Archive for March, 2010

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Music for mental work

baroque albumHere’s another album to download that will cost you nothing.

I like it that most of the composers are well-known, so I know their creations are good.

But I’m not familiar with these particular pieces, and that’s the kind of music I like to have in the background while I’m doing think-work, so I don’t get distracted into humming along.

And, like this one and this one I recommended earlier, it’s free!

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Friday, March 19th, 2010

Double thanks

It’s easy to see one reason why our family is thanking God so heartily. We are still reeling–as in dancing–at the news Abraham and Molly are expecting twin girls.

That joy lives within a greater cause for thanks–that Abraham is here at all to be Molly’s husband and the father of Orison, Felicity, Morrow, and the little ones we await now.

Ten years ago, we could only dream and pray that God might turn around Abraham’s life and bring him to where he is now. In those years, we tried to imagine how God might do that work. But God was writing his own story for Abraham. God seems to love surprise endings.

We knew firsthand that when an adult child is living away from the Lord, a parent is helpless to change him or her. And yet, God may choose to use the parents in the story of that child’s return.

Four years ago, Abraham wrote about ways parents might help their prodigal.

I pray this might be an encouragement to you who are living in a similar heartbreaking chapter right now.

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Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Doubly preoccupied

I admit it. Pretty much all I can think about today is twins.

So I just ordered this video. Can’t wait to watch it.

Multiples in the womb dvd

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Thursday, March 18th, 2010

A poem for Molly and Abraham after the ultrasound

After we saw the ultrasound pictures of Molly and Abraham’s girls, I mentioned that I was about to burst with emotion. Just picture words gushing all over the place.

That’s one of the sweet differences between my husband and me. In the midst of his explosion of joy, words come out also in a poem of grief, gladness and God.

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Thursday, March 18th, 2010

He takes away and he gives. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Abraham, Molly, Orison, MorrowYesterday mid-morning, Abraham and Molly stopped by.

“Abraham, aren’t you supposed to be at work?” we both asked. “I’m going soon,” he answered.

Molly hadn’t mentioned to us that this was the day for their ultrasound, but now they needed to tell us the results.

She took a deep breath, “We found out that our baby looks . . . fine . . . and so does her sister.”

I can’t even begin to replicate the hoots and tears and shouts and laughing that filled the next who-knows-how-much time.

Then they pledged us to silence until they could make lots of calls and spread the news themselves. Of course, we knew that already and agreed. But I’ve been bursting in the meantime. My heart is full and I think it’s going to explode and splatter words everywhere.

But for this moment, please don’t miss what Abraham and Molly have to say.

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Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Instructions for pillowcase dress

talitha sewingUpdate: Great tip about bias tape from reader Carol has been added to the instructions.

Talitha and I went to a thrift shop to find colorful, sturdy, excellent-condition pillowcases to make dresses for little girls at the Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center.

When they’re ready, we’ll send them to the following address, for shipment in a container that’s being prepared for shipment to the rescue center:

Debbie Woodward
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Talitha made the very first of our dresses. She’s a relatively new seamstress and we recommend this project for others who are new to sewing.

Here are instructions for making a pillowcase dress. I adapted these from Freshly Picked, a really cool handwork website/blog I found. You can go there to see step-by-step illustrations.

Before you start work, I’d recommend washing your pillowcase, whether it’s new or used.

Supplies/Tools Needed

1 pillowcase

2 yards of wide bias tape (my preference over the quilt binding tape–too wide–used on the dress in the photo)

12-14 inches of 1/2-inch-wide elastic

2 large safety pins


measuring tape or yard stick

Standard Dress Lengths for Little Girls

(The Rescue Center can use any size, but has most need for smaller sizes.)

6 – 9 months: 14 inches

12 months: 15.5 inches

18 months: 17.5 inches

2T: 19.5 inches

3T: 21 inches

4T: 22 inches

5/6: 24 inches

7/8: 26 inches


The open end of the pillowcase will be the hem of the dress.

Measure from the open end (because many pillowcases are not symmetrical and you want the hemline to be even). Add 1 inch for the casing fold.

For the arm holes cut a ‘J’ edge, along the side seams that is about 3 nches high and about 3 inches wide.

Next you will iron the casing for the elastic in the front & back of the pillow case. Starting at the raw edge, iron down a 1/4-inch fold. Then fold again & iron a 3/4-inch fold.

Sew the casing closed. Sew as close to the edge as possible, leaving a 3/4 inch casing. This step does not have to be perfect. The gathering of the elastic will hide a multitude of mistakes.

Now you will feed the casing with elastic. Cut your elastic into 2 pieces, each 6-7 inches long, one for front, one for back of dress. Attach a safety pin to either end of the elastic for feeding purposes.

Feed the elastic through the casing. Then sew all four raw edges of casing to fasten each end the elastic into the casing.

Cut the bias tape into 2 lengths of 1 yard each.

[Here’s a tip from reader Carol for making the bias-tape sewing easy and attractive: packaged bias tape is folded not quite in half lengthwise. When you get ready to sew it on make sure the narrower half of the tape faces up. That way you will be sure you are always catching the underside of the tape, even around curves. That little tip totally changed how I feel about using bias tape!]

