Friday October 2, 2009

Yes, he runs so fast that this is what it always looks like! lol.

Did you have this “corn popper” toy when you were little? We had one at Grandma’s house growing up. And now Gabriel has one of his very own!

I think my precious little boy looks just like his handsome daddy in this picture!

He also brings me book after book after book during the day — or sometimes it’s the same book 12 times. 🙂

It’s so sad this is blurry, because I like this one. You can see  his teeth — and his swollen gums where the molars are trying to pop through! Ouchies.

Friday October 2, 2009


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if the were all,
Whose elaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the all.

~Robert Frost

Nature XXVII, Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

~Emily Dickinson

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

~William Shakespeare

Thursday October 1, 2009

from Keep a Quiet Heart, by Elisabeth Elliot
“Why Is God Doing This to Me?”
pp 40-42

     An article appeared in the National Geographic years ago which has affected my thinking ever since. “The Incredible Universe,” by Kenneth F. Weaver and James P. Blair, included this paragraph:

How can the human mind deal with the knowledge that the farthest object we can see in the universe is perhaps ten billion light years away! Imagine that the thickness of this page represents the distance from the earth to the sun (93,000,000 miles, or about eight light minutes). Then the distance to the nearest star (4-1/3 light years) is a 71-foot-high stack of paper. And diameter of our own galaxy (100,000 light years) is a 310-miles stack, while the edge of the known universe is not reached until the pile of paper is 31,000,000 miles high, a third of the way to the sun.

     Thirty-one million miles. That’s a very big stack of paper. By the time I get to twenty-on-and-a-half million I’m lost–aren’t you? I read somewhere else that our galaxy is one (only one) of perhaps ten billion.
     I know the One who made all that. He is my Shepherd. This is what He says: “With my own hands I founded the earth, with my right hand I formed the expanse of sky; when I summoned them, they sprang at once into being… I teach you for your own advantage and lead you in the way you must go. If only you had listened to my commands, your prosperity would have rolled on like a river in flood… (Isaiah 48:13, 17, 18, NEB).
     Hardly a day goes by without my receiving a letter, a phone call, or a visit from someone in trouble. Almost always the question comes, in one form or another, Why does God do this to me?
     When I am tempted to ask that same question, it loses its power when I remember that this Lord, into whose strong hands I long ago committed my life, is engineering a universe of unimaginable proportions and complexity. How could I possibly understand all that He must take into consideration as He deals with it and with me, a single individual! He has given us countless assurances that we cannot get lost in the shuffle. He choreographs the “molecular dance” which goes on every second of every minute of every day in every cell in the universe. For the record, one cell has about 200 trillion molecules. He makes note of the smallest seed and the tiniest sparrow. He is not too busy to keep records even of my falling hair.
     Yet in our darkness we suppose He has overlooked us. He hasn’t. I have been compiling a list of the answers God Himself has given us to our persistent question about adversity:

1. We need to be pruned. In Jesus’ last discourse with His disciples before He was crucified (a discourse meant for us as well as for them), He explained that God is the gardener, He Himself is the vine, and we are branches. If we are bearing fruit, then we must be pruned. This is a painful process. Jesus knew that His disciples would face much suffering. He showed them, in this beautiful metaphor, that it was not for nothing. Only the well-pruned vine bears the best fruit. They could take comfort in knowing that the pruning proved they were neither barren nor withered, for in that case they would simply be burned up in the brushpile.
     Pruning requires the cutting away not only of what is superfluous but also of what appears to be good stock. Why should we be so baffled when the Lord cuts away good things from our lives? He has explained why. “This is my Father’s glory, that you may bear fruit in plenty and so be my disciples” (John 15:8, NEB). We need not see how it works. He has told us it does work.

