but I do go tomorrow and I am looking forward to that. I'm hoping it will help since I will be gong to San Francisco for D's birthday on Saturday and may need to be doing standing.

There isn't too much new and exciting to talk about here but I don't want to give up this Wellness Wednesday posting because I don't want to give up on my journey, so I'm posting to keep a "place holder"!

This week I played some more with my pressure cooker. The more I use it, the more I love it and I hope to be doing some more. I also reviewed a fun product on my other blog. That's it for this week... sorry kind of boring!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


This week I have felt so homesick. Perhaps it is because it's October and the AC still goes on. Maybe it's because our allergies are bad. Likely having to cancel our Monterey trip because we had to get new brakes, tipped it over the edge. Whatever the reason...

I am homesick...

My heart wants to be here. My heart wants to breathe fresh, salty air. My heart wants to live where this could be a short car ride away and where the mountains rise up out of the sea.

I know He hears my heart's cry. I know He senses the suffocation I feel; my wings are clipped and I ache like a bird that cannot fly.

For whatever reason, He is not sending down any neon signs to direct us where to go. The economy is greatly effecting our chances of being able to leave California, just when it was beginning to be hopeful. I don't want to whine, but I had to express these feelings before they exploded inside of me.

I want to learn, like Paul, to be content in all things.

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:11-12 NIV)

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV)

4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." 6So we say with confidence,"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:4-6 NIV)

(All photographs are Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington)

Sunday, October 05, 2008


The kids were working on spelling with some wooden letters that my Grandma Hopkins had made for her Kindergarten classes in the 1960s. J had been trying to spell "Jack" and had come up with J-A-L. D, being the bossy big brother that he has been lately, was trying to tell her what she doesn't know. Daddy said, "D, you don't know every word."

J says, "Yeah, D. You don't know JACK!" :o)

Hubby and I laughed so hard that now she is running around singing, "You don't know Ja-ack!" She loves to make people laugh!

Songs On Sunday

"Disclaimer" - I realize that a lot of my posts have been "heavy" lately and for those of you who have known this primarily as a "knitting blog" you are probably wondering if I still knit! Yes I do, I just haven't had energy to block my lace, photograph finished objects and post. That will be coming soon. I am in a season of my life where God is asking me deep questions, causing me to think through things that I thought I had already figured out and sorting through the clutter in my emotional and mental attic! I understand if you are not interested in reading. I enjoy my interactions with other women in the blogosphere, but I also write to help my own growing progress. I hope that makes sense. My posts won't always be so heavy, but life isn't sweetness and fluff all the time!

Today was Communion Sunday. Our church chooses to celebrate this the first Sunday of each month as did my church in Washington. For me this is nice - not so often that it becomes rote and not so seldom that we forget. Ironically in our sermon series on Abraham, this Sunday covered Melchizedek, the High Priest of God, meeting with Abram after the recapture of Lot and the return of the spoils of Sodom. Melchizedek brought bread and wine - the food of kings at the time, but also the ingredients for performing a Covenant.

Sadly, in this day and age and in western culture, we do not understand the idea of a covenant. Thus we so easily break them - marriages, commitments to God, promises to those we love. In ancient times the breaking of a covenant meant death. Today it's an every day occurence. Sad.

My Mom took this picture at Laurel Church, the church I attended through most of my 20s and my early 30s. At the foot of this cross (behind us), Hubby and I made a Covenant. As you can see 9+ years later, we have fulfilled our promise to be fruitful and multiply! :o) L to R, J, D and A. I wanted a picture here because our tenth wedding anniversary is coming up.

As we made our eternal Covenant with God, we took Communion together for the first time. Today, it was so odd, when the tray came to me I wanted to serve my Husband. That's not what we normally do, it's not something I thought out but something that I felt compelled to do at the moment. I chickened out when the wafers came, but did pass him the grape juice. I'm not sure what this meant and I'm still digesting it. But one thing I know, that I NEVER get tired of taking communion with my husband.

