Sunday, January 31, 2010

What's Wrong with Chong?

One of my sons is currently interning with NPR's Talk of the Nation. We are as pleased as can be about this blessing and the opportunity it affords him. I wish I could say that I follow Neil Conan's program dedicatedly, but about the best I can say is that his was my favorite program (alongside The Splendid Table and Shamrock and Thistle) that I enjoyed listening to before D ever got this break.

There are some times, however.....

I mean, NPR does have a reputation for being rather liberal. And there are often times in the World of the News, which is some version of a reflection of the world, when this blessing fills this Mama with at least a moment of lip-biting. Such was the case when I got in my car this past Thursday in time to hear the last bit of Mr. Conan's interview with Cheech and Chong.

As I came in mid-interview, I recognized the distinct Hispanic stoned-out voices of the duo before a name was mentioned. My response of distaste was not the reformed view of being a Mom for going on 25 years now, who felt differently when I "didn't know any better". I felt the same dis-connect and offense towards their flavor of humor back when I was a kid and watched others laugh themselves silly over their antics. I can give Cheech the benefit of being able to carry on an intelligent conversation, but Chong sounded dumber than ever. I know this sounds so judgmental of me, but you'd have to have heard him, really! I actually exhaled a "Thank goodness!" when Neil Conan thanked the two for speaking with him from their sister studio out in California, I have to admit. Dom would not have to actually walk them downstairs and be impressed by dingleberries cloaked in celebrity.

Dom laughed at me as I confessed all of this in a phone call a few nights later. "C'mon Mom, he's a simple guy who likes to smoke pot," he said in that 'loosen up, Mama' voice. And I let it go with a shaking of my head over the phone, because I'd already used up all my serious conversation for the evening. I had plenty of laughter to spare though, so we veered into those conversational waters that release and join us in shared humor.

Later on I thought over his words, though. To my knowledge, my son doesn't know what it's like to watch someone he cares about lose his footing in life because of pot. He hasn't helplessly stood by as a friend slips through that back door of marijuana use to become trapped by stronger drugs. He simply doesn't know, and for that I am thankful.

Chong, simple? No. That's a description for him and others like him that is far too effortless and untroublesome. Perhaps at one time years and years ago, his life was one of the innocence that simplicity springs from. I truly hope so. But today he is a 65 year old Poster Child for the legalization of marijuana, leading others down this weed-filled path. He's a Pied Piper of Pot. That's a story you might not have even heard before, old nursery stories often being neglected today. If you do recall it perhaps you might only remember, like me, the fact that the Piper led the town's rats out to the outskirts of the town to be drowned. But I looked it up online as the association was made in my mind. The tragic end of the story is that the Piper takes the town's children. Chong's call echoes that of a similar temptress we read of in the book of Proverbs 9,
She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
and calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way.
"Let all who are simple come in here!"
she says to those who lack judgment.

I love Simplicity. Simple things like creamy Amish butter, the bloom in children's cheeks, how my feet feel on a clean kitchen floor, a really firm and solid hug, the color of spring green, candlelight flickering over my walls in the early morning hours, the light of recognition that sparks between two babies, the smell of a fresh-peeled orange, how unique and individual each person's laugh is - like a fingerprint, the glow of moonlight on snow, the love of God.
There was another who issued a call in the book of Luke. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As was written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, he calls us still today:
"A voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Glass is Half Full

This past week contained a two and a half day Migraine bender. One converse-blessing about getting migraines, it makes me SO appreciative of when I feel good, and what that feels like. It accentuates what if feels like to be me.

You all know the proverbial question, "Do you see the glass as half full, or half empty?" I've always been more of a half full kind of girl. Lately, that has exhibited itself in my feeling drawn to all kinds of projects. (Unfortunately, cooking has not been among them, but I trust that the lulls will eventually rebound, so I am patient with myself in this regard - and ask the patience of my family as well.) ;p Sometimes there just seems to be so much that I want to do, to grab onto, to incorporate into the remaining days I have in my time here. They're probably small potatoes compared to other's dreams and aspirations. I don't desire to become a body-builder, or begin an orphanage in a third world country, or in any way make my mark on this life for all the world to see. But I yearn.... I yearn to fill and be filled.

What has topped my list have been things of a more intangible nature. My parents will be coming for a visit, for one. I have had ideas tumbling around in my head that I need to put on paper for what I want to do while they are here, new places we have found that I want to show my Mom. I just heard of a French Bakery near our church where they serve pastries and creme brulee 24 hours a day - we simply must investigate! Light frivolities, perhaps, but these moments will remain after the visit, sweet in our minds like sugar on our lips. We will savor them long after their time here has passed, and I so my anticipation is two-fold.

