Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"But to each one of us grace was given..."

Ephesians 4:7

We need to remember how Christ several times called a little child before His disciples as an example. Just as we don't expect an infant to carry his own weight, neither does God expect us to suddenly grow into sudden maturity. We can be perfect in our intent before God, but be far from accomplished in our results.

Here is an excerpt from an 1895 publication, "The Mother's Friend:"

"Give the child a chance. Suppose he has not done exactly right. Perhaps he has seen his error, and is sorry for it, but has not come to the point of expressing his repentance. Wait a little. Do not nip the tender bud of regret by the harsh breath of blame. Think how patient God is with you. Think how all the laws of His great household are made with a view to children's development, their growth in all spiritual perfections."

"A partnership with 'God is motherhood.

What strength, what purity, what self-control,

What love, what wisdom, should belong to her

Who helps God fashion an immortal soul!"


"An apple tree needs time to mature before its limbs can carry the weight of a ripe fruit."

Dr. Henry Cloud

"You cannot judge a person, like a tree, by only one season. The essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all seasons are up. If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, and the fulfillment of your fall. Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don't judge life by one difficult season. Work, live, and love with passion all your seasons." George M. Najjai

"The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience the joy in life."

"As long as we live we have a work to do. We shall never be too old for it, nor too feeble. Illness, weakness, fatigue, sorrow, --none of these things can excuse us from this work of ours. That we are alive today is proof positive that God has something for us to do today."Anna R.B. Lindsay

"Life grows and ripens, Love builds a nest...

Sunshine and storm, and rainbow; toil and rest."

Mrs. McVean-Adams

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Love of God

"God is love."

I John 4:7-8

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world,

but that the world should be saved through Him."

John 3:16-17

The very essence of love is choice. To love God is to choose Him. God chose to love us and made a way to save us. There is no one outside His love, the "whosoevers" of the world. The sad truth is most reject His free gift. God woos us, His prevenient grace, as a lover of our soul. He makes His Presence known in our life as He pursues us with His love. Many run from this grace, afraid of what love demands, intimacy with God, not so much from the revealing of His character, but hiding our true character as Adam & Eve did in the Garden. Sometimes it is because we do not want to give up our other loves, our fear of submission to true love and all that exclusive love demands. He becomes the holy Hound of Heaven in pursuit of our heart. A hardened heart is the saddest outcome for anyone who rejects His love. He gives the parable of the wedding feast where all are invited, but many refuse. One who comes is rejected because he does not come in wedding clothes, treating disdainfully what love requires, the beauty of holiness.

Then we become His elect, His chosen, His called ones when we respond to His love. "Those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." (Rev. 17:14) He has offered His love to the whole world, but He knew, as another characteristic of His Godness, foreknowledge, who would become His. Foreknowledge is not the same as determination. Just because God knows who will choose Him, doesn't mean He forces some to salvation, some to damnation. Predestined is the setting in which God made it possible through Christ for us to become His: He predetermined a way of salvation from the foundation of the world. To be predestined, foreknown, means that love made all the suffering worth it, that some would choose Him. He knows some will, but love is such, that it was still our free will that responded. Humanly, the opposite of love when forced upon someone is called rape or to ignore or leave an object of love is abandonment. God is not guilty of either because He leaves the offer up to us with free will without forcing Himself on us or leaving others, as some believe, left without hope, predestined to hell.

He woos us, engages us as His chosen ones, and we become His bride. In baptism we die to all our other passions, sins, and are raised up to a new life with Him. There are certain aspects to a love life with Christ. First, we ABIDE with Him. We are in constant fellowship, as close to the Garden as we can have in this life. God lives in our heart. We become one with Him. Secondly, we have INTIMACY with Him. New brides may think it is all about them, but as we mature, we grow in our love to a deeper commitment of love. The struggle for control is surrendered. We are sanctified, set apart, for an intimate relationship with the Lover of our soul. He is able to reveal things to us we could not have handled until now because we trust Him in everything. When the curtain was torn in two in the temple, we have access to the Holy of Holies where we can approach the throne of grace with boldness. But the torn curtain also means we recognize nothing is hidden from God's sight of us as well: we see the need of our heart to be cleansed and filled with His Spirit, set apart for His use, sanctification.

February is on the horizon, the month we celebrate love. Come to the author of Love, fall in love with Him. Abide with Him in the intimacy He offers. He is your knight in shining armor coming on His white horse to your rescue. "Faithful and True" are written on His robes. (Rev. 19:11) He is preparing a marriage supper of the Lamb.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;

Sing the glory of His name;

Make His praise glorious.

Say to God 'How awesome are Thy works!'

...Come and see the works of God..."

-Psalm 66:1-5

Counting my blessings, I think of some of the awesome places I have unpacked my bags. Trying to repack though with collected souvenirs, the suitcase must be bouncingly sat upon to try to fasten the locks. So with memories: they spill out refusing to be contained. Here are a few souvenirs of my life I've collected...

Morro Bay, Avila Beach, Moonstone Beach, Cambria, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Montana de Oro, Canon Beach, Harris State Beach, Crescent City, Eureka, Laguna Beach, whales, sea lions, otters, dophins, sea shells, dune buggies, deep sea fishing, Pasadena, Hunington Beach, Disneyland, Jedidiah Smith State Park, Weaverville, Trinity Lake, Trinity River & Pigeon Point, Eureka, Yreka, Palm Springs, Solvang, Yosemite, Sonora, "Ramona" outdoor theater, Lake Shasta, Crater Lake, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Tahoe, fall leaves, crystal water, snow scapes, pine needles, horse back riding, rafting, scolding red squirrels, rattlers, deer, racoons, salmon...

