February 2, 2019

Now vs. Eternity

What will help the Christian not to depend so much on their own thoughts, their bodies, their agendas and their dreams? When will the Christian turn away from serving themselves to serving God? How do we preach this to the church? It cannot be in a message that says, "God wants to use you." Or, "You are his hands and his feet...go and be Jesus to the world." These messages, while they contain some truth, still keep the Christian focused on himself, his choices, his lifestyle. If we are truly created by God for God...then we must preach JESUS. 

How do we fit into His timeline? There was a beginning...there is an end. 

Why did God create man with a will if it was His desire that man would give up his will? What's the point of personality and desire? How is God glorified when we pursue and get what we want? 

What if...?

We lived only for HIS will...not our own.
We gave up our desires.
We gave up our personality...our natural inclinations... to do and be what He decides. 
We were no longer irritated.
We gave up our preferences.
We received...good and evil...with the same faith.

I'm amazed by the early church. The apostles had all this God given power...to heal, to perform signs and wonders...but that is not what they preached. They DID NOT preach healing or miracles. They preached Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected. When suffering for the gospel they didn't ask for relief...but for courage, boldness to BE WITNESSES of Jesus Christ.

How am I a witness of Jesus Christ? 

Is it right for Christians to be pushing any agenda other than Jesus Christ? 

Why is Jesus Christ not our life? Why do I care so much about education and hospitality and liberty...all my hot button issues? What about conservation and health...the myriad of things that Christians promote and stand behind. Really, is now the time for all that? It seems that now is the time for Jesus and Jesus only. 

All the other things will come naturally if He is our all in all. 

We will naturally care for each other, our health, our communities. We will be patient and kind, we will have compassion, but we will...should...have clear boundaries. Sin will not be "tolerated," but confronted, because it does not honor Jesus Christ. We will speak the truth...It will flow naturally, especially as we engage with like-minded believers and grow in the knowledge of scripture. No justification...only death to self.

Too idealistic?

Lonely thoughts. 

I may take the leap...I want to...to live for Christ alone. I've proclaimed that as my motto for years, but the older I get, the more I see the hypocrisy in my life: mostly living by the rules...not for Christ, but for myself, my Christian image, my ideals...and most definitely for my comfort.

So many prayers for MY wishes and goals. So many tears shed when denied my requests. 

My biggest distraction has been unmet expectations. Where did I get these expectations? They have been the foundation of so many prayers, hopes and dreams. 

God is good to not let me go...He maintains his hold on me and my faith grows in spite of all His "no's."

Where are the believers that live Christ? Perhaps we don't hear often enough Jesus is...was...GOD WITH US!

Jesus is preached as a lucky charm, a source of power and blessing, the one who loves us, the one who paid for our sins...but GOD? GOD with us? 

Wouldn't we turn to see? Wouldn't we wonder more about him? Could it be true? The one who spoke earth into existence and knows the details of DNA and the stars, and the depths of the human soul...walked among us? could be seen and touched? allowed himself to be murdered? 

What news!! Where is the wonder in Christians over this extraordinary thing? At Christmas, when it is shouted out with every nativity, we push it aside and say, "Thank God for Jesus coming...otherwise we wouldn't have this beautiful season of Santa, shopping, parties."

Lonely thoughts.

Where are the Christians that want Jesus to be their all in all? Why do these thoughts feel so unacceptable...even among other Christians?

It's easy to care about politics and crimes against humanity or the earth. But this is a temporary life. 

Eternity should be our view. Eternity is our hope.

But most days, even with these lofty ideals, eternity is not what I want. 

Then, I am back again...at myself...to give up me and my wants...to give up temporary for REALITY. All that I want will be satisfied...that complete satisfaction is scary and amazing, exciting and dim...I look forward to it and fear it.

July 22, 2017

A loving sigh for July


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Outside my window...

A quiet sunny neighborhood. Where is everyone?
Where are all the walkers, bikers, runners?

Probably camping, or boating or enjoying the Lavender festival.

It's a beautiful day, why stay home? 

I am thankful...

For time to think.

I am wearing...

A blue blouse and jeans rolled up to my calves.

From the kitchen..

Asian chicken salad 
(extra cilantro on mine)

Ice cream bars for dessert

In our home school..

Light work

Sophia is maintaining regular Russian studies
N and N do Piano and Math daily. 
But mostly...
riding bikes,
making dolls,
Nerf gun wars...


I am learning...

About waiting, and trusting, and hoping against all odds.

