For September 30, 2004 Nothing to tip your cup today, no political rants, no particular raves... just some meaningless meandering and perusing the net. Do you like your present keyboard? Well---perhaps not the keyboard itself, but the layout of the keys? I was looking at a few things and came across some links to keyboard layout, an attempt to eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand strains and typing speed hindrance. These injuries are called RSI = Repetitive Strain Injury. Well, there's a keyboard that's laid out differently than the "Qwerty" keyboard (the one I am, and you are likely, using now). One such keyboard is the Dvorak keyboard. The layout of the keys is very different from the "Qwerty" keyboard. The Qwerty gets its name from the top row of the first six letters under the numbers. I can't find it now, but I read that it's called this because it's easier to pronounce than, say, Asdfgh or Zxcvbn---so, Qwerty. The Dvorak is named after a person--but the Qwerty... well, that's just a keyboard configuration. So... a new key configuration, or, maybe problems could be eliminated with the Type Matrix more easily.
I need to spend some time here going through links... because it's been a very very long time since I did a full site correction/update. Some pages haven't been corrected for years! I can't really even remember what's on some of them! So, I need to work on this; but, I don't think it's going to happen today and tomorrow doesn't look so good, either. One of the reasons I was seeing the need to do this was in an attempt to locate an article for a reader, I realized that there were a number of dead links from the "Issues" page. But anyway, on that page I have a couple of pretty good articles by Leonard Ravenhill---part one and part two. Both, really worth reading regarding the church.
Bought a couple of new oven mitts.
Amelia thought they worked pretty well at the piano.
See, I told you I really had nothing for today.
For September 29, 2004 It's hard for me to believe that it's already been twenty three years since our son Michael's birth! It's always such a mystery to me that the days seem long and years fly by. I'll be preparing some of his favourite things for dinner tonight as we celebrate his birthday---we're missing our boy, Timothy, who'll miss another family gathering! But! He's coming home next week! So, today, lots of memories flood my mind---we sure had some sweet days when he was a little boy---long before our home was filled with many children and long before the accumulation of memories and experiences we have today---we had our first two boys. They were the center of my attention and the sum of my delights! I adore my children and wouldn't want to have any other plan---but I sometimes miss those first years and those little boys.
Many things in life seem a bit weighty and then pale in comparison to other things. A year ago today, our friend's 21 year old son, Nolan, died---the result of an automobile accident. His moment of carelessness, his speed on a wide open stretch of road with no other cars in sight probably seemed a small thing to him as he drove the curves in the 5 lane boulevard. Then, instantly that ride was over as he collided into an on coming truck---today, the family of that driver mourns the loss of their husband/father.
As I shared a year ago, it was a new day without that son---and now, it's been a year. I shared it was the first day in eternity with the LORD for Nolan and has probably felt like an eternity for our friends without him home all this year. Our hearts and prayers go out to this family as they continue the journey without their son/brother.
Another mother walks this path... another tragedy in Everett as recklessness extinguishes another life. It's was grievous to read of another fatality... another speeding car... another life lost to folly. How I wish I could reach boys who love to drive fast, who think nothing of getting where they want to go no matter who or what's in their way, boys who think they're invincible and that death won't visit them or their companions; boys who dance with danger... I so wish and pray that they'd hear the message of a father who, in tears and anguish, was pleading with young men in the intensive care unit at Harbourview, to not drive fast, to not play around in cars---the joyride isn't worth death in the end.
Nolan 2-14-1982 to 9-29-2003
For September 28, 2004 I should have known that coming from Sean, this'd be funny--- but I immediately reacted to the catchy title! So, here you go... I'm adding this to today's blog bcz what I'd previously written was a little further south than this and this is the sort of thing my boys, especially, find hilarious. So, this one's for you, Timothy!
** SUSPECT ARRESTED **
At Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious 'Al-gebra' movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult." Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y,' and refer to themselves as unknowns,' but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isoscales used to say, 'There are three sides to every triangle.'"
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, 'If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.'
Fall leaves... Fall leaves the summer behind.
Years ago, a transformation took place but I didn't realize it at first. I thought it was some particular event or events that caused these feelings of dread or dislike of fall or the changing season. Then I began to see the fall as that dreaded time of year where we transition from the busy days, the productive labour and financially advantageous work of summer.
Why am I dreading this season---this change? Lately, I've begun to see the fall and winter as a climb. It's not terrible---I'm not afraid "for the household" so to speak, [Proverbs 31.21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.] For the LORD has proven Himself strong on our behalf year after year. He has demonstrated His loving kindness, His mercy and His "watchcare" over us throughout our whole marriage. Of this, I am confidently resolute: I will serve Him and I will wait on Him.
So then... what of all this? I'm just not ready for the trek into the cold, dark, wet, dirty, sloppy days of winter. That's probably sounding very ungrateful and perhaps even resentful that I should accept only the good from the Hand of the LORD and not the adversities? It's not even that---He's shown me He is ever near in joy and in sorrow. His tender mercies are new every morning. I know I ought to be glad... this old farmhouse is heated with wood, the porridge pot's on for breakfast and the kettle's on for tea; the soup pot's on for dinner most nights and we snuggle by the stove for our family times in the Word and visiting late at night. Candles and pink lights make the house seem warm (even when it's chilly!). So, all these things really and truly make for sweet memories---memories I love and days I'll never forget. So... these days, these transition days are probably just the wall to get over. As our niece, who has graduated from the Sheriff's Academy, shared with us, getting over the wall was one of the hardest parts of the program. We've used the phrase around our home numerous times over the years as many years ago, a man shared with a group assembled to hear an address he was to give and that was sort of the centerpiece of his talk. I can't remember much else of what he shared that day---except to "get over the wall."
So... the fall... the wall... there's much to do in the weeks ahead---much in the way of preparation for the winter months---things that, when springtime comes, we'll be ever so grateful we took the time to do -now-! There are many things we do only in the winter months so these are the things I'm attempting to focus on and plan for!
For September 27, 2004 Sort of a dreary day... sort of a dreary mind... five years ago today, my daddy, David Bears, died . I miss him... From his picture and the bottle of his cologne that I have on my desk, I open up a host of memories; and then as I close my eyes and see his face---that fragrance swirling around in my mind. I will never forget that morning or his sweet face or the precious opportunity I had each day to sit beside him as he slipped away. I will never forget the mercy of the LORD in allowing that tender time of reciting the 23rd Psalm, and then at the speaking of the words: And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever: daddy passed from this life into heaven where he met the LORD. His profession of faith at the end of his life is sweet to me now. His sweet countenance as he passed is indelibly imprinted on my heart and mind. I will always be grateful for what the LORD has done for me... I cannot tell it all.
The LORD tells us in the Word that these things shall be... these things will come to pass. His testimony is truth---all prophesy has been and/or will be fulfilled in Him. Wars, rumors of wars, quakes, signs and wonders, famines, troubles... I marvel at all of these as I reflect on the Scriptures:
Matthew 24.24: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
2Timothy 3.13 "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
Mark 13.7 "And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet."
Mark 13.8 "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows."
So... Mount Saint Helens has been rumbling again! It looks like there's a possibility of a bit of trouble in that part of the state. It's apparently not certain whether these quakes will lead to an actual eruption or if rainwater seeping down is causing the quakes and steam eruptions. However, for today, even the "worst case scenario" pales in comparison to the havoc, damage and ensuing floods from all the recent hurricanes.
