Wednesday, December 28, 2005

There's a crack in everything ...

"There's a crack in everything and that's how the light gets in."
-Leonard Cohen

I keep that quote handy in my mailbox. It gives me a sense of contentment and always makes me smile. And I feel proud of myself every time I read it. Proud--because I'm a little bit strange and I run with it.
There are a lot of little wacky, off-balance things in my personality, and sometimes I consider chasing them away. I get concerned that someone else might think they're a little too strange. But then Leonard Cohen's words remind me that, even though some people might consider them "cracks" in my personality, the cracks are how the light gets in. And in my case, that light makes me creative, and (I think) a pretty interesting person.
So, if you think you're different--if you worry about whether there are too many "cracks" in your behavior--don't change. That's how the"good stuff" gets in. - Suzanne Beecher

I recently came across this from Suzanne Beecher at
I like the quote and what she has to say about it.

PS. a fun thing to join. Sign up for any of the 12 different email book clubs and every day she'll send you a 5-minute sample from a book. By the end of the week, you'll have read 2-3 chapters. If you like the book, you then pick up a copy to finish it. It lets you sample many different types of books. As a reader, I like it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year

I have always liked New Years Day. It is a day to start fresh ... to begin again. I used to do a list of resolutions and goals, I don't do that anymore. It is more of a resolution in my spirit now ... a thirst and desire to understand more of the 'upside down' nature of this life God calls us to. He promises 'the first shall be last and the last shall be first.'
What does that mean?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Good Season

A month ago, I was not looking forward to Christmas ... the whole scene looked overwhelming. I didn't have the energy to make it happen, the decorating, shopping, etc. I am now happy to say because of the love of God and the kindness of friends and my family, I am having a good season.
I just finished a 7-week class called 'Finding your Spiritual Identity' ... a fun and informative class with three other women that are seeking. It was taught by two bold women God has called to help others on a path of self-discovery of His plan for them. No religion, just a relationship. It helped put some of the puzzle pieces that were scrambled in my mind in place. It also helped me look at some of my expectations.
Then Jerry and the boys got, put up and decorated a tree. I can't do long shopping trips, and then friends started calling. They drop me off at the door, carry my packages and pick me up at the door again. So kind ...
I spent time pondering the 'reason for the season'. I had a wonderful talk with my quiet son. I saw a great movie. I attended a few lovely parties with wonderful people that blessed me. The beauty of peoples' creativity in decorating and cooking, conversations with others ... all those things together are adding up to a lovely season.

Not every moment is a good moment, but take a moment today and be aware of God's spirit in your life. He is there, He cares and He is waiting to be a part of your Holiday celebrations.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tension and Balance

Due to the injury to my left calf in the accident I was in 18 months ago, I lost one of the two main tendons in my lower left leg. These tendons normally work in tension with each other and help stabilize our feet. One draws our foot inward and the other draws it outward. The one that pulls our foot outward is the one that was cut off by the injury I had. Because of this, there is no opposing balance for the tendon that pulls my foot inward. It has ‘free reign’ so to speak, and I have to be careful that I don’t overturn my ankle due to my foot pulling inward too far.

This lesson in tensions and balances has been brewing in my mind for some time. In all of life there is a correct balance to be found.

To name a few …
Parents … not involved enough -- smothering children with too much
Money … living for money -- not providing for self and family
Food ... not enough -- too much
Books ... never reading & learning -- only reading & learning (is that really bad?)
Friends … no friends -- life controlled by friends
Women … not valued, abused -- women declaring men no good

There are many areas of life where balance is needed, except chocolate and coffee :) The one that I am thinking about today is the last one … women, especially in the church of believers of God.
There have been rumbles for some time now about this subject. My concern is that in the quest to find out where/what/who God has created us to be, we swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. There is no male or female in the age to come, but for this time, in this age, on this earth, God has desired that it be so. That tells me that He wants the two of us genders to help balance each other, even if one is from Mars and the other is from Venus! He is an efficient, orderly God. There is a reason; there is a need for the correct tension to keep each one from pulling too far inward or too far outward. I am reminded of that with each step I take.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving ... a phrase I heard and said many times the last few days. It has become so familiar, I don't even think about what it means. Maybe if I switch the words around .... giving thanks happily... now that sounds refreshing. I can give thanks happily. I am thankful for life. I am happy that I don't have to depend on my own logic or the logic of people to guide me on this journey of life, but I have a wise God that is always available. I am thankful for family and friends. I am thankful for two legs and feet to walk on. I am happy that God doesn't expect perfection. I am happy that I have a warm house to be in. I am thankful for warm blankets. I am thankful for people that have devoted their lives to making life better for others. I am thankful for good coffee, chocolate and wine.

