Friday, July 31, 2020

A Day Out

A trip into Launceston this week with Marnie and Denver...

I bought a new coffee machine :)  My old one served me faithfully for over 5 years, and although this is the same brand it is a different model and I'm still learning.  It is their bottom of the range and supposedly simple to use. Hmm...  But I'm getting there...

So after my walk around the river this morning...

It was coffee time...
day 3 and I've almost perfected it :)

I finished the pink cardigan I was knitting for granddaughter Hazel and it is in the mail to her, but I'll save the photo for next week's Yarn Along post.  Now I'm back to my knitted squares for a blanket for Wrap With Love.  Only one more square to knit and then I will crochet them together.  Hopefully I'll have a finished photo for next week...

And I've discovered a new author.  David Baldacci, who I think will become a new favourite.  I only had a few minutes at the library before closing time last week so I randomly picked this book up. It's one of the Amos Decker/Memory Man series.  I'm really enjoying it.  I like his style of writing.  A real page turner...
and while in Launceston, I bought his latest one (Walk The Wire).

Read this quote recently...

"A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place.  It is a sort of ritual of familiarity."
 - Wendell Berry, A Native Hill

I hope the path you are on is enjoyable...


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Weekend Words

I know for many of you it's summer, but here in Tasmania it is winter.  We don't have snow in the area I live, but we do have bare branches :)

From Amish Peace - Tricia Goyer
The Rhythms of Nature

Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.  They all return at the proper time each year.  But not my people!  They do not know the Lord's laws.
Jeremiah 8:7

Snow covers the silent ground, and an Amish couple sits by lantern light looking through a seed catalog.  Outside, a cold wind rattles bare branches, but in their mind's eye the husband and wife are considering the seasons to come: the earth's thaw and a hint of warmth on the breeze, followed by spring planting.  Green shoots sprout, and fields are cultivated to protect young plants from the threat of weeds.  Then, later, comes the harvest.  Cutting, raking, bundling, drying.  The loving Creator designed an arc of life and growth.  Even when winter's cold grasp holds the world outside our windows, we know that it only lasts so long.

Sometimes in our world of to-do lists and electronic devices we miss the rhythm of nature.  We trade our fall sweaters for winter parkas but forget that seasons are about more than simply adjusting our clothing choices.  God's creatures know the journey of the seasons, and the Amish understand too.  They live and work in the rhythms of nature.  Just as spring is a time of hard work, winter is a change of pace.  Do you live by this too?

Have you lost touch with the rhythms of nature?  Do you forget to pause and consider the natural world?  Take a moment and look outside your window.  What we see outside is a reminder to us to still our lives and our hearts.  There is a time to plow, a time for growth, a time to harvest, and a time to be still.

Is there a way to add stillness to your day?  Do you have ten minutes to sit before God?  Look at your calendar.  Can you carve out some extra time for rest or quietness, knowing that another season of work is right around the corner?

Dear heavenly Father, treating each season of life as the same is so easy - with a similar to-do list and the same urgency about my work.  Help me to rest today.  Open my eyes to the rhythm of nature and still my heart - not for the sake of stillness, but so you can speak.  Amen

Rest time is not waste time.  It is economy to gather fresh strength. - Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, July 23, 2020

In the Bleak Midwinter?

I thought of that poem by Christina Rossetti.  It is midwinter, but there is nothing bleak about it.  In fact, it is a beautiful calm sunny day, although it was cold and frosty early this morning...

winter sunshine on my walk this morning

But these shorter days don't seem to leave much time to get things done.  I still eat, sleep and walk.  Just as well I like routine :))  But some days it seems I no sooner get started than it's time to stop.  It's nice to have a break from the busyness of the garden, although Denver did lop the top off my apple tree (which was blocking my view) for me last week, then I had fun chopping all the branches and bagging up for the rubbish.  And gained blisters on 2 fingers for my efforts.  They are just about better now, so will continue cutting back my bay tree this week (also blocking my view).  There is still garden work to get through, but not at the frantic pace of Spring/Summer.  And we've had some lovely winter days - some of them almost Spring like.

Of course we've had some rainy, grey days too, and on those, I work on my crocheted blanket, and am also sewing up Hazel's cardigan.  Hopefully I can show a finished photo next post...

And on my morning coffee break...
new Anabaptist publications to read

Anzac slice - quicker and easier than making biscuits :)

date scones

Through my kitchen window...

and a few minutes later it looked like this

on another morning

Down at the river...
blue skies


bottoms up

I hope your world is right side up :)


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters...

The Bible, Our Roadmap to Heaven - Read: John 10:1-16

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

When I plan to travel somewhere and am not familiar with the way, I like to study a road map ahead of time.  By doing this I know what towns I'll go through, where I'll need to change routes, and what landmarks I'll see along the way.  Getting acquainted with the routes will help me to reach my destination safely without getting lost.  We may know where we want to go, but knowing how to get there is important.  The same is true of travelling to Heaven.  Do we want to get there safely?  The Bible will show us the way, as stated in today's key verse.

