Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My little boy to the far left, on the BIG slide at the State Fair w/ his cousin who is in the lead !

I started considering the sliding, escalating scale of sin the other day when I was telling my husband what I was making for dinner. I am not a gourmet cook by any means, pretty simple and basic is what I do best, and I try to make everything healthy ...unlike my husband who could care less if something is healthy.
He just likes to eat, no fuss about it.
I always fuss about it being healthy, while he mainly just stares at me with an annoyed look.
Don't care, I'm going to make him eat healthy if it kills him to do so, figuratively speaking of course. 

So, I was in the backyard, about to take our looney-tune killer of a black lab for her nightly walk, and I stopped him as he was going into his workshop. I said, " I have some chicken breasts, I am going to make them on the stove with some onion and garlic, celery, spices, and then baked sweet potatoes, and some steamed broccoli , to go with it. "
Very healthy.
He looks at me and goes ' OK. "
No excitement, but not unpleasant...just OK.
I then look back at him and and say, " Oh...and I'm making some brownies for dessert. "
That cheered him up, he smiled , and walked off.

As we were eating later, I told him on my walk ....I always think about lessons God teaches me, insights He shows me...always on my walks.
I told him , as we were eating our healthy meal together, I told him that what I said....about all the stuff we were going to get to eat...that it was healthy and good for us...and that since we were doing so good in that way...that we could throw a little sin , or brownies at the end ( by the way I do NOT think brownies are sinful, just an analogy )...and we would still be doing or eating good.
Adding to our lives by eating or rather by doing GOOD.
Balancing the scale of good and bad.
Then just a smidgen of bad ,like the brownies, won't hurt us.
He just looks at me and raises his eyebrow. Like, " What have you been up to ?"
I tell him that we ALL, everyone of us has that unfounded, unbiblical notion, that God has a giant scale, and he weighs and balances our lives and our actions, and that if He thinks the good outweighs the bad that we are doing..
then we slide into heaven and gain His pleasure still.
Some people may consider areas of their lives that they are doing spectacular in, where we believe God is giving us a nod of approval...and then turning a blind eye to our behavior He does not approve of. Some people just believe that if the good always outweighs the bad, then they'll slide right into heaven, get a bunch of jewels in their crown, and God will say , " Well done, good and faithful servant. "
Sort of how we judge our fellow man, we know them, we know their faults and their good points, and we can say often that the good outweighs the bad.
I guess the problem that I see, or wonder about, is sometimes the bad is much ' heavier' , heavier to God than we realize. Also sin is a very , very slippery little appears in subtle ways, it can become insidious or innocuous,  a very tricky element that is in this world that can destroy us , our careers, our families, our souls.
The big problem here is we humans, we have not got a clue about how God judges our actions, our lives. We think we do, but when you really try to figure it out...I think we believe He judges us how we judge ourselves and each other. 
I'm not a betting woman, but I bet we're probably wrong.
I know from painful past experiences of myself and others , that sometimes that second serving of cake, that second glance, that second flirtatious comment, that second ignoring of a need of a loved one, that second ignored warning in our conscience, that second spreading of some salacious gossip, that second lie we many seconds that we hesitate and do the wrong thing.
Many people do not stop at seconds either.
Choices to sin or not to sin.
The Bible is not a book that is about being a perfect Christian , or a perfect person. As that is unattainable. But it does give direction for our lives, it does give clear directions and crystal clear blunt warnings as well.
I know I have ignored some ( many ), of those explicit warnings before, as my own sliding scale of measuring my own sin...has made me turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to God's word.
The thing that I am slowly, and I mean verrrryyyy slowly , starting to learn is that all that is written in the Bible,
All of it,
is simply God teaching us about living a good life, an honorable life, a ' pure in heart ' life.
All of it is because He loves us, more than we can ever comprehend. 

A huge lesson I learned a few years ago, and it is a lesson that I still have not grasped hold of with proper enthusiasm or conviction is :

" If your happiness comes at the expense of someone else's  happiness, then you will not have true joy."

The big clincher here is, whether that person knows about it ( our sin ), or not.
That does not matter. 
Wish someone had told me that when I was very young , not that TRUTH , prevails in our  hearts or minds anyway.
Life is usually all about ' Me " for most of us anyway...I know it has been for myself.
Working on changing that daily.
We are all a stubborn lot aren't we ?
I hope you have a good day, I hope you consider your own slippery scale , and I hope you know God loves you more than anyone ever could,
Many blessings,
Me and my love bug swinging at the zoo

" But he who does the truth comes to the light , that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they be done in God. " John 3:21

