Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Contentment

My beautiful wonderful sisters in Christ!


I hope this is a wonderful morning for you! I have not been awake very long, but so far I have been blessed beyond measure.


The Lord is doing great work in my life--quiet work, nothing huge or obvious, but great nonetheless. He is working on my contentment. In the Bible it says "Contentment with godliness is great gain". How right He is! I used to understand the verse to mean "great spiritual gain", but I understand now that it is also tremendous personal gain for myself and my family. I LIKE being content! Not striving, not stewing, not fretting. Just a happy little bee buzzing around my hive with my two little baby bees humming beside me, filling our time with work, service, and learning until daddy bee comes home :).


I am very rarely content. I have always felt a sense of striving. I am not sure why. Sometimes it is because I am discontent with my surroundings. Sometimes it is because I am discontent with myself (often that is the case, actually). I will sometimes keep a constant dialogue in my head of discontent and condemnation of myself. I felt it land square on top of me yesterday, and I spent much time in irritation at things not working right, at the cold, at myself for not watching the clock better. I started begging the Lord for us to move. I realize now that when I allow myself to do that, I get into a temper tantrum, so I stopped begging. I might not be CONTENT to be here, but at least I can stop putting fuel on the fire!


This morning i read a WONDERFUL blog...one I had not been to in a few weeks. Lady Lydia had an absolutely beautiful piece on contentment. http://homeliving.blogspot.com/ It filled me with ...well contentment! I realized that this is some of the work that the Lord is working in me right now--to be content.


I do not know why I fight contentment--it feels so wonderful! It is peaceful and pleasant, altogether wonderful. I fight it, though, because I think I will be HAPPY if things are the way I want them, when really I am called to find JOY and CONTENTMENT and PEACE, no matter what the circumstances.


What is the difference between joy and happiness? Many people do not see a difference. FOR ME, and this is me, I am reminded of a phrase I heard once "Happiness depends on happenings". Happiness is the emotion we get when things are going right in our lives (again, this is my opinion).


I did a VERY quick search in both the NIV and the KJV of happy/happiness, content/contentment, and joy/joyful to see what context they were used and how many times those words came up. This was a VERY unscientific search (I would need to go back to the original Aramaic and Hebrew to see root words, etc) but it did give me a very interesting overview:


In the Word, when looking up happy/happiness vs joy/joyful, most of the time when "happy" was used, it denoted an emotion about a positive event. For example, a woman finding herself with child, a master who calls a servant to share in the good things the master has ("come share in your master's happiness"), or even Haman when he thought he was going to get rewarded. Nearly all the verses have something to do with events that one would expect someone to be happy in.


Joy, however, is often associated with the Lord and seems to have deep spiritual roots. Praising Him with joy, or finding joy in suffering, or joy after sorrow, or joy in the Lord. Joy seems to have a deep, abiding presence, even if the "happenings" do not seem good.


Now, of course there is overlap between the two! And this does not mean that we should not be happy when the Lord has blessed us--in fact, quite the opposite! Praise Him for His mighty blessings in your life! He brings happiness to your life. He gives you moments of just pure happiness, where you can just ....well....be happy!


But to me joy is sort of like "love thy enemy" thing, and happiness is more like love that you would feel for people whom you enjoy and who bring blessing to your life. Both are quite good, but joy is one of those mysteries of the Lord that the unsaved do not understand--how you can praise the Lord even when you are in the midst of stressful or difficult situations. It is joy I think, more than happiness, that we can demonstrate in our lives to the unsaved to bring them to Christ. They already know how to be happy...but do they know the Source of joy?


Contenment falls in line, from the quick reading I read, with joy. Though not mentioned often in the Word, contentment is not dependent of what is going on in your life, but rather something deep to strive for "Godliness with contenment is great gain" and "Be content with what you have". The only two physical conditions that I saw associated with contentment were food and clothing. Anything else is just icing.


