“Among conservative Christians there is sometimes the mistaken notion that if we are truly gospel-centered we won’t talk about rules or imperatives or moral exertion. We are so eager not to confuse indicatives (what God has done) and imperatives (what we should do) that we get leery of letting biblical commands lead uncomfortably to conviction of sin. We’re scared of words like diligence, effort, and duty. We know legalism (salvation by law keeping) and antinomianism (salvation without the need for law keeping) are both wrong, but antinomianism feels like a much safer danger.

“Then there’s the reality that holiness is plain hard work, and we’re often lazy. We like our sins, and dying to them is painful. Almost everything is easier than growing in godliness. So we try and fail, try and fail, and then give up. It’s easier to sign a petition protesting man’s inhumanity to man than to love your neighbour as yourself. It’s one thing to graduate from college ready to change the world. It’s another to be resolute in praying that God would change you.”

– Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness

“My soul, begin this wintry month with your God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind you that He keeps His covenant with day and night, and tend to assure you that He will also keep that glorious agreement which He has made with you in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with his own dearly-loved Son.”

– C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

“It is at once the most Christlike and the most happy course for a believer to cease from living for himself. He who blesses others cannot fail to be blessed himself. On the other hand, to seek our own personal greatness is a wicked and unhappy plan of life, its way will be grievous and its end will be fatal.

Here is the place to ask you, my friend, whether you are to the best of your power seeking the wealth of the church in your neighborhood? I trust you are not doing it mischief by bitterness and scandal, nor weakening it by your neglect. Friend, unite with the Lord’s poor, bear their cross, do them all the good you can, and you shall not miss your reward.”

– C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

My friend James is always posting quotes on his blog from great writers. They sometimes make my head hurt as I wrap my mind around the language, but my heart expands in the process as well. In an age where everyone has an opinion and voices it loudly, it is helpful to listen to people who have walked before us and speak with an eloquence that is nearly extinct. It’s all been said, and likely with strings of words that exceed my writing ability.

School Has Begun!

Class Picture

Classes at Bitner Academy are now in session. I like to take advantage of my freedom by not starting school when everyone else does. Setting our own schedule means starting a week later than everyone else, just because we can.

Markus

Markus, grade 2.

Wyatt

Wyatt, grade 1.

Bailey

Bailey, Pre-K/K.

Deacon

Deacon, 2 years old and along for the ride.

Nice tongue, Deacon.

My favourite students.

Painting

I had promised the kids we would paint this summer, so we pulled out the supplies and got to work this morning.

Little Artist

Bailey loved mixing colours, and adding more. And more.

Wyatt's art

Wyatt’s finished piece.

Markus' Art

Take a guess as to whose creation this is.

Creative process

“Markus, please go close to Bailey and pretend you are helping so I can take a picture.”

Ice Cream

As I promised them, an ice cream sundae at Homestead Ice Cream. In that bowl are 9 scoops of ice cream: Dill Pickle, Licorice, Caramel Cone, Cookie Dough, Grape, Peach, Bubble Gum, Oreo Cheesecake, and Maple Walnut. Wow, I remembered them all!

New Pencils

And what’s the start of a new school year without new pencils? I splurged on these Staedtler ones…there’s nothing like a good pencil.

Greetings, friends. It’s been a while.
I’ve been thinking lately about returning, then I wonder what I would write, and then I am flooded with ideas yet am bone dry at the same time. So I stay away.

I read something this morning I just had to share. I first thought I would put it on Facebook, but my relationship with it seems to wax and wane with the moon. That’s another topic for another day, if I ever approach it at all.

On Sunday I began reading Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. I’m three days in, and I can already say I recommend it. The lack of worldly introspection and self-centredness is a welcome breath of fresh air in contrast to what is often written today in the name of personal devotions.

I hope you’re blessed by this reminder of the the all-sufficiency and trustworthiness of Jesus, and fight against unbelief when it will tempt you away from our beautiful Saviour.

“Jesus is the Son of the Highest, and has unbounded wealth; it is shameful to doubt the Omnipotence and distrust all-sufficiency. The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust His fullness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriads of spirits have drawn their supplies from Him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of His resources. Away, then, with this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Saviour. Bunyan tells us that unbelief has “as many lives as a cat:” if so, let’s kill one life now, and continue the work until the whole nine are gone. Down with you, you traitor, my heart despises you.”

So, um…I guess I quit my 52 project? In my defence, it was a lot harder than doing a 365 project! That doesn’t even make any sense when you hear it, but trust me. The confines of working with a weekly theme was so hard to deal with. It would nag at me every day, while I was busy with a host of other things, and I’d say to myself, “I’ll get a good shot tomorrow,” until the week came and went. The week’s themes aren’t even being given until Monday, usually mid day, and by the time I got my mind around what I might try to shoot the week was nearly over…I could give you excuse after excuse, I am sure. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t working.

So anyway, here are some pictures. The kids and I made granola a few weeks ago. We found a recipe online with rave reviews, and after explaining the concept of rating systems to them, they were eager to cook and eat so that they could deliver their own rating. Five stars all around for Megan’s Granola!

Granola Crew

Aprons are a must.

Granola-2

Mr. Meticulous. He is so helpful in the kitchen already.

Granola-3

My little messy-haired princess.

Granola-4

A granola bake is not complete without a marching band!

Granola-5

Deacon. Pure trouble.

Grandpa's Boy

Finding the light.

I feel like I’m stretching the theme a bit here. I wanted to do something very creative. Something involving sunlight and warm feelings on a cold day. But you know, sunny days don’t come consistently in the great white north in January/February. So I say this photo still works, because I got some awesome catch lights in Deacon’s eyes.

This boy sure loves his Grandpa. Since he refuses to say anything that contains more than one syllable, he calls my dad, “Pa”. It’s pronounced ‘puh’, and is not to be confused with his word for my father-in-law, which is “Pa” (short for Pappy).

I will make an effort to take photos of my other children in the coming weeks…this guy is just so much easier to get candid photos of. The others are always giving me goofy grins: which are great, but not really what I am going for in shooting lifestyle photos.

A different perspective.

Soft, round nose. Squishy, rosy cheeks. Expressive eyes. My baby boy is growing up fast.

I realize I am not following any rules as far as post processing goes on this project. Black & white one week, colour the next. It’s my project, and I’ll do what I want to.

 This makes me wish I could freeze time.

Good help is hard to come by, but I’ve got it in spades. I am never wanting when it comes to an extra set of hands in the kitchen. They are all too eager to get their hands in and get dirty. While I was busy kneading pizza dough, a certain little someone was busy grabbing a spatula so he could dig into the flour bin. Admittedly, my first thought was, “Oh no! What a mess!”; however, I then paused and realized it was a perfect time to grab this week’s shot. How quickly the days of eager hands will escape me, and I will be left wishing I had someone to make my task more difficult. Praise God from whom all blessings, big and small, flow.

This makes me laugh.

Wyatt is an incredibly affectionate boy, and to say that Deacon is showered with love from this big brother would be an understatement. Wyatt loves to pour his love on his little Dekey, and baby brother loves to resist. It is hilarious to watch them battle it out! Deacon puts up a big fuss but there can be no doubt in his mind that he is well loved.