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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fulness of Joy

In the book "Rainbow Garden," by Patricia St. John, there is a little girl who sees an inscription on a gravestone somewhere in England which states: In.....is fulness of joy.

The stone was worn, and this very unhappy little girl wondered what could possibly be the place where there is fulness of joy!

A charming story ensues with the girl becoming more aware of her own shortcomings and her need for something greater than herself. She does indeed find that place, but the story takes her through some rocky spots on the journey.

The verse is Psalm 16:11, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore."

The little girl found joy in the story by allowing Christ's love to engulf her dreary life. She became a Believer.

Anyone who believes is born again, and has that joy, even now.

God's love is fathomless. Isn't that a great word? It speaks of a Universe beautifully and wonderfully created. It speaks of a person, Christ, giving His life. It speaks of the Father, wooing a fallen mankind to Himself. He is fulness of joy, spirit, and life everlasting.

Don't wait. Ask Him to be your Savior. Experience a spiritual birth, and it will all become clear to you!

For those of us who have experienced this, we can't wait to share it with you. Haven't you noticed that we believers share instant rapport when we meet? Have you seen us become friends, even like family, in a single meeting? Haven't you wondered how people from different countries, speaking different languages, can understand and love each other?

It's Christ. We are spiritually alive, seeing with spiritual eyes and sharing the joy of Christ. We know that our meeting is an everlasting one! We are family in the love of the Lord.

There IS fulness of joy, in my heart, even now. How much I want to share.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Efficiency

Today we were at the height of efficiency. Just see:

Left the house at 8:00am. All five children and their mother.

At 9:00 we saw the orthodontist. Three retainers checked.

Brunch at IKEA happened at 9:30, total (for six) $13.02.  :D

Walk-through the store at 10. (We like to see the ideas and the new stuff)

Off to the Mall of America. It was Toddler Tuesday, so we got 25 points for $12.00, and my youngest daughter had a plan to ride the "log ride" for weeks. Four children got to ride. Three paid me back, so far. :)

Next up: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. My organ playing son has been looking forward to the opening of the Cafesjian Carousel since our last visit. It was open. Five rode the gorgeous hand carved horses, ($1.50/rider) including me. (You have to stay young, you know.) The Wurlitzer Band Organ was sounding marvelous as usual.

Walked through the gardens (French Impressionists) and the Zoo. The lions were regal today, and the tiger was crying. The ostrich came over to look us in the eye.

Delivered my oldest son to his friend's house, and arrived home just after 1:00pm.

Deep breath. Off to do errands and now a baseball game this evening for some of us. The "Twins" are terrible this year, but we still love them. The ball park on a warm evening is a beautiful place to be in Minnesota.

We've had 3 full days of entertaining and being entertained on this Memorial Day Weekend, so the pace hasn't been slow since last week.

What will I do when Cherie is grown and gone?!

I thought life was busy with toddlers, but it's a whole different kind of busy now. There is efficiency in our fast paced schedule!

Fun days!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system. From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and explains the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature.

--Wikipedia

I've come to the conclusion that law plays a huge role in my life, and can be used to illustrate multiple circumstances that develop in our daily experience!

At the very least it is a sure cure for high expectations!

On occasion I suffer from debilitating headache, and when that occurs the house life around here seems to suffer in kind. After two days of pain I emerged to a kitchen in need of deep cleaning, floors that needed mopping/vacuuming/ or dusting, and mountains of laundry. That proves to me that the law of entropy exists and I must counteract this force with significant energy!

I rallied the troops on Tuesday and *demanded* better care of the premises.

I thought I HAD lowered my expectations. I guess I have it in me to go lower, but I think it is impossible to dispense with them.

I'm thankful that the "troops" appeared to be good sports, and things did look much better by evening.

I was happy to recover my cell phone which was missing since February. It was found, safe and sound, in the depths of the cushions of a soft old easy chair at my folk's house. When I was a toddler the family history records my attempt to "color" that chair orange. It was an insipid off-gold. I always liked clear colors, and the late sixties were the days of avocado green and dull gold. I must have thought I could use orange to liven it up?

Now the chair is reupholstered a deep meadow green. Perhaps its hiding of my cell phone was revenge for the assault I made on it decades ago?

I'm happy to have it back, and the number is still good. Message me for the update. I do love texting.

Yesterday my son began organ lessons. He was able to play the largest tracker pipe organ in the United States!

