Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gone owling...

Raph & Camille left tonight with Becky, Christopher, Claire, Olivier, Christine, David, and Susanne ... to go owling! We read in a local paper that there was a group wanting to go out tonight at 8:30 from Le Lude and come one, come all.

That was all Christopher needed, of course! And being able to always count on his faithful brother, Raph, he's been looking forward to the event all day!

They left a little bit early with the idea of "picking up something to eat for the kids" (which probably means pizza) on the way. Le Lude is about a half hour drive so we don't expect them back early tonight and, if experience is anything to go by, they won't be awake.

I worked for several hours with Nat on the family library. Sometimes I wonder why I'm doing it, but I enjoy it and, in the end, that is the best I can say for it. Maybe one day everyone will use it as they all can at the moment, on line.

Nat painted the bordeaux area of the living room around the stairs and it sure does look nicer. Too bad we can't seem to find the extra paint of the other sides.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Off to Malta again!

No, not me this time, but our own dear Natty and Lilly; forever friends. This trip has been talked about, and prayed over for near on a year now and the Lord has finally led us to be able to do it. I am so thankful and I know they will be a wonderful blessing to Denise.

Oh, Lord God of mercy, grant the two of them success in all they do and all they see and all they say! Lord Jesus, for thine own dear sake, I pray thou wilt crown this undertaking with your richest blessing, for Lord, you know our hearts, and you know what we really need, and you know what is best.

Lord God, we rest in thy perfect will. Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

An evening prayer

If I have wounded some poor soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have uttered idle words in vain,
If I have turned aside from want or pain,
Lest I offend some other through the strain,
Dear Lord, forgive!

Forgive these sins I have confessed to Thee,
Forgive the secret sins I do not see,
Guide me, love me, and my Keeper be,
Dear Lord, forgive!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Will of God

I started reading this little book to everyone yesterday and we've already gotten through the first three chapters. If you've never read it, I strongly suggest you get yourself a copy. It is of an honesty and sincerity that is touching and has inspired us all with his vision of the goodness of God.

In fact, the book is a collection of five sermons given at City Temple during and before the war and printed in 1944 by the Methodist minister Leslie D. Weatherhead. He's someone we've come to know and love recently -- almost like a cross between C. S. Lewis and A. W. Tozer. We love his powerful use of the English language coupled with his heart for mankind and the Lord God that loves them.

Let me leave you with a teaser ...

I have a good friend whose dearly loved wife recently died. When she was dead, he said, "Well, I must just accept it. It is the will of God." But he is himself a doctor, and for weeks he had been fighting for her life. He had called in the best specialists in London. He had used all the devices of modern science, all the inventive apparatus by which the energies of nature can be used to fight disease. Was he all that time fighting against the will of God? If she had recovered, would he not have called her recovery the will of God? Yet surely we cannot have it both ways. The woman's recovery and the woman's death cannot equally be the will of God ...

The book only costs a couple of dollars and is published by Abingdon Press under the ISBN 0-687-07482-7.

Do your spiritual life a favor and get a copy.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The importance of what we read

Why do I find it so depressing to read relatives' blogs and things of that nature? A second question would then be: why on earth do I keep reading them, if I dislike them so much?

I just received the March 07 issue of Link from the AUC-NUC (they'll have to think of a more catchy name than that one day) and God help me I find it so depressing. Why? My first reaction was to throw the thing in the bin -- in fact, I did, before fishing it out a little later to thumb through it.

To say it's "worldly" doesn't explain how I really feel -- of course it is, but so are a lot of other publications. Maybe it's because I feel somehow hurt that it should be so unlike what I have grown up to be.

The longer I live, the more I see the importance of filling our minds with uplifting, moral, godly thoughts, words, and pictures. "Oh, it's only ___." "But everyone does it!" And more often, nowadays, "But we're to be in the world but not of it" -- as if I had never thought about what that verse meant.

For morning devotions we listened to a study on the ministry of Widows and Virgins which was very thought-provoking, to say the least. God help us to keep struggling and changing and dying to self as we see the need.

God help us to keep loving each other above all and through it all. Oh, Lord God, help us to keep loving each other!

There was a time when such a prayer might have seemed odd to me. But that would have been long ago, before I came to understand that love was, as C. S. Lewis says about prayer, "an act of the will (perhaps strongest when there is some disinclination to contend against) that God values, rather than a state of emotions."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Does tiredness go in cycles?

Today I can look back at precious little of real value that got accomplished. In fact, if truth were told (and it'd better be; even here!) I feel not only tired, but something bordering on the "d" word but which I only refer to as a paucity in my vocabulary leaves me wanting a better word than "down".

I never left my office but to attend the midday meal, lovingly prepared for us by Sarah (stewed rabbit, rice, and épinards aux gratin, if you must know) so my feelings have certainly not been the result of my diet.

No, such things are of no consequence and do little more value than fill a blog entry. Nat is finishing The Small Woman tonight, and Sarah is studying her book of culinary herbs, encouraged no doubt by the family's reaction to her flinging some wild fennel she'd found into our habitual ante-rabbit salade d'entrée.
The day is now over -- I've even managed a quick note to Denise -- and everyone is gone. My role in this day's activities is finished.

A demain.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Looking for a man...

I am looking for a man of around 30+ years old, a good man, and kind; ready to work when needed, and just as ready to play when it's time.

