LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Too Blessed to be Stressed!

Today we “celebrate” Thanksgiving~ Yet, every day should be a celebration of the countless blessings God has given each of us…from what may seem trivial to some to the intricate ways our bodies work!

This day I am blessed…
…by the unconditional love of my Savior, who sacrificed His life so I could have life on earth and life after death ~ for eternity~ in His presence!
…to have my Mother still living and healthy; still loving and active; close in proximity and in relationship; loving her children, and grandchildren unconditionally; always giving expecting nothing in return!
…by 29-years of marriage to a man who has the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, the forgiveness of God, and the love of and for the Lord!
…to have 3 wonderful and healthy children who have taught me so much about trust, patience, acceptance, and friendship!
…by my son-in-law who loves my daughter well, who loves his children with the passionate and protective love of a father, who works tirelessly to provide for his family, and who is always willing to help out when needed in any situation!
…to have the 2 most beautiful, intelligent, fun, loving, blessed granddaughters in the world! They bring a smile to my face, laughter to my soul and inexpressible joy!
…that both of my sisters, my niece and 3 nephews all live within a mile of my home, allowing us to celebrate all the “special” occasions together. As sisters we’ve grown up (and older) together; and now the cousins are enjoying the same privilege!
…by friends who love me enough to walk this journey called “life” with me and who allow me the honor and privilege of doing the same: Vicky, Lee, Deb, Tamara, Vivi, Melissa, Annie, Elisa T., Marcia, Jodi, Linda, Anna, Jeanette, JJ, Angie, Charla, Pam, Michelle, Kathy, Lynnette, Rhonda, and many more!
…with good health, a nice home, transportation, a part time job, freedom to make choices, an awesome church, opportunities to go and do as I choose.
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Oh, I am a rich, rich woman indeed~ defined not by monetary measures or materialistic means (which ebb and flow); rather I am incredibly wealthy with relationships which do not wax and wane, but will withstand the test of time into eternity!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas and Dirt?

Like a little child, I get so excited about Christmas! I love designing the layout of my decorations each year; carefully and deliberately each special ornament is hung on just the right bough; lighted garlands drape the mantle and porch posts; animated snowmen by Hallmark collected for several years occupy the space that will eventually be replaced by the gifts; empty stockings hang from the mantle, each meticulously chosen new this year; Josh Groban resonating "Ave Maria" softly in the background; it's beginning truly to look a lot like Christmas!

As Josh Groban sings "I'll be Home for Christmas" I read my friend,Jeff Rogers, blogpost from today and my joy turns into a sickening sadness that makes me want to tune all of Christmas out and scream: "IT'S NOT RIGHT! IT'S NOT FAIR! SOMEONE DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!" Oh, Jesus, break my heart for what breaks yours! Why, oh why, Lord, do children have to eat dirt under the guise of cookies to try and trick their minds into thinking it's food, while their little tummies, distended from starvation, continue to rumble, tears gently falling down their precious cheeks, just wanting a morsel of real food! I almost cannot bear to think about it...all I can say through the tears is: PLEASE READ AND PLEASE PRAY! And always thank the Lord for every single bite that goes into your mouth....never ever take it for granted! So, why is it we have a weight problem in this country?