This is one of those things I did not think of when I was single and dreaming of marriage - you think of physical intimacy, someone to go to the movies with, snuggle with etc. Don't get me wrong, those things are nice, but I praise God every day for the man who prays with me, takes communion with me, teaches my children about God and loves me even if I don't deserve it! Let me tell you ladies, I lived in an unequally yoked home, a single parent home, I was single long enough and in enough BAD relationships to appreciate what I have. And young ladies, waiting for God's choice for you, PLEASE WAIT! What He has planned for you is better than you can ever imagine. No relationship is perfect, but when God is the Head of your household, He does amazing work in your lives! And if your heart is broken from the pain of a sad or unhealthy relationship, God is the place to go for comfort and healing! I know!

One of the joys of having children has been seeing my Mom, Ruth, and my step Dad, Jack interact with them... not only as loving Grandparents but as torchbearers to the next generation! This picture was taken while Hubby and I were on our "honeymoon" and the kids went to church alone with Grandma and Grandpa. J is in my Mom's lap and A on Grandpa Jack's lap and naturally D is in between.

As for Songs On Sunday, we sang beautiful Hymns today - both old and contemporary - How Great Is Our God, My Jesus I Love Thee, The Wonderful Cross, Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus) and In Christ Alone. The woman who sang Untitled Hymn as a solo during Communion was so LOVELY. By the time she was done, the tears were streaming down my face. I relate to so many of the words and then through my grief journey I cling to the end "fly to Jesus" and it gives me HOPE.
This is A getting ready for church at Grandma's. She is wearing for the first time a dress I made her. It started out as a top from a vintage pattern that was too short for modesty. I didn't have enough to make a dress so I found some coordinating green and had just enough of the main print to put a band at the bottom of the front only... oh well, at least she has a unique, one of a kind outfit! :o) She loves it!
Here J contemplates the butterflies on her new jumper that I made her. (All photos today taken by my Mom Ruth)
In Christ Alone
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone,
Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave
He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Grandpa and his kids! J, A and D with Grandpa Jack.

A and J watching brother and the big kids practice their musical performance. The kids really clicked quickly with the kids at Laurel and had a blast with teacher R!

Untitled Hymn by Chris Rice

Weak and wounded sinner

Lost and left to die

O, raise your head, for love is passing by

Come to Jesus

Come to Jesus

Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted

And carried far away

And precious blood has washed away the stain, so

Sing to Jesus

Sing to Jesus

Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby

Don't be afraid to crawl

And remember when you walk

Sometimes we

Fall on Jesus

Fall on Jesus

Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely

And steep and filled with pain

So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then

Cry to Jesus

Cry to Jesus

Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over

And music fills the night

And when you can't contain your joy inside, then

Dance for Jesus

Dance for Jesus

Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat

Kiss the world goodbye

Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and

Fly to Jesus

Fly to Jesus

Fly to Jesus and live!

Friday, October 03, 2008

October Awareness

Most of us think of October as the month that ushers in fall, even though it began in September. The skies can be crisp, clear blue with cotton ball clouds or gray and brooding. Trees across the northern hemisphere change. We anticipate celebration. October has long been one of my favorite months and especially since my first born arrived on the 10th.

Did you know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Have you done your self breast exam? Have you been squished with a mammogram lately? Even though there have been conflicting study reports recently on their effectiveness, I won't be stopping. Too many people I know found their breast cancer through self exams and mammograms.

My job-share nurse friend Michelle has now survived breast cancer about 15 years! Praise God! My friend Betty Boop did not survive; God chose to heal her in Heaven. Elaine battled bravely for more than ten years. She taught God's Word boldly, shared His love gently and LIVED every moment she was on earth. Two of my grand Aunts... Mickie and Betty, battled twice, succumbing to cancers secondary to their breast cancer. And in case you are a man or you love a man, don't think men are excluded. A friend of my Hubby's has an ongoing battle with breast cancer and HIS name is Ed. Probably everyone reading this could list at least one person they know who has battled breast cancer.

Do not be afraid. Be Aware. Be Educated. Do Exams. Do Mammograms. Encourage a cancer fighter and PRAY!

Did you also know that October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month? This was news to me until I read Sherri's blog. This month she is posting "31 for 21" which is a post for each of the days of October for Down Syndrome Awareness because Down Syndrome effects Chromosome 21.

If you ever wondered what it would be like to find out that you have a child with Down Syndrome you should read Welcome To Holland, Sherri's October 1st post. Sherri's posts about her "Imp" as she calls him for anonymity purposes always delight me. I'm sure that I am seeing the sunshine and not the shadow, but her family has been an amazing picture of love as they have surrounded this young man and raised him together. I found Sherri's blog when I was just "surfing" one day and followed a link, but I came back and stayed because of her posts on the Imp.

