While in Ireland

We spent our first night at Glendalough. At the bottom of this blog is a short film to introduce you to the area. After breakfast we went for a walk around the neighboring area. We saw these sheep in the graveyard.

Cracked me up, as if they were hiding and on a mission!
One strange sheering job!

When we returned to the inn one of the employees asked if we enjoyed our walk. I told her how amused I was by the sheep in the graveyard. She told the bartender, “Better call Mr. Mc Creary! His sheep got loose again!” Now where better to get a tasty treat than on the loose in early morning at the graveyard?

Cracked me up! Guess those sheep were sneaking around and on a mission – not to get caught! The Irish mark their sheep with paint, thus the pink and blue marks on the wool!

Jerry Bridges & The Cincinnati Bengals

The Navigators send a daily devotional. They are featuring Jerry Bridges work Holiness Day by Day. I am sharing this because my words for 2023 are Living Sacrifice.

“Commit your way to the Lord.” Psalm 37:5

When Paul turned his attention from his masterful exposition of the Gospel in Romans chapters 1-11 to practical issues of Christian living, the first thing he did was call for commitment: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV).

As we look at Paul’s call to commitment, we can see one obvious difference between the commitment of the devoted athlete and the commitment Paul called for. The athlete’s commitment is to himself or herself or perhaps to the team. The commitment Paul urged upon us is to God. Commit yourself to God. Offer your body to him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him.

When we commit ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, we need to ensure that our commitment is actually to God, not simply to a holy lifestyle or a set of moral values. The people of my parent’s generation were generally honest, chaste, sober, and thrifty. They were committed to those values, but they were not necessarily committed to God. Many of them were outstanding moralists and even church people, but they were not committed to God. They were committed to their values, not to God.

As believers we need to be careful that we don’t make a similar mistake. We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God himself. But Paul said to offer yourselves to God, and in doing that commit yourselves to the pursuit of holiness in order to please him.

Navigators Devotional Holiness Day by Day January 22, 2023

What and who are you committed to? When I hear the term holiness I remember my mom talking about “holy rollers” who were purported to jump pews, handle snakes and all manner of unusual things.

Then I also think of visiting God’s Bible School where my maternal Grandmother used to teach and being amazed that when I toured the school in 1979 the women were not allowed to braid their hair, wear a ponytail, had to wear long skirts, etc. This looked to me to be what Jerry Bridges described above. Only God reads hearts, so the sincerity of those actions is only known to Him. My question is are we committed to God or restrictive legalism and rule keeping? Bridges reiterates ‘they were not committed to God.”

When offering yourself as ‘a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ I would hope that your commitment to God would be solid. For to be a living sacrifice, you must give up your will and embrace the will of the Trinity. You may be asked to do things outside the realm of your comfort zone, or even the stated rules of your church. Have you watched the series The Chosen? The disciples were often asked to do things outside of their Jewish upbringing. Some of them said Jesus was “turning things upside down” with His teachings.

When the Bengals NFL team began to change over the last 24 months, some looked to see if Joe Burrow would want to be elevated to superstar status like many of his NFL predecessors. He is often compared to other famous quarterbacks because of his skill. Most of the interviews I have seen and the comments I have read point to how common and down to earth he remains.

The team also works to stay down to earth. They have the commitment of devoted athletes. Yes, they train hard, play hard, and are committed to each other as a team, but they also seems to make an effort to stay down to earth as men. Whether they are giving to Demar Hamlin’s charity, praying for his healing after the collapse on the field, or serving children who are ill or in need, these guys seem to be the real deal. I was particularly impressed after their win over Buffalo when many of them dropped down on the field and made Snow Angels! The best shot was from overhead, but this is all I have been able to find online so far.

Are you as committed to God as you are to local or national sports teams? Is yours a seeking to keep legalistic rules or being obedient to what the Trinity asks you personally? (Here is humor, I typed trainity instead of Trinity. Well, how about it? Are you willing to be in training with the Trinity?)

May you pursue holiness always. Hebrews 12:14 reads:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Humor and Thanks, God

So here is (not the best photo) of Brody. My daughter’s family adopted this VERY long legged hound. He has enormous eyes and legs that look just too long for his body. He hangs around the kitchen all the time hoping for a morsel to drop his way. He is tall enough to grab things off the counter.

