Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

9.25.2012

Honor

father and son
Father and son were laying beneath the starry sky. The boy kept opening his eyes wider and wider to avoid the fuzziness of sleep threatening him. So many things muddled his brain, that Kabad struggled to know how to begin with his father, or even if he should begin.

Finally, he rolled over onto his elbow, the forced movement bringing some alertness to his mind. "Father," he began timidly.

"Hmm..." Father replied softly.

"Why are we different?"

"Different?" Father asked, and Kabad knew it was a rhetorical question. His entire existence had been defined by his family's differences from the rest of the country. Certainly, he could trace his family tree back to the beginning of the nation, but many said it wasn't through the right people, and therefore, he did not truly belong with the rest of the country. While his cousins and aunts and uncles and third cousins twice removed lived the same way as his family, he knew of no other people who lived in tents as a matter of course. Who would choose such a lifestyle on purpose? Of course, he and father were not in their family tents now. They were laying on thin bedrolls under the stars, because this was their turn to guard the flocks. Not only their livelihood, but also all the wealth of the entire extended family was invested in their livestock. These animals rested a stone's throw away under Father's watchful eye, and seemed to be louder in sleep than in activity. Even life as a herdsman was no random decision, but a deliberate choice. Kabad would not grow up to be a farmer; he would grow up to be a herdsman.

All of this, he had known for years, but just today, another difference had fallen upon his thoughts.

So instead of reiterating all of these differences to Father, Kabad merely replied, "Why did you not drink with the men today?" The travelling men, who had bought sheep, and from whom Father and uncles had bought supplies, had sat down to a celebratory drink, but all his kin had refused, and this the boy still puzzled over.

"Son, we do not drink wine because our father asked us not to. Wine and farming and living in houses do not violate the Law; they are not sinful. But they are all things our father asked us to abstain from, just as I ask you to do the same. I have chosen to honor my father, and in doing so, I have been strengthened by turning away from those things which could have made life easier. We're not any holier or set apart than those men who offered their hospitality and their drink; we're just obeying the wishes father communicated to us."

Kabad pondered all this as he finally fell asleep, marvelling and hoping that he would delight in obeying and honoring his father just as Father did with Grandfather.

The next morning brought a strange turn of events; Jeremiah, the famed prophet of God had called every male Rechabite to the house of the Lord, and all of the boy's family was buzzing at the unusual summons. They marched in bravely, in their very best attire, to meet the man who they had heard so much about.

"Sit, sit!" Jeremiah boomed hospitably as he quickly and attentively served every single man of the large family a bowl full of wine, and cups to dip into the vast containers. "Drink wine!" He commanded, he whom they respected for his godliness, insight, and faithfulness.

The boy looked at his father over the ruby red bowl of wine. Surely, this was an exception clause? Surely Grandfather did not anticipate a prophet of the Lord serving them this wine? What if Jeremiah had a message from God, which could only be shared upon eating and drinking together? Father had been so attentive to Grandfather's wishes; could not this one time slide by?

The silence was an endless loop, playing over and over again, until it was stuck in the minds of each man, and no one could get it out. Stuck! What were they to do?

Slowly, Father looked at his son, at his pleading eyes, begging for compromise. Father smiled reassuringly, then rose regally. "We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, 'You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever.'"

Every man stood to agree with Father, and his brother spoke up from the back. "Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us."

Kabad felt a sinking, sick feeling in his stomach as he watched for Jeremiah's reaction. Suddenly, the prophet's face softened into the kindest, gentlest expression of gratitude the boy had ever seen. Jeremiah's voice easily carried through the whole room and beyond as he said, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, "Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?" says the Lord. "The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father's commandment. But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey Me....Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed Me."'"

The boy watched and listened in awe and grief as Jeremiah continued to share the Word of the Lord and pronounced doom upon all of the nation. Then Jeremiah seemed to be finished, for he embraced each man and thanked them for their faithfulness. The boy felt hardly deserving of such an honor when his turn came, and yet he felt the importance of living worthy to this honor.

As Jeremiah hugged the last man and turned to exit, he paused and surveyed the rough men quietly. "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel," he began, and Kabad thought Jeremiah was looking straight into his soul. "Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever.'"

And with that, Jeremiah was gone. The boy could hardly breathe. Suddenly he, a descendant of the father-in-law of Moses, who had always lived as a Hebrew and one of the chosen people, but had never been completely accepted by his countrymen, felt as he imagined Abraham or Moses or David must have felt when God had covenanted with them. Suddenly he comprehended just how monumentally historic honoring his father really was.



