Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Service of Song by Emily Dickenson

I've been in a bit of a dry spell in writing probably because I am doing so many reviews. There is a ton going on... but I am in a quiet mood. I do love my poetry however and ran across a bunch of 99 cent poetry books for my kindle!

I found this one just a few minutes ago. I went to a new church last night and it was wonderful on many levels. God has been prompting me to get into fellowship again. Take a risk and step out to see what happens.

And I was blessed by it.

But I will say that you can and should practice 'church' all day every day. This poem speaks to that so if you are not able to attend for whatever reason, know that God is still there with you. He loves you like crazy!

Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it by staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches, - a noted clergyman,-
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I'm going all along!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

God Gave Us the World- a sweet book on how God made us all unique.

I told you it was a review week! Here is another one that did not disappoint.

I recently came across Blogging for Books and was able to pick from a number of books to review. I don't like to 'review just to review' but when I saw this, I knew we would love it. There are several books in the series by Lisa Tawn Bergren that we already own including God Gave Us Christmas and God Gave Us Heaven.

This book, God Gave Us the World, is just as sweet and beautifully written as the others. When I requested the book, I thought it would be on creation. In a way I suppose it is but it is more an adventure about Mama Bear and Little Cub who take a walk into the world and discover together the uniqueness of various bears all around the world. It weaves into the story that God made us all different and unique. It does so with finesse. Just simple sweet pictures and words.

"Some of us are quiet, others LOUD! Some of us like to move fast, and others take their time. I think it's fun that God made us all bears but all special too."

The above quote was my favorite. Those of you that know my son know which category he fits in and I love him for it. Andrew and I enjoyed the book together with a ton of sharing during our time snuggled on the couch.

And the illustrations are so beautiful. Maybe it is because our son is special needs that I just adore the expressions on the faces of the bears. Laura J. Bryant did a wonderful job of capturing how a 'human' would look if they were in the same scene.

I think all the books end the same way, mama tucking little cub into dream about their adventure.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids! a TOS review

I had the opportunity to review Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids. This is just what it says it is... and beyond. The hardover book is over 200 beautifully illustrated pages of Bible terms. Anyone want to guess what Andrew went to first? Yes.. the Plagues.

I wish I could show you more of the cool illustrations and photographs throughout the book. On the Dead Sea there is a really cool picture of a man reading the newspaper while floating on the water. After reading that Andrew wanted to put some Mortons in the bath to see if it would work. (Not kidding.) I did find a link to a closer look to a few of the pages HERE.

This book has kept Andrew's attention for quite some time. He continues to pull it out to read, find out information and just look at the pictures. It is both a reference and just something fun to look at and browse.

The book retails for $14.99 on Lifeway Christian books and quite frankly, I believe that is a steal. I actually used Lifeway several times a week for their free Online Bible in various translations including Strongs dictionary and Matthew Henry commentary. I hadn't realized they had a whole store. This could become dangerous!!

You can read what other reviewers thought by clicking on the banner below!

Monday, January 24, 2011

True Treasures - 10 Years of TEACH Magazine- a review

I am part of a new team called The Gabby Moms. This is a brand new group that is an offshoot of They are a new blogging company for Eternal Encouragement Magazine.

Our first assignment was to review the above item; True Treasures, 10 Years of Teach Magazine. This is a collection of articles written to encourage us! It is broken down into chapters that focus on marriage, homemaking, homeschooling, parenting..and being a mom. And I tell ya, I have needed encouragement in all those areas over the past month which has affectionaly become known as The January Freak Out. (Most homeschooler are familiar with this. You aren't doing enough..of the right things..and your child will be damaged for life. It happens every January.)

Anyway- this has been a huge blessing to me.

Although not exclusively Charlotte Mason teaching here, I do practice much of what she preached. I thought I would take several of the articles in this book and narrate them in Charlotte Mason fashion as well as add my personal 'life application'. Please do check out the original articles. The ones I list below were my favorites.

The Best Things by Cindy Wick
Cindy calls us to focus on..well..the best things. That we are to schedule and plan but to know that sometimes the best of things happen outside of the plan. Over scheduling our life doesn't allow, perhaps for God's intervening ... for His plan. We are to seek His guidance down the paths of righteousness. My favorite part of the article is where she talks about how children need to know how to fill their own buckets. When we fill them with activity and/or academics to the point of overflowing there is no room for anything else.