2. We need to be refined. Peter wrote to God’s scattered people, reminding them that even though they were “smarting for a little while under trials of many kinds (they were in exile–the sort of trial most of us would think rather more than a “smart”), they were nevertheless chosen in the purpose of God, hallowed to His service, and consecrated with the blood of Jesus Christ. With all that, they still needed refining. Gold is gold, but it has to go through fire. Faith is even more precious, so faith will always have another test to stand. Remember God’s loving promise of 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is all you need; power comes to its full strength in weakness” (NEB).

But Thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire.
What Thou hast done and doest Thou knows’t well.
And I will help Thee; gently in Thy fire
I will lie burning; on Thy potter’s wheel
I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.
Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,
And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.
                                                                George MacDonald
                                                                Diary of an Old Soul, October 2

Thursday October 1, 2009

These have been gracing my table all week. Aren’t they delightful?! I am looking forward to harvesting seeds soon. I have always loved sunflowers, and these just cheer me up every time I look out the window or step out into the backyard. So pleasant.

Keep your face to the sunshine
and you cannot see the shadow.
It’s what sunflowers do.”
by Helen Keller

Tuesday September 29, 2009

I have been having an email discussion with Mrs. Wilson lately, and she has been delightfully encouraging in her typical straight-forward manner. She never makes herself vulnerable, but she has a talent of pinpointing what others need to hear about themselves & their relationship with others/God/the world/what-have-you.

She reminded me, “God is not doing this to you, He is doing it for you.”

Of course, it frequently doesn’t feel like the death of my children is for me. But she’s right. I know she is.
And I think, as my darling Steven pointed out, it is for more than just me or us or our family.
Losing our three children has affected many people, and given us opportunities to minister to many people, and helped us learn alongside others to recognize the image of God even in little tiny people who fit in the palm of my hand.
(It has greatly expanded our view of what being Pro-Life even is; it has grown our view of covenant children in general; it has taught us to reach out to others in affliction; it has shown us to tame our tongues specifically around people in affliction… The list could go on and on.)

Anyway. She has an excellent new post. I could just link you.
But sometimes it’s nice to have it copied here for you too. And for my own reference, too, in the future.
When I need an extra reminder.
I need reminders frequently. 🙂

Dry Wells

I know that many of the readers of this little blog have many heartaches and troubles, and what I write can only address a tiny bit of a tiny bit of the many disappointments and discouragements that Christian women can meet with in all stages of life.

But thankfully, God doesn’t rely on me or on my blog to satisfy the hearts of His people. If so, we would all be sunk! Nevertheless, I hope He can and will use me to encourage some of you who have heavy hearts about miscarriages, infertility, or the unmarried state. And how can I do that? By pointing you to the excellencies of Christ. You have a Savior and He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He, and only He, can enable the Christian to find hope and comfort, satisfaction and joy in Him and no where else. So I point you to Jesus. Look to Him for help and strength.

And as you do that, here is something to consider. I believe that if you can identify your trouble as what the Bible calls affliction, then you will have a handle with which to process your troubles. This is actually a very good place to start. This childlessness, this singleness or widowhood, this loss of a child or miscarriage is an affliction, and the Bible has much to say about affliction in this life. God always uses such things to sanctify us, to conform us to the image of His Son, to teach us to follow Christ. It is good to be needy because we have a Savior who loves to bestow comfort in affliction, joy in suffering, and help for the helpless. If we never had need, would we have an idea of His matchless grace?

Afflictions are good for us because they are God’s schoolroom in which He teaches His children many things. Learn to listen and learn to be a good student in affliction. He does all things well. This is not an accident, but part of His good (though hard) Providence in your life. This is an opportunity for faith, without which we will not see the Lord.

The rest of the saints need to also identify affliction. When we realize that to be childless is a hard affliction, we will deal differently with our sisters who long for children. This doesn’t mean we will pity them in an ungodly or unproductive way, but we will look to encourage them. If someone is in a wheel chair or using a walker, we know that is an affliction. But loneliness and heartache can be camouflaged. So be tender of those women and offer them a hand.

