Sunday, September 30, 2007

Christian Fiction Lovers Unite

I wish I could squeeze in a trip to Portland, Oregon this Saturday, October 6, 2007. Some of my favorite Christian authors will be at the Christian Supply store on Division from 2 to 4 pm. My husband's college friend, author Leslie Gould will be there. The last time I saw her we both had one-year-old boys. She has been busy in the last nineteen years and has three novels under her belt. I've enjoyed Patrica Rushford's fiction. I want to try her mysteries for younger children. My seven-year-old daughter might enjoy mysteries like I do. My sixteen-year-old daughter just finished my favorite Jane Kirkpatrick book, Love to Water my Soul. My daughter would enjoy meeting Robin Jones Gunn. We've both read many of her books. I would love to meet Randy Alcorn in person. I have been a fan for many years. Did I mention there are prizes and refreshments? Sounds fun, but my next trip to Portland is to see my neurologist. Maybe I can take some books to sell and use the money to pick up some new fiction.

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,that they may dwell with me;he who walks in the way that is blamelessshall minister to me. Psalm 101:6 ESV

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thanks, but No Thanks

Generally I make it a practice to not buy anything from door-to-door salesmen. I hear the same line from the meat guy or the out-of-towners. Yeah, yeah. You just came from my neighbor’s. Occasionally I’ll buy a candy bar to support some local cause. And one time I did buy a Seventh Day Adventist cookbook. My policy is to be firmly polite and not waste their time or mine. I was impressed with the young man’s spiel yesterday. He cleaned half my car bumper and a section of my front door. He was friendly and energetic, and best of all, he graciously took no for an answer. I wasn’t so impressed with the guy who came and pitched the same cleaner today. I don’t care if he knew my neighbors’ names and how much they ordered. He didn’t earn any points when he belittled the young man who came yesterday. And no, this chap would not have made a sale if he had been first to my house. In fact, if the first young man came back, I would offer him homemade cookies. I have an 18-year-old son too. I will pray for that young man. Both of them. I pray for safety and God’s leading in their lives. And for my safety, I say no thanks and close the door to magazine salesmen and home security salesmen.

Conduct yourself wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each peson. Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

Friday, September 28, 2007

Man in Black

I witnessed history today. I attended the investiture ceremony of a local attorney and personal friend who was sworn in as federal judge on the District Court for the Western District of Washington. He was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. It was an honor to be present when The Honorable Benjamin Settle donned his black robe, with the help of his wife Lynn. The Rotunda at the Tacoma Court House was filled with judges, prosecutors, a senator, distinguished guests and half of our small town. It was a good day for law and justice. And I'm glad I could be part of the standing ovation for a man who deserves it.

And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.' Luke 19:17 ESV

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Love You, Man!

I have no worries that my second-born son was switched at birth. His fair hair set him apart in the Chinese hospital in Taiwan 18 years ago today. He came home to a two-year-old brother and 12 ninth- and tenth-grade sisters. My husband and I will never forget that first taxi ride with a brand new baby (and no car seat!) to the missionary school where we were dorm parents. We left Taiwan when the boys were almost 4, almost 2, and our next child was due in a few months.

In 18 years we have seen the little brother grow up into a young man. He is the opposite of his older brother--guess which one is the talkative one? At least at home. And what would we do without Danny? He is the chess player assistant to his dad--always thinking a few steps ahead on projects. He helped with the linoleum tile floor in the kitchen, the vinyl flooring job at his grandparents, the brick patio, the rock wall in the front yard and more. My favorite is his layout and man-power for our hardwood floor, lights and darks, longs and shorts all deliberately placed to look random. Speaking of man-power, who dug the holes to move one tree from the front yard to the back and then dug another hole to reposition the other tree in the front yard?

And what makes a mother's heart proud? To see her son tenderly care for his little sister, eleven years his junior. He would be independently wealthy if he was paid for all his hours babysitting. He did it out of love. (We try to throw some red vine licorice his way every now and then.) And now our son is showing our older daughter the ropes at the community college where they attend as a high school senior and junior.

We love you, Danny! Happy 18th birthday!

P.S. Thanks for all the rides while I'm not able to drive!

