Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Joy

"What brings you the most joy these days?"

It's a beautiful question, I think.

Perhaps you've heard or read about people who keep Gratitude lists - lists of all the things, people, and moments for which they are thankful.  Thankfulness and gratefulness are good things, but more often than not, they need words.  It's hard to be thankful for something without consciously naming it.  On the other hand, for me at least, joy needs no words.  

Joy is that heart-full feeling when rays of sunshine streak through the clouds; it's that gladness when I witness a sweet self-sacrifice from one of my children for another's benefit.  Joy is that wordless praise that fills my heart when no words are possible.  Joy is the ability to sing at the top of my lungs the words of the song "Glory to God" along with Handel's Young Messiah...while tears are streaming down my face and I'm choking on sobs.

"What brings you the most joy these days?"

It was a question asked in a not-very-joyful situation, from a father in rapidly failing health to his daughter shortly before he died.  Although her blog post about his rapid decline and death is four years old, I read the story again a few days ago with new eyes and a new understanding, and that question has been with me ever since.

"What brings you the most joy these days?"

Two Saturdays before Christmas, my dad was admitted to the hospital.  He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a cancer of the bones' plasma cells) in August 2010, and the most recent round of aggressive chemotherapy has been harder on his body than any of us expected.  He's still in the hospital, and the end of his stay is not yet in sight.

We are thankful that he's being cared for by the professionals.
We are grateful that it's not worse than it is.
But there's nothing that can top the joy of knowing that God is in control.

No matter what.


...Once we give ourselves up to God, shall we attempt to get hold
of what can never belong to us -- tomorrow? Our lives are His,
our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen,
never mind what may happen...

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business.

-- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep A Quiet Heart

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


(I crack myself up...Nut2012shell = 2012 in a nutshell...Get it?!?  Alright.  Moving on.)

There are at least 476 reasons why I have fallen off the blogging wagon, posting pictures infrequently and writing thoughtful, even more infrequently.  I won't bother listing all my reasons for you because they'll bore you and exhaust me; I'll just give you a quick peek into the last year and pretend I've stayed caught up all along.

In February, we visited both sets of grandparents.

March saw a major increase in our "pet count" when we got chickens!  We started with 15, and we're down to 13...and holding steady.

In April we started work on the chicken coop and run.  That was back-breaking work, and I'm tired all over again just thinking about it.  Sometime in April (or was it earlier?), all three girls started riding horses once a week through a program at our local Christian Camp.

Projects outside around the property kept us busy for most of May, along with a memorable trip to the dentist. 

With the girls' Horse Encounters taking a break over the summer, June and July were packed full of flag football practices and games for Isaak.  (HE can't wait until football season comes around again this year.  ME, not so much.)  And all four kids are looking forward to a repeat next July of a week of Day Camp, also at our local Christian Camp. 

Also in July, we started the monstrous project that was (and is) refinishing, resealing, and cleaning up the outside of the log house.  THAT only kept us busy for part of July, all of August and September, and most of October.

We started our new school year in first year of (formally) teaching all four kids, and in October all three girls started piano lessons weekly and Horse Encounters again every other week.

November was full of visits to and from family and friends, and December flew by.  I'm not even really sure where it went!

And now I'll do my best to crawl back onto the blogging wagon...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reading Record: November

It wasn't a very productive month, but 
Northanger Abbey was entertaining,
The 13 Clocks was cleverly funny,
and Made in America was intriguing, although from a liberal, evolutionary point of view (but was not a keeper).
I enjoyed reading Joni again,
Ten Tortured Words was an interesting read,
Friend Within the Gates proved Edith Cavell both human and worthy of admiration,
and The Father Brown Omnibus...well, I love Chesterton's writing, I love his Father Brown, and I learn something new every time I read these stories.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An Empty Living Room

After three straight weekends filled with guests, our living room is looking (and feeling) a little empty today.

Our first weekend guest of the month didn't do much to fill our living room,
but he helped fill the house with music!
(He's a drummer...)

Our second set of guests in November didn't take up much room either, 
but we loved having Mike's parents here with us over Thanksgiving weekend.

Our third wave of company finally made our living room feel full almost to overflowing.
My parents came up from Oregon, and my brother's family drove over from Montana.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good enough hiding place for them, so my brother and his wife took my adorable nephews home with them.

I'm sure I'll forgive them someday.