Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Downtown Strolls Through Menlo Park

Things I don't experience in North Country walks:

1. The smell of boxwood wafting through the air.

2. Vibrant climbing roses surrounding an entire garage opening.

3. Maneuvering the stroller to avoid fallen, squashed citrus fruit now littering the sidewalk.

4. Encountering the following:

I stood in line with my purchase. Upon reaching the register, the clerk commented on how talkative Jameson was.

"Four fifty is the total," she told me. I paid, smiled a good-bye and moved on, but not before hearing her greet the next gentleman. He and his cute terrier had gotten in line just as I was finishing.

"Good morning, sir! Oh! Would you like a treat for your dog? A dog treat?"

"Sure," came the quick reply.

And I couldn't help but wonder why dogs ranked a freebie in Menlo Park but kids didn't. I'm sure they could quote me a reason, but they made this North Country grandmother chuckle.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Day For Education (our own and thoughts about...)

I appreciate our Constitution. I am pretty much ready to say it was God-given to the American people. What do you think?

If you would like a bit of education today, read this!

If that merely whets your appetite, check out this, an American story from recent history that provides a practical and quick lesson of the benefits of a free market economy, otherwise known as capitalism. Here we see how it can even affect an education system -- in a positive way!

Tucked in this second essay is a hint at what I believe is a God thing: individuals are unique, therefore families are unique, therefore communities are unique. None is like another, nor should it be. Therefore the more local our governing body, the more accommodation there is for that uniqueness, even in our forms and intent for education.

What about those communities that are desperate for an improved vision and desire for education? Let me ask a rhetorical question: If a horse is led to water, can you make him drink? Throwing more money into those settings in the form of better programs and teachers will not ensure that the children in those communities will learn any more than filling the trough with Perrier ensures that the horse will drink.

Communities devoid of ambition, discipline and self-esteem need infiltration of the gospel. Period. We need to get our hands dirty, establish Hull Houses for Christ through local churches, link arms with inner-city churches and outreaches, and bring change to such communities. It will take time, but He can render true and lasting reform. Let's raise awareness, pray for revival amongst believers (ourselves included) and stop allowing government to take His place! The "big brother" government will train any converts in their way (big government) which will lead to a situation much like our present day situation. (Hmmmm... Did I just suggest a conclusion regarding the events unfolding in our nation?)

Heaven forbid -- and may God deliver us!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Multi-thinking... I think

Thinking about...

...a young, small family living in sunny CA. Praying for them to grow in grace and knowledge of His glorious ways. I love them dearly and entrust them to His grace.

...Seussical, the Musical. The tunes are already running involuntarily through my head, over and over. Scenes, sets, costumes, choreography...this is bad...

...mothering a brood of young people living at 1942 from the west coast. Long distance mothering? Any great suggestions? A fifteen year old daughter manning the ship, a thirteen year old leaving girlhood behind, a little boy's daily explorations and discoveries, one with a career being launched in the professional music field, a son tackling that career and another one as well, two working women type daughters that live at home still, and several dear ones who call my home their home as well. I'm finding that prayer, the best resort any way, is my best friend and closest helper in this endeavor of carrying them all in my heart although so far away.

...a young grandson, precious in His sight, who is learning to bring into submission an iron will as he maneuvers situations with new-found authorities. Don't you just love such lessons? "Lord, help him learn quickly."

...the United States of America, my life as I know it, the future of this nation and my grandchildren's children, and how critical this election will prove to be.

...the need for His people, myself included, to cling to the Word. I was sharpened this morning as I read an exhortation to pray for peace in the nation and deliverance from evil. Awareness of judgment and the absolute justice of such judgment had caused me to wonder. A reminder of the Lord's prayer and Paul's exhortation to pray for peace was needed. How good is His Word -- what confidence it imparts! How it keeps our thinking straight!

