Friday, April 30, 2021

Notes from home...

 I've had quite a lot of headaches lately, which has kept me away from the computer, although I make an effort to get the Weekend Words post on each week.  The head is good today, so I'm doing a bit of a catch up.

Had Marnie staying last weekend.  We had a nice relaxed time, watching DVDs, knitting, going for a walk, eating fish and chips, and cake!

I've finished the edging on the crocheted lap blanket...

And am enjoying re-reading the essays in this book...

I finished one scarf using one ball of the yarn Vicki gave me, and started another with the other ball...

Have been working on the tree prunings, chopping them up for mulch and throwing back on the garden beds under the trees...

Almost done...

Rather coarse mulch, but it will eventually rot down, as it would in nature...
finished it today!!

I made a quick and simple casserole...
A tin of soup as the base, beef, and extra vegetables. It's very tasty!

And more Irish soda bread...

We had a lovely foggy morning recently...

And the sky from my kitchen window on another morning...

Plenty of autumn colour down at the river...

And here's part of one of the essays from The Plain Reader...

Better Than Fixing Things - Elmo Stoll

The story is told of a man from the big city who moved to the country.  It happened that the house and lot he bought were right in the middle of a community of plain people.  The big-city man was a bit apprehensive about these bearded men who had no power lines connected to their buildings and who drove to town behind the clip-clop of horse hooves.  But he assured himself that they looked gentle enough, and he had always heard that although they were different, they were quite harmless.

He was reassured on moving day when one of his plain neighbours showed up to help him unload his many belongings.  The neighbour's strong back and willing muscles came in handy, as without comment he helped carry in the usual North American assortment of electrical appliances and labour-saving, comfort producing gadgets.  That evening before leaving for his home, the plain man motioned towards all the appliances he had helped unload, and said to the big-city man, "Now if any of these things break down, don't hesitate to let me know, and I'll come over."

The man from the big-city was completely taken by surprise, but quite pleased.  "Oh, that's nice," he exclaimed.  "Do you fix things?"  

"No,"  said the plain man.  "I have no idea how to fix these things.  But I will be happy to show you how to live without them."

Will leave you with this quote by Scott Savage (editor of The Plain Reader)...

"...- to live simply, dress plainly, travel slowly, and to do good work - these are my imperfect attempts to submit to the will of God."

Hope I can get back to you sooner, rather than later :)


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Weekend Words

 From Amish Peace...

Open Your Hands and Give

"Don't worry about these things, saying, "What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?" These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all you need." - Matthew 6:31-32

Recession has hit our country in recent years.  Friends have lost their homes. Others have whittled down their savings.  Many are out of jobs.  But the Amish are a segment of society that has hardly been touched with financial trouble.  When the world around us uses advertising and promotion to urge consumers to buy more, the Amish raise their children to get by with just enough.  "Waste not, want not" is a common saying.  Amish are consumers, too, but they consume in a different way.  They don't purchase products to make them look good or to bring comfort, ease or beauty to their lives.  They purchase food, clothing, tools, or other supplies because they have a specific need.

The Amish live by common sense, and they foster contentment with what they have.  They also open their hands and give to those who are in need.  Giving to others as a top money management technique may seem foolish, but the Amish received this advice from the One who owns everything.  Jesus said, "Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full - pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over and poured into your lap.  The amount you give will determine the amount you get back" (Luke 6:38)

If you want to live in peace, throw away your long shopping list and learn to live with less.  Do you want to be unruffled and content?  Cease focusing on what you don't have, and instead consider what you can give to someone who has less.

Those who don't believe that God is there - and that He cares for them - have reason to worry and fret.  But our heavenly Father not only knows our needs but also brings others into our lives to help meet them.  He also brings people in need into our lives because He knows we will be blessed when we open our hands to give.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for all You've provided - in unexpected ways and through the care of others.  Show me someone who needs something I have to offer.  I open my hands today.

From Beside the Still Waters...

Multiplying Kindness - Read: Titus 2, 3:1-8

"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." - Matthew 10:42

The Store owner was having an interesting day.  The elderly customer before him added a new dimension.  She had difficulty walking and had just purchased five bags of groceries.  With two more customers in line, how could the owner carry those bags out for her?  He glanced around, wondering where those assistants were whom he paid to be at his beck and call.  But before he could decide what to do, the next customer in line set down the lunch he was buying, picked up the lady's bags of groceries, and helped her out the door.

The third customer in line stepped up to pay for his own lunch.  He nodded at the lunch now sitting on the counter and said, "I want to pay for that too."  So when the first man returned after helping the old lady, his lunch had been paid for, and the kind man who had paid it was not there to thank.  But the owner was there and was left to marvel at the way one kind deed had prompted another, reminding us that when we choose to do good we never know how far that good deed may snowball, nor how quickly our "bread on the water" may return to us.

This story encourages me to do little deeds of kindness when I can - not to receive kindness in return, but to inspire others to also do kind deeds.  Of course, our greatest goal should be to give a testimony of the love of God in our hearts.  That love prompts us to show kindness even when we don't feel like it, or when we think ourselves too busy to take time for others. 

