Tuesday, December 30, 2008
"Exalt the Lord, His praise proclaim;
All ye His servants, praise His Name,
Who in the Lord’s house ever stand
And humbly serve at His command.
The Lord is good, His praise proclaim;
Since it is pleasant, praise His Name;
His people for His own He takes
And His peculiar treasure makes."
I just love the part about us being a peculiar treasure. I know this isn't how the song writer intended to use the word, but I think "peculiar" describes the church of God well. If you treasured something that constantly flip-flopped from being rebellious to being devoted and back to rebellion again then I think you'd call that a pretty peculiar treasure, too. And yet He really does treasure us. How peculiar.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
"From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence -- and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified."
"I'm happy to finally be in shape ... round is a shape right?"
"[God] is not proud...He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him."
"Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. That way, if he doesn't like what you have to say, you're a mile away and you have his shoes."
"What if we trusted God to do the utterly impossible?"
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Our love. “All You Need Is Love.” Isn’t that how the song goes? And while our own feeble love is so insufficient much of the time, when it’s backed by Jesus’ all- sufficient love then that really is all you need. Sometimes it seems like we’re full to bursting with love in our family: Lily is so good with Evangeline- helping her, comforting her, being patient with her, Malachi is already tenderly loving his newest sibling- he’ll rub Mommy’s belly and talk to “Baby Boo,” and the kids take turns going out on “Daddy Dates” with Joshua- what a treat that is! And Adiel still stays at home and shows her love through cleaning, cooking, teaching, etc. We all genuinely like being around each other and we are so grateful for this love that fills our lives.
Our home. We’ve lived in this house for a little over four years and it has been a good home for us. Even though we are starting to feel a little cramped here as our family continues to expand, we are so grateful for a warm, comfortable house to call home. These four walls hold some of our best memories.
And Joshua and Adiel are still truckin’ away at raising this family and keeping busy with their own talents- music and winemaking for Joshua and photography and homemaking for Adiel. We’re a strange crew when you put us all together, but this family is still striving toward holiness in our own odd ways.
Our Hope. We have had some really great times as a family, but we’ve also gone through some dark, horrible times. We’ve experienced death and heartache, sickness and pain, but through each and every moment we’ve been held together by the promises of God and the hope we’ve found in Him. Today the sun is shining, but tomorrow maybe it will rain again. But we know that even then our hope doesn’t change. We know our place in God’s kingdom and we know that this earth isn’t really where we belong. Heaven isn’t that far away and we are getting ready for it. And that hope is truly something to be thankful for!
Here we are at the end of another letter at the end of another year. How exciting it is to anticipate the events waiting for us in the coming year! We hope you, too, are filled with the wonder of God’s goodness toward us simple humans. How good He is!
With our love,
Joshua, Adiel, Lily, Malachi and Evangeline
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
15 Things I’m not ashamed of:
1. I like to sing Psalms.
2. At this moment I look like a rough representation of what a walrus would look like after eating a heavy Thanksgiving dinner with a bowling ball for dessert.
3. My kids are ordinary. Yes, they are very special to me, but I’m not ashamed to say that they aren’t all that out-of-the-ordinary.
4. I don’t celebrate Christmas.
5. I do celebrate the Sabbath.
6. I can’t cook rice, make certain kinds of fudge or chewy peanut butter cookies (unfortunately for my husband.)
7. I got married at 18 and started having kids right away. Folks around here assume that getting married young and having a baby so soon means we weren’t “pure” before our marriage or “responsible” after getting married. Some people are subtle as they do the math, but others just ask outright: “How old are you? And how old is your oldest child?”
8. I stay home and care for my own kids.
9. I struggle on and off with depression.
10. I like the smell of gasoline- except when I’m pregnant.
11. I often laugh so hard that I start sobbing and can’t stop.
12. I like shopping at Wal-Mart and Pier1. Polar opposites, but good stuff at both places.
13. I’m addicted to buying coffee mugs (especially from Pier1.) Just bought two new ones yesterday.
14. I’m part of an odd church that a lot of people don’t like. We’re too serious for them.
15. These Internet questionnaires are really just desperate cries for love and attention. We all want someone to know these things about us, but no one listens long enough to get to know us this well. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m so hungry for love that I’ve settled for writing this little blurb rather than try to find someone who will listen and care in person.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Today I was remembering a history lesson Mom had given us back in 6th or 7th grade. It was someting I'd had an attitude about at the time, but I realized that I remembered more of it than I thought I did. What's more, I cared about this topic now.
"How about that?" I thought. "Mom actually knew what she was doing when she taught us. She taught me to care about this stuff. I should tell her that. She'd get a kick out of hearing me say that after all this time."