"Today a dear friend brought me a terrible and yet precious gift. I was surprised by the rush of emotion and anger that came on me upon receiving it, over something so simple... I was distraught and inspired by it at the same time. Tim Krauss and John Martinez are my co-workers in the Gospel and co-leaders in our ministry along with Vicki and myself. John and Tim recently spent several days in Haiti, visiting with 5 of the 6 pastors G.O. works with there in their own communities. Tim has returned to Louisville for a few days and carried with him this small yet profound gift. Tim came into my office today with a scrunched up clear plastic bag. At the bottom of the twisted mass was a sampling of dirt from the interior of Haiti. Tim had presented me with the actual dirt from the mountains of Haiti used to make dirt cookies, eaten by Haitian children and adults to stave off the pangs of hunger. He acquired the dirt in a Haitian market during his visit. Now I have a few dried shards of this Haitian soil, originally bound for the gut of some child or adult sitting on a bookshelf in my office. I’ve known for a long time about the reality of dirt cookies in Haiti. I’ve been to Haiti several times and witnessed some of the challenges there. But there is just something about the actual presence of this substance up close and personal that really brings the weight of the reality to bear on my heart. Tim gave me the dirt and I could instantly feel heat behind my eyes. It was hard, suddenly, to speak without getting choked up. In my hands I felt what was clearly the food of desperation, a lie, told to the body that everything was ok, that it was, in fact, fed. In my hand was a mother’s hope to quench the suffering of her hungry child regardless of whether or not it actually meant anything. But it does mean something… It means we are a broken humanity in need of profound healing. The existence of this “humanitarian crisis” points to the spiritual realities that make its existence possible. The reality of this kind of suffering means that I’ve got no right to complain about anything. However bad I may ever imagine things to be, it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever be feeding my daughters, Sophi and Raena, dirt. It means that as a Christian I can’t sit comfortably by and appreciate how “blessed” I am because I have stuff without remembering that the only reason I’m blessed in the first place is so that I can be a blessing to others. It means that I’m called to figure out what I can do to help make a difference because children in the Kingdom of God DO NOT EAT COOKIES MADE OF DIRT! And if they don’t eat them there they should not be eating them here! Dirt cookies mean we’re in serious need of a savior. If we get a hold of Jesus Christ and let him get a hold of us he will begin to shape us into responders and engagers for the sake of the Kingdom. We’ll be angry about the things that anger him, we’ll celebrate what he celebrates and we will learn to be servants to all. If we learn, as brothers and sisters, to live up to the calling of what it really means to be the People of God, the true humanity, there will be less and less of this kind of thing, but only if its born of love, not guilt. So this dirt sits on my shelf in my office. It tells me to guard against self-righteousness because whether I know it or not some of my economic practices help constitute this grim reality in Haiti just by virtue of my participation in everyday buying and selling. It tells me that making an effort to change those practices is an act of good faith and in line with redemption. It tells me to not forget the severity in which my Haitian brothers and sisters (and others like them) live. It tells me to pray for revival and renewal in the land. It tells me to take heart because our work with G.O. begins to address the issue of hunger in Haiti both with food aid and the Gospel. Lastly, these shards of dirt point me to the promise that a day is coming when all bellies will be filled from the banquet table of King Jesus when his reign over the world is universally revealed. Dirt will be for walking on and the mockery of the adversary will be silenced forever. For those of you that support us through your prayers, your financial commitments, your use of our Kroger gift cards, thank you. Through this support you are at work in Haiti too, helping to bring the Gospel to bear on the challenges that exist there. You help to bear the hope we share leading to the Gospel transformation of entire communities."





Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bragging Rights...

I promise this will be the last post on my son's debut acting performace in "Hello, Dolly!", but he's so stinking cute, and did so incredibly well at acting, singing AND dancing, that I just cannot help myself! I'm sure you will be able to tell which one he is by the repetition of one particularly good-looking face! My, oh my....how Momma's love to brag! Is that a sin? If so, please forgive me! Meanwhile, please feast your eyes.....
Below is our Guatemalan son, Estuardo (from Guatemala) and his sister, Melissa... video

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm so excited! I just can't hide it!

Have you ever seen a kid in a candy shop? Pure unadulterated joy! Giddy, giggly, hand-clappin’, foot stompin’ joy! I am that kid right now ~ fall of the year, holiday season approaching, more family time together…woo-hoo!!!!! Lolli is a happy girl!!!!

Empty Rubbermaid boxes fill my upstairs hallway waiting to be returned to their beloved home, the attic! Greenery, special ornaments, wreaths, table ware, fireplace décor, mantle adornments are in place~ some in their usual locale, others in a new area! “Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King!”

Looking at my den windows, the sun is shining brightly on the new fallen leaves of gold, red, orange, and brown with splashes of evergreen here, there and yon! The temperature is registering 69 degrees! WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Summer has gone bye-bye; fall is here. Faux snow blankets my mantle, entry hall table and dining room buffet, adorned with my cherished collection of Dept. 56 Original Snow Village Houses! Love ‘em, love ‘em, love ‘em! “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go….” (at least in my house). Only thing missing right now is the tree!

Please peruse my photos and enjoy the beauty, contrast, and intricate design of nature designed by the Master’s Hand; keep looking for my creative design of Christmas décor (if I do say so myself, thank-you for indulging me)~ and choose, this day, to be blessed! Our sweet Lord wants to shower blessing upon blessing on you! Rain in down in abundance, Father, on each who visit here and those who don’t!

















