Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Feasting on God's abundance...

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
   your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
  your judgments are like the great deep;
   man and beast you save, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
   The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house,
   and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
   in your light do we see light.
~Psalm 36: 5-9
Today I keep finding a smile on my face.  God's abundant blessings are almost overwhelming, but they make me so joyful!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sabbath Songs...

God of the Ages by Margaret Clarkson

1 God of the ages,
history's Maker,
planning our pathway,
holding us fast,
shaping in mercy
all that concerns us:
Father, we praise you,
Lord of the past.

2 God of this morning,
gladly your children
worship before you,
trustingly bow;
teach us to know you
always among us,
quietly sovereign--
Lord of our now.

3 God of tomorrow,
strong overcomer,
princes of darkness
own your command:
what then can harm us?
We are your people,
now and forever
kept by your hand.

4 Lord of past ages,
Lord of this morning,
Lord of the future,
help us, we pray:
teach us to trust you,
love and obey you,
crown you each moment,
Lord of today!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts on summer, teaching, and graduation

The columbines are making a spectacular show in my back flower garden.  And we had to hook up the swamp cooler this morning in anticipation of our second afternoon in the 80's.  I guess summer really is here!

With the beginning of summer comes the end of the school year.  I have two essay portions of the final exam for my composition students at VPSA, and then I am done with last year, and begin thinking about next year! It is a bittersweet thing, this teaching lifestyle. We journey for a period of time with a student, pouring into them all we know will be best for them, often becoming friends, and then leaving them to the more skilled hands of others.

 A dear friend of mine posted a perfect wish for her graduating students this year, and with her permission, I post it below as a wish for all of mine.  (Thank you, LaJuana Decker!) And thank you, Composition 2-E students from all over the world, JB, MH, DH and NL for making this year one of challenge and delight, hard work, and growth.

To all the graduates I know and love: Cling to Christ. Pursue Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Cultivate wisdom and virtue. Love the people God brings into your life with a whole-hearted love. Consider the needs of others. Adorn your days with prayer and thankfulness. And especially for the graduates of this time in history: Make technology your tool and not your master. Congratulations!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Emma on the move...

For those of you getting this feed on FB, the video will not load there.  So just wander on over to my blog to see the amazing Emma chasing after--not her own toys-- but Daddy's!

A fruitful week after all...

This has been a challenging and frustrating week.  I got one of those virulent viruses on Monday that played havoc with my internal systems, and left me 4 pounds lighter, too weak to do what I want to do, and a whole week behind in what I thought I'd have done by now. So this morning, from the security of my comfy chair, I have been reflecting on why such times are so good for me-- apart from the weight loss, of course.

In my quiet time this morning, I read the following from the book of Philippians:
Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. ~Phil. 1:18b-21a
There is so much encouragement packed into these verses! I can rejoice because Jesus is about His work in me.  His Spirit and the prayers of His people are used for my deliverance. I receive courage and expect that in Christ I will not be ashamed but give Him honor in all things-- life or death. Christ is all.  And here is what really struck me: if I continue in this life, I can be confident of fruitful labor. Wow. As a person who broke out in a sweat just trying to water the garden, and who had to take a nap after paying a few bills, that is comfort!  When I feel like I am the furthest thing from fruitful, I have the assurance that God is at work making my labor fruitful as long as I live. If there has ever been a week that seemed unfruitful, this has been it. But God has used my prayers this week.  He has worked on making me into the likeness of Jesus this week. He has turned my heart in prayer to His praise this week.

I guess it's been a fruitful week after all...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sabbath Songs

"Jesus, My Great High Priest"
by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
1. Jesus, my great High Priest,
        Offered His blood and died;
        My guilty conscience seeks
        No sacrifice beside.
        His powerful blood did once atone,
        And now it pleads before the throne.

        2. To this dear Surety's hand
        Will I commit my cause;
        He answers and fulfils
        His Father's broken laws.
        Behold my soul at freedom set;
        My Surety paid the dreadful debt.

        3. My Advocate appears
        For my defense on high;
        The Father bows His ears
        And lays His thunder by.
        Not all that hell or sin can say
        Shall turn His heart, His love, away.

        4. Should all the hosts of death
        And powers of hell unknown
        Put their most dreadful forms
        Of rage and mischief on,
        I shall be safe, for Christ displays
        Superior power and guardian grace. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All in the family...

 Emma does a great imitation of the "Blue Steel" look (my apologies, Gentle Reader, to those of you who are unfamiliar with or dislike the movie Zoolander...)  But then, she comes by it honestly enough in our family.  Witness her parents and aunt and uncle below.

