What I Believe

Conscience is something, in a sense, apart from man. It has been put in him by God; it is a reminder of the voice of God within him, an inward monitor, and a man cannot really manipulate his conscience. He can go against it, but that is not manipulating it. It is possible, as this Apostle says again in writing to Timothy, for the conscience to be seared “with a hot iron”. But nevertheless it is true to say that the conscience is an independent witness.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (God’s Sovereign Purpose)

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It is difficult to define Hiraeth, but to me it means the consciousness of man being out of his home area and that which is dear to him. That is why it can be felt even among a host of peoples amidst nature's beauty. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

. . like a Christian yearning for Heaven. . .


The Molly Files

Our new dog, Molly, is such a funny, unpredictable little clown.  She is as ornery as Ivy was (and those of you who have read Hiraeth in the past know how I love ornery dogs!) but she sees the world through very different eyes, having been born and raised as a hunter and having lived only in a barn before coming to us.

As I have time, I will write a bit more about Molly's past life and the joys and challenges of domesticating a three year old dog with a very strong hunt drive but, for this morning, I will give one example that happened just this morning.

With the very cold temperatures this winter, I have been watering my plants fairly regularly (which, as some of you know, is a real improvement as I normally only water my plants when they have begun to give up, shrivel and lay down.)  I noticed my poor primroses, dried up and withering this morning, so I gave them a good watering and promised aloud to the rest of the plants that I'd try to remember them after I finished  my coffee.

All seemed normal--for a while.  I sipped my coffee and browsed the internet, Molly sat at my feet begging for treats (more about that later) and the morning was peaceful and calm--until Molly's nose went up and she began catapulting from couch to chair, from room to room. 

She smelled something.  That something must be investigated.  

When she gets something into her head, she thinks of nothing else.  When she gets something into her 'nose' it's all over.  Her intensity knows no bounds.  Her determination is a thing to behold.  Her hunting skills engage and the race is on.

After quickly 'checking the perimeter,' she settled on the plants.  Nose up, butt down, still as a stone but with a barely perceptible trembling of excitement.  Molly had identified the foreign smell.  Damp dirt.  She strolled back to me and sat down with an air of, "Go on with your life, citizen.  Nothing to see here," and sat again at my feet.

Good girl, Molly.  Now I don't need to worry about THAT any more!



Hope springs eternal

0 degrees with -10 wind chill here this morning and I can hear birdsong!



Playing catch up

So much has happened since I stopped blogging.  Here is a list of some things in no particular order, just off the top of my head:

Elliott is 5 and in Kindergarten.  He is such a charming little kid.

Madelyn will soon be 4.  Here she is in her recital dress.  Isn't she adorable?

Elliott and Maddie will be getting a new brother or sister in July and I will have another baby to love.

We said good-bye to our dear, dear Ivy to bladder cancer in May of last year.  I still can't even type those words without choking up a little.  Oh, how I loved that ornery dog.

We also lost Buster in September.  He was a sweet kitty.  We are now cat-less.

Ivy can never be replaced but we now have a new red dog to love.  Meet Molly.  She's a stinker.

I suspect Molly will be frequently featured at Hiraeth if I do end up catching the blogging bug.

Sam is now taking the train into Chicago for classes at Tribeca Flashpoint College, majoring in film.  He loves it!

Our 'Narnia' tree died last year.  We replaced it with a White Fir.  It's a  nice little tree, but it's not magical.

I have become a TV watcher.  Never thought that would happen.  I blame Downton Abbey. . .and American Pickers.

My business has grown every year.  It's nice to be fully booked and turning jobs away.  I have the best job in the world.  Every day I get to do what I would otherwise be wishing I could do.  That is a good thing.

Our little church is growing! Everyone warned us about how stressful starting a new church was going to be but it really hasn't been stressful at all.  It is a joy to have been there at the beginning of our church's history, but Christ Covenant OPC is in very good hands with Reverend Wilkins and our overseeing church, Hope OPC in Grayslake, IL.  What a blessing it is to be a part of such a loving church family.

