Wednesday, November 04, 2015

November Goal Post

In October I set the following goals:
1. Finish piecing a quilt top for anniversary/Christmas present and sandwich for quilting--yes, and 1/2 the quilting is complete
2. Cross stitch an ornament for an exchange--almost finished
3. Choose patterns for kids Christmas ornaments--ideas but no patterns
4. Blog at least once a week, preferably twice--about 75% met
5. Memorize two more verses--only 1
6. Read 4 school books and 2 books just for me--4 school books  and 1 for me book
7. Finish shredding last 4 files of the boxes reviewed--yes

For November I want to:
1. Finish quilting the Chrismas present
2. Finish exchange ornament
3. Stitch ornaments for the kids
4. Christmas shopping
5. Christmas cards ready to mail by 27 November
6. Meet with a new friend weekly for encouragement and playdates
7. Read 4 school books and 1 book just for me

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Seeking Harmony

I began 2015 by choosing the theme word ‘Harmony.’ It was to be a reminder that, even when waiting for the things where I have prayed and hoped for God to move, that my life needs to be in harmony with his call. Only then does it play out as beautiful music and not cacophonous noise.

Over the last few weeks our church has begun a study of the early church in Acts. Combining those lessons with the lessons of my small group over the summer as we looked at ‘Respectable Sins,’ I have been reminded of the utmost importance of keeping our inner belief system and our outer actions in harmony. What we do is, truly, more important than what we say.

“For each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."   Luke 6:44-46

I would love to sit here and type that what my heart says it believes is always in harmony with the actions that follow. But, I would be lying. I can say that I serve a God of immense patience (Ex 34:6) and who has saved me from an impatient spirit. Yet, I still find myself losing it with the pre-schooler who needs to be told twelve times to put on his shoes. I can truly believe that beauty comes from an understanding of my place as God’s creation, and still attempt to use charm to get my way (Prov 31:30). I can voice a demand for justice for the poor, and walk passed the beggar on the street without even seeing him. My inner compass says that everyone needs to hear the gospel, but my outer actions do not always tell even my closest friends. Harmony? Not so much.

My grandfather would define integrity as “action and words being lined up.” So in many ways, integrity equals harmony. I am so grateful that God is using the sermons and Bible lessons in my life to draw me more in line. The more we seek to live in harmony with God, the more we will see where we miss the mark. That is one of the characteristics of discipleship—it continues to show us where we fall short. I’m thankful for the reminders. It illumines the path to make it easier to find my way. Maybe, today, you needed the reminder as well.

Father thank you when you show me where I fall short of living in harmony with you. Help me to always be willing to hear your conviction and adjust my life to be in harmony with yours. Amen.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

When Things Are Out of Control

I recently attended a conference entitled "Control Freak or Trusting?" Those of you who know me, know exactly where I fall on that spectrum. *sigh* And, as such, it is frustrating me that things beyond my control, and a few things within my control, kept me from writing the last several days. So there is nothing finished enough to publish. Instead, I will leave you with the verses that the speaker used to remind the "recovering control freaks" in the audience that "God has this" and we can relax.

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said,“What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:6-8

If there is anyone else out there in recovery, trust Him. His Word stands and he has control of whatever is happening in your life. I'll be back with more soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Serving with Babes In Arms

 photo e2e7fd1f-184c-49d9-8cd4-ceb23e7475da_zpsugmvdwa4.jpg

He was the 'duty manager' for the day at church. That meant that he was leading the morning team, making certain people were in place to keep things running smoothly, and being the overall go-to person for the morning. He is not one of the paid ministry team, he's a volunteer who is willing to accept the responsibility on his Sunday on duty to help the ministers of the church not be bombarded by the myriad of things that can happen on a Sunday morning.

But, he is also a father. And on this Sunday morning, his ten month-old daughter decided that she, too, needed Daddy to be on duty in  her life. She wanted him. And he found himself in a place that parents often find themselves--trying to balance family and work and ministry and keep it all in perspective.

So, what did he do?  Without hesitation, he took his daughter in his arms and he led the newcomers down the aisle to open seats. He did both. He was her Daddy first and was happy to have her. But he never missed a beat in doing his duties as well. (And for her part, she was adorable pointing her chubby arms to the seats and smiling widely that she was in Daddy's arms.)

And in that simple act of just doing what needed to be done, I was encouraged. So often I can be flustered, thinking I have to sacrifice one for the other or do neither very well when family and ministry commitments collide. But sometimes the answer is not sacrifice, but combination. In our small group, we meet two weekends a month, in addition to mid-week Bible Study. It is a more relaxed time of fellowship and study that allows the whole family to attend. One of my main objectives, however, is not about the ministry I lead, it is about my family. I want my children to not only see me serve, but be able to serve alongside. When we are preparing the meal we serve together. The girls often plan a skit or activity for the younger children to be involved during Bible Study. They are learning to serve. Often I am asked if it bothers me to 'give up' Sundays for house group. The answer is 'no.' I'm not giving up family time--I'm serving with my family. I'm finding a way for combination not separation.

It is encouraging to me that I worship and serve within a church setting that encourages families to be family first and to serve together. That picture of that beautiful little girl in her Daddy's arms whilst he served the church will stay with me for a long time. I know she will grow up seeing her family serve. I pray that I give the same example to my children.

Thank you Father that you allow us to keep in harmony our family life and our ministry life--that it is the life that you have called us to live. Thank you for opportunities to teach my children to serve and for those amazing times when we serve side-by-side. Thank you that my family gives me the freedom to pursue my gifts and thank you that I can give them the same freedom. As you teach me more and more about living in balance and harmony, thank you for the picture of this father serving with his infant as a living example of your harmony. Amen.

photo from attributed to puravida

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Who You Going to Copy?