We are a pretty wild family, after all.  And Emma is a party girl, too! This looks a bit like a disco move!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rhythm of life...

Summer is almost upon us.  This weekend, I hope to finish the final bit of planting in my garden, prepare for my last week of classes for the school year, and get a camping trip onto the calendar.  Hurrah!  I love the natural rhythm of life when one is a teacher.  I am always ready for a summer change-of-pace.

This year has been a year of new teaching adventures.  They have been both enjoyable and irritating, convicting where my sin is involved, and overwhelming where God's grace is seen. I am grateful for the past school year, and grateful for its coming end. I love the changing of these seasons!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's 70th birthday. A few years ago, she and my dad moved to New Mexico from Iowa, and having them closer has been such a blessing!  A couple of years ago, we experimented and recreated my grandmother's apple-butter recipe (pictured at left). Working and laughing with my mom is such a blessing!  Through the years, she has always been hwere I could turn to laugh, cry, rant, or exude.

Happy birthday, Mom! Thank you for all the blessings you bring to my life!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Update to the update: high pass FTW

High pass FTW: Ben received word last Saturday that he received a "high pass" on his Greek Masters comprehensive (the highest score given), and he is now the proud recipient of a second Master's degree.  We would be proud of you, Ben, without this degree.  But we are especially proud of the courage and fortitude it took to finish strong. Well done, son!

And now, let's all pray for a job...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

An update on our classicist...

An update on Ben and Elsa is long overdue here.  It is a time of great change and flux for them! Ben will be ending his graduate school career this spring-- at least for now-- hopefully with a second Master's degree (this one in Greek to match the one he already has in Latin.)  He took his final comprehensive for the second Master's degree this week, and will have results soon. And then it is hunting-for-a-job-in-the-real-world-time.  I know he and Elsa would appreciate your prayers, Gentle Readers, in this time of uncertainty and transition! Elsa continues to keep the office of the School of Opera and Ballet humming at IU, and Ben is brushing up his resume.  If any of you know of a job availability in teaching or translating classical languages or modern ones (he's pretty competent in Spanish and German, and has a reading knowledge of Italian and French), or in research, or in technical writing, or in editing, or in any other kind of job that will support his family, Ben would love to hear about it!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thoughts on grandparenthood...

Some of you, Gentle Readers, may be thinking that this has become a blog all about our Emma.  Not so, really- it is still a blog about my life and family.  But one very significant part of that currently is the new world of being a grandparent.  I have been wondering what makes this new aspect of my world so sweet and fascinating.  It is not that Emma is beautiful and cuddly-- though she is both.  It is not even really just about Emma. I find it difficult to put this into words, but as you know, Gentle Reader, that never stops me from trying!

Being a grandparent is really about delighting anew in God's faithfulness.  All the good things that come with babies-- seeing the world in fresh ways as they do, receiving and giving love, caring for the helpless-- are somehow magnified when the baby belongs to your baby.  Maybe I was too sleep-deprived with my own children to realize in the same way God's inter-generational faithfulness.  Yes, I rejoiced in God's blessing of my children, and delighted in them.  But now we are reaching out another generation. God is graciously continuing a line and fulfilling a promise to bless me and my children and my children's children.  I was moved when my children were baptized, and it was even more so to stand with my son as he baptized his daughter.  There it was: the fulfillment of a promise that God would be my faithful God.  I can't help but think of that every time I look in Emma's little face.

I still didn't say it well.  But those of you who are grandparents know what I mean.  It is a big, expansive kind of blessing.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The preciousness of God's gifts...

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
~Psalm 36:7

Today I am thanking God for His love reflected to me in so many things: the steadfast love of a dear husband,  the sweet love of family, the quiet love shining from the flowers of spring.   I sometimes need to remind myself of the preciousness of such gifts!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Miss Emma

This is the dress that Grandma made at her house in New Mexico when she was missing Emma, and here it is on Emma at her house in Arizona:

We enjoyed delivering this, and several other things, in person this past weekend. She is more adorable that these pictures show, and her Mommy and Daddy are doing a great job with her!  Grandpa spent one day at the Prebytery meeting, but Grandma pretty much stared at and played with Emma all weekend!  We walked at Saguaro National Monument together, went scorpion hunting at night with a black light (and found 26 scorpions on the sidewalks and walls in Emma's neighborhood!) and got to feed Emma, give her baths, play with her, and enjoy her.  What a blessing grandchildren are!