Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas started early this year when the Bantons showed up on December 17th. (We knew they were coming.) They stayed until Dec. 21st and it was a hard good-bye. They were the best gifts ever.

We celebrated Christmas as a family on Dec. 23rd. The boys made a huge breakfast of biscuits-compliments of Freeman; scrapple, sausage, hash browns, and scrambled eggs. Phil and I recited the Christmas story-"And there were in the same country..." We exchanged gifts and sang. A few of us played some games and a few did some farm chores and got packed. In the eve., Phil, Susan, and I watched 'Sea Biscuit.' It was a lovely day.

Dec. 24th-Left home between 9 and 10 and headed north. Phil, Susan, and I, stopped in to see Mother for a short visit. Then we headed to Hotel 8-Joe and Karen's. We got settled in and joined nearly 60 others for Christmas caroling in the eve. The after party was a great time to catch up with friends and neighbors. I fell asleep to the hum of voices sometime after 10:30.

Dec. 25-Had a nice breakfast of cinnamon rolls and orange julius. Watched Jonathan open up his gifts. Went to Jim's for church. We sang for a good hour and then Freeman preached the best Christmas sermon I've ever heard. It was based on 1 Peter 5:7-'Casting all your care on Him...' and Phil. 4:6-8-'Be anxious for nothing..' And the way to be anxious for nothing is to meditate on the One who is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy.
It is because Jesus came as a baby and lived His life as a man and died and rose again that we can cast all our cares on Him and be anxious for nothing.
We also sang "The Hallelujah Chorus" as a family, with Paul leading, with his good hand. He had cut off his thumb (accidently) and had it reattached a week ago. Taylor played his guitar-'Eruption' and Jordan played a magnificent piece on the organ. Several shared testimonies. We were all grateful for our heritage and God's blessing of unity and friendship in this wonderful family.
We then ate a great big lunch together-ham balls, green beans, mashed potatoes, sw. pot. casserole, 7 layer salad, cabbage slaw, and much more. Then we went upstairs and had the sibling male/female gift exchange. Debra liked my gift of a scarf and Susan's cards and I liked Helen's gift of a painting of a country house at Christmas. Phil got Dave's box of goods-Turkey Hill gift card, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, gloves, and Arbonne body butter for the female in his life and Dad liked his orange fluorescent cap with furred ear flaps. We passed out the traditional candy canes. Micah gave his uncles homemade soap with big plastic bugs inside and his aunties received homemade soap with pieces of colorful soap inside. We all were enjoying little Jonathan and David's antics. They are the dearest little one year olds in the world and they are both miracles in every sense of the word. We enjoyed conversations, games, etc. Our family left around 5 to head to my families gathering.'
We arrived at my brother's around 6. He had pork, turkey, and ham with the fixings for a sandwich-chewy fresh rolls, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, and mustard. He also made his fabulous seafood chowder, asparagus and mushrooms, corn, and I'm sure I am missing something. The rest of us brought desserts but I am still too full to mention all the cakes and cookies. Our family sang some of the Mast/Hertzler songs for Mother. She sang along when we came to the more traditional songs of 'Silent Night' and 'Joy to the World.' I held Kelly's Baby Grace and put her to sleep while we sang. She is only 7 weeks old. Abby brought out her menagerie of guinea pigs and rabbits and it was obvious that we were all descendants of my mother, the greatest animal lover that ever lived. Uncle Jim noticed that the squealing of one guinea pig quieted down when he 'played' his musical tie. I will always treasure that time with Mother, listening to her sing, and watching her hold the guinea pig runt who 'was slightly deformed.'

Freeman and Alli headed back to Aunt Anne's and Michael and Philip headed back to Uncle Bubba's. (They wanted to go to Shady Maple Smorgasbord in the morning but it was overflowing and they were turned away. Went to Yoder's instead.)
Phil, Susan, and I headed towards Carlisle and checked into the Super 8 there. The next morning, it took us only 4 hours to get home instead of 6. The Christmas spirit continues here today. Susan cooked sauteed cucumbers from 'The Joy of Cooking' book that our friend, Teri, gave her. She also got a cookbook from Gpa Hertzler's. We'd like to cook through that one since it is called 'Simply in Season' and we think that would be fun to do. She wants to have her own garden next year. Phil's reading the book Michael gave him that I read on the way up. 'The Final Summit', which I think everyone in the world should read. I just took a nap and then decided to write a bit even though it's freezing back here.

I think this has been one of my most favorite Christmas' ever. Between Christmas caroling and singing at both places, we probably sang 4 hours. Oh-we are thankful that no one was hurt when a car when hurtling by all the parked cars along side of the road. (Christmas caroling) They slid on some black ice and ended up in the ditch. There was some unpleasantness involved because of the condition the driver was in, but we are thankful that no one was harmed.
Something else I forgot to mention was Paul's gratitude for our prayers. He said that he knows that whatever use he recovers from his thumb is due to our prayers.
Another fond memory is something funny Alli said. Someone said something to her about singing the alto part to a song and she said something like, "I'm making up my own part." She has a lot of new songs to learn and I know exactly how she feels because I felt the same way nearly 30 years ago as a new bride in the Hertzler family. But it's worth it to learn those songs that have been passed down for at least four generations that so few other people know. My mother said that she keeps hearing the different parts coming in 'in her head' but she doesn't know the words. I think we need to make her a recording.

Merry Christmas everyone
and may you know His peace and goodwill
towards you in this coming year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Webster's-'Let'-to allow, permit; to give opportunity for

Notice how Jesus has given us everything we need.
It is up to us to allow what He's given to have its place
in our lives.
1 Cor. 2:16b-"...But we have the mind of Christ."

Phil. 2:5-"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...made Himself of no reputation...taking the form of a servant...humbled Himself unto death..."
John 14:27-"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;..."

Col. 3:15-"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts,..."
Deut. 30:14-"But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it."

Col. 3:16-"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Rom. 8:35-"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

John 14:1-"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me."
Let His mind be in us. Allow it. Permit it to be so.
Let His peace rule. Allow it. Permit it to be so.
Let His word dwell in us. Allow it. Permit it to be so.
Let not our hearts be troubled. Allow it not. Permit it not to be so.
I sat down early this morning to be Mary and my mind is Martha,
troubled, scattered, list-making, weary.

And I think of this little word-'let'-allow.

"Let (allow) My peace, My mind, My word, My untroubledness,
be in you, rule in you, dwell in you."

Help me Jesus,
to choose the better part;
To not only sit at Your feet like Mary
but to have my mind be Yours as well.

In this busyness that comes with the celebration
of Your birth,
help me not to forget that You came,
not for a visit,
but to make Your home in our hearts.

Oh, please, be at home in my heart.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sifting or Praying

I've been watching some dear friends go through
an extended period of rough times.

I have often thought of them in connection
with the words Jesus spoke to Peter,
"Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to sift you like wheat,
but I have prayed for you,
that your faith will not fail,
and when you have returned,
strengthen the brethren."

Satan has been asking to do a lot of sifting lately.
He could not do it, unless God allowed it.
He has to ask.