Have a great weekend and give thanks happily!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Life can be like a game ...

Life can be like a game, with many voices coming at us. People in the stands yelling, screaming and pointing in the direction they want us to go. They are not all pointing in the same directions or yelling the same instructions, so we twist and turn to try and please them all. But there is one who sees the whole game and who has and will give us the correct instructions for the play at hand. In the midst of the game, may we have our ear turned to hear the coach’s voice. May we tune out others for a time and focus on the voice of the ‘coach’. His voice is the one that will give us the guidance and direction we need.

-written by Janet from a story told by Melissa Taylor

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Happiness keeps you sweet

Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failure keeps you Humble,
Success keeps you Glowing,
Only God keeps you Growing.
- Anonymous

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Content Tree

I like this tree ... it is just a few miles from my house. Years ago I had worked with the guy that lives at the house where the tree is. I ran into him at the local grocery store recently and I told him I admire the tree and he was happy to let me come by and take pictures of it. (though I'm sure he was thinking, all that morphine did affect this woman)

Though the trees behind it are changing, it is still green. It is calm and serene, it is not 'huffing and puffing' to become something that it is not yet. It is simply being content soaking up the beautiful afternoon sun and then again taking in the cool night air and in a few days or weeks the process of color change will happen naturally. I am also impressed with the relative small size of the trunk compared to the massive spread of the branches. The trunk can support the size of it only because the unseen roots underground are spread in all directions as far as the branches above. The roots supply the water and nutrients needed to keep the trunk strong and upright so it can continue to hold up the tree for all to see.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fall Colors

I love the colors of the leaves in the fall. The ones in this area are just starting to change colors. This a picture taken down the road from my house.

When we moved here last year this garden was already established. This spring Joseph and I planted (well, I sat on the bench and told Joseph where to plant :) a few more flowers. It has done well this year despite our lack of care. I enjoy spending time here reading, talking or doing nothing. Beinging outdoors is calming and peaceful to me. As the saying goes ... a person is closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

40 is exhausting!

Thanks to Jerry and my friends and family, I celebrated my 40th birthday
this weekend in a wonderful way. Now, I need a nap :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Maple Tree

Rome wasn't built in a day ... good things take time ... eventually, even the snail reached the ark ... one step at a time ... the mighty oak didn't grow in a day ... slowly, but surely. All sayings we have said or heard many times ... much easier to say than to live.

This fine red maple tree is in our front year. I like the color and the shape of this tree. I like the calm, steady presence it has. This tree did not just start growing here in the past year that I have lived in this house. It has been here for about 25 years. It did not produce these hundreds of beautiful leaves in a day. They slowly appeared last spring over a few weeks time. It takes one day at a time and any growth it experiences happens slowly and naturally with the elements presented with time.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Person of Strength

"A strong person knows they have strength enough for the journey, but a person of strength knows it is in the journey that they will become strong."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Extreme Soul Makeover

Melissa(speaker) Linda (pastor's wife) myself and Bev

This past weekend I went on a 'Extreme Makeover' Ladies Retreat ... the soul edition, not the home edition, so Ty Pennington was not there :( though we did have a wonderful young lady named 'Sky' show up from time to time to teach us about all kinds of makeovers :) There where 65 women there along with Melissa Taylor, a wonderful, authentic, honest woman from North Carolina, who came to share with us and teach us from her experiences in life.

During our free time on Saturday afternoon, a few of us took Melissa for some refreshment and renewal in the form of a carriage ride around Historic Philadelphia. Fast-talking Dennis was a great carriage driver ... he took us to the Betsy Ross house. Though we missed half of his conversation, we still had a good time!

Of course, the focus of the weekend was to have an interior makeover that will last. Exterior makeovers, whether it be hair color, manicures or new clothes are nice, but they only last for a while. Our souls last forever and this was a weekend to focus on renewing our souls. Melissa is a busy wife and mother of four and she is allowing God to use her experiences in life, both negative and positive, to help others on this journey around the sun. The theme for the weekend was a verse from Ephesians 4:23-24 ..."to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." I read that verse and my first reaction is to feel overwhelmed, because I think I need to make myself 'new'. I can't make myself new, Lord knows, I have tried. Only my creator can make me new ... I just need to stay in touch with Him through prayer, thoughts and reading His Word. That is so much easier said than done. Also, I think a big part of the equation is to connect with others that are activity pursuing a makeover with Jesus as their guide.

Jerry came home on Saturday ... not the greatest timing, since I was at the retreat. (I came home on Sunday afternoon.) He had a good experience while down there ... but we have been having a bumpy time of it since. Actually, tonight all the boys have plans, so him and I are going on a date. We need the time to focus on 'us.'

