Monday, June 9, 2014

Come Thou Fount.....

 
 

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is a favorite hymn of mine. Every time I hear and/or sing this song, I'm flooded with awe and wonderment and thankfulness.


But, as much as I love this song, a few things have tripped me up. I went digging for understanding.


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Written by Robert Robinson in 1757 at age 22.


Ebenezer? huh?


When singing this song, I really did not know what was meant by "ebenezer" so I went digging and here's a tid-bit that I found.....


ebenezer is mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:12 - "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."


I dug further and found.....


"The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help”. An Ebenezer, then, is simply a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone. In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help in their lives." (Apologetic Press, Here I Raise My Ebenezer! )


Fetter? a simple word that I ought to have known but didn't until I looked it up. Fetter are shackles which are put around prisoners' ankles.


So, the fetter part... not really sure how I fall with this one. In the true sense of the word, I do not need to be shackled as a prisoner. My faith is of my own free will. It is my choice, and God wants us to freely choose Him. Yet, my faith has created an unbreakable link with God. That link does bind me to Him.


These words, "bind my wandering heart to thee..." are words that I translate into praying for the ability to stay in the Spirit rather than in the flesh throughout everyday...for God's strength through Christ and the Holy Spirit. To seek Him first, always. (Romans 8, Matthew 6:33)


"Here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.” speaks to me as a reminder that my heart belongs to God. May His will be done, is my prayer. (Matthew 6:10)


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Those are my thoughts. What are yours? What hymns have you dug into for better understanding?




Hymns have so much depth; richness. It's amazing to me, really. At some point, maybe this year, I would like to do a hymn study --- to read the background information, and gain a better understanding of the lyrics, etc.

Have you "studied" hymns? Do you have any resources to recommend?

 

 

 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Celebrations

 
 

May 31, 2014 marked Grace's 8th birthday, and the day we celebrated Elliana's 8th grade graduation.


It was a day of celebrations.



We are very proud of Elliana's educational accomplishments. High school is now her reality. Amazing to me how quickly those grade school years come and go. Knowing Elliana - her determination, creativity, fabulous way of looking at life, and sense of educational responsibility - we are confident that she will do quite well. We pray she seeks God first in all that she does - with Him, all things are possible.


 

Grace Darcy is now eight years old. She has new experiences, learning and fun in store. We pray that she continues to be curious, full of wonder and excited about God. That she know and feel God's love for her with every day she experiences. Grace is a gem; creative, compassionate, determined, humorous, lovely daughter, wonderful sister (especially to Isaiah -- sibling friendship is a fabulous thing), sweet cousin-friend, precious granddaughter.


Yesterday, we celebrated two of our four beautiful and lovely daughters.


We celebrated with family; conversation, food and swimming (for the kids as the pool water was still quite cold).



Grandma made the cakes; we all love her cakes. Grandma is very creative with every cake she makes, plus they are so very yummy. Grace is very much into the Magic Treehouse books thus her cake. Elliana being the graduate earned her an owl cake....a wise owl.



The food was fabulous, if I do say so myself. I was very pleased. To know me is to know that I am not naturally inclined towards hosting parties. It's a difficult task for me. I do a fair bit of stressing over food. Thanks to a wonderful friend, I was introduced to very tasty pulled pork dish that I made for the party. Very easy. We had other food that was easy and good.


Thanks to Elizabeth (and Jody), the kids enjoyed creating tie dye t-shirts. Mostly though, I think they enjoyed simply playing in the pool, trampoline and having fun with one another.



It was a beautiful day.

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Side note: Elliana actually graduates on June 4th.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Read Aloud with the Spouse.....

 
 
 

One thing that Robert and I have started doing that is proving to be great fun - conversation and sharing of thought and ideas - is reading a book together. Not us each readng a chapter individually and then coming together to discuss. Rather, with me reading the book aloud to him. Some things in a chapter strikes both, and other things strike one of us and not the other. It's an interesting view into each other's mind. Not only that, it is cheap (except for the book cost if we decide to purchase said read aloud book), flexible with the time we choose to read (I have read while we drive, waiting for a child, or just before sleep comes upon us), and mostly it feeds our bonding need (specifically my bookish bonding need). You know, I am a reader and he is not...not so much. But he is an excellent listener and has great willingness to discuss said reading material. Robert says that he likes hearing me read, that he doesn't have to read and intakes it better with listening along with the fact that we are doing something together. The process of me reading to him...us sharing a book together...is totally adding another aspect to our life that nurtures -a closeness, a couple moment - our relationship.