...hurt people who need His touch, who need to yield to His touch, who need His grace. I am filled with faith for them, asking Him to move in their lives, trusting in His infinite goodness and mercy. husband, the gift he is to me, the wisdom he carries, the servant he is all day long every day to me and my children and the church. He gives and gives; I am ofttimes unmindful of such a humble man's willingness to serve.

...dinner that needs preparing. Soon -- after one more game of Lexulous, and a break from multi-thinking.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Facts, Scripture, and Wisdom

This is it.

I hope you are interested enough in facts, scripture, and wisdom to click on it. And to read it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Word Serves His People a Reminder

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Romans 6.12

Just a reminder as we work through the issues at hand, watch campaigns unfold, and encourage one another to keep the faith that we must keep our eyes on the truth. He reigns forever, the enemy is under His feet, and the increase of His government shall know no end.

Should we teach? Of course.
Should we exhort? Certainly.
Should we pray? Earnestly. Most earnestly. This is a big one.

If you must wrestle (and indeed you must), wrestle in prayer.

Does He know? Does He know this is a big one? Is He mindful of His own? Is He mindful of our prayers, our cries regarding injustice, our desire for His Spirit?

Yes. He is mindful of His people. He has heard our every cry, seen every tear, spoken comfort for every fear.

If ever you have clung to Him, now is the time.

"Lord Jesus, 'tis now."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Michelle's Own Words

Concerns regarding the choices made by Sarah Palin relating to motherhood and work are commonly voiced. There is talk about her being a negative role model. Little is mentioned regarding Michelle Obama -- the leading lady of the Democratic party. A wife and mother, she has actively pursued a career for many years. She has devoted time, energy, and talent to succeed in her profession. I'm sure she is a gifted woman.

Meanwhile she "juggles", as she says, the duties and the demands of home and work, family and projects with seeming success. She wears designer clothes that wow the media. In a nutshell she is being watched and adored (arguably much more so than Palin, for what it's worth, in terms of role modeling...) And here, in this excerpt from her blog, she makes it clear that her husband wants the government to take more of my money and yours so that women are more enabled to have choices in the work place. Hmmmm. I would like to keep my money and make different choices, thank you. Something to consider...

Here's Michelle:

"The work-life balance is a harsh reality for so many women, who are forced every day to make impossible choices. Do they take their kids to the doctor… and risk getting fired? Do they work weekends so they can afford to send their kids to better childcare… even though it means even less time with their families? Do they take another shift at work, so they can pay for piano lessons for their kids… even though it means they have to stop volunteering for the PTA?

It just shouldn’t be this difficult to raise healthy families.

As I’ve traveled across this country, I’ve met so many women who are struggling every day, just to provide the basics. Women like Gayna, who went to school, worked hard for years, did everything right—but still found herself laid off in a recent round of cutbacks at her job. Deanna, the mother of six, who worked hard to put herself through school for her family—and is now wondering if it was worth it, with all the student loans she owes. And Leigh, who swears that just a few years ago, she and her husband were middle class… but now, as they raise their three kids, they’re barely getting by.

These women are our neighbors and our friends. And they could use a little extra help from their country.

Well, Barack gets it. That’s why, as president, Barack will expand the Family and Medical Leave Act, so that millions of additional Americans will be able to take time off to care for a baby, or an elderly parent—or just to have a few hours to attend a school play or a parent-teacher conference or take a child to the doctor. And Barack will require employers to provide all their workers with at least seven paid sick days a year."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

PLEASE - For Those Truly Seeking Wisdom Read This

Randy Alcorn writes about the pro-life issue. Because it’s important.

John McCain wasn’t my first choice for president.

I am deeply concerned about the one, two or possibly three Supreme Court justices to be appointed in the next presidential term. If you listen to the candidates, it’s obvious that McCain/Palin would make a concerted effort to choose justices likely to reverse Roe v. Wade and it is equally obvious that Obama/Biden would choose justices most likely to uphold Roe v. Wade. . .

