Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Another thing I like to do is to go through my closets and make sure all is in order and I have everything I need for the next few months.
I yearn to clean up the Christmas ornaments and have a sparse, clean home for awhile, but I am still in a festive mood and I'm not ready to get rid of any of it yet. In a few weeks, I'll be right there.
The last thing I need to do is to write down my year. I have been doing this for quite some time now. Some years seem barren, like there was a long wasteland where nothing happened. I start by thinking back to the year's beginnings and add a few items. Always by the end, I find that I and my family have moved forward and a lot has indeed taken place. It is a wonderful thing to read these and see how faithful God has been to "crown the year with (His) goodness." Psalm 65:11
I also need to do a good long "CFO" letter, one of those letters from God I learned to do at a Christian family camp years ago. I have done short ones regularly, but I need at least a three pager. That's when things start to flow and are awesome to read in the future.
I haven't done resolutions for a long time, but this year, I would like to try to keep the spirit of Christmas all year long, and to remember to praise God in all things, as He has asked us to do. This has been such a sweet time for me and I don't want to lose my gem amid all the outside bustle. When I re-enter the routine, I want to take my treasures with me.
Next time, my thoughts on the New Year which I also love. Nancy
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
It probably seems selfish to be this way. And when I worked full time, I had to do "my thing" the week after Christmas which I had off from the kiddies at school. Now I can do it ahead of time and I will. It's just listening to Christmas music, looking at the lights, spending more time than usual with my Bible and readings, and just enjoying my immediate family and helping them since my things are basically done.
This time is so sweet - this pre and even after Christmas time. I just love to linger. One thing I hope is that I will be able to carry the spirit of Christmas with me every day of the New Year. Just like old Ebeneezer Scrooge and George Bailey. Which reminds me. I haven't watched my favorite Christmas movie yet. (Guess which one) See you soon. Love, Nancy
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It just seems like the Christmas cards of the nativity draw me more than usual. The people seem friendly and I feel so much more like saying or shouting, Merry Christmas! Most of all it is the Christian hymns and carols that I love. The farther into the versus you go, the more meaningful the words for me. "Joy to the World" says in a later verse, "He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found." That is what Christmas is all about. Jesus came to show us the love of the Father, to destroy the works of the devil, and to save us from our sins on the cross. Joyous, joyous news!
There are some people on my followers list who can write beautiful praise to God every day. I wondered how they could just do that. They must be praising God a lot during the day. What a glorious way to live. Today was harder to press into praise. It doesn't always just come. I couldn't remember any songs. Things didn't flow. But I am going to do it anyway. My Christmas prayer is that God will help me to continue this new way of life that has given me such joy and that I will not to go back into other thoughts during the day that are not helpful.
I prayed about what to say here. It's not about me. It all is in Him and from Him and I am so very thankful. Merry, Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
My favorite part of Christmas decorations is the Christmas tree and my favorite part of that is the multicolored lights I put up that remind me of my childhood tree. I especially love the way the lights shine on the glittery glass balls.
My plan is to turn out all the lights so that it is very dark and nothing can be seen. Then, I turn on the tree and light gleams and shines and radiates all over the whole room.
It was a very dark time in the history of the world. Rome and its soldiers were in control of nearly every facet of life. Into this world, Jesus came and shone so brightly. The people saw a great light.
The more you look at the tree lights, the more beautiful they seem. When we look deeply at Jesus during Advent (the four weeks before Christmas,) we see more and more of His radiance.
Some people don't like my lights. Some people didn't like Jesus. But what a contrast against the night!
Prayer: Father, I thank you for the True Light that came into our world at Christmas. Thank you for all that He means. Amen.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
"...and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice." I Kings l9:12 NKJ
I was hungry for the Lord. I had missed church because of a family emergency a while back. When I miss the Lord, it seems like I try to fill my mind with nonsense or I get busy with daily tasks until I can find my way back to Him. So during the week, I was looking through an envelope of coupons that came in the mail.
You know when you're really hungry you want meat and potatoes? You don't want cake and ice cream. That's how it was. Each coupon was something I didn't need. It all looked so cheep.
Then I spied it. On one side of a page there was a children's sponsorship program and a scripture of how God loves the little children. It touched me deeply. There among the worldly advertisements was something of eternal value. It greatly encouraged me. God can interject Himself into the midst of the world and its ideas.
With that little heart tug, I was on my way back.
Prayer: O God, help us to hear your voice amid all the clamor of this busy season of life and turn to you. Amen.
You know, God yearns to meet with us. Will we notice when He speaks?
Friday, November 27, 2009
I decided to do a collage. That way I can use free paper from the magazines. I cut three pieces of my nice paper into 5" by 7" pieces. Then I scoured the magazines for pictures. I also used this book I have which lets you use stencils and make up your own clothes. It's for about 13 year old girls, but I have always wanted to be a clothing designer, so I got it. I had fun designing outfits and arranging curios around the outfits. There is a moment when you know you are "in the zone" and things just hop to and fall into place. That's the high point of creativity for me. After that, you just go on calmly and what you want to fit, fits. You find just the right piece, etc. After a time, the "perfection" wore off and I had a bit of trouble making things work. That doesn't change the fact that it is a wonderful process and I love it. I have about two more sessions to finish my collages, then they should be masterpieces. Yeah, right. They will be creative works that were a joy to produce. That's a good thing.
After all the work of that first session, I had all the fun of putting everything away. My house was neat again. Don't you just love the whole "mess, create, clean-up cycle?" I do. Nancy
Monday, November 23, 2009
These are just the trimmings of a wonderful day. When I think of the original pilgrims crossing a treacherous sea just to worship the way they wanted, without some authority telling them what they had to be and do, well it was worth it for them. How they made it through the winter and learned to survive is amazing. And yet, in spite of the cold, little food, and the deaths of many loved ones, they somehow managed to have a grateful heart. No whining little pity parties. Just a bold, brave, determined and free people giving thanks.
I like to think of that sturdy band of saints this season, because we all are having difficulties with similar situations. I hope we can look past the paper cutouts, the huge dinner, and even the family gatherings to pause and thank our God for His bounty and continued blessings. That's what I want to do. His faithfulness this year has been so precious. For me, it has been a good year, family wise. I thank You, Lord.
