Friday, October 30, 2009


I've been searching for a topic to write about.  Something to inspire me to get my non-writer-fingers moving.  I couldn't land on anything, at all.  But, while I was doing dishes, a thought dropped in my brain.  I've been working my way through a series of books.  They are very intriguing.  The thing that got me was the way the main character is with God.  He trusts completely.  There is one place in the books where he goes, kneels down to pray, and stays there, pleading for an answer.  He didn't move until he got a audible answer.  Which got me thinking, what do I ask God for?  And truly trust that he will answer? I've never gotten down on my knees and stayed there till I got an answer. Never.  Do I even trust him to actually give me a audible answer?  He can.  So here is my question to myself, and to you. 

When you pray do you trust? Are you doing lip service or are you seeking an answer?

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Matthew 21:22


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello Mr. Wrong

 Before we begin I want to point out something that you will probably realize as you read on.  I am not a believer in the idea that Courtship can save you from a broken heart.  Neither do I believe that "Dating With a Purpose" or for that matter ANY kind of relationship method can prevent broken hearts.  Broken hearts happen.  In fact, God ALLOWS hearts to break.  And if He does than it's all for our own good.  To "bring us to an expected end."  I believe that God has the perfect person out there for each of us.  I believe that God will bring two people together.  I believe that if a couple places their relationship in God's hands He will direct the relationship so that it remains pure and God-honoring.

    There are many, many, many, many, many "Successful Courtship" Stories out there.  Every couple has one.  And they're all sweet and inspiring and encouraging.  What we don't see as often are the "Failed Courtship" stories.  I'm convinced it's not because they're not out there.  There are obvious reasons for not sharing this kind of thing.  It's a personal matter, and I'm certainly not saying that everyone should publish their "Failed Courtship" stories.  But, it's good for us to understand that this kind of thing does and can happen.  (Incidentally, I don't actually believe in "failed" relationships.  If two people enter a relationship toward marriage with the idea that God will direct them and show them how/if they should get married, and it ends up not working, it wasn't meant to work.  In that case, I would have to call it a "successful relationship."  We certainly wouldn't want two people to get married just because they started a courtship/relationship if they discover it's not meant to be.  In these cases God has a much better match for each of them.) 

    The other thing that we never hear of but I believe MUST happen more than we think is the relationship that fails before it even gets off the ground.  Before it progresses to the "Courtship/Dating/Dorting/RELATIONSHIP" stage.  I'll be up front and honest here.  It's happened to me.  Twice.  It's happened to some of my friends. It's important to know we're not immune to this sort of thing just because we've committed ourselves to a higher standard of purity. 


    I'll be honest.  It's hard.  For those of us who believe in "Courtship", "Dating-With-A-Purpose", "Dorting" or whatever you choose to call it there's a seriousness of thought that comes with all potential relationships.  When I was in my teens and early 20s I never thought of any scenario except a perfect one.  I imagined a guy approaching me about starting a relationship.... Of course I said yes!  I was already in love with him!  Or, I imagined getting to know a guy as a friend and gradually falling in love, and when we both realize what is happening it's obvious we're destined to be together forever.  Or, my dad comes to me "Rebecca, 'So-and-so' has asked to start a relationship with you.  What do you think?"  And I take it to prayer and recieve a resounding "YES!" from God, and a "YES!" from my parents and fall madly in love and live happily ever after.  *sigh*  It seemed impossible to me that all the right components could be there without adding up to the right answer.  I never once imagined that a Godly, nice guy would approach me about starting a relationship and the train would come jerking to a halt.  And yet, that's exactly what happened. 

    I'll walk you through the emotional rollercoaster that is a potential relationship. 
            A) Guy approaches you/your father/however you think it should go

            B) Hope ignites.  At this point I think to myself "This could be it! I've been waiting my whole life for this to happen, and now it's happening!  Could this really be it?"  Not to mention the heart-warming "He LIKES me!"  Wow.  I mean, surely he wouldn't be attracted to me if it wasn't God's will.  Right?  Um, wrong.  Guys can struggle with crushes and attractions just like us girls. 

            C) You take it to prayer.  At this point you become aware that you do NOT already have feelings for this guy.  The place in your heart that supposed to be going "ZING!" is rather... empty. 

