Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Misty morning on a mountaintop


My hubby and I decided we would like to celebrate our anniversary with a little trip to the top of Cannon Mountain via the tram.  It's free midweek for seniors, so we made a reservation and took full advantage.

It was raining as we traveled through Franconia Notch (the weather was fine at home, but the Notch seems to be its own ecosystem) and was overcast and misty at the tramway, even more so at the top.  Still, we hiked around the Rim Trail when we got there.

As you can see, the visibility was very limited.  There should be distant mountains and great views beyond those twisted trees.

Still, we enjoyed our hike and found some of the moss on the trees to be very interesting.  It lent a bit of an enchanted forest look which we enjoyed. 

After our hike we were ready for some nice hot coffee and some pastries to share.  That cinnamon roll was as amazing as it looks.  The plate it is on is pretty much a full size paper plate.  The muffin was cranberry nut and it was also delicious.


We'll plan to take advantage of the free senior tram trips again soon.  Maybe on a pretty fall day.  But today was beautiful in its own way!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.  So here we go with the Scripture for the third day of that section. Again this lesson, I took a rather deep dive into the Observation component of the study.

S= "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith,
"Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching;
"Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12:6-8)

O= This section (12:3-8) of the letter to the Romans is titled by C.I. Scofield: "Service through gifts of the Spirit".  Scofield comments that the epistle to the Romans "is rightly placed first among the epistles, because it is the most complete exposition in the New Testament of the central truths of Christianity."

He adds that the epistle closes "by laying upon all Christians the obligation of the recipients of the 'mercies of God' (12:1) to live lives of consecrated service." 

Today's verses are part of a section titled by Scofield: "Christian Life and Service for the Glory of God."  Verses 6-8 note that as members of Christ's body, we have been given differing gifts, for use within the body.  Some examples of spiritual gifts, and how they are to be used, follow:

* Prophecy -- let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.
* Ministry -- let us wait on our ministering.
* Teaching -- let us wait on our teaching.
* Exhortation -- let us wait on our exhorting of others.
* Giving -- to be done with liberality.
* Ruling -- to be done with diligence.
* Showing mercy -- to be done with cheerfulness.

A cross-reference for "given to us" in verse 6 is John 3:27 -- "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

    Warren Wiersbe sheds some great light on this passage in his book Be Right: "Each believer has a gift (or gifts) to be used for the building up of the Body and the perfecting of the other members of the Body.  In short, we belong to each other, we minister to each other, and we need each other.  

"Each believer has a different gift, and God has bestowed these gifts so the local body can grow in a balanced way.  But each Christian must exercise his or her gift by faith.  We may not see the result of our ministry, but the Lord sees it and He blesses.  Note that 'exhortation' (encouragement) is just as much a spiritual ministry as preaching or teaching.  Giving and showing mercy are also important gifts.  To some people, God has given the ability to rule, or administer the various functions of the church.  Whatever gift we have must be dedicated to God, and used for the good of the whole church."

William MacDonald comments in Believer's Bible Commentary:  "God gives the necessary strength or ability to use whatever gifts we have.  So we are responsible to use these God-given abilities as good stewards ... Whatever our gift is, we should give ourselves to it wholeheartedly."

A= God has given me, and every believer, gifts to be used in our local churches and in the body of Christ in general.  He expects me to identify my gifts, to nurture them and use them.  I think that when it says we are to "wait on" some of these things, it means to exercise these gifts in faith, as Wiersbe says, realizing that we may not see the results, but God does.

I also found that reading these verses in the ESV helped with my understanding of them:

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, so let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."

For example, though it sounds so simple, if we serve, we are to use the spiritual gifts given to us as we serve others.  I personally believe that every believer may have the gift of serving, and that is why I chose it as my example.  Let's do as William MacDonald exhorts and give ourselves wholeheartedly to our gifts!

P= "Lord, I am so thankful for the spiritual gifts You've blessed me with.  I understand that you don't intend me to hide those gifts or to use them selfishly.  You intend them for the good of the body of Christ and for the good of my local church in particular.  I pray that You will help me to faithfully exercise these gifts You have so generously given me, and that You will help me as I seek to encourage others to recognize, develop, and use their own spiritual gifts.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

And that's this week's Sunday Scripture!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Stream of consciousness hodgepodge


 Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's questions are all over the place -- though they do sort of follow a stream of consciousness -- so they should be fun to answer.  Here goes!

