Laudable Linkage

Here are a few of the thought-provoking reads found this week:

Hey, Christian, Don’t “Quiet Quit” Your Faith, HT to Challies. “But enough about the noisy quitters! What about the quiet quitters of the faith? There’s been a lot of ink spilled over the rise of the ‘Dones’, those who have just finished with the faith. But there’s a way of leaving the faith that’s less obvious. . . “

Driven by Awe, HT to Challies. “When Christians think of fighting sin, we usually imagine strict self-discipline and saying ‘no’ to wrong desires. Certainly, self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit and a means of helping us fight our sin. But, what if we had another tool given to us by the Spirit to help us overcome?”

When You Hear of a Scandal, HT to Challies. “I’m no longer naïve. I’m not surprised when I hear of a Christian leader falling into sin. I have, however, learned four important lessons on how to guard my own heart when I hear of another leader who’s fallen.”

Though My Flesh May Fail: Reflections on Chronic Suffering From the Hospital Bed, HT to Challies. “I’m a firm believer in the sovereignty of God’s grace. I believe everything that happens to the believer is for good. After receiving an autoimmune diagnosis and seeing the subsequent bills roll in, though, this conviction has been put to the test. Amidst temptations to doubt, God continues to reveal His good purposes for me in my affliction. As I sit in my hospital bed today, three lessons stand out among the rest as reminders of the sovereignty of God’s grace and His goodness in my life.”

Planning Like Paul. “Some Christians think that making plans for your life is the opposite of being Spirit-led. . . They’ll tell you that if you make plans then you aren’t trusting God. What you really need to do is just let go and let God. But is this the model of the Christian life that Scripture presents us with? Should we never make plans? Are goals simply a manifestation of a lack of faith?”

A Few Handfuls for Weary Little Listeners. I love this idea and examples of speaking directly to children in a message.

Stories Are Light. “Isn’t this why we read to our children, why we fill their minds and hearts with true and beautiful story? Why we seek to cultivate their imagination and sense of what is good and holy? This beautiful confession took my words away. Wow, I said. You’re right. That is beautiful and true and wise.”

Tomorrow is the twenty-first anniversary of 9/11. Some years I have acknowledged the anniversary with post, but not always. But I do like to take a moment to think about it. Many of us promised we would “never forget” that tragedy, and I want to keep that promise. It’s a good time to pray for the survivors, the families of the fallen still living with loss, the fight against terrorism.

Friday’s Fave Five

Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts this opportunity to look back at the previous week and appreciate the good things in it. Sometimes we overflow with things to give thanks for; other times we have to dig for them. But this is a good exercise either way.

1. A long weekend. My husband took Friday off before Labor Day to have a four-day weekend. We had the kids over for grilled burgers Monday, and Mittu made a gorgeous cheesecake. Jason and Mittu brought over gluten-free cheese pizzas and assorted toppings Friday night and then had us to their house for Sunday lunch after church.

2. A new light fixture above the sink. The one we had was broken and held together with tape. Jim used one of his days off to replace it. I always feel bad when a home project turns into a bigger deal for him than we thought it would be. He had to make four trips to Home Depot. The first light he bought didn’t work with our configuration. The second turned out to be an off color. I don’t remember what the other two trips involved. But he finally got it in. Not only is it more pleasant to look at, but it’s much brighter.

3. A super clean tub and sink. My cleansers and scrubbers weren’t taking complete care of the stains in the sink and tub. Jim has a drill with a brush attachment and scoured both fixtures til they were gleaming.

4. A breakfast biscuit. Somehow in talking with the kids I mentioned that when I used to take them to school, I’d “reward” myself by getting a breakfast biscuit once a week or so. But because I’m not usually out early in the mornings any more, I hadn’t had one in a long while. The next morning, Jim had to go out for something and surprised me by bringing back Chick-Fil-A biscuit.

