Friday, August 28, 2009

A Soul's Meditation


Psalm 3
My adversaries have increased.
Many around me are saying there is no hope in God for me.

I find myself saying,
"Yes, God can help, but . . . "

"Yes, He is strong, but . . . "
"I know He is sovereign, but . . . "

My enemies have robbed me of joy.

Yet the Psalmist does not go on and on with his complaint.
(And he easily could!)

He focuses his mind on and comforts his heart with the truth:

But You, O Lord . . .
are a shield . . .

the One who lifts my head . . .
(You) answered me . . .
sustain me . . .
have smitten all my enemies . . .
have shattered their teeth . . .
Your blessing is upon Your people!


Who will I listen to today?
My adversaries or my Lord?
I may have to fight to hear His voice amidst the voices without and within.
But fight I will.

Fight I must.

I have no other option.

Abba, Father!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nostalgia


I found this great photography site today through another photographer I admire and the weekly contest sounded interesting.
I knew exactly which photo I wanted to enter.

(This is my Molly. She wanted to try on my glasses one morning during school and immediately the funny faces began happening. She is my "Molly of Many Faces" and she makes me laugh so often!)

Nostalgia . . . remembering something of long ago.

This photo seems to contrast youth and old age to me.
The pursed lips, squinty eyes, reading glasses . . .
a perfect "old lady imitation".

Yet the small, freckled face and wispy hair, belie the fact that this is "youth" and not "age".

Though the glasses are mine,
the photo causes me to long for my own grandma . . .
to watch her sew me something that I've asked her to make for my doll,
to watch her cook something that she was famous for in our family . . . peach cobbler,
to watch her read a story that I'd written and shower me with compliments,
to watch her read the paper on the couch with my grandpa,
to watch her as she drove that huge orange Monte Carlo and giggle as we told her "Grandma, your dragger is draggin'" . . . remember that stick that would stick out and scrape the curb if you got too close while parking???

Nostalgia . . . a precious use of precious memories.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Approaching the Throne

Taken from "The Valley of Vision"

Act of Approach

"Benign Lord,
I praise thee continually
for permission to approach thy throne of grace,
and to spread my wants and desires before thee.
I am not worthy of thy blessings and mercies
for i am far gone from original righteousness;
My depraved nature reveals itself in disobedience and rebellion;
My early days discovered in me discontent, pride, envy, revenge.
Remember not the sins of my youth,
nor the multiplied transgressions of later years,
my failure to improve time and talents,
my abuse of mercies and means,
my wasted sabbaths,
my perverted seasons of grace,
my long neglect of thy great salvation,
my disregard of the friend of sinners.
While I confess my guilt, help me to feel it deeply,
with self-abhorrence and self-despair, yet
to remember there is hope in thee,
and to see the Lamb that takes away sin.
Through him may I return to thee,
listen to thee,
trust in thee,
delight in thy law,
obey thee,
be upheld by thee.
Preserve my understanding from error,
my affections from love of idols,
my lips from speaking guile,
my conduct from stain of vice,
my character from appearance of evil,
that I may be harmless, blameless, rebukeless,
exemplary, useful, light-giving, prudent, zealous for
thy glory and the good of my fellow-men."


This was the prayer of my heart this morning as I headed off to join with the congregation before the throne of grace . . . both for myself and for our Body at Coast.

Can you join with me?
Would you amen this?

If so, do you notice that there is a response required . . . not just a "mental consent"?
Do you hear the balance between the work of the Spirit of grace in our hearts
and our responsibility to "walk in a manner worthy of the gospel"?
What steps will you take this week to
fan the flame of your affections?
What affections will you fan the flame of?

These are the questions to my own heart this afternoon.
Blessings on your journey . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Edited: While the parents are away . . .

. . . the actors will play!

We had a babysitter come over and stay with the kids on Monday
while we went out.
She is one of the young ladies from our church,
Bekka Wakabayashi,
and she has a lot of fun making movies.
The kids and her put together this cute video.


