Friday, December 31, 2010

"The man who is deeply discontented with himself is probably growing fast into the full likeness of Christ." - C.H. Spurgeon

Monday, December 27, 2010

Books, Journals and Technology

There is an excitement in penning the first of many entries in a new journal. I've journaled since my teenage years, on and off in regularity and type. Ages and Stages, you know.  I mostly put down  quotes, sermons notes, prayers to God, and my thoughts about the profundities of close or familial relationships and happenings.
Last year, I started a kind of electronic journal on a file on my computer, quotes, sermon notes and something really fun, downloading old books and sources. I guess this blog has been a lighthearted journal of sorts too. 
In some way the e-world has affected my old habits.  As I caressed the leather cover of an old book and admired the lines of my new journal yesterday afternoon I started thinking, technology is a great thing with quick knowledge and infinite worlds of information but it can easily start to crowd the slow and sensorial pleasure of a worn book, a known chair,  an exceedingly soft throw and the quiet company of one engaging the same joy next to you.  
Starting the new year with old comforts....what could be better.  E. has already finished his first Christmas gift and has started into his second(The Tracts and Treatises of Calvin), I have some catching up to do- albeit I've started with something a little lighter.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Quote Book

On God
The sun with all its planets moving around it, can ripen the smallest bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do.  Why then should I doubt his power? - Galileo
On Handel's Messiah -

Music has been called the speech of the angels; I will go farther and call it the speech of God Himself. -  Charles Kingsley

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Eve Day

 New friends, Old Christmas Dishes.
Bomia and Rice, Turkey with Sauce,
Boxing on Wii, the Story Traditions.
Fruit and Tea, Coffee and Cake,
Talking in Chops, Laughing A Lot.

Departing of Guests, Arriving as Family,
Making a Place, Feeling Like Home.
Questions and Learning, Acts full of Knowledge,
Hopes for the Future, Comforts with Rest.
We are Different, We are the Same;
We Build, We Celebrate,
Sitz im Leben.
Christmas is later than other years, per K.'s request. This happens as you get older, I guess (slight protest).  Rolls in the oven, Coffee in the Cups, all the other candles are lit and the white candle awaits the story's end, Dad and I are about to insist you get out of that bed.

Snow has fallen throughout the night.  It is lovely outside.  What a perfect gift to represent the gift of our Savior.

Rejoice, a Happy Day Indeed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Saying "Merry Christmas"

I talk to more people during Christmas than any other time of the year. My mom talks to everyone, always, regardless of the season, and warms to them with pleasantries, E. does the same. It is one of my very favorite things about both of them - I do that sort of - well seasonally, during Christmastime.
It IS the one time of year I feel liberated from my "crowd reserved" nature enough to actually greet people with "Merry Christmas" as opposed to my customary slight nod or smile.

The orthopraxy of giving a HIGH HOLY DAY greeting and what that means to culture  is, a worthy discussion, indeed!

 Are we headed here  or have we already arrived?

Trying to be the most politically correct that I can (which you readers know is my life’s ambition), let me suggest the following to you who really want to avoid any offense. Maybe I should print it out on little cards and hand them out:

Please feel however you want to feel about whatever you might want to have any feelings about, or if you prefer, please do not feel like you have to any feelings at all about this time of year or feel like you have to have any feelings at or about any other time of year if you do not feel like feeling anything right now, and, of course, feel free not to feel anything at any time if that’s what you feel like, in which case I hope nothing or no one interferes with how you are feeling or not feeling at the time you choose to be feeling or not feeling something.

To all the rest of you willing to risk being offended, may I say, “Merry Christmas!”
Click HERE to read all of this article sent from a friend.

Rejoice! Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kids Say the Darnest Things

3 of Us, 2 Boys and 1-liners:
 Me - How often do you take baths?
C - On Tuesdays and if I stink.
A - We take baths everyday.

A- Oh no! I left my new watch at Miss P's house
Me- We can call and have her write your name on it and put it up until I can get it on Friday.
20 second PAUSE
A- Uh, Miss J.
Me- Yes, A.
A- My watch is waterproof, but I am not sure if you can write on it with markers.

These are just the two I remember out of the 10 or so.  All the laughter must of given me memory stroke.  Gotta love the precogitive stage!

Sweetness of the Season and one Holy Catholic Church...

I thought I would jot down the happenings of today so after the Christmas cards and ornaments have been put in the upstairs closet we'll not forget the glimmers of truth seen in the common graces of the season. 
E. arrived to do a few carpets. Their home was modest and cluttered with collections and pictures of children, grandchildren and greats too, one supposes.  Mrs. A and Mr. S. have been married for over 50 years; they are in their late 70's. Upon E's arrival she handed him a  Homemade Christmas Card with a personal note (Complete with hand drawn Nativity, tree, ornaments and bunnies in the snow.) He chatted a bit before starting, and Mrs. A. said she must get some crafts done. Having finished the rooms, E. turned to go but Mrs. A called out and asked him to wait; he did. She handed him a wooden cross wrapped in red beads and ribbon, fingers full of glue. E. felt his emotion welling into tears.