There are many possibilities of getting sidetracked on our journey.  Some people will tell us that the Bible way is too dangerous or that it cannot be trusted, but we must close our ears to those voices and persist in keeping on the right way.  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

Pilgrim's Progress is the well-known allegory about a Christian's journey to Heaven.  In that story, two men named Formalist and Hypocrisy came tumbling over the wall and started walking with Christian.  They felt that they were all right because they were in the way as well as he.  But they failed to reach the Celestial City because they had taken a shortcut instead of coming by the way of the cross.  Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:24).  This is the way of the cross, the only way by which we can reach Heaven.  Let us make sure we are travelling on that way.

Benuel Glick - Berlin, PA

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Weekend Words

From Amish Proverbs - Suzanne Woods Fisher  

Handling Adversity

The Amish believe that God is sovereign over this world - everyone and everything in it.  "Adversity is just part of life, and you cope with adversity by accepting it," says Dr Joe Wittmer, author of  The Gentle People: an Inside View of Amish Life.  Such yielding to God's will is a distinctive Amish trait.

Non-Amish Christians typically (maybe not accurately, but typically) believe that their faith will deliver them from adversity.  The Amish believe they will be delivered in adversity.  When bad things happen, they don't question if God exists or why He would allow such a thing.  "That does not mean that they do not grieve a death, for example, but their grief always seems lighter to me," says Dr Wittmer.  "Maybe because it is shared by the entire community.  An individual really has no control over adversity or much of anything else, for that matter."

Rather than question God's ways - which the Amish would perceive as prideful - they strengthen their faith by dwelling on God's character and the hope for eternity.

The Amish are no strangers to adversity.  They are descendants of European Anabaptists, who in the late sixteenth century were the radicals of the day, persecuted and martyred for their beliefs.  A secret police force of "Anabaptist hunters" was organized to spy on, locate, and arrest Anabaptists for their nonconformist beliefs.  The Amish found refuge in remote parts of France, Switzerland and Germany, and farmed land that no-one else wanted.  Even today, at every church service, they sing centuries-old hymns that recall those days of persecution.  With such a background of hardship, self-sufficiency became a core value for the Amish.  Today they don't purchase insurance policies, they don't accept any government subsidies or pensions (though they do pay taxes), they don't send their children to public school.

But the Amish do take care of their own.  Mutual aid is provided to help in times of medical or financial difficulties.  The barn raising might be the best metaphor to illustrate how the Amish handle adversity.  When a barn burns down, they don't dwell on why it burned, they gather together to rebuild.  And then they praise God: for the lumber, the nails, the caring community that skillfully puts it together, the animals that will inhabit it, and for a chance to start again.  

Learn from your failures, or you will fail to learn.

The best way to escape evil is to pursue good.

We value the light more fully after we've come through the darkness.

You can tell when you're on the right track.  It's usually uphill.

Defeat isn't bitter if you don't swallow it.

Forgiveness withheld is like drinking poison and then waiting for the offender to die.

God wants to use you stumbling and all, but He can't if you refuse to get up.

Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.

Life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be enjoyed.

Patience is accepting a difficult situation, without giving God a deadline to remove it.

Sunshine and Shadow quilt

A bit like life :)


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

July Yarn Along

I'm a bit late with this Yarn Along post.  Blame it on the short winter days here :)

Crocheting another blanket like the pink one I made recently.  Using the same yarn (Patons Sierra), but with brown base tones this time...

Just finished reading Trailbalzer
now reading Vera

And my latest Keepers at Home magazine on my morning coffee break...

Baking (and eating) cold tea/fruit loaf...

Granddaughter Hazel practicing her culinary skills...
and the chef's privilege of taste testing :)

And not forgetting the winter walks by the river...


and bare branches

I hope wherever you are, and whatever your circumstances, there is joy and thankfulness in your life.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters devotional...

The Bible GPS - Read Psalm 119:97-112

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. - 2 Timothy 3:16

We were riding towards Porcupine Flat, a beautiful remote meadow in Oregon's Deschutes National Forest, when Wade suddenly realized he had lost his battery-powered GPS device.  This gadget functioned as a compass, map, and guidance system all in one.  Because of relying solely on GPS, Wade had neglected to carefully observe the natural landmarks in the pine forest we were passing through.  The sun's position, wind direction, lay of the land, animal trails, water sources, and unusual rock and tree formations all told him nothing.  What now?

For Christians, Bible commentaries are like Wade's GPS in that they certainly have a legitimate place.  But unless used with discernment, both the GPS and commentaries can replace the truly reliable guidance systems that God has provided.  The Bible exhorts us, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).  Do we routinely turn to a commentary to see what man has to say about what God said, or do we pray for God's Spirit to open our understanding?

If we are careless about following God's instruction to diligently study His Word and seek His will, we can ultimately be deceived to the point that we replace the teachings of God with the teachings of men.  May this never happen to any of us.  In the case of the lost GPS device, I had previously been to Porcupine Flat, so our journey there and back was uneventful except for one incident of note.  As we returned to camp, Wade suddenly spotted his GPS gadget along the trail.  Ironically, the battery was dead.

Pete Lewis - Halsey, OR