Monday, October 31, 2005

Rock Bottom Faith

Kathy, a dearly treasured friend, got me thinking about faith last night. Here are some thoughts.

Faith doesn't need all the answers. It doesn't require understanding. We don't have to have perfect theology (I think theologians who believe they have all the answers are in real trouble anyways...)

Child-like faith. Children don't know all the reasons. They just know the person. They trust that person's words. They rest in their arms.

If we "saw" all the answers there would be no "unseen" thing for which to exercise faith.

If we find comfort in our theology, we have found comfort in the wrong thing.

Devastation levels us, shakes our limited understanding, and brings us ultimately to Him, not the study of Him. Job had question after question, and was on a quest for answers - but in the end, he saw God. The questions ceased. Ended. Came to a screeching halt. He was all he needed.

We will never know it all. We will never have all the anwers. But we can have faith in Him and who He is.

And He is more than enough.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Reminder

Phil. 1.1 "Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ..."

bondservant - A slave; one who is subjected to the authority of another, or whose person and liberty are restrained.

We are to consider ourselves bondservants - under authority, His authority. We are those whose lives are ruled by another, those who serve and work to accomplish another's plans and purposes.

In this simple phrase - "bondservants of Jesus Christ" - we see a picture of Kingdom living, a glimpse of a Kingdom mindset. Our every move is to be in subjection to Him. We are to seek His purpose, not our own. Our person and liberty are restrained. Therefore the question is NEVER "What do I want to do?" but rather, "What does He want me to do? How can I serve Him and help further His plans today?" That very pattern requires a renewing of our liberty-loving American mindset. But renewed it must be and shall be! We live for something much greater than our own self-serving. Our liberty is to be used willingly for His service.

Lord, grant me a purer mindset of service to You, that I might serve and bless You and others. Amen."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tagged by a xanga-er

Okay, Colin - this is for you!

Random tidbit #1 - I auditioned in NYC for a professional summer stock theater company. Was offered positions but turned them down when we (Rick and I) realized that the gruelling schedule would be too taxing on our new marriage. "Death To Vision 101" (maybe 301...)

#2 - Growing up I had an abundance of pets - rabbits, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, ducks, cats, dogs, fish, birds, hamsters, and who knows what else. My mother was a kindergarten teacher. Need I say more! :) Maybe that's why we have no pets now. I know better!

#3 - To this day, music and dance are my favorite things.

#4 - When I got married, I didn't know that you brought water to a boil before putting the pasta in the pot. Yeah, our first spaghetti dinner was one giant glob of some form of carbohydrates with sauce poured over the top.

#5 - My only income for many years as a kid came from picking cherries in my Grandpa's orchard. Hot, sunny summer days. Buckets hanging on a strap from around my neck and ladders climbed. AM radio stations blaring from below - Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Stones, The Beatles, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Donovan, Bob Dylan. Lunches shared with cousins, grandfather, and uncles. $.24 a pound punched onto your card with every bucket filled and dumped in the giant bin. Hot with sweat, sticky with cherry juice, and gray with pesticide spray - all combining, running down your arms, into your eyes, getting matted in your hair. I can smell it, feel it, hear it all even now. Good, hard work. Good, honest money. Good, good memories. Thanks, Grandpa and Mom.

And now I tag: Paul Brown, John Meyers, Keila Levendusky, Dee Moore, and last but not least, Brietta Ann! Yup - would you humor us all and do this one somewhat shallow, definitely trendy, and otherwise irksome thing! :) Thanks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I'm still so far behind that I find significant thoughts arrive one moment only to be lost another. Crazy!

Today will be set aside for curriculum and planning. Yeah, I know. It's late October. That is August's work. Oh, well. Better late than never.

My daughter Brietta and her precious family are in the process of setting up a closing date, which means a moving in date, which means a moving out of my home date. I am excited for them, but this is a reminder that every day brings treasure of its own. Some treasure is harder to realize than other, but the Lord has purpose and richness in all our days. For this season, the jewels are readily seen - I am treasuring this time with a daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. What a rare treat! I am grateful for them and their stay here.

Tomorrow Carina will arrive home to stay for several months. She has a plan for her next step in life, but wanted to take a year to be here at home to really hear from God and be sure of her plans. For this, I am also grateful. Such a wonderful daughter. I know that He will make clear His will for her. If we seek, we find. Period.

My son Jamie works hard as a student at Patrick Henry College, but even so he is finding time to develop relationships with people from his local church as well as participate in different ministries. He is hoping to join the worship team and is already involved in a small group. He regularly arrives early to help set up. He is such a great guy! :) I am so blessed to see him walking in Godly priorities, living as a kingdom minded young man. The pressures of academic demands could easily pull him out of balance, but he is holding on.

