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Last weekend I had the privilege of flying home to spend the weekend with my parents.  It was a special time of honoring my folks and giving glory to God for their 41 years of ministry serving the body of Christ.

I couldn’t share in a speech how proud I am of them.  Their faithfulness to God’s Word and their perseverance in His work is remarkable.   But to explain the entirety of their service – and how their story has become a part of so many people’s lives – there just wasn’t enough time.

But, I was able to do one thing.

For all of my growing up our home was full of singing and music.  And – last Sunday I got to sing back to my Dad songs that I remember Him singing from the time I was a little girl ’til the time I left home.  From songs that were silly to songs that shared the Gospel or urged on the Faith- I sang them as a tribute to my Dad and Mom.  And I made Dad sing one of our old favorites with me.

I won’t bore you with all the details – but, here are a few photos from the weekend with friends and family.  It is a time I will always treasure, grateful I was able to be there.

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a poem: Morning Flight.

I snapped these photos a few days ago, and could not resist putting my thoughts down – It was a glorious morning in the heavens!

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Like a needle piercing fabric
The plane noses thru thick gray into the deep blue,
and floats above layers of clouds
Posing as great white puffs of cotton.
There the morning sun perches
above the gloom
Where It has always been.

Here the brightest truth takes flight:
The Glorious  Morning Star resides
Above the darkest blanket of storms.
Unseen, the view obscured by the fog of my own humanity,
Still, He remains, shining.
Unflinching, unmoving, unchanging.

Not showing up barely in time, when I call,
But rightly settled above all
For the full expanse of time
As my Creator-Sustainer.
Set free on wings of faith and hope,
My heart soars.

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better late than never

The truth is I’ve been avoiding writing this post.  I’ve done everything I know to do instead of putting my thoughts here.  Which, all things considered, is not that hard since this house keeps me terribly busy and our schedule keeps me moving, often too busy to blog, too busy to think.

But the time has come.

Tuesday afternoon I decided to get dinner prep rolling.  Pork chops, mixed veggies and mashed sweet potatoes.   The pork chops were marinating, the veggies were ready to be steamed and I pricked the sweet potatoes and popped them in the oven to bake.

Even as I did it, I knew.  He wasn’t going to eat it.

The afternoon went on and things in my heart did not progress well.  While the sweet potatoes were in the oven baking I felt myself become a touch irritated – I knew the heat was on.  By the time I was pulling them out and slicing them open to cool, my frustration was simmering.  Dinner was just about ready and I found myself mashing those sweet potatoes with so much vigor, my anger was at a full rolling boil.

Why am I bothering?  No one likes what I make for dinner anyway!  Pouting ensued here – before the food was even on the table.

Before I go any further, you need to know a little bit about the situation.  Isaac – my sweet boy- he struggles with food textures.  He has since he was little.  Anything with a mushy or squishy texture was terribly hard for him to swallow.  There was a time in our family history when Isaac would throw up during dinner at least twice a week.

Which brings us to the painful truth of why I was in avoidance mode about this blog post:  Back then I was a terrible mom.  I would get so frustrated and I would raise my voice at my little boy if he gagged during the meal.  Because who wants to clean up puke at the supper table?  (At least that was my excuse.)

We’ve moved on mostly from those kind of dinners – and Isaac has made huge strides towards eating so many new and different kinds of foods.  But every once in a while he has a struggle – and sweet potatoes is one of those foods that he can’t negotiate yet.

As we sat at the table – he stared at the tiny little spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes on his plate.  He knew it was gonna be hard to get down – and he begged me to not.  But, I suggested he try – we have to keep attempting new foods.   So he tried.  And he gagged.  And I yelled at him to stop it.

yep.  that’s how it went down.

ugly, right?

I apologized to my sweet Isaac afterwords – many times over.    and I hugged him and kissed him. and I told him we wouldn’t try any kind of mashed potatoes for a long time.

Later I cried when I talked to God about it because I desperately don’t want to have an angry heart.  And though I can feel the Holy Spirit massaging my hard heart, every time He gives me the opportunity to respond without anger, I miss it!

I’ve thought about it over and over again since then – and this is the thing : this life of following Christ is about sanctification.  My anger keeps me focused on myself, my rights, and how I’ve been insulted (even if we’re talking about my children refusing to eat my cooking).  All of the rough edges of sin and darkness must be rubbed away.  When I focus on my Savior, and glory in His righteousness and His presence – there is NO ROOM for that anger.  He is my helper in those moments – if I will take a deep breath and hear Him.

The Good News from Hebrews 2: I love reading about The Savior – who calls Himself my brother, who knows and understands that I need His help!

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” 13 And again: “I will put My trust in Him.”And again:  “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

 

women of wayside

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A few weeks back I had the privilege of being a part of “Wayside Women for a Day.” In a most lovely setting I led these very special ladies in worshiping our Creator.

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These women had gathered for fellowship and spiritual nourishment.  Intentionally, each one slowed their pace.  And we took steps together – towards each other and towards the Savior.

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We sang.  We prayed.  We ate.  We heard thoughts from God’s Word.  The more experienced women shared from their years of faith.  The younger women gave encouragement with boldness and energy.