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. Proverbs 23:22-25 ESV

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nice Save

Even when our team is winning, it's painful to watch the other goalie miss shot after shot. There are days like that. You dust off and brace yourself for the next missile headed your way. As a parent I need to stay in the game. I have a job to do. I can't walk off the field because my feelings are hurt. And thank God for the moments when the action is on the other end of the field and I can catch a breather.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How Great, How Glorious

I keep hearing and seeing the word, "glorious." And then this morning I followed a link and ended up at Sovereign Grace Ministries. I listened to samples of a cd by a father-son team, Mark Altrogge and his oldest son, Stephen. I'm used to a quiet house when I'm alone so the first song took me by surprise with the "upbeat, electric-guitar-driven 'At the Cross.'" I like the song, "All I Really Need" because it speaks to where I am. You can download that song for free and listen to the whole thing whenever you want. The last song is "How Great, How Glorious." It's good to keep the focus on the Holy One, Maker of all things. And "why should we ever wonder if we're hidden from [His] eyes"?

sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Psalm 66:2 ESV

Monday, September 24, 2007

Need I Say More

I wish I had said more. The little boy in front of me at the store wanted to know why I had a cane. I tried to explain that my brain doesn't always work right. The cane helps me with balance. Do I always need a cane? No. And that's the part where I wanted to say I'm trusting God to restore my health like He has in the past. And if I don't bounce back, that will be okay too. And then there was the cell phone rep on the phone today. I am the translator for my Chinese neighbors. The rep wanted to know how I knew Chinese. Did I study it in college? I mentioned growing up in Asia but left out the part about how God uses our experiences in ways we can't predict. God loves me so much, He gave me Chinese neighbors. And God loves them so much, He gave them me. Maybe next time I'll ask if someone wants to hear the rest of the story.

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. Psalm 40:10 ESV

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Work With Me

I'm hard to read. My speech may be fine, but then the stuttering starts up again. I can walk across the house without a thought. But then I'm bouncing off the walls down the hall. I go to the kitchen and bake something with those bananas that need to be used up. By the time I'm putting the banana muffins in the oven, I'm done. Done in. Can someone throw away the banana peels and help clean up the kitchen? Trust me on this. I will do what I can when I can. It's hard to quit when there's more to do. Work with me. I'm still learning to slow down and heed the warning bells. With God's help, we can get through this.

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NET

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Don't Ask Don't Tell

I'm a thief. When I ask my children to do something without giving them a chance to do it on their own, I'm robbing their joy. I want to slow down and step back. I can let my children, or others for that matter, take initiative.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

Friday, September 21, 2007

Good Therapy

I've tried different therapies. When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over ten years ago, I opted to skip the various drugs available at that time. I didn't think the benefits outweighed the side effects. That was the prayerful decision my husband and I made. I went on the Swank low-fat MS diet and was faithful for many years. (I need to get back on the straight and narrow.) Plasma infusions helped jump-start me out of weeks in bed full-time. It also worked well to take my wheelchair and travel to Pasadena to visit my sister for warm weather therapy. For several years my husband has been kind to take me out for thrift store therapy. Today I had some coffee and friend therapy. I don't know if I'm feeling better tonight, but I certainly am refreshed and encouraged. Thanks Carol!

For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my [sister], because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Philemon 7 ESV

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Star Wars Theology

What do I think about when I am homebound? Other than what I need someone to pick up at the store? I'm pondering man's free will and God's sovereignty. Really. I'm grateful for Randy Alcorn's Eternal Pespectives newsletter that came in the mail. Here's a sample.

Here's a little quiz. Don't look ahead, but say the first thing that comes to your mind in answer to each question.
1. What's the opposite of good?
2. What's the opposite of black?
3. What's the opposite of God?

If you answered "evil" to one and "white" to two, you were correct. (I said "bad" to number one.) And here's what Randy Alcorn says about number three:

"If we answer "Satan" or "the devil" to number 3, we're dead wrong. Yet in my experience that's exactly what most Christians answer. Satan is not the opposite of God. He (Satan) is the opposite of Michael, the unfallen archangel. God has no opposite. To make a created being the opposite of the Creator results in many other heresies, not the least of which is thinking that Satan and God are battling to see who can pilot the ship, with the results in question. This is Star Wars theology, not the Bible. Who will win, the dark side or the light side of the force? Dualism is a heresy many Christians buy into without realizing it. We make Satan too big--but far worse, we make God too small."

I recommend the front page article, "Do Human Beings Really Have Free Will? You can read it online at: http://www.epm.org/pdf/07Fall.pdf. Or you can write and sign up for his newsletter.
Eternal Perspective Ministries
39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206
Sandy, OR 97055
503-668-5200
http://www.epm.org/

But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue." Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Exodus 4:10-11 ESV

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fight Fire with Fire

The other young women, fellow students at the beauty school, were teasing my hairdresser. "When are you going to get married? C'mon, how about a reception with Starbucks coffee?" So I asked if she was thinking about getting married. No, she's not ready. But her long-time boyfriend is. I wanted to say marriage is a good thing. I recommend it. But I don't know her boyfriend and if he is good for her.