5. A good critique session. I mentioned recently joining a writing critique group. Everyone in the group has a chance to “present” several pages of their work for others to edit and offer suggestions. It does feel very vulnerable, but it is so valuable. Even with running our pages through a spelling and grammar checker, mistakes are missed. And then there are larger issues, like when a phrase or paragraph is confusing or something hits in an unintended way. This past week was my turn to present, and the comments were so kind (as I knew they would be, even though I felt nervous beforehand). I had a chance to ask for feedback afterwards and got lots of good ideas.

Bonus: We watched Timothy last night while his parents went on a date. They brought me this wonderful cookie in the cutest little box:

Just before sitting down to start this post, I heard of the passing of Queen Elizabeth. She was such a stabilizing factor over the course of such a long reign. My heart goes out to her family and British friends.

The Lost Heiress

In The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White, set in the Edwardian era, Brook Eden grew up as the ward of Prince Grimaldi in Monaco. But the circumstances of her real family are a mystery. When Brook was a young child, she and her mother were in a carriage accident. An opera singer came to their aid, and Brook’s mother asked the woman to take Brook, a packet of letters, and her necklace before she died.

Brook friend, Justin, thinks he has discovered her real family and makes the arrangement for Brook to meet them in Yorkshire, England. Brook’s father, Lord Whitby, and his sister know right away Brook is his lost daughter. It takes the rest of the family and the servants longer to accept her.

This happened fairly early in the story, leaving me to wonder where the conflict was going to come into the plot.

Well, there’s plenty of conflict. A distant cousin, Lord Pratt, is a predator who sets his sights on Brook as the heiress of the Whitby estate. He bribes a servant to spy on Brook and bring him information. Justin’s father dies, leaving him as the new Duke of Stafford. His responsibilities necessitate his traveling to his family’s holdings in other countries, leaving Brook vulnerable to Pratt’s machinations. Justin begins to feel more for Brook than friendship but doesn’t want to seem like he is only interested now that she is an heiress. He decides to wait. But when he returns, he and Brook clash instead of resuming their easy friendship. Unbeknownst to either of them, someone has been preventing their letters from reaching each other. Other suitors appear to have made inroads into Brook’s affections. And no one realizes the danger Brook is in from a possession she doesn’t even know she has until a near-fatal attack and a stunning betrayal opens their eyes.

Several of the main characters are Christians and learn to deal with broken dreams, new and uncomfortable circumstances, trust in God when He doesn’t seem to be near, and finding forgiveness.

In the author’s notes, Roseanna said she wrote the first version of this story when she was twelve, finishing it at thirteen! After nineteen years, nine books, and many rewrites, it was finally published as the first in the Ladies of the Manor series.

A story about a lost heiress finding her true home might seem like a fluff read. But I have found no fluff in Roseanna’s books. She brings so much depth into her characters’ personalities and struggle. I enjoyed this book very much and have already started the sequel.

Daily Light on the Daily Path

When I mentioned Daily Light on the Daily Path in my post about pursuing the fruit of the Spirit, my friend Susan commented that she wasn’t familiar with the book. Since that might be the case for others as well, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share about it.

I first heard about Daily Light in missionary biographies, particular Amy Carmichael’s and Isobel Kuhn’s. I don’t remember if I assumed it was an older, out of print book: I don’t recall seeking it out. But one day when a home school conference was held nearby, I visited their sales area. I found a 1906 copy of Daily Light on sale for $2. So I grabbed it! They must have printed a lot that year, because I have worn out two versions from that year and am on my third (the latter two found online).

I found that Daily Light is a devotional book made up entirely of Scripture readings for every day. They were compiled by Jonathan Bagster of Bagster and Sons Publishing Firm for his own family’s devotions. His son later published the readings as a devotional book.

Most of the Scripture selections for the day follow a theme, like the one from September 1 about meekness.

Others follow a progression of thought, like this one.

One of my favorites from April 10 pairs verses together like this:

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.—Thy renown
went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness,
which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.
I am a sinful man, O Lord.—Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair.
I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.—Thou art all fair, my love; there is no
spot in thee.
When I would do good, evil is present with me.—Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven
thee.
I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing—Ye are complete in
him.—Perfect in Christ Jesus.
Ye are washed, . . . ye are sanctified, . . . ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and by the Spirit of our God.—That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called
you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Psa. 51:5. -Ezek. 16:14.Luke 5:8. -Song 4:1.Job 42:6. -Song 4:7.Rom. 7:21. -Matt. 9:2.Rom. 7:18. -Col. 2:10. -Col. 1:28.I Cor. 6:11. -I Pet. 2:9.

