Sign of the Potter: Jeremiah 18:3-6

Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clinging to the Past, One Baby Spoon at a Time

More baby things to pack off to storage. I thought as I stood in front of the silverware drawer. I held in my hand an array of plastic and metal baby spoons in all colors and shapes - all of them too small to be practical for my one-year-old son anymore. Normally, carting baby stuff off to storage was nothing to cause pause. It only served as a temporary displacing of unnecessary items until the next baby came into the picture. However, this time, things were different. This time, we'd be getting rid of the spoons for good.

With the coming of 2011, our resolve to stop at three little ones became firm. Though we love kids and originally planned to have four, three rough pregnancies proved to both me and my husband that I was not cut out to endure another bout of sickness that would ensue from a fourth. 2011 as a result, has turned out to be a year of revelation for me. Each passing month I watched my youngest baby grow through the stages his siblings did and with each passing I realized that I will never get to experience these precious moments again.

Now I stood staring at a handful of baby spoons and I didn't want to let go. I didn't want to admit that I would no longer have little infants clinging to me, depending upon me for every need. I didn't want to say goodbye. Sure, logically speaking, clinging to a bunch of spoons can't bring those moments back. But they did rouse forgotten memories that I knew would most certainly fade again with the passing of time.
It was at that moment that another thought occurred to me. Clinging to those spoons was just like clinging to any other thing in this world. Something bittersweet and wonderful while it lasts, but destined to pass away...fleeting. My natural impulse was like that of any other human being, to hold tighter. That impulse only serves to make the pain worse. It's only with the letting go that we truly find release.

With everything and everyone that we cling to, we buy into the lie of this world all the more...the lie that tells us that this is all there is. That we have to horde every second because that is the only chance at joy we will get. All the while we ignore the Savior who promised that a day will come when "every tear will be wiped away"...that sorrow will be no more. A day of eternal joy, peace, and ultimate fulfillment is coming. A day when agape love will wash over us like a flood, bringing back the joy of all those sweet moments in an endless supply of new ones. No, better put, one perfect moment that has no end.

It was then that I realized that I will never truly say goodbye to those moments. I’m just simply putting them into storage until the day Jesus and I walk hand in hand to go get them out again for good. 

And those baby spoons…well, I tossed them in a sandwich bag and sent them packing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fun Historical Fact #2: What's in Their Candles?

Candle-making is an ancient art that was practiced in many countries from the earliest times. But it might interest you to note the various substances used to produce these unique examples from around the world.

 Some of the earliest known candles were made in China in 221-226 BC. These candles were made from whale fat. The tapers were made from insect wax and seeds wrapped in paper. Beeswax candles were also used.

Early Japanese candles were made from squirrel wax.

Paintings in Egyptian tombs showed a cone-shaped candle. This form was produced by repeatedly dipping a wick made from either rushes or flax fiber in animal or vegetable fat.

Indigenous People
Around the 1st Century, in the areas of modern day Alaska and Oregon, candles were discovered that were made from a fish known as eulachon, "candlefish", which was a type of smelt. When time wasn't readily available to make candles from this fish's oil, the fish were dried out and impaled on a forked stick. Then the fish was lit on fire.

Candles were made from Yak butter.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, olive oil became a scarce commodity. So early Europeans developed tallow candles. Animal fat, the most popular being sheep, was melted in a pot and poured into bronze molds. Wicks were made from the pith (soft spongy center) of rushes. Poor, lower class individual often had to resort to glomming the animal fat onto a stick and lighting it.

The early American colonists possessed few resources readily available for candle-making during their early settlement. So they discovered that bayberries could be used. Since the yield was poor, the use of bayberries didn't last long. 

Needless to say, when paraffin was discovered and put into use by the 1830's, everyone was much happier.