Sunday, December 27, 2009

Being, Not Seeming

True worth is in being, not seeming, -
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good - not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
- Cary

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Five of Us, Soon to Be Four

The five of us sisters are the best of friends...
I don't know what we'll do when Jemima's gone!
L-R: Mary, Jemima, Liz, Ruth, Joanna
(taken Sept. 09 at Bakersville)

As most people are busily wrapping presents and stringing the last of the Christmas lights, our house is abuzz with activity, too... except it's more like the sewing machine humming over yards of midnight blue satin and dresses and sashes hanging everywhere. Seventy-five of the pies were baked last week and are in the freezer. The ribbon and tulle and candles are stacked in boxes in the bedrooms and we are busily checking off to-do lists daily. I know it won't all get done the way we want it to by the wedding day (January 2), but the point of the wedding is celebration of what God is doing in joining two lives. So, if everything's not perfect, it will be okay! Jemima keeps reminding us that she would much rather have her family and family-to-be happy on her wedding day, than everything be completely perfect and us stressed out and irritated with one another. I think it's a great goal. :)

People keep asking me how I'm handling losing Jemima. Honestly, reality hasn't hit yet that she's going to be gone forever. We talk about it and even as we help her pack up her things, it's hard to imagine her not coming back. It's really not very real yet that she will have another life and family ....that she will be more interested in her own new family than our cozy nest. We'll just have to have her visit often to keep ourselves from getting too depressed!

For now, I'm rejoicing in the things that God has given me. Josh and Jemima found a house... of all places, three blocks from my new office in Springfield!! I didn't even wishfully ask God to do that for me... but He did! I can walk over to her house for lunch in between prenatal visits or we can walk around the block on nice afternoons when I'm waiting for the next pregnant lady to show up. I can't say how excited I am about this fun surprise! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love Heaven!

Love heaven. Let your heart be in it.
Up, up and visit the new land and the view the fair city,
and the white throne and the Lamb - run fast for it is late.
-- Samuel Rutherford
II Corinthians 4:16-18

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"All women are flirts, but some are restrained by shyness, and others by sense."
-- Copied from Dana W.'s Facebook.

Hmmm.... true, or not?
I tend to think it's reflects the nature of women...

I Haven't Died

For those of you wondering,

I haven't died

or gone away

OR figured out how to enable comments on recent blog posts.

(I didn't change any settings; Blogger just stopped letting people comment.
After that happened, I did try to "fix" it through settings, but Blogger would have none of it.
So, here I sit... not entirely helpless, but not willing to waste another rare and
precious hour on trying to figure it out, just yet. If a geek out there has a quick fix, email me at wewouldseejesus {at} gmail {dot} com.)

As for lack of any substantial blog post in recent days, I have good reasons. I have a lot to do, and I'm trying to live my full and busy life with joy and purpose AND get a decent amount of sleep some nights.
I do feel sorta obligated to "keep up" with my online life.
But not enough to skip out on real life - like helping my sister
plan her wedding and things like delivering babies and talking to people in real life. :)

So... if you were worried about me, don't be. I plan to be back soon. :)

And I hope that someday soon, you'll be able to comment again and say, "Where are you??"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anybody Can Make a New Ending

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”- M. Robinson

I came across this quote today and loved it. So often, people despair because of the way things started. But, the beginning is not the end! Start anew with whatever it is that you should do better!

And now, I shall hustle off to the kitchen to make a better ending to the day. Not that the day started badly... actually, it started quite splendidly with me waking up half an hour before my alarm clock. :) I got spend some extra time reading and meditating on the Sermon on the Mount, and for a change, I managed to stick to my to-do list today and check off an awful lot of things that needed to be done.
But now it's time to make a feast for Noah's 19th birthday! I'm the only person home at the moment, so I'd better hurry to get the cake baked and turned into a big bowl of caramel trifle and get the hamburgers cooking!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyday Gratitude

Laurel's got me started!

I'm grateful for so many things.

But on this chilly, rainy night I'm grateful for brothers washing dishes...

for piping hot banana bread made by little sisters...

for little children running through the dark, rainy night howling with delight...

for little girls who do not have a mother but come to visit and sleep in my bed...

for the dryer humming nearby...

for a starry-eyed sister on the phone with her Love....

for finding a 20 week baby's heartbeat, when I feared it gone today....

for the friends who are interceding across the country for a situation that
only God can save and fix...

for the sweet card in the mail...

for my mother's gentleness and forgiveness...

for fellow midwives who are too busy to help, but hug me and tell me they understand....

for HOPE... that God is good, no matter what He does with my life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Way to Love Anything

