Archive | April 2014

Treasures Redeemed

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You would have to know my friend, Judy, to fully appreciate my ‘odd job’.  Judy is a junk diva and several years ago we started a little business called Treasures Redeemed.  Well–Tupperware had to start somewhere didn’t it?  You see, Judy knows every second hand shop, Goodwill store, Salvation Army store, and the address of every garage sale in 100 square  miles of any given point. And she has an eye for…good stuff.

At the time this started, I was working full time doing medical transcription in my office which was  in the basement of the home we lived in at the time.  I would be sitting with earphones in, listening to my doctors tell me what to do–and in would come Judy, her arms full and more in the trunk of her car waiting to be drug in. That’s when the whole idea germinated.

We literally turned our little house (which at that time looked like a log cabin–not our wee cottage where we are now), into a gift shop. Every room, except for our bedroom, our upstairs offices and our main bathroom were used as  display rooms.  We had two little farm tables in our dining room, and unmatched chairs (seating for 8 people). Our dining windows at the time were 9 pane, and we hung odds and ends of pretty tea cups in each pane, and had a stack of odds and ends saucers stacked on an old iron cookstove in the same room. THEN we hosted “Treasures Redeemed” parties starting in October that year.

A ‘hostess’ could invite 7 of her friends for supper at the cabin–where they were served a special soup “cabin potato soup”, along with homemade rolls, relishes, tea or coffee, and Christmas goodies for dessert.  AND the hostess could choose a cup and saucer for her ‘gift’.  Are you still with me? Well hang on.  It gets better.

After supper they were invited to the living room and we demonstrated how to ‘use’ all the ‘stuff” Judy had come dragging in, in various and fun ways.  I.E.  an old muffin tin became a unique holder for votive candles in some of the holes, and cranberries or other potpourri in the others. Tied with a strip of flannel it was charming. Old cheese graters, the four sided  kind, plopped over a votive candle made delightful patterns of  light (we used these as center pieces for our tables, also).  Old aprons became kitchen curtains…vintage table cloths draped well over the dining room windows, you name it, we probably thought of something we could do with it.

THEN, after the demonstration, they were invited to ‘shop’ in the various rooms and come up with their own ideas. Then closer to Christmas we had open house on the weekends, served hot cider and Christmas goodies, and the lucky people could ‘shop’.

I must tell you the significance of the blue cup. It has a chip, and we covered that chip with a tiny doily, and filled it with potpourri that we would add a small drop of scented oil to freshen.  That became the basis of a devotional as we would share how God takes us, imperfect as we are, COVERS us, FILLS us and REFRESHES us…redeems us, if you will.

This little endeavor morphed into something larger–but that’s a story for another time.  By the time Christmas was over, we were exhausted…but it was so much fun, and also very successful for the short time we managed to pull it off!!

It would be interesting to know if anyone reading this ever came to one of the parties or the open house? Surely we changed someone’s life!!

Back at the BSU and looking forward

The BSU house at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo.

Baptist Student Union – BSU – had a tremendous impact on my college experience. The friends made there, the truths discovered and the fun times shared continue to affect my life.

Last week, the BSU at Northwest Missouri State University invited the alumni to attend the annual senior night. Campus minister Jason Yarnell and his wife Karen were in BSU when I was in college, so I was delighted to visit and show support for their ministry as well as to encourage the graduates.

It was so much fun to hang out with my old college roommate and other friends from college. Seeing Jason and Karen minister so sincerely was inspiring. I was especially touched to see some young adults who I had known as very small children now active in a college ministry.

Graduating seniors shared their testimonies. One young man is Northwest’s first graduate with a degree in nanoscience. A young woman will enter the mission field. Another graduate testified he is led to serve through his work at an amusement park. A woman with a degree in agriculture will be working on the family farm. Others will be teachers and business workers and a few are still on the job search.

How well I remember those scary moments at the end of college where the future seemed like a big open-ended question mark. I am encouraged to see these BSU alumni heading out to diverse fields to carry the light of God’s truth through their careers.

