Tag Archive | blessings

Too Busy Being Me

Amidst this sad consciousness of imperfection, here is comfort for you–you are “perfect in Christ Jesus.”  ~ Spurgeon

I am so imperfect.  And quite the imperfect blogger.  I’ve been terribly sporadic this year!  So, thought it time to lay out all my excuses and explain why I’ve been less-than-regular with writing and encouragement.

My husband has often says of himself, “It’s a full-time job just being me.”

And so with Linda….I’ve been too busy being me.

Being me, as any beloved child, is about partaking in God’s daily discipline and grace.  Discipline, because I need it so much, and truly deserve it.  Grace, well, because I need it so much, and don’t deserve it.

And being me has felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins, who said he felt “thin, sort of stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread.”

Stretched, but content…

.

~~Living in Ottawa, but preparing to leave for our “other” home, building on relationships while facing goodbyes, being served by the very people I seek to serve, tutoring and plugging along with my degree, surprisingly chosen for the “novel” task of ghostwriting,  and most recently, selected to be a contributing author for Regent University’s new blog.

~~A grateful wife of 36 years to a lovely, deep man, with an oft broken, contrite, yet humorous spirit!

~~Always a mom, though my daughters are grown and don’t live anywhere nearby.   But I’m a mom, and thankfully, ever will be!

~~A grandma to two precious little ones, with another on the way!  When I’m with them, I can’t imagine being away.  And when I’m away→→I skype!!

.

~~An only, beloved child to my sweet mom, and this year, planning her 80th birthday celebration and reunion! How priceless is that?!

Being me may keep me from blogging regularly, but may it never keep me from daily seeking the Lord, leaning on and learning of His unfailing love and surpassing mercy.

I just pray that me being me won’t get in the way of

Him being Him,

in me,

for

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

~~~

Maybe you could share how you maintain blogging and other responsibilities, while still being you?

In Pictures

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”     1 Thessalonians 5:18
~
My thankful list in photos, on this Meditative Monday:
~
(Beth custom-made this beautiful purse for me, then packaged it in my favourite wrap–brown-paper tied up with string!  🙂

The Perfect Purse, by Beth Stone

 

 

52-54.  My grandma’s dishes :-), a great deal on this second-hand china cabinet, and one of my current and highly recommended reads, Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney

A few of my favourite things

 

 

55.  John’s laughter and “temp” dog (enjoyment w/out the responsibility)

John with our "Temp" Dog

 

 

56.  The intricacies of a flower

A closer look

Tulip Details

 

 

57.  The deer that come to our yard (before ‘temp’ dogs chase them away)

One of Many

 

 

58. The help, awesome talent, and friendship of our brother-in-law, Harold

Carpenter's Hands

He turned this…..

Before...

Into this…

After....and more to come!

And he continues to work hard (between a much-needed break)!

John and Harold (aka The Finisher)

 

 

This last item for today will get a post of its own soon….
60.  Our peaceful hollow, in His hands…

Ahhh

Roof with a View

 

 

Join me and others here in giving thanks to the Lord for ALL His unspeakable gifts:

Thankful Mondays

It dawned on me that Monday is probably the worst day, and the best, to write a thankful list.  The worst day, because my brain is on slo-mo, and needs a second cup of cream with coffee to get charged.  And it’s the best day, because when I count my blessings (‘name them one by one’), the week gets off to a better start! 

Without further ado…today I am thankful for the things that get my morning going:

31.  Coffee, already brewed by my wonderful husband

32.  Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning Devotional (part of my day for over 8 years)

33.  The Bible  (deserves a post all to itself–HERE)

34.  Specifically, the NASB Bible which I’ve used since 1972

35.  More specifically, the NASB Bible my husband gave me in 1977 while we were in Okinawa

36.  The precious highlighting my daughters did throughout the Bible when they were very little

37.   The Presentation page (with highlights from #36):

“On the Occasion of thursday, because I love her”

 

 

38.  Spurgeon’s, Our Own Hymn-Book, a great companion to the Word

39.  Bic pens that make my handwriting look pretty

40.  Two journals: One messy, one neat.  I need both.

 

What are you thankful for as you begin this new day, which, itself, is a gift from God?

