Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February Frump

I can't believe it. For twelve years I have consistently met my best friend and her sister for coffee once a month. I long for this night out ----always.

We three have an extraordinary friendship, and I am blessed beyond measure with it.

Clearly I am experiencing a little Vitamin D deficiency, because I missed coffee last night. First. Time. Ever. My fault. I forgot. Sorry doesn't express what I am feeling this morning. It's little more akin to grief. I had two things scheduled, (as usual) and forgot the most important one.

We girls need our talks. We call it therapy, where we really do solve the world's problems (You didn't know it, but because we have our monthly meeting the world goes on...:)). Watch out this month! Heh heh.

Well, February is over in a day, and in the meantime we anticipate a major snowstorm. March will come in like a LION this year.

Usually February passes swiftly. This one has not. I guess it's been a little dreary, and my health always suffers this time of year.

Off for a health screening this morning....new health insurance and all....

Warning:  Busy Day Ahead! Milk, gas, fresh fruit and vegetables-----check!  We are storm ready.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

School Days

Part of the joy of homeschooling is the amount of reading we do together.
We've worked our way through all of Laura Ingalls, all of Tolkein, (Hobbit, et al), Narnia, Betsy-Tacy series, Hannah Hurnard, Newbery Award winners, and various devotionals. Too many others to list here.

(Science, History, Math, Spelling, English, Handwriting, Art and Music, Phy. Ed)

One series I was introduced to as a child, have read to my older children, and am now reading to my two younger is the set my Patricia St. John. (See my Books page)

We just finished "Star of Light" today.  I felt compelled to share part of a chapter we read today.

Page 243, (In my copy)

""Jenny looked very serious.
"I don't know an awful lot myself," she replied doubtfully; "who'll teach me, Auntie Rosemary? At school they don't talk like you do. We mostly learn the names of kings in Scripture. I suppose I could go to Sunday school, but we usually all go out in the car on Sunday afternoon."
"Yes, it does seem difficult," said Aunt Rosemary. "But it's quite all right, because you've got your Bible, and you've got the Holy Spirit of Jesus in your heart to show you what it means. There was a king called David long ago who wanted to understand the Bible, so he prayed this prayer: 'Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.' God answered his prayer and whenever he read the Bible he saw all the way to Heaven mapped out in it; and he said this: " 'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.'
"If you read it faithfully and regularly every day, asking the Holy Spirit of Jesus to make you under-stand, you'll find that He lights up and explains all the things you find dark and difficult."
"There are such long words in it," said Jenny, still rather doubtful.
"Not in the gospels," answered Aunt Rosemary. "Start with those. And I'm sure you'll find Mummy and Daddy willing to explain hard words if you ask them. They are interested in everything that interests you. Have you told them what happened to you and why you want to read the Bible?"
"No," said Jenny frowning, "I wanted to, but somehow I couldn't explain."
"Well, it would be a very good thing to tell them in words" said Aunt Rosemary, "but a far more important thing is to tell them by works. If you have really put the Lord Jesus in the very middle of your life, if you obey His voice every day as He speaks to you in the Bible, He will soon change you very much. His love will begin to show instead of your selfishness. His patience instead of your bad temper, and His helpfulness instead of your laziness. And directly that begins to happen Mummy and Daddy will know all about it without any telling. But I should try to tell too, because it would be such a lovely thing to share."
"Yes," agreed Jenny frankly. "They'd certainly be pleased if I really got nice and good and never got into rages, and I expect they'd want to know why, too. I should think I'd better show them first, and then they'll believe me when I tell them. Let's go home now, and I'll show them I want to help with the packing.""


I love the way Patricia St. John illustrates the deepest concepts, so even a child can understand and grow.
Her characters are so real, and their struggles are yours and mine. I am always amazed at the nuggets of truth in each of her books.

It's a delightful way to do school, reading a chapter or two from them in the morning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still

This is a book review of "Still" by Lauren Winner.

I had not read her previous books, but this young gal can really write. I like her prose, the way she describes things. I like her history.  She seems to have been places I have visited spiritually.