I'd like to extend a wonderful wish for a blessed Thanksgiving Day to one and all!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Once, a few years ago, my friend and I visited a farm where sheep were kept and there was a store with wollen gifts, the finished product. We visited the store first and then went to the barn. Several animals attracted our attention and we petted them and admired them. Then we turned and looked directly at a bunch of sheep looking straight at us. We had been talking and in the quirky way I have, I started talking to the sheep in quiet even tones. They lifted their heads, grouped together and stared. The more I talked, the more they seemed to eat up what I was saying.
This experience held me in its grip. Never before had my words had such an audience. I could see why people say sheep can be led astray. I could have led them astray. The power could have been heady, but I was totally humbled, even with an audience of sheep.
Right now I am watching my new grandson who just turned five months yesterday. I got to spend this "birthday" with him. When I am with him, I am also humbled at the responsibility that my words and looks have. He is my audience and I desire greatly to do right by him. Every word spoken and every action has consequences. I want to speak and sing and act love, light, and truth into his day. What an awesome priviledge that is - one I hardly take lightly.
There is someone innoncent watching your world. The person could be 80, 50, 20, 12, or younger. They could seem naive or be hard looking. There may be light inside yearning to see some truth. It's important for all of us to be aware that we could have greater influence than we think. Someone is following you with hope. Think of my vivid picture of those sheep, just staring at me and focused on all I said. There is one Good Shepherd and we may some day be able to lead them to him. Right now, we can all be kind and loving shepherds to those around us. Who are your sheep? Who is watching you?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Today you were full of My joy and thoughts of Me. It was a gift. You did nothing to cultivate it. Wasn't it a glorious day?
You praised me on the way to work with a light heart - not as one who is trying to do it against your feelings (which also is good!)
You were joyful because you received hope yesterday. You believed My word and not the "helpful" suggestions of the best meaning of friends. You knew I had spoked to you and you overcame doubt and believed. So today you had joy -it was still a gift. All day you fellowshipped with Me. Let's do it some more. It all starts with believing My written word and what I spoke to you in various ways. Your scripture today, Psalm 119:162 tells of My word as a treasure. When My Rhema word is a treasure to you (it is beginning to be) you will have joy and you will just naturally look to Me at every moment. Have another blessed day. You know The Way.
Love, Your Abba
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Big deal, you say. Anyone over second grade can do that. Yes, they can, but it doesn't change the fact that it is a miracle. How many years did it take before man learned these wonderful tools? Think of all that has been done to imporve upon them through the ages.
Dogs can't do what I do. The wondrous whales and dolphins, the mighty eagles, even ancient trees are all bankrupt about language. They have much value, but they can't do what I do.
If I can participate in such a minute and inventive pursuit without even thinking about it most of the time, then certainly God's message is true for me, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthen s me." Phil. 4:13 NKJ. The Lord ordains the things I do, if I align my life with His. What I do has meaning, whether great or small, because He causes circumsances to line up for me according to His choosing. He creates miracles, like the many phases of communication, all the time, for our pleasure, for His glory.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Right now, I have this eye medicine that I'm supposed to use. The doctor gave me samples when I was in two weeks ago. On my last appointment, I told him I was almost out. The other doctor gave me a bottle to use when mine gave out. What I didn't know at the time is that the bottle I was using was more empty than I thought. And the sample has exactly 1mL to last almost two weeks. I know I can call if I need to, but I don't want to get some perscription at the end and then have to waste most of it. So I have been turning the bottle upside down and rubber-banding it to a hand cream bottle to hold it steady. So far, I have gotten four more days out of it(8 drops.)
The Lord showed me this is like the barrel of oil that didn't run dry. It's like the oil o f the Holy Spirit. When you think you're dry or "run out," He keeps pouring oil. My cream finally ran out and my bottle will be gone and even the oil in the Bible story stopped when it was time, but the Holy Spirit has an unlimited supply. Watch God pour out that Oil on a dry and thirsty field.
(Saturday was my six month anniversary of blogging. When I started out, I didn't have much to do, so I could devote lots of time to it. That was good because I needed to get a running start. I am rather busy now with lots of wonderful things. My blog still means a lot to me. I enjoy all of the friendships very much. I won't announce my "birthdays" until the year mark. That will be in the spring. By then, I may have some time freed up. Whatever happens time-wise, I appreciate all who have been a part of this new enterprise of mine. God bless. Nancy)
Monday, October 19, 2009
When my sisters and I were small, we spent many days at my grand-parents farmhouse. We are standing in front of an enclosed stairway. To the right is a parlor which my grandmother called the little room. Here she had a beautiful piece of furniture called a secretary. Starting from the top of the piece was an oval mirror and hat rack. Next came a slanted desk with three drawers below. To the left were shelves covered by a curved glass.
In the second drawer, we found all sorts of scarves and linnens. We were allowed to play with anything in this drawer. In those days, women and girls wore scarves around their heads and tied at the chins, babushka style.
The scarf I am wearing on the left was black and white shiny material. The one my sister is wearing on the right was white with flowers and a deep blue border. It was very soft. We spent many happy hours being princesses, ladies, and brides. My heart and mind go back to those days so many times.
The beautiful secretary now resides in my living room. It provided the backdrop for many important occacions at the old house we used to have as my children were growing up. For all these reasons and more, I treasure it. Because of all the pictures taken before it, I call it my record keeper. What do you do to catch a memory?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I got my first apples of the season and the orchard is just down the road from me. Empire apples are a bit like Jonathan and a bit like Macintosh. So delicious and crisp.
I decorated for fall. This isn't something I have to do. It's something I love to do. I was a bit late because of all my busyness. I changed my candle from blue to burgandy, put out a few duck decorations, a few china pumpkins, put a fall boquet in my brown stone floor jar, dressed our American Girl dolls in darker colors and put fall cards in my wire card holder which I display above my cabinets. I never know how its going to turn out. I just start and God and I play with decoration.