~~~

Join me and others here:

Spring Slides

I thought it would be fun to try out the WordPress slideshow feature today, using recent spring photos taken by John, and my daughter, Joy.   If you wish, you can play some tunes from the Blue Music Box as you watch, to create a more poignant mood. 🙂

 

 “The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

If you have trouble viewing the slideshow, I uploaded a wee sampling of pics below.  And if you can view it, let me know what you think of this new feature!

Thank you, Lord, for Your beautiful, good, and perfect gifts!  And above all, thank you for writing my name in your book of Life.  I pray that everyone who passes this way will learn You are Good, You are Love, and that through Jesus Christ, they too, can have the assurance of unconditional love and grace, and life eternal with You. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing and a Curse

It seems like a month since my computer worked properly–the AC power supply cord/adapter frayed from being bent (my fault) and overheating–but it’s only been 6 days!  My computer can be a blessing and a curse, a form of ministry, or a waste of time.   The blessing part *usually* outweighs the ‘curse’ aspect…I think.

A lot of other things can qualify as both a blessing and curse.  This phrase, of course, became well-worn in the popular “Monk” TV series, when Adrien Monk frequently referred to his detective “gift” as a blessing and a curse.   Solving tough crimes was the obvious blessing, while being overly attentive to detail, most certainly, a “curse.”   In my personal experience, I find that cars, hormones, and memories are fully loaded with blessings AND curses.  Here are some more: 

Digital photography:

  •  The blessing is in the simplicity, quality, and low cost of taking 1000s of photos, compared to film photography.
  • The curse you may wonder?  What to do with all those pics??  And, perhaps, the near-compulsion to be a non-stop photographer, just because it’s so easy!

Aging:

  • The blessing is, we’re alive!!  As it’s been said, “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative” (Maurice Chevalier). Much is gained through aging, such as learning from our mistakes, growing closer to the Lord, and an increased comfort with our own selves. 
  • The curse is the obvious physical decline.  Wrinkles, aches, and pains begin to appear unbidden.  I appreciate how Charles Dickens highlights the difference between old and young in Little Dorrit:  “Youth is prone to wear its boots unlaced and is happily unconscious of digestive organs.” 

A house full of Bibles:

  • Blessings in abundance.  In free countries, we can read the Bible in over 100 versions, including the original Greek, Hebrew, with or without commentary.   However, the most blessed aspect, is that we hold in our hands the God-breathed and designed story of life, salvation, redemption, and eternity with Jesus Christ!
  • One little ‘curse:’  “To whom much is given, much is required.”  Luke 12:48

Riches:

  • Financial security is a blessing. The Lord provides for us beyond what we ever deserve. But we want more.  Extra riches coming in should = extra riches given away.
  • Too much/too little can lead us to forget God, or our need for Him.  As Solomon wrote, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”  Proverbs 30:8, 9

The CROSS:

  • Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”  Jesus became a curse for us.
  • His punishment became our peace.  His curse became our blessing,  His sentence and death, our deliverance and Life. 

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”–in order that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”    Galatians 3:13, 14 

 

Can you think of any other mixed blessings?

The Great Exchange

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become  the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”  2 Cor. 8:9

 

Sin. Poverty. Condemnation. Alienation. Death.  All we have, all we are, all we can look forward to, apart from Christ.

Righteousness. Justification.  Spiritual riches.  Grace.  Love. Eternal life.   All, and much, much more transferred to us in Christ–from the moment he said, “It is finished” and we received His sacrifical exchange.

We can’t begin to fathom the glory, the goodness, the blessings and riches which this great exchange means for us, but a poem from The Valley of Vision touches on a few:

 

…at Calvary
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;

There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy
that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst,
that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkenns that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou might spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;

Help me to adore thee by lips and life.

