Field Stone Cottage Blog

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

O come, thou Dayspring from on high
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

O come, thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Combined from various Latin antiphons, probably in the 12th Century
Translated from Latin to English by John Mason Neale, 1851

Tune: Veni Emmanuel, an ancient plain song, 13th Century
Adapted by Thomas Helmore, 1856

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And They Laid Him in a Manger

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Evening's Approach

Its been snowing steadily all day here at the cottage. I'd say we most certainly got the 2-4 inches of new snow that was forecast. Maybe more.

Now, we are of the sort that closes their blinds as the sun goes down and I was doing just that a few moments ago and glanced out the window to this view of our neighbor's house. I wasn't about to get my jacket and gloves and hat and boots on to go out and snap the picture but I don't think this one through the window glass is half bad! In fact, I rather like it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
Jesus Christ is born today;
Earth and heav'n before him bow,
And he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath op'ed the heavenly door,
And man is blessed evermore.
Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!

Heinrich Suso (?-1366)
Translated from Latin to English by John Mason Neale, 1853

Tune: In Dulci Jubilo, a Fourteenth Century German Melody
Harmony from Christmas Carols Old and New, 1871

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Storm

We did get a fairly major snow storm yesterday (about a foot is my estimate) and while some people blogged about it as it was happening, I was too busy enjoying the cozy day inside with Emily. Here's the jigsaw puzzle we did together and it was fun!

I did venture out with Charlie and to get the mail and snapped this one while I was out there. Snow makes everything look so magical!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Red Berries

So far, this December is feeling like one snow clean-up after another without much of a break between them. Its reminding me of the constant chore of snow removal during our winters in Upstate New York. Yesterday, it started snowing in Crystal Lake, IL sometime around 1PM and it didn't stop until about 8:30 PM. The total is only about 3-4 inches. Paltry, by New York standards but conditions were very slippery and the evening commute was nightmarish. It took Andy almost 4 hours to get home! His normal evening commute is about an hour and 15 minutes. You can bet Andy was glad to get here and I was so thankful for God's protection of him!

The morning today dawned quite lovely and sunny with the beauty that only fresh snows brings. I guess I am just seeing and enjoying those red berries in the white snow everywhere this year. This bush lacks the green leaves that the one in our yard sports in the winter but the berries are bigger. I love the blue of the sky behind them.

Homemade Truffles

Emily came home today for her Christmas vacation from school. And look what she brought! Homemade truffles! Oh boy, were we glad to welcome her home!

Seriously, we are glad to have her home for many more (and better) reasons than homemade truffles. Still this recipe is a winner so I am sharing it with all of you.

Cookie Dough Truffles

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate candy coating

  1. In mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add flour, milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets.
  5. Loosely cover and refrigerate until firm. (Approximately 1 hour)
  6. In a microwave safe bowl, melt candy coating, stirring often, until smooth.
  7. Dip balls in coating and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets.
  8. Refrigerate until firm. (About 15 minutes)
  9. Store in refrigerator.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Comfort, Comfort Ye My People

Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning 'neath their sorrow's load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved his anger
He no more will see or heed.
She hath suffered many a day
Now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever-springing gladness.

For the herald's voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance,
Since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
And the hills bow down to greet him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o'er earth is shed abroad;
And all flesh shall see the token,
That his word is never broken.

Johannes Olearius, 1671
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Tune: Thirsting by Louis Bourgeois, 1551
Harmony adapted from Dutch Koraalboek of B. DeVries by Henry A. Bruinsma

Friday, December 12, 2008

Full Moon

There was a full moon last night and Andy snapped this picture from in front of the garage door.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Balanced beauty on blades,
Above the surface.

For more 15 Words or Less Poems (or to contribute one of your own), visit Laura Purdie Salas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Here are the answers to the "5, 56 Book Meme":

1. The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Approach by Sinclair Ferguson

2. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
Taking this one off the shelf, I felt the intense desire to read it again. John guessed it correctly.

3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Mongomery

4. Practical Religion by J.C. Ryle
Not much of a clue in that sentence but rules are rules!

5. Persuasion by Jane Austen

6. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
The sentence was very Packer-ish, wasn't it, Rebecca!

7. Reason to Believe by R.C. Sproul

8. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I do love Little Women! And it was through it that I was introduced to Pilgrim's Progress as a young girl.

10. 1776 by David McCullough
I love history although I don't own a lot of it for some reason. Its a category I tend to borrow from the library. This book was a rummage sale find. Oh, and David McCullough is the other author who was born in Pittsburgh, PA.

I've really enjoyed this meme, both doing it myself and playing along with others. Thanks for the tag, Rebecca. I am hoping its not over!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I've been tagged by Rebecca for this unusual book meme. Its got some very interesting guidelines!

Take ten books and transcribe the fifth sentence from page 56.

In keeping with the 5,56 thing, make sure that at least five books are fiction. provide five hints, and pass the meme on to six other bloggers.