I will be honest, I fluctuate between joy (and contentment) and happiness (looking at my happenings). The only thing that saves me, I think, from making a big huge mess in my discontent is remembering Sarai (before she became Sarah) and how she lost patience about not having a baby, did not wait on the Lord, and tried to rush the Lord. I am terrified of rushing the Lord and making a mess (though I have definitely made messes before!). I know that the Lord knows what I want to be happy. But I am realizing that He wants me to be content and joyful. It is a slow lesson for me to learn! But that blog entry by Lady Lydia was balm to my spirit and mind.


What is the Lord teaching you in your life? He might be teaching you contentment too! Or maybe He is teaching you joy or patience, industry or forgiveness for yourself or for others.


He always works in your life....have you sat down today away from people, the computer, the tv, the radio, the phone and just said "Lord, what lesson are You having me learn?" and then think carefully about your recent life and see what work He is doing? Give it a try. Understand that He is teaching you EVERY minute. For me, that builds my faith because I get restless if I think that my life is in freefall, that He is not there every second. But when I realize that He is working, that makes me better--I do not feel as restless or striving.


If you do not mind, if you read this, post what the Lord is teaching you. You do not have to go into details at all if you do not want to...in fact, if He is guiding you from a personal sin, you can just say "He is guiding me from a personal sin" or "He is teaching me obedience" or something. I find it faith building for myself when I speak (either vocally or in writing) the work that the Lord is doing in my life.


So what is He teaching you today? If you do not know, go ask! :-)




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SOAP!!!

My wonderful sisters!

Here are some pictures of the soap I made (yes I am pretty picture happy today, but with the strivings it took to get the white box set up, I figured I wanted to make the most of it!)

In the past, when I sold soap, I put the soap in muslin drawstring bags. I learned something very important this time: my packaging was all wrong with the bags! I was pretty much out of bags and decided instead to wrap the soap in wax paper. I thought it would make the bars look soft and pretty. I cannot TELL you how much I think that did to sell the soap. One person even said that they bought the soap JUST because of the packaging!

I needed a way to decorate the wax paper. Precious and I spent an inordinate amount of time in JoAnn's trying to find good stickers while TWS and Little Man had gone to the sporting good store. When they got to JoAnn's, they both helped us look for stickers and TWS found these! I should have made him go shop for stickers while I went to the sporting goods store!

This is a stack of the soap that came back with me. I sold out of one scent, so that is not in there.


A close up of the wrapping. Let me just say that wrapping these soaps was a BLAST! I have no idea why, but it just REALLY appealed to me to be making such delicate folds, smelling the sweet scent of the soap. Honestly I have decided that any soap I make I would like to wrap, even if it is for our family! I need to get more stickers though....


This is my "Kaleido-soap". I made the rest of the soap (4 scents) and chopped them down to size (at least 4 oz. Since my scale might not be precise, I add a bit extra, but the bars are advertized as 4 oz).
Anyway, that meant that I had lots of different colored scraps. I put them in some more soap to get a multi-color effect.
Another selling gaffe: I ended up with a lot more soap in this batch, so I cut the bars into different shap (thicker and narrower), but they are the same weight. However, I think people saw the difference in size and thought it was smaller than the other bars. Oh well, live and learn :-)



More soap


We had wonderful company over for shooting archery and eating on Sunday (we put a tiny little ten yard range in the garage). I wanted to put some decor in the bathroom, so I got this bowl, a bottle of crushed bath fizzie from a local lady (it smells like blueberries and just makes me happy each time I smell it!), as well as a locally hand made glass ball, and some of my soap. I thought it made a really pretty little bowl. I set this on the sink with some other pretties.
That was our day at the bazaar! I had a blast making the aprons, I had a blast making (and wrapping!) the soap, and I had a blast hanging out with Precious! I am thankful for the opportunity that the Lord offered us!
God bless you!
PS Again with the formatting! Those soap pictures have a whole nother third that is not showing in the blog. I also put "small" pictures as a choice, and it made big huge ones. I have NO idea what the deal is...I have not done anything differently than when I have posted pictures in the past. xsighx. Well at least you get the idea!

