Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas and Angels

Well, it's over.  We've officially celebrated Christmas.  We've eaten the omelet.  We've unpacked the stockings.  We've opened the presents and hugged all the grandkids.  We've nibbled gingerbread men, and munched hors d'ouvres.  We've watched "The Grinch", and sipped some wine, and solved all the problems of the world while Joanna lay snoozing on the couch.

There was only one thing left to do:  READ COSMIC CHRISTMAS!  

Every year for the past ten years, I read Max Lucado's imaginary journey into the heavens that depicts what may have happened when God chose to send His seed into the womb of the virgin, Mary.  Every year I have tried desperately to get through this little book without shedding a tear.  Haven't done that yet.

Usually it's this passage that gets me going - it's the part where the Angel Gabriel is speaking, unheard by Mary, but understood by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, nestled against His mother's breast:

"Do you know who you hold, Mary?  You secure the Author of grace.  He who is ageless is now moments old.  He who is limitless is now suckling your milk.  He who strides upon the stars, now has legs too weak to walk; the hands which held the oceans are now an infant's fist.  To Him who has never asked a question, you will teach the name of the wind.  The Source of language will learn words from you.  He who has never stumbled, you will carry.  He who has never hungered, you will feed.  The King of creation is in your arms." - p. 95, 96 Cosmic Christmas

However, today, before I got to that part, I had already broken down.  

It was because of the angels.

Years ago, more than 25 years ago, it was an ordinary day.  I had run out to the Christian school to pick up our oldest daughter.  My four year old, Heather, had begged to come along for the ride.  I relented, and Rick stayed at home with the others.  

I was in a rush, so I told Heather to wait in the truck while I ran in to get her sister.  We weren't more than a minute, and we hurried back.  Heather was sitting there, and I opened the driver's door, allowing Adeena to clamber in before me.  "Put your seatbelts on," I urged, then started the truck and headed up the hill, turning left onto the highway.

As I turned, to my horror, the passenger door flew open, and out fell Heather.  I slammed on the brakes, and sat there, frozen, convinced that I had just killed my daughter.  I must have run her over - how could that back tire have missed her?

An instant later, there she was, climbing back in.  She didn't look hurt at all.  I hollered at her, shaken to the core:  "Why didn't you put your seatbelt on?  Why were you playing with the door handle?"  I was distraught, and I lashed out in frustration.  Heather stammered out a few words of explanation, which I didn't hear.  I was too intent on driving home, and too shook up to listen.

Much later - weeks, months, years...I am not sure - Heather told me that she never hit the ground that day.  She fell out of the truck, straight into the arms of a man.  She felt herself caught, and she heard a voice inside her head telling her that she was okay, and that she should get back into the truck.  She knew, deep down, that this "man" was an angel...and that he had caught her and saved her life that day.

We were discussing this angel story in the living room one day, and Jared piped up:  "That happened to me, too!  I was in the back of the house, by the wrecked-down barn, when I was about 5.  I knew I wasn't supposed to be back there, but I was having fun exploring.  I was on the top of the rubble wall, and lost my balance.  A man in white caught me - he just appeared out of nowhere - and told me to go home.  I never told you because I knew I'd be in trouble.  I wasn't allowed to be back there."

Two different children.  Two different angel stories.  

The Bible tells us in Psalm 91:11 that he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.  Angels are commanded to watch over God's children - those who make the Most High their refuge.  God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble.  He sent His angels to guard my children, to keep them from harm, even though it was their own foolishness (and their mother's neglect) that caused them to be in danger.

But get this:  He did not spare His own Son!

Max Lucado captures it beautifully in the fictional words of the Angel Gabriel:

As we looked at the baby  Jesus, the darkness lifted.  Not the darkness of the night, but the darkness of the mystery. . . Our minds were filled with Truth we had never before known.  We became aware for the first time of the Father's plan to recue those who bear His name. . . 

At once amazed and stunned, the eye of every angel went to the one part of the child: the hands which would be pierced.  "At the pounding of the nail," God told us, "you will not save Him.  You will watch, you will hear, you will yearn, but you will not rescue." p.92, Cosmic Christmas

The angels, God's messengers, protected MY children, yet were ordered to stand by and do nothing while God's Own Son was led like a Lamb to the slaughter.  

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

What manner of love is this?  God did not spare His own Son, yet He spared mine.  God spared my daughter.  He spared ME.  

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor anything in all creation, can separate me from God's love.  And that love included sending His only begotten Son to be the propitiation for my sin.  There was no other way.  I needed to be rescued.  The price had to be paid.  And it was paid, that day on Calvary.  

33Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [9] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors throughhim who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home Safe and Sound

It's just past midnight.  We're home, but it wasn't pretty.  We left Guelph around 9:30 pm, after a wonderful Christmas Candlelight Service and Fellowship Dinner.  What joy it was to listen to testimonies and songs of praise, celebrating the birth of God the Son!  We were reminded by Pastor Bob that God is with us...that He will be with us for all eternity!  Amazing grace!

And then we headed home.  The roads were snow-covered with icy sections, but there were tracks to follow, and it wasn't so bad.  After all, we're CANADIANS!  We're used to snow.

But after we left Highway 8, things got dramatically worse.  One whiteout followed another in quick succession.  Drifts were across the road, but we plowed through them, thankful that all of the kids were in the van, adding weight and traction.  I was worried about Joanna travelling home with her three babies, and phoned to see if she arrived safely.  No answer.  Shot up a prayer to the God Who is With Us, then kept watching the road to warn Rick if he was getting too close to the ditch on my side.  

Finally, after some hair-raising moments, called Joanna again.   She was safe, PTL, but experienced dreadful white-outs.  We were happy to know she was home, but we had at least an hour of nasty driving ahead of us.

It got worse.  The further west we travelled, the thicker the snow was.  Drifts we plowed through threatened to stop the van completely.  We lost all sense of direction, and more than once we ended up part way in the ditch.  Miraculously, we drove in and out.  

We reached Bornholme, normally only ten minutes from home, but even travelling past houses that normally blocked the wind and snow didn't help.  The alternator was dying; we were losing our lights and the heater was straining to put forth heat.  Lord, help us.