A little family.
I'll have to agree with our friend, Nancy... seems that lots of what goes on at Microsoft makes them a family---more so than most families are families--that the church could take a page from the Microsoft journal on this one[this analogy *does* break down---so don't take this all the way to its conclusion] the investing in one another---the time, the compatibility, the companionship, the camaraderie, the common goals, the cash, [what?!?!] the caring, the cool cars [what?!?!] the concern for excellence, character and confidence. All those "c's" are the church (Well, except for the cash and the cool cars... but I couldn't resist. I never thought my dream car would be a fifteen passenger van, either---but I digress). Back to family and the church... isn't that what the church is? Family? Or... it ought to be. "It" becomes the operative word---a lot, lately. Going to church: it. The church: it. The building: it. The relationships between believers: it. The fellowship: it. The meeting time: it. The one-another-ing: it. The body life: it. The meeting time "structure": it. The rejection: it. The misunderstandings: it. The evangelizing: it. There are lots of "It's" in our lives, aren't there?!?!!
A little bounce.
But... for all the "it's" --- I just read a something that I think we could all use in our lives---this from Sean's site... we need bouncy balls---yes, bouncy balls. At the risk of y'all thinking I've gone totally over the edge... I think a little levity is in order. More creativity and activity---more bouncing, more allowing stuff to bounce off us---not stick to us, not ruffle us. More bounce. Goodness knows that the presidential candidates are looking for a little bounce. We buy shoes to give us a little bounce! We put a bunch of stuff in our hair to give it a little bounce. All we hope is that our little extra weight, the eggs in our baskets and the checks we send to the mortgage company won't bounce. We could all use a little bounce, though, dontcha think? So... would that we all could afford to fill a room with bouncy balls... what a powerful statement.
I'll write some more later, but just had to put up a pic that Sean sent of our Naomi holding a new baby goat yesterday afternoon! Kimberlee brought her two new baby goats to the fellowship and all the little children had a turn holding one of them. The little goats had on baby diapers :-) and this little one kept chewing on Naomi's collar.
You can get some wonderful ideas for your remodel or painting project at the Benjamin Moore website. You can click on a colour shade in the left menu and see the picture on the right with the shade you've chosen. O, dontcha wish you could actually paint a room as easily (or change it whenever you want with just a click).
For September 25, 2004 Register to Vote! There's still a small window of opportunity to do so before the November election!
I'm still mulling over the whole geriatric motherhood deal... I'm thinking how odd it would be to need a few "walkers" in the living room here. One for Wes, one for me and one for our baby... then, imagine the paper products! We'd be going through Depends and Paper's at the same rate! Then how about teeth! Ours would be falling out as the baby's teeth were coming in---but then in short order we'd all be losing our teeth at about the same rate! But think of the benefits---when we mash the food for ourselves, we'd be able to share dinners with the baby or just buy baby food for all of us! Baby blankets could double as lap blankets... and when we drool or they drool, no need to search for spit-up cloths---we'd have plenty available. Then think of all the baby sitters we'd have... our friend's grandchildren could come and visit us to entertain our children!
Then just think we'd be able to take naps together... and when we go for a stroll in the park, we could let the children play while we rest on the park bench before making the arduous trek home again. But just think of it... research suggests that walking may actually ward of Alzheimer's! Now you see why there are *so few* senile toddlers! Their running around is probably what's buying them decades of clear thinking!
Well, then... the benefits of age would increase year by year as gravity wreaks havoc on our bodies! The loose skin under our chin and arms would provide hours of entertainment to the toddlers. And just think of it... since we would have spent all of the first 55+ years running around, we'd have plenty of reason and wisdom to sit and read large print books together... knowing that time's short, very short. All this and more benefit to waiting until after menopause to have children. It's just mind boggling isn't it!?! Aren't you glad the LORD in His mercy and wisdom didn't originally designed us that way?
I sent out a Welcome Home message that deals with journaling. What an important activity it is to journal and how beneficial it becomes over the years as a testimony of the working of the LORD in our lives.
September 24, 2004 We had Bible study here last night and had great conversation regarding our walk with the LORD---what HE has done for us and our response to Him. It's interesting that each week the thoughts that are shared and the Scriptures addressed seem to be interwoven in the experiences of the brothers and sisters---though, we're all traveling different avenues on this road together. Though prayer is not answered in our timing or isn't exactly answer how we requested, it is the astonishing Hand of God evidenced in the results of faith in Him in our lives.
Here's one of those stories that gets filed away into the "hard to believe" folder. Seems a woman (who had previously undergone chemotherapy for cancer) became pregnant and gave birth after an ovarian tissue transplant (it was not proven inconclusively that the pregnancy indeed resulted from the transplanted tissue, however).
One of the quotes I am chuckling over is not the procedure, certainly, and it's not the (assumed resulting) pregnancy and birth, but a statement made by one of the docs, saying that this "ground-breaking procedure that doctors say could one day allow women to delay motherhood beyond menopause." I'm here thinking: delaying motherhood beyond menopause... Hmmm... our children *weren't* delayed... and I'm in relatively great health today and the thought of beginning my family now?!? Gasp! The thought of going to McDonald's for a senior coffee to allow my own toddlers (and not grandchildren) to play on the toys... or to go to geriatric docs and pediatric docs simultaneously... to purchase orthopedic shoes for myself and my toddler on the same day? Then to know that even with a long life I would likely never see my children's children. Omy. Another proof to me that the LORD knows what He's doing with that "biological clock" and the timing of natural fertility. This said with all due respect to those who've had medical intervention in their lives for conception, birth, and health. When our grandchildren are here for a visit, our own little Ami calls Wes Grandpa Daddy. It's sort of sad to me that motherhood is thought of as something to be manipulated---medical ethics seem to know no bounds. I find myself wondering why God allows some things... why He works in the way He does and what are the consequences of procedures such as these?
Hmmmm... I'm no conspiracy theorist--really I'm not, but when our friend, Nancy, told me about a WorldnetDaily article about some homeland security exercise with students Michigan in which a fictitious radical wacko group was introduced and the foe turned out to be homeschoolers. According to this article, "About 60 middle and high school students from local public schools acted out the part of victims, the Chronicle reported. College students were there to apply makeup that added to the realism. More than 200 people planned to observe the exercise, the paper said, including bus drivers, school administrators, emergency personnel and evaluators from agencies across the state." Now... apparently there was no acting out by these "radical homeschoolers" and evidently, an overturned bus was the result of their terrorist plot.
Then came some sort of an apology from the District for the homeschooler-terrorist link
and the Security drill with 'Wackos Against Schools and Education' ----but dontcha think it's a little odd? Following the revelation of poor judgment (to say the least) Dan Stout, chief deputy of Muskegon County Emergency Services, said that the fictitious group "had nothing to do with any real homeschool population." Hmmm... sure. Homeschoolers as terrorists was just a random thought for the guy. Don't be surprised... one day it'll be the Christians in this country. Really... And as far as homeschoolers being labeled as "wackos" against schools and education? Against education? Nothing could be further from the truth. Against most government schools? Hmmmm.
