I am sitting outside on our back deck, enjoying this gorgeous day that God has given us. It is the perfect temperature out, and the quiet, little scratching of the chickadees and Titmice eating seeds at the feeder behind me make me smile. We just came back from a leisurely walk around Spring Lake. The fresh air and exercise was invigorating. Awww...this is the life of a homeschooling family. I had forgotten how the closeness, flexibility, and freedom of teaching at home can be a blessing, at times.
This is my third day of teaching five different grades, and though it is still hard to pinpoint how it is all going to go, I know God is in control and He will give me grace to sort through all that I need to do. Yes, I am a bit overwhelmed, but I just need to take one day at a time and work out the best schedule that I possibly can so all the children can get their time with me. I still have a good feeling about it all though, a peace that passes all understanding, simply because this is where God has placed me for the time being. He will give me the wisdom to deal with each issue as it comes up, and He will give me the courage to teach Pre-Algebra, whether I like it or not!
On top of beginning school, we have been dealing with a washing machine that decided to break down, which is a horrible thing to do to a family of seven! The repair man came to look at it on Monday and found something stuck in one of the valves. I guess I did not empty the pockets as well as I should have, which makes me cringe. I hate digging into the children's pockets. You never know what you will find inside there! I do not mind finding Legos, bouncy balls, or pinecones, and even the money is a great treasure to find, but it is the endless possiblities of creepy crawlies and whatnots that 'could' be in there. I am very grateful my boys were never ones to collect weird things, like frogs and caterpillars, inside their pant's pockets. The blessing of all this is the fact that our washer is still under warranty and we are getting a new valve, and a new pump system for free. Nothing can beat free!
Another thing we have been dealing with is a new little visitor in our home. I was at my friend's house for a few minutes the other night. As we were saying goodbye, we heard a rustling in the bushes near her front porch. Upon closer investigation, we discovered a little kitten hiding there! He was wild, and very nervous, but his curiosity got the better of him. After trying to catch him for half an hour, we finally tricked him into coming out and we scooped him up in a net. The little black and white fellow was so sweet and calm. He did not know what to do with all these new faces peeking in at him, and hands petting his soft fur. To make a long story short, I ended up taking him home because of dogs and allergies in my friend's house, and I presented him to the family in a little basket. Joe just looked at me like he would one of the children in exasperation. I could see the question in his eyes, "What are you up to now?" I just could not help it. I just have a heart for hurting things, especially baby ones.
We ended up giving him a flea bath because we discovered he was infested with the horrible things. He has been living in our bathroom for the last three days, but he has become the friendliest little kitten. He loves the children and we are all wondering what is going to happen to him. Nobody has offered to take him in, and we are getting a suspicious feeling that he is going to join our family. I have been trying to guard my heart so it will be easier to give him away, but every time I look at his little face the wall crumbles a little bit more. Does anyone want a cute kitten????
Lastly, I want to update you on the progress of my book. It is coming, I promise! I now have the painting for the cover art, and we have been working on getting the cover made. With my husband's schedule, we do not have a lot of free time to do extra things so it has been taking an extremely long time to see the end of this project. I have been trying to be very patient, waiting on God's timing, because I know it is all because of Him that I can even write and publish a book. We had to get the program that would allow us to design a cover, plus the process of actually having the artist paint the pic for the cover took a long time. Everything requires time, which seems to grow less and less the older I get. It will be so nice when we do not have to think of time once we get to heaven.
So, be on the lookout for the introduction of my last book. Once I submit the entire thing to the printers, it will be available within two weeks. I will be letting everyone know when they can start preordering the book. Thank you all for being so patient! Thank you, everyone, for being such an encouragement to me! I am excited about this upcoming book, the conclusion to 'The Orphans of Mordecai's Castle' series. Soon you will all know how it ends. Take care and God bless!