Turning a profit on your troubles means that your goal in them, as well as in all of life, is to bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. So what opportunities has God given you in this affliction? How can you glorify Him in this trial? By trusting Him, believing Him, rejoicing in Him, showing gratitude to Him, and resting there in His grace for you. This is how we glorify Him, and this is what makes it possible for us to enjoy Him and our fellowship with Him forever.

I must close with a little from Samuel Rutherford who knew well what it was to suffer.

Dry wells send us to the fountain.

Christ chargeth me to believe His daylight at midnight.

Look for crosses, and while it is fair weather mend the sails of the ship.

Saturday September 26, 2009

But a Christian finds satisfaction in every circumstance by getting strength from another, by going out of himself to Jesus Christ, by his faith acting upon Christ, and bringing the strength of Jesus Christ into his own soul, he is thereby enabled to bear whatever God lays on him, by the strength that he finds from Jesus Christ. Of His fullness do we receive grace for grace; there is strength in Christ not only to sanctify and save us, but strength to support us under all our burdens and afflictions, and Christ expects that when we are under any burden, we should act our faith upon Him to draw virtue and strength from Him.
-Jeremiah Burroughs, c. 1600-1646

Friday September 25, 2009

For our Mommy & Tots fellowship group today, we concentrated on Proverbs. It was wonderful to read good, thought-provoking, godly articles; discuss them; share prayer requests; eat yummy food; and watch our children play together & learn about something called sharing. 🙂

My dear friend Elizabeth brought pumpkin muffins and a plate of super-juicy orange slices. And, by the way, Gabriel now has apparently decided that oranges are his favorite food. He had never had them before. He’s hooked!

The material for our conversation and fellowship follows, for your enjoyment & edification:

The woman of wisdom is tall in faith, but humble in spirit; light in burdens, yet heavy with grace. She does not always put herself first, but willingly steps aside and moves for the good of another. Her marks are kindness; her law is love; her heart desires purity; her eyes seek truth. She may or may not be well-known; the wise woman may or may not be successful in this world. She may be rich, or she may be poor. The woman of wisdom may have great talent or possess none; may have friends or be alone…………..

 Every woman of wisdom is unique, but every woman of wisdom is beautiful and has much to give and share. Her light is ever glowing, as she waits, watches, day and night, on opportunity to serve, to pray, to wait, to love, to ponder God’s word. And every woman who knows the Lord Jesus Christ can be a woman of wisdom. It is not beyond the reach of any, for Christ is always working in us, and He sculpts our lives with increasing purpose, as we, through the process of time, give more and more of ourselves to Him. Indeed, wisdom is a treasure to be won, and we will have a life of wisdom in due season if we continue in His grace and do not faint in our walk with Him (Galatians 6:9).”


Get Wisdom

The world’s definition of wisdom is the power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience, understanding, etc.; good judgment; discretion; sagacity.

Though this is a good working definition, the Bible has far more to say about wisdom, and it takes wisdom to understand wisdom. But let’s give it a go. If you just read through the book of Proverbs and take note of every reference to wisdom, you will learn a lot about it. Here are just a few things from Proverbs.

We are to get wisdom, pursue wisdom, seek wisdom, find wisdom, love wisdom, exalt wisdom, take hold of wisdom, and keep wisdom. All those who succeed in finding wisdom find life and grace, for wisdom is precious (better than gold, silver, or rubies), her ways are pleasant and peaceful, and she bestows safety, preservation, long life, promotion, riches, honor, and happiness on those who find her. Proverbs 19:8 sums it up: “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul.”

That sounds pretty appealing to me. What in the world could hinder us in finding such a great thing as wisdom? Lots of things, like laziness, selfishness, worldliness, ambition, distraction, greed. Which is to say, foolishness and sin keep us from pursuing wisdom. But at the bottom of it all is the unbelief that keeps us from fearing the Lord, for as we know, that is the beginning of wisdom.

God Himself is wisdom: “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew” (Prov. 3:20).

And He bestows His wisdom on those who seek it: Proverbs 8:17, “Those who seek me diligently will find me.”