            D) Then the questions you ask yourself.  Is this guy really the one for me, but I'm immune to falling in love with him?  Am I destined to be married to someone I don't love?  Or, am I supposed to marry him because all the lights are green (except my heart) and eventually I'll "grow to love him"... maybe. 
      I remember a time when my Dad asked me how it was going with a certain guy.  This guy was interested in starting a relationship with me.  I wasn't so sure...  I looked at my dad while trying to sort my thoughts into a coherent sentence that would somehow communicate every question, concern, uncertainty, fear, hope, dread and depression that I felt all swirling around in my heart and Dad interpreted it all into one brief fragment of a sentence. "No spark, huh?"  Wow.  Relief.  "Yeah, no spark."  He just nodded and walked away.  As if to say "Well, that's that.  No spark."  Yeah.  No spark.  What a relief to understand that there is SUPPOSED to be a spark.  If there's not, Red Light. 
            Of course, no spark isn't the only reason you should nip a relationship in the bud.  There are MANY other things to consider.  Do you agree with this guy on all important subjects?  Doctrine, Child-raising, are you compatible?  I could write another whole article on these subjects but these issues have mostly already been addressed by more qualified people than myself. 

            E) The dread.  The doubt.  This could really be it.  The last train for marriage-ville.  I'm not getting any younger.  This guy is attracted to me.  He'd probably take good care of me.  If I don't agree to go with him...  there's a good chance no one else will ever ask me.  I could be doomed to spinster-hood!!!!!  In the infamous words of Mr. Collins of Pride and Prejudice fame "...You should take it into further consideration that, in spite of your manifold attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made to you."

            F) The decision.  The "breaking it off."  Is it really breaking it off if it never even starts? 

            G) Then the guilt.  I probably really hurt this guy's feelings.  Now I feel like an ice queen.  Am I incapable of love? 

            H) Back to the single life.  Except now I feel even more single than ever.   

            I) Then the self questioning. "God, why did You allow this to happen?"  For me, this is one of the hardest parts.  As Jessie Brown says in Cranford "It's not the despair that hurts, but the hope."  Even if your hope never materializes into the feelings you hope it will... the disappointed hope can still leave a bruise that may take a long time to heal. 

   A friend said to me the other day "God will allow our desires (even good ones) to be tested."  This is so true!  False start relationships can be discouraging, believe me I know!  But, it's always better to look on the bright side.  Be thankful for the experience!  Be thankful that God is working in you!  Be thankful that you made the right decision!  Know that God doesn't walk us through darkness for no reason.  He tests us because He loves us.  Every test and trial we go through is one more test or trial behind us.  Don't give up!  
If there's three things I want you to understand they would be these:

  •     Just because a guy wants to start a relationship with you doesn't mean he's the one.  I consider marriage a very serious decision to be made.  A possible relationship should be seriously considered.  But, don't fall into the way of thinking that a possible relationship is automatically THE relationship.  If there's a perfect man out there for you, there are no rules saying he has to be the first to ask.
  •    Trust your gut instincts.  God will not ask you to marry someone you don't love or feel right about.  If he really is the one for you God will make it clear to BOTH of you.
  •    Don't allow yourself to doubt.  There's nothing wrong with you.  Everything in our lives should contribute to our growth.  And God will use any situation to draw you closer to Him.  And there IS a perfect someone for you somewhere out there.  Don't get discouraged.

I know many girls will never have to deal with this sort of thing.  But, I also know that some of us will.  Please don't give up hope or feel alone. 

I believe in happy endings.  If it's not happy... it's not the end.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Thyme Is In His Hands

I've never had a green thumb. Blue and black on occasion from missing the nail head with the hammer I'm swinging, but not green. I don't think I even have green blood in me--a grave dilemma for a flower lover.

My sister bought me pansies for my birthday when I was probably 9 or 10, which I tried oh so carefully to care for--they died.

A few years later I purchased some seeds for some lovely blue morning glories,which I planted at the right time and faithfully nurtured--they died.

People have given me plants off and on through the years, plants I've tried everything and anything to keep their little hearts ticking away--they died.

So it's with a sigh of acceptance (or resignation, take your pick) that I admit I am no gardener. Vegetable gardens I seem to be capable of--but flowers dislike living with me, so much that it literally kills them.

Thus my attempts have turned to herbs, for I could not give up--my mother has a green thumb, so surely, SURELY some of her greenness transferred to my genes. It's a small hope, but a live one nonetheless.

I brought home some chives & thyme from the nursery 3 miles away. It's a nice little place,with a decent plant selection and prices. I purchased planting soil, and some darling little flowered flower pots I found at the dollar store. I read the instructions carefully (yes, I have to read instructions when I plant) and set them in the proper place to get just the right amount of sunlight and watered them as often as the instructions said. The chives grew beautifully!

