Tuesday, October 31, 2006

IOW: Scratches of Love

"Like the proud mother who is thrilled to receive a wilted bouquet of dandelions from her child, so God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude."
~ Richard Foster~

She was four years old.

She was at granddad's house.

He had a brand new car.

She had a nail.

And she scratched her name on the back of the car.

She ran to show granddad her act of love.

Her parent's freaked out.

But granddad swept her up in his arms and hugged her and exclaimed, "she's four years old and she can write her name."

He didn't see it as destruction---he saw it as love and accepted it as such.

This story was told at my grandfather's funeral in 1996. I was 28 years old. After the service, my great aunt came to me and said, "we still have that car." My grandfather had given her to car to use twenty years before but it was always a "loan." She was not to sell it. Twenty-four years my grandfather kept that bouquet of dandelions. Twenty-four years kept that signature. Twenty-four years.

And so it is with God. He stores up our bouquets of love and cherishes them. He chooses to forget our sins and he chooses to keep the love. Go offer Him some love expression today.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Life Lived Resentfully?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThank you for your encouragement yesterday. I find myself more and more aware of the line between being faithful to share my journey and being prideful of that journey. It is encouraging that some of you find my sharing a help in your own journey. That is certainly my prayer. (And, I must consider the source in the person who questioned my motives. This is a person who seems to resent anyone doing anything that brings joy or fulfills dreams.) I know that about this person, but I must be cautious not to just discount the teachable moment as her rubbish when it could be God's small voice.

Resentment is a funny thing (funny--hmmm, not funny---ha ha). This week the son of one of my friends asked his mom "Do you live your life resentfully?" After establishing that he did in fact mean resentfully and not regretfully, they have had an on-going discussion about this. And she posed the question to some of us on a cross stitch board I frequent. The answers were interesting and in the same theme of no because of understanding God's role in life or the brevity of life or what is important. But it got me to thinking why anyone would live their life resentfully.

The aforementioned person who is resentful could trace much of her resentment back to unfulfilled dreams and circumstances she would say were beyond her control. And although the circumstances might have been beyond her control, she chose to be bitter and to give up on everything rather than face the situation. As a result she has lived for 20+ years in resentment and bitterness. Another friend would say that someone else's choice has given them the right to be resentful. But for 15 years she has chosen to not forgive and to resent anyone who points her to forgiveness. I have friends who resent my ability to travel the world, even when they will admit in the next breath that they choose to not travel in order to do other things. But their feelings go beyond wishfulness to resentment (in one case to the point that she told me she doesn't read my Christmas letters because she hates to see where I've been). My brother resents that I live overseas, although he adamantly admits he wouldn't want to live anywhere but Texas. He just can't stand that I choose to live somewhere else. He resents anyone who chooses a different path. Why???

I think it is because so many people, on some level, do not trust their own decisions. A life lived resentfully is a life lived second-guessing the choices one has made. My brother chooses to live in Texas but asks "what if?" Friends choose not to travel but ask "what if?" "What if forgiveness was better?" "What if?" Second guessing. And, the truth is in choices about where to live, what to do with time, what to do with money, etc. contentment can come with whatever decision is made. There is no reason to second-guess.

To not live resentfully is to trust yourself and to trust your God with the decisions He leads you to make. I am content with where I am--no matter where I am--because I am content that God will lead me while I'm there. I trust that by His grace and in His blessing I reside. And that can be anywhere in the world and in any circumstance and in any dream.

Does that mean I never look at someone else and wonder what it would be like to have what they have? Of course not! I would love to stitch as quickly as V, but I am content to be me and stitch at my pace. I would love to take gorgeous pictures like M, but I am content to settle for my point and shoot camera. I would love to live close enough to get together with my friends, but I am content that this is where I'm supposed to live. I would love to turn a phrase or challenge like C, or GB, or AME, but I'm content that this is my writing style and that God blesses it. I could resent my friends for having talents that I don't have, but where would that get me? Miserable and paralyzed from using the gifts I do have. Resentment comes from not being content with who we are. Life is too short to life resentfully.

