Friday, February 29, 2008


Kate just found a trailer for the new M. Night Shyamalan movie! YAY! Opening day, we'll be there!

The Happening

Once again, we'll see a cinematic creation made by the one filmmaker who doesn't follow the predictable storylines, who thinks for himself and delivers a thrill like no other movie maker can.

I can't wait!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not Nessie!

I receive a regular e-newsletter edited by a friend of ours, from the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

Today's issue included a story about a "Veteran Loch Ness Monster Hunter", and how he is giving up the hunt for Nessie due to his belief that the beloved beast has succumbed to Global Warming and perished at the bottom of the Loch. He plans to make one more pass to possibly find Nessie's remains... sniff.

The comments written by readers had me howling.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Nessie was supposed to be a dinosaur that somehow survived. And now, supposedly was killed by Global warming?

So it's hotter now than is comfortable for a dinosaur. Hotter than the Mesozoic era I guess. Odd that nobody noticed that.

I've run out of goat entrails and my scrying pool needs cleaning; so I can't reproduce the "science" used to make this claim; but I think the conclusion may be faulty.

posted by: Gekkobear Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:16 am

I fear unless we curb the warming soon, it may also claim the lives of Bigfoot and Elvis.

posted by: BillfromKansas Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:40 pm

(To read the whole article, click here.)

It's comforting to see that some are keeping their heads, (and sense of humor!) while all others about us are losing theirs in the hysterical frenzy over the mythical idea of human-induced Global Warming!

You read that right. I believe that Global Warming panic-mongers have lost their sense of humor. That, my friends, is a tragedy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Here We Go...

Jim is, as I type, on a plane to Haiti with our Pastor, Wendell Stolzfus, and another elder from our church, Dave Lucas. They are traveling with suitcases full of tools and a new ceiling fan in its box as one of their carry-ons! I'm praying that they get through Haitian customs with everything intact! Besides working on some construction projects for the Missionaries there, they will be checking out the various churches planted and ministered to by our denomination, (Orthodox Presbyterian). Yes, February is a sweet time of the year to travel to a Caribbean nation, no, Haiti isn't normally a first-choice destination. Please be praying for their health and safety, as well as for the prospective partnership of our church with the work being done there.

Wow, is the house ever quiet without Jim working downstairs...

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I will be starting a new job today. That's right, gainful employment. I'll be working part-time at a nearby Curves. Not sure what my actual title will be, the unofficial description of my duties falls under "holding down the fort". This is part-time enough to allow me to still lead the Bible study at church Tuesday mornings and maintain our home and be Mom. I'm thinking that there will be benefits to working in a Curves- particularly in the areas of health and fitness. It's not over-the-top the way many health clubs can get. No "Boca Babes" as far as I know!

A secondary part-time job that Kate and I will be starting together this weekend is banquet serving for a local firm that hires out Hospitality services to hotels and banquet facilities. We'll be serving at a nearby Country Club Friday evening. Sure hope we don't drop anything on the guests!

With future trips for which we want to be saving and some big projects around the house that need to move faster, this additional income will be a real blessing.

Now to care for my own home!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Incomparable Comfort!

From this source (the Scriptures) have the saints fetched their cordials when fainting under the rod. One word of God can do more than ten thousand words of men to relieve a distressed soul. If Providence has at any time directed you to such promises as either assure you that the Lord will be with you in trouble, (Ps. 91:15) or that encourage you from inward peace to bear cheerfully outward burdens, (John 16: 33) or satisfy you of God's tenderness and moderation in His dealings with you, (Isa. 27:8) or that you shall reap blessed fruits from them, (Rom. 8:28) or that make clear your interest in God and His love under your afflictions, (2 Sam. 7:14) O what ease and relief ensues and how light is your burden compared with what it was before!


Set the faithfulness of the Lord before you under the saddest providences. So did David, (Ps. 119:75). This is according to His covenant faithfulness, (Ps. 89:32). Hence it is that the Lord will not withhold a rod when need requires it, (1Pet. 1:6). Nor will He forsake His people under the rod when He inflicts it, (2 Cor. 4:9).
O what quietness this will breed! I see my God will not lose my heart, if a rod can prevent it. He would rather hear me groan here than howl hereafter. His love is judicious, not fond. He consults my good rather than my ease.
Eye the all-sufficiency of God in the day of affliction. See enough in Him still, whatever is gone... O Christians, cannot you make up any loss this way? Cannot you see more in God than in any or all the creature-comforts you have lost?
- John Flavel, the Mystery of Providence.

