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As God by creation made two of one,
so again by marriage He made one of two.


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February 2004

God is the LORD, there is no other.
~February~

 2003 Our Year in Pictures    2nd half 2003 Pictures

Our January Snow and Ice Pictures        VALENTINES DAY                   The Welcome Home Blog

February 29, 2004 Leap day!

Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great
in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
Luke 6.23

February 28, 2004  What a week it’s been—whew!  An amazing week!  Tuesday, the memorial of Justin’s life and amidst the grief of loss, there was celebration on his home-going—the full blessed assurance of the reality of faith in Jesus Christ and redemption through His blood—the earnest of our inheritance.  Then to Wednesday and the release of the movie: The Passion of the Christ and all the commentaries and reviews that it’s stirred up.  Then yesterday to receive the joyful news of answered prayer and the birth of the Sconce’s baby.  Missionaries in PNG with Co-Mission Int., they’ve sacrificed a great deal to live in obedience to the LORD and to serve Him there.  Do they think it’s a sacrifice?  No—they believe it is their reasonable service—this is the incredible peace that passes understanding in hearts yielded to God. Death, Atonement for death, birth.  The essences of this week—-of life.

All this in the midst of continued anarchy—incredible, isn’t it?!?!  Jesus died to save sinners—an attempt was made to depict that sacrifice on the screen and we see evidence before our eyes of man turning his back on God everywhere.  Homose-ual “marriage” is but one angle of the depravity of man.  “What we’re witnessing in America today is the flowering of the largest civil rights movement the country’s had in a generation,” said New Paltz’ Green Party mayor, Jason West.  O, God save our nation!  The anarchy we’re seeing is just another symptom of the depravity of man—the pride of life in opposition and ignorance of the Holiness of God.  But in the midst of all of this… we see the Hand of God—and will see the Justice of God who has power to set up kings and destroy nations; and everywhere, we see the consequences of violating the laws of a Holy God.  Whenever I hear the startling stats of teen “immorality” I grieve—I grieve for the young men and women, I grieve for the families, I grieve for the future generations and loss of innocence and occurrence of disease—but these are but a few of the consequences of violating the laws of a Holy God.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” 2 Peter 3.3

In the last days…

February 26, 2004   A beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Our neighbors have just installed an invisible fence for their dogs.  Incredible!  Incredible, because of the *size* of the “yard” they’re fencing!  Our property is surrounded by theirs and I don’t know how many of the 65+ acres will be included, but from the looks of the flags around the perimeter, I think it’s *most* of the acreage!  My Joey loves the dogs and they love him—but mama does *not* like dogs, or cats(!) and so mama is happy!  The huge yard will still allow for lots of stick throwing and retrieving—so, Joey’s happy!  Mama’s happy because all this fun will happen out of our yard!   The dogs have gone back home… and the boys have come back in… like always, they’ve come in smelling like wet-puppies—and I smile.  Pretty soon these days will pass and new little boys will throw sticks to the dogs and then it’ll be their turn to come in… smelling like wet-puppies and I’ll probably still be smiling… with tears in my eyes.

More help and encouragement in  congress for legislation protecting life!  The Unborn Victims of Violence Act is expected to pass the House Today.   There’s soooo much going on in these days of Judicial tyranny and *anarchy*!  Take a look at Judicial Forum’s blog for today—and previous days!

February 25, 2004 
Today’s my sister-in-law’s 50th birthday… and what a terrific sister she is!  We’re extremely thankful for and proud of her!  Happy, Happy Birthday, Connie!

Well… the long awaited day finally arrived and the highly acclaimed film debuted.  It’s a drop-dead amazing movie, I understand—literally!  I can’t imagine watching the film, I cannot imagine the intensity of the scenes attempting to bring to life what it must’ve been like at the crucifixion of our LORD and Saviour, Jesus.  We’ve been asked numerous times whether or not we’ll go to see the movie, The Passion of The Christ—and our answer remains, we don’t know.  I’m tending to think not, because, though, having never seen, I have faith; having never heard His voice audibly, I hear Him every day; I believe because The Word of God is living and so to go see a film depicting my LORD would put a face to my LORD and I couldn’t forget the imagery were I to view such agony and I fear I’d pray to the face whose eyes I’d seen.

I also have this underlying thought in many decisions I make, and it is this: caution.  When my oldest sons still lived at home, they had a phrase: “Aw, Ma, c’mon *every*body’s doing it!”  and I’d say to them, “Well, if everybody’s doing it, then there must be something wrong with it.”  Well, you know that just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it wrong—but it really ought to get us thinking—AND—questioning!  SO… amidst all the positive accolades and  (O, except for that death) glowing reports there are many who have a different view… one, in particular,  Andrew J. Webb offers some valid points for your consideration.  

A hesitant Yay for Matt Daniels and Robert Bork and the proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed, would block recognition of same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment would read:  “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union between a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”  Now you can readily see all the gaps for loopholes and plenty of room for misinterpretation.  For example, I once talked with a man who told me that he was a woman born in a man’s body.  And sick as that was, many people believe to this day that this man is, in fact, a woman.  So… yay for the attempt to salvage marriage in this nation, and that, from an Ivy league grad—but it’s still a flimsy attempt.   I know, I know…  what do I know.  That word “require” eludes me and seems an inappropriate choice—how ’bout “allow” or “permit” in it’s place—no expert in legal-ese.

I finally got the pics downloaded from last Sunday afternoon; we had a great time visiting with old and new friends!  What a blessing it is to be a part of the family of God, brothers and sisters all over the world!   Here are a few pics of the ‘reception’ for the Bruzas’

 
that’s me and Hildi                   some of the girls                       The boys loved the cool chairs!