- Douglas Raber - Bloomfield, MO

"Little deeds of kindness, little words of love,  Make our earth an Eden, like the Heaven above." - Eben C. Brewer

Image: the Gift of Friendship - Bill Coleman

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Weekend Words

From Be Still and Know - Millie Stamm...

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." - Mark 1:35

Ir has been said, "Life is so fragile we must handle it with prayer."  What do the early morning hours find us doing?  As we awaken, do our thoughts turn to our heavenly Father?  Do we thank Him for a new day, committing it and ourselves to Him?  Do we spend time reading His Word and praying before we face the day with others?  Or are we so weary from the strenuous day before, we feel we deserve extra rest?

Jesus lived a busy life.  His daily schedule was full.  Yet as we follow His ministry, we discover He never seemed hurried or tense.  Everywhere He went multitudes followed Him.  People pressed upon Him constantly, seeking His help.  He always had time for each individual.  With the pressures of such busy days it must have been difficult for Him to find time for communion with His Heavenly Father.  But he had learned the importance of "The Solitude of Prayer."  Prayer to Him was not "incidental" but "fundamental."  He rose early in the morning for time alone with His Heavenly Father in prayer.

In today's complex way of life it may not be possible to "rise up a great while before day."  Dr Edman gave a helpful comment on this.  He said, "There should be the 'sunrise' of the soul each day, no matter what the hour of the day may be for the believer."

It was said of John Wesley, "He thought prayer to be more his business than anything else.  I have seen him come out of his prayer closet with a serenity of face next to shining."

Regardless of what time of day is best for us, it is vital to our spiritual life to go "into the solitary place" with God.  Our needs may be many, problems may seem insurmountable, strength may be limited.  In the solitary place of prayer, help comes form God.  In His presence, tensions are relieved, courage is renewed.  Calmness of spirit comes as we rest in the Lord.

From Faith's Checkbook - Charles H Spurgeon...

Prayer, Thanksgiving, Praise

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

No care, but all prayer.  No anxiety, but joyful communion with God.  Carry your desires to the Lord of your life, the guardian of your soul.  Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise.  Do not pray doubtfully, but thankfully.  Hide nothing.  Allow no want to lie rankling in your bosom; make known your requests.  Run not to man. Go only to your God, who loves you.

This shall bring you God's own peace.  It will enfold you in its infinite embrace.  Heart and mind through Christ Jesus shall be steeped in a sea of rest.  Come life or death, poverty, pain, slander, you shall dwell in Jesus above every ruffling wind or darkening cloud.  Will you not obey this dear command?

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Weekend Words

From Amish Peace...

Photo credit: The Amish Cook - Elizabeth Coblentz

All Things New

"Since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son." - Romans 5:10

"The Amish are keen menders, going to great lengths to fix what is broken, patch what is torn, and repair what is repairable," writes Lorilee Craker, author of Money Secrets of the Amish.  "I like the dictionary definition of mend: 'to restore something to satisfactory condition', or ' to improve something or make it more acceptable.'"

Mending is great for socks, fences, and farm equipment, but when it comes to our souls, there is no mending.  Our efforts cannot cut out sin or repair the damage it has caused.  Our good works do not stitch together the broken pieces.  Since we are born sinners, we can't ever do enough to repair our relationship with God.  Jesus didn't come to patch together our good parts with His great parts so we'd be sufficient.  No, He takes all sin so there is not a stitch left within us to bring condemnation.

I like how 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 puts it: "We look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.  The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!  Look at it!  All this comes from God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationship with each other.  God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins" (The Message).

How have you looked at your life: as something you need to fix, to mend, to make do with?  No matter how you try, you'll never, ever be able to restore yourself to a satisfactory condition.  Sinful human beings can never make themselves good enough for eternity.

How have you looked at Jesus: as Someone who helps you have a better life or as Someone who is your life?  If you are still battling that question, settle it now.  Hand over the frayed mess that you've been trying to put back together, and accept the fresh start, the new life, that only He can create in you.

Dear heavenly Father, I'm so grateful that instead of mending, You make new.  I offer the tattered mess I have made and rejoice at the new life You have to give!

Photo credit: The Gift of Friendship - Bill Coleman

From Faith's Checkbook - Charles H Spurgeon...

"Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray." - Isaiah 35:8

The way of holiness is so straight and plain that the simplest minds cannot go astray if they constantly follow it.  The worldly wise have many twists and turns; they make terrible blunders and generally miss their end.  When men choose worldly policy as their road, it leads them over dark mountains.  Gracious minds know no better than to do as the Lord bids them; this keeps them in the king's highway, and under royal protection.

Never attempt to help yourself out of a difficulty by a falsehood or by a questionable act; but keep in the middle of the high road of truth and integrity, and you will be following the best possible course.  Be just and fear not.  God's way must be the best way.  Follow it though men think you a fool, and you will be truly wise.

Photo credit: The Gift of Friendship - Bill Coleman

Friday, April 9, 2021

Ordinary Days

A long overdue catch up...

Autumn has arrived, the days are still warm and sunny but the nights and early mornings are getting cool.  I seem to find plenty to keep my busy, and with less daylight hours I am slipping into hibernation mode.  Here's a few catch up photos from the last couple of weeks...

Marnie and I had a day trip to Stanley recently.  It was so nice to get to walk on 'my' beach again... 

au revoir mon ami jusqu’à la prochaine visite

In the Garden

There is still some colour...

I've picked all the apples off my tree, cooked most for the freezer, but kept some for eating fresh...

Marnie and Denver came over yesterday and helped with some garden work.  We mowed, weeded and cut back some of the larger trees...

In the Craft Basket

My friend Vicki gave me two big balls of Caron Cake that she did not want, so I'm knitting some scarves for charity in a broken rib pattern...

Finally finished knitting all 28 squares for this charity blanket and am now sewing them together...

Almost finished this blanket, just a few more rounds...

Still reading the first of the Mitford series books, but almost finished...
and onto the second Jerry Bridges book

In the Kitchen

Made Irish soda bread...
and enjoyed it warm from the oven with butter and delicious Tasmanian honey

And baked a pineapple boiled fruit cake...

This is my usual breakfast each morning: the blackberries continue to produce, although the few strawberries I had growing are now finished...
cooked quinoa and buckwheat, stewed apples, banana, blackberries/strawberries, chia seeds, ground linseed, and a dollop of yoghurt.  Yum!!

At the River

Always different...
early one misty morning

on a clear day

fog :)

this morning

 I think that'll do you!  And remember...

"Sometimes extraordinary things happen on the most ordinary days." - Julia Garwood


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Weekend Words - Easter


"Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here, as he said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay."  - Matthew 28:5-6

Easter is a joyous season, commemorating the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The dark events surrounding His crucifixion had left His followers discouraged.  They had expected an earthly kingdom to be set up.  Instead, Jesus had been crucified.  However, they didn't realize that what had seemed a tragedy to them would soon be turned into a triumph.

At daybreak some of the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with sweet spices as their one last act of love and devotion.  Not long before, they had been spectators at the crucifixion.  Now with heavy hearts they were on their way to the tomb.

Imagine their surprise to find the stone already rolled away from the tomb and an angel saying, "Fear ye not: for I know that ye SEEK JESUS, which was crucified.  He is not here: for He is risen, as he said; COME, SEE the place where the Lord lay."  What joy we would experience if we received a message that a dear one whom we thought dead was alive.  So these friends were overjoyed with the news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.

The message of the angel proclaimed the great victorious miracle - the victory of life over death.  It dispels fear, bringing peace to our hearts.  "FEAR YE NOT - He is not here."  The message brings hope.  "HE IS RISEN" means that He is alive.  The message is reassuring.  "AS HE SAID."  This gives us confidence that His word is true.

Victory, peace, and hope characterize our Christian faith because Jesus came forth triumphant over death.  "I am He that liveth, and was dead: and, behold, I am alive forevermore." (Revelation 1:18)  How we can praise God today for the personal knowledge that He is not only the living Savior and LORD of the world, but that he can be OURS personally.

The reality of this knowledge in our lives gives us the promise of life throughout eternity with Him.  "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19).

From Beside the Still Waters...

He Arose - Read Matthew 28

"And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again." - Matthew 20:19

We sing that beautiful hymn, "Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foes."  When they laid Jesus in the tomb, Pilate said, make it as sure as you can.  After Jesus died, his enemies remembered that he had said, "After three days I will arise again" (Matthew 27:63).  So they sealed the tomb and placed soldiers there to guard it, but all to no avail.  The Lord arose triumphantly, and an angel rolled the stone away so that all could see the empty tomb.

What does the resurrection of Christ mean to us?  Is it just another Bible story?  Romans 4:25 says that Christ "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."  If we believe that Jesus died and shed his blood for us and we are ready to repent and confess our sins, He is willing to forgive us.  Because of the resurrection of Christ, we can be justified - made as righteous as if we had never sinned - and have peace with God.  Also because of Christ's resurrection, we can be raised to newness of life.  We can become new creatures in Christ with power to live in victory.

We can have "a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).  Someone has referred to this lively hope as the expectation of the future made present.  In other words, if all our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ and we have peace with God, we can have full assurance right now of living with Jesus forever in heaven.  Does the resurrection of Christ really mean all this to us?

Cleason Martin - Stratton, ON

Christ arose that we might live with Him!

Friday, April 2, 2021

An Amish prayer for Good Friday


"Oh Jesus, Thou eternal good, who hast on this good, quiet Friday held still before Thy Father, and for my sake hast obediently born His wrath even unto death, grant that I also today may observe this fitting, good, quiet Friday with suitable thoughts and quiet devotion.  Yea, that I might keep, observe, Thy great day of sacrifice and through true faith make myself partaker of Thy sacrifice and great payment, atonement."