It was about six years ago when they (to this day I am still not sure who 'they' are!) began construction on the hotel. In my opinion, it was a bad choice. I did not think we needed another hotel on this side of town. We already had three others all within an eighth of a mile radius. Seeing the spot was right off the exit of the highway, it would have been better if they chose to build a gas station there. Not only would they have received our business, but any guests who decided to come a long distance to visit our family would no longer have to get lost trying to find the nearest gas station ten minutes away! Route 68 is extremely busy, especially during rush hour. That location would be a gold mine!
For the first year of construction, every time we drove by we would examine the work and see how far along they were in their progress. The land was clear, a driveway was built up, then month after month the building began to take shape. It was a slow process, but after a couple of years it all suddenly stopped.
The building still sits there today, looking lonely and forgotten. The grass has grown up around it, and who knows what kinds of creatures are living inside. The bottom is completely open to anybody who may wish to find a roof over their head. To top it off, a few weeks ago some strange letters appeared in the windows on the top floor. At first I thought it said, "CRAZEWATCH," but someone suggested it said "GRAVEWATCH", which makes more sense to me. If the letter that looks like a Z was turned, it could be a weird looking V.
Now every time I look at this hotel-wanna-be, I shake my head. It is an eyesore, and a shameful waste of money. Yet, it gets me to thinking, how many projects have I begun with good intentions, only to stop halfway through because I lost interest, or just did not have the money to put into it? Maybe I was all excited at first, with big plans of what was to come by the end of the project, but something fizzled out during the construction process and now the idea sits in the back of my closet, forgotten and alone.
Do we begin trusting the Lord for something, or start a ministry, etc, with gusto and excitement, only to walk away halfway to our goal, giving up hope that we will ever see results? Do we focus on the externals around us and not on the promise that God will see us through even the toughest times?
I am so glad God does not give up on us. I love the song, "He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be..." It may be a children's song, but the truth hits hard. The older I get, the more I realize how much He needs to keep working on me, to make me more like Him. I do not want to be an eyesore. I do not want to become a 'gravewatch.' I do not want to become like that shabby, half finished hotel. I want Him to complete the work that He has started so I can become a beautiful sight in the image of God.
The verse about not letting the sun go down upon your wrath is a very commonly quoted saying, yet I got to thinking about the fact that it gets dark early in the wintertime. How are we supposed to handle dealing with tough issues that come up after 4:30 in the afternoon, especially when everyone is tired and hungry? In the cold, dark months from November to March, the sun goes to bed long before we do, and the five hours of darkness can be a challenge.
I must admit I have my moments when I raise my voice to the children, but the frustration usually hits when they are getting ready for bed. I have never enjoyed the bedtime process. It was always a long, drawn out ordeal that I thought would never end.
"Mommy, I need some water!"
"Mommy, you didn't kiss me!"
"Mommy, I had a bad dream!"
"Mommy, I need my blanket!"
"Mommy, I can't find my Little Gup Gup!"
"Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom!"
On and on it went, every night a new excuse to keep me trotting back to their room as if they wanted to put off going to sleep as long as they could. I did not want to yell at them, but I needed a few moments of quiet for myself and I was already quite exhausted from the long day.
Things have become much better as my children have grown older and matured in this process, but I still find myself getting aggravated when I go into their room and find a complete disaster of clothing and other items scattered everywhere. I need to be careful not to let my spirit go into the red, especially when I know I can handle it better in the morning. One thing I have learned in this parenting journey, is that children do not react to yelling and screaming very well. Oh, it gets them moving to do what you want, but it builds a wall between their relationship with you, which later causes more stress, which causes more yelling, and on goes the cycle.
We need to speak softly to our children and teach them to listen to the whispers in life. If they learn to listen for the soft tones, they will benefit greatly, even into their adulthood, especially the boys. It will keep relationships stronger, and walls of frustration and bitterness will not be built up. If a young man is taught to listen to the soft voice of his mother, he will also learn to listen to the soft voice of his wife when she is upset about something. If he is taught to catch the problem early, he will not have an avalanche of problems crash over his head that will crush him to death.
