For several days last week, the left portion of my kitchen counter bordering the sink, as well as the lower left portion of the window frame and sill behind it, were laid siege to by a swarm of teeny tiny ants marching up through the drain.

After the initial shock wore off, a battle plan was put into action. Baking soda mixed with vinegar was poured down the drain, followed by pots of boiling water, and for a few short hours it seemed to have worked. The victory was short lived, however, and the swarm reappeared with gathered forces.

More baking soda and vinegar were poured down the drain, followed by even more pots of boiling water, but by the end of the day a new battalion was steadily marching up the drain.

I repeated the procedure a third time, and still the troops kept escalating, so on to Plan B, which was to put bay leaves in and around the infested areas. This proved to be a total waste of time, and didn't daunt them one bit.

At this point I turned to Google (which is probably where I should have started), and was informed that whereas my previous strategies had been good, there could be no long lasting results until the queen had been destroyed. I didn't know ants had a queen. My visiting granddaughter assured me that they did. So now how to go about toppling her from her throne?

After surfing through various sites for new strategies, I decided on the following.

Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1/2 cup of sugar (I used brown since it's all I had available), and 2 tablespoons of Borax. Then soak the mixture up with cotton balls and place those cotton balls near any trails the ants have established.

I placed the cotton balls in strategic places along the counter, window sill, and ledge behind my sink. Then I turned off the light and went to bed.

The next morning, I could hardly believe my eyes. No trace of an ant anywhere. All was still, and my kitchen resembled a ghost town dotted with mini mountain peaks of brown sugar fudge. The battle was over, and I had won!



It seems like just yesterday I first noticed her and asked if she was moving in. As I introduced myself and welcomed her to our complex, I had the feeling we would become friends, and yet nothing more took place than a friendly hello on the rare occasion we passed one another in the parking lot.

Today she walked over to my car and asked if I knew anyone she could give her perishables to. I asked if she was moving out. She nodded, and my heart sank. She said it was time to move on, and I wished her a safe trip.

A pang of shock hit deep in the pit of my stomach, and as I turned and walked towards my apartment, I felt overwhelmed by unexpected grief. Why do I so deeply mourn a friendship that never was?



He knows, He loves, He cares,
nothing this truth can dim,
He gives His very best to those
who leave the choice with Him.
(Source Unknown)

Instead of going to Book Club today, I decided to stay home and write a Dear God letter about the ever growing mountain of frustrations I have been battling these last few weeks. Computer glitches that hold me up and keep me from doing what I want/need to do, friends who don't answer e-mails even when a response is repeatedly requested, legalism that doesn't allow for special circumstances, and on and on.

It all came to a head yesterday when I received an announcement from one of my job managers that we were getting yet another pay cut. Thanks to outsourcing, the choice has become work for less, or not at all. And the solution for keeping up with the growing cost of living? Work more hours and be grateful that there is still work out there to do. Kind of like the Israelites being told they had to continue making the same amount of bricks, but now they also had to collect their own straw (Exodus 5:6). Well, maybe that's a stretch, but it definitely described my frame of mind as I decided to take it to the Lord.

As I furiously scribbled, a couple of Scriptures came to mind. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23); Promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another (Psalm 75:6-7 ); Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Now I started feeling a little sheepish, and even more so when I felt that still, small voice in my heart gently questioning me: Have I not always taken care of you? Was there ever a need that went unmet? Have I not proved myself to you over and over?

Memories started popping up of my circusmatnces 11 years ago when I found myself uprooted and transplanted into an unfamiliar town, and how different things are in my life today. I remembered the days of overwhelming debt, the days of looking for change in the parking lot so I could go grocery shopping, the days of calling in sick to work because I didn't have money to put gas in the car. And I also remembered how the Lord provided in miraculous ways--not only for my needs, but for some wants as well. A crumpled $20 bill by the door of the supermarket; bags full of very gently worn designer clothes from a boss/friend who was constantly buying more and thrilled to find someone who would take the old ones out of her closet to make room for the new; a brand new car when the old one died.

Not that I would necessarily want to relive those days, but they were days when the Lord was able to reveal Himself to me in awesome ways. They were days when I learned to trust Him more than ever as I experienced first hand the manifestations of His faithfulness and love.

Today I am completely debt free, working in the comfort of my home at two jobs I really enjoy. Those are things I would never have dreamed of years ago when I first landed in this neck of the woods. And the Lord still continues to surprise me with little unexpected gifts from time to time. Like the check I recently received in the mail in an envelope with no return address. The name and address on the check were Paraclete, Philippians 4:19 (which for those of you not familiar with the Scriptures, is the address of a verse that reads And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus); the check number was not a number, but the sign of the fish; under the amount to be paid was a single line in bold print--With God All Things Are Possible; and the check was signed Paraclete. I still haven't figured that one out.

With each memory,the praises and thanksgiving flowed, and before I knew it, all the frustration had melted away, replaced by overwhelming peace and joy. Nothing had changed really, and yet everything had.



Several weeks ago, I adopted what I believed to be one of the survivors of Joanne's tomato death camp. It wasn't the biggest, or the smallest. Just an in-between one. I took the little thing home and nurtured it, and when I thought it was big enough to survive the great outdoors, I carefully transplanted it into a big clay pot, filled with special Miracle-Gro potting mix guaranteed to "Grow Plants Twice As Big! as ordinary soil." Imagine my chagrin when I proudly showed it off to a friend today, and she said it didn't look like any tomato plant she had ever seen. She thinks it's a weed. Please tell me it isn't so.