"Only one life, 'twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Have you ever made resolutions for the new year?  Chances are you have.  I do most of the time.  I'll confess to not doing it about twice!
Usually they include what the "Fly-Lady" says to do in her book "Sink Reflections."   That book has been helpful to me in maintaining order in this house of home schooling.  (There's always room for improvement!)
I like to resolve something spiritual every year.  This year it is to be more helpful to those who are needy.  I have resolved (several times) to read the Bible through in the upcoming year.  The "One-Year Bible" is very helpful there.  Maybe I should do that again.  Last year I resolved to read a chapter of Micah everyday.  There are only a few chapters in that book, so even though I didn't read it everyday as planned I sure got to know it better!  Theme:  Take care of your own business and trust the Lord!  I nod to my father-in-law for his helpful inspiration.
I always resolve to lose weight, but I'm destined to be cushy for the rest of my life.  Nice, huh?  I'm very huggable to my youngest son.  Happy thought.  I do resolve to get out in the sun and exercise everyday.  We who live in the north must seek extra Vitamin D! 
Over all, being content with what I have and striving to love others is my Life Resolution.
You never know where the Lord will take you.  It's best to hang on and enjoy the ride!
God bless you in 2011.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

My soul has been dark this dark December.  Maybe it's because my bees have been banned, my husband is looking for work, and my son has a very virulent case of Infectious Mononucleosis.  Along with other worries life could be rather bleak in this mid-winter.
But it is not!  Today I had the joy of juxtaposition with spying a book at Borders to peruse and a conversation with an elderly friend about the same subject:  Heaven.  There are no coincidences, really, but I had a book of that title on my list for a present to buy as well.
Heaven!  What a joy to anticipate, to read about, to wonder.  The book I picked up at the store was "Heaven is Real," a quick little story about a four-year-old who had a visit to heaven when his appendix ruptured.  His candid tale rings true, as he affirms what Scripture has to say about the place we all long to be----that is, those of us who have had our spirits re-born in Christ Jesus.
My elderly friend told the tale of his mother's death, when he was two.   She had a "visit" to heaven before she actually passed away, and there are 28 witnesses to her account.  What a marvelous experience for them.  My friend heard the story from several of the family members who were with his mother, that she told of people she recognized, that Jesus spoke with her, that those left behind should continue in their Christian walk.
My own great-grandmother Iva, who died when I was quite young, as she passed she exclaimed, "Look at all the children!" 
This is the destiny for those whose name is written in the Book of Life.  Praise God, through whom all blessings flow.
I will not speak of the darkness in this world, though we could easily be brought low by the suffering of its inhabitants.
I will speak of the joy of my spirit, sealed for eternity with the joy of being in the presence of my savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Yes, it is real.  The spirit has been re-born, and that joy is mine, no matter what the suffering soul may lament.
God bless ye merry gentlemen.  Let nothing you dismay.  Remember Christ the Savior was born on Christmas Day  (actually sometime in June of 2 BC! ---but the wise men DID see the 'star' stop above Bethlehem on December 25 of 2 BC--making this wonderful day we celebrate really the first gift exchange!)
To save us all from Satan's power while we were gone astray!
Oh tidings of wonder and joy, wonder and joy!
God bless YOU with a newly born spirit, eternally sealed for His glory.
Oh, and please pray for my son's healing.  Back to school in just a week and a half from now!  Thank you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Vacation!

Just took four days off to get in the Christmas spirit, and what a wonderful and beautiful way it began.  Last Thursday I was blessed to witness one of the most moving Christmas concerts I've ever attended, and my beloved son blessed me and countless others participating in its delivery.  The Concordia College music department put on its annual Christmas event at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis that evening.  The theme was  "Out of Darkness, into Light." I can't describe the musical perfection, but I can relate the powerful scriptural and theological truths that were messaged.  Trust me!  It was fantastic.
Jesus came as a baby.  Jesus is coming again.  Get ready.
Back to the normal.  Down to earth again---that means school and laundry, cooking and cleaning.  My spirit still sings with an incredible joy.
Finals week for my two college boys.  I'm praying for them to succeed mightily.
God bless you, who read this, with a peaceful, joyful season of celebrating Christ's great gift---His life and His sacrifice.
When I think of what He put up with coming to earth and dealing with difficult people and circumstances, my own dealings with difficult people and circumstances pale in comparison.  May we all practice LOVE to one another. 
Great message in this old song!

Turn it up and pray this prayer.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Gadget!

Just wanted to call your attention to the bottom of the blog page and a slide show of our darling little Misty Moors of Wales Crystal ---  My daughter, who is quite the photographer, shot these dear mugs of our little corgi.  Enjoy. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beautiful Savior, Northern Lights Chorale, Bruce Phelps, Conductor

Two Ideas

Recently I had several thoughts about blog topics and they are incubating in my heart and mind.  Aside from decorating the house, baking, laundry, organizing, keeping the calendar up to date, quenching "fires,"  (all those little nagging things that pop up everyday, week, month, year!)  I do think.
I just perused the book "Waiting for Superman,"  and I had a zillion thoughts-----I think I'll try to see the movie before I try to write about it.
I'd like to write some thoughts about gratefulness.  We are doing a study about it right now.  There is so much to a Biblical view of gratefulness.  It's worth a thoughtful visit.
Reading list is long and interesting!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Season of Advent

Three funerals this week.  Two are very sad, one is triumphant.  Death is the great equalizer in this world, anything but in the next.
I think this has been a year of good-byes!  I can't believe how many funerals I've attended, and I don't think it's going to change soon.  I'm getting older, and having had many older friends (and blessed to have had them!) I am getting used to attending them.
There is a character in "Anne of Green Gables" who gets macabre joy out of attending funerals.  She is delightfully strange.  We laugh at her weird fascination with obituaries, and yet there is a kind of acceptance of the inevitable: something I think my culture tends to avoid and play down.
I am comforted this week by the coming of Christmas.  The snow sets the stage so nicely.  My, but we have had snow this year!!  I can't believe how we've had to weather ice and cold several times already and it is just December!  This is a long winter.
I watched "The Star of Bethlehem" DVD the other night to remind myself of the significant celestial events in 3 and 2 B.C.  This is probably the most powerful documentary I've ever seen in showing God's compassionate interest in us and His love, wooing mankind into relationship with Him.  The Word of God is our life-manual.  It's always  exciting to see science, history and current happenings reinforce the message of the Word.
Time is running out, and the celestial poetry is soon to write a new message in the constellations.  The Age of Pisces is coming to a close and the Age of Aquarius is about to begin.  The signs in the heavens speak of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit and an age of peace and blessing.  God has told us of the signs in the heavens.  We are predicting nothing but what is already completely foretold in Scripture.  Jesus is coming soon, relatively, and we must be ready, as the virgins with the lamps filled with oil, waiting for the bridegroom.  If you have not repented of your sin and chosen to put your trust and faith in God's Son, Jesus, DO IT NOW!  Start living to please the Savior, and love others.  Do everything without complaining and arguing!  Be a bold light of shining Truth to the world.
This is such a busy season I wonder when I'll get a chance to write again.  I wish I could share every blessed minute of the season for me and my family.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Welcome Christmas!

