Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have decided you would have to be really, really dumb to get caught in a speed trap down here. Two different times when driving north on I-65 we have seen one of those "information" signs along the way that actually says "Drive Careful, Troopers Ahead." So, if you get caught, you deserve to be caught!

We went to a great show at the South Baldwin Community Theater on Sunday, Dec. 11th - "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" If you have never read the story or seen a video of it, I would urge you to do so. It's quite funny and very touching at the end. Brought tears to my eyes. There were many talented young people in this cast and it was a pleasure to watch!

We went to a great Christmas Festival at the First Baptist Church of Gulf Shores on Sunday, Dec. 18th. What a production! They had an adult choir, a children's choir, an orchestra, an organ and four grand pianos. Many talented people did solos as well. Very uplifting and wonderful to experience.

We have started rehearsals for our next Variety Show at the RV Resort. I will be singing a solo of two verses of Amazing Grace. I was going to do it a cappella, but the pianist has one of those great keyboards where she can make it sound like anything and she asked if I wanted to sing it with bagpipes. I tried it and it sounds really great that way, so that's what we are going with. 

We are going to attend a Candlelight Service at our church on Christmas Eve and then go play cards with friends of ours in the RV resort. We have learned two new card games from them already - Sequence (which is a board game played with cards) and Nickel Nickel (which I think is some form of Rummy). We have lots of fun with them.

Christmas Day we will have a dish-to-pass dinner at the RV resort. Hopefully it won't rain that day. 

We have had three days of rain in a row this week. And when it rains down here it POURS! This afternoon there was quite a thunder-boomer with lots of lightning. An impressive show, let me tell you. So now we have "waterfront property" at our campsite. It is supposed to be clear the next two days so we are hopeful that it will dry up (before it rains again on Sunday!)

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Keeping Busy in AL

Hey, ya'll! We've been in Gulf Shores, AL for almost a month now and have been keeping very busy.

Between all the activities at our RV resort and all the activities at our church and all the activities around town we have been enjoying ourselves a lot! 

At our resort, we have had a Welcome Back dish-to-pass, and a Thanksgiving Dinner. I am also in the chorus. Our first Variety Show "Christmas Holidays" is tomorrow evening. We do audience sing-a-longs, skits, readings, and solos as well as women's chorus numbers and men's chorus numbers. I will be doing a solo of "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." Our next Variety Show will be in January and will be "Country and Favorites." I will be doing "Amazing Grace" a cappella. I do love to sing!

Lynn goes for coffee with the guys Monday - Friday mornings, and I attend Women's Bible Study on Wednesday mornings. I also use their indoor pool and hot tub quite often. Lynn goes on long bike rides with a group of guys and he and I ride bikes through the State Park as well. 

At our church we have had a dish-to-pass Thanksgiving meal on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, when I was privileged to be able to give the sermon for United Methodist Women's Day. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the service.

We also had what they call "Dirty Santa" gift exchange -- where you open a gift and other people can steal it from you when it is their turn to open a gift. I  had to open four gifts before I finally got one I could keep, but one young man had to open 7 or 8 before he got to keep one! It was a lot of fun! And of course they had a dish-to-pass then, too. 

We also put together lots of Christmas boxes for needy children on the Friday before Thanksgiving -- they ended up with 104 boxes which is amazing because it is not that big of a church. It was a lot of fun doing that together, too. 

Some of the things we have done in the area is go to great restaurants for lunch, especially since we bought an entertainment book and get discounts. So much good seafood down here. Yum. And not all of it is fried any more, either!

We also went to Christmas Open Houses at the Gulf Shores Museum, the library and the Civic Center where we listened to the Mobile Quintet as well as Brent Burns who is a local entertainer. He is always quite funny. 

We went to the Gulf Shores Christmas Parade on December 3. Gee, I wonder why they don't have one of those in Unadilla? BRRR

On Dec. 4 we went to St. Andrew's By The Sea (church) to listen to their Christmas Program, A Service of Carols and Readings,  which featured their chancel choir and their hand bell choir. Beautiful.

Dec. 5 we went to hear the Baldwin Pops Band at the Foley Civic Center for their Christmas program. That was wonderful as well. 

I guess that catches us up on everything. I hope everyone is having a good winter so far. I know we are!

Enjoying Alabama

Hi ya'll! We have been in AL now for almost four weeks, and have been keeping pretty busy.

Right now we are having a cold spell -- mid 50s during the days and 30s at night. But at least the sun continues to shine and it hasn't rained lately and there is definitely NO SNOW, so we can't complain too much.

We have been enjoying a lot of the wonderful area restaurants for lunch, especially since we purchased and entertainment book that gives us discounts. So much good seafood down here... yum. And not all of it is fried, either, thank goodness!

I have joined the chorus here at the RV park. Our first Variety Show is tomorrow night. We have our rehearsal tomorrow morning, and then it's show time! We are singing lots of Christmas carols, and having audience sing-alongs, a skit, and readings, and solos. I will be doing "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." Thankfully I am the third soloist so my voice shouldn't be too strained by the time I sing, hopefully.

Our next Variety Show will be in January and that will be "Country and Favorites." I have signed up to sing "Amazing Grace" a cappella. I do love to sing!

Lynn goes bike riding with a group of guys once in a while. They rode to the area airport one day and watched the planes come in and had a chance to chat with a few of the pilots. He enjoyed that.

The church we attend down here has kept us busy, too. I was invited to preach the first Sunday we were here for United Methodist Women's Day, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I posted the sermon in a previous blog entry, if you are interested in reading it. I really enjoyed being a part of that Sunday service. Then we had our Thanksgiving Feast afterwards. 

We also had what they call "Dirty Santa" gift exchange -- where someone opens a gift and the next person can steal it from them if they want it. It was a lot of fun. I ended up having to open four gifts before I got one no one stole from me. One young man there I think had to open about 7 or 8 of them before he got to keep one! We had lots of good food to enjoy as well, as usual.

We have been keeping busy at the RV resort, too. They have lots of activities and we have met a lot of nice people. Lynn goes to coffee with the guys every morning and I have joined the Women's Bible Study every Wednesday morning. 

