Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Second Thought

On second thought, my blue dress is really splendid compared to the new styles!

Someone sent me a link to Vogue's 2009 styles... Uh... ahem!
I prefer my style, compared to their styles.

Always have, but this just makes me more sure of it! :)

Check out one of the hottest new fashion outfits for 2009...

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Blue Dress

I have this wonderfully feminine, swirling blue cotton dress with fun puffy sleeves and a wide sash at the waist. The circle skirt is ankle-length and so full that it almost doubles as a wrap. It's one of those dresses that past experience makes you hold tightly to when outside on a windy day.

Honestly, I LOVE the dress, but I rarely ever wear it anywhere, because it just seems so flouncy and ... um, maybe like something more fitting for a four year old to wear to a party or something. But, I indulge at home from time to time. Like today. I knew I'd be home all day studying and catching up on paperwork, so I gleefully put the blue dress on. I would enjoy it today, even if most people think it's weird or it looks like it belongs in a prairie movie instead of real life!

But then I forgot what I was wearing and ran to town to do a couple of errands for the family.
I realized a little too late to go back that I was in... the blue dress. Too late to change now. I glanced around my car - no sweater to at least cover up the radically huge sleeves (as my sisters put it)! So, I ran into the grocery store and quickly grabbed the needed items and rushed back out. A few odd looks, but it was almost empty in there at noon... thankfully!

Next stop was the Post Office to mail a couple of packages. As I was standing in line at the counter feeling quite self-conscious, the elderly man behind me (one of the well-known businessmen in town) nodded at me approvingly and smiled, "Oh, my! That's one of the most gorgeous dresses I've ever seen in my life! I've just been standing here, staring at it! It's so... it's so.. uh, impressive!"

I chuckled and thanked him and hurried back to the parking lot.

After laughing about my embarrassment at being caught in the blue dress and then getting complimented, I thought of something.

I don't think any woman has ever commented on the blue dress when I've worn it, except to agree with me that they would be embarrassed to wear the thing in public.
I don't think a guy under 60 or 70 has ever commented. But there's something about the blue dress that seems to impress old guys, especially ones who are always seen dressed up or looking like they stepped out of Ben Silver's Fine Shirting catalog!

Another conversation came to mind from a few months ago.
Again, that day I hadn't thought I would be going anywhere so I had been enjoying wearing the blue dress again. But at a moments notice, I had needed to drop everything and take Mom somewhere.

On the way back, we had stopped by an elderly couple's house to drop off a few things. I used to work for them, and they're always complaining that I never come see them enough... So I went inside for a moment, feeling a bit awkward in my swirling blue dress on a regular Thursday afternoon. After all, this lady buys her clothes at Neiman Marcus! I've never seen her in anything that isn't completely fashion coordinated. Her wall is covered in pictures of her in ball gowns next to various governmental officials over the years. And her husband has two closets about 12 feet long each, full of designer clothing. He would never wear anything less than a Ralph Lauren polo, even to plant tomatoes in his back yard.

In the midst of my conversation with her, her husband walked in, back from golfing. He stopped short of where I was sitting and his jaw dropped. "Whaa? Where did you get that dress?!?!"

I blushed and told him. My sister [Elisabeth] made it. I don't normally wear it very often because it looks so... out of place and way too flouncy for an adult to wear! But I just happened to be wearing it at home today... and then I ended up here!

"You don't wear it very often?! You should! Why don't you?!?"

Again, caught off guard, I tried to explain that even though I love this kind of dress, I felt kind of weird pushing a cart around the grocery story with my skirts swirling about!

He just kept shaking his head. "But it's nicer that any other dress I've seen in my life. It's just... incredible. You should wear it every day! Don't ever let anybody tell you it looks odd in today's society. It's simply overstated elegance and the best taste anyone can have in clothing! Somebody has to set the trends!"

After today's conversation and a couple in between the two I've mentioned here, I'm wondering what it is about the blue dress? Maybe it reminds elderly men of a by-gone era? Maybe they wish ladies still wore swirling dresses with a handful of petticoats underneath?

Hmmm.... So, should I wear the flouncy, swirling blue cotton dress and tie the enormous sash in a bow before when I go to town and look like I need a flower behind my ear and high lace-up prairie boots?

Or should I continue to just enjoy it around the house, where everyone knows how much I like it, in spite of it's overstated elegance? :)

I'm not quite sure.
I guess I'll wear it when I want to, even though most of my girlfriends and sisters will snicker! :)

Update: At your request, here's a picture. Thanks to Ruth for humoring me and running outside to take a couple shots of my dear blue dress.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Broken Yields So Much More

"If my life is broken when given to Jesus,

it is because pieces will feed a multitude,

while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad."

Ruth Stull, missionary to Peru, 1940's

A Glad Offering of "Mine"

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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Letters - Luxury or Essential?

I used to write long letters - the old-fashioned kind with postage stamps affixed - frequently.
I had cute stationary and fun cards and stickers and photos to include with my newsy letters.

That was back in the day when I went to bed at 10:30 pm and didn't get up till 6 or 7 am. That was back in the day when the only event I had going on for the week was a family outing that was written on the family calendar. That was back in the day when I read books just because I wanted to and not because I couldn't complete the most urgent project without learning this information. That was before I knew how to send an email, and definitely before the days of having 100 emails to reply to in a day.

Going to the mailbox was the highlight of the day. There was almost always a letter waiting there for me, too. It would be full of news, sometimes pictures and newspaper clippings or a tea bag to add to the fun.

These days, I still check the mail box occasionally when I'm home. But usually the only thing addressed to me is junk mail, a catalog, or another bill from the FoMM attorneys... Sometimes I wonder if that means I'm an adult now?

