Monday, November 26, 2007

Passionless Comfort

I walked in my statistics class today only to find that it was a study day. Meaning we could study in class. Or study out of class. Or proceed at our own risk in any other direction.

I chose the latter. :)

Funny, but I can't seem to study unless, a) I am perfectly comfortable and not sick, b) distractions are minimized c) I am in my own house - preferably propped up with pillows on my bed, and d) a cup of hot herb tea is comfortably sitting beside me. Add to these e) I need frequent breaks in the form of spots of idleness in order to refocus.

Yes. I'm serious.

Apparently comfort is a high priority for me these days.

Comfortable I am. Disciplined and focused I am not. What is wrong with this picture?

Thinking about how I need to discipline myself in my studies reminded me of how we are called to be "uncomfortable Christians." It's a thought that is often passed over, but the examples we are called to follow in the scriptures were followers who were radical, passionate, firm, and unnervingly uncomfortable.

How different from our typical boxed in Christian expectations. We are comfortable with our Christianity. We are comfortable going to church on Sundays, it's so much a part of our routine that we don't even need to add it to our jam-packed schedules. We are comfortable keeping up our end of a Christian conversation. We are comfortable praying out loud, and saying "God bless you;" in safe, comfortable settings of course.

Yeah. The comfort is definitely there, but what happens to the passion? What drove John the Baptist to the desert to live on locusts and in camel hair? Doesn't sound too comfortable to me... neither does the idea of being jailed and persecuted; a real threat to many Christians who don't have the same luxury of "comfort."

Yet He promises if we give up comfort for Him, He will be our source of comfort Himself.

"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
-2 Corinthians 1:5

I think that if we step out of our comfort zone and our "comfortable Christian" lifestyle, He who comforts us will keep His promise to preserve our lives, and His real comfort will be present in the form of His unfailing love.

"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones."
-Isaiah 49:13

Stepping out of a too comfortable routine takes courage, yet what kind of a reward is merited with a lack of risk?

Uh huh. I need to work on my study skills, but at the same time, I would like to be open to stepping out of my entire "comfort" routine in order to follow Him more fully.

Hmm, I wonder if one can become "overly comfortable" with "discomfort." ;) I shall have to ponder this next... :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank you Oh my Father

“We often forget the Source from which the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies come … No human wisdom hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God … I therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States … to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
-Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Psalm 17:15

"And I—in righteousness I will see your face;
when I awake,
I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."

Monday, November 12, 2007

I saw something beautiful...

A young man kneeling at the church altar
An aging elder, with a four footed cane
Slowly, with difficulty making his way up the aisle
Jerky movements, yet steady progress
Painfully settling beside the young man
To pray with him

I saw something beautiful

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Lord is Able to Make Him Stand

"Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands...

...take heed lest he fall." I Corinthians 10:12

"And he will stand,
for the Lord is able to make him stand. "
-Romans 14:4b

Monday, October 29, 2007

Photographer Debut (And I don't mean me)

This is Kevin. Kevin is three.

Kevin has recently developed an obsession with cameras, and pictures, and using a camera to take pictures. He wanted to take a picture, and my seven year old sister Anne and I decided to take advantage of this and attempt to get our picture together.

Key word - attempt.

at·tempt –verb (used with object)
to make an effort at; try; undertake; seek: ex. The stubborn determined three year old attempted to take a picture without murdering either the camera or his sisters

Well the results were funny, and I have wanted to post them now for a couple of weeks.

This was Take One -

Not quite, but of course it takes practice.
Getting closer, almost but not quite! Next he got bored with us and decided to go with his own self portrait:

And again:

Disconcerting images, yes. This was when Anne and I decided he needed a little more coaching, and he snapped again as we were on our way to help.

Oh dear. Finally he took a perfect one, and we weren't ready:

No, it was not a pose. And, no, I don't know exactly what we were doing either. :)


Finally! Last but not least, the photographer got stuck...

Stuck, but happy. Not a bad way to be. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Death to Beauty

"Every twig was tipped with
gold, each leaf was edged
and veined with gold from
the gold-flooded west."
-Christina Rossetti

I've been enjoying the vivid autumn colors. Each day as I drive past the beautiful trees I tell myself to remember my camera the next, and it hasn't happened yet! I suppose I will have to do with a thousand words instead - and that was fair warning! :)

Early this fall I was admiring a display of leaves that were only just beginning to change, and it struck me, that the beauty is in the dying. It's true, the leaves are dying, and that is when we can fully appreciate their beautiful colors.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you"
-Colossians 3:1-5a

Put to death what is earthy in you - it's dying to self. It's when our true beauty shines. It's giving up our sin nature in exchange for righteousness. It's death to beauty.

And one of these days before it's too late, I will take pictures of the fall colors!