He pulled the "tutti" stop and let it rip on one of Bach's toccatas. You can't help but increase your heart rate listening to that!

Of course his new instructor had an opinion: he's got to re-learn things. (No surprise!!) We are thrilled he can do this, with such an instrument!

It's been raining for two days, and we needed the moisture. It's so green out there it rests the eyes. The lawn is a swatch of velvet. Meadow green. And in much need of mowing.

The buttercup squash  and the butternut squash are planted. The pumpkins are planted around the new roses, as I mentioned, and sprouted. I bought verbena at the grocery store, and I look forward to it adding more color! I am waiting to buy geraniums when the price drops later in the season. My Scandinavian rose bushes, Sven, Ole, and Lena, are blooming now.

This morning I got a call from someone I know who is musical. She had seen a DVD of the special concert we sang in 2 weeks ago. She couldn't believe the beauty, the message, and the uplifting experience ! I felt it was that, too.

I want to get one of those DVD's!

For now we can see the individual pieces on YouTube. The director, Michael Devine, is young, but very gifted, and I know he will do great things in the music world. It will be fun to watch his career.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wildlife Progress

Today I was watering the lilacs and new rose bushes my son planted for me and out jumped a little cottontail kit. Upon closer inspection a little sibling was found, both perfectly camouflaged among the lilac roots.

Butterflies are all around now, and the goldfinches and robins are at peace with us.

Every time we feed the goldfish in the pond a good-sized frog jumps in or out as he feels the need.  (Or she?)

Toads were "at it" in the pond a week ago, and a long strand of eggs was deposited. The fish promptly ate them and spit them out. They must have tasted awful.

I wonder if there will be a plague of toads in the yard.

Today after I fed the fish Molly and Wilfred turned up. They are our resident Mallard duck pair. Even with us sitting at the edge of the little pond they felt safe enough to plunge in and take a refreshing bath.

This is the first time we've been that close them. My youngest daughter, Cherie, and I could have touched them if we'd dared to move. Up close their feathers are breathtaking. Such color!

Misty and Blackberry are happily ensconced in the the dog pen, and they are enjoying this perfect weather.

Minnesota in May. Blue sky, sun, and a perfectly comfortable breeze. The leaves are out now, and everything is green. Flowers are few, but it's so beautiful to see the shades of green.

Our stately cottonwoods are drifting the snow of their seeds. Such delicate beauty drifting down.

The spirea is beginning to bloom, also a month early. "Bridal Wreath" is what some call it, and it usually has a timely June appearance. It's pretty now.

The queen bee was not needed at the hive. It appears that a swarm did occur, and several queens were developing. At least two queens were alive and well (unusual) and perhaps  hadn't found each other to duke it out yet. The hive was apparently taking care of itself, the bees doing what bees do. That is the healthiest of ways!

I'll use this queen for demonstration purposes. It's nice to have a real one (dead) to show students.

I had the nicest of Mother's Days! My mother prepared a lovely dinner, with rhubarb pie as dessert. My children were all present, and we took walks, played games and sang. The dogs were thrilled at being included. Grandpa and Grandma's house is their earthly heaven.

The bees were all over the allium. Margaret took some stunning photos.  I think there was at least one bee on each of these purple flowers! My mother was concerned the honey would be affected by the onion flavor, but I assured her it would only add to the distinctiveness of it!

Graduations are happening now, and we have many to celebrate among our friends. We are celebrating the end of the college year for our three. It's wonderful. 

                                                       ______________________


I had to prepare a gluten free dessert yesterday and the flour I made for it turned into a wonderfully flaky pie crust!

I ground 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of quinoa in the Whisper Mill, added a 1/2 cup of cornstarch and used the mixture in place of flour in my favorite "press into the pan" oil pie crust. (1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 Tablespoons milk, and 2 teaspoons sugar with the "flour"). Mix in pan, press into pan, fill with desired fruit pie filling or pumpkin.

My daughter accused me trying to re-invent the wheel. I do tend to be individualistic when it comes to cooking. I maintain it's because I try to use what is on hand, not running to the store for every single thing...!

I will say that it was a respectable experiment! (Gratefully!) I can recommend it!

I have a couple of vegetarians coming for dinner tomorrow night. Hmmmm, let's see.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quiet Saints

Verna, Hazel, Paul, Ginger, Keith, and Judy

I hope everyone has a few solid folk to disciple them, besides their parents, as they grow.

