3 comments | published by Linda | January 21, 2010
Proverbs 17:17
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
How is it that brothers and sisters seem to transform from friends to enemies once placed beside each other in the back seat? The children once laughing and playing outside experience a huge temperature change between them once set in close proximity in the car. Suddenly the other seems stinky, and has a leaning problem.

I have also noticed it is easy for children to share their toys happily with a friend that has come to visit, yet nearly impossible to come up with this sharing concept if dealing with a brother. Knowing how special a brother is, and respecting their place in our lives is easy to understand, yet hard to act on. Why is it easier to be more polite to someone on the phone that we don’t know than to someone we are with throughout the day?

Apparently, Solomon filled with God’s wisdom was aware of the sandpaper that we would be dealing with for centuries to come. Brothers and sisters have the opportunity to rub up against each other throughout the day.

I have reminded them about the use of sandpaper. It plainly can’t work if it’s not touching something. Owning sheets of sandpaper and having them sit on a shelf will not do any good to the rough wood in the house. It will only work if it is rubbed up against the wood. Brothers and sisters are no different. We live closely beside one another and rub up against each other continually. God planned it this way. It’s easy to be comfortable with the smoothness of a friendship, and difficult to rub up against the sandpaper in the car beside you.

My children only have a season of their lives where they live with each other in the same house. These are the days where God will gently sand away their rough edges. Sometimes he uses their brothers and sisters to reach those areas most needing work. Friends are blessings, and have strong impacts on our lives, yet the closeness of a brother is incomparable. Our brothers and sisters change our lives forever because the work is done by our Master Craftsman.
Posted in Play Room    |   Tags: Sandpaper in the Backseat
2 comments | published by Linda | January 19, 2010

Galatians 6:9
“And let us not loose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”

The sound of a whistling kettle on the stove means it’s time for a cup of tea, and there’s nothing quite like a mug full of hot spicy tea on a cold winter day.

As I drop my tea bag into my cup of steaming hot water I realize how I can relate to the tea bag. The tea cannot be enjoyed before it has been soaked in hot water.

While it’s dry, inside the bag it’s practically useless, or in the least, something special that hasn’t yet begun to fulfill its purpose.

I like comfort. I enjoy smooth days with sunny skies, yet as I’m growing I’ve come to realize that sometimes my Lord comes to me through the rain clouds. Through tough days I seem to think something’s wrong, and this couldn’t be God’s plan for me. Yet, sometimes hot water is required.

I’m just so thankful for the string on the end of my bag because I know He’s holding onto it and knows when it’s time, and the tea is ready.

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Tea Time
6 comments | published by Linda | January 09, 2010
Titus 2:3-4
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children.”

I still visit when I need to remember. I close my eyes, yet I can clearly see. My mother’s kitchen from my childhood has been forever imprinted in my mind. From the purple speckled counter tops to the wooden drawers and cupboards with round metal handles, it has never changed. The little rectangle window provided a view of the front garden, and the street where we lived. Mom always loved having fresh air blow in, so the window was always cracked halfway open to provide a soft breeze. A little wooden spice rack which held small glass jars filled with different types of seasonings hung close to a white wall clock in the shape of a flower. I remember in the evenings when her work was finished in the kitchen for the day, Mom would leave the stove light on to lighten up the kitchen just enough.

There’s nothing quite like stepping through the front door of my home after playing out front in the cool evening hours, and feeling the warmth wrap around me, and smelling the dinner cooking in the kitchen. I was quick to kick my shoes off, and feel the shag carpet beneath my toes. I was home.

I now have the privilege of being a mother to six children. My counter tops look different from the ones I remember in my Mother’s kitchen, and my window displays a different view, yet I know my daughters and sons will remember. It is now my honor to create warm smells that will come from the kitchen and draw my family to the table in those evening hours. Although my jars are not the same as those in my memories, they hold spices, just like Mom’s. To keep my home warm, filled with music and delicious smells for my children to take in when they walk through the front door makes me smile, as I stand ready to listen and love.

I’ve been told that when a soldier has been wounded, that often times his last thoughts would be of his Mom, his home. He may not remember what the view from the kitchen window was, but rests in his memory of what was inside.

