Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving and a Little About Me

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Just wanted to say how thankful I am for each and every one of you, my dear friends who stop by this little blog...

You have all encouraged and supported me over the years with your helpful comments, sharing, friendship, warm fellowship, wonderful thoughts and insights, and kindness..

Sending out a big hug to each of you and prayers for a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and yours!

I thought I'd take a few minutes to share a little about myself, something I don't do too often, just to give a little window into my world right now and share it with you, my dear friends who read this blog..

I go by Sparrow online, but my real name is Nancy.  I live in South Carolina, in the southern United States, in an adorable little town with two traffic lights, a couple of restaurants, a post office, library, two grocery stores and a school. And a beautiful little park where you can sit by the river that runs through town and watch the leaves on the trees as they flutter in the wind..I love living in this tiny town, and we are near enough to bigger towns to have all we need, yet it's so nice to withdraw to this quiet town every day and be 'away from the rush' of the busy city.

We live on a little place in the country about 10 minutes from our town.  There are houses around, yet it's quiet and peaceful.  We have a couple of acres, with a little wood in back for us to roam around and play in. In the woods there is a tire swing, trampoline, and homemade fort (built by our neighbor) that the kids have used over the years.  There is also a trail where I walk either alone or with my daughter and just let the cares fall away in the quiet woods.  I love the woods and grew up on a farm with woods, so walking in the woods has always been a de-stresser for me.  So that's a real blessing for me, to have some woods to walk in here at our little home place.

We live within sight of the mountains and only a couple of hours from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a favorite vacation spot for us.  We also live about 4 hours from the Charleston area and the coast, and so we love to go to the beach for vacation too.  If I can figure out better how to share photos I take here on my blog, I want to share some pictures from a recent trip. Maybe my husband or teen daughter can help me!

My dear hubby and I have 4 great kids, from elementary age through high school.  We have 3 girls and a boy and they are a great blessing to us.  Each one is so different and so interesting and so wonderful!  We're delighted with who they are and they bring much joy to us.  Our youngest is our miracle child - she has a complex heart defect and had 3 surgeries in her infancy and early childhood to repair her heart enough so that it can function well.  She is doing great and we are so thankful to God for her health!

My parents live 30 minutes away on the farm I grew up on.  My brother lives in the home.  They are both struggling with dementia and we have helpers come in for many hours a day to take care of them.  My mom also has diabetes and my dad has Parkinson's disease.  They are fragile but stable right now.  I am so thankful for every day I have with them, every smile I receive from them.  Every day with them is precious and I appreciate any prayers you think of to pray for them and my brother as he does a lot of care-giving and watching over them, with the nursing aides there to help.

My hubby's family is scattered all over the country so we don't get to see them much.  They are hispanic (from El Salvador and the Basque region of Spain - our last name is a Basque name), so all my kids look hispanic except for the youngest, who looks more like anglo-saxon me!  My ancestors originally came from a little town called Gourock, Scotland - I hope I spelled that right.  And also some from other places in England.  That's all I can think of from our family background.

My dear husband is my true best friend and really funny in a quiet, reserved way.  He loves puns, loves music, can play the guitar beautifully, speaks Spanish, is willing to eat my poor cooking!  He works with computers, which is great for me, because I tend to 'break' computers a lot, haha! As for me, I majored in Chemistry in college, mainly because both my parents did, but my real love has always been writing, I think.  And nature - I love being out in nature and feel so much happier and alive and free when I'm outdoors. Right now I am a stay at home wife and mom and we homeschool our kids. 

What are my days like?  My days are filled with things like writing in my journal, helping my son with algebra (if I can remember it myself, haha), talking with my oldest teen about how all people are going to heaven (it's so enjoyable to have deep talks with my teen daughter as she has many neat insights!), reading aloud an Astrid Lindgren book to my youngest daughter, walking in the woods with my quiet middle daughter, cleaning up a little (or not! I'm a bad housekeeper!), birdwatching a bit with the kids, reading in my free time, making dinner for the family, and watching a favorite TV show (like Star Trek) with my hubby.  Our life is slow and peaceful, just the way I like it.  Sometimes the kids have outside classes at the library or get-togethers with friends.  Often we run errands or check out new books to read from the library.   We visit my parents once a week and run by an organic-type grocery to get some good foods. 

