The Bennett Family Blog

How have the Bennetts been lately? Just peachy!! Jonathan came home with 35 pounds of peaches from a guy who had too many peaches dropping in his yard.The girls spent an entire Saturday transforming them into a variety of tasty treats. 

Susanna, Julianna, Lydia & ElizabethBesides our peach products we also baked homemade bread/rolls, M&M cookies and zucchini bread.What a blessing it was to spend a happy day in the kitchen together. 

We were blessed to be part of Friendship Night at our Church (Olivet Baptist Church, Hamden, CT). We are praising God for His blessing as we saw many folks come out and the gospel was presented through song, and clearly through the chalk drawing.

Activities throughout June and July!               

"We just finished a season with our homeschool orchestra - we were glad to have our cousin join us in the brass section and as the trumpet soloist in Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3. "

The most unique experience of our trip happened at our Bear Creek Community Concert on Monday evening. During the afternoon while we were practicing with the Petricks, a severe rainstorm came through that bordered on a hurricane to us. It cleared up by the time we drove over to the Bear Creek Community Center, but when we arrived we learned that a tree had fallen and caused a power outage over half of the community, including the clubhouse where we were supposed to play. Providentially, we’d brought a bunch of flashlights on our trip down to Florida, something we’ve never done before. They were originally to be used just for travelling , but the Lord knew we would have a greater need for them. As it turned out, we hung them on music stands at each end of the bell table and played the first half of our concert by flashlight! The lights and AC came back on while we were playing our accordions and we finished off our concert in the now-brightly-lit clubhouse with joy. We later found out that further south they had a small tornado at the same time as our “rainstorm” and subsequent power outage. It became another memorable concert and another challenge conquered to add to our resumé! For all those who want to know, we did have time to “relax” and enjoy the beach and the pools at the community in which we were staying, so we got plenty of “vacationing” in. We rounded out our trip with a visit and concert in Lakeland and then a concert in Virginia on our way up north. It is always strange but sweet to come back home and settle back into the ordinary routine of things. After the first day at home, the trip behind us always seems so long ago and far away, but the memories of the times spent together and with brothers and sisters in Christ will always bring joy and refreshment and encouragement as we serve the Lord wherever we are.

Our family is back from our trip to Harbor Baptist Church in Ormond Beach, FL. I find myself so refreshed by the genuine love and warmth shown to our family by the folks at Harbor Baptist Church. We were overwhelmed with cookies and cakes and sweets from generous friends who wanted to do their part to make sure we were fed for the week. We were certainly taken good care of by everyone! We stayed with our dear friend, Sue Lamb, who is a wonderful hostess and spoiled us with her biscuits ‘n gravy and yummy honey mustard chicken for dinner!
One of the highlights of our week was meeting the Petrick family, missionaries who are staying at Harbor Baptist for a few weeks. They are also a musical family and during the week we were asked to collaborate and sing for the Senior Luncheon on Tuesday. Monday afternoon found us and the three Petrick boys around the piano figuring out which songs we could sing and play. Some people wondered if we weren’t getting enough rest with all this music and daily trips to the church, but we told them this isn’t work for us—it’s fun!
Michael Petrick and Matthew played a piano duet together and we made an ensemble of stringed instruments with flute and harmonica. For our final song we sang “Lord, Send Me Anywhere”, a beautiful song of consecration, with equally beautiful harmonies. At Wednesday night prayer meeting, we were told that the folks enjoyed the Bennett/Petrick music so well they wanted us to sing again for the people who weren’t at the Senior Luncheon, so we had the pleasure of singing with the Petricks all over again. ☺

I’ve always been glad I was from New England. As a child I loved each season on its own merits, each with its own unique set of things to do: the fresh freedom of springtime when one can rush outside without a coat, hop about to renew one’s acquaintance with a yard that seems altogether new; the sticky heat of summer providing ice pops, picnics in the living room, playing outside after supper and the exciting possibility of going swimming at a friend’s pool; the dearness of fall summarized in the snack of an apple that cracks satisfactorily when you bite it, raking a huge pile of leaves and jumping into it before bagging it all up, and culminating with our family get-together on Thanksgiving Day; the wonderful return of winter that features first and foremost Christmas with all of its wonderful nostalgia, and second most important, snow. The most exciting time of outside play for us throughout the entire year was when there was snow on the ground. And still, when the first snowflakes fly across our little state, we cheer.

Our family seems to like the cold weather. I know for myself that I love it most because its then you appreciate warmth the best. It’s when you feel chilled to the bone from the cold outdoors that you most enjoy walking into a warm kitchen to soothe your shivers. It’s when the howling wind is squeezing in through little drafts that you are most grateful for a warm and cozy bed. (You also discover a gratitude for 10o weather because it’s then that the snow is easier to blow and plow and heave. Did you ever say, “Thank you, Lord, that it isn’t warm”?) It’s in a swirling snowstorm that you remember to give thanks that you have a home to come home to, with food and heat and clothing and lights and running water. It’s on those cold days that you might think to wave to your mailman and be grateful that rain or shine, heat or cold, the mail must and does go through.
It applies in the spiritual realm, too, you know. It’s when you know the frosty touch of a harbored grudge that you most appreciate the thawing warmth of forgiveness. Isn’t that, in a roundabout way, what Jesus meant when he said, “He who has been forgiven most loves most”? Those who have been chilled to the bone by the ways of the world are most eager to be wrapped up in the arms of Christ’s love?

