Friday, May 31, 2013

The Day in Pictures

The day started moderately early with a trip to the charter school to drop off some paperwork.  After which, was an end of the year ice cream social.  It was hot...but pretty nice in the shade.

I sat on a ledge, under a tree as the kiddos frolicked in the water, ran about, and climbed on the play structures.

Teachers served up ice cream with all the fixings as parents relaxed and children socialized.

Third, it was off to a martial arts lesson (where I showed I have mastered the techniques and requirements for the forth level and get to start working on the fifth...two move levels (five and six) then I will be third (grade) brown!!!  Following, is second brown, first brown, then first (degree) black belt!!!  Woot woot!)

By this time (of day), it was crazy hot!  A swim would be nice but we were scheduled to attend a softball game.  As it was, however, one team (ours) was short players and had to forfeit.  Swimming pool it was, then!!!  How was your day today?

2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's....
13As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:2-5, 13-14. ESV.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Dog with Demands

Brutus wants something, but I have no idea what!  Can you figure it out?!

My Primary Business I Must Attend to Every Day is to Fellowship with the Lord

"The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished."
-- George Mueller

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

First Vet Visit: Cheech

Today, was the first veterinary visit for "Cheech".  Needless to say, he was not thrilled, at all, to be there.  But, the Little Chef helped to keep him as comfortable as possible.  I am happy to report, Cheech's doc says he is looking good!  Yay!  And, no, there is not a "Chong".  (Winks and smiles.)

Do you have any pets?  What are they?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Focused on Texas

With our move on the horizon, my mind is swirling with Austin, TX.  I do not wish for time to pass any quicker than it already does...each day is precious...but I do desire to get to Texas soon!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend in Pictures

The street was full of cars.  Parking was limited, when we visited Discovery Bay.

Behind, the homes back up to the water.  Each house has a dock.  Some get creative a put a pool in theirs or attach a slide.

The houses range in size and Discovery Bay is pretty spread out.

We sat out on the deck (until it got too cold), BBQed, some went out on the boat, visited another family, and had dinner together.  Though we were invited to stay the entire (long) weekend, hubs and I needed some time to rest before life resumes on Tuesday.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35. ESV.)

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17. ESV.)

I Praise You

So, I have decided that all the effort I place in social networks, should go here, instead.  I have tried all that other stuff...and it has gotten me, nowhere!!!  Recently, I had a "Thirty-one" party, advertised on public forums, and responses!!!  None!  I was bothered!  Obviously, social networks aren't worth a darn.  So then I thought, commit to one...and there ya go.

This is my one.  The random photo, like on Instagram.  The status updates as on Google plus...etc.  And, quite frankly, I don't give a rat's patootie whether or not anyone reads it.  The truth of the matter is, I LOVE to write.  I always have and regardless if anyone reads it, I still desire to write.  So, that is what I will do despite an audience.

This weekend I went to Discovery Bay.  It is a lovely area with beautiful houses...but my camera battery has gone kaput, so I have no pictures to post.  Maybe tomorrow...or Tuesday.

14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pet Swap

Yes, pet swap!  Not "Wife Swap", thankfully!
It all started with this guy, when I picked him up on Wednesday evening, to take him to meet his new owners on Friday.

Here, he's in his habitat basking in the sun that is coming through my "car" window.
We met at this baseball field.  I swapped out the beardie (bearded dragon)...

...for this kitten.

My friend's husband dropped her off for me, and on Sunday...

...we meet this guy!  He needs a new home and (I do believe) we have decided to give it a trial run to see if we are a good fit for him, and vise-versa.  (I voted we name him "Waldo" (if he does not already have a name).  Then I can say, "Hey!  Where's Waldo?!"

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Beardie Formerly Known as "Spike"

This is the beardie (bearded dragon) formerly known as "Spike".  (I cannot remember what his new name is going to be but I do recall it is cute!  Today, he is going to meet his new owners!

This is his habitat...which I am preparing for his new home.  "Spike" is a wonderful reptile and I am hoping his next residence will be a more permanent one for him. 

I pulled everything out...all his climbing branches, hiding areas, rocks, mat, etc....washed it, threw away the sand, replaced the newspaper and heat lamp bulb, etc.

Everything fit back nicely (including temporary food and water dishes) and is ready for new sand...or none.  I also treated him to a few crickets!
"Spike" looks happy.  He is such a cool pet but his first family moved out of state, his second one thinks he is fabulous but his aquarium is too huge!  And, we are just the two day transition until he changes hands today (Friday).  (We would keep him but we already have a beardie, "Simon".)  We might have an opening for another dog, though.  We will be doing a test run with a chocolate, male Chihuahua puppy soon!
And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24, 25 ESV)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

God of the Desperate

There was a season of my life when I just wanted someone to give me "the" tell me what I should do --- the correct response --- but I did not want the answer. Does that make sense? Have you ever been standing at a crossroads and you KNOW you want to glorify God and do the "right" thing but you just are not sure what that is and you really desire a person to look you in the eye and say, "The best outcome will be [this] if you just take that leap of faith, trust in God, and do [this]." And it all works out EXACTLY as the wise individual stated it would?