It only took half a second or so before I remembered that I couldn't tell Mom. It's been over five years now since she died. You'd think I'd be able to remember that.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
But I've decided to not get down about it. Yes, I miss thinking up and writing out my Daily Thanks posts, but I need to realize that, for now, this is just a side effect of the stage of motherhood that I'm at right now. Sometimes I feel like there are too many things I've had to give up over the last several years, but then God always reminds me of how much I've gained in the beautiful blessings of my children.
So I guess this right here is a Daily Thanks post. I'm so thankful for my children and everything that goes along with them- sleepless nights, poopy messes, temper tantrums and bickering, the drain of my time and energy and the goodnight hugs from warm, cozy little people, the smiles that greet me whenever I come home, the little life squirming in my womb, and the feel of my heart winding around four other little hearts.
Thank you, God, for my little people. They are exactly what I've always wanted, even if I never knew it before. Give me strength to keep loving them when I don't feel loving toward them and help me to remember the blessing that they really are to me. And thank you for letting me see, as I look at my children, a little of what You see when You look at me.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.
When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest; Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best. This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee; More love to Thee, more love to Thee!
Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain; Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain, When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee; More love to Thee, more love to Thee!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
This time around it's so different. Malachi is very aware of "Baby Boo" and knows that the bump in Mommy's belly is a real little person who will be coming out someday. He's protective of me and he'll just walk up to me and kiss or pat my belly. He likes to "snuggle" with Baby Boo and give her hugs.
But here's the sweetest thing ever: Several days ago Malachi and Lily were cleaning the shelf that holds all our shoes (aptly named the Shoe Shelf) and Malachi very carefully left a free space on the bottom shelf for Baby Boo. I thought that was so cute, but I figured he'd forget about it after five minutes. Imagine my surprise when, this evening as I was putting my shoes away on the bottom shelf, he said firmly, "Make sure you leave space for Baby Boo." In Malachi's mind the baby is just as much a part of our family as Lily or Evangeline is- and just as real. Wouldn't you love those pro-choicers to imitate that?
Anyway, I suppose I've rambled enough for one post. I just like my family and I'm so amazed at how my kids are growing and turning into fascinating little people. Malachi has been difficult lately so it's good for me sometimes to remember his admirable attributes.
And so to close with a Malachi quote: "I can't take care of too many sisters!"
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sigh. It's only October. My dad usually makes it to November before giving in.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I mean, who's dumb idea was that one? Here's a great example of its stupidity: imagine a small handful of people who have known each other since birth, grown up in the same home, and shared the same parents, memories and bathroom. These people have held each other up during tough times and also enjoyed some pretty uproariously good times together, too. Then imagine them one day all saying goodbye to each other and separating to various parts of the country only to see each other once or twice a year and maybe have the occasional phone call.
Pretty dumb, huh?
Or how about this one: let's say there's a young woman who has a few babies and raises them and loves them into adulthood and one day- boom!- she leaves them all, never to return. Isn't that just most asinine thing you've ever heard?
And yet, we take it all in stride and say it's part of life- because, well, it is part of life here. But my husband reminded me just today that it won't always be like this. The stupid goodbye will never happen in Heaven.
Here's hoping the Land of Endless Hello comes soon.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
His careful thoughtfulness.
His tender love for our kids.
His willingness to work hard.
I couldn't find a picture that properly portrays his goofiness, (even if I did he probably would rather I not post it) but that is also something that I love about him.
All these different aspects of my Joshua are what make being his wife a joy. He's not a perfect man, but he's the perfect man for me.
I love you, Joshua. Happy Birthday!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
It took me some time and a lot of crying out to God, but I reached the point of being able to say, "God, you are in control here. You can give my baby life or You can take it away. You are good so I trust You no matter what you decide."
Last Friday I went in for my check up. I lay down on the exam table and the midwife got the doppler tool they use to hear the heartbeat. She put it on my belly, wiggled it around and... nothing. She couldn't find a heartbeat. She tried a different spot- still no heartbeat. She pushed on my belly until it hurt, still trying to find that gentle beating. I heard my own heart's beat, but not my child's.
I tried to not cry. I prayed, silently screaming the words, "God, please!" Then I fought down the panic and I was able say to Him, "Whatever you decide, I trust You. God, help me." In that moment God was asking me, "So did you really mean what you said about trusting Me? Are you really willing to trust me even now?" And I found I was able to answer- through tears- "Yes, Lord, I trust You. Even now."
And, suddenly, I heard the heartbeat.
The gentle whooshing of my baby's little heart was strong and healthy. He had just been tucked away in there and hiding from us. I breathed a prayer of thanks.
