Thursday, January 31, 2008
I told my children today that our lives must have purpose. We must live deliberately, striving to know God and to serve Him in any capacity He has planned for us.
That's how Jim Elliot lived. Even as a young man, he chose not to be involved in too many extra-curricular activities, because he did not want to become occupied with non-essentials, and miss the essentials of life. He wrote to his mother, explaining his choice to participate in wrestling, "I wrestle solely for the strength and co-ordination of muscle tone that the body receives while working out, with the ultimate end that of presenting a more useful body as a living sacrifice." He chose this physical activity deliberately, knowing it would further his usefulness in the Kingdom of God.
Jim knew that he was just passing through, that this world was not his home, but that he was only here to serve Christ until he was called to his REAL HOME.
"Life is not here, but hid above with Christ in God, and therein I rejoice and sing as I think on such exaltation."
His reflections indicate that he was well aware that he might be martyred. Yet he wanted to live passionately for His God.
"'He makes His ministers a flame of fire.' Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things'. Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul - short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed Him. 'Make me Thy Fuel, Flame of God.'"
Oh, my children, learn from Jim Elliot. Learn that to be satisfied in Christ, you must live each day to the full, deliberately choosing those activities that further your usefulness for the work God has prepared you to do. (For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10)
Learn that this world is not your home. You are just travelling on the path to the Celestial City. On the way, you may encounter many obstacles. Yet you must know, and rest in the fact, that NOTHING will ever happen to you that is not planned by your loving Heavenly Father, for your good and His glory.
Learn, too, that to serve the God of Glory is to be wholehearted before Him. Nothing else is reasonable. (We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. Romans 12:1) If God is Who He Says He is, then we must be in awe. We must be aflame! We must be willing to do and be anything He wants us to do and be. Learn this, and rest in it. Jim wrote, "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
What a wonderful example Jim Elliot is to our sons and daughters! Thank You, Lord, for calling Jim to the jungle of Equador. Thank You for giving him a heart aflame for Your glory. Help us to live like Jim lived, with deliberate purposeful hearts before our Beautiful God. In Jesus' wonderful name, Amen.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL .
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
" Because I said so, that's why."
5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC .
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."
6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."
9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"
10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."
11. My mother taught me about WEATHER .
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"
13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."
14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"
15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."
16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."
17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it when you get home!"
18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."
19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"
20. My mother taught me HUMOUR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."
21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."
22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."
23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"
24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."
25. And my favourite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."
Thanks, Heather, for sending this to me! I am glad that my kids turned out just like me...at least when they emulate my good characteristics.
Today is my grandson's birthday! Nate is 6, so in honour of that special event, I quoted the following poem by A.A. Milne. It's a poem I always quote to every one of my kids, and now my grandkids, when they turn six.
When I Was One
When I was one, I was just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive,
But now that I'm six, I'm better than better-
I think I'll stay six now forever and ever!
Happy Birthday, Nater! Keep that smile and that sense of humour! Love, Granny.
Monday, January 28, 2008
But, I'm back. :)
Yesterday was Daniel's 18th birthday. He was our 8th child, 3rd son, but first C-section. Due to a placenta previa, Daniel was snatched from my womb six weeks early. Poor guy! Not only that, but because the surgeon cut through the placenta, little Daniel went into shock, and for a few hours they weren't sure he would make it.
Warning: Breastfeeding info in the next paragraph. You may want to just skip it.
Make it he did, but he didn't thrive. He actually lost weight for the first couple of months. He was alert enough, but seemed to sleep quite a bit. One day, while giving him a bath, I realized that something was dreadfully wrong. He looked like a little birdie that fell from the nest too soon. (He had gone from 7 lbs to 5 lbs 9 oz.) Off I went to the doctor, and after the doc said to put him on formula, I insisted on seeing a pediatrician. That lovely man told me that of course I could breastfeed my 8th child...I just had to get him going. Turns out that he was simply taking in enough to get by, but because he was a premie and didn't stay awake much, he was growing weaker and weaker. I had to nurse, pump, feed him the pumped milk with a premie nipple, then do it all over again two hours later. I did this round the clock for about a week, and he started to gain an ounce a day! All I did was nurse, pump, feed him the pumped milk, then sleep. I set an alarm so I could wake up through the night. It didn't take long before my milk supply was built up, and he was strong enough to latch on and suck well.
I watched Daniel yesterday, interacting with friends and family, and rejoiced in my heart. The little one with a shaky start has grown to 6 feet tall. He hasn't only grown in stature, but in wisdom. He knows the value of hard work, but also understands that everything we have is a gift from God, and there is no room for boasting.
Children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. Blessed is the man who hath his quiver full of them!
Friday, January 25, 2008
A couple of comments, then I am heading to bed.
What pleased me most today was Cindy Rushton's Brain in a Binder. I printed out the pages I will find useful, and I organized my binder. This is not new to me. For many years I kept a binder with all of my appointments, plans, ideas and goals in it. Somehow I fell out of the habit, and the whole family has suffered since. Mom has a better memory when I write things down. Life in general is better, easier, more peaceful, when Mom remembers all that needs to be done.
So I am back to a binder, and actually excited about it!
What infuriated me the most today was a website I stumbled upon (after following links for a bit) that had an article condemning John Piper for a sermon on interracial marriage. John was making the Biblical point that God created male and female, and that one man can marry one woman, no matter what the colour of eyes, skin, hair or teeth! This 'moran' (couldn't spell moron) tried to say that when God divided the nations at the Tower of Babel, He meant to separate the people into "races", and that it was going against the Bible if you don't marry within your race.