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I will start this out by saying that I love baseball. I love to watch it, I love to see my little boy and all his teammates in their uniforms out there playing, and the men that I love love baseball too. One is in his fifties, the other in his nothings or rather age 9.
My saga begins with explaining that my son plays little league ball, and that means that the moms of the boys usually have to undergo torture for about two times a season , we are forced to do canteen duty.
By torture I mean we are contained, held hostage on some stools, forced to wait on anyone who comes to our little windows, forced to be far from the ones we want to be close to.
Not the men typically, just us moms.
Whenever I know I have my turn coming up, I dread it, mainly because I adore watching my little boy play ball. Love it. When I work the canteen, I cannot see him . All I can see, is him in the distance...and usually I am not even positive it is him as he is so far away. Last week , I had a nice mom of another player call me and ask if I could switch places with her that week ( for canteen duty ).
I said, " Sure. "
Then I began considering my captivity that would begin in another 6 hours or so.
Started to dread it. Everyone is nice when we are back there , held captive, prisoners in the canteen...
But I do not like not being close enough to see my son.
But I knew that is where I needed to be, they needed me.
Then my time came.
I got to the field, watching everyone pass by me to go to the playing fields, and then glanced up at my prison that was waiting for me..
I made my feet walk in that direction instead of the fields, went through the back door...
I  said hello to everyone, perched myself up on my stool, leaned out towards my little window...
and started pouting..only one could see it from the outside.
I was doing my DUTY.
My obligation for the team, for my son.
But I was most definitely a pout-puss inside .
I would get up every now and again to get some little cutie-pie that came to my window some fries, candy or a drink. Then longingly look out to the far field, as I my son always plays on the far field whenever I have this prison sentence...every time.
So I cannot see him.
I lean forward, strain to see him..get annoyed...but still only inside as I have a happy face for my little customers and their dads.
Now I know I am not alone, I would say about 60-70 % of the moms do not like canteen duty , there are a few that enjoy sitting back there chatting...but the majority are simply putting in their time, doing their duty , their obligation.
My husband came up there to get some popcorn 3/4 into the game, talked with me a bit , discussed baseball plays with a woman on the stool adjoining mine ...I can't understand most of what goes on out in the field when I am directly in front of it anyway, but I like to be close to the ones I love,
and I can't be when I am BEING HELD PRISONER in this darned canteen !!

Finally the game is over, and the cutie-pies come running up to our windows with all their complicated orders, dads trying to give me correct change, dirt all over these kids , and then I see the most handsome face in the world pop up in my window..
Here it is

It is the face of my little boy, big eyes looking at me, smiling, ordering his french fires, red Gatorade, and fun-dips. I smile back at him, he asks if I saw all the different plays he made, I tell him I can't see anything from here, just glimpses...but I did see him one time on third base before he scored.
That seemed to satisfy him , and he walked off to eat his food.
I was watching the clock, waited on some more last stragglers coming to the stand, and it was getting late as we were the last game. So by 8:45 I was released from bondage by the short -order cook, walked out in the dark to my husband and son. 
I asked my little boy if he wanted to ride home with me or his dad ? He choose me, and we hopped in and drove out of the park.
While I was driving, I asked him about the game, told him again that I was sorry I could not see it or him.
He was quiet.
Then I asked him if he liked me working in the canteen, he responded back as if I was a complete idiot,
" YES. ", with the definite infliction on the word as if how on earth would I not know he liked me working back there ? 
It was cool.
To him.
I smiled driving home, thought of all the things, obligations, duties, we humans do , out of care and love for others,
and not out of any desire on our parts.
I am striving to do those things with a better INWARD attitude and not just an outward ' happy face '. 
Because when you really love someone, Really love them, it needs to be an inward action as well.

I hope that God shows you how important you are today, how you are needed in the very small insignificant actions in your life, times you overlook, times you may not appreciate.
Times no one tells you that you are appreciated. 
Pray to God for encouragement and strength. 
I hope you know who you are important to.
Remember you are needed, remember you are important to those that love you , remember to do whatever you do as to the LORD and not to man.
Remember you are loved.
Many blessings to you , I hope your day is overflowing,

" But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing., that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly . " Matthew 6:3-4 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My View of the Woman DRIPPING Diamonds