I cried the whole way home that morning. I had had quite a scare, but I realized that I had also passed the test. It's not often that I pass the tests that God gives me and I felt such joy- again through tears- that my faith has grown enough to pass this one. God has done some really horrible things to me. I have experienced what it's like to see a sonogram and know that baby wouldn't live. But I am able to say, with full certainty, that my God is good.
I write this with the hope that you, too, can now look back on the various heartaches you've endured and see that God brought you through them all and He was holding you close the entire time. He asks a lot of us when He tells us to trust Him, but He is always worthy of our complete trust.
And all these tears that we've cried through these hardships have been counted and stored by the One who sees all and one day He will wipe them all away.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Southern Belles
Nuttin' But Strinz
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It's been over a year now and we've been visiting Paul and Betty on various Sundays ever since. We try to make it every other week or so. We've also made a few new friends there. Ginny, a single woman who lives at the home and doesn't have any family nearby is always thrilled to see us. She doesn't remember us from visit to visit, but the kids always bring a smile (and sometimes tears) to her face.
I'm mentioning all this because this experience has been a really good thing for our family. We are training our kids to be unselfish with their time and to be kind to others. The kids used to be a little scared of the older folks, but now they ask every Sunday, "Can we go see the elderly today?" God gave us this little ministry and we are so glad He did. Each time we visit the elderly and bless them through the simple joy of a young child's hug, it's as though we are doing it to Jesus and we, in turn, will be blessed for it.
There are some weeks that I don't want to go to the nursing home and there have been times when we didn't go when perhaps we shouldn't have skipped it. So we're not perfect here. But I feel it our duty to share this tiny way in which we are endeavouring to obey Jesus and to suggest to you that you do the same. Your ministry will be different from ours and maybe visiting a nursing home isn't practical for you, but please consider doing something. Jesus is pretty clear when He told us to visit the sick, prisoners, etc.
Anyway, like I said, each of our ministries will look different, but may I encourage you to be sure you are ministering in some way?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
If weakness is a wound that no one wants to speak of
Then "cool" is just how far we have to fall
I am not immune, I only want to be loved
But I feel safe behind the firewall
Can I lose my need impress?
If you want the truth I need to confess
[Chorus:]I'm not alright, I'm broken inside
And all I go through, it leads me to you
Burn away the pride
Bring me to my weakness
Until everything I hide behind is gone
And when I'm open wide with nothing left to cling to
Only you are there to lead me on.
Honestly, I'm not that strong.
[Chorus:]I'm not alright... that's why I need you.
(Listen to the song here.)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Malachi, in his usual boyish way, said from the backseat, "When is Grandpa going to get his gun and hunt it? Deer turns into meat!"
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Some will stand in the gates.
Make a name in the state.
But she's in the kitchen
Surrounded by children.
Nothing big in the world's estimation,
Just taking that world with the next generation.
A glorious woman
Jehovah has given.
Worthy of such honor
No mere man could proffer.
In the eyes of the world, there's nothing to see.
But then, that world was never worthy of these.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
"The odor emanating from Evangeline's room this morning was mephitic."
Yes, after changing that diaper (and the sheets and giving her a bath) I find that my mind has now been enriched in its understanding of the very aptly descriptive word, mephitic. Who says motherhood can't develop our minds more?
mephitic \muh-FIT-ik\, adjective:1. Offensive to the smell; as, mephitic odors. 2. Poisonous; noxious.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
"What about Evangeline?" I asked.
Without missing a beat he answered, "She'll marry a baby."
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
I was in charge of finding a Burmese game for us to play and I discovered Chinlone. It's so spiffy to watch, but super hard to play! It was sure fun watching the kids try it. I totally love the creativity involved in playing the game.
Check out a video of Chinlone being played here.
Monday, June 16, 2008
But I didn't feel worthless and vile. I was clean. I didn't even have cracker crumbs on my shirt dropped by some messy child. I put on my best face this morning and now I was supposed to focus on how not nice I am.
I'm totally convinced of my sinfulness and perverted nature. But on Sunday mornings I feel clean and pulled together- well, most of the time I do, anyway. So I was just thinking what difference it would make it I showed up for corporate worship in my sweats with my hair disheveled and greasy and feeling grumpy in general. What difference would that make in my worship? When I'm sitting at home having a quiet time with God, I feel more real and unappealing. And sometimes, on the flip side, I feel so guilty sitting in church with everyone else looking so neat and pulled together and when I compare myself with them I feel filthy- even though I look just as nice as they do right then. So why do we get all dressed up for church? I mean, I understand the idea of being properly dressed for meeting with our God, but still.... How am I supposed to be real when I'm all dolled up?