I have kept busy making lots of jewelry, too. I think they have a craft fair at our RV resort some time in January, so maybe I can sell some of the things I have made. So I have room to make more!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Attitude of Gratitude

I had the privilege of giving the sermon at the United Methodist Church, Morgan's Chapel, in Bon Secour yesterday. They were celebrating United Methodist Women's Day. Here is the sermon I gave:

The Attitude of Gratitude

        Good morning. Thank you, Edith, for that introduction, and thank you all for having me here to give today’s message on this Sunday before Thanksgiving for United Methodist Women’s Day. 
Normally, in the past, when I have been privileged enough to be asked to give the Sunday sermon, I have always used the Gospel Lesson from the Lectionary. So when Judy first contacted me to see if I would be interested in giving today’s message, I looked up the Gospel Lesson. It’s about sheep and goats. 
A perfectly good parable on which to preach, but not very much in keeping with Thanksgiving; which is more of a turkey and stuffing kind of day rather than a sheep and goat kind of day. So when we spoke again I asked Judy if I should do the Gospel Lesson as I usually do or if you all wanted something different. After reassuring me that I could do whatever I wanted, she then said ‘or you can talk about women, or you can talk about Thanksgiving.’ How perfectly brilliant is that?
So, here I am – to talk about both. After all, who does most of the preparations for Thanksgiving Day? In most households, it’s the women. And it starts several weeks before the day, am I right, ladies?
First, we have to know how many people are going to be coming to eat. I’ve had anywhere from 13 to 20 people, and I am sure some of you have had even more than that. 
Once you know how many people are going to be eating, you have to figure out how big of a turkey to get – counting for leftovers, too, of course. But on the other hand, it has to fit in the oven.
Then, how many side dishes? Do you just make all the favorites again or try out something new that might become a tradition in the future? Are other people bringing a dish as well? And if so, do you dictate what dish they should bring, or do you just accept whatever they show up with and hope that it fits in with your menu?
Now, it’s time to set up a timeline. What dishes go in the oven at what time? What temperature? For how long? Can some things be made on the stove top, or in a crock pot, or made ahead and reheated in the microwave? And do I even have enough room in the refrigerator for all this food? 
Okay, now it’s on to the presentation. Is the table big enough? Do we have enough chairs? Who should we sit next to each other, and who should we keep far away from each other? Tablecloth. Napkins. Place mats. Place cards. Dishes. Silverware. Glasses. Candles. Centerpiece.  Serving dishes. Serving spoons. Carving knife and fork. Platter. Bread baskets. And on and on and on....
What?!? You men thought all of this just “magically” happened?
Then once everything has magically somehow come together and you sit down to eat, and grace has been said, and perhaps you have gone around the table for everyone to say one thing they are grateful for this year, then what happens? Yep. “Let the feeding frenzy begin!!!!” 
Ten minutes later, everyone slumps back in their chairs and moans “Oh, I am SO full.” 
Then they drag themselves away in a trytophan-induced stupor to veg out in front of the TV to watch football – through their eyelids.
And if you are lucky, someone may help you clean up. I used to be very resentful of this aftermath – especially if no one offered to help clean up. Here I had slaved away for hours... days... weeks... to make this beautiful feast and it’s wiped out in 15, 20 minutes, tops!
But as I began studying God’s word more and reading daily verses and devotionals, I realized that I was not looking at the situation properly. The Bible tells us that we should do all things as though we are doing them for God. 
In Colossians 3, verses 23 and 24, the apostle Paul says, “Whatever you do, work at it with your whole heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving.”
1 Corinithians 10:31 reminds us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
I needed to change my attitude from one of resentment to one of gratitude. I needed to become grateful that we could afford to buy all that food; that I have the ability to prepare the food in an appetizing manner; that I have enough dishes (probably too many if you ask my husband); and that we have family, friends, and loved ones with which to share our bounty.
I had become like Martha. You have probably heard stories about Mary and Martha who are the most familiar set of sisters in the Bible. According to the account given by Luke, Martha was head of the household as she was the one who welcomed Jesus into her home. Mary was probably younger. Like most sisters, these two women had conflicts which came about because of their different personalities, their different roles, and simply the fact that they were siblings.
Luke chapter 10, verses 38 through 42 tells the story: Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."
Jesus gently rebukes Martha for being "worried and distracted" by her many tasks and her resentment of Mary's behavior. Jesus tells her that she has lost her focus; she needs only one thing. And what is that one thing? Martha needs to focus on loving God and her neighbor as herself; to do this one thing is to “choose the better part” – to be a disciple of Jesus.
Like Martha, instead of being resentful that I was doing so much work for so little perceived “reward,” maybe I needed to learn to relax and enjoy the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
No, I am not going to give you a history lesson on Thanksgiving Day – I am sure we all heard that in grade school. I’m talking about the word itself – Thanksgiving – literally to “give thanks.” 
The word ‘thanks’ in its many forms, thankful, thanksgiving, etc., appears 139 times in the Bible. Many of the Psalms are psalms of thanksgiving.
Psalm 100 is such a psalm. In my NIV Bible it is subtitled “A psalm. For giving thanks.” and reads: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (See? I did manage to work sheep into it...) Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his court with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 105:1-2 instructs us: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
And Psalm 69:10: “Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.”
Sacrifices of thanksgiving were given in Old Testament times. In Psalm 107: 2 we read, “Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.”
And Jonah, while still in the belly of the whale, finally coming around to heed God’s call to be his prophet, said “But I, with a song of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9)
The apostle Paul has been attributed with writing thirteen epistles to various early churches. And in all of them, he always gives words of thanksgiving, both for God and for the congregation.
Communion re-enacts perhaps the most memorable story of thanksgiving – the Last Supper where Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks, and raised the cup of wine and gave thanks.
Indeed, the Bible is full of many instances of giving thanks. And we should be full of thanksgiving as well – not just full of Thanksgiving turkey.
While it’s nice that a national holiday has been set aside, basically instructing us to give thanks – we, as believers and followers of Christ – should be giving thanks daily. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
So, if any of you women have been like me in the past and felt resentful of all the work with little thanks – try the new approach of giving thanks for the opportunity to serve others as though you were serving Jesus. 
1 Peter 4:9 tells us, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
And if any of you men or children really didn’t know how much time and effort it takes to create this yearly feast, maybe you could take the time this year to be sure to say an extra “thank you” to those who prepared it. 
And THEN slip into your turkey coma.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we want to thank you for your glorious goodness – not just on Thanksgiving Day – but every day, Lord. You give us so many blessings to be thankful for; they are beyond counting. Help us always to serve others with a thankful heart as though we were serving you. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It was especially gratifying when an elderly gentleman who sings in the choir with me tapped me on the shoulder after the service and said "You gave me a whole new perspective, thank you." (I hope his wife gets an extra thank you this year!)