It took almost 20 minutes to get to Brodhagen, and then it got horrendously bad.  We couldn't see a thing.  Rick kept going, and finally we saw some lights ahead of us.  A truck was buried in a snowdrift, lights flashing, nobody on board.  Daniel got out and banged off the wiper blades, and we crawled past the truck.  

We plowed through drift after drift, often almost heading into one ditch or the other.  We could barely see.  Passed Beechwood (oh, joy!) then hit a snowdrift that stopped the van dead in its tracks.  It was a little dip in the road and a bit of a hill, and the snow had accumulated there for at least a fifty foot stretch.  

We tried pushing, to no avail.  We tried kicking away the snow, but that didn't work.  We all piled into the back of the van to put more weight over the tires, but that only got us a few feet.  When Rick tried to rock the van back and forth, the back of the van kept slipping sideways, down towards the ditch.

Daniel and Patrick took off for home, running through the snowstorm.  The plan was for them to get the tractor started and to come and rescue us.  I stubbornly thought I could do something, and got back out of the van, landing in a drift that was up past my knees.  The snow was up to the floorboards!

I persisted, kicking the snow away from all four tires, and clearing a path with my feet.  I marvelled that there was no evidence that we'd just cleared the snow away in the last attempt, just five minutes before.  It filled in so quickly.

Anyway, I kicked and cleared the snow (in my dress and Sunday boots - the snow was up past my knees, but my boots only went up to my ankles) and urged Rick to give it a try.  He did, and went a few feet.  "STOP!", I yelled, then kicked and cleared another 10 feet of snow so he could take a run at it.  I got back in, and Rick put the van in gear.  We were all praying...and the van started to go.  Rick kept it going, and we cleared the snow!  YES!

We were only 2 miles from we plowed on, looking for Daniel and Patrick.  There's footprints!  Do you see them?  Relief!  There they are!

They climbed into the van, and we drove the rest of the way with only one more huge drift to plow through.

We're home.  Safe and sound.  We checked the radar, and there's a band of yellow straight up our's like the trial was prepared specifically for us!

Next time the internet has a blowing snow warning, I think we'll stay home.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mom Song

Get up now, brush your teeth, comb your sleepy head!  Ya gotta love it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emma and Becky - dancers!

The girls had their dance recital today - and they did a wonderful job! Here are some pictures (notice how cute they are?):

Beautiful dance, girls! 


Monday, December 08, 2008

My Birthday

Linda, Daniel, Elena, Tiana, Rick, me, Critter, Jared and Patrick.

Yesterday, we all were invited to Heather's house to celebrate my birthday.  Before we went inside, Matt took a picture of Rick and me and all of the kids that still live at home.  Can you tell we were freezing?

The grandkids were giddy with anticipation, because they had decorated everything, hanging streamers and ribbons and balloons, and making some signs.  They even made me a birthday hat:

Granny in her Birthday Hat.
Most everyone was there - except for Rachel and Mike, who had a previous commitment.  We ate a delicious meal and enjoyed listening to Jeff talk about the mine.

Levi.  Isn't he adorable?

Ava, looking coy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Everything's Amazing...but Nobody's Happy.

It's too true. A sad commentary on the sinful nature of man.

I would take it one step further: it's AMAZING that your heart beats steadily, one beat after the other. It's amazing that you can breathe, all day, all night, every day, and that you don't even have to think about it. It's astounding that you can cut yourself and your body just heals. All by itself. With no effort from you, except maybe washing or stitching the wound.

Life is astounding. This planet is incredible. We've been watching a series on Planet Earth, and the incredible variety of animals, birds and insects blows us away. How they survive in harsh conditions points to the provision of God...He sends the rain in due season.

Everything IS amazing. We ought to be happy. Life is good, and we are truly blessed.

Be ye thankful, people.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Renovation Update - Almost there!

The floor is laid.  Well, mostly.  The beautiful laminate flooring is finished, but we still have ceramic tile to lay where the wood stove will be located, plus at the back door entrance.  

We still have to build the steps and lay laminate flooring on them.  We have to finish moving the corner shelves for the television and dvd player.  

This is the rest of the list:

  • install trim around the windows.
  • finish the spot over the library door.
  • brick a wall (that's for Matthew)
  • install the chimney & wood stove
  • touch up paint in a few spots
  • build desks for the kids
  • set up the computers
  • hang the chalkboard
  • bring in books, etc., that are under the tarp outside 
  • move the fish tank
  • hang some pictures
We are so close to being done.  I am beginning to get excited, because this room is going to be my favourite room in the whole house.  After all, my husband built it, and my sons and daughters renovated it.  There's been a lot of labour and a lot of love poured into our "Great Room".  It will be functional, family oriented, and a great place in which to welcome folks and demonstrate love to them.  We plan to use this room for co-op homeschool, for Bible studies, for entertaining, and for family gatherings.

I honestly can hardly wait.  As soon as everything is brought back in, I will be able to post some pictures so you can share in our joy.  Meanwhile, I will update this list so you can watch the progress.

You can check my previous post, Reno List, to see what we've done lately.

This verse is applicable as we near the end of this long project:

Galatians 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gordon the Great! In Memoriam

Every family reunion has one. Someone who is the life of the party, who thinks up the great games and tells hilarious jokes.

Every time we would pile all of the kids into the van and head to Springbank Park in London for our family reunion, a voice would pipe up from the back seat, "Oh, I hope Uncle Gordie is there!"

He was the one who wore the "bucket hat" and teased all of the kids, big and small. He was the one who coined the phrase, "The Thundering Herd", in reference to our gang of kids. We'll always say it's part of the family vernacular: "Here comes the Thundering Herd!"

A few years ago little Tiana asked Uncle Gordie, "Can I use your camera?" I gasped, thinking this little one was going to mess up Great Uncle's camera. He chuckled, and said, "Sure!" He showed her how to use it, and she traipsed merrily around the group, snapping pictures of everyone.

A few weeks later, in the mail came a great big envelope for Tiana. Uncle Gordie had sent the pictures. There was commentary along with them - "the girls are so pretty," Gordie said, "but Daniel is the prettiest!" Daniel will never live THAT one down.

One of the pictures was of Uncle Gordie, but the top of his head was missing. Tiana hadn't aimed the camera correctly. "I'll get you for that," he warned.

Tiana wrote back to thank him, and from that time forward she enjoyed a penpal relationship with "Mean Uncle Gordie". He classified himself that way, but we all knew better. He loved the kids and only pretended to be mean.