Hope for Hurting Parents by Audrey McKeever
Of course this title would appeal to me. This article is one giant encouragement for those hurting for any reason. It is for those that have felt the glances of other parents who believe you are not doing things right. It is for those whose children (perhaps adults now) have made bad choices. But it is full of hope and what my son would call "big holy hugs."

The Home: Your Family's Center for Ministry by Janya Pettersen
This article is my goal! I want to minister to others- not in a big way- but in small tangible ways that make a difference. I think the article drew me in with the list of potential people that you can minister to when it included a family with an autistic child who needed babysitting help. I love the idea that you don't need to be under an 'umbrella' organization to minister. You really just need to pray, make a plan, and prepare.

You can see some samples from the magazine by clicking HERE or on the picture below. This collection sells for $19.97. Through May 31, 2011, TEACH is offering $4 off of True Treasures (one per customer) by using the code GabbyMom

This collection is over a hundred pages of articles. While I liked many of them there were a few that I just turned the page as they either did not really apply or I just didn't care for them. I am trying to do my best to focus on what encourages me. But I do that on any magazine! I am very much in my walk of moving closer to Jesus. I am trying to focus less on the tasks and more on the relationships so the "task" articles just didn't hit me right sometimes and felt more pressure to 'do it right.' But the ones above, and others were very encouraging. I like to be honest in my reviews and honestly... no one likes everything about every product! (I tend to distrust blogs that do that.) So since this is my first post for Gabby Moms, I just wanted to be clear that you can expect honesty from me. I will always post where you can find the other reviews on this product and as it is opinion, the reason you like this product could be totally different from mine. As I said, there is definitely something for everyone in this True Treasure.

I received this product for honest review from TEACH Magazine as part of The Gabby Moms blogging program. All opinions are solely my own.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January Freak Out Link UP

I just wrote about my own January Freak Out below. I thought I'd try out a link up. Anyone game? Just write your own post and link it up here! If you don't have a blog...leave a comment! I can cut and paste them into a fresh post and link that up at the end of our link time.

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The January Freak Out

I recently wrote out on a yahoo group how we were struggling with our homeschooling right now. It seems we are far behind (by the public school metric.) We are struggling to keep keep moving. I received all sorts of great thoughts on the group including the title of this post- The January Freak Out. Apparently I am not alone in this.

Perhaps it is the cold winter with fewer chances to go outside.

Perhaps the darker days.

Perhaps the realization that we truly do not follow the same drum beat as the typical public school when it comes to curriculum. I wonder is that OK? Will he STAY behind? Does that matter? What is God's plan for him? What should we be studying to meet God's plan?

And I question. I question if it is the right decision especially when it seems as if a fair amount of home educators are considering public school. Although there are families that move from public to homeschool every day as well. I wonder if there is a different way. This can be especially true when you have a special needs child. Although some people find the opposite- that having a child with a disability of some kind confirms that homeschool is the right place.

So what do you do to resolve the January Freak Out? Some have said to take a break (but I feel we have been doing that since Thanksgiving.) Some folks change it up and do a different type of curriculum (but I am tried of planning and changing.. I want what I PLANNED to work!)

I am curious what you all do??

After a week of freaking out, and a lot of prayer, (sometimes in that order), I feel more sane and ready to charge ahead. But alas, this is Sunday and when Monday comes I am not so sure how it will play out. I will say that I think the freak out actually helped me because I reached out for support and got it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

¿Hablo Español?

First, this seems to be a very review heavy month. So, I am really trying to not just give an overview but tell you how we are using these products in our lives which include special needs. We always use them but I don't always go into great detail of how they intertwine with our current 'objectives.' AJ has a cochlear implant and we do RDI for autism remediation as well. In the last review I shared with you the blessings that the cochlear implant has brought us and how we were so able to enjoy the Peter and the Wolf. In this product review, I will share more than just what this product looks like on paper..(or screen.) Don't stop reading because you think this is just 'product focused' as I promise to keep you updated at all the fun we are having as well. So without further adieu...

Mira! Es Speekee! Me gusta Speekee. Es Excellentee.

