Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Counting...

this morning the cool morning air beckoned me out with Bible, journal, book, coffee and phone.  what stillness filled my busy mind as the coolness caused me to tuck my feet under me, and to pull on a sweater, as the chickadees tried to gather the scratch grain left by the chickens before "the dog" laughingly scatters them in his patrol through the yard.

i am so thankful for the gratitude community, for Ann's sharing her journey toward grace & learning to make the days count by counting the gifts.  even when life is crazy swirling around me, when the math book brings tears and the sweet extra children arrive before i've finished my first cup of coffee...the practice continues, my heart silently counts the gifts...and sometimes some of them get typed onto the list.

those which have been recorded this week: #558~571

Scripture memory box ~ how that little box helps us!
Dinner in the crockpot at 8am
Reading Leading Little Ones, again!
And Mr Popper’s Penguins, both with a new set of kiddos
Smores in the backyard
Baby birds cheeping
An opportunity to listen
Four extra little feet
Energetic boys EARLY
Herding chickens by harmonica
Mountain chickadees in the morning
Listening husband
Morning prayer times
Sleeping children

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Arm Still Broken, Sparkly Orange Cast is the Treatment

Sparkly Orange Popsicle Cast

Only a piece of clay

Just this past week I had one of those times, where I left off a conversation with my FATHER with "I just don't get this LORD.  This is distasteful to me, it's so harsh and..." and the loving FATHER that He is, He gives me this response...





“I’m like a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the potter is like. Think about that for a second. It shows the silliness for any of us to think we are an expert on Him. Our only hope is that He would reveal to us what He is like, and then we can just repeat those things.” Francis Chan

No, my ways are not anything like HIS ways. HIS ways work, and my way so often doesn't, so often hurts people's hearts. Thank God for His great love and mercy.  Not that in this particular moment I thought that I really KNEW HIM, or that I was an expert in anything, but I had an opinion on HIS word.  What grace, this God, that would keep pursuing me with truth, rather than give me what I really deserve.







Monday, May 23, 2011

Chica's Profession of Faith ~ No Greater Joy

This weekend Chica experienced a long awaited event. Sometime in the late summer, early fall she asked to be baptized ~ and the church we attended in Canada did not have a baptismal. I believe they do their baptisms in the summer, in the river :)


So we waited.
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So we are back home, and have found a wonderful fellowship of believers to worship with and serve alongside.  And this weekend, Builder had the privilege, the honor, to baptize our youngest daughter in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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Earlier in the week Chica and I visited with Pastor Anderson and another family with a young person choosing baptism.  Pastor spent a great deal of time in the Word with us, asking questions, explaining baptism and also, teaching about what is to come next in the life of a follower of Christ.

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At home, the next morning, it was exciting to share with the sisters what we had learned.  After the Scripture reading and a time of prayer, we each retreated to take some time to write down our testimonies.  What precious opportunities I have been given with these precious 3 youngest children.

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And Sunday morning, with all four of her older sisters present, Faith was buried with Christ in baptism

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And raised in newness of life.




How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory


I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music
Words and Music by Stuart Townend



giving thanks for so very much
#545-557
Tickle love

Opportunities to serve Together
Another wedding invitation
Friends who speak truth, difficult truth
The laughter of cousins
Rain, soaking wet the ground
A sweet time of revelation in this parenting adventure
Peace, even when things seems to be spiraling
5 daughters, all in a line, sitting next to me in worship
Daughters, who are also sisters in Christ

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small Changes = Happy Results

A few years ago, during my most recent routine physical (I don't make routine doctor visits very often!) I was handed a lab order. After the 2003-2005 season of major & minor surgeries, I wasn't worried about a simple lab order.

The surprise came 2 weeks later when the doctor's nurse called to read the results to me.  Bad cholesterol, LDL, was low enough - great.  Good cholesterol, HDL, was low, too low.  After telling the nurse thanks for the good news, she promptly told me this was NOT good news.  That a person with low cholesterol had as many health risks as someone with high cholesterol.  And my blood sugar was on the high end of okay.  100.  And I was 20 lbs over weight. 

This was really surprising to me, and not really surprising at the same time.  While we had made a lot of changes in our diet over the years, there was plenty of room for improvement.  So I did a little research, found a few changes that we could add into our life (small steps) and moved forward.  A big items is that we have decreased the amount of sugar, including from soda a great deal, although I am still overweight, more so even.

When the doctor handed me the lab order 3 weeks ago, I actually felt nervous, and took it home, set it on my desk and ignored it for 2 weeks.  Life slowed down and I decided that I did want to know where things are now.  And JOY, small changes did bring happy results.

My HDL is 47, one point above 46 (evidently it is best to not be lower than 46)
LDL is 113
Blood sugar 94!
Vitamin D deficient (something new to me, I need to learn about this one!)

These happy results have inspired me to pursue a few more small changes.

And in case you wonder about those "first" small changes...

