Celebrate A Simple Life

it is no bad thing

“[Discontentment] is the hue of hell all over.” September 1, 2010

Filed under: Christian living,disconnected thoughts — Ellie @ 11:42 pm

I doubt anyone would want their tombstone to read “here lies Ellen Riley; she chased things.” I have really thought much of this over the past few days, and tonight when I read Thomas Boston “The hellish sin of discontent” it was so very clear- when we are discontent, we are in effect saying that it really would be best to dethrone God and place us in control. We are lashing out against His will in our lives. “What pleases God pleases them not; what is right in God’s eyes is evil in theirs.” Why do we feel we are lacking? Why does my heart ever cry out for just that one thing, the one forbidden fruit? The fruit does not appear evil; it appears plump and bursting with fresh juicy delight- but it is forbidden. What though God alone know the reason He gives it not? His will is perfect, and so we may rest in the hope that all He has ordained it best.

I see my own heart: I speak of seeing the enoughness of Christ, and for a time my heart bursts with that enoughness. His sufficiency is seen clearly; all that I have is Christ, and He is the only portion which will never leave me lacking. He is precisely what I need, and He is mine! I can never lack anything because His work has brought me to Him- what glorious truth!

Why, then, do my eyes shift so quickly? Why do I wish He had not ordained things as He has in areas? Why do I say in my heart, the struggles would be easier to bear if things were different- as though He had really mussed it up this time? “When we wish things were different, are we wishing that the reality in our lives was otherwise than God has ordained it?”

Christian! Why do we chase things as though Christ is not enough? How much of our lives are we willing to give over to longing for that which God has not granted? What He has given is far better. We long for certainty; He says instead to trust Him. What can we ever want beside Christ alone? These things seem of the utmost importance until we look upon Him. O! look upon Jesus! In Him, every Yes we will ever need is supplied. He works abundantly beyond what our minds can comprehend and do we think that we need more? Don’t we see the stupidity? “Faith finds all it needs in God” (Thomas Boston). When have we ever needed more than He gives? And the heart that has seen Him must cry Never, not once. Also, don’t we see the great worthlessness of anything that is not our lot in Christ? Far from being our good, it is the very thing He rescued us from: the emptying seeking of happiness and fullness in places other than Himself; and the devaluing of His worth by living for that insatiable lust for self-glory and self-happiness apart from God. “Seek for clear vision to see what is gain… remember what loss,” I reminded myself in my journal. Prayer is gain- be often in prayer. Discontentment is loss- flee discontentment. Christ is gain- look to Christ. All else is loss.

What can we do but agree, for we have seen it- before we were Christ’s, we ate hourly at the table of worldly delicacies and what can the believer say of those things now? All dung, it was all worthless dung. When we ate from that table, the taste of the foods offered there were sweet for a only moment before our bellies began to ache with that great aching, that emptiness in the pit of our stomachs that testified all too clearly of how unsatisfactory and unwholesome those foods were. Don’t you remember when you were alone and your eyes were stinging from the neon lights of sin which never satisfied? Don’t we remember when the religious mask wouldn’t fill the emptiness in our hearts? Don’t we remember the great lack which made everything bitter?

What of the fullness? Let us contrast now: we eat now at that table of Christ, where even the breadcrumbs are ten thousand times sweeter than anything that former table offered. We stay long at this table, and are filled- as the Beloved has said, “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of he land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” This is nothing like the greedy atmosphere at the old table of sin; for He brings us to this table and places His banner of love over us. Neither is this sweetness of that short-lived counterfeit nature: the blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with  it. This food is both wholesome and toothsome- it is the very best. In Christ we have found all the emptinesses that sin never satisfied to be filled. What lack do we have that we should be discontent? “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”

Let us never cease to look at Christ and remember what is ours in Him, for in Him alone is all that we need.