Soon I was cooking with them, eating them in salads, and finally getting the satisfaction of knowing I wasn't permanently doomed to silk leaves and buds. But the grew slowly. Barely. Not dying--which I was relieved over--but not growing like I'd hoped. I tried and tried to get it grow. I tried to manage it to produce the results I wanted. I'd been told not to water it a whole lot, so I didn't.

Still it didn't work.

Finally, I got tired of trying. I left it out in the heavy rains and just forgot about it. I didn't care at that point if it lived or died. It was eminent--my thumb was not and never would be green.

I went about my business day after day, not thinking about it until I happened to glance over at it and wow, it was growing like never before--tall, strong, big. I couldn't believe it. I let go of my thyme, and it grew!

You're all probably guessing where I'm going with this. The fact is, my mom and I often make little puns about "my thyme" meaning "my time". Mostly because we're both goofballs and we're glad to have someone else who understands. But the Lord has often used that little lesson of letting go of my thyme to teach me a lesson about letting go of the other kind.

You see, I don't like to be interrupted very much. My time is MINE.

Or so my selfish human nature wants to think. The truth is, God is very good at constantly bringing someone into my day who needs me to pray for or with them, or help them with something, or just listen as they pour out their heart, or just talk with them so they have someone to talk to, or a myriad of other reasons why I must give up my time for someone else. Even something as simple as setting aside the paperwork I need to do, for a few minutes, to play with my niece. Time is precious, yes--but people matter more.
And if Jesus is Lord of my life--isn't He Lord of my time as well?

It's His to use as He wishes--to give to whom He wishes. It amazes me how whenever I let go of my time for someone else, and put it back in His hands, He flourishes it, and somehow I'm able to still do what I need to do along with giving that time to others.

Maybe some day I'll grow a green thumb. Even then, I'm leaving my thyme--and time--in the hands of the One who created it all for His glory.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wodehouse Day

What ho!

Tomorrow is October 15th. One might say, indeed. And the day after will be October 16th. This is true. And yet, October 15th is a special day, one which will forever shine...or perhaps live in infamy. You see, old sports/beans/comrades, October 15th is P.G. Wodehouse's birthday.

P.G. Wodehouse, if you don't happen to know, is the English author responsible for the creation of characters such as Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, R. Psmith, Baxter, Freddie Threepwood, Aunt Agatha...the list goes on and on.

For the Wodehouse fans amongst us, October 15th ought to mark a day of wearing lemon colored pajamas, singing "Minnie the Moocher," and humming the theme music to the Jeeves and Wooster TV series.

Here are a few ideas:
+ Wear a chrysanthemum in your button-hole
+ Start sentences with, "Oh, I say!" and "What ho!"
+ Call your friends "sport," "bean," or, if you wish to be Psmith-y, "comrade"
+ Throw flower pots. Do try to avoid actually hitting anyone, though
+ Find a stuffed moose and stick it in your hallway

I personally plan to eat pshrimp, re-read Leave it to Psmith, my favorite of all Wodehouse's novels, and watch as many of the Jeeves and Wooster series as possible.

Further information:
Wodehouse on Wikipedia
Hugh Laurie (played Bertie Wooster) on Wodehouse


Saturday, October 10, 2009


 Since the publication of their book Do Hard Things, Alex and Brett Harris have toured the country to present conferences. A small group from my church, with the support of our church leaders, was able to go down near Washington D.C. in September to take part in one. What an amazing thing for me, being from a small town where most the believer I know are the people in my church, to see this huge auditorium full of (mostly) other Christians, ready to get going and Do Hard Things.

 When I got home, people asked me what I learned, what my favorite parts of the conference were. Here are a couple of things I took away.

 The day was broken up into sessions, Brett and Alex taking turns speaking. One session though, they gave to their dad, Gregg Harris. He spoke about parenting and raising Rebelutionaries, but eventually he worked carefully up to an invitation. Most of us have been in churches of conferences where they give an invitation at the end of the service. "With all heads bowed and no one looking around... please raise your hands really quick if you said that prayer..." Well, this was not a typical invitation. With all heads up, and everyone looking boldly around, those who had prayed stood and declaired Jusus Christ as their Lord. His point in this was "If you can't to stand and declair Jesus as your Lord in a building full of other Christians overwhelmed with joy and ready to recieve you into the family, how are you going to go home to your friends and familiy and be able to tell them?" I hope I don't come across as bashing churches who do give the typical invitation, but my personal view was that this is much more in the way of not being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

Alex and Brett giving away books by way of a rocket launcher.

