Candles. The long North Carolina fall. Good Earth tea. My husband. My children. Flannel sheets. My extended family. The freedom to educate my children myself. Old book smell. New book smell. The YMCA pool. Good friends here and everywhere. God's grace in salvation and sanctification. Sweaters from J Jill. The Square Peg Alliance. Handel. Chocolate. Coffee. Le Crueset cookware. My (still sorta new) gas stove. Laughter that brings tears. Christmas movies. The smell of woodsmoke. Tulips. Tim Keller. Sarah Edwards. Jane Austen. C.S. Lewis. John Piper. Health. My family's health. Clean water. Avocados. Security. Eternal life. Nigella Lawson. Ina Garten. Grapes. Trash pickup. Baseball. Old hymns. Lobster. Dishwashers. The Nutcracker Suite. Fourth of July fireworks. Blueberries. Red wine. White wine. My little desk. My blog readers.
Bless the Lord, O My Soul
103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
- It's my first year brining a turkey, with help from Alton Brown and the Pioneer Woman (don't forget the Best Gravy Ever)
- Same Delicious Stuffing. (already partly done)
- Sweet Potato Casserole (did you know you can make this ahead and freeze it? This has been done since Monday!)
- Green Bean casserole
- David's Mom's Cranberry salad
- Crock Pot mashed red potatoes
- Plain old Green Giant corn :-)
- Chocolate-Caramel Pecan pie (this is in my Southern Living cookbook, but I couldn't find it online)
- Pumpkin pie
- Apple Spice Cake (done)
...[I]n order to qualify yourselves for instructing and preparing your children for God’s service, you diligently study his Word, to ascertain what he requires of them, and frequently pray for the assistance of his Spirit, both for them and yourselves.... [Y]ou will carefully guard against saying or doing anything which may, either directly or indirectly, lead them to consider religion as an object of secondary importance; on the contrary you will constantly labor to impress upon their minds a conviction, that you consider religion as the great business of life; the favor of God, as the only proper object of pursuit, and the enjoyment of him hereafter, as the only happiness; while everything else is comparatively of no consequence, however important it may otherwise be.
--From "Children to be Educated for God" in
The Complete Works of Edward Payson, Vol. III
Today's post is something that some of you have read before, but it bears repeating. It's an excerpt from our Christmas letter from 2004, the year we moved to Charlotte. It starts slowly, but hang on, it gets exciting real quick.
11/25/04: Kellers depart
Camarillo at 9:45 A.M. Fifty miles into the trip, Cameron asks, “Are we almost to North Carolina?”. Thirty-eight miles later: “Are we almost there?”. Ben nods off around lunchtime. Cameron tries to pry open his eyelids. Sign spotted by the roadside: “State Prison Next Exit. Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers.” Upon arrival at the hotel in Tucson, AZ, David realizes that he has misplaced his briefcase and probably left it back in , where the Kellers ate their Thanksgiving lunch at a local Denny’s. This would not be a problem except for the fact that the certified check for the closing of the house is inside the briefcase, which David now remembers leaving in the parking lot amidst the hustle and bustle of loading the kids into the van after lunch. Kelly makes a frantic phone call to the restaurant and eventually learns that the briefcase has been found and is in the safe, where it will remain until the manager comes in the next morning. Blythe, California
11/26/04: After approximately two and a half hours’ sleep, David departs
at 4 A.M. to drive the three and a half hours back to Blythe to meet the manager. Kelly and the three boys spend a leisurely morning at the hotel in Tucson , enjoying the continental breakfast and the Post-Thanksgiving Tom and Jerry marathon on TV. David meets the manager of Denny’s, who naturally asks for proper identification and hands over the briefcase. The check is still inside. David eats breakfast at Denny’s and learns that the manager’s wife, who also works at the restaurant, discovered the briefcase in the parking lot. She informs David “this is not a real good part of town to leave things.” David also learns that “the safe” was actually the trunk of the manager’s car. After profusely thanking the kind couple, David drives back to Tucson Tucson, arriving around noon, picks up the family, and continues driving five more hours to , where the weary family spends the night. Ben falls out of bed in the middle of the night. El Paso
11/27/04: Kellers depart
El Pasoat 10 A.M. and enjoy a short five-hour day of driving to . On the way they see…west Odessa, TX . If you’ve been there, you know. Texas
11/28/04: Kellers depart
at 7:30 A.M. Stopping for a break outside of Odessa , the boys see a gutted deer in the back of a pickup truck. Ben is instantly impressed. The manager of a convenience store tells Kelly that he can see she has her hands full. She considers retorting, “You don’t know the half of it” but keeps silent. Arrival in Abilene is a welcoming one, with a Cracker Barrel right next to the hotel. Andrew spits up in the middle of dinner, making a bit of a scene for Dad while Mom wanders around the Cracker Barrel store, blissfully ignorant. Shreveport, LA
11/29/04: What we like to call “The Longest Day.” Kellers depart
Shreveportat 7:30 A.M and cross Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and a good part of . After a few hours of driving, they almost run out of gas in a rather scary backwoods locale in Georgia Northern Louisiana. Relieved to finally be on the eastern side of the Mississippi river, they arrive in and prepare for a “quick” three and a half hours the next day. David rejoices to think that he can finally empty the expertly packed minivan the next night. Atlanta
11/30/04: Just a jaunt through
South Carolinaand the Kellers arrive in around lunchtime. A quick walk-through of the house, an afternoon closing (thank goodness that check is out of their hands!), and they are officially Charlotte North Carolinians.
