Pecan Kringle

From time to time, a white priority mail box will show up. Inside are the most wonderful, absolutely delicious pastry that you could imagine. It’s called a kringle. They are made at the Danish bakeries in Racine, Wisconsin. Aaron’s grandparents mail us some on occasion. Every time a white box that size shows up in our mailbox, I am VERY excited! Whenever on arrived, I would usually call Mom and tell her what had just arrived. Once I told her that one of them was pecan, well, she would say, “I’ll be right down!” She would stop in and have some pecan kringle and a cup of her favorite coffee.

We got a white box in the mail just last week. I’ve been happily munching away on them and some of our friends have been introduced to this very tasty treat as well!

I opened the last kringle today. It was the pecan one. It seemed strange not to have Mom sitting there with a cup of coffee waiting for a piece.

I keep thinking of things that I want to tell her. Every time one of the kids says something funny I reach for the phone to call her up, and then I remember. I really, really miss her. I miss her even more than I could have guessed. God is still faithful, though. He still gives me the grace and strength to keep going, even when the hurt is more than I can bear.

I imagine the reason why I miss her so much, is because she loved me so much. I guess that’s why there is a little hole in so many people’s lives right now. They all miss her that much because she loved them that much. That’s what happens when we love people the way that God tells us to. That kind of love, it’s an amazing thing. It’s the kind of love that touches everyone in a profound way. That’s what God can do through someone who yields their heart to Him. She did, she really did. That’s why she was the kind of person she was. That’s what God does with yielded hearts.

You’re Doing What With The Sweater?

I’ve started a project that Mom would call me crazy for attempting…

I have a sweater that I bought before Camo was born. I LOVE this sweater. Sadly, after only about six months of use, it started to come apart at the neckline. Now, I’m a pretty competent seamstress and knitter, but this was beyond my ability to repair. Still, I love the color and fiber in this sweater, and I can’t bear to throw it out. It has sit, ignored, for almost a year now. Then, I had an idea…

It started when I read a blog post about how to unravel and re-use yarn from a sweater. Apparently, buying sweaters at yard sales and thrift shops, then unraveling them to use the yarn in a new project, is quite the hobby for some folks. This intrigued me. I began to think, what if I unraveled that sweater and made a new sweater or maybe a shawl out of the yarn? Brilliant! Now, the yarn in this sweater is REALLY thin. Sock yarn weight or smaller, maybe lace weight. Tiny, really tiny. That alone might confirm my insanity. But let’s take this one step further. I have to painstakingly pick out the stitches in the seams before I can even begin to unravel. At this rate, I may have the darn thing unraveled and ready to knit into something else in time for Munchkin’s wedding…

If Mom was here, she would laugh when I told her my plan, tell me I was crazy, suggest that simply buying yarn might be the easier route to go, and then pick up a seam ripper and help me pick out the millions of stitches that must be on that sweater. Then, when it’s finally in pieces, she would grab a sleeve and start unraveling, pausing to laugh and tell me how crazy I am, and how crazy she must be for volunteering to help.

I find reminders of Mom everywhere. I’ve gotten through the first week of shock, and now the ache seems to be setting in. The realization that there is a huge hole in my life where Mom used to be. Life goes on, and truly we don’t grieve like those with no hope, but the grief is still there. It’s not more than we can bear, God promised us that, but it’s still there. I’ll always miss her. I’ll always feel like something is missing. I’ll always laugh and cry when I think of her, when I think of what she would be doing or saying if she was here now. Really, I can’t bring myself to wish her back. But now, more than ever, I hope Jesus comes back soon. I’m ready to go home, are you?

Heaven

Do you ever think of Heaven? I do. I’ve always longed for Heaven. With each day that goes by, I long for my true home even more.

“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.”

I long for the day when I’ll lay down every struggle, every burden that is synonymous with our life in this fallen world. I long for a new heart. Not having to constantly struggle against my own sinful nature; that will be a burden that I’ll be glad to lay down. I long to live peacefully for all of eternity in the place that my God and Savior has made for me. From my perspective, it will likely be quite some time before I enter into the dwelling place of my LORD, but from the perspective of eternity, it will be very soon. Such a short time we live here. It seems like it will go on forever, but thankfully, it does not. My husband has said that death is really a great blessing that God has given to us. Can you imagine living as a sinner in a fallen world for all of eternity? God showed His great love for us by granting that we live here only a short time. God has shown great love for us in many ways, and continues to show it to me even now.

We observed the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper at Mom’s family memorial on Saturday. I’d never seen that done at any funeral or memorial before, but how fitting it is! I found great comfort in the reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and what it means for us.