I was trying to bring these thoughts together for a coherent blog post, but I'm finding I'm having a hard time doing that. Does any of this make sense? Does anyone else feel similarly? Any thoughts, anyone?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Here is a precious truth for thee, believer. Thou mayest be poor, or insuffering, or unknown, but for thine encouragement take a review of thy"calling" and the consequences that flow from it, and especially that blessed result here spoken of. As surely as thou art God's child today, so surely shall all thy trials soon be at an end, and thou shalt be rich to all the intents of bliss. Wait awhile, and that weary head shall wear the crown of glory, and that hand of labour shall grasp the palm-branch of victory.
Lament not thy troubles, but rather rejoice that ere long thou wilt be where "there shall be neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." The chariots of fire are at thy door, and a moment will suffice to bear thee to the glorified.The everlasting song is almost on thy lip. The portals of heaven stand open for thee.
Think not that thou canst fail of entering into rest. If he hath called thee, nothing can divide thee from his love. Distress cannot sever the bond; the fire of persecution cannot burn the link;the hammer of hell cannot break the chain. Thou art secure; that voice which called thee at first, shall call thee yet again from earth to heaven, from death's dark gloom to immortality's unuttered splendours. Rest assured, the heart of him who has justified thee beats with infinite love towards thee.
Thou shalt soon be with the glorified, where thy portion is; thou art only waiting here to be made meet forthe inheritance, and that done, the wings of angels shall waft thee faraway, to the mount of peace, and joy, and blessedness, where,
"Far from a world of grief and sin,
With God eternally shut in,
"thou shalt rest for ever and ever.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
"But the harder I try the more clearly can I
Feel the depth of our fall and the weight of it all
And so this might could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me, making me clean"
--Wholly Yours by David Crowder Band (You can listen to the song here.)
"I have wasted so much time
Pushing You away from me
I just never saw how You could cherish me
'Cause You're a God who has all things
And still You want me
But I need You to love me, and I-
I won't keep my heart from You this time
And I'll stop this pretending that I can
Somehow deserve what I already have
I need You to love me"
---I Need You to Love Me by Barlow Girl (You can listen to the song here.)
Neither of these songs are new or particularly profound, but whenever I hear them in the car or on a Pandora station, it feels like a hug from my heavenly Daddy. It's like He's saying, "It's okay. I feel the weight of your sin even more than you do, but when I look at you I don't see any of your yuckiness. All I see is my little girl whom I love very much. And I'm not done with you yet."
And those words are what get me through the day.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
All My Tears by Jars of Clay
When I go, don't cry for me
In my Father's arms I'll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I'll be whole.
Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus' face
And I will not be ashamed
For my Savior knows my name.
It don't matter where you bury me,
I'll be home and I'll be free.
It don't matter where I lay,
All my tears be washed away.
Gold and silver blind the eye
Temporary riches lie
Come and eat from heaven's store,
Come and drink, and thirst no more
It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away
So, weep not for me my friends,
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to Him
Who will raise the dead again.
It don't matter where you bury me,
I'll be home and I'll be free.
It don't matter where I lay,
All my tears be washed away.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
"AAUGH! The baby is climbing on the Little Tikes kitchen! She could fall and kill herself! It's not safe- we're getting rid of it right away."
After having a few kids:
"Oh, good! The baby is climbing on the Little Tikes kitchen. Maybe now she'll stop climbing on the dining room table and chairs, and the couch and the computer desk and the stairs...."
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
I highly recommend reading these posts. I'm eager for the book to come out- it sounds like something that would be quite helpful to me.
"...modesty is humility expressed in dress."
-----Pastor C.J. Mahaney
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
"Hello, princess!" he called down cheerfully.
And for a brief moment I remembered: yes, I am a princess.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Being Lily's mommy is a sanctifying experience because our personalities are so similar, (read that: she gets her emotional state from her mommy) but she has an artist's heart and I'm so proud to share that with her.
Father of Lights, from whom came this lovely little girl, thank you for the grave responsibility and the great joy of having Lily as our daughter. Give us grace to raise her well.
Happy Birthday, Lily!
Monday, April 21, 2008
"Well," Malachi answered with a thoughtful look on his face, "I was trying to be quiet but... something went wrong."
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Captured Light Portraiture
Friday, April 18, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
There are several grilled desserts that I want to try. I think that's my goal for this summer. Getting better at making delectably sweet foods without dying in an overheated kitchen sounds like an honorable goal to me.
Here's another one that looks good:
Barbequed Pineapple (I don't see how you could go wrong when you combine pinapple, rum and fire.)
Has anyone else experimented with grilling sweet stuff?
Monday, April 14, 2008
It was tough getting used to having to share my big brother with someone else. Seth was my property (or so I thought) until Crystal came along. She stole my brother away from me and made his eyes go all "googly" and starcrossed. But as their marriage grew, I saw what true love looked liked and I saw what I wanted when I got married.
