Tuesday, October 25, 2011


   After a visit to North Dakota Mommamindy wrote about signs.  I have been struck by the signs here, too.  This one, seen everywhere, is my favorite:

   Another I like is this one at Goose Lake just north of Harvey --- where Lee has been working with a road crew to eliminate the need for taking turns:

   Near our house is a helpful sign not to be ignored when the snows come:

   Just so you know that North Dakota is part of the world, and is not the heaven some of us wish it were, I must add that with a few exceptions the billboards here (as everywhere) are disappointing.  Billboards are always a distraction that mars the beauty of God's creation.  But they are also a sign of the times.  There is no need to go out of your way to read the temperature of the world.  It is written on our highways.  The billboards are a true reflection of the essence of the world:  The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  

   Sometimes we are so grieved by the signs that depict the lust of the flesh that we are relieved and even pleased by those that portray the pride of life.  Let us not be deceived into thinking that the pride of life is less part of the world's system or less dangerous to the soul than the lust of the flesh.


Friday, October 21, 2011

A Variation on the Felt Button

   Sometimes a pattern will tell you to make a knotted button out of I-cord.  Now, I like something a little more substantial to button with.  That's why I developed the pattern for a bobble with a plastic disc inside.  But the disc idea will work with an I-cord knot, too.  Here, instead of making a bobble, I made a knot out of I-cord and wrapped it around a discarded button:

After felting it looks like this:

And here it is in use:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prayer in Poetry

   Charles Wesley knew how to pray.  He was known to pray with such confidence for the convicted criminals on death row that he would raise his hands and say, "We shall have them all!" And then go to the gallows and win them to Christ.

   When I read these lines from one of his poems, they struck me as a beautiful balance between effectual fervent prayer and submission to the will of God in matters where his will is not obvious.  In the midst of a passionate prayer for the healing of a sick friend, he says:

                                                Humbly prostrate at Thy feet,
                                                We our will to Thine submit;
                                                Yet, before Thy will is shown,
                                                Trembling we present our own.

   I am reminded of David's earnest prayer for his son, who nonetheless died.  Until David knew of a certain what God's will was in the matter, he did as Charles Wesley, and presented his own.

The full poem:

Lover, Friend of Human Kind

Lover, friend of human kind,
Call Thy days of flesh to mind,
When Thou didst our sorrows bear,
All our sinless frailties share.

When Thou didst converse below,
Every shape of human woe,
Every supplicant in pain
Could Thy ready help obtain.

Melted by Thy creature’s tears,
Troubled with our griefs and fears,
Pity made Thy Spirit groan,
Made our miseries Thine own.

None applied in vain to Thee;
Thy Divine philanthropy
Cheer’d the faint, the hungry fed,
Heal’d the sick, and raised the dead.

Hear us then, Thou Man of grief,
O make haste to our relief,
After Thee for help we cry,
Come, before our sister die.

Jesus, evermore the same,
Manifest Thy saving name,
Good Physician from above,
Heal the object of Thy love.

Humbly prostrate at Thy feet,
We our will to Thine submit;
Yet, before Thy will is shown,
Trembling we present our own.

Till Thy love’s design we _see_,
Earnest, but resign’d to Thee,
Suffer us for life to pray,
Bless us with her longer stay.

Let the balm be now applied,
Touch her, and the fever chide,
Now command it to depart,
Sprinkle now her peaceful heart.

Thou with equal ease and skill
Canst the soul and body heal:
Raise her, Lord, the vessel raise
Of Thine all-sufficient grace.

Let her long a witness live
That Thou canst on earth forgive,
Live, Thine utmost love to see,
Live to serve Thy church and Thee.

Then, when all her work is done,
Thou Thy faithful servant crown,
Take her, Jesus, to Thy breast,
Take us all to endless rest.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Warm Windows

   In North Dakota you think about insulation, R-factor, etc.,  and about every possible trick to keep warm in the winter.  A friend here showed me the warm windows she had made, using a specially designed padding that she admitted was rather pricey.  Another friend, who has learned thrift from poverty, suggested that I make my own padding by layering quilt batting with a thermal blanket ~ a truly excellent idea, but I chose an easier and even cheaper route that still provides some warmth.  I went to "the" thrift shop (a.k.a. The Fessenden Mall) and found a slightly used "Day Bed Set" for $8.00.  With a little cutting ans sewing I transformed the comforter, bed skirt, and one pillow sham into a rather bulky and unusual window treatment.  The set included three more pillow shams and two valences that could be made into summer curtains.  For now they are folded and awaiting a future creative impulse.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


   I live on the old Obed Larson place.  It's about 13 miles from Harvey, 10 from Fessenden, less than 60 from my old home town of Rugby, and just over a mile from Heimdal.

   From Highway 1 Heimdal looks like a larger-than-normal shelter belt:

but when you drive inside the clump of trees, you find a quaint, well-cared-for little town.  

There are no business or services left in the town besides the grain elevator, but there is a community hall, 

a Lutheran church,

and an old-fashioned park,

with remnants from the past:

   The people of Heimdal are friendly.  One invited me in for BLT's and a chat.  It turns out she and her husband moved here (his home town) from the Seattle area.  They knew Obed Larson, and they are glad someone lives in the house.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Will of God

 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.  I Thess. 4:3

It is the Word of God alone,
      The written Word, I mean,
By which the will of God is known,
      For there His ways are seen.

The Bible is the way by which
       The Holy Spirit leads,
And he will fall into a ditch
      Who to another heeds.

If you would grow in every grace,
       And have your mind renewed,
The Bible is the only place
      To find your proper food.

And if you need to yet be led
       In matters more concrete,
Like where to go and whom to wed,
      His Word is still complete.

For though the answers won’t be spelled
      In letters in the sky,
The wisdom in His Word beheld
      Will guide you by and by.

You think you need to hear a voice
      Specifically for you,
That offers not a bit of choice,
      But tells you what to do.

But God has not ordained thereby
       To guide how each man lives;
He leaves us freedom to apply
       The principles He gives.

When searching for God’s will for you,
There’s just one place to look.
The things that He would have you do
      Are written in the Book.

Nita Brainard

April 9, 2009

Monday, October 3, 2011

All Things

   The Bible says "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."  Why then do Christians tend to assume that when things work out for good, that God led them directly down the path they had chosen? The very best Christians, the ones who are an example to the believers, often speak as if every choice they make is the direct leading of God.  Perhaps it is ~ but the fact that it turns out for good is no proof of this.  God works all things for good to them that love him.

   Years ago I was required to submit to a situation that did not appear to me to be the will of God.  Because of the decision that was made, one of the loveliest Christian women I know was born of God.  Does that prove that the decision was indeed the will of God and perhaps even for-ordained of him?  No, it just means he worked it for good ~ as he always does to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

   What tremendous freedom there is in knowing God can use all things for good!  It doesn't give freedom for sin. God forbid! But it gives peace.  We don't have to fret about each step that we take.  We must love God and seek to fulfill his purposes, but we don't have to be anxious about the non-moral details of life.  We can make choices according to the best of our poor ability and yet trust that he will work them for good.

   What's more, we can peacefully follow the leading of those in authority over us, even if we don't agree with their decisions ~ knowing with full assurance that God will work all things for our good, if we love him.

   The trick is to embrace this fully, and walk unruffled through all the disappointments of life, and yet not become passive in prayer.