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This blog is an extension of The Home Maker's Corner. Regarding use of content: please see "the fine print" at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Summer Memories


Strawberries and lemonade,
Naps on hammocks in the shade;
Jumping in the swimming hole,
Sleeping with a fishing pole;
Lightening bugs and thunder storms,
Starry nights and muggy morns;
Crickets, ants, and garden rows,
The fragrance of a golden rose;
Parking lots to burn your feet,
Baking cars that burn your seat;
Watermelons, burgers too,
Sweaty clothes - PeeeeUuu!

- by Mary Stephens

Cottontail Bunny

Roane County, Tennessee

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Better Country - A message from the past

From the archive.

Here is an article that I wrote before I got married. It was written in an election year, but at this moment it seemed appropriated to post it again. A lot of Americans seem to believe that they voted in “the right” person who will restore the U.S. and make it a better country. Many seem to think if we could just “restore it” to it’s “foundations” it would solve all our problems; if this or that could be destroyed or outlawed all would be well. There is only one “better country” and it isn’t on this earth and doesn’t come through voting, or politics at all.
A Better Country

Hebrew 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

The Trouble with Patriotism

There are a lot of people who are very caught up in patriotism. Here in the United States it is often equated with being a "good Christian." That is to say, if you are a "good Christian" you will also be patriotic, you will also "love your country", and your allegiance will be to the "good, ol' USA". "God and country" is a common theme, though I'd say that "country and God" was a better word order judging by people's speech and actions.

This is an election year in the U.S. and emotions will be running high in many churches. Politics is a BIG subject and many pastors will be openly or covertly plugging for the candidate they want all "their members" to vote for. (Too bad more of them don't think of the people as God's heritage, as it really is, and let Him lead the people to vote or not vote as HE sees fit.  1 Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. )

Another common thing we see in American churches is the "need", even urgency, to "rescue America" and "restore it to it's Christian foundation”…
Continue reading here.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Evening Song - The Lily of the Valley

Revelation 22:16  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Writing Challenge - Introduction and Challenge #1

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

As 2016 was winding down I was struggling with the "Monthly Challenges". We did them for two years, but I was not keeping up with them like I should, and I was running out of fresh ideas. I wasn't sure if I even wanted to do any kind of challenges this year, or just let it go entirely. However, I've been thinking a lot about improving my own writing skills and in order to do that I need to stretch myself. It occurred to me that at least some of my readers might like to participate. Perhaps some new readers will join us along the way.

Obviously writers, especially those with blogs, might enjoy the challenges the most. Homeschoolers might like to add some of them to their children's learning plan. Some who journal or just write for their own enjoyment might also find some of them interesting as well.


The "rules", for lack of a better word, will be fairly loose.

1. My own original writing and ideas are my intellectual property and may not be copied or printed, except for personal use, without my written permission. (This is the most threatening rule and I state it because I don't know if I may someday wish to publish my ideas myself. It gets better, keep reading.)

2. You can post your participation projects on your blog or in the comments here - or not. You choose.

3. It would helpful if you use a challenge idea for a blog or web site post if you would link back to the challenge, but that is completely voluntary.

4. If you are an educator, while I am delighted to have you use my challenges, I would much appreciate credit for any challenges you choose to use with your students. (See Rule 1.)

5. You are not obligated to leave "encouraging comments" on other blogs or in the comments below in order to participate. (NOTE: Rude comments left here will more than likely not see the light of day on this blog.) ;-)

6. You do not have to connect to me through social media, and you are not required to follow my blog in order to participate.

7. You do not have to participate at all. :-)

8. You may participate in complete obscurity or anonymity (because I know that putting yourself in print online can be intimidating).

9. If you post your efforts in the comment section here, you accept the fact that I have the right to decide if I wish to publish it or not. All comments are moderated. This is my blog. You want to make sure it's seen - start you own blog. :-)  This blog is run by a Christian, so keep comments posted here family friendly, profanity free, and God fearing.

If You Wonder...

