There's Mail From Mom!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a letter from mom in the mailbox each time you checked it? Here's a place to check your mailbox for a heart-to-heart talk with mom...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


With the school year coming quickly toward us I needed to review why I'm doing what I'm doing.  I am going through boxes in the garage trying to clean things out (again) and I came across a box full of "early years" homeschooling.  Our values really haven't changed after over 25 years of teaching our children at home!
  If you question your ability to teach your children there is some really good reads out there.  One of my favorites is a man who lost his wife in the middle of their homeschooling.  The children have used their mother's work and taught themselves under dad's supervision.  His understanding of why we don't want our children in the public educational system is one of the mose concise I've read.

  Here's an excerpt:
We Need Higher Hopes
Ten years ago Laurelee and I decided to educate our children in a home school rather than a public school or a private school. The burden of this decision fell most heavily upon Laurelee who took responsibility for the substantial work that we expected this home school to require. Of special concern to us were the following facts: 1. The social and religious environment in most schools in America has deteriorated to a level of evil such that it is a threat to the spiritual, moral, and mental health of each child who is forced to participate in it. 2. The level of political and secular humanist indoctrination in American public schools has risen so high that it is very difficult for any child attending public school to emerge with an understanding of historical and religious truth. 3. Irrationalism has become the norm throughout American schools. It is therefore very difficult for children who attend those schools to learn how to think rather than to simply believe whatever propaganda is being disseminated at the moment. 4. The academic quality of most schools has deteriorated to the point that American students are literally the world's largest group of dunces. In test after test of academic abilities, American students score last in comparison with students from the other twenty or so advanced countries.
It is, of course, possible for a child to emerge from an American public school with good academic training and a good spiritual and moral outlook. With increasingly rare exceptions, however, students who achieve this do so in spite of the school rather than because of the school. The over all performance of American children who attend public schools is very poor.
Even when American public schools of the past are used as a standard, current schools are an embarrassment. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores have deteriorated so much during recent decades that the tests themselves are now on the verge of being changed. The American educational establishment is determined to change these tests, so that continued comparisons with past performance will not be possible.
Even the SAT tests themselves are being used as tools for social engineering. "Politically Correct" questions are being asked about "socially responsible" reading passages. In some cases the student must give an answer that he knows to be false or misguided in order to please the social engineers who designed the tests.
As a result of these facts, hundreds of thousands of American families have chosen to educate their children at home. Home schooling is rapidly becoming a major force in American society and has become a significant embarrassment to the public school establishment.
Moreover, families who have chosen this path are clearly achieving some of their objectives. In particular, they are succeeding in partially isolating their children from the social and religious decay that is pervasive in American public schools. They are also strengthening their families by keeping children and parents together rather than allowing them to be physically and mentally separated by the State.

  I found the lovely thoughts below in a homeschool freebie. I printed them  and keep with my daily schedule.  They keep me grounded on what I really want for my children.  I would add above each one that my first desire is that my child truly knows Christ Jesusas their Saviour, and loves and serves Him.  Nothing else matters if that's not taken care of.  But with that said, here they are.

What a Little Girl Should Be Taught 
• To cook plain wholesome food

• To make her own clothes

• To be neat and orderly

• To care for her own room

• To learn well the art of housekeeping

• To care for her person

• To exercise a quiet reserve in the presence of boys and men

• That all cheap talk is unbecoming

• That loose jokes about “beaux” and “lovers” are improper

• That modesty is a priceless treasure, and will prove her surest


• That her brothers are better escorts than most other young men

• That her mother is her best companion and counselor

• That her dress should be plain and not the chief subject of her

thoughts or conversation

• That she should wear only such styles of clothing as will cover

her person modestly

• That it is better to be useful than ornamental

• That there will be time enough to learn fancy work after she has

learned to darn stockings

• That the old rule, “A place for everything and everything in its

place,” is a good one

• That she should dress for health and comfort as well as for appearance

Home and Health © 1907, Pacific Press Publishing

    What a Little Boy Should Be Taught

    • To be strong and brave—a little man
    • To shun evil companions
    • To respect gray hairs
    • To be gentle
    • To be courteous
    • To be prompt
    • To be industrious
    • To be truthful
    • To be honest
    • To prefer the companionship of his sisters over other girls
    • To honor his father and mother
    • To be temperate
    • To discard profanity
    • To be thoughtful and attentive
    • To keep himself pure
    • To be his sister’s protector
    • To refuse to listen to vulgar jokes or stories
    • To use common tools skillfully
    • To care for his own room
    • To do all kinds of housework
    • To earn money and to take care of it
    • To be neat and orderly in his habits and appearance
    • To be self-reliant
    • To be his father’s partner
    Home and Health © 1907, Pacific Press Publishing


Friday, July 20, 2012

“But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God os Israel, and sought him, He was found of them.” (II Chron. 15:4)