And a woman came up after the service when we were sitting waiting to eat Thanksgiving dinner and said "I have never been at a Sunday Service where the message was so totally directed at ME before!" She said she had 47 people coming for Thanksgiving! She said, "I just have to give  you a hug, and my husband will probably want to give you a hug too, because he has been listening to me complain about this all week!" She said that they were talking the night before about how much $ they had spent already (about $1,000) and she said "but, you are right, we should be thankful that we can buy all this food." 

It is always so heartening when God's words reach people through me. I am blessed to be able to bring his word to others. I have to admit it was slightly intimidating to preach at this church because there were probably about 90 people there. Not only was it UMW Day, but it was also their Thanksgiving Dinner Day, so the pews were full, and then some!

But, the current pastor said a prayer for me before I began, and I always say "for your glory, Lord" before I get up to speak. 

The past pastor, Tony, also came up to me afterward and told me what a good job I did and I thanked HIM because he was such an inspiration to me when I first began my Lay Speaker's training. I had told him how much I admired the way he preached and he said "I just tell the story," so that is what I try to do now. 

Lynn said a lot of people told him "you should be proud of your wife," and he is, which is also very gratifying. GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME! I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sermon Given on October 30, 2011 at UCUMC

I was asked Saturday night if I could do the sermon for church on the following day, since our pastor was sick (I pray he is getting well), so I said sure!
The Lectionary verse I chose to base it on is Matthew 23:1-12 which reads:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
   5 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’
   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.[b] 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
And here is the sermon I gave:

Hypocrisy & Servanthood

Have you ever heard, or maybe even used, the expression “do as I say, not as I do?”
In today’s gospel lesson, Jesus uses that phrase to condemn the actions of the Pharisees. He says “But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” Just who were the Pharisees? They were the largest and most influential religious-political party during New Testament times. They appear in the Gospels as opponents of Jesus. Paul was a Pharisee and we recall how he used to persecute, and even put to death, Christians before he became a man of God. The Pharisees controlled the synagogues and exercised great control over much of the population.
The term “Pharisee” means “separated ones.” Perhaps it means that they separated themselves from the masses or that they separated themselves to the study and interpretation of the law. They saw the way to God as being through obedience to the law. The Pharisees opposed Jesus because He refused to accept their interpretations of the oral law.
In this gospel lesson, Jesus does not deny that the Pharisees know the law, in fact he tells the crowds and his disciples that “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you.” Sitting in Moses’ seat meant that they were like Moses in interpreting the law and acting as judges in disputes regarding the law. So they certainly knew what the laws were. And since they took the Scriptures at face value, Jesus said their instructions should be followed. However, Jesus warned the people of the Pharisee’s legalism which valued their own rules and regulations above the Scriptures. Legalism simply means strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.
In verse 4, Jesus condemns the Pharisees because “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders...” What is the heavy load they tie up?  The Pharisees counted 613 laws from the Old Testament that they said the people were to do in order to live lives that were pleasing to God. All of these social regulations added up to immense burdens on the Jews for their day-to-day lives.  By focusing on these 613 religious rules and regulations, the Pharisees neglected the weightier issues of love and justice.  They saw no “wiggle-room” in the law. Indeed they accused Jesus of breaking the law for picking grain for his disciples to eat on the Sabbath. They also condemned him for healing the sick on the Sabbath.
Imagine the weight of your religion on your shoulders if you thought the only way you could be “religious” was by obeying all of these 613 religious rules. What a burden it would be.
Even though Jesus does not use the word “hypocrite” in this gospel passage, he certainly is pointing out the acts of hypocrisy that the Pharisees display. Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to be what one really is not, especially the pretense of being a better person than one really is. We can see this in the verses where Jesus points out “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;”
Let’s take a closer look at this. Phylacteries were small boxes containing Bible passages that were worn on the forehead or arm. This custom was based on Exodus 13:9 which says “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.” And Dueteronomy 6:8 which says “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” But from such passages as Proverbs 3:3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” that God meant his word to be more than outward adornment – he meant for his word to be held in our hearts.
The tassels that Jesus refers to were worn on the corners of garments in order to remind the Israelites of God’s law.  Numbers 15:38-40 states“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.  You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.  Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”  In order to be seen as especially righteous, some hypocrites would make their phylacteries conspicuously large and their tassels unusually long. 
To the Pharisees their phylacteries had become more important for the status they gave than for the truths they contained. Jesus exposed the hypocritical attitudes of these religious leaders. They knew the Scriptures but did not live by them. They didn’t care about being holy – just appearing holy so they could get the people’s admiration and praise. Even today there are many people who may know the Bible, but they don’t let it change their lives. They say they follow Jesus but don’t live by his standards of love. People who live this way are hypocrites, just as the Pharisees were. We must always be vigilant in making sure our actions match our beliefs. 
Hypocrisy was also addressed by Jesus in Isaiah 29:13 where he said  “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” 
The other things that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for were “they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’” 
Jesus is not condemning the place of honor at banquets, obviously someone has to sit there, but he is condemning the Pharisees for “loving” the place of honor. They expect to receive the place of honor because they believe they are better than others and should be accorded the highest seat of honor in all places. The most important seats in the synagogues were a row of seats in the font of the synagogue facing the congregation. Again, they want to be seen by everyone as being the most pious and most important person wherever they go. They essentially are making idols of themselves, and worshiping themselves – the worst kind of idolatry. And to seek that kind of recognition in the synagogue where they were supposed to be worshiping God, not themselves, is mocking God rather than honoring Him.
People desire positions of leadership, not only in business, but also in the church. Desiring leadership in itself is not a bad thing – we need Christian leaders. But it becomes a problem, however, when the love for the position grows stronger than loyalty to God. Jesus was not against all leadership – but he was against leadership that serves itself rather than others. 
Rabbi means “teacher” and it was used as a respectful salutation. However, the Pharisees loved to be called by that title for the prestige and power that went with the title, not for the purpose of using the position to serve others. 
All disciples need a master, or a teacher. But the way the Pharisees viewed the role was in stark contrast to the humble way in which Jesus served his disciples. They gloried in the limelight, while He came to be overlooked and rejected by the nation as a whole. He came to give His life as a ransom for many; they lived only for the praise and adulation their position gave them.
Jesus cautions the disciples to not elevate themselves above others as the Pharisees do. In verses 8-10 he warns them “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.” He is teaching them they must be humble and that only God should be exalted above all others. 
Jesus is not saying that levels of authority should not exist in this world. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 he says “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” 1 Timothy 5:17 tells us “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” And in Hebrews 13:17 we are told “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” 
Jesus came as a servant.  And one of the greatest teachings of Jesus is that we are to be servants. The greatest Christian is the person who has learned to be a servant, to have the heart of a servant, the attitude of a servant, the actions of a servant.  In the foot washing on Holy Thursday, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and shocked them all with this action and his attitude of humility. 
So what do we learn from Jesus, our Teacher and Messiah?   Those who seek greatness, says Jesus, will find it not in leading others but in serving others, for as verse 11 in today’s passage says “The greatest among you will be your servant.” 
Greatness in the kingdom of God is not measured, as the Pharisees supposed, by determining how many disciples they had under their authority. Rather it is the number whom we serve that reflects our measure of greatness in God’s sight.  To Jesus greatness come from serving – giving of yourself to help God and others. Service keeps us aware of others’ needs and keeps us from focusing only on ourselves. 
Indeed, as Paul points out in Philippians 2:6-8, Jesus “... being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
The good news is that the story of Jesus did not end at the cross or with his death.  God raised Jesus to new life and restored to him all the rights, privileges, and titles he had willingly given up in order to serve us.  And so we can claim the truth of Jesus’ promise in the last verse of today’s lesson: “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for your words today that teach us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Remind us that we are to be servants, not only to you, but to others as well. As 1 Peter 4:10 tells us “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” Let us go forth today and use our gifts to serve others in your name, Lord. We humbly ask that you continue to guide us and to teach us your word. We also ask that you be with those on our prayer list, you know who they are, Lord. We lift them up to you; hold them in your loving arms, be their strength and their comfort. Your will be done, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hearts on Fire For Jesus

