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Showing posts from July, 2007

Pursuing Peace

After Dappled Meeting Place, Angie sent these words. I knew that others would love to read them too, and she gave me permission to send them out. This is part one of a two part story--Susan will be posting tomorrow and Angie's part two the day after:

Beautiful!
I love what you wrote. Those are my places too. Quiet places, in a bath, in a book or on a walk by a river or through a tunnel made of trees bending their leafy boughs over until you can't see the sky. It's a secret place where God is and where there are no phones or stereos or even the ever present hum of electricity.

Lately with all the busyness of life, my sometimes quiet place is under a silky, peach coloured scarf that I pull over my head. The children know that when I am inside there, I am praying.

Rebecca said "what are you praying for Mommy" and I said "Patience, gentleness." Now, if I've put the scarf down somewhere and a moment is happening with a small boy, she brings me the scarf and …

A Faith Lift

"But without faith it is impossible to please God..." Hebrews 11:6

Today my friend Eline called me with the most amazing news and I just had to share it with everyone.

The journey begins with a teal colored sedan Eline and her husband have owned since coming to Canada. It has been faithful, taken them from point A to point B. But as time went on it has become more reluctant, had more problems and started to cost much more money than it was worth. Their mechanic eventually said "I don't mean to insult you, but this car is not worth spending more money on." So they have been praying.

As Eline gets in her car to drive her daughter to school, she can see the black smoke belching out of the exhaust. The car chugs along, but it's only a matter of time. It's become a matter of health and safety. So they pray, trusting God that though there isn't the money for another car, that He will provide. He is Jehovah Jirah and He has never failed them.

When we get toget…

Dappled Meeting Place

"She moves around the house," he said--and his words told me that he watches and knows me well.
His observation was made during the cell group icebreaker that Sam was leading. Out of a list of rooms such as: bedroom, ballroom, dining room, studio or playroom, we had to guess each other's favourite room.
It was fun finding out how well we all knew each other and every one guessed pretty accurately for me--different rooms for different reasons--but Paul, who knows me best, chose the studio for creativity--but a roving studio.
As storm chasers follow tornados, I seek quiet spaces--pockets of peace to counterbalance the rest of my world and the rooms in my heart, which are full of people.
In quiet spaces I breathe in God's Presence. Without doing so I would not have a single word of worth to share with anyone else.
This morning I sat in a dappled place beside a sturdy clump of silver birch--so lovely that I had to capture it with the eye of my camera.
A canopy of leaf laden br…

So Good Saturday

It's Saturday and I love it.

The day dawns sunny and I am up early. I'm hoping to clean my windows. They surely need it.

Soon, pancakes--our weekly ritual--are bubbling on the griddle and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee fills the air.

After breakfast Brenda and I move to our big back room with another cup of coffee, for our weekly gab. As usual, our conversation is punctuated with phone calls from Peter and then Mum and Robert in England.

By 10.30 I'm back in the kitchen cleaning up from breakfast and emptying the contents of my fridge so that I can give it a good clean. As I work I'm listening to a CD loaned by my friend Ann on my Walkman. It's of Henry Blackaby from a conference on faith in the marketplace that she attended. It's inspiring and challenging.

The phone rings. It's my friend Angela and her voice is full of excitement. She tells me that Life 100.3 has a special morning devoted to the music of Keith Green. Angie and I share a love of his music. We …

His Plan will Prevail

Matthew 26:3-5 (New International Version)
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5"But not during the Feast," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people."

The chief priests were determined. They had a plot to kill Jesus--but at a time other than during the feast of Passover.

They had their reasons--it would be so much better to do this at a more discrete time--quietly.

But the timing of Christ's death was significant--Passover had deep importance in the story of redemption. It was the commemoration of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) which forshadowed Jesus' sacrificial death.

Nothing could stop God's plan--neither a few religious people nor all the powers of hell.

Matthew 26:12 (New International Version) says, of the woman at Bethany, who poured…

Five Things That I Love About Jesus

I was tagged this morning by Alan at http://thesheepfold.typepad.com/the_sheepcat/ and my mission is to share five things that I love about Jesus and then tag five others.

Five things I Love about Jesus:

I love his humour--as in that moment on the road to Emmaus where he, the risen Christ, joins the two Christ followers as they walk along the road and he asks them what they are discussing. Their response, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" is pricelessly funny.

I love his gentleness in revealing truth. If I were to see all at once the full extent of my fallen nature and the reign of Self in my life, I would be crushed and hopeless--but a step at a time he shines his light on areas that need to come into alignment with his ways--and then he helps me do it by living his life through me.

