Sunday, December 28, 2008

a bridesmaid. . .and more

So, last weekend I was a bridesmaid (matron!) in my friend Cristina's wedding; my dress was lovely- green satin and chiffon with a cream sash, and the shoes- satin flats with little bows; Mercy fixed my hair and make-up. . .Hmmm, the last time I was a bridesmaid, my sisters were getting married- 30 years ago. Imagine that!

In April 2002, I penned Cristina's name in my Bible next to Psalm 84:11

For the Lord is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

So, we walked life's road. . . circumstances didn't appear good in Cristina's life; over and over we spoke truth to one another. . . No good thing does He withhold. . . .Taste and see that the Lord is good . . . How abundant is your goodness, Lord, which you have stored up for those who take refuge in you. . .(Ps 31, 34)

We kept walking together, and I watched Cristina trust God and grow in grace amid affliction-and my own heart was challenged and nourished-the wonderful fruit of discipleship, so I've discovered. . .

Blessings on your marriage, Cristina and Randy-Have a wonderful life!

Monday, December 15, 2008

simplicity and extravagance

Our Amaleah was visiting last week- I handed her the tiny pewter nativity scene and suggested she find a nice spot to set it up. She cleared a place in my narrow oak bookshelf and then exclaimed . . . but there's no manger! So, she and I poked around and decided that blocks would work; then Amaleah added sticks, grass, leaves to complete the scene-I love her five year old creativity. . .and I love the simplicity.

Christmas in rural Mexico was simple- a blanket of pine needles on the floor of the church building, recitations and singing on Christmas Eve, little girls with new plastic sandals (including my little girls), sweet coffee, hard animal crackers and peanuts, tamales, oranges, and a next-day trek over the mountain for more fellowship and worship-simple celebrations. . .Hmmm, just the way I like it!

Now then, simple may be my preference, but simple isn't necessarily more God honoring . . . infact, the incarnation of God the Son, bursts with extravagance.

"and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1:14)

"God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that he who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16)

So, that first Christmas, because God loves sinners, the Eternal entered into time-Imagine that, Soul! Am I overwhelmed by the reality of God's extravagant love for me? And just how can I love others with such extravagance?

Perhaps it could mean cheerfully sharing my kitchen with the 24 dozen tamales and gallons of hot chocolate that my husband is packing up for the men at the homeless shelter.

. . . and honestly, it could mean relinguishing my desire for the simple and embracing another's preference for more extravagance-such a minute sacrifice, but it's all about my heart, isn't it!

things we do together. . .

So, last Saturday, John and I scrutinized the Christmas trees in the lot-attempting to choose just the right one. . .
Mercy called from college, "Remember to choose a big tree, not like last year's!"

Aye, where are these sons and daughters when we need them??

However, we managed to pick out a lovely tree, together, all by ourselves and it was fun.
Next came the challenge of loading our 7ft. tree on the back of the Jetta- together, all by ourselves.

That's when Jeremiah called from Denver, "You're loading the tree onto the bicycle rack? and you're tying it down with Boy Scout knots? Sounds like you're doing a great job, Papi. . . ."

Our lovely tree hung on the bicycle rack, tipping over the trunk, secured with expert knots- we brought it safely home, together, all by ourselves. . . and it was fun.
Next we set it up in the ususal tree spot, added lights and decorations, admired it, satisfied.

And then we mused, when they come. . . what will they think??

Monday, December 8, 2008

red cabbage, red currant jam, and a memory

I have a memory of the red cabbage my Danish grandmother would prepare for holiday meals. . . and then when she was no longer there to prepare it, red cabbage came from the store, in a jar. Year after year we passed the red cabbage, more for my grandmother's memory than because we were eager to spoon it onto our plates--although the color is lovely, bright purple.

