Four nights ago, thanks to a text from my neighbor, we were able to see this amazing lunar halo around the moon. It was so wide around that I almost couldn’t get it all in the picture. It’s a beautiful sight that I won’t soon forget. I learned that these halos mean that a storm is coming and indeed the children did have Friday off from school for a snow day and we have a storm coming tomorrow.
“It was a long cold winter for the birds and animals on the hill, but the little old man and the little old woman put out food for them until the warm spring came. And that was the end of the BIG SNOW.” ~ The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
I aimed my camera through the windows of the dining room, watching the birds, thinking thoughts.
“Well lived days are completed years, and the years well lived as they come make a life beautiful and full. In such a life no special preparation of any kind is needed. He who lives thus is always ready. Each day prepares for the next, and the last day prepares for glory.” JR Miller
“And is this heaven? And am I there? How short the road! How swift the flight! I am all life, all eye, all ear: Jesus is here–my soul’s delight.”
And today? The children are at school. Bright sun is shining but coldly and tomorrow we expect a snowstorm, another snow day?
These are the last frozen offerings of winter weather which will make the springtime thaw even more welcome.
There is a spot on the eaves which constantly drips, and it’s so cold outside that we have not a burning bush, but an ice covered one! It’s so pretty when the sun shines through it.
Happy Monday, friends.
You are loved.
“Here in the shadow of God’s love forever I’ll abide, So glad, so blest, so sure, so safe; so more than satisfied!” Elizabeth Prentiss
Look out with eyes of love, eyes of wonder. Live now.
Wrestling season is over and now it’s all about brothers and sisters, bare feet, early spring, and baseball.
thin ice and ripples on the pond
things growing in the flower bed
Marvellous happy it was to be Alone, and yet not solitary. O out of terror and dark, to come In sight of home.
~Walter de la Mare.
When you’re a busy woman and you step outside at the end of the day to let the dog out and see glory.
The sky was high and clear with a brilliant moon. But what made it special was a layer of clouds passing between it and earth. All the light from the moon lit up the clouds.
“my soul is elsewhere, I’m sure of that.
and I intend to end up there.” RUMI
the stars were twinkling
God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
The further the clouds got from the moon the darker they became so that I couldn’t make them out very well anymore.
“The LORD will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me” (Psalm 42:8).
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.
I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.
I believe, Lord, that you love to bless, comfort, and give.
Your word is my delight, your truth my inspiration.
You lift my soul beyond those things that would pull me down when I come into your presence in prayer.
Your Holy Spirit is there to fill me with the character of your own goodness and to fill me with joy.
I believe, Lord, that your people are there to help me grow stronger as one of your children.
You have given me friends to strengthen my relationship with you.
I believe, Lord, that as I seek you I find you.
You will always show me the way that is good for my life.
You will lead me along the right way and I know that you always love me.
You pour your love into my heart so that I praise you because of your faithfulness; my innermost being says ‘Thank you.’
Through the cross of Christ I have been brought back to you: how I praise you!
Through the cross my life is transformed.
For Jesus Christ’s resurrection and for my new life I praise you.
~Gospel Light Publications 1985
And happy are your eyes, because they see! Matthew 13:16
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. Psalm 146:8
I know I belong to Jesus because I see Him everywhere. I don’t just see Him in the Bible or in Church….I see Him constantly in my every day life. I see Him in my children, in my siblings. My husband. I see him in the secular podcasts I love to listen to. I see Him in the way He guides everyone’s life. In the stories people tell. I see him in movies, in books, in school, in the library, and online.
He isn’t always obvious, and that’s the joy of finding Him.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
how sweet the sound
I once was lost, but now am found, wasblind but now I see.
I love that I can be HANDS OFF with my life, how freeing this is, how comforting.
I’m walking through the years with my eyes wide open.
And each little gift causes my heart to say “thank you, I know that was you, God.”
We had a snowy day yesterday and I kept an eye on this Cardinal. It was sitting in the bushes for hours watching and waiting out the storm. I was busy in the house but looked out the window periodically to look at it. And then, it was gone and I missed it.
We did some reading; my book is on the pillow next to Dave; All the Light We Cannot See.
