Thursday, February 25, 2010

cherries. . . visiting Montana

hmmm, cherries. . . evidence of of God's creation glory-reds, blush pink, yellow, glossy, firm, tart, sweet. . .
When Amaleah and Julia spend the night with us, they like frozen cherries on their breakfast oatmeal . . .today I'm clearing out any stray frozen fruit-last year's batch, getting ready for another box of Oregon cherries ( did you know that Texas grows amazing Ruby Red Grapefruit?)
And I'm thinking about our summer visit to Montana, to the Flathead Valley-travel brochures beckon. . .the Flathead Valley lies next to the rugged grandeur of Glacier National Park.
Friends beckoned John and me to Kalispell, Montana-Mark, Monica, and family, great friends for a very long time.
So there we were-soaking up Hemingway hospitality in their family-built house, savoring garden produce. . . beets, potatoes, green beans, raspberries. . . eating lots of cherries, picking Flathead and Ranier cherries-imagine me, a content woman in a cherry orchard. . .picking and eating.
Elizabeth pitting cherries
One day I tagged along with Monica, visiting friends and neighbors. I listened to talk of mammoth vegetable gardens and the best spots to pick wild huckleberries, of pitting and drying fruit, of bartering cherries for fresh eggs and raw milk; I peered into root cellars and hen houses. . .
A corner of my heart is nostalgic for that life-as evidenced by books in our closet with titles like: Solar Projects, Woodsmith, Rustic Furniture; in my dreams I'm the woman raising and sheering the sheep, carding and spinning the wool, knitting the sweater. . . 20 years ago John and I moved from rural Mexico to the city-to a downtown spot where graffiti tags garage walls, where loud music and loud cars rumble at night, where the corner house is painted sherbert orange, where neighbors cycle in and out every few months. . .and our neighborhood road rooster, running in the street, crowing all day, all night.
hmmm, remember, Soul, whether rural or urban, any lifestyle can become an idol in my heart!
I like Montana's peaceful Flathead Valley. . .and I like my city neighborhood-
it's God's place for me.
"Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness" (Ps 37: 3)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

more treasures in the closet

while sorting through a plastic tub in the book closet, I came across a wrinkled paper bag-it yielded this. . . February is our anniversary month, thus it seems appropriate to recall the memory.
our anniversary. . .25 years for John and me, and my clever husband came home from school that day with a bulge under his wind breaker. I was making a roast-a worthy dinner to celebrate 25 years of marriage with the wonderful kids who share our life.
Smiling as usual-John extracted this health teacher's specimen from the folds of his jacket. . .I give you my heart!
So-roast with the kids and a rubber heart. . .celebrating 25 years with a good man.
And 13 years since. . .

Dear Love, now it's been 38 years-you have my heart. . .

Monday, February 22, 2010

breakfast on Monday

This morning I hastily flipped through my recipe binder, searching for something yummy to bake. . . and to take along to gift a new friend; then I remembered these banana blueberry muffins- one of those long lost recipes; a lick of the batter and the aroma of baking muffins reminded me that this recipe is delicious!
So, I ate one for my breakfast-on-the-run, along with plain yogurt and hot tea; then throughout the day I gave away the remainder of the dozen (with one set aside for John!).

healthy banana-blueberry muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup frozen blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350; beat butter and sugars til fluffy, add eggs one at a time, beating well; in another bowl, mash bananas (you should have 3/4 cup), stir in milk and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and gently mix all together, lastly fold in the frozen blueberries.
Divide the batter among lined muffin cups and bake 20-25 minutes; let cool 10 minutes. (I enjoyed mine warm with cool smooth yogurt!)
today I had all the ingredients on hand-but if not, I would substitute flours and perhaps add bran or oats instead of wheat germ. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

journals in the closet

I'm tackling closet cleaning, specifically the book closet in the hall.
So I started sorting and straightening-but soon decided I need to clean out, give away!
Aye! the home school materials that fill the shelves . . .this was good, glad I used it, time to pass it on. . . one end of the middle shelf is lined with black and white journals-my children's school journals. I opened a few, turned the pages, got sentimental. . . repositioned them back on the middle shelf.
And my own journals are there -me always recording words. . .and I lingered awhile over my children's clever and curious words from 20 and 30 years ago. . .In the summer of 1990, Josiah was almost 6 years old, I scribbled his words on a calendar page.

"You know, Mom, God gave me a new heart-I was just like garbage on the road and the Lord chose me, He picked me up and saved me!
and his questions. . .
"was God making hell when He was making the earth?. . .will the animals still be here when God destroys the earth?". . .
and my favorite words. . .
"If I died now I would go to heaven-but what about Mercy?
Josiah and Mercy, summer 2009

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

enduring kindness. . .

