Jesus Never Fails

Several weeks ago, I remember sitting on my bed one morning crying out to the Lord for wisdom. A big decision lay in front of me, either choice likely to change my future. The unrest in my heart was tremendous, and all I could pray was “Lord, which way do I take?” I remember hearing a bird singing outside—one of those beautiful short melodies—and remember the disappointed feeling that washed over me as I realized I couldn’t enjoy it in that moment. I love God’s nature, I do, but at that moment the darkness was so deep that I couldn’t appreciate it the way I would have liked to.

Can you relate? I’m sure you probably can. And while situations like that aren’t fun, they’re also often a great way for the Lord to draw us closer to Him. That time was an intense time of Bible study and prayer for me, and He proved Himself faithful once again. Praise the Lord!

Violet 01

Since then, I’ve come across a few scriptures that have been a huge blessing to me.

Psalm 37:4-7

4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Hebrews 13:5-6

5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

I’ve spent some time today getting a few reviews up on the website. This job isn’t the most interesting job ever—I’ve been known to complain to a friend before that my hands have to keep busy, but my mind isn’t needed for it! While that is not quite true, since I do have to make sure everything gets put where it needs to go, I do often have a recorded message or music playing in the background so I don’t get too bored. In times like this, I’m thankful for the entertainment and encouragement from guys like the Emmanuel Quartet. I don’t normally listen to a cappella music, but I really appreciate some of the songs in this recording. And it keeps me from going bonkers, so that’s a definite plus!

(Okay; I’ve tried to set the following video to start at the beginning of their 20-minute set, but it doesn’t appear to be cooperating. Since the entire video is 10 hours long, it apparently struggles to calculate 8 hours and 22 minutes exactly. Sorry!)

One of the songs in this set by Emmanuel Quartet (4th or 5th song, I believe) is about how Jesus never fails us…what a beautiful thought!

I took a break from the computer this afternoon, and wandered out behind my sleepout to check up on a chicken’s nest I spotted there yesterday. One of our loose hens decided to make a cozy nest under some of the tussock out there, and right now we need to keep tabs on it so we know when she starts sitting. There are currently six eggs in there, so it’ll probably be another week or so until that happens.

Eggs

We’re also expecting new chicks from another hen soon. Lambs are starting to pop up all over the place, and we have a new calf. The huge patch of violets behind my house are blooming right now. Everything’s coming alive again—any wonder that my favorite season is spring?

Violet 02

God is so good to us. On the dark days, even when you realize you’re struggling to appreciate the little things that normally give you joy, look to Him. Trust His word—whether you’re making a big decision or a minute one. He’s there watching, guiding, protecting and holding you. He loves you.

 

I’ll leave you with one final song, one that’s been a great encouragement to me lately.

Photo Challenge Finale (days 6 and 7), Snow, and This Week’s Plans

Whew! Busy, busy times. Between a full-on weekend last weekend (often not to bed until 11 or so), getting sick for the good part of last week, and a few other things that needed to be done, I decided to take a break. I’m sure I needed it, but in many ways I always hate taking breaks because it’s often really hard to get started again.

However, this time it hasn’t been that bad to get back in the groove. Yes, I did miss posting the last two posts of the photo challenge, even though I did take pictures each of those days. I finally have time today to get this post up—yay!

Day 6:

Birthday deserts

I even got a chocolate cake in the end—wished on me by a cousin, and given to me by a friend!

It was my birthday! I spent the whole day playing in the kitchen baking different things (pavlova, sugar-free pavlova, and sweet rolls), which was really fun. That evening, several friends came over to help us eat the turkey that had been butchered for the occasion. We had a great time.

Day 7:

Cook-out 01

The boys decided to burn a pile of sticks we had out in the paddock, and someone suggested a cookout for Saturday lunch. So that’s what we did. They got one of Mom’s cast iron skillets, fitted a long pole to the handle, and settled it in the middle of the coals after the fire had burned down. They then proceeded to roast precooked sausages. It was a delicious meal, finished off with a few marshmallows!