Jesus doesn't sift.
He prays.

How comforting to know that He prays
that our faith will not fail us,
and then He assures us
that one day,
we will strengthen others.

He who has the power and the right to sift us,
prays for us, instead.

You know what?
We can be sifters
or we can pray.

We can look at people and take them apart
and say,"They've got some good wheat about them
but they've got a lot of chaff too."

Or we can pray for them,
that their faith will not fail them.

I sure hope people are not sifting me.
I hope they are praying for me instead of judging
what I am made of.

What would happen to the Body of Christ
if we joined Jesus and prayed for each other's faith,
and we left the sifting to the one
who has to ask God's permission to do so?
A few days after writing the above,
I read a prayer in Ken Gire's book,
"Intimate Moments with the Savior."

I share a portion of it with you here.

"I love you for all that I am because of you.
I love you because with your tender hands
you lift the crushed pile Satan
leaves behind when he winnows,
and you blow away the chaff.
I love you that you don't focus
on those husked failures but rather on the kernel,
however small,
of genuine love left in your palm.
And seeing it, you take great delight."

Stay Focused

Sheriff, my German Shepherd puppy, is about 9 months old, and he looks like a wolf. I don't think I have ever been adored by any person or any thing quite like this dog adores me. He looks me in the eyes and worships me.

The other day, I was petting him, and adoring him back, and his other two siblings tried to get in on the loving. I focused on Sheriff and kept talking to him, but he was so distracted by the other two, that he broke eye contact with me. He whined anxiously and tried to get them to go away. I had given him nothing to worry about, but he was distracted and troubled by the possibility of divided attention.

I love God. I worship Him. He gives me His undivided attention
and His loving words of kindness.
Distractions lurk all around me and I whine anxiously,
worried that I have lost God's attention because of pressing circumstances.

And again, I think of Martha and Mary.
Martha was a good gal.
She loved Jesus.
She showed Him her love by her actions.
She became distracted by her acts of service.
She was troubled by Mary's lack of service.

Mary loved Jesus too.
She sat at His feet and looked in His eyes
and worshipped Him.

She showed Him her love by listening
and receiving what He had to say.
She believed Him when He said that He was going
to go through a rough time.

Shortly, afterward, at another dinner party,
she broke open an alabaster jar of oil,
worth a year's wages,
and by so doing, in Jesus' words,
'anointed me for my burial.'

She believed and validated His words
by her actions.

What a relief it must have been to Him
to have someone believe Him
instead of saying,
"This shall never happen to you!"
and "I will stand by and guard You with my sword!"

She listened to Jesus' swan song-
the words one says before He dies.
I wonder what all He told her.

I love how He defended her behavior
to Martha and then later, to Judas
and some others.

Mary didn't much care what people thought of her.
She had One on her mind.
She was a liberated woman.

I pray that Jesus will help me be more like Mary.
I want to ask Him what is on His heart and mind.

His heart must get heavy at times.

Surely, He longs to tell someone
what is about to take place to His Spirit
and to His Body.

Perhaps, we too, can anoint His Body, the church,
with oil.
Perhaps, we can bring healing to its soul.

Perhaps, the fragrance from the oil of kindness and gladness
will remain with our brother and sister
as they wrestle in their own Garden of Gethsemane
and carry their cross to the Hill.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I put a verse on face book the other day. Words that Jesus said. "Martha, Martha, you are worried about many things. But Mary has chosen the best part and it will not be taken from her." The story is written in Luke 10:38-42.

Basically what happened was this. Martha was making a nice supper for Jesus and Mary wasn't helping her. She was sitting at Jesus feet, listening to what He had to say. Martha says to Jesus, "Tell Mary to help me. I'm doing all this work for you all by myself." And that's when Jesus told Martha about the differences between her and Mary.

I had several joking responses which got me to thinking. Basically, people were wondering who was going to do all their work if they just sat at Jesus' feet. Who is going to do the washing, cleaning, and cooking?

So, I looked at the story again and I noticed that the key words Jesus used in His rebuke to Martha were these. "You are distracted, troubled, and worried about many things."

What does this say to me?

It says, "Simplify my work for Jesus."
He does not want me 'slaving in the kitchen'
getting hot and bothered as I 'cook a three-course-meal'
when He would be deeply satisfied with 'almonds and raisins'
and a listening quiet loving friend to enjoy it with Him.

We do big things for God and want to influence people to love Him
and we wear ourselves out and offend others in the process
and we wouldn't want anyone to see how we act when we leave
the limelight of duty and collapse at home
where those who love us most pay dearly for our work for God.
(I speak as an 'expert' on my own humanity.)

Think of the simplicity of God.

Clay became man.
A stick parted waters.
A cloud led by day and
a pillar of fire by night.
A whale swallowed a prophet.
And a manger held God.

Natural things becoming spiritual.

We want to add unnatural things
to spiritual things.
Blinking lights and man's applause
to everything we do for Him.

And He just wants simple.
He just wants you.
He just wants me.

So turn off the music.
Turn off the drama.
Turn off the worries, the troubles, the distractions.

And take a little piece of bread
and a little cup of juice
and sit with Him.

For after all things are said
and after all things are done
it is you that He wants,
not what You do for Him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two Voices

I found a paper folded in a old Christmas book my mother had given me from her library. It gave me a thrill to read the words written on the paper and it was nice to see a handwritten note at the top that said, "Beulah-part A is yours. Thanks for helping. Lorrie" Beulah is my mother. The scripture reading is entitled, "King of the Jews" and was arranged by Dale E. Jones.
It was written for two voices. 'VOICE A should be read by a soft voice-this is the traditional Christmas story. VOICE B should be in contrast, a more strident tone-the story of Christ's rejection, crucifixion-with a jubilant tone as the resurrection is told.'

A: And it came to pass in those days, that there went up a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed...and all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

B: He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

A: And Joseph also went up from Galilee.

B: When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man was a Galilean, and as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod.

A: Out of the city of Nazareth

B: Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?

A: Into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?"

B: "If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself."

A: "For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

B: And all his acquaintances stood afar off, beholding these things.

A: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them.

B: From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

A: And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

B: For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles.

A: "For unto you is born this day..."

B: And shall be mocked.

A: "In the city of David..."

B: And spitefully entreated.

A: "A Saviour..."

B: And spit on

A: "Which is Christ the Lord."

B: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

A: And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

B: And having said this, he gave up the ghost.

A: And she brought forth her firstborn son,

B: And when Joseph had taken the body

A: And wrapped him in swaddling clothes

B: And wrapped it in a clean linen cloth

A: And laid him in a manger

B: And laid it in his own new tomb

A: Because there was no room for them in the inn

B: Wherein never man before was laid.

A: And when they were come into the house,

B: Upon the first day of the week,

A: They saw the young child with Mary his mother

B: They came unto the sepulchre,

A: and...they presented unto him gifts

B: Bringing the spices which they had prepared.

A: Gold and frankincense, and myrrh.

B: They found the stone rolled away. Behold, two men stood by them in shining garments;

A: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host

B: They said; "Why seek ye the living among the dead?"