… long time friends and some new ones, too!
Some little ones were too tired! And these are the grandbabies! [our Daniel & Tara, too ;-)]

February 24, 2004  I can’t remember why I started blogging in the first place, but over the months it’s become a regular habit of recording slices of the day and highlighting things we discovered or places we’ve visited on the net.  Danger is, that I, being a person who’s passionate about whatever I’m doing and fervent in my beliefs, tend to go overboard with the transparency deal and frequently get myself in a heap of trouble with those who can’t take sincerity at face value—as if there’s some hidden meaning or ulterior motive to candid speech.  I think I ought to ask my mom if I was always like this but deception is abhorrent to me and double-speak just drives me bats.  Language is a powerful tool—it can manipulate or hide a shocking truth, it can deceive people or families or nations.  Language in writing, though, at best, conveys truths of the heart in a way perhaps unlike any other method of communication.   Problem is, if the message is sifted through a wrong filter, it will be misconstrued.  I like to write.  I like to read.  I long to share with others—it’s a lonely world sometimes and I love that I have an opportunity to touch lives with not only day to day slices of life, but also with the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Everything pales in comparison with the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ as Saviour and LORD.  I hope one day to learn to write in such a way as to communicate with such clarity that misunderstanding is eliminated.  Until then,  I pray the LORD uses this cracked and chipped vessel to pour out messages.

Okay… so where was I going?  Language.  Language is powerful and persuasive speech is compelling.  I’ve been thinking on this a lot today as we sat and listened to words, and music and saw pictures imposed on a large screen… I don’t know what impressed me more—that *was* said or what was *not* said.  The service was thought provoking and God honouring.  References were made continually to not look on the outward, but to look on the heart—to “judge by the fruit and not by the suit” was one of Justin’s quotes inscribed on the back of the program.  So, here was a young man, whose life was being honoured and remembered by the hundreds of people gathered, and the recurring message was to not judge the outward, to clean up the inside and not get hung up on the outside.  SO… as I have been really mulling over language—and I’ve been referring to *written* language, now I’m processing what it is to speak without words.  To give a message without words.   Surely as we are misunderstood because of the *words* we might choose to convey a thought, how much more then by our appearance or behaviour.   Needless to say, I came away today with more questions than answers—more puzzles than solutions.  But this I know, I’m clinging to an unseen Hand.

All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why. – James Thurber

February 22-23, 2004  I’m typing this Sunday night blog at 1:30 Monday morning… Starbucks, dontchaknow.   A mocha latté, totally not part of my diet but I had one today—late in the day—worse, it was a double.  You know, one thing about staying up late, apart from the regret I’ll have when I wake up (if I ever go to sleep!) is that there’s much quiet time for reflection.  Interesting that the LORD placed me in or with a large family—I love solitude.  Interesting that He gave me boys—I love calm.  Interesting He made life unpredictable—I love predictability.   So as I type here, and read other things I trust the LORD to make things a bit less ambiguous to me as the day hits rewind and I take another look.

What a blessed day—The LORD’s day.  What a blessing to recall some of the conversations, the testimonies, and the prayers of the day.  How amazing all the details the LORD so carefully and precisely weaves and works in our lives.  One of the interesting things about fully yielding and walking with the LORD is that no matter what we do, how we plan our steps or propose to arrange our schedules, His plans prevail and His purposes are accomplished.  As we walk the roads the LORD’s called us to walk over the years, there’ve been many times when we’ve been misunderstood, misrepresented and our motives or our decisions have been misconstrued.  It’s that way for lots of people sometimes, I suppose, and everyone at some point will fall under scrutiny for their beliefs of decisions.  Problem is, most always because we look at other people’s views through our filter instead of theirs, and both are never clear. 

How thankful I am today to have just laid the day at the Feet of the LORD and He directed the path.  No matter what it may have seemed, we’d never have known just how it would go had we second-guessed the ways of the LORD.  And so as we made an unplanned visit to a friend in the hospital, we saw a glimpse of the ways of the LORD, then later, as we proceeded with plans to attend a reception, we saw a friend we hadn’t seen for many years—-we never imagined that we’d see this friend or that he had hoped to see us there and hoped we’d be able to visit awhile (which we did!).  Oh, how marvelous it is to take hold of the unseen Hand and to walk with the LORD.

We just attempted to call our friends in Papua New Guinea… they’re expecting a baby any day and we had so hoped to talk just for a bit—but when we were connected, it sounded as if one of the children had answered the phone and was carrying it around… sadly the time ran out so we’ll need to get another card to call them — perhaps next week.  But I’m not sure how many late nights I can muster—calling at 1 or 2 in the morning is best as there are few lines into the country and ‘after-hours’ it’s easier to get through.  Disappointed—but not discouraged!

February 21, 2004 Well, enough politics, etc. this morning.  Not that there’s nothing to share about that… quite the contrary, but for now, there are many other things to consider!   Plus… after staying up till 3am with my girls, I’m way too tired to wrestle with too much ‘worldly’ stuff today… too many more important things are on our minds these days and my perspective’s been challenged, anyway!

O, something neat: Kelli’s planning on getting a Hammer Dulcimer—something we’d love to buy, too—someday!!  The beauty of the instrument is surpassed only by the beautiful sound when skillfully played.    We were talking about heirlooms yesterday (which this would become in their family) and I was sharing with Kelli that what would make the instrument an heirloom to her children would be the beautiful music they’d remember and that only if it had become a regular part of family life, then any instrument passed on would be the family’s heritage of beautiful music.  That got me thinking about things we all do in our families—are the times we spend together of lasting value?  Are our activities encouraging and ‘nourishing’ then children?  Is the tone or ‘feel’ of our home one to remember—or one to emulate?