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jerry, Alabama and me

Jerry's first week in Alabama has been good. He is exhausted in the evenings when he calls. He has been cutting up trees that were blown over, fixing roofs and cleaning up houses that were flooded. He is working with four other men for MDS, a disaster relief organization headquartered in Akron, PA. At this time, they are making the connections for jobs with one of the local churches of that area. They are staying in an apartment at the church.

He is now working in the area south of Mobile, between the city and the gulf. Next week they head farther south to the town of Bayou la Batre, AL. It is located along the gulf and has suffered severe damage. The challenges for the MDS officials is picking an area to setup in and then locating housing for volunteers. Because housing is short, they may end up renovating existing space or pulling in temporary housing units. They want to be able to have groups of volunteers come for a week at a time.

I am doing okay with him gone. I'm taking one day at a time. Three weeks looks overwhelming, but one day does not. Actually, our schedule is more relaxed ... he better be careful, I could get used to this :) just kidding. I will be thrilled to have him back.

Where is God in All This?

I like this essay and want to share it with you. I am beginning to understand that God is all around us ... we just need to be aware, to think about, to look for Him in the midst of our lives. A formula or a set of rules is not what living a Godly life is all about. It's a relationship that we cultivate by being aware of His love and care for us.

Where Is God In All This?
by Max Lucado

When the ambulance takes our child or the disease takes our friend, when the economy takes our retirement or the two-timer takes our heart-can we find Christ in the crisis?
The presence of troubles doesn't surprise us. The absence of God, however, undoes us.

Recently, a young woman died in our city. She was recently married, the mother of an eighteen-month-old. Her life felt abbreviated. The shelves of help and hope go barren at such times. But at the funeral the officiating priest shared a memory in his eulogy that gave both.

For several years she had lived and worked in New York City. Due to their long friendship, he stayed in constant touch with her via e-mail. Late one night he received a message indicative of God's persistent presence.
She had missed her station on the subway. By the time she realized her mistake, she didn't know what to do. She prayed for safety and some sign of God's presence. This was no hour or place for a young, attractive woman to be passing through a rough neighborhood alone.

At that moment the doors opened, and a homeless, disheveled man came on board and plopped down next to her.

"God? Are you near?" she prayed.

The answer came in a song.The man pulled out a harmonica and played, "Be Thou My Vision" - her mother's favorite hymn. The song was enough to convince her. Christ was there, in the midst of it all.

And you? Look closer. He's there. Right in the middle of it all.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Book Club

I have always loved to read and I was thrilled recently when I heard two friends, Pearl and Mary talking about starting a book club, so I volunteered to do it at my house. We had our first meeting, basically a brain-storming session, last week. A lot of my friends are also readers, so there were eight of us here. Though we are all readers, we each have a certain type of book that we tend to gravitate to. I like current authors, Lynne and Mary are fascinated with classics, Lisa generally only reads books about the middle ages (why?) and Deborah likes happy endings. One of the desires expressed by most of us for being in a book club is to broaden our reading selections. After some discussions, we settled on meeting once a month, having good coffee (we had wonderful fresh-roasted Guatemala coffee, because Lynne's husband just started roasting coffee beans and he generously shared some) and reading a book from a different genre each month. Also, we like Pearl's idea of discussing the book by each one coming prepared to read their favorite paragraph or two and telling us why they like that part. We are starting with a classic ... 'To Kill a Mockingbird". We always have room for more, if you want to join us, either in person or online with comments, we would love to have you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Roller Coaster of Feelings ...

Jerry is on his way to the Gulf Coast tonight. He will be gone for three weeks. I have had mixed emotions the last few days as he prepared to go and again today as I watched him leave. I am glad he can go and help, but I am not sure I don't need him here. I'm not sure our family is ready for this, then again none of those families affected by the hurricane were ready for it either. I have more than so many others have right now, I have a comfortable house, plenty of food, clean water to drink, family and friends close by. One moment I am thankful that he is a caring person who wants to help others. The next moment I am surprised that he left me and the boys for three weeks. One moment I feel I am still recovering and I need him, then the next moment I feel selfish for wanting him to stay home. It is a roller coaster ...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chocolate and God

God gave us...

God gave us the sun and the stars and the winds, and people worshiped the sun and the stars and the winds, instead of the God who made them.

Then God gave us the Law (in the Bible) and people worshiped the Law instead of the God who spoke it.

No matter what God gave people, eventually they were worshiping that thing, and not God.

So God gave us himself instead...

