Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Sermon: "Past the Wishing"

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know

on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).

In “Past the Wishing,” singer/songwriter Sara Groves writes,

"I'm standing at the foot of this mountain

Wishing so bad that I could touch that sky

But in the time it takes to make my wish

I never take a step and I never try

"I wish that I were closer to Jesus

But not enough to get me out of bed

For an early morning prayer before the

Rushes of my life take me instead

"I'm past the wishing

Past the wishing

Past the wishing

"I'm gazing in these deep well waters

Where the pennies of my life have all been cast

I've decided I am going to save my money

To do something that lasts

"You've shown me my man of Macedonia

You're calling me further on

And I'm tired of saying it's a nice idea

I wish it could be done

"I don't wish that I could go I am going

I don't wish that I could be I am being

I don't wish that I could do it I am doing

By the grace of God I am doing"

May the joyful expectancy of Christ’s triumphant return take us so much further than just the wishing . . . past the couldas, the shouldas, the wouldas . . .

Grins and blessings!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Inspired to breakfast!

I've been running around like a crazy person this week with no time for picture snapping here at Casa St. Michael (and nothing really new to snap), but I did want to get something posted this week, so I thought I'd share some of my inspiration pics with you.

When I first started thinking about bringing red into Casa St. Michael, I really didn't want to repaint my breakfast room walls, which are a yummy green somewhere between apple and . . . well, soft apple or a glow worm? -- that's all I can think of (and since I mixed the color myself, it doesn't really have a name). I wasn't sure how it would work until I came across these pics on the 'Net. A soft-apple-green-painted-glow-wormy-walled breakfast room with red accents! Two of them, in fact! And I love them! I knew immediately that I could keep my walls and start bringing in the red! Now, my little breakfast area doesn't really look anything like either of these more elegant breakfast areas, but they inspired me, and I do love my own, though different, version, too! (Maybe more detailed pics of it next week.)

First up (and this is the only shot I have of this gem):

Don't you love the multi-fabric valance with the matching chair upholstery! (I also have a white built-in corner cabinet, but it remains closed to the public so I can hide all my crafting crap!)

[NOTE: Sweet Stacey from Poofing the Pillows let me know that the following breakfast room and kitchen belong to none other than Rhoda at Southern Hospitality. I bet lots of you recognized it, too! After all, it has her elegant, just-right thumbprint all over it, doesn't it!)

Who wouldn't love having breakfast (or lunch or dinner!) in this beautiful space! I never would've thought of painting the French doors black, but don't they look great! Very stately with their shiny black coats. (And the curtain rods, too.) This looks so cozy and inviting and yet very fresh, I think, with the green paint and unexpected accents of black. (And, of course, I love the toile.)

Another angle . . . love the green pot bursting with fresh flowers!

Looking across the breakfast area toward the kitchen . . . again, more black and red accents . . . bee-you-tee-mous!

The green walls are carried on into the kitchen -- and doesn't this kitchen look like a place where a lot of fun could happen?

Okay, my breakfast room's done . . . now if I could just make myself finish the painting in the kitchen!

RHODA (!) with the Gorgeous Breakfast Room!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Sermon: Being a Martyr

In Acts 1:1-11, we read that Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be His witnesses throughout the world. The Greek word used is martus, the Greek word from which we get our English martyr. I couldn’t help but think that in a very real sense, to be a martus is to be a martyr -- to die every day for the cause of Christ . . . to die to our selves. To die to what I, in my flesh, want; to what I, in my flesh, think; to what I, in my flesh, say (That WILL require the Holy Spirit for sure!); to what I, in my flesh, do . . . And, make no mistake about it, since I am still living in a fleshly body, that’s not just hard, it’s impossible. And, all kidding aside, that is why Jesus said I would have to operate in the power of Holy Spirit in order to be His witness! I truly am not capable of doing it on my own. (And trust me, I’ve tried! Disastrously so!)