I married a man with much darker skin than mine. What's that got to do with anything?
It infuriates me that this guy takes verses out of context and seems to think that white people are superior.
As a white-skinned blonde-haired blue-eyed woman, I can tell you that I WISH my skin was darker, and that I am GLAD I married a man with darker skin. Of our 12 children, we have 4 with darker skin and 8 with whiter skin. The ones that don't burn in the sun are the ones with the darker skin, like their dad's. Seems to me, that's the better skin.
Not that we can choose our skin tone, or our eye colour, or our height, or the number of hairs on our heads. God is the One who Provided us with those things. And He is the One who teaches that His family will be made up of people from every tribe and nation and tongue and continent!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Genesis 2: 7 - 9 "then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
Of course, now that it's past the middle of January, and the days are getting slightly longer, my thoughts turn to spring. Have I ever mentioned that spring is my favourite time of year?
I was reading Genesis this morning, and it struck me that God is a Gardener. He formed man out of the dust of the ground, then planted a garden in the ground. Out of the ground came beautiful things, tasty things... wonderful things!
And we get to be like God in this, too! Mere mortals we are, yet we can plant flower gardens that are pleasant to the sight, and vegetable gardens that are good for food.
Ferned grot -
The veriest school
Of Peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not -
Not God! In Gardens!
When the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign:
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.
The gardens I am planning for the Spring will be glorious in colour and texture. They will grab the senses and pique the interest of those who visit. My daughter Adeena sent me some plans for perennial gardens, like the one pictured above. It has
- 3 Mixed Lupines
- 3 Crimson Coral Bells
- 3 Barlow Columbine Mix
- 1 Scarlet Bee Balm
- 3 Tenor Tall Hybrid Phlox
- 3 Montana Skies Delphinium
Not only do I want a full-sun garden, a shade garden, and a vegetable garden, I want to plan an herb garden, too.
I will soon pull out the garden manuals and order some seed catalogues. I plan on starting my own tomatoes this year, and I want to make sure I have nicotania, because it smells incredible.
It is such fun to dream of gardens in January!
The song of the birds for mirth, -
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywere else on earth.
The garden seems the one spot on earth where history does not assert itself, and, no doubt, when Nero was fiddling over the blaze of Rome, there were florists counting the petals of rival roses at Paestum as peacefully and conscientiously as any gardeners of today. ~ Edmund Gosse.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The diet was recommended by my naturopath.
| || |
Foods to Include
Foods to Exclude
Unsweetened fresh, frozen, water-packed or canned fruits (except oranges)
All fresh raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced or roasted vegetable focusing on low carb choices
Corn, creamed vegetables
Breads & Cereals
Non-gluten products made from rice, millet, buckwheat, potato, tapioca, arrowroot, amaranth, quinoa, teff
All gluten products
All beans, peas, and lentils
All soybean products like tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy nuts, etc.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, cashews, walnuts, sesame (tahini), sunflower, pumpkin, (all best consumed raw and fresh); butters made from these nuts and seeds
Peanuts and peanut butter
Meat & Fish
Fresh or frozen and water packed fish, organic chicken, turkey, lamb and wild game
Beef, pork, cold cuts, hotdogs, sausages, canned meats, shellfish, eggs
Dairy & Milk Substitutes
Milk substitutes such as rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and other nut milks
Milk, cheese cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, frozen yogurt, non-dairy creamers
Fats & Oils
Cold-expeller pressed oils such as olive, flaxseed, canola, safflower, sunflower, sesame, walnut, pumpkin or almond oils
Margarine, butter, shortening, processed and hydrogenated oils, spreads and mayo
Filtered or alkalized water, herbal tea, mineral water, green tea
Pop, alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea, other caffeinated beverages, distilled water
Brown rice syrup, blackstrap molasses, stevia, honey, fruit sweeteners such as agave nectar
White or brown sugar, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, candy, desserts made with these sweeteners
Spices & Condiments
Chocolate, ketchup, mustard, relish, chutney, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, or other condiments containing vinegar or sugar
I haven't found the diet to be too difficult. When I think about it, I miss chocolate, beef, coffee and cheese/cream the most. Rick and I were in the car this evening, and I suddenly had a craving for chocolate, triggered by the fact that we were close to a convenience store. My mouth actually watered!
I tried to add exercise into the mix, but injured my hip. For two days I was crippled, and it hurt to walk, to stand, to sit and to lie down. Nothing helped. So I don't want to do that again.
If I am to lose all of the weight I need to lose, I should be on this diet ( or A diet recommended by our NPD ) until December.
It's a small price to pay for being healthy.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Skies always blue,
All our lives thro';
God hath not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.
God hath not promised
We shall not know
Toil and temptation,
Trouble and woe;
He hath not told us
We shall not bear
Many a burden,
Many a care.
God hath not promised
Smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel,
Needing no guide;
Never a mountain,
Rocky and steep,
Never a river
Turbid and deep:
But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labour,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
~Annie Johnson Flint
The children and I read the Bible together, as is our habit. Then we read some quotes by Robert E. Lee and others about the importance and power of prayer. We prayed, for those in authority over us, for missionaries, for our government, for friends, for family.
Adeena and Heather and their children came for a visit. We had lunch together, then Heather had to go. The rest of us went to work - Adeena and I were sorting and filing papers, Daniel was repairing an old computer, Patrick was cooking and caring for grandkids, Linda was teaching the children, and the rest of them were learning.
