Welcome

I’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. :)

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

Passing by on Easter

Last Sunday we attended a performance of “Master Mender” in Salt Lake. It is what is more commonly known as a Passion Play, depicting the life of Christ. The play was thought provoking, and by all indications there were some who responded for salvation afterwards. But it isn’t the play that has been reverberating in my mind, as much as I love to tell the story of the power of the Resurrection.

mastermenderpic

A couple of the young people from the church group with “Jesus”.

After the performance, we made our way with hundreds of others to the lobby. There, we passed by the leper who had been made whole. We passed by Jairus’ daughter…out of costume, in jeans and pigtails, no doubt looking for her parents. We passed by a centurion or two, still formidable in size, even without their Roman armor.  And there, by the main doors, in the center of the lobby, was Jesus.

The man they cast as Jesus has been playing the role for a number of years, I understand. He did well in portraying the balance between passion, love, righteous indignation, and even the grief and pleading in the Garden of Gethsemane. His smile was engaging and warm. His demeanor inviting.

As we approached, our 8 year old daughter said she wanted to meet him. I took her hand and proceeded in the direction of where he was, posing for photo ops with those who had attended. She stopped. No. She changed her mind.  Wait. Yes, she wanted to meet him. Then again, no. She was too shy.

In the end, we passed by “Jesus” in the lobby that night. I smiled at him as we made our way to the door.  And now I am thinking of this:

“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.” Lamentations 1:12

There are many who will walk by the Savior all their lives. They do not even turn to look in His direction.

The old prophet Jeremiah was weeping
As he sat by the side of the way
He had cried, he had preached, he was broken
Though he tried they ignored him that day

Oh is it nothing to you that Jesus loves you
Is it nothing to you that He would die
Is it nothing that He offers salvation
Is it nothing to you who pass by ?

Though the years pass people still shun the message
Then God sent them His beloved Son
On a cross Jesus died to redeem them
They rejected God’s love one by one.

Still ignored by many hearts is the Savior
Jesus died He left heaven for you
Turn aside, hear the Lord, He will save you
Trust the Savior His word is still true.

Our little girl was intimidated to meet this “celebrity” (who in real life is an eye doctor). But she has met the Savior. She made a profession of faith two summers ago, and by all appearances it seems to be the real thing. I suspect on that day, whenever it may be, when she truly meets Him face to face, she’ll revel in the “luster of His kindly beaming eye” instead of shying away. Instead of debating whether or not she’d like to see Him up close, she (with the rest of us) will be bursting with eagerness to hug Him, look into His face, and tell the story, “Saved by Grace!”

How about you today? Is Jesus nothing to you on this Good Friday? Do you go a step further, as I did in my teens, and mock those who choose to celebrate the risen Christ over the Easter bunny? Come to Him today. His arms were spread wide for you that day on the cross, and they remain so today…to welcome you, just as you are.  Find out more by clicking here. If you have questions, please message me.

 

Triage

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Prov. 23:26

Our second grader has been learning a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. Above is her verse for M. She writes it a few times a day, and recites the whole set every day, adding on the new one for the week.

I’ve been thinking about this one.  For a while. It does not say, “give me your music standards” or “give me your clothing preferences”. It says “give me your heart”.

Out of our hearts (our innermost beings, what makes us tick) everything issues.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Prov. 4:23

The word “keep” is a military term, and it means to guard. Protect it. My kids will tell you that I often admonish them to guard their hearts when it comes to friends, music, viewing, reading, and thinking habits.

What do I want from our kids? Three young people who have given me their outward standards and appear “good”? Children whom everyone praises for their conformity?

Nope.

It’s a messy business, but I want their hearts.  It’s sort of a triage. That means that there may be some things people observe in our kids, about which they may shake their heads and “tsk, tsk”.  But, you know what? I’m starting to be okay with that.  Because I know that although not everything observable is perfect, I am aiming at a deeper target. A higher priority which will govern it all, in time. What do I want for our kids?