So this week, I’m going to rethink the idea of having a martyr complex. I’m not going to look at from the standpoint of being a mom -- admit it, all us mamas have had the martyr complex in that light before! -- I’m going to look at it from the view of my calling in Christ. From the viewpoint of being His witness.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Stud-Muffin is Home!

Woo-hoo! Life is good! It's RAINING here in downtown El Lago , Texas (HALLELUJAH!); Baby Daughter is in the kitchen fixin' something delicious for dinner (the Boy's coming over after work to join us), AND St. Michael returned from "mission trip" at eleven o'clock this morning -- way ahead of schedule! (What can I say! He's always eager to get home to his favorite flllulflfly woman!) He drove the Big Truck on the way back from New Mexico, dropped off some equipment and his driving partner and then headed the truck toward the storage facility where it stays parked when not in service. The storage place is not far from Casa St. Michael, so that's where I picked him up . . . grinning like a fool! (Me, that is!)

This was my view when I pulled around the corner to where the Big Truck was parked. And, yes, the golf clubs are considered standard mission trip equipment! (When the church building is finished, several of the team always play a round of golf to celebrate.)

I guess the letters on the back of the truck let folks know that these guys and gals don't just work for anybody, y'know! (They work for Somebody!)

St. Michael loves to drive Big Trucks!

But he's always glad to get home!

Another job well done!

And I believe this is the part where he whistled,
"C'mon, Mama, it's time to head to the house!"
(Be still my heart! Ahhh, I love being part of the support team!)

Life is good!


PS And thanks to those of you who prayed for safety this year. There were some tire blow-outs coming and going but no encounters with drunk drivers this year, and thus, no vehicles turned over or hospitalized team members!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Texas, Our Texas!

I've shown you the cowboys and Battenberg lace cornice board that inspired our Texas family room.  Since I'm in much need of camera-using practice, I tried to snap a few up-close shots of some of the Texas accents scattered throughout the room . . . 

Any old birdhouse can become a Texas birdhouse with the simple addition of an old -- Texas, of course -- license plate for a tin roof.  (This little red metal garden table sits beside St. Michael's chair in the family room.  To give it a little more weight, I put a wooden tray on the top.  Add a fat-rooster coaster, and it makes for a convenient place for St. Michael to set his peach tea.)

This handmade Texas Santa, a birthday gift from one of my sista-friends, sits out all year round.  (The little critter just below the Texas flag Santa's holding is an armadillo.)

I know you can't really tell, but the framed photo at the bottom left of this pic is a picture of a tiny, old A-frame house that sported the sign "Texas Boot Company."  A friend of mine took the black and white picture years ago and then framed it with old barn wood from her father-in-law's property.  How special is that!

I know this isn't a shot of the whole thing, but this Texas flag was .50 at a garage sale several years back.  I found the large square frame, complete with triple mat, in someone's trash.  I covered the outermost mat with my vintage cowboy fabric and painted the middle mat white and the thin inner mat a slate blue.  (And, yeah, I edged part of the white mat with a little bit of "rope."  And those are buttons I glued around the edges of the Texas star . . . I never know when to stop!  I need to hear those voices a little louder:  "Step away from the glue gun, Pamm!  Away from the glue gun!")  
The edge of the mantel is a bunch of frames, taken apart and then all fit together in a rather hodge-podge fashion.  I know it wouldn't work for everyone, but we love it!  (And nobody else has one like it, that's for sure!)

This dark barn-red shutter frames the left side of some old window panes that are above my sofa.  The alphabet blocks in the wire-y star pocket thrift-store thingie are T, E, and X.  The other simple star came from a trip to Canton several years back.

And here's the right-side shutter with it's own star -- a rustic Christmas decoration I painted black.  And what Texas room would be complete without yellow roses?  This is a postcard from Middle Daughter, marked "4 Jun 2002".   It reads, "Hey, Mamma!  I saw this post card & thought of you 'cause of the yellow roses!  I hope you enjoy them!  See you soon!!!  I love you!"  And I have enjoyed them!  For seven years now -- much longer than any others I've ever received!