APRONS!

My beautiful sisters!
I FINALLY got pictures taken of the aprons I made for the bazaar! (Actually these pictures are the ones I brought home--I sold out of other patterns I had brought).

I got out TWS's light box thing. I must say that it was a bear to set up! I would have liked a LOT more light, but this will do for now :-). I would love a plexi set up where the walls of the box are actually brightly lit. Sounds like a job for Super Sweetie!

I am not trying to brag, but I REALLY love these aprons. I have two that I have kept (plus one for Precious) and they just always look nice. I can throw them in the washer and dryer with anything (no special washing) and they come out looking beautiful! I feel very pretty in them when I am cooking or scrubbing out the bathroom or whatever :-).

This is the size of the adult aprons. That is me, but I had not done my hair, so I did not let Precious take a picture of my head hee hee!



Here is Precious modeling the little girl's aprons. She is tiny, but the aprons are tinier!



Here are some adult aprons

More adult aprons



Here are the little girl aprons.



They sold very well at the bazaar. I definitely cannot complain! The hardest thing was convincing customers that these were to WEAR EVERY DAY to keep their clothing clean :-).
I am grateful to the Lord for how much ended up selling! It makes you feel good to know that people like what you have made.
I also brought soap, as my one loyal customer convinced me to. That also sold well! I will post pictures of the soap in the next entry. I sold more with the aprons and the soap than I used to with soap and other things (milk bath, bath fizzies, etc), and it was a LOT less work.
Did I tell you that Precious made earrings to sell at the bazaar? She used sculpey clay and baked it and made adorable earrings which she sold for a dollar a pair. I think she must have taken over 70 pairs to the bazaar! (She hand lettered a sign in crayon and put each pair in a little baggie and everything. She was ready for the bazaar DAYS before I was!) I praise the Lord for His kindness to her! At first she was not selling anything--just one pair--and she was SO upset. We had a talk, and I prayed that the Lord would allow her to sell more, and suddenly she was swamped! She ended up making about $40!!
Anyway, thank you for your prayers and well wishes for the bazaar! It was a blast and I kinda wish I had made more aprons and signed up for another bazaar. The season here is short. This bazaar was a great one--low table fee and pretty well visited. There are other bigger ones that I would have liked to have tried as well just for grins. Maybe next year!
God bless you my sisters in the Lord!
PS, the formatting on this post is atrocious, but I cannot figure out how to fix it! The top photo is supposed to include my other arm AND there are supposed to be spaces between the paragraphs! Sorry about that!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One More Barack Obama post

This time regarding homeschooling. I am a homeschooling mother, thank the Lord. I chose to homeschool for various reasons. I am in the midst of homeschooling my children, and do not want to lose that God given right to educate, to raise my children. I fear that Barack Obama would push that very thing.

I have looked up Barack Obama's record on homeschooling but have been able to find very little. A few people will point out to a quote or two in his book that seem to indicate that he is pro-homeschooling, or at least neutral.

I would offer two thoughts:

1) If we are going to go with quotes in his books that he is pro-homeschooling, then we have to go with quotes in his books that would seem to indicate that he is anti-white, pro terrorist, anti-American, pro "globe", etc. I do not want to go down that road, tbh. Words are free and plentiful. You have to look for the proof in the pudding.

2) However, in absence of actual voting records, you must look at the company one keeps, whom he supports and who supports him. The NEA (national education association) is very much for Obama, and is raising money and support for him, which he accepts. What does the NEA think of homeschooling? "
At its 2007 annual meeting, it approved a resolution calling for tighter regulation of homeschooling: “When home schooling occurs…[i]nstruction should be by persons
who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.” (National Education Association, “Home Schooling,” Resolution B-75, in “2006–2007 NEA Resolutions,” p. 36, at
www.nea.org/annualmeeting/raaction/images/resolutions2006-2007.pdf (February 1, 2008).)