Matt & Joanna came for supper and a visit. We don't see them often enough, because Matt works long hours, and Joanna is tired in the evening after caring for two little go-getters all day. So it was wonderful to sit and visit.
God has promised us strength for the day. He gave that, today. He also gave us rest, as we sat and visited with family members. He gave us light for the way as we read and meditated on His word. How gracious He is to us. His mercies are new every morning!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The Lord promises to heal my backslidings, my mistakes, and my struggles. On top of that, He promises to love me freely.
This couldn't have come at a better time. I have been struggling with many issues. I often feel like a failure. I just am not really good at any one thing, it seems.
Today, my eggs didn't have that perfect look. I made stuffed eggs for the pot-luck at church, and even piped the yolks into the whites to give them a bit of flair. They just didn't turn out the way I imagined. They were NOT perfect.
The drive to church was stressful. Poor visibility. I couldn't find a kleenex for my drippy nose. Then Rick snapped at me when I suggested that he wipe the steering wheel with the anti-bacterial wipe. (He hates being distracted when he is driving. I know this. I shouldn't have done it.) So I snapped back at him, then felt bad about it. I wasn't the perfect wife.
My soup turned out fine, but Darlene's bread was amazing. How does she make wheat-free bread with such a good texture? And to top it all off, it tasted good. I have not baked much since going on a gluten-free diet. I feel like a failure in that area, too.
The list goes on, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, I had a blue day. I was reminded again and again of my sinful nature. Ugh.
Then, I came home and read this devotional.
The prayer is, "Lord, I pray that You will pull me ahead and help me to remain focused on You so that I will not continue to backslide further and further. Bring me to where I need to be so I no longer struggle daily from my past faults and inadequacies. Restore me at last! Let me feel the love that You give freely. Help me remember I am special and loved, even when I don't feel lovable."
The amazing thing is that God knew that I would need to hear this today. He knew that Pastor Bob and his wife would need to hear the story of Adoniram Judson today, too. In spite of my sin, God used this weak vessel to encourage our dear friends. In spite of my inadequacies, I am loved and valued by friends and family.
So, get thee behind me, Satan. Stop trying to pull me into the depths of despair. I know the truth about myself, but I also know that the Blood of my Saviour covers a multitude of (MY) sins.
You can't separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
And while the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return. ~Isaac Watts
Thank you, Lord, for holding the lamp of your Word out, so that I may return.
Live while you live, the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day;
Live while you live, the sacred preacher cries,
And give to God each moment as it flies.
Lord in my views, let both united be:
I live in pleasure when I live to thee.
Thank you, Lord, for showing me anew,
That life is worth the living when done unto YOU.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Adoniram fell almost instantly in love with his first wife, Ann (known as Nancy). Two weeks after their wedding, they set sail, arriving four months later in Calcutta. However, their teaching was not welcome there, so they headed to Burma. Nancy lost their first child on board ship.
It took three years of diligent study, 12 hours per day, to learn the Burmese language. Seven years after they left home, he baptized his first convert.
Sickness, heat, difficult circumstances abounded; they paled in comparison to the grief they endured with the loss of their second child, Robert, at 8 months of age.
"Our hearts were bound up with this child; we felt he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land. But God saw it was necessary to remind us of our error, and to strip us of our only little all. O, may it not be vain that he has done it. May we so improve it that he will stay his hand and say 'It is enough'."
My heart resonates with Ann's. I know what it is to bind one's heart up with one's child. See the tenderness with which she writes "to strip us of our only little all". Her statement, "May we so improve it" meant "May we take the lesson God is teaching us to heart, learning wisdom so well that He does not have to repeat the lesson". I am sure Ann understood that God gives trials to His loved children so they can learn more of Him, of His character, of His grace, and so they can in turn impart those lessons to other suffering Christians.
Adoniram kept on preaching and translating the Scriptures into the Burmese language, and after 17 years of work, he reported 10 Burmese converts.
Then war broke out between Britain and Burma. Adooniram was arrested, because he spoke English so was suspected of being a spy. Half-starved, fettered in irons, sometimes suspended by his mangled feet with only his head and shoulders touching the ground, he took courage when his wife, nursing a tiny baby (Maria) visited him and pled with officials for his release.
Only a few months after his release, his wife died, followed six months later by his daughter.
He entered a deep, dark depression, wondering if he had become a missionary for all the wrong reasons. He retreated from people, then to live in isolation in the jungle. It took nearly two years for Adoniram to begin to climb out of the darkness. God would not let him go.
He married a second wife, Sarah, who bore him eight children, five of whom survived to adulthood. When she grew ill they set sail for America, hoping that a change of climate would restore her health. Alas, she died on board ship.
He married a third wife, Emily, and they had four very happy years together. When Adoniram fell ill, their only hope was to send him on a voyage. He was miserable, vomiting, experiencing much pain. He was heard to say, "How few there are who die so hard!"
Adoniram laboured 37 years as a missionary, with only one trip home. He had set a goal of translating the Bible and founding a church of 100 members. When he died, he left the Bible, 100 churches, and over 8,000 believers.
His legacy continues to this day. Officials in Burma (now Myanmar) have stated that Judson's English-Burmese dictionary is very clear, and that there is no need for revision. There is a large number of Baptists in Myanmar due in part to Judson's influence.
Churches, universities, and a ship was named in his honour. Even Ann, his first wife, had a college named in her honour, and her letters about their mission inspired many Americans to become or support Christian missionaries.