But what about you? Do you live your life resentfully? If you do, why? If you don't, why not? I'm really interested in continuing this discussion. And so is my friend's son...he is tuning in for answers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Pharisee in Me

"Oh, Lord, I pray hard on my way
I try to do it every day
A publican to be I try
and beat my breast and sigh and cry
I'm hoping others round will see--
oops--there's the Pharisee in me!"
from The Pharisee in Me by Jill Briscoe

Don't you hate it when God hits you in the heart in your pleasure reading? This poem hit me hard this week. Can't get it out of my mind. I don't want to be a Pharisee. Yet someone close to me asked this week if I blog my journey for me to learn or to show off what I've learned. I pray that it is the former. Forgive me if it is the latter. And if you see the Pharisee in me show up, please love me enough to tell me. I mean it. If you don't point it out to me I might let her take up residency. And she's not welcome here.

Blessings to you all today!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Dance with Me!

I have finally finished Preamble Sampler! I started it in June 2003 and finished it today! I am really pleased with how it turned out.
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More Thoughts on the Journey

Last Sunday I was visiting with another lady as we watched the kids in creche at church (nursery for you Americans out there). Anyway, she was telling a conversation with her husband (not a Christian) and how he was offended by something she said illustrated that he was not a believer. He was offended because he said "I never said I don't believe." And she made this most profound statement. She had told him, "I never said you don't believe. But you don't act on that belief or commit to that belief so you are not a believer." How true. Our pastor often says, "If what you believe doesn't change what you do, you don't really believe it." I agree. Ok, I want to agree.

Fast forward a few days. I'm having tea with a friend. We are discussing the sin topic from Bible Study. She was saying that it a hard subject because what is sin to one person may not be to another. I had to disagree. I know that there are behaviors that are considered "grey areas." But, as I told her, God defines sin as missing the mark of His Holiness as He reveals that in our lives and we don't have any need to compare ourselves with anyone else. It is a sin for me to be impatient with my kids, to take my husband for granted, to abuse my body. The specifics of how I do that may be different from how someone else does that. But I think it is a sin for anyone to mistreat the people in their lives and the temple of God . And, I said, the purpose of talking about sin is not to make a list of "this is sin and this is not", it is to be aware of what God is saying to us each individually about the sin in our life. So then we were talking about being honest about the sin in our life. And she says, "I think that just admitting it is sin is what we have to do." I want to agree, because that is easy. But I can't. So I paraphrase what I had heard on Sunday. I can believe that an action is sin for me, but if I do nothing to change that behavior and give it to God, I am not a believer that sin matters. I want to be a believer that sin matters. I want to agree intellectually with God that sin matters. But I also want to agree by changing my behavior. It is difficult, very difficult. It hurts to change, to be refined. But the reward after is more than I can imagine. So how do I change?

Part of that answer came in this week's Life in the Spirit study. Last night we were discussing our responsibilities in a life in the Spirit. We focused on three concepts: we are to grow in knowledge (i.e. know Who God is and what He expects), to yield to His authority in our life and to trust Him. As I apply this to the area of sin in my life I realise I must know what God is naming sin and name it the same, I must yield to His authority to call it sin and to punish the sin, and I must trust that as I give Him those behaviors He will transform me and give me the power to overcome. I don't have to get rid of the sin in my life. He does the transforming. I have to yield to Him and trust Him. The closer I walk with Him, the less enticing walking in my own path becomes. So I see the last couple of weeks as growing in knowledge as He has revealed His position on sin to me. But the coming weeks and months will be the difficult task of yielding and trusting. We'll see what transformations take place.

Stitcher's Question

Today's SBQ was suggested by Carol http://www.carolsxsblog.blogspot.com/) and is:

If you were to come across a sampler chart that caught your eye and appealed to you, would you or would you not stitch it if it had a morbid or "creepy" saying on it? If not, why?

I would stitch it. I view sampler sayings in the same way I view epiteths (which I love to walk through old cemeteries and read). They are both parts of cultural history and reflect a time where talking of death was more accepted because lifespans were shorter. I think preserving the cultural history is important.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IOW---The Me I Planned

"Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace..."
~ Beth Moore~
From the poem: "The Life I Planned "

The Me I Planned...
..was to be a corporate attorney in media relations until my media classes soured that plan
..was then to be a Math teacher until student teaching proved classroom management only frustrated me
..used volunteer work in a children's shelter to make a resume' look better

The Me I planned was unmarried...never married...and working full-time in Single's Ministry.

