Sunday, August 31, 2014

surely, surely

...these things I plan won't happen right away. 
Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. 
Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
~from Habakkuk 2

Jamie spoke on patience this morning. What a timely, encouraging blessing to be reminded that God's time is not the same as ours, and that the things He will have accomplished will indeed be so -- perfectly on time.

I look at the miles of planning for the days ahead...
I see the faces and hearts of my sweetlings...
I see my own hopes and dreams, delight in the possibilities, wonder in the promises...
And with a thankful heart I work to remember to practice my patience with awestruck joy ♥

Saturday, August 30, 2014

sweet duet

We are just two days away from the beginning of our school year! How did that happen? I am excited and a little nervous (Ila would say nervous-cited) and really ready to be in it. In the quiet of the afternoon tomorrow, I will put the finishing touches on the beginning with an eye to next June. Amazing to think what we will have accomplished by then!

With quite a few years under my belt now, I know that we can expect glorious days, sweet days, challenging days, meh days and just plain awful ones sometimes, too. But I am determined to be thankful for each and every one of them. What more priceless a gift could there be than the moments of the days to come with my sweetlings?

Setting my heart to the sweet duet of hope & promise ♥

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

firefly

A little light is going by,
is going up to see the sky,
a little light with wings.

I never could have thought of it,
to have a little bug all lit
and made to go on wings.
~EM Roberts

Living the last few days of summer with wonder here ♥

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

greens

I read a little note just now that said, "What inspires you today?" First, I laughed. It has been a cabin fever-ish day for the sweetlings, and I am buried in projects. Not so very much the picture of inspiration around here today ^_^

But then... I stepped into the kitchen to find that I am inspired by greens. Not collard, not turnip, and most certainly not mustard - nope! No way! (I do understand that some of you may find that these types of greens are a source of great joy, but for me they are among the things least likely evah to bring on lofty ideas or any kind of happiness.)

The inspirational greens are those dancing among the branches of the gorgeous trees in our backyard. As I stood at the kitchen window, which covers most of the back wall of the room, I saw the light and the breeze playing with the leaves. The greens are brought to brilliance by the light and they are deep, so deep with the shadows - and. they. are. lovely. Joyful, hopeful, inspiring! How? They bring me once again to the hand, the mind, the heart, the One who thought up colors and leaves and light and breezes in the first place. And once again, I am blown away ♥

Monday, August 25, 2014

so clear

Get yourself ready!
Stand up and say to them whatever I command you.
Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.

Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 1:17-19

-----

God prepared Jeremiah for the task set before him. He also said He would be with Jeremiah and would rescue him when the need arose. So clear is the Father's call and command. 

So it is also clear to me and to you...
Get ready!
Stand!
Do not be terrified! ♥

Sunday, August 24, 2014

the sharks won?

Hmm... I just finished re-reading The Old Man and the Sea. How I love that book! It is very interesting to me that I always begin it with such a joyful, warm feeling, so excited to re-visit old friends and the sea through those eyes, that heart. As the story continues, I live and breathe the ocean. The desperation of the old gentleman is not yet my own struggle - I am there for the transition of words to dreams, a familiar, wonderful perch from which I consider the way he lives.

And then, before I even am aware, I must bring in that fish!

I am lonely as he sits and talks to himself, wishing for his friend, the boy. I cry as I consider his hands and shoulders. When he finds himself face plastered to the raw fish he was to have for a meal, ugh - I need a deep breath or two. The size of the great fish overwhelms me when we realize it is larger than the boat. I am captured again by the heart of the gentleman as he finds such wonder in the beauty and the power of the creature of his dreams (and his most present reality). So proud when the challenge is finally, finally met -- and then heartbroken as the illusion breaks with his strength and the sharks come. It astounds me every time! The sharks won? Bah! Weary and worn and quite angry, I skip back a few pages to make certain that I read it all correctly. I did. And then we have to find our way back home.

Sounds just depressing, yes? Why on earth ever read that a second, third, fourth.... time?

Because beaten and bruised, weary beyond all telling, crushed from dreams mixed with harsh reality, my dear old gentleman friend is home again. He is quite busy, you see, resting and dreaming of the lions on the beach ♥


Thursday, August 21, 2014

so very small

I have been reading a little archive Ann V today, and among the wonderful things I have discovered in my notes was this question:

"Doesn't the significant, humble by its very nature, masquerade as the insignificant?"