I saw Crystal learn to submit herself to her husband and I saw her help him and work with him in his endeavors. I saw that Seth's goals were Crystal's goals and if he failed in some way, then she felt the failure. And when he succeeded then she was rejoicing and celebrating with him. I saw her give of herself without asking for anything in return. I saw her striving to raise Godly children and I saw her reach out to the hurting people around her.
I saw all these things over the years of knowing Crystal and I see them all more than ever today.
Crystal, thank you for being my big sister. Happy Birthday!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
"This book is not for the super-spiritual.
It is not for the muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero.
It is not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.
It is not for the noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.
It is not for the fearless and tearless.
It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels: "All these commandments I have kept from my youth."
It is not for the complacent, hoisting over their shoulder a tote bag of honors, diplomas, and good works actually believing that have it made.
It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.
If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out.
It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.
It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.
It is for the inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.
It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.
It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags."
Great words, right? Now go back and read it again and this time, whenever he says "this book" or "The Ragamuffin Gospel" replace it with "The Gospel of Jesus."
That's me he's talking about. And you. I'm a ragamuffin Christian. I don't have it all together. I don't know what I'm talking about most of the time. I'd much rather do things my way than obey my God. And this gospel is for me.
"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."
Monday, April 07, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
To that end:
I've discovered a wonderful cleaning tips website. I was thrilled to find this. I hope it helps you, too!
First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life.
Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles.
Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill.
On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill.
Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed.
And there is light
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
It's so lovely having my baking supplies behind doors (doors with very strong magnets) where little hands can't cause mischief. And I love having a floor that isn't crumbling to pieces and getting eaten by little mouths.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Who needs a tile cutter when you've got a hammer?
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Evangeline added her hearty " 'men!" and then they were set to go back to reading their book with the Bad Guy in it.
I feel like a failure so much of the time, but occasionally I get to see some area in which I've actually done well. The kids knew that when they are scared, the thing to do is pray. By God's grace, Joshua and I taught them that.
Thank you, God, for telling me "Well done" today.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
My brother, Jonathan, is what you might call the “cool” brother. Seth is getting better in his old age, but Jonathan still outranks him in coolness. Growing up, it was Jonathan who always got me in trouble, but I didn’t mind so much because he was just so much fun! He was the one that would dig tunnels under the garage with me and let me play with his Transformers. He had these neat action figures that had a small space ship thing and we’d try rig up a way for the ship “fly”. I think we used some of Mom’s leftover yarn as line for it to glide on and it never really worked that well, but still, it was amazing!
Even when he was a teenager and always going out with his friends, he made me feel like I wasn’t the annoying little sister tagging along. I almost thought I was cool just like my big brother. His favorite football team was (and is) the 49ers so, of course, that was my favorite team, too. I really didn’t understand football and watching a game bored me to death, but I was a 49ers fan because Jonathan was and I wanted to be just like him.
Like every brother and sister we didn’t always get along so great, but now somehow we’ve ended up as friends. We live about a million miles away from each other and we don’t play with little action figures anymore, but as I watch him live and work and care for Carrie and love her and try to follow where God wants him to go and not be afraid of what anyone thinks of him or what he has to say, I am amazed that he is my brother and I’m so proud to be his sister. So I guess you could say that I still want to be just like my big brother.
Jonathan, I wish that Peoria and Erie were a few hundred miles closer together so that we could celebrate your birthday together. I just want you to know that I'm celebrating here and thanking God for you.
Monday, March 10, 2008
We were walking the halls on our way to our elderly friend’s room when we came upon a lady in a wheelchair struggling to wheel herself along. Joshua offered to push her to her room and she gratefully accepted. When we got to her room we admired the many pictures that hung on her walls. She proudly showed off her family pictures and then wanted us to look at her door because that’s where her wedding pictures were hanging. I looked at the pictures which looked like they had been taken a short while ago and I figured she had meant to say they were from her anniversary party.
It looked like it must have been a milestone anniversary so I asked, “When were you married?” She proudly replied, “A month ago today!” Our jaws dropped. “And here comes my husband now.” We looked to the hallway where a gentleman was wheeling his wheelchair our way and smiling.
She explained that he had lost two wives previously and she had lost her first husband, but when they met each other at the nursing home, they wanted to try it again. “This will be the last time,” she declared.
We offered our hearty congratulations as the newlyweds smiled at each other. As we continued on with our other visits, Joshua and I couldn’t help but smile in amazement. That’s a love story that beats any romantic comedy out there. The story of love found in a nursing home.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
So today we took the kids out to play and it was pretty hilarious watching them try to work out how to get around the yard. They tried walking, but because they aren't very big, they'd start out walking on the surface of the snow and then they'd sink in halfway. After a while they figured out the best method was to crawl on the snow.
