Every spiritual blessing. And never deserved or earned by us. Wow!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
...For leadership committed to living truth as an example to those under their authority.
...For the unique peak that I am blessed to receive into the loving and laboring hearts of my Elders.
...For the love that I have received from individuals within the body.
...For the opportunity and ability to serve the church.
...For the accountability and encouragement that the body of Christ provides.
...For the Lord's faithful provision for our needs as a church and for making that provision very visible to us.
...For the way the Lord has used trials to sanctify individuals and use them as a testimony of his goodness.
...For the amazing grace of our Lord who chooses to use sinners to accomplish His purposes, thereby bringing glory to Himself alone.
...For the ability to go boldly into the throne room of grace to petition for our needs and requests and to know full well that the Lord will glorify Himself within His church.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. ~Ephesians 2:19-21
P.S. Just wanted to comment on the odd phenomenon that the best way to begin to feel thankful when you don't feel thankful naturally is to start giving thanks. I tend to forget and instead put off blog posts on thankfulness because I am aware that I don't have a grateful attitude. When I just obey the command to give thanks by, you know, giving thanks, then I soon find my feelings have followed. Funny how that works.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
There lived two sisters.
They were each others very first best friends. As the years passed, they remained each other's best girlfriends.
(Pajama Picture, Christmas Eve, 2005)
Mutual confidants and comforters...
Sharers of countless memories and inside jokes.
(At the Resolved conference, Summer 2009)
Complete opposites in so many ways...
(Anna in camo, me is camping clothes. Fall 2007)
And yet kindred spirits.
(Coordinating Sweatshirts! Winter 2009)
"Some things were meant to be..."
(California, Oct. 2009)
Dear Anna, I am so very thankful that the Lord made us sisters, literally and spiritually. You are an enormous blessing to me and I treasure your friendship. Love ya lots!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
In addition to being the center of academic learning, our family's homeschool room is the location for Daddy's 100-ish year old upright piano. It has been part of my life since I was about four years old and each of my siblings and myself has spent time sitting on the bench plunking out keys for our own amusement while Daddy plays his repertoire of hymns and praise choruses. He didn't play very often because of a very busy schedule, but we all recognized the sound of the heavy lid rolling back into the piano as the cue to come dance around the living room and sing. Such is life with little girls.
Of the eight of us children, five have taken at least a year of piano lessons. Anna and Emma are the only ones who are currently sticking with that instrument, the rest of us are hoping to develop talent in other musical areas. Between two people who take lessons, the others who occasionally like to pretend they know how to play, and Daddy, Anna, and myself preparing for church worship music, the piano bench has been kept very warm over the last few years. It is still fun when Daddy plays, but Anna is our primary accompanist and resident soloist. She is the one of our family who is the most gifted when it comes to her particular instrument.
When Anna touches those keys, something wonderful happens. The rest of us sit down and read notes and a melody and that is all we play. Anna turns the notes into a living, breathing entity. Her fingers infuse the melody with emotion and make it into something memorable.
This afternoon, I was thumbing through one of her piano books and found an arrangement called "Longing" that came at out of George Winston's "Autumn" album. I hadn't heard the piece, but seeing as it fit our current time of the year, I asked if she'd try it. She wasn't familiar with it either, but still sight-read it beautifully. Wistfulness and poignancy began wafting through the air and I was again left wondering how music is capable of expressing and provoking emotion. What is it about mere notes and sounds that makes me so intoxicatingly happy in the present moment and yet makes me yearn for something else, something more?
C.S. Lewis accurately describes the emotion through the character of Psyche in "Till We Have Faces": "It was when I was happiest that I longed most. .. And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche, come! But I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home."
Is it the longing for heaven? For home? For the beauty there that makes this world seem like a scanty reflection? For the joy that will be beyond anything I can know here? A reminder that I have not yet attained it? Is it the smallest taste of what is to come?
"For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:22-25