Friday, May 29, 2009

more children's books. . .

A friend asked me to post more children's book recommendations-certainly, happy to oblige!

I'm remembering. . . 22 years ago when my 7th child was in the womb, his siblings begged to name him Obadiah. . .an idea no doubt prompted by their affection for the Obadiah books.

I'm familiar with three books written and illustrated by Brinton Turkle about little Obadiah Starbuck. The stories are set in colonial America, on Nantucket Island where Obadiah lives with his Quaker family- six brothers and sisters, his wise father and kind mother.

Our copies of Obadiah the Bold and Thy Friend, Obadiah are worn. . .really worn from lots of handling, sharing, reading over the years. Rachel and Obadiah, tells the story of some sibling competition among the little Starbucks-I think this one is my favorite.

Good books! and the lovely watercolor illustrations help little ones retell the story without even reading the words. All three books are available for purchase through, perhaps at your local library, and if you're my close neighbor, drop by and borrow the two in the picture-and stay to visit over coffee. . .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

simply kindness

Older women. . .teach and encourage the young women. . . to be kind. (Titus 2:3-5)

Last week Francey and I talked about "The Rewards of Kindness", one of my favorite chapters in Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.
It seems so basic, so simple-just Be Kind. . .Why, then, is it so hard-why such a struggle to be kind to those we love the most?

Sigh. . . reflecting on the past-the years raising my family, I wish I had been kinder-but the past is past. . . by God's grace I can choose today to be kind. Recently a friend asked, What's your favorite Bible verse? Hmmm. . . the verse God is using in my life at the moment!

Keep (watch over) your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov 4:23)

I keep discovering that it's all about my heart. I can generate a form of kindness-closing my mouth to a sharp retort, purposing loving deeds, a patient tone, a cheerful countenance-that's all good. . . while it lasts; besides, focusing on behavior never honors the Lord.

So-when daily life squeezes, what flows out of my heart? At the moment of temptation, what do I love more than I love the Savior, more than I desire to please Him alone? Keep your heart with all diligence. . . . and in the end my kindness comments the gospel.
What is desireable in a man is his kindness (Prov 19:22)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

a community garden?

It was about 7:30 a.m. one morning last week-I was working in our vegetable garden and my neighbor stopped her car, "I made calabazita last night-soooo good with your fresh squash-I'm taking the leftovers for lunch today-thanks!"

Hmmm. . .this neighbor and I, we rarely talk-she liked the squash and stopped on her way to work to chat with me. . .
We've always cultivated vegetables in a backyard plot, however this year for my birthday Luke built this raised garden bed for the front yard-a design copied from a garden we both admired in his old neighborhod in Durham, North Carolina.

I rather like creative vegetable gardening in the front yard (reminds me of California in the 60's!), my crop is so visable-so public.
So, working in my very public garden, I wonder, how can I love my neighbors well because of the gospel and for the sake of the gospel. . .

Now there's a lovely stack of zuchinni and yellow crook neck squash, piled on the table, a variety of shapes, sizes-hmmm, today, with which of my neighbors can I share the bounty-with a vision to share the gospel, the greatest bounty. . .

"Teacher, which is the great comandment in the Law? and Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . .and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22: 36-39)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

process or product?

After a lovely 3 week visit, my mom is back home in California and I'm settling into the cadence of my daily routine, reordering my priorities and filling the squares in my little calendar for May, June. . .

And I'm snatching a bit of time each day to stitch on Josiah's quilt. . .for you see, it's been 6 years in the making; you know those projects, the ones which begin with vision . . . The year Josiah graduated from high school- we planned the quilt together, he chose the pattern and colors and I commited to make it. . . . Then 6 years ago our grandchildren started arriving- Josiah's quilt was tucked away and instead I worked on tiny baby quilts.

My son and I engage in cheerful banter about this quilt, Ah, I see, Mom, another baby quilt. . .? I've heard it said that some folks enjoy the process while others enjoy the product, hmmm, process? or product? Each is a worthy pursuit-however I need to commit with more vigor to completing this product!

Making the tiny quilting stitches, I think about Josiah, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of your calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe (Eph 1:18-19)

"No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me" Spurgeon

Sunday, May 17, 2009

the family that plays together. . .

I love to watch my children play together.
First it was imaginary play with blocks, bedsheets, and cardboard. . . outdoor play with balls, bats, bicycles, frisbees, kites, running the neighborhood streets together. . . musical play with percussion and strings. . .around-the-table play with board and word games, puzzles, dominoes. .
Now my children are grown up and still playing together-some intense play- occasionally I play too, but mostly I love to watch them together.

Jeremiah and Noah

And some of them are playing together this week- Luke and Gabrielle from Texas, Rachel, Naomi and Joshua from Spain, Abigail and Nathaniel from London, and all our sweet grandchildren together on the coast of France-hmmm, do I wish I was there? perhaps, but really, I'm content thinking about their good times, purposeful conversations and worthy pursuits- together-and this too is part of the afternoon season of life. . . it's all good.
(and they promised pictures)

Friday, May 8, 2009

thanks kids. . .

So, Noah asked me to take some pictures of John and his new bicycle to send to the siblings-to the ones who live far away.

for you see, this lovely blue bicycle is a gift from our children for John's 60th birthday in June. . . but they couldn't wait til June for the gifting- imagine that?
Quite the gift, this blue bicycle and fancy new helmet-Hmmm. . . seems that lately John and I have each been recipients of our children's creative generosity. What can I say? We love you all.

Cycling Past 50

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"B" is for blue. . .and blueberry

My mother is visiting from California. Amaleah and Julia call her Gigi (short for Great Grandmother). So, yesterday Julia spent the day with us. Julia is 3 years and Mom is 87 years- imagine the fun. . .library, park, picnic lunch (Julia feeding Gigi blueberries), naps, popscicles, book reading, garden watering.

On the drive home from the park, I heard Julia from the back seat,
Gigi, what's your favorite color?
Blue! said Gigi
Blue? my favorite color is Blue too! said Julia

I struggled to put up the pack-n-play for Julia's nap, I will wake up Gigi and she can put up the pack-n-play! offered my sweet grandaughter.
So, Julia and Gigi napped-hmmm, I have an hour, just an hour to work on the devotional for Thursday. . .

"Psalm 1. . .he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields fruit in its season. . ."
Yields fruit in it's season. . .today I'm the girl in the middle- Lord, may I bear fruit for you in this season.