I decided to start a new series called Beautiful Grace here on the blog. It includes things I love, but it is another measure I can take to draw my own heart/eyes (along with yours, if you’ll join me!) back up to the Father, the giver of good gifts. Every good gift comes from his hand, and all are acts of grace.
It is such a great exercise for me to pause with my camera to capture details and moments that are gifts, and as much as it can awaken you to consider his gifts that you observe, and to the extent that it causes you to worship him more, I’m happy to share.
As far as the blog goes, my pattern lately seems to include a lot of backtracking–keeping up has been hard to do! These pictures are no exception! The beautiful fall colors are long gone now, but the beauty is worth a lingering delight if you ask me. Plus, the little muchkins in the picture are defintely a means of beautiful grace in my life! This fall, they were on assignment to find the best place in the yard to have a tea party. This was my favorite, though I imagine the thing that mattered most to them was the candy and tea!
Could he be a boy like this?
Today is to be Chernet’s 9th birthday! (Here is one post with a brief explanation of who Chernet is to us). Oh, how can it be that this little son-we-cannot-hold is already getting so old, or so we presume! It has been over 1,800 days since we had this little guy in our arms, and just over 4 years since we last knew anything about his whereabouts! Lord, have mercy on this dear boy! Would you shelter him in your strong and tender care, and meet his physical, emotional and spiritual needs!
There is still a special spot in our heart for Chernet. It is not a corner in our heart, behind some locked door. Rather, it is a life giving flow of a strange and beautiful harmony that happens when sorrow and joy intermingle in a heart.
The sadness is still real! We still ache for the one face that we hold dear in our hearts; the little boy who reminds us of a sea of millions of orphans who are in pure grit survival mode, running from the wolves of horrible, preying, selfish people, climate, and circumstances. May God have mercy to turn our complacent hearts, and be merciful to these children… to Chernet!
And the joy is real! The Lord brought us the gift of this boy to transform our lives in some of the deepest, most treasured ways! It is not like the gift of a present all wrapped up in beautiful paper at Christmas, which will so quickly loose its newness and shine. Rather, through the rugged pain, this gift has born a deeper love and greater compassion which has only grown with time, and its beauty shines even brighter. This gift has pushed me deeper into the heart of my Heavenly Father more:
“Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Prov 30:5).
When my heart stings for these hurting children, I can read over and over and over again in God’s precious Word that he is for the widow, the orphan and the sojourner (Deut 10:18, Ps 147:3 for example), I can know it is true, and I can take refuge in that. And, I can find comfort that his Father heart is not the least bit diminished or weakened because their circumstances are brutally harsh, or because I cannot see his movement. He is working in mysterious ways, I don’t understand it, yet I can fully trust him. What crazy beauty this is!
Today we celebrate the life of this boy…we will feast, and we will grieve! Chernet, on your 9th birthday, you are loved!
Our Saturday workday started out with a yummy breakfast around the table, and a chapter from The Curious Naturalist. You can see the title of the chapter is a little amusing in and of itself (pictured below), but after reading the astonishing, the title argues its point fairly well, I think.
Some people even enjoy the aroma of skunk musk and have a support group of their own, The Wiffy Club, composed entirely of people who like the smell of skunk spray. Some Whiffers so relish the aroma that they keep a vial of the scent handy for an invigorating sniff…
The book referred to these folk as “nasally challenged”.
Good point on why not to have a pet for a skunk:
If you have bad breath, your pet skunk might attack your face while you sleep. Mistaking halitosis for the scent of rotting meat, the skunk is drawn by the odor, and will paw at and attempt to enter your mouth to clean away the leftovers. Painful scratches can result.
We followed up this chapter, by reading through a report Ruthie wrote on skunks when she was 8. It was probably the cutest skunk anything I have ever seen, but one part that made us all almost fall out of our chairs in laughter was a delightfully illustrated page with a skunk standing on his front hands spraying a person. Ruthie wrote:
Skunks spray to make themselves famous… or to defend themselves.
Good to know!
With these pictures, and a few verses that I’m praying over my life as I head into the new school year, I’ll end the summer snapshot series.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ…. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving… Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. From Col. 3 and 4.