Friday, October 19, 2007

What I've been up too... :)

(Note the grape stain on my shirt :) )

Lots and lots of grape jam! Years ago someone must have planted grapes here, and we enjoy the benefits now...

I'm finished canning grape juice and jam now until next year... now how long it will take for those purple fingers to be a normal color again. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Are We Men or Are We Mice?!!

I used to be terrified of mice. When you live in an old farmhouse in the country, mice can be a real threat, and I used to fearfully lie awake at night if I heard the tiniest scratch. Thankfully, we haven't always had to deal with mice, yet once in a while a little mouse does make an appearance - like last night, for instance.

At times I am tempted to consider how far I have come, say in the fear of mice, for instance. I'm not nearly as afraid of them as I used to be - at least that's what I was telling myself.

Then it happened.

In one instant I was stepping out of the shower, and a tiny flash of fur and a squeak zipped past me. The very next instant found me in a very different position... in specific - crouching on the bathroom counter, cold, shivering, dripping wet, wrapped in a towel, and afraid to lower one foot.

Ah, yes, ridiculous, no? Far-fetched it is, but none the less true. I was actively terrified of a little mouse that is a percentage of a fraction of my weight and size.

Oh dear.

I suppose I missed out on some of my farm girl training??!! ;)

Interestingly, following this incident I came across a verse I had copied.

"Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind."
-Job 12:9-10

Whenever I had read this before, I applied it to my own life. As "in His hand is the life of every creature" -----> therefore my life is in His hand. It's an important application to consider when up against tough circumstance. Our lives are in His hand - it sounds so much more secure than being at the mercy of whatever life happens to throw in our way. Yet it does say every creature. So I would expect that every creature, most likely would include a tiny little mouse that throws me in a panic when stepping out of the shower.

Silly isn't it? For me to be frightened of a mouse - His creature, who's life is in His hand - when my life is also most assuredly in His hand.

It does give a new perspective. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime;
it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds.
He gives showers of rain to men,
and plants of the field to everyone."
Zechariah 10:1

"Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before."
-Joel 2:22-24

Interesting how the showers of blessing follow the storm clouds, isn't it? First the storm, the dark clouds, thunder and lightning, and then finally the rain. I love the scripture passages on rain. Rain is shown as a blessing and a promise. It's easy to see this allegory as rain as a blessing when in the middle of a drought. During a dry season the ground thirsts and cries out for rain, yet He sends it in His perfect time.

We've had a lot of rain this week. It's a good thing, since we were in a drought for so long. I like to listen to the rain on the roof at night and curl up with a book. Rain during the day is somewhat of a different story, when everything is sloppy and cold and wet. I don't enjoy it! Yet the rain has its own beauty...

I love the way it is phrased in Joel - "Autumn rains in righteousness." When I think of autumn rain, I think of the clean fresh rain-washed look against the lovely colors of fall. On the other hand, when I'm caught in the middle of a rainstorm it's not as easy to see the beauty! It's the same with life, it's sometimes hard to see the beauty of His working when we are in the middle of a turrent.

Funny isn't it. We long for rain, and when it comes we wish we were elsewhere. We pray for His refining, and we cry out in pain when He does.

He who has promised is faithful. Those blessings He has promised will come to pass, in spite of our faulty vision. The beauty of His promise will be revealed, whether presently or in a time to come.
I'm enjoying the autumn rains... that is when I am safe and snug indoors! :)

(Kevin really wanted to go out in the rain! I asked him to smile and this is as close as he would come. :) I think he looks like Christopher Robin in his boots and raincoat.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

God's Plan for Our Good

"Can we give up all for the love of God? When the surrender of ourselves seems too much to ask, it is first of all because our thoughts about God Himself are paltry. We have not really seen Him, we have hardly tested Him at all and learned how good He is. In our blindness we approach Him with suspicious reserve. We ask how much of our fun He intends to spoil, how much He will demand from us, how high is the price we must pay before He is placated. If we had the least notion of His lovingkindness and tender mercy, His fatherly care for His poor children, His generosity, His beautiful plans for us; if we knew how patiently He waits for our turning to Him, how gently He means to lead us to green pastures and still waters, how carefully He is preparing a place for us, how ceaselessly He is ordering and ordaining and engineering His Master Plan for our good - if we had any inkling of all this, could we be so reluctant to let go of our smashed dandelions or whatever we clutch so fiercely in our sweaty little hands?"
-Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, September 17, 2007

Isn't it Funny...

how they can fall asleep...

in almost any position??

(I wish I were still that flexible!) :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quotes from Jane Austen

YLCF had a funny collection of quotes from Jane Austen posted today.

I love Jane Austen, there are so many humorous lines! I'm almost finished with Northanger Abbey now, and here are some good ones.

"I wear nothing but purple now: I know I look hideous in it, but no matter; it is your dear brother's favourite colour."

