Jan 27, 2009

The Mystery Gift

So a couple of weeks ago, I got a comment from a fellow blogger (who shall remain anonymous, you know, as per the eyewitness protection program). No biggie, right? 'Cause we get comments from each other all the time...

Oh, no my sweet. Not like this one. This one had such an element of mystery and intrigue that Dr. Watson himself would have trembled upon receiving such a thriller. Here's how the comment read:

"Hi Chel. I was looking for an email address and couldn't find one. So I'll just leave my crazy question here. A bloggy friend has a gift to send you (anonymously so I'm enlisted to help). They want your address. A p.o. box will do fine.

You can email me at...(email address removed to protect the eyewitness).

I'm not a stalker or anything. I am a bloggy friend of Edie. But she's not the anonymous gift giver. Anyway, let me know what you think."

I felt like it was "safe" to include Edie's name since her friends are innumerable anyway.

So I suppose you wouldn't have been in some kind of spinning delirium upon receiving such an astonishing request?

I feverishly replied to said eyewitness, explaining my unabashed curiosity...and then came my compliance. What else could I do? I beg you, tell me.

And then, my mind began racing through all the possibilities. I mean, really, it can take a long time to get through about four of them. And why would they make such an offer anonymously? What could they possibly gain from that?

I was also told that the "giver" of this fine gift was not planning on revealing him/herself at all. Like...ever. Can a girl sustain such a grave secret? I think not. Yet, my eyewitness tells me that she's been sworn to secrecy.

She also alluded to the fact that she could be persuaded, if given the right "encouragement," but I digress.

And thus, I was forced to wait.

Wait for a clue. Wait for a sign. Wait for a box.

Oh the torture! How could I go on?? How could I think of anything else...besides when the doggone mailman was gonna come?!

And then he did.

Smiling and glowing and singing in the background. Angels were fanning their wings over my back porch as the long awaited parcel (that really only took a couple of days) made its way to my doorstep.

Oh, the anticipation was remarkable. Even my kids were bubbling with excitement! What is it? Who is it from? Who is it for?

I promptly let them know that this one, my sweet child, is for ME. Thank you.

The first thing I looked for was the return address. Well, I could tell that the one who sent the package was a professional...the marker on clear tape was smudged just enough to prevent me from making a determination on a name. Hmmmmm.... But my keen eyes did detect a very important clue. Two letters, all caps: SC

South Carolina.

I carefully cut the tape on the box with a pair of scissors, the crescendo in the air building to monstrous heights....

Questions were racing through my mind faster than my hands could rummage through the huge air-pocket packaging. Who had handled this box just a few days before? Who's handwriting is that on the front? What IS IT??

And then there it was. Beauty and goodness and excellence wrapped in one black leather binding.

A 1941 copy of the New Testament of God's Holy Word.

I was speechless. How strange that someone who may as well live in the Netherlands could know my abiding affection for old books. Especially old Bibles. How did they know?

And then the flood came: my Christmas video "vlog" post for Linda's "I See What You're Saying" event. I spoke of my delight of old books, preferably Bibles and/or Christian living and /or Christian biographies. I shared about the book that my darling husband gave me for Christmas.

And then I remembered a comment I received about that post.

Oh, the puzzle, it is fitting together nicely now.

Here's what the comment read:

"Hmmmm I have something sitting right here that I know you would love. Maybe that could be the first gift I give in the new year." -- Greg C


Guess where the mysterious Greg C lives? Many of you may already know...in South Carolina.

(insert music: dum dum dummmmm)

Thanks to my acute ability to read, I have swiftly and surely solved the Mystery Gift, eh, mystery...thank you, thank you very much. Hold your applause. No, no...go on.


But Greg, seriously, I want to say thank you. I have no doubt it was you, so don't bother to deny it. :-) You are just the type of person that would box up a beautiful old Bible that you had in your possession, and write a lovely letter to go with it, and send it to someone you've never met in real time.

Speaking of the letter, in lieu of posting it in its entirety, I thought I would share some of the things that this dear friend mentions in it:

First of all, the fate of this Bible was changed one day as our friend, Greg, was many moons ago working for it's previous owner. This farmer asked his young employee to clean out a storage building behind an old shed. Greg found a bunch of old books, so he asked his boss where he wanted them. Much to my dismay, the farmer said throw them out.

Ugh...I know.

So our friend did what any self-respecting individual would do: he snooped. And then he kept some of the interesting ones instead of throwing them away. One of those was this Bible.

On the front page is inscribed a name: Vida Dawson Kennedy. Greg said that what he knew about her is that she was related to the wife of the farmer he worked for...and she is somehow related to JFK. Looks like our friend, Greg, has some more investigating to do. Because this is the kind of information one likes to know! (just kidding, my friend).

