peace of my mind

peace I leave you; my peace I give you… Jn.14:27


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Yes!…to friendship

13:31 days of Yes!

Last week my daughter, Amelia was registered to run a race, but she was reluctant–not looking forward to the path ahead.  She was visibly carrying a bit of dread. My husband encouraged her to do it anyway. On the morning went, and she tried to put it out of her mind and push through.  Nothing seemed to do the trick…until Emily came.  Unbeknownst to Amelia, her dear friend came to run the race too. And without missing a beat, my previously anxious daughter bounded off with her friend to enlist in the numbers at the starting line.  Not one doubt or fear remained when Emily came.

Isn’t that the power of a good friend? What seemed difficult and painstaking before can soon be done cheerfully and eagerly when a friend is there to walk beside. I didn’t value friendship much in my youth, but as I’ve grown older I have come to appreciate the sweet comfort and strength a godly friend can bring.  Friends of youth can easily corrupt and lead astray. They may fill a selfish want to bolster one’s reputation and perhaps even end up detracting from it. Though many of the friendships of my youth seemed deep and important, adding great excitement to my life, I see now that my understanding of their value was dim or altogether misdirected in worldliness.  As the years pass, God has blessed me with several godly friends who have walked beside and uplifted me (and I pray me, them).

Godly friendship is a gift from God which spurs us on in the race.  Confiding in a friend or confessing a struggle can help keep you following the path, keeping you from deception and danger.  Running together brings a measure of camaraderie and strength, making the burden lighter.  Friendship brings cheer and laughter, and a needed place to be restored.

I love the image of Christian and Hopeful in Pilgrim’s Progress.  When Christian is at a low point, God sends a friend, Hopeful.  Though they take a wrong turn, they find the narrow path and spur each other to stay on it. Eventually they are brought to their joyful end.

Therefore here Christian and Hopeful walked with great delight; they also drank of the
water of the River, which they found to be invigorating to their weary spirits. Furthermore, on either side, the banks of this River
had green trees that bore every variety of fruit; and the leaves of the trees had good medicinal value.

Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan

As busy women, our time is limited. We could justifiably say “no” to the time and effort friendships take. But if we find a friend like Hopeful, we would do well to invest: recognizing it is a treasure which pays returns.  Does this friend point me toward Christ? Does this friend have the courage to help me see truth when I am veering off the path? Does this friend help me speak words pleasing to the Lord rather than idle chatter, gossip or complaints? That is not to discount our many relationships which don’t meet those points.  But in life, to have a God-given Hopeful is a gift from His hand. The investment is worth the Yes! as it makes the run easier and keeps us faithful on the path to Him.

31 days of Yes! is me dedicating to post each day for the month of October (which is a Yes! in itself) and to find one meaningful Yes! in each day.  Over 1200 bloggers are participating thanks to the lovely Nesting Place.


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Yes! to a song

11:31 days of Yes!
Just this today…a song that I can’t get out of my head and heart.

I cannot choose anything but Him. My heart is restless until it is found fully resting in Him. It’s what I was made for…looking for Him.

I’ll be waiting
Anticipating
All that I aim for
What I was made for
With every heartbeat
All of my blood bleeds
Running inside me
Looking for you

Appreciating Sally Clarkson’s similar thoughts here. She says it so well!

PS Anyone else think he looks like Dana Carvey?

31 days of Yes! is me dedicating to post each day for the month of October (which is a Yes! in itself) and to find one meaningful Yes! in each day.  Over 1200 bloggers are participating thanks to the lovely Nesting Place.


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Summer in Instagrams

Morning cup of coffee in the works from our Mackinac campsite. I savored the mornings there! and every bit of our time together.

Navigating and knitting. Riding shotgun has its perks.

Piper learning to stand at the zoo.

Amelia and Britta on the banks of Lake Huron and their wildflower bouquet.

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge. Cheese!

Making Blueberry pie with Britta.

Pails, snails, and puppy dog tails ♥

Corn in abundance from dear friends.

On banks closer to home.  Beauty here and there.


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Out with the old and in with the Blue

Out with the old
Tuscan-inspired, faux-finish kitchen, be gone.
No one is really sad to see you leave. Though I enjoyed your stay.
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But we needed a different vibe in the kitchen. So in with the new.
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Benjamin Moore paint: a mix between “Innocence” and “Serenity” -just what I was looking for.
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For $35, we got alot of bang for our buck. Curtains and chair cover to come with some newly purchased Joel Dewberry fabric. So bright and clean, I almost don’t want to cook!


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Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters

Seven years of my husband owning his own business has been a tutor to me. These years have schooled me in what it means to have plenty and to be in (slight) want. They have taken me to task for my selfish desires and sometimes sinful stewardship. They have taught me from where my provisions truly come.

I thank God for promises from his word which have guided my learning.   My learning is not finished, but Ecclesiastes 11 has instructed time and again:

Cast your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will find it again.
Give portions to seven, yes to eight,
for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain upon the earth.

Whatever I have, do I have it to hoard or to give? Do I hold it tightly or do I give it away?  God says to cast your bread upon the waters.  Your precious bread which feeds and nourishes you and yours!  Hold it lightly (not tightly) in your hand and let it go.  For when you do, it will return to you.  You will find it again!