Wisdom is a woman, but so is foolishness. So we must choose which kind of woman we want to be.

Wisdom keeps company with prudence, discretion, and knowledge. Wisdom builds while the foolish woman destroys; a wise woman receives instruction, heeds counsel, walks circumspectly, redeems the time (Eph. 5:15), chooses wisdom over riches, and understands the will of the Lord. She does not forget wisdom, but she keeps it, she does not turn away from it or forsake it, but rather embraces it.”Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom. In all your getting, get understanding” (Prov. 4:7).

Want of early discipline, passing over trifles; yielding when we ought to command —
how little do we think to what they may grow.
~Charles Bridges, Commentary of Proverbs~

Mothers in Proverbs

According to Proverbs, mothers are to lay down the law, particularly to their sons. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Prov. 1:8-9).

Mothers sometimes think that Dad is the one with all the authority around the house, particularly when it comes to dealing with the boys. But this is just false. God has established the authority of both parents in the home. Sons are to be well acquainted with the law of their mothers, and this is a good thing.  In fact, God tells the sons that this instruction and law are like a crown and a necklace.

Mothers need to establish their authority over their children when they are little (particularly the boys), but that includes bringing them up by means of godly instruction, not just by use of raw authority.  Children must obey both parents, and both parents must exercise their authority with wisdom and humility, knowing that they answer to God for how they are bringing up their children.

A mother who refuses to give instruction and correction not only damages the child, but also guarantees her own sorrow. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15). “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother” (Prov. 10:1).

Mothers have countless opportunities to shape, mold, teach, admonish, correct, and instruct their children in wisdom. Many things get in the way; many things clamor to distract mothers away from this their central task. But a wise mother will keep her eye on her duty and work hard at this important business of training up the next generation. A son who is indulged will grow up to be a shame and a heaviness. A son who grows up with a heavy hand will be embittered and rebellious. But a son who receives instruction with patience and love will be wise.

“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee, when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman” (Prov. 6:20-24).

Friday September 25, 2009

By night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest, 
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best. 

I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly. 
He bow’d his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry. 

My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears, 
My smarting wounds washt in his blood, 
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears. 

What to my Saviour shall I give 
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Love him to Eternity.

~Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)~

Thursday September 24, 2009

This morning I went to the “first installment” of one of the new book studies I have joined this fall. Ironically, both of the book studies started today — but they both meet at the same time! So since one is weekly and one is monthly, I am able to do both, I’ll just simply miss one meeting a month of the weekly one. So anyway… this first one is led by the mother of one of my dear friends. It’s a group of about ten ladies of various ages, backgrounds, and positions. The idea was to have some older women and some younger women, to work on emulating the principles in Titus 2. What a great idea, right? 🙂

The book we are studying is actually a “study course,” complete with textbook and workbook. It feels like something I may have encountered during my college days. It is called Five Aspects of Woman. It seems simple enough in concept, but once the thoughts get provoked and the discussion gets started, there really are so many ways it could spin off! The book is supposed to be teaching a lens through which to look, not steps in a how-to course. Looking through the entirety of Scripture, the author made five main categories which describe/define biblical femininity: Mistress of the Domain, Helper-Completer, Lifegiver, Lady of Wisdom, Glory of Man.
Today we discussed the introduction to the rest of the study, and the next three meetings will be focused on the aspect of “Mistress of the Domain.”

There are so many intriguing things that have come to mind already with beginning this study:

What does Scripture teach about women and femininity? How does it relate to women of all generations and all cultures?
How is God’s plan of biblical femininity different from the original created woman (Eden’s Eve), with sin (for 100% of women) and redemption (for God’s chosen women)?
How should we view ourselves as women of God? How should we view women in general? How should we view heathen women?
In Eden, God called the woman to take dominion alongside her husband — what practical ways can we (should we) be doing that? How do we take dominion of our own God-given domain, and how do we appropriately help our husbands as they take dominion in their domain?
How does my femininity complement and complete my husband’s masculinity?
Besides bearing and raising children, in what other ways can I serve in life-giving roles?
In what ways can I grow in being a lady of wisdom? How does this look in day-to-day living? If Lady Wisdom of Proverbs 1-9 was God’s helper and companion in creation, how do I emulate that in my relationship with my husband?
How can I be the most glorious crown for my husband? I know that I am my husband’s crown & glory, so how do I embrace that reality and make it more beautiful and more evident?
How do we, as the Bride of Christ, crown and show glory to God our Husband?

