Dreams and Desires

We all have dreams. We all have desires. No matter your age, no matter your gender, we all have things we want to accomplish, things we dream about in the depths of our hearts, and things we yearn after with our whole soul.

These dreams and desires run deep into our beings. At times, we must learn to give them up into the hand of the Lord, surrendering everything to Him and trusting in the fact that He is faithful. I know — there are many dreams I have given over to the Lord. Many desires I struggle with, praying for the Lord to make His will known in my life. Many things, small and large, have I given into His hand. Imperfectly have I given many of them; there are times when it seems I want to take them all back within an hour of what I thought was complete surrender to His ways. There are times when it hurts to give up a dream and grasp the Lord’s infinitely better plan for my life. I have times in my past where I have struggled to retain control of my life, not wanting to give the Lord anything that would bring me pain. I have times in the present, in the here-and-now. And I am sure I will have times in the future.

Yet, in the providence of the Lord, a few of my dreams are being fulfilled. Definitely not in the way I expected, most assuredly not in the way I desired, but they are being fulfilled nevertheless. Maybe a more correct statement would be that I am beginning to understand — in a barely-scratching-the-surface kinda way — why the Lord gave me these dreams in the first place, and why I needed to surrender them to His keeping for this time in my life.

I am going to tell you something that may surprise you. Something that may even shock you. A story of shattered dreams, and the image that is starting to emerge from the pieces.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor. I was sick all the time. All. The. Time. Mostly with an earache, and if some type of bug went around, I was going catch it. By the time I was five I  had taken many of the antibiotics known to man (maybe only slightly exaggerated…..maybe :P). When I was six I had tubes put in my ears. When I was seven I caught pneumonia and was in the hospital for a week. And it was at this time I decided I would have a medical profession of some sort.

Being a reader, I read everything I could about healing people. First aid manuals, biographies of great nurses and doctors in history, achievements men and women have made in the medical field. As I grew I read all the family medical books Mom had to decorate our house with. I scanned through thick books filled with illnesses and symptoms — I actually had a sweet friend who is an RN give me a medical book at my graduation, not knowing any of this about me. I knew which college I would be going to when I graduated high school, and I had my whole future planned out. I would be an obstetrician (OB — a baby doctor).

It was about this time we began attending another church — I was thirteen. From this church we borrowed a documentary called “Return of the Daughters” — about how daughters were needed to fulfill God’s plan for the family in the home. We were all very shocked — not one of us had considered such a thing before. NOT go to college? Actually stay home in our families and learn to be a wife and a mother? We finished it and my parents asked what I thought about it.

My first reaction was that I hated the idea. I was going to be a doctor. I was going to make a difference in this world. And I couldn’t do that by being home all the time. In my mistaken theology, the plans I had, and the plans God had for my future, must be the one and the same. And I wasn’t about to give up my dreams for others that seemed so mediocre. Nope. Nada. No can do.

A few weeks later, a dear friend loaned me a book that the Lord used to convict me, and my dreams and desires began to crumble before my very eyes. I put all thought of college, doctoring, and everything else out of my head. Slowly but surely I relinquished my hold on that part of my future. There were tears and frustrations. There were selfish moments, and thoughts of “what if I hadn’t chosen this?” 

And as soon as I gave everything to the Lord — every desire, every aspiration, every dream; as soon as I determined to be open to the leading of Christ no matter where He led me, a pathway that had muddled before began to shine out clearer. He didn’t give me back my dreams, He didn’t give me His stamp of approval, but He placed in my heart a desire to follow His ways no matter what.

His ways are truly higher than tongue can tell or pen can describe. He has blessed me in so many ways that I would have missed if I had rebelled against the plan He had for me. And I have the opportunity to do what I am doing now, at this time in my life only because I was willing to give Him everything.

At one time, seven or eight years ago, I envisioned my life when I was twenty to be lived on a college campus in Virginia studying medicine. Instead I am experiencing firsthand the skills needed to be a good nurse. If I had gone to college I would not be administering antibiotics through a PICC line. I would not be learning how to help people maneuver around who have (temporarily) lost the use of a leg. Learning signs of infection to look for, exercises that can be done in bed, the best way to interact with doctors and nurses, how to help with even the basic necessities of life.

