Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Peace and Offense

Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165
It seems that in the midst of adversity, I tend to naturally resign myself to desire to not feel or be offended, as if by choosing to not be offended I'll have an incredible peace and my love for God's law will increase and abound.
But, I've found that the verse doesn't mean that at all. Choosing to not be offended will not give lasting peace nor will it give a greater love for God's word. The process is layed out clearly like this:

1. Love God's Law
which will enable you to...
2. Exemplify A Peaceful Life
which in turn will bring the ability to...
3. Live Beyond Offense

This "battle plan" must first be enacted before the need arises to practice this. You can't go into a difficulty without first being prepared and expect to come out living a peaceful and pleasant life amidst adverse and contrary situations without first instilling a love for God's law.

If you are content that this verse is already attained in your life, examine your natural and first response to opposition. Are you easily offended when someone speaks ill of you? Do you believe you have a right to be offended when you are treated wrongly? Is your first response to false accusations one of frustration and hurt? When in the face of wrong and lies spoken against you, is it peace or feelings of being offended that shroud your countenance?

It's not sin to feel hurt when someone treats you unfairly but it's not right to dwell on that hurt and to justify yourself to others even when you are truthfully in the right. When you can turn around and speak ill of the person wrongfully accusing you, you are no different than the one wrongfully treating you. You are no longer innocent. You are guilty. Like the saying goes, two wrongs never make a right.

A love of God's law brings peace that prevails in the midst of difficulty and strife.

A love for justice and retaliation brings frustration and strife and a circle of never ending confusion and wrong.

It is important to remember as a follower of Christ that the motive to see the end to the wrong being lived out in another Christian, must be prompted not because I want justice on them but rather because when sin is reigning in a believer's life, it is a sad and scary thing. That thought alone should compel me to restore them back to Christ despite my feelings of hurt and despair. To do what I can to provoke them to love and good works.
My feelings of hurt and the reason I'm offended are unimportant and fickle in the face of the realization that a soul is at stake when sin is being allowed to reign it. No matter how unjustly I'm treated, I should be driven to change things for the better not for justice's sake but rather for the sake of their soul.
My reason for restoration should be motivated by a love of God's law coupled with peace and untainted by offense. My rights to defend and be sympathized over are merely feelings of self pity and entirely based on the mentality of worldly philosophy. A society governed by Satan should not be the example I follow.
When I pursue my rights, I become wrong.
When I "rightly" proclaim another's wrong, I become wrong.
When I justly punish wrong, I'm doing wrong.
When I replace wrong with right, then and only then, I am right.
If God's law is the love of my life, I will be living a life conditioned to dwell in peace and with a desire to see others do the same.

Home Again

We made is safe with no set backs. Our time with family was wonderful and we have many memories and pictures to share. I'll upload the pics soon and get a more decent update. For now, just thought I'd let everyone know we're safely home again. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

No Blogging For Awhile

We're leaving shortly on a trip to Ohio to visit my sister in law and her family. We'll meet a new nephew (Elijah Morhart) and mingle with Grandparents, inlaws and some of our inlaw's inlaws. Hopefully I'll return with lots of pictures. Pray we have a safe trip and an enjoyable time filled with fellowship, fun and health.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Let Patience Have Her Perfect Work


I'm going to rename my children and give them all the middle name "Patience" so that I will remember the key ingredient to being a mom: patience.

"Landon Patience, I told you not to..."

(think patience, think patience, think patience...)

"Janae Patience, you were told to..."

Today has been especially challenging to remember how important patience is. To forget even for a moment the importance of that virtue, can wreck havoc for all.

I'm thoroughly convinced that my darling children have launched a campaign to evaluate the accurate amount of patience their loving mother has. Indeed, the trials inflicted during recent events, have been motivated only to see the level of patience her gracious being possessed. I'm not sure if they will impeach me as the guardian and mother of their life but hopefully if I pass their test, I will not have to find out if they indeed plan to elect another mother.

And if they do find another mom, a day like today makes me think that it wouldn't really be all that bad for me. But, the poor new mom!

The male population of my children began the first trial today. He decided he didn't need his diaper changed when he got up and that we would only have chips for breakfast. There was also supposed to be a surplus of juice in his cup.

To top it off, there was no reason why he couldn't disturb the peace of the then peaceful and sleeping occupant of the female quarter in the upper end of our village. No whispering allowed. And definitely not right outside the sleeper's door.

As peace talks were negotiated in the lower part of town between the violator and the law enforcement, the rest of the town began to stir. As the occupants of our village began to mingle, the sun just couldn't seem any brighter. An unusual nostalgic peace was over all.

