"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

My Blogging Year in Review complete with listings of the posts that have been read the most, as well as my personal favorites:

Top Three Blogs since I began Blogging in 2010:
1. An Open Letter to the County Fair Board - (I don’t even understand this; sometimes I just wish it would go away.  ;-)  )
2. Touched by Laughter - (My favorite post; simply because of its importance)
3. Hard Evidence - (A gift to my son.)
Top Five Blogs in 2011: 
1. More Little Things
2. And So....
3. Spending Treasure VI - The Innocent
4. Perceptions, Profiles, Politics and "Prophets"? ~ EC-5
A list of my favorite posts from each month that I wrote in 2011:

JanuaryA Walkin’ Talkin’ Country Song And Other Interesting Characters - It’s about my son, what can I say?
February – My favorite post this month: Spending Treasure VI - The Innocent
March – I have two: The Sergeant and the Gentleman: A great humorous story in which I had no part, except writing about it. And In Loving Memory of Mama.
AprilRidin' Shotgun - A post about accepting the fact that my job as “mom” has changed.
MayMore Little Things – My beloved Israel; as well as Appreciating America - "With Elation and With Tears"
June Changing of the Guard, and My List of Things to Do - Spending Treasure IX
JulyThat Which Remains
SeptemberAnd So....; The Real McCoy; I like both of these for different reasons, obviously….they both involve my sister.  And So...., because it is about a beautiful family occasion, when my nephew married his high school sweetheart…and The Real McCoy because it is about such a wonderful memory of an extremely enjoyable evening; but also, because my sister told me how much she enjoyed this post.  That really surprised me…she is not a country music fan. Hmmm... tough month for selecting a favorite…I also liked Labor Day Reflections.  Oh, and Where Were You?  Again, I like this one because of its importance.
OctoberFingernail Moon - Spending Treasure - X
NovemberWinter Joy
DecemberSpending Treasure – A Tender Touch
So there you have my Blogging Year in Review.   I enjoy blogging.  I enjoy writing.  I’m not saying these are the best written posts, they are simply my favorite.  Most of the time, I don’t even know why; probably because I feel passionately about the memories they invoke.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I have always followed politics. I have always been concerned about what is going on in our nation. I believe that as Christians, we have a responsibility to work to keep the freedom of religion we enjoy in this country.

If Christians won’t protect that freedom, then think about with whom we are leaving that responsibility.  If Christians will not be concerned with the decline in morality in our nation, then think about with whom we are leaving that concern – or more likely lack of it. The innocent lives often discarded?  Who will speak for them? Because of these kinds of issues, I have always had a strong political “bent” that many may not understand.

It is often said our brave soldiers in uniform put their lives in danger for those that would rail against them. Our American soldiers know this and are prepared to protect all of us anyway.  God bless them!

Likewise, I believe we can make the same statement about those protecting our religious freedoms. I have always believed that there are those Christians who are blessed with the marvelous gift of evangelism – the "Billy Grahams" of the world, so to speak.  But I also believe there are Christians who are gifted to protect the "freedom of religion" in our nation and the right we have, to speak of our faith. These names will be no less known than that of Reverend Graham, but probably a whole lot less popular; individuals such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Jay Sekulow, among others. Individuals such as these have worked diligently to preserve our American freedoms, and sounded alarms that awakened complacent Christianity at a time we needed to be awakened.

I find it troubling when we as Christians, do not always recognize these men for their work in the Kingdom of God.  I have never understood how we can refuse to acknowledge that these men also are doing the work of our Lord, and that they too, have been gifted from the Lord for their work.  Their contribution is every bit as important as those who strictly evangelize; for without them, that freedom to evangelize might have been lost a long time ago. Furthermore, men in these positions are not neglectful in other areas of God’s work.  They too, work diligently in spreading the Gospel; and organizations like Pat Robertson’s Operation Blessing are usually first on scene to bring aid during natural disasters across the globe, for example.

