April 30, 2014

Let's have tea!



I am having...

Hot peppermint tea.

I added drops of peppermint essential oil for my health.

I am feeling...

Tired from rising so early.

I went for a long morning walk...so good for clearing my mind and praying.
I enjoyed looking up to see the rising sun touch the tops of the trees first.

Have you noticed the tree tops and the mountain peaks always enjoy the first and last light of the day?

After serving my children a nice meal, I will rest for the evening.

I wish you were here.
You could share dinner with us and later put your feet up while we sip tea together.

On my mind... 

These days of "peace and safety" seem short.

What a tumultuous time we are in...do you feel it?

I'm determined to make every day as beautiful as possible and to be thankful.

I am thankful for...

 the HOT SUN...it was a glorious 82 degrees today.
Far and wide Washingtonians have contracted "psummeritis."

There was no school today, and classes may be cancelled tomorrow too!
Rain is expected for the weekend so this "illness" will soon pass.

Some pictures to share...


Sophia took this photo yesterday. 

The crow nearby is a reminder that there is always something in life to provoke us.

Ah, but the eagle flies higher than the crow!!


She also took this picture...at my request. 

I love how the light streams through the forest!

Isn't it beautiful?

April 28, 2014

Rich in need

There are days when it seems like just one more thing will overwhelm you. Your strength is waning, the needs are mounting and you are left in a heap. With seemingly nothing to give, no time, no strength, no ideas, you feel empty.

Take heart! Rejoice! That is when you have the most to give!

"When he has more than he can eat
To feed a stranger's not a feat.

When he has more than he can spend
It isn't hard to give or lend.

Who gives but what he'll never miss
Will never know what giving is.

He'll win few praises from his Lord
Who does but what he can afford.

The widow's mite to heaven went
Because real sacrifice it meant.
~ Edgar Guest

I think of King David's words "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing."

Do you feel like everything has been taken from you? Perhaps you can't see that you have been given much. You have been given an opportunity to give out of your need.


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so are my ways higher than your ways,
 and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~Isaiah 55:8-9

Are you a Christian? Then your citizenship is a heavenly one. We must stop viewing our problems only in the tangible, here and now. God wants to relate to you, to have you know Him as He knows you. Do you also want that? Maybe not. Maybe, like me, there are times when you just want all this world has to offer...forget about who God is or what He offers. 

Rather than knowing God, we pray, "Give me good health, financial blessings. Fix all my relationships and make my days sunny." 

Have you ever served your family joyfully while suffering with pain and fatigue? 
Have you ever loved your enemy, praying for and serving him with kindness? 
Have you ever sung happy songs of praise when the weather was bad or the bank account was empty?

If the answer is yes, Blessed are you! What else can you give to the Lord who has saved you? Every thing you have has been given to you...even your need has been given to you. But giving out of your need, it costs you. Only then, do you really have something to give to the God you love so much.

And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.
For they all contributed out of their abundance,
 but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
~Luke 21:3-4

Are you in need? Now, you have something to give to our Great Savior. Rejoice!

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.
There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
~Proverbs 13:7



April 26, 2014

April's end

For Today

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Outside our window...

is George (my car) patiently waiting for a wash

I am thankful...

that just when I am about to mourn the loss of cherry blossoms and daffodils,
 the dogwoods and lilacs start to bloom.

I am wearing...

Blue pants, white tee and sweater, blue/white scarf.

Hey, I guess I look like an airline stewardess.

So be it.

From the kitchen..

Sophia is making a cake.

I may put together a salad with salmon but it feels too cold for cold food.

I am learning...

to live a life of freedom and authority in Christ scares some Christians.

They would rather I be safe and secure in a tight little cage.

Presenting a false doctrine, they try to force me into a box, but I am made to fly.

"...they will mount up with wings as eagles..."

I am creating...

New friendships, but missing the old.

Old friend, I miss you! Once in my heart, always in my heart.

I am going... 

To buy a new dictionary.

I am remembering...

when the children and I watched "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

They skipped the songs but thoroughly enjoyed the fight/dance scenes.

Middle Skittle walloped the air, Noah chewed on his hat with a smile, Sophia exclaimed at all the acrobatics.


I am thinking...

how easy it is to "be a Christian" yet not know God.

I am reading...

If I Perish, by Esther Ahn Kim

Here's a quote from the author:

"I cannot explain how such a weak woman as I was given such wonderful blessings during times of fear and suffering."