The Big + pt. 2 (links) October 29, 2009

O.K, so I’m FINALLY posting the second part on this subject… although those who didn’t know I even had a second part probably didn’t notice… hmm…

First, visit the websites of Project Hopeful, Ahope, and the some of the sites listed here. Go ahead, do it. Read There Is No Me Without You (((older readers))). Research HIV.

Did you do it? Now consider what you have read: HIV is not so easily transmitted nor so “scary” as you might have thought. Now consider this: even if it was, that would be no excuse for God’s people to neglect His call to care for the “least of these.” Isn’t His carrying our disease and conquering us with His love enough to compel us to us to carry them- their sickness and their souls- before His throne? Isn’t it enough to inspire us to show them that love? Do we believe that the love of Christ is enough? Do we believe it will reach even them? “‘Love never fails’- is love failing now?” (Amy Carmichael)


Cookies & Candies & Snacks, Oh My! December 20, 2008

Filed under: disconnected thoughts,Holiday,life,pictures — Ellie @ 8:20 pm

here are some pictures of the Christmas cookie decorating which went on at our house this morning:

Annie cutting out cookies
Sarah cookie-cutting
Mercy taking a short break from her cookies in order to insure that she looked good in the picture
When the ‘kids’ are older, cookie decorating gets way more precise. Especially if one is an artist. This is Jake decorating a cookie using a toothpick.
Sarah re-filling the icing gun

Hannah with her precision cookie decorating tools


We have been in the kitchen for 2 days! We took the little green island table out of the kitchen & replaced it temporarily with a 8-foot folding table to better fit our needs.

So Far (for Memaw & Papaws) we have:

christmas frosted cookies; ‘reindeer’ cookies; peanut butter cookies; ‘haystacks’ candy; hershey’s chunk cookies; toffee; about 5 gallons of chex mix; ‘people chow’ (desert chex mix); peanut butter chunk cookies; turtle candies; loaded chocolate-chip cookies;  sausage balls; cheese straws; chocolate suprise cookies (caremel filled!); pecan shortbread cookies, and more!


Gates December 12, 2008

Filed under: adoption,disconnected thoughts,faith — Ellie @ 6:32 pm

There are so many gates between us and our adoption dreams. So many great, strong, relentless gates. Like great blundering fools, we keep trying to climb over all those gates— but we can’t. They’re great, tall gates & there is nothing to grip as we climb- we get a bit of the ways up, then slid back down lower (farther for our goal) than we even were before. We CAN’T get over even the first gate. So we think, humm, lets go underneath. We flatten ourselves like a pancake but we can’t get under; there is not a hairsbreadth between the bottom of the gate & the ground. Humm… willpower, will power will do it- but it won’t work, we are held back just like before. Finally we gather all together, we aim to test our combined strength against that of this first gate- there are, after all, twelve of us. We push and we heave until one by one we are exausted & lie panting on the ground, no more likely to overcome that gate than to drink all the water in the ocean. We begin to cry. Nothing will work. We were foolish. It can’t be done. No, no, we cannot do it.It is well for us, well for our adoption dreams, that we serve the God who holds the keys to every one of those gates. It is well that we can trust him to open those gates when— and if— he sees fit.

So that is where we were, must like we were in March when I wrote this:


Lately, Mercy has been learning the meaning of the word “Wait”– and it’s high time. She used to tell you she wants something, and if you didn’t respond immediately she would repeat that she WANTS something. We knew we had to ‘nip this is in the bud’, but it wasn’t until a little later that we decided to teach her about “wait”. She started repeating a request 72 million times at a speed that would make a NASCAR driver dizzy until the required object is in her hand (example: Mercy is ready for bed and has an urge to have a goodnight drink of milk from her bottle. She cries out “Mo-Mo wan’ da’ ba-ba, wan’ da’ ba-ba, wan’ da’ ba-ba, PEEEEEASE, Mo-Mo wan’ da’ ba-ba, wan’ da’ ba-ba…”). It is mostly at these times that we say the new word- and usually she is quiet and patient for a few minutes after being told to wait. Of course, there are times when she needs more correction than one simple word (these times are most frequent at the grocery store, during Church or at some other dreadfully inconvenient place).

