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30 March 2009

Simple- March 30

FOR TODAY, Monday, March 23, 2009...

Outside my window... shadows of branches swaying in the wind, the dining room light reflected in the window.

I am thinking... where do I begin today?

I am thankful for... home. my latte. the Word.

From the learning rooms... one quarter left. Finish Walt Whitman. More microscope.

From the kitchen... the dishwasher swishing. Oatmeal for breakfast.

I am wearing... pajama pants and a periwinkle Wisconsin Dells sweatshirt, but barefoot.

I am creating... a plan for the day.

I am going... to hear a couple of my kids play in a master class today to audition a new piano teacher.

I am reading... Through His Eyes, God's Perspective on Women in the Bible by Jerram Barrs. Look for my comments on chapter 8, Naomi and Ruth, later this week.

I am hoping... that warmer temperatures arrive with April, for a ride for my son from baseball practice, for a gentle day.

I am hearing... the wind. the dishwasher. the click of keyboard taps.

Around the house... all is yet still. Give it 30 minutes...

One of my favorite things... having the week's school plan prepared for Monday morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week: ESL, soccer, baseball, finish the Sunday school class on Colossians!

Here is picture thought I am sharing... I found this photo of a blue door in Mexico while looking for pictures for a Power Point presentation. I keep wondering- what is through that door? What is behind those shutters?

For more Simple entries-

27 March 2009

Photo Story Friday- a housefull

Count 'em- 9 kids, and five in the front yard playing whiffleball and football besides!

We only had 9 for most of the day, my five plus four that we happily borrowed while their parents attend a homeschool conference today. And then another joined the crowd after school until her mom got home. And then two brothers came over to play. And then two neighbor boys joined the crowd in the yard. And then, there you are, all of the sudden 14 kids in and on and around the house.

But a good crowd it is.
And that's the story this Friday.

For more Photostory Friday, be sure to visit Cecily and Mama Geek!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

25 March 2009

Photo Riddle Answers

Apparently a few of you have been wondering...

the answers-

1. Pride goes before the fall.
2. Iron sharpens iron.

Wonder no more. :-)

24 March 2009

Wordful Wednesday- Spring Storms

We were three days into spring, three not-so-bad-this-might-REALLY-be-the-beginnings-of-spring kind of days, when on Monday, the tornado sirens sounded for the first time this season.

Such is spring in Nebraska.

Inevitably, it starts in the late afternoon. We can look west and see the skies begin to darken. We see the wall of clouds form, ominous in their intent. We begin to think, what today?

My girls retreat to the basement. I turn on the news. Every local station is focused on weather. We get the super duper double Doppler this and that. Honestly, they know where the storm is headed virtually within a block.

And after you have been through a few storms, after you have been through a few dangerous storms, you have a sense of whether it is dangerous or not. But my family has lost a friend in a tornado, and we now know that does happen. We'll probably never hear a storm siren quite the same.

Monday's storm was not dangerous for us, just a nuisance, really. Within an two hours, it had passed and the skies were gloriously sun-filled. We wait for the next spring storm to roll through, or the snow that is forecast for the weekend...

Such is spring in Nebraska.

For more WordfulWednesday stories, visit SevenClownCircus. (and if you're a FoodNetwork fan, like we are, BE SURE to read Lula's post!!)

(photo credit to BZalewski at Flickr)

Photo Riddles

I found this fun idea over at OneCraftyMama, who found it at LifeWithALittleOneandMore, who found it at...
It's picture riddles. Only, I'm trying picture Proverbs.
See if you can guess...

(note! a huge THANK YOU to my buddy Michelle who taught me how to get these photos straight!!)


(answers to follow in a day or so!)

21 March 2009

Rahab- Deliverer of the Spies

Belinda at UpsideDownBee posted her thoughts on Ch. 6 of Through His Eyes- God's Perspective on Women in the Bible.

The story of Rahab from Joshua 2:1-24 & 6:15-25 rivals any spy thriller novel of today. The story of Rahab challenges how we look at lies and deception, faith and our motivation for behavior.

Read the story, and then go check out Belinda's comments.

If you are interested in previous chapters, you can find them here:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

(art credit to Rahab Hides the Spies by Frederick Richard Pickersgill)

20 March 2009

As We Forgive

It is so easy to think that our anger is justified. We have been wronged. We have been hurt.