I benefited from the advice, the teaching, and the support of all six, and I wanted to show my gratefulness today.

Verna recently went home to the Lord. She was an example to me in hospitality. Every Sunday she had a dinner ready to go, for any guests who appeared at church. The table was always expandable, and every guest was welcomed!
She helped run a farm and she taught Sunday School too. Her heart was tender toward missions, and I credit her with helping me memorize much of the Scripture I can still recite.

Hazel was my mentor. Her spirit was bright, and her gentle advice cut to the quick. A lesson in frugality and cheerful service, I strive to be like her. She had the sweetest way of getting a point across. She's been gone many years. Her memory is still fresh to me.

Paul is the pastor I had during my most formative years. I have rarely met anyone with the gift of a "word fitly spoken," but he had it. Comfortable in his role as an Under-shepherd, he discipled his congregation with memorable lessons. I also was happy to listen to his wise advice on career moves and marriage.

Ginger spent hours teaching me skills and just being friends. She shares my birthday, and we always tried to celebrate together. She is now almost 90 and suffers from some confusion, yet her sense of humor is unchanged. I'm privileged to have been her friend.

Judy is home with the Lord after a wearying struggle with ALS. Her life had huge impact, not just on me, in how she lived and died. I was honored to count her as a close friend. Cheerfulness was her hallmark, even in dying. Acceptance of what God was doing in her life was simply how she lived. Her legacy lives in her children and grandchildren, who honor her as well.

Keith is her husband, and he continues to be a great friend. He lives his life in complete devotion and service to the Lord, and I am always amazed at how God provides for him. His example to me is priceless. Often I think of how God has used his life to serve countless people and I am encouraged that God would do the same for me.

My parents are my gift from the Lord, and I'm so glad they encouraged these people in their influence and friendship to me.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am needing to be following in their example.



When I am Weak, then He is Strong

In a little summary of the last days' events, things went so much better than could be expected!

As I indicated, organization/administration is NOT my gift, but I did my little part in being the go-to person for the annual Boy Scout Troop Garage Sale.

For its unparalleled success I give the Lord glory!

People showed up at just the right times to accomplish the tasks at hand, and the sales were steady and lucrative! The weather perfect!

No one but a good God could have orchestrated that.

As a bonus a scout knife my daughter had been missing was brought to my attention by a woman interested in purchasing the capris she had found it in! Knife restored! (And my faith in people raised!)

As a "smiler" the total pizza sales done amounted to $777.50! If you have read "The Harbinger" you might get a kick out of that.

The King is Good.

Just another example of how good it is to serve Him, and how He takes care of us!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monarchs

I was mowing the back yard today and I saw plenty of Red Admiral and Yellow Swallowtail butterflies, but no orange Monarchs.

I'd heard that the bad tornado which hit Dallas earlier this spring had affected the Monarch migration, but didn't expect to have such a stark end result!

I am talking NONE. Not one yet!

The beautiful Monarch is usually a daily sight in our back yard. We've raised them from the eggs on milkweed in our home.

One caterpillar got away from the large glass jar, covered with waxed paper punctured with holes. We left for a trip, and when we returned we found a fully developed butterfly, dead in the windowsill. We suspect our cat then, Padder, had been delighted at its emergence. Days later we found the transparent remains of the cocoon attached underneath the keyboard of the piano. Caterpillar accounted for!

Another kind of monarch is being worked with today in our family activity. My husband won, as a door prize, at the bee meeting last evening, a queen bee!

Winning a queen requires prompt action.

Our surviving hive needs to split, so we are glad for the new healthy queen. He brought her to work today, accompanied by her entourage of ministering worker bees. Their little package was to be unobtrusive at his cubicle, but I wonder if anyone knew...? After work he will drive out to the hive and begin the process of introducing her to her new kingdom.

Another Monarch is on my mind today. My Lord God.

Since there is an issue about marriage being bandied about I thought I'd weigh in. So much misunderstanding!

God has standards. They are perfection. We are sinners, forgiven through Christ's grace.

Sin should have no dominion over us, we believers!

We all know what perfection is, don't we? It's the opposite of sin. Sin is anything we say, do, or think that displeases God.

How do we know what displeases God?

Well, we have His word.

And in His Word marriage is defined, in Genesis, one man, one woman. (Adam, Eve) Simple.

No one forces anyone to comply with this standard.

