Wednesday, December 23, 2015

they shall see

I am thanking God that unto us a Child was born.

I am thanking Him also that there was a pure-hearted woman prepared to receive that Child with all that motherhood would mean of daily trust, daily dependence, daily obedience.

I thank Him for her silence. That spirit is not in me at all, not naturally. I want to learn what she had learned so early: the deep guarding in her heart of each event, mulling over its meaning from God, waiting in silence for His word to her.

I want to learn, too, that it is not an extraordinary spirituality that makes one refuse to do ordinary work, but a wish to prove that one is not ordinary --which is a dead giveaway of spiritual conceit. I want to respond in unhesitating obedience as she did: Anything You say, Lord.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.

===
EE is saying it all today, every not so little thing ♥

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

hers

Still looking at Mary as the day draws closer...

"Hers was a hidden life, a faithful one, a holy one --holy in the context of a humble home in a small village where there was not very much diversion. She knew that the ordinary duties were ordained for her as much as the extraordinary way in which they became her assignment. She struck no poses. She was the mother of a baby, willing to be known simply as his mother for the rest of her life."

There's more, but this is my portion for this day ♥

quote from Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, December 21, 2015

beautiful boy

Yesterday, we shared in a lovely morning worship with lessons, carols, and communion, all the while looking at the manger in the shadow of the cross. And I as I sat, listening, watching, finding the Father's message for me for this week, this Christmas week, I could not keep my eyes from the sweet face of my son. As I heard some of our family history, including Abraham and Isaac and then later the Father and Jesus and Mary, my heart and thoughts turned again and again to Samuel.

Oh, the gift of these years with him! His face, his life, his laughter, his heart... and I think of Abraham, "Here I am, Lord"... and Mary, "May it be as You have said" ... and the Father planning from before the world began, to send His only Son... to me, to you.

And I am amazed, overwhelmed, awash in joy and thanksgiving for Christmas ♥

Friday, December 18, 2015

welling up

Cutest sweetling moment of the day so far...

M: I started crying today when they sang to the general!
S: What? When?

M: When we were watching White Christmas and they sang
to the general at the end... You know! "We'll follow the old
man wherever he wants to go."

S: Oh! But, uh, why'd you cry at that?

M: Sometimes the happiness just starts welling up and comes
right out my eyes!

Love, love, love my sweetlings' squishy hearts!
No stone here, nope! Not even any at all ♥

Thursday, December 17, 2015

a single note in a symphony

From my quiet time...

"The communion of saints takes no notice of location. Here or on the other side of the world or in heaven, all who love the Lord are included, bound together as a body whose Head is Christ.

When I pray I am often preoccupied or distracted, aware that my efforts are feeble and seemingly quite useless, but the thought that those distinguished heroes are to be perfected along with me (... and with you and with all the rest of the followers of the Lamb) changes the picture altogether and puts new heart into me.

Grand and mysterious things are in operation. We are not alone. My prayers are perhaps a single note in a symphony, but a necessary note, for I believe in the communion of the saints. We need each other. The prayers of one affect all. The obedience of one matters infinitely and forever."

-----
Oh, pray! Love and remember, take heart, and pray!
What would the world be like if we used our words in prayer?
Carefully, gently, deliberately, with true and honest heart --we pray.

Instead of flapping about on every subject, howling and caterwauling,
insistent upon being heard,  we set self aside, no rights, remembering
just Whose power it is that we have staked our lives upon --and we pray.

And together in great company, we trust Him ♥

quote from Elisabeth Elliot


Monday, December 14, 2015

keeping watch

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o'er each continent and island
The dawn brings on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor die the strains of praise away.
~ J. Ellerton

Just perfect for this day ♥

Friday, December 11, 2015

coffee with sprinkles

The sweetlings and I are sharing a celebratory cup of coffee just now... it's our last day of regular school work before Christmas, and we are all delighted! Come Monday, we will launch into Christmas school. Hooray! We'll turn to a different view of countries and cultures, and it's just so much fun. As we study and sing and bake and craft, we will learn just how differently folks around the world celebrate. I just love that all mixed in with our own preparation and celebrations.

What a joy to take a pause and look forward!
Here's to loving learning, Christmas-time, and a delicious cup times four ♥

Friday, November 27, 2015

watching over my Stuart's ship

Again this afternoon I am working with the Father's call on our every days. I laugh with such joy every time I see the word "stewardship" and recall one day when the sweetlings were little and they thought for sure I was talking about a boat belonging to a guy named Stuart. Once we were certain of our terms, we had a roaring laugh together. What fun!

I found a little quote tucked in my EE that paints a beautiful picture of the Father and stewardship, and I thought it might bless you, too...

"She delighted in seeing her (daily) plan upset by unexpected events, saying that it gave her great comfort, and that she looked on such things as an assurance that God was watching over her stewardship, was securing the accomplishment of His will, and was working out His own designs."

Oh, what beautiful perspective.
What a challenge ♥

Thursday, November 26, 2015

simplest

Jamie singing to himself and to the entire house as he makes breakfast. The joy he finds here with us, the way he makes everything more fun. His eyes ♥

Meredith sitting in her chair on the back stoop with a book, and Licorice close by keeping watch over her favorite person.

Samuel gaming, building, and running from room to room to keep us updated on his latest scores or projects or ideas.

Ila in the little fort she built just this morning, playing and practicing her songs for the concert coming up on Tuesday.


Beautiful blue! Skies so clear that you can almost hear them whispering, shouting joy and thanks and praise. Cool, crisp breezes just perfect for the day.

Turkey in the oven ^_^ Memories of so much fun yesterday in the kitchen getting all of the other parts of our meal ready for today.

Gentle quiet. Everyone home, everyone content and just "be-ing" together.

Having listened just an hour ago to "Alice's Restaurant" with Jamie. A silly tradition of many years now: we watch the clock carefully for the time (noon on Thanksgiving Day) -- sometimes we set a timer to be sure not to miss it, we grin, anticipating, and then we sing and laugh and sing again. Oh, his face ♥

Looking forward to seeing Dad (the shouts of "Poppy!!!" ringing through the house) in a little while and a lovely visit together. Memories of last night's celebration with Cookie, Linda, Johnny, Mel, Thomas, and Jeb. The joyful play, the visit, the faces of our family.

Missing, longing for those precious ones that we will not see today.

Knowing that our little family has a few more days together before we return to our every days. The gift of adventure coming soon. And the joy of Christmas!

This life. It's just so beautiful. This gift that the Father has given, all that He has done. Time. Time. Time. Every single moment. O my heart!

You'd think it would be the simplest thing to say thank you, wouldn't you? But I begin, and there is so very much to say. Each thing that comes to mind builds the joy, the gratitude, swells the tears, and once again I am struggling to find the words. The list will take all my life to recite, and that, too, is a part of the blessing.

And so, the words for this day:
Thank You, Father, for who You are.

Happy Thanksgiving ♥

Monday, November 23, 2015

precious Mrs C

Reading my EE today, and she is speaking of a precious lady who took the time to see her, to know her, and to be Christ to her. Here are the words used to describe her precious Mrs C...

Her radiant face was full of sympathy, love, and understanding as she listened. She would be quiet for a little, then she would pray and, looking up, cheer and strengthen me with words from God. During and after my missionary years she wrote to me until she died.

It was what she was that taught me. It was her availability to God when He sent her to my door. It was the surrender of her time, an offering to Him for my sake. It was her readiness to "get involved," to lay down her life for one anxious school girl. Above all, she herself, a simple Scottish woman, was the message.

A lovely, extraordinary testimony to who we are called to be.
As I read the above today, I circled the words you see in bold type.
What a challenge! What a call ♥

Monday, November 9, 2015

tiny little sprinkles of liquid joy

He was a little more than three feet tall. Wearing a navy blue winterish coat with a hood, he danced his way right into my heart this afternoon. I do not know his name, but I will not forget his face, his hands, his joy.

It was an errand day for me, so I was out toodling around town enjoying the rain. I love the way the rain makes the greens breathe and the fall colors pop. I love the laid back, gentle way that rainy days feel (even when I have to get out in them). And, yes, I love the music of the rain and the sprinkles on my skin.