I do want to share the conclusion of the letter for you, because it touched my heart greatly.

"You are getting this, Chel, because I truly enjoy reading your blog and you are an inspiration to many of us who read it. So Congratulations and don't even ask who this is from. Just know it's from someone who reads your blog daily and thinks you are special."

And it's signed -- "Me and God"

A third reason that I know Greg sent me this book is because I instinctively hear the same "voice" in my head when I read his letter as I do when I read his blog. Y'all know what I'm talking about!

So Greg, please know that I love it. I really do. It fits quite nicely with my collection, and one sweet day, I will have my barrister bookcase to put it and all its new friends into. Until then, they are all lined up on my dresser insuring that they keep that wonderful old smell contained within them.

Please peruse through the beautiful Bible and all its marvelous surprise contents via the pictures I took...and in the words of a very special blogging friend...have a nice day.

Click to play Old Bible Mystery Gift
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Whole Buncha Fun Bloggy Stuff

B*Sherrie at A Little Piece of Me tagged me for this meme, so here is how it goes: When you are tagged you have to share 7 things about yourself, and then tag 7 other people (bloggers) to do the same.

Off we go...7 things I will share about myself:

1. I was lost, but now I'm found.

2. I am an only child. I guess my parents had me and decided they couldn't take any more. Oh, I kid y'all. Really, I do.

3. On my dad's side of the family, I was the first girl born in nine generations. (Maybe that was the problem?)

4. Ironically, my grandfather's namesake ended with me. He had my dad and one brother, who still doesn't have any children. Since I am an only child, and a girl who took another last name on my wedding day, there is no one else to carry on my maiden name. At least not for "our" branch of the family tree. My grandfather had SEVEN BROTHERS, though, so someone else did the carrying on.

5. I'm left-handed. Apparently that makes me part of 7-10% of the world's adult population. It also makes me a "south paw" in baseball, but if I played regularly, I could be a switch-hitter as I can use a bat from both directions. I am, however, forever grateful that I was not born a left-hander during ancient or medieval history. They didn't see it as a favorable sign. At all.

6. I took computer programming courses my first several years in college. I have no idea why. I doubt they even use any of the languages I had to learn back then. Believe me, I would much rather wipe snotty noses, clean dirty diapers and wash immeasurable mounds of laundry than have to program computers. God really does know what He's doing, people.

7. I liked B*Sherrie's number 7, so I'm going to keep it: I desire to be more like my Jesus every day. And I'm going to add: I have a long, long way to go.

Here's who I'm gonna tag to do this meme:

1. Chel at Abiding Branch
2. Gwendolyn at All's Fair in Love and Chocolate
3. Elle at Fingerprints on My Window
4. Jennifer at Three Sons & a Daughter
5. Meg at Life at Lonesome Pine
6. Merrie at Merrie Days
7. Tiffanie at Our Life

I was tagged by Edie at Rich Gifts for a Picture Tag. The instructions say to go to your picture files, pick the fourth folder and the fourth picture in that folder and explain it!

This is "baby Noah," who really isn't so much of a baby anymore! If you've been reading here for a while, you may remember a post I wrote about him and his desperate need of immediate prayer. He still needs prayer, but so far he's doing well for all the issues he has. You can read his parents' blog here.

Also, Sara over at Make Music from Your Heart to the Lord had a contest and I won!! Here is the beautiful camera case she sent me:

Isn't it so "au courant" and cool?! I love it. Sara's a girl with some snazzy taste.

And lastly, but certainly not least, I was graciously given an Award by Michele at Michele's Morsels Beelieve:

I would like to bestow this Goodness Award to:

Angie at Sonflower
Sara at Make Music From Your Heart to the Lord
Dena at Green Acres
Angela at Redeemed

Each one of these ladies has blessed me with inspiration, smiles, and a good, old-fashioned warm heart tug. You should go check them out. I love to read them and I think you will, too.

Okay, I'm going to leave this post up for a day or so, and then I will post my explanation on the mystery gift I received last week. THEN, I have to tell you about my experience Sunday. It was surreal. I can't wait to share...

Jan 25, 2009

Project 365 -- #4

Here we are...week #4 of Project 365. A whole month of pictures for this year. Can you believe how crazy-fast time flies? Me neither. Here's my week in pictures:

Sonday, Jan. 18
Tim Tebow wearing John 3:16 on his face during the Gator game last week made an impression on my boys. Unfortunately, all we had were stickers that instead of John 3:16, they are John Deere. ha!

Monday, Jan. 19
I don't know why, but for some reason that Mini me was very, very sleepy for school. Does this look like a boy who just woke up and had breakfast? That was a long morning.