Cook-out 02

Cook-out 03

After lunch, most of us headed out to the ocean. Ross, one of the friends who had come Friday, was staying with us for the weekend and we wanted to show him around a bit. Since we were going to be near water, the boys inevitably wanted to bring their boats along. They had a great time for a little while—until it simply got too cold to be on the water any longer!

Boating 01

Boating 02

Boating 03

Boating 04

The two little boys got cold first. They ended up sharing a towel for a bit, until the older one was offered a quick boat ride. Then the youngest sat on my lap in an effort to warm up a little while we waited for the older boys to get ready to leave.

Boating 05

Flowers

Someone had the brilliant idea of giving me a few of the early daffodils right before we left the ocean—I loved it! And it was fun to be able to use my new vase for the first time, too. Lovely spot of color for my desk, especially these last few days as a winter storm has finally brought a little moisture to our part of the country.

And now today, a week later:

We got a little rain the last part of this week, and both yesterday morning and this morning we actually had a little snow on the ground! That doesn’t happen very often, because we’re only 50 meters or so above sea level—we do have a range of hills between us and the sea, but even so we generally only get rain. This morning on the way to church I got to take a couple pictures of the gorgeous hills and mountains surrounding us. There’s nothing like a touch of snow to make everything look bigger and even more beautiful than before!

Snow! 01

Kaikoura mountain range

Snow! 02

Taken as we crossed a river north of us—these are some of the hills between us and the sea.

Since it was snowy and very frosty (so much so, in fact, that early this morning we couldn’t get any of the van doors open—they were frozen shut!), we set off for church half an hour early. There’s a fairly high range of hills between us and church, and we’ve slipped a bit before on black ice, so Dad wanted to take it slow. Praise the Lord, we got through safely with plenty of time left, so we headed out to the ocean for a five-minute stretch break before going back into town for church.

Ocean

It’s been a gorgeous day, and the sun just set about half an hour ago behind the trees and hills to the west. It was one of those golden sunsets, the kind that you have to just stop and take in for a moment or two. God is so good to us!

Plans:

I posted a “planning” post two weeks ago, and although I would have done a new one last weekend, that didn’t work out due to more worthwhile activities. This past week ended up having plenty to keep me occupied with anyway, even without goals to meet, and I learned some valuable lessons through that. Even though it was a more difficult week, God has shown Himself faithful in innumerable ways and I think I’ve learned to rest even more on His guidance. It’s tough at times, but I know He holds the future and in that I can find complete peace. After all, “…the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (see Deuteronomy 31:6). What a promise!

For the most part, this week will probably be pretty normal, although next weekend is going to be busy. Lord willing, we’ll be attending a conference, so along with all the “normal” weekend stuff, that’ll be added in somewhere too. That means wonderful but FULL days! Even so, I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

To-do list from two weeks ago:

  1. Schedule reviews through the 31st
  2. Read The Destiny of a Galaxy
  3. Watch the DVD Fly Away Home (can’t watch this on my computer, so I’ll have to borrow Mom’s sometime)
  4. Read up/do practice tests for getting my learner’s driver license (nope, but I’m hoping to focus on that this week)
  5. Sign up for another affiliate program
  6. Work through the website to-do list
  7. Do some baking Friday!

This week’s to-do list:

  1. Write reviews of The Destiny of a GalaxySacred AllegoriesCapyboppy, and begin one for Coffee Cake Days (we’ve actaully almost run out of reviews, and I’ve read these lately so I ought to get the reviews written so I can post them!)
  2. Finish watching Ben-Hur and review
  3. Watch Fly Away Home
  4. Read Manuscript for Murder
  5. Upload reviews for the week
  6. Get this week’s newsletter out on time
  7. Study and practice for driving test

Overall, I’ve had a great couple weeks. I hope you have, too! Keep your eyes on Jesus this coming week and glorify His name!

