Sunday, July 31, 2011

Potatoes/Today's Sermon ;-)

I've been so disappointed with my potatoes this year.  One particular little pathetic, wilted, stick of a plant (shall I even call it a plant?) was irritating me every time I walked by it.

So before I fell off the cliffs of insanity, I decided to yank it up.  

What do you know…5 beautiful potatoes were nestled down in the moist, warm soil.  
And they grew from that UGLY irksome little stick. 

I call that sustainability!    You plant a quarter of a potato, and dig up 5. (And even from a dead plant!)

Pastor Dean’s sermon was awesome this morning.  I don’t know if he planned on the message being exactly what I needed to hear, but I do know for sure that God had something to do with giving him those words ;-)

The title of the message was “Trust Me,” from Matthew 14:22-36..  

The disciples were terrified.  They were in a boat in the middle of the night, and as if that’s not scary enough, suddenly they see what they think is a ghost walking out on the lake toward them.  Jesus tries to tell them not to be afraid.  Peter calls out “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come, He said.” Matt 14:27

So Peter climbs out of the boat and begins to walk out onto the water.  He was doing awesome…until…he took his focus off of Jesus.   Matt. 14:30 “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, began to sink, and cried out, “Lord save me!”

Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and started looking around at his circumstance.  He was frightened by the wind.    

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  “You of little faith,” he said “Why did you doubt?” Matt. 14:31
Whoa.  I need to paste that verse all over my walls.  Why do I EVER doubt him?  Is not he great enough to calm the storm and stop the wind?  And if he chooses to let the wind rage, is he not strong enough to pull me up from the waves?  Is not he great enough to make the impossible, possible?  Am I willing to trust him, no matter what his plan is?  100 times, YES!  

I’ve played Peter many times.  And I think Jesus is saying to me now “You of little faith!  Trust in me!  Why do you doubt?”   I don’t have to worry and fret over ANYTHING….tricky complicated relationships, tricky complicated financial situations, tricky complicated anything…because nothing is not too tricky, complicated, or tangled to bring to the Lord! :-)    

Pastor Dean pointed out that Jesus could have prevented the entire situation if he so chose to.  He could have spared the disciples from all that fear they experienced.  But if you keep on reading in Matthew chapter 14, you will notice that their faith in him is developing, and their knowledge of who he is has grown when you compare with previous chapters.  Everything Jesus brings the disciples through affirms to them his sovereignty and who he really is.  This shows us that He wants us to grow.  He LOVES us.  He wants us to have an even stronger relationship with him.  

What an awesome God.

I was just remembering a song from Chris Tomlin…some of the words were:

“I can sing in the troubled times, sing when I win.
 I can sing when I loose my step, and fall down again.  
I can sing ‘cause he lifts me up, sing ‘cause You’re there,
I can sing ‘cause you hear me Lord, when I call to you in prayer.
I can sing with my last breath, sing for I know,
 That I’ll sing with the angels and the saints around the throne!”  

I love to sing.  And I’ll keep right on praising Him, no matter what.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.”  

 I have more to write about this sermon, so I will continue on with a pt. 2 later.  :-)

Encouraging Words

“Few things are more important in a home than its conversation, and yet there are few things to which less thought is given.  The power of communication, which lies in the tongue, is simply incalculable.” ~J.R. Miller, Homemaking

Not that your conversation ought to be flowers and roses all the time.  I don't think that's what he us trying to say here.  :-)

Isn't it interesting that often times we're more careful about how we speak to each other when in the company of folks outside the home?  And yet the people at home are the ones we love and are bonded to the most!  How deeply important words are.  They can have a huge impact on a person's day, for good or for bad.  How vitally important encouraging words are to the home-life.  And it all starts in your thoughts. 

Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

 If you are "dwelling on these things," it will come out in your attitude toward your family.  If you are thinking of the honorable things, the lovely things, and the excellent things about your husband, kids, siblings, and parents, there is no room for negative talk.  Not that there is never a time for correction in their lives.  We know that not one of us is perfect, and there will always be occasional re-direction needed. 
But nagging your husband, or any family member about a negative character trait will most often do nothing but harm, while encouragement and praise in positive character growth can do wonders. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

They Can't Tolerate Intolerance

Conservative Christians are many times defined as "intolerant" because we insist upon a society firmly grounded and functioning only within the spectrum of Biblical principles.  Some of us speak out against (for instance) homosexual marriage, birth control, abortion, socialism, Darwinianism, totalitarianism, and atheism, but others have become passive over the issues of late. 

The argument that we are "intolerant" to homosexual marriage is especially prevalent these days.  Voddie Bauchum once shared that after speaking out against this issue, he received an assortment of over-the-phone death threats from angered gay men.  His question was "So...if you are going to kill me for being intolerant...wouldn't that be...intolerant?" 

Ephesians 4:14-15
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

If you love your family and friends, your neighbors and your country in general, there is no room for "tolerating" (otherwise translated as encouraging) behaviors that will destroy them.  We must be bold to speak the truth with gentleness and love, only because we truly want THE BEST for these dear people.  Because there IS such a thing as right and wrong, and there ARE gruesome consequences for ungodly conduct. 

