Showing posts from February, 2013

Planning for the New Month

Somehow, the month of February is now gone! Time flies when you're having fun, I suppose. But looking ahead, there's a brand new month just waiting for us. Thirty-one days lay before us, waiting to be filled with all sorts of wonderful things that will bring glory to God. So where do you start? If you're like me, you're a planner. A blank calendar page is just longing to be written on, and here are some great ways to get a handle on everything you'll need for the month of March. "Stuff" is my favorite Bible word, so that's what I'll use today. * Family stuff. The best way to see who goes where and when is to have it written on a master schedule. This may sound like a lot of work, but then there won't be any surprises. I know we get tired of asking each other every morning what the schedule for the day is. With us, it changes a lot, but we generally have a good idea that we can put down on paper. The family stuff includes work and school

It's Like A New Living Room!

I'm so excited to get to show you this picture! Our living room has been one of the thorns in my side for a while, but it's finally back to normal. Why was it abnormal? Because up until this weekend, it still had Christmas decorations everywhere - and I do mean everywhere. Don't laugh ... I've been sick. First, everything that doesn't belong in the room went elsewhere. They may not all be in their homes yet, but at least they're not in the living room anymore. Then the whole room got a good dusting. I can't believe how much dust can accumulate, even in winter. Combine that with the puppy dog hair and the room really needed some work. All the furniture was cleaned and the windows washed on the inside. Since it's frigidly cold here, the outsides will have to wait. Plus we need a ladder for some of them, and that's not going to happen right now. Call me lazy ... I don't think ladders and snow mix. And lastly, everything was swept - three

"Time-Lapse" Photography

Time-lapse photography doesn't have to be some complicated process where you fix settings on your camera. Just taking a series of photos over a period of time can give the effect of moment-by-moment changes. Before our snow storm last week, the forecasters seemed pretty certain of the time it would start. So an hour before it began, I took a picture of our back yard. This is what it looked like at 1 p.m. on Thursday. At 2 p.m. I went back to the same spot and took another picture because, yes, the weatherman was exactly right about the start time. And another picture at 3 p.m. Another one at 4 p.m. Back at 5 p.m.  By 6 p.m., it was almost too dark to get a really good picture. But I love the way everything turned blue as the sun went down. And by 8 a.m. the next morning, we had our total amount - about 6 inches. It was absolutely beautiful to watch the snow pile up in the backyard and turn the property into a winter won

My Special Salmon and Dragon Fruit Meal

The other night I had the most wonderful meal ready. I had salmon with salsa and dragon fruit - it looked so yummy! And then Danny called and said he wouldn't be home for dinner. Maybe not home until bedtime. That's life as the undertaker's wife. We did get to share it the next day, so all was well. And now I'm going to share this lovely, exotic meal with you. For the salmon, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass baking dish with nonstick spray and place the salmon fillets in. Cover with your favorite salsa. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. For the dragon fruit, cut the fruit in half. Like with a grapefruit, run a spoon around the edges and loosen the white, edible part from the flesh. Do not eat the flesh - any of it. Cube the white fruit and put it back in the flesh for a beautiful display. And that's how simple this was. Hope you enjoy!

A Weekend of Wonderful Works

The beauty of a snowy morning absolutely amazes me. My Lord created each of those little snowflakes out there, and He knows their shape, size and number. God made this beautiful scene outside my back door just because He can. He delights in giving us these moments of joy, and I delight in soaking them up and thanking Him for them. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 Make this a weekend of declaring the Lord's wonderful works. There's no way we could ever name or number them all - that's just how good He has been. But we can give it our best effort. Every time you speak for these two days, praise the Lord for a wonderful work that He has done in your life. Write down all the blessings God rains down on you this weekend. Take the time to appreciate everything He has giv

Overcoming the Weariness

When you're sick, your body tries to shut down so it can recover. When you're coughing and blowing and busy being sick, you certainly don't get the rest you need and you end up being weary to the bone. That's just how being sick works. That weariness of illness is one that goes straight to the bone. After two weeks of fighting bronchitis, asthma and fibromyalgia all at once, I can say that I have truly experienced weariness. It's hard to fight back when you're weary, and the enemy knows that. During my illness, I heard so many voices telling me all kinds of things while I was stuck in bed trying to recover. You're not that sick, are you? This is your vacation time! You should be up enjoying it. It's not that bad. Get out of bed and accomplish something. How lazy you've been. Everybody gets sick. Why shouldn't you? Aren't you stronger than this? All the while, I thought about Ahithophel and Absalom pursuing David. Moreover, Ahi


Right now, one of our local grocery stores has a sale on rambutan, this adorable and spiny fruit. They are native to Indonesia and are are totally irresistible. It's about the size of a golf ball, and if you pinch it at its seam, it will pop right open. The fruit inside is incredibly juicy and tastes very much like a kiwi fruit. It has a giant seed in the middle, but that, too, will easily come out. We were feeling adventurous yesterday and got a couple of these. They are fantastic - if you've never tried one, check out your local produce section to see if they have any. You'll be so glad you did. Believe me, I'm going back to get more!

