Time to Turn the Page

The last day of the month,
The day I turn the calendar...
And I pause.

Time is passing.



Psalm 90:12
"Lord, teach us to number our days aright..."

"Teach us to live well!"
(The Message)

I was given a special calendar by a dear friend who shares my love for Israel. I wanted to do something memorable with this calendar, so it would be something I could treasure and keep even after the year was out-dated. I've decided to use it as a prayer calender. I am writing down my "top" prayer request or concern each day.

Most days, when I record a new petition, I end up praying over the other things I have written down.

As I turn this page tonight, I wonder how these will be answered.

When I look back at the end of the next month,
the next year,
or at the end of my life...
What thanks will I be giving to God?

I'm expecting
"exceedingly abundantly"
beyond all I can imagine.

This is a good thought to end this day.

Father, I am filled with hope. Help me to be even more thoughtful and intentional in my prayers this next month. Lord, what would You have me to pray? Lord, teach me to pray as I number my days.

Not Too Proud To Beg

She doesn't want her dinner.
The meal is over, and there she sits. Nibbling and picking.

Our puppy knows where the crumbs fall. He patiently sits at her feet. Waiting.
And I am reminded...

Matthew 15 (NIV 1984)
A Canaanite woman ... came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

...His disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted."

I am a Gentile clinging to the words of Christ and the Old Testament promises that include me.

I want to be like this woman of great faith. I echo what Peter said when Christ asked his disciples if they would leave Him like so many others that were offended by His teaching. "Where else would I go? You alone have the words of life!"( John 6)

He sits there so patiently... waiting, waiting, waiting to vacuum up the tiniest yummy bit of her supper; and so I hang of His every word. I am desperate for Him. I know that my wisdom and all the commentary of men is like dog-food compared to pork-chops and peas or steak and potatoes.

Luke 10 (NIV 1984)
Jesus... came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made...

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

In His presence.
Sitting at His feet.
Seeking Him.
Finding Him... to be everything I need.

Sunday sermons, devotionals, Bible study groups... so many ways to be fed, but all these are "fast food" and "snacks". They'll do in a pinch and tide me over for a bit... but, nothing can substitute for the table He sets before me.

Oh, wonderful, merciful Savior! There is no one like You!
Sweet Spirit, comforting, counseling, teaching, guiding.
Father, Creator, Sustainer of Life.
I desire You, Your Words, above all else.

I am poor in spirit. I hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Fill me. Feed me.
I am not too proud to beg.

Men and Boys

"Let him who is without gas cast the first stone."

Ah, yes, let's write that one down in the book of family wisdom to pass down to the next generation.

The girls headed off to bed early tonight, and the boys are having some quality guy-time in the living room playing Cabella's Big Game Hunter.

And, I'm lying here in bed eavesdropping... and smiling.

Guys are so different from us gals. I'm so thankful that my boys are learning about manhood from a man like my husband. He has integrity and deep faith, but he also has a wonderful sense of humor.

He makes home so fun! Everything changes when he comes in the door.

As much as I got a chuckle out of the proverb I quoted above, my favorite line of the night was when my son said to my husband, "You're the best dad."

He is.
And, the best husband, too.

Thank you, God, for my man.

if it is not of faith...

A State Police car pulled up to our house tonight.

The kids were all excited.

Two sharply dressed troopers came to the door.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but we have some bad news..."

Moments felt like minutes
It seemed my heart stopped
and then began to pound
I felt almost faint

What could this mean?
It was late.
My husband wasn't home.
Had something happened?

It was bad news,
but nothing as urgent as I had begun to braced myself for.

Now that my children are safe in bed and the house is quiet, I am filled with thankfulness, not fear. I consider how different this night would be if those officers had delivered more disturbing news... news that certainly countless others have received. My heart aches and is filled with new compassion for those who have had that experience.

And as I reflect back on the evening, I realize that thankfulness has changed my life.

The habit of counting blessings, even in times when it is hard to be thankful, has transformed my way of thinking. This is evidence that applying scripture works!

"In everything give thanks."
"Be transformed by the renewing of your mind"
(Better understood after reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts)

I see a miracle in me.

Rather than being gripped by the "what-ifs" of fear tonight,
I found myself habitually counting His gifts.

His partner handed me a sheet of paper and began to tell me about a serious issue for our neighborhood. I gathered my children to explain. We circled up as we do every night and prayed.

Eldest son, the man of the house for the evening, prayed first...

His prayers baffled me... such maturity, such wisdom, compassion, insight... all words I would not have thought to pray.

I have a quiet spirit tonight.

We are safe.
He watches over us.
He never sleeps; He never slumbers.
He hems us in behind and before.
He has placed His hand upon us.
Such knowledge is too wonderful!
...too lofty for me to completely understand!

under His wing,
the apple of His eye,
His treasure,
His child

He is our refuge
our fortress
our shield

His gives His angels charge over us
to guard
to keep
to protect

aaah, scripture hidden away in our heart and prayed

We are loved. We are known.
We are under His care.

Thank you, Lord, for Your perfect love that casts out fear.

