Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In complete armour.

This morning I am sitting, enjoying an early lunch (which might also classify as a late breakfast) drinking the last of Clark’s Paris (which is the last in the house… i’ll weep later) and trying to decide how many petite vanilla bean scones sixty people can consume. (making too many is better than not enough, right?) Whilst I ponder various conundrums, I’ll post a good thought or two, most of which are not my own.
Lately multiple people (i.e. my uncle and my papa and a couple friends) have brought up the fact that Christians often cease to consider their spiritual walk synonymously with a battlefield. There are most certainly days when we feel the pressure and the “call to battle”, as it were, but too often we let our awareness fall by the wayside. This passivity leads to a foothold for temptation, because sooner than we know it, we are simply sidling along, occasionally praying, and reading our Bibles even less. Unpreparedness leads to being blindsided by troubles. What would you think of the soldier who says he is going in to battle, and is dressed in only his uniform, with no guns, no methods of defense, no shields, and no backup? You would beg him to take care, to be more aware, and to take active measures to protect and defend against the enemy. You would think him a fool, and be unsurprised when he is ambushed and caught unawares. You would think him oblivious and naive, to believe that he can walk into a combat situation unprepared, and remain unscathed. The same can be said of the Christian who thinks they can live their life without being fully armed and ready at all times for anything. A lackadaisical, unguarded approach to the Christian life will always prove to be harmful in the end. No Christian can stand without being fully armed, shielded, and defended. Our weapons are stronger than any physical weapons, and equipped with prayer and surrounded by the words from scripture, we can stand.
What kind of sign is it, what kind of devotion, when we only feel a “need” for God when the devil assails us more actively? In any other relationship, this is unheard of. What friend wants to be there only when you need to be bailed out? What spouse wants to only be called on for support in the deepest darkest times, and never wanted when things are easy and pleasant? Our God is not an insurance agent, nor is He some kind of divine genie, only to be pulled out when the going is rough. He is living and near, and always needed. Be wary of the day when you don’t keep Him close to you with prayer and time in your Bible.
And, this from William Gurnall…
Secular reason sees a Christian on his knees and laughs at the feeble posture God’s child assumes as his enemies descend upon him. Only divine insight can perceive what mighty preparations are actually taking place. Yet just as an unarmed soldier cannot achieve the military exploits of a well equipped infantryman, so the carnal person cannot hope to do the exploits for God which the committed Christian can expect through prayer. Prayer is the main line that leads straight to the throne of God. By it the Christian approaches God with a humble boldness of faith, takes hold of Him, wrestles with Him, and will not let Him go until he has His blessing…. Meanwhile, the carnal person, asleep to the dangers of his sinful state, rushes headlong into battle with a foolhardy confidence that soon turns yellow when his conscience wakes up and sounds the alarm that his sins are upon him. Then, unnerved by this surprise attack, he throws down his weapon, flees from the presence of God with guilty Adam, and dares not look Him in the face.
The Christian in Complete Armour, I: 24-25
Then of course, to cap that off….
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.
Most of the people I know, and probably all of those who read my blog, have already read this, since my second excerpt is out of Voices From The Past. Nonetheless, I am sharing it because I found it helpful this morning. Hopefully you do as well. If not helpful, then at least convicting.
Satan always seeks to usurp our territory. By yielding in one temptation, we let the devil into our trench and give him a fair advantage to do us more mischief. An angry man, while he is raging and raving, thinks he will only say so much, but alas while his fury and wrath are rallying, the devil finding the door open, enters and hurries him farther than he ever dreamt of. The best way is to never give him a foothold. Never venture near the door where sin dwells, lest you are dragged in. If you do not wish to be burned, don’t walk upon the coals of temptation. Do not think that you can yield to Satan in one thing and make believe that you will not yield in another. You cannot sit with drunkards and pretend you will not become one. You cannot lend your eyes to unchaste objects and yet be chaste. These are strong delusions. If a man does not have the power to resist the devil in small temptations, what ground does he have that he can in great ones? When a captain directs his soldiers to fight in their ranks, he bids them to stand. Military discipline allows no one to stir from their place without special warrant. every Christian needs to stand where God has placed him. The devil’s method is first to rout and then ruin. We must stay with our own duty and conscientiously attend to it so God will bring us safely to our journey’s end. Paul charged Timothy to give himself wholly to the discharge of his duty. The power of godliness lies in this. It is a contradiction to profess to know God but in your works to deny him. this can never be reconciled. He that is not a Christian in his shop is not a Christian in his closet, and is a hypocrite at church. Wound religion in one part and it is felt in every part. Stand firm!
William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, I:278-280
And there you have it. Thanks for putting up with my rambling and excessive quoting… I’m impressed it you made it this far.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It’s abominable, really. I have been shockingly remiss in posting on my poor neglected blog. The thing is, while normally a lack of creativity doesn’t stop me from posting, recently it’s been quite a major deterrent. On occasion, not only is there an atrocious lack of brain power, there’s also a feeling of “empty". I think, “What can I possibly say that would be interesting?”, then I realize that the absence of interesting material has never previously stopped me from throwing things on to my blog without concern for reader or computer. Ergo my current attempt.
If you were one of the people praying for me to get a piano student, thank you. It appears that I will be starting a girl in our church soon. I’m ridiculously excited, to say the least. Now, however, I find myself assailed with doubts and fears. After all, what if I’m not a good teacher? Not everyone has the knack for it, and I can’t say that I envy the poor little children whose lives I could potentially destroy…. Anyhow, I’m happy for the opportunity.
