Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sewing with butter knives?

...Okay, Okay. So maybe I wasn't exactly sewing with butter knives, here is what actually happened. ... Sometimes the urge to sew just hits me and I can't resist running for fabric and a pattern. Well, recently my Mom brought home a long coveted item of fabric; A vintage battenburge table cloth. (I know what your thinking, a tablecloth!) Because of its antiquity and comparably cheep price, for linen that is, I have always wanted to try my hand at transforming a tablecloth like this one into a 1910-1920's dress. ...The first problem I ran into however was the fact that I had no pins. Now I was not about to give up my sewing over pins. So I fished about for another solution and finally came up with the idea of butter knives. No, not to pierce the fabric, just to weight the tissue paper pattern down.l It worked! (Not advised for the novice though :) ...After cutting out my pattern pieces and feeling rather clever, I ran into my second problem. I discovered I had run out of all white thread. This was insurmountable, so to my great disappointment I had to set my dress aside until thread could be procured. Hopefully sooner than later! ...Anyways, I just thought I would post this new tip about sewing. Maybe I am the first person to come up with the notion of using butter knives to hold down fabric! If anyone else has used zany ways to help them sew or substituted crazy stuff for appropriate sewing tools, I would love to hear about it! ... When I have thread I will finish the dress, and post some pictures for your viewing. So anyone interested in seeing a vintage tablecloth transformed into a dress, (which I shall wear everywhere) come back to see in awhile.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tied down to freedom; blessings in disguise

...If at any given time an observer were to see my face suddenly contort into a discomfited spasm of pain, for apparently no reason; it would probably be because one of the tender "insertion sites" on my stomach were bumped. Ten years ago as a new diabetic I gave myself shots (or my parents did), six to eight times a day. Then about eight years ago technology made a big advancement and something called an insulin pump was made available to me. So I switched over to the pump, confident of better control and more "freedom". The funny thing is that this freedom meant being hooked up to a small device 24/7.  

...The insulin pump is about the size of a small pager, in fact most people think it is one. I remember the time a car sales man thought our family must be technically savvy because I, at ten, was wearing a pager! We explained of course, but it is fun to hear peoples mistakes once in awhile-it keeps me laughing. Now I no longer have shots on a regular basis, but the trade off is that instead I continually have a small 6mm cannula in my stomach. Once every three days I change out the cannula for a new one, and refill my insulin pumps reservoir with insulin. This process doesn't take too long, maybe ten to fifteen minutes if all goes well. 

...Because I am "tied" to the insulin pump (literally, by a twenty inch tube) I am able to have more freedom in what I eat and the activities I participate in. Aside from the pump I also wear a "continuous glucose monitoring" device, also a hole in my stomach, and it can hurt. Its needle is a good inch long and very thick, let me tell you, it feels pretty weird in my stomach sometimes. Why do I wear it? Again, for the benefits it gives me and for the greater freedom to live a normal lifestyle.  

...The reason I have shared all this with you is to make the following point. Some blessings come disguised in scary, even painful, packages. And sometimes we won't even realize that something is a blessing until God mercifully reveals it to us. How does this affect us in life? Each of us have blessings in disguise, sometimes they are small and other times they are so huge we feel overwhelmed. What matters is how we respond to these blessed trials, being willing to let God work in our lives through pain and suffering. The Lord has promised to "work all things for the good of those who love and know Him".  

...Does this mean that every trial, every pain, every suffering in our life is a blessing from God? I think this is a hard saying, especially for those in the moment of grief or those who do not yet understand God's sovereignty. But if we can really accept His will in our life, not only because its His will but because we know His will is best; then we can begin to look at life from a heavenly perspective. Is it important that we understand Gods sovereignty and accept with joy His will in our life? My answer is yes!  

...God knows this, He wants our best. It is not unloving or uncaring that He allows His children to suffer that they might better know and trust Him; because that is what is best for us, we were created to glorify and enjoy God-anything that stands in the way of us fulfilling all that God has created us to do must be removed! And if it takes trial for us to lean on Him, if it takes suffering for Him to show His strength, if it takes pain for us to really see Him; then these are blessings which will further us in our walk with Him.  

...Every day I have come to thank Him for my diabetes; it is a trial and a burden, but when I look back on the years and see how much closer it has brought me to Him because of it, I cannot wish it to be otherwise. There are days where I just cannot bless God, when I am frustrated and angry. Hurt, and feeling alone. But always my Lord brings me back to Himself because He is faithful. And when I see this faithfulness it makes me love Him more! And when I am through complaining and crying I am able to see once again my need for Him, for a Savior. I can't imagine doing it alone. 