The gift given with such grace - so very reminiscent of the gift of a Babe so long ago. We Rejoice with so many during this season, yet it,community - the Holy Catholic Church, can be so easily missed-overlooked.

E. walked in with teary eyes to tell me a story about these carpet customers today. One more precious part of the story E. relayed- Mrs. A. had drawn a picture of the seasons, it was there on the counter. As E's eyes brushed over it, he realized it was a love note, to Mr. S, filled with thankfulness for being lover and best friend for all those years.

All those beams of truth lived out through the meager gifts of one lady showing a common grace of the season, she loved God, husband, generations of children, and community. She didn't even know E's name when he walked in her home.

Reflecting on the day, it reminds me of a line of a Puritan Prayer "Beacons bright to allure".

Love notes: love notes of a life, to God, to spouse, to child, to family, to friend, to acquaintance.

HIS note to us: I came so that you might have LIFE, and not just life - LIFE ABUNDANT.

Rejoice - Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A New Christmas Hymn

O how wondrous is the story
Of our blest Redeemer's birth!
See, the mighty Lord of glory
Leaves his heaven to visit earth.
Hear with transport, every creature,
Hear the gospel's joyful sound:
Christ appears in human nature,
In our sinful world is found!

Comes to pardon our transgression,
Like a cloud our sins to blot;
Comes to his own favored nation,
But his own receive him not.

If the angels who attended
To declare the Saviour's birth,
Who from heaven with songs descended,
To proclaim good will on earth;
If, in pity to our blindness,
_They_ had brought the pardon needed;
Still, Jehovah's wondrous kindness
Had our warmest hopes exceeded!
If some prophet had been sent
With salvation's joyful news,
Who that heard the blest event
Could their warmest love refuse?
But 'twas He to whom in heaven
Hallelujahs never cease;
He, the mighty God, was given--
Given to us a Prince of peace.

None but he who did create us,
Could redeem from sin and hell;
None but he could reinstate us
In the rank from which we fell.

Had he come, the glorious stranger,
Decked with all the world calls great--
Had he lived in pomp and grandeur,
Crowned with more than royal state--
Still, our tongues, with praise o'erflowing,
On such boundless love would dwell--
Still, our hearts, with rapture glowing,
Speak what words could never tell.

But what wonder should it raise,
Thus our lowest state to borrow!
O the high mysterious ways--
God's own Son a child of sorrow!

'Twas to bring us endless pleasure,
He our suffering nature bore;
'Twas to give us heavenly treasure,
He was willing to be poor.
Come, ye rich, survey the stable
Where your infant Saviour lies;
From your full, o'erflowing table,
Send the hungry good supplies.
Boast not your ennobled stations,
Boast not that you're highly fed;
Jesus, hear it all ye nations,
Had not where to lay his head.

Learn of me, thus cries the Saviour,
If my kingdom you'd inherit:
Sinner, quit your proud behavior;
Learn my meek and lowly spirit.
Come, ye servants, see your station
Free from all reproach and shame;
He who purchased your salvation,
Bore a servant's humble name.
Come, ye poor, some comfort gather,
Faint not in the race you run;
Hard the lot your gracious Father
Gave his dear, his only Son.
Think, that if your humble stations
Less of worldly food bestow,
You escape those strong temptations
Which from wealth and grandeur flow

See, your Saviour is ascended;
See, he looks with pity down:
Trust him, all will soon be mended;
Bear his cross, you'll share his crown.

-Hannah More's poem c. 1780

Read about Hannah on Theology Girls, looked her poems up and found stories too.  There are so many poignant parts of this poem it's hard to say which one hit me the hardest. Reminds us of our great need, and His incredible abasement.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Books by the Pound...

Pound of Flesh that is.  I'm looking at my bookshelves and thinking I will never be able to organize these 400+ Volumes in a way that is easily accessible, expandable and looks inviting and decorative.  My book load is about to tipping point - I now have more volumes than I can visualize where I have placed each and put my fingertips on it. - I have  growing groupings of books and I just need a little organization and decorative inspiration.
So, I am re-posting my "Mom's" poem in hopes that some of  her tenacity will rub off - well, once my incredulous book stack laughter subsides.

It Couldn't Be Done
Somebody said that it couldn't be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;"
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.
...Edgar Guest

Monday, December 13, 2010

Because my husband...

Found this over at Calvinistic Cartoons: Under the Word Associations (This is #7)

Will Laugh.  
You're almost done. Hang On!

