Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peace and Goodwill

I don't always want to offer peace and goodwill to others. Especially if they drive too slow (or too fast), cut me off, smell funny, give me a weird look, dress differently, believe differently, are too loud (or too quiet), live in that house, drive gas guzzling cars (or rust buckets), don't recycle, are late (or way too early)...

Really, there's no pleasing me, is there? Probably depends on the day, the weather, the position of the moon in the night sky, how much chocolate is in my system...But there it is. Right in several Christmas songs..."peace on earth, goodwill to men." Well, you can't believe everything you sing, can you?

What about read? Can I believe everything I read? Well, not all things. Definitely not tabloids or junk mail or spam. But the Bible? Can I believe the Bible?

"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on
whom his favor rests.'" (Luke 2:10-14)

Hmmmm. The angels were even singing about peace to us, upon whom God's favor rests. That's pretty awesome. Us. Imperfect people. A Christmas gift of peace and good will, His good will for us. A baby, just for me. Me and my roller coaster 'can't please me' and 'I sometimes don't feel like extending peace and goodwill to anyone.'

Can I believe the Bible? I choose to believe the Bible as true. I believe it all happened just as it was written. For me. And you.

I guess that means I get the free peace and goodwill and Baby Jesus from God. I guess that means I need to choose to share peace and goodwill with everyone else, even when I DON'T feel like it.

Chocolate or no chocolate.

Peace and goodwill. To you, and you, and you...

From both of us,
May the peace and goodwill of God's love become apparent and real to you this holiday season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's Right in Front of Me

I am a person who tends to over analyze...almost everything. Just over the last two days, I have had the same thought presented to me, in totally different ways. Interesting, as it deals with taking care of today, not worrying about tomorrow or yesterday.

I love reading books. I'm rereading "DragonSpell" by Donita K. Paul. Sounds magical, but it really is similar in style to "The Chronicles of Narnia" and C.S. Lewis' writing technique. The main character, Kale, has recently discovered that she has a calling from Wulder (God) and is loved, in spite of her faults and ignorance, by Paladin (Jesus). Kale obsesses over how much she does not know about what she is supposed to do, what she should've or could've done prior to her current situation(s), has endless questions, and worries constantly about not being able to fulfill the task set before her...thinking always of her imperfections.

As Kale recovers from many harrowing adventures, she gets to visit 1 on 1 with Paladin. The entire scene is filled with the above issues. Paladin tells her (again, I believe) to only worry about right now, what is before her right now. Let Wulder work in the future and take care of all that stuff. Just take care of today and the immediate tasks required.

The next morning, upon reading my devotion in "The Daily Bread," the author (unrelated to Paul) has the gall to discuss the same subject! Instead of focusing on the past or uncertain, scary future, the author reminded me to think instead about what is right in my hand! Right in front of me? What circumstances do I have right now to take care of? Well, then, take care of those. Let God handle everything else.

Fine. I don't know who else will tell me the same thing. I thought I had been doing pretty well about staying 'in the present.' Guess I need to work a little harder at it!

To top it off, one verse from Matthew pretty much says the same thing:

"Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Ok. Today. Get ready for bed. I can do that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Shopping?

Have I got some great ideas...all books, of course, since I LOVE books. These books are available through the links posted at the bottom of my blog. Please feel free to check out these resources. Happy Shopping!

By yours truly:

I Can Pray (my very first hardcover book for preschoolers/children; English)
I Can Give (some Spanish phrases)
I Can Do It (some Chinese phrases and characters)
I Can Be More Like Jesus (some French phrases)

For parents, grandparents, teachers, and childcare workers:

Families on Mission - Ideas for Teaching Your Preschooler to Love, Share, and Care

Numerous other excellent gifts and resources are available. What do I love? I love giving gifts that share a message, whether it's a book full of creative ideas, deep thoughts, or an inspirational story. I hope you'll check these out.

Many blessings on your Christmas season. May it be filled with the love and light of Jesus!

The First Advent - Prophecy

"The people who walk in darkness will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them...

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:2,6)

Celebrate the first day of Advent by reading again the Scripture in Isaiah. Truly appreciate the prophecy for the Christ child, and the fact that He came, as prophesied. He died on the cross as prophesied. He will come again - as prophesied.

It's true!

Go ahead. Light the first candle. Sing "Away in a Manger," a lullaby for the baby Jesus.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Paddle Broke

No, it's not what you're thinking! Not a whoopin' stick. The butter paddle, as in churning butter. Sigh.

Fade back a few days. Prep time for our big, annual Thanksgiving hot lunch at school. Each class was assigned an item to prepare for the meal. Second and third - homemade butter. You got it. Well, as homemade as heavy whipping cream from the store...not milk fresh from the cow, homemade cow, that sort of thing. That's God's department.

