Monday, May 31, 2021

Not only (books), but also...

 Winter has arrived this week, with minus Celsius early morning temperatures and cold frosty nights.  So now my daily walk is either mid morning or late afternoon, when the day has (hopefully) warmed up slightly...

But I can always console myself by escaping to Shetland...

more on that next post :)

Op shop book finds this week...

Finished reading these two...

And am working my way through these...

I have quite a collection of Miss Read books now, all picked up secondhand...

Think I will make them my winter read.  Last winter I re-read all the Little House books, so this year I will work my way through Miss Read, and escape to English village life at Thrush Green and Fairacre in a time when life was simpler.

But it's not all books...

I've finished knitting this top.  Hopefully next post I can show you the finished article :)

I want to get it finished, as I already have a backlog of 'next projects' in my head

Continuing to work on my Amish blanket squares...

And at the river...

some days are diamonds

some days are gold

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Weekend Words


From Amish Peace...

Steps to Godly Living

"Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone." - 2 Peter 1:5-7

Just as an Amish child or a non Amish child grows and matures, we must grow into mature children of God.  Why must we do that?  To make ourselves look better? To treat others in a more positive way?  No, the ultimate reason is so our excellent character will reflect our excellent God.

God sets a high standard - perfection.  That means that non of us can ever reach it, not completely, and not in our whole lives.  Did God set this standard so we'd fail?  No, He gave it to us so that we will turn to Him.

No matter what society we live in, no matter how we are raised, no matter what heritage of faith we carry, none of us can be godly without God's spirit in us.  We may be good in some ways.  We may be kind sometimes, but godly character is from Him: "The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!"" (Galatians 5:22-23)

This fruit isn't "produced" by working harder, trying more, or living in a Christian community.  The only way the fruit of the Spirit will flow out from us is for God's Spirit to flow in.

How can we do that?  First, we must understand our shortcomings.  Genuine character starts with facing the reality that we are sinners in need of a Saviour.  Jesus saved our souls and allowed us to enter into eternity.  But He also rescues our character on a daily basis as we turn to Him.  With every step, let us praise God for where we've come and also submit to our Father's leading and to where He wants to take us.

Dear heavenly Father, I'm thankful that I'm not where I use to be.  You have begun a good work in me.  Now, dear Lord, I submit to where you want me to go from here.

From Beside the Still Waters...

Flower or Fruit - Read: John 15

"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." - John 15:4

It was late spring when I finally got around to trimming the old apple trees behind our barn, a chore which should have been done much earlier.  I stacked all the branches in one big heap, intending to burn them once the rains let up.  Some time later I was astounded to see an enormous bouquet of pink and white blossoms issuing from the brush pile.  Beautiful flowers had budded and bloomed from virtually every one of the severed branches.

As time passed, however, not one bit of fruit developed, and those beautiful flowers withered, dried up, and fell away.  They had been cut off from their source of nourishment, and now they were truly good for nothing but the burn pile.  Those limbs still attached to the trees, however, yielded bushels of apples.

A pruned tree may look like a disaster at first glance, but an experienced orchardist knows that trimming produces a more fruitful and profitable tree.  The parallels in the spiritual realm are striking.  Our Lord declared, "Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit" (John 15:2).  Purging for believers is painful yet essential to develop the quantity and quality of spiritual fruit which strengthens the individual and glorifies his Creator.  The alternative is to be cast away as a dead branch into eternal fire.

Man's showy displays of wealth, position, physical beauty, and prominence are like those flowering branches - fruitless and brief.  Both in season and out of season, may we all submit to the Master's pruning.  We can be assured that it is all for our good and for His glory as we by faith continue to abide in Him.

 Pete Lewis - Halsey, OR

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God" - 2 Corinthians 3:5

And if you have time, there is another beautiful post from Sheryl's Splinter from our African Log blog to read.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Weekend Words

From Our Daily Bread...

She Did What She Could - Read Mark 14: 3-9

"She did what she could.  She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial." (Mark 14:8)

She loaded the plastic container of cupcakes onto the conveyor belt, sending it towards the cashier.  Next came the birthday card and various bags of chips.  Hair escaped from her ponytail, crowning her fatigued forehead.  Her toddler clamored for attention.  The clerk announced the total and the mum's face fell.  "Oh, I guess I'll have to put something back.  But these are for her party," she sighed, glancing regretfully at her child.