I am growing older.  It's shocking.  I took a 'what is your real mental age' test a few weeks ago and got 28.  Add 30 years to that and you have  my chronological age.  Like I said; shocking.

Want to know something else that is shocking?  Most of the books I 'read' are recorded books.  I'm so busy with my work that by the time I close up shop in the evenings, I'm too tired to read.  But I devour recorded books while I am working.  (Just finished 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' and I loved it!)

I'm getting ready to repaint and redecorate my kitchen.  It will take me forever because I can only work in between jobs and on the weekends.  I probably should hire someone to do it but I like painting.  At least I think I do.  At least I used to.  We'll see.

Right now, I'm working on a marriage proposal letter for a client to be given to his girlfriend, soon to be fiance, on Valentine's Day.  Did I tell you I love my job?

There is so much more. . .I regret that I didn't keep it up, if only for the family memories.  I'll try to do better.


I wonder. . .

Sometimes I wonder if I could ever blog again.  I blogged every day for over 5 years and I really did enjoy it.  But I started a business and got busy and somehow, I just never seemed to find time to blog.

And then I got out of the habit.

And then I forgot I even had a blog.

I have tried a few times to pick it back up.

Maybe it's time to do that again.

Or maybe it's just time to go back and read what I wrote years ago and enjoy the memories.

We'll see.


God's Minute

February 18

For the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sins.--1 John 1:7

O LORD, Eternal God, our Heavenly Father, receive our grateful and loving thanks for Thy love declared in Jesus Christ, Thy well beloved Son. For our share in this love we are unspeakably grateful. That we can through the darkness and pain of Calvary see the reconciled face of our Father makes it for us the place of peace. That the precious blood there shed cleanses our souls from sin and gives us victory over temptation, that the love of sin is gone and with it the fear of death and condemnation, that God's love working through His almighty power is ours and for us, for all of these amazing gifts and mercies our words are too poor to express our gratitude, we can only adoringly worship Thee and marvel at Thine unspeakable gift. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Maitland Alexander, D.D.,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


God's Minute

February 15

Wait on the lord, and He shall save thee.--Proverbs 20:22

IN the Name of the Lord Jesus we bow in Thy holy presence, O God, to thank Thee for all Thy goodness and mercy to us as a family and a household, and to ask Thy forgiveness for all wherein we have sinned and grieved Thy Holy Spirit.

We pray for grace and guidance that we may so walk as to please Thee. Grant us Thy protecting care to shield us from accident and danger. And above all, we pray that, thus walking in Thy fear and love, we may know the joy of Thy salvation.

And what we ask for ourselves, we pray for all who are dear to us. And very specially we commend to Thy Fatherly goodness any who are in sickness or sorrow or trouble, that Thou wilt graciously bless and sustain and comfort them.

Thou hast given Thine only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him may have eternal life. Such is Thy love to the world. But Thou hast a still tenderer love for thosw who believe in Christ and are one with us in Him. For them we make our prayer to Thee.

Hear us and bless us, we pray Thee, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake.


Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LL.D.,
London, England


God's Minute

February 14

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion and righteous. A good man sheweth favor, and lendeth; he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved forever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.--Psalm 112:4-6

ALMIGHTY GOD, our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thou hast taught us to call Thee "Father." In the strength of Thy Name we go forth to meet the temptations and the duties of this day. May we be worthy of being called Thy children. May we have Thy patience and tenderness in our dealing with others, especially with the members of our own household. May we have pity for all weak and tempted persons, and lend them our strength, as Thou dost lend Thy strength to us. Clothe us this day with the armor of light. May we have Thy purity, the horror of all evil thoughts and all unholy desires, and may they be overcome and cast out of our hearts by a passion for holiness. Whatever we have to do, may we do it so that it shall be well pleasing to Thee. Help us to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Preserve us in all danger; keep us in the way of life; and bring us at last to our Father's house in peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Henry Evertson Cobb, D.D.,
New York City, New York


God's Minute

February 13

I have loved thee with an everlasting love.--Jeremiah 31:3

WE thank Thee, our loving Father, for Thy watchful care over us through another night. Thou dost neither slumber nor sleep, and Thy ever-wakeful eye has been upon us in our unconscious moments, and Thy protecting and upholding hand has been underneath and about us. Thou art setting before us a new day, with all of its opportunities and possibilities for good or evil. This is one of the days concerning which Thou hast promised, "As thy day so shall thy strength be." Is not this one of the days for which Thou hast made such bountiful provision? Let us not venture forth upon the day's duties or difficulties without Thy guiding, upholding, protecting hand. Thou art able to do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Give us strength to conquer every temptation. Surround us with Thy gracious presence as a shield from every danger. Bless with us all whom we should specially remember at the Throne of Thy Grace. Wherever we can send a thought, Thou canst send a blessing. Let Thy blessing be suited to the capacities and needs of every one of them. May every heart be turned to Thee as the morning-glory turns to the light, and may their souls and ours be enlivened, purified, and strengthened by the light of Thy health-giving countenance.


R.J. Miller, D.D.,
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania


God's Minute

February 12

He forgave their iniquity.--Psalm 73:38

O LORD, who hast proven that we may trust Thee, we seek Thy blessing in the beginning of the day, that we may carry its influence with us into the toil and trial of our busy life. We claim Thy sufficient grace, that we may be equal to every severe test.

Give us wisdom, that we may undertake our tasks and do them as those who have learned of the Divine Workman. Take possession of our minds that today they may think Thy thoughts after Thee, and be intent upon working out Thy great plans through the best lives we can live.

So rule us with Thy Spirit that our senses may be harnessed for Thy uses. Save us from falling into shameful sin. Prevent us from being mean, small, disagreeable, irritable, unsympathetic, as we touch other lives. Be our unseen Companion, as we earn our daily bread--and help us to earn it honestly.

Make us wholesome; keep us sweet. May others know today by our unobtrusive goodness that Jesus lives at our house. May we somehow be instrumental in opening the doors of other homes for the incoming of this Heavenly Guest.

We ask these favors in His Name,


J. Bradley Markward, D.D.,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


God's Minute

February 11

He is faithful that promised.--Hebrews 10:23

OUR Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thy watchful care has brought us safely into another day with its obligations, labors, delights, and trials. Give us strength to resist evil, and to cleave to that which is good. Help us to let our light so shine that others may see our good works, and glorify Thee. Be with those of us who go to work, and those of us who go to school, and those of us who take care of the home. Bless with us all other families that remember Thee, and grant that in many homes who know Thee not, family altars may be erected, so that Thy Name may be glorified in the family life. Bless the officers, members, workers, and enterprises of our Church, and of all churches that seek to enhance Thy Kingdom. Thrust more laborers into the Kingdom, and through increased missionary efforts let the world speedily be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Bless our country and those who are directing its affairs. Give them grace, wisdom, and courage to promote righteousness at home and in our relations with other countries. Bless all the other nations of the earth, with their statesmen and rulers. May the spirit of fairness take possession of all of them, so that they will project into all international relationships, peace and harmony. We ask these favors in the name of our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Rev. Chr. Staebler,
Cleveland, Ohio


God's Minute

January 10

I will bless the Lord at all times.--Psalm 34:1

O Lord and Father of us all, we come with glad hearts to this hour of prayer. When we recall the infinity and eternity of Thy power and wisdom and goodness, we bow in reverence to Thee. Love invites imitation, and we choose Thee as our example. May Thy Spirit change us into likeness to Thyself. Love craves the privilege of service, and loving Thee we ask, "Lord, what wilt Thou have us to do?" Help us as parents to wisely order our household. May we train our children for useful lives here, and to be fitted for their true home beyond this life. As a family we are very near each other. Help us so to live that proximity may not evoke confusion and strife. May we be "kindly affectioned one to another." Grant us, O Lord, that winning gentleness which is the sweet offering of truthfulness and love.

We pray, our Father, for all who are in trouble; for the sick, the poor, the afflicted, for any good cause. Bless the lonely--those who suffer, weep, and struggle alone. Grant that they may find companionship and comfort in Thee. Since every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, we thank Thee sincerely and heartily for the good things we enjoy. May this prayer, O Lord! find acceptance with Thee, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.


