Dec 31, 2015

Unknown Waters.

Happy last day of 2015!

The turning page of the last day of one year to the new one has always been my very favorite.

Some people says it's just another day in the span of life, no different than another, and although I agree in one sense, there's another part of me that's at once introspective and bursting with energy and wanting to set new goals and make plans! A new year feels like a brand new notebook to me, let's decide how we'd like to fill it!

But of course, I hold these plans loosely, and really they're just fun things - I don't make resolutions for personal and spiritual change because that life of sanctification is a daily, looking to Christ thing, not to be accomplished by pure self-effort and trying harder or a big decision at the beginning of the year. Oh, how I'm thankful for that!

In the midst of drinking coffee (because how will I make it till midnight?) and preparing a few things for a little get-together tonight, I picked up my beloved Valley of Vision and opened up to this entry, how fitting! Thought you might enjoy it too.

NEW YEAR

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father, as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.

May Thy fear be my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

~

Has this year been difficult for you? Has it held good things and joy?

If you're like me, it's been a mix of both difficulty and blessing, of answered prayer and prayers that are still being offered up.

Wherever you're at, I pray for all of us that as we move forward into the unknown, we can trust our heavenly Father who does all things well, and for our good.


Nov 19, 2015

Five Years Ago.


Today marks five years since Loris and I started dating (Actually, it might have been the 20th, but I think I wrote it down wrong in my journal initially so the 19th is always what we remember).

That November was much like this one has been - bare and brown, no snow settled on the ground yet and a warmth and sun that felt like it should have belonged to September.

One of our first pictures together.
My family was hosting the end-of-year potluck for a ministry and Loris was staying for the weekend to spend some time with my family and ask my dad permission to date me. (It seems a little silly or old fashioned now, but we did want their blessing on our decision.)

I remember us going for a walk in the unseasonably warm sunshine that afternoon - down the road and along the highway that ran by the river. We found a place to sit down on the rocks facing the water, and Loris took out his pocket bible and we read together.

My heart was singing with happiness and nervousness at this new and unknown adventure I was moving into. I watched Loris' face as he read to me and thought what a good man he was because (besides other things) I saw the person within that most of all wanted Christ in this life, much more than he wanted me (which was alot).

That's the kind of man that makes the best kind of husband, I suspected.

And today, five years later, I know it to be true.
 













 (I probably didn't notice my brother acting weird in the background
because, handsome boyfriend!)

Nov 6, 2015

November weather and educational ponderings.






















The first week of November has brought warmer than usual temperatures and we've had some lovely days outside taking in as much sun as we can.

It seems we were just looking out into the snow and anticipating spring (or is it just me?) and here we are on the brink of winter again.

As much as I don't look forward to having to bundle three little people up every time we want to head outdoors, I'm also okay with the changing of another season...there is a different kind of beauty in each. But for now, I'm enjoying these extended days of warmth and wind and scattered leaves that go crunching under our feet.
























 
When not chasing around these adorable people, I've been doing some reading on educational philosophies and approaches, specifically Charlotte Mason style homeschooling. Anyone familiar with this? From my research so far, I have to say I'm happily excited! My poor husband is constantly interrupted in the evenings as I want to tell him about this book and that blog post and these ideas and what Charlotte thought about _____.

As a child I loved to play teacher and the prospect of getting to do this in real life soon (or already, depending on how you look at it) makes me a little giddy. Especially getting to learn  along with my littles, eek!

(Note: I realize homeschooling has it's very real and difficult aspects but for now I'm enjoying my rose-coloured it's-all-delightful-theory view!)



Oct 30, 2015

Perfect Peace

I write words on my chalkboard, on scraps of paper taped to the fridge, in a journal left open so I can take a glance throughout the day - words, because I need reminders.

On a chalkboard hung above our dining table, I like to write out a hymn which might stay for a month or more unless little fingers smudge out the words. Sometimes I sing it to Joshua and Miriam while they are eating their morning oatmeal. They find it entertaining; for me, it's a chance to begin the day by putting truth into my mind, to instruct my soul to hope in God.  (And less I'm giving an incomplete picture of our life, there are other mornings when I just throw toast on the table and escape to facebook for a few minutes.)

I came across the hymn "Peace, Perfect Peace" a couple years ago in a book I was reading while giving Joshua a bath one night, and it stuck with me.

The author, Edward H. Bickersteth, wrote the lyrics while visiting a dying relative, and afterwards shared it with his children. His son later recounted:

"I well recollect his coming in to tea, a meal we always had with him on Sunday afternoon, and saying, 'Children, I have written you a hymn,' and reading us 'Peace, Perfect Peace'. I may add that it was his custom to expect each one of us on Sunday at tea to repeat a hymn, and he did the same, unless, as frequently happened, he wrote us a special hymn himself...It is not always noticed that the first line of each verse of 'Peace, Perfect Peace' is the form of a question, referring to some one or other of the disturbing experiences of life, and the second line of each verse endeavors to give the answer." *

The lyrics are simple but full of rich truth and encouragement (I've especially been finding the second verse a precious reminder to me in these busy days of caring for our little ones - to do the will of Jesus, this is rest):

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.
.
Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.
.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus calls us to Heav’n’s perfect peace.

.
I wish I could tell Mr. Bickersteth that a hundred and forty years or so after he wrote this hymn and shared it with his children around the table, another parent is sharing it with her own children during breakfast time.
.
 *quoted in "Then Sings My Soul, Book 2" by Robert J. Morgan