Friday, March 30, 2007

From Child to Woman

So, Candace is home. It's nice to see her face again. Annalise is especially happy to have her whole family together again. She was plagued with some bad dreams, the latest of which all of the girls got married, her brothers were always away golfing and her cousin, John, never came over. Her worst nightmare.

I've been marveling over the experience of having two grown children. It's rather nice. Both of them have been in some difficult circumstances this last year that have tested their characters and both of them have reacted in ways that have greatly boosted my confidence in their decision making abilities. Not that they will make every decision as I would, but that they are thoughtful and purposeful in their decisions. They have stood against temptations and made right choices. Even when they have been released from our control, they have held to many of the same principles they were raised with. Ahhh. That's the sound of a mother's heart at rest for a moment.

I do not expect that they will never make mistakes. I hope I have learned enough and have been reminded enough that we all have a fallen nature and are all bound to need picking up from time to time. I pray that I can do that for them without wallowing in my own disappointment and pride.

I'm really basking in the thought of two children raised. I've never really resented the burden of responsibility of children, in fact I longed to be a mother from a very young age and I'm so glad I have so many more, but it's a satisfied feeling to have that burden lifted and see it placed on the grown child themselves. It satisfying to see them shoulder that burden and not stagger under its weight. And I'm more and more convinced that timing is everything.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Has L'Abri Done To Me?

The intence blitz-clean-out of the mind of C&ace!!!

L'abri is such a great place to get away and really dig deep. Being here is really causing me to challenge myself, my thinking, and my beliefs. To look inward and organize and clean up the clutterd rooms in my mind. I've not only been organizing but I've been cleaning the windows and letting in the light so I can see to clean and I can also see out better. I've found a whole lot in my mind that is obviously garbage that I am throwing out. Things that have been so mixed in with good things that I didn't see how ungodly some of it was. My views and expectations of God, myself, and others were a bigger mess then I realized!

Growing up from child to an adult can be a messy process! Trying to sort through all the voices around telling you what is right and wrong mixed and jumbled with what is Biblical and what is just interpretation. Wanting to please God and People and Me and finding out that you very rarely can do all three. The fight to become an adult and the still wanting to cling to the safety and simplicity of childhood. Working through all of that with the added fact that, especilly since I am the oldest, my parents are very new at dealing with a child of theirs transforming into the adult realm. They have struggled with knowing what should change and what should not. On top of all that I have the added burden of knowing that I have 6 younger sibblings watching me and I have a perfectionistic personallity. Which keeps me constantly kicking myself.

So I've been away from all the voices that I am so used to hearing, and living with 20 different people from increadibly diverse backgrounds. For three intense weeks I've been living in an environment where if one doesn't challenge you on one thing then someone else will. No hidden corner of one's mind will be overlooked and no stone will be left unturned. I have been forced to question everything and I've also got to listen to the vast array of others questions.

So I feel so much more secure with how Christ views me and it seems like I've grown up more in this one month then I have in five years. I understand and know that what I believe is mine and not just (taking on someone elses views because I don't trust my own). I should NEVER trust someone elses views and should always question theirs and my own. I am called to always bring things I think and believe before God and test them against the bible and what God's message is in the whole of the scriptures and not merely one or two small passages.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Life of Heaven

I'm reading through the Anne of Green Gables series and really enjoying it. I have come across quite a few quotes that I want to write in my journal but I'm usually reading in bed before going to sleep and don't have any way to mark them close at hand. Last night,for a change, I did have a pen on my nightstand. This quote is regarding one of Anne's friends who is dying (from Anne of the Island).

"When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different- something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth. "

This put me in mind of many things. Especially my friends who just lost many "sweet and excellent little things of life". I'm thankful that those things have not been what they have lived for. They have spent time seeking higher things. Their unselfish service has come back to them in the giving of help after their hardship of losing so much. Here they are, just a week after the fire, and many, many things have already been replaced. Some things will not be able to be replaced, of course. The reason they can not be replaced is because their value did not lie in the objects themselves, but in the fact that they represented bigger things in life - relationships and special moments shared with others. I know what they are going through is difficult, but not nearly so difficult as it would have been had they lived for those things.

It is true...the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Update on the Refurnishing Effort

First of all, thank you to all of you who have been praying for this family and sending gift certificates and books. They have received many wonderful donations of clothing, dishes, towels and beds,etc. A local appliance store donated all of their appliances. A man from their church owns an ebay company called NuMarket and he had me come to his warehouse where he filled my van up with a lot of new items for them. The Ambleside Online list members and other homeschoolers have been very helpful in sending many wonderful books. The family has been very grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone.

The things that are still needed are a few larger items and school supplies that would be unlikely for people to have on hand to donate. If any of you would still like to help, gift certificates (ie. Wal-mart or ) or deposits into the bank account that has been set up for donations would be the best way. If you need information about where to send these, email me at

Thanks again and bless you all!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Losing it All

****Update: Our friends have rented a large farmhouse. I've been busy soliciting donations from local businesses and people and trying to help get them set up in a home again. Tomorrow they will begin moving in to the new house. It's been quite an experience and I've been touched by people's compassion and generosity. One woman called me today who had lost her 1 yo in a fire and wanted to help them by sending some clothes.

As many of you homeschoolers will know, the loss of their books and homeschooling materials was very hard. When you take years to build a home library and watch it all burn in minutes, it is very disheartening to say the least. Clothes and other household items are the first to come in, but not everyone can appreciate the need for books. If any of you would like to buy amazon gift cards so they can begin replacing their lost books, you can do this online and send it to my email address - . I am trying to get things together for them as soon as possible because I know they will appreciate doing something "normal" with some old familiar book-friends.