John Piper wrote a sermon based on the Judsons. He demonstrated that God purposes to spread the gospel to all peoples, and that He uses suffering to accomplish this purpose.
Adoniram Judson's life illustrates that truth.
Adoniram once wrote, "Remember, a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years of leaving their native land. Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps."
Read John Piper's sermon here:
We do well when we study these great men and women. We do well to emulate them.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Something changed that day. My heart, like the Grinch's, grew two sizes. I was now able to love a whole new generation of babies with the passion I felt for my own children. What a wonder that was.
Today I had the privilege of visiting with my firstborn on her firstborn's birthday. Justin was jumping with excitement when Christopher and I drove in the lane. The rest of the kids came running for a kiss, then off they went to play.
Near the end of our time together, I asked Justin if he knew how to count by threes. "Well, sort of" he stammered. His younger brother, Ethan, piped up: "Three, six, nine, um..."
So, I took them all to the board and taught them the magic numbers that make counting by 3's a cinch. By the time I left, all the older ones could do it; the younger ones just enjoyed taking a stab at it and having the adults chuckle.
What I love...
I love it when kids eyes light up when they finally catch on to what you are teaching them.
I love hugs...from hubby, from kids, from grandkids, from friends. Hugs are nice.
I love a bubble bath with candlelight, a glass of wine, and a good book.
I love the noise my dogs make with their throats when they are leaning on me, telling me they love me.
I love the smell and warmth of the wood stove.
I love a good steak, with a baked potato and a salad on the side.
I love to read. Just about anything.
I love poetry.
I love vocabulary, especially when a word has a great origin and an intriguing definition.
I love French, Latin, and Italian. Spanish and Portuguese. All Romance languages.
I love visiting in my living room, relaxing with family or friends.
I love blue. And green. My favourites are the deep blue of the sky that is so rare that you only get to see it a couple of times per year. Not the shiny, pale blue, but the deeper one. It must depend on the atmosphere. I love the green of spring grass, before it gets to be dark and boring.
I love horses. The look of them, the sound of them, the smell of them. They are the most beautiful animals on this earth. No wonder there will be horses in heaven.
I love God, and His word. Not as much as I should, but with gratitude and wonder that I know Him at all.
I love my Cadillac. The heated seats. The purr of the engine. The power. Nice car. I am glad you bought it for me, Rick.
I love the smell of a clean baby; I love to see them react to the things around them. This world is astonishing and new to a baby. No cynicism there. They just accept, and absorb, all of the experiences they encounter.
I love chocolate. It has to be dark. And if it is accompanied by a cup of dark roasted Van Houtte coffee, it's almost heaven.
I love spring. The rest of the seasons pale in comparison...they're all good, but spring's the best.
There are too many more things that I love to mention them here. But each and every thing that I love is from above, from The Father who delights to give good gifts to His children.
Thank You, Abba, Father.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
now by His grace I live
but not for me; forgiven
~Matt - Soli Deo Gloria
Matt wrote this poem when he was about 16, and printed a copy. It hung on the wall of his bedroom for years. Then, he grew up, moved away, and got married. The poem still hung there.
Funny how a simple little poem has become a treasure.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The one thing that was a treat was working on a fast computer with a high-speed connection. My incredibly slow dial-up is a constant source of irritation to me. It is so frustrating to try to download a file, as I have been trying to do for two days, only to have it get to page seven out of twenty-five, and quit.
So, what did I learn today? (What character traits am I working on?)
I learned that in order to do your best, you have to get a good night's sleep. (Discipline - especially in scheduling.)
I learned that it is annoying to be told things you already know. (Patience)
I learned that in order to do a good job at anything it is essential to have the right tools. (Wisdom.)
I learned that home truly is where my heart is. (Contentment.)
I learned that even though my high-speed is going to be a long time coming, I will enjoy it even more when it finally arrives, having endured this S - L - O - W speed for so long. (Anticipation.)
I learned that I am lacking in discipline, patience, wisdom, contentment, and anticipation. My heart is deceitful above all things, and I want to order my world. When things don't go the way I want them to, I get depressed, angry, frustrated, whiny, and miserable.
Thankfully, I have a wonderfully patient husband and loving children who welcomed me home, listened to me, and took care of me. They brought me my supper and gave me kisses and tea. They even tried to help me download the file I want (to no avail).
It's good to be home.
Song for a Little House by Christopher Morley
I'm glad our house is a little house,
Not too tall nor too wide;
I'm glad the hovering butterflies
Feel free to come inside.
Our little hose is a friendly house,
It is not shy or vain;
It gossips with the talking trees
And makes friends with the rain.
And quick leaves cast a shimmer of green
Against our whited walls,
And in the phlox the courteous bees
Are paying duty calls.
I am glad that I live in this little old house, with my family close by to love me.
For mother-love and father-care,
For brothers strong and sisters fair,
For love at home and work each day,
For guidance lest we go astray,
Father in heaven, we thank thee.
Most of all, I am glad that God in His wisdom and Providence made me a wife and a mother.
Only One Mother by George Cooper
Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shores together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of lambs in the sunny weather.
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
Thank You, Lord.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Here's a great letter that every mother should read. It teaches us to put off the old (wo)man and put on the new (wo)man. It teaches us to renew our minds as we learn to think God's way about our circumstances.