This weekend was quite busy. We catered on Thursday night, then went to the Covenant Christmas Concert. Always nice to hang out with friends. :) After that my mother’s renowned hospitality was extended once again, this time as hostess to a shower welcoming Kari’s sweet baby boy. I still say that my sister being his Godmother makes him my Godnephew, despite assertions to the contrary. Anyway, it was good to meet Caleb Christopher, yet another example of God’s miraculous work in lives around us. It was thrilling to watch the chain of events with the adoption unfold through the last few months. The close of the shower led to throngs of relatives joining the house. Well, ok, perhaps not throngs… just three. Uncle Rich, Aunt Di, and Bekah. And of course four Finks were at our house this weekend as well. Made for a lovely loud time, especially when joined by David and Steffany and their semi-new bundle of joy. Sunday afternoon was a conglomeration of wonderful things. More family (i.e. grandma, grandfather, aunt shell, whitney, dustin, jonathan), friends (i.e. jacob) (although the separation of the two categories is not to imply a mutual exclusivity. I firmly believe that though you can’t choose your family, they often end up in the friend category too), three giant pots of soup, two bundt cakes (one of which is currently screaming my name) and obviously plenty of tea.
Alright. I admit it. While I am not exactly an introvert, I still find myself rather taken aback when total strangers approach and eke out all kinds of information. Such was the case this Sunday, in the midst of our third starbucks trip of the weekend. A [very] friendly man struck up a conversation with some of us, which ended up lasting quite some time. Though not directly involved with this dialogue, I would’ve been failing in my multitasking skills to not listen to nearly every word. While highly respectful of the propensity of coffeeshops to, as it were, “bring people together,” I will admit that multiple times I wanted to lean over to Clark and whisper obscure things like “Don’t tell him anything! He’s probably a foreign spy.” “Look, now he knows where we live and where you work! When he becomes a creepy stalker you’ll regret this!” “Think of your niece and nephew! He’s slowly leaking information out of you about all of us…” The poor man. I’m sure he was just a normal person looking for friends or a group to hang out with, yet in my overly suspicious, occasionally paranoid, and often sceptical mind, he became an information seeking serial killer, on the lookout for his next victim in an innocent family gathering. Even as I realize the improbability of this, I still staunchly maintain that You Can’t Be Too Careful. It’s this same mantra that keeps me from opening the door when the sketchy steak selling man with the big van comes door to door. Or why I let the boy in the Comcast vest stand ringing the doorbell for five minutes, even though I was in his direct line of sight. Perhaps he believed I was deaf? This same, possibly faulty, mentality also stops me from holding the lively conversations with mormons, unless someone else is present, ready to defend when the “burglar within” makes his appearance. After all, it could be someone nefarious simply pretending to be Elder Matthews. Caution, always caution. (I would prefer to ignore that particular mantra when discussing my propensity to go jogging when it’s dark out… I already see the problems existing in that scenario. I just choose to do occasional stupid things. Also, dignity trumps safety at times.)
Already I am running slightly late, and am supposed to be reading from my Bible study book, and making tea to go. Therefore, I leave you with my few disjointed paragraphs and apologize for my scatterbrained manner this evening.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I admit it…. 46 hours ago, I woke up (a feat in and of itself) and upon discovering that the sore throat had come and fully grasped me, I dropped back into bed, pulled the covers up, and started listing reasons I’d be justified in skipping church. After forcing myself to arise and open my curtains, I glared angrily at the light lacing of snow, annoyed at it’s inadequacy when the weather website had promised me six whole inches. “Accuweather… never looking at your site again!” I grumbled to no one in particular. No cd brought about a change in my cynicism. Not even the voices of three thousand people singing Come Thou Fount at the T4G conference improved my mood remotely… most likely because I wasn’t really focusing on the words.  
After being disgruntled about the lack of snow, I went about my day mostly like normal. Then it started snowing… and snowing… Now it’s still snowing hard, windy, and I most definitely got my promised six inches. Last night I curled up with a very big hot coffee, a heavy comfortable blanket, and sat and simply watched the snow fall. Either that, or I slept in front of the fire while wishing I could see both at once. I couldn’t have picked a better time to be so sick. I love watching the wind blow the snow around, and measuring the inches on the roadway. What I do not love is having family members out driving in it… Makes me nervous. At the moment, there are at least eight inches of snow up on the deck, where it has accumulated without wind interference. Now, for the apologetic sentence—I started writing this particular post yesterday, but didn’t end up finishing it. Therefore, some disjointedness may occur. Hopefully that is a plausible explanation for all errors, grammatical and chronological.
Today, or rather this morning, mom and clark and i went on a walk that inevitably ended in starbucks. I must admit that was the driving force behind getting me out of bed…. However, I was quite thrilled with the sun and sparkling snow that we encountered along the way. So far, I’m assuming that the cold wasn’t a further detriment to my recovery from a rather nasty cold that I’ve been fighting. The accusations of those who would falsely name me a hypochondriac now must fall by the wayside… A slight temperature validated my claims of invalidity. I’m not sure if that phrase is grammatically correct—I sincerely doubt it.
Originally I had a grand blog all planned out in my head. I was ready to have a creative narrative, followed by slightly less-creative pictures. However, what I end up with is very few pictures, because I haven’t ventured out into the cold long enough to really get any good ones. I was all ready to hit the streets yesterday morning with my camera in hand, but an ill-timed Verizon Wireless bill interrupted that. By the time I recovered from the bill, the only thing that sounded appealing was a hot shower. Since a four day headache is still lingering, I’m afraid that my creativity was killed and is having trouble recovering. Lest I leave you with only a few boring paragraphs, please allow me to share a few not-artsy pictures with you. A few snapshots are all I have. Perhaps next time I get online, and in a blogging mood, I will be found to have an endless well of miraculous creativity, with which to astound you. But until that moment, don’t hold your breath….. 





Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am not attempting creativity. Nor am I endeavoring to provide entertainment. Neither of those have ever been my forte, so I am relinquishing all efforts to produce either. (And yes, I do recognize the grammatical and semantic problems in that sentence, but I have no intention of fixing it) This is one of my inordinately boring posts, in which I ramble, and as a rule make very little sense. Since this has been my consistent pattern, I simply can’t break from it.
I have just been introduced to the glories of google reader, and have quite mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I love how convenient it is. All the people I want to follow, right there at my fingertips. No extra typing, or anything… simply a click away. On the other hand, I hate that I am missing the beautiful blog templates, designs, and music that go with the blogs. They are gone on google reader’s format. It’s quite sad. Therefore, I am inspired to redo my blog, and that is what I am doing after I finish writing this one. I fully plan on revamping my music playlist with all kinds of wonderful rainy day songs. Yes, I realize that it might not be raining when I finish, but since it is Washington, the chances of it raining again soon, and thus re-validating my playlist, are very good.
Feet up, hair down, tea steeping, rain pouring, talking to friends…. I like this day. A lot.
I have something on my mind that will, doubtless, create enemies for me. Two words: Christmas music. Interesting thing about it, it’s supposed to be played at Christmas. Odd, I know. So then, the question remains… Why on EARTH must everyone play and sing it weeks before thanksgiving?? No, friends, I am not a hater, nor a scroogette… (Yes, I had someone call me that yesterday. It’s FALSE!)  I love listening to Christmas music, for days and days…. at CHRISTMAS. I am simply an advocate of keeping Christmas music special, and reserved for December. In fact, I fully intend on Christmas-ifying my blog on December 1. Hmm, which, I think is rachel’s birthday. Good thing I remembered… now I need to buy her a present.
However, despite my feelings about premature Christmas music, I can see that the joy of the holidays is on the way. In fact, one aspect of those joys just came in the mail… the Harney and Sons Christmas catalogue. Having been idly perusing it for the last hour (if poring over and reading every word can be considered ‘perusing’) I have come to the conclusion that bankruptcy will soon overtake me. And even worse, I’m looking forward to it. What better way to go, than to be thrilled to send my money to people who will send me brightly colored, creatively designed packages of liquid goodness and Christmas presents in return?
Speaking of bankruptcy… Last weekend found me tromping around ikea, along with the dear sweet niece and nephew, my favorite sister, my favorite sister-in-law, and my favorite sister-in-law’s sister. To put it simply, Rachel, Meghann, and Holly. Several Hoeglunds made an appearance as well, and I ended up spending much more money than I planned. Thank goodness for checkbooks. Friday night, we had a ‘girls evening’ of sorts. As you know, a girls evening absolutely must include chocolate chip mint ice cream, vanilla ice cream, and three varieties of sparkling cider, as well as copious amounts of peanut butter M+M’s. Needless to say, I did some serious working out on Saturday. Which of course, since I desperately need new boxing gloves, meant that my hands were sore and messed up on Sunday, and I destroyed my piano music. Lesson learned? Don’t work out, it’s not worth it.
Have a lovely evening, boys and girls. I mean, ladies and, and wots-its. (My deepest apologies if the Jeeves and Wooster reference is lost on you)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tonight my creativity is lacking. A sore throat, bad headache, and general achiness have me consuming copious amounts of water, in an attempt to stave off the dreaded sickness. However, I am still encouraged by Richard Sibbes, so I am sharing his words with you.
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” – II Corinthians 1:9
God’s providence extends to the smallest things, to the sparrow and to the hairs of our heads. He governs every particular passage in our lives. This should teach us to look up to heaven for permission, power, and perseverance in all the affairs of life. We should not do anything in which we cannot expect God’s guidance, and this, so we can trust Him for a blessing upon all that we do. One way or the other, God will provide for His children. If we could live by faith as we should, we would not worry about anything, for God has promised liberally to provide for us, and if we could believe, He will not be less than His Word. He does suffer His children to lack a few outward things, but it is always for their good. God always gives us patience to suffer and to wait for the time of His deliverance. God often allows his children to come to great extremities and desperate estates, yea, even to the jaws of death itself, as Hezekiah, Job, Jonah, David, Daniel and the three children. He allowed His disciples to be overwhelmed with water before He took notice of it. the Father suffered his only Son upon the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When it comes to pass that all natural and ordinary means fail, we must look to a more durable and constant help—God’s own good will and power. When we have experienced His helping hand, we are able to rely more confidently upon Him in all adversities. His power is seen in man’s weakness. God is never nearer than in our extremities. He allows these to test us that He might exercise His grace in us. We should not be dismayed, though we find ourselves in the most forlorn estate. Every man’s life is a struggle, but in our extremities our graces are strengthened.
Richard Sibbes, Works, v: 35-42
Voices from the Past, 15 November

