Thursday, December 30, 2010

when siblings live together

Mercy has been searching the internet for a summer internship; I overhear her siblings offer, "Come live with us this summer!"
So- my children grew up, and I didn't think much about how their relationships would look in the next season. . .maybe I was consummed with encouraging toddler and teenage peacemaking-
I never imagined how it would be to sit on the sidelines and watch them relate-and sometimes live together-as adults.
it's nice.
A few weeks ago I watched sweet Selma fly to her Aunt Rachel. we met in Golden Gate Park for a big family picnic; Selma had her sights set only on,"Aunt Rachel! my Aunt Rachel!"
for 6 years in Spain, Rachel lived with Joshua and Naomi, Malachai, Josu, and Selma-in a 3 bedroom apartment.
-togetherness that can galvenize lives, in the best sort of way.

Monday, December 27, 2010

together on the bridge. . .

So, we gathered in San Francisco to celebrate my mother's life; Luke suggested a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, remembering Grandma and her favorite birthday tradition year after year; he made the family plan. . .skeptical me-how could we coordinate 6 different plane flight arrivals and still do this-Sanely!
And we did-even with a hitch or two, we were there, on the bridge, in the chill and San Francisco Bay drizzle.
It was good-she would have loved it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

a shared sweater

20 years ago our family moved from Mexico to Texas- we lived for 3 months with my parents; it was a cold, wet December and my mother lent me her blue wool cardigan. I wasn't a knitter back then, but I loved the bulky merino wool, the thick cables, hidden front pockets, and narrow plaid ribbon trimming the button placket; hmmm, the sweater hugged my body just right.
"You can keep it!" Mom announced one day. . .but she must have missed that lovely sweater-"You can have it when I die!" she said.
Years marched on and we bantered about the blue sweater, "I left our sweater in the restaurant, but Dad went back for it. . .I wore our sweater when I walked the Golden Gate. . .remember, I'll will it to you!"
it was our sweater but she was wearing it!

So early this month my sisters and I sorted boxes in Mom's damp, chilly garage; then I remembered the blue sweater- I pushed back the clothes tightly packed in her closet, and there hung our sweater, the sleeves carefully draped across the shoulders on the hanger.
Day after day I worked in my mother's cold garage without her. . . wearing our sweater-it hugged my body just right.
And last week I packed my suitcase with memories of Mom; I considered the blue sweater, now worn and frayed-still lovely. I set it aside- because the story is enough.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Home. . .

I was in California for three weeks. . .yesterday I came home.
whenever I go away, John plans a project (to keep himself busy since he doesn't sleep!)
this time he scaped the popcorn off the living room ceiling, popcorn with sparkles. . the mess scraped off in just a few hours, but he's been working on the clean up for weeks and weeks. . .
Ahh-beauty, a smooth, clean ceiling.
And today boxes are piled in the living room, 7 cases of Bibles for the homeless shelter.
some things about home are very perdictable.
mmmm, I love this man.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness-9 (Pitfalls & Provisions)

Vengeance. . .a deep pitfall to forgiveness. The Bible forbids it, you know. "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone, never take your own revenge" (Rom 12:17,19)
We know of situations of great violence in which a person is tempted to consider vengeance. But, admit it, you and I dabble. . .we are tempted to cultivate a garden variety of revenge; for instance, we feel entitled to a little payback when we are hurt. So-what might the garden variety look like?
-a dear friend prefers company of another friend. . .you pull away, are cool, aloof to your friend.
-your son or daughter marries and seems to spend more time with the new family. . .you talk about your hurt with a friend.
-you witness a loved one treated wrongfully. . .you take up an offense and tell others about the injustice.
-you think, "he or she doesn't make time for me. . .so I won't make time for her."
-he criticizes my cooking. . .next time I'll put too much salt in the soup!
Remember, soul, a refusal to forgive is a decision for vengeance-think about last week, is the Holy Spirit convicting you of a time when you took revenge?
But God has made provision-even when we dabble. . .so, remember:
1. the Gospel! think on Jesus, our provision; our Savior didn't deserve death but was lead as a lamb to the slaughter (Is 53:7). Forgiveness filled His heart, not revenge.
2. God's instruction to proactively show love, if our enemy is hungry, feed him! rather than brooding about how you can repay, plan a loving response; our thoughts and actions should be driven by mercy, "Mercy triumphs over judgment" (Jam 2:13-I love this truth!)
3. Justice will come. . . our God embodies both mercy and justice; remember, God will settle accounts with our offenders, we don't have to. In Romans 12 God reminds me, "leave room for Me to work!!"
hmmm, as I format and type this post, my own heart is pierced-Lord, help me to be obsessed with forgiveness, not even dabbling in vengeance.
A worthy pursuit. . .

