Saturday, June 6, 2015

GOD IS MERCIFUL (pass it on!)










Last week the girls and I read the book of Jonah.  It is a pretty short book, only four chapters, but such a beautiful picture of God's love for the Gentiles.

I have wondered in the past why God ever chose Jonah for the job of missionary.  He was in fact the first missionary to the gentile people.  But he wasn't the guy with his hand up. 

In fact, it seems pretty clear that sheer enthusiasm for the job was not a requirement in God's book. 

We read what may be the key in chapter four, where Jonah said:


I know that You are a gracious
and merciful God,
slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness,
one who relents from doing harm. 

- Jonah 4:2



God may have sent Jonah, not just to show us the lessons we often pull from it-- that we should be merciful to those we do not like, or that we cannot run from God-- but because Jonah knew God's forgiving nature which actually made him a really good representative

He believed God and took Him at His Word. 

In fact, God used him to lay out the truth of the One true God "who made the sea and dry land" on his way to the sailors who were likely followers of Baal, the sky god. 

And following Jonah's early exit from the ship, the men offered sacrifice to God and took vows-- indicating that Jonah told them more than was recorded for us. 

God has always wanted clear representation. 

You remember when Moses was told to speak to the rock in the wilderness, but chose to scold the people and smite the rock instead?  That did not go over too well. 

What God said:  "Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield water..."  Numbers 20:8

What Moses did:  "And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, 'Hear now, you rebels!  Must we bring water for you out of this rock?  Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out..." Numbers 20:10-11

Hear now, you rebels?  Not the representation God wanted. 

God chose to make his servant Moses the example instead (Numbers 20:12:  Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."). 

We must believe God and represent him as Jonah did.


God is merciful.  God is gracious.  He is slow to anger and He relents when we repent. 


Jonah needed some heart correction to become more like God (just like you and I do all the time!), but he knew God.  And he knew that God is merciful.  Pass it on!


Blessings,











Thursday, February 12, 2015

BOOKS COME ALIVE






... when read by a sister.






 

 
 
 
 
 
I recently bought a little sign for our house.  It says:
 
Enjoy the little things in life
because one day you will look back
and realize they were big things.
 
 
I think there is a lot of wisdom in that.
 
 
May you be blessed,
 



Monday, February 9, 2015

SOMETHING TO LOVE...







 
Charlotte Mason said that children need: 
 
 
 Something to do,
Something to love and
Something to think about. 
 
 
 I think that is true for all of us.


 

Our best to you,


Friday, January 23, 2015

CELEBRATING ART {with eric carle}










They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I think it's also a really good teacher. 

To study Eric Carle's contributions to art, I had the girls copy the method he uses to illustrate the popular children's books we love.






First Mr. Carle creates unique art pages using multiple colors and movement.



 
 
 
 
  
 

 







Then, when the art pieces are dry, he cuts the designs from those art pieces and glues them onto a new piece of paper. 

The fact that he uses irregular shapes and imperfect lines made this a fun project for kids.  The pieces don't need to be perfect to create an uplifting piece of art. 






 
 
 



And it wasn't messy at all-  ha!







Blessings friends.







____________________________


When I am feeling less ambitious, we also enjoy studying art by purchasing black line drawings, then seeking to match the artists colors as closely as we can to the original paintings.  I love this type of exercise because it helps us to experience the paintings and the color choices made by artists I love. 




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WINTER CAMP IN!






Winter "camp in" date:  S'mores Ingredients, Movie, Homemade Cookies for Pa, Air Mattress, sleeping bags and PJ's.



You've heard me talk about our camp ins for years, right? 

Camp ins are like a camp out, but without the outside (a personal plus in my book!). 


We love having them anytime, but we started to especially enjoy them while prepping for Christmas.  Unfortunately, with all the sickness, we missed doing it at Christmas this year, so we rescheduled for this weekend. 

The kids were so excited.  It means all sleeping together in one room Little House on the Prairie style, watching movies and eating s'mores.  Easy peasy on the parents and super fun for the kids.




 
 

Indoor s'mores cooker-- from the thrift store for under $5.
 
 
 
 


 
 

 






Everyone had so much fun, we decided to camp in two nights in a row!

Blessings,

 

 


_________________________


Avoiding dirt since 2008-- Our first camp in.  :)






 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CHRISTMAS {not according to plan}









 

I'll be honest, things did not go according to plan this Christmas. 

Well, maybe I should rephrase that.  Things did not go according to my plan this Christmas.  

I had so many lovely pinned and planned Christmas ideas that simply remained undone as I was unproductive and in bed sick with a terrible cold.

Even as I started to get better, my energy was sapped and my brain was foggy.

Like I said-- not my plan at all.  But God.  How good to know that He is in control over all things and working all things together for our good.

 



One of the few crafts attempted just a night or two before Christmas.  Seasonal "Chalk boards" made from 69 cent black poster boards and a chalk pen.  Now hang in my laundry room.

 
As I listened in on big girls working with little girls on Christmas projects without me, I was thankful that they had the opportunities to manage things that needed doing.

And as I recovered slowly, I found that I spent more time in the Word as I had little gumption to move.  Maybe there was a blessing even in that simple fact? 

 
 


Covering a paint plate in Saran Wrap is always step 1 around here.  Makes for quick and easy clean up when the troops are done. 
 
 
James says to "count it all joy" when we fall into various trials.  Whatever those trials are.  And David puts skin on the reason why in Psalm 27. 
 
 
 

Little girls kept busy post Thanksgiving making homemade wrapping paper from Dollar Store rolls of brown mailing paper and cut sponges.
 