So, this Thanksgiving I decided to search for a recipe for red cabbage-could I duplicate my grandmother's? I discovered lots of recipes for German red cabbage, a few for Norwegian red cabbage, and then. . . there it was: Danish Red Cabbage- it looked authentic:

In Denmark it is traditional to serve a cooked pickled red cabbage for Christmas Eve, a great side dish to any roast duck, turkey, or goose!
Thanksgiving day, the girls and I were cooking - no duck or goose here, but the turkey was roasting. . . and me? well, I was shredding red cabbage; my authentic recipe calls for a medium head of red cabbage, water, red currant jam, sugar, vinegar, salt-simmer with the lid on.
As I was draining some of the lovely purple juice down the sink, Mercy exclaimed, "Ugh, what's that smell?" Then I realized that it was a good kitchen smell from the recesses of my memory-and I told her, "for me, this is aThanksgiving smell from long ago!"

So, it was good-that pickled Danish Red Cabbage-both the memory and the dish.
(I wonder if the left-overs would be a tasty accompaniment to Christmas tamales?)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I pray that your love may abound still more and more. . .

This sweet two year old in blue is our Julia-and yes, her daddy had the same white hair. . .folks in Mexico would exclaim: hair like onion skins. . .like corn silk.

So, our Julia loves to fold clothes-the other day I sat watching as she intently, neatly selected her clean clothes from the laundry basket, deliberately smoothed and folded, "Julia, stop folding, it's time to go to the zoo!" called her daddy.
This little scene makes me smile, for you see, I too love laundry-yes, indeed, I will come to your house and fold your clothes most any day.

Over the years I've prayed for my children while folding their individual items-jeans, skirts, socks, T-shirts; now, however, I rarely get my hands on their laundry (apart from a request for a hem, a rip, or a button)

. . . .but I continue to pray for them.

It's a curious thing. . . but these days I pray for my family individually according to the days of the week- Rachel on Mondays, Luke and Gabrielle on Tuesdays, Naomi and Joshua on Wednesdays, and down the line I go until Sundays when I remember both Jeremiah and Mercy(numbers 7 & 8, you know!)

Dear Ones, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may distinguish the things that are exellent. . .
(Philippians 1:9-10)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

a good book in my bag. . .

When I muse on what gladdens my heart in day to day life. . . I think about the young women who routinely spend time with me over coffee.
A year ago I began discipling Kate-during a time of particular adversity in her life; together we explored how our meetings could be most fruitful, and Kate offered, "I'm struggling with my grieving-I need to study the character of God. . . "

Now then, what could be better? Kate didn't ask me to study the psychology of grieving--but the character of God-Ah, good for you, sweet girl!

So, I suggested we read Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. My personal copy is worn out-notes and underlining crowd the bent pages; in one margin I scribbled, nothing will happen to my children that is outside God's soverign control- trust God with my teenage drivers!. . . a note from fifteen years ago-and still true today.

Kate and I meet each week over coffee-we share our journal responses to each chapter of Trusting God, review the Scriptures, and we encourage each other. . . inorder to trust our God in adversity, we must believe that He is absolutely soverign, perfect in love and infinite in wisdom.

Soon now, we'll finish the book and move on to something new-it's been good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

for just one day. . .

When I think about my grown-up children spread over the face of God's vast earth, then I remind myself of two things:
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth(3 John) and I didn't raise these children to pitch a tent in my backyard. . .

So, last spring we were anticipating a family gathering-it doesn't happen often. Apart from the Spain group, we expected everybody; however, while reviewing the plan, I realized that all 13 of us would be together for just one day. . . one day? . . . only one day. . . (sigh)
Frequent heart examination is always a worthy pursuit-so I've discovered.

I worship something or someone every waking moment of every day-the Lord Jesus or something else. The human heart is a factory of idols, wrote a noteable theologian. Hmmm. . . so, even a good thing, like spending time together as a family, can be an idol in my heart if I'm discontent and dissatisfied when I don't get it--what do I worship? long for? where is my devotion?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . (Matt 22:37)
So, last month Rachel traveled from Spain to Dallas for a wedding; she borrowed her brother's car and came to San Antonio for a day. . . .just one day. She emailed me, "Mom, do you have time for coffee with me on Tuesday afternoon? I'll be in town-with family. . . for one day." Did I have time? Indeed-and it was sweet, for my heart was thankful for just one day .

