I’m Covered

January 31, 2011 | My Jottings

On Christmas morning I opened up one of my gifts and was surprised and delighted to receive this:

It’s a beautiful prayer shawl knitted for me by my daughter Sharon. She dyed the yarn herself, and she knows I spend most of my (too infrequent) prayer time and Bible reading time in our black and cream toile bedroom upstairs. So she made a black and cream shawl for me, with a loose cable in the center. I love it.

It’s not just to keep me warm when I sit in one of the chairs by the windows in our bedroom nook, even though this prayer shawl does keep me warm.

It’s not just to remind me that prayer is a covering, a protection, a clearer lens, a comfort, a connection with the One who made me and astonishingly, loves me and wants me to talk with Him.

This prayer shawl is a symbol of all that is precious to me. The love of my family. The lavish gift of a home. The grace of God. The privilege of having an audience any time I choose, with the One who holds together the universe’s billions of galaxies. With the One who holds me together.

Sometimes in the morning Michael joins me for some chair time, although I’m not sharing my shawl with him. Edith and Mildred also like to hear God’s Word read aloud.

My prayer shawl reminds me that I am wrapped in God’s love, in my three daughters’ love, and in the love of the icicles outside our bedroom window that have now gone from being stalactites to stalagmites. Wait, these icicles don’t love me at all! Forget I said that! My thoughts got away from me there.

Winter gets so long here, and is so cold and colorless, I sometimes get confused. Sorry.

And who has to worry about Seasonal Affective Disorder when the sun is shining so anemically and reluctantly cheerily and brilliantly in the sky? No one that I know of.

One more day left in January. That much closer to spring.

In the meantime, I know I’m covered.

January

January 27, 2011 | My Jottings

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
He does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

Snow piled up on our porch roof - outside our bedroom window

So that everyone He has made may know His work,
He stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;
they remain in their dens.

The tempest comes out from its chamber,
the cold from the driving winds.

icicle outside our bedroom window

The breath of God produces ice,
and the broad waters become frozen.

(Job 37:5-10)

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I’m truly grateful for warmth but I’m waiting for spring,

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 54

January 26, 2011 | My Jottings

“Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person.  Having neither to weigh words nor measure thoughts but pouring them all out like chaff and grain together–certain that a faithful hand will keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

George Eliot

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Simple Pleasures

January 24, 2011 | My Jottings

Life gets too complicated sometimes, don’t you think?

I find that the simplest things are often what bring the most pleasure and the most reasons to be extra-grateful.

Like a simple log cabin with a simple fire in the hearth to warm the feet and the soul on a frigid December afternoon…

And a simple, unobstructed view of the largest fresh-water lake in the world…

And the steady rhythmic whoosh of the tiny waves that can be heard right outside the windows…

And a simple kitchenette where simple snacks and meals can be assembled…

And a carving of a black bear on the spiral stairs to bring a bit of whimsy to the simple North Shore decor…

And a simple bowl of French onion soup with sherried beef stock and Gruyere to warm up with…

And Michael’s simple “elk en croute, with duxelle and pistachios in a puff pastry, with candied baby turnips, beets, carrots and currants in a demi-glace.”

And friend Danny’s simple appetizer of “curried blue mussels with an apple cider creamed curry, served over ciabatta.”

And friend Su’s simple “seared sea scallops ginger apple gastrique with butternut squash and a white bean and bacon brunoise with a bit of wild rice.”

And my tiny but delectable dessert of a “maple pot de crème, and carrot cake with walnuts and crème anglaise.”

And the cherished, comfortable company of friends Su and Danny…

And a simple quilted bed with simple lights to read by…

And the everyday, simple thrill of a smiling husband…

And the simple pleasures brought by a weekend in a cabin on the shores of Lake Superior…the quiet, the grandeur, the restfulness…

The myriad reasons I have to be grateful…

Simple pleasures are often the most exquisite.

Thank you Lord.

Think on these things…

January 20, 2011 | My Jottings

I love this song. I cling to the words of this song. I hope this will apply a balm to your heart as it does to mine.

Blessings on you, my friends,

Do not be fooled by this picture!

January 18, 2011 | My Jottings

Just because five year-old Mildred looks like a calm, sweet, snoozing Miniature German Schnauzer doesn’t mean she is one.

Don’t let the light from the window behind her that shines a rosy glow through her silky little ear mislead you.

Don’t be bamboozled by the way her left eyebrow forms a delicate, sweeping little fan above her sleepy brown eye.

Don’t be caught off guard by how clean she smells and how sleek her hair (Schnauzers don’t have fur) feels as you gently stroke it.

Don’t be fooled, I tell you!

Look closely. There’s a subtle clue here that speaks to Dreadful ‘Dred’s true nature.

Sshhhh. It’s the right hind leg. Lean in closer. See it? Jutting up there in the air, unsupported by anything else, while the rest of her body is completely at rest?

That leg is the dread dead giveaway. That rogue leg that asserts itself and won’t do what it’s supposed to do, is a sure sign to people everywhere to beware, beewwaaaarre of the person or the dog or the parrot or the bumblebee who seems to be sleeping, but whose leg is sticking up in the air.