“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.”
-G.K. Chesterton

On Loving

"Happiness comes more from loving than being loved;
and often when our affection seems wounded
it is only our vanity bleeding.
To love, and to be hurt often, and to love again --
this is the brave and happy life."
-J.E. Buckrose

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weak, Despised and Foolish Things

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God, the tendency to say, 'What wonderfully astute wisdom they had! How perfectly they understood all that God wanted!'
The astute mind is behind the the Mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom, when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God's wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God."
- Oswald Chambers

Thou, O Christ,
Who wert tempted in all points
Like as we are, yet without sin,
Make us strong to overcome
The desire to be wise
And to be reputed wise
By others as ignorant as ourselves.
We turn from our wisdom
As well as from our folly
And flee to Thee,
The Wisdom of God
And the Power of God.
- A.W. Tozer

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent....Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
....For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness:
....For ye see your calling, brethern, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence."
I Corinthians 1: 18-20, 22, 23, 26-29

Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Than Ordinary Morality

"...So often we simply equate Christ-like character
with ordinary morality..."

~ Jerry Bridges, "Transforming Grace"


"Sanctification, or holiness (the two words are virtually interchangeable),
is essentially conformity to the moral character of God.

- Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving Him My Best, My Dearest

Re-posting this... it so fits this season of my life!

"The fair new petals must fall, and for no visible reason.
No one seems enriched by the stripping.

And the first step into the realm of giving is a like surrender - not manward but Godward: an utter yielding of our best. So long as our idea of surrender is limited to the renouncing of unlawful things, we have never grasped its true meaning: that is not worthy of the name, for 'no polluted thing' can be offered.
The life lost on the Cross was not a sinful one - the treasure poured forth there was God-given, God-blessed treasure, lawful and right to be kept: only that there was the life of the world at stake."

-- Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Cross

Sometimes the God Who gave all and spared not His own Son asks all - even our lawful, God-given, God-blessed heart treasures.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Being 27 and Happy!

Ahhh…. I’m now 27. And so it calls for a note… an update… something.

Where do I begin?
Really. An update on my life? What part of life? The part everyone sees? What has gone on in my heart in recent months? What the future looks like? My deepest struggles and the lessons I’m learning? Would I really write all of that down for all of you?

I’m torn between journaling on my blog and keeping my life private. I don’t have time to keep a private journal AND blog, so I’ve had to choose between the two….

Mostly, I blog and some stuff consequently doesn’t get written down because I surely don’t intend to put all of my life on my blog. I’m sure I’ll regret someday that I didn’t journal about life as it happened… Oh, well. Sometimes you just can’t do everything that you’d like to.

A few short years ago, I would have imagined myself as something incredibly wise, and mature and lovely and happy and perfected at such an age as this. I would have thought that by now I’d have my own family, my own little house… that I would be good and kind and sweet.

So much of my life has been everything but what I imagined. I really didn’t plan to live the life I have… at all. It just kinda happened. I can’t say it’s all been easy, or fun… but it’s ALL been rich, so rich. The most difficult days are the ones that now give me courage to put an unknown future into the Hands of a loving God who has shown me His goodness over and over every day that I have been alive.

I spent my late teens and early twenties trying to move forward with my life, but completely unsure of where it was going or where it was supposed to go or how I was to get wherever that place was. So many sleepless nights and fretful days as I tried to decide what it was that I was created to do and be.

I was most terrified of wasting my life doing something that I would regret later… making a wrong choice and heading down a path that would later stop me in my tracks and send me re-tracing my steps and agonizing over the years that I could have been doing something better.

Looking back, the only time I wasted was the time I spent fretting about what to do. Everything that I did and everything that happened to me was just what I needed to grow up and it gave me a bigger perspective on the world around me and the God who made it all.

“So, then what happened, Mary? You grew up?”

Well, maybe… kinda, sort of. I don’t know what I should call myself now. I’m old (even though I don’t feel “old”), but I don’t feel “grown up.”

I’m still a scared, silly little girl who tries to be brave and do the stuff that scares me.

Am I a little wiser? Maybe, but other days I wonder.

One thing I know. I trust God a whole lot more than I used to. I used to say that I knew that He was good. Now I really believe it. I have seen the goodness of the Lord over and over and over again. When people learn to forgive and love again, when rebels hearts are softened, when people see their need of Jesus, when God shows me the depravity of my own heart once again and gives me the humility and grace to admit my wrong and make it right, when the selfishness and wickedness of men is thwarted and redeemed by the hand of a great God. Even in the midst of hard things, painful things, harsh things, bitter things, somehow the Love of an all-wise, ever-kind God shines through.