With all that said, I understand that politics does not lie in everyone’s interest. Some would rather not waste their time with these kinds of things…or they may believe in taking another direction than I do. God most likely has an entirely different office for some. I believe God would not have some distracted by such things. Instead, I believe God has freed up evangelists to do the work He has for them, while trusting the Jerry Falwell’s to do another type of work in which He has equipped them.  Basically, there are some Christians behind the scenes that actively “have the backs” of those that are gifted to evangelize.

Without a doubt, we are all commissioned to spread the Good News. This is absolutely our responsibility. There will be times we do that first hand, and there will be times that we do that by simply supporting others; for example the overseas missionary; or even the television evangelist. Evangelism is so very important! I only hope we don’t discredit, or underestimate the importance of “the soldier” who is left defending those freedoms through the nasty business of politics.

My in-box is full of messages from groups asking action against things that are taking place in our nation.  Never before in my life, do I remember such a time when so many things are going wrong! Never before have there been so many matters that require our attention so that our freedoms might be preserved.  There is so much taking place, at times it almost feels overwhelming.  There is no way one can attend to it all…and we don’t have to! And we certainly don’t have to panic; we have a God, to Whom we can turn. 

However, I also believe I have a responsibility to at least respond to some of these issues at hand; to work toward the things that I believe, as much as I am able; to respond to what God has put in my path. I do believe this is a crucial time for America, and if we are to remain the most evangelistic nation in the world, the one who is always the first to bring aid to a hurting world, now is the time we must work harder than we have ever before worked.

In the past, I have used Butterflies and Rainbows to express and share some of my concerns.  With so much taking place, and with so many things heating up, I have decided a blog entitled “Butterflies and Rainbows” is not really the best place to express some of my views and thoughts.  Really it is not fair to readers that do not wish to be involved in such things, or that might believe differently.  So, I have decided to create an additional page for the concerns I have for what is taking place in our nation.  If you are interested, you can read my posts at http://watchfrommywall.blogspot.com/.  I will continue posting at Butterflies and Rainbows for lighthearted and carefree issues of life.  Heavier posts will be at Watch From My Wall.

Either way, I hope you will continue reading at least one or the other of my blogs!  ;-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to Normal

All is peaceful and still. The sun is shining brightly through my living room windows, revealing a light layer of day old snow on the otherwise brown pasture and lawn.  Though I am still in my robe, (yeah, I like cozy) the horses are fed and watered, munching contentedly on their breakfast.
Belle Amore

Everyone else remains sleeping and I won’t wake them. The holidays tend to wear on ones energy, even if they are joyous, celebratory occasions.  So my guys will get extra sleep today, before they start their new week.

My lab is now submissively lying at my feet, after fetching her new Christmas bone for me a time or two when I came in from feeding the horses.  The beagle is like the other two guys; having still not moved from his comfortable bed, complete with coverings.

It’s been a wonderful Christmas season; filled with all the things I love: family; friends; shopping; Christmas parties; church services; and even some old fashioned caroling and quiet, evening drives to see the extremes in outdoor holiday decorations. With these decorations, one can almost always tell who is celebrating the birth of our Lord, and I never seem to tire of saying, “Oh!  Look at that one!”

The weather this winter, in my opinion, could not be more perfect.  I don’t ever remember a December with so much sunshine.  The temperatures have been mild and the snow, enough to give us a taste of winter’s beauty, but not so much that we tire of shoveling and driving slick roads.
Christmas Party

I’ve heard from almost all of the people I love to hear from this time of year.  You know; the ones that you hold dear, deep within your heart, but with whom time and miles have now limited visits to only once a year – now, is that time of year.

Christmas Treat

Things will mostly get back to normal soon. Another week and “normal” will be in full swing. That would be our prayer, anyway. Having said “normal” is our prayer: Yes, I understand “normal” will not be without stress; some strife and challenges that require us to rely heavily on our Savior. “Normal” will not be without learning, lessons in life, and welcoming the unknown that arrives at our threshold. “Normal” is hopefully staying on the path our God has planned for us; working at those things for which we have been graciously equipped for just the right moment; and running the race set before us – choosing priorities in the proper order. “Normal”, we understand, will be what is best for us, if we simply “trust and obey”. Obedience and trust, we also pray, will never be ignored or forgotten.