I am older.  I am further on the journey. I'm still learning.


She journeys with refreshing ideas. She's still learning.

This book is about her doubt, her meeting the "brassy heavens." God seems remote to her. Her Christian walk has been tested with divorce, death, and discouragement.

Is her faith strong enough to hold? Is she "still" a Christian? She asks.

Pineapple gummi bears are sought out by both of us. I can relate to her. We are the same type of person. She loves to feel His presence as I love to.

My big concern is that she is still trying to create God in her idea of Him.  We all do. We all meet Him, get to know him. Gradually. No one knows Him well at first, and when he doesn't fit our image of him we waver.

Part of sanctification is accepting God as He is.

So which God?

Is He Muslim? Hindu? Buddhist?

Methodist? Baptist? Lutheran? Catholic?

Jewish? Pagan? Anglican? Presbyterian?

At some point an authority must be chosen. Which one? Can God work through all of these types?

I'd say, of course. He is all powerful.

BUT,

I would test the authority more than anything. God's Word must be central.  Sanctification is a process of learning who God is through understanding Scripture.

Sometimes the God of the Bible seems "unacceptable" to our tiny minds. (Think Oprah Winfrey and her now famous quote about a jealous God)

I sense that Lauren has accepted only the character of God that she can fathom up until now in her faith journey.

She is not alone.

Finding the God of the Bible is the path of life. It is a life pursuit. It is demanding and requires everything. It will break you of your pre-conceived ideas of who He is.

And we all must be prepared to meet Him as he is, not as we want to see Him.

Read your Bible. All of it. Not just the parts you like. Read the hard sayings too. THEN take the time to meditate and process, pray for wisdom. See what God reveals to you about His character. Don't just branch off on your own cultish tendencies.

Can we say "balance?"

As in the training of an animal or a child, swing around through the motions again and again. Learn the behaviors of spiritual discipline, and discover, through Scripture, who He is.

I think Lauren is learning. She's on her path. She's about to get into the meat of her spiritual walk, and there will be dark hours of cleansing through the Word (washing in the Word) for her to withstand and emerge from, victorious and strong, knowing Christ better than ever.


Sublime end.

Monday, February 20, 2012

aperture mittens: thankful and happy.

aperture mittens: thankful and happy.: Today, several of my best pals and I hosted a baby shower for E's mom. Everything and everybody came together to make it play out perfect...

 Costanza writes:  Here's the evidence of happy times...

Great Weekend!

Just basking in the memory of a wonderful weekend.

I'd like to remember it for awhile, as so many good things happened!

It's always wonderful when your kids are happy with their lives, and that seemed to be the theme of the weekend.

It was topped off with supper at Grandpa and Grandma's house, the dogs getting their favorite outing. Chicken chili was on the menu. Delicious! (And fresh hot rolls)

Before that we enjoyed a concert by Hans Uwe Hielscher at the community church in Wayzata. He has been the resident organist at the Marktkirche in Wiesbaden since 1979, so yes, I was familiar with him from my Wiesbaden days! What a kind man, ueber talented, and a joy to hear play the pipe organ here in Minnesota.

When we talked about my son going to Wiesbaden in the fall he was so begeistert! (Enthusiastic) Very welcoming.

On Saturday my daughter helped to hostess her very first baby shower for her friend's mom who is expecting soon. It was lovely, from all accounts that I heard.  I think there were 30 people there! Pretty good!

Also on Saturday was a special all-day event for young people who are interested in pipe organs. Again, the extent of being able to participate in such a fantastic program so effortlessly in this locale astounds me!  My pipe organ loving son was thrilled with the entire day! Two sessions on two pipe organs (same church), a session with the builder of the big sanctuary organ, demonstrations of said instruments and other keyboards, and general information on pipe organs and the love of them!

It was fun to be with people of like mind, too.

It was free. No cost. :) I'll let you know when it's about to happen next year.

For me the highlight was hearing my son play a Scott Joplin rag on the big organ, helped out by Mr. Michael Barone (Pipedreams) with the stops and pedals. FUN! He's had a smile on his face ever since!