There will be no link-up parties for these challenges in the foreseeable future because I don't want all the extra work. I just want to write more, not manage. ;-)

While I want to improve my own grammar skills and such, I am not a teacher nor part of the "grammar police", so there will be no "correcting" or instructing of individuals along those lines. If you're looking for that type of thing I'm sure you can find something online to help you. I may post opinions in my own posts upon occasion, but I'm not here to help you correct your own mistakes. I just thought some others might enjoy coming along for this adventure, so I'm essentially inviting you to participate if you wish, nothing more.

Lastly, since we live in the best and worst of times, to reference Dickens, and very strange things seem to be common these days, if for any reason an ugly situation develops in relation to these challenges, I will discontinue them without warning or reference to the participants' opinions. Sad to have to say that, but as my Grandpa was wont to say, "People are stranger than anyone."

I think that about covers it. I haven't yet determined how often I will publish the challenges. Some will be easier than others. Some will relate to specific types of writing projects. Some may have either/or options.

Kick Off Challenge

Since January is already waning, we'll kick things off with something I've already been doing and am hoping others might enjoy.

CHALLENGE: Get a word from the Random Word Generator and write something about that subject. It can be as short or long as you wish.

Personally, I don't care how many times you hit the button to get a word you want to write about, but it's more challenging if you hold yourself to one to three clicks. :-)

I already did one of these this month.

For those who are interested in participating: How often would you like to see the challenges go up? I'm just looking for some ideas on time frame.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thoughts from Hymns - A Thought from Another Blog

Photo property of Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose

From Every Stormy Wind that Blows

I didn't know what to post today and I wasn't sure I was going to even post anything. I have some things on my mind, but I don't feel ready to write about them yet, and I'm not even sure yet if I should. But, this post by Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose was a blessing and I decided to pass it on to you here. Please go to her blog and enjoy the photos, but more importantly, ponder the important message she shared today through hymn, scripture, and prose.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Evening Song - He's Holding on to Me

John 10:27-30  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.

This song fits really well with the article I wrote a year ago on "Spiritual Abuse and Those Who Crave It". Thank God that we are not the ones doing the holding. If we were there would be no hope; but because He is the one holding us, we can have perfect peace and rest in Him!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sew Happy Friday - Sewing Machine Cover Tutorial

Here is a sewing machine cover tutorial. After looking at several different tutorials on this, I decided this one was the easiest and made the most sense to me. You may like a different style of teaching, or you may like a slightly different cover. There are other tutorials on YouTube, so go look if this isn't the one for you. Personally, I'll probably follow this one when I make a cover for my machine - that is if I don't make up my own pattern as I go. ;-)  This tutorial is produced by ProfessorPicushion.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Thousand Word Project - Amaryllis

Isaiah 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Things I [Don’t] Love about Conspiracy Theories

Things I [don't] love about conspiracy theories:

When the things we can do nothing about [chemtrails, HAARP, the New World Order, etc.] are far more important than the things we can do something about – helping the suffering, witnessing to our neighbor, or conforming our lives to the image of God’s Son.

When they slam other people for not believing the word of God and then you realize they don’t believe the word of God.

When they claim that what people need instead of lies is the word of God and you notice that the Bible is only used in 1 out of 20-50 posts on their site, or very sparingly in their book or video.

When they make totally false statements to prove their point.  [“Remember NASA created the evolution LIE...” Did I miss something? I didn’t know Charles Darwin worked for NASA. Or the ancient Greeks, for that matter.]

When they use idiotic word games and improbable semantics to “prove” something is evil.
[Santa ≠ Satan. Santa is not a corruption of the name Satan, it is Spanish for a female saint. However, that does bring up a rather bizarre issue.]

When their claims are so grandiose you realize that it would be physically impossible for “the plot” to be kept as such a deep, dark secret.

When you realize that if the Illuminati and Freemasonry were as terribly dangerous and powerful as they claim they are, they should have taken over the world a long time ago. [Actually, they can't do anything that God doesn't allow them to do, so maybe we should just serve the Lord and strive to do His will in our daily lives. Ya think?]

When they “expose” an “evil plot” and you realize that it is actually a natural phenomenon created by God. [Like claiming any weather phenomenon they can't immediately explain on HAARP or "chemtrails".]