A: "Glory to God in the highest,"

B: "He is not here."

A: "And on earth, peace, good will toward men."

B: "He is risen!"

A: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
I just got Phil to read it with me. It's like seeing the Alpha and the Omega all at the same time; Christ's beginnings on earth and His ending. And Mary was there at His birth and at His death. And she was there at Pentecost, too, when He sent His Spirit to take the place of His flesh here on earth. And someday soon, I will get to meet this Blessed of All Women, who was the first to feel God stirring in her womb; who was first to hold God in her arms and on her lap.

O God, I want to know what that was like!
I want to hold You as a baby in my arms.

And I hear You say, "Whatever you do to the least of these,
that you do to me."
And I am comforted.
For when I hold the little ones,
I am holding You.















Friday, December 9, 2011

A Parable of Sorts

There was a farmer who had a little plot of soil.
He dug it up and stirred it around and prepared the soil to receive the seed.

He reverently placed the seed two inches deep into the soil.

Every day he came out and stirred up the soil,
hoping to inspire the seed to grow.

And every day, the seed lost its place in the soil
and had to start over again.

Day after day, the farmer stirred the soil,
frantically trying to grow the seed.

Finally, the seed had enough.
He spoke up, much to the farmer's surprise.

"It was good of you, dear farmer,
to stir up the sod and prepare for my planting,
but now you must allow the sun and the rain
to do its work. I cannot grow without their consistent
presence in my life. I cannot grow if you continue
to stir up the soil. I will develop no roots.
If I grow, I will be spindly at best, and I will not bear fruit."

The farmer heeded the seed's gentle chiding
and stopped stirring up the soil.
He worked on other plots of land on his property
and prepared other soil to receive the seed.

And the stillness, the sun, and the rain,
did it's work,
and the seed grew and developed good deep roots,
and produced fruit of the sweetest kind.
Eph. 4:11-16~"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth to the body for the edifying of itself in love."

Col. 2:6,7~"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."

Double Talk

Usually, when someone says your name twice in a row, you tend to sit up and listen. I've been noticing the times that Jesus said names twice.

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41,42)

"O Jerusalem, often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!"(Luke 13:34)

"Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." (Luke 22:31)

"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4)

I wonder if He says my name twice.

As He says it, does He invite me to sit at His feet and be gathered under His wings?

Does He warn me that Satan has asked to sift me as wheat, but assures me of His very own prayers that my faith will not fail?

Does He chide me for the way I fight against Him rather than surrendering to His goodness?

For truly, truly, it could be my name in those verses and His voice that I hear.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Thanksgivings

