Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day - we, too, remember...

All of the big kids and Daddy are out today, busy with various pursuits. So the three little kids and I are the only ones home. We have no vehicle available, so instead of going into our small town to witness the Remembrance Day activities, we watched it on CBC.

It really was an emotional experience, to sit on the couch with my three youngest children, watching the old soldiers with medals on their chests and tears in their eyes, as they remembered days long past and friends long gone.

I explained a bit about the World Wars to the kids. I reminded them that Adolf Hitler was the tyrant who wanted to kill the Jews and would not acknowledge the victory of Jesse Owens, the black Olympian runner (just read that story to the kids this week).

They asked lots of questions, and were interested in knowing that my uncle, Ray Matthews, was an air force pilot in the second World War, and that Rick's grandfather, Edward Stewart, was a Piper in the first World War. Both men lost their lives in service to this country. Both families were affected profoundly by this loss.

When I watched the woman representing Canadian Mothers place her wreath, I thought about my grandmother receiving the news that her eldest son had been shot down. So very sad.

In 2006, Canadian soldiers are serving in Afghanistan. Were it not for them, the Taliban would take over, oppressing the people for their own twisted ends. It disappoints me profoundly that the majority of Canadians want to see us pull out of Afghanistan and not keep our commitment to the Afghani people. Yes, men have lost their lives. Yes, more could die. But I believe that our soldiers are truly making a difference.

Time will tell...if they are given enough time.

Maybe 20 years from now my youngest children will be sitting on their couches, explaining to their children why Canadians have a day called "Remembrance Day". And maybe, just maybe, they will be able to proudly say that we Canadians DID make a difference.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Studies in Proverbs from Matthew Henry

The children and I are doing a great project together. I thought of the idea while reading Matthew Henry's commentary on the Online Bible. He has compiled verses under 31 different headings. The children are copying the verses, then looking up any words that intrigue them or that they are unfamiliar with. The younger children are drawing pictures to illustrate the verses. The older ones are doing word studies. We looked up the words that are bold.

The first section is entitled "Of the comfort, or grief, parents have in their children, according as they are wise or foolish, godly or ungodly. We changed it, for the kids' sake, to:

Section I How children make their parents happy or sad

Proverbs 10:1 A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Pr. 15:20 A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.

Pr. 17:21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
and the father of a fool has no joy.

Pr. 17:25 A foolish son is a grief to his father
and bitterness to her who bore him.

Pr. 19:13 A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.

Pr. 19:26 He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother
is a son who brings shame and reproach.

Pr. 23:15-16 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.
16 My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right.

Pr. 23:24-25 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.

Pr. 27:11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
that I may answer him who reproaches me.

Pr. 29:3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

For the Love of Reading

I am a committed bibliophile. There is rarely a night that I go to sleep without first picking up a book and reading a chapter or two. I read while waiting at appointments, while sitting on the toilet, and while travelling in a car (but not while I am driving)!

Here is a link to Tim Challies' post on the same subject. If you only see a blank space, click on it in the middle of the space. I don't know how to change the colour.

He is a man after my own heart. I laughed when I read about his habit of walking a fussy baby up and down a room, while reading. I feelsorry for him that he is not a woman, because we mothers have a perfect excuse to read for hours on end, while nursing our babies.

I read a variety of books, from children's literature (my excuse is that I am preparing for homeschooling) to doctrine and biography. I like reading the occasional magazine, and I don't mind picking up Latin or French or Spanish books for a variety. It doesn't matter that I don't understand ALL of it...the fact that I can understand enough to make out the gist of the material gives me joy.

I think I have passed this love of reading on to most of my children. I often find them crashed on the couch with noses in books. It is a joy to know that my newly married son's favourite author is Francis Schaeffer, and I love seeing the back of his toilet piled high with theology books, which he reads just for the sheer pleasure of it.

Of course, as a homeschooling mom, I take great pleasure in the fact that I have passed on not only the love of reading, but that I actually taught my children to read. My youngest, Critter, a six year old, loves Calvin and Hobbes, and I often hear him giggling as he calls out, "Listen to this, Mom..."

Ah, the simple pleasures in life. Reading is certainly at the top of my list.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Prairie Muffin

I am finally admitting publically to the world that I am, indeed, a Prairie Muffin, as defined in the "Prairie Muffin Manifesto" (see link on sidebar).

