Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A letter from the past....

My son Josiah is back to blogging, finally. His latest post contains an old letter, written toward the end of World War I. It is written by my great-uncle, who was stationed in New York City, to his younger sister, who became my grandmother. This letter contains great advice to young girls who are not yet married. Hopefully I've whetted your appetite enough for you to read the letter here.

In my opinion, my grandmother followed her brother's advice. I can't think of a better, more godly human being than my grandfather, who was my very bestest friend until he died when I was 14. His was an unconditional love that knew no bounds.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quietness

It is a quiet Sunday morning, and I am sitting at the computer munching toast with butter and honey, and drinking cinnamon stick tea. At my next midwife appointment I am to have a glucose test done. My glucose level is in the normal range, but since it's on the high end of normal, they want to run the test. Meanwhile, I found this article about cinnamon, hence the cinnamon stick tea.

I have had a quiet two-and-a-half hours, reading, praying, reviewing my Sunday school lesson, and doing some laundry. Laundry is not a normal Sunday morning activity, but I had to do diapers, underwear and socks, plus a skirt I needed for this morning. I did laundry yesterday, but ran out of time to get it finished.

There is this verse that keeps going through my head: "She riseth also while it is yet night...." (Proverbs 31:15). Since in this part of Canada the sun does not rise in winter until close to 8 a.m., it is technically possible to fulfill this verse and still sleep in a little during the winter. In the summer, though, the sun rises between 4 and 4:30 a.m., making things a little harder. I decided to get up at 4 a.m. this morning and see how far into the day I can go before I begin to fall asleep. I really want to get up early to have the quiet house to myself, and prepare my heart for the day ahead.

Now I need to go wake up whoever needs a shower and get them moving. And it's time for me to take the dog for a walk. No, not Sarah's puppy. She is too much for me to handle. I take Snickers, who is a little older. But even he tugs the leash wanting to run.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Run, trip, get up and GO

Joseph, a regular contributor on my daughter's blog, has started a blog of his own. Joseph is the 15-year-old son of one of my very closest friends. I have known him since he was almost eight years old, when we first came to Canada to candidate at his church. (Well, actually Tom candidated, not me.)

It has been refreshing to me to watch Joseph grow spiritually over the years. He has a true heart for God and a burden for his own country, the people of Canada. Really, this is a dead place, and it wouldn't surprise me if, instead of sending missionaries in the past (Jonathan Goforth, Isobel Kuhn) we don't start receiving missionaries.

Please check out his blog. The titles for this post comes from the URL for his blog. I like it, because it really describes the Christian walk so well.

http://runtripgetupandgo.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Family fun in the snow

About 2-3 miles from our house is a string of islands in the St. Lawrence River. In the summer, these islands are filled with campers and swimmers, and you have to pay to drive in for your fun. But in winter you can cross-country ski, snow shoe, hike, sled, or whatever, without paying. The first island has a large hill that is a popular sliding hill. That's where we went this afternoon.

Thanks to the record snowstorm that came through over the weekend and caused us to cancel church services Sunday, there was a LOT of snow on the hill. Here are the few pictures I was able to get before the camera batteries died.















Coming up the hill. You can see the Canadian side of the river at the bottom of the hill.
















Josiah with John and Timothy. We have a shortage of sleds (the tobaggon in the background did not work well, being unwaxed), so Josiah used an extra large trash bag instead. It worked really well, and the little boys really liked it.
















Lizzie getting started on a GT at the top of the hill.
















Lizzie is the small dot at the bottom of the hill. This picture helps you see just how steep/long the hill is.
















Abby, getting started on a snow board.

I wanted to get more shots of them actually coming down the hill, especially some of the upsets at the bottom, but the batteries on the camera died. Lizzie and John came down together on a GT, but John, age 3, is not good at steering a GT. They hit a bump, flew into the air, and came down all tangled up in each other. Lizzie landed on top of John, but the only thing John was mad about was that he got snow on his face. At the same time, Timmy had upset in a tumble I did not witness, so I took both boys to the van to warm up. We drove around the islands for a little while, and my camera batteries revived for one last shot:














This is the St. Lawrence River, looking south to New York state. Barely visible is the part of the river that has not iced over yet. If the weather stays very cold (today was 18 degrees Fahrenheit), the river will probably freeze over.

Next year I want to invest in some cross-country skis.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When should a person get married?

My friend Christy is getting married the end of this month. We all wish her well as she begins a new, somewhat scary, thrilling time of her life. Those of us who are married will surely remember the joyful frenzy of those last few days and weeks before the big day.

Do you married women remember all the comments and suggestions we all received by well-meaning individuals who questioned our decisions? In my case, I was asked these questions:
  • Are you sure you've known him long enough? (1st date to wedding day: 5 months, 7 days)
  • Isn't he too old for you? (he is 10 years, 5 months older)
  • Can't you have a church wedding and invite more people? (no, my parents were in the middle of packing for a major move, and we didn't really want to wait)
  • You should enjoy your engagement period, and not rush things.
My friend Christy went against the flow and decided to have a Friday evening wedding instead of a more "traditional" Saturday afternoon wedding. You go, Christy! I like your idea. Too much excitement on Saturday tires people out for Sunday, anyway. I got married on a Thursday. Thanksgiving Thursday, to be exact. My family enjoyed it, and it wasn't too stressful for my mother. For me, that was important.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

From my mother

I don't usually post twice in one day, but I just got this e-mail from my mother. These stories and more were part of my heritage, and a testimony of how God really does answer prayer. Here are my mother's own words:

When you were born I woke up from the ether and looked around. You were in a bassinet with several doctors and nurses all around you. Someone was holding up a little blue foot. A nurse noticed that I was looking and came over and told me that you had not breathed for several minutes. I remember very distinctly talking to my Heavenly Father and saying, "She is yours, if you want her with you, you can take her." Two very dear friends had prayed for me the night before when I was in labor and prayed again in the morning when you were being born. They did not even know that I was in the hospital. God did not take you.

When you were nearly 3, you had a very severe ear infection. The dr. said that it needed to be lanced but that I should take you home and bring you back in the morning. (the inflammation was very bad, I guess he wanted it to settle down a bit with an antibiotic.) That night you cried with the pain and I held you and talked with my Heavenly Father again. You finally quieted down and went to sleep. The next morning we took you to the doctor and as soon as he looked at your ear he said there was nothing wrong with it.

When you were about 4 you were sick and had a fever. I worked in Pediatrics at the time so I thought we should take you to the Emergency Room. They knew that I was a nurse and told me to take you home and watch you. You went sound asleep. After awhile you woke up and your temperature was down some and you were crying. When we asked you why you were crying, you said that Jesus was there and He left without you.

This led me to believe that you had something to do in this world that was in God's plan.

A little bit of this and that

It's cold. Other people have cozy wood stoves, but we do not--yet. Lord willing, with some remodeling done this coming spring and summer, we will have a wood stove for next year. Our plans also include a closed-in front porch for taking off boots and hanging up winter gear. If code allows, we will feed the stove pipe out through the porch and up through the porch roof so there can be a tiny bit of heat out there. It will also be a good place to store wood, but maybe we'll work something else out for that.

We have had snow upon snow upon snow, with more snow coming over the weekend. I like the snow, but since we went to two vehicles, I'm driving in it more. It isn't always the most pleasant experience!

I have been posting a lot of old school books on ebay canada. Out of 40 items, there has been only one bid. If anybody knows a better place to sell home school materials, let me know. I still have about 30 items to put on.

We got a "new" refrigerator/freezer from friends who went Mennonite and are getting rid of most of their electrical appliances. We put our old fridge/freezer in the cellar for extra storage, and put the upright freezer in the Penny Grader for sale. At some point, I'd like to get a small chest freezer, but for now I think we are okay with what we have.

They also gave us their front-loading washer and a dryer. We are keeping our old washer and dryer to help us get laundry done faster. Maybe now we won't have to wash clothes every day. I'd like very much to go back to twice a week washings. And if we can get the wood stove in next year, I'll be able to set up racks to dry clothes overnight. If we do that, I will do one big load every evening or so, hang it to dry overnight, and fold it in the morning.

All this means that from yesterday afternoon till now, the kitchen has been a maze of appliances, with removed room doors lying in the girls' room and the cellar access torn up to make room for the stuff that went down there. Mostly we're back to normal, with just the big freezer to move out to the deck for now. There is more space in the kitchen with only one big appliance instead of two.

