Field Stone Cottage Blog

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quotes From the Cottage

"There are certain things absolutely needful to the soul's health and well-being. Each one must attend to these things for himself. Each must repent for himself. Each must apply to Christ for himself. And for himself each one must speak to God and pray. You must do it for yourself, for by nobody else can it be done."
--J.C. Ryle

Snow Dog

This is it. My last post for the Dog Days of February. Today was a lovely, sunny day here in Chicagoland. It actually made it up to 25 degrees and Charlie, despite his size and appearance (foofoo, some call it) really loves being outside if it is not so cold that it hurts his feet. He considers anything over 20 degrees just fine so we took him out to play for a little while. Here we caught him "mid-roll." The next photo is a little more dignified..except for the hair on his nose!

I have thoroughly enjoyed posting about my sweet, little Charlie...and the video of well as checking out all the other dog photos and stories! Thanks, Rebecca. I can't wait to see what your theme for March will be!

Karen Celebrates Her 500th!

Karen, over at Simply...A Musing Blog, is celebrating her 500th post this week. But Karen, being the generous person that she is, is giving the gift! And don't I know about Karen's generosity! In case you didn't catch my previous post on the subject, Karen is the friend I have to thank for my lovely header. And I do love that header!

About that 500th though. Go on over and check out the details and YOU might be the lucky recipient of her gift! But hurry, won't you, because the great giveaway ends tomorrow. Tell Karen that Dorothy sent you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How About This Fish Story!

Still thinking about humility, I have been considering Matthew 17:24-28 the last few days. Here's the passage:

24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

25"Yes, he does," he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?"

26"From others," Peter answered.

"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. 27"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

Here's impulsive Peter answering for Jesus without consulting Him regarding paying the temple tax. My first impulse is to chuckle and shake my head. That's Peter for you. But right on the heels of that thought is "How many times do I decide what God says about a particular topic or situation on the spur of the moment without asking Him through prayer and consultation of His Word?" How telling that Jesus uses Peter's old name, the one by which he was called before becoming a follower of Christ. Perhaps I should have a "pre-Christian" name too.

But the last verse, verse 27, is the one I find even more intriguing. My husband, Andy, is a fisherman and, as his wife, I have done some fishing of my own. (Never mind that I am often just dangling the hook over the side enjoying being on the water and not caring if I get a bite or not.) We fish with hooks and lines because we are just sport fishing. Those who make their living by fishing use nets. And it was similar in Peter's time. While fishing with a hook and line was done, the commercial fishermen used nets back then too. But Jesus instructed Peter to use a hook and line. Jesus knew that a very particular fish was waiting for that particular line and here was an opportunity to increase Peter's faith and reliance on Him. Using a net would have "increased the odds" and decreased the evident miracle. But in the process was Peter, the former commercial fisherman, humbled as well in using a hook and line? Did the other fishermen, in their boats casting their nets, look askance at him? Scripture does not tell us so but I wonder. I do know, however, that when Jesus becomes more in my life, I must become less and that is the essence of humility. Lord, please, make me more humble.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tobi, the Cute Maltese

We never taught Charlie any tricks like this. Maybe we should have! Anyway, isn't Tobi a cutie!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder

Let us love, and sing, and wonder,
Let us praise the Saviour's name!
He has hushed the law's loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai's flame;
He has washed us with his blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.

Let us love the Lord who bought us,
Pitied us when enemies,
Called us by his grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears and gave us eyes:
He has washed us with his blood,
He presents our souls to God.

Let us sing, though fierce temptation
Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror's crown,
He who washed us with his blood,
Soon will bring us home to God.

Let us wonder; grace and justice
Join, and point to mercy's store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles, and asks no more:
He who washed us with his blood,
Has secured our way to God.

Let us praise, and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted him before us,
Now their praises fill the sky:
"Thou hast washed us with thy blood;
Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!"

Words by John Newton

Listen to it here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quotes from the Cottage

"The fatal habit of considering Christian morals as distinct from Christian doctrines insensibly gained strength. Thus the peculiar doctrines of Christianity went more and more out of sight, and as might naturally have been expected, the moral system itself also began to wither and decay, being robbed of that which should have supplied it with life and nutriment."
--William Wilberforce


I am excited! My sister, Mary, and her husband, Jim, are coming to visit in July! We finalized the plan last night. Now we live in Crystal Lake, IL while they (and most of my family) live in Portland, OR so we don't get to spend a lot of time together. I was out there recently (the trip of the birthday brunch) but it had been about a year and a half since the time before that. We do talk on the phone, however. In fact, Mary and I do a Bible study together via email and the phone!

This photo is Mary and me together some years back. The fact that there were no color photos then gives you a clue as to how many. I am the big sister, about three years old in that picture. See that smile on my face? I still get that kind of joy from spending time with my sweet sister. The next few months will be ones of pleasant anticipation for me.

Basking in the Warmth

We have an atomic clock in our bedroom that also has an indoor/outdoor thermometer. This morning when we got up at 5 AM, the outside temperature reading was 18 degrees F! Now that may seem kind of chilly to some of you but we were delighted with it! There was some actual warming and rain last Sunday but since then...oh, this week has been cold! Only single digit mornings and some of them negative. Not very windy but somewhat breezy and let me tell you, in those temperatures even a little breeze does more than freeze your nose hairs. (Those in the northern climes know exactly what I mean by that.) Poor Charlie has had a tough time with those trips outside this week but this morning, he was downright dawdling out there! Just basking in the warmth. I'll never get him to come in this afternoon when it gets to 24 degrees and sunny! But then again, maybe I'll be doing some dawdling of my own.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Check out the header!

Tonight is the unveiling of my brand new header! It it the most gracious gift of Karen at Simply A Musing Blog. My bff, Kim, at Hiraeth entered Karen's contest for a blog header and mentioned to Karen that if she won, Kim would give the header to me for my new blog. Well, Karen went one better and said that if Kim won, I got the header but if Kim didn't win, I still got the header! How is that for generosity! And isn't it a beauty of a header! I love it! Don't you?!

Swiss Potato Pancakes

I just had these pancakes for the first time a couple of weeks ago when visiting my sister, Mary, in Portland, Oregon. A birthday brunch for my nephew, David, was the occasion but I wouldn't wait for a special celebration to fix a batch. They are different but a definite winner in my book!

Let's get started:
4 medium size potatoes, peeled, shredded and well drained
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Heat enough oil to just cover bottom of large, heavy skillet, adding oil as needed to fry pancakes. Drop (this is the hard part) 1/4 cup batter into hot oil to form 4 inch pancake. Cook over medium high heat till golden brown and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately with chilled applesauce.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Charlie Sleeps

Winter day,
House quiet,
Old dog,
Deeply sleeping,
Softly snoring,
Comforts me.

Even the Dogs

When our daughter was in her early teens and Charlie was also several years younger, she would often say "I wish I was a dog" upon observing how Charlie was petted and fussed over. I would respond, "No, you wish you were our dog." This exchange was repeated with some regularity in those years and I was reminded of it last week when studying the story of Jesus' interaction with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Here is the passage:

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
26He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Mindful of her great need of Jesus' mercy on behalf of her daughter, the woman is humbly content to be compared to a pet dog such as those kept by the wealthy Greeks at the time. And Jesus rewards her humble faith not only by healing her daughter but also with an accolade for that persistent, perceptive faith. She knew that the smallest crumbs from that Master were sufficient for her need.

In the conversation between my daughter and myself regarding her desire to be our dog, there is certainly an element of jealous teasing. But there is also a recognition of Charlie's (and her own) dependence on us to meet his needs and our willingness to do just that. And as all of us dog owner's know, our dogs are content to have us meet their needs--at least for the most part While every analogy breaks down, there is something I can learn from viewing myself in a similar position in relationship to my Master. I can humbly accept my overwhelming neediness and complete inability to care for myself as the Master can. I can recognize that crumbs from Him are better than anything I can provide for myself. And in Jesus' acknowledgment of the Canaanite woman's faith, I can see that faith without humility is not really faith at all. Or perhaps better said, it is faith in one's own abilities rather than His.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Digress

Well, here I am with my very own blog and all of a sudden nothing seems momentous enough to write about. Maybe I'll just continue on with the Charlie train of thought. He really is a big part of my life! And he is sort of indirectly what gave me the push to actually do this blogging thing. Rebecca gets a lot of the credit too for declaring February Dog Month. And Kim for inviting me to guest blog at her place. And for her encouragement and help in setting up this blog!

But I digress. Back to Charlie and you will see that lots of my thoughts do lead back to Charlie. And why wouldn't they when he is as cute as this?