Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lessons from Joshua 1:9

 Lately it seems as if many of us are facing all sorts of unknowns.  If I take just a few minutes and think about the ladies in my Sunday School class, and also my blogging friends, I could come up with a staggering list of unknowns that different ones are facing.

From cancer and other health issues, to retirement, to grief and loss, to facing a nursing home or assisted living, to the possible sale of a home, to issues with children, to estate responsibilities, to legal issues -- the list could go on and on.  One young woman in my class is working as a camp counselor this summer.  Talk about physically exhausting and emotionally draining work!  Plus, each week of camp brings a new set of campers with their own unique challenges -- a fresh set of unknowns every week!

It's been fascinating to me to see how God has brought particular verses to mind as I have dealt with my own impending unknowns.  One thing that happened was that as I was working on the review lesson for the Sunday School study we're finishing up, I realized I had never actually taken time to meditate on the six verses that formed the backbone of our two years of study in the book Following God with All Your Heart, by Elizabeth George.  I had read the verses countless times, memorized each one, and thought about them repeatedly.  But I had not taken time to work through meditating on them using the the SOAP method which I so greatly enjoy.  And I realized that every one of these verses -- Joshua 1:8, Joshua 1:9, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 5:5-6, Psalm 84:11, and Philippians 4:13 -- would be useful ones to meditate on as I finished my review.  SOAPing them would help solidify these six life-changing verses in my thinking.
So I began.  And almost immediately an unexpected event also happened -- the death of my dad.  Unknowns abounded.  (They are, however, not unexpected and not unknown to God.)  Today I am just going to zero in on my study of Joshua 1:9, which I did on June 9.  It is simple, but such a blessing.

S=  "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

O= After Moses' death, God spoke to Joshua, who would be the new leader of the children of Israel.  How amazing it must have been to be encouraged by God Himself!  He assured Joshua that every inch of the promised land was theirs (v. 2-4); that He would be with him and not fail or forsake him; that no man would be able to stand before them (v. 5).  He encouraged and commanded Joshua to keep His Word in the forefront of his thinking, to meditate on it and obey it (v. 7-8).

Here in v. 9, God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous: "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage."  This is the third time God has told him this: verses 6 and 7 record the same command.  He expands on it here:

* Be not afraid
* Be not dismayed

And then He tells him why: "for the LORD thy God is with thee wherever thou goest."  What possible need could there be for fear?

A= This is the perfect day for me to be meditating upon this verse.  Things are changing in my life.  There are many things I could be fearful about, from family concerns to legal matters.  Literally, because my dad has died, things will never be the same as they were before.  And yet ...

* I can be strong
* I can be courageous
* I need not be afraid
* I need not be dismayed

BECAUSE

* The Lord my God is with me wherever I go and whatever I face.

P=  Lord, how I thank and praise You for Your Word!  I thank You today in particular for this powerful verse.  What a great reminder!  Because You, the all-powerful, all-knowing God, are with me, I can be strong and very courageous.  There is no need for fear or dismay.  I pray that you will help me to keep this verse firmly in my mind as I face the unknown, and thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen. 

I hope these simple thoughts have been a blessing to someone today!
The photos are from Tuesday evening, and were taken at a nearby lake.  After a stressful day, Mr. T and I packed up a simple picnic and headed for the lake to eat supper.  What a refreshing break it was to be out in God's creation, soaking in its beauty and serenity!  These photos were snapped with the Kindle and taken right from our picnic table.  The folks in the photo above are NOT us, but another couple with the same idea.  I didn't intend to get them in the picture, but I sort of liked how it came out.  Seems to fit with my thought of keeping our focus on the Creator as we move ahead into the unknowns of life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Start of summer hodgepodge


 It's Wednesday again and time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends over at From This Side of the Pond.  Why not go check out Joyce's list of questions and answer them on your own blog, then link up?  Here are the questions and my answers, interspersed with pictures from summers past.
1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?

1) A picnic at Wellington Beach
2)  A visit to Story Land with grandkids
3) Ice cream at Frosty Scoops
4) A lobster bake
5) A visit to the science center with grandkids
6) Tram car to the top of Cannon Mountain, then hiking the rim trail
7) Enjoying fried seafood or other takeout at a picnic table at Riverside Dairy Joy
8) The Fourth of July get-together at the home of friends
9) Sitting on the screened porch of a cottage by a pond or lake
10) Playing miniature golf with grandkids

I would like to think we could manage all ten this summer, but I would settle for seven or eight, I guess!