As We Forgive is a compilation of compelling stories of hope that arose following the unspeakable horrors of genocide that killed nearly a million souls during one hundred days of terror in Rwanda. As We Forgive reminds me what suffering and forgiveness and reconciliation really look like. I will never be righteous enough to justify unforgivness, or anger that holds on and on. Never.

A couple of quotes that stand out from As We Forgive-

And now as she sat there, she felt strangely at peace. The pain of the past was still there. It would never be gone completely. But as Joy had given God the shreds of her past, he had begun to weave those dark brown-black shreds of pain into something much bigger. There were large green swatches of growth, deep golden swatches of loving friendship, and bright blue swatches of hope. It was a patchwork quilt that looked something like the beautiful Rwandan countryside that now stretched out in front of her. Joy could feel God's love for her in the warmth of the morning sun, and in the beauty of the tapestry he was weaving from her life.
Catherine Claire Larson

Joy is where the whole being is pointed in one direction, and it is something by its nature a man never hoards but always wants to share... Joy is a mystery because it can happen anywhere, anytime, even under the most unpromising circumstances, even in the midst of suffering. Even nailed to a tree.
Frederick Buechner

Seven Quick Takes- First day of Spring

1. First day of spring!! I found this poster when I did a Google image search for "first day of spring." It makes me smile. Look at the fine print- it's for an accordion trio. The first few moments of listening to that recording might just make me smile too. My S. has an accordion that her best buddy gave her. I think that was because her best buddy's mom wanted to get the accordion out of her house... :-)

2. The scene outside my window does not reflect an idyllic first day of spring scene. It is a blustery and the sky is gray. The trees remain bare. However, I see lilies poking their first spears of green out of the dirt, and with optimism, I am watching the buds on the lilac bush. That is the hope of spring.

3. We are home tonight. Every single member of our family. No practices. No meetings. No place to be- for the first time in a LONG time- maybe three weeks? This is good. Very good!

4. So what will we be doing? Watching basketball, of course. The entire family has filled out their picks and are waiting for the inevitable bracket busting upsets.

5. Spring sports season is in session at our house. Outdoor baseball and soccer practices started this week. That means it should snow again sometime in the next week or so... :-)

6. Daughter K has finished her research paper on the sources and effects of water pollution in the US. I am now affectionately referring to her as "My little GreenieWeenie."

7. My girls are becoming outstanding bakers. Fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies yesterday. Homemade pretzels today. This is a very positive (& tasty) development! I am blessed.

Others have Seven Quick Takes, too. Check them out at Conversion Diary.

18 March 2009

Wordful Wednesday- Lemonade Stand

This photo appeared in our local newspaper this morning- on the front page of the Midlands section. That's my S and her two best buddies from down the street. Su, L & S, and those buddies, and their brother, have been entrepreneurs this week. Motivated by sunshine and the promise of spring, it was time to open their lemonade stand, on the corner in front of our house.

I was, admittedly, skeptical. Yes, it was a beautiful day. It was sunny, and after a winter of freezing temps, 70 feels almost hot. But it was the middle of the day. Our street doesn't get a lot of traffic. Who would buy lemonade?

Imagine my surprise when yes, drivers did actually stop. And buy. I watched in amazement as a car passed by, stopped, returned in reverse, and stopped again. Three baggy-shorted teens hopped out and ambled over to the stand, bought three cups of lemonade and returned on their way. The lemonade stand grossed nearly $6 that day. (of course, it's all profit- they have underwriters...) And, they caught the eye of the local photographer looking for "sunny day" pictures for the paper.

They have business sense, these girls. They sell their lemonade for 10 cents a cup.
"10 cents?," I questioned. "That's not very much."
"Oh, we know! People think it's cheap and then give us more!"

The money? They are going to keep collecting it, and divide it between the Crisis Pregnancy Center and the Humane Society. And I'll keep providing lemonade and cups for the cause.

More Wordful Wednesday? Get over to SevenClownCircus.

(photo credit to Matt Miller at the Omaha World Herald)

Book Confessions

1. To mark your page you: use a bookmark, bend the page corner, leave the book open face down? I'm a corner bender in most of my personal reading. In my Bible and in most of our school books, I use those little post-it flags. I like the idea of bookmarks, but where do you put them while you are reading...?