Has anybody ever tried to put eleven people in a two-bedroom, one-bath house? It's fun, cozy, crowded, noisy, cluttered, sometimes messy, and full. Putting the two oldest out in the garage this summer freed up some space. Still, there are four boys in what is supposed to be a family room, three girls in the larger bedroom, and Tom and me in the smaller bedroom. Where will the new baby go? Well, we asked ourselves that before Timothy was born, and found room for him. I'm sure Baby will fit himself in just fine.

We have decided to go ahead with our original plans to remodel this place for sale, and use the profits to buy a place with a bit more land. We will get a prefab as unfinished as possible, do as much of the work as we can ourselves, and gradually work toward having a small farm. I had actually given up on the farm idea, thinking that was not God's plan for us. But recently Tom, a confirmed city boy, has had different ideas. He wants us to grow more of our own food, including milk and meat, so as to have as natural a diet as possible, with as little food processing as possible.

Only the Lord knows what is ahead for us in the next few years. We are taking one day at a time, but with a goal in mind now that was not so solidified previously. There is more that can be said, but I don't have the words for it right now. Something to do with peace, contentment, trust, submission, and other similar words. I'll mull that over in my mind and see if I can verbalize it in a later post.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More about being home

We are all home now. We brought Timmy home last night. At first, it was hard. He didn't even want his brothers and sisters to come near him. But then Sarah took him away from clinging to me and made friends with him again. After that he was okay.

They think now that he might have asthma, but there has to be three episodes of wheeze before he's officially diagnosed. He's on a puffer for the first 24 hours, then as needed. He is supposed to have it with him (like in the diaper bag) wherever he goes, just in case. Since it was a cold that set him off this time, we are supposed to give him the puffer every four hours during a cold.

It is cold and wet and rainy. We are going to work inside the house today, attacking dust, mold and clutter, and increasing the air flow. Tom put in another cold air return for the furnace Tuesday, and already the air flow is better. Saturday, while Timmy was in the hospital the first day, Tom cleaned the boys' room (the four younger ones share a room). He discovered that Ben had been collecting, in boxes, birds' nests, bird seed, and garden soil! He cleared all that out, washed walls and the floor, raised the dressers up on 2X4s, washed bedding, and bought new pillows for John and Timothy. He said there was mold in there, but since that's the room with the new cold air return, he's hoping that will fix the moisture problem.

I will be so glad when we can start remodeling the inside of this house. Besides the cold air return, we need better insulation and moisture barriers. It is the outside walls in three or four rooms that are getting wet and moldy.

I've got to get going. We all slept in this morning, but now Timmy needs his last dose of steroid medicine and a puffer, John needs his antibiotic and steroid doses, and we all need breakfast.

Thanks for all the prayers during the last week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Home

It is nice to be home, with no one in the hospital. It is nice to be able to sleep in my own bed. It is nice to have other people for Timmy to cling to. It is nice to have friends who go beyond the call of duty in time of need. It is nice to be done sharing four days of isolation with a toddler.

And I never thought I'd say this, but it's nice to have something to eat other than Pizza Pizza or Mr. Sub from a hospital cafeteria (and nice not to have to pay their wretchedly high prices).

What is NOT nice is that maybe it was asthma all along, and now my toddler has to carry a puffer with him everywhere he goes. Doctor's orders.

Monday, November 26, 2007

John, Timothy and two hospitals (this is a loooong post)

Thursday Timmy started coughing. Friday, John started coughing, and Timmy started wheezing. So we said no Bible Club for them Friday night. They're too young anyway, but I'm one of the drivers. While we were discussing how we would work the transportation, the Bible Club leaders called and canceled for this week.

Friday night Timmy got worse. He was up in the night crying, coughing, wheezing. Tom moved to the couch to give Timmy bed space with me. I basically got very little sleep since when Timmy was awake he was coughing and very restless. When he was asleep, he was coughing and wheezing. A mother can't sleep when her baby is so sick.

Saturday morning we prepared to take Timmy to emergency. We discussed taking John, too, but decided to wait since he wasn't that bad. On the way to emergency we noticed that the walk-in clinic was open so we decided to stop there first. They ended up sending us to emergency anyway, so off we went.

Saturday noon Timmy was admitted to the hospital with either severe asthma or bronchiolitis. They wanted to say asthma, but since there is no family history of asthma, they settled on bronchiolitis. Either way, it got worse as the day wore on till by midnight Timmy was really gasping for air. They were only giving oxygen with a medicated mist about every 2 to 4 hours, and in between Timmy was mostly awake, struggling to breathe. They finally put him under an oxygen tent, but even that did not help. By 4 a.m. I was so sleep-deprived I couldn't think straight, so they sent me to an empty room to sleep.

While I was sleeping they called the doctor, who ordered oxygen all the time. They put a mask on him, but after I woke up around 7-ish they switched to using an oxygen tube with nasal prongs. The problem was that they only had newborn sized prongs, which were way too small, or adult sized, which were way too big. They put the newborn size on him, but it was not a good fit. He ended up with a mask on top of the prongs, which I thought ridiculous, but they thought he would get more oxygen that way.

Sunday morning, the doctor came, first thing, to see him. He decided to send Timmy to CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) in Ottawa. CHEO is a fantastic place, much better equipped and staffed than our local hospital, so I was actually relieved to hear this news. (The nurses expected me to be devastated.) I called Tom at home to tell him the news. He was busy getting children out the door to go to church, so he said it wouldn't take long to get there, since they were just about to leave anyway.

Tom dropped some children off at church (friends were coming to pick up the rest--we go everywhere in two vehicles now, and none of the children are licensed yet). He was in the church parking lot when he saw the orange helicopter-ambulance fly overhead. He got to the hospital just in time to greet the EMTs coming in with their stretcher to take Timothy. It took them about half an hour for them to get everything settled. During that time, the nurses and I convinced Tom to let someone else lead services and preach. We really did not have to do much convincing; he was more than ready to go along with the idea.

After they took Timothy away, Tom and I came back to the house to pick up some things, switch vehicles, and send a few urgent e-mails. (As we were driving out of Cornwall, we saw the helicopter in the air headed for CHEO. Tom wished for a camera.) We also had to check on the turkey someone gave us, which was in the oven cooking for Sunday dinner. As we pulled up, Nathanael came out of the garage, wondering why he wasn't taken to church. In the confusion, he had been left behind! Tom told him to stay home, mind the turkey and answer the phone. We didn't have time to take him back to church.

We stopped for gas and to put air in the tires, so I took the time to call Sarah at church to explain what was happening, and to make suggestions for them for the afternoon. Sarah reported that John had started wheezing. Well, what to do now? We were close enough still that we decided to go back to the church to check John, and see how bad he was. We decided that Tom would take me to Ottawa, see us settled in, then come back to take John in to Cornwall emergency. He was wheezing, but not nearly as bad as Timmy. We left his health card with Sarah, with instructions for her and Nathanael to take John to emergency themselves if they thought he needed to go. One of the women in the church was asked to help them make that decision and give them transportation if needed.

Thankfully, they were able to wait for Tom to get back. So while Tom was in Cornwall with John, I prepared to spend my third sleepless night with Timothy at CHEO. As I said, this place is fantastic. Timothy was given nasal prongs that fit, but when he started pulling at them they switched back to the mask. He hated the prongs and loved the mask. He seemed to know that it was helping him breathe, so whenever it slipped out of place he put it right back again.

By the time the night staff came on at 7:30, Timothy was already improving. He even ate some supper, the first meal he'd eaten since Friday night. Although he did much better through the night at CHEO than in Cornwall, neither of us slept much. He clung to me, practically crawling up and over my shoulders in his effort to get away from all these strange people who kept poking needles into him, prodding him with stethoscopes and staring at him through strange face masks. I tried to explain to him that these people were friends who wanted to help him get better, but a 20-month-old baby can't fathom "friends" poking him and taking his blood away.

He was on ventilation with medicated mist for about ten minutes every hour all through the night, with regular oxygen in between. He and I both tried to sleep in between mistings, but there was a problem. He would only sleep in my arms while I rocked him, and I could only sleep on the cot they set up for me.