If you could just stop blustering and ordering everyone around long enough you might see an eternal perspective. You would realize that there is so much more to life in Christ than the day-in-and-day-out ups and downs. Step back for a moment from the immediate stressors. Why, there isn't a hair that falls from my head that the Father is unaware of. He cares for birds and flowers in the field. How much more does He care for me and my family? (Matthew 6:25ff) Not only that, but He is working every circumstance in my life for my good and for the good of my children who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
One of my goals this year is to encourage my reluctant writers to write more. So I did a little browsing on Notebooking sites.
Here's an interesting article, "How I began Notebooking"
While I was on that website, I followed her link over to Cindy Rushton's site. This is super-full. Actually, I find it too busy. Too much going on. This lady has so much energy! But, if you like a busy website with all sorts of info about writing, notebooking, homeschooling, and marriages (plus a whole lot more) you may enjoy a visit here.
One of my favourite jumping-off websites is Phil Johnson's bookmarks. If you like Christian History, go here first:
Then to Dr. Michael Haykin's blog on Church History:
Janice Van Eck has an interesting blog, Pressing On. She wrote in one post:
An avid reader of Sir Francis Bacon, Wilberforce quotes this in his diary (around 1784/5):
Illi mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi
It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself.
Wilberforce concluded: "The shortening of private devotions starves the soul, it grows lean and faint. This must not be."
Her blog is another one that is worth perusing. http://janicevaneck.blogspot.com/
Finally, an amazing blog on cooking without wheat or gluten. If you, like me, find yourself having to change your entire way of eating, this blog will inspire you to cook creatively: http://www.bookofyum.com/blog/
That's it for today.
Monday, January 14, 2008
It's funny how God not only brought us together, but kept us together. Daniel and Patrick are close friends with Joshua. Our four youngest daughters are also great friends.
Today Darlene sent me a picture of our beautiful girls, taken at Jeanine's wedding on November 24. The two in brown are Jessie and Joy; the two in green are Elena and Tiana. Aren't they lovely?
Here's another shot of the girls having fun together:
It is my prayer that the two families continue to be friends, even after we older ones are dead and gone. I hope that these four girls remain friends into adulthood.
Meanwhile, I simply thank God every day for the blessing of friends and family.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I dug up my tattered and torn ancient Webster's dictionary.
confuse - from "pour together". To bring to ruin or naught. To perplex, disconcert. Synonyms: discompose, fluster, upset, disarrange.
author - originator, creator, maker
peace - tranquility, quiet. No disturbance or war. Harmony. Freedom from fears, agitating passions, moral conflict.
I have been confused, often. I know what it is to feel agitated, disconcerted, flustered and upset. Not nice at all.
But God is not the originator of confusion. It comes from he who is NOT-God --> Satan, the enemy. It is that snake who likes to see our homes filled with discord and conflict, fear and perplexity. He wants to ruin us and bring us to naught.
But God. God is the One who thought up peace. And He is the One who wants to see our homes become places of harmony and tranquility.
There are a few reasons for the confusion I experience:
1. I live with a bunch of sinners.
2. I am not disciplined enough to stick to the routine.
3. I fail to require my children to stick to the routine.
4. We are still climbing through a mountain of paperwork from the renovations.
Lack of order always destroys peace and creates confusion. To be an image-bearer, I must have a plan, goals, and order.
We do have a routine that would guarantee that the house remains in tip-top shape. On paper, that is. It's the discipline to stick to the plan that is required to make our lives more harmonious.
The good news is that we are 80% there. We have made many changes in order to have a place for everything and everything in its place. The laundry room was renovated, as was the downstairs bathroom. The children's bedrooms are getting there. My bedroom is orderly...I can even walk into my walk-in closet! Rick has socks in his drawer.
Goals for this week:
1. Maintain the routines. Make sure that what is on paper is carried out.
2. Sort all of the papers on the two tables.
3. SEEK GOD
Oh, Father, You are not the Author of confusion, but of peace. You have blessed us so much. We have all the resources we need to live in harmony before the face of God. There is no reason for confusion when we are Your children, walking with You. But we forget, and try to run ahead of you. We take our hands out of Your hand, thinking we know the way. We forget that we are weak and helpless, and that we need Your guidance.
Walk with me this week, Lord. Give me grace and wisdom to accomplish those goals. Thank You that You have answered my heart's desire for peace and order in our home. You have blessed us beyond imagination and given us what we do not deserve. We are forever grateful.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Considering that both my mother and grandmother died early, at 65, of cancer, I have been making some changes in my lifestyle. I eliminated wheat and gluten from our diet about four years ago, after my sister told me the symptoms and asked me to do some research. I noticed an immediate change in my overall health. Rashes disappeared. No more cankers. Not as much joint pain. Not as many headaches.
It is easy, in today's world, to accidentally ingest wheat or gluten products. Unless I become a hermit, and never leave my home, I can be "glutened". Even walking into some stores gives me a reaction: itchy ears, headache, swollen tongue.
So, I am constantly on the lookout for gluten-free products. I am on an elimination diet to remove toxins from my system. I read "Alive" magazine, health articles online, and so on. I listen to my friend Loretta (see link in sidebar), who is a naturopathic doctor with great advice.
One of the things Loretta recently mentioned was "oil pulling". I didn't pay attention to it until my daughter, Adeena, sent me this link: http://www.oilpulling.com .
I read how swishing sesame or sunflower oil in the mouth for 20 minutes in the morning before breakfast will "pull" toxins from the body. "Can't hurt", I thought. "I'll give it a try."