The theme of waiting has been very common around here- waiting for documents to come, waiting to hear back from the grant organisation, waiting for “The Call” which we don’t know when to expect…

So what do you do when you are told to “wait”? I find I am prone, like Mercy, to call out my request in a louder, more I’m-seriously-about-to-throw-a-huge-fit voice. I think “the only reason there could be that God has not answer my prayer the way I wanted Him to, when I wanted Him to is that He didn’t hear me, or, He didn’t think I was serious.” So I go into bratty two-year-old mode and I say “Do what I want, and do it RIGHT NOW“- but I find that it doesn’t work. It seems to work out way better to just be quiet- then, I can hear Him when He tells me:

May I wait, that it may be true of me “I waited patiently for the LORD, and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.””…For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will hearken to you. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart…”

It might be seventy years, but He will not forget us (even when it seems like He has).

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee on the palms of my hands, thy walks are continuously before me…”

“Sing, o heavens; and be joyful, o earth; and break forth into singing, o mountains; for the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.

But Zion said, ‘the LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee on the palms of my hands, thy walks are continuously before me…”

May I wait, that it may be true of me “I waited patiently for the LORD, and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”


And that is where we are right now. As of yet God has not closed what gates are open & right now we are just waiting, waiting for Him to unlock all those gates & set us free to run, run until we hold our little ones in our arms. It seems to me that he is saying, didn’t you hear my call? Did you not say you would follow? Will you not sacrifice to gain what I have planned for you?

Will we not sacrifice? Will I not sacrifice? When I said I would follow to where ever, what did I mean by that? What were my conditions? Where did I think “where ever you lead” ended?

All of this and more is surging through my heart. We can’t always have what we’re so keenly longing for just when we want it. Sometimes it requires sacrifice so profound that before, we thought it wouldn’t be possible. We are not a patient people, are we? We are not a sacrificing people at all. We must lean on Christ our strength. I find that I am continually drawing… it is well that that well never runs dry- that his people do not come to him, & find we must leave again lacking.

Wait, my daughter

“Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted.- Be still, and know that I am God.- did I not say to you that if you believed you should see the kingdom of God?- … Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him…” (this is a compilation of scriptures taken from Daily Light. This is part of the November 4th)


(for those who do not already know this, adoption has a tendency to go ways you didn’t expect it to go)


adoption, adoption, adoption… December 4, 2008

Filed under: disconnected thoughts,Mercy,pictures — Ellie @ 9:16 pm

Don’t you ever think about anything else, Ellen???

The answer is; right about now, no. Not really. There was a small lapse of time, a few months after Josiah came home when there was room for other things up there, but it has come back with reinforcements this time. So don’t expect much more on here anytime soon 🙂 . I was even toying with the idea of changing my tagline (“Ellens blog” is so unoriginal) into something to do with the subject, what do you think? However, I DONT have a post written for today, so just enjoy this picture & hopefully I’ll be back soon!

Reading together

This picture is old, as a quick glance at the book being read tells me. Pig & Pancake has suffered much love since this time (about 3 or 4 months ago), and is not so nice looking now. BUT prepare to be impressed: Mercy & I can repeat that book backward from memory. Yeah. She likes it.

Well, G’night!