My hope is built on Nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, His righteousness

I am enjoying...

This Summer

I am going...

to start a cottage school.

I am taking enrollments for this Fall, 2017
mostly (but not limited to) the upper grades.

Our curriculum will be

Ambleside Online

I  remember...

That Nothing is impossible with God.

I am reading...

"The House of Arden" aloud in the evenings with my family.
It's fun.

and countless texts, articles, assignments for school this Fall.

Around the house...

Clean carpets!
Last Saturday, I came home to all my furniture out on the deck.

My neighbor had washed the carpets. Such a kind gift.

I am hearing...

The door slam...again.

 The kids either leave the door wide open,
giving generous invitation to flies and mosquitoes,
or they SLAM it shut,
Ensuring  the dishes rattle in my hutch.

It's probably like that at your house too?

A quote to share...

(actually 2 quotes)

“The real secret of an unsatisfied life lies too often in an unsurrendered will.” 
~ J. Hudson Taylor

 For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. ~ Romans 14:7-8

What I am thinking about...

We need silence to come to conclusions.

Technology is loud.
Innumerable ideas and thoughts are passed out in a day.
How many of them are really my own?
How many of them are from God?

For me, the only way to come to any personal conclusions,
I must have silence, particularly from technology.

Children, Teens, need to come by certain thoughts independently in order to own them, to take responsibility for their beliefs.

The best place for this "silence" is in nature, away from technology.

Nature studies will be a big part of my school.

Some of my favorite things...

A view of the water, or the mountains, or a lush forest.

I'm so blessed to live in a place with all these in a single view every day.

A few plans for the month:

Don and Geri visiting all next week...Yeah!

August will have to plan itself.

 A Picture thought to share:

These same fields are in full bloom today...a deep rich purple.
I'll go next weekend when the crowds are gone.

Hopefully, the blueberry bushes will be full for picking too.

July 21, 2017

Waiting for breakthrough?

Nobody wants to hear that Trials or Suffering is good, but God says they work for us, the trials are accomplishing something for us and that it is an eternal weight of glory. (2 Cor 4:17)

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China 100 years ago, wrote, “The issue at hand is not so much the pressure, but that it presses me closer to Christ.”

I picture a "wall", the symbol of my trial, blocking me from what I want, closing in on me pushing me closer to Jesus, but I push against that wall, trying to reach around it to get what I want. Will I have Jesus without my desire?

Sometimes we talk about waiting for breakthrough, or healing, or SOMEthing. Whatever it is we are waiting for may bring relief, or peace, or happiness, but it is all temporary.

"...we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

Life is eternal. For the Christian, our life is hid with Christ in God. Jesus Christ is our life.

When Jesus died on the cross he said, "It is finished." It is done. That is THE breakthrough. His death, burial and resurrection is the Power, the Way, the Answer to every hope we have.

How can that be, we ask? I need a husband, a baby, money in the bank, a new job. How does His death, burial and resurrection answer my practical needs? All of your practical needs are pictures, arrows, stories of God.

We are created by God and for God.

This is the crux, the truth that determines our peace, our confidence, our direction in life.

Will we believe? Will we submit to this reality? Or, in an effort to keep our own life, will we live as if WE create life and live for ourselves?

I love that quote above from Hudson Taylor because it paints a picture of much of our actual suffering in trials. Sickness? Death? Poverty? Loss? True, the pain of these sufferings are NATURAL and real, but are these so much the issue as the reality that we are not sovereign?

We experience what we don't want so we pray and seek and beg for OUR will, our desires.

Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done," and He lived it when faced with the cross. Sweating drops of blood, asking three times for his desire, yet still, He said to God, "Not my will, but thy will be done."

This is Christianity. Jesus saves us, and then we live...for Him.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." ~ Jim Elliot

Eternal life is just that...eternal. It is forever, you cannot lose it. The value of it is realized through our suffering and in letting go of our temporary hopes.

March 10, 2017

March Again


Friday, March 10th, 2017

Outside my window...

The wind is blowing and I think I see the color blue.
The sun may be making his appearance soon. Will I recognize him?

All I know for sure is grey, white, wet.

I am thankful...

For my life.
With all it's trials, it is a blessed life.

I am wearing...

A turtleneck sweater: my uniform, lately

From the kitchen..

Smoothies a la Sophia

 Vegetable Beef soup

Bakery fresh bread with homemade pear butter

In our home school..

Book reports.

John Muir tales,
A Tale of Two Cities,
The Mandie Collection

I am learning...

