Sunday, December 31, 2006

I Will Lift My Eyes

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from the mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, Who made heaven and earth, and mountains.
-Psalm 121:1-2

God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs You now
God, be near, calm my fear
And take my doubt

Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

I will lift my eyes to the Maker
Of the mountains I can’t climb
I will lift my eyes to the Calmer
Of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes to the Healer
Of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You

God, my God, let Mercy sing
Her melody over me
God, right here all I bring
Is all of me

‘Cause You are and You were and You will be forever
The Lover I need to save me
‘Cause You fashioned the earth and You hold it together, God
So hold me now

-bebo norman
i will lift my eyes

We are wrapping up this year, and quickly too.
I look back on the high points, and the low points, of this year and I realize over and over again how much I need a Savior every day. I just can't live this life on my own.
If I try, well, that's where some of the low points of this year came from. I just can't.
God, thank You. Thank You for being. For being Father, Lover, Savior, Teacher, Wisdom, Healer, the One Who Provides both discipline and comfort, and everything. You have brought me through when there seemed to be no way. You have set my feet in a course that I did not dream of.
You have been good.
Thank you.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Freedom - a word that evokes many emotions.
A thing can be free, no price attached, or free from restraints. An animal can be free, wild, or free, outside of its boundaries. A nation can be free, a place can have a free feeling, and a person can be free. A person can be free in body (no physical, environmental, or health constraints), free in spirit, and free from condemnation.
Most amazingly, a person can be free in spirit and soul even while their body is in bondage.
. . .
Through You the blind will see
Through You the mute will sing
Through You the dead will rise
Through You our hearts will praise
Through You the darkness flees
Through You my heart screams 'I am free'
I am free
I am free to run
I am free to dance
I am free to live for You
I am free
Yes, I am free
-the newsboys
I Am Free
. . .
If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
-John 8:36
. . .
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
-Galatians 5:1
. . .
...creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
-Romans 8:21
. . .
When He comes there shall be no more bondage, no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain (see Rev. 21).
. . .
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly."
Amen. Come, LORD Jesus.
-Revelation 22:20

Thursday, December 28, 2006


What can a person do, if only they have the vision to see?

They can conquer nations and worlds, they can conquer their fear. They can explore and chart new worlds, they can switch careers. They can run for political office, they can give someone a second chance. And a third, a fourth, even a hundredth. They can invest millions of dollars in an unknown company, they can take a stranger out for dinner. They can forsake all - family, friends, occupation - in pursuit of a dream, a vision. They are willing to go through any amount of suffering, if only they might be closer to achieving their vision

'This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:
"Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane -
Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore;
Send me men girt for the combat, men who are grit to the core;
Swift as the panther in triumph, fierce as the bear in defeat,
Sired of a bulldog parent, steeled in the furnace heat.
Send me the best of your breeding, lend me your chosen ones;
Them will I take to my bosom, them will I call my sons;
Them will I gild with my treasure, them will I glut with my meat;
Wild and wide are my borders, stern as death is my sway,
And I wait for the men who will win me - and I will not be won in a day;
And I will not be won by weaklings, subtle, suave and mild,
But by men with the hearts of Vikings, and the simple faith of a child;
Desperate, strong and resistless, unthrottled by fear or defeat,
Them will I gild with my treasure, them will I glut with my meat.'
-robert service
the law of the yukon

"The old prospectors had to believe that the gold was there. The journey to get it would be torture, but they chose the torture because of the hope. Jim [Elliot] believed there was treasure better than the Yukon's gold, worth any risk, any sacrifice. I think I can picture him now, looking back from the Celestial City to the journey he had made, thinking the price, after all, didn't amount to much. "
-elisabeth elliot
the path of loneliness
pg 106

"...Let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set out before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame,and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of GOD."
-Romans 12:1-2

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pure In Heart -The Squire and the Scroll

Todays broadcast of Family Life Today was especially good - a dramatic presentation by Joshua Harris of "The Squire and the Scroll", a childrens book by Jennie Bishop. Clicking on the title of this post should take you to the page of Family Life's website that features todays broadcast. From there you may choose between Windows Media, Real Player, etc., and take 25 minutes to listen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Flowers

Flowers came via UPS tonight - for me!

The Best Pumpkin Pie

We found a recipe for pumpkin pie that is ...... really good.

classic pumpkin pie
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg (can use fresh)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream (can use evaporated milk)
1/3 cup milk
un-baked deep-dish crust

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon,ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
Add pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk; whisk to combine.

Pour filling into the piecrust; bake until the center is set, 60-65 minutes, covering edges of crust if it browns too quickly. Transfer pie to a wire rack; let cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving.
Serves 10.

from Williams-Sonoma

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

~A Christmas kiss ... on the nose!~

~Writing a thank you letter to Santa~

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Baking ... and more baking ... and more!

Someone In Iowa Loves Me

Who? Daddy, of course!
He wasn't planning on being in Des Moines today, or yesterday, or tomorrow for that matter. He was planning on coming home the day before yesterday.
But an "act of God" (i.e. inclement weather) prevented him. The weather prevented thousands of other travelers from reaching their destinations as well.
So, this picture is a tribute to all the other travelers who did not plan on being stranded, to their families who miss them, to Daddy, who planned on reading his little boy a story tonight, and to the God whose weather is greater than all our plans.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Un-Christmasy Thoughts

The President of Iran has made a point of wishing Christians "all happiness and prosperity on the birth of Christ."
But that wish was couched in the midst of a much longer, and more threatening, speech. According to the president of Liberty Theological Seminary, President Ahmadinejad was calling for the return of the Muslim version of Jesus - the one who was never crucified.
For a better commentary, click on the title of this post. The link will take you to Focus on the Family's Citizenlink article.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It came upon a midnight clear . . .

ut the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy which shall be for all
the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

O come, all ye faithful . . .
Come and behold HIM,
Born the
King of angels
Come, let us adore HIM

For GOD so loved the world that He sent His



that whoever believes in HIM might have eternal life.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising GOD and saying,
"Glory to GOD,
and on earth
to men."

joy to the world

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Past (2001)

A few photos from 2001. Ben was almost 3, Julia was 5 1/2 and Anna was 13. All the faces were spontaneous and Ben and Julia made them independent of the other ...... nothing like sweet children!

Quote of the day

"Christmas shopping always makes one feel better ... "

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Last Rose of the Year

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Sierra Nevada

The view from our backyard. Stunning.
I love living in California!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Ben just got his hair cut (he was starting to look like one of the Beatles).
He was cleaning it up and said, "Eew. My hair stinks!" "That's what happens when you don't wash it, Ben." "Oh."

Julia just finished her Spanish lesson for today.
She came over to me with a goofy smirk on her face and told me that I was "chaparrita" - i.e. "short".

Now Ben has soldiers stationed all around the Christmas tree, guarding it. He has also placed little yellow rubber ducks in the basin of the tree stand . .

Pics From the Christmas Tree Farm

Daniel (22), Liz (20), Ben (7), Anna (18), Julia (10), Dad & Mom
Family photo (for the Christmas cards?)

Lizzie and Julia in front of her choice - our Christmas tree!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Anna received her Christmas present today.
She is a 22-month old border collie, and she is very well trained. And she loves to herd us. And guard. And she is much more lively than Happy, our yellow lab . . .

And we got our Christmas tree! Put it up tonight, with lights, and will decorate tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like ... Thanksgiving?

Pics from yesterday ...

California's fall is here in vibrant color and will not fade for a while (kinda looks a little odd to have Christmas decorations up, though). Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mortality & Festivity: a strange juxtapostion

A young man died Saturday night.
He was riding his bike and was hit by a car.
We were on our way to dinner as we drove by; the paramedics were pumping his chest.
The guy's bike was in the middle of the street, in about five pieces.

We spent the evening at dinner with friends. We had heavy hearts, but soon forgot about the dying man.
Several hours later, as we drove home, there was no trace of the "accident".

Tonight we went to another party.
There was a white wooden cross by the side of the road.
There were blue balloons.

A man died while we partied.
A life was snuffed out as we enjoyed ours.

There is a time for everything, a time for joy and a time for sorrow. Sorrow for his family gripped me in the pit of my stomach tonight, even as we drove to our next party.
He was simply riding his bike, and we saw him as he died.
We saw an anonymous man - others grieve for one who may have been their son, boyfriend, husband, father, best friend.