What does the NEA think of homeschooling parents? According to an article on their website, that we are "well meaning amateurs" and "wannabes" http://www.nea.org/espcolumns/dv040220.html. As well as posting: "Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible.". Who is more motivated than a parent? If parents are supposed to be teaching children social and behavioral skills, and teachers only teach the three R's, then why is the NEA spending so much time on social issues and directing a child's moral compass than figuring out why the USA lags so far behind other countries in math testing?

Ignore that the AVERAGE for homeschoolers on standardized tests is higher than the average for public school students on everything except math computation (higher in math concepts, but lower in computation). Ignore the lack of safety in schools. Ignore the fact that teaching behavior and discipline is much more difficult than teaching math or geography. Ignore the fact that this author said that homeschooling is ok if your child is bedridden or lives in a remote area (is he saying, then, that those children are NOT getting a good education? Or that those parents are "miraculously" able to educate their children, but parents get dumber the closer they live to a public school?). Ignore the fact that homeschoolers are actually exceedingly well adjusted (not the "social misfits" that he claims). Ignore the fact that, except on the rarest of occasions, homeschoolers do not have to worry about being bullied, offered drugs, beat up, shunned for wearing the wrong brand, shot, or stabbed over a cigarette (yes, this happened in my school when I was a senior....the rest of the students had to make a circle around the wounded child to protect him from his attacker--another student. WHERE were the adults? Hmmmm....).

Actually scratch that. Don't ignore any of it. Homeschoolers do have higher average scores. Colleges are starting to seek us out because they recognize that most homeschoolers are self starters. Do not ignore the fact that parents know their child best. Do not ignore the fact that even the most phenomenal, brilliant, engaging teacher does not have the time to educate 28 individual students (who may range from highly gifted to remedial and who each have specific strengths and weaknesses regardless AND who might have variations in sensory abilities and deficits as well as physical and emotional needs and issues) in 50 minutes. Do not ignore the fact that PARENTS outrank TEACHERS when it comes to a parent's child. They are your children, not the teacher's children nor the government's children. Do not ignore the fact that if your child is in school, and there is an event of some sort, the school WILL keep you from your child until they deem it is safe.

Do not ignore testing results
"In 1998, Dr. Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland administered academic achievement tests to 20,760 homeschooled students. He reported that “the achievement tests of this group of home school students are exceptionally high—the median scores were typically in the 70th to 80th percentile.” He also found that 25 percent of the homeschooled students tested are enrolled one or more grade levels above their age-level peers in traditional public or private schools." (Lawrence M. Rudner, “Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998,”
University of Maryland, March 23, 1999.)

Do not ignore college preparedness:
The academic performance analyses indicate that home school graduates are as ready for college as traditional high school graduates and that they perform as well on national college assessment tests as traditional high school graduates." (Paul Jones and Gene Gloeckner, “First-Year College Performance: A Study of Home School Graduates and Traditional
School Graduates,” The Journal of College Admissions, Vol. 183 (Spring 2004), pp. 17–20.)

Do not ignore results in life experience after homeschooling:
"In 2003, Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research
Institute surveyed 7,300 adults (ages 18 through 24) who were homeschooled. Among the respondents, 74 percent had taken college-level courses, compared to 46 percent of the general population. They also reported being involved in their communities and engaged in civic affairs at higher rates than the average population. They were also more likely to report being “happy” than was the general population
." (http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/3d/d6/66.pdf)

Do not ignore taxpayer savings (which benefits both taxpayers, and students in public schools)!
"Given the Department of Education’s conservative estimate of 898,000 students20 who were educated entirely at home in 2003, the National Home Education Research Institute’s estimate of 2 million homeschool students, and the national average per pupil expenditure on instruction, homeschooling likely saves American taxpayers and public schools at least $4.4 billion to $9.9 billion in instruction costs each year."(http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/3d/d6/66.pdf

Do not ignore that the NEA wholeheartedly backs and are campaigning for Barack Obama for a reason--they think he is their friend and will support their agenda which includes diversity training for children as young as 5, unlimited exposure to any reading material to students, limiting homeschooling (if not outright banning it). Don't ignore that, if you are a homeschooler, voting for Obama is murky at best in terms of keeping your homeschooling rights.