When they claim that a thing must be true because in some other place they “don’t have this problem” and you know for a fact that they do. [Someone told a friend of mine that in Australia they “didn’t have as much sickness” because they don’t have HAARP. They have some nasty bugs in Australia – some coming in from Asia and other places, and also just the usual things that we get here. Plus, Australia has a significantly lower population than the U.S., so if you go by raw numbers and not per capita it will look like they have a lot less sickness.]

When they claim Facebook is Satanic – on their Facebook page.

When they make the “documentation” photos so small you can’t see what they are talking about.

When they claim “Satanic roots” to virtually everything, and you begin to wonder if they know what those words actually mean.

When they blame a specific group for a specific “conspiracy” and you realize that it is actually contradictory to what that group believes.

When they show photos to “prove the point” and you notice what a horrible job they did of photoshopping the “evidence” into the picture or of removing a contradictory item out of the picture. [Like an Islamic “terrorist” holding a machine gun with a left hand on a his right arm. The physics of that is somewhat painful to consider.]

When they rant about the “powers that be” using fear to control the masses and then you notice that their page or book is FULL of fear inducing information and virtually no comfort or peace.

When they claim to be exposing “evil Christian teachers” who are part of “the plot against mankind” and then you find them quoting a known heretic.

When they “know” something is true because they saw it in the sky over their own house or at their own church or on their own T.V.  [Yeah. There’s many a slip between the eye and the knowledge. That’s why people used to think the earth was flat. Speaking of which…]

When their “proofs” are “facts” that are either unproveable, don’t exist, or they failed to check out thoroughly. And also, when they make claims to “prove” their point and you realize it is impossible for anyone to actually prove or disprove the claims.

When they extract bizarre and complicated “facts” from random things to “prove” their point.

When they accuse the “others” of being puppets who do the New World Order’s bidding and spread their lies, then you notice that they are propagating lies that ultimately serve the interests of the same people.

And, on the same note – when they claim the “others” are using mind control and brainwashing and then you realize they are trying to control your mind and brainwash you to get you on their own team.

When they complain about the hidden identities of the “others” and then you realize that you can’t find out who they are.

When they accuse the government, NASA, Monsanto, the New World Order, etc. of being horrible liars and then they tell lies to push their own agenda.

When they use a photograph to prove some “historical fact” and then you realize that there weren’t cameras that long ago. [Before you leave a comment complaining about this picture, please note that I am using it purely as a demonstration of this point. I intend to dissect this meme at a later date and will hopefully make a link here to clarify. Also, note that "the first biological war" was not when this particular event occurred. Disease and other things have been used in warfare for much longer than that, so this is also an example of lying to promote their own agenda.]

When they use a photo to prove something and you discover the photo to be something else entirely. [Like the alleged “concentration camp where they are going to put Christians and the militia” that turned out to be a former POW camp from WWII that was overgrown with trees and weeds. Yeah, true story.]

Also, when you recognize a person or place in one of their “proof” photos or videos and realize it isn’t what they claim it is. [Like claiming a huge rally in Venezuela is a protest in Los Angeles. Riiiiight...]

When they claim there is an evil manifestation in a photo or video and you realize it is a lens flare.

When they make a claim based upon a “historical fact” that you positively know is not true. [Like proving King James I of England was evil because he was a Roman Catholic. Hello? The reason Queen Elizabeth I chose him to follow her was because he wasn’t Catholic!]

When they claim to believe only the King James Version of the Bible and then they quote various and sundry translations. [What exactly was it you meant by “only believe”? And if you claim the other translations are all of Satan what does that say about you when you quote them? Just askin’…]

When they deny known and provable historical and modern events in order to “prove” their point. [So you say the Holocaust was all a big lie? Explain to me how you “disappear” all the testimonials of concentration camp survivors, evidences, and known facts. Or never mind, I really don't want to hear it.]

When they claim that modern man is “too dumbed down” to recognize the truth of the conspiracies, but they forget that the Dark Ages ever existed or that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit because a snake told them it was good for them.

When you go read the document they use to “prove” their point and you realize it doesn’t even say what they claimed it said.