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? 

I am more likely to collect sea glass.

What do you do with them once you get them home? 

Sand dollars and sea glass would be displayed or used in craft projects.

What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? 

The beach at Cabot Provincial Park in PEI for sea glass; the same beach, plus Popham Beach in Maine, for sand dollars.

How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas

I haven't visited any of those places.  I would probably like to visit Okracoke Island in NC if I had to choose one of them.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

Tasked with settling an estate and having to deal with legalities and paperwork, I would very happily go back into my shell.  And wish I could do so right. now.
4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

 Trying to think ... Summer tends to be pretty short here, so there probably isn't anything I truly dislike.  There are things I don't personally enjoy, but nothing I can think of that I absolutely dislike.



5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

Maybe handwritten notes or letters.  I hope that doesn't happen, but it could.  And that does bother me because handwritten letters can be real treasures.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Having trouble thinking right now ... any coherent thought at all. Everything just feels like too much.  However, God is in control and this is on my plate so -- in His strength alone -- I will manage to deal with it.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Loon Nest Live Cam



The Loon Preservation Committee (which produced the info sheet above) has a web cam live in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire right now.  The camera is watching over a loon pair that is incubating two eggs.  [Edited to add: the first chick has hatched.  So cute!]

Go here to access it: Loon Web Cam.  Or you can also watch on YouTube.

It's fascinating to watch, so enjoy!  I have it on full screen on my computer right now.  It's like being there!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day Hodgepodge


Beautiful photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Wednesday, and time for the almost-weekly Hodgepodge with Joyce and the gang at From This Side of the Pond.   Joyce asks the questions; bloggers copy, paste, and answer on their own blogs, then link up!  If you've never joined in the Hodgepodge, why not give it a  try this week?  Here we go with the questions:

1. The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A. Do you fly your country's flag at home? Sometimes, often, or every single day? 

We don't have an American flag flying here at our home, although we do at my Dad's.  Every single day.  And we do, as of Saturday, have a perfectly folded American flag on a shelf in our living room.  My nephew is going to have a case made for it.

Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House? Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)

 I have not visited either Philadelphia or Baltimore.

2. Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.

Good question.  And I can't think of a really good answer.
Photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
3. Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?

 Sometimes I am the sort of person who stays in the car to 1) listen to the end of the song; 2) hear the end of the news story; or 3) listen to see how the at-bat or the current inning comes out.  NPR calls those "driveway moments", so I guess you could say I'm (at times, not always) a driveway moment kind of person.  Or a rest-of-the-story type person.

4. What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad? 
 Patience; empathy; kindness; thoughtfulness; courage; integrity; a good work ethic and a sense of humor.  Just to name a few. 

What's an expression you associate with your father?

"It's a poor day when you don't learn something."

5. What's one rule you always disagreed with while growing up? Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?

My parents had a rule that there would be no singing at the table (at mealtimes).  I'm still not completely sure why they had it, other than that singing slowed down one's eating, could be considered rude or distracting to others,  and -- in our house anyway -- teasing was sometimes accompanied by a song or jingle aimed at the one being teased.

I haven't kept that rule in my own household and very occasionally I will notice one of us or a grandchild singing at the table.  And I have no problem with it.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Very thankful for my own wonderful Dad who is no longer with us, as of May 26. We will miss him but he is far better off, reunited with his loved ones who have gone on before.  As I looked back over many photos to make a display for folks to enjoy at the gathering after his service, I was reminded again and again of  what a good dad he had been.
The tenderness expressed in this picture ... there are just no words.
They are getting ready to pour concrete to install a flagpole!
Setting the base for the flagpole ... this is how I always remember my dad, with a pencil tucked behind his ear.
 
And so ends another Hodgepodge. Happy Flag Day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Our Bangor adventure, Part 3

 Saturday morning we planned to head home from Bangor, but we ended up visiting a museum instead.  We had had plans to meet up with my blog friend Vee for lunch or pie and coffee, depending on timing, on Saturday en route back to New Hampshire.  However, those plans changed with the unexpected passing of her father, which we learned about while on the road to Maine.  (And I would never have guessed, that day, that just a couple of weeks later, I would be facing the unexpected passing of my father. It certainly helps us to know how to pray for one another.)  I believe, too, that God was already preparing my heart by reminding me that only He knows the day and hour one will pass from this life, and that my dad could go as quickly and unexpectedly as Vee's did.  Neither were in top-notch health.

