As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deep and Vast...and My Sin

The words of hymns are playing in my mind and heart this week as I reflect upon His great sacrifice. This newer song, too, has rich and meaningful words describing His love.
Deep.

Vast beyond all measure
.
And then the words which cause me to feel remorse.

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there.


Would you like to join me in meditating on the words of this song?


***

HOW DEEP THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US
Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If April Showers Bring May Flowers...

...then what do NovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarch showers bring?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Broken


In reading Matthew 21 recently, I was struck with this verse about Jesus, the Cornerstone.

"And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." (Matthew 21:44)

The idea that penetrated my spirit was that of brokenness. If we fall on the stone, we are broken. If the stone falls on us, we are still broken, but to the point of no repair—ground to powder!

Oh, let me fall on the stone! Being broken hurts—broken will, broken pride, broken desires, broken plans—but His plan is full of mercy and grace.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To Young Moms

I am going to tell you something that I would have liked for someone to tell me when I was a young mother with very small children.

It is hard.

Oh, I love babies and would have welcomed more of them. Snuggling with a newborn, rocking my babies to sleep in a darkened room, smelling their sweet baby smell and seeing their adoring smiles...all are precious memories.
The toddler years are full of joys too. Chubby cheeks and hands, wobbly toddler walk, expanding vocabulary rendered in toddler talk, belly laughs, sharing book after book after book (or sometimes the same one time after time after time).

But all of the joys do not take away the fact that it is hard. Is it worth it? Yes, a thousand times yes. But is it easy? No.

I so clearly remember an interchange I had with a slightly older mother at a time when I had two small children (at the time, around ages 1 and 3). This mom was a member of my church, and I was shopping in the Christian bookstore where she worked. I don’t remember what began the conversation; but I recall that I said that being a mother was hard. I am not sure what I expected—maybe some helpful hints, maybe some Godly advice, maybe the assurance that the training would pay off in the long run. But I got none of that. Instead she raised her eyebrows and said, “Oh my. Well if you think it’s hard now, just wait until they get to be teenagers.” At first, I felt ashamed that I had thought life with my sweet babies was hard. But almost immediately, something in my heart said that she was wrong. That right here—these days of initial training and winning their hearts—was where the battle would be won or lost.

So, yes, I believe that life with little ones is hard—full of joy and delight, but hard nonetheless. These are the days when you are establishing authority. These are the days when you are laying down the rails of habit. These are the days when you are laying the foundation of spiritual awareness, and manners, and denying self. These are the days when you are testing some of these same ideas in yourself, for it is indeed an unselfish thing to train a child. It is much easier (at the moment) to give in to them, to make the demands easier, to turn your head at disobedience or a bad attitude. But the unselfish parent will deny her own flesh and lovingly demand what is right.

Those who know my daughter Kristin now may find this hard to believe, but she was such a little chatterbox. She had so very much to say. One evening, as our family walked through the local mall, Ron and I were trying to have a conversation. But we could hardly string together a sentence before Kristin had something (or somethings) that “needed” to be said. Finally, after many attempts at continuing his discussion with me, Ron stopped Kristin and pointed to the Sears anchor store at the end of the corridor. “Kristin, “ he said, “if you will not say a word until we get down to Sears, I’ll give you a quarter.” Little Kristin walked in silence for about four steps...then came to a screeching halt and moaned, “Oh Dad, it’s too hard!”

We have laughed at that many times over the years...but sometimes I have found myself saying to my Heavenly Father about some thing or another that He is requiring of me, “Oh, it’s too hard.” And yet His words to me are, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.(II Corinthians 12:9)

So to young moms, I would say...yes, indeed, it is hard to train little ones. It requires love, selflessness, wisdom, patience, diligence, and tenacity...sometimes long days and longer nights...often going against others’ advice and against worldly wisdom...always prayer and seeking His wisdom. But it is a job for which He gives His grace...and it is a job that is full of reward.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galations 6:8 NKJV)

***

My duty is never measured by what I feel is within my power to do, but by what God's grace enables me to do.
~ Andrew Murray

Monday, March 22, 2010

Morning Time: Spring Term

Morning Time currently looks something like this...

BIBLE READING
We are still reading through the Gospels, now in Matthew. (We're not reading that slowly; we didn’t do them in order. :-)

BIBLE MEMORY
We are learning Psalm 90.
Bekah, having memorized the books of the New Testament, is now learning the books of the Old Testament. (After hearing about this learning glitch, my sweet daughter-in-law mailed us a CD with a song for the OT books, which should be a big help!)

SING A HYMN
We are singing “This Is My Father’s World” with Bekah accompanying us on the piano. This is a first as we usually sing a capella, but she wanted to play for us and it is good practice to learn to play while people are singing.

POETRY RECITATION
Kati: “The Pasture” by Robert Frost
Bekah: “Eletelephony” by Laura E. Richards
Mom: “Depth of Mercy” by Charles Wesley

POETRY EXPOSURE
We're enjoying selected poems by Robert Frost and reading Robert Frost: America’s Poet by Doris Faber.

LISTEN TO A PIECE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC
This term we are listening to the music of “The Waltz King,” Johann Strauss II.