"To retire to bed, however, unsatisfied on such a point, would be in vain, since sleep must be impossible with the consciousness of a cabinet so mysteriously closed in her immediate vicinity."

"'I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.'
'Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language.'"

"...this is a very nice day; and we are taking a very nice walk; and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! it is a very nice word, indeed! It does for everything."

"'Miss Morland is not used to your odd ways.'
'I shall be most happy to make her better acquainted with them.'"

And this one is my personal favorite... :)

"Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half."

(Ouch! :) )

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Random Oops!

I'm paying closer attention to the gender specific signs above the locker room doors these days...

That sounds like a disaster... well it wasn't, but it was close. I am still not good about navigating the gym in school, so usually my method when I don't know my way around is to fall in line behind someone who looks like he knows what he is doing. :) Hence, I was on the stairs behind the athletic director. He held the door at the bottom of the stairwell open for me, and then headed toward what I thought was the direction of the hall...

Well it wasn't.

It was the men's locker room, and I caught myself just in time before I followed him in.

It was one of those moments in which you just try to act casual and hope nobody noticed...

At least I now know where not to be in the gym!! :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quiet Time

I really identified with Candice Watter's post on "early morning quiet time" on the Boundless blog.

I am becoming more and more dependent on "quiet time" not necessarily just in the morning, but at some point during the day I feel the need to the read, rest, and refocus. If I'm having a bad day sometimes it's worse if I missed my "quiet time." My room is also my sanctuary when I am down, or feeling unrest, or just need some time to be alone with God.

There is just something about time alone. I like to use time alone in my car to pray, but even that has its own distractions. (And don't close your eyes to pray while driving, either. ;) ) I can understand the reasoning behind: "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6) Praying in secret not only avoids the appearance of a legalistic "religious" attitude, but it also eliminates the common distractions and keeps our eyes on Him. We are human, and our flesh needs all the help we can get!

I like to take a mug of herb tea upstairs and take some time to restore my soul. The funny thing is, I nearly always drink lukewarm tea, because I get wrapped up in what I am reading and forget to drink it for an hour! :) Sometimes I go for a walk. It just helps so much to refocus if we can tune the world out.

One devotional I am reading now is Whispers of His Power, by Amy Carmichael. It has inspirational thoughts divided by the days in a year. (This is just one devotional book I am going through, I have a reputation for reading multiple books at a time. :) ) This quote was a recent encouragement.

"In the day that we see Him all will be clear. The mysteries which now perplex us will be illuminated. One day we shall see the glory to our glorious God and the good to all of us contained in the disappointment we cannot understand.
So let us live as those who believe this to be true. Let us praise before we see. Let us thank our Lord for trusting us to trust Him."
-Amy Carmichael

Friday, August 31, 2007


"Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies."
-Lamentations 1:2

"Record my lament;
list my tears on your scroll —
are they not in your book?"
-Psalm 56:7

"'Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people,
'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears;
I will heal you. "
-II Kings 20:5

"He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
He will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken."
-Isaiah 25:8

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."
-Psalm 126:5

Sometimes it's hard to see any joy. Sometimes our eyes are so foggy from tears that the blessing is hidden, hope is vague, release is not in sight. Sometimes we drench our beds weeping like King David.

It's a comfort to remember that the One who keeps a record of our tears will heal us, and will wipe all our tears away in His time. Someday, He will replace our tears with songs of joy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School Burnout... or Inspiration Opportunity??!!

"The student of history can enjoy the subject much more if he or she believes that history is not merely a "tale told by an idiot" but rather the outworking of God's sovereign plan and purpose for this world. The Christian astronomer should worship as he observes through his telescope the vast handiwork of God in the heavens. The Godly farmer growing crops rejoices in the awareness that his agricultural skill comes utimately from God, because he reads in the Bible that 'God instucts him and teaches him the right way' of planning and harvesting (Isaiah 28:26). Any sphere of knowledge you're engaged in - every aspect of your workaday world - should be to you as a believer a source of wonder and worship and should be used as a means of glorifying God. and it will be if you enjoy the fear of God."
-Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God

(This book is amazing! :) )

Wow. What a fresh perspective. I could groan and stagger my way through school, or I could treat it as the amazing opportunity it is to aquire knowledge ultimately designed by HIM! My major (Accounting) could be a necessary but preferably avoided drudgery, or it could be the joyful obedience of learning how to be a good steward. Every experience an opportunity to either glorify or disappoint. What an important, jubilant, liberating mindset to have throughout an entire life - college, career, whatever!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Donuts In the Air?? :)

This is very random - but why does my college parking lot always smell like donuts in the morning??!! Must be the wind from the cafeteria?? This is the 3rd semester I've noticed it... it makes me hungry!