What are we reading?


Our first book was The Cross He Bore by Frederick S Leahy which was read during the month of April 2014. We both strongly recommend this book; cannot say enough good about it. For my thoughts, I have linked the title to my "review".


 

Currently, we are reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. On April 19th, we started to slowly read our way through this seemingly small book which turns out to be rather huge in idea, and words...quite a bit of depth amongst these 190 pages. So far, we both are liking this book very much....we are on page 104. I will admit, it's a bit rough for me to read aloud. The sentence structure trips me up often, and some words used are not ones we readily use these days, and some we do not use at all. I have been highlighting a lot as we go from one chapter to the next. Yes, I am that kind of reader too...an active reader, says my kids (and I don't think they're saying that with an idea of entertainment in mind)


We would like to start reading the Bible together; aloud. We just cannot decide on which book to read first. Suggestions? And to know, we are going to start nightly (or almost nightly) scripture read aloud with the children - the book of John is the first book we've chosen to read through with them.




How about you? Do you read books with your spouse? Or significant other? Do read books aloud or individually to discuss?


Robert and I are going to continue this new thing we've got going. I think it would be kind of cool to see what other books spouses my be reading together. You know, I do need a "read aloud with my spouse" book list.



 

 

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

25.....

 


25 years ago, today.

Amazingly, but true.

Thankful.

Happy Anniversary, Robert.

 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Outlander, oh how I love thee.....

 
 
 

Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon
copyright: 1991
pages: 627
format: hardcover
source: own
finished re-reading.....April 27, 2014


This book...oh, this book...is my most favorite book. It truly is. Yes, it has shortcomings, but, with most anything that one likes a whole lot, the shortcomings can be worked around.


I have now concluded my 4th reading of this book, and as with the other three times, I have not been disappointed.


I am not going to write a review, per se. I've already done that, and you can read them here (March 2009), and here (Sept 2009). I will, however, tell you what stood out to me this time around.


  • The sex. Yes, the Outlander series has sex written into the stories....the lives of the characters play out in a fairly real sense. This time, the sex was not such a comfortable thing for me. Not all scenes, but many. However, Galbadon's ability to develop characters which are able to bring me into their world, and make me feel as if they are "real"...well that ability makes those sex scenes feel true to the story and not gratuitous. Still, they were a bit "shocking" to me which I think is a direct result of the fact that I have not been reading fiction books where sex is involved (maybe subtly but not written bluntly). More importantly, I think it's because of my choice of non-fiction reading these days which is very far removed from any sort of blunt intimacy. Even though my reaction has surprised me, I still hold to the thought that these intimate scenes were tastefully written save for some scenes but then by nature of those scenes my question would be...what is tasteful? My answer would be, those scenes fit the story so they were tasteful when put into context. Ultimately, I am okay with the sex in this book because I know this series and the sex is not gratuitous . I know this series has depth that goes far beyond the actual act of sex. Frankly, because I do know this book (this series) pretty darn well, I am quite surprised by my reaction.


  • The nuances and details. Besides how skillfully the characters are written and developed over time, Galabdon never fails to deliver a story that is rich in world-building and detail. Re-readng her books never fail to bring out more detail and world-building that I missed on previous readings. This time, Wentworth Prison scenes revealed details I did not intake before. That's probably true because this is a rough section of the book; intense. And I am not the type of reader who can read all details within an intense portion of a book. True, there are plenty of other details I gained this time besides just those surrounding Wentworth, but Wentworth was by far the section I recalled least about in regards to details. A re-read gives me the advantage of already knowing the outcome and being desensitized. Those advantages allow me to read more of the words...more of the detail.


  • As the book series progress, I always forget that Claire is a good 5 years older than Jamie, or so. With all the other books, Jamie always seems older than Claire and far more in command. Don't get me wrong, Claire definitely has a commanding presence about her which is one reason why she and Jamie are my favorite fictional couple. But Jamie, he is commanding in so many ways. With Outlander, we meet him as a 22 year old young man, and Clarie looks upon him as a "lad" for much of the story, and I see his youth within these pages. He is very commanding in this book, but on a level that is different and less than the following books. This has surprised with each re-read.