Meanwhile, John was admitted in Cornwall. Tom got to sleep on a bed in John's room, only waking for mistings every two hours. The nurses kept doing double takes, seeing Tom back again so soon. ("Newton? Didn't we just send you to CHEO?" "No, that was Timothy. This is John.")

Monday morning, Timothy had me stuck. If I went out of his sight, he cried. Too much crying made his lungs tighten up, so I tried not to make him cry. The problem was, I needed sleep desperately. Friends who live in Ottawa had offered to let me sleep at their house, but I couldn't leave the room long enough to use the phone. Finally someone brought Timothy some toys. One of the nurses was able to play with him while I left to call the Tessiers. Luc volunteered to take the day off work to stay with Timmy (he said his boss owed him tons of time) while Sylvia took me home, fed me and put me to bed.

Actually, their 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter put me to bed in her room. I slept for about three hours, then called home to check on John. By that time he had been discharged and Tom had had time to take a short nap. He came up to Ottawa then. Timothy kept improving, keeping himself out of the ICU one doctor had threatened him with.

He has a lot of energy, but is still tied down with a mass of cords, wires and tubes. They had taped his IV needle VERY securely so that he couldn't pull it out, but he still managed to pull the connection apart twice, splattering blood everywhere. He gleefully threw all his toys out of his crib, and Tom put the rails up just before he could throw himself out. Then he stood up and paced his crib, tromping on cords and wires, and setting his monitors to beeping. We sat him down, and he set to work trying to pull the sticky pad lung monitors off his chest.

I helped Tom decide that I was the one who needed sleep the most, even though he wanted to go home and make sure John went through the night okay. We decided that I would stay at the Tessiers for the night, but first I called home to check on everyone. Sarah and Josiah reported that John refused to take one of his meds, and only took the other over strong protest. The meds are given only every twelve hours, so I decided to come home for the night, make sure John took his meds in the morning, and come back to CHEO so that Tom could come home, sleep, and make sure John took his meds.

The Tessiers brought me home since I was too sleep-deprived to drive that far (over an hour one way) in the dark and in the rain that turned to snow and then back to rain again. So here I am at home. It is late, but I could not settle to sleep right away. I've been home for about three hours, heard all the news, told all my news, reassured the children, and put an already asleep John in my bed for the night. Tomorrow after breakfast I will go back to CHEO with our van.

I don't know when they will let Timmy come home. They say he has to stay until he can go without the oxygen mask. Right now he's off it when he's awake, but has to have it in his sleep. They planned to stretch the mistings to every two hours overnight, but they don't want to push it. I would guess that he won't be home before Wednesday. I will find out tomorrow.

Now I think I can sleep. Don't anybody wake me up in the morning. I'll get up when I'm ready to get up.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

21 years

Today is our 21st anniversary. We have been so blessed. We have nine healthy children and the tenth doing fine as he gets ready to enter the world next spring. There has never been anything so majorly wrong that the Lord has not helped us overcome by His grace. Our marriage has not exactly been total bliss (what marriage is?) but it has been wonderful. We look forward to however many more years God gives us.

We got such a snowstorm that Tom postponed our night away until next week. But we did go out to breakfast and out to supper. When we got home from supper out, the children surprised us with an ice cream anniversary cake from Dairy Queen!

Since we don't do anything for Christmas anymore, we have started a new family tradition. The week of our anniversary (always the week of American Thanksgiving) we have a family holiday with no school. Hopefully as the years go by and the children begin having families of their own, they will be able to come home for a family reunion every year or so. They may not all be able to come every year, but it will still be a special time. Of course, we will need a bigger house by then (perhaps a small hotel?) since this is the wrong time of year for camping the children out in tents.

Anyway, the children are enjoying their week off from school. The snowstorm couldn't have come at a better time. They had a great time in the snow. I took Timmy out for a little while, but he couldn't walk very well in it. He'd go a few steps, fall on his face, say, "Up, up!" I'd help him up, and he'd walk a few steps, fall on his face, etc., over and over. Finally I got him to the neighbour's driveway where he could walk better. Then he said, "Bite, bite!" plunked himself down on his face and started eating the snow! I carried him over to where the others were building a fort. Then his boots kept coming off, so I took him back inside.

Elizabeth needed boots, so we got her some new ones while we were in town for breakfast. Later, we spent half an hour (no exaggeration) trying to unzip her coat (which was a bit too small anyway). So we got her a practically brand new coat at Value Village for just under $10. It's even purple, to match her snow pants. (The old one was red.)

The children and I spent most of the afternoon trying to rearrange the living room to make room for a space for boots and a rack for hanging up coats/mitts/snow pants. We have a small living room, and too much furniture, so it was a tricky thing to arrange it all. I had to take out the coffee table and my sewing table to make the rest fit.

This has been a most unique anniversary! But fun. I got boots today, too. Now I need to figure out what I can wear in the snow. Pajama pants under a dress wasn't really warm enough. The neighbours (not to mention my children) would probably go into shock if I put snow pants on. Last year Chelsea from next door was shocked to find that I would wear sweat pants under my dress. I can just imagine what she'd say about snow pants without a dress!

I am going to put the turkey in the oven to slow-roast overnight. We will have American Thanksgiving dinner a day late. This year sickness made us miss our annual Canadian Thanksgiving in October, but normally we have two Thanksgiving dinners every year. Just one of the side benefits of being U.S. citizens in a different country!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday morning notes--November 18, 2007

I had the most amazing experience in Sunday school today.

I was raised in church and Sunday school. I have taught Sunday school off and on since I was 15. I love teaching, but sometimes it gets a little old because I teach children who have been in church since they were babies. They've heard all the stories so many times they could probably teach the lesson themselves. Even the application is old to them.

Today was different. Today we had a visitor, an 8-year-old girl who had never been in Sunday school before, ever. Our lesson was on creation, and the all-powerful God Who created everything. This was all new to her. She was astounded, incredulous, awed, by the whole idea. While the other three girls in my class were maybe a little bored, had all the answers, and tried to teach the lesson themselves, this girl asked questions, said things like "Cool!!!" and asked, over and over, "But HOW did God do that?" "You mean He just said it, and it was there?" "So God is sort of like magic?"

Then, right toward the end, when I didn't have any more time left, the subject of sin came up, and how sin keeps us from heaven. We described what sin is, and listed some examples (disobedience, lying, stealing, etc.). This girl asked, "But what if you only do that ONCE?"

Oh, for more time! At that point I wished I could have dismissed the others so I could talk to her alone. Instead, I told her that next week's lesson will be about Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world. We would talk more about sin and salvation then. I gave her a Bible and a Sunday school assignment paper, showed her where to read for her assignment, and told her how much we'd like to have her come back. I also invited her to Bible Club Friday nights, and she sounded excited about that.

Later, I talked to her father. He is the kind of parent that believes there should come a time in every child's life when she is exposed to religion, and then allowed to make her own choice about it. We had an "interesting" conversation that really didn't go anywhere. But I encouraged him to keep bringing his daughter back, that we'd love to have them come again, and told him about Bible Club. He said he hoped to come back.

Please pray for this family. A brother was mentioned during Sunday school, but no word was said about a mother. The father said he was raised by parents and a grandmother who went to church and were "very religious." I do not know what he meant by that. Pray that the father will take seriously his responsibility to train his daughter in true religion. Also pray that his daughter will put pressure on him to bring her back.

While you in the USA are praying, pray for cold, dead, Canada which cannot tolerate on-fire, living followers of Christ. This little girl is the product of a system that did away with God a long time ago. There are so many more children like her all over our city and nation. Bible Clubs and Sunday schools are reaching a few, but we need the power of God upon us.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Is it genetic?

I read somewhere recently that we may be genetically inclined toward one occupation or another. When studying my family tree I discovered that the Bowser line (from which I come) includes mostly farmers and medical people (doctors, nurses, medics, etc.)

For instance, my great-great-grandmother raised sheep. She sheared and spun the wool and wove it into cloth, which she then used to make a suit for her son. That son wore his new suit to college, became one of the best doctors in the county, and was my great-grandfather. His granddaughter (my mother) was a nurse. My cousin also went into nursing. Armstrong County, Pennsylvania (where I grew up) is full of Bowser farms.