Today I added another reason to my list of why I love rainy days. The little sweetling I described above brought another thankful thing and plopped it right in my lap as I stepped out of the car to go into the grocery store. This little guy and his grand were also headed into the store, but he came to a dead stop right in the middle of the parking lot. Face to the sky, grin reaching around to his ears, he flung his arms wide and high and rejoiced in the rain. He giggled at the sprinkly kisses of the rain on his face, and his precious grand joined right in. Oh, his face! Oh, the gift of a grand who didn't fuss or worry or hurry --but joined right in!

There are blessings all around if we are watchful. That wee little fellow packed a mighty punch with his testimony to joy. It's one I want to remember, and it's one I hope to celebrate every single rainy day from now on ♥

Saturday, November 7, 2015

just no one like Charlie Brown

Jamie, the sweetlings, and I had a lovely adventure this afternoon. We went to see "The Peanuts Movie" and enjoyed every moment! The voices were spot on, the story was charming, and the artistic touches were like a big hug. The designers combined a very new look with old school pencil lined sketching in touches to create something bright and shiny --and familiar.

For those of us who grew up with the comic strip in the newspaper and the original TV specials (Great Pumpkin & Merry Christmas), there was everything that we remember and loved -- and we still do. For the sweetlings there was lots of silliness and fun, and there was a great helping of cheering for the Charlie Brownest.

I cannot remember a time I have been to a re-make and been so thoroughly pleased. Mr. Schulz would be so proud! What fun to laugh and cheer together (of course you know the giggles of my sweetlings was part of the very best part).

We recommend this sweet adventure at the movies with our highest rating... five bees ♥

Friday, November 6, 2015

thanks & praise


From my studies last week, but this prayer just keeps coming back to mind. The more I study Daniel, the more I come to love him and look forward to meeting him one day. How thankful I am for his love of God and for the example of his life.

                                            Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
                                                    to whom belong wisdom and might.
                                                        He changes times and seasons;
                                                   He removes kings and sets up kings;
                                                         He gives wisdom to the wise
                                       and knowledge to those who have understanding;
                                                    He reveals deep and hidden things;
                                                     He knows what is in the darkness,
                                                        and the light dwells with Him.

                                                        To you, O God of my fathers,
                                                            I give thanks and praise...
                                                                                                                  Daniel 2:20-23

He changes, He removes & sets up, 
He gives, He reveals, He knows... praise! ♥

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

finding the thankful things

Last night at our meeting I shared a story with my ladies about my sweetlings and me and our quest to find the thankful things. The illustration I used was the story from a day a few years ago when Ila was struggling with her attitude about cleaning her room. You know those times when God joins in your conversation and supplies just the right words? Well, He did that for me that day.

I sat Ila down and reminded her that helping to take care of our home was something that each of us in our family has a part in and that it is the best way we can show God how thankful we are to have a home. I went on to say that when I have a job that I really do not care for, I try to find the thankful thing...

Q: Here's what I mean, sweetie. Did you know that I have to clean the potty?
I: Oh, YUCK!! No WAY!!
Q: Yep! I do!
I: Ewww! I can't even THINK about putting my hands in THERE!
(lots of giggles and silliness here)

Q: You're right. It's not a great job at all, but do you know what I
do when I have to think about cleaning the potty? I remember that
we are so blessed to have one! I remember that years ago outside
was all they had - and then for a long time there were these things
called chamber pots (explanation here and lots more "ewwws" and
giggling)...

I: I see, Mommy! Even if it's something to do like my room or the
potty, I can remember to find the thankful thing tucked in there
somewhere -- like that I have a room and a potty at all.

This has been our go-to story about thankful things for years, and I love the laughter and fun that comes with it, but even more I love the discussion that follows. The sweetlings get started and our lists of thankful things just go on and on. We are so blessed!

My sweet friend, Sheila, who was at the meeting last night, shared this with me from her quiet time this morning which was on the subject of mundane, repetitive tasks...

"It’s a matter of taking up each duty, no matter how mundane, humble, or trivial, and asking God to bless it and put it to His intended purposes. In that way we take the drudgeries of life and turn them into holy work, filled with unseen, eternal consequence.

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins said, “To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a [pitchfork] in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give Him glory, too. God is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean that they should."

If whatever we do is done for Christ, we’ll be amazed at the joy and meaning we’ll find in even the most ordinary tasks."

O the joy of finding thankful things ♥

quote from Our Daily Bread

Monday, November 2, 2015

the not onlys & an invitation

Studying the story of Rahab over the past week in prep for some special time with my ladies tonight, and I am blown away...

Not only did God meet her where she was...

Not only did He allow her to become a vessel used for His glory...

Not only did He allow her to play a pivotal role in the glorious military victory...

He wrapped His arms around her and invited her to go forward with Him.

(...and she lives among the Israelites to this day.) ♥

from the Book of Joshua
and Donna Partow: Becoming a Vessel God Can Use

Friday, October 30, 2015

most to give

"We are to measure our lives by loss and not by gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth, for Love's strength stands in Love's sacrifice, and he who suffers most has most to give."

These words fairly sprang from the page to take hold of my thought life today, and I have been working with them, weighing and measuring, asking...

I suppose in a sense we do measure our lives by losses in the shattering, distracting way that they change us from our foundations and forever. But I don't believe that I have made an intentional practice of turning loss on its ear and seeing the great privilege and blessing there. I have seen it in glimpses, known the truth of it -- in some measure-- but have not firmly attached the challenge and the joy to my heart and life.

But it's true. And I should.

For example, saying farewell to my mother. That loss changed me in elemental ways. My thinking, my perspective, absolutely every aspect of my life was touched in some way (and that is stating it quite ridiculously mildly) by her death.

Having survived it, living joyfully, purposefully in spite of that through God's great power and mercy, I can see and I know what others may not. When I meet someone who has lost his or her mom, I understand. It's not merely an acquaintance with an idea of that loss, I know down to my toes the fullness of the grief that attaches itself to you in that circumstance and will not fade. I cannot know precisely the heart of another, but I have borne that loss and can help bear that burden.

What a joy? What a blessing? Yes and yes.

I would not ask for it. If I should, well, I have to honestly say to this point, I cannot. And I cannot imagine a time that I ever would.

Today, though, I have come awake to the fact that there is a "more" there for me. It will be one of the great works of my life to purpose to see great loss, great challenge, great sacrifice as the gift of having something more to give. I can see these things as a privilege, a part of what the Father gifts to me for others. Whew! That is almost too much to write, much less do! But if only just, I can add this "more" to my list of thankful things. And I can add it to my hopeful things. As I walk with Christ, may He perfect these things in me. May he do what I know beyond knowing that I simply cannot do.

Enough for now ♥

quote from Ugo Bassi, via Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

the great care

Get rightly related to God first.
Be a Christ-follower heart and soul.
Maintain that as the great care of your life.
Absolutely everything else comes second.

On the peaks and in the trenches and everywhere in between
with Uncle Oswald & Matthew today ♥

My Utmost for His Highest
Matthew Chapter 6:33

Monday, October 26, 2015

stillness

"Stillness. Perfect stillness. It is a very great gift, not always available to those who would most appreciate it and would find joy in it, and not often appreciated by those who have it but are uncomfortable with it.

*I think it is possible to learn stillness --but only if seriously sought.

The stillness in which we find God is not superficial, a mere absence of fidgeting or talking. It is a deliberate and quiet attentiveness --receptive, alert, ready."

From my time with the Father and EE today ♥

* Psalm 46:10, Is 30:15

Friday, October 23, 2015

for this day

A little love note in my email just now...

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
do not fear fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41: 13

My hand is the only thing that you can grasp without damaging your soul.
Jesus Lives: Sarah Young

Thank you, Dad! Just perfect for this day ♥

Thursday, October 22, 2015

so beautiful

I look at them. They are so beautiful to me. Their faces, their smiles, their ways, their hearts have become the gorgeous symphony of my life. And I wonder... in the moments of my days am I making known to them how very precious they are to me? Even more, am I transparent, so that the life of Christ is visible to them in me?

O, my heart ♥

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

my model

"I pray for a clear eye to see through the fog of popular opinion, and a will strong enough to withstand the currents --a will surrendered, laid alongside Christ's. He is my model. This means a different set of ambitions, a different definition of happiness, a different standard of judgement altogether..."