Got a problem bigger than you are? While I was alone with the Lord this morning, I was thinking of the problems we have in life that just about take the wind out of our sails. The problems that make you ask "Is it worth it?" "Would someone tell me why I'm doing all thi...s?"
Then I thought of how every single problem I've had what got me through the storm that I thought would never, never pass was "the way, the truth, and the life". He got me through the darkness and into the light.
I am an IFR Christian. I know God had to order this because I am very visual, emotional and a lover of words. So God had to take away my reliance on those things (they were gods for me) and teach me to trust completely and totally on Christ. That has been a journey for me that began with severe and crippling depression in 1987.
I can say that I know, that I know, that I KNOW that He will never leave you nor forsake you. If you will fall at His feet and be a Mary, sobbing and crying and pouring out your heart, agreeing to agree with Him as he leads the way, He opens up the truth to a heart that has no power on its own to comprehend or receive it, and He is the life--He will do all the work, not part of it--ALL of it. He will give faith to a heart that is worn out with “trying to trust”, He will give light on a path that looks like its crumbling under our feet, He will give understanding to a heart that lies very still and waits to hear His voice in the midst of hundreds and thousands of babbling voices in our heads.
You can never untangle all the wires, I promise you it only gets more and more complex--like tearing a computer apart when you know nothing about them and looking at all the parts lying on your table and not even knowing where to start--that’s where you get on trying to solve your own problems.
Job is a perfect example. I believe his friends loved him, I believe they were concerned, but in the course of their “help” they kicked him, criticized him, exposed their own jealousy and personal spiritual limpness and made him more confused.
Then along came Elihu. Job had been mourning and crying for another human to care enough to reach God for him. He wanted human help when he was in spiritual, emotional and physical agony. (Job 16:21) He got that help in Job 33:6 when Elihu said, “Here I am! I am here with you formed out of clay according to your wish ready and willing to help you. Now let me get you to God--because only He can really help you.”
Then he begins to turn Job’s focus to God and His power, His life, His ability to heal, give sight, deliver and put all those mixed up, tiny, confusing pieces of Job’s life that lay like a puzzle poured on the floor all back together and make something beautiful out of it!
I don’t know your problem, but I know you have them. I don’t know what has you so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start.
I do know that if you will seek Him He will be found of thee. “And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord god of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;” (II Chron. 15:12) It all starts with prostrating yourself before Him and confessing that you have no wisdom, no power, no strength, no faith, nothing to offer Him but a hopeless mess and you are willing to rest before Him and let Him fix it as your own Saviour by the power of His resurrected life and righteousness, His perfect finished work of Calvary, and His perfect, innocent blood offered on the mercy seat just for you.
Elihu turned God’s focus to Job and all Job had to do was turn his heart’s eyes upward and God began to reveal His life and power to Job. Then he began to minister it to Job.
That’s the solution to our problems. 1) Confess our complete and total inability and inadequacy. 2) Rest on His total ability and adequacy.
When I have finally worn myself out with looking for solutions and like a person who is going under for the third time I finally go to my Father and lay it all in His lap and ask Him to please give me what I need provided for me by Christ Jesus, my heart goes into a joyful rest and over and over I have come out of the darkness into glorious light with Christ ever so much more real and precious to me. I also came out realizing that nothing and no one, however precious they are to me, (husband, children, friends, church) can replace the treasure I have in this earthly vessel. His name is Christ.
“And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the Lord gave rest round about.” (II Chron. 15:15)
Needing rest? Needing a problem solved? I pray I can be used by Him to take your weary hand and raise it to feel His touch. It will solve your problem--I give you His word on it!

Our prayers are an influence in our home...

No one can intercede for the man of God, pray for his protection from the "destroyer" or set the mood by prayer like we can. This is spiritual warfare, and the battle is on for our husbands, our home, our families...
"Happy the man, called to go forward in any pathway of faith, who has in his life-companion ony sympathy and help....frail in health and only twenty-eight years in age, Mrs. Taylor's... hands were full with the care of four young children, yet from the moment she learned of her husband's call to the great, the seemingly impossible task of evangelization of inland China she became in a new way his comfort and inspiration. Her hand wrote for him, her faith strengthened his own, her prayers undergirded the whole work and her practical experience and loving heart made her the Mother of the mission..." -Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
"Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." (Neh. 4:14)
Our families have souls, let's fight for them in prevailing prayer today!