We used the book for family devotions for a while, but my husband didn’t like reading verses grouped together out of context. Though I do prefer reading through the Bible a book at a time in order to get everything in context, these selections seem to have been combined prayerfully and carefully.

Many days these readings were just what I needed for the day. One of the most memorable times was when I was in the hospital with transverse myelitis and scheduled for an MRI. Every nurse and aide who came into my room asked me if I was claustrophobic. I wasn’t sure—I’d never been in a situations when I felt claustrophobic before. They described the close quarters of the MRI machine and the need to be perfectly still. They could give medication for calmness for the procedure, but it would have to be done ahead of time. I opted not to take the medicine. The morning of my MRI, September 4, the day’s selection from Daily Light contained several verses about being still, something that had been emphasized to me so much for the scan:

Ruth 3:18  Sit still, my daughter

             Isaiah 7:4 Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted.

             Psalm 46: 10   Be still, and know that I am God

   John 11:40 Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

   Isaiah 30:15 In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength

             Psalm 4:4 Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still

             Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him

   Psalm 112:7-8 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established

When they first put me in the MRI machine, I did feel panicky. But God kept bringing these verses to mind over and over, and they calmed and comforted me.

So every September 4 when I come across these verses, I am reminded of the Lord’s help that day.

Another time that stands out was when we were house-hunting as we prepared to move from SC to GA in the late 90s. The reading for March 6 included these verses:

The Lord your God . . . went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. -Deut. 32:11,12.
—As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him. Psa. 37:23,24.
—The steps of a
good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. Psa. 34:19.

When I read the first verse to my husband, he said, “Does that mean we’re going to live in a tent? Thankfully, no. 🙂

The 1906 version has a section at the back titled “Thoughts for Personal and Domestic Exigencies” (love that title!) It has a page of Scripture readings for thanksgiving, birthdays, marriage, sickness, anxiety, affliction, and bereavement. My 1999 version doesn’t have this section, unfortunately.

I’ve read Daily Light for about 30 years now. I like to read it to begin my devotional time, to get my mind and heart in gear. But some days, like when we’re traveling, or when I have an early medical appointment, or on Sundays, DL may be all I read for devotions that day.

I didn’t know there were evening readings until I ordered a more modern version. I don’t know if they were added later or if originally the morning and evening readings were published separately.

The original versions use the KJV, but you can find DL in several other Bible versions now. It is also online several places, including Crosswalk (if you don’t mind their ads) and Christian Classics Ethereal Library. This site will send the day’s readings from the NIV via email.

So that’s my long history with Daily Light on the Daily Path. Had you heard of it? Have you read it?

Passive or Pursuing?

I’ve read Daily Light on the Daily Path nearly every day for about 30 years now. But I saw something in the reading for September 1 that I don’t remember noticing before.

The topic for September 1 morning reading was meekness. The first verse portion came from Galatians 5:22, which lists meekness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Years ago I read of a mother teaching her children that because the fruit of the Spirit was something that He grew in us, they could sit back and relax since there was nothing they could do to produce this fruit.

While I agreed that only the Holy Spirit could produce His fruit in us, something bothered me about a totally passive response.

Then on this first September morning, another phrase stood out to me from the day’s reading in 1 Timothy 6:11: “Follow after meekness.” Other versions say “pursue” instead of “follow after” and translate “meekness” as “gentleness.”

Here was a verse telling us to pursue, to follow after, something that’s part of the fruit of the Spirit. Pursuing doesn’t indicate a passive approach.

In context in 1 Timothy 6, Paul has warned Timothy about wrong doctrine and false teachers. The motivation for some of these false teachers was monetary gain. Paul encourages contentment and warns that the pursuit of money brings a snare. He warns “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (verse 10).