...So lets pray for a new vision, that He would be our vision. That we would have His eyes and give thanks for every blessing He sends. Even when its wrapped in the most painful garb we have ever experienced. And when we do fall, when we do despair, He can and will forgive. Let us embrace the cross we are given, the blessings in disguise, with joy; modeling our lives after our Lord; Who for the joy that was set before Him ran the full race, enduring the cross and despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A long one! "Mountain -top vision"

Young man of strength, 
Seek the Lord always, 
His arm is without length, 
There is no number to His days.  

"I am lost, O God, 
My nature far to sinful, 
The wilderness of Nod,  
Is my habitation and rule."  

"Why redeem a wretch like me,  
Or hang for my sake upon a tree?  
I cannot keep Thy perfect law,  
It rubs and scrapes me 'till I'm raw." 
"See my black heart, 
Look upon my marked brow,  
Stained with sin's dart,  
Disfigured and proud."  

"Smell my reeking breath,  
Know my debase mind, 
Transparent now awaiting death, 
Neither first nor last of Adams kind."  

"Though You can deliver, 
Use in me in Your quiver,  
Why spare this empty vessel,  
Or take away my smell?" 

Upon the dark ground, 
I beat my breast sore, 
Here at last I've found, 
David's words of yore.  

Psalms 44:15-16 "My dishonor is continually before me, and the shame of my face has covered me, because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, because of the enemy and the avenger." 

I looked up to see, 
A light of great brightness stream, 
Upon my face, around me, 
And I walked as in a dream. 

A thundering shore miles below, 
The mountain I stood on, 
So tall and full of woe, 
Across the sky spread a red dawn. 

As I stood and watched, 
I wept tears of ice, 
A wind blew, lightening flashed, 
The world listened to the storm cries. 

I could not stand straight, 
My back doubled and bent, 
While thunder boomed late, 
'Till my strength was all spent.  

"Where are You Lord? 
I Know that You're there, 
O give me a word, 
Show me You are near!"  

But the Lord was not wind, 
He was not the storm, 
 They came to an end, 
While I writhed like a worm. 

I got up, it was noon, 
The mountain was swept clean, 
Naked, I felt that gone was sins rune, 
On my head it was not seen. 

Once more out upon the shore, 
I bent my swollen eyes, 
Hearing the waters rushing roar, 
Knowing I had no disguise.

Lamentations 1:14 "The yoke of my transgressions was bound; they were woven together by His hands, and thrust upon my neck. He made my strength fail; the Lord delivered me into the hands of those whom I am not able to withstand." 

Suddenly the mountain trembled, 
Rocks began to fall, 
The red sky now had cooled, 
Grey fog covered all. 

The stoning broke my bones, 
I felt each jar and pound, 
The despair Satan readily loans, 
Again place in my heart found.  

"I cannot see You," 
My foaming lips screamed,  
"What do You want me to do?" 
And blood from my back streamed. 

The mountain top, my glorious seat, 
Began to crumble and break, 
The earthquake happy to greet, 
The rubble its forces did rake. 
It all passed away, 
And as broken on ruins I lay, 
My spirit cried out, 
And humbly did I shout. 
"Just like the wind, Yahweh, 
You are not the earthquake,  
Continue to crush this hard clay,  
Though this proud heart may ache." 

Now it was late evening, 
But I could not this time stand, 
Above the stars wanted to sing, 
I turned my head towards the sea and sand. 

If I could only rest, 
Have time to lick my wounds, 
Then I would not be comfortless, 
And find heart to sing old tunes. 

But the Lord had other plans, 
For my sanctification was not complete, 
The full race I had not run, 
But only lay with weary feet. 

A scorching heat seared my flesh, 
As the sun and planets burned, 
God is the only witness, 
 To the lesson I then learned. 

Not a blade of grass, 
Or tree upon the earth, 
Was left unburned by surging brass, 
And now dust knew its worth. 

My eyes melted under heat, 
My stomach wretched up smoke, 
The fire moved forward to a steady beat, 
As I gasped and choked.  

"You are not the flames God,  
But now I understand,  
You sent them as Your rod,  
They chastise by Your hand." 

The raging fire stopped, 
As had my beating heart, 
From the cliffs face I dropped, 
Scorched and blackened dark. 

I felt a mouth breath air, 
Into my faltering lungs, 
A tiny whispering voice was there, 
By its small noise my heart was wrung. 

I opened my mouth to sob,  
"Are You there my God, My God,  
My eyes are seared shut, 
I cannot see, I am not worthy to see Thee." 

I heard footsteps walking, 
Away, then back again, 
Salt water was sprinkled, cleaning, 
My cuts, and I knew a friend.

