Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why do I lack no good thing?

Today was just "one of those days."  I woke up, made coffee, had devotions, thought about all I had to do, started to get texts from well meaning friends and then promptly got overwhelmed.  First day of the semester where I was genuinely overwhelmed.  Sadly, my response was rather horrid.  It's a blessing for everyone in my dorm that none of them have to room with me this semester.  I knew I was a grump and I knew that it was not right.  After going to class and trying to get back on top of myself without any success, I was walking across campus with a couple of friends - Brittney and Lydia.  Brittney asked how I was and Lydia could just tell.  I was genuinely trying not to complain, so I just said that it was a bit of a tough day.  Brittney was so gracious as she tried to comfort me in my silly little afflictions and left me with a "hope your day gets better!"  

Soon after this, I was able to think through my reaction to the day.  I was spazy and ridiculous.  Not at all how a child of the Most High should behave herself.  Praying for strength from the Holy Spirit to live as one ought to live if one is a child of the Most High, I continued on my day.  It is amazing what God will do with the feeblest of confessions and how He will answer those cries for help.  

Coming out of the library, I saw a man cutting a large flowering yellow plant.  He was chopping it back and stuffing the blooming shoots into a big trash barrel.  I wouldn't usually take much notice, but the blooming shoots being wasted in such a way was too much for my faerie-tale-prone self to take, so I went over and asked him if I could take some.  He gladly agreed.  Lydia, who was with me, couldn't understand what my problem was and laughed as I gathered up a large bundle.  I told her that they must be a gift from God, and I just couldn't pass up a gift.  Bringing them back to my room, I divided them up and I was able to get not one, but three large bouquets out of them.  What a wonderful little blessing to brighten up my day.

At history class later in the afternoon, my friend Brittney walks in the door with a coffee in her hands.  "For you" she says.  A simple and yet super sweet and meaningful gift.  Nothing cheers up a dull heart like coffee.  God made it that way I guess.  I thanked God for friends like Brittney who would go out of her way to bless a Puddle Glum like me.

Prof Jensen is my history teacher.  He is a loud talking, energetic professor who cruises through his lectures 100 miles per minute and hardly stops for a break.  However, today was different as the subject of the three musketeers came up and he surprised everyone by popping out bags of these chocolates and passing them around the room telling everyone to please enjoy a few of them.  
Flowers, coffee, and chocolate.  A boyfriend couldn't have done better.  My groom, whom I so pitifully seek to serve does not leave me hanging in my weakness.  He does not seek for my harm or watch as I struggle to live well.  No, He is not just my groom, He is my Master who takes care of me.  Why does He do this?  Why did he do more than this as He encouraged me?  Really, for no other reason than that I might praise His name: to thank Him for my nose as I smell my flowers, to be amazed at His creativity as I sip on my coffee, and to wonder at His goodness as I eat my chocolate.  

"For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." ~Psalm 103: 11-14

Good Times

Earlier this week, a few of us Home Ec. girls had a night out to say goodbye to one of our dear fellow "Home Ecers" who is leaving us . . . So sad, but we had a great time going to one of California's favorite frozen yogurt restaurants - Menchies - and then sitting around this fire to warm up and talk about everyone's dreams.     

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Will Lack No Good Thing?

We pray, and pray, and seek the Lord, and pray some more.  Still, sometimes it seems that what we think seems to be the best for us doesn't come our way.  There's always more room for learning to trust God, to put our faith in His Sovereign control, to yield our desires to Him in childlike peace that He will bring all we need in this life.

I say it again...still, sometimes it seems that it never will come.  Perhaps it won't.  But, if  "it" doesn't come, then "it" is not the GOOD thing. We will not be "lacking" in our lives in anything.  I know it is so because His Word tells us.

Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
(Psalm 34:9-10 ESV)

Those who seek the LORD lack no good thing!  Talk about a delightful way to pray!  First things first.  Seek the LORD.  As a result: nothing good will ever be lacking.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Productive Saturday

Yep, back to school . . . and other things :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Psalm 90: Reflecting On My Children

This picture was taken in 2004 in Billings, MT.  Since then, only one remains a child.  Nate is now 10, and looks much like Joseph did in this picture.  Somehow it seems like yesterday and it seems like eons ago all at the same time.  Joseph's mind swirls with math calculations and Computer Science. How fast it is all lived out.  Ana is a young woman soon to be married.  How speedily the days roll over and over. Charity is a vibrant student asking hard questions of others and herself.  How quickly they become parents.  The beautiful teenager Mary Beth is now a mother of 4.  Kip and I change too.  At this time, we couldn't have imagined there was anything more to learn about parenting.  Now, there are days we feel we know nothing of raising children. God ordains these changes, uses them for His glory and our good, and yet...He doesn't change.  My heart cries out..."So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom"..."Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days"....Let Your work be shown to Your servants, and Your glorious power to their children.  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"  Psalm 90:14, 16,17

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lovely Baby Nora

Just because this is too good to miss...take a quick look at our youngest grandbaby eating her first Texas grapefruit.  You will need to scroll down a ways to find it...titled baby gets grapefruit.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Strength and Dignity are Her Clothing

Happy Birthday to my beloved mother.  She is in heaven today.  If she were here with me, she would be 76 years old today.  She was my confidant, my teacher, my encourager, my motivator, my example, my everything for my first 20 years of life.  I'm thankful for a Godly mother.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

All of 'em

Oops!  Forgot to put this up.  Here's them all together.  Looking forward to meeting the little ones these will belong to.

In case you didn't know, if you want to see them better you can click on the picture and it blows up bigger for you :)  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Silence is Good

The best part of my day, really my absolute favorite time is early in the morning when I meet one on one with the Lord.  The quiet of that hour has become a solace to me as important as food and rest.  Listening to the Word and meditating on what it means for me specifically this day...even this hour...this minute gives me the right motivation to live my day for Christ. I like quiet.  In the quiet I learn to love the hustle and bustle of more people.  In the noise of others, I learn to appreciate my silence.  Just God and me.

“There is an indifferent, or even negative atiitude toward silence which sees in it a disparagement of God’s revelation in the Word.  This is the view which misinterprets silence as a ceremonial gesture, as a mystical desire to get beyond the Word.  This is to miss the essential relationship of silence to the Word.  Silence is the simple stillness of the individual under the Word of God.  We are silent before hearing the Word because our thoughts are already directed to the Word, as a child is quiet when he enters his father’s room.  We are silent after hearing the Word because the Word is still speaking and dwelling within us.  We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God.  We keep silence solely for the sake of the Word, and therefore not in order to show disregard for the Word but rather to honor and receive it. 
Silence is nothing else but waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing.  But everybody knows that this is something that needs to be practiced and learned, in these days when talkativeness prevails.  real silence, real stillness, really holding one’s tongue comes only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, pg. 79

Little Adventures

The other evening the house was dark.  Alone in a bedroom sat myself and my mom.  The boys were having a camping trip and we were left in the charge of the dogs.  One dog, a close descendant of a wolf is "primary guard dog."  The other, a black and white herder of English descent is "secondary guard dog" who sleeps in the house.  Both vow to be faithful to the family and cruel to any disruption of their family.  
*Scout and Willy

As we sat in the bedroom making some baby quilts for some little ones we have not yet had the privilege to meet, we heard howling in the distance.  Willy never howls.  When he used to howl in AK, it was some sort of sick hoarse undeveloped howl.  This, though, was different.  The howling grew louder and louder and became a growling bark.  Guard dog #2 sat up in her kennel and began trying to pace.  The close quarters of the kennel made it not very easy to pace, so she ended up turning circles in a ridiculous manner.  

Dutifully, I got up to let guard dog #2 out the door.  She took off.  Willy came running up to me and begged me in a very old yeller type way to come follow him.  I stepped back and took in my surroundings.  It was dark.  There was surely a creature out there waiting for me.  My feet were bare and the cement porch was cold on my tootsies.  So, I thought better of following the advice of my protector.  I went inside.  

My mom and I held a quick counsel that lasted about 30 seconds and then jumped into action.  She went to the closet to continue picking out fabrics for the quilts we were making.  I went downstairs and collected my supplies before heading out.  

By the time I had myself put together they had been able to chase the watcha-m-call-it away.  So, I never was able to figure out whether it was a cougar, porcupine, or coon.  I think it was one of those though.  We did deduce, it was not a skunk.  

*For all the observant ones: no, the pic was not taken the night of the expedition, but totally set up later . . . we didn't have time the night of.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"My first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord." 

George Mueller

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Quilt #2 and 3

Is He a Man and a King? Be Careful Young Ladies...