I am one of those people who can enjoy Christmas music all year long, and really the birth of Christ is an event to be celebrated continuously throughout the year.   I gladly welcome the official Christmas time with the first Sunday of Advent tomorrow. 
I expect this Christmas season to have some difference from others I've lived.  Our home continues to be in disarray with remodeling projects.  The job search continues, and that lends a certain dis-ease to celebration. 
I'm finding it challenging to keep things sane as a family.  As much as I love the holidays I always find myself behind and missing a few really important "details."  I won't be sending cards this year!  First time in---ever?  I'll be happy to receive, but won't be sending.
We are paring down our gift-giving this year too.  We have so much that we decided not to spend much on more stuff, but rather give what we have.  Hope this is appreciated by those we love to give to!
If I could, I'd give the "Star of Bethlehem" DVD to everyone.  That is the most lovely and wonderful story of God's plan written in the stars for the whole world to see, and throughout the ages of His creation.  What a beautiful sign.
Must start the holiday baking.  That won't change!  I've got gingerbread in the oven right now, smelling scrumptious.  (Thanksgiving leftovers are GONE)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

And this is Part 2

The Temporal Delusion - Part 2

T. A. McMahonBy T. A. McMahon
The Berean Call
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him ... And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:15-17).
This series addresses a troubling trend within Christendom today. Our concern is that if professing believers in Jesus Christ are hung up on the temporal aspects of life on earth, then they are caught up in a delusion at best. They are missing the heart of what God wants for them, and, at worst, they could be unwittingly contributing to the kingdom and religion of the Antichrist.

As was indicated in part one of this series, this earthbound focus is not a new condition in the history of the world - or the church, for that matter. From the tower of Babel on, humanity has attempted to create a utopia and build a kingdom, either independent of God or, allegedly, in the name of God but for its own end. For those who call themselves Christians, there is a simple test to discern whether they have fallen prey to such a delusion: are their thinking and actions consistent with what the Word of God says about the kingdom of God, the rapture of the church, the prophetic end-time warnings of the Word, the final plight of the world in rebellion, and the eternal destiny of those who love the Lord?

The mark of a true Christian is that he or she conforms to what the Scriptures teach. Those who conform to the goals or agendas of the world, either personally or by participating in organized programs that compromise what the Bible teaches, although they may indeed be believers, are nevertheless drifting away from the faith (Hebrews 2:1). This means that one's temporal fruitfulness in Christ and eternal rewards will be adversely affected - but not one's eternal future with Jesus, which was secured by our Lord's full payment for all our sins.

The Bible doesn't make an esoteric issue or a cryptic mystery of what lies ahead for life on this planet. It simply and clearly informs us as to what has taken place in ancient times and what will take place in the future.

From the time of man's first sin against God in the Garden of Eden to our present day, the effects of that sin spawned a progressive evil among mankind. Early on, in response to the proliferation of wickedness, God destroyed all but eight people in a worldwide flood (Genesis 6). Sin has not abated as it continues to separate man from God. Since the days of Noah and his family and their repopulation of the earth, there have been few instances of collective obedience to God. Even among a people chosen of God to whom He would send His Messiah to save the world from sin's consequences, obedience was only sporadic, concluding initially with the rejection and crucifixion of God's anointed Savior, Jesus Christ.

All of that was known to God before the beginning of time, as well as what He would do for mankind in keeping with His unfathomable love for His created beings. His solution for reconciling man to Himself was first indicated after the fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15,21) and then foretold by the prophets throughout the Old Testament. God's Savior would become a man through a virgin birth. He would be the God-Man and a suffering Servant, whose sacrificial death would pay for the sins of mankind. His resurrection from the dead certified that the infinite penalty He suffered for a condemned humanity was acceptable in satisfying God's perfect justice.

In the Book of Acts, after commissioning His disciples to share with the world the good news of His salvation, we read of Christ's ascension from the Mount of Olives to heaven and of His future return to that same place (Acts 1:8-11). Both Old Testament and New Testament prophets tell us about significant events that will take place here on earth prior to the Lord's return - and afterward: the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people (Deuteronomy 28:64; Leviticus 26:33); the re-gathering of the Jews to the land of Israel from their worldwide dispersion (Isaiah 11:11-12; 43:6; Ezekiel 20:33-38; 36:24) the return of Jesus for His bride, the church, and His catching believers up to Himself to take them to the wedding in heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18); the seven years of the Great Tribulation, involving worldwide catastrophes that will follow the Rapture of the saints (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21-22); the Antichrist's rise to dictatorial leader of the world (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13); the pouring out of God's wrath upon the earth during the seven years of tribulation (Revelation 6-19); the nations of the world turning against Israel to destroy it (Joel 3:1-2,9-15; Ezekiel 38); the return of Jesus from heaven with His saints, and the destruction of those who have sought to annihilate Israel (Zechariah 12); Jesus' setting up of His throne in Jerusalem and ruling the earth from there for 1,000 years (Revelation 20; Isaiah 65:17-25), and the healing of the earth from the devastation that took place during the Great Tribulation (Isaiah 11:1-10; Ezekiel 47:1-12). At the close of the Millennial reign of Jesus, He will put down a worldwide rebellion led by Satan (Revelation 20:7-9). All those who have rebelled will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). The heavens and the earth will dissolve, and God will form, in perfection, new heavens, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem for those who love Him, and where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:7,10-13).

Just as all the prophecies related to the first coming of Jesus were fulfilled in the smallest detail and with 100 percent accuracy, we can be absolutely sure that the biblical prophecies regarding the future will be just as accurate. Furthermore, they spell out spiritual and physical conditions that will take place. One thing that should be obvious from the prophetic scenario above: this world has a temporal purpose that is incredibly brief compared to eternity. To miss that is to lose sight of the fact that a believer is a "sojourner" here whose "[citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).

Our responsibility then, as Bereans (Acts 17:11), is to search the Scriptures and compare the movements, programs, agendas, and so forth, that are being promoted today in the world - and especially in Christendom - with what is foretold in God's Word. That will tell us what we may support and what we need to disregard - or even stand firmly against (Ephesians 5:11).

Certainly the world is all about solving its problems without the God of the Bible. Yet many professing Christians are rushing to remedy the world's troubles in ways that are without the support of Scripture, some even in contradiction to what the Scriptures teach. Rick Warren's global P.E.A.C.E. plan is one of many programs and teachings that, for the most part, cannot be reconciled with God's prophetic Word. It is Warren's "50-year plan" to cure global issues such as "pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, corruption, global warming, [and] spiritual emptiness" (see http://www.thebereancall.org/ ). He claims that his social-works agenda developed from his reading of the Gospels - that Jesus gave him the model that was the antidote to the five biggest problems on the planet (see http://www.thebereancall.org/ ). Warren subsequently expanded that model from an exclusive endeavor of Christianity to one requiring the support of all religions. The "P" in his P.E.A.C.E. plan originally stood for "Planting Churches" as the key antidote for curing the world's ills. Later, however, before a panel and audience of representatives of the world's religions, he changed the "P" from "Planting Churches" to "Promoting Reconciliation" (see http://www.thebereancall.org/ ).

Warren announced unequivocally that the universal problems cannot be solved "without including people of faith and their religious institutions" [Ibid.]. He told his audience at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland (1/24/08) that the various houses of worship are needed for distribution centers of resources to help eradicate global problems. His shift, however, to an ecumenical program that includes Islamic mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues, and other religious establishments as participants in meeting social needs may impress the world, but it is contrary to what God says in His Word. The God of the Bible is an exclusive God:
"I am the Lord, and there is none else, and there is no God beside me" (Isaiah 45:5).
There is to be no participation with the purveyors of false gods. The Apostle Paul tells us we are not to be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

Rick Warren's "ill-curing" ecumenical agenda is illogical as well as unbiblical. How can his game plan for remedying "spiritual emptiness" work with those who promote a false spirituality? Peter tells us,
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [Jesus Christ] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Jesus himself declared,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
If there is no other true God but the God revealed in the Bible, and if salvation comes only through Jesus Christ - as the Scriptures declare - then all other gods and all other ways of salvation are false, with no hope for their followers. Yet Warren told his Davos religious audience that he was not concerned about their motivation in doing good, "as long as you do good." Tragically, he reinforced the very lie that keeps billions of religious people blinded to the truth and from turning to Jesus Christ: works salvation.

