Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Courage Wanes...

The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
- Mark Twain
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
- Winston Churchill
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
- C. S. Lewis
One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.
- Helen Keller
"Fear Not, for I have overcome the world."
-The Lord of Lords

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Picture Books

Sitting in the middle of a floor full of picture books, I am reminded of a Frances Schaefferism our friends, father and son  told me... "You can't have freedom without form."  So as I am diving through the books trying to control myself so I can actually organize and get them ready for a little library for this school year - I'd rather just enjoy the freedom of reading all the books without organizing them, but then no one else can enjoy them and I wouldn't get to the gift of exercising patience.  Truth be known, I always prefer the freedom without the patience of structure; actually anyone who knows me even a smiggen knows that about me.  God so oftens reminds me that life doesn't work right without boundaries and structure brings freedom and enjoyment.

I found an old 70's copy of my very favorite book, "Father Bear Comes Home", my mom read that A LOT - and occassionally, after a long week on the road, my Dad would read it to me.  Good stuff.  I read it to K, and imagined it would become her favorite - it was out done by Where the Wild Things Are. (I just got the Spanish version of that for my Pre-Kers)  Funny what little story books accomplish.  They give you imagination, pleasure, bring up great questions, teach you and so much more.

When I visit my mom she still reads picture books to me, the good ones.  I read a picture book to a friend tonight, because she was kind enough to sit and listen, picture books are so much more fun when they are read out loud. 

So over the next few days as I catogorize my mess, I might need to stop and read to myself outloud or wrangle a passerbyer who'll be wary of my tendency to break into read a loud mode when surrounded by small children's books.

What is your favorite children's book and why?  Mine was Father Bear, b/c I loved it when my Dad came home.  It was my favorite part of the week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God is glorious

       “The LORD our God has shown us his glory.”
         — Deuteronomy 5:24

God’s great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory.  Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are?  Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.  It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance.  He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.  They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see his “wonders in the deep.”  Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness.  Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by.  Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening : Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

A friend sent this today.  Mr. Spurgeon was wise and words are here weighty. Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.  Trials, then, remind us, who it is we serve, and truly, that we do not hold ourselves- but He holds us.  He is BIG and we - tiny. 

My waters always seem big to me, I always come back to my age old "thorn" - "it's alway about me" - LIE - it is always about Him.  He is faithful, we fall on His grace and He saves us, because - of me- Oh, no! because its who He is. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spacing matters

               Wars, Pain and
                      A poem by C. S. B.

I bite my teeth hard
                                                                One to another.

Almost ten feet away
                                                                I see my brother.

The one who lost

The only memory,
                                                                His  ring.

I will never forget
                                                                that  moment

When I found him  

As  the smoke disappeared        
                                                                In ire

He looked down
                                At his family

                                                                Vanished in fire.

My friend wrote this poem as an assignment about a Confederate solider and seeing the pain in the war.  I really like Richard Wilbur's poems Lilacs and Junk because the spacing is so interesting and you can read them across and in columns.
I can read those poems again and again, and I get re-baffled every time.  I like that.

Anyway, we started playing with the spacing of this poem. This is what she came up with.  Some people are great without trying - she is one of those.  I've heard this quote several times, and I like it. 
"You can't put in what God left out." - Eric Liddle
Some people are just poetry seepers. I admire that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Poetry "how to"...

I just started a new book, The Roar on the Other Sideby Suzanne Rhodes, again.  I lost the book at the beginning of my travels when I was a few pages in, and already hooked.  Upon return, I scoured all the possible lost and found areas at the airport,which is quite a job, but to no avail, so... I jumped online for a 2 day turnaround. I got the book last night at 5:30.