Just something to consider.

Barack Obama

My beautiful sisters....

I do not want this blog to become too political (not that I do not love talking politics, but I wanted this blog to be more home and spirit).

However, I feel that I must say something about the election, specifically about Barack Obama.

I knew that he was pro choice, but I did not realize how abhorrent his position was.

We have all heard about him saying that he did not want his daughters "punished with a baby" if they became pregnant young (since when is a baby a punishment??). However, I would like to offer something that truly I did not think even he was capable of saying or thinking.

When he was in the Illinois state legislature, there were three pieces of legislation that were brought up to be passed to protect babies who had ALREADY BEEN BORN. Understand that this is not about preventing abortion, this is to protect babies who survived the abortion process and are now living and breathing in the doctor's hands. Up til this legislation, they were left in the soiled linen room, by themselves, to slowly die.

The three bills: SB1093 said if a doctor performing an abortion believed there was a likelihood the baby would survive, another physician must be present "to assess the child's viability and provide medical care." SB1094 gave the parents, or a state-appointed guardian, the right to sue to protect the child's rights. SB1095 simply said a baby alive after "complete expulsion or extraction from its mother" would be considered a " 'person,' 'human being,' 'child' and 'individual.' "

Understand that. The three bills were only for babies who were BORN, that they would be able to get medical care, that the parent could protect the child's rights, and that once a baby is born ALIVE, in whatever manner, it would be considered a person.

Those seem very reasonable. If a baby is born alive, you have to take care of it, and it gets to be declared a human (though at some point I would like to offer why a human is a human scientifically way before birth, but that is another point for another time).

Barack Obama was the ONLY person to vote against these bills. Understand that he was not surrounded by a bunch of conservatives, but also liberals. They all voted for these bills.

Barack Obama instead called theses babies "temporarily alive outside the womb". May I offer that the important point here is OUTSIDE THE WOMB, not "temporarily" (which would be longer if these babies a)were allowed to go to term and b) were given medical care).

Then he also called them a pre-viable fetus. Fetus means IN the womb. They are not pre-viable, they are viable at that moment. They are breathing room air and their heart is beating. They are LIVING right then.

He then said "whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements of the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a - a child, a 9-month-old - child that was delivered to term."

Now, understand this! Even if you are not planning an abortion, this bit of mental sleight of hand is IMPORTANT for you if you are going to have a baby! This is saying that if your child is born premature, not through abortion, but through ANY means (induced labor, premature labor, etc) that, if his way of thinking sticks, your child will not be recognized as a human or entitled to any protection!

Oh he meant it just in regards to abortion, I am sure. But since when is a person only a person if someone is not trying to kill them? What does that have to do with anything? You cannot have a premature person born at 22, 26, 30 weeks, but just have a bunch of cells with no rights at 22, 26, 30 weeks. The preemie baby who was born because the doctor was trying to kill him is just as much of a person as the preemie baby who was born due to induced or accidental labor.

Think of what that means when you want health care for the premature child that you gave birth to. According to his thinking, your child is not the same as a child born at term.

He said that this legislation would "I mean, it - it would essentially bar abortions," said Mr. Obama, "because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute." . He would not vote to have a child have protection once it is BORN because he is afraid it would bar abortions. He wants the right to have abortions unencumbered, even if that means that a baby who is breathing, who is moving, is put in a linen room to die, cold and alone and gasping for air. Anyone who has had an asthma attack or has nearly drown knows how excrutiating that is. I cannot imagine the cruelty, and frankly the lack of anthing resembling logic, of a person who would vote against caring for a born baby just so they can protect abortion.