In brief, this past year has been one of so many transitions for me, and of yielding my desires and dreams - Of realizing that life is moving on and I can’t stay here and stay the same. I must change and grow with everything happening around me. I must hold my dreams loosely, and let the One who made the Universe plan Tomorrow. And I have the choice to do it joyfully and confidently, knowing that a Loving God holds my future or to hold back in apprehension and fear and disbelief.

I choose to fling myself out – into those Everlasting Arms. To trust, even when I can’t see the path or know what lies ahead. To trust that if my Father gives it to me, it will be good, so very good, and chosen with the deepest love that I might someday reflect His Face to others.

As Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt of every situation that you believe to be the Will of God!”

I don’t deserve the life I’ve been given. But it’s mine. And the God of Heaven chooses to call me His friend, His daughter, His bride. I am grateful beyond words for these green pastures that He has placed me in.

“Each of us cry, with thankful tongues, Lord, why was I a guest?

Why was I made to hear Thy voice, And enter while there's room;
When thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come?

- Isaac Watts

“As for me, I will behold Thy Face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Christy - The Real One

Our dear, sweet friend, Carissa Grace got married yesterday. It was such a gorgeous day for her outdoor ceremony by the river! My sister, Ruth, was the photographer, and took some amazing pictures, but I'm not going to steal her thunder or her photos... :)

But I'll post one of my photos - Carissa's sister, Christy and I together after the wedding. :)

Christy has been a good friend of mine for many years, but she definitely grows dearer as the years go by! Christy is, of all of my friends on earth, the most honest and genuine person I know! I have so much to learn from her. She has no pretense or pretending to be somebody that she's not (as I tend so often to do). She's just herself, and she admits openly and freely when she needs prayer or has a bad attitude or is struggling. I tend to pull myself together in front of people and try to be the person they imagine me to be, whether or not I really am.

I think so often of Jesus - there was "no guile" found in Him - no "pretending" or "fakeness" or imitation of goodness that wasn't really there. What you saw was genuine goodness from deep in His very heart and soul.

May I be that way - genuinely good and kind and pure from the heart.
And when I'm not, may I not pretend that I am!

I love you, Christy! I hope to be a lot more like you someday when I grow up!

The Ordinary Stuff of Life

My friend, Sarah, posted this quote on her Facebook the other day. It so summed up much of what I've thinking on in recent days that I just couldn't help myself... I stole it for my blog! :)

"It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, but a man only gets there in order that afterwards he may get down among the devil-possessed and lift them up. We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and the aesthetic affinities, those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle." - Chambers

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Life is so full and happy and busy. I don't even know where to start! I feel breathlessly overwhelmed with all of God's goodness to me! I don't know if He's been extra kind to me lately, or if I just never noticed before. I feel like I'm in love... except it's with my Savior!

Answered prayer after answered prayer...
He doesn't have to do anything for me, and yet daily He showers me with blessings!
I hope to have time to say more soon here on my blog, though I really don't know where I would start.

Until then, keep pressing upward and looking at the Face of Jesus!
The things of earth will grow strangely dim. And He will become all you want.

Enjoying these lyrics today:
"How deep the Father's love for us.... that He should make a wretch His treasure!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

And She Said "YES!"

Over the spring and summer months, a beautiful relationship has been blossoming between my sister and a Godly young man from our church. I've wanted to blog a few pictures, but they forbade such "until engagement" (both of them being some of the only ones in the family to also boycott Facebook and other online methods of communication!). They prefer old-fashioned letters and phone calls and in-person communication... another reason why they are so nicely suited to each other! :)

The day has finally arrived... and I can shout their news through the cyber world!

I must say... it's a strange feeling to have your little sister in love and getting married... first.
But I couldn't be any happier for her. I haven't been able to stop grinning all day!

I'm sure I'll cry and cry when she's finally married and gone... Jemima has been my confidante and best friend ever since we were little girls. She's always admired me, but I've admired her more for her virtue and goodness and love that comes so naturally, while I have to fight and struggle constantly to have a sweet and good heart! Her goodness puts me to shame almost daily, but at least I have something I can aspire to be like... my little sister.

So, yes, I'll be sad someday that Jemima isn't at the sink waiting to hear my stories and tell me her's when I come home each day, but for now, I'm just completely happy for her and them. Joshua is a wonderful guy and Jemima is nearly an angel... I think they'll have a bit of heaven on earth in their home.

I'll just have to go visit often, I guess. I'm so grateful that Jemima didn't fall in love with someone who lives in New Brunswick or Italy or something. If that was the case, I'd probably be crying now!

"Look, guys! I got her!!"

Hurrying back to the house... eight pairs of sisters eyes watching and giggling!

Engaged... at last!

