Posts tagged ‘Bible’

May 18, 2011

Sometimes…

Sometimes, God speaks to us without any words….

Even in the muddy moment of life, His amazing LOVE shines through.  Are you experiencing some muckiness in your life?  Know this, my dear one, God loves you eternally & unconditionally & lavishly!

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

July 30, 2009

The Cherry Orchard

P1010018All Russia is our orchard. The earth is so wide, so beautiful, so full of wonderful places. [Pause]. Just think, Anya. Your grandfather, your great-grandfather and all your ancestors owned serfs, they owned human souls. Don’t you see that from every cherry-tree in the orchard, from every leaf and every trunk, men and women are gazing at you? if we’re to start living in the present isn’t it abundantly clear that we’ve first got to redeem our past and make a clean break with it? And we can only redeem it by suffering and getting down to real work for a change. ~ by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

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It’s a beautiful thing when literature and life collide! When you leave your every day routine, step into the unfamiliar and purpose to experience the moment, life enlarges and expands.

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Last week, I found an ad for one weekend only of pick your own cherries (and currants) at a local orchard, and was determined to wedge it into our scheduled weekend. One of my favorite books is French Woman Don’t Get Fat.  In her book Mireille Guiliano reveals the beauty of the French culture.  She writes about her childhood home and various types of fruit her family grew, harvested and preserved. Food is respected and fruit is treasured in French homes and hearts. Her book has inspired me to get in touch with my French-side (yes, I’m part French). Now, I make my own bread, yogurt and have preserved fruits and veggies for years.

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My lovely mother joined us for this adventure in the cherry orchard. I love to pick fruit on so many levels. With so many references to fruit, the Bible literally comes alive. The fruit itself has a unique beauty that inspires the artist in me. The joy of watching generations of people experience the same child-like wonder fills my heart.  And the thoughts of cherry pies sans metal cans and high fructose corn syrup, spurs me on despite the occasion cloud burst.

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For me the most amazing part was what I alluded to earlier, the literary experience.  The majority of the people who had travelled for miles and miles to pluck buckets of cherries were Russian immigrants.  They brought everyone from Grandpas to little tots and in between – beautiful teen girls and polite young men in their twenties and thirties.  Every generation joined in the effort to provide their family with the cherries that culture so delights in. For me, it was like I stepped into the backdrop of the Russian play, The Cherry Orchard. I’m a huge fan of Russian literature and just inhaled the moment so precious and lovely.  The beautiful morning, the melodious sound of Russian spoke by natives, the joy in their eyes, the little old man who climbed the cherry tree to get the ones just out of reach – I captured it all in my mind’s eye and treasured it all my heart.

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Not only do my jars of currant jam for tea and scones and cherries frozen for Valentine’s Day pies represent “getting down to real work,” they will be a tasty reminder of my morning in The Cherry Orchard.

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And then we’d send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy, sweet, and nicely scented. . . They knew the way. . . . ~ by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

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Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:17

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June 19, 2009

Frugal Friday: Leggo Those Eggos!

100_0230Remember watching those commercials as a child, begging mom to buy a box, and taunting your younger siblings with the “Leggo My Eggo” shenanigans? Eggos may be nostalgic, but there is nothing frugal about them.

A better option:

Make a big batch of homemade waffles (sprinkle some wheat germ in the batter for added100_0232 protein & fiber).

Freeze the extra waffles on a cookie sheet…

When completely frozen, pack in freezer bags… 

Pop in the toaster for a fast-food breakfast ala Eggos… 

Nutritious, convenient and a budget saver!

Happy Frugal Friday!

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Psalm 63:5a

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June 17, 2009

Another Irish Prayer

May your day be filled with blessings
Like the sun that lights the sky,
And may you always have the courage
To spread your wings and fly!

Celtic Cross

Our oldest son, Drake, will soon be leaving for a summer long missions trip to Northern Ireland with Teen Mission International (TMI). The fact I can write those words means that I’m not completely in denial – it is literally 3 days away!

His journey will take him first to Merrit Island, Florida, for Bootcamp. This primitive 2 week training includes team building with an early morning obstacle course run, brick laying and other construction training, and evangelism courses. He will be living in a tent, hand-washing his clothes, and doing physical labor. The purpose is to train teens for missionary work around the world.