My grandfather was a man of great integrity. He was the type who could seal deals with a handshake and no one would question his sincerity. He was also a man who had very little good to say about the church. He refused to associate with "those hypocrites" or anything they believed. Even from a young age I would argue that "they" would have to answer for themselves, but that was no reason to abandon the church. There is truth in that. But I've also grown to understand that there is also truth in being careful of whom we associate.  Recently I heard a sermon on the letter of 3 John.  I am not sure I have ever heard a sermon on this passage before. If I have, I must have only half-paid attention. But on that Sunday, it struck chords deep in my soul. Don't imitate the evil of Diotrephes, but be like Demetrius. We must be careful of our associations.
 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.  Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.   3 John 9-12
There is a person on the outskirts of my life who I have greatly admired for the Biblical knowledge that she has. At times, I have even been a little intimidated by that knowledge. But alongside that admiration and intimidation, I have also felt that inner warning that all is not right. I even know what is not right. There is one (at least one) area of belief that this person holds that is totally outside my understanding and conviction of the Bible's teaching on the church. And, honestly, it is a pretty foundational piece of doctrinal difference. I have tried to overlook that difference, because there is so much that is good in this person's belief and life. Don't hear me wrong, she is not a Diotrephes. She is not malicious in her beliefs and she does not overtly try to exclude others. But she is vocal and it can be divisive. I have tried to justify that "this is just an area to disagree and that we will both be held accountable for our beliefs" whilst at the same time attempting to emulate other parts of her life. But this passage has challenged me. I must be careful about who I copy. And if there is something that I am so glaringly convicted within the actions of a 'heroine' maybe I shouldn't be holding that person up to imitation.

Character and doctrine matter. I often tell the girls to be careful who they choose as friends and role models. Who they are associating with will, in large part, determine choices they make in the future. If it is a good teaching for my girls, it is probably also a good teaching for me. Who am I emulating? Do they lead me to be more like Jesus? Or are they causing a division in my spirit? I need to choose to emulate the Demetriuses of this world and not the Diotrephes.

Dear Father, thank you for the wonderful friends and role models that you have given me to help me along this path of discipleship. Help me to make wise choices in who I copy. Help me to have wise discernment when something in someone's life doesn't feel right for me. And Lord, help me to be a Demetrius for those around me. Convict me if there are things in my life that could lead people away from you. For your glory........Amen

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Remembering the Words

I had a different post in line for today, but feel that I need to ponder on it a  little more before sharing.  So in place of it, I'm just going to share some of the verses I've been memorizing (or at least reflecting on daily) since April. I haven't been posting my Siesta Memory Verses, but I have been trying to keep up.  Here is some of what God is imprinting on my heart. Hope they encourage you the way they encourage me.

Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Psalm 84:10

Hatred stirs up conflict,
    but love covers over all wrongs.
Proverbs 10:12

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Ephesians 2:4-5

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4

When you walk, they will lead you;
    when you lie down, they will watch over you;
    and when you awake, they will talk with you.
Proverbs 6:22

Better is a dry morsel with quiet
    than a house full of feasting with strife.

Proverbs 17:1

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Colossians 1:15

If you will seek God
    and plead with the Almighty for mercy,
if you are pure and upright,
    surely then he will rouse himself for you
    and restore your rightful habitation.
And though your beginning was small,
    your latter days will be very great.
Job 8:5-7

Be encouraged.........MiPa

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The October Goal Post

 photo iStock_000016530538XSmall.jpg

No reason to review my last goals...they were set in April...and if I didn't enjoy my holiday then it is too late to do anything about it! So moving right along, October goals:

1. Finish piecing a quilt top for anniversary/Christmas present and sandwich for quilting
2. Cross stitch an ornament for an exchange
3. Choose patterns for kids Christmas ornaments
4. Blog at least once a week, preferably twice
5. Memorize two more verses
6. Read 4 school books and 2 books just for me
7. Finish shredding last 4 files of the boxes reviewed

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shredding My Life Away

 photo shredded paper-pippalou_zpst2mfflmk.jpg

I'll admit it--I have been a paper hoarder.  I have been loathe to throw away school papers, important papers, sermon notes (okay this is more German's hoarding but the papers are here in my office), things the kids drew, things the kids wrote, etc. etc. etc.  So my goal for the past (2) years has been to GET RID OF THE PAPER.

I started easy. I started with sermon notes.  I scanned the notes into pdfs, categorized them by book of the Bible in to a nice computer file, recycled the paper.  I said I was getting rid of paper not content! Paper gone, I began to breathe a little deeper.  I did not realize how much paper clutter was affecting me.  With the sermon notes came 10 years worth of prayer notices from the church, since often the notes were written on the back. It was sometimes fun, sometimes heart breaking to read those prayer requests and know how the situations ended. Those I shredded, because they are someone's personal details and I didn't feel comfortable just tossing into recycling. Then I recycled the shredded paper.

Next step--college notebooks. Yes, I still had them. I actually still refer to some of them (especially my seminary notebooks) whilst planning home group and home school topics.  So, obviously, I don't want to not have the content. But I also did not want the two boxes taking up any more room in my attic. So, more scanning. More remembering. Now I have neat computer files for each of my math classes, my seminary classes and a couple of other classes that impacted me. I can find material without hauling out a box when I need it. Won't my kids be ecstatic when they get to Calculus that I have access to my Calc I-III tests! Yeah, probably not, but I am thrilled.  Again, volumes recycled. I am breathing better.