Here are the ten fifth sentences:

  1. 1. When Jesus tells him that he needs to be born from above, only faintly understanding the meaning, he lamely asks whether another birth is possible.
  2. 2. Then they shewed him the Ox's Goad, wherewith Shamgar slew Six Hundred men.
  3. 3. "...She looks lonely and sad, don't you think?..."
  4. 4. Believe me, it is no light matter.
  5. 5. To be sure I may just as well go as not, for I am no use at home-am I? and it only harasses me.
  6. 6. In the third place, it needs to be said that a meeting, or service, is not necessarily evangelistic just because it includes testimonies, and choruses, and an appeal, any more than a man is necessarily English because he wears striped trousers and a bowler hat.
  7. 7. As we talked, he came to realize that what he really believed was that people could do their own thing as long as their own thing did not impinge on his thing.
  8. 8. "Did she," said Gwendolyn, laughingly.
  9. 9. For the first time in her life she had been struck, and the disgrace, in her eyes, was as deep as if he had knocked her down.
  10. 10. On October 18, a raw, gloomy Wednesday, a congressional committee of three, including Benjamin Franklin, gathered by a roaring fire in Washington's study and, after lengthy deliberations with the commander and his generals, concluded that if an attack on Boston meant the destruction of the town, they could not approve.
Here are the five hints:

  1. 1. (For sentence #8) This female author published under a male pseudonym.
  2. 2. (For sentence #9) This book is a contender for my very favorite novel of all time.
  3. 3. (For sentence #6) This well-known author lives in Canada and this particular book is one that I refer to frequently.
  4. 4. (For sentence #3) I'd be very surprised if Islandsparrow doesn't have this book memorized, cover to cover!
  5. 5. (For sentence #7) This author is one of two which I've quoted here that was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Now for the tagging:

Have fun! I did!

Sunday's Hymn: The Lord is My Shepherd

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Even for His own Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff my comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnishèd
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.

Paraphrase of Psalm 23 from the Scottish Psalter, 1650

Tune: Crimond, Jessie S. Irvine, 1872

Thursday, December 4, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Work time, vacation time
Waiting time, celebration time.
Who says all hours have sixty minutes?

To see more 15 Words or Less Poems or contribute one of your own, visit Laura Purdie Salas.

Advent Thoughts

We've just completed Exodus chapters 25-31 this week in my study of the life of Moses. These chapters outline the pattern for the tabernacle which God gives to Moses during their 40 day meeting on Mt. Sinai. Such an appropriate lesson for the beginning of advent! After telling the Israelites what offerings are required, God says in verse 8 of chapter 25 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." Immanuel. God with us.

Just as Moses is a type of Christ, so the entire plan of the tabernacle serves to foreshadow Him. The very word tabernacle means a dwelling of sorts but it is between the wings of the cherubim above the cover of the ark of the covenant specifically that God was understood to dwell.

The ark was a chest built to God's specifications to hold the tablets of the law. (Later, it also housed the jar of manna and Aaron's staff which budded. Hebrews 9:4) The cover of the ark of the covenant is called the atonement cover in the NIV but in other translations it is called the mercy seat. On the Day of Atonement, once a year, the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the animal sacrificed as a sin offering for the people on this cover and call on God for His mercy for them. As God looked down, He saw the blood of the sacrificed animal between Himself and His law which had been broken by His people. Here is a picture of God's judgment and the intercession of Christ through His shed blood giving forgiveness and righteousness to believers.

You may think I've strayed a bit from the topic of advent but the very word advent signifies a period of coming into being. So we are in the season of Christ's birth "coming into being." But there is a sense in which all time from eternity past, certainly from the point of view of what is recorded in the Old Testament of God's Word, is a season of preparation for Christ's coming, the period during which He would "dwell among us" in human flesh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Good Listening

Andy has a fairly long commute to work so he is always on the look-out for good audio books to listen to. Christianaudio has been a great resource for him and he eagerly looks forward to their free download each month. This month it is 90 Days of Morning and Evening by C.H. Spurgeon narrated by James Adams. Sounds like a winner to me!

Winter Beauty

There is so much beauty outside the cottage today after yesterday's snow! This little tree grows in our backyard and keeps its green leaves and red berries well into the winter weather. I don't know what its name is but that doesn't keep me from enjoying it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Real Snow

We got our first "real snow" of the 2008-09 winter yesterday and it kept on snowing right into today. Flurries, some of the time, but that counts for snow too. We've had a couple of other episodes of flurries this season and one snow that turned the ground white but it was gone by the next morning. This few inches promises to stay for most of this week, if the forecasters are right. But it looks awfully pretty on our neighbor's magnolia tree, don't you think?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Thirty

Its the last day of November already, the last day for sharing our thankful posts through Rebecca at her blog. But its not the last day to be thankful to the One who provides all of these abundant blessings, large and small. Every day is the day for that.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:15-16
My particular praise of thanksgiving to God today is for seeing Emily safely back to school. It has been snowing all afternoon here in Chicagoland and snowed steadily on her drive back to Ann Arbor, MI where she arrived safely just minutes ago. Thank you, Father!

Sunday's Hymn: What e'er My God Ordains is Right

Whate'er my God ordains is right:
Holy his will abideth;
I will be still whate'er he doth;
And follow where he guideth:
He is my God: though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to him I leave it all.

Whate'er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path;
I know he will not leave me:
I take, content, what he hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait his day.

Whate'er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking:
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate'er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken;
My Father's care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to him I leave it all.

Samuel Rodigast, 1676
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Tune: Gastorius by Severus Gastorius, 1675

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Nine

My thoughts today are on our extended family. We do not live geographically near any of them and some are no longer even on this earth but they are still ours. God ordained that Andy and I should be born into the families that we were and He has used these families to grow us and shape us as we mature in Him. And so I thank Him for our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. I love them, each and every one!

I also love this habit of consciously cultivating thanksgiving to God! What a way to glorify Him! Won't you join in by sharing your thankful thoughts at Rebecca Writes?

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Eight

I've been having such a wonderful Thanksgiving here that I've been only sneaking peaks to visit my blogging friends today so if I haven't stopped by your place, that's why and I'll be there soon. And yes, I'm extending the holiday into today! But it began with a wonderful time of fellowship the minute Kim and Tom, Jake and Sam walked into our home yesterday about 12:30 PM. Our daughter, Emily, was home from school too and she brought the wine and her homemade cranberry sauce to compliment the traditional meal. Kim's contribution was dessert; pumpkin and pecan pies and pumpkin cheesecake! (I do love anything pumpkin!) Its a true blessing to have friends with whom you can just relax and talk and the time just flies. That's how it is with our group. And I thank God for each one of them!