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My groove has come back and snatched me! Either that or I am back to being stuck in a rut…. But who is concerned with pedantic obscurities anyway? I am in an oddly happy content mood, which, if I were to be honest, may be called caffeine-induced. Today is a conglomeration of random facts, so please bear with me…
Fact 1: Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha is wonderful. I have had three in the last two days, and highly recommend it to anyone who dares.  starbucks-xmas-cupAt first it’s a bit odd to the taste, because of the dash of salt… However, I am convinced that if you try it (and you must try more than one sip) you will be as hooked as I am. Even the smell of it makes me happy. On a side note, my jury is still out on this year’s starbucks Christmas cup. I am convinced that it is hard to beat the one I have pictured here… --------------------------->>>>>

Fact 2: Job chapter 38 is excellent. A group I meet with is going through a book called Questioning Evangelism, and the latest chapter mentioned that particular section of scripture. I am slightly ashamed to say that I waited until about 1/2 an hour ago to actually read it. Dozens of God’s mighty acts are brought up, and if you read it slowly and think about it, it’s quite powerful. It’s a series of questions addressed to Job, meant to display God’s omnipotence.
25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
26 to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?

34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
that a flood of waters may cover you?
35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts    

or given understanding to the mind?
Fact 3: I would be greatly indebted to anyone who knows how to get my pictures off my phone and on to my computer…..
Fact 4: Skype is fantastic. There is something fun about having a two year old say “Me see you emi!!” through a screen… then ask you to help him open his fruit snack. Through the computer. 
Fact 5: I am once again looking for a job. While yes, I do love not having one, I also need money. And a vehicle. And insurance. I would also appreciate prayer for a job that, naively, I would enjoy. In the minds of millions of americans, the word “job” conjures up images of drudgery and daily frustrations that come home with you. With stars in my eyes, I look to my future and vainly believe that I can find a job I enjoy. Ridiculous of me perhaps, but prayer would be appreciate nonetheless.
Fact 6: I started this particular blog a week ago. Shame is my companion as I post it this late, but I will nonetheless. I would have liked to add more, but as my reader base has significantly dwindled, almost as much as my creativity, I’ll post it now and hope for the best.

Have a lovely Wednesday, friends. Actually I’m not sure if today is Wednesday. If not, then enjoy whatever day you read this on.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Warning: Pumpkins, Babies, and Adventures ahead.

All I have is photos, no words this time. Pardon me for not editing them, beyond cropping here or there.
DSCF7448   DSCF7454

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Today I am enjoying the stormy weather and being thankful that God is in control. If today was July 6, that’s what Spurgeon was thinking about too.
Morning, July 6.
Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” –Proverbs 1:33
Divine love is rendered conspicuous when it shines in the midst of judgments. Fair is that lone star which smiles through the rifts of the thunder clouds; bright is the oasis which blooms in the wilderness of sand; so fair and so bright is love in the midst of wrath. When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine; but while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones should be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet shall there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God shall still preserve for him a place of sustenance; nay, not only so, the Lord had not simply one “Elijah,” but He had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave, and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab’s table too by his faithful, God fearing steward, Obadiah. Let us from this draw the inference, that come what may, God’s people are safe. Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God will not save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Be ye then confident, when ye hear of wars, and rumours of wars. Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom.
There you have it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I got a call from my papa yesterday… He was standing at the grave of Jonathan Edwards at the time. Previous blog posts reveal me to be rather enamored of the entire Edwards family, so, as seems fitting, here is a bit of Edwards for your day. Lest you believe that I am neglecting Spurgeon, fear not—He may make an appearance tomorrow.
Be directed to sacrifice everything to your soul’s eternal interest. Let seeking this be so much your bent, and what you are so resolved in, that you will make everything give place to it. Let nothing stand before your resolution of seeking the kingdom of God. Whatever it be that you used to look upon as a convenience, or comfort, or ease, or thing desirable on any account, if it stands in the way of this great concern, let it be dismissed without hesitation; and if it be of that nature that it is likely always to be a hindrance, then wholly have done with it, and never entertain any expectation from it more…. Whatever it be that stands in the way of your most advantageously seeking salvation… offer up all such things together, as it were, in one sacrifice, to the interest of your soul… The rich young man was considerably concerned for salvation; and accordingly was a very strict liver in many things: but when Christ came to direct him to go and sell all that he had, and give to the poor, and come and follow him, he could not find in his heart to comply with it, but went away sorrowful. He had great possessions, and set his heart much on his estate, and could not bear to part with it. It may be, if Christ had directed him only to give away a considerable part of his estate, he would have done it; yea, perhaps, if he had bid him part with half of it, he would have complied with it: but when he directed him to throw up all, he could not grapple with such a proposal. Herein the straightness of the gate very much consists; and it is on this account that so many seek to enter in, and are not able. There are many that have a great mind to salvation, and spend great part of their time in wishing they had it, but they will not comply with the necessary means.
Well, I was convicted.