I love the way that he loves the least of the least--the tax collectors--publicans--the woman caught in adultery--the woman at …

Life Without...

Tonight I had a call from my friend Susan who is far away in the wilds of northern Ontario.

Up there they are sweltering in a heatwave some 10 degrees hotter than the Toronto area.

There's no air conditioning of course, but even if there was, today they had no power. The hydro failed after a storm and no one seemed in a hurry to get it back up and running. The taps weren't producing any water and no toilets could be flushed--and for supper tonight, she and her fellow camp counselors were going to resort to opening some cans of provisions as they had no means of cooking anything more elaborate.

My guess is that when they fly back home on Saturday--first on Bearskin airlines and then by Air Canada jet--after two weeks away they will experience reverse culture shock. Things taken for granted before--an abundance of hot water, fly screens without holes, a cool bedroom--these things will feel like sheer luxury.

Sometimes I fine tune my gratitude by imagining what life would be like wit…

Count Me In

John 5:24 (New International Version)
24 ...whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

Yesterday it came by email--an invitation to a significant event. I'd been invited a few weeks ago to participate in something God sized--but until the email came I hadn't allowed myself to think that it was really happening. When it came it was exciting--it really is true--and I am honoured, humbled--and also a little nervous--to be included.

Invitations can be harrowing things. Being left out of an invitation list, intentionally or not, can be hurtful. Children use birthday parties to demonstrate who's in and who's out of their inner circle. We probably all remember being on the "out" list at least once!

Today I'm thanking God for the "whoever's" in God's Word.

Revelation 22:17 (New International Version)
17 ...Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, l…

A Very Good Night

It was Tuesday--cell group night-- but I didn't rush home as I usually do. I'd gone into work half an hour later in the morning, so I stayed later--on a roll with a task I was engrossed in.

At 5.20 I called Paul and asked him to turn on the oven and put in the casserole that was waiting on the counter top.

The phone had been strangely quiet--and the ringer was on because I checked! There even seemed to be fewer emails than usual.

Finally, I turned off my computer, locked my filing cabinet and changed my phone message for tomorrow to say that I would be out of the office all day--stepped outside and closed the office door.

As I drove home I wondered if anyone would come. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria usually wait for me to get home and then rush upstairs to help prepare for our company-- setting the table with cutlery, plates and glasses. But tonight they were away as they and Brenda were having dinner with Susan and Peter in Tottenham.

I have learned to go with the flow on Tuesdays--…

Peter's Fatal Flaw

Matthew 26:33 (New International Version)
33 Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

This morning it leapt off the page at me--Peter's fatal flaw--self confidence.

But how often do I go into the day confident in my own strength, common sense, wisdom, self control and knowledge?

While I may have these qualities--in varying degrees on any given day--I am learning that there is a far better way to live. That way is in utter reliance, moment by moment, on God.

The battles of self that I have faced most recently, were not won, and will not be won, by human strategy or resolve, but by acknowledging my utter weakness and dependence on God.

Making my struggles a public thing has been helpful. Taking it out into the open, removes my tendency towards self reliance (maybe this book has the answer), rationalization (maybe it's not so bad) and procrastination (I'll start tomorrow).

I can't say that I know the personal struggles of many of the peop…

More of Me

2 Corinthians 4:10 (New International Version)
10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version)
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

More of You

More of you, more of you
I've had all but what I need
Just more of you
Of things I've had my fill
And yet I hunger still
Empty and bare, Lord hear my prayer
For more of you

I love the song, More of You, but I'm thinking that in the areas where I struggle in my life--it isn't about me having more of Jesus, but about Jesus having more of me.

All of him--the boundless resources of his wisdom, power and strength are mine for the receiving according to 2 Peter 1:3 (New International Version).

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of hi…

One Day at a Time

Ephesians 4:22-24 (New International Version)
22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I was in the hairdressers--a much needed cut and colour was in process and two stylists and I were talking about our struggles with addictive eating. The funny thing is that no-one would guess by looking at us. The other two girls are much younger than me--both lovely--and they and I are not noticeably over-weight, but we had a bond of understanding. For us food isn't about physical hunger but something else--and we agreed that like any other addiction, it can only be beaten one day at a time.