Sisters, Bend, Silver Falls, Canon Beach, Harris State Beach, porpoises, puffins, doreys, Roseburg, Medford, Ashland, Lithia Park, Multnomah Falls, Astoria, Fort Clatsup and Lewis, zip lines, waterfalls, redwoods, azeleas, "misty, moisty mornings," bagpipers, more elk, more river rafting...

Lake City, Silverton, Telluride, Ouray, Engineer Pass, Aspen, Creede, above timberline, dipper birds, conies, marmets, beavers, deer, elk, bear, big horn sheep, jeeps, tents, aspen, camp fires, fried trout, historic churches, family, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Lake Louise, Banff, Victoria Island, ferry rides, natural history museums, bagpipers, Calgary, Glacier Park, rocky mountain goats, more elk, bison, deep snow...

Lake of the Ozarks, Silver City, Hannibal, canoes, aluminum fishing boats, paddles, minnoes, trolling motors, arrowheads, whooping cranes, bass, learning to swim, Kansas City Swope Park, "Oklahoma" and "Porgy & Bess" outdoor theater, tornado skies, hail, thunder storms, the Alamo, the San Antonio River Walk, fried catfish, & hushpuppies, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Canyonlands, Navajo reservation, garnets, turquoise, fry bread, Lake Powell, Hoover Dam, ocean cruise to Cabo San Luis, whales, sea turtles, and lava cakes...

"The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

-Robert Lewis Stevenson

Beauty is written in indelible grace upon my heart.

"Look with heart sight as well as eyesight."

-Lilias Trotter

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed,

and to have my senses put in order."

-John Burroughs

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."

-Saint Augustine

"This is my Father's world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world,

I rest me in the thought

of rocks and trees and skies and seas

His hand the wonders wrought."

-old hymn

"I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel."

Exodus 16:12

The worst daily aggravation of parenting is the constant whining. I really need to stop it.

Just kidding, sort of, anyway. It wears on our nerves until we can grumble with the best of them. One of my most blessed moments of motherhood was when I took my two boys shopping with their allowance. They were so excited, waiting all month for their big payday. I had driven all the way into the next town before I realized I had left my purse at home. There was nothing else to do but to turn around and go home with no time left to make another trip for the day. I apologized to the boys, and they were perfectly quiet, not one complaint. It was so humbling while I was mumbling that I just about doubled their allowances, not really, but I was so grateful for their good attitudes when I blew it.

"They did not believe in His Word, but grumbled in their tents..." Psalm 106:24-25

God was not so fortunate with His children. They griped, they complained, they murmured. They even grumbled about not having leeks and onions. (I think if I had been in the wilderness forty years, I would have been fussing about no coke machines or chocolate.) God was so sick of hearing their complaining that some were consumed by His anger. When God heard them complaining in their tents, He decided that they were not fit to enter the Promised Land. That whole generation died in the wilderness except two, Joshua and Caleb.

"Save our blessings, Master, save

From the blight of thankless eyes..."

John Keble

"Nothing so hinders us in what we are doing as to be longing after something else; in so doing, we leave off tilling our own field, to drive the plough through our neighbor's land, where we must not look to reap a harvest; and this is mere waste of time. If our thoughts and hopes are elsewhere, it is impossible for us to set our faces steadily towards the work required of us."

St. Francis De Sales

"One thing is indisputable: the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character.

Lucy C. Smith

"Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life."

Alexander Maclaren

Joy is not the absense of suffering, but the presence of God."

"There is always, always, always, something to be thankful for."

Friday, January 27, 2012

One of my very favorite poems ...

"Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes--

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Growing up taking family trips to the mountains of Colorado, I saw so much of "earth crammed with heaven," and every aspen "afire with God," that I knew the awe of the beauty of God's world. In contrast, I also saw the insignificance of man's best efforts, ghost towns where some of the richest men in the world made and lost their fortunes: I've sat in the frail skeleton of a hotel at timberline barely standing after 100 years weathered in the extreme elements which the man who once owned the Hope Diamond had built. I've seen landslides with boulders as large as small cabins come crashing down mountain sides resulting in moving walls of mud and rocks wiping out roads swallowing cars in its pathway. God is great. Man is small. Don't miss moments on holy ground. Most of us are content to merely pluck at His blessings filling our appetites with ungrateful hearts, not recognizing the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

"To see a world in a grain of sand,

And heaven is a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour."

William Blake, 1757-1827

"Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough...

and nature has a great simplicity and therefore a great beauty."

"Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst..."

Rober Frost, 1874-1963

A holy ground moment one of my granddaughter's had at age seven...

Ella: "Mom, Jesus made me happy at chapel."

Amy: "How?"

Ella: "I don't know, I was singing a song and all of a sudden I just felt really happy because of Him. I just couldn't stop smiling."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Lord, make my heart a place where angels sing!

For surely thoughts low-breathed by Thee

Are angels gliding near on noiseles wings;

And where a home they see

Swept clean, and garnished with adoring joy,

They enter in and dwell,

And teach that heart to swell

With heavenly melody, their own untired employ."

John Keble

"Let your heart and desires continually hold converse with God,

in heartfelt simplicity."

Gerhard Tersteegen

"Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."

Ephesians 5:19

Last time when we took the boys to Colorado, we took them on a tour of a small mine. Thousands of miners sought their fortune there before the turn of the century. There was no panning for gold in those mountains. It must be dynamited and dug out of the granite burrowing tunnels deep into the rocky depths. Along with the miner's helmets, axes, ore carts, and candles, there was a bird cage as a regular piece of mining equipment.

Once during a time of ill health, stress, and depression, I was in a dark pit. A guest pastor once spoke of the miners' practice of taking a canary down into the shaft. If the bird quit singing, it was their alarm: poisonous gas could rob it of life and song before the men were likewise affected. Is the Holy Spirit keeping a song alive in your heart? If not, is there something poisonous that has crept in? I discovered, even in the midst of physical or situational darkness, I could have a singing in my soul.

