"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

To a Friend
by Grace Stricker Dawson

You entered my life in a casual way,
And saw at a glance what I needed;
There were others who passed me or met me each day,
But never a one of them heeded.
Perhaps you were thinking of other folks more,
Or chance simply seemed to decree it;
I know there were many such chances before,
But the others - well, they didn't see it.

You said just the thing that I wished you would say,
And you made me believe that you meant it;
I held up my head in the old gallant way,
And resolved you should never repent it. 
There are times when encouragement means such a lot,
And a word is enough to convey it;
There were others who could have, as easy as not -
But, just the same, they didn't say it.

There may have been someone who could have done more
To help me along, though I doubt it;
What I needed was cheering, and always before
They had let me plod onward without it.
You helped to refashion the dream of my heart,
And made me turn eagerly to it;
There were others who might have (I question that part) -
But, after all, they didn't do it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Musing - Loving the Saints

We were blessed yesterday to have Rev. Nate Harlan as a guest preacher and he presented a different view of Revelation 2:1-7 than I've ever heard.  He postulated that the "first love" that the Ephesians had lost was not necessarily their love for Christ, but their love for "all the saints" as they were commended to continue to have in Paul's epistle to them.  He also asserted that, since the city of Ephesus no longer exists, their "lampstand" was removed and that was because they probably did not heed Christ's exhortation in Revelation.

Pastor Harlan then went on to encourage us to truly love the saints and for that love to be a light in the community and to extend to those outside the faith.  He pointedly asked us how long it had been since we had had another family over to our home for dinner; how long had it been since we had shared from the heart over a shared dinner; how long since we'd looked our brother in the eye across a meal table; how long since we'd shared joys and sorrows with each other.

Now I must say that our church is abnormally good at sharing with each other.  Every Tuesday evening our sweet pastor's wife hosts a ladies' tea for all the ladies 12 years old and up; our young men and older men get together usually once a week for breakfast and comraderie; we often have group gatherings/shared meals in our yards during the summer; we have fellowship meals after worship service twice a month; we often get together for work opportunities like reroofing someone's house or tiling someone's new bathroom floor or gathering firewood for the elders.  But, there's always room for improvement, right, and so his sermon was right on the nose and of great value to each of us.

I especially was convicted because I had just been groaning to one of my daughters about how difficult it is to fit more people into our dining room during the winter when we don't have the option of socializing outside for most of the evening.  The smallest of the whole families in our church have six children, the largest have ten.  So I was unwilling to be inconvenienced for the sake of serving others a welcoming, hospitable dinner.  And of course, like most Michiganders right now, we have to consider the financial question. 

But Pastor Harlan didn't bring up either of those issues - as if they didn't really bear enough weight to excuse us from obeying the command reiterated in Romans 12:13.  So now we're working on ideas of how we can more easily fit people in - maybe be less stuffy and go ahead and use TV trays in the living room.  And we certainly don't have to serve a seven course dinner which would break the bank account.  Warm, filling, hefty soups and breads are a delightful way to feel cozy together.  Pastor would agree, I'm sure, as he praised our dinner of Corn Chowder and bread and salad which we got to serve him and his family after worship.  And then the impromptu supper of roasted hotdogs with whomever could show up at our bonfire was a lot of fun, too.

Because God continues to work in us to make us more like him, I

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Look at what I get to play with!

You may remember that in July I made a signature quilt for The Guinea Pig as he was going off to college. I was blessed when the machine quilting lady offered to barter the work - she'd do the machine quilting (and she threw in the batting and backing) in exchange for me doing some handquilting that she'd had to do for a customer.  She said the handquilting didn't have to be done till about October, so I was extra happy. 

Since it's been a mighty hot summer for Michigan, I put off doing the quilting till it cooled off some.  It's stifling to have a heavy quilt laying across your lap while you're working on it.  But now I'm getting fully into the quilting of this queen sized beautiful Double Irish Chain.

The quilt was purchased at an estate sale, only partially quilted.  So I got to make a template of the border quilting and am using that to finish quilting the maroon border area, which was about 1/3 done.  I don't know if you can see it very well, but the quilting in the the large white areas looks somewhat Celtic which would go well with the Irish Chain.  The previous quilter had put a lot of detail into her quilting, but her stitches were a little on the big and uneven side.  It's fun to see how other people do things.

When I get this one done (which should be in just a few days), I can start quilting the pretty cat quilt that Princess put together.  I'll show that later.  Now it's time to get ready for a birthday tea for the "Grandma" of our church.

So many blessings make me

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Words of Wisdom

I'm not sure how wise these words were, but I just can't resist posting them.  And since I am a "Woverine" (Michigander) I am allowed to get a chuckle out of this.