What would I say about intimacy and marriage to people who do not consider themselves Christians? God's plan for one man and one woman to stay pure until the covenant of marriage is universal. There are benefits whether you believe in God and want to honor Him or not. And what about Christians? The Bible spells it out: "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).

So what's going on with Christian young people today? My friend's blog pointed me to Chuck Colson's Breakpoint article on September 18, 2007: The Disturbing Truth about Our Teens. Why is there a disconnect between beliefs and behavior?

John Piper writes about battling lust in his book, Battling Unbelief. He says he has "often told young people that they must fight fire with fire. The fire of lust's pleasures must be fought with the fire of God's pleasures. If we try to fight the fire of lust with prohibitions and threats alone--even the terrible warnings of Jesus--we will fail. We must fight it with a massive promise of superior happiness. We must swallow up the little flicker of lust's pleasure in the conflagration of holy satisfaction. When we 'make a covenant with our eyes,' like Job did (Job 31:1), our aim is not merely to avoid something erotic, but also to gain something excellent."

Romans 8:13 tells us, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." So how do we put lust to death? Piper says, "Out of all the armor God gives us to fight Satan, only one piece is used for killing--the sword...This gospel Word about Christ and his saving work secures for us all the riches of Christ and his promises. This Word, therefore, cuts through the fog of Satan's lies and shows me where true and lasting happiness is to be found. And so the Word helps me stop trusting in the potential of sin to make me happy. Instead, the Word entices me to trust in God's promises."

Piper goes on, "As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God's life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken."

If more of us live our public and private lives as if it matters to God, we can light the fire of transformation in our communities. As Chuck Colson says, "a community of believers must be indeed just that, a community, supporting and enabling that counter-cultural commitment to God’s ways."

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:14-17 ESV

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Leave Room For God

Now I know why I don't watch tv during the day. There isn't much on, unless you like Judge This and Judge That. I watched a couple cases with my teenage daughter. I especially hate to see family members fighting each other. Years of unresolved issues bubble to the surface and no one wins. John Piper addresses bitterness and unforgiveness in his book, Battling Unbelief. Piper says, "If we believe God's promise, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' then we will not belittle God with our inferior efforts to improve his justice. We will leave the matter with him and live in the freedom of love toward our enemy--whether the enemy repents or not....We are not responsible to make reconciliation happen. We are responsible to seek it, 'So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all' (Romans 12:18)."

Christian families are not immune to conflict. How do we deal with that? "The answer is that we look to the cross of Christ. All the wrongs that have been done against us by believers were avenged in the death of Jesus." Of course there is lots of work to be done to heal relationships. The place to start is by letting go of an unforgiving, bitter, vengeful spirit. "We can back off and leave room for God to work."

John Piper lays it out: "If you hold a grudge, you doubt the Judge."

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him." The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" Luke 17:3-5 ESV

Monday, September 17, 2007

What Are You Hungry For?

My grandma makes the best cracked wheat bread. Add a little homemade strawberry jam and mmm mmm, you have heaven on earth. I can't remember the last time I made homemade bread. I looked at a recipe today but it called for 12 cups of flour. I need something more manageable. Maybe my mother-in-law could mix up a new batch of sourdough starter and I'll take over feeding it.

I'm reading John Piper's book, Battling Unbelief and he talks about bread. Jesus himself said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever" (John 6:51).

John Piper says: "Belief is not merely an agreement with facts in the head; it is also an appetite for God in the heart, which fastens on Jesus for satisfaction....eternal life is not given to people who merely think that Jesus is the Son of God. It is given to people who drink from Jesus as the Son of God....He is also the bread of life, and those who feed on him for nourishment and satisfaction live by him."

Here's the bottom line: "Unbelief is a turning away from Jesus in order to seek satisfaction in other things. Belief is not merely an agreement with facts in the head; it is also an appetite for God in the heart, which fastens on Jesus for satisfaction."

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26 ESV

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Eyes Have It

It was a sincere compliment when I told a friend at church how nice her glasses were. I can appreciate what others have without feeling jealous. Another friend overheard the conversation and looked at me, up and down. She told me she had some frames that would look good on me. She should know, she used to work for an optician. She brought me some glasses that she didn't need anymore. I loved them! And then when her house sold, she gave me a check to cover the cost of getting a new prescription and lenses put in the frames. I love my new stylish glasses. When I wear them, I am reminded that God knows what I want and can provide just what I need.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Bookends

Twenty years ago today I was left alone for the first time in days. That's when the labor started. This was before cell phones and beepers. I called my mother-in-law and left a message for my husband at seminary. My mom met us at the hospital. Too bad my dad wasn't able to come from Taiwan to meet his first grandson. Two years later we added another boy, and in another two years, a little girl. Seven years ago today I went to a rummage sale in the morning. I had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon. And that night our youngest was born on her brother's 13th birthday. Our little bookend daughter continues to add love and laughter to our home. I am proud of my first-born son who turns 20 today. We miss him while he's away at college. My youngest constantly reminds us of what's important--loving God and loving others. Happy Happy Birthday Birthday!!