The influence of this fix-the-earth program is staggering. Warren's best-selling Purpose Driven Life (30 million copies-plus sold worldwide) introduced his "50-year" global P.E.A.C.E Plan and has been translated into 52 languages. According to his website, more than 500,000 evangelical churches are partnering with him in his unbiblical ecumenical effort.

Although Warren's attempt to solve the world's problems is more than misguided, it's not the only prophecy-denying, earthbound enterprise that's gaining followers today. Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis, reflects the "fix the earth" eschatology of nearly all Emerging Church leaders:
"Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with its maker ... But we can join a movement that is as wide and as big as the universe itself. Rocks and trees and birds and swamps and ecosystems ... God's desire is to restore all of it ... The goal isn't escaping this world but making this world the kind of place God can come to. And God is remaking us into the kind of people who can do this kind of work."
Brian McLaren, arguably the best-known emergent leader, has a low, if not distorted, view of biblical prophecy, as do most of his peers in the Emerging Church Movement. He regards the Book of Revelation as "literature of the oppressed" to inspire "each generation," rather than God's warning of future events and judgments to come upon mankind.

Those future events and judgments are clearly at odds with the agenda of solving the world's problems and turning it into a paradise. McLaren declares:
"In this light, [that is, removing the prophetic aspect of the Book of Revelation] Revelation becomes a powerful book about the kingdom of God here and now, available to all."
He believes, as does Rick Warren (who also has a low view of prophecy), that it is necessary for all the religions of the world to work together for the greater good of society:
"I think our future will also require us to join humbly and charitably with people of other faiths - Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, secularists, and others - in pursuit of peace, environmental stewardship, and justice for all people, things that matter greatly to the heart of God."
That sentiment, although pleasing to the flesh, is far removed from the "heart of God" and His Word.

Restoring or preserving this planet as a rallying cause in the church has far exceeded the biblical principle of stewardship today and has become an earthbound mindset. Scripture is quite clear that any abuse of what God has provided for mankind is sin. Yet some are using the Bible erroneously to support their unbiblical agendas. Eugene Peterson, in his 10-million-bestselling The Message Bible, has no qualms about distorting the Scriptures for "the cause." He translates John 3:17 to say that Jesus "came to help, to put the world right again," rather than "that the world through Him might be saved" (meaning the salvation of souls - KJV). He then promotes the ecological Green Movement by adding the adjective "green" to Romans 15:13: "Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy...."

Marketing Bibles is big business today, and where there's a "cause," there's usually an attempt to come up with a Bible that implies that the agenda is supported in Scripture. The Green Bible is just one example. It is presented in conjunction with the Sierra Club, The Humane Society, and the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Program. It features an introduction by arch-heretic Archbishop Desmond Tutu and contributions by emergent leader Brian McLaren and theologian N. T. Wright, both of whom preach "redeeming the earth." Sales promotions claim that because the Bible mentions the earth twice as often as "heaven" and "love," it "carries a powerful message for the earth." That rationale is both delusionary and deceptive. The "powerful message" of the Bible is the "good news" of what God has accomplished to reconcile man to Himself that we might spend life everlasting with Him. This present earth plays a very minute part in God's eternal plan.

The next issue in this series addresses other promoters of the temporal delusion such as Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis, and Glenn Beck, as well as The Hole in Our Gospel, a very popular book advancing the cause of the social gospel.

Sadly, increasing numbers of believers are attempting to secure their lifeboats to our Titanic-like earth for the purpose of redeeming it. Instead, our "agenda" needs to line up with the biblical mandate of evangelist and soul winner John Harper (see TBC Extra, p. 8). We are told that he was guided of the Lord to change his passage and sail a week later to America on the Titanic, knowing that that was where God wanted to use him. Remembered as "the true hero of the Titanic" and "God's minister to the perishing," he ran to and fro on the deck helping those in need, giving up his life jacket to another, and asking all that he encountered to turn to God for salvation through Jesus Christ. As the huge ship began to slip beneath the icy Atlantic waters, Harper leaped from the deck and began swimming toward everyone within sight, pleading with them to come to Christ.

There is no redemption for this earth - only for its people.

Lord, give us that same love for the perishing that You gave to Your servant John Harper, and, by Your grace, use us according to Your Word.


Related Links
The Temporal Delusion (Part 1) - BPB (T. A. McMahon)
What is the Emergent Church - SpiritandTruth.org (Andy Woods)
Divine Destruction of Earth's Ecology - Grace to You (John MacArthur)
Fuller Seminary Promoting Emerging Church Heretic Doug Pagitt - Apprising Ministries
Showtime for the Sheep? The Church and the Passion of the Christ - T.A. McMahon (Book)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And Now We Resume Our Regularly Scheduled Program:

I told my physical therapist today that I was sorry I'd forgotten my last appointment, but I'd had two funerals and a wedding----not to mention all the other things----and she replied as expected:  "Isn't that a movie?"  (I think the actual movie is 'Two weddings and a Funeral' but I haven't seen it so I'm not going to say)
Well it could be!  Our lives seem so full of diverse activity I sometimes think it plays out like a movie classic!  Some twists and turns could hardly be scripted---they are so original and unexpected, but satisfying.
Snow is on the ground.  There's still yard work to do, but I intend to get some painting done this week.  With the big choir concert this weekend and Thanksgiving next I must get some energy to accomplish these superhuman obligations!
And I must resume all the normal preoccupations too: school, laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping and LIVING! 
After the funeral in Nebraska last week (which was memorable and everything a Christian's funeral should be) it's been difficult to get much done around here.   I am so glad we took the time to go!  I could write lots more about it, but I'll mention two things briefly.  We lodged at a bed and breakfast where we truly felt at home!  "The Resting Place" was a lovely place to stay and the host and hostess actually were relatives---shirttail, but still connected!  They made the place so nice for us!   We enjoyed getting to know them as friends.
Since our little school had just finished reading "King of  the Wind" by Margarite Henry, I was especially excited to see an old photograph (brought to the funeral by another relative) of my husband's great uncle astride a horse he owned in the 30's, a direct descendant of Man O' War!  Our youngest children's eyes lit up at hearing the connection!  History made personal!
How I loved that book while I was growing up! 
Today my older daughter had a slip back to childhood as well.  Her American Girl doll, Felicity, is being "retired."  Before it was too late we purchased the famous blue "holiday gown" which she had always wanted.  Something early for Christmas!  She was happy and so was I.  We had fun today.
It's nice to get back to work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Some Times You Eat the Bear

And sometimes the bear eats you. 
When you have your life packed to the almost minute there's bound to be some nuclear fall-out that occurs when your ship tilts with added weight or a chimeric wind gust blows you almost to the sinking point.
How's that for some mixed metaphors? 
Yes, we are still afloat, and the sun is shining on this gorgeous November in Minnesota.  The house is warm at night and there's tons of food around here, thanks to a well-meaning acquaintance who knows "we" are job searching.  It's humbling to receive.  I don't do it well.  I have no real need right now, so accepting assistance becomes an act of gracious humility.  Believe me!  I know I'm to pass it on!!  I do, with joy, but it is hard to be a channel when so much is happening. 
My husband is diligently seeking employment.  I know his future status is completely in the Lord's hands, and I'm confident in God's provision.  I know this may require sacrifice, but I have recently been reminded that it is in the trials and hardships that God shows Himself most powerful, and that is such a privilege to experience.   I'm am grateful for His goodness, and God is always good.  He is Holy, He is Love, He is Just, He is truly everything to me.
Brother Yun is such an inspiration to me.  He had everything taken away from him, even food and water, and God miraculously sustained Him for His purposes.  I love that when he was at his worst deprivation, that was when the Holy Spirit was his sweetest comfort.