This is the sermon I gave at our church (Unadilla Center United Methodist) on Mother's Day. It was my first chance to preach in front of a congregation.

It is based on Luke 24:13-35, the text of which follows:

Luke 24:13-35
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
On the Road to Emmaus

 13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

   They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

   19 “What things?” he asked.

   “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Hearts on Fire for Jesus

When things are taken out of context, it can be jarring. It leaves a story feeling unbalanced, or unfinished. That’s how today’s reading seemed to me when I first read it. Starting with the first four words “Now that same day...” Obviously, it must have been an important day, but what day was it? So, I had to look back in my Bible to the preceding subheadings. Starting from the one before this reading and going backwards, they are “Jesus Has Risen,” “The Burial of Jesus,” and “The Death of Jesus.” Ah! Now I get it! “That same day” refers to the Sunday when Christ had arisen from the dead. Wow! Now the passage becomes more intense than when I originally read it. It has so much more weight and meaning. This is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill day. This is the day that our Lord and Savior arose from the DEAD!

Now THAT is a day to remember! Just think of all that came before this day. How Christ rode triumphantly into Jerusalem amidst loud “hosanas!” and much adoration. How that was quickly followed by those who opposed him gaining the upper hand and having him arrested. And instead of releasing him because he had committed no crimes, they instead let a murderer go free. After giving Jesus no trial, they commenced to torture him and ridicule him and beat him beyond mercy. He was then forced to carry his own cross where he would later be continually taunted as he died on that cross for all to see. 

Many people saw Jesus as weak at this moment. After all, wasn’t he “King of the Jews” and the “Son of God?” Hadn’t he shown great power through many miracles? Hadn’t he helped others who seemed beyond help? Why then could he not save himself? 

I see this as Jesus’ greatest show of strength, however. How easy it would have been for him to destroy all his tormentors. Just a word, or a glance, or even a thought could have ended all of his torture and his shame. He could have struck them all down one by one. But, in his strength, he chose not to. Instead, he chose to follow God’s will and to be sacrificed so that all who believe in him, confess their sins, and follow him may have eternal life. Now that is strength. How many of us, given the powers that Christ had, would have been able to restrain ourselves from annihilating our enemies? How many of us could have stayed our hand and not raised it against those who had beaten us, humiliated us, taunted us to the very end of our lives? I don’t think I could have. And that is probably why we are not given such powers! Christ was the perfect son of God. We are all children of God, but we are not perfect as He alone was.

So, it is the third day after Jesus’ death and he has arisen from the grave. He has already appeared to Mary Magdalene; angels have appeared to the women who had come with Jesus to the cross and told them Jesus had arisen from the dead. The women had already run and told the disciples who were hidden behind locked doors in fear that they, too, would be taken and crucified. Peter and the apostle whom Christ loved ran to the tomb and discovered that he was gone as they said. 

All these things had taken place, just as Jesus had told his disciples they would. And yet, these two men walking along together, deep in a discussion about all that had happened were not joyful. You would think that after Jesus had told all his disciples of all that would happen to him, and all those things had come to pass that they would believe that he had come back from the dead. But they did not. When the disciples were told by the women that Jesus was raised on this third day, Luke 24:11 tells us: “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Even after everything else Jesus had told them had already taken place, they could not bring themselves to believe this last prophecy.

When the two men were asked by Jesus, whom they “were kept from recognizing,” what they were discussing as they walked along, they did not respond with joy and exclamations of triumph. No. “They stood still, their faces downcast.” How could they be downcast when their Savior has arisen?  They are not only downcast, but they are incredulous that this stranger walking with them does not know what has transpired during this time of great upheaval. They practically ask him if he has been living under a rock or something not to know what has taken place. 

