Tuesday, December 21, 2004

How fine you are to me, dear husband.

I have been far too busy to add anything to this blog since Matt and Joanna were engaged! Has it really been two months already? This month on the 16th, Matt gave Joanna a beautifully bound English Standard Version of the Bible, so they could study the Bible together. Her reaction was joy, and tears, at his words of love and faithfulness.

Last night, Matt came for a visit, and was telling us how much he has grown to love Joanna. He enjoys just staring at her. To him, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Rick and I agreed that she is beautiful, and that they make a fine couple.

This morning, Rick came to me and gave me a long, lingering hug. He said to me softly, "You know, last night when Matt was talking about how beautiful Joanna is, I was thinking that if someone were to ask me who the most beautiful girl in the world is, I would immediately think of you. Do you know how fine you are to me?"

Ahhhhh, words that build a marriage to last a lifetime. Here I am, recently turned fifty, yet my husband of 31 years genuinely sees me as a pretty girl, no a beautiful one. I see him as my King, my Protector, my Knight in Shining Armour. His words to me meant a great deal - not that I care that I am pretty, because I know that the wrinkles are coming and that my hairdresser daughter keeps telling me that I am beginning to go gray - no, they meant a great deal because I want *this man* to always think that I am beautiful. I want him to see me as his Queen. I want to demonstrate the Love of Christ to him, and I want him to be proud to have me at his side as he goes through life.

How fine he is to me. How handsome! How beautiful! His smile lights up my day. His laughter rings in my ears. When he gets down on the floor to play with the puppy, I see the boyish charm of the young man that I married. When he demands, "Kiss this face", and one of our kids grins and plants a big kiss on his hairy cheek, my heart is warmed.

Lord, help me to be an excellent wife to Rick. Give me grace and faith and hope and love. Do not let me fear, or falter, or fall into sinful patterns in our relationship. Thank You, dear Lord, for all that You have done in working the tapestry of our marriage and family. We are blessed beyond measure, and Your grace has been poured out upon us in amazing ways. Thank You that You have taken two unlikely people, opposite in temperament, and molded us into a unit. Thank You that You have blessed our union with twelve beautiful children, and eight gorgeous grandchildren, with more to come. Lord, in your mercy, give us a legacy of godliness and grace. Use our family to minister to many. Bless our children with godly spouses who are whole-heartedly devoted to You. Help Rick as he is the grand Patriarch of this ever-growing family, to guide and teach his progeny and point them to You, their wonderful Creator and amazing Redeemer.

In Jesus' name, I pray.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Matthew and Joanna

Yesterday, Matthew asked Joanna to marry him. He had spent the past week working out all the details. He wanted it to be a surprise - what better time than the day she flew back from visiting her brother in Colorado?

On Sunday night, the Cliffords (Joanna's parents) and Rick and I, along with Matthew, went out for dinner and discussed all of the plans. We agreed to meet in Stratford at a jewelry store highly recommended by Mike. Tuesday night, Matt rushed from work and had a shower at Aunt Betty's, so he wouldn't have to go all the way home first. We all met at the jewelry store. Jeff, the owner, was very knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and above all, patient. Matt agonized over the proper ring. He knew that Joanna didn't want one that was too high, nor too elaborate. Her tastes are elegant and minimal, rather than showy and gaudy!

After nearly two hours, Ray spotted a ring that had a garnet shouldered by a couple of diamonds, in a unique setting. "What about this one, Matt?" Not sure. Would Jeff be willing to take out the garnet and pop in that beautiful, registered, Canadian diamond? Yes!

Half an hour later, Jeff came out with the perfect ring! Matt said, "Oh, YES!" Absolutely perfect.

We went out to dinner (again!) and Matt kept staring at the diamond. His plan was to meet Joanna at the airport with her parents, then come to Stratford where we would have dinner reservations for 7 pm. In the meantime, we'd go to the park and chat - the very park where Matt and Joanna enjoyed their first walk together, feeling awkward, yet praying for wisdom. "Is this the person that God intended for me to marry?"

