Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Whereas it was in Your Heart ✽ 1 Chronicles 6

1 chronicles 6:8 and 9

(Quick note before I dive into this blog post... that picture of the metal heart? That's a picture of the metal workings on a canon at Jamestown. It always makes me laugh a little bit that we found that there!)

I have been continuing to read through the bible once again, and am currently in 2 Corinthians. I don't usually go through this slowly, but I have changed up how I go about my devotions once again, gong through the bible and doing bible studies at the same time, and so it's working out well for me to go at slower pace for my read-through. I like to try to read through the whole bible at least once every year :). I'm also doing chronological right now, which is neat :).

Solomon just dedicated the temple in my reading, and says these words, which, coupled with some of the things that are shared in the passages leading up, really stood out to me this time, despite having read them many times before:

"But the Lord said to David my Father, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name." -2 Chronicles 6:8&9

David had a desire that he would be able to provide the ark of the covenant a permanent resting place in Israel, and that they would have a house dedicated to the worship of their God, a way to show their respect and reverence for the one true God. This was a wonderful desire, and a thing that anyone would assume he was called to do, as it was on his heart; but God told him no.

David's reign had been to bring peace to the land of Israel, but because that endeavor had cost much in the way of war, God told David he was not to build the temple; he was to leave this to his son, who would come into a kingdom already secured in peace. But God does't tell David that he needs to forget that desire, in fact, He tells David, "you did well that it was in your heart". Just because it didn't fall to David to bring about this work, didn't mean it was a bad thing that he longed for it.

And so David didn't give up that longing to see the temple of the Lord build. He didn't disobey and build it anyway, and he knew he would never actually see the finished project. But he didn't huff and sit back because he couldn't be the one privileged to carry out the job. Instead, he still wanted to see to it that he did all he could do to make sure that his son was able to carry out this desire. He couldn't build the temple himself, but he could provide for his son all that he would need to build it after David was gone.

We read in 1 Chronicles 28 that David had put extensive work into drawing up the plans for the temple. David divided up the work between the Levites, David drew the plans for the building, David gathered up the materials needed, and David encouraged the people in the coming work. David may not have built the temple, but he enabled the Israelites to do so as far as he was able.

And that was just really beautiful to me, and it made me think, what desires are on our hearts? They may be noble, godly desires, but our circumstances may hold us back from accomplishing the work. Do we give up in despair? Do we try to pretend that the desire is not there? Do we maybe think that it's not fair that we can't do something that fills us with so much passion?

Our circumstances might be temporary, or the Lord might never change them. Are we holding onto the fact that someday it will be different and just gritting our teeth until things change? If they never change, will we have wasted our entire life waiting?

I know a wonderful woman who loves children, would love to bring up a family someday, and would love to foster. But her circumstances don't allow that right now. But she hasn't left that stop her; she works with children all the time, giving their families help in bringing them up, and frequently babysits for fostering and adoptive families for free as a ministry, enabling them to continue on with their good work refreshed and supported. Just like David, she may not be allowed to fulfill that desire directly, but she hasn't ignored it; instead, she expresses it through another channel, enabling others to do what she herself feels called to. Which in turn means she is also doing what she was called to do, it just looked differently than she expected at this time! I think it's something we all could learn from. Because sometimes, yes, we just aren't working hard enough (that's a whole other side to this, that I won't get into; if you know that you could do what you are called to do and won't, that's totally different!), but what do we do when it's truly impossible to do what we thought we were called to do? Might we be trying to accomplish the work in ways we weren't meant to?

So what about us? What are our heart desires that don't seem to be able to tangibly work out? How could we re-direct those good things into something useful? Who has the right circumstances for that work, but needs enabled or mentored or encouraged or supported in actually accomplishing it? Can we offer that to them, and follow the ministries the Lord has laid on our heart in a way that may feel less direct, but is just as needed? Because who knows, maybe that is just why it has been laid on our hearts!

Rejoicing in Hope,

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Undivided: A Study in 1 Samuel ✽ Bible Study Review

It's the middle of July. In SC. And I am chilly. Yes, I know I am insane.

So, I have a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, obviously, and I have been singing snatches of LifeWay's 2018 VBS songs all morning because I helped with a local VBS and now I truly believe they are stuck in my head for life, and some of them were great songs, but they won't stop playing on repeat in my head, and so please help me.