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had..."

Edgar Watson, 1911

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

B. Anerbach

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

an example of God's sense of humor...

George Whitefield, an evangelist instrumental in revivals in America and the British Isles in the 1700's, was preaching in Scotland. A poor widow had her furniture taken by a landlord and needed a certain amount to redeem them. Whitefield was filled with compassion and gave almost all he had to help her. His companion chided him since he had very little for himself. Riding to the next town, they were victims of a highway robbery. It was Whitefield's turn to poke his friend saying that wasn't it better that the widow had his money than the robber. Then the robber came back and demanded Whitefield's coat. The exchange was made and Whitefield wore the criminal's tattered cloak. Seeing the robber returning once again, they goaded their horses and fortunately gained the safety of some houses. Once inside, Whitefield sat down and found that the robber's coat pocket was bulging: it was filled with a considerable amount of money! Doubtless, it went to support the orphans in Georgia he sponsored.

"If someone wants to...take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well."

Matthew 5:10

"I dearly love a laugh. I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims, and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them wherever I am."

Jane Austin, 1813 "Pride and Prejudice"

Once her main character made fun inappropriately at a poor widow, and she was reprimanded,
"Badly done, Emma, badly done!"

Jane Austin, "Emma"

"The kiss of the sun for pardon.

The song of the birds for mirth.

One is nearer God's heart

In a garden

Than anywhere else on earth."

"The earth laughs in flowers."

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows."


"Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth."

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,

and your lips with shouts of joy."

Job 8:21

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under His feet.

He mounted the cherubim and flew;

He soared on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness His covering, His canopy around Him--

the dark rain clouds of the sky.

Out of the brightness of His presence clouds advanced,

with hailstones and bolts of lightning.

The Lord thundered from heaven."

Psalm 18:9-13

a beautiful day of sunshine and rain...

"I saw the lovely arch

of rainbow span the sky,

The gold sun burning

As the rain swept by."

Elizabeth Coatsworth

and a lovely sunset tonight...

Little Laura's poem at 7 ,

"Oh, when I sing in the sunset,

I sing a lullaby to myself.

It grows into the night."

When Jay was small he saw a beautiful sunset and said,

"It's just the angels coming down at night."

"What is the chief end of man?

To glorify God

and enjoy Him forever."

Westminster Confession, 1647

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing something beautiful

for beauty is God's handwriting."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

God receives my praise for the His beauty written in the sky,

a hint of heaven above.

"Hope appears on the horizon each morning

in the form of a brand new day."

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.

Do not let the pain make you hate.

Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.

Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,

you still believe it to be a beautiful place."

"There are two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Simple pleasures...

A recipe I want to try:

Place a Rolo candy on a mini pretzel .

Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake 350 for 3 min.

Immediately press on pecan on top.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"She smiles at the future."

Proverbs 31:25

"Don't worry about the future,

The present is all thou hast.

The future will soon be present,

And the present will soon be past."

"Life is not measured by the breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away."

"Enjoy the little things in life...

for one day you'll look back and realize

they were the big things."

Robert Brault

Blessings on all you precious souls who lived sacrifically in January to send special prayers to God. The last chapter has not been written yet with what God has done with those. Smile at the future knowing God is in control!

However, now our hearts are turned to love...

of food!

Yippy Skippy!

Here are some recipes I've been saving to try...

Soda Can Cupcakes:

1 box of cake mix + 1 can of soda.

Difference combo ideas: choc + diet coke/orange or cherry + vanilla, etc.

French Dip Crescent Rolls:

2 pkg crescent rolls

8 count (1 lb) deli roast beef

4oz provolone or swiss cheese sliced & cut in 16 pieces

Layer & roll & bake 375 for 11-13 min.

Serve with au jus.

Southern Living Triple Chocolate Cake: (from Gayle Meredith)

makes 2 9" cakes

1 pkg devil's food cake mix

1 3.9 pkg choc. instant pudding mix

2 c. sour cream

1 c. butter

5 lg. eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups semi-sweet choc. morsels divided

1 c. white choc. morsels

1 c. chopped pecans toasted

Beat first 6 ingredients at low speed 30 sec. or until moistened;

bead at med. 2 min.

Stir in 2 c. semi-sweet choc. morsels;

Pour batter evenly into 2 greased & floured 9" square cake pans

Bake 350 for 25 min.

Microwave white choc. morsels in glass bowl 30-60 sec. till melted;

stir every 30 seconds then drizzle over cake.

Repeat with remaining choc. chips.

Sprinkle with pecans.

This is a delicious dense choc. cake!

Breakfast Bread:

1 loaf of sweet french bread

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 c. chopped pecans

2 T. powdered sugar

1 c. whipped cream

4 eggs

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

12 oz rasberry preserves or fresh

Cut loaf into 8 slices

Create a pocket in each slice by inserting knife making a cut that doesn't go all the way thru.

Mix cream cheese with pecans, cinnamon, powdered sugar . Stuff each bread slice with cream cheese mixture. In another bowl beat eggs, whipped cream, nutmeg & vanilla together. Dip stuffed bread slices into egg mixture then brown in a bit of butter in skillet. Add fresh raspberries or preserves & pecan halves & powdered sugar.

Fortunately, reading recipes is kind of like watching the food channel for me. I'm too lazy to get up and make it, otherwise I would be a whale!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rainy Days

The other night, late, we made our way home from our neighbors down the block

in the middle of a downpour in the blowing rain,

with wind whipping our wet coats about our cold, soaked legs

It was exhilerating!

