20 February 2013

The Big Day

17 February 2013

Climbing the Butte

On Sabbath, we once again inspected the Butte trail, to see if the hike would be easier-looking than it was a few days before.  Sure enough, a chinook had done its work, and it was easier-looking.

If by easier, you mean *possible*, then it was definitely easier.  If by easier, you mean *staying home and not sliding around on snow and ice a lot*, it was definitely not easier.

But it was beautiful.  Even fun, according to my mother-in-law.  It for sure took a village to get me to the top.  Husband, cousin, father-in-law, brother-in-law, trees all contributing to my journey up and down in ways that made it, well, possible for me.  The little things loaned by sister-in-law were great, too.  As were the fellowship, the exercise, the view, and the ability to say, "I did it!"  With lots of help.

16 February 2013

Wisdom and Power

I've been thinking about how humbling teaching can be, about how much I still don't know.  Discipline, inspiration, connecting the dots between the tasks and the faith.

But do you know what I just read?

"The wisdom and power of God will be given to the willing and faithful."  White, Ellen G.  Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 56.

Now to be faithful, with His help, as well as willing!

A Stunning Neighborhood

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law live in this neighborhood, with its stunning views of mountains.  Aren't they blessed?  We sure enjoyed walking through it with them.

My sister-in-law and I did an experiment where we (mostly she) joined in the boys' conversation, and then randomly left it, just to see if it would interrupt their flow.  At.  All.  It didn't.  :) They acknowledged the comments made as if we had been there all along, and kept going after we left, still as though we had never been there.  Points for continuity.

And I think they did notice us in a physical-space sort of way.

And the girls?  We giggled.  At how engrossed our twin husbands can be with each other.  Or at least with their topic.

15 February 2013

The Things We do for Fun

We settle in a little, and decide we really should hike the Butte.  My in-laws own the hiking portion, and we want to go to the top.  But the very first steep part is covered in two inches of ice.  We attempt, without success, and decide it's safer to go on some other adventure.

Thus we walk to the end of the property, where little tree-babies grow undisturbed.  I notice that one of them has been sawed down, and pick it up.  It's flying through the air before we know it.  Who can throw it farthest?  What angle makes it fly the best?  

I try throwing a couple of times, but decide my talents are best put to use taking rapid fire photos with my phone.  These things must be documented.

The Sunrise Follows

We go early to the airport, only to wait the longest ever to get in-laws' bags checked.  Why it takes so long? We don't know.  But we enjoy visiting anyway.  We drink the last of our well water (sublime treat), and head to the security line, trying to find the shortest one.  Of course.

Maybe it isn't normal, but nonetheless I love being with my in-laws.  We have a ball traveling with them, chatting on the plane, laughing, letting them know we've left a friend gorilla (stuffed) at their house for them to find when they get back home.  They think we should have taken him all the way to Alaska, likely to have everyone hide it in each other's things all week.  But we've had him for eight months already, and I think it's smart not to take any chances.  It hasn't been as easy to make these transfers now that we all live thousands of miles apart.

I delight in the mountains sticking out above the clouds, the way we seem to keep at the same place of morning for much of the flight, the way we land without a hitch in snowiness that would shut many an airport down.  An uncle picks us up, and we crowd in the car, deciding whether to wait for Costco to open or go straight to the farm.  

We go straight to the farm, where we learn that Grandpa has a fever, only a few days before the big celebration.  Enter natural remedies:  hot and cold foot soaks, with ice pack on head.  He feels much better by Sunday.

13 February 2013


My husband and I just got home from Alaska.  Our time there felt way too short, yet we are glad to be home with the blessings of safe travels behind us.

Watch for more on this awesome place over the next few days, but for now, take some advice:  Wear fun socks to the airport.  They show anyway, because you have to take your shoes off, so they might as well be fun.

09 February 2013

How to be Happy

"So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have do e to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13:12-17

Have you wondered how to find more happiness, or happiness at all?

I love how the Bible gives simple, plain answers to solve the problem of unhappiness.  If you know Jesus, you'll be happy in service to others.  Even in embarrassing service to others, like washing filthy feet.  Unselfishness in Jesus equals happiness that cannot be equalled.

08 February 2013

Spring May Not Be Here Yet

But its harbinger certainly is.

07 February 2013

The Garden Before the Dream Comes True

When we moved here last August, I wasn’t daunted by the weeds in the garden, taller than I am or not.  The wood chips from the tree that fell down in the yard before we came?  Thrilling.  The metal posts in two rows at the north end of the garden?  Great idea.  All I’ll need for some berries or green beans or cucumbers or squash or….will be some string.

We started the compost pile right away, down in the corner, on top of the weeds.  As it turns out, on top of the rocks, too.

As we met the people who had just moved out—rare for renters, I know—I wondered if it would be awkward.  It wasn’t.

We exchanged the usual questions, plus some specific to the house:

Where did you move from?  Michigan. 
Really?  I have a sister from your town. 
Really?  What’s her name?  Oh, yes, we know who she is.
We’re sorry we didn’t till the garden this summer.  My husband broke his arm, and couldn’t do it.
That’s fine.  We’ll get it done come spring.
The soil has a lot of rocks.

It does have a lot of rocks.  A friend told me earlier this week that the man who plowed her garden gave her this encouragement:  “This soil will grow anything.  The rocks are just hard on the implements.”

Encouraged, but still having it ingrained in me that I must pick rocks out of a garden, I’ll likely continue filling my gallon bucket as I’m out working in the air and soil.

Some of the weeds are so woody that they need to be clipped instead of pulled.  I'm just not big enough to get the leverage I'd need to actually pull them out of the ground.

