Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Watt" a Bright Idea!

Would you have bought this sad looking light fixture for just under $8? Well, I did and then I wondered why, thinking that no manner of refurbishing could ever make it worthy to be hung in any decent dwelling. Robert usually wonders about my flea market finds, even when I'm confident that something good will come them. I had no such confidence with this sow's ear.

Most any of us would have sent this thing to the dump. It was put together all wrong. After fooling around with it for awhile, I figured out how it should be assembled. Then I took a picture of it so I could remember how to reassemble it after taking it apart for painting.

The first thing I did after dismantling it was to clean each part separately. Then I spay painted it with a white primer (Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Primer). After the primer dried, I sprayed each separate part with Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Heirloom White in the satin finish. I really like this white. And even though I was going from black to white, I only used one coat of primer and one of the heirloom white. As the white coat went on I was beginning to see a glimmer of hope.

Now it was time to reassemble and rewire the lamp. In reassembling it, I kept forgetting to include all the parts. It took four times putting it together. Each time before the fourth and final attempt, I'd realize that I left a part out or threaded a part onto the cord upside down, etc. Then I'd have to take it all apart and start again. Whew! That was one of the most challenging things about redoing the lamp.

After the lamp was reassembled 5 four-inch socket covers were added over the sockets and then 5 forty-watt bent crystal chandelier light bulbs were screwed in. I did not yet have the little lamp shades (found those later at Goodwill for 99 cents each), but when I plugged it in, it was so dazzlingly beautiful and I was so thrilled with the results that I woke Robert up from a dead sleep to show him. He was amazed.  

My new treasure was originally intended for my sewing room, but Robert thought it was just too pretty to hide in a bedroom (now converted to sewing room). So we put it in the little room off the kitchen where the china cabinet is. See it for yourself below. From a sow's ear to a silk purse! What do you think? 

 I was so delightfully surprised when I lit this chandelier for the first time.

 Since it's not a large chandelier, we hung it from a small ceiling medallion as you can see here.

Here's another shot of the ceiling medallion.

And just on more photo, much the same as the others. I want to cover the chain with some of the fabric I used for the valance (you can see it in the background in the first two photos). Other than that this is one finished project that I am very, very happy with!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Things are Just Sew-Sew

For as long as Robert and I have been married, any time I've wanted to sew, I've had to lug my sewing machine onto the kitchen table and work from there because I did not have a dedicated sewing space. Now I do. We turned the spare bedroom into a sewing/craft room. Yippee!

The room itself had become a stash for whatever we didn't have room for elsewhere, including my sewing and craft supplies. It was a disaster! I had to pray that God would not only motivate me, but give me wisdom about how to organize the room.

Well that's exactly what He did. All it took was a magazine photo of a sewing room, specifically a cabinet that held fabric and other supplies. I realized I could do the very same thing. I started working on it about a month ago and little by little it has come together. Structurally, I am finished. I still have a few cosmetic changes to make (painting the cabinet that started it all, etc.).

The following photos tell the story...

This is the idea I saw in the magazine. This "cabinet" is really much bigger than it looks. It is actually two bookcase-type storage units laid on their sides - one on top of the other. It sits on top of two tables placed end to end. I was able to get all my fabric out of wooden boxes that were heavy to lift and impossible to sort through. Now I can see all my fabric and it is at my fingertips. So cool...
This is the window in my sewing room. The curtain fabric is a blue and white gingham. I found the two little yellow embroidered scalloped pieces (under each valance) years ago at a yard sale for pennies. It was great to finally put them to use. The plates are all thrift shop or yard sale treasures.
Pictured is a mother teaching her daughters how to knit or crochet, found at the Salvation Army on a trip to the coast several years ago. Most the items on the shelf were thrift shop or yard sale buys. The baby shoes were mine and my siblings. The little bird on the right was a childhood gift given to me by my aunt (it's actually a small planter), the little creamer hanging on the center hook is one piece I have from a tea set my sister and I played with as children.
The baby doll is very old and was sold to me for $2 by a neighbor at her moving sale. The dress is also an antique - all hand sewn with hand-made lace. It has a hand-made slip underneath. Found this a barn sale years ago. It was in a bin with other such treasures, all purchased for a few $s.
This is the way I am storing my ribbon, hankies and old pillow case lace. The lace is wound onto an old rolling pin I found at a yard sale for 50 cents.
Isn't he cute? Looks like a water-color painting, but really is a photo (see him above on the shelving unit), that I applied a Photo Shop Elements effect to. The "tuffet" the bear is sitting on is just a blue scalloped bowl turned upside down with a potholder on top, both of which my sister gave me.
The ironing board cabinet pictured here, was priced so low (less that a conventional ironing board would have cost) that I couldn't pass it up. I found it at A Room With a Past just as I was getting ready to get my sewing room in shape.
Here is the ironing board out of the cabinet. The board itself was is perfect condition. All I had to do was to add a pad and cover it. I used Warm and Natural quilt batting for the padding which I found at a yard sale - about 7 yards for $2. The fabric was given to me by my ever-generous sister. Altogether, it's better than any ironing board I've ever owned.
This is little cabinet I re-did. Found it at a yard sale for $3. It was very dark wood with a shiny varnished finish - so ugly. Robert wondered about me. After a good sanding, a coat of primer, the finishing coat of white, a little sanding for a distressed look, and an antiquing glaze it took on a whole new personality. I replaced the original glass that was in the door with hardware cloth (it's really not cloth, but wire). It's being used as a home to my essential oils and some cute figurines.
This little dress was actually one I wore as a baby. Cute, huh? I'm happy it is still in my possession and even have a photo of me wearing the dress. Life is good...
The baby shoes were Robert's. The baby romper I found at...you guessed it...a yard sale for a few bucks.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Rock Beneath the Mist