Standing behind her in line, another customer recognized this mother's pain.  This scene is familiar in Jesus' words to Mary of Bethany.  "She did what she could" (Mark 14:8).  After anointing Him with a bottle of expensive nard before His death and burial, Mary was ridiculed by the disciples.  Jesus corrected His followers by celebrating what she had done.  He didn't say, "She did all she could," but rather, "she did what she could."  That lavish cost of the perfume wasn't His point.  It was Mary's investment of her love in action that mattered.  A relationship with Jesus results in a response.

In that moment, before the mum could object, the second customer leaned forward and inserted her credit card into the reader, paying for the purchase.  It wasn't a large expense, and she had extra funds that month.  But to that mum, it was everything.  A gesture of pure love poured out in her moment of need.

- Elisa Morgan

In what unexpected ways has Jesus helped you?  What might you do - not all, but what - to love Jesus back in a need you see today?

Father, open my eyes to see You inviting me to do what I can do today.

Let us ever love each other

With a heart that's warm and true,

Ever doing to our brother

As to us we'd have him do.

Kind and loving to each other,

Gentle words to all we meet - 

Thus we follow Christ our Saviour,

Proving all His service sweet.

- William J Henry and Luella E Henry

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

In the Bleak Midwinter?

 Not exactly midwinter, and not really bleak.  But it is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and for the most part... I love it!

The winter comes; I walk alone,

I want no bird to sing;

To those who keep their heart's their own

The winter is the spring.

No flowers to please - no bees to hum - 

The coming spring's already come.

- John Clare

In the kitchen

Made more Soda Bread...

The basic recipe...

Lisa  was asking if my bread is heavy?  Yes it is!  Because I like it that way.  I use a small amount of white flour, but mostly wholewheat, spelt, buckwheat, rye, quinoa...
And I add seeds (sunflower. pumpkin, chia, caraway, ground linseed), and whatever else takes my fancy.  I bake in a loaf pan so it's more the traditional bread shape and better for slicing and freezing.  It's also delicious toasted!  If you prefer a lighter loaf, perhaps you could use all white flour, but I haven't tried it with all white.

And a beef and vegetable casserole...

And scones...
with sultanas, dates, raisins and currants :)


The single bed blanket is finished...

And went in the mail yesterday to Wrap with Love...

Two scarves done, and will knit a couple of beanies to send at the end of the month to one of  Knit 4 Charities charities of the month...

And I think I forgot to show you this, the hat I was knitting with the beautiful wool Jefferson and Anushka sent me for my birthday...

It's finished, and I also managed to get a headband out of the 50gms of lovely soft and light Malabrigo Merino wool...

So now I'm back working on my Amish blanket squares...

In the Garden

The silver birch in my front garden is looking pretty in its autumn leaves...

And although there is not a lot of flower colour in the garden, this little bee managed to find a dandelion...

until I mowed over it (the flower, not the bee!) when I cut the grass yesterday.

But all is not lost, as my friend Vicki gave me this pretty potted Bellis daisy (aka English daisy) which I will divide up and plant in the garden...

At the River

It's not all gloom and doom, and it was blue skies and sunshine on my mid morning walk yesterday...

I had books to talk about too, but this is turning into a marathon post, so will do the books in a separate post.  Soon!

I really, really, really must try and get here more often!!

I'm still getting lots of headaches, and when I have headaches I need to avoid the computer :(

 I've had a couple of other health issues to sort through too, but there is light at the end of the tunnel :) 

Will leave you with this poem by Amy Carmichael I read this week...

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,

Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,

What matter beating wind and tossing billow

If only we are in the boat with thee?

Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute

While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:

Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?

Can the heart faint that waiteth on thy will?

- Toward Jerusalem

Hope you are having a good week!  Back soon... :))


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weekend Words

From Beside the Still Waters...

The Upward Escape - Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13

The two birds were in a deadly contest.  They were both superb fliers.  The pigeon's snowy white plumage would be shredded and stained with blood if she lost this race with the hawk.  She streaked in desperate flight, but the hawk appeared to be closing the distance between them, no doubt already savoring the thought of juicy, warm pigeon flesh for breakfast.

The pigeon seemed to realize that evasive action was necessary if she were to survive.  She shot suddenly skyward, gaining altitude rapidly.  The heavier hawk was too slow to follow this quick upward maneuver.  Had the pigeon plunged downward in here effort to escape, her doom would have been certain because a hawk is able to dive at astounding speed.  The pigeon would live to see another day because she had chosen to escape upward.