Somehow the world has no clue what this means.  We truly are on a narrow path, and few who are who find it.  When the things of this world grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace-----that is the most beautiful thing that can happen to a human being.

An uncle of my husband's passed away suddenly last Saturday.  Because this uncle and I were both mostly Swedish in an otherwise non-Scandinavian family I felt a connection with him.  He was a successful farmer who loved the Lord.  He was too young to die, really, but our days are appointed by the Almighty, and he is in a wonderful place, not wanting to get back now, for sure.  We will drive out to Nebraska to pay our respects and grieve with the family.  He will be missed for this time we have left on earth.

I'm trying madly to make things seem "normal" with schoolwork, music practice, caring for the pets, and putting at least two meals on the table each day.  (Our kids are all self-starters, thankfully)   I have a dog in heat (for what we think is the last time----no Corgi puppies after all! Boo-Hoo!)  and a house still half painted and half floored.  The yard work is gradually getting done and bees are needing to be put to bed for the winter (here).  Our bee adviser advised that the bees would do better with a spring move to new headquarters.
Overwhelmed?  Almost, but not. 
Burdens?  Many. 
Come unto me, you who are burdened.  Take my yoke, and learn of me.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 
God is so good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Today is huge for the country, and I voted this morning with high hopes like most people.  It will be interesting to see what will happen.
The following photos are taken at the various events of this past fall; the county fair in Iowa, in the town where my son now attends college, my brother and his new wife, and our college reunion.  It's fun to see these, bringing back an "epic" time line for our family!  This was a busy season.

Relevant Photos

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I have a funeral to go to.  The person was suffering from cancer and in extreme pain.  She is now thrilled to be in heaven, and I'm sure the service will reflect that joy.  She had Sunday lunch out with her husband and my parents very often after church, so I know she will be missed greatly.  She was a good friend.
We had the most delightful visit from my son, home from college for the first time.  It was good to see him.  He was tired, so he slept a lot.  He got back to the North Dakota border just in time to be safe and sound before the first blizzard of the season rolled in.
Tomorrow my husband has his first job interview since he was laid off in August.  We all have high hopes for this interview.  Pray if you read this!
Tomorrow I bring the treats for the Northern Lights Choral choir practice.  Twelve dozen cookies and some salty snacks. Four gallons of juice.  I was busy today getting ready.  I made pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting, (5 dozen) and peanut butter cookies (5 dozen) and I bought some brownie bites to round it all off.  We only have to do it once a year, so it's not so horrendous.
Today we had school and more re-arranging of the house as we prepare to re-do all the floors and paint.  Each day has it's chores.
There must be mention made of the strange wind storm that blew through.  What a storm!  There is a political storm going on too, and and that makes for daily intrigue.  Only a week until the mid-term election.  I know I'm not the only one who can't wait until it's over.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Corgi Musings

It's so beautiful this October.  Life for a happy little Corgi who lives for treats and walks could not be better.  Misty's mistress is motivated by the nip in the air to get out more and enjoy the leaves and color.  There are four huge crows that visit the bird feeding station every morning and they are of great interest to the doggie mind.  The crows are welcome, even though they have an undesirable reputation.  The black cat who lives in the house sits on the bay window seat and waits for something to ambush. With increased mouse populations Kiwi kitty has had adventure in the house this fall too.  The humans appreciate his contribution, except when he brings the mouse to bed in the middle of the night to share his joy and prowess.  This is decidedly Unwelcome!
With the carpet ripped out the sound of little dog claws scratching everywhere is filling the house---there is more noise reverberating in this house than ever before.  Tomorrow is shot day for the canines and feline.  Should be lots of fun!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prophecy Conference

The date has been on the calendar all year long, and this past weekend's conference is always anticipated by my family for weeks before it happens!  Isn't it tremendously exciting to see God working in the world, bringing about His plan for the end times?  I get so excited I can hardly sleep.
First of all, "he who has ears to hear, let him hear." 
The conference is strictly Biblically-based, so anyone who questions the authority of Scripture would not benefit from this type of event.  Just a warning!
The speakers were Dr. David Reagan, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Gary Kah, Mike Gendron, and briefly, Caryl Matrisciana.  Their work is prevalent and easy to find, so I won't waste time trying to summarize each of the lectures.  I want to pass on the excitement of the message they unanimously brought.
So much is happening concerning Israel and the Islamic world: The Ezekiel 38 coalition has begun to form, Israel is once again being blamed for the problems in the Middle East, but with greater vehemence.  All of this was predicted!  Soon Jews may be seeking asylum once again, and with all likelihood it will be the Christians who still believe the Bible that will seek to shelter them. The Dutch Resistance during WWII would be reenacted as events play out in the middle east to eliminate Israel's closest neighbors and anti-Semitic opinion flourishes once again.  Sadly.  Those of us who are lovers of Israel will be called to action, bringing hope and perhaps Spiritual Truth to the suffering victims of this next era.
There was much talk of apostasy within the Christian church.  This is a sign of the end times, as indicated by Christ himself.  Many will cry Lord, Lord;----I never knew you.  What a horrible answer, but too many will hear it.  The message we believers must repeat, over and over, is Repent!  The day of the Lord IS at hand!  Repent before it is too late.
For those of us who love God and have repented, acknowledging Christ's death and resurrection as all sufficient for our salvation the message is, "Love the Lord your God (Yahweh) with all your heart."  Jesus said that if you love Him you will keep His commands.  No, it isn't easy, but it is exactly what we must do.  Guarding our hearts from sin is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.  I find it particularly fascinating that the lists of immorality we find in the New Testament usually include disobedience of parents.  If that doesn't get 99% of us I don't know what could!  We will all be convicted of some "pet" sin when we seek to obey the first commandment.  Love of God and sin just don't mesh well.  I refer to Paul's anguish in Romans.  Being a Christian is finding the power to overcome, not excuse.
As we live in a society that seeks to excuse immorality we have indeed entered the "days of Noah." 
Those of us who long for the purity of heaven can feel the gentle breeze of Christ's return, any day now!  Praise God, and Maranatha!
Paul Manz wrote:  Peace be to you and Grace from Him who freed us from our Sin. Who loved us all, and shed His blood, that we might saved be.  Rejoice in Heaven, all ye who dwell there-in! Rejoice on Earth, ye saints below!  For Christ is Coming!  Is coming soon!  For Christ is coming Soon.  E'en so, Lord Jesus, Quickly come!  and night shall be no more.  They need no light, nor lamp, nor sun----For Christ shall be their All. 
Maranatha!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

