Archive | March 2013

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” – Reflecting on Easter

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Words and music by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Happy Easter!

♥Miriam

Good & Evil, the Battle of 4-Letter Words

Okay, I know from the title you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind. But honestly, I haven’t. It was Katie’s softball practice on Thursday evening that got me to think about 4-letter words, good ones and bad ones. Why? Because there was a young man in attendance who freely used 4-letter words in his conversations, mostly the f-bomb, and I did not appreciate his language one iota! However, it made me think how some 4-letter words can be good. That evening I had thought about the day….it had been a doosey….and how 4-letter words made up so much of that day.

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1st, some of the bad 4-letter words of the day. (Don’t worry, you won’t have censor anything….these are pretty tame by many standards!)

WAKE – something I shouldn’t HAVE DONE, but I got up and WENT to WORK, EVEN though I FELT SICK.

SICK – how I FELT and Katie FELT pretty MUCH the whole day (though we BOTH had different illnesses).

COLD – the temperature outside at the BALL practice. No one could get WARM, and we had to listen to THAT obnoxious FOUL boy who KEPT swearing.

RAIN – it had the nerve to start spitting THIS nasty stuff during practice, which MADE everyone EVEN MORE miserable and COLD.

TEAR – Katie started crying PART way through the practice because her stomach HURT, and she too was COLD and achey.

FELT – WHAT I did to Katie’s forehead to see if she had a fever. Thankfully, she didn’t, but she did LOOK PALE.

HOME -where we decided to go after practice and picking up a BITE of supper because it was 8:00 p.m. and NONE of us had eaten yet.

PALE – apparently how Katie looks prior to having to throw up.

PUKE – WHAT happens WHEN Katie hollars FROM the backseat of the van and SAYS, “Daddy! PULL OVER, PULL OVER!”

MESS – WHEN the PUKE doesn’t quite MAKE it the whole way out of the van.

GAGS – WHAT David DOES WHEN he GETS out of the van to try and clean up the MESS.

YAWN – THIS was all I could do (after all, if I clean up PUKE, I PUKE too) because my COLD medicine was kicking in.

But then there were good 4-letter words once we got home. Those 4-letter words made everything better and the rest of the evening was so much more enjoyable.

BATH – how Katie warmed up once we got HOME.

WARM – how a NICE fuzzy blanket and housecoat WILL MAKE you FEEL.

PURR – WHAT the cat did WHEN she curled up NEXT to Katie. I think she was trying to comfort her.

COLA – WHAT Katie got to sip on to settle her stomach.

PINK – Katie’s color after puking again and saying she was starting to FEEL better.

TUCK – WHAT we did WITH Katie WHEN she started to FALL asleep. I remade her bed and DAVE carried her to it where she was tucked in WITH her precious “BLUE BABY” DOLL and CALI the cat.

LOVE – WHAT I FELT as DAVE ushered me to bed and proceeded to TUCK me in too. ♥

KISS – a sweet expression of LOVE THAT DAVE placed on the top of my HEAD as he SAID goodnight. ♥

HOME – where everyone is THAT you LOVE, and you can be SAFE.

Notice, of all the 4-letter words I used today, not one of them was profane. Not one of them tore anyone down or disgusted anyone (well maybe the puke did). So in the battle of GOOD vs. EVIL, I believe the good 4-letter words will win each time. We’d all do better in this world if we could just think about what we say before it travels out of our mouths. Your words can encourage or discourage. Think of how you would want to be spoken to.

Paul taught us this in Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)

♥Miriam

Tea, Friends, & Family

Higinbotham's Tea Room, New Oxford, PA

Higinbotham’s Tea Room, New Oxford, PA

If you know me at all, you know how I love to go to tea! Recently, while traveling to Adams County, PA for work, I ran across a tea room I had never seen before in New Oxford, PA….Higinbotham’s Tea Room and Bed & Breakfast. When I arrived home, I quickly contacted my tea-loving friend, Tammy (we’ve been friends since 7th grade!) and we made arrangements to go to tea and check it out! We planned to meet my cousin Marcia there, but plans change, and Marcia had to cancel out. It all worked out well though. I took Katie in Marcia’s place, as Katie loves going to tea too!

Higinbotham’s proved to be a little different from other tea rooms we had visited. We enjoyed ourselves though, nonetheless! After all, having tea together is more about cultivating friendships than it is drinking tea and eating little sandwiches. We caught up on each other’s lives, since Tammy and I don’t see each other often. Katie threw in her two cents every now and then. Mrs. Higinbotham kept fussing over Katie and raving how well she was behaving and eating all her food. Mr. Higinbotham was there as well and kept our water glasses filled.

Tea was lovely, and we were quite satisfied and full. The next step in our day out was a stop at my cousin Marcia’s. Her sister (my cousin) Sharon and her children were here for a visit (hence, why Marcia cancelled out). I got to meet two tiny cousins that I had never met before. Katie was excited to see her cousin Caleb, who was only 2 weeks old the last time we saw him. He’s 6 years old now!