Heavy duty clay butter crock. Check. Wooden paddle and handle. Check. Lid. Check. Sheet to spread on the floor for splashes. Check. Clean hands and 8 students. Check.

Pour. Churn. Churn. Churn. Churn. Taking turns. Churn. Churn. Churn. What???? Where'd the paddle part go? Inside the messy partially churned heavy whipping cream.

Dig it out. What else is available? A wooden spoon or a black plastic slotted spoon. Uh, let's go with the slotted spoon, since it covers move space in the cream. Stir, churn, stir, churn, tired arms, tired, restless students, 1 1/2 hours...NO BUTTER!

Fast forward. Mrs. Quantrell at home. Potato masher. Churn full of resting cream now. Churn, churn, churn for 1 1/4 hours longer. FINALLY, butter chunks. Whew.

Could not feel arm and shoulder. Splashes everywhere. Butter everywhere.

But we had homemade BUTTER at our feast. Oh yeah. It was delish.

Now to fix the churn paddle before next year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Thankful Heart

Thanksgiving is around the corner - actually around 2 corners...Today is Tuesday. Two more days, and the turkey will be in the oven (thawed, I hope), the squash will be cooked, the table set, the family coming...

Many, many things to be thankful for this year. The son is home from Iraq (his fiancee' and his family are extremely thankful for this); the daughter and son are dedicated to raising our delightful, hysterical grandson; we both have jobs; we have a warm home, clean clothes, and food in the pantry. Spending Thanksgiving NOT giving thanks would make me so uncomfortable, I would squirm and not enjoy a single second of the celebration.

Living in a free country, able to worship as I choose, go where I wish, work in my chosen career, purchase what I want, be who I dream... One could dub America as the 'Cornucopia' of the world; a horn of plenty!

How can I show my thanks? How can I give back? Certainly, when I am full of gratefulness, my heart overflows and desires to give back, to reach out to others and give them some of what I've been blessed with.

Thinking...thinking...thinking...not to jump holidays BEFORE we are out of this season of thankfulness, but as is told to Scrooge, (paraphrased) "Mankind is your business!"

Mankind. That's us. The humans. The heart and hands of thankfulness can reach out to touch and help mankind. There are certainly many that could use an extra hand or resources or a genuine smile.

Mankind. Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thank You, Veterans, from the Superstars

Thank you! Superstars from Harrah Community Christian School send a huge hug and thank you for what you have done for our country. Enjoy the acrostic written as a class project in dedication of veterans. Know that students at H.C.C.S. regularly pray for soldiers and their families.

Veterans Day

V - Veterans of our country
E - Ever protecting America
T - Thank you for fighting for our freedom
E - Eager to serve
R - Really important
A - Amazing sacrifices
N - Not forgotten, but noticed and needed
S - Soldiers of our military

D - Dedicated to help
A - Awesome and admired
Y - You are loved, appreciated, and remembered

Not Forgotten

This year (and last) has given a personal and close link to Veterans Day. With our son safely home from Iraq, we deeply appreciate and respect the hard work, sacrifice, and personal cost given willingly by the soldiers who elect to serve our country. Thank you, veterans. Regardless of the political climate, elected officials, or media viewpoints, you are loved, remembered, appreciated, loved, missed, awesome, prayed for, cherished...Don't forget that we know the cost and embrace what you have given to us.

It seems too simple for such acts of unselfishness, bravery, sacrifice. But, from the depths of our hearts, thank you.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I had time today. Time to take a walk. C'est fantastique pour moi. Refreshing, brisk, fall-ish (my favorite season). Not to mention I really need the exercise. I've missed the full trees of blazing color, but a cornucopia of autumns' bounty is strewn and piled deep along the road, wet and gooey, crunchy and fragrant.

Encountered wildlife - watchful quail,
chattering and chasing squirrels,
squeaking finches,
noisy crows,
startled woodpecker,
puffed sparrows

Time. Take a walk.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Pumpkins Have It

Lovin' those pumpkins.

Love pumpkin spice-as in latte', pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread (looking for pumpkin donuts), pumpkin deco...It could go back to the days, like yesterday and many years previous (wish I could find the photo of me wearing a lovely white and orange houndstooth double knit pantsuit; just picture it), where I was known for loving the color orange. Still love the color orange, particularly in trees, leaves, flowers, bushes, and produce. It's probably tied in to loving the cool weather of fall, the crunches of autumn walks, the seasonal skies, wet weather, and the promise of even more cold and Christmas around the corner. Love it when the newspaper, almost every year, shows pictures of the zoo animals having a fall treat of floating, smashed, or tossed pumpkins.

Pumpkins are in a league of their own.

Yes. The. Pumpkins. Have. It.

I vote for pumpkins.