A man who loves children because there is so much of the child in him; the naiveté, the sincerity, the truthfulness of the child.

I need a man who has love to give to a precious woman but has never had the occasion to do so.

A man without complexes and not full of himself; a giver, a man whose love for the God of love is obvious first time you meet him.

To such a man, when I find him, I will give everything he doesn't have: a wife, a home, and a job.

I am serious; if you are, too, get in touch with me because these lines were written for you. Write to me at dn at neve-family dot com then be prepared to answer a challenge from SpamArrest, my filter. I'll contact you right away. (Please send photo.)

Got back home and Patrick's gone

Patrick finally made it here yesterday and left first thing this morning while I was off in La Ferté-Bernard dropping the kids off for their orchestra practice. Seems like as good a way as any to start my blog today.

I'm managing to keep this up reasonably well now and I think it may make an interesting personal diary one day for me.

I was up very late last night sharing with Mum before the fire. After sharing with Nat for quite awhile downstairs (Eric, ...) I wanted to share with Sarah all the goings on in my life of this week. She said at the end that she was glad I was doing better, or something like that -- showing in any case that my message had failed to transmit.

I am enjoying Seeking the Secret Place - The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis and it really is amazing the influence that man had on so many. It has also raised many important points in my own thinking, mostly of a greater tolerance of the Anglo-Catholic fold than I had hitherto had.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Ides of March

Just had a wonderful (but brief) discussion with Raph on his reaction to the book I'd just given him to read for the day (The Resurrection and the Life, by Weatherhead).

He'd been to Paris for the day so I suggested he read it on the train since it was only 5 chapters and an easy read. Mum and I read it yesterday just driving to Clefs to get Becky her bee stuff.

I think Weatherhead touches in this book upon something eternal and one of my oldest and biggest "doctrines" -- reaping what you sow. I think it is eternal and most of us don't realize just how infinite the principle is.

I see it everywhere in the Bible and heard it again today in Roo's car which was playing Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians.

I had a real good day interacting with Nat, too. She is a very sweet girl and extremely competent. Of course, this is nothing new but I appreciate her help and wisdom more and more every day.

Tonight she and Becky were sitting on the piano bench (thanks, Floyd!) while Becky was playing and their hair was so similar, long, flowing, and pretty. May the Lord bless them both!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Road to Rome

I received this book in the post this morning and am looking forward to reading it. This morning I went out to Clefs to get some things for Becky's bees, which made her very glad.

On the way out and back Mum (who was just along for the ride) read aloud to me from The Resurrection and the Life which I found to be wonderful in every way.

Weatherhead's views on the afterlife are not entirely orthodox but concord with my recent way of thinking. In any event, these kind of doctrines should not be trumpeted in such an absolute way as they are.

My feelings have subsided into something perfectly livable and only slightly warmer than they've been for years, for which I'm glad. We are a very blessed family and I believe more than ever in the wisdom of the song...

"Nothing comes from nothing,
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood,
I must have done something good."

It's just a popular expression of one of the most basic laws of God's eternity: "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

That funny old feeling

I feel quite foolish in some ways. Since no one that I know (or that knows me) is reading this, I am using this blog as a kind of personal diary.

I was thinking long and hard today about this, trying to identify it. I didn't want to put the simple name on things because that would sound like it were something new -- which is certainly isn't.

So what is it? It's negative counterpart? That doesn't make sense either because things are perfect elsewhere and so the motive evaporates...

I think I may be glad later on for having put my thoughts to virtual paper, though obviously they are purposely fogged over.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A very funny thing happened today

I don't really know how to explain it but it has given me much cause for reflection. Just when, at my age, I thought I had the basics of life figured out -- especially as they apply to myself -- I had this feeling come over me this morning.

I won't say I've never felt like this before but it was a very long time ago. But what really is it? And what does it really mean to me, now?

It has lasted all day and is very pleasant but has surprised me a great deal because it is so unexpected. I wonder if it will be gone tomorrow? I must be careful, of course, and not make more of it than is necessary -- which is not very much.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Microtec news

I'm not really very good at this. When I was very young my dad bought me a 5-year diary and I'm not sure I ever got the thing filled.

But this is quite different and, although no one is reading this, I still like to have a place to jot down my thoughts, fears, and victories. Maybe it'll make interesting reading one day... for me?

Well, it's the first of March and we got two new workers who started this morning. I'm surprised in the end just how fast it went -- we must have had over ten applications just in the couple of days the ANPE got the offer -- you have to hand it to them: they know how to get the word out!

Alexandre started today and Stephane started on a two-week training session after which we'll hire him on a CDI like everyone else. With his past experience he is asking for a fairly comfortable salary to start but we should soon be able to confirm that he's worth it -- he seems like it.

Alexandre is starting at the bottom of the ladder since this is his first job out of school, but he's sure eager to please and learn and make good.

Once we're all used to working together this is going to help enormously to relieve Raph of all he is undertaking and let him have a little more time with his wife and children.

God has blessed us greatly and I am very thankful. I ordered a new car today (which will carry the number "10") for Stephane I guess though it won't be here for over a month now, I guess. I'm giving Alexandre an Express to use for the moment and we'll see in a month or two how we organize ourselves.

One thing is sure: no more hiring this year (let's see how we end up doing with eight) and no more cars. We'll see how things are doing at this time next year.