We are pursued daily by the enemy of our soul who seeks whom he may devour.  He intends to stain our garments of righteousness and utterly destroy us.  We know that in our own strength we are helpless to escape his grasp.  We have a choice to make.  We can reach heavenward to obtain grace and strength that only God provides, or we can plunge downward in an effort to escape a nagging conscience in the din of worldly affairs.

If we choose to dive instead of climb, the consequences could be eternal, for Satan has vast power over all who enter his territory.  However, God is merciful and may give us opportunity to repent even if we make a wrong choice.  That is an opportunity that pigeons do not get.

Gary Miller - Pantego, NC

Ah! Whither could we flee for aid, When tempted, desolate, dismayed;
Or how the hosts of hell defeat, Had suff'ring saints no mercy seat?
- Hugh Stowell

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Weekend Words

 From Amish Peace...

A Celebration of Mothers

"My child, listen when your father corrects you.  Don't neglect your mother's instruction.  What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck." - Proverbs 1:8-9

On Mother's Day children gather flowers or purchase potted plants as gifts for their mothers.  Some teachers have their students make cards at school.  Not every Amish community celebrates Mother's Day, but every community does honor mothers and women in general.

In the Amish church, everyone has a place.  Even the seating reflects this.  As the church service begins, Saloma Furlong writes, "the oldest women...file in and take their places, followed by the middle aged women, and on down to the younger married women.  Then the unmarried women...file in and take their places, again by age.

In Amish society, women are their children's caregivers.  They are their children's first teachers.  They provide food, clothes and affection.  Older women are looked up to for their wisdom.  And although mothers are honored with flowers, when we follow wisdom, we're the ones who wear wreaths and crowns; "If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.  Embrace her, and she will honor you.  She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown" (Proverbs 4:8-9).

It's possible that you weren't raised by a godly mother, but there may be an older women in your life to whom you can turn for advice and support.  None of us will ever outgrow the need for loving mentors.  Each of us needs instruction and advice.  When we can learn from the experiences of others, we don't need to learn things the hard way.

If you do have a wise, caring mother, you are blessed, for every time you follow the guidance and instruction of loving parents, you become someone who will be effective in leading the next generation towards God.  You can also be a Godly mentor to girls and younger women.  Your own life experiences can make another person's life easier.

Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for wise, godly women, for those who are faithful guides to future generations.  I pray that you will give me someone to look to, and also someone to lead towards You.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Weekend Words

 From Beside the Still Waters...

But One Thing is Needed - Read Psalm 119:89-105

O how love I thy law!  it is my meditation all the day. - Psalm 119:97

The psalmist had a remarkable esteem for the Word of God, even though the only parts he knew were in the Old Testament.  In Psalm 119 he expressed great love for Scriptures.  He called them "my delight" (verse 92), and he described them as "sweeter than honey" (verse 103).

In the New Testament we read the story of two sisters called Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-41).  It was Martha who invited Jesus into their home.  She considered it important to provide her special guest with the very best.  Preparing a meal in that setting took a good bit of time and effort.  Martha became frustrated because Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words.  Finally Martha came to Jesus and said, "Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?  Bid her therefore that she help me."

Jesus replied, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part."  Jesus was explaining that the most important thing is to sit at His feet and learn from Him.  He was not saying that we should neglect material things, but that they must never crowd out communion with Him.

In our busy schedule, do we take time to sit at the feet of Jesus?  If the psalmist found the Old Testament Scriptures sweet and delightful, how much more should we enjoy reading and meditating on the words of Jesus!  Heeding His words is certainly a needful thing, for someday we will be judged by them.  If we choose "that good part" as Mary did, we can claim for ourselves Christ's promise that it "shall not be taken away."

Cleason Martin - Stratton, ON

Take time to be holy, Thy world rushes on, Spend much time in secret With Jesus alone. - William D Longstaff

Go in all simplicity; do not be anxious to win a quiet mind, and it will be all the quieter.  Do not examine so closely into the progress of your soul.  Do not crave so much to be perfect, but let your spiritual life be formed by your duties, and by the actions which are called forth by circumstances.  Do not take overmuch though for tomorrow.  God, who has led you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end.  Be altogether at rest in the loving holy confidence which you ought to have in His heavenly Providence.

St. Francis de Sales