Here's a few of my first favorite quotes - (This book may make my top ten list for the year)
Poetry starts with silence- not silence in the world but silence of the mind. (p.1 -1st line!)
If we cultivate the art of inner quiet and develop habits to nuture the mind's green fields, we will hear the melodies of heaven. (p.1)
We love God with our minds when we admire smoothness, strangeness, structure, intricacy, fragrance, complexion, motion.... In noticing we name...(Adam) was creative.  When you think of words to perfectly name what you feel and see and hear, you are also creating. (p.11)
"words to perfectly name" - isn't that a great picture.  I love that line. Just one more...
A skillful writer cuts the fat and thickens the gravy. (p.29)
Gotta love that one! The book has all the nuts and bolts that have been forgotten in Modern poetry classes,with fun assignments and a great poetry and teaching section. (exceptions- those few schools who teach classically - my daughter's school had an excellent set of lectures on poetry earlier this year).  A must read/do for every poetry dabbler.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Divine Election

These articles are from the Canon of Dort: The first point of Divine Election and Reprobation.  I have become more familiar with this document as a friend gave me "Seeking God's Face - Praying with the Bible through the Year" as a Christmas gift.  There are prayers in it directly taken from the Canons of Dort, Belgic, Heidelberg and Westminster Confessions,composed by Eugene Peterson, who authored "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction". 

The truth that God's love is the primary mover of our salvation, that his grace in our need of him, keeps us humble, and because of this we are overwhelmed by His goodness to us....

We love because we were first loved...

Article 13

The Fruit of This Assurance
In their awareness and assurance of this election God's children daily find greater cause to humble themselves before God, to adore the fathomless depth of his mercies, to cleanse themselves, and to give fervent love in return to him who first so greatly loved them. This is far from saying that this teaching concerning election, and reflection upon it, make God's children lax in observing his commandments or carnally self-assured. By God's just judgment this does usually happen to those who casually take for granted the grace of election or engage in idle and brazen talk about it but are unwilling to walk in the ways of the chosen.

Article 14

Teaching Election Properly
Just as, by God's wise plan, this teaching concerning divine election has been proclaimed through the prophets, Christ himself, and the apostles, in Old and New Testament times, and has subsequently been committed to writing in the Holy Scriptures, so also today in God's church, for which it was specifically intended, this teaching must be set forth—with a spirit of discretion, in a godly and holy manner, at the appropriate time and place, without inquisitive searching into the ways of the Most High. This must be done for the glory of God's most holy name, and for the lively comfort of his people.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Giving Thanks

Psalm 100
His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
A Psalm for giving thanks.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

There are times in life when we cannot feel the words of this Psalm, if fact, we feel like Job, abandoned by God, by friends, by companions.   Obedience comes in the form of profession, belief and thankgiving for who Christ is. 
It is in these valleys, that I discover the bedrock of the faith, and it is here that God shows Himself faithful and steadfast in a way like no other.  It is in these times that I have realized most fully that it is Christ alone, that I need.  It forces me to answer the question, if all else were lost, are You enough?  Another way of saying that might be, show me my idols Lord, my family, my comfort, my labor - do I really do them unto you?
I am not writing this in a season of loss, it is actually a time of blessing, yet I am watching friends go through really hard times and it reminds me that God is sovereign in adversity and blessing.
Praise given to God while in adversity is of a stronger sort than praise given in times of blessing - it's trustfilled beauty is breathtaking and tear bringing.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Repost upon Return

Home is Where There is One to Love Us

Home's not merely four square walls,
Though with pictures hung and guilded;
Home is where affection calls-
Filled with shrines the Hearth has builded!
Home! Go watch the faithful dove,
Sailing 'neath the heaven above us.
Home is where there's one to love!
Home is where there's one to love us.

Home's not merely roof and room,
It needs something to endear it;
Home is where the heart can bloom,
Where there's some kind lip to cheer it.
What is home with none to meet,
None to welcome, none to greet us?
Home is sweet, and only sweet,
Where there's one we love to meet us.
                               -Charles Swain
as published in The Family Book of Best Loved Poems, 1952

For Darlin and Girlie...
Germany was grand, the other  - - even better, 
But chatter of you makes our hearts feel the fetter -
Hearth and home, with its sweetness tugs-
Open your arms; Ready the hugs!

In the words of Dorthy! "Toto, there's no place like home; oh! there is no place like home."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

a thought

Pressing on is a sign of maturity...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Quote from Dad on the Resurrection

When they grasped the resurrection, they were like men on fire, they couldn't stop talking about this new life.
They were connected to the past, they were looking at the present, and they had hope for the future. -EN 4/11