On the HOMESCHOOL front:  a neat site loaded with curriculum—books-books-books!  It’s a “message board” site for Used Homeschool Curriculum, it’s the place to post your “For Sale” and “Want to Buy” messages for used homeschool curriculum, books, and resources.  Sort of a ‘homeschooler’s eBay” site!  I’ve not done much curriculum shopping on eBay but we’ve sure been pleased with –every– eBay purchase we’ve made.  From china, to books, to CD’s, to clothing—our eBay purchases have been great!  Every seller was great to work with and every product arrived just as was listed and described.  Now… you know I’d comment if the opposite were true, but I’m pleased to say we’ve had no “sour” transactions!  So—-eBay! Here’s my warning… be careful: you’ll be up all night searching if there are specific things you’ve been looking for!  You might not find the item you’re looking for under a specific name, but sometimes typing in a bit of a different description or name will bring up the item you wnat.  It’s amazing… I’ve learned that if my boy Daniel likes a method (like eBay) and has good results, then I’m very comfortable using that avenue, too!  Now, I haven’t even come close to shopping eBay like he has! 😉

Yesterday we went to visit our boy, Michael, and were so pleased to be able to see his apartment and his delight in his beautiful home!  You know… it’s been over five years since this son left home and so much has transpired—but one thing I’ve learned is to be patient and to not get ahead of the LORD… the LORD *is* faithful and will complete the work He’s begun!  We do praise the LORD for His faithfulness!  Well… knowing I was/am trying to be in top shape , Michael gave me his treadmill.  Now this may be my last blog—bcz that machine might just do me in!  Okay, so my first (planned) hour-long aerobic walk was cut short by 56 minutes.  I needed to get the hang of slowing the thing down or risk being thrown across the kitchen!  Today’s aerobic session will be, uh,  six minutes… well, maybe.  Slower, I can do the hour… but speed that machine up too fast and I’ll likely pass out!  That’s granny’s fitness update!

I was searching for some contact information and came across this neat tool on the Citizen Link Site.  You can locate and contact national and local media.  I think you’ll discover that this site is an invaluable resource if you  don’t already use it!

What an encouragement it is to read Roger Bennett’s writings as he prepares for bone marrow transplant!  What’s incredible to me is that he’s continued to play the piano for the group and has continued to meet the obligations he’s had.

As our friends grieve the loss of their son, there is an outpouring of love and support for them and recognition of this young man’s life.  So many lives were touched by this young man—we never know the influence we have.  So many times I consider this thought: our sphere of influence is far greater than our sphere of acquaintance.   I wrote a letter on this some time back… that was for women, but I realize more and more that no matter the age, the influence one has can be tremendous.   A baby… a young child… a mother… a young man… a father… whatever the age, whatever the circumstance: there will be an influence.  I’ve been mulling over this: what will my influence be?  What will I leave behind?  What will matter?

Most of us never know the stories behind the lives of people in our community.  As we’ve followed this multi-part story, The Garden that Grief Built, this week in the Everett Herald, it’s been totally gripping to read—in this week of again coming to terms with the pain in people’s lives—pain apart from salvation in Jesus, what they’ve been through to bring them to who they are today.  Neighbors… seemingly living worlds apart from our own and yet, some are a real picture of where we might be without hope in Christ and His redemption of our lives.  This series, as well as things the LORD is doing, has been used to renew my resolve to reach our neighbors for Christ—to show them His love and to offer them the gift we’ve received in Christ Jesus. 

With all the amazing things in the news, we’re just seeing the staggering numbers of stories that indicate total chaos and “lost-ness” in our world—though many of these things are not new, the occurrence or frequency and “commonness” is astonishing.  Sin is ugly and the ugliness is becoming so “normal” in society.  I’ve been considering the ‘demands’ made by those who seek their own way—demands of tolerance—yet, so intolerant of rejection and surely of God’s Word, so intolerant of constraints to their “freedom.”  Such a double standard: those who would demand laws demand to break them.  Sin knows no bounds.

February 20, 2004  Well, if Judicial tyranny isn’t bad enough, what’s going on now is out and out anarchy!  The judicial system is becoming a farce!  Though people scream, their voice is not heard.  What is that phrase?  O, yes: You ain’t seen nuthin yet!  What’s going on in San Francisco, Chicago and New Mexico is astounding!   What an affront to God and the God ordained institution of marriage, this denigration of His Word concerning the sanctity of marriage.  It sickens me to have to ‘stand by’ and watch this revolt and the degradation of marriage.  But sin is like that—an in-your-face attack on our holy God. 

A news brief I just received from the Alliance Defense Fund

I cannot believe I used to live and go to school in what is now Sodom.  I used to dream of spending some more time in my city high-on-a-hill… where-little-cable-cars-climb-halfway-to-the-stars…my-city-by-the-bay—but no longer.  My heart’s here… I certainly didn’t leave my heart in SanFrancisco.  We were married in  SanFrancisco—and our marriage license was issued from there… when marriage licenses were only issued legally.   And now, the Mayor’s a hero.  And check out that Habakkuk 1.3-4 passage!  Incredible.  What do you think!?!?   Even so—Come LORD Jesus!

Okay… comic relief time.  I don’t necessarily endorse the saying of every one of these ‘funnies‘ but…  a little levity, dears, a little levity.

February 19, 2004  What a whirlwind of emotion this week as friends and family come to grips with the death of the young man, Justin.  The more we hear of his life, the family’s life and recall what’s transpired in recent weeks, the more we see the Hand of God in all of these things—though in tears, it’s not difficult to say: praise the LORD for His marvelous works!  His sister is a testimony of strength and trust in the LORD.  His family is a picture of faith in the work and ways of the LORD.   As the young people gathered for Bible study last night, much was shared and many tears shed as this young man was remembered.  There’ll be a special service for him next week.

