Friday, December 25, 2009

family in Memphis

It was an orange on orange occasion for Josiah- orange tie, orange hood for graduation from the University of Tennessee, Memphis. John and I were there in person, back row seats, in the balcony-So memorable!
I'm remembering a year ago July when we drove through Memphis on our summer road trip; Josiah had just moved there to begin nursing school at UT-lots of challenges, lots of unknowns for him. . .and I told myself:
"Young lions do lack and suffer hunger but those who seek the Lord will not be in want of any good thing".
I repeated it -I've discovered that repetition of truth is good for the soul-especially when it involves mothering.
And there were crooks. . . "Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?" (Ecc 11:13) God brought some "crooked" events into Josiah's life (3 different addresses in 18 months!-how can a mother send cookies?) Could I trust God with the crooks even if I didn't understand? Could I trust God even if He chose not to straighten the crooks for Josiah?
Of course, I must-not that I'm that great at trusting, but I'm yearning. . ."Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" (Rom 11:33)

Nursing school is behind Josiah-he has a job in Memphis.
he has a church family in Memphis, a place to worship and serve God, and soon he'll have a wife- in July he'll marry Lindsey who he met at church in Memphis.
life doesn't get much sweeter . . .

Thursday, December 24, 2009

off to Spain on Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and Jeremiah and Mercy are off to visit their siblings in Spain and England. Ah, how I love these two, my youngest! I'm thinking about them right now, flying over the ocean-their first trip out of the United States. . .
You can't go anywhere without your passports-don't loose them! I said.
family gifts and requested items are stuffed in the mamouth pink bag-things like: corn husks, dried chilies-ancho, guajillo, chipotle-(guess what the girls have planned!)
Don't forget to pick up the suitcase in Madrid and recheck to Bilboa. . .I said.
Jeremiah has his handy sound proof headphones - he brought a pair for Mercy in his pocket-hmmm, kind brother. . .
Remember to be very kind to any tired parents with cranky children on your flights, I said.
We pulled up to the airport curb and John asked if they wanted us to just drop them off and be on our way? . . .I think they knew we wanted to be there, to wave. . .
so we prayed with our youngest -
Remember, kids, (remember heart) the Lord controls every detail of your journey!

Monday, December 21, 2009

the queen of spices. . .

Cardamon, grown in tropical Guatemala-they say it's the queen of spices. . .I love its sweet-mysterious aroma and flavor (what does it smell like? I ask myself eveytime I unskrew the jar!) they say Cardamon is added to most Scandanavian pasteries; I like to think that my Danish grandmother put Cardamon in her Chritmas stollen!
So, most years I make a Swedish coffee bread in December, to eat and to give away-a simple yeast bread, braided and with Cardamon. Hmmm, how I love the aroma of the spice when added to the hot milk, sugar, and melted butter.
When I make Swedish coffee bread I think of my neighbor in Portand, Oregon who 30 years ago gave me this recipe. We made it together, maybe 20 loaves that year-a recipe from her father who came from Sweden. I make the bread, add the Cardamon and think of how God graciously placed this sweet woman in the corner house in my neighborhood, not just for Swedish coffee bread at Christmas, but because I needed her. . .mostly to teach me by example to love my husband and to lovingly train my little daughter.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the things they teach me. . .

She said, "Here's the hard part-if I had already learned God's lessons in my own life, then I could teach my children. . ."
Ah, I know all about it- if only I had conquered impatience. . .Me, always patient, perfectly patient, then I could teach it, perfectly model it. . .
but I battle my flesh every day-I'm humble, weak -this is why I need a Savior!

We were together over coffee-and a young woman requested prayer. . .would I pray she would have courage to call a relative, to ask forgiveness for her angry words in the past?
"Of course, and what prompts you to call?" I asked her.
"I want a clean conscience before the Lord," she said.
Simply a clean conscience-to bring God glory, Imagine that!
Over coffee with another woman, we talked about trusting God, Psalm 76- about how the children of Israel distrusted God in the wilderness, and "His anger mounted because they did not believe."
"Look here in Hebrews 3, what God says about unbelief- an unbelieving heart is an evil heart!" she said.
hmmm, Good reminder, I thought.
From my meetings this week, another young woman faces a difficult providence, declaring to me God's goodness . . .yet another is stepping out in faith into realms unfamiliar to me-she's excited, I'm trembling a bit for her. . .
They teach me so much, these dear women; God is working in their lives, and I get to observe the changes.
Then I wonder and worship the King.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December. . .and a worthy pursuit

So, it's December. . . time again to force narcissus bulbs indoors for that winter feeling in south Texas; again John and I chose a Christmas tree, just the two of us-he tied it on the Jetta, on the bicycle rack, nifty for bikes or trees or tents or whatever my husband imagines to tie on there.
Again we celebrated the first Sunday of advent with the dear Bisagni family, remembering how "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory. . ." Ahh, the wonder never ceases.
And again I read Papa Panov's Special Day (Tolstoy) to the children gathered- a thoughtful tale of Christmas with gospel truth.
I like the secure feeling of doing something meaningful again and again. . .don't you?
Over coffee recently, Francey and I were talking about our hearts; we encouraged each other: at any given moment in any day, who or what satisfies and delights my heart? Hmmm. . . Psalm 119, I love to read the psalmist's deep passionate heart's longing after God-to seek and know Him, to know and obey His Word. . .
Considering all the good things that crowd our December days-Francy and I decided to read Psalm 119 repeatedly this month, a worthy pursuit for December.

Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end. (Ps 119: 11,112)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

About potatoes, men, and tradition. . .

John and I spent Thanksgiving week at Noah and Jamey's home in Dallas; I got to cook along side my sweet daughter-in-law in her sunny red and yellow kitchen. Josiah, Jeremiah, and Mercy joined us from Memphis, College Station, and Lubbock (we call them our young adults!)

So, it's tradition in our family. . .the job of mashed potatoes belongs to the boys. I remember in Mexico- the older two lugging the bucket outside to peel potatoes in the cornfield; over the years they've peeled, sliced, and perfected the mashing. . . smooth with a few gourmet lumps. I'm just thankful there are still boys (now men) around to work on mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving 2009. . .
Jamey's menu included simple sweet potatoes, baked with a sprinkle of streusel and marshmallows; however, Noah intervened with his signiture dish-I'll call it. . . sweet potatoes with chipotle and streusel! Prepare Noah's sweet potatoes like this: carefully halve the baked sweet potatoes and scoop out the golden goodness, mash with a little butter, brown sugar, diced chipotle peppers (canned) and gently spoon back into the skins; next top with a streusel: 1/2 cup each, flour, brown sugar, butter, some chopped pecans, then a sprinkle of miniture marshmallows and pop back in the oven for a few minutes.
There you have Noah's sweet potatoes with a little kick-sweet, savory, and chipotle pepper spicey.
I think it's nice to have men in the kitchen. . .