We as women have a tendency to let things build up. We think, "I can't bother him with that now," or "It really isn't that important to bring up," and we let things slide until one day we cannot handle anymore and the strain breaks us. We lash out in anger at all the things that we have let build up and let our men have it with harsh, loud words. They do not know where to even begin to fix the issues. We just slam them over the head and expect miracles. We as women need to speak softly to them as each issue arises and deal with the problems one by one. The men need to learn to listen for the soft voice and work on one thing at a time.
Speaking softly to our children not only helps them listen to their spouses, but it also enables them to listen to the soft whisper of the Lord in their spirit. How are they going to know what His voice sounds like if all they are use to is the angry yelling that gets their attention? God speaks in a still, small voice. If we are to become like Jesus, we need to start doing the same with our children. May He give me a meek, quiet spirit that will always speak softly and gently to my children. May He give me the courage to bring up issues with my husband long before they become too big to handle. May He continue to work on me, molding me to become more like Him. Amen.
Imagine with me for a moment......
It is a morning just like any other. You awaken, go about your daily routine, eat your breakfast, drink your coffee, take time to worship your god, and head out into the early morning sun. As you stroll through the great city that is your home, you have nothing to fear. With a thriving industrial economy what can go wrong? With fifteen great gates guarded by soldiers, who can attack you from the outside? With a great supply of food, and plenty of water canals supplying the city with water, what need is there for anything? You have it all, even success and satisfaction.
As you go for your morning walk, you greet your friends as they come out of their houses preparing for the day. One of them waves to you as they pull the cloth off of a cart, which carries an assortment of goods they plan to sell in the market.
"Good morning!" He calls as you go by. You nod and wave, yet hurry by. You do not have time for chitchat this morning. With the entire day open before you, your mind is awhirl of motion, mapping out a plan on how to make the most of your sales with the people of the city.
A flurry of excitment down the street distracts you for a moment as you try to go past. People argue and whisper among themselves, but it does not concern you. Daily there are scuffles, spats, and even murders that occur, but as long as you stay out of it everything will be fine. Someone grabs your arm. You pull away, only to be pulled on by someone else.
"Let me go!" you shout. "I have nothing to do with your argument!"
"Have you heard the news?" a man questions you.
"No, I have not heard any news," you reply. "I try to mind my own business." You yank your arm roughly out of his grasp and hurry away. The nerve of those people!
Another loud commotion begins in front of you. You roll your eyes and heave a big sigh. You are not going to finish your morning walk any time soon at this rate! You pause, wondering how to get by this mess when a person is strange clothes catches your eye. He is standing on an upside down crate, shouting out something you cannot make out. As you approach the growing crowd around him, you begin to catch phrases like, "forty days" and "destroy your city." People are laughing at the stranger, shaking their heads, questioning how anybody could possibly reach beyond their massive wall surrounding their big city.
The strange man turns and looks right at you with piercing eyes. "Nothing is impossible with my God! He is going to destroy your city in forty days and nothing will be left! I was sent here to cry against your city and that is what I am going to do!"
"How do you know this to be true?" one of the citizens asked the man.
"I am Jonah, a great prophet of God! My God never lies! What He says He does. If He says He is going to kill all of you, then so be it! You have forty days! Just forty days!"
You stand there, not sure what to think of this madman claiming death for your grand city and all its inhabitants. If the king were to hear of this craziness, he would have the man beheaded right in the street for all to see. This man Jonah would be made an example of what happens to those who cry against Ninevah!
Yet, as the day wore on, nothing was done to rid the streets of this pesky fly that buzzed the news about an upcoming doomsday. You watch as the smiles on everyone's faces disappear. Frown and worry lines suddenly show up where there were none before. Is it possible that people actually believe this crazy man?
