Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring is Here!

In Montana you can gauge the seasons by the animals. The other day I went for a drive with my hubby and we saw probably some 200 deer in a variety of fields just grazing and enjoying the fading light of evening.

Then of course there's the craziness of our weather. Do you know how you can tell it's spring in Montana? The snow feels warmer.

Although I'm not sure my kitty Safari agrees.

Another sure sign that it's spring - the grizzly bears have been spotted coming out of hibernation. Of course that goes hand in hand with seeing the geese flying back into town, seeing bluebirds and robins, and of course...gophers.

We have these little gopher guys all over the place.

A pasttime for the kids up here is gopher shooting. They are a pest and a destructive terror at times, but when you see them after a long winter - you know it's spring.

Yesterday, I hit my first gopher of the season with the car. It was like a formal announcement. SPRING IS HERE!

So from my home to yours, here is a blessing for spring.

May the Lord bless and keep you in His care.

May your days be rosey and fair.

May your road be easy no matter how far,

and May the gophers watch out for your car.

God Bless You!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Life Lesson

I've been battling Shingles for the last couple of weeks. For those who aren't familiar - it's a pretty frustrating disease. First of all - if you've had chicken pox then you can get shingles. If you get shingles - you can give other folks the chicken pox. It's a vicious cycle.

Shingles is a herpes virus that lies dormant in your body until something like stress or weakened physical condition urges it to life. There are several stages and problems - pain, numbness, tingling, flu like symptoms, exhaustion, rash. The list goes on, but suffice it to say - it's no fun.

I was under a lot of stress both physically and emotionally and I figure that's problem what triggered this. However, it also brought to mind another life lesson that focuses on the spiritual.

Satan so often uses something from the past to slip us up or cause us pain. Like shingles - it can be something lying dormant in your life for years upon years and then without warning something happens to stir it to life.

The symptoms are identical - pain - numbness - nausea - exhaustion. All the things that make us less effective for God.

As I was lying in bed resting (as this is what seems most helpful) I couldn't help but think how ironic my situation. The stress had been brought on by something from the past that had been dealt with - it was like an episode of chicken pox. It had been a problem, had made me quite ill, had even left its scars. But I thought I was done dealing with it and that it wouldn't be an issue. Just like I thought I was completely done dealing with chicken pox.

The neat thing is, that God really helped me to see the situation for what it was - an attack. There was nothing positive to be gained by allowing the past problem to come to light again. It truly had been dealt with and there was no reason to try to resurrect it. There was nothing glorifying to God in breathing life into that mass of decay and rot.

I don't think there's anything very positive about shingles either, but my case has been far less severe because we caught it early and I was given anti-viral meds and have heeded the doctor's advice. I know that many of you have prayed for me as well, and believe me, those prayers are definitely felt and I thank you.

So, I've learned another life lesson thanks to shingles, or better still - thanks to God. He always has a way of helping me to see things with different eyes - just when I need it most.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Victorian Etiquette

While researching I came across some rules of Victorian etiquette and thought to myself how happy I am to live in this day and age. Of course we have our own rules of etiquette. First in line seems to be - "There are no rules." But that aside, I wanted to share a few rules our Victorian ancestors had to deal with.

When you went visitng and found no one to be at home, the following was the rule:

"In leaving cards, you must distribute them; one for the lady of the house, others for her daughters, a note for the master of the house, but you must never leave more than 3 cards at a house, at a time."

Ladies if you want to go for a walk or to shop, you must heed the following:

"Ladies may walk unattended in the street, being careful to neither walk with a hurried step, do not stand in front of shop windows and stare in, do not look backward, nor acknowledge strangers who venture to address you. Be sure that you get home before dark and do not be out even after dusk."

Or how about this:

"A lady should neither remove her shawl nor bonnet, even if politely asked, unless they are in the presence of a particularly special friend, and then only with the help of the lady of the house."

And important to consider for conversations:

"Avoid talking of the opera in the presence of those who do not frequent it. Never ask anyone who is conversing with you to repeat his words. Always refrain from explaining any expression or word you may use. At all cost shun the vulgar habit of joking at the expense of women. To use phrases with double meanings is positively insulting. Never ask a lady a question about anything."

Of course single men and women had to be very careful regarding their encounters:

"Upon your arrival, if Miss Jones is home, but Mrs. Jones is not at home, you should leave a card, because young ladies do not receive calls from gentlemen, unless they are very intimate with them."

And last but certainly not least:

"Don't lean your head against the wall. You will either ruin the paper or you'll get lime in your hair."

Hmmm lime in your hair doesn't sound like any fun to me. Makes me glad I haven't any wallpaper. In fact, I'm glad that most of these rules have gone by the wayside. Of course there are a few I think we'd be better off keeping - rules that encourage modesty, purity, safety and polite interaction would definitely be worth giving additional consideration.

So I'll leave this as my calling card and pray that you have a wonderful week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Texas Goodbye

Well, the Texas book tour is done, the retreat over and the research completed. I had such a great time and God blessed me in so many ways. One of the things I really enjoyed was time to get a feel for the history of Texas.

I learned some pretty fascinating tidbits related to Texas.

Texas is the only state that has the right to become its own country and believe me they talk about it all the time.

In Texas, it's illegal to put graffiti on someone else's cow, but apparently you can decorate your own beeves.

In Houston it is illegal to sell Limburger cheese on Sunday, but you can buy Cakeballs.

The World’s largest parking lot is located at DFW Airport, but I think I shared the Interstate with most of those drivers when driving around the state.

The best thing about Texas, however, are its people. Texans are friendly, out-going and generous. I very much enjoyed getting to meet the people there at the events, booksignings, retreat and research spots. I'm so blessed to have had the time there and happily blessed to be home once again. I left Texas and upper 70 degree weather with sunshine and clear blue skies and came home to overcast, 27 degrees and snow.

Even so - it's good to be home.

That sigh you heard, was me.
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