Count it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Andlet endurance have itsperfect result, so that youmay be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Most people, when they're faced with a trial, don't hesistate to tell you all about what they're going through, how hard it is, how they're coping, blah, blah, blah. Not Paul. He's imprisoned in Rome, the church in Philippi writes and *asks* him about his circumstances, and what does he do? Not complain, that's for sure! He instead tells them that his circumstances are furthering the cause of Christ! Basically Paul's saying, "Why would I care about what's happening to me? I'm able to share the Gospel with people who might not have ever heard it otherwise!" Would that I had that attitude.
My grandpa died about seven years ago this winter. He was quite a man. Among other things, he really enjoyed to cook. No, not just to cook, but to experiment in the kitchen. He loved kitchen gadgets! I was blessed (being the kitchen gadget lover that I am) with the opportunity to go through the his kitchen and get what I wanted. One of the things I found, in never-been-opened condition, was a pastry cloth and frame. I tucked it in a box, toted it the 800 miles home, unloaded it into a cabinet, boxed it up when we moved six years later, unboxed it into another cabinet, and finally found it and actually opened its packaging for the first time today. WHAT A COOL THING!
I rolled out my pastry for pear dumplings on it. Pear dumplings -- another first. Anyway, it's about 20" square, with wooden slats fitted to the top and bottom of the cloth. Then there are two metal pieces that fit over the wooden slats on both ends -- with the bottom end of the metal pieces fitted to attach to the counter top. The pastry cloth is taut, from the frame, and anchored to the counter, so it doesn't flop all over the place -- it was delightful to roll out pastry! How often can one say that?!?
I've never made dumplings before, but Todd brought in some pears off the tree, and I felt challenged to find something to do with them. I pulled out the recipe books, and actually, there is quite a lot you can do with pears! They are actually very interchangeable with apples, in most apple recipes. Dumplings sounded like fun, so dumplings it was. I've just pulled them out of the oven, and I have to say, they look good. But even more telling -- they smell wonderful!
We're having burgers on the grill for dinner. I wish our tomatoes would ripen already, so I could quit purchasing those nasty, hot-house tomatoes from the grocer. With our move happening when it did, we were unable to get the seedlings started and planted like we normally do. I say we, but I mean Todd. I did cook eggplant from our garden on Saturday. Julia gave me the recipe and it was terrific! The peppers are coming in now, and the tomatoes are on the vine, just *really* green. I'm not that into fried green tomatoes! The sweet potatoes are going to be a major crop! I'll be making sweet potato casserole and pecan pie for Thanksgiving, out of the bounty of our land! Next year, it'll be even better!
I've really enjoyed this weekend. We switched the chore day from Saturday to Tuesday evening. It took us about an hour and a half for everyone to do their chores Tuesday night, and it was soooooo nice to not have to worry about chores being done on Saturday! I get so uptight watching the clock tick on towards the deadline, and watching my teens do *nothing*. Now I'll just not feed anyone who hasn't done their chores on Tuesday evenings! And no one goes anywhere on Tuesdays -- house rule. It was hard to do that on Saturdays! I mean, it is the weekend! Plus, if anyone spent the night away or had friends in on Friday, it made it all the more difficult. Thanks to the Torres family who inspired me -- they have their chore night on Thursdays -- but we have too much going on to use that night. Oh well. This way we go through the weekend, and my house gets picked up after we trash it on Saturday and Sunday with our lazings! Just kidding. Or am I??
Last night I read the Scripture that will be covered in next Sunday's lesson. We start in Philippians, chapter 1, verses 1-18a. Some of my favorite verses come out of Philippians. It amazes me that Paul could have written such a joyful, uplifting, and encouraging letter while he was imprisoned for the cause of Christ! Not only that, but that the cause of Christ was *furthered* by his imprisonment!
I'm very anxious about the upcoming Sunday School year. It looks like I've got a great group of women in my class, but I'm still anxious. It will be hard to teach in the footsteps of Patti. She has been such a phenomenal Bible teacher! I've been very blessed to have sat under her teaching for the last seven months. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities teaching held! I was so confined to a box . . . and teaching God shouldn't be confined to a box. I learned a lot from her, and I'm ready to teach again. I'm really afraid that I wont' give it the attention that it deserves, due to all the other priorities in my life -- like family, job, and sanity!
God I'm really depending on You to empower me through this! I guess that's what You want from me anyway. I need to lean on YOU!
My favorite verse from this week's lesson is Phil. 1:6:
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Wow! He's still working on me! And will keep working on me and perfecting me until Jesus returns. Which means I'll never be in a position to say, "I've arrived." It's humbling and exciting all at the same time. :)
Todd and I walked together this morning. It was nice -- and we actually walked several more laps than is typical, just because the conversation was so good! We so need time together like that every day; to share our thoughts and concerns. To share what we're praying for, so we can make sure we're praying in unison!