20 December 2009

drops of faith

It’s Sunday morning. A cold, snow blanketed, church-has-been-cancelled Sunday morning. And I’m distracted by God’s Word. Again.

The last week has been a struggle.

Chronic pain is miserable, but when the chronic suddenly gets worse, the miserable gets worse too. I’ve had shoulder pain for nearly 9 years. Reaching into the back seat of our mini-van to help two toddlers during a pregnancy caused the initial strain. Then I developed calcific tendonitis. I’ve had a cortisone shot in that shoulder and weeks of physical therapy. The pain diminished for a time, but then returned. Not a permanent solution. Now it’s moved to a frozen shoulder.

Pain does something to me. And let me just say here that I’m always a little afraid that I’m being wimpy and whining about nothing. But during a massage earlier in the week, the massage therapist said, “Doesn’t that hurt???” “No. Keep going.” She remarked that I have a very high pain tolerance. And that’s coming from someone who causes pain on a regular basis. :o)

Back to the pain doing something. . . I’m finding that it’s causing me to have a deeper compassion. I’m loving my children more. I’m caring on a different level.

Another thing I always think about is: What will happen to my faith?

When I was in my late teens I had a severe trial of faith. And when I reflect on it nearly 20 years later (no, I’m not 40 yet, although my hair might cause anyone to question that statement), I wonder if I even passed that test. I was angry at God. It seemed He’d abandoned me. Through the passing of time God has brought healing to my heart and helped me to understand His presence. But it seems every time I walk to the brink of a new chasm of difficulty I wonder if I’ll pass the new test. Will I have the faith to trust that God will carry me over the chasm? Might He build a bridge for me? Will He part the rushing waters? Perhaps an eagle to ferry me across? And, if this is the “valley of the shadow of death” and I must pass through it, will He be there with me?

So often as I stand at the chasm of the latest difficulty, the demons of doubt and despair and mistrust and fear rush up behind me threatening to drive me over the edge. I doubt the greatness of His love and wonder if He’ll even care enough to show up and rescue me.

Standing at this chasm of pain God’s word to me has been “wait.” I don’t know yet what His healing will look like for me. I don’t know when it will come. But somehow at this chasm He’s given me faith to know that He is listening to my pleas for help. He sees the tears I cry. And He’s giving me endurance.

Today I’m made aware of the fact that faith doesn’t often show up in great ocean waves. It’s more like the drip of a leaky faucet. One drop at a time. A little here. A little there. Just when I need it to keep me moving forward.

Nope. My pain is not gone. I’m learning from it. I want to embrace it and be able to articulate the lessons to my children. My amazing husband has been so loving and helpful and caring during this season of pain. The children have been helping with everything from cleaning to meals to helping me comb my hair (something that is currently impossible). I think perhaps they’ll learn a new measure of compassion and care as well.

So, when I think I can’t handle another second of pain God lets loose another drop of faith. And grace.

And I’m humbled to recognize that I can’t even have faith on my own. Everything comes from Him.

Even my drops of faith.

So, do you want to know what distracted me? Check this out from the Message: Psalm 20.

"God answer you on the day you crash,
The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach,
Send reinforcements from Holy Hill,
Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies,
Exclaim over your offerings,
Celebrate your sacrifices,
Give you what your heart desires,
Accomplish your plans.
When you win, we plan to raise the roof
and lead the parade with our banners.
May all your wishes come true!
That clinches it—help’s coming,
an answer’s on the way,
everything’s going to work out.
See those people polishing their chariots,
and those others grooming their horses?
But we’re making garlands for God our God.
The chariots will rust,
those horses pull up lame—
and we’ll be on our feet, standing tall.
Make the king a winner, God;
the day we call, give us your answer.

May God shower you today with extra large drops of faith. . .

12 December 2009

pure Canadian humor. . .

video
I have no idea who gets the credit for this movie clip. If I did, I would mention their names. And then proceed to tell you how crazy I really think they are.

Papa Hobb(it) laughed until he nearly cried. And he's not even Canadian.

Enjoy.

21 November 2009

How can God do that?

It’s happened again. Here I am. I’m supposed to be studying for a Sunday School lesson. No, I’m not the one teaching, but I like to stay caught up on the reading and know what’s going on. I like to be a student who is informed.

But I get distracted. Easily. I adore Quickverse on my mac. Strong’s Concordance is at my fingertips. As well as Thayer’s Greek dictionary. I can check words and their meanings. I can dig deeper.

And so often the Spirit Himself shows up. Today I’m in Acts 24:49. Checking the words “promise” and “send.” And then I checked “Father.” A pretty ordinary word, father. Pater it is in Greek. Could be anybody’s dad.

But this time it’s not just anybody’s dad. It’s Father. My Father.

Here’s what Thayer had to say: of Christians, as those who through Christ have been exalted to a specially close and intimate relationship with God, and who no longer dread him as a stern judge of sinners, but revere him as their reconciled and loving Father.

*sigh*

But the part that really caught my eye and led me on this “chase” in the first place was this: the Father of Jesus Christ, as one whom God has united to himself in the closest bond of love and intimacy, made acquainted with his purposes, appointed to explain and carry out among men the plan of salvation, and made to share also in his own divine nature.

“Made to share in his own divine nature?” Really? Of course it’s talking about Jesus sharing in the “divine nature” of God the Father. But we are “heirs with Christ?” Right?