Now pin the bias tape to both arm edges, centering it lengthwise so there are equal amounts on each end for shoulder ties.

Starting at one end of the bias tape, begin sewing the tape closed. Continue sewing, binding the edge of the armhole with the tape. Make sure you give yourself enough room to catch the edges of the tape on the inside and outside of the dress.

Finish off the end of the tape on the diagonal with a close zig zag stitch.

Talitha with pillowcase dress

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Saturday, March 13th, 2010

How to subscribe to a blog

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was reading through the new posts on blogs I subscribe to.

I find it a great time saver to subscribe to all the blogs I want to read regularly. That way I know when there’s a new post, and I don’t waste a lot of time checking out each one just to find there’s nothing new today.

That’s why I included the “Subscribe to Noel Piper” on the side bar here–to make it easy for you.

But there are other blogs I’m following that don’t make it so simple. So I’m thankful for instructions that my son Abraham posted for his wife, Molly, at her blog. I hope they’ll help you too.

By the way Abraham has two blogs– Twenty-two Words and Downhill Both Ways.

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Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Invisible in death

You know how you can hear facts for a long time, and at best you say, “Oh, that’s really bad.”  Then suddenly one day the same information hits your heart and tear glands?

That’s me right now. I was just browsing through new posts from blogs I subscribe to. I was stopped in my tracks by today’s post from Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center:

According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

T-W-E-N-T-Y—F-I-V-E—T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D!  Yesterday! Today! Tomorrow! Every day!

175,000 next week.

750,000 next month.

Next year:  9,125,000 times that parents’ arms will be emptied of their child.

Those of us who have lost children and grandchildren don’t have to imagine their grief. What’s harder for us here to understand is the spirit-deadness that sets in, knowing that it will probably happen again and again–when every pregnancy causes grief because of the hopelessness, knowing that you will probably lose this child too.

The full post goes on with statistics that blow my mind when I stop and think about the size of the numbers. I’m not good with numbers unless they’re matched up with a reality I can imagine and feel. Like this: In 2003 the number of children who died under the age of 5 was the same as if all the children under 5 in France, Germany, Greece, and Italy were wiped away.

What can we do?

What are you or your friends doing?

What organizations can we support that are directly helping these “meek and weak in life” in the poorest villages on earth?

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Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Me too, please

orison and abrahamFive-year-old Orison: “Daddy, when I’m asleep and you check on me before you go to bed, will you please say, ‘I’m here.'”

Yes! I hear myself saying the same thing to God. Except for the part about going to bed, because he never sleeps.

In my sleep, Lord, please whisper to me, “I’m here.”

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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Why are you doing this job?

News this morning reports that gunman raided the World Vision office about 50 miles outside Islamabad, Pakistan. Six workers were killed.

(S)urvivors said the gunmen singled out the aid workers, separating them from some laborers who happened to be there, before shooting them execution style.

“They asked everyone ‘why are you doing this job?'”

This particular World Vision office has focused on relief and rebuilding after the earthquake that killed 73,000 in  October 2005.

As in most World Vision locations, most of the employees in Oghi, Pakistan, are local people. All who were killed and injured are Pakistanis who were working in the name of Christ on behalf of their own people.

Please pray for their grieving families and that Jesus’ name might shine.

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

What is the point of this website?

One of my readers is wondering how this variety of posts is related to the idea of “Let the nations be glad.” It’s a good question. So here’s some history that might help.

I ventured into the blog world with a mission trip in February 2008. Over the next year, I blogged mainly when I was part of a short-term mission or ministry so that family, friends, and supporters could know some of what God was doing in that place with those people. Therefore the name of the original blog–Let the Nations Be Glad.

Eventually, I began posting more frequently and with a wider range of topics. In December 2009, I welcomed you to this new website. (And I hope you do notice that it is more than just a blog. Click on the links above to explore the site).

So, back to the original question. I hope that everything you read here has something to do with our prayer that the nations be glad in the Lord. I pray that whatever I do, whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, that it be to the glory of God, for the sake of the nations, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Whatever includes intensity, somberness, suffering, contemplation, prayer, and biblical insight. It also includes moments of lightheartedness, relaxation, and even sometimes silliness. It includes travel to the ends of the earth and taking note of my own neighborhood. It includes people of other cultures and my own family. It includes my struggles (and yours?) against the sins (like living in chaos and overeating) that hinder me from seeing God clearly and following him wholeheartedly.

So, as I promised in my post welcoming you to this new website: “You never can tell what I’ll be thinking about when you come back.”

I pray that you will find authenticity and real life seen through what’s mundane and what’s eternal. And though the website no longer bears the name “Let the Nations Be Glad,” I hope you will still be able to see here God working in the nations.

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Who can argue with free?

classical gems

I just discovered an MP3 album download of “Classical Gems.” Free. No cost. So if you don’t like any or all of the pieces, you can just delete them with no guilt.

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