But there is that fear, that dread, that the right thing to do is not what you want to do. Maybe it means turning in a peer for shoplifting, standing up against a bully or peer pressure, reporting child abuse, or telling a loved one, "I cannot continue enabling you to sin." (Whatever that includes, whether it's giving him/her money with the knowledge it is being spent on an illegal drugs, alcohol, or gambling habit instead of bills that need to be paid, or repeatedly "forgiving" a cheating spouse his/her unceasing offenses, or showing grace to a friend or family member that steadily lies, cheats, and/or steals relentlessly, etc.)

When David (a man after God's own heart) committed adultery and then murder (to try and cover it up), God sent Nathan to confront David regarding his grossly unacceptable behavior.
And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."

Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.... Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.... Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'" David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die."
(2 Samuel 12:1-7, 9, 11-14 ESV)

What a message to have to deliver! Yes, being Nathan is a very difficult, utterly challenging task. Yet, there are times God calls us to do just that. And He is faithful to us when we put all that we believe, in Him, go forth, and be Nathan. NOT judgmental! There is a difference! But, out of love, with a humble heart (not one dripping with pride), showing grace and kneeling before the throne of God...being the voice of wisdom the one, who is desperate for truth, needs to hear!

(Photo information.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tour of Raley Field in Pictures

There was an overcast sky when we arrived for our tour around Raley Field, home of the Sacramento, California Rivercats!

The Rivercats (formerly called the "Solons"), are the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A's (Athletics).  

(View from the party room.)

The Little Chef and Little Leaguer got to sit in one of the dugouts and we got a close look at the field.

It looks like K-Love (our favorite radio station) is a sponsor of the team!  

The field was being prepared for a game later that evening.  We were given tickets for our choice of seats and game.  (We chose the area next to the dugout for a day game in June!)

Hey, don't forget to watch for "flying objects leaving the playing field"!  Yikes!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 ESV)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend in Pictures

Saturday: Dirt Bike Riding

We were invited to try out a new riding location (well, it was "new" to us).  Every time we got directions on where to go and how to get there (even just to the "staging area"), they were vague.  There was no indication of how many miles it was from where we were to where we wanted to go...nothing!  And this picture is of the road we took (in a truck (without all wheel drive!) towing a trailer) just to get to a site to unload the bikes.

The boxer...

...and pug (of course) came with us!  They love riding in the car and being in the great outdoors!

The outhouse was the only toilet (aside from trees and bushes) for miles around!

On their last ride for the day, hubs, his friend, the Little Chef, and the Little Leaguer were gone for at least an hour and a half.  As the sun started to set, I began to worry a little.  What was my plan of action going to be if they were not back before it got too dark?

This was the last place I had seen them.  There was a camping area up the dirt road a bit and if my crew did not return one hour before official "sunset", I was hiking there to send people out to try and find them!  As I was looking up "sunset" for that particular day, my crew returned.  Praise God!  They were tired, muddy (having gotten stuck a number of times in it), and so ready to go home!

Sunday: Santa Cruz

Mother's Day, we were at it again.  Not fully recovered from the day before, we slept in a tad then headed for the ocean!

We started with lunch on the pier just across from the boardwalk.

I had with me hubs and three out of our four children.  (Lunch was at a placed called "Woodies Cafe" on the wharf.)

One of my treats for the day was a Coca-Cola in the (glass) bottle.  There is something so crisp and refreshing about it...though really unhealthy.  My second dessert was a delectable "cookies and cream" caramel apple (sliced) from Marini's Candies.

I love buying sock monkeys for Sweet Pea.  I try to get them from various places and include a picture of where they are from.  This is Pea's new friend from Santa Cruz.

Isn't it cute?!  I just love the stripes and button eyes!

After lunch and the candy shop, we settled on the sand near the "Santa Cruz Dream Inn".  I sat gazing at the water, boats, and Monterey (way across the bay) as the kiddos splashed in the waves, frolicked, built creations, and dug holes.

(Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz)

All in all, it was a beautiful day.  We randomly ran into some friends (when we were heading back to the truck to feed the meter).  The breeze was gentle and warm to keep us comfortable, yet cool to chase off the heat of the beating sun.  There was not a menacing cloud in the sky.  The kiddos were well behaved and played nicely together.  It was simple, relaxing, and wonderful.  No stress...and no drama.  Truly, it was a blessing.  I thank you, Lord, for that day and my family.

For His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20. ESV.)

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

God of the Destructive

"Destructive"...That's a pretty straight forward, self explanatory descriptive phrase, right? But, there are all kinds of ways a person may be this. Perhaps it is consistent bad choices, chronic lying, cheating, and/or stealing, repetitive drunk driving, regularly being under the influence of an illegal substance, etc. Maybe it is caused by anger, depression, disdain for self and others, an overall feeling of, "I don't care." Or, even, a "personality disorder". Jesus was none of these...but some of his closest friends were...and He healed them and (more importantly) loved them, dearly!