Thursday, November 5, 2009

17,450!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello, you precious 3 or 4 blogger friends who faithfully check in to see what’s going on in Lollipopandpearls land! You might be sorry you visited today! And, if you are visiting here for the first time, please don’t judge me by THIS post! Please read past posts to see I really am a nice person. However, for the last couple of days I would have made a fabulous character on Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”!

OK, so let’s play a little game first! May I offer this clue: I detest the number 17,450! There! I offered it! Now, let’s guess why I detest that number! Don’t you go down the page to find the answer! I’m watching you with humongous eyes, claws positioned, and feathers ruffled (ha! That’s a good one, Lolli!)...and daring you to look down the page and cheat! So, that being said….READY! SET!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Whoa! Let’s do this on my time! OK, here we go! READYSET………..stop that! What’s your hurry? OK, 3rd time’s a charm, so here we go, really! ON YOUR MARK……….GET SET……….GO!!!!!! Wake me up when you think you know the answer! ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz!!!! Figured it out yet? What’s taking you so long? At this rate, I’ll have visions of sugar plums dancin’ in my head by the time you get it figured out!!!!! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!

(Singing the “Jeopardy” song in my head while I wait for you to guess! And, BTW, in case I forgot to remind you-----I detest the # 17,450! OK, OK, OK, OK….settle down! Don’t make me come over there and meet you outside! OK….

Hey, don’t ya’ll just love the Fall weather, with the gorgeous turning of the leaves…..WHAT? Oh, sorry, I took off on a rabbit trail….where was I? (Stupid 17,450! I cannot stand that number, can you?) No, I know you can’t….at least not if you’re a nice, generous, loving, sincere, faithful friend! You can’t like that number! WHY can’t you, you ask? Because you can probably sense a little disdain in my tone about that number, and because you love me and you ARE my friend, and you hurt when I hurt and you don’t want me to walk this journey alone, then I KNOWthat you also D.E.T.E.S.T. the number 17,450!

Ok, so welcome to my Pity Party! I so appreciate your being faithful to stop by! Make yourself at home! Free food, free entertainment, come as you are….and you might wanna bring your ear plugs! If you see anyone else walking around aimlessly and bored in blogland, please give them an open invite from me to attend my party. I probably should do a Mr. Linky thingy so others can link up!

WHEW! I’m feeling a little better (hehehehe)! (At first I accidentally typed “bitter”—as in, “Whew! I’m feeling a little bitter!---rather than “better”) Well, I’m that too, but I won’t bore you with the details….

So…..you ready? OK, sit back, relax, and hold on for the ride!

My wonderful laptop has been such a steady source of joy for me, and has served me well for the last couple of years. Of course, I bought her used off of Craigslist, but she has purred when she was s’posed to, gone to sleep when I told her to…and woke up when I needed her to! I mean, she has truly been my friend. However, I believe she is beginning to age a little bit, not unlike me. She can’t help it, I understand that. And, I have yet to find any hormonal supplement—natural or synthetic—that will help her perk back up. She and I are alike in many ways: we’re slowing down, we take our time more often than we used to, and when we tire out, we just go to sleep whenever and wherever we darn well please, thank-you very much!

Well, ole Gertie (short for Gertrude)---no, wait…..that’s what I call my GPS! Ok, ya’ll need to help me name this precious little darling! Suggestions welcome! (Oh, and have I mentioned that I wish the number 17,450 had never been created?..........Just askin’!......... Don’t go gettin’ all sassy!)….

I made mention of this slowing down sitch-i-a-shun to my husband on Saturday and asked for suggestions. Of course, always the practical, honest man, he reminded me that I had way too many photos saved to my hard drive, not to mention the myriad of audio and video files also taking up space on the little precious one! He further quietly and politely suggested that I “might” want to burn them to a CD/DVD and get them off my hard drive, freeing up space, thereby causing my 'puter to run more smoothly and faster! UGH! I did not want to take the time; but, always the submissive, obedient, eager-to-please my husband wife that I am, I took his suggestion and jumped right in with both feet! I mean, I got drenched! I was immersed in computer .*@&#^&^@*#&$^$^, I tell ya’! Oh, I could not wait to see just how fast ________ would run when I was through. (Now we must think of a name for her quickly, or there’s no tellin’ what she’ll do to me next!)