How often we, Christians, act like Cain...like in the story of Cain and Abel.

We want God to accept our ideas, our offerings.
When they conflict with scripture (which an "Abel" may point out), the common
response is to rise up against our brother or sister in Christ.

We accuse them of being legalistic, or heretics, or worse.

Why don't we all just let God be God? Do what He says? Do things His way?

Perhaps it's because, in reality, we want to be God, or make God into our own image.

I am enjoying...

Coffee in a pretty cup and saucer

I am going...

shoe shopping for the kids then to the dentist for a crown.

Shoes and teeth...always on the To-do list.

I  remember...

Our neighborhood field trip to Great Wolf Lodge and
The Howling Tornado water slide I was coaxed to go down.
Why? oh Why?

What is so attractive about one's inner organs dropping to the floor while the rest of the body hovers in mid-air? I don't get it, although, once my knees stopped knocking together, I did laugh.

I am reading...

Missionary stories.

Going to begin one about Wilfred Grenfell.

The kids and I will start reading Hamlet aloud.
Not everyone is on board, but I think it will be fun in the end.

Around the house...

Emotions, Ideas, Jokes, Shenanigans, Fights, Emotions, Nonsense, Goals, Dreams, Emotions: Life with teenagers.

Still, they aren't as volatile as I was at their age, thank God.

I am hearing...

Noah preparing a cup of hot cocoa,
The fire crackling in the stove,
The silence of the girls in their books and drawings.

A quote to share...

The realm of God is not going to be refined self, reformed self, or any kind of patching up of self. It is going to be none of self, and all of Christ. ~ T. Austin Sparks (sermon titled "Furnace of Affliction")

I wish more Christians believed this.

What I am thinking about...

The word "Seem"

Seem: to give the impression of being.

To seem is only impression. It does not mean IS. Yet, so often I live, or feel, or decide based on how things seem rather than how things ARE. I can trust God because He is I AM, even when He seems like something else.

Do you understand?

Some of my favorite things...

Warm Days
Sunny Days


A few plans for the month:

Naomi's birthday...14!

Discipleship studies,
Teach PeeWees,
Teach at the Prison
, Drive, Drive, Drive and Drive.

Dream of sunshine.

 Picture thought to share:

Naomi baloney, my sweet macaroni, You're my pepperoni!

Happy Birthday, Lovey

January 31, 2017

The end of another beginning


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Outside my window...

Beautiful Sunshine!

Also, an Akita that cannot decide whether to bite or play.
He is afraid of me but, aggressive towards the kids.

Who does he belong to, I wonder?

I am thankful...

for sure footings, solid foundations, clear paths.

I am wearing...

a heavy shawl.

Even with the sunshine, I'm COLD.

From the kitchen...

 Pots of tea and a warm apple crisp.

In our home school...

Our daily grind:

I am creating...

Preparations for a few gatherings in my home this month.

I am enjoying...

Thoughts of my future. Can you believe it?
Laugh with me, it's been a long time.

I am going... 

To make a good trade with Noah.

Cheers to a clean car!

I  remember...

a recurring dream in which I face an intense temptation.
I usually wake up disappointed in myself wondering about the purpose of the dream.
Last night, however, I faced the temptation head-on with strength and determination.

I woke up rejoicing!

What was the point?
An imaginary conflict, an imaginary victory...
but real adrenalin, real joy?
 Life is a mystery at times.

I am reading...

My usual friends.

Around the house...

Three teenagers engaged in their projects

I am hearing...

The crackling of the fire, the blowing of the fan, the mumblings of quiet conversations.

A quote to share...

"In every man there is a loneliness, a chamber into which only God can enter."

~ George MacDonald

I used to avoid that lonely place, but now I often run there for peace, or direction, even joy.

What I am thinking about...

People believe what they want to believe.
Truth doesn't matter...only desire.

If the Truth doesn't feel good, just get rid of it.

An uncomfortable rock is exchanged for soft sand...sinking sand.

Some of my favorite things...

Sunny days
Snow capped mountains
Singing birds

Spring waving hello from a distance.

Come closer, Spring!

A few plans for the month:

Visits with old and new friends,
Teaching at home and the prison,
Parties and classes.

And pansies...for my table, for my kitchen window, for my dresser.

 A Picture thought to share:

December 27, 2016

December daybook


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hello again. It's been a while

Outside my window...

A dwindling wood pile.

I am thankful...

For simple, quiet days at home.

I am wearing...

Coziness: my softest sweater(s) and warmest socks.

