Friday, December 28, 2007

The Valley of Vision

I received a gift entitled, The Valley of Vision a Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions...this is the only time I am going to post on it (you will have to buy it for yourself...!) Amazing book....

This is the opening.....

The Valley of Vision

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
they joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Look Inside

It is 5' is really amazing. It is a Knex roller coaster. I can't believe he put it together.

The inner workings of Knex

Elena putting out reindeer food on the front lawn...

Cookies for Santa and stockings all hung...

Two versions of Advent in our home...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

7 lbs. 4 oz. 20" long....Willow....

She is here....only a day after her due date....the newest member of the West, Taylor family. My nephew and his wife welcomed a baby girl today. Willow Taylor....she looks a lot like here mama!

The Proud Grandpa....(are you really old enough to be a grandpa??!!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Little Pre-Christmas Fun in School

My daughter's kindergarten teacher has a tradition of having the children (along with the parents) build candy houses. Today was the long awaited day....

The finished product.

The incredible and incomparable Julie Brown.

She is smiling, but inwardly worried he is going to eat the candy!

Whom Shall I Send

"Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven." Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:6-7

(sunrise from my office window...)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another Name for Away in the Manger

I consider the masterwork The Messiah as one of the greatest works of music ever. It fully embodies the Gospel message. It glorifies the Lord. It is beautiful beyond compare. We were listening to it while we were doing some baking tonight. I was once again explaining the importance of this masterwork. My youngest listened for awhile looked at me and said...."is this another way to sing Away in the Manger?" Oi...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not Only in Indiana

I was forwarded this uTube link
It is one of the Men's Chorus Groups from Indiana singing a very different version of the 12 days of Christmas. Our own Vocal Arts Chorus has sung this same version. It is is crazy.....they are all a bunch of hams....enjoy. (You will need to copy the link to your browser. Just highlight it, to do that do a ctrl C, put the cursor on your browser line and do a ctrl v, hit enter)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Little Saturday Fun

We had a birthday party to attend in Los Osos. I took three of the kiddos to Montana de Oro afterward. I could have stayed all day...

Sisters forever...

A true shell seeker...

Shoes never stay on long...

Long shadows.....time to head for home

Friday, December 14, 2007

Proverbs at Work

"The mind of a man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

"A worker's appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on."
Proverbs 16:26

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just Give me Advil, please!

There is a reason when you are 43 years old that you shouldn't play soccer against your daughter's team. I can actually name more than one reason.....
1. We (the adults) are all limping
2. The adults are wheezing (and it has been 2 hours since we finished)
3. 10 year old girls should not be allowed to run that fast
4. I scored! But then had to be given oxygen...
5. The company that makes Advil would not be able to keep up with the demand.
6. Laughing that hard for that long will take years off your life
7. They cheat ( did we)
8. They schooled us more times than I care to count
(But we won!!!)

It was worth the hugs and the dinner afterward. Now if I could just straighten my back and get out of this chair.....but I have to remove the ice from a really bad cleating first.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Listening Classically you know the story? More importantly do you know the work? See if you can name it before you finish the story.

"The composer was in despair. Struggling to earn a living in London, he knew days when he could not afford to buy meals. One night in 1741, depressed and defeated, he wandered the lonely streets; it was almost dawn when he returned to his shabby room. On a table was a thick envelope. It was from Charles Jennens, the man who wrote his librettos. Examining the pages, he found them covered with Scripture texts.

Wearily, he tossed the pages aside and crawled into bed. But he could not sleep. The words he had read returned to him:

Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God ... The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light ... For unto us a Child is born ... Glory to God in the highest ... Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Too stirred to sleep, he got up and went to his piano. The music flowed from his heart-rich, majestic, triumphant. He began to write. Night and day for three weeks, he wrote feverishly. He forgot sleep, food, rest. He refused to see anyone. At last, on the day the work was finished, one friend managed to gain entrance.

The composer was at his piano, sheets of music strewn around him, tears streaming down his face. "I do believe I have seen all of Heaven before me, and the great God Himself," he exclaimed.

Millions of people have been able to believe that. The first audience to hear the composition -- in Dublin in 1742 --gave it the greatest ovation in the city's history. Weeks later, London heard it for the first time, and again it was a triumph. The King was so impressed during the Hallelujah Chorus that he rose to his feet -- a custom that still prevails.

This Christmas, in churches and concert halls around the world, millions of people will once again find hope and faith in the message what has become the most beloved composition of all times --"

Yep - it is George Fredric Handel and the story of his composing what we know as The Messiah. He entitled it just Messiah. What an appropriate name. Can you name (by memory) another famous Christmas tune he composed?

Why do you think the Lord allows for deep despair, those darkest before sunrise moments (or months), those earth shaking (and does it) moments of life challenge before His Glory is revealed?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Culture in the Church

I'm reading a book by John Burke entitled, No Perfect People Allowed. I can tell from the opening pages I will be posting quite a bit on this one. Here is a quote from the book....

"...pollster George Barna warns of the waning influence of the church on emerging generations, calling for radical change before a postmortem is declared:

Our goal cannot simply be a timid, powerless survival; it must be the role that Christ called the Church to play, that of a loving, authoritative, healing, and compelling influence upon the world...lacking such a turn-about, we may rightfully anticipate the virtual disappearance of the Christian Church in this nation.

Statistically, this has already happened in England and Europe, a continent further down the post-Christian turnpike than North America. Church attendance in England averages about 7% of the population, and Europe as a whole runs a close race. In effect, the Christian Church in Europe has gone the way of the dinosaur, and the North American Church tracks close behind. Barna and others note that the current generation is actually the first generation in American history in which a majority of those seeking faith begin their spiritual journey with a faith group other than Christianity."