I used sunflower oil. Checked my email while I gently swished and "chewed" the oil, allowing my saliva to mix thoroughly with it. After twenty minutes, I spat into a dish to see if the oil had changed colour and consistency. Behold, white liquid instead of yellow oil!
After rinsing my mouth thoroughly, then brushing my teeth, I was amazed at how clean my mouth felt. It was as if I'd been to the dentist for a cleaning. Each separate tooth was distinguishable from the next - as if it jumped out at me! My tongue was pink and clean. It felt wonderful!
I did notice that I had some phlegm to spit up for about half an hour after the treatment. I assume that was more tiny microbes that my body was eliminating.
After a week, I will report the results. However, if my first experience is any indication, I think this Dr. Karach is on to something.
Friday, January 11, 2008
I was so blessed today! This morning I saw four of the grandkids (Justin, Ethan, Rebekah, and Michael) at the chiropractor's office. I got hugs and kisses from each of them before I left.
This afternoon, I was treated to a visit from four more(Trenton, Stewart, and the twins)! More hugs, more kisses. Baby grins, complete with drool. I can't ever get enough of those little faces.
Then, this evening, two more of the grandkids came for supper at "Granny's house"! Kaleb and Kaitlyn entertained us for the evening. Kaleb is fascinated with telephones, and whenever he heard the phone ring, he would put his fist up to his ear and solemnly say, "Hello"; gibberish would follow, then: "Bye". He's nearly two, but is really all grown up. After all, he IS a big brother!
Kaitlyn is a happy baby. All smiles. Even when she was hurt a bit, the cries only lasted a few moments.
Our joy as grandparents is always enhanced as we watch how well cared for these little ones are. Their parents (our children!) LOVE them. They play with them, coax belly laughs from them, care for them, nurse them, delight in them. We see ourselves reflected in our grown children. We remember how much we loved our babies. It does our hearts good to see this love continue to the next generation.
"To show a child what has once delighted you, to find the child's delight added to your own, so that thee is now a double delight seen in the glow of trust and affection, this is happiness."- J.B. Priestley
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Let me preface what I am going to say with this bit of information. We have one cat. His name is Buster, and he's a very old, ancient, on his last legs type of cat. He is skinny, and his hair is out of place. He's lost teeth. We thought he'd die years ago, but he just keeps on hanging on.
Don't get me wrong. We LIKE Buster. It's just that he's very old, somewhat stinky, and a bit of a mess. The family jokes about Buster being the cat in the song:
"the cat came back, the very next day,
the cat came back, we thought he was a goner,
but the cat came back, he just wouldn't stay away." (Sharon, Lois & Bram)
Anyway, today while the girls were at piano lessons, I decided to give the boys a long-overdue haircut. Did I mention that the haircut was LONG overdue? Lots of hair! So much that it made a pile on the floor.
I was busy with other tasks, so I didn't get the hair swept up before the girls got home. In they trooped, and Tiana took one look at the pile of hair and exclaimed, "So, Buster finally exploded, did he?"
My evil children all laughed, then put their heads together. "Let's make it look like a cat, to scare Critter and Daddy when they get home."
This is the result:
This is the real cat. (Still alive and well, for today.)
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
We are blessed to live on a 3 acre plot of land, which affords countless hours of entertainment for the children. Just last week we had a major snowfall, followed by 4 days of unseasonably warm weather. Ta da: Lake Billson was formed!
Elena had the bright idea of getting the kiddie pool to use as her boat. A shovel made a fine paddle. The children got wet, they got cold, they got muddy. But boy, did they ever have fun.
Christopher got too cold and too wet, so he trudged into the house. Ingenuity struck. He got a couple of green garbage bags and some duct tape. Behold: waders!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
So, while Rick and Steve were engrossed in computer stuff, Heather and I sat down to watch "House", a tv show about an arrogant but brilliant doctor. The patient was dying, and after several failed diagnoses, decided that she would rather go ahead and die than to submit to another treatment that might, or might not, work.
House went into a tirade: "You want to die with dignity?" he asked. "There is no dignity in death. There is dignity in living, but not in dying."
I have to agree. I watched my mom die. I was there when my father-in-law was in his last few days of life. I saw my aunt, lying in a coma, unable to communicate as her life slipped away.
It is not dignified when a person is reduced to helplessness. There is absolutely nothing to do. Palliative care workers are angels of mercy. They administer pain killers, do mouth care, speak soothing words. But the grim reality is that the person is dying, will die, and there really is nothing to do, but wait.
Death is not supposed to be dignified. It wasn't supposed to BE. It is only because of the fall of man that sin entered the world, and the wages of sin is death.
People tend to want to comfort themselves by denying the reality of death:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
However, the truth is, people die. Living things die. The only One who never dies is God; and He sent His Son to die in our place.
Yes, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christians die, but they are resurrected to eternal life. We have hope - not that we become part of nature, but that we will live forever as sentient beings, serving the Living God.
The Bible declares, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Passage after passage teaches us that our days are numbered, but that they are numbered by GOD, who loves us so much that He provided a way for us to live forever. 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55 "When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O, death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
There is no dignity in dying, but we have this precious hope. We know that our Lord, who tasted death for us, is able to raise us up and to present us before His father as spotless, unblemished saints.
My Aunt Ruth requested that this poem be printed on her funeral brochure:
Not dead, Oh, no, but borne beyond the shadows,
Into the full clear light.
Forever done with mist and cloud and tempest,
Where all is calm and bright.
Not even sleeping; called to glad awakening
In Heaven's endless day.
Not still and moveless,
Stepped from earth's rough places,
To walk the King's Highway.