This summer I tackled my personal filing cabinet. This was the most difficult. Two drawers full of keep-sakes and work notes and things from my Mom. I tackled keepsakes first by scanning the ticket stubs or programs of concerts and college activities. There is now a computer file for each of the children with scanned copies of their early writing or drawing. I confess, I kept 2-3 for each of them, but recycled the rest. Out of five large keepsake files, I now have one very thin one. Very few things made the cut--a card from my grandmother when I graduated high school, DeForest Kelley (Dr Bones McCoy on Star Trek) autograph, the first poem I submitted for publication, a note from my Great Aunt my first year in college.  That file now makes me smile, not hyperventilate! I have gathered writing that inspires me over the years. I re-read those, scanned the ones that still spoke to me--about half--and recycled the rest.

Then I tackled my work files. I scanned one copy of each of my resumes through the years and shredded the 25 extra copies I had kept. I scanned the my Education certificates from social work days as a record of classes taken and shredded the evidence.

That is when I hit the next file--the rejection file. Every rejection letter ever received during a very difficult job hunt nineteen years ago. I kept the letters! All of them! For what reason, I cannot tell you. But when I found the file, I had a gut-level, physical reaction of remembering all that rejection and uncertainty. AND, I had an internal debate with myself of whether I should keep them. You read that correctly, I considered keeping them! In the end, sanity won out and that file of rejection letters received its just-due. It was shredded. All of it. And it probably felt better than all the other reams of paper that had been shredded prior or since. It was more than paper. It was something that I had kept around, that in some sense was still defining who I was. Even though I had found the right job after that difficult search, and even though I made some of my very best friends in the jobs that resulted from that search, and even though it was NINETEEN years ago and I had been a successful social worker and was now doing something that I loved. Despite all the facts, I still defined myself, on some level, by the jobs I did not get.

Last night I watched Brene' Brown's amazing TEDtalk on shame. In it she differentiates between shame and guilt. She says that guilt says "I made a mistake" and shame says "I am a mistake." I don't know about you, but I grew up in a shame-based culture. There was very little emphasis on just a behaviour being wrong; the emphasis said that if you exhibited a behaviour it was a sign that you were wrong. And I internalized that for a long time. Keeping a file that says "you are a failure" demonstrates how deeply I had internalized that. But it is not true! I may have applied at places that were wrong for me--or perhaps the mistake is that they couldn't see how great I was for them.  But the missing out on a job was not a failure--and I should not use it to define whether I am useful. Shredding that file was one more step in my saying that I would not be defined by a shame-based past. 

Earlier this week I sorted through the last of the files, deciding what to keep, what to scan and what to shred. It was the file of our past church and the event that led to the shaming incident by the pastor which resulted in our leaving both the leadership and, eventually, that church. It was painful to revisit. I shredded over a hundred pieces of paper that were email conversations that had hurt so much that I had printed them to keep them. But now they are gone. What is left is the objective elements of that incident--the architect reports of what the church could achieve and the minutes of the meetings where it was approved and then denied. I'll keep the objectivity because it helped to define me. In fact, it was probably the first time in my life I could say "I'm sorry that what I did upset you and I apologize for (specific act) but I am not sorry about who I am." I never realised until this week that it was that extremely painful event that taught me the difference between "making a mistake" and "being a mistake" and that the biggest issue was that I refused to accept the shame that everyone wanted me to have (so that they would not have it). Mistakes were made. But I stopped letting them define me. And this week, I stopped holding on to them. I shredded them. All of them. Without regret.

Shredding my life has been life-changing.  On a physical level I have four less boxes of paper that gets moved from place to place. AND I have learned to just go ahead and shred it rather than keep it so I don't end up with more paper accumulating. But, more importantly, on a mental and spiritual level it has been an exercise in letting go of things which hurt me and that I then allowed to define me. I'm slowly shredding the things of my past that want to cover me with shame. It is freeing. May I encourage you, if there are things that you need to let go, please stop defining yourself by the mistakes of the past and trust in the one who forgives it all.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Isaiah 61:7-8

image from, attributed to pippalou

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Round Up

One thing I have done a lot of since April is reading. That is one of the joys of home educating, is lots of reading. I won't bore you with reviews of everything, but I will make a list and then give some highlights, for my record-keeping.

School Reading:
Master Cornhill by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin   *How did I miss this book growing up? A fun mystery once you get the characters straight.
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L. Koninsburg
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary L. Blackwood
The Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyal Choi
The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis   *I enjoyed the first book as a glimpse of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, but did not think the final two books kept up with expectation.
The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell
The Good Master by Kate Seredy
A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgarten
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Reading the Classics that I Never Read or Didn't Pay Attention to in School:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Dracula by Bram Stoker

Reading to Grow:
Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeust
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter   *Kelly Minter has a beautiful way with words and this book was no exception. Lovely reminders of how to put on Christ. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Between Worlds by Marilyn Gartner  *A good book about understanding Third Culture Kids and their transition needs.
Ready, Steady, Grow by Ray Evans

Reading for Pure Enjoyment:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Glory by Rachel Billington  *The story of Gallipoli as told through the eyes of a fictional family. Thoroughly engaging.
One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes  *JoJo Moyes is my current guilty pleasure, along with Kate Morton. I love how she creates characters that you want to know and can't wait to read more.
The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon  *Haunting and draws the reader into the story. I will read more of Simon's books.
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton  *another author of which I can't get enough
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende *Trying to read more of other cultures as well. This wasn't my type of book, but I couldn't put it down.
Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor *Second book as he walks from Hook of Holland to Constantinople. Covered Romania which is one of my favourite places in the world, so I enjoyed it.