Photo Credit: disgustipado

Taken from Jeremiah 35. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

9.18.2012

Surprising and Being Surprised

 
A month ago I got a scathingly brilliant idea.  And instantly announced it to my family: "I have a fabulous idea for something we are going to do.  But you have to wait a month."  Because I love torturing them like that!  In the meantime I plotted and schemed, and my surprise came together: a trip to the corn maze at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. 

A few of my siblings unearthed the secret beforehand, but the majority were extremely corn-fused as to the secret destination. 


Acres of corn stood before us, and we bravely plunged in!  The maze was divided into two halves; the first half was supposed to be quite easy, so we divided into four teams to see who could make it through the fastest! 

 The teams arriving at the finish line!  Everybody finished in about the same time.  I loved arriving at a crossroads and being faced with the important decision: left or right? 

A picture of Melanie frowning at Mama taking a picture of her taking a picture. 


 
"Hey, how'd you get up on that bridge?  We want up too!"

The bridge gives you a view of the maze, and is a highly desired vantage point, not to mention it's THE RIGHT WAY!

 Arriving at the bird, which you'll notice on the map above!  If you're a Portlander, you might appreciate the fact that they "put a bird on it." 

There were various numbered signs along the way.  You could choose a "passport" which contained themed questions.  If you answered correctly, the passport would direct you to take the correct turn.  But if you answered incorrectly...you might get lost for hours!  (Or minutes, it's all the same in a corn maze.)

The long straight stretch above the words "Portlandia."  We had a lot of fun walking through the letters! 
 
The end is in sight for intrepid corn-explorers!


I know.  I just fulfilled a lifelong dream of yours to see us as sunflowers.  You're welcome. 


The flower gardens were gorgeous! 
 
My one requirement for the day was that the girls wear their stylish rainboots that we all received as birthday gifts this year.  They made the day, I must say, despite the fact that it was dry as a bone and in the 80s! 


 
Jonah has conquered the hay pyramid! 

The surprise I didn't know about was one God had in store for us...a new puppy!  You may remember Sadie, our beloved family dog, had to be put down earlier this year.  Since then, we've been looking for a puppy but just haven't found the right one yet.  On our way home from the maze, Mikaela looked up online listings and happened upon this precious one who was nearby!  We fell head over heels in puppy love as soon as we saw him.  A lab maremma mix, he can spark a fifteen minute monologue from yours truly about how amazing the maremma breed is.  To prevent boredom, however, I'll leave it at this: he is perfect!   

 
"C'mon, let's play, furball!  Hey, what'd I say?"
 

Is it just me or does his tail look like the swirl on a dilly bar? 
 
Yes, our family is goners for this puppy.  We have yet to reach a consensus on the name, though...so maybe you can help us out by voting in the poll!  In the meantime, I'm going to go down and love on him some more!  Good night!

9.11.2012

Summer Tarantella

 You've heard of the Tarantella? The dance turns faster and more chaotic as the music progresses, ending in a final magnificent fury designed to cure anyone who has been bitten by the tarantula. Of course, this dance was always successful, since no tarantula has ever proven deadly to humans. This weekend was, I believe, the final conclusion of our frenzied summer, and I am now operating under the delusion that summer's tarantella will become autumn's jig, which will melt into a peaceful winter waltz. (Please allow me this moment of insanity!)



Friday we had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower at our house. We are so excited at the prospect of welcoming a new little one into our church at the end of September! That's Mallory, Lauren, Mikaela, and Elsie in the uppermost picture, enjoying the chat time we got at the shower.


Pinned Image

We made this peanut butter chocolate tart, which was a hit! You can check out the recipe here.


It's always so hard to come up with fresh, new baby shower games--after all, some ladies have been going to baby showers for fifty years! Mama did a fantastic job, though, and you can see these ladies above busily engaged in matching classic toys with the year they were made. Get the printable here.

baby shower game toy timeline


Ooohhh! Aaaahh! Is he really going to be that tiny?


Everyone is always so sweet to help out--we didn't run this show by ourselves! One friend brought this scrumptious pear pastry, and another family brought a fabulous coconut macadamia nut cheesecake (oh yes, it was as delicious as it sounds).


Mama crocheted this blanket for the new little one.



Saturday, with blue things still dangling from our walls, we crammed our van and trailer full of supplies, and headed out to help host one of Christian Heritage's Regional Homeschool Kickoff Picnics. Above, you can see everyone intently engaged in the group games we had prepared.  


We played Jig of Slurs or Jar of Slugs--both names are correct, and the usage tends to be split along the lines of gender. That's Mikaela, Lauren, Jonah, Susanna, and Micah playing--Melanie couldn't figure out a way to move our Yamaha upright to the park!