Tamera (Justin’s mother) had just tearfully shared two weeks ago in the morning service that on Christmas day, one of their little daughters had awoken at her grandparents house, and then not finding anyone awake yet had wandered out into the cold from her grandparents house— (next door  but not close in proximity bcz of living in the country), early morning in her diapers and a small shirt.  She was found by a neighbor and brought to Marty and Tamera’s home.   Later that day (Christmas) Tamera said she was fearful to allow her 18yo daughter to drive to Oregon in case something were to happen to her.  She loves her family so much and is careful to be attentive to them.   Tamera shared that day in church that she then felt challenged by God, asking if she would continue loving Him even if He took one of her children away.  Wes and I feel as though it was a prophetic time—that the LORD was preparing her for what He would have for her down the road.   This is a testimony of the mercy of God!  Something we may not understand at the time, but accept in faith.   Anyway, this all has certainly been heartrending, but has strengthened our faith and resolve to love and serve our precious LORD.  Many people are affected—besides the family, Justin’s fiancée, Addy and many other relatives and friends.  We’re also praying for the crane operator who obviously didn’t know Justin was there.  We imagine that his grief and sense of guilt must be overwhelming.  The LORD has blessed Tamera many many ways over the years and one of the most profound is His continued provision and confirmation of love in guiding her path.

She’s now a member of a special group of women who’s grief is a kind shared and known only by the other members… women who’ve buried a child. 

2-18-2004 – 6pm   I have an apology and a correction to make to my comments regarding “seeker churches” in America and around the world. I am sorry for the miscommunication regarding my thoughts  on the “institutional” church.  I wished to simply say that I am dead set opposed to churches that are offering a counterfeit “gospel” and are soft-selling a brand of easy-believism, avoiding the discomfort of “old-fashioned” evangelism or gospel teaching, it’s compromised Christianity that focuses on perceived success, caters to felt needs rather than focusing on the Cross, the depravity of man, eternal separation from God for those who will not know Him as LORD and Saviour. 

1Peter 4.17  “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

I stand against what’s become a paradigm for a large number of “churches” in America:  seeker sensitive, purpose driven, paradigm shift churches.   And, though I’ve referenced “Open church” & “Home-church” & “House church” sites and agree whole heartedly with much but not all that’s shared on those sites, our family still attends a local Baptist church in addition to a home-fellowship.  I want to share that we are not standing in judgment of all ‘churches’ nor are we seeking to promote some ‘brand’ of Christianity, nor use this as a venue for promotion of a personal agenda or particular plan—save, the Word of God.  We do pray for those who hold the position of pastor of local assemblies and  pray for a spiritual awakening—the wake-up call has surely been given!  We seek the LORD and His Righteousness. 

I appreciated receiving mail concerning this and other issues related to the institutional church.  This blog’s a reflection of life in our home and would be pretty boring if nothing but a weather report was written each day.  Imagine, day after day: In the Pacific Northwest: rain today, rain tomorrow, rain for the rest of the week giving way to occasional showers and rare sunbreaks.

No strong opinions here.  😉

February 18, 2004  From time to time I read info on a site that leaves me thinking: well, that’s the craziest thing I ever read.  Here’s a site that offers hundreds of uses for well known products from Alberto VO5 Conditioner to Ziploc bags.   One particular use for Flexible Straws:  “Prevent tangles in fine chain jewelry.  Run the chain through a length of Glad Flexible Straw and fasten the catch.”

Another “help save marriage” site and petition.  This, “No Gay Marriage” site has articles updates and petitions.  You know, some of us probably seem as obnoxious as the flagrant abusers of the law—and those who are obtaining bogus marriage “licenses.”  The American Family Association has a very thorough coverage of these and other issues that are tearing apart the family, posing such an arrogant attack on God and will ultimately destroy America. (As my husband often says of me: “No strong opinions here!”)  It is utterly amazing to me that our political system has degraded to this rebellious judicial tyranny

I say, O, God, where is the church?  I don’t mean all the religious institutions or tens of thousands of “church” buildings across our land, I mean: the church, the body of Christ.  Wake up, believers!  Wake up to the stench of this sinful nation.  Pray.  Walk with God—stop masquerading with a foot in the world and a foot on the Word.  I say, women: stay home, take good care of your husband, your children and your home, be pure, be faithful.  I say, men: lead as the Word commands you to lead, quit entertaining yourself to death with sports and p-rnography, be faithful, be true, quit running after the elusive nest egg and status symbols, be honest, quit ye like men!  Today’s all you’ve got—tomorrow you could be dead.

I’ve realized another reason I am so ardently against the “seeker” so called “churches” that are filled with people who would have as much or more “fun” at a club, buildings that have no crosses and no Bibles on the chairs or pew racks.  Where there’s nothing offensive, nothing hard to swallow, nothing uncomfortable—just partial Truth.  Look where that whole misguided, unbiblical nauseating trend has taken what should be the Church or what it’s done with the Truth—it’s exchanged it for a lie and made it (the Church) of no effect.   What a grief this is.

February 17, 2004  In a television interview with Diane Sawyer, Mel Gibson gave clear and succinct answers to what seemed to me to be heated and divisive questions.  It’s no surprise and this was just a taste of what’s to come as The Passion of The Christ debuts on the 25th of February.

I just discovered this page for women—The Christian Woman’s Page and took a look at a few articles.  It seems to be a good and encouraging site. 

February 16, 2004   Tragedy.  No words.  I’m struck with the tremendous stark reality that today is all we have—no guarantees of tomorrow—just today: it’s all we have.  Our family was in the middle of prayers following our Bible study when we received the call that Justin, the eldest son of our friends, the Glaser’s, had died as a result of a tragic crane accident.  This young man had just celebrated his 20th birthday, had plans to marry a young woman, had just moved into his new home and had a loving family and many friends.  Another young man whose life *seems* to have been lost too soon—but God.  But God who is rich in mercy… saw fit to bring this young man home, and so, sorrow has come to this home.