There have been quite a few TOS Crew products I have enjoyed but this is in the 'top 5' for sure and I am guessing it will remain there. Speekee is a Spanish course for children. If you have ever seen Signing Times, which teaches ASL, it reminds me of that. Very upbeat, engaging and fun. After just one time watching, my son was using words he had learned in the correct context.

Each video starts with the same song and introduction and then the lessons are broken down into where they go. ¿Dondé vamos? ¿El parque? ¿La Playa? The lesson is built around the vocabulary for that location. There are children speaking in each lesson. It is captioned in both English and Spanish but the captioning can be turned off.

AJ loved all the lessons... one question that we had, that other reviewers did as well was, is Speekee a boy or a girl? At one point we did find out because Speekee wore a dress. AJ laughed so hard and came to get me so I could see because he was SURE it was a boy wearing a dress! I love that he wants to share these things with me.

AJ also wanted to check and make sure that Speekee was correct in his speaking. I was looking up "translation program" on Google and he says, "No Mom. You just go HERE." We had lots of fun playing with the Google translator.

This also showed me how AJ's cochlear implant has benefitted him but also how he still does not visually reference on all occassions. (Referencing means looking to someone for information and it is a core deficit in autism. You can read more about it here on my visual cliff post. ) The objective we are working on for RDI involves us looking to each other to resolve a question in our minds (uncertainty.) We are to give a non-verbal response to the other person. AJ and I were looking through a cookbook (another upcoming review item) and I wanted him to tell me nonverbally if he would like to try the item or not. AJ's response, "No me gusta." (I don't like it.) So no non-verbal (which was our objective).... It was very funny though. I think spoken languages come very easily for AJ. Part of that was early implantation and intensive therapy. Part is just how he learns.

This program can be purchased as a dvd but in the United States there may be formatting issues. The option we used, which you can purchase, is online and called Speekee TV. It is $7.50 per month.

For a look at how others liked this program click on the banner below!

I received access to Speekee online for review purposes and am not obligated to give positive review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maestro Classics- A TOS Review


I am so excited. I have about six items on the docket to review and this one is a favorite! Maestro Classics sells classical music CDs for children. These are not your typical 'just music' CDs but rather stories told by music; The Story of Swan Lake, Casey at the Bat, The Tortoise and the Hair and more. We received Peter and the Wolf! A few years ago we had checked out a different version at the library along with a book. I blogged it on a long forgotten 'art' blog I started but you can read it here. I post it so that you will see it is two and a half years since we have listened.

So.... The CD has a variety of tracks. There is an intro, the story with music, the story without music and more interesting stuff. Originally I was going to go get the book, and plan out a lesson and guided activity. Because we received this over Christmas I decided to instead just put on the instrumental track and see where it took us. (FYI: Andrew is hearing impaired and has a cochlear implant. More on that later.) After a few minutes he wondered what the music was. I could tell there was a familiarity with it and I finally told him it was Peter and the Wolf. He didn't remember it right away. Several minutes later the lightbulb went on and he said, "OH!!!! I remember! This is the part where the wolf comes!" When your child who was born deaf hears something specific in music, it is just somethin' special. I recall the discussion many times, will Andrew enjoy music? To be honest, it was the least of my concerns back then. But the fact that he can really liked this is a bonus. This exercise also showed me how processing time is important for him. Just play the music..and see what happens.

We will be using this over the next sevearal months. In our last homeschool co-op we did an activity where the kids had to identify which insturment was playing. Andrew could pick out if it was a 'string' or 'wind' but he thought the harp was a piano and the the trumpet was a flute. I emphasized right then to him how wonderful it was that he was picking up on the differences and I don't want in any way to stress him out. But I think we will get the book from the library or splurge and purchase one. And spend some time just listening and seeing what we can hear. (Funny...seeing what we can hear....)

There are lots of 'extras' for Peter and the Wolf online and you could certainly purchase the CD and make an entire semester of lessons from it. They have lesson plans on their website and there is a ton of extra material elsewhere on the Internet. Here is just one page of pdf curriculum guides I found. If you want some extra links, please feel free to email me or leave a comment! I would love to hear what others, especially those with hearing impaired kids, do with something like this. OH! I almost forgot! There is a booklet that does come along with the CD that has a few activities. It isn't huge (it is the the size of the CD case) but it does provide a guide. Some folks who are reviewing this right now love it so much that they want to order extra guides for each of their students/children.

