Poetry Monday - John Donne

Wilt thou love God as He thee? then digest,

My soul, this wholesome meditation,

How God the Spirit, by angels waited on,

In heaven, doth make His temple in thy breast.

The Father, having begot a Son most blest,

And still begetting, (for He ne'r be gone)

Hath deigned to choose thee by adoption,

Coheir to His glory, and sabbath's endless rest.

And as a robbed man, which by search doth find,

His stolen stuff sold, must lose or buy it again:

The Son of glory came down, and was slain,

Us whom He had made, and Satan stole, to unbind.

T'was much, that man was made like God before,

But that God should be made like man, much more!

Father, part of His double interest

Unto Thy kingdom, Thy Son gives to me,

His joinure in the knotty Trinity

He keeps, and gives to me His death's conquest.

This lamb, whose death, with life the world has blessed,

Was from the world's beginning slain, and He

Hath made two Wills, which with the Legacy

of His and Thy kingdom, do Thy sons invest.

Yet such are Thy laws, that men argue yet

Whether a man those statutes can fulfill;

None doth; but all-healing grace and spirit

Revive again what law and letter kill.

Thy law's abridgement, and Thy last command

Is all love; Oh let this last will stand!

"Pink Saturday"

Well, I'm teaching myself digital SLR photography, and I'm taking you with me, if you'll be so kind. I'm focusing on....(no pun intended)...composition and aperture, here at first.

But to do that, I have to have an "assignment", a designated subject, something to give me a jumping off point. I've decided to use color as that jumping off point, and today I chose pink.

I chose pink on purpose because it is a difficult color. There isn't a whole lot of it in my world. Blue or orange or green would have been a far simpler subject-choice.

I am amazed at how absolutely fun this self-designated "assignment" was...how I viewed my ordinary Saturday through an entirely different and unusual "lens" (again, no pun intended)and how satisfying it was to search out a pink perspective.

Today, I simply shot at pink, wherever I saw it, wherever it "lived", without styling the pictures too much, and in some cases without styling the pictures at all. This is pink, as I found it, as I went about my day.

Turns out, this color has created a delightful diary of my summer Saturday...

Isaac's girlfriend Emily got a new kitty yesterday. She brought it by this morning for us to admire. See the pink nose? Emily's pink shirt?

This shot needs no explanation...

...nor does this one...

...or this one.

I don't have a lot of pink makeup, but I do have some...and this Sephora blush is my all time favorite. Highly, highly recommended.

A bit of pink in a Gap skirt...

Hanging just above my side of the bed...

a bit of ribbon...

...and thread...

...and pink thread, and pink bookmarks...

...and a pink book...

...and another pink book - one that happens to be one of my all time favorite "home and hearth" books.

one of the colored pencils is pink...

...the quilt that my grandson plays on has lots of faded pink - I seriously love this quilt - it looks so vintage, even though it isn't. The "shoot your own feet" shot is one that is so, so overdone, but I can't help but always love this perspective when I see it. Feet can and do tell such a story.

Some pink in the necklace I wore today...

And that was my morning. In the afternoon, Hannah and I loaded up the grandson and went to an outdoor art show, where Jonathan and Sarah
were set up, doing some "show and sell".

Aunt Sarah, standing guard over her sleeping nephew. If you look in the plate glass window, you can see me snapping the photo, in my be-flip-flopped feet.

Jonathan and Sarah - no pink in their art exhibit, but at least you have context for what comes next...

a mixed-media pink cupcake...

I want this T-shirt...

...hand made pink...

...and more hand made pink...

And now, the I-Ching of Pink...the Pinnacle of Pink...Quintessential Pink...

A very pink flamingo planter. For sale. Sixty-five dollars, and this beauty would have been yours.

Us girls got hot and bored, so we loaded up the baby, and left Jonathan and his father in law (who also happens to be my husband, the girls' father, and the grandson's grandfather, but I digress) to "man" the booth - again, no pun intended.

We went to a cute store, right around the corner from where we were, an indoor shop called "The Southern Market".

This is the kind of pink every girl needs!

Last, but not least, the final shot of the day was the most precious pink in this whole, wide, pink-containing world:

...the pink cheeks of auntie and nephew, each adoring the other.

Oh yeah. The money shot.

Tickles me...pink.

Decorating With White - and GK Chesterton!

(my dining room chandelier)

(image from the blog "Dreamy Whites")

My love for a white "canvas" in my home, and my love for the writer G.K. Chesterton actually go together more than I ever thought. Look what I stumbled across in my reading today:

"White...is not a mere absence of colour;

it is a shining and affirmative thing,

as fierce as red,

as definite as black...