Entirely unrelated and irrelevant--- some shots from the refreshments for the music symposium thing at Faith. I was told to put them up somewhere, and since facebook is temporarily no longer an option…. Yes, my mother did put tables on top of tables, then put a wannabe miniature grand piano on top of that. It’s called thinking on a grand scale. No pun intended.

Lemon bar things, white chocolate dipped brownies, fudge mint brownie dealios, miniature cupcakes, chocolate dipped strawberries and cream puffs, almond thumbprint cookies, and a couple other things.
This is the angle they saw as they came out of the concert.
beverage table
editfour editfive
Chocolate treble clefs top off miniature cupcakes on the main table; chocolate dipped strawberries and creampuffs lining the sides of the beverage table.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I can now be characterized by redundancy and inconsistency. Well may you think “So, what has changed? Why are you writing about something we already know?” My unoriginal, clichéd answer to this: “Because that’s who I am.” Marvelous, isn’t it?
I got knocked out of my blogging groove (Or rather, got unstuck from the rut) for a few months, but as of this moment, am back with a vengeance. If my reader-ship drops off slightly in the next five minutes, I understand and hold it against no one. Your waywardness may be forgiven on account of my randomidity. Also, the fact that I make up words when the occasion suits me. Now I am a neologist.
And now, ladies and gentlemen…..
Purpose The First: Disproving the Addiction Theory.  (The coffee one, that is… not the phone one… or the facebook one)
Yes, you read that right. I have come, ready and armed, to my longsuffering computer-blogosphere-interwebcyberspace-world to stand once and for all, proclaiming to the teeming masses (bring me your poor, your weary, etc) that I am addicted to practically nothing. If you have put up with my blog for very long, then you are thinking “Ah, but I KNOW i read a post once in which you admitted addiction.”  Well, yes, that is true. But since then, things have changed. I have changed, in fact, and only slightly for the better. I wish I was addicted to coffee. At least then I could faultily name it a disease, and be justified in spending copious amounts of money on overpriced liquid happiness, calling it “medication” and “necessary.” With many sad sighs, I admit to myself that I am not addicted, and thus remain unjustified. However, this doesn’t stop me from vigilantly marching myself and others down to Starbucks on a fairly regular basis.
Nonetheless, a defense is necessary, because my lattes have been taunting me lately. It’s as if every time I make one, there is a voice whispering, teasing, and trying to convince me that every macchiato or americano is simply a step into the way of addiction. I think it’s become a subliminal thing, because I have three or four people who believe I’m addicted, and have even tried to convince me that I am.
Fact: I’ve gone three days this week without coffee…. No headaches, no cravings.
Fact: I got decaf the last three times I went to Starbucks, with no ill effects. (well, mostly-- life without caffeine is like… sleep!)
Fact: I do not spend every last cent on coffee, as a true addict would do, nor do I scour the gutters searching for quarters to spend on caffeine.
Fact: If I was addicted, I wouldn’t be picky about flavor and lattes and such. I would just be drinking the strong black stuff that my papa manages to consume by the pot.
Fact: Yes, it’s true that  “I love coffee, I love tea, I love the java jive and it loves me.” (line courtesy of the King Sisters, circa 1941) This does not signify addiction.
Fact: Denial does not always mean addiction.
Well, that deals with that. I am clearly not addicted. :)

Purpose The Second: Explanation for you Observant people.
Four or five of my 205 facebook friends have noticed that I am, magically, gone from facebook. (I admit that I am not thrilled with the ratio) Here lies the explanation… Yes, I did de-activate my facebook. No, I didn’t get angry and delete you as a friend. Yes, I’ll be back eventually. No, I may not be able to last until my goal-date of December 4. Yes, I will post plenty of pictures once I’m back on. I think that covers that. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