All in a Day's Work

Today I made a mile-high apple pie.  It's for supper, before we leave for choir.  This week has been one of recovery for my poor husband, who has THE flu.  The rest of us are keeping healthy, and I'm not sure why.  This flu is nasty, and the man who is never sick has been in bed for a week.
Despite the flu we were able to trundle back to Chicago for a college reunion (25 years) and saw many old friends.
I was encouraged.  This class doesn't have many well-known names and faces, but the general group is first class in so many ways.  It was delightful to see God working in people's lives, comparing stories and seeing so many things we still have in common in seeking God's will.  I've been happy-spirited all week, contrary to last week! 
God knows what we need to encourage our hearts and minds. 
Reading lots of books right now: David Breese, "Seven Men Who Rule From the Grave,"  "Sarah's Key,"  "Growing up in Macbeth's Castle,"  a novel by Zane Grey, and another by Louis L'amour, "The witness Lied," and all the books we're doing for school.  Finished "King of the Wind" yesterday.  Love that one each time!
No news on the bees, but they are happily buzzing around a beautiful October garden.  My annuals have withstood the first hard freeze, but the pumpkin vines are done.  The mum/peony garden is a delight to my eyes!  Waves of fall color.  Indoors, the carpet is ripped up and the house is at odds and ends, but the golden glow of October light makes it all pretty.  Looking forward to the new laminate floors throughout the whole house.
No job news yet.  We're hoping for a breakthrough soon!
I hear a woodpecker trying to save our cedar siding from infestation.
Hope he/she doesn't do too much damage! 
Yesterday we all saw a weasel-like creature running around the yard.  Exciting!  Fat and sleek, we weren't close enough to identify it exactly.  Today Misty Corgi came in from her morning outing with bite marks on her nose.  She ran into some unfriendly animal. 
Off to sing------"Be humble,  Be humble Bumblebee!!!"  Very catchy and fun song! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bee update

Bees were banned in our city last evening.  Just wanted this to be known here.  We will probably not move them until Spring, but that may change.   Bees won't leave the hive much in the winter, and if we move them in the Spring they will re-orient for the spring growth and flowers.  With everything going on here  (and believe me, it's nuts!) this rather major change happened quietly.
Who knows?  Maybe we'll move with the bees!

The Run-down as Promised!

We attended a nice wedding on Saturday!  The Bride was pretty, the Groom was handsome.   It was a bit like the Brady Bunch up there, with 4 blonds on the bridesmaid side and 4 guys to match on the other, all offspring (or married to offspring) of either the Bride or Groom.
All the right responses were said and the "Ave Maria" sung, and they are married!

As I have observed, from a distance, my brother's complicated life (at least from my standpoint), I was filled with a renewed sense of gratefulness that God has called me to be saved by His grace.  My heart was filled with love and trust in God's goodness, and that He knows our futures, be they alarmingly uncertain to us.

We were blessed on Sunday morning to hear Pastor Colin Smith at the church formerly known as "The Arlington Evangelical Free Church."  This Scottish preacher can really hit Truths home!  I think we get to go back to hear him next week too, as we have another trip to Chicago coming on Friday.  This will be for a college reunion, and my husband has been looking forward to it for months!  I'm weary from last weekend's trip, but it should be fun.  We'll rally!

I Think This Sums it Up


http://www.powerlineblog.com

Is Barack Obama My Keeper?

September 28, 2010 Posted by John at 7:59 PM
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Some commentators are criticizing President Obama's response to a supporter at a campaign event who asked him why he is a Christian:
"I'm a Christian by choice," Obama told his audience here. "My family didn't -- frankly, they weren't folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn't raise me in the church.
"So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead -- being my brothers' and sisters' keeper, treating others as they would treat me," he continued.
"And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God," Obama said. "But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace."
I have no interest in questioning Obama's religious faith, which I believe to be sincere. It is only fair to note, too, that some of what he said was right on the money. But Obama's answer causes one to suspect that he would be among those who, as in the Pew poll that is also in the news today, would have trouble answering basic questions about his own religion. The Golden Rule is a fine idea, but it is not a principle of unique to Christianity. Nor did Jesus ever say that we should be our brothers' and sisters' keepers; Obama apparently referred to the story of Cain and Abel.
This is the point I want to make: Biblical precepts are often twisted by liberals to support socialism. Jesus was not a socialist. On the contrary, he explicitly disclaimed any political agenda. And the moral of the story in Genesis is not that we are, or should be, our brothers' keepers. Rather, the phrase comes from Cain's answer when God asks him the whereabouts of his brother Abel, whom Cain has just killed. Cain denies any knowledge, and adds the self-exculpatory question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The point of the story is not that Cain was responsible for looking after Abel, like an Old Testament Nancy Pelosi. Cain was condemned not for failing to keep watch over his brother, but for killing him.
Barack Obama is hardly the only liberal who misapplies scripture to support liberal politics, but his answer today provides a useful opportunity to set the record straight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bee News

The hives were opened yesterday for the first time in awhile.   It's always fascinating to see what has changed and how things are, and the longer you wait to open the hive the greater the change! 
Apparently the bees were not finding enough nectar to fill the supers.  The two supers on each hive were empty.  Perhaps the bees didn't favor the foundation.  It's unclear and we can only suppose the reason to date.
The lower three boxes were full of honey, normal hive activity, and all was well.  The varroa mite test revealed only a few, which is entirely normal. 
So, no honey harvest this year.  The bees keep their honey, and we must wait until next July to harvest, pray for them to winter without ill, and long for that unique experience of enjoying our own honey!
Well, it isn't as if we didn't have enough to keep us busy these days!  Happy to report that our son had a fantastic time at his ROTC Field Training Exercise last weekend.  He dropped Chemistry but added Sociology, so he's got 21 credits, and that is a real load for a freshman in college!   He needs your prayer!
Our other son is chugging along at the community college, waiting for test results, and hoping he gets his own college admission and ROTC scholarship for next year. 
I'm done with the pillowcases for the wedding this weekend; we're all preparing for the event in different ways. 
I'll do a society column type of blog next week, all right?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Normal is a setting on your Dryer

Today is a "normal day" for us here at Corgi Hollows.  School reading time in the morning; Bible and Health,  Older children off to do math, younger children staying to hear American History (John Sutter's Ranch and the 49'ers)  Milly Molly Mandy (we begin early with British Lit) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (we're on Farmer Boy at present).  Spelling tests were today and very successful!   Along with loads of laundry (the Whirlpool 5.2 Cabrio is three weeks old and a WELCOME addition to the household appliances) we are busy baking because it is fall-feeling and we feel that urge for breads and cookies.
I'm looking for an embroidery pattern to use in fashioning pillow cases for a wedding gift.  My brother, who is a very eligible handsome widower, is to tie the knot in two weeks.  We are preparing for the trip to attend the ceremony in Chicago.
Off to sew and enjoy the sound of wet streets outside.  Normal is nice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

The week of weeping is past, the weeks of early autumn commence.  It is green-gold outside and my dogs have a silky thick undercoat developing.  I've put a tub of summer clothes out to storage and I'm shampooing the carpets and furniture, washing baseboards and dust from the antiques.  Somehow fall cleaning is more inspiring to me than spring cleaning.  It is the hint of frost in the air. 
As our friends stood under the white pine in the front yard they blew the first misty breath as they told us good-bye.  We had had a campfire, home made ice cream and home made hot fudge sauce.  Yes it was good.
The tiny life in the fish pond has revealed itself to be Koi.  The little fish are rivaling the older, bigger ones in aggression as I feed them each morning.  The water lily has produced two white blooms so far.   The pond is leafy each morning with the first falling.  I'm emptying the swimming pool at the end of the week.
So badly we wanted to harvest honey, but it must be upper 80's.  Perhaps the bees will keep their store until next spring.  Tomorrow may be warm enough, so we are prepared.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Long Good-bye