Did you catch that last line? That was mind boggling to me. It is a really good question, though. Where did your spiritual journey start?

Whirlwind of Soccer

The girls spent the weekend in the valley at a soccer tournament. We were spoiled by being able to stay with family. Not so spoiled at the 7am call time with 30 degree temps and solid white ice everywhere. We are glad to be back in the banana belt (if 50 degrees counts for for tropical!)

I don't want to get up. Come on is only 5:45am.

Are you sure I have soccer this morning? Yes....

My sister-in-law and sister looking very sheik....I on the other hand had on jeans, tennis shoes and a winter jacket.

I'm glad I get to wear my sister's soccer gear. At least my ears are warm.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Had to put in a quick post. We are doing a 6 week lecture series for the women at our church after the first of the year. Really good topics (contentment, submission, modesty, sexuality to name a few). I had the privilege of reviewing one of our lecturer's notes for the homework. I'm stealing her opening quote and putting it here in the blog (thanks debbi)....ponder this one:

"Because he took my guilt and my punishment and reconciled me to God as my Father, I do not need to cling any longer to the comforts of earth in order to be content. I am free to let things go for the sake of making the supremacy of God's worth known."

John Piper

Monday, December 03, 2007

And the Stockings Were All Hung...

Some pics of the weekend. Guess what we did?

They made snowflakes and were selling them for a penny or three for $.05. Go figure on that one.

The tree is up and the house decorated.

One of my all time favorite paintings from one of my children. The poem inside reads...

Dear all of my family,
Have a mary mary mary Christmas. I love you angles! It's going to be fun
celibrating Jesuss Birthday with family.
Have a good Christmas, Joey
(he is 12 now, but 7 then)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alter Your Course

Alter Your Course

The captain of a ship looked into the dark night and saw lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south."

Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."

The captain was angered his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south - I am a captain."

Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north. I am seaman third class Jones."

Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south - I am a battleship."

Then the reply came: "Alter your course 10 degrees north - I am a lighthouse."

I just love that illustration. I've heard it before, but it is a good one. My voicelessness at the moment is causing me to alter my course. Trying not to panic, but I need my voice. Have heard many stories of those of you who have experienced this over the years. I think I might need to publish a book on the funny things that are said and happen in the home when mom can't use her voice!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Keep Silent

The Lord was painting in our sky again this evening!
One of my favorite praise songs is one sung by Amy Grant based on Habakkuk 2:20 which says, "But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him"
I am being forced to be silent by a severe case of laryngitis. I got sick and it attacked my vocal chords. I have been put on complete voice rest. The above verse takes on new meaning for me.
Another one of my favorite (yet difficult to do) parts of scripture is in the very next chapter of Habakkuk. I've been praying it a lot recently.

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
Hab. 317-19

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


A friend read 1 Chronicles 16 to me the other day.....had to post it. Happy Thanksgiving.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.

Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders.

Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.

Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.

Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgements from His mouth.

…Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before him; Worship the Lord in holy array.

Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”

Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it.

Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord; For He is coming to judge the earth.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

They say, Save us, O god of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your Holy name, and glory in your Praise.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting.

Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord.”

Monday, November 19, 2007

Leaves and Chickens

They don't really go together or do they...? They are busy, they are curious, they are fun to be with, they provide for our family (food and entertainment), they are friendly, they look forward to every day waiting with anticipation to experience whatever the day might bring, they sleep well at night, they love to be free to roam. Elena and our chickens do have a few things in common.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finishing with Integrity

It is done. The final cone picked up. The balls in the ball bag. The practice pinney's washed and sorted. Soccer is done! "My boys" finished with a three game tournament today. We were picked to win it all, but took a loss in our second game....sigh. My voice is horse and I am exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to corral those boys and motivate them in the right direction. I will miss this particular team. They are the sweetest group of boys. I have enjoyed every minute I have had with them and feel honored to have been their coach. They played with integrity no matter what was going on around them. I am confident they will succeed in life....they sure are on the right track. Go Green Goblins!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I See the Lord

I see the Lord seated on the throne, exalted
And the train of His robe
Fills the temple with glory
And the whole earth is filled
The whole earth is filled
And the whole earth is filled
With His glory

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord

Chris Falson

I was speaking to a friend regarding this song recently. I was explaining the first time I heard it (another post at another time). It sure brings you out of your own little world....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Helping Hands

Time-Tested Beauty Tips

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone ...

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Sam Levenson

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Aches and Pains

It isn't often that little ones get hurt in soccer. The speed and impact of the players are not at the point in which contact usually leaves anything other than some bruising. Today was a different day for that theory. No, it wasn't one of my children, but it was one of the player's on my boy's U10 team. My heart and those of my parent group and team are breaking this evening as they witnessed a very bad injury of one of their teammates today. A severely broken leg. I won't go into graphic detail, but oh my....I felt and feel so bad for him. He is in surgery as I write this. We are praying for the best as the severe break occured within the growth plate region of his upper tibia/fibula and tibial plateau (for you anatomy folks!) The best part of the experience was a good family friend of the boy coming onto the field and openly praying over all of us as we were aiding the boy. That was bold (and deeply appreciated)! Injuries happen....I know that, but I still hate to see it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Little Live History

My kids school did a little live history today. They created tableau's of famous paintings from the Renaissance. Here are some pics....

Jacob's class recreated The School of Athen's
(he is Alexander the Great on the left of this pic)

The original painting

Emma's class recreated The Judgement of Solomon

The Original

Joey's class recreated Death of a Virgin

The original

It was a lot of work for many people.....thank goodness for those creative types. There were 13 Tableau's in all! It does bring history to life, though.