The little framed black and white picture to the right of the shutter is of two-year-old grandson Michael's cowboy boots firmly planted right in between his papa's, St. Michael.  Awwwwww!  (You can click on pic for a close up.)

And more yellow roses, sitting on my coffee table . . . okay, I KNOW they're FAKE, and that is passe, but these are of sentimental value, as they are from Middle Daughter and St. Bill's wedding eight years ago.   

And speaking of those saintly men who live with us wild women who run through life with our hair on fire, St. Michael is on his way home from New Mexico!  He should make it to the casa by late Saturday afternoon . . . Woo Hoo!  (Probably no more blogging for me this weekend!)

Hope YOUR weekend is as happy and eventful!

Grins until next week, 

Foodie Friday: Quick & Easy Key Lime Classic!

Okay, if you're like me and you're sweltering in this July heat (and a weanie about it to boot!), here's a yummy way to cool off this weekend.  (Yes, I know that if you're sitting in the AC,  you don't really need to cool off, but it's the thought that counts, y'know, and few desserts say SUMMER better than key lime pie!)  This is from Middle Daughter's blog, Sugar and Spice.  She made this delicious delicacy for her husband, St. Bill's, birthday earlier this week.  (And, yes, he got his title the same way St. Michael did:  He EARNED it!)

Here's what Lainey wrote . . .

In a medium size bowl, fold one 14oz can of fat-free sweetened condensed milk into one tub of Cool Whip. Then, gradually fold in1/2 cup of lime juice (try 3/4 cup lime juice if you really like it limey!) Pour your mixture into a graham cracker crust and let it hang out in the freezer until it's firm - overnight is best, but I've found that just a few hours works, too!

[Note from her mama:  Heck, I've found that sopping out the bowl just SECONDS after pouring this concoction into the pie crust is pretty darn good!)

Enjoy!  Now I'm off to Cracker Barrel for a . . . ummm . . . breakfast meeting!

PS  Oops!  I didn't know when I posted that our "Foodie Friday" host, Designs by Gollum, was also doing a key lime pie!  Well, our little pie is if you want to be able to say, "Well, of course I made it myself, honey!"  (The store-bought one over at our host's site does look BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL, though, and you know we do say at Casa St. Michael, "Cuteness is everything!")

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bubbles and Giddy-up!

Now, ya'll know I'm crazy about that cute little bald-headed man o' mine, but let's face it, when St. Michael's off on his annual church-building trip, there's a whole 'nother kind of fun to be had this side o' Houston . . . garage sales galore!  New thrift shops!  Silly little projects -- or sometimes BIG scary ones -- 'til all hours of the night . . . fun, fun, fun stuff! 

Today on the way home from a breakfast date, I stopped at a thrift store I don't get to very often and found just the thing I've been lookin' for -- the perfect soap dispenser for my kitchen counter!  Yea!  The criteria was kinda crazy, which is why it's taken so long for me to find one.  1) It had to be cute and look good with all my kitchen stuff, right?  (After raising three girls, I know the female family motto by heart:  "Cuteness is EVERYTHING!")  Thus, 2) it needed to be cottagey or country-ish in style.  3)  It also needed to be somewhat "hardy," for lack of a better word 'cause I'm kind of a klutz, and anything too delicate is gonna get chipped up or outright broken pretty quickly.  4)  It had to be CHEAP!  ('Cause, well, I'M CHEAP!)

Not only did I find a dispenser that met every requirement on my list, but there were TWO of them!  Woo-hoo!  I snapped them up so that I could use one for dishwashing detergent and the other for hand soap.  (I can't remember which bloggin' sista gave me that idea, but in order for me to do that, I had to find two . . . and remember, until today I hadn't been able to find ONE even!)