Here in Minnesota there is something known as the "long good-bye," a term coined by Garrison Keillor in a monologue many years back.  Listening to him describe it is terribly funny---the guests decide to leave and the hosts say, "how about a little more pie..." the conversation moves to the coat closet area, then out to the front steps.  Finally they are all standing around the car and the guests finally get the car started.  Last words are said as the car is driving away. 
I know the whole scenario, as I'm from Minnesota, and Garrison described the reality of our "long good-byes."
Two years ago my eldest started college on-line.  That was a milestone, and it was the beginning of the "long good-bye" for us.  After homeschooling him from first grade on I was making the break!  Last year he attended the local community college full time, worked multiple hours as a life guard at the YMCA, and enjoyed a energetic social calendar.  Really, I didn't see him much!
Yesterday we drove away with him up to college in northern Minnesota.  We left him there, happily ensconced in his new dormitory, raring to begin a new life.
And the long good-bye just wasn't enough for me!  Today I am weeping when I should be dancing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Year's Worth of Work

This past weekend, along with many other events at Corgi Hollows, I finished my son's Aran fisherman's sweater.  It took about a year to do.  Last year I did one for son number two, and in the photos it shows a turtle neck----not a popular feature, apparently.    Before I redo that neck I decided to show both of these sweaters together before one of them leaves for college this coming Sunday.  Yes, the time has come to say "Onward" to my firstborn.  Soon I might be seeing him in his ROTC uniform and I can't imagine what that will do to me!  I'm so happy he's doing so well.
The beautiful bedspread (it is a full size) is the work of my Grandma Bessie.  She did over 20 of these in her lifetime, and each spread took about a year to make.  I have one, as I am the youngest of her grand-daughters.  It is a treasure.  As I was knitting the sweaters (and I have two more to make) I thought of Grandma Bessie many times.  I know what it's like to work on a project seemingly endlessly.  She won the grand sweepstakes prize at the Minnesota State Fair one year.  The story goes that someone she'd given the spread to entered it in her name for the crochet class, and low and behold, she took the top honor!   You can see why!  Her work was beautiful. 
She died when I was seven, but I still have fond memories of her and her quiet insistence that I finish one project before I began another.  A good life lesson.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Listening to the cello with night sounds

My son is playing a mournful song on his cello right now and it's late.  It's gorgeous, but heart aching.  Since last week we've been in various stages of getting used to our new situation, and I think it is rather like the sharp intake of breath you take when entering the pool----it's perhaps not so pleasant at first, but then you acclimate and breathe more normally.   I'm still breathing unnaturally, figuratively of course.  There's grief and loss and expectation and some fear.  I must admit that the conditions we are facing are anything but severe, and I am so grateful for that!  The unknown has always disturbed.  We like the friendly familiar and the predictable, even when we hope for adventure.
The comings and goings at Corgi Hollows are too many to report, and the activity frenzy helps keep the spirits up.  Perhaps next week the true colors of our lives may emerge from the gray of our change.
As always, God has blessed us exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we could imagine.  I hope we are strengthened by His hand to face whatever is to come!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Transitions

So it happened!  My talented, intelligent, multi-gifted, knowledgeable husband had his last morning at the company he worked for 12 years.  It came with little surprise since the said company is downsizing out of existence in the next year.   Still, today marks the day he won't be off to work in the morning for awhile.

Pray for us.  This is a relatively gentle beginning to the dreaded "unemployment" we all hear about these days.  Yet it feels unnatural for us already.

Earthquakes hit in so many forms.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Excitement in City Hall!

I would say that a miracle occurred today for us.  The second reading and proposed passing of an ordinance banning bees in our city was tabled and postponed for further discussion. 
The next task is to educate the city officials about bees.
This should take place by August 17, the next work shop for the council.  My husband will have the honor of pointing out other city ordinances and their acceptance of beekeeping.  He will need to show all the evidence that bees are endangered and needing particular attention and safe-guards against banning them.
I am hoping that the general direction this ordinance was taking will be altered for good.

We can rest easy tonight that the bees will be here for now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ordinances

Usually I don't post so frequently, especially when we are so extremely busy, but there is something that has come up at Corgi Hollows that needs much prayer fast---a general "crying out" to God.
Tomorrow evening there will be a council meeting for our city and a proposed ordinance is to ban any non-domestic creature from our city's backyards---including bees.  It is written in this time.
How could our city be so backward when Minneapolis in fact just repealed legislation banning bees?!
My heart was warmed when our neighbor from across the street knocked on our door and handed over an article from the local paper about the ordinance.
"Have you seen this?" he asked.  "NO!"  I cried-----"I can't believe it!"

"We'll go to the meeting with you to fight this," he told me.  I am so touched that our neighbor wants to help us.
Later that evening he emailed us a letter he had emailed to several city officials in protest of this act.
I guess the bees will have to go if they pass it tomorrow night, and that would be a sad day for Corgi Hollows.

My husband thinks the measure is "draconian," and poorly understood.  It appears to be an uninformed tin-type document downloaded from an overly zealous city management website.  There must be room for negotiation with such a blanket ordinance.
So we need prayer.  Prayer that there will be listening and forward looking officials who are sympathetic to current trends and realistic environmental issues.
PRAY WE CAN KEEP OUR BEES!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brain Turmoil

I've had to look back at a few posts to remind myself to stay connected to what really matters, just to get through the ups and downs of each day.
My husband is preparing to go into full-swing job finding mode.  This doesn't fit comfortably, but we'll see how it wears. 
I am dealing with anxieties about my oldest child and his future---despite the great promise I have to smother the heart longings of loss as he leaves the nest and tries to make his path.  I know, I know---every mother MUST do it, and it's been done over and over.  I assert it remains HUGE in every loving mother's heart.
We are hosting a student from China right now.  He is a personable young man with great charm and fantastic English abilities.  I know he will do well.  He experienced our campfire with hot dogs and s'mores last evening.  He shared with us photos of his wife and family, all on his computer files.  He was able to link with her via Skype right away last night.  China is so close these days.  They can experience every thing together via the internet.  After ten years of hosting we have seen all sorts of communication worldwide, our present student is the first to be this connected, right away.  Progress.
I moved my oldest son's things to the storage area over the past weekend in preparation for his college departure.  It was all done in a rush, getting ready for our foreign guest.  I wonder if I will regret the hurried ejection of his personal effects when I'm missing him this fall.  Transitioning from one phase of his life to the next is monumental, and he seems to be behaving with grace.  All good.
We are all weary today.  Last week one of my brothers opened the New York Stock Exchange one morning, as his bank went to a public stock option.  That day was filled with news and media reports and excitement for him and his family.  We are not close, but there is a certain understanding.  I am glad for him.  Apparently he was in the neighborhood this weekend with his girlfriend, but we didn't get in touch.
We drove to Iowa for a family reunion.  We happened to have 3 dogs with us, as we were pet-sitting a friend's pooch.  The canines contributed to the on going mayhem.   A good time was had by all.
The next day a church family wedding took place, and how sweet it was!  There is nothing like a sacred ceremony that actually means something these days!  Too many people have a wedding just to throw a party for a relationship that has already had a conjugal beginning perhaps months or even years before.  Why bother?  This was a real covenant made between two faithful families, and the wedding was a real event.  The holy expectancy was real.  I'm so glad all of my children were able to be there and witness this.  I hope that they may have the same experience when (if) they marry.
Well, Midwest Living, the magazine, may come calling here in the near future to do a piece on backyard urban apiaries.  I guess I'd better clean up the yard and get mowing.  Maybe I'll get Margaret to  take a few snaps and post them on here first.  Copyright??
The bees seem to be doing really well.  It's August.  Summer is waning. Honey harvest soon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New News