The CDs sell for $16.98 each and there are package deals if you buy three (different CDs) at a time. I will most likely be purchasing one of the other items over the next few month. You can also listen to samples on their website. You can read what other crew members have written by clicking on the banner below.

I received this CD for review purposes and am not obligated to give positive review.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Bookshelf...

I realized I have quite the list of books I am ACTIVELY reading right now. Thinking of keeping track of what I really read this year. Here is the list. autism books and only one homeschooling / unschooling. That wasn't by design or intention. It is just the way things have played out over the past few months. Perhaps I shall blog on some of them over the next weeks. This doesn't include several cookbooks which I am also browsing. So..whatcha readin?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free - cookbook review!

Several months ago I was in Borders looking at cookbooks. I saw this mouthwatering Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free. I even showed it to a friend who I was meeting there for coffee. I decided to go home and email the publisher. It was on 'backorder' and potentially I would never get it to review. So I looked at it when I was at the bookstore on my next visit.

But I resisted!

The next time I looked for it again and it wasn't there! So I went home and put it in my amazon shopping cart.

But still I resisted!!!!

And God's timing is everything.

Last week I received it in the mail and did a little happy dance. I have been wanting for a month to make lemon bars with meyer lemons that were burning a hole in my crisper drawer and they had a beautiful recipe in the book. I had all of the ingredients except sorghum flour so I picked it up and today was baking day.

It was quite a bit more work than your average 'quick bread' as I made the curd from scratch, squeezed the meyer lemons and had to do some quick thinking because I didn't have my mise-en-place.

I thought the results were incredible and I have a little God story to go along with it.

Our neighbor shovels our walk and driveway. We try and get him more substantial 'gifts' because he is so kind to do so, but I wanted to make sure I said 'thank you' immediately. I asked several hundred friends (on Facebook) for a good local bakery because you don't want to give someone gluten free who doesn't HAVE to be gluten free. So I took over the treats and he said thank you.

Today he was out shoveling again and I yelled out, "HEY! I have some fresh lemon squares. BUT they are gluten free. Still I think they are really good." He says, "I didn't have the heart to tell you when you dropped off the cookies but I have celiac." They were still warm but 'cut-able' when I put them on a paper plate. (Update one day later, in full disclosure, I asked my neighbor this morning if he liked them and he said, "yea, they were good." When I asked for further clarification he said, "yea. they were good." I thought they were very very good but I don't think he liked them quite as much. Hubby said they were OK. Hey. You can't please them all.)

So back to the cookbook...

It is great. The pictures are mouthwatering and I would buy it for that alone. I have only made the lemon bars but my next endeavor will be Rosa's coconut-date macarrons and maraschino marzipan kisses. (I may put chocolate chips in the middle instead of the cherries.) There are chapters from biscuits to show stopping party desserts. There is a fair amount of dairy in the book but I did use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for the lemon bars and I think that could be substituted for easily. Eggs were in most recipes. For many of the baked goods you could do your standard egg substitution but in some (such as the lemon curd for the pie above) there are many eggs and it would be difficult. But most I think would be do-able. Us allergy folks, we are used to adapting!

They have a website and a Facebook group. You can purchase the book on for $16.47 and also get a peek inside the book there. Although I have only made one recipe from this book I do recommend it as it is chock full of various treats that I think I will enjoy for some time to come. Check back in later for an update!

I received this book as a review copy from Chronicle Books and am not obligated to give a positive review.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Your Vote Counts!! Help Kids Get a Playground

Today I am soliciting your vote!!! Andrew has been involved in a fabulous center basically since birth. It is called the Center for Exceptional Families. Over the years it has evolved from a few small offices to being a true CENTER for families who have kids with special needs. Andrew has been involved in PT, OT, Camp, special events and of course many visits with Dr. Susan! She is an out of the box thinker and a vision caster. She loves on families like no one I have ever known. But... they run much of what they do on donors. I have never had a visit with her that lasts less than 30 minutes and most run an hour. She takes insurance and not an "out of pocket" place that many special needs doctors have moved too. So that means... without help the center would go away. I am not even asking you for money!! I'm just asking for your vote. The Center is competing to win $50K for an All Kids Playground. Could you take the time to vote? Or even re-blog it? There are three ways to vote and you can vote DAILY!