Here's one of the two dispensers sitting on my stovetop.  I know you can't read it, but the piece of tape reads $2.   I'm sure the antiquey-looking brass top put off some buyers, but it's perfect for my kitchen (as I'll show you in a minute).  I LOVE the patina!  And the glass part is nice and heavy.

And here's the original price, displayed on the bottom: I know this pic is blurry, but the price sticker says $21.99!  (Who would pay that for a soap dispenser!  Holy cow!)

See what I mean about being just right for my kitchen?  My drawer pulls and cabinet knobs are also antique brass with a nice, old patina!

And here are my babies filled up and ready to go!  (Gold is my handsoap, and green is my dishwashing detergent.)  How wonderful to get such pleasure out of simple things!

I've picked up a few other goodies this week, but here's another fun one for the chest that sits just below my cowboy cornice board pictured below . . . (And don't forget, you can click on pictures for more up-close detail.) 

A very simple vintage paint-by-number horse picture!

How perfect to go right underneath my vintage fabric cowboys and horses!  It was $2 at a neighborhood garage sale.  I white-washed the frame and painted over the original yellow sky (possible tornado weather?) in the picture with a soft aqua-blue before putting the picture back in its frame and adding it to some vintage black and white family pics.  (Yup, that is two-year-old me with bangs cut right to the hairline . . . gotta love the 50s!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Sermon: Getting Up and Going Again

I once told a friend that I was so good at making apologies because I’d had to make so many . . . apologies, amends, repairs, redos . . . we’ve all been there.  In fact, when you consider the many areas in which we have the possibility of falling flat on our faces, it’s pretty amazing that we don’t slip up or just outright fail more often than we do.  

Home, work, school, church . . . all places where we can fall short.  Our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children, our friends, our colleagues, our selves . . . all people we can let down at one time or another.  And, of course, adding to the weight of our screw-ups at some place or with someone is the sense that we’ve somehow failed God, too.  

Been there, done that.  (You, too?)  I take great comfort and find tremendous encouragement, though, in the fact that Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, Paul, John Mark -- so many of our brothers in the faith -- all stumbled at one time or another, too, and yet God lifted them from the dust where they landed, picked them up, and, when they were ready, enabled them to continue the journey, all the while walking with them, hand in hand. 

And like me, I bet those fellow struggling saints hardly noticed their scraped knuckles and ragged, torn nails as long as their hands were tucked tenderly into His.

What a gracious Heavenly Papa we have.   


Grins and blessings,  


Saturday, July 11, 2009

You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

One Year Ago Today:  
Miss Callie Leighton Odle
6 lbs, 11 oz, 19 inches long

(This was taken just  before she was whisked away for 
a four-day stay in the NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit.)

One Year Later!
Happy First Birthday, Princess Callie-Belle!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, Sweet Callie!
Happy Birthday to you!

God is so incredibly knock-our-socks-off good!  
He loves our children even more than we do and cares 
so graciously, mercifully, and extravagantly for them!  
What an AWESOME God!

Happy Birthday, you precious gift!
I am so blessed to be your Jaja!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Planned Parenthood, Protestors, and the Texas Preacher Woman

Do you ever just need to think out loud?  Don't really need anyone to fix something or give you advice or debate with you, just to hear your voice and perhaps nod and respond with a "Hmmmm, nope never really thought about that . . . " or maybe even just the facial expression of a hmmmm . . . 

That's kind where I am this morning.  St. Michael needed to meet his compadres at o'dark-thirty to head out on his annual trip to the Navajo Reservation in NM, where he goes every July as part of a team that will build a church for a small congregation of Native American believers who need a building, and after delivering him and planting one last passionate kiss on his stud-muffin mug, and driving back home, I'm wide awake now, not quite ready to crawl back into bed yet.  (Putting on a bra at 4:00 AM really sets the tone, y'know?  And, yeah, I'm into my third cup of coffee, too.)  Thus, I'm relishing the quiet darkness of a brand new almost-day, and just thinkin' and talkin' to my sistas in Blogland.

