Friday, January 30, 2015

nine

I remember thinking that Meredith would be an only child. Nearly four years went by, and then we found out that you were on your way. Surprise! Oh, what absolute joy!

And I remember thinking, "Oh, another little girl! Just what Meredith needs, a sister, and we have all the clothes, and I am all set... I know what to do with baby girls."

Later, we went to see you in pictures for the first time. We were so excited! And then the doctor asked if we would like to know if you were going to be a boy or a girl. I remember smiling to myself (thinking "girl") and saying yes.

I wept when we found out that you were a boy. It makes me laugh so now, but I was blown away! No, not disappointed - not at all - but terrified! What will I do with a boy? I had no clue.

It only took me a little while to adjust my ideas, sweet boy, but even then I had no hint of a clue about the amazing things that were to come all wrapped up in you.

God new I needed you. He created you for Himself, but I am certain that He knew just how much Dad and Meredith and Ila and I needed you. The things you have taught me! One day I will tell you more about all of those things, but just for now I will say that I would be so much less without you.

You laugh with such joy that it is catching.
Your eyes twinkle like none I have ever seen before.
You love us so well, with such a gentle heart.
You ask amazing questions.
You play with absolute abandon.
You are a gorgeous picture of patience and caring.
You are a blessing every day.

Some of your favorite things to do right now are to build with your Legos, play soccer, hang out with your sisters, hang out with your scout troop, read about "The Sugar Creek Gang," play video games, try anything new... You love to meet people, you have a beautiful voice (when you will sing for me), and you have beautiful handwriting. You say you don't like math, but you are great at it. Your very favorite school-ish thing to do is science experiments, and you would do them every day all day if we could. You love to tell us jokes, but you get so tickled trying to tell one and we are all laughing so hard by the middle --that you have to begin all over again! I never thought I would ever meet anyone who got as excited about things as my mom did, but you do, and it is so much fun to be there when you are anticipating something.

I am going to tuck this note away for you for later. If I gave it to you now or in the morning, you would blush a little under your freckles and say, "Mo-om!"

You will be nine years old in a few hours, son. I am so proud of you, so thankful for you. These years have simply sparkled because you were in them. I am teary as we approach your "very last single digit" --but I am also looking forward with great joy. To watch you, be with you, grow with you as you are becoming is a gift beyond words.

So, I'll hush now ^_^
I love you, my precious boy ♥

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

beautifully

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible. ~Mother Teresa

Colossians 3:17 ♥

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

why do they?

Dear Mom,
   God loves everybody, right? Even the people who go to hell?
Why do they go to hell? Why do they suffer for always?
 Love,
Meredith

P.S. I don't feel like I agree with that!
I'm supposed to agree with God!

=====

I have asked my sweetlings to always, always try to communicate with me. No matter the question, no matter the subject --even if it's embarrassing or if they think I might not like what they have to say-- ask me, talk to me! Talk to me, whisper it, write me a note, sing it, rap it, send me an email or a text - whatever they have to do to let me know what they are thinking and wondering about.

I can't promise them to always have the answer, but I do promise that I can always listen, try my best to hear and understand - and I will certainly pray with them.

=====

The little note above was on my desk last night when I sat down. Meredith came by once she knew that I had had time to see and read it so we could talk it over. Sometimes she prefers that I write back to her (if the subject in an eye-roller or a cheek pinker), but she wanted a discussion this time!

She was upset and full of questions at realizing that she wasn't sure she agreed with God on this topic. I love her earnest heart, and that she would take the time to try to find out more. My answers to her were: yes, yes, they choose to, they choose to (along with a discussion that went something like this...)

=====

God does love every single person. The Bible says He made us, and we are His. It also says that He loves the world so much that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He does not want a single one of us to be lost.

God chooses to love us, whether we choose to love Him back or not.

God loves us so much that He gave us a choice. He did not make us slaves or mindless creatures. We get to choose whether to love Him or not. God is Creator, we are created. He gets to make the rules - period. Even so, he loves us so much, wants to be with us and wants us to know Him, so He made a way in spite of our sin (which He cannot tolerate).

Christ came to save us from sin - a debt of life that we owe and can never pay on our own - and He died for us freely, as a gift. If we accept the gift of salvation, not only are our sins forgiven, but we get to spend forever in the presence of God. The Bible tell us quite plainly that there is only one way to that forever - Jesus Christ. Eternity with Him (heaven) or eternity without Him (hell) - it is our choice.

It's the "people suffering forever" part that Meredith was most upset over. Why would God do that? Well, simply put, God doesn't do that, we do. And if that is what we choose, He loves us well enough not to make us do otherwise ♥

Monday, January 26, 2015

beyond

"I have never dared to dream
beyond what I've already seen..."
~Nordeman & Peacock

The sweetlings and I were riding along and singing with a CD a little while ago, and this phrase has taken up residence in my heart and mind in such a way that I find myself in my thoughtful spot again ^_~

Have I? Have you? Do we have our expectations set based only upon our experience or personal frame of reference? How small, how crowded and wearisome our perspectives can be! How stayed and stuck our paradigms.