I had a red-letter day on Friday. It had to do with music. Enough said. I've been smiling ever since, too. I have a wonderful heavenly Father.

I know the world seems like it's falling apart in other places. I know that several people here have the flu. One friend is recovering from Quintuple bypass and new heart valve surgery (!) but doing well.

There have been deaths, pneumonia, hard class assignments.

So it's nice to have such a great clump of days once in awhile.

It's snowing here for once this winter. I guess we'll get it now that February is almost over. The buds on the lilacs are already showing. The x-country skis are still in the foyer, so they are ready to use tomorrow.

I'm off to do laundry. Lots to catch up on after our busyness. Here's hoping you, my readers, have a wonderful clump of days this week! God bless.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

U-4

Just passed my qualifying exams to file my U-4!  One step at a time...

Securities License within reach!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Sum of All Parts

Because we are individuals made up of myriad experiences we bring to our ideology snippets of understanding that make us individuals!

The "sum" of some of us becomes "stark raving liberal" or "right wing fringe," but most of us end up with a sum somewhere in the middle.

(I'm the home-school mom today, sorting out ideas for my charges)

I have heard so many people speak in my lifetime, and with some I felt instant rapport. Some gave me a sense of repugnance.

Just recently I heard Kitty Werthmann's    story       ,       Eric Metaxas speaking, and a debate between atheists and Christians at a college.  All made an impression worth mentioning.

As a high school student (late '70's) I was awarded a trip to "Citizenship Camp," sponsored by the Farm Bureau and my local 4-H club. It was "up north," at a lake/church camp in Minnesota.

Two speakers made an impression on me: Cleon Skousen and Leo Thorsness.

If you do any research on these gentlemen you will be struck by what they represent. I was impressed with their stories, especially Col. Thorsness' s.

Perhaps Skousen was "stark raging conservative," but he had some interesting ideas to present. I did not and do not advocate his worldview, but I considered it.  I remember one camper sitting by the lake with a disturbed countenance. I'm sure he was completely befuddled by the pro-American, anti-communist rhetoric we were hearing. I've wondered where that young man ended up ideologically since.

Thorsness told a story I have never forgotten. I had a sympathetic view of John McCain mostly because of what I remembered hearing from Thorsness and his horrible experiences.

People without Christ can be horrible. Worldview matters. Impressions make an impact.

When I analyze where people are coming from I am mostly filled with compassion. Not everyone has read the same books I have, heard the same people, experienced the love or friendship that I have been blessed with.

Not everyone has had the rich heritage of Biblical worldview, which gives so much reasonable structure to human and spiritual life.

So many people have been damaged by evil, they see life through the haze of pain.

But they don't need to.

Christ offers an alternative. "Come unto me, all you who are heavy laden."

Open your spirit to Christ's alternative, and see things come into focus----right, left, life, death, pain, evil, and ultimate good.

You can only try to believe, and let the Holy Spirit take it from there.

So go ahead and read Saul Alinsky, Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx. Stuff it through the grid of God's Biblical wisdom, and see what you get.

I know that I have found a view worth having, and compassion for everyone is central to it. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Off to a busy day. We are going to see Shackleton's Adventure. Amazing story!! 

Boy, did he have life experience!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Calendar Alert

It's on the calendar: Olivetree Ministries Prophecy Conference
                                     October 5 and 6
                                      Grace Church, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

This conference is worth attending every year! Great speakers, wonderful encouragement, fantastic fellowship.

It always helps to have a group of your best friends around you, too! (Love you, MK!)

Jan Markell is a radio personality that I have known of for years. Back in the early '70's she was young and a member of "Jews for Jesus."

Her testimony has remained strong, despite physical hardship. She has a great website that explains her ministry.

The conference info is there on the site.

I'd love to see ALL my friends there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Encouragement Needed

All for good things here.

I started my process for securities licensing this morning. I will have to take a test before too long, just as I had to for my insurance exam. Lots to learn in a short time.

My niece was chosen for a fashion design program. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.  I hope she does well. Sounds like a fun prospect for her.