340. Colonial Williamsburg-where time moved slowly for Susan, Bethany, and I. We enjoyed the deluxe Time Share complete with King size bed, two twins, dining room, kitchen, living room, two bathrooms, and jacuzzi room. We walked and shopped in downtown and old town Willliamsburg and had plenty of time to rest in the jacuzzi. Watched three movies and ate when we felt like it. Relaxing time. So thankful for this gift. Oh, the front desk clerk looked and acted just like Nanette, so we felt at home right away.
341. Nine hours of sleep in a king sized bed.
342. Friends who were so happy for our good fortune
343. Time alone in the morning, drinking tea, and reading my collection of scriptures from the past three months, while sitting at a colonial style desk
344. Pictures of unhappy looking Bethany and Susan doing time in the stocks
345. Drinking sparkling grape cider in the jacuzzi and Susan getting silly
346. Talking to Phil from a King sized bed and finding he was nearly at his parent's home
347. Phil's opportunity to run up to Pa. to hunt and visit family and friends
348. Susan's plaque she bought Phil at the first store we came to. It says, "The Greatest Gift I Ever Had Came From God...I Call Him Dad!"
349. Michael's excitement about flying two days in a row
350. Michael brought three friends home from Liberty for the weekend. They went over to Happy Valley and built a fire and went cat fishing. One of them wanted to quit school, get a part-time job, and camp out here the rest of the time.
351. I became a great-aunt twice in one day! Two little boys born on Dec. 3.
352. God's protection over Freeman and Philip. Both fell through the roof of the house they were working on within half an hour of each other. Scraped up and sore but nothing permanent.
353. First two eggs from chickens. Small but miraculous!
354. People asking Jesus into their hearts and accepting Him as Savior. I'm happy for them and I'm happy for Him.
355. I showed Susan piano chords in the key of G-G, D, Em, and C. I played them and she said, "That sounds like a song!" I said that it was the chord progression of 'Blessed Be Your Name.' Not long afterwards, she was playing it and singing along. It's amazing to teach someone what little I know and have them run with it and go much further.
356. John 14:23,21-Visitation, Habitation and Manifestation!-"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
357. The Christmas musical highlights-Freeman and Alli playing Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head-their funny accents, cute ways and dancing, and Freeman playing Tobias the shepherd and his human humorous song. I loved Kara's sweet voice, singing as Mary, lullabying over a peaceful, baby girl Jesus. Got a kick out of Missi playing Pastor Alvin's mother in the play.
358. For Shepherds who watch over their flocks by 'night', making sure that though we are scattered, we are all present.
359. My first practice with the community choir. Wow! Sounds like a professional choir. Everyone so friendly, too.
360. That He shall pu-ri-fy-y-y-y-y the sons of Le-vi so they may offer to the LORD and offering in righteousness.
361. The weather outside is as warm as the house temperature!
362. The singing guitarist standing beside the Salvation Army bucket spreading goodwill to Walmart shoppers.
363. Going over to Betty and Kelly's. Perching at the stool, watching Betty make chicken potpie. Susan talking to Betty and while I rested beside Kelly in bed chatting away. Giggling girls making music videos. Betty's chocolate covered Ritz cracker chocolate mouse Cool Whip dessert. Catching up with a dear friend.
364. Lunch with Michelle. Thankful for her gift of time and depth of conversation.
365. Susan and Micah's baking project resulted in two Christmas scenes-sleigh, 4 reindeer, snowman, and a tree. My brother, Abe, had given Susan this cookie cutter kit a few years ago.
366. Micah and Phil's delight in seeing each other.
367. Gil and Lindsay's new house and pictures to prove it!
368. Time to write and how happy it makes me.
369. The goodness ahead in the land of the living for our friend's whose house was pretty much totalled by a fire this weekend.
370. A day at home to rest and make cookies before life gets overly busy in the next two weeks.
371. Susan's extra credit project for Biology-a nucleus cake
372. Michael's 96% on an aviation final
373. The Guild/Jones traditional Christmas party
374. The feel of snow in the air
375. Open doors, open windows, Christmas lights, Handel's Messiah, cookies baking, Michael home...
376. Michael's outstretched arms and reassuring words, "You're a good mommy."
377. God's sense of humor and the music and words that overwhelm all sense of conflict
378. Shielding Shepherds
379. That God is in control of whatever is about to happen
380. It is with a cup of sorrow in one hand and a cup of joy in that other, that we go through life, one day at a time
381. One piece sock monkey hat, scarf, and gloves, that Susan knows she is getting for Christmas and she gets so happy every time she thinks about it
382. The gray, pink, turquoise, and orange of morning emerging and eyes with which to see its beauty
383. The freedom to let go, because underneath it all, are the everlasting arms
384. That the Bible is so smart.
385. Michael, taking acoustic guitar lessons next semester and the promise to teach Susan all that he is learning
386. Spending half a day with Susan and Alli decorating sugar cookies
387. Annual Grunert party
388. Baked Ham and homemade rolls all ready for Sunday lunch tomorrow
389. For the beautiful tenor voice singing 'Comfort ye...'
390. Man cave is as clean as it gets and 'beds' are made and ready for the Bantons and a fire is going in the wood stove.
391. For six little piggies who think the world is their home. I should not be this attached to them. They are so cute but they scream bloody murder when you try to hold them.
392. The opportunity to sing with the Appomattox Community Chorale. Handel's Messiah. Full House. Front row-Michael, Susan with Adi on her lap, Philip with Emma on her lap, Lindsay, Erin. Seeing Tom's come in. Jeff and Chris in audience. Absolutely thrilling experience.
393. The Potter's House and people who are happy to see you come and sorry to see you go
394. Erin eating her birthday cake. She used to have a wheat allergy but God healed her and she can eat what she wants. It's a miracle. Last time she ingested some wheat at our place, she had to spent the night, curled up on the sofa, and I wasn't sure if I should take her to the hospital or not. Someone prayed for her a few weeks ago. God had healed him of a dairy allergy and he wanted to pray for her. It is a great freedom for her and she doesn't have to lug her own food around wherever she goes or be fearful of accidentally ingesting wheat.
395. Several days with Gil, Lindsay, Emma, and Adi
396. Emma, Adi, in the big bathtub. Lindsay back with them. All singing, "Away in a Manger."
397. Hearing "Auntie Annette!" over and over again
398. Rock-a-bying the little girls
399. Susan, resting on the sofa, with her head on Lindsay's shoulder
400. Lindsay, braiding Susan's hair into a waterfall french braid
401. A humongous flashlight crashed onto my bare foot when I climbed into bed after getting home late from Mom's and More party. Excruciating pain for about 5 min. and Phil's kind words, and then sleep, and no more pain from it at all.
402. Idea about writing Bible stories for new adult believers who have literacy challenges.
403. Dr. Stanley's idea, recorded in my mother's diary-'spend time in prayer. Take a notebook and on one side, write down your request-with the date, and on the other side, write down the answer and date it. Your faith will be built as you see the answers.'
404. Comforting words for the Marthas-'Whatever you do, do it with all your might, for it is the Lord you are serving.'
405. Michael making breakfast for Susan and I and the Banton's on their last morning here.
406. Philip and Michael pretending to have their own cooking show while making Christmas breakfast-hash browns, eggs, scrapple, sausage. Freeman brought biscuits. I think their show would be a hit, what with their mix of jokes, insults, unusual music, pretending to run overtime, etc. All this while I was attempting to have a Christmas morning Quiet Time, but I think that these moments are God's gifts to me and I gladly give up the quiet this time.
407. Best Christmas ever in Pa. with Christmas eve. caroling and Christmas Day with the Hertzler's and my side of the family.
408. Mom's tears while we sang "The Hallelujah Chorus".
409. Freeman's Christmas sermon. My first time of hearing any of his sermons. Short. Sweet. Profound.
410. Protection on Christmas eve.-drunk driver careening within inches of Michael's car. Bradley shut his door quickly. Cars and people unharmed. The driver ended up in the ditch.
411. Mother's look of delight when Abby brought out her guinea pigs. She reached up her hands to hold one right away.
412. Mother's pretty alto voice singing, "Silent Night."
413. Abby's request to sing 'Silent Night' again.
414. The diplomacy, objectivity, compassion, and wisdom of my siblings.
415. Susan's and Anne's mutual joy in being told that they act, look, and sing like one another.
416. Philip's note on kitchen counter-"I love you, Mom. You are the best." In spite of the fact that last night, my dog, killed his littlest pig.
417. The movie, "The King's Speech" and the inspiration it gave me that I, too, have a voice. Found out why it was rated 'R'. Phil covered his ears and asked me to tell him when it was over. Said he heard enough of those words at work.
418. Andy Andrew's wise, captivating, and potentially life-changing books-'The Traveler's Gift' and 'The Final Summit.' Michael heard him speak and got him to sign some books.
419. After finding out my mother and sister needed me in Pa., my schedule and my family set me free to 'go' and 'stay as long as you need to' because 'we'll take care of things here.'
420. For the gaunt, majestic, white sycamore tree silhouetted against billowing clouds of winter grays and dark distant mountains en route to Pa.
421. Safe trip to Pa.
422. Time
423. Susan's opportunity to go with Betty and Kelly to Winterfest
424. Philip's desire to get bees and fruit trees for our farm

Saturday, November 26, 2011

At the root of Gratitude

One Wed. eve. my husband and I went to the neighborhood church for a quiet Thanksgiving service. When the pastor asked for the sharing of thanks, Mitch, our neighbor, who has special challenges of his own, spoke up and said he was thankful that we came. (He had invited us.) Everyone looked at us and the pastor acknowledged his words.

During the evening, the pastor shared the story about the 10 lepers. (Luke 17)

Brief synopsis:
There were 10 lepers who cried out to Jesus to be healed and He sent them on their way to show the Priests in order to be pronounced 'clean' and as they went, they were all healed, but only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks.

The pastor shared that leprosy was the common thread that united these ten men of different ethnic backgrounds. When our own pastor recently spoke about this story, He emphasized the cries of the ten lepers. "Unclean! Unclean!" and "Have mercy!"
But only the tenth leper, a Samaritan, came back to cry out with the same intensity of his first two cries, "Thank you!"

I've been thinking about why the Samaritan came back.

I'm not sure that the others were ungrateful.
I think that after the Priest's pronounced them 'clean',
they were so happy and excited they went home to their
families and were accepted right back into society's graces.

But the Samaritan did not so quickly forget
how it felt to be an outcast.
He had been an outcast since birth
because of his race and the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.

Perhaps, even as the ten were traveling toward the Priests,
and discovered their healing,
they began to divide back into their ethnic groups.
Jews with Jews.
The Samaritan with himself.

Perhaps they had all been united in their sickness,
but when healed, they could not remain united in their joy.

I don't know. We can only guess about the nine.

But we do know that the Samaritan returned to give thanks.
The nine received and kept their healing.
But the healed Samaritan received fellowship with Jesus and wholeness.
"Your faith has made you whole," Jesus said.

I think that humility is at the root of gratitude.
And I think that gratitude is at the root of wholeness.

I think there is a remembering of who and what we were before
Jesus came on the scene.
Before He heard our cries "Unclean!"
and "Have Mercy!"

Gratitude says,
"Without You, I would still be a leper."
"Without You, I would still be on the wrong side of the tracks."
"Without You, I would still be without a song."

Surely, He has called us out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
Surely, we love Him so very much
because we have been forgiven so very much.

