December 31, 2010

Love You

December 27, 2010

Absence makes the heart fonder

Well, maybe that’s not the case with my writing, but who knows?  I can say truthfully I have missed typing away at blog posts during this blogging break.  Even though writing is somewhat of a chore for me, or should I say laborious, I still find much enjoyment in expressing my thoughts upon the page.

This year is almost complete in the pages of history.  Just a few short days remain of 2010, and then we commence upon another 365 of reflection and action.  I am always most introspective at this time of year, due in part to the realization that life is fleeting, and one must not sit with hands folded in one’s lap, viewing life from the front porch as it were, but instead get out and jog the streets – actively participating in each days activities, enjoying, battling, arguing, defending.

It is always hard to find words to describe just what sort of feeling I get at the close of another year.  The closest would be on the borderlands of melancholy – but not depression.  Certainly there is a place for both states, and I have experienced them in their turn.  But it is more of a sighing for things that I should have accomplished or could have said differently, etc.  Somewhat along those lines.  A sort of looking back in regret.  To stay in that frame of mind is, I don’t think, healthy for one’s emotions.

And so it is with strong resolve that I have decided to not look back with sadness or regret, but to look back with thankfulness and gratitude at the lessons learned, the memories shared, the blessings received, and to charge into the new year ‘full steam ahead’ as it were, with much anticipation of what lies just beyond the horizon.  The unseen.

I’ve made my list of the top ten goals for 2011.  Now to prayerfully assess how to  carry them out.  I am excited about what the new year holds, not only for me, but for those in my family and circle of friends.  Adventures are sure to be included.

A new year, a new slate to write upon.  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

What are your new year’s resolutions?

November 30, 2010

Sewing project, done.

Way back in the summer, I began creating a denim skirt for my own use.  I wanted it to be full enough where I could run and climb and play ball in it comfortably.  Then we had our church’s VBS, our long-planned for family vacation, school shopping, the resuming of the school year, and still my half-finished skirt lay miserably undone.

The finished product
The finished product

Sometime in October Mom suggested that we work to complete my skirt, as I was in need of some clothing.  I reluctantly agreed.  Sewing is not “my cup of tea” as it were, though I understand its value.

The chosen pattern
The chosen pattern

We began again to sew on this project, and after many starts and stops, I put the final stitches into the waist-band last night!  Hooray!

November 11, 2010

The Tunnel People

I ran across this fascinating story via Abraham’s blog Twenty-Two Words. It describes in pictures the life of so many individuals who have no other place to go but down.  Life in the water tunnels underneath Las Vegas. 

Shocking and saddening, your eyes will be opened to the plight of many who have fallen upon hard times in one of the most tourist rich cities on earth.

I think this shows us just how bad things have gotten for some people who are literally struggling to survive in today’s world.  Even here in America.




Another video which can only be viewed on YouTube can be found here.
This is also a sad picture of the spiritual reality of so many Americans.  They are truly living in darkness in more ways than one.

November 1, 2010

Trust and Obey

  1.  When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.
    • Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
      To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
  2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
    But His smile quickly drives it away;
    Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
    Can abide while we trust and obey.
  3. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
    But our toil He doth richly repay;
    Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
    But is blessed if we trust and obey.
  4. But we never can prove the delights of His love
    Until all on the altar we lay;
    For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
    Are for them who will trust and obey.
  5. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
    Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
    What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
    Never fear, only trust and obey.

October 26, 2010

The day I said good-bye


The mound was fresh with new turned dirt
The flowers not even wilted yet.
His family gathered round his body hid,
Eyes raised heavenward in prayer.
A tear begins to steal down my cheek
A single tear drips down.
And then we weep, silently at first.

It is too hard to bid adieu to the one we love,
To say "good-bye", or walk on.
And so we sob aloud, unhindered,
The feelings flow from our torn hearts
Rent by this loss so fresh.

But now it is time to walk away,
To move on in life without you.

The day I said good-bye to you,
Was certainly not the last day
I cried for you.
Copyright 2010 - Abigail C. Kautt

October 4, 2010

Update on Grandpa

Update: Grandpa will be having surgery today to help clear up his infection.   Thankfully he was in stable condition ALL night long, which is good news.   Please pray that he would be strong enough to make it through the surgery with flying colors!   And please continue to lift Grandma up as well.