What does a jutting leg portend? I’ll tell you.

It means that underneath all that adorable sweetness is a miscreant nature. Right below that soft and rosy ear? Greed. Not far behind that silvery fan of an eyebrow? Deep-seated insecurity that leads to pathetic behavior. Below the surface of that silky pelt is a heart that harbors a lurking, instigating, selfish temperament. Some of you may have heard or read of the four basic personality temperaments – Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholic and Phlegmatic.

Well, Mildred’s temperament is Schnauzeric (this is important: pronounced shnow-ZAIR-ick). And the main tipoff of a Schnauzeric temperament? A rogue leg. Yes.

So, remember that you read this Public Service Announcement here first. Be on the lookout. Be watchful and observant. If you should happen upon a dozing cat or hamster or child and she seems to be sound asleep except for one jutting, unsupported leg that is held up in the air…seek help immediately.

And the book goes to….

January 17, 2011 | My Jottings

….Tauni!

Congratulations!

Tauni will be receiving a copy of Penelope Wilcock’s The Road of Blessing for this month’s bloggy giveaway.

Pen Wilcock has graciously offered to send a sticker that can be affixed inside the book, so Tauni’s copy can be personalized and autographed.

Thank you so much to those of you who commented about how you are (or will be) simplifying your life this coming year. There were some really wonderful ideas shared that I’m taking to heart.

Happy reading,

The Road of Blessing

January 13, 2011 | My Jottings

It has been a while since I’ve had a bloggy giveaway, and I think it’s time. I love to share good books, and this month I’ll be giving away Penelope Wilcock’s The Road of Blessing.

I became familiar with Penelope’s books years ago when a friend told me about The Hawk and the Dove. I was completely bowled over by that book (it used to be a three-book trilogy and has now been reprinted in its entirety as a three-part book in one volume) and continue to buy copies of it to give as gifts. Then I read a few other books by Pen, and one in particular reached deep into my heart and grabbed it in a way I hope to never forget. If you haven’t read In Celebration of Simplicity, I highly recommend it to you.

I gathered up the courage to write to Pen after reading her book on gospel simplicity, and she graciously wrote back to me. Which I would expect any author who appreciates readers to do. :)  Then I wrote to her again and she wrote to me again. We exchanged photographs of our families, learned a little about each others’ histories, and sent each other a couple of things in the mail. She sent me flowers. I sent her socks. Hmmm. Those last two statements reveal a lot don’t they? I’m not sure what, but I’m sure they’re fraught with profound meaning of some sort.

Anyway, one day I emailed Pen (she lives in England with her family) and gave her permission to stop writing back to me — I didn’t want her to think she was obligated to keep in touch with one of her many swooning fans just to be polite. She did not stop writing, much to my happiness, and I consider her one of the dearest friends I’ve never met.  :)

I was privileged to read her most recent publication The Road of Blessing, a few months ago in manuscript form, and was marvelously blessed and instructed by her words and insights. Pen was kind enough to send me a signed copy recently, and I’m reading it and savoring it a second time now, letting its soothing truths and invitations to God’s peace wash over me.

Yesterday another copy I ordered arrived in the mail from amazon and I would like to share it with one of you!

Also, Pen has offered to send a sticky label with a handwritten message and her signature to the person who wins the book! That way you can put the label in the book and have your own signed and personalized copy. Yay!

To enter this little giveaway, please leave a comment and answer this question:

“What is one thing you would like to do to soothe and simplify your life?”

The winner will be chosen from all people who leave comments, and will be announced on Monday, January 17th.

Here are a few comments by people who have reviewed and recommended The Road of Blessing:

“Pen’s love for God shines through every word. She writes as a fellow traveller. Her words are deeply rooted in truth, watered with compassion and fed with hope. This is a must-have book.” — Malcolm Duncan

“Penelope Wilcock speaks serenity and wisdom into our turbulent lives and troubled times. We need people like her.” — Ruth Valerio

I couldn’t agree more. Pen has spoken serenity and wisdom into my own intermittently turbulent life, sometimes with humor, always with kindness, humility and care. (She has more than once told me that while I’m swinging overhead on vines going from tree to tree, she’s settled comfortably down on the ground below, watching and waving at me. Her depiction has been too close to the truth at times.)

It seems like everyone is looking for a little respite these days. I have slowly pared down my own life to include only what I’m certain is most important and there is yet more to do, as God helps and guides us. If you’re at a place in your life where you can’t get away to a quiet vacation spot but could use some serious refreshment right where you are, you will love this book.

I’m so happy to share about Pen, and I can’t wait to give her newest book away to a very blessed person.

Looking forward to your comments,

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 53

January 12, 2011 | My Jottings

“In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, Oh God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast.  With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live – time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other.

Peter Marshall

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How did this happen?

January 10, 2011 | My Jottings

To use an expression my dear friend Pat says, these photos give me the “ohhhhs.”

Audrey Elizabeth

Fall of 2010

And wasn’t she just born last month? *Sigh*  I guess not.  Our youngest little granddaughter is three.

“We’ve had bad luck with our kids – they’ve all grown up.”
~ Christopher Morley

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