Lily was pretty tough out there, but Malachi struggled a bit so we had fun picking him up and throwing him. That worked well except that he'd land on his bum (causing a cute imprint) and then flail his legs around like an overturned turtle trying to get up.
Evangeline was far too little to get around well in snow that could easily cover her so we'd just plant her somewhere and she'd play for a bit, then we'd grab her little snowsuit, uproot her and plant her someplace else.
Joshua dug a little snow fort out for the kids and I'm hoping to get back out to play in there more tomorrow.
All in all, we had a grand time being snowed in today. So even though I was near tears yesterday because of the snowstorm, I'm very glad we had the snow today.
Thank you, God, for giving us exactly what we need- even "inconvenient" snowstorms.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6
“This psalm teaches the tough truth that there is work to be done whether I am emotionally up for it or not, and it is good for me to do it. Suppose you are in a season of heartache and discouragement, and it is time to sow seed. Do you say, ‘I can’t sow the field this spring, because I am brokenhearted and discouraged’? If you do that, you will not eat in the winter. Suppose you say instead, ‘I am heartsick and discouraged. I cry if the milk spills at breakfast. I cry if the phone and doorbell ring at the same time. I cry for no reason at all, but the field needs to be sowed. That is the way life is. I do not feel like it, but I will take my bag of seeds and go out in the fields and do my crying while I do my duty. I will sow in tears.’
If you do that, the promise of this psalm is that you will ‘reap with shouts of joy.’ You will ‘come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you,’ not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping. We need to remember this even when our tears tempt us to give up sowing.”
----A Godward Life, pp. 89-90
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
"We know they’re coming (most of the time, anyway): PMS, morning sickness, postpartum depression, menopause. Yet these predictable, physical trials of a woman’s life still tend to catch us off guard. When they show up, we feel like we’ve been hit from behind and struggle to keep steady amidst physical and emotional challenges....
You know it’s coming. But take heart: God’s grace is already here to help us prepare to glorify Him and serve others. Let’s consider how. "
Check it out here.
Who are these like stars appearing,
These before God’s throne who stand?
Each a golden crown is wearing;
Who are all this glorious band?
Alleluia! Hark, they sing,
Praising loud their heav’nly King.
Who are these of dazzling brightness,
These in God’s own truth arrayed,
Clad in robes of purest whiteness,
Robes whose luster ne’er shall fade,
Ne’er be touched by time’s rude hand?
Whence come all this glorious band?
These are they who have contended
For their Savior’s honor long,
Wrestling on till life was ended,
Following not the sinful throng;
These who well the fight sustained,
Triumph through the Lamb have gained.
These are they whose hearts were riven,
Sore with woe and anguish tried,
Who in prayer full oft have striven
With the God they glorified;
Now, their painful conflict o’er,
God has bid them weep no more.
These, like priests, have watched and waited,
Offering up to Christ their will;
Soul and body consecrated,
Day and night to serve Him still:
Now in God’s most holy place
Blest they stand before His face.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Please join with me in begging our good God to relieve Carrie of her pain. Even if you don't know her, please pray anyway.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Ladies, heed my words: Never go bra shopping on the eve of Valentine's Day.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I just wanted to remind you of this.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
I hid my face and looked away.
His face was too grotesque to me,
His gleaming teeth a fright to see.
I saw the people that he killed-
Their bodies bruised, their breathing stilled.
I heard the screaming, felt the tears,
Saw the culmination of his victims’ fears.
Oh, what horrors this man wrought!
I uncovered my face and for some comfort I sought.
The murderer does the same, I see
And now I know it’s only a mirror in front of me.
We Christians like to think that we’re better than other people. But the only difference between “us” and “them” is that we are forgiven for the horrible things we do.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
This last December I went to a performance of the ballet The Nutcracker and it was then that I realized that I don't really like ballet. This is significant because ballet was my first introduction to dance and I took ballet lessons for several years. So I started thinking about dance and what it is and what its purpose is. And now I just have a bunch of questions about dance and no real answers. Is there an ideal form of dance? Are some forms not as "true" as others? Does dance have to be visually appealing?
I thought it'd be interesting to search YouTube and see different styles of dance. I wanted to share my findings with you all. I realize it would be quite time consuming to watch all these videos in their entirety, but I do hope you'll watch enough of each to get a real feel for that dance.
First, right here is why I don't like ballet. Yawn. If I were to watch or dance ballet I'd much rather it be more like this. It looks much more fun and much less stoic.