Friday, November 14, 2008

dinner for just two. . . or three

So, I'm still trying to figure out how to cook dinner for two rather than ten- I know, I know. . . the transition shouldn't be so dramatic-afterall, the children have left home one by one;
however, Mercy went away to college last fall and there we were, John and me, sitting cozy at the end of our 8 foot table. . .

We look forward to Monday nights when our friend Randy joins us for dinner; then I set three brown, oval placements on the dinning room table and anticipate cooking for two men-they rave about almost anything I prepare for them. So, with the autumn cool- down, I've been making soup-so far this fall we've enjoyed:
tomato basil, chicken tomatillo, beef and barley, navy bean; this week I'm planning caldo.

Now then, when dinner is soup and bread--there's alway room for pie, don't you agree? Here's the recipe for our favorite Strawberry Rhubarb pie that I made last week-tart, juicy, served with plenty of sweetened whipped cream:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Pastry for a two crust 9" pie
5 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
2 (heaping) cups sliced strawberries
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 T lemon juice, 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or more)

So, here we go: Preheat oven to 425 degrees; roll out half the pastry and line a 9" pie plate.
Combine all the pie ingredients in a bowl (if using frozen fruit, be sure it's completely thawed.)
Place the fruit in the pie shell; roll out second pastry and cut into lattice strips for pie top.
Brush top of lattice with beaten egg. Bake pie at 425 for 15 minutes and then reduce oven to 375 degrees; continue baking for 50 or 60 minutes until crust is golden.
*baking tip: be sure the fruit juices bubble up in the pie before completing baking time.

So, getting back to cooking for just two. . . .really, it's not so sad or lonely-it's simply change, part of this divesting process. I serve a good Master who provides abundant opportunity for me to be fruitful for His kingdom, and when I look at the empty table. . . well, I'm thankful for John and for this reminder, . . . Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sharing worthy pursuits. . .

In The Pilgrim's Progress, Christian enjoyed sweet fellowship with his companions, Faithful and Hopeful, as they journeyed together on the path to the celestial city. . . I love the part where they share pleasant discourse along the way.

So. . .last week my friend, Pam, came from California to visit me; she's one of those companions-we share pleasant discourse. . .and worthy pursuits. We've been friends for a long time-more than 30 years.

So. . .last week Pam and I walked along the San Antonio River, shared recipes and knitting patterns, shopped for yarn (we both knit for grandchildren!)- over coffee (& tea) we read Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, discussed ministry; we prayed and opened God's Word together. . .

Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22)-Hmmm. . . the journey's hard, and isn't it good beyond words to have a friend's encouragement to taste and see that the Lord is good, how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him (Ps 34:8)

And Pam-well, she knit me a lovely blue scarf, not just any blue . . . for at our age, bright is good!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the eye of the Lord. . .

Last night Jeremiah called-he's moving to Colorado. . . he said yes to a good job offer. For the past six months Jeremiah's been living with his brother and sister-in-law in Dallas-a good home and loving family. . .

So, first Jeremiah talked to John about the new job and the big move; then he and I chatted- he admitted that he's nervous, moving so far away from family and familiar; I told him that he's like one of those three little pigs who went off to seek his fortune in the big world. . . .(and that mothers also feel both excited and a little nervous when their children step out!)

This morning I was praying for Jeremiah, remembering Psalm 32:8. . . beginning in 1998 I have five of my children's names penned around this verse in my worn Bible, and so I added Jeremiah 2008.

God says to me and to Jeremiah today, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"dreamin of a new wardrobe?"

. . . that's the question that popped up on my computer screen the other day-reminds me of a wardrobe discussion I had with Abi this summer as we sorted through her clothes. She said,

"When my wardrobe seems boring, then I give myself a little pep talk: Abi, you have lots of clothes- you can be creative with your clothes-you can make new outfits with old clothes!"