Via email: click HERE. You have to enter your email and a new password. The first time it is a tad cumbersome and you will have to set it up. The next time you come back it is EZPZ! I have NOT gotten any solicitation emails from them when I entered my email.

Via Facebook: This is easier yet. You click HERE. And Vote. And share if you wish. We hope you will.

Text: 104539 to 73774.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reviewing Time 4 Learning...check in here!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own (and written from a special needs perspective), so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as an online homeschooling curriculum, afterschool tutorial or a summer skill builder. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Super Charged Smoothies Review

Yea!!! A Smoothie book! I requested Super Charged Smoothies to review from Chronicle Books because, well, I 'heart' smoothies. My dear husband gave me a Vitamix about 6 months ago and we have used it for all sorts of recipes including smoothies. Some of the recipes in the book might benefit from a high powered blender but most can be made with any regular one you might have.

You can peek inside the book on amazon to see the amazing chapters outlined in the book. I routinely make smoothies similar to some of the recipes however they give some interesting twists such as using coconut milk for a liquid, dates for a sweetener or adding nuts for flavor, health and texture. There are many factoids and notes throughout the book that are very interesting and insightful. They do tout soy benefits and I happen to disagree on that point but you can certainly use other types of milk in place of the soy. There is not an abundance of soy milk recipes. They use a variety of ingredients including various types of milks, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

There are lots of ways to find out more about this book. Mary and Sara have a facebook page. In addition, they have a website where they blog and also post some of their recipes from their seven cookbooks. (I just know I NEED another one!) You can buy this book on amazon for $13.07. I wouldn't recommend the Kindle version just because the pictures in the book are mouthwatering.

Below is my very amateurish photo of one of the smoothie we made this morning- a couple of ingredients were changed based on the type of fruit I had in my freezer. It was so delicious and I had only made half the recipe for me and Andrew. I will be repeating later this afternoon. Yum!

I received this book as a complimentary review copy and am not obliged to write a positive review.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Football Sunday

My son was so cute on New Years day. He was watching TV when Dad came in and said, "my turn." Instead of leaving Andrew said, "Oh! I have the perfect decoration," and he ran upstairs to get his baseball hat and sat down for about 30 minutes! The videos are so cute and show of Andrew's deep desire to connect. (Yes I am sorry if it brings up some bad feelings for any of you Michigan fans.) These are all really short clips.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Connecting with a friend.

I am still whittling away at my 101 things in 1001 days list. A week ago I did number 46: Reconnect with an old friend. (We are both older now but that wasn't exactly what I meant!) When I wrote that I had a specific friend in mind...Jean! And here we are. We re-connected over a year ago via, you guessed it, Facebook. But she came down over the Christmas break. We had a grand time at Sweet Loraines and then browsing Leon and Lulus. (I had never been in there but always wanted to go.) Thanks for brightening my day Jean! We really laughed a lot... I need to laugh more! I really hope to see her more often now.

Monday, January 3, 2011


I was driving around rush hour today when Robin Sullivan is on WMUZ 103.5. I have enjoyed listening to her encouragement for many many years. I even remember driving hours back from Midland where around Flint I'd keep trying to tune her in. She now has a scripture of the week and here is this week's from Nehemiah 1:4.

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

I heard her recite the verse the very first thing when I got in the car so I didn't know that she was going to be focusing on fasting for the next three weeks. But what was funny is that I didn't notice the fasting and praying part at all when she read it. I noticed the grieving. The very first thing Nehemiah did when he got really bad news was to weep.

Often as Christians we tell people who are suffering- just pray about it. And we SHOULD. We should call on the one true God. But sometimes we have to start with grieving. Often, when we skip that part, it comes back to bite us later because we haven't taken the time to HEAL. Jesus can heal those wounds but we have to peel back the layers and let him in and that involves grief. When we come across a suffering person, sometimes the best thing we can do is just be with them and hold back on the advice. (I need to take some of my own advice here on a regular basis..including just today.)

