Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow, beautiful snow has landed generously on our valley. It is glorious. The pristine covering over all that is shabby and unkempt delights the eye.

It is certain, that as it continues, it will become bothersome.
It will become 'snirt' and dismal. We will wish it gone.

In the meantime, I'm a little kid with the enjoyment of it, and as The Neighbor is faithfully scattering feed for our bird friends, the crisp, clean air is filled with song. Lovely.

God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For He says to the snow,
Fall on the earth;...
God brings to a standstill by severe weather
the hand of every man;
...that all men who He has made
may know His sovereign power and their subjection to it.
~Job 37.5-7, Amplified
[The darling squirrel was captured by David Elder, East Kibride, UK. I credit and thank him!]

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Martin Luther Moment

Dear Dr. Luther once again brought cheer to my day.

Philip Melanchthon, Martin's beloved and trusted friend lay dying. Luther was in great distress and frightened. On seeing his friend, "He then turned forthwith to the window, and prayed fervently to God."

"Then, said Luther, our Lord God could not but hear me: for I threw my sack before His door, and wearied His ears with all His promises of hearing prayers, which I could repeat out of Holy Writ; so He could not but hear me, if I were ever to trust in His promises."

What graphic imagery of intercessory prayer. Throwing ones sack before His door and wearying God's ears with His own promises I find not only encouraging by example, I find it delightful. It makes me smile. A lot.

And yes, Melanchthon lived to continue the fight for Faith with his friend, and in fact out lived his friend.

Today I'm grateful for their example and for the preserved record of this charming account of their faith in our God.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Storms, Trees and Thoughts Concerning Them

Trees have always played a key roll in my life, a role of pleasure and delight. And storms, well they seem to be one of Life's players as well, not so delightful, but necessary.

At present, we, as well as other
units of our family are in the midst of grievous and baffling tumultuous blasts.

Growing up near the sea, the image of coastal trees is vivid. Their bent forms tell of many storms weathered. Yet they stand in their exposed situations, growing on.
A Life lesson, this.

Then too, in last nights bedtime reading I came across the following. It is from a secular book - my 'light' reading. But is expressed truth perfectly and beautifully.

"...the grass and trees and shrubs had no choice but to yield to the unruly wind as it lashed them from side to side, but they clung fast to the earth and felt very grateful for the roots that pushed down deep and held them in their proper places." [Susan Wittig Albert]

It is all there, isn't it?

The storm rages, yet may we continue like the seaside trees, leaning, bent but unbroken, because through all the seasons of past years, our roots have pushed deep. And as those roots sought the River, the leaves have remained green, still bearing fruit in old age as the Psalmist says that they may be "living memorials to show that the Lord is faithful to His promises; He is my Rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him. [Psa. 93. 12-15]


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Day We Celebrate Loves

Recalling today the earliest and the best *Valentine*.

This from the Love that has never failed or disappointed.

This is the Love that is the sustaining grace of our days.

This is the continuous comfort to and rejoicing of our hearts.

Loved before the dawn of time
Chosen by my Maker,
Hidden in my Savior.
I am His and He is mine,
Cherished for eternity.
~ hymn by Stuart Townend

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Reader,

it seems only fair that I should invite you to join us this day.
It is Thursday - the weekly meeting of the Havarti Club. We are four blessed generations that meet to catch up, have lunch and tea - always tea - and get our weekly ration of baby loves.

This is a joyous season of my life truly never expected..regular time with a much loved daughter, grand-daughter (sometimes more than one) and the dear little great-grands. Truly they are both great and grand. (Not to mention adorable and definitely above average.)

The lad is pictured with his tea. Yes. This is not posed. He has been having tea with us since adept enough to hold his cup. His momma says tea is something he even requests at home from time to time. Gotta love such a lad.

So, should you be in the neighborhood eleven-ish, stop by Hillside Cottage with the blue door.
We would love to share.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Words for the Day

Books are "my one weakness."

Thomas Jefferson said it best: "I cannot live without books." Book are made up of words which are a delight as well as the proper expression of all imagery, of proper thought.

For today, some of my favorites found in the Book of Common Prayer either in Thomas Cranmer's collects or Miles Coverdale's psalter translation.