You head home that evening, a little disappointed in business that day. Distracted by the news, nobody felt like buying anything. All they had wanted to do was listen to what Jonah had to say. A mass of people had followed him around as he made his way up street after street, pronouncing judgment for their wickedness. It made no sense! Why would a God they did not serve want to destroy them? You think about the Israelites and their God. Jonah was one of THEM. Their God had some strange requirements, and forbade them to do certain things, many things to be exact. There were so many things they could not eat, and things had to be done a certain way or else they would be cast out from their people. It was a bunch of hogwash! Or was it?
All night long you lie in bed, unable to get the words of the prophet out of your head. Unable to sleep, you rise early and head out to see what is happening around you. You notice your friend, the one with the cart of wares, sitting on the step of his house. His face is downcast.
"What's wrong, friend?" you ask.
He looks up at you and for the first time in your life, you see fear there. "I am afraid. I don't want to die!"
You laugh at the absurdity of it all! "Die? What makes you think you are going to die?"
"The prophet Jonah said so."
"And you believe that crazy man? That's absurd!"
"Yes, I know it may sound odd, but I truly believe him. There is a witness inside me that says I need to take heed to his words. Perhaps if we pray to his God, his God will change His mind and spare us."
You are not sure how to respond, so you walk away. How dare Jonah come waltzing in here and spread the infectious disease of sullenness and worry among your people? Yet, though you are afraid to admit it, something in your heart begins to wake up and start to believe.
Thirty more days....
The city of Ninevah is a great city. It took a few days for the prophet to travel through the entire city, but now everyone knows. Now everyone fears.
Twenty more days....
Even the king believes! It was astonishing to hear, but when the king got word of Jonah's news, he called Jonah into his palace so he could question the man. He listened to the words of the stranger and actually began to believe it! All commerce and business were called to a halt, or what was left of it anyway. Nobody had the heart to continue working because with the threat of doom looming over their heads, what good would it do to buy and sell anyway?
Over half of the time was gone. Half of the days promised to them were used up. You only have twenty more days to live. People are turning to daily prayer. You dress in sackcloth and ashes. Maybe Jonah's God will be merciful? Oh, such a wretch and poor man! Forgive my sins and my way of living! Our sins are like a stench that makes you want to turn and throw up! Evil are we in Your eyes, but forgive us of our sins and wash us clean!
Ten more days...
The prayers have become desparate pleas. The king has proclaimed a citywide fast. Dress in sackcloth and put ashes on your head! Even the animals need to wear sackcloth! Be merciful, dear God, be merciful to our people!
One more day...
You lay down on your bed. What will happen tomorrow is unknown, but at least in your heart you are clean. Whether God spares the city or sends fire down to destroy everyone in it, you know you are forgiven, yet you pray the whole night long.
The fortieth morning...
You jerk awake. What was that noise you heard? You listen, waiting to hear it again, but all you hear is silence. It is too quiet. Maybe the city was destroyed while you slept and nobody is left? You creep over to the window and peer out. The city is still standing. Others are peeking out of their windows too, looking for the same thing as you. The day is just dawning. Yet, maybe judgement will come later that day...
On your knees, you spend the entire day praying for mercy, forgiveness, and life. The streets are silent all the day long. An occassional child cries, angry their hungry tummies remain empty. A mother hushes him and reminds him of the importance to pray instead of eat.
The sun sets. You are still alive. The city is still standing. People come out into the streets. A gentle rain begins, washing the dust and ashes off your head; washing you clean from all your worry and fears. People begin to raise their hands and shout to the God of heaven for His mercy. For His forgiveness. For sparing judgement on you. For life. And you vow to never forget His love and mercy for the rest of your life.
Oh, to have the kind of prayer life that these people had in the city facing doom! May we never forget to keep pleading for our people and our country, that God will have mercy on it for the sake of our children! Amen!
When Did You Take the Reins?