Friday, July 6, 2012


 As I've spent time with the Lord and also spent time with Christian friends for the last few months I have realized how very, very important influence is. 
  Again and again in the Bible we see examples of people who were influenced for the good or for the bad by who they were with.  The Lord told His people Israel not to take on the way of the heathen, but to cast them out.  He even told them to burn their idols and cast down their altars "lest thou be snared therein"... (Deut. 7:25)
  We see where David's son was influenced by a friend who was subtil.  That same friend had an influence in his death!
  We see Solomon's mother warning him of wrong influence, (Proverbs 31) we hear Solomon warning in the book of Proverbs of whose way we should follow and whose way will lead us into destruction of our life and soul. (almost every chapter!)
  Paul repeats again and again who to be with and who to avoid.  He even warns that only the spiritual should try to rescue those who have been snared into sin lest they fall along with them. (Gal. 6:1)
  Rather we want to admit it or not we are all influenced by who we spend time with, what we read, what we look at, or where we spend our time. 
  One of the greatest joys of my life is reconnecting with someone from years ago and seeing that they have remained strong in the faith.  What joy to find that they haven't dropped any convictions, and that although they have had to stand alone in many areas they are still remaining faithful to Christ.
  One of the greatest sorrows in my life has been watching people who you were sure would never lose the wonderful joy they had in Christ and in following Him as a peculiar people decide that they were wrong and reevalutating all those things that at one time they found their sweetest fellowship with Christ in. 
  It is usually obvious that things are not the same.  They've lost that excitment and joy on what Christ is doing in their lives.  They either avoid subjects or are argumentive about tenets of the faith that they once taught new Christians as very important to growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  As you listen to them you almost always find certain common denominators:

1)  False doctrine has slipped in somewhere.   Paul warned of this repeatedly.  He said it would happen.  Someone has come in with something that is so close to the truth it is difficult to tell that it's not the truth with just a little poison slipped in.  My dad used to say that just a little rat poison in your loaf of bread would still sicken or kill you! 
   If you're going to disobey the word of God and cease obeying the truth you have to replace it with something else.  I know there's nothing new under the sun, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the doctrines that replace the truth almost always make salvation confusing with works added to it.
  I have found by experience that God's authority and His prescribed design are safety nets here.  If we seek the truth we find it, and the truth will always, always set us free.

2)  Someone has influenced them-- not Christ.  When you find extremes among God's people you will almost always find them following a person.  Rather it's extremes in being just like the world or extremes in being apart from the world when you really listen to people who've moved from the truth they have been influenced by a book, a preacher, a family, an internet site, a Bible college,  etc. 
   I like to ask people how much time they simply spend in the word of God each day seeking His face that they might submit their will, heart and mind to Christ. How much time are they searching for His heart and mind on every issue of their lives.  When you come before Him with a humble heart and a true desire to obey Him He makes it very clear what He desires. 
  Paul told those who wanted to follow him or Applos or Cephas that they weren't to pattern their life after a man, but after Christ.   (I Cor. 1:12-25)
  I know in my own life when I began to wander into the desert of depression I had listened to a false doctrine and other voices above my Saviour's.  It only led to confusion and spiritual darkness. 
  This goes back to authority.  Every human authority in my life is just that--human.  I have to have a deeper faith, one that goes back to trusting a very perfect God to lead my life by a human authority.  I must believe I can trust God--He will never influence me to sin.