Saturday evening, after the kids were in bed and I was resting on the couch, the phone rang. It was just after eight and my first thought was, “Oh, that must be Mom.” If the phone rang in the evening, it was quite often my Mom, calling to check on one of the kids if she knew they were sick, or calling about any of a dozen little things. Moments like that are sad, but they are also comforting in a way. I miss her desperately, but I’m glad that I’m surrounded by so many beautiful memories.

Sunrise

Sleep was not on the agenda last night. Not much of it anyway.

I watched the sunrise this morning. Standing in the dining room, golden light spilled through the windows. It was beautiful. It was bittersweet. Mom loved the sunrise. A few minutes later, the sun slipped behind the clouds and it was dark again. The last few days have been like the sunrise this morning. Filled with moments of beautiful memories of Mom… And filled with moments when it hurts to even breathe. I was reminded of another song that Mom loved this morning.

“Then came the morning, night turned into day;

The stone was rolled away, hope rose with the dawn.

Then came the morning, shadows vanished before the sun,

Death had lost and life had won, for morning had come.”

I have hope. Some moments I hang on to that hope by a tenuous thread, but it’s still there. I have hope for the same reason that Mom would if the situation had been reversed, because of my faith. Mom was a woman of incredible faith. I pray that someday I’ll have even half the faith she had, but for now, my tiny mustard seed of faith is enough. I survive moment by moment, only by the grace of God. Mom would remind me that God told us “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 2:9) She was right, His grace is enough, and when the next moment without her seems like more than I can bear, God will grant me more grace, and I’ll take another breath.

My All’s Grace List

Ann over at The Holy Experience, http://www.aholyexperience.com/ , has a list of 1000 gifts that has been ongoing for some time. Perhaps this is the perfect time to start my own.

My son sitting in my lap while I type…

The memory of Mom putting up the curtains in my kitchen because, “you have to have curtains up in your home”…

The amazing people who are loving us through this time…

Hugging Gram and Gramp last night…

Munchkin asking for a picture of Grammy for her dresser…

The love of God…

Pictures of Mom holding her grandchildren…

The smell of unleavened bread baking in my kitchen…

The cold snow, painting the world white…

Because He Lives

A friend brought us supper last night, and she also brought one of her kids’ books for me to read to my children. It’s titled God Gave Us Heaven. It’s a wonderful book for explaining the concept of heaven to kids. Arynne and I read it this morning. I cried through part of it, but she didn’t mind. Afterwards we talked a bit about heaven and Jesus. I told her that Jesus had said that He was going to prepare a place for us in heaven, and we read John 14.

John 14

1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

15If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

28Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

29And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

31But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

What a wonderful chapter of scripture. I cannot tell you the comfort it brought me to read it to Arynne. Jesus was right. The peace he gives us is not of this world. It does not depend on circumstances. It comes straight from the God of all comfort, from the Prince of Peace Himself. Because He lives, we live. Because He lives, Mom is more alive now than ever. Make no mistake, this in no way diminishes the grief I have, but the Comforter that He sent will be with me forever.

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:12-13 NIV

Please understand, my heart is truly breaking. I have no idea what to do, now that Mom is gone. I can still hardly believe it’s true. And there is one terrible hole in our lives right now. If I did not have this reassurance from God, the despair would be crushing, and I would not be able to bear it. I will grieve, for a very, very long time. But I will not grieve like one with no hope. The Source of that hope is the only reason I am able to face another day right now. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”

Come Soon…

My mom is gone. I can still hardly believe that it’s true. I never would have guessed yesterday morning when we visited with her that it was for the last time. You always know in the back of your mind that you will likely outlive your parents, but it’s still a shock when it actually happens.

I’m not sorry for her though. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life, and I would never want to get to the point where I didn’t miss her. But I envy her in a way. She’s with her Savior. She is with the One she followed faithfully and loved with all of her heart. I take great comfort in that knowledge, but I still miss her.

I woke up this morning and looked out the kitchen window. The world went on like it was any other day. I couldn’t help thinking that it shouldn’t have. It isn’t any other day. This was the first day without Mom, how could the world just keep going on like nothing had happened? Reaching into my kitchen cupboard, I found a tin of the coffee Mom always liked. I don’t drink it, but I kept it for her whenever she was here for a visit. I took the tin off the shelf and just held it for a minute, and then I put it back. I don’t know how long it will stay there, but for now, I just want to leave Mom’s coffee in my kitchen.

I’m finding reminders of her everywhere. As much as I cry, it also comforts me to have reminders of her all around. I’ve saved the birthday candles from the cake we shared on her 54th birthday just last week. We only had eight candles, and we were joking that it was one candle for every decade. I remember laughing with her over that. Having her here for supper on her birthday was a spontaneous idea, but I’m really glad that it occurred to me. We had so much fun having dinner together and playing cards until late that night.