We must not dwell on from where He's brought us
nor from what we've been cleansed
but we must not forget it either.

I want to be one who returns to thank Him
after He's healed me.
I don't want to forget to thank Him just because
I am accepted by others and no longer feel the pain
of rejection.

I don't want to forget Him after He's made me look good.

Thank You for cleansing me.
Thank You for accepting me.
Thank You for knowing me.
Thank You for calling me 'friend.'
Thank You, Dear and Holy God.

Monday, November 21, 2011

WHO I AM IN CHRIST-Part 3 of 3


John 15:5~I am the vine,
you are the branches.
He who abides in Me,
and I in him,
bears much fruit;
For without Me, you can do nothing.

Acts 1:8~But you shall receive
power when the Holy Spirit
has come upon you;
and you shall be witnesses
to Me in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the end of the earth.

1 Cor. 3:9~For we are God's
fellow workers;
you are God's field,
you are God's building.

Eph. 2:6,7~...and raised us up
together in the heavenly places
in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
He might show the exceeding
riches of His grace
in His kindness toward us
in Christ Jesus.

Eph. 2:10~For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand
that we should walk in them.

Eph. whom we have
boldness and access
with confidence
through faith in Him.

Phil. 4:13~I can do all things
through Christ
who strengthens me.

WHO I AM IN CHRIST-Part 2 of 3


Romans 8:1~There is therefore now no
condemnation to those who are in
Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh,
but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:28~And we know that all
things work together for good
to those who love God,
to those who are the called
according to His purpose.

Romans 8:38,39~For I am persuaded
that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities
nor powers, nor things present
nor things to come,
nor height nor depth nor any created thing,
shall be able to separate us
from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Phil. 1:6~Being confident of this very thing,
that He who has begun a good work in you
will complete it until the day
of Jesus Christ.

Col. 3:3~For you died
and your life is hidden
with Christ in God.

11 Tim. 1:7~(Amplified version)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity-
of cowardice, of craven and cringing and
fawning fear, but He has given us
a spirit of power and of love
and of calm and well-balanced mind,
and discipline and self-control.

1 Jn. 5:18,20~We know that whoever
is born of God does not sin;
but he who has been born of God
keeps himself,
and the wicked one does not touch him.
We know Him who is true;
and we are in Him who is true.

WHO I AM IN CHRIST-Part 1 of 3


John 1:12~But as many received Him,
to them He gave the right
to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name.

John 15:15~No longer do I call you servants,
for a servant does not know what His master
is doing; but I have called you friends,
for all things that I heard from My Father
I have made known to you.

Romans 5:1~Therefore, having been
justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our LORD Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 6:20~For you were bought at a price;
therefore glorify God in your body
and in your spirit,
which are God's.

Eph. 1:4-6~...He chose us in Him
before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blame
before Him in love,
having predestined us to adoption as sons
by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will,
to the praise of His glorious grace,
by which He made us
accepted in the Beloved.

Col. 1:13,14~He has delivered us from
the power of darkness and conveyed
us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
in whom we have redemption
through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins.

Col. 2:9,10~For in Him dwells all the
fullness of the Godhead bodily;
and you are complete in Him,
who is the head of all
principality and power.

Who am I?

I've been spending some extra time in the book of Ephesians. The first three chapters are all about who we are in Christ and what God has given to us. The last three chapters are all about our behavior in light of who we are and what we have. Too often, we put the cart before the horse. We come up with a list of Christian behaviors and highlight the law rather than focusing on who we are under the grace of God.

I think if we really knew who we were in Christ and understood that Christ's own righteous life has actually been imputed onto us-given as a gift to have in and on us, we would not strive to attain a righteousness of our own by doing everything right according to the law. We won't ever do everything right on our own strength. But thanks be to God, we are under grace, and He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

We have right standing with God because Jesus has given us His righteousness and paid for our sin by giving His life in exchange for ours. We are bought with a price; the precious blood of Christ, and the life we now live, we live by His faith. We face temptations with His life within us facing them. We forgive our enemies the same way He forgave His enemies-by praying, "Father, forgive them. They have no idea what they have done." We are yoked with Him. He is the vine, we are the branches. He is in us and we are in Him. We are never alone. The life of God is within us through the Holy Spirit because of the gift of Jesus Christ.

Too often, we think that temptation is sin. But Jesus was tempted and He was without sin. He knew He who was and His purpose in life. If we know who we are and our purpose in life, we can say to temptation when it knocks at our door, "Go away. I am the righteouness of God in Christ Jesus. I don't do those things. I don't think those thoughts. Because Christ is in me and He's not like that. I know who I am and this sin doesn't fit with who I am." We can be so horrified that we had a tempting thought and can get discouraged and fight it with our own strength instead of exposing it to the light of God and turning to the life of Jesus within us. We get to feeling condemned and sometimes finally give up and yield to the temptation because we thought we were sinning to have the temptation in the first place. But thoughts will come to our door and knock. We sometimes open the door to see who is there, but we must not invite them in for a cup of tea. Close the door and go on and do something in keeping with who you truly are. Turning on the light is the best way to deal with darkness.

I went online and printed out some verses about who we are in Christ. The list is taken from Dr. Neil Anderson's book 'Victory over the Darkness.' I wrote out the truth and the verses on little index cards and I want to make them available to you. Print them out and think about them. Meditate, digest, and commit them to memory. And then live a life full of grace and freedom, being who you are in Him, rather than focusing on what you should or should not do or on what you should or should not have done.

Continued on next blog...(All verses are quoted in the NKJV with the exception of one.)

Michael's notes on Success

Michael was sharing with me some notes he took in his aviation class and I asked him if I could blog them so I could re-read them. He was sure that his instructor, Ernie Rodgers, would not mind if I shared the following with you. These are keys to being successful in aviation but they can be applied across the board.

1. Education opens doors

2. Respect Everyone

3. Be dependable-do what you say

4. Be quick to listen, slow to speak

5. Don't make big things out of little things. As a pilot, this is really important.

6. Be real in life

7. Life is a marathon; not a sprint. In aviation, you will want to work your way up.
Hmm...that's good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


We have choices in what we hear. We can hear the words of fear and doubt or we can hear God's words saying, "Take the land." This morning, I was reading the story in Numbers 13 and 14 about the twelve spies who went in to check out the land of Canaan.

I will try to tell it to you in my own words, but I am sure the New King James Version will slip in there once in awhile.

The children of Israel had been delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians and were led by God through the wilderness by following His cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and He was teaching them His ways and showing them His miraculous provision and He brought them closer to the Land He had promised to give to them.

The LORD told Moses that it was time to send a man from each tribe to go into spy out the land of Canaan which He was giving to the children of Israel. He, Himself, said that He was GIVING it to them. So Moses gave them directions on how to get there and everyone wished them the best. Moses gave them instructions and told them to check out the richness of the land, the quality of people, the strength of their cities, and the amount of trees. He also said, "Bring back some fruit for us to sample."

Off they went complete with bravery and butterflies in their stomachs, thrilled at being chosen, anxious to go and anxious to come back and get this show on the road.

