Thursday, June 28, 2007

Look at Venus and Saturn Tonight

I met some sidewalk astronomers at the park the other evening. They had some very good telescopes. I saw Venus, Saturn and her rings, Jupiter and four of her moons!

I've been keeping an eye on these planets.

Most likely, if you live in North America, you can see what I'm seeing. Look to the west at about 9:00 p.m. (California time) Venus is the brightest star in the sky. Tonight, Saturn is about two degrees to the upper left of Venus. It looks small. Saturn was so beautiful through the telescope. It definitely looked DESIGNED.

The astronomers are watching Saturn because it will get very close to Venus--the closest on Saturday night. Both planets will appear in the same field of view of most telescopes.

Jupiter is the second brightest star in the sky. It is high in the southwest. Not far from Jupiter is the red-ish star Antares. The red-ish stars are cooler ones are newer and hotter.

That's it for now. I want to run out look again! (Oh dear it's too late...they are now almost too low in the sky to see.)

P.S. Keep scrolling down....I want you to see my vegetable's growing!
P.S.S. I'm going to the coast to visit my parents Friday to Saturday. See you when I get back.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hope and Humor

It was 6:30 a.m. when I rolled out of bed and walked over to my favorite window to pray for the day. I hadn't been up this early in awhile, and when I looked out the window, I saw something I seldom see.

The backyard seemed to be in a shadow, but the peach tree was glowing with a warm light. It looked beautiful, even though it has been braving a drought. We've had no rain for endless months.

I found my camera and stepped outside. After about 10 pictures of the peach tree I returned to my praying post and tried not to get distracted.

Here is a before and after picture of my GROWING vegetable garden. I have peppers, zuchini (about 5 inches long now) and tomatoes (the first one turned red yesterday)

One pepper bush has been doing exceptionally well. At least 15 skinny little lime green peppers dangled from the vine a few days ago. of them I turned bright red. I plucked it off, rinsed it, and bit into it.


Dylan watched me prancing around the kitchen. I filled a glass with water.

"Drink milk, mom." he said nonchalantly. He had one eye on the computer and one eye on me. I was panting by this time.

My husband walked in. "What's going on?"

"I bit into a pepper! Why did God make these so hot? He must have a sense of humor."

" can't be that hot," my husband said. "You're just not accustomed to spicy foods."

He'll change his mind about that! I'm going to spike his spaghetti with one of these!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Swamped Boat

Sometimes I feel like the disciples on that memorable day when they were crossing the Sea of Galilee...



The sermon this morning was about Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee. A big storm came up. Jesus slept through most of it. (He must have been pretty tired.) Anyway the disciples began to panic. The text says that they were in great danger. It was quite a squall and the boat was "being swamped".


Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the waves.

Then he turned to his disciples and said, "Where is your faith?"

First I'll say that the sermon this morning was not about faith, it was about crossing our own Sea of Galilee and being willing to minister in difficult/dangerous areas like "the region of the Gerasenes"--a pretty rough area back in the first century.

But I got something different out of the sermon. When the pastor read Jesus words, "Where is your faith?" My eyes filled with tears. Because I'm in a horrible storm and it has been going on for 2 years and I'm getting very tired of bailing the boat.

Should I be bailing the boat? Should I be adjusting the sails? Or should I just stand on deck--doing nothing--and 'have faith'.

I'm sure Jesus didn't expect his disciples to just stand there and do nothing. Author Luke writes that "they were in great danger". So I think I have to do what's necessary (bail the boat). But I need to make sure that I am not taking too much on myself. I have to be aware of a line...a boundry. A place where my efforts stop, and God takes over. A place where faith begins.

"I'm perishing!" That's what I had been saying to God last week. I didn't think I could go on any longer. But since I can't run away from home (But it IS tempting) I have no choice but to continue to endure the bad weather. But what I CAN do ask God to show me how to shift more of my anxiety on to his shoulders.

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement, they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Read the whole story...Luke 8:22-25

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Writing for "Associated Content"

Okay ladies and gentlemen...let's talk about writing.

Today the subject is about the orange button on the upper right hand corner of my blog.

I’m not totally sold on this company…but its rather intriguing and fun to see if one can scribble something out—send it off—and make a few extra bucks. They also accept video, audio and images.

Associated Content is always looking for “how-to” articles on any subject. Actually, once you sign up with them (its free) they’ll give you an “account”. When you log in to your account, you will find “call for content” messages about the types of articles they are looking for…for that particular month or season. Several weeks ago they were looking for 4th of July dessert recipes and/or “Celebrating the 4th of July in your city.” Articles on places you’ve traveled—even if it’s an interesting place in your home town—those articles always catch their eye.