Newbery Contenders:
Jewel and I are reading through books that are potential Newbery winners this year. It is fun to get her perspective on new books. This has been my favourite reading genre this year!
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff   *excellent character development and an enjoyable story
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart  *Jewel says it tried to be Fault in Our Stars for kids. Good but left something lacking.
Hoot by Carl Hiassen  *we both enjoyed, but not enough to want to read again
Greenglass House by Kate Milford  *again we both enjoyed it and one of us was totally caught out by the twist in the story.  We definitely want to read more of Milford's books
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley  *This book has stayed with me and was an amazingly well-told story. Adults will enjoy as much as teens. Jewel and I both hope that it receives honours.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper *This, too, is a great story. I felt it needed one or two more chapters to truly bring it to a conclusion.
Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb  *We enjoyed this as well
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan *This book is magical. We both feel it deserves the Newbery or at least Honours. Jewel said "It is the kind of book you fall into and hope never ends." and "If this doesn't win the judges have forgotten what books are all about." Pretty high praise from a thirteen year old. And I agree. Four months later I still find myself musing about these characters. We loved it!

There you have it, a spring and summer's worth of reading. Have you read anything lately I should add to my list?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Holiness Stuff

 photo newstead-abbey_zpswxvuam9m.jpg

Jewel and I are studying the Middle Ages.  We were discussing the rise of monasteries and how they were crucial to the development of books (especially written Scripture).  One of the questions that the text asked was, "Would you have wanted to live in a monastery?" I was expecting a negative answer, especially in light of the fact that this is my child that loves sleep more than anything. She could never have managed a 4AM prayer call. But I wasn't expecting,
"No, I don't like all that Holiness stuff."

She quickly added, "I like God and all but all that other stuff--praying at certain times and giving up so much, that's not what I want."

I smiled at the "giving up so much." And yet...

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38

In a recent training session at church we were challenged that our job was to 'make disciples that make disciples.' The trainer asked why we are hesitant to say upfront to someone who is exploring Jesus' call that part of discipleship is to in turn tell others and help them become more like Jesus. It seems that we mostly focus on the 'getting saved' bit and not on the 'following' bit. The discussion that ensued was about wanting people to stay and if it sounds hard maybe they won't, that we ourselves don't necessarily spend enough time considering the cost of discipleship and that we don't want to make the gospel sound work-based. All of the discussion was good. I learned much from listening to the others. But I kept hearing Jewel's words, "I don't like all that Holiness stuff." I think, for me, the gist of the matter is that "I don't like all that holiness stuff"--I don't like thinking I have to give up anything to be a follower of Christ. As I wrote on Tuesday, the ungodliness of not even considering God as a part of my day creeps in and consumes.

I'm not talking about 4AM prayer calls, (or 9AM, or noon or 6PM). I'm not talking about regulating and scheduling God. Nor I am saying that it depends on certain works, or a certain translation of the Bible or morning devotion, or telling a specified number of people the 'good news' each week, or any of the other things we might equate to holiness or discipleship. I'm talking about actually living my life, every day, like I am a follower of Jesus Christ. It is about not losing him in the busyness of life. It is about finding godliness by seeking him in every situation. Even when that means missing out on something. But mostly, it is about others being able to look at my life and see that God is at the center and that he does make a difference. It is about being willing to count the cost and accept the cost. I want my life to be totally oriented on God, whenever and however he leads.

I guess I want to "like that holiness stuff." I want to be a disciple. And my prayer is that ultimately that will help those around me also be disciples, who help those around them be disciples.

Father forgive me when I don't want your holiness. Forgive me when the earthliness and humanness of my day cause me to ignore your call to be godly. Help me to seek you first. Help me to be a disciple willing to count the cost. Help me to then influence and encourage others to be your disciples as well. Let me be the center of a spiral of disciples who make disciples who make disciples. Help me be part of loving your people and changing my world for your sake and glory. Amen.

photo taken at Newstead Abbey, April 2014, please do not copy

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Left in the Wake

 photo wakebysenaca77_sm.jpg

I saw a "joke" this week that went something along the lines of "it's been a good week--I made it to Friday, haven't needed bail money and didn't need to hide any bodies." We all laugh because we have had weeks of just hanging on and not letting our emotions fly--much.  Humour strikes a chord because it hits close to home. Maybe too close to home.

I got to wondering--at the end of that kind of week have we(I) really not left anything to hide?  Have any of my words wounded or slayed those around me, most often my children, leaving souls dying in the wake?  Jesus said,

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."
Matthew 5:21-22
How easy is it by word and action to show our contempt for others, or to make them feel or look like a fool, all for the sake of being right? Leaving souls in the wake of frustration or anger?

Or maybe it is my indifference that leaves the figurative bodies to hide. I am not necessarily speaking of the large-scale issues of our days that can leave us bewildered and unsure of how to help. Those issues can and do great harm, but deserve a more fitting discussion.  No, I'm talking about the local issues that I may not even notice. The homeless man I walk by without even seeing. The lonely neighbour with whom I don't stop and have a short chat, who is desperate for someone to say hello. The hurting teenager that doesn't seem to have anyone to notice she is slipping into depression or harmful behaviour that I could invest some of my time in getting to know. The mom on her own who needs to hear me say that I don't have it all together but I trust Jesus to help me cope, but I don't say it. There is a wake of hurting people left in my hurried life and indifference. And I am too numb to see it?

 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  Matthew 25:42-44 
My small group has been studying Jerry Bridge's book Respectable Sins. One of his premises is that the basis of many of the sins that we justify in our lives (impatience, sinful words, anger, jealousy) are not based in pride but in ungodliness. He defines ungodliness as "living one's everyday life with little or no thought of God, or God's will, or of God's glory, or of one's dependence on God." (p54) How guilty I am of this! I go through my day, with its ups and its downs, and work to solve all my problems in my own strength and ability. It is not that I don't think that God cares or is capable of involving himself in my daily life--I just forget. I forget to involve him. I forget to ask him to step in. I forget to talk to him before I speak sharply words I'll later regret. I forget to see the world as he sees it instead of through my busy tunnel vision. I forget.

