About Me

My photo


Come sit a spell at my Tree Pickings blog or visit the mainpage tree pickings.blogspot.com to get to know the family.

Welcome to my piece of the net! My blog is how I hope to keep in touch with my family, our friends, and the wonderful folks who take an interest in us. I'll share my musings on our family, our ministry, "Arbol de Vida" ("Tree of Life"), as well as from my copious readings of many genres.

I live in Torreon, Mexico since December 2008. I'm an avid reader and knitter, enjoy sewing, and have gotten my share of compliments on my cooking. My husband Chuy and I love challenging each other to a game of Scrabble and my daughters enjoy me reading aloud to them (well, two out of three, do).


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Taught by a Bug

I don't usually look for divine revelation in a bug. Actually, I don't think I ever have. But just the same, today a mosquito brought a deep truth home to me.

On my bedroom wall, close to the ceiling, I saw the shadow of what appeared to be a huge insect, more like a dragonfly than the mosquito flying around the light bulb. 

That's when it hit me.

Even the smallest things cast a large shadow when they fly close to the light.

So little me can bless the world in a big way if I fly close to Jesus, the light of the world.

Thank you, Mr. Mosquito. [But that won't keep me from slapping your blood-sucking fellow creatures when they come buzzing around. Sorry.]

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mourn With Those Who Mourn

427. A number that changed our lives.

Our nightmare can also be abbreviated T1D.

Our feelings? Shock is the simplest word.

Dear little Grace, who has been the sunshine of our home for nearly ten years, was diagnosed this weekend with type 1 diabetes. Thanks to social media, we soon were flooded with phone calls and messages and posts from kind friends and strangers alike. Tears streamed as we scrolled through or recounted the sad story of watching our sweetness melt before our eyes, and how the Lord led us to the right diagnosis before a crisis came on.

To be completely honest and unconcerned about offending someone, some of those messages irked me. Oh, I know the authors had good intentions and gave the best they had. But as a mom who lost her first baby at 3 months, 12 days, and knows how fragile her last baby's life is, I can tell you a little about grief and comfort.

Assurances that all will be well, that she is healed and all we need to do is claim it, that God is in control, have a way of irritating rather than comforting. If all will be well, why do some children die from this? Why should my child have a ticket of safe passage and not another innocent one? If she is healed, why do I have to put 6 needles into her tender flesh every day? If God is in control, why did part of her body quit?

We worshipped Jesus as we drove away from the hospital where I left the body of my infant. My faith and trust has been tested in fire, and has proven as gold. Never has it crossed my mind that this is God's fault, that He has somehow failed me or left me. But things that are not according to his best wishes happen in this world. I don't understand it, but I know my Father enough to be satisfied with trusting His goodness, no matter the circumstances. He doesn't control everything. But He has the power to do anything. A mystery I've come to peaceable terms with.

Jesus taught us how to comfort those who hurt: cry with them. Be with them. Touch them.

Easy religious phrases are a cop-out for feeling another's pain deeply. I understand. It is uncomfortable; it hurts! Someone has said that pain is what keeps us human. We can only be compassionate by experiencing suffering in our own flesh and soul.

Life is to be shared, both its highs and its lows. Mourn with those who mourn. And another day, they may be able to rejoice with you in your gladness.

Monday, May 26, 2014

How a "Cheap" Tablet Makes Me More Efficient

After dreaming of a tablet and all it would do for me, I was amazed when one was given to me in February. Even more amazing is all I get done because of this device! Actually, I'm writing today because one of my Apps reminded me to. So let me tell you how I use it in my daily life.

Any.do is much more than a to-do list that gets lost, wet or eaten by the dog (or whoever is your scapegoat). Each day I get a fresh reminder for those new habits I'm working on. Washing the aprons is happening more regularly because I told it to remind ne each week. Monthly reminders keep me on top of certain cleaning chores, and now we don't (usually) miss the bi-weekly orthodontist appointment. People from church are more likely to get a phone call when I promised one. The planner feature lets me decide how much to keep for today and what to postpone for another day. Items I don't swipe as finished carry over to tomorrow, unless they are daily reminders (pretty smart for a list!).

With a Bible reading chart I have stayed on track (well, I got caught up...twice) for reading through the Bible. Checking off those chapter boxes is fun!

Making notes and lists and plans for events or stray thoughts is a snap with a notepad app and Google Keep, which looks like a bulletin board of sticky notes. Adding an image of a dress was a perfect way to show the seamstress my idea for a dress.

Morning alarms get me started on my busy day, and another ring ensures I take a supplement on time. At night an audio book that turns itself off sends me to dreamland. My journal has more entries now that it's password locked and portable.

