My ramblings on life, faith, politics, knitting and crafts.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6
Monday, October 20, 2014
A second coat left to go and the outside will finally be done! I love my green doors!
I feel lost....My routine for the past 11 years has come to an end. I begin a project, dishes, laundry, a bath, with the expectation it will get interrupted by a bark, followed by another bark, followed by a very impatient bark, followed by another. I wake up in the morning ready to let her out, only to have to let her back in in a few minutes. For the past several months, she had been my shadow, my constant companion, and even my protector (even when she had no reason to protect me). I feel lost....in my own home. Not sure how to start something, let alone finish it. I have kept busy this week, babysitting our beautiful grandchildren, lunch with friends, but....today....the first day spent at home....I feel lost....
My beautiful, Liberty. From the moment I saw you when you were 7 weeks old playing in front of the ARL, I knew you were mine. Your expressive eyes and face won me over. You spoke loud and clear! You took over the couch and eventually graduated to your own chair! You loved to go for walks and would get so excited when I started to put on my shoes, but nothing made you happier than riding in the combine in the fall! You loved homemade pizza, Sunday night cheese and meat, and especially chocolate chip cookies! You made me laugh. You gave me more joy than you could have ever known. There will never be another one like you!
We continue to wait for our new arrival, but Baby B is growing quickly and is a beautiful little girl!
The weather has been picture perfect! We've been able to enjoy some porch time!
Our first picnic on the porch!
My view the other evening! Glorious!!
Baby B all snuggled in for her nap!
Today is proving to be a sweet, lazy Sabbath day! The windows are open, the breeze is gently blowing, the birds are twittering. I am enjoying the lack of rushing and having to get things done. I'm so very thankful for days of rest and relaxation!
My, what a week we have had! Spring decided to take a nap this week, so it's been cloudy and cold....outside, but inside, we received the blessing of warmth and sunshine from the birth of our 3rd grandchild, a beautiful 7 pound baby girl!
Just a few hours old.
Safe in Grandpa's arms!
4 days old, bright and alert!
She is simply perfect! Things didn't go quite as planned for her birth, but we are thankful that she and Mommy are ok and both are doing so well.
Now, we are on labor alert for our daughter, who is due any day! Our cup is overflowing!
Spring is trying so hard to spring! We get a day or two of warmth and then we go back to chilly. There have been many dreary days this spring, as well, but this week looks promising and we've had quite a bit of sun over the last couple of days. We were able to get to our local Tulip Festival last week and took a trip back today to see more of the tulips. Many of them had not bloomed last week due to the cold temperatures, but there were several more popped out today.
I think this tulip was my favorite. It was like a carnation inside of a tulip. Just beautiful!
But....not as beautiful as this darling little girl!
These are some pretty big shoes to fill!
My beautiful daughter-in-law, heavily pregnant with our third grandchild taking a photo of my mom and my granddaughter.
We are eagerly anticipating the phone call that things are in motion. She is a few days past her due date so we are praying for baby to make his/her appearance this week. Grandbaby number 4 will make his/her appearance the end of this month. Our cup is overflowing!!
I am currently "Counting the Omer". The spring feasts begin with Passover, which we celebrated this past Monday evening. Just a glorious picture of not only God's deliverance of the Israelites, but our deliverance from the bondage of our sin through the blood of Jesus! This year I even made my own matzah, which I would highly recommend as it gives you a picture of preparing in haste.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread occurs for seven days following Passover. The Israelites were instructed to remove all the leavening from their homes and not eat anything with leavening for the following 7 days. Leavening is a picture of sin in the Bible. Sadly, most Christians miss out on the blessings provided in keeping this feast (or any of the others). Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread provides us with a picture of just how easily sin creeps in. You have to keep yourself aware of what you are doing and what you are eating. We have routines, habits, and even muscle memory that we tend to fall back on in our daily lives and when we keep the Feast, we have to wake ourselves up from our daily lives and look at everything we do. You can't become legalistic about it though, when you slip and fall, and most likely when you first begin this journey, you will, you also get to see a picture of the bounty of God's grace and forgiveness.