The Me I planned adopted special needs kids.

But God said,
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

And I said, "I want the Life you want for me, Lord."

And God said,
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

The Me God Planned...
..used volunteer work to awaken a call to ministry to the needy
..was a seminary trained social worker combining His Word with practical help
..was a teacher of social workers, teaching how to interpret and apply the laws on child welfare.

The Me God Planned...
..was to marry the wonderful Christian man that He had prepared for me who would partner with me for a time in Sintle Adult Ministry and would give me the freedom to pursue my gifts.

The Me God Planned...
..had a long wait and disappointments before having two beautiful daughters

The Me God Planned...
..home educates those daughters without the class room frustration.
..teaches adult women, both married and single, His Word.

My desires: ministry, children, teaching, law
His delight: ME!

The Me God Planned took all my desires and packaged them better than I could have ever imagined and presented them to me. And, as I delight in the Me He Planned, He is delighted and honoured and glorified.

I am so glad He helped me misplace the Me I had planned.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some stitchy items

I've been neglectful of posting stitchy items, so here goes:

This week's SBQ was suggested by Vash
(http://seasidestitcher.blogspot.com/) and is:

Which way do you stitch, i.e. do you stitch /// followed by \\\ on top, or the other way around \\\ followed by ///? Are you left- or right-handed and do you think that this affects the way that you stitch?

I stitch \\\ followed by /// or backwards to most people I know. I am right-handed, but I do believe handedness does make a difference. I was taught to stitch by my grandmother who was left-handed and I stitch like she did!

I've been working hard on my Preamble Sampler for me. Here is last week's WIP picture. I've now completed the "long" side of all the stripes and only have 2 more shorter stripes to complete. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here is the house I stitched for S's Neighbourhood RR. It was my last house to stitch before they come home. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And finally, here is Robin's Season RR. Sorry the picture is blurry. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've also finished 2 quilts. One should have been given to it's owner yesterday and the other is in the post. Once I have confirmation of arrival, I'll post pics of both. Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Revamping the Blog

No posts today as I am re-vamping the look. Please excuse the skewed alignment in the side bar. I'm trying to get it fixed. If everything is skewed, Enlarge to full screen and it should even out. Back when the glitches are ironed out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What is sin?

This is the topic for my Ladies Bible Study this week. Sin. Just a topic for God to flesh out in each of our lives however He wills, and for us to come and discuss it. Sin. Ugly word, uglier consequences. And we all do it. Whether we admit it or not.

I had planned to start my journey of reflection this week just thinking about what sin is and how it affects the world, and later distilling it more into how it affects me. A macro- approach to sin is so much easier than personalising it. But then, I sat in church on Sunday and the worship songs were all hitting home. Tears were streaming down my face. The awesomeness of what Jesus did for me in my sinful state overwhelmed me. As we sang
WHEN I WAS LOST, You came and rescued me;
Reached down into the pit and lifted me.
O Lord, such love,
I was as far from You as I could be.
You know all the things I've ever done,
But Jesus’ blood has cancelled every one.
O Lord, such grace
To qualify me as Your own.

There is a new song in my mouth,
There is a deep cry in my heart,
A hymn of praise to Almighty God - hallelujah!
And now I stand firm on this Rock,
My life is hidden now with Christ in God.
The old has gone and the new has come - hallelujah!
Your love has lifted me.

lyrics by Kate and Miles Simmonds

I was overwhelmed. I was as far from Him as I could be. And somedays I still am. That is the essence of sin--it took me as far from Christ as I could be but His sacrifice brought me back. And now on the days (who am I kidding everyday) when sin drives a chasm between me and God the sacrifice is there to keep me within His grasp. The chasm disappears with confession and repentence. Amazing. Amazing grace. And it is for me.