Seems like a ridiculous and nonsensical argument used by the justices in the Terri Schiavo case---her feeding tube . This, to me, is just another in a long string of incidences of judicial tyranny. With judges sidestepping the laws of states regarding marriage and homosexuality, penalizing or rewarding offenders depending on inclinations or preferences, then there will one day be a major break down our entire political system, once hailed for its intrinsic wisdom, unique value and timeless order, will have become so abused and mangled in application or misapplication that not only will it have no power but will also have no function and our country will become a socialist state. Now---how's that from someone who's not a conspiracy theorist!?!?
September 23, 2004 This would have been my Dad's birthday today... and O, how I miss my daddy today! O, the bittersweet's of life. I wrote this letter about him a year after his death---I could have written much more at the time and since then have filled many pages. O, the power of life and death... it's so over when it's over! He was an amazing individual... one of those larger than life sorts of men---a real gentleman and surely, one of my heroes.
We enjoyed celebrating Wes's birthday... he loved opening his cards and gifts!
We didn't take enough pics,
though, seems we were
too busy talking!
I think the highlight of the evening, in addition to having all the family home, was the phone call from Timothy in California.
He sang to Wes, talked to him for a bit and then talked to everyone in the family!
Yes! It was a very long phone call---a very sweet phone call.
On raising boys to be men: I wish I'd said all this as succinctly as Jack Heald did. In the raising of many boys to be men, I've shared many of these exact thoughts with each one of them; Wes has enlightened them on many of these same points. This piece is sort of like Wear Sunscreen, the piece is by Mary Schmich that has been attributed to Kurt Vonnegut (who probably wishes he'd written it!). In this QotD, Jack Heald shares advice to sons on such topics as: "...the gamut - Life, God, Women, Fighting, Working, Dying, Friendship, Money, Politics, Education, Culture, Leadership. It may be a book one day, a la Chicken Soup or Jabez..."
In the news
O, the woes of CBS... Bet sometimes they wish they'd never started in the mudslinging biz because of the reality of those who sling mud get all dirty---or are dirtier. On the reporting by Dan Rather and the falsified documents he utilized as the centerpiece of his report on Bush's National Guard story and in regard to a particular political agenda or perspective, CBS Spokeswoman Kelli Edwards said, "It is obviously against CBS News standards and those of every other reputable news organization to be associated with any political agenda." John Carlson, a former commentator at KIRO-TV who is host of a conservative radio talk show on KVI in Seattle, spoke of Mary Mapes, veteran producer at CBS News, saying that she's a talented producer who was "quite liberal" and one with whom he often argued politics. In addition, Carlson's quoted as saying that Mapes disliked the current President Bush's father. This all adds to the fuel and then the fire going on at CBS.
CBS appears to have dug a deep hole for itself---and yet now it seems anyone who speaks against that station will be cast into the hole! Seems Brian Maloney, a talk show host in Seattle was fired for suggesting that Rather be let go or retired. The station manager said Maloney was fired for other reasons---but it's interesting that the action was taken with no warning and immediately following Maloney's comments on Rather. Perhaps KIRO doesn't have the same determination as CBS to not "be associated with any political agenda." It doesn't matter that CBS says it has a policy against a particular political agenda---they're an insatiable liberal propaganda machine! And for Brian Maloney, as is stated here, he'll have no trouble getting another job. And as far a Mary Mapes is concerned... I wonder if she's feeling that perhaps this time, Dan Rather ought to share a space in this pressure cooker and take some of the heat on himself... after all... he's the face of CBS. I'm thinking Brian Maloney had it right.
Omy--and to consider that I used to listen to Cat Stevens... and now to see what's happening to him/his name/his religious affiliations-----and to hear his take: this is all a mistake? Is islam a peaceful religion?
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Wes, happy birthday to you!
September 22, 2004 I'm grateful to the LORD for the great gift of my husband, born on this day---for in Him and in my husband I am truly blessed. The LORD has been merciful and so gracious to us over the years. His kindness and his love for the LORD Jesus is evidenced in our home each day---as well as his praise for each one of our children and the great joy they, each one, bring him. His life has touched and blessed countless lives, his encouragement has lifted many and his prayers have inspired many. His love for our children has carried them far and has helped them through even the darkest of days. His candor and humor have been enjoyed by many and we've been blessed by his tenacity and honesty---sometimes, it's been hard medicine---but such a blessing nonetheless! So, for today, my thoughts are on him---this precious gift to me and for all the joys and sorrows of all the years---the many many birthdays we've celebrated! What a treasure it is to have time... to have memories and length of days and to have dreams: together. These are the best birthday gifts! I think of his mother & late father who have blessed me so much in him---I'm grateful to them and for them today!
Brother in law, David, sent these thoughts in a mail: "... but today I am pondering the number 52.
-- 52 weeks in a year, so you're like Amelia's weekly age, only in years?
-- 52 cards in a deck, so then you're playing with a full one now, right?
-- You're 52, and born in '52, right? That's pretty cool!
-- So let's say that if, when you were born, you started aging backwards in time, then right now it would be 1900, headed for 1899! Well there you go - the best I can do for now. This will probably be your day to think of comebacks, so grab your coffee cup and show us your spunk!"
Then, Wes's sister Katherine chimed in with a great list of her own:
"yes, and might I add
Great Balls of Fire,
Who'da thunk? Big Brudda's turnin' 52!
That means you are about ..................
35 years 11 months younger than Walter Cronkite, age 87
32 years 4 months younger than Pope John Paul II, age 84
28 years 3 months younger than George Herbert Bush, age 80
21 years 0 months younger than Barbara Walters, age 72
18 years 10 months younger than Larry King, age 70
12 years 7 months younger than Ted Koppel, age 64
9 years 3 months younger than Geraldo Rivera, age 61
6 years 3 months younger than George W. Bush, age 58
1 year 2 months younger than Jesse Ventura, age 53
3 years 1 month older than Bill Gates, age 48
7 years 11 months older than Cal Ripken Jr., age 44
13 years 9 months older than Mike Tyson, age 38
17 years 10 months older than Jennifer Lopez, age 34
23 years 3 months older than Tiger Woods, age 28
29 years 9 months older than Prince William, age 22
and that you were:
31 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
30 years old during Sally Ride's travel in space
28 years old when Pres. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
27 years old at the time the Iran hostage crisis began
23 years old on the U.S.'s bicentennial Fourth of July
21 years old when President Nixon left office
19 years old when Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot
16 years old at the time the first man stepped on the moon
15 years old when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated
12 years old during the Watts riot
11 years old at the time President Kennedy was assassinated
6 years old when Hawaii was admitted as 50th of the United States
5 years old when the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 was launched
not yet 1 year old at the end of the Korean War"
Well, I'm pretty sure Wes will have many comments of his own for this day! I mean, it's been two years, but seems like yesterday that he came home with totally bright white hair to surprise *ME* on his 50th birthday! Omy, I nearly passed out... seeing this stranger step out of his truck! Then I took him to his surprise party---everyone there was surprised, too!
I don't think he'll come home with any surprises today!
This was Wes at 50. (and yes... he had come home with white spray in his hair as a *surprise* for *me!*)
Yesterday, Sean sent out this link to a pic of "bad parenting" --- I imagine that some moms and dads will relate to this duck who seemed to have some trouble with her children dropping through the cracks. As Paul Harvey says, here's the rest of the story: Firefighters Rescue 7 baby ducks.