Once inside in the warm house, we hung

Wet jackets from every knob

and got into our snuggly warm PJ's

like overgrown kids.

It was a perfectly wild night with the rain beating against the windows.

"Wild nights! Wild nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild nights should be

Our luxury

Futile the winds

To a heart in port..."

Emily Dickinson

For a rainy day Sunday...

"For after all,

the best thing one can do

when it is raining

is let it rain."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nice things about a rainy day...

"my little dog--a heartbeat at my feet."

Edith Wharton

Toes kept warm by a flickering fire,

Children happily playing closer at hand,

Comfort food heating us from the inside,

Looking forward to a continued Victorian series to be aired tonight,

A good book,


When I was a young girl on a rainy day, I liked to sit by my mother on the piano bench swinging my feet while she played old spirituals like "I got shoes, you got shoes, all God's chillen got shoes. When I get to heaben goin' put on my shoes and goin' to walk all over God's heaben, heaben..." I thought about those slave children wishing for shoes thinking of their mud-caked feet. When my daughter Robin was a preschooler she made up her own song, "When I get to heaven, I'm going to wave my purse around and buy myself a crown..." That's not quite how it will be, but it will be beyond our wildest dreams with all those things we lacked forgotten. Al's grandmother Laura was so poor that sometimes there were no shoes for her. She couldn't go to church, but said, "I made sure the children had shoes so they could go to church and school." Our children's adopted Grandpa Paul in Yreka told how they were so poor in the Depression that he had no shoes and couldn't go to school: to remedy this, his aunt gave him a spare pair of her heels so he could go. Maybe a good rainy day thing to do is to count our blessings.

"There shall be showers of blessing."

Ezekiel 34:26

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Commit thy works unto the Lord

Genesse Home, a historic brick house restored for use as a retreat for pastors and wives.

"Commit thy works unto the Lord."
-Proverbs 16:3

Did you know that the fairy tale of the three little pigs is found in Scripture? Well, close enough. "Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it...will test the quality of each man's work" (I Cor. 3:12-13) So when the big, bad wolf comes huffing and puffing, what we have built on the foundation of Jesus will be revealed.

A wise woman once said, "What does the Lord require of you? To do first the things that only you can do, to be the wife to your husband, the mother to your children, the daughter to your parents." Micah 6:8 says, "What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God." But if God has put precious stones, gold, or silver in your hands, by all means build! Go for the gold and give up the hay and straw. What do those things represent in your life? What gifts has He given you? Your children are precious jewels. What meaningless chaff, straw, do you need to let go of?

"Thy love within, Thy heaven before me!
-Wolfgang C. Dessler

Whatever you do, add a piece of heaven, something eternal, in your work.

For me, it may mean writing or art or other means for blessing others with His Word. Once all is said and done, however, the increase is up to God. "So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth," I Cor. 3:7. This is where commiting our works to God comes in. Do your best and leave Him the rest.

"Are we doing God's will? We do not mean, Are we doing God's work?
--preaching, or teaching... but God's will...
a man may be doing God's work and God's will quite as much
by hewing stones or sweeping streets, as by preaching...
Are we working out our common every
day life on the great lines of God's will?
-Henry Drummond

"I delight to do Thy will, O my God..."
-Psalm 40:8

"A man of words and not of deeds,
Is like a garden full of weeds."
-nursery rhyme

"I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty,
but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging
as any honorable profession in the world
and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it."
-Rose Kennedy

"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered
by anyone to this country is to bring up a family."
-George Bernard Shaw

"Do all the good you can,
In all the ways you can,
To all the people you can,
In every place you can
As long as you can."

"When our eyes see our hands
doing the work of our hearts,
the doors of our souls fly open
and love steps forth to heal
everything in sight."

"It seems to me we can never give up longing
and wishing while we are alive.
There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good,
and we must hunger for them."
-George Eliot

That is what a piece of eternity may look like, something of beauty that leaves a heart hunger for more that points them to heaven, like the glitter that reflects off a diamond.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dereliction or Dereliction of Duty?

Dereliction or Dereliction of Duty?

"Lips that touch wine

will never touch mine!"

-Judge Stephens's mother

Al's grandmother Laura Fairless raised by her mother and full blood Cherokee grandmother in a bar in Kansas City, made sure her husband vowed at marriage that he would never bring hard liquor home. During our seminary days in Kansas City, we tried to spend every Sunday afternoon with her, and listened to her stories. She recalled being saved at age four standing up on a cracker barrel at one of Billy Sunday's street services giving her heart to Jesus. However, during the Depression when her husband brought a Progressive Farmer customer of his home one night and pulled out a bottle of whiskey to share, the meek mother of eleven went quietly up to her room, let down her braids that fell to the floor and, without even unbraiding then, took her scissors and cut them off. When her husband saw her bobbed hair, he cried like a baby. Grandma Fairless stated in her quiet, but firm way, "He never brought alcohol home again.

Unfortunately, alcohol still stole from her children, and many battled alcoholism. One daughter as a beautiful teenager was walking home from the movies with a date when he hit her on the head with his beer bottle and raped her. Unknown to them, scar tissue formed and put pressure on her brain causing her to go insane. The Arkansas state mental hospital was no picnic in the forties and fifties. They gave her an operation, separating her brain to wipe out the traumatic experience, also wiping out all her early memories and learning. She had to learn how to walk, talk, and read again, all unnecessary if they had known about the scar tissue pressure.
Another aunt died from a "hangover-the-toilet" from ingesting vomit into her lungs while drunk.