Then the word “but” provides a pivot: “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”

Some of these characteristics are also part of the fruit of the Spirit (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” Galatians 5:22-23). They are given to us, yet we’re also told to pursue them.

I’m not generally good with plants. But I know only God can make something grow. Farming has been an act of faith for hundreds of years. Farmers till the ground, sow seed, water, fertilize, and weed. But they have no control over whether drought or storms or disease or insects affect their crops beyond their ability to care for them.

Many of us have had the experience of planting a new flower or vegetable according to instructions, eagerly awaiting the first green shoots, only to be disappointed when nothing happened.

But, though only God can make something grow, He doesn’t usually produce a bumper crop without requiring human input. He doesn’t need our input, but He requires it. Even in the garden of Eden, before sin brought weeds and thorns, man’s job was to “work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Sure, God places lovely wildflowers in overlooked corners and lush growth in uninhabited rain forests. But many things that seem to grow without effort are the wrong sorts of things–weeds and vines that choke out other growth.

We’re saved by grace through faith plus nothing (Ephesians 2:8-9). And our sanctification is from God as well.

But He wants our cooperation, our obedience.

Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on Timothy, Be Faithful, sheds some light. A little later in 1 Timothy 6, verse 19, Paul says, “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (KJV). Wiersbe comments, “‘That they may lay hold on eternal life’ (1 Tim. 6: 19) does not suggest that these people are not saved. ‘That they may lay hold on the life that is real’ would express it perfectly.” The ESV translates it closer to that meaning: “thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

So that’s probably similar to what we’re dealing with concerning the fruit of the Spirit. God gives it: we don’t work it up in our own efforts. But in love and obedience, we lay hold of and pursue and cooperate with the Spirit’s working in our lives.

How do we pursue the qualities God wants us to have?

Intentionality. We don’t drift into holiness. “Pursue” indicates planning and purpose.

Turn away from wrong things. The command to pursue certain things followed the command to flee other things.

Pray. We can’t be or do what God wants us to in our own strength. We need to ask Him to fill us with His Spirit.

Read God’s Word. God speaks to us through His Word, giving us wisdom and knowledge. If we’re having trouble in a particular area, maybe we need to study and memorize verses in that area.

Behold Him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we’re changed to be more like our Savior when we behold Him. The Bible is not just a self-help book or a manual for overcoming our faults. The Word of God is the means by which we behold Him: we need to seek Him, not just formulas.

Yield to Him. John 14:26 says that the Holy Spirit will remind us of what God has taught us. When we’re angry and about to give way to our temper, and the Holy Spirit brings to mind a verse warning about the dangers of anger, we need to yield to Him. When we’re about to indulge in a third dessert, and God brings to mind verses about gluttony and self-control, we need to yield to Him. “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).

So is the fruit of the Spirit something we passively receive?

Yes.

But if we’re not in God’s Word, growing in grace and knowledge of Him, yielding to Him as He convicts us in our daily walk, that fruit is not going to ripen and mature. We can’t do even those things without His enabling and help. But He wants us to actively pursue His will.

At least, that’s how I understand it after this study. What do you think?

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Laudable Linkage

I’ve been saying for weeks that I was behind on my blog reading. I’m almost caught up now, as evidenced by this long list of good reads.

Imagine Reading The Lord of the Rings the Way You Read the Bible, HT to Challies. “The aim of the story is really to sweep you away in the narrative, to carry you along in a story in which you are not the starring character but in which the idea is to fall in love with other characters. That’s how epic stories are meant to be read—not as tiny little morality tales, but as horizon-busting, eye-bugging, world-broadening, even life-shaping experiences.

Sometimes I Struggle With the Bible, HT to Challies. “I relate to what Mark Twain allegedly said, that ‘it ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do understand.’ It is comforting to know that one of my personal heroes, C.S. Lewis, shared similar feelings about the more perplexing parts of the Bible.”

