Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gomer: Restore

Last week we had a day off, but we had to leave the building we stay in so that it could be fumigated. . As we were driving away my purse was sitting on the trunk awaiting my husband to put it in the trunk. He got distracted by small people and forgot. It fell off and he ran it over. No big deal. Oh wait, my camera was inside. I gave the camera to God and told Him he could break it if He wanted. I turned it on and rejoiced with thanks because it was not broken. This top picture is the first picture I took upon it's resurrection from the dead. 
Since we had to leave the building, we went into Huntsville and hit the antique stores and the mall. I found all these old Scrabble letters for sale and I bought some. You will see below. I thought this grouping of letters was so great. Doesn't it just make you crave the washing of God's Spirit.
Here are some other pics I took. This is the great room where we are staying. I know. You thought we were roughing it. Out these windows is a beautiful view of the lake.
The kitchen (and coffee bar) where I get to make treats for everyone.
The room is exquisite. I love the vaulted ceiling and the expanse of the area. 
Don't you want to come sit and have a chat with me?
Here are some letters I bought at the antique store. The lady tried to tell my husband that I could find a better "A." He told her that he thought it was my favorite. He was right. I love the age and discoloration. I'm sure that you will find this around our house somewhere. Let me know if you would be interested in a copy of this print.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Commonplace Book

I learned about the concept of a Commonplace Book from Charlotte Mason studies. Once I figured out what one was, I realized I had been keeping one for many years. I have somewhat combined the Commonplace book and a prayer journal. I have noticed that as I pray, God continually answers me in everything I read. I can go back and see what I have been talking about with God and then how He answered me through poetry, literature, and the words of others. I love being able to reread the things that have touched me. I have memorized many lines of a poem and verses of scripture by employing this method. I put milestones about my children and a log of things going on in our lives. Looking back, I can glorify God seeing His hand over time. It's beautiful to recall.

You are wondering what on earth a common place book is. Sir Francis Bacon, John Milton, Samuel Coleridge, and Mark Twain kept them. These great writers attended no formal courses in how to write. They simply copied beautiful portions of great works that spoke to them. Often they would commit them to memory. A Commonplace book is a book of collected quotes, poems, songs, prayers, recipes, thoughts on art, observations of nature and the like. You can add drawings of things you observe. I copy many scriptures and poems about God into my book. This leads me to do as Philippians 4:8 says and to think on pure and noble things.

Several great writers have even had their Commonplace books published.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Talk to me, Abba

Sit in the silence and enjoy Me. Stop trying to master the things about Me and rest in Me. Everything about you that is good, pure, righteous, kind . . . it comes from Me. I doesn't come from knowledge of Me. It comes from sitting quietly and basking in My presence. It comes from slowly reading the Words I have written to you. Drink deep the words of life. Savor the bites. Delight your palate with the truths I have to offer you. Rest in the lovliness that you have that comes from Me. Meditate on Me. Praise Me for the things you have.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Psalm 107:8

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Psalm 107:15

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Psalm 107:21
For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Prayer That Works by Jill Briscoe

Perhaps you will remember me writing you about another of Jill's books that I have been reading for some time a few weeks ago. It was called The Deep Place. I enjoy her writing and spurring on very much. I picked this book up because I have great respect for Jill's teaching on prayer. I have been moved to tears by her prayers. The title threw me for a loop, but I knew that the teaching in it would be sound. When you read a title like Prayer That Works, it conjures up thoughts of tv preachers assuring you that you can have your best life now. I found nothing of the like in these pages.

I generally arise to meet with the Lord at 6 a.m. I am jealous for my time to sit in listen to His word. This book has been the last leg of my morning quiet time for the past two weeks. I did not read it like I would a normal book because I was caught up in the teaching. I did the Prayer and study at the end of each chapter. It truly helped me to see some things in a way that I had not before and was a challenge to my prayer life. I was moved reading the accounts of Elijah and Elisha. For the first time I really connected to their story in a personal way where I felt like I knew and understood these men. God has used their testimony to overcome many a wall of prayer in my life and deliver me to a desperate place of total dependance. Jill's words stay on task with the truth of the Holy Spirit. You can feel Him teaching and guiding you as you read the words first and second Kings. God is a big God and we barely touch the hem of knowing Him. Let us dig deeper.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Belle Melange

In the movie Tortilla Soup we see into the family life of a chef and his three daughters. It is one of my favorite food movies. In one scene Martín, the chef, shows up to save the day when all of the dessert at a catering function is burned. He whips up a masterpiece with some ingredients lying around the kitchen. The culinary creation he dubs "Belle Melange" which means "a lovely mess." I thought that I could take what I saw in the movie and remake the recipe. Here is what I came up with.
Melt half a stick of butter in a baking pan. Add cubed bread. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 c. of sugar. Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes (stirring once)until lightly browned and crisp.
Place stick of butter, brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, apples, walnuts or pecans, and cream cheese, and Mexican vanilla in a sauce pan. 
Cook on medium for 25 minutes stirring frequently.
Take a half of a cup of your bread crumb mixture and place it on a plate. Top with a liberal portion of the apple mixture. Garnish. If you end up adding extra amounts of the ingredients (cinnamon, butter, pecans, etc . . . the more the merrier).  Buon Appetito!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gomer: Respite and Restoration