I love the smell, especially on brisk mornings. It does make me crave donuts and coffee, though! :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to School!

It's a new semester - and probably my last as a student! I'm majoring in accounting and I finish with a two year degree in December.

I'm a little dubious about this semester because of various struggles and sickness over the past year, but I know my Lord will sustain me. The nice thing about not working is that I have complete freedom for homework or whatever needs to be done, or very random things.

Like today, just when I was through with my last class I got a txt message from a friend who was very nervous about the first day at her new college (different from mine.) I was able to jump in my car and meet her there, so we could wander around and figure the buildings out together before her class. It would be very unlikely I would have been able to do that before I quit my job. Now that my hands aren't tied with work I can be available for some opportunities that I could never fit in before. There are definite pluses to not working, once I get used to having time again. :) The financial aspect does involve a certain degree of trust, as well as the period of waiting on the Lord, because I honestly don't know what is coming next for me.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" -Isaiah 30:21

I'm just trusting and praying that He will guide me toward the right opportunities, and help me to use my time wisely in His service. One step at a time does involve trust, but we can count on His presence with us all the time, convicting, guiding, and redirecting when necessary.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. '" -Jeremiah 29:11

What a comfort and relief that my Lord does know - because I definitely don't! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sometimes You Just Don't Ask!! :)

Dinner was almost ready, and I asked Jon to clear his things off the table. Several minutes later, I was very surprised to see it still untouched.

"Jon, are you going to do what I asked?" (It's rare that he ignores a request.)

His very casual answer:

"Yes, I'm going to. I'm just trying to get my binoculars off my foot."


(I think this beats the classic "My dog ate my homework...)


Thou God Seest Me

"If you know the Master, you can play His music even in the dark."
-Paula Rinehart

One of the questions in the shorter catechism is "Can you see God?" The answer is "No, I cannot see God, but He always sees me."

It's so easy sometimes to only focus on the first half of this answer: "No, I cannot see God" when in fact the most important is the second part: "He always sees me." We all go through darker times when it is difficult to see Him or His work in us. Like Hagar, we weep alone in the desert - yet the whole time He sees, and we are reminded as Hagar was: "Thou God seest me." What a comfort to know His vision is not dependent on ours.

"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."
-Genesis 16:13

While we are on earth our vision is faulty and blurred, and it's hard to see Him. We can be comforted in the knowledge that He always sees, and His vision is 20/20. All that is necessary for us is to hang onto our faith that the One who sees, sees clearly, and that is enough for us.

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. " -I John 3:2

"And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."
-Psalm 17:15

When we awake, we shall see Him, and we shall be overcome and amazed at all His workmanship at the times when we could not see. Meanwhile, our Master sees, and that is all that is necessary - for He is the One who writes the music and performs the melody.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Live to the Hilt

"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
-Jim Elliot

Monday, August 20, 2007

Walking the Walk

"For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power."
-I Corinthians 4:20

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
-I John 3:18

I am not the most articulate person - I actually write much better than I talk! This has caused concern in my interactions with non-Christians as far as: "Am I sufficiently 'talking the talk' in order to draw them to the gospel?" However, this verse in Corinthians is saying that the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power!

Not to say that it is wrong to "talk the talk" - or course not! I have an admiration for people who are better at putting the gospel into words than I am. Yet this is not the only way to draw others to our precious gift of salvation. A believer who truly walks in love both toward the brethren and to non-believers, is in a powerful position to be used as an instrument for God's glory. It's easy to love in word, yet it's not convincing until our actions show that we love in deed and in truth.

Non-believers may or may not pay attention to what we say, yet they are watching our lives and actions to see if we are really living what we are saying.

Being "slow of speech" like Moses doesn't have to hinder our witness - for it is the Kingdom of God that possesses the power. An instrument doesn't write the song or play the tune, but when the Musician plays it becomes a beautiful melody.

Friday, August 17, 2007

You Know You're the Oldest of 10 When...

You get an overdue call from the library...
on a book called...
(Time to hide my library card.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ruth 1:16-17 cont

Ruth's words sound like those of a wife to her husband - "Entreat me not to leave you" "where you go I will go" "if ought but death part me and thee." It is beautiful when applied in this sense, and I have seen it used in many weddings. Yet a thought struck me that we sometimes overlook... this was Ruth speaking to her mother-in-law!

What a far cry from the "mother-in-law jokes" of today, the careless attitudes and lack of respect. Ruth showed selflessness, caring, respect, and complete devotion to Naomi and care for her welfare. Ruth left her country to care for her mother-in-law. She gleaned the wheatfields for Naomi, she obediently followed Naomi's "odd" instructions regarding her relative Boaz.

And Ruth was blessed in abundance.

It's hard to see a modern day version of this story happening because our culture is so different. Respect is largely a thing of the past.