~ Betimes ~ Bestride ~ Besmirched ~

~ Becalmed ~ Bounden Duty ~

~ Vouchsafe ~

Perhaps we should form a club by which it is our bounded duty to use lovely old words which are now, all but lost, to common usage.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Confused Directions

It's not the directions that are confusing. We are given all that is necessary for our pilgrimage, for staying the path, for blessing from God, for fellowship with our fellow man. It is given with clarity - and with repetition in case we miss it the first time.

Whether Deuteronomy or the Epistles, (and other places as well) what could be more clear than the ways in which we are to please our Lord?

Confusion always comes from the enemy. We know this is one of his most effective tactic, especially for stirring up discord among fellow believers, for causing us to miss important signs, for loosing sight of what is to be our real focus, for the way of Peace.

What is our calling? This has been pondered much of late. For me, it seems all can be reduced simply and succinctly.

The obvious starting place is "the choice that is set before us this day". Choice: life or death, obedience or stiff-necked disobedience. Preceding that, we are called to choose blessing or curse and while there is a very long list given for both, it all comes down to serving the Lord in obedience and with joy. And the 'joy' is as important as the obedience! (see Deut. 28.45-48; 30.19, 20) "for it is not an empty trifle for you: it is your very life." (32.47, Amp)

As the people of God, the Body of Christ, in the conducting ourselves rightly with one another perhaps it is wise to remember:

We are not called to be right, but to be righteous,
not to be good, but to be holy.

We are not called to be intellectual
but rather to be wise-hearted and spiritually discerning.

We are not to be agenda driven
but Spirit led.
Ours are not political issues, but Kingdom issues.

We are called to make disciples, to be disciples.
We are to love because of Calvary Love.

And as the Bard said "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds...."

When we miss the mark, the focus, the path, may we have someone not only able but willing to carry us midst the traffic of Life and set us aright once again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Celebrating Laura

From the first time she entered our house, Laura remained
not merely a welcomed house guest, rather as a beloved member of the family.

To our family, she added her own: herself, perky, mischievous Laura, sweet Mary, almost too good to be true, Ma and her wise, quiet ways, Pa who always brought change, but music too. And then dear Almonzo.

We delighted in bratty Nellie and Willie getting their comeuppance.
We disliked all that was Mrs. Olson but adored and honored her patient Nels who she in no way deserved.

Their lives became wound up with our own and it was only with adult perspective that we began to realize the thread of faith woven through their lives. Theirs was a time when personal faith was not talked about; it was lived. It permeated all their choices and relationships quietly, without announcement. That is the brand of faith by which you can warm yourself.

So this day, the birthday of Laura , we celebrate. We give thanks for her leaving us her record for us to enjoy,
to call our own,
to provide example.

She has delighted four generations so far and hopefully those coming up will not put her aside as being old fashioned.

"It is still best to be honest and truthful;
to make the most of what we have
to be happy with simple pleasures
and cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"I shall concede my life's triumph
to growing old triumphantly,
victoriously old."
~Dr. Frank Crane
(and me too)

Friday, February 4, 2011

John Q.

One always risks one's pride when declaring excitement over information just discovered. When one is of a certain age it is expected that great stores of knowledge have been accumulated. Well
Dear Reader, I can only declare that I love learning and so pass on to you this day something that delighted my proverbial sox off and was quite unknown before this day.

John Quincy Adams was a hymn writer! Marvelous!
He also played the flute.

It has been said that he was one of the most brilliant of US Presidents. Certainly he was one of the most religious. He himself stated that he read the Bible each morning for an hour. Typically, he alternated the language in which he read it. Not your common man, John.

Living in the very heavy shadow of his illustrious father, growing up as he did under public scrutiny as the president's son, serving his country all his life, not to mention being a husband and father, he would have been a man tested along so many lines and in so many ways throughout his years. He rose above crushing defeats yet in all this he trusted and praised his God.

Here, a statement of faith of the trusting, obedient child and pilgrim, John Quincy Adams.

Send forth, O God, Thy light and truth,
And let them lead me still,
Undaunted, in the paths of right,
Up to Thy holy hill.
Then to Thy alter will I spring,
And in my God rejoice;
And praise shall tune the trembling string,
And gratitude my voice.

O why, my soul, art thou cast down?
Within me why distressed?
Thy hopes the God of grace shall crown;
He yet shall make thee blessed.
To Him, my never failing Friend,
I bow, and kiss the rod;
To Him shall thanks and praise ascend,
My Savior and my God.