Oct 31, 2008

53 Days 'Til Christmas

Here's Kajumi with her black cat, wishing you an EXTRAordinary day! We are on the last day of October and Christmas is just 53 days away! Yikes!

Christmas Shopping Online!

I found a website called It is a virtual goldmine for retrieving shipping deals on most of your favorite stores. As you prepare to Christmas shop online, this site is a must! However, after locating your shipping deals, if you would link to your merchants through my shopping portal, I will be eternally grateful! You will be saving $$$ and my family will receive a percentage back on ALL of your shopping!!!

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Oct 30, 2008

Spiriitual Sundays - Chuck Colson

Re-Ordered Priorities - Turning Back to God
By Chuck Colson, October 31, 2008

It sounds like the storyline of an old Frank Capra film—You Can’t Take It With You, or maybe Meet John Doe.

The story is one of economic collapse, followed by a reassessment of values. People gather in their churches for prayer and pastoral guidance. As the economy worsens and soup lines form, people begin finding ways to help needier neighbors—and telling their children to earn some money if they want the latest toy.

But the story springs, not from an old movie, but from a modern neighborhood, and it is told in, of all places, the Washington Post. Staff writer Donna St. George spoke with local citizens who say the economic meltdown has led them to re-order their priorities.

Among them is Kerri Wright Platais of Garrett Park, Maryland. Platais, the mother of two children, says that she has been listening to conversations in the neighborhood, at church, and near the grassy fields where her children play the games of autumn.

As she told the Post, as the economy melts down, she’s hearing people ask themselves “about life’s larger priorities—about what is important and why.”

“We have to go back to the things that are really important,” Platais explained—“people and relationships, and … love, and your faith, and your neighbors.

”Platais told St. George that her neighbors are recalling the hardships endured by their parents and grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II and learned the meaning of sacrifice. Her own generation has never been called on to make these kinds of sacrifices but, Platais notes, the economic downturn “is a reality call to get back to the basics.

”I’m old enough to remember it—the sacrifices my family experienced in the Depression and World War II. I can’t ever remember anyone complaining. We were too busy helping neighbors who were worse off than we were.

St. George also found that, at local churches and synagogues, clergy are now retooling their messages to address the spiritual needs brought on by the economic downturn—and retooling their kitchens to keep up with the suddenly long lines at church food banks.

Well, hallelujah! I have prayed for years that God would do something to get our attention, to shake the Church, so that we would repent of buying into the consumerist culture and ignoring our call to be salt and light in the world. And if it meant an economic slowdown, well, painful though it is for all of us—myself included—we can thank God He may use it for that purpose.

This little story in the Post is a parable of the times, a sign of what is redeeming about hard times. The bad economy is driving people to back to the Church, back to thinking about more important things than the color of their new car.

And as God is tearing down these false idols, we are seeing healthy signs of renewed spiritual yearnings. You and I ought to take advantage of this with our neighbors, who may be willing for the first time to talk about the faith that sustains us. Be sure to find sensitive ways to be a blessing to them—both physically and spiritually.

And while you’re at it—perhaps after you finish planting your own vegetables—rent one or two of those old Frank Capra movies, films that taught Americans how to trust God and love their neighbor even in the toughest of times.

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Oct 29, 2008

We Never Know...

Leigh Chan Kay, my church's roving photo journalist, snapped this picture during a gathering at the Platt's 2007 4th of July party. The 2 ladies at the end of the table are Linda Platt (left) and Antoinette Puglia (right) alias Maude or Mama Puglia. Here they are, side by side, not knowing that very soon they would be making their journey to heaven. What a homecoming that must have been and what remarkable ladies!

Oct 27, 2008

At Home with Kajumi

It began with Facebook. Karen, my pastor's wife, recently invited me to join and I did so reluctantly. To my delight, I began to enjoy the hookups with church and biological family, as well as friends past and present.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN! There is no shortage of applications on Facebook! I immediately received requests for SuperPokes, little cyberspace gifts, pillow fights, interactive farms, various causes, and games. I even designed, RetroBliss, a gift application. Balance became a key objective.