  • Part of the title for the 8th book, Written In My Own Heart's Blood, is found in this book, page 459 hc - "I didna mean to lose my own heart's blood as well." This I found interesting. Was this 8th book's title chosen knowing it was written here in this book? I do not know. I don't pay attention to speculation, or even much to public relation stuff before a book is released. That lack of paying attention does not make me much of a forum participant at Compuserve Books & Writers Community. Anyway, I thought this was rather cool to stumble upon. I am very much looking forward to June 10,2014 - the expected release date for MOHB.


I know, for a fact, that I will re-read this book again. It is very amazing to me how I cannot tire of this story. I am typically a reader who cannot re-read a story because usually a re-read is quite boring to me. But, this series has such richness in world-building, character, history, and language that re-reading is never dull for me - most especially with this first book, Outlander.


Outlander is probably my favorite of the series simply because this is where the amazing journey with Claire and Jamie starts. It will be a sad,sad day for me when this journey comes to an end.

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Snapchat photos between my daughter (Elliana) and I. She just finished reading a book that she loved (The Count of Monte Cristo) and sent me a snapchat to let me know. I then sent her a snapchat of my book for which she replied.


 
 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Journal to myself.....about time

 

 
April 24, 2014

It wasn't pretty, but at least I am back in the game. About time. Sure, it was only 1.4 miles in about 17 minutes -- yeah, I was slow --- but I jogged the entire time (well, except for a few very brief seconds of walking). It's been since mid-November since I ran last and for that matter, since I've done any form of exercise. So, I am cool with my first run for this season.


One of the things that made this run not so pretty, besides how hard I was breathing - it's those lungs that kill a run for me, not my legs - my iPhone doesn't function fully. I love listening to music when I run...especially when I run. It's a huge motivator and distractor. But, well, my iPhone volume doesn't work for anything except for the ringer/phone, so, no music. Blah. On a up note; I ran with Elizabeth (she's in better condition than me).


Now....I need to stay in the game; build up to 3-miles. Oh....bike riding is in the game plan too...need to get my butt into gear.


 

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This post has been re-posted from my Instagram.

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This photo .....

 
 

This photo turned into a blog post. It was meant to be a quick fly-by Instagram photo post, but my word count went beyond my first intent.

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"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." -Romans 6:11


I am reading through the book of Romans during 2014. Romans 6:11 was the verse for Tabletalk's April 22nd study discussion. Through reading verse 11 and then the discussion, I came across much to ponder.


"We do cooperate with God in sanctification, but we do not make ourselves holy. He has made us holy, and we live out that holiness." (Tabletalk, April 2014)


Wow. That's a powerful statement. That statement made me pause and really think...all day and into this day. I mean like, wow. I know God makes us holy, but I've not stopped to consider that I am holy. Like hello....holy? That's not applied to us mere humans. But ummm....yes it is, and that's exactly what happens when by grace through faith we are saved.


Holy - set apart from sin. As Christ-followers, we've been made clean through Jesus' sacrifice. He cleansed us. Through Jesus, we've been made holy. Sanctification is the process of our actions becoming more like whom we already are in Christ; holy.


The following has also made me stop and ponder all day into this day, and through to this evening....


"When temptations come, we are to say, 'No, I am holy and I am in Christ. To sin would not be line with what God has made me." (Tabletalk, April 2014)


And that....that....has made me pause and say, "oh wow. The responsibility is on me. I need to live this gift." This is about faith, and that faith naturally flows back and forth with the desire to live for God; to live life that honors Him.


As I was driving to work yesterday, I was listening to music by All Sons & Daughters. Love their music; simply cannot say enough good about their lyrical depth. Anyway, yesterday, their song, Your Glory, made an incredible impression upon me. It reinforced what I already started pondering.


"Cause You made this sinner holy. Your glory is so beautiful. I fall onto my knees in awe. And the heartbeat of my life is to worship in Your light. My life is Yours. My hope is in You only. My heart you hold. Cause You made this sinner holy." (Your Glory by All Sons & Daughters)





What does this all mean to me? Pretty much this.... "You have been set free from sin and made holy; now live like it." (Tabletalk, April 2014)


"Do not present your members to sin as an instrument for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness." -Romans 6:12-13


I've not ever received this truth (I am holy) as deeply before nor has it struck me as amazingly important and as special that it is...a gift from God, His grace is wondrous.