My mom sent me a link to a page with a beautiful quilt and poem (the background music is Amazing Grace---it's a bit loud if your speakers aren't turned low).
We sure love the Legacy Five and, of course, have been touched by the tremendous testimony of Roger Bennett. His continued battle with Leukemia and treatments is, I'm sure, discouraging at times and yet, it sure is *encouraging* to read his journal. O, how the LORD is working! He's allowing many we know to battle the ravages of cancer. Yet through them all, I pray God will be glorified---that the LORD Jesus will be lifted up---and honoured in these lives. There is no battle too hard for the LORD---we can be sure that the LORD never shifts His gaze, nothing ever surprises Him, nothing ever just occurs to Him---He is the LORD: Creator of Heaven and earth and knows every star by name and the number of hairs on every head and the number of hairs that fall from the heads of those who undergo treatment and He holds every tear in His bottle and never sleeps nor slumbers---this the my God---This is Jesus the LORD. Nothing surpasses the Greatness of the LORD and nothing compares to Him and no religion saves---it's all Jesus, all the weights of the bag are His. O---in these difficult times---O, What a Saviour!
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
A sweet benefit to walking with the LORD is fellowshipping with believers and sharing times in the Word. We did just that last night as a couple of young ladies came and joined us for some dinner and spent some time in the Word. We feel the great freedom to be reaching our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ---Romans 1.16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." We hear of so many calling on "God" but who have no faith in Jesus or do not know what it is to be saved or to have saving faith. So it was precious to just talk over different aspects of trusting in Jesus as we began last night's study in the first two chapters of John. I encouraged one of the young ladies to read and pray, to begin a prayer journal---her faith is young though she's "attended church" her whole life. O, I pray that she will taste and see that the LORD is good and that He will show Himself strong on her behalf and on the behalf of her sister.
Since we believe the LORD has been calling us to minister wherever we are, with believers in homes, we also have a renewed fervor to walk in faith and strongly desire to see others walk with Him, sharing the gospel in homes and fellowshipping together in this way.
Sometimes people want to know "what we're doing" because they *know* us and care about us and because they *know* us, they really want to understand what we're up to and why. There are other comments, but you know what? I am really coming to see that this is all part of this necessary phase of transition. I receive a blog "update" from "Simply Church." This particular blog (9/21) is pretty informative and gives a bit of a taste of what we're doing sometimes---though our gatherings in homes vary and our fellowship varies. The House Church Blog has some other angles which, on some days, would give other perspectives that would be similar to fellowship we have with believers house to house.
September 21, 2004 Well, if you missed the Baskin Robbins' 31 flavors free cone day, do not despair! You have an opportunity TODAY! to have a free cone at Dairy Queen. The Free Cone day is to celebrate the last day of summer with a free cone from Dairy Queen and to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. What they also feature [but didn't advertise] is a free cone to celebrate the last day of Wes's 52nd year... as his birthday is tomorrow! So... go to Dairy Queen, have a happy unbirthday cone and benefit the Children's Miracle Network---and we sure believe EVERY child is a true miracle!
I'm sure thankful to have such a precious daughter---and more to have such a sweet friendship with her. It was a blessing for me to be able to talk with her tonight... something we do a lot of around here is talk. She is like a soothing balm to me---a Band-aid for my thoughts. We were talking over the changes of this past year and all the ways in which things we do affect other people. Seems funny to me that other people's changes affect some people. Well, one thing that is unforeseen in change is, well, the change that change brings. As we have changed our thinking on such things as the traditional church and what it means to walk with other believers, we have done so at the great risk of friendship---or the risk of great friendships, at the great risk of being misunderstood and at the great risk of deeply hurting friends' feelings---our own feelings, notwithstanding, have been pained in this process as well.
Additionally, all the things we wish we could say but cannot; all the things we wish we hadn't said but did; all the things we wish we had conveyed but couldn't and all the myriad of things that are or have been misunderstood because of all of the above and more. I am beginning to see that misunderstandings come when we look at another's position through *our* lens instead of through *theirs* and when we try to reason from our standpoint instead of from theirs. But, we all do that, don't we. We all see things perfectly through our lens---through our own filter---smudged as it is, and often totally miss what another person is communicating.
So, for all the things I cannot say, for all the things I wish I had thought to say---they matter not today. For today, as the Word says, has sufficient evil. Matthew 6.34 "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." I attempt to take no thought for tomorrow---to not fret over things that are not mine to handle. I am not so dull or so callused that I do not see nor feel the pain of others, the questions of others, the ridicule of others or even the discontent of others. But at the same time, I am painfully aware that the road the LORD has led us on is not wide and it is not well traveled---yet it *is* traveled though, and for that, I am grateful. I suppose if we were to have just decided to lie down in the ship and to quietly never cause a wake, we could remain as we were and slowly drift away and in the drifting, never stir the fish, never discomfort the other passengers or cause even the commotion of a deep sigh.
Instead, we left the church structure we were in and we no longer attend the "services" we once did---but how to convey to the believers that it was the ship we disembarked and left---not the people in the ship---for if the people in the ship are angered by those who are outside it, then our reason for leaving the ship has been vindicated and our determination to not participate in superficiality has been validated and with Christ as our head, we seek to walk with and as believers in Jesus. For if being in the ship determines friendship, then I cannot see it that way. As soon as I type this I am aware that not everyone in the ship feels as I do... of course. But *I* did feel this and *do* choose a different path today---I do see a different way---but this is not an attack on those who *don't * see what I see. A friend who lives some distance away recently said, just be. Just be... and with that, the friend was speaking volumes to me--to us.
How can I/we convey to the beloved friends... without perpetuating the accusation of division---the accusation of causing division. How can I/we convey that there was a choice---an ultimatum given, a decision to be made between staying or leaving---causing division or keeping peace. How can anyone in life make a choice that to others will not seem like an attack? A man chooses to go to a particular bank---to the exclusion of all other banks? A woman shops at a particular store at the neglect of the others? A grape is chosen over an apple? A cup of coffee over a cup of tea... a loaf of bread over a cracker... a car ride over a hike; choices we make necessarily negate other choices---for one man, one choice is better than the other man views it to be. But for another man, making a choice is an affront to the others.
I share these things in a public blog because I am painfully aware that there are other believers walking this same path in different parts of the world(!)---wondering how to proceed on the path, how to communicate with others, how to speak the truth: tactfully, in love and with peace---with the law of kindness on one's lips. Many are not dealing with the "church issues" but with other issues and so, I see the parallels and the correlations that can be drawn. So, how shall we then live? How shall we proceed that the world may see and know we are Christians by our love? That the brethren will know we are true yokefellows---(a word used only once in the Bible: Philippians 4.3; or fellowlabourers---used only twice in the Word: Philippians 4.3 and Philemon 1.24.
So, then, again... as for me, I seek peace. I seek, so far as it depends on me: peace with all men.
I continue to mull over 1 Corinthians 13... Love hopes all things. I have hope and because of Jesus, I have love.
... it never fails.