On a hunt

I was on a antique art hunt about a month or so ago again, up in Charlotte, North Carolina at my favorite hunting spot there. A large, great antique mall full of many treasures. On this day I had found a few, and I was up front doing my typical, " Should I buy this ?" , " Can I make enough money off this to buy it ? ", " What kind of awesome rock bottom deal can the dealer give me so I will buy it ?" verbal scenarios I was playing with the sales staff. They are used to me hemming and hawing , trying to make up my feeble mind when I want to buy it all, but can't.
Then I glance up and notice HER.
She was an attractive woman in her late 40's, early 50's , with a little blonde ponytail, a white tennis outfit on , but most of all...
were all over her.
She had two diamond stud earrings that could have easily paid our house mortgage for a few months
She had a diamond tennis bracelet on, with various assorted gold bracelets with it.
She had a diamond solitaire around her neck , but mostly....
She had a gargantuan diamond wedding ring, with two diamond eternity rings surrounding bright I swear I almost whipped out my sunglasses as the light was reflecting off it so much I almost went blind.
Or else I almost went blind with envy, imagining , or really hypothesizing that this woman, this wealthy , spoiled woman, could not possibly understand what we ' regular people' go through in our lives. What the average woman has to struggle with financially or otherwise.
Now mind you, I know NOTHING about her, she may be nice, she reminded me of my mom who was always oblivious to anyone around her as she did not glance at me or anyone else around her, except the sales clerk. I on the other hand notice EVERYTHING around me at all times, very handy looking for artwork. I know I was smiling at her, she was interesting to me, I on the other hand was not so to her. 
I look down at my jeans, my cowboy boots, my vintage leather jacket, and my long hair in a ponytail ( at least a decent size ponytail as rich women always have those little itsy-bitsy ponytails -- very chic ). No terribly expensive jewelry on me, my wedding ring is high quality and was not cheap, but wouldn't blind you, I only wear real jewelry and no costume jewelry. I don't even have alot of jewelry , unlike Mrs. Sparkle.
I was directly across from her, maybe 5 feet from her , but from my OUTSIDE, what I projected and what she projected , was not mutually interesting.
She was interested in outward signs and symbols, of wealth, success , her visible trophies of this world. Many of us like these trophies, ranging from clothes, jewelry, cars, even to people.
I know I like some.
It made me think of that ludicrous show that is on ' Real Housewives of LA ' or "Real Housewives of New York ", you know the shows where a bunch of really ridiculously spoiled, selfish bratty women with all types of plastic surgery get on an whine for an hour ( not that I can't whine for awhile myself). But they whine about the most dumbest, trivial, childish, petty things...I cannot imagine who would sit and watch them.
But this world , this raging flesh of "want ", eats up that type of over-indulgence and ostentatious, the shows apparently get high ratings. People today are confused what is really, truly valuable.
What really sparkles.

I was irritated with myself for thinking these thoughts about Mrs. Dripping Diamonds, as I did not know ANYTHING about her life, her problems, nothing.
But I was aware of what she projected.
I watched her walk out the front door, and I could see her jump into a large white luxury SUV, I was wondering if she had a clue about God, about His treasures, about Jesus...wondering if she knew that all those diamonds she glistened with , would not fill up her heart. That the light they projected , was an illusion , and that a more beautiful, never-ending light could be inside her always through the love of Christ.
I kept my thoughts to myself, tucked my envy over her apparent ability to pay any bill she needed to pay and not worry,  back into myself , and told God that I was sorry I was judging this woman on outward signs alone.
I am unsure what lessons I learned that day, I know the lessons I should have learned, but as usual with me... two steps forward, three steps back.

" Judge not , lest ye be judged. " Matthew 7:11 ( easier for me )

" And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. " Philippians 4:19  ( harder for me )

I hope your day is a blessed , very bright one,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Take CARE of Your Fine ART

I went to an art lecture last night by a local conservator in my city , and she gave some wonderful , helpful tips on how to conserve , or protect , your fine art. She mainly spoke about art that is on paper, such as drawings, pastels, watercolors , etchings, etc. But the tips she gave us, also apply to oil paintings. So I am going to give you her 5 TOP tips for taking care of your art , with random comments by myself as well.
Here goes:
  1. Use your air-conditioning and heating system in your home or office to maintain a STABLE environment for your art at a temperature between 60-70 degrees with a relative humidity level between 40-60 %.( My comments: being in the Deep South of the United States is a killer with the high humidity we have , buy a dehumidifier if you have alot of expensive artwork to protect.) Also a no-no, is hanging art in your bathroom or kitchen area. Bathroom being the worst . Uh-oh here for me as I hang paintings and prints in our bathrooms.Plus I have many prints in my kitchen , will have to figure out if they are worth NOT leaving to the next generation.
  2.  Keep your Art out of drafts and away from air-conditioning/heating vents and open FIREPLACES that are in use. That means no expensive painting directly above a working fireplace, because of the heat, and the soot and smoke.
  3. Keep Art out of direct light, especially SUNLIGHT, but also artificial light can fade a painting and prints. Hang art in shaded spots, if you need lightening, use recessed lights in your ceiling and not picture lights over paintings. My comment, if you use picture lights, use low heat bulbs, do not leave them on for long periods of time. Also she recommended rotating your art in your home, like museums do to limit their exposure to light ).
  4. NEVER hang art on damp walls , never store in basements or attics or garages. ( I think most people know this if they collect art, but it is very common for the average person to store grandma's painting in the attic, it destroys a painting ! Store in inside closets, room, even under your beds ). Also try not to hang art on EXTERIOR walls of your house, because of the temperature changes are more drastic , than inner walls in your home.
5. Use only 100 % cotton rag paper-also known as museum mounting-to mount your paper art. Only this kind of paper is acid-free. You may also ask your framer to SEAL the back of the painting or print, and use more expensive UV protective glass as well. 
Some of these may be difficult for some people to do, but if you are able to at least not store art in your attics, basements or garages, that would be worth reading this.
Good luck !

" Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His Holy name.." Psalm 33:20-21 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A VIEW of Two BOUNCING Dollars in my REARVIEW Mirror

I had a lesson taught me by God the other day , through the vision of two bouncing dollar bills in my rear view mirror...and I hope I taught one to the two boys in my backseat that were clutching those dollar bills as well.
It was a mid-afternoon on a Sunday , my little boy had his favorite best  friend over , they both have the same name, so it is quite handy to have them together as I just need to yell one name to get them both to do anything or stop doing something. They had been playing for a few hours, they kept saying they did not want anything to eat...but after the third or fourth time that I said. " Let me get you a pizza, "they decided sure.
We all hopped in my car to go get the best deal around, a 5.00 pepperoni large pizza at Little Caesars. You can't beat that price with a stick I told them on the way there. Now when you go to these ' Always have it hot-and -ready " pizza places, you just walk in , pay your money, they hand you a pizza...and Poof, you're out FAST. I pulled right in front, turned in my seat and asked if they wanted to go get it themselves ? They looked at each other and said ' Yes. " So I handed them the 5.00 ( plus tax ), and they jumped out of the car and went in and got their pizza, I could see them through the large glass windows paying for it. Then they grabbed the big box, came running out to my car..and stopped and looked down.
Then I saw them bend over, hold up a dollar bill in their hand, I just saw one dollar bill...and they did a little dance and got in the back seat. I asked what did they find as I started to back up the car. They go , " A dollar ! "
I smiled, glanced at the car that had pulled up beside me while they were in there, considered the lady who had gotten out MAY have dropped it...then dismissed that thought thinking instead, or rationalizing instead that it could have been dropped awhile ago by someone else.
And besides...
I remember finding dollars or quarters ( that's when they were BIG money ) , and I remember how excited I was, so I wanted them to enjoy it.
But, then I saw...
Not 1 dollar bill in my rear view mirror clutched in a 9 year old's fist , but 2 one dollar bills , one clutched in EACH little fist ! I immediately asked them , " Did you guys find 2 dollars out there ?! "They gleefully said, " Yeah !"
I was still driving home, looked back in my rear view mirror at those two dollar bills, two happy faces, and knew what I needed to do ( after considering for too long ). I told them, " We have to go back and see if that lady dropped those getting out of her car."
I was about 1/2 mile away from the pizza place, and I know that they are FAST in there, and I was concerned we would miss the woman and not be able to give her back her money.
SO I did what had to be done.
I whipped the car through the neighboring K-Mart parking lot, went flying over the three big speed bumps, watching two dollar bills held high and bouncing in my backseat in my rear view mirror . I told the boys, " We have to hurry in case we miss her, she may need that money to get her pizza."
Quick turn onto the road back to Little Caesars, then I zip into the front parking place again, see the woman standing at the register still.
I turn back to the two little munchkins in my backseat, hold my palm out, tell them to give me their loot, they do with some reluctance..and I jump out and go inside.
I walk directly up to this woman, I say, " Excuse me, did you lose two dollars out there ?"
She turns to me, turns back to the cashier, then she points to the cashier and says, " I just told her I'm missing two dollars. "
I smiled, told her my son and his friend picked them up outside, and here there are.
She thanked me , and I went back to the car, smiled at the boys and said,
 "We were JUST IN TIME."
I then drove home, explaining to the boys that if they had lost two dollar bills, wouldn't they hope someone would find them and give the money back ?
They semi-agreed. Then looked down at their pizza in their laps and started talking about something else.
I sat there driving home, thinking God was trying to tell me , " You should have acted faster, you should not have even driven out of that parking lot before seeing if even a dollar belonged to someone. "
I know I often act or fail to act too slowly, reluctantly, to do the right action in life. To do the RIGHT thing , to be an example in even the smallest ways for those around us in doing what is RIGHT.
Many times, in many circumstances...daily. 
I told my husband this story later, He fussed at me for whipping through K-Mart's parking lot and speed bumps, and he also asked me " How did you know it was her two dollars ? " He figured anyone would say Yes it was theirs.
I said I just knew.
And I knew I HAD to show those two young boys to do the right thing in life , even when you don't feel like it.
Even if you may be too late.
I told them to remember this.
God probably gave me a B- on this lesson He taught me that day.

Many blessings, I hope you race to do right in your day,

" There is a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death. " Proverbs 14:12