New Calf! (Photo Challenge day 5)

Today, finally, the event we’ve all been waiting for happened: Our cow had her calf. Phew! Can’t wait for the real milk to come in in about three days, and hopefully it’ll taste good—the milk at the end of her last lactation had a bitter note to it. Of course, in the intervening three days we may try making colostrum Yorkshire pudding (which is delicious!), or that baked custard with cardamom in it that Mom discovered the second-to-last time the cow calved. For tonight, though, Mama and calf are staying together, and Mr. Calf has figured out pretty quickly where the yummy stuff to fill his tummy comes from!

New Calf 01

What Mama cow looked like 3 1/2 hours before giving birth—HUGE!

All of us were out there to see the calf born. Thankfully, Chessie didn’t seem to mind too much, and it provided a great “science-in-action” demonstration! I’ll spare you the pictures of the birth. 🙂

New Calf 02

Some of the observers climbed on the truck trailer!

New Calf 03

Only ten minutes old, and he’s already trying to stand up! Those annoying legs, though—so wobbly.

New Calf 04

New Calf 05

Trying to teach him to suck.

New Calf 06

Okay, he’s clearly an old hand at this already!

New Calf 07

New Calf 08

Welcome to the world, Speckles!

Hawthorne and clouds

Something beautiful I saw tonight (the picture does not do it justice): Red hawthorn berries against the backdrop of a threatening sky.

Farmer man

Something else I spotted tonight: Farmer man going out to fix the gate.

Thank you, God, that the calf is here!

4 Things I’m Thankful For (Photo Challenge day 4)

After signing off about 11:12 last night, I decided that I’d try to get today’s post up in a little better time. Not only should it send properly in the email tonight (yesterday’s posted too late for that to happen then), but I should be able to get to bed earlier. Yes, should, not will–even if I am completely ready for bed at 9:30 it often ends up being 10 at least before I settle down. Don’t know why.

Anyway, today I thought it would be fun to do a “thankful” post. Now, I realize all of the posts in the challenge so far are basically thankful posts…but today, I wanted to share a few of the things that I’m particularly thankful for right now.

1 and 2. Light and new growth

Light and new growth

My original intention was to do a picture of “light”, but that seemed a bit pointless and then I noticed the new leaves just starting to grow on a tree in our yard! I love spring buds! Well, it is a month early this year, which actually isn’t that good, but there’s something refreshing and beautiful about fresh growth like this. And, of course, you can’t beat spring green—just about the prettiest color of green you can get!

3. Our animals, but especially our kitten

Our kitten

I like all of our different animals for a variety of reasons, most of them for what they give me (eggs, milk, meat, etc.), but I love our kitten. He’s got a great character except for the times he wants to play-fight, and loves curling up on your lap for a head scratch or a nap. He’s pretty fun to have around!

4. Flowers—even in the winter!

Flowers

I don’t know what kind of bush this is, but it’s right outside the laundry window. Adds such a cheery look to that side of the house, especially on rainy or chilly days! Of course, I love flowers at all times of the year, but in the winter it’s even more special.

5. Siblings

Book reading

Book reading 2

Playing in water

She poured the cat’s water from the yellow dish into the stainless cat dish, and then dumped the stainless dish—this is why her dress was all wet, Mom!

Technically, this doesn’t count because I already said yesterday that I’m thankful for them…but when they were so engrossed in their books this morning, I couldn’t help but take a couple pictures. I love these guys!

I’ve been working on getting more reviews up on the site today. I had them almost ready, just needed to get a few more things together. We’re currently on a streak of the latest movies that I’ve watched—and this will be the most movies I’ve ever put up in one row! Last time I did 4, the time before that 2, but this time we’ll have 9 in a row (the numbers keep doubling)! I doubt next time I’ll do 16 or 18 at once—that’s just a little much. I already have a couple more ready to watch or review, though…. On the line of thankfulness, I’m thankful for good movies to watch and be able to share with others!

O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” —Psalm 117

Psalm 117 is one of my favorite psalms. Isn’t it special that the shortest and the longest chapters of the Bible have to deal with praising the Lord and and walking according to His Word? He is so good to us!

What are you thankful for today?