It's sad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ruth 1:16-17

This is so beautiful - it makes me want to learn French! :)

"Mais Ruth re`pondit:
'Ne me prie point de te laisser,
pour m'e`loigner de toi;
car j'irai ou` tu iras,
et je demeurerai ou` tu demeureras;
ton peuple sera mon peuple,
et ton Dieu sera mon Dieu;
je mourrai ou` tu mourras,
et j`y serai ensevelie.
Que l'Eternal me traite avec la dernie`re rigueur,
si jamais rien te se`pare de moi que la mort.'"

Of course the English version is beautiful too, especially in the King James:

"And Ruth said,
'Intreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die,
and there will I be buried:
the LORD do so to me, and more also,
if ought but death part thee and me.'"

I just love this passage! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Broken and Beautiful

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
-Psalms 51:17

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
-Psalms 34:18

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat
falls to the ground and dies,
it remains only a single seed.
But if it dies, it produces many seeds."
-John 12:24

"A broken heart is an acceptable offering to God. He will never despise it. We do not know what unimagined good He can bring about through our simple offering. Christ was willing to be broken bread for the life of the world. He was poured out like wine. This means He accepted being ground like wheat and crushed like the grape. It was the hands of others who did the grinding and crushing. Our small hurts, so infinitely smaller than His, may yet be trustfully surrendered to His transforming work. The trial of faith is a thing worth much more than gold."
-Elisabeth Elliot

I remember reading a story about a butterfly that was struggling to escape its cocoon. An onlooker had pity on the poor butterfly who was trying so hard, and cut the cocoon open to release it. The only problem was, after it was out of the cocoon the butterfly couldn't fly. The effort it required for the butterfly to free itself from its cocoon would have made its wings strong enough to fly. There was no strength without the struggle - and without strength there was no flying.

In theory it makes sense that trials are given for strengthening, and for His work to be performed in our lives. In practice it's often a lot harder to see this. We pray to be made more like Him, we ask Him to work in us, and then we still taken by surprise when His working comes in the form of pain and struggles. There has been so many times when I cried out to Him to free me of a trial, and His answer was a quiet "You asked me to work in you and now you are asking me to stop." I have been guilty of this over and over again, and after His quiet convicting my response can only be "Yes Lord, work Your perfect will in me. Let these struggles transform me closer to Your perfect and beautiful image."

"O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart."
-Thomas O. Chisholm

Sharing in His sorrows can only work to draw us closer to Him, and to imprint a clearer reflection of Him in our lives. What a small part of His trials we share, yet it is through them that we are transformed into His image! Brokenness does bring beauty.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


"For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." -II Peter 2:19b
Imagine a newly freed slave... there's no way she wants to return to her chains - not a chance! I can imagine the ecstatic "free" feeling, the new lightness in her step, the amazing release from chains, the new hope springs bubbling over. Who would want to return to former ugly heavy chains? It's ridiculous.

Yet isn't that what happens to us?

"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today." -Deuteronomy 15:15

We are former slaves to sin, redeemed by the Lamb and by His blood set free. Yet if Peter is correct in that whatever overcomes a person makes them a slave than it is true that we are often re-enslaved.

What makes slaves of us? Are we overcome by sorrow, by hopelessness, by struggles, by pain? Are we slaves to good opinion, to appearances, to anxiety, to fear?

"Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." -Romans 6:16-18

Praise Him that although we were slaves, we have been set free, and as long as we choose not to be overcome we are slaves only to Him. And being His slave is its own reward. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"
-Isaiah 30:21

Well I finally quit my job! It has become necessary for me to cut back due to frequent sickness and almost constant exhaustion. It was definitely not a decision I wanted to make... I can't imagine not being a florist anymore! :-/

It's a step... we'll see where it goes.

Meanwhile, it's my last semester, and I'm not sure what's coming after that. New opportunities for trust - financially, health-wise, and complete direction-wise.

Here's some pictures from my last couple days at work

Beth(right) & I

Nicole, Melissa & I goofing off


Nicole & I have been friends since we were 2 or so. It will be so strange not working with her...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Okay, this was my favorite compliment over anything I've ever gotten for a piano piece...

From friend Noah (5)
"Dat was NICE Mew-zik!!!"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I've been Tagged!

Tag Rules:1).The player starts with 8 random facts about herself.2).The person who is tagged must post on her own blog her answers and post the rules first.3).Then the player must pick 8 people and tag them. Also leave them a note to let them know that you tagged them. You can write who you tagged on your blog also!

My mom tagged me... :)
Hmmmm, 8 random facts...