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8

I refuse to play the “you’re a pastor’s kid” card. Their accountability transcends far beyond what people may expect of them. I want them to know it. I want them first to consider God’s opinion. He looks beyond the outward appearance, and into the heart. He sees it all.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb. 4:13

This is what I want them to pay the most attention to…El Roi, “thou God seest me” (which is another of Katie’s memory verses).

So, you’ll see our kids behave imperfectly. They are sinners, just like you and me. They are individuals who have to learn to discern. We are attempting to teach them. :) We are triaging.

Facebook Groups for Homeschool Buy/Sell/Trade

Using this blog (which also includes a bunch of homeschooling posts) as a means to pin some Facebook links to our Pinterest page for the Facebook group Schoolin’ Swag.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way! :)

Here are the links:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeschoolFreecycle/ Homeschool Freecycle

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hsucs/ Homeschool Used Curriculum Swap

https://www.facebook.com/groups/239853779482578/ Used Homeschool Books and Curriculum for Sale or Free

https://www.facebook.com/HomeschoolBargainsAndMore Homeschool Bargains and More

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hscurriculumswap/ Homeschool Curriculum Swap

https://www.facebook.com/groups/158947230864513/ Homeschool Swap: Canada

https://www.facebook.com/TheHomeschoolSWAP The Homeschool SWAP

https://www.facebook.com/groups/138629366323079/ Homeschool penpals/postcard exchange/geo-cac/book exchange/activity bagswap

https://www.facebook.com/groups/222126747798926/ Homeschool Curriculum Marketplace

https://www.facebook.com/groups/215568998597147/ Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale

https://www.facebook.com/groups/381228548592799/Homeschool Buy and Sell USA

I Think, Therefore I Write

wisdomAlzheimers. It is not a joking matter, although we’ve probably all joked that we were succumbing to it on a particularly forgetful day.

We had the privilege of having my mom stay with us for a few years after my dad passed away. Shortly after she arrived to stay with us, I was hashing through some insurance details with her, and alluded to “what happened to dad.”  She gave me a blank stare.  She asked, “What happened to him?” Then she looked away, with a gesture which said she was done talking. She went to her room for the night. In the morning, with great relief in her voice, but not a smile, she stated that she had remembered what happened to him. Whether it was stress, weariness, just basic forgetfulness of old age, or something more, that event was a mere blip on the screen. I never saw anything so profound again…and I am grateful never to have seen the fear, the bewilderment, the despair that registered on her face that day.  Ordinarily very sharp mentally, and proud of her crossword puzzle skills, she had had a moment of complete helplessness in which something had held her memory captive.

I understand a scrap of this now. Having dealt with chronic illness for almost all my married life, I know what it is to feel as if I am held captive. I am seeing, though, that even on those days when my body is at its lowest, my mind still screams to be useful.  So I write.

I’ve had a bit of a revelation recently. I’ve enjoyed writing for a long time. At my husband’s encouragement, I sought to have a small piece published on the topic of our miscarriage…that event is what pressed me to seriously put thoughts down on paper. A Christian magazine published it, along with a couple other small pieces. Another publisher made some articles of mine into Sunday school bulletins for adults.  I didn’t pursue anything after that, as I got busy with children, homeschooling, and increased health challenges.

In the past year I’ve had more people suggest that I write a book than ever before. I’ve joked in the past that my “muse” must be on vacation, because I truly had no clear leading in what to write, if I ever decided to. On a couple of occasions I thought I had an idea, but God never watered them or caused them to flourish.  But my mind wanted to be useful.

At the end of last year, I was looking at the possibility of leading another online Bible study. I had done several, mainly via Facebook groups. But even after receiving the book, I uncharacteristically felt no drive to begin studying. None.

I did feel a divine nudge to begin a group online for ladies to read through the Bible in a year. Mainly for my own accountability, I expected this group to have perhaps a dozen members. Imagine my delight as it is blossoming over 100 ladies now! And there is another delight as well.

I have discovered my muse. In a small corner of cyberspace, there she was. This past week, we covered some chapters in Matthew’s gospel, including Chapter 6.