The plan was in place, but the weather forecast was horrible. The weatherman was predicting 100km winds, sleet, and rain. Joanna *hates* to be cold. How was Matt going to carry out his plan?

We spent the week praying that God would move the clouds and give us a beautiful fall day. When Rick and I left Guelph, the clouds were ominous, black, dripping with heavy rain. I prayed. We drove towards Kitchener, and the rain pelted down. Oh, Lord!

As we approached Stratford, I said to Rick, "Look! The sun is shining over Stratford!" And it was. The entire city was surrounded by banks of clouds, the dark gray, purple kind that look like storm clouds. Yet the sun was shining over the city.

We met at Tim Horton's for a coffee, and after greeting Joanna, I announced that our reservations were for 7 pm. Rick said, "What will we do in the meantime?"

Darlene piped up, "Let's go to the park!" Joanna didn't have a clue.

At the park, a group of tourists wanted their picture taken, and Rick got roped into taking picture after picture with the myriad of cameras the folks owned. When they were done, I said, "Now you can get our picture!" (I just happened to have my camera with me!) So, we all climbed onto the little bridge and posed for a snapshot.

As we were heading over the bridge, Matt suddenly announced, "I'd like to go for a walk with Joanna! Is that okay, Mr. Clifford?"

"Sure," he responded, and Darlene added, "But we'll be watching you!"

Matt's plan was to take Joanna down a little path, through an arbour, into a secluded area where there was a bench she could sit on. When he got there, he asked, "Would you like to sit for a bit?"

"It's WET!" she shot back. Okay. Plan B.

They climbed the stairs and headed down a path through the woods, chatting as they walked. Suddenly, Matt stopped abruptly. He turned one way, then the other, and plunked himself down on one knee. Joanna gasped, then her eyes flooded with tears.

We don't know what exactly was said, because the kids want to keep that to themselves. But we know that Joanna said YES!!!!

God is so very good. I remember watching Joanna as a wee little girl with a brilliant smile. I have watched her grow up her entire life, and prayed for her, and hinted at Matthew on occasion. Yet, without God's intervention, without His orchestration of our lives, my son wouldn't be marrying my dear friends' daughter.

We praise God, for His timing, for His control of the clouds, for bringing these two young people together. Soon we'll be planning and making preparations for a wedding - our joy knows no bounds!


Monday, October 04, 2004

Never Alone

One of the perks of living in a large family is that one is never alone! This evening, after supper, my husband and I were sitting in the living room, visiting and talking about our day, and we had to keep raising our voices louder and louder because of the "thundering herd" upstairs. The children were playing hide and seek in the dark. My 16 year old daughter, Linda, was chasing her younger siblings and terrorizing them, all in good fun.

Thankfully, they don't run and chase each other through the house EVERY day - my patience would wear very thin if that were the case. However, they really do have fun together. There is always something to do, and they never run out of ideas.

After watching the Lord of the Rings, the kids dug out old material and made themselves costumes. Pieces of wood were shaped into swords, then painted. Old metal that they found lying in the garage was made into shields. Someone even fashioned a beard for Christopher out of faux fur, so he could be Gandalf, and state assertively, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!"

One of my favourite things about being a mom to twelve is watching their imaginations at work. It is heartening to see that they are good friends, and it is so much fun to see them running and playing together, even when the oldest at home is 18 and the youngest is only 5.

When I figure out how to post pictures to this blog, I will put up some that show my kids at play.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Put Off/Put On

I was pondering the "put off/put on" principle today, while sitting in the car waiting for Heather to be finished her physiotherapy.

Ephesians 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

How does one put off the "old man" and put on the "new man"? It takes a lot of hard work! Anything in this life that is really valuable necessitates striving, working hard, aiming towards the goal!

If I want to stop lying, I must tell the truth. If I want to stop stealing, I must begin to work so I have something to give to someone else. If I want to stop eating sugar, I must instead choose healthy vegetables to munch on. If I want to stop gaining weight, I must start exercising.

