Friday, June 24, 2005

Flying Day

"Angel, you were born to fly."

And fly she will. Take off day will arrive tomorrow, the day we have looked to since she was born. The years have been filled with preparation for just such a time, for growing in womanhood, and, above all, for gaining absolute confidence in His abiding love.

There is one more day for taxi-ing down the runway. Every morning for years the first thing I have heard is her blowing her nose. Must be her allergies, but it is a morning ritual. I realized today that I will hear it only one more time. Then comes the smell of freshly ground coffee brewing - that, too, will come to an end (no one else tends to get up at our hour!) She then curls up in the front room chair or on the side porch, weather permitting, to spend those first precious minutes with Him, the love of her life.

She was born to fly - she was destined for great things. And because she belongs to Him, she will arrive at her destination. Faithful is He. Faithful.

So, my first born -
"Take every chance you dare - I'll still be there . . .
Angel, you were born to fly."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Take Him at His Word

There is something very freeing and reassuring when you simply take the Word of God as absolute truth. As Fanny Crosby says, "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word."

So many times, as a young wife and mother, the Word was my yardstick - not my feelings, not the most recent magazine article, not what my friend or neighbor was doing.

For instance, when my little ones kept me up night after night (for how many years did that go on?) I saw that the Word promised His provision of all that I needed. If He provided a certain number of hours of sleep, I became convinced that the provision was what I needed. He promised to give His beloved sleep, and I was one of His beloved. Forget that article that said I needed eight hours, forget my love for sleep. The Word said He provided, and last night I got X number of hours. Must be my Father, who is watching over me, gave me what I needed, not what I think I needed.

The Word also told me that children are a blessing from the Lord. When my children failed to bless me I chose to believe that the Word was true. It enabled me to take stock of the situation and say, "God has not failed here, I have. What do I need to do to cause these children to be a blessing?" Either I was failing to do my part (because He never fails) or I was not recognizing the blessing that was there. Most often I was not disciplining or bringing them into proper order. Faith in the Word caused me to find victory and confidence to do what needed to be done, in spite of prevailing trends in child-training.

The Word is our rock, our anchor, our strong-tower. But we must believe it in its entirety. If God said it, it is true. When we allow His truth to prevail in our lives, the enemy no longer has liberty to taunt us or push us around. The simplicity of His Word needs to be accepted and believed.

"Oh for grace to trust Him more."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bells, planes, and paint

Between a wedding, house projects, and planning a missions trip to Spain my mind is quite busy most of the time. Soon they will all come to a conclusion. The drop cloths and sanders will be put away today; her wedding is Saturday (yikes! she'll be gone from my home - life does move on whether we do or not, so we might as well get with it or we'll be left behind), and in one week we will have our final team meeting before leaving.

Huh, life is certainly moving on around here! I'm glad to know that it ebbs and flows.

Lord, I think I'm ready for some ebbing . . .

ps - Speaking of ebbing - check out this quote. It is worth pondering. Perhaps I'll write about it one day.

"Insistence upon rules of conduct marks the ebb of religious fervor.” (Alfred North Whitehead)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Color, color everywhere! Wait 'til they see it!

My hallway is now "persimmon", my upstairs bath boasts a bright gold, and the dining room is looking rather subtle by comparison in a soft shade of green/gray. Soon my loft wall will be deep blue. Hmmmm. Hope this isn't too much overload for the senses. (What fun it all is!)

The work is far from completed, although we are getting close. Today we will see some long awaited finish work "finished". Then more painting. I am amazed. I think the house will look great! I cannot tell you how very pleased I am with all this. My cup overflows . . .

And even better is the fact that my son will arrive home today for two weeks! Hooray!! Then Tuesday Carina arrives - she's the one who will rescue my hair from last week's self-done haircut. The following day brings Brietta and her whole family. We will all be here under one roof - all at once - altogether! I am praying for the house to be done enough that we will be able to enjoy some fun, food, and laughter while we are all here. And we will. No doubt.

This will be a week to remember. His manifold mercies and blessings are great!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

An addition and A collection and the finale

The finale of this day:

The day was most successful. More friends arrived to continue the big push. There was sanding, priming, painting, scraping, sheetrocking, and electrical work done. The mess is still enormous, the mountain of undone work looms large, but we are closer to the top. I can already sense the view - it is in sight.

As I stood in my hallway with beautiful white trim gleaming, an incredibly deep-seated pleasure flooded my soul. I could envision the finished product. That is actually nothing new - I can almost always envision a finished product. But there's a significant difference - this time it may be accomplished.

You must understand. My husband and I had long ago settled for living in a never finished house. Finances and time constraints did not allow for all that needed to be done. I had concluded that at best there would be the big push 6 months before selling time, only to move out before ever really enjoying the finished product. Now we are close to seeing several rooms DONE!!! I mean done, with art work, rugs, and all! Remnants of rugs that were edged and made into runners two years ago will cover our stairs. And a dear friend is even matting and framing pictures that I have had for 20 years! They will have a place in the hallway. I am genuinely excited . . . you must surely understand!

