Friday, February 29, 2008

A New Day, A Certain Look

What a glorious day this promises to be!

I love these clear, bright mornings full of golden light reflecting on diamond sparkles! My world is awash in freshness, full of stark contrast and crisp delineation. This is a minimalist's most dreamed of landscape, I am sure.

God provides all kinds of art, I can see that now!

Soon we will enjoy the pastels of spring, an Impressionist's delight, full of the delicacy and tenderness of unfolding beauty. Then the saturated hues of summer; the Modernist's bright color scheme finds full range now as life is boldly displayed. I'm not sure what fall would be - I think perhaps the depths of Naturalism attempting to portray the perceived drabness of everyday life, but capturing the intense beauty found in daily existence as well.

At any rate, today presents beauties of its own, of His making, of His design. In every way. Even in the snow outside my window!

Don't Forget!
Coming soon!
Mom and Us
A mother and her seven daughters join together
to discuss what it means to be a Godly woman,
single or married,in this day and hour.
Be sure to check it out regularly.

Opening Monday, March 3
Join us there!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Something New Is In the Air (or is that "cyberspace"?)

Concerns regarding procreation or the lack thereof are not new, but they are still relevant. If you were to depend entirely upon academic understanding to determine a conclusion about such issues, you could find yourself in a quandry. However, most people are a bit too emotional to depend entirely upon academic understanding, so they will make a final determination based upon a mixture of understanding and emotion. And statistics abound, as always, which could prove or disprove several positions, so off they will go, with numbers in hand, happily living out their emotional/"enlightened" conclusion.

Fortunately, as Christians, we can be free from the tyranny of academic statistics and emotion. We can choose to believe the Word of God and walk in faith regarding important issues of life, family, civilization, and eternity. I suggest you wrestle through the dilemmas of life in this world with Sword in hand.

We (my daughters and I and any of you who wish to join us) will do just that as we discuss topics relevant (we hope) to living as successful Christians in this day and age on our new website.

Mom and Us

A mother and her seven daughters join together
to discuss what it means to be a Godly woman,
single or married,
in this day and hour.

Be sure to check it out regularly.
Opening Monday, March 3
Join us there!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Living in Obedience, pt. 2

What are we here for? We have been created for God's purposes, to worship Him and bring Him joy. Obeying His commandments is a sure and certain way to walk out devotion. Indeed, love is to be a primary motivation for obedience.

In addition to the joy of pure devotion, we find that walking in His holy ways yields much good fruit. His ways are delightful and good with many great and good promises to be gained. Yet there are times when things don't seem to add up quite the way we expected. Nonetheless, our hearts can find delight in serving Him.

It is true that we venture into dangerous territory when we "do" commandments for the sake of what it will yield. God is looking for His people to love Him more than what He can do for them.

But the truth is, sincere obedience will be richly rewarded - in measure here - in fullness there, in eternity. We can be absolutely certain that He keeps record books, for His guarantee is sure. Nothing you do in His name will be overlooked. Stored treasure will be doled out, dominion divied up accordingly in that eternal dwelling place with Him.

It comes down to that same ol' truth. He wants us, He wants our hearts. And in the long run, we need Him and His heart. His rewards are part of a rich eternity, a gesture of His enduring love for us.

With eyes set on Him, we will enjoy the blessings bestowed today, but look forward to a much greater heritage with Him - forever.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Weekend

Just for fun.

Just for laughs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Living In Obedience

Human nature is quite predictable: it is unreliably unpredictable. There is, however, one exception. It is self-centered down to the core. On that you may depend. When left to our own devices we manipulate circumstances to fulfill our own selfish ambitions. You find tools of control (not self-control, "situational" control) in our little tool kits. We have hopes and dreams and we work things and people in order to achieve those ends. And if we're not careful, Christians, we find ourselves trying to manipulate God.

If you live long enough you will find disappointment inescapable. It will hunt you down and rack your soul with pain. Life is not one long party. "Well, I'm not reading anymore of this. I don't need to hear doom and gloom. I'm finding something more encouraging than this to read today."

I am not a deeply bitter woman. These thoughts are not stemming from a crushed soul with no hope. I am speaking from a heart that is learning to trust God more and more, whose deepest hope has not been crushed and never will be.

But I am declaring a warning: trust in Him alone. Do not hope in dreams, do not place expectation in formulas, do not look for fulfillment in end results. Look for Him, for His presence, for His love in your life and you will not be disappointed. He always can be found when we search for Him.

Godly principles are taught in the Word of God. Commandments and promises are given. We are schooled in obedience, trained to walk according to the Word. This is how we show that we love God: "If you love me you will keep my commandments." We often walk out these principles in faith, not yet seeing what this walk will produce. This is how we please God: "For without faith it is impossible to please God."