The spiritual realm is the most important aspect of the put off/put on principle. In striving to change my life, I am co-operating with God, Who is in the business of conforming me to the image of Christ.

I love how Andrew Fuller, an English Baptist preacher, taught this principle:

. . . Sin is to be overcome, not so much by maintaining a direct opposition to it, as by cultivating opposite principles. Would you kill the weeds in your garden, plant it with good seed; if the ground be well occupied, there will be less need of the labour of the hoe. If a man wished to quench fire, he might fight it with his hands till he was burnt to death; the only way is to apply an opposite element.

-Reverend Andrew Fuller, April 2, 1795

This is something to remember when training our children, too. If Suzie constantly fights with Johnny, it is not enough to say to Suzie, "Stop fighting!" We must teach Suzie that if she wants to bring glory to God, she must learn to speak kindly to Johnny, to share with him, to do exactly the opposite thing that she is inclined to do in the moment. It won't be easy - it isn't even easy for adults! But in practicing this training in righteousness, we exercise our spiritual muscles, and become more and more fit for His Kingdom!

Lord, help me to examine my heart before You. When I begin to fail, show me - stop me short - remind me of Your word and the principle I am about to violate. Let me put off the sin by putting on a righteous act instead, and in so doing, help me more and more to mortify my flesh and live a life that brings glory to You, the God I love. Help me, too, as I seek to teach this principle to my children and grandchildren. I know that in order for me to truly learn it, You will send trials, big and little, into my life in order to help me to practice righteousness. Give me an awareness of my tendency to sin. Help me to fight against my "old man", and strengthen and renew my "new man". Help me to repent quickly, and not to wallow in the dirt for a bit before I decide to give in. Help me, Lord, to keep short accounts with You.

In Christ, I pray. Amen.

~ Janet

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Peaches and Ponderings

Yesterday, my friend Isobel and her daughter Michelle and the girls came for a visit, bringing peaches for us to can. We had a nice time fellowshipping over a lunch of salad filled with vegetables from our own gardens. Adeena's cherry tomatoes are wonderful!!

After our company left, Adeena and I and some of the kids began processing the peaches. It is so satisfying to see all of the jars lined up in a row, ready to feed the family in the dead of winter. My 8 year old, Tiana, asked this morning if we could open a jar of peaches for breakfast. No, a thousand times NO!! We want to save the peaches for a day when the wind is howling and the storms are shaking the house, with snow and sleet biting our faces if we dare to peek outside. On that kind of day, opening a jar of peaches is like bringing summer sunshine into the dead of winter.

That is a skill all children need to learn: how to defer pleasures which would be good in the moment, but fantastic later on. Self control is a necessary and difficult character trait to develop. Learning to wait for peaches trains the child to learn to wait for the pleasures of the marriage bed, for instance. What would be good (but would bring guilt and shame if indulged in) would be absolutely fantastic later on, in the proper time and place.

Lord, thank You that You teach us through the little things of life principles that will impact generations. I do pray that You will help my children to learn to wait patiently for Your timing. Help them to learn self-control. Keep them pure in heart and virtuous in character, and lead them to the right life's partner, so they can raise godly seed for Your honour and glory. In Christ, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Friends from afar

Yesterday, my dh and I went to see our dear friends, Ron and Linda, who are back in Canada after 14 months' absence on the mission field. What a joy to spend a day with these gifts from the God Who ordained that we would meet 12 years ago. Since then, our friendship has deepened to the point that we just take up where we left off after long absences, with no sense of strangeness or any kind of barriers at all!

I think this is the case primarily because we are Christians, and our fellowship is on a deep and profound level. Yes, we talk about the kids and mundane things like our homes and our schedules, but it is always with a sense that God is in control, that we are aware of His presence and His leading, and that our brief but wonderful meetings are like an oasis in the desert, something to treasure in this journey called life.

I feel privileged to see how the Lord has blessed their ministry overseas. He is using Ron to train leaders and teach them solid Biblical principles that change people's lives, leading them to understand their hearts before God and His sovereign control of everything, in spite of circumstances. He is using Linda as a helpmeet to Ron, and in ministry to orphans and young people in a country that has been torn by strife.