When I gave the Lord my dreams of being an OB on the mission field in some foreign country in exchange for His plan of staying under my father’s protection, I never dreamed I would be allowed to minister to my grandparents in their home. To be given the opportunity to be salt and light to those in the medical field as I interact with them daily. To be so very close to finishing my doula studies and meeting nurses who are willing to answer my questions. Nurses who have been willing to let me get hands-on experience — I never imagined that I would have job offers as a CNA or a PCT at a hospital, either.

When I was convicted to stay at home until I marry, when the Lord convicted me to give Him my dreams of a home and children of my own, to give Him my desire for a husband, I never dreamed I would be running a home at twenty. Planning meals, cooking, cleaning — though imperfect at best as we have been gone all day at the hospital — it has been a time of learning to plan a menu. To actually stick to what was planned and purchased. To cook for two or three people — something I have always wondered how to accomplish.

When I had a desire to heal others, to help them and minister to them, I never dreamt that those “others” would be my very own grandparents. I didn’t know then that the Lord was preparing me to care for a grandfather who had quadruple bypass surgery. That He was putting me in a place where I would be able to stay in my grandparents home assisting as my grandmother recovers from a staph infection and cellulitis. From having one operation to fuse her ankle, and another one a month later to take it all out when the infection reached the bone.

I gave up my desires and dreams and the Lord  placed a longing in my soul, one that desired His will. I still struggle. I wish I could look back and see where I’ve been; look forward to see where I am going, and remember these lessons I’m learning. So those days when I want to hug my dreams to my heart, refusing to relinquish them to the Lord, I can know — beyond a shadow of a doubt — that my God is faithful, and His plans are far greater than my dreams could ever Continue reading →

Mark of the King

I am working on a real update for this blog….which I will (hopefully) post sometime in the near future. Until then, I am waaay overdue at posting this book review. Which book I received back in January, finished in February, and…..that’s as far as I got.  Life took over, and I have been providentially busy — too busy to worry over writing. And for me, that’s busy =)

But, without further ado, here’s the review :D

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After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

The Mark of the King was one of those books I wasn’t too very sure of…..and one of those books I enjoyed reading. It piqued my interest originally because of the midwifery aspect of the book — having nearly completed my doula training and having an interest to move into midwifery one day, I am always up to learning about the historical impact of midwifery on a settlement. Mrs. Jocelyn Green did a wonderful job with that portion of the book, and I truly enjoyed reading it.

The storyline itself, outside of the historical aspect, was not one of my favourites. It seemed…..flat, in my opinion. It didn’t leave me wanting to keep reading….and that is rare with a book. It was a blessing, since I was needing a book to quickly sit down when my grandmother needed my help (explained in my last post), but still. The characters just didn’t seem very relatable to me. But, remember I was also distracted, so I may have enjoyed it better if I had an hour or two to devote to reading it. Thankfully, midwifery seemed to take up the majority of the first two thirds of the book…it was only the last third that seemed to drag.

I also enjoyed the herbal aspect of the book, with Julianne learning how to utilize the native herbs and plants in her midwifery practice and in her work as a nurse.

I would give this book about 3.5 stars. I would read it again for practical, historical purposes, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who didn’t have a love for natural birth or natural remedies. I also wouldn’t recommend this book to younger girls, since the main subject was birth. There weren’t any details that were inappropriate or immodest — midwives barely looked at what they were doing in those days — but there were details given about the birthing process.

*I received this book from the publishers in return for my honest review. I was not required to enjoy it* 

Oh, the Lessons I’ve Learned….

I’d like to share with you some of the things I am learning as I am away from my family for the indefinite future, in the hopes that it will encourage you and possibly learn some things easier than I have.

For those of you who know my family and I, you know that we are close. We are almost never separated from each other, and when we are it is only for a short time out of the day. No, we aren’t the perfect family, but we are a family. A group of people who live together and laugh together and dream together and love each other as best we can with our sinful hearts.

I am with my grandparents. Helping out while my grandmother recovers from an operation, and I have TERRIBLY missed everyone. But God is good, and I am learning immensely….lessons that I most likely would not learn at home. These are written down in no particular order, just as they come to mind….

The routine you have at home matters. Yes, stubborn me can even see this. The way Mom runs our home is orderly and makes sense….and is the way that I default to up here at Grandma’s. Straighten the house before bed. Fold and put away all laundry before bed. Make the bed before you leave the bedroom.