My main dream all my life has been to have a family farm. I don't want to go big or anything, but I would like to have a little farm with chickens, cows, a pig or two, and sheep. And some Morgan horses. I would like to grow or raise 85-90 per cent of our food and have plenty to share with others. My favorite set of books was (is) the Little House series. I always wished I was Laura. (Now I think more like Ma. And after wearing out countless paperback sets, I finally spent $100 to get the set in hardback, which my children now read with gusto.)

My daughter wants to go into the medical field. She has also always liked animals and wants to raise goats. Maybe there is something to that genetic disposition thing.

Another interesting fact I discovered during genealogical research: I come from a LOOOOONG line of Baptists, beginning with Matthias Bausser, the first of the Bowsers (as the name became) to come to America. He was a "dunkard" who came from Germany, possibly Switzerland before that, where dunkards were being persecuted for their practice of "dunking" (immersing) as their preferred method of baptism.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Proverbs 31:10

My friend Christy has asked me to describe how she can prepare herself for that great change from singleness to married woman. I have thought a lot about this, trying to think what wonderful words of advice I might have. After all, I have been married 21 years this month--I ought to know something, right?

Actually, I often think I am just learning. I look back on my marriage and see so much failure that could have been avoided had I prepared myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, even physically instead of thinking that there would not be much difference between my life as a single person and my life as a married woman.

Lately I have been meditating on the woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31 in an attempt to make my life more like hers. So I thought I'd do a series on her.

Proverbs 31:10 -- "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."

I want to focus on the word virtuous for this post. Literally, in the Hebrew, this means a woman of strength. The word translated virtuous in this verse as also been translated might, power, strength, valiant. It has been used in a military sense as army, great forces, host, company. So we are talking about one strong woman here.

I like what Matthew Henry has to say about this, so I am going to quote him here:

[She is]...a woman of strength..., though the weaker vessel, yet made strong by wisdom and grace, and the fear of God....A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit, who has the command of her own spirit and knows how to manage other people's, one that is pious and industrious, and a help meet for a man....A virtuous woman is a woman of resolution, who, having espoused good principles, is firm and steady to them, and will not be frightened with winds and clouds from any part of her duty....

The first thing a woman needs if she would be a godly wife, then, is strength of character. On a related note, we women are sometimes subject to mood swings. Biblically, those mood swings ought to be subject to us. This is part of having the command of our own spirits. You might find it helpful to read this post about mood swings.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"It is appointed -- a day for you to die"

Last Sunday morning at a dangerous intersection near Dallas, Texas, 19-year-old Michael Billings went home to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I never heard of Michael Billings until after his death, but I sit here blinded by tears as I try to write this. Why would God choose to take this young man, who showed so much promise as a soldier of Christ? Maybe one reason is so those young men and women who are more mediocre in their faith can be spurred on to take up Michael's torch. And perhaps those of us who are older will also be spurred by his testimony. I know this is the fourth thing this week that has affected me to the point of tears and made me question my own spirituality, or lack thereof.

To learn more about Michael Billings, please follow this link. Please take the time also to listen to the short sermon he preached a couple of years ago at the age of 17. The title of this post comes from that sermon.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Colds, colds, colds!

I stayed home today with Ben, John and Timothy. (Nathanael stayed home, too, but since he lives in the garage now, we didn't see much of him.) All of us are coughing. In fact, there were enough people in our church who were not feeling well that we canceled the evening service tonight. We have been watching the Day of Discovery documentary on the life of Eric Liddell instead.

This morning I asked Ben to bring the little boys into the living room so we could keep an eye on them while we listened to Tom's Sunday morning message from last week (which I missed because I was home with a cold). As we were getting things set up, the following exchange took place between 3-year-old John and me.

"Come and sit on the rocking chair; we're going to listen to Daddy preach."

"Daddy?"

"Yes."

"Our daddy?"

"Yes, our daddy."

"Our real daddy?"

"Yes, our real daddy?"

"Our real daddy who lives in this house?"

By this time I am laughing as I answer, "Yes, our real daddy who lives in this house."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You can comment now

No matter who you are. But if you prove yourself to be a troll migrating from a certain someone's blog, I am going to find out how to block you! But I took off the "no anonymous comments" stipulation.

This is for Christy

And I think some of the rest of you will be able to relate...

Even the best of changes can be confusing.

After Tom and I got married I moved with him from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Three days after the wedding I was in a new church for the first time meeting all sorts of new people. I don't know how many people came up to me that morning, introducing themselves, and eager to meet "Tom's new wife." I had to constantly remember that I was Cathy Newton now, not Cathy Smith.

At one point, someone introduced herself and my mind went completely blank. I looked up at Tom and asked, "What's my name?"

In the weeks to follow, I sure did learn my name, and no forgetting it. The paperwork seemed endless as I stood in line to change my name on all sorts of documents including driver's license and social security card. Later, though, I was thankful I did not own a house, a car, or any other major possession. The paper work involved in changing all those documents (mortgages, licenses, insurance, utilities, etc.) is the reason given for why the province of Quebec made it illegal for a woman to take her husband's name upon marriage.

Monday, October 29, 2007

hockey sticks

I really wish they'd make it easier for the uninformed to buy hockey sticks for their children. Tom and I needed four sticks: one lefty, three for right-handers. We bought one stick that said "L", two sticks that said "R", and one stick that was neither. We brought them home. The children looked them over and told us that the one marked "L" was for right-handers, and the two marked "R" were for lefties.

!!!!!!!!!

Now we have to take one back and exchange it. Oh, well. I'll have to try to remember next time that "L" stands for "Right" no matter what they taught me years ago in phonics.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Changes and additions

"My Favourite Blogs" in my sidebar has been changed. It is now titled "Important People in My Life." These people are important to me, not because they post regularly (a few seem to have given up blogging). They are not important because I have met them (a couple of them I have never met, and two of them I haven't seen in years). They are important because they are part of my greater family--the family of God--and I have grown to love them either through real life or through their blogs. Because they are important people, I have listed their names rather than their blog names. Go visit them to find the blog names you might be accustomed to seeing.

Here are the additions:

Christy: I had her linked before, but she, for some inexplicable reason, deleted that blog. Now she has started a new blog, in which we learn that she is looking forward to one of life's greatest events: her own wedding!!! Congratulations, Christy, and I really hope you keep this blog!

Melissa: I met Melissa through an internet forum she started, about homesteading. About four years ago, we got to meet her and her family in person at their home in southeast Ohio. She is a dear friend, and we hit it off right away. Melissa is the most frugal person I have ever enjoyed knowing. She manages to make her home and family look like they should grace the covers of those really nice country homes magazines while living on a shoestring budget. They have a gorgeous house on a gorgeous piece of property. It is so beautiful that they were once offered enough money to retire on if they sold it. (I sincerely doubt they will ever sell.) I believe they were offered close to ten times what they had put into it up to that point.

If I stopped talking about Melissa at that point, I would fail to tell you this important fact: People, not things, are what Melissa is all about. When you go to her house, you feel like you are home. You notice the clean, clutter-free house, but you aren't afraid to sit down in it. They want you there, and they take time to make you feel special. Melissa loves her children's friends, and likes having them over, even to the point of having 25 girls for a sleepover. And all those kids love her, because they know they matter to her.

I want to be hospitable like that, but I sadly fail too often.

(Melissa is a down-to-earth, old-fashioned sort of person, and I was not really surprised to learn that she cooks on a wood stove because she wants to.)

Sarah: My dear, zany daughter has started blogging. I love her more than she knows, and need to show her that more. She has a heart for God, and, though I look forward to seeing what God does with her future, I am really enjoying what God is doing in and through her now. If we were teens at the same time, I would really have admired her, but she would have be extremely annoyed at me. She is not the "daughter just like me" that my mother wished on me. (I hope I never get one of those!)

Read and enjoy, and comment if you like.

Camping in the Adirondacks

This is Timothy in one of his favourite spots at our campsite. We had neglected to bring lawn chairs, so when I saw four log sections this size in the woods, I asked the boys to roll them up to our site. We used one as a chopping block for cutting firewood and the other three we used as chairs. This one, however, had started to rot. One of the boys knocked out the center, and before long, Timothy had claimed it as his spot.

I learned some lessons while camping.