If the end result does not yield the expected fruit, does that make the teaching erroneous? Should we stop teaching Godly principles because that fruit is not always seen? We add a+b but sometimes the result isn't the anticipated c. What are we to do? Should we stop teaching, stop obeying simply because Christians are doing a+b but not always getting c?

No. Often times our reason for a+b is wrong. It is wrong. We have slipped into manipulation. In the deep recesses of our hearts we are practicing control, placing hope in dreams and outcomes. We are adding a+b to get c. We should be adding a+b simply because it is right to do so and it therefore pleases God and shows Him love. Our obedience always pleases Him; if pleasing Him is our goal, we have been successful! We have attained our desire. It can never be failed.

But we so often add a+b with a lesser goal in mind, with our "rights" in view, OUR personal desires in our hearts. We must remember - He reigns over all: all theories, all laws both physical and spiritual, and over all formulas. He put those things in place and caused them to be effective. And there may be times when He allows those very laws to be "violated" or overruled. Those decisions are, quite obviously, His to make. He established principles and He can do what He wants with them.

We are all familiar with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But have we really considered their response in the face of impending disaster?

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3.17,18

They were choosing to walk in obedience, not presuming to know the outcome here on earth, but concerned only with devotion and love for Him. " able...But even if he does not..." Their only certain boast was this - that He was the one true God and they would serve Him alone. That boast can belong to all of us in any place, at any time, regardless of circumstance.

Our great confidence is in His abiding love, His great mercy, His true judgment. He is for us, always, and ever has our good in mind. He is working to see His name glorified through us, and His great glory is His undying, faithful love that reaches to the heavens and fills eternity. He is love.

He is love. That is why we obey. That is why we walk in faith. Unredeemed people cannot do that. They have not tasted that love.

Our obedience isn't done so that we can enjoy certain guaranteed outcomes. The apostle Paul's life threw that theory out the window long ago. But Paul did walk in fulfillment. How? By placing all of his hopes, expectations, and dreams in Him. Only. He alone is our dream, our hope, and expectation.

With that in mind we can never lose. Never.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Change Is In the Air

"You know you're finally mature when you don't need a new hairstyle every six months."

So said a cartoon I read years ago. "Oh, well," I thought to myself, "guess I haven't quite gotten there yet." Photos from my earlier years will reveal that sad, but happy truth - with every new child one will see the same mom with a different "do".

Now I don't get a new hairstyle every six months. But I sure would like to. What can I say? I'm just one of those people who like change - something new - gotta mix things up every now and then.

Consequently, if you come to my house you will find a bit of a whirlwind. If you wait a day or two it will have settled, but not without some changes. You see, I'm mixing up my rooms a bit. My front parlor is now a music room, the music room has been transformed into a dining room, and the "once upon a time" dining room is - voila! - a sitting room.

For better or for worse, depending upon your opinion - and we have plenty of those in this here house- things look different; change has happened. And I like that. I just do.

*Maybe with a little help from my daughters and a camera, we can get some photos. No promises, just an idea - and a hint to them.

**Next month I'm hoping to paint. Any volunteers? ;)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Julia Marie Sinclair

Julia has begun the process of recording some of her music professionally. This is all new to us - all of us. Even Dad is running, trying to keep one step ahead of all that is happening. Folks who do this for a living - they make their bread and butter selling music - are interested in Julia. They think there is something to be explored, developed, presented. So we are onboard for now, exploring, developing, and presenting with their help. But as I said, it is new, it is unfamiliar, and it is happening quickly. So pray, pray, pray - that is our main emphasis. And go and do it is the result so far.

So, our schedule for the next few weeks and months may be dictated by Julia's schedule and needs for finishing this project and possibly moving on to more unknown projects. We hold it all in our hands before Him. Her life, her gifts, are His to use however and wherever He should choose. If you think of her, pray for His guidance and protection as she ventures forth into a new arena.

Good thing this Mom loves adventure!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Apples Falling From Trees... and All That Stuff

Music nicely accomodated the gentle conversation and laughter as we sat comfortably around the salon. Lovely sweets and savory cheese balls had been served; guests were enjoying the goodies as well as the company. This was a pleasant gathering. Properly lovely indeed.

The music suddenly picked up tempo. Funky Latin rhythms aroused, the beat tempting response. I looked across the room to see my daughter instantly jiving in her seat. When the kids were infants my husband and I referred to such movement as "fanny dancing". Whatever you call it, she was doing it. She quickly stole a sideways glance at her sister who was doing hand movements to the beat. A turn of her head revealed yet another sibling bouncing and doing cool dance faces.

She sighed deeply, ceased from such silliness, and resignedly commented to herself, "We are sooo our mother's daughters."