The ring... of course

The ecstatic couple with their two youngest matchmaking sisters,
Joanna (L) and Hannah (R) who have been dreaming of
such a day for a long time. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If You Have Not Chosen

If you have not chosen the kingdom of God,

it will make in the end no difference

what you have chosen instead.

~William Law


Ellie's 2 year old, Thaddeus, gained an affectionate nickname while living here ~ Tadpole.
We love our little "Tadpole" to pieces. :)


Some of my very dearest friends have married in recent weeks. And another is getting married in October. I'm so happy for all of them, and I'm loving watching them settle into their cozy little newly-wed homes and start their families. :)

Meanwhile, I hug my remaining single friends a little tighter, and wonder who's next...

Ah, yes... The pictures?
Well, Ruth usually documents every wedding we attend with a few hundred pictures. But... Unfortunately, the camera batteries died at Aneysa's wedding, and Liz was sick, so at the last minute my sisters didn't get to attend Allison's wedding. Thus, I'm waiting for generous friends to share their wedding pictures with me.

I'll post a few (and a better tribute to my married friends) whenever I get them!

Lord, Why Was I A Guest?

How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores!

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
Lord, why was I a guest?

Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there's room;
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?

'Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly forced us in
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

Pity the nations, O our God!
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.

We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May with one voice, and heart, and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.

-- Isaac Watts

Send "How Sweet And Aweful Is The Place" ringtones to your Cell

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ellie's Visit

Ellie with my sisters and me...

I've been living life instead of blogging. That includes lots of midwife-stuff... but also loving on the four darling babies who have been living in we girls' bedroom, along with their mommy, Ellie.
Somehow, Ellie was adopted into the family years ago, the day we met her. She's one of the favorite non-biological sisters who we claim.... The past month has been delightful, but it's time for her to go home and settle back into regular life with her hubby. We're going to be saying goodbye early tomorrow morning. Perhaps, when that traumatic moment of kissing our four babies goodbye is in the past, I will have time to post a few more pictures of recent days around our house...

Someone asked me how our family was doing, and I replied, "Um, in a nutshell, we're happily going crazy, trying to love a zillion people!"

:) I like it. People matter. Life is good. Love is worth a lot. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Desire to Be Wise

O Christ...
Make us strong to overcome
The desire to be wise
And to be reputed wise
By others as ignorant as ourselves.
We turn from our wisdom
As well as from out folly
And flee to Thee,
The wisdom of God
And the power of God.

~ A. W. Tozer

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Letter

It arrived today. For real. And... it said that I passed the final NARM exam and am now a Certified Professional Midwife.

For me, the news is so big that it's hard to believe. It's so surreal. Maybe it will sink it the next time someone in Wal-Mart or at the gas station asks me what I do and I proudly say, "I'm a midwife!"

I'm happy. I'm blessed. I'm thrilled to tears.

And to think that being a CPM wouldn't really have meant a thing in Missouri two years ago...
I'm so grateful to Senator Loudon and the hundreds of other people who came together and legalized Certified Professional Midwives in Missouri!

I can think of so many twists and turns in the path to becoming a midwife that I have taken in the last 10 years. I'm so grateful for all of it - the fun stuff, the good stuff I'll never forget, the hard stuff, the horrible stuff, the exhausting stuff. Somehow, all mixed together, it made me who I am.

People often say most excitedly, "Oh, you're becoming a midwife?! That must be soo fun! I can't imagine how much I would love to deliver babies and be with the mothers on that special day!"
Or else they say, "Oh, my! I could never handle that!"

Really, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There are wonderful parts and there are really hard parts.

Someone recently asked me, "What scares you more than about anything in the life you live?" I said without hesitation, "Shoulder dystocia!" On the other hand, I can think of a thousand things that I love about being involved in the lives of pregnant women who are learning and loving nurturing the tiny bits of life growing within them.

Some days I love it. Some days I'm so burnt out and hope desperately that my phone won't ring again for at least 20 minutes. But all together, it's so worth it in spite of the hard parts.

Would one choose not to experience motherhood and birth because of the pain and hardships and utter exhaustion? I would hope not.

It is through giving and loving and stretching more than you ever thought possible, and yes, sometimes hurting, that the soul expands and that life is made rich. Love, life - anything worthwhile is costly. But so worth it. Midwifery is that way.

I could go on and on, but I won't bore you... til another day, anyway!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life in August....

It's been nearly a whole month since I last made a peep here.

Many days I've thought wistfully of trying to get on and blog a quick update, but alas, life has rolled on and the blog, while not forgotten, has been left in the dust! I'm sorry about that. I'm trying to get back to some sort of a schedule (that will include blogging) as September comes, and I switch gears from studying to living life in some sort of "normal" way! :)

August has been so busy, sometimes stressful, but really, really good in so many ways.
The first half of the month, I tried to do nothing but absolute necessities and studying for my midwife national board exam. Most days I tried to study, but a stream of constant interruptions kept me from getting much done.