Today, Emily and I have spent the day together taking an elderly friend grocery shopping, enjoying tea with her and her husband, walking Charlie in the warm, 42 degree sunshine and visiting our local thrift shop before returning home for more tea. Emily is in school about five hours away from home so its a real treat when she is home and that is what I am most thankful for today...although my heart is just full of gratitude for so many blessings this evening. Our God is so good!

Rebecca is compiling our thankful posts each day of this month. I've been blessed by reading so many of your posts and realizing just how incredibly good our God really is. Not that I can fully ever know but I love the widening of my thankful horizons. So please go share your thankful thoughts so we can all celebrate His goodness together.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Seven

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thanking our good and sovereign God for the gift of faith by His grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

I also thank Him for the overwhelmingly good gift of that faith to my family, Andy and Emily, as well. What a blessing to be a family of believers!

How are you thankful to God today? Please go share your thankful thoughts with us all at Rebecca Writes. No one should be alone on Thanksgiving...or in thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Six

Others have expressed their thankfulness for their blogging friends and now it is my turn. I've found such good friends through this world of blogging! I've been alternately encouraged and challenged and amused and educated by your posts and comments. And I thank God for each one of you! But I would be terribly remiss if I did not mention one particular friend who spans both my "real" world and my blogging world. She's the one who introduced me to the world of blogging and encouraged me to give it a try. So I am breaking my rule from yesterday and mentioning my dear friend, Kim, as a true blessing in my life.

Another of my blogging friends who has blessed me in so many ways is Rebecca. Uh-oh, I broke my rule twice now! Anyway, Rebecca is gathering our thankful posts each day this month so that we can celebrate the bounteous provisions of our good God together. Please go join in the thanksgiving at her place.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Five

I am ever so thankful for the blessing of friends in my life. I think I am going to skip mentioning any names today lest I forget any particular one. (I do seem to be getting more forgetful in this stage of my life.) But I will say that I have been blessed with some true friends over the years, the kind who will pray for my concerns and listen when I am feeling upset or sad and point me back to our God. Its humbling to have friends like that and I just pray that I have been able to minister to them similarly when needed.

What gift from God are you thanking Him for today? Please share your thankful thoughts at Rebecca's place so we can join together in thanksgiving. That's a blessing to all of us!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Four

I am thankful today for good neighbors. We, at the cottage, have been blessed with some very good neighbors. I've been thinking about that today because this week we are collecting the newspapers and mail for one of those neighbors. But those very same people mowed our lawn...unasked, I might add...the last time we were away for a week.

Our neighbors on the other side have helped me with blowing the snow out of the driveway when Andy has been away during the winter. In exchange, Andy helps with starting their generator for her when her husband is gone during our all too frequent power outages here.

Its a decided blessing to have friendly, helpful neighbors on both sides of us! Thank you, God!

How is He blessing you today? Please stop by Rebecca's and share those blessings so we can all praise the Giver of all good things together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Three

I am thankful for the Lord's Day each week and our little church where we worship Him corporately and grow in love and truth as we do so.

And now I am off to Rebecca's to see what everyone else is thanking Him for today!

Sunday's Hymn: Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God,
The Father, now be given,
The Son, and him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God
Whom earth and heav'n adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Martin Rinkart, 1636
Tune: Nan Danket attributed to Johann Cruger, 1647. But Catherine Winkworth, who translated the hymn from German to English in 1856, believed that Martin Rinkart composed the tune in 1644.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-Two

My thankfulness today is related to the fact that Andy is just about over a particularly nasty cold...and, Lord willing, I've escaped it! This cold was of the totally stuffy, very sore throat, coughing enough to keep one awake at night variety. And lost sleep is not what you want when you feel under the weather! Last night, Andy slept peacefully for the first time in over a week. As for me, several times during the last few days, I was sure I was succumbing to the thing. But today, after a morning headache, I feel just fine. I think its finally leaving the cottage without further ado. Thank you, God!

As Rebecca pointed out yesterday, so many of our thankful thoughts are of what we might call "small mercies" but these things are still important to thank our Sovereign God for. Go read what she wrote and add your mercies, small or large, to the list of things for us all to praise God for.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty-One

Today has been the coldest day this fall so far. And its breezy too! Charlie and I got our walks in but, despite the sun, they were not so pleasant. I was ever so grateful to come home to our warm and cozy cottage so today I am thanking God for our boiler. What a blessing!

What gift from God are you enjoying today? Rebecca is keeping track each day this month so go share and let's give thanks for them together.

15 Words or Less Poem

The sharp fragrance of summer wood
evokes the warmth of winter.
Seasons out of step.

More 15 Words or Less Poems at Laura Salas Purdies' blog.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twenty

I am thankful today for God's prompting to call an elderly friend. She is an independent woman who finds it difficult to allow anyone to help her but it turns out that she and her husband have been been sick for the better part of the last week and they needed a few things at the store. Today was bitterly cold with snow flurries and traffic is always heavy in our part of Chicagoland. I am thankful that God allowed me to be available to take her to the store to get the things they needed...since she wouldn't allow me to just go get those things myself.

To see what others are thankful for and share how God has blessed you today, visit Rebecca. She is posting our thankful thoughts each day of this month and that has been a blessing to me!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Nineteen

Reading Rebecca's thankful post for yesterday humbled me and made me realize just how much I take for granted the fact that I have my husband still in my life on this earth. So many of the day to day workings of our household are based on his knowledge of areas of living that I don't have a clue about. A very practical example is his knowledge of plumbing, electrical and mechanical things. Its not that we never have anything of that sort done around the house but Andy knows what he can do himself (given that he has a job too) and what we should hire done. Also he knows what is reasonable when a contractor tells us what he plans to do and how much it will cost. So I am very thankful today for a very capable husband. But I also know, as Rebecca is quick to point out, that our ultimate protection is in our heavenly Father, the One who gave me that husband.