I pray my children will visit when they need to remember. That they will call upon those memories to know my love. To close their eyes, and clearly see.
Posted in Attic    |   Tags: Coming Home
2 comments | published by Linda | January 07, 2010

Genesis 1:31
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

I’m not capable of just leaving. When it’s time to head out the door, I find it impossible to step past the shoes that are spread across the floor, the books left open on the table, and the crumbs and wrappers from lunch that sit on the kitchen counters. I find it necessary to rush through the house closing cupboards, drawers, tucking items away, closing books and wiping up the crumbs. It has to be perfect. Why? Do I have some hidden belief that while I’m away a team of experts will walk through my home with white gloves on to determine if I’m performing my tasks appropriately? If those crumbs are wiped away will my day be insured of success? So far this has not proven to be true.

Making dinner is not enough. A meal seems to taste better when it is served on a table set beautifully, with several serving dishes billowing with different flavors and many colors. Knowing that a freshly baked cake is waiting on the counter for dessert somehow brings out the flavor in the dinner a bit more. Yet, on those days I only have found time to cook up a big pot of soup, my family has been fed, their hunger satisfied. Maybe it wasn’t a meal that would be remembered for its creative flair, but it was good. I had done well for my family.

I have a list I hold to daily. It’s easy for me to become frustrated at the end of the day when I see so many items not crossed out, yet I know that my baby needed more holding, and my oldest son needed my listening ear. A friend suggested that instead I should make my list at the end of the day. This way I would be able to write out everything that I did, and would most likely be amazed at all that I had accomplished.

Why is it that good is not enough? It’s so easy to strive for the impossible and then become swallowed up in disappointment that there are still toys on the floor, or one of my children is repeating the same sin that was worked on yesterday. If becoming too absorbed in the ideal pulls me away from hearing my Lord say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” then my focus has fallen away from my purpose.

My creator looked across the whole universe that had been fashioned by His hands and saw that it was good. The scriptures don’t express that it was perfect, or glorious in His eyes, it was good. It was well with Him.
Soup is good. Macaroni and cheese fills those little tummies that sit around my table, and serves their appetites well. Well is good. Oh, to lie in bed at night and know that regardless of what my day held for me, or what tomorrow might hold, that I can truly say it is well, it is well with my soul.

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: It Is Well
0 comments | published by Linda | January 02, 2010

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”

A priceless quote from Jeremiah Burroughs. His book, “Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” is filled with gems.

He reminds us that only God can satisfy us. We must subtract from our desires in order to make them equal with our circumstances. Subtract from our desires? Not necessarily an easy task, but the road to contentment. If our desires are too many, and too grand, we will never find contentment in where we are. “A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition, as by way of subtraction.”

“The Lord has been pleased to bring down my circumstances; now if the Lord brings down my heart and makes it equal to my circumstances, then I am well enough.” Take time to read that quote again. Our Lord’s hand is what has brought down our circumstances. It is often necessary for him to bring down our hearts, our desires, our will, in order to bring us to balance with what He has chosen for us. “Here lies the bottom and root of all contentment, when there is an evenness and proportion between our hearts and our circumstances.”

Trying times can shake us, but a content Christian does not change due to his circumstances.  …”though their circumstances are changed, yet that nobody could see them changed…” Such a Christian filled with contentment in His Lord carries the same disposition, the sweet blending of joy and peace whether in times of quiet or turmoil. You wouldn’t be able to tell of which he is experiencing. They are the same! Oh, to be that drenched in contentment.

We must know that, “The hand of God is good – it is good that I am afflicted.”…”Not only do I see that I should be content in this affliction, but I see that there is good in it.” Our lives are from His hand, therefore, it is good.

Have you ever noticed how afflictions seem to come quickly stacked? One after another? The author addresses this as he states, “It is very rarely that one affliction comes alone; commonly, afflictions are not single things, but they come one upon the neck of another…one affliction seldom comes alone. Now this is hard, when one affliction follows after another, when there is a variety of afflictions, when there is a mighty change in one’s condition, up and down, this way, and that: there indeed is the trial of a Christian. Now there must be submission to God’s disposal in them.”

“But grace teaches such a mixture, teaches us how to make a mixture of sorrow and a mixture of joy together; and that makes contentment, the mingling of joy and sorrow, of gracious joy and gracious sorrow together. Grace teaches us how to moderate and to order an affliction so that there shall be a sense of it, and yet for all that contentment under it.”

Contentment is a mystery, being fully aware of my afflictions, desiring to be delivered from them, and yet still my heart remains content. This is a mystery that only God’s grace can solve.

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Thoughts on Contentment