Does this mean I am for McCain? No. I am not sure who I am voting for. It means I am against someone who would torment a baby. It means I am against someone who allows pseudo-intellectual arguments to keep them from seeing that a baby should be protected.

I do not know who I am voting for, but I know who I am NOT voting for.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bits and Pieces....

My wonderful, beautiful sisters!!!

Just a few bits and pieces....

1) The Bazaar: ACK! Only three more days to work on the aprons!!! :-) I almost have enough aprons done to take pictures of, if anyone is still interested in seeing them.
--After I had been scouring Jo Ann's for I have no idea HOW long, The Wonder Sweetie found some stickers that will be perfect for sealing the soap for the bazaar.
--Precious heart has her earrings she is going to sell all bagged, and her hand lettered, crayoned sign all ready (she is such a cutie pie!). She is REALLY excited!

2) Nuts for donuts!! I made donuts the other morning with biscuit dough. I am sure everyone does this, and I have done it before, but I had forgotten how easy and cheap it was! Everyone loved them and they will save us a ton of money (we like donuts on Saturday morning ). I made chocolate icing, glaze, and maple. The chocolate did not turn out right--I think we need some chocolate flavoring in there to REALLY make it a good, deep chocolate flavor. Or maybe just a bit of coffee to sharpen the flavor some....Any suggestion? The maple and the glazed were a HUGE hit though.

3) Prayers Please! Need prayers for a cousin's husband of mine and their family. He was hunting in a tree stand, fell out, and broke both ankles and both wrists, as well as various other bones!! He had taken a class on how to fall, but that does not help when you are that far up. He was alone and had to crawl on his elbows and knees to get to his truck!!! God have mercy! He was medevac'd out and is recovering, but I know that the road is going to be tough for this active man. Please pray blessings, peace, quick healing, and calmness on him, my cousin, and their children.
**NOTE! Tell your men to WEAR A HARNESS when hunting in tree stands! There are THREE (count em, three) men between my family and The Wonder Sweetie's who have fallen out and have had serious injury over the years. No excuse not to wear a harness.

4) A Toasty Fire I think today is PERFECT for stoking up the woodstove! It is zero degrees this morning!!! We had a Chinook (a warm wind) blow through on Saturday, melting our previous snow. Then it started snowing that night, so we have at least 4 inches of fresh new snow!

5) Calories Wanted! What are the most calorie packed foods you can think of? Little Man just came off of a growth spurt, so his eating is way back down. But he keeps growing UP, not OUT and he is rail-thin. Maybe it is winter coming, or maybe the southern mother in me that wants to see him a little more healthy, but I am determined to get a pound or two on him.

6) Your Name Is Safe In Our House-- I have that posted on my desk, and I reread it this morning. It is such a wonderful thought--that even when you are not at someone's house, that you are still "safe" from gossip or slander. I have it posted because it convicts me to make sure that I am not gossipping (even in the name of "information" or "venting" or whatever).

7) Election Selection: Ladies, make your choices of who you are going to vote for in ANY election CAREFULLY. Do not be swayed by words, nor by party lines. The Bible says that by their fruits you shall know them--look to the fruits of those whom you are considering and see if they are godly or not. Of course, no one is perfect, but there are some issues that are just "deal breakers" in terms of what the Word says.
We all have special issues that we want addressed, but we cannot allow ourselves to be persuaded by words that we want to hear--we have to make sure that we are not like the weak willed women in the Bible who are gullible (2Tim 3:6), nor like those who have itching ears (2 Tim 4:3). We women CAN be especially swayed by emotions, so we have to be EXTRA careful to use sound doctrine in everything. Do research on any and all candidates from president of the PTA to president of the USA.
As for me, I have not decided who to vote for. I know a few whom I cannot vote for due to research I have done, but do not know who I might vote for.