O Brother,... I mean O, Sister ....

A Christmas Video. Well, it definately explains our need for Christmas. Found this when enjoying a browse through the Friday Funnies on Theology for Girls blog.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sweet Sunday Morning

Walked out in to the living room and the Monopoly Board was in Mid Play. K., you and M. were sacked out and I remembered the dough in the frig readied for cinnamon rolls. While making the rolls snow flitted outside the kitchen window. I love the snow. It is so beautiful and cleansing. I was hoping we'd have a fully covered ground but nothing is sticking. Oh well. It is still so beautiful to watch it come down. With the wind chill it is 17* - whoo - that's nice and cold. Sweaters and Wool for church this morning. It is the 3rd Sunday of the Advent, the Shepherds - watching their sheep - foretelling the Lamb of God, our precious Lord Jesus, who takes away the sin of the world, who takes away our sin and shame.
Blessed be His Name.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay; Enough for Him,
Whom angels fall before, The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
Words to Think On.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Chores and a Blessing

K. is at the ACT, I am puttering around the house working through my list. I found a book of prayer as I was shelving books, and sat down to leaf through it. Two prayers, stuck out, one for our home, one for this season. This  is the prayer on the door at St. Stephen's in London.
God make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling-block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter's power. God, make the door of this house that gateway to Thine eternal kingdom.
O God of the lonely, Remember this day those who need the warmth of human touch, the sound of loving voice, the presence of caring spirit. The lonely are all around us...cause your Spirit of Loving concern to touch some man and woman, some boy and girl, so that each will be moved to reach out to the one alone who awaits.
a telephone call
a note
a visit
a hug or a kiss
a firm handshake
a warm meal
a long walk
a caring letter
O God of the lonely send those ambassadors of your love so that your lonely children will be lonely no more.
And may those who are lonely ever be open to your biding presence, that they will know though lonely they are not alone! - Woody W. White, 20th century

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Response in Life

Christians often believe they deserve far more than they have, when in reality they have far more than they deserve. - John MacArhtur,"The Pillars of Christian Character, p.106
Long before I heard Dave Ramsey reply, "Better than I deserve." to the question of "How are you?" I heard another man say that regularly - the Pastor of our small Midwestern town in the mid 80's. It was a bit of a jolt the first several times I heard it: I responded with nervous laughter. Later, that laughter transitioned to a reflective smile and nod. Pastor was changing my worldview by speaking truth. Of course, we are called not just to speak truth, but walk in faith of the One who is Truth. A few years ago while visiting for Christmas we drove up to see Pastor and his wife. Life was not easy for them, Pastor had watched his son die in a tragic accident, they had been in a close to deadly accident and were swamped with medical bills, and had a church whose board did not want truth to be taught for fear of community retaliation. The enemy was seemingly advancing on all fronts for them. When E. asked softly, "How are you doing? His bright eyes and beaming face relayed his contentment in Christ and he replied, "Better than I deserve."
Romans 5:8-9, "But God demonstrates his own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."
A few paragraphs down in "Pillars" MacAuthur, points out the early Chritians greeted eachother with the Greek Chairete, which means "Rejoice". What a great salutation. We were talking about this with our friends this week. We were exorting one another to "Rejoice" and somewhere inside I felt that nervous laughter of long ago. Walking and speaking truth can make me and others uncomfortable. Yet, it is more than just a seasonal novelty. We are commanded to "Rejoice!"
"Rejoice, that your names are written in heaven." -Luke
So you might just hear us say, "Rejoice" instead of our, "Hey, how are you doing?"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"No More Books"

I never thought I would hear EN say those words. Books are his Love Language. Actually, E. said "No more books downstairs," when I let him on the plan to put my two newest bookshelves in the kitchen and hall he thought that was just - excessive. He also suggested I could move a few other newer bookshelves to the guest room as well.

Olden Golden Reads is breaking even with adding inventory, shelving, and supplementing for children's books to put in the libraries overseas. It is also a wonderful source of gifts and pilferage for E. and K. - they always rummage. K.'s new line, "I need this for my library." I recently sold a 1941 Analytical Bible that they both drooled over, and truly, my intent was to give it to E. at Christmas if it didn't sell before the 24th.

My plan is for Olden Golden to eventually make a little money, but for now, it is making headway. Small beginning not to be despised, I'm happy that it is self sustaining and growing; in light of the fact it started out as a $10/bi-weekly hobby. Also, I really enjoy looking at all those books, the value in that alone is worth hours of therapy. Ha!

The sellers I bump into to at Goodwill have been helpful and have given me pointers. The latest advice- "Inventory, build inventory - shoot for about 10,000 to 12,000." I'm at about 350 sellable volumes. I chuckled, nodded and thought,...
"REALLY? Now, that is excessive."