Tuesday, November 25, 2014

as gold

True story:

Once upon a time there were some churches in Macedonia.  Macedonia is in Europe, just north of Greece, for those who like this sort of detail in their stories.

These churches faced a time of great trial.  The trial itself is not of importance in this retelling.  Just know, they were at a low time.  Because of this trial they were afflicted.  They were impoverished.

Maybe we would imagine that they shut themselves up in their churches, drew the curtains, and wept.  Or they budgeted what was left of the church finances, tightened their belts, and settled in for a long, hard year.

Could it have been that some folks just gave up altogether, went home, and went about their own business?  Maybe they whispered among themselves about the leadership.  Maybe they questioned God.

But, in actuality, these people didn't do any of that.

With everything that they had in themselves, with all their power and then beyond any power that they possessed, they gave themselves to the Lord.  They offered their lives for His service.  Fully surrendered to His will, they gave themselves to serving others.

They didn't have much, materially speaking, but what they did have they gave it all.  They gave of themselves so generously that one would have thought they were rich.

These people, in what could have been a terrible time of depression, instead possessed a great JOY that defied all logical explanation.  This joy was not an outward show, no fake smiles and plastered on happiness.  No, they embraced what was happening and chose to serve God through the pain.  And God rewarded them with HIS joy.

The firing pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.  Proverbs 17:3

These folks were tried and found faithful.  Maybe we can all trust the process a little more in our own lives.  Despite circumstances, throwing ourselves into the service of the King.

This little bit of story is found in II Corinthians 8:1-7.

And for myself I would pray Job 23:10 -

But He knoweth the way that I take,
when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


We went to a soiree.

Nobody there was quite sure what a soiree actually is.  But we were there.  Soiree-ing.

It was really rather posh as far as things go.  Especially when you're used to coffee dates at Home Depot.

Posh.  Like goat cheese and cucumber sandwiches.  Like lavender tea and fresh fruits.

And we talked.  To people.  Which is big in and of itself.

When we were finished soiree-ing we came home and I beat the expert level on Just Words and my night was made.  It doesn't take much.

And somehow, in these days that roll into each other, my fifteen year old son has decided to start sending me text messages that make him sound mature.  And I compare him to the in between state of Jekyll and Hyde.  One moment Jekyll.  One moment Hyde.  Mostly Jekyll.

But this is where we are.  Parenting a couple of really great teenage boys.  Hob-nobbing with folks at a soiree.

And in my day job I'm still a waitress, lest you think I'm getting too highfalutin.

Some mornings before I head off to work, I cook lentils for my chickens.  They love lentils.  And sometimes I mix in quinoa or rolled oats.  And they, in kind, lay some really great eggs.

This is a scene from our Friday night in, a little later we got down with a crazy game of Scrabble.  I know, you can barely keep up.  But that's how it goes with us.  ; )


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

flames of debate

I stumbled onto a train wreck on social media, the kind where someone poses a question concerning a hot bed issue hoping to incite some worthwhile discussion.  The flames of a heated debate ignite and it becomes an ugly, opinion and emotion driven battle.  The fire dies down eventually, leaving all parties just glowing embers of something that was, raw from the destruction.

Then I opened my Bible and read Titus chapter 3 and my heart leapt when I realized what God was showing me.

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men.  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."

It's easy to take on the attributes of a Pharisee: so wrapped up in doing and being and appearing "just so" that we forget Jesus.  We get critical of ourselves and twist and morph into an image we've devised in our minds.  We get critical of others, playing the judge, rather than loving. 

Hot bed issues, such as the one I had stumbled upon, will not be resolved by debate.  Hypothetical questions cannot be answered.  After everything has been said that can be said, no one is the wiser.

Charles Spurgeon recommended some strivings that should be avoided, things that could become social media train wrecks if not marked and avoided:

~ points where Scripture is silent (basically, if you can't back it up by Bible, move on)
~ mysteries that belong to God alone
~ prophecies of doubtful interpretation
~ modes of observing human ceremony (those man made traditions that become religion)

I'm reminded here of the verses in Matthew 15:8-9 :

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

We are to be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men (Titus 3:2).  We are to go about the Lord's business: loving, doing good, being fruitful, showing kindness, turning from evil, serving joyfully.

And if you feel you must ask questions, do it of yourself.  Turn the enquiries on your own heart and soul.

~ Do I believe Jesus?
~ Am I growing in His grace?
~ Am I walking with the Holy Spirit?
~ Does my conversation speak well of the Lord?
~ What more can I do for Him?

Honestly attending to these questions will leave you changed, unable to partake in the needless strivings on social media.  You'll see the vanity in the drivel.

Become consumed by serving the Lord and loving human beings.  There won't be time for anything else.
Depart from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Depart from evil and do good;
and dwell forevermore.
Psalm 34:14 and Psalm 37:27

Friday, November 14, 2014


My family walked into Ciao, a delightful Italian restaurant.  The owner greeted us with "Welcome home!".  A friendly hostess led us up the stairs to the loft area where we were seated right next to the railing.  Our server was a warm, pleasant woman (possibly the owner's wife?). 
 The menu consisted of things like spaghetti and meatballs, hand tossed and wood fired pizza, antipasto.  The boys each ordered a pepperoni pizza (thin crust with pecorino cheese).  My husband ordered shrimp scampi (the sauce was made to order and was so light and fresh tasting).  I had lasagna.  The special of the day was Hubbard squash lasagna which I would love to go back and try but I couldn't resist the lasagna made with local, grass fed beef. 
As we ate our dinner we reminisced of the little Italian place, Tino's, that we used to get calzones at, back when there were just two of us.  This place, Ciao, is like that.  The kind of place where the owner knows you by name and welcomes you in with a warm greeting, where you could stay all evening and enjoy the ambiance, and when you do leave the cooks call out from the open kitchen and wish you a good night.
The middle "picture" is actually a window.  Isn't that a great building across the street?

My lasagna.  I thought the presentation was perfect!

Thank you, Ciao, for surpassing our every expectation!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

in progress

It is a drizzly, gray, November morning.  The chickens probably won't get out today, they despise the rain.  It would be nice to call off the day because of the rain, to declare the day one of staying inside with the comforts of home, warmth, quiet.
I'm reading a book, Escaping Into The Open: The Art of Writing True.  Reading about writing has been a source of great pleasure recently as I have found that these writers wrap words around the aching need I have in my soul, the insistent call to transfer what's inside, out.
My favorite book, The Book Thief, inspires me in this way.  It is such a beautiful, haunting story.  I just watched the movie that this book inspired and it brought back, in waves, the emotions the book had evoked.  I find that I am at a loss to try to describe what this book is to me and maybe that is why it is so powerful.  It speaks my words, the words hidden in my heart, and as I read I am all at once bolstered and made vulnerable.
I mentioned recently that we had some work done around our place, namely, a new roof, gutters, and the removal of a tree.  Our little place is not extravagant by any means.  It is simple, much like us, but it is ours.  In my heart of hearts I entertain the idea of having a little farm complete with a barn.  But here, on our little plot in town, I will make it what I can.  I'll grow food and keep chickens.  I will collect rainwater for the garden.  I will cultivate flowers for the sole purpose of enjoying their colors.
Here are the before and after pictures of the recent work:
Our home, the day we got the keys:  August, 2013
And 14 months later, after the new roof and gutters (yes, the lamp is crooked):

And the empty space on the right where the big tree used to be:

Happy rainy Tuesday!