What incomparable comfort can be found in God when we know Him through His Word! Once a foundation is laid, never to be shaken by circumstances, we can go through the severest storms and know that He is yet faithful. Yet we must first, brick by brick, with the aide and illumination of the Holy Spirit, lay that foundation by making time for Scripture. Reading it, meditating upon it, memorizing it and seeking application of it in our lives. If we could see the trials ahead which God has planned beforehand for our growth, we would certainly put a higher priority on time in the Word.

In His wisdom, God has not given us eyes to see what lies ahead. Instead, He has given us His Word, and the Holy Spirit to illumine that Word to our hearts, that we may better know Him, and build our trust on that sure foundation. If we could see the storms to which our paths lead, we may try any number of means for escape, forsaking our Refuge, our Rock, our high Tower. The storms will come, yet our God orders them all for our good and His glory.

Praise the Lord.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Erin's Thirteenth Birthday Party!

For her birthday this year, Erin wanted to do something beyond merely celebrating herself; she wanted to do something for others. As it providentially happens, our neighbor, Nancy List, is involved in a community outreach called the "Souper Bowl".

Having a studio and kiln in her basement, Nancy leads workshops throughout the year for groups to make bowls from clay, decorating each in their own unique fashion, which she will then fire and glaze, (and fire again) producing a beautiful piece of artwork. The bowls are then gathered together for the actual event in May, called the Souper Bowl. People buy tickets for an evening of soup, choosing a bowl to take home. The proceeds go to a homeless outreach in Reading, the Opportunity House.

To see a slide show from last year's event, click here-Reading Eagle slideshow.

Nancy very graciously offered her home studio for our own little workshop and Erin had several friends join her to make "souper" bowls! Here's our own slideshow! (Again, to see the captions, just pass your mouse over the individual photos.)

Our sweet Erin has grown so much this year. Becoming involved in field hockey, discovering a growing interest in sewing, rabbit husbandry, learning to care for her own health and care about others. It has been so interesting to watch her blossom since we have moved here. Having several friends right in our neighborhood has been such a blessing- every one of them sweet girls. The friends from church have been equally a joy and we are blessed to see Erin surrounded by such godly young women.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Work of Conversion

Galloping through the first seven chapters of The Mystery of Providence this weekend, (which I'm led to understand to be an "easy read" as the Puritans go) I have come across many gems already. I shall be halfway through the book by Monday and able then to more carefully savor the second half which is slower going anyway.

Here's a choice jewel upon which to meditate further- typing it out helps to embed it further into my thoughts...

(Providence) performs thousands of kind offices for men; but among them all, this is the chiefest, to lead and direct them to Christ. for consider, of all mercies, this comes through most and greatest difficulties (Eph. 1:19-20).
This, (the conversion of one's soul) is a spiritual mercy, excelling in dignity of nature all others, more than gold excels the dirt under your feet (Rev. 3:18). One such gift is worth thousands of other mercies.
This is a mercy immediately flowing out of the fountain of God's electing love, a mercy never dropped into any but an elect vessel (I Thess. 1:4-5).
...Lastly, this is an eternal mercy, one which will stick by you when father, mother, wife, children, estate, honors, health and life shall fail you (John 4:14).

-From The Mystery of Providence, by John Flavel.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Daydreamin' Boy

Okay,... granted, this is a departure from any theme regarding reading the Puritans or leading Bible studies,...

One of our favorite shows is American Idol, for which I have no logical defense. But it is fun, especially when this young man from Texas steps onstage and delivers a performance that has us humming for days afterwards! I didn't want to like this kid with the dreadlocks, but those got lost as we listened...


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reading the Puritans

While tooling around the internet, following links in blogs I enjoy, I found an intriguing challenge. The 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge is set forth to spur one's personal Spiritual growth by reading 12 Puritan works in 2008. I can't figure out- yet- how to get the "button" to work as a link in my sidebar, so for now just follow the text link that I've added.

Behind by about 6 weeks, I am nevertheless going to begin with John Flavel's "The Mystery of Providence" and attempt to finish it in 7 days- gulp. I was planning to read through a book on providence anyway in order to supplement the study that I will be leading on prayer.

We already have so many Puritan works on our shelves; this will be an excellent discipline to get me through a number of them. No more wishing- let's read!

Weather Alert

My Weatherbug keeps chirping at me, warning me of an impending storm, so it's time for soup! And not just any soup, a wonderfully yummy, filling and warming soup that we will love eating even if we don't get sledding conditions tonight!

Simmering on the stove right now is this fantastic concoction found in the January 2008 issue of Bon Appetit- enjoy!