Julia returned from her first international guitar competition. She did well, learned alot, and is inspired to press on! She did not make it to the finals but already is making plans for the next competition - a festival in Malibu, Ca. this June. She has to make a DVD for the first round which is due in Feb. So back to the drawing board and practice room she goes! I admire her tenacity and perseverance.

Louissa is in the process of buying a grand piano to replace Danica's. She has a fairly large piano studio (17 students or more) and is busy with planning recitals, choosing new pieces, and making schedules. She is the sweetest girl I know and loves the Lord so dearly. She is a treasure.

The others are weekly growing, becoming young women and men - only for this crew, this time around, I am 50! It's not that I am totally lacking energy, but the demands seem to come from every possible direction - married children, young adults, college student, pre-teens, and elementary age. And toddling grandchildren to boot! Needless to say, this is far from dull and boring! And I love them all with all my heart.

"Lord, help me to keep Your perspective in the midst of my doing. Let me know Your will and Your heart with all the demands that come my way. My lips will ever praise you, Oh God of Heaven. Lead me by Your Holy Spirit, my Teacher, Comforter, Guide, and Friend!"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bach and Sunshine and The Lord of All

As the sun streams through my morning window, Bach string concertos fill the kitchen with familiar and cherished strains. To me they go together. Early on sunny mornings, Bach is always in order, especially the string concertos. For years they have played at this time of day in my kitchen. And it is always perfect.

Will these wonderful concertos always accompany sunny mornings at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and solitude? Will there be a season in my life when such things are stripped away? Would I cherish the memory of these times or be torn apart with longing?

Throughout history, people have been pulled from familiar surroundings, catapaulted into a world turned upside down.

I think of Corrie Ten Boom. I remember her hardship during WWII as she endured imprisonment in a Nazi Concentration Camp. She survived and returned home. The first night spent between fresh, clean bed linens in a stranger's home stirred fond recollections of earlier days. Yet the time and place was never the same. How would I handle that? Would it be devastating, or merely bittersweet? Would I still be able to look to tomorrow with hope and expectation?

The children of Israel knew times of captivity, taken from their native land, longing to return.
"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! Psalm 137" Here we see their brokenness. Would I be broken or would I keep hope kindled in my heart?

We must learn to cherish the blessing but trust in the One who blesses; treasure the memory provided in the day but look for new treasure tomorrow. We cannot afford to love this world. We cannot let our eyes be wandering, enraptured by the beauty of the season. The heavenly realm, the eternal kingdom, the Lord Himself must captivate our eyes and hearts and minds.

If we cling to anything less, consider anything less to be the resting place we will be, at best, saddened. Perpetual disappointment will be our portion as season unfolds to new season, as years turn youth to old age, as familiar things are left behind. We will be saddened and even undone.

Jesus Christ alone can be a constant wellspring of joy because He alone is unchanging.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

"Lord, help me look to You in this day and always, as my guide through this life and into the next, keeping my eyes focused on the author and finisher of my faith, my hope for this life and even forevermore! You are so worthy of all my love!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Bard

Shakespeare Club. Two weeks so far. Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet. Next week we will read through Much Ado About Nothing as well as see a live performance of the same, Richard III, and a modern take on The Tempest called Return to the Forbidden Planet.

This has been fun for us. The kids seem to love reading these well penned words outloud with one another. It certainly makes the play come to life. Reading them alone, I tend toward sleepiness, but not once have my eyelids been tempted when enjoying the lines with them.

This may be something I attempt again another year. After all, five Shakespeare and several sonnets look great on those quarterly reports! Could I say that English is done for the year? I wonder if that would fly with those superintendents? :)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Finding the Joy

"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit." Psalm 51

Danica exhorted us this morning; she reminded us to find the joy of our salvation - even if the month has been hard, even if the situation is overwhelming and our souls are downcast. And I knew the Lord was reminding me to find that joy even in the midst of some personal turmoil.

"Oh, yeah," I thought. "Don't dwell in the sorrow that you feel deep in your soul. Put away the remorse and guilt. Remember forgiveness that is yours, redemption that He brings to all things. Rejoice that your life is in His hand. He has made all things and He is good."

Sometimes we need to speak to our own souls. David did. I am no better.

It was a worthwhile reminder that she gave to us. Such a great salvation is always worth remembering.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Just a spelling thing

"definite" would be correct

"definate" would not be...

Just for information sake. Figured we might as well not propagate a wrong-spelling!

I'm always a home-school mom wherever I go. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Not There Yet

Still no bed in sight - you know what I mean... (see previous post) - but some progress has been made. Well, hardly, but there has been productivity. When I was considering my three days (once again, see previous post) I forgot that a bridal shower was being held here last night, hosted by my daughter and others. I made chicken pate (an all day affair, it turns out) as my offering, Brietta made cranberry upside down cake and we all came up with a Waldorf salad.