Great Uncle Gordie was a GREAT UNCLE...lots of fun, caring, personable, and full of laughter.

We'll miss him.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Handel's Messiah

Last night four of our daughters and their music teacher and I went to see (and hear!) Handel's Messiah, performed on traditional instruments by gifted musicians and sung by the Georgetown Bach Chorale. Instead of a piano, Ron Greidanus used a harpsichord. The cello was made in the 1700's. The flyer stated, "Tonight's performance takes an historic approach as Handel might have performed it himself. Fast tempi, clear articulation, gut strings, wooden oboe, valveless trumpet, and choir and orchestra being led from the harpsichord; it is through these elements that you will be transported back in time..."

Eclectecon wrote 'The conductor/harpsichordist is Ron Greidanus. He played a Chopin piano concerto when I was playing French horn in the Blyth Festival Orchestra, and I had the pleasure of conducting that orchestra when Ron performed a Bach piano concerto. He was raised just north of Clinton and despite his late start in music, he developed a terrific reputation for his knowledge and talent. The "orchestra" for this performance of Messiah is 2 violins, a viola, a cello, a bass, a baroque (valveless) trumpet which was played extremely well, and tympani (in addition to Ron on the harpsichord).'

It was really incredible to listen and watch the musicians perform. Ron, amazingly, kept on playing the harpsichord as he nodded or turned his head slightly to direct a musician or a singer. The first violinist was astounding. She sat perched on the edge of her seat, and dove into the music with fervency. On the rare occasion she could grab a moment's rest, she let her arm hang by her side...I'm sure it needed time to recuperate.

The cello, played by Keri McGonigle, was beautiful to listen to. Keri was fascinating to watch as her fingers moved up and down, incredibly fast, coaxing beauty from the instrument.

Again, the double bass, played by Natalie Kremerer, gave us a beautiful sound and a feast for the eyes.

Lenard Whiting, a tenor from the Toronto area, had a trained voice that began low and slow then built in intensity, filling the room. I found myself looking ahead in the program to see when his next song would be sung. He'll be back to sing Bach's St. Matthew Passion in April, and I for one don't want to miss it.

I listened to the words of the Messiah, and it struck me that perhaps some of the singers and other performers do not know this Messiah, Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The message was plain for those whose eyes are open. It's sad to think that someone could sing these words with power and grace, yet miss the Messiah, the Christ of whom they sing. I pray that the Lord will touch the hearts of those who hear this magnificent oratorio.

Notice the synopsis below shows the three sections: Part one introduces the coming of Christ and the Nativity. Part two reflects on Christ's pain and suffering and sacrifice. Part three describes His resurrection and the final judgment.

Handel's Messiah
George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I - The Coming of Christ and the Nativity

(1) Overture
(2) Comfort Ye
Isaiah 40:1-3
1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .
3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley
Isaiah 40:4
4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord
Isaiah 40:5
5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord
Haggai 2:6,7
6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come
Malachi 3:1 1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?
Malachi 3:2
2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify
Malachi 3:3
3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive
Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
Isaiah 40:9
9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Isaiah 60:1
1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
Isaiah 60:2,3
2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness
Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)
2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

For unto Us a Child is born
Isaiah 9:6
6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony
(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field
Luke 2:8
8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
Luke 2:9
9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them
Luke 2:10,11
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel
Luke 2:13
13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God
Luke 2:14
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion
Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)
9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind
Isaiah 35:5,6
5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Isaiah 40:11
11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Matthew 11:28, 29 28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy
Matthew 11:30
30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II Christ's Pain, Suffering and Sacrifice

(22) Behold the lamb of God
John 1:29
29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised
Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.
(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs
Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,
(25) And with His stripes we are healed
Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed
(26) All we like sheep have gone astray
Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn
Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:
(28) He trusted in God
Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.
(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .
(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living
Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.
(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell
Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.
(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates
Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.
(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time
Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?
(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him
Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."
(36) Thou art gone up on high
Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
(37) The Lord gave the word
Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].
(38) How beautiful are the feet
Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
(39) Their sound is gone out
Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.
(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?
Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,
(41) Let us break their bonds asunder
Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.
(42) He that dwelleth in heaven
Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.
(43) Thou shalt break them
Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
(44) Hallelujah
Revelation 19:6

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 11:15 15. . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 19:16 16. . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III His Resurrection and the Final Judgment

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth
Job 19:25, 26
25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. 1Corinthians 15:20
20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death
1Corinthians 15:21,22
21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery
1Corinthians 15:51,52
51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound
1Corinthians 15:52b-53
52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass
1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)
54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'
(50) O death where is thy sting?
1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)
55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God
1 Corinthians 15:57 57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us
Romans 8:31, 33, 34
31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb
Revelation 5:12, 13
12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reno List

We are getting there. This is what is left to be done on our great room, which is a combination Family Room and Learning Centre.

· Paint all trim
· Trim under lights
· Trim windows
ü Paint 1 x 2’s
üPut up 1 x 2’s over lines in ceiling
· Paint the two cabinets (wall colour)
ü Get chimney inspected (it didn't pass.  :( ) 
· Put down flagstone base
· Install wood stove
üBrick up the window
üPaint the brick wall
· Move TV corner
· Paint shelves
· Put up shelves
üFinish my desk
· Build kids’ desks
üInstall my computer
· Install kids’ computers
· Hang chalkboard
· Install tile by doors
üInstall laminate flooring
· Install steps
üSet up furniture
üBring home the massive ottoman
· Rejoice!

When that is all accomplished, I will be able to move the stuff from my kitchen and have a kitchen again. Oh, the joy!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

YES!! Amy's got it right!

I am thrilled that Amy has tackled the issue of the great divide between Patriarchy and those who disagree with it. She writes with wisdom and candour.

I am a member of the Patriarch's Wives, and have developed relationships with many women in that group over a number of years. We share our lives with one another (to a certain extent - nobody shares online what is known in real life by those closest to you) and we pray for one another.

The women I know on that group are from varied backgrounds. They seek to serve the Lord and their families. They share recipes and ideas about life as they seek to walk humbly with their God. What that looks like varies from family to family. There are no "cookie-cutter" Patriarchalists. In fact, many of the members would not describe their families as such. It's just a group we belong to.

