Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Refiner and Purifier

“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Mal. 3:3

“Our Father, who seeks to perfect His saints in holiness, knows the value of the refiner’s fire. It is with the most precious metals that the assayer takes the most pains, and subjects them to the hot fire, because such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass releases its alloy or takes perfectly its new form in the mould. The old refiner never leaves his crucible, but sits down by it, lest there should be one excessive degree of heat to mar the metal. But as soon as he skims from the surface the last of the dross, and sees his own face reflected, he puts out the fire. ~ Arthur T. Pierson

Streams in the Desert
Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick or Treat!



On Halloween I'll go to town
And wear my trousers upside down,
and wear my shoes turned inside out
And wear a wig of sauerkraut.

Shel Silverstei


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Morning Coffee

Today is the birthday of the Ticker Tape Parade? 124 years ago, on this day in
1886, the first ticker tape parade celebrated the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.

I think I'll pour another cup of coffee and spend a few minutes reading more about the Statue of Liberty here.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Holy Garden

“He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone.”  ~ Matt. 14:23

“[Alphonse de] Lamartine speaks in one of his books of a secluded walk in his garden where his mother always spent a certain hour of the day, upon which nobody ever dreamed for a moment of intruding, It was the holy garden of the Lord to her. Poor souls that have no such Beulah land! Seek thy private chamber, Jesus says. It is in the solitude that we catch the mystic notes that issue from the soul of things.”
Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman – Streams in the Desert


Morning Coffee

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
-- Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

On the other hand, it does not do to be so busy living that we forget to dream. So I think I'll pour another cup of coffee and dream a little.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Liberty Trees

Liberty Tree, St. John's College
From my email inbox today:
"Today is the anniversary of the Liberty Trees. In 1999, the last of the 13 Liberty Trees, one for each of the 13 original U.S. colonies, was cut down after being severely damaged by Hurricane Floyd. The 400-year-old tulip poplar on the campus of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, served as a rallying point in the 1770s for colonial patriots who desired freedom from British rule."

More about the Liberty Trees can be found here.

Maybe it's time to plant 50 new Liberty Trees so that we never forget what a priceless gift we have been given by those who went before us.  I would choose a Red Maple.  What a beautiful tree!  What is your favorite?


Friday, October 22, 2010

The Ordinary Road

“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” (Exod. 3:1,2)

“The vision came in the midst of common toil, and that is where the Lord delights to give His revelations. He seeks a man who is on the ordinary road, and the Divine fire leaps out at his feet. The mystic ladder can rise from the market place to Heaven. It can connect the realm of drudgery with the realms of grace.”

“My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be transfigured by Thy presence.”

Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Morning Coffee - From this day forward!

From this day forward; this is all that I have. There are no do-overs; no going back and starting again. Today is it! The day the rest of my life begins.

There are an infinite number of first steps I can take. And all will take me someplace new. How do I choose? How do I know which step to take?

Maybe a second cup of coffee and morning devotions will face me in the right direction. 

I do know this, however: a good first step will move me forward and will leave something unneeded behind.

"Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

R. L. Stevenson on Travel

"If we didn’t travel now and then, we should forget what the feeling of life is."
Robert Louis Stevenson


Chasing Steeples

 Jim and I just returned from a 3 day drive down the east side of Iowa.  It is such a beautiful area – following the Mississippi river - I never get tired of driving it.  And when we take these drives we become steeple-chasers.  Now we aren’t on horseback and we rarely encounter hurdles but we do, as the name suggests, chase steeples.  The Iowa country side is the best for seeking steeples; they dot most every country road.

Most often these country churches are Lutheran as the Scandinavians were major immigrants to the farmlands of Iowa.  But closer to the River we found historically significant Catholic Parishes.

This church was the most interesting.  St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in the area of Garryowen, Iowa just south and west of Dubuque was established by Irish immigrants from County Limerick in 1838-1839.  The parish was founded by the Father Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli, OP in 1840.   (More on Father Mazzuchelli can be found here.)

 We found St. Patrick’s only because we first saw the steeple of St. Lawrence Catholic Church.  While stopping and admiring this church, a retired Pastor - and now caretaker of sorts - came out to visit with us.  He gave us some history about both St. Lawrence and then he mentioned St. Patrick’s church and suggested that we search it out.  We followed his directions and found the church nestled way off the beaten path.  Mass is still offered in both churches.  And both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Getting off the highways always provides interesting discoveries.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


Gladness!  I like to cultivate the spirit of gladness!  It puts the soul so in tune again, and keeps it in tune, so that Satan is shy of touching it - the chords of the soul become too warm, or too full of heavenly electricity, for his infernal fingers, and he goes off somewhere else!  Satan is always very shy of meddling with me when my heart is full of gladness and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Time to Think and Pray

 Brenda, of the blog It's a Beautiful Life sent me this after reading the quote I posted earlier about taking time to watch the leaves change.

"I was reading in a little pretty book I own something that says something similar.  I just read it this morning..."

"Mother Schaefer has a yard full of leaf-shedding trees, and she picks up every leaf unaided in spite of her sons' repeated protests. . . 'They just don't understand.'  (She explains.)  'My basket and I want to do the job."

