Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Legos and Eyeglasses

I am sorry, Amy, you are doomed to myopia like the rest of us.  It is only a matter of time.  Enjoy your freedom from glasses while you have it!

Our third child picked up her first pair of glasses today.  She is in fourth grade and was living with a completely near-sighted left eye for who knows how long!  We all picked up new glasses this week, too, except the youngest, of course.

The children's Christmas Vacation has been a very fulfilling experience of lego-building and other forms of creativity and expression.  My oldest prepared supper tonight with a bit of help from Mom.  We also had a bright, sunny day today with a high of about 8 degrees Fahrenheit.  I truly enjoy Minnesota Winters for the sheer fact that the bitter cold weather brings with it plenty of sunshine.  I would take that over 33 degrees and overcast plus fog like we had in Eastern Europe any day.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Driving Home With God's Smuggler

Yesterday we braved the snowy, windy roads of Montana to return home.  Ethan drove the car in white, white difficult conditions.  Our family was tired, and admittedly, the two oldest children were bickering and angry several times during the trip.  Our nerves were on edge.  We put on an audio book edition of "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew and John and Elizabeth Sherrill written in 1967.  Andrew's world of 1930s and 40s Holland and then the post-world war Iron Curtain missionary work opened our eyes and our imaginations as we drove.  During the breaks, I read from my book "The Insanity of God" by Nik Ripken.
Brother Andrew traveling behind the Iron Curtain in his blue VW sedan.

The persecution of the Church is heavy on my mind after reading these books.  Brother Andrew told a story about Czechoslovakia where the government frustrated the Christians by sponsoring a new edition of the Bible then refusing the print it.  The other Bibles were not allowed to be printed, only the new edition. So without the new edition, no Bibles were available anywhere.  In one church in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, the congregation of people possessed only seven Bibles amongst them, so they would hold up their Bibles above their heads during the service so that everyone could crowd around them and share the word together.  They would copy the words to hymns on looseleaf notebooks and share those as well.  How may people in our churches even bring their Bibles to church let alone follow along with the reading of Scripture during the service?  We are so free yet so bound in our "Land of the Free."  We value little of what the historical Church has valued, and God's word is no longer precious to us.  Nik Ripken told countless stories of pastors who were tortured and imprisoned for countless years because they were Christian pastors and refused to denounce Christ.  Their families were persecuted and humiliated as well, yet they counted the cost of this and knew that Jesus was worthy of their suffering.  Cause us, Father, to treasure, love, and be devoted to Jesus Christ just as these persecuted Christians were.  You are worthy of our love. Amen.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas in Montana

Today we drove from Billings to Red Lodge, a rustic mountain town full of snow and lots of skiers. We travelled to Montana Christmas Eve.  It snowed early Christmas morn...I know firsthand because I was driving in it at 2:30am looking for cough syrup for our third child who was wheezing in the middle of the night.  She ended up in the ER on Christmas morn and is doing better with an inhaler and other meds. What a rough Christmas for her!

 Ethan's sister and brother-in-law live here in Billings where Bill is the pastor of the Lutheran Brethren church in town. Their two teenage boys keep us entertained with plenty of jokes and games, especially the youngest's favorite game of Chess.  Ethan's mom and dad came from Arizona yesterday, and we have already played a game of Rook with Mom.  She is a huge risk-taker in Rook and won by over 300 points.  Now we are off to play another game of Rook.

We are blessed to be with family here in Montana.  My mind is reeling with memories since my parents are from this town, and I spent my summers here as a child with my grandparents.  The rural ranches and horses are another world from Minneapolis where I grew up.  The mountains are beautiful and the air is fresh.  But sad memories also fill my mind, and I know that God redeems it all.  We are blessed.

It is a happy Christmas indeed.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks 2014

Thanksgiving Greetings!

          We enjoyed a cozy Thanksgiving meal last Saturday with the Frank Family in Fergus Falls.  Today we are with our immediate family at home.  The turkey is in the oven, the kids are working on an iMovie project, and the sun is shining.  Today is the coldest Thanksgiving in Minnesota in 26 years!  It is 5 degrees Fahrenheit at this moment (-15 degrees Celcius for our European friends).