There is nothing, indeed, which God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be mist; though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him. F. B. Meyer

The ROCK Beneath the Mist

When your love for God is put to test
And you fear the thing required, 
Look child to His promises, 
Believe Him in the fire.

Like Abraham with Issac,
When his hand had grasped the knife,
To put to death his only son
Through whom God promised life.

That father's faith held tighter to,
God's long and promised truth
That like the stars of heaven
His offspring would take root.

But now that promise seemed to die
With Issac's life required;
Though Abraham obeyed God's voice
He wondered all the while...

"Will God raise up to life again
The son of promise dear?
He cannot lie, His promise stands,
Believe and do not fear.

His son was spared, God stopped the knife,
That patriarch's faith made clear:
His love for God supreme above
All other loves so dear.

On faith he stepped, believing God
Though it seemed he stepped on vapor.
And there he found beneath that mist
A ROCK that never wavers.

So saint take heart when God requires
Your love be put to test.
You'll find when you step out on faith,
The ROCK beneath the mist.

Copyright 2010 Sharon Kaufman

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Cloud of Witnesses - Daughters of the King: Eliza Spurgeon

A cloud of witnesses:
Mini-glimpses of Godly women as helpers
A while back I had a thought to compile a collection of mini-biographies of Christian mothers whose lives might inspire us to live godly in this present age, provide wisdom for relating to our children whether grown or still at home, and motivate us to pray for our children whether saved or not. That list, I can see now, is going to take awhile to compose. Originally, I wanted a list of women that would span the alphabet from A to Z. That might happen, but if it does, it will not be intentional.

As I thought this through I decided that the biographical collection should not only be of godly mothers. Rather, it should be a larger cloud of witnesses that included any and all of the divinely created helper functions godly women have historically fulfilled. Hence the title of this post and others to come, A Cloud of Witnesses - Daughters of the King. This collection will include women as helpers: wives and mothers, women as workers in the church whether single, widowed or married, and women ministering through mission work at home and abroad, again whether single, widowed or married, etc. The posts featuring such women will be but little glimpses, just enough information to whet the appetite to delve deeper into their characters, if desired.

Though this compilation of biographies is a goal for me, I will not actively seek it out. As I go about reading various books it will come together. Such is how the first glimpse of Eliza Spurgeon came about:

Eliza Spurgeon, mother of C. H. Spurgeon
Eliza Spurgeon, mother of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, will occupy the honor of being the first godly woman featured for this ongoing compilation. Most of the following information concerning Eliza is penned by her son, Charles, in his autobiography. Any other sources will be noted.

Eliza's son James said of her, "She was the starting point of all the greatness any of us, by the grace of God, have ever enjoyed." Both James and Charles were most thankfully indebted to their mother who devoted herself to praying for and actively pursuing the salvation and spiritual welfare of her eight children. (Seventeen children were born to John and Eliza Spurgeon. Of these seventeen, only eight lived past infancy.)

Charles gratefully wrote, "I cannot tell how much I owe the solemn words of my good mother...I remember on one occasion her praying thus: 'Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.' That thought of my mother's bearing a swift witness against me pierced my conscience...How can I forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, 'Oh that my son might live before Thee!' "

In another excerpt from his autobiography, Charles wrote in the third person about himself and his siblings as young children in the Spurgeon home: "As the children were growing up, the father, like many professional and public men, feared his frequent absence from home would interfere with the religious education of the little ones. But happily for him he had a true help-meet to cooperate with him in this important work, and happily for those children they had a noble mother who lived for them, and sought to build them up in true Christian character. Nor has she lived unrewarded for her pains. Oh, that all mothers learned the lesson well! Hear the good man speak thus of his wife:

'I had been [away] from home a great deal, trying to build up weak congregations, and felt that I was neglecting the religious training of my own children while I was toiling for the good of others. I returned home with these feelings. I opened the door and was surprised to find none of the children about the hall. Going quietly upstairs, I heard my wife's voice. She was engaged in prayer with the children; I heard her pray for them one by one by name. She came to Charles, and specially prayed for him, for he was of high spirit and daring temper. I listened till she had ended her prayer, and I felt and said, 'Lord, I will go on with Thy work. The children will be cared for.' "

Finally, Charles awarded his mother great honor when he said of her, "Mrs. John Spurgeon...has been known and esteemed for her sincere piety, her great usefulness and humility... The prayerful solicitude with which she trained her children has been rewarded by each one of them making a public profession of their faith in Christ. Two of her sons occupy foremost places in the metropolis as preachers of the gospel; and one of her daughters, the wife of a minister...assists her husband in the preparation of his sermons.."

What can we learn from Eliza?
As I discovered Eliza Spurgeon in the pages of Spurgeon - A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore, I marveled at her dedication to her calling to be both a helper to her husband, John, himself a preacher of the gospel, and an advocate for her children. It was, in fact, her advocacy for her children that reveals her husband's great confidence in her as his helpmate. Because she willingly carried the burden of her children's salvation before the Lord, her husband was freed up spiritually, physically and emotionally to do the work God called him to do.

Her devotion to the children, however, was tempered by her supreme love and commitment to her King, seen by her willingness to "bear a swift witness against them" if they rejected Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Of course, her prayer, as stated above was an earnest, heartfelt plea to her Heavenly Father that such a calamity would never happen.

Kingdom praying
Could you pray thus for your children? I never did for my own children and thinking back, know I could not have. They occupied too high a place in my heart, sadly a place higher than Christ. I spoke often to them of the Savior, but in that speaking I was overly confident in my own ability to turn them toward Him. My method of training my children was everything to me and I reasoned that because of my commitment to that method, God was obliged to do His part in saving them.

Because of my self-confidence, I lacked the finely tuned spiritual eyesight that Eliza Spurgeon had. Though I spoke often to my children about Christ, I spoke infrequently to Christ and my Heavenly Father about my children. And when I did it was without the desperation and fervency that characterized Eliza's praying. I preached far too much and prayed far too little.

Thankfully, God showed me my sin, but not without cost for the willful independence that characterized me during that time. From that day of freedom and grace to this, I pray for my grown children the way Eliza prayed for her youngsters:

With supreme love for Christ - I pray as Eliza did, with my priorities as they should be for one who follows Christ. He is my first and foremost Love. Though my children no longer occupy that place in my heart, it is for this very reason that my love for them is deeper, more powerful and more demonstrative than when they were small. It is my love for Christ and His love for me that continues to put me before the throne of His grace on their behalf. It is His very love in me that empowers me to pray thus.

In humility of mind - I pray with Eliza's humility, knowing that it is the Spirit of God alone who can journey into the regions of the heart and create Light where there is darkness.

With confidence - I pray with Eliza's confidence, knowing that God is kindly disposed to do such work and, in fact, salvation is the very work He desires to do above all else, the work that cost His Son's blood on the Cross.

In surrender to God's will - I pray in total surrender to God's will and to His Kingdom, as did Eliza, knowing that He is not obligated to do my will, the things I would like to see Him do. Though I know this is true, I also know that my Father delights in giving His children good gifts. I also know that when I pray according to His will He hears and gives what is requested. And one more thing I know to be true, it is His will to save sinners. So that is how I pray.

In desperation - I pray in desperation, as did Eliza, knowing that should my children continue in their choice to be self-governing the calamitous day will come when there will be witness born against them before their Judge. Therefore, I pray fervently, as one desperate for His grace for them.

An Extraordinary Challenge
Living each day, doing the same mundane things over and over again and failing often at what God puts before us, causes us, at times, to wonder how we could ever be an encouragement to others, let alone leave a legacy of love for Christ. Though this is how we live our lives, God uses the mundane to bring about His eternal purposes. He uses our failings to break anew His grace and mercy to us. As a result we come to walk humbly before Him and His grace always has the last say.
Eliza Spurgeon’s life was really is no different than ours. She had to learn to walk by faith in God’s grace and mercy just like we do. She served the same God we offer ourselves to, was indwelt by the same Spirit we own and loved the same Savior we now adore.
It is Christ’s life lived out through us that transforms our anthology of ordinary days into an extraordinary and eternal legacy of love worthy to pass onto other women, some of which will be our own daughters. May I challenge you to pursue the ordinary made extraordinary?
My prayer for these posts
As these mini-biographies unfold, I am praying that God will use them as a cloud of witnesses for our equipping to live out our days as apt helpers in His Kingdom. If there is any woman in particular that you would like to see featured, please email me with your idea.


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