Wednesday, April 28, 2010

coming home to Texas

I use to be a West Coast snob-I'm still a bit of one, for pride dies hard, so I've discovered.
You see, I was raised in lovely Northern California-land of vast mountains and amazing ocean beaches. . .
Then God brought us to live in Texas-20 years ago, imagine that!
I tell people that Texas has big sky and friendly people. . .
and summers are very hot. . .
And God works on my heart, reminding me to be thankful when I grumble about the scorching summers, where all things green wilt, turn brown by July.
And I forget that God made Texas beautiful-especially in the spring.
So, we returned from 2 weeks in Europe and disovered this-Bluebonnets and Larkspur blooming in our front yard.
And the next week, after some rain and a little cultivation, yellows, reds, whites appeared in the garden. . .
I love the suprise of seeing the perennials send out runners and appear in new parts of the garden.
And I remember the afternoon in March when we left for London-Francey came to take us to the airport and I was in the garden, "things grow in the spring here, I have to bury some seeds before I fly off from Texas!" I told her.
So, I came home to Texas the beautiful-thank you, Lord Jesus, for the reminder. . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

and of course, the grandchildren. . .

hmmm, the pleasure of walking hand in hand with grandchildren . . .there have been few opportunities with our 3 little redheads in Spain, but we love it!
and they are not shy with us-
so good.
Downtown at the plaza, Selma eats sweets. . . cookies dipped in dark chocolate, from Beatriz, a shop where the customer line often flows out the door and into the street.
And here is smiling Josu. . .a photo shoot of Josu wearing his favorite Liverpool soccer outfit.
I think he wore it every day of our visit; Sunday morning I caught him peering into the door of the washing machine and inspecting the porch drying rack, in search of his beloved outfit.
about our grandchildren. . . we discovered that when their parents kiss, the children- all 3, clap and cheer (of course their parents taught them that)
and we discovered that when their grandparents kiss, the children cheer- all 3, "Yeah Gran, Yeah Papi!"
imagine that?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

basque cuisine and dinner conversation

I knew dinner at the Sidreria (cider house) would be late, because Spanish dinning is late- we arrived at 8 PM and our group of 8 was first to be seated.
And we experienced Basque cuisine. . .I remember the rustic ambience, the spirited server, the food-cider, cod, cuajada-all wonderful. (you ask, what is cuajada? kind of like plain yogurt, or milk curd-served with honey for dessert-I loved it!)
but mostly I remember the dinner conversation-for you see, the young people came with a dinner conversation agenda for John and me. . .Marriage
How can we strengthen our marriage? deal with conflict? stay close after years and years? prepare and wait for marriage?
. . .so the questions came- I'm honored they consider us credible to even talk on the subject-37 years married doesn't necessarily qualify one, right?
And the worthy conversation was in Spanish-I felt my limits stretched-felt frustration that I couldn't always say exactly what was in my mind; hmmm, maybe that's best since many words often muddy the waters. . .
the pursuit of oneness in marriage is purposeful work, always- with me constantly looking to my own heart-for I'm a sinner, and so is the dear man I married. . .
I'm reading a really good book, When Sinners Say "I do" (Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage) by Dave Harvey.
So, thinking about John and me, sinners, redeemed sinners-the author reminds us that building a strong marriage is all about living the Gospel, "When sin becomes bitter, marriage becomes sweet. . .by the gospel we understand that, although saved, we remain sinners; through the gospel we receive power to resist sin. . .the gospel is the fountain of a thriving marriage."
hmmm, I think I'll be writing more posts about marriage and this good book.
(and young folks. . . thanks for taking us out for a memorable basque meal-and thanks for the questions.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

local cuisine and more

We arrived in Spain at night, pulled our suitcases onto a dark uncharted sidewalk- and there they were. . .Joshua and Malachai at the airport in Bilboa.
Gran! Papi! said our little grandson with affection-how nice. . .then a 2 hours through the mountains; I sat in the back seat with Malachai-he talks (me too!)
Naomi had packed a little dinner for us- bocadillos-a baguette with thick slices of savory tortilla- Spanish tortilla, like frittata, with egg and potato-delicious.
a friend asked me if Spaniards in the north make Paella? Indeed-here's the paella from Naomi's kitchen-isn't it a lovely dish? "muy buena pinta" they say (a beautiful appearance).
And Membrio-quince cooked with sugar to a thick paste, allowed to gel, then sliced.
Miriam arranged this lovely plate of membrio, cheese and nuts for our brunch with the church-I love the contrasting flavors.
Then Saturday night we were invited out on the town, to Basque cuisine at the Sidreria-
and that story I'll save for another post. . .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