October 2, 2010

Another day

He lies prostrate in a hospital bed.  Tubes and wires are running into and out of his body.  Illness clings to his body, and yet he sleeps. Oblivious.  Numbed by sedatives.  Resting in a state of drugged peace.  The doctors say he has improved, if only a little.  Any good news is snatched up by the family like the last crumb of bread available.  Hope is what they need.
Many times a day prayers are being offered up for him, and them.  People well-known and some complete strangers, all united together in petitions for this man’s health, and for comfort and strength.
Each new day a routine is set – drive to the hospital at 8, 10, noon, 2, 5 and then again at 8.  Six times daily, she makes this same trek.  To spend a few precious moments with her love.  To squeeze his hand.  Speaking to him in tones so tender, lovingly telling him about her day, about all those who care for him, who love them.  She cries.  Her heart aches for her love.  She is powerless, and yet she is not because she has Him on her side.  Always.
Another day has come and gone.  He still lies there as if suspended in time.  Unaffected by his surroundings.  And yet, he is not unaware of what is happening to him.  He senses us when we are there in his room.  Singing.  Praying.  Talking to him, willing him to hear, to live, to spend another day here with us.
__________________________________
Don’t waste a moment with your family.  Tell them you love them.  Give them a hug.  Don’t part with bad feelings, leave with pleasant words and smiles on your face and in your heart.  Love your family, today.

September 1, 2010

Serving God


"It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, 
because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, 
veneered over with Christian sentiment.  You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, 
if you never realize the call of God.  But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory 
of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the 
common-sense basis." - Oswald Chambers 

August 31, 2010

Phoebe's 15!

Sisters~

I posted this on Phoebe's birthday ~ Saturday.   If you want to see a slideshow of photos, go to my blog.

Phoebe's beard
Today is a special day at our house.  15 years ago this afternoon, we received into our hearts and home a beautiful, brown-eyed bundle of joy whom we named Phoebe (Greek – Bright and radiant).
I had been praying for a little sister I could share a room with, since I had two brothers (I was the middle child at that point), I wanted someone I could talk to, play with and share “girly” experiences.

A giant!
Phoebe is one of the quiet, mature young ladies I know her age.  She has wise words to share, sweet gestures to make and acts of kindness to those around her.  And, she is very smart!  Oh, and one other thing I LOVE about her – she is a talented pianist!

Jo and Phoebe
P - Patient.  Playful.  Prayerful.  Pretty.  Pianist.
H – Hopeful.  Honest.  Helpful.  Happy.
O – Obedient.  Optimistic.  Orderly.
E - Eager.  Earnest.  Effective.
B – Bold.  Beautiful.  Big-hearted.
E – Exuberant.  Exciting.  Essential.

Boo!
I am so thankful that Phoebe is a part of our family.  She is such a blessing, and she shows it every day when she works in the kitchen, edits videos, does her schoolwork, plays with Jaden, talks to Mom, or folds the latest load of laundry.  Beyond all of those things, she has a passion for people – especially evangelizing them, winning lost souls for Jesus Christ!  God has truly gifted her with a sharp intellect, a wit that few possess.  She has been able to put all that to use in her creative video editing jobs and in her input for our Ministry.

Reminiscing with Mother
I love you Phoebe!   May the Lord richly bless you day by day as you serve Him, and give you many more joyful years of life!

1000 Gifts


121. heart to heart conversations with Joel
122. ‘A more beautiful you’ ~ the message is powerful!
123. country drives
124. Sunday fellowship and dinner with friends
125. Sweet, cuddly babies
126. Names and their meanings
127. The kitchen
128. A pantry full of food
129. Cameras
130. Early mornings and productive days
 
My list will continue to grow as I praise the Lord each week here on my blog!
To join in the praise click here.

August 19, 2010

Maafa 21



"Three generations of imbeciles are enough..." - Maafa 21

I was privileged to watch this documentary 3 times recently, and it left a tremendous impact on my life.  If you are concerned about the "pro-life" vs. "pro-choice" issue, you MUST watch this film!