I Should. . . “When we’re here, sighing over “shoulds” that overwhelm, our brain space ends up reading more like a to-do list than an ongoing conversation with God. We spend less time listening to God, and more time just asking him to help us get enough done today. The words of Jesus in Luke 10:42 strike a chord when the shoulds start to drive our days.”

Harmony of the Gospels. “When you carefully read the four Gospels, you will inevitably . . . encounter what might appear to be discrepancies or contradictions between the Gospels. How should you approach apparent contradictions? The following four starting points will help readers of the Gospels approach apparent contradictions in a helpful way.”

Is Your Gospel an Urban Legend? HT to Challies. “If you talk a big game about ‘the gospel,’ but don’t live like it’s true, the people you do life with will begin to suspect you don’t actually believe it. Worse yet, they may begin to disbelieve it themselves.”

Intersectionality and My Adoptive Family, HT to Challies. “If our family took these ideas seriously — as serious proponents intend — they would suffocate our love, steal our joy, and destroy my family. Intersectionality brings the division of mother against child and son against father in very different ways than Christ does.”

The Purpose of Discipline. “God gives us His grace during seasons of discipline so that we come to know Him more deeply. His desire is for us to know Him increasingly and intimately.”

4 Truths for Your Insecure Moments. “The next time you feel insecure, remind yourself that the parts of you that make you unique are the precise parts God wants to use to fulfill his purpose through you.”

I Didn’t Want to Go to Church, HT to Challies. “Recently it took everything within me to drag myself to church (for Wednesday night Bible study). My body was tired, my mind exhausted, and my heart fatigued. Further, it meant bringing both children who, for one reason or another, always decide to act wild on those nights. Long story short, I went to church that evening.”

First Friday Prayers; Galatians 1:24. Lauren takes every first Friday of the month to share how we can convert Scripture into prayer. This time an overlooked phrase from Galatians packs a big punch.

Living With a Legacy. The Elisabeth Elliot Foundation newsletter referenced a nice article in World Magazine about Valerie, Elisabeth’s daughter, growing up with the legacy of Jim and Elisabeth (I can see the article on my phone but not on my computer. World only allows a few views before hiding their articles behind a paywall).

These verses grabbed my attention when I was in another part of 1 Timothy 6. Don’t they sound just like the spirit of our age? May we share right words with a right heart.

Friday’s Fave Five

This is one of those Friday mornings where I sit down and think, “OK, what did happen this week?” I’m thankful that the Friday’s Fave Fives causes me to look back and evaluate and thereby see blessings that otherwise would have been missed in the blur of time passing so quickly. We join up with our hostess, Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story, to share the best parts of the week.

1. Quiet weeks. As much as I love having all the family here and doing lots of activities with them, and I’ve missed all that, it helps to have some quiet days with nothing on the calendar.

2. Help with a computer issue. I needed to do something simple: put a document in a particular group folder. But I couldn’t figure it out with the program I was using, and Google searches and tutorials didn’t seem to match what my screen was showing. When my husband got off work, I asked him if he was familiar with the program. He said, “Just barely.” But he looked at what I was trying to do and helped me figure out how to accomplish it. I not only appreciate having the problem solved and knowing what to do next time, but I am thankful for his willingness to help.

3. An impromptu get-together. We met Jason, Mittu, and Timothy at Olive Garden one day this week. That’s not a place we go often—I think this is maybe the fourth time in my life I have been there. But the food was good and the time together even better. Jim and I tried some Italian doughnuts for dessert–very good!

4. Encouraging words from a couple of directions.

5. Some new fun pens. Sometimes it’s the little things. 🙂 I saw some Flair pens advertised that are regular pens on one end but have designs on the other end–one color prints little flowers, another squiggly lines, etc. I got them to add fun little touches to notes.

I had mentioned some family outings briefly the last couple of weeks. I shared more details and photos about them here yesterday.

What’s something good from your week?

Family Outings in August

I mentioned in my end-of-August post yesterday that I wanted to share about some of our outings while all the family was here, but that made for an extremely long post. So I decided to talk about those separately in this post.

The first Saturday Jeremy was here, there was a local car show that had a section of carnival-like games for kids (shooting targets with a Nerf gun, face painting, balloon animals, etc.)