By the Father's love and grace, wisdom and power,
to live a life surrendered, a life different ♥

quote from Elisabeth Elliot
Keep a Quiet Heart

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

group

Rejoicing in one of the thankful things this afternoon :)

I have the great privilege of spending my Tuesday mornings with a precious group of ladies. We range in age from twenty-something to seventy-something. Our daily days are spent quite differently, and most of us were not acquainted until the beginning of September of this year.  But, oh! How I love them! Already the Father has woven them into a special place in my heart. I come away from my time with them blessed beyond telling. The way they see the Father and the ways they share... I never fail to come away with so much more than I imagined or can express. The Father teaches me through them each and every week.

What a joy to be among them, to be one of the group ♥

Monday, October 19, 2015

cross out

"A young woman came in great perplexity to a Scottish preacher, asking how she could resolve the question of her own desires when they seem to be in such contradiction to the will of God.

He took out a slip of paper, wrote two words on it, handed it to her with the request that she sit down for ten minutes, ponder the words, cross out one of them, and bring the slip back to him.

She sat down and read: No Lord

Which to cross out? It did not take her long to see that if she was saying No she could not say Lord, and if she wanted to call Him Lord, she could not say No."

A "little" reminder from EE this morning ♥

Monday, October 12, 2015

over and over

crisp, bright blue skies
so clear that the faintest wisps of the edges of the pretty puffed clouds are visible

autumn-painted leaves
deep, rich oranges and purples on the tips of scattered branches dancing and whispering hello

the fields
lush green, fall yellow, and even the gentle, light green of brand new growth

What a beautiful day! Creation tells the story over and over...
He lives! He lives!

Prayer and praise, it's a beautiful testament to God's imagination, His power, and His love. It's a gentle, potent reminder of His grace and His mercy --which is brand new every morning ♥


Friday, October 9, 2015

miss m and me

My eldest sweetling is on my mind this afternoon. She has continued her habit of writing notes and leaving them for me on my bedside table. How I cherish them! This week brought a new day for us in the note passing. She wrote a one and a half page missive on her struggles and frustrations this week --and hand delivered it to me with a very stern countenance. She had quite a lot to say, and her eyes were flashing as fiercely as I have ever seen them! She stood quietly by and watched and waited as I read through the note.

I gave her a hug and told her that I wanted some time to think things over, and that I would talk through everything with her the next day.

Once again, I found myself thankful beyond words that the Father has made a way for M and me to communicate. Even when it's a big subject or a hard subject or an embarrassing subject, we find ourselves finding a way to share. O my heart!

Too, there is the method. She was angry to the point of tears about some of the things she had to say. But she did not scream and stomp. She used her words... on paper... with lots of capitals and exclamation points, mind you... but respectfully and with humor as well, knowing that I would read everything and that I would talk back through it word by word with her. So that I could make sure that I understand. So that she knows I am there as best I can be with her, trying, hoping, loving, hearing.

And finally, to find that she is struggling with, asking about, hoping for many of the same things I have (or am). That we are given a common ground, a place to stand together. Even though I cannot fully know her heart or she mine, we can relate, resolve, relinquish together.

Just counting up the thankful things this afternoon with my sweet girl in mind ♥

Thursday, October 8, 2015

just come

Is it not humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things we will not come to Jesus about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words -- "Come unto Me."

In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come, you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness -- "Just as I am."

As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to "come."

Spending some time with Matthew and Uncle Oswald today ♥

Matthew, chapter 11
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

lightning bolt!!

Overheard...

The children are running around like mad giggling over their current topic of conversation.

Jamie (startled when he realizes what is being discussed): "OK, not a single one of you needs to be spending a lot of time talking about crushes!"

Eldest: "I just can't help it, Buster! Lightning Bolt!!"

----------

umm...yikes??!! and LOL ♥

Monday, October 5, 2015

every promise

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace

For today, for every day ♥

From "My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness" 
by Fletcher & Bainbridge

Friday, October 2, 2015

dear elephant & piggie

Hi Gerald!! Hi Piggie!! What fun it was to see you both today. The sweetlings and I will not soon forget our adventures with you and your great surprise at finding yourselves in a play. We learned so many things from you...

that elephants can, in fact, dance!

that piggie playing the trumpet sounds like "a fish and concrete taco with a side of underwear" until you realize she is trying to speak elephant!

that ice cream heroes are still heroes even when they have a bit of a melt down!

that when piggie says she has to go, she really does have to go!

that when you bring a sweet children's book series to life you need very special people like TyNia and Tommy (and the rest of the crew at CtC) to do so!

that when you add an audience participation element to a show for children of any age, it is a gorgeous surprise and just so much fun!

With lots of love and hugs, QMSI

======
We had the privilege of being a part of Children's Theatre of Charlotte's production of "Elephant and Piggie's We are in a Play!" today. Simply gorgeous fun ♥

Thursday, October 1, 2015

lie quiet

"Neither go back in fear and misgiving to the past,
nor in anxiety and forecasting to the future;
but lie quiet under His hand, having no will but His."
~HE Manning

Not me, but Christ in me ♥

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

to let go

There is a dream I have been holding on to, hoping and watching with great joy for the day it comes to fruition. And honestly, though I know it has been a prayer of my heart for most of my life, I had no idea just how much it meant to me. Until today.

And today?

Today, I have come to understand that I am to let it go.

I don't know how. And I am broken in pieces.
Just opening my hand enough to allow my grip to loosen seems impossible.
Beyond that, I don't want to. How do I want to?

So I turn to what I do know.
Ask.

For today, that is all I know ♥


Friday, September 25, 2015

invitation

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, (not a liar),
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...

If you are a (wonder-er), come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!


An old favorite bit of word smithy for a day of celebration! Tipping my hat and pen and sending love to the precious friends of all my life ~ esp MtJ on her birthday ♥

Invitation by Shel Silverstein (parenthesis mine ^_~ )

Thursday, September 24, 2015

immeasurable

"Great thoughts go best with common duties. Whatever therefore may be your office, regard it as a fragment in an immeasurable ministry of love." ~Bishop Westcott

Working with this "little" pair of statements today.
Challenged right down to my toes in the way I see,
and so very thankful to be a part ♥

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

for today

The katydid says it as plain as can be,
And the crickets are singing it under the tree;
In the aster's blue eyes you may read the same hint,
Just as clearly as if you had seen it in print;
And the corn sighs it, too, as it waves in the sun,
The Autumn is here, and summer is done.
~ P Gardner

Celebrating the new season today with the sweetlings ♥

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

a single heart

I am created for God.
He made me for Himself.

This realization is the most joyful realization on earth. Now I must learn to rely upon the the tremendous creative purpose of God. He will force through the channels of a single heart the interests of the whole world. The love of God, the very nature of God, is introduced to us, and the nature of Almighty God is focused in the fact that He loved the world so much that He sent His Son...

To those who have been given so very much is also given the message, the challenge of sharing His love with love.

Spending some quiet time today with John and Uncle Oswald
upon the subject of the love of God and a single heart ♥

Monday, September 21, 2015

oh, sweet dreams

If I had a ship,
I'd sail my ship
I'd sail my ship
Through Eastern seas;
Down to a beach where the slow waves thunder -
The green curls over and the white falls under -
Boom! Boom! Boom!
On the sun-bright sand.

Then I'd leave my ship and I'd land,
And climb the steep white sand,
And climb to the trees
The six dark trees,
The coco-nut trees on the cliff's green crown -
Hands and knees
To the coco-nut trees,
Face to the cliff as the stones patter down,
Up, up, up, staggering, stumbling,
Round the corner where the rock is crumbling,
Round this shoulder,
Over this boulder,
Up to the top where the six trees stand....

And there I would rest, and lie,
My chin in my hands, and gaze
At the dazzle of the sand below,
And the green waves curling slow
And the grey-blue distant haze
Where the sea goes up to the sky...

Perfect for a Monday on the beach, our dear Mr Milne ♥
The Island by  AA Milne

Friday, September 18, 2015

in Him, all things

The sweetlings and I are preparing for a bit of an adventure next week, and we. are. so. excited. They are buzzing around like little bees, making plans, getting ready, stopping every so often to shout or dance. At the moment, I am covered up with details to handle before we are off, but to tell the truth, I am at least as excited as they are! It's a lovely gift to us all, and we are overjoyed.