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I am looking forward to hearing the testimonies they have to share 20 years from now.

~Susan

Spring Cleaning

When I think of spring cleaning I can smell it! Today I got out my hose and washed the windows and screens on my bedroom windows. It was disgusting what I ran into in the process. We have awnings so the mud trails from last year’s mud dauber had safely wintered. A spider webs collecting a brown and crumpled leaf, another torn but bravely hanging on graced the overhang. The screens reminded me of a trip down a dusty road in August.
I watched as the soapy water dissolved the collected grime, anticipating the smell. I absolutely love to open the window with a newly washed screen. It’s a little like fresh air after a rain. Somehow the world just looks brighter, less encumbered, freer, and happier from that vantage point.
Later it occurred to me how much our hearts, like those windows, would benefit from a good cleaning,
Cobwebs of laziness, complacency, and lukewarm gratitude hold the brown crumpled remains of our once brilliant attitude of worship and service. Mud trails from unforgiven hurts, unrepented sins, failures, and disappointments mar the beauty of our once sparkling relationship with the one who made it all.
Determined, I turn to the master cleaner, bringing Him the dusty, cobweb laden, heart. In anticipation I wait for the refreshing odor of a heart once again made pure and new. Will you? He waits.
Blessings, Kathy

Springtime in the Hills

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Pasture burning–a spring ritual in these hills
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My friendly windmill. Standing in a newly burned pasture, she will soon be surrounded by new green grass.  Even with the slightest of wind, she sings to me as I walk by.
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This little redbud tree is clinging to the side of the creek bank,blooming her little head off

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My computer has taken ill

I’m a little late posting today because my computer has taken ill. The poor thing has a virus. I took it to see the computer doctor. Fortunately, he said it can be saved, but it has to be wiped clean and started from scratch again. The other good news is that I back up my computer regularly and most of the important stuff is saved. In addition, my boys are letting me use their iPad to create this post but I find it much easier on my laptop (I must be showing my age.) I guess it’s not all bad.

Tonight I will get to reload programs, install drivers and restore files. Fun.

I have two virus protection programs and yet some smarty pants out there manages to develop a virus to outwit them both. It makes me wonder what sinister person invests their time and talents to create viruses in the first place? What is the point? Why is it that this always happens just before I have an important meeting that I really wanted to bring my laptop to?

I suppose it’s not the end of the world but it is certainly annoying.

What’s your best tip to avoid computer viruses? When was the last time you were hit?

– Cherie

 

 

A touch of spring cleaning

My idea of spring cleaning is to put away the Christmas decorations.

To clarify: The decoratioPalmolive soft touchns were already taken down. Then two weeks ago, I finally got around to putting the boxes away off the back porch. Since I tend to run a little behind schedule on spring cleaning, I’m going back to the topic we had a few weeks ago.

Perhaps your dishwasher is like mine – kind of reluctant to work and a little whiny, especially about her hands. I’ve tried to wear rubber gloves to prevent “dish pan hands,” but usually end up running a stream of cold water up my sleeve or springing a leak.
This winter I tried this Palmolive Soft Touch soap. It says it has Vitamin E to protect your hands. It reallly works!

Washing dishes still isn’t quite like a trip to the spa, but my hands haven’t been nearly as red and cracked as they used to get Susie Pinkin the winter. I think this will be something I use year-round. Next thing you know, it will be time for the annual dusting chore!

Happy cleaning – whenever you do it!

~ Susan

 

GOOD FRIDAY

 

 

I’m reposting this from Good Friday 2012. May this Easter be filled with glorious worship to our Lord and Savior.

I spent my growing up years in a country church that was filled with music. Every Easter morning I’d get up while it was still dark, put on the new dress my mom made for me and go with my family to church. I loved our Sunrise Service. Even though we were inside, we watched the windows lighten up and we sang powerful hymns. He Lives, Christ Arose, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Because He Lives. Glorious songs that can’t be sung in a hushed voice. Jesus triumphed over death–HE IS ALIVE!