So then I had to check “divine nature.” Obviously “divine nature” was used in a definition and not as a Greek word. But I knew I remembered that phrase from somewhere in the Scripture.

The chase is on.

Up popped II Peter 1:3-4. Check this out.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

Whoa. Seriously?? A partaker of the “divine nature?” Me?!

Then my brain remembered that I am made in the image of God. And that Jesus really is my brother. And that one day I will rule and reign with Him. And that this is not Home. Home, my real Home, comes later. This is just earth.

So often I forget that I’m part of a much larger Story. I forget that I may “become (a) partaker of the divine nature.”

Especially on those days when school goes extra long with the kids. Or I put a zipper in a dress and it’s wrong. Twice. Or when the sweet potatoes I toiled over in the garden rot for no apparent reason. Or when I look around at a dirty house and wish I had time to clean. Or when there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Or when I’m grumpy, the kids are grumpy and Papa is not here to straighten us all out.

Or even when I can’t figure out what God’s up to. The story isn’t turning out like I thought it would. I was sure God was doing something else. But here I am. To me it looks like God skipped a chapter. But He didn’t. Because really, it’s not my story at all. I’m only part of Hi(s)tory. And somehow in the middle of all this, He thinks it’s ok for me to have His “divine nature.”

How can God do that??

Just because He is. Or rather “I AM.”

It’s not your story. It’s Hi(s)tory. And He’s offering His “divine nature”, if you’re interested.

Do you ever get distracted while reading Scripture?

14 November 2009

about girls

It's been so long since I've posted pictures that I forgot how irritating it is that blogger uploads the pictures in exactly the opposite order in which you select them. Nuts. I could complain loudly, but I really don't think anyone would listen.

Our girl's tea time has been seriously falling by the wayside. Daughter 1 wrote me a very sweet note asking if we could have tea again soon. One night while Papa Hobbit was at EMT class, and two smallish Hobbit boys were too tired to stay awake, we girls had tea.


the spread :o)
As you can see, the girls were already in their PJs, so the affair wasn't a particularly elegant one as far as clothing goes, but I'd baked some special bread, and we lit as many candles as we could find so we could turn the lights off and it all came off wonderfully. They love the attention and the chance to just talk girl talk. I usually have a little bit to share (I've been using the study guide for "The princess and the kiss") and then they ask questions and we pray together.

One of the great events of the summer was the baptism of daughter 1 and daughter 2. They were so very excited! Papa Hobbit enjoyed the privilege explaining the whys and wherefores of baptism as their papa and also as their pastor. We've been watching them grow in their maturity as followers of Jesus and are excited to answer questions as they explore the Scriptures for themselves.

And so ends this little post. . . about girls. Hopefully back sooner rather than later.

09 November 2009

about longings

Sometimes someone else just says it better. That's all there is to it. I could have tried to say the very same thing, but wouldn't have communicated it very well.

20 September 2009

about brownies

It was a great weekend. We spent Saturday night at camp with friends from church. Saturday night supper was a healthful diet of fire roasted hot dogs on white buns with plenty of ketchup and mustard, potato chips, green pepper slices (I tried. Really, I did.), and the famous smores’. Oh, and pink lemonade to drink. Very healthful.

Then today our congregation gathered at camp for our morning worship service followed by a fantastic BBQ chicken dinner with yummy side dishes. Everyone brought desserts to share. Eldest daughter made brownies. Mmm. Again, very healthful. Butter and sugar are good for you, right? And vanilla? Eggs? Flour? Cocoa?

So today upon returning home I surveyed the remaining six brownies left in the pan. Yes, I’m with you. I’m surprised there were ANY left. But there were. Someone was thinking healthful thoughts and passed by the brownies. Those must have been the people who decided instead on apple pie or the lovely cherry cheesecake or the rice crispy squares surrounding the brownies.

What to do with the brownies? I had to find a home for them. Ah! There were some chocolate chip bars left from the other day! I’ll just add them to that container. I pop open the Tupperware and here is what I find:


Hmmm. Wonder who took the last one. Wonder who took the last one and didn’t bother to add the Tupperware to the stack of things-to-wash.

Seems that food just doesn’t hang around this house very long these days.

And here’s hoping that my great friend Jo, over at Jo’s Kitchen Table, has some really great hints on healthful eating. I’m counting on you girlfriend!!


Parting shots:

The boys LOVE to hang out with the cows. One day last week I looked out my kitchen window and saw eldest son lying there just looking at the cows. He said the pavement was warm (it was a chilly day).

p.s. post about girls coming soon!

15 September 2009

about a walk in the dark

Sunday.

The child was sick. So I let him take his normal nap. But then he was up for a while and wanted to take another nap. So I let him take nap number 2. Hmmm. Bad choice.

So at 10pm this is the face I see:



Well, ok. Not this face exactly. This was his birthday face with ketchup on it.

Happy as a clam he was. Full of energy. Wrestling with Papa on our bed. Not tired in the least. This is the kid who is exhausted at 8:30 every night.

So Papa Hobb(it) gave said child the option of going to bed or going on a 1 mile walk with Papa and Mama Hobb(it)--- our sometimes nightly ritual after the small Hobb(it)s are in bed.

He chose the walk.