I was reading my EE this morning, and there was a beautiful statement about God's gifts tucked in the chapter about prayer journaling...

"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best; therefore many things that God would give us, things even that we need because we are, must wait until we ask for them, that we may know whence they come: when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things." ~ G MacDonald

My heart! I do not want to miss Him anywhere! I want to be watching, careful, intentional about seeking and seeing Him in every single thing. And I am so thankful for the reminder to ask. This adventure gift is not one that I asked Him for specifically, but I am certain that it is a gift in answer to the prayers of my heart last week. How good He is ♥

Thursday, September 17, 2015

in the air

Each morning for the past few days, the first thing I have done when I came downstairs was step out onto the front porch and just breathe. The gentle, cool breezes are so beautiful, aren't they? The sense and feel of a new season arriving stir up joy that overflows into whispered thanks that I find myself repeating all day long. And I remember, and I do so every time I look out the windows or step outside again...

I AM.

The richness, the completeness, the everlasting, the love, the creativity of the Father is in the air with the changing of the season. All in wonder here and so very thankful ♥

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

never before

Working with this today...

"When Jesus rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life, to a life He did not live before He was incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before; and His resurrection means for us that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life."  ~OC

What a beautiful, unique perspective Christ has.
What a gift to be raised to His risen life ♥

Friday, September 11, 2015

upon the subject of thankfulness

... offering heartfelt thanks to the Father in all things takes us out of the stuffiness of ourselves and into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God.

... the simple act of thanking Him is a change, a redirection, a break from work and worry, a move toward re-creation.

...I want to see clearly what I have been given and to thank Him with an honest heart for every single thing.

... though I have only the faintest hint of the truth of His fathomless love for me, His most precious gifts to me, His wisdom in planning the days and years of my life, I thank Him with all that I am. From the roots of my toes ^_^ and clinging to the things He has made known to me, I thank Him for all that He gives and allows in my life.

===
As I worked with the subject of thankfulness this morning first thing, and as I continue walking with it this afternoon, I am overcome again and again by the privilege of saying, "thank you" to Him.

Among the endless things that come to mind, these are the foremost in my thoughts today. First is this life of mine. Oh, the gorgeous gift of being born in His imagination, being loved by Him, being alive on this earth. And then all of the moments of the days I have lived so far, the precious people and places, the things I have seen, what I have learned, the days yet to come, and the promise of forever. I am full to bursting just in these.

But there is more. Also, today, I remember with inexpressible joy my very first crew of friends. My family lived in Drexel from the time I was a baby until I was nine years old, and I remember that time with such a thankful heart. Those friends that God gave me then are now and will always be so precious to me. Today, especially, I bring them close to mind and heart and lift them up with laughter and tears. We said farewell to one of our crew on this day fourteen years ago. His name is Eric, and he served at the Pentagon. He has the sweetest smile and the truest heart, and Christ shone in his life here with us. He touched us all, and we love him so!

What a day! I believe I will close this way...

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace
Whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life my all
To love and follow Him ♥

Thanksgiving notes from EE and me
Verse at closing from a beautiful song of praise by Fletcher & Bainbridge

Thursday, September 10, 2015

where?

Cutest sweetling moment of our morning in school...

Samuel was working on an assignment using the dictionary. Not one of his favorite activities, but he was giving it a real go. It was taking a little longer than he would have liked, so Ila and I were cheering him on periodically. We had just settled into one of her activities when Samuel gave a shout...

"Where is COMPASSION!!??!!
I need some help here!"

Needless to say, help arrived and compassion was located (on page 253),
but not until after we all giggled a lot ♥

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

prayer & praise

Lifting up a new friend, Jennifer, and her family. They served as foster family to a sweet baby boy for a little while. Today they had to say goodbye. Praying for their family as they work through these next days missing him and as they trust God for the future. Lifting up the little one and his birth family, asking for the Father to make Himself known to them.

Rejoicing with our precious friends, Wesley and Haley, today as they received word that their sweet Bella has been cleared for adoption after three and a half years of waiting, praying and hoping. Praying with them as they work through the process. Lifting praise and thanks for the Father's hand in this outcome and for His hand in the future.

Pray with me tonight? Thanks ♥

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

quiet & holy

The sweetlings and I begin the second great adventure of our school year this week. Our classes and sports crank up. We are all excited (nervous-cited as Ila would say), and honestly, I am a little anxious about it all. Let me tell ya, it is daunting to look at all of the school work and activities alongside all of the classes and sports on one weekly calendar sheet! The truth that I am hanging on to is that I am certain that the Father has led us to the things we are doing this year. I know He will multiply the moments of our days and that all He would have accomplished this year will be.

During my class this morning, one of our teachers shared that, as Christ followers, "we are a quiet and holy people." Oh, how that resonated in my mind and heart!

Quiet. Not silent, but not obnoxious, not boastful, not belligerent. We are not snarky, not sarcastic, not cold, not hurtful... The peace that reigns in our hearts and minds allows us to, challenges us to live and love with gentleness in our words and actions.

And holy. Christ-like. The likeness of Christ in me. Him recognizable, more than that, Him visible, audible as I walk.

There was much more in our class time together, but that is what I will be working with over the next few days. What a joy to find refreshing and challenge ♥


Friday, September 4, 2015

so much less

Having one of those days here where I can see with such clarity my weakness, frailty, inability. In spite of what I know to be true about who I am in the Father and what He has done for me and with what He has gifted me... I see so much yuck. Places in my heart and life where deep insecurities and failures lie buried roar to prominence and bring me to tears. I am battered and sore and it is just barely the first hour of the day.

And then He stepped in. First with the beautiful trees out my bedroom window. The wind is gently stirring them today, and they are dancing. The greens are gorgeous, the life exultant. He whispers there to me each day as I wake up, reminding me that He lives and moves and is at work.

As I read my devotion moments later, weeping at the thought of Psalm 139 --of His knowing the thoughts I am scrambling and struggling to deal with today-- I realize that these words that so often bring me such joy and comfort are hard today. And then He stepped in again. With these words, "Be persuaded, timid soul, that He has loved you too much to cease loving you."

I slowly made my way downstairs to greet the sweetlings and begin our day together. Thinking still, "How, Father? How do I do this today?" I bark at them when there is a complaint about breakfast, and I am in tears again just with the simple prayer that Ila prayed over the food and for the day. And the Father stepped in again. We are reading about Dwight Moody in our Hero Tales book this week, and the focus of today's reading is this, "Strength is the power God gives you to finish a job, even when you feel weak."

As the sweetlings settled into their maths, I stepped down to the mailbox. And as I walked, the Father shared something more with me. I have been praying for years that the Father would make me beautiful in the sight of my children and my husband. That His life in my heart would reflect in me in a lovely way. I so long to be a gentlewoman in Christ. I know now that my prayer should be that He make me beautiful in His sight. That is the place in my becoming where they will see what they need to of Him in me.

And then I reached the mailbox, and He stepped in again. One of my favorite things of the forest was growing on the mailbox! LoL!  It's a tiny moss or lichen that we always called reindeer moss. That is not its true name, but it has little red dots growing on its upper ends that look like Rudolph's nose. So adorable and tiny, reminding me of adventures in the woods and of creating terrariums with my mom. It may seem a nothing to you, after all, what's a little moss growing on the mailbox? But for me, for today, it was the joyful exclamation point on the lesson.

Where I see so much less, He sees His creation in me.
Where I see all that I am not, He sees His Son in me.
Where I see only as far as the end of my nose, He sees the forever in me.

So thankful. Just so thankful that He would step into this day ♥

"Timid soul" quote from Archbishop Fenelon.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

always peace

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 
that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."
1 John 5:14

"...in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

"It is good to remember
that immediate answer to prayer
is not always something seen,
but it is always inward peace."
~Elisabeth Elliot

From my quiet time this morning ♥

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

for September

Just a little whisper
on this brand new day
of the crisp, cool wonder
that is on its way.

Just a few more days now
til summer makes its end
and autumn comes returning
as a long missed friend.

Just a note tucked here
a bookmark placed right there
plans to make for days to come
so busy, yet so fair.