My husband and I rode silently from their home this evening… again, no words.  We wondered how could we have been so blessed.  How could the LORD be so gracious.  But I know deep in my heart that grief comes to everyone and tragedy visits every home… sorrow skips no home—every home is visited with sadness and no one escapes the sting of death.

My first inclination was to call my son… I knew our other children and grandchildren were safe here with us; but this son was not here and I was compelled to call to connect with him, to affirm my love for him and to assure him of my concern for him.  He’s just a couple of years older than the young man who passed away and just a year older than Nolan—all were friends, all had that same thread of youth that bound them and all had their lives stretched out wide before them and now two have gone…

February 15, 2004  You’ll just be amazed at Roger Bennett’s news!   The LORD surely seems to be at work here for giving the Bennett’s such remarkable news.
Blessings this L
ORD‘s Day!

February 14, 2004

We’re remembering Nolan today.  This would have
been his 22nd birthday.

    As our friend Carolyn answered the door, we wondered what to say—what is there to say to a mother whose son was tragically killed 5 months ago, a son who was so young and had so much going for him.  Her “Valentine baby.”  We stood on the porch listening to her sweetly recounting some of the events of the day, some tearful memories of days gone by and as she shared, I realized how much it meant to her to know that others were remembering.  Nolan had worked for Costco and the employees had just sent her 2 dozen roses… and a card letting the family know that they hadn’t forgotten this young man, their special friend and co-worker. 
She shared the difficult process to finally locate a heart balloon that simply said, “I love you.” How grateful I was to be holding a plate full of beautiful heart cookies that Kathryn had frosted in white with “I love you” surrounded by dots that looked like pearls around the edge of each cookie.  As I handed her the plate, I realized we had little to offer that would bring the comfort she needed.  We prayed for her there…

_____________________________________________________________

Another visit with Mom has come to an end.  We sure had a happy week with Wes’s mom here with us from Indiana.  Not much time for blogging today… but lots in the news—if you can stand it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!
There is no greater love… John 15.13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”    A sweet Valentine’s Day around here today.  Wes liked his flowers! 😉  I did for him what he did for me for our anniversary: rose bushes!  I’ll put them by his Gravenstein apple tree.  I’m thrilled that his hyacinths and daffodils are starting to come up!  I bought him the bulbs for his birthday and planted them a few months ago.  He particularly likes the scent of the hyacinths—that’s why I bought them!

Another great article by Steve Atkerson of the New Testament Restoration Foundation.  Yes, I’m sort of preoccupied with this sort of material lately as we seek to understand what the LORD would have us to do and how He would have us to live out our lives in faith before Him.  None of these articles or ideas are meant as an attack on the institutional church in America—though no amount of discussion will be convincing, rather they cause us to take a good hard look and make an honest assessment of what we do and why!  It’ll surely offend some and probably will be misunderstood by others—but that’s not the intent of my posting or sharing the articles/links/sites.  If a man will not, in the light of Scripture, examine what he does or ever question what he believes and why he believes it, he’s foolish.  Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.

A couple of our children served area Pastors and wives at
a Valentine’s Banquet… they were having a bit of fun before leaving!

February 13, 2004… back to blogging.

A new dawn…  was buying a bunch of “sippy-cups” at the drugstore in town today and the cashier asked, or rather stated:  “O, these are for your graaaannd-children!?!”  I, for the first time, realized that I look *more* like a grandmother than “just” a mother—instantaneously, I felt compelled to buy a [sworn-off] box of hair dye.  This gray hair seems more like a stark announcement of  advancing age rather than a “crown of splendor” or “way of wisdom” to me.  Ahhh but for the days of youth when I was easily thin, agile and much, much smarter than today.  Ahhhhh, youth.

Hey, what about Massachusetts?!?!  Indecision… a little purchasing of time for wrestling and hashing out the ramifications of whichever law or amendment is established.  It may seem like the debate dead-ends, but it’s anything but dead!  Now there’s time for some real slinging over the issues.

YOU can take action on the Federal Marraige Amendment Amendment!  AND push to STOP Judicial Tyranny.   Track this issue at Judicial Forum —click on the weblog for current updates.

February 12, 2004  Too bizzy for bloggin’ today.

February 11, 2004   O… it’s bad enough all the criticism some people receive while they’re *living*, but now the flack Dr. Atkins is getting posthumously is amazing.  Physicians released Dr. Atkins’ [how’d they get access to the files?] medical information—revealing his physical condition at the time of his death following a fall on some ice.  A group whose interest is probably opposite the “Atkins Approach” to eating released the information.  Another example of envy and the lengths some will go to knock someone down—well I guess dead is as far as one can get knocked down—but his legacy is attacked.  I don’t know what might’ve contributed to his gross water weight-gain and is it important to debate it? —but I do know this: eliminating white food eliminates overweight—O, that, and it’s probably a good idea to watch your step on ice.

Be sure and install critical Microsoft Windows updates.  Serious security flaws will leave systems vulnerable.  “Microsoft urged consumers to apply the repairing patch immediately if they were using Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP versions of its software, or its Windows NT Server, Server 2000 and Server 2003 software commonly found in corporations.”

In the news… today’s the day to keep your eye on Massachusetts, where lawmakers debate a ban on “gay marriage” —which, no matter what the “law” says, can never even be accomplished as it violates God’s Word.  What was the latest ploy of those who are seeking a redefinition of marriage?  Do I keep  chanting the mantra:  now more than ever we need to make our voice heard and our prayers fervent?  There seems to be so much at stake here—but, again, no matter what takes place, the fact will remain that the LORD God defined marriage from the beginning as a union of a man and a woman.  No matter what man devises, God’s Word stands, God’s design stands, and God will judge.  No matter which road a man takes, all roads will, in the end, end at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  There will be no exceptions, no alternate feelings, no buddha, no mohammed, no science, no knowledge or counsel against the LORD.  The Word says:  “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” [1Corinthians 2.9]  In the end it will just be Jesus.