Reading has been another priority of indulgence lately. A self-professed bookworm since as far back as I can remember... side track memories - my mother reading fairy tales to me; my favorites were Babushka and the story of Snow White and Rose Red. My first BIG WORD was mystery, and my first grade teacher was always telling me to slow down during read-aloud time. I consumed Gone With the Wind during the summer just before I turned ten, and learned the following summer that books are always better than movies, no offense to Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable.... ok, back to the now. I have been compulsively gratifying my reading desire these days. The Bible, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, devotionals, blogs, scholarships, travel suggestions, e-mails. Reading has so monopolized my time that the American Constant, television, has had very little space in my waking hours. Radio has actually been it's second. Partnered with reading, and rearranging my daughters' schedules so that it's presence is ensured in their days as well, has been re-tackling the craft of writing with them. A year ago or so, I stumbled across a delightful writing curriculum titled, Jump In! Utilizing the workbook and coupling it with my enthusiasm for the art, provides a real zest to my energies. I love the written word!

The Nutritional Education category of my blog contains some of what I have been processing and adding to my life on this front. For those of you who have not listened to Cheeseslaves' podcast from the past week - there is much to digest there. I'm still working on it. And I am quite excited about the upcoming online classes I've signed up for with Wardeh at GNOWFLINS.

On the spiritual front, I have been praying over an opportunity presented at Girltalk. February 1st marks the beginning of a 28 day challenge, and although I am a devout non-overachiever dedicated to striving for simplicity amid the commotion of life, I have felt led to participate in both. The first is the 5 O'Clock Club. I have long adhered to the belief that among those earthly delights that give us a foretaste of heaven, lie bubble baths and sleep. However, the Lord has been impressing upon me for a time now (you know how He does that), that my day needs to begin sooner than I've been rising. So, my hand had to go up... eventually... to this one. Those words the Lord gave us, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" were penned for just such times as these.

The other was actually easier to step up to. It's the FAM Club, and is intended to be a one-meal-a-week fast for the salvation of family members. My daughters' salvation is my greatest hope for them, so Thursday's lunch will be given in prayer and fasting for my address before the King of Heaven.
'Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.'
For this hope, I will fast and pray.

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.**

Whether I feel me or not, my cup truly is more than half filled. It overflows.

* John 3:3-6
**II Cor 1:5

Thursday, January 28, 2010

True Beauty

This is one of the best postings on Beauty I have ever read:

Millions of photographs have been taken of women, many to exploit her beauty, some to show her needs, few to show her strength and dignity. The outward beauty of a woman is alluring and often draws the flashes of cameras wherever she appears. Cameras follow celebrities in hopes of capturing a momentary glimpse of this beauty. Once the beauty is captured, it quickly appears on the covers of magazines or flashes across the television screen. Photography is quick to celebrate the outward beauty of a woman and show her face at her most glamorous moment. Often the celebrity will know that the camera will be waiting on her, and she prepares herself to accentuate her most flattering features. There is beauty in these photographs, but what happens when there is no anticipation of a camera to inspire this preparation?

In developing countries beauty often appears without warning, without preparation, without an audience in mind, and without a camera to capture it. When a young woman gets up at sunrise to walk five miles to gather water for her family and pauses to smile and chat with friends at the water hole, her beauty appears. When a mother waits in line all day to have a doctor diagnose her sick child, her beauty appears. When a woman’s husband is slaughtered in a tribal war, and she walks for miles with her baby on her back to find refuge, her beauty appears. When she pauses to rest under the shade of a tree and turns to kiss her baby on the nose, her beauty appears. When a young girl tries on her bright yellow dress that she and her mom spent all day sewing, and her eyes glance at her father for approval, her beauty appears. When a woman labors all day in a field under the scorching African sun with her son on her back, her beauty appears.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Moves Us To Tears?

In the younger years of my marriage, tears came all too easily. Disappointments, exhaustion, misunderstandings, the trials and tribulations of learning to get along in the ups and downs of life with this person I just could not live without. My eyes would fill and spill over with the tender over-emotionalism of youth. There is an intensity to those years, but it's like many other seasons I've experienced. I am grateful for what it gave me, what it taught me, and that it has passed.

Around Year Ten I think I dried up. Perhaps I overtaxed my poor tear ducts, but ever since then it really takes a lot more to move me to an emotional lament. I nurse some things more tenderly, mourning in the deeper recesses of the quiet of my heart. Other offenses that might have bruised me a decade or more ago, no longer register with the same degree of sensitivity - or even meaning that I once read into them.

