Monday, April 27, 2015

Where Do We Go From Here?

We read about it all the time.  

The stories are all the same.

A leader in the church leaves his family behind, his faith in shambles, his flock confused and wandering.  I've read the articles and the headlines and I always am sad and hurt and confused.  But from a distance. 

This weekend, the truth of a fallen soldier hit home.

Our pastor announced that he no longer believes in the God of the Bible and also that he was having an affair and leaving his wife for another woman who is also married.

The amount of emotion this left me with was inexplainable.  The weight, the tears, the anger, the sadness.  I ache for his family, for the other woman and her family, for him.  For our church.  For the explanation I had to offer my own children.  

My heart is grieved.  Our hearts are grieved, all of us who called our pastor friend and teacher.

The question that has been asked a lot is, "What now?"   

Good question.

What DO you do when you pastor fails?  When he walks away from everything to which he's spent years encouraging his sheep to cling?  When he abandons his family, his friends, and his God?

As my fallen pastor always said, it is to the Scriptures we cling and find our hope.  When Jesus wanted to explain to us the deep truths of the universe, he did it through story.

He told the story of the one lost sheep and how the Shepherd would leave the flock and go bring back the one who strayed.  He told the story of the prodigal son and how his Father held out hope and showered love upon his return. 

Then he walked on water.  He was carried into a tomb and walked out three days later.

He showed us that the laws of this world are His. 

So to these things we cling:

1.  We remain patient.  Our Good Shepherd will never leave His sheep astray.  If our pastor belongs to the Lord, He will bring Him home.  

2.  We love the victims in this tragedy disguised as decisions.  They are victims, but they are not casualties.  They are children of God, His righteous remnant, and they will be restored.  We love them.  We love them unconditionally and in whatever way we have been gifted to love.

3.  We do not doubt the truth we have been taught.  For years, our pastor taught the Bible.  He no longer believes the truth that fell from his lips, but truth it was and truth is remains.  We never doubt the ability of God to deliver a message.

4.  We spend time in the Word.  His Word is a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path, the Flesh that dwelt among us, a sword in the hands of His people.  We never stop reading.  We never stop running after the heart of our God, the Good Shepherd, the One who will never leave or forsake us.  

5.  We pray.  We pray without ceasing for the lost, the broken, the weary, His church, His will, His people.

And in these things, in these truths, we stand firm.  With our heads held high, we pray without ceasing that the glory of God may be manifest even in this.  That His Word would be exalted, His will clear, His place on the throne evident to all Who call upon His name.   

And upon His name we call.  

"Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

-Isaiah 40:30-31

For His glory,


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fridays Unfolded #151

It's Friday again.

The brightest and darkest one there ever was.

Today we celebrate the King, mourn His death, await His resurrection.

This...the resurrection...it's why I follow Him, this Humble King.

Many prophets lived.

And died.

Many Kings reigned.

And lay in their graves.

Many gods and men are worshipped.

Though they no longer live.

Only our God walked out of a tomb and left it empty.  Let this truth reign with us always.

May you be blessed this weekend as you celebrate this most joyous occasion...the one that separates our religion from countless others.  He lives!

How about some features?

Eliza showed us how to make some bunny art and I think the girls will enjoy trying it:


I, however, will enjoy trying this from Pattie:



And I think I might add something like this to the girls' Easter baskets this year.  Adorable!


Let's party again, shall we?

How it works:

  • follow your hostesses in some way 

  • link up as many posts as you like-recipes, decorating, faith, kids, homeschooling, humor, giveaways…whatever unfolded for you lately
  • grab the button and post it or linked text somewhere on your blog
  • visit a few links (it’s a party, people!)
  • pin only from the original posts
  • by joining Fridays Unfolded you are giving us permission to post a linked photo from your shared post
  • try to use nice, big photos in your posts.









Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Hiatus

Hi friends!  I'm buried in tasks and commitments, so I am not going to be able to host the party this week...but please hop on over and see one of these lovely ladies!


See you next week...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fridays Unfolded #149

It's Friday again, and I've missed the last two parties!

The last two weeks have found me skiing and recovering (apparently my knee is a little irritated with me.)  Now I'm ready to see what you all have been up to.

Angela at Simply Beautiful showed us how to make this adorable pillow.  This MIGHT actually be easy enough for me to make.  Maybe.


Amy at Delineate Your Dwelling gave us some tips on organizing kitchen cabinets just in time for spring:


And Krista at Far From Normal showed us how to make Thieves Carpet Freshener.  Genius!


Let's party again!

How it works:

  • follow your hostesses in some way 

  • link up as many posts as you like-recipes, decorating, faith, kids, homeschooling, humor, giveaways…whatever unfolded for you lately
  • grab the button and post it or linked text somewhere on your blog
  • visit a few links (it’s a party, people!)
  • pin only from the original posts
  • by joining Fridays Unfolded you are giving us permission to post a linked photo from your shared post
  • try to use nice, big photos in your posts.






Friday, February 27, 2015

Fridays Unfolded #146

Brrrr!!!  It's freezing cold.  Like freezing.  Our dear weatherman said it felt like -20 yesterday and I believe him.  I have a habit of almost never believing weathermen, so that's kind of a big deal.  Not that they don't have the best of intentions.  I'm just usually skeptical.