I am holy; live like it.

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Yesterday and today, I have read Romans 6:11-13. I dug into those verses a bit more by using the following resources: Tabletalk by Ligonier Ministries and The NIV Romans Application Commentary.

 

 

 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Making it meaningful.....



"And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." - 1 Corinthians 15:14


 

Last year, Robert & I started a new tradition; an annual early morning Easter walk/bike ride in a forest preserve, just Robert and I - no children. A time for he and I to spend alone with God. Making Easter meaningful. Yes, everyday is opportunity to make Easter meaningful, but far too often the holidays rush in and blur the meaning. We want to intentionally and purposefully set our eyes on Him as to not let the meaning fade into the background.


Easter is the most important holiday. Without Easter, Christmas would be meaningless....would not exist.


 

Another reason why our new tradition is of importance is because it marks a renewal of sorts. These last few years has been a journey. A painful one at times. It's been laced with struggles, grace, humility, and sweet understanding. It's the truths of God that has carried us to this day. By God's grace through faith we have been strengthened. Over the last few years, we have been going through a renewal, but most especially over this last year. I am forever thankful for a forgiving, loving, just God who expects obedience.


 

Over this past year, I have struggled with the will of God. I have felt torn between myself and God's truth. I've often asked, "What is God's will?" It's interesting to me, as I reflect over this past year, as to how God has worked in my life. Many moments, words and situations have pointed to His will which have been revealed in scriptures that I've read and studied. Seriously. It's not a matter of "I want to do God's will". It's a matter of "I want to be in God's will." I believe that to be in God's will, I need to be in the Bible. But while I believe the scriptures are where God's will is revealed, I also believe that He has not revealed all, and nor is all for me to know.


 

The thing is, I sin. Everyday, I sin. No matter how much I want to be in God's will, I sin. And, ultimately, my sins are against Him. I am ever so thankful for God's grace. I am thankful for the ability given to me to repent and receive forgiveness.


"...The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." - Luke 24:46-47


While I do not have near enough understanding, I can see how, over these last few years, God has been using my struggles, trials and transgressions for His good. I am finding it ever so amazing how God has been working in my life...in our life.

 


Today, on this silent day between Good Friday and Easter day, I am reminded that while I wait for whatever it may be in life, I have hope in Him. A hope that all things will work for His good. A hope that solidly rests in Him. There is tremendous peace and calm in that truth.


So, on this silent day because I have to work tomorrow, Robert and I took our annual walk in the forest preserve, and spent time in the scriptures. We took our moment, together, to keep the gift of God's grace meaningful. The gift of His son taking our place --- substituting himself for us so that we may have life.


 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." - 1 Peter 1:3-5


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Music that has had meaning to me.....


All Sons & Daughters - Buried in the Grave

 

Needtobreathe - The Garden

 

Phil Wickham - True Love

 


 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Cross He Bore by Frederick S Leahy

 

The Cross He Bore
by Frederick S Leahy
first published: 1996
copyright: 2007
pages: 100
format: paperback
source: own
finished reading.....April 17, 2014


Goodreads description: A series of meditative studies on the Passion of Jesus Christ, tracing his experience from the agony of the Garden Of Gethsemane to the darkness in which he died on Calvary



The Cross He Bore is an excellent book; short chapters that are tightly packed in a manner where one cannot escape from "meditating on the sufferings of the Redeemer" while being taken through Christ's last several hours in the Garden of Gethsemane to Golgotha.


My husband and I read this book together; I read each chapter aloud to him. Every chapter was insightful; details that have not crossed our minds before. Every chapter gave us a meaningful perspective on the cross; the passion of Christ. We both came away from the book moved and in deep thought.


The Cross He Bore is a rich gem, and one that begs for a yearly re-read. A book that we plan on reading aloud to our children. A book that allows for a cursory read or one of deeper reflection. It truly lends itself beautifully for reading in a few days or over the course of weeks. Either way you read this book, you cannot help but to reflect on the words.