September 20, 2004 We had another lovely weekend---and of course, as has been the activity du jour: more canning! This time: pear butter. Lots of pear butter. Thus endeth the "ways with pears" for this year. We've enjoyed the abundance of fruit to can and look forward this week to the canning of applesauce---well, I'd actually look forward to having Timothy help me with the canning as he can really crank out the sauce with the squeezo-strainer (It's something like this) that makes applesauce a breeze. This time, I may simply cook the apples sort of mash them to a sauce in the large pot and then fill and process the quarts.
It's not uncommon for me to receive letters from readers/visitors of this site and some specifically concerning modest dress and the wearing of dresses; thus, today was no exception. So... I'd like to take a moment to address the matter of modest dress as I have come to see it and preface this by saying that there are many women I know, love and admire who don't share my views or once did and no longer do. You know, this is not hard for me, nor is it something I fret over: the wearing of dresses only. I know that I hear there are extenuating circumstances in which a woman perhaps feels that pants are more appropriate and will defend the necessity to wear them---and with them, I do not argue. I know there are women who've at one time or another felt awkward around me if they were wearing pants and I have attempted to simply share with them that the Word tells us that women are to be dressed in modest apparel or for men to not wear things that pertain to women and this is the understanding that I have of what those verses mean and how I live them out. I would rather err on the side of so called "conservatism" than to err the other way and perhaps cause a brother to stumble or to dress in a manner that I've come to see would be a compromise for me. As an aside, my wearing of dresses only is also a reminder to me that my husband wears the pants in our family and yet I know my place with him and he knows I do not seek to undermine his headship. His masculine role and my feminine role are easily distinguished. In addition to this, it's been a thought I have that it would be so extremely bizarre for Wes to reach over to my side of the closet to wear *my* clothes---rather obscene in my thinking and so, conversely, I determine not to have my daily apparel appear that it came from his side of the closet or purchased from the men's department. It's sort of odd to me now: that this is such an area of contention or such a gray area---it's surely not gray to me. Well, so, with that I'll just continue with the personal belief along that women ought to wear women's clothing and men ought to wear men's clothing. To the dear sister who wrote with questions, I end with this: seek the LORD, pray about the matter, discuss it with your husband and come to a conclusion that will not change with the winds of time or circumstances. You'll be blessed as you follow the LORD and His leading and your home will be characterized by peace as you do.
Last week some of the dad's and the children went on a hike up Mount Pilchuck. They were very tired and wet when they returned home! Hannah was not anxious to hear the planning for the next fun hike.
They'll go again maybe when you get home, Timothy! ;-)
There was an article in the Herald yesterday morning (Ellen Goodman - Boston Globe) and I thought it almost humorous in a weird sort of way---but, as the Bible says, the foolish things confound the wise. Seems that, from what I gather from her article, Washington Post columnist, Phillip Longman is waking up to a reality he and others hadn't evaluated, let alone anticipated, as he concluded: "When secular-minded Americans decide to have few, if any, children, they unwittingly give a strong evolutionary advantage to the other side of the culture divide." Ah, strong evolutionary advantage. Now that's one we hadn't heard before. Especially considering that most of the people we know who have a larger that average number of children have them because they've simply left the decision to the LORD as to the size of their family. They've not taken the tact that it is theirs to choose or theirs to manipulate. And for sure: they've never figured in: "evolutionary advantage." So now, here's the bizarre and almost sad twist---it seems to me that those who "believe in evolution" support it, endorse it, protect it. Now there's some indication---O, no! This isn't the evolution we want! I'm led to wonder: what in the world do you expect? Eliminate marriage between one man and one woman, promote homosexuality, promote all manner of idolatry there are going to be harsh consequences. Then she reports that Phillip Longman goes on to lament: "Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts."
Hmmm. As if genetics plays a part? There's a Republican gene... a Democrat gene... a Libertarian gene... a Socialist gene? Hmmm... after all the children I've borne, one thing I'm very sure of and that's that none of them are the same and none of them are of identical personality or character---well... all of them are characters.
More could be written.
September 19, 2004 As we fellowship with believers today, in many places, I pray we, each one, would be filled with a keen sense of the presence of the LORD and that we will live in harmony as God's children. Four times in Psalm 107 we read: O that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! When the LORD says something once, we ought listen. When He says something twice... even more so. When, in His Word He says something repetitively, O, how significant it is!
O that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
I wonder... I pray... will God bless America?
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7.14
September 18, 2004 So, the Barna Group has discovered that divorce in the Christian community corresponds with divorce in the secular or "non-Christian" community. And sadly, the numbers, in some cases, are higher. This is based on a sampling of over 3400 individuals in the United States. Among those who are married, a third have been divorced. It's a staggering thought that faith is esteemed so lightly or *seems* so ineffectual in believers' lives and that the Word of God *appears* to be just merely one of many guides for believers---or so it seems. This is particularly sad because, regardless of what couples may think, divorce isn't just a an experience between the husband and wife---but is shared by the children in that home/family and the consequences, while seemingly insignificant, are often devastating to children---not to mention the kind of legacy they inherit. O, that couples would take hold of the Truths of God's Word---obey His commands and follow Him. O, that all would have an Heirloom marriage. I wrote a piece that I entitled, Someday, An Heirloom Marriage, and it was for the express purpose of sharing the great value, the great blessings: of a heritage of faith, of parents who've shared a life long, committed, loving marriage and the great blessing of passing that heritage to their children. And giving them hope and a portrait of what the LORD describes as a picture of Christ and the Church.
Technology so good: it's almost scary! Seems that Amazon's ramped up its powerful search engine, A9, making it more powerful than Google (though, in an agreement, it appears that it also accesses Google's database) and certainly of more value than other search engines. The features of this technology sound fabulous---but there may be some serious potentially harmful side-effects: further loss of privacy and opportunity for others to gather information about you that you may not necessarily wish to share. Apparently, equipped with a database capabilities that will enable great flexibility and indepth searches that will produce more comprehensive results through a record of your searches, your diary and related and updated links, including a feature that automatically highlights your search term on the page you've selected. That's one of those things that's often been irksome to me as I've studied a particular topic and have spent a good deal of time searching pages for the entry and have been totally unable to locate it on the link page. I've just read these highlights on this A9.com page
Well---I was thinking back on recent "grandmother" sorts of conversations... as I jsu8t received another "forward" that had "Grandma" in the title; anyway, I was doing a small bit of catering for a large birthday party (A "Red Hat" party) last week and one of the guests was talking to me and exclaimed that *I* ought to join the Red Hat Society! I just barely squeaked out: uh... I'm not... o o o ooold enough. :(
Wes had lost his Bible... he'd been terribly disappointed and a bit distressed over it---he takes his Bible *everywhere* he goes---but then, last night a woman called to say she'd found it in the street... oops... probably set it on the truck when he was getting his keys. Too bad it wasn't his Krispy Kreme travel mug---much as he likes it or his Starbuck's mug or his lunch box with the half eaten peanut-butter and jelly sandwich in it or anything but the sword! Well, so now I am attempting to dry it out for him. I decided to look online for proper drying procedures and came across MANY links! Here's one link for salvaging damaged books and papers. There are some *great* ideas. The *freezer* was one I hadn't thought of--- I will be using paper blotting and drying/page turning techniques. Now... if this were *southern california*... okay, okay... I know: sun damage.
