How long?

Its election season.  The normal discourse of presidential choice has turned into unfriendly, brow-beating, demanding voices, wreaking havoc in our country, in our city, and even among my Facebook friends.  It is vitriol like I’ve not seen before. Personally,  the decisions weigh heavy, as though I’m responsible for who becomes president,  who sits on the Supreme Court,  and basically, the fate of our country and the entire world.

I shouldn’t let all of this have such unlimited access to my heart.  

Here’s what I know: There is coming a day of peace and restoration.  Our country and our world may be terribly broken – but He is not undone by what is happening. From generation to generation He remains the same, and He is in control.  His Word can be my focus and sure foundation.  He promises morning will follow the darkest night.  He promises we will not be consumed by our trials.  And there is coming a day – when we will be with our Savior – and we will be invited to the table to feast with Him – no more weeping – only rejoicing.

I’m thinking just for a moment about those I love in Heaven!  Oh, how they are experiencing the joy of God’s promises fulfilled!  Having stepped into eternity, they now truly comprehend the momentary nature of our current earthly experiences.  They understand His Word and know Him fully and intimately.   I don’t suppose I’m really imagining it well.

The words of this song by Sandra McCracken remind me of God’s promises and point my heart in the proper direction.  I’m listening on repeat this morning.  He remains true and faithful to His Word.

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more.

We will not be burned by the fire
He is the LORD our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up.

In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength.

Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom.

How long until we are all feasting together?  Even so, come Lord Jesus!  

not finished yet…

On Friday a new garage door was installed at our house.  I’ve been very excited about the new door arriving.  We’ve been looking forward to replacing the door for a long time.  It was OLD.  And It creaked and moaned every time we used it.  For the last month or so, I’ve actually worried that it might fall down, right out of the ceiling.

When the installer arrived, I opened our garage. As he walked in, the garage door made all of its tired noises and he said, “This is a terrible door.”  And all I could do was nod.  There was nothing else to be said.   The process of putting up the garage door turned out to be a little more complicated than expected and it took him quite a while.  Once he was finished and gone, I went outside to look over the door.

Now, I have to tell you, in case you don’t know:  Our house is currently brown cedar siding and brown brick.  Because we have painted Michael’s shop in the backyard from a palette of blues, we are also planning to side the house (maybe in the next year or two?)  and paint it from the same palette.  So, based on what we know is going to happen in the future, we chose a white garage door.

That’s right – the door is white, surrounded completely by brown.

As I stood in our driveway I had this overwhelming desire to put a sign in the yard that said, “Not finished yet.”    I don’t want folks to think this is the final look we’re going for – there’s more to come!  But I didn’t do it.

It is true that I need that sign, and not just outside my house.   Personally, as a believer, I am a work in progress – and I’m nowhere near the finish – God is still at work.  Worse, it seems to be taking a LONG time.  Unending home remodeling projects have nothing on my heart’s renovations!

What I do know is that He is at work!  Sometimes it is really painful – sometimes it is a joy.   But it is happening!   The thing is, often what’s going on in my life can seem unusual or awkward because I don’t see the outcome.   In my own human imaginations it is hard to figure out what the current crisis is about, until it is over.

But,  I can wait with confidence. He has planned the renovations from beginning to end –  He promises He won’t quit until the work in my life is complete. And, guess what? Even as I am in process, I can give grace to others, knowing that their hearts are under contract too.

Philippians 1: 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2: 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

So, when you come to my house for a visit, and it looks a little unusual    from the ongoing projects, maybe we can agree to remember- we are all not finished yet!  

all the things

Our school year has begun with quite a bang!  This fall turns out one of the busiest yet for my little family.  There is a lot happening on our schedule each week, and I keep thinking to myself, “Who in the world planned all of this?”

Oh that’s right.  me.

There’s mounds of school work to manage for my younger two and instruments to practice, as well as Emily’s high school work to keep on track. And there’s my housework to contend with.  There’s my own work which has several moving parts, including but not limited to three separate choirs with their own schedules and locations, along with piano students to give attention, not to mention a wedding to play this weekend. There’s my husband’s schedule to contend with at work, in the shop, and home improvement projects.   Then there’s scouts for Isaac.  Let’s not forget my own desire for our family to be healthy and exercise, and of course somewhere in there I might need to prepare a meal or two so we can eat…

I like to think of myself as capable. Intuitively, I’m a multi-tasker and handle more than one thing at a time.  Most women do, I suppose.  So, over the summer, when I planned all the things, I was comfortable with the schedule.  I did pray about it – and I can’t think of one of those things that I should drop- they are all necessary for our children and home schooling, or for our family.