I grew up on the dirt roads of Vermont, with the hills of the green mountains surrounding us on all sides. It was there that I learned how to drive, often scaring my mother to death when I seemed to get too close to the trenches that lined each side of the road. I was about seven years old when I had my first experience at the wheel of the car. We were on our way home after getting ice cream, and my brother had his neighbor friend with him in the back seat. I must have been sitting between my parents in the station wagon, which we could do back in those days. When we were almost to our dead end street, my dad asked me if I wanted to drive. Sure, that sounded like fun, so I climbed onto his lap and took the wheel. My little legs could not reach the pedals of course, but he, being a very wise dad, was not going to give me the opportunity to take complete control of the vehicle. If he did I might not be here to tell this story! I do recall hearing the boys in the back yelling, "Get down! She is going to crash!" as they dove onto the floor of the car. I could not imagine why they were making such a big deal of my driving because I thought I was doing a great job! Little did I know, but my dad was keeping a close hand on the steering wheel so we did not end up in the ditch. Here I was thinking I had complete control of the car, but in reality I was just sitting in a completely different place in the car and still did not have control of anything. My father was going to make sure we all stayed safe.
I got to thinking about all this last Sunday when Pastor K was leading Sunday School. He made the comment, "When did you take control of the reins?" and I was inspired. :) Psalm 139:13-16 (KJV) says, "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."
I have always loved these verses. It shows the beauty of a baby growing inside a mother's womb, and I always held to it, knowing that even though I could not see what was going on inside, God was in control of my baby. It clearly states that the Lord is in control the second you were conceived. Even before a woman knows she is carrying a child, God already knows what that baby is going to look like: his hair, the color of this eyes, what size feet he is going to have, etc. He has a book that has all this information written down and even when the growing process is not completed yet, He has everything planned out perfectly. He already knows the choices we are going to make in life, whether we are going to choose Him or take the world's way. He knows the trials and temptations the devil is going to place in our path to try to lead us away from His perfect way. He already knows the way we will spend our last few breaths on this earth.
As we mature and become adults, we think we have complete control of our lives, but in reality, He is there keeping His hand on the wheel of our life. He may let us steer the way we want, and in His wisdom He may even let us crash into the ditch of destruction so we can learn a lesson or two, but He will never leave His spot of watching over us. He is simply waiting for us to throw up our hands, after trying so hard to do it on our own, and give Him back the control of the reins. Let go and let God.
Life in the Graveyard
I know this may sound odd, but I miss having a graveyard within walking distance from my home. Many people have looked at me strangely after hearing me say I like to sit in cemeteries and write, but it really is not a bad experience. It is quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, sitting with flowering trees all around, the aroma of hyacinths permeating the air. The peaceful silence makes for an ideal place to write uninterrupted.
Now, you must realize I would only do this on sunny afternoons. Even though I did not grow up watching television or scary horror movies, I did have an older brother who enjoyed telling me stories that scared me to the very bone. I learned to respect the graveyard and kept my distance at night. Yet, during the day, it was a beautiful, welcoming garden of solitude. I would stroll around the stones, studying the names and dates carved on the face of each one. A few of the names were familiar to me, but most of the dates went back to the 17 and 1800's. A great many of the stones listed children that died at very young ages. I always wanted to find out what blight had run rampant through the town and wiped out a lot of the families during a specific point in time, but I never could find out what it was.
One of my favorite places to sit was inside a rectangular area of grass, hedged in by four smooth stone beams, which made a small border like the beginnings of a house foundation. At one end stood a magnificent monument with a poem written about the young man who was buried underneath. It always intrigued me, even before I knew the story behind the strange gravesite.