I feel refreshed and encouraged in my life just from one day spent conversing with two of God's chosen treasures.

Thank You, Lord, for bringing Ron and Linda into our lives. You used them to change our entire outlook on life, to deepen our understanding of You and Your word, to strengthen our marriage and other relationships. You allowed us to develop a friendship, then watch as You led them into missionary life and worked out every detail for them to be able to move and be in ministry in such a short time! It was truly amazing to behold! And You have blessed them so much in their life overseas - Lord, continue this blessing, I pray. Give them wisdom as they deal with people who do not have a great grasp of Scriptural principles. Open the eyes of their understanding, Lord. Bless their language studies, as well, and help them to be able to communicate with the people they love. Thank You that you have given them a love for the language! Just help them to comprehend more and more, then to bravely use their speech in public situations!

Oh, Lord, thank you for these dear friends, and for our satisfying encounter!

In Christ, I pray. Amen.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Surprise Birthday party for me...

Last Saturday, my daughter Adeena invited us up so that my husband Rick could help Jeff with some wiring. They are renovating their kitchen, so that made sense to me. Adeena's birthday was the next day, so I suggested that we celebrate it then, and I told her that I'd bake her a cake.

When we arrived at Adeena's home, I noticed Betty's friend John wandering by the garden. That was odd. I said to Rick, "What is John doing here?" No answer. Then I noticed my great-nephew Arthur playing by the shed. What was he doing there, I wondered.

I went into the house and was met at the door by Adeena and Heather! They both had silly grins on their faces, and I demanded to know what John was doing there. The girls told me to come to the shed. My gears started grinding pretty quickly. I had been wondering why my husband switched his driving job with the other driver, and had been very vague in answering me when I asked him about it.

Well, we got to the shed and there were all kinds of people: friends, family members, extended family, and so on! They had decorated the shed with balloons, and Sarah had put together a bunch of posters with pictures of our family. They even found one of me when I was a young girl.

The meal was amazing: steak and chicken, salads of every description, fruit, pie, tarts, cake - they thought of everything. We sat and ate and talked and laughed, then later sat around a campfire and visited.

The thing that touched me the most is that my children (especially the oldest ones) worked so hard to plan and pull off a surprise birthday party, for me...they honoured me more than I can describe. My birthday isn't actually until December, but they wanted it to be a surprise, and they wanted all of the grandkids there, so an outside party in August was the logical choice.

The only trouble with the whole thing is that now I feel fifty. And I really don't turn fifty until December. Honest, I don't!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Camping with Kids; Edwards

This week I took my five youngest children camping with my friend, Darlene, and her three youngest. They all ranged in age from 14 down to 5. Camping is fun from start to finish. In other words, I even enjoy the preparations. Making sure we have remembered everything from clothes to flashlights to activities for the children in case of rain is challenging and satisfying. Of course, I took my laptop to work on my History assignment, so I had to remember my notes, my binders, and so on. The only thing we forgot was salt and pepper!

We had terrific campsites right next to each other, and close to the bathroom, which was a bonus. We even had a huge rock that the boys used for splitting logs on.

Cooking was a piece of cake on Darlene's propane stove, and we even cooked our steak one night over coals from a good fire we had built earlier.

We had to take the kids to the beach, which was some distance away, but while there, the boys built "Rome", complete with a colliseum, an arena, the forum, and a temple. They had villas outside the city, and fields with harvest vegetables growing. All of this set off "castle wars", and up and down the beach other children did their best to make cool castles!

One of the highlights of our camping experience was an altercation with some bullies. Our four girls (11 - 8) and little Christopher (5) went to play on the equipment in the park, not far from our campsite. Some bullies were spitting on the slide, then challenging other children to slide in the mess. Tiana, only 8, spoke up and told them they weren't very nice. They responded with the typical, "Oh, yeah? What are you going to do about it?" Elena, 9, and a little spitfire, warned them that they would be sorry when her big brothers got there, because "they have muscles the size of WATERMELONS!" Tiana, meanwhile, marched into the camp store and told the clerk what was going on, and she came out to confront the bullies, who denied everything.