'You see, this life's just too busy nowadays.  Everybody's busy rushing someplace so they can get back in time to rush someplace else.  They want me to join this and that; they want me to go here and go there.  It's all very nice, but they don't give me any time to think... I need to sort things out, to think them over and then talk about them---with God.'

Even as she explained, the fragile little lady knelt and kept on with the work she loved so well.... She rubbed each leaf against her pale cheek as if to feel each tiny vein.... Then for a moment she closed her eyes, and I knew it was in prayer."

June Masters Bacher
Quiet Moments for Women
(this piece was found in "The Charm of Simple Things", editor Terri Gibbs, (c) 1998v)

Thanks Brenda! 


Friday, October 15, 2010

Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman

One of the fun things about rummaging in thrift stores is the books you might find.  Old classics and interesting out of print books are almost the norm.  One such book – published in 1925 – also gives a glimpse of the culture of the era.

The book is Streams in the Desert and the author is Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman.  It isn’t until the Forward of the book, where the author signs her name in her own handwriting, do we learn her name is actually Lettie B. Cowman.

That was the reason I picked the book up but I bought it (for 50 cents) because of the content.

From the dust jacket:  Streams in the Desert offers
- 365 inspired meditations of encouragement
- Practical directives for inner peace and certainty
– A tried formula for successful living.

How could I not buy Mrs. Chas E. Cowman’s book!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Take Time

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." 
~   Elizabeth Lawrence

The perfect agenda for a Fall day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A "sound heart and merry throat"

"When piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
Chic-chic-a-dee-dee! saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The chickadees are becoming my favorite bird. There are certainly birds showier in color but nothing beats the spunk of a chickadee.

When I fill my feeders, it is the chickadees that jump right in and start eating the fresh seed before I’ve even finished. Most other birds stay at a safe distance and don’t venture near the feeders until I am long gone. But not the brave little chickadee.

And when he finds the seed he wants, it is very often a huge find. How he is able to handle those large seeds and nuts with only his little beak and the branch of a tree is beyond me. But he does.

What a fun – and very motivating – little bird!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Are My Blades Sharp?

“Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary.” 
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

As any serious sewer or crafter knows, those blades – both of them – need to be razor sharp in order to be an effective pair of scissors. The tiniest nick in just one blade can really make a mess of a project. To that end, I treat my sewing scissors with care. I store them in a protective case and keep from using them on blade-destructing projects. So that when I need to use my scissors they are ready and able to do the job they’re called to do – and they can do it effectively.

I wonder if my Christian blades are just as ready to do the job they are called to do? Or do I carelessly toss them into my “junk” drawer where they are repeatedly dulled and nicked by all sorts of blade-destructing encounters - and then wonder why they aren’t as useful as they should be.


Sunday, October 10, 2010


When God is about to do something great, he starts with a difficulty. When he is about to do something truly magnificent,he starts with an impossibility.

Don't you love it when an impossibility comes to pass?

How often do we see a situation as having no good outcome only to find the opposite true. Not only is there a way out but it is a fantastic, unbelievable way out; one that could have only come from God.

This would make a wonderful journal to keep.  A Book of Impossibilities - to be read and reread so that those experiences in our life are not forgotten.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Morning Coffee

"It wasn't until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say 'I don't know'."
~ W. Somerset Maugham

I believe I'll pour another cup of coffee and wonder about all I do not know!


Friday, October 8, 2010

There are no little decisions!

From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis:
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest.  That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.  The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. 

“An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”
I love how Lewis puts things.   He leaves no doubt of the importance of our each and every decision – no matter how small it may seem to us. 


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Morning Coffee

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes."
~ Author Unknown


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A 712 Page Challenge - Update

An update on my reading of The Book of Abraham by Marek Halter - which I first posted about here.  

I am currently on page 432 of this 700+ page tome. As I began my reading while it was still August, you can see I am moving very slowly through the story.  But what a rich story it is!!!  

 I am not an intellectual – by any stretch of the imagination – so my journey through this historical novel barely scratches the tale’s surface.  Yet I love it! If you are at all interested in the history of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion, this is a wonderful book to read.  A five star book, for sure!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Morning Coffee in October

"She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little crab tree and look up at the apples, to make you feel the goodness of planting and tending and harvesting at last."
-  Willa Cather


Friday, October 1, 2010

Charitable Giving - According to C.S. Lewis

I pride myself on being a pretty good money manager.  I watch my pennies and try to make the most of my dollars.  But I’ve noticed something lately (helped out by the writings of C.S. Lewis).  When it comes to spending on me and my personal life style I do cut myself an awful lot of slack.  When debating whether or not to purchase something – I don’t spend hours on end weighing the pros and cons of that purchase; I pretty much make a quick analysis of the situation and then either buy or not buy – with “buy” being the choice as often as “not buy”. 

But when it comes to charitable giving, the story is a bit different.  Oh, I think I’m generous; I make it a point to set aside a monthly amount for church and another monthly amount for the various causes and collections that present themselves. But that’s pretty much where my analysis ends.  In my reading Mere Christianity, however, I found I’m really not even close to reaching a charitable life style. 

Lewis writes in answer to the question of how much should a person give:
“I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.   In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little.  If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
Talk about some food for thought!  I think Lewis has presented a banquet here - for both thought and some serious prayer!