My brother had found a book with a story that went something like this: the train pulled into the Cambridge Station (yes, the same one that is mentioned in my books!) and four armed and masked men jumped out and unloaded a coffin out of the train. The coffin seemed much heavier than a normal coffin would weigh, as observed by the witnesses around it. The guards set it into a wagon, and drove up to the cemetery on Pollander Road. With a mystery about them, they dug the hole two feet deeper than normal, and then placed a concrete slab over the top and not just dirt. Nothing more was said about why the secrecy behind the entire event, but it always made me wonder. I read and reread the caption on the gravestone, hoping to figure out the mystery, but never found anything else. There were two names written on the stone, Charles Mudgett and Milton E. Milner. It was speculated that the young man, Charles, (who was the black sheep of his family) may have taken the identity of the other man and that was why they wore masks as they buried the coffin. I personally wondered if there was gold buried down there with him, hence the extra protection of overlay that was chosen. There were also thoughts that there were two people buried down there instead of one, because of the two names on the stone. Whatever the case, it will remain a mystery until the end of time, when Jesus returns and everyone has to face Him on the throne.
All this talk makes me think of another gravesite that was left with mystery surrounding the events of the day, but only for those who did not understand at the time. When Jesus rose from the dead, the soldiers that guarded His tomb were knocked unconcious and had to explain the missing body from the grave that they had guarded. They were told to tell the people that the body had been stolen, in order to cover up the strange happenings. They did not want the truth to be known by the people.
I am so glad I know the truth about what happened that morning in the garden which held Jesus' tomb. Even though there is mystery surrounding the Mudgett's gravesite in Vermont, there is no mystery as to Who is not in that tomb, and where Jesus is today. He had victory over death when He rose from the dead, giving me the opportunity to have new life in Him. He now lives in my heart and I am so happy to know that even though I may rest in a cemetery someday (if He does not return before I die), I have the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. I will be able to sit in the peaceful gardens that border the streets of gold, and enjoy the glory of His creation all around me.
Like A Kite
A young boy was playing outside in his sandbox. With a car in one hand and a shovel in the other, he drove and dug in the sand for a long time. As he played, he thought about the events of the night before and smiled. He was so happy he had taken the time to learn all those Bible verses. It had been a tough job and required many nights of study with his father, but Anthony was glad he stuck to it. His hard work had paid off. In the end, he had earned himself a brand new Bible, as well as a bright, red kite!
As the afternoon wore on, Anthony grew tired of his sand games. He stood up and brushed the sand off his legs. It would be so much fun if he could fly his kite today! He decided to go find his father and see if he could take him to the field to fly his new kite. He found his father in the garage, working on the car.
"Daddy, may we go out and fly my kite?" Anthony asked.
His father looked up from the engine. "I don't think it would be a good day to fly," he told his son. "We need a really strong wind to do that."
Anthony looked puzzled. "Why do we need the wind?"
"The wind is what carries the kite up into the sky. Without that wind the kite would remain on the ground."
"How long will I have to wait for a windy day?" Anthony asked his father.
His dad smiled. "I do not know, son, but you could pray about it and ask the Lord to bring you some wind. He is the One Who controls the weather."
Anthony liked that idea. He went inside the house and knelt down by the side of his bed. With folded hands, he closed his eyes and prayed for the Lord to send some wind so he could fly his kite.
That evening at dinner, his family gathered around the table to eat. Anthony ate his chicken and potatoes, but picked at his peas. He did not particularly like peas, but knew he had to eat them if he wanted the yummy brownies his mother had made for dessert.
"What's wrong, Anthony?" his mother asked. "You know better than to play with your food."
Anthony glanced up. "I was thinking," he told her.
"About why God did not answer my prayer and send wind." he answered.
His mother frowned. "Why did you ask God to send some wind?"
"I wanted to fly my kite today, so I asked the Lord to bring some wind, but He never did. Maybe He did not hear me."
"Anthony, look at me," his father said softly.
Anthony turned to look at his dad.
"Son, can you recite a few of those verses you studied so hard to memorize?" he asked him.
Anthony nodded. "Second Corithians 5:7, 'For we walk by faith, not by sight.' And Mark 11:4, 'And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.'"
"That's good, son," his father commended. "Now, can you tell me what those verses mean?"
Anthony thought for a moment. "It means I need to look to the Lord for an answer and not trust in what I see."