This month, Rebecca is focusing on the theme of Thanksgiving. Each day, she invites us to share our thankful thoughts so we can celebrate the gifts that God has given us together. Join in the celebration at Rebecca Writes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Eighteen

Its cold out today but the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. Charlie and I just came back from a lovely walk! One of the reasons that I love walking with Charlie is the time that it gives me to think and pray. I do think and pray at home, of course, but there is something about being outside, away from the reminders of chores needing doing, just walking in God's creation that frees my mind. And the thing I was thinking about and thanking God for today is all the opportunities I've had to study His Word and grow in my relationship with Him. For that, I am so very grateful!

Rebecca is rounding up our thanksgiving thoughts each day during this month of November. Go share your thankful thoughts and see what others are thanking Him for today at Rebecca Writes. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Seventeen

This afternoon, I am so very thankful for a nap! I haven't slept very well the last couple of nights plus we've been pushing pretty hard to get the leaves finished in light of the weather so it was a wonderful thing to get in a nap to "take the edge off." Speaking of those leaves, I am also quite thankful to have them finished! Yes, there are a handful or so still left in the trees but we are declaring an end to leaf raking here at the cottage.

What is it you are thankful for today? Stop by Rebecca Writes and tell her about it so we can all join in giving thanks to God together.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Its Here!

We've had a few flurries before now but this is the first actual dusting of snow for the season. I took this picture out the back door tonight.

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Sixteen

I have a friend who works at our public library. Actually, I have three friends who work at the library but my friend, Julie, has worked in circulation for several years now and she lets me know when the library acquires a new item that she thinks we might like. For that, I am very grateful! Her latest pick for us is a television series called Due South that ran for four years somewhere. We don't have cable and are not TV watchers but I don't believe this was an American television show. Maybe its Canadian. Anyway, the premise involves a Canadian Mounty who ends up assigned to his country's embassy in Chicago and "unofficially" solves crimes with a Chicago city detective. Its funny and inoffensive. A hard combination to find these days, it seems. I've got the first season on DVD from the library and we've been enjoying it in the evenings, Andy and I, with our cups of tea. So today, I am thankful for Julie and her thoughtfulness and I am thankful for an entertaining show that we can enjoy together at the end of the day.

Rebecca has been collecting our thankful posts each day this month and its been fun to share what I am grateful for. I have so many blessings from God! Its been fun to read about everyone else's blessings too. To share your thankful thoughts today or see what others are thanking God for, visit Rebecca here.

Sunday's Hymn: The Church's One Foundation

The church's one Foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word:
From heav'n he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from ev'ry nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food.
And to one hope she presses,
With ev'ry grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain and cherish
Is with her to the end;
Though there be those that hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

'Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With the God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

Samuel J. Stone, 1866
Tune: Aurelia, by Samuel S. Wesley, 1864

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Fifteen

I am thanking God that today's weather was a bit warmer and with less precipitation than was forecast. Just yesterday, the weather people were predicting a high of 36 degrees with a 30 percent chance of snow flurries. We ended up with a high of 42 degrees and just the barest hint of a flurry or two. Our plan was to get out there and clean the gutters, put leaf mulch on the roses and other flower beds and finish raking whatever leaves we didn't use for the mulch. We were outside and working by 9:00 AM and didn't quit until 2:00 PM! So we are very thankful for the few extra degrees of warmth and the absence of measurable precipitation. And the chores? Well, Andy got the gutters cleaned and we got the roses all cocooned in their leaf mulch. The other flower beds are not quite as "mulchy" as we want and there are still a few more leaves on the ground. But its only the 15th so we are hoping for a few more days of relative warmth to finish tucking the yard in for the season.

Rebecca is posting our thankful thoughts each day of the month of November. Go visit her to contribute yours and see what others are thankful for.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Fourteen

I am a homebody. I love the days I get to stay home all day and clean or cook or even blog and not have to plan my day around a commitment or appointment somewhere. And today is one of those days! I get to stay home all day today! Never mind that I am doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom and pruning rosebushes and raking leaves. I am home so I am happy. Thank you, God, for a day to relish being home!

What are you thanking God for today? Rebecca is posting our thankful thoughts every day in the month of November. Go share with her so we can all thank God together. Thanksgiving is so much better when its shared.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Thirteen

Andy is sick today. He worked from home yesterday instead of his usual Tuesday and started feeling crummy during the day. This morning, he felt even worse. Nothing too serious. Just the beginnings of a miserable cold. So he emailed his boss to work from home again today.

Just about a year ago, Andy changed bosses. The previous boss was...not very nice. She would have demanded that Andy come in anyway. Actually, he wouldn't even have asked her, knowing her response. And she was his boss for seven years! Seven years of fervent prayer for patience and peace for Andy, for this boss to come to Christ, for whatever God's work was in that situation to be accomplished. But to Andy's credit, he never wavered in the conviction that God put him in the midst of it for a reason. Then suddenly, very suddenly, He took that boss out of Andy's life and put him under Bruce. Now, I do sincerely thank God for the ways that we both grew in trusting Him during the rough times under the previous boss but today I am thanking God that Andy has a boss who treats him fairly and with respect and consideration.

Each day this month, Rebecca is gathering our posts on the ways that God is blessing us. To view others' thankful thoughts or to contribute your own, visit Rebecca Writes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Twelve

I am so thankful for Charlie's vet! Over the years, he's become downright panicky about visiting the vet's office. And with good reason! From his point of view, bad things happen there. But Dr. Sharon has been so kind to Charlie even when he taxes that kindness to its limit. And she has given him the best of care. Today we had to see Dr. Sharon for three reasons...Charlie needed bladder X-rays to make sure no new stones were growing there, chest X-rays to check on his heart condition, and the removal of a wart that continued to ooze blood no matter what we've done to try to heal it. Normally, that wart would have been removed under general anesthesia but, because of Charlie's heart condition, it was done with a local. And he had to be muzzled. Not a happy camper. But Dr. Sharon got down to business and all was accomplished quickly and efficiently. The X-rays look good and the wart is gone! Praise God for good veterinary care for my sweet Charlie!

Visit Rebecca Writes to see what everyone else is thankful for today. While you are there, tell us what blessings God has given to you today. The praise we give Him is meant to be shared.

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Eleven

My thankful thoughts today are turning towards tea. I do love tea! I love it when I am cold. I love it when I am thirsty. I love it when I am upset or tired or needing to think about something. But most of all, I love drinking tea with a friend...and my very best friend is Andy! Thank God he likes tea too! Although, he does drink coffee. I don't. I am quite allergic to that beverage. So while some of you may thank God for coffee, I am thanking Him for the tea plant. And its real tea that I love. None of those infusions of flowers or fruits or herbs, thank you very much. Nice strong, hot black tea. Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast or Assam with a little bit of milk in it. That's my cup of tea!

So what lovely gift from God are you thanking Him for today? Rebecca (and I) want to know. So go visit Rebecca Writes and share how we can thank Him for something special He's done for you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Ten

Its Monday and Andy has gone back to work after the weekend. I am so thankful that he has a job to go to this morning! And its a good job that very adequately meets our needs. With good benefits too! We've been through some periods of unemployment for Andy and God still met our needs during those times. But today I am thanking Him for good, steady employment for Andy.

What gift from God are you thanking Him for today? Each day this month, Rebecca is collecting our thankful posts so that we can share together in thanking Him for His blessings to us. Visit her at Rebecca Writes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Nine

Today in Sunday School, we discussed the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Here are a couple of the passages of Scripture that we looked at.

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." John 10:27-29

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
7No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:33-39

These passages bring such joy to me! I am so thankful for the promise of my perseverance with Christ contained in them!

Each day throughout the month of November, Rebecca is gathering our thankful thoughts. Drop by at Rebecca Writes to share your thoughts and join in giving thanks to God for His many blessings.

Sunday's Hymn: Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow'r.

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfil thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress,
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyelids close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.

Augustus M. Toplady, 1776
St. 4, line 2, alt. by Thomas Cotterill, 1815
Tune: Ajalon, Richard Redhead, 1853

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Eight

We've enjoyed a cold day with a mix of rain and snow that prevented us from raking leaves here at the cottage. And we didn't even have to feel guilty for not raking! Now that is something to be thankful for, don't you think!? I know Kim agrees!

Rebecca is collecting our thankful posts each day this month. Visit her at Rebecca Writes to see what everyone is thankful for today. While you are there, share your grateful thoughts too. Thanksgiving is one of those things that is better when its shared.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Seven

Its Friday! And that means tonight is Friday evening! I do love Friday evenings, don't you? The promise of a whole weekend is ahead! Two whole days of being with Andy! Thinking of what we can accomplish together this weekend, yes, but mostly its just the being together that I savor. Tonight supper will be more leisurely and we can linger over our cups of tea and talk about things that happened during the week and what we thought about them, and then plan our day tomorrow...Lord willing.

So today I am thankful for Friday evenings and weekends but mostly I am thankful for spending them with Andy. I do thank God for the blessing of this loving husband to share my life with.

What are you thankful for? Let Rebecca know! She is posting our thankful thoughts each day this month so that we can reflect on God's blessings together. Please join us.

Looking Forward

This afternoon is rainy and dreary but this morning we still had a few glimpses of lovely sunshine. I caught some morning rays on these red and yellow leaves of the dogwood tree at the east corner of the cottage. Most of the leaves are down now in these parts and, even as I type, there are fewer on this particular tree than there were this morning. Fall is blowing away and there is snow in the forecast for tonight. But who's complaining? Not me! Time to look forward to flannel p.j.'s and hot chocolate!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Six

My sister, Mary, and I just finished doing our Bible study together. The study of the life of Moses that I am doing this year provides a short set of questions that participants can use to share the content with their families. I am sharing my study with Mary and it has been such a blessing to both of us! Mary lives in Portland, OR and, as most of you know, I live in Crystal Lake, IL so we do our study via the internet and the phone. I send her the questions via the internet and then we read the Bible passages together and discuss our answers on the phone. We both look forward to our time together on Thursday afternoons!

So today, I am thankful for cheap phone rates and the internet. But most of all I am thankful for Mary. I am thankful that God gave her to me as my sister. I am thankful for the loving relationship that we share. And I am thankful that we can spend time together studying God's Word and growing closer through Him.

Every day this month, Rebecca is posting our thankful thoughts so that we can all rejoice in them together. To join us in the thanksgiving, visit Rebecca here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Five

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2

This is God's command regarding the authorities that He, in His sovereignty, places over us. And so I submit. But I do so prayerfully, as directed in this passage from Philipians 4:6-7.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And so today I am thankful for God's promise of peace. The peace of God, no less! How could I not be thankful for that!?

To see what others are thankful for today, visit Rebecca who is gathering our thankful thoughts each day for the month of November.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank You, Brian

I'm a winner! Brian, of Light and Heat, is one of those generous bloggers who runs a book giveaway each month and guess who won this time. Yes! Me! The book for October was A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love by Milton Vincent and Brian is putting it in the mail for me! I am very much looking forward to reading it!

You can check out Brian's book giveaway for November here. But don't stop there. Brian has some really good content on his blog so look around a bit while you're at his place. I promise its worth your time.