At Last…

Lest you be confused from the beginning, let me point out this—No, despite the title, this isn’t a blog centered around Etta James. I do love that song though…. (despite the frustrating current connotations with it and the president. Ugh)
If you know me extremely well, or talk to me fairly often, you know that I’ve been slightly, well, off lately. “Off” meaning the following: Self-absorbed, moderately depressed, un-encouraged, and in general “not as one should be”. (If you didn’t notice this, don’t feel bad…. I try very hard to keep things like that from people. It just speaks for my mad skill at concealment.) In fact, the significance of the “At Last,” is this—At last,  I’m done with this sadness, this frustration that has enveloped me for the last few weeks/months. God is in control, my inheritance is in heaven, and there is nothing strong enough to stop me from rejoicing. This morning, I forced myself to spend some quality hours with my Bible, prayer, and several daily reads. Two of them were so good that I HAVE to share them here. Please read them! I love my excerpts. They save me from having to dig deep inside my brain to come up with the originality and brilliance of theological points that others have already written books on. (Not that it’s stopping me from writing my own book.)
Voices from the Past, October 7.
Our citizenship is in heaven. – Philippians 3:20
Faith enters within the veil and moves the soul out of the valleys of sense to the glories of heaven. The treasures of most men are perishing, earthly, cankered, and moth-eaten treasures. Where is yours, O Christian? Is it in this world, or the next? Is it in present vanities, or future glory? Is it in present contentments, or in an everlasting inheritance? Is it in corn and wine or in the light of God’s countenance? Is it in profits, pleasures, and honours, or in grace and glory? Do you build, plant, and sow for voicespast-01 heaven? Many profess the hope of heaven, but meanwhile in their conversations they savour only earthly things. If a man’s profession is ever so heavenly, but he is overtaken by earthly living, that man’s religion is vain. Never talk of a name in heaven, so long as your heart is buried in the earth. If your heart is earthly, your name is in the earth. Do you live by sense or faith? Do you live upon the earthly, or upon the promises? Is it your highest cause of rejoicing that your name is written in heaven? Do you set your joy and heart upon this mercy? If you could enjoy all the outward blessings imaginable—the fairest estate, highest honours, sweetest children, and the richest pleasures—but in the midst of all these, your conscience troubles you within, you are strangers and enemies to God, you have no part in Christ or His death, and your names are not written in the book of life—O how this would cause your heart to sink before all your blessings! Earthly joys ebb and flow, blossom and wither, but heavenly joys are abiding. No man can take your joy from you. Who would not retire from the noise of a distracting world to rest his soul in the joys of the world to come? Whatever you enjoy in the world—riches, honours, pleasures, children, health, and beauty—let your joy be in God.
Matthew Mead, A Name in Heaven, pp. 44-74

And the second one--
Morning and Evening, Morning October 7.
Wherefore hast Thou afflicted Thy servant?”  -- Numbers 11:11
Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed and the light of our Father’s spurgeon countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts His servants to glorify Himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of Hi people, which are His own handiwork. When “tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope,” the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues. We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the heavenly lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation, let us muse upon it all day long.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
I hope you were encouraged a bit by these… They did wonders for me.

Friday, October 01, 2010

….and there will be rejoicing…

As a rule, I try to keep my blog less introspective. I don’t like opening my heart to everyone who peruses the internet. But there are some days when I can’t possibly keep it inside!
The Lord is good. There are some weeks, and days, when  it feels that grace abounds even more than normal. He doesn’t give us what we deserve, and for that we should be thankful. When I consider what I do deserve, thankfulness overcomes me for the endless blessings in my life. To put it briefly, the last couple months have found me praying about lots of different things, problems, and decisions, with plenty of stress and trepidation. This last week was a time period when it was clear to me that through the last year and half, He was working things out and planning things that I had no clue about. I can’t say that I was completely cheerful through the whole process (or even that I was constantly trusting Him alone), but there are times that despite temporary trials and troubles, God’s apparent power and sovereignty demand tribute. Even a few small everyday occurrences have been nearly blinding with the obviousness of God’s hand working through them. Today, I stand before His throne and praise Him. I am rejoicing because He is God, and more than we can imagine. He is more holy than we will ever be, and is a righteousness that cannot be compared.  His power is greater than any and all, and frightening in its wrath. He is the God of peace, who comforts the weeping, and gives grace to the humble. Our praises will never fully encompass His attributes, and yet He continually reveals them to us in scripture and daily life. That being said, I have lots to be happy about!

On an entirely unrelated note….. that leaves me with nothing but a couple pictures. Happy ones.
papa's office





Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Every day brings me a new conundrum. Without fail, I have to ask myself this question: “What devotional should I read out of?”  Do I really have to force myself to choose between Spurgeon, Edwards, Voices From The Past, and Ryle? Well, if I have the time, I can read all of them. But believe me, in a time crunch, it’s a tough call. Today, however, is Spurgeon. (Charles, not Susannah, although I do enjoy reading her stuff.)  It’s from the “Morning and Evening” devotional. I hope it’s encouraging to you.