Just talking to one another about our struggle and encouraging each other, boosted our resolve. I left with a determination to make it through the evening--typically my weak time--…

The Lord's Army

Ephesians 6:16-17 (New International Version)
16 And in addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

"Less blame--more action." I read these words on my friend Dave's blog this morning,
After sharing the poem that I had written in memory of a young girl named Robyn, yesterday, I thought of a young life that had made an impact on those who knew her in the short time that she was with them.
When I read Dave's challenge, I thought of how much time can be wasted in negativity; blaming, shaming and complaining--all of which can involve judging and pride. Worst of all--those things accomplish little, if anything, of worth.
I left the house to drive to work. A few days ago I'd seen an advancing medieval army from my kitchen window, metal shields locked overhead as the wet leaves of the corn glinted silver in the …

A Song for Robyn

Bright eyes look up at me A smile so young and free Your picture strikes a chord inside of me Some things I've heard about you Tell me that you knew A Special Friend of mine--or two Robyn, your love goes on and on In friends and family And friends of friends Robyn, your life goes on and on A precious circle that will never end We'll never know the moment When we'll have to go I hope that when I do, I too can say That I have touched the world And that I've left behind Some One for other friends to find Jesus, your love goes on and on In friends and family And friends of friends Jesus, your life goes on and on A precious circle that Will never end I didn't know Robyn personally--she was the cousin of a friend--but I saw her photo, after she died tragically young, of anaphylactic shock while out with her youth group over 17 years ago. The young smile and bright eyes in her photo inspired this song--a reflection on life being so fragile and on leaving something of worth behind.

Confident Helplessness

Romans 4:20 (King James Version)
20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Hebrews 11:12 (New International Version)
12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Utter helplessness will drive you to your knees.

A burden weighed heavy, an overwhelming situation--just too big to strategize a solution to.

As we prayed I felt my eyes taken off ourselves and placed upon God. I thought of a verse I have always loved about Abraham.

Although I cut my teeth on it, I rarely read the King James Version of the bible anymore, but this is one verse that the modern language versions don't quite capture in the same way--

Romans 4:12 says of Abraham, "He staggered not..."

I just love those three words--"He staggered not."

The Bible is a book full of humanly hopeless situations and the odds are always so far against a posi…

Tag

It's been a busy week so far and a tiring day and I was praying about what to write when I checked out my friend Dave's blog. He laid down an invitation to play blog tag. I hope you won't mind if I do that tonight--and you may find out something you didn't know! I copied the paragraph below from Dave's blog at http://www.davehingsburger.blogspot.com/

These are the rules.
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Like Dave, I am not going to send this to eight people like we're supposed to, but I'd love you to play if you'd like to. Just leave your blog address on http://www.whateverhesays.blogspot.com/ and we will come and visit you.

So, here are my 8 random facts.

1. I feel very socially awkward in a crowd. I always feel as if everyone else is engaging in conversati…

No Half Measures

Psalm 86:5 (New International Version)
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.

Psalm 86:15 (New International Version)
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

I looked out one recent morning at the field of corn that is planted below the stand of maples on the hill. From the green leaves of thousands of young corn plants--wet from the rain that had come in the night, light was reflecting--silver. As I gazed on the shimmering field, it looked like a massed medieval army of soldiers with light reflecting from shields locked above their heads as they advanced into battle.

To the side of the corn field lay the alder grove and there the trees waved their arms at the sky in the morning breeze, the leaves dancing opalescent--simply beautiful--not caring if anyone noticed or not, it seemed.

I thought of how God made the world so beautiful, as if he loved to do it--as if he delighted in the exq…

Purposes and Passions

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (New Living Translation)

1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

This morning I dreamed. I explored a secret wish--a longing that is rising up within me.

It has been stirring, deep in my heart, but hidden, held in reserve for a future time--not quite now.

Today I brought my dream; my passion; out and looked at it. I turned it over in my hands and prayed over it.

At church today ou…

Speech

3 John 1:14 (New International Version)
14I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

The capacity for speech is complex and amazing, but, when it comes to communicating--it sometimes feels as if God sat us down in an airport control tower and told us to bring in the planes--with no training.

The older I get, the longer the stretch seems from the moment we utter our first attempts at words to when we understand how to use them.

I sometimes wonder about God. He put us in charge of his creation in the first place--I really wonder about that. And then when it came to the task of carrying the message of his love for mankind to the rest of the world--he left us with that too--didn't he know how dangerous that was? And, as one of my favourite singers, Rich Mullins once said, "He didn't have a plan B."

The power of words is staggering. They can slay or salve, hurt or heal. They are quick to leave our lips--but so hard to undo.