As it usually is with good friends and family, we picked up right where we left off from the last time we were together. Within minutes, it was as if we never had been apart. Sharon shared with me that Caleb had a special spot in his heart for Katie. Ever since he was a toddler, he’s had Katie’s picture on his bedroom wall. When Caleb walked in the room, Sharon said, “Look who’s here, Caleb!”

Quietly, he says, “It’s Katie!” and off they went to play. For a change, Katie was the oldest cousin in the room instead of the youngest. She was thrilled!

Marcia, Sharon, and Tammy and I all visited for a while. All good things, though, must come to an end. We began to say our goodbyes and snapped a few photos.

Cousins together again. Marcia, Sharon, and me.

Cousins together again. Marcia, Sharon, and me.

We went outside to track down the children. We found Katie and Caleb diligently working on a project together. They had gathered various sized rocks from around the yard and from the orchard behind the house and created a “fire ring” in the back yard. They were busily rubbing sticks together, hoping to create a spark. We watched in amusement for a while, and of course, snapped some photos!

The only thing that would have made the day more complete, would have been to have my cousin, Sue there too. It’s hard though once you grow up to have a time where it suits everyone to get together. However, those of us who were able to visit, created new memories together. And for that I wouldn’t trade a thing!

♥Miriam

Thy Word Have I Hid…

As part of my job, I had the priveldge of attending my daughter’s Released Time Bible Program today. She was excited that I was coming.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all it has been around 33 years since I was a Released Time student. Surely, it was different than it was then. But, you know what? It really hasn’t changed all that much! All the children still recite bible verses, they all still hear a bible lesson, and they still sing songs.

imagesCAWCRD17I observed as the children recited their verses. One sweet little girl was struggling with her verse. Her listener was patient and helped her learn the verse. Within a few moments, she was able to recite it three times in a row, unassisted. “Phew,” she said as she looked at me. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever get that one!”

Today was awards day too. Katie was thrilled that her name was called not just once, but twice! She got two prizes today and I learned that she’s just a handful of points or so away from earning her bible! With a little determination, she could accomplish that this year yet! There were many who received bibles today. Some of them cradled them as the precious possession it is. Others put it in their bag they brought to class. Hopefully, they realize what a real treasure they have!

There were 3 children in 5th grade who had the required points to earn free camp! There were congratulations all around for this accomplishment! (I get to see these kids again this summer!)

I saw a young boy who was rattling off verses left and right. You could tell his parents help him learn verses. He had them perfected!

One listener was telling her two students about a Mother/Son retreat this weekend. I heard the one boy say, “Money is really tight right now. I don’t think Mom would bring me.”

My ears perked up and I asked the listener if I could talk to him. I was able to tell him about the Campership Fund we have to help children who can’t afford to go to camp. “I doubt if I could get money from that. I won’t be going to camp either, but I’d really like to go!” I told him he could use funds from this account for both things if his mother would let him. “She won’t if she has to pay it back.” he said.

“She wouldn’t have to pay it back; it’s a gift to you to come to camp!”

“Wow, that’s cool! Am I allowed to tell my mom?”

“Of course!” I replied. “That’s why I told you!” I wrote down the information for him, because we all know 10-11-year-old boys aren’t real good at remembering things!

“You made my day, lady!” he said.

I was amazed to hear these children recite so many verses! I recalled the first verse I ever learned….Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That was in kindergarden.  When I got to Released Time, it was Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

It’s wonderful to think about how these verses will be forever a part of these kids lives! What verses do you have hidden in your heart?

♥Miriam

A St. Patrick’s Day Sunday Drive

For Valentine’s Day this year, I gave Dave a jar of “cheap dates”.  I got the idea from Pinterest, and he loved it! In the pint jar, there are over a year’s worth of dates for either the two of us to do together, or for us to do as a family. Last week, we took the first of these dates and went to Rita’s for Italian ice. This week’s date simply said, “Go for a drive.” Dave knew what I meant by that, but Katie didn’t have a clue. They both looked at me a bit sceptical of what was to happen. But I was happy! I knew what this could turn into!

At the end of the driveway, Dave says, “So which way do you want to go?” not sounding at all thrilled.

“Go right. Katie, you get to pick which direction we go at the next stop sign,” I said.

I was excited. Katie had no idea what she was about to experience. I thought back to my childhood days when it was a common occurance to jump in the car on a Sunday afternoon and just drive around and look at scenery and other areas you don’t see every day. My Pappy Wingert was a master at the Sunday drive. We’d jump in the car with him and drive for hours. We’d end up miles from home and get home after dark! But we saw places that were interesting and fun! Those Sunday drives were part of my favorite childhood memories. I only hoped that we would come across something interesting today!

We each took turns at stop signs and stop lights choosing which direction we’d go next. I soon realized that I had an advantage when we reached Cove Gap. “Turn right here!” I yelled.

Dave turned the wheel and we started the beginning of an afternoon long history lesson. We were in Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park.