When they claim Hollywood is a main outlet for the “propaganda” lies of the government, NWO, Satan, etc. and then they use a movie scene to make a meme that teaches a “Bible truth”. [Ummm…?]

When you realize that their idea of what a “true Christian” is means that there can’t possibly be more than five or six “true Christians” on planet Earth.

When they claim that their inside knowledge is too much for you and that’s why you won’t listen to them. [Seriously, one man told my dad he was afraid to tell him all he knew about the conspiracies he was into because “every man I ever told eventually left the ministry.” I.E. Be afraid of not believing me – Be VERY AFRAID. By the way, that was an easy claim to make. Most pastors do eventually retire or die. We also saw a video of another man teaching that anyone who didn't believe "the truth" just the way he taught it would get caught in a "spiritual labyrinth" and end up committing suicide. True story.]

When you get to the end of their documentary and you see they used a symbol that is obviously occult and you wonder whose side these people are actually on and if the whole conspiracy world is an invention of the fear mongers who are looking for methods of mind control. [Hmmm....]

When you finally realize that they are looking forward to the next horrible thing that happens because they actually enjoy instilling fear in others and eagerly anticipate having their horrific predictions come true.


In conclusion, in case someone is offended that I am not on the conspiracy theory wagon, I will say that I do believe there is a conspiracy. There is one conspiracy under which all others, real or invented, fall. It has been going on since the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:1-5  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

1 Peter 5:8-9  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Random Word - North

Psalms 89:12  The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.

Here's another short thought on a random word from the word generator.

When we speak of “the north” we generally think about the upper half of the earth, so to speak – the northern hemisphere. We also think about the direction – heading north from any location, except the north pole. You can’t go north from the north pole. The north star (or pole star) may also be thought of since it has been the guide star to sailors and travels for centuries.

But here is an interesting thing about the north that we see in scripture.

Psalms 48:1-2 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

Isaiah 14:12-14  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

The expression “the sides of the north" appears only twice in the Bible from what I can find. In both instances is appears to be referring to the place where God is, the general location of heaven. We know that mount Zion that is on the earth is not in a particularly northern location, if we're referring to the mount in Jerusalem where the temple was in the days of old. So, based on the context of both of these verses, it appears that they are speaking of a heavenly locale.

Here is another interesting passage: Psalms 75:6-7  For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Notice that promotion doesn’t come from the east, west, or south; but God puts people (or nations, or entities) up or down according to His will. The implication is again that God is in the north, since it is specifically not mentioned.

The idea that God is in the north does not mean that southern areas of the globe are less blessed. It is more of a place, but not on the earth. Rather we might think of it as in the heavens. Obviously the Lord is in heaven in the physical sense though He is spiritually in His people, and He is omnipresent – everywhere at once – in a larger sense. But, it appears that the location of His throne is in a northerly direction from the earth.

By the way, it is really curious to me that Santa Claus, an obviously counterfeit god-like figure, is said to live at the North Pole. Interesting that this location was chosen, I think.

Just one more interesting verse:

Job 37:22  Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

Original vintage graphic from the Graphics Fairy; altered by me.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Evening Song - Yes, I know

1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Friday, January 13, 2017

FREE Scripture Printable - Psalm 42:11

Here is another scripture graphic for you to save and use. Click here, then click on the download button in the lower right corner to save this to your computer. You may simply click on the graphic here and download it as well, but I'm not sure if the size is reduced for the blog. (Please do not link to this graphic here. It is free for the taking, so please save it to your computer and upload it to your own source if you wish to use it online.)

I think that I found this graphic originally at The Graphics Fairy. As you will note, I made some changes of my own.

Here is the link for a blank version which you may use to add your own verse of message.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In Loving Memory of the Children They Never Knew

Two Christian young ladies I know of have recently had precious children pass directly from their wombs into the presence of Jesus before they were able to meet in person. I wanted to post this song for them and for all the parents who have had this difficult experience.

You may find more things of comfort here: Safe In the Arms of Jesus.

Isaiah 40:11  He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Not Works - A Poem by William Cowper

Not Works
by William Cowper

Grace, triumphant in the throne,
Scorns a rival, reigns alone;
Come and bow beneath her sway;
Cast your idol works away!

