Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Being Re-Made

We just had the unique experience of hosting, at first, a couple little green worms. I figure they came in on some produce. When we first noticed them, one was on a root beer bottle, and was such a benign little thing that we weren't motivated to put it outside. The next morning the girls discovered, to their excitement, that there was a chrysalis in it's place.

Before I got around to searching the internet to learn a bit about this little fellow, which we checked on frequently, we discovered the empty little shell. I would say it was approximately a week and a half.
In his new form, he sat for some time, maybe half the day.

I could not tell you in words the feelings that went through me that evening when all at once I saw him flying up by the chandelier in our dining room, the highest heights he could find.

One of my daughters said to me, "Isn't it neat that God made caterpillars to not always have to be fat and crawling?"

We are being re-made.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Summer Ramblings

Well, I guess I am only posting here seasonally, so here goes for a bit of a summer post. It has been a hot dry summer, with less rain than we've seen in a long time! Today was a lovely reprieve, with just under an inch of rain with hopefully more to come tonight. Experiencing a drought brings new meaning to "the water of  life".
JULY - month of death and life for me.
July 6,1999 saw us burying our firstborn beloved daughter. It was an extremely hot humid day, and as we were letting her go, it began to rain. We had the sense that a seed was being planted and God would bring fruit forth from the seed... we know not how.
Twelve years and four daughters later, it became a day of joy at the birth of our son.
One more year rolls by to bring us to now, and it is quite something to feel, to live that day.


I can't tell you how God does what He does. It is, for the most part, a wordless thing to me.
All I can do is invite you to give all to Him, broken dreams, shattered hearts, you name it... and just wait and see what He does with it. One day we will know, even as we are known.
In the meantime, I have decided that it's really not my responsibility to try to get anyone to understand something I know or feel. It would be second hand, anyway! The best route to knowing Him is via your own relationship with Him.
Look for Him to meet you right where you are at, but don't expect to stay there.
You will find yourself on the ride of your life! Just be sure to leave Him in the driver's seat and try not to be a back-seat driver -just relax and enjoy the ride. You are in the best hands, that have born all for you.

Wishing each one the water of life in these summer days...
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Cleaning

   It's been a long while since I shared anything here. It has been a season full of learning, and I hope growing. We enjoyed a very mild winter and our days are now filled with the business of spring... bottle-feeding baby calves, watching baby goats cavort and play, picking (or receiving) bouquets of anything blooming (be they weeds or flowers), cleaning up the yard, making room for new growth.
   Is there room for new growth in your life? Is it springtime in your heart?
   I have been very refreshed lately in discovering more areas in my mind and heart that need renewing, and in the recognition, the renewing begins!

I am so glad that "we are not our own, we are bought with a price"!
We can soar free above the sins and weights which so easily beset us, and be changed, even into the very image of Christ!
The last few days I have been wondering...
What do we really want out of life? Can you identify your #1 desire?
What do you want, that you don't experience? What are you most dissatisfied about?

When we go to a medical doctor with an illness, we don't open up our life to him and tell him all of the things that are normal. No, we have to share what is wrong.
Do we do that with our Great Physician? Open our life up to Him to diagnose?
There is none safer to open up to, not one with more compassion and understanding for the ills that beset us.
Are we like a child who fears the tweezers that would gently remove the thorn?

I think we barely begin to understand what manner of God it is that we claim to believe in.
Someone recently asked me, "What do you think this world would be like if we "literally" believed in God?"
Think about it...

What daily difference is there in your life, "because He lives"?
Our belief in Him must be good for something.
What is it useful for, to you?
I guess I have been thinking a lot about things that we know in our heads, things that have been programmed in, and how that can actually have very little to do with "living, and moving, and having our being in Him".
Do we know what "abundant life" feels like?

It's what He came that we might have.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year = New Mercies

Happy New Year to all of our friends and family!
2011 was full of the faithfulness of God to us! I am grateful for so much!
It was a full year, each season's busy-ness somehow eclipsing the one preceeding it.