Oh, yes, oh yes, it certainly does. Within a whisper of a moment, life and death are possible. A facial expression, an attitude given reign, an offhand comment, keeping silent when a word is needed (and vice versa), staying a hand when a hug is critical, the choice to hear but not to listen...

If ever we know anything at all, if ever we would be like Christ, we must realize that he chose to live each moment intentionally. Not a single thing was so very small that it did not matter. Not a single thing ♥

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

excellence

Even as you would not expect a garden to emerge
from throwing a handful of seeds into the wind in your back yard,

so we cannot expect our children to have excellence in their personal lives
by just hoping it happens.
~S Clarkson

More from my thoughtful spot ♥

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

what must I do?

Two stories:
One young man had great riches, and a marvelous life that he loved...
One young man had great position, and a marvelous life that he loved...

Both of these men met Jesus one day. Not at the same time or in the same place, but the same critical heart issue was at stake.

"Give away all that you have to the poor," Jesus said to the Rich Young Ruler.
"Why are you persecuting me?" Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus.

Both of these men were called to lay down what was most important in their lives and make Jesus their first priority.

"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth." Matthew 19:22

"At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." Acts 9:20

Their responses were completely opposite. The Rich Young Ruler turned away from life in Christ. Saul (also called Paul) became a missionary reaching countless numbers of people with the Good News of Christ's life and God's love.

It is so important to realize that we all are called as these two men were ~ called to make Jesus the first love of our lives, the first priority in our lives...

We have something in common with the Rich Young Ruler and Saul. It may be a relationship, a gift or talent or skill or job, an interest, a circle of influence, a material object. Perhaps it is that we are well thought of in the community, we have just the circle of acquaintance that we always hoped for, a way of life that we are comfortable in or so very proud of ~ something that is of immeasurable worth to us.

This is a lifetime challenge for those who love the Lord. Praying, watching, sifting, pruning - making certain that He holds the place that is His in our lives ♥

Saturday, August 16, 2014

light

Do you want to know one of the things I love?

I love sitting with the sweetlings in worship at church,
especially when J reads a Scripture that they know...
and one or all of them turns to me with a countenance of light,
eyebrows raised almost into hairline, and a delighted smile.

We look at each other and grin, we nod,
and then our focus turns back to the message.

But the smiles linger on...

Hiding His Word in our hearts... together ♥

Friday, August 15, 2014

prepared?

"Am I prepared to let God grip me in His power 
and do a work in me that is worthy of Himself?"
~OC

From my thoughtful spot today... ♥

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

sure, Mom!

A willing heart.

The littlest one who is busy all the moments of her days with play or art or running around outside or hanging out with big bro and sis or dreams or singing or dress up and save the world or discovering new territory in the yard... comes flying to me when I call her name, instantly ready for a project or a chore or anything I might have in mind, really. She just wants to be where I am, in my company, with me. O my heart!

Her answer to most everything I suggest or ask these days is, "Sure, Mom!" Those words and the smile on that face combined with an open heart and a gorgeous, gentle attitude are a gift beyond measure.

As I lift a prayer of thanks for such a one,
I also ask that she will always find a willing heart in me ♥

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

the process

In my reading in Exodus, I have just come through where God gave instructions for the tabernacle, and where Moses shared this with the people. Now, I am reading about the people bringing offerings and crafting the tabernacle.

I have been thinking and praying about what reason God may have had in including these descriptions and details over and over again in the Bible. I love what this suggests about the way He plans and prepares and gives attention to details, and I have written about that before. Likewise, I am in awe of the fact that He wants us to know what He would have us do. He gives clear instructions about how we are to live.

I think the repetition here shows us the process: God gives His instructions. We receive them. We follow them.

It seems so simple. You might even be thinking as I did at first, "Is that all?" But, truly, if you consider it for a while, it is enough and more!

How hard it is for me sometimes just to DO what I know He would have me do. I've read His Word, come to understand His instructions (received them), and now I need to follow through. Maybe it is a physical action, or an attitude I need to correct, or a new way of seeing Him, or He is calling me up a little higher...

God gave the people of Israel the very specifics of His plan for the place they were to worship and how they were to worship. He gave them a worthy leader - one He spent time face to face with and enjoyed - who would faithfully share and oversee all of the instructions. God gave the gifts: from the treasure they were able to bring with them out of Egypt, to the skills of the craftsmen who would make the furnishings and hangings. And when Moses began to call for the offerings and materials and work, the people did what God asked!

My heart's desire is that I will do what will please Him.
I want to bless Him and bring Him joy.