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness-(8a)

8a?? well, I like a tidy outline-I'm content when the points and sub-points construct in orderly fashion. . . this one doesn't quite fit, but it's really important, I think-
You see, 8a is just a slight indentation in a semi-tidy outline!
Remember: bitterness is the sinful response to injustice or perceived injustice, the result of brooding upon wrongs, real or imaginary.
So-are you struggling with perceived injustice? Maybe you've taken up an offense for something that isn't an offense at all. . .
When I read through Paul's epistles, I'm struck by how the apostle was a hard man to offend- because he refused to take offense. I want to be like that.
"Love does not take into account a wrong suffered." (1 Cor 13:5)
If I focus on myself rather than on God and others I will be hurt by almost anything.
We must be women who are hard to offend- we can choose how to respond to the perceived wrongs of others.
So, what could a perceived injustice look like? My dear children have grown up, imagine that! Now 6 are married-with new extended families.
Now then, I notice the temptation in my heart to be hurt or offended when I think my children are spending more time with the other families-do you believe that? It's real, I confess-and if you have adult children, I bet you struggle with the same perceived wrongs. . .
And truly, I want to be a blessing to my grown children, to make it easy for them to love their new families-mostly, though, I want to honor God in my heart.
8a. . .Do you take up an offense at every turn? or like the apostle Paul, are you hard to offend?
A worthy pursuit, indeed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

driving, reading, knitting. . .

Long road trips mean driving-reading-knitting for John and me; he drives and I read aloud. Last week we plowed through D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First 40 Years by Iain Murray. (more on that later!)
And when my voice is exhausted, we listen to good stuff on the CD player and I knit and knit. . .a bag of unfinished knitting projects traveled with me last week; I finished this Baby Suprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmerman)-you knit away on this one while wondering, what in the world is this lump of yarn?. . .and then finally- you see the little sweater forming!
I'm thinking of our Adalyn Grace who will wear it. . .

Saturday, December 4, 2010

and this little one asked. . .

The other day my grandaughters and I talked about our trip to California; Amaleah asked, "I know it's sad. . .Gigi (great-grandmother) died, but I'm excited to see my cousins in California, is it okay for us to play and have fun?"
Indeed, sweet girl-there will be tears and joy, sorrow, laughter, playing . . .for the Lord was faithful to Gigi.
"Even to your old age, I shall be the same. And even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you. And I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you." (Isaiah 46:4)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

buttons and a birthday

This one is for our sweet Selma- last month she turned 3 and her mama threw a party in California, a Button Party for Selma and her girls (my girls, Selma calls her friends)
And here in Texas Amaleah, Julia and I played with buttons and thought about Selma, wishing we were there too. . . eating button shaped quesadillas, balancing buttons on a spoon. . .
our girl-sweet Selma

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-8 (Pitfalls & Provisions)

Have you ever found yourself brooding over a wrong done to you? Bitterness is the sinful response to injustice or preceived injustice; bitterness is the result of brooding upon wrongs either real or imaginary. . .brooding and bitterness-Pitfalls to forgiveness.
Brood-hmmm, the word even sounds foreboding, don't you think? You and I are tempted to play with bitterness, tempted to brood about being treated unfairly.
Ask yourself: Is there an area of my life where I focus on injustice done to me?
"A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but hot passion makes the bones rot."(Prov 14:30) Think about it: rotting bones means death.
"Fooling around with bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die." (Nancy Leigh De Moss)
You see, it's not wrong to notice I've been treated unjustly-but how do I respond?

And God always provides a way to escape temptation-I have no excuse:
1. I must put away all bitterness (Eph 4:31). Put off bitterness and put on love. remember, "love does not take into account a wrong suffered." (1 Cor 13:5)
2. Don't brood--Go! God tells me to Go, resolve the conflict quickly (Matt 5:23-24) and Go humbly.
3. God's provision is the gospel; in The Cross Centered Life, C.J. Mahaney writes, "We deal with bitterness by cherishing the experience of being forgiven by God."

A Worthy Pursuit. . .kill bitterness, cherish the experience of being forgiven by God!

Monday, November 29, 2010

unpacking. . . and repacking

We just returned from a whirlwind road trip-almost 3,000 miles on new tires (says my dear husband). . .to Indiana and home to Texas with Memphis and Dallas sandwitched in. . .
hmmm, Thanksgiving with Brett and Rachel. . .and November in Indiana-I need to modify my camera techiniques (or finish knitting up those fingerless gloves!)
Rachel and I divided up the meal prep, soberly critiqued our pie crusts. . .
And as always, we ate left over pie for breakfast the next morning-pie for breakfast in Indiana!