The best gift in 2011 was this little man... He continues to grow, healthy and developing at a rapid rate. He is sitting up now, and finally rolled from back to front the other day. He is full of smiles still, and will laugh when coaxed. His sleeps habits are great! I am so glad he seems to do quite well with people/crowds. The month of December was especially full!

Chloe and Hadassah put on a clown show for us one evening last week. They seemed to have the right idea as to how to go about it... exaggerated movements and all! These two share a room and are never far from one another.

Damaris contiues to love taking piano lessons. She is just finishing up Alfred's Basic Piano Library Level 4. She is frequently to be seen in her corner at the keyboard. Her teacher is going to winter in Florida for the next two months, so we may look for someone to fill in. She does have plenty to practice and needs no prodding to do so.

Abi loves Bubby (as he is frequently called). Every morning she comes and wants to snuggle with him.
Today is the first day that it really feels like winter... cold, and snowflakes in the air almost all day, and it is sticking!
Stay warm everyone! Most of all, may our hearts be warmed by the spirit of Christ Jesus dwelling there!
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So this post is a long time overdue... but that is how it is.
Isaac John was born into our family on July 6, 2011, the morning after his due date... also the 12th anniversary of Carolie's being laid to rest. What a day!
He weighed 7 lbs. and 3 oz., the littlest one, second to Carolie, who weighed 7lbs. 1 oz.
He stole all our hearts from the first moment... and we seem to have completely lost them ever since. Abi said the day he was born, that it was the best day of her life!!!
Isaac has made the adjustment of having a baby in the house very smooth. He almost never has a tummy ache. Daddy LOVES the fact that he can calm him and get him to sleep like it was never possible to do with the girls. He is a frequent smiler, but so far reserves most of his laughs for me, which I of course take particular pleasure in!
By 12 weeks he doubled his weight. The scale I weigh him on only goes to 15 pounds, so I quit weighing him weekly a couple weeks ago.
He is his father's son, in that he startles easily, seems to relish "creature comforts", and doesn't mind being continually smothered with kisses! :)

None of these pictures show it well, but he has blue eyes, that seem to be, not only NOT turning brown, but getting bluer! His hair is also more blonde than any of the girls were. He has a whole crop of ducky fuzz, especially fuzzy right after the shower!

These last two pictures were taken at Mohican State Park.

Now, as for the reason for the title...

AND... &

Last evening I was eating some chocolate ( nothing noteworthy in that, it's a pretty regular occurence:). It happened to be made by "Green & Black's". I found myself reading the inside of the wrapper. The words that jumped out at me were:

Live in the &

Like me, you may find yourself asking... what?

"&. It's where green meeets black. Where indulging in life exists harmoniously with respecting it. No compromises."

I think if I was to sum up what all this summers experiences have been working towards teaching me, it might be to


I am finding out that God wants me to indulge in Him and His provision for all my need... who He is and all that that implies in my life.
I am not to take lightly who He is, have a healthy respect for how unlimited He is.
Life, the LIFE of Christ in me, needs to be all that motivates me.

"There is no thief like fear."

Our God is able.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

An Epiphany of Sorts

I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything here... When times are busiest or the most "full" of content that one needs to absorb, then I take the least amount of time to write about it.
Tonight is one of those evenings when Abe is working late fixing his baler so it is ready to roll up hay again tomorrow. He is (we all are) rejoicing in the lovely sunshine we have been having this week and can happily say the corn and soybean seeds are all tucked in the dirt where they belong, and field by field, thanks to much help from friends and family who are available to work, the hay is being made!
Anyway, I was just doing some clean-up in the kitchen during and after a short phone conversation, and I had an epiphany of sorts...
Let me see if I can capture it into words.
I was thinking about how blessed I am that Abe trusts me with money. It occurred to me that every cent we own is at my disposal. How wild is that!!! Yet it is ordinary to me, something I take for granted. I have absolutely no desire to abuse that trust.
Anyway... the epiphany is that if we are the bride of Christ.............................
Into my mind popped the Proverbs 31 verse where it says "The heart of her husband safely trusts in her."
Oh my! I so long for Jesus Christ, my beloved bridegroom, to be able to safely trust in me. That I would be so HIS that He could entrust anything to me.
I have to think... for Abe and I, that trust is there because of relationship. It develops over time and through circumstances that we walk through together, and yet in one sense it's been there all along. I think it has something to do with me knowing his heart and him knowing mine.

