Monday, June 19, 2017

With What Measure Ye Mete

 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the  measure you use it will be measured to you.
Matthew 7:2 ESV

   This week I was tempted to pass judgement on someone for something they said in criticism. I felt "rightly" frustrated for the sake of others as well as for myself because we were being misjudged and we knew it.
   I really had to fight for my joy. I hated the left over questions and feelings, yet had no direction about how to confront. This verse kept coming to mind.  I finally concluded that I could let go of the worry and pondering.
     The Holy Spirit got through my thick skull so He is able to take care of the rest of it too. I have bigger potatoes to cook anyway. Things like planning ahead to spend a week with Francis over baby time, mulching the garden, or writing a love note to my husband. There's nothing like the peace of knowing that God has it covered. Besides, I have it in my power to offer grace in this situation. No doubt one of these days I'll get myself in a spot of deserving criticism. Hopefully I will find grace instead, too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taking Joy

 We've had a wet spring and damaging storms lately. Storms that took down trees and buildings. And our electricity. It's unhandy and expensive and frustrating to have the things and routines we depend on changed up or entirely taken away. We care about that. So we help out where we can. 
    It so happened that between storms, we had a niece's wedding to attend in Ohio so Amy and I were planning to go. Then Amy ended up with a nasty sinus infection and felt too miserable to be happy and pretty for wedding and travel society to go. I shamelessly  begged and prayed that Elv could go with me instead. Last minute God answered with "Yes"! Praise Him.
        So we traveled down to Rockford after work Thursday evening and found our room at the Hampton Inn there. Friday morning we pulled away early for the last seven hour stretch, the wedding being set for four that afternoon. I drove first, which meant that Chicago was mine to traverse. Never did find Chicago. No skyscrapers, no slow-downs, no windy city, 75 mph easy traffic going. Thanks to Google maps we enjoyed route 294 with trees and greenery all the way. I felt a little disappointed. I like the Skyway. But I'm not complaining.

 Saturday afternoon we headed north to Chicago again. This time we had a Hilton room in Northbrook, a beautiful suburb of Chicago. Lovely, uppity room for two people from the sticks. Oh, I love nice things! Took joy here. Sunday morning we headed over to the Botanic Gardens. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. I recommend it.

 The gardens beg a good photographer, which I am not, but I have a camera and take bunches and hope for one or two keepers. It's purely accident when I get one. None of these is quite. I decide, in the end, to enjoy what I can. Grabbing grace for myself here, too.
We found a G-scale train garden in the gardens complete with 18 trains and grown up engineers to visit with while watching the trains. Intricate and fun. I enjoyed the little boys watching the trains. Their fascination was inspiring. God made boys, just so. It's delightful. The girls on the other hand weren't there and the one who was seemed rather bored. Smiles! God made little girls just so, as well.

           The Church Picnic 

We at Grace Bible Church have often enjoyed a May play day and picnic with singing or performing at the end of the day. This year was rather special since we had missed a couple of years.
Everyone came who could possible come even the moms and tiny babies and we played hard all afternoon. It was great fellowship even though it was a very humid, warm day. Storms were predicted for evening, but none came our way.

 These guys did this hopping race and I have no idea who won but it looked hilarious.
It must have taken a lot of energy, too, because they all hit the ground laughing at the other end and didn't bother to return to the start line.

 Elv enjoyed his part of the party by doing the grilling of everyone's meat contribution to the picnic. He ordered up the poppers, too, as our dish-to-pass. They were a hit.
   There was volley-ball, corn hole, Boche, small girl tea parties, bubbles, tall grass explorations, visiting, baby care, toddler adventures, yard Dutch blitz, naps and all sorts of by-play along the way.

Sunday morning in church the storms we worried about for the picnic finally rolled in with black clouds and lightening.
During Sunday School our three firefighters were called out to begin a long afternoon of cleaning up trees across roads. And no electricity for some of us for 36 hours after that.
We intend to enjoy the "picnics" between storms this summer since it seems we will be having unsettled weather for now.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What I Am Going to Be When I Grow Up

 I remember being asked what do I want to be when I grow up. I always knew then what I wanted to be: a wife, mother, and have my own house. I have been doing that for about 35 years now. Did everything go like I envisioned? No, almost nothing was easy or dreamy sweet. Would I do it again? Of course! In fact I'm looking forward to 35 more years of being a wife, mom, and having my own home. But with a difference.