Another thing that I came away with was this; the Harris boys are well aware that many conferences and church events give youth a spiritual high that they loose as soon as they go home. They have the same friends, same family, same routine, same good and bad habits, same good and bad influences in their lives, and so they go home and become the same again. The whole point of the conference is to encourage people (of all ages, really) to let God use them to be the best they can be, and how can they do this if they forget the whole thing a week later? Well, they have a very profound saying. "If you want to change something in your life... you have to change something in your life." Profound, isn't it? Just think about it for a minute. They are right. It does us no good to decide we are going to be stranger for the Lord, live in a better way, make a difference in the community or our homes, then just sit there wondering why you can't seem to make anything better. You seriously, literally have to CHANGE SOMETHING. Realize the bad influences in your life and get rid of them, challenge yourself to overcome procrastination, become an active part of your church family, there are so many things you could change if you just CHANGE.


Friday, October 9, 2009


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Autumn songs

In the community where I grew up, singing was an important thing. So was the passing of the seasons and the celebrations we have to mark each. I dug up a few of the songs I remember from my childhood. Most of these can be found in the wonderful songbook, Sing Through the Seasons.

Autumn Roundelay

Here I sit and wait for you,
Neath the spreading branches.
Cool the grass with shade and dew
Sunlight on me dances.

Hi lu leea leea la
Now my voice is ringing
Hi lu leea leea la
Songs to you I'm singing

Fall is in the air today
Hear the wild geese crying
Don't delay come out and play
Snow will soon be flying.

Hi lu leea leea la
Now my voice is ringing
Hi lu leea leea la
Songs to you I'm singing

Come You Thankful People

Come, you thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in
ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, does provide
all our wants to be supplied;
come, with all his people come,
raise the song of harvest home.

The Boughs Do Shake
The boughs do shake, and the bells do ring,
So merrily comes our harvest in,
Our harvest in, our harvest in,
So merrily comes our harvest in!

We have ploughed, we have sowed,
We have reaped, we have mowed,
We have brought home every load,
Hip, hip, hip, harvest-home!

The boughs do shake, and the bells do ring,
So merrily comes our harvest in,
Our harvest in, our harvest in,
So merrily comes our harvest in!

Hurry, Hurry [listen to it HERE]
Rabbit twitched his twitchety ears on a twinkling autumn day,
He could hear the North Wind whistle and he scampered off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can hear bold Jackie Frost.

Groundhog sniffed her sniffety nose on a snappy autumn day
She could smell the winter coming, and she waddled off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can smell bold Jackie Frost.

Squirrel shivered a shivery shiver on a shiv'ry autumn day
He could feel the North Wind's fingers, and he scurried off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can feel bold Jackie Frost.

Black Bear blinked her blinkety eyes on a blust'ry autumn day
She could see the snow clouds gather, and she lumbered off to say:
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, we must all get fat and furry,
Not a moment to be lost, I can see bold Jackie Frost.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In His Steps

I remember when my Grandma first mailed me this book. I was probably in 5th or 6th grade and literally devouring every book I could get my hands on. But, my taste ran more towards light fiction... as Molly Gibson said: "I don't much care for steady reading as Papa calls it" Well, I read a lot of Nancy Drew, anyway...

So, Grandma thought I ought to read something with a little more value, and so she sent me one of her favorites, In His Steps. Being a teacher she also required a book report. I dragged my feet... I had a pile of Nancy Drew to read... but, once I picked it up, I never regretted it. I loved it.

"What I am going to propose now is something which ought
not to appear unusual or at all impossible of execution....
I want volunteers from the First Church
who will pledge themselves, earnestly and honestly for an entire year,
not to do anything without first asking the question,
"What would Jesus do?"
And after asking that question, each one will follow Jesus
as exactly as he knows how,
no matter what the result may be..."


Friday, October 2, 2009

Caldo Verde (Green Soup of Portugal)

In a big pot, combine:
1/2 cup onion, cut
1/2 lb. pepperoni cut in 1/4 in. slices
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 cups potatoes, diced and peeled
2 quarts boiling water

Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or till potatoes are tender.

2 cups cabbage, shredded
3 tsp. salt and pepper
2 cups spinach, chopped

Cook about 2 minutes over medium heat. This serves 4.  Eat with crisp bread. It is REALLY good!!!

Don't go off the picture, I didn't have any spinach so I doubled the cabbage. It didn't taste as good...

Whip up a batch of biscuits while the soup cooks.  They go great together!


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