On one vacation when I was about ten years old, my father pulled off the road and took us up on a hillside to have a family talk. This had never happened before and we knew it was serious. He told us of his childhood being raised by a violent alcoholic father. There were times when his father would go to sleep with a knife under his pillow with his stated goal of stabbing his entire family to death. Once police jumped him from behind when he had his family lined up on the front porch threatening to shoot them. His drunken driving nearly killed them as they took picked produce to market going from one ditch on one side of the road to the next on the other. While my father was away in Italy serving in World War II, his mother was killed when she ran from another beating into a road where she was hit by a car. He was scarred for life, but impressed us all for his hatred for alcohol and the reasons why.

After raising three children, we became foster parents, then adoptive parents. Our two young sons have been terribly scarred by the effects of alcohol and drug abuse. Our youngest was born with drugs in his system. What is too little known is that fetal alcohol has a more damaging effect while pregnant than drugs. They will have life-long challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally because of it and most likely will need medicine their entire lives. Alcohol is the number one cause of PREVENTABLE birth defects. 5,000 FAS babies are born every year and 65,000 are born with FES a year, a milder but serious form of birth defects. This creates a tremendous burden on families, schools, and medical care. Unfortunately, a majority of women do not realize when they become pregnant. Drinking during the earliest stages of pregnancy can cause the most damage. Remember, alcohol is a poison that goes directly to a develping fetus.

Alcoholism is responsible for more family problems than any other single factor. Crime and violence are associated with alcoholism including incest and battery (30% of father-daughter incest involve alcohol). 75% of domestic violence is due to the influence of alcohol. One third of American adults (56 million) say that alcohol abuse brought trouble to his or her family. One half of Americans age 12 and older drink alcohol (109 million). One out of four children younger than eighteen is exposed to alcohol abuse living with an alcoholic family. Statistics out this week is that binge drinking is on the rise, one out of six American adults. About thirteen million are heavy drinkers, highest use among 21-25 year olds. 80% of College presidents surveyed site alcohol abuse as their number one problem. In 2005, the health costs for the US was 220 billion (compare combating cancer, 196 billion). 31% of car accidents in 2008 were alcohol related. In 2004, 42,836 traffic fatalities were the result of drunk drivers. 65% of us in America will be involved in an alcohol related accident in our lifetime. 100,000 alcohol related deaths occur annually, one third of the leading cause of preventable mortality (after tobacco and diet/activity patterns). Chronic brain injury, second only to Alzheimer's, due to alcohol is known cause of mental retardation in adults. Three million teens, 14-17, are alcoholics. Half a million ages 9-12 are addicted to alcohol. 18.3 million adults are heavy drinkers while 12.1 million have symptoms of alcoholism, a 8.2% increase since 1980. In Australia where 85% of all adults drink, the average cost is $400 a year per adult, which in and of itself puts a burden on the family. Do any of these statistics touch your life? Does this make alcohol attractive?

I am so glad I belong to a church that takes a stand on alcohol with total abstinence. With drinking on the rise in our nation, so do social issues hurting the family. What about social drinking when someone doesn't have a problem? Here is my reasoning: after reading the following damage done by alcohol to the body, is this something you want to put in your body?

It is a poison not natural fruit of the vine or hop: it is ethanol (sound familiar? gasoline.). Ethanol is the intoxicating ingredient in wine, beer and hard liquor which is a central nervous system depressant. It is in the same drug family as anesthetics and tranquilizers. Alcohol needs no digestion and once in the blood stream it diffuses into every biological tissue of the body taking only moments to reach the brain. Worse, what kind of example is this to your family? Even though you say you may have no problem social drinking, your spouse or children may not be able to have that same control. You in fact are telling them that "responsible" drinking is okay, while their bodies may not be able to stop at responsible. You are supporting an industry that makes billions off of people's weakness, a weakness that may affect those you love most.

Another factor of "being under the influence," is the question as a Christian, under whose influence are you under? Give the enemy of your soul an inch and he'll take a mile. If ethanol immediately is dispersed throughout your body, is one drink exempt from being under the influence? One of the worst affects of alcohol is the losing of inhibitions. Though some think this enables them in social situations, Virginia Tech. says while under the influence, cognitive abilities are affected by even small amounts, most vulnerable: memory, attention, REM sleep, coordination, and JUDGEMENT ("regrettable sex" when under the influence or unsafe-sex --including homosexual activity--). While a few drinks might dull inhibitions and anxiety over sexual activity, larger doses, .06%, will lead to loss of sensation, inability to reach orgasm, and temporary impotence. Besides impairing motor coordination, the inhibitions removed also makes you say and do inappropriate things.

The bottle often times becomes "the other woman" in a marriage, the most important significant other chosen over the spouse. Sometimes it becomes the anethesia to numb out undealt with emotional pain.

Another article said the first part of the brain alcohol affects is the cerebrum, the sense, speech, understanding and judgement. It depresses the part of the brain that normally inhibits or controls activities and emotions. The drinker feels liberated from moral and legal restrictions. It causes exhilaration and loss of inhibitions, depresses brain functions resulting in slurred speech, unsteady walk, blurry vision, loss of co-ordination. One only feels like skills improve because judgement is impaired. Various exaggerations of emotions go from violence and aggressiveness to tearfulness and withdrawal in others. The body may protect itself by passing out. Alcohol in any amount destroys brain cells which are irreplaceable.

I know that my children with our family history have little chance of a happy life if alcohol becomes a part of it. I'm a tea-totaling mama! When I was in high school in Morro Bay, there were probably three of us, in my graduating class who didn't drink and/or do drugs in my graduating class. I know that it means a social life that stands alone sometimes, but I have no regrets.

There is finally the argument about the weaker brother. I know there are many Christians who drink in our community, but I know that it is hindering their witness with other new Christians, some who are fighting the battle to overcome alcohol abuse. Is a social drink worth that to you? The weaker brother or sister could be sitting by you in the pew or sitting with you at your own dinner table.