Tuesday, Jan. 20
It was so cold that morning, that when I opened my pantry, I noticed that my olive oil had a cloudy look to it. I took it out to find that it had congealed like pig fat left out overnight. Ewwww....
My pantry literally felt like a refrigerator!

Wednesday, Jan. 21
Sara, the one who hosts this fine project you are meandering through, had a contest at the beginning of the project, and guess who won the beautiful camera case you see displayed in all its cuteness? Why, yours truly, my dear!
Thank you, Sara! You are a fantabulous Hostess!

Thursday, Jan. 22
Brown Eyes working on his school work before we leave for the afternoon for our co-op classes. Be still my heart.

Friday, Jan. 23
This is a picture of a mystery gift I received from an anonymous blogger friend. Come back tomorrow to find out more about this interesting enigma!

Saturday, Jan. 24
Saturday morning cartoons.
Ahhh...to be a kid and have no worries...

A special shout-out to Sara at Make Music from Your Heart to the Lord for hosting another week of fun pictures! Now go check out hers and the rest of the bunch!

Have a worshipful Sonday!

Jan 18, 2009

Project 365 -- #3

Here it is, week #3 of Project 365! This has been an absolute blast...hope you enjoy my pics as much as I enjoyed snapping them.

Sonday, January 11
Never a dull moment around here.

Monday, Jan. 12
This was really a strange day; we actually had a couple of
flies in our house...in January.
I don't know if they were confused or what...we never see flies this time of year.
This is Lil'bit keeping them under control.

Tuesday, Jan. 13
This is my most favorite Journal that I've ever used. It's a Psalms Journal, and when you open it, you find a Psalm or a collection of Psalms from the same theme. Then a WHOLE page on which to write whatever your heart pours out in worship. Fantastic.
This was a Christmas gift given by my sister, Chel at Abiding Branch.

Wednesday, Jan. 14
Okay, I apologize that these last few are so small...I guess I won't be compressing my pictures to web compression anymore! Lesson learned.
These are my note cards that I have collected over the last several years and have stored in my treasure box. It is an opportunity to "treasure up" all that God has done in our lives recently.

Thursday, Jan. 15
DH and Brown Eyes showin' some love.

Friday, Jan. 16
Brown Eyes finally had his birthday party with his friends over.
One morbid little boy kept insisting that someone decapitated Wall-e.
Hasn't he ever heard of a portrait??? Sheesh.

Friday, Jan. 16 (again)
Too good to not put this in here. :-)
We had 9 boys for the party, but 6 boys to stay the night.
I don't know what I was thinking; from the looks of this picture, DH was probably wondering the same thing.

Saturday, Jan. 17
The morning after.

Join others at Sara's Make Music from Your Heart to the Lord for more 365 fun!

Jan 13, 2009

Where Your Treasure Is...

Have you ever been through a Beth Moore Bible Study? I've done several of hers, and I'm here to tell you that this one is quite possibly my most favorite ever. It's been several years since I went through it, but it made such an impact in my life that I've never forgotten it.

The study goes through a very detailed look at the life of Jesus when He walked this earth 2,000 years ago. When we got to the part about His birth, God used Beth's incomparable ability to take us inside the minds of the people involved.

Particularly Mary.

Beth speculates Mary's thought processes as best we can understand them from clues in Scripture. We get a glimpse of her thoughts while the angel appears to her and later to Joseph, during the time of her visit with Elizabeth, and her cousin's full understanding of Who was conceived in Mary. She contemplates the close call of the actual birth, and the sudden provision that was made for them so she could deliver the Messiah. After the birth, Scripture tells us that she heard the shepherds and their proclamation, and then she "treasured up these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

The summer before I went through this study, I taught Vacation Bible School to a roomful of active kindergartners. On the Wednesday night of that week, we had Parent's Night, which was a performance night the kids did for the parents. Each of the preschool classes sang a song before the big children's choir gave their presentation.

Maybe I was just a lousy music teacher, but there was no way those kindergartners were going to learn a whole song in three days with all the other activity going on...and then perform it for a large group of strangers. No singing, no way.

So I just taught them some hand motions to the song that they could follow, and for each of the parts of the song, I had props that several kids could hold up at their appointed times. It was pretty simple, they caught on, and it was an overall success. One of the props I made was this treasure chest.

It was turning out to be so pretty that while I was making it, I prayed and asked God to help me find good use for it after the presentation.

As He always is, He was listening to His simple child's simple request.

Later in the fall, while digging deep into Luke Chapter 2 with Beth Moore, the Lord gave me an idea to use that sweet treasure chest.