Beef, Vegetable, and Wild Mushroom Soup

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4- to 1-pound cross-cut meaty beef shank bone
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
3 bay leaves
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups diced celery
5 1/2 cups beef broth
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
1 large parsnip, peeled, diced
2 1/2-ounce packages dried porcini mushrooms

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shank bone and meat cubes to pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until meat is brown and juices are reduced to glaze, turning shank bone occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme and bay leaves to pot; stir 1 minute. Add onions and celery; stir 3 minutes. Add beef broth, tomatoes with juice, carrot, parsnip, and mushrooms. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until beef is tender, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Discard shank bone and bay leaves. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle soup with remaining 1/2 tablespoon thyme and serve.

Beside being rather tasty, during the day this is aroma-therapy! And don't forget a nice crusty loaf of bread- oh yeah!


We have survived our personal plague while hearing reports that others are battling the same illness. This is the time of year when we fill conversational gaps by saying, "sure seems to be going around!" Ain't that the truth.

So, since we are back on our feet much has happened. Isaac and Jim spent a bracing several hours with the Webelos at the Daniel Boone Homestead doing outdoorsy winter stuff- so sorry to have missed that myself ;-). Between the outdoor cooking, team activities and shivering, Isaac ended up being the only Scout- of any age- to have his thrown tomahawk actually stay in the target! How cool is that?!

In one week Jim will be in Haiti with our Pastor Wendell and another member of the Missions Committee from church, Dave Lucas. They will be visiting a Missionary family there for a week in an attempt to determine how our church can partner with and help them in the future. Instead of merely throwing money at them, we want to truly become involved in their ministry, by sending people to help and possibly in other ways that we haven't yet seen. It ought to be nice and warm for the guys, but certainly not exotic. The travel warnings issued by the CDC and the State Department are enough to make one think very carefully before packing to leave!

Meanwhile, Kate had her telephone interview with MTW and knows that she will be going abroad for an internship, but not to Berlin. Her interviewer gave her a couple of possibilities, but we are as yet uncertain which will work. Where she goes depends upon the needs of the Missionaries already in the field, so, once again, she is waiting to hear back from MTW. Evidently the agency headquarters in Atlanta has also been hit with the flu, so we wait, with empathy and understanding...

Last night we enjoyed the rare treat of watching the Lunar Eclipse. Friends were over for dinner and we were finishing up when someone mentioned the eclipse. It had been overcast and snowing for the entire afternoon and into the evening, so I figured we had missed our chance to see it, but when we checked the clouds were gone and the stars clear! We could see the moon from our back porch, so we bundled up and stood in the cold to watch the moon turn red! Are the stars really brighter when it is that cold out, or was that my imagination? Couldn't help but think of my Grandmommy, and wish that I'd paid closer attention to her lessons about the night sky...

Okay, this is not our shot of the event- our camera isn't quite sophisticated enough to capture such a shot.

Things are in motion at church now for the Ladies' Bible Study that I will be leading beginning Tuesday, March 4th. I'm very excited, and very nervous. Having been a student, then a facilitator in Bible studies for years, I have never led one myself and am feeling, oh, ... inadequate to the task? That's far better than feeling invincible, I suppose. Humbled, I am driven to Scripture and prayer in a whole new way. This could only be good for me in that respect. My prayer is that this will be a blessing to others, and when questions arise I would have the wisdom to know when to answer and when to realize that I don't have an answer. May God be glorified through our time spent in His Word.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


We've always taught our sweet boy to share, and don't you know, Isaac has given us all the sore throat and fever that he had last week. Erin, Kate, Jim and myself are all aching, feverish and coughing, leaving Isaac and Bekah to be the only ones on their feet this weekend. Bekah went with a family from church this morning to a place in Lancaster County which is famous for it's breakfast buffet. I gave her permission to just go home with them, hoping to spare her the worst of our plague.

The bummer is, this is the weekend that our church is participating the the 1st annual Greater Reading Gathering of Reformed Evangelicals, drawing together like-minded believers from four different churches in the area to worship together, learn from the word and fellowship. Jim managed to drag himself there last night with Bekah and Isaac, but today that will be quite out of the question. And we've been looking forward to this for weeks! I have had a very quiet morning- which around here is golden.

I'm reminded of one year that Jim, Nathaniel and I attended a Ligonier conference in Orlando.
We went to this conference, sponsored by Ligonier Ministries, almost every year we lived in Florida. Always a blessing to hear the speakers and worship with the thousands that attended, one of my favorite things was the bookstore where everything was sold at a discount. One year, having arrived early Thursday afternoon for the pre-conference, I started feeling poorly almost immediately, and by the time the afternoon session was over I was swimming in a feverish fog. Jim took me back to our hotel, with the bags full of books that we had already purchased, and I settled into that comfy bed, surrounded by books by John MacArthur, RC Sproul, Robert Godfrey, and other pastors, theologians and Puritains. The solitude was pure bliss.

