Monday, October 28, 2013

Strong in different ways

Sunday afternoon we peddled our bicycles in Austin, around the university and state capitol; for me, peddling the hills is arduous and the traffic a little scary;  I managed alright in the well marked bike lane until John called out, "Move over- a bus is coming up behind you!"
That day I learned the rule of  the road: when in a bike lane, yield to the bus. . . (at least in downtown Austin)

My husband is sharp and sure of himself on a bicycle, on unfamiliar streets, amid traffic, and somehow he navigates me along. . . the next morning he mapped a 10 mile ride and we explored a tamer part of Austin.

But I stopped to pull out my camera. . . again to tie my shoe. . .and again to avoid a collision-
"Let's share the pumpkin bread in my basket and find coffee/hot chocolate," I suggested.

So- in the  line at Starbucks a conversation floated from behind me, "Ahh, listen to that beautiful Spanish!" I whispered to my husband.
"I can't catch it all- they're talking too fast, must be Argentinians." he whispered back.

Later we sat in an office in Austin and listened to a young man behind a desk talk about teachers retirement.

Retirement will be good, I think. . .we'll be strong in different ways.

Two are better than one. . . for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. (Ecc 3: 9)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

debt of love

Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. . .Rom 13:8
I've been thinking a lot about what it means to pay the debt of love I owe to my enemies, neighbors, family. . .
Last week I took a meal to a family with a new baby-a young family with 4 children, 5 years old and younger- just like my family 30 years ago.
The memories blur, sepia with cracked edges in the album of my mind.

"How did you handle contention among siblings?" they inquired.
"Oh, so your children fight? imagine that?" I said.

 I attempted a thoughtful answer and we talked on while I cradled the sleeping newborn.
 Mainly we talked about living out the gospel in our families- it was good.
But I forgot to tell them that the pursuit of peace never ends- we work  to keep away from strife, to prefer others, to pay the debt of love we owe, again and again, year after year, siblings and parents too.

I told my young friends that brothers and sisters grow up- and sometimes they actually choose to live together, to serve and enjoy one another.
my girls have a sweet story about a ceramic cake stand and a sister surprise.

 I'd blog the story, but it's theirs to tell. . . (hint hint)

Friday, October 11, 2013

All in a day. . .

My  sister, Beth, is a nephrology nurse. . . I love that word- nephrology, but to me her work is an amazing mystery My sister is compassionate and  incredibly skilled- she takes care of people with kidney disease.
 And this month she's retiring after doing her good work for 30 years in the same hospital.

Beth collects children's books, the kind that narrate an authentic story with beautiful words and illustrations.  So-I found a perfectly lovely picture book,  All in a Day, and sent it off  to her-
to celebrate retirement, to celebrate what's next. . .because a day is a perfect piece of time to live a life, to plant a seed. . .

Today I'm musing how my dear sister will fill her days with beauty in the garden and the kitchen, with care giving in new venues, with a cross country bicycle trip, perhaps
 And I'm really hoping she'll write a children's book of her own--an authentic story with beautiful words and pictures, a book that I will read to my day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

windows of time

Yesterday I scrolled back through my blog and concluded that reading years of blog posts is kind of like reliving a life-emotions, memories flooded in. . .
These days allocating time is like fitting life into little window panes .
My mother loved people and I remember her telling me, "You can fit lots of visits in each day: start with breakfast, then move to mid morning coffee, followed by lunch, afternoon tea and then a dinner date!" (my mother had lots of energy!)
I let her know that her suggestion wouldn't work for me- just imagine me glancing at my watch and popping up with a quick hug and bye, leaving a worthy conversation hanging, and I'd always be late, late, for a very important date.
But increasingly, as time fits into window panes, I wonder. . .

Then last week I heard my mother talking as I typed an email to a friend in another state, "I have Thursday morning available for a phone chat or if that's not good, I'm free on Friday from 12 to 1:30, will it work?"
I thought, bad-bad! I am squeezing this dear woman into a window pane of my life.
But I desperately wanted her to be there, even if the window pane was a tight fit.

Ahhh, every time I read Proverbs 2 & 3 I'm reminded that in the wisdom pursuit there's beauty and safety-
and there is an appointed time for everything, a time for every event (delight) under heaven. (Ecc 3)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

gospel affection

I just finished reading Gospel-Powered Parenting (How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting)
 I know- you're thinking, "Why another parenting book? and why you?"
William Farley writes how the gospel intersects with life (what could be better?), and specifically with parenting-  it's good, really good. I'm taking a few notes before returning the book to a friend, and this morning I'm thinking about gospel love. . .
Farley writes that the gospel helps us see the connection between love and sacrifice; parental love should be sacrificial like God's love demonstrated at the cross, and gospel centered love terminates in affection.
"God dealt with our sin issue at the cross to open the flood gates of his affection towards us."
Sometimes affection for our children is hard, slow in coming. . . we can be affectionate with a disagreeable child because we remember that God payed a great price to be affectionate with us. . .his disagreeable children.

Farley suggests four ways that parents can show their children affection:
  • focused attention (exclusive time) 
  •  eye contact (look, listen) 
  •  physical touch 
  •  identifying signs of grace in our children (are we more aware of their failings or of God's grace?)
I love what Farley writes about fathers and affection, "The more affectionate a father, the more likely that his children will internalize his values."

One delightful aspect of being a grandmother is watching my sons tenderly love their children- I pray and in my heart I remind them,  Boys-gospel centered love for your children terminates in fervent affection.