Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wisdom Full of Mercy and Good Fruits

"But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
James 3:14-18
"My little children, let us not love in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him...
And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment."
I John 3:18,19, 23
And why do I turn to my own ways so often?!
I want heavenly wisdom today!

Monday, April 27, 2009

April -- Photos, Part II

Susanne and Ruth at Goodwill :)

We had a lot of fun thrift store shopping in Springfield while
Susanne and Beka were visiting for the week!
(L-R: Beka, Susanne, Mary)

And of course, we're planting the garden. If anything, it's bigger than last year!
I don't know why we do this to ourselves every year!
Actually, I do. It's Mom's idea! And we can't do much about it! :)

And there is sooo much milk! We have two cows milking right now,
and another one about to calve any day!
Above: Ruth washing butter

Okay. There are some perks to growing so much of your own food. Like this salad that we had for lunch the other day. The greens were picked that morning (and they were better than any gourmet salad mix I've ever had!), the eggs were fresh from the chickens, the garbanzo beans were home canned, the cheese was day-old, fresh from our Jersey cow, and the baby radishes were pulled from the garden soil that morning.
I guess the carrots, the onions, and the turkey chunks came from the store. :)
And the dressing, for those who use it.
I prefer a simple sprinkle of sea salt on my salad.
Eating home-grown food feels really, really good.
But never, never underestimate the amount of work that goes into it!

April -- Photos Part I

Kitchen clean-up after Bible Study at our house last Friday night - Mary (left) and Joy (right)

Last week Mom had a very special surprise - her dear friend, Cheryl S. from Connecticut who she hadn't seen in several decades came to visit!

Cheryl's two oldest children, Jeremiah and Hannah, came along, too. Here Hannah (left) is showing Jemima (and Dalton - one of the little boys we babysit) some pictures of their family.

I'm not sure exactly what is this engrossing to male minds - probably a great deal on a tractor or a piece of haying equipment on Craig's List! We now have wireless internet - a wonderful convenience, and the need to make sure we don't waste too much time online!
(L-R: Thor - one of the little boys we babysit almost daily, Sam, Abe, Noah, Dad, Isaiah)

Last Saturday was Valarie's wedding reception. We girls kind of grew up with her. Val lived about a mile from our house, across the fields and hills, and we managed to see each other nearly every day for several years! We haven't seen each other much in recent years as she has been living in St. Louis, but we're happy to have her back in our humble corner of the Ozarks now that she is married!
(L-R: Jemima, Mary, Valarie, Liz)

I'm sooo behind on posting pictures of my life... I'll never catch up.
But for now, you'll get a random assortment from the last month or so. Enjoy! :)


Obedience is the irrepressible overflow in the life of those

who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.

- John Piper

A.W. Tozer Quotes

"Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His Name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life."

*** *** ***

"All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles....The evangelist tries to show that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher lever. The modern view is that the new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him!...

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. In Roman times, the man who took up his cross and started down the road was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected: he was going out to have it ended! The cross did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more!...

The race of Adam is under death sentence. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. Thus God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Well Doth It Make for Peace...

"Oh! How well doth it make for peace to be silent about others,
not to believe everything without discernment,
and not to go on easily telling things."
Robert E. Speer

Friday, April 17, 2009

Selling Myself for Worthless Bits of Nothing

"Why do you sell yourselves for naught?"

The words of Scripture stopped me in my tracks. I had wanted a quick thought as I went on with my day... and I certainly found a something to think about. It's been incessantly running through my head in recent days.

"Why do you sell yourselves for naught?"


Why do I?

Why do I trade something of so much value for something so fleeting, so foolish?

Why do people exchange their souls for a glance, a smile, a smooth hand on their shoulder, coarse laughter, a bit of tinsel?

Why have my friends given up what has taken twenty or thirty years to develop in their lives... for nothing?

Why do we value what is worthless?

Why do we shrug at the things that really matter?

Why does my heart crave for the worthless approving glances of those who scorned my Savior?

Why? I don't know. I'm ashamed that I love worthless stuff so much.

But God asks us that question. And then He waits. Heaven is silent.

I think He waits for us to humbly hang our heads and turn to him from our foolish nothingness..

Monday, April 13, 2009

Forgiveness That Wasn't There

To heal a hate
takes grace
that isn't. There
is churning hurt
and bitterness
- and black despair.
No love. No grace.
No power to choose.
I heard a stillness.
I felt a face.
His searching eyes
held mine
and would not turn me loose.
then through hot tears
I saw and understood:
He hung cross high,
a spear was in my hand
that dripped with blood,
a helmet on my head.

I watched Him die;
but just before, He said,
"Forgive them for
they know not what
they do" . . .
then He was dead.
Slowly I raised my head:
the clouds were unarranged,
the sky was fair,
the warm sun shone,
nothing had changed:
the hurt was still there
only. . .
the hate was gone.

- Ruth Bell Graham, Collected Poems

Ruth Bell Graham's Collected Poems has become one of my treasured favorite volumes to read again and again. You ought to order yourself a copy. I promise it will be well worth it! :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A House Full of Girls

I don't know why our house always seems to be filled with girls. But it has... for years. We seem to attract them. We like them, we have them over, we let them visit here, even live here. It's been a haven at times for girls who have been lost in the complexities and confusion of life and broken homes.