Keeping Roger Bennett in prayer… you can read his web journal.

In Titus2 fellowship yesterday morning we talked over the aspects of love.  It’s interesting the number of times love is involved with the decisions we make or the reaction we have to something/someone.  One of the ladies read 1 Corinthians 13 with the specific intention to seek how to apply the teaching in the verses to ministering to the family by meeting the needs of the family.  I suggested special plans ought to be made to bless the family for Valentine’s Day.  I suggested a special meal, favourite treats, individual cards or notes, and a joy-filled home.  I recalled what we’d learned from Nancy Campbell at the Above Rubies retreat:  your children may not remember all that you did in your home, but they’ll remember how it felt there.  O, how I keep this in my thoughts each day.  So… this Valentine’s Day—for everyone: go out of your way, be bold… do something out of the ordinary to show l-o-v-e.

More inspiration for February…   Is your walk waning? Is your fervor dim?  Need some encouragement for your walk?

February 10, 2004

 
This picture was taken six months after Wes’s father went to be with the LORD.
From the left:  he and his two sisters, his mother and his brother.
We had just had prayer for mother, for her future and of thanks for the days behind.
As she arrived for a visit, we were so moved by the great care and blessing of
the LORD in the last four years.  We can trust Him far beyond the sunset.

I read an article regarding habits married couples ought to cultivate; this, from christianity today.   As we make decisions to daily have a clean slate before the LORD, another wise decision is to have a clean slate between husband and wife.  Keeping short accounts safeguards marriage, strengthens it and keeps out the weeds that choke growth and fruit.

It’s going to get thicker and nastier as campaigning for the fall election heats up and as other debates come to pass; read more here.

February 9, 2004  As the family goes, so goes the nation.  Opponents of same se-x marriage  held a rally yesterday and the issue is sparking heated debates—this one’s far from over.   If marriage is to last or to have a lasting impact on future generations, then it’s imperative that it be held in highest esteem and be strengthened and nurtured.  The world is looking for answers—and ultimately, will find none outside faith in Christ.

Had to go back on the eating plan again… had gained a few pounds and had not yet reached my goal.  So… back off the butter-sugar-flour foods for awhile.  It’s not too challenging—but I did want to eat a bowl of tortilla chips today as we had mexican food today—but it was tasty even sans the tortillas and chips… and cake.  Maybe you have a struggle with weight and so you know what I mean—well… here’s a piece I received over e-mail today.

Diets & Dieting:

1.The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans
2.The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans
3.The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans
4.The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans
5.The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like but learn a new language; speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Thought you’d like that one.  My mother-in-law arrives today!  We’ve been so looking forward to seeing her.  It’s soooo chilly in Indianapolis where she lives!  I’m praying the snow doesn’t prevent or delay her travels.  The NOAA weather site shows her temp at 28˚—with snow flurries. 

For February 8, 2004   In a little more than two weeks, The Passion will debut in theaters around the world.  What will the reaction be?  What will believers do in response to the sure opposition to the movie and its message?  What will you do?  What will you say in response to hatred toward God.  Well, toward Jesus, really, because the world is much more apt to accept a god—not the God of the Bible—but a god of their own or their religion’s creation.  Jesus said: “I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.”  John 14.6   We do praise and thank the LORD for His goodness:  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”1John 3.1

So, The Passion…  it’ll be interesting to experience the days ahead.  We pray the film will be used of the LORD to draw men and women to faith in Jesus Christ as LORD and Saviour. 

February 7, 2004  Was Bingo the FARMER or the DOG?  Think about it… it’s quite a question, isn’t it?!?  Some of us believe in the duality of Bingo being fully farmer, fully dog.  What do you think?  Okay… my arm was twisted and I typed what I was told to type—no resistance, here.

Seven years ago today my husband had an accident with a skilsaw.  He cut up his hand and because it took so many months to heal, he was unable to work most of that time.   He lost half of his index finger and though his wedding ring had to be cut off, I marvel whenever I see that ring—I imagine that it stopped the saw from cutting that and his little finger totally off.   I was amazed at the skill of the surgeon who repaired Wes’s  hand—the reattaching and connecting and repairing the bones, nerves, veins and tissue.  But I believe one of the greatest benefits of that day was the cementing of an already dear friendship between my husband and his friend that made them more like brothers.  I’ll always be grateful to Mike for his skill & quick thinking and all he’s done to help my husband.  That accident has been used of the LORD time and time again as the LORD used that time to teach our family lessons about Himself, about trust and faith in Him that we didn’t have before that time—not to the degree that’s been built.  In the years that followed that accident, we would see the LORD bring back to our remembrance how He worked, how He provided and how he led our family and as a consequence, how our faith was strengthened as never before.  Throughout our marriage, the LORD‘s called us to live a life of faith, to fully and utterly depend on Him, His provision and His direction.  The most obvious way has been in the form of self-employment in a seasonal business; couple that with His blessed provision of eleven children and a call to minister to others.  As we recount the years, He’s never —never— let us down, not once.  He’s always provided above and beyond what we’ve ever needed.  He’s faithful and true, He’s our high King of heaven, our LORD.  We celebrate this day.  Truly, God is the LORD.

Kathryn’s doing much better and is getting around much better each day!  Now she has the bandages that are irritating her skin a bit, but for the most part, just a bit of an ache later in the day—some swelling… O, but for the joy that is set before her…

My mother-in-law is coming out for a visit!  We’re so looking forward to having her here!  Living in Indiana, now, she seems as far away to us as she was when she was a missionary in Taiwan or in Philippines.  We’ll have a good time—but she’ll be busy! She’s got plans for each day… lunch with friends, lunch with my mama, and Bible study group to share with.  We’re grateful for this as we’ve often thought that with some health problems complicating things from time to time, her time is likely shorter than we think!  So… we enjoy the hope of the days ahead!