Jesus asks them “What things?” knowing full well what things they spoke of. Perhaps he wanted to hear their “take” on things. Perhaps he wanted to see how much they believed. These passages do not give us the answer to his motivation, but I think maybe it was to present him with another opportunity to teach them through Scriptures. Jesus was the Great Teacher. So the two men began telling Jesus all that had ensued. And here, we can find out why they are so downcast. When asked “What things?” they replied “About Jesus of Nazareth... He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had HOPED that he was the one that was going to redeem Israel.” Notice the word “hoped” – it is in the past tense. They were downcast because they had lost their hope for redemption. They thought because Jesus was dead that their hope of salvation had died with him. After all, he had been arrested, beaten, and crucified just like a common criminal. Where was his power then? And how can a dead man be a Savior of anyone? They had lost hope. 

They have not only lost hope, they were also confused. They told the rest of the story of how the women did not find Jesus’ body in the tomb, and the angels had said Jesus was alive, and some apostles went to the grave and did not see Jesus. But they apparently did not believe this last part, otherwise they would have been anything BUT downcast! They would have been filled with joy and anticipation at the thought of seeing him again. So, the stranger then rebuked them for their unbelief: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” In other words, you have heard all Jesus told you about his being betrayed, crucified and buried and you saw all that happen, so why do you choose not to believe the final piece of the story – that of his resurrection?

Jesus proceeded to remind the two men of all the teachings in the Scriptures about his life, as they continued on their walk. He wanted them to understand two things especially:  one – that Jesus would have to suffer death, and two – he would then enter into his glory.

Once they reached their destination, “Jesus acted as if he were going farther.” He did this because it was not polite to invite oneself to stay at someone else’s home. But seeing him getting ready to continue on, the two men “urged him strongly” to stay with them. Doesn’t hearing that phrase “urged him strongly” make you think that they had become entranced with all that this stranger had to say to them, all he was teaching them? I think so, or else they would not have wanted to prolong their visit with him.

Jesus accepted their invitation to stay. In those days, before a meal, a host would take bread, offer a blessing, break it, and distribute it to all who were feasting together. Here Jesus went from being the guest to becoming the host because he “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” Doubtless, these two men had traveled with Jesus in the past and were used to him seeing him begin the meal by breaking bread and giving a blessing. This, too, of course brings to mind the Last Supper where Jesus broke the bread and gave it to his disciples saying “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 

This act of breaking bread opens their eyes and they recognize him, and he then disappears from their sight.

Now the joy sets in! They are no longer downcast. They know their Savior lives! They begin to excitedly talk about all that has happened, and ask one another “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked to us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Their hearts were on fire for Jesus once again! Hallelujah!

How often are we walking along our road of life a little downcast or confused? Do we recognize Jesus when he walks along with us, or are we too deep into our own despair or too distracted to even know he is there? Are we in so much pain and confusion or so set on solving our own problems, that we cannot discern when Jesus is with us?  What will it take for us to recognize him? How often are our hearts on fire for Jesus? 

Here is my challenge for us this week: as we walk along our road of life, let’s take the time to seek out and to find Jesus. Let’s ask him to walk beside us, to teach us, and to restore our faith and hope in him. Let’s find a way to set OUR hearts on fire for Jesus this week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's been a while

I am not sure where the time is going this year. Here it is already near the end of September. Yikes!

Our house renovations are coming along well. Just a few minor touches left to be done inside the house itself. The addition is currently being spackled and taped. They hope to be completely done by the end of this week. It has been an amazing process. I fell behind putting pictures on facebook, too, but will try to remedy that today.

My paperback collection for Operation Paperback to send paperback books to our troops was a great success with a total (so far) of 201 books donated. I have sent out 89 books to 6 troops for a total of $31.01 postage (which I didn't think was too bad.) I really want to thank all the people who donated books and/or money towards postage for this great cause. I am sure the troops will appreciate having some good books to read during their "down time." 

Lynn went hunting in MD the 15th - 17th but unfortunately came back venison-less. Hopefully his next trip at the end of October will be more successful. I know he enjoyed the time he spent with his son, Mike, but a little venison would be nice too!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here is how I know God exists

He sends me signs when I ask for them. Let me explain. For the second time in my life when I have asked God for signs to show me the way I should go, he has answered me. The first time is when I (finally) decided that I was no good at choosing the right men in my life, I turned it over to God. And said "okay, God, I give up -- it's up to you to bring the right man into my life. But I am not sure I will know when you do unless you show me a sign. How about when the right man is there you somehow show me a .... turtle." And he DID. When Lynn first invited me to his home he was showing me some travel brochures because that was always his dream -- to travel once he was retired. When he was showing me a brochure on Nova Scotia -- there it was -- a picture of a turtle! And I knew right there and then God had brought me together with the right man.

Now, I have been feeling a calling from God but I have not been able to discern exactly what he is calling me for. I do love to preach, but I do not want to become a minister because I don't want to be told where my church would be, and I don't want to give up traveling in the winter with my husband. So I am happy to continue preaching as a Lay Speaker. So that can't be what he was calling me for. The other idea I had was to start a music ministry because I love to sing, but that is the only musical talent I have -- I can't play any instruments, I can't read music, and I can't conduct music. So, that couldn't be it. Then the idea of holding a weekly Bible Study in my home (once the renovation is done) came to me. So in my prayer journal I asked God to show me a sign if this is what he wanted me to do -- to show me a ... red fox.

On my way home this evening as I came across the bridge off Route 357 and turned towards Unadilla, across the road ran a young ... yes! ... red fox! He crossed the road in front of my car and stopped on the other side of the road -- I looked at him and he looked at me... and I whooped out loud "God, you are so good!!!!" I was so excited!!! So, that is how I know God exists.

Even if nonbelievers think it is merely coincidence, I know it is a God incident! Thank you God for your continued guidance in my life.

Our home renovation continues apace. I awoke this morning to some strange sounds that I could not identify. It turns out it was old shingles sliding down a plywood ramp into the back of a dump truck. There were about five guys on the front roof tearing off shingles. By the end of the day, the front roof was completely re-shingled. I can't seem to get the right angle to get a picture of it though. The back roof will need to wait until the addition is framed up before it can be done as the new roof will join to the old roof. They also started putting the sills on the foundation and have the lumber ready to floor it.

I went to Lowe's today and bought the paint for the bedrooms along with all the assorted paint rollers, brushes, tape, etc. So, you know what I will be doing this weekend. Lynn does the taping and the edging and I do the painting. We have to do the ceilings in both rooms as well. Every day we get closer to our finished product.