Later this evening, in a totally different context, I heard myself say,
"If it is not of faith, it has no place in this home."
It rang in my ears.

"If it is not of FAITH, it has NO PLACE in this home!"


I will trust in the Lord at all times!
His praise shall continually be in our mouths and on our lips.

The old song is true,
"He's got the whole world in His hands."
He has me,
my husband,
my children,
my home,
and yours...
He has you. You are His, and you are safe.
Whatever worries you tonight, trust Him with it.

Blessings to you and your home tonight.
Sleep well. Sleep safe and secure in His arms.

Senses Overwhelmed

"Who wants eggs with their pancakes?" (silence)

"Who wants hugs with their kisses?"

faint answers of "me" from distant rooms
suddenly rising to a thunder of feet on hard wood that
rumbles beneath the echoing choir of children's voices
"me", "me", "me"...

soon I'm drowning in a tidal wave of children
all arms and bodies as I'm tackled with love

I woke this morning, buried under layers
of sheets

Slow to resurrect myself from my warm burrow
only to layer again under
flannel pants
fleece top
snow pants

Again I step out of the warm
into the cold

The world has been transformed again by snow and wind

so different from the summer version of these views

frozen pond,
blown clean as the field

snow drifts...

layers of powder,
compacted and piled
blanketing the earth

handsome says, the snow of the entire county blows across these fields and dumps on the edge of our drive

I'm cold
and sweating
under all my coverings
frozen fingers and nose

Inside again
I shuck and peel
I'm melting down to my wool socks
faster than the snow on my boots

The smell of bacon sweeps over me
"big breakfast", oh, I have a sweet man


I love my grits with salt, pepper,
and butter!

(The northerner I married and his brood doctor their hominy with cinnamon and sugar. Just doesn't seem right.)

This morning has been a feast for my senses,
a banquet for my soul.
"You prepare a table before me..."
Thank You, Lord.

(We opened the last jar of maple syrup this morning. We were away last March; so we weren't able to tap and boil in 2011. Like Elijah's oil, amazingly, our last batch has not run-out.)

The tastes, the smells, the views,
The sounds of my favorite voices,...

Breakfast on fine china...
we are rich.

I am alive.
I am blessed.
Simple treasures, wondrous pleasures.
It is almost too much to take in.


My stubborn heart is melting...

I've heard the name of Jesus since birth and known Him personally for years. How is it that there is still so much of the stubborn me in me?

As I picked up another silver stand of glittering metallic ice, I heard the familiar whisper, "You're not the same."

The yo-yo warm and cold of this strange winter is so like me...
melting, freezing
I'm in a teeter-totter, tug-a-war with perfectionism.

wanting, striving, longing for "right"...

yet, 13+ years with a man who lives and breathes freedom has worn me down

the scales are tipping and abundant life is winning out

legalism stinks
holiness is one thing, but only God is perfect
and there's more than one way to live a godly life
(It is so much easier to do what God asks of me when I'm not piling on religious to-do-lists and inventing idealistic notions of 'oughts' and 'shoulds'.)

tradition is not scripture
and my way is not the only way
(I am often flat out wrong.)

I see my reflection in the mirror and see another static-clinging thread of silver. I think I may be picking up Christmas tinsel all year, and I'm glad. Every slippery shining string is a symbol of how I'm letting go of my way.

My "perfect" tree never had tangles of tinsel, but this last years tree was beautiful. We never had so much fun decorating the tree, and boy, was my husband surprised when he came home one night to see it laced top to bottom with silver. (The Bishop's Wife's tree had nothing on ours!)

I am changing. Little by little.
I don't know if anyone else can see it, but I sure like living with me more and more as I let go of all my self-made rules.

Healing - From the Inside Out

Did you know Americans spend over $200 million each year on lip balm?

dry, chapped, peeling
biting, picking at annoying bits of skin
cracking, bleeding, yick!

Chap Stick has made a mint off this pitiful condition.

I've blamed winter and cold weather for the present state of my lips (I'm certain it can't be from kissing my husband too much; since I intentionally practice that habit year round.), but I have been informed that those environmental factors only contribute to the real culprit: dehydration.

A surface solution of "adding moisture" should solve the problem, right?
Then why does licking lips only make matters worse?

When dehydration is the problem, renewal of moisture needs to come from the inside. Chap Stick cannot rehydrate or heal chapped lips, but it can provide temporary relief.  Unlike water or saliva, it aids healing by forming a protective surface over the lips that will not  evaporate and keeps moisture in, thus preventing further damage from a dry or windy environment.


There's another lip-problem in this house.


an under-lying strife seems to be brewing

This past week I've been dealing with surface issues, and we're still licking our wounds. Like chapped lips in winter weather, some might say this is just ordinary sibling rivalry or animosity; it will pass with time, as seasons change.

Ordinary? yes.
As ordinary as the selfish sin-nature we all have.
Passing? nope.
Disguised in more socially acceptable behaviors as they age? maybe.

What's the cause?

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God." James 4:1-2

She wants attention.
He wants to be left alone.
He wants his brother's toy.
He doesn't want to share.

What do I want?

peace and quiet!!!!