I have visited many a blog and website written by sincere, thinking, Christian women who have been burned by "Patriarchy". I appreciate their position, and I know that what they have experienced is real hurt. They want to help those "stuck" in Patriarchy to flee from the prison in which they are trapped, yet they don't have the whole story.

I have known families that have been dysfunctional, where the Father/husband was a tyrant to both his wife and his children. That kind of Patriarchal family is dead wrong...certainly not full of grace and truth.

Amy's open letter says exactly what I would say, had I the readership she enjoys. I tried very hard to express similar thoughts on some blogs, but was shut down quickly. I have definitely expressed this on the Patriarchs' Wives board.

We are sisters in Christ. We need to learn to love one another with grace. What does love look like? Sometimes it looks tough: exhort one another, rebuke one another, pray for one another. But when our opinions are expressed with grace and truth, with a sincere heart, they are edifying to our sisters. And that's what pleases the Lord.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't miss this...

My daughter's blog is worth reading, but especially today. She has downloaded (or is it uploaded?) a speech by Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor.

I don't care who you are, or what your opinion is regarding life in the womb, this woman is worth listening to.

So, click over to Creekside and take a few minutes to be enlightened.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I perch atop a ladder, filling flaws in the brick wall that we are painting with drywall mud, listening to the praise music emanating from Linda's computer, and I am content. I watch my husband grab the wood filler, repairing the cracks around the windows he installed, and I am deeply thankful.

He's not been so well of late. His heart has been acting up, beating irregularly, irratically, thumping hard in his chest, skipping beats. He's on a monitor for two weeks, and it keeps going off, signalling that it's full, and it's time to call in the results.

I think about the past thirty-five years with this man. Where has the time gone? How could it possibly be that we are now in our middle age, tottering towards the end of this earthly existence?

Rick's heart problems have driven home the fact that this marriage is momentary. Oh, I don't think for a second that either of us will leave. We're comfortable now. We understand each other. We sometimes celebrate the differences between us, and sometimes they're a thorn in our flesh, but we're definitely committed to the relationship.

I've thought about marriage a lot lately. I just finished reading a new book by John Piper, This Momentary Marriage. It was a reminder that marriage is designed by God, to be a reflection of Christ and His Church.

But marriage isn't easy. Two people coming together, from different backgrounds, with dissimilar tastes and desires, don't agree on much. And somehow, they have to live together in intimate fellowship, and work together to raise a family. Somehow, they have to be an example of God's grace.

Too often we have been an example of what it's like to have a sin nature. We've ignored one another, or yelled too much. We've dismissed each other's ideas, or failed to pay attention when the other one is hurting.

Yet here we are, 35 years after saying our "I do's", still sleeping in the same bed, sharing the same space, loving the same children and grandchildren, dreaming the same dreams. This is only by God's grace.

We are grateful for the little things. Rick likes to open his top drawer to see an abundance of socks. I love it when he opens the Word and teaches us, leading in prayer for God's blessing to be poured out on his family.

I am thankful that Rick can still drive that truck, ignoring the pain in his knee, bringing home enough money to make ends meet.

He is glad that I can climb a ladder, or help pile logs, or gut a chicken.

I am pleased as punch that he drives the tractor, digging holes or filling holes, moving garbage or compost, doing things that I could not possibly do.

He is happy when I make the business calls, or do the filing, or assist with paperwork.

I am thrilled when he hands me the card and tells me to get the paint I need to finish the project we are working on.

We both are comforted when we lie in each other's arms, crying out to God on behalf of a hurting daughter, or a wayward son. We share each other's burdens, and often that is more important than sharing the blessings. We're not in it alone: we have each other.

It's the little things that matter, day in, day out. We've been at this a long time, and I am content.

If God should choose, I hope to be blogging on my 40th anniversary, then the 45th, the 50th, and so on. It won't be long, I'm sure, judging by how fast the first 35 years have flown by.

Happy 35th anniversary, my love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When will it ever end?

We're STILL renovating. And that means we still have wall-to-wall clutter in the kitchen, where we've moved all of the furniture and stacked it in order to lay down new flooring.

There's still drywall dust everywhere. The mudding and sanding and painting seems to go on forever.

One wall in the great room is now prime-painted, but we can see that more mud must be applied to a couple of places before we can continue with the real paint. And that, of course, means more sanding and another coat of primer.

Daniel couldn't help Linda today, because he spent most of the day installing a window in the living room. That's good.

I didn't help Linda, because I spent most of the day praying and teaching and praying again.

So, Linda, lovely Linda, painted merrily away. I lie. It was not merrily...she HATES painting. But, servant-heart that she is, she painted in order to bless her family.

It's at the point that if order isn't soon returned to my space, I think I will have to run away. So run away I shall. I shall run to the only One Who knows what I am truly going through. I shall cast all of my cares, all of my worries, all of my pain and heartaches, all of the frustration of living in chaos and uncertainty on HIM. (Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.)

And, I know that it will work out. (For we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord.)

Even this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Good Day

We had a jam-packed day yesterday. Up early, breakfast, chores...the usual scurrying around, looking for shoes, getting coffee in travel mugs. On our way.

The drive, although too long in my opinion, is always pleasant on days like yesterday. The sun shone on the frost and the fog, highlighting the beauty of horses grazing in the mist. Fall colours are still brilliant, with oranges, yellows, and scarlets accentuated against blue sky or (surprisingly!) still green fields.

We listen to oldies on the way, children singing along, Rick nodding off. I drive too fast, keeping my eyes open for speed traps (saw two!) and wishing we'd left earlier.

We got to church on time - relief! and were welcomed by 5 smiling faces. I rushed to congratulate Joel on his recent engagement.

Pastor Bob preached powerfully, reminding us of Jesus' status as the Cosmic Creator, Conqueror and King. After fellowship and coffee, we headed to Stratford to help move a piano for Rachel.

It's good that my kids are all tall and strong. We got to the house to pick up the piano and discovered that it had to be hauled up two short flights of stairs, turned on its end, and maneuvered through tight corners. There was a bit of excitement, but the piano got safely to Rachel's house.

We then headed home. Matt and Joanna and their kids arrived before we did. After a bite to eat and a bit of visiting,we went for a walk down the country road and up a gravelly path, filled with leaves that had fallen to make a thick, inviting carpet. The twelve of us (plus two of the dogs) had a blast shuffling through the leaves, discovering treasures in the woods (sticks for swords; a "staff" like Gandalf's) and Kaleb was broken-hearted when we had to turn back.