Lynn and his friend Jerry went to Empire Farm Days today. They picked the right day -- the weather was beautiful today. And since it was the last day, they got some good deals on hats and t-shirts, etc., because the vendors didn't want to pack them up and take them back home. Plus they got to look at lots of farm equipment. Which they enjoy.

FOOTBALL HAS STARTED! YAY! Only pre-season, I know, but I really enjoy football! The Jets first pre-season game is 8/15, but I can watch other teams until then.

Our church (Unadilla Center) has a Hymn Sing and Ice Cream Social this coming Sunday (14th) at 7 PM. There will be congregational singing interspersed with solos by a Praise Band and various people from the congregation (I am doing "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee"), with times for requests by those in attendance. And after everyone is invited downstairs for FREE homemade ice cream. I will be making strawberry smoothies. So, if you aren't busy and you love music and ice cream, come on over! We would love to see you.

I am hosting an AARP Create The Good House Party on Friday, September 9th at 4 PM to collect paperback books (anything except romances) that will then be mailed to our troops. I haven't gotten all the details yet, but I will be working through Operation Paperback I am excited to get this going. So if you have any paperback books you are looking to pass on, please let me know and we will figure out how to get them to me so I can get them sent out.

Lots going on right now. I'm loving life!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A good day

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NIV) This has been a good day. I spent most of it working on my newest hobby -- making earrings. I am making some Christmas themed ones to sell at the fall craft show at the Sidney Elks (November sometime). I am going to sell them for $5 a pair. I find it very fun and relaxing to work with beads for some reason. Even when I drop them more than once I still seem to enjoy it. Maybe because you see the end results so quickly.

I order a lot of my beading components from and -- they both have good prices and fast shipping. Fire Mountain Gems has more "elite" stuff than Sunshine Discount Crafts, but Sunshine Crafts has more of your basic crafting materials. And both sites, if you subscribe to their emails, send you great offers for sales and discounts, etc. I have been happy with both companies.

Lynn is back to his old self (old, not as in age, but as in previous) again. I am so glad he is feeling better. I don't like it when he is sick. He was out mowing lawn for part of the day and he grilled some awesome(ly hot) chicken wings on the grill as well as a yellow squash/onion/fresh garlic concoction I put together. Very yummy indeed!

Our house renovation is going great guns. The slab got poured today in the foundation for the addition. All the wall board is up and taped in the bedrooms, dining area, laundry closet and kitchen. Our contractor said the bedrooms would be all ready to paint after they leave on Friday. I told him I wanted to do all the painting (I know, crazy huh? But I really enjoy painting!). He thought it would be better if I got it done before they put the mop boards and the heaters back on the walls and also before they put the hard wood floors down. Who am I to argue with him -- he sure knows a lot more about this construction stuff than I do!

Things are coming together quite nicely. I am very excited to see the end result. Stay tuned, and you too, can see our "new home" taking shape.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Missed a day...

Well, didn't find a time to blog yesterday. Lynn slept ALL DAY on Sunday, and he was pretty cautious about eating yesterday as well. But today he is finally beginning to feel like himself again. We have talked to a couple of other people who apparently had the same bug that lasted about a day and half for them too. Sure glad I didn't get it!

The work on the house progresses rapidly. Yesterday they had the footers for the new addition in and today they put up the blocks. Amazing. They have put up the wall board and got it all spackled in the bedrooms, the kitchen, and the dining area. Our kitchen cabinets are supposed to be delivered a week from today. I am really looking forward to seeing them put in. Then we will have the counter top guy come and make templates so he can get the granite cut.

This morning around 7:15 I was thinking about getting up but had talked myself out of it, until I heard the rumbling of a very large sounding vehicle and then the beep beep beep of a large vehicle backing up. It was a huge truck from Oneonta Block with all the blocks on the back. And yep, he managed to back up into the back yard with that load. And as I said, they got all the blocks laid today. It is quite fascinating to watch professionals do what they do. I am in awe of people who can do any kind of construction work. God has given everyone talents, but building construction is definitely not one of mine. I could probably crochet you a house, or make one out of plastic canvas, or maybe bead one, but I could never build one!

My brother, Dan, and his wife, Patti, stopped to see us and take a tour of our ongoing project. It's fun for people to see the progress in real time in real space instead of just through the pictures. And our contractor seems to be pretty patient with things like that.

Lynn took a couple pictures this morning and I took some more this afternoon that I will post on facebook.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


A gloomy, overcast day... much like Lynn himself today -- he has some kind of stomach bug that started last night. I went to church without him this morning and then had to stay for an Administrative Board meeting after services (I'm the Secretary), and he was still sleeping when I got home. That is not like him at all, but he had a pretty tough night of it. I sure hope it's a short-lived illness.

I am taking an online course right now. I would be a career student if I could afford it. Well, I could afford it if it were free like this course. It's United Methodism 101: An Introduction to the United Methodist Church. Yeah, I know, I have been a baptized Methodist for a few years now, and have attended the Annual Conference for years as well, but that doesn't mean I know what it's all about. So, I am taking this course so I will have a good general overview. Plus it satisfies my craving for continuing education. I am also signed up for Four Areas of Focus -- which outlines the focus areas for the United Methodist Church: Leadership Development, Church Growth, Ministry with the Poor and Global Health.

Lynn ended up not working at the Elks for the Car Show yesterday because they had so many people there to help that he wasn't needed. And he is not one to stand around doing nothing, so he went up to the Unadilla Rod & Gun Club instead and helped out there. There were 14 guys there helping to replace the roof and Lynn and a couple of other guys got a meal ready for them for when they were done. They fortunately had started the roofing at 6:30 AM so they had just finished when it started raining at 12:30 or so. Good timing!

We now have a third pond on our property.... it rained into our new foundation hole. Hopefully they can do something about that before the mason gets started tomorrow.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another successful coupon-ing trip

Just returned from Price Chopper where I spent $17.42 but saved $13.68 ($5.57 Advantedge Savings + $8.11 coupon savings) plus I earned another 10 cents off per gallon of fuel for a total of 70 cents off. Everything I bought was on sale and I used a coupon for everything as well.

