Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Dreaming....

Some of my earliest childhood memories were of visiting my great-grandparents variety store in Burney, California.  Papaw Willie would always let us choose something from the candy rack and no one could laugh and love on you quite like Grandma Nonie.  During the holidays, you could always expect to hear Bing's "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas..." echoing through aisles.  I've been told, although I don't exactly remember, that Bing Crosby himself actually visited the store on a regular basis during the time that he owned the Rising River Ranch (later owned by Clint Eastwood) just outside of Burney.  He was even the Grand Marshal for several Burney Basin Day Parades.

Every time I hear any song from that album...  whether it be, "Mele Kalikimaka", "Christmas in Killarney" or "I'll Be Home for Christmas"... it immediately invokes memories of Burney; snow banks rising above my head; the variety store with the nativity scene resting on the platform above the front door;  Papaw Willie behind the counter of the sporting goods section; Grandma Nonie's roast dinners; playing in the snow or making ornaments at Papaw Jack and Mamaw's green house out in Johnson Park... I could go on and on... (How's that for a "run-on sentence")  It's amazing how a little tune will jog your memory and bring floods of emotions that you have kept deep in the corners of your heart.

Maybe for others this time of year means something different... but for me it's a time of nostalgia, tradition, making memories, family celebrations and for thanking God for the wonderful heritage that I've been given.  (dreamily humming... hmmmm... I'm dreaming of a white... hmmmm)

This is picture of me with Papaw Willie and Grandma Nonie in front of Renison's Variety Store in Burney.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


T for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
H for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
A for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
N for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to remember.
K for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected soon.
S for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that abounds. 

That spells ~~~THANKS---for joy in living and a good Thanksgiving.
By Aileen Fisher

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh The Places You Can Go

I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~ Unknown ~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Story Craft by John R. Erickson

My family and I have loved reading and listening to the "Hank the Cowdog" Series over the years; laughing with the lovable characters and at the corny humor.  We loved the author's vocal renditions on the audiobooks ....(my husband always said the Drover sounded like Bill Clinton).  Sometime ago I had heard that the author had written a new book about writing called "Story Craft".  After several failed attempts to order it from the library (my modus operandi), I decided to just order online.  I received it a couple days ago (along with a stack of Watchman Nee and Glenn Clark books) and am thoroughly enjoying the read.  Inspiring!  -- not only to write but to re-listen to all those Hank the Cowdog audio books!  Itunes here I come!
Below I have included the promotional text and link for Story Craft for those that may be interested.
In his new book, Story Craft: Reflections On Faith, Culture, and Writing By the Author of Hank the Cowdog, John R. Erickson says that one of the biggest challenges he faced as a young author was figuring out, "What is a story, and what is it supposed to do?"

Those were simple questions, he says, but they didn't have simple answers. We could say that he found his answers when he wrote and self-published the first Hank the Cowdog book in 1983. The series now stands at 54 books and they've sold over 7.5 million copies. For twenty-six years, Erickson was content to leave it there.

But after receiving hundreds of letters from teachers and parents, he began to realize that his actual business was not books, but "spiritual nourishment." Good stories nourish the human spirit, and it doesn't happen by accident.

Part One of the book describes Erickson's experiences as an apprentice writer and publisher. In Part Two, he attempts to defiine what a story should be, and how it relates to culture and religious faith. And in Part Three, he gives helpful, practical advice to aspiring writers.

The book includes an introduction by Dr. Gene Edward Veith, noted writer and provost of Patrick Henry College, and a foreword by theologian Nancy Pearcey, author of Total Truth.   Book Link: Story Craft

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dynamic Symmetry

Continuing my (very slow) re-digestion of  "God's Reach" by Glenn Clark,  my mind becomes so full and in awe of every detail that God has put into His creation that goes on and on forever... every tiny speck,  every dot, every fractal... WOW!

In Chapter entitled "Dynamic Symmetry in the First Five Dimensions" Clark discusses how perfectly planned and balanced God's creation is:

"The sunflower is the most perfect example of dynamic symmetry in the plant world for it always keeps its face turned toward the sun.  The seeds in this flower which thus derive their life directly from the sun, form a series of intersecting curves.  Symmetry means balance and we naturally would expect these two sets of intersecting curves to contain an equal number of seeds.  But nature and God do not subscribe to so mechanical a formula.  The seeds on one side of the sunflower outnumber those on the other, which to all appearances is a violations of balance.  Then where does the symmetry come in?  Listen carefully, for here lies the Secret of the Ages:
When a sunflower is small there are 21 seeds on one side and 34 on the other.  As it grows larger, there appear 34 on one side and 55 on the other; the next stage is 55 on the one side and 89 on the other.  In other words, the larger side regularly consists of the sum of the two sides at the former stage.  The mathematical ratio of one side is ALWAYS 1.618 larger then the other.
Furthermore, the distribution of leaves along the central stem also shows the same constant ratio.  This orderly distribution of the leaves of plants is connected with a distinctive series of numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc. known as geometric progression.  One of the larger numbers in the series divided by the preceding one always equals 1.618 and this ratio explains the symmetry of the design of the plant system." 

So the next time we look at a sunflower, we can be reminded of how perfectly and wonderfully we and all of God's creation are made.  God continues to blow my mind!  Sometime we (human beings) think we know so much about everything... including God, His Word, His Plan, His Purpose, His Church... and all the other little human idea blips that distract, divide and consume so much of our time.  But really... how little we know about Him and His "stuff"!