I am hearing....

 the song "Let's go fly a kite."

The girls must be watching Mary Poppins. Oh no. Hope I can get that song out of my head!

Around the house...

Shadows and grey...so typical of our area. But we are happy nonetheless.

I can smell Sophia's cake baking in the oven. 
She's not making it easy for me to lose my winter plump

A quote to share...

"Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light."

(one of my favorite hymns)

Some of my favorite things...

are people!

Happy Birthday Wally Boy!

I wish I was at your party today.

A few plans for the rest of the month...

Only four more days...

Farmers Market
Choir concert

I am hoping...

My niece receives her birthday gift soon and that she enjoys it.

Love you, Sarah!

A picture thought to share:


Wally Boy!

(You can enjoy other daybooks HERE)

April 24, 2014

False Faith

You can have your Pride and Prejudice, give me The Highlander's Last Song.
You can have your Darcy and Bingley, I''ll take Alister or Ian any day!

~oOo~

She did not believe that God was unceasingly doing and would do his best for every man; therefore, she was unable to claim the assurance that he was doing his best for Ian. But her longing to hear what her son had proposed telling her was becoming possible between them through her learning more clearly what his views were. Therefore, the night after that spent by her sons on the hill, after Alister had retired, she said to him, "You never told me, Ian, the story you began about something that made you pray."

"Are you sure you will not take cold, Mother?" he said.

"I am warmly clad, my son; and my heart is longing to hear all about it."

"I am afraid you will not find my story so interesting as you expect, Mother."

"What concerns you is more interesting to me than anything else in the whole world, Ian."

"Not more than God, Mother?" said Ian.

The mother was silent. She was as honest as her sons. The question showed her, however dimly and in shadow, something of the truth concerning herself--even though she could not fully grasp it--namely, that she cared more about salvation than about God. If she could but keep her boy out of hell, she would be content to live on without growing close to the Lord. God was to her an awe, not yet a ceaseless growing delight!

There are centuries of paganism yet in many lovely Christian souls--paganism so deep, therefore so little recognized, that their earnest endeavor is to plant that paganism ineradicably in the hearts of those dearest to them.

She did not yet understand that salvation lies in being one with Christ, even as the branch is one with the vine--that any salvation short of knowing God is no salvation at all. The moment a man feels that he belongs to God utterly, the atonement is there and the Son of God is reaping his harvest.

The good mother was, however, not one of those conceited stiff-necked souls who have been the curse of the church in all ages; she was but one of those in whom reverence for its passing form dulls the perception of unchangeable truth. Fortunately she was not of the kind who shut up God's precious light in the horn lantern of human theory, whose shadows cast on the path to the kingdom seem to dim eyes like insurmountable obstructions. For the sake of what they count revealed, they refuse all further revelation, and what satisfies them is merest famine to the next generation of believers.

Instead of God's truth, they offer man's theory, and accuse of rebelling against God those who cannot live on the husks they call food. But ah, home-hungry soul! God is not the elder brother of the parable, but the father with the best robe and the ring--a God high above all your longing, even as the heavens are high above the earth.

~from The Highlander's Last Song, by George MacDonald


April 21, 2014

Glimpses II



"What are you doing in the Rhodies?"


"Hunting!"


Enjoying gentle breezes.


"NOW, what are you taking apart?"

"My rifle."

"Will you be able to put it back together?"

"Dunno."



Noah seeks to startle me with his snake every chance he gets.

He often succeeds...little rascal!



Can you see the car on the road? Can you see the hands that drew the car?

Click on the picture for a better view.

Drawings hither and thither...evidence that Naomi was here.


Violets,

An Easter gift to me from a kind neighbor.


Sophia tutoring Naomi Baloney on her piano lesson.

She is a skilled and patient tutor!


Easter Sunday morning.

April 17, 2014

Hope!

Today, in our house, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone resembling a Christian.

Rising early to a grey, cold and drizzly day, we drove in heavy traffic, the windshield wipers only a minimal help for my vision. The famous bumper sticker rang true: Everyone driving slower than me was an idiot and anyone driving faster was surely a maniac. Children bickered and complained. "Are we there yet? It never took this long before."

Still, God's grace was with us. We arrived safely.

Braces were adjusted, retainers tightened, teeth were cleaned. I read several recipes as I paced the office waiting and waiting and waiting. Finally, Dr. Dentist with his kind green eyes gave me the news that Noah had four million cavities to fill and Sophia had one. With a gentle and authoritative smile, he said "We must get this done, but not to worry, we will do it next month. Go home and take it easy." How deceiving those eyes and that smile!