So I'm on a micro-level looking at sin this week. What are the daily sins that are driving that chasm between me and God? I can rattle some of them off easily--not taking care of His temple by eating the wrong foods, idolotry as I put my pride ahead of meeting needs, being easily angered when the girls aren't following my prescribed path (so glad that my heavenly Father is more patient than I am as an earthly mother), not honoring my parents by calling more often, not respecting and loving my husband as a representative of Christ in this family, procrastination on important matters, etc etc etc. I know where I consistently fall on my face. Where I fall short of God's mark (Romans 3:23). But why do I keep going back to the same sins? In a nutshell, because I rarely call them sin. I call them short-comings. I call them mistakes. I call them lack of discipline. I call them habits. But I don't call them sin. And so I don't treat them as deadly to my life as the things I call sin. I would not allow a murderer to live in my house, but I allow myself to be angry and to say hurtful things that in effect murder my children's self-esteem. I would not have a golden idol in my home, but I put myself on throne more times than I want to admit in a day. I am convicted that I must call sin, sin. And I must eliminate it from my life. The habitual things that separate me from God must go. And I've just taken that first step--admitting I have a sin problem. Please pray with me as I seek to be faithful to God and allow Him to remove those things from my life.

It is interesting as I have been writing this entry this week a discussion has been taking place over at GB's site Restoring the Years. A post on a blog we both read described a failing. GB responded to her. But the writer of the first blog wanted grace and compassion, not conviction. She did not see the failing as sin. So GB writes about calling sin, sin. She was writing out of her experience in a situation. But she was writing a divine reiteration to me. Call sin, sin. And in my life I am going to do just that. I'm tired of living in the mire and want to live more victoriously. Hallelujah, He has already given me the new song. Now I want to sing it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In Other Words--Talking to the Navigator

"It doesn’t matter what is behind you as much as it matters who is beside you."
~ Ellen ~
"Laced with Grace"

My husband is convinced that I am a lousy navigator. He would much prefer Sat-Nav to me when directing us to a new destination. Granted I occassionally say right when I mean left, but I always point in the correct direction. He needs to read the entire direction not just the oral direction and we would get there just fine. I know this is true because all of my girlfriends prefer me to Sat-Nav. I am always the one asked to direct, even if I'm sitting in the back. Why? Because they trust me to communicate to them how to get somewhere in a way that they understand. An informal poll at one time with several friends concluded the same thing--our husbands thought we were bad navigators because they did not listen to us. I guess it really does boil down to how men and women communicate.

As I read this quote and thought about the difficulties my husband and I have when I'm navigating versus the non-difficulties with female friends, I wondered if this is my problem in navigating life. Do I say to God, come beside me and guide me and then only listen with human fallible ears that expect the directions to be in the manner I would give them? If so, I am destined to get lost because if I'm listening to what I expect I will probably miss His voice. Or am I listening with ears that hear the way He communicates? That is what will keep me on the right path.

How do we develop ears that hear God? We are obviously capable of this. In telling the parables Jesus sometimes said, "Let them that have ears, hear" (see Matthew 11:15, 13:9 for example) So it seems like hearing is a choice. I know I choose to hear voices in a crowd that I recognize. I'll tune in to them and exclude the others. My friends and I share a common language of past experiences, expectations, and dreams. That is why we are able to communicate effectively. That is what God calls us to as well. He calls us to choose to hear Him, to choose to listen to His directions. The more time I spend with Him the more I am able to tune into His voice and crowd out all the other noise in my life. The closer I walk with Him the more of a common language we will share. I must choose to get closer to Him, to communicate more like Him and to trust His direction. That is why it matters who is beside me navigating--I choose to let Him navigate and I choose to follow.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Mishmash of Thoughts

Please forgive this post, because it rambles. There is so much going on in my head, I thought writing would be easy. But instead I'm so full, I just don't know where to start. But God has been working in my thoughts on so many levels I'll see if I can make some sense of it.