Normal will be laughter and tears, conflict and peace; "normal” will be wins and losses; pain and joy; and probably more than a few frustrations, but which are hopefully trumped by love. With “normal” we have victory, and because of a miraculous birth and a cold, cruel cross which lead to a glorious Resurrection, "normal" is without defeat.

With that in mind, we gratefully look forward and welcome 2012 and the miraculous we find in "back to normal."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"The conduct of the wise men is a striking example of faith. They believed in Christ when they had never seen Him – but that was not all. They believed in Him when the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving – but that again was not all. They believed in Him when they saw Him a little infant on Mary’s knee, and worshiped Him as a king. This was the crowning point of their faith. They saw no miracles to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them. They saw no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a new-born infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother’s care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Savior of the world. ‘They fell down and worshiped Him.'

We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief. The thief saw one dying the death of a criminal, and yet prayed to Him and ‘called Him Lord.’ The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshiped Him and confessed that He was Christ. Blessed indeed are those that can believe in this fashion!"
                                       ~ J. C. Ryle

Merry Christmas, Family and Friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Tender Touch - Spending Treasure XI

We arrived early, so we decided to walk over to the coffee shop for a hot drink before service.  I simply wanted coffee, so I grabbed a cup and walked over to an empty table while Matt stood in line for a specialty drink.

As I stirred the flavored cream into my coffee, someone walked up behind me and tenderly touched me on the shoulder.  “Look at this,” he said, “Bring back any memories?” 

I burst out laughing.  It was a photo of our first grade class - just a few years ago. ;-)

 “Oh, Buster!” I exclaimed.  “You saved our class photo, too!”  I was certain that among my photo archives, I still had this photo as well as all my other grade school class photos. 

“Can you name everyone?” he said.

“I think so!” I replied, as I started at the bottom row, and named the kids that I remembered so well, even all these years later.

When I struggled with remembering someone, he helped me.  Once in a while he would say, “Oh! That’s who that is!”  Between the two of us, we named almost everyone in our first grade class. There were only two kids that neither one of us could remember.

We also reminisced about some of the kids that weren’t in this photo, but who had obviously been placed in the other first grade class at our little grade school.  For our entire elementary years, 1 – 8, in this old-fashioned, country school, there was always two full classrooms of kids the same age.  It was a fairly large group for this time, with about 22- 25 kids in each classroom.

It wasn’t long before our memories of the students changed to memories of teachers, occasions, and the school itself.  We were having a pretty good laugh, when another person in that photo joined us as well.

“Roger!”  (The names have been changed – just because)  “Did Buster show you this?” I laughingly asked him.

“Yeah, he showed me,” he replied with dry amusement; but he joined in whole heartedly with our “walk down memory lane”. 

It wasn’t long before Matt joined us as well.  “OK, you guys; don’t tell him!  Let’s show Matt the photo and see if he can figure out which ones we are.”

To our surprise, Matt did not guess correctly any one of us.  Not even me! Even with only one row of girls! I didn’t think any of us had changed that much!

But oh, how we had a good laugh over all of it! Most of all, it was so heart-warming to be able to share stories from 50 years ago with these brothers in Christ.  That pretty much says it all. That may not seem like a big deal, but with the way our area has grown; as rare as it is for me to run into someone from that time; as big as our church is, being together, almost like 3 kids again, seemed nothing short of a Tender Touch miracle. 

I even found myself wistfully wondering if the three of us had been placed in that class room together all those years ago, merely for this moment today. There is just something special in recently realizing this is where we all ended up all these years later after four decades of no contact at all.  A little over the top? Maybe; but it at least makes me think this is a bit of an example of what things will be like in Heaven. Still over the top?  Yeah, probably not even close; but it was definitely a Tender Touch of treasure for the moment.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Same Circles

I received an email today, from my gentleman friend that discusses politics with me from time to time.