Across the room I secretly smiled.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The End of the Story...I Hope

Thirty-six hours into the antibiotics with no improvement in sight called for action. (See yesterday's posting.) After calling around my hubby located an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

"We probably don't have time for him today," came the initial response from the receptionist.

"Well, the doctor at the ER said it most likely was an absessed tonsil. He's been on antibiotics now for a day and a half and the swelling is no different. He's in agony."

"Hmmm. Better bring him right over."


"Now." (It was early afternoon.)

So off they went. In what seemed like no time at all I received a call from hubby. "Jamie is being prepped and will be in surgery in about half an hour or so." (It was 3:45ish pm.)

"Woah. Wait a minute. You're in the hospital? Didn't you go to the doctor's office?"

"Yup. The doctor took one look and said he would meet us across the road as soon as he could finish up with his patients." (I will let you figure out where the office was located...) "He said he was surprised this thing had not already burst."

Yuck. A tonsil bursting. Pretty unpleasant no matter how you look at it.

Surgery was prompt and efficient. He removed the infection, cleaned the area, and patched him up. He was out of the OR by 5:30 and released at 7:30 or so. Little sister Louissa had bought popsicles, store bought pudding (I am compelled to point that out - I am not fond of store bought pudding), ice cream, and yogurt was already on hand. He arrived home by 8:30 and was hungry. So he sat at the table happily eating.

Rick praised his conduct as a patient - said he never complained throughout this whole ordeal. The doctor had asked him to rate his pain on a 1-10 scale. "Oh, I guess I would give it a 7," came Jamie's calculated response. With eyebrows raised the doctor smirked, "You've got to be kidding! If I had that thing in my throat it would be a 10+ and I would be whining and crying!"
When quizzed on his rating Jamie said he figured it couldn't have hurt as much as losing a hand. Well, I suppose....

At any rate, Dad was pretty exhausted come bedtime. Time for him to get a good night's sleep. Another night on the couch just wasn't going to cut it. So what to do with Merrick who is used to being with Mom? I didn't think that Jamie was quite ready for sharing his bed yet. He needed a good night's sleep, too. So Merrick would sleep with big sister Liana. We figured this might be a difficult transition but good ol' Mom used her best persuasive powers.

"Just think, Buddy. You've made some happy memories these past couple of weeks having bedtime with me. It's been fun telling stories and snuggling and laughing. Now you get to make some special memories with big sisters'. They love you, too, you know."

He hesitated momentarily, pondering the possibility of these words. A slight smile let me know he had transitioned just fine.

Sure enough, half an hour later I poked my head in Liana's bedroom door. There sat the prince by his sister's side, cuddled under the quilted covers. They both had lights on, reading their books. His was Camilla's Olivia and together they looked and laughed at her red shoes and sunglasses. He smiled widely as he caught my eyes. She giggled. "Oh, mom..." she said knowingly, sure that I was pleased with the scene. And she was right. A memory to be cataloged for future viewing was already being processed. I quietly pulled the door shut.

Quick as a wink I was pj'ed. Then into bed I hopped, right next to my honey, sheets already warmed and my best friend there to share my thoughts with. For the moment all was right in my world. And this mama was tired, too.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Musical Bed Partners

For the past two weeks I have entertained a new bedfellow. Don't get nervous; don't call Enquirer! It's the littlest man in the house. For those who are still concerned, thinking that this is poor discipline and bad habits and all the rest of it, let me endeavor to explain. Then you can pass judgment as you will.

I have two sons, aged 21 and 8. They share a queen bed together. But two weeks ago the littlest guy was feverish and struggling with lots of pain from ear infections. He was crying out and fussy, understandably so, all night long; I didn't want my college-student son disturbed and losing sleep. Dad was conveniently out of town so the solution was obvious. Into my bed he came, making my care for him simpler as well.

He rounded the corner on his need for 24/7 care days ago. But my biggest boy is now suffering terribly with sore throat pain. It has been going on for 1 1/2 weeks. We suspected strep but that has been ruled out by the medical professionals. They have not yet conclusively determined just what it may be. But this I know - he is in desperate need of relief from this pain. His fever is gone, but the swollen red tonsils continue to plague him, horrifically so. This morning he is finally sleeping a bit, the first solid rest he has had in days. At any rate, putting a fidgety eight year old back in bed with him seemed less than wise. Since we are low on bedspace around here (at least for boys) he continues to be with me. Dad has been relegated to the couch (what a sport!)

So all through the night I am stirred by little feet that push on my legs, 8 yr. old hands that land on my cheeks, and knees poking my back. Finally he snuggles up close in his perfectly curled, ready for sleep position. As I mirror him, our bodies fit together like puzzle pieces. This is contentment, I think to myself. And this morning as he reached his arms around my waist and planted a kiss on my lips, I whispered, "I love you, Buddy." When he whispered, "I love you, too, Mama," with his little boy voice, the warmness and privilege of loving little people is cemented.