The bottom line: The Cross He Bore left us feeling enriched. An excellent book.


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Side Notes: While we mostly read this book during the Holy Week, this book most definitely could be and should be read at any point during the year.


We did start reading this book on April 7th, but we only managed to read 3 chapters before leaving on our trip to Toronto. During the drive to Toronto, Niagara Falls and back home, we finished the book; read 10 chapters.


For our next time reading this book, we hope to dig into the scripture references that are fabulously written into the text of the chapters

 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ok, it's that time again; a re-read


{I posted the following over on my Instagram feed, and thought I should post here too}

It's that time again; a re-read of my #favoritebook amongst favorites in my #favoriteseries by my #favoriteauthor. Now is the time for a re-read (4th time) since@thehappilyeverafter is hosting a #outlanderreadalong on Instagram and the 8th book release date is set for June 10,2014. Perfect!

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I am excited to dig back into this book. I am excited o become reacquainted with my favorite fictional couple; Jamie and Claire. Shoot, they're my favorite fictional characters periods. And the world - oh the world-building - is beyond fabulous as fictional and historical fact are smoothly woven.

Love this book. Love this series. Love this author's writing abilities.

If you too would like to get on this Outlander Readalong, then make sure to search out the hashtag ( #outlanderreadalong ) on Instagram.

 

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Journal to Myself.....if only



March 27, 2014

Short and sweet -- I write the best blog posts when I am driving or in the shower. And, once I am able to write down those amazing, and so well expressed blog posts onto paper, well, they are no longer so well expressed.


If only I had the ability to retain the words, the sentences,the paragraphs then wow.....many more posts would be published onto this often neglected blog of mine.


If only, there was a way to dictate those thoughts while driving or on the shower. To dictate into printed words.


For now, I write the best blog posts while driving and in the shower. Apparently, those posts shall never be published. Nevertheless, they do have purpose. I've worked out many problems, and had many light bulb moments and have thought through many books read. So, all is not lost.


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Journal to Myself.....red-letters

 
 

 
March 24, 2014

{I posted much of this over on my Facebook page, but then thought that my blog is a good place for this too. Why? My blog is my first on-line home, my place where I first started to record and store my thoughts on all sorts of life happenings....kids, books, music, etc.}


“What is the first recorded miracle of Jesus in the Bible?”


My new Bible is not a red-letter edition. I do miss the red-letters. Mostly, because at a glance it is easier (quicker) to sort out who is speaking. But, after reading this article and pondering the above question, I am asking myself...Have I, without realizing, placed too much emphasis on the red-letters and therefore limited my depth-of-field? Have I not kept the entire text in proper focus? I would like to say that I did not limit my focus. But, this article, and that above question has made me pause to rethink my reasons for liking red-letter editions.


Do you have any thoughts on red-letter editions?


What was your answer to the above question? Mine was not the correct answer.

 

Check out the article: What is a "Red Letter" edition of the Bible?

 

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For many topics that provoke me to ponder, I have started searching out more thoughts on this matter. While I am quite comfortable and confident with Answers in Genesis, I don't want to ignorantly rely on one source for my pondering.


Other articles (resources) I've read.....

Red Letter Bibles

The Story Behind: Red Letter Bible Editions

Why You Can't Pit Jesus Against His Bible

The Words of Christ are Black and Red

 

Ok. I didn't realize that there was a red-letter edition debate out there in this world. I can see where the harm can come in with Jesus' spoken word put into red. The harm is not being able to generalize Jesus' spoken word throughout the rest of the Bible. I can see how easy it is to start compartmentalizing. I did just that, subtly, without realizing. And that is rather shocking to me because I absolutly believe that every word in the Bible is God-breathed. I absolutly believe that without the Old Testament we would not have the New Testament. I absolutly believe that Jesus is in the Old Testament. So yeah, I am shocked to realize that I was compartmentalizing.


Will I no longer open my red-letter edition? Absolutely, I will. I love that Bible. Love it, and not because of the red-letters, but because of the time I've poured into that Bible while studying God's Word. That poured time of studying is marked all over the pages. It is the first Bible that I truly studied. But, I will now remain aware to not over-emphasis those red-letters....to not make those letters of more importance than all the black-letters (even subtly).


Every word is God's Word.


It is all God-breathed.



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