Thank you, Bekka, for all of your hard work Monday
and for helping to make it such a fun day!
(You deserve much more than the pair of socks we brought you! JK. No, I didn't mean you DIDN'T deserve more than the socks. Well, actually none of us deserve better than an old pair of stinky socks. And if truth be told, we deserve stinky socks that have been drug through the mire - a hundred times over - and then . . . oh, never mind.)
How did I get off on stinky socks???




Enjoy the video . . . (and forget about the socks. Just never mind.)
(Sorry about the poor quality. Something got lost in the transfer. But the original is AWESOME!!)


video

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Life of Answered Prayer


May 2, 1995
was the day that I was told that Earl Miles, Jr. was interested in getting to know me.

My journal entry for that day:
" . . . Mom just informed me that her and I have a meeting at the church with Norm tonight in an hour. Yes, I am nervous. Father, please calm my heart. Help me to trust You and to remember that You hold all things in Your hand ~ even my emotions. Please grant Norm and Mom wisdom and discernment and keep all of us from rushing Your spirit or working self-will . . .(later) on the outside, I am maintaining a calmness, no emotion. I have purposed to not share anything with anyone else until the next step occurs ~ he comes out here? Right now, may I maintain the mind of Christ and not be carried away by emotions that could be misleading. But deep down - I'm excited! However, there is fear when I think of myself as a wife. I can see myself as a mother, but I feel as if I fall so short when it comes to being a wife. What keeps coming to mind though, is that my focus needs to be on "my husband" and his needs, not my own. Oh, Father - grow within me the heart of a servant!"

I remember standing in my room alone,
at the foot of my bed,
and praying . . .
feeling as if my whole life was about to change,
and confessing my fear.

Yet, His sweet Spirit calmed my heart
with the truth that He never changes . . .
though my world often does and will.
He had been my God for the last 16 years
and was intimately acquainted with all my ways,
and He would walk with me through the coming years
just as He had the past.
I could count on His faithfulness.
How great is His faithfulness!

15 months later we were married.
And my life changed.
It became more wonderful than I had ever imagined!

In a world where divorce is rampant
and women are plagued with thinking they "made a mistake" when they got married,
our testimony is and has been and will continue to be,
it's our Redeemer who is faithful and true!
We fail often.
Yet, His work of grace in our lives keeps us waking up each morning
looking to Him (not each other)
for all we need.
And boy does He supply!

We spent a wonderful day together yesterday
just talking and talking,
in ways we hadn't for a long time.

Oh . . . do I love that man!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Smooching Day!

Today we are celebrating
our 13th wedding anniversary!


"A loving relationship
is a wanting to celebrate,
communicate,
and know another's heart and soul."

Leo Buscaglia

"Love and a cough can not be hid."
George Herbert

"Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together
that they can't see anything wrong with the other."

G. Yasenak

"Love . . . will have the whole and not the part."
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

"For thy sweet love rememb'red
such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change
my state with kings."

Shakespeare

Ta Ta!
We're off to spend the day away . . . alone together!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Feel a Blog Comin' On . . .

I love that my children are all so different.
Getting to teach them at home, just gives me more opportunities to see that.
I have serious ones.
I have helpful ones.
I have very imaginative ones.
I have ones who like to sing.
I have ones who like to talk.
I have ones who like time to themselves.
I have ones who like to be gone doing things.
I have ones who like to stay home.

And I also have ones like this . . .










Molly makes me laugh.
All the time.

The story:
We started school last week, and I have become more and more dependent on my reading glasses to get through the day. So when Earl was out last week picking up another pair of reading glasses for himself, I asked him to pick me up a chain for mine, hoping that it might relieve some of the stress of constantly needing them and not remembering where I had laid them down. Keeping them on top of my head was messing up my "doo". Sigh.

So today, during school, Molly asked if she could try on my glasses. And immediately the "old granny" imitations began. Sigh. "I don't look like that, do I, Molly??" She sweetly said that I didn't, but that they reminded her of a granny's glasses. Sigh . . . again.