Last fall we knew of a nearby family going through some struggles, though we weren’t certain they were financial ones too.  We had a sizable gift card we had purchased for another purpose, but hadn’t used yet.

At that same time were planning several gatherings, one for our seventh child’s baptism.  We wanted to celebrate these good gifts with friends and family.  That gift card would have been so helpful as it was a lean time for us financially.  I asked Kevin what  I could spend and his answer was “very little”.  I suggested the gift card.

As we discussed it, we felt compelled to give the card to this family in crisis and trust that just using what we had and making  minimal purchases would cover our needs.

I tell testimony of this, not because I fancy myself set apart to receive God’s special gifts, but because this is the kind of God we serve:  a God who delights to give his children good gifts if we will only trust him.

I mailed the gift card with a note early in the week.  Her return thank you weeks later proved her need was real and she had gratefully accepted the gift. We thankfully praised God who helped us to give from our place of need.

I went to my own mailbox the day after I sent out the card. I was confounded.  Inside our box was a card of equal value, to a different store, which someone had anonymously given to us.  My head shook in amazement and my lips uttered thank you.

We could have kept that first card and used it ourselves.  No foul, no harm….No faith, no blessing!  In God’s leading us to give it away, this family was blessed and we were able to do it in the name of Jesus.  We were able to trust him to supply all of our needs as we cast our precious bread on the waters.  But in his fashion, he brought it back to us with full hearts and firmer faith.  We found it again!

Psalm 50:10 reminds us,

for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.

Do we believe He owns the cattle on a thousand hills?  The earth is his and all that is in it belongs to him.  He does not need our currency or our possessions.  He wants our faith and our whole hearts.

I thank Jehovah Jireh that he has shown us his provision time and again.  From specific items of clothing the kids have requested to bikes and toys that have been generously shared with us.  Just this weekend, we gave from our need.  When we returned home Sunday evening we were met with a  box packed full with pantry and personal items anonymously given to us.  Toothbrushes for all of the kids…on my list of things to get soon.  Noodles…the same kind we used days earlier to feed a crowd.  Treats and useful things.  My lips utter thank you again.

They came from someone giving to us…perhaps from their own need.  And we pass the blessings around in the name of Christ.

Though sometimes things look bleak, we must know our God whom we serve.  He is no man’s beggar and he is our Father.  He shall supply all of our needs.  He is good indeed!

Psalm 37:25
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.


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The Joy of the Lord

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is the most stirring book I’ve read in some time. It is pure glory and poetry plumbing deep the wells of God.

I started reading the first chapter on Ann’s blog one night and ordered the book right then.  Her writing is exquisite, and though some people may be put off by her lyricism, her command of language, history, and scripture combined are a treasure.  And her theology is every bit in place to undergird her poetry.  It is clear from the pages that she has wrestled with God on many matters and He has been victorious in her.

I recently asked for prayer from dear sisters that God would restore joy to me.  All I do can be for glory or vainity on account of one little word…joy.  Without joy, I am a clanging gong in my home, a resounding cymbal.  With joy, the hardest pressures a day can dish out shine their refining value and worth.  Abiding joy comes from Him, but soon departs when my selfish ambitions and vain conceits muscle Him aside. He is long suffering and abounding in love.

Ann weaves fine threads of understanding into what is true communion, or as she defines it, eucharisteo: receiving all He gives as grace, giving thanks in every situation, and then giving His gifts away to others.  The effect of eucharisteo (grace, thanks, giving) is joy.  Who can contain anything but joy when one sees all that comes from the Father to his children as his loving, refining grace.

So in chronicling  one thousand thanks, she finds God is met through gratitude and service which all brings joy.  This sounds textbook-easy, but it is in the actual living and walking out obedience that its true effects are found.

Ann’s gifts are abundant, and she excels in many ways.  I have followed her blog for some time now and thought, how does she do that?! on many occasions.  She is careful to give God all of the glory and praise.  And this too is commendable.

It is important to remember that  God is a giver of gifts to all who surrender their lives to Him.  His love song is to you and me just as much as it is to the most gifted of men.  He endows as he sees fit.  But in so much as it depends on us, I am challenged to find thanks in the details of my life and to praise him through the hard, refining thanks as much as the cup-to-overflowing thanks.  It spurs me on to “live my one life well”, fully surrendered to him.

This book was an answer to prayers.  Thank you God, for restoring joy!


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Snowy Stick People

Sledding

I used to draw oodles of stick people scenes like this when I was a girl. A sledding hill with little stick sledders, legs bent at right angles on stick toboggans with scarves flying straight back in the wind and little pom-pom stocking caps. There was always an ice skating pond too. Today though, the scene was just a mass of real stick figures scurrying for prime real estate on one lone hill in these flat, farmlands.

Winter fun

I could never have imagined then that some of the little people on the hill would someday belong to me. Yet here they are in the flesh. What a thrill to see them run up and slide fearlessly down on snowboard and saucers.

This one didn’t slide.

Pink tink

But this one did-twice-and lived to tell about it.
Mom even got to go down once with her.

Sledding.b

And these three had their fill.

Love him

We were missing two as they were off sledding with friends. As my mama “call” brought them running, I sat thinking of him. Pencil and wide-ruled paper long ago could never have known all that the years would tell. Thank you God, for these sweet gifts we’ve known together in our flesh and blood children! Thank you for this good day!