For further information click here.  Or you can watch the full movie on YouTube.

This film is not for younger audiences as mature issues are discussed, and a highly offensive Planned Parenthood commercial is shown (as an example of what PP does with tax payers money).

August 18, 2010

1000 Gifts

101. Unexpected gifts
102. Brothers who clean
103. Johanna’s beautiful piano music
104. Exuberant laughter
105. Renewing your mind
106. Thunderstorms
107. Homemade meals
108. Laundry baskets
109. Powder blue sheets
110. Clothes line

My list will continue to grow as I praise the Lord each week here on my blog!
To join in the praise click here.

August 15, 2010

Sunday Meditation

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

August 14, 2010

Who Am I supposed to be?

Jasmine has written another insightful article that I think you should read, regardless of age or sex. :)  You can check it out here, and read her blog here.

I'm going to be honest with you: at that point in my life, I was so anxious to shape myself into that ideal woman that I would have had a book burning and filled my shelves with cookbooks if that's what it took.
Great stuff Jasmine!  Thank you for providing encouragement through this article and your wonderful blog. :)

August 13, 2010

Success!

A while back we ran across a "recipe" for laundry detergent from the Duggar family.  It is inexpensive.  Smells wonderful and is super easy to make.  Keep in mind that this is a recipe for liquid laundry detergent.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Step 1.  Assemble supplies
Step 2. Read instructions carefully
Step 3. Shred soap

Step 4. Add shredded soap to hot water and stir, stir, stir!  
Step 5. Add Borax and Baking powder to soap mixture, stir well until Borax and Baking powder are dissolved


Step 6. Pour soap mixture into laundry detergent container
Step 7. Add Orange oil (essential oil) to detergent soap

Step 8. Shake detergent soap well, add hot tap water to "top it off" and let sit (it will be extremely hot, so beware).  After it has sat for a while it will gel, and before each use, you will need to shake it a bit and then pour onto awaiting laundry.
*Please note that this is a rendition of the Duggar's original recipe, I didn't follow the exact instructions because I was not making 5 gallons of laundry detergent.  If you want to read the original recipe and see others, click here.

Yours for happy, inexpensive and (healthy to boot) homemaking!

August 12, 2010

Nature by Numbers



This is truly an amazing video!  If you want to see it in HD, click here.

Christopher Hitchens, Cancer & God

It was recently revealed by famed atheist Christopher Hitchens, (author of God is Not Great), that he is dying of cancer.   In a fascinating interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Hitchens discussed his cancer and God.
It saddens me to think that this man, who is a creature made in God’s image, has spent much of his life writing and speaking about the fact that there is no God.   What makes me even sadder is what he had to say about his battle with cancer and prayer:
On the topic of prayer, Hitchens noted that the prayers about his cancer– both the people praying for his health and those who have “lavish websites… praying for me to suffer and die”– are meaningless to him, even “Everyone Pray for Hitchens Day,” which he says has been designated to be the 20th of September. “I don’t think souls or bodies can be changed by incantation– or anything else, by the way.”
This morning I was reading Romans chapters 3 and 4, and I ran across these verses:
3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
“ That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”
Even if Mr. Hitchens never becomes a Christian, we cannot be arrogant and glory in the “I told you so’s” because we could just as easily be in his place.  We need to remember these sobering thoughts:
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written:
“ There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
We do need to take time to pray that Christopher Hitchens heart will be softened to Jesus, and that he would be saved.  Of course, we can only pray that God would do a mighty work in his life and heart to transform him, if God so wills.  I would encourage you to join with me as we pray not only for the healing of Mr. Hitchens body, but more importantly, the transformation of his soul!
 

Theology Thursday: Antinomianism

Antinomianism.  On the grounds that the Christian is saved by Grace and not by works or moral effort, some Christians have claimed that the saved man is free from all moral obligations or principles.  The term is applied to this view.
It can also be summerized as:

Opposition to the law; or Lawlessness.

August 10, 2010

1000 Gifts

While I was away on vacation I couldn't continue my list of gratitude, and when I came back, I forgot.  But here it is - resuming my praise to Him who is the Provider of all! 