Last Saturday my dear husband gave me the most amazing gift--time away with friends at a Women's Bible Conference. He kept the girls and sent me on my way (in fact I left before they even woke up so he had the entire day of stuff with them). It was the first time I had taken away that long with just girlfriends. He and I have left them with a sitter for the day, but I've never done it for me time. And it was amazing. The theme was "Back to the Future" and was looking back on Genesis 1-2 to understand where we came from in order to understand where we were going. There were a few "AHA!" moments for me but the one that continues to resonate with me is this: "Because of the Fall we WILL struggle. It is not that we MIGHT struggle because the punishment of the Fall says we WILL. But the hope and the joy is that the struggles are temporary and will end at our Father's feet." (very close paraphrase) I know in my head intellectually that the Christian life is not a walk in the park. I know experientially that the Christian life is often not easy. But sometimes it is just nice to hear it spoken from a place of knowledge. Sometimes it is good to hear that my experience is normal.
She went on to speak of how in general for women the struggle will somehow be in relationships, because we were made for relationships. Furthermore, in general for men the struggle will be in work because even before the Fall they had the task of working the garden, but the punishment of the Fall was that the work would be toilsome and futile. She reminded us that our husbands, brothers, male friends would often find work tedious and full of futility and that it was NORMAL, but our role as "helper" was to allow them to deal with that tedium. I really needed to hear that. My husband loves his work, but it has been fraught with futility the last couple of weeks. I confess that sometimes tire of being the only person to whom he can/will voice his work frustrations. I needed to be reminded that this is part of my role as his helpmate. And I found myself re-committing my purpose as his wife to being more of a Godly listener. Powerful stuff.
The best part of the day, however, was just hanging out with Godly friends. Here is a picture of 6 of us (the 7th is taking the picture).
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(disclaimer: Before you read this paragraph please note that I read about 40 blogs a day and I only mention 4. That does not mean that yours does not fit the category that I am talking about, it just means that I couldn't list them all. Please forgive me.)
The weekly Bible Study this week is on hospitality. I love teaching about hospitality. I love opening people's thoughts up the notion that hospitality is more than preparing a meal or having a party, but it is a welcoming spirit and how we interact with others. I've been thinking about hospitality in terms of this blog. There are some blogs I visit (Shalee's Diner, Holy Experience, AMExpressions, Restoring the Years to name just 4) where I immediately feel at home. I don't have to post and be part of an "inner circle", I don't have to have the same style or thoughts, I don't have to speak that elusive God-language or cross-stitch language, I just have to come and I am totally welcome. I glean wisdom from the ladies and I know that God is blessing me with their words. There are other's that I enjoy what they write but I feel like an outsider looking through a window (if that makes any sense). So what does that mean for this blog? Well it means that I want this to be a place where people find refuge and the encouragement of a fellow journeyman struggling with matters of faith. I hope that no one ever feels like an outsider looking in. So I find myself wondering how can I be "hospitable" in the blogsphere? What is it that makes those sites (and so many others) so appealing to me? Is it the honesty? yes Is it the humor? sometimes Is it that they can bring tears to my eyes with their imagery? sometimes yes But the ultimate reason they are appealing is that they illustrate Jesus. I am drawn because my Savior shines there. He shines when they talk about their marriages, their kids, their struggles, their failings, their successes and breakthroughs. I want Jesus to shine here. I want Him to shine when I talk about Jewel and Flower and the ups and downs of parenthood. I want Him to shine when I talk about His Bible Study that He gives me the privilege of hosting. I want Him to shine when I write of the spiritual lessons I am learning. I want Him to shine when I speak of quilting and cross-stitching and traveling--passions He has afforded me to follow. I want Him to shine. At the end of the day, I don't care if you remember a thing that MiPa said today, but I hope you can say "I saw Jesus in her." To me that is hospitality in a nutshell. And here is fair warning, I am going to become more intentional in allowing Him to shine in this blog.
Welcome friends!
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Finally, I'm starting a new Bible Study at church. This one I am actually just participating, realizing that the teacher needs to be taught as well. The study is called "Life in the Spirit" and focuses on the workings of the Holy Spirit. Last night was the introductory meeting. I've already started the study and I can already tell that it will be challenging for me. Growing up in a denomination that downplayed the Spirit's role probably has had more impact on me than I care to admit. But last night something the Pastor said (ok I admit it--I can't remember what he said) triggered a memory from my university days. A friend and I were praying as we did every Sunday evening from 10-11. He was telling me about praying with another friend. He said something to the effect that he loved praying with her because it was like the waterfall of the Holy Spirit just fell on him as he listened to her prayers. I loved the thought then enough to store it away. I love the image more now. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI want to be experience the waterfall of the Holy Spirit falling in my prayers. And, I'm going to be selfish, I don't want a little mountain waterfall, I want the Niagra Falls or Victoria Falls of the Holy Spirit to crash into my life. I'm excited because I know if I allow that kind of power to be unleashed my life will never be the same. I'm scared because I know if I allow that kind of power to be unleashed Satan will throw everything he can at me to discourage me. So please, please, please pray for me as I do this study. Pray for my spiritual eyes to be opened. Pray for understanding and wisdom. And pray for protection for me and my family that Satan will not thwart what is happening. (An added note, my husband is also taking the course so please pray for him as well).