1. Volume 478. Sounds like a lot. Where were you in 1978? If you weren't born where were you in 2008?

I spent three-quarters of 1978 pregnant, as my youngest daughter was born in late December that year.   Below is a photo from Christmas 1978.  We had just come in from celebrating Christmas at my parents' home.  The munchkin in my arms is 20 months old.  Her little sister was born 2 days later.

2. Raise your hand if you remember records playing at a speed of 78 rpm? What's a topic that when it comes up you 'sound like a broken record'? 

I do remember 78 rpm records and in fact recently handled quite a few of them when cleaning out my childhood home.   The fun advertisement for record players (below) is another find from the same place.

 Some may say I sound like a broken record on the subject of spiritual growth for believers.  So important.

3. What's the last thing you recorded in some way? 

I wanted to get a photo of the way the flagpole area at The Wilds of New England is decorated for fall, with hay bales, pumpkins and mums.   It was windy that day (last Thursday) so I opted to take a little video instead.  The wind was really whipping the flag around and I felt that a photo would've come out too blurry.

4. Thursday is the first day of fall (in the northern hemisphere). How do you feel about the changing seasons? Something you're looking forward to this fall? 

I love the changing seasons.   They are always such a good reminder to me of God's faithfulness.  Genesis 8:22 tells us, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

And fall is my absolute favorite season. 

One thing I look forward to every fall is the couples' retreat at The Wilds of New England.  This fall I am also looking forward to three days up north at our favorite lake.

5. In what way (or ways) are you like the apple that didn't 'fall far from the tree'? 

I ended up living only a couple of miles from where I grew up. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Every year I love to scan some of the autumn leaves I find.   The one below had landed on one of our front steps and I found it when we were en route to somewhere, last week.  I loved the variety of colors in it.

And there is this week's hodgepodge!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.  So here we go with the Scripture for the second day of that section.  I took a bit of a deeper dive into this one, as you will see.

S= "And the multitude of those that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that any of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common." (Acts 4:32)

O= In the Scofield Study Bible, C.I. Scofield titles this section "Voluntary sharing among believers at Jerusalem."  There are several cross-references here.  "Those that believed" describes the true church.  A cross-reference is Acts 5:14 -- "And believers were the more added to the Lord; multitudes both of men and women."  The same cross-reference is given for "believed".

For the phrase "one heart and one soul", Scofield gives a cross-reference of John 17:21, where Jesus had prayed, "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me."

Our passage tells us that the believers at Jerusalem:

• were of one heart
• were of one soul
• didn't consider their personal possessions their own
• had all things common.

Scofield writes concerning this: "The experience of the Christians of the Jerusalem church in sharing their possessions is not to be taken as normative for all Christian churches or communities.  Their voluntary sharing of possessions in the time of persecution is a beautiful evidence of the oneness of the believers.  However, it should be observed that this communal sharing was 1) voluntary; 2) in a time of persecution; 3) evidently restricted to the Jerusalem church.

Warren Wiersbe writes in Be Dynamic, "One evidence of the unity of the church was the way they sacrificed and shared with one another.  When the Holy Spirit is at work, giving is a blessing and not a burden.  We must keep in mind that this ... was very unlike the political communism of our day.  What the believers did was purely voluntary and was motivated by love.  No doubt many of the new believers were visitors in Jerusalem, having come for the feasts, and they had to depend upon their Christian friends to help meet their daily needs."

He adds, "While the early church's spirit of sacrifice and loving generosity is worthy of our emulation, believers today are not required to imitate these practices ... It is the spirit of their giving that is important ... and not the letter of their system."

A= I believe that God still would have us to be "of one heart and of one soul" with our fellow believers.  We see Jesus' heart in this matter in John 17:21 -- "That they all may be one ... in Us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me."