Today On the Carrell Wildlife Preserve

 It's amazing what you can witness when you're up early and you're paying attention. Barn Kitty just fits between the rails on the decks, and she loves to sit here and watch the wildlife on the property.     This morning it was a whole flock of geese. They weren't noisy or anything. They were just out for a stroll around the big pond. It's been warm enough that the ice at the edge of the ponds has melted, and that's exactly what they were looking for. They were an absolute joy to watch.  And then Barn Kitty decided she wanted a better look at these silly birds. Remember what curiosity does to kitties? She was the perfect picture of big cat stalking on the plains. Well, they let her get right down to the water's edge. They just watched each other, Kitty drank from the pond for a minute, and then she came back to the house. That was all they needed - just a moment to check each other out,

In Sickness and ... In More Sickness

Please forgive me for not being here for the past few days. I have been desperately sick, fighting a serious bout with bronchitis. I've been alternating between our bed and sleeping in my living room chair for the better part of a week. As I've been down and out (literally), reading Scripture has not been at the forefront of my mind. I know that sounds terrible, but it's been a terrible few days. I'm sure you've been there. But when I opened my Bible and began reading through Psalms this morning, I realized that David had been there, too. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.  For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. Psalm 38

Is It OK To Question God?

I've heard it many times from many people - I'll just have to ask God about that when I get to Heaven. We have so many questions about things that happen here on earth, but we often don't receive answers to our questions. Is it OK to question God? Is it acceptable for a human being to ask questions of the Creator of Heaven and Earth? Of course it is. We read all sorts of questions in the Bible, when God's people asked Him direct questions about very sensitive, very serious problems. But did your mother ever tell you to watch your tone of voice? The way we ask questions is just as important as the questions that we're asking. If someone comes up and ask you what on earth you were thinking, or even if you were thinking, would you be very responsive? Most likely not. Think about this multiplied to infinity when approaching the Lord God Who reigns on high. We've been guilty of that, though. God, why on earth would you allow that to happen? I don't unde

Prints in the Snow

 When you have even a little bit of snow, you can immediately see the snowprints the next morning. It's fun to do some research and see what animal made which tracks.  These are Baileydog tracks. I can tell her feet a mile away. And Barn Kitty has pretty easy tracks to identify, too.  And these are tiny little bird tracks. We have tons of birds on our deck at the bird feeder every day, so it could have come from any number of types of bird. On our property, we see lots of deer tracks. The hooves aren't difficult to distinguish from others. And our deer are pretty big. Look at the deer print on the left compared with my boot print on the right. I think that's pretty amazing. There's always something out on the pond. We can tell when something was being stalked because the tracks go in the same direction. Or if there are two sets, one going out and one coming back. It's neat to try to come up with a story that

Showing Off Your Collections

A few weeks ago, my dad brought me his collection of sand and shells from North and South Carolina. I already had some scallop shells from another project, and I really wanted a way to show them off. So I pulled out my container of blue glass pebbles, put them in the bottom of one of my favorite dishes and then stacked the shells on top. The sand was already in those adorable glass bottles, so that part was easy. The result was a centerpiece that I absolutely adore. And it's more interesting than sticking them in a box somewhere and coming across them every couple of years. We all have collections that are tucked away or set haphazardly on a shelf. But what fun is that? Let's take them down and do something exciting with them. * Clear off a couple of your bookshelves and put your favorite collection out. Unless your collection is books - then leave them there. Just arrange them differently. * Turn one whole room into a collection showplace. Fill it with bears, quilt

A Weekend of Community

Guess what the big event in town this weekend is. If you guessed bake sale ... I'd laugh, but you'd be wrong. One of my favorite weekends out of the entire year is when the Bullriders of America finals are here in Ottumwa at the Bridge View Center. Last year was my very first bull riding event, and I got hooked. So I spent all day yesterday talking to cowboys, announcers, bull fighters, rodeo clowns, event organizers and members of the community. The story that I wrote for today's paper really just links a whole bunch of quotes about how much this event means to the people involved. Make this a weekend of discovering your community. You don't have to go to a bull riding event - although you won't regret it if you do. Just do something that gets you out of the house and talking to the people who live right around you. Building our community is how we thrive outside our our home and our church family. Find something this weekend that will help you connect