For the few of you who read this I am sharing.  Sometimes Facebook is a perfect venue for keeping people updated, but for those people I know who actually visit this blog and read my heart thoughts here I want to inform of current developments in the family.
Looks like we have major CHANGE in the near future.  There's good news and bad news!
Good news first:  My eldest son got a 3 year full ride ROTC scholarship to attend Concordia College this fall.  There is a strong possibility that a fourth year will also be awarded, but this will come about later.  We are thrilled for him, and he is so excited to go off to college and do something with his life career-wise.  We are thankful to the Lord for His timely provision.
Now for the "bad" news----which, for all that really isn't BAD.  Joni Earickson Tada, a quadrapalegic for the past 30 years or so, just got diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her response was, "I can't wait to see what God is going to do with this!"
Well, I can't wait to see what God is going to do with US!  My husband's company had a mandatory meeting yesterday.  Yeah.  Long story short---change. 
We'll see where God leads us next. 
I have my hopes to stay in the Midwest, but instead of looking forward and the endless possibilities I am going to look to the past.
I have been so blessed in this house for a decade of my life.
Good health, success, limitless provision for our needs, fun, purpose, growth.
Why focus on the dark side of life when the positives are powerfully lighting them away?
I know that difficulties develop character.  I know they force us to trust God in ways that we never desired, but isn't that the point?  Life is not SURE.  We never can plan for certainty.  Why bemoan the loss of a status that never was forever anyway?
Surely we all look at pain, suffering, deprivation as negative, but there is an unseen world of activity hinging on our circumstances.  We only see the here and now, yet the repercussions of our days and actions have sent a shock wave through the supernatural. 
That is why God allows suffering.  The face of our burnished gem is turned toward Him.  We are seeing the unpolished side, and it may not be pretty, but we hope, we know that there is a gorgeous stone, brilliant in all aspects shining toward our Creator.
Hope.  It's what we have in abundance.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

And some every day doings

Last evening we had "the" campfire with a hot dog roast and several friends enjoying s'mores, glorified rice and pasta salad.  The 10' swimming pool was in heavy use yesterday---it was 90* in the shade.   I expect we'll be using the pool much today as well.
Our son returned from a missions trip to the inner city and its diverse people groups.  He arrived this morning after 10 days away.  It will take a few days for him to cough up the experience verbally.  I'll have to make sure I'm within speaking distance from him so I don't miss anything! 
My other son is taking the ROTC PT test this morning at an armory.  Hoping he passes!  53 sit ups in 2 minutes, 42 push-ups in 2 minutes, and running 2 miles in ? .  We'll see how he does.  ROTC means 3 1/2 years of college tuition for him, so we have high hopes.
Misty Corgums is suffering from a hot spot on her neck and shedding profusely.  Poor little creature!  We are caring for her as best we can.
My brother is on a world tour promoting his business.  My thoughts are with him today, concerned about the state of the world and business, politics and events.  I'd loathe his burdens, but I will pray for him.  I guess someone has to make the business world go round.
We are invited to a Chinese dinner cooked by one of our former Chinese guests this evening.  Looking forward to that! 
Now to some long overdue cleaning.  The story of MY life!

Why I am a Conservative

Go ahead and laugh with me on this one.  I've had this entry brewing for a few weeks in my head, and today is the day to draw up a cursory credo. 
I've been driven to it by seeing friends and loved ones disillusioned by liberal thinking, decrying conservative values, bad-mouthing my core values.  It's annoying.
Actually it is a lack of understanding.  So here it goes, for me.
(Clarence Thomas has a really good book that covers this in depth!)
Being a Conservative involves:
Supporting free trade and enterprise
Rewarding hard work
Caring for the weak and helpless
Allowing free thought
Being able to acknowledge universal moral values
Understanding evil, fighting it
Revering human life
Appreciating Creation
Emphasizing personal responsibility
Limiting secular government's authority

Okay, so some of these things tend toward my faith beliefs.  Somehow it does blend together! 
I like the slogan, "Don't tread on Me."  I like the freedom it implies.
One of my favorite things is to read biographies and life stories of the human spirit surviving oppressive authority.  Take the life story if Sadhu Sundar Singh, for example.  (Just get a copy, and read it!  Be inspired!)  Perhaps I am a little rebellious!  However, when one is in submission to God, Jehovah, the power of any earthly authority pales in comparison. 
This brings us to spiritual submission.  Conservative values work best when the spirit is in submission to the Ultimate Authority.
That is why I am a conservative.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oh what a week can Be!

Just sitting here rejoicing at how wonderful God is, and how He can be such a generous and gentle Provider and leader.  I'm going to risk incongruity in this post and just let the thoughts flow.  After a whirlwind visit to a nice college all the doors burst open for my son  who just graduated from our home school.  I hope this can encourage other home schooling families in staying the course.
I had run into a few snafus, which I could easily see as closed opportunities, as the mother/teacher of my son, and I felt so discouraged at the rejection he had experienced.  Then one day this spring we chanced to visit a really nice college "up north" and the door began to ease open.
Now I can see the way God provides.  I had asked for a piece of bread, but God gave a steak dinner!
He will be given a stellar education, small class sizes, professors who acknowledge people of faith, wonderful musical opportunities, and a ROTC prof who is a fellow lover of Israel!  So many people in support of him, nurturing him, helping him to define who he is as a child of God.
The icing on the cake is that there are two employment opportunities open for him, for which he is perfectly qualified.  He should be able to manage both jobs!
Now we will see if it all pans out.  It is with thankful hearts that we proceed, knowing God's love for our son is even FAR greater than ours.  It is with joy that we can launch him to pursue the desires of his heart.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, America

What a quiet Fourth for the Corgi Hollows clan.  No fireworks, no parade, no picnic or homemade ice cream.  The family was all split up at various locations.  Highly unusual, maybe the first such day in my memory.
I think it was inspiring to read this morning of young minds who seem to have solid Christian values, who are rising to lead the people of God in the narrow path.  That gives me the desire to celebrate.
James 1 says that real religion is taking care of the orphans and widows and keeping free of the smut of the world.  (Berkley)  Quite the task! 
I am planning on re-reading Bonhoeffer soon.  He's been mentioned much lately in regards to civil disobedience, and I think it's time to brush up on that.  Our allegiance is to Christ, in all things.  Inspiring!
I'm reading Isak Dinesen also.  I'm seeing parallels to Sigrid Undset's Kristen Lavransdatter.  I can see the connection of all these works in finding a path to serving God (as He has revealed to us) in the place he puts us.  Our times are in His hands. 
A new week is before us and new adventures.  With children who serve well it inspires me to see how their plans unfold and direct my paths too.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tapping into Super Strength