I no longer laugh at the joke. I know that there are 'bodies' left behind by my words and deeds. They don't need to be 'hid' but they need to be restored. I need to apologise, and repent of angry words. I need to notice needs. I need to allow God's godliness to direct me. I don't want to be indifferent to the power a small word or deed can hold.

Father forgive me. I forget you. I forget my dependence on you. I forget to give you glory for the things in my life. I take control. And when I take control, I mess things up. I say harsh words that hurt the people I love. I miss opportunities to share you with hurting people. I leave souls maimed behind me and don't even notice. Help me notice. Help me apologize. Forgive my indifference. Amen.
photo uploaded from in 2011. Attributed to senaca77

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Stitching Update (photo heavy)

Once upon a time, one of the purposes of the blog was to connect with other stitchers and to keep a record of what I was stitching.  Stitching still remains one of the main ways I clear my head and relax. I thought I would do an update of the last six months or so, in case anyone was still out there.

My April goals included finishing these two projects.  First is Mirabilia's "Fairy Moon," shown with the companion piece "Stargazer," which was completed a couple of years ago.  I love how this turned out and now I need to get both framed!

 photo star gazer and fairy moon_zpseigsu4aj.jpg

 photo fairy moon detail_zpsgkvggjkq.jpg

Secondly, Drawn Thread's "Summer Garden" finished as a pillow for my guest room:

 photo summer garden_zpsrexkosur.jpg
 photo summer garden pillow_zpsbohxd8rw.jpg

Whilst on holiday in Ireland, I completed a project of Victoria Sampler's "International Hearts" representing the countries where we have lived (note that I did Scotland, Wales and England to represent Great Britain):

 photo international hearts_zpsgpbrz3cj.jpg

One of my favourite stitching things is to participate in Round Robins, stitching on others' pieces whilst they stitch on mine. My latest RR theme was Coca-Cola Polar bears. I stitched the upper left hand hockey player.

 photo coke rr_zpslcdp6kre.jpg

In return, I stitched the lower left part of the heart and the medallion for my friends. Unfortunately the fourth participant's piece went missing in the post.
 photo Tawnya rr_zpsuwwevptd.jpg                                    photo Kathye rr_zpsih6ibmje.jpg

I finished a block on an old round robin that was international neighbourhood. This is representing The Netherlands.
 photo holland block_zps2ddvm9lq.jpg

As I mentioned, I lost a dear friend to cancer in April. She was one of my stitching friends, and several of us stitched blocks to be made into a quilt for her family. She and I had considered stitching a piece called "Noah's Submarine" together. I stitched a part of that pattern for the quilt.
 photo velda block_zpsoaaahrra.jpg

Finally, here is my current project, Carriage House Sampling's "A Mind Independent and Free." I've finished approximate 25% of it.
 photo independent mind sep 2015_zpsdkwwlynn.jpg

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Expecting the Negative

"I know you are going to say no, but..."

Twelve year-old Jewel approaches me in the library with a book to be approved for check-out.

To be fair, it was one of those "teen" books that borders on dark and the blurb on the back read like something out of one of those sensational newspapers at which we all roll our eyes.  Also, to be fair, I do slow down some of her exposure to the darker material.  She has one of the most sensitive, empathetic natures, especially for seriously hurting people, I've ever known in a child. I seek to protect that sensitivity as she grows into her ability to manage it. It is part of her God-given character and I want her to learn to embrace it, not be battered by it.

Anyway, these are the words with which she approached.  She truly expected "no" to be the answer. In my defense, I don't think I have ever said "no, not ever" to a book, but I do often say "wait." And at twelve, "wait" sounds like "no." (Who am I kidding, at 40something, wait sounds like no!) More and more as she nears her teens and is growing in discernment of how to handle harsh things, I say okay.  In this case I laughed at how she asked and told her that yes she could read the book. She was happily surprised.

I continued to chuckle at how she asked. But part of me was sad that she came expecting a negative answer. Why did she come expecting me to say "no" to her requests?
(Do you see the punch line yet....that's okay, I missed it at first as well.)
Then I felt that oft-sent catch in my spirit. "You do it, too." How often do I approach God saying, "I know that you are going to say no, but this really is the desire of my heart. God please..."  In fact, I did it the very same morning before we went to the library. I actually said, "You are going to say 'not yet' but...." Because, just like Jewel, I still hear "wait" as "no".

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13

I am still trying to learn how to approach God expectantly and without pre-judging his answer. I want to stand with open hands as well as open heart and mind. Just as I want my children to come to me expecting me to give my best for their good--I want to trust God's best for my good.

In my Mum's group recently we were discussing this concept of coming to God empty and expectantly. We were reminding each other to look at the times that God has been faithful and to use that as our foundation when asking for not only what we need but also what we want.

I know in my life God has proven faithful. He might not have done things how I would have orchestrated them--I mean forgiveness of those who slight me is rarely my first plan. But his forgiveness flows to my detractors as easily as it flows to me, and that is ultimately a good thing. He has used countless situations to grow me into the person he desires, and he continues to do that. Sometimes that means the answer is 'wait'. Other times it is clearly 'no.' I am learning that 'no' always means he has a higher lesson or an unexpected blessing waiting at the end of obedience. Since so much of what God does in my life I could never have imagined on my own, I want to come empty and expectant.

I needed the reminder this week, maybe you did as well.  Be blessed......MiPa

Father God, help me trust your answer. Help me to come expecting your best and not second-guessing you. May I expect positive answers and be able to hear "wait" with trust that you know the best timing. And when the answer is no, give me grace to accept that and trust that there is a better reason. Amen.