Just then, my two oldest sons showed up. When Elena was threatening that her brothers had muscles the size of watermelons, she was thinking about Dan and Pat, who are 14 and 12, and very muscular for their ages. But when her two BIG brothers showed up, it was wonderful to see the reaction. Matt is a bricklayer and packed with muscles, standing 6 foot tall, and sporting a beard. Jared is naturally huge, standing 6 foot 7 and weighing 350 lbs! When the bullies saw these guys drive up and get out and greet the kids, they whispered to one another, then took off running!!! None of our kids had any trouble after that. It sure pays to have the big guys on your side!

Which got me to thinking: I was studying the life of Jonathan Edwards today. Jonathan was an incredible man, brilliant, articulate, and filled with wisdom and discernment. God used him to begin the Great Awakening and touch the lives of hundreds, even thousands of people in New England. His writing impacted the English Baptists in Britain and helped them in their preaching and teaching.

Yet this giant of a man was bullied by those in his congregation that he ministered to for many years. Out of more than 200 men in his congregation, only 26 stood with him when it came to a vote on the issue of whether the Lord's supper should be withheld from those who had not professed a saving knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The bullies got rid of him: but he had the Big Guy on his side. I am not being blasphemous here; I am simply saying that if God is for us, who can be against us? It was when Jonathan Edwards moved from Northhampton to Stockbridge, to minister in a little mission to the Indians, that he found the time to write some of his best books.

God is on our side. He is in complete control. What looks like setbacks may be opportunities for something better, for a greater work, a magnum opus. When things are pressing hard against us, and the bullies look like they might win, we need to remember that our God has muscles "the size of WATERMELONS!" In this we can rejoice!

Lord, thank You that You continually teach me to trust You more. Thank you for using my little daughter's brave words to remind me that I have nothing to fear, no matter what comes my way. You are always in control, and nobody can touch one hair on my head without Your permission. The trials You send my way are for my good, and for Your glory. In this I do rejoice. Amen.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Sarah's Birthday! and birth story.

Eighteen years ago today I was welcoming our beautiful, 10 lb 8 oz baby girl into the world! The pregnancy had been Oh! so long, due to my expectations. My previous son had been born 3 weeks early when my water broke, so I assumed (WRONGLY) that Sarah would make her appearance in the middle of July. I waited, and waited, and waited. My belly grew, and grew, and GREW! I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. She ended up being nearly three weeks late - which was six weeks of waiting for me!!

I was admitted into the hospital on the 22nd, and they tried inducing labour with a pitocin drip. Nothing much happened as far as I was concerned. The 'tightenings' were no trouble to me. But when I had an 11 minute contraction, according to the monitor, the medical staff panicked and took me off of the drip immediately.

I was so tired, so discouraged, and totally fed up. I had been at the hospital all day, and still was not in any kind of labour. My doctor had broken my water, and then left for Vancouver to go and see Expo 86; my husband had gone home to get some rest...and there I was, upset, fed up and exasperated. The docs said that if I did not go into labour by morning, I'd have to have a C-section.

One kind, Christian nurse, came into the room and found me crying. She was so sweet, and asked if there was anything she could get me. I said, in a pitiful voice, "Could I just have a little cup of tea and a bit of toast?"

Gasp! Because my water had broken and they were expecting to do a C-section, I was NPO - nothing by mouth. But the sweet little nurse went and made me one piece of toast with a bit of butter, and a nice cup of tea. It was like giving a cool glass of water to a dying man - it went down SO WELL! Hit the spot!

Not 20 minutes after I had indulged, I found myself in hard labour. They phoned Rick, and he rushed to the hospital. A doctor I'd met only once before came in, and measured my belly, and informed me (in a supercillious kind of manner) that my dates were wrong, that the baby was premature, that I should NOT have had my water broken, and that when the baby came we would be lucky if it was 6 lbs.