I want to dwell and dream in the places of His promises:
"immeasurably more than all that we could ever ask or imagine..."
"no eye has seen, no ear heard, no mind conceived..."
"nothing in all creation will be able to separate us..."
"with an everlasting love..."
"for God so loved the world..."

Dreaming beyond... ♥


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

two journals

New projects! How fun (:
I am beginning today with two new handwritten journals.

One is entitled "As I Go" and is a place to jot down notes and sketches, paste ideas and articles I find that remind me to look up and out -- and then in. A collection of things that encourage me in my daily days, I hope it will be something that will enhance my walk with the Father in the hours of these precious days --as well as something my sweetlings can have later, from my own hand and heart to theirs.

The other is a nature journal. I have been searching for a personal research project and have found one in herbs. I have always loved them, grown them on and off, dried them for projects, sketched them, cooked and crafted with them. My focus specifically is the herbal knowledge, lore and traditions of the southern Appalachians. My nature journal will be a collection of notes and sketches, basically anything and everything I find that is interesting or lovely to me on the subject.

I have some great books with which to begin, but I would love to hear from you if you have or know of good sources of information. And if you happen to know of anyone who would have stories to share, I would love to meet them! ♥

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

able

...because I know Whom I have believed, 
and am convinced 
that He is able 
to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:12

Holding this verse close today, especially for those of our precious friends who have loved ones who have left for heaven lately ♥

Saturday, January 17, 2015

in heaven

Our precious Belle is with the Father today.

Please lift up David and Kelley, Taylor, Emily and Jack with us as often as God brings them to your heart and mind. It has been a joy and a privilege to pray for this dear family for so many years now, though we have never met. We will continue to hold them close with such love and with thankful hearts. Thank you so very much for praying with us ♥

Thursday, January 15, 2015

serious math

Cutest sweetling school-time comment of the week so far...

The girls and I were getting a bit chattery while Samuel was working on his math...

"Ex-CUSE me! Big, serious math going on!"

How I love that sweet boy ♥

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I sing

I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord that filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed where'er I turn my eye;
If I survey the ground I tread or gaze upon the sky!

There's not a plant or flow'r below but makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise and tempests blow by order from Thy throne,
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,
And ev'ry-where that man can be, Thou, God, art present there.
~I Watts

This wonderful old hymn is bopping around in my mind and heart today.
A most excellent following praise to the prayers of my heart from yesterday ♥

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

three

Three notes today...

...one from a missionary friend whose team member was attacked and died for holding meetings in his home and sharing about Christ. My friend and the rest of his team had to make tough decisions about their further ministry, and they have chosen to continue. They have decided that the Gospel is worth their lives. They are trusting the Father for the future.

...one from the Yopp family, filled with joy and praise. Camron is in remission today! He still has a long road (five years' worth) of waiting  as well as lots more chemo for an all clear from leukemia, but he and his family and all of those of us who have been praying have received the answer for which we were hoping. They are trusting the Father for the future.

...one from the Mitchell family, as they bear witness to the final days of Belle's (their seven year old daughter's) life here on earth. They are seeing decline every day - so quickly - though there are gentle moments of awareness and "together" still tucked in the hours. They watch and wait, praying still for time. They are trusting the Father for the future.

Lord! Lord! My heart. You are the One in Whom all of these things are made good. You hold each of these precious people, my own family, everyone in Your hand. You love so much more than we can understand. Help us as we trust You for the future ♥

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crisp Cranberry Rounds

Want to try a new cookie? LoL! That's just the loveliest question, isn't it? I made these for the first time ten years ago or more, and it was a wonderful adventure. These cookies are tasty as well as pretty, and they make a lovely tray or gift.

Crisp Cranberry Rounds

1/3 cup butter (do not substitute)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup almonds, toasted & finely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries, finely snipped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp orange peel, finely shredded
------
3 oz white chocolate baking bars
2 tsp shortening

Prepare baking sheets by using parchment or grease/flour. Repeat for each batch.

Combine butter, milk, and sugar in a medium heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat.
Stir in almonds, cranberries, flour, and orange peel.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about three inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Using the back of the spoon, spread each cookie to a two and a half inch round.
The above step ensures a thin, crisp cookie ^_^

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes - do not underbake.

Cool on the pan for two minutes and then transfer to wax paper.
Melt white chocolate bars and shortening together.
Drizzle over each cookie.

Enjoy ♥

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

perfect

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect"
Matthew 5:48

Our Lord's exhortation in this verse is to be generous in our behavior to all men. God will give us communion with people for whom we have no natural affinity. To be a disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God's interest in other people. (Love one another as I have loved you...)

God's life in us expresses itself as God's life --not as human life trying to be godly.  ~OC


A little thunderstruck here as I work with this verse that is so familiar and so challenging. What a joy to discover some of the "more there"...  ♥

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

whenever...

Whenever I'm a shining Knight,
I buckle on my armour tight;
And then I look about for things,
Like Rushings-Out, and Rescuings,
And Savings from the Dragon's Lair,
And fighting all the Dragons there.
And sometimes when our fights begin,
I think I'll let the Dragon win...
And then I think perhaps I won't,
Because they're Dragons, and I don't.

In my thoughtful spot today
with a little whimsy and undertones
and our dear Mr Milne ♥