September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Praising God for:

~long-awaited & much-needed answers

~cooler temperatures in the forecast

~friends who bow their hearts and knees to the Father on my behalf.

~a husband who loves me, even when I am selfish, ungracious, and unkind

~the mercy of God & the atonement for my selfishness, ungraciousness and unkindness.  Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe!

~the conviction of God regarding my place of service to Him and to my husband

~the upcoming turn of the calendar page.  One step closer to December and college graduation!

~His sovereignty, and the peace that gives. Although, I confess I need to keep reminding myself of it so that I don't give in to the temptation to micromanage our current circumstances.

~music floating through the air in our home as CJ practices the piano

*Banner HT:  Hollie

September 21, 2011

Autumn Bible Study: Ruth

I've read the Book of Ruth many times over the years. Filled with the stuff fairy tales are made of, this book has always captivated me. Lately I've been digging deeper into the story of the woman grafted into the lineage of Jesus, using Esther and Ruth (Reformed Expository Commentary) and Ruth: Loss, Love, & Legacy.  It's a slow, deliberate, and fascinating journey.

And too good not to share.

Later this week, I'll begin blogging through Ruth.  I hope you'll grab your Bibles and a cup of coffee and dive into God's Word with me.

September 16, 2011


~football season

~Sunday mornings with my 7th & 8th grade girls

~Esther and Ruth (Reformed Expository Commentary).

~rows of canning jars, filled with ruby red tomato sauce, bright green beans, and sunshine peaches

~Chris Tomlin's Arriving. This is the only CD of his that I own. It's years old, but the songs are incredible.

~Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. It's especially sweet to read this with my man before we turn out the lights each night.

~Yogi Peach Detox Tea

~Brown Cow Yogurt

~the last of the garden bounty. Tomatoes and eggplant have fallen to a trickle, so each new find is a treat.

~memories of a weekend with dear friends and worship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church

~the thought of bringing out the autumn decorations this weekend

What are you savoring these days?

September 14, 2011

This Man

This man receives sinners. - Luke 15:2

Observe the condescension of this fact. Jesus, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, who towers above all other men - this Man receives sinners.  This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces - this Man receives sinners.  It requires an angel's tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us would be willing to reach the lost is nothing wonderful - they are, after all, our own race; but that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon Himself the form of a servant and bear the sin of many and be willing to receive the worst of sinners - this is marvelous.

-Charles Spurgeon
(Evening, September 13th)

September 13, 2011

Autumn Upon Us

The canning pot is temporarily resting, in anticipation of apples and pears that will soon arrive. The kitchen table has been converted to CJ's study area. A laptop and a stack of books rest on the dining table more often than not. We slip back into the routine that my soul needs. Autumn - with its crisp days, candle-lit evenings, and brilliant hues - is soon due. Anticipation of its arrival washes over me.

My girl has started her third and final year of middle school. I think back to the beginning of her first year. We were coasting along in life, blissfully unaware that our world was about to be turned upside down. I remember how God brought us through the initial shock, and how He helped us prepare for a new life.  I can't help but think of last year, as she started her second year of middle school while we were adjusting to R being back in college. I recall how hard that first semester was, and offer yet another thanks to God for His precious grace.

And so we stand, at the beginning of the end. In three short months, we'll be celebrating a graduation and, Lord willing, a new job. Trepidation threatens to creep back into my days. Yet I know whom I have believed, and I am trusting, trusting...

September 2, 2011

Lessons from a Hurricane

Our town in no stranger to storms. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd brought devastation by water. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel's winds felled 100 year old pines and carved paths through neighborhoods. In 2006, an unnamed storm brought more flooding.

Hurricane Irene left much damage in her wake. Here in Virginia, the scenes aren't as grim as in New Jersey and Vermont. We have much to be thankful for. As normal life resumes, I think on the lessons I learned over the past few days. They are things to be pondered on, tucked away in my heart for safekeeping, and hopefully lived out in sunny days as well as rainy ones.

I've been reminded that procrastination is not a virtue. I completed many of the items on my list prior to Irene's arrival, but left some chores until Saturday morning. When the electricity (and with it, the water) went out at hours earlier than expected, I was caught by surprise. Thankfully, our most important preparations were complete. Still, things at home would have been better if I had been more diligent.

I've learned my home relies heavily on water and electricity. I won't pretend we were roughing it, since we had a generator to provide lights and keep our freezers going. Still, there were so many things I couldn't do for the 4 days we didn't have power and water.  I was forced to stop procrastinating and organize my desk and R's study area. We'll be getting CJ's area together this weekend (our Labor Day weekend tradition).

I've learned how distracting modern conveniences and technology can be. I enjoyed the break from television and internet (our cable company was down). We played games. We navigated past fallen trees to visit friends and family. We talked to our neighbors. We went to the park to play with a friend's children. No Facebook updates, no Google Reader, and no constant information stream jostling for our attention. It was actually very pleasant.

I've learned to love my family even more.  There's something about huddling together inside while the rain and wind blow fiercely outside, camping out together in the living room (where it was coolest), and working together in less-than-ideal circumstances that draw you even closer together. There is no one on this planet who I love more than my man and my girl.

I've learned how desperate my own depravity is.  In the midst of all of this, I too often found my thoughts focused on how inconvenienced I was rather than worrying with what others might be going through or trusting God's sovereignty.

I've learned that still  I have so much more than I need. Surrounded by things I couldn't use, moving others to make room for extension cords and water jugs, I was a little overwhelmed by the things I still cling to. I think Autumn nesting will bring another purge.

I've learned, again, how blessed I am. With a husband who took major pains to prepare our home for the worst, a boss who let us invade his home to take hot showers and do laundry, and friends across the country and the Atlantic Ocean who kept check on us...I'm one blessed woman.

I've learned that who we are in every day life is who we are in the midst of a storm.  It doesn't matter if it's trusting God, being selfish, or showing kindness and compassion, how we live in the good times prepares us for how we live in the bad.

I've learned, again, that God is totally and completely sovereign. Saturday's evening devotion from Morning and Evening(while the hurricane was churning):

Into Your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, Faithful God (Psalm 31:5)
The object of a believer's interest in life and death is not his body or his possessions, but his spirit; this is his choice treasure:  If this is safe, then all is well...At all times we should commit everything to Jesus' faithful hand; then even if life should hang on a thread, and difficulties multiply like the sands of the sea, our soul shall life in safety and delight itself in quiet resting places.

And yesterday morning's:

In seasons of severe trial the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust, and so he is compelled to cast himself on God alone. When his vessel is capsizing, and no human deliverance is at hand, he must simply and entirely trust himself  to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!

His timing was perfect. Then there were the prayers of precious friends, who were asking that the river surrounding our town crest below predictions. I'd told them I thought 16 feet was safe. They prayed, and the predictions dropped to 16 feet! One of the gals said she'd pray for 15. The river crested at 14.7 feet. I never stopped being amazed at God.

And so, life continues. R has returned to school. I've returned to work. CJ is preparing for 8th grade and I'm still wondering when that happened. Things are back to normal, but I'm praying these lessons will stay with me for a long time to come.