"...The Great Bridge Builder"

This is the most recent audiobook My Youngest and I have finished listening to - the Focus on the Family Radio Theater production can't be beat for this book. (Click here to hear a sample of the first chapter.) The very ending of the story is the best part, listened to not less than six or seven times as we drove to pick up the Big Boys every day from school. I never tire of listening to it, and the words do stick with you. The parallels built into the story by C. S. Lewis are marvelous springboards for discussion - Aslan appearing as the Lamb (John 1:29), cooking a breakfast of fish for friends getting out of a boat (John 21: 9-13), and Aslan's claim to be the Great Bridge Builder (1 Timothy 2:5). Thought you might enjoy reading this last part - I found it here. I've italicized our favorite phrases --- and the last one is the very best reason for introducing your children to Narnia!

At last they were on dry sand, and then on grass - a huge plain of very fine short grass, almost level with the Silver Sea and spreading in every direction without so much as a molehill. And of course, as it always does in a perfectly flat place without trees, it looked as if the sky came down to meet the grass in front of them.

...between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass that even with their eagles' eyes they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb.

"Come and have breakfast," said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.

Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.

"Please, Lamb," said Lucy, "is this the way to Aslan's country?"

"Not for you," said the Lamb. "For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world."

"What!" said Edmund. "Is there a way into Aslan's country from our world too?"

"There is a way into my country from all the worlds," said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.

"Oh, Aslan," said Lucy. "Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?"

"I shall be telling you all the time," said Aslan. "But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.

..."Please, Aslan," said Lucy. "Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon."

"Dearest," said Aslan very gently, "you and your brother will never come balk to Narnia."

"Oh, Aslan!!" said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.

"You are too old, children," said Aslan, "and you must begin to come close to your own world now."

"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"

"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.

"Are are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.

"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."


Cleaning the Scooty Seat

There are only a few people who can visit our home, for whom I feel no compulsion to scrub down walls. You know who you are, if you happen to be reading this - :0)
We're having a houseful of wonderful friends/guests tonight - am I not supposed to differentiate? Right now, I'm feeling the pressure that always comes just a few hours before their arrival. I'm SOOO looking forward to the food, the games, the laughter --- but before that, I tend towards a mild freak-out regarding the state of my housecleaning standards. They must be low, very low indeed. I was scrubbing a mark off the wall in the living room, well within the sight of My Oldest, who inquired --- "What are you doing?" Yes, son, I'm cleaning. Some mothers do this all the time, and that must be why you are so puzzled. I know I've discussed bathroom issues here, many times, but specific to visitors and the clean toilet - here. I won't cover that ground again, but I'm going to get close.
We have two, really one and a QUARTER bathrooms in our home. The quarter bathroom is just off our bedroom on the lower level, so it is the one our guests will use while they are here, unless they are very brave and wander upstairs to the larger one. This is risky, since the upstairs bath is the domain of the Men Of The House and it is hard to patrol toilet lids/sides/bowls which tend to be misused by these men. I try, people, but it's difficult to guess what you might find if you trot yourself upstairs to take advantage of the larger bathroom. (Might you peek inside the shower stall??? I know you might --- so it's been bleached, new shower curtain installed and all pink-type growths dispelled. Go ahead, PEEK, already - please peek, so that my efforts are not wasted! Will someone just come over here and peek!?) The quarter bath, which I have just finished cleaning, is very small. This is good, as I can certainly not ever get very fat, since I would lose the use of this room altogether if I did. It is small enough to be able to touch the walls from every direction! I couldn't help but snicker about this particular toilet seat --- it is 'scooty'.

Meaning it slides slightly when you seat yourself. I should fix this for tonight, but I've run out of time while painting stair rails, catching random dust bunnies (on the ceiling - evil creatures), bleaching mildew, and blogging. It is a little but funny, isn't it - I mean that the seat is scooty? How about that the upstairs bathroom has a tricky knob which makes the visitor think themselves possibly stuck for all time? Funny?

I think so.