Continue Reading.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Evening Song - Secret Place

Psalms 91:1-2  He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sew Happy Friday - Butterfly Quilt Tutorial from Jenny Doan

Here's a tutorial for a cute butterfly quilt from Jenny Doan at the Missouri Star Quilt Co. This quilt is a little more complicated than some I post, but I thought this one would actually be nice for making a single block for a different project. Of course, the whole quilt is cute, but I doubt I'd ever go to that much fuss for it. A single block to add to a sampler quilt or for a tote bag or pillow would be nice, though. :-) It would be a great way to use up strips left over from another project too!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Retrospect and Prospect

For years now I have been remarking about how fast time flies. As every year would draw to its close I would wonder where it went and how it got by so quickly. This past year has not been like that. For the first time in too long to remember I feel like the year was incredibly long. Sadly, it wasn't long in that happy-kid-on-summer-vacation way. It was more along the lines of "Wow, has it only been six...nine...eleven months since January? It feels more like three years! So much has happened!" Some years have been such that I've been glad when they came to a close because I was hopeful that the next year would be better. This past year has been so hard, and has so many unresolved issues that I'm sorry to say I don't have the hopefulness that I should.

Early in the year we were under a lot of stress due to a difficult situation over which we had no control. We were in the end stages of the situation and were waiting to see if it would conclude in a peaceful manner. Then there was the passing of my husband's grandmother, which proved to be a lingering one. We are thankful to know that she is safe in the arms of Jesus, but it was a sad situation. Our pastor retired this year. He had been at the church for many years, so it was bound to be a big change. (The church did call a new pastor who is supposed to come in January.) Some family moved away, as I mentioned in an earlier post, and there were some deep emotions involved with that. We had a flea outbreak that involved a lot of active effort to control it. We've had some health difficulties. In particular, I've had a considerable amount of stomach trouble and worsening food intolerance, as well as other health issues.

After my optometrist discovered my optic nerve is swollen in a routine eye examine in February, and after a couple tests, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension - elevated pressure in the spinal fluid which is also in the brain and so causes symptoms that mimic a brain tumor. Because I have a swollen optic nerve, avoiding treatment was not an option because there is a risk of losing or permanently damaging my sight. Not a happy thought. The medication I'm taking that is supposed to help reduce the pressure has caused difficult side-effects which have been very disruptive to normal living at times. We're still trying to find a balance where my body will tolerate the medication and the symptoms of IIH will continue to reduce - because, thank the LORD! - the optometrist said during a recent exam that there is improvement in the swelling!

But thanks to this condition and pre-menopause, I've added some new experiences to my list. One is seeing a neurologist (for the IIH). Then there were four significant tests I had that were new to me - two of which were an MRI and a lumbar puncture (the latter included complications from the sedation they gave me that were quite unpleasant.) Some people would think this was not a big deal, but when you have to manage an anxiety disorder and you have claustrophobia, it gets a little more intense. The Lord was so kind. Some of the people who have helped me have been great. In one situation we had some much needed comic relief which unfortunately I can't share with you here. ahem. Suffice to say it was one of those laugh or cry situations where you choose to laugh so you don't cry!

Then there was a complication of buying a new-to-us vehicle this year, and the place we chose to buy from was a good hour's ride away. You know, right when I was having increased difficulties in getting out to do even simple things. But, thank the Lord again, we found a vehicle that works for us in what was actually a short time. It just felt long. We wanted a car but ended up with a large pick-up truck (Ford F150) because I needed comfortable seats for traveling any distance and the truck had the best seats of the things we looked at. We like the truck very well, but it has a strange smell in the air conditioner/heater. It started out smelling like cow manure (maybe from a ranch?) but has gotten worse and now smells more like a mix of tobacco and mold. (I'll leave to do your own thinking on that progression.) Cow manure smells I'm used to, there's a ranch across the street from us; but tobacco and mold are kind of - blech. One thing that's worse is perfume, and we had to turn down more than one vehicle because of that!

My mom also had knee replacement surgery this year. The surgery and the physical recovery went remarkably well (Thank God!), but she suffered from hallucinations and delirium for a couple days which was quite unsettling. She has had some other challenges this year as well.