As a dutiful Republican I attended the Minnesota caucus last evening. I had to hold my nose (practically) in voting in the straw poll.

Last time I voted for John McCain, and we all know where that went. I voted for Rick Santorum with the rest of the Midwestern Republicans. Hope my choice does better this election.

Previous caucuses had a rah-rah spirit of excitement. This one was different. It seemed the participants were a little shell-shocked. There was an attitude of desperation in the room. No one smiled. No one laughed. For conservatives from this area that's unusual.

I definitely sense the need for encouragement in people these days.

Jesus is everything. He is the ONLY hope we have. We operate out of love for Him, and trust in Him.

I put no hope in politics (though I do participate!) I put no hope in this life.

Once we get our encouragement from our supernatural source of life we never need waver, and we can muddle through life's troubles with light at the end.

After last year, and the day-in, day-out stress of wonder regarding our future plans, I can surely say, that one must find the source of Encouragement to be encouraged.

Keep looking to Him.

Courage!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Yoga Link

Risks and Rewards

Please remember that I take my position from a Guru I once saw interviewed. He was emphatic that Yoga was a Hindu practice. Only.

As a Christ-follower I have serious issues (dude!) with following an integral practice of another religion.

I am always interested in the effects of Yoga, hence my reading and posting. I have too many people dear to me who choose to practice it without considering what it is doing to them spiritually (or physically!).

My view may not be popular, but I believe it deeply, and my love for these persons spurs me to keep on sending out the warning signals.

Kundalini Yoga
Warning: this video is sickening, and I think it creates a spiritual aversion to Yoga. The demonic aspect is frightening.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Club

Are we defined by our culture? Our family? Our friends? Our religion?

How about what we read? What we like? Dreams, goals, time spent?

What we believe to be true?

Politics?

How we look, how we speak, how we think?

I tend to judge people by all of these things, and I find myself continually surprised by how my perceptions can be "off."

Take my book club, for example. How many of us have a "book club?"  It's a fad, but I've been in the same one now for 12 years. These women have become my good friends, despite our differences. Most of the time we have different takes on the literature we read, and we tend to predict who will think what about a certain genre.

I think this group of women has blessed me with their perspectives, even if I don't agree with them all the time.

I am also glad for the variety of books we've read. One a month, 12 years. Of course I read my own choices, but usually the books for book club are ones I wouldn't ever choose for myself. I get out of my comfort zone. I get new perspective. I am broadened.

I am also honed on my own views. It's a good thing.

We read "Until the Streetcars Come Back" for today. We'll read a Dan Chaon book for next time. Laura Hillenbrand's book, "Unbroken" was for next month, but it is so popular the waiting list at the library is too long for all of us to get it read. It's been moved to October!

It was at book club that I heard about an author, Eric Metaxas, who wrote "Bonhoeffer." I haven't read the book yet, but I did watch a C-Span tape of him speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast last week.

Impressive talk. Loved it. What he said so masterfully, with humor and love, needed to be said. Please find it and watch it if you can.

We Christ-followers must love. We must love and do righteous acts because we have met Jesus. We must do what pleases Him, loving even our enemies!

Powerful stuff.

Christians are defined by so many things, but one of them had better be love.

I'm going to the library this afternoon to pick up "Bonhoeffer."  I'll let you know what I think. I might recommend it for book club, having had it recommended by someone else already. Another chimed in that 20 pages into it she gave up reading it.

My point exactly!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sour Cream Twists

It was  before Christmas when Second Son asked for an Easter time specialty to be made especially for him.

"That's what we have at Easter," I said.

"So?" he replied.

If you have time to prepare these you will want them year round too. I made them yesterday. (No time before Christmas) They are rather labor intensive.

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening (part butter)
1 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 sour cream
1 egg + 2 egg yolks well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening as in pie crust. Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in to flour. Mix with sour cream, eggs, vanilla. Mix well. Cover with damp cloth. Refrigerate two hours. Roll half of dough on sugared board in oblong rectangle. Fold both ends into center. Sugar. Roll out again. Do this 3 times. Cut into strips. Twist. Put in horseshoe shape on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.