I enjoy Carmon Friedrich's wit and wisdom, as well as her transparency. I can agree with the Prairie Muffin Manifesto, and I plan to read it from time to time to remind myself of my high calling to be a wife, a mother, and a keeper at home.

To my shame, I have to admit that just yesterday, I did not conform to tenet #10) Prairie Muffins are patient and forbearing, not responding rashly to slights, perceived or real.

My dear husband has been under a lot of stress lately (God is definitely squeezing him to see what comes out!) Normally, Rick is patient, steadfast, slow to anger, and kind, but with trucks breaking down and drivers putting them in ditches, and with dealing with unreasonable people on a day-to-day basis, my normally steady husband's fuse has been uncharacteristically short. He has become impatient with me.

I don't like it. I take it personally. And instead of going to my dear Lord and pouring out my heart in prayer, I am pouty and angry and I respond rashly. Sigh.

Here I am, a Titus 2 woman, who desires to teach women younger than me, and wants to be a good example of godliness to my children -- and I waste precious time being a grouch because my dh raised his voice at me.

Thankfully, I am not alone. Carmon, bless her heart, shared a moment of weakness in her own life. In her confession she quoted the following two verses:

A soft answer turneth away wrath. When Rick raises his voice, I can react by being hurt and pouting, or I can respond softly, with grace. I know he loves me, and his behaviour is certainly excusable when I consider all that he is going through. I ought to pray for him, and love him, and be patient with him.

God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. My anger and wrong responses only make me feel terrible. I know God is resisting me as I grieve the Holy Spirit; yet when I confess my pride and ask forgiveness, God pours out His grace on my life.

So, this Prairie Muffin still has a lot to learn. I am glad that God isn't finished with me yet, and that He uses me to bless others, even though He knows every single thing about me that is ugly. He chose to love ME - Oh, what grace.

Lord, pour out Your grace, again, on me. I need You every hour. And when I fall into sin, again and again, keep on resisting me, so that I realize I have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no One to turn to, but YOU. Thank you that when I come to You in repentance, You are always gracious to forgive and restore. You take the dark cloud that is hanging over me, and replace it with the sunshine of Your love.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, My Saviour and Friend.

In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Becoming a Titus 2 Woman - Chapter 1

I have decided to work through Martha Peace's book, for my own personal edification, and to encourage other women in their calling to minister to others. I will post my notes here.

Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

What does it mean to be a Titus 2 woman? What is the role of a Christian woman, especially one over 50?

As I mature, I desire to love the Lord my God with all my heart, and I hope that this love for God will be reflected in all of my relationships – with husband, family, friends, church, other Christians, and those who do not know the Lord. I want my life to reflect my Master.

My role is to bring glory to God, by being winsome, by having a kind and gentle spirit, by loving those I come into contact with, serving them selflessly, teaching those who will listen, pointing the way to Christ.

Sadly, my behaviour has not always matched my heart’s desire. I am frequently angry, and I can be irreverent. My sense of humour can slip into jokes that would not please the Lord. I fail to pray for wisdom and strength, and I react with irritation when my children do not obey. This ought not to be so.

Lord, help me to be what You want me to be. I must abide in You; without You, I can do nothing. Lord Jesus, thank You for all you have done in my life. Thank You for going to that cross, taking my sins upon Yourself, and imputing Your righteousness to me. I do not deserve it. I am grateful.

Holy Spirit, fill me. Forgive me for quenching You as you gently convict me of sin, yet I wickedly choose to ignore you. Fill me, guide me, rebuke me, lead me. Help me to please my Heavenly Father as I live sacrificially for Your glory.


Activities – Maintain house; garden, yard. Organize all the rooms. Go through all of our stuff, weeding out and selling what we don’t need. Areas of major concern: my bedroom and the classroom.

Homeschooling the six children still studying here at home. Co-op homeschool once per week with married girls and the grandchildren. I must learn to be prepared well, and not to "wing it". I have a tendency to leave things till the last minute. Planning and preparation are top priorities.

Family – My dear husband, children, Married kids, grandchildren, in-laws, extended family.

Carey Outreach Ministries, where I work two days per week.
Grace Trinity Community Church
Patriarch’s Wives
Friends: It is important to me to maintain close relationships with the beautiful women whom God has brought into my life.

Write blog (certainly more consistently than I have in the past)
Write articles
Write a book – pray about the topic. How can I best help the body of Christ and impact lives for the glory of God?

Exercise; eat healthy foods.