I think also that believers today still cannot say any of our possessions are our own -- they belong to God.  He has allowed us to have them, and they should be used to bring Him glory.  Often that will mean sharing them with others.  We, and others we know, have even shared large possessions like vehicles with our church family, sometimes for months on end.  The "spirit of sacrifice and loving generosity" alluded to by Wiersbe is never inappropriate.

P= "Lord, I thank You for the wonderful example of the early church.  I pray that You will help me to be willing to share my possessions, even my precious time (which is not really mine at all) for the benefit of other believers.  Help our church to have a testimony of love and unity among its members, so our community may see that we are different.  I thank You for how You will work, in Jesus' name, Amen."

There is this week's study.  I hope it was a blessing to you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A honey of a Hodgepodge


Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's questions are all over the place, so they should be fun to answer.  Here goes!

1. What's something you've learned from a younger person? 

Oh, probably many things.  One, I guess, would be from my young friend Jennifer.  She speaks so graciously and sweetly.  I could take many lessons from her regarding speech.

2. Are you a perfectionist? Elaborate? 

Most definitely not. I could be.  Both my mother and grandmother were perfectionists and I have definite tendencies toward perfectionism.  But the older I get, the more I have come to see perfectionism as a sin.  I don't believe the lie that if something is worth doing it must be done perfectly.  It is better to do something imperfectly than not to do it at all.

That said, I remember having a discussion with a friend who quilts.  She noted that perfectionism is important in sewing, especially quilting, because all one's seams need to intersect at particular points for the design to work.  My own take on that is that exactness and accuracy are important for quilting, but I don't see that as perfectionism.

from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
3. What makes you cringe? 

Quite a few things are cringe-worthy these days.  Just to name one, everyday speech in our culture is so filled with crudities.  We would do well to heed the Scriptural principle in the verse below.

4. September is National Honey you have bees and make your own? Know someone who has bees and they share? Your favorite thing made with honey? 

Nope, we don't have bees, although we do know folks who do. They occasionally do share honey and it's very good, but I'm not a huge fan of honey as an ingredient.  My hubby likes it in coffee in place of sugar.

5. Where is your happy place? 

We actually have several, but for many years our happiest place has been Back Lake, way up north in the town of Pittsburg, New Hampshire.  It's several hours away but we so enjoy time there.  In fact, we have a few days booked at our favorite place in October.

Nowadays, our second happiest place is our own little camp, located only about 15 minutes from home, so we can go there pretty much whenever we like.

A third happy place for us is The Wilds of New England.  We enjoy helping out there, but getting to attend a couple's retreat there is blissful indeed.  Like a series of mini-dates all combined with encouraging Bible teaching that is a blessing to our marriage.

View from a TWNE hayride

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'll be sharing more in the coming days, but we had a great visit with our Nevada loved ones. Below is a photo of eleven grandkids (7 from NV and 4 from NH) on a covered bridge in Littleton, NH.

The little clown in red was intentionally varying his expression constantly while the picture was being taken, so this rather odd look is what the camera captured. 

And there is this week's all-over-the-place Hodgepodge!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Posting September goals a little late


 Yes, the first third of September is gone, but I thought I'd post a few goals anyway.

First and foremost on my list of September goals, had I posted one, would have been enjoying a visit from our Nevada daughter, her hubby, and their seven children ages 20 months to nearly 16 years.  They left yesterday, so that's one goal I can leave off the list now.  The photo at top shows four of the grands (two from New Hampshire, two from Nevada) eating an early Thanksgiving dinner in our living room.  Just one of the joyous times we were blessed to have together!

Here goes with the list:

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week
* Enjoy a week of revival services at our church
* Continue reading through the New Testament
* Post in this blog several times per week
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
* Attend a ladies' retreat at The Wilds of New England
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Craft some homemade Christmas gifts and decorations
* Do some sewing projects ( a few more sachets to stave off musty odors, plus maybe curtains) for the cottage
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Spend some time on my trust responsibilities
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
* Memorize several Bible verses and review some older ones
* Get back into our study of the book of Daniel with younger believers
* Continue working on and teaching a ladies Sunday School class
* Continue to help a widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Drink enough water each day
* Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week

HEALTHY HABITS FOR SEPTEMBER:  Drink more water/get more sleep/get more exercise/limit sugar

And that's about it!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Lovely graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The fifth section is Living in Community with the Local Church.  So here we go with the Scripture for the first day of that section.  I really dove in deep on this one, so prepare yourself!