Have a life-purpose bigger than your home. If your purpose in this life is to complete your to-do list and go have fun, then you are in trouble. If the fulfillment in your life comes only in being busy in your home or your church, consider what will happen when you are away from both of those. How will you feel? What will you do?

If the only purpose I have for my days at home is to make it through each task in the hopes that I can “prove” how good and capable I am, what will I do? My purpose must be bigger. I HAVE to realize that my only purpose in this life is to glorify God. To allow Him to use me for His glory and be willing for Him to do that no matter what. If that means I am serving my grandparents, or serving my own home, or serving a friend, or a husband, or my own children.

Have a purpose bigger than marriage. This is a big one, for many of us. Listen up, ladies — marriage is wonderful and beautiful and exciting. But we must realize that it is not the crowning success of our days. This is what I have been learning for years, and especially this last year. Singleness can be just as “good” as marriage. We can’t sit back and repine because we aren’t married by eighteen. Life will go on, and we must fulfill the task the Creator of mankind has for us to do.

If I were married right now, I couldn’t be up with my grandparents now, spending time and creating precious memories with them. I told my sister the other week that I felt such peace not being married right now. I KNOW that it is God’s will for me at this point in my life, and I am content in that. Not that I have given up the desire to be married or to have children of my own one day. I just know without a doubt that it is not Gods plan for me right now.

Think of it this way. If my purpose in life is to praise and serve the Lord, I can do that right now, unmarried. If I am still unmarried when I am twenty-five, does that change anything? NO! My purpose in life is still to glorify God and praise and serve Him. If I am still single at forty, my life purpose is still the same. If I were to marry next year, my number one priority should still be to praise and glorify my Redeemer.

Have a good relationship with your siblings. I can’t stress this enough! Do you realize how important this is? Do you now how special it is to have a five year old sister squeezing you, reluctant to let you go? Or a three year old brother lift up his round little face for a kiss, squeezing your legs with his cute little arms? A brother drawing you beautiful pictures? A sister who comes to plan something with you and you talk for three hours straight? Pictures sent without asking of what everyone else is doing? Talking on the phone whenever, and feeling like you won’t ever run out of things to say? Seeing a cute, chubby baby’s smiling face, being the recipient of big slobery kisses, and sweet giggles and coos?

Guys, I tell you I do NOT deserve such love. Mostly we get along and have fun. But I am not perfect — I fuss at them, I complain to them, I tire of the noise and the wrestling and the messes. They do the same to me. We fight and squabble and have our differences. But I MISS THEM. Terribly. I told one sister the other day — the one I talked with for hours — that if one of us ever marries, the other one will have to make week long visits, planning on talking for days on end, and only doing something constructive the last few days =)

Learn how to cook for three people. ‘Cause three people don’t eat as much as thirteen =9 I am slowly learning. And asking questions. And making notes for my own home one day.

That’s what I have been learning and what the Lord has been dealing with me about. What are you learning?

 

Gossip — Destruction from Within

Gossip is something we encounter everywhere. We have all witnessed it and maybe even we are guilty of being in on it. Being a part of the group that has nothing better to do than waste time in speculation and idle chatter about others’ lives. And you can call it whatever you want and it doesn’t change what it is: gossip, pure and simple.

Yes, gossip is an issue that all of us at one time or another will have to face. It is something that is hurtful to those you are speaking about, and to everyone you speak to. Gossip can ruin lives, without doubt. Look at the Salem witch trials. They were started by a few girls with spare time and loose tongues in an hospitable kitchen. Tales were told, exaggerated, and brought home to parents who then acted in fear. We do not know how many people were murdered over some idle chatter that a few school girls spread around the community. These were people who were innocent of any wrong doing, other than being different than those around them. We see and read about the repercussions of gossip. The Salem Witch Trials made history and we must learn from our past mistakes. Yet, still countless reputations are injured by our wayward tongues.