My brother and sister-in-law have had their house up for sale for months, and after a long drawn out effort on the part of one family, they still didn't sell it. So, that one is still hanging.

We've had friends go through some really, really hard experiences this year. I mean the kind of things that just make you feel sick for them. You pray and you wonder and you hope, and in one case it just never seems to end. One lady's grandfather died at the end of the year on top of everything else they've been through. And, among other things, my husband's grandmother passed away this year after a long downward turn; and two valued friends from my family's past also passed away.

Then there were some situations where people chose life paths that are hard to believe and you pray and you (try to) hope, and wait to see how it turns out. And, you wonder what you can do and you feel helpless and sometimes afraid.

I tried my hand at a new writing direction this year which was exciting in ways, but is still very daunting and I'm not at all sure I'll go on with it. Maybe it was that, maybe it was something else, but I've struggled sometimes this year with writing, and with feeling productive both in that and many other areas of life. This is a bit odd when I look back and consider how much I actually got done in the way of writing (and other things). But, there it is. (Aspiring writers, you are not the only ones who feel this! I have been writing for around 20 years now and I still feel it pretty badly at times.)

There are other things. The orbiting smaller dramas that always accompany larger ones and make the stress worse. A HORRIBLE election cycle which is still bothersome and which we won't discuss. A stomach bug that took weeks to recover from. And then there are things I can't even remember now because there was so much; plus all the usual scum of life and the struggles to keep up with things and to keep moving in the right direction and to not give up. Ah!

Sometimes things are pruned away that we feel like we can't live without, and it's hard. Really hard. And it hurts. A lot sometimes. But we survived. By the grace of God.

And, then there's God. The wonderful, compassionate, almighty God who spoke all creation into existence and upholds all things by the word of His power. The God who is interested in each of our lives at a personal and daily level. The God who controls all the powers of this world.

Isaiah 45:18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:22-24  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Hebrews 1:1-3  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

And there are the lessons. The things the Lord uses to change how we live and think. The understanding that we get from those experiences that we would not have chosen. The new tools we gain for our work for Him, things to carry with us through life and use again and again. Important things to remember.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

2 Peter 1:5-8  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And there are the new things and people that God brings along to help us over some hurdle just when we really needed it. And, when one person goes or changes or stops, He often sends someone else along who will bring something into our lives that we really needed, who will show us something new or expand our thinking in ways we didn't know were necessary.

2 Corinthians 7:6-7  Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

And there's the blessings and encouragements and the little every day miracles by which He says, "I love you, and I'm still here, and I know what's going on - even when you don't." The balancing of burdens and blessings to keep us from getting lopsided.

Psalms 86:17  Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

And there's the scripture which gives us a strong foundation and something by which to measure ourselves, other's experiences and choices, and the issues of life. There is that safe haven of knowing that this isn't about us, which somehow makes it so much better!

James 1:23-25  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Psalms 19:7-11  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

And then there IS hope. Not the empty, silly hope in a man or woman, or politics, or activism, or churchiosity, or any of the the things of this earth. But, the anchor of hope in Jesus Christ who is both steadfast and sure. The hope of better things to come - especially the hope of seeing the Lord Himself one day. And the hope and peace of knowing that God's mercies and compassions are new every morning and His faithfulness is great.

Hebrews 6:17-20  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

1 John 3:2-3  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Lamentations 3:22-23  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

New Every Morning

Yea, "new every morning," though we may awake,
Our hearts with old sorrow beginning to ache;
With old work unfinished when night stayed our hand,
With new duties waiting, unknown and unplanned;
With old care still pressing, to fret and to vex,
With new problems rising, ours minds to perplex;
In ways long familiar, in paths yet untrod,
Oh, new every morning the mercies of God!

His faithfulness fails not; it meets each new day
With guidance for every new step of the way;
New grace for new trials, new trust for old fears,
New patience for bearing the wrongs of the years,
New strength for new burdens, new courage for old,
New faith for whatever the day may unfold;
As fresh for each need as the dew on the sod;
Oh, new every morning the mercies of God!

By Annie Johnson Flint