September 17, 2004 Kathryn has received her course material for the Naturally Healthy Professional Herbalist's Course. Here's the thirty-seven week course outline---you can see it's going to be a very intense year! She's so looking forward to this study and to whatever the LORD has for her ahead. The LORD surely has been working in her life and preparing her for this time. We are looking forward to having her make personal application here in our home! Who knows? We just might all make some major changes here in our home. But justa sec--- I need to grab a cuppa coffee before I finish the rest of today's blog.
Whenever I read headlines like these, regarding our local economy and business forecast, my thoughts turn to... traffic. Wow---we love our beautiful countryside almost as much as we love our lattés, but at first blush, you'd think we all love driving around in our cars more! Or, make that sitting in our cars. Now... I'm pretty sure that's how all the espresso stands emerged: someone thought: mygoodness, if all these people are going to be sitting out here anyway, we might at well give them something to drink! And it had to be hot because it's so cold here! So, voilá, there was the answer. Now, the unanticipated problems of the combination of sitting in one's automobile and having the energy to run home and back before the next light really add to the agitated driver syndrome around here. It sure doesn't seem as though much is going to change---except with the supposed boom in the economy: more cars=more lattés=more traffic---and lots of it!
Well, my detours into the political arena are relatively brief as I determine to get back to my senses and get my thoughts back where they belong: in my home... with my children... for my husband... for writing... and for the work the LORD has given/allowed me to do---and bloggin' about it all. Sweet, very sweet.
September 16, 2004 We're slowly making our way toward autumn---and there's sure a chill and fall is in the air---and well: water is falling, too! ;-)
The news is tough these days---it's tough to wade through the muck and mire. In fact, much of what's written on the front pages of our nations' newspapers resembles the real mess left behind in the hurricane ravaged South. It's sort of scary what's grabbing the headlines and the news reporters' attention---scarier still is what's going to be written, fabricated, reported, retorted in the little more than 6 weeks ahead. For now, when a falsified document can be validated because 86 year old, Marian Knox can certify that while the documents are false, the information in them is correct, we are in trouble! The memo is a fraud but the information is correct? Interesting. Well---perhaps worse is that opinion polls are being cited as to the authenticity of the documents---as if what people believe about something they're not privy to and really know nothing about is valid confirmation. Omy, it's going to get thick---very thick! Seems that Rather is really fighting an old battle.
Strange that more recent actions or decisions are not being scrutinized as the two men's situations 30 years ago; I mean, incredibly, some of what's being hashed out is really becoming ridiculous and twisted. Seems bizarre that valuable time is being gobbled up in mudslinging---all the while: REAL things are REALLY going on right now! Decisions are being made, actions are being taken, and history is being made: right now. But then... maybe there is a desire to allow the smoke to blur the vision or the reality of recent actions.
One thing this mess ought to produce is a very significant impetus for men to tell the truth and *live* above reproach---people may *seem* to forget things, or not notice things, or not document things---but still water runs deep and sometimes things whispered in the ears are announced on the housetops. The Word is full of admonitions to mere men---be sure your sin will find you out---there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed in the Light. Sobering, very sobering.
Just heard a commercial regarding the volatility of the Stock Market and the increasing value of *gold* ---that *now* is a very good time to own gold. Well, women have known *that* for years!
September 15, 2004 We had such a lovely day yesterday visiting at a 'tea-party' at a friend's home. It was a lovely time---one I hope to repeat again soon and "duplicate" here in our home. One of my favourite memories is that of a Friend's Tea we have been to twice---what a blessing those days were and what effort and love went into the preparation for the sweet times. We need to do more of this--- more celebrating friends---friendship. I know this is a necessary next "step" as we transition out of a traditional church setting into meeting house-to-house. The traditional setting has many "built-in" socials, but house to house isn't necessarily on a weekly or yearly schedule and so there isn't a set weekly format. This is really not a negative--rather an encouragement to me to be creative and flexible---after all, the church is the body and life is filled with much to celebrate, much to commemorate, and much to share with others.
It's commendable that Martha Stewart is open about her situation and desire to put things behind her and begin serving prison time---but you've got to wonder if she's repentant or if she's taking any responsibility or culpability for the situation that's led to her current circumstance.
Is CBS rather biased? It's sure looking like Rather is fast becoming a liability to that network! I write about this---not because I watch TV or because I might even support network television, but because of the millions of Americans who do and because of the incredible sway of the media. Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings have been the voices of America for decades and yet--- they surely don't speak for many Americans---Americans who seemingly have little or no voice. But---that seems to be changing, at least in the case of Dan Rather---because of his choice to [again] use false information (the Bush National Guard Reports) to discredit an individual and his repeated agenda to promote left-leaning ideology. The news continues to be more political campaign than anything else and doing "whatever it takes" could well be Rather's epithet. Defending Kerry isn't proving to be a very safe bet these days and Rather just might find himself anchored somewhere else---that is: if CBS hopes to maintain credibility. Of course---the incredible is much more lucrative! I mean---I know! I read it in the Star!
It's almost laughable all the charges leveled at President Bush, his wealth and fortune. Seems the Dems are launching a campaign to imply that he has lied about his National Guard duty and is, therefore, not qualified to lead this country. Mygoodness---the man's been the President for four years---all this scamming about his National Guard duty and Kerry's Viet Nam duty---doesn't it matter what's been going on with these men lately?!? If it's so appalling that Bush has a couple of bucks, shouldn't it be equally abysmal that Kerry's not exactly in a soup kitchen line?
I was thinking about the patch... you know, like one used for those who wish to quit smoking and wonder if those [of us] who wish to lose weight ought to just wear a patch over our mouths--well, perhaps with a small opening for a Starbucks coffee straw--- dontcha know we love our lattés! I'm sure there are times when people wish I'd wear a patch over my mouth for other reasons---or perhaps over my typing fingers! I mean---there are like, a million uses for duct tape and the patch over the mouth is just a minuscule one, but probably the most valuable! Well, this time the patch I'm talking about is another Microsoft patch---and in order to keep one's system running smoothly and without vulnerability, the patches must be kept up to date. Speaking of lattés, I've come to a pretty tasty mocha concoction. I make an espresso---heat a half cup of milk and stir in a couple of teaspoon's of Ghirardelli's
Friend, Barbara, sent me a link---yes, it *is* a brilliant idea! The Liberty Bill Act: A bill before Congress, H.R.1785 and S. 244, initiated by students, to put an abridged version of the Constitution on the back of U.S. currency. I always appreciate mail from her---she's up on the best stuff! Very encouraging, Barbara's books have been a real source of inspiration to me. You see---when a woman has been wifing, mothering, homeschooling etc., for many years, it's more than a "pep talk" to receive encouragement from a veteran in all those areas---it's a life-line! Barbara Curtis is the author of a number of books and numerous articles that are both timely and inspirational to me.
September 14, 2004 Pretty incredible, the success of Oprah Winfrey and her various media/television productions. Timothy sent me a link to an article regarding her recent gifts to 276 people in her audience---extraordinary! We're all wowed by such extravagance and her philanthropic ventures. I can't imagine what her audience thought of all the gifts... the parking lot filled with cars tied up with red bows.
This is a summary from the latest Vision Forum newsletter: "A growing anti-constitutional movement seeks the disestablishment and transformation of our American system of government through two foundational attacks. First, fearing a Republican presidential victory, liberals call for the end to the Electoral College in the name of “democracy.” Second, leaders within both major political parties set aside constitutional safeguards necessary to preserve the American family from a tyrannical judiciary. In response to both trends, Vision Forum releases two groundbreaking books: The Importance of the Electoral College by Dr. George Grant, and How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary by Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr.