The process... a mighty and marvelous gift, yes? ♥

(re-discovered treasure from my journal)

Monday, August 11, 2014

end of day

Sweetlings tucked into cozy beds
Sleeping gently, feeling well, having had a lovely summer's day

Newly cleaned out (and up) car port and utility room
Jamie's time & attention given freely and lovingly to a honey-do wish, ty

August & September projects well in hand or completed
And the joy that is tucked away in there too, so thankful

Realizing at supper time that God's hand in this day was evident
in so many wonderful ways, all is grace - yes?

Quite time now here at end of day, so many sweet ones come to mind
And my heart is full thinking of you, lifting you up

Rest well ♥ See you on the morrow!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jane genes

Picture with me if you will a young girl resting peacefully asleep, when suddenly there is a full-grown adult mom standing, bouncing on the bed singing at the top of her voice, "Good morning to you! Good morning to you! Good morning dear (insert Ps & Qs), good morning to you!"

If you knew my mom, perhaps you can successfully recreate the scene in your mind. LoL! All of our lives Mom sang us silly songs of her own design (really, did you think Larry the Cucumber was the original source?). No matter the time of day or the geography involved, she tended to burst into song to our endless delight (and the strenuous rolling of our eyes) when least expected. One of my fondest memories of ASU was coming in from classes to find a song from Mom on the answering machine.

Well... now let's move forward to present day ^_^ I do hereby promise that I have never yet called my  sweetlings from dreamland with the masterpiece noted above. I do, however, find myself waxing lyrical when they need a bit of an attitude boost. The Jane genes kick in, I suppose, and no help for it. You may not yet have heard the classic "Joyful, joyful for your mommy..." (set to the tune of the hymn), or "Look up to the sky..." (borrowed from Chris Rice for use while creating hairstyles), and you may just be blessed for not having been exposed to such.

Here in these days when those things of Mom come bursting from my heart, how I thank the Father for having had her. Such joy, what fun ♥

Saturday, August 9, 2014

our Zeb & Samantha

Oh how excited the sweetlings are today! Our friends the Snyders are back in town and will be sharing a concert at Jamie's home church tonight. Zeb and Samantha are wonderfully gifted teens, and their music is a delight (mostly bluegrass but with the most interesting hints of other styles in Zeb's guitar work).

Jamie and Samuel were the first of our crew to discover this precious family ^_^ They went out for a boys' night concert (wow - four years ago now) and came back with rave reviews. The sweetlings have taken their dad every year since then to see the concert and share hugs --and they are looking so forward to tonight!

Here's to sweet, sweet far away friends come near again, and to the marvelous gift of music ♥

Friday, August 8, 2014

speaking of hope

Will you please pray with me? I have been asked to share with the ladies of our association on Saturday morning two weeks from now. Speaking Life and sharing Hope - what a privilege ♥

Thursday, August 7, 2014

teach us

Are you familiar with Alistair Begg? I enjoy hearing his heart so much. When I last heard him he was discussing sin, and as he closed in prayer he chose the following words...

"Teach us that Your patience with us is not a permission to us..."

O, my heart! What a simple, astonishing challenge to be faithful in thankfulness for God's patience as I try to live intentionally -- learning to walk like Christ, in grace -- and not with excuses ♥

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

essential

It is essential to practice the walk of the feet in the light of the vision.
~ O Chambers

Am I living in the light of what I have seen? Are you?

Has His grace gift, His love, His power made such an impact that is it unmistakably a part of the moments of my days? Such an integral part of who I am that He is visible in my life without any posturing or pronouncement?

The only way to be obedient to having seen Him is to give our utmost, to live our utmost.
Living life by the light of Christ, from striving to resting and every moment in between. Joy! ♥

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

boxes in boxes

When you saw the post title did you immediately think I'd mistyped the name of a Dr. Seuss classic? LoL! I am tempted to stop here and try a little poetry, but I will try to behave ^_^

There are treasures sitting all around my desk and our den today. It is box day! The glorious feel and scent of new books is adding to the excitement of the day. I adore books - oh my goodness, I do! Opening one that I have never read before, considering the possibilities of a new idea to teach, wondering just how it will all come together as planning transitions into learning.

My first thought is, "How thankful I am!" Too, my heart is full and my eyes are teary. It is huge, this thing that we are beginning again in a few weeks.

School is in my hands, on my heart, and bubbling all around my mind today. I find myself once again challenged to the extreme and looking forward with such a sense of expectation. Just can't wait to see what the Father has in store ♥

Monday, August 4, 2014

view choosing

We have in our care the 'view' of those God brings into our lives. That is a mighty prospect, is it not? What we choose to see when we look is completely at our own heart's discretion.