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Perhaps what I am to write is not intended for formal publication. Perhaps it is intended for this closet, which I share with 100 other ladies. ;)

I love this, that I am doing now. It flows, without any hesitancy. It is a joy and edification to me. Others say it is a blessing. I was full of excuses, initially. Like Moses, I asked God, “Who am I?”  Who am I to lead such a group? Who am I to offer insight on a study ALL the way through the Bible (and not just the passages I feel familiar with and in which I am confident)? Who am I…? I’m not someone prominent. I’m not a great theologian. I’m just a wife and mom. Then I came across a quote:

With God in my soul, and Heaven in my eye, I rejoice in being exactly what I am…a creature capable of loving God.

Rejoice. Love Him with all you are and have and can do.

You know what? It doesn’t matter who I am. God promised to be with Moses and give him the words to say, and he lost a blessing by continually throwing out more excuses. God can be with my little laptop, too, if I determine to shove my excuses into my pocket and get on with His program.

I came across this list in an article on spiritual gifts, regarding teaching (which I have done, via Bible studies, ladies banquets and retreats, on writing on this blog and elsewhere):

  • Do you love the Body of Christ and desire that others know more about Scripture and how to apply it?
  • Do you love studying the Word of God?
  • Do you have a passion for sharing the insights and principles you have learned from the Word?
  • Do you find it a challenge to make complicated truths simple and understandable?

Yes.

You’ll hear me clicking along in my “closet”.

If you want to join us, there is still plenty of room. Knock on the door at the Facebook group, Daily in the Word.

Walk With Me?

readbibleI’ve started a group on Facebook for ladies to support one another while doing our best to read through the Bible in 2014. It’s free. ;)   I’ve been terrible at achieving this goal in recent years, getting distracted by an idea, or bogged down in researching a particular verse…instead of looking for GOD in those pages. Do you need some help to make your goal this year?  Come join us!

We are using this book (which was offered free for Kindle, but is only $1.99 now). The book is not necessary to join us!  I will post the reading schedule each week, and a little summary post each Friday of some thoughts or encouragement from the reading thus far. Questions, comments, prayer requests, insights are all welcome!

We’ll hold each others’ hands while we walk through the genealogies, just to make sure no one gets lost along the way.  ;)

We launch tomorrow, already 40 members strong.We’d love to have you as part of “Daily in the Word” (click those blue words to go to the page)!

Click here to purchase the book, “A Woman’s Guide to Reading Through the Bible in a Year”.

Click here to get the free Kindle reader for pc! (You don’t have to have a Kindle!) OR

Click here to get the free Kindle app for Android!

Don’t have a Bible? Find one here:

Over Easy: Without Distraction

distraction1Poor Martha. She gets a bad rap most every time she is discussed. Her sister Mary planted herself at the feet of the Savior and drank in every word, while Martha puttered, and fizzed, and fumed.

Ever been Martha? Me too.

Being a mom, I find it is hard to read, to pray, to memorize, to meditate without distraction. In college, I was the gal who disappeared to the library during finals, and never emerged from my fuzzy-walled cubicle until the testing subsided.

Has it occurred to you that your time in church can give you that opportunity to focus and worship, without distraction? When I sit at home and try to read or study, I find myself thinking of chores that await in the next room, or I notice that the carpet needs to be vacuumed, or the smudge on the mirror should be addressed. Just the way I’m wired.

C. S. Lewis mentions an individual I can totally identify with in his book, The Screwtape Letters. This person sits in church and misses the sermon because they are mentally preoccupied with a feather on a lady’s hat in front of them. It floats to and fro with the breeze in the room. Mesmerizing.

Indeed, I found myself distracted once by a hymn text in college chapel that reminded me of the old movie The Poseidon Adventure…and by the end of the hour, my imagination had taken me to supposing that the entire auditorium might capsize and then forming a route of escape. True confession. Yes, I am challenged.

So, you say, how am I not distracted in church, then? Well, for starters, at least I’m in another building, and seated in a setting that is designed to point my thinking upward. The time is reserved specifically for this purpose. I have some sort of structure imposed upon me.

