Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Exciting News!

It has been a busy month so far here! From celebrating Leah's 18th birthday (on the 18th!), clearing some of our woods, practicing our music (we've actually gotten so we can play some songs together now!) and trying to keep up with our normal tasks. In the midst of all that, we've also been planning a girl's group at our home.

For the past several months (almost a year in fact), Leah and I have spent much time in counsel with our parents and in prayer, seeking the Lord's guidance in how we should specifically minister. Our hearts desire was to work with children as we love them dearly and it is always such a blessing to spend time with them and to teach them. With the Lord's leading and our parents direction, Leah and I are starting a 'girl's group' that will meet at our home. Every week we will have young girls out to our home in order to teach them homemaking skills (cleaning, cooking/baking, gardening, etc.) and the virtues that God has instructed women and young ladies to have. Our desire is to share with young ladies some of what God has taught us through His Word in order to aid them on their journey towards godly womanhood.

Earlier this month we sent out invitations and letters to families explaining what we will be doing and our first day will be this Thursday, August 31st. It has been so encouraging to see the Lord's hand guiding and directing us through the whole planning and preparation process. My prayer is that all that we teach and do with these girls will be Him working through us and not our own flesh... that the Holy Spirit will be our guide and that our time with these girls will bring glory to our Lord's name.

Monday, August 7, 2006

An Evening with Friends

This past weekend, we were blessed by having dinner, fellowship, and music with dear friends of ours. Whenever our families get together, we always have such a wonderful time. From music, to horse-back riding, to walking, to simply visiting, whatever we do, it is always so enjoyable!

Saturday, after dinner and before music, Ellie, her sisters Anna and Emily, and Leah and I went for a walk together and also visited some of their animals. First came Anna and Emily's kittens Willy-Wonka and Chocolate (cute names, don't you think?) and then we were able to go see the horses: Lady, which is Ellie's horse, Charm is Ellie's mother's older mare, Daisy - a little pony, and Raven - a Tennessee Walker.

And a night together is never complete without... Music!!!

Mom on the hammered dulcimer, Leah and I playing fiddle, and Ryan and James on guitar. And just out of reach of the camera on the left is Bryan also playing fiddle.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Exploring Ryan's Land

My, has it been hot in Missouri the past few weeks! Yesterday our thermometer read 104 degrees. Between our normal 'busyness' and giving fresh cool water to our animals (dogs, waterfowl and pigeons) throughout the day, we've managed to squeeze in some exciting events! We were able to go to the Boone County Fair and enjoy the 'Fiddler's Frolic'. Fiddlers from across Missouri gathered together to play along with many instrumentalists accompanying with guitar, banjo, bass, accordion, and cello. We didn't play ourselves, but some of our friends played fiddle and guitar.

The closing for Ryan's land was postponed until this past week and now 20.6 acres are officially his. We are so excited! Saturday morning Ryan and I went exploring and attempted to find the boundary markers. We didn't find them, but we sure had a fun time walking through the woods that border the field. There is a little creek that runs along one side of his property (it doesn't have water in it now), but it is quite picturesque as it winds through the ravines. All in all we had a great time even amidst the heat and the ticks.

Ryan looking at an aerial map of his property

The creek bed

On a more serious note, our family has been studying the word 'deny' in regard to the Scripture passages that use that word. As a result we realized that two different Greek words are translated into English as the same word 'deny'. One, arneomai, means - to deny, disown, renounce, repudiate; to say no, etc. The other, aparneomai, is a strengthened form of arneomai, meaning 'to deny utterly'. Utterly, as defined by The Random House College Dictionary (printed 1975), means: completely, totally, absolutely, unconditionally.

The majority of the words 'deny' and its various forms (denies, denied, etc.) in our English translations are translated from the Greek word arneomai, but what is interesting is that the stronger word, aparneomai - to deny utterly, is used in Mark 8:24: "And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'"

Realizing this has led to an in-depth study on what does it truly mean to deny ourselves in order to follow Christ. It is to deny ourselves utterly, completely; to not do anything simply for self-pleasure, but only for the purpose of either glorifying our God in heaven, or edifying our brothers and sisters in the Lord. If it is not fulfilling those purposes, it is of self and anything of self and not of the Lord is sin. This is a convicting thought! And one that, for me anyway, needs a lot of examination of my heart to see what areas of my life I am still satisfying my own pleasures and not serving the Lord fully and completely. May we, as "bondslaves" of God, strive to continue growing in our Lord, to continue ridding ourselves of the "encumbrances of the world" so that we may be presented to our Bridegroom, "pure and spotless".

*Some of this information was taken from Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary.