Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Sonnet

Fear Not
~I John 4:18

In this world so full of uncertainties,
With winds of worry blowing all around
As all, so it seems, grows worse by degrees,
Where is a place of safety to be found?
Where indeed! Not in this dark world of woe
-Filled as it is with sickness, sin and strife.
Where is found peace from the buffeting blow
Of the winds of worry? Where are hope and life?
‘Tis only in Christ such peace may be found,
For He alone is Lord of wind and wave.
In Christ our Shepherd life and hope abound,
For Jesus alone has power to save.
Yea, one need never fret when God is near,
For His perfect love casteth out all fear!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I was reminded today of how thankful I am for my family. This year, we only had my two grandmas over for Thanksgiving dinner. I usually love to have a full house for any holiday, but it was good to have some time with my grandmas.

My day began with good smells from the kitchen and the sound of pots and pans being quietly moved about. It was a half an hour before I was to get up, but as much as I wanted to sleep longer, or just enjoy listening to Mommy working in the kitchen, I decided that it would be better to get up and help than to sleep in and feel guilty for not helping. : )

By the time I got to the kitchen, Mommy was about to start working on the turkey. It was still partially frozen, and we had quite a time trying to get the neck and giblets out. Due to much experience with frozen chickens, (Every time I try to get a chicken in the oven on a Sunday morning, it's always partially frozen.) we were able to get it thawed in time.

Thanksgiving Day in my family is very much centered around food, specifically pie. Mommy and I usually make at least five kinds of pie, but because there were less to feed today, we only made three. After everyone leaves, we all watch Charlie Brown and eat more pie, then have pie for breakfast the next morning. -my family likes pie just a little bit. : )

Mommy and I spend nearly the whole day cooking. I think that is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I enjoy cooking to begin with, but cooking for a holiday with Mommy is especially nice because it gives us extra time to spend together. Since I started school, I have not had very much time to spend helping Mommy, so today was really a treat.

Daddy and Tristan usually spend the day cleaning and fixing things. Invariably, Daddy decides to fix something in the kitchen, and we all run into each other and get in each other's way. The kitchen in the new house is bigger than our old one, so that wasn't a problem today.

One thing I missed this year was my aunt and uncle. They usually come for every holiday, but they had somewhere else to be this year. My uncle is always bright and cheerful, and makes everyone smile. My aunt was especially missed at the end of the meal tonight, because she always washes the dishes for us. I think every family should have an "Aunt Carol". : ) I suspect that I might end up being the next dishwashing aunt in my family, because I usually end up doing the dishes when my aunt is not there. I am very thankful this year for our dishwasher, which did much of the work for me!

I am so thankful for my wonderful family, and the blessing it is (usually) : ) to spend time with them!

I hope you all have had as wonderful a thanksgiving as I have!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Knowing the Truth

I just finished a paper today for school. (for those of you who are sick of hearing about my various and sundry school assignments, that's all I'll say about it.) : ) Because my topic was Judaism, I have been reading a lot about that lately. In the course of my reading, I was astounded at how little Jews in general know about their scriptures. This may be in part because so many branches of Judaism do not believe that the Old Testament is inspired, but I believe that the problem is very simple -they do not know it because they do not read it.

As I was discussing this with Mommy this afternoon, I realized that Christians today have a similar problem. How well do we know the Bible? How much time do we devote to studying it?

I found a few verses on the subject that I thought I would share:

Job 23:12 says: "...I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Are we willing to skip breakfast to make sure we are spending time with God in the morning? Is feeding our souls more important to us than feeding our stomachs?

Psalm 1: 1-2 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night."
John Bunyan once said "He who runs from God in the morning wil scarcely find Him the rest of the day." My "bad days" are always those that I have not started out with reading the Bible. (or those days when I merely skim it, not really paying attention.)

Psalm 119:9 "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word." and verse 11 says "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." It is easier for the Holy Spirit to bring a verse to mind to convict or encourage when we know the verses in the first place!

I Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your earts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear"
This is especially hard, because it means knowing not only what you believe, but why.

And one last verse from the many relevent ones in Psalm 19-verse 24. "Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors." God's word is to be read for guidance and for delight! It should not be a chore, but a blessing.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
-John 8:32

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Midterm Miracle!

