April 23, 2012

peace beyond comprehension

Last week was a long week. Sickness moved through each member of the family. Fortunately, the illness was a quick visitor. But, sadly, one thing that won't be so quick to depart is a new autistic-like symptom Grant began exhibiting. There is no preparing myself for the pain a new emerging symptom causes. It never fails to catch my breath and rip at my heart.

Sometimes, as Grant leans on my shoulder while we are reading books, I pause and stare at his head. Then, with great firmness, I kiss his forehead - thinking perhaps a mother's loving embrace will cause the vital protein his brain needs to begin producing.

And yet, in spite of the circumstances and beyond my comprehension, I sit here full of peace.

Such a feeling in the midst of struggles and pain does not come easily and it requires constant tending. However, the path to this peace is not mysterious. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Pray with a thankful heart and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. What a beautiful promise to lean on! {Sarah Young provides thoughtful words on the subject - click here.}

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Though being thankful in all circumstances can be extremely difficult, the blessings it produces {peace beyond comprehension, a new and wonderful perspective, a joyful heart} are life-changing.

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A week ago we enjoyed our annual trip to the zoo and botanical garden with Aaron's parents. Between chasing after two little boys and enjoying the moments, I didn't take many pictures... here are a few:




We had a great time!


April 18, 2012

I stroke the fevered brow of my oldest son as he tries to settle back to sleep. I keep vigil in his bedroom until I hear the steady rhythm of his deep sleep breathing. He clutches the beloved blue blanket I had hastily hand-washed an hour earlier so it could comfort him through the rest of the night.

Pausing at his door, I decide to stay by his bedside a little while longer... just in case. 

Oh the things a mother will do, all too gladly, for her child!

How much more will our heavenly Father do for us? My minds sits on that thought as I finally climb back into bed.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:7-11

Sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer we knock. Whatever you pray for, according to the promise, shall be given you, if God see it fit for you, and what would you have more? This is made to apply to all that pray aright; every one that asketh receiveth, whether Jew or Gentile, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, master or servant, learned or unlearned, all are alike welcome to the throne of grace, if they come in faith. It is explained by a comparison taken from earthly parents, and their readiness to give their children what they ask. Parents are often foolishly fond, but God is all-wise; he knows what we need, what we desire, and what is fit for us. Let us never suppose our heavenly Father would bid us pray, and then refuse to hear, or give us what would be hurtful. ~ Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Thankfully, Grant was a little better by morning. He has been resting on the couch enjoying his favorite books, selected DVDs, and the many kisses his younger brother insists on giving him - of course, all while snuggling with his blanket.


April 13, 2012

a thinking love

I cradle a newborn leaf in my hand and think, With just spoken words this was first created.

That thought instantly stills my soul.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved trees. I grew up on a small family farm in Minnesota - the kind of farm where you were expected to wake up early every morning and do your part. My family lived in a little three-bedroom house built in the early 1900s. Naturally, there was no air-conditioning installed.

Now, contrary to popular opinion, it does get hot in a Minnesota summer. Yes, quite hot. I've had to convince many southerners of that fact.

I was taught at young age to keep the windows open in the very early morning hours then shut them up tight just before the sun began to intensely hit the house. Between closing the windows, pulling the shades, and turning on every possible fan, the house stayed reasonably cool... at least to our expectations. But, I vividly recall my mother saying over and over we should be thankful for the big shade tree that shielded our home.

Karen, a tree is like a natural air conditioner. Trees, if properly placed around buildings, can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent. I heard my mom state that fact many times.

Well, that blossomed my appreciation for trees. That, and the fun I had climbing them with my brothers.

I think trees are beautiful. I often get caught up in the beauty of a tree over the beauty of a flower. Sadly, in spite of that, I know little about them. It is an embarrassing fact about myself.

I want my sons to grow up surrounded by nature and appreciate it. I want to gently instill a lasting knowledge of the natural world. I want to give them a thinking love.

“The mother is qualified, and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; … and what is demanded of her is - a thinking love … God has given to thy child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided - how shall this heart, this head, these hands, be employed? A question the answer to which involves the futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education.”  ~ Johann Pestalozzi (Home Education by Charlotte Mason, p. 2)

Therefore, I have begun to observe, record, and commit to memory details of the natural world that encompasses our property.

This children's book simply introduces and delightfully teaches facts about birds, trees, flowers, butterflies and moths, wild animals, fish, and creepy crawlies. I also want to get a copy of this book and this book for our nature study collection (well, those books and about twenty others).

I began to closely follow and photograph the seasonal cycle of a couple trees in our yard. Observing the autumn blaze maple tree (at the start of this post) and this beech tree has been a great way to launch my quest.

Next year, when the boys are slightly older (and I, hopefully, slightly wiser), we will begin collecting samples from the trees to record in our nature study book. I can hardly wait!
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Other finds during our recent nature walks...

Watching a flower bud open over a couple of days...


“...my object is to show that the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses...” ~ Charlotte Mason


April 8, 2012


Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

"O death, where is your victory?
 O death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Corinthians 15:55-57


April 6, 2012

grace given {a Good Friday reflection}

In the quiet recess of the early morning, I digest a verse that pulls at the deepest depth of my heart:

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

Inwardly I reflect, wince, and rejoice:

God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on Karen's behalf, so that Karen might become the righteousness of God in Jesus.

Wow! What amazing grace! The very thought of its magnitude hushes my heart and compels me to earnestly seek the one who would sacrifice so much to redeem me.

"Who can estimate the value of God's gift, when He gave to the world His only begotten Son! It is something unspeakable and incomprehensible. It passes man's understanding. Two things there are which man has no arithmetic to reckon, and no line to measure. One of these things is the extent of that man's loss who loses his own soul. The other is the extent of God's gift when he gave Christ to sinners...Sin must indeed be exceeding sinful, when the Father must needs give His only Son to be the sinner's Friend!" ~ J. C. Ryle


"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2
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