Do I still sit there and combat the fleeting thoughts about what I  may have forgotten to put in the bulletin, or whether I’ll have enough supplies for the Jr. Church snack? Oh, yes. I can go there. I’m a pastor’s wife, for cryin’ out loud! ;)

God has provided the setting. I need to bring my resources to the situation. Press the clothes on Saturday night so I am not worried about how rumpled my family may appear. Have the Sunday noon meal items laid out on the counter the night before so I know it’s ready to roll. Print and fold the bulletins the night before as well. Avoid having the 7 year old ingest three bowls of Sugar Bombs before Sunday school. You know, practical things like that.

The most important thing for me to do is to have a calming of my mind and heart through the Word. I put on my armor… “overcoming daily by the Spirit’s sword“. This is war. Who but the adversary would desire to draw my attention away from the preaching of the gospel, from Christian fellowship, from eternal purposes? Go armed.

Good music helps on Sunday morning, too. It really does “calm the savage breast” (no, it is not “beast”….the word nerd in my looked it up once) …David knew that. So that I don’t walk into the church lobby “well in body, but considerably rumpled in spirit” as my friend Anne (with an e) says.

I have found I do myself a great favor on any day (and particularly on Sunday mornings, when the devil seems to enjoy pinching our children) if the Word of Christ dwells in me. Then, I have the tools with which I can govern my spirit. I have the stabilizing peace of God, which passes all understanding.

This peace of God can enable me to react in ways otherwise inexplicable.

Pastor husband invites visitors over for church on the one Sunday when I was going to take it easy and clear out the leftovers in the fridge for lunch? That’s okay. Having a young wife in the church openly say that she is learning from your response right there on the spot as she observed my reaction didn’t hurt, either.

Have a child who is super fidgety during the service for which we have no children’s service? That is unnerving to me. Crackling papers, dumped (full) boxes of colored pencils (which I took to church because they are quieter than the clickity click of magic marker caps…sigh), requests to use the bathroom, repeated reminders the sit like a lady while wearing a dress, instead of sprawling all over the seats. That is a supreme challenge for me.

But when the Word of Christ dwells in me, richly in all wisdom, then wisdom tells me to sit in the back so that at least I’m not additionally preoccupied with the thought that we are distracting others. It also reminds me that these days will pass, and said child will indeed one day learn not to sprawl, and crackle, and dump, and fidget.

Indeed, one day I’ll likely be sitting on the row alone…wistfully longing for those delightfully distracted days.

The Unexpected

mangerThou hast kept my conversion fresh before me,
that season of my first spiritual comfort
when I passed through the Red Sea
by a way I did not expect. ~Valley of Vision

This is the nature of the Christmas story.  Even though so many of its details were foreshadowed and even foretold in prophesy, its elements are not what were expected.

  • God provides a plan of redemption for willfully, woefully fallen man. Something the angels could not comprehend.
  • He comes not in splendor and power, but in the form of a helpless baby.
  • He was born of a virgin…now THAT is an unexpected way of being “expecting”!
  • There were no crowds, no celebration upon His arrival in Bethlehem.
  • There was no room for Him, no plush accommodations, no reservation for a guest suite.
  • He was born to die. For that purpose, not just in the natural course of things as we experience.
  • The wood of the manger foreshadowed the wood of the cross. Wood from trees He created. Nestled into hay which He seeded.
  • His gifts were not baby gifts. They were the gifts of a King. Gold which represented His royalty, frankincense to convey the healing He would bring, and myrrh which foreshadowed His death and burial.
  • He came to present Himself as a free gift to free mankind of feverishly trying to do what “makes sense” …attempting their own redemption by the works of their own hands.

Does this make sense to you? Is it what you expect of God? Doubtless, the answer is no. We expect for God to treat us as we do others…they must pay for their wrongdoings toward us. Make restitution for their offenses. But God is not like us.

Consider this. The Free Gift has been given. It awaits you under the tree. Your name is on the tag. Receive it. Take it with your own two hands and open it for yourself. This eternally ancient Gift will make you new.