Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Thursday, December 30, 2010...

Outside my window...warm & muggy weather. Really??

I am remembering...last new year's weekend.

I am thankful kiddos. They are not perfect...they're not even manageable at times, but I love them dearly, and I am so happy to be able to spend my days with them: learning and growing and --for the most part -- having a pretty fun time.

I am creating...two more stockings for my brother's ever-growing family. I'm behind, and I am excited about sewing. Barring any late spring "announcements" from their family, I should be able to meet the November deadline with ease.

I am try to find a new purse this month. My REALLY cool, big, purple one from two Christmases ago is aged and ready to retire. sniff.

I am reading...the Hobbit with Ardyn and a wonderful Bible story book that was a Christmas gift from Washington.

I am establish a theme for the women's newsletters this year. I feel aimless and theme-less. Ideas?

On my brief and full 2010 seems from this vantage.

From the learning rooms... Mari Alice wrote her friend's name and her own on a card for a birthday party today. She really did. I watched her do it as I put on my make-up. It was beautiful work. But instead of sibling celebration for such a motor skill break-through, she was met with disbelief and skepticism from every side. No one would believe her, so she finally just said, "YALL! I really did this. I'll do it again right now...A.B.B.Y. (see??) M.A.R.I. (see, that's a good R, huh?) A.L.I.C.E. There! And now for the balloon with a 4 on it because Abby turned 4 just like me only this is December and January is next and we keep going until August and I will turn 5 WAY before Abby does. OK? OK!"

Noticing that...I am very sleepy.

Pondering these words... "Apart from Me, you can do nothing."

From the kitchen...wild boar that was inadvertently cooked with the bullet in it. Awaiting the poison verdict. Tons of stuff for cool toaster sandwiches tomorrow...ammunition-free:)

Around the house...girls are having a "sleep-over" in one room, fellas are bonding in the living room, I am happily alone.

One of my favorite things... the homemade LaraBars I made over the holidays. Dates and nuts in a processor for 3 minutes = little chunks of heaven.

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Several months ago I was driving the car and listening to music. I can take you to the stretch of highway where this line of lyrics blared out above every other word that had been broadcast that afternoon. To my ears, the song seemed to sound like this: "Bah dah duh dah, nuh nuh-nuh num, DRESSED IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ALONE, doo-bee doo dah, muh nuh-nuh num."

"Dressed in His Righteousness....Alone." Alone? Like nobody around me? hmmmm. No! His righteousness alone. Like nothing covering me besides His... In other words: Naked in Jesus. Oh dear me.

Stunned by such a fresh revelation in a song so often sung, I sat fearfully ashamed of my spiritual physique so glaringly exposed. And then, in dynamic contrast to the earlier blast, God whispered this confirmation from Scripture.

Romans 13:14 says "...clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ..."

What a relief. What a challenge. A precious & pivotal idea. My only hope.

Colossians 4:12-14 "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

This gives me much to consider on so many levels as I linger in my closet and prepare for the day. I throw off the tainted garments of sin and selfishness and stand bare before the One who knows me through and through. As I choose - as I consciously determine the apparel that will be perceivable to others, I must willingly decide to clothe myself with the character of Christ: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness & patience.

And just before stepping out, I remember that the secret to a great presentation is that perfect scarf that completes the ensemble and pulls it all together in unity. Love. I choose love. A divinely designed scarf of love that will cover the multitude of shortcomings that are sure to snag my attempts toward righteousness. And it will provide a pattern of peace that will gracefully draw the other fabrics together.

Brings new meaning to "getting ready for my day" and "prayer closet".

PS. I REALLY wanted to title this post, "Nude and Improved".

I refrained. You're welcome.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The kids and I stopped by the library yesterday. As a result, our living room shelf will be offering the following selections over the next couple weeks.

Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury
The Hat, The Mitten, & Then Gingerbread Baby are just a few titles included in this enormous collection of winter wonderment.

Fancy Nancy's Splendiferous Christmas
Mari Alice confessed to me this evening, "I think our house is kinda junky on the outside...not really beautiful like people who have glitter lights and twinkles all over."

Jingle Bells by Iza Trapini
A water colored sleigh ride through various cultures and Christmas traditions around the world. "Oh what fun it is!"

