Wednesday’s Word-Edition 112

April 30, 2014 | My Jottings

rings“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

~~Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

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Julie’s Bookshelf

April 28, 2014 | My Jottings

My dear friend Diane saw the recent photos on my blog of how I rearranged the books in our living room bookshelves according to color. If you didn’t see those pictures, you can click here.

She knows the hard times we’re walking through right now, and wrote a poem for me based on some of the titles of the books in those photos, and on Michael’s and my life together. I asked her permission to share it here:

Julie’s Bookshelf

The Mystery.
The Gift! Once upon A Mother’s Time there were
Parenting Wars,
Choices, Changes .
Sometimes…. A Way of Seeing the Honey In A Child’s Heart.
Other times….Weird, Tough Stuff.

Always, though…A Heavenly Man, A Fine Romance.

Then, through The Years and The Living comes a trek through
A Long, Shadowed Forest.
Where Is God When It Hurts?
Is there A Reason?
Is all of the Pain and Suffering A Secret?
Walking with God through The Long Winter,
The Road of Blessing seems hidden West With The Night.

And finally you glimpse
A Light From Heaven
And you hear Voices of the Faithful
Singing a New Song.
You discover a New Way of Seeing. You remember to love with A Child’s Heart.
And you know you’re Walking With God to A Place of Quiet Rest.

~~Diane Aro

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IMG_1106Diane is a mother, a writer, a poet, a kind, brilliant and resilient woman. We’ve been friends for over 37 years and have prayed for each other as unthinkably crushing things have come to our lives.

Her compassionate, unique and insightful poem made me cry.

The wonder of books. The love of friends. The beauty of creation. The comfort of God’s Word. The gift of family. The presence of God.

These are the things that undergird me these days…

Books By Color

April 21, 2014 | My Jottings

I keep planning to share about what has happened in our lives, but it’s too huge and seems too fragile to put in black and white yet. I have tried to write about it and my words almost trivialize the changes and sorrow we’re going through. So instead I’ll put up some pictures of what I did to our living room bookcases a few weeks ago. Michael and I were watching television and I thought I’d try to rearrange our books by color. I’m still occasionally gazing at it, quite enjoying how it looks. You can click to enlarge the pictures if you like.

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We have a lot more books than this in two large bookcases in our bedroom. We also have two smaller bookcases filled with children’s books in a little reading corner of our bedroom for all the grandbabies.

I think I’ll leave the books like this for a long time. Maybe forever.

We feel it in our bones…

April 14, 2014 | My Jottings

This is a profound and meaningful quote to us right now….

 “Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback.

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And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.”

~John Piper

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A Unique and Delicious Salad

April 8, 2014 | My Jottings

We had potato, kale and sausage soup for dinner tonight, otherwise known as The Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. Michael loves it and my copycat recipe (from the Pioneer Woman’s site, I believe) is almost indistinguishable from the restaurant’s. I wanted to make a different kind of salad to go with it, and the one I chose was so unique and scrumptious I thought I’d share it with you. I adapted it from Amy Thielen’s fabulous recipe and my changes are included here.

DSCN0854Parsley Salad with Toasted Almonds and Lemon

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups cold, cooked basmati rice
5 cups roughly chopped Italian parsley, with tender stems
1-1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds, skillet-toasted in 1 teaspoon butter, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
Zest of 1 lemon

Directions

Make the dressing right in the serving bowl: Combine the lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper, salt and garlic in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking until emulsified.

Add the parsley to the dressing and toss to combine. Add the rice, toasted almonds, onions and lemon zest, and toss well. As a side dish, this would serve about 6.

If you make it, let me know what you thought. I will make this again and again.

In other news, it’s all too sad to report. So I’ll share it when I have the gumption to sit down and type it all out.

Now, I pray for every single person who’s reading these words today, that the Lord would help you, bless your family, remind you often of His mercy and love for you, bring healing and peace, and draw you closer to His beautiful self.

I’m asking Him to do the same thing for me.

A Happy, Hard Birthday

April 3, 2014 | My Jottings

My dear husband Michael turned 65 yesterday. He told me how loved he felt when his children called to sing to him, bring cards over, and sent love notes about what kind of a dad he has been.

It was a full day and we’ll long remember it. Our friends Danny and Su dropped by with a peanut butter pie for Michael, along with a camouflage shirt and the love and ease that comes from years of friendship. Later on, Lorna and Steve came over with homemade brownies, a guitar and some music, and while Michael rested in our bedroom, they sang hymns to him. It was truly beautiful. Michael’s voice is almost gone, but during the choruses in “How Great Thou Art” and “Nothing But the Blood” he was singing his loudest and keeping time with his hands.

We were planning to go out to dinner at Michael’s favorite restaurant but had to cancel at the last minute when Sara and I couldn’t get him to the car. There are some mornings when Michael can still walk (very slowly, with tiny steps and much assistance) from the bed, down the hall, into the dining room for breakfast. But usually by early afternoon his ability to walk is almost gone. As we were trying to help him yesterday, step by step through the kitchen to the back door, he just couldn’t go any farther and was in a lot of pain, so we texted/called everyone and told them we couldn’t make it. 🙁

It is very difficult to see these changes in my once active, vibrant, funny, strong husband. How much more difficult is it for him to live it? I know the grace of God is carrying him, but there are days when I know Michael fights hopeless thoughts.

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One of the cards he received yesterday made him laugh. I have never understood why Michael (and many men) enjoy bathroom humor. I love a good laugh and have been known to have a warped sense of humor, but in my opinion flatulence is just not all that entertaining. One of his cards read on the outside, “Farting is an art.” And on the inside it said, “Happy Birthday Rembrandt.” Michael loved it.

You can see on our mantel a picture that Li’l Gleegirl drew of Grandpa, and that made me smile.

I might as well call this The Snow Blog, because yet again I report to you that a winter storm warning has been posted for our part of the country, and heavy snow is supposed to begin this afternoon. The storm will last 24 hours and we’ll again have mounds and piles of it everywhere. I’ve lived in Minnesota for 33 years and cannot remember a winter like this.

Yesterday was also Millie the schnauzer’s birthday — she turned eight. She got some extra pats and crooning, but that’s about it.

I saw this recently and thought it was pretty accurate:

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Have a good weekend, friends!

Blessings,

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