2. Do you lend your books? Absolutely. I like sharing my books, especially the books I love! I'm grateful others share their books with me!

3. You find an interesting passage: you write in your book or NO WRITING IN BOOKS! I've grown into writing in books, and now it's habit. Unless I'm borrowing a book- and then I flag the page and write the quote later. And if the book is filled with flags, I buy it.

4. Dust jackets - leave it on or take it off. Off. Dust jackets are a pain.

5. Hard cover, paperback, skip it and get the audio book? My favorite size is quality paperback, but I'll read anything. NO audio books. It's just not the same.

6. Do you shelve your books by subject, author, or size and color of the book spines? I shelve by subject, and then with fiction, alphabetical by author. I tried that size and color thing. Pretty. Not practical. I like being able to find a book. Exception- my cookbooks, mostly because of the place they are shelved.

7. Buy it or borrow it from the library later? Depends- on recommendation, cash on hand, why I'm reading it. I tend to borrow fiction and buy non-fiction.

8. Do you put your name on your books - scribble your name in the cover, fancy bookplate, or stamp? It was last name on the first page until my bibliophile buddy gave me an embosser. I love the embosser.

9. Most of the books you own are rare and out of print books or recent publications? I don't think I own any rare books. I know I own some out of print, but probably the majority of my books are fairly new.

10. Page edges - deckled or straight? Deckled pages are so pretty- but really, I don't care a bit. Would the page edges stop a person from reading?

11. How many books do you read at one time? Several. Right now I have a morning study book, a general reading book, some books for school, and an epic fiction work that's not going so quickly...

12. Be honest, ever tear a page from a book? On purpose?! What?! I don't even tear recipes or hairstyles out of magazines in waiting rooms...

Thanks to Anne at PalmTreePundit for the inspiration. I don't think there's too much to repent of, or do penance for... :-)
(photo: a shelf in our dining room/schoolroom, that generally breaks all my rules for book organizing...)

17 March 2009

Tuesday Random

Catching up after a week away- a few random thoughts...

What a good week we had. Sweet fellowship of likeminded believers. Worship every day. Seeing God's vision for His Kingdom and His work around the world. A charge to move forward.

Good teaching at the Mercy Ministry conference. Soul stirring music from the brothers and sisters at New City Chattanooga. A glimpse of the Kingdom in worship Sunday at New City St. Louis.

I'll never achieve the order my mom keeps. She lives by Lord Baden Powell's advice to the Boy Scout's- "Try and leave this world a little better than you found it." What a blessing to come home to an immaculate house and chores caught up!

This morning I discovered I can watch ER online. I've been watching ER all 15 seasons. I've known ER longer than my oldest daughter. I've seen every disaster to hit County General. I missed last week's show, which I don't regret a bit, but wonder of wonders, I didn't! It's right there waiting for me. Hello Doctor Ross!

We're enjoying springlike temps- sidewalk chalk, lemonade stands, outdoor baseball and soccer practices. Being outside reminds me of the last stanza of Jesus I Am Resting, Resting
Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

It's good to be back.

(photo credit to Miss Avocado at Etsy. And as always, when wandering around Etsy, remember, Thou Shalt Not Covet.)

St. Patrick's Breastplate

The following prayer is part of a prayer composed for St. Patrick. It's a striking contrast to how American culture celebrates St. Patrick's Day these days.

(but we are observing the Wearing O' the Green around here today!)

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Read the entire prayer at Gina Dalfonzo's post at The Point.

(Art credit: St. Patrick's Breastplate)

Tamar- A Righteous Woman

This week I have the pleasure of joining Megan at HalfPintHouse and B at UpsideDownBee to continue discussion on Through His Eyes- God's Perspective on the Women in the Bible. My task? To look at Chapter 5- Tamar, A Righteous Woman. For those not reading the book and interested in the story of Tamar, go to Genesis 38.

From the start, author Jerram Barr states that the account of Tamar in Genesis is one of the least discussed stories of the Bible. It is a difficult story without much commentary. Certainly stories about betrayal and prostitution aren't among those that are comfy with a sweet ending.