I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to experience this myself, but I have a huge heart for "special needs" kids. When I was done with high school before high school was done, I volunteered in a special education pre-school that was part of my school district, working with children ages 3-10 of varying diagnoses. Several had Down Syndrome. I looked into teaching special education but after 3.5 years in college dismissed teaching altogether. That must be one of God's little chuckles considering what I do now! lol

One of the jobs I had in college was respite care for a little girl with cerebral palsy. After college I worked as a Certified Medical Assistant for ten years, most of which was pediatrics. In pediatrics you see the whole gamut of population and it is probably the most varied specialty in medicine. I loved so many of my patients and enjoyed working with parents to meet their children's needs. Sometimes we had to be advocates for the parent and/or child with the school district, insurance company or other agencies and it was something I found fulfilling - sticking up for the "underdog". Maybe I should have pursued social work, though my tender heart would probably have been in a permanent state of brokenness!

My heart for the "special needs" person began at an early age, long before these experiences in life.

L to R: Winnifred Lucy Kirkland Tisdale, Dorothy Winnifred Tisdale (front), Holly Mable Tisdale Hopkins, Fred Tisdale, Clifton K. Tisdale and Homer K. Tisdale about 1913.

My Grandma Hopkins' little sister, "Aunt Dorothy" did not have Down Syndrome. About 1918 she was thrown out of a Model T Ford in a car accident. To her dying day she was afraid of cars and always asked if you were a good driver and if you ever had an accident! She suffered a severe brain injury in the accident and never attained full mental maturity. After 2nd or 3rd grade, she left school and lived at home. For awhile some attempts were made to help her live on her own, but events that I don't know or understand about made this impossible. In the 60s it was popular to treat anything related to the brain with electric shock treatment, which Aunt Dorothy received at a state mental hospital. All of my life she lived in nursing homes.

This photograph was taken about 1918 and by her searching expression, I can't help but wonder if this wasn't taken after the accident. L to R, Homer Tisdale, my Grandma Holly Tisdale Hopkins, Dorothy Winnifred Tisdale, Fred Tisdale, Winnifred Kirkland Tisdale and Clifton Tisdale.

Mother and daughters, probably in the 1930s - Winnifred Kirkland Tisdale, Holly Tisdale Hopkins, Dorothy Winnifred Tisdale. (Mom, the dress Grandma is wearing reminds me of the one you wore for Grandma's memorial service 60 or 70 years later!)

I always knew that Aunt Dorothy was "different" and that she needed special help, but she was part of the family and was very loved and welcomed. Many times she spent a few days with us over Thanksgiving or Christmas. My Mom who self admittedly is not a "nurse", was always so gentle and caring with her. A day or so away from the nursing home and she became alive! Likely they had her medicated to zombie status so that they wouldn't have to deal with anything more than they wanted to. Looking back, some of those times where family were all gathered together and she stayed with us were some of the happiest.

Many people look at Aunt Dorothy, or probably the Imp or other special needs people and think they are stupid, don't get it, are annoying, ignorant, embarrassing... fill in the blank. Aunt Dorothy had spunk, a great sense of humor, was playful, collected dolls, souvenir spoons and her favorite color was yellow. She enjoyed beautiful jigsaw puzzles and in her 80s had a "boyfriend" in the nursing home. "He's an Indian!" she would whisper, having grown up in a time when that would be scandalous!

When we first came to our church, it was Christmas and there taking part publicly in the service was B.M. who has Cerebral Palsy. I held my breath subconsciously and looked around for others' reactions, being used to seeing people's embarrassment and non acceptance. To my surprise no one appeared any different than they should. Here was a person who in the world's eyes is "disabled" and unable to participate on their level, taking part in a "normal" part of the church service. Even in church circles, this is sadly, not common. Right then and there I knew it was a fit! Later I would learn that we have wonderful family in our church whose son N also has Down Syndrome. One day his Daddy shared a testimony of their discovering that N had Downs, their grief and how much they have grown in love and faith by being blessed to be his parents. N is like a little evangelist and must have the gift of hospitality. He walks through the halls, passes out tracts and greets people.