Yet somehow that definition of marriage (one man, one woman) was adopted by many ancient cultures. Why? Biology played a role. Marital harmony also affected it. Simplicity.

It is a standard, definition, that has tried and true results. Culture after culture. When it has been thwarted, even in ancient culture (as in our own culture with divorce) the whole society bears the consequences.

Now, most societies have standards. Ours has, traditionally. We have a standard of not murdering, not stealing, not lying, ......It's beginning to sound somewhat like God's standards, right?

We have laws that punish breaking certain standards. We do it all the time as a society.

There are consequences for all standards, broken or kept.

We are now a Post Modern society, (i.e. post -Christian), so why should we keep Judeo- Christian standards?

Well, they have worked well, for one reason.

Why can't we consider change?

Where do we stop? If we keep the definition of marriage elegantly simple (one man, one woman) we need never re-evaluate marriage: two men, two women, one man-one child, one woman-many men, one man-many women, one human-one beast...

But this doesn't satisfy our culture. Our culture wants us to shake a fist in God's face and tell Him to redefine sin.

But He isn't going to do it. Remember, He changes not.

And we have a choice to agree with Him, or go our own way. That's iniquity. Some people define iniquity as sin.

Those of us who have been re-born spiritually will never give up in our spirits the truths that God reveals through Scripture. Our standards are based on His definitions and His forgiveness.

Whichever way the society goes, we are called to the higher standard.

Today I read so many questions about discrimination and bigotry in "the church." Does this define a Biblically based belief simply enough? Simply. Not every argument, every nuance of interpretation. Basic core operation.

We are just different in our understanding of definitions and standards! We have a source of societal structure that comes from an ancient book which we actually believe. We hold to the Book with all our hearts. We have discovered the truths of Life within its words. We cannot re-define these truths on our own terms without spiritual consequences!


I have another book to recommend:  "None of These Diseases," S.I. McMillen. If you have questions about God's societal standards and the research that supports them please take the time to read this book! Fascinating. It convinced me that every thing God tells us has purpose and benefit.


Gentle Savior, Holy Lord! Your goodness and Wisdom astounds us. We see your Standard and we know we do not meet it. Let us not bow to the waywardness of man, but hold fast your Ways.

And we Will to be loving and forgiving, understanding and helpful to anyone God brings to us. Even those who have different standards. We will be known by our LOVE!

Even so, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come! You are our Supreme Monarch, and we want to obey you, not the world.


UPDATE: 05/14 Saw a huge Monarch Butterfly in the yard. They made it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Light of a Clear Blue Morning

A little fluting.

Coming up for air here, before I plunge into a Garage Sale of epic proportions. I unwisely accepted a nomination to organize the annual Boy Scout garage sale. It starts tomorrow evening.

There are advantages. An empty garage, for one! I can't wait to get the detritus of the year out and gone!

Last evening my husband and I were singing at St. Olaf College, Northfield, in a choir organized for a choral music graduate's master's requirement.

Delightful.

Afterwards our son, the pipe organ aficionado, got the thrill of his heart and played Bach on the Boe Chapel pipe organ. I'm excited to see him get more chances to play! Every organ is different, and he just loves to "fiddle" with the stops and see the results!

Fun.

I'll try to resurface soon.

This just happens to be finals week for two of my college students. Eldest son arrived home Sunday and it's wonderful to have him home. Pressure for the other two, still.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Weddings and Showers

My daughters and I attended both a wedding shower and a wedding today!

We are anticipating the marriage of a young man who we've known for years to a very nice young lady we met today. Her shower brought together friends and family.

The wedding was of our beloved music teacher. Such a traditional and simply elegant event! The church was packed, the music extraordinary, the flowers sweet.

All this romance!

The fun of it all is that we have at least four more marriages to celebrate this year!

'Tis the season of our lives.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another word from Paul Wilkinson

It's always good to have a different view from the norm in the Evangelical world. We tend to get on bandwagons so easily. 

We need balance. We need to weigh things. We need to seek and search out truth for ourselves. I think of the harsh warning Christ gives to teachers who lead others (little ones) astray. Little ones in the faith? It would be better for them to be sunk by a millstone in the  sea. Frightening words. We must be so sure before we jump into something.

In my "short" life I've been influenced by dozens of movements.

I loved Billy Graham, Dawson McAlister, Keith Green.

I've heard Tony Campolo, John Piper, Francis Schaeffer, and Luis Palau speak.