As a young lady, I can say that a group of girls is prone to gossip. It is a sin we have to watch….

~~~~~~~Read More at Foundations of Reconstruction~~~~~~~

The Conspiracy of Silence

Conspiracy of Silence #1   -     By: Ronie Kendig
“Special Forces Operative Cole Russell had a mission gone wrong and is no longer welcomed in the United States. When a dormant disease resurfaces he is asked by the FBI to help find a cure. As he travels the globe he stumbles across an ancient secret society and an artifact with biblical origins.

Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers–and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague–but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem–but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?”

Conspiracy of Silence is a book unlike any other I have read. Typically, I prefer biographies, historical works, theology, or books about cultural issues we are facing today. My sister is the one that prefers more “political thriller” type books. She is the one that actually sparked my interest in this particular book — and I am glad she did =}

This book was an interesting blend of action, politics, war, heartbreak, and — surprisingly — history — Biblical history, in fact. It centers around an archaeological dig site in Israel, where surprising artifacts are being found. A whole city that had been buried. This book weaves into the artifact find a surprising tale of Biblical significance, bringing in elements of surprise, betrayal, and redemption.

There was a LOT of Jewish history throughout the pages of this book. A lot of Christian history. There are several prominent characters who are Christians, and there are a couple who are Jewish. There are a few who claim to be atheists. There is a lot of dialogue between the different belief systems, which I enjoyed.

The political setting was a less-than-believable scenario than others I have read by just a bit, but it was good nonetheless, and made for a fun read. A more…..ahem…..whimsical person — meaning less practical =P — would probably not have cared. Or noticed, for that matter. There were no *words* — the language was clean throughout, and there was a strong Christian influence through the pages.

The one thing I disliked about Conspiracy of Silence was that it seemed to just dive right into the story with no background information, leaving my brain swirling for the first several chapters. It was so bad, I looked up the authors website to see if there was a backstory…..and I found that there was a novella that came first — The Warrior’s Seal — and it was free. I would highly recommend reading that first, so you can enjoy the actual book.

I am looking forward to the second book in this series, which should be released sometime this year….I would pass this book along, too. As soon as I have posted this, my sister who originally wanted to read the book will have it in her possession…..since she has already devoured The Warrior’s Seal :D

*I received this book from the publisher in return for posting an honest review.
I was not required to enjoy it. All opinions are my own.*

~There are affiliate links contained in this blog post — thank you for using them!~

The Christian and Culture

As I have grown, I have witnessed two major ways of Christians interacting with our culture. Either they shun the culture entirely, using Romans 12:2 as a basis: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” or they immerse themselves in the culture, with no distinct difference between the lost and the saved, using the passage of Scripture where Paul talks about being all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

While these are not the only two views; they are the two that I see most commonly in the society around me. While I disagree that we should “blend in”, as it were, in our culture, I also don’t believe that we should entirely shun the world and everything that is going on around us. That view is unbiblical: God calls us as Christians to take dominion over all things in this world, to be the salt of our world. To be the preserving agent of our society. And we can’t fulfill this command if we are ignorant about the issues of our world today.

We are called to be a peculiar people in 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…” And we are called to be peculiar to those around us so we can spread Christ’s glory through….

~~~~~~~Read More at Foundations of Reconstruction~~~~~~~

The Rise of “Convenience” and the Modern Woman

There is a BBC series that we all enjoy watching, centered around a farmhouse in England. There are several different editions of the series — Victorian Farmhouse, Edwardian Farmhouse, War Farmhouse…..basically a “Farmhouse” episode for every major historical time era. We watch them to learn how to better manage our homestead, learn a bit of history, and to glean from times past how the generations before us produced their sustenance from their own land with their own hands.

By now you are wondering what under the sun does “convenience” have to do with watching BBC productions???

A great deal, actually. We can probably all agree — at least those who are crazy enough to read this blog — that along with the rise of convenience came a whole host of sin problems that past generations didn’t have to deal with. Things that may have sounded nice in theory, but in actuality was quite, well….inconvenient.

We have watched all the Farmhouse episodes, and enjoyed them. But there was a stark difference between the Victorian period and the Edwardian period. The Victorian Farmhouse was the best, I think. The woman of the house was busy around the farm. She was busy overseeing the dairy products, the quality of dairy products, the garden produce. She was busy canning and preserving the food she produced, watching over her flock of sheep and pigs. She had cleaning to do, ironing to finish, meals to cook from scratch — food she and her family had grown and raised. She had the liberty of being free. Being free to do what God had made her to do — being a help-meet to her husband, fulfilling her divine calling by serving her family. She had the liberty and freedom to order her days however she wanted; however she needed to. It was a beautiful picture of love and contentment.

In the Edwardian Farmhouse, everything was different. The men were still out in the fields; they were still producing food from the land, but they no longer kept it for themselves, selling only the surplus. Now, they were trying to raise as much as thy could with as little labour as possible, selling it all to the market. The lady of the this particular house was too busy to mess with the trouble of canning it, she was too busy to trouble with her dairy delights, she was far too busy to be bothered with all the duties that she had delighted in just a few decades ago.

