Monday, August 31, 2009

Puff the Magic Dragon

Puff has always been one of my favorite songs. As a child I listened to it over and again and would imagine myself in the role of "little Jackie Paper". My favorite line is "Pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name"!

As an adult I came to realize the song was about the loss of innocence we all must go through as we grow. We put away "childish things"...but I could never really put Puff away. My children heard it (oh, how many times) because they gave me a reason to play it again. The one thing that always bothered me was the ending, Jackie was growing up but Puff that mighty dragon, was left lonely in his cave. (Sappy, I know!).

My grandson was recently given a copy of the recording (hurray!) along with a beautifully illustrated book with all the words. And in the book, Puff was no longer lonely! Now while the people who prepared the book did not change the words, no, not one...they added one additional illustration. At the end of the book, on the very last page, you see a grown up Jackie Paper, looking from behind a rock as a young girl (obviously his daughter) introduces herself to Puff. And so he lives on...

The Bible tells us it is natural for us to grow and become adults with all the joys, fears, cares and worries that this entails but it also tells us that unless we come to God as little children...well you know the rest.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Help beat Breast Cancer

...and you can help! Visit the Breast Cancer Awareness site. If you go in once a day and click the button, you'll help fund free mammograms for those who cannot afford them. It's a great way to start each day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Desire for the day...

Thomas Dekker wrote:

To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face; to approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me, the Ultimate Purpose toward which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart; to be gentle, kind and courteous through all the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep and the joy that comes from work well done---this is how I desire to waste wisely my days.

Excellent thought!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Parent

Once you become a parent, it is something that defines you forever and yet the role we undertake is not a fixed one. As children grow and go through different phases, so do we.

Infants and toddlers require a different parent than a teenager. While the important aspects of who we are as people remain the same, the way we nurture and teach changes as the child grows. In the process, we find ourselves facing dilemma's from the other side of the fence. After all, until this point, your only experience with some issues have been as a child. Now you are the adult.

Although I am no expert on the job, it has been one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. If I were asked to give a couple of tried and true axioms they would be...Never forget what it was like to be a child, Love unconditionally and be ready to grow.

Oh, and one other thing...this job is for life. They may grow up and move away but they will always need you.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Tomorrow we meet at a little country church a few miles away from home for Decoration! This generally always happens on the 4th Saturday of August and is a uniquely Southern tradition (I think!). We gather around 11am, place flowers on the graves of our loved ones and then EAT!!!! Each family or group brings enough to feed their crew, it's placed on a long wooden table and once we hear the blessing, we chow down. Oh and just because you brought food for your group doesn't mean you can't wander around and help yourself to what others have brought...believe me, they'll do the same to yours!

This tradition doesn't usually happen at "Perpetual Care" cemetery''s mainly the little country ones with very little oversight and so it's kind of left up to the families to make sure that the grass is cut and the stones are clean.

The eating part may sound morbid to some but really, it's great! We visit with other families that we may not see but one time a year and after all, we'll be lying next to one another some day, why not share time while we're living and breathing? My husband and all his brothers and sisters grew up honoring this tradition, my children have done the same.

As each generation travels out into the great big world, on the 4th Saturday of August, no matter where they are, they know what's happening here and it's comforting. The family will gather and remember those who have gone on before and rest in the knowledge that someday we will all be reunited in God's great kingdom!

Now, when are they going to ask the blessing? I'm starved!


I recently signed my 5 year old grandson up for Dancing lessons. The instructor is a lovely, patient woman who wants to share her gifts with young people. Grandson was reluctant to begin but once I reassured him he would not have to wear a tutu, he gave in. On our drive to the first class he tried several different ploys to get out of it but then about 5 minutes into the class he turned and smiled and gave me the thumbs up! He loves it!

During the lessons, the adults stay in the hallway so as to not disrupt the class. About 5 minutes before class is over, the door is opened and we can watch them go through the steps they have learned. What fun! Now I must say, despite how he may envision himself, my grandson is a boy...a big boy...and graceful is not a term that would apply to him in any stretch of the imagination. But there he is, amongst the others in the class (all girls!) watching the teacher and trying to leap and arabesque and turn and it's wonderful!

Society is not fully accepting of "boys" dancing. People tend to make assumptions about their character even though I daresay very few in this world could "dead" lift a ballerina over their heads with little to no effort! But I don't care what society thinks, and at this point in time, neither does he...he only knows that he is learning to move his body and has fun in the process.

It's sad to be stereotyped, but we all are to some degree or other. This is not what God wants, but it's what we do to those who are "different" makes us feel superior. It takes away our fear. It reinforces that we are "normal". Don't know who set the standard for normal but they got it all wrong. God gave each of us gifts and talents to share with the world and never said HOW we are to do this...well except with love. Next time you run across someone who does things a little differently, be open...listen and watch with love in your heart, you just might learn something. It may be a message straight from God. Oh, and if you see a boy "dancing", he loves applause!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Giving it all...

