Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Borshch, Bambi's Mother, & Butterflies

Peter John Captured this Beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly on the Zinnias

Cabbage and Kale

Cucumber Plant





Sunflowers & Zinnias

Is this the doing of Bambi's Mother??

Larisa's Borshch Recipe in the Works

"Mom's Cooking, Yum!" exclaims Lizzy. "I love pink soup!" says Amy. The pink color comes from the beets cooked in, and sour cream added at the table.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Middle Love

Middle Love
{a poem by Elysia}

A cord stretches through the trees
Into the past places we walked
In the beginning the strands
Flipped and wrapped and we talked



Of dreams, desires, blessings, and faith
The thickest strand binding, making one
Pulling us tightly and compelling
Forward on the Way of the Blessed Son

Into the woods, colors, depth, mystery
Singing scarlet tanager and soaring hawk
Never broken our strands held firm
Though weakened strands, and imps did mock



Accusing, tempting, our fleshly strands
Loosened, frayed, resisted the other
Our rocky path, gravity pulled
Tumbling, grasping for wind and one another



Till we looked not at the fall but
Thick, faithful, forward strand loving
Valiantly defending, shielding the foe
We would quickly fray, our flesh shoving

Away the strands, till we drooped down
Dragging the path, our movement caught
In the sharpened limestone, cobwebs, dust
Oh Valiant One, we are Yours, bought

By the King whose blood covered all our sin
Loosened by design that we might cling, Oh save!
Lead us not into temptation
Oh deliver us from evil, Brave

Immediately the cord is taut
The purpose clear, no doubt, not one
Through our God we shall do valiantly
Forward on the Way of the Blessed Son



The blanket of shame removed, healed
Loose, frayed ends wrapped by one another
Cruel words and anger put away
Replaced by love, pulled by another

Set your minds on things above
Not on the sharpened limestone rocks
Forward onto the path of the Son
Be sanctified, bound together, One

A cord stretches through the trees
Where Christ is seated at the Right Hand
Into the appointed places we tread
Pulling us forward by His valiant strand.
















Thursday, March 23, 2017

By Faith We Let Them Go

Friends and acquaintances have passed away this month, causing us to mourn and think about the brevity of life.  How we will miss them.  How they are rejoicing because they are with Jesus, their Savior.  These thoughts from writers of the past have brought comfort in these days of grief:

From Charles Spurgeon, March 22 devotional:

Evening

"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."
John 17:24
O death! why dost thou touch the tree beneath whose spreading branches weariness hath rest? Why dost thou snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom is all our delight? If thou must use thine axe, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; thou mightest be thanked then. But why wilt thou fell the goodly cedars of Lebanon? O stay thine axe, and spare the righteous. But no, it must not be; death smites the goodliest of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus' prevailing prayer--"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." It is that which bears them on eagle's wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ's prayer. A good old divine remarks, "Many times Jesus and his people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say Father, I will that thy saints be with me where I am;' Christ says, Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.'" Thus the disciple is at cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice; if the King should step from his throne, and say, "Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another, which shall be answered?" Oh! I am sure, though it were agony, you would start from your feet, and say, "Jesus, not my will, but thine be done." You would give up your prayer for your loved one's life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction--"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." Lord, thou shalt have them. By faith we let them go.

From John Donne's Meditation XVII "Devotions on Emergent Occasions:"
...And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness...

...No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were;  any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

From John 11:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hymn of the Week: The King of Love

Sometimes the only way to move my children from wakefulness to sleeping is singing hymns and Scripture songs.  I sang for about 30 minutes last night while folding laundry.  The girls stopped talking and arguing in bed while the older kids just did their thing.  It was peaceful and worshipful.  I thank God for the years I sang in the Concordia Choir, the years of worshipping in church, and the hundreds of songs, hymns, and spiritual songs that have been infused into my soul.  Here is one of them inspired by Psalm 23.


The King of Love My Shepherd Is
By: Henry W. Baker

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow,
My ransomed soul he leadeth
And, where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me
And on his shoulder gently laid
And home rejoicing brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me,
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spredst a table in my sight;
Thine unction grace bestoweth;
And, oh, what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house forever.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Newletter Time!

Ethan is leaving this afternoon on a long airplane ride to Northern Romania.  He will begin a three year relationship with the pastors in that region teaching them and training them in Bible, theology and preaching.  As I am sitting down to write a newsletter, I realized there are several friends, relatives, and acquaintances who may not receive our email prayer requests.  We send these out every time Ethan travels and periodically throughout the year.

I invite you to sign up today with your most current email address  Please click this link and complete the simple form to sign up for our prayer newsletters.  Thank you!
Romania Monastery Building, 2015

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Look at the Birds of the Air: A Prayer by Elysia

Ok, Jesus, I am looking!  This morning I asked you to send the birds back to our bird feeders.  I have been missing them.  The weather has been so dull and overcast recently.  The cold weather has never kept the birds away from our woodsy yard, but for some reason they have gone.  Maybe the reason was that this was for Your glory: in answer to a simple prayer.  

The weather is so cold today, but the sun is shining.  As I was eating lunch and looking out our bay windows, I saw my little friends, two chickadees--my favorite kind of bird!!!  Chickadees are wonderful because they chirp and play and eat, even during the cold of winter in Minnesota.  I was so happy that you answered my prayer that I ran to get a camera.  The chickadees had left already, but I saw another of my well-like birds, a nuthatch.  Thank you, Jesus! Amen.



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to You!

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7




“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. Luke 2:14-20