Health Effects to the Body of Alcohol Consumption according to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Virginia Tech Report...

*Arthritis: increases the risk of arthritis

*Cancer: increases risk in liver, pancreas, rectum, breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.

*Fetal Alcohol: leading cause of PREVENTABLE birth defects with physical and behavioral abnormalities.

*Heart Diseases: raises blood pressure, blood lipids, and risk of stroke and heart disease in heavy drinkers.

*Hyperglycemia: raises blood glucose.

*Hypoglycemia: lowers blood glucose, especially in diabetics.

*Kidney Disease: enlarges the kidneys, alters hormone function and increases risk of kidney failure.

*Liver Damage: causes fatty liver, liver alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis (liver can only process 1/2 oz an hour).

*Malnutrition: increases risk of protein-energy malnutrition. Alcohol is empty calories. Unused energy fuel is stored as fat while nutrients are unable to be absorbed.

*Nervous Disorders: neuropathy, dementia, impairs balance, and memory. Adulteration and death of brain cells.

*Psychological: causes depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

*Heart: even a small amount can be harmful to the heart: can progressively destroy heart muscle so heart can't pump efficially and also starves the heart by decreasing blood flow in the coronary articles. Increased rate of hypertension, fat levels in the blood can be raised by alcohol. Calories create obesity and greater chance of heart disease.

*Immune System: impairs immune system, the ability to fight infectious disease, more colds, long term susceptibility to infectious disease and cancer.

*Circulatory System: decreased blood pressure, pulse, and respiration while under the influence. Long term, chronic high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy (deteriation of the heart muscle)

*Skeletal-Muscular: can reduce muscle mass in heavy doses.

*Alcohol can cause hair loss, affect night vision and depth perception.

*Difference in Men and Women: Women have less water and more body fat then men, and it is absorbed differently. Women also have less of a stomach enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach, thus are intoxicated more than a man of similar size with the same amount taken.

*Reproductive System: can lead to infertility in men and impotence. In women, estrogen metabolism in the liver is decreased boosting estrogen levels in the body. Can cause menstrual irregularities and potetially infertility.

*Digestive System: alcohol can damage cells lining the stomach and intestines which can block the absorption and break down of nutrients. Can cause anemia. Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining inducing gastritis (inflamation of the stomach lining), ulcers and acid reflux, can erode stomach lining and cause chronic blood seepage into the stomach.

Finally, alcohol can be lethal in large doses causing alcohol poisoning or ingestion while vomiting (like Al lost his aunt), or prove deadly in a vehicle. One out of five alcoholics who attempt to stop drinking dies when not under medical care from the DT's.

Sum of Virginia Tech Study:

Alcohol can become addictive, lead to alcoholism. Prolonged use causes memory loss, personality changes, increased susceptibility to diseases, cancer, alcohol hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver (what my grandfather died from), high blood pressure, heart disease, reduced muscle mass, and anemia. Drinking while pregnant can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation and physical abnormalities.

A drunk driver kills one person every thirty nine minutes and injures one person every two minutes.

Does a drink still sound romantic? Any comments?

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:15-18

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Make Allowance

Make allowance

I remember vividly my first allowance purchase. Having saved diligently, I walked to the old corner grocery store in Lawrence, Kansas, plunked my quarters down and bought my personal can of Hershey's syrup! After piercing it with those triangle can opener holes, I could drink to my heart's content, which I found could be satiated more quickly than I had imagined. The can lasted awhile, crusting over on the top. I must admit, the greater joy came in the greedy pride of having it in my sole possession. It undoubtably was forgotten and tossed before I drank it dry.

Later purchases included a mail order doll, a cheaper knock off of a "Ginny" doll. The angel pair of figurines I purchased for my mother are now a sentimental and lovely part of my Christmas decorations: I must say, I had great taste by age eight. Later came my first yard sale bargain at age ten, a wooden tool box that had crossed the plains to California in a covered wagon. It has been my coffee table for the past thirty-eight years of our marriage.

I began babysitting full time summers and Christmas vacations for $20 a week by age 11. With this hard-earned cash, I subscribed to "American Heritage" hardback periodical, strange, studious child I was. Finally, after a full summer of childcare at age 13, I purchased a single plane ticket for my own personal vacation to my aunt's house in Santa Cruz. Chocolate, dolls, bisque figurines, antique objects with patina, and a love of history and travel are still a few of my favorite things.

My last two boys still at home had me as their personal shopper until more recently since I know how to stretch their bucks thrift store shopping. Now they are the ones learning to save, put their money together, and carefully plot, plan, or blow it on candy and wait till the next month's allowance day.

God has made huge allowance for us called grace, unearned and even undeserved. It is up to us to use it wisely.

"For of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
-John 1:16

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord

"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord;

the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

so are the children of one's youth.

How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;

when they speak with their enemies in the gate."

-Psalm 127:3-5

"If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum."

-Chinese proverb

"When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen.

When they're finished, I climb out."

-Erma Bombeck

"I love little children, and it is not a slight thing when they, who are fresh from God, love us."

-Charles Dickens

Today my four year old granddaughter Madylen sang,

Twinkle, twinkle little star, like a giant in the sky!"

My ten month old granddaughter Addie took her first step today!

They grow up in a blink! With six children and fourteen grandchildren (and one on the way), I have earned my stripes. If I had it to do over again, I would enlist again in the proud ranks of motherhood. Every baby born is a sign that God hasn't given up on the human race. He loves babies so much, He sent His only Son as a baby.