And finally, finally: WELCOME BABY KEARSYN. My dear blogging friends Vicki and Andy have a new baby girl. Blessings to you and your family!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Conversation

The scene:
Mom is in the kitchen finishing up dinner. Dad's keys can be heard in the door. Flower and Jewel are building blocks in the living room.

Jewel: Mom, Flower did a no-no behind the chair.
Mom: What did you do (as she goes to living room). (spies the scissors and hundreds of little pieces of index cards bought for memory verses scattered. puts scissors up, picks up paper, slaps Flower's hand once)
Mom: NO NO, you don't take Mommy's scissors.
Flower sits on couch, juts bottom lip out and pouts
Jewel: Daddy, Flower did a no-no come see.
Daddy: What will you say first?
Jewel: Welcome home Daddy, now come see.
Daddy: Is this hair? (pointing to 2 lovely locks of curls under the chair)
Mommy: Looks like hair. Whose hair is this?
Jewel: I don't know.
Mommy: Either you cut Flower's hair or Flower cut your hair (chekcing both heads of curls so thick I can't tell) so you know. Whose hair is this?
Jewel: I don't know.
Daddy: I will spank you if you are lying to me.
Jewel: It's Flower's.
(Mommy slaps Jewel's hand one time for using scissors. Daddy puts Jewel in time out for blaming Flower and getting her in trouble. Jewel experiences grace of not getting punished for lying about whose hair it is).

Back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In Other Words--Growing Plants for God

"These children are the seeds my days plant, the blooms of the next generations."
~ Ann Voskamp ~
"Holy Experience"

I just want to start by saying that I feel inadequate writing on this quote. I read Ann's Holy Experience blog daily and she blows me away with her wisdom. And here I am trying to comment on that wisdom.

Secondly, it is ironic to write about growing children in a week that I said to my husband I have no idea why God entrusted these kids to me, I'm not very good at this motherhood thing. (nothing major this week, just normal toddlerhood and preschool issues). I was at my wits end Friday when I saw the quote for the week and laughed aloud.

All that being said, isn't this a great quote?
I'm a farmer's daughter. I grew up on a cotton farm and I know the ups and downs of planting the seed and waiting for the rain at the right time, and long hours of tilling the land and irrigating the land, and praying the weather stays pretty enough to get the harvest in. I know all of that, and it is a life I did not think I wanted--too hard, too unpredictable, too long. And, yet, this quote says that, basically, we are all farmers tilling the fertile ground of our children's hearts. And I am thrilled to have this life.

Yes, it has lots of ups and downs. The joys of hearing Jewel (my 4 year old) playing church with Flower and telling her sister to hold hands to pray. The elation when I hear them singing praise songs as easily as they would sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." The fun we are having learning the memory verses that our part of our home education curriculum every week and the laughter each night as she tries to teach her daddy the week's verse. The ups are great!

Then there are the downs. The kissing the boo-boos and wiping away tears. The laying awake at night when they are sick. The almost constant praying that something I am doing or saying will take hold (and the negative things they may witness won't take hold). The self-doubt when I think I can't do this (and God always reminds me that He can). The worry when they are out of my sight. The fear of what the world may be for them. The downs are scary, but also necessary.

So I didn't want to till the land because it was too hard, too unpredictable, too long of days. And yet I till their hearts and that too is hard, but so rewarding; it is unpredictable, but God knows the outcome; and although the days seem long this time is really so very short. I hope to instill the values and knowledge they need to reap a harvest of a righteous life given to God. What greater privilege could their be. Thank you, Ann, for helping me see that.

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree plated by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:2-3

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How do we protect them?