I went shopping and got two new pairs of shoes. One pair is pumps and one is tie shoes. The tie shoes are a combination of Keds and athletic shoes. I love them. Also got three plaid tunic/dress things to wear over jeans and an undershirt when it gets cold. Plaid is so in this year. I know I'm too young for the look, but I just couldn't resist. One is my favorite tartan - Dress Stewart. And I got some perfume. Oh, happy day. A dear friend from church gave me two lovely bottles.
I'm blessed to be watching my grandson two and three days a week. Those are fun days for me. I still need to see the eye doctor about every 10 days or so. We are still in "what happened?" mode. God has assured me that at the end of all this are two clear eyes. He is so faithful.
I got two new jobs at church that I am very excited about. They are both in the area of my giftings so I am hoping to get started soon.
Lastly there's blogging and housework. The first I love and the latter I enjoy most of the time. The Lord has been showing me that He took care of me for the first portion of my life and I did a lot of worrying during that time. He said He was using this eye trial to help me learn to let Him carry the burdens. He said He didn't want me to waste any more of my life on anxiety. The latter years were to be the best years and I was to trust Him. So I hope you are likewise enjoying this wonderful fall season. If you live where the seasons don't change, come to Michigan. It's a stunner!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The story revolves around four friends, three boys and a girl, who love books. They live in the l950's. I will try to do a portion of a chapter on each Friday until the book is completed. I would love for my blogger friends to see if it is appropriate for their children and let them read it if they wish. Hope you like it. It will be under my pen name of Gracie Prior. See you Friday. Nancy
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The sweet perfumes have always been my favorites. Way back when I was a teen and was first allowed to wear perfume, I loved Woodhue. Then in college, a fancier and similar scent was Ambush. Then I got used to Sweet Honesty by Avon. On one Valentine's Day, my husband and I were beginning our lovely meal when the waitress handed me a small present - a bottle of perfume. It was called Bakir. Very heavy and sweet, but I loved it. Haven't seen it around lately.
There are some modern scents that are very popular, but I don't care for them. New brands I am considering are Tuberose Gardenia and Burberry. I get those samples from magazines, cut them in half and actually wear them. Every once in awhile I get excited. That happened with Gardenia and Burberry. The trouble with Burberry is that they have several different fragrances of that name and I don't know which one I tried. It was fantastic. It may have been the one with the plaid on the box, but I'm not sure. That would be cool because I love plaid. I'll have to investigate that some more.
I might just have to use up my paper strips unless I can get a small bottle of something somewhere. One thing I don't want is to be like the lady in the theater whose scent is way ahead of her. No, I want to wait for the lovely words, "you smell so nice today."
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
There is no place where my love cannot go. I have sent you to be a minister of that love. I have equipped you, even you to carry this out. A rose I plant along the way. I tell you – I command you to look at the rose. The thorns are only for your protection and I have created a perfect rose.
Look to the rose. It may be fragile and wilt early, but you are not yet experiencing the full benefits of eternity. Not a preserved rose or an artificial rose do I want in you, but one which blooms for one shining hour and then is taken from the stage where other roses bloom.
I love you. You are my perfect workmanship – created over time in my image. There is no rose in all my garden that is anything like you. You are an original creation.
Don’t think that because you are fragile I don’t love you. It’s the nature of roses. Not all my children are roses – some are sturdy oaks, others bending willows. I have made you delicate to be a thing of beauty. Rejoice in my love.
You are my “Desert Rose.” That song was written for you. It will bless others, but you are my special Desert Rose. Last year, I spoke all about roses and how you are fragile. Read that along with this and see the place you hold in my Kingdom.
You think you haven’t grown or matured, but you don’t see what I see. You are buried deep in the soil. Don’t you know that you are about to send your first shoot up to form the plant? Your tears have watered the seed and caused it to burst open.
There are so many vulnerable people just like you. I have given you the ability to speak for them and express the details of that type of life. They will be amazed that someone else can feel what they feel. Now do you know why you had to go through the desert, O Desert Rose? Don’t worry about how or when I will accomplish this. It will be your ministry. It will be your life. I have created you to speak to and for my shy, inhibited, tenderhearted, hurting ones. And the Desert Rose will glorify Me, the True Rose, The Rose of Sharon. I love you.
My dear child. I see the growth in you. I planted it, watered it and now it is beginning to spring forth. Will not the sower, the planter, the gardener also harvest the crop and use it for its intended purpose? I say “I AM” and I will. See how contented you have become. Isn’t it better here in my arms than anywhere else in the world? Yes, my dearest one, you will be used in my service. When I say ask – I want you to ask. When I say believe – I want you to believe.
Your sons and daughters are mine and will be mine for eternity. They are called to “such a time as this.” They are unique – like any rose whom a loving gardener tends. Keep watering your roses. The desert will bloom.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Several years ago, I tried to solve the problem by reading before bedtime. Actually I always did that, but this was a determined effort to get lost in a story and get drowsy. I found that non-fiction, especially the kind of inspirational non-fiction I like not only didn't get me drowsy, but it made me excited. That was exactly the wrong direction. So I searched all over for great stories. The problem was, the good page turners kept me up till 3:00 a.m.
Now the good news. I found an herbal supplement that helped me a little bit. It was enough to give the pshchological effect of thinking it was helping anyway. So I got a lot more sleep. Then the baby came and I started babysitting.
Now, I am trying to reschedule my sleep time from about 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. and sleep until about 6:30 a.m. on those days. If I got right to sleep, I'd be good.
I have been going to bed earlier because I don't want to strain my eyes with books for a little while. It has been great. Last night I went to bed at 10:30 and went right to sleep, but I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep which I always could before. So since that was seven hours, I finally got up at 7:45 and called it a night. That's when I realized I am changing my habit and I hope it takes. Those hours are more in tune with the working world. We'll see how this goes. Have you ever tried to drastically change your sleep hours? Did it work? I'd love to hear how you succeeded. Have a great weekend. Nancy
Thursday, September 24, 2009
On another note, it occurred to me that I forgot one of my favorite parts of CFO in my last blog. We had something called creatives. There were music, art, drama, and writing. I used to try music every other year, art usually every year since I minored in art in college, and drama at least twice. All the youth showed up for drama and I got to see my teenage boys showing their values in impromptu skits, things they would never say to me. I did drama in highschool and enjoyed participating. Then of course there was writing. Here is where I learned to do my letters from God. We were told to listen and write what we felt He was saying. I enjoyed them so much that I did an annual CFO letter, even on years I didn't go.