P.S. One more thing I’m thankful for today: For a keyboard that copies and pastes correctly. My old keyboard worked perfectly except that the CTRL+C command rarely worked on the first try (control worked fine on its own, and C worked fine on its own…they just didn’t work together very well), which meant I ended up hitting it 3-6 times in order to do a simple copy. I recently got a new one in the hopes that it would work right, and it does! Now to retrain my fingers to only hit CTRL+C once….

Bicycles and Siblings (Photo Challenge day 3)

Today, several of my brothers went to a friend’s birthday party. This afternoon while they waited to go pick the boys up again, my two youngest brothers were outside playing so I got to snap a few pictures of them. I love looking back at pictures like this—moments in time. Even if they aren’t the best quality, they’re things that “will never be quite the same again” (to quote one of my favorite songs, We Have This Moment).

Let's go!

It's noisy out here....

These guys are growing up so fast. It’s so fun to watch them grow up, but sad, too. It’s sad that soon they’ll be too old to ask for a goodnight hug and kiss from me—nothing melts a big sister’s heart more than that! These guys are so precious.

Future mechanic?

Future mechanic? He’s trying to figure out why there’s a string in an odd place in the back.

You know, as I think of how fast the years have gone past since these guys were such little things, I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown as well in my faith. How much more Jesus means to me than He did back then.

Wanting out

THIS is why our windows don’t stay clean! And it’s also why it’s worth it to have dirty windows.

Please?

She wants out to play with her big brothers!

Road's too small

I found one my size!

Let's do this together!

Practicing for the real thing.

Just as we children love each other, God loves us. And just as they were waiting to leave to pick up our brothers, we’re all waiting for Jesus to come back.

Keep on keeping on while you wait. Don’t pause in the race to rest. I was listening to Pilgrim’s Progress today on my walk, and came across the place where the three men—Simple, Sloth, and Presumption—lay sleeping, and how they wouldn’t listen to Christian’s concern for them….don’t sleep in your Christian life! Keep on seeking Jesus, and walk the walk He’s laid out for you.

Toys! (Photo Challenge day 2)

Little sister came out to my room this morning as everyone else was doing school. She doesn’t do it often these days—it’s currently winter, and although the weather belies that fact, it is chilly outside most of the time so she doesn’t have many chances to escape the house. However, today it was warm enough to have the doors open and out she came!

Toys 01

She doesn’t say much, but today she announced something similar to “Toys!” and proceeded to dump the contents of the cardboard box I use as a toybox on the floor. Usually she asks me to get it out for her, and generally only pulls a few things out before rediscovering the books and forgetting about the other animals and blocks. However, she played for forty-five minutes or so, both discussing the different books with me and playing with the animals. She seemed to enjoy herself.

Toys 02

And as I watched her from time to time, examining the nuances of the different books or playing with the different animals, I had to think how we really ought to be like that, too—appreciating the beauties of the world around us, even if it just comes from a common toybox. Being content with what we have, with what we’ve been promised in Christ. Not wishing to have any more now than our King wishes us to have right now (see the section on Passion and Patience in Pilgrim’s Progress).

Job 12:7-10 is a beautiful passage on the subject: “But ask now the beasts [or the little children?], and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

He cares for us! Isn’t that just wonderful?

Week 30: Last of July and Photo Challenge

The sun was shining brilliantly through my half-window this morning as I sat on my maroon-colored bedspread reading from Isaiah. It’s such a treat these days to have the sunshine, and even though we’ve had much more of that than cloudy days this winter, I still love the sun and its warmth. The call came for breakfast, so I blew my candles out and watched the smoke weave its way upward—sometimes thin, sometimes thick curls that can be seen but never touched, smelled but only enjoyed when the light hits it just right as it was this morning. It was a beautiful sight. And yes, I got into breakfast a little late because I stopped to enjoy the sight of the smoke. It truly was gorgeous; I’ve never seen it last as long as it did this morning!

