Tuesday, February 24, 2009

one more story for February. . .

February is clam chowder month at our house-it's an anniversary tradition with a story. . .

John and I lived in Portland, Oregon for about a year while he was going to school-that was 30 years ago-day trips to the Oregon coast were a delight, my favorite kind of beach- cool, damp, windy, cliffs, driftwood. . .

So, one Saturday we headed for the coast with sweet Rachel in her striped overalls. John suggested we dig some clams and I heartily agreed, thinking about homemade chowder. We dug and dug; it was fun and productive, however. . . the game warden approached us, peeked into our clam sack and handed us a $40 citation. . . a citation for harvesting too many clams without a fishing license, imagine that? $40 for too many clams- not exactly milk money on a student budget.

But the warden let us keep those clams, so I took them home and made clam chowder for dinner that night. I imagine it was tastey, but the most memorable ingredient was the sand- for I was a novice at cleaning clams. . .$40 gritty clam chowder!

Isn't it curious-the memories we record and celebrate. . .and laugh about? So in February, around our anniversary, John and I eat clam chowder, remembering that year after year our God continues to be faithful even when we are foolish. . .
(and these days I use canned clams)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

thinking about phileo love. . .

Getting back to Titus 2:3-5. . .Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney is an excellent book; recently over coffee, Francey and I discussed chapter 2, The Delight of Loving My Husband.
So, wives are instructed to love their husbands. . .the Greek word for love in Titus 2:4 is phileo- a tender, affectionate kind of love, a love which emphasises enjoyment.
Francey and I discussed how we honor the gospel by cultivating this tender affection for our husbands- we concurred that it's often hard, that our sin errodes our best efforts. . .and that God is faithful to remind us, Keep your heart with all diligence (Prov 4:23)
So, what does phileo love look like in marriage? Francy had some great practical examples (and she's only been married 3 years!)
Then she asked me. . .
Hmmm. . .well, it's like this: when I push my cart down the baking aisle at the grocery store, I purpose to reach the top shelf and pluck off a can of Hershey's 100% cocoa-John's favorite for making hot chocolate-mud, we affectionately call his special concoction-a heaping tablespoon of cocoa, a little brown sugar, mixed with milk, very rich and chocolatey. (He would tell our toddlers that it made their eyes twinkle. . .) You see, John rarely reminds me that his 100% Hershey's is running low, and I, myself, would rarely buy it, unless planning to make chocolate stout cake or chocolate cream pie.

. . .this is just a very small thing, hardly noticeable-however I've discovered that the simplest demonstrations of phileo love in marriage are often the sweetest.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

just to let you know. . .

A cold front blew into San Antonio Friday night and we awoke to quite a chill-a good February chill along with wind. So, we bicycled 4 miles downhill but against the wind, a nice route through downtown neighborhoods; my cycling gloves were good and warm, but Ugh. . .the wind resistance. . .I was ready for coffee and cherry strudel!

John locked our bicycles to a tree next to the Gunther House Restaurant-a lovely old stone place, the original home of the Gunther family, founders of the Pioneer Flour Mill-and we waited for our table, sitting on a wooden bench overlooking the river. I had a little knitting project in my Toto basket just incase we needed to wait-a pink project for sweet Julia.

So, we waited and I knitted and it grew colder. . .but sitting next to John on a chilly day is nice, akin to cuddling a furnace-it's been that way for 37 years. . .

Then we were seated. . . and I was surprised by my husband's breakfast choice-biscuits and gravy!(funny how you think you know a man's favorites)-fluffy buttermilk biscuits, filling the plate, covered with creamy sausage gravy and Applewood bacon on the side- he sipped hot chocolate from a glass mug and I. . .well, of course, coffee with my cherry strudel. . .I ate the whole thing, imagine that!

Next the challenge of a 4 mile ride home-cold, windy, and uphill all the way. . . but the return trip is part of the adventure, don't you think? The last half mile I could hear John calling to me, shift down, shift down!
So. . .here I have filled this post with trivia, the insignificant details of a pleasant anniversary outing- but life consists of a tapestry of trivial details-colors, heat, cold, tastes, textures, sounds.
-all good things gifted from the hand of our Creator God, who gives us all things richly to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

things we do together. . .

Almost a year ago my family gave me this lovely blue bicycle. The boys were working at a bike shop and it seemed like the perfect time to purchase one. . .if I really wanted one.

Hmmm, yes. . .a bicycle would be fun! Perhaps my response sounded tentative- John asked me privately, "So, do you really want a bicycle?" I thought hard about this, weighing the options. . . bicycle or KitchenAide mixer? bicycle or . . . .? And ultimately I concluded that indeed, a bicycle is a great choice, especially if I'm going to keep up with this man in the afternoon of our life together.

So, it's a beautiful bicycle-I wear a pink bicycle helmet and capris with a padded seat, Imagine that! My favorite place to ride with John is along the misson trail, bordering the river not far from home; it's an 8-10 mile ride, just about my limit. I can sense John's anticipation when I agree to his suggestion, "Want to go on a bike ride with me this afternoon?" And then I'm amused as he rides beside me and counts how many zealous cyclists speed past us-

So, recently John purchased an accessory for my bicycle, a Toto basket-while my husband bikes long and hard just to do it, he's learned that I prefer my bike route to have a destination. Now I can ride to the neighborhood bread shop and bring home pan dulce in my basket, and soon perhaps even to the knitting shop. . . .

Due to a variety of circumstances, my beautiful bicycle has been propped in the study for about a month, collecting cobwebs in the wheels. However, this is a good week to suggest a bike ride with John, for our anniversary. . .perhaps early Saturday morning we'll bike downtown to the Gunther House restaurant for anniversary breakfast. . .I know he'll order pecan pancakes, eggs and bacon; I'll enjoy coffee and tart cherry strudel and we'll remember 37 good years together.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

no confidence. . .

The other day I had coffee with a friend, a woman about my age who I met at the local knitting shop. She asked me, "What keeps you busy? . . .what do you do?"
So, I told her about Titus 2:3-5; I explained that I mentor women, that I love what I do, and that in the afternoon of my life, I'm living my dream . . . she was curious and it was good, for conversation about what I do lead to talk of the gospel.

Philippians 3:3 rattles around in my mind today-a portion of the the passage to consider in Bible study this week: true believers are those who worship in the spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.

Hmmm. . .put no confidence in the flesh, how personally relevent. My recovery from surgery has been a little slow, slower than I would like, and I cry, "Lord, I am a weak vessel, indeed!" So, this is good for me, the normally hearty woman that I am.

And sometimes when I think about the Titus 2 passage, I'm amazed by the purposeful work which God has planned for older women, good work which brings him glory. . . put no confidence in the flesh; I am weak, vulnerable, sinful and I will accomplish nothing but by the enabling will and grace of God.

I am so grateful for the reminder. . .