Just a little while now
a pause, a prayer to lift
thankful for this season, Father,
what a lovely gift.

Welcome, sweet September ♥

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

confessions of a dishaholic

Such exciting news today! One of my favorite internet friends, Ree, is launching her line of kitchen products today. I have previewed the pieces online, and they are cute, cute, cute! The colors are joyful and the pieces kick-start my imagination. Oh, the beautiful tables to set; oh, the fabulous tea parties to prepare! I have yet to lay eyes or hands on a piece in real life ^_~ but I do already have a wish list going (that will probably, eventually cover all of the different categories, not just the dishes).

I am not selling, and I receive nothing for posting this note. Just had to take a quick pause to celebrate a neat accomplishment with a truly darling lady. And for those of you who carry the banner with me (you know that dishaholic one?), well you might just want to pop over to Ree's site and see the preview.

Here's to new projects, creative friends, and --yes-- dishes ♥

Monday, August 31, 2015

a secret


A little something fun Ila is working on this week...

We have a secret, just we three,
The robin and I and the sweet cherry tree;

The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,
And nobody knows it but just us three.

But of course the robin knows it best,

Because she built the --I shan’t tell the rest,--
And laid the four little --somethings in it--

I’m afraid I shall tell it every minute.

~Author Unknown

A sweet little rhyme that makes her giggle with delight while she does the voices and keeps the secret. What fun to hand my sweetling something that sets her imagination soaring and her feet dancing ♥

Friday, August 28, 2015

the great blueberry save

You know those days that you plan for? Those wonderful activities that you know your sweetlings are going to love and talk about for days? Well, I had one of those planned for today! In ECC (our curriculum this year), we wrap up the two week introduction unit on the Friday of the second week. We celebrate by baking a cake and frosting it to look like a world map or globe, complete with continents.

After the almost miss with the apple pie story last week, I set my list up early to make sure that we had the ingredients for the cake. Guess what? I forgot to transfer the ingredients from my white board to the grocery list this week. Ack!! Well then, Samuel and Ila and I stopped by the store yesterday to pick up a few things, but guess what? This "supermom" completely forgot the cake AGAIN.

Do you know when I remembered? Last night as I was reviewing our plans for today, it hit me. No cake ingredients, no pans, no icing. Yep, just call me mom of the mighty fail.

Now if you know me at all, you know I plan. I organize and fix and fluff and decorate. I make charts and lists (and tend to be a little overly enthusiastic about the whole process). All of that, first, because I like to ^_~ and also because it helps me not to forget stuff. Well, usually anyway.

So last night I shifted into, "Oh, dear goodness! What now?" mode. And just like He does, God stepped in with an idea. I know it was He, because I most assuredly would never have come up with blueberry continents on my own. I was rifling through the contents of our pantry by memory, when the blueberry muffin mixes tucked in there came to mind.
 
And the result? If you stopped by the house right now, you would be met with the scent of fresh baked blueberry muffins. If you stepped into the kitchen you would find cooling on the stove, not the muffins you expected, but a nine by thirteen casserole dish filled with Blueberry Continent Cake.

The best part of all? The sweetlings loved the project! They laughed out loud at the thought of arranging blueberries into the shapes of the continents on the top of the batter and had a blast working on it. They hoped and hoped when we put the cake in the oven that the blueberries would not sink or run all together. It turned out beautifully, and we are so excited to taste it for our afternoon snack.

The great blueberry save won't be something the sweetlings remember. They never knew the project today was meant to be anything but just what it was. They will remember the Blueberry Continent Cake and the fun.

But I will remember.

I will remember His faithfulness, His joy. A bit of His creativity, His imagination gifted just to me. His attention to what seems the tiniest detail in a world of bigger things.

I will remember, and I will praise Him for His love of the details.
And for the way He has His way and makes all things good ♥

Thursday, August 27, 2015

the gift of work

On seeing the work we do as a gift from God,
coming to us from the hand of God,
the very will of God for us...

If our children saw us doing "heartily as unto the Lord" all the work we do, they would learn true happiness. Boredom would flee and so would the attitude of entitlement so prevalent in these days. Instead of feeling that they must be allowed to do what they like, they would learn to like what they do. A living, working life of praise to Him who gifts us with all things.

Walking and working with this today with sore toes ^_~
Thankful for the reminder from my dear EE ♥

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

one and a half

Today we reached the one and a half weeks mark in our new school year, and the challenges came pouring down. It seems that the new schedule caught up with all of the sweetlings today, and everyone was not quite on-game this morning. We persevered through the morning hours and then took off for a little mission project for an hour or so around lunch time.

Amazing, isn't it, that when we take our eyes off of ourselves and look for ways we can serve others our whole attitude is transformed? What a joy and a blessing to know that the Father sees one mom struggling to help and hold her sweetlings and steps in with ideas, words, encouragement. He makes the day.

And  I am in awe, heart swelling with gratitude
and joy, for the privilege of living this one-and-a-half day ♥

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

a corn of wheat

"The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ,
and the characteristic of the life is its unobtrusiveness.

It is like a corn of wheat, which falls to the ground and dies,
but presently it will spring up and alter the whole landscape."

Spending a little time this afternoon with John and Uncle Oswald.
Dreaming the whole landscape green and growing ♥

John 12:24 and My Utmost for His Highest
 

Monday, August 24, 2015

If I Knew

If I knew a box where the smiles are kept,
No matter how large the key
Or strong the bolt, I would try so hard
'Twould open, I know, for me;
Then over the land and the sea broadcast,
I'd scatter the smiles to play,
That the children's faces might hold them fast
For many and many a day.

If I knew a box that was large enough
To hold all the frowns I meet,
I would like to gather them every one,
From nursery, school, and street;
Then folding and holding, I'd pack them in,
And turning the monster key,
I'd hire a giant to drop the box
To the depths of the deep, deep sea.
~M Wyman

A little something Ila and I are working with this week.
It made us smile, and we wanted to help you tuck your frowns away, too ♥

Friday, August 21, 2015

in review: this first week of days

What a beautiful week.

Mind you, not a perfect week.

A gift it has been, all whole.

The Father met me in the moments of it.

He answered so many of my prayers directly.

He let me see some things I needed to know.

He held our hands and hearts as the challenges came.

He was there as we learned, and laughed, and even cried.
He was there as we sang, and memorized, and prayed.
He was there as we planned, and sketched, and celebrated.

As I worked and watched, He brought to fruition the plans
that were the work of many years and most especially these
past few months.

And again, I am astounded by His imagination, creativity,
love and grace as I do these daily days with my sweetlings.

Given the choice of all the world, I would choose this time and place.
It is a miracle, this contentment, this peace.

Walking gently and profoundly grateful among the last few hours
of this first week of school days ♥

Thursday, August 20, 2015

can never tell

Immersed in beautiful music today as I look ahead into fall,
and I discovered this verse of Come Thou Fount...

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well

~R Robinson

Walking daily in His grace, His kindness
in awestruck wonder ♥

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

LaRue's Apple Pie

As promised, here is the recipe for the best apple pie I have ever put in my mouth, from one of the most precious ladies I have ever known.

=====
• 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
slice by hand or use coarsest side of grater
slice into salted water

• 2 pie shells
can be hand made or can use prepared ones
set out to thaw if frozen
 
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons AP flour
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
mix well and sprinkle over apples

• 1/3 stick margarine
cut into pats and place on top just before adding top crust

Place top crust. Be sure to make small slits in it to vent!
Put the pie on a cookie sheet to prevent run over.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

• 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
• 2 tablespoons milk
• powdered sugar (to consistency)
mix well, until glossy - this is the glaze
drizzle by spoonfuls over pie as soon as it comes out of the oven

Can be served immediately or may sit until time to serve.
 =====

Notes from my kitchen...

Apples: I use six instead of four, 4 Granny Smith + 2 Gala

Building the pie: I sprinkle a little of the cinnamon mixture in the empty pie shell first, then I add the apples and the rest of the cinnamon mixture in layers until all apples and spices have been added. It will be a very full pie at this point ^_~  but that's OK, it will cook down. Add the margarine pats and then place the top crust, pinching the edges with the edges of the bottom crust. Don't forget to vent!