Daniel fired up the barbecue and cooked hamburgers for all, which we enjoyed out on the patio, snuggled up close to the fire pit.

There truly is joy in the simple things of life: a nature walk, a nice meal shared around a roaring fire, the laughter of children and earnest debate of adults.

It was a good day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I am Thankful! Counting blessings...

For the last little while, the following quote has been my signature online:

"The first of Martin Luther's 95 Theses was that the whole of a Christian's life is to be one of repentance of sin." ~ J. I. Packer

Why repentance? Because of who we are: Fallen creatures, prone to wander.

Were it not for our Beautiful God who keeps us in the palm of His hand;
were it not for the Spirit’s promptings, and our Gentle Shepherd’s leading;
we’d wander aimlessly off the Path, looking for meaning in all the wrong places.

How do I know this? Because I've done it. I've forgotten to look to the Lord, to seek His face in the morning, to ask direction for my day. I've forgotten that I can do NOTHING to please Him, apart from the Grace of God. I've dug out that old checklist of things to do to be spiritual, and been very pleased with myself as I check them off: Read the Bible, check. Pray, check. Be kind to others, check. Intercede for the hurting, check. Don't lose my temper, check. And I've swelled with pride and thought myself a very good Christian, and asset to the Kingdom.

Hogwash. All of my righteousnesses are filthy rags. Any good I do is only because I am a branch attached to the Vine, and He does all things well.

No wonder I am thankful. When I consider all that my God has done for me, how can I be anything but grateful?

He sets us in families. I have a really big family, and lots of children and grandchildren to love. I am blessed to get hugs from big boys, and juicy kisses from little babies. I am thrilled to hear, "Dranny, tan I have a dwink?", and I rush to get it for the wee one who's asking.

But even if I had no family, if every one of them were taken away, I know I am part of the family of God. I have the best Brother, the best Father, the best Guide. I am so blessed to be part of this family, adopted as one of His children. I am so thankful.

He gives us work to do. God is a God of purpose, and does nothing by accident. He has created us to work (six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work) and gifted us with talents that reflect His glory. There is no excuse for boredom, because there is always something for us to do. We are truly blessed when we have work.

Sometimes the sheer amount of work I have to do is overwhelming, but I then remind myself that my God has not given me more than I can bear. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I am truly thankful!

He surrounds us with beauty, with evidence of His glory. The sheer beauty of the sunset this evening was astounding. Clouds rippled across the sky in varying colours from the brightest gold to a deep purple, with brilliant orange and magenta between. As darkness fell, the full moon rose, giving enough light for the children to keep on with their games of British Bulldog and Red Rover. I look at the beauty, and I am thankful.

But even more astounding than the beauty of creation that surrounds us is the beauty of a God who Heals the Brokenhearted and Loves the Unloveable. This is my God...How can I be anything but thankful?

He gives us the Spirit, as an earnest, a downpayment of what is to come. What joy we will experience one day when we reach that heavenly shore. No more sin. No more need of that daily repentance! Just constant praise and glory and thanksgiving offered to His name!

As we mature in the Lord, we discover what it really means to give thanks. As baby Christians, we are thankful for our salvation, for having been brought into the kingdom of God, and having new purpose in life. We recognize God’s goodness in the tangible things – food, clothing, housing, relationships, church.

But as mature Christians, we learn to give thanks for the trials, too. That’s not easy…. But we are taught in James to count our trials as joy:

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

I am so thankful for a Shepherd who knows me very well. He knows my every need, and He knows exactly what will mould me into the delight that He is designing me to be.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;

Jesus has brought good news to me. How thankful I am!

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

Jesus has healed my broken heart. I lost both my parents and a baby all in the same year. I suffered misunderstandings, abandonment by friends, pain and hurt and loss, but that didn’t even come close to the brokenness I felt when I realized that it was MY sin that put Him on the cross. Jesus bound up my broken heart. How thankful I am!

to proclaim liberty to the captives,and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

He set me free! How thankful I am!

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;

He taught me His attributes – He is a God of Grace, but He is also a God of Vengeance. Yet, He comforts those who mourn. How thankful I am!

3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
(H) that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,(I) that he may be glorified.

Beauty for ashes; gladness for mourning; praise instead of fear; All this is from our God. He has taken me, a worm, the chief of sinners, and called me an oak of righteousness. He has planted me here in this time and space, and will be glorified because of me. I can’t begin to comprehend His love. How thankful I am!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An ordinary day; extra-ordinary grace.

Rick always asks me how my day is going when I call him to find out how he is doing on the road. I always reply, "Okay." Then I proceed to tell him what is happening around the old homestead while he's away, bringing home the bacon.

But how do I describe today?

How do I explain how much my heart is torn by the sin I see in my child, because it is so much a copy of my own? And how do I tell him how much my heart is warmed by the worship I witnessed as my older ones (of the ones still at home) shared their love of God and their understanding of His word and His majesty with their younger siblings?

Oh, I can say that two of the children had a disagreement, and that words were exchanged, fast and furious. I can tell him that just before lunch, when this disagreement took place, we had just finished watching a demonstration of how vast and how amazing our universe is, and that we all were in awe of our God, Who created it all for us.

But, it's hard to explain how God works in the lives of one ordinary family in an out-of-the-way township in the middle of nowhere.

When the child-who-was-angry was being confronted, lovingly, by her siblings, she was reminded that God is BIG, and that we are very, very small. She was led to see that the "fights and quarrels" among us were caused by our own evil desires, by wanting something and not getting it. She was reminded that this very BIG and astounding Creator God is perfectly able to supply all of our needs, and that He has done just that, by giving her the very siblings that He uses to refine her as gold.

Nothing happens by chance. The fact that we had just sat at the computer, watching an amazing demonstration of the vastness of the universe and the complexity of astrological bodies and the enormity of time it would take (hundreds of billions of years!) to reach the outermost edge of what astronomers have discovered, and then were faced with a family crisis that called for a reminder of the greatness of our God...this was not by chance.

The fact that we had to run to town to do some errands and that only Mom and the child-who-was-angry were to go was not at all by chance, either. It gave us time to visit and chat, to gain understanding, and to simply enjoy each other's company.

