Saturday, January 31, 2015

living His story. . . still

Seek the things that are above where Christ is. . . Set your mind on the things above-

We're cozy inside again today, watching from the window-  snow swirls, brave souls step out on icy streets. I'll mix up a pot of soup from the bits and pieces in the fridge- reminds me of my life in rural Mexico, sort of. . .

But one day this week Ivan and I crunched through the snow to the library and arrived just in time for  story hour. Ahh, how I love a good story, the picture books that tell a real story with lovely words and images, like The Gardener and The Friend by Sarah Stewart. But Ivan is 2- those stories wait in the wings.

This week in Texas John completed his last day of school, the last day in the same school for the last 24 years. I called him at 4:00 and he was still there, inputting grades, hugging kids- I could hear the hum of school life. Yesterday morning he turned in his keys, badge, final paperwork. He called me,

"I walked through the gym and the kids ran up, Mr. Newton, can I go to the bathroom?"

"I'm not the teacher anymore. . . you have to ask Coach B!"

 A chapter closed . . . sounds rather dramatic!
I know my husband- he'll remind me about our King Jesus and his grand eternal story. And we'll tell each other, "We're still a part- still living His story!"

Since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is. . . Set your mind on the things above. . .for your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3: 1-4)

Monday, January 26, 2015

new rhythm, new recipe

Here in Ohio I'm adjusting to Brett and Rachel's daily rhythm -  listening, observing, fitting in to a routine similar to mine yet different,  distinctly their own. . .

Early on weekday mornings I hear Brett in the kitchen, arranging the breakfast tray, making coffee, setting out toast, butter, jam, yogurt. I hear the rhythm of his voice chatting with his little Ivan in Spanish. I just listen in.

Newtons love scones- so I brought along a new recipe, untested but looking really delicious.  I discovered this one printed in the winter mailing from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.

One morning Rachel and I  whipped them up  and loved the toasty oat flavor!

Oatmeal Scones

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
10 T. butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla

Spread oats evenly onto baking sheet and toast at 375 until lightly golden and fragrant (8-10 min)
Cool. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together milk, cream, egg, vanilla. In separate bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder.
Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats, then liquid mixture until just combined; with floured hands knead until dough forms a cohesive mass. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7" round about 1" thick. Cut into 8 wedges and place each on a lined baking sheet.
Optional: with thumb, make a small indentation in the middle of each scone and fill with 1 T of good jam or marmalade. Bake until golden, 12-14 minutes. Serve with butter or stiff cream or simply plain!

(I toasted the oats the night before and used all milk, whatever kind that was in the fridge.  I did the thumb indentation and jam-- which was so lovely and delicious! I baked these scones just 12 minutes.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

to look outward and inward

Here in northeast Ohio snow fell in the night- all night, I think.  Morning dawned and snow keeps coming. . . coming thick and steady. I suggest to sweet Ivan that he push the white chair to face the window and we'll read and watch. . . we fit snug together on the white chair and listen to the snowy hush- like the snow, I sort of whisper as I read:  The Little House (Burton) and  Mama, Is It Summer Yet? (McClure) and All About Alfie (Hughes) -Ahh, how we love Alfie! I spot a pair of cardinals, the male brilliant against the snowy branch.

I'm visiting our Ohio children and grandchildren all month- in a few weeks John retires and he'll  drive up to join me, visiting family along the way .  . .hmmm,  new things on the horizon.

So, today I pulled out my Colossians study and came to a favorite passage:

If then you have been raised up with Christ keep seeking the things above where Christ is. . .
(Colossians 3: 1-4)

Keep seeking, keep seeking the things above. . . How do I purpose to keep seeking day by day?
I'm thinking of my friend back home and prayed for her. Friend, remember. . .

Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually. (Psalm 105:4)

(Here's my first try at Fair Isle, a tiny hat for baby Zeke. It's a fun project although I ripped out once!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

one about friendship

One morning last month I met Martha for coffee; my sweet friend and I share lots of life, a journey that stretches 2 decades. We're part of the same church community, mentor women,  co-lead a Bible study, but most  notably- my son is married to Martha's daughter and we share 3 darling grandchildren.

 Longevity with a friend is one of the sweetest parts of this earthly life, I think.
But all that mixing and sharing can provoke misunderstandings, untrue thinking, even envy- imagine that?
So, Martha and I work at our friendship; time sails on, days swallow days, and I'll get a call from Martha,
"Darcie, we need to have coffee!" 

 We keep our lives in the open, share desires, clarify doubts, pray for one another, and sometimes we talk about this season of life as we're slowing down joint by achy joint, growing  a little weary.  We remind each other truth about God. I have a text from Martha saved on my phone,

"Darcie, in my Bible reading yesterday I found a phrase which I think describes you and me: weary yet pursuing (Judges 8:4)!"

Indeed friend, let's keep it up. . .

One  morning last week Martha and I met over coffee. We shared Scripture and encouragement and we prayed together, this time for our grandchildren-  you see, this week we're sharing them, 8 days split in half (while their parents are anniversary vacationing!)
John and I claimed the first half- and last night we turned the children over to the other grandparents amid a flurry of blankets, pillows, school bags and trailing socks.
We keep praying;  now John and I are relaxing- the house is silent.

This morning Martha texted me that she found 11 widowed socks. . .11?? (John says that maybe the grandchildren's 11 socks are in the basket with his 20?)

Weary yet pursuing. . .

Sunday, January 4, 2015

to hoist sail and draw up anchor

When I walk a neighborhood I notice doors that extend an invitation, if you know what I mean?
 Doors seem to hold the promise of what's hidden on the other side - expected, unexpected, new and old, ordinary and exceptional, food, comfort, people, life sharing, beauty. . .
(maybe I'll photograph doors in 2015-  then I'll write about what's on the other side!)

Usually I give the new year door a hearty shove, but the 2015 door squeaks open inch by tiny inch. I'm tentative, not quite use to the thought - (even though John and I greeted the dawn of 2015 with the young and hearty. ) And really, whether I'm ready or not, I'm living a new day, new year, on the threshold.

If I try to swallow January 2015 in a huge 31 day chunk, then I can't catch enough breath. . .
So, there's the momentous, like retirement and a new grandson and turning 65. And there's the mundane, like paperwork and more paper, meetings, packing, preparing, traveling.
Heart- God gives daily grace, day after day, always new every morning grace.

Last week my dear friend texted me, "Read Year's End and New Year from Valley of Vision."
So I pulled my falling apart copy from books piled very high on the back of the sofa-
And the Lord renewed my courage,  renewed my vision for 2015. . .

"O Love Beyond Compare, Thou art good. . .

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor. . .
I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.

If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
    thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
    I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
    I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not. . .
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
    as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use."

Hmmm, Amen, so good. . .