The blood of week and needy unborn children is precious in God’s sight. Please don’t tell me abortion isn’t the only issue. Of course it isn’t. Treatment of the Jews wasn’t the only issue in 1940 Germany. Buying, selling and owning black people wasn’t the only issue in the United States of 1850. Nonetheless, both were the dominant moral issues of their day. Make no mistake about it. In our own day if we support a candidate who defends abortion, who is dedicated to that cause, we are supporting the killing of children. Yes, even if he’s the coolest candidate to come along in decades.

We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ for our decisions, and a vote is a decision in which we assume responsibility for the known beliefs and moral positions of the candidate.

This is not speculation, it is not a spin, it is demonstrable fact: Barack Obama IS adamantly committed to continuing the legalized killing of unborn children in this country. . .

We may want to show the world that we Christians are cool enough to support the coolest political candidate who’s come along in decades. I really wanted to. But I just can’t get past child-killing. That’s a price for coolness that’s just too high. . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Borrowed but not blue, old but still new...

She quoted some satirical words from "How to Be Miserable" from Elisabeth Elliot, and some of what e.e. had to say inspired some thoughts. Here goes!

"Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters. Be your
own person and don't allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you."

As Christians we should adhere to one source for establishing absolutes: the Scriptures. And boy, when those Words command something, we should jump first and ask "How high?" on the way up. What He expects of us can go without questioning. No second guessing is required, no debating. Just simple ol' obedience. That kind of talk is upsetting to our modern American mindset, but it is a paradigm we call "faith" in the Christian realm. What He says is good. Period.

That's where we should begin as children: learn simple obedience first, then we can graduate to sorting through the more mature matters of applying principles when issues get more complicated. When a young mom of a toddler says to me, "What do I deal with first -- the fact that he disobeyed by touching the outlet or his bad attitude toward me?" First things first. Start with clear cut disobedience issues, then attempt to mold character needs.

In our current political arena, Christians are losing sight of this practice of "obey the black and white, then tackle the more complicated issues." This is what I'm talking about: abortion is being relegated to the same shelf as other worthy concerns.

Is it truly the only issue to talk about? Obviously not. Jesus spoke to all kinds of concerns, and as we see, they are still present in our culture (issues of the poor, the orphaned, the homeless.) They continue to be on His heart today. But exactly how to deal with them all was never laid out in specifics in the scriptures. We understand that we (the church, those who believe, mind you) should share our food, provide shelter, show mercy. But what percentage of our food should be shared? How many people should we share our shelter with? To what extent should we show mercy? Should it be voluntary or required?

These answers were not given. Jesus instead is willing to move in the hearts of individual believers and collective churches to accomplish this work. In short, He is calling His church to do these things. Why? So that it is done through genuine love (there can be no genuine love apart from God.) So that the recipients can be introduced to their Savior. And so that He receives the glory -- Him alone. Yup. He is jealous to receive the glory, not wanting to share it with any man, not even the U.S. government.

But beyond all that, He speaks in absolute terms concerning the issue of murder. He is quite concerned about the killing of innocent people; He is equally concerned about those who in supposed ignorance do nothing. He spells it out in black and white, if we take the time to look.

We 21st century Americans are inculcated with a relative ethics system. Yuck! We need to trade it in for a new "old" one. What is His mind? What does the Word call evil and good, right and wrong? How does He say we should approach the issues facing us today? There is nothing new under the sun. His word is relevant -- and even better is discovering that God does not waffle! He does not waiver. What He hated 2500 years ago, He hates today! A nation who purposely allows the wholesale slaughter of babies is flagrantly disobeying His decree. They are dishonoring His plan. They stand in sheer disregard and rebellion of His Holy Word! That is absolute!

God spoke definitively regarding certain things. It is up to us, as His people, to honor and obey His word. Or we can put it on the shelf to be debated with other issues. But if we fail to obey the obvious, the clear, the absolute how will we learn to apply Godly principles in matters of the heart? If our government approves flagrant dishonor of God, how and why should He help us apply His truth in other situations? We should "start at the very beginning" and learn once again to obey the obvious.

"Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really
relevant--things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You
want to stick with the visible ones--they're where it's at now."

Unfortunately we live in a world of constant communication. I say unfortunately because unless we are choose-y, careful, and deliberate, we may regularly get an earful of less than true, less than edifying, less than helpful stuff.

We need to be informed, no doubt. But when forming your paradigm, and understanding of a correct response to political issues, set aside that news post, the latest Youtube clip, the daily paper, even your favorite journalist, be it TV or magazine or internet. Don't let what they say eclipse or overshadow what you know to be truth. And if you don't know truth about something, find it in the scriptures. As my son says, every single political opinion needs to be founded in the Word. If you have ideas about human rights, check them against scripture. Economic strategies? Line them up with the Word. Welfare? Health care? Dig in and discover what God says. If it seems like an overwhelming task, start by talking with a believer who has knowledge: write down the scriptures he quotes and then study them yourself. Discover His heart, His bigness, His knowledge of mankind and his sin dilemmas. What are His answers? It is important.

Whatever you do, don't base your ideas on popular opinion, a simple media report, or worst of all, your emotional response to the current issues. The heart is not to be trusted. Act on the Word of God, cling to the truth even if the world around you clamors for something different.

Many hurtful things exist in this world. We cannot resolve them, we cannot bear them all. We were not meant to. In the end, His love alone is true, not the love of some mushy talking politician. Humanism reeks of sentimentalism, deceiving many into thinking that it shows mercy and care; it even appears loving and kind. It is a hoax. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death." Humanism may sound right, but don't believe it. Take time to learn His way instead. Search the Word and act upon it, one step at a time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A New Baby -- This Never Gets Old!

Pies are on the buffet, the house is clean, and sauce is cooking on the stove - all in preparation for today's meal following church. Many of us (some already had plans) will enjoy our time around the table. We always do.

... I will fly!
Off to warmer places by the sea!
Off to cheer on a lovely daughter and son!
Off to play with a charming and dashing toddler boy!
Off to freshly washed bedding and newborn baby clothes!

Lucky, lucky me! I get to be there as a brand new person, crafted by the Creator Himself, enters the world!

Lucky, lucky me!


“It is no small thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” Charles Dickens

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Being Fruitful?

Several bushels of apples, primarily Cortland and 20-ounces, sit on my kitchen floor demanding attention. So... I think that today we will be making scads of apple pies, cooking up a huge pot of apple sauce, and filling freezer bags with the remaining red and green specimens. Yummy! A girl raised in the farming community of Williamson, NY loves this season of apple-y-goodness!

A pressure cooker might in some way illustrate my past few days, with too many preparations and doings to fit into single 24-hour periods. Much has been accomplished; much is yet to be done. Still, I have procured, over the years, a knowledge of how to survive such demanding seasons. Consequently I will look at the list of the undone, acquiesce to the elimination of such items that were merely desires versus essential, accept that even the essential may receive less than perfect attention, and trust - really trust -- in His love and grace to cover. Then I will get on to the important task of investing in my home and family, including preparing a meal for our last Sunday gathering before I leave them for the month.

All is well in Him, my Prince of Peace. Amazing, isn't He?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Countdown -- or up...

Th. - Fri. - Sat. - Sun. - then Monday, take off!

So what are the needed things? I have responsibilities, of course. I'm committed to school plans, both here at home and in my volunteer position for the support group we attend. My kids, other kids, and parents are counting on me. So, those responsibilities must be fulfilled -- somehow I will find time for those things.

I have relationships which are commitments needing my care, even in absence. New clothes for my husband are essential before I leave. That is a primary concern. Must take care of that. My children deserve attention as well; clothes must be thought through, additional chore responsibilities carefully divvied up, food pantries and freezers filled, and of course, a wedding to organize. Whew!