Not silent, just passed out of earthly hearing,
to sing Heaven's sweet new song.
Not lonely, dearly loved and dearly loving,
Amid the white-robed throng.
No, not forgotten, keeping fond remembrance, of dear ones left awhile,
and looking for the glad reunion, with hand-clasp and a smile.
Oh, no, not dead, but past all fear of dying,
and with all suffering o'er,
Say not that I am dead when Jesus calls me
To life forever more.
Our hope is in Heaven, because Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes unto the Father but by Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.
Death may have no dignity, but it also has no sting for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Monday, January 07, 2008
I meditated on this verse. It's interesting that this is my "life's verse", picked out when I was newly saved as a 23 year old young mother and wife. Most of the time, I do trust the Lord and acknowledge Him. When I don't understand why things are the way they are, I have learned to lean on Him, knowing that He understands it all.
Lord, I do put my trust in You! I can't say I always trust You with all my heart, for I find myself sometimes holding back. What if You were to take more of what I love away from me? What if You decide to take something really big? Not my mother's car. Not the horses... but one of my children? My husband?
We all suffer losses, and we Christians know that God is the One who gives and takes away, for His good purposes. But it isn't always easy to accept it.
I still find myself going to the window to look to see if the horses are okay. I catch myself before I remind the children during supper dishes - "did you feed the horses?" I watch Linda, still missing them, and Elena, sad when she comes in from feeding the geese and the ducks, and I still grieve. Yet I know that my Lord God is steadfast, unmovable, faithful, and true.
Lord, you ARE good. I know that. So, forgive me when I am weak, when I decide to withhold a little of my trust back from You. It's foolish of me to even try to do that.
It is like a toddler, not getting what she wants, stamping her little foot and refusing to give her Mama a kiss because she didn't get her way. Foolish little girl. Doesn't she know that what is withheld from her, or taken away from her, would harm her?
Lord, I am like that foolish little child. When will I learn that You really do know best? I acknowledge that EVERYTHING I have, absolutely everything, is from You. The computer I am using is Yours. The children I cherish are Yours. My citizenship, my home, my husband...all gifts from Your Hand.
You promised to direct my path, to open up the way before me. I know you do this-- you have done so all of my life. You take me down the tangled paths with thorns and thistles on every side...and you open the way before me. You show me the straight, uncluttered path.
Lord, I thank You, and I do trust You. I acknowledge that You know it all, and that You do all things right. I wait on You to show me the way.
In Jesus' name,
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Little kids say the cutest things. Now that we are expecting our 15th grandbaby, we have lots of sources for sayings that I will always treasure in my heart.
Today my five year old granddaughter, Becky (otherwise known as Becky-Lou), gave us a chuckle.
Adeena wrote, "Becky was cleaning her room. She brought down the box that she used to carry up all the little stuff she got for Christmas, including her new Granny & Poppa for her 'big house'. As she was walking by, I asked her where her Granny and Poppa were. She said they were in the big house, in their rocking chair.
She takes a few steps, pauses, turns and says, "And I put a chair in front of them so they can put their feet on it.. you know, for their knees."
LOL! Now, go back to the picture and look carefully. You will see the Granny and Poppa with their feet up. You know, for their knees!
Today is my mom's birthday. If she had lived, she would have been 75. She would have appreciated Becky's thoughtfulness in providing a nice footstool for the Granny and Poppa!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
1. God, who made the earth and heaven,
darkness and light;
Who the day for toil hast given,
for rest the night;
May Your angel guards defend us,
slumber sweet Your mercy send us;
Holy dreams and hopes attend us,
all through the night.
2. When the constant sun returning
unseals our eyes,
May we, born anew like morning,
to labor rise;
Fit us for the task that calls us;
let not ease and self enthrall us,
Strong through You what'er befall us,
O God most wise!
3. And when morn again shall call us
To run life's way,
May we still, what'er befall us,
Thy will obey.
From the power of evil hide us,
In the narrow pathway guide us,
Nor Thy smile be e'er denied us
The live-long day.
At the end of a busy day, it is good to pause and reflect on God's Sovereignty and mercy in allowing us to be productive this day.
Let's see: The laundry is caught up. I think we did about 8 loads of laundry today. Rick's sock drawer is absolutely full! YEAH!
We enjoyed home-made tomato rice soup for lunch, and had a chicken dinner for supper.
The van is gassed up and ready to go for church in the morning.
Joel came and laid the rest of the floor in the laundry room.
My bedroom is almost clean. I don't have much left to do.
I figured out how to use my new labelling machine, and I am starting to label EVERYTHING: Christmas Wrap. Regular Wrapping paper. Please Remove Boots or Shoes. That sort of thing.
Yes, we had a good day. I am thankful that God will watch over us this night, and that tomorrow, Lord willing, we will have another day that has its joys and its sorrows. Knowing that God is smiling upon us gives meaning and contentment to each and every activity.
Happy Birthday, Joanna! You are the precious mother to Kaleb and Kaitlyn, and a beloved wife to our son, Matt. May you have many, many more birthdays!
Friday, January 04, 2008
I have a system. I have taught everyone, even Christopher, how to do a load of laundry. Sorting is essential: you must separate whites from darks, and very soiled clothes from slightly dirty clothes. Using pre-spot or some other spray for stains is also very important.
I have rules: never put on a load of washing without taking the clothes from the dryer, folding them, and putting them away. That way, clothes are not left in baskets to get wrinkled, and there is no build-up of unfolded clothes in the laundry room. I know how easily that can happen. We have climbed the Mount Everest of laundry many a time. We don't want to do that again.