I started knitting a sweater for myself. I’m using the last yarn that Mom gave me for it. I’m also still knitting on a lace scarf that I’d started for her. It’s done in alpaca and silk because she was allergic to wool. I considered setting it aside unfinished, but perhaps finishing it will be good for me.

Explaining things to Munchkin has been hard. She misses Grammy, but I’m just not sure how much of it has really sunk in yet. I was her age when my Grandpa died. I think that will help me better know how to help her right now. She was as close to her Grammy as I was to my Grandpa. She will miss her terribly, but she will retain so many wonderful memories that will make her smile throughout the years. She told her dad last night when we got home that she needed a picture of Grammy to put on her dresser. I had to smile while I cried because for many years I had a picture of Grandpa on my dresser too.

Mr. Q will probably have some memory of her, but Camo won’t. Still, we will tell him about his Grammy and how very much she loved all of them. She will still be a wonderful example to them through our memories of her.

When my great-grandmother was dying, her last words were some that have always stuck with me through the years. “God never makes mistakes, and His timing is always perfect.” I think Mom would have said the same thing to me. She was so much like her grandmother in many ways. They were both godly women, women of faith. I don’t know anyone who met either of them, and did not love them.

I like to think that she is meeting the three children she never held here on Earth and holding them now. Then, I think she will find my two babies, Alex and Terry, and hold them too. Someday soon, I’ll see them all, and never, ever, have to say goodbye. I keep echoing the sentiments of John at the end of Revelation, come soon Lord Jesus, come soon.

Conversations With a Four-Year-Old

 

Kids truly have and amazing thought process. More so than we give them credit for at times!

I had to take our German Shepherd, Sammy, to the vet for a rabies shot. Munchkin was a bit upset, since she remembered when Grammy’s dog was sick and we took him to the vet. He didn’t come back home. I assured her that I would bring Sammy back home and that she would be just fine. After we had left, she had a conversation with her dad…

“I’m going to miss Sammy,” Munchkin sighed.

“She’s coming back, Munchkin. Sammy’s not sick, she just needs a shot,” her dad explained.

“Then why is she going to the vet? We don’t go to the doctor when we’re not sick.”

Good point. The logic skills this kid has amaze me at times, and make me laugh quite frequently!

Munchkin usually hops in bed with me for a few minutes in the morning. Once her dad has gotten up, she usually comes in and starts chatting with me at some point. She crept in yesterday morning and climbed in bed next to me and started talking. She tired of her mostly one-sided conversation after a couple of minutes.

“Mommy,” Munchkin began, “I’m hungry.”

“Mmmmmm….” her mom replied.

“Mommy, you have to get up and get breakfast for me and my brothers. We’re starving!”

“Mmmmmm….” her mom replied.

She reached under the pillow and grasped her mom’s hand. Gently tugging she announced, “Mommy, it’s time to get up now. We need breakfast!”

Mommy slipped her glasses on and stumbled out of bed, following the chattering four-year-old.

The kids had their breakfast and were playing while their dad was popping some waffles in the toaster. The scent of hot waffles wafted into the dining room where Munchkin was observing my writing.

“Mmmmm. I smell some mighty tasty waffles!” Munchkin exclaimed.

This evoked a great deal of laughter from Mommy and Daddy.

Kids are hilarious conversationalists aren’t they? Chatting with mine is always interesting!

Hand-Knit Socks

Now for a lighter topic!

Munchkin’s feet are growing quite big. Many of her socks no longer fit. The only socks that do fit are her boring white socks. She kind of misses her cute socks, so I thought that I’d knit her some cute socks!

I’ve wanted to learn a method of knitting two socks at once using the magic loop method for a while now. I have a great book that teaches this method. I pulled out the book, needles and yarn and set to work.

The author recommends knitting toddler-sized socks to learn the method, and also suggests making each sock a different color so that you don’t get the yarn for each confused. (You have to use two separate balls of yarn; otherwise your two socks would be knit together. This is a bad idea if you plan to walk while wearing your socks…) She mentions that toddlers won’t care that their socks don’t match, so once you are done with them, gift them to an adorable little kid who will love them. Unfortunately, Munchkin was not impressed with the idea of an unmatched pair of socks…

She eagerly tried on her new socks, and then asked if she could wear just the pink socks. I told her that there was only one pink sock. She pondered that, and told me that she would wear the purple socks, then. I told her that there was only one purple sock. She asked me to knit her more socks. I had an idea that I’d wind up knitting a second pair of mismatched socks for her… So, I cast on the second set, and tried to take the first pair off her feet. Even thought they didn’t match, she insisted that she wanted to wear them while she waited for me to finish the matches.