Susannah Wesley born in 1669 bore nineteen children. Nine died in infancy including two sets of twins (one child died when accidently smothered by the maid). She taught her children beginning at age five, first conquering the alphabet in one and a half days, then on to read Genesis 1, spending six hours a day in her classroom. Her children were to taught to be courteous in speech and to cry softly. Each child had one hour each week for undivided attention. For her own devotions, she threw her apron over her head in the kitchen, and the children knew not to disturb her. I salute her as a general in the ranks of motherhood. Her rules for raising her children show a lot of wisdom.

1. Devise a regular routine of living in our lives: daily family and personal devotions and regular meal and school times.

2. Develop consistent and proper study habits.

3. Teach proper manners: eat, drink at the table, seated properly, quietly wait for meal blessing.

4. Unfailing courtesy, especially with siblings.

5. You receive nothing you cry or whine for.

6. Praise all acts of obedience and acts of respect.

7. Respect the Lord's Day Sabboth.

8. Teach purity of language--no slang terms.

9. Recognize and accept differences in personality and ability.

10. Assign regular and consistent family chores.

11. Accept that problems and interruptions will occur.

12. Maintain proper priority of work and study.

13. Accept responsibilities for the education of children at home.

14. Conquer the will of your children, not the Spirit.

15. Maintain consistent discipline.

To this list she added...

*Encourage open confessions and forgiveness of wrongs and praise all acts of obedience.

*Allow no sinful act to go unpunished.

*Never bring up past offenses.

* Accept intention over perfect performance.

*No indulgences of self will can be trivial, no denial unprofitable; heaven or hell depends on this alone. A parent who studies to subdue it in his child works together with the Lord in the renewing and saving of their soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil's work, makes religion impractical, salvation unattainable, and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body, forever.

She goes on with more specific advice:

1. Eating between meals not allowed.

2. Children in bed by 8pm.

3. Children required to take medicine without complaining.

4. Subdue self-will in a child and those working together with God to save the child's soul.

5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.

6. Require all to be still during family worship.

7. Give them nothing that they cry for and only that when asked for politely.

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.

9. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.

10. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

11. Comment and reward good behavior.

12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.

14. Strictly observe all promises.

15. Require no daughters to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.

"I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England."

-John Wesley

"When we are available to our children it says, 'You are important.' And when we're not available it says, 'Oh, yes, I love you, but other things still come ahead of you. You are not really that important." Josh McDowell

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jay's first prayer

June 9, 1079
A boy from the '70's!

Jay's first prayer, "Eat, amen!"

When he was a toddler and waxed eloquently,
"Dear God, we have two pennies and love in our heart for you."

"Just as in prayer it is not we who momentarily catch His attention, but He ours, so when we fail to hear His voice, it is not because He is not speaking so much as that we are not listening."
-Charles H. Brent

"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the Lord."
-Psalms 27:14

Addie and Ezra not thrilled to be at the ballpark for their sister's game.

"The whole duty and blessedness of waiting on God has in its root in this, that He is such a blessed Being, full, to overflowing, of goodness and power and life and joy, that we, however wretched, cannot for any time come into contact with Him, without that life and power secretly, silently, beginning to enter into us and blessing us. God is Love! God's love is just His delight to impart Himself and His blessedness to His children."
-Andrew Murray

You've got a Friend.

"Do like a child and lean and rest
Upon thy Father's arm;
Pour out thy troubles on His breast,
And thou shalt know no harm;
Then shalt thou by His hand be brought,
By way which now thou knowest not,
Up through a well-fought fight,
To heavenly peace and light."
-Paul Gerhardt

"Always stay connected to people and seek out things that bring you joy. Dream with abandon. Pray confidently.
-Barbara Johnson

"In this house we...
Trust in God,
Say I'm sorry,
Believe in grace,
Never give up,
Pray always."

"Thy face, Lord, will I seek."
-Psalm 27:7-8

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A light-hearted project

Here is a light-hearted project, turning a birdcage into a lamp
(total cost $10, thanks to thrift stores.)

"A joyful heart is good medicine."
-Prov. 17:22

Once I heard a Christian speaker say that God was only serious and didn't have a sense of humor. HERESY! Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me." Genesis 21:6. Her child Issac's name means laughter! When Robin was three and tired of traffic and feeling naughty, said from the back seat, "I love the devil." When I asked why she said that, she answered, "Because I have a laugh in my heart when people say bad words." The devil may try to steal the show, but good clean laughter lights the soul and lightens the load.

"I find the day to0 short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take,
all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."
-John Burrough

"To those who dream, there's no such place as far away."

"Dreams are kind of like goals, but with wings."


Wish upon a star,
Believe in fairies,
Throw a penny in a wishing well,
Look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,
Leave cookies for Santa,
Find the golden egg left by the Easter bunny,
Put your tooth under your pillow for the tooth fairy,
Stay awake to catch the sandman,
Dance with Frosty,
Follow the yellow brick road,
And click your heels together and say,
"There's no place like home.

Let your imagination shine!

"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page
and feel a little as if you have lost a friend."
-Paul Sweeney

"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity, and once more in old age,
as an fine building should be seen in the morning light, at noon, and by moonlight."
-R. Davies

The Good Book, never grows old and offers new insights with every reading.

"Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
-Psalm 119:105

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

He spoke some timeless truths...

"The time is always right to do what is right."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the staircase."

"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period...was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

Have you noticed how many times angels, or God Himself, tells us, "Do not be afraid." Think of Joshua, Mary, and Daniel. Do not be afraid to seek God humbly to understand His will. That is different than seeing the future. A sage old preacher once told us, "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

Working in an inner city school during a teacher strike, all the tires on the staff cars were slashed except mine. (I drove one of the only '67 Rancheros in Kansas City.) I was called every name in the book by fellow teachers when I crossed the picket line. (My job as a teacher's aid was not protected: I would have been fired.) I was put in charge of the classroom that the Union Chief had walked out of when he heard TV crews were coming to interview him where students were throwing their desks out of second story windows. I had to assist the teacher I worked with who was being assaulted as she walked to her car her last day of work. Unfortunately, this world takes courage.