But my coffee is warm, my socks warmer, and I'm sitting here looking over some of your posts from last week, with images of some dress I stared at way too long on Facebook last night playing somewhere in the periphery of my consciousness.  Anyone else?  

Some features:

My lovely next door neighbor makes a hot fudge sauce similar to this and it is fabulous.  You should try it:


I keep trying to make homemade dryer sheets and have had zero success so far.  I'm hoping this tutorial will help me this time!


My husband loves french onion soup and he would be forever indebted to me if I made this for him.  Well, maybe not forever.  



While I was languishing under the weight of cold this week, I also wrote this poem.

Can you languish under the cold?  I feel like languishing is something you do in the heat.  But it seemed to fit. 

Our pastor is from Southern California and he made the comment that one of the interesting things about moving to the Midwest was how much people talk about the weather.  I guess they don't do that where he is from.  "So, it's 75 again?"  "Yep." 

Obviously, I am not from California.  Hence this post, and my incessant poetry and writings about the snow and ice and sunshine. 

How about I stop talking and we party again?

How it works:

  • follow your hostesses in some way 

  • link up as many posts as you like-recipes, decorating, faith, kids, homeschooling, humor, giveaways…whatever unfolded for you lately
  • grab the button and post it or linked text somewhere on your blog
  • visit a few links (it’s a party, people!)
  • pin only from the original posts
  • by joining Fridays Unfolded you are giving us permission to post a linked photo from your shared post
  • try to use nice, big photos in your posts.







Spring Interlude

Warm, yet brisk,
Cool and translucent,
Sunshine
Washing over the Earth.

The shy light
Bends her head, 
Demurely,
Afraid to scorch
The breeze dancing.

The North wind
Stands firm,
Bold and incessant.

I cower and look
Beeseechingly
Towards the sun.

Beckon its heat.

She wavers,
Unsure of her place
In this torrential change.

The wind dies.
The sun peeks, 
Brave.

The wind,
Not to be subdued,
Summmons a cloud.

So it shall be.

Until our sun 
Can hold back no more.

Until even the wind
Emodies the warmth
That engulfs us all.

Blazing, 
She will emerge.

Victorious.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

For the Love of Story: On Teaching a Child to Read

I sat on the floor, roughly five years ago, my oldest daughter sitting across from me.  Why I always chose the floor for phonics lessons is beyond me.  Even now, as I teach my third and last child her phonics lessons, we sit on the floor.

She sat on the carpet that day, neither despondent nor joyful.  It was work.  Hard work.

"I really don't like phonics."

She said it frequently.

"I know...but you love stories."

I also said that frequently.

Most every day we worked slowly.  Some days we got very little done.  When it was time for reading, it was the same, reluctant child, the same rigor for her small brain. "Just read one sentence today and then I'll read you a story."  

It wasn't reading that made her hesitant.  It was the work involved.  

I felt like I was forever trying to walk the very thin line between teaching her to do the thing she ought, even when she'd rather do something different, and avoiding the abhorrence of the written word.  Because I knew deep down that if she always loved stories, she would embrace her books.  If I forced them upon her, made her stories another chore, another stone in the bag of the perfectionist child, all would be lost.  What would it gain me to force her towards knowing the sounds if she would forever avoid them once she knew them?

When she was four, I scoured books and articles looking for the "right thing to do."  I knew this was preschool age and wasn't sure the best route to take.  Should she be learning her numbers?  Her letters?  Latin?  

It turns out the answer is yes, no, maybe, if the stars align, and if your grandmother collected crocodile magnets to all of the above questions.  It all depends on who wrote what you are reading.

There did, however, seem to be one thread that was woven through most of what I found that was gleaming and pregnant with truth.  The admonishment I saw most often, or perhaps just the one that kept jumping out at me, was read to your kids.  Every day.

I did read to them already, but I began to make it very routine.  Every day after breakfast, I told her and her younger sister to go pick books.  Any books they like.  And I read.  For about one hour every morning, I read to them.  

So when we were sitting on the floor, a couple of years later, and she didn't remember what sh said and her fluency was lacking and I wondered what I would do, I grasped tight to the only truth we both knew.  But you love stories.

I continued to read her those stories.  I required only enough reading from her to make sure she practiced a little every day.  Consistency is important, but long, tedious lessons are not.  It is better to read one word every day than labor over two pages and hate the book when you are finished.

One day I looked up and saw her sitting on the couch...with a book.  She read it for five minutes and put it down.

I said nothing and kept reading her stories.  

I saw her with them more and more often.  She never finished anything.  She would pick them up, read a few lines, and pick another one up the next day.

I said nothing and kept reading her stories.  

Those months she spent practicing on her own were invaluable. I never interrupted her reading for any other kind of lesson.  What lesson bears more fruit than same one she used to loathe now self-imposed?

She broke through at some point.  I don't remember when or how, but all at once, she was an insatiable reader.  Not because I was a phenomenol instructor.  But because she loved stories.

I think sometimes it's easy to push through, to force one more lesson, one more sentence upon the reluctant learner.  It is easy for us becuase the sentence looks simple and the letters glaringly familiar. But to them, they are Greek.  

Tell them a story, show them that artists weave those words into great masterpieces of the world and they will eventually choose that for themselves.  

The love of story is within all of us.  Jesus spoke to us in stories.  He communicates through His book. He chose story. He chose words.  He chose it because it beats within His creation.  

Let it reign in our own homes, in the hearts of our children, and in the lives that are becoming their own.