Precious boys.


We enjoyed a short but inspirational message encouraging everyone in their home discipleship.


Over 150 people turned out, and God gave us wonderful weather (in spite of the ominous, rumbling thunder). There were so many families I had never met, and I loved getting to fellowship with everyone. A highlight was when Heather and Hannah came up and introduced themselves as longtime blog readers--thanks girls!


Glowing expectant mother and her always-adorable daughter!

We got everything packed and cleaned up by 8:30, thanks to many helpful hands, and from there we headed to a nearby fort to experience a candlelight reenactment.


Our friends have participated for several years, but we have never made it down to see them in action. "Mr. Thomas Lloyd's" British accent was quite convincing, as was his tale of an American ship run aground, and more. We couldn't resist taking advantage of the fact that he couldn't come out of character, however, and teasing him just a bit.


And here you see an apprentice eagerly searching for a vein on Jonah's wrist so that he can bleed him of any bad humor that might be residing in his body.


The tour began in an air museum, so we took a group picture of us and the other family's kids who were not reenacting. Back Row: Sarah, Lauren, Mikaela, Melanie, Micah, Susanna. Front Row: Zachary, Jonah, Madeline, and Megan.

Now, after late nights, early mornings, and busy-ful days in between, we seem to have contracted some sort of flu. The memories we made, however, are beautiful, the friendships we began are sure to stay, and the old friends we caught up with are still warming our hearts. It was worth it.

 

All pictures taken by Mama and Melanie

9.04.2012

The Conclusion of the Myth of the No Man's Land Between Childhood and Marriage

Little Girl Lost

 
I know the myth of the no man's land is a genuine problem because of the outpouring of responses I received last week: some were heartfelt encouragement, some were heartfelt concern that I am stuck in the no man's land, and some were heart-agitating debate. 
 
In any case, you can read that post here, in which I shared the truth God has driven home to me recently: God tailored this season in my life for me as the way I could best glorify Him right now.  Now, as promised, I want to share the second way in which single daughters can stop wandering aimlessly and start being mighty forces for God's kingdom in our single years! 
 

2. You have a mighty influence on your

siblings.

 
Mighty, forceful, compelling, staggering.  More than you know. 
 
And it’s not so much in what you say you stand for, but in how you live your life.  If you doubt me, consider the unnamed firstborn of Lot who proposed grotesque immorality to her younger sister and led the way to bearing children who would be forever enemies of the children of Israel and of God.  {Genesis 19:30-38}
 
If I am indulging in habits, even in secret, my siblings will know and will likely follow my example. 
If I fail to praise my siblings, they will not respond to my most earnest nagging.
If, twenty years down the road, I realize that one weakness of mine, one cherished attitude or point of pride helped to lead my siblings astray, I will mourn for the time I lost. 
 

3. Your wisdom or lack thereof carries

weight for eternity.

 
Weight, significance, consequences, impact, repercussions.

 
On one of my first explorations into our acres of woods, I spotted a picturesque spot and ran for it: springing right into a line of barbed wire overgrown with foliage.  Let's just say I never made that mistake again!  But if you are a single daughter living at home it can be easy to pitch right into the barbed wire of foolishness which comes from either discontentment or carelessness.  

I know, because I have been caught in that very barbed wire.  Christ knew this, too, which is why He gave the very apt parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish.  They were awaiting the bridegroom in their position as bridesmaids, giddy and excited about the night’s festivities.  But even in that seemingly small role as bridesmaid, the foolish ones failed to look ahead and take oil for their lamps.    
 
 “And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'…And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'  But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 

 
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. {Matthew 25:6, 8-13}”
 

If I am living my life exactly as I am now when Christ returns, will I be satisfied that I did all I could for Him?
 

The Myth Destroyed

 
Girls, here is the convicting part: the myth that if you are a single, adult daughter you are in a no man’s land between childhood and marriage is worse than a myth—it is a deception by the prince of darkness.  Frankly, the truth is that we are not in a no man’s land: we are in a no-holds-barred, no-prisoners-taken battle. 
 
Satan attacks us with this deception because if he can convince us that contentment will only come with a change in relationship status or that our true effectiveness for God's kingdom will only come when we have a husband, or that true adulthood is only achieved when we are out on our own, or that we are generally in a no man's land between girlhood and womanhood, then he has succeeded in rendering us useless for what God wants us to do nowThat is indisputable, while the only question remaining is this: “Which side are you fighting for today?” 


Photo Credit: Ray Wewerka
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