What an awesome, incredible, beyond words God!

The Law of Rhythm

I've been slowly rereading "God's Reach" by Glenn Clark and although the study of the dimensions has always been my focus when reading it,  Mr. Clark has so many "mini-subjects" incorporated that you could chase rabbits for days!

In Chapter 7 (Part 11), he discusses The Law of Rhythm: (The second great law for bringing the harmonies of heaven into the world around us.)

The scientists have done the spade work in proving to us that the entire material world consists of nothing more or less than rhythms and vibrations.
Dr. Donald H. Andrews, physicist of Johns Hopkins University said at Stony Run Quaker Meeting House, May 17, 1950, "If there were an atom squeezer which could squeeze atoms together so that only solid material remains, a man could be squeezed down to the size of a very tiny dust speck, and all men now living could be put into a bottle that one could easily carry in one's pocket.  All atoms," continued Dr. Andrews, "give off music -- vibrations that are rather like light.  Each of us is giving off vibrations all the time, something like super-symphonic radiations.  Most of these vibrations are in the infra-red range and cannot be seen with the naked eye.  In short, we are living in a universe which is build on musical terms rather than materialistic terms.  The discovery of atomic music has forced us to a new view."
And that new view is that if we can bring ourselves into rhythm with the Music of the Spheres and ourselves in alignment with the Love of God, which is the foundation for that music, our lives might become masterpieces.
The scientist in his laboratory is not studying matter; he is studying vibrations.  In one class he investigates the vibrations of electricity, in another the vibrations of heat, in another the vibrations of light, and in another the vibrations of sound.  Everything solid he finds melts into music.  "There are definite musical chords," said Dr. Andrews, "which are associated with the various chemicals of the body (and of everything else) and they are giving off their note all the time.  The energy in the physical makeup of a single man could supply more power than all the power stations of the world for several months if it could be released under control."
While the scientist in their laboratories are trying to master vibrations, the poet and the painter and the musician in their studies are trying to master rhythms.
All one need do to become an educated man is to understand the mystery of vibrations on the one hand, and the mystery of rhythm on the other.  Now vibrations, which are most commonly associated with matter, and rhythms, which are most commonly associated with art, belong to the same family.  One is the Martha and the other is the Mary of life.  All the higher forms of life manifest as rhythms, all the humbler forms of life manifest as vibrations.  Rhythm commands, beautifies, creates; vibration serves in the more mundane phases as the hewer of wood and the drawer of water.
Every building and every bridge has some note that it vibrates to, and if a thousand violins stationed in different parts of the structure should play that note long enough the structure would fall.  That is why an army crossing a bridge is required to break step.  Our military leaders have apparently never forgotten the way an army once marched around Jericho for seven days keeping step and on the seventh day all the trumpets sounded ONE GREAT NOTE and the walls came tumbling down.
Link, author of Return to Religion, was a chain smoker.  There was a beautiful rhythm in the way he took a cigarette from his pocket, tapped it, sprung his lighter on it, and sent the smoke curling from his lips.  Wishing to break himself of the habit he changed the beautiful rhythm into ugly vibrations.  By putting his packet of cigarettes on the mantle, and the lighter on the opposite shelf, he was forced to go stamping around the room for every new smoke.  In a few days the habit was "vibrated," like the walls of Jericho, into discard.
Now that you have discovered that vibrations can tear down and that rhythms can build up, I suggest that you put all the habits that you want to cultivate, such as the habit of prayer, of sleep, of creative writing, into as regular a rhythm as possible, and any habit you wish to break try to put into a pattern of jarring vibrations as completely as you can.  Just as you have regular hours each day for your meals, why not reserve a regular hour every day for your prayers?"

It's amazing that the things that we've heard all our lives... like a regular time for prayer,  can be broken down into such a science.  I'm always amazed at the intricate details and patterns that God has placed into His Creation.  Nothing is by accident... but by intelligent design of the Master Designer!

Oh God, let me not only be in perfect alignment with You and Your Will, but carry me in the rhythm of Your Love.  Let me learn your beautiful law of rhythm and apply it in my daily life.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Olivia Turned 16!

It seems like just a few days ago that I was posting a slide presentation for Olivia's 15th Birthday and now her 16th has come and gone!!!! Time truly does fly!!!

Olivia ushered her 16th year out and her 17th year in (NOOOOOO!!! Stop... that sounds tooooooo old!!!!) with around 80+ friends and family here to help her celebrate. Papa and Grammy flew in from Tennessee just for the occasion!

Olivia is a one-of-a-kind girl and a blessing to me and her Dad! My buddy, sweetheart and friend! We are sooooo proud of you, Olivia!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where are we....??!?!?

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations
from the beginning of history, has been about two hundred years.
During those two hundred years, these nations always
progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
--Commonly attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler--

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day 2009

What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so,

He called it ... Dad

~~Author Unknown.~~

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Renison Reunion

For the first time in many years, my Grandpa Jack & his brother Jerry were able to bring together their family for a Renison Reunion.  It was held in Livermore, California and hosted by Jim & Janet (Renison) Brannon.  It was great getting to see everyone and I thought that, although many have been posted on facebook,  I would share a few pictures.  You'll also notice in the pictures, that my Mother's parents, sister and brother-in-law from the "Journey side" were also able to be there with us to visit. Except that it was unusually hot for Livermore.... whewwwww,  everything turned out so nice!

 The Renisons!

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