I gave him *that look* - the one that can kill - and went on labouring, knowing that I was definitely overdue and that my baby was far more than six pounds. At one point I vomited up the tea and the bread, and the wee nurse whispered in my ear to not mention the food! I assured her that I wouldn't say a word, and was convinced that it was the tea and toast that finally put me into labour.

In less than 2 hours, baby Sarah's head was visible - POSTERIOR! Oh, no, I thought. That was what made Matt's birth so painful. The doc said that if I pushed really hard, the baby might turn. I pushed, and turn she did! Yay!

The next moment she was born - a HUMONGOUS child, half grown. Where was the six pound baby?? Hmmm.

I couldn't resist: " Some six pound baby," I said to the doc. He ignored me. No apology, no admittance that he had made a mistake!

Sarah was obviously overdue. About six hours after her birth, the pediatrician noticed that she was not well. She wasn't taking in nearly enough oxygen from the room. Blood tests indicated a very high white blood cell count. She had a full-body infection.

They put her in NICU, on oxygen and an IV antibiotic. Here was this HUGE baby with all the 3 and 4 pound little premies. She looked like she was from some other planet!

Thankfully, Sarah responded to the treatment, and was released from the hospital on the sixth day. She has always been a special treasure to us. Of all twelve children, she was the frowniest - she looked like she was always thinking really deeply when anyone tried to talk to her. She also was the only one who, at 18 months - 2 years old, liked to haul my pots out of the cupboard and SIT in them. We actually have pictures of Sarah sitting in a pot!

She is now 18 (where did the time go?) and beautiful in form and spirit. She loves God, and her family, more than anyone or anything in the world. She is happy that her married sisters (and their husbands and children) and big brother are coming home tonight for her birthday celebration.

Sarah is an artist, and a writer. Perhaps some day she will be famous. She will always be one of my MOST FAVOURITE people in the world!

Happy Birthday, Sarah-Say!

Lord, thank You that You gave this treasure to us, to be part of our family. I pray that You will continue to bless her in every way - spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially! I pray that You will prepare for her a husband she can serve and be a suitable helper to. Thank You that her desire is to follow You, and to wait for You to open the doors of marriage, if you so choose. Thank You that she trusts You with her life, that she rests in You, that You are her hope, and that she delights in You. It is only by Your grace that her eyes were opened to see You.

Thank You, Lord.

In Christ, I pray
. ~Janet

Saturday, August 21, 2004

25th anniversary of our friends

All of my older children are off to Canada's Wonderland for the day, with 2 other families. It is so cool that these three families, who have 30 children between them, have enough older kids that they can do stuff like that!

The house is so QUIET! Elena and Tiana are having a bath, Christopher is waiting his turn, and Jared, who didn't go along for the fun because he is working on his Church History, is making some lunch for them. I can only hear the tapping of Rick's fingers on his keyboard as he is searching for a virus on a customer's computer.

These kinds of days are rare in a large family, but they are peaceful and relaxing. We will be heading out in an hour to join our friends as they celebrate their 25th anniversary. We'll have fun socializing and enjoying dinner outside - the Lord has given us a beautiful summer day!

I do thank God for days like these. No work to do except a few little chores, and getting ready to go. I spent most of the night on the toilet (stomach flu) so the timing of this quiet day was perfect. I was able to rest and recuperate so I can be cheerful this afternoon and evening, despite feeling a little under the weather.

Happy Anniversary, John and Susan! May you have at least 25 more!!!


Monday, August 16, 2004

My eldest's anniversary

Today is my daughter Adeena's wedding anniversary! She has been married to Jeff for seven bountiful years. In that time, God has blessed them with 4 children. They have transformed their house into a home with renovations inside and out. They have added a playyard for the kiddies, with slides and swings and a patio for the parents. It is truly a restful, fun place to be.

Yesterday was the celebration of Rebekah's birthday, and we all were at Adeena and Jeff's house for the day. It is amazing to see how organized and capable my daughter is. There were approximately 40 people to feed and entertain, and that didn't phase Adeena one little bit. She sure is a first born: everything is organized and she runs a tight ship!