One year soon after that, I was at a Christian Women's Conference in Fla. and I met Stephen Strang. He sat at our luncheon table. He was editor of Charisma at the time. I also met Maureen Eha from that magazine and she told me to write what God showed me each night. That is what truly started my large stash of letters that I now quote from and treasure.
The Lord has been doing some incredible things for me in the last few days. He showed me through several stories and a "live happening" that what was going on with my eyes (lack of distance vision) was not what it appeared to be. I got lots of Words and encouragement that He is in charge and that His word is true.
Has God ever shown you by a life experience something He wants you to know?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
For about eight years, my children and I were blessed to be a part of Camp Farthest Out, Mi. This is a place where for an entire week, families live in dorms on a campus and have a full day with the Lord. You strart with breakfast, then morning praise at chapel, hear an anointed speaker, go out on the lawn for rhythms, and then lunch. Afternoon is an intense prayer time in very small groups. Then swimming in a pool, dinner, evening praise, another sermon and fellowship.
Since parents are pesent, the kids are free to play together on all "off" times. Every age, from babies to young adult has a special place and proper programs. My children got so much from every year and their friendships have been such good ones.
I want to return to the chapel and my evening. We sang CFO songs I didn't know at first and every year I longed to sing them again. They were full of passion, and inspiration and love for my Savior. My favorite was called "And I will not turn back." I think it was in a minor key. I thnk a lot of them were, for they held me, gripped me, made me want to give my all.
At the end of the week, we had to literally "re-enter" life like the astronauts did when coming back from space, for we were coming back to the world and we had been in heavenly places.
I want to go back there, but I cannot go back because I'm not the same. I was much younger,much more innocent of heartache. Still, the Lord said He would help me find a place like that, not a locale, but a heart destination. Till then, I'm undone. I'm not in my place and I yearn for His great breath to carry me away to the place where He dwells.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
When I finally got in the operating room, I kept waiting for the jab in the head by my eye that I knew was coming. In the prescreaning period, they had done a lot of bright lights in my eye and measuring, and "looking right here." So when the surgeon said that, I did it. He said the anesthetic would be kicking in soon. I kept waiting for the jab. I'm still doing a lot of looking. I see what looks like two halves of something in different colors. My mind is getting groggy, but I hardly realize it. I can still do what the doctor says, "blink, look up, look down." I hear them
talking about what rooms they can put me in. Suddenly I realize it's over. I never got the shot. He was a sneaky one. He must have put it in the IV, but I don't know when. The operation took about 15 minutes. I had revcovery and went home.
That whole day I was a pirate with a pinpricked eye patch over my left eye. I watched a movie that way and made it to the next day.
You can imagine how glad I was to lose the eye patch. I could see pretty well. I found that if I wore a contact in my right eye, things were almost normal. I went back for a checkup Friday and they said I was doing well.
Today I'm typing with my one contact and the implant. It is a bit hazy, but that is supposed to clear up as the days go on. So that's my report. God is so good. I couldn't have had a better surgery experience. Thank all of you who prayed for me. The next eye will be fixed on Oct. 1.
My goal is to "see clearly" for all the reading and writing I plan to do. Nancy
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Phil.2:13 NKJ
One morning I was having trouble praying. I was sleepy and my mind lacked the thoughts and ideas it usually has at night. I believed this to be a bad thing, but God gently spoke and said, "no, that's good." He showed me that you couldn't fill a full vessel. Unless I'm emptied of myself, there's no room for Him.
At night, I sense the Holy Spirit's nearness. I feel inspired and so full of the things I think God may want do through me. If I pray, God will hear and work it out.
The problem is, I am so focused on myself and tend to plan along with my prayers. Perhaps this hinders God's true work.
In the morning, when I feel very unspiritual, God seems far away. Knowing God can direct me and there is power even though I don't feel it or sense His presence, I take courage. By faith, I know that my prayers are heard and God can work through this empty vessel. Even better, when I fill myself with the Holy Spirit, I am full of something very good that can go out and bless others.
Prayer: O God, we ask to be filled with more of You. Guide and direct us as we pray. Amen.
(Just want you to know that tomorrow I am going to have cataract surgery on my left eye, followed by surgery on the right one in two weeks. Don't know how the in-between vision will be, but when both eyes are done, there's a good chance I won't need glasses for distance and I should be able to see my computer a whole lot better. I am very excited about this. I'll continue the wonderful story when I have more news. Nancy)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
In addition to these tidbits, I write my favorite scriptures out when one verse touches me. I also use 7 notes to write out my week. Yes, I have a calendar and it is duly marked, but it is just so helpful to have one daily paper to work from, CROSS THINGS OUT likt Toad did in Frog and Toad, "The List." Then I can throw the list away.
Another thing I do, you might wonder at. I periodically go in my room and list what dressy outfits I'm going to wear for each Sunday, usually for a 3 month season. I don't have to do this. It's fun for me. I love playing with clothes and figuring out outfits. If on that day I don't like the outfit, I can make one up. It truly does save me time on Sundays. I'm always at church early.
My family looks at my notes and screams, "get a notebook" I've told you I have notebooks. Many of them. I have tried things with planners and other ways. I just have to have most of my current info right in the left little drawer of my desk. When it won't close, I put the notes in categories of folders and throw the rest out. Now it's ready for the next time.
This is my guilty little secret. I'm going to have to get busy sorting soon. Am I alone? Can anyone relate? Nancy
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Even I can't believe it. To think the wedding was Sun. and I got a pic up the next day. At the last wedding in '02, that wasn't possible.
Not only do I get to have early pictures, but my sister asked me to join Facebook recently so she could put some of the shower pictures there. We finally connected. My daughter -in-law, Rebekah, put me on and after the wedding, my newly married son, Joe asked for my pictures. I had to get help again. This time my daughter, Dawn, put a whole lot of pics on for me. She showed me how and I finished the rest. Now I have three other albums from "friends" to look at and I hope more show up as well. It's fantastic! It's amazing! What will they think of next?