- Author Unknown

As people, we have a need within us to worship something other and/or bigger than us. We also long to be a part of something bigger than us; hence all the wannabes in the world (movie/music stars, writers just to name a few).

So what are we worshipping?
Worship means 'great or excessive love, admiration, and respect felt for somebody or something.

As humans, when we love something, we like to be able to see, touch, and even smell the object of our love. I love chocolate. I like to look at pictures of chocolate and I like to read descriptions of chocolate and how it is made. I even like to hear someone else talk about a great piece of chocolate they have enjoyed. I like to smell chocolate, but those things alone would never satisfy my love for chocolate. When I am blessed to be standing in front of a display of chocolates, especially homemade, I am a happy girl. I take time to select just the right piece, am I in the mood for nutty, fruit, milk, dark, salty. I love to consider all the choices. (Dark is my preference of late) After holding up the line too long, I make my decision. I slowly, almost reverently open the bag and take a deep breathe ... ah! Life is good! Then I get to enjoy the taste of it ... on a good day, it is everything I wanted it to be. Then and only then is my love for chocolate satisfied ... until the next time.

God's Word to us, the Bible says ... Love God with your entire heart, with your entire soul, and with your entire mind. So what does that look like? How do we love God? Do we walk around looking upward, reciting Bible verses, hugging holy statues or maybe we send God cute valentine cards? Is there a correct formula to follow ... steps 1, 2 and 3?

I have not yet found the formula for finding perfect chocolate ever time. Sometimes the displays of chocolate that look the best end up not tasting all that great. Other times I am in the mood for chocolate in the midst of an ordinary day and I have a quick bite of a Dove dark chocolate bar before I head out the door on an errand. I've had Dove before (often, actually) it is a good chocolate, but nothing extra ordinary. But that day, as I step outside, the sun is shining, my son is out the door on time and heading down the road, one of my favorite songs comes on the radio. With the flavor of chocolate lingering in my mouth ... the moment is wonderful.
I have been finding my walk with God to be similar to that. Some days when I am in a so-called 'perfect setting' to express my love to God, I am flat, feel lifeless and empty. Other days in the midst of life, in a moment when I least expect it, I am aware of the love/presence/joy of God in a very real way. Then my spirit responds with love to Him.

Those moments can be anywhere, whether it be observing His creation, teaching my boys, interacting with people or even doing laundry. And of course, when eating chocolate.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Gulf Coast

I have been sad at all the destruction and sadness in the south, wondering what can be done to help. Jerry has wanted to go help since the day of the hurricane. I want him to be able to go, but I don't know if I want him to not be here. (hope that makes sense)
When we were traveling in the spring of '04, we had done a few weeks volunteer work with an organization doing clean-up from forest fires in California.
That group is getting set up in the south now and Jerry has connected with them again and he is headed to Alabama next week for a few weeks. I am glad he can go and help with the need.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


"Help me, wherever I may be, to spread your perfume. May I preach you without preaching - without words but with my example, through the force of attraction, the example of my actions, the obvious fullness of love that carries my heart to you" Mother Theresa

In order to spread the fragrance of perfume, we must first apply it to ourselves ...
Creator of Heaven and Earth, help me apply you to my life today, then and only then, will there be a pleasing fragrance for others to enjoy.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Smallest Drop creates a Ripple

Saw this posted somewhere ...

The smallest drop creates a ripple. The simplest thought can cause a change reactions of events. The air I breathe in, you had breathed out. What I do touches you and what you do touches me. Exploring these connections and tasting our overlaps is the joy that I am discovering.

Photo by Janet '05

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Day of Prayer

Prayer for all the people in the path of wind, rain, water and more water. Prayer for all the officials, rescue and aid workers ... For both safety and wisdom. Wisdom that the best choices would be made as to how to response to the myriad of situations this presents.

This hurricane seemed to come out of no where ... I had not heard much about it, then suddenly New Orleans was under water. It is amazing how quickly an event can affect so many people. Sometimes watching the news it makes one feel like many, many people are looting, but a lot of the same footage is being shown again and again. If a family is starving, I can understand taking some food from a market or grocery store, if it would other wise spoil. But if one has to break a window or door to gain entry ... that is wrong and also that then opens the place for anyone to take anything.

As a nation, we were concerned about the price of fuel and gas and we watched the activities across the world to see if and how much we might be affected. Little did we know, a weather disaster at home would bring more of a jump in the prices at the pump than anything overseas.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

New Site

I think I have successfully attached this blog to my website. I am looking forward to posting some thoughts and/or essays in the future.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Words of wisdom

Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it..

If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Be nice to the nerds and geeks in high school -- you'll be working for them in the future.