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There is nothing so beautiful as learning to love one another, sharing lives together.  These women are a gracious group – deeply caring for one another.  They are a mirror of Christ’s love.

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(Did I mention the food was really yummy? all day long!)

Thankfully, I played the piano and sang, my heart overflowing with God’s goodness that I was able to be a part of such a day – and that I am privileged to be connected to this little part of the Body of Christ.

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When I think of my day with the ladies from Wayside, I’m reminded of these verses from Ephesians 3:

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

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Aunt Belva’s pound cake

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Aunt Belva’s home was situated on one of the main streets of Danville, Illinois.  Next door was her antique shop.  It seems like we dropped by for a visit just yesterday.  Truly, its been more than 30 years ago.

In my mind’s eye I see the little heart shaped pink soap perched on a footed dish in her front bathroom- it is funny what I remember from my childhood.  But mostly I  remember her cozy little kitchen where she prepared the best food.  What did she make, you’re wondering?  Anything your little heart desired, that’s what.  She was not held hostage by the ideals of my mother who said, “You’ll eat what I make.”  Oh no.  Aunt Belva was always welcoming and made whatever you requested, if she had it on hand.

We were often the recipients of her hospitality.  It was warm and refreshing – just like springtime.

Near easter, I’m reminded of her because of the pound cake she was known for – and pound cake with fresh strawberries is the perfect Easter treat. (at least in my mind anyway)   But, also because of the life she lived.  A life of hospitality is a life that is Christ-like: it is warm and welcoming, offering refreshment, joyful and giving.   Being hospitable to those around us is the embodiment of Christ’s love.

Even a fresh pound cake, given to one in need, can be a reminder of His goodness and lovingkindness.

So, for this Easter weekend – I thought I’d share this precious family recipe – that truly is so much more than directions for a yummy cake.  It is a reminder, for me, to share Christ’s love thru my time in the kitchen.  And even tho Aunt Belva passed away several years ago, her gift for hospitality lives on.

Aunt Belva’s Pound Cake

ingredients:
3 sticks of butter
8 oz cream cheese
6 eggs
3 cups of cake flour, sifted 2 x’s
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

instructions:

Preheat oven to 325.  Beat butter, cream cheese until light & fluffy.  Add sugar slowly and continue to beat until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and add in vanilla.  Sift dry ingredients together then gradually mix into butter mixture.  Pour batter into greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  test doneness with a toothpick.  cool – then serve with whipped cream and strawberries.

(FYI: this batter had so much volume, I took a few spoonfuls out of the pan before baking so that it wouldn’t overflow.)

Enjoy this cake with loved ones this weekend and Happy Easter!

md

 

 

 

 

blue birds

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They arrived earlier than usual – in February.  With snow still on the ground, they flitted tree to tree, bright blue against shimmering white.  Our blue birds were back.

Every year in the spring, it seems, the same blue bird comes to our bird house, on our deck and lives with his little family until the weather turns cold again.   We enjoy watching them live happily without much distress.

I keep an eye on their lives, as they find food for their young and avoid crows and other stalkers…  DSC_0498

Blue birds don’t carry much with them.  I’m a teensy bit envious,  wishing I could live as care-free.  And although human- type burdens are heavy, sometimes they are hard to lay down.

I’m reminded of Scripture:

from Matthew 6:

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

Lord, Help me to live like the blue birds!

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happy birthday Lily!

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Lily, as a puppy, before we brought her home.

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It is true that I haven’t always liked dogs.  In fact I disliked them.  a lot.  And I was afraid of them even more.

When I was a toddler I had an unhappy experience with my Pappaw’s hunting dog, Sissy.  From that moment on, I avoided dogs – and I do mean ALL dogs.   Just the sound of a dog’s bark would set me on edge.  Even as an adult, if one crossed my path, it was all I could do to not high-tail it in the opposite direction.  Fear reigned in my heart.

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I had no idea what I was missing. I did not know what it was like to be loved and adored unconditionally by a puppy.  I did not understand this connection so many people claimed to have with their beloved animals.

Until last year.

Last spring Michael began talking about how our family needed a dog.  I thought he was crazy.  But he researched breeds and breeders and came up with a solution : the perfect solution – our Havanese puppy, Lily, who we found last March, newly born to our friend down in south Georgia.

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When it was time to pick her up, the plan was to drive down and bring her home.  She would sit on my lap for the drive.  This was Michael’s plan.  Again, I was not sure he was thinking clearly – he was keenly aware of my struggles.

But, do you know? I picked up our sweet girl – and she just snuggled right into my lap as though she’d always belonged there.  And we made the four hour journey home.  She nestled her little nose right into the crook of my arm and fell asleep.  And I haven’t been nervous or afraid since.   (Well, I do still give the stink-eye to the pit bulls across the street, but I think that is warranted.)

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I can’t describe to you just how much we love our Lily.  She has been such a precious addition to our family. But I am also grateful for Lily. This little puppy, a tiny piece of God’s creation has been used to undo my fears.  It has been such a unique time in my life to see just how much God, my heavenly Father, longs to redeem what is wrong and make it right.

Thank you Heavenly Father for the gift of Lily to our family.

And Happy first Birthday, Lily!  We love you!

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