Then I took the exam. I think I've been asked about 150 times since then, "So, how did it go? How do you think you did?!" So, I'll answer that question right here, before you all start asking. I don't know the results yet. I'm hopeful that I passed, but I'm not holding my breath... yet. I will let you know when I know something. :)

The day after I took the exam, our good friend, Ellie, and her four darling babies arrived to stay with us for a month so she can have a bit of rest and relaxation. Our house has had a steady stream of additional visitors coming through every day since. Yesterday we had 13 extra little kids from three families at our house. Today, we had 8 little kids under the age of 4 here, four kids a bit older than that, and a handful of teens/young people. I walked in the door from church and four little ones ran screeching towards me and grabbed my legs as I stepped over the boiled eggs that they had smashed all over the floor. Thaddeus wiped his runny nose across my cheek and CarolAnne shrieked, "Hold CaaarooolAnne first!"

To be honest, the dinner time sounds tonight over smashed biscuits and gravy all over the table made me feel like I was living within a monkey cage rather than a house inhabited by humans. :)
But I love them an awful lot. I just have to have a few moments to think occasionally. :)

And now these darling babies hanging over my elbows while I type are becoming a bit much to allow me to continue blogging. I think I'll try to finish another time... Goodnight for now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Garden Abundance

Purple Hull Peas

Potatoes . . . we've dug a few thousand pounds (seventeen rows) so far.
Fourteen more rows to dig. . . oh my! Storage will be interesting. . .

The girls braided onions most of the afternoon on Saturday.
Where to put all of them is now the question.

One can only eat and preserve so many cucumbers!

And cabbage . . . it shall be forever immortalized upon our minds.
After chopping over a thousand heads of it on the kitchen table,
and having buckets and jars of saurkraut fermenting in every corner and building,
and lugging big white burlap sacks of it to give away everywhere we go,
how could we ever forget?

Living Today

My dear friend Joy has an excellent post on her blog about living in the here and now, and not the imagined or hoped-for future.

"Somehow over the brief years of my pilgrimage thus far on this earth I have had my eyes more focused on the end and have had the attitude of bracing my teeth and just enduring what was happening at the moment, thinking that soon this would be over. There would be some change in my life, surely there had to be some grand change that would make everything better. And so the days have slipped by, one by one, each day forever gone. It’s sobering to think about. And yet, there isn’t anything I can do about yesterday. And my tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed..."
Read the rest over at her blog: Living Today

Love That Hurts

You cannot love without risk of pain.
In fact, love at its highest looks and
feels like a bloodied cross.
- Dr. Andrew Selle

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Only If it Gets There in Time

I came across the video on Facebook a few days ago. Wow. It's worth loading, even when it takes half a day on dial-up!

"The gospel is only the good news if it gets there in time. . ." keeps ringing in my ears.

For practical ways to reach Asia with the Good News in time, check out Gospel for Asia:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If We Are in the Boat With Thee. . .

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?

Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?

- Amy Carmichael, Toward Jerusalem

At this season of my life, I find myself amidst the tossing waves and rocking boat, turning again and again to the Face of Jesus... and again and again He asks, "Why are you troubled?"

The question always brings me to my senses. . . Why? How foolish of me!
With Jesus in the boat, I wait. In peace and calm.


"Epaphras. . . a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. . ." Colossians 4:12-13

How many of us have an Epaphras in our lives?

How many of us are Epaphras towards others with "great zeal" to see our brothers and sisters in Christ stand perfect and complete in the will of God?

How many of us labor fervently in prayer for more than our own needs?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fill My Life... In Every Part With Praise

Fill Thou my life, O Lord, my God, In every part with praise,

That my whole being may proclaim Thy being and Thy ways;

.... I ask but for a life made up of praise in every part.

- Horatius Bonar

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Update on Life

The past week was a whirlwind of traveling - first to Arkansas for a wedding, then back for local stuff near home and then off to Birmingham, AL for a midwifery conference. I arrived home yesterday afternoon, just in time to head off to church with my family. :)

And now... I'm spending the next week holed up in a house in the woods a couple miles from where my family lives. I have the delightful job of house-sitting at such a time as this - when I need to study during every spare second. It's just me... and a very annoying Schnauzer who believes that he must sit beside me on the couch, stand beside me in the kitchen, and try to climb in bed with me at night! (I never did like dogs that much... and I really don't like them in the house!)

