Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Reading, June

The relaxed summer days and quiet evenings are perfect times to enjoy some good reads.  This month I have read,

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick, Historical Fiction ~ an enjoyable evening read.  You can click here to read my full review.

So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkin ~ fictionalized autobiography  One of my daughters had pulled this book off the shelf in May.  A few days later, she handed me the book with concern over the content, and now I know she didn't know how to process the horror described in this story.  Yoko Kawashima Watkin was a young Japanese girl living with her family in Korea during WWII.  Her family was caught in the violent turmoil as the Korean's recieved aid from Communist Russians and Japan surrenended to the United States.

It was a violent time and sadly, as we know from many times in history, men often turn their war time violence on women and children.

This book is marketed to elementary children, and though I believe it is a valuable story, it is more suited to older middle school to high school students.  While a younger child might know the name of some of these evils, processing them in as they read the story of a character to whom they are "befriending" is very difficult.

What is a Healthy Church Member by Thabiti M. Anyabwile ~ Recently our pastor was preaching through The 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever and provided both books to any in the congregation interested in reading them along with the series.  These books have been sitting in the stack of my "heavy" books, being rotated through over the past month.  I reccommend these books to anyone struggling with the modern American church, feeling as though there is something missing.  While there is much we could say about the "American church", I found much more to chew on as I read the marks of a healthy member.

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis ~ Another Amish fiction.  This book was a gentle story about young people seeking wisdom for leading their adult lives, when there are many expectations put upon them by well meaning family.  See my full review here.

Why Church Matters, Discovering Your Place in the Family of God by Joshua Harris.  This is another book reccomended by our pastor.  It is a fairly short read, easy to take in, but worth taking some time to process and discern one's response to the wisdom and encouragement shared.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski ~ our family read aloud this month.  Strawberry Girl is our favorite of Lenski's regional fiction stories.  This is the story of Birdie and her family as they settled in upper Florida, trying farm despite weather, animals and surly mean neighbors.

Friday, June 29, 2012

This Moment ~ This Week

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo -  - capturing a moment from the week.  A moment that I will remember, always.  A moment that brings the reality that all can be gone in a moment into clarity for me this week.


This photo was taken by a Denver Post photographer, and is of course, a better shot than any of my own.

We anxiously watched the fire from Sat afternoon to Tuesday afternoon, knowing it had the potential to be very bad.

But we had no idea how bad it would be Tuesday afternoon, until suddenly, out my kitchen window I saw orange smoke, and then out my west window I saw fire and smoke.

We live on the other side of the interstate, up a hill from the boundary line for evacuations.  That evening fear was thick as we waited and watched and listened.

My heart is grieved for the loss of so many.  My prayers are frequent for the mercy and peace of God to comfort our community from the terror of that day.  Cars lined up to evacuate as the fire raged toward them.  Shocked faces all around our city as the ones evacuated mingled with the rest of us.

Yes, this is a week I will remember.  And learn from.

linking with Amanda

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From One Simple Life to Another

Two years ago when we sponsored Lesbia and Bryan Marcello through Compassion International, we were just starting to really understand the opportunity to impact lives and sow hope where there might not be any hope.

Two months ago when Builder and I made the decision to become Child Advocates and to strength our family's ministry efforts, I had a tiny idea how that might impact our children.

But here were are in the hot middle of summer and my heart is bursting with joy as I see just glimmers of what God is doing in this family and through this family.

When my children asked me what I wanted for my birthday recently, I just couldn't think of anything.  And then as I prayed I started seeing faces and upside down symbols and there was the answer.  Sponsor a child from the areas at risk for exploitation and abuse.  Let God rescue one of this young ones through our commitment, love and letters. 

And here she is, the gift my Beloved Builder granted for my 44th birthday...


Neema, Tanzania

What a beauty she is and what a blessed woman I am.