It was a dark walk. But there were stars to see. And a possum ambling along the soybean field going in the opposite direction we were going. And the sillouette of the trees making a dark shape against the sky that looked just like an alligator with it’s mouth wide open, showing rows of sharp teeth. At least it looked exactly that way to the 4 year old Hobb(it).

He was pretty sure he wanted to turn around. His legs were suddenly tired. But he made it the whole way to the end of the driveway (a whole 1/2 mile). Papa Hobb(it) had offered to carry him home, but he walked it all on his own two very tired 4 year old legs.

Will you believe me if I told you he went straight to bed with no complaints at 10:25?

I can’t wait to hear the stories he tells the other Hobb(it)s in the morning about his late night adventure with Papa and Mama. On a walk. In the dark. All about the possum. And the alligator in the trees. With rows of sharp teeth.

We made a memory. He’ll talk about it for a very long time.

I just hope there’s not a repeat performance tomorrow night.

12 September 2009

about icing

Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to fetch confectioners sugar to finish the icing she was making for Sunday’s cake. But when she got there she discovered she had only half the amount of sugar she needed. And since she’d already begun to make the icing she decided to substitute with ordinary granulated sugar.

Old Mother Hubbard made the amazing discovery that granulated sugar cannot, I repeat, cannot take the place of confectioners sugar in butter cream icing. Granulated white sugar makes for a very grainy, heavy icing. So Old Mother Hubbard added 8 oz. of cream cheese in hopes of saving said icing. Now Old Mother Hubbard’s icing looks smooth and lovely. But alas, it is only an illusion. When once the icing is in your mouth it breaks out in all its heavy grainy-ness.

Old Mother Hubbard will use the icing anyway and is pretty sure that all the little Hobb(it)s and Old Father Hubbard will be very impressed. In spite of its heavy grainy-ness.

Oh wait. Now I’m mixing nursery rhymes and Tolkien. Hubbard. Hobb(it).

I can imagine Bilbo Baggins reading nursery rhymes to Frodo. It seems like a Hobb(it) kind of thing to do.

Good night from our part of the Shire.

Have a blessed Sunday!!

22 July 2009

Zip-off pants and angry tears on the floor

This morning Son 1 sat on the floor dissolving in angry tears. He’d zipped on one leg of his zip-off camo pants, but was struggling to zip on the second leg. He kept saying over and over, “I can’t get it!!!” He never bothered to ask for help. And I was standing right beside him.

Nearly every day I’m amazed at the things I say to my children. Not because they’re brilliant breakthroughs in Godly parenting, but because I could easily imagine God saying something very similar to me.

So, back to story about Son 1: I say to Son 1, “Please stop crying and just ask me for help. I’m standing right here!”

Hmm. Nothing like being hit over the head by your own words.

Ok. Back just now from rescuing Son 2 who was trapped in the back of the coat closet. He was practicing in the dark with his new dollar store flashlight and sat down in an extra booster seat I keep there for guests with small children. He buckled himself into the seat and couldn’t get out. He on the other hand when needing help was yelling rather cheerfully, “Mama, can you come help me???” *sigh* Oh, the differences between children. But that’s a topic for a whole nother’ blog post.

As I was saying, there is nothing quite like being klonked with your own wisdom.

The last several weeks have been difficult. There are things I’ve been struggling with emotionally, financially, parentally, spiritually. I want to sit on the floor and cry angry tears as I wrestle with the “zipper.” But I can’t fix it. It just won’t go. There isn’t a thing in the world I can do about it. No wait. I do sit on the floor and cry angry tears. I confess.

All the while I think the Father is standing there. Waiting. Waiting for me to stop crying. Waiting for me to simply ask for help.

Last night I finally started asking for help. And believe it or not I’m not asking for money (although some greenbacks could help out a little). I’m not asking God to change my children. I’m not asking God to change my husband. I’m not asking God to change my circumstances.

I’m asking God to change me. The “zipper” in this case is me. I guess you could say I need a serious faith and attitude adjustment. *sigh* (again)

Ironic isn’t it that my dear pastor-husband is preaching a summer series on “faith.” Ironic too that our senior pastor (dear, kind, wonderful man that he is) prayed last week that we’d have a bad week. He says that when we have bad weeks, Daniel’s messages are richer.

Nuts. Why didn’t anybody tell me. Or at least warn me. It should be in that little packet of things they give the new pastor’s wife. You know. A little brochure that says “What to expect in your marriage and family when your husband preaches on certain difficult topics.” Oh wait. There was no little packet.

Back to last night. Somewhere in my reading, may have been a blog, may have been facebook, doesn’t matter, someone said something about “coming to God.”

Duh. I should know these things. I am after all a missionary kid, and now a pastor’s wife. I’ve memorized Scripture. I’ve studied it. Good grief, I’ve taught it. “Come to God.”

After that amazing revelation, I hit my knees and cried some more. Asking God to change me. Nothing more.

Today I’m remembering, and being reminded that “coming to God” is something I must do nearly hourly in this difficult season. It’s not rocket science. It’s just showing up and saying, “God, here I am. I came. Oh yes. There You are. Now I can see you again. You got everything under control? Ok. Thanks. See You in another hour.”

Well, something like that. I think you get the picture.

My faith is being tested. But it’s ok. It’s good in fact. Sure doesn’t feel good. But it’s good. Yup. It’s about that time.

Uh, God? I’m coming again. You there?

09 July 2009

Sweetest bag ever. . . GiVeAwAy!!!