Grace was reading a favorite of hers for about the fifth time. The Likeness by Tana French
For lunch we had little fish sandwiches on potato buns with tarter sauce.
Dave had five.
Rich has a bulging disc in his neck and has to have a shot in it next month to relieve the pain. However, after spending a relaxing day at home he felt better than he has in a long time. It was good to see him take a nap on the couch with us.
He took a few calls for work and after the snow stopped he went outside and plowed the driveways.
Of all the places to take a nap!
Little Junco on Caleb’s bike which was on the porch to protect it from the snow.
But snow got everywhere yesterday.
Juncos are quite cute; it’s feathers are ruffled from the wind.
There is a bowl of sunflower seed under all that silly soft stuff.
We watched one of my favorite movies; Babe. I study every scene of the house and barn.
And then it was time to go outside.
If I had words To make a day for you I sing you a morning golden and new I would make this day Last for all time Give you a night Deep in moonshine If I had words To make a day for you
“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
“….your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Almost five years ago to the day, one year old baby girl Sarah tripped and fell on her mouth, pushing one of her front teeth back up into her gums. I was going through a time of serious depression, trying so hard to take care of my family while fighting exhaustion and anxiety, both spiritual and mental. I was running on empty and this just added to my sadness and stress.
We immediately called the doctor about her tooth but the doctor said it was the dentist’s job and the dentist didn’t return our call (it happened in the evening after hours). The next morning Sarah was acting like nothing had ever happened and was happy, so, with my eyes puffy with crying, I proceeded with my own doctor’s appointment that had been scheduled for weeks and Rich didn’t want me to miss.
While I was there at the clinic, I had a friendly nurse asking all about the children, so I opened my phone (flip phone!) to show her a photo of my seven young offspring. The first picture to appear was of poor Sarah’s mouth and the injured tooth, so I ended up explaining what had happened to the nurse.
She right away wanted to give me a referral to a wonderful pediatric dentist. She knew of him because he came to the clinic often to do dental services (his office was in another town half an hour away). She walked me out to the desk after my appointment to get me his number and just at that moment, the man himself walked out into the hallway! She stopped him and explained Sarah’s story right then and there, and I showed him the photo. He told me to bring Sarah to his office that afternoon at four!! It blew me away how God worked this out for Sarah. We went to the appointment and the whole experience felt like grace, he was so kind and professional and put our anxieties to rest in regards to Sarah’s little mouth injury. As we already had our own dentist, we thanked him and went on our merry way…….thankful for this unexpected help from a stranger.
Fast forward five years………
Sarah had her six month cleaning last Monday and we found out that the very same front tooth is abscessed. The hygienist guessed right away that it had been injured at some point. The doctor came in and said that as Sarah also needed a frenectomy he could refer us to someone to have the tooth extracted and the frenectomy done at the same time to save Sarah from extra anxiety (after her year of kidney woes she isn’t a big fan of dentists or doctors).
I called the number he gave us as a referral and was told they could do the extraction but not the frenectomy. I called a few more pediatric dentists and was told the same thing. I called back our dentist and explained what was happening and asked the receptionist to figure it out and make the calls for me, as it was more of an urgent case and I didn’t have the clout of being a physician in expediting the appointment or figuring out what to do. She agreed to make the calls and I congratulated myself for letting go of control.
It took a full 24 hours to hear back from anyone. Last night, as I waited in the dark car for Grace to get done with drama rehearsal, my cell phone rang. The lady on the phone explained that she was calling me because she was contacted by my dentist in regards to Sarah , and she began telling me about the office and where they were located. To make a long story short:
IT IS THE VERY SAME DENTIST THAT HELPED US OUT FIVE YEARS AGO WITH THIS TROUBLESOME TOOTH. This guy must be a super hero?
She has a consultation appointment today at 10:50!
We got back home a little while ago and the appointment was great. He said that her tooth was wriggly enough that she can get it out herself. He put her on antibiotics. He said that she could wait on the frenectomy for several years and it would be better for her psyche if we waited. Rich and I totally agreed. 🙂 Oh and they remembered her!