And now I'm unpacking, washing, sorting, repacking; in 2 days I'll be off again, to California, for awhile. Part of me wants to hunker down here at home, in my own bed, my own kitchen, with my church-here.
California-God has opportunities for me there, and people for me there.
And it will be good. . .it all depends on my perspective, you know.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepaed beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-7 (Parable)

Sometimes I read a portion of Scripture and it's asthough God is saying, "This part here, belongs especially to you!"
The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18: 23-35 is for me. . .I think.
The context of the parable is Peter's question to Jesus, "How often should I forgive when my brother sins against me?"
And then Jesus tells the parable. . .Remember how the gracious king forgave the first servant zillions, then the same servant forgot the kings great mercy to him; he was harsh , demanding, unmerciful to the second servant who owed him peanuts. Shocking! Who could ever behave that way? we ask.
Wicked Servant!
This parable is so powerful for me-it's about me, about you. I owe zillions to my great King, and He tells me to forgive peanuts. . .
Why is forgiveness so hard?
It's hard. . .because I forget the parable-forget that it's so personal.
Remember, Soul, no one has sinned against me to the extent that I have sinned against the Saviour.
So-read the parable, apply it personally, and notice. . .God will not overlook an unforgiving spirit (vs 35).

(for yet another post-Pitfalls and Provisions)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness-6 (Price)

Problem continued. . .
God's instruction is clear; I keep putting it before me, "forgive one another as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you." (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13)
Soul, Why is it so hard?
"For God to forgive is something great; for us to forgive, though some think it great, should be regarded as a very small thing." (said a wise person)
Forgiveness costs us something-it's hard because I think the price is too great!
we know saving grace is free, lavish-but down in our hearts, we want eye for eye justice; we're hard wired that way-forgiveness offends our sense of justice! (have you ever noticed?)
So, forgiveness God's way requires me to accept with grace the wrongs others commit against me-and not demand what I think is my just due.
Ah, how quickly my wandering heart forgets that it cost God to forgive me-it cost Him the death of his son. . .so-when the price seems too great, remind yourself, "God did not spare his own son but delivered him up for us all" (Rom 8:32)
Remember Soul, for me to forgive should be regarded as a very small matter. . .
(for another post-more about the Problem in a Parable)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-5 (Problem)

". . .forgive one another as God in Christ has forgiven you." (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13)

So-I shouldn't be confused, God says: Forgive! here's your model in the flesh-Jesus!
and here's my grace- sufficient! (2 Cor 9:8)
Then why is it so hard?
We live in a sinned cursed world with sinners; when we are treated wrongfully, it hurts. . .the problem is real.
There's Pain
"The whole law is fulfilled in one Word, Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not comsumed by one another" (Gal 5:14,15)
Yikes! What a warning. . .in this life our relationships are mixed up and painful; we grow weary under the burden. But Jesus inivites us to unload the weight of the burden, "Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble and you shall find rest for your souls." (Matt 11:28-29)
And right here I must staple the Gospel to my pain; I remind myself, "No one has sinned against me to the extent that I have sinned against the Savior."

So, what if I grant forgiveness but the painful, hurt feelings linger, linger. . . ?
Remember- forgiveness involves a deliberate choice that goes contrary to our feelings. The moment those feelings surface, I must choose to put off the hurt feelings, choose to set aside the offense and desire the best for the offender, choose to discipline my mind, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Phil 4:8)
Keep acting on the truth and trusting that my emotions will follow.
And there's more. . .more, best saved for another post.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-4 (Promise)

Did you know that God's Pattern of forgiveness includes a promise?
"I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. . .I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25, Jer 31:34)
"He casts all our sins behind his back." (Isaiah 38:17)
"As far as the east is from the west He removes our transgressions from us." (Ps 103:12)
In thoughts, attitudes, actions we sin daily against our God-infact every sin I commit is an assault against God's infinite glory!
But God has gone on record: I choose not to remember your sins-so we must go on record. Have you ever noticed that forgiveness is an emotionally charge subject??
But forgiveness is a promise, not a feeling-"When God forgives he doesn't just sit in heaven and emote." (says Jay Adams!)
God chooses not to remember, "I will not bring up these matters to you or to others in the future; I will never use these sins against you."