O, that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see
my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed,
heaven’s portal open.

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,
might to subdue,
comfort, and save
!

Secure in Him

“He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock”
Psalm 27:5

 

I’m feeling better, brain is working, and ideas are flowing again!  I see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! (Ps 27:13). 

Praise the LORD!  My sister-in-law, Becky, was pronounced CANCER FREE this week by the doctor and medical staff that have been treating her over the past 9 months!!  She was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer last May, and underwent extensive, painful surgery and difficult chemo treatments!  Undergirding all the medical treatment, was constant prayer for healing and comfort! ! [I posted some thoughts and battles about her cancer HERE and HERE.] 

Can we praise the Lord, even if we don’t understand the trial, or why it happened? Is our security in our understanding?  I hope not.  I hate cancer.  I don’t understand why it strikes so randomly.  As I pray for others with cancer, like Kate McCrae and Matt Chandler, I wrestle with a lot of ‘whys’, but my security and peace aren’t based on having all the answers.  Paul David Tripp says in his book on Psalm 27:

You are not secure because you have control or understanding.  You are secure even though you are weak, imperfect, and shortsighted.  You are secure for one reason and one reason alone:  God exists and he is your Father.  He will never leave your side.  He will never fail to provide.  He will make good on everything he has promised.  And he has the power to do so.  He is Lord.”

So, in our weakness and lack of understanding, let us run with prayer and praise to our loving Father, and find shelter in His rich mercy, mighty power, sovereign rule, unsurpassed grace, and unconditional love.

What “whys” is he asking you to relinquish to Him?

Blessing in the Thorn

Many have died and many more are suffering in Haiti, and throughout the world. Many of our loved ones are going through really difficult times.  For today, I chose to encourage and minister with grace, rather than force any pat answers to suffering.  Perhaps a reminder of Christ’s love will minister to you, through this song from Phillips, Craig, and Dean :

Blessing in the Thorn

I read about a man of God
Who gloried in his weakness
And I wish that I could be
More like Him and less like me
Am I to blame for what I’m not
Or is pain the way God teaches me to grow
I need to know

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I’ve heard it said the strength of Christ
Is perfect in my weakness
And the more that I go through
The more I prove the promise true
His love will go to any length
And reaches even now to where I am

But tell me once again

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

Lord, I have to ask You
On the cross You suffered through
Was there a time You ever doubted
What You already knew
?

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I want to see the blessing in the thorn.

 

You can listen to this from the blue Music Box.  This version is from their CD, Where Strength Begins, Phillips Craig and Dean.

Christmas Sweets

“The blessing of the Lord makes us rich and He adds no sorrow to it!!  Proverbs 10:22

Blessings  in sweet, tasty packages be the subject for today.  Here are ‘a few of my favourite things’ I’m baking today, and later on this month with family!  The recipes are easy, and actually not originals–each one can be found on the product packaging..so anyone can make them.  But I still like to call them my own 🙂

 

Easy Fudge

Place in stovetop pan:
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk

Set burner on HI.  Stir CONSTANTLY while bringing ingredients to a boil.  Lower heat to Med Hi and ensure mixture does not burn.  Keep a cup of cold water nearby to check consistency:

Place small tsp of mixture in cold water and see if it will form into a ball that will keep its own shape.  Keep testing mixture until it forms a soft ball… Then…..

Take turn off burner and add the following in order:
1 1/2 or 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 jar (12 oz) marshmallow cream or fluff.

Stir well!  While still warm, pour  into 9 x 13 inch pan that has been greased with butter.  Place pan in fridge, cold garage, (or freezer, if in a hurry!) and let candy harden.  Ready when you are!

 

Danish Almond Macaroons

Preparation:  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or brown paper.  Preheat oven to 325.

Combine:
1 can Almond Paste
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar

Break almond paste into small pieces and place in food processor or bowl.  Add sugar and beat with electric mixer or processor until mixture is smooth.  Add egg whites and mix well.   Spoon by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake 15-18 minutes at 325 until lightly browned.  Cool completely on baking sheets.  Peel macaroons off parchment paper when completely cool.