Hmmm. . . that's good-I'll remember Abi's pep talk when I find myself "dreamin of a new wardrobe". Actually, I came away with some delightful wardrobe pieces this summer direct from Abi's closet! "Mom, I can't take all these cute shoes to London-take the yellow mary-janes, and choose one of my jackets. " . . .so I did; the yellow shoes are Abi's purchase from her summer teaching in China, and I chose the maroon cordoroy jacket with lovely painted buttons. I will wear her clothes this fall in Texas and think about her drinking earl grey with milk in London.

So, last month I was out and about with my grand-girls and a friendly lady approached me, "I love your yellow shoes-where did you get them?"

" These yellow shoes?", I asked, "made in China, purchased in China, my sweet daughter. . . would you like to hear the story?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the blue backpack. . . .

This week I have an addition to my backpack-it's a reread (do you ever read a good book more than once?)-The Hidden Smile of God, the Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd, by John Piper. I pulled this one off the shelf as I was thinking about a friend-wondering if it would encourage her. . .

So far, I've read through the introduction (the biblical theology of suffering) and the first section about John Bunyan. In 1672 in Bedford, England, Bunyan was released from 12 years of imprisonment; Piper quotes from Bunyan's writings, he found prison to be a painful and fruitful gift. . . .12 years in prison- a fruitful gift? Bunyan tesified that God enabled him to survive and flourish in jail-the visible world died to Bunyan and he learned "to live upon God that is invisible"- hmmm, I'd best muse on that for awhile. . . so, Piper details Bunyan's life, explores his affliction and then poses the questions, "What was its fruit? What did it (affliction) bring about in his own life and in the lives of others?"

A few weeks ago John and I watched a DVD movie of The Pilgrim's Progress (a modern day retelling);for me, one of the greatest scenes in Bunyan's classic is when Christian and Hopeful, perishing in Doubting-Castle, remember the key which unlocks the door to the dungeon of despair. Piper notes that Christian found the key in his chest pocket, or in his chest, meaning that he had hidden God's promises in his heart by memorization-a timely personal reminder. . .

. . .in the end, I decided to share a different book with my friend (more on that later)- however, The Hidden Smile of God has been a treasure in my backpack this week- numerous times, over coffee, I've shared its truth and encouragement.

Nothing glorifies God more than maintaining our
stability and joy when
we lose everything but God. (Piper)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

for Selma. . .

. . . hard to believe-but last year right about now, I was in Pamplona, Spain waiting for Selma's birth-this little grandaughter who lives across the ocean with her parents, brothers, and aunt; this week she celebrates her first birthday! So, what's a grandmother to do?

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. . . .and sweet Selma, I'm so grateful forJesus, the Good Shepherd; He calls his sheep by name-the sheep follow him because they hear his voice. Papi and I pray for you, lamb, that soon the voice of the Shepherd will resonate truth in your heart and that you will spend your life following him wherever. . . .

love, gran

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

because life is more than. . . .

I'm discovering that to work along side my grown children in their projects is a worthy pursuit.. . . . in July we arrived in Syracuse in time to lend a hand to Abigail & Nathaniel in their "packing up and moving out" endeavor; they're moving to London for one, maybe two years-so, how many shoes, books, essentials will fit into four suitcases?

The young couple surveyed their piles of earthly treasures and asked thoughtful questions: what is necessary for London? what to store for the future? what to throw away? what to give away to a specific whom? what to lend out for an undetemined time? (while the older couple purposed to work and restrain giving advice. . . )

So, the July work marched on: sorting, wrapping, boxing, throwing, cleaning. . . .and in the midst of the disorder, it was wonderful being together- we ate ice cream every night for a week!