         "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes. 5:18
Thankfulness is the mark of a true believer in Christ.  Yet, in all that God has done for us and all His great and precious promises expressed in His word, we must be reminded over and over to give THANKS.  Praise God for His faithfulness and goodness. When I am reminded to give thanks my troubles seem less because of God's gracious hand holding me up.  I know I have a heavenly Father who knows my needs, and I love Him.

Today I am thankful:
My oldest daughter is recovering from pneumonia. I am thankful for good health care and for God's healing hand.
God has supplied all our needs today.
God has given me eternal life and I have the hope of heaven.  Some day I will see Jesus face to face.
Ethan is a good husband who loves God and His word.
My children are an inheritance from the Lord.
We have been given the privilege to serve God.
America's forefathers sacrificed much for our freedom and were upheld by God's righteous right hand.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Uncommon Sheep

An Uncommon Sheep

A Glimpse into the Future, A Poem Written by Elysia Larson, November 2014

When the Son of Man comes in His glory,
Separate He the goats to His fury,
The believing sheep set on His right hand,
Blessed of His father, Inherit the land.

To the uncommon sheep whose name means Grace,
Who suffered childlessness, looked on His face,
He lifted her head and told this story,
Of the uncommon ways displayed His glory.

A neighbor boy, rejected, suffered F.A.S.,
Visted, befriended, not judged but blessed.
Tyler defended from bullies within,
Christ said, "I was the One. You took Me in."

Dying man lay, St. Al's Hospital in,
Sick in body, his soul dead in his sin,
You gave him the Savior, the Gospel proclaimed,
Washed him, baptized him, a son he is named.

Lonely wife, pregnant body wracked in pain,
Though depressed drew joy, Sister knew her name,
Eyes brightened, Auntie brought giggles of glee,
Hear! "I was sick and you visited Me."

Do not weep, my child. Deeds done for the least
Were done to Me, come and join in the feast.
Beloved wife, sister, daughter, and friend,
Mothered the motherless, loved to the end.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Living and Dying

A thick fog rolled into this monastery in Romania freezing solid the flowers.
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:19-21

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,But the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

Every believer in Jesus will attest to the fact that they suffer afflictions.  If our Lord did not escape suffering in this world, then we will experience it as well. Our Lord has compassion.  His loving, sovereign hand directs our lives, and Christ is magnified in His chosen ones. That means He radiates His image through my life and death.  He is lifted up, He is exalted.  He shines through my life and death.  You wonder, how can Christ be magnified when I am severely depressed or so afflicted with suffering in my body or my children suffer so much or my empty womb cries out for children or I am humiliated by unemployment or I am dying?  

Christ will deliver you through the hope that is an anchor for your soul.  "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entered the Presence behind the veil" Heb.6:19 
Christ will deliver you when He speaks truth to your broken heart through His word.  "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word." Ps.119:114 
Christ will deliver you when His power goes out of Him to heal you for His glory. "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." John 11:4
Christ will deliver you when He brings you home to be with Him where He is seated in Heaven.  "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God….When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Col.3:1,4
Christ will deliver you in Glory when your suffering will produce an eternal weight of glory. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Cor.4:17-18
Christ will deliver you in your suffering while He is furthering His glorious Gospel. "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ." Phil.1:12-13
Come to Jesus. He will give you rest in your afflictions. Christ will be magnified in you. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

  1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “Come unto Me and rest;
    Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
    Thy head upon My breast.”
    I came to Jesus as I was,
    Weary and worn and sad;
    I found in Him a resting place,
    And He has made me glad.
  2. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “Behold, I freely give
    The living water; thirsty one,
    Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
    I came to Jesus, and I drank
    Of that life-giving stream;
    My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
    And now I live in Him.
  3. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “I am this dark world’s Light;
    Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
    And all thy day be bright.”
    I looked to Jesus, and I found
    In Him my Star, my Sun;
    And in that light of life I’ll walk,
    Till trav’ling days are done.
  4. -Horatius Bonar, 1846

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Praise For Homemakers

Homemakers, you really are valuable.  I told my husband on our anniversary that some people say, "My husband makes the money, and I spend it," but I don't like to spend our money, especially on frivolous things.  I want to use it to help our family and to live.  He said he would say to people, "I make the money, and she saves it."  That was a very honoring thing for Ethan to say to me.  I really do value homemaking and the role it has served our family over the years.  I honor my mother for all she did to make a home for us growing up, too.