Afterward, Jason and Mittu took us to a bubble tea place they like. I didn’t try the tea, but everyone else did and enjoyed it. The place had a little park next to it with a few food trucks, where we all got something to eat. I tried some Greek food, a chicken wrap. I would have liked it better without all the yogurt—I didn’t realize Greek food used that. Now I’ll know for next time. 🙂

Then one day we went to the BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Convention downtown. Jim and I had thought this was something put on by the Lego company itself and were expecting some really big, elaborate displays. But the displays were made and entered by Lego aficionados. Once we adjusted our expectations, we enjoyed it–the displays were big and elaborate for individuals to put together. We took tons of photos, more than I can show here. But one of my favorites was Mt. Rushmore:

There were Lego representations of just about any famous building or structure you can think of–the Eiffel tower, the Vatican, Buckingham palace, and many more.

This was a cute flower:

This was a major bridge here in Knoxville (I can’t remember if it was the Henley bridge or another):

I loved all the little details, like these rowers under the bridge and the people on the sidewalk to the right:

(Excuse my finger there.)

And Batman in a little cavern on the bridge:

One morning during the week, Jason and Mittu took us to a little French creperie they’d found downtown. They had some nice gluten-free options for Mittu and Timothy. I had not had crepes since my cooking class in college. They were good! After we each finished our own, Jeremy got a cinnamon and sugar dessert crepe and Mittu and Jason got a Nutella and banana one, and they each let us cut off a piece to try. I’m not a Nutella fan, but I really enjoyed the cinnamon one.

Afterwards, we were trying to think of something downtown we could do for a little while that wasn’t too elaborate or costly. We ended up going to the Knoxville Museum of Art, which was free and not terribly big. It had a nice little kids’ room, with an oversized Lite Brite type device and other hands-on areas.

When we were there, the museum was featuring the work of Radcliffe Baily in an exhibition called Passages. One piece took up a whole room. It was made of a sea of piano keys with a slave ship and a slave in the water:

I wish one of us had taken a picture of the explanation of this piece and the significance of the piano keys. I searched and found more information on the piece at the bottom of this article. It was quite striking to see in person.

Most of his work had a mixture of painting, sculpture, and “found objects.” One of my favorites was Night Float:

This was a big piece as well, taking up most of one wall. One little inset, which you can see to the left of the big piece:

If you’re in the area, this exhibition will be up through November 6.

Another wing displayed art from East TN artists. There were quite a few there as well, but these were a couple of my favorites:

The following Saturday, we went to a balloon festival in Townsend, about an hour from us. But there was another museum that Jason and Mittu had been wanting to take us to in the same area, so we made a day of it and went to the Great Smokey Mountain Heritage Center first. They have an indoor display of history from the earliest known era of the area, a lot of information about the Native Americans and their homes and way of life, to early pioneers, on up through the years.

Then outside there is a collection of thirteen buildings, some of which were taken apart and reconstructed here. There were a few homes and barns, an outhouse, church, meat smoker, still, and a few others. Once again, we have a ton of photos, but here are a few:

The darkness, heat, and gnats really made me appreciate being born in the 20th century!

Timothy got to ring the church bell!

The museum had a very nice lady at the front desk when we went. They also had a temporary display of an old-time fire truck and cars.

The balloon festival didn’t allow outside food, and we weren’t sure if they’d have any food there that Mittu and Timothy could eat. So we had made some sandwiches and brought chips and drinks and found a place to eat.

The hot air balloon festival ran from 4 to 9. We got there around 5:30, I think. Nothing was done with the balloons until 6:30. I don’t know if that’s how they always do it, or if they were holding off to see what the weather was going to do. At any rate, we were glad we hadn’t gotten there at 4.

It was fun to see the balloons actually being blown up. I had never seen that in person before. It didn’t take as long as I had thought it would.

All of the balloons were tethered, and they offered rides in them–basically just up and down for a few moments. I don’t remember how much they cost, but the line for them was extremely long.