And she was too busy because of only one invention — the bicycle. It “freed” up the modern woman, allowing her greater “liberty” and “freedom” to go her own ways. Because of this, she was no longer around her home, working to preserve what the family had raised and farmed, working to preserve what had cost them essentially nothing. The cost of living went up. The men-folk were working double time, selling their produce since no one was around to care for it, and using the money to buy other things — things for the women who had “no time” for the little home duties, but plenty of time for gadding about on a bicycle. But the family still had to eat, and the women decided to do something about it. Now, instead of coming home and putting the bicycle aside, the women decided to put the bicycle to greater use — the contraption now gave them freedom to earn a living, provide food for the family, additional income for the household. Ironically, the bicycle invention gave this particular woman the liberty to clean another families chamber pots. To scour the waste and filth of a strangers home, leaving her own home to suffer neglect.

Think of it. This woman in her own home had the freedom a few years ago to go on a ramble in the woods, to pick berries, put up food, and be wise about the families needs. Now, she was stuck in another house, all day long, cleaning chamber pots. In her own home, she wouldn’t have had to clean those articles of necessity all day, every day. She would have had the freedom and liberty to order her days to make her little “mundane” tasks more enjoyable. In her own home the only person she had to “take orders from” would have been her husband. Now, she was taking orders from the master and mistress of the house. The bicycle became nothing more than a way to “liberate” the women to the position of a servant. In her own home she was still considered a mistress, a home manager, a wife and mother.

Can you see the irony of this? A simple invention. A bicycle.  A wonderful contraption that we still have around today, that we still ride and enjoy and bring places. When used properly, a blessing. But it quickly became a curse to the women of another era.

Do we have hindrances in our lives,  things that promised to bring freedom and liberty to us as a people? Under the guise of “convenience” we have let a lot of things slide under our radar, as it were, that we never would have agreed to or allowed before. It might be convenient to keep up with our family using social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the like), but is it worth the convenience if young people sneak out and leave homes for someone they have met online?

Cell phones are a wonderful convenience — a cell phone is an immense blessing, where having one to contact emergency personnel, say, in the case of your mother suddenly collapsing from a brain bleed, would be nice.  But they interrupt so much of our day. They ring at inconvenient times, they allow us to answer texts and emails immediately, they provide a distraction for long car rides. They have the ability to interrupt our quiet time before God. Now there is no accountability for young people’s interactions with each other. No central phone in a central part of the house where everyone (aka parents =}) could keep an ear on the phone conversation. Susie can talk to John all she wants, saying flirtatious things that both know they really shouldn’t be saying, because no one is there to keep them accountable, to correct them, to put a stop to it, because no one really knows.

And now our cell phones are “smart” — you can message people, check social media, and take pictures. All of which could get someone in trouble — indeed, all of which have gotten people in huge-mungo trouble. Trouble, and a myriad of sinful actions that just one generation ago people never had to struggle with — because it was non-existent. We have all sorts and types of devices that can access the internet, anytime, anywhere, and almost any place.

Are the lives and well-being of our families, children, siblings worth the convenience of having instant communication with everyone in the world? Can we be “inconvenienced” for the sake of others’ souls?

No, we may not be riding a bicycle to go scrub chamber pots, but do the distractions around us — the “modern conveniences” — take away time from our families? Can we have a conversation without being distracted, pulling out a phone, looking at a television, typing an email? Can we talk to someone without a bunch of “umm…” “uhhh….” “what was I saying?” Ohhhh, yeah…..wait…..ugghhh….”???

No, this post isn’t about reaming modern conveniences — not necessarily. I do see where a phone is a blessing. I do enjoy having the internet, being able to communicate with others, and keeping up with politics, new laws ect. But I also see a rising flood of families — well meaning families — who have not monitored online usage in the families. I see it, I see young people backsliding, running away, compromising on key values that were once important issues they would have fought for. I see young people seducing each other, flirting with each other over social media, internet sites, texts and phone calls. Teenage suicide rates are on the rise – due to social media and inappropriate interactions.

And I think of the bicycle. Have we allowed our pursuit of convenience — our desire to be known as “modern” instead of “old-fashioned” — our desire for pleasure and fulfillment — to become a stumbling block to our families?