Lesson #1: Never go canoeing on a windy day when you have a light-weight child sitting in the front. This is especially important for people like me who are inexperienced with canoeing. Abby and I called the Lord's remembrance to the storm on the sea of Galilee and thanked Him sincerely when He brought us safely to shore, even though it was the opposite shore and we had quite a hike through the woods to get back to our campsite.

Lesson #2: A broken stroller with the wheels cut off does NOT make a good baby carrier when you want to back pack a toddler up a mountain. It is better to remember to bring the carrier designed for this purpose which we accidentally left at home. The experience that taught us this lesson is indescribable. Suffice it to say that one of the most important things you need for something like this is a shoulder strap for the toddler, something most strollers lack. It is also best to back pack a toddler in an area where you do NOT have to climb practically straight up a rocky slope where the only way to know where the trail is, is to search diligently for the trail markers fastened to the trees--little plastic yellow disks in this case.

Lesson #3: This lesson is very much related to Lesson #2, and was learned at the same time. NEVER trust the trail guides when they describe a certain trail as "easy."

Lesson #4: Learned by our four older, hardier children: ALWAYS trust the trail guides when they describe a certain trail as "difficult."

Lesson #5: Ducks, mice, squirrels and chipmunks which live at campsites are not just tame. They are pushy, and will not cease to demand their fair share of your food.

Lesson #6: Tent camping in northern mountains in late September/early October might not be the best idea, especially if some people forget their long sleeved shirts and/or jackets. In fact, coats would be even better. Also thick pajamas, long underwear and extra blankets. Three weeks later, we still have not fully recovered from colds caught during vacation.

Lesson #7: This is by far the most important lesson of all, and will bring a smile to any Christian who has learned to trust God for the teeniest of details in their lives. The lesson is, DELIGHT to trust God for the teeniest details of even the most insignificant events of your life, including your vacation.

We left our driveway at 3:00 p.m. on the Monday we started our vacation. This was about 4 hours later than we had intended, considering which campsite we had chosen. By leaving so late we guaranteed that it would be pitch black dark before we got to the Adirondacks, and our chosen campsite was another 2 hours farther south. Because it was dark, and because we were on a winding twisting mountain road, and because the campsite signs were not lighted, we chose the first site still open this late in the season. It providenced to be Eighth Lake Campground, six miles from the little touristy town of Inlet.

We pulled into the gate, looked at a campsite map, and chose our site. We drove almost half a mile before we got there, only to find that it providenced to be already occupied. So we chose the site just across the road and settled in.

Next morning after breakfast, we did what we always do every morning. We had family devotions. After that, we spent the day exploring and deciding what food we needed for the next few days. Tom did the shopping while the rest of us walked around, played in the woods, gathered dead wood for the fire, and otherwise entertained ourselves in the great outdoors.

The day after that, Elijah came back from fishing to tell of a family he had met. It seems that the occupants of our first choice in campsites had been watching us. They were friends of the family Elijah met and had this to say of us: "They have devotions every morning, and the children are quiet by 8:15 every night. I bet they're Christian home schoolers." The family Elijah met were also Christian home schoolers. I was rather sobered by this reminder that the world is watching, and wants to know if we Christians, home schoolers or not, really are different.

One day we decided to go hiking. We chose our trails, Tom and I taking the younger ones on an "easy" hike, and Josiah taking the older ones on a difficult hike. We had to drive to the trail heads, so we loaded up the van and the car and started out. I was waiting for Sarah to get in the front seat of the van when I noticed the drawer under her seat open. A metal hanger providenced to be sticking out of the drawer. Not wanting to be bothered putting the hanger away in a suitcase, I shoved the drawer shut, hanger and all.

We drove out, with me in the lead (since I had the map). Suddenly I providenced to think of Ben's feet. Ben spends as much of the summer as possible either barefoot or in rubber boots. Most of the time I don't care, but this time I didn't think either choice would be appropriate for mountain climbing. Ben was not in the van, so I stopped and radioed Tom, asking what Ben had on his feet. He glanced around, saw that Ben was not with him, and said, "I don't know, why don't you ask him?" Thus we discovered that Ben was not with either of us. He was back in the woods chopping firewood, and we almost left him behind.

With Ben in the van (with footwear appropriate for hiking), we started out again. We were halfway there when I noticed that Tom was no longer behind us. I pulled over to wait for him, but after five minutes I decided to turn around. We found him ready to pull over with car trouble. We both pulled into a parking area nearby, and the first thing Tom wanted to know was, did I have a metal hanger! He needed one to temporarily wire up the muffler that was coming down.

The week went on, and we began to discuss where we might attend church on Sunday. Eighth Lake was too far north for us to attend the church we had originally planned to attend, where a friend of ours is pastor. Tom said the only churches he saw in Inlet were a Catholic church and a Presbyterian church. (Later we found out that the Presbyterian church had a lesbian pastor.) We considered driving the distance to our friend's church, but really didn't like that idea.

On Friday morning we gathered around the fire as usual for family devotions. While discussing the parable of the sower, one of the camp workers drove up. He got out and walked up to us. Seeing what we were doing (and having noticed that we did so every morning), he asked us if we were Christians. Then he invited us to his church Sunday! There really was a Baptist church in Inlet, we just hadn't noticed because it was on a side street.

Still, the name Baptist does not necessarily mean it's a Bible-believing church preaching sound doctrine. We continued to think this over. Finally, though, we decided to take the man up on his offer and went.

In between Sunday school and the morning service, the pastor's wife came to greet me. In conversation with her I discovered that they were new to New York state, having recently moved from Texas! My mind went back eight years to the time we moved from Texas to try to start a church in New York state. We both had similar experiences of culture shock coming from warm, friendly Texas to cold, not so friendly New York state.

She told me that every Sunday she always has someone over for dinner, but for some reason she hadn't gotten around to inviting anyone the Sunday we were there. She said that all week she wanted to invite someone, but somehow just never did. So she asked us. This was God's providence to both our families. It encouraged us to know that there is one more pastor in New York preaching sound doctrine, and I hope we were an encouragement to them. They are interested in the prayer meetings Tom has with other pastors in New York, and in the Bible conferences we either have or attend. I really look forward to seeing more of them.

That night after the evening service, the pastor's wife said to me, "You can be glad you didn't go to Nick's Lake Campground." She went on to describe a very violent domestic dispute that had occurred there that week, involving police and ambulance. A friend of theirs was on the ambulance team, and had told them about it.

Nick's Lake is the campground we would have gone to, if we hadn't left home so late.

Do you delight in the providence of God working out all the little details of your life, not just the ones you think are major and important? If you haven't learned to look for this kind of providence in your life, I encourage you to start. You will laugh with delight and joy, and learn to really rest in His care.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My daughter has a warped sense of humor

Actually, it's more likely that she's just never been a mother.

We were sitting in prayer meeting. I was in the back row with John on one side and Timothy on the other. Tom was in his customary place behind the podium expounding on Acts 15:36-41. You know, the passage about the dissension between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark. Tom asked, "What kind of person are you? Are you a quitter?" I have to admit to feeling more like a quitter tonight.

John and Timothy are 3 years and 19 months, respectively. They are in training, learning to sit still. I have been working with them on folding their hands and being quiet. Do you know how much mischief a little boy can get into and still keep his hands folded? Timothy managed to pull on the collar of Elizabeth's dress and unsnap the legs of his pants and untie his shoes. John kept taking off his socks and poking Sarah in the back (Sarah was sitting in front of him). I kept turning back and forth between the two of them, trying to instruct them in a better way.

Just when I felt I couldn't handle this anymore I turned back to deal with John one more time. As I turned his way, my nose told me, and my eyes confirmed it. After a whole week of being dry, John was now wet. On the padded seat of a church chair. Timothy and I escorted John to the nursery where we found a spare pair of pants in the diaper bag.

I stayed in the nursery with the boys, seating them on chairs so they could continue learning to sit still while I continued to hear about quitters and how to deal with them over the speaker. At that point, I was beginning to feel like Paul, and thought how nice it would be if a Barnabas would come along and take over with my two little boys. Not seriously, but I am tired.

When we divided according to gender for prayer time, Tom came to take John with him. Since I was one of only two adult females there tonight, and since there were five non-adult females including two or three youngsters in need of parental supervision, Tom urged me to go join them. Sarah came to second that urging just as I was getting up to come.