SO, I burned 2 full CD’s of photos from my computer. Everything was going very well! Being the organization freak that I am, all my photos arein fo lders. The “Family” folder has several subfolders; my recent trip to Ghost Ranch, NM also has multiple. Each of those need their own CD space! Now, grab a remote and put me on “pause” for a moment, (I DID NOT say put me on “mute”; I said “pause”) ‘cuz I have some more ‘splainin’ to do. Apparently the previous owner of this computer was set up with an administrator name of ROX, whatever that means, or whoever that is. I know not of!!! When I purchased the computer, I set myself as the Administrator! Unbeknownst to me some of my files were in the ROX group of files. After I had burned most of the photos to discs, Rodney and I discussed that perhaps I should just get rid of ROX. I mean, he/she was taking up space on MY computuh! So, I gently and with tears in my eyes, bade ROX fare-the-well, into the Recycle Bin, and then, as any good computer guru does, I “dumped” my Recycle Bin! Are you impressed yet? I mean, look at all the computer lingo I know! I even know LOL, ROFL, BFF, BTW, BRB….and ASAP, R2D2, and so much more!

So we had a little service for ROX, and I got back to business. Rarin' to go burn my last 2 CD’s of Family and Ghost Ranch, I set the computer up, grabbed a couple of blank DVD’s, tried to open the files with those photos, and….yep…you FINALLY guessed it (took you long enough!) No photo or video files to be found! Zip, natta, zero, empty set! I searched, Rodney searched, and we searched together, left no stones unturned…GONE! Bye bye! 2 of the most important files of photos for me, and no hard copies printed yet! Oh, no, far be it from me to have done that! Why should I? I have them saved on my computer where they are safe, right?! Uh-huh!

After calmly and rationally sitting down with a cup of coffee in hand, a good book (some valium)---did I say that? No, I didn’t. Someone else must have uttered that….AND….after whining about what I could do, I got online and purchased, for a mere $39.95, a recovery program. After downloading the program, I told it to scan for ONLY .jpeg, .bmp, .avi, and .wmv files (i.e. photos and videos). I started the search around 7 pm Saturday; at 9 AM Sunday morning it was STILL scanning!!! That is 14 hours by my calculations! When all was said and done, guess just how many of those darling little files it found? VERY GOOD! You are ssooo smart! 17,450 photos and video clips!

After picking myself up off the floor, I determined to go through them all and find only the ones I not previously burned to CD. The results showed, “17,450 photos found; 0 restored”! I searched for a “restore” button, to no avail! Not one to ask for assistance quickly or easily, I continued trying to figure it out. I caved, got online and into a “Live chat”! Woo-hoo! After conversing back and forth with a techie, I was told to hit “restore”. “Uh, sir, there IS no “restore”! “Yes, ma’am it is right there under the purchase button, blah, blah, blah!” “Uh, no sir….here is everything written on my screen”….and I proceeded to write it all out. His final answer was “Oh, well, I guess you cannot restore them, ma’am!” To which I sweetly replied, “Excuse me, but is your program not called a “PC Photo Recovery Program? I seem to remember a few hours ago authorizing a $39.95 charge to PayPal, and that money was transferred from my account quickly. I would like a refund, please!” He agreed to refund the money, and would send me an email to that effect! (BTW—he DID send the email, but I have yet to see the refund posted!). I then paid another $39.90 to another company and downloaded their program AFTER removing the previous one. Guess how many files the new program found? 17,450! (Have I mentioned that I break out in hives when I see, hear or think that number?) I have the option of saving to a CD/DVD or another drive. So after formatting several discs I told the program to save to CD/DVD and would you believe---I KNOW this will shock you! It would not do it! Once again, my husband to the rescue! He brought me his trusty little zip drive, and I have been able to save about 1000 photos at a time on that drive, THEN burn a DVD from the zip drive, then delete all the files off his zip drive to start all over again. And as of this very moment, Tuesday evening at 8:55 PM CST, I think I am within about 200 files of being through! When all that is complete, I get to put them back onmy computer, delete duplicates and those already burned…and my computer may be running so smoothly and so fast that I may have to chase it out the door! What will I do with all my time after this is done? Any suggestions? NO?!?!?!?!

Well, I have a suggestion for you…with regularity move your photo/video/wave files from your computer to some other type of drive, so your computer won’t get bogged down and you won’t have to spend 3 days going around the world and back to “recover” your deleted files!

And, just so you know….It is with joy and thanksgiving that I now bury the #17,450! Thanks to you dear friends for allowing me to vent, I now feel certain I will survive!