This week I had a History midterm. I had somehow done pretty well on the quizzes, and was short on time, so I didn’t study much for it. -Needless to say, I did not do very well on the first part of the test. (It was even multiple choice, which I usually find pretty easy.) I decided to look up what I was supposed to study before taking the next part of the test. (Essay questions…ugh!) Unfortunately, the topics they said to study covered everything we had learned thus far, and still being short on time, I just skimmed the more unfamiliar portions of my textbook before taking the second half of the test. When I looked at the essay questions, I realized I had absolutely no idea what the answers were, let alone how to tell them in 150 words! I had an hour to complete them, so I just started typing. If you asked me right now what the questions were I might be able to tell you, but I have no more idea what the answers were than I did when I wrote them. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t pass the course if I flunked the midterm. As I pressed the “submit” button to turn in the assignment, I prayed, “Lord, please, just let me pass!” The next few days I was quite discouraged and felt doomed to flunk History. I began checking my grades each day to see if the essays had been graded yet. Thursday, I saw that my test had finally been graded, but when I looked at my grade, I couldn’t believe it! Just to be sure I clicked the button that showed me how many points I got per question. The first essay question got 18 out of 20 points, and the other two got 25 out of 25! Now, I know and you know that I had no idea what I was writing about. Somehow God made my teacher think that I actually knew the answer. I have no idea how that happened. It could only have been God!
-I just hope He does the same with my research paper! : )

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My family recently moved to a new house. I wasn’t sure at first if I would like the new house, because I had only ever lived in our old house. I love our new house, though. It is much larger than our old house and has room for nearly everything. We have a much bigger yard now, a large part of which we plan to dig up next spring for a garden. The house is surrounded by big, tall trees and we have seen many different kinds of birds. We have a beautiful view from almost every window, and a very nice park nearby. Our house is so much better than our previous one, and at first it seemed I could find nothing wrong with it... until last night.

I was aware that there were raccoons that frequented our yard, but so far they hadn’t been too much of a nuisance. Other than knocking over a flowerpot on our deck, they had been very quiet.

Last night (or rather, early this morning) I was awoken by the sound of something running around… above me. Now, at our old house we had birds that delighted in hopping around on the roof above my room to wake me up, so I was pretty used to hearing that kind of noise. I started to go back to sleep, realizing that it was probably raccoons on the roof, but it grew louder and louder, until I was sure they must be in the attic. I finally went to my parents’ room and woke them up just to be reassured that the coons were actually on the roof, and not in the attic. My parents had also heard the raucous raccoons, and Daddy tried to scare them away by pounding on the ceiling. (Which woke my brother, who sleeps downstairs and thus was still blissfully asleep, undisturbed by the coons.) That didn’t work, but no one could think of anything better to do, so we all just tried to go back to sleep.

That wasn’t easy, though, because every time they would quiet down and I would start to fall asleep, they would come back noisier than ever, and startle me awake. I know that they probably weren’t actually being malicious, but it sure seemed like it at the time.

So, there I was at 2:00 in the morning, wide awake, listening to the raccoon football game going on above me. I started to get irritated. Why couldn’t the coons have played over the living room? Why did it have to be over my room? I needed to be sleeping. Then I realized, maybe I was supposed to be awake. Perhaps God wanted me to pray about something. I started to pray, and after a while I didn’t notice the raccoons so much. It was so nice to have some (relatively) quiet time to be still and talk to God. I think the coons were sent to wake me up just for that. I needed it.

It reminded me that “…All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)God can make anything work for our good –even raccoons at two in the morning! : )

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Today I have been learning why God commanded a Sabbath rest. The last few days have been very stressful, and last night I was as close to "stressed out" as I have been in a long time. Usually, I'm not one to let worries or pressures get to me, but last Thursday I found out that I had three fairly large projects coming up for school. One -a timeline and six paragraphs explaining it- was due tonight. (Thankfully, God enabled me to get that one done yesterday.) The next one is a summary of the Old Testament, which is due next Sunday, and the third one is a research paper which is due the following week. The summary is do-able, but will be very time-consuming. The research paper, however, will be harder because I have not done a college paper before, and have not even started the research yet.

-If you think of me the next few weeks, please pray that God would give me grace and the time and mental acuity needed to get all this done in addition to my regular homework.

Anyway, all this combined with my upcoming lack of time to work on things made me feel quite exhausted by last night. I had no idea how I was going to get everything done, (and still am not sure if it's possible) but I decided that, today being Sunday, I would take a day off from schoolwork and rest. It has been so refreshing to be able to do something other than schoolwork for a day, without feeling like I should be working on it! It also has given my brain a chance to recooperate and for the first time in a week, my mind doesn't feel so busy! :) It made me really think about God's wisdom in commanding a rest. He didn't suggest it, He commanded it. That way there's no getting around it. We have to rest, even if we think we don't have time to.

My "rest" day also gave me extra time to get alone with God and get a proper perspective. God knows all the things He has brought into my life, and He has given me enough time and strength to get it all done. This morning the Holy Spirit brought to my mind a verse that I cannot find the reference for at the moment. "As thy days are, so shall thy strength be." I have all I need, it's just a matter of using what God gives me wisely. Besides, it's only schoolwork. A bad grade won't be the end of the world. (though it may seem so at the time.) :)

In short, I have learned anew today that God knows what He's doing. :)

"Faithful is He that calleth thee, who also will do it."
I Thessalonians 5:24

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Lesson From A Coal

How brightly glow the burning coals
As I stoop to tend the fire;
And as the coals are drawn in close
The flames grow ever higher.
But as I stir the fire, I see
One small, bright coal alone.
It must have dropped and rolled away
and now it's on its own.
And as I watch that ember lone
Its color starts to fade.
-For coals cannot survive alone;
each needs another's aid.
'Tis thus we need each other, too;
We cannot, though we try
Shine brightly in this world without
Another's warmth nearby!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Of Princesses

All my life, I have been called “Princess” by those around me. It is not a nickname my family calls me, but as long as I can remember, there have been those who have called me princess. In fact, the name Gwendolyn is actually a Welsh equivalent of Guinevere. (Or, at least, they both mean the same thing.)