Another Brody snapshot.

During Advent he was hanging around the kitchen while my daughter and Grandaughter began to prepare the family favorite coffee cake for Christmas morning feasting. Someone hit the wrong button an the Kitchenaid mixer. This is Brody, the dark hound dog, after the flour was flying!

Brody, black and brown dog, battered and ready for frying?

Forget footprints in the sand, Sparky (dog #2) above left foot prints in the flour.

Enjoy!!

 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB

Some Photos From Final Days of 2022

This sheep insisted the best hay was in the bottom of the feeder. When she withdrew her head she looked like a lion with a mane of hay! Of course, I could not get a photo of that before she shook it off!
Took Myrtle to see the lights at Coney. At times she laughed out loud. She is famous for her crocheted angels. This was her favorite display.
Snapped this quickly. Finally finished last 3 Swedish embroidery towels. Not laid out very well.
New recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies with and without coconut
Last year Bob got me the large Grogu. Emily wanted me to keep the collection going! The center one is made from beeswax. The one with red ribbon is from when they went to Disney World. It has two voices. The one in the red box is from Hallmark.

Do you know Grogu likes to eat frogs? I think he is holding a frog Christmas cookie!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17 NIV

Songs I Need to Sing!

At times music just rolls through my spirit and I need to sing it out! Handel’s Messiah is often sung with the Cincinnati Symphony by our May Festival Chorus. I like when parts of it was also used by surprise choruses in the past at shopping malls.

It still gives me chills!!

Now I find myself needing to sing this EVERY Christmastide.

Is there something you must sing to God? Don’t hold back. If you are surrounded by people and do not want their opinion of your singing then go outside and sing. Or sing in the shower! Or sing in the car. The point is to sing to the LORD be it a new song or old. Sing out your love of His majesty. Your adoration of His glory. Your gratitude from His abundant mercies.

Years ago Bob bought me a copy of Streams in the Desert devotional that has blank lines for journaling. Recently I turned o the page for that day. I had written, “Joy to the World at church: “Lizzie cried, “the Lord is come!! That’s Grammy’s song. The Lord is come! They said it in church, Grammy!” My heart melted all over again. My Lizzie is now 21. I sent her the journal entry via texting. I hope she takes my song to heart and embraces Jesus as her Lord and savior. Then it will not just be my song, but hers too!

As a light snow falls here and the Carolina Wren works on the dried mealworm feeder, I pray you will sing out your joy and gratitude that the Lord has come, May earth receive her King, May every heart prepare Him room….”

O sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord; bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psalm 96:1-6 NRSV

Glad Mary Had a Larger Donkey

Glad Mary did not live in Ohio during her journey. Temperature this orning was -4 and wind chill of -33! None of the Gospels state that Mary rode a donkey on the way to Bethlehem.

We do know the journey was about 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We also know that most people tended to travel together in groups to provide more protection against robbers, bandits, and wild animals. We also know that Mary very shortly after they arrived which means she was heavily pregnant, and Jesus was full term. Every expecting parent knows the last two months of pregnancy are the hardest on women. Their backs ache, their joints hurt, as do their feet. Any task like rolling over in bed, putting on shoes, or walking can be tough to maneuver. Especially when you can’t even see your feet. It’s likely she didn’t walk the entire way. Aside from walking, other common modes of transportation would have included horses, camels, donkeys, or some sort of cart drawn by a horse. However, Joseph was not a rich man which means he did not have the means to purchase horses or camels. He likely had his own donkey or may have even borrowed a donkey for Mary to ride upon during the journey to Bethlehem.

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/did-mary-really-ride-on-a-donkey-into-bethlehem.html

As we sit in the comfort of our well heated homes, surrounded by gifts and foods, friends and relatives, I pray we remember it was not so for the mother of our Lord. Getting to Bethlehem would have been an arduous journey at that stage in her pregnancy. His birth occurred in the humblest of surroundings.