God paints in many colours; but He never paints so

gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily,

as when He paints in white."

-- G. K. Chesterton

More Underlined Bits - Give Them Grace

More underlined bits from the book by Elyse Fitzpatrick, "Give Them Grace" - a book about how the gospel of Grace (New Covenant gospel) applies to raising children.

"Our salvation (and our kids' as well) is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Grace alone.

Most of us are painfully aware that we're not perfect parents. We're also deeply grieved that we don't have perfect kids. But the remedy to our mutual imperfections isn't more law, even if it seems to produce tidy or polite children. Christian children (and their parents) don't need to learn to be nice. They need death and resurrection and a Savior who has gone before them as a faithful high priest, who was a child Himself, and who lived and died perfectly in their place. They need a Savior who extends the offer of complete forgiveness, total righteousness, and indissoluble adoption to all who will believe.

This is the message we all need. We need the gospel of grace and the grace of the gospel. Children can't use the law any more than we can, because they will respond to it the same way we do. They'll ignore it or bend it or obey it outwardly for selfish purposes, but this one thing is certain: they won't obey it from the heart, because they can't. That's why Jesus had to die."

These bits are all from chapter one! Just the first chapter. If you are a parent, you might already be feeling a strong sense of conflict, deep inside. I assure you, this isn't a book that lets you or your children off the hook, in terms of obedience. But if you have been mixing law with gospel, as most of us have in our generation, this book will totally mess you up, and rework the basis from which you expect obedience, and even the methods you use to train obedience into your children.

If your children are grown, as are mine, I would still jump on this book, as I did. Because older women are mandated to teach the younger women, and I want to teach them properly! I don't want to give them the same right-sounding rhetoric that I was given...rhetoric that didn't actually work for me in the long run, and won't work for them in the long run. Law is always, always a short term solution, but at least it feels like a solution, and therein lies its subtle deception.

I will say this: the law was a way easier means of relating to my children. No nuance, no wisdom, no relationship necessary. And it felt so satisfying to the flesh, when I invoked the law as a parent. It won me accolades and admiration, up to a point.

But only the long story tells THE story. Today, I thank God that He awakened me to the Gospel in all its glory, and I began to apply it to my relationships with my children. The Gospel thoroughly addresses both legalism and license, and is a perfectly safe foundation from which to parent in rest and confidence.

It ALL Begins at Home

"Let them first learn--to show piety at home." 1 Timothy 5:4

The Christian is first to manifest godliness in the family circle. We would especially press this upon the attention of those who are so anxious to engage in what they term "service for the Lord" (evangelism).

The "service" which God requires from all of His people--is not a running about here and there, asking impertinent questions of total strangers and prattling to them about Divine things--but to be in subjection to Himself, and to walk obediently to His Word.

To talk to other people about Christ, is far easier than the task which He has assigned to His people--to deny self, take up our cross, follow Him, and to show piety at home. For if there is no piety in our home life--then all our seeming piety in the Church, and before the world--is but hypocrisy and self-deceit!

(Arthur W. Pink "First Things First")

Book Review

I have a gem of a book to share with you.

No, the grace message isn't anything new. No, it isn't an "off" message preached by wonky Bible teachers, whose churches are in danger of becoming "cult-ish". It is rather the very Gospel of Christ! But it is so little preached that when a pastor preaches it purely, without any mixture, legalists and legalistas get all tore up and suspicious.

We've been fed a diet of decades of topical preaching, our spiritual foundation being built on the doctrines of dead moralists. The Gospel of the scandalous grace of God is almost never systematically taught, week in and week out, for as long as it takes.

But it is being preached and taught, more and more. I've said it before, but it bears repeating - my Preacher and I have, in years past, refrained from name dropping as we've labored to bring the saints along in the gospel. Why? Why not invoke a name here or there, to support what we are teaching? Well, because in our experience, when people don't 'get it', after long and patient labor, it is because they don't want to get it - they prefer the veil of the law. They enjoy the feeling of superiority the law lends them. Dropping a well known name or a waving a book will not convince them, if they are refusing to receive the message from their own pastor, who has always loved them and shown them nothing but integrity and faithful relationship.

However, those of us who have repented of our law-addiction, who have forsaken the veil, it is good for us to read and learn all we can. We live for this gospel! We devour it from our Bibles, from our pastor, from our relationships with one another.

The number one question I have been asked, as Tim and I have been teaching the Gospel over many years is, "How does all this grace I am learning about apply to my parenting?"