Do not skip the cookie sheet! I have yet to create one of these without a little spill over. That is part of the best part, though. It looks wonderful with a little filling on the edges of the crust.

Glaze: Relax and have fun with this! If you have ever made a glaze for cinnamon buns or spice cake or anything like, you will know what to do. If not, add the powdered sugar slowly and let it rest between mixing. You will see the top of the mixture change from "liquid" to "glossy". Be sure to stop adding powdered sugar before it gets too thick, as you want to drizzle the glaze, not spread it. You cannot make a mistake here, really, so be fearless! What ever you end up with for a drizzly glaze will taste wonderful ^_~

Serving: This pie is wonderful served hot or at room temperature. You will not need to top this one with ice cream, as it is the perfect blend of tart-sweet apples, spicy cinnamon, and sweet glaze. It can be served as dessert, at snack time, tea time or even with eggs for breakfast.

For the best possible result, serve and enjoy with a precious friend. Making this pie comes, for me, with smiles and lovely memories and thanks to the Father for the gentle, gorgeous friend who first shared it with me ♥

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

how to make an apple pie and see the world

Making an apple pie is as easy as, well, pie ^_^ IF you have the ingredients on hand... or if the market is open. But if your grocers have taken the day off for some fishing, you are in for a bit of a challenge! In this case it's more of an adventure, but oh! what an adventure.

Have a little imagination and a bit of time to spare? The rewards are the best, freshest ingredients in all the world! The happy adventure is traveling the world to get them.

This is simply a precious book! It's a super fun read, and a grand way to begin the year when you are studying countries and cultures. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman is enchanting. Everyone in our house from youngest to eldest (ahem!) enjoyed it. The illustrations are fun, the colors well chosen, and the word-smithing spot on.

We laughed and tripped the world over as Meredith located all of the places we visited on our world map. And for the best possible ending? I was lamenting not having planned to make a pie today when I realized we had the ingredients! The children cheered, and we trooped into the kitchen to make an apple pie! The sweetlings chattering and giggling at top volume while wielding sharp knives is quite the adventure to be sure ^_~

So now there is a lovely pie waiting and warm on the stove for this afternoon's snack time. I cannot think of a better (stickier or more cinnamony) way to seal the lessons of the day, can you?

Hooray for wonderful books, apples, cinnamon and fun together ♥


PS • • • Years and years ago my precious friend, LaRue, shared her apple pie recipe with me. I am a Carolina girl, a mountain girl, and the daughter/granddaughter/niece of culinary wonders ^_^ and I have experienced wonderful apple pies in my life. LaRue's tops them all. Recipe here!

Monday, August 17, 2015

the first day

Today was our first day of school. If I could, I would jump and shout and dance a little right here, but I am a little weary in the best possible way this afternoon ^_~ It was a wonderful day!

I began it with this... "Teach me to treat all that comes to me with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all."

Continued later with this... "Love is very patient, very kind. Love never seeks its own. Love looks to God for grace to help."

And then finally this... "A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even a drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred."

And all of that was tucked into just the first half hour of my day! I hadn't even greeted the sweetlings with "good mornings" and hugs and cuddles and smiles yet, but the Father had me all wrapped up in his arms from the first few words of my time with Him.

It's going to be a gorgeous year -- ups and downs and upside-downs and all :) The sweetlings and I are traveling the world in our studies, in our projects, in our fun, and we are ready! We walked through our new schedule, hopped the US time zones repeatedly, learned some cool stuff and practiced some things we forgot to remember. We sang a little and read a lot. We dined in France for breakfast, Brazil for lunch, and in London for tea time. For dinner, we are striking out for Tanzania! I think that we will rest well and very well tonight!

Thanks more than I can say for praying with us as we began ♥

1st and 2nd quotes: E Elliot
3rd quote: A Carmichael

=====
Notebook Notes: I have updated the "our school year" tab with my study plan for each of the sweetlings. Our "what we are reading" tab has been updated except for this week's library books (will do this evening, I hope). I am adding a tag with this post that will collect the specific posts about our countries and cultures adventures all in one place (the tag is ECC). Hooray for school!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

the real world's story

From Meredith's heart for "the other ones"...

In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. And He made animals, and He made people. Humans. Two of them, Adam and Eve. They lived in a beautiful garden of Eden, and they talked with God, and everything was peace. There was no sin.

But there was one tree in the garden that God told Adam and Eve not to eat from. And Satan, otherwise known as the Devil, the enemy, and (by me) the Moron, tempted Eve to eat from the tree. Because Satan was jealous of God. Satan was/is set on turning everything away from God.

And Eve ate the fruit. Why? Don't ask ME. But she did, and Adam did, too. They sinned. 

God can't be with sin. So there was a barrier between God and humans. Now Adam and Eve were going to die, I mean, like they'd get old and die. Everyone would. And since God can't be with sin, we'd all go to hell. With the enemy.

BUT...

God made a promise. He said He would send a Savior to save everyone.

*****

It was some time before this happened. (Not everyone went to hell, though. Some trusted God and went to heaven.) When an empire called Rome was rising, and some had forgotten God, He sent His Son down to earth. This Son came into the world by being born to a woman named Mary. And He was named Jesus. As Jesus grew, He taught people about God. He showed them that He was God's Son by performing miracles that no person could. Though some refused to believe.

And Jesus lived without sinning. Because -- let me explain this -- sin has to be paid for. And if you sin, and everyone does, the payment is dying and going to hell. But if one man who lived a perfect, sinless life would die in our place, then we could be saved.

So, yes, Jesus had to die to save us. And they crucified Him. (I won't go into detail because it was horrible; you can read it in the Bible.) But GUESS WHAT? Jesus rose from the dead! He came back to life after that! Then, for a little while, He stayed on earth. Then He went back to heaven, and no, He didn't die. He floated up into the clouds.

Then two angels (God's messengers) appeared to Jesus' friends who had been watching Him go and said that Jesus is going to come back the same way He left. 

Later God said for them to go and tell everyone about Him. About how now, if they admit their sins to God and believe in Him and put their faith in Him, they can go to heaven.

*****

It has been 2000 years since Jesus was here. Things are very different. We have cars and electricity and stuff. We have improved medicine and so many things. And... people are forgetting. They don't believe Jesus ever came. They are becoming more and more sinful.

But some know the truth, like me. We are Christians. Some say we're stupid, sappy, religious folks, but we're really not. I believe in God. Because how, being so sinful, can we feel love and mercy without Him? And I can feel Him. And He's coming back someday. In a thousand or a million years? In one second? No one knows, but He knows.

He is coming. Sinners will be eternally punished. God's people will go to Him. He will make a whole new heaven and earth that are together. ~M

May all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear come to know and understand just how much they are loved, and just how critical is the truth. May it be as plain to them as this gentle telling from the heart of one who would, like the Father, have them all choose to be saved ♥

Friday, August 14, 2015

the other ones

I was working on my Sunday School lesson yesterday afternoon. We are studying Revelation this quarter, and I asked Meredith to draw her idea of the locusts from chapter nine. We talked through the chapter a little bit, and she made a wonderful, terrible piece of art.

Later in the evening, after she had gone to bed, she came back downstairs to say that she couldn't sleep. She was still thinking about our talk earlier in the day. I asked if it was the picture that she had drawn. No, it wasn't that. She said it was about judgement day and started to get teary. I told her that it was coming for sure, but that she did not need to worry. Jesus would call her His on that day and all would be well. She smiled and said that helped a little.

Clearly that wasn't the issue, so I asked her again what was upsetting her. "The other ones, Mom."  I asked her to try to use her words to help me understand. "The ones who will not be called His that day, Mom. It makes me so sad that there are other ones. Why? Why don't they listen and understand? Why can't they all be saved?"

O my heart! We went on to talk about the fact that God does not want anyone to die without knowing Him, without being His. He made us, we are His. He loves everyone so much. We talked about what Jesus did in His life here on earth and in His death. The joy of His resurrection and that He will be coming again. "But still... the other ones, Mom."

I told Meredith that crying for the people who do not know Him is a good thing. It signifies a squishy heart, one that is not made of stone. It helps us to always be watching for when the Father makes a way for us to share. I told her that is where the peace lies in this situation - asking the Father (as she prays for the other ones) to help her be ready to share, not to miss an opportunity, to know what to say, and to have the courage to speak up.