Life is shorter than we think, and so very precious.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

found out today that he was 15.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Ben is playing with his wooden train set.
A cricket jumped onto the track (woe to that cricket!).
"Oh no! Catch that cricket."
"Hey, everybody, look! There's a cricket in the caboose."
"Oh no! He went up my sleeve!"
Dad: "Don't worry. He won't eat much."
Ben shook the cricket out of his sleeve and put it on top of the wood stove. "Hey, look. He's cooking."
Dad: "Ben, I don't think he likes that."
"I guess I'd better take him off..."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yesterday we went to Bible study.
A woman was honored for celebrating her 70th wedding anniversary - definitely something to be noted! She was asked if she had any advice for the younger women (practically everyone there was "younger" than she was). Her advice: "Stay with him and stick in there!"

Proverbs 31: 12
"She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."
All the days of her life. That means now. Yesterday. Tomorrow. This minute.
Not merely the time during which she is married.
So . . . live in a manner which needs no explanation or apology. Live a faithful life (that is a another subject in itself).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A few more . . .

It is late (12:36 am), it is cold (mid 30's), and it is very quiet. Except for the windmachines. They are running tonight, blowing air over and around the groves in an attempt to keep the oranges from freezing.

Quiet, except for the low hum of the windmachines.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

To the corner and back

Mom came home from shopping this afternoon and said, "Liz, come get in the car. And bring a camera!"
These are a few shots from our drive to the corner and back.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Joy comes in the morning ...

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father. ... Morning by morning new mercies I see.



I am so tired right now that I just want to be alone and cry. For a long time.
And there is no particular reason. Maybe I am overwhelmed. Maybe it is "post Thanksgiving depression." Maybe, maybe, maybe . . .

Maybe I just need to be reminded of my Father's love.

Always, always rember this: you . are . loved.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Castles, Cousins, and Trains - & a few pictures

Yesterday - Saturday - we went with the cousins to the Hillcrest Christmas Tree Farm. The owners have been working on the "Hillcrest and Wahtoke Railroad" over the years, adding a car or two and some track each season. Yesterday was the first day of operation this year.

Daniel, Dad, Ben, and me - courtesy coffee and donuts (courtesy of Dad) while we waited for the train.

~ ~ ~

Paul and Aunt Lisa - Hillcrest offers a pumpkin patch with hayrides and a corn maze during the autumn months. A few pumpkins were left over and the staff let Paul take his pick!

Another farm feature - the swinging bridge - was enjoyed to its utmost.

Ummmmm . . . I think Ben is ready to be let out of the dungeon now!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A few days early ...

Monday, November 20, 2006


"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure that you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so."
- mary jean iron

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thoughts - On Autumn

Another beautiful day. Fall never ceases to satisfy me with its color, its crispness, its mist, and its .... well, not sorrow, really, but sense that this, too, has come to an end, and it is good though it does make my eyes water. I love autumn for just being itself. Beautiful and sorrowful at the same time.
Even if Thanksgiving weren't just around the corner this time of year seems to prompt reflection and thankfulness. Why? I don't know, and I don't know if others feel the same way, but that's how it is for me. The sun - with his warmth - is leaving us gradually, leaving longer nights and imparting a blueish tint to the day by his absence. But longer nights suggest gathering with friends and enjoying the company of the ones we love.

I love autumn.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Peru Pics

In and around Lima, Peru, August-September 2006

Some of Mom's favorite pictures from Lizzie's mission trip to Peru. Although my camera broke on the trip and I could not bring back very many pictures, others on the team were practicing their photography skills and shared their photos with the team. Here are some highlights! Click on "Slideshow" to see them in a nicer format. Mom will continue to add photos, so come back to see more if you want.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Camping In Yosemite - pictures

2006-11-11 Yosemite

Click on the picture (above) to view pics from last weekend, and enjoy!

Monday, October 09, 2006

the road not taken

Two roads divered in a yellow wood,
And sorry
I could not take them both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,

that has made the difference.
.robert frost.

I took the road less traveled, and it has made the difference. At times I have looked with longing at the road I did not take, not knowing where it might have led. I shall never know what lay along the other road, but I know others who have taken it. Their lives may seem more glamorous, more thrilling. But I would not trade the path I took for all the jewels of the world.
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