Poor Earl.
He is not immune to this aging process either.
Last week while trying to pay for a haircut, the poor hair-cutter-guy was trying to be helpful and polite. After seeing all of the gray hair on the floor, he shyly asked, "You're not a senior are you?"


I am not at all disappointed at getting to this stage.
I'm rejoicing.
I feel blessed to have five children that I still have the strength and energy to mother.
I feel blessed to have a wonderful husband to grow "old" with.
I'm grateful to know that this life won't last forever, but that eternity is getting closer with each passing day. An eternity filled with the glorious presence of a loving and holy God who has covenanted with me to never stop conforming me to the image of His Son.
Seeing the limitations that my "aging process" has bestowed,
has made me all the more aware of my dependence -
my dependence on the Lord Jesus to be the strength in my weaknesses.

I just want to "age" in such a way as to not dishonor the Lord,
and to properly "adorn the gospel".


So, onward we go . . .striving for the prize . . . The Prize!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Louisiana - Misc. Activities



All too soon it was time to take down the laundry, say goodbye, and leave Louisiana
to continue on our journey.
But we had some wonderful times.



We spent a LOT of time trying to deal with the mildew problem in the back of our van.
An ice chest had leaked and we hadn't thought much about it, until it began to smell with the heat and humidity . . . causing us all to feel a little queasy.
So we spent our days in LA letting it dry, vacuuming it out, spraying and sprinkling all kinds of remedies back there, and using all kinds of air
fresheners.

One of the highlights . . . so funny . . . was our family trip to the Bass Pro shop there down the road.
Jan completely out shot everyone else at the shooting gallery (she boasted, but it was just beginner's luck!), and all the kids except Emily, bought a new cap rifle.



David had a great time trying all on of the different camouflage outfits!
Can you see him?


We spent a lot of time out back chasing and running and throwing and kicking and sitting and talking.


The day before we left,
we celebrated Emily's 12th birthday over at Sonya's house.
It was nice to have a houseful of family!


I have SOOOO many more pictures to post from our time in Louisiana, but alas, my goal was to be finished posting our whole vacation "memoirs" before school started and we've just completed 3 weeks of school. So, I need to scoot on posting the rest real fast and close out this grand adventure.

Louisiana family and friends . . . we love you and will be counting the days until our next visit!

Do They Need a License??


The day had arrived.
Mama pulled the ride-on lawn mower out of the shed and
fired it up.

Then her and Earl began to figure out
how to make it actually cut the grass.

Is it working yet??


Ok . . . I think I got it now!!
I'll be back.



Then, after the real job was done,
the blade was put up,
and the kids got to ride . . .


and drive!


Here is Earl telling Molly,
"Be back by midnight, honey!"


It was so fun for them.
And it ended all too soon.
I, Jan, just enjoyed taking photos
and watching their delight.

And MaMa and PaPa's yard got mowed in the process!

It's Rainin'!!

For quite a few days in Louisiana, we were treated to rain,
and lightening and thunder.

When it was just raining with no lightning one day,
we let the kids go out and play in it.
They had been BEGGING!!


Ah . . .the joys of childhood!

This guy was excited beyond words.
So happy.

(I can't turn off the underlining . . . rats!)

Slip n' Slidin LA Style!

On one of our days in LA,
Earl told me to pick up a slip n' slide at Walmart.
We'll do, Honey!



It wasn't terribly hot and sticky yet,
but definitely good "outside-in-the-water" type of days.









As I took pictures,
I loved watching Jonathan's "tongue",
and the pure delight on his face.
They ALL were having a blast!


Don't you love these ideas that the dads come up with??
Earl thought that it would be a lot of fun to fling the kids down the slide.
Judging by the faces . . .who do you think is anticipating the most fun???

(The boys actually LOVED this!)



This is a true Jonathan expression.
Love it!


It was really fun.
We ended up making a mud hole.
So fun, that we left it at MaMa and PaPa's.

Sure wishing we had it here these days.
I think it's hotter and stickier than it was when we were in LA.

We had an unexpected shower here yesterday.
And speaking of showers . . .
(next post)

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