But letters are still ... um, just so deliciously good. I don't really care if it's written on beautiful stationary, or if it's a long newsy email from a friend or cousin who I haven't talked to in a long time. It's just good to hear all about another person's life and loves and battles.

I got one of those yesterday. All nine wonderful pages to be savored and re-read and thought over often... detailing life's struggles and questions, funny anecdotes about people I know that I'm sad to have missed seeing, and a hundred million other things that kept me awake thinking till late last night.

When society is too busy to write letters, we miss out on so much that we don't even know we're missing. A connection with a real human being - a piece of elegant communication to be saved and savored and stuck in a shoe box to be re-read decades down the road.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Living of These Days

Lo! The hosts of evil round us

Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways!

Fears and doubts too long have bound us,

Free our hearts to work and praise.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

For the living of these days.

Cure Thy children's warring madness,

Bend our pride to Thy control;

Shame our wanton, selfish gladness,

Rich in things and poor in soul.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

Lest we miss Thy Kingdom's goal.

Set our feet on lofty places;

Gird our lives that they may be

Armed with Christ-like graces

In the fight to set man free.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

That we fail not man nor Thee!

Save us from our weak resignation

To the evils we deplore;

Let the search for Thy salvation

Be our glory evermore.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,

Serving Thee whom we adore....

John Hughes, 1873-1932

Welsh hymn melody

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What It Cost Thee...

Oh, teach me what it meaneth -
That cross uplifted high,
With One - the Man of Sorrows -
Condemned to bleed and die!
Oh teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Savior, teach me
The value of a soul!
- Lucy Bennett

Leonard Ravenhill once said, "God does not answer many prayers - they are too locked up in self-pity or aimed at personal benefit. He does answer desperate prayer." And until we get desperate for souls, our prayers for them may remain unanswered. For just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem, so should we weep over our lost loved ones if we really want to see them saved.

It was seven years before Carey baptized his first convert in India; it was seven years before Judson won his first disciple in Burmah; Morrison toiled seven years before the first Chinaman was brought to Christ; Moffat declares that he waited seven years to see the evident moving of the Holy Spirit upon the Bechuanas of Africa; Henry Richards wrought seven years in the Congo before his first convert was gained at Benza Mantaka. (A. J. Gordon, The Holy Spirit in Missions)

The most incredible case of persistence is found in the life of George Muller. Because he had much success early in his ministry in seeing the immediate conversion of many for whom he had just prayed, he got the impression that it would always be that way. But listen to his testimony concerning this, "If I say that during the fifty-four years and nine months that I have been a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I have had thirty thousand answers to prayer, either in the same hour or the same day that the requests were made, I should not go a particle too far... But one or the other might suppose all my prayers have been thus promptly answered. No, not all of them. Sometimes I have had to wait weeks, months, or years; sometimes many years....

In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without one single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land or on the sea. and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day I continued to pray for them, and six more years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two. These two remain unconverted. The man to whom the riches of His grace has been given tens of thousands of answers to prayer, in the self-same hour or day on which they have been offered, has been praying day by day for nearly thirty-six years for the conversion of these two individuals, and yet they remain unconverted." (George Muller: Delighted in God by Roger Steer)

But this is not the end of the story. He kept on praying day after day, year after year and then he said, "The great point is never to give up till the answer comes. I have been praying sixty-three years and eight months for one man's conversion. He not saved yet but he will be. How can it be otherwise...I am praying."

The day came when Muller's friend received Christ. It did not come until Muller's casket was lowered into the ground. There, near an open grave, this friend gave his heart to God. Prayers of perserverance had won another battle. Muller's success may be summarized in four powerful words: "He did not quit." (No Easy Road, by Dick Eastman)

-- Taken from a little booklet our church as been going through during our Thursday night prayer meetings: Praying Effectively for the Lost, by Lee E. Thomas

I've been convicted and re-inspired to keep praying fervently for certain lost souls who have burdened my heart for a long time. I may never see the results, but I am called to be faithful and to interceed on their behalf. I hope you will be re-inspired to keep praying for the lost people in your life, too!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
-- Henry W. Longfellow

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Really, truly....

I'm going to write a substantial blog post soon. Life has been so crazy for the last few months that blogging has been put on the back burner. But I'm itching to get back to writing. And I have more than a couple of blog posts rattling around in my head.

I've got a long post (or a series of long ones!) on relationships that I wish to write. Browsing Amazon.com today, the title of a book caught my eye: "Relationships: Are They Worth the Pain?"
Maybe I'll title my post(s) accordingly... it fits what I've been thinking about!

Hang tight just a little longer... and I'll do my best to come back to life on my blog! :)

Don't tell them how to do things...

My four favorite sisters - Joanna, Liz, Ruth, and Jemima :)

Don't tell people how to do things.
Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
George S. Patton

Discontented Hearts

The seed of immorality is a discontented heart.

- Lydia Brownback, purplecellar.blogspot.com

Faithful People

Faithful people are in demand.
God is looking for them, but so is Satan and every business.
- Unknown, from old sermon notes in my Bible

Sunday, March 8, 2009


"No heathen god or goddess has ever had more zealous devotees than fashion, or more absurd and humiliating rituals, or more mortifying and cruel penances. Her laws, like those of the Medes and Persians, must be implicitly obeyed. But, unlike them, they change as certainly as the moon. The are rarely founded in reason, usually violate common sense and decency and uniformly common comfort."
~ The Royal Path of Life

The Entire Population

"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe,
with one trifling exception, is composed of others." - J.A. Holmes