91. Family vacations
92. Newly made friends who love the Lord
93. Above Rubies magazine and the encouragement it provides
94. Worldview books and resources that I can understand and ingest
95. Country air
96. Wednesday night bible study and fellowship
97. Surprise visits
98. Little brothers questions
99. A stove
100. Sandals that are comfortable and cute 

My list will continue to grow as I praise the Lord each week here on my blog!
To join in the praise click here.

August 8, 2010

The Church Confronting the World

Chapter 7 is a closer look at Bonhoeffer's "life-work" Ethics.  He wrote on this book between the years 1940-1943.  His friend Eberhard Bethge was the one who actually compiled the notes which comprise the current manuscript, because Bonhoeffer was killed before completion.

The Uniqueness of Christian Ethics:

The first chapter is foundational.  It poses a chasm between Christian ethics and other ethical systems.  Other ethical systems aim at coming to a knowledge of good and evil, but say nothing about why this should be a particular emphasis in ethics.  Christian ethics, on the other hand, has a knowledge of why other ethical systems concentrate on the knowledge of good and evil, but rejects this goal as being a false one.

The goal:

Christian ethics focuses on the new mam, the restored man, the reconciled man, the man in God.  When other ethical systems set up the goal of a knowledge of good and evil, man immediately becomes the arbiter of that knowledge and assumes the role of God who alone has this knowledge.

"Instead of knowing only the God who is good to him and instead of knowing all things in Him, he knows himself as the origins of good and evil."

Man's rebellion brings disunion with God, with man, and within himself.

Bonhoeffer treats the Pharisees as the example of disunited man interested in the knowledge of right and wrong, often in a legalistic sense, but who, because of this question, never saw the real issue at hand: unity with God.

Thus the religious life is not a matter of rules, "but solely of living the will of God."  Man's chief concern in all situations is to discern what God's will is.  This must continue through life.  Bonhoeffer does not imply direct inspiration of God's will, but he indicates that "if a man asks God humbly God will give him certain knowledge of His will."

In the power of Jesus Christ man is to do the will of God.  Man in union with God is marked by the stamp of love.

Jesus Christ is the origin of these values (reason, justice, culture) and "it is only under His protection" that they can survive.

Ethics as formation:

  • Reason (it fails to see "the depths of evil or the depths of the holy")
  • Fanaticism (it loses sight of the totality of evil in concentrating upon a particular evil)
  • Conscience (it becomes timid and uncertain because of the disguises of evil and denigrates to a soothed conscience to avoid despair)
  • Duty (commanded duty does not have the free responsibility of the doer back of it)
  • Freedom (it often involves one in doing bad to ward off a worse event)
  • Private virtuousness (one must remain blind to evils around him and be self-deceived
The wise man is the one who sees beyond principles, rules and other screens to the reality of God.

Success:

Three attitudes of success:

  1. It is identified with good
  2. "Only good is successful"
  3. "All success comes of wickedness"
Success or failure mean nothing in place of "willing acceptance of God's judgment."

The beginning point of Christian ethics is not rules but the form of Christ and the "formation of the church in conformity with the form of Christ."

August 6, 2010

Photographs from our trip: People and Places

First stop: Tyler, TX to exchange some things with our grandparents ~ Poppy & Grams

Phoebe, Mom, Grams & Johanna

I enjoyed chatting with Poppy!

Nearing the Louisiana border

A Mississippi river

Nearing Birmingham, AL

Tennessee in my rear view mirror

Blue bridges

Rhea county court house - Scopes trial 1925 held here

Clarance Darrow before the court 

Johanna in the Scopes Trial Museum

Joel inspects the photographs

Caleb reading the historical narrative

Historical marker

A river - Kentucky

A red barn

Jo and I

Waiting on our food - Jason's Deli (Knoxville, TN)

Joel

The front porch - Sevierville, TN

The family ~ Sevierville, TN

Playing tennis - Sevierville, TN

Jo with her eye on the ball

"Serve!"

Two courts played

Jaden enjoyed the playground

Jo!

The Great Smoky Mountains ~ They are smoky