Friday, October 1, 2021

Summer of Mercies and a Ministry Update


Oh these days passing swiftly bring changes I know 

And as time marches on, from this place we must go . . . 

The ocean (about 7 years ago in Rhode Island)

The ocean near my home in RI

It's been about about 6 years since I left my childhood home in Rhode Island and moved to the "great unknown" --the Midwest-- many of you know the reason, but for those who do not, this was why--

I dearly miss my "wholesome island upbringing," and have yet to go back to that dear place, but the Lord has given me many joys in this new place as well. For these, I am grateful, even though at times I grow lonely for my "old haunts," such as Burial Hill in Plymouth Massachusetts, Colt State Park, and the beautiful woods that I walked in so many times as a girl and young woman growing up in the tiny Ocean State. 

Woods near my home in RI

The realization hits me every once in a while . . . you can never completely go back to the place where the Lord has called you from . . . even though you can treasure the memories and place any hurts in the loving hands of the Creator. One day, our Lord will wipe every tear from our eyes.  For now, He stores those tears in His bottle and keeps them in that sacred place of His great love and compassion. 

I have found His beauty here in the Midwest where He has called our family. He gives joy in this place through the great vast skies, the beautiful sunsets, the fields of wildflowers, the shy deer and other wildlife, the fertile earth so eager for the gardener to cultivate. Here, He gives grace and beauty. 

Field behind our barn

It's been a good, long whole since I've given an update on our lives and ministry here in Wisconsin, and so I felt that it was time to do so . . . :-) The summer was busy with outside work, and I'll try to be more consistent during these quieter fall and winter months. No promises, but I'll try. :-) 

On the home front, we've been ever-busy in the garden, from early spring until late summer (and are laboring, still! :-)) This is a project that I and my children, Deborah and Elisha, mostly work on together. It's good for them and for me. :-) I will admit that sometimes I have to be pulled out of the garden like a stubborn carrot as dark approaches. The warm months are so short here and the winter is so long; I like to "drink it all in" while I may!

We have a little farm stand as well, and that is a fun family project. It's enjoyable selling produce and baked goods through the summer months. 

Now that we've started back up homeschooling, we don't have quite as much time to spend outdoors . . . but we are already looking forward to next year's garden, the Lord willing . . . 

On the ministry front, things have been very quiet. I've grown familiar with these "waiting times" that the Lord gives, and am eager to see what He will do next in our lives here with Herrnhut. We have completed the "first phase" of the Missionary House and are concentrating on the second phase right now--putting in a septic system and then later, heating the Missionary House. Please pray for us as we move forward in the direction that He has for us; we covet your prayers. Please pray boldly that He will send His showers of blessing in due season; He is the Lord of the "growing" of this ministry and of the harvest. 

Progress on the "Missionary House"--

That was a brief update, but I'll continue to share with you as I'm able . . . we are grateful for your prayers, as always . . . 

Many changes have come into my life (perhaps into yours too, friend), and I've found that only God can give the grace that is needed to accept those changes . . . Some changes I have embraced; others have been more difficult, and as I struggle with the difficult ones, I find strength in the truth of these words written by one of my favorite missionaries, Amy Carmichael--may you find strength in the God of these truths as well, friend . . . We walk together on this path of life that ever stretches toward our true and lasting home--

He said, I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God tomorrow will to His son explain
Not vain the word, not vain--
For in acceptance lieth peace.

Friday, July 9, 2021

A Month of Mercies ~June 2021

I'm sharing this month's post a bit on the tardy side . . . but I didn't want to skip a month, so here it goes . . . :-) 

My children have been enjoying listening to The Sound of Music soundtrack and Maria's words are on my mind this morning~~"Let's start at the very beginning . . " ;-) 

The Lord has blessed me over the past month with joy over all of the growing things in our garden as well as in others' gardens . . . this was one of the first open tomato sandwiches of the year~~does anyone else enjoy eating these? I never liked tomatoes as a child, but now I really love them. 

I'm so thankful--and continually amazed--at all of the goodness that the Lord provides through the garden. Keeping a garden--tending and planning and weeding and harvesting it, has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. It's taught me so many lessons about life in general and the Lord's working in all things. The hard work is good for me and for my kids. And putting one's hands into the soil after the harsh Wisconsin winters is a respite to the soul. 

A reminder to me this month in my kitchen to cast all of my cares upon the Lord~ He knows all things and He alone is the One who can help us in all of our struggles and sorrows . . . 

Hollyhocks blooming in the flower garden bring joy to my heart . . . 

Laundry hanging on the line . . . my children can reach the clothesline now, and are a big help to me in this . . . my niece will often run over too, and help me when she notices me taking the laundry down. I'm thankful for willing helpers . . . 

I've been sewing a bit more lately . . . this has been a blessing in my life . . . I love the smell of the fabric and the feel of it in my hands as I guide it under the needle . . . 

My sister taught my children and I how to can strawberry jam last month! I'm thankful for her taking the time to patiently teach us, and for the fun time that we had making it! Thank you, Lord, for sisters, and for the sweetness that they bring into our lives! 

And finally, I'm thankful for ripe blackberries in our field! My kids love to pick a few here and there and eat them . . . the birds and wild animals love them, too! It amazes me continually to see how the Lord provides in so many different ways for His creation--from the seeds to the berries to the bugs that the birds eat . . . He is a merciful Provider. And if He so feeds the birds, how much more will He provide for His children? 

So there I'll conclude for this month . . . how has the Lord spoken to you and blessed you throughout your days, friends? 

I will be glad and rejoice in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou Most High.
 Psalm 9:2

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A Month of Mercies~~May 2021


The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
Psalm 145:9 NKJV

Another "Month of Mercies" post headed your way . . .  I'm so thankful for everyone who stops by this little blog and I pray that the Lord may use it to encourage you . . . 