BUT, if this sound track can maybe stop running through my head for a few minutes ;), I wanted to share with you a bible study that I just finished up on Sunday :)!

Undivided: A Study in 1 Samuel Bible Study Review

I am in a blogger group on Facebook (By His Grace Bloggers, if anyone is interested in joining us!), and one of our blogger friends in the group just released a new bible study, "Undivided: A Study in 1 Samuel". She offered it free for those of us in the group in return for a review on Amazon, and you know me, I love the bible studies that lead you through the passage, especially when they are free ;), so I jumped right on board! I enjoyed this study so much though, I wanted to share it with y'all, as well!

"Undivided" walks us through the book of Samuel, making clear that this is not simply a historical book for Israel. "The hero isn't Samuel or David, but God." Throughout the whole book, we are given glimpses of God at work, bringing about his plan, showing favor to those to whom He will show favor, keeping His promises no matter the circumstances, showing His might, protecting His people, and yes, punishing the wicked and trying the faithful; we see Saul rejecting the gift he has been given, the favor of the Lord, and giving his heart to earthly things, and we see God raising up David, a man with an undivided heart for God (with human failings, yes, but dedicated to honoring the Lord in all that he attempts, and repentant when shown his sins), to lead His people to Himself.

As soon as I opened the PDF book file, I was intrigued, because I was expecting a chapter by chapter study, like most; but no, it is set up so that you went through section by section, instead! You all know that the original manuscripts didn't have chapter and verse numbers. Well, this study is set up to go through a scene of the book a day, instead, and I loved it! I feel like you get a better feel for the setting when you do it this way. One passage that especially stood out to me as being "different" going through this way was 1 Samuel 13-14:46. Somehow, before, I have never really caught that Saul's fear of the Philistines and disobedience in the offering of the burnt sacrifices was so close in time to Jonathan's fearlessness in God and breaking his father's vow that not a man would eat all day. Somehow, that just seems so like Saul, unable to obey himself and yet so soon forgetting that other men can make mistakes as well. Obviously, that has never changed, it's always been in the passage the same way, but things like that stand out more and make you think when you read them in connection with each other rather than in bits and pieces. So that was one thing I really enjoyed about this study!

Another thing that I loved was that, in a section for application/reflection, additional bible passages were shared, and there were questions to ponder through, like most bible studies ;). But I found that these questions were very easy to spark your thinking to ponder for a few minutes, but that they also were very easy to carry further, and you could really spend a lot of time working through them and studying through them and really examining yourself; so I think it works great either way! Stephanie had a great way of writing, too, that drew you in and kept you engaged, and also made you think a bit more about how the passage fit together, with those around it and with the rest of the bible. I wrote down several selections of her comments in my notebook!

This study is set up to take 14 days, but there is a suggestion that you could read through the day's passages one day and then do the bible study work the next day so it would take 4 weeks, and I think I would suggest that. I got through it in 3 weeks, I think, because I was truly trying to do a day's assignments all together, but I just couldn't quite do it. That might have just been me, though. I am pretty sure I have mentioned here before that the Doorposts bible studies that I love are supposed to take 5-20 minutes a day, depending on the assignment, and I routinely take 45 minutes no matter the assignment, haha ;). I just get sucked into all the extra stuff you can do on the side, and usually end up writing, cross-referencing, note-taking, and researching a lot!

Have you ever done a bible study on 1 Samuel? Are you interested in "Undivided"? You can find this bible study on Amazon here!

Rejoicing in Hope,

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Life Lately ✽ A Little Chat

Why is it that whenever I actually feel like it would be fun to do a month wrap up post, there is no reason for one? What is this strange irony? Why do I do this to myself? Haha...

Also, I just realized that sometime last January I stopped using the double title with the flower emoticon in the middle. I didn't mean to, it just happened. Hmmmm... Why? I didn't really want to use it for every one... but I meant to use it for ones that didn't have an obvious main title, because I kind of thought it was cute.
I just realized why it was. I haven't had a real "scattered" post since January, other than month wrap ups (although I mean those to be in this style as well). I always have an agenda when I blog, because I rarely blog. Oops. Oh well.

I have a lot that I could be doing right now... I have letters to write and crocheting to do and I don't even remember the last time I journaled... those little productively quiet activities that always sound like the perfect way to fill a Sunday afternoon with before I do my evening bible study. But I kind of wanted to blog about nothing in particular, haha... so here I am, sitting in our comfortable new chairs given us by a moving church member, enjoying so cold tea, and laughing at our wet little birds across the room. They always look dirtier wet than they do beforehand, but they are so FLUFFY when they dry!