Perhaps my favorite blog for decor and inspiring ideas for my home. . . And she's giving away a beautiful bag this weekend. And it could be yours. Or mine. Doesn't matter really. Just check out her blog and leave a comment!

Visit:

18 June 2009

smelly fishermen and a Beautiful City

My journey through the New Testament has finally brought me to the book of Revelation. I must say it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. And no, I don’t claim to understand a good portion of it, but I love it nonetheless. It must be that part of me that loves to pick up a great book I’ve read before and read only the last chapter. The chapter where the long lost son returns home to his father. The chapter where the prisoner held unjustly is set free. The chapter where the woman held in bondage escapes from her captors. The chapter where the couple in love are finally married. Don’t you just love happy endings? I do.

In fact, we just watched a kids movie. You know. The animated kind. But I was blown away all over again by the way they borrowed their lines from “the Story.” A kid leaves home to follow a dream. The dream is shattered. But there are broken people who need help, so, as his father always taught him-- “see a need, fill a need”, he goes to work helping the helpless. But evil is against him. Evil doesn’t care about the needs of people, only making more money. But guess what. Evil never wins. The good guys come out on top. Evil is thrown into a raging fire. Goodness is the champion. And everyone ends up dancing.

That’s why I love Revelation. Evil never wins. The righteous come out “on top!!” Evil is thrown into a raging lake of fire. The righteous will reign forever with Him as champions. And everyone ends up dancing!

Revelation helps put the “now” into perspective. In this life we have shattered hopes. We have transition and change. There is cancer. There is death. But we forget that we’re not at the end of the book yet! We really don’t know what chapter we’re living in right now. And the “happily ever after” won’t be in this life. That’s Heaven. That happens when we return to Eden. That happens when evil is destroyed forever. That happens when God’s glory is displayed to the nations. But it’s not yet.

All that to say this: In my reading, I came to . . .

"And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:14)

Wait a minute. Who has their names on the foundation stones of the city? You’re kidding. Twelve guys who followed Jesus. But weren’t they uneducated, smelly fishermen? At least some of them? And the others, a tax collector? No-name guys? Ordinary men? They sure weren’t wealthy. They hadn’t given lots of money to charity or started any faith-based programs for the needy. No doctorate degrees among them. Two of them Jesus called “sons of thunder.” Wonder what he meant by that exactly. These were men who argued about who would be the greatest. They didn’t always “get” his messages cloaked in parables. They were fearful. They thought when he died, he died for good.
But these are the guys who get their names on the foundation of the Heavenly city?

Just let that sink in a little. Ponder where you are in your part of the story. Go read “Epic” by John Eldredge. It might help a little with your perspective.

Nope. My name won’t be on any foundation stone. But I’m part of God’s big story and I’ve been given new hope because God thinks smelly, uneducated fishermen are important enough to put their names on the foundation of His beautiful city. And I think when I get there I’d like to find one of those names and let my fingers trace the letters and be reminded that Peter or John or James could have been my name. Ordinary. But I too have been given a place in the Kingdom.

Go live your story.


With the end in mind.

13 June 2009

A new kind of "get rich quick". . .

With all the craziness of moving, etc. I feel that the only thing I'm good for these days is posting a link here and there. I read this blog post this morning when it floated into my inbox from the great www. world and thought of a few of my friends who may not know about Simple Mom. So girlfriends, get yourselves on over and discover. . . 


p.s. It's really not what it sounds like. 

10 June 2009

Linking. . .

For those of you interested in updates from Nathan and Carlee's world, and her journey with cancer, you may visit them here.

01 June 2009

Just a quick tidbit

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to blog, but couldn’t. I won’t spend a lot of time on the details but I will give you a summary.

We’ve moved. We lived in what my friend over at Jo’s kitchen table would call “tiny town.” We now live in what I call “tiny town in the middle of several much larger towns and Walmart is miraculously only 10 minutes or less away from my house.” If the traffic is good. Which is rare. Actually, it’s really not bad at all.

Yes, I went from no traffic and lots of train noise to lots of traffic and pig smell. We’re renting a HUGE farmhouse on a commercial hog farm. God definitely has a sense of humor.

I’m sure there are too many questions to answer about the move, but if you’d like to leave me a comment I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can.

Or better yet, send me an email if you want the whole mother-lode. :o)

Two immediate prayer requests: My mom and my sister in law were both diagnosed with breast cancer (Mom about a month ago and sweet sis just last week). Pray that God will heal, if not miraculously, then over time, and that they will have wisdom in seeking the proper treatment.

Yes, I’m alive and well and back to the grand world of blog-land. Hopefully some good stuff coming in the days ahead! Stay tuned!

23 April 2009

Reproach = Wealth. Really??

By faith, Moses. . . considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:26

Down through time there are those who have considered reproach for Christ’s sake to equal wealth. Moses is one of those. Then there are also those modern day heros of the faith as well. My mind travels to my brothers and sister in China, and Sudan, Iraq, Turkey, North Korea, Columbia. And I’m sure many other places as well. Places that don’t get as much “media” coverage in the Christian world. Or places we don’t know about.

There are brothers and sisters shut away in shipping containers. Foul prisons. They suffer unbelievable tortures. They go hungry. They are separated from their husbands, wives, little children. When my sister’s husband is in prison she wonders how she will pay the rent or how she will find food for her babies. When both parents are put into prison children are left to fend for themselves. They are virtual orphans. And homeless.