And in the same week, surpise another child, unexpected, this one from Indonesia, joined our international family. 
Niki Agusta, Indonesia

What joy swells in my heart as I look at this faces, sense the pain and maybe fear in those beautiful eyes, yet I also see the potential.  There is a song that is sometimes on the radio.  Just this week I bought it from iTunes because the lyrics are a prayer I occasionally pray for my daughters, and now plan to write to these children.

The Words I Would Say
by Sidewalk Prophets

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,


Never give up hope
,
You're going to do great things,

I already know,

God's got His hand on you so,

Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day.

His love will find a way



And today while I am hoping what I share encourages someone else to begin singing hope over a child through sponsorship, I also want to leave you with these words, dear reader friend

Be strong in the Lord
Never give up hope
You're gonna do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear

Don't forget why you are here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer of 7, Redirected Focus

This summer of 7 has been a great vehicle for the redirecting focus happening in my family.  I asked my kids several times as we talked about continuing after the possessions week, why are we doing this?  What are we hoping for?

And as the days went by we realized, we want to be FREE and ABLE.  Free from the things that keeps us from doing what we are called to do. 

So a contining deep purge is happening, and much is being sent to Amazon or set aside for a garage sale, for fundraising purposing.

And another week of preparing ethnic meals to share with others, to tell them about our "kids" and what life is like for them.

The clothing part of seven has been an interesting thing for me to ponder.  And I spent a week of pondering I realized, maybe this should be embarresssing, but it's not...I only have about 7 shirts that I rotate through, 2 skirts (one more dressy, one for everyday, and I mean everyday), 1 pair of shorts, 2 nightgowns, 2 pairs of capris, 2 swimsuits and 2 pairs of yoga pants for working out.

My accessories are about as sparse.  So again, I'm brought back to the focus my Father gave me the very first thing.  What am I wearing on the inside?

Thanks to a conversation with one of my sweet girls last night, my focus is brought back around.  It is for me to be putting on joy by giving thanks, slipping on peace by remembering the steadfast faithfulness of my Father and clothing myself with a garment of praise.

Fellow Summer of 7 bloggers, I'm not bailing on you, my fast has taken a different shape that just might not fit here on the blog.  When I'm given something to share, I will, but my guess most is going to batted around the sweet family gathered around the table each night.

with joy,
michelle

Waldo Canyon Fire

Ten years ago our state faced a similar situation with fires burning all over the state, but I don't remember any of them being the threat that the current fires are posting.  The fire in Northern Colorado has destroyed almost 300 homes, another fire in Estes Park may have destroyed homes/national park building (I'm not sure on this).

Saturday, afternoon, June 23 Mae and I were driving home on I25 when we saw the first smoke plume and read the highway board ... Fire in Waldo Canyon, Do Not Call 911, Emergency Services have been dispatched.  It was a large plume of smoke shooting straight up.  Over the next few hours we saw the glow of fire and smoke, so much smoke.

And while our family, our home is not in any danger except from the poor air quality, the concern and grief is deep. Here are some of the photos and video I have taken during the first 30 hours of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

from our backyard on June 23 an hour or so after we first saw the plume of smoke

Evening of June 23

Sunset June 24 over the fire area

Sunset June 24, a little aways from the fire



After dark from Portal Park.  The fire was clearly visible until it seemed to quiet to the other side of the ridge



We are praying and we are depending upon the steadfast faithfulness of the Lord in this time.  To keep our firefighters safe, to keep the people, animals and building safe, and to show Himself to any who will choose to see.

Whether God does, or doesn't, I will praise Him

It has been a bit of a struggle this past week, to sort through my "failures" to seek what is failure, sin, poor time management, and what is just the stuff of life.  When routine gets knocked to the side in favor of fellowship with my traveler husband and preparations for house guests it seems that counting the gifts, recording where I look for and find the graces my Father leaves all around drops off.

And the heart changes are obvious.  Recording the gifts is oxygen to my joy.  When the gifts aren't recorded, they wander out of thought, and the joy gets snuffed out.

