Authentic Compassion

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh my stars and garters

What does the phrase Stars and garters mean? Not a clue until I googled - I simply recalled it as a safe exclamation which wouldn't result in getting my ears thumped for being "naughty sounding"when I was a whippersnapper! All that rabbit trail to lead me into ----I realize I have been absent from the bloggoworld for a week now - - very bad - almost like missing church - the next time you think about missing gets easier and easier.
Is it hardening my heart or numbing my conscience? either way I don't want to go there anymore.

Nothing phenomenal going on around here, DH is working far too hard (such a normal situation I wavered about whether to mention). The weather has gone from hot summery to nearly unbearable heat wave - Oh wait - I lie - here is photographic proof it is cooler today (in Texas temperature terms like cooler or HOT are relative not wholly reliable - a little like some of my relatives - but I digress ). You can see - a mere 100.5 degrees fahrenheit on our trusty completely shaded thermometer. We registered 109 the other day but were so heat stunned didn't think to take a picture. So what has this got to do with anything important? At least a little something and definitely not just nothing. (messing with you there - yes that didn't make sense and you are so SMART to notice!)

We are working on getting our place more energy efficient. Both the astounding rise in utility rates and our desire to be good stewards of our resources propelled us into these big projects. Primary goal is to make our home as low cost to maintain and run as we can manage. First act in the project will be having solar screens installed - we did a southern engineer style test. DH made two large window screens for our west facing breakfast room windows - you can see in the picture they aren't pretty but they did prove a point - the temperature inside the breakfast room was lowered about 15 degrees! Woo Hoo. Above the nook is a window in the second story - remember that one 'cause I'll mention it later. Finishing up in the breakfast room/kitchen area we'll be putting a ceiling fan in that bump out area to keep air flow moving - right now I use a fan sitting on the floor and it is unsightly and a hazard. At this time we will also get screens on the window I mentioned on the second story - this side of the house faces literally and totally DUE WEST - as in the sun shines brightly on my beloved Texas home and hotly too!

Now we move around the back - in the left side of the picture you can see a corner of our AC unit - about to be replaced in stage two. But you should pay attention to our stunning view windows - the whole back of our great room looks out into the backyard and woods behind. Unfortunately - they have absolutely NO real protection against heat gain despite being that E glass - DH and I don't care much for curtains so those are some BIG bare windows - good view - big windows. Soon they will be cloaked appropriately in 90% blockingofsun'sdamagingraysscreens.
Total of 15 windows will get the screen treatment.
August 11th we are scheduled to have the new HVAC system installed - a super duper (for our budget) 18 SEER unit with variable speed air handler - don't ask too many questions or I'll have to send you links to what I believe we are buying.
Next stage will include some work around the foundation of our house - laying lines for constant moisture to prevent soil movement hurting the foundation. Also planning on pulling up the carpet at least in our bedroom and staining the concrete then sealing the floors. Even more exciting will be the addition of a HUGE storage space next to our master bedroom - facilitating the total makeover of the master bathroom - yeah we tend to send over the top entire DIY concept.
We have a 6 month plan in the works (Lord willing) and I'll update as we go. Here for my bloggy buddy Paula I'll include two sky pictures and end this rambling. Sunsets can be breathtaking here on Buhlaland - all this and heaven too - we are blessed. BTW please don't call us "green" - not doing our energy saving measures due to political pressures or secular culture's concept of ecologically sound living - more because we believe in being good stewards of our blessings and I'm tired of deciding whether to be comfortable or frugal! It is good in Buhlaland - even better when it isn't sweltering! Oh that last picture - not photoshopped at all - just an alien happy face peering down at sunset - even the aliens are happy in Buhlaland!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pragmatic Preparation 101

Over at Pam's Place a good thing is started. She pointed out September is apparently emergency preparedness month. I'll be linking to her posts about practical steps we can take to more effectively deal with emergencies. Of course I might throw in my spiritual and or comedic bits of advice also. Obviously we are putting on the full armor of God. For now - be thinking and posting about what we can do to prepare for the emergencies we know will come sooner or later. You can add tips at Pam's site or here - or we can link to one another with ideas. I'm doing better each day - some events are tougher than others but we'll get through this relying on God's strength 'cause I'm tuckered out here in Buhlaland.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Waiting on whispers

DH is one of the genuine guys about whom people say "real men love Jesus". A habit he developed a couple of years ago was to include a scripture or illuminating statement in his email signatures. In the past couple of weeks he has used a longer verse which captivates me. God speaking to Elijah ---1 Kings 19:11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Have you been hearing a whisper lately - what ARE we doing here? I'm working on some things - I promise Lord - I'll get around to what you want me to do when I'm better organized, thinner, healthier, better educated, more prepared, richer, smell better, happier, - well He's heard it all before from better followers than me. Amazing how He is still there - after all the drama and chaos and storms - whispering to me - "what are you doing here, Linda Sue?" One of the amazing things about grace - He gives it without us ever being worthy - not even a tiny bit.

Without going into a bunch of drama (I'm WAY over the top with people and their dramas) I have to tell you - the Lord's whispers are definitely more effective than all the storms and winds and quakes and fires. Listen to the whispers - read His word.