Something that I have been enjoying lately is break dancing. My one qualm with it is that it tends to get very "show-offy" and the performer ceases to dance and just starts to display his skills. I think any type of dance can fall into this and it really, really, bugs me when it does.
Here is one example of this showing off mentality. I don't think this Chinese ballet counts as true dance, but if you skip to a little before the six minute mark you'll see a woman balancing on one leg- on pointe- on top of her partner's head. Wow. I have to ask why anyone would want to do that, but hey, it's still impressive.
My search for dance led me to a kind of dancing that I had never heard of until a few months ago. It's called house dance. When I first saw it, I totally didn't get it, but when I saw this video, it made much more sense to me. It is a freestyle sort of dance that seems like it would allow the dancer to feel the music and flow with it. When someone house dances well they are intimately involved with the music. This video show several different house dancers-each with their own particular style.
Just how would you describe this type of dance to someone? It's a Japanese tribal hip hop thingy, I guess. I don't know what to say about it except that I like it. I think.
Gaby introduced me to Parkour- The Art of Movement. (this video gets very good at around the 2:45mark.) These people are celebrating the joy and freedom of moving. They don't use music, but does that make a difference in dance? I think parkour is the closet thing I've ever seen to man learning to fly.
And now we come to Robam Joun Por. This dance is so foreign to me that I have trouble appreciating it. But if you look closely at the way the dancers move their heads ever so slightly, you see that they are dancing to a strange melody that is almost beneath the music we hear. It looks so stiff to us Americans, but in watching it a few times I was able to see how that, too, is a beautiful style of dance. Though that doesn't mean I like it.
So now you've seen a small, but very diverse collection of dances. It's amazing to me to watch them all back to back- my neck still hurts from the whiplash. God created our bodies in such an intricate way and has given us the ability to dance. In some way, all these dances show us something of the beauty of our God. I'm overwhelmed with the magnitude of this thing called dance. Just imagine, what would dance look like if it was done by perfect, sinless bodies? Someday we'll find out.
So now that I've rambled on and posted a plethora of links that I don't even know if anyone will watch, does anyone have any thoughts about dance?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
In particular I enjoy her haiku. I've never met anyone else with such a knack for creating deep, intricate feelings using only a very few words.
Raquel, your haiku are like a little bright spot in the world. You may never become a rich and famous writer, but you've added beauty to my world and I'm a different me now because of you. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your art with us.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Elizabeth thought she owed me money, but I was sure she had paid me back already so we argued about it for a bit. And then I had a similar fight with Jonathan over the phone later. The upshot of it is that I lost both fights and I'm now richer for it. Not a bad resolution to the problems, if you ask me.
So anyone else want to fight me?
Monday, January 28, 2008
So what is it about this man that makes him great?
He was husband to a godly wife and he raised five God-fearing children. He preaches in a small, largely unknown church where he teaches his flock, through his words and actions, what it means to love Jesus.
That is what makes him a great man. And not only do I have the privilege to call this man my father, he is also my friend.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
I love you!
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
that He cannot be redeemer if I am my own saviour,
that there can be no true union with Him while the creature has my heart,
that faith accepts Him as redeemer and Lord or not at all."
---from The Valley of Vision
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
And that feeling in your throat when you have to cry
Big brother moved away- farther than I’d known
Even with the six of us I still felt so alone
I remember when Mom’s dad was sick and so weak
I can still feel where the tears ran on my cheek
We were snuggled on Mom’s bed when she told us he would die
I asked a lot of questions, all of them wondering “why?”
My grandma also early left this gray place
Dad collapsed in Mom’s arms, grief etched on his face
Nieces and nephews never born, never met
The grief then captured us like a twisting invisible net
Then came the day my mommy’s heart stopped beating
She lay in bed where the machines kept her breathing
I was at home when the call came: “Come say goodbye.”
The prayers I prayed then- desperate- did my God deny
Every time I feel the sting of Death’s sharp knife
I think I can’t take much more before it claims my own life
I’ll never forget mourning the death of my baby- the one I’d never hold
“It gets easier. You’ll laugh again.” that’s what I was told
It’s true that I laugh now and feel joy once again
But I’ll never in this life be rid of the pain
The pain of conquered death so real, so real
The pain of a broken heart, too scarred to fully heal
My hope is sure, I know my hope will come to be
My hope is of a perfect life- a life that was bought for me
There will be no more goodbyes in the land of my king
My tears will be gone then and I’ll forever sing
But I’m not there yet and it hurts to be here
As I continue to lose all that I hold dear
So for now I suppose it’s all about saying goodbye
And that feeling in your throat when you have to cry
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Yeah, I've heard better techno music, but Aviad Cohen (the artist formerly known as 50 Shekel) still ranks pretty high on my spiffyness meter just for doing what he does.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
When I was pregnant with Evangeline I mostly got my “morning” sickness in the evenings. So there I was, doing our grocery shopping and feeling like I was going to either pass out or throw up- whichever came first- in the cereal aisle and I was trying to find a cereal that I could stomach. I usually live on cereal when I’m pregnant so this was an important food to me at the time. I felt daunted by the varieties of cereals (and let’s not forget the feeling of impending puking) so I desperately prayed, “God, show me which cereal to get!” Immediately, my eyes fell on a green box of Chex cereal. I grabbed it, thanked God, and continued with my shopping. I knew in that moment that God is intimately concerned with even the most seemingly mundane details of my life. He knew how miserable I felt and how overwhelmed I was by the simple chore of picking out a cereal so He divinely picked out a cereal for me and in that way, He showed me that He loves me.