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Four

Like so very many others, today I am thankful for God's sovereignty. Andy and I just came back from voting. We prayerfully made our choices at the polling station but we are so grateful that the One who really rules our country never changes. He is not subject to re-election every four years. He does not campaign for our votes. He does not depend on the whims of man for His sovereignty over all. And no matter what happens tonight when the ballots are counted, He will reign over us as He always has, using the men He has chosen to place in earthly authority over us for His sovereign purposes in our lives.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Rebecca is collecting our thankful thoughts each day of this month at Rebecca Writes. Go see what others are thankful for and perhaps share a thankful thought of your own.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Three

Charlie and I just got back from a walk and, let me tell you, it is a glorious day outside in Crystal Lake! The forecasted high is 73 degrees F but right now it is 65 lovely, sunny degrees with a slight breeze. Perfect! So today (as if you can't guess) I am thankful for an unexpectedly warm Fall day full of the wonderful colors of God's creation. And I am thankful for my little canine companion, Charlie, to share it with. I am so very thankful for his relative good health that permits him to still enjoy nice, long walks despite his status as a senior citizen.

What about you? What are you thankful for today? Rebecca wants to know (and so do I)! So share your thankful thoughts at Rebecca Writes and let's rejoice together in how God is blessing us each day of this month.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness: Day Two

Today was Reformation Sunday at our church and we sang two hymns written by Martin Luther...A Mighty Fortress is Our God and Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands. The second hymn was one I was completely unfamiliar with but the words as we sang it so strongly brought to mind all we have to be thankful for as God's adopted children. That third verse in particular painted such a vivid image of Jesus as the Passover lamb slain for us! And you know that Passover has been on my mind a lot lately! So today I am thankful for Martin Luther as a hymn writer (aside from his gifts to us as reformer) along with so many others that have gone before us to record the tenets of our faith in such beautiful words that clearly convey the depth of meaning of what has been done for us through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

I am doing a post each day of November focusing on something for which I am thankful, as are several other bloggers. Rebecca is compiling these posts at Rebecca Writes. Visit her to get the links or contribute thankful thoughts of your own!

Sunday's Hymn: Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands

Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand he stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah. Hallelujah!

It was a strange and dreadful strife
When life and death contended;
The victory remained with life,
The reign of death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That death is swallowed up by death,
His sting is lost for ever. Hallelujah!

Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree—
So strong his love!—to save us.
See, his blood doth mark our door;
Faith points to it, death passes o'er,
And Satan cannot harm us. Hallelujah!

So let us keep the festival
Whereto the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the Joy of all,
The Sun that warms and lights us.
By his grace he doth impart
Eternal sunshine to the heart;
The night of sin is ended. Hallelujah!

Then let us feast this joyful day
On Christ, the Bread of heaven;
The Word of grace hath purged away
The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed,
He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other. Hallelujah!

Martin Luther, 1524, translated by Richard Massie, 1854
Tune: Christ Lag in Tod­es­band­en, Geist­liche Ge­sang­büch­lein, 1524; ar­ranged by Johann S. Bach, 1724

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Month of Thankfulness

I am starting my month of thankfulness posts with thanking God for the health and strength to do yard work. Andy and I have been raking leaves and dividing hostas this afternoon and its a blessing to be able to do it.

Now, there is a slight lull in our day and then we'll be setting off on a Charlie walk. That all three of us can enjoy God's creation together in that way is another reason to thank Him.

Rebecca is compiling all of our reasons to thank God this month. Won't you join us by sharing your reasons for thankfulness in November?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Expressions of Love

I've been rereading Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer and came across this section which he relates to the greatest commandments as given to the Pharisees by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40.

If, then, we love God--Father, Son and Spirit--for all that They have done for us, we shall muster all our initiative and enterprise to make the most that we can of every situation for Their glory--and one chief way of doing this is to seek out ways and means of spreading the gospel, and obeying the divine command to make disciples everywhere. Similarly, if we love our neighbor, we shall muster all of our initiative and enterprise to find ways and means of doing him good. And one chief way of doing him good is to share with him our knowledge of Christ.

J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, p. 79

And that made me think of this great hymn which is another of my favourites.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.


I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.


I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.


I love to tell the story, for those who know it best

Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.


A. Catherine Hankey, 1866

Tune: Hankey, William G. Fischer, 1869

Today is the last day that Rebecca is collecting posts with a Gospel theme. Click here to read other posts on this topic or contribute one of your own.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Rosy pinks and oranges
Through open gates
A new morning beckons
With unspoken promise.

More 15 Words or Less Poems at Laura's place.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good News!

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.

12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

This is the passage of Scripture that I focused on last Friday in my study of the life of Moses. Again, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. These New Testament passages correlate:

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7b

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14
The blood of the perfect lamb of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, sacrificed on behalf of believers surely is what causes God's righteous judgment of us as sinners to "pass over" us. Such wonderful "good news" due to no action of my own is simply overwhelming! I praise God for His mercy and grace!

Rebecca is featuring the theme of the Gospel for the month of October. You can send her the links to your posts on this topic or see what others have written at Rebecca Writes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Its Coming!

Current conditions as of 4:26 pm CDT

Light Snow

Feels Like:
30.28 in and rising
1.75 mi
NW 20 mph
7:21 am
5:53 pm


Yep, winter is definitely right around the corner. Today we're getting a sneak preview.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: The Mighty God, The Lord

The mighty God, the Lord,
Hath spoken unto all;
From rising to the setting sun,
He unto earth doth call.
From Zion, his own hill,
Where perfect beauty dwells,
Jehovah hath his glory shown,
In brightness that excels.

Our God shall surely come,
And silence shall not keep;
Before him fire shall waste, and storms
Tempestuous round him sweep.
He to the heav'ns above
Shall then send forth his call,
And likewise to the earth, that he
May judge his people all.