So, day by day you and I get out of bed, thank the Lord for Himself, thank Him for a new day full of opportunities. . .we ask for his grace which enables us to desire the happiness of others, remembering the truth-love is patient, love is kind-and day by day we leave a legacy of kindness.
But there may be seasons in our lives when each of us is faced with the prospect of doing a particular deed of goodness day in and day out, with no end in sight-Aye, weary. . .
Then we're encouraged, "And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)
I watch my friend, Laura, enduring. . . showing kindness and goodness-purposing to meet her elderly father's extensive needs. Laura demonstrates to me that the goal of her kindness is to show forth the compelling power of the Gospel. . . and it must be just that for Christ followers, don't you think?
Do I desire to leave a legacy of kindness? indeed, but not so others notice,"My, oh my, she is such a kind woman. . . so many deeds of goodness!"

but rather-she devoted her life to the happiness of others because of Jesus- because He loved her and gave up His life for her. . .

Monday, February 15, 2010

red, brown, blue. . .almost finished

In August, after our long summer trip, I was itching to settle into a home project. Gabrielle and I visited my favorite San Antonio quilt shop, Las Colchas. We were on a misson to choose "boy fabric" for a crib quilt I planned to make for little Landis-due to arrive in September; with quilt fabric, well. . .I'm not very adventurous-but look at the fabric Gabrielle chose! I reclined at the cutting table nodding and hmmming as she selected and arranged the bolts (me feeling and stroking the fabric!). And now after months of stitching, here it is, red-brown-blue, a quilt for our sweet 4 month old.
Hand stitched on the blue border, to Landis~ love gran. . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

easy to be entreated

Entreat: to make an earnest request or petition
A kind woman is easily entreated. James 3:17 describes wisdom from above,
"first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy."
Included in "reasonable" is easy to be entreated. I've been thinking about this great quote by Matthew Henry:
"There is an easiness that is weak and frail, however, it is not a blamable easiness to yield ourselves to all just requests of fellow creatures."
hmmm, I certainly don't want to have an easiness that is weak and frail. . .but to cultivate such a quality, to yield to all just requests- that is a worthy pursuit indeed.
So, I ask myself, "Do I yield to just requests or am I harsh and unbending, holding to a rigid standard? (just plain mean!) Do others know that you and I will listen to a respectful appeal, do our children and grandchildren know they can come to us with a just request?
So I've made up this phrase for myself, "Am I easily entreatable?" (I don't think entreatable is a real word, but it works to question my heart!)
Soul, remember. . .kindness is tender concern for others, a desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats us.

Monday, February 8, 2010

kind words. . .and face

A few months ago I was making frequent phone calls to schedule first time appointments with a variety of doctors. I felt nervous, timid-who would answer the phone-and would she answer with a smile or a scowl?. . . I discovered the wonderful relief as the person on the other end responded patiently, kindly.
The Bible tells us about the proverbs 31 woman, "kindness was on her tongue". . . I think that means kind words were ready, in her heart, on her mind, and then she expressed kind words.
In life's rapid routine I don't always listen to myself talk; are my words sweet- gentle- nurturing -encouraging? Does harshness or sarcasm ever creep into my voice? Sometimes I say the right words in an unkind tone.
John andI observed friends interacting with their young children; as Dad spoke to a whiney child, Mom gently clued him, "tone, tone!" They had agreed to hold one another accountable for the tone of their words.
And my face. . . does my expression read kind and I'm interested in you? I think I have a telling face which at times is not welcoming or kind, imagine that? Perhaps I'm merely distracted, but my face appears scowling, "What does she want from me this time?" says my face. . .
As long as I can remember John has asked me to make bread for his faculty Christmas luncheon-certainly not a burdensome chore, however with the recent request, my face must have read, bother! or not again or I'm really busy . . .since almost immediately my dear husband offered to buy bread at the local bakery!
Sigh. . .
enough for one post, but there's more.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

to lighten the load. . .

Kindness is the sincere desire for the happiness of others.
Goodness is kindness in action (deliberate deeds that are helpful to others)-so, kindness and goodness are closely related.
Kind to whom? to all men (even our enemies) especially our closest neighbors -husbands, children, family, co-workers. . .
How do I make all this practical in my life? God predestined our salvation and then He prepared good works for us to do (Eph 2:10)-amazing, really!
I think about Tabitha in Acts 9, a woman of Joppa who was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did.
In the news we hear of sensational acts of kindness- but God created us to do good works within the humdrum of our daily lives, with our families, in our homes, with our church, neighbors; and that describes Tabitha-she devoted her life to doing good in the course of daily living. I don't have to do all the good works in the world, I just have to find the ones which God prepared for me-Soul, be alert to the opportunties!
lately I've been thinking, "how can I simply lighten the load of those God brings my way?"
. . .a worthy pursuit, indeed.