As the fire burns right there in our mountains, the smoke smell strong in our yard, the smoke itself dimming the light of the moon, I wake up the computer and start recording, because whether the LORD sends the rain we are pleading for, or doesn't, I will praise Him.  I will record the graces of my Father and remember His faithful love.

Here are the graces I've looked for, gathered up and jotted right down:

gifts 1065-1086


my husband leading this family
working in the kitchen with a sweet daughter friend
magpie chasing a squirrel down the fence line
fresh eggs for my children
clean water
evening walks
herons, ducks, geese and beavers all in the middle of the city
a fresh new fawn with his momma doe
children purging movies from the shelves
sharing how I found joy, and how I keep joy (by giving thanks) with a precious girl
 seeing how sharing “failure” defuses condemnation and produces life lessons and grace


the fragrance of my birthday petunias while watering pumpkins & squash
prayers for our community during the service, whether God sends rain on the fire or not, we will praise Him and look for what He is doing.
Spunky elderly friends
Learning a bit about my family heritage from the Scottish evangelist speaking at services this week
Origami art for my birthday
Treasures from my granny
Ice cream with daughters
Pumpkins, squash and sunflowers growing, hope for the fall celebration


with joy,
because all is grace

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

 Home to Hickory Hollow, The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler--and the young Amishman's charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow. Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes. And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever.

Several years ago I discovered Amish fiction and have enjoyed a story here and there from that genre.  This story was one of the more enjoyable, as the main characters, Amelia Devries and Michael Hostetler seem to grow as people, separate from one another, without the tanglements of romance.  The story developed sweetly around each of the characters struggle to grow and mature into adult independence, seeking the life they were each created for, while respecting their parents and their expectations.  And of course, romance did appear, but it was refreshing for it not to be the focus of this story, but an ending.

The story was a gentle retreat during these hot summer days.

The Fiddler was provided to my by Bethany House publishers for my honest review.

Friday, June 22, 2012

This Moment ~ from a lovely date night



{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Bumping right into the Media Free week from the Summer of 7 my Beloved Builder was home for a week, after working in the great Canadian North for 6 weeks.  Now he is back to work and I have pictures to remind me of the sweetest of dates nights that included pizza on a patio in the middle of downtown, a drive  that allowed us to see a doe and her fresh little spotted fawn and a walk to a pond in the middle of town that is home to beavers.

It was the finest of sweet moments all strung together.

And I'm not sure when I'll get back to regular blogging or writing the reviews for books stacked on my desk.  That slower week full of walks and work and conversation has left me wanting more of that kind of time with our children and the friends being brought to our home.

Here's to hoping for more fine sweet moments!

linking up with Amanda and Amy

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer of 7 - Week 1 Possessions

Day #1 ~ actually 11 items, but I didn't want to put anything back.

Day 2 brings me a little revelation ~ this purging of 7 items per day is bringing relief to my soul, clearing clutter not only from my home, but from my mind.  I know that Jen wrote in her book that she purposely gave to specific individuals, but for me, just taking the step to actually remove these things from my home is freeing me in several ways.  Some items from each day are leaving with others in mind.  Other items will go into our donation box to be dropped off later this week.


Day 2 Pictured here are "date coupons", unit studies & lapbook printouts, flashcards, picture books, scheduling charts and a random doll hat.

Day 3 & 4 ~ These two days washed over me and any further purging of 7 didn't happen.  Other LIFE, good LIFE things did.  And I wrestled through to okay.

But day 5, that day was different.  As I thought about things to pull and pass on, I came across a "project tub" a tub full of unfinished projects.  Instead of looking for more to pass on, I pulled out 3 projects to finish.  Two skirts, one dress that need a little, or a lot, more work and they are finished.  Less in the unfinished tub, more to to use wisely, or pass on generously.


And as I am volunteering at a Compassion International booth for much of today, I don't know if I will dig deeper in the closets or if I'll play a game of skipbo with my daughters and do a little sewing.  Either way, I will continue to seek the Lord in this Summer of 7, in quietness and without stress, knowing that what we are hoping for is to hear from HIM.