"Together let my saints
Unto me gathered be,
Those that by sacrifice have made
A covenant with me."
Then shall the heav'ns declare
His righteousness abroad;
Because the Lord himself is judge,
Yea, none is judge, but God.

Psalm 50: 1-6, Scottish Psalter, 1650
Tune: Diademata, George J. Elvey, 1868

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Its been a very busy week but before it ends, I want to share this picture. I think Charlie enjoyed having Emily home for mid-semester break, don't you?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tomato Soup, Two Kinds!

We hosted prayer meeting at our house this week and it is our custom to share a meal and fellowship after praying together. The host family provides the main course and the rest of the group fills out the meal with side dishes and dessert. I made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Because some people like milk-based tomato soup and others prefer water-based, I made two kinds. I think both turned out rather well so I am sharing the recipes.

Here's the milk-based tomato soup which Andy really loved.

2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
2 carrots, sliced thin or diced
1 sweet onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried basil
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Strain diced tomatoes, reserving the juice. Spread on a baking sheet. Add to the tomatoes, the carrots, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir well and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.

While tomato mixture is roasting, heat remaining olive oil and butter in stock pot. Saute onions on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until beginning to lightly brown. Set aside.

When tomatoes are ready, add to onions. Add reserved juice, tomato sauce, chicken broth, bay leaf, butter and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 20 minutes on low. Let cool and remove bay leaf.

Blend in blender to desired consistency. We like it a bit chunky. Return to stockpot (or put in slow cooker), add cream and basil and heat on low until cream is incorporated.

Kim was one of the water-based tomato soup fans.

1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
3/4 cup dried tomatoes
1/2 of 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1/2 c. sliced celery
1 tablespoon parsley
2-3 teaspoons lime juice
sour cream

In dutch oven, cook onions in butter, covered, over medium low heat for 10 minutes or till tender. Add undrained whole tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the dried tomatoes, tomato paste, celery and parsley. Bring to boiling and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes and cool.

Meanwhile, in microwave safe bowl, cover remaining dried tomatoes with water. Microwave on high for one minute. Cool. Drain. Snip into pieces and set aside.

In blender, blend half of the soup at a time until smooth. Return to dutch oven (or slow cooker), add lime juice and heat. Top with sour cream and dried snipped tomatoes.

Me? I liked both soups (the recipes for which I doubled) and, at the end of the evening, I dumped them together into one container keeping out a bit for leftovers and freezing the rest. I love having something in the freezer for a busy day when I am just too tired to cook at the end of it.

A Gospel Quote

"...The gospel starts by teaching us that we, as creatures, are absolutely dependent on God, and that He, as Creator, has an absolute claim on us. Only when we have learned this can we see what sin is, and only when we see what sin is can we understand the good news of salvation from sin. We must know what it means to call God Creator before we can grasp what it means to speak of Him as Redeemer. Nothing can be achieved by talking about sin and salvation where this preliminary lesson has not in some measure been learned."
J.I. Packer in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God p. 59
Rebecca's theme for October is the Gospel. Share your posts on this topic with her so she can compile them every Tuesday and Friday of this month. Or visit her to see what she and others have posted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Gospel Hymn: Open My Eyes, That I May See

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.


Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.


Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.


Clara H. Scott, 1895

Tune: Scott by Clara H. Scott, 1895

There are two reasons why I love this particular hymn and I'll start with the last one first. Its last because it is in the final verse. Its the reminder to share the warm truth of the Gospel by opening my heart and sharing the love of God "everywhere."

The second reason that I love this hymn is contained in the first two verses. The words reflect my need as a believer to continue to ask God to open my eyes and ears to His truths. Yes, believers continue to need to hear the Gospel preached clearly to them too. We need it because we are a forgetful people. We forget when we are tired. We forget when we are discouraged. We forget when we are tempted. We forget because it is part of our nature, our weak and sinful human nature. And sometimes we are worse than forgetful. As Paul put it, "...I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." (Romans 7:25) I am in the same situation. Only God has the power to overcome my sinful nature. In myself, I am powerless before it. And the Gospel, the theme of God's Holy Word, is His wonderful key that sets me free every time I hear it.

Rebecca is celebrating the theme of the Gospel and invites us to share our posts on the topic each Tuesday and Friday of the month of October. Please visit her here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Way of Truth

Teach me, O Lord, thy way of truth,
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.

In thy commandments make me walk,
For in thy law my joy shall be;
Give me a heart that loves thy will,
From discontent and envy free.

Turn thou mine eyes from vanity,
And cause me in thy ways to tread;
O let thy servant prove thy Word
And thus to godly fear be led.

Turn thou away reproach and fear;
Thy righteous judgments I confess;
To know thy precepts I desire;
Revive me in thy righteousness.

From Psalm 119:33-40, transcribed by Joseph P. Holbrook, circa 1878
Tune: Bishop (Holbrook), Joseph P. Holbrook, circa 1878

Friday, October 17, 2008


Some of us sure do enjoy our creature comforts on a chilly Fall morning.

Prophesy of the New Covenant

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.

33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more." Jeremiah 31:31-34

Because the whole Word of God points to the Gospel, the finished work of Jesus Christ through His shed blood on the cross and His resurrection and assumption of the role of our High Priest and mediator, which provides the hope on which believers stand through faith in Him, I am posting an Old Testament passage which prophesies of this Gospel.

Rebecca is inviting us to share our posts related to the Gospel during the month of October. To view other posts or share one of your own, visit Rebecca Writes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

His revelation in creation;
Eternal, omnipotent, compassionate and just.
The Light of the world.

More 15 Words or Less Poems at Laura Salas'.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Changed Life

Rose's poem, the one Kim at Hireath shared last Friday, made me think about another little girl. This little girl heard the Gospel for the first time when she was nine years old. She attended public school but was sent to religious education classes at the local Catholic church after school. At religious education, this little girl was taught from the Baltimore catechism, memorizing questions and answers in order to pass an oral examination by a priest of the Catholic church. One day, the lay teacher who taught the little girl's class, sighed deeply and laid down her copy of the Baltimore catechism. "None of this really matters," she finally said, "I am going to tell you what does really matter." And this teacher proceeded to tell her class about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For that little girl, the world turned upside down. She knew instantly that what the teacher said was true! She was an extremely shy and quiet little girl and never said a word to the teacher...or her parents...or her friends...or her brothers or sisters. But she couldn't sleep for a very long time that night because she was mulling over this earth-shattering news. Her outward life didn't change but her inward life did. But the religious education teacher never knew. Neither did the mother of a friend of the little girl who gave her a Bible and told the little girl of the Gospel again a couple of years later.

The little girl carried this special information within her for many more years before she really began to grow in it. In fact, she was a young mother before she really began to study that Bible with any intentionality or understanding that those words are the Word of God. And it was more years before she shared the Gospel with anyone.

I am that little girl and I am so very thankful for God's working through the people in my life who understood His command to

Tell the whole World about Jesus,

Everywhere you go,

as Rose says. And I try to remember when I am discouraged that I may never know who really hears the words about Jesus that I may say or what the impact in their lives may be just as those two women never knew how their words affected my life.

Rebecca is gathering posts related to the Gospel every Tuesday and Friday in the month of October. Go visit her for the guidelines and to see the links she's already posted.

Today's the Day!

What day? Well, its Charlie's 13th birthday! A very important day at the cottage! Here's a photo of him in his younger days. What a sweetie he was back then and he's just gotten sweeter each year. So Happy Birthday, Charlie! We love you...but you still only get your prescription dog food today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indian Summer

Yesterday was surely the peak of our Indian Summer...84 degrees! What a gorgeous afternoon on the lake! This morning is sort of overcast and the forecast is only for partly sunny skies and a high of 79 degrees with rain tonight. I think our Indian Summer is on the way out but it has been a lovely last few days! Perfect timing for Andy to have a few days off.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I cherish, thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight,
And all the twinkling, starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heav'n can boast.

Beautiful Saviour! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and for evermore be thine.

Written by German Jesuits and published in Munster Gesangbuch, 1677
Tune: Crusader's Hymn (a Silesian folk song), arranged by Richard S. Willis

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I love walking in the Fall, just picking up whatever leaves catch my eye. The maples are lovely right now and the brown oak sets off those brighter colors perfectly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On the Boat

Yesterday was gorgeous here in Crystal Lake, IL. Sunny skies of that special blue that only seems to come in Fall and a high of 70 degrees. My idea of perfect weather! So it was out on the boat for us, doing some fishing and just relaxing on the water. All three of us. Charlie loves that fresh breeze in his hair as much as Andy or me!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Old gears,
Plodding along,
Working together

For more 15 Words or Less Poems, visit Laura Salas.

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest upon unchanging grace;
In ev'ry rough and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When I shall launch in worlds unseen,
O may I then be found in him;
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Edward Mote, 1834
Tune: Solid Rock, William B. Bradbury, 1863

Rebecca's theme for the month of October is simply the Gospel. As I've been thinking about what I am going to post related to this theme, I've realized that almost all of the hymns that I love relate back to the subject of the gospel. That is as it should be because it is true that my life, as well as my hope, is built on nothing less.

If you'd like to participate in the theme of the Gospel during this month, visit Rebecca and view the guidelines here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bleeding Hearts in Fall

I thought my bleeding hearts were lovely in the spring...and they were! But I love the delicate, heart-shaped leaves in fall colors too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The New Covenant

"For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." Hebrews 9:15

This is my first post on the October theme of The Gospel which is hosted by Rebecca. For other links or to add a post of your own, visit Rebecca Writes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Morning on Crystal Lake

Andy has another few days of vacation to use before the end of the year so, considering the fun we had on our previous camping at home vacation, we decided to do it all over again! This morning, we went fishing on Crystal Lake and I caught this early morning photo.

October's Theme: The Gospel

Rebecca, our "theme queen," has decreed that the theme for the month of October is the Gospel. Here's our assignment from Rebecca:
Post a quote, verse, poem, story, book review, or essay on a subject connected in some way to the gospel, send me (Rebecca, that is) an email with your link, and I’ll link back to your post (or posts) on the next Tuesday or Friday. There are no limits, really, on the form or number of your posts, just the subject.
Not sure what Rebecca is talking about? Check her post here for more information. I can't wait to read all of your posts!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Ye Holy Angels Bright

Ye holy angels bright,
Who wait at God's right hand,
Or through the realms of light
Fly at your Lord's command,
Assist our song,
For else the theme
Too high doth seem
For mortal tongue.

Ye blessed souls at rest,
Who ran this earthly race,
And now, from sin released,
Behold the Saviour's face,
God's praises sound,
As in his sight
With sweet delight
Ye do abound.

All nations of the earth,
Extol the world's great King;
With melody and mirth
His glorious praises sing;
For he still reigns,
And will bring low
The proudest foe
That him disdains.

Sing forth Jehovah's praise,
Ye saints, that on him call!
Him magnify always
His holy churches all!
In him rejoice,
And there proclaim
His holy name
With sounding voice.

My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above;
With a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love;
Thou art his own,
Who precious blood
Shed for thy good
His love made known.

Away, distrustful care!
I have thy promise, Lord:
To banish all despair,
I have thine oath and word:
And therefore I
Shall see thy face
And there thy grace
Shall magnify.

With thy triumphant flock,
Then I shall numbered be;
Built on th'eternal rock,
His glory we shall see.
The heavens so high
With praise shall ring
And all shall sing
In harmony.

Richard Baxter, 1681
Tune: William Croft (1678-1727), Croft's 136th