Thursday, March 29, 2012

I LOVE Surprises!

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Look what I found under my pillow last night!!

Tuesday, I had taken Molly and David to Barnes and Noble because they both had gift certificates they wanted to spend. I was tired, so when I saw this book, I grabbed it, located a bench and just enjoyed the beautiful photos, witty instructions and delicious ideas.

When we got home I raved and raved about how fun the book was.

Well, as I was pulling back the covers last night to climb into bed, I found this book, tied up with a ribbon and a note that read “ I love you, my pioneer woman!”. After screaming in delight and giving Earl a huge hug and kiss, I said, “Oh, I am so not a pioneer woman.”

Now, I have to let you in on a little history, because he replied, “O yes you are. Every time we have company, you boldly go where no other sane woman would go!” If I don’t give you a little background, you won’t know what that meant. You see, when we first got married, it would stress Earl out to no end that every time we had company for dinner it seemed to him like I was trying a new recipe. When he finally spoke his mind one day, “Why do you do that?!” I reminded him that I didn’t know HOW to cook, so everything was new. I doubted very much that our guests would enjoy oatmeal or pureed baby food or p, b & j sandwiches!

Well, I have added to my stash of “favorite dishes” over the past 16 years and  I think I can now hold my own among cooking housewives. But I still like to experiment. Like this past weekend. We had company. Two delightful folks, husband and wife, that we had never met. We were going to interview them and then serve them lunch (I will tell you about THAT wonderful time in another post). I decided to fix a white chili that I could let sit while we visited and then that would be ready to go at lunch time. I started it early in the morning and by the time our guests arrived, it was smelling so savory. I was glad because it was a . . . new recipe. We were all anticipating a deliciousness that would be truly amazing. Well, as we sat down to eat, talking the whole time, I took my first bite and realized that it tasted less than savory. There was much less flavor than I anticipated. Hmmmm . . . but the conversation was going steadily and I was much distracted and no one said ANYTHING about the food, so it left my thoughts. Until the next day. I asked Earl if the chili tasted bland to him. He said yes. Then we both just shook our heads and laughed. Another “new recipe” with another “new” couple.

I’m glad he can laugh about it now. He loves me so much (I remind him of this often!). And it is my prayer that I will continue to grow in my cooking and continue to add to my “company favorites”. (I’m not giving up on this one . .. just a little more tweeking is all it needs . . . )

So, that is the history behind his note. But oh did the girls and I have fun drooling over the recipes this morning, trying to pick something to try on a Saturday morning soon. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Blessing of Prayer

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I have always loved the above picture. I wish I had it hanging in my home. I need to be reminded of what prayer is and to be more compelled and consistent. Yesterday, Earl preached on “The Sinner’s Prayer” and last week, my mom gave me a copy of “The Praying Life”, and today I found myself in a conversation with my 3 youngest about prayer. I think God is about to do a work here in me. Yay!

This is what the conversation sounded like this morning between me and Jonathan, Annie and Molly. We were reminding ourselves about a visit we had over the weekend with some new friends. I pointed out how they had prayed for us and for the kids especially.

“Do you know WHY they prayed for you?”

“No.”

“John 1:3 says that ‘all things came into being through Him’. So, they prayed for you because God put it in their heart to pray for you. Why do you think God would lead them to pray for you to have good, close friends who would encourage you in your faith and that you would be a light to the next ten generations as you tell others about Jesus?”

“I don’t know.”

“Think about this. Annie, if I told you to ask me for a new bike for your birthday, what would you think?”

“I’d think that you were going to get me one.”

“Exactly! And you’d think that, because you know I love you and that it would be mean of me to TELL you to ask me for something that I didn’t intend to give you.”

“So . . . why do you think God led a perfect stranger to pray those things for you?”

“Because He is going to give us those things?”

“That’s what I believe. Imagine that! God put it in the heart of someone that you’ve never met to pray those things for you because He intends to bring those about in your life. Only a God who loves you – a good God – would allow you to see Him work in such a way. What an amazing thing! How much He loves you!”

As the above scenario was actually playing itself out Saturday afternoon, I was overwhelmed by God’s love for me and our family. The desires of my heart for His ministry through us and for what I wanted to see Him do in the lives of our children just burst forth in anticipation and hope. Not demands. Not unrealistic expectations. But hopes. Desires. And all held with an open hand before a God who has put these desires in my heart and who reminds me daily that He delights to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that I could ever ask or think. He WILL exalt His name. He WILL display His glory. He WILL do it in His timing and in His way and by His methods. I just need to stay as close by as I can, with the biggest bucket I can hold, asking for Him to grant me the desires of my heart and ready to have Him fill it with all of His goodness!

This pilgrimage is an amazing privilege . . .yet the hardest road I will ever walk.

Prayer is what keeps me sane and on the right road!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Focusing

These are hard days for me. There are a lot of things going through my heart and head lately, but I lack the ability (and time) to articulate them. However, this morning, the hymn that David chose for our family time was one of my all-time favorites and the Lord used it to focus my eyes (and heart) a little more steady-like on Himself. And right across from the hymn on the facing page, was this beautiful prayer.
I just had to post it.

Morning Prayer

O God,
Early in the morning do I cry unto Thee.
Help me to pray,
And to think only of Thee.
I cannot pray alone.

In me there is darkness,
But with Thee there is light.
I am lonely, but Thou leavest me not,
I am feeble in heart, but Thou leavest me not.
I am restless, but with Thee there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with Thee there is patience;
Thy ways are past understanding, but
Thou knowest the way for me.

O heavenly Father,
I praise and thank Thee
For the peace of the night.
I praise and thank Thee for this new day.
I praise and thank thee for all Thy goodness
and faithfulness throughout my life.
Thou hast granted me many blessings:
Now let me accept tribulation
from Thy hand.
Thou wilt not lay on me more
than I can bear.
Thou makest all things work together for good
for Thy children.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

And now . . . back to my day . . .with hopefully a focused heart and eyes.

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