His father nodded. "Yes, that is corrrect. When we pray, it is sending our request up to the throne of heaven, where Jesus sits. He already knows what we need before we ask, but He wants us to humble ourselves and ask Him for what we need. It is like a child asking his father for something. If we can give you good gifts here on earth, how much more will our heavenly Father give us good things? After we pray, we need to trust He is going to send the answer in the right time."
Anthony thought for a moment. "You mean He may not send the answer right away?"
His mother smiled. "When you tell me you are hungry and ask for something to eat, do I always give it to you?"
"Not if it is close to suppertime," Anthony replied.
"Right," his mother agreed. "Sometimes the answer to your request does not come immediately, but you still get your answer. You just have to wait for it."
Anthony pondered all they had talked about as his family cleaned up from dinner. He thought about it as he sat in the bathtub and washed all the sand off his body. He fell asleep that night with the verses about faith on his mind, and while he slept he dreamed about flying his kite so high that he could not see the bright red shimmering in the sun.
It was two days later when the wind blew into town. Anthony happily drove to the field with his father and they carefully opened the kite and got ready to fly it. Anthony watched the kite soar higher and higher into the sky until it disappeared into the clouds.
"Dad, I'm scared! How do I know the kite is still there?" He did not want to lose his new gift!
"Do you still feel something tugging on the string?" his dad asked him.
Anthony nodded. "Yes."
"That's good. That means the kite is still there high above us, even though you can't see it. You have to trust the tug of the string that connects you to the kite."
Anthony's eyes grew wide as he had a remarkable thought. "Hey, dad, I just thought of something!"
"What's that?" his dad asked.
"You know, faith is kind of like my kite!"
His dad looked at him, waiting to explain.
"I had to let my kite go up into the sky in order to get it soaring, like my prayer, which I sent up to the Lord. The string that connects the kite to my hand, is like my faith that connects my heart to Him. Even though I can't see Him, or see the answer to my prayer, I can still feel the tugging and I know God is still there."
With tears in his eyes, Anthony's dad gave him a big hug. "Yes, Son, faith is very much like a kite. I am so glad the Lord did not just help you memorize those verses, but He made them real to you too."
Are you still waiting for an answer to a prayer? Wait on His perfect timing and He will answer you in due time. Trust that tug of your heart that connects you to Him and know He will never let you go.
A Lesson from the Music
The amount of black notes all over the page always make me feel a little overwhelmed at first. To actually think I can express the music in front of me is a little daunting, and usually the first time I plough through the pages, it sounds like a dying cow. I put it away for a day or two, hoping that somehow the notes will change from the tough, black challenging blobs to something easy and fun to play. Something like that bouncing ball on those old sing-a-longs videos that were once so popular. Yet, when I regain my courage and pull out the sheet of music once again, something special happens: it actually looks easier! And the best part is it sounds pretty! It sounds like, well, like MUSIC! :)
This is kind of what happened to me during the last few days. At church there is a mixed octet practicing a song and I was asked to accompany them with my flute. I was thrilled! I am always looking for chances to play. I agreed and worked from the choir sheet music for a few weeks. I listened to the song on cd over and over again so I would know the song well, and I noticed the beautiful flute part in the background. That was not what I saw on the choir sheet! I went online and found the sheet music for the flute and ordered it, thinking I only had two days to practice it. Over and over again I played the notes, as the song played in the cd player next to me. As soon as the song was finished, I would jot down something I wanted to remember on my page, press the button, and begin playing along again. The children were very patient with me, but I could tell they were getting a little tired of it all. I figured they would know the song so well that they could be backup singers if the group needed them!
One thing I learned from the marathon practice over the last few days is that I have to have faith that what is written on the page may not make sense by itself, but when it mixes with the singers and other instruments (a.k.a. piano), it will all make a beautiful picture. Sometimes I want to play my own thing. If something does not sound right I want to make up my own notes for that section. It takes faith to believe what the writer wrote is correct. It takes faith to step out and play it even though I have trepidation about it not sounding good.