That was until the first mob broke out.

Meal arrangements were in order and a certain member of our village was dining respectively in her assigned area. Apparently, the contents of her cup were thought by a male citizen to be an unlawful substance. From the reports gathered by those investigating, the citizen's evaluations were made merely based on the color of the victim's cup which thus resembled apple juice which we all know only goes to those over the age of 2.

Law enforcement agencies were able to suffice the suspect with simple audible evidence that the cup was filled with water. We believe that later on he examined the contents of the then discarded and neglected cup and found our words to be truth.

As the day in our town progressed, another urgent disaster took place.

From the reports that came in, the victim was robbed of his one and only set of keys and the thief made their speeding escape on hands and knees. The stolen item was found in the suspect's mouth.

Negotiations were made and all parties from both sides were content to go their separate ways in peace after the missing keys were restored to the victim.

While the high ranking official dined with the male occupants of the town, a resistance to all authority in regard to food rations soon was evident. A series of negotiations resulted in no further communication or success in proper feeding of the entire male population and the violator was peacefully banned to their respective section of town in order to arrange for necessary deliberations on their part to cooperate with the law. A mild punishment of only water was the single company of the suspect.

Swiftly, arrangements were made evident that the whole of the male resident was willing to make the effort of dining in peace with the rest of the town. Case closed peacefully. Water was replaced with authentic human companionship. (aka: mom)

The high ranking law enforcement requested all man power to report for duty to the department where an unofficial kleenex needed to be extracted from it's receptacle and moved to a necessary location. All parties in that union went on strike and demanded release from the request.

The kleenex demand was in place considering the evidence of extreme excretions called for at least the company of a singular tissue but upon the unexpected strike, law enforcement went to the task of investigating the cause of the job strike and found no reason for a mandatory cease from labors. As a proper search continued, a needed consultation of the high ranking official with the head authority (aka: dad) of our town was underway. Delegations were made and set until an unfortunate disaster broke out.

Investegators found extensive property damage in the area where the kleenexes were safely stored. An almost entire collection of tissue, was dismembered and scattered throughout a certain section of our village. The suspect was at the scene and soon arrested for further interrogation.

As negotiations were set, the suspect was found guilty and apprehended. All available officials (aka: mom), began the clean up process and the kleenex collection was soon restored.

During these series of events, an unusual epidemic broke out in the female population of our town. There was extreme unrest and lack of peace as the wails of strong vocal chords permeated the walls of our village. No peace talks were activated as the suspect was willingly violating the peace and desired no available negotiations. Evidently, whatever was lacking, soon came to restoration.

For the stability and furtherance of peace in our town, a siesta was soon in order. 100% of the population resisted the mandatory rest period but soon willingly accepted sleep when their wails for release fell on unsympathetic ears.

As the impending shadow of sleep swiftly swept over the wailing population, peace again reigned as sleep stole wakefulness away. Whether or not the accurate number of sheep are counted in the clouds of rest, at least the accurate amount of the population is counted for and sufficiently tucked away. In peace.

At last, this high ranking official can feel the thrill of feeling patience since as she types here, there are no twinges of frustration in her gracious being. But wait, am I really being patient if there's no reason why I have to choose between patience and frustration right now? Patience can only have her perfect work when those able to extend patience choose to be patient.

The end result is a peaceful authority. (aka: mom)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Prayer Request For Gram'a

Today we found out that the never ending testing, scans and blood work my grandma Norma has had recently have finally come to a conclusion: Lymphoma of the Brain.

We have no clue as to what the prognosis is or what long term effects may be involved at this point. Please pray for healing and wisdom as Gram'a (as she always signs her cards to us) faces decisions and choices that need to be made. She is a young 70 year old, grayless, spry grandma and quite energetic. The most of her health problems have only been arthritis in her hands.

As we take this unexpected and sad piece of news, we are challenged by the reminder that life is short, death is certain. No matter the quality of one's health, life on earth is never guaranteed. This disease may only be a minimal thing if it can be treated appropriately or she may be in for a long trial. The unknown is all we know right now. Please keep her in prayer.

Gram'a and Janae, Christmas 2005

What Cuddly Creatures

Baby porcupines

Gives a whole new perspective on labor pains.

The Missing Checkbook

This time when something went missing, it wasn't Toby that misplaced but rather me. Or at least, so I thought.

I remember setting the checkbook on the counter Saturday afternoon and then forgetting about it. I knew I must've had to put it somewhere though; like tucked in a safe drawer, set on a desk, under a stack of papers or left in my pocket. But it was no where.