ART APPRECIATION
We are looking at the works of 15th century Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck.
~ ~ ~
For further reading about Morning Times, visit:
http://morningtimemoms.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-is-morning-time.html
http://morningtimemoms.blogspot.com/2008/09/little-grains-of-sand.html
http://www.restorationplace.typepad.com/restoration_place/the-morning-stack/

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

I think that there is something about hardship that causes one to be more grateful during the good times. Perhaps that is why the coming of spring feels especially wonderful this year. Here on the East Coast, winter has been shivery and snowy, wild and wooly, and l-o-n-g. (Those who are accustomed to such winters may scorn my reference to it as a hardship, but it was far more ~~wintry~~ than any I can remember.)

So we have been joyfully celebrating the impending arrival of The First Day of Spring this week.

We continued with our Spring Cleaning.
We've been working on the bookshelves...taking the books off the shelves, culling out collections, cleaning each shelf, and even rearranging and reorganizing some. (We also secretly removed some books that were hidden behind the stacks. You know, the ones that the children/grandchildren ask you to read, but ones that you can hardly bear to read because they are boring or lifeless or tedious. Like Ten Green Bottles, for example. Don't tell.)

So now we have two big boxes of books that are looking for good homes...


We enjoyed a Mother/Daughter Springtime Tea Party.
We invited some homeschooled teenage girls and their moms over for some girl time...and it was delightful. In fact, it was so delightful that I totally forgot to take any pictures until everyone had left! But we did have a lovely time of chatting and sipping tea and nibbling teatime treats and laughing and telling stories. An afternoon of refreshment. We need to do it more often.

These are some post-tea pictures...


First-Day-of-Spring Baskets were presented.
We used to do Easter baskets, but several years ago we changed plans. Resurrection Day is such a glorious beautiful day of rejoicing, that it almost seemed to trivialize the significance of the holiday to make a big deal out of chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks. But chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks are such fun, and my children had always received such treats...so Ron and I decided that, as the first day of spring is exciting and something to celebrate, and bunnies and chicks and flowers certainly represent the spring of the year, we would begin the tradition of the Spring Basket.

Here are this year's Spring Baskets (although Kati's "basket" this year is actually a new Martha Stewart batter bowl ;-)...


And then on to Rita's for (free) Italian ice...


How have you celebrated spring this week?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Something to Think About

In A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning, Karen Andreola suggests that each day a child should have:
  • Something or someone to love
  • Something to do
  • Somthing to think about

Bekah's copy work for today was this short poem which certainly provides the "something to think about", wouldn't you say?

Hear ye the Master's call, "Give Me thy best!"
For, be it great or small, that is His test.
Do then the best you can, not for reward,
Not for the praise of man, but for the Lord.

~ S.C. Kirk

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Book Is That?

Bekah (8) is continuing to learn the books of the Bible during Morning Time. The books of the New Testament came rather easily thanks to the old Sunday School song that sings the names. The Old Testament...not so much. We still have a ways to go.

Actually, I thought that Bekah had learned the first eight books of the Old Testament until Sunday. When her dad asked us to turn in our Bibles to Genesis 32, I noticed her flipping pages all through the Bible. So this week during Morning Time, I asked, “Bekah, what is the very first book in the Bible?”

“What letter does it start with?” asked Bekah, searching for a clue.

“G,” I replied.

“Guh...guh...guh,” said Bekah, trying to jog her memory. Then, as if her memory had come through for her, she exclaimed, “Gertrude!”

What?

We all had a round of hearty laughter...including Bekah who very quickly realized that her memory had indeed failed her this time. If laughter is the best medicine, then it was a very healthy day!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Girly Girls

Isn't it good of God to send Bekah a kitty who is not only willing to wear pink and watch "Little House" with her, but will play dollhouse too?!









Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seven!

Take a peek over here to see what we're all excited about!

(Hint: We have six grandchildren now. ~wink~)

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Beauty of Hymns

I can never get enough of the beauty of hymns. After the Word of God, hymns feed my soul like nothing else.

I recently read a comment by a woman who grew up in church, but had never heard the old hymn "Fairest Lord Jesus" until she was an adult, so I feel richly blessed that we sing hymns every week in our home fellowship. I also make it a point to sing and memorize hymns in our homeschool, and to play beautiful renditions of hymns in the house and in the car. (My sixteen-year-old daughter Kati also loves hymns and posts the words to a chosen hymn weekly on her blog.)

This lovely post that I came upon in Blogland puts into words some of my own thoughts about hymns and why I love them.

What are your favorite hymns?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Imagine That!

Bekah (almost 9), talking about Eloise of the children's books and movies: "I can't imagine having temper tantrums to get what you want."

Mom, remembering that her youngest was the only one of her four children to ever do just that: "Well, Bekah, when you were very little, you used to have temper tantrums. You'd throw yourself into the floor and kick and scream."

Bekah, with a look of consternation: "Thank the Lord I have sense enough not to do that anymore!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pray Without Ceasing

"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). There is a great difference between prayer and the life of prayer. Almost everyone prays, but very few pray without ceasing. This is the habit of devotion. This is the altar of incense ever burning in the Holy Place. This is the fragrance of a heart that lives in the presence of the Holy One, and breathes the very life of God. This is the deep undertone of a sanctified life. It is from this that the sweetness, the gladness, the holiness, and the helpfulness come. Lord, teach us the habit of prayer, the prayer that springs spontaneously from the heart, and which neither secular duty, satanic temptation, nor the waves of sorrow, can interrupt, but which is only stimulated by the things that try us, until every experience becomes transformed into an occasion for communion and fellowship with God.
~A. B. Simpson
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