Have a wonderful day ladies! God bless you all!!

Joy Comes In The Morning! Amen!

Good morning my beautiful sisters!~

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written--so much has been going on!

The Lord has guided me through the month of September and the early part of October. It has been a very hard few weeks. BUT He is incredibly good and kind and has taught me so much!

One evening, after having an argument with my husband, plus the stacks upon stacks of stresses and woes, I was at the end of my rope. I thought things would NEVER get better, would NEVER be better. I had no idea how I was going to live the rest of my life without joy, without hope, with just fear and dread for tomorrow.

I was mired in a depression of the SOUL. Now, let me say that I am pretty much NEVER depressed. I get down, I get pouty, I get irritable. I get listless or restless, but USUALLY a night of sleep is all I need because my mind or my emotions might be depressed, but my spirit is still bright. That evening, I had no hope at all. This sum of my recent days had left my spirit wounded. I do not think I had ever felt that before--seriously wounded in my spirit.

I got my Bible and went to the living room. I was overcome with shame, anger, loss, fear, indignation, and sorrow. I knew this to be a crisis point--a point where my choice in that moment would be an important, life changing one. My choice was this: trust the Lord and REALLY SERIOUSLY give everything to Him OR choose to lick my wounds, feel the shame, stay angry, nurse the fear, refuse to forgive and be forgiven.

It seems on paper a really easy choice. It is not that easy in the middle of the night, cold and tear stained, with your tummy hurting from crying and after fighting with your husband and having pain upon fear levied on you nearly every day.

Ladies, it was a miracle of the Lord. I just, by His Grace, made the right decision. I do not know how, because I did not FEEL any hope at all. But my father told me once: faith in good times is not faith. I do not remember if I thought of that that night, but it really fits.

I praised the Lord. I read Psalm 117 which the Lord had shown me a few evenings back when my friend K was im'ing with me and I was down. (He knew what was coming!)

1 Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! 2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!

The Lord showed me that I had to give up my past to Him, that I needed to let go. He showed me that I have to have faith in Him, to trust that He WILL bless me. See, I KNEW the Lord's will would be done. I was just afraid that His will was for me to suffer horribly. But that is not the Lord. He is not wanton. We will suffer, yes. We will have pain, yes. But we are not abandoned nor destroyed. He IS FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL. He has LOVINGKINDNESS for us.

There is a purpose to every pain. It is like childbirth: there is pain so profound sometimes that you have no idea if it will ever end, but then there is the child, the blessing from that pain. When you are in the pain, it seems like there is no blessing that can overcome it, nothing worth the pain you are feeling right now. But there is. He will provide it.

It has been a many days since that happened, and the change has been amazing. That morning I woke up and really apologised to my husband. I had apologised the night before, but I really did not mean it. I said it because I was supposed to say it and then thought "HEY! Wait a minute! *I* am not the one who did wrong here!" (really I was the one who did wrong, but I did not feel it at the time). But the next morning, I had that sweet type of remorse where you know that you are really sorry, but that you will apologise from your heart and earnestly do better.

Two days later felt like Christmas! I just woke up one morning and felt that wonderful excitement for the day, just like Christmas. It was a morning full of joy. What is even odder is that my daughter (who had no idea all this was going on) said "You know what? For some reason it feels like Christmas.". I love getting confirmation like that!

Ps 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

In the days that have followed, there have been trials, things that would normally be very wearying, but they are momentary and light, and the blessings have abounded. BUT nothing has changed in our circumstances. There has been no great news, nothing changing in the things that had made me so despondent and fearful. But there has been an INWARD change. There is peace in the storm, not a cessation of the storm. I know the storm will end. I know the Lord has a plan and I know it will be wonderful. I had never known TRUE hope until this month. Faith, yes; obedience, occasionally {smile}; but not true hope until now.

Romans 5
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

And also about hope and the love of God, even when things try to overcome us

Romans 8:18-39
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.


28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
"FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.