S= "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."  (Acts 2:42)

O= Peter has just preached a wonderful sermon with the theme "Jesus is Lord and Christ."  

When his listeners heard this, "they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' "(verse 37).

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." (verse 38).

Verse 41 shows that the crowd took Peter's words seriously: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day thre were added unto them about three thousand souls."  Thus began the first church.  Verses 42-47 describe how the church functioned at that time.

Verse 42 states that these new believers continued steadfastly:
* in the apostles' doctrine (teaching)
* in fellowship
* in breaking of bread
* In prayers.

C.I. Scofield writes."Among the factors which were present in the early days of the church were ... fellowship, prayer, preaching, doctrine ... " and more.  

Warren Wiersbe explains in Be Dynamic: "The believers continued to use the temple for their place of assembly and ministry, but they also met in various homes.  The 3000 new converts needed instruction in the Word and fellowship with God's people if they were to grow and become effective witnesses.  The early church did more than make converts; they also made disciples. 

 He adds, "Two phrases in Acts 2:42 may need explanation.  'Breaking of bread' probably refers to their regular meals, but at the close of each meal they probably paused to remember the Lord by observing what we call 'the Lord's supper'.  

"The word 'fellowship' means much more than 'being together'.  It means 'having in common' and probably refers to the sharing of material goods that was practiced in the early church ... 

    "The church had a powerful testimony among the unsaved Jews, not only because of the miracles done by the apostles, but also because of the way the members of the fellowship loved each other and served the Lord."

A= I also need to continue steadfastly in absorbing biblical teaching, in fellowship, in hospitality, and in prayer.  If each member or attender of our churches would be doing that, we would also have a testimony because of the way that we love one another and the way we serve the Lord together.  Each of us must continue to grow and to walk with the Lord and with one another as He would have us to.

P= "Lord, I pray that You will help me to "keep my own heart warm" as a former pastor once taught me.  Help me to stay in Your Word on my own and to faithfully assemble with Your people to take in good Bible teaching.  Help us to have true fellowship and to spend good, quality time together with one another in prayer.  Help us to open our hearts and homes to one another.  Lord, I pray that You will help believers who may not be walking closely with You to take responsibility to grow and change as You would have them to.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

There is this week's simple study!  May we all take it to heart this Sunday!

Friday, September 09, 2022

A belated happy birthday to my hubby!


Yes, we celebrated his birthday this week.  I will write more later about some of our time with our Nevada loved ones and all that we did during their time with us, but for today I wanted to put these up just for fun.  You may wonder what that is with a lighted birthday candle stuck in it.  It's a variation on a Cornish pasty -- a savory meat pie which we have taken on picnics often over the years.  I tried using puff pastry this year, as I had been given a large package of it.  It worked out very well.  I made beef and potato pasties and also turkey and rice ones.

Our birthday celebration was in Franconia Notch.  No picnic tables in this particular area, so we all found seats on the rock wall at the profile plaza.  You can see most of our group in this picture.

I'll be back with a Scripture post on Sunday -- and hopefully I can share some of our family fun with you all next week.

Sunday, September 04, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The fourth section is Made for Community with the Body of Christ.  So here we go with the Scripture for the third day of that section. 

S= "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."  (Psalm 133:1)

O= This short psalm (just 3 verses) is titled by C.I. Scofield in the Scofield Study Bible: "The blessedness of brotherly love".  

Psalm 133 is one of the fifteen "songs of degrees".  The accurate rendering of the word translated "degrees" is "ascents".  So these are "songs of ascents".  Most scholars take the view that these psalms "were either sung by pilgrims on the ascending march from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, or that they were sung by worshipers from all parts of Palestine as they went up to Jerusalem for the great festivals."  

So this psalm is one of those songs, and its particular theme is love and unity among brethren.

The word "brethren" here has a cross-reference of Hebrews 13:1 -- "Let brotherly love continue."  Another reference given for comparison is Genesis 13:8 -- "And Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen, for we are brethren."