I'm not trying to stir up any controversy (I'm not the budding free-for-all, bull-in-a-china-shop journalist I was a hundred years ago) or make anyone mad or start a movement -- just thinking out loud about an interesting (for lack of a better word) experience I had yesterday.  (Maybe I should say unusual experience?) 

I found myself and Baby Daughter being met at the edge of a cyclone-fenced-in parking lot by a fresh-faced young woman wearing a neon-green vest with PLANNED PARENTHOOD VOLUNTEER in large black block letters across the front.  She smiled apologetically and explained as she led us across a not-as-busy-as-I-expected city street, "We have protestors today.  The best thing to do is to just keep walking and to not say anything."  (I swear I'd never seen her before in my life.  Okay, maybe she says the same thing to everybody.)    

It wasn't really hard, as the first protestor we passed was a young man, as equally fresh-faced as our escort, who seemed not to know any other way to respond to my nodded-smile greeting but to nod and smile back.  In fact, he seemed to plumb forget that he was supposed to say something to us.  His T-shirt read,  John: something-too-faded to read.  (Probably 3:16 if I had to guess.  It's a verse so well known that even heathens are supposed to recognize it.)  The young female protestor standing a few feet away from him looked as if she had expected him to do the talking, and since he didn't, she, too, was at a loss for words.  

From about thirty yards away, though, an older woman, obviously a more experienced protestor, remained decidedly unspeechless.  I caught only a few words -- " . . . hurts the woman! The baby feels pain . . . " -- enough to know why she was enduring the ungodly Houston heat.  (But, of course, I already knew why she was there:  Planned Parenthood.  Protestors.  Duh.)

However, Baby Daughter and I were not there for any reason that anyone might find to protest.  Quite the contrary.  In fact, I was entering the building feeling pretty grateful that the people in this building were going to take care of my youngest child.  You see, Baby Daughter falls into the category that more and more people -- men, women, young, old, and in-betweens -- are finding themselves in:  She doesn't have health insurance.  Like tens of thousands of folks in the American work force, she is considered a part-time worker by the credit union that employs her.  In fact, everyone at her job level is classified part-time -- never being scheduled for more than 37 or 38 hours a week, just so that they can remain classified as part-time and thus be legally denied benefits.  And this is not at all unusual.  In hard economic times, more and more businesses are doing the exact same thing.  Humanly, real-live-people-wise-speaking, it may not seem right, but economically, on paper, many companies are deciding it's the way to go, thus leaving many folks in no-man's land -- they make to much to qualify for welfare benefits, but they don't make enough to cover the cost of medical insurance.    (Oh, and in case you're wondering why Baby Daughter doesn't get a "full-time" job, though she works as many as 35 hours a week at times, she is also a night student who carries a full class-load during the school year.)

(Just so you can picture this Texas cutie.)

So Baby Daughter goes to Planned Parenthood for her well-woman checkups.  And when her most recent pap smear showed abnormal cells, this is where she went for follow-up.  And it's where my 24-year-old Baby Girl and I were yesterday for her endocervical curettage (or biopsy of abnormal cervical cells).  It's where she qualified for a grant that covered the cost of this procedure, which, otherwise, even at non-profit Planned Parenthood, would have been about $400.  

Now, stay with me.  I'm not proposing socialized medicine.  I'm not nominating Planned Parenthood for a community service award.  I'm not discouraging meaningful protest against some things in our society that are woefully wrong.  I'm just thinking out loud, remember?

And yes, as I sat in the waiting room with my hot-pink Bible (every woman needs a hot-pink Bible she can stick in her purse), highlighting and taking notes for a study in Nehemiah, and waiting for Baby Daughter, I couldn't help but wonder how many of the young women I saw -- particularly those accompanied by young men -- were there for abortion referrals.  (And for the record, I hate abortion.)  And, yes, it bothered me.  My heart ached at the possibilities and probabilities in the room.  But I also know that there were many more women who were there because there were no other viable options for simple female health care.