And this is considered wealth? Wealth? You’re kidding.

These followers of Jesus are not living for this present age. They are living for the age to come. They are keeping their eyes on the reward. They are looking for the Heavenly City. The New Jerusalem. They are willing to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

They are far more concerned about the Glory of God than their own comfort. They have chosen to look away from things their eyes can see.

How will I consider my difficulties (minor though they may be) to be “wealth” today? How can I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith?

My dear husband is the runner in our family. He actually enjoys races. He’s reflected many times on the parallels of running a race and our personal journeys to THE PLACE Jesus is preparing for us. He talks about how important it is to keep your eyes on the end goal.

I tend to get so bogged down with life itself that I forget that this isn’t all there is!! I’m doing good to just get one foot in front of the other. But there is more!! It’s what I can’t see, but just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

So today, if life’s circumstances weigh heavily on your shoulders, remember those who considered “reproach” to be wealth. I probably won’t suffer reproach today for the name of Christ, but I will find it difficult to keep my eyes on the prize.

Lift your eyes with me today. Our Heavenly Bridegroom has gone to prepare a place for us. We are the ones who need to be ready and waiting, having our lamps lit with the oil of the Spirit.

21 April 2009

So girlfriends, Blissfully Domestic is giving away a sleep number bed!! Race on over to her site and leave a comment for a chance to win!!

I must confess. I did. 



16 April 2009

Pondering Hebrews

The first several verses of Hebrews are breathtaking:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Hebrews 1:1-3 (esv)

Wait. Did you get it? I mean, did you really digest that? God. Our God. He spoke through the prophets for hundreds of years, but then chose to actually speak through His only Son. The very Son Who will inherit everything. But wait. It’s the same Son Who actually created the whole world!! Jesus: Creator.

But there’s more! Jesus Himself is the radiance of the glory of God. What? The KJV says “Who being the brightness of His glory. . .” Brightness. Radiance. Guess what. That word is used only once in the New Testament. It means “reflected brightness (of Christ in that He perfectly reflects the majesty of God), a shining forth.”

And Jesus carries the exact imprint of Almighty God. That rather made me think of a father and son. The kind of father and son where the son looks just like the father. A little guy who looks just like his dad. Minus the mustache of course. Like Father, like Son.

Oh. And this too: He upholds the universe by the word of His power. What do you do with the “word of your power.” What exactly can you accomplish? I try to make my kids behave with the word of my power, but there are times I think my words are falling on deaf ears. I share counsel with a friend. Words intended to help bring healing and freedom. But my words don’t actually do that. But then, stop and think about how much is actually in our universe. No, not galaxy. Universe. Billions of galaxies. Ma-zillions of stars. And um, actually, the really smart guys don’t even know precisely how many. And yet, my Jesus is the One Who carries this same universe by the word of His power. Just one word. In Greek it’s rhema, for those of you who care.

Wow. What a way to start the day. A great reminder of Who is really in charge. Not the president or the VIPs in Washington. Not the UN. Not the people at your church who’d like to control your life. Not your past or the baggage you carry with you. Not your fear. Unless of course you allow them.

It’s just Jesus. I needed the reminder. I needed my future to be brought back into focus. He’s the One in control.

12 April 2009

Random thoughts about Easter

Easter is about emptiness. 
An empty cross. 
An empty tomb.
 Christ emptying Himself to atone for my sin. 
My own emptiness apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit. 
My own emptiness in trying to find fulfillment and meaning in life apart from Christ. 

A friend recently shared a new perspective on the words Jesus spoke from the cross. One gospel records this: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Could it be that God’s wrath was ready to pour forth on those who were bruising His only Son? Could it be that Jesus’ words were really a plea on our behalf, and that it was His request for forgiveness that stopped Almighty God from "wiping us off the map?" And then as God Himself stayed His hand and turned away, even Jesus felt the abandonment and said, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”

I’d never thought of the death of Jesus in this way. Thanks Joan for sharing your vision.
Easter Sunday dinner we try to do special meal in honor of the day. Here was the spread today. 
My sweet friend Amber posted an idea that she'd tweaked a bit from a friend of hers. So I re-tweaked it and came up with these little nests for chocolate eggs. So easy and yummy. 
Just use your favorite no-bake cookie recipe, form into little nests and add the eggs! Mmmm. 

I pray your Easter Sunday is full of celebration as you ponder again the resurrection of our Jesus. 

05 April 2009

Girl stuff.

I’m in Ohio for the weekend. My sister came to visit and we traveled back with her. Yesterday was my cousin Kristin’s wedding in Indiana.


And I brought 3 girls with me. It was a girl weekend. Complete with a girl movie (Kit Kittredge), soaks in Nana’s big bathtub and pedicures. Sorry. No pictures. :o)

The girls have loved the weekend. The attention. The wedding. The “girl stuff.” Being with just Mama, Auntie and Nana.

It’s investment time for us. Just being. And loving. Things that care for our hearts. Things that let us relax and be pampered. Things that take us to deeper conversations.

After the wedding we discussed dresses and wedding traditions. The 7 year old’s favorite part is the kissing. And then the 10 year old had something very important to ask. I was expecting something big and deep. Nope. Not this time.

“Why did they have to make the chicken (at the dinner reception) so hot and spicy?”