First of all, there are five of us girls who belong here, anyway. And then there's Mom. That makes six. And then we nearly always have one or a couple more here.

We 5 sisters share a bedroom that is just a little bit over full with the beds and the clothes and the shoes and all of the other girl stuff and projects. When I spread my books across the biggest bed to study, and Liz spreads her scrapbooking stuff across the little bit of bare floor between the beds, it looks ... really full.

Since we have additional girls spending the night here as often as not, we've maximized our bed space. There's a queen bed that sleeps two when it's just us, three or even four (if they are skinny!) when extra girls spend the night. When my trundle bed (under Ruth's day bed - the only "seat" in the room) is pulled out, it touches the queen bed, and it can sleep two in a pinch. Then there is room for one sleeping bag to be laid between the two dressers, with Liz's bed on one end, and the door on the other. Getting up in the night and trying to step over all the sleeping bodies and get to the door is a feat in itself.

We've had three extra "sisters" here this past week. The room was really full some nights. But there were lots of good conversations and lots of laughter after the lights went out.

We talked about humility and rebuilding relationships with parents, about getting along with little siblings, about loving annoying people, about forgiveness, about the hard things in life, about God...

I'm glad that I live in a room crammed full of girls. So full of people that the windows need to be opened in the middle of winter. That sometimes there are tears or laughter through half the night and we don't get much sleep.

My sisters and I have so many memories from our cramped quarters that the bedroom is almost sacred space.
And the lives of many other girls contain a compartment of memories from our room.... Some of them good, some of them horrifying, some of them downright embarrassing!

As much as our room isn't much to see, we pray that life will blossom from the little space. We've lived our real lives in front of them, and they've seen the good, bad, and the ugly. Sometimes we've said far more than was necessary or shocked ourselves with our own selfishness and attitudes. But, I hope that somehow, in the midst of our own shortcomings, they've went on their journey with a few bits of lasting, eternal value that they gained in the infamous "Girls' Room" at our house!

This post is dedicated to Valarie, Melissa, Jessica, Melody, Susanne, Christina, Sarah, Sarah, Carissa, Rachel, Rebekah, and all the rest of you dear "step-sisters" who know far too much about us behind the scenes! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thoughts from Amy Carmichael

"Satan is much more in earnest then we are - he buys up the opportunity

while we are wondering how much it will cost."

- Amy Carmichael

"The Lord makes us more like Him in our dealings with souls.

The servants are often hard on one another, but is the Master hard?"

- Amy Carmichael

Monday, April 6, 2009


Last week it was a gorgeous spring day.

I had determined to work fast and furiously down my to-do list for the day and NOT get distracted with all the wonderful silly little things that leave me frusterated and behind at the end of the day. Before I settled in to answer a ton of overdue emails, though, I was going to clean the living room. Fast. Really quick. It could be done in 10 minutes if I didn't get distracted or answer the phone or anything. Mom and Steve and the girls were out in the garden planting strawberries.

Ready, set, go! I started on the living room. Plumping sofa pillows, re-stacking and putting away the books stacked haphazardly on the rocker.... Legos under the chair that our dear little charges for the day had forgotten when Mom took them to the garden.... Mom's precious cabbage seedlings that they must have bumped over when they ran through earlier....

Suddenly the door burst open. Devin (3) came charging in breathlessly. "Come!" he panted, pulling at my skirt. "Come ou'side wif me! Come!" His voice was urgent, almost as though a rainbow was fading and there would be no time if I didn't hurry.

I could pretend I didn't understand his gibberish, tell him I was busy cleaning... that I couldn't come, couldn't stop. Or tell him to go show my sisters who were already outside with him. But one look at his sparkling brown eyes, the eager expectation of the joy he was about to share with me... How could I not grab his hand and run out the door, eager to see what he wanted to share with me?

I dropped the broom and raced after him. There was no time to ask what it was that I had to see. He was already charging across the yard towards the garden by the time I was coming out the front door. As he glanced back to make sure I was following, the look of sheer joy and happiness on his face was enough to melt my heart.
What on earth? I wondered. What is this treasure that I must see now... this once in a lifetime opportunity?

And then Devin stopped.
Right in front of the trailer backed up to the garden, heaped with topsoil.
I waited expectantly, smiling, nodding... Yes?

He wiped his dirty hands across his little orange shirt, and then threw them up high over his head, sweeping in the panorama. "Dirt!" he cried with a look of utter delight. "Dirt!" he laughed and giggled and grinned at me. "Dirt! Dirt for me and for you... and for evwybody!"

I smiled, then I laughed. This was the surprise.
This is what was so exciting when I was speed-cleaning the living room.

Devin grinned at me. Then he climbed up on the heap of dirt on the trailer and burrowed his hands deeply into the rich, crumbly mass. He giggled again. "Dirt! I garden. I help! I dig dirt!"
And with that he began scooping up the dirt with his hands and filling one of the buckets.

I grinned back at him and touseled his hair. Then I went and found him a little shovel so he could really dig the dirt. He grinned like I had handed him a million dollars and squealed, "Thank you! Now I scoop big dirt!"

I went back into the house... to my busy world of being behind with everything.... or so it seems at times. There were deadlines and studying and project completion dates to stress about. But did it really matter?

We own dirt! Lots of it! Happiness!

I'm trying to keep the Devin perspective. When I think about what I have, I can't help but have a grin like him. :)