Sunday, September 13, 2015

I find that rewriting/personalizing parts of Scripture really aids me in meditation.  Not only do I read more closely, but I find my heart responding to the truth that really speaks to me.  God is not silent; His Word is not a mere historical document.  It speaks today.

A paraphrase of Psalm 91 for my own heart on this Lord's Day:

If you choose to stay close to me, you can.  I am more than willing to be oh-so-close to you.  You can be so close that you stay in my shadow.  That will make following me a lot easier.  Choose to say to me:  "You are my only protection in this life, and I trust You to be enough for me.  I bow in submission to Your lordship in my life."

There will come moments when you'll think you've been snared by that "fowler", Satan, who seeks your destruction.  In that moment, I (like a great bird that cannot be caught), will rescue you.  You will hide under my feathers.  The enemy will seek and not find you.  I am faithful always, and My faithfulness is forever your trustworthy shield.  I will not let you down; I will not fail you.  I cannot. My faithfulness stands. 

There WILL be destruction and terrible things that you will see all around.  But I'm in control, and you're with Me, so don't be afraid for yourself!

Because you have chosen to make Me your home and to place yourself under My protection, I will watch out for you.  I will even send my angels to protect you.  Things that could destroy you and things that are sent to destroy you, these you will trample down and leave in the dust behind you.  You will be victorious because you are Mine.

"Father, we hold fast to you in love.  Deliver us!  We know Your name.  Protect us!  Be with us in times of trouble.  Rescue us!  Honor us!  Satisfy us!  Save us!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Daybook Entry for Sunday, 6/21/2015

Outside my window it is quiet.  The early quiet of Sunday morning.  The cars that normally are filing by to the office or the factory or the mines are still.  The sun's rays are bit by bit dispelling that summer morning fog.

I am thinking about Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, the two books featured in this week's reading.  SoS is such a celebration of marriage and sex as created by our loving Father for us.  I'll admit it:  I love these books!  But SoS comes with a strong warning:  don't wake love up until the time is right.  Somewhere along the way, I heard this illustration that I've used with my kids and many others:  Sex is like a fire in the fireplace.  It gives beauty and warmth and ambience and all things good to a marriage.  But God created it to do this only within the bounds of the 'fireplace':  marriage between a man and a woman for life.  In the same way that lighting a fire on a living room rug will burn a house down, sexuality outside the 'grate' is nothing but eventual destruction.  I've found this to be both dramatic and 'sticking' for young audiences.  And Ecclesiastes- what a cool book!  I asked Alex last night before they listened to the daily reading, "Tell me about Solomon."  He said, "He was a foolish man.  (after prompting) And he was a wise man.  (more prompting) And he liked food, wine, and women and sex.  And bellydancers. (??  Upon which, he arched his back, stuck his belly out and danced in his Sonic the Hedgehog pajamas.  Obviously he's never seen bellydancers- which is a good thing ;o)  It was not sexy, but it was funny ;o)  Here's the summary of Ecclesiastes for kids:  This man had enough money to do whatever he wanted.  He was curious like you, but about everything.  Whatever you're curious about, Solomon knew what it was like.  He said, "Been there, done that, and the T-shirt reads:  'Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!'  Just serve God and enjoy what He has given you and avoid all the misery I created for myself."  Yep, we keep it simple around here :o)  

I am thankful for a new car.  Not only did God provide for our needs, but He also threw in a whole bunch of bells and whistles.  Honda Crosstours are being discontinued, hence a huge discount.  Its name (the kids christened it) is the ENRAMERE.  You must read the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson to get it.  No, you must read the Wingfeather Saga either way.  It is amazing!!!

I am wearing my walking through the woods clothes.  On Sunday mornings, I walk through the woods behind our house to the local cemetery, circle around it twice and return home.  It's quiet and perfect for praying through the pews of our church.  And your churches, too.  Last week, I saw a rabbit.  I have surprised a deer recently, as well. 

I am creating a restful Sunday environment.  Intentionally.  This is a good thing.  No hustle and bustle to church.  More on that later.

I am going to Pell City Camp in a week!  Woohoo!  The kids are pumped, the shelf stable coffee creamer thingies are bought- in french vanilla, and Italian sweet cream.  I am ready.

I am wondering why June is the wedding month.  It's blistering hot down here, and sweat is hardly romantic. 

I am reading  Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon.  Again.  And then I'll read it again later.  Because it's so good.  In fact, maybe I'll start with At Home in Mitford and go through the whole series again just for the sheer joy of it.  God bless Father Tim, the leading citizen of Mitford.

I am hoping that Nathan is not serious about buying a brush goat for the backyard.  Sometimes, he surprises me with his level of strangeness ;o).  I'm trying to dissuade him.  I'm trying to keep the kids from finding out, b/c they will be on his side and I will be outnumbered and the backyard will be denuded and there will be poop.

I am learning that three things feel really good.  Increasingly good with each year that passes:  eating great food, going to bed, taking hot morning showers.  Just saying.

In my garden you mean the little pots on the back porch.  Things are dying.  As usual.  In my pots.