When I see the sin that runs rampant in my family, it humbles me and drives me to my knees. It's a holy experience, like this. And when I see the maturity and knowledge and understanding shared by the older ones, it humbles me and drives me to my knees, too...but in gratefulness for God's grace.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tag, You're IT!

Thanks to Camille at There is a Season, I am also an official member of the blog world. She tagged me!

Here's the rules for those I'm tagging. Check the list after my 6 THINGS to see if you're it then

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag sixish people at the end of your post.

5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Now for Six Random things about me:

1. I like DARK chocolate. Milk chocolate is a waste of time.

2. I like all of the Romance languages, and know a smattering of Italian, Latin and French.

3. I want to go to Italy some day.

4. I went to boarding school for three years: King's Hall, Compton. Graduated top of my class.

5. I wanted to be a doctor when I was a young girl. Loved biology. Wanted to help people.

6. Officially an animal lover, I think horses are best, followed by dogs...but really, I like all animals. I even like insects and find them fascinating. But I don't like nasty insects in my house. Flies, ugh. Cockroaches, double ugh.

7. I have a love of poetry, but I am not selective. I like everything from kids' poems to sonnets, and limericks to iambic pentameter.

I broke the "rule" and included seven random things about myself. Oh, well.

People that I am going to tag (And I am cheating by tagging my own flesh and blood!):

Adeena - fabulous mother and wife, eldest of 12, gluten-free baker extraordinaire!

Sarah - creative newlywed, doglover, pig farrower, amateur photographer!

Linda - lover of God, horses, and her family; fiery debater, amateur musician!

Amy - brilliant wife of a rocket scientist (who was also brilliant in choosing Amy), cyberfriend, and someone I'd love to meet in real life some day.

Jacqueline - Creator of the Canadian Home Educator's Carnival, and a Newfoundlander!

Kim from Canada - Fellow homeschooler and Fellow Canadian - who could ask for anything more?

Have fun tagging others, Ladies!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Psalm 23

Our pastor reminded us today that Psalm 23 is the antidote to worry. It was written by David, who had every reason to worry. Betrayed, left by his wife, bereaved of a child, cut off from Israel and having to feign madness to simply survive, David knew what it was to walk through the valley. He experienced the mountaintops, too, living as a shepherd and reigning as a king. He has been there, done that.

"The Lord is MY Shepherd."

That makes me HIS sheep. That means that HE has the responsibility to take care of me. Wow!

We brought home two horses the other day. Before we went to get them, we spent days working on the barn. The kids mucked out the chicken manure and made sure it was clean. They carefully checked for any nails or boards that might stick out and hurt the horses. The girls took down a wall and made the stalls bigger. They widened the door. Rick brought load after load of good dirt to fill in the stalls.

Steve came over and put up a new fence to make an area for any manure or compost. Daniel used the tractor to move any manure, and cleaned up any debris on the field. He tilled the area that needs new grass seed, and leveled it.

We scrubbed out the rubber watering bins and the feed buckets, then disinfected them. We checked to see if we had some good hay left, and good straw to bed the new horses down.

Today, it struck me: GOD does that for ME. He is MY Shepherd. He plans, prepares, and provides everything I need, each and every day, for my entire life. He will never leave nor forsake me. He is responsible, as my Shepherd, to lead me, to guide me, and to provide for me.

I belong to Him. Just as the horses now belong to Heather and to our family, and we must anticipate their needs and provide them with food, water, farrier, bedding, vet, companionship and training, I belong to God and He provides me with all of the things I need.

We love our horses. We see them as things of beauty and grace. It is no chore to go out to the barn and care for their needs. It's a joy and a privilege.

In the same way (only much, much more!) God loves me. He sees me through eyes of grace because of all Jesus has done for me, and is delighted to care for me all the days of my life.

The Good Shepherd knows best. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake.

When a rider is training a horse, the horse doesn't necessarily understand what is best. Our horses came off the track, so they aren't familiar with saddles and blankets and stirrups. They are used to being hooked up to a sulky and running very fast at a certain pace. They are used to keeping the pace for the entire race.

And now, they are going to be asked to submit to a blanket and saddle, to a girth tightened around their belly, to stirrups bumping against their sides. They are going to have to put up with a rider on their backs. They must learn to go forward at a walk, and a trot, and a canter, on command. They'll have to learn to move sideways under the pressure of a leg, and to turn on a dime instead of the wide turn they need in order to pull a sulky. They won't be on a track - instead they'll be guided to a path in the woods, to a country road with cars whizzing by, to a gravel pit or a newly plowed field.

But, because they are good, well-bred horses, they will learn to trust their rider. Their lives will be enriched as they develop into what they are meant to be: pleasure horses, loved by a family.

God leads ME in paths I do not understand. I have to submit to His plan for my life, which sometimes includes pain and confusion, frustration and sorrow. Yet, I know that He is the Good Shepherd who cares very much for His sheep. I know that when I rest in Him, He works all things for good.

I hope that Pax and Kara learn to trust us. I hope they learn to love their riders, to respond to their commands, to listen to their voices.

I know I need to do the same. I need to Know the Shepherd. I must Love Him, Follow Him, and Listen to His Voice. I know that He is nearby, ready to save, never to leave. He loves me. Sacrificially.

Is the Lord YOUR Shepherd? Then think about this:

He provides. So trust Him.
He directs our paths. So follow Him.
He protects. So, rest in Him.
He blesses. So be thankful.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


More pictures of the twin beauties :)

A Neat Path to Eternal Flight...What?

I was trying to come up with some kind of combination of the registered names of the two Standardbred horses that are in our pasture.

But I can't.

Likewise, I am speechless at the goodness of God, Who gives us the desires of our hearts.

Ever since our three beautiful horses died last December, there has been a void in our hearts. Driving up our road hasn't held the same anticipation - empty fields grant no thrill.

A few weeks ago, Heather told me that she just isn't the same without a horse. She has been discouraged, depressed even, for months. Horses have been a part of her life since she was born (even as a wee baby in the car seat she would point at every horse she spied as we drove by the Mennonite farms). When we got Shantel in 1993, her heart was filled to bursting, and she passed this horsey disease onto the rest of the girls in the family!