Is it any different with God?

I know it seems to me over the past few years that in the majority of the life experiences I have been through, there is a pattern that keeps emerging.
God keeps on saying to me, in essence, "Who do you say that I am?"

All of what I do and what transpires in my life is my answer to that question, whether I realize it or not.

I know He knows my heart, but I am learning more all the time how very little I grasp His heart towards me, towards us all. How great is His mercy and loving-kindness!
Well, as you can see this is a rambling attempt to collect my thoughts... or rather to let my thoughts go rambling where they should in order to challenge me to further trust God with my life!
Have a blessed evening! - Janelle

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shortcuts to the Sweet Stuff

For the first time, I am trying my hand at cooking maple syrup. Abe tapped some trees here in our yard and we have been collecting the sap as it comes. I am told it takes an average of forty gallons of sap to cook down into a single gallon of maple syrup. And oh, how sweet it is!
I preheat the sap on the stove and then pour it into an 18 quart roaster in the garage. It gets all moist and steamy out there. Hours, then days, go by, and eventually there is a pint...then two...then three... sitting on my counter.
In the meantime, I find myself thinking of ways to use the sap without cooking it all the way down to syrup. I've learned it makes really good chai, tea, probably any sweet drink, to just cook it until it has the sweetness I like. There is also a lovely delicate flavor to it, very mellow. In a fraction of the time it takes to make even one fourth of a cup of maple syrup, I have a gallon of very good cinnamon tea, all sealed in jars to enjoy ice cold on some hot summer day. It might be my imagination, but it tastes more exotic, just knowing it is purely maple sap, cinnamon, cloves, and mint, no sugar added.
But sweet tea is a far cry from maple syrup.


The thoughts on my mind and on my heart today have been a struggle to hold out for the sweet stuff. The tea is pretty good, after all, and there's nothing wrong with tea. It's just not maple syrup and never can be.
And I want the maple syrup.

Sometimes it seems like God takes such a long slow route to get us to the sweet stuff. I do know the sweetness of waiting on Him, not trying to force His hand, and seeing Him work out more incredible sweetness than I can comprehend. But I am still so prone to impatience.
Suddenly this afternoon, I heard His voice through the process of making maple syrup. I choose, in the issues that are in my life right now, to wait and be still, to trust God to distill away whatever He needs to in me, and to trust Him to work in the lives of those nearest and dearest to me, to the same desired end - the sweet stuff.

Another thing shouted loudly to me today.
Damaris has been steadily progressing in learning to play the piano. I am amazed at what sounds she can make come rippling out from under her fingers already!
For the last few weeks she has been playing over and over something her cousin taught her, very pretty with a nice rhythm to it. I assumed it was some sort of finger exercise, it had no real "tune" to it.
This week her piano teacher (Judy) is back after being gone for over a month, and we were there for a lesson. While she was taking a phone call, Damaris was playing through some of the things she enjoys, the "finger exercise" being one of them. To my surprise, Judy says, "Why, that's "Heart and Soul" she's playing!" and promptly joins her in the duet I didn't know it actually is. The part she played was the "tune", and if I thought the "accompaniment" was pretty, I am here to tell you, it's just the accompaniment.
That was Wednesday. It took me until today and the battle I was in, to see the beauty in it all.
I think our God wants us to get it through our thick heads that what we have experienced of His goodness so far in our lives is only the accompaniment, to what He really longs to pour out on and in us if we will only keep saying yes to Him in our hearts and lives. It's still the "sweet tea".
He is the "Heart and Soul" and will put heart and soul into everything we let Him. He is the one Who made the life-blood of the tree, so that when it is distilled out into it's purest form, it is a product of utter sweetness.

The cross is another tree similar to the maple.

I want to hold still, not meddle in His work, and just abide in Him.

I write this all in much weakness, feeling the need to put it down in black and white. - Janelle