My mom got wind of my condition and started calling. Somehow, not realizing my mistake, I told her which hotel we were staying in. She then got busy and before long had called Guest Services at the hotel and convinced them to go to a pharmacy and bring her poor dying daughter some of the most revolting cold remedies available for purchase, (which, of course, resulted in several calls from them as well).

Just give me quiet, liquids and soup...


Thursday, February 07, 2008

From the mouths of Babes...

As Isaac and the girls are discussing whether we should allow him to get a hand-buzzer to pull pranks on friends, they started to recall how very often his Whoopie cushion showed up back when he had it. Then it was remembered that Dad popped it once when it was stashed in the car seat to surprise him. So Isaac says, perfectly seriously,

"That was the most depressing thing I've ever seen".

We're only now picking ourselves up off the floor... How quickly they grow.


I promised that this would not be a forum for political opinions, but I am a bit numbed by the announcement today by Mitt Romney that he is dropping out of the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. I checked the website for Fox News to be sure that I had heard it correctly, and sure enough, it's true. I have been a Huckabee supporter, but was prepared to back Mitt if it came to that; McCain I just don't trust.

I found the text of Romney's speech on the Fox News website, and was moved to tears at the nobility of what I read. After going clearly through the issues our country faces, and the implications for each if Hillary or Obama were to occupy the White House, Mitt closed with this:

I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Usama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters… many of you right here in this room… have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

I will continue to stand for conservative principles; I will fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of those things is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face evil extremism!!

It is the common task of each generation-and the burden of liberty-to preserve this country, expand its freedoms and renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this task… accepting this burden… we are all dedicated, and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope. America must remain, as it has always been, the hope of the earth.

Thank you, and God bless America.

Wow. I hope our Nation listened.

Click here to read the entire speech. Worth the time!

Too Cute

I have to post this since we keep going back to it so often. This is just precious!

Psalm 23

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Meanwhile Isaac is home again, this time with a bellyache. I think we're just going to run through every possible illness in this grading period and get it out of the way. Poor sweetie. He is plastered into the big comfy chair listening to "The Philadelphia Chickens", a fun musical cd loaned to us by a friend. Once that's finished we'll put on Jungle Jams. I'd rather he not spend time home glued to the television, but rather exercise his brain by listening to these cute radio programs instead.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Today Bekah had another check-up with her Orthopedic doctor. We had x-rays taken last week so he could see how her scoliosis is straightening up. At her last check in August he was very positive about the progress that had been made. Her back had straightened by about 3 degrees. This time, however, her back is worse than when we began. She now has a 30 degree curve, (last August it was 21). Dr Cook's office has made us an appointment with a Pediatric Orthopedic Doctor in Philadelphia to get another opinion. Her nerve functions and internal organs remain unaffected by her spinal curve, so I don't think they'll recommend surgical correction.

While this is not good news, we are not terribly shaken by it. After watching the images of lives and homes demolished by tornadoes on the News this morning, we just can't place this in the same category of suffering. However, we also cannot dismiss this circumstance as irrelevant in the "grand scheme of things". This is part and parcel of God's plan for Rebekah as well as the rest of the family. I came across a quote while preparing for tomorrow's Bible study that is pertinent not only for this situation, but for every discomfort and downright pain that we encounter...

"He knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment therefore, when His care falters." Dr. J. I. Packer.
Rebekah is, as are all of God's children in the tornado ravaged South, exactly where God wants her, and His care hasn't faltered.This is the path marked out for her which she is to walk, but not alone. We are with her in part, but God is by her side every step of the way.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Very Cool Photo Site!

Kate discovered this and shared it with us today. It's an amazing website with photos from all over the world. Even Jim sat mesmerized,... so save some time to get a good look!

Earth Album

Gotta run, almost time for the kick off- I don't want to miss any good commercials! (Blame any messy punctuation on my frenzied rush!)

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Snowless Snow Day.

This morning we were notified by the school's new phone alert system that school is closed due to the freezing rainstorm that has covered the roads with ice. We were all able to sleep in a bit more- yay!- and now the kids are helping me prepare for our Bible Study here tonight! I do have to get out to the store later, which will be oh, so fun on our hill. I canceled an early morning appointment for Bekah to see her Orthopedic Doctor in my aversion to driving in this stuff. Her back won't change that much in a week!

So we have gone through most of the winter without a really decent snow for sledding. The last snow only stayed for a day or so. Not that I'm complaining! I am hoping that we won't have any more broken trees from this. The one outside my window is leaning precariously again,... but it's survived worse in recent months.

Something warm and yummy baking in the oven is just what we need, so I'm going to root through the cupboards now and see what I can find!