Bible reference books are a few taps away during our weekly studies, enriching my understanding and comments. Mind mapping helps prepare a lesson, and i can teach from messages stored on Google Drive.

For school I can look up a photo of that flower or bird, practice phonics, and plan out our courses for the year. A Facebook message or email doesn't pull me away from my desk, and with a few taps I can check on the bank balance or make a payment.

To relax or even sharpen my mind I can play number, word, or card games. A little girl can be kept quiet with drawing games or educational apps during prayer meeting.

From waking up to falling asleep and everything in between, I am a more productive and efficient woman, thanks to all my tablet does for me. If this is what a "cheap" model does, I wonder what a name brand one would be like!


Posted via Blogaway

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

        One pretty spot, please!
So many parts of my home are piled up (we'll not discuss that today) or in disorder or disrepair, but I long for at least one pretty spot! It took making a new bookcase for the hallway and a bit of determination with a pinch of creativity to prepare this niche in my entryway.

 Just about every candle I have found a place on this unfinished shelf. In the corner you see my collection of my husband's roses that I've dried, as I will the newest bloom in the white vase. Why throw them out? They can last a long time just by turning them upside down for a few days when they lose their brightest hue and perky posture.
The roses have faded, but they still beautify and brighten my corner, warming my heart.
Do you have a pretty spot that you've fought to create?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Truth More than Life

Die before breaking with conscience? Could I stand so firm? Jesus instructed his disciples not to worry about what they would say, but to be assured that the Spirit would give them the words when they stood accused before rulers. History gives us a good number of men and women who so trusted their Lord and kept the faith even when it cost the life if he flesh.

Where did this train of thought come from? Last night I watched the movie "A Man for All Seasons" about Sir Thomas Moore who would not bend to King Henry VIII, though he loved him, because he loved truth more than life. I found the story compelling, the acting believable, and the setting beautiful though simple.

Sometime I'd like to skim through again to note the wise words of Sir  Thomas Moore's excellent speeches in this film. I truly regret not having one ready to insert here! What I can tell you is that his life as portrayed leads me to reflection. Moore answered Cromwell's plea to add his name to those who approved the parliamentary act to the effect of, "If I join you now for fellowship's sake, when I am called to judgement and sent to hell, will you join me for fellowship's sake?"

A Man For All Seasons is an enjoyable, thought-provoking movie. How far would I be willing to go for the sake of truth and right? By the Grace of God, I hope I would cling to Him more than to bodily safety, able to believe as Sir Thomas Moore comforted his executioner, "Fear not, for you send me to God."


Posted via Blogaway

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Come Sit With Me

Sometimes it's the simpler truths that resonate most strongly within us.

Tonight's class for married couples seemed like it was very simple, and my part was especially short, but generated the most comments. Seems that as woman we benefit greatly from understanding what our men need from us but haven't expressed in so many words. "Come sit with me." And all we find is silence, bewildering our feminine mind. But if we can beat the urge to go off to start the laundry and dishwasher, we might discover how our presence energizes our husband. Eventually, he just may open up his deepest feelings to us.

Reminds me of Jesus. Mary sat at his feet. Will I? From the Psalms we learn that God reveals his secrets to those who fear him, and to them he shows his covenant. (25:14) Once again, marriage teaches us to know God. Just like my husband likes me to simply be with him, it turns out that God likes my company even when I don't talk. "Come sit with me."

Yes, honey, can I get you something to drink?

Yes, Jesus, I'll do like Mary and choose the better part.


Posted via Blogaway

Informed Consent

I always intended to write about the books I read, so today I'll make my intention a reality. Informed Consent by Sandra Glahn was a featured freebie on Amazon, and liking the description of a Christian medical story I sent it to my kindle reader. This week I read it.

The downside to reading the classics is that it spoils you for modern literature. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens have way with words and a vocabulary for expressing thought that are hard to rival. Somehow you know things and picture scenes, but by inference. Avoiding the boring format of telling each part in just the order it happenetd,hn the reader is engaged and called upon to do their own thinking. Modern writers tend to spoon feed all the thoughts and conclusions.

That being said, I found Informed Consent to be rather well written, allowing me to get engrossed in the story line. While not a lengthy book, Glahn manages to develop her characters and explore some sticky ethical and social issues. Some readers may not enjoy the medical jargon, but the targeted audience will lap it up. Taking some unexpected turns, the climax had me staying up late at night. All in all I'm glad I read this ebook, and as it is not preachy, I'd recommend the story. If you read it. I'd love to know what you think.


Posted via Blogaway