We went home last Thursday to a leaky toilet (water coming from the second floor into the kitchen) and realized that our car was leaking a lot of oil. It was a tough week leading up the weekend. I got sick and had heat exhaustion. Stress and bad attitudes were rampant. I knew I was being attacked so I would give up having the prayer respite. I decided to press on even if we didn't have a toilet. Denbigh installed a new toilet Friday for us. I told him it was his Father's Day gift from me.

We had such a lovely time. Friday night at the No Double Yellow Line event was so special. We were all moved by the tender hearts for orphans and left wanting to adopt ten children. The food and coffee was exquisite. The concert was a true blessing. 

Saturday and Sunday we rested in the Lord just journaling and meditating on scripture. We spent a little bit of time at the country church up the street singing hymns. It was a sweet time of quiet and rest with the Lord. I compiled a little help to guide people through the respite. I will include it here so that you can do it if you get a few moments alone. I think you get more from meditating on small amounts of scripture for a long time than trying to overachieve at studying. Try it out: Prayer Respite PDF

Sunday morning Denbigh preached from the book of James at church (He is doing the Journible on James). He gave a beautiful sermon. Sunday afternoon Denbigh and our neighbors spent the day trying to fix the oil leak in my car. So far so good. I told my husband how manly he was. 

Monday we headed back to Carolina Creek. While we have been here, we wrote encouraging notes to all the staff, made lunch for the kitchen staff, made treats for counselors. Mostly we try to spread joy. The staff here go hard all day long with hundreds of kids at a time. It's intense. Keep us all in your prayers. The warfare is rampant. It's beautiful and rewarding to see so many children come to Christ and that makes all of this worth it. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Tea Pot Incident

I thought I would let you all have a good laugh at my expense. First, let me tell you that I love hot tea. I am Norwegian and I always grew up drinking hot tea. I don't drink enough so I have certain things I drink every day so I stay hydrated. It's a bit of a routine. The bad part of this story is that I got dehydrated and had heat exhaustion with sickness. The funny part you will see.

We have a nice little tea pot on the stove here and we had been happily making hot tea for weeks. Then one day a woman came to stay and she took our tea pot to her room and didn't bring it back. I asked her to bring it back and she ignored me. My husband asked and she acted incensed and told him she would when she was done with it. What was she doing with my tea pot in her room?? Well, it all became a big joke because people had witnessed this. I was getting texts and reports about her whereabouts. People were offering to break in her room and get it for me. Then on the fifth day she was here I got up at four a.m. and had a five hour quiet time with the Lord. 

First I open my Journible and begin to write from the book of Proverbs,
"Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry."

..but Abba, my tea pot.

I opened up my Bible to an old prayer request sheet from a Bible study in April. By my name it read,
"to show grace to the ungracious."

I head on over to a book I am reading about prayer and there was a poem about tea in it. There was a poem about tea in my prayer book. 

A Prayer About A Hot Spot
by Jill Briscoe

Am I like a tea bag
waiting to know,
what flavor I am 
when in hot H2O?

Am I like a tea bag
soggy and wet?
Am I asking the Lord
just how hot it can get?

I want to be able
to give out for sure
a fragrant aroma
that makes folks want more.

But that means hot water
that hurts my deep pride,
that cleans out my life
till I'm tired inside,
of a fragrance-less life
that knows not how to sing―
So dip me in water,
but keep hold of the string!

The joke does not end there. You see, I was calling the tea pot thief "Angela Lansbury" (the voice of the tea pot in Beauty and the Beast). That day a counselor here at camp handed my daughter a toy. Guess what it was.
I get it, Lord. I am not entitled to the tea pot.
*yes. We got the tea pot back when she left. She hid it behind all the pots and pans.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Talk to me, Abba

Drink deep when you are at the spring so that you may not languish in the desert. In the dark and lonely places of persecution and affliction, recall my goodness. Recall the ways that I have moved on your behalf. Recall answered prayer. Think long on the joy that I have given you. When you focus on thankfulness in the desolate places, you bring with you powerful rivers of joy. Rain is coming.

"They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He made the water flow out of the rock for them; He split the rock and the water gushed forth."

