Monday, September 29, 2014

bearing long in love

A few weeks ago I set out tiny seedlings for our fall vegetable garden, 6 broccoli, 4 cauliflower, lots of kale, and already the cooler mornings and evenings encourage lovely growth. A few basil plants sprouted from dropped seed; those little beauties should produce bunches of basil until a December freeze--hummm, tomato basil soup on a chilly day!
I can usually think of ways to use the broccoli but creativity with cauliflower challenges me-mainly I love to see the contrast, snowy white cauliflower heads among a garden of greens! I've earmarked two cauliflower plants for my friend, Kate. She feeds her family lots of vegetables and makes cauliflower rice!

Kate and I have been studying Ephesians for months; one afternoon last week we slid into the booth at our usual coffee shop and opened up to Ephesians 4.  "This was so so good for me!" we agreed, almost in unison.

Well, God's living Word is always good. . . but sometimes He uses his Word to drive me deeper into his heart; perhaps it's just because I'm ready to hear. It's like the King has set the table, prepared his feast, graciously served it - and I'm hungry. I love when a friend on the same journey (although in a different season) affirms the impact.

I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling for which you have been called, 
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph 4:1-3)

So, Kate and I had lots on our minds to share personally about the good Word that day, and it still  rumbles around inside me. . .
walk worthy of the calling to which you have been called. . .that calling is the Gospel call on my life! bearing with one another in love . . .  I ask myself, "Amid personal conflicts do I bear long in love. . .not giving up on relationships, not turning away when its hard?"

No, not always, not often enough. . .I'm remembering today that when a relationship is strained, I need to respond in loving tolerance, with patience and humility.
I need this gospel challenge today- because forbearing love begins with me. . .

Monday, September 22, 2014

bits and pieces

I'm a sweater girl who lives in south Texas. Surely, cooler days are on the doorstep, so today I sewed up  a hole in the elbow of my favorite sweater- then I hung it up,. . .

On Monday John visited the school district office and then over our 2 plate dinner we talked about the new pieces in the retirement puzzle; we submit and receive papers one by one. Retirement officially begins January 29, 2015.
"They say the benefit package is good." he shares.
"What's that mean?" I wonder.

Hmmm, we're not quite sure- there's so many details to work out; the pieces are adding up, creating a portrait of retirement.

I have set the Lord continually before me, because He is at my right hand, 
I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8) 

Crashing woke me in the wee hours of the morning--then silence and I wondered if I'd dreamed it? But in the morning while sweeping, I saw it. . .pieces of a terra-cotta plate piled on the table.
Many years ago when my kids were quite little and we lived in the mountains of Mexico, we would come to the city to shop and sometimes purchased items in an artisan place in the heart of Puebla. And that's when I selected 4 rustic clay plates, different sizes, the colors and scenes of the Mexico I love.
So, last week the largest one fell off the wall, ending up in a pile of chunks, shards, and dust.
Was it valuable? Oh no--only in memories. The collection of 4 plates has hung like that on the wall of all our homes for 35 years- in our adobe houses in Cuautempan and Aquixtla and in Texas forever, so it seems.

"I heard the plate crash down in the night." I commented to my husband.
"I picked up the pieces, collected them incase you want me to glue it together."
Glue it together?  that's my husband, he's been gluing together pieces in my life for 42 years.

No, but thanks- we're moving on, piece by piece and the Lord makes all things beautiful in His time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September. . .and a few worthy pursuits

I've been knitting away for my favorite little boys - and during our summer road trip I delivered 2 striped hats with ear flaps and a blue sweater with wooden buttons and a shawl collar to the ones in Arkansas, Tennessee, New York. It's September and soon enough they'll be ready for warm wool.

I think it's about time for some pink- this Lottie Cardigan is for Eleanor in New York; I love the garter stitch texture and couldn't resist the yarn called raspberry. (bright bright, what will her sweet mama think?)

In this season when my routine isn't precisely framed, sometimes I wander, trying to discern the worthy pursuits God has for me- then I pray, Lord, teach me the way that I should walk. . .teach me to do your will because you are my God.
And He does. . .

Last week John and I stayed with 4 dear children from our church family while their parents were out of town. It was so so good for us to remember the scene and to tackle daily meals for 6, diapers, chores, homework, park evenings, bedtime routines- and all the rest, including their hearts.
One day we argued about how he handled some contention, and later we asked forgiveness, me for being critical and him for being defensive; a bit amused, we asked each other "How did we ever handle that one with our own 8-- do you remember?"
Ahh, this opportunity, a worthy pursuit, and to think their parents trusted us.

And last week women's Bible study started up at church; this year I'll lead a small group with my dear friend- Martha and I are  mother-in-laws together, have been for almost 15 years and we share  grandchildren.  We've worked in women's ministry at Believers Fellowship for lots of years but this will be our first time to partner; I'm anticipating good things and growth. . .Martha tells me that she'll learn from me this year, but really, I think the same about her. One day I surveyed the roster of women in our group and I texted her,

"Martha, I don't know half of the women in our group!"
"I know-  I'm excited to get to know so many new women!" she immediately returned my text.

You see, already I'm learning from her. . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

He writes their story

 When we visit our Syracuse family in the summer, we go out for ice cream- it's tradition; our favorite spot is Arctic Island where I love to wait my turn, surveying the menu of ice cream flavors  printed in columns on old cracked walls. Folks up north know how to do ice cream stands.

There's something broadening and delightful about sharing new experiences with our grown up kids.
We stand on the outside, taking in the spinning gears of their lives--but honestly, sometimes it feels strange, lonely;  I tell myself that the changing dynamics of families is God's good plan.

Sometimes Scripture comes to rest in my mind with an unexpected application--especially when the character of our God is on display. And right here the truth of Acts 17:26 helps to untangle my heart.

 "From one man God made every nation of men, that 
they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined 
the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

The Master designer has determined that my children would grow up and be involved in relationships, geographical locations, experiences and worthy pursuits apart from me and outside of our home that would powerfully influence and shape them. He is writing the story of each of their lives-perfectly.

So, today I tell myself again. . .if I am going to love my children well, I must worship God as Sovereign.