Friday, April 28, 2006

As believers, we are in the Christian walk for the
long haul. Of course, it is God that gives us the grace
and who has promised to complete the good work He
began in us, but Tiller of the Backyard Garden has some
interesting thoughts on being a slow-burner in our living
of life.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Reformed Musings has some encouraging words on
the trend of moms in the workforce.

Queen Guinevere tries to teach Lancelot a lesson in
'umility and gets caught in a terrible trap. Humility,
what a powerful word. Life can be very humbling and
can seem most unfair to our kids. Maybe that's because
it is rather unfair most of the time. To teach our
children to stand up and fight for what is right and
yet to have the humility of heart to accept what is
often doled out unfairly is quite a balancing act.

Tyler, our 16 year old, can spot an unfair situation a
mile off. His baseball team, especially, is filled with it.
He's not even concerned with fairness to himself, but
unfair treatment of others. He is irritated to the deep
parts of his soul by a coach who gives favors to one or
two. Sometimes those favors have come Ty's way, but
his sense of fairness runs so strong that he won't take
advantage of them.

It is hard. Hard to be gracious in a situation where we,
from our "mature" perspective, agree with our son 100%.
(I'm not just being an overly sensitive mom. Tyler gets
to play the every game the whole game. It is the attitude
the coach has towards the players that is at issue here.)
What Kent has told Tyler over and over is, "Don't be
surprised when you have a coach that is unfair, just be
grateful when you come up with one that is good." He also
tells our oldest that about his supervisors at work. "If you
get a supervisor that knows what he is doing, and that keeps
a good tab on what the workers are up to, then be surprised
and thank God for it."

It's a good time for me to remind the boys that certain battles
are worth a good fight and others aren't. And it is a good time
to look for the grace that can build humility in our lives, a
humility that is pleasing to our Father.

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble. James 4:6


Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34

We will ask God to keep us from being like the men in
Psalm 17:10

They have closed up their fat hearts;
With their mouths they speak proudly.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Job 12:12 "Wisdom is with aged men,
And with length of days, understanding."

I ran to show this to Kent a few minutes ago because
next month he turns 50. This has to become his
life verse from now on! Actually, many years ago
Kent and I came across this quote and we have clung
tightly to it ever since.

"Maturity is worth all that comes before it."

Maybe this is so near and dear to my heart because I
am so extremely short. I never got the babysitting jobs,
my very tall best friend did...even tho' I was sure I could
do a better job (smirk). I don't mind being short, in fact,
I rather enjoy it, but I didn't like it when people felt I
wasn't capable of something because of my size.

Kent and I have had some very funny experiences with
this. Once I was pregnant with child no. 2 and they didn't
want to let me on to the golf course because no one under
15 was allowed. Kent was the recipient of many angry
looks whenever I was pregnant. I was Wanda the Walrus
and looked so young. He was definitely considered the
bad guy. And I didn't even have baby no. 1 'till I was 23.

I have even had people think he was my grandfather. He
went grey rather young. (Not because of me! Maybe the
kids had something to do with it.)

But, really, I love being in the "over 40 club" and I look
forward to being in my 50's. It is fun for me to begin to
look a little mature. And on top of all that, the older I have
become, the more confidence I have gained, both in myself,
and most of all in God's providence for my life. Maybe I
don't take myself so seriously, maybe I am more relaxed,
maybe I have seen God's hand work over the years in such
perfect ways, whatever the reason maturity is definitely
worth the energy and non-wrinkles of earlier years.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Goal oriented is a good description for most of us.
We all want to accomplish. When my children were
younger I was so frustrated one time that I told
Kent that my to-do list for the day was to wipe
every snotty nose I saw, change every diaper that
was wet or dirty, make sure everyone was fed, swipe
up every spilt glass of milk and get all little ones to sleep
before midnight. That was it, I could do no more.

I read a funny story, long ago, about to-do lists. A son
asked his mother why his dad's list was long and only
had a few things marked off, but hers had everything
marked off. She laughed and said, "I only put things
down on my list after I've already done them." Brilliant.

Today I have only one goal.

That Christ may dwell in [my] heart
through faith; that [I], being rooted
and grounded in love, may be able to
comprehend with all the saints what
is the width and length and depth and height-
to know the love of Christ which passes
knowledge; that [I] may be filled with
all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19


Sure I hope to do my 4 loads of laundry, cook
chicken and dumplings for the gang for dinner,
finish all the home-schooling that I feel needs
to be accomplished, dust, vacuum...list without end.
But the only really-truly goal, the thing I will ask
myself if I accomplished when I lay in my bed
tonight, will be- Did I realize the full love of God for
even just a moment? If I did, then, you know, it
was a really worthwhile and lovely day.