Next, he and his team will depart for Dublin, Ireland, via Canada. They will then bus to Northern Ireland where the remainder of the summer will be spent in dormitories, and working with a local youth missionary organization. He will not only be evangelizing and partnering with Fringe Youth Works, but also doing light physical labor.

To say my emotions are mixed is an understatement. I’m so proud and excited for him, yet my heart is breaking! As a former TMI team member (Glasgow, Scotland), I know first-hand what a live-changing experience it is – he will never be the same! While I’ve had months to prepare myself to let go, I’m finding it difficult to let go.

My niece, Ashley, is also going on her first TMI trip (following in her mother’s footsteps). Her summer will be spent in Malawi, Africa, washing the feet of AIDS orphans. Sweetie, I‘m completely enviously and totally proud of you, too!

This Irish prayer is my prayer for Drake and his companions as they prepare and leave for the Emerald Isle. It is also reminiscent of a poignant song about a parent singing over a child especially the lines, “It’s not living if you don’t reach for the sky. I’ll have tears as you take off, but I’ll cheer as you fly.Godspeed, my dear one!

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June 5, 2009

From My Bookshelf

Turn on the tea-kettle, grab your prettiest chintz teacup and settle into your favorite chair. Reading Lisa Bevere’s new book, Nurture, is like an intimate afternoon tea with your very best friend. Listen as she shares from the depth of her heart:

This gathering of women, this hunger for nurture, is what drives me. I want to find the daughters and help them recover life and safety. I want them to grow so they can fly. I want to turn the heads of busy mothers so they will notice the daughters who are searching. And I want to empower the grandmothers to lend the comfort only they know how to give so well. I want these women nurtured well, so they can in turn enlarge the lives of others – who will hear the cry of Earth’s citizens.

Lisa Bevere BookNurture will take you on a journey of the heart with the destination being a rediscovering of God’s purpose for you as a woman. When God made woman, she was beautifully equipped and gifted for nurturing from the heart to the heart. Somewhere along the way, we seemed have lost our God-given endowment to nurture and reproduce, but not hopelessly. God is raising up wise companions who will walk with us and encourage us to take our place in God’s plan (Proverbs 13:20). Lisa Bevere is a voice of wisdom calling out the daughters, mothers and grandmothers of our age.

Like Wisdom personified in Proverbs 9, Nurture provides a table of nourishing delights. It could also be likened to a cup of steaming tea to be sipped, savored and enjoyed. 

 Wisdom has built her her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.

 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; 
       she has also set her table.

 She has sent out her maids, and she calls 
       from the highest point of the city.

 “Let all who are simple come in here!” 
       she says to those who lack judgment.

 “Come, eat my food 
       and drink the wine I have mixed.

 Leave your simple ways and you will live; 
       walk in the way of understanding.

Proverbs 9:1-6

May 29, 2009

Frugal Friday: Granola

A little knowledge CAN be a dangerous thing. And once given a smidgeon of knowledge, you are forced to make a decision. There is no turning back. Hence, the danger.

51210RGXETL._SS500_In my case, the little bit of knowledge has to do with cereal manufacturing. My parents are organic-certified producers and attend conferences on a wide variety of related topics. They introduced me to Sally Fallon‘s book, Nourishing Traditions. Her book offers a wealth of knowledge regarding nutrition, healthy eating habits and nurturing foods. She explains in her book that dry cereals are produced by extrusion. Grains are made into a slurry, poured into a machine called an extruder, and then forced out of a hole at high pressure and temperature. The shape of the whole dictates the shape of the cereal. If that isn’t enough, the shapes are slice, sprayed with a coat of oil and a coat of sugar. The extrusion process all but destroys any naturally occurring nutrients, fatty acids (these are GOOD), and even the chemical nutrients that fortify the cereal. During this process, amino acids become toxic. 

Faced with this wee bit of information, I have been forced to make a decision: no going back to manufactured cereal ignorant bliss!