This morning I read a little from each of…

Gathering Storm

Isaiah 49:25 (New International Version)
25 But this is what the LORD says:
"Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save.

The sky is heavy and sullen on this hot morning.

As I glance out of my kitchen window a flock of birds swoops swift and low over the fields--their wings shining silver below the ominous, roiling grey of the clouds. Their flight is in unison, like arrows shot from the bows of hidden archers.

In the distance thunder rumbles--it sounds as if a storm is approaching.

I hear the door to the sun porch opening suddenly as if a friend is walking in unannounced--but no friend stands in the hallway. My "visitor "is the rising wind outside.

As I get ready for the day in the bathroom, applying makeup to my shiny face, my blouse is already sticking to my back. My hair clings limp to the back of my neck. I twist it up and secure it with a tortoise-shell barrett…

Runaway

Psalm 119:32 (New International Version)
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

The reading from Amy Carmichael's Edges of His Ways yesterday morning spoke of that great missionary to India, receiving a letter with "power to disturb," right in the middle of her Quiet Time with God. She said that it dropped like a stone flung into a pool and that much seemed to press around her of things to be done.

As I meditated on Psalm 119:32, which was in that evening's Daily Light on the Daily Path, I thought of a true story entitled Runaway recorded by Ray Wiseman in his book, A Difficult Passage that recounts his boyhood on the prairies in the 1940's.

The scripture text and story have a connection to Amy's struggle.

*Ray tells of one fateful day towards the end of a school year when he and an assortment of fellow students were being driven home by a driver named Montana in a green van pulled by "a spirited team of matched bays."

It w…

Surrounded

“How’d you miss it for so long?” someone asked me today. “Couldn't you tell you had a sinus infection?”

Well, I should have, but the symptoms all matched various other physical conditions I have and I had chalked them all up individually to other things. There was no more mistaking, though, what was really going on (for the last 8 weeks) when my temperature hit a high of 105 last Friday, my face felt like it was about to blow off from the inside out - if my brain didn't explode first - and I truly felt like there might not be a tomorrow. I have spent the last week, very, very sick. Every day there seemed to be some new symptom or some new challenge. The temptation to feel sorry for myself has been overwhelming, but I only gave in once, and very briefly at that! (That’s when the nausea hit like a brick wall – on top of everything else. And just when I was beginning to feel like there was some hope I would feel human again!)

Today, around mid-morning, I felt a sudden burst of ener…

Coffee, Cereal and Conversation

The house was cool when we came down to begin our day. Before breakfast I made a quick trip outside to put something in my car and was hit by a wall of heat--and it was only 7.00 a.m.--the cool was only on the inside. "Thank goodness for air conditioning," I thought.

We sat across the table from each other sipping our coffee and munching on our cereal and Paul said, "That post you wrote a couple of days ago about the wedding--that was good." ( "Speechless"--July 4th)

"Hmmm--thanks," I said, feeling blessed that something God flowed through me had meant something to him.

And that started a conversation about the wedding attire in the story and the fact that none of us has any grounds to stand before God on our own merit.

I'd just been reading in the January In Touch magazine by Charles F. Stanley--January, because it's part of the reading collection in the drawer in our bathroom--an article entitled, A Church full of Failures.

The article, by…

Paying Attention to Two Worlds

The natural world amazes me. My senses are saturated with beauty daily--I pay attention because that's the way God made me--I can't help it.

Yesterday, in anticipation of a hot day ahead, I had pulled down the blinds and the windows were open to catch the cool breeze before the heat came.

Outside, the wind blowing through the trees sounded like waves washing up on a beach. Wooosh--wooosh went the wind "waves"--while the blinds tap-tapped at the window frames.

This morning though, was motionless. I sat in my green room and watched the stillness outside. Not a leaf moved. The sky was ominous grey and the air hung moist and heavy.

I could hear only the occasional distant chirping or calling of birds and the tick-tick-ticking of our golden oak wall clock--a minimalist concert. The clock's rhythmic keeping of time contrasted with the random, free form sounds of nature.

The ticking reminded me that time can be a taskmaster--but the world runs according to time--it seems tha…

Turning Point

Psalm 119:105 (New International Version)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

It was mid morning when she called--my friend Poppy--a.k.a. Frances. We hadn't spoken for almost a week. I'd tried calling the day before and she had answered the phone, her voice husky with sleep, "What time is it?"

"12 o'clock," I said--I'd called on my lunch time.

"Can I call you back?" she asked--but she never did--that day at least.