3)  The direction of the life usually doesn't go to a purer and holier life, but to a life that is void of spiritual life.    In most lives you see great outward change.  There is a change in what they wear, where they feel comfortable going, what they call "godly music", etc.  This is outward manifestation of a deeper problem.
  With others the person becomes more extreme in their outward appearance and personal standards of life and practice.  They make more and more demands on what it requires to be right with God.  They have a "prescribed" list that grows and grows as they decide what is spiritual and what is not.  Many times you find them swallowing camels and straining at gnats.  This is because they are putting an emphasis on the flesh and not on the spirit of Christ.  Many times you find they have a root sin they've never gotten victory over and so other areas are overemphasised.  In both cases the root problem is not allowing Christ Himself be the authority. 
  Matthew 5-7 is Christ's discourse that makes it plain that God is a holy God with very high standards.  He also makes it clear that they are impossible in the power of the flesh.  When we attempt to carry out God's holiness in the power of the flesh it creates a very filthy, spiritually superior spirit.
  On the other hand, separation is from page 1 of the Bible to the last chapter.  God hates sin.  Sin destroys us.  When we ask Him to save us He starts a work of saving us of each and every thing that He cannot have as a holy God.  It's not that we aren't to live separated lives, it's that we are to live them by the power of the Spirit.
   I once saw an illustration showing white, gray, black and in that illustration were things listed that most Christians saw as definitely white, some that they saw as gray, and some most Christians saw as black.  Then it showed Christ as perfectly white and pure.  It showed the world in the lighter black and the church in the white.
  Then it showed the world going deeper and deeper into the black, and as it did the church was moving deeper and deeper from the white to the gray and almost to the black.  The problem?  The church was saying, "We're staying the same distance from the world as we always have!"
  But are we to compare ourselves among ourselves, or are we to have Christ as our goal?  If you keep your eyes on Christ as your comparison you will  live a purer and purer life as you grow.
When I think of my own life I think about what I have in my life that influences me.  Then I ask the question, "How does it influence me?" 
Am I influenced when I get a new seed catalog, beautiful Southern Lady magazine, or clothing catalog?  Yes.
Am I influenced when I watch a movie or read a book?  Yes.  I can name books that literally changed the course of my life and thinking.
 Am I influenced by the people I spend time with?  Yes.  I have people that leave me feeling like a limp rag from the emotional weight they pull out of you,  I have people that convict me, (but in a good way) and motivate me to do more for Christ, love Him more, spend more time with Him,  I have people that make me unhappy with who I am and where I am, (if I let them) I have people who energize me.  Yes, people influence me.
Am I influenced by my family?  My children can influence me to laugh, cry, and pray.  They can make me so proud I want to wave a flag and say "Hey everyone, that's my child." and they can shame me to where I would like to not answer when they say "Mom".  Yes, my family influences me.
Am I influenced by the word of God?  Yes, when I prayerfully get alone with the Lord in the word of God I can't believe what it does to me.  It's alive!  It permeates, cleanses, renews, and is engrafted into me.
  Am I influenced by what I listen to?  Obviously, if I'm having an overwhelming day my husband will say, "Why don't you go turn on your Christian radio station?"  I can go into a store playing rock and fully understand why teens get a gun and shoot someone after listening to it!  Why do you think bars don't play hymns?  I could name two men that told me their infidelity in their marriage started with listening to country music on a regular basis. 
  Am I influenced by what I wear?  You better believe it.  I have outfits that make me feel fat, frumpy and irritable just by glancing in the mirror.  I also have clothes that make me feel good about myself. I have clothes that say I'm going to be painting or in the garden, and I have clothes that make my kids say, "Where are you going today?"  Many times in my life my clothes have motivated the question from a complete stranger, "Where do you go to church?"  I always reply, "What makes you ask me that?"  It's what I wear!
    I can dress in a way that is suggestive, and I can dress in a way that is pure.  I can unbutton one more button and make an entirely different statement. I can make it slightly tighter and slightly higher up on my leg and I promise you my husband would say it wasn't going out the front door of this house.
   I can convince people I'm a businesswoman, a lover of country music, a motorcycle mama, going to lay on a beach or a street walker -by what I wear.  I mark every scripture that discusses clothing with a small picture of a garment.  There is no argument--clothing matters to God.
  Am I influenced by where I go?  Yes, I am.  I don't shop too much or I become covetous.  I don't go spend time in bars, certain stores, or in the wrong section of a book store because I don't want to be influenced in a wrong way.  I am careful with social networking because it has a powerful influence in my life.  I have been influenced by what I saw on a Facebook page to laugh till I cried, to say A-men out loud, and to weep like a baby at where that person's life has gone.
 I know this is long, but I've got a deep, deep burden for today's child of God.  I prayerfully ask you to turn to the Lord and yield yourself to His influence in your life  (Rom. 12:1,2) and then beg Him to make you an influence in someone else's life to turn them to a life of abiding in Christ.  There is no joy like the joy of the Lord Himself being your strength. 
  Influence.....who is yours and who are you influencing?


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

  Something the Lord has been really dealing with me about is giving Him each day at the beginning of my day.  I like living a planned life--"fail to plan, plan to fail" is one of my mantras.  I live by a list.  However, I also want the Lord Jesus to be the one who is my Way and I yield to His authority in ordering my day's path.
  A few months ago dear friends of ours who are missionaries to Australia called and told me they were going to be coming down I-40 on July 4th and would like to stop through.  Because of Gary's work schedule now I knew we wouldn't be going anywhere and told them to be sure and stop by.  Then it fell right out of my memory bank!
  Yesterday, they called to get directions to our house.  I had told them in the previous phone call that whatever we were doing or eating we would just include them in it.  But the Lord did have to remind me of my verse  "My soul,  wait thou only upon God ; for my expectation is from him." (Psalm 62:5)
 Not because I wasn't absolutely thrilled that we were going to see them, not because it wasn't a change in the right direction.  It was because I had "planned" to let the house go this week and rest (as I'd promised my husband I would do because of health reasons) and because I hadn't planned a special 4th of July dessert today because most of the family is on a diet. If you're a planner you know what I'm talking about. 
  The house wasn't filthy, it was picked up.  But I hadn't scrubbed bathrooms, mopped floors or polished the wood floors.  I hadn't dusted furniture this week.  I hadn't "planned" for company today!
  The kids pitched in a gave the floors a quick vaccum and sweep, John emptied trash and dusted, Cierra wiped down the bathrooms, Asher checked and swept porches and I mixed up some baked beans and Marble Toll House Squares.  By the time they arrived the Lord had changed my "expectations" to HIs and we were prepared.  I even remembered I had a frozen diet strawberry dessert that would pass as a 4th of July dessert in the freezer! 
  What a wonderful afternoon of catching up we had.  They have ten children and we have seven.  We looked at each others pictures, looked at our children's websites and listened to their music, saw their furlough dvd, and when it was time for them to leave I wasn't ready to let them leave.  After all the years we hadn't seen each other they were still faithfully serving the Lord, sticking to sound doctrine and principles of living and listening and talking was "iron sharpening iron".  I can't say how strengthening to your heart and faith it is to reconnect with people from your past who are sticking by the stuff and living as valiant men and women and not lowering the banner for the Lord.  I felt like I'd got a spiritual B-12 shot just spending time with them.
  Tonight as I write this I realize that because I am making a point to give each day to the Lord He made a point to give me a gift today.  I can't thank Him enough!
  As for that wonderful diet dessert.  I might have put this on my blog before--if I did you can skip this part.  This dessert is called Mile High Pie.  It is 3.5 points per serving if you cut it into 18 servings. 
  You will need a stand mixer to do this.  It would wear your arm out to do the 20-30 minute mixing and it might wear your mixer out!  It's a delicious summer dessert and fulfills the qualifications I have right now of "Don't use that oven one minute more than you have to!" -Gary Neal