Dicken's A Christmas Carol
"God bless us, every one!"

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
*There are lonely, neglected people all around who just need love. They need Jesus. They are more closely related to His purposes than the big batch of committed busy-bodies who call themselves the church.

And from 1984 Sandi Patty album: "May the joy of the season surround you...Merry Christmas with Love!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's the Thought that Counts

Tonight at the dinner table, we played "If you had $1000 to spend on each person's Christmas gift, what would you buy?"

Here are some highlights...

Philip announced that he would purchase all six kids lifetime hunting/fishing licenses. And with the leftover money he and I would cruise to Alaska...literally.

Most popular gift ideas were iPads, bikes, and new teeth for Philip (he has recently come to grips with the grim state of his dental health.

Ardyn would treat me to a BUNCH of spa treatments. I'll be well-groomed and relaxed on my Alaskan cruise:)

When Mari beamed that she would buy Ashlin a Barbie, Ashli grunted back, "anything else??"

Personally, I would pool the little girl's money and install a cool playground. I would give Landen a 6 month voucher for auto insurance...actually 4 months might soak up his grand. I would honor Philip's wishes to send his allotment straight to the dentist. Since we're just dreaming, I went ahead and let Luke have a snazzy cellular device. And for Ardyn...a shopping spree. And by "spree" we mean a couple stores in less than two hours...for Ardyn, a true spree would cost considerably more than $1000.

For his dad, Luke would buy great tickets to a Rangers game. (sweet!) He would get Ardyn a digital camera, and he offered his brother a "75 ft, cant-see-you-from-the-outside, 75 degree Fahrenheit, hog-proof deer stand". obie-kabie.

Back to the real world.

It was great fun to dream with generosity. Honestly, it was hard to keep my fun from being slightly tainted by the very sad realization that even if we all pooled our imaginary funds, we couldn't pay for all the dental work Philip needs - AFTER insurance. sheesh.

Thank You, Lord, for giving good gifts to Your children. Thank You for helping us be generous in our hearts and imaginations. Please help us carry out comparable generosity in real time with our real money. Thank You for caring for us in every little detail of our lives. Praise You!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Sunday, December 12, 2010...

Outside my window...quiet frigid darkness.

I am Papa Hank.

I am thankful for...excellent choral music.

I am creating...lists and calendars.

I am Branson soon:)

I am reading...November/December magazines.

I am hoping...Johnsons stay well.

On my mind...time marches on.

From the learning more week.

Noticing that...I need washcloths.

Pondering these words... "God with us."

From the kitchen...lots of leftovers.

Around the house...who really knows?

One of my favorite things...God's World News

From my picture journal...maybe another time:)

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Evening Post

Philip has been enjoying an unexpected weekend away with his pal at the deer lease.

While the cat's away...

The deer meat had been quartered, but since Philip skipped town, Landen and Luke finished the processing. With frigid hands and accomplished hearts, they presented the pots and pans full of ground venison. I spent the better part of Friday browning meat in onion and peppers. After all four pots were done, I still had a big mixing bowl of meat. So after 7 dozen meatballs, I totally loafed it up!!

Now speedy supper starters for the next several months are in the freezer. It feels like money in a savings account...and time in a bottle.

Friday afternoon Landen and I secured Mari Alice's Christmas present. (precisely what she wanted, made by the company Philip wanted, at the price I wanted. win-win-win!)

Friday evening, Luke, Ardyn, Ashlin & I drove up to Jefferson to tour some Victorian homes. It was very fun. The tour guides mentioned "Cape Cod" and "Civil War" which the kids respectively had been studying, so that made it exciting. Though the weather was unseasonable warm, we decided to share a blizzard four ways. Just right.

Today I went with a very dear friend to a ladies' luncheon at a bed and breakfast. The food was wonderful, the coffee was fresh, and the conversation was a nice blend of honesty and forbearance.

Mari was waiting for me when I arrived home. She had been carrying around her coin purse since Friday night. She needed a ride to the gas station up the street to buy Ashli a treat for her birthday. I took her. She made her selection. She paid the nice lady. She scurried back to the car singing, "ooooh, YES, we have goodies!"

Luke was waiting for me when I arrived home. He needed jeans. We ran up to the mall and in record time found two pair within budget. Good stuff.