How might this look for you and me?
So, welcome to my imaginary house- Mr. Hardworking Husband and his Dear Wife live here. . . ( anybody-me, you, friend, neighbor)
Mr. Hardworker is a good man, he loves and serves his family; one day rain beats down on the old house, leaking through the window, dripping down the wall.
And Mr. Hardworker tells Dear Wife, "Darling, assuredly, I will fix that window leak this weekend!"
However, Mr. Hardworker forgets and the rain batters that leaky window-again.
"Dear Wife, forgive me-assuredly, I'll do the job this weekend."
"I forgive you", she says.
Now then, Mr. Hardworker works hard and he plays hard- the sun shines all weekend, he plays frisbee golf with friends (or just maybe he's out on his bicycle?)
Again he delays the job, again the rain washes through, again he humbly asks his dear wife's forgivness.
"I forgive you," she says. . . "but-I knew this would happen, just like last year. . ."
Remember Soul, God has gone on record, I choose not to remember your sins-and so you and I must go on record. . .
(more "P's" to follow)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

winding yarn and a little project

So- many big things are invading my life these days, but today I'm taking pleasure in a few small things-like I bought a red watch band for my very old watch and I'm winding yarn by hand-
The spinner at the yarn shop winds nice flat "yarn cakes" - when dropped they don't roll under the furniture. . .but today- the repetitive motion, winding, winding, creating this cushy soft ball of yarn-hmmm, nice.
And this yarn is so lovely, Cascade 220 superwash wool-and such a good deal.
I'm planning a little girl hat for a baby soon to be born, to be named Thora. A wool hat for a Texas baby? Really, Texas has some cold winter days- besides, a girl named Thora must have roots in the northland. . .
When she visits her grandmother up north, she will wear this hat
. . .I imagine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-3 (Pattern)

Week after week I studied biblical forgiveness. . .and I was confronted over and over with my lovely Saviour, Jesus-the perfect Pattern of forgiveness (hmmm, God knew I needed instructions and a pattern).
So-if you want to know how to forgive. . . Look at Jesus.
Among many, here's 4 pieces to the pattern:
Motive-God's motive in forgiveness is love- lavish undeserving love.
"for you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you" (Ps 86:5)
"If God so loved us, we also ought to love oneanother" (1 Jn 4:11)
When I struggle to forgive, I lack love; "Let love be genuine" (Rom12:9)
God, help me to grow in love!
Attitude-Jesus is kind, tenderhearted (Eph 4:32), humble (not aloof), bearing with us patiently. When someone asks my forgiveness, I'm tempted to think, Does she really mean it? or I will forgive when I see fruit. But Jesus is never suspicious of motives.
Amount-Peter asked Jesus a question about amount in Matt 18:21, "Jesus, how many times do I forgive my brother?" But the pattern of Jesus in forgiveness is not about measuring amount, rather His divine pattern is habitual forgiveness without limit (1 Jn 1:9). Soul, How many times a day does Jesus forgive me? How about repeat offenders? Remember, we are all repeat offenders against God!
Rebuild-Jesus demonstrates a pattern of forgiveness followed by reconciliation. Our Saviour is tenderhearted to repentant sinners-He forgives and reconciles us to Himself. Now then, I'm tempted to forgive and then move on to form a new friendship; but with Jesus it's not forgive and forget that person. Jesus forgives, draws us close, and rebuilds. (what about me?)
Look hard at Jesus, our amazing pattern.
(and for next time. . .yet another "P"!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-2 (Purpose)

Regular heart examination is good for my soul, so-
Soul, What should be my purpose (or motive) in granting forgiveness?
Well, it's not to feel good about myself.

not so that others may like me
not so that I'll sleep at night
not so that others will whisper about me, "Ah, what a good woman!"
But I'm a Christ follower, and God commands me to forgive, "even as Christ forgave so you must do" (Colossians 3:13 NKJ)
And when I obey God's commandment to forgive, then I honor and please the Lord who loved me enough to die for me-pleasing the Lord, that's what my life is all about, right? (2 Cor 5:9)
By granting forgiveness I do good to another-I lift the burden and actively love my neighbor as myself-and my own heart is affected; have you ever noticed how granting forgiveness humbles our proud hearts-truly humble. . .that's a good place to be.
Finally, by granting forgiveness I adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour (Titus 2:10)
hmmm, to display the beauty of the Gospel. . .a worthy purpose and pursuit, indeed.
(And of course, there's more!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness (1)

Last month I had a teaching opportunity for a women's gathering-I spoke about forgiveness.
Aye-the topic is vast, like the mighty ocean; but I was happy to be there. . . teaching my own heart.
So, forgiveness is about the resolution of conflict-
I often pass a highway billboard which displays a company of steadfast, purposeful men, arms folded, men in white shirts, urging me to call about accidents, injuries, wrongfulness. (is that really a word??) These billboard men claim to have the answers to resolving my conflicts. . .but they don't.
the answer is here:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4:32)
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you. . .(Col 3:13)
If anyone has a complaint (do you ever have a complaint?) forgive (how?) as God in Christ forgave . . .
Really, how we live out forgiveness rests on what we believe about God (Ps 130: 34)
And the answer lies in the Gospel of forgiveness-Ah, yes, the Gospel!. . .on the cross Jesus spilled the blood of God to appease the wrath of God; He was shamed, tortured, abandoned by God the Father; He suffered, bled, died. And then Jesus conquered death; he rose from the grave that people (you and me) may have peace with God through the blood of the cross.
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col 1:13-14)
And that's how Jesus forgives: lavish, gracious, abounding, unexplainable
I'm thinking. . .Really-how God forgives is the most important truth any human considers. . .
(and there's more!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

"tieso como viejo. . ."