The post shown below comes from a young lady who just yesterday began her walk with God within the Passionate Nuns in Kentucky...what a beautiful way to tell this well known story and apply it to her own life. We should all apply it to ourselves...

Monday, August 17, 2009
I turn my face toward Jerusalem...
I come to the door of the house, carrying my jar of ointment, still wondering what possessed me to come. As I bribe the doorkeeper -- who knows me -- to let me in, I wonder what He will do when I touch His feet. If He should kick at me, it is only what I deserve, but if He does before I can anoint Him, what then? What then? No answer comes. And now I am already inside, burning under the hostile gaze of everyone in the room. Oh, God, it is a regular dinner party! They all know, they all accuse, they all wonder how I gained entrance. Even the maidservants stare.

But there He is, and he is not looking at me. He is attentive to a conversation which He has just begun with someone on the opposite side of the table -- almost as though He is deliberately distracting attention from me -- and others are joining in now, too. The oppressive, silent accusation is lifted, and I make my way to Him. As I remove His sandals, he doesn't flinch, and I begin to weep. He is letting me touch Him! He is letting me touch Him without fuss or ceremony; I didn't even have to ask! As my tears fall on His ankle accidentally, I realize how dirty these feet are. Whatever water I can, I use; my tears shall cleanse Him even as they cleanse my heart from so much worry, so much shame. All my memories of sin, I pour out of my eyes; all my wishes to begin again as a new woman, become tears to wash away the dust on these precious feet. But what shall I use to dry them? Even my clothes are tainted by my past life -- I cannot dirty these feet anew by using defiled veil or dress. But my hair is mine, God-given from before I fell away from him. Pulling back my veil, I loosen its combs and let its coils tumble down. Gently, I dry away my tears and try to calm the tremors in my stomach and hands. How can He be allowing this? He still has not even looked at me!

Finally I reach for my jar. Though this ointment cost me nearly all my ill-gotten fortune, it now pales in the face of what this wandering prophet has given me. I no longer desire any vestige of my sinfulness, any remnant of this life, and I break the neck of the jar on the stone floor, emptying its entire contents on the feet before me. The noise and smell which soon overpowers the room immediately bring attention back on me, and I hide my scarlet face by bending and kissing once more His now-pungent feet.

Then I hear his voice and feel a gently hand on my head. "Simon, I have something to say."

What ensued I can hardly admit even to myself. He described my actions beautifully, as if they were favors to Him instead of supplications, and then He turned to me, raised me up, and forgave me. Then, taking my veil and covering my head again, He said, "You shall no longer be a woman of the streets, but a woman of the Way. Come, follow me! You can stay with Simon Peter's family, and they will give you new clothes. With them, you will serve and follow me and my disciples."

A new life! A new path! I rejoiced even in my astounded state, and Simon Peter led me out through the streets to his mother. I am leaving everything behind! Everything, except those things stored in my heart...which, Simon points out, are all that He desires me to keep anyway.

Then I -- once again QM (her blog) -- went back and spoke with this Jesus who had just asked me to come and follow Him. I began to understand that the Lord is asking me to come now, and leave behind my life in the world to join Him as he travels to Jerusalem and to Calvary. My service will be to Him and to others on the Way for the rest of my life, to be on the inside of the circle of disciples and to stay there, not going out to minister to those outside.

"But why, Lord? Why should I not care for those others?"
"Because other apostles will do so -- and you must care for them."
"But they don't have the mind I have, nor the talents..."
"...nor the heart! And it is for that very reason that I ask you to come with me. For you need and desire to be formed in my own Heart, before you can use all these gifts to the utmost for my glory. You must learn to be one with me and my Way, so that when you do finally write and speak, it is with my words and my Heart, not your own. This is not a case of what is right or wrong, or a case of what is good or bad, but rather a case of you. And because it is you whom I call, I call you to this life."
"So, just to be perfectly clear, Lord, are you asking me to serve you as a contemplative nun?"
"I am."
"Then, the Passionist Nuns?"
"Then, the Passionist Nuns." He smiled.
I fell to my knees. "Lord, have mercy on me, a poor sinner."
This has been the weblog of Quantitative Metathesis, who departs on the morning of August 19 to begin her aspirancy with the Passionist Nuns in Whitesville, KY. You may catch glimpses of her new adventures at their own blog, found here. Please pray for her, as she does for you!

May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ be ever in our hearts!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

War and Sand Art

I saw this first on The Anchoress website...

This video tells the story of life in the Ukraine during WWII. I read her piece and it made me search to verify the facts...This country was one of the most devastated In WWII. They lost almost 25% of their population and accounted for nearly 20% of ALL the people killed in the war.