I told Toby before he left for work this morning that I would find it in no time. I think I was consoling myself more than him. I mentioned that it had to be around here somewhere and no way could've Landon taken it.

Why would he want to play with a checkbook anyway?

Toby gave me the don't-put-it-past-that-two-year-old look.

That look motivated me to glance into the playroom and what should I find but something other than toys...

At least Landon's way of using the checkbook doesn't hurt us financially. Yet.

The charming culprit

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why God Thought Men Shouldn't Be Alone

As Toby collected the means necessary for work today before heading out the door, he was delayed by the inconvenience of a lost tape measure. I could tell he was looking for it before I even knew for sure it was missing.

I quickly and silently began to rummage around the office in a desperate attempt to replace his loss with the missing item.

It was no where to be found.

I ran to the play room and looked through Landon's trucks, checked on the couch and glanced in the kitchen. Still missing. I knew I was guilty.

Toby was trailing behind me and I was smart enough to know that he was probably correctly assuming I had played a part in it's misplacement.

I finally confessed: Landon was playing with it yesterday.

Hoping I could hand him the tape measure before I ended my confession, I hurriedly searched through the toys once more, checking inside a large semi-trailer for the missing item assuming it was a perfect place for a smart little boy to put a special toy. Nothing.

As Toby began to tell me that the tape measure is not a toy and that Landon shouldn't have had it and that I better make sure he doesn't get it again and that he should be reminded not to touch Daddy's things and that he should know better than to take it, I interrupted his exhortation with a request to open a stubborn door, my last attempt to search for the tape measure in the playroom.

It wasn't there.

When Toby resumed his well meaning encouragement to me that the tape measure isn't something Landon should play with when he finds it on Daddy's desk, I knew the moment had come to make a full confession.

While heading out the doorway and up the stairs to Landon's room, I meekly mentioned in passing that I had actually given the tape measure to Landon to play with.

Thoroughly puzzled by my actions in doing so, Toby shockingly asked why.

Seeing now how unfortunate it had been that I had given Landon Toby's most used construction tool, my intelligent answer was, "I don't know."

It seemed to set Toby's mind at ease that Landon hadn't actually used the freedom to locate, extract and displace his tape measure but rather that his wise and prudent wife had generously given the important tool to his two year old son to play with and do with as he pleased. I think it's easier for Toby to think about requesting his wife not to do something again while being unsupervised than it is to expect his young son to obey and remember what is off limits and what is not. I think something with age helps a person to remember boundaries.

I happened to browse through the office once more in one last effort to find the tape measure before Toby left for work. I had about given up. Actually, I had given up and finally decided it was gone when I bumped my foot against something cold, shiny and it seemed to have a tape measureish feel.

There, under Toby's office chair, was the missing tool. I was speechless upon finding it so immediately began to rattle off all kinds of shocking statements. Something about feeling speechless always makes me talk more for some reason.

I quickly told Toby I found the tape measure but he seemed reluctant to believe me. He was already at the door and probably assumed it was a well used tactic to get him to delay his departure that much longer.

He was especially skeptical when I informed him that the tape measure was in the office. And he seemed entirely unbelieving when I let him in on the fact that it was under his chair.

It was interesting how the guilt I had felt for giving the tape measure to Landon quickly dissipated and my actions were justifiable since he hadn't entirely misplaced it afterall. The tape measure was still in the office and it was still on Toby's side of the office.

I charged him with the responsibility of the one who should've found it since it was in his office, under his chair and it was his misplaced item. He contended that I had looked in here too so therefore his actions of not finding it were justified since I was as guilty as he.

But we all know that Toby has a comical reputation for losing all his possessions and if it wasn't for his patient little wife, Toby would probably go to work bare foot most days.

Which reminds me of another story... after going a few days without a certain pair of work shoes that are especially worn for certain jobs, Toby happened to find his long lost footwear in, of all places, the closet with the rest of his shoes. Mind you, had I not been the person retrieving a pair of her own shoes while preparing to leave for the evening, the closet door probably would've stayed closed for who knows how much longer.

To top this illustration off, I seemed to especially remember wisely informing Toby the day the shoes went missing, that I was pretty sure they were in the closet. But, who would think to put shoes in a closet of all places? I assume he had precious time that couldn't be wasted so therefore looking in a closet for something that actually belonged in there, was just not something that could be done at the moment.