From the kitchen..

 Beef tips in gravy over mashed cauliflower and potatoes with
 Ceasar salad.

In our home school..

We're back in Kindergarten this week:
Playing games, working puzzles, coloring in books, eating lots of cookies.

I am creating...

Stories of unlikely friendships for my collection. The most recent, Miss Monotony.

I am enjoying...

My vacation, and
sleeping in every day.

I am going... 

Ice skating with my kids and their friends tomorrow.

(Read: watching from the sidelines while gabbing with the other moms)

I  remember...

Making a fool of myself singing karaoke at our neighborhood Christmas party.
It's my way of making everyone feel better about themselves.

I am reading...

The new Bible I got for Christmas.

It's lovely, black, hard cover, with my name inscribed in gold letters.
The old one was falling apart, past repair.

Around the house...

Evidence of much relaxation

I am hearing...

Squabbling, playing, laughing, running down the stairs too fast, stomping up the stairs too loud.

The fire crackling in the wood stove.

A quote to share...

"No man can be a Christian by knowingly and willingly taking Christ on the installment plan, as Savior now, and Lord later."

~ Vance Havner

(love that old preacher)

What I am thinking about...

2016 was a good year.

Lot of growing up: learning to do hard things, to not be afraid, to endure.

I wonder what next year holds?

Some of my favorite things...

New colored pencils for Christmas.
Sophia playing 'O Holy Night' on her violin.
Naomi giggling and squealing over any gift.
Noah with an armload of firewood. 

A few plans for the month:

Busy, busy days ahead.

Weekly Patch Kids meetings
Teach at ladies prison one Saturday
Dentist appointments
Archery classes
Chauffeuring here and there
Driving my morning and afternoon routes

 Picture thoughts to share:

Home sweet Home

Sophia being artistic with her phone

Special heirlooms, valuable because of the loved ones who owned them before me.

August 13, 2016

My friend, Simplicity

Silence is a welcome guest this Saturday afternoon. I spent the morning changing sheets, cooking, cleaning then cooking and cleaning again. All my preparations for teaching Sunday school are completed.

Finally, I enjoy the silence of the afternoon, watching the warm breeze blow the lace curtains, the birds fly from here to there, the cottonwood tree wink at me. My thoughts come out from behind To-Do lists to play. Memories, stories and conversations past invite me to remember.

Money was always tight when my children were young. I sigh with a smile as I look back. Simplicity emerges crowned with gentle beauty and I recall mud pies in the back yard, hours spent painting rocks, a swing hung in the magnolia tree.

The television broke when Noah was a baby; we never replaced it. Every other Saturday we would drive to Port Townsend to go to the beach. The children would play in the sand or enjoy sometimes cold or windy walks on the trails.

Snacks were simple: chips and avocado slices or apples dipped in peanut butter. The long drive meeting the joy of the destination turned any food into a happy picnic. Occasionally, though, we would splurge on clam chowder and hot crab dip. Those were special times. The tea was savored and the children sat nicely knowing it was a privilege to enjoy such luxuries.

Birthdays tested our friendship because of my longing to celebrate full force. Tears blurred my vision of the few small bills and pile of coins spread before me. Just as Jealousy and Self-Pity were about to comfort, my beautiful friend, Simplicity, would blow in laughing joyfully at my riches.

A balloon tied to a chair and breakfast turned into a smiley face became tradition. Each member of the family took a quarter of the chalk board to create a personal message while the birthday child was loaded down with homemade cards rife with secret messages, riddles, mazes, or puzzles. Small presents wrapped and decorated with whatever could be found were oohed and aahed over.

I don’t know how she did it, but Simplicity had her way for years. With beaming smiles, a whole roll of lifesavers, a page of stickers, a simple toy became treasures to cherish.

Life is not so easy now. Simplicity is too quiet in these noisy days. Facebook, Pinterest, and “keeping up with the Jones's” clamor for attention and promise much more. Entertainment, Fashion, Camps, Classes, and Bucket-lists, so flashy and loud consume our time.

But, sometimes, twelve-year old Noah comes home content after a solitary walk in the morning air. Sometimes, the evening is spent in gentle hours reading aloud George MacDonald or Mark Twain. Sometimes, Grandpa visits and we sing southern gospel favorites or press Sophia to play hymns on her violin well into the night. The doors are locked, the lights turned off, and as we say, “Goodnight,” we add, “What a great time!”

I see Simplicity beaming with beauty, having gotten her way again. I’m glad for her friendship, a true gift from God.