My sister, mother and I joined forces to hold a
garage sale in St. Charles, at my sister,s home,
this past weekend. Living "down the gravel"
makes holding a garage sale in Mayberry a bit
hard. But Becky lives on a busy street, so we headed
north to have it there.

My share of the profit is going towards a Mission
Trip to Mexico that my family is taking this summer.
We are going under the auspices of Campus Crusade
and are very excited. However, that is a post for a
different day.

A telling incident occured at the garage sale. My boys
and their boy cousins grew up playing "war" with pellet
guns. Hours and hours were spent at this game. But
they are all grown, or nearly so, and we decided it was
time to let the pellet guns go.

When a mom with little girls would come up to the table
we overheard these types of comments, "Oh, that is
horrible, they look so real." But when a dad with boys
would come up to the table, we would hear the following,
"Oh, wow guys, look here, we need these!" I was reminded
of Blest With Boys and her Boy-Raising Manifesto.

God created men and boys with such a desire to
conquer and protect and fight. Let us as women not try to
shortcircuit that original purpose of God. Let's channel
it, as mothers, into good and holy action. I remind my guys
daily that they are the protectors, the conquerors, and that
my daughter and I are in their care. And then I pray for them
to be filled with the wisdom, grace and mercy of our Lord as
they go about their manly duties.

Life in Mayberry continues. You may think that
from the fun I poke at my little community I feel
removed from, or better than them...I don't. But
I do see the funny side of life in a small community.
I suppose having spent my first 30 or so years in
suburbia I catch the funnies more quickly.

Last night at the highschool baseball game a giggle
swept through the bleachers where I was sitting.
I turned to see the source of the giggle and it was
a little boy with his pants pulled down, just going
about his business. I have been told, since moving
to Mayberry, that one of the easiest ways to potty
train a boy is to let him "go" off the front porch. I
guess that could work when you live down the gravel
and on 40 acres with no neighbors in sight, as we do.
I do know that the men in my family consider the
entire 40 acres we live on as their own personal
powder room.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Since I can't be beautiful I want to look interesting.
That has always described my view of my outer
being. So, that being the case, today I went and
got a tizzy perm. 16 year old son said, "It looks
good." 8 year old daughter said, "Well, you're not
exactly beautiful." She is rather brutally honest...
we are still working on the "if you don't have any
thing nice to say, don't say anything at all." Actually,
I like it though, and I think Kent will too. The other
two boys probably won't have an opinion.

This reminds me though of the eternal struggle between
the outer and the inner man (woman in this case). The
struggle between wanting to be the woman God wants
me to be and the pull to be what the world presents as
alluring.

Girltalk has some good thoughts on modesty and what pleases
God as far as the outer person is concerned.

The books Every Man's Battle, by Stephen Arterburn and
Every Woman's Battle by Stephanie Ethridge are
invaluable resources in today's society. When I first
peaked into Every Man's Battle, I thought to myself, "I
don't think so, my precious boys aren't going to read this."
But then Kent devoured it and told me that it was the book
he needed when he was a young man. It has made quite
an impact on our three boys (ages 16 and up). We don't
even have TV, but you can't escape what you are surrounded
with day by day.

If you're curious about the Gospel of Judas check this out
for some good solid information.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

When Jesus said in John 6:51, "I am the living bread,"
He said something that is incredible. Earlier in chapter
6 He said, (vs. 32, 33) "My Father gives you the true
bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who
comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

What does it mean to feast on Jesus? It means to be
spiritually connected to Him, to have union with Him.
In chapter 15 of John, Jesus portrays it as the union
of a vine and its branches.

How to be connected in an intimate way with Jesus
always comes back to the same things. God's Word
and prayer have to be the backbone of our days.
Isaiah 66:2b "But on this one will I look: On him who
is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at
My word." Have you ever trembled at His word? He
is our closest friend, but He is also the Creator and
Sustainer of the universe.

Psalm 16:8 "I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."