Be glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness has its spring in the Lord. Thou hast much cause for gladness in thy God, for thou canst sing with David, “God, my exceeding joy.” Be glad that the Lord reigneth, that Jehovah is King! Rejoice that He sits upon the throne, and ruleth all things! Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty, should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That He is everlasting, should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That He is unchanging, should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour. That He is full of grace, that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory – all this should tend to make us glad in Him. This gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy. The Christian feels that he may delight himself not only in what God is, but also in all that God has done in the past. The Psalms show us that God’s people in olden times were wont to think much of God’s actions, and to have a song concerning each of them. So let God’s people now rehearse the deeds of the Lord! Let them tell of His mighty acts, and “sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously.” Nor let them ever cease to sing, for as new mercies flow to them day by day, so should their gladness in the Lord’s loving acts in providence and in grace show itself in continued thanksgiving. Be glad ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tomorrow morning will find me dauntlessly arising early. It’s an occurrence I hope to make into a custom. (I’ve never managed it in the past, but the future is equal to hope, right?) I must say, I’m rather looking forward to it. There is something about walking in crisp autumn mornings that brings a decided air of optimism to my step. Of course, this being Washington, the optimism may be slightly more rainy than usual. Thankfully, I am ok with that too.
At this point, I could use a good dose of optimism. About two times a year, I find myself in a slightly blue funk, mixed with a strong desire to go on a horrendously long roadtrip. I hate to call it like it is, but I think it might be termed discontent, which is ironic, since I recently heard a rather excellent sermon on contentment. With my typical lack of originality, instead of coming up with my own zinging points of conviction to share with you all, I will simply put a link to the sermon.
That being said, I think I will skip over the details of my latest doldrums, as I blog and listen to this sermon once again.
Autumn is on my mind. It’s the gateway to winter, which happens to be my favorite season. Autumn means sweaters are my constant companion, and that I can redundantly wear bright orange scarves. It means re-arranging the living room, so the fireplace becomes the center, rather than the ugly coffee table. No excuse is needed for long walks, and coming home to a cheerful, crackling blaze. There is something about looking in my front window, seeing people relaxing with spiced cider and books, that makes me warm and happy to be home like nothing else does. Summer and spring are wonderful, but the cold seasons create a hearth-appeal like few things can. When I was younger, it meant potential days off of school, but in the last few years, it’s meant enjoying the comfy home times with no school to dread. An added, rather major, bonus is that Fall lighting is fantastic for photography.
I hate the color yellow, but in Autumn, it’s bearable. I generally don’t prefer hot drinks that aren’t caffeinated, but in Fall, I’m willing to drink cider, with no addictive stimulant benefits involved. I don’t like wearing fuzzy socks in summer (in washington, summer isn’t equated with warmth) but in October, sweatshirts and fuzzy socks are acceptable inside. I don’t like sitting for hours at the stove, but in November, it’s worth it, because I’m making caramel. Autumn is a myriad of things. Redheads are in season in the magazines, caramel goes with popcorn, cinnamon goes with pumpkins, and starbucks makes special lattes. We can burn all the spiced ginger candles we got on sale.
Wow. Two long paragraphs of oozing optimism. Maybe we can call it “gushing.” Well, I’ve gushed long enough for this night, and probably bored you out of your mind. My enthusiasm for the season would write several pages, but the late hour (and consideration for your minds….cerebral evac isn’t particularly desirable in readers) forces me to stop where I stand.
Happy Autumn. Happy Winter.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coffee shop intruders.