The Christian life is exactly the same way. We must guard ourselves minute by minute from the gentle creeping of sinful attitudes and actions. We must guard ourselves from our enemies schemes. Ephesians 6:11-12 says, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Satan is out to destroy us and he can use the tiniest of things. Just as faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, so a sin as small as a yeast-filled bread crumb can begin a slow fade to full-blown sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-8). The Feast of Unleavened Bread helps us to see that in a way that the man-made tradition of Lent never can.
In the midst of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Counting of the Omer is to begin (also called the Feast of Weeks). The Israelites were commanded to count down to Shavu'ot (in Greek, Pentecost). An omer is a measure of weight in the Scriptures. The Israelites were to take an omer of manna each day for each person in the desert following their deliverance from Egypt. It's equivalent to about 2.3 quarts. That particular measurement obviously held great significance for the Israelites. The Counting of the Omer was to conclude on Shavu'ot, the day that the Torah was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
As I studied this for the first time last year, I was struck by the fact that no one had taught me about Shavu'ot and Pentecost and the parallels between the two. The written Torah was given to Moses and the Holy Spirit, which was promised to the Israelites, was given on the same day!!
In Hebrews 8, beginning in verse 8, we see this promise, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in MY covenant, and I did not care for them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, says the Lord: I will put MY laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be MY people, and they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,and everyone his brother, saying, 'know the LORD,' for all will know ME, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." (Heb. 8:8-12, NASB, my emphasis).
What a glorious promise to the people of Israel. A promise given to them beginning in Jeremiah 31:31. Now the promised Messiah had come. He had shown them that keeping the Torah, and in particular, adding to it so many things that it became a burden to the people, was not the way to eternal life (Luke 10:25-28), but was, in fact, always, simply, loving God and looking forward to His redemption and deliverance. It is throughout the "Old Testament".
The Torah was God's way to live here on earth, but it could not and cannot save (Romans 8:3). It was written on tablets of stone and scrolls of parchment. It was not accessible to the average man or woman and was taught to them by the priests and teachers. But they had a promise beginning in Jeremiah 31:31, it would be written on their hearts! Pentecost brought that to fruition!
Jesus spent the first 40 days of the Feast of Weeks with His disciples following His glorious Resurrection. They were Counting the Omer together, looking forward to the remembrance of the giving of the Torah, but Jesus said that they had something else to look forward to...
Acts 1:4-5 says, "Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
The time was coming for the fulfillment of the promise and it would come at the end of Counting the Omer!
What an exciting thing to take part in!! Oh how keeping the Feasts has enlarged my heart!!
I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart.
Other versions say, "when You give me a heart that is willing (AMP)," "for you have broadened my understanding (CJB)."
My understanding of the Scriptures has broadened so much, my understanding of what my Savior did for me has deepened! The gratefulness that I feel some moments is almost too much to bear! Oh that we would all desire to know Him more, to live as He lived, to love Him will all our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves (and as He did!).
Enlarge my heart, O Elohim!! May my life be a reflection of Yeshua and His love! As we celebrate the Resurrection, may we look forward to His giving us the Holy Spirit so that His Word would be written on our hearts! Halleluyah!
How do you make them stop? How do you make them realize that you used to think just the same as they did, but that the Holy Spirit changed all that in the blink of an eye? How do get them to sit down and read the Bible for themselves and realize they have been filled with nonsense by those who are blind? How?
"So will My word which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Trust--firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
I spent 29 years of my life trusting in my own reliability, my own version of the truth, my own ability, and my own strengths. I didn't know the LORD and I thought my heart was fine....or did I?
For years, from the time I was a small child, I knew that my heart was not right, but I didn't know why and it wasn't something I voiced. I kept it to myself.
My grandmother was a very self-reliant woman. She worked extremely hard and was a great role-model. She didn't go to church and didn't really have time for those who did, but she was "spiritual". She believed her mother was psychic and she felt she was to a certain degree. She was also into astrology and doing "charts". Much of what she said made all kinds of sense to my young seeking heart. I believed what she said about god being in all of us and that he was out there, but didn't care about the little things in our lives. He wasn't really there to guide our destiny, that was really up to us as individuals.
I went about my own way, then, fairly certain that I was okay. Sin didn't matter. God, if there was a God, (and my heart told me there was) didn't care about my indiscretions, He understood the changing times and surely He adapted to those!