1) I was once randomly called a "ditsy brunette" by a stranger at a gas pump
2) I play piano
3) Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible
4) I cannot stand rice a roni - I don't even like the smell
5) I've been asked twice by strangers if I was Bosnian (I'm not)
6) I love almost all music
7) I had two dolls growing up that I named Clarice Kitty Leigh and Alissa Allala
8) My brothers used to sneak my stockings out of my dresser and use them to make slingshots

Okay there's my 8 facts! If anyone stumbles on this and wants to be tagged in return just consider yourself tagged. :) If you leave a comment I will be able to see what you wrote.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


(Grandpa Dave - I love this picture :) )

What is our inner heart's cry... what is our longing? What do we strive for in this world, and what will bring us satisfaction?

We constantly aim for satisfaction - yet nothing is ever enough. No riches, popularity, or success is ever enough, we push on, we want more. We climb higher on the ladder, yet never quite reach the end.

An author, Jack Higgins, was asked what he would have liked to have been told when he was a boy. His answer: "That when you get to the top there's nothing there." There isn't.

No worldly satisfaction is enough. Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, with riches, amusement and maids at her beck and call, said despairingly "nothing tastes." Nothing does.

King Solomon wrote life off as meaningless . "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless." -Ecclesciastes 5:10 . Meaningless... how depressing it sounds.

Why do we strive, when nothing can ever satisfy? What is our heart's cry and longing that is never filled with all the world has to offer?

"My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God."
-Psalm 84:2

Our hearts cry out for the living God. Yet our hearts deceive us into thinking that if we only keep striving for more on earth we will eventually reach satisfaction. It doesn't happen.

"He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him;
He cannot save himself, or say,
"Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"
-Isaiah 44:20

Isaiah 44 speaks of those who worship idols of their own making. It seems so ridiculous to think of a man chopping down a tree, using part of it to cook his supper, and then using the rest to fashion an idol. His own deluded heart misleads him.

Doesn't this make sense still for our day? Our hearts are crying out, longing for our God, the living God... yet we misunderstand this intrinsic need, thinking instead that we can reach satisfaction by our own pursuits. Still in our own helpless strivings we find nothing but emptiness. We build our lives, our fortunes, our social acceptance and popularity... only to find ourselves in the same position as this man from Isaiah 44. We worship an idol of our own making.

"And I—in righteousness I will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."
-Psalm 17:15

It is His likeness that brings satisfaction. We long to gaze on His beauty, to know Him, to share His sufferings, to be conformed to His likeness, and to worship Him all of our days. This is our inner heart's cry.

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?"

-Psalm 42:1-2

It's when we quench this thirst with our Lord that we finally find that life has meaning, life"tastes," and when we get to the end it won't be empty and barren. For He will be there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Castles in the Air

"I will build a castle for you, my love..." doesn't it sound like a dream? A beautiful princess to save, a strong knight rescuer, and finally the happily ever after... in a castle of course! A dream, a fairy tale, yet the reality for this Camelot didn't end so happily.

George Boldt started out as a dishwasher in NYC, and ended up a multimillionaire. Many may dream of building a castle for their love, yet Boldt not only dreamed, he had the resources and capital to do so. He purchased Hart Island, and changed the name to Heart Island, actually reconstructing the island in the shape of a heart. The heart theme was continued in the stonework of the castle, the family crest, and various places around the estate. The heart symbols were appropriate, as a proclamation to the love of a knight for his princess.

And so he built for her a castle on Heart Island...

Millions of dollars, hundreds of workers, boatloads of supplies, and in 1904 the castle was nearly complete... when the word came that Louise Boldt was dead. The workers were ordered to drop their tools and leave, unfinished, not to return. And it is said that George Boldt never set foot on Heart Island again.

All the effort and money he had put into his castle meant nothing without his love to share it. The castle was left to itself... showing how little wealth means without love. Earthly treasure can never satisfy.

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
-Matthew 20-21

No earthly treasure compares to the heavenly abundance He has for us. Those who give up wealth, home, recognition, and all earthly "treasure" will count it as nothing once their eternal destination is reached.

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." -Philippians 3:8

"He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." -Hebrews 11:26

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

Those of us who are redeemed have treasure in heaven beyond all imagination... with our first Treasure being our Savior.

George Boldt's treasure wasn't his castle... his wife was of far greater value to him. None of his earthly treasure could compare to her who was now a part of his treasure in heaven.

I hope they are in heaven together.

Boldt Castle 7/16

Monday, July 09, 2007

Old?? NOT!

7 year old Annie wanted to go on a hike with myself and a group. I was concerned about the 5 mile hike, so I protested, "Anne, it's going to be all old people!"
"Well, how old?" she demanded. "Umm, well, my age." I said vaguely, realizing it had been a poor choice of words.
"Old? 21 is NOT old." Anne protested. "Old people are 83."