God’s Word on Priorities

Do Not Be Anxious - I know that God will provide every need.

Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Put on the New Self - Put off the old. Purposely think about God and His word.

Colossians 3: 1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Rules for Christian Households - Glorifying God in the day to day life of a family.

18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

A Living Sacrifice - Love is a sacrifice: other-centeredness! Live for God!

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Do Not Love the World - It's all going up in smoke!

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world-- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

What sort of People ought you to Be? (having lives of holiness and godliness):

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Do Good to Everyone, Especially Christians

Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Walk Deliberately in Love

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Lord, thank you for leading me to study “Becoming a Titus 2 Woman”. I pray that You will use this book and Martha’s teaching to impact my life, and as a result, the lives of many other women (and of course, my family). Teach me Your way, O Lord.

Help me to prioritize my activities and commitments in order to glorify You. Help me to present my body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto You – this is my reasonable and spiritual act of service. Lord, help me especially to redeem the time, being determined and purposeful in what I choose to do with the seconds, minutes and hours You have so graciously granted to me. Let me not be a time-waster, but a time-user – and all for Your glory. Help me to teach my children to live CORAM DEO, with their hearts open before You, their God.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Did you ever have one of those days?

One of those days when nothing seems to go right, and you wonder what you accomplished when you fall into bed, exhausted, at the end of that seemingly endless day.

Today was shaping up to be one of those days. I woke, discouraged, because my house was a mess and I was starting today with yesterday's work. (It really pays to be organized and to go to bed with a clean house, especially a tidy kitchen. Mine was a disaster. I got home late with a week's worth of groceries, which we put away, but the dishwasher was full and hadn't been run, so we did not do the supper dishes. The animals and little people had tracked in mud, so the white floor was a curious shade of gray, with interesting patterns. Not a pretty sight.)

One of the first things I did today was to put on a load of laundry. The kids had informed me that there was a problem with the washing machine, but I didn't want to believe it.

I got the kids going on their jobs, after having a talk with them. They simply hadn't obeyed the rules yesterday. Sigh.

Someone came running. "Mom, the washer is beeping and there is an error message."
I went and investigated. F 02. Looked up the owner's manual on the internet, which took forever because we have an unbelievably slow connection. I wouldn't know that except that I work part-time at Carey Outreach Ministries, which is blessed to have high-speed. That brought me "up a notch" in my expectation of how internet should work, so I am impatient as I sit and wait for the 76 pages (in English, Spanish and French) to take their interminably long time to download.

FINALLY, I discover that there is a drain problem. Well, duh. I knew that, because the machine went through the entire cycle, but would not spin, and drained very slowly.

Daniel took the hose off. Yuccky smelling gray stuff came out. He, blessed child, knows how to use the air compressor, so he cleaned out the hose. Put it back on. Same error message.

Took it off again. I reached up inside where the hose connects, and was able to pull out gelly-like gray matter. Ugh. Maybe that will do it. Put the machine back on, waited for the thing to drain. Same old, same old.

So, what to do. I did a search on the internet (slow connection, took forever) and found the phone number for the store where I bought the machine. Talked to John, the guy who sold it to me. He suggested taking the back off of the machine and cleaning out the pump.

Ok. So, we did that. But, after removing some 12 or 14 screws, we discovered there was no way to access the water pump from the back of the machine. There was a panel in the front of the machine, at the bottom, that had three screws. Maybe that would work.

So, we took the panel off, and lo and behold, found an unscrewable thingamajig. Unscrewed it, and water and junk came pouring out onto the floor (note to self: next time, have a container handy). Daniel pulled the thingamajig away, and found it was completely clogged with hair, labels, nails, a screw, and numerous other small objects. One wonders how that got into that area of the machine. But hey, we cleaned it, put the whole thing back together, and presto! My machine is working. No more clogged drain. A much cleaner receptacle for the soap and other additives.

It is now 4:29 pm, and if my dh were to phone and ask me what I accomplished today, I would have to say, "I did one load of laundry." That is the truth, sort of.

But when I think about it, we accomplished so much more. We tackled a problem and worked a solution. We kept at it until we reached our goal. We saved money by not having to call in a repairman. The leaky water had to be cleaned up, so we got the floor clean, and while Daniel and I were concentrating on all of that, the rest of the family did their chores, scrubbed the living room and kitchen floor, and played with three of my grandchildren.

I guess one of those days wasn't so bad, after all.

The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.