But my pleasure is not resulting in jumping up and down, as it would have at one time. Instead it is profound, gentle, and very full. Maybe that is the result of waiting and even coming to the place of releasing it all. I don't know. But I do know that I am going to enjoy this immensely. And with great gratitude to all who have blessed us so abundantly.

Late morning
An addition:

Merrick just awoke saying he had a fun dream. He dreamed he was talking on American Idol to Ryan Seacrest about Star Wars. Maybe it was prophetic, eh, Carina Beans?!

Early morning
A collection:

  • buying 16 foot long crown moulding (along with paint, nails, screws, brushes, etc.) and fitting it in the van
  • sharing a Whopper meal with two precious daughters
  • welcoming a houseful of young people with paint brushes (thanks, guys!)
  • teary eyes when the van got sold and Liana cleaned it for the last time
  • rejoicing at an e-mail received from a national Nepali pastor (he is so excited about our team!)
  • choosing a color for my porch floor
  • reading my children's blogs and feeling all warm inside
  • thinking about wedding cakes and receptions
  • "Read at least one history book to Merrick."
  • planning topics for the kids who will preach in Spain
  • black bean soup (they actually loved it and asked for more!)
  • getting advice on the cracks in the stairs
  • painting 28 - no, wait - 29 spindles (balusters) on the stairs (but who's counting?)
  • designing moulding to cover up the problem spots
  • approving the removal of certain shrubs in my garden
  • wondering if the dress I bought for the wedding will still fit
  • dozens of other misc. things like laundry, e-mail responses to moms of missions kids, sweeping floors, etc.
  • laying a tired, showered body down and falling asleep with a magazine still in my hands

That was yesterday. Now for today. . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Heavenly Places

Take a moment and read these familiar passages in these less-read translations. Just let it remind you...

Ephesians 2.6

"...[God] raised us with Him from the dead, and enthroned us with Him in the heavenly realms as being in Christ Jesus," Weymouth New Testament

"In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world." Good News Translation

"...and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," New King James

As I read these passages this morning, it served as an encouraging reminder of our wonderful position in Christ. He has empowered us to rule. We are situated above this natural realm, no longer subject to it. We are partakers with Christ of His heavenly kingdom and should live like it.

I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded. I need to remember to set my affection on things above and not on things of this earth; for I am dead and my life is hidden in Christ with God. Today I want to seek those things which are above, where He is, and where I am as well.

"Oh, Lord, help me today to do this very thing - to seek heavenly treasures and not earthly, to set my affection on things of your kingdom and not of this earth, and to keep a vision of You always before me. It is my desire - to honor You. And help me not to assume I know just what that will look like for me and everyone else, but let me learn to hear Your voice in this hour. You are moving in unique ways and I want to hear Your Spirit as You call. I will look for You this day. Amen."

Sunday, June 12, 2005

New Seasons

I have been aware of the seasonal changes around me for much of my life. As a young girl I bemoaned the passing of time, the closing of chapters, and the end of a season. God helped me gain perspective, showing me that it was good to consider my days, but He also let me see that new seasons were ordained by His hand for good. They were not only good for me, but more importantly they were beneficial for His kingdom as well. It is His divine plan.

In spite of this restored vision that I have walked in for years, I have been finding this particular change of season more difficult than I had imagined. I will be fifty next month, I am now a grandmother, my child-bearing years are over, the numbers at home are beginning to dwindle rather than increase, etc. etc. Get the picture? Do I need to say more?

But this morning it dawned on me that I am leading a missions team to Spain this month. I am arranging a team heading for Nepal and I may go there, too. Vision is being birthed in me and through me. This is a new season and it is not just dormant. It is full of new life as well. There is nothing more wonderful than new life in every form. And this season is not exempt of such wonders. I now realize that as long as God is in the equation there will always be new life. He is life-giving. It is who He is.

So even if you are 50 and entering the fall of life, there is still life to come forth. And I am beginning to be excited about this new season as well.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Summertime Update

Is this hot, or what? Well, it is nothing compared to what we will experience in Spain, I suppose. And that's where I'll be in just 2 1/2 weeks. I am traveling with an 11 member team to Malaga, Spain for 10 days of ministry followed by 10 days in Madrid (Spain, that is!) I am excited about this adventure, although a bit frenzied by the month that it falls in. How does one prepare for 3 weeks abroad leading a ministry team and plan a wedding all at the same time? If you know of a book on such things, please send it my way!

Danica will be wed in two weeks and one day. Her new home is almost finished; an apartment across the block is quickly getting a last coat of paint and new carpeting. It will be absolutely wonderful to know that she is so close. She has been a best friend for years now, so having her near is such a treat. The upstairs apartment is open, sunny, and welcoming - just like her. A perfect first home for this new couple!