But before he rose victorious he had to suffer a terrible death. The songs we sing on Good Friday are more somber and quiet. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Jesus Paid It All, The Old Rugged Cross. Beautiful songs with words that should bring tears to our eyes in humble gratitude and awe.

Sometimes I think Good Friday almost gets lost in the busy preparations for Easter. It’s a day off from school and possibly work and there are so many things to get done. Several years ago I found this song by SELAH. The words are powerful and a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus willingly gave. I’m including the first verse, but go to youtube and listen to Beautiful Terrible Cross by SELAH. You’ll be so glad you did.

There is a beautiful, terrible cross where, though you commited no sin, Savior, You suffered the most wicked fate on the cruelest creation of man. Yet, on that beautiful, terrible cross you did what only you could. Turning that dark inspired evil of hell into our soul’s greatest good. We see the love that You showed us, we see the life that You lost. We bow in wonder and praise You for the beautiful, terrible cross. 

I hope you have a GLORIOUS Easter on Sunday. Today, I pray you’ll be filled with humble awe at what our SAVIOR did.

What are the songs that you’ll be singing this Easter weekend?

It’s not about me…after all!


When I was a little girl I had a doll house. It came complete with little rubber figures of mommy, daddy, brother and sister—and pink plastic furniture. It was tin and one side was painted white with a red roof, and there were even shrubs and flowers along the foundation. The other side was open, neatly divided into rooms–a bathroom and two bedrooms on the upper floor, a living room, dining room and kitchen on the bottom tier. And I could move my  rubber ‘family’ around, and rearrange that plastic furniture until my heart’s content. And if I wanted–I could leave those figures lying on the floor of that tin house, or scramble the rooms around any way I so desired. Because at the end of the day, I would turn the open side against the wall and only the beautifully painted side showed to anyone who might care to see…and visitors could ooh and aah over my beautiful toy. Only my closest friends were allowed to play house with me.

But I’m a big girl now..older and wiser…though some might call me a rebel. You see–new clothes, bunnies, and pretty baskets full of colored eggs don’t bother me–any more than tinsel, and colored lights and decorated trees bother me at Christmas.

What DOES concern me, is that I’ve found myself guilty of playing house…with Jesus. And it breaks my heart. And it breaks my heart that we (I’m sure I’m not alone in this) have created places of worship that resemble that little tin house.

Have you ever listened–really listened to how children play? So very often there is one in charge who will tell all the others how to perform.  “I’ll say this, then you say this.” or “I”ll go here, and then you go there.” And if they don’t cooperate, then they are no longer welcome to be a part of the game.

Now, I’m going to really get myself in trouble. But frankly, I’m tired of ‘playing’. I’m weary of thinking we are More Christian if we have a Harvest Festival and dress up as Bible characters, than opening our doors to the neighborhood Trick or Treaters; if we sing in the Christmas Cantata and fill our pews with relatives who come to see the ‘little ones’ perform, than fill our homes with neighbors who would never darken the door of a church; if we have a sunrise service with biscuits and gravy and then another Cantata, rather than an colored egg hunt and stuffed bunnies.

Why have we, as Christ followers, allowed so much division? We have become divisive among family: home school versus public school (you know, you can’t possibly love your children if  you choose to send them to public school); praise songs versus hymns (no matter who wrote the hymns or where they were first sung); church three times a week (at a minimum…more with committees, choir practice, etc.) versus attending an activity to support a neighbor kid and/or his parents; the King James version of the Bible…only, and we must look down our holy noses and argue and  point how wrong all others are .We have become suspicious of anyone or anything that doesn’t look like our little rubber family.  The color of skin, the style of hair, the type of clothing, even what they proclaim to believe…if they don’t fit into our little tin houses, they can’t play. We even divide ourselves over whether we choose to take our children to the doctor or not.

So what does Easter mean to me–the topic of this blog this week? It means I fully realize I was a sinner, am a sinner, and am saved, redeemed and sanctified by the precious blood that my Saviour Jesus Christ shed on that cross. I means that if I truly believe I am saved from eternal hell, by His grace alone, and nothing that I ‘earn’, then I can put my arms around my neighbor, regardless of who they are or what they believe or what day of the week it might be…because who or what they are is not about me…it’s about the Lord IN me. The same God who never changes. The God who empowers the believer and who desires for His children to show His SON to all without fear, without malice, and without them jumping through our little plastic hoops first.