Kajumi's Master Suite

Well, I was minding my own business when young and playful Autumn R. invited me to participate in Pet Society. Since Nano Pets had arrived on the scene after I was an adult, I seized the opportunity to create a surreal little creature that would take it's life from me (or take the life out of me.) I named my pet Kajumi, short for Karen June Miller. She arrived with just enough in her closet and trunk to sustain her for a few of days. The rest was up to me. To ward off flies, I established a feeding, bathing, and exercise schedule; and I began to decorate her ever expanding nest. I was in control.

Kujumi Smiling for the Camera

I invited Lela to play. Lela and I are both 50 years old. I reserved a house in the neighborhood and her new pet, Pinkie, slipped into our Pet Society life with grace and loveliness. I continued to calmly accumulate coins, belongings, and points. I was winning trophies and easily passing the status of my neighbors. I was ahead by a substantial margin. I was in control.

Then, I logged in to perform daily maintenance and Pinkie, who had just been several hundred points behind me, was now well in the lead. I was amused that Pinkie was beginning to dress like Kajumi. After a moment of silence, I prompted Kajumi to quickly begin skipping rope, visiting friends, jumping hurdles, and sending gifts, all in an effort to regain her standing. I WAS IN CONTROL.

Pinkie (left) & Kajumi (right)

My next visit to Kajumi showed me once again that Pinkie was not the passive little pet that I had assumed her to be. My plans to blog were waylaid, and suddenly I was compelled to make even larger strides to create distance between Pinkie and Kajumi. I began to borrow sugar and share food: two strategies that I devised to stay on top. I was checking Pet Society more often and monitoring the activity of other pets. Yes, I had become competitive! I WAS NOT IN CONTROL!

Then reality slapped me on the side of my head. I had watched my sons compete intensely with all of their electronic gadgetry, telling myself that I could truly play a game just for the fun of it. It wasn't important if I won or not. It was just a game after all. And, here I was at 50 years old, frolicking with virtual pets and chalking up points as if my life depended upon it. Uh, excuse me while I check up on Pinkie...

Oct 26, 2008

Today's Bouquets

Good Housekeeping - September 1925

The theme of this post is change. I found my name on the sign-up sheet and I frankly don't recall putting it there.
  • Due to financial pressures, my daughter and her fiance are postponing their wedding until March of 2009. It was originally slated for January. Thankfully, this will involve minimal adjustments, a breather, and more time to meet goals.
  • A home that we had desired—before moving to our present location—has become available. The owner contacted us first. We met at St. Arbucks yesterday to discuss the logistics. We will be moving in around December 3rd. One fabulous feature is new wood flooring throughout the home. Good-bye allergies!
NOTE: The above vintage magazine cover reminds me of how fleeting moments can be. My daughter is now 21 and it truly feels like these years have been a vapor. I can still feel her breath against my neck and chest as we napped together, her tiny body lying lengthwise across my torso.

Spiritual Sundays - Humbling Ourselves

My childhood understanding of consequences carried with it a negative connotation. I thought consequences were always the natural results of wrong choices. Years later, I realized that consequences were good or bad, and sometimes even a bittersweet mixture. For instance, I once needed to address an inappropriate situation within a ministry. The consequences entailed my family leaving for a much healthier church environment; but it was 2 years before a specific friend would speak to me again.

The behavioral model in our home is "Choose a behavior, choose a consequence." As I explain to my children, this is a truth that will shape the coarse of their lives and even the destiny of a nation. Ronald Reagan illuminated 2 Chronicles 7:14 in one of his eloquent speeches. It was indelible to me. I also find it interesting that the number 7, the Biblical number for completion, is included in the scripture's address 3 times: once by itself and then doubled.

With our economy and political future teetering in the balance, I believe we can once again use this passage to very possibly alter what the media is prophesying over us. If we will just humble ourselves...

2 Chronicles 7:14 (New King James Version) 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (Amplified Bible) 14 If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (The Message) 12-14 God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, "I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I'll be there ready for you: I'll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

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