Some of the bargains include three items that were from bonus coupons I receive each week for signing up for Price Choppers emails: 88 cents for 1 pound Green Giant baby carrots; 50 cents for store brand rotini primavera; $2 for store brand mayo. I also bought a 1/2 gallon of Smart Balance milk that was on sale for $2.99 and I had a 75 cent coupon which Price Chopper doubles, so it cost me $1.49 which is 50 cents cheaper than the store brand of milk for the same size. Land of Lakes butter with cinnamon (which is fantastic on baked sweet potatoes or on toast) was on sale for $2 and I had a 75 cent coupon for that which they also double, so that cost me 50 cents!

Hopefully that will make up for the extra $1 I inadvertently spent on gas this morning. The Quik Fill in Unadilla has older pumps and I didn't realize until I was halfway through pumping gas that I was on the Premium side instead of the Unleaded side, so I was paying 10 cents more per gallon... geez!

It just started raining here and is overcast. For once they were right about the weather report. What other job in the world is there where you can be so consistently wrong and not get fired???

No work crew here today which tells me that they feel they are on schedule to get done on time, so I am not worried about it. As I have said already, I am so impressed with how much work they get done each day, and I am very excited for the end product!

Lynn is working down at the Car Show today at the Elks in Sidney. I hope it is not raining down there as well. The car club has had some bad luck with weather this year. They have gotten rained out of their cruise ins down at the Elks more than once.

Tonight is the inductions for the Football Hall of Fame. NFL network has been interviewing the inductees all this morning, and they will be televising the inductions tonight.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today we went and priced stackable washers and dryers. There are a lot of choices out there, in a lot of price ranges. Fortunately, Lynn does the research on things like this -- he has the patience, I don't! The top three manufacturers seems to be Bosch, Samsung, and LG. We have considered all three. Also Whirlpool is next in line and that's what we found the best price on so far. We haven't fully decided yet on what to get, but our new laundry closet upstairs (so I don't have to go downstairs to do laundry any more - yay!) is now plumbed and wired all ready and waiting for whatever we get.

I went shopping the other day in the new TJ Maxx in Oneonta in the Southside Mall. I always liked shopping at that store when I lived in Ithaca. They have some great bargains on clothes. I bought three new blouses. I am returning two things I picked up because I don't like the way they look (no, I don't try them on in the store -- I dislike dressing rooms very much!). I decided I was tired of wearing t-shirts all the time so I am getting rid of about 10 of them and slowly replacing them with things a little more dressy. Don't know why. Just feels better I guess.

The home renovations are going very well. I am very impressed with how clean the work area is at the end of every day. Since the dumpster was taken away yesterday, they brought in their own dump truck today for trash. After the rest of the crew had left at the end of the day, our contractor moved the dump truck and then went around and picked up all the scraps that missed the dump truck when they threw trash out the window. Pretty impressive. He had it in his proposal to "remove all waste generated daily. Floors to be broom clean daily," and he has definitely lived up to that. I would recommend him to anyone for any project. Ed Fraizer from Cohen & Frazier Builders.

New York Jets update: The New York Jets have re-signed unrestricted free agent safety Brodney Pool, signed guard Trevor Canfield and tackle Pete Clifford, and waived cornerback Jeremy McGee, guard Tom Ottaiano and tackle Jeff Wills. The announcements were made by general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Yesterday they had released Jerricho Cotchery per his request. I will miss him. He played hard even when battling injuries. Only 10 more days before I can see "my team" play a preseason game. YAY, FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Great Strides on House Renovations

The contractor and crew (2 guys today) were here again at 7:30 this morning and got right to work. The excavator showed up about a half hour later and started digging away. So now we have a beautiful hole in the back of our house all ready for the footers to be put in for the new addition. It was quite fascinating to watch the backhoe operator do his thing. What finesse! The arm and bucket seemed like an extension of his own arm. The first thing he did was push over the old yew to make way to get to the back lawn. It went over just like a matchstick. Then he "patted" the dirt down level with the scoop. Then he very gently removed our rose bushes and loaded it on the trailer behind Lynn's big old Co-op E3 tractor so we could save the bushes to replant later. As I said, it was fascinating to watch. It didn't take him long to get the hole, all nice and squared up, done.

We made the final decision on where the stove island is going to go in the kitchen area. The contractor laid out some wood on the floor to indicate where it would go, so I could decide the final placement in relation to the sink and fridge. He also needed to know so he could put the overhead pot lights in -- one over each side counter and one over the stove. Also had to decide how the countertop would go in in relation to the window in the dining area. All kinds of details.

We also made a quick change to the size of the open porch section of the new addition, which meant the contractor had to  make a change in the trusses, which fortunately had not been built yet. The hard wood flooring will be delivered tomorrow and the installation will begin on that.

I ordered the handles for the cabinets (37 of them!). We looked at them at Munson's in Oneonta but I told Bob (the guy who helped us design our kitchen) that I had found them cheaper at Lowe's. So he called me yesterday and was able to get me an even lower price, so that will save us almost $16. (hey, every little bit helps...) It pays to ask!!

The only thing we have left to purchase is the vinyl for the floor in the new addition and I think we are going to wait on that until the addition is all framed in, and then we will have someone come out and measure, etc.

Things are progressing quickly. I am so very happy with the work they are doing and very impressed with their progress!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It is raining, raining, raining and my head is pounding, pounding, pounding. But, we DO need the rain, so I shouldn't complain.

The contractor and his work crew were here bright and early again. Today there is a full crew of about 5 guys. They have torn off the back porch already and have most of the new wiring run and all the walls, carpet, and flooring removed. What a difference no walls makes! It sure looks huge inside now. We are getting so excited about the finished project. I know there is still a lot left to do, but it is fantastic to see the progress so far. The dumpster is full after only three days. Demolition sure makes a lot of garbage, but they are great about cleaning up the work site every night. I am so impressed with their work!

NY Jets made a four year deal with LB David Harris. Coach Rex Ryan says that this is the best roster he has had to work with. Let's hope they have a GREAT season!!!

Went to Oneonta today and paid off the balance for the kitchen cabinets. Now just have to buy all the handles for the cabinets, as soon as I know how many to buy! I have been thinking about paint colors for the kitchen but haven't decided yet. I think I will have to wait until everything is in before making the final decision.  The two different shades I am contemplating are a golden color or a reddish brown color. I will need to see how the counters look once they are in. But that is a little ways down the road right now.