What do we 'do' for church?  It's been challenging to find a church where I hear as much grace teaching as I'd like, but that's okay because we can stay home and worship or go online for teaching or just be with God on our own and not feel we have to 'do' something on Sunday that is programmed, you know?  On Sundays we may stay home and my hubby may share with us from the Bible, or we may watch a church online, or even go to a little church up the street where the pastor talks about grace (a real treat it was to find this little church and hear the pastor talking about how much God loves us unconditionally!  He said that people are afraid they'll hear condemnation from God, when really He just wants to say He loves us!  I wish I would hear that in every church I went to, don't you?)  I do find that I fare better emotionally and spiritually if I stay out of the traditional Christianity/church arena. It helps me stay out of dualism/legal ways of thinking.  But that's just me and where I am right now.  And there are many wonderful grace teachers and churches out there, especially online.  I feel we should go where we are nourished and just watch what our feelings are inside and do what brings the most peace and least stress and tension and fear, don't you think?

What grace teaching do I like right now?   I get most of my nourishment straight from God or through a Richard Rohr devotional I read sometimes online.  I probably have about 100 grace books, and for a while I was really into reading a lot about grace, but now I seem to be in a different season.  I can read a little bit, and just soak in that for a while, but I just can't handle too much reading and thinking right now.  I find myself not wanting to read so much but just wanting to enjoy life, knowing God's alongside me in the journey.  I find I don't need to have all the answers.  There are many things I don't know, and for the first time, that seems to be okay, lol!  There's just this deep down knowing that everything is okay, and I just want to soak in that right now and not think too hard.  Does that make any sense?

So we are a quiet family and feel very thankful for all the blessings of family life God has given us, so thankful for our kids and for the health of our youngest, so thankful to be alive and see the sunrise and just go through the day together with God and then rest our heads on a warm pillow!  Life is good and our Papa is so good!

And that is about it for our quiet little lives!

I hope I haven't bored you all!  I just feel that usually I feel reticent sharing about myself, and I realized that I really wanted to share some about me and my life for all of you dear friends so we can get to know each other better.

If any of you would like to share about yourself, your life, your family, your vocation, your hobbies, where you live, etc, please do!  I'd love to get to know you better.  We're all one happy family here on my little blog, aren't we?

Once again, I thank all of you for being the friends and kind people you are.  You all embody grace and it's so beautiful to get to 'meet' all of you wonderful friends here online!

Happy Thanksgiving, with lots of love from


  1. Hello Nancy,

    "I hope I haven't bored you all!" Not at all. It's nice to read about a fellow human being who writes wonderful articles.

    I do like South Carolina as I was a Bible major for 3 years at Bob Jones University in Greenville. We could not see the Smokey Mountains from where I was at in Greenville (actually, no mountains at all) but I did have my honeymoon in a chalet up in the mountains in Gatlinburg, TN.

    I'm right there with you about church. I grew up taught that God wants me in a church but I was not happy with what I was hearing. I could not share my grace beliefs without causing a possible split, so I respected everyone and kept my beliefs to myself inside the church that focused heavily upon performance and a disgusted with you god. I eventually stopped going and did exactly what you do. I like watching Don Keatherly online on Sunday's. I do a lot of communicating with others online or by phone about grace.

    I personally do not like blogging but I do it because Grace should not be bottled in. I know other people are struggling and could use help, so I offer things that led me out of the mire. I do not like blogging because the English grammar and I are bitter enemies. There have been times that I reread an old blog of mine confused what I was saying in certain paragraphs because the wording was pitiful. I did have a test not that long ago and English was definitely not my friend. I did score very high in paragraph comprehension and did good in mathematics but the English grammar is no friend of mine. I was discouraged at Bob Jones University from taking Greek because of my English grammar. I despised English. I hated the "Circle the direct object...Underline the indirect object" type of work. I was told that I articulate great but when it came to paper was to have nothing but run-on sentences, missing commas, semi-colons, and all the rest that go with it. So when I blog is to try to keep sentences short along with the paragraphs so that I do not lose anyone in what I was saying.