All that to say that with our plans for Saturday changed, we intended to head home, still having lunch at the place we had planned to meet Vee.  It was interesting how this museum visit came about.  Remember how I said that Comfort Inn had a shuttle that took us to the Loggers' Expo?  Well, as we were traveling across town, we happened to look down off the highway and see the helicopter pictured above.  Of course we were curious.  Wouldn't you be?

We could also glimpse a large building with the title Cole Land Transportation Museum, so we asked the shuttle driver about it.  He told us quite a bit about it (for example, the museum was built around a train and tracks which were put into place, then the building was built around the train).  He added that if we had the time, the cost was minimal and the museum definitely worth a visit.  Well, we had a bit of extra time now, although certainly we were sad about the reason for it.  So we planned a stop at the museum for as soon as they opened on Saturday.

It turned out to be an absolutely amazing place, with loads of local history but also many, many vehicles of all types from many eras.  Everything from Sno-Cats to hearses to tractor-trailer trucks, fire trucks, farm tractors, convertibles, the aforementioned train and even an entire train station, reassembled inside the museum.  We spent well over two hours there and just did not do it justice.  We could easily have spent an entire day!  I will just show you a few of the things we saw.
The caboose for the train!  The freight car is set up like a little theater where one can go in and watch videos concerning the museum.  You can actually go in the caboose and look around.  It's quite amazing.
Inside the train station.  Sorry for the glare.  We were taking these with the Kindle.
The gum dispenser was original to the station, I believe.
Look at all those saws!
The truck above was a special one called a tank-van.  It featured a box trailer pulled behind the short tanker.  Thus a load of fuel could be delivered to Aroostook County and a load of potatoes could be hauled back in the trailer on the return trip.  Pretty ingenious!
Army vehicle
A nifty old car!
Army vehicle
Steam shovel
This car was especially to use for photo ops.  Don't know if you can read the license plate (I think you'll be able to if you double click on the photo), but at the left it says "Horseless Carriage"!
Outdoors there are some war memorials.  The helicopter we saw from the highway was a part of the Vietnam War Memorial.  This is the rest of it -- a wounded soldier being helped to the waiting helicopter.  The woman depicted at right is an Army nurse.
 I am not sure which War Memorial the tank belongs to ... it may be the Korean War.  This museum also has a strong emphasis on veterans' programs, and actually pairs veterans with school children to help them gain the wisdom and insight these older people have to share.

A fascinating, fascinating place.  We will definitely return, hopefully with some of our grandkids who would really enjoy seeing all that this museum has to offer.

On the way home, we did enjoy a delightful late lunch at Cole Farms in Gray.   (The photo below shows our  grandson Darrin enjoying a meal at Cole Farms in 2012.  I think he may have been enjoying the ketchup more than the fries.)
On this trip, we both had delicious chicken salads with cranberries and walnuts.  It made a nice, refreshing stop in the midst of our trip home.  We did miss Vee, but we're going to try that again!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Our Bangor adventure, part 2

Finally I'm finding a minute to blog a bit more concerning our Bangor adventure last month.  Our Friday evening involved time spent outside of the city ... in fact, very much in the country.

When we began making plans for our trip to Bangor, we decided to see if we could spend a few minutes with my cousin Chuck, with whom we reconnected at a family reunion last July.  (Chuck's grandmother and my grandfather were brother and sister ... Mabel and Joe.)  Chuck and his wife live only a few minutes from Bangor, and he works at Treworgy Orchards.  Back last July he gave us his card and said to look him up if we were ever in the Bangor area.  So, a week or so before our trip we emailed Chuck to see if a brief visit, maybe on our way home, would be a possibility.  Saturday would not work for him and Michaele, so we arranged to meet at the farm late Friday afternoon, and then to have supper with them at their home.

After leaving the Logger's Expo on Friday, we had an hour or so to relax at the hotel before leaving to meet Chuck at the farm in Levant.  It's unusual for us to spend more two consecutive nights in a hotel, but this time we did, so I had some time to relax in a quiet area of the lobby with an embroidery project.  I was surprised to note, on a nearby table, some brochures for Treworgy Orchards!  Sort of neat, since we were headed there shortly.