Also in July, I was reading through the gospel of Luke--ahhhh, so good, and God refreshed my own perspective on earthly treasures; in Luke 12 Jesus tells the parable of the rich man who purposed to tear down his barns to build larger ones-this man, consummed with earthly wealth, spoke foolishness to his own soul (vs 19). Jesus calls him a fool, and so is every man, every woman who lays up treasure for herself and is not rich towards God-I'm compelled to examine my own heart. . .

There's a certain weightiness and distraction attached to our earthly treasures; Jesus continues encouraging me not to be anxious, ". . . for life is more than food, and the body than clothing." Interesting, isn't it- for our earthly lives do, indeed, involve food and clothing (and the enjoyment of them), however Jesus reminds me that my life is more than those things.
Pondering and applying all this is a worthy pursuit, wouldn't you say?

Friday, October 17, 2008

the postscript. . .

So, this is little me sitting on the steps of the Sommerset public library, July 2008, thinking about memorial stones. . . remember when God cut off the waters of the Jordan River and all his people, the Israelites, crossed on dry ground?- then God told them to carry away stones from the dry river to remind their children that the hand of the Lord is mighty; hmmm-I forget and God keeps handing me memorial stones. . .

In July, John and I were perking along the Pennsylvania turnpike (a little tense for us southerns-like when and how do you get on? get off? how many coins??) We were traveling east from Cinncinatti, enjoying the Alleghenys, when we noticed the sign for Sommerset; we exited the turnpike and coasted into town. It's the same place but spruced up-perhaps more tourists land in town these days--the mountains are lovely. We cruised around and John parked in front of the mechanic shop, the same shop where he replaced the engine in our VW in 2002.

He told me, "I think I'll go in and look for the fellow who helped me-I meant to send him a Texas postcard- just to thank him for being so kind"; ten minutes later John returned, beaming- eager to relate the dialogue:

friendly mechanic: "Hi, how you doing? need some help?

John: "well, I was wondering if you worked in this shop in 2002?"

mechanic: "six years ago? I remember you-you're the guy from Texas who changed the engine in your VW right here in my shop!"

. . . . pretty amazing-I guess my husband has a memorable face (or the scenario was that crazy-suburu engine? in a volkswagon? he has all the tools?) So, we took some time to remember Sommerset 2002- the budget Inn, the diner, the bus station; we ate our picnic lunch in the little park beside the public library, and John said to me, "Sometimes we forget that God never abandons us. . . " Indeed,this was a good interlude-good for my soul.

So, I called my children. . . . " remember Sommerset 2002? Mercy, remember the public library-the children's section in the basement? well, it's the same. . . and remember, "the hand of the Lord is mighty. . . fear the Lord your God forever."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A story with a postscript

Sommerset, Pennsylvania-so quaint

I love it when my adult children plan a sibling gathering-I love that they enjoy being together-you know, really liking each other without the parents insisting, appealing, exhorting. . . however, I do wonder about the stories they share, the memories which provoke chuckles and groans? For sure, one memory category could be titled: Saga of the family Volkswagons (it would include numerous chapters). So, this story with a postscript is for Josiah, Jeremiah, and Mercy who experienced it all . . .

August 2002, we were traveling home from an east coast road trip, traveling in our VW van between New York and Ohio, enjoying the Allegheny mountains when. . . the engine in our van blew up-I mused, "hmmm, this has happened before but never so far from home." In time, the tow truck carried us off the curvey mountain to quaint Sommerset, Pennsylvania where the van landed at the mechanic shop and we checked into the budget inn. What now? So-we prayed and then we ate a meal at the town diner; next we hiked to the bus station-(we all agreed, just leave the vanagon in Sommerset and take the bus home to Texas!) but one-way tickets were pricey and what about our camping stuff? In my memory, this is where my resourceful, cheerful husband shines-I knew all along that he really wanted to find an engine in a salvage yard. . . I really wanted to get home to San Antonio fast; the situation posed unique challenges: first, because John had performed a nifty engine conversion on the van, he must locate a suburu rather than a volkswagon engine in Sommerset (not exactly the mecca of junk-I mean-salvage yards). Second, where would the work take place? and who would do it? The shop mechanic confirmed that he couldn't even look at our van for at least a week-besides, John relishes the VW challenge, well, most of the time.