A Woman’s Question

By Lena Lathrop

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the Hand above?
A woman’s heart, and a woman’s life-
And a woman’s wonderful love.

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy.

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bars of my woman’s soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart be true as God’s stars
And as pure as His heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing;
A seamstress you’re wanting for socks and shirts-
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man that his Maker, God,
Shall look upon as He did on the first
And say: “It is very good.”

I am fair and young, but the rose may fade
From this soft young cheek one day;
Will you love me then ‘mid the falling leaves,
As you did ‘mong the blossoms of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and true,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook
You can hire and little to pay;
But a woman’s heart and a woman’s life
Are not to be won that way.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quilt #1

Over Christmas break, my mom and I have been making a whole bunch of baby quilts for the new little ones just starting to arrive.  We've been working on five of them on and off the past few weeks.  The two of us together can really cruise.  I hate binding, she hates the quilting, we both cut and piece together . . . We're a pretty good team I think.  Here's the first one that we actually got completely finished!

"Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth . . ."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Starting My Year Right Means Starting My Day Right

One of my favorite times of the day is the early morning when I meet with Christ.  There are days of the week when Hubby leaves earlier than I can pry my eyes open, but I like to drag myself out of bed by 6:00 AM.  That usually leaves me an hour of blessed peace and quiet (with coffee of course).  It hasn't always been this good.  I have struggled with my devotions most of my adult life.  Through years of trying to figure out the best way to pray and read the Word of God, the Lord has shown me through trial and error some "best" ways for me.  They include:

1. The reading of an old (as in dead) Christian of the faith.  At present I am reading our beloved brother      Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together.

2. Reading through the Bible. Unlike my hubby, I don't get through it every year.  My plan is more like "Read the Bible in 3 years".

3. Journaling my prayers.  I do this on my laptop simply because I type almost as fast as I think.  When I write my thoughts down, I focus much better.  My prayers follow the old ACTS model as well as some daily urgent prayers for others.

  • A - Adoration
  • C - Confession
  • T - Thanksgiving
  • S - Supplication

4. Memorization of Psalms.  I only just started this in the fall of last year, and its slow going for this lady.  But, I did manage to get Psalm 90 memorized and am now working on 34.  What a joy it is to have these words hidden in my heart when fear and doubt come calling! 

 So that's what I do.  I'm always looking for ways to better my time with the Lord.

"For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day's work.  At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it.  All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word.  All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him.  Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to Him to whom our whole life belongs." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, January 7, 2013

Merry Christmas to all my friends from Russia and Ukraine!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  
~ John 1:14

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Little Man

C. S. Lewis thought it offensive to call a young man "little man," but I can't help it.  My Natey Boy is my little man.  If only he wasn't my brother and a little older . . . Oh well.

Here's my little man trying to be a big man like his Papa.  We heard him outside the other morning as he was getting firewood ready for the family.  It was cold and we had the stove blazing.  The yelling is a trick he learned from his Jui-Jitsu professor.  "Ki-ah!" is what they yell before striking.  "Makes me hit harder," he told me later.  Seemed to work pretty well for him.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Birdseed Bread

When we lived in Montana, we had some good friends there, the Hollies.  The daughter, Char, was my sister's best friend and made delicious bread.  She passed the recipe down to my mom who made it a lot in Alaska and has recently begun to make it regularly again.  

I've been wanting to make birdseed bread for a while now.  I didn't have the guts to try it by myself in California, and it's a good thing I didn't.  This stuff is intense!  Yesterday my mom showed me how to make it.  Without a captain america kind of guy on hand or the handy dandy kitchen aid, this would be nearly impossible.  As I have not been blessed with a captain america kind of guy, we used the kitchen aid.  I love love love this bread!  It calls for around 3-4 cups of whole wheat flour which would make it super dense and heavy, so we went for only about half of that (previous bouts with this bread and 4 cups of whole wheat flour broke the kitchen aid).  

The most delicious thing about this bread is that you can add whatever kind of grains you so desire.  I chose bulgar wheat, sunflour seeds, brown rice, whole flax seed, and wheat germ.  By now you're either thinking that sounds superb or super nasty.  It's the former, I assure you.  The finished loaves couldn't have turned out any more beautiful.  They taste as amazing as they look too.  After baking them yesterday, we cut into them, put a little butter on top, and enjoyed the warm bread.  They were also outstanding toasted for breakfast with, of course, a little butter on top.  

Happy Birthday New Year!