The "Just So Stories" (I had to use quotation marks, the
italic isn't working on this page today) by Rudyard Kipling
are just delicious. I've always enjoyed reading them to my
children. They have to be read aloud; the cadence is lost if
you don't. I must have skipped over "The Butterfly That
Stamped" in my past readings. It is funny. If you want a story
that has a good commentary on male-female relationships
this is it. It also give some good ideas for loverly statements
to make to that one who is the "Regent of your Soul".

Monday, April 17, 2006

Looking Forward by Amy Scott has some wonderful
truths about prayer and the proper perspective we
need to gain in our view of God and His work in our
lives and in the world.

Because my husband is bi-vocational he seldom has
a scheduled "day off". However, we do try to keep it
lighter on Mondays since weekends can be exhausting
for a pastor. Today Kent has been cutting wood, doing
a little office work and most important of all, showing
our 16 year old son how to change the oil in the car.
Tyler does not have a bent towards mechanics, but
by teaching him this one basic do-it-yourself job, Kent
is setting Tyler up to save hundreds of dollars over
the years. Plus it gives them male bonding time.

Yesterday, after all the Easter doings, Kent took Hattie
out for pizza. Eight year old daughters really hold their
dads in high esteem. What a God-given opportunity
for him to share his love for her, and his hopes and
dreams for the princess he sees her becoming by
God's grace. When they came home I was told we had
to save the pizza box. That was beyond my comprehension.
It had gunky cheese and crumbs all in it. What a relief
to find out we only had to save a little label from the box.
I happily cut it out. It is not easy living with packrats.
I can not pitch out more than the rest combined can bring
in.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Corinthians 15:17-22

And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile;
you are still in your sins! Then also those who
have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If
in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are
of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ
is risen from the dead, and has become the
firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For
since by man came death, by Man also came
the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam
all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!



If you change the trip to Savannah to two trips
to St. Louis, the cinnamon lattes to strong black
coffee, the Russian novel to various other titles,
and the trip to the hospital to planting a garden
with princess daughter then Ten Spring Days
sums up my life lately.

Spring is delicious...but so much work. The new
life that springs up around us reminds us so
poignantly of new life in Christ. May you have
a blessed Spring.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Life in Mayberry Part 3

Even though we only moved 3 hours south of St. Louis,
our growing-up city, the difference in talking patterns is
amazing. We hadn't been here too many years when
Kent asked a friend, Danny, to come help him do some
work on our house. Kent said to me, "I am so confused.
Danny's eyes said, 'Yes', but his words said, 'No'." What
Danny had said was, "I don't care to." In St. Louis that
means, "No, I don't want to." But we came to learn that
here in Mayberry, A/K/A Doniphan, that means, "Yes." We
would have said, "I don't mind."

I kept getting strange looks from my friends when I would
tell them I lived on a rock road. Jackie especially would look
befuddled. Later I learned that I actually lived "down the
gravel." Jackie thought I meant that I lived on a cobblestone
road. My kids have all grown up knowing we lived down the
gravel. They do not make the faux pas that I do, lucky them!
See, it is true that children who are immersed in a foreign
language will learn it easier than their adult family members.

I also didn't know that in order to look cool here you had to
"show out", I grew up "showing off." Not that I ever ended
up looking cool. My eight year old daughter told me the other
day, "Mom, Dad is cool, but you are, you know...(not cool)." I don't
worry over such things, she will grow to be a best friend to her
mom, I am confident!

I went to overnighters, or sleepovers, as a child. Here there
are bunking parties. The list goes on, but I will quit here.
It is interesting that the confusion caused by the Tower
of Babel builders continues to this day, even in so little
a distance as 200 miles. Won't it be tremendous to be with
the Father of Communication in Heaven, and to never
be misunderstood again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The 15th Carnival of Homeschooling is up and
running.

JOY

The ladies group in our church is titled JOY.
It's the familiar acronym for Jesus, Others and
You. We even sing the JOY song (which I think
is a little silly) every time we meet. Last night
I hosted the meeting at my house. The hostess
always get to choose a theme for the food. The
theme last night was to try a new recipe-to
represent NEW LIFE- or resurrect an old
recipe-to represent, what else, the RESURRECTION.

I thought it was cute, and the food was great,
however a few of the ladies here in Mayberry,
a/k/a Doniphan, turned up their noses at my
asparagus casserole...I thought it was delish.
These ladies are my dear friends and I do
thank God for their place in my life.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Thoughts on Taxes and Things

Today I overheard an explanation by my husband to
son #3 on homeschooling and taxes. He explained that
we pay taxes to government schools, and then we
turn around and we buy books and supplies in order
to school at home. I was reminded of the movie we
were watching last night.

