Sisters are the best.

Two nights ago my solder sister and I spent four hours talking before bed. Yes, that DOES mean we stayed up until 3 a.m. We haven’t done that in a while, since she has a man in her life who she normally stays up talking to on Skype until I’m already dead to the world (aka sleeping). Anyhoo, it was one of those great heart-to-heart sister talks that includes rants of frustration and tears and hugs and ends in prayers. We talked about guilt and emotional defeat, feelings of worthlessness and those days when we just don’t feel close to the Lord. We know those are all lies, but the fact of the confusion is very real.

Then today, she posted a song for me on my facebook page. I listened and read the words and just let myself cry. It’s awesome to know that she has my back, she knows what I’m struggling with, and she knows what will speak to me and encourage me.

And so I pass it on to you.

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Christmasy Tid-Bits

I’ve been a busy little beaver this Christmas season (and boy, are my teeth feeling it,) with part-time work, part-time day care, cleaning for company, baking cookies, shopping for gifts, getting commissioned  paintings finished in time… you get the idea. I love it. Too often we lose sight of the fact that this holiday is a celebration, and we get lost in the ‘must-dos’ and forget to let ourselves celebrate. I know that Christ was not born on December 25th. I know that trees and gifts really having next to nothing to do with His coming (depending on who you ask), and neither do the traditional movies, music and stories that I grew up on, but I love them anyway. Here are some ‘cultural’ Christmasy things I’ve been up to lately.

 

  • Listening to Tim Curry read A Christmas Carol. This man was born to read books with dismal characters. That’s actually a compliment. “If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

 

  • Wrapping gifts while watching Home Alone and quoting half of the lines as they are spoken. “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!”

 

  • Bright green, be-glittered wrapping paper. The lights on the tree catch the glitter in rainbow colors and it is magnificent. Not to mention how fun it is to know I am solely responsible for my family finding glitter all over themselves for the next month.

 

  • Friends are coming! For the first time in my life, this year we are actually going to have people STAYING OVER in our house. For like, two nights. So, with my sister coming home, the four foster kids, and the family of 8 who is coming to visit us, we will have 18 people in our house for three days. It will be awesome. Insane. Hopefully joyful. 😉

 

  • I find that I totally stink at the whole gift-giving thing. I wander through stores without an idea of what to give a particular person, and find about half a dozen things I’d like to get myself. Yeah… that’s not really how it’s supposed to go… just today I finally figured out what to get my grandfather. (Gift certificate to the greenhouse where I work, so he can get his tomato and cabbage plants in the spring. Duh. This is what I’ve given him the past two years. I don’t know how I could have forgotten that.) And I still don’t know what to get my brother. Guys are HARD to shop for! And believe me, I love the whole idea of making gifts for people… but my brother doesn’t want any of the types of things I make. Except cookies. Which nobody needs in my family.

July 4th, 2012

Today I’ve been thinking about our freedom as Americans, and how some of those freedoms are continually slipping away. It honestly makes me very concerned for the future of America. I grasp at my “American Pride”, even though my pride is in something that is not too evident in the America we are today. But instead of wallowing in these thoughts, I want to share a song about a freedom we can have that no one can take away from us. Ever.

For I am convinced that neither life not death, neither angels not demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Oh, farm-boys…

Let’s see if this video thing works this time. WordPress promises that all I have to do is copy/paste an url from youtube and it will embed, but last time I tried that it FAILED. Bad WordPress.

ANYWAY. I would like to think that some of you don’t know the song that this is a parody of, but it’s been so prevalent in our culture lately that it’s hard NOT to have heard it. Or of it. The original is pretty much disgusting to me, all about physical… you know… lust, in a nut-shell. When I saw someone post an agrarian parody, I had to check it out. Dirt flows in my veins after all.

These guys nailed it. The world needs more young men like them.

Best part: Water, water, water… you’ll know it when you see it. (heeeeyyyyy, that even fits in the song and I wasn’t trying! Hah!)

From Age to Age- New Sovereign Grace Album

I know I mention Sovereign Grace Music quite often to my friends on facebook, but I never feel like it sinks in quite enough, the very great influence this ministry has had on my life. These are beautiful songs, greatly talented people (and I’m VERY fussy when it comes to true talent.) and best of all, sound doctrine. So many of their songs are like mini sermons or bits out of a confession of faith. Many people, including myself, remember words to music much easier than just trying to memorize, so music is a wonderful vehicle to instil doctrine in my mind. Looking back over the last five years or so, many times of spiritual growth on my part have been accompanied by a song from Sovereign Grace that I could cling to, sing with and ponder, helping me to get through struggles. Not that they can take the place of scripture, but as I said, music stays with me more readily.

Valley of Vision was their first album that I was introduced to. Our worship leader started using some of the songs from it, and I was stricken with the beauty of the music and the deep meaning and heart-felt prayers they were based on, written by Puritans hundreds of years ago. I didn’t particularly follow SG though, until Risen was released and I was a part of the worship team and I started looking as worship and praise music in a very different light. Then last year my sister and I were able to go with our worship leader and his wife to a Worship God conference at Covenant Life Church where the worship was often led by Sovereign Grace people, and the conference ended with the recording of a live album, The Gathering, which takes you through the many different aspects of a church gathering, from the church coming together, prayer, worship, praise, communion, even leaving ‘the gathering’ and going out into the world.

Anyway, all I meant to do was share a song from their new album, From Age to Age (Lyrics from old hymns set to new music, etc.) and I got a bit carried away. I’m sleepy, too, so I don’t really know if this post is at all interesting. I hope it is. SG has such a dear place in my heart, I would hate to represent them poorly to you.

I love this new song… the words to the last verse especially speak to me where I am right now.

Gladly would I flee temptations
For their troubles fill my life
Turn and seek my God and Savior
For His goodness satisfies
Earthly treasures, all are passing
Thieves break in and rust destroys
But in God are awesome splendor
Love, and everlasting joys

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dew fall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day

I am not a morning person. In fact, growing up, the LAST thing I wanted to hear in the morning was my
mom opening my bedroom door and chirping “Rise and shine!”

More like “Drag yourself out of bed and moan hopelessly.”

There are those days though, that I wake to bright spring sunshine, birds singing and new green things
all around me, and I can’t help but be cheerful in spite of the hour. My pastor has been encouraging
and challenging us to give each day to the Lord when we rise, and I am trying to do that. It doesn’t
work every day. I forget. I’m human. I wish there was a magic switch in me that, once I flip it, a new
habit is formed, never to be broken. We were listening to this song in the car recently, and I really
listened to the words. Such praise. Such joy in life. And such a willing heart to recognize God’s hand
in all of it!

As to my particular choice of artist, I grew up on all of Michael Card’s music, and his
voice is musical comfort food to me. Simplistic vocal style and beautiful instrumentals, with the added
bittersweet feeling of childhood memories makes it my favorite version of this song. I hope you enjoy it too.