   Crumb Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup light margarine
1/4 cup sugar

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 (10 oz.) frozen strawberries (partially thawed, may use canned fruit)
2 large envelopes of prepared Dream Whip topping. (Make ahead and refrigerate.)


Mix crumb ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Stop and stir every 5 minutes. Reserve 1/3 cup of crumbs for topping. Let cool. Press remaining crumbs into 9x13 pan.
(Be sure and reserve that 1/3 cup to sprinkle on the top!)
(This is how high the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and strawberries get in my professional Kitchenaid mixer bowl!)
Beat the filling ingredients for 20-35 minutes until very stiff. (A good stand mixer will do it in about 20 minutes.) Gently fold in the prepared Dream Whip. (Do not overstir.)
(Don't forget to make the Dream Whip ahead of time and have it in your fridge to fold into your strawberry, sugar and egg white mixture.  I use Kroger brand Dream Whip and it works just as well and tastes just as good, but saves money!)

Pour into pan over crust and sprinkle crumbs on top. Freeze 12 hours. Serve frozen.

Number of Servings: 18
This is a very light, almost ice cream like dessert with a wonderful crunch on the bottom and on the top.  It's a favorite here!  To make it more holiday you could add some little flags all over the top!

Monday, June 18, 2012

All day yesterday I thought of my dad who was sitting behind me in church, unaware that I was in front of him a few rows, unable to take part or enjoy church-- a place he loved with all his heart. Alzheimer’s is an ugly disease and although my dad is with us in body, the dad I always knew and spent much time in fellowship with is gone.
Last night my husband preached on casting a shadow on other’s with your life. He told how each of us cast a shadow rather we want to or not, and that it will always be a part of us. Then he told some stories about my dad--a man who cast a long shadow with his life. He used his life and influence for Christ.
As a little girl I knew that my daddy knew Christ and was going to heaven. That’s why I asked him to pray with me when I was afraid of going to hell. He put his paper down and prayed with me. I didn’t get saved that night, but I knew who to go to about spiritual matters.
When I got saved I heard a message on Calvary by a guest preacher my dad had at our church. I was scared to go to the altar, but I reached up and took my dad’s hand and asked the Lord to come into my heart and save me. Once again, I knew who I could trust and feel safe with when it came to the spiritual matters in my life.
Dad never entered a restaurant, gas station or motel without trying to find someone to talk to about their eternal soul. Dad cared about where people spent eternity and if they were with him any time at all they knew it.
I could tell story after story of people he “offended” with his straight-on approach about spiritual matters, I could also tell you page 2 -- when they hit bottom in their lives and realized they needed a Saviour they knew who to find to lead them to Christ. He cared and it showed.
I’ve sat and listened to people who dad led to the Lord and then got cold and backslidden. Some of them their marriages fell apart, some of them it was worse than that, they saw the chastening hand of God take loved ones. I’ve listened to them say, “Those were the best years of our lives when we sat under Brother Bob--and we didn’t even realize it.”
I’ve listened to my dad counsel people late into the night. I learned as a young girl that those who did what he showed them in the Bible went on to live productive, happy lives. Those who ignored what he showed them in the Bible ended up with a life that was shipwrecked. Dad had no idea that with my bedroom door cracked he was counseling his daughter at the same time.
I had to learn as a teen that my dad was as human as anyone else and once I wasn’t a little girl any more and could clearly see some of his faults I needed to learn to depend on God to meet my needs where my dad failed me. (Psalms 27:10) That was a lesson that led to some broken fellowship between my dad and I until I got close enough to the Lord to realize that my dad had needs too, and if I desired something from my dad I needed to give him what I yearned for.
I learned if I wanted his ear, I needed to give him mine. If I wanted some trust, I had to trust him. If I wanted his attention, I needed to pay close attention to him. If I wanted time--I needed to give him time.
I also learned maturity is taking the responsibility for my sinful behaviour instead of blaming it on my dad’s fathering skills.
Learning this lesson from my heavenly Father gave me a very close relationship to my earthly father. That closeness never ended. We had it right up to the day he didn’t know me any more as his daughter.
When my depression literally “fell on me” for over twelve years, my dad was the one who spent long hours on the phone with me. My dad was the one that came and stayed at my house for three days and would put those wonderful aging hands on me and cry out to God for me. I could feel the agony lift when he prayed for me. Once again, my dad was there for me when the spiritual life in me was so low I couldn’t even be sure it was there.
When mom and dad had their 50th wedding anniversary celebration one person after another told how my parents lives had influenced their life. They told how dad “chased them down” with the gospel and how grateful they were. They told how dad put the fear of God in them about their eternal souls. They told stories of how he helped get their faith renewed, their vision focused on what really mattered, shored them up in the storms of their lives.
Letters poured in that thrilled my mom and dad to read of their influence in their tireless rounds of spreading the word of God wherever they could and encouraging soldiers in the fight for the Lord.
Servant, prayer warrior, fierce defender of the faith, fearless fighter and my dad.
Impetuous, outspoken, rushing in where angels fear to tread….yes, that was my dad.
Tenderhearted, quick to ask forgiveness, open before all….yes, that was my dad.
Real. Yes, that was my dad.
Years before the Alzheimers came my dad asked me to pray that he would finish right. I don’t know how many times as I’ve prayed that I’ve wondered how this is finishing right--but I trust the Lord it is, and daddy, I’m still praying for you to finish right.
When we used to go to fellowship meetings together they would ask daddy and I to sing “Home Sweet Home. Yesterday, I sang it to him. He used to join in on the chorus with me. When I asked him to sing with me yesterday he said haltingly, “Well, that might take a while.”
As I sung it I thought of so many other songs dad sang with us. He used to sing to us (we didn’t like this one because he took it very literally! )-“When I Take My Vacation in Heaven”.  He loved “Till The Storm Passes By”, “Power in the Blood”,“Keep on the Firing Line”, and “Is That the Lights of Home I See?”. We sang along with Brother Roloff as he would sing “Deeper Than the Stains Have Gone”.
Oh, how I miss my precious dad and his boldness. I’ve asked for a double portion, then wondered if a double portion of my dad would scare most Christians today to death! J
So, although you can’t read this daddy, all your friends and family can. I love you more each day I live. Happy Father’s Day from your “Palm Tree”-Tamara