The Christmas cantata I sing should be one of daily praise for the gift of God’s Son…every day…every day. The  Easter cantata I sing should be on of Praise for the sacrifice of that Son..for me…every day…every day.  I can have lights on my house and in my windows every day…I can color eggs every day…I am free to sing a ‘today’ song as well as the old hymns. I can attend public school functions, pray for the teachers in those schools, and love my kids and grandkids just as much….JUST AS MUCH…as those who choose to home school.  I am NOT, however, free to look down my nose at  how others choose to live. I can turn my porch light on and give out candy to the  neighbor kids, without preaching to them until I’ve earned the privilege of being trusted enough to say anything at all to them, what the better part of reasoning teaches our children to be wary of strangers. Shame on us, if our neighbors don’t know who we are. And I can smile at the senior citizen who is earning a little extra money by dressing as Santa Claus and sitting in a crowded mall. I can try to understand that the big fuzzy bunny standing at the curb holding a ‘car wash’ or ‘hamburger special’ sign, could very well be a kid who has to earn his own money to pay for college, or a young dad who just wants to buy those special shoes so his boy can play baseball this summer. Or, again, someone who needs medicine for a wife, husband, kids or even themselves.

Until Easter becomes real enough to us, who claim to be His followers, to love as He loved. To forgive as He forgave. and to be Jesus to a world who might otherwise never know the freedom that is ours in Christ, then we are guilty of pretending and  we’ve made the Jesus, who died for us, just another figure to  manipulate into playing our games, our way. We must stop presenting only the ‘pretty painted’ side of who we are, and let people see our open rooms, …and quit pretending that we have a corner on Who He Is!!

If  you claim to be saved by His blood…then you must realize that you were first one of the nails.

 

 

It Is Finished

Our Bible study group is reading No Wonder They Called Him the Savior by Max Lucado which explores the events leading to Christ on the Cross. Max describes this as Jesus’ darkest hours, but Mankind’s greatest hope. Each chapter draws out a poignant lesson that we can learn from and offers a fresh perspective on the Passion Week.

We just studied Jesus’ final moments. As He hung on the cross and breathed his last, He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46).

Here is Mr. Lucado’s thoughts on those last words.

“Were it a war—this would be the aftermath.

Were it a symphony—this would be the second between the final note and the first applause.

Were it a journey—this would be the sight of home.

Were it a storm—this would be the sun, piercing the clouds.

But it wasn’t. It was Messiah. And this was a sigh of joy.”

(No Wonder They Called Him the Saviour, p.43)

And it was that moment before the grand finale…Easter morning.

Cherie Gagnon– Cherie

May you and your family have a blessed Easter.

 

My faith may be on life support, but ‘God’s Not Dead’

By some miracle, our local theater is showing God’s Not Dead. A friend and I went to see it this weekend.

The movie depicts a college student’s struggle to stand for his faith against a philosophy professor, then the impact his decision has on others. The movie itself moved kind of slow with a plot based mostly on dialogue. The ending, however, was well worth it. Our whole theater joined the Newsboys in singing “God’s Not Dead.”

Much more than a night at the show, my faith needed a shot in the arm. No big crisis, or even anything that anyone else would notice. Just those discouraging things that make me question if it’s worth it to keep trying.

I needed to hear shouted from the big screen in stereo surround sound, that even if it feels like my dreams have breathed their last, “God’s not dead!”

I needed to stand in the moonlight of my backyard at 11 p.m. and see that even though I feel alone, the “heavens declare the glory of God.”

I needed to learn from my Sunday school teacher yesterday that even when my prayers go unanswered, to “keep on praying” (Romans 12:12) and to remember that “his ways are not our ways.” (Isaiah 55:8)

As I write, this latest release from the Newsboys came on the radio. This Easter, no matter what else, I believe.