I want to enthusiastically recommend to you a book by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. (Yeah...um...major Christian author and speaker. Internationally recognized. Not your "cult" material. Will legalists please, please get intellectually vigorous, do your homework, and get a clue?)

The title is "Give Them Grace - Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus".

The forward of this book is written by Tullian Tchividjian. (Billy Graham's grandson, and pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian. Yeah...um...as in the Coral Ridge Presbyterian. Not exactly a "fringe movement". Clues, clues, people. They abound if you would but recognize them!)

...and the forward, all by itself, is an education in theology. Here are some underlined bits:

"The biggest lie about grace that Satan wants Christian parents to buy is the idea that grace is dangerous and therefore needs to be "kept in check". By believing this, we not only prove we don't understand grace, but we violate gospel advancement in the lives of our children. A "yes, grace, but..."disposition is the kind of fearful posture that keeps moralism swirling around in their hearts. And if there is anything God hates, it's moralism!"

When Elyse, (a woman with three grown children, six grandchildren, and her Master's from Trinity Theological Seminary), when she takes over in chapter one, it gets even better! Her premise is that the only change-agent for our children, is the only change-agent that works in our lives as parents - the Gospel. Only the Gospel will raise children that radically love God.

Proof: the law, or even more likely a mixture of law and grace, has held sway in our churches, for the most part, for more than a generation. The result is that 60-88% of our children are forsaking the faith when they leave home. Our kids are leaving the church in droves, because all we have had to offer them is an anemic Jesus who cares about behavior modification, mostly. Jesus wants them to be good, work hard, have the right friends, go to college and get a job.

The Jesus we've been presenting our children cares about the same moral modification that the Mormon Jesus cares about, and that Allah of Islam cares about. New Covenant Christian parents often don't deal with their children in any way that is radically different than a hasidic Jewish father (which is a term not to be confused with a Christian father...). Yet the way we relate to God changed utterly, under the New Covenant.

Aw, just get the book. Please, please. If you are a parent, it will educate and bless and challenge you.

Weekend Ramblings...

Rambling around this weekend, collecting random beauty, and a few interesting somethings to show you...

I love the idea of this flannel and cotton print "memory game". This is from my all time favorite sewing/knitting/crochet blog called Purl Bee. If you have never visited Purl Bee, it is worth a visit just to see the colorful blog header - it is eye candy of the best sort. And prepare to find at least ten projects that you will want to do, because this site is a treasure chest.

This is also on my list of things to try this summer: hand quilting. The picture above is from the sewing blog of Anna Maria Horner, and all those stitches you see are hand-done, with batting in between two layers of fabric. I want to start out small, like this, with just a pillow. I need to find the perfect graphic print fabric...the above fabric is absolutely beautiful. Makes me want to be a textile artist/designer.

I have a wooden toolbox almost just like this. And I have hydrangeas. This image is from the blog Dreamy Whites.

I threw this image in just because. Because I love the gray yarn. And because I am totally enjoying knitting, even in the summertime, which surprises me because I thought I might only enjoy it in fall and winter, but I am loving working on my fall and winter gifts ahead of time, and yes, I just made a massive run-on sentence on purpose....

Oh, those plank walls. I want them. I seriously want them.

I'm making gifts like this - just finished one, in fact. I think this ear warmer headband thingey is adorable. Can't remember where I found this image, though...I do know that Rachel at Maybe Matilda sells headbands like this, and the crochet pattern to make them. And Maybe Matilda is my favorite new discovery...such a delightful blog! My daughter Hannah found her first, and now I love her too!

More gray yarn beauty...and that antique typewriter...so much to love about this image. Great hand made blanket and pillow, and even better photo composition.

I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend! We've a full house over here - along with the joys and the trials inherent to that scenario. Mixed bag, lemme tell you. Easy it is not. Without the gospel perfuming our ways and informing our decisions and affecting the very seat of our emotions, we would have kicked one another to the curb a long time ago. Our family is no different than yours.

The gospel affects not just my destiny, it affects my day. It makes me hang in there, because Calvary love is my example. "Tough love" is important - been there, done that, got the T-shirt. But "tough love" is only as effective as the tender Calvary-love that supports the whole relationship. If there is no relationship, "tough love" is a moot point. No one cares. No one is listening.

So, like I have said many times before, don't picture life here at the cottage as "Leave It To Beaver". We are more like "The Waltons", only with a heavy dose of dysfunction, and the momma is a crack head, and John Boy can be mean as hell sometimes.

But at the end of the day, we are still together, and we will stay that way if it kills us.

Indeed it may.