Monday, March 19, 2012


   I love spring in TN.  When we lived in Indiana there was still a good little nip in the air up till May--not so in Tennessee.  Already the redbuds have burst out in their beautiful odd lilac-like color, the forsythias are in full bloom, the daffodils are standing in patches nodding their little heads, and the birds sound like they're going to explode with the joy of spring.
I start digging out lemon recipes, strawberry recipes, carrot cake recipe (for Easter Sunday), I find myself digging out my tea books and thinking possibly I could sneak an outdoor tea into our very busy spring schedule.  If it doesn't happen it sure was fun to dream about!
   I also get seriously bit by the sewing bug in spring.  I walked into Cracker Barrel and all those darling little dresses are just begging me to go home and sew something just like them, but handmade and even prettier! 
I begin dragging out pattern boxes (I have three boxes, a cabinet and two drawers of patterns, so there's a lot to go through!) and then digging out my spring fabric and seeing what I might just come up with.
  So far I made a little toddler who had a birthday at our church a dress (from scraps) that I thought turned out so cute.  I put yo-yo's on the front and around the pockets and it just set it off.  Also did the bias out of a companion print to the dress print.  Now that was fun!  I also took some scraps and made my granddaughter Macey a comfy little moo-moo type gown that is out of bright springy colors that she can only wear when she's having one of her fever episodes.  If I'd had time she probably would have got a stuffed animal to match!

 This is a little smocked dress I made last spring....

This is the little dress with the yo-yo's out of scraps!