Still, being a woman with all the unpredictability that we claim right to, this can change. Accept this or struggle with an unfathomable attempt at understanding us, it's your call. We don't always understand what it means to be a woman ourselves exactly, to tell the truth.

My sister, Lana, went to be with the Lord ten years ago this past Christmas Eve. Photographs don't have the same impact for me as they do for almost every other woman I know. But other things do. Handwriting does. Tonight I was organizing my cookbooks, purging most to give to Goodwill. Underneath the tombs on the top shelf was an old beaten up yellow envelope stuffed with recipes clipped from magazines. I tossed them all in the recycle bin. But the envelope I'm keeping. It has Lan's familiar feminine backwards slant - her name and mine. Her hand penned them.

I hold my breath and my body clenches in an emotional squeeze. This is a moment for tears... and they fall.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

He's Got The Whole World In His Hands

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Five and a half years ago, we brought home our daughters from Bogota, Colombia. We kept them close to home initially, fostering the initial tender and crucial bonds of family. After a time, we ventured out here and there, allowing our world to be knit together at a pace we felt they could adjust to slowly. One of those initial visits included a beautiful sunny day at the lake with my dear friend Sheri and her family. And on that day I first met a lady who would become another sweet sister to me in the years to come - Marian.

Tonight I ran by Marian's house as she and her husband finish their packing before they head off tomorrow morning on a plane. You see, their son Justin is getting married later on this week, and his proud parents will be beside him as witness and blessing to this momentous step he and his fiance' O will take together. I was dropping off 2 pair of pants and some candy, which they will take to my son, Quentin, while on their visit. Hopefully they'll share a meal with him as well and a big hug from all of us here at home. You see, all this is happening in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I marvel at the intricate details of care our Father works into our lives. Five summers ago we were introducing our adopted children into our lives. He was introducing me to one of my sisters. We knew nobody in Thailand and had never heard of Chiang Mai. And now Marian is going to be my eyes and an extension of my hands to my son, even as she is there for her own son. All of this, I know He prepared in advance. To us, it is 8,715 miles (I looked it up!) over distant lands and oceans. To the Lord, it is an opportunity to show us His indescribable omnipotence. For Him, it really is a small world, after all.

Friday, January 22, 2010

For Our Good

Being the frugal sort, our family tries to reuse everything we possibly can. Despite my children's exasperated eye-rolls, I ask them to wash baggies so we can get more life out of them. Every bottle from shampoo to dishwashing detergent gets rinsed of the entirety of its contents before it goes into the recycle bin. More often than not, my kids Goodwill clothes don't make it back into recirculation due to their being well worn-out! And we refilled purchased water bottles until I began hearing about the toxicity of BPA, bisphenol A, leaching into our water.

Yesterday, I read through the posting and comments on GNOWFLINS discussing BPA-free freezer storage. Yet one more hazard to defend our families from. I'm sure it's not just me - sometimes it takes me a while to determine not to turn my back on new information that makes life harder. I mean, the day before this, I was ignorant of this peril in my pantry. Now, I have to either knowingly ignore this danger, or determine to incorporate changes for our protection. After a day of absorbing and ruminating amidst the stuff of life, I determined we will begin phasing out our plastics and bringing in glassware and pyrex.

I have not listened to it yet, but it just so happens that on the heels of these thoughts of change in our family, NPR held a piece on it's show today concerning this very topic:

For those who are new to this subject, read this from the Environmental Working Group:
BPA - At some of the very lowest doses the chemical causes permanent alterations of breast and prostate cells that precede cancer, insulin resistance (a hallmark trait of Type II diabetes), and chromosomal damage linked to recurrent miscarriage and a wide range of birth defects including Down's syndrome (vom Saal and Hughes 2005). Few chemicals have been found to consistently display such a diverse range of harm at such low doses.

I know my Dad thinks that I'm becoming a (colorful adjective), tree-hugging, eco-nut, earth muffin. (Believe it or not, I was once listed with the Green Party - in California, of all places! And I regularly enjoyed Earth Day celebrations for a number of years, to my Father's disdain.) Once my life was given to Christ, my views of earthly stewardship found their purpose and home, joining with my love for my family, the world, it's people, and my Creator.

"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so."

As complicated as life gets, some things are really quite simple. The words of Genesis speak of life as it was intended from the beginning. Yes, we have corrupted it, and continue to try to work things for what we deem to be our own good. The lesson I am learning is that the closer I get to what He created for our good, the better.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Desert Vision

In my readings this morning I went through Joshua 4 and 5, and afterwards I sat and quietly reflected over all that had commenced within these chapters.