My grandmother pushed education. She saw in my chart that I was going to be a journalist, maybe even tv. I enjoyed writing and did well in school, so it didn't seem to far off. I could do this. My aunt and uncle were also very well educated and they encouraged me to continue my education past high school. Since I because estranged from my grandmother late in high school, I decided that journalism wasn't for me and that I was going to go for early child development. My aunt had her masters degree in learning disabilities and so I should begin the process of working towards that goal.
1 1/2 years in, I changed my major. I decided I wanted to be a NICU nurse. Then, no. Changed again. Went back to writing and pyschology. Finally, firmly, I decided on computer science. It was a growing field. I was accepted to ISU. I went for orientation and never went back.
What held me back? Life. I decided to get married. I couldn't make up my mind about what I wanted to study and I knew that I didn't really want to work outside the home once I started having children.
I didn't stop learning, though. I am an avid reader. I love to read history, biographies, cultural studies. I'm a people person. I love to think about what makes people tick, why they choose certain beliefs or actions. I still wasn't satisfied. Something was missing in my learning and seeking.
Finally, after years of the Holy Spirit's pursuit in my life, I turned my life over to God's hands. I trusted in what His Son, Jesus, did for me on the cross. Those things that I thought He just didn't care about, my little sins, even my giant sins, He did care about and He would punish me because the wages of sin is death....but, He sent His Son to pay that price. He gave His life so that I didn't have to. And in so doing, He gave me life!
Suddenly, all those worldly pursuits that didn't work out made sense. They weren't suppose to. They weren't the direction the LORD had for me. I stopped trusting in myself, my abilities, my strength. I started trusting in the God who made me, knows me far better than I knew myself, and who loves me with a love that is beyond my comprehension.
I began acknowledging Him in every area of my life. Not just on Sundays when we went to church, but every day, in every decision.
He turned my life completely around. I saw things fresh and new. I saw things from His perspective because I dug through the Bible in order to understand.
He took some things out of my life, but He added in so much more!
My paths are getting straighter. There is less veering to the right or the left. My vision is better. Answers are clearer.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
I think spring is finally springing! Today was gorgeous! Calves are frolicking on the hillside, all remnants of snow are gone, and the birds are twittering in the trees! Hallelujah! We made it through the long winter. Now, to put this to use...
It's been done since the day before Thanksgiving, I just didn't have the energy to put pics up. We still need to paint everything, but that's a minor thing at this point. We finally got to sit out there for a bit yesterday afternoon. Grandbaby E played on her little slide and I sat on the steps to watch her. How wonderful the fresh air felt!
This coming month is going to be very hectic! We've spent much of March dealing with stomach flu and several colds, hubby is in bed right now with a fever, so I'm praying that April is kinder to us so that we can take part in all the different bridal and baby showers, as well as Resurrection Sunday and Passover celebrations.
It's been a very long time since I have felt the desire to write in my blog. The last post that I attempted to write was going to be a memorial post to a very dear friend that I lost to cancer in October. In reality, I lost her several years ago as a result of a falling out between my uncle and her. It was a sad way for the relationship to end. It was a relationship that I would last until the end of their days. She had loved him since she was very young. Unfortunately, it didn't make it.
I had known her since I was 9 and she was 16. She was the glamorous younger sister of my uncle's new bride. They were very well off and she was, in my 9-year-old opinion, very sophisticated! She was a beautiful blonde with a warmth that was infectious! I loved being in her company and she never treated me as a child. She was simply wonderful.
I felt that way about her throughout her entire life, even when I struggled to understand the choice she made in the relationship at the end. It is not a route I would have taken, but she took it. Sadly she passed away never having reconciliation. I pray that she was able to forgive.
These last few months have been very busy and have had some very hard moments. I lost another dear friend in December. The sweetest spirit you could have ever known! Over 400 people showed up for her funeral and packed out the church. We lost another dear friend just weeks ago and another just yesterday. We are getting quite a congregation up in Glory! There is a bit of jealousy from those of us left behind.
Our granddaughters are growing and maturing. They are just wonderful to spend time with! We are excited to be awaiting the arrival of the next two in May. They fill my heart with joy!