Autumn arrived, daylight savings ended-and light casts new shadows on the wood floors at my house (how I love the windows!)
John meets with 2 young men on Monday mornings -5:30 AM; they're reading The Trellis and the Vine (C. Marshall, T. Payne)
Sunday nights I pull the coffee maker out of the closet, measure the coffee and water; in the morning my husband, a non coffee drinker, just presses the button.
This morning I sat in my room reading Psalm 37. . ."The steps of a man are established by the Lord. . .when he falls he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand."
And I was enjoying the low rumble of masculine voices, an occasional hearty laugh (my husband!) I can tell, John is loving this opportunity to be with the young men-to pursue the gospel, ministry, communty. . .
At 7 AM he bent to kiss me before leaving for school, "How are you?" I asked.
"tieso como viejo" (stiff like and old man), he answered
"Me too. . .tiesa como vieja", I told him.
hmmm, I'm remembering the pattern of life with our good King, "I have been young and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken" (Ps 37:25)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mr. & Mrs. Tippey cook. . . and invite

Yesterday Brett and Rachel moved to Indiana-
just 4 months ago, in the heat of summer, they each moved from Spain to make Texas home for awhile.
for Rachel- home was with Luke and Gabrielle and the kids.
for Brett- home was here at 2305 with John and me.
they've blessed our lives. . . and now home is with each other.

Brett cooked for us on Saturday-Chicken Carbonara, yu-ummm!
Raul, our banker, joined us for dinner-the Tippeys invited him.
I'm so glad they did- it was a great evening.
And Brett and Rachel cooked for John and me on Tuesday.
in the afternoon our neighbor, Julia, dropped by with a wedding gift for the Tippeys-they invited Julia for dinner; I'm so glad they did-it was a great evening.
God speed, Mr. & Mrs. Tippey-have a good life.
We will miss you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

washing up. . .and notes on hospitality

After the pleasure of house guests, there's plenty of washing up-sheets, towels, pie plates, cake pans, coffee pots (mmm, can a woman have too many coffee pots?), but you know, I like laundry, and it's good to be home, working.Sometimes I think my hospitality efforts are a bit clumsy-(or maybe I just compare what I have to offer with another woman whose home is better equipped for gracious entertaining??) Clumsy or not, I love the opportunity- besides, God tells me, Be hospitable!
So-here's what I do:

1. I invite lots of folks over during the fall and spring when it's neither scorching or freezing at 2305; I serve soup in the winter and salad and ice cream in the summer.

2. I put guests to work- "Slice the tomatoes or wash the dishes however you choose", I tell them.
Recently I came home from a round of errands and discovered our new friend, Sara, in the kitchen stirring a pot of chocolate ganache for the wedding cake. Good! Naomi and Jamey gave Sara a job-stirring, not too hard, one can talk and stir. . . such a nice wedding week memory.

3. I'm okay with what falls through the cracks-"Mom, that's what makes your hospitality work!"
I'm grateful for my girl's assurance. . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

pie on a tray. . . and quiet

Monday-more wedding work and play-packing, sorting, cleaning, 4 trips to the airport with the people we love, and the good-byes.
Then it was evening and John and I stopped.
We sat in bed with our dinner-he had eggs, and on a tray I brought leftover apple pie -and a little good coffee.
-after 4 days sleeping on the couch and floor, we were back in our own room and the house was so quiet.
So, we talked about our favorite wedding memories, ate apple pie- and watched Pilgrim's Progress, Journey to Heaven on the laptop, just the 2 of us. We got almost to the end. . .the rest will be good for another day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

honor and a lavender rose. . .

Rejoicing with Mr. and Mrs. Brett Tippey

October 23, 2010

"Today Darcie carries a single lavender rose in honor of Brett's mother, LaVerne, who sadly could not celebrate with us today due to her ongoing struggle with Alzheimer's. Brett and Rachel are thankful that after 38 years the marriages of John and Darcie (february 12, 1972) and David and LaVerne (June 17, 1972) continue to be living examples of Christ's undying love for and commitment to his Church."

