Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hymn History - For the Beauty of the Earth

I've been writing a hymn study once or twice a month for a home-published christian newsletter I and some friends of mine are the editors of.  I thought I'd share (or rather, re-commence sharing) the articles here.

Enjoy!

Folliott Piermont (1835-1917) was born in Bath, England and was a lay member of the Anglican Church. Following his graduation from Queen's College, Cambridge, he taught the classics for a time at Somerset College, later becoming a freelance writer. During his 82 years of life, Pierpoint published seven volumes of poems and hymn texts, many of them showing his love for nature. He is most remembered for this beautiful hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth.

Piermont was about 29 years old when he wrote the text for this joyful hymn.  It was a lovely day in late spring.  While enjoying the surrounding area of his native city of Bath, in England, he was inspired by the beautiful countryside with its winding cool and peaceful river, Avon, in the distance. The tuneful songbirds, the wind wispering over a vibrantly colored hillside, all seemed to be praising the Creator with their unrestrianed gladness and peace.  Overwhelmed with emotion, he expressed his feelings of gratitude in the penning of this sacred song.

For the Beauty of the Earth was set to the beautiful tune of "Dix."  Its composer, Conrad Kocher (1786-1872), born in Wurtt├źmberg, was an important musician and reformer of German church music.  The tune name "Dix" came from the association of this melody with William Dix's hymn, "As With Gladness Men of Old," which was often sung in Protestant services on Christmas to celebrate Christ's birth.

This hymn, which made it's first appearance in 1864 under the name "The Sacrifice of Praise", was inspired by the Scripture in Hebrews 13:15.
"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." -Hebrews 13:15.

"The Sacrifice of Praise" consisted of 8 four-line stanzas. A verse not included in most hymnals, even today, gives thanks for God Himself. It is He who has made all of the joys and beauties of life possible, and provides a hope for all eternity.

"For Thyself, best Gift Divine!
To our race so freely given;
For that great, great love of Thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven: 
Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise."

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3) 
~For the Beauty of the Earth~
For the beauty of the earth
For the Glory of the skies, 
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies: 
Refrain: Lord of all, to Thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.
Alternative (original) refrain:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise 
This, our sacrifice of praise. 
For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night, 
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r 
Sun and Moon and stars of light 
Refrain
For each perfect gift of Thine
Down to us so freely given.
Graces human and divine
Flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n.
Refrain

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child.
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

Refrain
"For Thyself, best Gift Divine! 
To our race so freely given;
For that great, great love of Thine, 
peace on earth, and joy in heaven!
Refrain
~*~*~*~*~*~
Vive Ut Vivas!
Love,
~Me~

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Wee Bit o' Scottish Mood

First, I put on my cheerful red tam and comforting blue Wellingtons (I usually call them rubber boots - but when I'm in a Scottish Mood... they're Wellingtons) and milked the goats.  I always wear a tam when I'm in a Scottish Mood - which nearly always occurs when it's damp and foggy.
Next, piping hot ginger tea and several chapters in 1 Thessalonians.  Tilda made breakfast - the dear!  By the way - these are some of my favorite things.  Just thought you'd like to know that.
Some dear friends of ours who are market farmers stopped by with some new potatoes, cabbage, and fresh sunflowers, and we sang some hymns and chatted awhile.
Later, Ma, the girls and I had a tea party with Walker's shortbread (in keeping with my Scottish Mood), and then some sewing projects appeared.  
Alexander Scourby is reading Joshua at the moment.
Och aye, it's been a lovely day.
"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. . . Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole  spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
1 Thessalonians 5:5-11, 16-24
Will ye' no come back again?
While the Scottish Mood lasts, I remain,
Yours truly,
~Miss Margery Stuart~
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Gardening Galore!

It feels as if I've been practically living in the garden this summer. . . but I like it that way!
 
Here's some assorted pictures of my summer garden rambles.
 
Enjoy!
 
Inspecting a neighbor's gorgeous garden while on the annual Sew n' Sew garden tour
 
 
My flower garden
 
 
Helping some friends get thousands of seedlings into the ground for the Farmer's Market=)
 
 
Lovely gladiolas
 
Blackberry brambles
 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 
Well, I'm off to start the process of turning 285 pounds of cabbage into delectable sauerkraut.  Oh, the joy. . . ;)
 
Y'all come back soon, you hear?
 
Lovingly,
~Me~

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book review - Aunt Jane's Hero

Author:  Elizabeth Prentiss
 
Title: ~ Aunt Jane's Hero - The portrait of a Christ-centered home ~
 
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       Can you imagine having "perfect happiness that cannot be wrecked?"  
It seems far-fetched, unrealistic even.  Yet if all of our hopes, dreams, and innermost longings are centered on Christ, the Creator, rather than the created - if the desire to become so intimate with Him that His very Spirit fills us and pours over onto the lives around us, our joy might indeed be full.  If we so choose, our happiness can be in the safekeeping of One who is infinitely trustworthy, unfathomably wise, and always loving.  How could we possibly be disappointed?
 