I guess while I am here, I could share those garden snippets I was gonna share weeks ago... the only issue is, now it's all outdated, haha. Oh well. I don't have recent pictures!

Looking back on this pictures is kind of fun, because I feel like our garden is still so small, but looking at these, the basil is twice that size now and ready to dry! Basil smells delicious. I love to water it on a hot day and get to enjoy it's aroma!

And these tomatoes? They have to be three times this size now! I haven't seen them flower yet, though, and I am getting impatient. (Like patience has ever been my strongest virtue anyway, why would that fact be surprising ;P?)

This is the bell pepper bed. No, that big plant dominating the bed is not a bell pepper. The bell peppers came up a week later than they were expected, while a cucumber plant, that should NOT have been there, merrily grew as fast as it could, haha!

I didn't think the bell peppers would make it since they took so long to come up, but the plants look good now, we'll just have to see if we actually get vegetables from them!

It's seriously hilarious looking at these pictures. These cucumber plants in live time can't stand up right anymore, are probably a couple feet long, and flowering! I am expecting (or at least hoping) to see little cucumbers any time now. The cucumbers we planted last time we had a real garden were the best plants we had, so I'm not surprised these are doing so well!

Our squash did so well at first, and even flowered, I was so excited. But I am guessing they didn't have enough moisture for the flowering stage, because as soon as they'd flower, they'd wither, it was sad. Our lettuce didn't make it either, and we're still trying to determine the carrots and green onions.

Okay. These plants. I am so proud of myself, and feel like there is a lesson in here somewhere, haha. I asked Mama one evening f she had planted something new in the mailbox bed, and she told me no, just what we had planted in May.
"There's just some really cute plants in there... I wondered if you put something in there..."
"Still?" she asked. "You just weeded."
"Yeah, but I left those. They were cute."
She told me I should pull them before they took over, and I did, but without telling anyone but Bethi (who I could tell agreed with me that they were too cute to throw out), I planted them in an empty pot in the vegetable garden. Mind you, they were just leaves at this time. I truly thought they were weeds, although cute weeds.
Yes. I transplant weeds, y'all. That's the kind of gardener I am.
ANYWAY, fast forward two weeks to when I actually took these pictures to admit to y'all that I was cultivating weeds, and I noticed... those little feathery cone shaped buds...

These are flowers the girls gave Mama last year. We decided these weren't coming back because they should have been up by that point, plowed all the mailbox dirt up, removed giant weeds that ripped up the soil, laid down SOOOOOO. MUCH. ant killer, and planted new flowers in May. And then mid June, I throw out about fifteen of these, save the biggest even though they are weeds, and then find out they were actually our flowers.
I transplanted another three from the mailbox last week, too. They were obviously ground spreaders, haha! (Or we just really mixed them all up into the dirt, who knows.) But our five last year became ten this year, despite throwing out so many small ones!

These are also "weeds", but I didn't transplant these ones. They are growing out behind the vegetable garden, so I left them ;). We also obviously have passion vine in the garden, but it was in between the beds, so I left it, because I loved passion vines when I was little, but they never flowered. Oh well! I love all the yard work, but even with Bethi and I together doing all the weeding, it seems we are never caught up! As soon as we finish all the different areas, I realize that the first beds are full again, and we start over. It's a good thing that weeding is Bethi's favorite part ;).

We believe we had some sort of nest near the house, but we never did find it. But as the babies got older, we started to hear them frequently when we would sit in the family room; I told Mama they sounded like little squeaky tire swings, haha :). I haven't heard them for a couple days. I think we started hearing them as they got bigger and started trying out their wings, because I saw tiny birds hopping around out there a couple of times, and my guess is they are now on their own! I'm happy to suspect a bird's family actually made it this year. We don't have a lot of luck discovering a nest that has a happy ending :P.