 
Because when all is stripped away that would otherwise preoccupy us in happy distraction, trials make us single minded for God.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After David unfolded his trials (evil men advancing against him and foes attacking), his focus had become this:
 
 
"One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek Him in His temple."
 
~ Psalm 27:4
 
 
 
One thing.  Single minded.  Fixed upon knowing the LORD now and in this life.
 
What is it to dwell in His house all the days of our life?  It is having that intimate knowing that only comes when we are living that closely with someone else.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Maybe our trials are not due to physical enemies-- usually our battles are not against flesh and blood.  Maybe our battle is spiritual, or with the flesh.
 
We all have them.    
 
But as much as I long to be single minded, I know that I also desire to avoid trial. 
 
 
"My heart says of You, 'Seek His face!'
Your face, LORD, I will seek"
 
~Psalm 27:8
 
 
 

My little napkin folder extraordinaire!
 
 
 
Our hearts tell us to seek His face, but trials seem to change our priorities.  "A little later" and "tomorrow" are not good enough when trials hit us.
 
Count it all joy.
 
 
 
 
Girls making food.  It all barely happened!


You have to love how David ends his Psalm.  Even in the throws of trouble, he knows he will see the goodness of the LORD, because he knows that he can trust God.

And he ends with an encouragement to us!



"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD."
 
~Psalm 27:14  
 
 
 
Our ten minute photo session.  Photo snapped, cards ordered and some of them even sent out- all at the very last minute. 
 
 
 
Twice in verse 14 David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, "wait" and it sounds to me like he is saying-- you have troubles?  Just you wait and see what God is about to do! 
 
Things are not going according to plan?
 
Your prospects seem bleak?
 
You are being attacked on every side?
 
Be strong and take heart!  Just you wait.  You are about to see what God will do on your behalf.
 


 
 





Life's not perfect.  And even our "perfect plans" are not perfect.  But GOD. 



 
 
 
I know He is working all things together for our good. 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Just you wait and see!


 
 
 


 








Thursday, December 4, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!





 
 
There seem to be so many things to be thankful for this year. 
 
 

 
 
 
Health and family togetherness are certainly very high on the list this year.  These are things we can just not take for granted. 
 
We are especially thankful for friends and family who have come through potential harm, protected by God's kind mercy this year. 
 
And we are thankful for those dear ones (you included!) who have become even dearer with each new year spent together.
 
 
 
 
 


We had to give a fun "hat tip" to my mom's cute expression of happiness through my entire childhood. 
 
Mom, a figure skater for many years at the same rink as the famous Dorothy Hamill, would always strike one of these adorable poses (above) on the kitchen linoleum floor whenever there was good news to be declared. 
 
We knew it well and it has become the symbol of all things wonderful.  We are thankful and so... here is our pose to prove it!  
 
 

 
 
 
Lydia, Little Red, will turn 10 this month and she is a Jones through and through.   It seems just a few days ago she was my favorite Christmas gift, arriving just slightly early, on December 20.  She was a sweet Christmas baby, who has always been a sweet little girl. 
 
So many of you have prayed for her over the years.  To you, I say, "thank you."  My mother's heart is beyond blessed by so many who have been there with us.  I am happy to report that she is presently in very good health.  We praise God for that!   
 
Her excited hope this month?  In addition to Christmas, for all Jones girls, turning 10 means getting their ears pierced.  It's a pretty big deal and she can not wait!
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
And this one.  Tom says that when he looks at her he sees me.  The same coloring.  The same hair (at that age).  The same passion for what is good and right in the world.  The girl he met so many years ago. 
 
The other day she asked my husband if he would want to adopt a child who was smart mouthed, rebellious, unkind and unruly.  He said, no.  He would not really want to.
 
She said that she agreed.  Neither would she, and that is why she marvels at God's grace toward us.  Because we are exactly that rebellious child before a holy God. 
 
Amen and amen, Michaela.  You remind us of truth every day.  We are so thankful for you.
  
 

 
 
 
 
Would you believe that it was only one day after Thanksgiving when we realized we had even more to be thankful for?
 
It was then that we heard the horrific news that my dear dad, Ray, was being taken by ambulance to the hospital after being attacked by two pit bulls.
 
It was while he and my mom were on their regular walk with their little terrier pup that either one or both pit pulls in a local yard punched through their fence and were trying to attack them. 
 
The dogs literally pressed an entire fence board out from it's nails and were viciously lunging at them.
 
My dad held up the fence board they had dislodged back into its place as a shield while the attacking dogs bit into his hands and left blood dripping at the fence line.  
 
At his command, my mom ran to get the owners of the dogs to call them off as he held them from escaping and attacking them. 
 
He was a true hero and without his bravery, I do not even want to think what would have happened to my dear mom alone with those pit pulls. 
 
God was so very merciful again to our family.  We honor my dad, Ray, as a true hero and God as the sovereign giver of grace and mercy. 
 
We are so thankful for their safety.
 
 

 
 
 
And when we think of safety and kindness, it is God's Word that also comes to mind.   
 
Hebrews 4:12 declares that: 
 
"...the word of God is alive and active.
 
 
 



As I read Psalm 19 this week, I was reminded of so many ways that God's Word is alive and active.

 
The law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul;
 
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
 
The statutes of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
 
The commandment of the Lord pure,
enlightening the eyes;
 
The fear of the Lord is clean;
enduring forever. 




 
 
And by His Word,
 
"Your servant is warned
 
And in keeping them there is great reward." 
 
 

 
 
 
May His Word be alive and active in our hearts.
 
 
Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!