I believe that it is a discipline - that view choosing.

Just like we learn a memory verse and then take it to heart by recalling it when we are in need of "thinking on those things which are true and pure and good..."

We choose to love someone (husband, wife, child, friend, family) and then take them into our hearts by choosing to view the Christ there, the good there, the precious, delightful, the multifaceted depth there.

Now loving, really loving, means that we see it all. Knowing full well that there is a gracious plenty in each of us that is not lovely, we choose to love anyway.

We know that the person we love is wonky wierd, or sometimes selfish, or maybe has a bit of an enormous pimple on their nose... or has been crushed by a life trial, or is struggling to put aside an old habit, or just bugs us sometimes... or leaves their underwear on the floor, or changes the plans in the middle of the plan, or just can't seem to develop any tact...

But having acknowledged the truth of all that they are, we choose to view the lovely anyway.

We look past the current yuck (or the past yuck if we are holding on to it), and choose to see the touch of the Father's hand on the lives of those we come to know and love. We see them for the splendid one they are in Christ and for the richness they bring to our lives.

What joy to think of one another, to spend time together - when we are choosing that view... ♥

Sunday, August 3, 2014

seeing Him

How do I see the Father?

It doesn't take but just a moment to begin a list of the many names, titles, characteristics given to Him in the Bible. And I know that He is those things. First of all, the Bible says so, and then there is the fact that He has been and is those things to me - personally. I can look  over the days of my life and see Him as provider, sustain-er, hope, life, light, powerful, compassionate, loving, present, peace, grace, mighty, creator, planner... The list goes on and on, as I am sure it does for you if you know Him.

This morning about 2:30 something occurred to me. I so often see the friend when I am looking at/to Him, thinking of Him, or talking with Him. That is a wonderful thing! I cherish that view of Him and the relationship that we have. It is essential to realize that He wants that.

Honestly, though, there is another essential, and I do let it fade into the background of my focus sometimes. He is also the LORD Almighty: with strength, purity, majesty and so many other things that are far, far beyond anything that I can really get my mind (or even my imagination) around.

So, then, how do I approach Him? I know that He wants me to come boldly to Him as His creation and as His daughter and yes - as His friend. But I need to make certain that I remember into whose presence I am entering. Just to stand and kneel and lie in awestruck wonder... Just to humbly bow and be there... Just to praise Him in my limited understanding of who HE is, remembering what I have been taught and what I know...

I love seeing Him, don't you? As I spend time with Him these days, especially during my quiet time, it amazes me again and again. All that He has done and is doing and will do. All that He knows and sees that I miss or can't understand. I am awestruck, and shaken, and utterly aware of the fact of His grace - and more than a little trembly and unsure of me - but more and more certain of Him.

Too, there is the special blessing here: the more I see, the more there is to see. And that is  tucked alongside forever and the promise of the sight of Him unmatched in my experience thus far. Just wow ♥

(Rediscovered notes from my journal)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ideas & sticky notes

Do you have certain areas on your desk where the sticky notes go? ^_^ When an idea is born here at my desk, the first place it goes is on a tiny sticky note at the right top corner of my desk under the lamp. There it lives a little while to age into a full blown project. I fill every available space on that tiny sticky note and then the idea moves into its very own project notebook.

This time of year, there is always at least one sticky note there, and I even have to find extra spots around my desk for other stickys to live and catch my attention repeatedly. The project notebooks are also tucked around everywhere right now, and I am constantly opening them to add to the ideas.

This time of year is so exciting - and isn't that neat?
Every June-ish I find myself thinking that I cannot imagine another new school year in the fall. But guess what? As I pour out all year long the Father fills me right back up for the next go. Grace, grace, grace!  Every year there comes a day when I realize that I am so beyond excited for the new school year that I could just pop. I am surprised by it - every year - and it brings such joy.  He is so good and so very faithful.

Pray with me as I plan and prepare and write stickys?
It is a privilege to pray with you, too♥

Friday, August 1, 2014

gentle, awesome blessings

My mother's stew beef recipe is bubbling away on the stove... the house smells like a hug. The sweetlings are happily playing outside in the cool (dare I say it?), prelude to fall weather. Jamie is washing up jars for another harvest of honey from our hives. I am working on my fall calendar, back-to-school notes, and new church year projects. All is well, and I am grateful beyond words for the gentle, awesome blessings the Father has given this day.

How are you? I have missed you all, too, so much ♥