A visit to the Judicial Forum site will be an encouragement with its articles in the days ahead regarding the political landscape. These are trying days... how did that go? These are days that try men's souls (yes, that was said in totally different circumstances than what we're experiencing today---but oddly, perhaps similar, nonetheless). It's puzzling to me how our societal decline is so unmistakable and yet as the Word says: men call evil good and good evil. What is so obviously wrong, morally and spiritually, is rather embraced as perfectly acceptable by much of society.
We know that the Word is true and that God is not a man that He could lie---we read of mankind in Psalms 52.3 "Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness." and in Isaiah 5.20: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" God's Word stands---it is the infallible Word that stands! Isn't it incredible that man, for all his ingenuity, all his "master-minding" and all his inventions and planning cannot stand against the Word of God and I've often marveled that all men's inventions and intentions eventually fall into the Hands of the Living God---it is (Hebrews 10.31) a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God. "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD." Proverbs 21.30 When I think of these passages, I am reminded of Jonathan Edward's sermon: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It's one of those sermons that cuts right to the heart of the matter. I know many are probably offended at the intensity and *seeming* critical nature of the writing.
Our Samuel thinks the "SuperMag" magnetic building kit that's offered at vision Forum is the neatest toy! He played with it at our friend's home the other night. Now, after seeing it on the site, he's pretty interested in getting one! There are so many educational, informative and encouraging articles and products at Vision Forum! I rarely have opportunity to peruse the site, but when I do, I am so inspired---to study, to help our children appreciate the foundations of this country and our Christian heritage!
September 13, 2004 The blogs I write are simply perspectives or observations of the day from my vantage point. I write to share what's going on in the news... what's going on in society and slices of life in our home. The slices of life lately include glimpses of our walk with the LORD and His direction for our family to fellowship with believers outside the traditional "church." My writings are not intended to attack the institutional church or traditional church. While I have written strong statements regarding the traditions of men vs. the basic design for the function of the body of Christ, I do not seek to divide nor to be divisive. I know by the number of letters I've received regarding the trends in some "church groups" that many are seeking to follow the LORD in ways that are not "mainstream." And, I am grateful for the encouraging letters I've received. When we stepped out in faith and began fellowshipping with believers in homes, instead of "in" the institutional church, it was a risk... but it was not an attempt to be divisive, our "departure" was not concluded hastily or lightly and has not been without a large measure of grief and now, misunderstanding. I openly share these things because of the large number who are experiencing change in their lives, the number of people who're walking with the LORD outside the mainstream, who face a new direction and think, perhaps, that they're the only ones in turmoil over life situations or decisions that are being made. The LORD is merciful.
And so we travel this road with the reality that there will be offense---but our prayer is that in time we will be able to gather in the light of the LORD and that our way or another person's way will not hinder genuine fellowship. Our prayer and determination is to live at peace with all men so far as it depends on us and that we will seek peace. Again: Hebrews 12.14 "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"
I guess there's nothing more for today. It's time to regroup.
September 10, 2004 I received an email with the link to a blog I read occasionally: house church blog and, of course, I enjoy it because I "get it" --- I understand where the writer is coming from and perhaps I enjoy it because his work sounds like my husband's and so I guess it's that "same page" mentality that draws me to reading it, reading blogs from other outside-the-box-er's, and websites that offer insights into the whole "church without walls" way of living in Christ. I continue to realize that this "outside-the-box" thinking has an inherent progression of stages or phases through which one courses and I recognize that initially, there are hours of talking, discussing, praying, searching, and yes: even crying over what's been left behind, what's going on today and what's going to happen tomorrow. There's this sort of detox that goes on---sort of a smack-the-forehead revelation that the way we've always done things may be really not right---no, wait! really not biblical. The way we've been programmed to think, act, believe is really counter to what is really set forth in the Word.
Today I began to wonder what in the world would the world be like if we, believers, were to be let out of the box and into the world---what would the world be like if believers actually walked as believers *in* the world and didn't stay isolated-insulated from the world. I'm so totally not talking *of* the world---just *in* the world: being available, living and doing the work of Jesus. Okay, okay, okay---I'm even scaring *me* here. Enough for today. I'm not backsliding... I'm not defecting... I'm not regressing to a life apart from Christ----no, quite the contrary. The institution is man-made and it really "makes" some men. They may *seem* right on... but Christianity cannot/must not be institutionalized--- for it is then an institution and not a relationship; it is then a hindrance to spiritual growth. And you know what? I think a lot more people *know* this than are acting on it.
My greatest hope is that (whether in "churches" or inside or outside the "institutional church") believers will set about loving one another and loving the LORD---living out Jesus in this world in spirit and in truth---without hypocrisy and without man-centered forms. I am recognizing that we are not going to agree with everyone, nor is everyone going to agree with us. My prayer and goal is: so far as it depends on me, to live at peace with all men.
Hebrews 12.14 "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"
Philippians 2.15 "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
The benefit of sitting in this chair on this side of the screen is that I've been blessed to receive a number of wonderfully encouraging letters over the years---blessed by the conversations through email and the inspiration they are to me. Inspiring is not really the accurate word---but for now, it's the one I'll use to describe what happens when I finish reading letters from people I pray to one day meet. I'm inspired to press on, to study, to pray, to walk with Jesus and seek His Face. I'm inspired to learn all I can, apply all I can and then share all I can. I'm inspired to live out day to day in my home the things I come to understand each day---through the Word, through prayer, through my family---my husband and through believers who are really walking the same plank---only in different parts of the country and world. I'm inspired to pray with and for each one---knowing that many are doing the same for me. This walk is so worth it---Jesus my LORD is so merciful and gracious.
I received this article sometime back and smiled as I read the "Lamentations of the Father" --- I'm not sure if this is the same Ian Frazier who wrote an article I recalled while searching for the source of the above link... in some blog (this is not an endorsement of that blog BTW!) that caught my eye... something about the glazed over look, the vacant mind... something the guy wrote struck a chord with me because I think many men share his sentiments and don't know what in the world to do about it: "I have a generational sense of the vacancy in their stare, because I share it. I myself don't know what I am doing a good forty percent of the time. I am now the kind of white-haired, thick-waisted, superficially presentable male who people give huge responsibility to and ask directions of on the street. And often, I'm just making it up." I don't endorse the article as a whole because I, of course, could never, would never, endorse Al Gore; in addition, I don't share his sentiment/opinion regarding George W. Bush at all. But I understand the winging it... graying, vacant mind that is looking and listening and yet "is actually lying down someplace in the back of my head, leafing through an old copy of a magazine." I think many I know are winging it---are never really sure of what they're sure of and don't really care and don't really know if anyone else cares or not.
And yes... I'm writing this today for tomorrow---a day ahead of the game because the way things look today---tomorrow's a complete wash. Now, that's optimism! With God, all things are possible---and it is with God I seek to walk---listening, following, watching what He will do, waiting on His command and seeking to obey even the seemingly most insignificant directive. On the wheel---the pounding doesn't seem to make sense, in the kiln---the heat: doesn't seem to make sense; even the glazing doesn't seem to make sense and yet: God creates and uses earthen vessels! Staggering ---even me! ---even you! Jars of clay--- cracked pots, chipped pitchers. -2Corinthians 4.7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellencey of the power may be of God, and not of us." The power is not in the vessel---the power doesn't have anything to do with the vessel---but the vessel carries, holds, pours out the power---amazing Love, how can it be?