    I'm married and have a 13 year old boy. Both of them are still sleeping as I am the early riser. We live in Illinois near the Elgin area. We will be moving around March of 2016 to a town that almost touches the town of Elgin, as I would be able to look up the street and see it. I live in a decent area but right up the street is not such a decent area. It is funny how you can be in a low crime area but up the street is where crime is much higher. One of the men who was arrested for the Palatine Chicken Massacre (7 people shot dead) lived less than 5 minutes from my house. Yikes! That town was on TV for its gang problem. We will be moving further away from it.

    I used to play racquetball competitively. I played in tournaments in other states and had the pleasure of playing some top ranked players in the world (lost of course). The one state I could not play racquetball in was South Carolina. My college was quite strict, so I had to play racquetball on their outdoor concrete courts that were not regulation size. The school changed that after I left and built an indoor fitness center. BJU had strict rules about men not playing with females where I was not allowed to go to a health club off campus. What is strange is that I often quit racquetball because I believed (thanks to fundamentalism) that it was my "god." The only problem is that to be good at a sport requires much time and practice. It upset my church because I traveled to Texas or Arizona to play in a tournament that often would run from Thursday to Sunday. I played in tournaments that kept me from church on Sunday but the tournaments were not every week but maybe 5 to 6 tournaments a year. My church had issues with that. I'm so glad to be away from performance oriented religion because they rob life of joy.

    end of part one

  2. part two of two

    I too like to read but I tend to be careful and limit it. I used to struggle with assurance and would read every book to see how they would answer problem texts. My assurance was like a yo-yo. I finally realized that my assurance was based on how good my apologetics were. This explained why I would feel threatened or nervous if someone challenged my beliefs. My assurance was only based on an argument and if someone could present an argument that I could not answer would send my assurance south for the winter. I came to see that a personal revelation of God's love gives the greatest security possible. Anyone can throw an argument at me now that maybe I cannot effectively answer but my assurance is rooted and grounded in that love that can never be shaken. However, the moment I trust in some argument then the assurance is limited in its strength. It is good to have answers to questions that bother us but it is far better to be able to rest fully assured in His love that casts out all fears and insecurities. This is what you discovered as well when you said:

    "I find I don't need to have all the answers. There are many things I don't know, and for the first time, that seems to be okay, lol!"

    Where I am at today in my grace walk is all due to questioning everything I was taught. It actually began one night back in 2000 while driving to work when a thought thundered in my head that forever changed the direction I would head. This booming thoughts kept happening for a while and I honestly believe it was the Holy Spirit shining light in my darkness. I received a glimpse of His love one evening when I was actually very angry at the moment (a cashier messed up ringing up my order (about $200.00 extra) and I went all the way home without realizing it). It was His love that began causing my heart to rest.

    I usually watch some TV series on my computer. I like to watch something before bed. Last night it was the Twilight Zone. I enjoyed the TV series called Awake. Those type of flicks I enjoy. I do like comedy too. Last night at my sister-in-laws was when I sat and watched 16 Candles with a few others there. It was then followed with Breakfast Club that was amusing.

    I operate and setup machines in a manufacturing shop near my home. I enjoy working with everyone there. I tend to be the one who enjoys fun and getting laughs out of others. My wife is the quiet type but I am the outgoing goofy type. I often enjoy hearing when I leave a company that I will be missed because I was the "life" of the company. I believe life should be fun and that includes work (not the disruptive kind of fun).

    My morning today will be cleaning the kitchen because we have a repairman coming out to fix the dryer. Luckily, my dryer is still under warranty. I then will work a little more on my Grace Letter that should go out this weekend. It deals with our identity in Him and how basing our identity in the externals is destructive.

    Time for breakfast!