Life has been busy the past week. We've been working on thoroughly deep cleaning the house (like, Mama is steam cleaning chairs and we're washing walls, haha), and normal life always continues. I've also been helping with a summer program held by the church that I volunteer at, working with their special needs program. A lot of the participants also go to the monthly respites that I help with, and it's been really neat. I'm only there five days out of the program, but three of those days were all last week, and by the third day, it was obvious that several of them were beginning to look for me there. These same ones have always accepted me at the respites before, but now they have kind of adopted me as belonging there, as well, which I think it cute. They are developing patterns for when they see me, which has been interesting; for instance, one of the younger girls has been testing my artistic skills. Hint: I have none. But she doesn't care, she expects me to draw anyway. I have a challenge for you all: tell me how to draw imagination. Please. This has been a struggle, because she frequently wants me to try my hand at this one, and I HAVE NO IDEAS. She's currently gracious enough to allow me to write the word instead, but I am just waiting for the day that she's in a determined mood and that's not enough anymore ;)!

My instagram Friday: *login from an unusual device to your account*
Eh, odd. *changes password*
My instagram Saturday: *login from an unusual device to your account*
Okay, that's actually creepy. *changes password*
My instagram today: *login from an unusual device to your account*
WAIT A SECOND. *double checks* THAT IS MY DEVICE, YOU STUPID COMPUTER. The only one I EVER get on instagram with, might I add. Since when is the only device a person uses their unusual device?!

I'm also working on a project for Baby Bear, who is expected anytime after next week! I did a 19x19 inch granny sqaure in 48 hours last week, and I will admit I was a bit thrilled with how it was coming together, haha :). Of course, now that the rows are getting longer (I'm spiraling out) it's taking me a but longer to see it grow past that. as it's now taking me over half an hour to take it up by just 2 inches and I have to be careful not to overdo it, so that I don't have to stop ;). My wrist never has really cleared up in the last year, just stayed under control, so, I'm going with it, carefully, haha.

And I think I have discovered that my laptop monitor color is off, because that picture looks SO much more blue on my laptop than on my phone, and I am beginning to wonder if maybe that's why I have such a hard time editing pictures for Etsy?! Something to experiment with...

Speaking of Etsy, not only am I trying to keep a blog for my shop, which you can view at, but there will be a new item listed this week! (Hopefully tomorrow, as long as I get home in time from the summer program... I have to post it about 2 for Etsy search reasons, and I often forget to do anything useful the first half hour I am back home, haha.)

That's about it around here, other than all the little moments that are worth holding on to but I feel probably boring to read about, haha. I'm hoping to be around a big more here soon... I have two tags I have yet to fill out, and a post I would love to share about a bible study I will be finishing up tonight :). But we shall see... I always make the best laid plans ;P.

Rejoicing in Hope,

Thursday, July 5, 2018

June in Review (Which Means the Year is Half Over Already?!)

Watching Veggietales while we older ones set up Emmi's party, because distraught toddlers need distraction from the fact that they didn't get to leave the house with the birthday girl, haha.

Emmi suspected what her birthday theme would be and apparently told Peter, "If I have a Care Bear birthday, set up all the Care Bears by the door so I will know." Nobody else knew that she had charged him with this task, but I had literally not even finished locking the door behind them before he was dragging the bin out!

I've been having some fun trying to do a bit of handlettering :). I'm willing to unveil this one here because I'm not happy with it yet, haha ;). I'll show the finished project on my shop blog/page later!

That, my dear readers, was found in a bag of baby carrots. I had to cut it in fourths.
And our favorite recipe site has been taken down, so we had to guess how to make the roasted root veggies, and I had to write down two recipes that I had memorized so that I'm not the sole holder of their yumminess,  and I'm trying to remember if all the other recipes were printed off or not... (Nope. We don't have our crouton recipe...)


"Popcorn is so much work to make."
*Spontaneously makes cookies instead*
"I mean... not that this isn't work. But I got excited."

Noah, after Andrew tapped the bottom of Noah's cup while he was drinking: "I saw your noise."

*everybody coughing*
*Noah, who is not sick, coughs too*
Tori: "Feeling left out, Noah?"
Noah: "Sometimes."

Joey: " Where is that book, Mommy?"
Mama: "Over here."
"IN YOUR EAR?!?!?!"

Josiah: "Can we listen to Piano Guys?"
*Tori and Joey watch some piano tutorials*
Tori telling us the story later: "He asked for the tutorials I watch and he liked them, but eventually he got bored, and then he went, 'Tori, you know what would be really funny? If we watched what I actually asked for first.' I should have laughed the whole time we watch Piano Guys and told him he was right, this was funny."

Noah: "I not a see bug, I not a see bug!"