Anyway, Heather started praying and searching for a horse. She found Doc, whose name will soon be modified, and whose registered name was Neat Path. She drove hours to see him, and fell immediately in love. He's beautiful, responsive, good around people. He comes when he's called, and stands close by as the humans talk. She made a deal, and phoned me, her voice dripping with heartfelt emotion. "I've bought a horse, Mom!"

On the way home she stopped to see a second Standardbred, Eternal Flight, known as Edith. (That will change!) A horse for Linda, and the rest of the family. The girls scraped together their hay money, and borrowed the rest from their hard-working brother.

Heather found a trailer, and yesterday we brought home two beautiful horses.

My heart is singing. And pictures are worth a thousand words. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see another one.

Noogies and the NDP

I couldn't help myself. I was sitting in the chiropractor's office this morning, waiting for my turn, and passing the time reading the opinion page of the London Free Press.

I laughed right out loud.

It was a Monte Solberg opinion regarding what is happening with the Canadian Election. Monte makes it plain that he thinks Stephen Harper is the best man for the job of the Prime Minister of Canada.

He doesn't think much of Dion's Green Shift, or his "green collar workers".

But the best part of the whole opinion piece was his thinking regarding Jack Layton:

Sometimes Jack also comes across as way too pleased with himself in a way that makes you want to give him a noogie .

Duck, Jack! There are lots of Canadians who have their knuckles ready!

Friday, September 19, 2008

ESV Study Bible

I am so excited about the new ESV Study Bible. I hope that my husband will be getting me one for my birthday. Or my Anniversary. Or Christmas, but I'd hate to wait that long!

Anyway, I am happy to promote the Bible. Click on the icon in the sidebar, and go see what all the excitement is about.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Elena is 14!

She spent the day today helping her family with our chicken-killing-and-freezing. Well, that's not quite accurate. We first went to help Rachel for a bit, then brought home the spare freezer, then processed chickens!

Elena kept up a running commentary throughout the entire procedure.

"Ewwww, this one's gross!"

"What do you think THAT is?"

"Look at this heart...Wow! It's HUGE!"

and so on...

But, she kept at it until we were done the dozen we set aside for today. We're doing a Dozen A Day (you piano types will grin at that one) until they are all in the freezer.

The very second we were finished today's gruesome task, Elena and her younger siblings headed for "Lake Billson", which is a temporary pond that shows up whenever it rains a great deal. They hooted and hollered and played in the water for quite some time.

I am very thankful that Elena is growing into such a beautiful young lady. I'm also grateful that she can still play and have fun at the ripe old age of 14.

Happy Birthday, dear Elena!! We love you very much.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What a day!

What a wonderful day we had today.

We were blessed to go to church today. Even though we left late, we (by the miracle of a heavy foot) arrived on time. The message was encouraging - faint hearts vs hearts that are tuned to God. God works in the trials that He sends to us...there is a purpose for every single trial, and the God who sends the trials works in them for our good and His glory!

The people of our little church were an encouragement, too, asking about my husband and his personal struggles. It was so good to know that they love us and pray for us, and miss us when we aren't there.

We went shopping for groceries on the way home, then popped in to see Matt and Joanna. They are in the middle of major renovations! In no time at all, their kitchen will be beautiful. It's slow going at the moment, but they are working hard, and by Christmas they should be enjoying the fruit of their labour.

We arrived home to a lovely supper cooked by Heather, who was waiting at our home to tell us all about her new horse.

Not long after, Rick arrived home with tales of his day on the road.

What made it a beautiful day? Family, friends, and the deep-seated knowledge that we walk with God, moment by moment, day by day.

A beautiful day, indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2008 many chickens!

We're in the process of killing our chickens and getting them into the freezer. They are all a good size now, ranging from 7 to 10 lbs. The hens are quite a bit smaller than the roosters, and I think we'll not bother with hens next year.

Daniel and Tiana catch a chicken, then Christopher ties a baler twine around it's neck. Jared holds the chicken on the chopping block while Critter keeps tension on the line. Daniel does the dirty deed, then Critter puts the head into the bin while Jared gags and says, "I'm not doing this anymore." (But he does.)

Daniel ties the chicken carcass up by the legs and after it has hung for a bit, Linda, Elena and I start skinning. First, we cut off the wing tip, which is practically useless anyway. We cut into the skin by the leg, then cut around the entire chicken. It doesn't take much pulling to get the skin loose, so we do that, pulling the skin down to the neck area, then yanking hard to get it off the wings. There's a bit of cutting involved, trimming the membranes to loosen the skin. We pull out all of the offal from the neck end, then cut the bird's legs off at the knees.

We carry the bird to our table and continue loosening the skin around both legs. Flipping it over reveals the back, and it's one fluid motion to pull the skin down the back, over the tail and off. Now the bird is naked and needs to be gutted.

We cut in at the front, below the bone, and enlarge the opening enough to get a hand in there. The guts are pulled out, with care not to disturb the green thing full of bile. We keep the liver for the dogs, and fish for the heart, which the dogs will get, too. The lungs have to be coaxed off the side of the bird's chest wall, and the stomach has to be yanked hard to get it out. A quick check, then off the bird is carried to have a bath.

Cold running water is enough to cool the bird completely, and it's insides are washed well before it is put in the bag for the freezer. Christopher is the water boy, and turns the tap on and off when it's needed.

We now have 36 birds in our freezer, minus the four we have eaten. So, there are about 60 left to do. Sigh.

It's a lot of work, but the meat is great, and it's nice to have it all in the freezer, ready to go. But I will be SO VERY GLAD when it's all done.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tired of Cyberspace

This is a classic cartoon That was circulating a couple of months ago. Something is WRONG on the internet. All kinds of time is wasted sharing opinions and trying to "fix" the world. I have fallen prey to that kind of thing.

When I first discovered chat groups and Yahoo groups, they were an encouragement to me. Being a mom of 12 is hard work, and it was nice to know that I am not alone.

However, it didn't take long for me to discover that there are people, lots of people, out there who don't agree with me. They don't like the fact that we have 12 children. They don't like our homeschooling. They don't like our wine-drinking. They don't like the fact that we have lots of dogs. Whatever.

I am never going to agree with any one person on this planet in every opinion he or she holds. There will always be disagreement. But I don't have to waste my time adding to the constant barrage of argument.

I think I will stick to sewing. And chicken plucking.