I made my way to the kitchen in order to make that first cup of coffee. Sarah was on the couch in the living room and the boys were still asleep.
Our nineteen year old son Jacob had left in the wee hours of the morning to go on a road trip and as I poured Sarah’s drink of milk I was touched to see that he had left me a note. It was on the other side of the counter so I had to reach across to pull it toward me, turning it right-side-up in order to read it.
What was it going to say? Perhaps; “I’ll miss you, dearest mother”?, or, “Don’t worry, I will drive safely, God is with me.”? how about, “Give my siblings a hug and kiss for me when they wake up, I’ll miss them!” ? or “I did the laundry before I left” ?
I was so surprised when I read it that I just had to laugh!
What sort of 19 year old leaves notes of remorse about finishing up FOOD?
And that “I love you” tacked on the end. Even his name made me smile! “Jake” not Jacob, but “Jake”. My little Jake, not so little…..but still as sweet as ever.
Does he not know, has he not heard? Mothers want the children to eat ALL the ham salad! Mothers eat lots of ham salad only if they have a sneaking suspicion that the children don’t like it and it will go to waste!
His mother would gladly give him ALLLLLLLL the ham salad!!!!!!!!
The note should have said, “I’m sorry I left the empty ham salad container and little bits of it on the counter for YOU to clean up instead of throwing it away myself!” Am I right? No, maybe not. I saw more of his priceless self and heart in his own quickly written, 3 o’clock in the morning, sincere, paper-towel written love letter than anything else he could have written.
(((my heart))) just never knows what God will give it each day…that little unexpected boost to brighten the moments. So many each day that I lose track. My heart gives grateful praise. A ham salad note. I can’t even……what next? I can’t wait to see.
A song for Friday:
truths to make your heart sing:
“So, we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16, The Message translation
Strength for today is mine all the way, And all I need for tomorrow. My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, All I have to do, is follow.
~Sidney E. Cox, 1950, (from the baptist hymnal)
I shut my laptop after the last blog post,
took a shower, got dressed,
went back on the porch……..
…..and discovered a new monarch butterfly. Our first to emerge, out of the four caterpillars we had collected.
I sat and watched it for a long time, thinking about how much life is growth, so much growing and changing. Butterflies only get to do it once, we get to do it over and over. There are dark times when we are in our little stuffy cocoons, lonely, maybe perfectly willing to be all alone, needing *something* but not really knowing what it is. It is a waiting time. Then comes the “break through”. Suddenly we have had enough of cocoon time and find that it’s time to get out from the covers, get out of bed, get out of our own minds, oh how it hurts to start breaking down walls but it feels so good at the same time….new air, new sights, drying wings…….freedom.
After the struggle to emerge comes the strengthening time…….those who are waiting for us almost lose their patience, we ourselves often lose heart, forget that God does indeed have a purpose for everything, but our Father knows, He understands, His children are ready (not in our time, not in their time) but in HIS TIME……..
He has made everything beautiful
in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works. We mistake if we think we were born for ourselves; no, it is our business to do good in this life, which is short and uncertain; we have but little time to be doing good, therefore we should redeem time. Satisfaction with Divine Providence, is having faith that all things work together for good to them that love him. God doeth all, that men should fear before him. The world, as it has been, is, and will be. There has no change befallen us, nor has any temptation by it taken us, but such as is common to men.
When we are finally strong again.
We can enjoy life. We can fly.
F L Y
Yes, the family and I have been spending a lot of time by the aquarium, watching & waiting for the butterflies to hatch and fly away. Three of them have gone now, but the fourth seems to be stuck in the cocoon. We think maybe it died inside. We can see the wings through the (now clear) casing, but it should have come out a few days ago.
morning glory leaf
It’s been so fun to see my flower garden become a butterfly sanctuary AND a bird feeding station.
The most darling little goldfinches come to get a sunflower seed, but they are shy and at any hint of my eyes watching them they fly away making a chirping distress sound.
As we have morning glory vines twirling up the sunflowers, it makes for a very lovely photo opportunity. I had to take these photos from inside the house through the glass and screen doors……..
my darling (while mama sits on one end, oftentimes they will be on the other end playing with their little toys).