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I have been heartbroken over the school shootings in the last week in the US. The one in the Amish community has particulary haunted me. My dear husband and I were discussing it last night and the discussion turned to this being another reason to home educate--we don't have to worry about them losing their life in a school room. But then we discussed, how do we protect them? How do we keep them secure? The danger of this world is everywhere--not just in public or private school rooms.

A reporter said yesterday that the Amish thought they were safe because they withdrew from mainstream society. I don't think that is entirely true. I do believe that were insulated from the constant violence that our kids can see in the media. Another reporter said about how frightening for those little girls, that they could not even pretend it was a movie because they hadn't seen one. There is no way they could comprehend what was happening. But their safety could not come from being set apart from mainstream culture.

Their security comes from the reason they set themselves apart in the first place. Their security comes in the faith and belief in God. They chose the lifestyle they led not to protect their kids from harm but to serve God in the best way that they understood Him to lead them, as did the generations before them. And that is where their security lies. And it is where what comfort they will find in the coming weeks lies. God is God and He is in control, no matter how out of control the world around us feels. And clinging to that is the only thing that can keep us sane in an insane world.

And that is the only way we can protect them. We trust God to have the bigger picture. We serve Him and follow His lead. We teach our kids that security is in Him alone. And we pray. We pray like we've never prayed before that He will provide their earthly security and ultimately that they will accept Him as Savior so He can provide their eternal security.

My heart goes out to all of the families touched by school violence last week. I'm praying for them that they find God's peace and God's security in and through the tragedy.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Security--where is it

I've been thinking a lot about security for this week's Bible Study, just not blogging much, yet. Mostly I've been asking God to show me where I place my daily security. I know my eternal security is in Jesus' nail-scarred hands, but do I live in that everyday? More and more I see that my daily security is in my husband, my kids, my abilities, our retirement savings, etc etc etc. I need to seriously think about how to align my daily living security with the Saviour I know holds it. More soon, but just something to think about.

In Other Words: My Partner and My Friend

"A husband is a guy who tells you when you've
got on too much lipstick and helps you with
your girdle when your hips stick."
~ Ogden Nash ~

I have a wonderful husband. He is my friend, my partner, my confidante, my lover, and my sanity at times. He is a great father. He is our provider and our leader. He is also very private and would prefer that I never write about him. Ahem. So instead of writing a story about him, I'll write a prayer for him.

Thank you for providing such a God-centered man to lead our family. Thank you for giving him a level-headedness in times of trouble. Thank you for making him compassionate toward others and passionate toward his family.

I pray that you will protect him today. Protect him as he commutes to and from work in order to provide for the family you gave him. Protect him as he makes decisions that affect the company he works for and the people who work under him. Protect his integrity as he meets with people, and in the business dealings that always ask a person to push the line, even slightly. Protect his Christian walk, that the people around him will see You at work in him and want some of what he has. Protect his peace if decisions are not as he would have them.

I pray that you will bless him today. Bless him with co-workers who will have kind words. Bless him with time to get away from the hurry of work and regroup. Bless his "iron sharpening" time today that both he and his friend may be challenged and encouraged. Bless him with a welcoming home when he returns and not the chaos of toddlers run amok. Bless him with a feeling of satisfaction that this was a day well-done, and well-served.

Thank you for the Blessing of him. In Jesus' precious and loving name....Amen

Monday, October 02, 2006

October Goals

Review of September goals:

1. Start Pre-K with dd4 done see here for homeschooling updates
2. portraits of the girls decided to wait since we got good family shots in Germany
3. pictures sent to family in the States sent
4. Enjoy a quality family holiday :-) done!

1. Prepare for leading Patriarchs Bible Study not beginning this study til 2007
2. Participate in Life in the Spirit Bible Study (with DH:-)) begins October 11
3. Blog at least 3 times a week yes
4. Write at least 1 day a week yes

And now for October goals:
1. Finish Stef's Neighbourhood RR
2. Finish stripes on Preamble Sampler
3. Blog about current Bible Study topic at least 3 days a week
4. Introduce writing curriculum into daily homeschool plans
5. Finish 2 quilts
6. Participate in Life in the Spirit Study
7. Walk minimum of 2 miles a day 5 days a week