How did Tamar land in the situation of needing to prostitute herself to her father-in-law? The story starts earlier, when Judah, brother of Joseph, leaves his family and takes a Canaanite wife, ignoring God's instruction to marry an Israelite. I so appreciate Barr's comments on that situation, one that is common to many of us today as we know others, or have ourselves, chosen to be married to those that are not believers. "God is always far more kind to us than we deserve. His love and his faithfulness to his covenant with his people endure despite our weakness and sin..." (p.76)
I am ever thankful for that love and faithfulness!

As the story progresses we find that Tamar is not a widow just once, but twice, and has discovered that her father-in-law, Judah, "has no intention of fulfilling his covenant obligation to Tamar." (p. 78) Her future is dismal; she really has little hope or prospect of a future in her Canaanite culture. And so, Tamar decides to catch Judah in a trap. Disguising herself as a prostitute, she demands a pledge for payment. A few months later, Judah is caught, and confronted, and confesses of Tamar, "She is more righteous than I." (Gen 38:26)

Wow! A scheming prostitute described as righteous! How can that be? Barr asks "what is righteousness in this context?" (p. 82)
So do I.

Barr writes, "Tamar's righteousness is her commitment to honor her obligations to God, the covenant she has made before the Lord to her husband." (p. 82) This comment by Barr, particularly stands out to me:
At the heart of righteousness is the commitment to proving oneself true in relationships. Righteousness is not simply obedience to the letter of a body of laws. The text does not tell us that what Tamar did was a good thing or an honest thing, but it should be clear to us that God's Word, Holy Scripture, looks at the intention of her heart in seeking to fulfill her responsibilities to the covenant promises she had made. (p. 83)
Proving oneself true.
The intention of her heart.
Those statements challenge me.

And that is what strikes me as one of the wonders of Scripture, of recounting these stories of His people, long ago, but with circumstance and sin so very common to us today. Barr sums it up so well,
When we read the Bible, when we read the stories of the people whom God loves, the people whom he honors, the people to whom he fulfills his promises, the people for whom he keeps his covenant, the people for whom he does his acts of righteousness- when we read the stories of these people, we discover that the people God loves and honors are not absolutely pure people. They are sinners. They are broken people. They are weak people who sometimes disobey the commandments of God. They are people who come up with plans that it is impossible to commend wholly. But God loves his people despite their failures. (p. 83)
Even me.

Through the study questions, Barr has us look at other passages on righteousness (including Jeremiah 33:14-16 & Psalm 72:1-4), and in doing so, reminds believers that our righteousness is in Christ. We come to God, full of sin, unable to achieve righteousness- virtue or morality or decency, on our own, and yet, He is faithful. God was faithful to Tamar, and He is faithful to His people today. Regarding Tamar, Barr reminds us that "we are not asked by the Word of God to approve her deception, her disguise, her acting the part of prostitute; but we are asked by the Word of God to honor her faithfulness, her readiness to fulfill her obligations, her righteousness." (p. 84) And so, yes, even Tamar, an unlikely hero, remains an example of a righteous woman, even today.

(art credit: Tamar, Judah's Daughter-in-law by Marc Chagall, 1960.)

09 March 2009

Road Trip

My husband and I are away from home this week, for training here and here.

After worship in St. Louis yesterday, we drove. And drove. And drove. Through a torrential rainstorm, through heavier rain than we have EVER experienced. Through the greening grass of Kentucky. (and they call it the BLUEgrass state. Hmph! :-) ) Into the budding trees of Tennessee. And right on down into the massive highways of Atlanta.

We're thankful for His provision, for safety, and for a very nice hotel room.
Blessings to you this week!

Through His Eyes

I've been reading Through His Eyes: God's Reflections on Women in the Bible, along with Megan at Half Pint House and Belinda at Upsidedown Bee. Want to join the discussion?

Megan has the links to discussion here.

This book provides a terrific perspective on the women of the Bible, often in a light I have not previously considered, and with pertinent questions to consider issues that apply to daily life in very practical ways. You'll be blessed!

02 March 2009

Come were but the Spring...

... the view out our front windows at daybreak on March 1. The thermometer read 1 degree F.

Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing.
Christina Rosetti, Spring Quiet

19 days until that new season arrives...

01 March 2009

A give-a-way

Rebekah at Amoretti is giving away this nifty tea towel, and some cookies and a Skirty besides.

Wouldn't those be fun things to win?