 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
Psalm 27:8-9

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


 photo book return--jppi_zps9zapxbql.jpg

Returning books is easy. Returning a compliment, piece of cake. Returning to a favourite haunt, a joy.  But finding a way to return to blogging has been rather difficult.  Time gets away. So much happens that I have thought "I should write about that" and didn't. And more time erodes. Until the moment that two very lovely friends show back up on your blog. One just posts that she came by to say hello.  The other corners me and says "waiting since April is way too long." And she is right. April? Really?

Let's see, in April we went to the States. We saw family. We saw the Grand Canyon. We had a wonderful time. Then we returned to real life and almost immediately received word a dear friend had lost her battle with cancer. I couldn't write--I could barely speak at times. But grief ebbs and duty calls and I spent May and June focused on school. In July we went to Ireland for basically VBS on the beach for two weeks. And we re-connected with friends. And we relaxed. Then we returned to real life. Then in August the girls went away to church camp. Jewel made me the mother of a teenager. And, we started back to school.  In the midst of it all, we have lived life, loved each other, fought with each other, forgiven each other and started the cycle all over again. I could have...should have...blogged. But life was in the way.

I've missed being here.  Even when all I do is track my goals and my Scripture memory, it is a good place to be. It is a focus place for me.  Plus I miss the community. I am grateful that my friends have said "where is your voice?"  So I will try to be a little more faithful.  I won't promise that I won't get caught up in living life, because that is my first priority. But I need, for me, to make writing a priority again. So please don't give up on me, and hound me if I am away too long.

Come with me to one of my favourite blog....and let us find joy together.

Friday, April 03, 2015

April Goal Post

March got rather muddled, so not as many posts.  April is quite busy, but I will be back.  Here is my goal report.

In March my goals were:

1. Complete the 2015 RR I received today--yes
2.  Finish Fairy Moon--hardly touched it
3.  Blog 4 times--only 2 times
4. Write 2 letters--no
5. Lose 2 pounds--lost, gained, relost
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof--yes
7.  Finish stitching Summer Garden by Drawn Thread--yes, pics soon
8.  Finish two books for fun and 4 school-related books--5 school related (Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is an amazing book set in 1930s Mississippi, a hard read but worth it. A Letter to Mrs Roosevelt was a sweet story based on a true events.  The Second Mrs Gioconda was a really fun book about Leonardo da Vinci and why he might have painted the Mona Lisa. The Great and Terrible Quest is set in medieval England.  Was a decent story but rather predictable.  The Kitchen Madonna was a sweet quick book of how two children are trying to make their Ukrainian maid feel at home.  Worth an afternoon's read.  I only read one book for fun, and it was one Jewel read for school last year and said I should read.  It was When My Name was Keoko set in Japanese occupied Korea.  It gave good perspective on that time period.)
9.  Plan a holiday home!--YES!

My April Goals are:
1. Have fun on my holiday to the States
2.  Stitch, read or accomplish anything else as gravy whilst enjoying my holiday.
3.  Not gain any of those lost pounds.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Verse Seven of Twenty-four

Time for another Siesta Memory verse.  This fortnight my verse is from 1 Peter 3:15:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Verse Six of Twenty-Four

Continuing the theme of rest this fortnight....

The fear of the Lord leads to life,
    and whoever has it rests satisfied;
    he will not be visited by harm.
Proverbs 19:23 (ESV)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

March Goal Post

 photo goals-1.jpg

Time for a goal review.  February, for a short month, was extremely productive.

My FEBRUARY goals were:
1. Complete the 2015 RR I will receive mid-month (and the first one if it ever arrives)--have only received the first one today so this wasn't possible
2.  Finish stitching on Fairy Moon and start beading--yes and 50% of beading complete
3.  Blog 4 times--five:-)
4. Write 2 letters--only 1
5. Lose 2 pounds--lost 3!  Slow and steady!
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof--yes
7.  Stitch 1 1/2 Bride's Tree ornaments--no
8.  Finish two books for fun and 4 school-related books --I read Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch for fun.  It made me laugh and made me cry and made me think.  Really worth the read!  I also read The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriquez for fun.  I enjoyed it, and it was fun to read from an ex-pat point-of-view, but is not a book that will stay with me for long.  For school we read Little Britches by Ralph Moody, The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanore Jewett and The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney.  Although we enjoyed all of these, Sassafras Springs was by far our favourite!  I also read (actually listened to on tape) another 300 pages of that 1000 page tome on American History.

My MARCH goals are:
1. Complete the 2015 RR I received today
2.  Finish Fairy Moon
3.  Blog 4 times
4. Write 2 letters
5. Lose 2 pounds
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof
7.  Finish stitching Summer Garden by Drawn Thread
8.  Finish two books for fun and 4 school-related books
9.  Plan a holiday home!

Verse Five of Twenty-Four

Here is verse number five!  Trying to rest in his comfort.

    I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
    Psalm 3:5 (ESV)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Verse Four of Twenty-Four

Time to memorize a new verse!

The Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Even as Babes, They Hear

I was doing some work in the living room.  It was a rare moment when I had my own music playing and not that of one of the Tweens living in my house.  So, country gospel it was.  Tree was playing, all together too loudly, around me. All of a sudden he stopped and sat very quiet for a moment. (When you have an active three year old, that sudden quietness stands out).  He came over to me and almost whispered, "What is this song?" I told him it was "Amazing Grace." He said okay and went back to playing.

Then, he looked up again. "You singed this to me when I was little baby."
"Yes, sweetie, I did."