So when I heard her voice on the other end of the phone the next day, I looked up at the clock and made a mental note that I was starting my coffee break--prepared to stretch it into my lunch break too, if necessary. It's hard for us to stay connected--my friends and I--when we're all working and on different schedules--but we manage because it matters.

Out came a tale of busy days--family visits--many of them in one week--a late night sister-bonding session--trying and failing, to watch scary movies--and…

Inconvenient Commandments

Luke 6:35-36 (New International Version)
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Sometimes God's direction is inconvenient and difficult--but impossible to ignore.

I mean I really love all that I read in God's Word about loving one another--until someone does something that is unfair, rude or unjust. That's when my own ideas of justice take over. There's something wrong with that--like saying I'm a vegetarian then having a juicy steak for dinner.

In Soul Survivor, a book by Philip Yancey, there is a chapter on Mahatma Ghandi, who was a Hindu. He admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is t…

Serving "Someone"

Joshua 24:2 (New International Version)
2 Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods.

Joshua 24:14-15(New International Version)
14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

One of the books I'm reading at the moment is, A Troubled Faith, by Alan Reynolds. It's a book that gives lots of opportunity to ponder faith--the what and the why and the how of it.

There's a chapter entitled, The God We Want And The God …

Speechless

Matthew 22:11-12 (New International Version)
11"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.

I have a recurring dream. It's Sunday morning, I'm leading worship--I have no clue which songs we are singing. I try to quickly pull something together--but--never good at thinking quickly on my feet-- it's no good. As I fumble and drop sheets of song lyrics, I look out at the faces looking back at me and I know they know--I'm not prepared. I am always relieved to wake up and findthat it was just a dream--but the feeling of panic and embarrassment isn't so easy to shake!

The aroma of roasting beef, mingled with exotic spices, fills the banquet hall, tantalizing the guests who have gathered for the celebration. Servants carry trays laden with luscious grapes, pomegranates and figs, circulating among tho…

Prophetic Words

It was at least two years ago--sometime close to Christmas when our writers group was taken by storm by Geraldine.

Larger than life--she was a vibrant English lioness of a woman--artsy to the max--with a booming elegant voice--and a "darling" in every other sentence.

If I've made her sound affected--she wasn't--this was Geraldine--breathless--charismatic Geraldine.

Auburn hair cut in a shaggy mane, with dramatic clothing and jewelry--she sailed into our gathering one evening at the invitation of Sue, one of our members, who knew her well from Singing Waters, an inner healing ministry and retreat centre near Orangeville.

At the end of the evening Geraldine offered to pray for each of us--for the releasing of creativity. As she started to pray, I was stunned. Some of the people she prayed for, I knew as intimate friends--she had never met us before this evening and with her "attention deficit disorder" type personality could not even remember our names--and yet w…

Discarded Things

I had such a good sleep last night--a rare thing for me--to actually have enough! It felt so good to awaken sleep satiated instead of sleep deprived.

After breakfast I laced on my Rockport walking shoes and set out for some much needed exercise. It was the perfect day--sun shining brightly but not too hot and with a breeze that danced around me as I walked.

Twenty minutes or so into the walk I was coming to the end of our tiny village of Bond Head and heading into countryside--a few fields and then the beautifully landscaped golf course of The Club at Bond Head to walk past.

As I passed the last house on the way out of the village, the breeze carried the fragrance of flowers from across the fields on a sound like the ocean--the rushing sound that hides in a sea shell waiting for a child to put it to its ear.

On I walked, ears, eyes and nose taking in every detail that they could, as I wondered at the delicate and beautiful detail of wild flowers and smiled at the waving bulrushes, shroude…

Daughters of Eve

I have never felt like a more welcome or special guest.

I had been invited to speak at the church that one of my friends attends and she asked if I would like to come for lunch after the service.

Ellen and Jason are parents to five children aged nine and under, including eighteen month old twin boys, so it was no small thing for Ellen to invite me to be their guest for lunch. I gratefully accepted her invitation and looked forward to sharing some time with Jason, Ellen and their young family. I really had no idea though, just what a treat I was in for.

Ellen and nine year old Hannah drove home from church with me while Jason went on ahead with Joshua--almost eight; Olivia--six-- and Josiah and Jeremiah--the twins.

Stepping into their home, I was greeted by the fragrant, appetizing smell of something very delicious cooking--brown rice with almonds, and pork tenderloin.

The twins were quickly seated in two high chairs and fed, then put to bed for a nap, while Joshua was happily occupied on t…