Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Peas and Carrots

Now that our latest visitors are gone, we're turning our attention back to our much-neglected garden... before our next visitors arrive.

I wanted you all to see the picture I took of a carrot from our garden.

These long-awaited (and blogged about) beauties were sweet, just as the snow promised.

The children were very excited to pick these with us. They LOVED pulling on the tops and seeing the carrots pop up out of the ground. We had quite a few of them, too...

And since the peas were ready for picking, too, we decided to put the peas and carrots together one night and saute them up for a side dish:

Lest you think that I grew giant peas, please understand that a very valuable lesson was learned in our home about soil conditions in far southwest Virginia. Apparently, carrots just don't do well in our soil, and they never get much bigger than this! Ahhh! But a lesson lived is a lesson learned! We'll be buying our carrots next year!

The peas were very good (and of normal size!) so, we probably will endeavor to grow those again.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Inspiring Visitors

Over the last two weeks, we've had a couple of visitors to the Treehouse. Isn't it great to enjoy fellowship with the saints?

The Serven Adios™ (again)

Our first visitors were the Serven Clan (again), or at least five of the eleven Servens, who were on their way to the History of the World Mega Conference here in Virginia. We had a lovely evening and early morning with them before they left making tracks to Hampton. We enjoyed sharing food and more time building a friendship with this lovely family. Check out their blog:

The Serven Clan
While the Servens were here, we discussed a very important issue—the Howards need a bigger table! ;) Cheryl and I also had some time to discuss heart issues regarding parenting. Our time was too short, however. We hope to make a trip to visit the Servens in their home some day soon. Hopefully Cheryl and I will have ample time then to pick up where we left off. I feel I could learn volumes from this godly wife and mother. (Cheryl, you ARE an inspiration!)

Then, last weekend, we had the privilege of opening our home to the Waller family. The Wallers are the subjects of the film A Journey Home. We had the joy of meeting the Wallers last month at the Carpenters' home. We were thrilled when Tommy Waller asked if they could park their bus, yes, I said BUS, in our driveway for the night. We were more than ready to have them come to stay with us since we enjoyed their fellowship so much last month.

The Wallers' Blue Bird Conversion Bus
(They're practicing the Serven Adios™!)

The Waller family lives in Israel part-time, helping the settlers in the West Bank tend their gardens and, in the process, sharing the love of Christ with them. While they were here, the current fighting in Israel broke out affecting many they know. Please pray for all those affected in this current crisis. To know more aptly how to pray, please visit their website:

Ha Yovel - The Jubilee
Tommy Waller and a few of his children talk to a friend in Israel affected by the war

Here are some pictures of our time with the Wallers and their beautiful family of eleven children (now you know why they need a bus! ;0) )

Several of our friends came out to meet the Wallers

Tommy Waller explains their work in Israel
while the older boys get ready to play for us

My children's eyes light up when the time comes for
Davidic dancing with Daddy and the Wallers

They've converted all the seats to aisle-facing and the seat backs fold up to make bunkbeds.

The Wallers and Howards gather in front of the Treehouse

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Total Control

Over the years, if I have learned anything it has been to allow the Lord total control. He has all the control anyway, but so often I try to take it back, put myself on the throne and make all the decisions for myself. Isn't this what Eve did? Didn't she decide that she would rather be in control than surrender?

Surrender. Do you know what that word means? Webster's 1828 dictionary defines it as: "The act of yielding or resigning one's person or the possession of something, into the power of another." All the rights we think we have, all of the wants, desires, dreams, and goals we have... surrendered into the power of Another.

Sound scary? Of course it does. Know anyone trustworthy enough to be that safe-haven to which one could give all of this? There is no mere mortal to whom I could entirely give myself with reckless abandon. There is only One Who is worthy of this distinction, and that is Christ.

When I became a Christian, I didn't really realize what the Lord would ask of me. Marriage, children, ministry, friends. Give, give, give.

What I also didn't realize is that I would not be alone to find the strength with which to continue after I had given what I thought was my all. No, Christ reigns supreme in me and, as such, fills me with His life in order for me to continue to give, give, give. No, no "pity parties" allowed here. I have all I need to go on daily... I have Christ. I will never thirst for I have been given Living Water to sustain me (John 4:13-15). To surrender to this kind of captivity is to be taken hold of by the kindest Captor ever known to man, the One who surrendered His all... for me.

"For the Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone..." (Deut. 32:36)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Family Traditions, Part Two

A couple of posts back, I mentioned that I would start a series on family traditions. This will be the second in that series that I will intersperse among other posts.

In this post, I would like to tell about another family tradition we have, and that is of reading aloud stories of Church history during the last part of our family worship. This all started last summer, but has become something that we really enjoy.

Last summer, a few weeks after my second daughter was born, my father and his wife came to visit. During their visit, we continued with our family worship as usual. One night, we were reading from Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History. My Dad asked if he could look through the book. Suddenly he exclaimed, "Gustavus Adolphus!... My great grandfather's name was Gustavus Adolphus! I never knew that he was named after someone!" After this revelation, my father began to read the story of Gustavus Adolphus aloud to us and in the process, taught my children all about an important church hero and tied family ties that I know my children (especially the oldest) will not soon forget.

We decided then and there that this was a tradition that was worth pursuing. Especially when the grandparents are around, Jim Bob will give them their choice of hymns and/or stories from which to pick during our family worship. We enjoy it all the more when the grandparents are the ones to tell a story, or pick a hymn. I love to see the multi-generational faithfulness of the Lord being passed down to my children from their extended family!