Today was the first day in quite a while that was dedicated to my stack of textbooks that must be read by mid-August.
But most of the day was spent fixing a flat tire, and running errands, and re-scheduling appointments for tomorrow. My little sisters, Ruth and Joanna, are spending the night with me tonight. I will take them home early in the morning and then head off to my appointments. Tomorrow afternoon looks as though it holds a few hours for study. We shall see if that happens.

If things happen the way I want them to, you won't be hearing much from me for a bit and I'll be deep in Varney and Frye....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Week of First Lady Fashion

I love Melissa's style. It's nice. It's classy. It's modest. It's feminine. It doesn't cost a lot. It's just what I like! She's always this classy and pretty in real life, too! :)

Check out her blog of her "Week of Style":

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Writing Too Much?

My office is lined with bookcases. Some of the books I have read; many of the books I want to read someday. I found another one in a thrift store yesterday for $0.25 and added it to the must-read pile.

Then I debated putting it somewhere else. Packing it away. I certainly must read this one someday. But when? I remembered the other 20 or so on the shelf that have been in the process of being read for well over a year.

Suddenly I stopped myself. How on earth is it that I simply cannot seem to find time to read??
I used to manage to read a lot.

The answer was so obvious, clear... it was hard to believe that I hadn't thought of it before.

I write too much! That's it! I really don't ever have time to read anything (other than the Bible), because I'm constantly writing....

It has me re-considering. Maybe I should stop running my mouth (er, pen.. keyboard... whatever!) so much, and start putting some wisdom IN to my head!

Any suggestions on how to do that? I suppose I could just pick up a book the next time I'm tempted to start blogging...

The only thing is, reading only benefits me...
I try to blog to benefit you.
Whether I do or not is another topic!

Still thinking...

The Value of Five Minutes

"The reason I beat the Austrians is,

they did not know the value of five minutes."


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Restoration of My Wretched Heart

'Twas yesterday that I pondered on another.
Their sin, their pride. . . their wretched heart.
As I thought of my response,
How to restore. . .
The Finger of God pointed at my heart:
"Thou art that person!"
I was smitten, ashamed.
I saw the filth, the pride, the rebellion
Within myself.
'Tis I who needs restoration.

I see my sin.
I feel my guilt.
I bow my head.
Words... they do not come.
Brokenness I need - that I know.
But tears, where are tears?
My heart is cold and stale and limp.

I want to push this back inside the closet
. . . Rest.
This confusing, jumbled mess.
I hate it, but not enough.
The nudging of a still, small Voice at night. . .
How I hate this, nagging when I want to rest.
And yet - and yet - I fear it ceasing.
I am terrified of growing comfortable with this.

Plowing of my crusted, hardened heart
Will not be easy, quick.
That I know.
I dread the agony, the pain,
The bitterness of yielding up my will. . .
And yet, I cannot be right and whole
Until I have given all again and hold no claims to Self.

I know that I should care enough to change.
But tonight my heart seems far away.
I sort of care.
For I hate the person I've become.
In retrospect, I see the hardening of my heart,
The numbing of my conscience. . .
As time has passed
As days and weeks and months have marched on.
I am me, but I am not the person I once was.

People used to call me that.
In truth,
I may still look like that.
But I am not.
I know the motives of my heart.
I never saw them clearer than when God pointed His finger yesterday.
Ugh. Why did I have to get here?
Its too hard to go back. . .

It scares me to see that I AM this.
Not, I might become.
But I am.
But it terrifies me most to know
That I am too tired, too lazy to change tonight.
I'm not happy with this mediocre plane
And yet I don't hate it enough to do what it takes
To purge the sin from my heart.

I'm not broken enough by the hardness of my own heart. . .
If I cared, I would be sobbing.

Instead, I sit here numbly, staring at the stars,
Fingering my worn Bible.
Waiting for repentance to well up,
But finding none.

Instead of weeping, broken,
I mourn the loss of purity of heart.
I mourn as though staring at my neighbor's casket.
Numbly, sadly, regretfully. . .
But not desperately.

Am I resigned?
What once was mine no longer is?
Never will be mine again?
Oh, Dear God! No!

I do not as the broken mother does. . .
Clutch the stiff, cold body of her baby.
Sob, and writhe and pull away from those who love her most.
Refuse, refuse to let her baby go.
. . . Hold its now empty body to herself as if
Her heart-wrenched groans could bring him back. . .
Wail into the night. . .
Refuse to think of better days,
Because this, her treasure, her light is gone.

I have bit adieu to my once-pure heart?
I have let it go?
Oh, God! What have I become?
All these years of fighting what Self wanted,
Of yielding to Your Will. . .
I will give it up for this?
I say the effort is too much?
I choose the easy road. . . now?

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. . ."
The words of haunting melodies come floating back.
I have wandered.
I feel it.
I see it.
This ugly path where walking is easy.