I was in band for a very few years in my tender youth. In sixth grade it was the flute - poor Mr. Daniels. I was fascinated that he could bear to listen to us and not run out of the school gym - it was that terrible. Continuing in junior high school for seventh and eighth grades, I competed very poorly for 'first chair' flute with the truly talented whose names I have forgotten, even though I remember what they looked like so plainly - wait... Jill ...nevermind. I spent time admiring the saxophone players, the trombone players, and the drummers - cute boys, all, to us giggling young flutists. (hahahahahaha - never could a term be used more loosely than that) High school band camp was not allowed to me --- not exactly sure why, unless it had to do with going away to a camp with boys,for a week, much too far from the supervision of my vigilant parents. I didn't regret letting band go, since I knew that I was not a really band person. Band, and my lack of talent there, is still in my dreams, though. Yes, inadequacy dreams - oh, the relief of waking! Especially from the one in which I am surprised to find myself in the band room again, realizing that I am (the only one) completely unprepared, and the conductor is about to raise his baton to signal Begin!

Nightmares aside, I remain mesmerized by orchestral music. That these people can work together, each doing their part, which, when played alone, often sounds nothing like anything at all, and it all fits together to make - WOW - something so beautiful! I can't express clearly enough how impressed I am with this:

Bronze Bottom

While I'm pointing out the beauty of a very large bronze sculpture...
...this is the picture they were taking. A close-up of the only bare butt, what else?

That's what happens when you're a -


Indoor Snow

My paper snowflakes for this year are super snazzy - embellished with quiet white glitter, they sparkle just a little when the light hits them just so. They hang here and there around the downstairs, suspended by clear, nylon thread, swaying gently in the warmer air currents coming from the heat registers.
So even though the snow that we had has melted away, leaving only dreary winter colors outside, these indoor versions cheer us on as we wait for another snowfall. Couldn't resist adding some snowy words this year from old dictionary pages:
I thought about making some extra to sell in the Etsy shop, but by the time I was finished with my own, I was all snowflaked out!

For more Wordful Wednesday photos, go to Angie's Seven Clown Circus!


Pappa Cassy - Haiti

Just after we were married and before we had children, My Wonderful Husband and I went on a mission trip to Haiti. WAYYYY back, and it does seem like a lifetime ago, in 1990. Or maybe '91. Haiti is a fourth world country. If you have trouble believing that term, then you haven't been to Haiti. My parents had been going for a few years taking mainly construction teams and people willing to do general grunt-type work - that was me. MWH went off during the days to a construction site, and I spent the week painting at the orphanage with the other women who became dear friends to me. It was a sweaty privilege to paint the day long, surrounded by wonderful Haitian children all eager to pull us away from work to play, sing or dance. It completely changed the way we saw the world then, and even now, and ever shall.

While many of my memories have faded, much of that trip seems clear as day to me! Since it would take pages and pages to describe, here are some random impressions:
*how scary the airport was when we arrived
*driving through Port-au-Prince in the dark and peeking into homes, shacks, stores which were pouring out light and absolutely crammed with humanity
*tarantulas outside our shower
*the peace of the mission compound where we stayed
*the beautiful songs of the Haitians that Sunday morning in church - all in French-Creole
*the unspeakable grinding poverty of those living in Cite Soleil - it was impossible to keep looking
*how beautiful the faces of the beaming Haitian people as they welcomed us with open hands as their brothers and sisters in Christ
*voodoo drums and screams of sacrifice in the night
*the beauty of the ocean, even knowing how polluted it was on and near the shoreline
*the smell that is specific only to Haiti, I think - burning rubber, garbage, and tropic ripeness
*shacks painted to demonstrate dedication to either voodoo or Christianity
*a tiny baby boy brought to the orphanage by his mother, hopeful for some milk

This is Papa Cassy. I took this picture of him a few years ago when he was visiting here. Born and raised in Haiti, he began a ministry to Haitian children when he was a young man. Children are often discarded there, for many horrible reasons, and he searched the local dump for them daily, bringing them to a safe place. He and others, like Mamma Lucy (wish I had a picture of her), and his sister Mona, brought up the throw away children, feeding them and clothing them in obedience to Matthew 25. Later, they added grammar schools, trade schools, and bakeries. It is his life's work to feed, clothe and educate the orphans as well as the children and families in the neighborhood, or as far as anyone could walk. And the work has gone on all these years. I love to listen to him as he tells the story of his life and the miracles that God has done in his life and the lives of the orphans!