First off, they found some grapes that were so large that one cluster had to be carried between two of them on a pole. They also found some pomegranates and figs.

After forty days they came back and showed everyone their gigantic fruit.
Everyone was excited.
Some of the spies began to talk.

"It's true that the land you send us to is a land flowing with milk and honey. There are cows and bees all over the place and just look at this fruit."

The people looked at each other excitedly and clapped for joy.

"But," they continued, "The people who live in this beautiful land are really strong and some are actually gigantic. The cities are well-protected and are of tremendous size." And their faces showed grave concern and fear.

The people looked at each other and noisily reacted to this bad news.

Caleb got up and said, "Quiet down, everybody."And they quieted down.
"We can do this,"he said. "Let's do it right away. Let's go take possession of the land that God has already promised to give us."
And his face showed bravery and hope.

But his voice was outnumbered by the naysayers.
"There is no possible way that we can go against these people. They are much stronger than we are." Blah, blah, blah. They went on. "The very land devours those who live in it and there are huge people living there. We looked like grasshoppers next to them. We thought so and they thought so too."

So everyone freaked out.
They freaked out all night long, wailing and working themselves into a general frenzy.
They started verbally attacking Moses and Aaron and said things like,
"If only we had died in Egypt! If only we had died in the wilderness! Why did the LORD bring us this far only to have us killed by the people in this land? Shouldn't we go back into Egypt so we can at least die in slavery?" And so on.

They convinced themselves with their own words that they should select a leader and head back to Egypt. That's just horrible, I know, but I wonder how many times we do something just as stupid.

Moses and Aaron fell down on their faces before the people perhaps in despair and/or intercession and Joshua and Caleb, the good spies, tore their clothes and tried to reason with the hysterical people, saying, "This land is really a good land. We've never seen anything like it. Don't give it up so easily! If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us. It's a beautiful land, flowing with milk and honey! Only don't rebel like this against the LORD, and don't fear the people of the land, because they are our bread-we will consume them- because their protection has gone from them and the LORD is with us. Don't be afraid of them!"

My heart is racing with the intensity of their entreaty and the anguish they must have been experiencing.

The people hated these words of encouragement so much that they wanted to stone the four of them and then the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle before all the people.
The LORD had had it.
The people were screaming at Moses and then the LORD vented on him as well.

"How long will these people reject Me and not believe Me in spite of all the signs I've given them? I'm going to strike them with a pestilence and disinherit them as my people and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they."

And Moses said, "Have at it."
No, not really.
If my name was Moses, that's what I would have said.

Actually, Moses said to the LORD, "What will people think of You if you did such a thing? The Egyptians will hear about it and tell it to everyone and say that You weren't able to deliver Your people like You promised. They'll say that you weren't able to bring them to the land so You killed them off in the wilderness. So show Your great power and may I remind You, that You, the LORD, are longsuffering and full of mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, etc. so please pardon the iniquity of these people according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have been forgiving them all along."

And the LORD listened to Moses and said, " Okay, I have pardoned them, according to Your word, but because these people, who have seen My glory, have tested Me and not heeded My voice, there will be a time that the earth shall be filled with My glory. As for these people, they will not ever see the land that I swore to give to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it."
And He said to the people,
"You will all die in the wilderness, but your little ones, 19 years old and under, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in and they shall know the land which you have despised. But they will have to be shepherds and bear the brunt of your infidelity until your carcasses fall in this wilderness. They'll have to wait forty years-one year for each day that you spied out the land-, and you will bear your guilt for forty years, and you will know My rejection."
"But Caleb has a different spirit than the others, and He follows me fully. Therefore, I will bring him into the land where he went and his descendants will inherit it."

And then, the spies who had given the bad report, and so changed the shape of the intended history of Israel, died by the plague before the LORD.
But Joshua and Caleb remained very much alive.

And believe it or not, the people realized that they had sinned and decided to try to obey the LORD too late. They presumptuously headed up to the mountains to fight the Amelekites and the Canaanites. But Moses and the ark of the covenant (the presence of the LORD) stayed at the camp. Moses tried to warn them, saying, "Don't do that! It won't work!" And he was right. It caused nothing but trouble.
Their enemies swarmed them and attacked them, and drove them back farther into the wilderness.
And they lived a nomadic life for forty more years in the wilderness, instead of being established in the Promised Land.
There are many lessons to be learned here.

I am going to focus on the lesson of hearing.

The Scriptures say that we should be careful to hear what
the Spirit is saying to the churches and that he that has
an ear, let him hear. It also says that the person who hears
will be given more to hear.

The Spirit speaks to us and we want to hear what He has to say.
But there are other voices speaking to us as well,
and we should be discerning in regards to whose voice
is speaking and what we allow ourselves to hear.

God had already spoken and told the people that He was giving
them this land.
Caleb and Joshua gave a wonderful report that matched
up with God's promise.
But the majority of voices were full of fear
and those were the voices the people of God
listened to.

Who are we going to listen to?
We are all listening.
Who are we going to listen to?
It is time to listen to The Promiser
and to those who speak His Words.
It is time to walk into our Promised Land
and receive our inheritance.
So be careful little ears what you hear.

Monday, November 14, 2011

God's Table

Psalm 23:5~Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies...

Psalm 78:19, 20~Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? Behold, He struck the rock, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed, Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?"

Matthew 15:27~"But even the little dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master's table..."
God prepares a table for us in the very presence of our enemies.
 We don't wait until they are gone before we start eating or we'd never eat.

Sometimes, we focus on the face and the intimidation of our enemy instead of focusing on the abundance of His table.

We need to focus on His table.


Because, there will always be enemies.
There will always be a wilderness.
There will always be others who are more worthy
to eat at the table.

I can be so distracted by the enemies of self-pity, self-doubt, self-depreciation
that I miss the platters of thanksgiving, freedom from fear, and acceptance in the Beloved.

I can be so distracted by a person's posture,
or facial expression, or nasty words,
that I miss the dishes brim full of approval from God.

I miss Him smiling at me at the head of the table.
I miss His words of grace and blessing.

Every day we have a choice.

We can focus on the presence of our enemies in the wilderness of our lives,
or we can focus on His table laden with the Bread of Life
and the Wine of fellowship and cheer.

In this world we will have tribulation
and we can focus on that tribulation
or we can focus on the One who says,
"But be of good cheer.
I have overcome the world."

I am working on ignoring my enemies of remorse and regret.
I am gazing at the table spread for me.

Please pass the dish full of grace and mercy this way.
And would you refill my cup with the wine of joy?

I look at The One who serves me.
I see the scars in His hand.

He smiles at me with eternal love
and stands up and fills my plate and my cup.

I catch His hands and cover my face with them
and weep into His rough gentle flesh.

He wipes my tears and looks at them thoughtfully.
Oh, He's counting them.
He's validating their salty worth.

He sits across from me and watches me eat.
And now it's only His face I see.

I love His smile.

I love the crinkles around His lips.

I love His all-knowing eyes full of humor,
sorrow, understanding, wisdom, kindness,
love, joy...