In Kidnapped Allen Breck is explaining to Davy Balfour
about the highland taxes. He said, (and I paraphrase to
some extent) "Davy, my people pay taxes, and heavily
too, to your King George. And then they collect a second
tax and send it to the true king over the water."

Davy asked, "They pay two taxes? I call that noble!"

Allan responded, "Noble? They are staunch, Davy!"

"Staunch" rates right up there with "Stayed" and "Staid"
as one of my favorite adjectives.

May the Lord keep us staunch in our quest for teaching
our children.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pre-training

Yesterday as my husband and I were helping our
daughter plant a garden he reminded me of a very
crucial child training principle...pretraining.

A perfect illustration of pretraining occurs when Kent
goes to shoe a horse. Some owners have their horses
trained beautifully (often far better than they train
their children). No matter what unforseen event takes
place, those horses are calm and if they begin to act up
they are quickly brought into line by the owner.
However, there are other horses who are just unstable
critters, and when the heat is up nothing can be done
with them. Kent carries ACE with him, which can calm
them down, however, the horses will sometimes be just
too difficult to be dealt with.

As parents, the more situations we can prepare our
children for ahead of time the better and calmer they
will be when those situations arise. Talking is the key
here. Let them know what you expect of them when
a grownup greets them, or when they are asked a
certain kind of question, or when they are in the
store with you. We can never know everything they
will be faced with, but the more they are prepared for
the easier it will be for them to jump from knowing how
to handle a known situation to knowing how to handle one
they haven't been presented with. They will just have
more to work with.

Of course, there are going to be times when the little
cuties cause you to turn 17 shads of red. Just laugh
and remember the huge amount of grace God has shown
to you. They are just little plants and have a lot of
growing to do.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pet Peeves

One of my pettest of pet peeves is plastic forks that
are so cheap that their tines bend when you try to
stick them into the food you are attempting to eat.

Another gripe I have is when a "writer" tries to
continue another writer's series. For instance. Gene
Stratton Porter, who wrote Freckles, and many
other books, was a wonderful writer. (You do need to
screen a few of her lesser known books because she
was a bit prejudiced towards some people groups.)
However, her books are wholesome, interesting and
fun. But, when her daughter tried to continue with some
more books using the same characters, the very fiber of
the characters change. It is so disappointing. I have
found the same with other writers also. Ho Hum...I
guess the lesson learned is to stick with the originals.

However, if you enjoy children's literature, you should
check out Semicolon with their focus on children's
poetry this month.

http://semicolon.reachcoop.org/index.php

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Joel, Jobs and College

My oldest son Joel is somewhat handicapped. He had
encephalitis when he was 4 years old. He was in a
coma for several days and paralyzed on one side for
even longer. After three weeks in the hospital he came
home with a seizure disorder. He had brain surgery
at 16 and had a major portion of his brain removed.
All of this has certainly affected him. There are many
lessons, heartaches and blessings that came from all
of this, but today I want to concentrate on the issue
of college.

Coming from a family that has always pushed college,
I never doubted that all my children would get a higher
education and be professionals. However, as Joel
grew into his teens, it became obvious that this would
be a very difficult thing for him to do. He never really
told us that he didn't think he could do it, but we could
sense a fear, or hesitancy, within him.

One of Joel's greatest attributes is his work ethic. He
loves to work and he likes to work hard. He takes any
job he is given seriously. He began to set his sights on
factory work. We were disappointed at first. But as
time went on we began to see the value of it for him.
He has been working at a factory that is a 40 minute
drive from our house for 3 years now. He shows up at
least an hour early everyday and never misses work.

Another of Joel's good character traits is that he loves
to save money. He is so good at this that at 22 he has
just had a small house built and only owes about $10,000
on it. He will pay that off in less than two years. So,
God willing, he will own his own home outright by the
time he is 25. Pretty good for a boy that struggles with
life. Plus he has no other debt.

Through all of this we have learned that college is not
for everyone. There are certainly many other avenues
of life that are open. To be able to actually begin work
at 18 or 19 can give a non-professional man a huge
headstart on earning and saving money.