Aunt Jane's Hero, first published in 1871, is a beautiful and touching portrait of a one couple who dedicated their lives to doing just that.  This endearing piece of fiction illustrates just how much can be accomplished through the dedication, prayer, and perseverance of souls striving to live in that veritable heaven-on-earth: a home dedicated to following the will of Christ.
As the Authoress, in her preface the the book, wrote:
 
"Before, they were living to themselves: self, with its hopes, and promises, and dreams, still had hold of them - but then the Lord began to fulfill their prayers.  They had asked for contrition, and He sent them sorrow;  they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts;  they had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes;  they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by 'as a refiner of silver', till they should reflect His image... They had asked they knew not what, nor how; but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions.  They were hardly willing to follow on so far, or to draw so nigh to Him.  Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His kingdom.  If they had halted anywhere - if He had taken off His hand, and let them stray back - what would they not have lost?  What forfeits in the morning of resurrection?  But He stayed them up, even against themselves.  Many a time their foot had well-nigh slipped; but He, in mercy, held them up;  now, even in this life, they know that all He did was done well.  It was good for them to suffer here, for they shall reign hereafter - to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above;  and that not their will but His was done unto them."
 
This little volume has a fresh challenge, some new gem to impart, each time I read it over.  It chronicles the story of Horace and Maggie Wheeler, two Victorian-era newlyweds, alongside a memorable cast of peers and neighbors through the trials, the temptations, and the victories of their Christian walk.  The story weaves amusingly dated victorian wit, interesting sub-plots, and challenging, biblical insights into a tapestry of true beauty.  The character of Aunt Jane, an elderly widow whose selflessness, godly wisdom and charming, old-fashioned humor serves as an inspiration and mentor to the young couple, illustrates the true spirit of the Titus 2 woman.  
 
Aunt Jane's Hero is a book you'll want, like me, to read and re-read.  Each time you will be encouraged anew, and find a deeper understanding of the essence of the Christ-centered home.
 
 
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Wee Bit o' Scottish Mood

First, I put on my cheerful red tam and comforting blue Wellingtons (I usually call them rubber boots - but when I'm in a Scottish Mood... they're Wellingtons) and milked the goats.  I always wear a tam when I'm in a Scottish Mood - which nearly always occurs when it's damp and foggy.


Next, piping hot ginger tea and several chapters in 1 Thessalonians.  Tilda made breakfast - the dear!  By the way - these are some of my favorite things.  Just thought you'd like to know that.

Some dear friends of ours who are market farmers stopped by with some new potatoes, cabbage, and fresh sunflowers, and we sang some hymns and chatted awhile.

Later, Ma, the girls and I had a tea party with Walker's shortbread (in keeping with my Scottish Mood), and then some sewing projects appeared.  

Alexander Scourby is reading Joshua at the moment.

Och aye, it's been a lovely day.

"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. . . Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole  spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
1 Thessalonians 5:5-11, 16-24

Will ye' no come back again?

While the Scottish Mood lasts, I remain,
Yours truly,
~Miss Margery Stuart~


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Autumn Glory

There were three old, old apple trees on our property when we bought it.  Our tree care friend said they would never bear fruit again, but my Mother pruned them well, and they are doing amazingly for the extent of neglect we found them in.  
 
It's a reminder to me that no matter how old, neglected, filthy, or outwardly ugly something is, there is always hope as long as somebody is willing to love and care for it!

Our apple tree

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wyoming Ranch Skirt

 
 
I just made up this fabulous pattern in a lovely, soft, rich brown corduroy.  I omitted the front panel, and added extra fulness to the skirt.
 
I love the way it drapes.  Long.  Warm.  And 100% Cowgirl!
 

You can just see a little pink boot sticking out...
 
Too cute=)
 
Happy Trails y'all!
 

Friday, September 03, 2010

On wearing helmets...


There is nothing quite so aggravating as the smug assurance of a riding hemet.  It seems to be everlastingly reminding one of the inevitable fact that one cannot escape it.  Of all necessary and useful inventions, the helmet is one of the most vexing.  
Think of all the delightful things one might wear on their head while riding - a tam, for instance, or a cowboy hat, or an intricately braided crown hair do...!
But no, the bulky, cumbersome, tiresome helmet must forever be imposing on our convenience and comfort.
But, a helmet is similar to insurance in that; "you never need it until you do."
And so I wear it and am thankful.
Most of the time.


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