Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Raise the Song of Harvest Home

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
How many times have you sung these words at a Thanksgiving service? Thought about them much? I thought about them, and then I looked into the background from the hymn writers and was glad to see that I had suddenly understood what they were saying (after, lo, these many Thanksgivings).

When I sing this first verse, I can't think of anything but the fields, the coming of the first frost, and the feeling of being "settled." In for the winter. Food has been stored. God has provided!

But, even in this first verse, as I mulled over the words, I can see the references to a very different harvest, made much more clear in the verses to come. Come, ye thankful God's own temple...for our wants to be supplied!

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

In the 2nd verse, we are in a different field--the field of people. Wheat and tares (weeds) will grow up together, yet some will believe (sown unto joy) and some will not believe (sown in sorrow). This can surely be said of the things we do as well. Those things done for the Lord will grow successfully (fruit unto His praise to yield). Those things done for self will be destroyed. The last line is really a prayer: "Lord of harvest, make us and the things we do for You wholesome and pure."

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Verse three is really far-removed from the farmer harvesting his own field. But think about the metaphor here. After the harvest has been completed (the fruitful ears stored during those winter storms), the tares are cast into the fire. Bad weeds don't make for an easy growing season the next year.

The verse now puts Jesus, our Lord, as the harvester, to take HIS harvest (His fruitful, faithful) home for "evermore." "All offenses purge away," as He has taken away our sins from the beginning to the end. Are you thankful for that? And then the tares, those who do not come to believe in the life-saving message of the Lord will perish.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

The hymn ends with a reiteration of the verse before, only with a calling: "Lord, quickly come!" Those who know the promise of God, the hope of everlasting life, have within them a desire to know that final peace-filled, loving, fulfilling Harvest Home.

Raise the glorious harvest home, Lord!
We are truly thankful for Your countless blessings upon us!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's in the Wind, Part II

Bonita's comment on my last blog got me to think about a Part II.

She said, "Perhaps this is why we long to be the wind?" She quoted John 3:8.

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,
but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;
so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

"The wind blows where it wishes...." That would be our general tendency, would it not? We have an understood bloggy joke about being a 'whirling dervish,' but that's all based on the reality of our lives, isn't it?

There's more here. Jesus actually said this when He was talking with Nicodemus about being born again. Nicodemus kept asking 'How?' Jesus said by the Spirit, which works like the wind.

We can't see Him, but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer is undeniable. How else could we discern truth or direction? How would we know if we were being our own wind or if we were following God's will? And just as we can't control the wind, we can't control the work of the Holy Spirit either. God is in charge of both.

But, we can ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We can ask God to bring the winds of change that can transform us. We can ask God for the winds of renewal to unfurl the sails taking us in the direction He wants us to go. We can ask God for the winds of encouragement, to help us press on with gust-o!

The Answer, my friends, is blowin' in the wind.... as surely as He creates it.

God infuses us with the breath of life, and we are truly alive when we know that He commands the winds and carries us by His Spirit.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's in the Wind

Have you seen the wind?

There's such definite presence when it blows in, yet it's indefinable in appearance--except by those things which attempt to define it: piles of leaves, dust, roadside trash, powdery snow, ruffling porch flags, inverted umbrellas.

Wind is not a friend, really. God used winds from different directions to bring about different outcomes—wind and rain with one direction; locusts with another. Pooh called it 'blustery' for a reason! If we put a face on the wind, I think it would be as nondescript as the rest of wind. But purposeful! Pointed, perhaps.

What's odd is that something so invisible is yet so tangible. Something so unfriendly is something we're prone to strive to be like. (Oh, just not the blustery part, right?)

No, the part that moves things. We want to be movers and shakers. We want things to happen and happen with speed. We want to sweep people off their feet...swirl our ideas about. We want to go faster and faster, acquiring more and more elements along the way--seeking to define ourselves.

Do you see me?! Do you know me?! Move with me!!

Wind meets a shut door or window.


Taken out of the sails....

Losing speed. Losing intensity. Losing acquired "identity."

And when I can "Be still" and wonder about the wind and the Source of the wind, instead of trying to be the wind.... Then I become invisible and purposeful and properly pointed, like the wind. (And, maybe, not even blustery!)

One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.
—Ecclesiastes 4:6

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Star is Born

To MyADHDMe....

You need a REAL star, Hollywood!

Thanks so much!!

From me and CJ (the awestruck blogger-to-be)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Go with the Flow

When you make an appointment, you probably don't stop to think about how many people and subsequent events are involved in what you're doing.

I had to go to the doctor for a procedure. Seemingly simple: Make the appointment. Go to the appointment. Go home. Done!

I made the appointment...

...except the only choices I had were late Monday afternoon or the week before Christmas. Late Monday afternoon sounded just fine.

...except my husband is at a conference in Nevada (I won't say where, but what happens there, stays there), so needed to find some help.

...except CJ has Odyssey of the Mind on Monday afternoons. So I'd need to get her a ride home. Graciously, her team captains live in our neighborhood and said No problem.

