Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Lessons from the Pilgrims, Part 3: "But They Knew They Were Pilgrims"

Excerpt from manuscript

My current audiobook listening is Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement, 1608-1650. (Click here for the free audiobook.) This edition has the English updated to c.1920, but the original with its wide variety of spellings is available as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg at this link

William Bradford, one of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower 400 years ago, wrote this history...

"...that their children may see with what difficulties their fathers wrastled in going throug these things in their first begin̅ings, and how God brought them along notwithstanding all their weaknesses & infirmities."

Manuscript cover

"So they lefte y
t goodly & pleasante citie, which had been ther resting place near 12. years; but they knew they were pilgrimes, & looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to ye heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits."

· William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation

[Pronounce  y= that, ye = the]

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Bay Window

Our west-facing bay window frames so many works of art every day. 

Here are just a couple sights from one day this autumn.

An occasional visit from a pileated woodpecker makes the suet fly.

What an amazing, strange-looking creature!

Prairie sunsets are better than ever when the trees have lost their leaves.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

God and Winston Churchill


Here is another quote I pulled from this book a year ago:

"Churchill understood himself as an instrument of God's intervention, which is why he sensed a mission to save "Christian civilization" from the threat of Nazism. Here, then, is our hope for the cataclysmic time in which we live: The same God who brought forth Winston Churchill (and other deliverers) still rules over history, and he has a deliverer - or deliverers - for our season as well. 

It might even be the ultimate Deliverer."
God and Churchill by Jonathan Sandys (great-grandson of Winston Churchill)

In listening through the book of Daniel in the Old Testament this week, I have been struck by how God works in corrupt and evil times to bless his children and make them shine as lights in the darkness - even when they have to stand alone and make decisions with more-than-daunting consequences. But then, they weren't standing alone... for He was with them!

I'm so glad to be a member of the kingdom of "the ultimate Deliverer!"

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Three Months -- Three Seasons

Mid-August rains watered flowers...

...while tree-frogs were drawn to the light in our windows.

Mid-September sunshine dried the crops for harvest.

Mid-October snows put the harvest on hold for a couple weeks.

The last roses saved from the snow still glowed indoors...

...while cats were drawn to our windows looking for warmth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Merry, Multiplicity of Stars

"The end of the joyous day had come. The two children were both lying in their beds.

'Oh, Heidi!' Clara exclaimed, "I can see so many glittering stars, and I feel as if we were driving in a high carriage straight into the sky.'

'Yes, and do you know why the stars twinkle so merrily?' inquired Heidi.

'No, but tell me.'

'Because they know that God in heaven looks after us mortals and we never need to fear. See, they twinkle and show us how to be merry, too. But Clara, we must not forget to pray to God and ask Him to think of us and keep us safe.'"

Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Chapter 20

One thing I love about winter is the stars. (I know it's not technically winter yet, but we have had lots of snow already and daytime temps are below freezing.)

The stars seem clearer and brighter in the cold - partly, no doubt, because the trees are bare, so we see more from our bedroom windows. While their merry twinkling may be the main delight for a child, their immensity, distance, and multiplicity put me in greater awe of their (and my) Creator.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Cultivating a Hobby

I've just started sharing quotes from a book I enjoyed reading a year ago: God and Churchill written by Churchill's great-grandson, Jonathan Sandys. Here's another excerpt that caught my eye - even though I then had no idea I would be picking up painting just months later.

Did you know that Winston Churchill "lived to the ripe old age of ninety"?

"One of his secrets was understanding the importance of rest. ...Mary Soames describes her father resting during a 1942 visit to President Franklin Roosevelt's home at Hyde Park, New York.

"'Papa presented a charming sight... flat on his back in a patch of sun. ... I lay near him and we gazed up at the very blue sky & the green leaves dancing against it - flecked with sun.'


"Such relaxation eased Churchill's much-burdened mind, and he began to muse about the colors he would use if he were painting the scene: '[He] commented on the wisdom of God in having made the sky blue and the trees green. "It wouldn't have been nearly so good the other way round."'


"Churchill believed that cultivating 'a hobby and new forms of interest is ... a policy of first importance to a public man.' He discovered such a hobby at the age of forty in his love for painting. 'Painting came to my rescue in a most trying time.' he said."

Trying wax-resist for hydrangeas

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

"Who will show us some good?"

I love it when God directs me to the right verses at the right time!

Last week it was Psalm 4.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.

Offer right sacrifices, 
and put your trust in the LORD.

There are many who say, "Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!"

You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4 (ESV)