Lots more Valentine’s recipes and ideas here!  [while that site doesn’t seem to be currently maintained, it’s got lots of great recipes—not just Valentine’s Day ideas)—so many yummy looking recipes…  I’m thinking they’re not into Atkins!

I’m going use heart shaped cake pans and make a sweet-heart cake—I’m thinking of making this Oreo White Chocolate Mousse cake and Valentine’s cookies for the children and English Cherubs for my husband.  Kathryn will be making heart cutout cookies—hearts with piped “pearls” and glaze filling the centers.

Another book to read… interesting, a historical fiction book.  A quote from the site:  “Disenchantment with organized religion and a thirst for more intimate fellowship inspire them to worship in their own parlours. Realizing that God doesn’t live in structures of stone, they jettison former rituals in their quest for a deeper Christian life.”

February 6, 2004  Today’s Ronald Reagan’s 93rd birthday.  Much to celebrate in the life of this president!  I missed The Sean Hannity show today and wondered what might have been said about former President Reagan—this, from Hannity & Colmes on Fox.  While Mr. Reagan was not able to attend, a celebration was held in his honour. A pictorial tribute in World magazine sure brings back memories today.  It amazes me how quickly the last 25 years have passed!

It’s another rather dreary morning here in the Northwest.  Such is life—so plans for the days ahead must continue: rain or shine.   Valentine’s Day is coming… a gazilliion more ideas, too! at Peggie’s Place and another sweet Valentine’s page.  Mine is still sadly lacking… but our family and our home needed the attention more than adding to that page!  Still the best is flowers!  I’m so pleased with my new jackson and perkins roses!  These that Wes bought for me are Melody Parfumée and Artistry (these will go in a flower bed I’m making to honour my mother—I still need to get a tree for it).  I also buy an Evelyn rose each year for my mother-in-law—that rose garden is looking so pretty (well, not right now, but soon!).

 

A life changing book for us and for a couple of years now we’ve been encouraging others to read the book “The Day of Small Beginnings” as an encouragement to get out of the traditions of men and into the Word as far as sincerely living out day to day what the New Testament teaches. It can be read online or we can send it out as an e-book.  Many have read it and have been encouraged to rethink the what and why of the living out of the faith—regardless of whether one would make a decision to leave the institutionalized “church” or never to do so, it forever changes the way the “institution” is viewed and the heart or thoughts toward methods is forever transformed by the challenge to what has become tradition and “religion.”  Another book that’s interesting is, “Rethinking the Wineskin” by Frank Viola.  I’m not too familiar with his ministry/theological position and so would like to read more about him/his work.  His book is interesting and thought provoking.  We’ve had good letters concerning home churches or home fellowships—one thing believers have in common over the world is the desire for true fellowship and the longing to be in regular fellowship with other like-minded believers.  A question that seems to come up frequently is the question over the function or order of the meetings in homes.  A good article at the New Testament Restoration Foundation addresses this question.

This blog, in addition to being a web journal—a commentary, is also somewhat of a personal journal in that I give glimpses of daily life here in our home and family—these are more for my self than anything but I share because so many are looking for camaraderie in the Christian home/life and so… I share what’s going on in hopes that it’ll encourage some from day to day.  Sometimes what I write may seem critical or judgmental and that’s not always intentional—but I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and so when society violates or strays from the Truth, it’s important to stand against it.  I don’t have an ulterior motive in using this venue, nor the intention to give subtle messages to others.   Just thought I’d clear up an unasked question.  I love to write, I love to share ideas and information with others and I love that the LORD has allowed me to be a help and encouragement to women and families.  All I’m writing lately pertaining to home-fellowships is based on our journey to obedience in worship and community with other believers. We’re still members of a local church and  as such, are still happily involved in the lives of believers there.  Our time with other believers in home-fellowship has become our focus because of the collective desire to “live out” or fully function as a body rather than observers in others’ lives.  More on this someday.

February 5, 2004

 
Our special candlelight anniversary dinner at home prepared by Kathryn!
salad, wholegrain rolls, steak, red potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes, chocolate cups with whipped cream and strawberries, blueberry bavarian cream filled chocolate tarts… delicious!
All the children were upstairs, while Kathryn prepared our meal; Timothy assisted her as our waiter!
What a blessing it’s been to us today…  I love new roses and peonies from Wes—not the kind of flowers he usually buys me!  These I am planting in the ground and will delight in them for years to come!


Twenty six years later: we still say, “I do… forever.”

February 4, 2004  Now, today it’s a blessing to celebrate our 26th anniversary!  Today we celebrate what the LORD has done, the children, the grandchildren, family, friends, the innumerable blessings, the joys and sorrows, the happiness and tears, the gains and losses and above all: the faith the LORD’s given us throughout all these years.

Just ten days to Valentine’s day!  We’re looking for fun recipes and decorations for the celebrations!

It’s no surprise to me that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would further its agenda to undermine marriage.   Read World Net Daily for more on this—I know, who really wants to read more on this—but it *is* imperative to address this one; it’s one of the most divisive and far-reaching issues we’re facing today!  Now, more than ever, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to act now on exposing and ending judicial tyranny in our country.   This isn’t the only issue that ought to have you concerned… there’s more, much more!    Walter Martin used to say: are you doing for the Truth what the enemy’s willing to do for a lie?