God Initiated - The Lord performed a miracle reminiscent of the one He'd done by way of Moses and the Red Sea. This time he held back the flood stage waters of the Jordan River for the Israelites to pass through to long awaited Promised Land.
God Directed, Mankind Responded -
1)God had Joshua appoint men to come down to the riverbed, to the very spot where the priests were upholding the ark of the Covenant and pick up a rock. Then Joshua compiled these as memorial stones to serve as a reminder of what the Lord had done this day by fulfilling His promise.
2)The men were all told to be circumcised as a testament to their walk forward into God's promise as His people. Their father's circumcisions did not count for them. This had to be individually and personally entered into.
3)The people then took time to celebrate the Passover and God's deliverance. For these Israelites it was a time to remember how the Lord had brought their people out of Egypt as well as what He was bringing them into. This went beyond who He was to them in their personal walk with Him, to WHO He IS.

All this interaction is so deeply relational. After all of the wandering in the desert, now the people were coming into their place of long-awaited rest, right? But it strikes me how the time of rest was, in some ways, the desert. And now God takes a moment after their secluded season with Him to remember with them, to remind, to fear rightly, to dedicate, to celebrate, to pray and give thanks and love.

Now note: "The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan."

They were being honored with the responsibility and privilege of living among the World again. In times of desert testing, may I recognize the manna the Lord provides in the dryness. And may I appreciate the opportunity it is to walk in singular relationship with the Lord, before I am again called to walk back out into the world as His own.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweetly Ambushed

Upfront, I have to say, I shared this with my children. On the backside (pun intended) I ate the greater portion myself. This sweet creamy slice of heaven is 125g and is intended to serve 3. I gave my three home kids a very respectable full length slice; it just so happened that I brought it in the car with me to share - and I got left alone with it while the girls were volunteering. Translation: I ate what was left before they returned.
I found this online: Per 100g this has 532 calories, 5.9g Protein, 50.3g Carbohydrates (49.3g of which sugars) and 41g Fat (25.9g of which saturates). That's so pointed at the end, don't you think?

So, I'm glad I'd made a vegetarian dinner tonight. It makes up for this indulgence, at least in part. I'd cast about for suggestions on what to do with an eggplant I received via my Neighborhood Produce pickup last week. It seems most Americans rely upon various renditions of eggplant parmigiana. I tried a recipe from, plus I doctored it up a bit more, squeezing on juice from half a lime and sprinkling coconut on top. It was also my first time to make French green lentils, which I cooked up with a delicious Indian recipe. It would have been healthier to have brown rice, I know - but I had assigned this task to Roman while I was gone. Suffice it to say, white rice is cheaper to burn. He saved most of it.

No dessert for me tonight. I've had at least 3 days worth already. And it was good....

"Stress would not be so hard to take if it was CHOCOLATE coated"

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Crossroads

I was listening to a recent piece on NPR which was discussing the tragedy gang warfare has brought upon Mexico, and particularly the border town of Juarez. They have doubled the police force and added subsidized daycare for factory workers' children. Tough steps towards combating crime, loving intentions for families. Near the close of this focus, Clara Rojas points out that this is a cultural degeneration "stemming from deep social fissures". I wonder if she knows from whence this springs? I don't know what her views are of God, but I seriously wonder - where does the world think our woes come from? When you do not acknowledge God and His word, where is the plumb line for "too far" off the mark? What does the mark we aim for even consist of?

Of course, here in the United States and other places not currently known as the "murder capital" of the southern hemisphere, we feel somehow removed from such extreme societal failures. Are we really? Our place on the range of scale might be a little higher up, but come on... how far are we from the plain and simple standards of God? Where are we on the scale of one who "loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined." Titus 1 How carefully do we truly walk in adherence to His word?

My belief is that we are a lukewarm country. We take conception into our own hands. We have legalized murdering babies simply because we can do so without waiting to look into their eyes. We pay others by choice to raise our children so that we can have more "stuff" and hope that they will do our job for us. We do not pay our debts. We overspend beyond our plenty. We blame others for our own decisions and their fallout. We plead 'not guilty' to everything. We brag about our 'good deeds' and 'passing it on'. We are our own gods. "Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead." Isaiah 59:10 This is the state of our Union, and it grieves me to see it.

And the sad thing I hate to admit, is that I am fearful to even open my mouth about this. I'm afraid of offending somebody by mentioning these things. Even fellow brothers and sisters in the body of Christ will feel slighted by my inferring that a choice they have made might be sinful. But we, as a country, have become like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled to it's death. We do not see it, we do not feel it.