In the study, Beth gave us a more clear understanding of Luke 2:19 than I had ever had before. The word for "treasured up" means "to preserve, as by holding close." Think of holding very close to your heart something or someone dear to you. Then the word for "pondered" means "to throw or put together." The picture here is that of a puzzle. She took this person's testimony, and that testimony, and this person's input and that, and then put them all together so as to see a bigger picture.

Here's where the idea for the treasure chest comes in: I took that sweet box I decorated, and put a pad of paper in it. Every time God does something that is remarkable, when I am faithful to remember to do it, I write it down with a date on a piece of that paper.

I have taped a piece of paper to the inside of the lid that has the Scripture and the definition of the two phrases that struck such a chord in me. That way, if something were to happen to me (as it surely will one day), my family will remember what it was for.

As part of the Legacy, when my boys are all grown, we can sit together and look at all the marvels that God did over the years that our feeble minds are unfaithful to recall.

In this box, I am treasuring up God's goodness and evidence in our lives so that one day, we may all ponder them in our hearts together. We will relive each one, but at the same time be able to piece each one together and see the much bigger picture that God is so much more active in our lives than we think sometimes.

I am so humbled by that thought.

Jan 11, 2009

Project 365 -- #2

Here's my second week of Project 365. If you still don't know what this venture is all about, go check out Sara at Make Music from Your Heart to the Lord to see what a great many of us are doing for 2009.

Okay, so here's my week:

Jan. 4
I am overlapping last Sonday because I could not NOT include these two in this project.
This would be the before picture...

...and this would be the after picture. So fun!

Poor baby. This is Monday morning, Jan. 5, and my little Brown Eyes has a runny nose.
Have YOU ever tried to read a book and keep your nose from running?
He sat like this the entire time he was reading. Sweet boy.

Tuesday, Jan. 6 -- This was the day I went Turkey shooting in my backyard.
With my camera, of course. :-)
I couldn't believe how many there were!
This isn't even all of them...they were spread out so far.

Wednesday, Jan. 7, Mini me was playing with his train...again.
He loves that thing. This is the caboose we added to the family train this year.

This is the love of my life. Today, January 8, is his birthday.
He is 28 for the eleventh time. :-)
He is facebooking....again.

Friday, Jan. 9 -- it was a beautiful day, so after the boys were done with school, they got a long afternoon outside. One of the many times I looked outside to check on them, this is what I saw. This is the neighbor's horse.

Saturday, Jan. 10
A friend and his family took our family out to eat dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant for his birthday, so this was his "homecooked" birthday dinner on Saturday.
Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy,
and I believe there are some buttered green beans somewhere on that plate.

Well there it is! This has been a lot of fun, and if you haven't been doing this, it's really not that hard since you're only posting them on Sundays. Have a great week everybody!

Jan 10, 2009

Lego Star Wars Never Saw This Coming

My oldest son, Mini me, has a deep and ardent affection for Legos. He also has a particular preoccupation with all that is Star Wars.

Here's what you get when he puts the two together:

I know,
it's exactly what you expected, isn't it?

Please notice with me the numerous books and the pencil laying on the, um, storm trooper's computer desk. And Obi-Wan Kenobi keenly standing behind overseeing the progress. The book on the left corner of the desk says, "Star Wars Episode I." And the pencil is actually a piece of lead (I know it's graphite now, but we still call it lead...go figure) that fell out of one of his pencils that day. I wonder if that was his inspiration...? Stranger things have happened. Especially with him.


The Master of the Lego Star Wars Schoolhouse Universe.

A boy after my own heart. ♥

Jan 4, 2009

Project 365 -- #1

So think of my 2009 Sunday posts as being kinda like a Wordless Wednesdays, except it's a week's worth on Sundays.

Sara over at Make Music from Your Heart to the Lord is hosting the Project 365 every Sunday through the year 2009. I thought this sounded like a fun project, so every day I will be taking little snapshots of our life together and posting a week at a time on Sundays. I'm pretty excited about it, because that means at the end of the year, I will have a picture for every day of this year! (You know, provided that I actually TAKE every picture that I'm supposed to.)

So take a gander, and if you'd like to learn more or see other people's pictures, go see Sara at the link above. Have a great Sonday!

New Year's Day Stuffed Sandwich

New Year's Day (#2) Seven Layer Dip
It was too much effort to try to pick only one of these.

Jan. 2
2008 was the year we discovered how much we love clementines.

Jan. 3
We began taking down the Christmas tree today. These are our "family ornaments." Every year since DH and I were dating, we have bought an ornament and have written our names and the year on each.

Jan. 4
After church and disassembling the tree, it's time for an afternoon nap while watching football through the eyelids.

See you next Sonday!