So now this is how I shop: When I reach the dreaded cereal aisle, I pick up the pace (My little boys in the cart resemble test pilots going Mock 1). I zoom past all the colorful cartoon and beautifully styled food pictures to grab my precious jar of wheat germ and containers of oatmeal (and Irish steel-cut oats).  Quickly, I round the corner before they can even finish their sentences, “Mommy, can we get…” Actually, the boys have for the most part ceased to ask for cereal. Every-so-often, I will fall off the bandwagon and grab a box of whole grain goodness. Not being able to help myself, I read the list of ingredients. “Oh, that’s right, BHT…” (another one of those little bit of knowledge deals) and 95% of the time it goes right back on the shelf (The other 5% usually involves the need for Rice Crispy Bars).

acp_00_11So, we make do with instant oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, fraffles/wench toast, French toast, coffee cake, scones, home-made cinnamon bread, eggs, toast, porridge and the like. Years ago, my mother faced with many of the same breakfast challenges (four daughters rather than four sons) would make us home-made granola from the More With Less Cookbook (a must have for any frugal fanny with a health-food bend!). It was simply delicious! Armed with that memory, I have determined to find the perfect granola recipe and create my own convenience breakfast.

Granola is also a frugal response to expensive and nutritionally-challenged boxed cereal. It meets my frugal standards of being highly nutritious, tasty, nurturing and cost effective!

Happy Frugal Friday!

Wise men store up knowledge. Proverbs 10:14a

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May 25, 2009

It Takes Faith to Garden!

FMOBeansBushBlueLkFIt takes faith to garden. Seeds are collected. The long winter provides ample time for sketching and plotting the garden. Spring finally arrives so hoe in hand the garden is cleared and tilled. The work is hard, but pleasant and invigorating. The frost is finally gone and the weather is nearly perfect. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the garden plan is produced. Holes are dug. Seeds are planted, covered, and lovingly watered. Rows are marked and prayers go up for an abundant harvest. And then, the wait.

It takes faith to garden.

FMOBeetTallTopFDuring the wait, the questions come: Are the seeds deep enough? Are the seeds too deep? Will the abundant spring rains wash all the seeds away? Will the sparse spring showers damage this crop? Will those pesky chickens get into the garden again and eat all the seed? Were the seed bags correctly marked or will runners grow instead of bushes? WHEN WILL THE GARDEN GROW?

It takes faith to garden.

Parenting is form of gardening. As a mother, I try to daily plant seeds of love and wisdom found only in God’sFMOEggplantEarlyLongPurpleF word. I water with many, many prayers (and oftentimes my own tears).  I attempt to weed out bad habits and nip foolish tendencies in the bud while covering my sons with kisses and hugs and “I love you.” I must take it all in faith that my daily tending is going to produce a bountiful and beautiful harvest. Children’s gardens have a looooooong germination time, and we’re given many precious years to nurture and tend these gardens. We will not see the mature fruit for decades.

It takes faith to garden.

FMOPumpkinBigMaxFMinistry is too like a garden plot. As a children’s pastor, I also plan and plot and pray along with my fellow laborers. Each week, we plant seeds of God’s love and God’s word in the heart of children. Some of these children we only meet once while others spend years in our ministry. We encourage each other with reminders that God’s word never returns void and always accomplishes what it intends (Isaiah 55:11). But still, we are planting by faith. In ministry, chances are we may never see the final outcome. The Apostle Paul wisely understood the nurturing connection between ministering and gardening. He eloquently explained in this verse, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6) We do our part and trust God to make it grow.

It takes faith to garden.FMOWatermelonMoonStarF

May 20, 2009

Weeding My Soul

This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive – a living fractal. – The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

shackcoversmRecently, I read an interesting and intense piece of literature called The Shack by William Paul Young.  If you haven’t yet read this New York TImes Bestseller, the book is a beautiful allegory exhibiting God’s love for broken humanity.  My favorite chapter in when the main character, Mack,  joins Sarayu, the Holy Spirit, in a messy garden.  The two spend time together laboring over a plot of weeds all the while weeding through Mack’s deepest questions and hurts and utter confusion.

Today was a perfect spring day and I was fortunate to be able to spend much of my morning in flower beds pulling out many, many weeds.  One of the reasons I love to garden is because nature truly reveals some of the deeper things of God. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

As I pulled and hoed and clipped, I was able to reflect on the imagery of The Shack. Isn’t amazing how garden plots are so similar to our lives? Just take a look at weeding. Weeds are the enemy to our soul. Their sole purpose is to choke out anything fruitful in the garden plot.  They steal. They kill. They destroy.