The main Scriptures for the study (although there are lots more scattered here and there — Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5, Song of Solomon, Psalm 45, Revelation…) are Genesis 1, Genesis 2, Genesis 3, Proverbs 1-9, and 1 Corinthians 11.

So at any rate, I will try to update occasionally (monthly, I guess, since that’s how often the book study will meet) on the discussions, and if I locate answers to any of my questions or if I come up with new questions… 🙂 You know, all that good thought-provoking stuff.

I’m really excited that this course will help tie together some of the recent books I have read, as well as another one or two that I have yet to read. This is a list of the books that I’ve read/want to read that would make great supplemental material to this study:
Passionate Housewives Desperate For God
The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Keeping House
Womanly Dominion
Created to be His Helpmeet
The Fruit of Her Hands
Building Her House
Praise Her in the Gates
Standing on the Promises
The Essence of Femininity (essay)

In addition, Mrs. Wilson has an excellent storehouse of articles on her blog that would correspond beautifully with some of the sections in this book. I was already exploring her archive to find some great snippets. You know, for supplemental supplements. lol. 🙂

Also… of course a woman’s book study must be accompanied by something delicious to eat! So I got to bring the treats for this morning — I always volunteer to cook or bake, if I possibly can! 🙂 I’m actually sipping tea and eating a leftover chocolate chip scone right now. It’s delectable. You simply must try the recipe for yourself. I actually made some cream scones (Gabriel is having one right now with a sippy cup full of cold milk) with fresh peach jam, too — but I am always such a sucker for chocolate. Hehe. 🙂

So are you in any book studies or Bible studies this fall??? I’d love to hear what you’re studying and learning, too!

Thursday September 24, 2009

The flower boxes on my porch are still full of beautiful blooms! I love it.

My morning glories have truly brightened up my summer. Most of them have been bright blue and white, but just this week we got some pink & purple glories! This one was all wilty by the time I snapped a picture, but it sure was pretty. 🙂

Some of the bulbs Steven planted a few months ago are blooming beautifully too.

Since we’ve been having an Indian summer, I have over a dozen tomatoes that are almost red enough to pick now! Here are a few of varying shades of “ripening.” 🙂

My pumpkins are continuing to do really well. I lose track counting them… it’s somewhere between 15 and 20. 🙂 This is one of my favorites, I think it’s just beautiful.

My mother planted a bunch of sunflowers in my garden for me; they are so cheery and delightful. Gorgeous blooms. I think I am going to pick some tomorrow to put on my table. The bees and ladybugs love the sunflowers too. 🙂

My Gabriel boy got his first bulldozer ride this last weekend! He was a little wary at first, but seemed to enjoy the fun once he got going. He can’t wait to move out to the country and be a true country boy. 🙂

Then Steven got a lesson in dozer driving. 🙂

And Gabriel got a work out, walking back up the hill to Grandmama’s house. He’s fairly insistent on not holding my hand these days, too. Boo. I can tell he’s thinking, “no, Mama, let me do it myself. I’m a big boy now!”

He also simply loves rolling down grassy hills now. He reaches his arms above his head, squints his eyes, and rolls. It’s precious. But hard to capture in a photograph.

Gabriel loves playing in our backyard. His favorite things to play with? Mommy, Dilly, and the cement “step”. He’s hilarious.

And a not-so-hot picture with Mommy… but I love my boy sooooooo much, that I don’t even care anymore. 🙂