Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: Fork Control

I know I've linked to these videos before, but they're so funny! I thought this one was hilarious, but with a good point (no pun intended). :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dripping Honey

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." - Proverbs 16:24

Mmmmm. Honey certainly is good. But honey in the honeycomb is ten time more so. To just dip a spoon and come up with a teaspoon of dripping honey and chewy comb... Yes, we've been enjoying the gift some friends and their bees gave to us! :) Mama and I are now considering getting our own hives...

"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off." - Proverbs 24:13, 14

Have a sweet Tuesday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: Once Upon an Engineer

Yes, I know - only a week and a half late, right? Believe me, I tried to get this ready sooner, but... I shan't bore you with everything that went wrong. Instead, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to present our masterpiece (*ahem, yeah, well....): Once Upon an Engineer! (You see, Ben and Jonathan are both studying to be engineers, and...yeah, maybe this will make sense, and maybe it won't, but enjoy anyway! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dressing Up

Hello, my friends! I apologize for not getting the video uploaded last Wednesday. Summer craziness, you know? Anyway, I hope to be returning to blogland soon, but in the meantime, here's a re-post from my old blog! :)


Photo Credit
 When I was a little girl, I loved – as most little girls do – to dress up. Each year on Easter Sunday, while slipping on the long-awaited, silky-new gloves, my little heart would beat contentedly, sure that there was nothing more beautiful or lady-like in all the world than those dainty-white hand coverings. Tea parties were my delight, transforming ordinary weekdays into extraordinary occasions by the donning of a favorite, frilly dress. And oh-the-joy of ballet recitals! Feeling like a fairy princess in a bright and lacy costume, my exhilaration knew no bounds when mama daintily brushed my eyelashes with mascara, patted my cheeks with blush, and painted my lips with her very own lipstick! I promised myself that, when I was older, I would defy all contemporary fashions and wear Victorian-style dresses and beautiful, formal makeup every single day.

As I grew older, however, I began to scorn the “dress-up-every-day” mentality, and - decidedly, intentionally - embraced the title of a “tomboy.” Yet, even as I took pride in playing army with the boys, building forts, and acquiring blackberry-bush battle scars that would eventually pin-striped my legs, I could never completely shake off the thrill that shivered up my spine upon receiving an invitation to a formal birthday party, bridal shower, or ladies event – though believe me, I tried. The day daddy took me aside and explained that he wanted me to wear skirts on school days caused, as they say in Narnia, “the sun to be darkened in my eyes.” I complied with the rule, of course - bragging to myself all the while about what a good attitude I was exhibiting toward mom and dad – but I’m sure my parents weren’t fooled. Every opportunity or excuse I could find to wear pants, I pounced upon. I complained to my skirt-less friends on a daily basis about the trials and disadvantages of dressing femininely. I compared myself and my “unfair” rule to everyone else around me, and, consequently, discontentment reigned supreme each and every day.

That any girl of eleven years, especially a princess of such an age, should spend weeks and months wallowing in rebellious discontentment is a tragedy to be sure – but the even greater tragedy was that, despite my constant harping, I remained completely oblivious to the sinfulness of my attitude. It was not until a few months after turning thirteen that I experienced a shocking, but rejuvenating, splash from the icy cold water of the Word.

That day I will never forget.

I was in Iowa, in the midst of my very first “all-by-myself” trip, visiting my aunt, uncle, and newborn baby cousin for a couple of weeks. Separated as I was from my family, and struggling with homesickness, I clung to my daily devotional time with a dedication to which I was unused and unpracticed. My minutes spent reading the Bible and praying comforted and consoled my loneliness, and even now I look upon those days as the point at which I really began to love God and desire His ways.

Bright, streaming light from a glorious sunrise gently nudged me awake. I pushed back my fluffy white comforter and slipped off the queen-sized bed, my bare feet chilling slightly as they came in contact with the dark wood floor. For a few minutes, I sat at the open window, drawing great breaths of the early morning air, marveling at the unequaled beauty of the beginning day, and softly singing any and every hymn of praise that came to mind. After a while, however, I was roused into action. Making my bed, getting dressed, tidying the room – the completion of these tasks found me settled down atop my bed, Bible before me as I began to read. I went slowly, stopping after each verse – and sometimes in the middle of verses – to consider what it said and what it meant. Even going thus, it did not take me long to reach the verse four, and I nearly choked as read the words aloud:

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you no know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