I know the techno people are already way ahead of me. They always will be. I'm just glad I got on board when a wedding was at hand because it made sharing so much easier. And my joy at sharing things with my blogger friends is the most fun of all. Thanks for staying tuned. Nancy
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This was such a great day for me. The weather was gorgeous The bride and groom were radiant. Mom was extremely happy. The park was in Ann Arbor, Mi. and there were several barns for a backdrop, one of which held the reception. Tables were all set up with fall decor.
I can't tell you how satisfying it is to see your children with all their friends, all enjoying a special occasion . It was so sweet. It was funny and unique, just like the bridal couple. They are the adorable people surrounding me on the left.
My husband is in center, then my bridesmaid daughter, my daughter-in-law, baby Ty, and my second son. It turned out to be more than I could ask or think, just like the Lord promises.
Just want to add how happy I am to have my new dauthter-in-law, Sandra in the family.
Friday, September 4, 2009
But for now, the Victrola is on and there is mosquito netting on the porch. The lady has a palm frond fan and she has begun to fan herself nervously. There is a little breeze. She stops and listens to the man with the suitcase. It turns out they are both borders of the same house and will be staying there while they are in college. She is going to be a teacher. He is what? I don’t know. Maybe an architect. He has lots of ideas. He used to help his dad build and he saw things that did not exist. He dreamed what was not out of the substance of his imagination.
He is happy to meet the lady. His plans are open. He treasures new friendships. The Victrola has stopped and someone on the porch plays a ukulele softly. These are most certainly all cliches, yet they paint my picture. The honeysuckle is so thick on the trellis; the scent hangs on the air. It is deep and almost suffocating, yet somehow lovely.
The talk between the couple ends. She goes in for the night. The man puts the suitcase by the swing and remembers he has come so far. Raised on the farm, he blends in with the city boys. Only his meager possessions give him away; no distinctions mar his easy manner. He is tailored and conservative yet full of elegance and good breeding. Though the depression has begun, he has hopes. His is the face of the future. He will ascend to the top of the mountain called the good life. After him, what then?
My son sits on our porch with the old suitcase on his lap. It is now an antique, a relic of times past. He looks inside and admires photographs of his grandfather: a naval officer, a builder, and a father. His clear eyes note the character in each visage. He is determined to continue the traits that made this gentleman great: honor, hard work, and love. He arises and carries the suitcase confidently into the future.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
When the stores opened, my dad headed to teachers meetings while we ladies shopped. The first stop was to go up a ramp and enter The May Company. One trip, I remember a hat table with a mirror and little doughnut shaped feather circles in variour colors. You pulled them apart and stretched them on like earmufs. How much I wanted one! They were so plum cute sitting there. Since I was a teen at the time, my mom said, "no." Another year that same table had something called wighats. You pulled them on and they fit tightly. They were covered with fake spiky hair. Then you "styled" them with a brush. My little sister actually got one of those.
At noon, we headed out of the building and around the corner to The Mills Restaurant. This was cafeteria style. There weren't many of those then. I always got macaroni and cheese and a bowl of those big green or red chunks of gelatin with whipped cream. Round tables covered the first floor and balcony. A windmill stamp adorned each pat of butter in our small dish. Such a treat.
Back at the stores, Mom always let us choose several matching outfits. I remember a rust colored sweater with a plaid skirt that I loved. When we got home, we laid out all of our tresures on our large bed and Dad got to inspect and approve our purchases.
Since those days, I have always loved cities. I've been to New York City, Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Diego, Amsterdam, Munich, London, Paris, Lucerne, Venice, Florence, and a few others. These may have been more glorious, but my little girl heart will never forget her first adventures in The Big City.
Monday, August 24, 2009
"Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days." Ecc.11:1 NKJ
Are you experiencing the pain of releasing your young person to God's care? I did when we left our shy son among strangers at college.
When we revisited him at mid-term, time was so short. He talked with his dad at lunch and I had no time to visit with him. There were tears in my eyes as he left with an air of authority. He gave no parting hug. I knew he was being macho, and it hurt. He walked away from me towards his new world, his weathered coat flapping like a sail and his sandy hair tousled by the wind. I knew a page had turned.
What had happened to my tenderhearted son? I didn't like his idea of growing up. Still, there was nothing to do but pray and wait for another page.
Since then, out son has come back to us many times, but not as the young man we left behind with his luggage and hopes in tow. He has returned a man with consideration for his parents and a new love for his siblings.
So take courage as you release your trained-up child to the world. Give the world the best you have. Then , like my son and the bread on the waters, it can come back to you after many days.
Prayer: Lord, help us to release our chilldren and all things to You. Amen
(My son graduated from that college and he is the subject of "August Night." He is also the son soon to be married. So God's plans do work out. Nancy)
Friday, August 21, 2009
So my love of reading began with these books. If they were all out, I had a fit. There were also a set of boy triplets: Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr. I'd have to settle for one of those if the others were gone.
I read quite a bit to my children as they grew to love books, too. How surprised I was to find out that my daughter, Dawn, cherished these books as much as I. Even in the '80's and early '90's we had to search around to find them. Then one day, as Dawn became a teen, I discovered that my books were no longer in our library. They had been replaced by more current works.
I was totally surprised at Christmas two years ago by a pressent from Dawn of five of the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books gotten from E-bay. How certain pictures brought back memories. I plan on reading these and the boys' version (if I can find them) to my grandson.
Story types do change. Most of you might find them quaint and the books certainly don't follow current writing rules, but I still love them. I think there is room in a child's life for several types of stories. Perhaps some children like to visit the slowed down "Mr. Rogers" type world where things don't zip by so quickly. At any rate, I thought you would like a taste of what '50s children enjoyed. Nancy
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It was so special having extra time with my sister and niece. They live in Ohio and we only see each other about twice a year. I was overjoyed to see all of the lovely gifts for the new couple. We played the game where you decorate a chosen person in a bridal gown made with toilet paper. My dauaghter was the "victim" in our group. She looked darling even though someone else won.
My two sons made an appearance near the end and greeted everyone.