We arrived at the farm and were given a tour by Chuck, who took us around the property in a golf cart, accompanied by two of his young grandsons who were visiting from Deer Isle. 
This area is going to be this year's corn maze.  Chuck had just completed plowing it.
The pictures were taken with the Kindle, so not great.  But the clouds were quite interesting, I thought.
Chuck's shoulder and just a few of the apple trees in blossom.
We then drove to another part of the farm and saw property that is being developed into strawberry fields and other uses.  This pond was recently created as well.  One can see how beautiful this area is going to be!
After our tour, we went back to Chuck's home where Michaele had a lovely, healthy supper waiting -- a huge taco salad, fiddleheads, and homemade blueberry ice cream.  We had a wonderful visit with them and then headed back to our hotel.  There was a glorious sunset behind us as we traveled back to Bangor.  I caught a tiny glimpse of it in the rear view mirror, but the photo certainly does not do it justice.
Soon, maybe tomorrow, I will post about our Saturday morning in Bangor, which turned out to be very interesting -- one of those unplanned excursions which ends up being a delightful surprise!


Friday, June 02, 2017

"Third boxcar, midnight train ...


Destination: Bangor, Maine."

The catchy words and tune from Roger Miller's King of the Road ran through my head as we began our trip North.  Although we have traveled through, or possibly around, Bangor several times on our way to Canada, we have never visited the Queen City of the northeast.  We were headed there a couple of Thursdays ago for a fun trip related to my hubby's work, and were traveling, not by boxcar, but by minivan.  We were going to the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Exposition, otherwise known as the Loggers' Expo.  The Loggers’ Expo alternates between Bangor, Maine in odd years and Essex Junction, Vermont in even years.  Although Mr. T has visited the expos in Essex Junction several times, he had never been to the one in Bangor.  And this was my very first time at a Loggers' Expo! He wanted me to come along, so he suggested making it a getaway, with two nights in a hotel.

It worked out so well and was a truly refreshing time away.  We arrived at our hotel a little after 7 pm and found that cheese and crackers, milk and cookies were all available for a bedtime snack, so of course we availed ourselves of that.  (We had eaten a very simple picnic supper in the car on the way up.)  We also learned that a complimentary shuttle was available to take us to and from the expo, where the parking was not all that easy.  So we decided to take advantage of that, as well.

After a good night's rest we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast at the hotel.  Comfort Inn has a really nice breakfast with everything one might want, even eggs, ham, sausage, things like that.  Fueled for the morning, we took the shuttle to the Expo, which was being held at the Cross Insurance Center.  Here's a view looking down on some of the indoor exhibits:

Then we headed outdoors.  I've described the Loader Competition in my Hodgepodge post, so I won't add more info here, but here is my hubby competing:
And here are a few other pictures of interest:
Beautifully painted pickups were in evidence, promoting various wares -- see the next two as well↓

A portable sawmill
This cone-shaped attachment will split large, unwieldy logs to make them more manageable.
And of course, it was necessary to eat!  We shared a baked stuffed potato and also "fully equipped" apple crisp from this vendor.
Love that punny apple core sign!
At this point, we discovered that our camera was no longer usable, as we had recorded videos that took up too much space.  It was the Kindle from here on out, until we could get back home and put the videos on the computer!

So here are just a couple more pictures from the Expo:

 Looks like a trailer stuck in the wall, doesn't it?  Would you believe this is the elevator door in the Cross Insurance Center?  The other one looks much the same. 
And a back view of Paul Bunyan, taken from the window of the Cross Center (and facing the Hollywood Casino across the street).
You can see from the back view of Paul Bunyan that he is wearing a knit cap,  called by many a toque,  pushed to the back of his head.  I did find myself wondering why the statue was there.  Oh, I understand that lumbering was a huge industry that pretty much built Bangor into a city.  But I always thought Paul Bunyan was from Minnesota, not New England.  (Oh, the heresy I was taught!)  So I did a little research. 

On the Historical Marker Database, I found this info:  "This statue, reputed to be the largest of Paul Bunyan in the world, stands facing the Penobscot River. The legendary giant woodsman is a symbol of the great era in the late 1800s when Bangor, Maine was acclaimed to be 'The Lumber Capital of the World' with sailing vessels crowding the river and loaded with lumber for shipment to seaports around the world."  Apparently Bangor claims to be the birthplace of Paul Bunyan, too -- a claim it shares with Akeley, Minnesota.  I'll add a bit more about this in my next Bangor post.

Yes, I've decided that in order to get this published, I need to divide it into at least two, maybe 3, posts.  So stay tuned for the rest of our Bangor adventure!