A Fresh Start…..

Yes, this blog has been quiet of late….too quiet, I think. Especially for one who processes thoughts through writing and typing and seeing words written down on a page…but there is a reason, a very good reason….

My year ended with a bang — a really loud bang, a crash, and glass shattering. Yes, quite literally — a crock-pot broke in my hands while I washing it out. And then, I was in the emergency room for stitches to reattach my poor little finger to my hand. I was extremely thankful I did not fully cut it off, which I had at first thought. The blood, the pain, and seeing my finger hanging from my hand…..needless to say, I was very glad Dad was helping in the kitchen, was very quick with a towel, and provided a chair as I was having a mild panic attack and feeling slightly light-headed ;-) He was also the one who reassured me that my finger was still attached — although it was bad. This was on Christmas Eve, as we were all supposed to be gathering at my grandparents home.

It was my right little finger — as I type this, I still have the stitches in my hand, waiting to get them out, waiting to have a doctor assess possible nerve damage, waiting to be able to fully us this finger again. Waiting on muscles and nerves to strengthen and reattach and start working right, so I can type productively again. Play the piano and violin again. Wash dishes and fold laundry and sweep floors and make beds and a host of other things.

I think I would say that one thing the Lord will be teaching me this year is patience. And trust. And contentment.

In other news, I have written about the termite damage that my father and brothers and several sweet friends from our church fixed this year. In December, we fully finished all the kitchen repair! A kitchen counter was exciting — second only to a kitchen sink being installed! After washing dishes for a family of thirteen in the bathroom sink….well, you learn what a blessing a kitchen sink is. No more waiting on people to hurry up, no more running through the house with hands covered with eggs…meat….grease….or various sundry other things. And to prepare food for a family on a counter — oh, what a blessing we realize a working kitchen is! Everything back in cabinets, out of the other rooms of the house. No more running to the living room for flour, the sewing room for sugar, navigating the various kitchen appliances or holes in the floor.  I’ve written about it here: Little Drops of Water but I am pretty sure I haven’t posted any pictures for you to see. So….here are a lot of pictures. A lot of pictures. Keep in mind that some of these pictures I received while puppy sitting for my grandparents puppy, or while up at the hospital while my grandfather was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. And imagine my surprise….

This is what our kitchen looked like before we totally destroyed it….kinda =) In this picture we — meaning Dad and the boys and a friend — had already taken out the tile to get a better idea of what the damage was. But this gives you a vague idea of cabinet placement…..

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Step one: Tear up floor. We knew there was damage in this general area, but we had no idea…..

The floor beams have already been repaired….the cabinets removed….

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Then Dad moved to one of the outside walls of the house. I don’t have pictures of the other one….a friend does =)

From the outside looking in….literally :D

From the inside looking out =P

What our living room looked like until the cabinets were re-installed in August. I think this picture was taken in May….and this was the second time to unload the cabinets….These are some of the pictures I was receiving at my grandparents, leaving me wondering what was going on…12

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And here are other pictures, when I was surprised by seeing the stove on the wrong side of the kitchen…..10

And another hole in the floor. Apparently termites were running between the layers of the floor….They even made it all the way into the hallway.9

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One of “those days” where there was a hole in the middle of the kitchen floor. Ever tried to get lunch around a hole in the floor? Well, it looks something like frantically running back and forth outside around the house, from the front door to the back door, getting supplies. Until the guys inside started handing things over the hole….since they were already there X)

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Lunch break!!!

As the floor was torn up, it was discovered that the floor beams under the house had been eaten,  were rotten, and generally shaky and unsteady. So out they came!5

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We had sweet friends and our pastor who came over to help with the last half of the floor. We were so incredibly thankful for the help! The laughter, hard work, and general fun that went along with the task of destroying the floor made it memorable…..

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We girls spent the day staining the new wood floor, in preparation for everyone getting it down later.7

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capture

Even the littlest of the little ones were able to help with reconstruction work, learning a good work ethic as they went.

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I don’t have pictures of the finished project yet….the hard drive for the computer went *kaput* a few weeks ago….ah, the challenges of life!