There was supposed to be a laser show at 9, but by 8 we’d had about enough, plus we had an hour’s drive home. There were an assortment of food trucks, bouncy kid things, and booths, but I didn’t explore them. I saw afterward one of the kids had taken a picture of something in a craft booth, so I wished I had walked through to see what was there. But I was also pretty tired by that point in the day and week. 🙂

Sunday after church we went to one of my favorite restaurants for my birthday dinner. We always try to get one photo of all of us together, so we took advantage of the restaurant’s view to do that. This was probably the best shot.

It doesn’t look like the sun was out, but it was in our eyes, so we were squinting a bit. 🙂

Hubby and me

So, as you can see, we had a very nice but very full time together!

August Reflections

August’s heat and humidity have us longing for cool fall breezes. Each day brings us closer to them!

We enjoyed an extended time together as a family when my oldest son came to visit for about ten days. My husband took a week off, and Jason, Mittu, Timothy, and Jesse were here much of the time, though Jason and Jesse still worked most days.

I think I only ended up making dinner 3 nights. We went out some nights, Jesse made dinner for us one night at his place, and Mittu made dinner a few nights. We hadn’t coordinated beforehand spreading meals around, but it worked out nicely.

We celebrated Jeremy’s birthday at the beginning of his time here and mine near the end. It’s nice when the calendar works out so he can be here for both celebrations. We joked at the beginning of his, “Should we Face Time Jeremy?” We’re used to putting him on the TV screen for other celebrations when he can’t be here in person.

We played lots of Jackbox games, enjoying some old favorites as well as trying out some new ones. We also played Uno and even got out Settlers of Catan for the first time in a long time. It was Timothy’s first time to play the latter, and he lasted through most of the game. It’s a lot for a 8-year-old to take in.

We usually try to have one major outing during the week and maybe a couple of smaller ones. But this time there were several interesting things occurring that we took advantage of. I’ve mentioned a few of them during Friday’s Fave Fives, but wanted to go into more detail here. But that ended up making this already long post twice as long, so I am going to share details and photos in a separate post tomorrow.

Creating

I made two cards this month. The first was for Jason and Mittu’s anniversary:

And this was for Jeremy’s birthday:

Watching

We really enjoyed War Horse. It’s been out for a few years, and I remember when I saw it advertised that it looked good. But then we forgot about it. It follows a horse’s path from a farm through many hands during WWI. I was especially struck by how just one person in each scenario saw the horse’s worth and made a difference in its treatment or next step, which enabled it to continue on–an apt metaphor for making a difference for good in the lives of people we meet. I don’t think that was the main point of the movie, but that’s something I got from it.

A Call to Spy was very good as well (except for a few instances of taking God’s name in vain. 😦 ). It was based on true events about women being recruited as spies during WWII, and followed the path of two in particular.

Reading

Since last time I have finished (linked to my reviews):

  • Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark, a true story. Katherine was playing tag with some children at her son’s school playground when a boy jumped off the jungle gym and onto her head, breaking her neck and paralyzing her instantly.
  • Something Good by Vanessa Miller, a great novel about “Three Women. Two Mistakes. One Surprising Friendship That Changes Everything.”
  • The London House by Katherine Reay, a novel about a woman who seeks the truth when an old friend tells her he is about to publish an article that says her great aunt was a Nazi sympathizer. (Audiobook).
  • The Stranger by Melanie Dobson, a novel set in the Amana colonies in 1894. A stranger with a sick daughter stops to get help in the commune and falls in love with one of its inhabitants. But the group is wary of outsiders.
  • To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna White, a novel about a race to discover pirate treasure, but with surprising depth and truth. Very good. (Audiobook).
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Lady Carnarvon. The current countess of the castle that was used for Downton Abbey tells some of the castle’s history, particularly that of Lady Almina, who converted it to a hospital during WWI. (Audiobook and Kindle).
  • O Love That Will not Let Me Go: Facing Death with Courageous Confidence, complied by Nancy Guthrie. Nancy has collected excerpts from writings as far back as the Puritans to modern-day writer on the subject of death and dying. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Normally I have a Warren Wiersbe commentary in my reading list. I am in 1 Chronicles now, and Wiersbe included it in with his book on 2 Samuel, Be Restored: Trusting God to See Us Through. I’m not rereading the whole thing, since I did in April, but I am looking through the parts that specifically mention Chronicles.