She nodded and smiled and headed upstairs again, only to return to me again with a paper in her hand. She has written something in her own words with those who don't know Jesus in mind.

I have asked permission to share it here and will do that tomorrow ♥

Thursday, August 13, 2015

four days and counting

Where did the summer go? I cannot imagine how, but it is mostly behind us now. The sweetlings and I begin our next schooling adventure on Monday! I am excited and a little nervous, and it all looks really enormous right now. For my part, things will settle in in a couple of weeks, and I will remember that I know something about doing this - lol! I wonder if the sweetlings feel that way, too? ^_^

We will have three weeks of getting used to our new school routine, and then the classes and activities begin. This year marks a real branching out for us. We are adding some things to our schedule (!!!), and we are all looking forward to the fun.

This year is also our final year before one begins high school, and it's our first year with all three in the same cycle. My heart aches with the passing of milestones even as I am delighted to see the sweetlings learning and growing so well.

OK, gotta stop writing right now. The big picture is making me teary and my "to do" list is a bit too involved to allow for a big cry. Pray with us? We are all in joyful anticipation of what the Father will do with our next ten months or so ♥


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

magic emeralds in the death star?

Cutest sweetling moment of the afternoon...

Ila came around the corner to my desk toting Samuel's Lego Death Star. She had rigged it with a string so that she could carry it like a purse. She sidled up to me and the following exchange took place in whispers:

I: Do you want to see the secret inside?
Q: Absolutely!

(Ila opens the Death Star to reveal a bright green ball that is actually Lloyd the Ninja's dragon's breath)

Q: What is it?
I: It's magical! It's an emerald!
Q: In the Death Star?
I: Mo-om, it's not the Death Star right now, it's a secret safe treasure holder.
Q: I see! Good idea!
I: That's right! No one would EVER guess that the magical emerald is in there.

(Ila walks away tucking the "magical emerald" into her pants pocket)

Q: Are you moving the "you know what" to your pocket?
I: SSssshhh, Mom! Yes!
Q: Why?
I: So all the villains won't find it, of course!

At the time of this writing the magical item of note is no longer in the Death Star or in her pocket. So curious to know where the sacred dragon's breath is now --hopefully still safe from all the villains ♥

Monday, August 10, 2015

from the caverns

My pastor shared this yesterday...

"No matter how dark a place may be,
it only takes a little light
to make a big difference."
~J. Bridges ♥

O to be a little light ♥

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

that's my dad

Spent the most delightful three and a half hours or so today. Enjoyed it more than I can express here, but I am going to take a turn at trying anyway ^_~ There were enormous, toothy smiles all around mixed with laughter. There were heart-deep discussions. We giggled and teared up. We talked health, friends, our own hearts, blessings, the tough stuff. Our family history is always woven in, and we cherish remembries together of so many of our own who are with the Father now. They are always present with us whenever we are together.

And his face. The way he smiles. The way he throws his head back to laugh. The lines - the glorious laugh lines. The way his heart shines full force when he speaks of the things the Father has done. The way he shares about the Father, oh the loveliest pictures of the Father in his face, in his memory, in his words, in his every days. His expression when he sees the sweetlings. His eyes, so much love there.

Just. so. much. love.

I am so proud of him, to be his daughter, to be his friend, to be becoming alongside him. I am so thankful for him. Just so very, very thankful ♥


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

it is He

"...when we find ourselves most hopeless, the road most taxing, we may also find that it is then that the risen Christ catches up to us on the way, better than our dreams, beyond all our hopes.

For it is He, not His gifts, not His power, not what He can do for us, but He Himself -- who comes and makes Himself known to us.
And this is the one pure joy for those who sorrow.

He makes something redemptive out of our broken hearts,
if those hearts are offered up to Him."

In my thoughtful spot again today with EE.
So grateful for the perspective ♥

Friday, July 31, 2015

strange ashes

Reading my EE for the day, and she is discussing the ashes that are left on the altar after an offering was accepted. She quotes a passage from Amy Carmichael, who taught her the implications of a living sacrifice...

The question:
"But these strange ashes, Lord, this nothingness,
this baffling sense of loss?"

The answer:
Son, was the anguish of my stripping less
upon the torturing cross?
...Yea, turned to ashes by the vehement breath
of fire, on Calvary?
...Oh son beloved, this is thy heart's desire:
this, and no other thing follows the fall of the
Consuming Fire on the burnt offering.

Go on and taste the joy set high, afar,--
No joy like that to thee;
See how it lights the way like some great star.
Come now, and follow me.

EE finishes up the thought his way: "I want to put down right here that I have certainly "tasted the joy." I cannot imagine a more wonderfully blessed life than mine. Faithfulness of a loving Father -- that's what I have found, every day of every week of every year, and it gets better."

===
How these things stir my mind and heart, my imagination is alight with the notion of strange ashes, of joy set high. My will and courage rise and then fail as I look to who I am. But then, I look to who He is, and I know Whom I have believed. I know His faithfulness.

So I look in wonder toward a higher plane than I have found ♥


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

linen paper squares

Six pencils, the best black ink ever, linen paper squares, Christmas music, and tears. These are the moments and flavors of this very unique afternoon. I have spent it drawing, sketching a tiny portion of my imagination in six colors --with love inked in.

I can't tell you the last time I spent a few hours making my own art. It was pure joy! I cranked up the Christmas music and sang and cried. Making art always makes me think of Mom. I can hear her voice, her laughter as I lay the colors down. And I am blown away and so thankful, and oh how I miss her.

These little squares are to be gifts, ones which I simply cannot wait to share. That is also a legacy from Mom, the gifting of "just a little somethings"...

What an afternoon. So blessed ♥

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

wave walking

Came around to one of my very favorite dates with Uncle Oswald today, and so, I joyfully give way to these beautiful words...

"God is not working toward a particular finish; His end is the process-- that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea."

And these...

"...if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious."

So, yes! Wave walking ♥


Monday, July 27, 2015

words of hope

powerful & simple

astonishing & gentle

welcome & crucial

fresh air, freedom & just like a hug

pure, clear, cool water & delight-full

Words of hope. They are life-giving, life-sustaining, life-maintaining, life abundant. And they are joy. They are the heart gifts of our days and years, when we spend time with the Father and He shares them with us, and when He places others in our lives to share them with us. They are our calling as well, to share as we go and as He leads.

So simple a burden. A beautiful, glorious privilege to be compelled to share them, to be gifted with the task of sharing them. How often do I overlook the opportunity to do so? How often do I choose the complete opposite kinds of words? Too often. Oh, Father, help me keep silent until I remember to choose words of hope. Remind me to set aside and turn away from the other kinds of words. Help me to remember the gift, the refreshing.

Today I had the blessing of being gifted with words of hope.
And I am overcome with the fullness of what they meant and will mean.
I am so grateful ♥

Saturday, July 25, 2015

just four words

Take a moment with me and open your Bible to Philippians 4. (LoL that some of you may be having Brendle flashbacks from FBC or EBC --or Bridges current day deja vu!)
I promise that I am not going to preach, so take a deep breath, and let's start again...

Now, read verse 6. You, like me, have probably read this precious verse hundreds of times. Yes? Now back up just four words. Read the last four words of verse 5 as a prelude to verse 6. Absolutely gorgeous, yes?

The Lord is near.
O, my heart ♥

Friday, July 24, 2015

keep a quiet heart

I don't know when I have looked so forward to a book as I am the one I am currently reading: Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. Reading one chapter each day during my quiet time, I am discovering blessing upon blessing. Reminders, rich lessons, joy, instruction, fresh perspective all ala the precious author's own heart are absolute gifts. Just wow!

From the first day I picked it up, I knew that this was the book the Father had for this time for me. It is straightforward and so very deep, the chapters are brief which suits mommy culture quite well, and the best part of all, I have something gorgeous to consider and work with during each daily day. ^_^ How thankful I am!