Top: my grand Aunt Elaine Horstman Hopkins (the only one living from this picture), my grand Uncle Philip Sedgewick Hopkins. (I'm not sure if they were married at this time or not. On the Right side: Winnifred Kirkland Tisdale and Homer Tisdale.

On the bottom, my Grandparents George "Alden" Hopkins and Holly Tisdale Hopkins (Grandma was never fat, so I think this may have been taken in 1934 when she was pg with my Aunt Grace.) Left side: Aunt Dorothy Winnifred Tisdale and Fred Tisdale.

Awareness is a good thing. Be aware that people who are different are not necessarily ignorant to what is going on around them, that they are people too, not inanimate objects, that they share the same needs, wants and desires that we all do and that they deserve to be treated with respect.

The next time you see a parent struggling with a special needs child, you might ask if they would like some assistance (if it is appropriate). Also, don't be afraid to hug (if appropriate), shake hands, encourage, pray with and share God's love with them. It's not likely that they will come up to you and ask for help, but a kind and genuine offer is appreciated even if it is not always practical to accept it. And if you see injustice, please speak up. It takes a coward to make fun of someone different than them. Sometimes we need to stand up for the rights of those who do not know how to do it for themselves.

So, in light of awareness month, if you know someone with Down Syndrome, breast cancer or other special needs, please say a prayer for them and maybe see how you can help! You will be greatly blessed.

I miss you Aunt Dorothy! Thank you for teaching me to see people with my heart!

Faith On Friday - Abram Back On Track

Last week our sermon and Bible study focused on Abram's lies about Sarai being his sister and his sojourn and exit from Egypt. Our lovely teacher Elise pointed out that we know the process for Esther to be "purified" and ready to be presented to the king, took about a year. We wondered if that were also true in Egypt and therefore that Abram, Sarai, Lot and all their peoples had been in Egypt for quite some time. At any rate, by the events in Genesis 13, we know that the famine was gone or conditions had at least improved. Abram was back in Canaan with more wealth than he had when he left. This week we focused on how Abram began to turn his faith and life in the right direction.

Genesis 13:4 tells us that when Abram came back to where he had first built an altar, he called on the name of the Lord.

When we blow it and we recognize it - the FIRST thing we need to do is call on the name of the Lord! Even if we are not ready to repent (change our ways) or ask for forgiveness - we still need His help and wisdom to get out of the messes we make for ourselves. Don't you think that's true, that most of the time, we are the ones making our own mess? I realize that many people are harmed by others and have injustices against them, but sometimes even then, we make it worse for ourselves. My theory is that it boils down to our number one sin of PRIDE - ever since Eve failed in the garden, we have been trying to be in charge of our own lives, ignoring God until we cry out. I am not writing this against anyone else, but just admitting that sadly, too many times in my own life I have found this to be true.

But, Abram had learned a lesson, or so we think, and now he is seeking God. After he has sought God's wisdom, he does an amazing thing. He totally humbles himself before Lot. Now, Abram is Lot's elder and possibly his guardian after the death of his father, Abram's brother. Lot's wealth has already been acquired through the blessings upon Abram. There is no human reason why, nor a cultural reason why he would do this.

Our teacher told us that many theologians compare this to Christ who "humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8 NIV). There is much in the Old Testament that foreshadows the coming of Christ. The more I read it the more I see it and it has almost become a treasure hunt. It is a pet peeve of mine that many Christians dismiss the Old Testament. They are forgetting 2 Tim 3:16-17 where Paul tells his protege Timothy that ALL Scripture is inspired by God. As a matter of fact that is my children's SS memory verse. When Paul wrote that, Scripture was primarily the Old Testament. So, I encourage you to go hunting for jewels in the richness of the history of God's relationship with His children.

Abram humbled himself before Lot and gave him a choice. Lot chose what he could see. Instant gratification with little effort required to prosper. He looked out and saw the green pastures and fertile land.

I've never really liked Lot. Is that okay to admit, that you don't like someone in the Bible?! His story is just so "eww" in so many ways. Judas Iscariot compels me to more compassion than Lot. Of course this is purely emotional observation. I was surprised when our teacher read 2 Peter 2:6-8 which proclaims Lot a righteous man. Hmmm... now I am the one humbled. It's a good thing that I am not personally under the microscope; perhaps I would not fare as well as Lot!