Soli Deo Gloria. . .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

random reminders

Certainly- the week of a girl's wedding, her mother's thoughts and actions should be deliberate, purposeful-not random.
I'm reminding myself today, purposeful not random. . .Darcie, don't get distracted!
Good-since yesterday I punctuated a thought with a random gesture which sent my hot tea flying off the table, splattering the wall and floor at Starbucks, Sigh. . .
Still there are random thoughts and some are nice. . .
Clean bathrooms-hmmm, the sweet girl who came home and did the scrubbing because she noticed and wanted to. . .
White pumpkins-grouped beside the sewing table- a white dress on the table, white pumpkins beside it (both for the wedding)- lovely. . .and Julia (in her silver shoes) lugging white pumpkins-part of the team.
Red soccer shoes- Julia marched in, "Why are Uncle Nathaniel's shoes here?" Ah, yes, Nathaniel's red soccer shoes, left behind in July, on purpose, the shoes and the ball didn't fit in the suitcase. Julia remembered and she's waiting for her uncle. . .
And tonight, late, we'll pick up Abi and Nathaniel at the airport-the last of our children to arrive for the occasion.
Ahh. . .random reminders of a memorable week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a big occasion and a small black machine

For the past 38 years my little black Singer has labored faithfully.
I used it to sew my wedding dress, then little dresses with pinafores, formal dinner dresses, recital dresses, quilts, skirts. . .then Naomi's wedding dress.
I've hemmed and mended. . .snug in its little case, my machine went to Mexico and came back to Texas with me; John has cleaned, oiled, and repaired it-
My little Singer isn't fancy, no zig-zag or button holes, but always trusty, the stitches are always even; it runs forward and backward.
And that's good enough for me.
Now Rachel is sewing her wedding dress on my Singer. (ah those french seams!)
It's almost finished. . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

uncommon emotion

So, my mother sat in her armchair, propped up just right.
I asked, "How about if I read the Bible?"
she requested Psalm 23 and Psalm 139-her favorites.
I repeated the question each morning and she answered with the same request-so I read. . . until she said, "Stop now!"
One morning I read from Psalm 139, "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance and in your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. . ."
Then I opened and read her cards -one from Nathaniel and Abigail, "We're amazed to think how God is weaving together the inward parts of our unborn child."
Psalm 139! . . .and a great grandchild for my mother.
she smiled.
Another day I suggested a passage about Jesus; she nodded and I read John 10. . . the next day I chose Revelations 5. (my favorite)
"behold the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah has overcome so as to open the book. . .and I saw a Lamb standing, as if slain, worthy to open the book."
I asked my mother, "Who is the Lamb?"
Jesus!-her confident answer
"And I heard the voice of many angels around the throne saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and might, honor and glory and blessing. . ."

Aye-and there I sat reading, choking with uncommon emotion.
Imagine the wonder. . .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

paper memories

I love paper- but I'm not very sentimental (mmmm. maybe a little bit). . .
my mother is very sentimental and she saves every scap of paper with a memory, especially from the 60+ years she was married to my father.
Sometimes the piles of saved paper irritate me. . .then I stumble upon a teasure.
So- my niece, Meredith, is sorting the stacks at Mom's house-last week she handed me a letter, still in the envelope with a classy Mexican stamp, a letter I wrote to my parents from a Mexican village, dated August 1982.
Rachel was 8 years old and I wrote, "Yesterday Rachel reread Charlotte's Web and she cried again. . .together we're reading The Borrower's Aloft; a friend lent us the Chronicles of Narnia-Rachel has read the first book already. . .the other day the girls were cutting out pictures from old Good Housekeeping magazines- Rachel commented, 'When I look at these magazines, it makes me think that there are lots of pretty things in the States!' and then she asked me, 'What's Master Charge?'"
A sweet memory amid a pile of obscure papers-(and she's getting married in just 10 days.)
maybe I should save more paper. . .

Monday, October 11, 2010

where everything grows. . .

So, I traveled to California like a minimalist (I think I am one of those). . .just a backpack to stuff under the seat-but I wish I'd brought my camera.
My mother's home is alive, surrounded with color and growing things-roses, roses, roses, all blooming-huge hydrangeas hedging the pathway to the front door, pink and white cosmos, borders of nastursiums, yellow, orange, white.
Can you imagine the beauty. . .kind of??
And hidden behind the giant blooming cosmos in the front yard, I discovered 2 tomato plants-my brother picked 15 pounds of ripe tomatoes the day before I arrived.
The Hospice nurse made her first visit to Mom at home, exclaiming to my sister, "There is so much life going on here!"
hmmm, I'm glad she noticed. . .

