Saturday, January 28, 2012

Prayer Answered by Crosses

I ask'd the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and ev'ry grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.

'Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
And he, I trust has answer'd pray'r;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hop'd that in some favour'd hour,
At once he'd answer my request:
And by his love's constraining pow'r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this. he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow'rs of hell
Assault my soul in ev'ry part.

Yea more, with his own hand he seem'd
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Cross'd all the fair designs I schem'd,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

 Lord, why is this, I trembling cry'd,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
"'Tis in this way," the Lord reply'd,
"I answer pray'r for grace and faith.

 "These inward trials I employ,
"From self and pride to set thee free;
"And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
"That thou mayst seek thy all in me."
 -John Newton

E and I went to a conference this weekend celebrating the Schaeffers. The story of their life is an amazing one, and it got me thinking how it is that God works His goodness and will into us through crosses and coming face to face with ourselves and our own fallen-ness.  We all need grace, the steps to get there are never taken without truth, truth about self, truth about God.

 The "condition of man" is not what modern man thinks it is.  Man is a sinner who needs an overwhelming love.  Jesus has come to save His people from their sins.  This is not to say that He has no interest in these other things now, but we must not get matters reversed- the central thing is central.            -Francis Schaeffer No Little People
I like that smack in the middle is the reference to Matthew 1:21

Call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin.           

My itty bittys learn this as their December verse to celebrate the Advent.  Hearing this truth from two year olds is blessedly beautiful, and their trust, joy and fervor in the telling is ever-humbling.

Isn't it funny that we spend a good deal of our elder years re-learning to have trust, joy and fervor in the central thing that He is our rescuer?

These inward trials I employ, ...
"That thou mayst seek thy all in me"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating 20 Years...

Domestic Happiness,  thou only bliss
Of Paradise that has survived the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpair’d and pure,
Or tasting long enjoy thee! too infirm,
Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets
Unmix’d with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup;
Thou art the nurse of Virtue, in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again.
Thou art not known where Pleasure is adored,
That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist
And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of Novelty, her fickle, frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.
Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we made
Of honour, dignity, and fair renown!
   - Cowper, The Task, Part III The Garden
 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

                                                                         - Paul to the Galatians

It always astounds me - the reflection of marriage and the mystery of being imago Dei-

One last thought - Man, we were young, thin..and what was I thinking with that headpiece - YeeKs!. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Eating Crow today...

Now the most godlike of all human gifts-- the singular gift separating Man from the brutes--is speech.  If he can harmonize speech he has taught his first and peculiar faculty to obey the great rhythm: "I will sing and give praise," days the Psalmist, "with the best member I have."  Thus by harmonising speech (in a fashion we will discuss by and by), he arrives at poetry.                          -Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Poetry

I love books, I love old books, especially. My nose wrinkles profusely at the very idea of an electronic book. To go further- I had a three hour discussion (ahem-argument) with a team mate this past summer on the particular and heinous evils of Kindle and owning one. 

Ours arrived Saturday -it's a gift to each other for our anniversary.  A pragmatic back-up to carrying around thick old books.  Free old poetry at my fingertips that I don't readily have, tempting...  Good, old commentaries that are easy to copy quotes for transferring for sermons notes...tempting.  Old thoughts, new technology, right?  A blog is like an electronic newsletter? 

I still wonder -- is the kindle the legible equivalent to street jargon?  And is this e-age eating away something that can't be replaced?  And yet, I type...

This quote stopped me, I couldn't pass it up and adding it to my clippings took my electronic journaling into a new sphere.  NOW, if I could just figure out how to transfer the information without retyping it...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One of Those days...

C and C doing bubble head - What a pair of cuties!
This has been a day, a day to remember...
We remember learning to stop and hang out on the porch
We remember you playing your flute and hearing the sounds of the hymns waif out the upper window
We remember Dutch pancakes with inlaid bacon
We remember frank discussions and honest questions
We remember when you weren't yet part of our lives and we had no idea the blessing we were missing
We remember practice for church hymns and psalms
We remember your sinister laughter and practical jokes
We remember Kel and Rhi responding to their "bigger sister" in the Lord
We remember a 100 waves at the airport continuing until we couldn't possibly see one more glimpse of you.
We remember your time with a glorious gift.

We learned stopping to reflect as a family should be done everyday... for a bit of time, with a little wine.
We learned that unexpected praise makes us stop to listen to the sounds of His goodness in the midst of living.
We learned some folks eat dutch pancakes in large stacks instead of rolled - do you remember who?
We learned we really appreciate when people are forward and don't beat around the "proverbial" bush!
We learned we could love a stranger as a daughter in a very short amount of time
We learned Sunday mornings can be stressful or peaceful - it's always a matter of heart orientation
We learned E. has an able rival for ornery
We learned that advise from a "big" sister is like sugar that makes the medicine go down easily
We learned some days are best served with tears.
We learned from you ... you are precious... you are loved... and you will be missed.

Today, we sent Carin-enous off, she's back to Holland.  She is an enormous blessing, we miss her already.  A full house can seem empty with just one less... - Today, is most definately - an empty house day. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tools of the trade...

For Christmas, E. gave me Circulon pots and pans, unsolicited.  I have wanted a set since we were first married - they were extravagant and years ago, I teased, "Now, if I had those pans, I'd be a "real" wife".  But the Circulon mystic had long since left my radar, so when I opened them - I went - well - a little lunatic.  I was the Christmas morning three year old simultaneously shriek giggling, tearing  and jumping.   Good Times.
Later last week, as I sauteed the main ingredient for French Onion Soup I found myself glued as the speed with which the evenly glazed onions appeared in the dutch oven.  Impressive.  My pronouncement, "I LOVE these pans...this is amazing." It reminded me of a few things my dad might say about the scene, first, "You need the right tools for a job," and second, "You get what you pay for."

I'll grant these statements true, and not just because I've heard them no less than 300 times.  I started thinking about tools and paying in regards to writing.  I desire to write good poetry, but the truth is ...  I jot out a poem's rhyme and meter...and as my daughter starts to decipher and assess I see the page properly penned a bleeding red mess. In pan terms, my writing would be found in the Dollar Tree's  kitchen "a la China" aisle. I have thought, well more hoped, maybe Mr. Chesterton would deem Dollar Tree a good start... "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly" and all.

In short, I have very few tools for writing, and those I have, I don't know how to use. As for payment, my repertoire of knowledge  is more akin to a kiddie bucket than a reservoir... I get to start somewhere, and not being a prodigy of any sort, me thinks it must be in the "bad"lands.