Either way, as he headed out the door and down the steps this morning, I cheerfully reminded him that I fully know why it took him so long to find a wife. At least that was one thing he couldn't argue with me on.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Anchor Of Life

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast... Hebrews 6:19

Picture a vast, majestic ship on the ocean. It stands alone.

It holds a varied sampling of beauty unidentical to the water's blue grey solitude.

It stands out as a single silhouette on the entire horizon. Completely disconnected to safe harbors.

It shows an image of vulnerability. It shows a structure without a foundation. A building that rocks and sways. Without it's one special tool, no matter how beautiful and intricate it's design may be, a person would be stupid to embark on a journey within this extravagant vessel.

Without an anchor, a ship is a dangerous place.

So is our life on this earth when we do not have an Anchor on our ship when we set out on the sea of life.

Without a anchor, any wind of doctrine, any currant of ideas, any direction our ship is tossed towards, would allow our ship to drive unrestrained to any destination in our horizon.

Just as God is far away in the heaven, so is our anchor when it is firmly fastened to the sea bottom. A passerby, a fellow friend, a watching neighbor, a well meaning relative, cannot see the Anchor when they watch our lives headed towards a coming storm.

But that anchor stands secure and is as real as the ship itself.

But, equally so, a strong Anchor and a capable ship can do no good without a strong rope connecting the Anchor to the ship.

Without prayer and without a healthy prayer life, God can do us no good in anchoring us in His will if our connection to Him is weak.

You won't use a simple rope to fasten your anchor to your ship. You condition yourself to remember that in the midst of a storm when you throw your anchor into the water, the thought of seeing the rope snap as the anchor heads to the bottom of the sea will be a moment that can ultimately change the course of your life forever. The eventual termination of your trip may end in a fatal way.

You'll need a rope (or a chain) that meets the criteria of the size of the ship to the size of the anchor. You won't be able to wait until the storm comes and then decide whether or not that rope is safe; a wise man is prepared.

So must our prayer lives be conditioned to face the storms that come our way in life.

The hope we have in God is an Anchor to our souls. It drives away fears. It quenches discouragement when standing alone. It eliminates any need to put our trust into anything else but God. It is steadfast. Immovable.

Prayer is what connects us to our Anchor. Without prayer, a Solid Anchor and a Christian life are insufficient if we don't have the means of activating our Anchor.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Baby

I'm feeling rather nostalgic and reminiscent today. Especially about motherhood. It could have something to do with the fact that both of my darling little babies have unanimously chosen to nap at the same time today.

How sweet it is to tip toe from one room to the next and admire their cherubic little faces as they lay nestled, resting in their beds. Not only is there one little angel but two that can be admired at the same time. Now that is refreshing to this mother! To experience the more "romantic" side of motherhood is at times a rare occurrence considering the needs and demands of children are often precedent over the sweet and touching moments of their presence.

This case of nostalgia could also have something to do with the fact that Toby's sister had her first boy (second baby) early this morning. When Sarah called this morning with the news, I could hear the exhilaration and joy in her voice as she told me the news of his birth.

I immediately thought back to the morning after Janae was born and how excited and energized I felt. I wanted to call everybody and would've even called the President had I had his number in my cell phone. I was on a thrilling high and wanted to share my excitement with the whole world.

I'll never forget sitting in the hospital bed and cupping Janae's soft and hairy head as she lay sleeping in my arms after getting her tummy filled. While Toby slept on into the morning, I was well revived after only a short nap following her birth. I bounded all over the room fixing my hair and primping my robe and then delving into my generously packed diaper bag and pulling out an entire wardrobe of clothing for my tiny baby girl.

I fitted her up with a delicate flowered sleeper, tiny lavender socks and then swaddled her in a feminine little blanket. I topped her off with a delicate bow in her thick, dark hair and then just sat there and looked at her.

I felt no pain, no distraction and no discomfort. I was like a little girl playing with my doll and felt about as carefree as a young girl does in early childhood.

Just hours after Janae was born

All dressed up for the first time

It's weird how babies do such unbelievable things to you. The pain and agony and sleeplessness and fatigue they cause all continually go by unnoticed and unregretted. To observe the complete surrender a parent has for this tiny little person, is almost worth defining as plain stupid because of the total captivity the parent puts themselves in through the entrance of their tiny baby into this world.

Jobs are forsaken, sleep is given up, friends are neglected, spouses are denied, food is unimportant, health is laid aside, schedules are destroyed and a life of prediction and plan is replaced with one of unknown and indefinite days.

It is truly amazing how a parent chooses such a life and calls it fun and enjoyable. All for a tiny baby.