Psalm 133:1 reminds us that:
* It is good
* It is pleasant

for brethren to live in unity with one another.

A=  It's a good and pleasant thing for the body of Christ to dwell together in unity.  Over the years I have found this to be very true and so comforting.  When we get together with dear Christian friends, it's a taste of heaven.  Likewise, coming to church and worshiping together is a blessing.

But when the unity is disturbed, our fellowship no longer seems good and pleasant.  It becomes difficult and strained -- quite unpleasant.  A verse that came to my mind is Romans 12:18 -- "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."

Hebrews 12:14-15 remind us that we are to "follow peace with all men" and that we are to diligently watch for any "root of bitterness" that may spring up and trouble us.  I wish that more believers would take this advice to heart!

P= "Lord, again, I am so thankful for Your Word!   It is so practical and helpful!  I pray that You would help me to dwell in unity with other believers.  Help me to seek to live peaceably with others and to watch diligently to uproot any roots of bitterness.  

"I praise You for the unity that you have given to our merged church and the love You have given us for one another and for You.  I pray that You would work in the hearts of those within all of Your local churches so that all might have this mindset of pleasing You and seeking unity with others.  I pray that You would bring all of Your people to the place where our unity can be a testimony to our communities and to the world around us.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

Just a quick little testimony about this verse, Psalm 133:1.  Many years ago, I began working as a teacher's aide in a Christian school.  It was an ACE school that incorporated Scripture memory into every subject by way of a memory verse in each workbook, or PACE.  Part of preparing for the test on each PACE was being able to recite the memory verse.  Well, as I checked in with students preparing to test, I was appalled to find that some students made no effort whatsoever to even attempt memorizing the verse.  (And I should add that the verses were majorly simplified for the younger ones.  For example, all there was to Psalm 133:1 was "Dwell together in unity."  Very simple.)

I made it my project to get some of these kids to memorize this particular verse.  Not only is it a fine verse to have hidden in one's heart, but it almost rhymed: "Dwell together in UNITY, Psalm one hundred and THIRTY-three".  It took awhile.  They had so conditioned themselves to believe that they couldn't memorize, it was really like pulling teeth to get them to try it.  But at least one of them, maybe more, did manage to recite the verse to their supervisor correctly.  It may have made no difference to their lives at all; as far as I know, none of them are walking with God today.   But I believed it was important to show them that they could, indeed, memorize God's Word -- which will always accomplish the purpose to which He sends it!

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Laboring over a hodgepodge post


... and running a little late with it at that!   Yesterday was Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's questions involve Labor Day and the end of summer.  Here goes!

 1. Something you've labored over recently? 

Preparing our little camp as a place for our Nevada loved ones to stay during their 10-day visit.

2. How will you rest on Labor Day? 

We are planning a trip to Story Land, a NH amusement park, with our daughters, their spouses, and 11 of our grandchildren.  Not much rest there, I don't think.



3. Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, "I learned the value of hard work by working hard." Would you agree? Where and how did you learn the value of hard work? 

I learned the value of hard work from my dad for sure.   Mostly from watching him work hard not only at his job but around the house and yard and coming to understand he was doing so for us, his family.  But I did learn the value of hard work sweating over a dishwasher in a restaurant kitchen at 14; helping my dad load and unload lumber by hand; tossing hay bales into a truck; having my own baking business at 15; and much more.

4. It's National Eat Outside Day (August 31st). Will you? Do you enjoy dining 'al fresco' or prefer indoor seating? 

We  love dining 'al fresco' and did in fact eat lunch outdoors on August 31, on our back deck.

5. Somehow it's the end of August. What was the best day of the month for you and tell us what made it so? 

I am going to have to say the 31st, for that is the day our daughter, her hubby and seven kids arrived at the camp to stay for ten days! They just made it on the 31st too, arriving at nearly 11 pm!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We will be getting together soon with some good friends at this fun place: Beech Hill Farm.   We met up there once before when our NV loved ones visited in 2015.  It makes a great place for kids to have fun while adults can visit and all can enjoy ice cream.  Note to Vee: they serve Gifford's!


And there's my late-ish, labor-intensive Hodgepodge!