I also forgot that today will be our first gathering for a Shakespeare Club - it will consist of a read-through of Julius Caesar (I'm the organizer - go figure - so I best not miss it.) It will take up the morning and part of the afternoon.

Then hubby arrives home at 4pm. So much for the big "dig-out". But, still, at least school has been accomplished and the downstairs is clean (my daughter suggested that I host the next shower in our bedrooms if I want them cleaned. Now that's a thought for all of us...)

I've enjoyed two days at home with family, read books with Merrick, did some grocery shopping, had breakfasts with devotions, cleaned a bit, wrote some letters, and cooked a meal, as well as various other things. All in all, it was good.

Still trekking, however, looking for the middle of the road once again. I think that may be my life story! But at least I'm trekking!

One thing I know. Jesus Christ will forever more be my goal, my purpose, my inspiration, my rock. He is my reason for living the way I live, for making the choices I make, for taking the road I am on. And I don't regret a moment walked with Him. I wouldn't change it for the world. He is, actually, my life story, my life song.

So on I go, filled with hope, expectation, and joy. I'm walking with the King of all kings - it doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, October 10, 2005


My life is WAY out of kilter. But today begins the trek back to center (I think); hopefully balance will be found once again.

Rick left early this morning for a three day trip. My desire is to establish chore assignments (somewhat loose scheduling still - for now), find my bedroom (well, I know where it is, but can I actually see the bed - that is the question), and plan the next month or two (wedding trips, guitar competitions, Nutcracker performances, and such) while he's gone. If I get that far I will consider myself more than successful. And though we may not make it, I hope to see us get a good start.

That won't begin to get us out of the hole; there are school cupboards and curriculum to organize, winter clothes to finish sorting through, kitchen cupboards in desperate need of cleaning, Christmas shopping trips to plan, budgets needing to be brought up to date, etc. That doesn't include out of the house stuff like school choirs, Shakespeare club, Jr. Church Christmas program, Friendship Clubhouse plans, book studies with my girls, etc.

But enough of boring you with such details (if you even bothered to read all that nonsense.) The point is, this week we begin our trek back. And when you're this far out in the woods, that is good news indeed!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sowing Seed

"If you have been married for a few years or more, you need to know that your spouse is partly who he is today because of the seeds you have sown into his life."

Hmmm. Quite the statement to consider. Do we like the fruit we see in our spouse? If not, perhaps we need to consider the seed we have been sowing. We reap according to what we sow, you know - the scripture says so. It is a principle of the Kingdom of God. If you plant corn - you grow corn. If you sow nagging, discouraging words - you reap disgruntled, frustrated people. If you use good seed - positive, life-giving seed - you get good, healthy fruit.

If you want your husband to be a better leader, build him up and encourage him in every endeavor he makes. If you want his self-confidence to improve, speak positive words to him; esteem him. If you want him to be more caring, show him more care. Need more romance? Be more romantic and show patience - and don't belittle him - EVER!! He is your your head, your protection, your provider.

He is, in part, who you make him. Your investment counts in his life. Invest wisely - you - and many others will benefit.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Safe, warm, protected.

How much a Godly mother longs to do that.

I can only imagine her pain. I weep for her, with her. And I pray.


Today commences a new season in my daughter's life, and consequently, a new season in ours. Brietta and Daniel arrive today to begin their new life in the North Country. I can hardly believe the turns that life takes - the path leads us in many different directions.

Needless to say, I am thrilled. Absolutely blessed!

But this has swept in upon me now and almost caught me unaware. When I first learned of their plans it seemed as though it would be forever before they arrived. My days since then have been filled, at times to overflowing. And the time has melted away. They will arrive on the heels of such overwhelming sadness. It is like a balm to my soul, and yet is so bittersweet. The reminder of the emptyness of this world's joys, of lives that fade like the summer grasses, of passing seasons, still looms so large. It is a good reminder in many ways. He alone becomes the goal, the source, the expectation of goodness. The reality of His eternity is great and wonderful. And this is good. I will live for Him alone - always.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The week has been long - as if we all fell into a blackhole - swept away from reality for a moment in time.

Now the activities have concluded and we must get back to life and reality. This is the truly difficult part. Now we must dig deep and find God in daily living, wrestling through the questions, hurts, and disappointments. We will need each other more than ever.

How grateful I am for the body of Christ evident in local church life. This was definitely His plan - nothing man has devised can even compare to New Testament church life.

Lord, let us continue to find you in serving and loving one another. And may our Christian love be a marvel to many. Draw them even through our living out of committment to community. Let your great and abiding love shine through. And may we be a strength to one another.