I find myself watching butterflies, birds, and children every where I turn.
currently reading: Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow, by Dr. Jan Pol (good book, I love animal stories)
plans for today: Grace and I are going out with David. We are picking up her ring from Tiffany (left for cleaning) and then have to go to Target to get things for camp next week.
I just want you guys to know that I love you all and that you are so special. I’m thankful for the friends I meet and greet along the way. Friendship and connections of all kinds make life sweet.
look around and be distressed
look within and be depressed
look at Jesus and be at rest
“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” ~J.Calvin
Sarah Joy had a check up yesterday with her surgeon. I hate to admit this but I did bribe her to be nice to the poor doctor. Ever since her first surgery, Sarah has had a very negative reaction to all the nurses and doctors. Dr. K, her main surgeon, has been so polite, kind, sweet, and loving to Sarah every step of the way and has felt Sarah’s dislike keenly, although she completely understood and did her best to reduce contact with her, keeping her conversations directed toward me and Rich instead. I bought Dr. K a necklace and had it wrapped up very prettily, with a bow. I gently explained to Sarah that she was going to bestow this lovely gift to her doctor with a smile and a hug, “OR ELSE YOU ARE GETTING NOTHING FROM THE GIFT SHOP after your appointment!!” “WHY do I have to give her a hug?” she cried. “Because it will be good for YOUR HEART to be kind!” I said, wisely, with a prayer that this would work.
Success! What a joy! She was more relaxed and talkative to the Doctor than she has ever been. She made Dr. K so happy with the necklace, but most especially with the smiles and conversation and hug.
Sarah was told that she was healing very well and could now do anything she wanted to do, as long as it was okay with her parents. We were given lollipops and then went skipping down the hall to the gift shop, where Sarah happily chose a 1.99 bracelet as a reward for her good attitude. The brothers were with us, too. Caleb chose Jolly Ranchers (making me remember an old xanga friend), and Seth chose a stuffed animal.
When we got home, the only thing Sarah wanted to do with her renewed freedom was go wild-berry picking with her Mama. We walked up to the raspberry patch and picked big beautiful jewels of berries. When we came back home to put on bug spray, she saw that Seth had turned on a movie and decided to take a rest from berry picking because she wanted to watch the movie, too. (It was “Home”). I went in my room to relax and when her movie was over she came in, looked into my eyes, and said, “Are you ready for a berry-walk? Or do you still need to rest?” I looked at her and thought, “I’m not the one who just had surgery. If you don’t need any more rest, I don’t either.”
Off we went to pick BLUEBERRIES this time! The bushes in the woods are small, and low to the ground–nothing like my parent’s property covered in nice tall, fat and mature bushes. But we found “just enough” berries and the sun was at the golden hour…..making everything glow like magic. We found blueberries of all shades.
This morning I woke up to my daughter right in front of my face, telling me it was time to wake up and make muffins. My mind was willing but my body felt leaden. I tossed and turned for a few minutes and then got out of the covers, not so much to make muffins, but because I was curious about how my monarch caterpillars were…….
I found Sarah waiting for me on the little couch and I kissed her face. Together we went into the kitchen to make the muffins she naturally knew we just had to use the berries in.
She sat on a stool to scoop out batter with an ice cream scoop.
She kept tasting the dough and saying “yummmmmmmm”.
I filled the regular sized muffin tin and soon they were baking in the oven and we called up the boys to have their breakfast.
I ate a warm buttered muffin with a cup of coffee, perched on a stool in front of the aquarium which held a dangling caterpillar, two chrysalises, and a caterpillar.
I knew this caterpillar was very close to shedding it’s skin so I determined to wait and get it on video.
These two attached to a stick that I put in the aquarium. They were the compliant caterpillars, the other one was a rebel and escaped the whole set-up to attach to a iPhone charging cord.
When I saw what it had done, I draped the cord over the top of the tank. (I had blocked half the top with a cutting board.)
I sat for a while watching the dangling caterpillar gently convulse. I knew it was almost time and called the children over. We were able to get the whole process on video.