As I was back in the car later I was reflecting on a book I am reading called The Lazarus Life. What did Jesus do outside Lazarus' tomb? Jesus wept. (John 11:35.) There are many sermons out there on why he wept but he was grieving something.

So we can and should pray and fast! Perhaps he mourned while he fasted and prayed. But I just took away a little different message when I heard this scripture quoted. I love that about God...He is so..PERSONAL!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Obligatory Post....2011 plans and 'resolutions'


1. Required by a legal, moral, or other rule; compulsory.
2. So customary or routine as to be expected of everyone or on every occasion:

"Every Year people make the obligatory resolution post as they reflect on the past year."

Hmmmm.... Loose weight, become more organized, exercise more, plan my meals, eat healthier, keep house better, be a better teacher (could someone define better please?), ..... And the list goes on.

To be honest, over the last year, I have discovered a new peace. It isn't always, it isn't on every subject every time, but i have a new peace with 'my space.' I have a peace that I can only control my space. I can make choices- for ME only. I knew this with RDI as it applies to Andrew but it has been SUCH a prevalent issue for 2010 that I am pretty sure God wanted me to 'get' that for other areas of my life. I want to I spend time controlling what I can... getting peace where I can't... and wisdom to know the difference. (Sound familiar?) This is a basic thing that we all 'know' in our head but it has translated to my heart. And this goes along with a favorite proverb:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3, 5-6

But we can't make this translation to our hearts without the help of God. With God's help and my continuing deepening relationship with Him, I am able to TRUST that He is in control. Actually it is more than God's HELP. He has to do it all. But we have to commit for the ride. It is an ongoing process. I do plan to spend time with God this year. If I do nothing else I want to start to put that first. I believe if I do that, all the rest will come naturally. I can sense people who do this and I want some of that.

I also think that I am to 'back off' in some areas. Several friends who have slightly older special needs kids than Andrew, at some point, if they are to remain sane, have carved out lives outside their children. With only one, it becomes more important because that is my ONLY focus. I plan to blog more on my Settings of Silver blog. That will, exercise..menus.. and other 'fun' stuff that I have loved all my life. I am working through my 101 things in 1001 days list and re-writing to include more in mind with this. I am blocking feeds on my facebook and bypassing blogs for awhile that are autism specific. I am going to continue to concentrate on RDI for Andrew with the guide of just our consultant and pray that God guide her. (I really have been doing that for the last year.) I do plan to look into specific adhd things for Andrew but I want to FOCUS, pick something, pray about it and do it.

But mostly I just want to get to know Jesus better. Because if I lean on him and do what He says, all the rest will come naturally.

His yoke is easy, His burden is light. (Mt 11:30)

Not in Vain by Amy Carmichael

I just read a wonderful piece by Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China. Many thanks to the friend who sent it my way. You can find it here. As i was reflecting on it I was thinking how most missionaries I know spend their lives not only serving but SEEKING...seeking God..seeking His peace. I want me some of that rest! His yoke is easy, His burden is light. (Mt 11:30.) There are no books for that..there is no website.. just time with Jesus. This poem speaks to me because she was talking about her journey through China but it can apply to so many situations, even raising special needs kids.

Not in Vain by Amy Carmichael- missionary to India.

Not in vain, the tedious toil, On an unresponsive soil,
Travail, tears in secret shed, Over hopes that lay as dead.
All in vain, thy faint heart cries. Not in vain, thy Lord replies:
Nothing is to good to be; Then believe, believe to see.

Did thy labor turn to dust? Suff’ring – did it eat like rust
Till the blade that once was keen, As a blunted tool is seen?
Dust and rust thy life’s reward? Slay the thought; believe thy Lord!
When thy soul is in distress, Think upon His faithfulness.

Though there be not fig nor vine, In thy stall there be no kine,
Flock be cut off from the fold, Not a single lamb be told,
And thy olive berry fall Yielding no sweet oil at all,
Pulse-seed wither in the pod – Still do thou rejoice in God.

But consider, was it vain, All the travail on the plain?
For the bud is on the bough; It is green where thou didst plow.
Listen, tramp of little feet, Call of little lambs that bleat;
Hearken to it. Verily, Nothing is too good to be.

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