And after all, soon enough he will be the 21 year old.

ps - If you remember Jamie, the now 21 year old, please pray for him. It breaks this mother's heart to not be able to supply comfort. We have done everything possible and still have not been able to minimize his pain in any way. Hopefully soon there will be a lessening of his agony. In the meantime, he has missed over a week of classes, which is beginning to create another concern for him to consider. I would covet your prayers for him, my champion.

Monday, February 04, 2008

From My Morning's Journal

Some days you wake up ready to conquer the world. You're feeling good about things, good about yesterday, and even better about today. You just plain feel good about life.

But not every day is like that.

This morning I woke up with a pit in my stomach. Painfully aware of my shortcomings from the previous days, I felt burdened. Not a burden of sin - I know that has been taken care of, and I am so very grateful. But sorrowful at my heart's condition revealed by the sin and failure of words and thoughts. I had served, acting out my commitment to love, but my thoughts were self-centered the whole time. "Will they love me more if I do this?" "What are they thinking of me now?" "Does this count as something special to them?"

Oh, to be free from self - self centeredness, self concern, self evaluation, self this, self that. Self. Self. Self.

These thoughts and prayers were written in my personal journal entry today:

I need desperately to grow in genuine love. I am so very self-centered. It is sickening. But I continue to be unable to alter such gross error.

My part: repentance. So repent I will.

"Father, forgive me for self-concern, even in the midst of serving. There is always a large component of 'it's all about me' in what I do. Horrendous and yucky. I need Your help. Pelase, make me more like Jesus, way down deep where it really counts. Amen."

Then the Lord graciously fed my soul and spirit through His Word, my daily bread.

Matt. 5.1-12. The Beatitudes.

We find Jesus surrounded by crowds who have followed Him from all over. This was no simple daytrip for these folks. They were using up all of their sick days and vacation days in order to be here. Why? What were they seeking? Something was propelling them, and it wasn't mere pleasure. This was no waterfun park, no luxury resort with adjoining tennis courts and golf course. No, they were here to listen to Jesus. This was a man with powerful life-giving words that met their needs, their deepest needs.

"Well, Lord," I thought, "I am desperate to see a deep need filled. Help me, too."

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Wait a minute. He's talking about me right here. I qualify. My desperate prayer reveals the sad but happy truth - I fit the bill! My help and my hope are intrinsically linked to this, my very need. Because of my poverty, I now have the kingdom of heaven. He is, once again, my portion.

I cannot do the works of God apart from Him and so today I offer up my life, my heart and mind, my thoughts and words and deeds to Him. May He continue to do a work in my life to make me more like Him. I place it in His hands and I know He will perform the good work He has begun in me.

Revelation of sin leads to repentance and a crying out for His help. He will answer the desperate heart's cry, He will fill, and He will provide what I cannot: true love.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I did do the home school errand, for those who might have wondered. A minimal amount of reflection led me to a clear conclusion. Certainly I wanted to keep two things in mind:
1) exemplifying diligence in fulfilling a commitment (to both my children and others involved.)
2) maintaining an excitement about learning.

I wanted to keep those two things in mind for two reasons:
1) children always have and always will learn more by example than spoken word.
2) if I want to be true to the things I most value, I will act upon the things I've determined to be valuable, such as commitment and a love for learning.

Amazing insights, don't you think?

And now I am off to see what adventures this day may hold.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Simple Report

Ear aches, head aches, neck aches, and a bit of strep. Sounds like fun, eh? Welcome to my world! The male contingent of the household seems to be suffering this week. So far I'm remaining healthy. Honestly, I'm very grateful for that. Praying for health to return to them as well. Meanwhile plenty of juice, vitamin C, and yogurt are available - well, not only available, but pushed. Fun diet, eh?

A heavy snow is falling outside my window. I remain warm and comfortable. I'm grateful for that, too. Glad to have no errands to run, no snow to shovel, and I am not even yearning to go out sledding. Hot coffee and a good book seem to beckon me more readily today, or maybe some online ScrabbleBlast. That and cooking some red beans and rice for supper. Daughter,#6 will bake homemade wheat bread as well. Yummy. Perfect for a cold winter's day.

This week a main focus has been a recording process by that same daughter,#6. Consequently piano, saxophone, and violin practice have had to fit her schedule in order to accomodate her need for no background noise. That's easier said than done in such a busy household. She figures a few more hours and she will have completed her project.

Ouch! I just remembered a homeschool errand slotted for 2:00 this afternoon. I would be a shame to cancel, but...little man isn't his best today anyway...maybe it could be postponed. Will need to sort this out soon!