The baby was so good, even after being handed around to many guests. He's a trouper. So it turned out to be quite an occasion. The wedding is three weeks from that date and so there is much to anticiipate.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
You'd think my brick would be pretty big by now. But you see, I am constantly compacting it. Those precious ideas that I find in many different venues come to be added on to the brick and pressed down tight in all directions. I might write about some of my "truths" sometime, but I just wanted to share how the process is working right now. God is faithful to help me use those wonderful areas He has shown me.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sleep at last stole over me till a dreamless woid was bothered by a lonely mournful cry. It traveled from my brain down to my soul and to the ear. Would the child of night not let me be?
Again the voice came louder. This was no phantom call. Like endless trips on endless nights, my child's summons reached my heart and pulled me to his side. His little body had a chill while mine was warm and ready. I held him close and as we rocked I sang to hm, old melodies to a newborn mind. I felt his body release the darkness as he playfully sang his own song. I became a stranger in a secret world. His tiny voice was so airy, like a sring of stars caught on a spider's web. "Baby." Like a wisp of color born of a dream, he spoke, "Momma." He lingered awhile between sleep and wakefulness, not aware of my presence. I looked on him in love. Still tired in body, I no longer resented having been roused fronm a deep sleep. His skin by glow of the evening lamp rivaled the milky expanse of heaven. His face was to me a master work of art.
He threw his timy arm around my neck and healed old wounds still tender. Oh, little son, you spoke of things eternal. What need was there for sleep? Outside the skies were reignend by Child of Night, but my arms encircle you who rule the morrow.
(Gracie Prior is the pen name I use for my literary material.)
Friday, August 7, 2009
We had a wonderful day on Sunday. Our grandson was dedicated to the Lord at our church. Many of my family members were there. It was such a joy to share this great experience with many of my other loved ones.
Later, we went to the home of friends who also had their baby dedicated that day. It was fun seeing Ty with his nanesake. I also got to hold him for a long while. There is something otherworldly about this whole experience. It takes me back to the time I held my babies, who all looked a bit like Ty, with the black sticky-out hair. It was a time when I was in love with a new tiny being. It's all there, the feelings, as if time had just disappeared.
What a wonderful thing to be able to offer the baby back to the Lord for His service and to promise publicly that I will help to raise him in the way that he should go. I can sense some rocking chair and hymn time coming up.
(Monday I hope to post a blog that is one of my favorite writings of all time. I've been saving it for just the right moment. Hope to see you right here. Nancy)
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Giving is a part of worship, a part of the joy, a part of total dependence on Me. What you give to, you become a part of. Giving releases you from care. It settles it forever that I am in charge and you are the temporary holders of My wealth.
Other than that, I love My people and you can't give to Me without receiving something in return. It's just not possible. Thank you for including giving in your worship and may you be blessed as I pour out My love to you. Abba
In these economic times, it is important not to hold back your hand. There is a river that flows constantly called sowing and reaping and we want to keep that river going. We can give time by helping others. We can give money. God wants us to give what we can, cheerfully, not what we don't have. Our emotions, feelings, prayers, and burdens can all be given to God. It is such a joyful, little thing to do. Blessings, Nancy
Monday, August 3, 2009
I used to be a writer and send things out to be published. I would get a lot of rejection notices. One time they got me down and I cried. My little Benny asked why I was crying and I told him. He reached up and hugged me and said, "Is that better?" I said, "I may not be a published writer, but I have a three year old with eyes of blue who loves me God is so good"
I found that note one week when I was Aglow treasurer and needed to do little speeches. I told them them that I was thinking of taking up writing again. I knew that whatever happened, I had a 19 year old son with eyes of blue who was such a good boy and he loved me. God was so good. A lady in the audience gave me a prophecy about my writing. "This is the time God has for me to write, from the foundation of the world,, whether books or articles and He will bless it. It will be awesome. He will bring it forth." It was soon after that that I started my continuing series of letters from God. I have shared them and I believe God continues to use them.
Last week, I saw the title The Special Hug on my list of documents on my new computer. I now have a 29 year old son with eyes of blue who is such a fine young man. He has a son with eyes of blue who is wonderful. I still get good hugs from this good son. And my blog publishes my writing so the story comes full circle. God is so very good!
Friday, July 31, 2009
In winter, my favaorite was a white knit with rhinestones. The material was gathered and held by a gold ring to resemble a ponytail.
As a teen, I got a blue velvet Beatles hat. It had a brim and was rounded on top like John Lennon's cap. Remember? I wore it to school. No one else did and I didn't care because I was happy and my German friend loved it.
This winter I got a brown cloche. It was so much fun to figure out diferent roaring twenties outfits to go with it. I received the correct brown shoes for Christmas and had various beads, jackets, lace blouses, etc . What fun .
For sun, I have a safari helmet, an Indiana Jones hat, visors and my Tigers Baseball cap. I wear them on walks, to stores and restaurants.
I also decorate with hats. I have two straw ones in my bedroom - a frilly place. I have the Indie, safari, and a Panama Jack hat in my Brittish Colonial living room.
Hats are just a fun little accessory. I love fedoras, which are in now. My dad always wore one. I do think I'm good for now. Anyone else got the hat craze? I'd love to hear from you. Nancy
Monday, July 27, 2009
This reminds me of the show Bonanza, where the three sons and old Ben, the dad, came riding at the screen all together. They were always united in one purpose. I have an Arizone picture where my three children were small and they are walking away down another path. It is one of my favorite pictures.
Once, the five people in my immediate family were walking side by side to a restaurant. I sang the Bonanza theme. It was jolly.
What I get from these pictues, whether they go forward or towards the camera, whether I'm in them or not, is the sense of family. We are united. We love each other. Next time your family is all in a line, think of your Bonanza moment and rejoice. Nancy
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I wonder if you have been in a place with too many mirrors, where they seem to be everywhere. Shopping malls can be like that. Every store, every counter, even the shiny windows reveal that you either do or do not look the way you want to look.
At home it's just about right. You can decide when to look. You know where they are and can avoid them if you choose. As one gets older, that last option looks good.
Still, I love the way the shiny objects reflect light. They make a room seem larger, opening it up. A decorative wall with mirrors and pictures can be attractive.