November 27, 2008

Filed under: adoption,disconnected thoughts,Holiday,life — Ellie @ 9:30 pm
Here we are- the end of another great holiday. I had a long post planned out & DID not expect to post tonight. But here I am- I have TIME for the post, but as it turns out I just don’t have the energy to write it. As we all end a day spent with family & friends, we must remember those who are just a little bit alone this year. I am NOT a fan of Third Day: to me, it’s ‘Jacob’s music”- however, this song is the exception. It was written by one of the band members when Christmas rolled around again & they still didn’t have a travel date to pick up their child (in China). We need to remember the families who have children ‘somewhere else’ & were just not able to fly in time for the holidays- wether those families have a picture & a name of their child already, or maybe their child(ren) are just a dream in the hearts that they know will be coming (and maybe no one else knows yet). No matter where ‘they’ are in the process, it hurts when you have family-type gatherings & you know that there are child(ren) who are yours & they’re somewhere else, not with you, maybe crying, maybe laughing but you’re not there- you’re missing that. This time last year, Josiah was growing in his birthmom’s tummy and the dream of him was 5 days old (on the twenty-seventh) in our hearts. I know this has turned into a crazy rambling post which probably isn’t going anywhere, but I guess what I basically wanted to say is; everybody out there (you know who you are) who are wondering how long it will be until the child your heart has grown to love will be with you- one thing I learn through Josiah adoption is that it never goes fast enough. But I also learned that even if you don’t see it, God has a purpose in everything He does, and His will can never change. If God has a child for you, He will bring them to you in His perfect timing.
There is so much more I meant to post & I don’t think that turned out making much sense ^ I guess what I’m trying to say is, hold on to Him. ‘He knows the plans He has for you, plans of good & not of evil, to give you a future & a hope.’ He who promised is faithful to fulfill His promise.

It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home
Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas


So. Here I am. November 17, 2008

*Sigh* So. Here I am. Right now there is a chair in the middle of the hallway leading to the back of the house- there is a piece of paper ripped from a notebook taped to it with the words ‘The babies are goning to sleep… “you shall not pass”‘… or something. Humm… that’s never happened before. So here I am, wishing for the convience of the laptop which I know is only a few steps away in my bedroom- but my bedroom is in the back of the house: off limits. So I am writing with someone else’s pen in a wide-ruled spiral bound notebook: only one of several which float around our home- sometimes downstairs, sometimes upstairs, sometimes in the van- full of old half finished grocery lists, “may I have a…” in Sarah or Ben’s hand (legible) and the reply in Momma’s handwriting (round), and other doodling from random people. Now a page with quotes from favuorite songs, movies or books (Emma’s), now a page full of hearts and the words ANNIE ANNA ANNE and the brand-new HALLEL over and over because they are the only words Annie can really spell yet, now a page where somebody took an order which only they can understand. I am sitting on the couch in the living room, which is the one I recovered but haven’t quite finished yet, a coordination sheet spread slopily over the seat to try fruitlessly to hide the fact that I haven’t recovered the cusions yet.

Welcome to my life, the life of a not quite 17-year old girl in a family of 13.

So many people wonder how I could possibly love my life. So many people just *know* that I go all my days secretly wishing I had been born to a different family, living with a hidden longing to be able to live my youth as wild and irresponsibly as “everyone else” my age gets to. But I don’t. With all my heart I can say that I do not. I can’t imagine how anyone on earth could be happier than I am right now.

So. Here I am. It’s the end of another day. The babies are are peacefully tucked in their beds- Josiah, I think, asleep, but Momma’s attempts to get Mercy setled down have so far been with very mixed sucess- she is lying in bed without getting up now I think, but she is not asleep. So probably the chair in the hall is still there & my room is still off limits. This is such a peaceful home. I look around. I am sitting in the upstairs living room. When I look from my wide-ruled spiral bound notebook the first thing I see is a vase of pink roses- the bushes in our front yard are so pretty this time of year. Beside the roses are Rutherfords Letters & Momma’s Bible- probably from when she siezed a quiet moment to sit & read earlier this afternoon. She really is a lovely lady.

So. Here I am. Unmeasurably blessed. I have been given the best family in the world, a happy home, and a Saviour who loves me.

Sometimes, I think it’s just awesome.


ok, when I write late at night I am so sentimental.