Here then, is the rest of the story. . . John and the boys did, indeed, locate a suburu engine in the local salvage yard-a perfect fit for our VW; they bought it, had it delivered to the shop, where the kind mechanic offered John space, without charge, to do the work himself. And he did. In three days we were again cruising through the Alleghanys, headed for Texas-imagine that?
-the postscript to follow. . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

a peek into my blue backpack. ..

Since I've broken the straps on two respectable looking book bags, I now routinely carry an old blue packpack everywhere I go. I found it in the closet of one of my children's empty rooms. Recently a friend commented, "Darcie, that backpack is as big as you are!" She's right and it's also about as old. . . .however it's such a roomy satchel and handily holds the treasures and resources for my weeks study and work; also the straps are plenty strong to bare the weight. I'll unzip the three sections, and you can take a peek. . . actually it's quite a jumble.

Trusting God (Jerry Bridges), Shepherding a Child's Heart (Tedd Tripp), Teach Them Diligently (Lou Priolo) crowd together in the deep section of my bag-wonderful resources which guided my meetings yesterday and today- next, tucked in the middle section you'll find: The Gospel Primer for Christians (Milton Vincent) and Living the Cross Centered life (C.J. Mahaney). This month I'm enjoying these two for personal study. Attributes of God (A.W. Pink), always a worthy read when waiting at the tire repair shop or the like, occupies the front section, along with Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety (Elyse Fitzpatrick)- a valuable resource for my every Monday meeting; aswell, I can't help but carry around a new favorite: Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God (Noel Piper) (Ah, to be so faithful and indeed, my God is extraordinary!). My backpack also contains an arsenal of writing utensils, a small pink knitting project, a composition book, my lovely blue & brown journal and tattered Bible. . .still more tattered as of yesterday's tumble off a table-hmmm. . . my worn Bible, a priceless treasure.

So, each time I arrive at the airport with the blue backpack, I vow to acquire something new, more respectable looking, for the next trip-yet still, this backpack carries a wealth of worthy pursuits, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, September 26, 2008

5,400 miles in 5 weeks. . . .

Did you know that John and I traveled 5,400 miles in our diesel Jetta this past summer-with two bicycles on the the back and without a break down? We were on the road 5 weeks, visited 13 states, slept in 13 homes, shared meals in more, worshipped with the church in 4 locations-what a wonderful adventure; it's always delightful to visit new places-the panorama of God's creation is so diverse. . . but really, it was wonderful because of the opportunity to share in the lives of so many dear folks.

I'm beginning a study of the letter to the Philippians titled, Knowing Joy through Knowing Christ-great title, don't you think? Studying historical background, I learned that the church in Philippi was planted during Paul's second missionary journey-Acts 15:36 reveals the purpose of the trip: "Let's return to visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are."

I love to think on that. . . and when I muse about the future, a few years down the road when John no longer spends his days in the elementary school, I wonder just how and where we will serve the Savior? Perhaps He will send us to visit the brethren. . . and see how they are, and that indeed would be a worthy pursuit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

recipes and more. . . .

Luke's stuffed poblano peppers

Mercy's away at college in Lubbock, way north in the Texas Panhandle. Last week she called me, "Mom, I need a recipe. . . ." I exclaimed, "Mercy, you're making the traditional recipe phone call like the seven siblings before you!" and Mercy commented, "yah, I always thought it was silly that they were calling you just for a recipe, not for something more important. . ." So we talked about recipes and more. I'm glad she called.

The same day Josiah left a message on the answering machine, a message about a recipe: "Mom, I'm making biscuits-can I use butter instead of shortening? I don't have buttermilk, can I use half & half?" Those biscuits must have been delic. . . . here's an amusing thing about the Newtons: even when the grocery budget is the tightest, we always seem to squeeze out enough for butter and half & half. I'm glad Josiah called about a recipe. . . and more.