Thursday, October 7, 2010

to do the next thing. . .

Sometimes life overwhelms-
then it helps to remember-just do the next thing.
So, Saturday I taught on forgiveness at a woman's meeting (Aye, a subject as deep as the Pacific)-next wedding planning, then dinner.
next I checked the bodice of Rachel's wedding dress (not necessary but a mother-daughter thing, you know.)
and next I went to bed, so I could get up-very early Sunday morning-to fly to California.
And this is the next thing-me in California, with my family, helping with my mother's care. . .
to focus on the next thing hedges in my life-
when my mind is crazy, "What should I do? Where should I be? Who needs me? Will I have strength. . .?"
hmmm, God's grace enables me to just do the next thing-
and I'm so thankful.
(and sometimes the next thing is Earl Grey with milk in a favorite chipped cup-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

glossy purple

Ah, a lovely purple eggplant. . .
actually there are 3- the blossoms are lavender!
Fall in Texas is curious. . . sometimes it looks like spring.
today I'm yearning for a glimpse of God's beauty. . .
and I'm dreaming about what I might cook with my shiny, purple eggplants.
hmmm-maybe my Auntie Lois' ratatouille-the recipe's in the box, in her handwriting.
or maybe I'll simply enjoy the beauty of creation-

Thursday, September 30, 2010

wholeheartedly His. . .

This week I began a women's Bible study, Wholeheartedly His in Difficult Times-a study on dealing with adversity from the book of Job.
"He said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)
-that's really timely for me today. . .
So-I stood beside Cheryl, sharing her song sheet.
we sang Blessed be the Name of the Lord; Cheryl underlined, "My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name"
hmmm, and I listened. . .a dozen women in my group overflowing with examples of those who have honored God in the midst of adversity.
they blessed the name of the Lord. . .
And what does it mean to be halfhearted for God?
maybe Job's wife was halfheartedly His. . . she was tempted to curse God in adversity.
I don't think I curse God (but I haven't lost 7 sons and 3 daughters in a whirlwind)
sometimes I complain and whine- a lot
And they blessed the name of the Lord. . .
"Without answers to his questions, Job quietly bowed in humble submission before his creator and admitted that God was sovereign" (MacArthur)
(I want to be like that)

Monday, September 27, 2010

birthdays and a blue sweater

Luke, Noah, and Josiah were all born in September.
I do love celebrating their birthdays. . .however, I'm not one of those creative, energetic birthday party moms-no theme parties, scavenger hunts, mystery dinners, clowns, magicians. . .and sometimes just thinking about September makes me tired (Aye, what a mother!)
so, the birthdays came and went (sigh) and the boys grew up-now all have wives to help celebrate; wouldn't you know it-we've added 3 more September birthdays to the family talley. this weekend we celebrated 3 around the dinner table at Luke and Gabrielle's house with some homemade stuff: pesto for Luke, rhubarb pie for Brett, and a tri-colored sweater for our little Landis-sweet 1 year old boy.
hmmm, it's nice to remember birthdays. . . and to knit for grandchildren.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

content with a small place

The other day I talked at length with a dear one.
she's in the spotlight. . . we identified the struggle in her heart, the struggle to please people. I know the temptation . . .don't we all?
Sigh. . .it's a trap!
The fear of man brings a snare (Prov 25:29)
And then I read this little quote, jotted in my journal-by whom?
"I'm content to fill a small place."
hmmm, that's what I want. . . even when I'm in the spotlight-making much of God and content to fill a very small place.

Monday, September 20, 2010

a yahoo idea

I have 7 wonderful girls-4 born to me and 3 added, the ones who love my sons. . .
my girls are scattered across this vast land-Tennessee, California, New York, Texas (in 3 cities) and very soon, Indiana.
hmmm, how to keep in touch, to be personal, to share my life?
So I set up a yahoo group account (with a little help!), to email all of them together. . . I'll aim for once a week (once a day emails from Mom would be a bit much, don't you think?)

Friday, September 17, 2010

one about mothering

I'm re-reading sections of Noel Piper's book Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God.
Ahn Ei Sook was faithful in suffering. . .
In 1939 the Japanese occupied Korea and shinto shrines were built in every city and village.
Ei Sook, a young school teacher, a Korean follower of Jesus, refused to bow and worship at the shrines.
During a school trip to a public shrine, only Ei Sook stood while others worshipped. . .and Ei Sook knew she was a marked woman, marked for arrest- probably death; the thought of pending torture terrified her.
Ei Sook's testimony is compelling-but I keep thinking about Ei Sook's mother. . .for I'm a mother.
this mother raised her child alone, in a hostile environment, teaching her daughter to fear the Lord.
and when it came time for her daughter to suffer for Jesus, this mother kept teaching. . .
Noel Piper writes, "Her mother knew Ei Sook's weakness. But she also knew the strength of God, and so she did not try to shield Ei Sook from suffering. Rather, she helped her prepare for it." (I'm tempted to shield rather than prepare!)
and in Ei Sook's words, I always felt strengthened when I talked with Mother about God and His love.
hmmm, I want to be like that mother. . .a worthy pursuit, don't you agree?