Through this we learned, as always, thatGod knows best
and will guide as you let Him. He has certainly shown
Joel the way. All that he has gone through has made him
a wonderful person, and has opened his eyes to eternity
and the promises of God for his future there.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Turkey Calls,

This is the time of year that turkeys are calling
incessantly at my home. Whether or not these
are real turkeys is up for discussion.

There are four basic types of calls that the boys
use. The first is a mouth call. These live full time
in my refrigerator next to the penicillin for the
animals. They fall out every time I grab for the
butter. The second is a type of box that is
rectangular with a handle. (You can tell that I
am not the one who uses these calls.) Then there
is one that is round and filled with a resiny substance
that you rub with a type of stick. The fourth is less
expensive, it is a call the boys do with their very own
mouths.

Day and night all I hear is blublublublublu. The only
reprieve is when they are in the woods listening for
the critters. I love DST because now I don't have to
get them up at 4:45 A.M. I can wait till 5:45...when I
am already up myself.

All this calling reminds me of the many verses in Proverbs
about the "Chattering fool." Maybe if they actually
ever got one I would feel different. It seems like a lot
of noise and work for so little return. (They have the
deer thing down pat as all the mounts in my family
room prove.) Of course, I love the time they spend
in the woods, and all the planning and the family
socializing between the brothers is great.

Maybe it is just that the constant gobbling noise is
turning me into a chattering fool.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Seasons

Psalm 104:19,24,31

"He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knows
its going down....O Lord, how manifold are Your
works! In wisdom you have made them all....May
the glory of the Lord endure forever; May the Lord
rejoice in His works."


Spring is always a good time to consider the seasons.
One kindergarten teacher in our community tells this
story about a little boy she was screening for school.
She asked him what the four seasons were and his
reply is priceless. "There is deer season, turkey
season, gigging season and bow season."

Only in Mayberry.

Honestly, since I have lived here outside of "Mayberry"
now for over 14 years I also have come to have a
different set of seasons than most people. There is
peeper season. It begins in February usually. You
leave your window open on a night following a warm
day and you will hear a few peepers (little frogs)...and
as the days grow into March and April they grow in
number and intensity. I think they must be like the
crickets, the warmer it is the faster they peep. At the
beginnng of April is bullfrog season. They are loud.
Tyler, when he was about 6, stuck his head out the door
one night and said, "What's that scary noise." It was
bullfrogs, of course, they are a bit overwhelming.

In the middle of May comes firefly season. First a few
pop up, and then by the beginning of June it looks as
though the whole sky has landed in the field outside
my bedroom window. But they only last till sometime
in July.

Turtle season is in June and following. That is when
the turtles all cross the road. We judge our car trips
by how many turtles we see crossing.

In August comes gollywhomper season...some call it
snakedoctor season. I don't know their real name but
they are the huge dragon/damsel flies that buzz around
the yard during the hot muggy days of midsummer.
There will be thousands of them in sight at one time.

Of course there is fly season and mosquito season, but
they are not fun to think about. In September, towards
the end, when it begins to cool a little, is glowworm season.
The little glowworms are fun because they disappear right
before your eyes.

There are other seasons too numerous to mention. Oh, and
by the way, my household is also regulated around deer,
turkey, and bow season...I am never allowed to forget those
important times. More on those later.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunburns and Such

Yesterday caught me offguard. I almost never travel
in the summer without carrying sunscreen with me,
but we were at a softball tournament and we all got
sunburned. My boys, especially, are quite red. Oh
well, I guess I just didn't expect the early April sun
to be so potent. Time to refurbish my tote bag. I did
have water, frozen in juice bottles, and snacks, to save
on eating out...but the lawn chairs and the sunscreen
that I don't leave home without, hmmm.

I was agitated yesterday, as I am so often, because the
list of things to do was so long. I read somewhere that
whatever a man is doing he feels it is the thing he is
supposed to be doing. So, if he is washing the car, he is
comfortable in his mind that he should be washing the
car. If he is napping, ditto. But a woman, no matter what
she is doing feels she should be doing something
else. If she is doing laundry, she should be weeding the
flowers, or vacuuming, or cleaning out closets or whatever!
She is never comfortable in her mind.

Sometimes when I know I am not going to be comfortable
no matter what, because the number of jobs is just way too big,
I ask Kent for help. I just show him my list and let him
choose what I should do for the day. That way I know that
I am doing what will bring the most peace to the home,
even if I have to step over piles of laundry on the way to
the door. He won't fuss over what he has told me to ignore.
He isn't a big fusser, but this is a method that works for us.