November 25th will forever be in our minds as the day that tens of thousands of dollars were saved for us by a humble manager's wife in Blythe, California. The ending details of the story are that we sent a giftcard to the woman in thanks; it had to be a Kmart one, because there are no other stores nearby. And tonight we will head to Denny's for dinner in remembrance :-)
It's that time of year when I notice the Southern accents around me a little bit more. Southerners say "THANKS-giving," -- emphasis on what they're giving -- and I say "Thanks-GIVING" -- emphasis on what I'm doing with my thanks.
As long as we're giving thanks....
So the doctor prescribed me some steroids to calm down the reaction (I don't know what I'm reacting to; I've tried every permutation of cream and wrapping available). She also gave me a script for an antibiotic to prevent infection since steroids make you more prone to it.
I'll let you in on a little secret...after the strep/yeast/uti drama of last year, I am now slightly terrified of antibiotics. I have not taken any for over a year. So please pray that I can be an agreeable patient and do what the doctor told me to. I'll be chasing the antibiotics with a probiotic every night.
After all my mom's little side effects post-chemotherapy, we have named her the "Queen of Side Effects." I seem poised to take the tiara as the Princess thereof.
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it.
So many Bibles, so many Bibles -- and so little thoughtful reading of them. The next stage is the Bible as source of prooftexts; the stage after that is the Bible as quaint relic; the next, the Bible as antiquarian magic; the next, implacable ignorance -- and all the while, a growing hunger for something wise, something stable, something intelligent, something prophetic, something true. And the hunger is not satisfied.
The only answer is the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer in John 17:17.
This one was particularly funny to me because we toured the Bay Area in California with a real estate agent who said those very things to us: "It doesn't go down here! It only goes up!".
Also, we just couldn't adjust to the prices. Even after two years of living in CA, we still felt like screaming to anyone who would listen: "THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION DOLLARS AND THIS IS WHAT YOU GET"!!!
(that boy in the hat does not belong to us)
(is Jonathan tasting the water here?)
(Cameron enjoys getting up close and personal with strangers.)
This morning I was moving a bit too fast in the kitchen and slopped hot bacon grease over my thumb joint and halfway up my arm.
Um, burns hurt. Bad.
After a trip to the doctor I learned that I have a second-degree burn over 2-3% of my body, which means that (a) I am on painkillers that make me loopy, (b) I have a blue bandage over my right hand and arm, and (c) I have to go back tomorrow to see exactly how bad it is.
Once it was cleaned and properly wrapped, the pain lessened a bit, and as you are now observing, I am still able to type. :-D
God's timing is perfect as ever, since my mom is here this week and was able to stay with the kids while David drove me to the doctor.
Now Jonathan is walking around the house saying things like, "I'm going to kick the mustard out of that crazy hot dog!".
Honda, Toyota and the rest employ about 113,000 American auto workers who make nearly four million cars a year in states like Alabama and Tennessee. Unlike Michigan, these states didn't vote for Mr. Obama.
But the very success of this U.S. auto industry indicates that highly skilled American workers can profitably churn out cars without being organized by the UAW. A bailout for Chrysler would in essence be assisting rich Cerberus investors at the expense of middle-class nonunion auto workers. Is this the new "progressive" era we keep reading so much about?
We stayed in a home that belongs to a coworker of David's. It is in a community largely inhabited by older people, so there was no secret about where we were. Everyone else was verrrrrry quiet. The house was about 400 square feet, so we learned a lot about traffic patterns and family togetherness. I kid, but it was a good reminder of how little we really "need." Life is really simple and you have a lot more time when there's not so much stuff around.
On our last day, we did the traditional mini-golfing.
I sit here with my laptop and feel anxiety...a week ahead to teach school, to fill needs, to do, to read, so much undone...friends to care for, people in need, deadlines.... A full inbox and google reader can do that to you.
It was good to be offline for over a week. Very, very good. Living in the real world and out of the virtual one is a very healthy thing.
I will post updates very soon, perhaps even tonight. But for now there are groceries to unpack and laundry to do and schoolwork to prepare and friends to love on.
So with these few words typed, I will get up and begin to put one foot in front of the other, to do the things that need doing, think the thoughts that need thinking, and carry on.
I'm glad to be back!