So much to think about. But most of all I want to spend time with each one of these special people. So imaginations of Sunday dinner settle on the horizon of my mind's view. Maybe the whole crew can assemble (it takes planning for that to happen around here -- better have them set the day aside quickly!)

Happy planning of your own days!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Simple Moments

Simple joys are easy for my little sanguine-type buddy. His body was traced with black marker on large white paper today and will soon accommodate several life-size cutouts of crayon colored body parts. Today's offering was a brain with attached spinal cord. We have many left to do, but, oh, what excitement this has produced! I love it -- he loves it. That's a pretty good deal for us.

Lighted candles, a free computer or a book, a warm cup of tea -- these are the delights for my daughter. They are simple enough as well. The other girl finds her free time spent at the piano playing duets with a passerby, singing an original tune, reading through a Broadway collection, or practicing her Bach Fugue. Hot chocolate completes her happiness. Simple pleasures as well.

We can be complicated people, but I am happy, too, when we keep it simple. Thankfully, they do know how. They are a good crew, this little bunch.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hurry! Catch-up! (But rest in Him, too!)

:: Back from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) in Canada. The weekend was wonderful from my perspective. I met many new sisters in Christ, we shared lots of prayer and learned new things together. Beautiful! I hope I see them all someday again.

:: Today we will quickly get some math and laundry done. Then off to share lunch and study "The Last of the Mohicans" with some fellow homeschool students. This makes the book more fun for them, and I like the discussion led by someone who loves teaching literature!

:: Busily looking ahead to the start-up of Christian Fellowship Academy's Friday Program. Yup -- Friday begins the fall semester and I have yet to finalize the choral selections. Yikes! I've got my work cut out for me!

:: Speaking of Friday Program: this Friday I will hold the auditions for our spring musical production of "Seussical the Musical". I need to plan some choreography and familiarize myself a bit more with every single character. Yikes again!!

:: In one week I head to CA to be with my daughter for her second delivery. Hopefully the baby will wait until I arrive. I am sure he/she will!

:: Consequently (see above) I need to prepare my household for my month long absence. Rick is in dire need of new clothes. There is no way I can leave my poor daughters in charge of preparing outfits for him with the tatterdemalion collection of items his closet sports at the moment. This is one of those times that I simply adore online shopping!

:: Also in preparation for such a lengthy departure, curriculum must be well planned, rides for music lessons considered, and food thought through. Fortunately for me (and the household) I have daughters -- 5 still at home -- who can step up to the plate in my absence. Still, I can't leave them high and dry now, can I? Yikes, again again!!!

:: In the meantime, wedding invites must be mailed by the end of the week. Did I mention for your memory's sake that there is a wedding being planned around here? We're trying to get
many details settled before I leave. Once again -- Yikes!!!!

:: Above all this, there remains His constant care. His plans for the day are complete. So I get in the yoke with Him, let Him lead and guide, knowing that His knowledge of the details of the hours looming ahead is perfect. After all, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I think I'll choose that for my busy day!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Special Weekend

Scrambling, but still noticing the beauty around me, enjoying my school kids, purchasing items for a daughter's wedding, checking in on grandchildren in a little yellow house, and cooking a pot of soup on a cold, rainy day.

This weekend I will be sharing at a ladies' retreat in Canada. They've asked me to cover 6 sessions. One will be a Q&A (a bit intimidating, but God is good), one needs to be directed toward homeschooling issues, the remaining 4 are whatever. So, I'm thinking we will discuss topics that lend to building strength, bringing success in our service to the King, and causing us to endure to the end.

Session 1 - Enabled by the Word
Session 2 - Embracing Suffering
Session 3 - Entering Into His Rest
Session 4 - Enduring Joy: Real Strength

I am hoping to bring a blessing to these women. My earnest desire is to see them a bit more established in the kingdom, strengthened in the inner man.

May we all receive much from His Spirit. Would you pray to that end?