We must understand that saying nothing, is saying something.  If it is not really wrong, it must be ok.  If it is not right to send our young American women out onto the battle field, but yet we always altogether avoid pressing the issue, we are saying it is acceptable.  Your children will think it is acceptable.  The line between black and white gets pushed a little further into the dark with every generation of toleration.  

Now, I am not saying that there are never times when we need to keep our mouths shut.  Oftentimes I am more likely to say too much rather than not enough.  There are times when you just have to let things go.  You can’t live your life in constant verbal controversy with everyone you don’t agree with.  And frankly, sometimes simply “living the life” is more effective than speaking up.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Flower Pictures

Can you tell I'm having fun with all these flowers? :-)

Green bean flowers!  Yay!

I'm going to have quite a bit of zucchini bread to make here before too long.

Cherry tomatoes!  They're the perfect size to pop in your mouth whilst walking in the garden. 

Another Good Quote

“One single fact clearly presented and firmly impressed is better than whole chapters of information poured out in a confused jargon on minds which cannot remember any part of it.” 
~J.R. Miller, Homemaking

I want to encourage any homeschooling mothers out there, that even when it seems like you’re failing to pound anything into your kids little heads, you are still doing more for them than a public school ever could.  I know this, because I am homeschooled, and I have witnessed those bad days (the “Kids, you’re sendin’ me over the edge!” ones) that maybe seem to be accomplishing nothing.  But for the strong conviction to keep us at home, I doubt my parents would have continued to homeschool.  Homeschooling isn’t the “easy way,” and there are going to be challenging days, but rest assured that if you are focusing on the most important thing—your children’s character and their knowledge of God—you are greatly surpassing the public system. 

I’m terrible with numbers.  It’s just one of those things I don’t wrap my mind around very well.  I’m not great at remembering history dates, and my algebra skills are appalling.  It’s interesting that that dates I do remember are generally the time periods we studied exclusively though reading mountains of books and listening to tapes, films, and documentaries. (Which focused mainly on the wars and goings-on between the mid 1500's and now.)   I didn’t just read about wars and dates in a text book and remember them.  Maybe it’s just me, but I have a very difficult time remembering anything that I don’t read about or listen to at least a couple times.  Cramming doesn’t do me any good.  The important facts that were firmly impressed in multiple ways are the ones I remember most clearly. 

Talk it out
Write it out
Listen to it
Read it
Get other’s opinions on it
Have it read to you
Read some more
Write it out again

Then you’ll never forget! :-)

Isn’t it rather strange that the school system has prescribed a certain number of hours and days in which everything must be completed?  Talk about conveyor-belt style.  I can’t help but wonder how many geniuses we’ve suffocated through the process of mandatory everyone-learns-this-on-this-day, and if-you-don’t-we’ll-keep-right-on-going schooling.  

Romans 12:6-8
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Your job as a parent is to resource your children’s gifts.  Encourage them when they are interested in a certain subject, because that interest was given to them by the Lord, and he has a purpose and a plan in mind for them. 

Your Hands

This is a song I’ve been singing quite a bit lately.  It’s a great one to finger-pick with the guitar, so I’ve included the chords if someone wants them :-) 

C          G        C
I have unanswered prayers
       G                F      C
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
    C                 F       Am
And I have asked a thousand ways
     G           F           C
That You would take my pain away
     G           F           C
That You would take my pain away

C          F        C
I am trying to understand
  G                F      C
How to walk this weary land
    C                           F      Am
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
   G                   F      C
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
   G                   F      C
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

Am            G      C
When my world is shaking
F  C      G
Heaven stands
Am            G      C
When my heart is breaking
  F  C    G          C
I never leave Your hands

C                F        C
When You walked upon the Earth
    G                    F        C
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
    C               F      Am
I know You hate to see me cry
     G                F          C
One day You will set all things right
          G                F          C
Yea, one day You will set all things right

Am            G      C
When my world is shaking
F  C      G
Heaven stands
Am            G      C
When my heart is breaking
 F  C    G          Am
I never leave Your hands
Your hands
       F    C     Am   C    G
Your hands that shape the world
       F              E7
Are holding me, they hold me still
       Am   G     C        G
Your hands that shape the world
       F              E7
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
F  C      G
Heaven stands
Am            G      C
When my heart is breaking
    F     C         G
I never leave You when...

Am            G      C
When my world is shaking
F  C      G
Heaven stands
Am            G      C
When my heart is breaking
  F  C    G        F  C     G        C
I never leave... I never leave Your hands

Thursday, July 28, 2011


  Psalm 19:1
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

I took these pictures from the top of our hill this morning.  The beauty of this sunrise simply took my breath away!  These photos aren't edited at all (I haven't a clue how to do that stuff anyway) and really, the pictures don't do it justice AT ALL. 

This is our neighbor's field up the hill from us.

 I love this one!

And this one too :-)

Look at the fog!  Isn't it amazing!  That's our house down there in the shadows.

View of Swofford Pond.

This is a noxious weed ;-)  Foxglove are pretty, but I still think it's crazy that local nurseries sell them.  If anyone wants some, come and get the millions growing out in our field!