I confess I really wasn't much inclined to pray tonight, but I knew prayer was exactly what I needed. Since Timothy had just about had it with this sitting still business, I took my turn as soon as I could. I briefly considered asking Sarah to take Timothy out, but then I decided to take him out myself. As I was leaving the auditorium, I turned and motioned to Elizabeth to follow me. My reasoning was that she doesn't always behave for Sarah.

So there we are in the nursery. No more sitting still for Timothy. But Elizabeth, looking rather pale and tired, sat down in a chair facing me. Suddenly she choked, swallowed, and got a panicked look on her face. I accurately predicted the near future and told her to get in the bathroom and lean over the toilet.

She stood there, in the doorway between the nursery and the bathroom. Crying, she tried to describe what she felt like doing. I frantically told her to get over the toilet, which was close enough to her that she could touch it. Instead she exploded all over the nursery carpet. Trying not to raise my voice because the men were praying in the next room, I told her to get over the toilet, NOW. She moved into the bathroom and stood by the toilet and exploded all over the wall, the floor, the outside of the toilet.

Meanwhile, Timothy, terrified at the sight of all this *stuff* exploding out of Elizabeth, was screaming.

I will not go into detail about the clean-up. And when prayer time was over I still had John's wet seat to clean.

There was no change of clothes for Elizabeth. She had to go home wearing her sweater and the shorts she had on under her dress. Poor girl! It turned chilly tonight, too.

Later, as I started the van, I checked the mileage. We have to do that now, to decide when to get gas, because the gas gauge doesn't work. I called Tom over and asked if he thought I needed to get gas. We decided I could make it home. He followed in the car in case I did run out. (Normally we go two different ways trying to beat each other home.)

We were almost to our exit when Sarah says, "Wouldn't it be funny if the van stalled right now?"

Just the thought of that possibility nearly pushed me over the edge into hysterical laughter.

Josiah's word of consolation: "But it should encourage you to know that you can't quit. It's impossible. You don't even have to think about it."

HA!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

11:02 PM

To every thing there is a season. . . .a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which was planted. --Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

I just pulled the last jar out of the canner for this garden season. I made a batch of hot pepper relish with the last of the peppers. Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain, what's left of the garden will go under the ground to await next year's planting. I am so glad to be finally done with canning!

This year I'm going to try something old-fashioned with the pumpkins. Instead of processing them all at once and trying to find room in the freezer for all that pulp, I'm going to store them in a cool, dry place to use as I need them. The corn I'm drying on the cob, still on the stalks. When the stalks are completely brown, we'll shuck and shell the corn and try grinding our own cornmeal.

We harvested about 30 pounds of the hottest onions I ever hope to cry over cutting. Today I found I could avoid all the tears by taking the cutting board out onto the porch. When the weather gets too cold for that, I'm not sure what we'll do. Abby tried wearing safety goggles, but she says that doesn't work well.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. --Genesis 8:22

And now it is time for bed. I am still coughing, but I think I should be able to sleep tonight. I haven't had a decent night's sleep since getting this cold.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

When Josiah was bored...

Since I am staying home with my own cold and two sons with their colds, I thought I'd share something from Josiah's stay in the hospital last week.

He lay there on the bed, bored, staring at the ceiling, the walls and whatever he could see out the door. Then his gaze lit on the monitor screen, which faithfully recorded all his vitals. There were four or five wavy lines making their way across the screen, with numbers along the side, one number for each line. He figured out what each was for, except one. He studied it for a while before realizing that the slightly rounded vee shapes traveling across the screen corresponded to his own rhythmic breathing.

With this realization, a new form of entertainment presented itself. For this was the one line on the screen he could actively control!

First he tried to breathe in such a way as to make the waves perfectly rounded, even, and all the same size, like sine waves. This was hard. Then he tried making the line go straight up, over, down, over, up, over, etc., like the top of a castle wall or a cross-section of a waffle. Then he decided to see what would happen if he held his breath. The straight line had almost crossed the whole screen when the corresponding number began to flash 0 over and over. Realizing he really didn't want to cause a commotion with his nurses, he decided to end his breathing experiments.

Later, and at his request, Tom brought him a couple of Canadian history books to study. This kept him interested, yet he was never more glad than when the doctor told him he could come home.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What's been happening around here lately...

July
  • We got this year's school books in July and started almost the next day.
  • We interrupted school frequently to start harvesting the garden.
August
  • We continued harvesting the garden and trying to do school, in spite of the fact that the neighbourhood children kept knocking on the door wanting to play and the tomatoes were rapidly ripening.
  • Abby got some sort of infection on her face after swimming in the St. Lawrence River, on the US side. She was the only one to get it, and the only one to have touched a dead *thing* that had floated in to shore. The doctor said there was no connection, but I'm not so sure. She still has some scars under her eyes, making her look slightly sunburned.
September
  • We continued processing the never-ending tomatoes, which really will taste nice this winter after I get over being sick of them.
  • I had my first midwife appointment for Baby Number Ten, who is expected to show his/her face sometime in early April.
  • Family vacation!!! The first in six years that did NOT include visiting relatives. We went tent camping in the Adirondacks, an unforgettable experience that deserves (and will get) a separate post.
October
  • Josiah spent four days in the hospital, with pneumonia. He has not fully recovered yet. They said we got him in just in time--we might have lost him, but God is merciful. We are praying that there is no relapse. The rest of us are taking turns battling colds. I am taking my turn now.
  • Sarah started her own blog.
  • I determined to tackle my tote of unfinished quilts. I finished one yesterday that I started a year ago. It was for a friend who had bronchitis then. She was happy to get it, though, of course, she is quite healthy now. (Sorry, Mom. I forgot to take a picture.) Today I got a good second wind going on the next one.
  • We got the first freeze for which there was evidence left after the sun came up. Hopefully it will not rain Monday, and we can finish the garden off once and for all.
I have all the while been working on my French, which is not improving as quickly as I would like. I still can't pronounce it well, especially words which contain the letter r. And I still don't hear it well. Les chiens courent sounds almost the same as Le chien court. There is just a subtle difference between Le and Les, which is hard for me to pick up when French is spoken at normal speed. And can someone who knows French please explain how Des filles sont assis sur la table translates into English if there are only two girls sitting on the table? As near as I can tell, des means some or more than one, but in English we would not normally say some girls when there are only two. I guess you can't always translate everything exactly.

The house is quiet now. All the children have had their baths/showers, and are tucked into bed. I will have to check on a couple of bookworms and remind them to turn off their lights. Then it will be time for me to turn in.

Good night!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Still here

Just to let you know--I am still here. I am taking some time off the computer for a little while.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Remember Lot's Wife (and his daughters)

And while [Lot] lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. . . .Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. . . .And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine. . . .Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father (from Genesis 19}).

In studying the life of Lot, I found him to be spineless when it came to leading his family in the way of righteousness. Peter tells us that he "vexed his righteous soul" in seeing the wickedness of Sodom all day long, every day. Apparently, the sin of the city really bothered him. Some commentators I've read (Matthew Henry, John Gill) suggest that he sat in the gates of the city not as a ruler, but to look out for passing travelers who may need a place to stay for the night. They say that Lot did not want these travelers to fall into the hands of the Sodomites as they lodged in the streets all night, so he opened up his home to them. If this is true, it is another indication that he was bothered by the sin of the city and sought to do something good.

But Lot was spineless. He knew the laws of God from having lived with Abraham for many years, but his family learned to love the world. Instead of leading his family in righteousness, standing for what was right, he let them lead him further and further into the world.

This blog is for women, so let's leave Lot and focus on his wife. What I have just said about Lot is partly speculation, but I think we can still learn some lessons from this.

For the wives: Are we honouring the Lord with our lives, our desires, and the way we train and influence our children, especially our daughters? Do we leave all, take up our crosses and follow Christ? Or are we lingering on the plain gazing at the world and all its things, fame and pleasure? Are we helping our husbands build a godly home, or are we nagging at them to get closer and closer to the world? Are we training our daughters to love and submit to their future husbands by teaching them to love and submit to their fathers? Or are we training them to manipulate men to get what we want from them?

For the daughters: Most fathers have a soft spot in their hearts for their daughters. Daughters, especially youngest daughters, can wrap their dads around their little fingers. Daughters are usually born with a master's degree in manipulation and flattery which they use to get what they want from their dads (and later their husbands). So, daughters, what do you want from your dad? Do you want your dad to love and honour God? Do you want his help in being godly yourself? Do you crave his godly counsel in all areas of your life? Do you want him to be a man God would use in a mightly way?

Here is a message, a testimony, actually, from Duncan Campbell. He details how God worked in and through him all through his life. I encourage you to listen to this message, paying extra-careful attention to how God used his daughter to rebuke and encourage him during a time of spiritual declension in his life. It is a message that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

From this link you can choose to either play the audio from your computer, or you can download to your mp3 player. This is an old tape, and sometimes hard to listen to both because of the quality and Mr. Campbell's Scottish accent. But it is well worth the effort.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Little by little, down the slippery slope

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 3:10-12).

And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed (Genesis 14:12).

But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly (Genesis 19:4-7).

Lot's progression into the world:

1. He looked at the world ("lifted up his eyes").

2. He considered the world and its possibilities ("beheld").

3. He got as close to the world as he could without actually living in it ("pitched his tent toward Sodom").

4. He made the world his permanent home ("dwelt in Sodom").

5. He considered worldlings to be his family ("I pray you, brethren").

More about Lot next time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How do we recognize worldliness for what it is?

For the past month or so, Tom has been preaching about worldliness during the Sunday morning service. Last Sunday as he preached, I thought of four verses that would help me recognize and deal with worldliness in my own soul. Each of the verses teaches the first half of "the chief end of man." (As a child, I was taught the catechism of the reformed Baptist Christian school I attended in the second grade. I still remember the first question: "What is the chief end of man?" and the answer: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.")

1 Corinthians 10:31: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Peter 4:11: If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 1:20: According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

My thoughts along this line were that anything that glorifies Christ is holy. Anything that does not glorify Christ is worldly. If you cannot honestly say that this action, this habit, this clothing, this whatever, glorifies Christ, then that item is worldly.

The problem is that we are now so in tune to the world that we don't even recognize it. It has crept in subtly, unawares. Just like the proverbial frog who was slowly boiled to death, we've been cooked, and don't even realize it.

Some time ago I posted a review of a book I like very much. Here is a quote from that book, that defines the problem quite well:

The problem is that we have mimicked the world for so long--copying their fashions, borrowing their educational and social philosophies, conforming to their dating format, and adopting their dialect--that we do not even realize we have lost our Christian identity. We've been wearing the costume and speaking the language of the world for so long that we don't even recognize ourselves anymore.

So where to we go from here? How do we learn to recognize worldliness for what it is?

More later...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Now Playing in a Church Near You...

The ever popular theme "Worldliness in Sheep's Clothes" is taking our churches by storm. Some critics are saying that the theme is mis-named--it should be "Sheep in Worldly Clothes." Others say either name fits. Tune in next time to learn more. Meanwhile, tell us what YOU think! Cast your vote today.

Choice #1: "I looked for the World and found it in the Church."

Choice #2: "I looked for the Church and found her in the World."

Choice #3: Both 1 and 2.

Choice #4: Who cares?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Wise Mothers, Wise Daughters

I wrote this up as a mother/daughter hand out for my little girls' Sunday school class. I had it as a two-column spread so that the part for mothers and the part for daughters was side by side for comparison. But I can't do two columns on this blog. If you want to print this out, you could copy and paste onto your word processor and fix it up so that the verse runs across the page, at the top, like a title, and then have the mother/daughter part in two columns.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1).


A WISE mother builds her house by…

…keeping her house clean and tidy.

…being careful how she spends money.

…making sure everyone has the food and clothes they need.

…making sure everyone does their share of the work.

honouring her husband and submitting to him

…encouraging her children to behave in a way that glorifies Christ—at home and in public.

…cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in her heart and in her children’s hearts.

…teaching her children to fear God and obey His commands.


A WISE daughter helps by…

…keeping her room, her work areas and her play spaces clean and tidy.

…not asking for things to be bought for her when she doesn’t really need them, and saving her own money for things she wants.

…helping to make meals, eating what she’s given without complaining, and keeping her clothes neat and clean.

honouring and obeying her father

…doing her own work cheerfully, minding her own business, and helping others when she can.

…behaving in a way that glorifies Christ—at home, with her friends, and in public.

…cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in her own heart.

…fearing God and obeying His commands.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Questions

Will the Lord cast off for ever?
And will he be favourable no more?
Is his mercy clean gone for ever?
Doth his promise fail for evermore?
Hath God forgotten to be gracious?
Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?
--Psalm 77:7-9

These verses were part of my morning reading today. And in my thoughts I asked another question:

Where is the revival we have so longed for?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Answered prayer

Stephen and Rebekah Walker welcomed their new son Brandon into the world Monday! Rebekah's aunt tells me that Mother and Baby were scheduled to come home yesterday. Continue to pray in the next few weeks for Brandon's continued health and Rebekah's recovery.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A prayer request for the Walker family

If you visit any of the blogs I have listed in my sidebar, you will find one called Rebekah's Thots. Rebekah Walker is the daughter of our former pastor in Texas. She and her husband Steven are expecting their second son next week. I would encourage you to read through her blog to know her difficult journeys into motherhood, and to understand the urgency of this prayer request.

Rebekah is to be induced on Monday. Please pray for a safe delivery. Please also pray for peace of mind for their whole family. God is gracious.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Maxson Family

I have never met Victor and Bethany Maxson, but Bethany's family attends a church we used to attend when we lived in Texas. I had her old blog on my sidebar, but now that she's married she has a new blog. I think it should be interesting to read about the lives of these young Christian newlyweds as they live and work and grow together. So far they have some lovely pictures of their honeymoon on South Padre Island.

You know, I think I'm getting old. Victor and Bethany look so young!!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Babies and children in the worship service

"And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law" (Nehemiah 8:2-3).

Years ago, when Pastor David Dickerson preached a series from Nehemiah, he voiced the question, "At what age can children understand?" He then answered his own question thus: "A lot sooner than most people give them credit for."

But lest there be any misunderstanding, I found this verse:

"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet" (Joel 2:15-16).

My friend Twinklemoose recently wrote a wonderful article on child training. I especially liked her analogy of painting trees. (See Psalm 1:3.) As sometimes happens, I found that my reply to her article was turning into an article of my own. You will have a better understanding of my post if you read hers first.

As I read through Twink's article, I suddenly thought, "Couldn't we arrange Baby's weekday schedule to be a little closer to the Lord's Day schedule?" After all, that would help teach Baby that the Lord's day is special, not tedious and trying. Then, just as suddenly, I was surprised to realize that I had already done that, completely without conscious effort.

I, too, once thought that NOTHING should interfere with Baby's schedule. I even had the support of a well-known missionary/author/conference speaker/radio host! She went so far as to suggest that Mother stay home with Baby while Father and Older Child(ren) went to services that went past Baby's bedtime.

I resented that I had to struggle with fussy children and that my pastor/husband wanted children trained to sit in the service at as young an age as possible instead of being in the nursery. I know others might feel the same resentment, so what happened in our house quite by accident might help them. Here's what happened:

We always struggled with keeping even primary-aged children (ages 6-8 or so) awake during morning and evening services. Then, for completely different reasons, I changed the children's nap and bed times to be about an hour later than before. It wasn't until I read Twink's article that I realized that this one minor change in the weekday schedule had made all the difference in the world with the Sunday schedule.

No longer do I regularly struggle to keep a child awake during services. If I sense that a child needs more sleep because of a rough night, I can easily make an exception and allow the child to sack out on the floor by my feet, covered with my sweater or the baby's blanket. (If the floor of your church isn't carpeted like ours is, and you can anticipate your child's probable need for a little nap, you might bring an extra small blanket to use as a pallet.)

We begin teaching our children to go through the motions very early. My son John is not tall enough to see over the top of the chair/pew in front of him, so we supplied a small stool for him to stand on. When we stand to sing or for the Scripture reading, he stands--on his stool, not on the chair/pew we sit on. My son Timothy is still too young for the stool, so when we stand, I hold him against me while he sits on the back of the chair/pew in front of me. When we sing, John likes to hold a hymnbook. I teach him to hold it still, and not play with it or make noise turning the pages. When we read from the Scripture, John likes to hold a Bible. I teach him to hold it still, just like the hymnbook. Sometimes he tires of holding it, so I have him set it on the chair next to him. Then he just sits quietly through the rest of the service. I don't give him toys to play with, books to look at, or paper to write on. I found that doing so made for more distraction when he dropped toys or wanted to show people his books or paper.