Noah at the zoo:
Looking at the crocodiles: "It's a crocodino, it's a crocodino!"
Looking at the ostriches: "It's a big duckie!"
After getting off the merry-go-round (which he was slightly intimidated by, but enjoyed nevertheless!): "Yay!!! That was amazing!!!"
Hearing some children in the aquarium squealing about the fish: *joins their family* *Squeals along with them*

Some guy after watching me and Noah in the aquarium for a minute, to Noah: "Hi there!"
To me: "You can TELL he's your's! He looks just like you."
Er... um... thanks?... but...
Hahahahaha. For you older sisters of large families DO you get mistaken for your sibs mothers? And what do you say? Because I always feel rude and flat saying "Actually, he/she is my brother/sister/these are my siblings", but... there is nothing else to say.

Me: "I need to grab my name tag so they don't lock the church down when I get there."
Mama: "That would almost be funny..."
Me: *leaves my name tag in the van and doesn't realize it until Mama gets out of the parking lot*
At least I noticed it before I went in, haha...

Mama randomly told me I make pretty taco salads, and after my comment about a salad being a work of art last month (which Mama had neither heard nor read yet), I had to laugh!

Tori said Josiah fluffed his hair like Mama does to Noah's, in an attempt to bring out the curls he doesn't have, and when he saw the result, regretted it and smoothed it immediately, haha!

Mama: *reorganizes all the books, fitting each one perfectly onto the shelves*
Mama: *pulls out her chair to sit down for supper, and finds the biggest book we own sitting on it*

Andrew is standing beside me with a grin on his face.
I reach over and push down on his shoulders to get him off his tip toes.
I laugh uncontrollably as I realize... he's not ON his tip toes.

*Noah and Mama talking about Baby*
*Noah has a sudden revelation*
"That not Baby Bear! That a ball!!!"

Josiah, sneaking, sneaking around the house, when I look up at him:
*giggles* "That was a bad part of the spy. You saw me."

Noah, whenever he doesn't want to do something: "Oh, I so sick!"

Noah, when Tori asked him to do something: "I have a scratch!"
"I have bruises!"
"I soooooo sick!"
"No you aren't."
"Oh. ...I sooooooo tired!"


-June started with Emmi's birthday! Our baby sister is 8 now. It's so odd to realize we don't have a "little" girl anymore, after the family was mostly girls for so long! She took Mama and Daddy and Abbi to the zoo, and they rode ponies and had ice cream and enjoyed all that fun zoo busyness. Abbi and Emmi truly fill their birthdays to the brim. It was so late when they got home, and we still had gifts and cake to do afterwards. And then she stayed up after that... haha! She was so exhausted by the time it was all over.

-Our church held a lady's yarn fellowship, and Bethi (who has not shown any interest in crocheting or knitting for about 6 years now) and I went. It was fun, there was all kinds of yarn and all kinds of projects there that the ladies had brought as examples or inspiration or to finish. And some of the ladies were learning, and some were teaching, and some were just there for the company, and we had a salad buffet for lunch. One sweet lady there (she's one of ten children, so she has really taken our family in!) taught me how to make granny squares. It's not hard, but I have never taken the time to learn the science behind it, so when she asked if I knew how, I responded no. She told me she'd teach me, then. I sat down and picked up a crochet hook, to which she asked if I wanted a larger one, because that was more of a professional sized one and would be harder to use. I told her I was good. She showed me how to make a granny square, and then started showing me all the baby items she crochets. They were gorgeous, and as we were talking, I showed her a picture of the baby set I made for Noah... which, when she saw, caused her to promptly asked WHY she had just shown me how to crochet granny squares if I could already do something like that. "You asked, and I hadn't ever made one before!", I tried to explain, but she waved me off and told me that next time I need to be one of those teaching. Yes ma'am... haha! I think I got off easy with her, though, because I had been working with Bethi ;). Who CAN crochet. She just won't if it's not social, I guess...

-We went for our annual summer blueberry picking. Unfortunately it was really hot and several people were down right miserable by the time we finished, with half the blueberries we usually get. But we had lots of yummy berries for eating, plain or with strawberries and whipped cream, and making muffins and blueberry crisp, with some left in the freezer now. Noah was sooooo cute; he was very careful to only pick the blue ones (and sticks, but hey, he's a two year old boy, what could you expect? Sticks are all the rage), and about twenty minutes in, he apparently told Mama, out of the blue; "I happy!" Too cute <3!

How was your June :)? Two things that really stood out to you during the month? And how was your 4th of July :)?

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3