Old people are 83... I just love that line! Go Annie! :)

Annie & Grandma Grace... who is NOT 83... hence = not old :)

We already knew Grandma Grace wasn't old!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Showers of Blessings

"You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up,
let righteousness grow with it;
I, the LORD, have created it."
-Isaiah 45:8

"Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, O LORD our God.
Therefore our hope is in you,
for you are the one who does all this."
-Jeremiah 14:22

"Take an example from nature. Clouds have passed over the sky every day for many weeks now, and I have very often said 'It will certainly rain today, and the thirsty fields will be refreshed.' Yet not a drop has fallen, up to this point. Still, it has to rain before long.
It is the same with God's mercy... 'The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness.' (2 Peter 3:9) He has His own appointed time, and He will be punctual, for while He is never ahead of schedule, He is never behind it. In due season, in answer to the prayers of His people, He will give them a shower of blessing. All kinds of gracious blessings will descend from His right hand. He will tear open the heavens and come down in majesty, for 'God shall bless us.'" -Charles Spurgeon, Finding Peace in Life's Storms

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?"
-Psalm 42:1-2

"I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."
-Psalm 8:10

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants."
-Isaiah 44:3

(Kevin, 3, and Annie, 7)

"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
And let him who hears say, "Come!"
Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes,
let him take the free gift of the water of life. "
-Revelation 22:17

Sunday, June 24, 2007

When I Consider...

(9 year old brother Jonathan at Whetstone)

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

the moon and the stars which You have set into place,

What is man that You are mindful of him?

The son of man that You visit him?"

-Psalm 8:3-4

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Peace... Be Still

This semester has been the most difficult so far, and the most unhealthy. Constant fatigue, endless homework and no energy left to do it, as well as catch up from being sick ever other week or so.

Every day I said, "Next week will be better, my life can get back to normal. I will be better next week." Well, "next week" hasn't come yet.

Today was a difficult day. After (another) trip to urgent care, and (another) week of plans changed because of sickness I was so frustrated! "Lord!" I cried, "this is disrupting my whole life!" Then He quietly impressed on my heart... "Your life?"

That was all, just the quiet reminder... "your life?" Indeed, "my life?" I gave my life back to Him... so it's His life.

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
-Colossions 3:2-4

If my life is hidden in Christ, should I question what He is doing with it? He is saying to my storm tossed mind "peace - be still!" If the One with whom my life is hidden knows what He is doing, all I have to do is to be still. Peace in the storm, for He is with me. Confident in the reassurance that the One in control does know - whether He chooses to tell me or not. Secure in the knowledge that my plans now won't matter in the whole scheme of things... Cherishing the reminder that it's not my life.

It's His.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Giving Back to Him...

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers.
Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.
O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided
for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand,
and all of it belongs to you.
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.
All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent.
And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.
O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you."
-1 Chronicles 29:13-18

This prayer of David is so beautiful! "...we have given You only what comes from Your hand." How true this is! We are called to glorify God in all we do, yet He is glorious beyond our comprehension. Our praise cannot elevate Him any farther than He is, yet we give back to Him the glory that He already possesses.
Just like our lives, which we give back to Him. Just like our crowns, which we shall finally cast at His feet.

"But everything comes from God." -1 Corinthians 11:12b

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." -Revelation 4:11

Everything we give to God He has first given to us. We are called to constantly magnify Him and bring Him glory, yet He is ever magnificent and glorious. And the love we give to Him is in response to His love - for He loved us first.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Secure in His Promise

"No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised."
-Romans 4:20-21

I find it so easy to say "Lord, I trust You... just please tell me what you are doing to me!" I have to know the why, the how and the outcome, and then I promise to trust Him. What is wrong with this is that when we know what will happen there is no trust involved!

God made radical promises to Abraham, that He would bless an old man with a child, and make his descendents like the sand of the seashore. Abraham didn't demand to know the how and the when as years passed childless, he stayed firmly trusting that God knew what He was doing, "fully convinced."

A childlike trust is willing to believe when our eyes are shut to "how" and "when" and "why." A child is secure in the knowledge that Father does know best, and any worrying is needless and only self-destructive.

And if the One in control knows what He is doing, I don't need to know.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


"Hey Jen, you got blackmail." Jonny casually informed me. I looked at my 9 year old brother. "Blackmail?? What are you talking about?"

Well, I had received one of those junk mail credit card applications, and the envelope happened to be black. Hence - blackmail. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Think I was Meant to be a Blond...

I shut my fingers in the car window today... while I was cranking the window up with - ummmm... the other hand...

It hurt.

Somedays I amaze even myself... ;)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you,
"Your face, LORD, do I seek."
Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!"
-Psalm 27:7-9

Monday, May 21, 2007

Isaiah 61:1-3

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Choices - and Looking to the ONE!