Charles Randall Barnes, D.D.,
Hoboken, New Jersey


God's Minute 

January 9

Give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name.--Psalm 105:1

DEAR Heavenly Father, as we gather at Thy feet today as a family, we ask Thy blessing on our home and Thy guidance to each one during the day. Help us to realize Thy nearness to us at this hour. May we realize Thy reality at this hour and be consious of the fact that Thou art not a God afar off--the Great King of Heaven, the Mighty Judge of all the earth enthroned in infinite space above us, but that we can claim Thee as our Saviour and our Friend.

Help us throughout this day to realize that Thou canst be nearer to each one of us than the nearest and dearest of friends.

Let us hear Thy voice today. Let us feel the inspiration of Thy presence, and with willing feet enable us to walk in the path on which Thy light and blessing can fall.

Give us this day some work to do for others, some kindly word to speak, some helpful unselfish deed to fulfil in Thy Name. Be with us each and every hour of this day, and may we so live that Thy will may be done and Thy Kingdom come within our hearts.


Mrs. Maud Ballington Booth,
New York City, New York


God's Minute

February 8

Ye have not because ye ask not.--James 4:2

OUR HEAVENLY Father, it is with rejoicing hearts that we approach Thee in prayer. Thou hast, through Thy dear Son, brought "life and immortality to light." Thou hast revealed to us "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." We come with confession upon our lips and penitence in our hearts, asking to be forgiven. Wilt Thou not bless us this day with the manifestations of Thy presence, of Thy peace, and of Thy power? Wilt Thou not use us in Thy service, and make our bodies to be the temples of Thy Spirit? We are Thy "living sacrifices." Our eyes shall see for Thee; our ears shall hear for Thee; our lips shall speak for Thee; our hands shall work for Thee; our hearts shall beat for Thee. We are Thine. Bless Thou the members of this family circle. Thou hast given them the shelter of the roof, the warmth of the hearth, the nourishment of daily bread. Give them also the food that comes from Heaven, the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the assurance of an "inheritance which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." Protect them in the hour of danger, and make them to be a positive force for righteousness. Hasten the full coming of Thy Kingdom, the complete proclamation of Thy Gospel, and the universal acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. We ask it in His name.


Rev. DeWitt M. Benham, Ph.D.,
Baltimore, Maryland


God's Minute

February 7

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.--Isaiah 12:2

Oh, Lord God, help us to pray that this day we may come nearer the Christ ideal than ever before. Grant that by every thought and act we may bespeak His character to ourselves and to those with whom we shall come in contact. Forbid that we should neglect any opportunity that may come, to be living witnesses for Him.

Through the dangers and temptations, seen and unseen, which compass us about, bring us in safety to the close of day and to the close of this earthly pilgrimage. Bless those who are near to us by ties of home or friendship; and especially to those who know Thee not, manifest Thyself in power today.

May the Gospel note of love ring out more clearly this day than ever before, and may the sunshine of truth enter all hearts where ignorance, superstition and sin hold sway. May it bring cheer to the desolate ones, and hope to the despairing ones who may be near us, and yet who seem to be beyond our power to help. We pledge ourselves anew to the work of lifting the burdens of men and the upbuilding of Thy Kingdom.


Reverend W. M. Gross,
Cincinnati, Ohio


God's Minute

February 6

To all which believe, He is precious.--1 Peter 2:7

HEAVENLY FATHER, Thou Who art the author, sustainter and developer of life, from Whom we came, in Whom we live and move and have our being, and to Whom we shall go, we pray that our souls may be conscious of the larger life of which we are a part, that we may find its deepest realities, understand its eternal principles, experience its mighty forces, and move with its persistant current toward its divine goal. We thank Thee for Jesus, for His consciousness of the largeness of Thy life. We thank Thee that faith in Him and the reception of His spirit and the adoption of His life principles make real to us the same divine life that was so vital to Him. Forgive us for ever tainting or circumscribing Thy life within us, for living only within the narrow confines of our own little lives, for failing to realize the largeness of the great spiritual world around us, for keeping aloof from any part of human life, and for devoting our energies and time to the sinful or lesser life objectives. We pray Thee to widen and deepen our life experiences, to keep us in sympathetic touch with all mankind, to help us make our lives genuine contributions to the progressive and divine life movements of the world, and to have a real part in bringing all members of the Father's family to know the length, breadth, depth, and heighth of the fulness of His life.


