I've been finding a recurring theme in my reading lately, suffering.
Things like, "You came to serve, not rule. Know that you were called to suffer and to labor, not to be idle, or to spend your time in talk. Here therefore men are proved as gold in the furnace. Here no man can stand, unless he humble himself with his whole heart for the love of God."
"Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross."
"All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to endure anything for Him or with Him."
"Many love Jesus as long as adversities do not happen."
"With great reason, ought you to cheerfully suffer a little for Christ's sake; since many suffer more grievious things for the world."
"If there had been any better thing, and more profitable to the salvation of man, than suffering, surely Christ would have showed it by word and example."
"For both the disciples that followed Him, and also all who desire to follow Him, he plainly exhorts to the bearing of the cross, and says, 'If any will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.'"
(All quotes above by Thomas a'Kempis)
As I've reflected on the things I've read, I've realized a scary thing. I don't even like to be inconvenienced, much less suffer.
Countless times a day I grumble, mostly inwardly, but still I grumble about the inconveniences I face. "What is the matter with those people? Can't they do their job better? Don't they know my time is valuable and they are wasting both my time and my money by not doing their job efficiently...ect." Recent return trips to the nearest DMV in the next county have almost made me blow a gasket. EVERYTIME.
Never once have I considered that these daily little inconveniences could be for my benefit. To teach me, to train me to be better able to walk in His footsteps, to be more like Him.
Sometimes we read the Old Testament and think we'd have behaved better than the Israelites did as they wandered through the desert. No, we wouldn't have. Can you imagine how much whining would be going on if we experienced that?
"Sometimes, however, you must use violence and resist manfully your sensual appetite, not regarding what the flesh would or would not, but rather taking pains that even against its will it may be made subject unto the Spirit. And so long should it be chastised and to be forced to remain in servitude, until it be prepared for everything, and learn to be content with little, and to be pleased with plain things, nor to murmur against any inconvenience." Thomas a Kempis
"He (Moses) chose to suffer with God's people rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while. He thought that being insulted for Christ would be better than having the treasures in Egypt. He was looking ahead to his reward." (Heb. 11:25-26)
Praying to please Him in all my thoughts, words and actions.
I was playing catch-up, reading a friend's blog, I've been missing out on lately, and saw the most beautiful snowflakes her children had made as Christmas decorations. Thankfully, being the kind of woman she is, she graciously shared the how-tos with her readers. Now following her lead, I am sharing them with all of you. Whoever reads my blog deserves something, right? :-)
And here is another pattern to printout, http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/dstredulinsky/SnowPat/snow2000_13.htm
I can't wait to share these with my kids!
Before our Christmas break, I had decided to do a unit on William Bentley, the Snowflake Man. Imagine my delight as snow began falling on January 4th, the first day we started our new unit! God always seems to do neat stuff like that to remind me that He is in charge of everything in our lives. Nothing is too big or too small for Him to care about. Now you may be thinking that snow in January is not that unusual, but it is here in the Deep South. It is also being one of the coldest weeks we've ever had, and snowed even more today. I'll have some pics of the snow, and the kids fun in it later.
For our unit we are using the book, Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Mary Azarian, along with the Five in Row, fiarhq.com, unit study on Snowflake Bentley by Jane Lambert.
I found the following videos on YouTube to share with my children,There are many more videos about William Bentley available on YouTube, if you wish to see more. I also found this website that looks interesting, snowflakebentley.com "Because I do this I can show these lovely things to people who never would have seen them without my help. They will get their daily quart of milk, all right. Other farmers will attend to that. But I think I am giving them something which is just as important." William Bentley, the Snowflake Man
I drink too much diet Coke. This is what I concluded about a month ago. I use it mostly to wake up in morning and find it takes more and more of it as time goes on. I've read enough warnings about the ill-effects of diet sodas to know better than to let this continue.
I've also learned more and been drawn more to Saint's Coffee, www.saintscoffee.com . Even though I've never been a coffee drinker, the mission of Saint's Coffee was enough to get me to want to try it. Every purchase of their coffee or their products feeds an orphan for one month.
So I was going to try coffee and since I really wanted to give this the best chance of becoming a daily reality for me, I began to consider what kind of coffee maker to use. I got an email from America's Test Kitchen at this time which included a video on their top two methods of making coffee. I was interested the most in the french press method. It was simple and compact. I bought this one at Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Frieling-Stainless-Steel-35-Ounce-French-Press/dp/B00009ADDS/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1262453115&sr=8-7. It is all stainless steel, no mechanicals, no filters to buy, nothing to break. Plus, it takes little space and looks great on my counter. This thing may last forever. Any coffee maker will make coffee, but I really like that this one takes no filters and won't be something that may quit working in a few months. There is nothing mechanical about it, so I expect to continue using it for a long, long time.