I cannot make choices - it's a problem. For years I didn't have a favorite color because I just couldn't decide. When I was six my favorite color was purple... because purple was my Grandma Mary's favorite color. When I was 8 my favorite color was blue, because blue was Nicole's favorite color. When I was 11 it was forest green - forest green was Alicia's favorite color. Finally at about 13 I realized it was a losing battle, I couldn't decide, and I was favorite-color-less until last year when a friend asked me what mine was. When I said I didn't have one he felt sorry for me and decided for me that my favorite color was blue. So now it is blue! Or is it pink? Or white? :)

That's just one example, I still can't decide my favorite food but I have narrowed it down to anything Italian, Chinese, Mexican, or seafood - or else involving chocolate, popcorn, dill pickles, salsa or broccoli. :) I don't have a favorite song, favorite book, favorite flower, or favorite animal. I DO have a favorite season... it's spring! Making arrangements are a problem when there are so many flowers to choose from, and I can't decide which color scheme I want, or what flowers, or what style - the list goes on. I DO have a favorite book of the Bible - it's Isaiah... and Psalms, and John, and the Timothy's, and Jeremiah, and Micah, and Zechariah - oh dear.

I know, it's pathetic.

I suppose my lack of skill in the decision making area would be a reason why I especially love this verse:

"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." -Ephesians 4:4-6

There is only ONE! ONE body, ONE Spirit, ONE hope, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father. No choices involved regarding our Savior and King who is over all and through all and in all. I love the wording here!

There are no compromises when it comes to our faith, there is no detour, the straight and narrow is the only path. Jesus Christ is the ONE Way, Truth, and Life. I was in a class when the professor asked us who believed in absolutes. Well, this was an obvious question. I raised my hand, and looked around... my own was the only hand up. Someone sitting behind me said "No" outright. Our professor looked at him, and replied, "Young man, you just gave me an absolute."

We live in a culture where truth is a matter of opinion, faith is "controversial," right and wrong are not defined. Our laws are subject to the whim of the judge, who may or may not believe in absolutes. Abortionists are "pro-choice" - when there isn't a choice for us regarding truth. Right and wrong is all clearly laid out in Scripture,

"See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it." Deut 12:32

There are dire consequences promised to anyone who adds on to His word. (Rev 20:18.) His Word and His Truth are absolutes. The Lord our God is ONE Lord. (Deut 6:4) Our choice is to "choose you this day whom you shall serve." (Joshua 24:15) As far as who He is, or what defines right and wrong, or what truth is, there are no choices involved.

And that's a relief to me. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed,
for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able
to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
-2 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hmmm, Forgot Your Anniversary??!!

The other day someone called the flower shop in a panic because he forgot his anniversary. "Can you still send flowers this afternoon?" I assured him that we could since he was within an hour of our same-day cutoff. Audible sigh of relief. I took his order for roses for his wife, then we got to the card...

He wanted it to say "I'll bet you thought I forgot." (!)

Not a bad idea, but aren't we being a little fake here??!! He must have been at work because as soon as he said it there were people laughing in the background.

Well, I thought it was funny! :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Look at this Boy

Doesn't he look mischievous??!! Guess what this little smart aleck called me today!!

It started when Jon thought his name, Jonathan, was spelled phonetically. Jonathin. I laughed and gave him the correct spelling, then I started calling him Jona-skinny. (You know, Jona-thin! Hey, I thought it was funny, and he fits the profile!) Well he paid me back by calling me "Jenni-fat!!"

I protested and then he suggested "Jenni-medium," to which Annie replied "No, she's Jen-the-perfect-size!" Annie always sticks up for me! Brothers, sometimes I'm just not sure about them!

Life would be boring without them though... :)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Light a Fire, and Light it in Me

I started a fire in my chemistry lab today...

We were supposed to collect methane gas in a tube under water - my problem was I turned the gas on while the hose was still lying on the counter out of the water. Burst of flame! I quickly turned the gas off, and it was out by the time the professor called "I smell something burning!"

I'm not doing very well in chemistry lab!!

Interestingly, lately I have felt led to pray for the Lord to send "fire." It began when I was sick, and in my feverish rantings I woke up twice praying that He would "light a fire." I didn't know when I woke up what that meant. Later that same day I read from Ezekiel

"Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. All flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it; it shall not be quenched."
-Ezekiel 20:47-48

This coming after my feverish prayer inspired me to begin a study on fire. Among the types of fire in the Bible are the Refiner's fire, the judgement fire, and the fire of our love for Him. I could see how much I needed His fire, and I began to pray in earnest that my Lord would light whatever fire He pleased in me.

This is still my prayer. I need His fire, I need it to sweep through devouring every green and dry tree in me. I need His refining fire, I need His chastening flame. I need a rekindling of my love for Him. And I pray that this fire is never quenched.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
-Isaiah 43:2

It is so comforting to know He is present in the fire. He is with me, upholding me, and He chastens those whom He loves.

Meanwhile - I suppose I'm just not cut out for a scientist!