When we moved into our house, my mom found a wooden box full of socks that my great-grandmother had knit for her sons. Socks are a practical gift, but they are also a gift of love. I’ve heard it explained this way— socks take time to knit, depending on the size of someone’s feet, they can take a lot of time to knit. You give them to someone you love, knowing that they will wear them out. Then you knit them another pair to wear out. Anyone who knits you a pair of socks has put a lot of love into them. I know, socks are cheap, why not just buy them? If you have ever worn hand-knit socks, you will understand! I have one pair that I knit for myself, and I wear them whenever they are clean! Also, what better way to show my kids how much I love them, than to knit them socks. Maybe someday, someone will find a box full of socks that I’ve knit, and smile thinking about how much I must have loved my kids to knit them so many socks.

God and Government: Inseparable in a free society


“It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religion profession of sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship….”

Massachusetts Bill of Rights, Part the First, 1780

Interesting considering that Massachusetts now has the reputation of being one of the most Godless and wicked States in America. Yet it is merely a sign of the time, just as this section of the Massachusetts Bill of Rights was indicative of the general beliefs of the time. The inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” The basis of liberty is Scripture. After all, our rights are God-given, they come from God. How can any society that values liberty, not honor the One who gave it to them? This is something that was understood by early Americans. They realized that they would only prosper and endure as a nation so long as they acknowledged God and gave Him the honor and loyalty that was due Him. Psalm 33:12 reminds us, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” How many times has God destroyed a nation, or allowed it to be destroyed for failure to follow Him?

Our founders counted on the American people continuing in their faith and following the God of the Scriptures. John Adams observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Look at what James Madison had to say, “We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart. We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity… to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” This quote is very telling, and easily explains the decline of America in recent generations. The further we distance ourselves from the faith of our forefathers, the lower we are doomed to sink. I quoted Thomas Jefferson in a previous post, but he bears repeating, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Scripture makes it very clear that God will judge nations. America certainly has much to answer for.

Obviously, the American people have turned from God. As a consequence, our leaders have become evil, godless men and women, ruled by their own ambitions and their love of money and power. Those are the prevailing attitudes in America today; why should we be surprised when they are reflected in leadership? Still, how could this have happened in a nation where the majority claims to be Christian? Certainly there must be enough Godly people to bring about change. The answer is simpler than you might think. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, had two things to say that might help clear this up. Firstly, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Sadly, we cannot claim to have followed this advice at any point in recent history. His second observation is even more important for us to understand, “Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab [‘Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?’ 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” The implications of this are weighty to say the least. Can anyone who truly follows Christ elect anyone but a God-fearing man who claims loyalty to God first, even above country? When was the last time that you voted for such a man? Have you ever?

To be honest, we have the nation and government that we deserve. We have exactly what we have asked for. If the actions of our leaders are not in accordance with God’s laws, then why do we continue to elect them? The “lesser of two evils” argument can’t hold water. It implies that even though you are choosing the lesser of two evils, you are still choosing evil. Would God truly have us ever choose evil in any form? The argument that there are no Godly men running for office is a rather transparent lie. There have been plenty of Godly statesmen, willing to serve at every level of government, but the “Christians” refuse to support them because they are not “electable”. In light of all of this, I feel completely vindicated in saying that we have got what we asked for. We knew exactly the kind of men and women we elected in the past. Their thin veneer of spirituality was never truly enough to deceive anyone who did not want to be deceived. We all know that the politicians are adept at playing the “religion card”, so why are we such fools as to keep falling for it? The truth is, we aren’t. But we are comfortable. Why would we want liberty, when security is so much more comfortable? Why would we want to fight for our children’s future, when we can borrow against it to make ourselves appear prosperous for a day?

Patrick Henry’s parents were part of the spiritual revival that preceded the American Revolution. A fact that is largely ignored by believers and unbelievers alike, but I digress. Young Patrick grew up in an atmosphere of true Christianity, a movement devoted to following Christ regardless of the consequences, and believe me, the people involved in this movement faced great consequences! He later said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!” That is why America was free, that is why we valued people and liberty. That is why we flourished for so long. That is why we prosper no more. We have forsaken God; worse still, we outright oppose Him—we mock Him. How do we dare even utter the phrase, “God bless America”?

Make no mistake, God is love—but He is also righteous and just. Our rights, our laws, everything good about America comes from God. Is it any wonder that there is little good left in America anymore?

Recall the words of John Witherspoon, “There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.” Remember, as we allow our rights to be chipped away one by one, worse, as we freely offer them up, we will eventually lose our freedom to worship God. At that point the American people will be so subjugated and disarmed that we won’t even have the will or the means to fight. God is just; Israel learned this many times in the Old Testament, now it’s our turn.