For the next 35 years I want to use what I've learned about priorities to enjoy the real things of life that are directly linked with accumulating treasure in Heaven. Of course, this has always been my desire, but NOW I can see so much better what really matters.
     ~ To have relationship with the grandchildren. I want them to know Jesus most of all. But I want to be remembered for the fun we had together.  I hope that when they have troubles and questions that we can point them in the right direction. If we don't have time for them now they'll not have time for us later.
~ To understand that grace shared is the biggest thing ever and to live that way, too.
~ To quickly forgive and forget.
~ To value a pretty table, a nice supper, but most of all the family gathered there.
~ To engage by prayer in the future of our children and grandchildren.
~ To know how to dump the temporal things: dirty dishes, tall grass, and tomorrow's worries and go fishing more often.
~ To worry less about the bills.
~ To not have expectations for other people. It is not an endearing quality. Nobody likes having to live up to another person's approval.
~ To believe in them, instead, and to consistently appeal to the honorable.
~ To take a mulligan once in a while without guilt. It won't matter in a hundred years anyway.
~ To enjoy being a good historian like my husband. Historians see things that most ordinary people do not.
~ To laugh more and to be a comfortable hostess.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Clouds and Sun

  May is almost over. We have had a whole May of clouds and rain and not much sun. We have green grass and leaves, but even the greenery seems slightly yellow for lack of sunshine. And I'm still having small fires in the stoves almost daily, because it's damp and chilly. I don't mean to complain, just keeping a record. No doubt, next May will be different. We never know how Wisconsin will dish up spring to us.
    Gabe and Jenny came to see Lance and Kristine's baby and for Lance and Jenny's birthday. That counts as sunshine, rain or shine.
     Gabe made a fire pit of a few of our leftover stone house materials in the back yard. We broke it in the same evening, a success by everyone's viewpoint.
    Happy family times happened in this back yard for many years. We had moved all that to the patio in front for a couple of years. It's good to be back here again. "Bring meat to grill and bread to match. Elv's cooking." That's our standard backyard slogan.

     The subject of prayer is fraught with guilt and supposed failure for us girls no matter what stage of life we are in. We are either truly too busy to get it done right (whatever that is), or we don't dare shut the closet door and lose touch with the reality of babies and toddlers or even teens. It's just hard to feel good about our "prayer life".  I think someone ought to insert some sanity about that.
    Prayer is having a relationship with God through Jesus. The practical outworking of that is being thankful for things or sorry about something or burdened about events/plans/needs/people and telling God about all of the above from where ever we are at the moment. It could include knee time and quiet time and frantic times. It is also those times of meeting with others for the purpose of praying together over a mutual interest or need. But mostly it is anytime and all the time, that open line between a needy me and a loving Father who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.
     I believe that feelings and words and worries inside of our hearts are actually coming up to our Father as prayer before we are even consciously praying. He knows our hearts and He knows what we need and I believe that He put the longings and desires into our hearts for the purpose of providing those needs. I wonder if the disconnect is our blindness and busyness. We fail to feel like we've prayed because we are too preoccupied with our guilt and static to even notice what God is already doing. Romans 8: 26 says this:  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
     Jesus also said we should ask, seek and knock. Maybe what we are messed up about is where we have our focus. A child who asks for food is pretty well focused on a personal need and to fill it. He goes to the only place he knows and seeks it and exerts all of his efforts on this project of getting food. Besides he isn't quiet about it. There's no questioning going on about worthiness or self analysis to discern whether he deserves it or not. As a mother, you don't wait around to answer this need until the baby is praying correctly or in the right attitude or position or place. Jesus said that God doesn't do that either. He knows perfectly what we need. He wants us to ask, seek, and knock.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Best Kind of Saturday

      While the trees donned greenery and blossoms, we have been busy trying to keep pace with life.
       So it was lovely Saturday to sit by a remote lake watching a yellow bird and a pair of swans while Elv did a repair. I savored this unexpected quiet place.
      In the evening we fished on Lake Windigo. We paddled all the way across the lake. Paddles are much nicer than a motor when it is just the two of us and casting is much simpler from a canoe. We tucked our canoe under the lee of the island against the glare of the setting sun right over our favorite fishing spot. Elv caught the first one. It was a nice fat "sunny", a keeper. I immediately cast my line right there where he had. He fussed a little in fun but not as loudly as he did when I pulled in a keeper bass. Then a pike. Then two more bass.  It was happy and fun for both of us, an evening to easily count ones blessings and to savor the beauty of perfect sunset on a glassy smooth lake. Troubles seem far away and unreal. Such times stand out to me as retreats or breathers as grace and strength for tomorrow. A perfect date.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mostly Pictures

Moss in the Minnesota woods near the North Shore.

This is Moss Flowers/Spores? It is the first thing to come alive in the spring with intricate beauty that I find to be rather wonderful. Especially with a camera lens.

Same Moss. Elv is in the background protesting his perspective to me to not get cold because I was kneeling in the snow to get these pictures and for you to see how small moss is.
This one should help you too. See the rotten tree stump?

I'm liking this lichen. I hope you do too. It is really pretty this time of year.

In case you were interested.

That new entry wall.

Cabin Electricity

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Lake Superior was in one of her grey-est sullen moods and kicking up a few waves and spray to prove her point. It was snowing and raining and blowing. So we stopped to capture a bit of the action on our way home.

Wet Lens

Tansy from last year. This year's tansy is green at the feet of this.