The light is long gone now, swallowed by the clouds that occasionally spit a little rain but for the most part make it chilly and as such more pleasant to stay inside this evening than be out. As I sit again at my blue fold-up table this evening, looking over my last week and praying for wisdom for the week to come, music playing quietly in the background, I can’t help but think how privileged I am. That I can take time to enjoy things like candle smoke twisting in the morning sunlight, that I can even plan my week! So many don’t have this privilege, so many in poorer situations must fight day after day to just get a little food on the table. Many—like my Dad—work incredibly long hours, never complaining, while I sit at home and can use my time just about any way I please. I’m incredibly blessed. And I don’t want to ever forget that, sunshine or not.

Colossians 3:1-3

One thing I decided this morning was that this week I want to do a photo challenge again. I did one back in January, and that was pretty fun, and I want to do it again. This evening as it was getting dark I realized I hadn’t taken any pictures yet today! Well, my chosen subject for this week was “daily life”, and as I looked at my desk I realized I had a piece of my daily life in front of me: One of my memory verses. I copied it out onto some note paper a week or two ago, as a reminder to focus on the Lord alone, and it’s proven to be a great reminder over the days since then. I love verse two, especially.

Last week’s to-do list:

  1. Schedule book/movie reviews through the end of the month
  2. Read one book
  3. Set up some settings with Amazon and AbeBooks (done Thursday; this was something that’s taken me quite a while to do, but it’s a relief to have it done!)
  4. Do bookkeeping (done Wednesday)
  5. Respond to the emails that I haven’t replied to yet (done Tuesday and Wednesday)
  6. Finish an interview (done Tuesday)
  7. Do 45 min. of science and last day of history
Jonah 2:9

A reminder I keep in my planning folder; a verse I found one day while studying Jonah.

This week’s to-do list:

  1. Schedule reviews through the 31st
  2. Read The Destiny of a Galaxy
  3. Watch the DVD Fly Away Home (borrowed, so I ought to get it back)
  4. Read up/do practice tests for getting my learner’s driver license (it’s about time…)
  5. Sign up for another affiliate program
  6. Work through the website to-do list (mostly simple changes, but ones that I’ve been putting off for a while)
  7. Do some baking Friday!

What are your plans for the coming week? Enjoy the sunlight and more than that, keep looking to the Light of the world, Jesus!

Playing Hookey (and This Week’s Plans)

(Before I start, I thought you might like to know that Mom is currently running a giveaway for two books from one of our favorite authors! Details here.)

I realized yesterday afternoon as we were winding our way up the curves this side of a nearby river that I had completely spaced doing my normal “Sunday” post on my goals for the week. I had fun Sunday afternoon, during the time that I normally do my planning…I played two different board games with my siblings and we watched part of a movie together! In the end it really isn’t a problem, except that after a day in the city I wasn’t feeling particularly up to trying to figure out what I want (or need) to do this week. So it falls to Tuesday evening to tell you of this week’s goals.

As far as last week, I think I got almost everything done. Thankfully, I hadn’t planned much, and even though we were gone only 3 1/2 days in the end, it was still good to be able to relax and prepare to face the world again.

Last week’s list:

  1. Finish preparing this week’s newsletter (done Saturday)
  2. Do a little sewing (done Monday)
  3. Reply to/take care of K and S’ emails (S’ done Saturday; the other had to wait until this week because of the technical difficulties involved)
  4. Send this week’s newsletter (done Saturday)

This week’s list:

  1. Schedule book/movie reviews through the end of the month
  2. Read one book
  3. Set up some settings with Amazon and AbeBooks
  4. Do bookkeeping (keep forgetting to do this!)
  5. Respond to the emails that I haven’t replied to yet
  6. Finish an interview
  7. Do 45 min. of science and last day of history for the “school” work I’m currently working on

I think that’s it. Have a great week, folks, and keep your eyes on Jesus!

Planning: Second Week of July

Well, it’s already quite late, and I need to head off to bed but before I do so I wanted to do a quick recap of last week’s plans. This next week is going to be pretty busy, so I’m not planning to do much at all. And besides a few basics (like sending the newsletter), I’m probably not going to be online much either.