I saw something the other day that sent me through a myriad of emotions and thought processes. At a Starbucks in Oregon, a person walked in front of me, and all I noticed was that they were wearing a shirt that on the back said, “On the first day, man michelangelo created god.” It had Michelangelo’s painting of man’s hand reaching towards what is presumably God’s, in the background. The front of the shirt had the molecule symbol, with the words “Secular Alliance” and a web address.
This brought out a variety of reactions in me, one of which was probably not good. My first, knee-jerk response was a quick flash of defensive anger. I’m aware that there are people who think that way, but usually they don’t go posting it on their backs in a declaration to the world. The mockery it attempted to make of a Holy God, and of the things I believe in, immediately ‘got my hackles up,’ so to speak.
My second reaction was curiosity about her specifically. What had brought her to think that way, and to proclaim her beliefs, or lack thereof, to everyone she sees? Does her family think the same way, or are they perhaps grieving for her lack of belief? Does she even have family?
My third reaction was great pity and compassion. While we stood next to each other, waiting for our drinks, (which, by the way, was a long while. Don’t ever go to the Starbucks next to Fred Meyer, in Bend, Oregon. Always have slow service there.) my heart broke a little for her. What kind of life must an atheist lead? How can they sleep at night? Do they simply narcotize themselves by claiming “no” belief in God, and making valiant efforts not to think about it? And if they do, what kind of despair would that lead to? If you have no thoughts of eternity, no expectation of heaven, no joy and peace given by a gracious God, what do you live for? Where does she go when life gets hard? I cannot imagine living in that sad sort of box. A dark, silent box, in a way, where you can see nothing beyond your own troubles and despair. On earth, you may be able to stand alone and shout your heresies from the rooftops, and no one will bat an eye. But when it comes to the judgment day, you cannot stand alone to face God. You have to have been redeemed by His son’s blood. I wanted to talk to her, but I had people waiting for me. Now I’m ashamed that I didn’t say something. I wanted to ask her about her shirt, what prompted it, why she thinks that, etc, but all I could think was “They’re waiting in the car for you, and you won’t have time to really get into a good discussion.” So, then I went to plan B, which was to pull a card with a verse and a website on it out to give it to her, but of course I’d left that card in my other purse.
Then I left. I walked out of Starbucks, and she walked out behind me. She got into a car across from me, and I saw the Darwin fish on the back. You know the one, where they take the “Jesus fish” symbol, and put the word “Darwin” in it instead. (Also, usually when I see that, it makes me mad) Having not talked to her, or witnessed to her, I began to pray for her, and still am. But somehow I feel like I failed a little bit. That would’ve been a perfect opportunity, with a great opening. Yet, I walked away without saying a word. In a way, I can see why I did. Part of it was trepidation that I would say the wrong thing, but in all honestly, I mostly didn’t want to keep my parents waiting longer than necessary, and I didn’t want to start a discussion I couldn’t finish. The next time, however, I think I will just do it. Nevermind who is waiting for me, when I have the opportunity to plant a seed to get someone thinking about the Gospel.
All that aside, my very last reaction was this: Great joy that God has saved my soul! That I am not a party to the despair that pervades the lives of the unsaved! I don’t say that with a sense of superiority, thinking “Oh, so glad I’m not like HER!”, but with a sense of joy born of thankfulness. It was, in a way, a good reminder of what God has done for me.  Without God’s grace extended to me, I might be wearing a shirt just like that.
Oh, on another note of people intruding on you in coffee shops…. I was having coffee with a friend, and noticed a guy hanging around for a bit too long, apparently eavesdropping. We talked about a variety of things, such as music, church, books, etc. Then, he wanders over, a bit too buoyantly, hands my friend a piece of paper, IMG_2884-1 says something incoherent about Taylor Swift, and then says to me, “Do you read my blog?”  I said, “I don’t know, what’s the name of your blog?” (I wanted to say something like “NO, you creep, why would you approach two young women and ask if they’d read your blog? Now back off!” However, I managed to mangle out a gracious smile. (I think. My friend may have a different opinion of what my facial expression was…) He’d written the name and web address of his blog down, as well as his name, and the phrase “The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.” Then he said “Oh, it’s called ‘The Lost Tribes of Israel.’” He said a few other things, but he talked extremely fast, and was also not making sense. Aside from being extremely weirded out, no harm was done, and he left as quickly as he came, leaving us sitting there gaping at each other and trying to figure out exactly what was going on. Now I’m going to have to visit his blog, just to satisfy my curiosity!
Well, I’m supposed to be out working in the yard, so that must conclude this. (Can I say that? “That must conclude This?”) Well, that’s that, so no more of this. (While I’m mutilating grammar, I might as well go the whole way.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I just became the queen of reference books. As one friend pointed out “How is that a good thing?” Well, I am one of the few people who are unhealthily fascinated by encyclopaedias. More specifically, the entire 30 volume set of Encyclopaedia Brittannica, 15th Edition. 10 volumes of Micropaedia, and 20 books volumes of Macropaedia. Stowed away amongst them was Websters New International 3 volume dictionary, including the Seven Language Dictionary. A long craved boon has been fulfilled. I’ve always wanted a multi-volume dictionary. Since the 10 volume Oxford English dictionary will have to wait, these will most certainly do in the mean time! Getting them for free was an added bonus that nearly led to hyperventilation. Thankfully, I escaped bearing four rather large, heavy, boxes, and with my respiratory system mostly intact.
The last few weeks have been a ‘merry mélange of fun and activity’, as it were. Lest I be flippant, I should point out that my stress level has still been very high, but overall, I’ve been able to push that back some. Everyone’s favorite princess turned two, a few weeks after Gabriel did. It was quite the soiree. She seemed tickled pink, which was no surprise, considering the abundance of the favored color. Pink cake, check! Pink frosted crown sugar cookies, double check! Pink tutu and frilly pink skirt. It was quite lovely, what with the pink ad infinitum. Pink is simply perfect for a princess’ party. Gabriel, in his autumn colored checked shirt clashed terribly, and the paparazzi weren’t satisfied until the poor boy was in his white t-shirt. Later, that went too. (With a hearty amount of barbeque sauce and chicken spilled on it, mind you. I took significantly less pictures than normal, because of this: IMG_2521
I mean, really, how can me and my poor little Canon A-1100 compete with that? I only took about a hundred pictures, and that was 100 more than I needed. Now I’m waiting impatiently for pictures to appear on facebook.
Anyway, I’ve recently discovered what a heroic rescuer my mother is. I want to be like her ‘when I grow up’. Sunday, we were sending some friends off, and lo and behold…. A little boy, lying on our lawn, with a bicycle tangled in the vicinity of his shoe laces. Instead of crying or screaming, as most his age would (I estimate his age at 3 1/2 or 4), he simply blinked with owlish eyes, (for a little boy in need of rescuing must blink owlishly, and he did not disappoint) and said “Why hello there.” Upon ascertaining that he did indeed desire (and obviously needed assistance), mummy darling helped free him. He turned out to be quite the little gentleman, with a minimal amount of stuttering as he explained who he was and where he lived. As he rode away, he yelled that he was showing how fast he could go, which turned out to be quite fast for someone his age and height. Judging from the panic that gripped me, I think I’ll be one of those mothers who will have an exceedingly difficult time letting my little boys and girls climb trees or use roller skates, even though I never got hurt doing either of those. (Well, not seriously hurt)
There was much more I planned on saying, but once again time cuts me off.