...except that still left RJ2 at home. Graciously, my friend answers my request to come over for a few hours to watch RJ2.

...except her son has a make-up music lesson that she had to schedule for the same Monday. Graciously, her husband takes off part of his workday to pick up their son to take him to music lessons, so she can stay and watch RJ2.

...except I really shouldn't be driving myself to this procedure. Graciously, another friend offers to take me and sit with me during the procedure.

...except that I call on her the same week her husband has major surgery. Graciously, she calls her sister, another dear friend, who agrees to drive me and sit during the procedure.

...except that her child now needed someone to take care of him while she was out "Driving Miss Sue." Graciously, a neighbor offered her home to my dear friend's son (who got a trip to the mall out of it!)

...except that I need to feed the girls dinner. Graciously, the girls' regular sitter, whom I had asked to come over Monday night anyway (since it is my bell choir's rehearsal night and hubby would know where), and her mom bring pizza (!), and she sits and eats with the girls.

...except I need a new director for the bell choir. Graciously, one of the gals who plays in our Ensemble agrees to take the conductor's baton for the night, since our administrative director is in a Team Meeting.

...except I need to tell my family how things went with the procedure. Graciously, my Mom says she'll call all my sisters (and "Go to bed!" she says--which I do).

...except that I might need more help. Graciously, sister of friend offers to be my "on call" help overnight and friend offers to make a meal today and be my "on call," as things are getting back to "normal" at her house.

* * *

Now, hubby is one the who works with these flowcharts all the time. (Perhaps that's part of his training at the conference know where!) If I had to chart all this stuff...

...except I know there are details that aren't even covered here!

Graciously, God's flowchart covers everything. And with prayers of faith that He can and will cover everything, beyond my imagination and expectation, I don't need to worry about the exceptions. (Thank You, God!)

* * *

Thanks for ALL your help, everyone! I feel really GOOD today!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Celebrate a Rich Gift

who do we celebrate today?

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel."

Proverbs 27:9

Yeah, Edie!! Happy Birthday!!

Thank you for your earnest counsel, friend! Enjoy your special day!

Edie requested a slice. Hope it was as yummy as it looks. Anyone else?

Sharon, enjoy! CK, I gave you a piece, too, so you need to come back for your plate!

Coffee with yummies!!!!

OK....LIMBO TIME! game!! We can ALL play this one—

I knew that would pull ADHDMe out of hiding!

I took my piece. I'll be nice and share it with CJ tomorrow.

ADHDMe left you a piece with some of the icing missing.

Time to wrap up the rest! Feel free to put that in your freezer until next year.

(Oh wait...that's not for birthdays. But...why not? Although, there is that missing icing....)

It was such fun. Hope you enjoyed it!

So let's dance, this last dance, to-niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. YEAH!

Thanks again for taking care of the clean up!

Trash does get picked up tomorrow.....

Talk about not wanting a party to end :-)

Awww....something for the kids! Thanks, ADHDMe. (The P Baby gets the baby pink!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Knock, knock!

Knock, knock!!
Who is it?
It's Mom! Can I visit?

Knock, knock!!
Who is it?
It's Mom! Can you please open the door??


What are you girls doing in your house?

Oh, it's a doll shop! Nice outfits!

RJ2 says you need another style on this wall, CJ....

Gosh, is there anything better than playing in a cardboard box?....

With markers!!....

Especially when it's pouring rain outside....

and you don't have school....

and Mom and Dad had to go vote....

and you've already watched your morning TV....

Really, is there anything better than playing in a cardboard box?....

Well, only if you put the cardboard box on the kitchen table!

(Note to self: Do not work on PTA newsletter at computer while daughters are home in the pouring rain—having already had television—with a cardboard box and markers without turning around occasionally....)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the Trail

A Journal Entry

Cousins' Trip Through Rock State Park, Maryland
Photos by J.J.W. and K.O.W.

We pass an alligator. Lots of us hold up his mouth.

We walk through trees and on rocks. It's like walking through an Indian graveyard.

My knee joints get tired as we walk through every obstacle in our path.

We step over leaves to find a jungle gym of rocks. We walk into a crack and hoist ourselves up onto a rock that could easily send us flying into Death Valley, with only a jacket for a parachute.

Then we walk into another crack that leads us up to the King and Queen seat. It's too crowded, so we head up a crack to the Death Valley ledge again.

Then we get off, only to find a cave. Where does it lead?

Two of us go in the cave. We find a risky path that leads back to Death Valley Ledge.

I don't go, but my cousin takes a risk and survives.

We later go to a safer ledge to get our picture taken.

We say goodbye to the jungle gym and walk back down the winding rock staircase that leads to our car. As I run down it, I say to myself, What a short hike!

What if there was another trail....?

* * *

This is actually the "before" shot.
We were not all as energetic as this on the way down!

But, I felt the same way CJ did about the yearning to hit another trail sometime.
Awesome scenery and great exercise!

(Maybe next time without RJ2 pulling me down the trail....)