What have you prepared for Jesus? Does He have a place of prominence in your heart and home? Do you honor Him in your very life? Is there an altar of worship in you heart?

Seeing this humorous story, I was glad that Mary had a larger donkey than this to ride!

Babies steal the show! Art Linkletter Knew!

As we celebrate the birth of Christ I would love for you to listen to this wonderful song by Andrew Peterson!

No one told this Dad to never, ever wake a sleeping baby!

We are about to celebrate a baby coming into the world. He is the Savior of the world. He will come again in glory as our Judge. He was born in a dirty, messy stable to a young girl.

Here is a photo of Emily meeting Jeff for the first time. Wish now it was a video!

She was delighted to have real live baby!

These videos are American births in sterile hospitals. Not at all like His birth. Yet there is something about babies that melt most our hearts. These funny videos of big sisters and big brothers meeting their new babies for the first time. If you need a laugh and a little refreshment this week, these 10 minutes are for you!

Love Peterson’s song “Not a Silent Night.” It was not a lovely place to be born. Saint Francis created the creche scene to teach about the birth of Christ. In what ever way you picture it, may you adore Him and make room in your heart for Him to rule and reign until He returns to take us home!

Beauty in a Glaze

Take a look at this from the craft show!

https://temperedearthfarms.com/products

The city of Corrales, New Mexico had their 34th annual juried craft show on Saturday morning at the historic Old San Ysidro church which has been decommissioned. Dan and Bob dropped Betty and me off to browse the show and shop while they went to get coffee and chat together.

There was handmade jewelry, hand painted silk shawls, paintings, ceramics, porcelain dishes, amazing photographs, gourd art, icons, jams, notecards, wood work, creations made with old sewing machine parts, fold art quilted hangings, metal outdoor sculptures and more.It was amazing.

I found this tumbler made by Jenn Noel. I hemmed and hawed. I wanted the smaller design, but the only one on display had hand pinched places. I talked myself out of the tumbler. We left the show.

And then I thought about the glaze all evening. And I could not forget it. I searched for her work on line. And drooled again over that amazing “sunset” glaze.

To indulge me, Bob said we could return to the craft show after church the next day and see if the item I liked was still available. It certainly was! I walked up to Jenn, the artist, and told her I thought about her work all night and especially that glaze. The piece I admired was still there!! Sold! Next challenge is to get it home in one piece!If you are still Christmas shopping, the good news is Jenn has free shipping for the few weeks left building up to Christmas. Click on https://temperedearthfarms.com/collections/all/handmade-pottery?sort_by=manual

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 1:11 ESV

Here is comic Family Circus humor for the season.

Vanishing Tablets

The older I get the more lessons I learn about growing old. Case in point, I recently had to fill my evening pillbox in the bathroom at bedtime. I use 4 pillboxes daily, (breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime). Somehow I had run out of evening medication before it was time to fill all the pillboxes at once. I hauled out the medication and prepared to fill the box for a one week supply.

When I got to the Losartan, described as ‘elliptical green tablet’, the open bottle slipped from my hand and spilled all over the bathroom floor. I closed the door to keep Lucky out while I scooped up tablets. I amused myself thinking, “If the Losartan seems hairy in your mouth it is likely due to dog shedding and Molly shedding!” I wanted to be careful to get all of them lest the dog get one and eat it. Her blood pressure has not been an issue so she does not need the medication! I am grateful that the medication regulates my blood pressure so it is not an issue for me either!

As I continued to get ready for bed I realized the lump in the new shag rug was yet another tablet, and another tablet. Pharmaceuticals can camouflage! Who knew? The color of the rug is actually more lovely than this image of the pill. I finally shook the rug in the shower stall in an attempt to retrieve all of them. In case you are too young to know, the insurance company keeps track of how many pills are dispensed by the pharmacy and will not cover the cost of extras if you lose a few to the bathroom floor.

A few days later I had cause to mop the bathroom floor. I took up the rug and began to sweep up any loose hair or dirt. Voila! There were 3 more tablets against the edge of the cabinet that I had missed. Yikes. Glad the dog did not find them or find them tasty. “Hairy blood pressure regulator.” Never saw that from a Doc!