The problem is, I believed that because I prayed about them and put them on the schedule that indeed, I am in control of all the things.  In theory, I know it isn’t true.  But- it typically takes something I didn’t control, something happening that’s not on my schedule, to remind me I am not in charge of all the things.

For instance, last weekend, I fell down our stairs while doing laundry.  Nothing major came from it – no broken bones, or concussion or ambulance tour.  But man, I came back to reality with a jolt:

All the things don’t fit in my hands – they never did – and they never will.

And then I remembered the verse from Colossians which I recently drew on my own kitchen’s chalkboard:

…and in Him all things hold together

Friends, I know there are responsibilities that I have before God  – as woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and friend- things He asks me to do as His follower.   And there are things I require of myself, that are possibly even necessary,  like a clean home or folded laundry, or a little exercise.  Then there are unexpected, unplanned moments to respond to as well.

It takes only one small event for me to remember all the things aren’t in my hands anyway. At the end of each day, I can be grateful for this: regardless of what I manage to accomplish, He is holding all the things in His hands.



Oh me of little faith!


(The cutest little picture of “ready – not ready for back to school”!  Oh these two, I love them so!)

Last spring, I felt it coming.  change.  It was hanging in the air around my home like a thick unwanted fog that made decisions difficult to bring into focus.  Moving forward almost impossible.

You probably know my oldest daughter has moved into high school this year.  She’s a freshman, doing really, really well – and it is so exciting.  All is well on that front.   But the road from last spring to now – well, that wasn’t so easy.

When homeschooling, there are important plans to be made each year.  While I try not to make these every day choices on our journey too monumental, it doesn’t change how it feels:  enormous.  That’s how it felt last spring when I was trying to figure out how to help Emily embark well into her high school career.   And that was just the beginning.  What about music lessons for Isaac?  What about gymnastics, or soccer for Mackenzie?  Cub scouts?  The list of questions went on a mile long.

My work schedule does necessitate that we stay together for academics.  Whether its a co-op, or classical conversations, we need to be away from home one day a week and no more, at least for this school year.  So, on these terms – I put out a “fleece” (if you will) to see what God had for us.

As it turns out, it seemed God was pointing us to a Monday community of Classical Conversations that meets across town. You would think I was Gideon, how I kept setting out tests – “Are you sure it is this, God?”  oh.  okay.  Wait, “Are you really sure?”     You see, I wasn’t totally looking forward to starting my crew at a completely new community with complete strangers and different curriculum and all the other stuff that comes with change.  But, with each of my tests, He just kept pointing me in the direction of “change” and “new” and “uncomfortable.”


As the summer passed I became increasingly uneasy that I had made a huge error in my plans.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought about backing out, even though I’d had so many clear answers from heaven, in response to my many fleeces.

One of my prayers over the summer was that all of my children would find a place to build strong friendships.  I prayed this especially for my Isaac, who needs some friends to do “boy stuff” with, since he is with us girls all day long, all week long.

The week before our CC community began Isaac went to cub scouts on Monday night and met some new boys; he made a friend named Gaston.  Several times over the week I heard Isaac mention Gaston, and plans to hang out with him the coming week at cub scouts on Monday night.

On the next Monday morning  we drove across town to our new CC community for the first time with anxious hearts.  We were heading to a new place, with new classrooms, new tutors,  new faces and names to remember.  You won’t believe who was sitting in Isaac’s class!  Gaston!  I thought Isaac was going to cry from excitement and relief.

I left his classroom with a few tears welling up, realizing that there are so many little moments like that this year, here at the beginning of our school year!  The God of the universe is in control of the tiniest details, right down to making sure my son had a friend on his first day of CC.   I couldn’t have pulled all of this together the way He has orchestrated it if I’d had years to plan it!

Sometimes my faith is tiny.  Sometimes I just don’t believe He’s had time to note the specifics of my situation.  But, I’m glad my level of faith does not correspond to how well my Heavenly Father cares for me and my little family.  He holds us close no matter what.