We always thought that someday, we'd take our sons to Haiti in hopes that they might learn some of the same lessons we did. What were those? So many, but among them, and most applicable for them right now - the lesson that most of what you think you need is really only a want. And - there is joy to be had even in the most dire circumstances. How about living your faith out loud, even down to the way you paint your house! I still have hope that we might get the chance to take them someday. A mission trip is the best kind of school!

Please pray for Papa Cassy, Mona, and the children.
Here is the last communication we've received from them:
"We are safe only by God's grace. Our three story building and the dormitories have been damaged permanently. All the walls around the orphanage are down on the ground. We have no water and food. We are trusting God to feed the children in the near future."
Here's a link to an interview done with one of the orphans who is going to college in Kentucky.
If you'd like to help monetarily with their recovery, you can donate here:
The Good Shepherd Orphanage and School Foundation
c/o David Zimmer
1848 Conway Hills
Hebron, KY 41048
It's tax deductible - if you'd like a statement, just ask for one.


Sun on Snow

I snapped some photos from my kitchen window this morning. Sunshine on snow and ice is magic, isn't it? These icicles dangle from the vent of our greenhouse. Nothing is growing in there, or the vent wouldn't be wide open. It's not time for growing yet...

Snow on the boxwoods, which are also lightly frosted. What a beautiful display, which will probably melt today.

The temperature should rise above freezing for the first time in weeks!

For more Wordful Wednesday photos, go to Angie's Seven Clown Circus or try Outdoor Wednesdays, for something new!


Time for Snowflakes

He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor. Job 37:6-7 (NIV)

After dragging themselves to get dressed, stand up straight and slug out to the car on the first day after Christmas break - my high school boys got THREE SNOW DAYS out of the first brand new January five day week. I had time to look at snowflakes with my close-up lens. I sure wanted to take some photos like Wilson "Snowflake" Bently, but I just don't have the equipment! You can see the outline of a few snowflakes in my final photo to the left.

For He says to the snow, Fall on the earth; likewise He speaks to the showers and to the downpour of His mighty rains. God seals up (stops, brings to a standstill by severe weather) the hand of every man [and now under His seal their hands are forced to inactivity], that all men whom He has made may know His doings (His sovereign power and their subjection to it). Job 37:6-7 (Amplified)


Shovel It!

Did I mention, when I was talking about Man Jobs, all snow related chores?This Last Son still thinks it's fun...

...while this Middle Son recognizes it for the work it really is.
As long as it gets done!


It's Big

We've had two televisions over the course of our 22-year marriage: the one that we "set up housekeeping" with, and one that we acquired through gift/trade. It was a smaller, old style TV, and this was wearing on every man in the house. Although the sons were assured that a larger TV was in the budget plans for the near future, they had given up hope of ever having a cool TV, and scoffed roundly. My Wonderful Husband found a New Year's deal, sixty-two years same as cash, I think, and he picked this one up on the way home from church (after much research - thank you Consumer Reports). This patient man has been waiting a looooonnnngggg time for his TV upgrade!
It's only been on the wall a couple of days, and it's fun to watch all the men quietly adore the new TV. The expressions on their faces every time they come into the living room and see it there - wonder and head-shaking amazement. And when it is turned on, especially to football, pure bliss!
"What a great picture!"
"Look at that definition!"


Fish Rescue

"No, Mom!" One of my almost-men chided as they caught me standing in front of an entire end-cap, shelf-above-shelf, of fish in tiny plastic containers. And one in a deli container. I had my sons in Walmart shopping for (sorry about shopping for your gift in a Walmart, MWH) their dad's Christmas coffee. It was like trying to lead a roving band of clowns on a trip they didn't sign up for but which just happened to include operating a coffee bean grinder. They were much easier to shop with as store-trained toddlers than they are as teens. I was somewhat, OK, very rattled by the time I found myself eyeing a pet fish. When one of my boys began to try to draw me away from the display, I rebelled. As he reminded me how the fish would die within three days, that I'd have to clean it all the time, and that the Christmas budget would not allow spending money on ourselves, I chose one. Declaring it a rescue and not a personal purchase, I named it Zuzu, after one of the Bailey daughters, and headed for the cashier. I appropriately embarrassed them by asking the puzzled teenage cashier under what conditions I could return the fish when it died.

It did NOT die, has happily entered January and been given a new name for the month: Jack. He sits on the sill as I wash dishes, and I've seen that they all stop by to look at him when they think no one is watching.