Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Which She Becomes Slightly More Hippie

It's already a well documented fact that I have a hippie streak in me--I don't wear shoes, for one, but lately, there have been a few other life choices that are increasing my hippie factor.

Paper towels
I have, for several years now, thought paper towels were, well, a waste. You use them once and then throw them away (or perhaps food recycle). Not too long ago, my roommates and I cut up old sheets and have a rag box to draw from. It works quite well--after once use, simply toss in the hamper, wash and they're ready to go again.

Mayonnaise
I figured that all the preservatives in store-bought mayo can't really be all that good for you, so thanks to the Mennonite cookbook, I made my own! It was a little soupy (must add oil slower next time), but I do intended to try it again. Cheaper than store-bought mayo, too, I believe. And it's just pretty fun to make your own.

Walking/biking
If at all possible, I try to bike or walk instead of drive. It's good for me, and I figure that no one likes breathing emissions from my car. Plus, it's fun--and you can get a lot of quality time with your mp3 player, too!

Shampoo
This one really put me over the edge--I haven't used shampoo on my hair in over a month now. Instead, I'm using a baking soda paste (and was spraying the ends with apple cider vinegar). I did some research online and liked what people said about their hair after using it. Plus, can those chemicals really be that good for you? Shampoo is expensive, too, and I go through it quickly. I haven't quite mastered the art of it, but I think I'm getting there.

Who knows how long I'll keep up all of these things. Hopefully a long time, but maybe I'll end up marrying a man who can't stand homemade mayo or baking soda-ed hair or something equally tragic. ;)

So yeah, I have some hippie/Bellingham/granola/crunchy in me...but that's okay, right?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
by John Newton

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose Word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

See! the streams of living waters,
Springing from eternal love;
Well supply thy sons and daughters,
And all fear of want remove:
Who can faint while such a river
Ever flows their thirst t’assuage?
Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
Never fails from age to age.

Round each habitation hovering,
See the cloud and fire appear!
For a glory and a cov’ring
Showing that the Lord is near.
Thus deriving from our banner
Light by night and shade by day;
Safe they feed upon the manna
Which He gives them when they pray.

Blest inhabitants of Zion,
Washed in the Redeemer’s blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
Makes them kings and priests to God.
’Tis His love His people raises,
Over self to reign as kings,
And as priests, His solemn praises
Each for a thank offering brings.

Savior, if of Zion’s city,
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy Name.
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasure
None but Zion’s children know.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thank you, thank you, thank you

I know the Internet is a cold and impersonal medium to communicate something like this, (please forgive me), but thank you, friends, for all the love and care you showed my family in the passing of my Grandma. Your e-mails, phone calls, hugs, texts...everything were so very much appreciated. It was hard saying goodbye to Grandma, but she is with Jesus now, and though we're still sad, knowing that does make it easier (at least from my perspective).

Our time in South Dakota was good...not always easy, but good. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins were able to be there (this was the first time in a long time...last year at Grandpa and Grandma's 60th anniversary, one cousin and her husband were missing because she'd just had a baby). There were lots of times of laughter mixed in with the tears. Monday afternoon, we had a time of sharing stories about Grandma. I got to learn a lot of things I didn't know about her, and it was really enjoyable. It raised a few questions (exactly how many times did she have rheumatic fever?) but it was still fun nonetheless.

Tuesday was the graveside burial and memorial service. Like I said, those were rough (watching my Grandpa say goodbye was absolutely heartbreaking), but through it all, I had this underlying knowledge that Grandma was with Jesus; the body I was looking at was just that--a body. Her soul is free.

I could go on about the stories of God's grace throughout the whole process--the nurse in the park (next to my Grandparent's house) who started CPR right away, my mom's cousin who was also at the park and stayed with my Grandpa...really, you don't have to look too deep to see that He was there during the events that took place. Even in something as sad as death, He's there. And that, through all the sadness and mourning, gives me peace and joy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hymn of the Week: How Firm a Foundation

How Firm a Foundation
Author Unsure

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Grandma

Written August 14th 2008

This afternoon I got the call I knew would eventually come but had been dreading. It was my mom, and right away, I knew something was wrong. “Grandma?” I guessed, as I pulled over on the side of the road. Tears started streaming down my face as she confirmed my fears—Grandma had died. Quietly, on the back deck in a small Midwest town while shucking corn, Anabel Larson went to be with Jesus.

A loving and faithful wife, mother, grandma and great-grandma said goodbye to pain and suffering. In one sense, it’s a relief to know she’s no longer in pain, but in another, more real sense, the void grows bigger each time I realize she’s gone. She won’t be there for my wedding and my kids won’t know this amazing woman (though I’m determined to name one of my daughters after her). Instead, they’ll know her through stories—stories of the food, the Golden Book collection, the red barns and red ball guns her kids and grandkids grew up on. She’ll live on through recipes I’ve gotten from her and when I have my kids memorize Psalm 23, I’ll tell them how much she loved it.

I’ve inherited a lot of things from Grandma—the love of a bargain, the inability to resist a garage sale, some teacups, recipes and a sewing machine. But what I remember best and am most thankful for is the godly heritage of a woman who selflessly and tirelessly served others, loved her family and loved the Lord most of all. In the grand scheme of things, one person may not seem like a big deal, but together with Grandpa, Grandma had an influence that has and I am convinced will continue to span the globe from here to eternity.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hymn of the Week: His Love Can Never Fail

His Love Can Never Fail
by E.S. Hall

I do not ask to see the way
My feet will have to tread;
But only that my soul may feed
Upon the living Bread.’
Tis better far that I should walk
By faith close to His side;
I may not know the way I go,
But oh, I know my Guide.

His love can never fail,
His love can never fail,
My soul is satisfied to know
His love can never fail.

And if my feet would go astray,
They cannot, for I know
That Jesus guides my falt’ring steps,
As joyfully I go.
And tho’ I may not see His face,
My faith is strong and clear,
That in each hour of sore distress
My Savior will be near.

I will not fear, tho’ darkness come
Abroad o’er all the land,
If I may only feel the touch
Of His own loving hand.
And tho’ I tremble when I think
How weak I am, and frail,
My soul is satisfied to know
His love can never fail.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
by Charles Wesley

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Good Works Are, Well...Good

I've been thinking lately about the proper place of good works in the life of a Christian. Clearly, we are not saved by them (Titus 3:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, etc)--it is the grace of God alone that saves us. However, I think a lot of Christian miss the place of works post-salvation. Right after we are told "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast," we are also told in the very next verse "for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Emphasis added.) We're created for good works! How grateful I am that we are saved from the endless cycle of works for the joy of doing good works unto God's glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

Good works are utterly important in our Christian life, but they become so after salvation, not before. Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine traits that should be evident in the lives of all who profess Christ--love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do these have anything to do with saving us? By no means, but they are ways the world knows we belong to Jesus. "By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another," John 13:35 tells us. Instead of viewing good works as burdensome, we who belong to Christ should find joy in doing them--it's our calling, joy and honor.