Why would a man yield his soul
To gain the world of Self?
And yet I have.
O foolish, hardened one!
And then the words,
"Pray when you don't feel like praying,
And pray til you feel like praying. . ."
Prompt me.
And so, I kneel
Beside this bed and try to pray.

The still, small Voice, it prompts again.
"Are you willing to yield anything?"
My heart - it clutches - rags of
My reputation -
Oh, spare deep embarrassment, Dear God!

I clench. . . and then, slowly, let go.
I drop those worthless bits that mean so much to me.
"Yes, Lord, it is Yours.
I am Yours, if only
You will bring repentance. . .
Clear the mess,
Restore my tender heart."

I hold my breath,
Tremble. . .
I have given God my reputation in this?
To take all I love
To smash my idols
To break me through and through
To make me whole?

I swallow hard.
. . . And wait.

I've yielded, given God
The keys to hopes and dreams.
But, still, repentance real, where?
My eyes fall
Upon the well-worn book of Genesis.

If I like Jacob, wrestle and take hold
And clench the hem of garments white
And cry,
"I will not, will not let Thee go,
Until I am right with Thee!"

If I wrestle with my God til morning light
And will not let Him go 'til dawn breaks through
And I am whole again,

Can God, my Father refuse and turn away?

A broken, contrite spirit draws His gaze,
A desperate heart - His hand.
My Savior's Blood -
It pleads before the Mercy seat.

And as I cry,
"God, be merciful to me, a sinner!"
I am whole again.
The clouds have lifted.
I have battled with my foolish heart.
But GOD has conquered ME!

The grace of God has reached e'en here.
And washed with fresh floods of repentance
O'er this dry and barren ground.

I am whole and live again!

~ Mary,
May 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Men Show Their Character...

Men show their character in nothing more clearly
than by what they think laughable.
- Unknown

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear, Darling Babies

I have the best job in the whole world!

Well, truth be told, it doesn't always feel that way. Sometimes, as I drag myself out of bed and head off into a cold night at 2 am it doesn't quite feel that way. Or sometimes when the fourth pregnant lady calls in one day wanting to ask me about her urinary tract infection or tell me about her baby's hiccups, I wish I could just turn off my phone for an hour. Don't get me wrong - I want them to call if there is anything going on. But sometimes it would be nice to work a shift and then go home and leave someone else to worry about the pregnant ladies til I was scheduled to be at least partially responsible again. I don't know if things will be easier or harder once I'm "on my own" after I get certified. I guess I'll just take it one day at a time and one pregnant lady and baby at a time! :)

I'm at home, pretty much by myself for the week. My family is off on the yearly trek north to see all the relatives.

And me? Well, the usual story -- babies are due. I'm stuck pretty close to home.
I had already asked my preceptor for 4 days off next month before this family trip was planned, and I really can't leave her without help too often!

That's okay. Probably actually providential because of the enormous amount of studying I left to do before I take my national board exam in August.

So, this quiet week at home was supposed to be for studying. But pregnant ladies called today and needed packets mailed and charts updated and questions answered. And babies needed to be weighed and measured. And pregnant ladies need to be seen tomorrow and more appointments need to be made....

So, do I really have the best job in the world?
I think it's pretty close (being a mother would outrank it, I'd have to admit)...

If I ever forget how blessed I am to be holding mothers' hands while they push their babies out and to catch little naked babies and listen to them cry for the first time, all I have to do is kiss a few of those babies again.... :)

A few recent babies:

Anessa Marie came during the worst ice storm...

Since William Locksley decided to make his appearance on the last day of the Missouri legislative session, I spent the wee hours of the morning heading south from the Capitol as fast as I could safely go!

Athanasius arranged his arrival so conveniently for both my preceptor and I on a beautiful May evening...

Yep, my job is pretty grand. It's not all warm fuzzies - that's for sure. In fact, those are kind of few and far between. But it's deep, it's meaningful... and it leaves me in awe of God every time!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Summer Party - in Pictures!

Our family started a tradition several years ago - hosting an annual New Year's Eve party at our house. It's not always on that evening, but sometime in January we invite dozens and dozens of young people over for an evening party. We play games and talk and eat and catch up on each others' lives. We make it our goal to make it more than a party. We want people to go away having done more than just play games and laugh (though we also make it a goal to make it one of the funnest parties they've ever attended!). We want them to go away spiritually encouraged and challenged. So, we try to have a mix of fun and seriousness. We try to keep the topics of discussion and games intriguing and interesting. And you know what, people seem to like it... a lot! At least, they usually come back, and many of them drive several hours to come. Maybe they're just trying to be nice to us. :)

We had so many requests for another party after our January one that we decided to do a summer party as well. It was great, other than being a warm, sticky day in June. Since we don't have air-conditioning and the people would have been pretty tightly packed in our rather small house, we decided to do nearly everything on the lawn. All in all, it was a great evening!