I have written about our bus woes in the past — suddenly the big yellow bus decided to start working again. Dad did something or other….I have NO idea what….but it is mostly reliable now. Mostly :D It still needs the occasional jump to work, but that is a step up (actually, several steps up) from not working at all. Or blowing smoke through vents. Or stopping and starting itself. Trust me when I say, it was getting embarrassing to be stuck at church so many times….or on the side of the road…..or at a gas station….=P

And now we are onto a new year. A new beginning, a new path, a new chapter in the book of life. What will happen? Only the Lord knows right now, and I am good with that. If I had known in the beginning of 2016 that within three weeks of each other my baby brother would be born, we would have no kitchen, and my grandfather would be in the hospital, I would have been lost, with the weight of the world falling on me. Coming on slowly, suddenly, it doesn’t seem like so much. Each time I questioned or wondered, I knew God had a plan. A perfect, wise, all-knowing plan, that He would reveal little by little as He saw fit.

I have been asked about plans for this new year of life the Lord has blessed me with. I really don’t have *plans* for the year. I know from experience that though man makes plans, God directs our footsteps. And He does it for His own glory. I do have goals, long term and short term ones.

I want to get my finger working to play instruments again.
I am continuing my work for Foundations of Reconstruction.
I want to become a full-fledged doula…sooner rather than later.
I need to learn how to drive, which means we need a smaller vehicle than a bus =)
I want to read more theology type books this year, specifically studying more into God’s character and attributes.
I’d like to finish my Names of God study with the children, and move on to another study.

I know I won’t finish all these. I know there are some things I have left out, there are some things I am praying about, and there are some things I don’t even know about yet. I am quite aware that some of these will not be accomplished this year, ’cause there are times when life just takes over. And I am okay with that.

So, now that I have “caught you up”, I am going to be working on catching up this blog that I have left neglected so long….as fast as this healing appendage of mine allows =) I was told typing and playing piano were good “therapy” type things to do. As long as I actually remember to use the finger….which is kinda painful =D One day, it will be back to normal…..one day….

Until then, I will exercise patience and trust and wait patiently on the Lord…..

And There Were Shepherds….

“That first Christmas night, shepherds saw a wondrous light.
An angel then appeared, telling them to have no fear —
For unto you this day, in a manger on the hay,
Is born the King of Kings, peace on earth He brings….”

It was a warm night that night, in the land of Bethlehem, in Judea. The men sat around, under the night sky, basking in the soft glow of the moon. Perhaps they looked at the stars, remembering the promise given to their father, Abraham, so many years ago — the promise that his descendants, themselves, would be as numerous as those stars. Those beautiful stars, shining forth so brightly in the dark sky. Remembering the faith of their father, praising Elohim for His creation.

Perhaps they talked to each other. Or maybe they just sat silently, rejoicing in the darkness of the night time to hide themselves from the world. Mulling over in their minds the importance of the task assigned to them by Elohim — ever vigilant, keeping an eye out for predators, they sat there, with all their senses alert, ready for whatever the night was hiding from their vision.

Suddenly, a light shone forth, disturbing the darkness of the night, disrupting the inky blackness. Perhaps they all looked around, to see how the others would react — each inwardly quaking with fear that went unacknowledged….until they saw the same stamp of terror written on each face represented, reflected in everyone’s eyes they looked into. As they looked around and saw that fear on every brow, they began to shake in fright, wondering what this mystical light represented, what it was. They had never seen anything like it before; never experienced such a feeling before as they felt as that light engulfed them in itself — that unnatural, unearthly light.

Suddenly that light began to talk to them — “Fear not.” The shepherds looked up at this injuncture, realizing for the first time in all their terror that this light had a form, a shape. It was, indeed, an angel. An angel with such a countenance that it could only come from Elohim. But no one had heard anything from the Great God in such a long time! There were rumors, about a supernatural conception of a child, an angel’s visit — but that was just a rumor. A story. A tale that a poor, sinful girl had concocted in her imagination trying to make others accept the sin she had wrought in Israel. Why the elders had not put the girl to death, they didn’t know.

