Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interview with Chantel

The first interview on my blog is here now, by my online friend, Chantel Brankshire! Her blog, Life, Laughter, and the Little Things is that and more. I especially love her cheerful, thankful outlook and encouraging words. She also writes book reviews, which I enjoy.

So, without further ado, here is my interview with her.

Could you tell me something about your family?
My family is a growing, wonderful group of people who I am so honored and privileged to be a part of. I am the middle child of three, (making me the sandwich filling, so to speak!) and have 9 siblings-in-law total, and two sets of parents, and two nephews and a niece. I also have the joy of having two childhood friends as sister-in-laws. I love each one of my family members, and love being an auntie!

Some of Chantel's family at Thanksgiving time

Could you tell me something about your courtship and/or wedding?
Scott and I lived over 1000 miles apart, and it wasn't always easy to have so much distance between us, yet all the times apart make all the times together so much more beautiful, and while romance is a part of every relationship, we were able to become best friends and then lovers, and that is one of my favorite things- being married to my best friend. We got married in Washington state on March 15, 2009 in a little white church not far from the river. Our wedding was small and simple, but we were so blessed to be surrounded by our families, and even though I was so sick, it is a special day that I will always cherish.

Is there a word of encouragement or advice you could give to single (and/or married) young ladies?
God's way and His time are always perfect. It is hard to wait, and hard to not know, but don't let the waiting and the not knowing- whether you are single, newly wed, or an old married lady- keep you from really living, from finding the gold in every day moments, and from the sweet contentment of knowing that He is good, and that He does all things well. All things.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I've always had a really hard time picking out a favorite hobby, but I love writing, and letters, and books, and gardens and barefoot days and sunshine and raindrops. I like to sew and crochet and cook almost all our meals "from scratch". And every day is busy, but when every day things are hobbies, it makes every day very satisfying.

A moose in her AK garden!

Home canning

What is your favorite Bible verse, or book of the Bible, and why?
For some years, I have treasured a good portion of the 18th Psalm. Often, it feels as if it was written just for me, as I am reminded that "as for God, His way is perfect." and that He can make even my stumbling, halting feet like the feet of a deer, jumping on the mountains. It gives me courage, and hope that no matter what today looks like, He sees what I cannot see. He will make everything perfect in His time.

What are some of your favorite books? (Hard question to limit, I'm sure.)
I grew up listening to and reading Pilgrim's Progress. It is a book I turn back to often in my daily life, and feels like an old and trusted friend and counselor. I also find so much of myself in Much Afraid of Hind's Feet on High Places, and enjoy reading about the March Sisters in Little Women. I love books about Christ's life, and love to read my Bible through slowly and savor it.

What are your guidelines for what you read?
When I was a child, I made the words of Philippians 4:8 my standard by which to measure the books I read. A number of years ago, I also read this quote by Susanna Wesley that I try to also make my motto in living.

“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.” –Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)

What are some of your long-term and everyday goals?
I guess I don't feel like I have a lot of important goals right now. My husband and I would love to one day own a small farm or ranch, but while it is a cherished dream, I couldn't exactly call it a goal, for we are learning to hold onto things with an open hand for God to give and take as He sees best.

I suppose my one big goal would be to be more like Jesus, and to not fight against the things that He brings into my life to change me, even if they are often hard and painful. Every day, I am striving for greater perfection in organization and time management and in keeping the most important things, like my spiritual health, marriage, family and the people God puts into my life, first and not be so easily caught up in other peoples' goals for my life.

Chantel and her husband starting their first garden

Who are the people who most inspire you?
People like Noah and Abraham inspire me with the amazing depth and intensity of their faith in following God no matter if it makes sense or not. Early missionaries like Hudson Taylor and Adoniram Judson, and David Livingstone, and Amy Carmichael inspire me by the way they gave so much to serve Him. Corrie Ten Boom, and others inspire me by their faithfulness and forgiveness. But often, it is the simple, trusting sweetness of people who I meet that inspires my heart every day in so many ways.

If you could travel through time, which three people would you most like to meet?
I think this might be the hardest question to answer. Not including Jesus, who I long to meet more than anyone else, I would love to meet Noah and Paul and Elizabeth from the Bible, and Patrick Henry, Galileo and Abraham Lincoln otherwise.


Thank you, Chantel, for taking the time to write these excellent answers!

I'm planning to interview several people whose blogs I admire, so stay tuned for more in the coming months, if God wills!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indoctrination Trailer

“They are stealing our children, but because they are leaving the body of the child with us, we don’t even know it is happening.”
- Erwin Lutzer, IndoctriNation

Colin Gunn and his family travel in a big yellow school bus across America shooting a new documentary film that explores the origins of the American education system, the effects of public schools on the Christian family, and the turning of the hearts of parents to their children through home education.

“It isn’t indoctrination. It’s insanity.” - R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Poll Results

How many times have you moved in your life?

Poll results:
Too many to count! :) - 5 votes (41%)
3 - 3 votes (25%)
4 - 2 votes (16%)
1 and 5 - 1 vote each (8%)

A lot of big movers, I see!
A new poll is up. If you have any questions you'd like to see asked, let me know.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thought-Provoking Quote

"If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!" — Keith Green

I saw that on another blog, and I have to stop and think about that one. Is my heart more joyful in the Lord, or in things like movies and blogging and reading novels? That is a tough one to answer...though I think there is a deeper joy for me when I truly meditate on the Lord and His goodness. But I so often seek after what is not bread, thinking it will fill me. Perhaps it fills me, but with the kind of food that gives a pleasant sensation, but a stomach ache or emptiness in the end. Perhaps I need a break from the internet, and a retreat into the beauties of the Lord!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"The Betrayal" Review

I just finished The Betrayal, which I quoted from in my last post. Here is my review.

Maybe it wasn't quite as riveting as I was expected, but it certainly had its riveting moments, and it was all-around fascinating, since I had not known much at all about Calvin's life, just his doctrine (which, granted, is a big part of who he was and a big part of his life). The story is written from the view-point of Calvin's enemy, who plans to take his revenge. I'm not sure if he was a real character, but the situation seems quite plausible. I learned quite a bit about Calvin's life and work, and the ending was touching. Would that my faith were as strong and loving as these martyrs of old, but I am thankful for God's grace and even a small measure of faith! I am glad for such a solid, well-researched work and hope to read more like it in the future!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Music to the Glory of God

"Augustine approved of music but added strong caution. 'When it happens that I am more moved by the song than the thing which is sung, I confess that I sin in a manner deserving punishment.' We must beware of these dangers, dear brothers, in our use of music in worship." (The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin by Douglas Bond)

This made me say "Wow." I, who like music very much, am sometimes more aware of or moved by the melody and harmony than the words. The two should both be excellent, but the words in worship should be our focus. An elder at church has mentioned that before, but this quote brought it to me in more force.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


From The Treasury of David:

'God deserves blessing with the heart, and extolling with the mouth--good thoughts in the closet, and good words in the world.'

And to go along with it I recently read these verses in the Psalms:

'I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.'
(Psalm 34:1)

'I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people.'
(Psalm 35:18)

'And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.'
(Psalm 35:28)

Painting is from (Promenade by Monet)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Soap Giveaway

Natural handmade soap--lovely! There's a giveaway going on right now for three bars of handmade soap from Apple Valley. Click here to see.