On the down side, THEY DON’T PAY ENOUGH! (about $3.00 to $8.00) Usually I receive at least about $70.00 when I submit to magazines (and well known magazines can pay between $100 to $300.) However, when you submit to magazines, you often have to wait about 3 to 4 months for a reply. Then…if they accept your manuscript, you then have to wait sometimes about a year for your article to come out. So while Associated Content only pays pennies, your article will come out in about 2 weeks and you’ll be paid quickly.

When you submit your article to Associated Content they will give you the choice of submitting “Exclusive” or “Non-Exclusive”. Beware--if you choose to submit “Exclusive” you cannot publish the article with any other publisher except AC. “Non-Exclusive” means you still own the article and can submit it elsewhere. (but AC will pay you less).

I think the best thing to do (especially if you worked hard on your article) is to submit your work to a magazine. You will still own the article. Then…after the magazine publishes it, you can then submit the same article to Associated Content as “Non-Exclusive”.

It bothers me—when a writer spends hours on an article---then submits it and receives only $5.00. That’s what I don’t like about AC.

However, for aspiring article writers, Associated Content is a good place to start. Before putting your pen to the paper, investigate AC’s site and see the kinds of things they publish. You can even search on any subject and pull up articles. I noticed they had very few articles on dirt biking.

In conclusion, let's throw caution and good sense to the wind and have some fun with writing. Take a dangerously…write something up for AC…and maybe you’ll be published before the 4th of July!

TIP: Look over your old POSTS. You might have a submission for AC right at your fingertips!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Touching Base

My job is over! School is out! But now its time for 6 weeks of summer school. I have been assigned to work as an instructional aide for Special Education kids at the High School. I was a little worried about jumping grade levels. (I usually work with first through sixth grades.) But it looks like it will be okay. (It's not math) It's World History and Geography. Maybe I'll learn something. I DO love history!

While I'm writing this post, I'm breathing prayers for my 19 year old son, who is outside my window, tonight, talking with someone that is a few years older than him. "Someone's" cigarette smoke is wafting in my bedroom window. "Someone" is recording a song in my husband's studio tonight. Hopefully "someone" will be a good influence on my son..I hope.

My younger son is inside tonight struggling with summer school's first night of homework. (4 hours). It's a heavy U.S. History class.

I wanted to do a post about writing, but I'm a little tired tonight. I want to tell you about Associated Content...notice the icon in the upper right hand corner of my blog. I turned one of my posts into an article and sold it to Associated Content just for fun. Click here to see it. They don't pay that well. I only made $5.60! I'll tell you more about this later, but its rather fun, and its a good way to get started if you're a new writer...or its a good place to send your previously published work, and get some lunch money! More about this later!

Life is moving at about 85 mph right now.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Almost Forgot to Read These Words

As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

The above sentence is from my Bible reading this morning.

Shortly after I rolled out of bed, I started rushing around doing important things, and then I remembered...about the Bible reading. On the table next to my bed is a book that many people would die for. (literally and figuratively--see previous post)

I only had a minute, so I flipped open the Bible and read where the pages landed. (I do not recommend this method for Bible reading) But for some reason, the words hit the spot.

And then the verses went on to say...

—Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.—


Location of advice: The end of Romans chapter 12

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Precious and Powerful

Three men, who worked in a Christian publishing office, were murdered several weeks ago. They were printing Bibles.

But their work goes on. There is spiritual hunger in the area. And even inspite of threats from radicals...and severe penalties for possessing a copy... people in this area willing to take a risk just to get a copy.

Recently a story came out of the area, A man "who, according to custom, took on the debts of his father after he died, but ended up being imprisoned himself after he lost his job and was unable to pay."

"As a Christian, he urged his wife to please hand copy pages of the New Testament to smuggle to him on her visits, explaining that he couldn't live without the Word of God. After some time, his wife, who was not a Christian, gave her life to Christ--explaining that the Truth touched her heart as she copied the pages!"

"Soon after the jailor called the man and said, "You are different. You help others. Even though you are strong you are humble. You obey the rules. You are peaceful. How can you be this way?" The man shared his faith, and the jailor asked to read the scriptures. After two months of quetions and study the jailor gave his heart to the Lord--soon intervening for this prisoner and getting him released."

The Bible is precious to these people.

And my Bible is sitting across the room on the table next to my bed. I haven't opened it today. I don't think I opened it yesterday either.

Although the Bible is precious to me, I definitely take it for granted.

Time to go read.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Slaying Goliath- (draft #2)

A fantastic thing happened Friday. It was truly God's doing. A few small-time parents, including myself tried to stand up for our faith about a book that contained lies about Christians and made fun of the Bible. It has been mandatory reading at a public school for about 12 years. It was truly affecting the students in a negative way, creating hatred and misunderstanding. We were told we could do nothing about it.

We prayed for 5 years, wrote letters, and met with administrators. But nothing budged.

Yesterday, unexpectedly I was invited to a meeting in the office of the "powers that be". I didn't want to go...because I'm tired of fighting this book. I placed it in God's hands. I said, "Lord, you are going to have to slay this giant."