They realized the heavenly being that reflected so much of the glory of Heaven was still speaking. Still speaking to them — lowly shepherds though they were. Perhaps they stood there in disbelief, that an angel of the very God would condescend to speak to them. To them! “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

The Lord — the promised Christ-child that had been longed for, anxiously awaited….laying in a manger? A feeding trough? A hard, stony old feeding trough, that animals had stuck their dirty noses in, vying over food? Surely not! Not this special child that they had heard of….but then, they knew very little of teaching of their father, Moses, the great revered leader of the nation of Israel. Being shepherds — though an honourable and useful occupation — kept them perpetually unclean in the sight of the Pharisees. They didn’t have time to observe all the laws of cleanliness and purity. Being in the field kept them dirty. In protecting the sheep, they were constantly exposed to death — decaying carcasses, blood, animal dung. And yet they were being told — commanded — to go to the City of David. Bethlehem. Go into the city, among people, unclean though they were. Maybe the wondered if any one else knew of the birth of this long awaited Child, little knowing that the mighty God had chosen the “foolish things of this world to confound the wise.”

Suddenly the whole night sky lit up even more, if that was possible. The heavens glowed with angels, so resplendent with the wonder of Elohim’s majesty that the light of His glory was illuminating in the air around them. They were surrounded by Light — that glorious Light. Angel’s. Angel’s everywhere, too many to number, all around, each one clothed in the garments of Elohim’s righteousness that fairly shone with an ethereal glow. Looking up in wonder, the shepherds were amazed. Awestruck that the Mighty Creator would choose — of His own free will — to come to them, to tell them of the birth of His Son. How else would they have heard, if they were not allowed to enter into the temple? They looked around at each other, wonder slowly taking the place of fear in their faces.

As all the angels gathered around, they opened their mouths in a beautiful chorus — an Heavenly chorus — singing a song full of adoration to the great King. A song that must have originated in the throne room of Heaven, for nowhere on this sinful earth could such a song have been composed. They sang out loud and clear, with a beautiful tune….their hearts were so full of praises to the God they served, and that had to come out in some form or another, to be shared with others. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” So full of love and respect for the Ruler of the universe, so full of love and pity for those on earth, those notes resounded over the flat, empty plain where the shepherds were staying.

The angels  vanished, as suddenly as they appeared, and the shepherds left their sheep — actually left them there — and went to find the Child. The Child they had been directed to, the Child the whole world had longed for, waited for, prayed for. They traversed the same path they had taken many times, as they headed to the temple, bringing sheep they had cared for to be slaughtered — sacrificed for the people’s sins. How many sheep they had raised for others, to pardon them before a righteously angry God, yet how little the people respected them! I wonder if they thought of the irony of this as they hurried on their way to meet the sweet little One sleeping innocently in a feeding trough.

They appeared at the doorway to the stable, an hollowed out crevice in the rock. It was damp there. Chilly. Maybe Joseph himself urged them in, gave them a welcome. Perhaps Mary proudly showed them her Baby, her eyes glowing with the wonder and joy of motherhood while a tired smile tugged at her lips, exhausted from the many weeks of travel, the hours of long, body racking labour she had to go through to birth this Child into the world. And they saw the Child, laying as the Heavenly messenger had promised — in a feeding trough that had been lined with hay in an attempt to soften the crude, roughly hewn manger.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not:
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
~Luke 2:8-14~

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you! I pray that this season of reflection on our Saviour’s birth will draw you closer to Him, however you choose to celebrate. That you will take the time to search out the Spiritual things this year, that you will realize what Christ went through — the depths He had to humble Himself to — when He came to earth that wondrous night so very long ago.

Other characterizations of Biblical figures:

~ Joseph — The Carpenter
~ Mary — A Mother’s Heart Part l
~ Mary — A Mother’s Heart Part ll

The Bible and Race

In today’s society and culture we are inundated at every turn by the evil of an idea that a single man propagated in the 1800’s. It was an hypothesis that had been around for several years in the American Colonies and grew during the subsequent epochs in our history in which wars were fought, territories won, and states annexed into our union. This idea was made popular by a book and read by countless people who accepted this idea.

This was the idea of different races among humans. It was the idea of hierarchies – of castes of people whose value and worth is determined by the color of their skin and their physical features. This simple, sinful idea that has far reaching consequences as all sin does. The effects of this we are still seeing in this day and age all around us: on television, on the radio, in the newspapers and magazines, on the internet, etc, etc, etc.

In the nineteenth century a revolutionary book was written entitled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Simply known as “Origin of Species”, Charles Darwin’s work’s fame spread far and wide as people perused its pages, read and ingested the message, and applied it to life. At the time of the publishing of Darwin’s work, there was already a system of slavery in the United States. Within 25 years however, this system was abolished  and America was faced with the task of…..

~~~~~~~Read More at Foundations of Reconstruction~~~~~~~