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?