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Early Years

I am a huge fan of the Charlotte Mason method of education. As you can guess, this book was no exception to that delight. It really helped me to solidify some thoughts I had on the inadequecies of common education. The goal with pre-school children is not to shove countless ideas in their heads or keep them enrolled in countless busy activities. The idea is to teach them to explore the earth themselves. Our hope is not that they memorize what they are taught, but that they have a genuine love of learning. I have wondered if we were robbing our children of a propensity toward genius by dumbing down everything we give them. I loved how the goals for each day were easy, simple, fun, and enriching. She explained how to best teach music, art, language, reading, writing, and more. There are several sections on developing habits in children. I had not thought of it, but truth and obedience are habits that must be cultivated. This is an excellent resource for the parents of small children.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Hotel Blessing in Blessing, Texas

CNN called it the "best food joint in Texas." I had wanted to find out for myself for some time and I finally got the opportunity.  We were headed to the beach for a little weekend getaway with some of my family so I added in this hour long detour to Blessing. It is definitely small town home cooked goodness. The whole thing is family style. By that I mean that you seat yourself, get our own plate, and serve yourself from all the pots out on the stove, just like you would at grandma's house. Helen will greet you and share some country goodness with you. 

When you go, you pay one price to eat as much as you like of whatever is on the stove. The day we went several different items were on the tap, but I dove into the fried chicken. It was most definitely the best I have ever eaten. They laugh about being hip because their produce is organically grown locally, but it always has been. The coffee is turned on daily by the locals. I heartily invite you to check it out. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gomer: On the Road Again

I thought you might like to see a few pictures of where we are at this summer. Denbigh is leading worship for three straight months almost every day. One of our goals is to be Gomer here. We make snacks and meals for the staff. We give encouragement, love, and counsel. It is a joy to serve the people who work here.
This is the view from our deck. We see cranes, turtles, blue birds, cardinals, fish jumping. The sun comes up from this direction as well. It is exquisite. I generally get up about 6 a.m. and get in a few hours of quiet time before my children are up and ready to go for the day. This is my view.
I got an ant bite for this photo. 
This is the back of the 12 suite adult lodge where we stay.

Fantastic spot to enjoy an evening in the south.
I took this picture one morning after my Bible study time. I love how the camera caught all of the unseen rainbows. It made me think of all that goes on around us that we do not have eyes to see.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I have been wanting to do some art work that would help remind people who come to our house to sit still in the presence of God. Here is one of my first prints. I took this photo at the lake a few weeks ago. 

Buy 8x10 Print. $10.00

Buy 16x20 Print. $25.00

Buy 20x30 Print. $35.00

*The watermark will be removed and shipping is included.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Talk to me, Abba

Forgive. Count others as better than yourself. Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends. How much of yourself are you willing to put on the altar of sacrifice? I want to use you to teach people about grace and draw others to Myself. Yet you are reluctant. Why do you refuse to extend grace, beloved? Release the burden of anger and entitlement to Me. Extend the pardon I have given you.

"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John 3:16

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Deep Place by Jill Briscoe

I have learned much from Jill Briscoe. I originally heard her at a Just Give Me Jesus rally with Anne Graham Lotz. I was deeply moved by her intimacy with the Lord. She read Him poetry and spoke to Him in such a tender and beautiful way. This is a book full of poems and stories about her journey to the steps of her soul, to the deep place where nobody goes. I  read this a little at a time. Some poems I have read over and over. It has deeply ministered to me and reminded me of the simple childlike faith we are to come to our Father with. Of course He will enjoy our poetry and songs. May you come to delight in God again, or for the first time.

Here is the first poem from the book:

Take a Pen and Paper
By Jill Briscoe

Taken from Jill's book
The Deep Place Where Nobody Goes

Try taking a pen and paper to the Deep Place where nobody goes. Then you can read His letters in the Golden Book and write a reply.

I write it out on paper and I think my thoughts out loud
I speak my heart's foreboding and I pray about the cloud
Of deep and dark depression and a sense of dread and doubt
So I write it out on paper and I get my feelings out.

Then I take it to the Throne Room and leave it there above
And I know that I am understood with sympathy and love
I wait a while in silence till the Spirit meets me there
And He takes my piece of paper and He turns it into a prayer.

I bring my tired believing and my faith that pants for power
And I lay it at the altar in this quiet, scared hour
And I ask for fire igniting weary faith and dying hope
And I cry for stern believing and I seek for power to cope.

Then I read the treasured Scripture that will lift my spirits high
Turn tears to precious laughter and kiss my fears goodbye
I wait until He calms me down and nerves me for the fight
And then He leads me upwards and onwards in the night.

So I revel in these moments in the shadow of the Throne
Where I hear the Father's voice like many waters falling down
There's freedom and forgiveness and unremitting love
So I hate to leave the Throne Room for the shallow place above!

Sleeping forgiven, waking to grace
Nightmares forgotten, things back in place
Coming close to His footstool in the Throne Room above
He settles my soul, and I listen to love.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...