We learned a few things:  1.  Katie learned that Buchanan was our 15th president, that he was never married, and that the school that Mommy graduated from was named for him. 2. Dave learned that Buchanan attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, that Buchanan’s Birthplace was the first State Park in Pennsylvania, and that the monument was built in 1907. 3. I learned that Harriet Lane, his niece, purchased the land that became the state park and that this really was the area where Buchanan was born, and that James Buchanan’s mother put a bell on him to hear him in the woods around their cabin!

I told Katie that there used to be a sign at the beginning of the trail to the monument that simply said, “Monument”.  I shared with her that my cousins and I once went there for a picnic and decided it would be fun to “be” monuments next to that sign. Well, the sign is gone, but the rock that was there remains. So, Katie decided we should do the same thing. The results are below!

We got back in the car and I whispered to Dave some directions. We were headed to another historical place…Fort Loudon, PA. It was close to supper time, so we stopped for supper at a favorite spot, Milky Way. Mmmmm, was it good!

We finished supper and headed down the road. I was now driving. We drove to the site of Fort Loudon. Katie had no idea about how Fort Loudon got its name or that there was actually a fort there many years ago.

“Mommy, can we go see James Buchanan’s log cabin before we go home?” asked Katie.

“Sure! It’s still daylight!” I said. Then we headed toward Mercersburg Academy. It took me a few minutes to remember what part of the campus the cabin sat on, but we soon found it.

“Cool!” said Katie (and I think she really meant it!).

The sun was setting, and so we decided to head for home.

“This was really fun,” said Katie smiling contentedly. “I hope Daddy pulls this ‘date’ out of the jar again soon.”

Me too, Katie, me too!

♥Miriam

Hoping to Catch the Book “Bug”

Everyone around here is sick. Viruses are running rampant. Fortunately for us, they have not visited our home as long as they have others. But there is one “bug” we’d like to catch here…the book “bug”.

Getting Katie to read is like asking a cat to take a bath. (Oh yeah, I forgot….our cat does take baths!) Okay, getting Katie to read is like asking the pope to convert to Judaism. (How’s that for impossible?) It’s not that she can’t read, she can! (And she does it well, I might add!) This little munchkin was hiding a little known fact from us that her teacher shared with us this week at our parent/teacher conference. She can read so well that she’s reading and comprehending at a 9th grade level! Pretty impressive considering she’s only in 4th!

Now, here’s what I don’t get about this. Her homework every night (and this is about the only homework she has) is to read for 30 minutes. I would love to take 30 minutes or more a day and just dedicate it to uninterrupted reading time. There was once a day that you couldn’t get my nose out of a book! Now, I don’t have time to get my nose into one for more than a few minutes. I get books read one chapter, one day at a time.

My favorite childhood author (that I still love to read!).

My favorite childhood author (that I still love to read!).

I’ve tried introducing her to my favorite books that I read over and over again at her age. Beverly Cleary books were always a part of my collection. When the bookmobile would come to my neighborhood, the librarian would already have her newest Beverly Cleary books ready for me because she knew that’s what I’d want. I don’t think there’s a Beverly Cleary book I haven’t read! Besides Beverly Cleary, I’ve attempted to introduce her to the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Certainly, she would love these books as I have. After all she likes watching reruns of “Little House on the Prairie”.  This is a series I’ve read time and time again as well, almost to the point of memorization. But did she fall in love with them? Nope, not a chance.

982e8da92bc425703b7968575d5c413e_galleryimage_galleryWe’ve tried Nancy Drew. We’ve tried Judy Blume. I thought maybe I’d even stoop to trying the Captain Underpants series (no, that’s not going to happen!). Nothing seems to spark her interest in developing a love for reading. So, each night, like a torture session, this child sits down to get in her manditory half hour and stops every 4-5 minutes to say, “Am I done yet?” Which then makes that half hour more like 20 minutes of actual reading time. Ugh!!

Now that we know she can read on a higher level, I have a whole other world of books I want to introduce her to! I am hoping, and praying, that one of these books or authors will spark her interest. I want her to get the bug! Goodness knows I’ve exposed her enough. Did someone sneak her an anti-reading vaccine? I’m beginning to wonder!

During our parent/teacher conference, her teacher and I tried to stress to her that if she has this ability to do well, she should continue to develop it. In other words, the more you read the more you know, the more intelligent you become.We just want to see her do well.

II Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” More than just reading some of these inspirational and fun to read authors, my hope is that she would enjoy reading the Bible. She’s a new believer. Again, we’ve tried to guide her and point out how important it is to spend time in the Word. That’s a struggle as well. She continually starts in Genesis, gets bored part way through and quits. No matter how many times we’ve told her to try a different book of the Bible, she insists she should start at the beginning. How many of us as adults get stuck in that frame of thinking?

I used to think it would be best to start at the beginning of the Bible too. But, like Katie, would get frustrated by the time I got to Levitcus and would slowly stop reading on a daily basis. Now that I’m older (and hopefully a bit wiser) I pick a book of the Bible, read it, and then go on to another. I find I get through the Bible more frequently this way than doing it “in order.”

So, I pray that the book bug will make it’s way to this house. Better yet, the Bible bug!

♥Miriam