In Deuteronomy 13, we read, "If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him."

Are we even at the crossroads as of today? Or are we further along than that, already down a path that leads to no good thing? I'm not exactly sure. This question occupies my thoughts. But one thing is certain for those who claim to love and live for Jesus, our Savior, we need to stop. We need to look around. We need to fall on our faces and ask for directions from the One who longs to tell us where to go (so to speak) and how to get there. And then we need to get up and walk.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1 Hour Delay

That's how far behind I am, cumulatively, on #5 of my New Year's Resolutions. And yes, I am keeping track because I do plan on catching up, not giving up. I have to say in my defense that I have had two days of migraines in that time, and I have been BUSY. 'Nuff said.

Today I made my first clandestine run over the border into South Carolina for a purchase of raw milk. I sat in my car with Angelina, and noticed others sitting in their cars parked up and down the row. We all waited, protected from the cold, for the arrival of the Milky Way delivery truck. At last! He came and I handed over my money, hurrying back to put my gallon in the cooler for the drive home.

Tonight I had my first cup - it was heavenly. Full-bodied, creamy, rich. I have gone to the other side. Ok, I was ready for this particular leap, but it is just as delicious as I'd hoped.

*Bonus: I was able to pick up some pasture beef and eggs being sold there by another farmer!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ano Domini Two Thousand Ten

There's something surreal about considering the year 2010 - it doesn't even look real to me. I wonder if it's a reflection of my age or do younger people feel the same sense of marveling at this particular New Year's appearance?

I have always loved the turning of the year. The two faces of Janus appealed to me in my Calvert fourth grade studies of world history, not for any basis in reality of this deity, but the thoughtfulness he spoke to. Taking time to look backward at lessons learned, gifts begotten, experiences gained, and looking ahead with anticipation for what was mysteriously possible.

That said, I must confess, I am also lovingly forgiving and understanding towards myself in the area of goals. ;D I don't totally let myself completely slide, but I am gracious towards my blunders on the whole. Me think the Lady doth protest too much. My rational is that if I put my New Year's Goals out there for anyone to see, I increase my follow-through by at least 5%.

So, here are a few that I can share with the world:
1) I will make a dish with beets. I apologize for this rather rude revealing, but beets were almost guaranteed to make me gag as a child, and so I have resolutely avoided them as an adult. I did have them in a dish in Colombia where they were combined with tomatoes - they weren't bad, but they still tasted like dirt to me. I wish I loved them because I know they are good for me. So, my goal is to try to cook them myself and I am very open to enjoying them. I have found that my personal pleasure in cooking increases my appreciation for the dish itself. I have eaten meals at my table quite worthy of 5 stars - so I think my missing beet ingredient might just be - Me.

2) I will make Kombucha. For those of you who have done this and for whom it is old hat, I must remind you how foreignly weird it is for those of us who have never ventured to make something with a mushroom - beyond sauteeing them in butter. I read an article not long ago on how to do this. I recall things like sugar, water, mushrooms, fermenting, bubbles, a "mother" that is created (or is it the mother who creates?) I will step out into this realm of odd kitchen creativity and make my own bottle of Kombucha tea - and I will drink it - if it seems to be safe.

3) I will derive whey from both milk and yogurt, and I will make my own sauerkraut and kimchee with them. Once again, this is like Chemistry for me - and I never took Chemistry in school. And I intend to eat it. Somehow, this is just not the same as the chemistry that goes into making chocolate cake.

4) I will strive to make our family budget work even still. Our family is a bit over-stretched these days, but I commit to doing my best to make what we have work so that we are good stewards and my husband does not feel alone in this.

5) I will walk or use my recumbent 10 minutes a day 5 days a week. I believe in attainable goals. Whenever my husband has suggested exercise over the past year, I have felt that my days are so chock-full I simply have no room for consistent exercise. Therefore, I am choosing something that seems so small and insignificant to most, but it will be meaningful to me. And that's what my resolutions and goals should be about, after all.

6) This last one was just too perfectly worded, I felt it was best if I simply copied and pasted it here: "I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what C.S. Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence." Today I stopped a moment before coming in from our family walk and just tilted my head back and looked up at the SKY.... I never get tired of the gift it is. Our Creator provides us with myriads of these beauties; for me to spend time each day doing this is a gift He gives me and I will not waste it. This one is truly easy - and simplistically beautiful.

I think 2010 will be a year of Rejoicing! Join me today - Rejoice!