She fed us a delicious potato salad, coleslaw, a veggie tray, chips, corn chips, punch, fried onions and hamburgers that Jeff cooked on the barbeque. For dessert we had a choice of chocolate or white cake, plus ice cream. Yummy!

Later, Rebekah opened all of her presents. I think she liked the bubbles best!

'Twas a blessed day.

I thank You, God, for family, for the blessing of grandchildren, for the homes You have given us and the people You have brought into our lives.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Rebekah's Birthday

Yesterday was my first granddaughter's second birthday. I talked to her on the phone, and she refused to say a word, until Daddy told her to say good-bye. Then, her sweet little voice came through loud and clear, "Bye, Granny!"

What a joy it is to be a grandmother!

Psalms 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children‘s children;

Proverbs 17:6 Children‘s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

Since January of 1999, the Lord has graciously given us 8 beautiful grandchildren, six boys and two girls. Until I became a grandmother, I would not have believed that I could love any babies more than my own, yet, as a Granny, I can tell you that God gives the same measure of love and concern for grandchildren as He does for one's children.

We are to provide an inheritance for our children's children. Perhaps that will not be much of a monetary inheritance, but my prayer is that I would be able to provide a wonderful spiritual inheritance. Like Jonathan Edwards' family, I hope and pray that our family will impact many generations with ambassadors for Christ, members of the family that know the Lord and seek to serve Him wholeheartedly.

Lord, thank you so much for Your blessings on our family. I know that in me dwells no good thing, and that any godliness on my part is solely because of Your grace. Please continue to bless us, to keep us, to raise up a mighty seed that will bring glory to you for generations and generations to come.

In Christ, I pray.

Grannymom...aka Janet

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Corn and Augustine

In spite of no hot water (Rick promises to get at that problem today) Daniel and Patrick helped me to blanch and freeze about a bushel of corn last evening! The children first husked the corn out by the pasture, and the horses very much enjoyed eating a feast of corn husks. They used a wagon to bring all of the corn into the house, and then Daniel and Patrick cut the kernels from the corn. Meanwhile, I got the pot boiling with about a cup of water, then added about 3 cups of corn, more or less (two small bowls full), and brought it back to a boil for 3 or 4 minutes. I cooled the corn in a 9 by 13 inch cake pan which was floating in the sink in cold water. I kept the water cold with ice packs. By the time the corn was cooled and packed into a freezer bag, the next batch was ready. Quite a system!

We kept out enough corn for corn on the cob, dripping with butter, for supper. Yummy! Rick barbecued steaks, and Heather made a delicious stir-fry with leftovers from home and a few added veggies of mine. We were able to get the dishes done by sending the boys for hot water. There is such a sense of accomplishment to canning and freezing food for the winter. I enjoy opening my freezer or cupboard doors and gazing at the results of our hard labour, knowing that we will be enjoying this food in the middle of winter.

I am still thinking about Augustine. My mind was filled with a sense of Sovereign Joy yesterday. The corn was a gift from God - all food is! I get annoyed when I read the bumper sticker, "If you ate today, thank a farmer." While it is somewhat true, it totally misses the point that in spite of all the labour and wisdom of the best farmer in the world, without God's many blessings not one blade of grass would grow.

I love being in love with the God of the Universe. It is such a joy to consider that He chose me, that He opened my eyes to see His beautiful Son, that He opened my understanding to believe His Word, that He lives in me and fills me with His Spirit, and that one day, I will be free from this body of sin and live forever in His glorious presence.

To my joy, while browsing on the internet this morning, I found the message by John Piper on the Life of Augustine. I heartily recommend it:


Back to work now.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Canning and Countdown

It is already the tenth of August, and I am wondering where the summer went. Yesterday flew by, with canning of plums and dilly beans, and the making of plum butter, which turned out yummy! Heather came over to work on her business plan, Rachel and Mike dropped by to pick up Trenton, and all of them stayed for supper.