I have never met this man, but a couple years ago, I had written a Letter to the Editor of our local paper and apparently, he didn’t like some of the things I said in my letter. I’m sure my name came up in conversation somewhere, due to this letter, because it wasn’t long before a mutual friend contacted me to let me know that this man would like to have my email address so he could discuss my letter with me.  My friend asked me if it would be alright to share my email address with him. 

“Sure” I told her, “Go ahead and give it to him.”  I had known of this man through politics in our area for some time, and I had read many of his letters to the editor as well.  I also knew he was a Christian.  He requested connections with me in the correct way, and my friend also handled it appropriately. I appreciated that she didn’t simply give out my email without asking me.

Anyway, because of that, he and I have corresponded through email over certain issues ever since.  Most of the correspondence is regarding Ron Paul, and I very comfortably explain: “He started it!  I just continue it.”  He has an email list he utilizes, to routinely send political information. I have explained my position to him thoroughly, and suggested a couple of times that because of our differences, he should remove me from his mailing list.  He has not removed me (thus far); so I continue to email him back from time to time with my rebuttal.  Fair is fair, after all.

Most of the time I enjoy our discussion; sometimes I do not. Today was one of those times that I most definitely didn’t enjoy it. So to temper my anger at his comments today, I walked away from it for awhile to try to decide exactly how I wanted to respond.

This is a very pro Ron Paul area where we live and I would suspect that I am not particularly popular in some circles, because of my position; though no one locally has ever been rude to me. I don’t believe I have ever been rude to anyone either regarding these politics; I certainly have never intended any animosity or impolite behavior.  I am a firm believer that discussion is not only good, but important and necessary.  How does one learn ones position, if we are afraid to discuss these matters?  How does truth prevail, if not for debating both sides? How does one decide for whom to vote, if one hasn’t researched a candidate’s position? What better way to do that than to find out what others might know, or may have observed?

No, these primary politics are never fun, but they are indeed necessary and an important part of our election process.

Not long ago, I went to an event where I was quite certain there would be many Ron Paul supporters.  Had I been anywhere but my hometown, I’m sure I would have felt a little bit like Daniel walking into a lion’s den. But locally, I have never been treated poorly for my views.  Now, nationally; it is another story - I know I ruffled feathers even when I didn’t intend to, by the attacks that I received over comments I made, simply because someone asked my opinion.  Talk about a set up! And Ron Paul’s supporters are known to be the “most faithful” – sometimes read “aggressive” - anywhere.

Anyway, a good friend was also at this local event. This particular friend is one with whom I have had a few Paul discussions. He gave me a big wave and a sparkling smile as he does every time I see him. I was relieved; he always remains as friendly as ever, despite the recent ratcheting up of events in the political arena.

His good nature and affability is always heart warming; and I think a lot of him, his wife and their beautiful family.  His consistent amicable attitude toward me caused me to reflect on one of our last discussions.

We were at a public place, but it was somewhere where a political discussion would not be out of line.  In fact, it was somewhere where discussion would be expected, as politics was the nature of the event.  He and I were bantering back and forth a bit, and he was no doubt winning the debate, fully prepared for anything I might throw back at him. Plus, I have never been one to quickly “think on my feet” verbally.  I felt I was holding my own, however.

It wasn’t long before a man approached us and said, “Man, what are you doing to this poor lady?”  My friend laughed as he hugged me and told the man, “This is a family friend and she is no POOR lady!! She is doing just fine!” We both had a sincere laugh. The debate was over, but his final comment made me feel really good.  It told me, I was holding my own, and that despite our differences, he still respected me for my view point.

I appreciated that so much.  I love that there are people that appreciate the dialogue in the same manner that I do. He wanted to share his views, because he believes in them so strongly, but yet he still allowed me to share mine knowing I believe the way I do just as strongly as he.

There was a time in my life I would never speak up like this, but as I get older and time gets shorter, (and so does patience, I guess) I now speak up more often.  I know one isn’t always able to do that with everybody. Sometimes dialogue must be curtailed; sometimes it can’t take place at all.  But through the example of this friend and the kind manner in which he has consistently treated me, hopefully I will always remember to treat my “email friend” just as respectfully.  I know I will try my best to respond kindly to his disturbing email; but no doubt, I WILL respond. My beliefs require it.