Charles Herbert Rust, D.D.,
Rochester, New York


God's Minute

February 5

Whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.--Matthew 21:22

OUR Heavenly Father, gratefully we acknowledge Thy continuing loving kindness in protecting us sleeping and waking, and in providing for our daily needs. Forbid that the regularity with which Thy mercies come should ever make us forgetful that they come from Thee. If Thou shouldst withhold a single one, we should plead for its renewal.

Help us to meditate upon Thyself--Thy majesty and power, Thy tender compassion, Thy grief at our sinfulness, Thy grace to help in our time of need. May every gift of Thine come as a messenger from the Throne, summoning us to deeper devotion in heart and life.

Above all, we thank Thee for the Son of Thy love, Thy most gracious Gift to men.

Help us to tread aright the unknown path of another day. Lead Thou us on. And at its close may we be able to look back thankfully that by Thy grace we have heard Thy voice and followed Thee. Guide us in our perplexities; restrain us in our joys; comfort us in our sorrows; guard us in our temptations; and forgive us all our sins; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Rev. G.E. Morgan, M.A.,
London, England


God's Minute

February 4

For this cause also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.--Colossians 1:9-12

OUR Father! worthy of all honor and praise, and Whom we desire to worship in spirit and in truth, help us humbly come to Thee in prayer in this quiet hour.

May Thy hand, that hovered over us during the past night with protecting care, and measured to us the rich blessings of peaceful slumber and refreshing rest, now guide our feet to the duties of the day, and there shield us from harm. There give us Thy spirit of love and tenderness, Thy grace to sustain us in temptation and trial, Thy presence by Thy Spirit, to help us in all we may do.

Dwell in this home ever. Lead us on to glorify Thee in all things, until at last, life's duties finished, receive us to Thyself above.


Rev. P.H. Balsbaugh,
Columbia, Pennsylvania


God's Minute

February 3

My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O Lord: in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.--Psalm 5:3

IN the arms of Thy loving care, O Lord, hast Thou upheld us during the night. While we lay wrapped in slumber and unconscious of ourselves, Thy sleepless eye kept vigil. We praise Thee that Thy mercies are new every morining. How comforting it is to know that day and night are alike to Thee! The light can reveal nothing to Thee. Thus we may trust Thee at all times and in all circumstances, knowing that no real harm can befall us. Most heartily do we thank Thee for the refreshing rest of the night and for the light of a new day with its blessed priviledges and uplifting opportunities. Grant us Thy grace throughout this day, O Lord. May none of our work be secular in the sense of being sinful, but may we do all things with a truly religious purpose and for the honor of Thy name. Help us also to serve Thee by serving our fellowmen, who are Thy children. Our trust for salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. May no darkness of pride and self-righteousness cast its shadow over our motives. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the atoning blood of the Lamb of God Who died that we might live. Our petitions are made only in His Name.


Leander S. Keyser, D. D.,
Springfield, Ohio

It appears from my search that Leander S. Keyser was both a theologian and a scientist, as well as an illustrator of birds.

  • Professor Leander S. Keyser made this statement, "To my mind, there are enough counts against the theory of evolution to make it impossible to accept it as a scientific truth or even as a reasonable hypothesis."

Books and more books


Most book lovers are also library, bookstore, and antiquarian bookshop lovers, too.  I love bookstores! This is a photo of a bookstore we like to go to near Minocqua, WI.  A whole big, old barn full of books.

If you like this, wait until you see these twenty really AMAZING bookstores!


Ground Hog's Day

First D.J.: Rise and shine, campers, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today.

Second D.J.: It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
First D.J.: Not hardly. So the big question on everybody's lips.
Second D.J.: On their chapped lips
First D.J.: their chapped lips is, does Phil feel lucky? Punksatawney Phil, thats right wood chuck chuckers its
[in unison]