I'll be back in the next few days - life is gentling.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Snapshots of a life well lived

My mother in law, Ethel, was born April 4, 1919 - an identical twin. She loved being a twin - although a few years ago the three of us (DH, MIL and me) had studio pictures made and she didn't like any of the proofs. We got a little exasperated with her and asked WHY? they were all good shots - she made a little disgusted face and said "I look like Elsie". We both cracked up - well yes Mom - you DO look like your identical twin! We told her we'd buy the pictures anyhow and tell people it was really Elsie.
They grew up on a farm in Michigan and she often shared stories about the cooking and animals and family gatherings. I think she liked living with us because we have animals and live outside town. One picture is the twins when they were young women and the other was taken about five years ago. The feisty hula girl was Ethel in 1944.

Ethel moved from Michigan to Florida with her husband who unfortunately passed away in 1980. In later years she lived there with her younger son and his family and still later her beloved youngest child and only daughter, Pat. She believed in staying busy and worked at KMart--keeping in touch with many gal pals from her KMart days. Ethel maintained a busy correspondence schedule - sending cards and notes to literally dozens of people. Since her death there will be a lot of folks with less in their mailboxes now - she never liked email but almost every day had a stack of notes and cards to mail. She was creative and a joyous participant in holidays - at Christmas she loved decorating - my Christmas pictures show some of her handiwork. One of her special joys was reading --often reading 4 or 5 books in a week. When she and I went into Fort Worth we made our shopping circuit -- DSW shoes, Mardel's Christian Bookstore - then to Costco. We'd trade books and have friends who also love reading and had the Linda, Ethel , Ella and Kathy exchange library around here! She also sent shoeboxes of paperbacks to Elsie and we got packages in the mail with Elsie's share of the book exchange.
Ethel left notes around her bedroom upstairs - reminders of doctor's appointments, eye exams, people's special events and bits of scripture or Christian fiction which caught her eye. Every morning she was up in her room after breakfast - reading Our Daily Bread and the scriptures related to those readings. She loved Christ as her Lord - deeply and with a personal faith.
The last picture is Ethel several years ago in DH's sporty red car - she was always willing to have fun and often teased by her devoted son - we'll miss you Ethel but definitely will see you again some sweet day.
"No eye has seen, no ear has hear, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."Isaiah64:4

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Personal note

July 11,2008
Mother in law passed on to Glory this afternoon - a few hours after DH arrived back in Texas. He'll return for her services next week - We'll be using the scripture she had by her bed in the memorial notes. She will never be afraid again - safe and whole and we'll see her when it is our time. Thank you all so very much for your prayers and thoughtful notes. I found some wonderful pictures of her and will post them in a few days - too tired tonight. DH seems to have come home bringing a bad bronchitis with him. It could have stayed in Michigan and we would have been just as happy here in Buhlaland. Life is good - death is a passage and tears are flowing. I love a verse from Revelation 22: 1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun. for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Amen - it is just a little while - no believer ever says goodbye forever.

Wanted to post to let you know where things stand on Buhlaland right now. We are dealing with the inevitable - my DH's 89 year old mother had a stroke. Doctors are not giving any encouragement for improvement in the situation - so they will make decisions tomorrow after a consult. She is a busy, active and bright little lady who has never complained about the bumps in the road of her life. While looking for some paperwork in her bedroom upstairs - we found a scripture verse written out in one of her ever present little teeny notebooks - Mark 5:36 - Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
Amen to that - don't be afraid just believe.
I often wonder how "personal" to get on my blog -quite a bit of emotion around here and I wanted you to know if I don't post for a while - it isn't because I quit loving the blogosphere.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Moment of reflection ---- and then a big WOO HOOO

A tiny bit sad - our incredible little renovation job (took over 6 months and I don't want to SAY how much money) on the Rock House across the road from us. It is no longer Our little Rock House. For a moment I want to reflect on how much work and detail and charm (and sweat and stepping on a rusty nail and taking antibiotics for 2 weeks and innumerable bites and stings from things dislodged from ancient hiding places) went into the renovation. We bought the little house hoping to make it into an office/guest house/gift shop/terrific thing to own. DH and I put in bead board ceilings - one piece at a time and custom fitting the cedar crown molding. Replaced every window in the building with those cool tilt out energy efficient windows and painted it historically correct red and a creamy almost yellow color. The front half bath was all red (why skimp on a good thing right?) I won't go through the whole 6 months - but we literally rebuilt the building trying to keep a charm of old with high energy efficiency and functionality.
THEN - reality came along and we found we weren't really being good stewards just using it as an office. So we moved our office into part of our workshop here at Buhlaland - and put the Rock House up for sale.

Today was the big day - closed on the property and the young man who bought it is moving in as I type. He and his girlfriend were pretty excited.
A little sadness about no longer owning our completely renovated little house ----
THEN some genuine gladness over the infusion of funds - as in money. First we'll pay ahead for a year for our Compassion sponsored kids then we pay off a little debt and THEN - well I'll do a Scarlett O'Hara on that one - I'll think about that tomorrow.
Just thought I'd share this with my bloggerities. If I don't see you before then - Have a safe and sane Independence Day celebration - ribs, ice cream, salad shared with some of our best friends - cannot get better for a holiday! It is so good on Buhlaland - you never know where the Lord is taking us but we know it is always better than anywhere we could have imagined.