Mirrors reflect what they see externally. It's reality, but it isn't necessaraily true. A woman whose mirror image is so-so can become beautiful when she is animated. This is especially the case when she is excited or sharing the Lord.
I guess all in all, I need a few mirrors. How about you? How long could you go without one?
(Hello to all my readers on my three month blog anniversaary. Since I am around a baby, I am counting months until the year mark and then you will only have to hear about it once a year.
I guess I'm still excited about the whole thing. Nancy)
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
At the opposite side of the spectrum are a whole line of decorative shoes. Here, I remember my best little girl Easter shoes: black patent leaather with two little squares of rhinestones side by side on each toe. I'v never again had such shoes to capture my heart. Women are supposed to be crazy for shoes. I fit somewhere in the middle. I like plain black ones in different styles to go with everything. I also enjoy something quirky like straw or red heels. I own 15 pa;irs total - not too many.
The Israelites shoes didn't wear out. I have some like that. They go on and on. They take me to church, to see friends and loved ones, and on adventures. They could tell stories. They go in the direction I lead them and are faithful servants.
I try to care for my shoes - to keep them shined and looking new. With some of them, it's a losing battle and they have to go. Scruffy shoes are for work, nice shoes, well, should look nice.
I also own a pair of wooden shoes purchased in Amsterdam. I have definately worn them - when I needed to dress up as a Dutch girl. They also decorate my table at Christmas full of small goodies - just like in their home country.
I want to be like the work shoes with a job to do - shoes that last. I want to be like the ones with a story to tell. I also must be ready to dress up and mix in if that is what the occasion calls for. Even my little quirkiness can be used if I apply it right. Here's to shoes! May they always carry me closer to the Lord.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Let's see. I'm passionate about justice or lack thereof. I am very excited about healing. I'm wild about salvation and the way a person can be changed completely into a new man.
I love the words the Lard speaks to me. I love the idea of leaving my mark, or more importantly doing the thing I was called for - even though I'm still searching. I'm passionate about worship and joy and more joy.
I'm crazy about the written word, the way the written word can move a person, the beauty of a phrase.
It's hard to explain how I just get so moved with words. Dawn - my daughter's name. It's supposed to be the most beautiful word in the English language. The words "the Dayspring on high," and "deep calls to deep," from the Bible.
I have a little manilla envelope chock full of quotes. They are from non-fiction, novels, the radio, church signs, road signs, and anything that moves me. My quotes don't just sound good, they inspire. They say things in a different way, cause me to go in a new direction.
I hope that somethwhere in my blog someone will find something to remember. Nancy
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The good news. My screen is beautiful and it is so nice to work in my room and work on my blog.
I got to see my new grandson today and held him for awhile. He just keeps getting better and better.
We have had great guest speakers at church lately. They and our regular pastor have been very encouraging.
Thanks for all of your comments. Nancy
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We eventually got yet another computer, the one we are now discarding. It's from '98 so you can imagine how out of date that was. Now I have my lovely laptop and new inernet, which I mentioned. I'm still working out the bugs and probably will be for a long time.
Here's the thing. I'm in my own little room at a very comfy dresser/desk and I can work at night if I can't sleep. God is so good. Everything is one step at a time. Nancy
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Here is a letter I found when I was reading last night.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I thought that was curious when I read it. The Student Bible explains that when Paul was in jail in Rome and wrote to the Phillippians, there were conversions daily in the Roman palace with the soldiers and guards due to Paul's ministry. So these converted people were most anxious to greet the people of Phillippi They were new, they were excited. They wanted to share the good news.
I also thought of godly people who might work with or near people of influence in the world, with presidents, prime ministers, leaders. These servants and friends can have a wonderful effect on a daily basis. We can pray for them even though we don't know their names. We can thank God that He works in many ways, even in Caesar's household.
Father, we give thanks to you for your many ways of working, for all You do, for all You are. Amen
(It comforts me to think on these things and partner with them. Nancy)
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The next big thing is that I finally got a laptop computer with the help of my son, Ben. I just need to get some internet improvements and I can use it. Then I can put a picture or two on my blog. Yeah!
Our church took a bus to Comerica Park (Detroit), to see the Tigers play. It was loads of fun. We didn't win, but we did see a great home run by one of our brightest "stars". Then we were surprised with gorgeous fireworks. What a glorious display of sight, sound, and color. I didn't get to see any on the 4th, so was very pleased to have such a treat.
Sunday, the baby made his first appearance at our church, so that was a lot of excitement.
I centainly hope all of you had a great time, too. Much love, Nancy
Friday, July 10, 2009
What's a yucky task? How about cleaning the tolet? That's no fun al all. Why not put your Zud or Bon Ami right in the toilet, flush and see how much stain you can get off before the water comes back in? Can you get a little more done every week?
Let's say this is a job that may be hard, or you might fail - like schoolwork. This type of putting off fails under the heading of perfectionism. You think you're not a perfectionist? Nothing is ever done perfectly? But do you want it to be? Are your standards too high? If you ae putting something off because yo think you won't do well, you're a perfectionist. This little fact surprised me, too. Know that no one is perfect and no task is ever completed perfectly. It's O.K. to fail if you have sincerely done the best you can without striving - trying to be perfect.
Relax. Begin easy and go back and fix up or get rid of the early bad starts after you get going well. The important thing is to start. If you are doing math, at least try all of the problems. Note the ones you don't understand and ask for help the next day.
In writing, get something on paper. You get better as you go along. A quick rewrite can fix up your mistakes later. After you get your ideas on paper, bo gack and polish your work. I'm not a fan of guessed spelling or sloppy grammar. Look up a word in the dictionary and check out a grammar book. (If you dn't have these reference books, libraries do.) There's no excuse to be sloppy. I'm just trying to get you moving and to realize your work can be good, even excellent, but not perfect.
After you have done your best, quit. Quit stewing about it and turn it in. Many lessons are learned from mistakes and failures. Schools should include a learining process. Next time, don't make the same mistakes. You always go higher, but with joy, not stress.
If you are wasting time and a job needs to be done, you need diligence and motivation. Diligence is hard word and it has its own reward. You get strengthened each time you successfully completa a task, especially a difficult one. It won't be as hard the next time. And the Bible states that "all labor has value."