This quote by Elizabeth Prentiss was so fitting for my thoughts today...

Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in God's name, I will make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, her life-long prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!

Elijah Jan Morhart
(Jan is the Haitian form of John and is pronounced "Jahn.")
9 pounds 4 oz. 21" long
Born at 2:55am April 4, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

Here I Stand

With the responsibility of a husband and two kids and all the daily tasks that fill my time as a wife and mother, I find it all too easy to let my walk with God exist but not grow. It's so easy to shift into a survival mode and not a thriving life style of growing in grace and the abundance of scripture.

I was thinking recently about Job's wife and how she told her husband to curse God and die. I wondered what ways I encourage or discourage my husband.

Obviously Job's wife didn't have a very close relationship with God but maybe she never knew that. Maybe she had convinced herself so strongly in her right to feel and say the things she did, that it didn't even dawn on her that a true follower of God does not speak such discouraging things.

Especially to one's husband.

In the end, God blessed Job with another batch of children equal to the ones that perished. It never says that he gave him a new wife to bear all those children so for all we know, that lady had to deliver a total of 14 babies. We all know children are a blessing but we can also agree that enduring pregnancy and childbirth, definitely does not feel like much of a blessing.

Multiply that 14 times and add age to it as well and let it happen to a sour old lady. Definitely not the picture you'd see on the cover of a baby magazine.

Job being one of the godliest men in Scripture, you'd think for sure he'd have a remarkable wife. One that knew God's word. One that encouraged others. One that lived for God. One that watched her tongue.

Instead, he had just a plain ole' woman like me. She was nothing very special nor did she have any hard to attain spiritual traits. She was just a mom and wife.

Certainly, being the wife of Job would've made that little lady a bit taken back by the things she said and did and the way she thought. I mean, she's married to a man of God. A man who's life story that is put in the Bible and is there for future generations to read.

But, nope, she just spouted off the first thing that came to her mind. She thought it, so she said it. She didn't care if it was right or not. For her, life was fair. Or at least it should be.

While Job sat in a pile of ashes and scraped himself with broken pieces of pottery, hundreds of gaping sores oozed from his body. All his finances had been destroyed as was his house and farm. His kids were dead and strangers had consumed his property. His health was failing. Life couldn't get any worse.

At a time when a man needs support from his wife, it's when that man is having a bad day. And Job was having a very bad day. While he sat suffering and scraping himself, who should come to him just then but his dear little wife...

"Are you still retaining your integrity?" She spouted at him from a distance, repulsed by the stench and site of his sores. Men are so stubborn, she was thinking in the back of her mind -- at least that seems logical that her thoughts were following that pattern because of the thing she said next:

"Just curse God and die," were her concluding remarks.

What foolish words from the wife of one the wisest men in history. You'd think Job's wife would've had more discretion for the way she acted. If she would've had just a run-of-the-mill husband like everyone else had, her response would've been more acceptable, if a wife's negative response is ever acceptable. But to talk like that to a man who is listed in the Bible? Unthinkable.

But, to Mrs. Job, she did have an every day husband. Her husband was the kind that left dirty socks on the floor, the kind that read books all the time, the kind that forgot to empty the trash, the kind that had little quirks like pop fridges and itchy backs. To her, Job was like every body else's husband.

She didn't know he was special and she didn't treat him as such.

She didn't know God called him a perfect man.

She didn't know that her husband was a one-of-a-kind man and the only like him in all the earth.

She didn't know he was considered upright.

Yeah, she knew he was a nice guy but he had his faults too. To her, those faults were obvious.

I've been challenged to think about my response to my husband in even everyday things. Do I encourage him? How do I discourage him? When Toby has a bad day, do I encourage him to throw in the towel and give up?

Or do I support him and bless him with the knowledge of knowing that though all the world is against him, at least I'm still on his side.

No matter how busy and active a young wife is, there is never time to NOT seek God's direction and wisdom for each day.

Here I stand with a new resilience to pursue the higher way. Though to me, my husband is "just" nice guy and not popular or famous, my response and actions towards him need to be motivated with an air of loyalty, honor and respect. I'm the only woman in the world that can give him the respect he needs and deserves. I'm the only one that can encourage him. I'm the only one that can discourage him the most.

I never want to leave an example to younger generations of having an indifferent and ungodly support to my husband. Unfortunately, we have Job's wife as that example. And her example is more than enough.

"But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10

Saturday, April 01, 2006

HA! At last they aren't telling me it's a Wisconsin accent I have....

Upper midwestern sounds a bit tamer.


Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Dixie

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?