The orders for both the french press and my Saint's Coffee arrived. I was all set. I made my first cup with sugar and cream...it was heavenly!
I am now a huge cheerleader for Saint's Coffee. Here's some information from their page on Facebook, "Saint’s Coffee is a small-batch, micro-roaster offering specialty blends and unique varietals of 100% fair trade and organic coffees. But beyond being the freshest, finest, and fairest of them all—Saint’s Coffee is transforming the lives of orphaned children by investing almost 1/3rd of net profits from every sale into organizations helping children.
Bottom Line: Provide our customers the best coffee they've ever tasted while funneling much of the profit to the most needy people of the world.
It’s hard to shop your values these days. But American consumers have more power than ever…why not turn that into a powerful force for good? Saint’s Coffee is about bringing justice to orphans first. Let’s face it, we all buy coffee. What we individually spend on coffee is more than most people in the developing world make in an entire year. So, what can YOU do about that?
~ Ignore it…nope, too heartless
~ Stop drinking coffee…stupid idea!
~ Change your vendor…yes!
Use your greatest power—the power to CHOOSE who you buy coffee from. No, we don’t have 40,000 stores on every street corner in America. This movement is not about convenience, it’s about buying coffee that reflects your values…coffee that cares about the same things you do."
This appeals to me. This is just one more way I can live my convictions. I mean, who knows what those soda companies are doing with their money?! The mission of Saint's Coffee is to save lives. I had to try it. And I am so glad to find that I enjoy it more than anything I've drank before.
Not only does it save lives and taste great, it is also organic and fair trade. The benefits just keep on coming. Only 3% of all the coffee beans in the world are good enough for Saint's Coffee, so you can believe it is good coffee.
As I was adding my used coffee grounds to my compost bucket the other morning, it occurred to me that coffee grounds are good for the soil, and that soda is good for getting corrosion off your battery cables. Which one would you rather drink? Hmm?
If you read this blog, I think you deserve to be let in on the secret...my youngest daughter is getting a horse for Christmas! But not just any horse. Blaze is a very special horse that she fell in love with. I think I now realize why she loves him so. He loves her. Blaze is a rescue horse.
He first appeared in our neighbor's fields this fall. My kids name all the horses, donkeys and mules that our neighbor keeps with his cattle. The description they gave me of Blaze surprised me. He was in rough shape, had a large gash on his shoulder, etc. This did not sound at all like the horses our neighbor keeps. His horses are always purebred and flashy.
The kids visited Blaze every day, taking him apples and carrots, etc. Since they took such an interest, I went with them one afternoon to see Blaze too. He was not what I expected a rescued horse to be. He was very calm, soaking up all of my children's attentions. They wanted me to pet him too. I imagined he'd not trust me, an adult, and would leave the fence. To my surprise, he enjoyed my attentions just as much as theirs. I was enchanted with him just like my children were.
Most of the horses in the field near us either ignore my kids or come take their treat offerings and then return to munching their grass. Not Blaze. He would stand near the fence as long as they would pet him.
Privately, I told my husband that he should see this horse too. He did. He also was impressed with him and learned that although our neigbor pastured the horse, he belonged to someone else. His owner had saved this young horse from being turned into dogfood. She needed a good home for him, because she already had too many horses at her home. Blaze had now found a home with us. He will be our youngest daughter's dream come true.
The lady who rescued him agreed to also complete his training, and for an extra charge she will train our kids with him after Christmas. Although I grew up with horses, that was a long time ago, and I know this lady is very experienced. She recently started his training. After working with him, she decided since that all went so well, she would try putting a blanket on him. He didn't mind, so she tried a saddle. He didn't mind the saddle either, so she tried riding him. He took her everywhere she wanted to go with only a saddle and a halter. Even she was surprised. She told us, "I think the horse is just so grateful to finally be loved."
Please don't spoil our Christmas surprise; keep the secret, okay? Do you want to see him?
While I doubt anyone really cares what kind of music I love, I have to share about the things I am passionate about. It is just the way that I am. I never want anyone to miss out. I have pretty eclectic taste in music, but David Nevue is one I never, ever tire of.