At the counter, the secretary blushed crimson when I repeated (a little too loudly) "Four HUNDRED and forty seven dollars?! Just for today? What about next month?"

"Well, ma'am that will be...." I felt sick to my stomach, as my entire body tightened with stress. To write the check would mean my plan, my budget, my SECURITY was chucked out the window.

I took a deep breath and humbly asked for a discount. They gave it to me, likely considering the four million cavities to be filled next month. Silently, I prayed. I was immediately reminded of the old Sunday school song "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."

I walked out to the car where the children waited. More bickering. Where was the love? Where were the Christians? I had no kind words or smiles to offer, only threats and the evil eye.

Someone sat on the sandwiches brought for the long ride home. Apparently, that made them inedible, until growling stomachs made them acceptable again.

Home at last, we couldn't get the fire started. Complaining ensued. I confess, my neck and shoulders were stiff with the cold also, but I was determined not to turn on the furnace. I preached to my children, "There is a solution for every problem, kiddos. Don't talk to me about being cold until I see a scarf around your neck and socks on your feet!"

A pot of tea. Three cups of hot chocolate. This day may be redeemed, yet!

Nope.

Laundry to be folded, dishes to be washed, violins to be practiced, all of this brought more "murmuring and disputing." Didn't we memorize a verse about this? Didn't we even write a song about it? Are there any Christians living in this house?

So what DO you do when everyone seems to be living for themselves, for their own comfort and pleasure? What DO you do when the entire family is walking after the flesh rather than the Spirit?

Don't go to doctrine and principles. Don't go to your list of "how-to's." If being a Christian was contingent upon my lifestyle then I would be a constant failure.

Go to The Man. Go to The One who Loves, who Forgives, who Provides. Go to the Savior of your soul. To live is Christ!

Dear Father,

Thank you, that I can come to you in my time of need. Thank you that you have Grace and Peace and Wisdom to give and that you give so lavishly. I love to be lavished upon by You. You are so good!

Help us to see, Lord. You made our eyes and our ears. Father, help us to see the good things you do and give. Help us to hear the ugliness in our complaining that we would turn from it. We will sing praises to you, songs of love, let the sound of them be pleasing to You AND to us. Thank you for keeping us safe today, for the fire that is finally roaring in strength. Thank you for providing all that we need to live, and MORE.

Without You we are tossed to and fro, but You say "Peace, be still" and the storm obeys. Our hearts are calmed and we are left in awe of You. Thank You, Jesus, for paying the price for me, that I can share in your inheritance, be your friend, your sister. I can't wait until Sunday, when I get to sit with the other believers and rejoice in all that You accomplished for us, for me.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:3




April 15, 2014

April 12, 2014

Saturday Afternoon

When the children and I first moved to this house I had a private thought.

"Too bad those Rhododendron bushes aren't Camellia's."

Just a private thought, not a prayer, not a wish.

But Someone was listening to my thoughts, and caring, and planning on a little surprise for me.

One sunny morning, while sitting in "My Chair",  I looked up and saw these beautiful Camellia blossoms. I nearly jumped. "Oh, oh! Kids! Look! There's a Camellia tree growing next to the deck!"

What a pleasant and intimate surprise!

The tree is just for me. 
It's not visible from the street or any other place on the property except
my morning spot. I can also step out on my private balcony to enjoy the top of the tree or to cut some branches. What a loving gift from my Heavenly Father.



Even with special gifts, some days a mother needs some peace and quiet. 

I sent the kids outside with strict instructions:

"I don't want to see or hear you until lunch, 
which may not be for a very long time. GO!"



When I called them in for a hearty bowl of soup and thick chunks of cornbread, 
I saw that they had been busy. 


After lunch, they moved camp to follow the sun and gathered books and Kindle for the rest of the day.

It's been a peaceful and quiet time. 

April 7, 2014

April Daybook

For Today

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Outside our window...

A Camellia Tree in bloom...gorgeous!

I am thankful...

For Kindness.

Have you ever thought how kindness makes life so pleasant?

I am wearing...

A cobalt blue dress with a black cardigan and black ballet flats.


From the kitchen..

Chili soup with all the toppings,
(kale, olives, tomatoes, onions, cheese, sour cream)

Tortilla chips

Cantaloupe/Banana salad

I am learning...