From the Davy Crockett Almanac:
The chaps from the Wolverine state, are the all-greediest, ugliest, an sourest characters on all Uncle Sam's twenty-six farms, they are, in thar natur, like their wolfish namesakes, always so etarnal hungry that they bite at the air, and hang their underlips, and show the harrow teeth of their mouths, as if they'd jump right into you, an swaller you hull, without salt.  They are, in fact, half wolf, half man, and 'tother half saw mill.  I met a wolverine one day in the forest, who had just swallowed a buck, an that war only enough to start his appetite, an make him al ravenous; he turned up his eyes at me, an opened his arthquake jaws as if he war going to chop off my head without axin.  I chucked a lamb or two at him but it war no more use than a hoss-fly to a buzzard.  "Mr. Wolverine," says I, "you stare at me with a reg'lar cannibal grin, but darn me, if you mustn't fight before you can bite; my name's Crockett, an I'm an airthquake, and if the critter didn't draw up his under-lip, and fall to eaten off the bark of a tree, while his eyes watered along with his mouth, then take my whiskers for wolf skins.
There; don't that just make yer day?!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Being Weary in Doing Good

So many of us know the verse - "Let us not grow weary in doing good; in due season we shall reap."  And there are so many ways we can apply it to our lives - do not grow weary in washing the dishes; in due season you will have a pretty and clean kitchen as well as clean dishes for your next delightful meal; do not grow weary in doing laundry for in due season you shall have neat, clean clothes in your closet; do not grow weary in teaching your children math for in due season you will have competent, educated offspring; do not grow weary in speaking kindly to your husband and children for in due season you will have good family relationships, etc., etc.

Lately I've been thinking more about the consistent, longevity aspect of not growing weary in well-doing.  In fact, several of the ladies of our church and I have talked about it together, mostly bemoaning the fact that we haven't maintained with our younger children the training and teaching that we gave to our older children.  For instance, our older children were taught almost perfect manners while the younger ones have been somewhat "left to themselves and bring their mothers to shame" in some areas of manners.  The older ones were taught better in the area of neatness and order, while the youngers leave their clothes on the floor and don't pick up their toys from the living room floor very well.  The older ones knew Bible stories frontwards and backwards while the little ones barely know David and Goliath.  The younger ones, especially last-borns, are bossy with their friends and try to be with their older siblings, if allowed.

I'm sure there are a myriad of reasons for such negligence, but if we can find out why this has come about, maybe we can make some changes.  Some of the reasons I've noticed include:  mom's gotten lazy or just tired of training little ones and wants to move on with the older ones, mom's busy blogging, mom has more children to teach and watch, big sister just picks things up herself instead of gently teaching youngers, little ones are left in the care of siblings who might not care so much for training, the family has taken on more activities whether necessary or not, we kind of forget that the little ones haven't been trained in that area since we've already done so much training in that area, we often baby the last-born since it doesn't appear that God's going to give us any more babies and the list could probably go on!

It takes work and it takes not getting weary, but let me encourage ME and you to recommit ourselves to the training and teaching of ALL of our children in good things and to find stamina, longevity and consistency by remembering that "those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:30b-31  We may also have to reevaluate (again and again) what we 're doing with our time to see if it is the best use of that nonrenewable resource at this season in life.  Just because our children are now older doesn't necessarily mean that we are not so needed as teacher/trainers.

Because His mercies are new every morning and thus there's hope for me, I

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Easing into our studies

This past week we eased into some of our studies again.  More easing than I had hoped, but we found some other things that REALLY needed doing, so we did them.  For instance, the goal of having each child do a "Book of the Centuries" (timeline-type notebook) is finally coming about, after years of thinking about doing it.  So this last week I scrounged up notebooks (I buy them at yard sales and thrift stores), printed off pages from http://guesthollow.com/homeschool/printables/timeline/timeline.html. tweaked the pages a little and then set off with my copy of Usshur's Annals of the World to decide what the girls should have in their books.  That's rather time-consuming, though interesting to a history nut.  Peanut Pixie-face joined me for part of that and pasted drawings of Adam and Eve, Noah, the tower of Babel, etc. into her book till she was ready to move on to something more active. So that project has been laid out on a table in the dining room as well as at one end of the dining table.

The rest of the dining table has been covered in patterns and pattern pieces that were not properly put away, so they had to be sorted and put away.  Precious got that job since she's the one most interested in sewing (and is partially to blame for the mess).  That resulted in several things:  the dining room table being unusable (it's a good thing we have TV trays for meals, if necessary), the patterns slowly getting organized, some patterns being deemed unnecessary, and inspiring Precious to get back into sewing.  She now has a new blouse almost completed made from some of my overflowing fabric stash.  When she'd need a break from the sorting, she'd go up to her machine and sew awhile.  It also inspired her to do some of her mending. 

Meanwhile, Sweetie made up some chicken soup and blueberry muffins to freeze for our lunches on "school" days so we don't have to take a real long lunch break.  We still have about four more lunch ideas to get made.

We also got to help clean the building in which our church meets and had a good time socializing and gasping at the dirt and mold found therein.  We start with our church fall schedule of having meals there every other Sunday and I'll feel much better knowing that it's cleaned up for that.

So, though we didn't get much more than math done in the academic area, we've not been wasting time, by any means.  And, as we homeschoolers are fond of saying, "You're always learning, no matter what you're doing."