In a heartbeat, the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me with conviction. I realized that my distaste for wearing skirts had originated and grown over the past two years to the point that I stood there, before God, confessing that I wanted to wear pants simply because “everyone else did.” Was this not seeking friendship with the world? I shuddered and cried at the ramifications of such a desire. If I wanted this acceptance, this “friendship,” I wanted to be an enemy of God! The verse I had just read labeled me – one who held such a desire – as an adulteress! Shocked and convicted, I knelt before my King and begged forgiveness for the rebellion and irritation I had harbored toward my parents: for placing a greater desire on the outward trends of the world than on the inward purity of my heart. I begged Him to teach me how to submit joyfully, to not only obey my parents’ wishes, but to make them my own – and He, in His amazing power, answered my prayer. About a week later I was home again, back to the daily “mandatory” skirt wearing (in Iowa I had worn pants because I was working on my aunt and uncle’s dairy), but I was both surprised and delighted at the anticipation, the excitement, and the hop-skippety thrill I felt as I pulled on a skirt with every passing day.

Over the next several years, I would develop, with the encouragement and input of my parents, more precise, Biblically-based standards and convictions for the way I was to dress. These convictions did not dictate that I wear only skirts, but I soon discovered that, more often than not, skirts and dresses better fit the standard of modesty and femininity than did the pants in which I used to delight. Once again, I dreamed of fancy Victorian outfits. Once again, I was ecstatic at the opportunity to wear beautiful, feminine clothes on a daily basis. And once again, I felt my heart flutter with excitement on those special occasions when extra frills were allowed. I had returned to the love of dress-up.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What is This?

Two Families.
Three Hours.
Nineteen Kids.
No Parents.
How could they possibly fill the time?

Check in Wednesday to find out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Music of the Spheres

Photo Credit
 When I went to Sound Foundations a few years ago, my mind was set spinning the very first evening by a speech given to us by the head of the music department. "God spoke the world in to being," he told us, "and what I find very interesting is that the smallest building block of the universe discovered by man is, simply, vibrations. Waves. Sound."

Mind-bogglingly amazing.

The King's voice brought us into existence, and we are made - at the very smallest level - of sound. Isn't that cool? Ben and I have often wondered what melodies we would hear, if we had ears made for the music of the universe. Now, we get a taste. In this fascinating article, you can read about how a group of scientists, working together with musicians, have converted the waves of radioactivity emitted from decaying objects into waves of sound. Yet another signature of our Creator and Designer. The simple notes are pleasant to the ear, and even melodic at times. Put together the sounds of multiple isotopes at once, and you find yourself listening to a charming little motif. Yes, we serve a musical God.

This is my Father's world,
And to my listening ears,
All nature sings and 'round me rings
The music of the spheres.

Really. It does.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Looky-look what came in the mail today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, 14 delicious skeins of silk-wool for the robe I'm making! Three cheers for a mother who looks at bargains even when she's not particularly planning on buying! :) I got these here for a fraction of the original price...and finding this many for sale was amazing, too, since its not being made anymore! Oooohh, sooo soft and lovely...can't wait to get working on it! :)

LOL @Dickens

There's something about the "old-fashioned" style of writing that I simply adore. Dated vocabulary, poetic sentence structure, wealth of literary allusions - I have reveled in the "good old books" for as long as I can remember. Only within the last five years or so, however, have I been able to spot the humor seemingly encrypted within these much-beloved volumes. Jane Austen was wonderful - whenever I was having difficulty saying what I meant to say in a paper, a few paragraphs of her novels would send me on my way - but I had to accustom myself to her style before I was able to comprehend and laugh my way through Northanger Abbey, (which is quite the hilarious satire). It's just sad. In a culture where texting vocab is "gr8!" and facebook confines one to incomplete "state of being" expressions, people tend to miss out on the great wealth of literature available to them, because a Dickens is "too hard to understand." (Unless you can watch it in a 10-hour mini-series.)
But you know what? Dickens is another author who is simply too funny to miss out on! See if these quotes don't leave you laughing:

"'In reference,' proceeds the Chancellor, still on Jarndyce and Jarndyce, 'to the young girl - '
'Begludship's pardon - boy,' says Mr. Tangle, prematurely.
'In reference,' proceeds the Chancellor, with extra distinctness, 'to the young girl and boy, the two young people,'
(Mr. Tangle crushed.)"
"The fashion intelligence says so, for the comfort of the Parisians, and it knows all fashionable things. To know things otherwise, were to be unfashionable."
"[Sir Leicester Dedlock] has a general opinion that the world might get on without hills, but would be done up without Dedlocks....He is an honourable, obstinate, truthful, high-spirited, intensely prejudiced, perfectly unreasonable man."
"Ada dimly remembered to have heard her mother tell, when she was a very little child, that [John Jarndyce] had once done her an act of uncommon generosity, and that on her going to his house to thank him, he happened to see her through a window coming to the door, and immediately escaped by the back gate, and was not heard of for three months."
"Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society."