There is a Car Show and Chicken BBQ at the Elks' in Sidney this coming Saturday - August 6th that is open to the public. Lots of vintage cars to see, and a great chicken BBQ. I think the meal price is $9 (1/2 chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, and macaroni salad) and the chicken halves alone are $5. It runs from 9 AM - 3 PM. If you're not doing anything else, come on down!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coupon Shopping is Awesome

Coupon shopping is the only way to go as far as I am concerned. Went grocery shopping today at Price Chopper in Sidney. They had some special sales where if you bought x number of dollars worth of certain brands you would earn x number of cents off per gallon of gas. Needless to say, with all my coupons, I took advantage of two of the offers: $25 of Unilever products earned 30 cents off per gallon of gas; $10 of Dole products for 10 cents off per gallon. And with the 10 cents off per gallon I already had previous to this plus the additional 10 cents off per gallon I earned on the rest of my groceries today, we are at 60 cents off per gallon. And if I had only known before I checked out, I could have added something worth 21 cents and I would have been up to 70 cents per gallon. Oh well, next time!

The cents off per gallon really comes in handy for Lynn's truck which takes diesel, and you know how much THAT costs now! Plus you can get up to 20 gallons at a time with the discount and my car doesn't hold that much in the tank. But Lynn's truck sure does, and then some!

Anyway, back to the deals. A couple of the best deals I got today were: Wish Bone salad dressings were on sale 2/$3 and I had a $1.50 off two coupon, so they ended up costing only 75 cents a piece; Price Chopper brand nonfat whipped topping was on sale for $1 and I had a 50 cent in store coupon, so that only cost me 50 cents. All in all, I spent $81.32 but SAVED 15 cents for using 5 of my own shopping bags (3 cents a piece off), $35.91 in Advantedge Savings (their store discount card) and $23.75 in manufacturer's coupons (all the less than $1 ones were doubled by Price Chopper). Not bad, eh? I generally don't buy anything unless it is on sale and I have a coupon to go with it. I think I bought only five items for full price today ($6.89) and the rest were sale items plus coupons. Not bad...

Our contractor and his crew sure do get lots of work done in a day. Today they got here at 7:30 AM and are still going strong (it's about 2:30 now) -- not sure when they will call it a day today, but I am sure happy with their work ethic and quantity and quality of their work! I guess they were worth waiting an extra week for to get started.

Lynn went to the Otsego County Fair today. I didn't go because 1) it's too darn hot for me to walk around in the sun with no shade, 2) I needed to get some groceries, and 3) I wanted to be on-call in case the contractor had any questions about how we wanted things done. But Lynn had a good time and saw a lot of people he knows and/or is related to. I am sorry I missed seeing them, but heat and I just do NOT get along very well!

The NY Jets lost WR Brad Smith to Buffalo. Too bad, I always liked him. Still no word on Braylon Edwards that I know of, it's tough to keep up sometimes. I do like the way the NFL network lists the free agency changes, though. They do it as a sidebar one team at a time and show by team logo where they are going for the 2011 season, of if they have not signed, it just shows an NFL logo. Makes it a little easier to follow, at least for me.

I didn't realize this, but according to the NY Jets website: The National Football League has implemented flexible scheduling for the last eight (8) weeks of the 2011 regular season excluding Week 16. For the Jets, games in Weeks 10, 12-15 and 17 are subject to flexible scheduling and may be moved from their original time slot to either 1pm, 4:05, 4:15pm or the NBC Sunday Night Game at 8:20pm. Game times will be confirmed a minimum of 12 days in advance (except in the last week when it may be confirmed six (6) days in advance).

In case you can't tell, I am REALLY looking forward to FOOTBALL SEASON!!!

Last night's First Place 4 Health meeting was good, we have two returning members and two new members to bring our group up to 29 members! God has truly blessed us.

Guess that's all for today....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

I am so excited! The contractor is here today and has gotten started on our house renovations. He and his worker are ripping out all the kitchen cabinets and the carpeting throughout the house. They took out one small window on the end of the house already and are throwing the trash out the window into the conveniently situated dumpster below. It's quite fun watching things come flying out! But you better believe I am using the front door to go in downstairs instead of the side door which is right behind the dumpster.
The contractor explained that he was delayed because one of his best workers "did something stupid" and got hurt and is out of work for six months. Then another worker quit. So he is in the process of trying to find replacements for them and he didn't want to "send just anybody" to work on our project. And he promised they would be here "from now on," so all is forgiven.
Lynn and I went out to breakfast this morning (to Suzie's Bakery in Sidney - yum) and on the way home I prayed that there would be pick up trucks in our driveway, and lo and behold, when we got home, there were two of them. Thank you, God.
I am also happy today because a new session of First Place 4 Health is beginning tonight at the First Baptist Church in Sidney, NY. This is the Bible-based weight management group I have been attending for a few years. It is to help you become a balanced person in 4 areas of your life: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. So far I have not gotten my weight under control like I would like to, but I have made great strides in the other three areas of my life, so I figure must be God wanted me to get those in line first. Hopefully, the weight part will start to change during this session. What a wonderful group it is, though. I have met some many wonderful people (yes, it is both men and women) from many different religious affiliations and it surely has broadened my understanding of God and his teachings. We are always open to new members, so come join us tonight! We meet each Monday evening at 5:45 pm and are generally done by 7:45 pm. It's an experience like no other you have ever had.
And, I am also excited because FOOTBALL IS BACK! I can't seem to keep from watching either Mike and Mike in The Morning, or NFL network to see what the latest developments are -- especially as they pertain to the NY Jets, of course. It looks like, according to an anonymous source, that the Jets may have re-signed Antonio Cromartie to a four year deal. Since they couldn't get Nnamdi Asomugha to replace him, they kept him on. And it seems they have also re-signed Eric Smith to a three year deal. I just hope they didn't make a mistake when they signed Plaxico Burress to a one year deal, but I guess they only have taken the risk for a short time anyway. It would be great if Plaxico has grown up a little and learned something from his past mistakes off the field. It really astounds me that so many pro athletes can make so many stupid choices, but I guess it all comes down to character in the end, right? If you don't have it before you have money, you probably won't develop it after you make obscene amounts of money.
Well I guess that's all my ramblings for today...
God is good. All the time.