Saturday, May 23, 2009

gathering, baking, visiting, and other putterings

Today, I
  • went to friends' house where I gathered eggs, watered plants, and fed dog, fish, and cat their respective foodstuffs
  • tried my hand at angel food cake, since I have extra eggs... success!
  • visited with Grandma
  • plodded along in Ivanhoe
  • searched for quotes to add to my writing
  • cleaned the kitchen
  • admired the huge bunch of garden flowers bursting from a mason jar on the kitchen table
  • enjoyed a light pattering of sprinkles
  • quaffed plenty of coffee and nibbled a square of Ghirardelli raspberry-filled chocolate left from Christmas (I know, how could it last so long? I s'pose I have a habit of hoarding my stocking goodies for special occasions, or impulsive moments when I actually remember my hidden treasures)
  • looked forward to a family coming over tonight for tea, desert, and conversation... and maybe a little Speed Scrabble?
  • watched the Mother make homemade chocolate syrup
  • found this horridly-funny-yet-true quote:
“She's the sort of woman who lives for others - you can tell the others by their hunted expression."
~C. S. Lewis~

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aslan song

Good song I just listened to on Pandora Radio! Hope it encourages someone as it did me. :-)


-Kendall Payne-

Don't stop your crying on my account
A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve

No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me

Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind

Saturday, May 09, 2009

DVD giveaway alert!

Kim over at Life in a Shoe is giving away a set of amazing DVDs on subjects ranging from apologetics, family life, history, politics, and culture. I must say they all look fascinating. Head to Kim's blog and comment on her post to enter the drawing!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kindness Quotes

Colossians 3:12-13
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Proverbs 31:26
She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

If every man's internal care
Were written on his brow,
How many would our pity share
Who raise our envy now?
~Peitro Metastasio

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. ~Blaise Pascal~

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. ~James M Barrie~

To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving. ~Max Beerbohm

If we cannot be clever, we can always be kind. ~Alfred Fripp

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble. ~Rudyard Kipling

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~Samuel Johnson

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
~Adam Lindsay Gordon

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Of Jeeps and Joy

Has the Lord ever used something as silly as a finicky car to bring joy your day?

Today as I was out running errands, the Jeep decided to die quite suddenly. Thankfully I was stopped at a red light, but I'm afraid I panicked. One of my first thought was of the people in the pick-up behind me, but the gentleman held up a hand of patience, as if he knew I was stressed out and trying to restart my vehicle.

I tried turning the key. Nothing. Again I tried. After what seemed like long slow minutes (really just a few seconds) I thought to put it in park, then tried again. With a grunting, reluctant chug, the engine started! I waved a thanks to the guy behind me as I cautiously started forward.

"Thank you, Lord!" I felt tearful gratitude and a wave of relief wash over me. I finished my last few errands and drove home, all the while acutely aware that the Jeep might decide it never got enough appreciation, and would try the dying act again.

But God has rescued me in car troubles before, and He probably will again. Of course I know every one of them had a mechanical explanation for why things went wrong or right. But that doesn't make the Lord any less involved in my rescue.

Today I was surprised to find that, as horrible as car troubles are (especially to a panic-prone, over-sensitive, needing-to-control person as me), I am actually so greatful when they do happen. Because the remind me I'm in God's hands - and what could bring more joy than realizing that!?!

We're all like cars, actually. From the outside we might look beat up, or brand new, but only He knows and controls how long we will last. I could die any day. I have no garuntee or promise that I will take another breath, so in the meantime, every one I take is a precious gift. If only I would remember that all the time! That's the sort of adventure every one of us lives, every day, though we (or at least I) rarely have eyes to see.

In Prince Caspian (book, not film), Trumpkin the Dwarf has been doubting the existence and power of the great Lion, Aslan, all his life. He is terrified to meet the huge Lion at last, and even more so when Aslan gives him something quite different from a dry lecture.

“And now!” said Aslan in a much louder voice with just a hint of roar in it, while his tail lashed his flanks. “And now, where is this little Dwarf, this famous swordsman and archer, who doesn't believe in lions? Come here, son of Earth, come HERE!” - and the last word was no longer the hint of a roar but almost the real thing.

“Wraiths and wreckage!” gasped Trumpkin in the ghost of a voice. The children, who knew Aslan well enough to see that he liked the Dwarf very much, were not disturbed; but it was quite another thing for Trumpkin, who had never seen a lion
before, let alone this Lion. He did the only sensible thing he could have done; that is, instead of bolting, he tottered towards Aslan.

Aslan pounced. Have you ever seen a very young kitten being carried in the mother cat's mouth? It was like that. The Dwarf, hunched up in a little, miserable ball, hung from Aslan's mouth. The Lion gave him one shake and all his armour rattled like a tinker's pack and then - heypresto - the Dwarf flew up in the air. He was as safe as if he had been in bed, though he did not feel so. As he came down the huge velvety paws caught him as gently as a mother's arms and set him (right way up, too) on the ground.

“Son of Earth, shall we be friends?” asked Aslan.

~Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis~

I love it! :-) Sometimes I feel like that when less-than-desirable things happen. Often I think He sends things to remind me how little I'm believing Him. I may be trembling after He tosses me sky-high. But there He is, the King and Father, His smiling eyes alight with excitement! And I can't help but smile back.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Surprising Sunday

Did y'all have a good Sunday? Mine was very different and quite wonderful because of three surprises.

"Yes, we'll come."