When I'm not playing in the fabric or patterns then I start going through flower catalogs and wondering what I can put in the little flowerbed we have here that will have color and love shade at the same time.  Last year I planted three big hostas which seem to have disappeared.  My sweetheart fears that the "husband bug" might have chopped them to bits when he helped me winterize the flower beds.  I thought I really did a good job getting something perennial that also loved shade.  (They have yet to stick their heads up and report for duty! :)
  Which reminds me of the story of my spring "cutworm."  We had invested in a clematis which I thought would be beautiful climbing up one of the metal poles of our carport. (And hide the thing since I thought metal poles were ugly!)  I talked to the gardener about how to plant it and which side of the house to plant it on and everything seemed fine.  The odd thing was that it would get about 6 inches tall and then it was cut off!  I dug through the soil looking for a cutworm.  I dusted it with Seven dust, I fertilized it and even more I can't remember.  I was convinced there was a cutworm that I wasn't finding or killing.
   This went on for a good while till one day at Sunday dinner I brought up my dilemna.  My father-in-law asked where it was planted and when I told him he said, "Oh, I thought that was a weed that kept coming up and I've been weed-eating it!  So!  My cutworm had a name and it was a person I loved very much!
   Once Charles the Cutworm ceased his activities it grew rapidly and ended up going clear up onto the roof of the carport!
   I married in the spring and had three babies born in the spring.  Spring makes me think of rebirth and how it seems all is dead but a little warm sunshine and rain and it all bursts out for us to be awed by again.
   Spring is strawberry jam sitting on the counters waiting to be put on warm bread, sitting on the porch with my family as the sun goes down just enjoying the sights and sounds, planting flower beds with cheerful flowers and standing back to admire God's handiwork when He made them, lying in bed in the morning and listening to the pouring rain from a heavy spring thunderstorm, making lemon cake, lemon bars, lemon torte, making a many layered carrot cake, making cookies and decorating them with little violets on white icing, switching from thick winter soups and stews to wonderful sandwiches with salads.  Spring is when you enjoy bathing a brand new baby and holding them warm against you snuggled in a towel.  Spring is when you hang your sheets on the clothesline and wash up all your antique linens and antique aprons and hang them out on the line to soak up the sun so they smell fresh and clean.

  I am without apology a very, very happy homemaker.  I love every season of it, I love every aspect of it.  I don't think it came naturally--I believe it's a gift God gave me when I took His word and began diligently seeking my role in life as a biblical woman.  When I accepted the role and position He had designed me for, He graciously let my fall deeply in love with being the keeper at my home.  
  How thankful I am for the seasons, but especially for spring with its birdsongs, honeysuckle, anniversary day, special birthdays and its open windows with warm breezes,  Happy Spring, dear daughters!  Throw yourself into it with all your heart!


Sunday, January 15, 2012



    I'm reading Andrew Murray's book "Abide in Christ".  It's not the first time I've read it but it feels like it.  Why?  Perhaps because I'm in a season of seeking to draw very close to the Lord.  Perhaps because it is just what I need in my spiritual life right now.  Perhaps because each January I struggle with my "dark visitor" coming in on me and Andrew Murray's writings feed the childlike side of my faith in Christ.  Whatever the reason, this is the season when I need it; my response to it is showing how much I need the subject of that book.
   Years ago when the four older children were all five and under I read the book "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elizabeth Elliot.  I had yielded many, many things in my life when I read that book.  I had yielded my will in the area of my biblical womanhood,  I had yielded what I did as recreation to the Lord, I had yielded my possessions, I had yielded my clothing, I had yielded my priorities and how I used my time--but I had not given the Lord my children.
   I had a deep fear of one of my children dying and for some reason I believed that if I gave my children to the Lord, He would take one to test my yieldedness.  When I read the book "Through Gates of Splendor" God brought me under deep conviction that I needed to give Him my children.  I was bothered by the mothers in that book that loved their children as much as me but were willing to go where the Lord wanted them to even when it was very dangerous.  For several nights I was troubled to the point of not sleeping.
   Finally, late one night I went in to Nathan's bed. I laid my hands on him and gave him to the Lord first and then one by one the rest of my children. I cannot describe the joy and peace the Lord gave me. I felt so foolish that I could ever think that I had more wisdom than the Lord in keeping our children safe or that I was better equipped to do the job.  I saw it from His viewpoint for the first time, and knew they were only safe when in His keeping
   I went through my house for days looking at things and saying, "Lord, you can have that, and that, and that!" (naming them as I went)  I gave him my Christian music, my beloved sewing machine, my furniture and my food. 
  This week the Lord has taken me through another new season of giving things to Him.  Although I had a point in my life when I withheld nothing from Him he has shown me that it lies deeper than that. 
  I must give Him each thing and let Him have it.  If He chooses to give it back then I must only use it as He tells me to, the way He tells me to and by His power--not mine.
  I have several areas I must give Him:
1)  My sin.  Frances Ridley Havergal first mentioned this and it has changed my life.  Jesus is my Saviour and that means right now--this moment.  He is not just my Savior for eternity past and eternity future, He is my Savior right now--but I must give Him that sin and let Him at the very moment it tries to take possession of me give it to Him and let Him be my living, indwelling Saviour at that very moment.  What a joy to not have to fight sin or try to quit it.  It's dealt with--I just have to quit fighting and rest in Him, His blood and His power.

2)  My self-righteousness.  Not only do I have a very natural part of me that is very bad, I have areas where I am naturally a good person.  But all my goodness is as filthy rags and I must give Him my good and confess that I need Him here too.  My good doesn't please Him and so I must give it to Him to be healed of it and given back to me as His righteousness-not mine.