Gentle hands touched my eyes, 
"Look up and see, 
I Am One Who cannot lie,
I have always been with thee."  

I looked and saw morning light, 
White gulls crying loud, 
The air was tingling, heavenly bright, 
My weary head I bowed. 

  Lamentations 3:22-23 "Through the Lords mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion's fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 

I uttered Jeremiah's praise, 
Not daring to look up, 
Who can understand the Lords ways? 
Seas boil, mountains erupt.
Isaiah 51:22 "See I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of my fury, you shall no longer drink it." 

"You are my son,  
So I redeem you,  
Look up and come,  
You are cleansed and new."  

"I have given you what cannot be shaken, 
And taken away that which could,  
You faith in Me will not be broken,  
By and through Me all things are ruled."  

"The Enemy would have you doubt,  
That Serpent of old, Satan,  
I have not let him cloud,  
Your vision, now stand."  

" Wind, earthquake, fire,  
Lucifer in demonic attire,  
My tools to break and build, 
Exactly as I have willed." 

Hebrews 12:5-6 "My son do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son He receives." 

"My Lord I see, 
But why save a wretch like me" ,
I broke forth with heaving sigh,  
"Why not just let me die?"  

"I have mercy on whom I will,  
None are worthy not one,  
All steal, covet, desire and kill, 
None are worthy but the Son."  

"Take a debt you cannot repay,  
You are enslaved to sin no longer, 
Behold the coming of a new day,  
And the One whose righteousness you wear." 

I raised my eyes heavenward, 
Then towards the ocean spray and breeze, 
I saw a Man, the Living Word, 
Outlined upon the mighty seas. 
"Once you were blind,  
Your ears were deaf,  
Now you will find,  
Your pains have all left." 
"For your soul that was lost,  
And your heart that was dead, 
I paid the dreadful cost, 
And died in your stead," 
"But since you are mine, 
I rooted out pride,  
And after a long time, 
To self you died." 
"I died for you, 
Now you live for me,  
That I rose is true,  
And I set you free."  

"Take My hand, redeemed child,  
You are weary and have cried,  
Walk upon the waves so wild, 
Only by Me will your tears be dried."
  I ran stumbling to Him, 
My shelter and my Savior, 
Until my feet were at the oceans rim, 
And I stepped in faith upon the water. 

Without sinking my eyes straight ahead, 
I ran and fell in His arms, 
He lifted and fed me heavenly bread, 
Free from the worlds alarms. 
"Not with water but blood,  
Did I you wounds tend,  
Even a mighty worldwide flood,  
Could not within thee cleanse."  

"The Little voice, my Jesus,  
Who did to me speak,  
And comfort the comfortless,  
Was it the Holy Spirit when I was weak?"  

"Yes, We are a Holy Trinity,  
Three in One, One in Three,  
Now you shall arise and tell, 
Who I Am, remember well." 

"Only my blood of sacrifice,  
Poured out freely for thee, 
 Could pay the awful price, 
And at last set you free." 

I awoke upon my bed, 
Drenched with countless tears, 
Springing up I said, 
"Gone are all my fears."  

"In there stead I find,  
That which cannot be shaken,  
For I am His and He is mine, 
When I sleep and awaken." 

Lauren East

Friday, July 4, 2008

"On the Fourth"

On the Fourth

Are we proud as a Nation,
United under the sun,
Do we glory in what we have done,
And in the lengths we have run.

Or do we glory in Christ,
His unselfish sacrifice,
Does our identity in Him suffice,
When He has paid so high a price?

Whatever we have become,
Riches brought up to sum,
Its a blessing from above,
From the untold measure of His love.

Its not about ourselves,
How high we rise,
How deep we delve,
How we come up in size.

We are here for a purpose,
Known and planned by God,
We can't be more or less,
Because of the worlds applause.

Lauren East Note; I wrote this poem a while back, and what I think I was trying to get across then was this. We are citizens of Gods Kingdom, we have a heavenly home. Yes, we can be thankful for the peace and wealth God has blessed America with right now; and we can be patriotic. But to beware thinking "look how far we've brought ourselves", or to make our glory this country-or any country. We are to glory in Christ, in the cross; He must be our only boast. One of the things that really gets me is when I see a car sporting that notorious bumper sticker, "American Pride" or "The Power of Pride". It just goes to show how proud the American people are, when I see one of those bumper stickers I want to shout"Don't you know pride is the root of all evil?" Of course there is a good sort of pride, but it is different. I think we must judge the fruit, does your pride about America take you closer to the Lord with thankfulness? Or does it fill your head with vanity about our position in the world? Just things to think about today. Have a wonderful Fourth!
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