Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankfulness for Present Blessings

     The Lord's goodness hasn't failed us in the past. We were wonderfully blessed during our year in Washington, and we thanked God for many things. Nonetheless, in the months since Lee's heart event, we have felt a special blessing in a multitude of little ways that I simply do not know how to put into words.

   I say these things in a desire to express my sincere thankfulness for a myriad of things that might sound silly if I listed them ~ but I won't ~ not so much out of a fear of wearying my readers as from the fact that I don't necessarily know what to call them. And for fear of leaving out the things that are actually more important. By way of example, however, the thing that often comes to mind is my front door.

   A front door isn't very useful without a house.  We have a lovely farmhouse that is just the right size for us and is situated in a beautiful, quiet place.  The front door isn't the best thing about the house.  But it is the thing that stands out in my mind as evidence of the Lord's goodness to us.  It is just such a door as I have long wanted, and when I walked into the house and saw it, I knew it was a gift from him to me.  It is something I would have never thought to ask for and could not have missed if it hadn't been here.  But it is here, and I thank God for it.

   More amazing is that Lee has a Greek pupil. It isn't something he sought or expected to find, but here in a little town in central North Dakota, in a small church of about twenty people, there is one young man who is sincerely motivated to learn Greek.  Lee gave him a copy of Machen's grammar. He is reading it and asking questions.

   The saints have blessed us in numerous ways, fixing up the house, clearing the driveway, burning the ditches, and helping us to settle in to North Dakota life.  It doesn't seem right to mention Dan and his interest in Greek and leave so many bigger things unsaid.  But the saints in other places have been good to us, too.  I mention one of the things that stands out as an emblem of the Lord's blessing in a way that differs from the lifelong goodness we have known.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


   I have been accused of calling any road crossing with more than two houses a town.  Not so, say I.  In order for a town to be a town, it MUST have a grain elevator.  I didn't show you the grain elevator in Heimdal, but there is one.

   The next town to the east is Hamburg.  It's a dying town which celebrated its "Last Hurrah" this past July, but it does have an active grain elevator.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Christian Home

    Naomi of Starlight and Sunshine recently posted some provocative thoughts about what a Christian home should be.  She also shared a breathtaking view of the early homelife of Hudson Taylor.  His family is indeed one of the stars that light our way in a dark world, giving us hope and inspiration.

   "A Christian Home"  is the aspiration of every believer in the Lord Jesus.  We each want to have a home like that described in the hymn by Barbara Hart::

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
   Who always place their hope and trust in Him,
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
   Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
   And love still shines, tho days be dark and grim.

  But what if we don't have that?  God in his word speaks to every person as an individual, regardless of his circumstances.  We desire to have Christian homes, but the first thing is to have Christ and to be Christ's ourselves.  I thank God that Christianity is not dependent upon having a Christian home, Christian neighbors, or a Christian nation.

   Too often, while looking to have perfection in our surroundings, we fail to overcome in the little things of life.  Someone else becomes impatient in turmoil, and we get discouraged.  Someone else fails to remain calm and courageous in a time of trouble, and we are disgruntled.  Those in our home don't seem to find any joy in serving others, and so we excuse ourselves for being the same way ~ and we wonder what happened to love in the days dark and grim.

   The trouble is that we are looking too much for results and have lost our focus on the Savior. Oh, to maintain high aspirations and to expect great things from God, including great changes in ourselves and our family, without taking our eyes off the one and only, the Lord Jesus Christ!

   None of us is without sin, and no family is perfect. Some are beautiful and worthy of imitation, but all have their blemishes. If we look upon the blemishes, we may become disheartened and justify our own wayward behavior, even thinking, perhaps, that we must have a certain kind of Christian home in order to be the sort of Christian we desire to be ~ when the exact opposite is true. Our power to live a Christian life is in Christ, and in him alone.  And only in discovering this can we do our part to make a Christian home.

  A Christian home where others behave as they ought to will diminish our temptations, but it will not give the power to become the sons of God.  It will not give us the victory of faith.  Those things are available only in the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are available whatever our circumstances, and regardless of what sort of home we have.

   A home is made up of a family, but the family is made up of individuals.  Each of us is responsible first and foremost for ourselves. We may not have the power to make our home a Christian one in the sense we desire, but we do have strength in Christ to be such Christians who "always place their hope and trust in him," and who walk in the power of his resurrection ~ regardless of our circumstances.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


   Mommamindy's blog post  with a tract on gossip inspires me to post a poem I wrote a couple years ago. Mindy addressed speaking gossip.  My poem is about listening to it.


After I have listened
                        to gossip for an hour,
Vainly I imagine
                        that I’ve escaped its power.
Totally unconscious,
                        I drank in every word;
Soaked up all the passion
                        of everything I heard.
Thinking I’m impartial,
                        I never really dream
Someone I have honored
                        is losing my esteem.
Haven’t I intended
                        to vindicate my friend?
Haven’t I attempted
                        his motives to defend;
Spoken of his virtue,
                        and taken up his part?
Yet insinuations
                        were pressed upon my heart.
All I’ve said is nothing
                        but lame apology,
Not to be compared to
                        the vile effect on me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Wonderful Wallaby on a Wilcox

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This sweater is another of Carol Anderson's Cottage Creations designs. It is on display at the Beehive in Spencer, Iowa.