Next week is week 2, Media Fast.  I am really nervous about this one, as it is one where I believe I will have to look the hardest at how I spend my time, where my priorities are.  It is also one of the ones my kids will have to join in.  Ipods will be turned off, stashed in the drawer with mine.  It's not ironed out yet, about email but it will be in the next couple of days.

But for now, this blog will grow quiet and I am very sure that in the internet world of WORDS the only big deal about By Quiet Waters being quiet, is the voice that will be heard off line.

See you in a week or so...

with joy!


Friday, June 8, 2012

This Moment ~


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



visit Amanda to join in or to see more fabulous moments

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guest Post, by my daughter



Hi!
This is Mae.

me with Nenxy's packet in April
Recently I got a letter from the Facilitator of the Compassion student center my Compassion child, Nenxy attends. There  were some very difficult things in the letter. The area where Nenxy lives is greatly influenced by gangs, drugs, crime, and high unemployment. As a  result, there are high malnutrition rates and other health problems. Compassion has come to strengthen the children and their families and to let them know that there is an answer for their basic needs and that there is a God who loves them and can help them get out of their situation.3




Nenxy

At the project, there are 247 children and 222 of them are sponsored. That is a lot, but 25 children still need sponsors.

Sponsorship provides children with nutritious meals, medical care, recreational feild trips, spiritual retreats, birthday celebrations and personalized tutoring. Also, the letters that children get from their sponsors encourage them and make them feel loved by somebody who doesn't even know them and yet cares for them and that is very important to them.








If you want, here is the link to sponsor one of these children.
Proceed to our secure online form
Perla, waiting for a sponsor


Fit to Serve ~ Without the Stress


Fit to Serve.  That is the theme I found while reading Daniel over the past couple of weeks.  Here are a few examples from my journal:

* Chapter 2:14 Daniel replied with discretion and discernment."  Discretion and discernment are qualities to learn, practice and teach my daughters.

* Chapter 3:18 Even if God does not deliver me from trials, danger...  Stay steadfast and faithful to God, cultivate that now, to develop strength for the harder days to come

*Chapter 3:28 Blessed by the God of Shadrack, Meshach and Abed-nego...yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God
    What is it that I need to do in yielding up my own body?  Romans 12:1 tells us Therefore I urge you, brethern by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. 

*Chapter 11:32, 35 In response to the evil one to come, people who know their God will display strength and take actions.  Some will fall in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time.

As I read through the book of Daniel this is the theme which took form in my mind...to cultivate a spiritual and physical fitness by cultivating discretion, discernment, wisdom, to be able to face trials & danger, to display strength and take action, to present my body, a living and holy, acceptable sacrifice as an act of worship.

These words fit well into a book I was reading called "What is a Healthy Church Member."  Recently our pastor taught a series on the book "What is a Healthy Church?  9 Marks of a Healthy Church" and he offered the "healthy church member" to the people of the congregation.

In this book, there are "10 marks" of a healthy christian, church member, described.  This of course tied right into my thoughts coming from the book of Daniel.  The 10 marks taught in this book are:

Mark 1 A Healthy Church Member is an Expositional Listener
Mark 2   ...is a Biblical Theologian
Mark 3   ...is Gospel Saturated
Mark 4   ...is Genuinely Converted
Mark 5   ...is a Biblical Evangelist
Mark 6   ...is a Committed Member
Mark 7   ...Seeks Discipline
Mark 8    ...Is a Growing Disciples
Mark 9   ...Is a Humble Follower
Mark 10   ...is a Prayer Warrior

And so the theme has continued, just as always.  The Holy Spirit speaks to me, leads me, and confirms what HE is saying in multiple places, ways.  So as I begin this Summer of 7, focusing each week on a different fast topic it is confirmed to me that my over riding focus this summer is on becoming FIT to SERVE. 

And in actively pursuing that fitness, I will be practicing taking pause in the moments of my days, keeping hours you might say, to keep my focus rightly on the ONE I am seeking to serve, rather than on the work.  Ushering in peace, instead of stress.