But as for last week’s plans…I went off the rails a bit last week! Instead of working like I probably should have done, I decided to watch a couple borrowed movies instead (ones that need to be returned, but I want to review first). Besides that, we had visitors one day, which cut into my time a little. It was wonderful to have them here, though—well worth the “lost” time! Also, I realized Friday that I hadn’t even looked at my plans all week. Hmm…wonder if the old adage “out of sight out of mind” had anything to do with not much being done? Must remember to look each day next time!

Last week’s list:

  1. Schedule book reviews through the 24th (done Saturday)
  2. Edit reviews doc 6 (done Thursday)
  3. Upload the four reviews that weren’t ready before now (two done Saturday; the other two need to wait because they aren’t quite ready yet)
  4. Send this week’s newsletter (done Saturday)
  5. Prepare next week’s newsletter (begun Saturday, but ran out of time to finish)
  6. Do bookkeeping
  7. Set up affiliate program payments
  8. Do some much-needed sewing!

This week’s list:

  1. Finish preparing this week’s newsletter
  2. Do a little sewing (has to be done Monday)
  3. Reply to/take care of K and S’ emails (need to remember to do this next Saturday when I’ll have a little time)
  4. Send this week’s newsletter

Okay, that’s all I think I need to remember later this week.

Have a great week, and keep serving Jesus!

My Plans for the First Week of July

As I sat at my blue collapsible table this evening, one wing propped open to give me a nice area to spread everything out on, I sipped my coffee and reviewed last month. There were a good number of things I got done in June, several that I didn’t even start, and a couple that were absolutely fun to do. The things that I didn’t touch were ones I really want to get done—need to do—but also ones that have grown to gigantic proportion in my mind so I haven’t even started tackling them. I want to work at them this month. At least get started on those hard things.

Most of the time, though, I get so focused on the urgent that I forget what’s really important—what I really ought to be doing. Finding the balance, between what needs to happen and what should happen is hard. I’m tired of just barely scraping by on my jobs. Tired of doing the absolute minimum for my commitments, making it look like I’m doing okay when underneath I really suspect I’m blowing most of my time. This month, I want to be different. So I’m dedicating it—rededicating it—to the Lord. Asking Him to use me and use my time to His glory. I want to be a tool. And this is the only way I know how to be a tool.

This doesn’t mean I won’t outline what needs to be done. This means that I’m saying “Here, Lord, this is what I believe I need to be doing now—should I do it? Or do You have something more important for me to focus on at the moment?”

Okay. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but that’s what I’ve been thinking over this evening.

Reading Sacred Allegories

From my phone this week: Little brother enjoys coming out to my room sometimes, and often picks up the copy of Sacred Allegories that a friend gave us. He loves the detailed pictures in it!

Last week’s to-do list:

  1. Reply to emails in inbox (done Monday, except there’s one in the inbox now that I want to respond to ASAP)
  2. Edit doc 22 (done Tuesday)
  3. Upload reviews in doc 22 (done Wednesday and Thursday)
  4. Catch up on writing reviews (done Wednesday)
  5. Spend 2 ½ hours on new theme (this is one of those monsters I haven’t conquered yet…but I want to!)
  6. Send weekly newsletter (done Saturday)
  7. Finish I Needed a Neighbour (done Saturday)
  8. Spend 15 min. researching I Am Not Skilled to Understand (yeah…another “monster”. I don’t know why.)

This week’s list:

  1. Schedule book reviews through the 24th (already up to the 13th, but I need to get a bit further ahead)
  2. Edit reviews doc 6
  3. Upload the four reviews that weren’t ready before now (several were just published recently or will be published soon, and I don’t like posting the reviews until the books are actually available)
  4. Send this week’s newsletter
  5. Prepare next week’s newsletter (next week might be a bit hit-and-miss because of other plans, so I want to be ready in advance)
  6. Do bookkeeping
  7. Set up affiliate program payments (for some reason, I’ve never finished this…I don’t know why)
  8. Do some much-needed sewing!

Well, this week looks set to be an interesting one. We’re expecting some visitors who just “happened” to come across us online while searching for long-lost relatives (we sort-of know the relatives; they live about 7-9 hours south of us and we’ve met the family twice), and they want to meet us. We’re looking forward to that!

What are your plans for the coming week?