"Do not be afraid, Daniel,
for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this
and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard,
and I have come in response to your words."
-Daniel 10:12

"Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
'I will try again tomorrow.'"
-MaryAnne Radmaches

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A cheerful heart has a continual feast

"A cheerful heart has a continual feast."
-Prov. 15:15

How I feel today...

"Without ice cream, there would be darkness & chaos."
-Don Kardony

Every day without sugar in the Daniel fast, is harder than the day before, so in my fog, I give you a quote from a famous 19th century preacher...

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon
without springs jolted by every pebble in the road."
-Henry Ward Beecher

"Perhaps imagination is intelligence having fun."

Here's a little fun...

The irony: Daniel, known for his fasting and prayer, was thrown to the hungry lions as a tasty morsel, a soup de jour, a piece du resistance, literally just dessert for praying to God instead of to the king. Voila! It was the lions who went on a fast, lock-jawed, as harmless as kittens, and Daniel climbed out untouched, untasted, unnibbled, unlicked. God can do amazing things with a fast! What are you praying for or what pit do you need to climb out of?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

...and He hears my voice

"Evening, morning, and noon, I cry out...and He hears my voice."
-Psalm 55:17

Does God answer prayer? When my daughter was very little she prayed, "Help Grandma have a baby." I know my mother was glad God didn't answer in spite of Robin's childlike faith. Now that I'm a grandmother, I hope none of my grandchildren feel so moved to pray likewise! However, prayer is as vital to home life as food. It is abiding with God, having Him as the invited guest at our table and fireside. Prayer is conversation with Whom we have to do, prayer without ceasing.

"May God protect your sleep with dreams of angels."
-an old German children's prayer

"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden."
-Corrie Ten Boom

Encouraging word for our Daniel prayer & fasting...

Reading from George Whitefield's biography, the author, Rev. Arnold Dallimore, says,
" 1662, on one of the darkest days in all British history, nearly two thousand ministers (including Susannah Wesley's forefathers)-all those who would not submit to the "Act of Uniformity"-were ejected from their livings. Hundreds of these men suffered throughout the rest of their lives, and a number died in prison. Yet these terrible conditions became the occasion of a great volume of PRAYER; forbidden to preach under threat of severe penalties--as John Bunyan's (Pilgrim's Progress)Bedford imprisonment bore witness-they yet could pray, and only eternity will reveal the relationship between this burden of supplication and the revival* that followed."

*More on this amazing revival in the coming days.

"A man that truly prays one prayer
Shall after that never be able to express with his mouth or pen
the unutterable desires, sense, affection, and longing that went to God in that prayer."
-John Bunyon

Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work."
-Charles Spurgeon

"Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens.
Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others.
Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee, O Lord."
-John Baille, 1886

"Get into the habit of saying, 'Speak, Lord,' and life will become a romance."
-Oswald Chambers

""Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory.
Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!"
-Andrew Murray

"Sweet hour of prayer...that calls me from a world of care
And bids me at my Father's throne
Make all my wants and wishes known!
In seasons of distress and grief
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter's snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
Sweet hour of prayer...Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless;
And since He bids me seek his face,
Believe His Word, and trust His grace,
And cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer."
-Words by William Walford, 1845; Music by William Bradford, 1861

Friday, January 13, 2012

How are those Christmas gifts holding up?

How are those Christmas gifts holding up? Do they need more batteries? Are they played with

as incessantly as when they were opened? Are they under the bed? Did the dog chew them up? Can you remember what they were? Did they fulfill all desires? Of course not. He who has the most toys, always wants more. There is never enough because they cannot fulfill our longings. A better question is have you beheld beauty to treasure in your heart. Perhaps that is one of the joys of our babies who come fresh from the hand of God. I'm thankful for photography which seeks to capture those memories so they can last longer than the fleeting moments. Other moments can only be captured in our heart.

"The whole life of the good Christian is a holy longing."

"we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly..."
-Romans 8:23

"It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good and we must hunger for them."
-George Eliot

"There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies...Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire."
-Gerald May

"divine discontent"
-G.K. Chesterton

"Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

"What can this incessant craving, and this impotence of attainment mean, unless there was once a happiness belonging to man, of which only the faintest traces remain, in that void which he attempts to fill with everything within his reach."

"I knew only too well how easily the longing accepts false objects and through what dark ways the pursit of them leads us...If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."
-C.S. Lewis

"Thou shalt enlarge my heart." (Psalm 119:32 KJV)

A missionary to Muslims in Senegal says "that after conversion, Muslims will often notice flowers for the first time. Prior to salvation, Muslims in that arid country live a very utilitarian existence. Things are valued only for what they can do...It is as if the Muslims have lived without beauty for their whole lives and now, having their souls released from bondage, they are freed into the pleasures of God's creative heart."

"Art is, in the final analysis, a window on heaven."
-Don Hudson

"There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream...
Heaven lies about us in our infancy;
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows.
He sees it in his joy;...
At length the man perceives it die away
And fade into the light of common day.

We must keep the child like faith that keeps this longing, this heavenly desire of beauty alive in our heart.

"Each and every instance of beauty is a promise and example in miniature, of life that can end in balance, with symmetry, purpose and hope."
-Mark Helpern

"There are only two things that pierce the human heart: beauty and affliction."

"When I can but remember that my heart
Once used to live and love, long and spire--
Oh, be thou then the first, the one thou art;
Be thou the calling, before all answering love,
And in me wake hope, fear, boundless desire."
-George MacDonald

Quotes are from "The Sacred Romance" by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge