18 June 2008

Reflections on God's Infinite Wisdom

I recently posted about the fact that I've been reading in the gospel of John, chapters 18-21. This portion of scripture deals with the betrayal of Christ in the garden up through the post-resurrection account of the overflowing nets and fish-fry that involves Christ telling Peter, "feed My sheep" numerous times.

I've been reading this chunk of scripture daily (as I am able) for the past two weeks or so, and the other day something stood out to me that I never fully took notice of before in John 18:7-11:

I don't exactly know why this stands out to me so much, but try to follow this. Peter essentially attacks Malchus with his sword, and other gospel accounts say that he cut off his ear (Mark 14:47 and Luke 22:50). We also know from Luke 22:51 that Jesus "touched his ear and healed him," a miracle that doesn't get much attention, but a miracle none the less! After Christ is arrested and taken to trial, Peter is still hanging around the mob scene, and is even recognized by one of Malchus' relatives (John 18:26), but still not captured or questioned. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that by the very act of keeping His disciples from being arrested that night, Christ performed yet another miracle, which we tend to take for granted sometimes.

These are some questions that came to my mind:
  1. Why didn't anyone seize Peter for attempted murder in the garden? There were plenty of witnesses to condemn him, and they most likely outnumbered Jesus and his couple of disciples. Wouldn't Peter's arrest have been useful in further incriminating Jesus as well?
  2. Of all the people he could have attacked, why didn't Peter head straight for that scoundrel, Judas? (I know this question is a digression, but it did come across my mind!)
  3. After Jesus healed Malchus (re-attached his ear), why wasn't anyone affected by having seen this miracle first-hand? Instead, everyone goes on as if nothing happened, determined only to seize Jesus.
  4. Why did Peter stick around the scene after attacking someone with a sword in the midst of a crowd of witnesses? (Can you imagine: in modern times he would be considered a stupid criminal, caught on video surveillance, returning to the scene of the crime--or worse, never leaving the scene of the crime!)
Just a few thoughts. If given more time and uninterrupted study, I could come up with more questions asking why. When trying to answer my own children's "why" questions, I sometimes have to resort to this answer:

God in His infinite wisdom designed it that way!

I know that's an easy answer, but it's actually a good place to begin. (And sometimes to end, when we cannot know or comprehend the answer in full.)

Of course our merciful God does give us some clue as to why in the scriptures:
(John 18:8-9) Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way," to fulfill the word which He spoke, "Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one."
God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed his disciples to safely avoid being arrested along with Jesus and placed on trial that night for any number of reasons. First on the list would be what John points out here, to fulfill the word which He spoke. He's referring to what Christ said in John 17:12, that He guarded them and not one of them perished, and also in John 10:27-30, that by His authority, His sheep cannot be snatched out of His hand. If there's a basic lesson to glean from that little bit it's this: Jesus keeps His word. That little bit of information may have been critically important for His disciples during the coming days and weeks following these events, as the Holy Spirit began to teach them what Christ meant when He was with them, and reminded them of what the scriptures say.

Jesus keeps His word.

His very own closest earthly friends couldn't always understand what He was trying to teach them, but after He ascended to the Father, His disciples began to understand that Jesus keeps His word. It's not just that what He says is true and trustworthy, but that He keeps his word. He fulfilled it. He, being God incarnate, made it come about or come true.

Jesus keeps His word.

Due to time and life constraints, I must leave my reflections here, but at least wanted to share them with anyone who might be interested. What stands out to you? What questions come to your mind, or perhaps what answers? What have you read lately that made you think,

God in His infinite wisdom...

16 June 2008

Manic Monday

I couldn't think of a better title than that to sum it all up. I've been challenging myself to participate in the "Making your Home a Haven" refresher challenge over at Crystal's blog, but since I had errands to run today, I didn't get home until 3 this afternoon to even see it to know what fun challenge we would be tackling. (Sigh)

So this is an unusual Monday. Without too much time to go into detail, I have the car today, so decided to make use of it by running errands. I made a short list at breakfast:
  1. do morning chores with the kids (vacuum, clear breakfast dishes, brush teeth).
  2. call Dr.'s offices for vitamin prescriptions for kids and myself.
  3. drop off craft supplies at church.
  4. fill prescriptions at Target.
  5. make copies of budgeting materials from library book before returning it.
  6. return library books and get new ones.
I was hoping to get these things done in time to return home before lunch, but we had some disciplinary issues that came up before we left, then I stayed longer than planned at church, and we browsed the aisles of Target a bit longer than necessary as well. We did get those things all done on the list, but it included buying lunch instead of eating at home, which I was hoping to avoid.

I think I should be a little more encouraged by what I have accomplished, but to be honest, what makes me most discouraged is that on days when we have to take Enoch to work, I'm less likely to get my quiet Bible reading time in the morning. I still faithfully read Proverbs with the kids at breakfast, but what I am jealous of is my time to read what I want to study (which is currently chapters 18-21 in the gospel of John). So that's what I did this afternoon during quiet time--instead of sleep or clean my living room. In fact, I only read part of chapter 18, but the Lord made me aware of something in that chapter that I had never taken notice of before, so I am thankful that I chose to do that rather than push forward with Crystal's challenge.

And really, every day is a challenge to make my home a haven, not just Mondays. And I'm pretty sure I won't be getting the car every day this week, so I'll be able to focus more on my living room in the coming week. We'll see!

15 June 2008

Happy Father's Day

Blessed is the man
To whom his work is a pleasure,

By whom his friends are encouraged,
With whom all are comfortable,
In whom a clear conscience abides,
And through whom his children See God.
--Source unknown

09 June 2008

Heat Wave!

As some of you might be aware from the news, our area of the world is experiencing the first heat wave of the summer season. Saturday's temperature reached 94F, and we were outside a good deal (mostly Enoch and the boys) working in the garden, cutting grass, and helping Mom Mom and Pop Pop with burn day. Sunday morning Enoch wasn't feeling well at church. We reached 94F, and he was supposed to help a friend work on his roof after they treated us to a lovely supper. Thankfully they showed some sense and scratched their plans, but Enoch took the kids to the park anyway. They came back from the park sweaty and very red, and Enoch said "we need to go home, and you need to drive." He was feeling worse. We came home and he crashed on the sofa bed in the living room basically until this morning. The kids and I watched videos and ate popcorn and slept in the basement to keep cool.

This morning as Enoch was getting ready to go to work, the inside house temperature was 80F, and today it is expected to go up to 99F outside. So I finally broke down and determined to use the air conditioner. I am 7 months pregnant, after all, and there's no need to foolishly attempt to be a hero. I'd much rather avoid an emergency room visit due to heat exhaustion.

I'm not sure if Enoch's illness is heat related or something else, but he got nearly 13 hours of sleep and is feeling better though not 100% today. The forecast for the rest of this heat wave: tomorrow 98F, Wednesday 91F, and then it drops below heat wave definition to 86F and 85F for Thursday and Friday. These temperatures do not factor in humidity, which makes it feel even hotter. The good news: our garden seems to be loving these temperatures, and hopefully my next post will have updates from our backyard.

06 June 2008

Another Birthday Boy!

The birthday boy has the Special Red Plate!

Tristan's birthday was celebrated a little early because of our special guests, Grandma Stevenson and Aunt Becky. We ate one of his favorite meals, Cranberry Chicken, and I made a special banana split ice cream cake upon his request.

Basic Ice Cream cake: in a 9x11 in. dish, layer 1/2 package crushed Oreo cookies, one slightly softened gallon of your favorite ice cream (we used Neopolitin for the banana split-effect), topped with the second half of the package of crushed Oreo cookies. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the whole thing and re-freeze until you're ready to serve. We also added a layer of sliced bananas inside and topped with whipped cream and cherries for a final banana split touch.

Everyone waited patiently while the ice cream cake was being served. Rosalind appears to be the most eager to dive in!

After dinner and dessert, then came the presents! While Aunt Becky assisted with the cards and gift wrap, Rosalind kept herself busy.

Yum! Banana Split Ice Cream Cake with cherries on top! Hold the spoon, please!

New Lincoln Logs! While all the excitement of unwrapping took place, Rosalind was doing her best to lick the bowl clean, and obviously enjoying herself!

All done!

And as if that wasn't enough celebration for a whole year, we did it again a few days later after the presents arrived from Grandma and Grandpa Rowley!

More birthday loot (the before photo).

Rosalind was eager to get her gift open, too. (I think her 2-year molars are coming in; notice how she's always chewing on something in these photos?)

Everyone migrated to the living room with their new playthings.

The "after" photo. A good time was had by all, and now a week later, Mommy is beginning to get back to "normal," whatever that is.

Recent Visitors

And AT LAST, an updated blog, but with some catching up to do! Of course, the most recent big event has been a visit from Grandma Stevenson and Aunt Becky. They stayed over Memorial Day weekend and helped us celebrate Tristan's 5th Birthday (more on that is forthcoming). As out-of-town visits from family are a rare treat, we all were looking forward to it, and were not disappointed. Here's a snapshot of only some of the loot that Grandma and Aunt Becky unloaded from their suitcases.

Rosalind took a little time before warming up to Aunt Becky, but she quickly became attached to her red water bottle. Every time she spotted Aunt Becky taking a drink, Rosalind decided she wanted it. By the end of their visit, Aunt Becky generously left it for Rosalind to remember her by.

It didn't take too long for Rosalind to warm up to Grandma and Aunt Becky, though. Especially since they were so willing to read books to her. Nearly anytime a living room chair is occupied, she goes right to the kid's bookshelf and grabs a book to take to the nearest lap.

The boys also got to participate in a very special project with Grandma: making cinnamon rolls in a bag. Grandma patiently helped them squish all the ingredients, flatten the dough, and form the rolls while I gladly documented it on film. (Thanks to Aunt Karen for sending us the recipe!)

step one: smush ingredients in a zippered plastic bag until thoroughly mixed.

step two: flatten into a "rectangle" on a floured surface.

step three: sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, roll up, cut into rounds, and place in baking dish.

The end results were delicious!

We have some wonderful memories to cherish, and are looking forward to the next visit already.

More favorite photos of "reading with Rosalind."

Ever Have One of those Days?

You know how sometimes we have extreme days? Some days, most days for me lately, have been somewhat extreme in the negative nature; not having much energy to do things, not listing my work, let alone working my list, spending more time in the chair with my feet up or reading the paper or favorite blogs, and feeling a lack of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Today is one of those rare opposite extremes for some reason. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I'm happy to say that all the dirty laundry is now in the basement, one load is hanging while the next one is washing. The full dishwasher is happily humming, all three bedrooms including the hallway and the dining room have been vacuumed, and it feels like all the spark-plugs are firing as they should. We still need to mop the kitchen floor and fold loads and loads of laundry before my list is completed to my satisfaction. I know I should pace myself, but I also know that I don't want to lose momentum. But here I now sit, thinking I might try to kill two birds with one stone: rest at the computer while trying to catch up on posting entries on my blog, which are long overdue, I know. So here I go, I'll see what more I can accomplish during "quiet time."

Rosalind's recent favorite thing to do is try on other people's shoes and walk in them. She's very proud to have successfully walked in Daddy's size 14 shoes.

02 June 2008

One of the Benefits of Having to Use the Toilet at 2:15 in the Morning

Heh. Heh. Heh.

I sometimes enjoy giving my little posts such fun titles.


Well, I was going to catch up on some blogging posts today and show pictures from our good times spent with Grandma and Aunt Becky celebrating Tristan's 5th birthday. Perhaps that can still be accomplished; we'll see.

Last night I got up to use the restroom (just after Enoch had, actually), and heard a sound that I couldn't quite determine at first. Since we had all our windows open, I thought it could be the rushing sounds of the highway, or perhaps the neighbor's shower. Or was the toilet still running from the previous user? The more I listened, the more it sounded like either my dishwasher or washing machine was running water. As it was about 2:20 am and I had not turned either machine on before bed, I thought I'd go investigate.

When I reached the kitchen I knew for certain it was water running, but when I turned on the kitchen lights, everything was dry. So I opened the basement door, and heard what sounded like intense splashing, and felt cool moisture in the air. I ran back to the stairs and yelled up to Enoch to come quickly, there was water rushing in the basement.

We were so fast and focussed on getting the main water shut off and the lights turned on, we had to actually turn the water back on to find the problem. The washing machine's cold water hose had blown a hole. There was cold water up to our ankles in one section of the basement, and it had found an exit point under the garage door area and was draining outside.

And today is supposed to be laundry day! Thankfully I washed a couple of loads yesterday, and we used our newly installed laundry line outside for the first time. But since it's the washer that is out of commission, not the dryer, my laundry will just have to wait until we get this fixed.

But here's my free advice for anyone considering buying a new home for the first time: purchase a shop vac! You may find it comes in handy when you least expect it.