Usually when I shop at Wal-Mart, I feel tense because I’m trying to not spend too much money while still getting good things for my family. I’m constantly feeling tempted by all the racks of clothing I shouldn’t buy, the special foods that don’t fit in our budget, the cute toys I know the kids would enjoy, etc. I feel the temptations of the world bombarding me as I shop at Wal-Mart. And even if the temptations aren’t obvious to me at the time, I know they are always there. Until I step into the parking lot, that is. Wal-Mart’s parking lot is big enough to build an entire neighborhood on and the sky over it is as big as Montana. As soon as I step out of the store the beauty and breadth of the sky takes my breath away and I am reminded that life is not shopping and buying and attaining things, but rather it is glorifying the Creator of so awesome a sight. I can feel the glory of God as His artwork hangs over the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Since I recognize the many temptations that face me at Wal-Mart, I try to pray each time that I prepare to go to that store. One evening, as I was walking from my van to the store I was praying when I felt a sudden jolt in my spirit. I felt like my eyes were opened and as I looked at the other people about to enter the store with me, I realized that I was different from them. I realized that I am not just another shopper at Wal-Mart. I am a child of Yahweh. I felt like I should be glowing for all the glory that lives inside me. I looked at the other shoppers and I wanted them to have this glory, too.
Now, maybe these stories seem a little odd to you. Maybe you think I’m seeing too much into things and making a big deal out of nothing. I suppose that’s possible except for this- I know my God the way I do because of what He shows me when I shop at Wal-Mart. Of course, He speaks more fully in the preaching of the Word and in Bible reading. If this was the only place I ever listened to God then I’d have some serious problems, indeed! But for some reason God chose Wal-Mart, of all places, to show me how real He is and to impress certain truths on my heart. Now when I’m having a frustrating time trying to get dinner on the table or some such thing I remember that God helped me pick out some breakfast cereal so surely He cares about each and every detail and He can even help me get dinner on the table.
How does all this work? Is it Jesus who walks with me as I push my cart? Or does He send an angel or two with me every time I go to Wal-Mart? I don’t know how this works, but I don’t need to know. All I need is to know and understand that the God I serve is so big that He can reveal Himself to His people using the most unlikely tools. He can even use Wal-Mart.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Apparently, the excitement was too much for him since he couldn't even eat his cake. He did like looking at it, though.
Happy Birthday, Spider-man!
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.
Hymn by Horatius Bonar
Saturday, January 05, 2008
I think everyone here at Moving Truth agrees that as Christians we have the great privilege and responsibility to mimic our Creator by being creative and sharing that creativity with the world. What I have been recently struck with is the thought that it is also our responsibility to improve our efforts in our art. God never wants anything to stagnate. If we are to be growing in our knowledge and love for Him doesn’t it follow that we are to grow in our creativity, too? I’m not saying that we should all join a class or buy a stack of instructional books and attempt to reach impossible standards , but rather that we should avoid becoming lazy and complacent in our art. I feel that I all too often settle for doing something half-hearted. “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” are usually my excuses. While it’s true that a busy life does leave a limited time frame for working and experimenting with one’s art , it should never be an excuse for laziness.
I am a wife, a homemaker and a mommy to three adorable, but rambunctious little kids so, yeah, my time is not my own. But I am also an artist. If God has seen fit to bless me with my talents then I will strive to do my best to use these talents to bring glory to Him and to further His kingdom. I do not have the time, resources, or knowledge that some have to pursue art, but I will not let that be an excuse to bury my talents in the ground.
I’m certainly not saying that anyone here is guilty of this. Everything I’ve seen of this site shows quite the opposite, in fact. But I figured that since complacency is a temptation for me that other artists may struggle with it, too. This responsibility to improve in our creative arts is great, but if we are faithful with what God has entrusted to us then we will reap many, many blessings.