  3. Dave, thank you for sharing about yourself and your life and background! It was so interesting and fun to get to know you better and especially to read about your hobbies, your background in 'waking up to grace' and such..I feel it is sad that religious teaching caused you to stop doing a sport, something that was obviously a gift from God to make you happy and give you enjoyment! I also resonated so much with your reading of books to get proof of your beliefs, or else descend into doubt if the books seemed to 'prove' the opposite of your beliefs. I too did this very thing! I think that people like us can be very mental and 'in our heads' thinking..I am just like you, now I am seeing it isn't the mental arguments and logical proofs I really rest on, which can change depending on the next thought or argument, but on a personal revelation of God's love that is deeper than the mind's thoughts can EVER go, deep as the infinite depths of the Spirit within!! It's solid bedrock, unchangeable, unshakable! I find myself saying, I don't know how I know and I can't explain it or answer all the 'problem texts' but still I JUST KNOW that He is love and everything is okay and everything WILL BE okay! :) Our lives don't depend on mental gymnastics or clever arguments..our lives are built on God's Love revealed in the depths of our hearts, wow! HE is the bedrock beneath us, and THAT rock is the same, yesterday, today and glad it really comes down to Him within, which is unchanging, and not my prone-to-change ideas or beliefs!
    About English and grammar not being your friend - I want to say that I think your writing style is fine. You are very thorough and detailed. You cover all the bases and leave no stone unturned in your expositions of grace truth. I do not have a problem understanding what you read at all. But I understand that writing can be a challenge. I think that you would have liked and benefited from Greek study..I took three semesters of Greek in college - I went to Furman University in Greenville, the city you mentioned, where BJU is..and I loved Greek, and feel it helped me understand English better. Learning a foreign language (Portuguese, from time spent in Brazil) also helped me. But anyways, I think that your command of the English language is just fine! We all have a writing style and the variations in our styles make life interesting for all!
    Anyway, thank you for sharing, great to get to know you better..grace and peace to you and your wife and son!

  4. I wish you had a LIKE button that I could click. I did take Greek at BJU but was only discouraged from taking the class because the teacher said that if English was difficult for me then Greek would be too. I did OK, as I did not fail.

    I actually been on Furman campus once. My friend drove me there but we never got out of the car. It was a nice campus. I have not been too many places in South Carolina. I have been to Greenville, Spartenburg (obviously, it is right next door), Anderson, and Gaffney. I used to love the winters in SC because they were so short in comparison to the winters in Illinois. I loved when they had snow storms there because the stores were practically empty of people. My friends from Michigan and I would go shopping when snow fell because the people there would go shopping before the storm but we here in Illinois tend to shop when it is storming. Why? Because we are dumb enough to believe that nobody would be shopping when it is storming. I guess we do not fear the snow as much as they do down south. Anyways, it worked there because 2 inches of snow meant a lot less of people at stores.

    I did have a good time at Bob Jones University. I definitely do not hold to what they teach today but I have pleasant memories. The faculty treated me decent for the most part. I made good friends and had fun playing many practical jokes on others while there. I still remain in contact with some of the people there.

    You said: "I find myself saying, I don't know how I know and I can't explain it or answer all the 'problem texts' but still I JUST KNOW that He is love and everything is okay and everything WILL BE okay! "

    Yes, that is me too. The revelation of His love makes problem texts no longer a problem. You simply know that all will be well in the end. You know that one day everything will be made clear. We can either rest upon that love or we can spend endless days, "Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth." We can spend our days polishing our arguments that is subject to change. We can spend our days trying to find the best arguments to hopefully draw assurance from that can be torn down by an argument we were not prepared to hear. I prefer sticking to the love of God that ever grows in my understanding and a love that is never subject to change. I find that the answers I get to problem texts are now only a cherry on top of the revelation of God's love to me. The more light I receive on a problem text simply affirms His unchanging love. It only adds to my rejoicing. I no longer have to have verses answered to believe His love for me.

    One of the best things I learned is that anything I see in the bible that creates fear or anxiety is NEVER from Him or about Him. Fear has torment but perfect love casts out all fear. God is perfect love so nothing flowing from His being would produce torment of fear. His words are peace and never fear. Verses must be read through the eyes of love. If fear is encountered then it was not from Him, as we merely received the wrong spirit at that moment. Any time I hear something that causes my heart to initially beat faster is when I immediately calm myself down realizing that what I just heard was the spirit of another.

    Have a blessed weekend!


  5. Dave, thank you for what you shared about verses causing anxiety/fear being from another spirit and not from God (Love)..that really helped and reassured me and ws a blessing! I resonate so much with what you shared. I love how you say, "The revelation of His love makes problem texts no longer a problem." I love that!
    Thanks and have a great weekend, too...

    1. Oops, I'd better clarify that..I didn't mean the verses are from another spirit but that the fear/anxiety is from another spirit..thus telling us our interpretation of those verses is off..