A few weeks ago, I canned tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes.  That month's work also produced some yummy canned chokecherry jelly and grape jelly.  My Kerr Home Canning Book published in 1948 and sold for 10 cents came in handy! My grandma gave this book to me from her collection of cookbooks.  Ruth Kerr, president of the Kerr Glass Manufacturing Corporation wrote these words in her amazing introduction that I would submit for your contemplation today:

OURS IS A GREAT HERITAGE, YOURS AND MINE… For we stand first in line as our country's greatest single asset---the American Homemaker.  Again we gladly shoulder the responsibilities of our heritage, for this year we are being asked to be not only Homemakers, we are being asked to join the great forces of our Government in its program of world nutrition.  As American Homemakers we have been invited to represent America in this urgent world crisis, but our conference table will be in the kitchens of our homes, where each gleaming jar of canned fruit and vegetables is our contribution to our country's Blueprint for World Security.

I spent several hours today mending clothes that have piled up in a box over the past four months.  I hate throwing away perfectly good clothes when they just need a little needle and thread work to make them useful again.  My grandma and my mom taught me that by example.  A few years ago, a Swedish friend who worked with college students told me that one of the students wanted to throw away an expensive sweater because the button fell off.  She looked at the young lady, handed her a needle and thread, and told her to learn to sew on a button.  I hope that young people in this generation will learn the value of homemaking and of doing things for yourself for the sake of your family and your country.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Birthday Poems

I loved these poems my girls wrote me for my birthday:

By Amy, age 6
A mom is a mom
But you are the Best.
Happy B-day.

By Lizzy, age 8
Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are my mom
And I love you.

By Gretchen, age 13
Our mom is a woman of highest degree.
She makes us hot chocolate,
She makes us hot tea.
She washes our dishes and keeps our room clean,
We think she's awesome,
She's also quite keen.

From cooking our lunches and making our beds,
Sometimes she never bothers to rest.
Sweeping and scrubbing and sweating.
Oh Dear!
She gives us a bath till the water runs clear.

Mother's hard-working, and very smart,
She can even boast a degree in art!
Like a mother deer takes care of her kids,
She also likes to bring us on trips!

Oh what a handful we are, I admit,
We still love her when in corners we sit.
I hope that you have a day that's just gay,
For now, we send you our love and a happy birthday!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Have Thine Own Way

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
by Adelaide Pollard, 1907

I sat down at the piano yesterday in our new home in Zimmerman, MN.  When I flipped open the hymn book, this is the song that came up.  What a comfort to me right now!  Ethan is stuck in London on his way to Ghana.  Stolen documents!  He has no passport, no Ghana visa, and no yellow fever documentation. These are all required to get to Ghana to teach.  My mind and heart have been swirling since he texted me with this news.  I guess there is a first for everything.  He has travelled to many places in the world and has never gotten documents stolen.  Feeling out of control and unable to change anything confirms my humanness and lifts my thoughts and heart to God who has all things in His hand.

Early this morning I spent time reading the Bible and praying.  As I looked out on our woodsy property, I saw the fog in the woods, much like the picture above.  I heard the birds, and the knock-knock-knock of a woodpecker that made me smile.  What comical creatures!  God's glory shines in His creation, and as I think about God providing for these birds, how much more does He care for His chosen people!  Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:31  Then, turning to Acts 16 for my daily Bible reading, the amazing story of Paul and Silas being directed by the Holy Spirit to Macedonia reminded me again of God's rule and good purposes in every one of these foggy days.