It’s not enough to hope it’ll all go away: This is America, after all.  It’s not enough to make a call to a senator or to pledge a couple of dollars here and there.  It’s not enough to just pray it’ll all go well.  We can and we must *be* in behaviour that becomes holiness, we can and must apply what we read in the Word. The watching world is looking for answers and finds none unless our behaviour is above reproach and our testimony is bright and true.  The church in America is becoming anemic and fruitless in reaching the lost for a changed life of Faith in Christ—many are attending services being held each Sunday—but are lives exchanged for Christ and are men and women living in faith and truth?  We must fall to our knees, pray for forgiveness for getting caught up in the religiosity of programs and agendas and curricula that promise life, fulfillment and happiness— It’s no wonder there’s confusion over the first and most basic institution: marriage.  Believers won’t even obey the Word—how could we possibly expect or even hope those without God and with no hope in this world to understand and uphold this most precious and sacred institution.  What an affront to the most Holy God for His creation to desecrate His design—but how much more, His children to stand by and watch.

How can this be done?  Well, I’m thinking it can be done as believers walk in fellowship with one another and as believers rethink what it is and what it means to be a follower of Christ.  Not the Sunday bus ride for the Sunday show for all those who park at the same Sunday Park ‘n Ride.  I mean: fellowship!  As we rethink what we call “church” and how we function as a body and what we call “fellowship.”   We don’t need another program, another activity or another committee meeting to discuss how we can provide for fellowship—but genuine in your face, in your life regular fellowship with families and singles, widows and children, etc. The more time we spend in regular fellowship with other believers, we see what it is to be a New Testament church—and, sadly, we see what we’ve been missing and what countless thousands are missing by *not* being/living in genuine fellowship with other believers.  I don’t mean they’re not regularly going to “church.”    O, we’ve been *going* to “church” for decades!  We’ve been faithful in attendance—the more commitments the better! But what we haven’t been is faithful to being a New Testament church *body*.   Think this sounds strange?  Think it might even seem “cultish?”  Well, it won’t seem strange once you read more about what it means to be a New Testament church.    One of my first questions and hopefully, yours would be: what do they believe?  The site (which is one of many) has publications to encourage and equip you as you seek to follow Christ in practice and in Truth.   Once you read the book:  Ekklesia: To The Roots of Biblical Church Life by Steve Atkerson, you’ll see what I’m talking about… in fact, you probably won’t even have to go so far as to begin reading the book to begin questioning what you’ve been doing and why.  This is just one of many good sites/links for what are commonly called house-churches or home-fellowship groups.

February 2, 2004  A new week is underway—full steam ahead and yet, we sort of feel out of steam here!  Perhaps it’ll all pick up in a day or so.  Too many balls in the air for this juggler!  I’m looking outside seeing the all the roses that need pruning, the apple trees that need pruning and all the beds that need tending—not to mention all the yard clean-up!  I’m going to muster the resolve to get out there this week and get some things done!   I try to get the pruning done each year by Valentines Day—so I still have a number of days to get them done.  I’d like to add another rose bush and another one for my mother-in-law.  I’d like to start another rose garden for my mother… I just need to find another good sunny place to do it—of course, it’ll need a tree, too.  I don’t think a girl can have too many roses.  Each year Costco sells Jackson & Perkins roses and this year they’ve got some new additions.  I’d like to get a totally different one—but I always tend toward the same ones!  Another thing I’m sort of enjoying:  peonies—so I think I’ll add another or two of those.   The hydrangeas need shaping—they’re also a favourite!  It would be something to see one of the red hydrangeas —Michigan Bulb is showing!  We have a few varieties but no reds!   Gardening is such a blessing!  I’ve long thought that everyone ought to have a little digging in their life!  There are so many lessons… parallels and life messages to be learned or better understood by spending time digging in the dirt… clearing away weeds… watching growth come… watering… keeping weeds away…  and: waiting.  Ahhh the waiting.

SO glad we were with our home fellowship group yesterday and *missed* the displays of lewdness and distasteful commercials during the Super Bowl.  We’d not have watched the game had we been home—neither we nor our children need to see all that is “normal” to many—normal doesn’t mean right—I’m talking about the commercials and the half-time show—not the game itself.   If you saw them, then you know first hand the crudeness of the commercials and halftime show.  The moment (totally inappropriate displays) may not have conformed to CBS broadcast standards, however when MTV is producing a halftime show, one could be pretty sure that the First Baptist choir wouldn’t be taking center stage—hearing about who the producers were, I’m thinking: what’s the surprise here?  Today’s news & emails were more than we needed regarding the questionable or totally inappropriate presentations, however, I would like to have seen that last winning kick!   Not referring specifically to the Super Bowl, but life in general:  with each passing year I marvel at what seems to be the lowest of lows… and then another year passes and the depth of depravity and acceptance or tolerance of sin increases and broadens. 

February 1, 2004  The first day of a new month!  My favourite month of the year!  Also, today is the LORD’s Day—a day of fellowshipping with believers!  The reason February is my favourite month is each February marks another year of marriage for us. This year it’s 26!  Twenty-six years ago—not having the slightest idea or knowing or even imagining any of the events, blessings, tragedies, trials or triumphs that would become our history—I said, I do, forever.  And now… though there are days I’d rather not repeat, I wouldn’t trade a one of them or miss a one of them for anything in the world—any amount of money or any thing more or anything less.  Even the worst of days have been better than all the best days most people ever have—and I know it’s all because the LORD’s blessing has been with us.  I still do, forever.

Kathryn is so grateful to everyone for their prayers and kind words of support.  She enjoyed some time fellowshipping with friends and having the opportunity to share what the LORD has allowed her.  It’s really quite remarkable—to think that at this point one year ago, we would never have believed that one year later we’d be looking back on nearly 5 months in a wheel chair and crutches, four surgeries, the blessing of beautiful feet, the path of learning to walk with straight feet, and the merciful blessing of the LORD through skilled surgeon’s hands!  We’d never have thought of all the blessings of this past year and the doors that have been opened to Kathryn to share the LORD.  O, to gain a glimpse of the LORD’s hand in this and of Kathryn’s character, I hope you’ll read the poem Glenys Hick’s wrote for her.  Behind the poem is a picture of an x-ray before and an x-ray following Kathryn’s first surgery.

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.