And I did.  When I was nursing him at two a.m. (and three a.m. and five a.m.) I would sing Amazing Grace in his ear. It was his lullaby. It and Victory in Jesus were sung to him hundreds of times over his first eighteen months. They were sung as much for my sake as they were for his. To keep me calm and quiet when he needed settling.

But he heard. And somehow, today, he remembered.

Don't ever underestimate what you say and sing and teach them! They hear, even when they seem to young to process. And they remember on some level. 

And sometimes God is gracious to remind you that investment you are making pays dividends.

Thank you Jesus that those hymn-lullabies are a part of my little boy's memories. Thank you that they will be the foundation of the theology he hears and sees over the next years. Help me to say and model the things that he (and his sisters) need to become the followers of you that you desire. Amen.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Resting Through the Storm

I don't know how long I had been clenching my fist, it had been quite a while.  My shoulder was tense and I had nail prints in my hands.  By the feel of my jaw, I had also been clenching my teeth. For how long? Minutes? Hours? I'm not sure.  I was sound asleep. I awoke from the dream with a raw ache and then began to unravel why I was tense. The wind. The wind was howling. Buffeting the house. Rattling the exhaust fan. Pelting the window with rain. I was tense because of the storm. Yet I had been sleeping, and felt remarkably rested. I was able to sleep through the storm because I was in the security of the house. My body may have physically reacted to the sound of danger, but my mind had allowed rest.

I thought of another storm a couple thousand years ago.  A storm encountered not in the safety of a brick house but in the precariousness of a wooden boat. Someone else slept through that storm, whilst his friends battled the waves. Although the boat's worthiness looked dubious, he knew he was in the safety of his creation.

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  
Matthew 8:24

It is in these moments of reflecting that I often wonder of that mysterious balance of humanness and deity in Jesus. Did his physical body tense in spite of the power it contained? When he was awakened, did he have to unclench involuntary muscles in order to stand and rebuke the wind? It has no ultimate theological impact, but it makes me think. He was like me, but he was God. How does that work? And, even not knowing how it works, how comforting is it to know that he understands our weakness because he too was human!

We all encounter storms--physical, emotional, psychological. Storms of doubts and of ridicule. Storms of illness or financial pressure. Storms of mistrust, broken relationships and misunderstandings. Storms come. We can fight against them, like my body tensing against the wind during my sleep, or we can lean into God and face them. The former leaves us only battered. The latter may still result in the soreness of the battle. But it also comes with a peace in the security of God's plan. It comes with rest. We cannot escape all of the force of life's storms, but we can continue to rest in our hope of God. I'll take the rest with hope!

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
Psalm 57:1

Monday, February 02, 2015

February Goal Post

Time for a goal review!  January was a pretty good month, goal-wise.

My JANUARY goals were:
1. Complete the 2015 RR I will receive mid-month--unfortunately I never received this, so hoping it arrives soon
2.  Finish stitching on Fairy Moon and possibly start beading--75% of stitching complete, no beading
3.  Blog 4 times--5, plus several drafts in progress :)
4. Write 2 letters--yes
5. Lose 2 pounds--lost SIX!
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof--yes
7.  Stitch 2 Bride's Tree ornaments--only 1/2 complete, but discovered I have 3 fewer to do than I thought so still on target for the year ;)
8.  Finish one book for fun and 4 school-related books--read Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker, A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, and The Pastor's Kid by Barnabas Piper for fun/me.  All were very good.  Read Beyond the Desert Gate by Mary Ray and Olivia E. Coolidge's retelling of the Trojan War for school with Jewel.  Both were okay.  Also re-read The Great Wheel by Robert Lawson and The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr for school with Flower.  These are two of my favourite Sonlight titles ever! Plus I read 200 pages of the enormous 1100 page book that has been on my to-read list for a long time!

My FEBRUARY goals are:
1. Complete the 2015 RR I will receive mid-month (and the first one if it ever arrives)
2.  Finish stitching on Fairy Moon and start beading
3.  Blog 4 times
4. Write 2 letters
5. Lose 2 pounds
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof
7.  Stitch 1 1/2 Bride's Tree ornaments
8.  Finish two books for fun and 4 school-related books

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Verse Three of Twenty-four

Memorization time again!  This fortnight I will be concentrating (some more) on words:

 Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.  
Proverbs 12:18 (NLT)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Verse Two of Twenty-four

Time for another memory verse as I am seeking to memorize the Word with the Siestas at Living Proof Ministry.  This fortnight I've chosen a verse out of Proverbs.  Maybe our meal times will become less chaotic. ;-)

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
    than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

Proverbs 15:17 (ESV)

Friday, January 09, 2015

Child of a Holy King

  photo file0001141386882_zps21e7ac09.jpg

You may or may not have ever noticed my profile tag line, "Child of a Holy King and therefore a Princess."  That is an idea that I have been intrigued by for years.  If I am the daughter of a King, then my actions should not be common.  That is the admonition behind the words.  I can't say I often act very regally, but I should if I am about my Father's business.

Recently, we heard a sermon at church on just this subject.  The pastor reminded us that we were Children of God--Adopted into His Purpose.  He reminded us that if that is true, that thought should not become familiar to us but should continue to strike us with AWE.  That the God of the universe has chosen us to be His People.

He challenged us to think about what it meant to be a son in Biblical times.  He reminded us that the son usually followed his father's footsteps into occupation and lifestyle.  He said that the son was known by who his father was.

Now, I am very grateful that I am not expected to follow my earthly father's occupational footsteps.  I was never a very good farm girl, even telling my Dad when I was four years old that as soon as I was old enough I was leaving the farm.  But occupation or not, I am my father's daughter.  I laugh like him, I sometimes sound like him, I definitely use his phrases.  He molded and shaped much of the character one sees today.  I follow my Dad's footsteps.