So, I'm thinking about all those recipe phone calls-recipes and more; the curious thing is that frequently now I'm calling them for recipes-they all cook; infact they're good cooks and make great coffee- Imagine that!

the lone red verbena. . .

So, I had to take a picture of this lone verbena, the only one that thrives in my front flower bed--a verbena with a story. . .

You see, a week or so ago a man came by our house looking for yard work; he needed money for a bus ticket, and so John hired him to mow the front yard. He was a hard worker, zealous--maybe a little too zealous, for after the job, a meal, conversation and pay, I inspected the yard. Seems our worker didn't notice the borders, or perhaps with my haphazard flower gardening, he couldn't really see the borders--Lambs Ear, Lantana, Verbena mowed down . . .. I remember a similar scenario in the spring-this time in the backyard and with a different zealous worker; this fellow also came by the house and John hired him to mow; I guess he didn't notice the Mexican Petunia and Turks Cap sprouting between the pecan trees . . .mowed down,

Now then, I'm not complaining-afterall, most plants grow back or one can buy and barter new seedlings. This post is dedicated to my dear husband, who for 36 years has been feeding, clothing, sheltering, and creatively providing for those in need, demonstrating for me that blessed are the merciful. . .

Friday, September 19, 2008

my boy and his bicycles

On July 1st Josiah moved to Memphis, Tennessee; his car was stuffed with things that make a boy's life comfortable-clothes, books, dishes, bedding, a few pots, a large box of granola bars and foremost, two bicycles latched onto the roof of his Honda; enrollment at UT was certain, however alot of life details were uncertain-job? church? financial aide? apartment? furniture-including a bed? I've discovered that it comforts my mothers heart to know that each of my children has a place to lay his head--and through the Jackson's Aunt Susan, the Lord provided a place for Josiah, a bed and a safe corner for his bicycles for as long as needed.

I can't say that life was instantly smooth for Josiah. There seemed to be a muriad of twisty complications, a succession of uncertainties. Sometimes I'm tempted to grow anxious, tempted towards unbelief . . . and it's always God's Word that speaks truth to my wandering heart. Psalm 34:10 encourages me: Young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord will not be in want of any good thing.

Last month John and I were driving through Memphis and we spent the night with Josiah in his new apartment (well, it's a very old apartment but new to him). He has a couch and an air mattress-a place to lay his head-and plenty of space for his books and bicycles.
Remember son, remember soul, seek the Lord and you will not be in want of any good thing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

a worthy pursuit. . .

It was 1990 when I met Lynn-as I recall, we met at a homeschool function. Our youngest, Mercy and Anna, were two then; there was Mercy with round cheeks and tight dark braids and Lynn's Anna with spindley legs and sandy hair falling over small oval glasses. We were transitioning, Lynn's family from the Philippines and mine from Mexico-all looking to settle down in San Antonio, "to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."

A favorite quote hangs in Lynn's livingroom, framed, with blue accent: "Good commuication is like strong coffee and just as hard to sleep after." I love the sentiment; it reminds me of my friend Lynn, and like good strong coffee, our bounty of stimulating conversations--those swirling around books, music, food, gardening, family, the church-those dedicated to the beauty of the Savior and the cost of following Him fully. Over the sea of years, we pursued worthy conversation, shared our lives over good coffee and fresh lemonade, and often as I talked, Lynn listened-attentively, patiently, adding her thoughtful insights, cheerfully punctuating my chatter with, "Imagine that!"

As our good God unfolds his providence, five years ago my friend Lynn went to be with the Lord. Our youngest, Mercy and Anna, are nearly 20 years old--lovely girls, indeed; Anna and I agree that one day the framed quote with blue accent will hang in her home, one more precious memory of her mom. And me? here I am blogging--imagine that! As I tip-toe into computer communication, this post, the first of a worthy pursuit, is dedicated to Lynn.