Timothy, at almost 13 months, is still in the process of learning to be still. I keep him in the service all through the singing portion of the service. He sits on my lap or on the chair/pew next to me. He doesn't play with toys, either, because he drops them purposely and wants them picked up so he can drop them again. He also does not sit on the floor because he will crawl away. If he's sleepy/fussy, I nurse him. No one at our church objects to me doing so in the service since I am discreet about this. If he is antsy to the point of wiggling and making happy noises, I will stand, holding him, in the back of the auditorium. My younger children and I sit in the back anyway, so I can still supervise the ones who are sitting down.

If things get to the point when I have to take Timothy out because he is too noisy, I take him to the room set aside as a nursery where I let him play a little while. I usually bring John out, too, and have him sit quietly in a chair. Here I will let John work a few simple puzzles or look at Bible story books. But because I still have him be quiet, I can continue to hear the sermon coming through on the speaker.

At home, during dinner time, we go around the table asking the children what they learned. They can choose whether to tell about Sunday school or the morning sermon. This provides interesting and profitable mealtime conversation that even the younger ones get involved in.

It helps when the pastor finds ways to include the children in his sermon. Every now and then, Tom will say that such-and-such is like what so-and-so learned in Sunday school recently. He will call the child's name and remind them of what they learned previously and how that relates to what he is preaching about now. And he knows a lot about what all the classes are learning because he requires the children to say something about their lessons before they can choose a hymn on Sunday nights. And my younger children enjoy being used as sermon illustrations. (My older children are not quite so enthusiastic about this!)

This has turned into a longer post than I anticipated, but I hope it helps someone.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

One Sunday morning

You may have noticed that very little has been coming through from me to this blog. I had computer issues. A new hard drive was installed, my computer got a virus, things were reinstalled, some documents (actually a whole lot of documents) were lost in the process. Most importantly, I lost all the high school records I was keeping for my three oldest home schoolers. (Thankfully, I printed out most of those, so it's not a total loss of hours upon hours of work.)

Besides computer issues, we all got sick. Colds and the flu all at the same time. All eleven of us. Even Tom went down, which is unusual. One Sunday night service and one mid-week prayer meeting were canceled, youth group canceled at least once, one prayer meeting went on without Tom and two-thirds of our family, and nursing home services were either canceled or led by someone else. And there are still some sick. Today at least four of our children are staying home, but Tom says I'm going, regardless. I've missed too many Sundays, and I'm one of the Sunday school teachers! Tom (the current sub-teacher) has taught my class more than I have in the past two months.

On the upside, I am finally learning French!!!! Le chat est sous la voiture because the puppy keeps chasing it, and it goes there to hide. It took me awhile to remember the difference between sous la voiture and sur la voiture, although little paw prints on the windshield indicate that le chat est sur la voiture quite frequently. I think my favourite sentence so far is, La fille marche. That one reminds me of when I was a little girl. I was supposed to go to bed, I think, but I wasn't moving fast enough. My mother said, "Now march!" And, like a little soldier, I marched!

"This is the day which the LORD hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it." Today is my birthday. J'ai quarante et un ans.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

We found Larry!!!!!

Larry was sighted this week. He is happily (I guess) living out his days in the cellar, very much alive and well.

Just thought you'd like to know that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Little children need CONSTANT supervision

{Woman's name withheld} "was outside smoking a cigarette while, unbeknownst to her, her two little boys were inside playing with a lighter in the basement."

So states the front page story in our local paper. The article goes on to say that the woman heard the smoke alarm go off and was able to get her sons out, but the house sustained $180,000 worth of damage.

Monday, March 05, 2007

From the Pastor's Desk: The Years of Our Lives

Someone has figured that in the average life span of 70 years, we will spend our time this way:

Eight years in amusements

Six years at the dinner table

Five years in transportation

Four years in conversation

Three years sick or convalescing

Less than one year for God--that is, IF a person attends ONE 90-minute service every Sunday and prays every day for ten minutes.

(Cathy's comment: Notice that there is no mention of evangelism at all--no teaching, no preaching, no witnessing to the neighbours, no passing out tracts. Also, there is no mention of any group prayer meeting at all. Is this what modern-day Christianity has come to? God help us! We need revival!)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

"I, Isaac, take thee, Rebekah"

Back to the topic of matchmaking and courtship. . .

From Ravi Zacharias of Let My People Think, here is one of the best messages I have ever heard on this subject. I strongly urge all young people and all parents of young people to listen. After you listen, feel free to comment. Time forbids me to say more.

Part One

Part Two

Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Until the earth passes away"

Today Elizabeth was telling me about her "bestest doll," her favourite, the one she wants to "keep forever and ever until the earth passes away."

That surprised me a bit. "'Until the earth passes away'?" I repeated.

"Yes," she said.

Later I told Sarah about this. She laughed, and related the following conversation she had with Elizabeth the other day.

Sarah: "Elizabeth, everything we have is just junk."

Elizabeth: "No, it isn't!"

Sarah: "Yes, it is. It's just junk, and it's going to burn up."

Elizabeth, dismayed and alarmed: "Why?"

Sarah: "Because it's junk. We didn't bring it in, and we're not going to take it out. It's just going to burn up."

Elizabeth thought about that for a minute, then asked, "But I can keep it until it burns, can't I?"

Monday, February 05, 2007

From the Pastor's desk--"That I may know him..."

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Philippians 3:10

Tom has been preaching from this verse for the past month or so. Sunday he had this in the bulletin:

Four main aspects of the Christian life are,

1. Communion -- to know Him is to love Him

2. Conformity -- to know Him is to be like Him

3. Commitment -- to know Him is to live for Him

4. Consummation -- to know Him is to lose one's life for Him

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. If it is true that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12), then why aren't we suffering persecution?

Could it be that we are not living godly in Christ Jesus?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Finally back on line

The guts of my computer are still hanging out of it, but it has a new hardrive, and my resident computer tech (son Nate) is gradually getting everything back to normal for me. The only glitch right now is that for some unknown reason he can't install Windows. He put Linux on instead, which he likes better anyway. I really wouldn't care, except that the Internet web watch monitoring system we have won't detect Linux!

All my men are leaving this morning to go help friends knock down a wall in their house. This family just bought property about a half hour from here, and the house needs some work before they can move in. They helped us get our house ready when we bought this place, so it's nice that we can help them now.

Today I've got baking to do. Not too much, since other friends gave us a lot of day-old bakery bread (which they get free from someone else). We still have enough in the freezer to get us through most of the week. I've got sour dough working, which I'm going to try today. I made French bread with it last week, which turned out really good. I also need to make some granola and some cookies. I've been experimenting with using honey (instead of sugar) in cookie recipes. The oatmeal cookies I made a couple of weeks ago turned out delicious. Today I'm going to try peanut butter cookies. The key to using honey is to use half as much as what the recipe calls for, for sugar, and to add about a fourth cup more flour for about every cup of honey used.

I got an e-mail last week saying that my new wheat grinder is on its way! Finally I'll be able to start using that half ton of wheat we got last fall! That was another unexpected blessing. I happened to be talking to another homeschool mom about the crops they grow on their farm. She mentioned wheat, so I asked her where the common Joe (me) could buy wheat for home grinding. She said she would ask her husband if we could buy some of theirs. The next time we saw her, she had a sheet of paper on which she had worked out how much wheat we would need for a year, based on the size of our family, about how much bread we would use in a week, and how much wheat makes one cup of flour! She figured out to the bushel how much wheat we would need, and told us we could have it for $60!!! So Tom got ten large totes from Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire (Wal-Mart didn't have enough in stock). On the appointed day, he and the boys drove out to where they were loading the wheat for shipment and helped fill the totes with wheat right off the trucks. Tom asked who he should pay, and they said, "There's no charge." !!!!!!!

Never let it be said that pastors and their families are poor. We are NOT. What we may lack in ready cash is MORE than made up with the blessings of being part of the church body. "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25). "The young lions do lack, and suffer humger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing" (Psalm 34:10).

By the way, we still haven't found Larry.