  6. Hello Sparrow and Dave (and everyone else!),

    It was wonderful to hear all about your life and lifestyle Sparrow. I can just imagine the woods and you walking there with your children.
    It’s lovely to know that you have a ‘real’ life,’; as opposed to a mask which you have to wear.
    Can I just say that when I realised, like Dave, that we have to read through the eyes of Love,,, I made myself a bookmark to remind me of that. After a while I added some other reminders about things too, but I still have it - somewhere! And, Yes, it was such a reassuring revelation.
    As you can see, Dave, I’ve added a few extra punctuation marks just in case “there’s” to be a test afterwards! Lol!

    Best wishes,

  7. Woolly, often it does feel like I have to wear a mask online...but I really wanted to share a bit about me and enjoy getting to know others's been great meeting all of you here and learning about different people..what a blessing it is..
    It's great to be part of this online family, isn't it? I'm thankful for that!
    Sending best wishes to you and your family!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing about yourself :) Very beautiful and encouraging. I can tell that you feel one with nature and as you mentioned your true love is writing! You are a gifted writer and we are all very appreciative of all that you share :) What books do your family enjoy reading?

  9. Hi there, Anon, nice to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words! Let's see, you asked what books our family enjoys reading..I myself enjoy nature writing - I have just ordered Dune Boy by Edwin Way Teale, a memoir of a nature writer's early years in the Indiana Dunes area. Over the years I have read many wonderful books aloud to the kids, and some favorites have been The Little House on the Prairie books, The Boxcar Children, Rascal by Sterling North (about a boy and his pet raccoon), The Moffats books by Eleanor Estes, and more recently The Ark by Margot Benary-Isbert and Seacrow Island by Astrid Lindgren. I love children's books, especially older family stories that are so homey and heart-warming. I love reading aloud to the kids, and I guess over time we've read about 100 books together and are still going. On their own, the kids have read widely; my teen daughter reviews books for a book blog and reads all kinds of books, especially modern writers of fantasy, but she has also enjoyed classics like Gene Stratton Porter. She is the head of a literature club for teens that meets at the library and they read many classics for the club, like Shakespeare, etc. My son has read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as some modern fantasy.. The younger ones have liked The Wizard of Oz books, some books by Lloyd Alexander, various fairy tale type stories and horse books, etc. I hope that answers your question and wasn't too long winded..I do love to talk about the books we've read! Blessings to you, Anon! Please feel free to share the books you and yours love to read, or any recommendations you have of a good read... :)

  10. Thanks for sharing all the books you have read. A conversation about books is never too long winded in my opinion lol. Great selection of books you have listed, I can tell you all must be avid readers. Nature writing is really great, have you read any Thoreau or Emerson? I have heard of some others too such as John James Audubon, and William Bartram, but I think those writers are from the 17th century, so very much dated. Fantasy is also a a great genre, I think it is really awesome that as a Christian you encourage your children to read widely, particularly in that specific genre. I always thought that it was a bit odd that Christians would "burn" certain books, especially since the author used creativity in writing the book, and creativity is from God, right? If I can think of any other book suggestions, I will definitely email you with them.

  11. Anon, thank you for your suggestions for nature writers..I really want to read some Thoreau and Emerson, but I haven't gotten to them yet. I know that William Bartram came through the mountains near my home long ago, but you are right, the writing would probably be dated. I have enjoyed reading some of the writings of John Muir, though. About fantasy, yes, my teen daughter really loves fantasy..I can't even keep up with how many fantasy books she has read, lol! Thank you for your suggestions and if you have others, that would be great! Blessings to you and yours!

  12. Love reading a bit about you. Praying you are continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    If you're still searching for a great grace teaching pastor I highly recommend Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch ministries. You can access his teachings at I have enjoyed his teaching for nearly 40 years, and his message is true to God's word.
    I would love to have you stop by my blog spot The Velveteen Grandma if you have the chance. I am always looking for feedback.
    May God continually bless you with His grace.

  13. Thank you so much, Amy, for your kind words and for the pastor recommendation..I have heard of Dr. Charles Stanley and listened to him a bit..
    I will have to check out your blog..thank you so much for your kind words and may God bless you!


May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14