Monday, September 13, 2010

more about laundry

I like laundry, you know. . .washing, drying, folding-
it's nice to smooth the rumbles, to even the corners.
Brett does his own laundry, but one day he asked me to snatch his clothes off the line in case it rained.
"Sure, laundry is what I do around here."
So, I rescued his clothes, thankful for the opportunity. . .and I learned something new about Brett -he uses cloth hankerchiefs!
my husband and sons don't. . .
Brett told me that his father always carries one.
then I thought about Rachel, soon to marry this man with a hankerchief in his pocket.
a cloth hankerchief, useful to wipe away life's smudges and drips-
chocolate, lipstick, ice-cream, coffee, dirt, tears. . .
a sweet thought.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

fear and faithfulness

God's faithfulness reaches to the skies (Ps 36:5)

one week recentlyI had coffee with 2 young women-
2 different days, 2 separate places, 2 individual girls.
I asked each one, "So, tell me what's up with you?"
And a common struggle overflowed- then tears. . .
their circumstances were similar, not identifcal, but fear producing situations common to us-to women.
What if it happened again?
we explored truth. . .it could happen again.

However. . . "No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man, but God is faithful . . ." (1 Cor 10:13)
Dear Girls, one day when I am tempted to fear that it will happen again, you will remind me that our God is faithful. . .His faithfulness extends to all generations. (Ps 119:90)

Monday, September 6, 2010

just a word

I'm thinking how Life is a series of divestitures. . .

the other day I missed Josiah's phone call-but I returned it shortly; we chatted for a few minutes and then my son said, "Mom, I've gotta go, my wife is coming out of the restaurant!"
his wife was coming. . .his wife!
a good word-a word that's odd for me to hear from Josiah; we tend to forget when we birth them that they grow up. . .
God gave Josiah a wife-
and I'm grateful for the gift.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

good King. . . good rules

Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would . . .keep all my commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever! (Deut 5:29)
I don't remember what initiated the talk-an admonition to obey; often this summer I overheard her remind the children, "Our good King has given us rules, good rules, to obey. . ."
And me? I need that reminder too- I distrust God sometimes. . . like Eve, who fell for the serpents lie, I conclude that God is withholding something from me, and so I willfully disobey his good commandments.
Last week I was reading from The Gospel Primer.
I remembered how the Gospel speaks to my mistrust of God and his good commandments.
Milton Vincent writes, "The Gospel helps me see the heart of the Person from whom the commandments come. . .if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son's life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me."
So sweet grandson (and Soul), remember the Gospel, our Good King gives good rules-

Monday, August 30, 2010

an occasion for cookies

I was in Dallas last week with Noah, Jamey, and sweet Adalyn Grace. Jamey expected friends to visit us-mainly to hold Adalyn, you know. . . so, we decided to make cookies and a sour cream coffee cake; I planned to whip up the cookies, but Jamey beat me too it. So-she mixed, measured, baked while I held our newborne.
In our family, Jamey gets the prize for the best chocolate chip cookies ever- here's the Cook's Illustrated-Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but we simply call them:
Jamey's Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups +2 T unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
coarse salt for sprinkling

So-mix together the dry ingredients; next mix sugar and butter together; beat in egg, yolk, vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined. Stir in chips.
Roll golf ball size dough and place 2 inches apart. Cook 12-15 minutes @ 325 degrees
Pull the cookies out of the oven and sprinkle tops with any coarse salt. Salt on cookies? Jamey says that's the way Noah likes them-and we all agree!

As expected, Jamey and I hosted visitors every afternoon that week, women who came to cuddle Adalyn-and talk. . .
I got to serve the cookies!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We're getting ready for a wedding. . . Brett and Rachel's!

11 years ago I was preparing for Naomi's marriage to Joshua and I remember my struggle with wedding distraction!
Then and now (and the 4 weddings in between) I've been encouraged by Nancy Wilson's perspective on weddings. . .
So, a wedding is like a beautifully decorated doorway into a house, however the doorway is not the house!
The doorway is the entrance. . .the substance is found beyond the doorway in the house- the marriage relationship; keeping this distinction protects me from being distracted or mezmerized by the doorway.
here's to decorating the doorway-beautifully!

Testing the fabric swish