Colossians 3:17

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Sunday, October 5, 2014


We were invited to pick and brine olives at a friend's house.

We have done strawberry picking and apple picking olive picking was  fun new experience!

Isaac loved the brining part.

We went back a couple weeks later to make the marinades for the olives and now we are busy eating them!  Thanks Starr!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Christ's Mission

"This is My beloved Son, hear Him!"  That's what God says as Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop in the presence of Peter, John, and James (9:35).  I'm reading Luke chapter nine and my eyes instantly glance down the text for the next set of red words.  I want to know, what does Jesus have to say that is so important that God would speak from Heaven to tell us silly people to listen?

In Luke, the next thing Jesus says is "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here" (9:41)  I'm confused by two things: why is Jesus so frustrated here and why do these words not seem to be the message that God told the disciples to listen to?

Why is He so frustrated?
As Luke describes it, Jesus' next recorded words (recorded by Luke) occur the next day when he has come down from the mountain.  He is met by the usual crowd.  And a man yells out to him from the crowd for help in healing his son, who is convulsed by demons.  The man explains that the disciples weren't able to heal him.

And Jesus' response is an outburst of frustration.  I've been rolling this around in my little brain for the past two days.  I re-read it again this morning.  And two possibilities settle on me:

1. Jesus is frustrated at his disciples for not getting it yet.  They don't yet get fully who he is.  Nor do they understand his mission.  They are still learning to follow their leader and they are still functioning under misperceptions about him.  He has already tried to tell them several times that His kingdom, His mission, His family, is not of this world, but they are still not getting it (8:19-21, 9:22- 23).

2. Jesus is frustrated by the distractions from His mission.  The following twelve chapters of Luke show Jesus explaining His kingdom in teaching and parables.  The last three after that show Jesus following through in His mission to make this kingdom come.  This crowd, many of whom are only after Jesus for His healing, as this boy's father originally was, is a distraction from His mission.  He loves these people.  He is willing and able to heal them, but that is not His mission.

Why do His words of frustration not seem to be the message that God told the disciples to listen to? 
Again, I think to myself that these words of frustration are not the message that God told the disciples to listen to from the mountaintop.  I glance a few lines down in the text for the next red words, to see if they help answer the question, what is it God wants us to listen to?  The next thing Jesus says (as record by Luke) is, "Let these words sink down into your ears..."  Okay, this must be it!  Pretty clear there, I believe!  "Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men" (9:44).

I believe Jesus is saying, "Hear this! You are getting it wrong.  I am not here to build a tabernacle to myself on the mountaintop (9:33).  I am not here to build an earthly kingdom at all.  I am not here to be your earthy healer, your earthly brother, your earthly king.  I am here to be betrayed into the hands of men."  And the next line tells me that still His disciples did not understand His words.  They didn't understand, but we do, because we have read the end of the story already.  Jesus came here to die.  His healing ministry was compassion, but His mission was to die so that we can be brought into our true family, His true kingdom, our glorified bodies that never need healing again.  

This is a message I already know but, oh how I need to be reminded of it daily.  THIS LIFE IS HARD.  I had a very sheltered childhood and this reality has sunk into me slowly as an adult and fiercely this past year, but this life is hard.  I am daily tested by small trials and great losses, not to mention my own sin.  And I know now by experience that this will not stop until I meet Him in His kingdom come.

Many times during the day, I seek His help, His healing, His comfort.  And He often gives it to me.  But that is not His mission.  His mission is to bring me into His kingdom come, His mission is to grow me into the person He made me to be, and these trials, these losses are often a training ground for this growth (James 1).  I don't like it.  I, like the boy's father, cry for mercy.  Just fix it, God!

I don't want to sit in the hard places.  I want to sit on a white beach with a glass full of frozen anything topped with a tiny paper umbrella.  And this is why Jesus says what he does in 9:23: "If any one desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."  I have heard this many times before, but it was the "daily" that struck me.  Following Christ is not a one-time deal.  When we make Him our Savior, we are forever saved (John 10:28-29), but to follow Him as Lord is a daily activity.

I do so want to follow Him, and daily I must die to my desire for this life to be perfect and painless.  Not that I have to be a glutton for punishment or resign myself to despair, but I do have to let go of my desires for perfection in this life and keep my focus on the life to come.  I have known this before, even written about it before (Jesus Sighs, A New Heart for God's Big Picture), but the reminder needs to be daily just as much as the dying to self needs to be daily (and why my time in His word needs to be daily too).

I am glad for the reminder of Christ's mission, that He came not to heal, but to save and perfect.  He did heal and He does still heal, but His mission was to bring His kingdom to us who could not get there on our own.  This is His mission still, until it is complete.  My response is to die daily to my own desires and follow Him.

The tricky part is that I still live in this world and I cannot forsake the gifts and the calling He has given me for this life.  My heart has to be daily reminded to hope in the kingdom come, yet the crumbs still have to be wiped from the counters.  I still have to care for this home, do my best at my job, in my ministry; I still have to lovingly kiss boo-boos and pray for the safety of my children, to cherish my husband and family, without forgetting that these things are not ultimate things.  I must hold them dearly and yet my grip must be open because keeping us healthy and happy is not God's mission.

To die to myself daily, my mission must be the same as my Savior's: His Kingdom come, within me, and throughout this world.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back to School

First day of school.  With Buddy Jackson.  4th grade. 

I love the little alfalfa sprout...first sign of the return of his "signature look" which we lovingly refer to as "bedhead."  

Second grade. 

It was a lovely day.  I had a long list of all the things I should be doing around the house while they were back at school.  Instead I chose to ignore the list completely.  And it was lovely.  I did my pilates without any kids trying to crawl under my plank (that sounds funny, but when I'm holding up my own weight, nothing touching me is very funny!).  Then, I lingered long over my bible, sipping coffee.  Then, I soaked in the bath, interruption free.  

After lunch, I met some friends for tea. And then it was bus pick up time.  

Isaac had a great first day.

Abby was not at all happy. 

It turned out she got her feelings hurt in class by some other girls.  And she said second grade wasn't any fun.  That was just day 1.  I was really hoping the second day of school would be better. 

The second day off the bus, I was able to catch a few smiles. 

She hadn't had her feelings hurt this day.  But she still said her class was no fun and she didn't like second grade.  She said the same thing all week long.  I have a feeling her teacher this year is more strict than in previous years and Abby is not too comfortable with that.  Every day this week there were tears...

...So, to encourage her, we took some good friends to the tea room for lunch this Saturday. 

Here's to hoping for more smiles the rest of this school year.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lord of the Rings Party

At the birthday feast (Bilbo's birthday feast...Isaac's too!). 

At the Council of Elrond: showing the kids a scene or two of the movie so they would have a clue what they activities meant.

All the kids wearing their cloaks. 

Helm's Deep: trying to hit orcs!


 Battle of Gondor: with their home made shields...each one turned out unique. 


And the Gondor sponge battle.


Shelob's lair - climbing through the spider webs. 


And ripping the tarnations out of Shelob to get the prizes inside (ring pops and glow sticks). 


Mordor - playing the lava obstacle course that ends in knocking down Gollum. 

Birthday cake time.



These are such sweet friends to love this boy so.

The girls all snuggled into one bed and slept there all night.  Didn't get a picture of the boys but they camped out half in the movie room and half in Isaac's room.

 Thanks for helping us celebrate Isaac's birthday!