When I was very young, there were always people saying things like; “hello little princess!” My best childhood friend and I always used to play dress-up as princesses. Then, as I grew older, I had certain friends who would send me letters addressed to “Her Royal Highness Princess Gwendolyn” or something similar.

I had thought that I would outgrow the whole “Princess” thing, and as far as adults are concerned, I think I have. Now, however, it has been picked up by those younger than me. One of my younger students called me “Princess Gwennie” for at least the first month or two of piano lessons because the church I was teaching in looked like a castle. Several of my other little students have called me that as well. –I’m not even sure how that got started.
My favorite “princess” story, though, is from my sister’s wedding last August. During the reception, I was sitting with all the kids at their table, (I somehow became instant “auntie” to all of them, even though most of them had never met me before.) and all of a sudden, the boy who seemed to be their unofficial spokesman said: “I have a question.” Surprised, I asked what his question was. He answered: “Why are you dressed like a princess?” (Apparently princesses always wear dresses with “pink and lace”, like the one I happened to be wearing that day.) : )

Yet, in a way, I really am a princess. In my morning reading today I came across 2 Corinthians 6:16-17:
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

When I got saved, I became a daughter of the King of Kings, thus I really am a princess.

Princesses have a responsibility, though, to represent their father. Another verse I read this morning was 2 Corinthians 5: 20, which reminded me again that I am an ambassador for Christ. I must endeavor to live in such a way that others would not see any goodness of my own, but rather the grace of God at work in my life.

This was a very timely reminder for me, because we have had two workmen at our house for the last week, installing a furnace. It occurred to me that their impression of our family and our home may be, in fact, the thing that defines their concept of what a Christian is. That is a very sobering thought. Please pray for Josh and John, who are working at our house for another day or so, and also for our family, as we try to be good ambassadors for Christ.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pulling Ivy

I recently started some college courses. (four to be exact) I am enjoying each of my classes to some degree, but have realized that I can only study for so many hours in a row without a break. After a few hours of reading textbooks, my eyes begin to glaze over and my mind goes slightly numb. So what does that have to do with ivy? Well, lately, whenever I feel in need of a break and some “real” work, I go out and pull up ivy in my backyard.

I was out pulling ivy in the rain this afternoon –yes, in the rain…I think there’s a three-year-old somewhere inside me that still likes mud puddles... besides, dirt’s good for you, right? : )
Anyway, as I was pulling up ivy, a thought came to me: “This is sort of like what God wants to do in my heart.” The more I thought about the ivy I was pulling, the more it reminded me of the sin God is working to uproot in my heart.

English Ivy (the kind of ivy I have been pulling up) starts out as a pretty little plant, which looks quite harmless. It then begins to creep over the ground, rooting itself as it goes, trying to climb and cover whatever it encounters. It gives a stately and mysterious look to the things it clings to, such as trees and buildings, but if it is left to itself, it will eventually take over completely, destroying the things it covers.
Take trees for example. When English Ivy climbs up a tree, it does not simply wrap itself harmlessly around it as it seems to do. It actually digs into the bark of the tree periodically to anchor itself. That is why one cannot simply pull it off a tree. If you pull it off, the bark comes with it.

Sin is very similar. It starts out small (1 Corinthians 5:6) but if left unheeded it grows and grows until it is a tangled mess. It digs into our hearts, rooting itself deeper over time, making it increasingly painful to remove. It may look good at first, appealing, as with Eve, (Genesis 3:6) to our bodies, (“good for food”) to our sensibilities, (“pleasant to the eyes”) and to our minds, (“to be desired to make one wise”) but as Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

The particular patch of ground I am endeavoring to clear is under a stand of tall trees which are so big and old that if you were to pull away the outer branches and walk inside, you might imagine yourself in a very small forest. It would be a perfect place to sit and read or think, but not until the ivy is gone.

As I worked, I remembered that, just as I have a plan for the place I am clearing out, God has a plan for my heart and life, which can only be accomplished as the ivy of sin is cleared.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why Growlery?

In the Dicken's novel Bleak House, Mr. John Jarndyce (one of the main characters) has a room in his house which he calls the growlery. The purpose of the growlery was to give him a place to vent his mind on matters that he did not think others in his household would like to hear. Well, the purpose behind this blog is to give me a place to vent my mind when it is too full and my family is tired of hearing me chatter. : )

-Don't worry, though. -I don't intend to do much growling. :)