I do look forward to the day when this gentleman and I eventually meet.  I know we will one day.  It seems we travel in the same circles.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Than A Name

Saturday, December 10th, was the Second Annual Ceremony for Wreaths Across America.  Well that is, it was only the "second" one for Matt’s squadron; but actually this ceremony began several years ago because of a young man with a profound desire. I wrote about the history of Wreaths Across America last year on my blog, so I won’t repeat the information, but I hope you will take the time to read about it, here.

As I said, it is a new endeavor for our local squadron. Matt was the one that had actually found out about the ceremony to honor our Veterans at Christmas time who have passed away.  He worked actively to bring the ceremony to this area.  While wreaths are being placed on graves across the nation, wreaths are simultaneously being laid at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C. It is a very worthwhile program and it was once again a very moving ceremony at our local cemeteries for the second year in a row.

I was mildly disappointed, because instead of having the whole squadron lay the wreaths at both cemeteries, as they had in the past, this year the squadron was divided into two teams and half of them presented the ceremony at Riverview, (the new addition to Forrest Lawn) while the other half of the squadron laid the wreaths at Memorial Gardens.  It probably made the most sense to do it this way to save time, but I didn’t like it quite as well, because it felt like we missed out on what was happening at the other cemetery.

However, this fact certainly didn’t detract from the program. Things began with the National Anthem, as Civil Air Patrol stood in formation; the First Lieutenant gave a meaningful and thoughtful speech honoring our veterans and pointing out freedoms we would not have if not for these men and women of our armed forces. Next, a wreath was presented for each of the Five Branches of Service as well as one for the MIA’s.  Matt, as Lt. Colonel, led the flight in formation and also was honored to be able to present the wreath for the Coast Guard Branch of Service.

After Taps was played, the public in attendance was invited to aid in the laying of the wreaths.  I am so thankful to be able to participate in this activity.  It is such a heartwarming experience, and gives one pause to reflect on those that have so proudly and honorably served our nation.  This year, Wreaths Across America formally asked that as participants lay the wreaths on the graves, we take note of the name and branch of service from a grave of our choice and later take the time to research the veteran to see if we could learn a little bit about him; this making it more personal. The person then becomes more than just a name or statistic, but a person who was, in fact, very real.  I loved this idea, and the veteran I chose was a WWII veteran whose grave was embossed with the Scripture reference “Matthew 27: 53 -55”.  I am excited to start researching this man and hope to write more about him later.

It was a cold 22 degrees F. while we worked, but the chill barely noticeable in all the activity.  When we were done with our task and we got back into the car, my husband headed our vehicle north to the next activity on our agenda for the day.  I knew we would be passing directly by the other cemetery, and I secretly hoped we could stop to see what the wreaths looked like at this cemetery too.  Though I hadn’t said a word about it, my husband pulled the car into the cemetery at the first entrance.  I couldn’t have been more pleased.  As we approached on the south side of the cemetery, headed for the military section, I softly asked my husband to stop.  We were passing my brother-in-law's grave and I could see someone had laid a wreath on his head stone.  I knew in a moment it was on his stone. It was beautiful, and the fact that someone had found his grave to lay a wreath there this far from the military section really warmed my heart.  As I went over to the grave just to spend a minute, I was especially moved to see a small token I had laid there months ago, was still there.  I went to the car and asked Matt to get out and take a picture. 

Once he did, we went on to the Military Memorial where the bulk of the wreaths had been laid.  Last year, snow covered the ground in a deep layer of white; this year the ground was frosty green and the sun was shining brightly.  It was every bit as lovely as last year. We stopped for more photos, and then went on our way feeling like we had at least done a small part in honoring some of our nation's finest at Christmas time. I remembered the cadets last year stating that they wished we had a wreath for every veteran in both cemeteries. They were a little bit closer to that dream this year and as the years progress and this program becomes more well known, I'm sure they will one day meet their goal. And I also have a feeling there will be many others whose day will be brightened; hearts softly moved, with the surprise of an intentionally meaningful and decorative Christmas wreath placed on their loved ones grave.