As I sat, I couldn’t help but think about how astonishing God’s creation is. Why did he make these detailed, intricate creatures, and millions more beside? He is The Creator–Creators MUST CREATE. Just think of the things humans make and how we get “in the zone” as we sing, or draw,or sew, or garden. That urge to create came from Father-God, we are like Him, in a very small way, because He made us in His image. It is good and we enjoy it all.
So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. Genesis 1:27
He brought the most mind-boggling things into existence—plants, humans, animals, all of these things reproduce and continue the cycle of life. Self-sustaining creation. A-MAZE-ING. Overwhelming. No one is like Him, but we have a touch of the divine within us, allowing us to enjoy life, and all parts of living.
No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Jeremiah 10:6
“If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.” Edith Schaeffer
We are composite creatures, akin on one side to the angels, on the other to tom-cats.
It is a bad thing not to be able to take a joke. Worse, not to be able to take a divine joke; made, I grant you, at our expense, but also (who doubts it?) for our endless benefit.
Man has held three views of his body. First there is that of those ascetic Pagans who called it the prison or the “tomb” of the soul, and of the Christians like Fisher to whom it was “a sack of dung,” food for worms, filthy, shameful, a source of nothing but temptations to bad men and humiliation to good ones. Then there are the Neo-Pagans (they seldom know Greek), the nudists and the sufferers from Dark Gods, to whom the body is glorious. But thirdly we have the view which St. Francis expressed by calling his body “Brother Ass”. All three may be–I am not sure–defensible; but give me St. Francis for my money.
Ass is exquisitely right because no one is his senses can either revere or hate a donkey. It is a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot; both pathetically and absurdly beautiful.
So the body.
There is no living with it till we recognize that one of its functions in our lives is to play the part of the buffoon.
The fact that we have bodies is the oldest joke there is.
CS Lewis, in The Four Loves
Isn’t it a relief to have a proper view of oneself? And to laugh at oneself? It is akin to the times when the children and I are sitting around the living room, watching TV, and little Seth says, “Wait for it, wait for it….” and before I am properly aware of what’s happening so I can stop it, out comes a giant toot from Seth’s bottom and loud laughter from his siblings. I try to pretend to be affronted, but I too am laughing and have to admit that the laughter is good.
We have inner treasure (our souls) in an outer jar of clay (our body). Our outward self is dying (our bodies), but our inward self (our soul) is being renewed day by day. We are like both angels (our soul) and tom-cats (our body).
I have spent lots of time over-valuing my body; my appearance, my health. These griefs are “common to man” and will never go away completely. But reading Lewis’ thoughts released me from some of the pressure, pressure that I put on myself as an at times, vain woman.
With Lewis’s wisdom in mind, I have a choice; I can sometimes laugh.
(St. Francis himself took a much harsher view. Although he referred to his body as Brother Ass, he treated it (his body) cruelly in an attempt to punish and/or “tame the beast”, so to speak. He grieved the “ass”, and had a hard time tending his body with compassion, much less with actual laughter.)
WHO CARES about appearances and perfection? Well, we all do to a certain extent. But if we “go further up and further in”, we realize that yes indeed it is true; beauty is in the soul, and not in the body. It may be that our body is beautiful for a time, but not if you hang around it for very long. It will most certainly “toot”, produce strange smells, do strange things, & drive you crazy.
Doesn’t it feel good to laugh about it?
From now on I want to teasingly say to myself when I get caught in a depressing reminder that thing are going downhill bodily speaking despite my best feeding and nurturing, “Oh brother Ass, you donkey, you” and put it on a lower level of seriousness and higher level of comedic relief.
If I hear a loud sound coming from one of my children, I would like to say, “Brother Ass is in the room, I see.” But alas, I am not comfortable saying “ass” as it is mainly used as a curse word these days. I tried it with my oldest son Jacob the other day and he turned around and said in confusion, “What?” Frankly, I don’t need little Seth running around saying “brother ass” at school …… so I guess I will use the other word, which is Donkey.
Take good care of your Donkey self today, with a healthy dose of laughter, and remember your soul, which is everlasting and renewed day by day by the grace of Jesus.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7