While the young lady's talent is obvious, her message is moving and I believe it was meant to make us stop and think. We should never forget the cost of war!

Sand Art

Monday, August 17, 2009


Matthew 19:21-22 is the story of Jesus telling the wealthy young man to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor.

The world today constantly tells us that success means having lots of money, lots of things and lots of influence over people. Here was this young man who had achieved all of that; yet Jesus told him that if he really wanted to be successful he needed to get rid of all he had. Jesus was telling him that success in life is not found in what we get; it is found in what we give away.

What do you value in life? Are they material possessions? Hobbies? Careers? Goals? What good are these things if they stand in the way of you committing yourself completely to Christ? Can any of these things really bring you happiness and joy? In a world that values things, we must learn to value faith in God above all things. Kind of goes against the grain of what we hear every day but, who are you going to believe?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'll Fly

I can't hear this song without thinking of my Nanny. Think of the mountains of NC, tent meeting, summer nights, guitars, banjos and fiddles. It may be different than what you're used to but it was a wonderful way to worship! I'll always remember feeling happy and safe and loved!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bad Things

During a conversation the other day, someone asked the inevitable question..."Why does God allow bad things to happen?"

Do we really expect God to prevent car crashes or divert bullets or stop sickness or violence? Do we expect Him to make sure that no one is ever harmed or killed? While He does have the power to do so, is that what He promised?

The world is full of pain and suffering...the real world that is. Because He has given us the gift of "free will", our actions will always have consequences and many times they are bad consequences. Are we to expect only good? Can we learn and grow to be the people God asks us to be if we never experience sadness?

God doesn't cause bad things to happen but He does allow them. He works on us through tragedy, disappointment, tears and pain to bring redemption, reconciliation and peace. We must accept that because of man's actions, we live in a fallen world. God is and always will be in control but most of the time we won't really reach out to Him unless we are to the point of desperation. He will turn evil into good, darkness into light and mourning into joy but we must take the first step. Reach out your arms and cry "Abba, Father!"...He is there for you.

Youth of the future

Gavin has written a bit of fiction concerning youth in the year 2040...kind of got the wheels turning. Check out the story (it's short!)!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

St. Francis

WHERE THERE IS LOVE and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.
Where there is poverty with joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.
Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.
Where the fear of the Lord stands guard, there the enemy finds no entry.
Where there is mercy and moderation, there is neither indulgence nor harshness.

- Francis of Assisi

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun in the Sun

Spent Saturday white water rafting with the youth group! What a fun day! If you haven't had the chance to try it, you don't know what you're missing!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


95% of the time, I have on a necklace that contains a "nugget" my children gave me and a cross. Why do I wear them?

Obviously the nugget is important to me because of the source. My children took great pride in giving me a gift that was not "home made". While some of my most favorite gifts ever are the ones they fashioned out of paper, glue and crayons, this represented a better gift in their eyes.

We have all seen celebrities wearing crosses merely as a fashion statement. If you see me wearing mine, and you don't know me, is that what you would think? It's not huge and covered in's plain gold and only about an inch long. The point is, I don't wear it for anyone but me. During the course of the day I may become discouraged, I can touch the cross and remember God's love. If I am fearful or uncomfortable, I can touch the cross and know God is with me. If I'm struggling with my faith, I can touch the cross and know that even though I may have doubts about God, He doesn't have them about me. If I am angry or resentful, I can touch the cross and put whatever is happening in a better perspective. If I'm feeling happy and thankful, I can touch the cross and remember the Giver of all gifts.

The bottom line is, I wear the cross as a sign of my faith. And not for the world, for myself. The symbol itself cannot show the world what it's like to live life as a gift from God, but my actions can.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Worth Trying...

I recently read an article by Kevin Thomas called "A life worth trying". In it he talks about his struggles with the future considering today's economic crisis. But as I read, something jumped out "...Our goal as Christians should be to find that place in the world where our greatest passion meets the worlds' deepest needs." He goes on to challenge the reader to choose to attempt greatness.

Somehow greatness is not a word I would associate with myself or my work with the young people. But that's okay, I don't have to be known as Amanda the Great! I can choose to ignore the culture of fear that surrounds me and take each new step in faith. I most certainly cannot accomplish God's work if I live a fearful life. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment or any other of a number of fears will only block God's plans.

The very act of calling myself a Christian requires me to believe God's hand will guide, comfort and protect. My job is to keep myself in a place that I can hear and know His Will...oh, and have the courage to act on it. I know you've heard time and again the stories in the Bible of those God chose to lead His people. Stutterers, criminals, harlots and the like...they weren't picked because they were equipped to do the job, but because they were willing!

I am blessed to have the opportunity to do something I love and to spend time with people who inspire me. I will take the step and God will lead the way.