Saul of Tarsus was a murderer. Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Mary Magdalene had seven demons. Judas Iscariot was a deceiver, etc.

Further, the Old Testament is full of God's people behaving badly. Sampson was prideful and made a poor life choice trusting Delilah. Cain burned with self pity and killed his brother, Abel. Adam and Eve made the worst decision possible by defying God's instruction in the Garden of Eden. King David had an affair with a woman then had her husband killed.

Jesus is the Lord (and Savior) of the destructive. He chose them and saved them. He does the same today! No one is beyond His reach or hidden from His mercy, grace, and forgiveness. His light can touch even the deepest depths, darkest places, and hardest of hearts. There is no one exempt from His reign as King...though there are some who do not acknowledge his rule and authority.

The Lord is near to the brokenheartedand saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

Why did Saul hate Christians so much? What made Zacchaeus decide to be a tax collector? Each of us is a broken person. All of us have a story to tell and need everlasting life is just icing on the cake.

"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.... I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself,and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:2, 5, 6 ESV)

What Matters Most?

History? The future? Real life? Social networks? Politics? People? Faith? Money? Fame? Fortune? The pursuit of happiness or an art? What is most important? Business? Family? Health? Fitness? Fashion? (I suppose it is all relative.). What makes a difference to you?

Some bloggers focus on celebrity news. Others on world news. And then there are individuals who feel "bloggers" are not journalists nor of any consequence. I looked up the top rated blogs and took note of their contents. Where would mine fit in to the mix?

It doesn't.

Mine, is rated in the millions. Nowhere near popular enough to make a dent or hold any weight...or does it? Even if ONE, single life is changed because of it, makes all the difference!
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 ESV)

What is the next big thing?! If I do interviews on here with the rich and famous, will that bring in readers? What do actors, philanthropists, socialites, and the wealthy have that Jesus does not?! The Son of man was well known, though highly debated (and still is)!
"There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?" Others said, "These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"" (John 10:19:21. ESV.

My prime focus here is Jesus! Because, I feel "the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing". You dig? So, I may not appeal to everyone. I might even offend a few. I am not going to have the latest gossip. But I'll tell you what, once God calls your heart and you get a taste of Jesus, you are going to crave and hunger for Him like nobody's business! Trust me, I've been there, done that, and bought a few shirts. God and Jesus satisfy like none other. They fill you up until your cup runneth over...and then some. Your life will be abundant! You will have the "joy, joy, joy, joy, down in [your] heart" and peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippines 4:7, ESV).

Finally,...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9 ESV)

Monday, May 06, 2013

I Just Had to Share

Jesus does not want to merely be my savior; He also longs to be LORD of my life.  I was not saved simply to avoid hell.  We are called (John 10:10) to live life with Jesus in the here and now- and to live it abundantly!  That's the Jesus Revolution- realizing that our man-made systems and traditions, while useful,  carry no weight at all when held in the light of the Gospel.  Keep your religion and give me Jesus.  You may disagree and find me too radical or too simplistic.  Well you know what?    All I'm saying's all about Jesus.  End of story. - Carl Jones

As I was reading the blog of my former youth pastor, I was struck by what he wrote and just had to share it! To read his post in its entirety, please visit his blog, "I'd Laugh...but All This Happened to Me!"

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Let Your Reasonableness be Known to Everyone

I have not quite known what to write this week. It has been a little crazier than usual. First (and foremost), the end of the school year is nearly upon us. Trying to keep the kiddos (let alone myself) focused is getting challenging. The days have been so deliciously hot and the pool so inviting. Visions of countless hours on the beach scroll through my mind. (Perhaps I'll get a new swim suit this year.)

Secondly, the Little Leaguer had state testing spanning over a couple days. (Tuesday, I actually found myself with a couple of hours of "me" time as the Little Chef was also gone, in the learning center. So, I did chores. Lame!)

Third, we had dear, old friends over on Wednesday for a few hours, and another set of companions returned after living out of state for a year! (Did I mention I currently hang out with three different groups of wonderful people?! Three to four days a week is with one set, two days with another, and one with a third! All fantastic, fun, incredible individuals! I was stuck in such a rut for so long!...but not anymore!)

Fourth, one of my beloved children needed me. The Second Born had something fall through and sought me out for guidance. (What to do? So many choices.) And, I have to say, it feels so good to be "needed". As a parent, I am there for my children, just as my God is there for me.

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11 ESV)

(Further, did I mention my allergies have been off the hook?!)

Now, it is the weekend again and you know what that means? Yep, little person party time...friends, and swimming, and sleep overs...oh my! But, before that, I am going to workout! I missed two martial arts, one kickboxing, and an MMA lesson over the past five days! Time for a Saturday, make up class! Sorry, kiddos, no fun until after mama gets her sweat on!

She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
(Proverbs 31:17 ESV)

Thank you, Lord, for keeping me sane!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Friday Funnies: Pouting Brutus

"But I don't want THIS food bowl.  I want the other one that belongs to the pug!"

(I meant to post this for "Wordless Wednesday". But, my week has been a little crazier than usual. So, "Friday Funnies" it is, then.)


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