:) All excerpts from Bleak House.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Cast

Yesterday afternoon Meg and I went with Maddy and mama to get the arm set (when she broke it Thursday, they just splinted it). I really think my little sis is braver than I am. When the doctor popped her arm back into place, her sweet little face got suddenly very red, and her blue eyes got very wet, but no tears fell, and not a sound did she make. The real pain, though, came a few minutes later, as she was having her cast fitted. As the (doctor? nurse? I don't know) was squeezing the cast to shape it, her poor little lip began to tremble, and at last she turned her face the other way and covered her eyes with her left hand. Still, not a sound came from her baby-mouth (I know she's six, but at times like these she is definitely still my baby sis), but tears began to pour down her red face, and her breathing turned quick and heavy. Megan and I were not so brave. I had to grab a seat suddenly to keep from passing out, and Meggy and I hugged each other, on the verge of tears, and called whatever sweet things to Maddy we could think of. She was so precious, when it was done, lying there trying to regain her equilibrium without being noisy. Mama says she has completely cleared herself of her reputation from last time she was in the hospital, when she SCREAMED at every nurse, doctor, or assistant who dared to peek into her room. How brave she is!

After the cast was set, they had an X-ray to make sure the bone was straight, and for about ten minutes we were all on pins and needles, because the bone wasn't completely straight, and we weren't sure if the doctor would have to cut the cast and re-set it (can you imagine the poor baby going through that again?). We were so glad and thankful to the Lord when doctor told us it was fine where it was. Right now, the bone is about 10 degrees off - which he says is fine for a wee person, because it will grow back straight even from there - but she has to go in for another X-ray on Wednesday to make sure it hasn't shifted off anymore. If it does... li'l Maddy will have to do yesterday all over again. Pray for her!

Practicing eating with her left hand
However, while she would definitely be scared to go again - now knowing now exactly what it feels like - she was quick to bounce out of it, and melted mama and my hearts when she told daddy on the phone that "It did hurt me a little, and I had to cry some, but it's ok."

Ahhh Maddy girl. She is very excited about her deep purple cast, though! :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

There Once Was a Brave Little Princess...

...And one day, this little princess was about her royal duties - enjoying the sunshine and trees that her King-Papa had made - when she fell from a tree and - ouch! - broke both of her arm bones in two...

...but since she was a brave little princess, she only cried a very little bit right at the beginning...

...and when she was on the phone with her older sister-princess, she even went so far as to say "I'm having a great time!"...
...later, however, the truth came out, as she explained with furrowed brow to the same sister that "Having a broken arm isn't very fun. Especially with the X-rays. They twist it, and twist it..." her brave princess face echoing the pain it had felt an hour earlier...

...still, she did not whine, or fuss, or fidget, but sat patiently, watching a movie...

...until she fell asleep.

Such a brave wee sister I have! When you think of Maddy, please do pray that her arm heals quickly and well!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Story of Names

Note: You may want to either grab a cup of tea or skip this post's pretty long, but I couldn't help myslef. :)

Photo Credit
“But do you know that this is true?” Libbi leaned as far forward as she could, her eyes searching the faces of first Shimon, then Andrew. While the typically-silent Andrew nodded enthusiastically, his eyes alight with a passion and energy Jonah had not seen before, Shimon hung his head in shame. “I do know this to be true, mother,“ he replied, “because I was the most unbelieving of the lot, and yet He – the Christ – has proven Himself to me.” “Tell them, Cephas,” Penina urged, her voice full of enthusiasm, “tell them what happened that awful day, and afterward – with the fish.”

Cephas? Jonah started. Since when had Shimon become “Cephas”? His mind was so puzzled over this change of name that he was hardly listening as his son began the tale. Cephas. Why was it that he felt a nagging feeling that this name meant not “rock”, as was the popular belief, but “hollow rock”? He searched his memory, trying to recollect. Was it because his savta, his grandmother, had known the meaning of every name he’d ever heard? Yes, now he remembered – she had told him once that while many thought the name Cephas a name for a strong child, it actually came from the Chaldee word for “hollow rock” – a rock that needed to be filled with something outside of itself in order to be sturdy. Why Cephas? From the day he was born, his son had been “Shimon”, a man made “to be heard”...