Senior citizen with hands that sometimes do not grasp, spilled pills, likely missed more than a few on the first pass, and second pass! The lessons go on and on for me!

A Fresh Take on An Election!

This is copied from The Cincinnati Enquirer regarding a recent Northern Kentucky election. Trying to bring you this humorous news there were many typos created from copy and pasting. I hope I caught all of them!

Mon 11/21/2022 Jolene Almendarez, Cincinnati Enquirer USA TODAY NETWORK


How this NKY city forgot all about an election
MENTOR, Ky. – The election in this city earlier this month
featured no negative ads, no spam texts – not even any
candidates on the ballot.
In this city of fewer than 200 residents, every elected official
forgot to submit their names in time to run for office again. So, on
Election Day, voters had to write in candidates.
Mentor City Commissioner Maggie Gosney didn’t even know she
won the election until three days after the polls closed. When an
Enquirer reporter told her she likely did win based on unofficial
election results, she shrugged.
“We just got wrapped up in our lives and it slipped past us,” she
said about missing the deadline to run for office. “And we knew
about it, because the city clerk kept saying we have to get our
names in by a certain date. … We just forgot and we were like, ‘Oh,
yeah, we were supposed to do that, weren’t we?’ ” Run by a mayor
and four-person city commission, this Campbell County enclave is
roughly a mile-long strip on state Route 8 along the Ohio River,
about 30 minutes southeast of Cincinnati.

Red Pin is Mentor, KY


The political scene in Mentor seems even further away from the
name-calling and election complaints of Northern Kentucky
politics this year.
Gosney, 55, a lifelong resident of the city, said residents basically
take turns holding office. She also clarified that write-in
candidates still have to pay a fee to run for office and submit their
intent to run as a write-in candidate.
City Clerk Carol Dunn asked Gosney to run for office a little over
four years ago when another resident gave up the spot. She took
up the offer and it didn’t take much campaigning to win back then
or for her to win this year’s election, which she did with 30 of the
113 votes cast, according to unofficial election results from the
Campbell County Clerk.
She says she posted about her candidacy on Facebook the day
before the election. Write-in candidates were also mentioned in
the city’s one-page newsletter this month, where the election and
candidates were given a two sentence mention. More information
was given about this year’s Christmas parade
where the person
with the best float (usually a tractor or a truck) wins a gold painted
ceramic turkey and about $15.
The parade is the biggest event of the year in Mentor.
Last year, float winners won one of three city signs that were
being replaced. The city signs say, “Last one out of town, please
turn off the light.” Gosney and her family won one of the signs
with a “Very Covid Christmas” theme: A tree decorated with toilet
paper, masks, and bandages.
There are only a handful of businesses, including a dog training
facility and a hair salon. And Gosney said that as a city
commissioner, there is never any drama or people lined up to
speak about issues.
City council meets once a month at a nearby house. Meetings
used to be held on some church steps, but they changed the
location after the church became a residence.
At most meetings, she says they take on issues like potholes or
snow removal. The city doesn’t have any zoning laws or other
restrictions that require permits.
Mayor Peggy Fury declined to be interviewed. But she said
in a phone call that she’d likely end up being mayor again, though
unofficial election results show nobody was written in as mayor of
the city.
Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen said a small town with only
write-in candidates isn’t unusual.
“We have 15 different cities in Campbell County and a couple of
them are very, very small. So, sometimes it’s hard to find anyone
to pay the $50 filing fee to run,” he said. “It’s not like you get paid
for the job or anything.”
In fact, when nobody wants to run the local government in a small
town, it could lead to dis-incorporation.
The Ohio Valley Resource, an online news outlet, reported the
eastern Kentucky town of Blackey has been dis-incorporated twice,
most recently this summer. It has been years since the city had a
government and its infrastructure began crumbling. The Letcher
County government absorbed it in June, the news
organization reported.
But Gosney says she isn’t worried about that happening in Mentor
any time soon.
“I think we’ll always be a little town. I hope so anyway.”


Mentor is a city in Campbell County, Ky. with a population of about
200 people and a total area of 0..81 square miles..

STEPHANIE SCARBROUGH/THE ENQUIRER
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