There are always those who prefer it that way, though. Like a man we met who recalled how, as a boy, he and his friends would go down to the river and each get on a chunk of ice and see how far downstream they could sail. “We’d fall in that icy water and we’d be dyin’, but we were dyin’ together, so it was wonderful.” My sisters and I just looked at one another in amazement. (Truly the god of this world has blinded their minds!) But isn’t that what the children of darkness say? They’re dyin’, but they like it that way. The Apostle Paul reminds us not to look down on ‘them’, for we too were once children of darkness (Ephesians 5:8), and sometimes still are drawn back toward the old icy way of thinking for why else would he persist in admonishing us to “walk as children of light”?
Knowing our ability to take a good thought and fly to the other extreme, our Lord warned us not to revel in the cold in order to appreciate His warmth. Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!” Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.“

Is it, then, a gratitude for the hand of a benevolent God who reached out and offered warmth and light to those frozen in darkness? Not merely. He voluntarily entered our tundra of snow and ice and was Himself chilled to the bone so that He could offer us a springtime of new life, ironically, so that we would not have to experience the scorching heat of His just wrath.

So consider that. Consider…Christ. Hebrews 12:3, “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself...” When the cold creeps in, run to His warmth, and be grateful.

-Susanna Joy

Last week, Julianna, Daniel and I listened to the radio drama version of the book, Under Drake’s Flag, by G.A. Henty. Although I had never read the book before, anyone who is familiar with G.A. Henty would’ve recognized the typical harrowing adventure, bold and courageous main characters, and most of all, a strong emphasis on the virtues of honesty, courage and loyalty. What I especially enjoyed about the drama was the liberty that Heirloom Audio took in strengthening the story with Bible verses and a very strong Christian flavor. In the story, two English boys, Ned and Gerald, sailing under the famous Sir Francis Drake were shipwrecked in Spanish territory and captured by the dreaded Spanish Inquisition. They were ordered to recant their faith, and when they refused, were threatened with torture. Through a series of events, they were rescued and the Grand Inquisitor, the man who conducted their “trial”, died. I was struck by the way that Heirloom Audio incorporated the verse in Matthew 7:22-23, which says, “…Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not…in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The Grand Inquisitor had tortured and killed many people in the name of religion, thinking that he would gain favor with God. In the drama, his dying words were, “Lord, I did this for you.” He mistakenly thought that by being faithful to the state church and forcing people into his religion, he could win his way to heaven. But the Bible says that we can only go through Jesus Christ, and each individual must make a personal decision whether to accept or reject His gift of salvation. In the end, Ned and Gerald were reunited with Captain Drake, and participated in his conquests and battles. I knew a little bit about Sir Francis Drake and his famous triumph over the Spanish Armada, but it was interesting to learn more about his character as a person. The most inspiring part of the story for me was not the literary license that G.A. Henty took with his fictional characters interacting with Sir Francis Drake, but a real, true prayer that Sir Francis Drake prayed. Heirloom Audio chose to end the drama with a reading of that prayer, which he prayed in the year 1577. “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed to little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when With the abundance of things we possess We have lost our thirst For the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, We have ceased to dream of eternity And in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wider seas Where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars. We ask You to push back The horizons of our hopes; And to push into the future In strength, courage, hope and love.” - Lydia

Showing gratitude to God is a very important part of life. The Bible shows that an ungrateful heart can cause us to fall away from the Lord into sin. (Romans 1:21-25) One way we can show our gratefulness is to sing as we go about our day, making melody in our heart to the Lord. I would like to share a little about some of my favorite hymns. One is called “Yield Not To Temptation”. I find this hymn very inspiring and encouraging. It reminds me that “blessed is the man that endured temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:13, KJV) The first verse of this hymn says, “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin. Each victory will help you some other to win. Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue—look ever Jesus, He will carry you through.” The hymn “I Will Guide Thee With My Eye” is very comforting, a good reminder that God is always with us and that heaven is our final home. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8, KJV) I particularly like the words to the second verse. “When temptations almost win thee and thy trusted watchers fly. Let this promise ring within thee I will guide thee with my eye.” “Redeemed” is a very fun song to sing. “Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! Redeemed by his infinite mercies. His child and forever I am.” Another favorite is “Because He Lives”. It is a great reminder that Jesus is in control. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.” The last song I will mention (although there are many more) is “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.” It is another reminder that God is still on the throne and He will be with us all the way, through this New Year and the next, until we reach eternity with Him! —Daniel Bennett