Amazima Ministries International: Farming God's Way

As a small scale backyard gardener, chicken & duck egg gatherer, this caught my attention...
There are three pillars to the Farming God's Way methodology:
1. Management
Do everything on time
Do everything to a high standard
Do everything with minimal wastage

2. Technology
No plowing

100% mulch covers (referred to as God's Blanket)
Practice crop rotation

3. Biblical

Acknowledge God and God alone
Consider your ways
Understanding God's all-sufficiency

What you sow, you shall reap
Bring tithes and offerings to God
Stake your claim
Please, click the link below and read more.  The work Katie is doing in Uganda is rich, beautiful and inspiring.


Amazima Ministries International: Farming God's Way: Earlier this year, Amazima had the opportunity to host a very unique training seminar at our land in Buziika called Farming God's Way...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Compassion Sponsorship Opportunities

Did you know that as a Compassion Child Sponsor, you may have the opportunity to bless, encourage and pray for other children in the program?  who are already financially sponsored, but for different reasons, not corresponded with?

Meet Yolibel, Nenxy and Ronald, our Compassion Correspondent Children

Ronald, Guatemala
Yolibel, Honduras
Nenxy, Honduras
Each of these children have entered our hearts, are daily in our prayers and recieve the letters, drawings and other small gifts that we prepare each month.

If you are a current sponsor, and have the time and desire to invest in another child or two's lives through correspondence, call Compassion International and let them know!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Biting Back at Malaria, with a Splash of Lemonade


In early May our youngest daughter, Chica, planned and held a Lemonade Sale in our front yard to raise funds for malaria intervention.  As we helped her prepared for this event, I picked up several books from the library on malaria.  What I learned saddened me, discouraged me, and gave me words to speak out. 
Today I am guest posting over at Compassion Family, sharing what I learned, and the hope I found.  Please join us there.



Sowing Hope


010As spring glides into summer new life is emerging everywhere. 
017013Seedlings full of the hope for squash, pumpkins, salad, soup beans, ruby tomatoes, flavorful onions.  Also, seedlings of gratitude, faithfulness,  compassion, obedience peeking up in the tender soil of children's hearts.

016School lessons are being wrapped up and set aside for the lessons that happen during the sunshine rhythm of warm days pursuing creative endeavors, garden tending, afternoon games of skipbo & uno.  And I experience a surge of hope, the deep comforting hope that comes from seeing glimmers of green on the landscape of life.

gifts #1037-1051

Cheerful competitors
Smiling dancers
Rain!
Working together
Planting hope for late summer and autumn
A sister to talk to
Watermelon smiles
More work for Builder, a long ways away, the Lord gives.  The Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the LORD.
Family girlfriends
A hidden nest of 3 beautiful brown eggs
chickens clucking softly during backyard Bible time
warm eggs from JuJuBee
bees swarming around purple blossoms
sprouting winter's greens and chicken food
012
small beginnings of Petal Rose's soup garden ~ to raise funds for Janeth's support


Petal Rose and Shoestring

the lovely Janeth

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers

and

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom, A Review

 Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick, Historical Fiction

German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education-and a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda's driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife.

Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person's simple gifts of beauty make a difference? Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart. from the back cover

This story, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a historical fiction based on the life of Hulda Klager. It is a rich story about the faith to believe in the God given creativity that one possesses, and the pursuit to use that gift to create beauty and to share it with others.

The story moved a bit slowly, yet there was so much detail involved that it was still a pleasurable read.  The fullness and richness of the life of this woman are shared in detail and one can almost  hear the laughter of her children, smell those lovely lilacs and see the wonderful beauty of her gardens.

I do recommend this as a summer read, maybe in the early mornings out by the gardens.  It is like a stroll through a time and place in history, where you get to know the everyday people and watch them seek the grace to take life as it comes, making something more beautiful out of it.

I recieved this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 1, 2012

This Moment ~ Welcome Summer!


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

visit Amanda to join in or to see more fabulous moments