About my authority in Christ.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 
Acts 1:8
I am creating...

Pages...still.

Writing something everyday.

I wonder what God will have me do with it all?

I am going... 

to hang some flower pots on the deck and balcony.

I am remembering...

My drive home from the grocery store.

The sun-roof open,
the road winding through the forest,
the sun filtering through the trees,
a favorite song playing on the radio,
my hair blowing in the wind.

God is good to give such happy gifts!

I am reading...

I Give you Authority by Charles Kraft

I am hearing....

This song playing in my head:



Around the house...

I finally cleaned my room, and my desk. 
A breeze blows through the lace curtains enticing me to lie on my bed to enjoy the clean and neat order.

A quote to share...

"Godliness with contentment is great gain."

Some of my favorite things...

blue skies

blue waters

blue dresses

A few plans for the rest of the month...

Another piano recital

Several walks to the beach
(This is a big deal. There is a very steep hill to walk down to get there, which means there is a very steep hill to climb up to get home. If I don't post for a while, either come 'n get me or call 911)

Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

I am hoping...

for more sunshine. It is a balm to my soul.

A picture thought to share:



Naomi decided she is not too old to keep making fairy houses.

I wonder if anyone has moved in yet?

(You can enjoy other daybooks HERE)

April 6, 2014

No Policing!

Did I tell you the children and I went to California in February? Full of family and freeways, we had a brief yet happy visit.

While we were there, I picked up an unwelcome souvenir - a ticket for running a stop sign.

I'm innocent, I tell you! Sort of.

O.K., I'm guilty, but only by a slight technicality.

I stopped with the nose of my car over the line. Watching diligently over that white line was a diligent policeman, diligent to make his ticket quota.

Oblivious to any living soul driving, he was intent on fenders and wheels doing right.

I pleaded my case...I was from out of state, I didn't know the area, I was trying to find an obscure address, I was in a rental car, there were too many stop signs, how was anyone supposed to get anywhere with all the stopping?!

He didn't acknowledge me in the slightest, just issued my ticket and hollered, "Pay attention!" He left me abruptly to diligently oversee another white line. Oh, for a radar gun to get him for speeding!

That technicality cost me big and put me on alert for the rest of the week.

I am thankful for the experience.

My new parenting tool lately has been: "No Policing!"

It's not good for a family to have everyone looking and waiting for opportunities to give tickets. Yes, sisters will forget to be kind. Yes, brothers will be too rough or accidentally knock down school books. Mother will change plans suddenly and expect the children to be flexible. We are all guilty. But not all guilt is a time to issue decrees and exact fines. It may be a time for GRACE.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

"We are justified freely by His Grace" and so, I tell my loveys "Freely you have received, freely give!"

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8



April 1, 2014

A Letter and a Day



Dear Sophia,

Today you are thirteen years old! Three days of labor and finally, your cheek against mine, perfection. It is my pleasure to labor with you all your days, to push you on to the abundant life God has for you. 

You are brave and confident. With ease, you pick up your violin and gracefully pour out music. You walk into the kitchen to create yummy food with the flair (and mess) of a master chef. You have your own ideas about things that I never considered until later in life.

I like you! I like your style, the way you wear hats and sophisticated yet modest clothes. I like how you love people, and justice. You have compassion even for those who have hurt you. I am so thankful for that quality in you. I like how you always know where my keys are, or my phone. Thanks for being my secretary and my "Gadget Girl" when technology overwhelms.

Sophia, always remember that your name means wisdom. It is a gift you may ask God for at any time. He will gladly give it to you in abundance. I know that you will remember this because of the struggles you have endured.

My heart aches over your hard times. I'm sorry for the pain you have had, with your health, your emotions, the break-up of me and Dad. You have borne it well, so bravely, trusting in your Heavenly Father. Through it all, you have become quite beautiful. I am proud of you! 

I thank God for choosing you for me and me for you. Happy Birthday my dear girl!!

All my love,
Mom


~ A Great Day in the City ~



We took the ferry



The Tidal pool at the Pacific Science Center


The Butterfly House





It was 80 degrees in that tropical place...I didn't want to leave!


Sophia and Noah looking up at the Space Needle.


City sights. 

Trumpet players on the street. 
(Noah put $ in their hats)
Tropical IMAX show, 
window shopping, 
riding the monorail, 
choosing velvety chocolates from the candy store.



And finally, gourmet burgers and sodas at the French's!

It truly was...a Great Day in the City.