This would all have been fine and easy to handle if it weren't for the fact that a pipe leading from the water heater burst yesterday morning, so I had no hot water all day. I challenge anyone to work in the kitchen with messy, sweet plums and sugar and vinegar (for the dilly beans) without hot water!

I got it done, boiling the kettle many times and sending the children upstairs for hot water (we have a separate water heater upstairs because our house used to be duplexed), but by the time supper was over I was frazzled, with absolutely no energy left for anything.

So, the dishes (for 16 people) did not get done, and are sitting there calling my name. It is never a good idea to leave a large stack of dishes for the next day, but it is understandable under the circumstances. So I have to complete yesterday's work before I get to today's list...and that list isVERY long. Sigh.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Don't worry about tomorrow. Live in the day. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

My task for today is to please the Lord, my God. That is my purpose. In order to do that, I must tackle the many jobs on my list and manage my family with love and grace and kindness, and without frustration and anger and malice. I know that God orders my steps, and that the burst pipe was no surprise to Him. He knows I have papers to write and assignments to complete and a garden to weed and harvest and school work to plan for my children. He knows my list of things to do, and I am sure He smiles at my much-working and kindly teaches me to rest in Him.

Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and ye will find rest for your souls.

God, You are my all in all. In You I find rest; in you I find purpose. As I begin to do the necessary things, the urgent things, and the pressing things, please, Lord, help me to do them with the attitude that I am serving the Lord of glory. There are not just dishes to wash and laundry to hang on the line, but lives to impact and children to train in the way they should go. Let me go with a sense of Your presence, Lord, and with an awareness that every moment counts. Let me keep at the forefront of my mind that I can bring glory to You when I wipe a nose or fold an article of clothing. This is what I was created to be: a servant to the most High God. This little part of this great earth is not mine, but Yours, and I am just the manager. Help me to do that managing with wisdom, with grace, with diligence and patience. In Christ's name I pray. Amen.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Why is it that every single time you put something away in a safe spot, it goes missing? I have a beloved canning/freezing book, so beloved that it is in two parts and missing its cover. My daughter Heather "borrowed" it for a year or two, and I recently reclaimed it and brought it home. I put it SAFELY in a drawer, the drawer that has my freezer bags (makes sense!) and today, when I went to get it to check for the recipes for plums and beans, it was GONE!!

Now, I have a choice. I can yell at the kids and start them searching in every nook and cranny, or I can pray and calmly begin to ask them if they have seen the missing beloved canning book. I think I will pray and search with gentleness...I'll see what my reactions will be if it really doesn't turn up soon!

Calmer but still growling a little inside,

Well, it's about time.

I have been thinking about creating a blog of my own for some time now. I love to write, and getting feedback would be an added blessing, methinks. Who knows? Well, for one thing, God, Who orders my steps every moment of my existence, knows exactly what the impact of this little corner on this little nook on the web will be.

My mind is full of Augustine this morning, thanks to Matt. He lent me a borrowed tape by John Piper, who was speaking to a pastor's conference on Augustine.

Sovereign JOY. Taking delight in God. Living every moment aware of HIM - not only aware, but delighting in Him, in His creation, in the things and experiences He provides. Standing in awe that He saved ME, that He revealed Himself to me and opened my eyes and heart to abundant living in Christ.

Back to reality: the dishes need attention. I have two boxes of plums to can, plus bananas to fit into the freezer for baking at a later time. My house has that typical Monday morning look to it, and I am expecting company later today. I have to get at the assignments for Church History III, which I intend to finish this week. I am trying to keep my eyes focussed solely on my computer screen, because if I let them stray anywhere I see the disorder that I have to tackle in my classroom, and school starts in just over three weeks!

Augustine. . . dishes. . . assignments. . . housework. . . kids. . . grandkids. . . husband. . . friends. . . GOD! He who orders my steps and called me out of darkness into His marvellous light is WITH me in the drab and dreary and hectic and oh! so wonderful days.

Thank you for your presence, Lord. Thank you for reminding me that I am to delight in You. You are all my joy, all my comfort, all the reason for my life. I love YOU, Lord.