I love how the Message reads in this passage from Colossians 1:

15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. 


The long day closes…

DSC00460Most people think there are four seasons.  Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  That’s normal.  But for this Mama, there are two.  School time and Summer time.

I love spending the summer with my people.  The long warm days of sunshine, afternoons at the pool, the smell of sunscreen, bedtime snacks of ice-cream and staying up late watching tv, followed by sleeping in and short lists of responsibilities.  No hurry to be anywhere, but once in a while and lots of time to be with the ones I love.  Yes, I love summer.

We sat by the pool a day or two ago, and I felt it, those days of of lovely summertime winding down.  Most of August, we walk that fine tight rope between school time and summer time, and the ebb and flow of my two seasons exchanging…

Summer, my favorite time of year, is slipping away.    sigh…

Often my heart longs for the things I love, even simple things – and I’m reminded:  It is not unusual to desire for the things we love to last.  That is how we know that eternity is set in our hearts.  There may be earthly desires that won’t be fulfilled here and now. But, there is coming a day when I won’t have to long for those things, because all longings will be filled in Jesus.

Well, I love this poem below, for many reasons – it is set to music that is beautiful enough to make my heart swell to bursting.  As I sat by the pool thinking about our summer slipping away, I was reminded that no matter what “days” come to a close, there is more beauty to come because of Christ and His promise of eternity.


The Long Day Closes.
by Sir Arthur Sullivan

No star is o’er the lake, its pale watch keeping,
The moon is half awake, through grey mist creeping.
The last red leaves fall round the porch of roses,
The clock has ceased to sound. The long day closes.

Sit by the silent hearth in calm endeavour,
To count the sound of mirth, now dumb forever.
Heed not how hope believes and fate disposes:
Shadow is round the eaves. The long day closes.

The lighted windows dim are fading slowly.
The fire that was so trim now quivers lowly.
Go to the dreamless bed where grief reposes.
Thy book of toil is read. The long day closes.












gilding the lily (and the appropriate recipe)


I learned the phrase from my Aunt Jean.  She was describing how my Uncle Ernie would spread strawberry jam on an already decadent cream bun, made by my Grandma Brubacher.  I’ll never forget how she said it with such amazement, “… and then, he’d really gild the lily –  he spread STRAWBERRY JAM on the cream bun!”

Ah yes.  My Brubacher family knows how to make desserts even more ridiculous rich.  I personally learned how early on in my childhood when staying over night at my Aunt Betsy’s house.  In the morning, at the breakfast table, when we were finished with breakfast I watched my Uncle Enos have his dessert – he’d eat a few tablespoons of peanut butter on his plate that had been laced with several tablespoons of honey.  Yep.  A sweet, thick mixture; yet another example of gilding the lily.

With these tales in mind, you shouldn’t be surprised that I went and did it.  I took my grandmother’s oatmeal cookie recipe and yes, I followed in the solid footsteps before me.  I gilded the lily.  And friends – if you don’t like rich delicious cookies, that when warm seem like something that may be served in heaven, you should definitely NOT make these cookies.


Triple Chocolate Peanut butter Oatmeal Cookies.


1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
7/8 cup butter, softened(almost two full sticks)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla and butter-nut flavoring
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 milk chocolate hershey bars, chopped
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Cream butters,sugars, egg and vanilla flavoring. Combine dry ingredients, then add to the butter mixture. Mix in the chocolate. Drop tablespoon sized scoops on a baking tray. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over-bake.





Sometimes I remember I’m small…

In my searching this week for children’s choir music (for the new chorus I’ll be directing this fall), once again I came across this beautiful poem that has been set to music. I’ve played it and sung it with a chorus before, and I remember loving it then.

But, in this moment, with a lump in my throat, while feeling a tiny bit inadequate to do some of things He has asked of me,  I’m reminded to give Him praise.  He is the Lord who comforts and heals, who bestows courage and voice, and He sees me with eyes of mercy and love.    Though I offer little, He gives much.

The Lord of the Small

Praise to the Lord of the Small Broken Things,
Who Sees the Poor Sparrow That cannot take wing.
Who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

Praise to the lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them his aid,
he pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O Praise Him All ye who live
who’ve been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never Despise.
He Sees His Dear Children Through Mercy Filled Eyes!