As I’ve begun clearing weeds and picking out rocks, I’ve taken a few photos with my phone.  They don’t come anywhere near to masterpieces, but they do show a before, while the glorious after is still only in my mind.  I thought I’d share the record with you, in a place where I can look back and be encouraged at how far the garden really has come.

06 February 2013


Yesterday, I read the incredible story of Lazarus's sickness, his death, Jesus' delay, Martha's faith, Lazarus's resurrection.

Today, I began reading just where I left off, about the way many people saw the miracle and believed in Jesus.

"But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done." John 11:46

Did they need official approval before they could trust the evidence before their eyes?  Had they so long lived with others telling them how to believe, think, feel, and trust that they had surrendered their consciences to another human being?  Where did they really put their trust?  God?  National and religious leaders?

Where do I put my trust?

"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we?  For this man doeth many miracles.  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.". John 11:47, 48

They really were in a sticky situation.  Not because Jesus was showing Himself to be more powerful than they were.  Not because of the Romans having political rule.  Not because of a stressful committee meeting with an important decision to make.

They were in a bind because although they professed to be people of God and were in fact the leaders of the true religion, they didn't trust in God for their place and nation.  Not at that moment, anyway.  Instead, they took things into their own hands.

It seems to me a peculiar lack of faith that they didn't trust in the God they professed to serve to take care of little details like the Romans.

Had they forgotten Jericho, or was Babylon too fresh in their memories?  Were they worried that sin--theirs or others'--would keep God from helping them?

I suppose a focus on self-preservation can do that to a person.

There's also the more sinister possibility that they knew exactly who Jesus was, but were too proud to admit it after so many denials.

Now, I'm not saying any of this to bash a people group or nation.  I simply want to learn, if I can, from some individuals and their experience in the past.

I hope I don't give way to my stresses and fears (though smaller than theirs) even though I believe God can take care of them.  Not just can.  Will.

I hope my influence encourages others to go straight to Jesus for themselves, where they can find relief for their souls without depending on any human agency.

I hope I'm willing to act on what I believe without fear.

All by grace.

05 February 2013

I Can't Get Tired of the Sky

It's just one of my favorite things, so I keep taking pictures of it.  I hope you don't get tired of it, because that may be what I post a lot for a while.  So dramatic.  So glorious.  So my favorite color. (Blue.)

03 February 2013

Who Makes Us to Doubt?

"And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.  Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost Thou make us to doubt?  If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." John 10:23, 24.

Now, before we analyze this question at all, we have to see what happened immediately prior in the Bible record.  We'll just start in chapter 8 of John, and look at three ways Jesus has already told them He is the Messiah, even though there is ample evidence we could examine from even earlier than that.

1.  In the beginning of chapter 8, the Pharisees bring Jesus a woman caught in adultery and ask for Him to execute the just death sentence in the case.  (Of course, last I checked, it takes at least two people to be "taken... in the very act" v.4, and a death sentence to one and not the other would have been incredibly unjust.  They have put Jesus in a tough corner.). Focus especially on what Jesus says, that the one without sin in the group could administer the punishment, that He is the only one left of the crowd, and then says, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more." v.11. Look closely at what's implied:  He CAN condemn her, because He is without sin, but He DOES NOT condemn her.  The Pharisees all know this story, and yet they still doubt that Jesus has given any evidence that He is the Christ?

2.  The following portion of John 8 is the famous "I am the light of the world" passage.  Though there is a lot of beauty and truth in this passage, I'll skip to the end of it and note only this:  When the Jews question His personal knowledge of Abraham, Jesus replies, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am."  v.58 The rulers pick up stones to stone Him for blasphemy.  Why?  Compare Exodus 3:14.  Moses asks God for His name, and God replies, "I AM THAT I AM:  and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."  So Jesus has just called Himself God, and not only do they disbelieve Him, but they also later accuse Him of being unclear, of not telling them whether He is the Christ?

3.  This is followed with one of my very favorite stories.  A blind man is made to see, and immediately becomes a bold witness for Jesus, saying, "If this man were not of God, He could do nothing." John 9:33.  He loses his place in society for his witness, yet he gladly believes on the Son of God.  v.35, 36.  They see the works of the Messiah (see also Isaiah 35:1-5), yet they still blame Him for their own doubt?

On top and of all this, embedded in their question is a dangerous belief about God.  Did you see it?

They want Him to tell them plainly who He is.  They've missed or ignored prior evidence, but that is not the only issue.

They have been looking ahead to the Messiah's coming for generation upon generation, and they're afraid that when it really does come, God won't want them to know.  They're afraid He'll make them wonder, spending the days and months of His ministry missing the biggest event in their history.  They might be seeing the evidence and intentionally doubting.  But they might think God would be mean and just not let them know.

Scary stuff, right?

But don't we do the same thing all the time?

We want to know God's will for a decision, but we wonder if He'll really make it clear in time.  We think we need to make a change in our lives or habits, but we don't really believe that God will be our refuge and strength.  We want to believe Jesus is coming soon, but we see how long it has been promised, and we wonder if it really will come to pass.  (And so we live in daily spiritual mediocrity.). And we blame God for the lack of clarity:  after all He didn't tell us the day or the hour.

This life of doubt is empty.  We can't live in constant fear that God doesn't mean exactly what He says, or that He won't make the path clear before our feet.

We can replace the doubt today.  With faith.

That He will provide.
That He will make His will clear.
That He will never leave or forsake.
That He will be an ever present help.
That He will come again soon.
That He will finish the work He started in us.
That He will keep that which I've committed. unto Him against that day.