To sit at a table with One such as this-
to gaze at His beauty
and eat His food...

or to try to make out my enemies in the background
ever hovering in the wilderness;
trying to scare me into bolting from the table
into their darkness...

This is my daily choice.
And I choose Him.
I choose His table spread for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


11 Cor. 4:15~"For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God."

Hebrews 12:14, 15~"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully, lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;..."
The 'all things' Paul was referring to were the difficulties he experienced in life. He was saying, in essence, "I am carrying around in my body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, in order to manifest the life of Jesus in my body. And I am willing to suffer for your sakes, so that grace many spread through all of you, and may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God."

If we fall short of the grace of God, it will be likely that a root of bitterness will spring up to cause and spread trouble and defile many.

The verses are somewhat opposites.

Grace that spreads vs. a shortage of grace

Grace that causes thanksgiving to abound vs.
bitterness that causes trouble and defilement to spread

So, we understand, that we must be willing to suffer for each other,
and go through the difficult times,
(His strength
being made perfect in our weakness),
so that His sufficient
grace will spread
and cause thanksgiving to abound,
and we must pursue peace with all people,
and pursue holiness, so we may see the Lord.

We must keep a careful watch on our church life with each other
and make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God.
For without the grace up God,
we will have bitterness springing up
causing all kinds of spreading trouble.

Grace leads to thanksgiving.
Lack of grace leads to a root of bitterness.

Paul had experienced the grace of Jesus.
No wonder so many of his words captured the grace of Christ.

"Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father,
and the Lord Jesus Christ..." (11 Cor. 1:2)

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion
of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen." (11 Cor. 13:14)

"But as you abound in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us-see that you abound in grace also." (11 Cor. 8:7)

November Thanksgivings

On my way to a thousand thanks...

226. My daughter's beautiful hair and her beautiful straight teeth, "Cause if I didn't have straight teeth, I would cost you a lot of money." (Susan's contribution to Nov.'s thanks)
227. 15 Rhode Island Red Chickens who will begin laying eggs before long
228. The guys working around home
229. Dr. F's comment re: Susan-"This is the healthiest I have seen you!"
230. For the realization that the deeper the pit, the deeper the well.
231. Lindsay's phone call
232. For His yoke
233. That grace can abound or bitterness can spread
234. That "God is bigger than the boogey man."
235. The opportunity to rest when I am not feeling well
236. For trusting and trustworthy friends
237. For Johnny's birthday and sweet reflections on his life
238. That More than Conquerors have more to conquer
239. That God uses the enemies attack against us to make us more
like Himself and so destroys the purpose of the enemy, which is
to make us more like himself.
240. That my calling is to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength
241. That God's purpose for my life is to transform me into the image of
His Son
241. That my calling and God's purpose does not change even though
life circumstances do.
242. A happy day for Susan with the homeschool co-op;
practicing their play, walking to McD's, watching the Jr. play
in the eve.
242. A happy day for me, visiting with Dianna, Laurel, Isaac,
and Henry, making potato soup, snuggling with little baby boys
243. Phil's safe trip to Pa. and back for Harold K's Memorial service
244. A hunting day for Philip and Freeman
245. Michael cutting firewood
246. That those of us who are in a mess of our own making
are the very people Jesus came to save
247. For leisurely Sunday breakfasts of sausage, potatoes, and eggs
made by the boys
248. Phil helping Susan practice her shooting
249. 'Sound of Music' with Alli, Freeman, Phil, and Susan
250. Travis's birthday and Red Lobster tradition
251. For Philip's assertion that he is cleaning his room
252. Work for Phil
253. Visit from Judy and Sammy Jo
254. Freeman's success with the biggest buck in Hertzler History
255. good days
256. For the lady stocking shelves in Walmart singing a melodic reminder,
"Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King."
257. For Susan's serenade
the whole way home from voting
and for her song, "My chains are gone, I've been set free..."
as we drove down our lane towards home
258. That happiness is more happy than it used to be
259. For baked potatoes hot and ready in the crockpot
after a day of being out in town
260. That our sewer system didn't break down until now even though
it was on its last leg when we bought our farm
261. Two separate conversations with Philip and Michael-
both saying what a lucky guy Susan's husband will be-
Philip, because she knows how to farm and Michael, because
she knows how to cook
262. Everyone working on the farm. Michael-firewood;
Phil and Philip-silage and tractors; Susan-calves and aluminum;
Me-Yard and house clean-up plus chili prep for Chi Alpha party tonight
263. For the frost around the edges of fallen red leaves
264. sunny happy day
265. That there is an obedience to God like the fear and trembling a servant gives his Master, and an obedience to God that comes out of loving Him because you're His friend, and there is an obedience to God that comes out of abiding in Him-living and moving and having our being in Him-so that our nature is overwhelmed by His and out of our innermost being flows rivers of living water, and we don't even think of the word 'obey.'
266. Chi Alpha here for the eve. Some of the students have never been on a farm. They enjoyed the chickens and the calves. Annabelle, or is it Isabelle, was in labor so we let her be. (pig) Cooked chili. hot dogs, and s'mores over the fire. Soap carving contest-theme-'fall'. Will's pumpkin won. Sang worship songs accompanied with guitar. Alli and Freeman came after helping her parents move. She likes her pink Cabela's hoodie.
267. Six baby piglets!!!! Solid muscle. So adorably cute!!!!
268. During worship at church, God talked me into letting go of all my remorses and when I did so, my insecurities went with them. Holy, holy God. Thank you.
269. For the cry of the leper-"Unclean!" "Have Mercy!" and "Thank You!"
270. For the challenging conversation with a sorter-outer that made me realize that too often we present a gospel for the crippled when really we should be presenting a gospel of the truth regarding Jesus Christ.
271. Being able to sing and talk without going into a coughing spasm for the first time in two weeks
272. Phil and Susan, sitting side by side on the sofa, holding hands
273. Michael remembering creative discipline-when he and Philip would fight, sometimes I would get them to discipline each other. Michael would 'discipline' Philip very lightly in hopes of returned mercy. They would get to laughing so hard that they'd forget what they were fighting about. Michael said, "I'm going to get you to raise my children."
274. The bank teller, whose name I do not know, called me by my first name when I drove up to her window, and asked me how I was. Next time, I will make sure I know her name.
275. Sweet smiling people everywhere I went today in Farmville-Post Office, Belks, Millers, the bank. I don't know why this always surprises me, but I am always pleasantly surprised by everyone's friendliness. In Appomattox, the shop keeper of B&L gave me a hug and told me how pretty my hair was. It was a mess. I was just about to get my hair cut. The lady who cut my hair put special conditioner on my hair when she realized I was going straight home and wouldn't see anyone. Kindness upon kindness. Balm upon balm.
276. Doreen and Graham pulled in at Liberty Baptist when they saw Susan and I there. We caught up quickly and promised to see each other soon.
277. Nice long chat with Judy in the eve. She wanted to know who took Susan's pictures posted on face book. I said, "Yours truly," and she said, "You missed your calling."
278. Phil and Philip's opportunity to see Susan's drama practice this eve. since they won't be able to attend the performances.
279. Groceries in the fridge and on the counter
280. The meat I pulled out from the freezer is actually labeled-'Bear' along with the date. No mystery meat for supper tomorrow night.
281. That we can judge people by their fruit.
282. That the Promised Land is the 'land' promised us. The Promiser keeps His promises.
283. That no one can judge the heart of a man but God who knows all things.
284. Beautiful spring-like days
285. For my neighbor who I saw at Krogers. She said, "You never gain any weight, do you." I almost kissed her right then and there. It's been a long time since I've almost been called skinny. 65 pounds ago, in fact.
286. For Susan's desire to cook the entire Thanksgiving meal by herself. She's planned a menu, made a shopping list, and is typing out recipes. She has written down what she needs to make on Wed. and times she needs to bake/cook things on Thursday. We have given her our requests and she is making all of them plus more. I will be available for consultation and will set the table and help keep dishes clean. Michael will help chop vegetables with his Cutco knives and will carve the turkey. But Susan will put it all together. "I just want to see if I can do it, " she said.
287. Michael sold a Cutco homemaker set tonight. I don't know if I'm more excited for him or for my friend, who desperately needed some knives!
288. For lovely homeschooled girls who are so kind to my daughter
289. For the privilege of watching 'Les Miserables' with the CCA middle and high schoolers. It was great to see the kids and observe their social and physical growth.
290. For mothers who deeply love their children
291. For time to shop at the mall alone for some Christmas gifts and shoes
292. Michael's Thanksgiving break!
293. That Susan can dance a waltz in a beautiful pink dress and come home and change into coveralls and a sweat shirt and go feed her 16 calves. She's got skills.
294. For book club at Janelle's today and the way we eat, drink tea, discuss a book, and solve life's problems for each other. The grand finale today was watching some Grey's Anatomy (TV show).
295. That the giving of thanks is an outward expression of inner gratitude
296. Susan listed Phil as her hero on facebook
297. As I began to read Romans, I saw this note in my Bible that says, "Expositions on Romans has sparked many revivals as people become aware of the magnificence of God and His grace toward us." I believe that and I know it.
298. One of my past students I transported back to CCA from the play told me that she and her brother accepted Christ last week
299. Because Jesus took our sin on His own body on the cross, He knows what it feels like to be the vilest of sinners. He knows what it means to be separated from God
300. For the Farmville homeschool co-op and the wonderful friends we have made
301. Susan's excellent performance in 'Les Miserables'. Everyone else also performed marvelously.
302. Last week's sermon on the lepers cry-"Unclean!""Have mercy!" and "Thank-you!" that continues to reside in my spirit
303. This week's sermon on the revelation of the Father through the life of Jesus Christ
304. This week's sermon on Hab. 3:16-19-That even though it does not seem that life is going as it should, we have the privilege of joying in the God of our salvation and knowing Him as our strength. We are grateful for who He is and not just for what He does. He will make our feet like Hind's feet. He will enable us to walk on our high hills of challenge, difficulty, and trouble with the sure-footed certainty of one who was created to do just that.
305. For the wonderful worship song, "The Great I Am". It is a song that is all about Him.
306. He is my hiding place. He shall preserve me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Ps. 32:7
307. Praise from the upright is beautiful. Ps. 33:1
308. For the difficult understanding that if my mercy is more merciful than God's, it is no longer mercy; it is unhealthy tolerance.
309. For this beautiful warm short-sleeve-short-pant day and the mood we are in to clean up inside and out
310. Ephesians=Know we are holy by God's grace and His gift of righteousness and do the good things God gives us to do.
311. For two sweet uplifting notes from Betty in one week's time
312. For the safe return of our magnificent men from bear hunting in Pa. They saw no bear but enjoyed a much needed vacation.
313. Michael's roommate, Ben, is spending Liberty's Thanksgiving Break with us.
314. For the already received and the yet to come promised compensation from God-Is.35
315. Susan's Thanksgiving meal! I kept the dishes cleaned up for two days of cooking and set the table and was available for advice. Michael and Ben cut up vegetables and Michael carved the turkey. The menu? Turkey, mashed potatoes, mac. and cheese (Mike's request), glazed carrots (Freeman's request), homemade rolls (Alli's request), oyster filling (Phil's request), broccoli salad (my request), sausage biscuits (Philip's request), green beans with bacon, corn, 7-layer salad, cranberry from the can, pecan/apple pie, pumpkin pie, Cool Whip, vanilla ice cream, mushroom gravy, giblet gravy, and turkey gravy. I think that's it. It was really good. She was exhausted.
316. Susan's Thanksgiving post on face book. Phil's cousin, Ed, read it to us over the phone.
317. Ben's laughter as he watched 'The Three Stooges' for the first time in his life.
318. Ben thought that everything was beautiful-our home, the property, the river, my chapel.
319. Ivan Henry and his sweet loving ways and his wonderful belly laugh
320. Sat. eve. Hertzler gathering with Janelle's parents and Uncle Ollie and Aunt Barbie and Austin joining us. I had hot dogs and s'more fixin's, Janelle brought a veggie tray and drinks, and then Helen pulled up. She had broccoli soup, filling balls, applesauce, apple crisp, cranberry/pineapple fluff, chocolate chip cookies, and mint tea. The younger children went inside after supper and watched 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treador.' Tom's came in after everyone left and some of us drank tea and we caught up a bit on life. They left some time after 10. Phil had fallen asleep.
321. Christmas decorations are up and they are beautiful!
322. For Phil and the way he is our rock and the way he loves us all.
323. When wisdom takes the place of insecurity, relationships heal and grow.
324. Handel's Messiah in its entirety for 9.99 from CBD!
325. He is our very present help in time of need.
326. His words of hope where there is despair
327. That people are important but their true or false evaluation of my character pales in comparison to the thoughts He thinks of me.
328. My wise and loving husband, Freeman, Alli, Philip, Michael and Susan
329. I graduated from the insurance program today! Now I can eat whatever I want! Just joking!
330. For our chiropractor who made a house call on Sunday and put Phil's shoulder back in place. It had dropped an inch and a half and his collar bone was sticking out.
331. Naomi's phone call.
332. That we chose to homeschool this year
333. Meredith's birthday! 22. Lunch with Tom's on Sunday.
334. Phil's getting me a camera for Christmas! Hot pink one with lime green case! Just like Susan's but not water proof or bang up proof and so much cheaper. Also bought on cyber Monday. Really good deal! So excited!
335. For the opportunity to sing in a community choir-Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah. Phil's been wanting to do it for years.
336. Holding little Hannah in church, second row from the front, and just like our children would do, she jumped on the front row chair in time to the music and raised her little hands and sang with all her might. I could feel her vibrations through her chest.
337. Judy, being a witness while under fire
338. Meeting a friend at the chiro. who offered us a free trip to Williamsburg from Thurs.-Sat. This was Wed. and we took her up on it.
339. For the birth of a grand niece Gracie, born at the beginning of this month. Her brother's name is Noah. 'Noah found Grace in the sight of the Lord.'

To Be Continued...