Each one of you are an encouragement to me in my little corner of this great big world that the Lord made. 

This month, the Lord showed me His mercy and faithfulness in many ways . . . including . . . 

The peonies beginning to bloom . . . I love the sweet smell of these rose-like flowers. I can imagine their fragrance emanating in the Garden of Eden. I will say that they also make me think of Rachel Lynde's funny quote in Anne of Avonlea about the "other girl's showy good looks . . ." Those of you who have read the book or have watched the movie know what I mean! ;-) 

Clematis climbing up the porch and filling in the space around it with loveliness . . . 

A redwing blackbird's nest discreetly hidden in a bush on our property. I always try to notice where the birds are nesting so that I can remind my children not to play too closely to them! The precious birds! They are welcome here anytime! 

Our little farmstand brings me joy. Working on it with my children is one of my favorite parts of spring and summer . . . 

Hollyhocks getting taller . . . 

One of my favorite hymns . . . a reminder to me that He is the lovely One and tenderly clothes His creation . . .  (And yes; it's supposed to be "fairer still the woodlands!" I realized that afterwards . . . :-) 

We put this little board on the corner of the front entry way of our home--my Mom and husband's idea--my husband  later added a little edge to it as well for safety--We noticed the birds trying to nest there and that they didn't have quite enough space--so we made some! There is always room . . . this photo is of a sweet little barn swallow checking out the rental accommodations! 

We walked through a graveyard in a nearby town on Memorial Day weekend with our children . . . I am always reminded by graveyards of how very short this life is . . . each day is precious and a gift from God . . . "Only one life, twill soon be past--only what's done for Christ will last . . . "

And we can take nothing with us but Jesus . . . 

And finally, the garden brings so much joy to my heart . . . we have planted and tucked all the precious seeds into the ground--now we wait for Him to bring the harvest . . . 

May the Lord bless each one of you, dear friends . . . He is faithful and willing to work in our lives as we surrender all things to Him . . . 

Until next month if the Lord tarries . . . 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Lilac's Agony and Joy

A short time ago, I was reading about how lilac bushes are able to thrive despite harsh winter conditions. This information interested me as we have several lilac bushes on our property as well as very cold winters in the area where we live in the upper Midwest. Through the winter months, the ground is iron, covered over with snow. The cold and wind are brutal, the temperatures plummeting into the negatives for days at a time.

And yet, in the warm early days of spring, the lilac bushes begin to bloom. Frozen and dead to the world during the winter, in the spring their lavish blooms delight the earth with beauty. They emanate a most delightful scent; the air is filled in the spring with the sweet aroma of lilac blooms. They are a treat to the eyes and to the heart that has been rendered winter-raw.

My children gather these blooms in the spring and use them to adorn their sandbox confections and creations. They love to climb into the lower branches of their aged arms. Their lovely smell always delights me as I hang laundry to dry outside in the sweet spring wind. I marvel at the splendor that the Lord has clothed just one lilac bush in!

Their beauty appears most radiant after the harshest months of the year. I am reminded how the Lord often brings us through trials and discouragements in order to strengthen and test our faith. He desires that beauty in our lives will shine through these hardships and reflect the spring grace of our Creator, the Father of mercy and redemption and the One who brings life from death.

Just as the lilac endures to the end of winter, so we are also called to endure the trials that He brings into our lives. Hebrews 12:9-12 says,

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

He calls us to endure—through His enabling strength. He brings beauty out of pain and hardship in our lives when we submit and yield to Him. He promises the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” when we are trained by His hand through trials and chastenings.

These chastenings do not seem pleasant at the time (Hebrews 12:11), but in the end they bring forth the marvel of His grace in our lives when we have been softened and molded by them.

Just as the lilac bush bears beautiful blooms in the spring, so will our lives show forth His beauty through the testing and trials that He lovingly sends us as a Father who wants His children to bear fruit when we yield in surrender to His Fatherly discipline and love. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

A Month of Mercies~~April 2021


This is my Father's world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker's praise. 

This is my Father's world,

He shines in all that's fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;

He speaks to me everywhere.

~Maltbie Babcock

I'm sharing another "Month of Mercies" post . . . This past month has been so full . . . we've been busy finishing up homeschooling for the year, cleaning up our property, and working on many projects outside. How good the Lord is! To give us these days of warmth to, as our Amish friends would say, "redd up" outside and to prepare for planting! 

I praise Him this past month for . . . 

My Mom's much-anticipated Easter breads that she makes every year . . . this year, my daughter Debbie, and my niece, Betsy, helped her to prepare them. What a delight when these come out of the oven! It's an Italian tradition that we all hold dear to in our family--one that delights the taste buds and the heart! 

Our sweet outdoor friends . . . this bunny is very friendly and you may see him here relaxing under this bush . . . waiting patiently for me to plant the garden . . . ;-) The little rascal!! But we love him . . . 

Speaking of the garden, it has been tilled; hooray! 

My nephew, Simeon, helping with the tilling--he's a great help to me; always asking me, "Auntie Bek; what can I do?" 

More tilling and cleaning up, too . . . 

The return of the precious hollyhocks . . . 

And here is the row of daffodils that I mentioned in my last post . . . 

This made me smile . . . my little 8-year-old daughter put Jesus to sleep in her room beside Eric Metaxas's book that she found on my bedside table . . . 

Breads baking in the oven for Easter . . . 

Work on the Missionary House has begun and the "First Phase" is complete! We praise God for how He is providing for the ministry and bringing His beautiful plan into fruition . . . 

Tulips blooming outside after the long, long winter . . . 

Praise the Lord for His mercies . . . truly, our Protector never slumbers and He works out all things according to His plan and love for His people . . . We bless His name.