There is nothing like blue sky and 75 degrees F to chase the dark clouds of cyclical depression away.  Sadness just can't stay when the world looks perfect.
And yet the world is not perfect.
Reading the headlines each day can be a source of frustration and sadness, a "downer" to start the day!  If there is any form of blue in the spirit it's really hard to spiral back up.
And then I turn to my faith.
Praise God that He can heal the spirit and bless the soul.  I've taken to pronouncing a blessing on my poor, tired, aging body whenever I sense the negative self talk coming (which I'm sure few are really immune from.)  It's really amazing to see the act of faith bringing the physical body back on track.
This seems to prove that God wants to interact with His children.  He cares for their minds, hearts and bodies.
I cannot begin to even list all the significant things going on for me lately.  Guests, scholarships being awarded, college acceptance for my oldest, sports activities, strange things occurring at night (Corgi out til 3....! Who let her out????) parties, tears, joys, and lots of AGAPE----in the Greek sense. 
I think my depression is partly weariness.  How glad I am that it's all good things making me tired!
Tomorrow I'm bringing 4 teenage boys up to the northern forests to play paintball and air soft (?) all day.  I'll be seeing very dear friends, one of whom is dying of ALS.  She is a wonderful witness to the patience and strength God can give in dealing with a terrible disease.
This is what God has for his own.  Triumph over evil.  Goodness in the weak.  Strength in the unexpected.  Hope and grace to face it all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Purity

I'm reading one of my all-time favorite authors lately, George MacDonald.   I love how he slips bits of eternal wisdom and snippets about the love of God in his works of fiction.  I have never been to Scotland, but I think it must be a wonderful place to have produced such great minds like his, Oswald Chambers, the great mathematician Boyle, and other preachers of note. 
Today I think of purity again.  Purity of faith, purity of spirit and mind, purity of understanding.  The Bible admonishes us followers of Christ to be pure.  Mature, some say.  As always, I tend to be most comfortable with the direct translation of the word, even if it has overtones of other meanings. 
Sometimes I think in German, as the words have a more direct implication of what I mean.  In the last sentence the word overtones would have been better "Ahnings"  in the German.  It has a feeling of idea, leaning, yearning, and aspect.  See what I mean?  Sadly, few people can really get the whole meaning of the word.
Back to purity.  Does my cleaving to the simple definition make me a "Meanie?"    Is it possible to condemn behavior that is impure and still be seen as someone who loves, who cares, who wants only the best for those God brings into my life?
I would hope that my life and what I say as encouragement to others would always be seen as loving concern for everyone.  I want all of us to strive for purity. 
The loving care of an eternal God is what I've experienced my whole life, and I know it's possible to experience His love no matter what filth has taken place in anyone's life.
Quite frankly We are called out.  We are called to the narrow path.  We are called to be different.  We are called to be extraordinary.  We are called to purity, and there is no excuse for immoral behavior.
What's immoral?  Scripture has a great list of immorality in Romans 1.  Not many people like to go there because it's rather convicting.  It's there for a purpose.  We're not supposed to do the things on that list.
Thank God there is forgiveness.
Thank God He gives us the grace to actually try to be pure.
No credit to self, just credit and testimony of God's power and His love for this poor old world.  Let's all try a little more purity.  No excuses.  I think George MacDonald would agree, and he was certainly not a "meanie."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Little Pomp and Circumstance

I had the treat of watching the Royal Wedding in Stockholm this morning.  The dress Princess Viktoria wore was perfect!  The royal barge which took the bridal couple from the church to the palace looked like a medieval contraption, all gold and blue and straight out of history.  It was a historical moment.  Since it was live via internet there was no editing of the various VIP's attending the ceremony from all over Europe.   They were real people, having a special time.
It's sort of nice to see an event done well.  It's good to see that it CAN be done!
My daughter has been working at a camp all week, and she will be back tonight, along with her brother.  I'm sorry she missed the pageantry.  I missed Princess Diana's wedding years ago, and I always was sort of sad I did.
Now it's time to get back to work on a busy Saturday.  Graduation parties  (two) and meeting with several people.  My youngest son is taking off for a few days, and my oldest boy is leaving for a week at a camp as lifeguard and counselor. 
My second son made the Dean's list at his college this semester!   My oldest son had a perfect score on his GED test for last week.  I have my own things to celebrate, and believe me I do!
I need to write an update on my Corgi:  after a vet examined her the other day he is doubtful that she is expecting puppies.  I am relieved! I was getting worried that Basset Corgis --Corsettes--would be too difficult for her to manage.  They are significantly bigger than corgis.  So, now we can hope for purebred corgis sometime hence.  We'll see what happens!
It's fun to plan.
Home schooling has so many benefits, but one of the greatest is simply knowing your own children so well, spending time with them, encouraging their passions, and then letting them go when they are ready.  I guess it really is a superior education, too.  I am thankful to God for that.  I am just in a happy, grateful spirit today.  I am thankful for dozens of friends who rejoice with me, too. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Our Own Again

Since Brian is off scouting this weekend I'm finding myself with options:  begin to sew a slew of sewing projects, make progress on the sweater I'm knitting, clean the garage, and clean house.  I'm not looking for input, but I'd like to see some significant progress for my time, and the garage never shows that!
I could try to do the "Fly-Lady" thing and work at each 15 minutes at a time....til I've cycled through all the activities!  That will surely guaranty none of the projects' completion.
Our Corgi, Misty, will be X-rayed on Wednesday to see if she is indeed expecting.  There is real concern, as Corgis generally have difficult births, and these will probably be bigger than normal.  Perhaps she'll have a C-section the following week.
I'm feeling low about it all.  I'll try to update all the progress before too long, but it looks like a busy next few weeks.
 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This is my Letter to the Editor

I just read a piece by Michael Gerson entitled "Sex and Grace" which refers to the recent revelations of indiscretion on the part of a conservative Christian politician.   I just have to say my thoughts about this, mostly because I feel people like me are being accused of being self-righteous in merely calling out the immoral behavior and demanding higher standards from elected officials.
No one is without sin, but there is such a thing as repentance and the gift of the Holy Spirit's power to fight the temptation of sin.
Why can't we expect the people who lead us to use this power?  Even people without the Holy Spirit can often withstand sins of action----those acts which affect someone or something other than one's conscience or thought life. (Although most of the time those sins eventually do work themselves out in perceived action sooner or later).
God's grace is apparently limitless, yet we are not to exploit it!  God's mercy is given to all who repent.  Is it impossible to live a life that is free from moral failure?
Hardly.  God's power is greater than anything else.  While sin is pervasive and powerful in itself, we do have the capability to live lives that are morally pure, with God's help, of course.
I will say that some should be held to high standards.  Countless leaders in the past have led with a morally clean platform.
This doesn't negate the need to forgive failure.  Christians should be the first to forgive!
Yet there are damages from moral failure, always: hell here on earth or in the spiritual world.
Forgiveness will not erase the damage here.
Striving for moral purity will indeed reduce the damage.
Kissinger said that power is an aphrodisiac.  I would agree with him.  The sin of pride (power feeds it) is always the first of the sins, and it leads right into the others.  The end is always the same.  Corruption.  The devil will fight his battles wherever he can get a toehold.
Our leaders need prayer and spiritual protection to withstand the devil's onslaught.  They need the inner strength and purity of heart that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Too bad I can't think of many public figures who are seeking this pure power.  May God protect me and my family from evil!  I thank Him for His grace,  mercy, and forgiveness.  I thank Him for His power.
Most of the time we have to choose the lesser of evils when dealing with the world.  And self-righteousness?  I guess you'd have to read my own heart.  I know its blackness, and I'd bet most of those accused of being self-righteous feel the same.   Go ahead and accuse the self-righteous ones.  It won't justify anyone's sin!