What are you reading that is touching your heart right now?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

beyond words

If you are looking for a sweet, gorgeous adventure story, drop by my precious Laura's blog. She is living in southern France this summer, sharing Christ. What fun, yes? It is a privilege and a joy to pray with her as she walks these days. She is a sweetling of my heart, and she has a lovely way with words. Here is a link to her blog: Beyond Words

Trusting Him with her days. Lift her up with me? ♥

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

perspective

It's so, so simple today.
A "little"something from my reading...

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world,
the Creator calls a butterfly."

So thankful ♥

Quote Source: Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, July 4, 2015

stars & stripes & puddle ducks

Started the day with 1 John 4. We love because He first loved us.

Listened to Ray Charles sing "America the Beautiful" (Miami FL 1999).

Three sweetlings splashing happily in the pool.
Laughter, so much laughter, play fueled with imagination,
a snack of fresh, cool pineapple, a day at home all together.

Hotdogs, fruit cups, ice cream and sparklers in a little while.

Later there will be fireworks with beautiful community, arms
around sweetlings, holding hands with Jamie, joyfully whispering
our ooohs and aaahs.

Thankful, more thankful than I can express to be where I am today.

Happy, happy 4th, friends ♥

Friday, July 3, 2015

choose, then

I choose. I am gifted with choice. I am neither slave, nor am I mindless.
It is up to me, for I am that well loved.

God made us. He wants relationship with us, and so He gives us the choice
of loving Him, obeying Him, following Him, walking with Him. He chose
to create each and every one of us, and He loves us so well that He allows us
to choose Him in return --or not.

I cannot make you choose, and you cannot make me choose ^_^ My choice is
my own responsibility, and your choice is yours. One day we will all stand
before Him in the choice that we have made.

But we must be sure! We must be very sure that we understand that no matter
what the world may say, there are only two choices. We choose Him, or we do not.

As we think, as we speak, as we act... we choose. We honor God with our lives,
or we do not. Either we are obeying Him, or we are disobedient. There is no way
to choose a middle ground or a gray area when there is none.

And so, we choose this day, and it's a forever choice ♥


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

whose?

God made us, and we are His. He is Creator; we are created.
We were made by Him for Him, for relationship with Him and to glorify Him.

It is not we who define ourselves, it is He who defines us.

What is critical is not how we see ourselves, it is how He sees us.

No matter what we say, no matter what we do, nothing can change the fact that this world --every person, every creature, every single thing-- belongs to Him. He has created us, and He has chosen us.

We are His. Period.

Now do we choose Him in return?
Well, that is a topic for another day ♥

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

beginning

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
~JH Sammis


This. In my mind, ringing from my heart, marking and measuring my steps as I have walked these past days, weeks, and months. This is the answer to the questions of the day. This is the irrefutable truth. Not what someone else is or must be... who He is and what I am to see and be.

This is where I begin writing for these days. Pray with me? ♥

Friday, June 26, 2015

so, so long

My eldest sweetling, Meredith, is a horse girl. She has been since the fall of her sixth year, and by the summer of her seventh, she was learning to ride English. So, so many years now... A large part of her heart dwells over the paths and little hills in the pastures and barns at Mrs Jatha's.

We learned during her lesson today that "Victoria," one of her first horses, will be put down in the next couple of weeks. Arthritis, age, and a few other things are becoming painful. Please pray with me for my sweet girl's heart. I am hoping she will guest write here in these next days sometime to share. It is going to be bones-deep tough. Thanks so much for praying with us ♥

Sunday, June 14, 2015

she's seven

How did it happen, sweet girl? One day Daddy and I had a surprise to share with our family and friends, and the next day you are seven years old. Sitting here typing a note to you while you are running in and out of the room playing makes me laugh! And it would make you laugh, too, if you knew what I was up to. You'd grin and put your hand to your face and whisper, "Mom! That just might be embarrassing!" And then you would laugh a big belly laugh and run off to further adventures.

There are so many things I could say... but these are foremost in my thoughts just now. I love that God chose you for us. Daddy and I needed you; Meredith and Samuel needed you. You have brought fearless fun and joie de vivre to our little family. No one lives as out loud and vitally as you do. You love with everything that you have, and sweet girl, not everyone does that. It is a gift to you and a blessing to others --and you carry it marvelously well.

You have brought music unlike any other music to our musical family ^_^ Yes, that is a silly sentence, but it is oh! so true. Your glass shattering high notes and your top-of-my-lungs impromptu performances have blasted us right into such fun so often. And the gentle, earnest ways you sing your heart to us when you think we aren't listening have touched my own heart beyond all telling.

These days some of your favorite things are cats (always!), playing with Samuel, sister time with Meredith, playing with Abbie, gymnastics, reading, playing in the pool, baby dolls and your Am Girl dolls, crafts, and celebrating. In school this year you loved reading, working with words with me, and math. Your favorite colors have changed several times this year - right now they are blue & purple. You love to decorate and do art and projects, and you are having so much fun riding bikes.


It has been a joy to grow with you these past seven years, and I am so excited for the next seven and the next and the seven after that... and on and on right through forever. I am so proud of you, Ila. It is a privilege to be your Mommy. You make the air sparkle and shimmer, so very beautiful you are.

Happy, Happy Birthday to you ♥

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

giving colors

Ila opened her Bible reader to color the picture from the story of Elijah and the prophets of baal today...

I: Mom! There's a dead bull in the fire!
Q: Yes, sweetie, it was the sacrifice.
I: YUCK!
Q: I agree, it's very sad.
I: Really, Mom! You would think they wouldn't put a poor dead animal
right in a first grader's Bible to color. How am I supposed to be glad to
do this work when I have to color that bull?
Q: (laughing now) Just color the fire, sweetie.
I: I know! I'll make that fire beautiful reds and oranges and yellows and
give the poor bull some colors, and I will remember how God smacked
those silly prophets.

All we need is a bright palette and a little perspective, yes? ♥

Thursday, May 7, 2015

of bald eagles and banana brains

Overheard...

I: Guess what!! Guess what?! I found a nest!! A bald eagle nest, and it has an egg in it!!
S: A bald eagle nest? Show me!
I: Look, Samuel!! See?
S: *disgusted* That is NOT an egg, it's a ROCK. Besides, bald eagles don't live here.
I: *now disgusted also* Just you look AGAIN, Samuel. Don't you SEE?

S: Ila, I SEE that THAT is a ROCK.
I: Well, it's clear! YOU are a banana brain!

How I love these two ^_^  They love each other to pieces and drive each other right up the wall - lol! When I spoke with Ila about the name-calling, she confided that she had been using her imagination. She just couldn't understand why Samuel couldn't SEE! "He can usually see EVERYTHING in my imagination, Mom."

What a gift to have a brother and best friend who is so close that he can see your dreams ♥

more than watchmen

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

Phrases from the pages of my heart from years ago, repeating today. Walking the late night walls and towers again, no songs, just his name. Just His Name ♥

Monday, May 4, 2015

music of my heart

Today as I have been wrapping up the preparations for meeting with my precious ladies tonight, I have been listening to the loveliest music! Hymns and praise in multiple parts, specifically. If I tried to pin down just what my favorite songs or types or styles of music are, I would be lost. There are so many gorgeous musics to love!

It occurred to me just now, though, that I know precisely what the music of my heart is. So many of you! If ever you and I have been in a choir or chorus together, a duet, trio, quartet or any other blending of voices in harmony, you are a part of the music of my heart.

So today I am lifting up, rejoicing over the voices that have touched my heart and life in more ways than you will ever know:

Choirs & Groups at FBC Drexel, Tabernacle, Fellowship,
Elizabeth, Putnam, and Mt Zion Baptist Churches

Choruses & Ensembles at Graham Middle, Graham High, Crest High Schools
and Meredith College

The sweetlings, Jamie and me with J's guitar
P - anytime, anywhere! (but especially our songs and singing through the hymnal)
JJQP around the piano, in the car
Standing beside Grandmother in worship at FBC Drexel singing hymns
Brendle cousin & family caroling at Christmas time
Singing with Kim at Fellowship - in worship together, choirs, duets
The staff Christmas Celebrations at EBC
Singing with Susan at EBC - in worship together, choirs, duets, quartets with our dads

Impromptu sing-alongs during mission trips, youth trips, choir tours ^_^


How I hope for and look forward to the day when we will sing together --all together-- again. The highest praise, the most beautiful blending of voices, harmonies and hearts will be the order of the day ♥