September 9, 2004 My husband sent me an article to read---sent it over the net which, for me, is a whole lot easier than printing the page and attempting to locate my now-necessary-for-reading glasses. The article led me to do a little browsing at the author's website: Watchman.net. Besides that, receiving letters from my husband continues to be a source of delight to me. He seems to come into the best of the best quotes and articles! This latest article, the Prophetic Savant, was particularly interesting to me.
You know---the revelation that the church is being entertained to death has sort of been continually resonating with me over the last few years and frequently, I'll attempt to put to paper, or the screen as the case may be, just what the LORD's impressing on my heart as I read the Word and as I view the world. The once stark contrast between the two is becoming blurred in the organized church. But I took to heart a line I read and will seek to bring it to remembrance when I consider what I call the IC---the Institutional Church. Through no fault of their own, those who govern the affairs of the IC do so because they're "supposed" to do so---because they're often simply patterning their lives after those who've gone before, after those who currently *seem* to be getting the "job" done, those who dare not venture outside the proverbial box. So... the more I think on these things, the more I am convinced to not fault the messengers but to hopefully dialogue with them, to pray with and for them, and more: to live as unto the LORD. And what was it I read? He must increase, I must decrease. I imagine that the time will come (and hopefully sooner than later) that my sometimes preoccupation with the IC will be so diminished that I'll rarely think of it---that it will not be a consuming burden, that it will no longer be something I strive to fix or correct or, in my not so humble manner: enlighten. For I am persuaded that Christ will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I believe and trust that He will share His glory with no other: all the entertainment, the feed me now, the kinder-gentler mess[age], the prosperity: name-it-and-claim-it "gospel" and a myriad of other pseudo worship methods will fall----BUT God!---He will live in/through the body and He will build His church. I pray for believers---believers everywhere to follow Christ---Christ alone.
I was reading in Hebrews 10 and my eyes stopped upon this verse (31) "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heavy words for a self-absorbed, self-centered generation who fears nothing. Heavy words---powerful words.
September 8, 2004 I realize I have dropped off a few important links in the transition to a new month. I'll have to grab them and post them again. These are busy days---busy days here in the home, in our nation and world. How we praise the LORD: He's on the Throne---His will and His way will prevail---all of these things will work together according to His Divine purpose---though it's hard for our myopic view and finite minds to to see and comprehend this truth.
(Continuing blogging about the Deer Lake Believer's Conference...) For our family's daily Bible Study, we've just been reading through the Word---we started through the New Testament and when that was completed, we decided to go through the Old and had been studying in the book of Genesis for a few weeks and just last week completed reading of Joseph, his life and the LORD's dealings with him and with Jacob's family---Joseph's brothers. We had been talking about the ways in which Joseph could have, but didn't(!) compromise. All this to say that it was very refreshing and affirming to have one of the keynotes at the conference focus on just that: the life of Joseph! The speaker was (Shield of Faith) Dick York, and he concluded his talks with this: Purity *is* Power. Purity is *power.* *Purity* is power. I hope the emphasis doesn't seem overdone. His strong voice resonated through the gathering. O, how we need to hear this in our day! Not just the young people, not just the mothers, the wives and daughters, not just the men, the husband's and fathers. Everyone---and surely, everyone who names the name of Jesus must grab hold of this truth: Purity is power.
I've loaded a few pics---these are really for the most part only going to be of interest to our son who couldn't be with us and for our boys who haven't been to these conferences either.
September 7, 2004 Already into well into the month of September---there's a chill in the air here in the Pacific Northwest!
We were getting ready to go to the believer's conference at Deer Lake, just north of Spokane, over the long weekend and just had to send Timothy a pic over IM. [We sure missed you, Timothy!]
It's always a joy to gather with believers, to hear what the LORD is doing in and through their lives and to listen to beautiful music and powerful messages He's laid on hearts of men. This conference is an annual gathering of people from all over the Pacific Northwest--and then some!
In the afternoons we had opportunity to share in some "fun & games" with the others. The climbing wall was an especially fun attraction for most of our family! I enjoyed the lake with the little ones!
The lifeguard didn't seem especially thrilled... his frequently checked watch was indicating a long afternoon!
But the volleyball game was lively as youngers and olders played for a few hours! Yep, that's James.
Stephen, Wes & Joey... all enjoyed the new climbing wall!
The weather was still nice!
In line for a meal; Andrew, hugging a friend. Then later, the view from Kathryn's lens.
September 2, 2004 If you're ever feeling like your schedule is lacking and you're needing something to fill in a few hours of your day... head on over to the Social Security Admin's. office. You can actually just plan on spending the better part of an afternoon watching people shift in their seats as they listen to the ticking of the clock on the wall and pretend to not be watching all the squirming of disgruntled individuals holding onto crumpled numbered slips of paper that resemble several scattered on the carpet---left behind by those who'd conquered the wait or by those who departed an hour before their number was called. Whatever the case, it was an interesting social evaluation for about two and a half hours. I almost froze in disbelief when my number was finally called---recovering strength in my atrophied legs, I quickly gathered my papers and headed to the window where I would explain that I had totally failed to submit my papers to the Social Security office in SanFrancisco 26.5 years ago and that I had finally received our marriage license from California so as to document this requested name-change! So... all this time Wes has been filing our taxes with this delinquent wife---using an assumed name, no less! So... now I am, for the purposes of the IRS, legally pamela spurling. I have no idea how this error has been overlooked all these years and really, what would have been the consequence of retiring one day and discovering that this document had never been filed. Well then, now here I am, the proud possessor of a new Social Security Card---with the *right* name on it!
This'll tip your cup Reading about the Republicanatic Convention (that's to punctuate my pet peeve: calling democrats democrat*IC*---the democratic party---they're democrats *not* democratic!!). So glad I'm not in New York these days! I'm wondering: doesn't anyone have to work these days? Is the federal government on campaign vacation? One site I recommend for understanding the laws of our land, judicial developments and basic understanding of current events is Judicial Forum--- it's not a conspirator's haven or for those who launch into conspiracy theorist's tirades, but rather, well documented political events and commentaries. It's been rather difficult lately for me to read and mull over what's in the political arena and what's in the news. We happened to be around television during the Democrat convention and such is not the case now. I must admit I'm a bit relieved that there are so many time crunches that prevent my mind from being saturated with political rhetoric and front page editorials---what little I've heard on the radio makes me glad---I'm never taken seriously anyway as I talk back to my radio in the van as I travel.
For now... my thoughts are turning to preparing for the Believer's conference in Deer Lake, preparing for another school-year, preparing for some "last of the summer" barbecuing and volleyball evenings. We've had an enquiry about catering and so that's sort of floating in my thoughts.
September 1, 2004 Can it be September already? September is always the threshold to winter to me. I don't panic over the impending doom of winter as I used to do and I continue the quest of not being afraid of the snow for the household is clothed in scarlet... this household isn't quite clothed in scarlet but I am not afraid of the cold either.