Me: “So you didn’t finish it?”

Her: “Yes. I ate 2 and a half kabobs. I was trying to make myself get used to it.”

(This is the child that knows of a certainty that God is calling her to be a missionary doctor in India.)

*sigh* Maybe the really deep conversations will happen later. Or maybe not.

Or maybe they’ll come when I least expect them.

For now, the girls are just glad to be with me. They’ve thanked me several times for bringing them along. I translate that as “Thanks for sharing your life. Thanks for sharing these experiences with us. Thanks for loving us enough to share the joyful moments of life with us. Thanks for nurturing us. Thanks for wanting to have us along. Thanks for knowing the things we love and enjoying those things with us.”

I want to love my daughters and love them well.

Tomorrow we travel home where the guys have been shooting BB guns, wrestling and eating food at odd hours.

And we’ll put our family of Hobb(it)s back in the blender and let the whirl of life begin again in the Shire.

28 March 2009

Come. . .

. . . now is the time to worship!

It’s been a week.

Five children were sick from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning. Some kind of nasty stomach virus I think. I’ll spare you the details. You should thank me.

A good friend from Michigan committed suicide on Wednesday. He was also my favorite chiropractor. A man with a wife and 2 small children. Everyone in town knew and loved him. 

This week I learned that a sweet friend lost a baby at 18 weeks. Nearly halfway through a pregnancy. I cried with her.

A dear first nations friend from Northern Ontario went to be with Jesus on his birthday. Our birthdays are only a day apart and we used to share smiles and birthday wishes. He stayed in our home on the Reserve many times. His ministry was wide.

Daniel and I looked at our own finances and personally, I thought we should qualify for a bailout the way things are looking.



And then, the Spirit swept in, reminding me of this song. . .

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come

One day ev'ry tongue will confess You are God
One day ev'ry knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those,
Who gladly choose you now

I find that God has brought this song to me often. Most times it’s when I feel least like worshipping. But now is the time.

Time to worship.
Time to give Him my heart.
Time to come just as I am.
Time to come before my King.

Whether I feel like it or not.

But ironically, as I come to worship, I find that the pain and difficulty and turmoil of those days fades into the background. I have “fixed my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of God's throne.” (My own paraphrase of Hebrews 12:2) Everything comes into perspective. I have right-sized God.

Do I still have questions? You bet I do. Will life still have crazy days? Yup. Will things still happen that are totally out of my control? Yes. 

But in answer to those three questions I choose to remember that 1) God knows the answer to all my questions. 2) There is peace in Heaven. 3) God is the All-powerful One Who is in control of EVERYTHING! (Don't worry. Be happy!)

The question is: will I choose to worship and keep right-sizing God?

That feels pretty big, and it will certainly have to be a daily choice for me, but yes, today I will worship. Today I will right-size God.

How bout’ you?

27 March 2009

Quote of the day

If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, 
how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? 

-- David Livingstone

I'm so over-ready for spring. Here are a few shots from this week. . .


26 March 2009

Spring Creativity!

Some days I feel very "crafty" and other days. . . not so much. But after reading this blog post at Nesting Place, I felt "crafty" indeed. Or maybe just creative. So I set about to create. And here is what happened: 

Stop one: Dollar Tree. There are many interesting finds here. I purchase my favorite lip balm here. Two in a package for a buck. Also a big box of sidewalk chalk for a buck. Adorable scrapbooking stickers (that I rarely use for scrapbooking, just other fun projects), again, for a buck. And it's the place of choice for children to spend a dollar from Great Ma. I don't shop there often, but when my creative juices started churning, I knew Dollar Tree would have just what I needed. I spent a grand total of $2.12.  For these.

Yup. A plain ordinary plate. And a plain ordinary candle holder. But when you glue the candle holder to the bottom of the plate you get this:


Viola!!!

A very sweet little pedestal cake plate for spring. The sweet-friend-I've-never-met at Nesting Place used a white plate and a white candle holder she had on hand so she saved the $2.12, but I didn't own anything that remotely resembled anything to create such an adorable centerpiece so I had to settle for the shelves of Dollar Tree, but they didn't let me down. 

Oh, and I tried hot glue. It was a personal disaster. I quickly switched to super glue. Yup. It worked. For now. If it fails, I'll try something else. My sweet husband says I need some really great waterproof glue. But I don't carry any of that around in my hip pocket. 

So far I've used it for Mint Brownie Pie (I took it to a friend's house when we were invited for supper). And this morning I used it for cut up fruit at breakfast. It would also be great for cupcakes. I think I feel a batch coming on. . . 

Girls!!! Baking time!!

20 March 2009

Cheap thrills. Very cheap.

Here I present quite possibly the best $1.97 I have ever spent at a thrift store in my entire life. My entire life. Nope, not the boys in the picture. Not the gun in the holster (although that was a great thrift store find as well). 

The Playhut. All $1.97 worth. 

I went online to price them. I found one nearly like this one and the original price was a whopping $31.50. Which means that quite plainly I saved exactly $29.53. 

Two smallish boys at our house (ages 5 1/2 and 3 1/2) have spent literally hours playing in their "tent". So far it has served as a tent to sleep in. A tent to hunt wild animals from (wildebeests and "b' giraffes" --Tristen's current word for giraffes). And many other unique adventures this mama hasn't even heard about or imagined. They LOVE the playhut. 