So what do these perversive weeds look like in our lives? Jesus describes them as “sons of the evil one” in Matthew 13. Weeds are really anything that separates us from the love of God thereby inhibiting growth and fruition. Weeds are worries.  Weeds are 450px-Tulip_-_floriade_canberralies. Weeds are sin. Weeds are condemnation. Weeds are past hurts. Weeds are works. Weeds are a physical representation of our fallen state. Weeds are the enemy of our soul.

What is amazing about weeding and gardening is that it is a lifetime task.  One cannot just weed their garden and expect that they will be weed-free thereafter. It is a process of pulling and uprooting. And, if one is diligent about this task, it actually gets easier. The roots aren’t as deep and so becomes quite easy to pull them up. But, pull we must.

Jesus told us in this life we will have trouble. In other words, we will have weeds – it’s a given. But if we diligently partner with the Holy Spirit, we will be able to root out these enemies to our growth and freedom. Together with the Master Gardener, we can walk through the garden secure in the fact that we are loved and that we are a work in progress. Weeds will grow, but the Holy Spirit will be there as our Helper and Companion. He will patiently assist us as we yield to Him.

There is no condemnation or judgement in this garden. God has a plan and loves us deeply. He isn’t concerned that everything isn’t perfectly manicured. He is God the only infallible one. He understands our fallen state better than we do. When we do miss it, His grace and love are poured into our lives. His love washes over us and causes us to be a well-watered garden. (Isaiah 58:11)

I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is actively beside me and He lovingly identifies the weeds that have prevented growth in my life. It is like Sarayu says to Mack, “To prepare this ground, we must dig up the roots of all the wonderful growth that was here. It is hard work, but well worth it. If the roots are not here, then they cannot do what come naturally and harm the seed we will plant.”

May 15, 2009

Frugal Friday: Wild Rice

Wild rice is an amazing food.  It is high is protein, lysine and dietary fiber.  Beyond the nutritional value is the flavor.  Wild riceWildricecooked is just plain yummy!

Wild rice takes time to prepare, but it is worth the effort.  Rather than buy it pre-made in a can, this is what I do.  I cook the entire bag of wild rice and divide it up into 2 cups portions.  I use what I need and freeze the rest.  Most wild rice recipes call for about 2 cups so it’s easy to pull a bag out of the freezer and pop it into whatever I’m cooking.  I add it to brown rice as it is steaming for variety, flavor and added protein.  My famous “Minnesota Wild Rice Shut-out Soup” would be less than famous without it.

Pre-cooking foods in bulk and freezing them in portions rather than buying pre-made is both a healthy and frugal thing to do.

Happy Frugal Friday!

Taste and see that the Lord is good…  Psalm 34:8a

May 5, 2009

KAL Mystery

photo-54I joined my first KAL. It was impulsive. I didn’t ask questions. I wasn’t even sure what the acronym meant. I just did it. Maybe it was the pretty purple yarn. Maybe it was the scent of a mystery (I love a good mystery!). Maybe it was the challenge.

For those of you who are still in the dark, a KAL is a Knit-A-Long. KAL is just one of those esoteric terms found in knitting circles (SSK, YO, dcdec, M1, K1, SSP, FROG, and many more). In these KALs, groups of knitter get-together virtually (Ravelry.com) and knit a project. Along the way, tips and victories and frustrations are all shared. 

Except for a childhood class in purling a scarf (I’m sure I invented the YO – you should have seen the holes!), I am a self-Madame DeFargetaught knitter. I’m now nearly fluent in knit-ease, but I still have a long way to go. The knitters in these groups are die-hard knitters (I’m sure they would have the mysterious French knitter in Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities quaking in her des chaussures!). They perform amazing knitting feats without batting an eye. Clearly, I am way out of my league.

The mystery is the pattern. The clues are released one by one as you are knitting the project. The pattern is a pair of socks, but what will they look like? Clue Two was released yesterday and I am still struggling with finishing clue one. Tobias, the cat, has been circling my yarn as if to mock my efforts (He loves yarn! He loves chewing yarn into little pieces preferably when I am mid-project).

Of course, I’m loving the challenge and I even got my mom to join too.  And, there is still time if you are up for the challenge: 

http://www.knittersbrewing.com/storename/knittersbrewing/ViewDept-260510.aspx

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. Proverbs 12:24