Lot goes one to greener pastures :o) and there is no record of grumbling or complaint on Abram's part. He settles in Canaan and the Lord tells him to look as far as he can see - north, south, east and west - all the land would belong to him and his offspring. The EAST where Lot had chosen the prime real estate was even promised to Abram.

Abram had consulted with God, worshipped God and chosen God's path for his life, therefore he could humble himself before Lot and wait and trust on the Lord. Abram exemplified in this circumstance, the truth of Matthew 6:25+... that we seek first Him and His Kingdom and all these things (all the things we need and even sometimes wants are thrown in to delight us!) are given to us. He did not worry.

Lot trusted in what he could see.

Abram trusted in God.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 shares Paul's views. He fully grasped the limitations of his humanness and the hugeness of his God.

"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness.

So, this week I have been thinking about that. And you know what? Right away it was tested. It was like the enemy said, "AHA! You can't trust Him, look what's going to happen! What will you do?"

The day after Bible study we found out that the brakes on our van ALL need to be replaced and are metal to metal. Part of me panicked momentarily because we have had this nice little trip for D's birthday planned - going to Monterrey and the Aquarium and the Ocean! I looked at Hubby and said "Let's not freak. Let's sit down and pray." Their were only 2 ways we could get brakes (a priority) and go on our trip. The first was to not pay our tithe. The second was to max out our credit card. Neither of these would honor our Lord! After praying, I remembered that the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences just reopened after lengthy repairs post earthquake damage (1989 I believe). So, instead of a three day even with a motel stay, we can make a day trip and see some of the same things. Praise God we had that money set aside for the trip... if we had not, then we would just be without the van until we could come up with that huge sum! It would have been do-able, but difficult. And another praise God! We safely made it home, FULLY LOADED, over several passes in August!

It reminded me of something from my high school years. Andy, my stepfather, whom I called "Dad", always had connections. He was a people person, a good manager and always loved helping people. Through one of these connections he had a car for me. He told me that this person he knew had a car that I could have for $300 and he was willing to do that for me. Okay, slap my silly teenage brain! I said, "What kind of car can it be for $300?" Later I found out it was something really desirable... something like a little Cougar, I can't remember but it was at the time a really cool car, well taken care of and only $300 as a favor to Andy. He taught me a lesson. No, he did not buy me the car because I had a bad attitude. That lesson was hard learned but has stuck with me and has come to mind several times since then as I have more carefully chosen my words! I could not trust my Dad who wanted to give me something good. I could only trust what I could "see" with my brain - an old falling apart jalopy for $300!

How many times have I also done that with my Heavenly Father, who desires to give me only good? Instead I do not trust Him. The Creator of the entire Universe and I cannot trust Him! If I cannot trust Him, who can I trust? Sometimes I get too big for my britches and I think that I know what's best for me. Sometimes my pride grows like Pinocchio's nose! And just like I missed out on a really cool car (and didn't have a car of my own until college, after Andy died), I know that I have missed out on some really cool things my Abba Daddy wanted to do for me because I thought I knew better. Patiently He waits for me. I don't want to try that patience. He is a LOVING God but He is also HOLY and JUST!

Oddly, in all the years of Bible study, I have never studied Abram/Abraham before. I'm enjoying the class taught by one of our pastors wives and learning from the women of all age that are joined together to share. It's such a beautiful way to learn. On Sunday we hear the message from the pulpit and on Tuesday we discuss it further. I'm surprised that each week, something new touches me in these old stories. But then again, some things He has had to teach me over and over. Growing in faith is that way. The key thing is to pick ourselves back up when we fall, brush ourselves off and keep moving forward with Him.

If you have found yourself drifting from your relationship with Him or sinning in such a way that keeps your pride from letting you come back, please don't be afraid. The Bible is full of examples of people who did not deserve the Lord's mercy and yet He gave it freely and still does today. He knows your heart and He misses you. If you would like me to pray for you, please feel free to email me off blog (upper right hand corner on the sidebar) and I will sincerely be honored to pray for you in confidence. God be with you all this weekend as you hear His Word and/or praise and fellowship with other Believers.