I bowed to John Stott, C.S. Lewis, Bill Gothard, and Jerry Bridges.

I've read Richard Foster, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Dallas Willard.

I followed David Bryant, Henry Blackaby, Chuck Swindoll, and even Rick Warren. 

I consider myself a typical evangelical. I'm not even close to listing all the study guides, manuals, and "helps" books I've read. I'm just throwing out a few names.

Now onto the scene comes Paul Wilkinson. A firebrand by all impressions. Refreshing when he bucks the theological "scene."

He offers a critique much needed in this apostasy ridden end time.

As the Waldensians and the Albigensians of the Middle Ages held out against popular trend and divergence from the Word of God, so are we called to remain true to Scripture.

Theology has suffered since the time of Christ, but God has seen to a remnant of people not cowed by worldly influence, willing to suffer for the integrity of their faith.

Welcome to the suffering, Paul. You will be maligned and verbally stoned for your critique, but it resonates with me, and I'm sharing it with my readers. Thank you.

www.raptureready.com/soap/wilkinson2.pdf

Conference in Bethlehem, 5-9 March 2012. Paul Wilkinson. Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, 68 London Road, Hazel Grove,. Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 4AF. UK.


The Christ at the Checkpoint Manifesto
  1. The Kingdom of God has come. Evangelicals must reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.
  2. Reconciliation recognizes God’s image in one another.
  3. Racial ethnicity alone does not guarantee the benefits of the Abrahamic Covenant.
  4. The Church in the land of the Holy One, has born witness to Christ since the days of Pentecost. It must be empowered to continue to be light and salt in the region, if there is to be hope in the midst of conflict.
  5. Any exclusive claim to land of the Bible in the name of God is not in line with the teaching of Scripture.
  6. All forms of violence must be refuted unequivocally.  
  7. Palestinian Christians must not lose the capacity to self-criticism if they wish to remain prophetic.
  8. There are real injustices taking place in the Palestinian territories and the suffering of the Palestinian people can no longer be ignored. Any solution must respect the equity and rights of Israel and Palestinian communities.
  9. For Palestinian Christians, the occupation is the core issue of the conflict.
  10. Any challenge of the injustices taking place in the Holy Land must be done in Christian love. Criticism of Israel and the occupation cannot be confused with anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.
  11. Respectful dialogue between Palestinian and Messianic believers must continue. Though we may disagree on secondary matters of theology, the Gospel of Jesus and his ethical teaching take precedence.
  12. Christians must understand the global context for the rise of extremist Islam. We challenge stereotyping of all faith forms that betray God’s commandment to love our neighbors and enemies.
(This is sounding like the new trend we are hearing about: "Dominion Theology")

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Whew!

I have a delicious gravy brewing in the other room, to pour over mashed potatoes for dinner. My generous mother-in-law cans quarts and quarts of the best green beans every year, and recently brought us three quarts to enjoy. Those are on the menu tonight too.

I am making rice krispie bars, slicing fresh pineapple, and I might serve peas.

Why all this planning?

My family (except for son No. 1) will all be home for dinner tonight, and I have the energy to actually spend time concocting something to eat for the first time in a few days! I can't even remember all the places we've all been over the past two weeks! It's been spring madness again. Must get control of this crazy schedule! (And I've been studying too)

Eldest son is starting his finals week today. Second son is wrapping up classes and awards received at the U. Margaret is doing that as well. Her awards ceremony is tomorrow evening, the University one was Saturday morning. Finals for them start next Monday.

It's gratifying to see these children do well. I give all the credit to God, who makes up what the "foxes" have ruined. (Song of Songs 2:15) I consider myself to be the fox in this context. I know well my own limitations, and I know that the grace of God has made up for more than enough of my failings.

Therefore, it is despite me, that my children do well!

Yesterday I spent the day with my youngest son teaching a couple hundred 4th and 5th graders about beekeeping.

It was a fun, but exhausting day! Everyone seemed very interested, and concerned about bees and the struggle they are having now.  Colony Collapse Disorder, Neonicotinoids, Varroa Mites, and other threats to their existence were all covered. I was encouraged when several of them expressed real interest in becoming beekeepers!

We plan to do it again on Thursday at a different park with students from different schools.



Dear Children, What will your world be like when you grow up?

I am holding the gaze of my youngest daughter, and I pray she will have a full life, productive, showing mercy and practicing justice. Loving those who need. A life that is a blessing to all who know her, whatever comes.