I'm really not sure how long it will last, but I do know it's been worth every $1.97 of hard earned cash we payed for it. 

19 March 2009

We're well.

Thanks friends for the wellness wishes and prayers! A few of us are still trying to shake the sniffles and coughs, but this too shall pass. 

We loved the "unseasonably" warm weather yesterday. We celebrated by cleaning out flower beds and trimming off the dead heads of perennials. We burned leaves. We burned dead heads. We burned loose branches lying around the yard. We burned pine cones. We burned dead ornamental grasses swaying in the breeze. Now that the dead is gone, the new green shoots can raise their heads. 

Such a reminder as I've explained to the children how God sends "fires" into our lives to burn away the deadness. Once the deadness is gone God can grow new things in our lives that the deadness had been choking out. The "fires" are painful indeed, but on the other side is the beauty of greenness, and the flowers and fruit we know will come later in the season. And so rather than cursing the "fires", can we rejoice in them, knowing that God will very carefully watch the burning and make sure the fire burns only where He intends it to burn? Only what is dead will burn. Only the certain places He chooses will feel the heat. And He never leaves the "fires" alone. He stands by. Very close. Because this is a controlled burn. And thankfully, HE is the One in control. Not me. 

Then I think of Job. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." And then Hebrews 12, starting at verse 3 and moving on through the chapter. 

"It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (7-11)

And so today I'm thinking about fire. Fire to consume the dross. Fire to burn up the deadness that keeps me cool toward the Father. Fire that clears out the old and makes room for the new. 

So if you're facing the fire, lift your eyes and see the Father. He's standing very close, watching the burn. He won't leave you alone. He'll make sure the fire doesn't leap to places it shouldn't. But He's allowing the fire so that new growth can appear. The pain is for the moment, but it will allow greenness, and new fruit. Look past the pain and the burning. The Father is watching. The Father is loving. The Father is YOUR Father. 

And spring is just around the corner. 

09 March 2009

Quote of the day

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!

Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)

Sorry I haven't been around lately. The flu has come to our house. And it's hit us rather hard. It started out with two children, and then a third. Then my sweet Mama got it (she and Dad were staying in our home while Dad preached/taught at our church-- on relationships). Then I got it and then two little boys got it. So far my dear husband is the only one in the house who hasn't caught the bug yet. It's been fever and achy-ness, followed by a nasty cough and head cold. This too shall pass. . .

28 February 2009

brought near

When someone asks what my favorite book of the Bible is it always puts me in a quandary. How can I choose? What should I say? I could say the Psalms. But then I’d leave out Galatians. And if I say Colosians then I’d have to exclude Jeremiah. It’s just plain hard I tell you. I could just say, all if it. The Bible as a whole. But then I’d not be very honest about how difficult I find I and II Chronicles. Or even on some days, Romans. *sigh*

Today I came to Ephesians 2:12-22

". . . remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."

Wow. At one time “separated from Christ”, “having no hope and without God”. . .

But now!! But now!! But NOW in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ!! My prayer is that this hits you smack between the eyes like it did me this morning. We have been brought near. Our sin no longer causes us to be held at arms length! The blood of Christ has brought us near! For He himself is our peace. And through Him we have access (through the Spirit of God) to our Father.

We don’t have to stand outside the door anymore. We aren’t kept on the front porch. We are invited to come inside. To come “near”. We’ve been given “access” to the Father Himself through the Spirit. No more hanging around the fringes, but walking right in and coming near. No more sitting in a corner alone and forsaken. Coming near.

What happens when a child comes “near”? Generally it doesn’t mean just standing close by, does it? Nope. It means the arms of the parent or grandparent or uncle or auntie are wide open. Arms outstretched. Reaching. Welcoming the child to run and jump into them. It’s an arm around the shoulder. It’s a hug. A warm embrace. It’s snuggling up close on the couch for a story. It’s squishing in closer on the bench at lunchtime. It’s coming for comfort for a scraped knee. It’s linking arms during a shopping trip.

It’s coming “near”. Are you feeling the closeness? I know sometimes I feel far more distant than close. But then there’s that word: feel. And I must return to what is true.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

This is what is true. I have been brought near. Is there sin in my life that is separating me from Christ? Or have I been so busy that I’ve neglected the “nearness”? Am I so weighed down with old baggage that I’m not enjoying the “nearness”?

So for today I realize that it’s been the engagement of my mind with other things. And I’m so thankful for *one* of my favorite authors penning those words to the believers at Ephesus. Because I sure needed the reminder today.

I have been brought near.

19 February 2009

the poor mouse


So, when we arrived home after being gone for the wedding of the century, we found this bit of blessedness floating dreadfully in the toilet. Very dead. No idea about how it arrived in our toilet. 

Rather made me think of "The Boys Next Door."

"Lord, here come da rat."

And so we did what the boys next door did. We flushed it. 




17 February 2009

Quote of the day

True love is friendship - caught on fire. 
Author Unknown

William and Esther's wedding was incredible. I want to blog about it if I get a chance. And I have lots of pictures to post. But if you can't wait, you can view them on facebook. Well, ok. Here's one picture to hold you over until I can get back. :o) 



Back later. . . 