over coffee in the UK. . .in Spain

This morning in San Antonio I'm waiting for a friend. . .soon we'll have coffee and talk about how our view of God impacts everything-our thoughts, attitudes, words, relationships. . .
last month on a Saturday morning in Bromley, Ellen came for brunch with her four little ones; what a busy little bunch around Abi's table-a reminder of me 20 years ago. then Nathaniel and John took the children out to play-and we were there-3 women over coffee and the Word in south London.
I love these young women. . ."No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful. . ."
(I think I got a little zealous with Abi's whizzing milk frother. . .)
A few mornings later I was in Pamplona, over coffee with Naomi, Rachel, Miriam-
they invited me to join their weekly meeting at a local shop, always the same location for an intentional meeting over the Word, with coffee and a croissant divided 4 ways. . .
these women read 30 chapters a week:
"Have you read it all? How has it given you encouragement in your spiritual life? in light of it, is there something you need to change in your behaviour, attitude, thoughts?"
"What about your gospel gospel opportunities this week?" they ask each other. . .
we sat at a little round table with our Bibles open. . .in a coffee shop-noisey, crowded, smokey-in northern Spain. . .
And I was very thankful to be there too.

all things to enjoy. . .richly

last week I met a friend for coffee and she asked me to tell about my trip. . . so I began to tell-
then I asked, "What do you enjoy about international travel?"
"Culture and Food", she said.
hmmm, me too- and I enjoy seeing the things that grow-all sorts of growing things.
On our last day in England, Abi and I took a walk through her Bromley neighborhood, to her local shopping area, and of course we stopped for a coffee, outdoors on a lovely spring morning. Bromley was bright with blooming things-hmmm, God has given us all things richly to enjoy!
so easy to forget. . .all things and just how richly.
And this?. . .the Ancient Herb Garden at Cantebury Cathedral-I asked John to take a picture of Abi and me (avid herb gardeners!) in the ancient herb garden -a place where things once grew, and maybe again one day-
hmmm, my mind always goes to those spiritual lessons. . .

Saturday, April 10, 2010

good works prepared. . .

Every week holds those unexpecteds. . . one evening last week my husband talked with a man who was struggling. . .in his marriage, wrestling with life.
John suggested that his wife call me.
that's fine- I didn't think she'd call.
but she called.
we made a date at my house early the next morning.
I noted my reluctance- it will be hard, heavy, probably messy-not what I had planned for tomorrow. . .
But by morning. . .well, God had given me new resolve-and grace, sweet grace. . .
I was reminded-what a privilege to proclaim the truth of Scripture, to offer it lovingly, gently, boldly, to challenge a woman (challenge myself) with the choice to honor the Savior even when it's very hard. . .
So, she came-her car had a flat tire, but she changed the tire and drove to my house-she talked and I talked; it was hard but so so good.
And in the evening I met my friend Jennifer over coffee; I shared some of that heart struggle and God's faithfulness to me.
Jennifer reminded me that the Lord Jesus saved us for good works that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)
And as we discover what He has prepared for us, those good works will not be burdensome. . . for His yoke is easy and His load is light.
Ah, yes. . .

Friday, April 9, 2010

trusting in the fog

Amid my trip reading, I came across a quote by Edith Schaeffer, written during a period of uncertainty. . .
"I am impressed by the constantly repeated opportunities in this life to trust God in the fog."
hmmm-really good. . .she reminds me to be impressed (not fearful), to consider the challenges and fog as opportunities-expected and repeated, opportunities to trust God.
with Abigail and Nathaniel in Canterbury

So, across the ocean, my three girls, the wonderful spouses and grandchildren, are in the midst of that repeated opportunity to trust God in the fog.
Where will they be come fall? how much stuff can 2 suitcases hold?
where, when, how. . .about all of life's details?
I'm watching and praying, expectant-and I'm thinking. . .
thinking that when my children experience the fog, I kind of wish it was me in the fog, not them.
hmmm-I suppose that's a mother's struggle to trust God, the Creator and Sustainer of life, who loves my children-His children; the Lord of glory who sacrificed His life for them. . .
then I remember that God is on the throne and his sovereignty rules over all. (Ps 103)
It's good to meditate here: God Reigns-no matter how life appears, our God reigns.
I'm writing that in my journal this week.
The Lord reigns (has assumed kingship), let the earth rejoice." (Ps 96)

Monday, April 5, 2010

he loves museums. . .

Some women marry men whose interests exactly parallel their own. . .but most often not.
and there lies the adventure-not just to forbear, but to appreciate the differences.
my dear husband loves museums. . .loves, loves them.
I like museums, but I think I'm reasonable. . .
my husband, however, examines every exhibit, reading, rumminating over each description; he would be delighted to find himself in a museum after closing, hoping the exhibits would come to life-so he could interact with the museum.
not me. . .
Of course, in London one can be a glutton for museums- and in the ancient Egyptian section of the British Museum, I discovered my husband in the midst of a group of school children-examining their pencil drawings of ancient artifacts.

Sigh, after 37 years- still learning to delight in the differences.