But no more visiting controversial websites for me. I haven't the time, or the inclination.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Be not deceived, God is not shocked.

I often find myself weighed down by the mess I make of my life. I am a perfectionist at heart, and I never measure up to my own standards.

Thankfully, I am on a journey of comprehending how deep and vast the love of my Saviour is.

Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It will take a lifetime, I'm sure, to really GET how much God loves me. I won't really understand it all until I wake up in glory.

Until then, articles like this one are an encouragement to me.

I know, I know...

I haven't been posting pictures. My bad. I'll try to get to some tomorrow, in the middle of my chicken-gutting and my laundry-doing and my Critter-teaching. The girls are back at piano lessons tomorrow, so we're really getting back into a routine. I love it!

Daniel actually was wishing for cold weather today. The son of mine who hates the cold the most was wishing for winter. He wants rid of the flies.

My hand is still hurting. The ND told me that perhaps it is a compression fracture, which doesn't show up on an x-ray, but hurts quite a bit. I'll say.

So, I am going to follow her suggestion to apply castor oil and traumeel, then wrap it up and leave it that way while I sleep. She thinks the heat generated by the castor oil coupled with the healing properties of traumeel will help the healing process.

I hope so, because even typing this long exacerbates the problem. So, here's hoping...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hospital Happenings

On Sunday I was scheduled for an MRI to determine whether or not there is any permanent damage in my neck as a result of the accident (car crash)that occurred on February 8, 2007.

It was a bit disconcerting to get the notice in the mail that asked me "Have you EVER had any metallic object in your eye?" and "Are you claustrophobic?". Maybe and Yes. So, I phoned the nurse and had a chat. Upon reflection I didn't think any of the many objects in my eyes over a lifetime were metal, but for sure, I was still claustrophobic.

"Bring a cd of music you like" was the only suggestion. Oh, and I could go to the doctor to get medication.

I brought my eldest daughter instead. Rather, she brought me. She drove, and we laughed and chatted the entire way. I thought I would go and buy a "Selah" cd, so Adeena took me to Wal-Mart, where all we found was Burton Cummings and Brad Paisley. "That would do," I thought to myself. "I'll be fine."

We arrived in the MRI waiting room, and I hadn't finished reading about all the latest Hollywood babies when the technician came in. "Janet?" she asked hopefully.

"Yes, that's me," I replied.

"You can go in here and change into these gowns (two of them, for modesty's sake: one worn forward, and one backward) but just wait here until I come for you.

I changed, then disobeyed instructions while I sneaked around the corner to give my clothes to Adeena for safe-keeping. I dutifully went back to the tiny changeroom, but deliberately left the door open. I wasn't going to be claustrophobic before I had to be.

A little old lady tottered along, then smiled at me and asked me if I was scared at all. I smiled a reply, and she said, "Because you don't have to be scared. I wasn't scared at all. It was fine."

Then she added, "Are you here for a CT scan?"

"No," I smiled weakly. "An MRI."

"OH!" she exclaimed, and the tech lady showed up to take me to my doom right then.

She asked if I had brought music, and I grabbed the first one on the small pile: Burton Cummings' greatest hits, or some such thing. I didn't care.

She took the cd, stuck it into a cd player, then escorted me to the dreaded MRI machine. She explained that the machine would be very noisy, and handed me a set of headphones. "Do you want it louder?


"Do you want me to put a facecloth over your face? Some people find it helpful."

I was noncommittal. She got me to lie down on the trolley. She took my glasses, and got a foam slab to put under my knees. She gave me a button to push if I couldn't take it anymore. Just before I went inside the machine, she popped a facecloth over my face.

The problem was, she didn't completely cover my face. I could still peek out at the bottom.

She rolled me in, and when I felt my elbows touch the side of the machine, pushing my arms into my sides, I began to panic. My heart was racing.

"The important thing is that you must not move!"

I opened my eyes and discovered I could see. Not good. The top of the coffin was inches from my nose. My elbows were constricted against my chest walls. My knee suddenly seized up, but I wasn't allowed to move.

Then Burton began wailing, "I'm scared, Lordy, Lordy, I'm terrified..."

I knew what he meant.

It was loud inside that machine. I didn't dare move, even though my knee complained bitterly to me the entire time. "Just breathe," I told myself. "You can do this."

I figured it would take about five Burton Cummings songs. I didn't really hear them once he stopped declaring how scared he was, but I had the presence of mind to count the songs. Four more...three more, two more, one more. Consternation: Another song? Oh, no...will it never end?

It was sorely tempting to push the button. I kept on hanging on, just a few more seconds...then the blessed, lovely technician lady rescued me.

She got me to sit up, and I wobbled.

"Are you alright?" she asked.

"I'll be fine," I said, cryptically. I was fighting the tears.

"You look a little pale. Just sit there until you feel better."

I didn't want to sit there. I wanted OUT of the room. So I stood up, testing my legs. A few tentative steps took me as far as the wall, where I hung on and put my feet gingerly into my shoes.

I made my way to the outer office, then stood there, leaning on the wall for support. "Was the tech ever going to come back and give me my cd?" I wondered.

She finally did, and I headed out to the waiting room. Adeena talked to me briefly and I just nodded my head in answer to her query. I didn't trust myself to speak... I was fighting the tears, and needed to compose myself.

Not too many minutes later, we were on our way out of the hospital. My heart felt lighter with every step I took away from the dreaded machine. I declared to Adeena that I did NOT like MRIs. In fact, I think if a doctor were to insist on another scan I would actually refuse.

I honestly didn't think it would bother me much to be in a little noisy tube for 15 minutes. The amount of panic I felt surprised me. I was vulnerable and helpless, at the mercy of the technician while I lay there. That's never a nice feeling.

Of course, I knew the Lord was with me, even in the MRI machine. He never fails.

But I am still not. ever. going. back. Not if I can help it.

Jared's hospital visit yesterday was much simpler. He has a couple of plates in his right leg, put there five years ago to repair his shattered ankle. The doc says they ought to be removed. They'll call when the surgery is scheduled.

Jared's not impressed that it took a YEAR to get an appointment, and it will take another 9 months, likely, to get the surgery.

But at least he isn't dreading it, like his chicken mommy. He told the doctor that he'd like the surgery videotaped, so he could watch it later!

What a guy! That's my boy!