This got me thinking about putting my faith in the Bible. I must believe what the Writer wrote is always correct. It may not make sense for the time being. I may want to do things my way during a particular hard part of life. What He commands of me may not sound right, and He may even ask me to veer away from the normal tone of what others are doing, yet I must believe His work is true. I must believe He will make it all become a beautiful picture in the end. I must trust the Master Writer/Composer. I must have faith that my life, His piece of music, will make a beautiful melody for Him if I only play along as He has written and follow the Great Conductor.
As you may have noticed, there seems to be a rise in the population of chipmunks this year. I see them on the roads, on our back deck, scurrying around our yard, running across our front steps, making holes in my gardens.... Now, to many, this means aggravation and stress, but to me, this means more smiles and chuckles as I watch them race around looking for seeds and other things to eat. I do not like when they dart out in front of my car. I do not like when I think there is a leaf in the road and it turns out to be a little chipmunk. I always scare poor JJ when I gasp really loud, making him think something really bad is going to happen. Like the time a big, fat woodchuck went hobbling across the road in front of my car. I began yelling, "No! No! No! Nooooo!" because I knew I could not just slam on my brakes for fear of having someone else hit us, but yet, I did not want to end the life of the woodchuck trying to hurry across the busy intersection. He made it that day, but JJ continues to bring up my reaction so he can laugh at how crazy I acted. I do not care, though. As long as it helped the little critter get safely to the other side. :)
I have always had a soft side for chipmunks. I have always had a soft side for all animals, but that is beside the point. When I was about eleven years old, I decided I wanted to to try and catch one. I found a box, tied some string around a stick, and set it out in the clearing where I often saw chipmunks. After placing some seeds underneath the trap, I sat back and waited. A couple of times a chipmunk came along and went under, but the box was too slow coming down and he always got away. I realized I needed something heavier. I went off in search of something different to use, and found our glass aquarium. I needed a bigger stick to hold it up, but soon had my new trap set up and waiting.
It was evening now. Dinner had been eaten and after I had helped clean up, I had gone back outside. I had used up an entire Saturday trying to capture my chipmunk, but I was still determined to keep trying. Finally, I saw one approaching my trap. He went under the box to check out the seeds and I gave the line a tug. Down went the aquarium! I had caught him! I had done it! My excitement instantly went to feeling bad though. Because the box was glass, I could see inside it and the chipmunk could see everything around him. I watched as he leaped inside the cage, franctically trying to find a way to escape his prison. His head kept hitting the top of the glass, and his little heart beat so fast I thought he might have a heart attack! I quickly ran to get my dad to show him that I had actually accomplished my task. I showed a few other people around the neighborhood and then I could not take the little critter's anguish anymore. I had to let him go. I lifted the box very carefully and gave the chipmunk an escape route. In a flash, he had darted out of the box and took off into the woods like a speeding bullet. I wondered if I would ever see him again. It was days before I saw another chipmunk at our feeder, though I do not know if it was my friend or another part of his family.
Fast forward ten years ahead. I was working at my aunt's store of used children clothing. It was a warm summer afternoon and I was eating my lunch outside on the bench by the door. Suddenly, a little chipmunk came running to me, jumped on the bench next to me, and waited. I held out a little piece of bread. He took it and nibbled at it. Next thing I know, he was on my leg, wanting more! I could not believe it! He was the friendliest little thing I had ever wanted to meet! He shared my lunch with me that day, as well as many other days. I found out he was a store favorite. If the door was open, he would come inside the store and my aunt and cousin would feed him seeds they had inside the counter. Who knew chipmunks could become so tame?
God in His infinite wisdom created so many different kinds of animals. Such a vast variety shows His creativitiy and imagination. It always amazes me how different each one is, and how amazingly beautiful they are, down to the very intricate part of how their bodies work. Each one is unique and is an awesome show of wonder that clearly only a Master Creator could have put together. Isn't God good?