I had a little over an hour before my next activity. I washed the last of the venison dishes, helped Ardyn put the soup in the crock pot for tomorrow's lunch, loved on Elizabeth, put some laundry in, loved on the lizzard some more, and set up the ironing board. (The actual ironing would have to be postponed due to excessive lovin')

THEN my neighbors came by to pick me up and - with Landen babysitting AGAIN (wow, that guy is the best) we drove to Jefferson so the Summit Methodist choir could sing for the candlelight tour. I got to play a grand piano in a stained glass chapel. Very lovely!

Everyone was waiting on me when I got back. "Momma's been gone too much!" We made sure the house was tidy, ironed everyone's clothes for tomorrow, and bathed. As soon as the youngest three were in bed, we wrapped all of Ashlin's birthday presents for her big day tomorrow. When I kissed her good night, I whined, "This is the last time I'll be able to kiss a blue-eyed seven-year-old good night...EVER!" She shrugged at me like it was a personal problem and I probably needed to get over it. Harsh.

Tomorrow is such a big day for everyone. Ashlin turns 8. James is coming to take her out. The boys are singing with the IBC choir in two services, so the three of us need to be out the door by 7:45.

It's our morning to provide breakfast for the junior high SS, so there's a big pink note taped to the door leading to the garage that says, "Monkey Bread & Milk". It's half-baked and in the fridge - ready to be reheated at the church house.

Philip will be bringing the second shift of worshippers --right after he does three little hair-do's. Lord, be with him:) I'll have to jet after the last song of the first service in order to make it to the Methodists final cantata rehearsal. Then we're "live" at 10:50.

After church, we'll all meet back here for taco soup. O crud! The Taco Soup....I need to go make another pink sign that says "plug in crock pot".

Next we all get to watch Ash open her presents and dig into the strawberry pound cake that Luke baked especially for her. Yum-to-the-Me:)

THEN we're all gonna take a big fat birthday/sabbath/cantata NAP. (Lord willing:)

Thank You, God. For everything. Thank You for allowing Philip and Lee to hang out and do uninterrupted guy stuff. Thank You for keeping the rest of us occupied with back-to-back fun stuff. Thank You for Ashlin. Thank You for Christmastime. See You at church tomorrow:)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Advent: 9

Luke 1: 18 "Zechariah asked the angel, 'How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."

Luke 1: 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

Two people get their worlds rocked with angelic messages.
Both are startled.
Both are afraid.
Both ask questions based on facts.

One is punished for unbelief & skepticism.
One is praised for unconditional servitude.

It's a subtle difference. But it's there. Mary doesn't question whether it will happen...only how. She assumes God's word is true.

Zechariah can't be sure. He allows the facts of his life to determine his uncertainty. He assumes the message can't possibly be true.

The angel said it best in the explanation to Mary of 'how': "...For nothing is impossible with God."

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Advent: 8

Luke 1:10 "And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside."

God is such a good story teller. He is about to send "Emmanuel -God with us" into the world. So, to lay the groundwork for such a huge turn of events, He aims the spotlight toward the priest, Zechariah.

In terms of access to the Presence of God, this guy won the jackpot. His priesthood and lineage got him most of the way there, then a toss of the dice earned him singular access to worship.

Outside the veil were the other priests - who though qualified, had not been chosen.

Outside the walls were the assembled worshipers - those whose desire to commune could only be satisfied vicariously.

Outside the city were shepherds - who would never be allowed the opportunity to personally adore the One True God.

Or so it seemed.

"Your holy presence
Surrounding me
In every season
I know You love me

Your Glory fills the highest place
What can separate me now?

You tore the veil,
You made a way!"

Come, O come, Emmanuel!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Advent: 7

Luke 1:8-9 "Once when Zechariah's division was on duty as he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense."

" lot..."
"...according to the custom..."

There may be many things in life that appear to happen by chance, or seem to be routine and regulatory. Nevertheless, God governs over the affairs of men.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Advent: 6

"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years."

National leadership that opposes and feels threatened by the Truth of Christ.

(This sounds frighteningly familiar)

A faithful couple who pleased the Lord in every way,

(This sounds utterly unattainable)

but still faced prolonged sorrow.