The first sounds more planned than surprising, but since plans aren't always fulfilled, I'd say it was a blessing that God granted for it to happen.

Yesterday, we made a glorious Cobb Salad (which my mother was inspired to make from Miss Jen's lovely post), involving such scrumptious ingredients as grilled chicken, bacon, pine nuts, chives, parsley, mint, tomatoes, avocados, and homemade dressing, all atop piles of glorious homegrown greens. So different and delicious!

Such an abundant and scrumptious feast, which we prepared yesterday afternoon, needed to be shared, so we invited a young married couple over for lunch after church. Thankfully they were able to come, and we had a great time fellowshiping and discussing the sermon, gardens, government, and summer plans.

Where did you come from?!?!?

The second surprise came when I entered the sanctuary a bit late for church. The singing had already begun. And there was Jonny, my 22-year-old brother, standing in our row, back home from college when we hadn't expected him to get into town until this evening! What a joy that he could join us in praising God! It was not hard to have a greatfull heart to the Lord during the worship songs after that surprise, let me tell you! :-)

Not Safe, but Good!

The third surprise was the sermon. Anyone who goes to our church knows that Mr. Beard, our preacher, is rather unconventional. In some ways the sermons are predictable. We do expositional teaching from the Bible, mostly verse-by-verse, and very rarely does Mr. Beard preach a topical sermon. Maybe twice a year. But his preaching style is such that he relies on the simplicity of God's Word (with a blunt and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor) to keep attention.

But today's sermon, which did come out of the text in Acts we've been studying, was more surprising than usual. After Communion and the last song, Mr. Beard came up to preach- dressed in a hockey helmet and pads, gloves, pool noodles duct-taped to his legs as pads, and a surgical mask. You can be sure his interesting protective gear grabbed everyone's attention! He took the stuff off after a while, but surprises continued.

It was all about safety and risk, and the ridiculous lengths we go to to try to avoid pain and danger, when we actually can't. O course swine flu came up. How could he not use such a silly example of hysteria?

Here are some of my notes:

The most deadly thing you can do is be alive - it will kill you.

Sometimes we act as though safety were equal to morality and goodness, but are they?

Government: "It's against the law to do dangerous things! Let us protect you by making more laws about what you can't do."

Swine flu hysteria and other paranoia are clearly silly, but as Christians we often live as though risk is sin.

But Peter and John kept preaching when it was against the law, when the risks were beatings, imprisonment, and death. Stephan's speech before the Sanhedrin was not safe - in fact it seems calculated to point out all the truths that would upset them the most, and his reward was being stoned to death.

Moses, in rescuing his fellow countryman, was heroic. But he got rejected for it.

We have somewhere wired into us the notion that risk is evil. That losing our house, our cars, our conveniences, our comforts, is bad and sinful. But we can't prove that from Scripture! In fact, examples in the Word abolish that notion.

Was Stephen in sin to be so bold and say such dangerous things? I don't think so.

Main point: We are to live, not try to stay alive. Chose life! Trust and obey! Walk with God every day, and don't fear.

Safety is from God.

Stressing out about safety is an exercise in futility, because we can't make ourselves completely safe!

Of course, don't be stupid or foolish. Don't do dangerous stuff for the wrong reasons. But don't be bound up about everything in your life because you think it's all about to go bad.

Then he gave one of the best examples I have seen in a long time. Their family has adopted a little boy, A. J. who had been in foster care for nearly all his almost-two years of life. The Beards were his fifth family.

When they first had him, he was tormented by insecurity. Anytime Mrs. Beard took him grocery shopping and turned away from the cart (where A.J. was strapped) to get a box of Cheerios, he became unglued and cried hysterically.

The same thing happened when they strapped him in his carseat and shut the door - in the two seconds he was alone in the car, the little guy panicked and thought he was being left all alone,

He didn't know what it meant to have a secure loving family who would never abandon him. He didn't know their heart and intentions for him were always good, that what felt like abandonment and pain was actually for his benefit.

Now he does.

Last year the adoption finally came through, and our whole church rejoiced. The little guy is 4 now. And towards the end of today's sermon, Mr. Beard said, "Come 'ere, A.J."

I'd bet there wasn't a person in the sanctuary who was not smiling as his chubby little legs ran up the aisle, all by himself, and he climbed the steps to stand with proudly with his daddy on the stage. Mr. Beard picked him up, and asked, "Are you scared, A.J.?" A bold head-shake was the little guy's answer. Then, Mr. Beard put him, standing, on the front edge of the podium.

Now, the stage is probably a good 3-4 steps up, and each wooden step is fairly tall and broad. So he was up pretty high. I'm sure all the moms, and plenty of other people, were cringing at putting such a small little kid in such a dangerous spot! But A.J. kept grinning. Mr. Beard said a few more things as he descended the steps to right below A.J. then turned to his little boy, held out his arms, and said, "Are you ready?"

The little guy jumped right off the edge of that podium. And such a leap as A.J. took, so clearly trusting the strong arms of his father, but so clearly shocking to those of us who like "safety," was the most moving illustration I've seen in a long time of how we can and ought to trust God.

I too can jump joyfully if I really know God. Knowing His nature and character, I don't have to fear anything, neither poverty, nor pain, nor purpetual old-maidenhood. ;) I am safe in His arms. That's the sort of life I want to live. That's the sort of adventure He calls me to to have with Him.


Hope y'all have a glorious Monday, whatever you're doing!