December 31, 2007

A friend of The Father

The other day I got my feelings hurt by a friend (not any of the ones pictured here:) I was having a hard time shaking it off, because the person had acted dishonestly with me and I realized afterward that she does not have my best interest in mind. It was very disturbing.

I shared this with Daniel, and in his wisdom he taught me (as he often will) a great life lesson. "You can not," he said certainly, "treat everyone the same. You must be very selective about who you let in. There are parts of yourself that are only for The Father. Then there are parts of yourself that are only for your spouse. Then there are parts of yourself that are only for a select few who have, over time and testing, earned a place in your heart. These few are your friends. We throw the term 'friend' around too loosely. Those who have not earned this title should be treated with love and respect, but should not be given the same quality nor quantity of ourselves as those who have earned it."

This may be old news to some of you, but it was brand new to me. I thought about it for a second, and concluded that I do treat everyone the same. Everybody from the girls I meet with for coffee every now and then to those I've known since grade school get the same me. That's not wise.

The Father says not to throw our pearls to the swine. And He himself follows this guideline. Sometimes I wonder why He doesn't just show himself to me fully. "Why are you so aloof?", I will sometimes ask him in prayer. "Why do you remain such a mystery? Why are you invisible?" But now I see that I have to earn my place in his heart. Not that I have to earn my way, nor his love (for he really does love everyone on earth equally). But He is only going to open himself fully to those select few who have pressed in to him faithfully over time. That makes sense to me. And it inspires me to press in to Him more. I want to be a friend of The Father.

December 29, 2007

The Lights of the Ozarks

Though wrapping paper fills our trash cans and our Christmas tree lies bare in the back of Daniel's truck, we decided it was better late than never to see the Lights of the Ozarks. So we loaded up the Oldsmobile with our sons and their grandma and headed north to Fayetteville. Every year from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve, Fayetteville covers every branch and shrub in its town square with lights. It really is a sight to see. Daniel and I hadn't been there since the first year we were married. This time we brought our kids. Time sure flies. Bright enjoyed running around in the cold, and Daniel and I enjoyed the homemade ranch potato chips at Loafin' Joe's. It was a good way to "wrap up" the Christmas season.

December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Lots of fudge and sausage balls
Our little blue and brown-eyed dolls
Squealing with delight
Up too late at night
A wonderful, family-ful,
Southern country Christmas.

(Previously published with Ashley Tisdale's "Last Christmas")

December 20, 2007

December 18, 2007

Boys, boys, boys

Naked boys are so cute. OK, so are naked girls, but I don't know much about that. The curly haired kid in the tub with Bright (the one who could easily win the cutest kid in America award) is our friend, Benjamin Harrigan. He has a baby brother, too, not pictured, named Samuel. The other night, our dear friends, the Harrigans, stopped through to see us en route to their folks' house up in Fayetteville. We had a wonderful evening of food, fun, and everything boy. They are priceless friends, and it is so great to raise sons together. Lydia has such wonderful insights and helpful tidbits to share with me. Thank you, Father, for our friends.

December 15, 2007

Little Forerunners

This month, our main teacher revealed a word from Dad, confirmed by a prophet, that today's teenagers and children will, in fact, be the last generation before the return of the One. This is a widely considered notion, and even a firmly expected reality, in certain circles, but to hear it from a Methodist pulpit was a bit...unnerving. I honestly don't want my sons to see the Tribulation with their own eyes, to feel physical agony, and have their faith tested through all kinds of spiritual mayhem. Nonetheless, I have no choice but to raise them in preparation for it. There is just too much "evidence" pointing to the fact that our children, yours and mine, are the forerunner generation.

A forerunner, according to Webster, is "an advance messenger." Think of the guy who ran from Marathon, Greece, to Athens, delivering the message of victory before dropping dead. That guy was, quite literally, a forerunner.

Our kids, if the words of the modern prophets are true, are a generation that will run out ahead, delivering the message of the coming of the Son. Much like John the B went ahead of Him, delivering the message that he was coming the first time, so our children will herald the news of his return. Our teacher quoted the text saying that our children will see visions and perform miracles. They will be filled with the HS such that we have only dreamed of. Then he warned that though our kids will be spiritual giants, they will still be kids and young people, in need of our guidance. They may be speaking about things that we don't understand, and worshipping and preaching in ways so new and radical that we might mistakenly reject them(if we're not careful), but they will still be young, and we must be prepared to shepherd them. Big responsibility for us, don't you think?

Here's a bit of perspective. Every night when we light the advent candles in our house, we ascribe a different aspect of light to each candle. When we strike the match to get things going, we say "In the beginning, J said, let there be light." So the other night, our 2-year-old, who conveniently bears the name Bright, said to us, "I made light." Daniel said, "No, son, J made light." Then Bright said, "When I grow up to be a man, I will make light like Jesus." Then after a pause he added, "Like John the B."

Whoa. Look out folks. Things are about to get interesting.

December 10, 2007

Pearly whites

We took Bright to the dentist for the first time this morning. We have the best dentist in the world! Of course, we are a little biased. Our dentist is our brother-in-law. Bright did great! He just let them clean all of his little teeth. He was so cute! And this other picture is our little Zion, sitting on his own. He looks too little to be doing this but he is 6 1/2 months old. All of his peers outweigh him by pounds, and probably always will. But we think he is handsome enough to make up for it! :)

December 08, 2007

What is life?

Last week we took the four-wheeler out to scout the perfect wild cedar on the family farm. It is still strange for me, a Michigander, to be cutting down a Christmas tree with no snow. Nonetheless, the smell of fresh cedar now permeates the four rooms of our tiny apartment, and the tree handsomely wears all of our most precious family ornaments.

The other night, as we sat in it's twinkling glow, I asked Daniel, "Is our tree alive or dead?" "You just asked one of the most debated ethical questions of the day," said my husband. "What is life?"

We went on to talk about the qualifications of life. Is it a pulse and brain waves? Is it the fact that the tree is green and drinking water, even though it has been cut from it's roots and will never be able to act like a tree again? It was an interesting question. What do you think, is our tree alive or dead?