Sunday, March 24, 2013

Worship in woods on a windy evening...

Two roads diverged in a wood...

And we -- we took the one less traveled by...

and that has made all the difference...

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, 
but we have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep...
(Thanks, Robert Frost, for letting me combine two of your poems 
to describe a lovely Palm Sunday evening in the woods...)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hello, Spring...

Hello, planting...

and scratching...

and dusty turnrows...

and budding trees, pretty fields...

and growth!

Hello, beautiful tulips...

...and lovely dogwoods...

...and a new pier!

Hello, lovely sunsets...

Celebrating the beauty of spring with a heart of gratitude...

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, 
who does not change like shifting shadows." 
James 1:17

Friday, March 15, 2013

Great will be their peace...

I chose a memory verse this time that just called out to my mother-heart. Even though my children are grown, college graduates, married and pretty independent, I'm still so...attached

I'm not complaining...I think that's good, but it's a new and interesting thing to try to navigate the waters of mothering when they're adults. Jesse and I say all the time that our kids are our favorite people, and it's true. I'm beyond thankful that we not only love our adult kids -- we genuinely like them. And respect them. And even admire them. And (glory be!) they both chose spouses we absolutely LOVE. 

And here they are -- making their way in the world, which involves decisions and change and growth...sometimes disappointment or fear, hope and joy. I can't jump in and fix everything, smooth every path (could I ever?) and the verse I chose is a reminder that it's not about me anyway.

"All your children will be taught by the Lord, 
and great will be their peace."
Isaiah 54:13 NIV

The Lord is their teacher -- their greatest and best teacher. Seeing my children follow the Lord is one of the most profound joys of my life. Knowing they are being taught by His Word and His Spirit gives this mama joy and peace. 

And the thought of my children enjoying not only peace, but great peace? The kind of peace that sustains, despite circumstances? Lord, make it so!

(Side note: Commentaries and the Amplified version of the verse suggest that it is referring also to "spiritual" children -- which I'm blessed to have. Yes, I'm referring to YOU, sweet Sunday School girls present and past, Cross Campers and others I've loved! This prayer extends and covers you also!)

(Another side note: I may possibly be motivated to choose a memory verse with my children as the subject because I'm in the midst of an extreme bit of nostalgia as we convert old home movies into a digital format. I mean, wasn't this just yesterday?


May we all be taught by the Lord. And know great peace.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easter mantel...just for fun

I had an hour or so to kill this morning before running some farm errands and I decided to make my mantel a little more "springy" and Easter-ish with things I have at the house. After my Valentine's mantel:

I put together something simple:

I pick up random plates at places like TJ Maxx, Pier One and Target because I think they're pretty to decorate with. I got the blue artichoke candleholder at TJ Maxx for around $6 and love it! The white ceramic candleholders were $3 each at our local Dollar General. (I'm kind of mad I didn't get more of them!) The photograph of the two boys on an oak-lined dirt road is a longtime family favorite; a print of a photo taken by a college friend's dad in the 1950s or early 1960s. Jesse and I always loved it and she was gracious enough to let us make a print of it over 25 years ago. It's almost always hanging over our mantel. And, of course, the books are some of the vintage ones I gathered up for Michael and Maranda's wedding. I knew I wanted to use some of the books for my Easter mantel, and I generally love the aged, funky look they have, but I decided I wanted something more colorful and fresh for spring. So I got some recycled scrapbook paper (also leftover from Michael and Maranda's wedding reception) and "covered" a few of the books...

(Don't you just love it? But it seemed a little too dull for spring.)

The eggs I got several years ago at Paul Michael -- they are lightweight plastic and apparently indestructible because they have been used for juggling, dodge ball and just about anything else you can imagine unruly boys doing with a centerpiece! The crystal bowl was a wedding gift. I decided the tarnished silver base gave it, uh, patina. Yeah, that's it -- patina!

I put some more eggs under a cloche (also a wedding gift -- part of a cheese board, I think. Those were very popular wedding gifts 29 years ago. I got several!) on top of a few more books. The primitive bunnies are the most recent purchase...I think I got them two years ago at Pier One. I love them!
So, I thought I was done...

But when I was putting up the plates, I rediscovered this sweet bird plate (also a Pier One purchase, probably 5-6 years ago):

I couldn't resist adding it, so I stuck the other Dollar General candlestick on the other side and called it "done." 

I doubt it follows the "rules" -- I think you're supposed to have odd numbers, so if the book stack counts as "one" then I've got five things per side, but that makes for an even 10. Hmmm. Maybe the framed print makes 11? Who cares? I'm all about the happy factor more than the design factor. And from my perch:

It's all happy! (That's an egg garland I didn't use on the ottoman. I may find a place for it still!) Happy spring!

Friday, March 1, 2013

As surely as rains in early spring...

"Oh, that we might know the Lord!

    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring."

-- Hosea 6:3 NLT

Something about this verse (Scripture memory for March 1) captured me. Maybe it's the mention of spring rains as we approach another season of planting and growing, but I think it's more about the encouragement to "know the Lord; to press on to know Him."

The Amplified Bible records the first part of the verse this way:

"Yes, let us know 
(recognize, be acquainted with, and understand) Him; 
let us be zealous to know the Lord 
[to appreciate, give heed to, and cherish Him]."

Matthew Henry's commentary on the verse says, "When God designs mercy for a people he gives them a heart to know him." 

What a beautiful picture of our relational God-- God knows us (and still loves us) and wants us to know Him. 

Jeremiah 24:7 reads:  
"I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord
They will be my people, and I will be their God, 
for they will return to me with all their heart."

 So, even the ability to know Him at all is a gift given by Him. There's also the call to "press on" to know Him. Henry says: "We must value and esteem the knowledge of God as the best knowledge, we must cry after it, and dig for it."  And when our desire to know Him doesn't stir us as it should, or as it once did, we call out to Him to renew that very desire. 
It's all about Him.

The second part of the verse is the promise -- His response is timely and certain as the dawn; as refreshing and nourishing as the spring rain. Despite a wet, soggy winter, I find myself "dry" at need of a soaking, refreshing reminder of His presence. As the spring rains replenish the land to make it fruitful, knowing God, soaking in His presence, His Word, His Spirit, will increase our fruitfulness. Lord, rain on us that we may bear much, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.