I have a schedule. The boys do laundry on certain days; the girls do laundry on other days. Nobody is allowed to take laundry into the laundry room unless it is their turn and they are going to wash it, dry it, fold it, and put it all away. They each have hampers in their own rooms, which again eliminates Mount Everest!
And now, TA DA!... I have a nice, new, shiny, clean laundry room. I was thinking today that in all my years of doing laundry, I have never had such a nice room in which to do it.
Darlene's son Joel took it upon himself to surprise me just before Christmas. He had his mother take me out for a nice lunch, and he scurried to my house and completely renovated my horrible laundry room. He washed walls, drywalled, mudded, painted, installed new light fixtures, and put in a new tile floor. It is completely organized now, and when I go in there to do an umpteenth load of laundry, my heart sings! How I have been blessed by this young man, who simply had a desire to bring a little order (and joy!) to my life.
I always have enjoyed seeing the stacks of clean clothes or towels, ready to be put to use by my family. I love to see drawers full to the brim with socks or sweaters, all nice and clean! But now, even the process of achieving those stacks of clean clothes is delightful, thanks to my good friend, Joel.
Joel has learned to bless others by serving them with the talents God has given him. May God richly bless him in all of his endeavours.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I am thankful that my children and grandchildren live close enough that I can see them on a regular basis. Rachel and her kids came for a visit today. Heather's children are staying overnight. What a blessing they all are!
I am thankful that I can look into the eyes of a baby, and have him smile right back at me.
It is very late, and I am thankful that I have a nice warm bed that is beckoning to me, and a nice warm husband to cuddle up to!
See you tomorrow!
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I am in the process of re-reading a puritan volume by Thomas Brooks, called "A Mute Christian Under the Rod". In the "epistle dedicatory" (introductory comments) Mr. Brooks explains why he has written the treatise. I echo his thoughts here:
1. I have learned a thing or two about life, especially during trials and tribulations. I desire to encourage others along the path to glory.
2. As Brooks says, "What is written is permanent; litera scripta manet, and spreads itself further by far, for time, place, and persons, than the voice can reach." I can share my experiences and knowledge world-wide, and impact others even after I have left this world.
3. People forget. They learn to endure, they grow in grace, but they soon forget what they have been taught when the next storm hits. I want to post reminders that God is good, that He is in control, and that there is a silver lining in every cloud if you watch for it.
4. I have been there, done that. I am a mother of 12, a grandmother of soon to be 15, a wife for nearly 35 years. There are things I can share that will help someone, somewhere, should they happen to stumble upon my blog. It's obviously written with a Christian perspective, and I hope it will be an inspiration to others in the spirit of Titus 2.
5. God has used some of my writing to bless others, to exhort them and encourage them on the path to righteousness. My prayer is that my blog will do so in some small measure again.
6. I hope to be able to give right advice (the right salve for the sore), unlike the "lying pen of the Shoferim"- the priests who were unwilling to tell the truth about upcoming judgment. I want to be honest, to call sin, sin, but to give hope.
7. Others have encouraged me to keep writing. I do this in part for them. I especially do it for my family, so they can see my heart for God.
8. There isn't anyone else who has experienced what I have experienced. I am the only one who can tell my story.
So, I blog.
And I hope and pray that it will be a blessing.
Thanks, Thomas Brooks, for the inspiration. Your pen lives on!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I was watching "An Interview with the Prime Minister" today, in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper was interviewed by Lloyd Robertson and Robert Fife. There is a synopsis of the interview ">here.
The journalists seemed somewhat antagonistic at the beginning of the interview, pressing the prime minister on certain issues to the point of sounding obnoxious. However, Stephen Harper clearly was unflappable. Critics in the past have accused him of being boring. He doesn't fly off the handle like Pierre Trudeau, who enjoyed getting a reaction with his rude comments and behaviour. He is in no way as colourful or "proud" as Jean Chretien(his words). What I like about Stephen Harper is his integrity, and his quiet assurance that he has a job to do and is bound and determined to do it, come what may.
In one instance Mr. Harper was asked about charges of "excessive control."
"You know, I guess my some 20 years in this business convinces me there are only two kinds of prime ministers," he said. "There are prime ministers in control of their government and those that aren’t. And in either case you’re criticized, but I’d rather have the criticism of, you know, leading from strength than leading from weakness."
Mr. Roberston: "You prefer to run a tight ship."
Mr. Harper: "Well, we prefer to run a disciplined organization."
It is far better to have a leader who knows how to lead. I'd rather have a prime minister in control of his government than one like Lester Pearson, who just didn't know what was going on most of the time. He was a nice guy, well-liked by everyone, but because he was a mediator at heart (he won the Nobel Peace Prize) he didn't like to displease anyone. A person like that makes a fine ambassador, but a poor Prime Minister.
Stephen Harper is a leader. He is a man of integrity who strives to never do something that would cause him to lose sleep at night. He honours his parents, valuing his mother's opinion about current events in Canada, and speaking well of his now deceased father. He honours his marriage vows, and speaks highly of his wife. He honours his commitments to lower emissions, to continue in Afghanistan as was promised, to work with the people of Quebec within the country of Canada. He is an honourable man.
The Bible tells us to pray for those in authority over us, and to recognize that leaders of nations are raised up by God. I am thankful that God has blessed Canada with a man of integrity as its Prime Minister.
We would do well to pray for him daily, in 2008.