This evening I watched my dear friend's home burn. Nearly every possession that was dear to her is gone. All of her pictures, heirlooms, books, clothing, dishes...everything. We watched it go even though many firefighters worked hard to save what they could. I thank God that no lives were lost and that no one was hurt but it was still hard watching it burn.

And I thank God that my son left his shoes at their house and that I suggested Priscilla go over there this evening to retrieve them.

You see, Priscilla bought a new car today and wanted to take her brothers for a ride. So I suggested she go get her brother's shoes from my friend's house where he left them a couple of days ago. The family was resting after a hard day's work in the yard. My friend was dozing in a chair, while five of her children were watching cartoons and some of them were dozing too. (Her oldest 12yoson was away.) They awoke to Priscilla knocking at the door. After getting the shoes for her, some of them came out the front door to the driveway to see her car. One of the boys came through the walk-out basement out to the driveway and he saw that there was a fire in their basement, where he had just been a few minutes before to fetch the sought-after shoes, but there was no fire then. He ran outside and told his mom.

My friend ran in to wake her husband, who was sleeping in their basement bedroom (with no windows). He ran through the fire and when he came outside he tried to open the garage door when flames leaped out and singed his hair. (Their garage was a part of the walk-out basement) Two of the children who were still in the house came out right away. Within minutes smoke was pouring out of the upstairs windows. The children were put into Priscilla's car and she drove them to the neighbors.

911 was called. Neighbors were called. We were called. I could see the smoke very soon after we left our house. By the time I got there fire trucks were everywhere but the flames were consuming the house. The majority of the roof was gone. We sat on the grass and watched in shock. Over and over we thought about if Priscilla had not come over and disturbed them and asked them to come outside to see her car, her husband would very possibly have been trapped in the back corner of the basement. And possibly other loss of life. It happened so fast.

I am very sober tonight with the thought of how quickly our lives can be changed. And at how many little things came together and affected the sequence of events. I was so irritated that my son had left those shoes there. And now I am so grateful. SO VERY GRATEFUL.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More on the Stars

As I said, I've been looking at the stars lately. And after reading Witness of the Stars years ago, I have been fascinated by them. Often I have tried to tell others about the constellations but they have been such feeble attempts as expressing the wonder of it all. I have now become determined to begin to try to absorb this information so I can actually narrate it with some amount of intelligence, instead of fumbling around for bits and pieces of the story.

I posted last year about "my" mountains here and how they have been a place I go to gaze at God's wonderful creation and spend time with God. You can go to that post and see a tiny piece of the panoramic view.

This morning, as I was drawing my nighttime mountain scene with the constellations, I took out my books and started looking up the names of the stars in the constellations I had found. Back when I was reading Witness of the Stars, the part that really touched me and brought me to tears, was when I got to the information about the ship that brings it's passengers to the safety of the greater and lesser sheepfolds. I didn't remember which constellations they were in. This morning I found one and it's significance amazes me.

When I set my chair up facing the mountains (that scene in that older post) I look directly up to the sign of Cancer. The modern symbol is that of a crab but the ancient star meanings say nothing that would encourage that interpretation. Instead here is some of the ancient names and meanings of the stars in that group:

The Arabic name for this sign is Al Sartan - who holds or binds
The Denderah name is Klaria - cattle folds
Greek name is Karkinos - holding or encircling of which the latin word is Cancer
The Latin Cancer: Khan - travellers rest or in, and Cer is Arabic for circling

Some of the star names in this group are:
Tegmine - holding, Acubene - (Hebrew and Arabic) sheltering or hiding place, Ma'alaph - assembled thousands, Al Himarein - kids or lambs

In the center of this sign is a bright cluster of stars, of which the ancient name is Praesepe, which means a mulitutde, offspring.

This sign of cancer speaks of a protected resting place for the Lord's offspring, his sheep. A place where the travellers are brought safely home after all of the conflict is over. How amazing is that, that in the place I go to find rest in Him, I look directly up and see a sign of THE REST that is to come. A rest for God's people that has been planned since the beginning of time. A part of the story that God has had in the heavens, in plain view for thousands of years. Before there was His story in writing, he wrote it in the heavens.

He telleth the number of the stars,
He giveth them all their names.
Psalm 147:4

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My Own Starry Night

I have been taking a lot of little walks lately. It's amazing what getting out in the fresh air and looking at the natural world does for you. Last night I took a walk to the top of the hill to see if the moon was up yet. I could barely see the light growing in the spot where it was to come up. Since I was a bit chilly, and I realized I had a few minutes, I went back to the house for a blanket and I grabbed our Glow In The Dark Night Sky Book and a flashlight. I went back up, and boy, what a treat.

We have a panoramic view of the mountains at the top of our hill. The view of the stars away from all household lights is incredible, especially when you add the backdrop of the shadowy mountains. I wish I knew how to take a night time shot that would do the scene justice.

I spent my time waiting for the moon finding the winter constellations in the book. I was able to find four of them from my seat. I became much more interested in the constellations when I read Witness of the Stars by Bullinger. It makes the verse "The heavens declare the glory of God" take on much more depth of meaning.

So, there I was, wrapped in a blanket, enjoying the stars and my glow-in-the-dark constellations when I remembered to look for the moon. Just in time, I saw the top sliver just coming up over the mountains. I involuntarily took a deep breath. It was so beautiful.

How is it that I have been so neglectful to take the time to enjoy this regular spectacular sight? And all I have to do is walk out my front door and up a little hill.