I’m currently reading:

  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • Jesus Led Me All the Way by Margaret Stringer
  • The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart
  • The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White (audiobook)

Blogging

Besides the regular Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:

  • Labels and Lenses. Labels are helpful and necessary. But we need to look at our lives and theology through the lens of Scripture, and not look at Scripture through the lens of our labels.
  • Why Keep Reading the Bible, especially when you’ve read it several times before?
  • Making Time to Read the Bible. If we don’t make time for it, we likely won’t find time for it. Some tips to make that time for what Jesus called the one necessary thing.
  • How Can We Make Our Souls Fire Resistant? Just as leaves can smolder and then erupt into flame, sin can flame out in our hearts. What can we do to avoid that happening?
  • What Can We Learn from Bible Genealogies? Genealogies are probably no one’s favorite part of the Bible. But what might God want us to learn from them?

I overlooked my blogging anniversary at the end of July. 16 years! And, as of today, 5,189 posts. Thank you for reading and making blogging such a blessing to my heart.

As we turn the calendar to September tomorrow, we look forward to Jesse’s birthday and a visit from my folks at the end of the month.

How was your August? Anything interesting happen?

To Treasure an Heiress

In Roseanna M. White’s novel, To Treasure an Heiress, Beth Tremayne loved exploration and adventure. She lived in the Isles of Scilly in the early 1900s and traveled to all of them in her sloop. She found some old letters and a map in her grandfather’s house that indicated a legendary pirate king had lived on her island, Tresco, and had left a fortune somewhere in the vicinity. That was fuel to Beth’s adventure-loving heart.

Beth had a trinket box, given to her by her mother, which had King Rupert’s seal on the top. Beth sent the box to the father of her friend at finishing school who was an expert in antiquities. Her friend’s father, Lord Scofield, authenticated the box—but then sold it! Worse yet, both Lord Scofield and his buyer, Lord Sheridan, were intrigued by the thought that more items connected to King Rupert might be on the islands. Scofield was interested mainly in the purported treasure, but Sheridan was a descendant of Rupert and interested in artifacts.

Worst of all, Sheridan had actually come to Tresco. Beth’s efforts to shield her family from the repercussions of her search had failed miserably. Her grandmother urged her to forgive and to work together with the family, and even Sheridan, to find Rupert’s treasure. But Scofield is looking as well and isn’t above using less than honorable means.

A secondary story line involves Beth’s former governess, Senara, who had been dismissed from her most recent job due to indiscretions. Senara had fallen in love with a man who had misled her, and now she feels tarnished and ashamed. A new friend helps her see that with God’s forgiveness, she can be forgiven and made new.

He makes us with great worth. Creates us that way intrinsically. Our sins, our bad choices, perhaps they coat us like mud. But the mud cannot take away the value He instilled in us. Mud does not make a pearl any less valuable. If it did, they why would Jesus have deemed us worthy of the sacrifice of His life? Because He loves us, as does the Father. Because we are valuable. And the blood of Christ, when it washes us clean, fully restores us to what He created us to be. A pearl cannot be stained. No matter how many centuries it sits in mud, wash it in a bit of water and it’s gleaming again.

This book is a sequel to The Nature of a Lady, which I enjoyed last year. I think this book could be read alone, but it’s richer together with the first. I normally wouldn’t be attracted to a book about chasing pirate treasure, but I have loved everything I have read of Roseanna’s. She manages to bring out deeper levels of meaning for her characters. Parts of the story are touching and sweet; some are even funny.

I didn’t like Lord Sheridan at all in the first book, and when this one hinted at a romance between him and Beth, I didn’t think it would work. But he grew on me in this story.

I found the resolution just a bit anti-climactic. But all in all, I found this a lovely story.

I listened to the audiobook, nicely read by Liz Pearce.