I love the work that crisis pregnancy centers do -- in fact, St. Michael has spent many, many hours doing volunteer work on a recent remodeling project at our own local Crisis Pregnancy Center -- but I couldn't help but wonder what we as Christ followers do for the health needs of women who aren't in the midst of a crisis pregnancy.  Or people, in general, for that matter.

Again, I'm just thinking out loud.

How many Christian physicians donate time to under-served populations?  How many Christian attorneys?  How many Christian mechanics?  How many Christian teachers?  How many . . . well, you get my drift.  And again, I'm just thinking out-loud.

I'm just thinking out-loud.  Loudly.

Smiles, prayers, and loud thoughts,
St. Michael's Wife, Pamm
(a.k.a. "The Texas Preacher Woman")


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy REDnesday! Join the party!

I'm joining Sue over at The Secret Garden ( for her REDnesday Blog Party.   If you love the color RED want to share your treasures with us -- or if you just want to feast on everyone else's goodies -- then please come on over and join us!  (And, hey, I know RED is a HOT color, and I just did a posting on beating the Texas heat, but I can't help it -- RED makes me HAPPY!)

I have tons of red in Casa St. Michael, but today I'm just sportin' my new red dishes.  St. Michael bought them for me to celebrate our 31st anniversary (and they said it would never last!).  We don't usually do the gift thing, but these were pretty cheap at Tuesday Morning, and I'd been admiring them for a while, and well . . . what can I say!  (I am a spoiled woman!)

They look great in my open kitchen cabinets!  (And every time I look at them, I think of that sweet man I married!  What could be better than that!)

Happy REDnesday!

Half-naked and Beating the Texas Heat!

Beating the Texas heat . . . yep!  It involves WATER!

One thing about living on the Texas Gulf Coast -- you just have to flat out love it 'cause if you didn't, this time of year would send you heading off for somewhere else, for sure!  It is HOT!  (This time a'year always makes me even more grateful that I'm saved and going to Heaven!  The alternative -- and with no AC -- ugh!)

I am thanking Papa God every day for AIR CONDITIONING!

Middle Daughter has discovered one of the most fun (or as my students would say, "funnest!") ways to let cool off the grandbabies in the evenings is to take them to a local water fountain play area.  The water squirts up at all different times from different on-the-ground fountains, and the kids have a ball running through the water and letting it "get them."

Doesn't this look like fun!

Even the anticipation looks fun!  (And maybe if I could find a bathing suit with a little skirt like this one, I'd look this happy, too!)

"Okay, I'm ready!"

"Me, too!"

No matter how many times she sees it, the sudden spurt always surprises Callie-Belle!

 . . . and then delights!

"Hey, get back here!  We're not done having fun yet!"

Here's hoping you're finding ways to stay cool, too, and still having fun!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Sermon

I once told a friend that I was so good at making apologies because I’d had to make so many . . . apologies, amends, repairs, redos . . . we’ve all been there.  In fact, when you consider the many areas in which we have the possibility of falling flat on our faces, it’s pretty amazing that we don’t slip up or just outright fail more often than we do.  

Home, work, school, church . . . all places where we can fall short.  Our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children, our friends, our colleagues, our selves . . . all people we can let down at one time or another.  And, of course, adding to the weight of our screw-ups at some place or with someone is the sense that we’ve somehow failed God, too.  

Been there, done that.  (You, too?)  I take great comfort and find tremendous encouragement, though, in the fact that Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, Paul, John Mark -- so many of our brothers in the faith -- all stumbled at one time or another, too, and yet God lifted them from the dust where they landed, brushed off the dirt, and, when they were ready, enabled them to continue the journey, all the while walking with them, hand in hand. 

And like me, I bet those fellow struggling saints hardly noticed their scraped knuckles and ragged, torn nails as long as their hands were tucked tenderly into His.

What a gracious Heavenly Papa we have.