**Avocados, as often as possible.   I love avocados and have no problem spending a little extra at the grocery store to have 1 or 2 a week, even when they are not on sale.
**Olive oil for almost all cooking, and slowly still getting accustomed to the taste in our homemade salad dressing.
**Coconut oil for baking instead of butter (much of the time)
**Fruit & Veggie smoothies with plain yogurt several times a week
**Significant decrease in the use and consumption of sugar, using honey and maple syrup when we need a little sweetner
**More beans and lentils in our weekly diet.
**Increased our use of fresh garlic in our cooking
**More varied vegetables, we plant more different kinds and try new ones from time to time
**More active lifestyle, but that is a work in progress

So, if you are struggling with the need for changes in your lifestyle, diet, for the good of your health, I encourage you SMALL STEPS!  The list above was not made all at once.  Those changes have taken place over about 4 years, little by little.  You can do it, and the results will be HAPPY  :)


Monday, May 16, 2011

Grace Unfolding, Everyday

Life continues on, and sometimes at a pace that causes me to forget to write down on the list, the daily blessings, the daily evidence of grace so abundantly poured out.  One thing that I've noticed though, is the conversations, the verbal reminders to find the blessing, to unwrap the gift hidden or disguised, and to tell them to one another, even if we don't find pen and paper in that moment.

tidbits from #518 to 543

Hugs from daughters, so tight and full of love
Thunder and lightning
An upcoming baptism
Dog snuffles and laughter from the children
More books that we can read
Blossoms on the fruit trees
New berry and grape vines (she considers a field and buys it, or she looks at her big yard and choses fruitbearing landscape)
Exciting summer opportunities!
Cookies by Mae
Happy celebration of Grandma's 90th!

So very thankful that the seeking and finding of moments filled by grace and love and hope and joy isn't forgotten, even when the written list is for a time.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's Been 8 Years! Reposting from 3 years ago...

On turning 40....

It's funny, most of us can remember back when we thought "40 is so old". I had such a different perspective the year that I looked toward "that" birthday.

When my dear friend Vickie turned 40 year before, I started to tease her a bit when she gently set me straight. Vickie told me how THANKFUL she was to have made it this far, to be alive, to be healthy, to have her family. That quickly turned my teasing to rejoicing, as I realized all too well what she was saying.

About 20 years ago Vickie fought a fierce battle with cancer. After she won that battle, she went on to marry her sweetheart and to miraculously have 2 fabulous kids.

And, she reminded me, I have much to be thankful for too. Just 8 years ago I was dying from Congestive Heart Failure and was quite spiritually sick. In May 2003, when Chica was just shy of 5 months old, I had valve replacement surgery. After the surgery, the surgeon didn't give us much hope for recovery, he felt the damage to my heart was too extensive.  He told me to go home and enjoy the time I had left with my family.

Oh what Joy! God wasn't taking me Home quite yet. Eight weeks after the surgery I received the wonderful news that my heart was healing, returning to normal size and function! April of 2008 I was released from cardiac care, but in December of this past year, tests showed new changes in my cardiac health.  What these changes mean, I don't know, but praise God, the old fear hasn't been able to take root in my life.
I have been given so much more than the physical healing and extra years, I've been given new life in Christ! During that time 8 years ago, God did some major heart surgery on me. For the work He has done in my life I am so grateful. The way he scraped so much of the ugly past out of my heart, fully healed many old wounds, softened the scars and in place of it all, put his joy and peace.  And today I have confidence that I can face whatever lies ahead, with His hand holding me and giving me every beat of my heart that HE has ordained.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord, Who gives and takes away. My heart has chosen to say, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.



Monday, May 9, 2011

Too Small to Ignore by Dr. Wess Stafford, with Dean Merrill

These past months I've read a lot and learned about different people, and their ministries. It has been a time of refreshment and challenge, especially in the area of parenting the precious children in my home. Seeing how the love, compassion, joy and discipleship that starts at home, and springs out from there..

One of the books I've read is  Too Small to Ignore, Why Children are the Next Big Thing, by Dr. Wess Stafford, with Dean Merrill.

too small to ignore


In this book, Dr Staffords tells of his childhood in West Africa, from the nurturing African village where his parents served as missionaries, to the horrors of the Missionary Kids boarding school  he was sent to at the young age of 6. 

It is so hard to understand why God allows children to suffer such wicked things, but I am thankful for what HE has produced in Dr Stafford through that suffering, a compassionate heart towards the smallest, the weakest, and those broken.

I loved reading how Dr Stafford's heart has been moved on the behalf of the smallest of humankind, and was very encouraged that he clearly stated that compassion for the least of these starts in our homes, with our own God given children.  If you are interested in learning more about the heart of the man who leads Compassion International, I encourage you to read this book, or listen to the audio recording which is available at iTunes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mary Poppins!

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010

007

This term Petal Rose took part in a Musical Theater class with the Academy of Children's Theater.  What a BLAST she had!  This was a class full of really great kids, and the most fun, cute teacher (Heather) a 10 year old girl could ask for.

The most remarkable thing on the night of the actual performance is this...these kids truly looked as those they were have the best time of their life!  Their lines were flawless, their voices beautiful, their acting great, but that chemistry of comradery and delight in what they were doing is what blessed me the most!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Another Broken Arm

Well, she did it.  Chica is by far our most active child, jumping and flipping and running and skipping most of the time.  And by flipping, she has managed to break her arm.  This time we have a green stick fracture of the ulna and bowing of the radius.

broken arm 2
after casting and a good night's sleep

figuring out one hand playing
figuring out how to play her recital piece, with one hand

So in the last 3 years there has been a night stick fracture, a buckle  fracture and now a greenstick fracture.  And I'm hoping that's the end of the broken bones!