My Brietta is expecting baby number three in January. Some quick math will tell you that she is in the difficult three months. Tiredness has overwhelmed her and as many of you know, there is no escaping the care of the two little ones that need her. These are the times I wished I lived a bit closer - how I would love to play nanny for the next few weeks until she is over the hump!

Jamie is working full time at Patrick Henry College as a computer technician. I am proud of his ability and know that he will be blessed as he continues to build a strong resume in the computer world. But I sure miss him! And how we could use his extra hands as we tackle these house projects. Yet we know this is where he belongs - he is making his way in the world and Jesus is his goal. This is as good as it gets!

My Carina is busily establishing her goals as well. Not only is she keeping on track with her cosmetology schooling (she is doing a great job, by the way!) but she is preparing for an American Idol audition this summer. She loves music and singing, has talked about doing this for at least two years, and this is a good excuse to get back on track with practicing her singing. I am very happy about that. I feel that her voice is such a gift. If the audition yields nothing more than the opportunity to sing and grow, it will be well worth the effort. I think it will be a terrific experience no matter what!

Louissa and Julia are also heading to Spain with our team, so they are busy raising support and preparing (as well as working on the house and wedding!) They are also considering the trip to Nepal in August. That team is shaping up - the deadline for signing up is next Thursday. If you are interested, contact me ASAP and I will fill you in! We would love to have you along.

Meanwhile, Liana and Camilla continue to practice, read, play, entertain Merrick, and hopefully enjoy their childhood. They are special young ladies, for sure! They will spend some time in the Berkshires with Grandma and Grandpa, visiting the Norman Rockwell museum, swimming, watching TV, playing games, etc. Should be a nice summer outing.

Merrick plays all day. The concept of work still eludes him. I try, but I don't seem to have the time to keep him on task. He is such a busy little guy. One thing always leads to another, and he is rarely bored. Such a challenge, but such fun, such a blessing! That's our little man for you. He graduates from Kindergarten tonight. When hearing that he would wear a special hat, he looked at me with a serious and quizzical expression, asking if he would need to be ready to say something up front. I guess he has memories of Jamie's speech last year and figures he's more than up for the task!

Well, that was quite the update. Hope I didn't lose you all - but it has been a while since I filled you in on all the doings. Not that this was complete mind you. But neither you nor I have that much time!! :)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Moving On

I stand in her room and sigh. This will be her abode for three more very short weeks. Then her life will change forever in so many ways. And with it will come changes in mine.

Does a mom ever adjust to this season? Somehow I think it is always going to be my nemesis.

God is forever - how comforting that is.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Upside down again...

The house is most definitely upside down again. I am trying hard to keep the bedroom neat so Rick has at least one place of refuge - and the wonderful side porch as well. We are going to survive !

A baby shower was on my agenda today - a good reminder of Him and my continual need to look for Him in everything. He is always to be found, even in the smallest of details. At the shower a dear Christian woman prayed, remembering every detail of the birth process and praying comprehensively. She covered it all! I immediately considered my need to be more mindful of such things in prayer, and in measure, I do need to grow still in that area. But He reminded me of our differences. I need to pray faithfully, but not necessarily like her. We all see differently, respond uniquely, and express ourselves in varying ways. It is whether or not we come to Him in faith that matters.

So, I desire to grow more faithful in prayer. It is such an incredible tool. I need to be a good steward. Help me, Lord, to honor You, even in this.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

We're Off and Running!

The hallway stairs are being sanded as I write in hopes of receiving paint and carpet soon, the front porch is sanded and will be painted tomorrow, the upstairs bath will have wallpaper removed tomorrow night and will get fresh golden yellow paint thereafter, the kitchen doors are being caulked in preparation for paint, sheetrock will be fitted and painted around the archway to the mudroom, the school cupboards were emptied and cleaned and moved to a new location, the new loft area will have the electrical finished and then will be cleaned, the gardens have been marginally attended to (Mom will need to mark out the new spots for turning sod and transplant some already too big delphiniums along with many other perennials), the hallway walls have been compounded once and will get another coat tomorrow also in preparation for painting. I think that may be the most of it. :)

The only other project is to get the outside of the house completely painted during the week of the 13th. Pray for good weather. A dear friend is taking a full week's vacation and will be here everyday to help us. Still seems impossible to me - this is one big house when you paint all the way around it! But prayerfully they will complete it.

Other than that, there is not too much left to do before the wedding (if you don't count planning a mission trip or two, complete with practice schedule!) When Louissa and I are on the class trip we hope to find shoes for the big day and any other odds and ends that need purchasing. I hope we are successful there, since I see no other opportunity for much shopping!

Well, enough of my nonsensical life. I hope yours is quiet and peaceful, although we all need these busy seasons as well. It definitely makes us more appreciative of those restful seasons!