As I was going over my notes before the meeting, I still had the story of David and Goliath in my head. I thought, "David went to the stream and found five smooth stones--maybe I need five good points to bring to this meeting." Immediately another thought came into my mind.

"David only used one stone."

Was that God? (I don't know)...but at that point I knew, that I didn't have to worry about what to say at the meeting. It would be in God's hands from here on out. I called another parent to go with me...and off we went.

In the small meeting, my friend and I were told the book was going to be taken off the mandatory reading list and placed on the extended reading list. (that's a major change!) I tried to sit still and not jump up in the air in joy. Goliath is slain!

I can't believe it!! That book has been so heavy on my heart for years. It's because I have seen first hand...that it misleads young people who are not familiar with Christian faith. This book "introduces" them to the Christian faith, and believe me...after reading this book, they don't want to be associated with the word "Christian".

I believe that all religions and people groups should be treated with respect at school. If a belief system is going to be discussed in class, it should be represented accurately and respectfully.

Additional reading about the book
A paper I wrote is here (but it makes more sense if you've read the book)

Thanks for listening....

I couldn't resist posting another view of Bodie.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Good News about Blood

My blogging friend, Susan, just wrote a post about something we seldom talk about. The blood of Christ--and how His blood makes us right with God. Her blog is called Living the Adventurous Life. Stop by for a visit. There is good news for humankind there!

I'm so thankful that getting into heaven doesn't depend on me. It doesn't depend on how good I am. It doesn't matter what I've done in my life. God still saves matter what. God still saves matter what you've done. Yes...there is forgiveness for us. Oh the precious gift of forgiveness! And all we have to do is reach out and accept it.

Jesus is reaching out his hand to all of us. He is saying, "grab my hand...I'll pull you to safety. It's not safe in the darkness. Step toward my light. I love you...I've shed my blood to save you!" And he continues to hold out his hand. And he will save EVERYONE who places their trust in him!

Jesus explained in the Bible, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Friday, June 1, 2007

Writer's Critique Group

This is Jasper. He loves to read good writing!

On this Friday morning, at 7:55 a.m. Dylan dashed out the door with his school backpack. "I'm ready to go mom!"
I quickly searched for my purse, which is never in the same spot.

As Dylan and I slid into the car, I noticed a cute little car zip to a stop in front of our house. A dark haired woman fluffed her bangs. Sure enough! It was the Gatekeeper. From the faraway desert lands of Southern California. I gave her a quick wave and a signal that I'd be right back.

When I returned, the Gatekeeper stepped into my car and off we headed toward the freeway. Today our writer's meeting was at the home of Mary Rice Hopkins. We were greeted by two large smiling labs, a puffy white poodle and a kitchen full of writers.

There were ten of us today. Pat, Sandy, Jane, Mary, Yvonne, Marilyn, Sharon, Becky, Susan and the Gatekeeper. Mary broke out pistachio nuts, deliciously sweet orange and yellow bell peppers, peanuts, dried cranberries and what really wound up the meeting.....some sort of Monster Ginseng drink. It took us a good 30 minutes to calm down and start the meeting. Everyone was chatting "a mile a minute".

Pat, our most industrious writer, brought an article for us to critique. It's about 3 miracles that occurred in her life, and she is submitting it to Guideposts Magazine.

Susan, who experienced our group for the first time today, brought a very funny poem she wrote about cats. The photos she brought were hilarious. My favorite was the cat sleeping in the toilet bowl.

Jane, who tells us every month that she is not going to accept anymore editing jobs, is working on another editing job. Last month's editing job, "the never-ending story" still hasn't ended. But she will get a break soon, as she and her husband are heading out for an exciting trip that involves ministry, and also a family reunion.

Marilyn, who has inherited the draft of Arleta Richardson's Manzanar novel has been doing some interesting research including speaking with a woman who lived at Manzanar (Japanese Internment camp) as a child.

Many other projects and subjects were discussed.

A special treat today, was hearing some of Mary's new music. She has about thirty new songs in the works. We were toe tappin' and foot stompin' to her lively music. My favorite was the song about people who don't listen. After that followed a very entertaining discussion about husbands and the funny things they do when they are supposed to be listening to us! Like walking away before we're even done speaking! We had a good laugh.

Extra special thanks to Mary for opening her home! We missed all who could not attend.

Special note to my blogging friends. Just a little note of explanation. Our writer's group meets the first Friday of every month. I usually write up a little light-hearted summary for those who could not attend and email it to all the group members. I decided to post it here this month...and then invite my non-blogging writer friends :-) over here to blog land. They aren't too sure about blogging....yet. The Gatekeeper and I are the only bloggers. Speaking of that...the Gatekeeper wrote a fun and interesting article about our group and it is published here:How to Have a Successful Writers Group

Have a nice day everyone!