Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Self Control and Cookies

I sit here with a package of chocolate chip cookies. This is not good. There are not many left. It was not opened just this morning, but that is small comfort. You see, I am not exercising self control. I should. I've done it before. It's expected of me. It's not like the Lord has not graciously bestowed a measure of it to me ... so what is the problem? Plain and simple. Sin. We are all afflicted and affected by it.

I am so aware of this problem because not only have I read it as part of my Sunday School class (we're in the book of Titus), but it just happened to be where my daily reading has me (Titus 2) and our discipleship class on Sunday nights is now in a new book and we are tearing apart the book of ... you guessed it, Titus! This week it was chapters 2 and 3.

Can God be any more in my face without me actually seeing him face to face? That will happen someday, but hopefully not because of my lack of self control.

Titus 2: 3 - 5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderersor slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Now some people would look at this and say, "oh he was talking about more than just food!" True, but I know conviction when I feel it and God was speaking to ME! Yes, I have confessed this and have asked to be forgiven so please pray with me to this end: That I not cave in to delicious food just to delight my palate, but to nourish my body and enjoy the experience. That's a tall order for all of us; you to pray for me and me to practice self control.

Now that I have so many to be accountable to, it may be easier or it may not but I'm now setting a visible example, and though I will be reaping the rewards of a healthier me, I will be a living testimony to my Lord ... and I want it to be a good one!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Peggy Rambles: Spring is in the Air...

...but what happened to winter? I remember last spring. It was an early spring as well, warm, wet and gave way to a summer of the same nature. Summer left us with memories of a hurricane and tropical storm a week apart that flooded our area of NY and suddenly it was autumn. Autumn was refreshingly beautiful and warm but having an early spring made me think we might have an early winter. Areas of the northeast were a bit surprised to have a foot of snow show up in October, but NY was spared. In fact, NY was spared until early December and then it didn't snow again until late in January! (We don't count the snow squalls and lake effect snows since they don't amount to much more than 4 or 5 inches) February came and almost went without much more than a few below 0 nights, when 7 inches arrived on Leap Day ... and melted within the week. March came in like a lamb and we have absolutely no idea how it's going to go out, but we have been enjoying 60 and 70 degree temperatures and it isn't even spring, yet! Spring arrives tomorrow but we've been enjoying it for several weeks, now :-)

The end of winter always brings certain obligatory rituals. We took our "Let's Find Spring" trip to Virginia Beach and we found it right on the beach were the air temp was 75 and the water temp was ... oh ... around 50, but we splashed in it anyway! There's the makings of a bonfire out behind our house; pine limbs from our boundary pine trees, some dead trees from the tree farm and our Christmas tree that has been waiting just over the railing of the back deck where it landed when we gave it the heave ho in January. The wind this winter, though pretty strong was only a bit unkind. Walking around the tree farm today, I found the usual end of winter collection of assorted plastic bags, paper, pieces of flashing torn from our house (again) in the last big wind. I was happy to count out 67 baby trees that made it through the winter. The medium sized trees that were trimmed last summer are looking pretty good and after a good trimming this summer should be ready to sell at Christmas this coming year. The large trees are well beyond our reach as far as trimming goes but they are simply beautiful because of all the care they've had long before our purchase of this land. The flashing will have to be replaced, again.

I went searching for signs of spring in the flower beds. I was surprised that I couldn't find my crocuses. Not one single blade is showing and I don't know why. They are usually the first things awake each spring; followed by daffodils and tulips. I think I found one daffodil and the only other signs of new life are the tiger lillies that grow on the south east side of the house. I guess I'm rushing this a bit but it may have something to do with the 73 degrees today ;-)

Tomorrow will be a repeat of today ... so I need to decide: do I substitute teach or do I stay home and spring clean? This is a tough one. I don't get into the cleaning mood (or mode) very often, so perhaps I should take advantage of this sudden urge of "gotta get those windows clean" and "now that the clothesline is up, what needs airing out?" I'm almost afraid to breathe the words "clean OUT." The basement is calling me and so is the attic over the garage. Before I know it, my cleaning time here at home will be taking 2nd place to clearing time up at Grandview Mini Golf where downed tree limbs and many branches await.

Grandview Mini Golf has been a family project since our oldest son and daughter-in-law took it on a few years ago and passed it on to us at the end of 2009. It's exhausting, it's not a money maker, but it's fun! We love meeting new people and greeting old customers year after year. Last year was a bit difficult, though and then made worse by the likes of "Irene" and "Lee" leaving us a bit weary and wary. This year we will be tightening our belts by opening later in the day instead of raising prices. It seems the price of everything has gone up but not at Grandview Mini Golf!

Speaking of prices, I almost had a heart attack grocery shopping with Bill the other night. Only the two of us and we spent over $100 for about 2 weeks supply of groceries. We splurged on a jar of cashews and 3 frozen pizzas and frozen entrees for my school lunches. We still need to buy milk, butter, veggies, fruit and bread but at a discount grocery store. I'd use coupons but we usually buy store brand items. I'm back to comparison shopping like I did when the kids were little. They thought it was great to visit 3 different grocery stores and a discount "Rock Bottom Prices" store on shopping day... I'll stop here so I don't begin whining.

As a member of the music committee at church, it is my job in the month of March to find people willing to take on "special music" for our Sunday evening service. It's like pulling teeth. Bill and I sang special music for church this past Sunday evening and last week we demonstrated a "Walk Through the Old Testament." It wasn't musical but it was fun! We highly recommend it. www.walkthru.org/ Next week is taken care of by a talented friend and the first week was, too. I I'm so glad I don't have to search for volunteers but for twice a year!

Last week at Bible Club, I had the kids help me make "Trail Mix" or at least a kid version of it with M&M's, pretzels and cereal. They had to share it. It wasn't really tied to their lesson of Jesus walking on the water and I couldn't even use it to make a bridge to the reality of Salvation but they enjoyed the sharing and the eating and that was loads of fun! This week they got to act out Jesus calling the first of his disciples, telling them they could be "fisher's of men." They liked that and were very cooperative which can be difficult since Bible Club occurs after school and the last thing these kids want to be is cooped up in a building when it's sunny and 73 degrees!

I am also a substitute Sunday School teacher and though it did not sit well with another teacher/parent, I am DEFINITELY going to reward my borrowed students next week with candy. This is not a bribe... I am REWARDING them with candy if they can answer questions. Sheesh! Give this sub a break!

I've been subbing a lot at our local elementary schools this year. I really enjoy this and look forward to each day. I'm never sure what to expect because classroom dynamics can change from week to week and I never know when I'm going to get called. My biggest challenge and greatest reward has been working in Kindergarten for a friend who, between her own sickness and then the death of a parent, was out for the better part of 2 weeks. Seventeen boys and six girls and I'm still smiling :-) see? Oh, and these kids are rewarded by NOT having their name placed on the "lose recess" list.

Soon spring break will be here and before you know it, summer! Here's praying that this summer will be warm, not too wet, not too windy but just right for enjoying the great outdoors. I hope to gather my wits about me and maybe get my creative, poetic juices flowing again. If I do you'll be some of the first to know!

Happy Spring, everyone; it arrives tomorrow!