He would never forget this moment – never. Overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, the scraggly fisherman fell to his knees, murmuring a prayer of thanksgiving to Yahweh for the safe arrival of his son and good health of his wife. Screams arrested his concentration, jerking him from the moment of worship and scattering his thoughts. In vain he attempted to finish the prayer, but his mind was now a total captive to the wails gusting in from the other room. Reluctantly, he rose and approached the side of his wife, lying spent but happy upon the bed. “Listen to him!” he exclaimed, humor and exasperation intertwined within his tone, “do you think he will ever learn when it is proper to speak, and when it is right to remain quiet?” Snuggling the tiny babe in her arms, his sweet wife – his dear, darling Libbi – smiled up at him, and, gently rocking the inconsolable child, whispered, “He will learn; one day, he will learn.” “That day had better be soon, or his wails will keep the fish from our nets!” His words were harsh, but his voice softened as he looked down upon the precious duo. Libbi just smiled again, and continued her efforts to console the little one. But when the passing of several minutes brought no relief to the scream-soaked atmosphere, Jonah found he must at last clear his head or else run mad. “I’m going to the docks,” he informed his wife, and quickly ducked out the low-hanging frame. Closing the door behind him, he took a deep breath and let the air whistle out between his lips while he, silently, mouthed again the words: “One day, he will learn.”

As the hours begrudgingly gave way to days, and the days to weeks, however, Jonah began to doubt if the Little One would ever learn. He had returned that evening from the docks to find both Libbi and Baby asleep, but even slumber did not deter the seemingly endless sounds which poured from his newborn son. In sleep, it was grunts, groans, and whimpers, while Baby’s waking hours were filled with gurgles, squeals, and screams. Much as he thanked Yahweh for the blessing of a boy, Jonah sometimes, in the depths of his heart, wondered if it was too much to ask that he be blessed with a son who would allow for a moment’s peace of mind?

“Your young one was born with much to say,” Abigail observed with a smile one evening, a few weeks after the baby’s arrival. She had come by to help Libbi around the house while Jonah was out at sea, and had remained with them for dinner, her husband being gone on a journey to the city. “It certainly seems that way,” Libbi replied with a laugh that was almost a giggle, tickling the cooing baby’s feet. The constant bombardment of sound seemed only to further delight her - she was the epitome of a good mother. Jonah wondered if a good father was one who could be worn out by the never ending sounds of his son. No – he did not think so. And he did not think he was a good father. Not yet. Nevertheless, he did love his little bundle of a son. Scooping him up and holding him at eye level, he mumbled gently, “I will try to be patient with you, my little Shimon, my boy with the need ‘to be heard’.”

As the weeks began to pile and morph into months, and as the months slowly gathered themselves into years, little Shimon matured, and as his body grew, so did his vocabulary. Soon, he was peppering his father with questions about the boats, the nets, the fish, the other fishermen, the great city (which he had never-never-never been to – well, not since he was old enough to remember – why not?), and anything else that popped into his head. He rarely waited for an answer, and even more frequent than the questions were the details of his own self-important discoveries and opinions on everything under the sun. Yes, young Shimon was certainly opinionated. Once he had decided something in his own mind – be it right or wrong – there was no argument that could change that resolve. He had once argued away his entire afternoon with another fisherman’s son on whether or not a stone was smooth enough to skip. The friend said yes, Shimon said no. The boy skipped the rock, Shimon argued that it had it only bounced twice, and therefore he had been right. The discussion would have ended with fists, had not Libbi, on observing the scene, called Shimon away for evening chores. “The Proverbs say,” Jonah had rumbled on more than one occasion, “that ‘with the multitude of words, sin abounds.’ Hold your tongue, Shimon.”

The dark hair faded to grey on Jonah’s head, but Shimon – though more mature in some respects – remained the same. Stubborn as a snagged net, his greatest pleasure lay in debating and over-talking anyone so unfortunate as to disagree with him. And yet, behind the arguments and the stubbornness, Shimon had a good heart. Loyal to a fault, tenaciously dedicated to whatever course of action he settled upon – Jonah still clung to the hope that his son’s intense personality would eventually soften into the character of a strong and dedicated man. When Shimon married Penina, and had more to consider than just himself, Jonah saw the transformation beginning, but there still were times when he wished Shimon was more like his calm younger brother: when he wished for a household of peace and quiet.

And then, suddenly, he got his wish.