Note:  To remove macaroons from brown paper, brush underside of paper with water under each cookie, one at a time.

 

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Preparation:  Preheat oven to 350.  Grind up at least 1 cup of walnuts or pecans for later.  Prepare glaze for later.  Set aside 1/2 to 1 cup of raspberry jam.

Glaze:  Mix these in a small bowl for a light glaze for later (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2-3 Tablespoons water
.

Cookies:
In large mixing bowl combine:
2/3 cup sugar
1 Cup butter
1/2 tsp. almond extract.

Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1-2 mins.)

Reduce speed and add:
2 cups unbleached flour.
On low speed, beat minute for another 1-2 minutes.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll in ground walnuts or pecans.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  With thumb, make indentation in center of each cookie.  Fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp of raspberry jam.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Then, drizzle the light glaze over cooled cookies. YUM!

 

Remember~~

The best part about of these goodies is sharing them!  Sharing divides the calories and multiplies the blessings!  Share with neighbors, friends and family!  

Worship the Lord as you bake!  Put on a Christmas CD, praise music, or listen to the songs uploaded in the blue Music Box. 

 “With the angelic hosts proclaim, ‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!'”

 

 

 

God, Our Founding Father

 “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights…”

The Declaration of Independence

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

 The First Amendment of the US Constitution

Today, the 232nd anniversary of our Nation’s founding, I thank the Lord for the freedoms we have, and earnestly pray as I witness their erosion.  Our country is tiptoeing on the edge of destruction, because it has forgotten God.  It’s popular to ridicule and malign Christianity, in a country where all other beliefs and cultures are protected.  Jesus Christ has become “a byword” i.e., a common curse word.  Prayer has become a ‘moment of silence’, and God is whoever we want Him (or Her) to be–or not to be. 

Over the years, orators, philosophers, founders, and presidents have not been silent about Who is the source of our freedoms, and their concern of abandoning Him.  Here’s food for thought and prayer as we celebrate the undeserved grace of God towards America, the food on our tables, the ‘waves of grain’, the shining seas, and what freedoms remain.

“And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?  Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?  I have lived…a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God Governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.’  I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concuring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”   Benjamin Franklin, 1787, addressed to those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia

“All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today’s world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain.”  Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Templeton Address, 1983

“As unpopular as it is to say, biblical values–thoroughly ingrained in our Founding Fathers and unmistakably incorporated into our founding documents–are what has made these United States of America utterly unique in history…..Our culture–including our unparalleled tradition of freedom–has declined and will continue to decline in direct proportion to our rejection of biblical values.  Of course, Christians want no part of established [state-run] religions, but neither do we want, no can we afford, the excommunication of our founding values from the public square or our culture.”  David Limbaugh, “Purging Christianity from our Culture,” Worldnetdaily.com,  July 2, 2002

When men stop believing in God, the danger is not that they will believe nothing.  The danger is that they will believe anything.”  G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith

God’s Word also reflects this perspective:

“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales: Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.  Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.

“All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless…

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

“It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

“He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.

“‘To whom then will you liken Me, that I should be equal?’ says the Holy One.”  Isaiah 40:15-26 (portions)

“There is none like you, O Lord, You are great, and great is Your name in might.  Who would not fear You, O king of the nations?  Indeed it is Your due!  For among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You!”  Jeremiah 10:6,7

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Prov. 14:34

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..”  Prov 1:7

As Solzhenitsyn and Ben Franklin said, we must not forget our Creator.  Even though we are soujourners and pilgrims in this world, looking for a better country, a heavenly one, let’s not neglect to pray that our freedoms will endure; the freedom to speak, to gather to worship, and to live for and share the message of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to this generation, and those to come.  May we give God His true place in our hearts and pray for continued blessings on America.

Unless the Lord builds the house; they labour in vain who build it;

Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.” 

Psalm 127:1