(This sounds like a need for a Savior)

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed.

**You'll have to scroll down and pause the playlist before you play the video.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Advent: 5

Matthew 1:21 & 2:11 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins...On coming to the house, the Magi saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

"One king held the frankinscence.
One king held the myrrh.
One king held the purest gold.
One King held the hope of the world!"

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Advent: 4

Matthew 2:10 "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed."

This week I was on the lookout for the "perfect" star for the children's musical. I had one that was the right size, but not the right style. One was the right style but not the right color. One that was the right color, but not the right size. Sounds like a problem Goldilocks might have.

I just had to pray and tell the Lord, "I'm trying to get You the perfect star, but all I can find is this 9 inch clear one. If You want something different, please show me."

I just knew that I would walk into that last store and find exactly what I was looking for. Not so. I came up empty-handed. Hmmmm. Empty-handed. Honestly, once you think about it...what kind of star do you get the Guy who spoke all the stars into existence. Nothing. And all you have. At the same time.

"All I have, all I am, I lay it down before You. All my hopes, all my dreams, I lay them at Your feet. My future, my past, my next breath and my last. I give it all to You."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Advent: 3

Sometimes I forget that the Bible hasn't always been this neat and tidy, leather- bound cross-referenced compilation.

I think of John Piper's voice laid over the musical bridge in Casting Crown's "The Word is Alive"...

The Bible was inscribed over a period of two thousand years
In times of war and in days of peace
By kings, physicians, tax collectors,
farmers, fishermen, singers, and shepherds
The marvel is that a library so perfectly cohesive
could have been produced by such a diverse crowd
Over a period of time which staggers the imagination

Jesus is its grand subject,
our good is its design,
and the glory of God is its end.

Imagine what it would have been like to live when Mary & Joseph did...with No New Testament. Prophecies were taught and learned and shared from generation to generation. A Redeemer, a Rescuer, a Savior was coming. The fulfillment of the prophecies they'd studied for so long was unfolding before them in real time.

God had been scripturally silent for hundreds of years. Generation after generation of papas and mommas teaching their children about Abraham and Moses and what the prophets had said about the coming Messiah. Children were growing in knowledge and understanding...but more importantly...growing in faith and hope and trust.

Then, folks start seeing stars. Folks start hearing angels. "Could THIS be what we've hoped for?"

Luke 1:1-4 "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

Did Luke KNOW he was penning the third book of my Bible? Who knows? He knew the Word was alive and promises were being fulfilled! He must have felt a strong sense of responsibility to pass along the an orderly, purposeful account.

So, I have to ask myself. Aren't there promises that are being fulfilled in my life? Aren't there areas where God's character is faithfully proved day after day. Have I carefully investigated the mysteries of Heaven? Have I shared the truths of scripture with my "most excellent" offspring?

Do I read the Scriptures to my kids often enough? What if all our Bibles were confiscated and my responsibility for imparting the truths and mysteries of God to future generations was supported only by the Holy Spirit and my memory of things read and heard? Have I been a good steward of the decades of availability...all the years I have spent with more than one copy of the Bible within reach at all times?

Help me, Jesus.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent: 2

Matthew 1:20 "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

This passage gives me great hope. "But while he THOUGHT on these things..." Sometimes you just have to mull stuff over. When life doesn't go the way you assumed it might. When facts are confusing and gut-feelings can't be calmed. When you are in a period of "thinking on things", "BEHOLD"! Look out! Take Heart! God can show up.

And this is the message He speaks...

I know you.
I know your name.
I know where you come from.
Don't be afraid.
I know what's on your mind.
Do not be afraid.
I am working in this situation.
I'm in it and through it and over it:)

Then you step out in faith and watch the Truth unfold.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I was reading all the Biblical accounts of Jesus' birth today. (It can get dangerous when you start to think you "know" it.) There will be much to say during this season of hopefulness and expectancy. But today I have to stop on this verse.

Matthew 1:17 "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations."

I know that God is mysterious and majestic, but THIS is what I love about Him right this moment. Do you see the forethought? The balance and equality. The benchmarks and even spread. "Generations" of people. Families. All part of God's plan.

I serve the One True God who not only has a purpose, but likes to establish it in tidy, matchy chunks. LOVE it!