Lord, hollerin' at my young-ins won't change their hearts any more than lickin' my lips will heal my kisser. You said, "I do not have because I do not ask." God, I want more than quiet; I want harmony. I want more than the absence of quarreling; I want laughter and words of compassion. Lord, heal our hard, dry selfish hearts. Pour in Your love till they overflow with tender words on our lips."

Thank You, God, for bringing this to my attention and reminding me of Your scripture-prescription for what ails us.



Here are the Mayo-Clinic's suggestions for chapped lips:
1. protect your lips (Chap Stick)
2. avoid licking your lips
3. stay hydrated
4. avoid allergens (cosmetics)
5. breathe through your nose

The mouth speaks from the over-flow of the heart; so here are a few of God's tips for dealing with the real issues of our other lip problem:
1. guard your heart (Pr. 4:23)
2. avoid unkind words (Eph. 4:29)
3. stay filled with the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)
4. avoid those who would wish to quarrel (Pr.20:3)
5. listen through your ears and take a few deep breaths before you speak (James 1:19)

Warming Up a Cold Heart

My husband drove to work the other morning with the car thermometer reading 1 degree.

The other evening I drove by the bank, and it read 14.

The next day, above freezing...

Today, the high is expected to be in the 40's.

Cold fronts, warm fronts...
blowing in and out from the north and south.

I'm reminded of another day, pondering circumstances...
it is the set of the sail and not the gale...

The winds have changed, and I never raised my sails.

Rocking back and forth, and getting no where...

I can hardly bring myself to admit the reality that I've been distracted with good things and have forgotten the best, and all too quickly my heart has begun to turn cold. The passionate fire in my heart is barely warm enough to keep me polite and civil. I can feel it. I know it; though no one else may see it.

knocking out walls in the kitchen, watching movies, reading magazines and fiction, celebrating a late "Elf-day", getting in that early morning exercise, and finding our way back into our home-school routine... good things, fun things... busy things.

But, I've neglected my private prayer time and personal Bible study this last week. Who would know? ...except God and me.

Lord, forgive me for coasting.

You've been with me despite my neglect.
You are so faithful.

Thank You, God, for letting me know Your nearness... that I would miss it soooo much so soon. You don't let me wander far. I feel You drawing me near, keeping me close. I need You for daily life: for especially hard days and ordinary ho-hum days. No one knows my joys like You; no one else can feel the depth of my sorrows. I want to share every moment with You.

And, practicing Your presence just isn't the same without hearing from You in the mornings and coming cozy-close to You at night. I don't just want to know You... I want to KNOW You richer, deeper, completely, intimately. Be my first thought by morning and my last at night.

I've made time for the important things...
my husband,
my children,
their education,
our home.

You are so far above "important".
You are my air, my life.
I have time for YOU.

Forgive me for distraction.
Thank You for getting my attention.

Again, I have complicated a simple life... ebb and flow, wind and blow, bring a change to this distracted heart... fill me with wonder. I know my need for You. Fill me with a fresh desire for You. Fill me with wonder again.

The "Special Gift"

One evening a couple weeks before Christmas, I found my little girl sad. When I asked her what was wrong, she said that she wanted to buy something special for Christmas but was too young to drive. I asked her what she needed to buy and she teared up and whispered in my ear...

It was a "special gift" for me.

So, a date with Daddy was scheduled so she could do her shopping.

When they came home late that night, she could barely hold her eyes open, but she was all smiles. She had found what she had been looking for.

On Christmas morning I opened the tiny box and discovered her treasure...

a locket.

Today I clipped our photos from the Christmas card we sent out this year...
They were the perfect size. (Thank you, Lord! What a "special gift" from You!)

Mother and Daughter...
my daughter!

She is my chosen treasure.

Adoption is a miracle.

Adoption is the heart of God.

Thank You, God, for letting me experience this heart-stretching, patience-trying, character-building, wonderful miracle of motherhood with the added blessing of adoption!

She is my "special gift" from You!

And, knowing Your heart; knowing that You love me enough to adopt me, to make me your child... to save me... I have no greater gift than Your love. Thank You for showing me how much in a million little ways!

a good night for sleep

how helpless, defenseless, vulnerable we are when we sleep

the oldest, wisest
strongest, bravest of men
become boys when they rest

the whole house silent,
we would startle to wake...

who is watching?

keeping company with the sick and listless, bed-weary soul?
...with the exhausted mother and nursing child?

God Himself is near... companion, guardian, protector.

my pillow, sheets, blankets call me...
pull me away from this world,
drift off from cares and responsibilities
to dreams, to other lands, other times

in the dark, He sees all

"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat--for He grants sleep to those He loves." Psalm 127:2

tossing turning? no, not me.
He gives me rest; He gives me sleep.

"The Lord is thy keeper, the shade at thy right hand...
Indeed He who watches Israel will neither slumber nor sleep..."
Psalm 121

long day is done, and I am at peace.

He watches over me; He watches over the earth...
all night, around the world, continual night and day

"God is in His heaven. All's right with the world." - Robert Browning wrote.
ditto, and amen.

resting in the care of Sovereignty; goodnight indeed.