For weeks his boys had been just short of crazy – each in their respective ways – over the fanatic teachings of some radical preacher near Bethabara. Rumors spread faster than storm clouds, and one day Andrew kissed his mother good bye and left Bethsaida to hear the man for himself. Shimon might as well have gone too, for all the concentration he dedicated to his responsibilities. Still, he was the firstborn, and it was only right that he stay to care for Jonah and Libbi. Weeks passed, and the family was just sitting down to supper one evening – Jonah steeling himself for another hour of Shimon’s ravings on the Bethabara preacher – when Andrew suddenly returned. Ever sparing with his language, he seemingly ignored his parents’ greeting, and simply walked up to Shimon with the words, “Come. We have found the Messiah.” Shimon bolted to his feet, “The Baptist?” he queried anticipation quivering in his voice, “is it him?” But Andrew shook his head, “The Baptist came to point to the Messiah. You must come.” Shimon was already putting on his coat and gathering his scant travel necessities. “Surely not now!” cried Libbi, and her desperate voice, coupled with Penina’s mournful face, filled Jonah with sorrow. It surprised him. He supposed he should feel angry at his sons for being so willing and thoughtless as to leave them and follow a man they knew nothing about. How could they know it was really the Messiah? Hadn’t there been plenty of rumors before this? Yet, somehow he knew they must go.

They would go.

And they did.

It was three years before Jonah and Libbi were able to have their sons to themselves again. Three years of abrupt, sporadic visits which lasted only as long as their leader (a mere carpenter from Nazareth of all places!) desired. Three years of confusion and concern over the company their sons were keeping – at least one of their group was a tax collector! Three years of wonder and doubts over the authenticity of the man Shimon and Andrew had chosen to believe and follow. Yes, this man Jesus had performed many fantastic feats – he had even cured Penina’s mother of a deadly fever – and his preaching drew crowds from all over the country, but was he really who he said he was? Jonah was not so sure he could believe it. Yet, here they were, all gathered once again around that worn, wooden table, with Shimon, Andrew, and Penina telling them the most unbelievable story yet – that this Jesus had been crucified and then come to life again: that he was God Himself!


…”And mother, though we fished all night we caught not a single fish. We were all worn, and depressed, and tired – you know how it is, father, when nothing comes in – when we saw this man standing on the shore.”
“’Children, have you any fish?’ he called, and of course, we told him that our nets had been empty all the night long. ’Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ He shouted to us, and we were so tired and desperate, we did as he said, though later I couldn’t think why.”

“And then,” Penina interjected, her dark eyes sparkling with the excitement she could no longer contain, “they threw the net to the right side, and there were suddenly so many fish that all of them together were unable to pull it out!” Jonah’s attention was now fully on the tale. Never had he hauled in such a catch as his daughter-in-law was describing. Could it be true? Was it possible?

“Yes,” said Shimon with a smile, “we did as he said, and what he predicted came to pass. So John said to me – you remember John, mother? – that it was the Lord. He always seemed to know sooner than the rest of us, somehow. Well, when I heard that, I knew I had to see him right away, so I swam to him as fast as I could. When we all got to shore, he had breakfast for us…” his voice trailed off for a moment, and his eyes held a far-away, thoughtful look that spoke of memories never to be forgotten. For the first time in his life, Jonah wished his son would keep speaking, would finish what he had to say, would let the rest of them in on what was playing through his mind. Finally, he could stand it no longer, “And?” he urged, unconsciously leaning forward himself to be sure of the words, “What happened next?”

Shimon shook himself, and looking from one parent to the next, said simply, “He told me to feed his sheep.” Jonah sat back, thoroughly confused and not a little irritated. “Feed his sheep? What does that mean?” he flustered. “It means,” Andrew answered, “that all of us – but Cephas most especially – are to tell others of Jesus, to make them understand that He truly was the Messiah, and that he has freed us not from the physical bondage of the Romans, but from the spiritual bondage of our sins.”

Shimon turned to them with passion. “Don’t you see, mother – father, how Jesus fulfilled every prophecy we were ever given? Remember what you taught me of the Scriptures...”

They sat there for hours, the five of them, listening to Shimon speak in a way Jonah had never heard before, understanding things, by his son’s explanations, that he had never thought to be within his grasp of comprehension. When at last they separated for the night, Jonah understood.

He understood that Shimon – the one who needed to be heard – was no more.

He understood that Cephas – a man of great strength because he was filled with the strength of Another – was now the man who stood before him.

And he understood, finally, that this change had been brought about by Jesus – the Messiah – who had chosen to fill the void and be heard through one who had been empty with nothing to say.

It was time to listen.