Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful for...

The Gospel. Although it is so often misunderstood and misrepresented, it is still good- unbeatably good- news. The message is Jesus coming to rescue his people from their own death of sin and sickness and sorrow. The message is true. Our sins are forgiven. Our lives are given to another- to One who is worthy and enduring.... unlike anything else in this world. Hope. Joy. Pardon. Peace. Love. Passion. Christ has saved me when I could never save myself. He has saved me completely and it is well with my soul because of Him.

Our Family. I love these people so much. Matthew, Isaiah, Marian, and John are my favorite people on earth. I can't believe I get to be Matthew's wife and the mom to this bunch. Recently, I feel like I've fallen even more in love with my man as we've been able to share some new things together. I never would have thought that was possible. I've got such a great husband! "And you thought you were going to be an old maid," a friend recently reminded me. I am so blessed. And on top of the delight each of these four are to me, we have a sweet extended family on both sides of our tree. So, so blessed. Some real lives of character and virtue- fruit of the Spirit- in our heritage that we will be glad to tell our children about.... and other stories to make us marvel again at the wacky goodness and sovereignty of God to arrange our family lives as he has! Still, the tales of God's care for us through hard times and circumstances are never to be forgotten.

Health. So easy to overlook when you're feeling good. But oh to be more mindful daily of the grace it is to feel good and have strength. Thank you Lord!

Friends. Just like Rachel Barkey said, I feel like I have done this one thing well: I've picked great friends. It's incredible to me that I am so privileged to know some of the people I do... Too many of you to name, but each of you so precious. Friends since toddler years, high school, college prayer groups and grad school roommates & classmates, a "blind blog meet,"... sweet singing, praying, running, painting, baking, teaching friends. I am a rich, rich woman to know all of you!

Fun Together. I'm so grateful to not only know these people but to get to be with many of you in this season... even to have our kids together too. "Make new memories. Don't just let your friendships fade as you only live off old experiences together," we were advised. I am grateful for those new memories created in this season.

And thankful for hand-me-downs and spare seats on airplanes, parks and playgrounds with swings, fresh salads and Chipotle, a dishwasher, and a big blue sky over an open field right out our front door. For good music and good books, excellent sermons to download and an ipod to listen on. A cool truck to drive and roll-down-the-windows weather to enjoy. For the Word of God: more to be desired than gold, sweeter than honey, promises rock solid, hope to live fully, joy to live well.

Nov pics

This has been a great month for us. We've really enjoyed being in Orlando, where our home church is, and having enough time to see friends more than once. We've felt a bit more regular with our own routine and we have loved creation and the climate here now.

It's been really sweet to see Isaiah and Marian deepening in friendship with each other. Most of the day Isaiah finds something to advise or invite Marian to.... "Follow me!" "Let's throw our shoes down!" And most of the time, Marian complies.

But then every evening recently they pray for each other. The prayers go something like this:

M: "Thank you God, pray for I- yay-ya..."
I: "No, don't pray for me!"
M: "and pray for I- yay-ya again..."

And then Isaiah prays for her and she offers the same protest. We're working on it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank you Mrs. Elliot

These are wise words, from a wise woman, and I think they apply as much to moms today as they do to dads.

It is sad to read that the average father nowadays spends three minutes per week with each child. Home, frankly, is just “not his scene.” He’d rather be elsewhere. What does he do with the rest of this time? Is it a relentless frantic scramble to earn money five or six days a week, with a frantic scramble on weekends to “relax” and enjoy himself, often in expensive and sometimes dangerous ways? Can this really be what God wants for Christian families? If there were the willingness to be content with less money, fewer activities which eat into the budget and take the family away from home, fewer possessions; if there were the willingness to “be content with such things as you have,” would we not sooner find the truth of God’s Word, “A man’s real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions” (Luke 12:15, Phillips translation)? The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that hte simpler the life, the greater the peace.

In Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, he describes as among the most remarkable people he ever knew a French peasant family with whom he ad his father boarded for a time. M. Privat was a short man, broad, of great strength. He wore a black broad-rimmed hat which “gave his face an added solemnity when his sober and judicious eyes looked at you peacefully... His little wife was more like a bird, thin, serious, earnest, quick, but also full of that peacefulness and impassiveness which, as I now know, came from a living close to God.” Merton was only a boy, and forgot most of the details about this couple, but remembered

their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity... They were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within, and from the habitual union of their souls with God in deep faith and charity.

Their farm, their family, and their Church were all that occupied these good souls; and their lives were full.

This selection is from Elisabeth Elliot's book, The Shaping of a Christian Family.

Lord, give us wisdom to see what you call a full life and to live that, to live for you well and to the full. Please make our lives full with your kind of richness in hope and contentment and joy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death is not Dying

At Bible study this evening (man, it is sweet to be back at our home church for this month!) I was reminded of a talk I listened to recently~ for the 3rd or 4th time.

This is Rachel Barkey: a 37 year-old mom of two young kids who in March of this year addressed women in her church with the most important things in life. At that time, she had just been given 6- 18 weeks before cancer would take her life. Her talk is titled "Death is not Dying: a Faith that Saves".

This is Excellent. Outstanding. Every word here is worth worshipping God for with tears- lots of them- and joy and wonder and humilty and marvelling praise. I love this talk and I most eagerly commend it to you.

Her talk is deeply impacting for me and has left me with Rachel's life mission statement etched deeply on my own heart as well: to serve with joy. Not a small task. A life purpose that only Christ can accomplish in and through us. Oh may I- may we- live and die and proclaim Christ as clearly and sweetly as this dear sister.

Go to her home page ( and then look for the tab to Media in the bottom left to download the audio or to watch the video. (I've also added this as one of our favorite sites, on the right hand side list on our blog.)