In my kitchen  Sunday is prepared.  That intentional thing I mentioned.  It's about preserving this day of rest.  Recently I realized that Sunday was my least restful day.  Why?  Masses of dirty dishes.  Big meals.  Hurriedness.  So, I'm making this intentional effort to preserve my rest, too.  Everything is ready to throw in a pot and walk out the door.  Even the garlic and bay leaves and peppercorns and thyme and parsley for the roast are measured out and waiting.  The potatoes are cut and submerged in hot water and then refrigerated to keep them from browning (thank you, Mom, the scientist for the method that works).  The clothes are ironed, the car is gassed up.  It is a challenge, I will not lie.  But now, it is quiet and good.  It is my offering to the Father for giving me this day to rest in Him.  

In the homeschool room it is summer.  Hallelujah!  But I DID go to the CHEF Alabama homeschool conference exhibit halls this week.  It reminded me just how much I love homeschooling and how incredibly fun the homeschooling community is.  Alex won a fishing pole from the Trail Life exhibitor.  He is delighted!

A favorite quote for today from Jan Karon's aforementioned book.  One that made me smile:

“Hugging the slightly built, highly metabolized Harley Welch was like grabbing on to a field hare that smelled, curiously, of cologne.”
One of my favorite things of summer is a delicious tomato sandwich.  Salt, pepper, mayo, bread and luscious tomato.  That's all.
Have a blessed Lord's Day!


Isaiah 58:13-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Feet and Melting Roads

When I was growing up, every summer Tuesday was bookmobile day.  It parked for a couple of hours in front of the United Methodist Church where the fifth Sunday shape-note sing was held.  The songleader had some kind of palsy, it seemed to me, and the stuffed bobcat in the community center next door was losing its fur.  Oh, and the peach icecream at the meetings there was amazing.  Just saying.  Back to the bookmobile.  The selection wasn't huge obviously, and the children's section had my favorite check-outs, the Boxcar Children series.  The driver had a 'desk' of sort behind her driver's seat.  She just twisted around and stamped cards right there.  Those cards that let us take home our treasures.  This was the beginning of the huge book stacks.  See, I have a problem.  It's called underestimating the number of books I want to check out.  I inevitably waddle from whatever library with a ridiculous number of books, peering over the top and hoping I calculate the curbs correctly.  The children are useful for picking up the off-size ones that slip, slide, uh, that one's a goner.

These days, I meander carefully through the Hoover Library parking lot.  In shoes.  When I was a kid, I went  uphill both ways in two feet of snow.  Just kidding.  Actually, I went a mile or so from home to parking lot and then back the other way.  There was a method to navigating Nixon Chapel-Douglas Rd. in the summer, barefoot.  First, one had to watch out for the crazies zooming down the road in front of the bookmobile, cross quickly, and race to the shade of the auction that only opened on Saturday nights.  There was a prize waiting in that shade, a Grapico and Sunkist machine.  Cold.  So cold.  So if quarters were jingling in any of our pockets, we saw the last of them right there.  Then off we went.  The caffeine and sugar helped us meet our goal:  to walk quickly.  Not for exercise (we got plenty of that in the garden with my granddad).  No, the road was melting.  Literally.  Potholes were fixed occasionally, but the mixture would melt down and ooze on the surface of the road.  You had to hop around those spots if you didn't want to wish you were dead.  And just when you couldn't stand it anymore, there was that lovely stand of pecan trees in front of Mrs. Brown's house that made the road so cool with its shade.  We stood in silence.  Any noise might cause her to pop out of the house, wearing her clothes inside out and... well, we thought she was creepy.  Then off for home.

Needless to say, our feet was tarred by the time we got home if we weren't uber-careful.  In fact, they might be feathered or furred.  You had to watch out for things like roadkill.  To wear shoes in the summer put wear and tear on school shoes.  Maybe if we had wanted shoes, my mom would have let us wear them.  I don't think they were a forbidden object.  But have you ever been a mile from home on a hot day when your cheap flipflop's strap pulled away and you had to contort your big toe and second toe to grip it as you hopped home?  I have.  Too much trouble.  Have you ever tried to balance 20 books on a bicycle handlebar?  Too much trouble. 

On to 2015, my poor feet.  My poor, poor country feet.  I used to get pedicures and let the little Vietnamese ladies here scrub those calluses.  That was before two things happened.  I "lucked" out on an interesting massage chair with rollers in the seat.  OK, it just felt obscene- who wants a backside massage?  Ew.  I'll admit it.  It took me 15 minutes to turn that selection off.  (I'm not good with machines, and I wasn't about to try to explain my problem to someone using basic English).  The second thing that happened was this:
  Yes, that would be a cheese grater.  I kid you not.  Not a rasp, a cheese grater.  And the girl had the gall to smile and say, "Now, don't move.  I don't want to cut you."  To her credit, she didn't cut me, but she cured me of professional pedicures.  So, now we move from a childhood story to a life-changing invention.  I'm even posting a link here to Amazon so you can get one for yourself.  For the cost of one, maybe two pedicures, I have entered the world of nice feet.  Using this a little every day, my feet are returning from the world of scary dinosaur feet to nice human feet.  Even Nathan has been impressed, since I have spent 14 years trying to keep my heels from touching his leg in the bed.  I tried to convince him that they were great exfoliators, that the friction helped me keep my balance, that going to mailbox barefoot was normal.  He remains unconvinced.  So, goodbye scary summer feet.  This blog post is for you, Kristi Hope.  Not that you have scary feet.  The first part.  Haha!