Monday, April 10, 2006

April 10, 2006

Malachi 3:3 says:

"He will sit as a Refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says:
"He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it"

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

I got this in an email from a good friend. This verse could not have come at a better time. With all the pressure that has been building on Clay and me we’ve been hard pressed to find ways to cope. We’ve had such a busy life with friends and family and then of course keeping up with Doctors visits. We are three weeks away and chores are stacking up a bit because we are both so very tired. Cassandra has become more and more active. I can’t imagine what it will be like trying to keep up with her when she is actually here. I’m hoping to find some mommy and me and daddy and me activities so that she has a nice well rounded learning experience.

I’ve planted strawberries in the back yard and hope to add herbs and some vegetables so that next year we can donate around half of it to the food bank. The planting season is nearly over for summer veggies and I haven’t gotten the beds built up yet. I think the local food bank uses the food stuffs to help feed single mothers and their children. My mom is even adding on to her garden at home. This way when harvest time comes around we will be able to gather food from two different gardens. I’m hoping to put in the grape vines and an herb box and then I’d like squash, carrots, broccoli, and maybe some cabbage or that tender butter crunch lettuce. I remember having a great time working with mom in the garden when I was just old enough to walk and push my tiny wheel barrow to and from the mulch pile.

On NPR the other day they announced that if everyday people who already garden in their back yards grew just one extra row and donated it (just that one row) that we could end hunger in this country all together. Not one more American would go hungry if those of us who already garden would grow just one extra row of food for the sole purpose of giving it to the local food banks. Master Gardeners alone could end hunger, can you imagine if we expanded that to two rows or if those of us who haven’t gardened until now decided to grow just one thing like strawberries or squash or shallots? One row and no one would starve in this country again thanks to someone donating hardy vegetables. I want Sandy to know how important it is to give back. This world can take care of us if we take care of it. Recycling means more building materials, gardening means extra good foods, clothes in good condition or things that we sew given to local charities, tithing at church, all of these choices make our world a better safer place and we only have to chose one. Maybe you can’t sew but you have a green thumb, maybe you can’t donate money but you can donate time, maybe you have a gift for organizing clothes or merchandise that will help out the local hospice or thrift store. You don’t have to kill yourself to give back.

Mom is so excited about reinstating Ladies Day Out. When I was a very little girl mom would take me out every Friday and would eat at Luby’s. There she taught me manners and we talked about stuff. I was so used to behaving like a lady in that situation that when Mima (mom’s mom) took us out to the Neiman Marcus restaurant at the top of the department store everyone was impressed. At first they gave us dirty looks as if “how dare they bring a child to such a prestigious place?” but before long people were realizing that I hadn’t made a peep and had behaved like a little lady. Mima was beaming. Mom said that Friday Lunches were set aside as Ladies Day Out and that Saturday was a work day for gardening and house work. Then Sunday was church and service day, a day for giving back. I’ve often wondered how I’m going to work all that in because each day taught an important lesson. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t had that structure as a baby and young child. I’m nervous about how I’m going to teach Sandy all this stuff when we live in town instead of close to nature where lessons of life come with the land. You can learn more about God in nature than you can in man kind because nature is simple and man kind is complicated. Nature is what God began with and it lives by a strict cycle of life and death, seasons and change, steady rhythms that have been around for millennia. Finding God in man kind is something you learn to do after grasping those first simple lessons and observations and putting them into practice.

Clay and I have decided to go church hunting soon. Mom has wanted to go for some time now but hasn’t really been satisfied with the samples we’ve seen so far. We’ve met nice people and heard good sermons but nothing that feels like we fit yet. Finding a church is a little like finding that perfect pair of jeans. You want a church that fits like well worn pair of jeans, a church whose message makes you think and feel like you’re at home. Like here you can think about God and what the scriptures mean to you in your life and what the priest or preachers thoughts say to you. Does it give you perspective or another way to look at things? Does it give you a sense of understanding what God wants for your life? This isn’t easy to find, especially when you’ve been around as many churches as I have. And to make things harder on us we come from two very different walks. I was baptized Catholic and even though I’ve been to a great many churches (Methodist, Baptist, church of Christ, Lutheran) I’ve always preferred the Catholic structure. It’s comforting. Clay has only attended one church in his youth and that was the Lutheran church that we got married in. There are a lot of both kinds here but we haven’t clicked with any yet. Mostly we like Sunday to be relaxing, that is also the day we take Dobby to the park.

Dobby has been great. We’ve taken him several Sunday’s to the park and he has behaved well. He is at an awkward age though, too small to play with the big dogs, and too big to play with the small dogs. It is funny there is the tiniest, mini, pocket-sized Doberman pincer named Tiki that is so very, very cute. Dobby likes to play with her even though she is tougher than he is. She raises both front paws and barks and gives this teensy growl but she will chase him and run after him. It is Dobby’s favorite day. He is playing longer but he always falls asleep on the way home and spends the rest of the day lounging on the floor at our feet dreaming. He isn’t into swimming like some of the other dogs are. There is a chocolate colored dog named Woody (whose play toy is the best at the park) who LOVES to swim after the green nubbly ball thrown for him. Dobby however has never seen the allure of the water. Our attempts at getting him used to it this past Sunday were met with some resistance. When he finally did swim it was with an awkward splash splash of his front paws. I feel that may be the end of his swimming lessons. He’s perfectly content to frolic with the other dogs and that is good enough for me.

Cassandra has been pushing and stretching a ton lately. Next week we get another ultra sound to see how far along she is. I can’t imagine her being in there much longer since she is convinced it is far too small. Her persistent actions make me think she is going to be a very strong personality which probably means she will be tough to keep up with when she finally gets to moving around. Clay and I love her so much and can’t hardly wait to see what she looks like and hear what she sounds like and feel her little heart beat and tiny feet. She is going to be so much fun to be with, I can’t wait until Clay is teaching her to drum and paint and I’m teaching her to read and write. I hope she will be born soon.

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