To be motivated, think what good things will happen when you are done: a clean room (or toilet,) a good grade, a check mark on your "to do" list, a feeling of accomplishment, a gift for your parents. Don't think of these activities as work, think of them as what you do, a part of yourself.
My favorite way to get moving is to get out all my materials before I am ready to start the project. If I am going to clean house a 3:00, I get out the vacuum, dust rags and srpay at about 2:30. I finish what I am doing, or rest. Then, at 3:00, I just have to start up the vacuum. Getting out things is often a stumbling block to a new activity. Let the new project start ar "paragraph two" (so to speak). As you finish project "A", you still have a bit of momentum. Set up porject B. Rest. This is iportant so you aren't overwhelmed and don't feel sorry for yourself. Then do project "B" at "paragraph two" and you will already be on the way. To use another metaphor, you will be starting the new job at 50 mph instead of going from a dead stop.
When you are done, clean up. You still have energy. And set up the next chore. Be sure to save time at the end of the day, or seveal times during the day to unwind, rest, think, play, be creative, or just be. You're a person, not a machine. Rest should be built right into your day and your week. Enjoy your projects.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Oh, yes, lets go back to chopping wood, churning butter, hauling water, making all the food from scratch. I don't think so. Being almost a non-cook, I'd be in deep water.
But how about the days when we were kids. We had phones, television, cars, radios. That's about it. I can deal with those. Society doesn't wait for me to catch up I'm afraid. So the best thing I can do is work at the new stuff, keep my schedule as lean as I can when doing techno things, and rely on the grace of God.
I feel like I'm in a big tangle of yarn right now. When I try to undue one thing, another gets messed up. Maybe He will illuminate the the thread and I can see a way through all the turnings. I hope so. Nancy
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I have good for you. I want you to wake every day with expectations of good. I have jobs for you. I will lead you step by step. You don't need to fret for I will show you what to do. You can be at peace. I will continue to drop joy and contentment on you and a realization of my all sufficience. Keep uppermost in your heart my ability. There isn't anything I can't do and I want to do many things for you and through you.
Let your trust be totally in Me. I have the answer for every problem and I want to give it to you.
Whether a day brings good or bad circumstances, know that I am bringing about answers to your prayers.
Don't fret over your family. Pray earnestly, but know that I have begun a good work in them and I will finish that work. Household salvation is real and it is for you.
Monday, July 6, 2009
I'm thinking there may be someone out there who gets one piece, says, "yeah, yeah, I've heard that before." But if the pieces keep mounting up and piling on, she may say ,"Oh, I see. I get it. That's for me." You never know which example will touch the heart just right and cause the whole to be a nourishing, satisfying, even saving feast. At least, that is my hope. Nancy
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I am way behind, but I decided to decorate for the 4th of July. I got up and even before breakfast, I got out my patriotic stuff. I took the yellow pitcher of flowers off my diningroom table and replaced it with a whirlygig Uncle Sam statue, a red white and blue Santa, and five red speckled sewn stars that my mother made. They made a joyful statement. Then I hung my flag angel and flag star from the knobs of my buffet These crafts were from my daughter's girlscout leader. I put a flag bandana, folded in thirds, on the flat surface and added my flag basket in the corner. Wow, I didn't realize how many flag things I owned.
I have a little plastic circle thing that holds flags that I got in Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is a wonderful place. There are two major restaurants: Bavarian Inn and Zehnders. Both serve fabulous family-style chicken dinners. I love the Bavarian side, because its decor is German and the costumes and decorations are so cute. Zehnders is Colonial American design.
Well, they both have great gift shops and I got most of my flags there. I have a Bavarian Inn flag, an American flag from the 50's from my daughters Molly/American Girl collection, a Michigan flag, a regular American flag, and a Christian flag. That collection is on my chest in the dining room.. Then I found an old Michigan license plate from 1976. I almost threw it away when we moved. I'm glad I didn't, because that's the year my first son was born. It's a Bicentennial flag and lools like a work of art. Finally, I have a piece of stars and stripes ribbon I hung loosly with my Panama Jack hat in the living room. It sounds like overkill, but surprisingly, it's not too bad.
This afternoon, I'm watching "Yankee Doodle Dandy," with James Cagney. I love it. It's my only "for sure" 4th of July tradition. Black and white movies are my style, musicals are fun, and I believe the message from the film about honoring your country never grows old. Then, there is that fabulous dancing. It makes my heart sing!
Tonight, I get to see my grandson for the first time. I can't wait. How do you celebrate the 4th? I'd love to hear from you. Have a great Independence Day and a wonderful weekend. Nancy
Friday, July 3, 2009
"Observer of rites." has a wonderful sound. I believe every family should have an archivist who details the history of the family. Through journals, photo albums, scrapbooks, boxes of artwork, and small memorabilia, a history takes place that can be assessed at any time. When I look at my photo album and see a picture of myself sitting in a chair wearing a simple outfit, and my two small boys wearing somewhat mismatched clothes, I laugh. I see the smiles on all of our faces and I know that being with them was more important than having a better wardrobe.
Seeing into our history, we can see our mistakes and our achievements. As an observer of rites, I have preserved my family's joyful journey through three high school graduations, three college graduations, a sweet sixteen party, a wedding, a twenty-fifth anniversary, and a new grandson. Coming up is another wedding to be documented as well as much about the baby.
In my albums, there are photos which, just to look at them, cause me pain. I know someone wasn't happy that day. There was the quarrel, the accident, the illness, the rainy vacation. My mind is keen to remember each snippet of time and in these sad ones, I try to think what I could have done differently.
"Keeping" is not collection junk. That is not my intention. I am fastidious about going through things on a regular basis and throwing out what is not important, to make room for what is new. I start with the new joys in our lives, record them in some way and then gather up all the old treasures and cherish them. Living in the present is essential, but the very act of recording adds value to the events themselves. For example, I underline in my books to remember, often not going back to reread. Noting the special words imbeds them in memory. So an archivist always records, not just to save, but to underline the value of the present.
Though a family may not appreciate a keeper, a vital service has been performed. Without a keeper, how would progress be evaluated? A keeper is, in every sense of the word, desirable.