07 February 2009

Recipe of the week

Southwestern Egg Casserole

10 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
4 c. (16 oz.) monterrey jack cheese, shredded
2 c. (16 oz.) cottage cheese
1/2 c. butter, melted 
2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chillies

Beat eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into eggs (batter will be lumpy). Add monterrey jack cheese, cottage cheese, butter and chillies. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 x 2 in. baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350˚ for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. 

Makes 10 to 12 servings. 
******************************************************

I don't make this recipe often simply because it's rather expensive with the cost of cheese. But if I happen to get a really good deal on cheese, watch out!! I've discovered that you can use nearly any kind of shredded cheese in this recipe. This morning I used cheddar and mozzarella. I usually don't put the chillies in it since I have small children, several of whom abhor anything remotely hot and spicy. 

This was our standard Saturday morning breakfast at Girl's Retreat. Several girls who "never eat breakfast" weren't too impressed when I brought out the egg casserole, but they decided to taste it anyway. Guess who had seconds. After that first adventuresome year at George and Linda's cabin on Lake Superior, this casserole became a tradition. 

02 February 2009

"And suddenly!!"

Tristen has been telling stories lately. I mean “story”. Singular. He pretty much has only one story. And every time he tells it, it begins the same way.

“And suddenly. . .”

The story varies only slightly from time to time. Some things are always the same. It always has a bear coming out of the woods. And Papa always has a gun to shoot the bear.

“And suddenly. . .”

I think God likes “and suddenly” too. He can work in what looks like complete darkness to me “and suddenly!!!” Viola!! Look at what God did!! Or He can work for years. . . “and suddenly!!” Wow! What a God!

Perhaps God’s “and suddenlys” aren’t really “sudden” at all. As John Piper says, “In every situation, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know."

I’d sure like to have an “and suddenly” this week. There are places in my life that have been shrouded in darkness. God has been working there for years. I know He’s doing “a thousand different things”, but I sure can’t see them.

Patience is a virtue. And like a friend reminded us once, wait is a four letter word after all.

Two truths come to mind:

“His divine power has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness. . .” II Peter 1:3

and

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” Ps. 86:12

God’s goal in every “and suddenly” is to bring glory to Himself. But He will also provide everything we need to wait for the “and suddenly”.

30 January 2009

Recipe of the week

Wet Burritos

1 pint of sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb. ground beef, ground turkey OR ground venison 
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 pkg. soft flour tortillas (8 or 10 work well)
shredded cheddar cheese

Mix sour cream and mushroom soup. Set aside. Brown ground meat (drain if necessary) and add taco seasoning. Stir in refried beans. 

Spread 1/2 of sour cream mixture in bottom of 9 x 13 in. baking pan. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture on each of the flour tortillas. Spread in a strip down the center of the tortilla and then roll up the tortilla. Place rolled tortillas on the sour cream mixture. Top with remaining sour cream. Sprinkle about 1/2 c. of shredded cheese over everything.

Bake at 350˚ for about 30 minutes. The sour cream mixture will be bubbly around the edges and the cheese will be melted. 

Serve with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, ranch dressing and chips and salsa. 
*****************************************************************

This is a great "make ahead" dish. I've already made it on Saturday so it's ready for Sunday-evening-after-church guests! 

29 January 2009

Tea for two

Elsa got this sweet, teeny tea set for Christmas. And she wanted so badly for someone to join her for tea. The only one who agreed was Tobin. 

Boys can have tea too.

They don't show up very well here, but that's a male and female cardinal sitting in the pine tree outside my kitchen window. 

Comings and Goings

I'm busy.

I'm always busy.

I can't even count the times I wish I could blog. I want to share things God is teaching me. I want to tell you the things I love about teaching my children at home. I want to ponder aloud the goodness of God in His great love for me. Love for me that doesn't change based on what I do or don't do. I want to post my favorite pictures. I want to write and write and write. 

But I'm busy.

I find myself in a most wonderful time of life, with less time to chronicle it than ever before. How frustrating. 

So maybe I'll be like Mary and "ponder all these things in [my] heart". And hopefully every now and again the pondering will dribble out here so you can share my joy. 

I will say this: Aslan is on the move. Last weekend there were so many "God-moments" for Daniel and I. Things we heard. People we met. Things we "happened" to hear on the radio (we NEVER listen to the radio). Unexpected conversations. Prayers of blessing for us. Scriptures prayed for us. 

Our God is amazing. 

Our 2 year interim here at Mattawana Mennonite Church is finished in August. And so we find ourselves asking, "God, what is next? Where do we go? What do You want us to do?" 

Those questions haven't be answered yet. But Aslan is on the move. And the answer will come in time. Whenever He is ready. 

And we'll take whatever adventure Aslan sends to us. Because even though He isn't safe, He is good. 

And that's not a pat answer. 

27 January 2009

Five-year-old Funny

We were driving Pennsylvania's hilly, cow-path roads the other evening. Five year old big brother shouted from the back seat of the Suburban "Faster, Papa!! Faster!" We were following friends en route to their home after a Sunday evening service and keeping up with them on country road unfamiliar to us was great fun. Then came the quotable quote of the entire evening. From the same 5 year old.

"These roads make my blood container go up and down!" he shouted. 

Do you suppose he meant his heart?

10 January 2009

Validation

We came across this short film the other day and love it so much we wanted to share it. It's worth every second of the 16 minutes and 23 seconds you'll spend watching it.

Then go and spend the rest of the day validating everyone you meet. :o)



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