I was challenged as I listened to the sermon of how much do I follow my Heavenly Father's footsteps.  Am I known by His character?  As I seek to harmonize my life with His this year, I pray that my character becomes more and more like his and less like the selfish person I so often can be.  It will take time, spending time with him and his people, learning his words, practicing his ways. But the refining should be noticeable.  I pray it is.

photo credit: morguefile free download

Friday, January 02, 2015

First 2015 Goal Post

  photo iStock_000016530538XSmall.jpg

I know I haven't posted one of these since October, so this seems a little ambitious.  But I know that I am much more apt to meet goals if I actually put them somewhere that is seen than hold onto them in my head.  So my one true resolution this year is to post goals for each month and track progress.  I do have a master list for the year, but I will keep it flexible based on month-to-month responsibilities.

But, first, to review.  My 2014 master list:
  Cross-stitch:  Finish Autumn at Hawk Run--YES
                        Start and finish Fairy Moon--40% complete
                        Start and Finish Solitude--no
                        Finish old Teacup Round Robin--Yes, including framed
                        Finish old Fish Bowl Round Robin--Yes
                        Xmas ornaments for the kids--Yes
                        Finish one set Bride's Tree Ornaments--Yes & presented as gift
                        Progress NRR to 50%--about 30%
                        Start stockings for kids--No

  Other:            Read 25 books (non-school related)--6 read
                        Post 100 time on blog--24 posts
                        Write 24 real letters--4 letters

In general, I'm okay with this.  Life happened.  A move happened.  School reading took more time than I planned.  I finished 2 UFO stitching projects and started a new project not planned for at beginning of year.  So, not a bad year.

My JANUARY goals are:
1. Complete the 2015 RR I will receive mid-month
2.  Finish stitching on Fairy Moon and possibly start beading
3.  Blog 4 times
4. Write 2 letters
5. Lose 2 pounds
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof
7.  Stitch 2 Bride's Tree ornaments
8.  Finish one book for fun and 4 school-related books

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Verse One of Twenty-four

I am joining in with the Siestas at Living Proof Ministry to memorize 24 verses in 2015.  Each person chooses a verse on the 1st and the 15th of the month that they wish to memorize.  It should be something that speaks to the individual and their needs.

I have chosen Colossians 3:14 for my first verse.  It follows my theme of harmony for the year.  I don't usually memorize in the Message paraphrase, but I love the imagery of this verse as depicted.

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

A Year of WAITING and BELIEVING in review

I knew upfront that choosing a year's word of "WAIT and BELIEVE" that it was very likely that I would come to the end of the year still "waiting and believing" and have not much to show.  And that, pretty much, sums up the year, with a few bright spots of accomplishing something.

We began the year waiting for a ministry opportunity to come to fruition.  In January we met with a group of mostly-like-minded people who wanted a house group in their geographic area.  By February we were leading it, and it has been a highlight in a year of waiting. We meet to study, find application in the Sunday sermons, eat and fellowship, and pray.  And I have made friends that I probably would not have even met otherwise. So it was good waiting and trusting.

I began the year longing for a more intimate ladies Bible Study.  I still wait for that. But in the interim, Tree and I have been attending a Mum and Toddler group that does Bible Study one week of the month and that has been a tremendous blessing.  Being with other Mums of Toddlers reminds me that the challenges of this age are normal.  I still long to lead a more in depth group. I miss my Ladies study to this day, four years after having moved away.  But God in his wisdom is still saying, "WAIT" so I will continue to wait and believe that someday I will have that again.

There has been other waiting. There was the waiting for our landlord to decide if he did indeed want the house we were renting back for a family member. Then there was the waiting to find an appropriate house that would still allow us to lead house group. There was waiting to move, to settle, to find our balance in a new village.  There was the waiting for a new rhythm as German changed accounts and travel schedules yet again.

I continue to wait and believe that the words that I have bouncing in my head will mean something to someone someday.  Children's needs seem to crowd it out. But I still hear God whisper "Wait...and believe." Last Christmas the sermon that inspired me reminded us that Simeon may have waited for DECADES to see the Messiah, yet he waited and believed. I knew that I would wait longer than a year for some of the desires whispered in my heart to fruit and flower. It doesn't make waiting easier, but it makes it bearable to know that God has a time table. I have to trust it. I can't say I always wait expectantly or patiently. But God knows that my heart is to learn in this process.  So when I might have thrown my hands up in surrender, he inspired Lisa Jo Baker to pen "If This Whole Year has Felt Like Wasted Waiting". It is a wonderful read of how waiting is normal in our Bible heroes and inspires us to continue to wait.  Reminded and bolstered, I continue to wait.

So I come toward 2015 wondering what word to choose. I considered "persevere" or "pursue" or "patient" but too many of those words seemed like me doing the work, not God.  Then, Christmas morning the sermon was about Mary's song and how she sang with confidence in the past tense because she trusted that God would fulfill what He promised.  The pastor referenced Psalm 96:1-2 that each of us must sing a new song.  That is one of my all-time favourite verses (along with Psalm 98!).  The reminder that we each are constantly singing new songs to the Lord for the good things he has done.  My heart was resonating with the message when he said this,
"We can only find rest when we sing in
with the great composer."
I knew that I had found my word.  I know that this year will be more waiting and believing for the things that I know are promised, but may not be imminent. But I don't want that waiting to be fretful or anxiety-filled.  I want it to be trusting-waiting.  I want to find rest in the wait.  Thus I need to keep harmony with God as I wait.

Will you continue to wait with me?  In the interim, may we seek to live our lives in Harmony with God so that we do not become anxious as we seek his timing.  Whether it is days, or decades, I hope to wait and believe until God brings to fruition all his plans for me.  I pray you are able to do the same.

 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:14-15