3)  My natural abilities and talents.  Each of us were born with gifts.  Maybe the gift of music, or the gift of writing, maybe the gift of loving to cook, or being a natural speaker.  Perhaps the gift of mercy, or love, or giving. Perhaps you are gifted with children, you're a gifted teacher, or you are gifted as an idea person.   Perhaps the gift of leadership.  The list could go on and on--but we each have them.  These too, are only a frustration to the grace of God even if we offer them to serve Him.
He cannot use a work that is not His, and so we have to take each one of them and completely and totally give them to Him, trusting Him with them.  After giving them to Him I must wait on Him to give me the grace to use them at His bidding and His timing always remembering that they are no longer mine, but simply something that belongs to Him that He is allowing me to use.

4)  All my lawful occupations and possessions.  Martha of Bethany loved opening her home to the Lord and his disciples, but she had to give that wonderful lawful occupation she had to the Lord.  She lacked one thing.  Rather it's our occupation or our possessions we must give it to Him and entrust Him to open our eyes on the why/how/when of it.  I must give him my keeping at home, my wifely duties, my motherly duties, my cooking and cleaning, my shopping, my home, furniture, my clothing, my schedule. 
  What a complexity is involved in these areas--only he can manage them, but they must be His.

5)  Our true spiritual gifts.  After salvation we receive gifts that are spiritual gifts.  We receive our measure of faith, our spiritual hearing and sight.  Even these must be given to God.  If we glory in our spiritual experiences then we will stagnate.  We should always realize they are from Him and we must hand them back, so we don't become proud or satisfied and not need more from Him.

  Frances Ridley Havergal said that there can be no consecration without separation.  How true.  Nehemiah talked about men, their wives, their sons, their daughters, and all those that had knowledge and understanding seperating themselves from the people of the lands (the world system or culture) unto the law of God.  (Nehemiah 10:28)
  When we are led by the Spirit of God to forsake all of our life and take up His, to abide in Him, to give up our life and embrace the yoke and the cross and learn of Him it can be a calling that our sinful flesh draws back from.  But through time those who have done it will testify that it is so sweet that they wouldn't have it any other way.
  The more helpless, needy and willing we are to give up ourselves and take all He offers us, the more we receive from His hand.  We give to Him and we receive of Him!  It's worth it!
  So as we are barely in this new year I urge you to join me in making this a year where your single eye and focus is coming to know Him more by giving Him more.



Monday, January 9, 2012

Goal Setting...Moment by Moment


Abide  in  me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of  itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  (John 15:4)

 Dear Daughters, 
 It's the new year.  I love the new year with its fresh face and fresh ideas.  I always smile as I see the ads change from decadence to health, from luxury and one-more-thing to organization, exercise equipment and diet plans.
  I love Lamentations 3: 22 and 23 where the Lord tells us His mercies are new every morning.  A new year gives us a new start, a new opportunity to begin again on our desires and goals.
  When I stop and think about it seriously though, a year ahead of me is a big stretch.  To think of keeping all those new goals for an entire year?--whew, that's a big chunk to think on!  So maybe how about a month?  That's a little easier to think about, but still a large goal.  So I can pare it down to a week or a day?  Still, some things, like not eating that piece of candy or speaking harshly when I'm under stress, those are deeds of a moment.
  I have been reading Frances Ridley Havergal's "Kept for the Master" and she addresses this very issue.  How refreshing to realize that I can give the Lord the moment that I am tempted and trust Him to keep my resolution for me.  To just confess to Him that I cannot keep my goals and resolutions, but I'll put it into His care and surrender to His life, His power, His will for the moment and let Him keep my heart's desires that are right in safekeeping.
 My theme for this year is "Abide in Christ".  He already has confirmed this again and again in just the few days that I've had in 2012. 
 Moment by moment I desire to live His life--setting aside the one that I want and living that wonderful life that He has planned for me.  I yearn to receive the faith He has for me, the wisdom He has for me, the redemption He has for me and the love He has for me.  I yearn to be emptied of me and filled with Him. 
 Someone asked in a book I read today--"What is it that you live for?  What is it that you desire to see accomplished more than anything else?"  As I read that I thought that above all else I yearn for the spiritual health and welfare of my children and grandchildren and that more than anything else I desire to accomplish, it's that God would use me in some way to be a part of His carrying out a great work through them. 
 I have that same desire for my spiritual children.  All the children I've had the privilege to teach, to spend time with, to be a part somehow of their lives.  All the spiritual daughters He's placed in my life.
  So, as I stand at the threshhold of this new year, dear daughters, I pray that God would have you for Himself this year.  Consecrated. Dedicated.  Set apart for Him.
  As I pray for my physical children I pray for you that God would do a work in your hearts to be separated from this world and its culture and system unto the law of God and to Himself, (Neh. 10:28) and that you would yield your bodies that you might not serve any other god but God Himself. (Dan. 3:28, Rom. 12:1,2)  And I pray that He would remind you to not look at the whole thing but simply yield yourself to Him and His word moment by moment.