Early Valentine's


The pictures you see on this blog, from henceforth, shall be of a much better quality. Thanks to my man. My early Valentine's Day present is an SLR camera...


Let the learning curve begin...

wedding decorating experiments...can't get the aperture right in this one.

Hmmmm...what setting to use to take this picture?

Love this shot!

Sarah's "baby"...that is me holding her in my robe. ::happy sigh::

I'm so grateful to my thoughtful and generous husband. Last year, a canary. I immediately fell in love with him (the canary. I was already in love with the husband). This year, a new camera. Same effect - I'm smitten with this sweet little gadget.

Our New Grandpuppy!

Sarah and Jonathan drove all the way to a Crossville breeder to get their first puppy last night...her name is Amber. She'll live here until Sarah is married in March.

We are all absolutely smitten. Well...everyone but Rambo. He thinks she's "just okay, that's all."

Less than two pounds of eight-week-old adorableness!

Justin and Hannah rushed over to "see this thing which God hath wrought". The entire family sighed and coo'ed over her, then we all (yes, all) took her back out to the front porch, so that Rambo could be properly introduced.

Tim brought Rambo from the back bedroom, where he had been tucked away since before Amber got home, and brought him out onto the front porch, where he properly greeted the baby. No growling, no snarling.


Then, the entire family went back into the warm house.I swear, when there is an actual baby born into this family, none of us will be fit for normal living. Stop the world, let the Atchleys/Howes/McConnells off. You should have seen us last night, all fighting over who would hold the puppy next.

Pitiful. And completely wonderful.

Super Bowl

...and so my team lost, and life goes on. I think.

Newly-weds, and Nearly-weds...already "into it", early in the game...

Our youngest son, aka "the traitor", wearing a Saint's jersey...his shamed father to his right.


Moments of dismay...

Redeeming moment...

::not that this is earthshaking, but the newly weds and nearly weds wanted me to tell you that they were drinking root beer. That's what those bottles you see were. Good ol' IBC Root Beer. These young couples work with teens and middle schoolers every week in our church - and Justin is a future high school math teacher - so they felt it very important to publish the disclaimer!

Imagination is Intelligence Having Fun...

Slices of life around the cottage...

The teacup poodle, "Rambo".

the soon-to-be-weds...

Pocket Parrot! Isn't she adorable?

Last Friday's snow...

The firepit - decorated with a garden planter, and visited by a bird...

The butterfly garden in snow...

Go Colts!

Warning: random post

We're forecasted to get 2 inches of rain in the next day or so, here in east Tennessee.

::she sighs, melodramatically::

So I decided to treat it just as I did the snow of last week - I went to the grocery store and the craft store and stocked up on Happy Things.

Today, I got milk and baking ingredients and yummy breakfast stuff and pasta and candles and all-natural grapefruit scented cleaner and a yellow primrose in a pot and reading material and soup. Tim is sick with a tenacious head cold , and my throat is suddenly sore, so soup is definitely in order.

All at once, I'm feeling just fine about the skies pouring rain for the whole entire day. I am onto something here! Whenever possible, prepare for a long, rainy day just like you would prepare to be snowed in.

I also visited our local discount store and found some (normally very expensive, special department store brand) bath milk from Scotland. It comes in a glass milk bottle, looks so elegant, and smells just perfect.

I planned well, and took my pocket parrot to get his wings clipped today, so I'll be able to get him out of his cage and cuddle him tomorrow. Without all that annoying flying he's gotten so good at doing lately. He has already figured out that he doesn't have much of a choice anymore, other than nestling on my shoulder, or perching in my hand. He took off two or three times earlier this evening, expecting to be able to soar all the way across the room like he usually does....and only made it about 12 inches. It didn't take him long to figure out that he is content to snuggle.

So I say to the impending gray, wet day, "Bring It." I am armed and ready. Once I get our hours of home schooling out of the way, I will have my choice between reading, writing, blogging, snuggling my puppy, snuggling my bird, snuggling my husband, taking a bath, baking cookies or banana bread or a fancy bundt cake, and choosing which recipes I'll cook up for the Super Bowl. (GO COLTS!)

All this, while candles burn cheerfully all through the house, and hot cider simmers on the stove.

And I won't have to leave this house for a thing...

An Apostolic Call...

Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect.

As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.

—Thomas Merton, in a letter dated February 21, 1966

And I bow my head in recognition - deep, instinctive and personal - of the truth of it. I am glad for results, we have seen profound results, results that have tended to endure. But enfolded in the apostolic calling is a fatherhood principle that focuses on the value of the process, and the integrity of the work for the sake of the work. Loving people because God loves them, not because they meet our hopes or expectations.

Results often take a lifetime to see.

Whitefield's "Method"...

"Before you can (know you are right with God) you must not only be troubled for your sins of your life, but also for the sins of your best duties and performances...before you can be at peace with God, there must be a deep conviction before you can be brought out of your self-righteousness; it is the last idol taken out of your heart. The pride of our heart will not let us submit to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But if you never truly felt that you had no righteousness of your own or if you never felt the deficiency of your own righteousness, you cannot come to Jesus Christ."

~George Whitefield

Tim got a set of CD's, each one with a classic sermon from one of several of history's greatest preachers. (The person who gave this to him for Christmas knows who they are. You so rock. We both think you give the best presents!) The various sermons by various dead guys are preached from their original notes by dramatic reader Max McLean. The above is an excerpt from Whitefield's "Method of Grace."

In his day, no one preached like Whitefield. Wesley was deeply touched and convicted by Whitefield's preaching. He and Wesley were opposed on issues of law and grace - but in the end, mercy always triumphs over judgment. Whitefield graciously wrote down, as his last wishes, that Wesley preach his funeral.

I love it..a winsome grace-gesture, an olive branch extended from beyond the grave from the great grace-preacher, to a methodical, exacting, oft-stubborn preacher...and an equally great man of God.

Whitefield's message "Method of Grace" ...

(hmmmmmmmmmmmm...think about that title, folks. Pretty direct, eh? Whitefield had no fear of man.)

...is nothing short of brilliant. Read it. If you struggle with Gentile legalism, it will change your life. "He, being dead, yet speaketh".