Chatting on the lawn... waiting for games to begin.

Supper was buffet-style inside, but everyone came back out to the lawn to eat.

After-dinner conversation

The challenge was for each team to tape "their" person more securely to the side of the shed, using only a roll of duct tape. Above: the girls are unrolling and tearing tape as quickly as possible!

Almost ready to see if he'll really stay up there.
He didn't - he fell down as soon as we pulled the bucket out from under his feet!

But Donnie stayed on the wall for almost a full minute!
His team must have placed their tape more strategically!

Everyone was hot and sweaty...
Why not bring out the water balloons?

Trying to make it through the gauntlet dry.... not a chance!

Quick! Quick! More water balloons needed!


Then the real fun begins...
We try to do new and original games at every party, but this one (How Well Can You Think Together?) was such a hit several years ago, that we decided enough time had elapsed and we'd do it again, with a new twist to it. :) We split the young people into four teams, trying to divide them up equally between ages, introverts and extroverts, etc.

Above: A panel of judges was chosen - some parents and a couple of the guys who like this kind of thing (i.e. Joshua the law student). It was up to them to judge each part of the game. The first part involved a series of questions that had to be answered on paper in 3-6 minutes each by each team. Each team received the same question at the same time. It was then up to the teams to run to their own little corner and corporately think and write fast and rush the answer back to the judges.

Team Four - What should you do about your church if is falling apart because of a general spirit of pride, selfishness and gossip? Explain in 5 minutes...

Deliberating on who wrote the most complete, accurate, creative and helpful answer.
We wait to hear the verdict!

Team Two thinking fast: Question: Explain in less than 5 minutes why Amendment 2 was adopted by the majority of Missouri voters in 2006 and what it does to change our constitution and laws that are made today.

After the time limit expired, the teams raced their answers back to the judges who had four minutes to decide on the best answer and the second-best answer.
Teams scored points for each winning answer.

Part II -

The next part of the game was the debate.
Each team chose one team member to compete in a mini-debate.
Each of the four selected had one minute to make a convincing argument for whatever topic the judges assigned to them. In this case, it was health food and spending a lot of time on a healthy lifestyle. Two were told to argue in favor, and two against. Each of the four separately presented their case, then the judges voted for the two best cases made.

The two who the judges chose then debated one another - once again on the health food topic. This time they (Rob - left and Erik - right) had to switch sides and argue for the other.

Rob argued for living your life enjoyably, not wasting time on health food crazes or worrying about a "few extra pounds, since you can't take them to heaven with you anyway.."

Erik argued for healthy living, citing God's reasons for giving healthful Old Testament laws of eating and living... and told Rob that he should take note that God didn't put a McDonalds in the Garden of Eden.

Rob ultimately won the debate (though the judges had a hard time deciding once again), laughing off the notion that McDonalds argument was a valid point. As Rob said, "Who says McDonalds is the pinacle of enjoyment, anyway, for those who live to enjoy life? Maybe I like fruit or chocolate!"

The rest of us gathered to listen to the debate - it was hilarious - some of the best entertainment of the evening as twilight settled over the yard.

Part III

Each team was given a 10 pound bag of ice to melt without using a stove. Matches, candles, small lighters and other creative methods were allowed. All the water from the ice had to be saved. The team to melt theirs first received more points toward the total winning score.

Creative methods = why not try the muffler? It actually worked pretty well!

Or simply try body heat...
Can anybody say C-O-L-D after rubbing all those ice cubes in their hands?!

After the ice had been melted using hot water, salt, hands, mufflers, motors, candles, matches, standing in the bathtub with the ice, everyone filed inside for the ice cream feeding contest.
Yes, you read that right. It was ice cream feeding, not just ice cream eating!

Each person chooses a partner and they are both blindfolded, sitting opposite each other.

Each team of two is handed one cup of ice cream with two spoons in it. The goal is to finish the cup of ice cream before any of the other teams. There are only a couple of rules:
1. You may not put any ice cream in your own mouth, only your partner's mouth.
2. It may not be fed with hands, it must be fed with the spoon!

Dad and Mom decided to get in on the fun!

Ice cream feeding over... time to relax, visit and unwind!

There are ALWAYS some people who want to play spoons til well past midnight!

Abby and Sarah decided that we had to see "Meet Captain Ahab." Unfortunately, most of their "victims" weren't drama queens so it wasn't as funny as usual, they said.

Late night chatting, laughing, stories....

Sad goodbyes.... but we had so much fun!