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 ESV

Friday, September 14, 2007

Don't Forget the Nutmeg

I asked the young man if I could take the sliced loaf of sour dough. He was good with the unsliced. He was looking for something to go with spaghetti. I told him that sour dough bread makes the best french toast. Really? You know, eggs, milk, and don't forget the nutmeg. Cinnamon? Oh yes. As he left the aisle he told me, "You may have changed my life." I wish that were true. I could have offered him words of life, not just recipe tips.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35 ESV

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Take That!

I bought the book because I thought someone might need it. I don't really struggle with unbelief, or do I? I started reading John Piper's book, Battling Unbelief. In the introduction he says that:

"...faith is the power that severs the root of sin. Sin has power because of the promises it makes to us. It talks like this: 'If you lie on your tax returns, you will have extra money to get what will make you happier.' 'If you look at pornography you will have a surge of pleasure that is better than the joys of a clear conscience.' 'If you eat these cookies when no one is watching, it will soften your sense of woundedness and help you cope better than anything else right now.'"

Piper goes on to say we are to fight fire with fire. "We throw against the promises of sin the promises of God. We take hold of some great promise that God has made about our future and say to a particular sin, 'Match that!" We can "kill sinful deeds before they happen by cutting the root of their life: the lies of sin."

The first chapter is about battling anxiety. Anxiety is more than fretting. "Anxiety is a condition of the heart that gives rise to many other sinful states of mind....Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things."

Touche. I'll keep reading Piper as well as digging through Scripture for rocks to throw at sin.

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Local Flavor

I'm afraid my son will return from vacationing in Southern California and find our small town lacking. Bland even. I remember thinking I could never live in a small town like this. I grew up around skyscrapers, night markets, and diversity in big cities like Hong Kong, Taipei, and Portland, Oregon. Portland didn't have night markets, but they had Saturday Market. Now that I'm married with children, I wonder why I'd want to live anywhere else. There's plenty of local flavor. We have our own farmer's market, outdoor concerts, and don't forget the local fair. And our little town has murals, sculptures, and beautiful hanging baskets all through town. Mostly I enjoy talking to people at the grocery store, library, and the thrift stores. People have interesting stories if you give them a chance to share. There's color and flavor all around, if you look for it.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11 ESV

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We Remember

My youngest doesn't have any first-hand memories of September 11, 2001. She was just shy of one year old. In those first days we didn't know what the future would hold for her, or the rest of us. My daughter knows some modern day heroes. Two of my cousins, her second-cousins, are fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have put their lives on hold. They are in harm's way to make a difference in our world. We appreciate their sacrifices and pray for their safety. God bless you, Gabe and Evie!

From Afghanistan: Gabe is in the front.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 ESV

Monday, September 10, 2007

Eat Your Carrots

My mom was smart. She always had carrot sticks and celery ready for the pre-dinner munchers. My mom's spaghetti sauce had a secret ingredient--grated carrots for extra nutrition. And that's not all, when pumpkin was hard to come by in Taiwan, she made carrot pie that tastes just like pumpkin pie. In the early days of our marriage I had the bright idea that a carrot salad would be an inexpensive potluck dish. I don't think anyone touched it. I should have tried my blogger friend Meredith's "stuffed eggs." These days I get food for thought at The Duchy of Burgandy Carrot's blog. She had interesting thoughts about the role of women and the glory of God in an earlier post. The last paragraph is powerful. Today she shared her thoughts about soul mates. By the way, she calls herself the Queen of Carrots (QOC) and her husband is the Duke of Burgandy (DOB). You can guess who the ducklings are. I should try out my great-grandmother's carrot pie recipe and see what my ducklings think.

Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, Proverbs 30:8 ESV

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cared For

I never know how it will all work out. But why am I surprised when God provides just what I need? I thought I needed a ride to the doctor the other day. I didn't want to interrupt my husband at work. Just then my "paper angel" drove up with the newspaper she shares with us. I ended up not needing a ride, but she stopped and prayed with me. I am not driving until my vision and balance improve. Friends have offered rides and help with errands. And I am blessed to have parents and in-laws nearby. I am in good care.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Psalm 16:1-3 ESV

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Straight Story

I finally got the name straight. The movie about the man who journeyed by lawnmower is called The Straight Story. I watched it tonight and loved it. Be prepared for a slow-moving story that is full of interesting characters and a powerful message of reconciliation. It's based on a true story and filmed along the actual 260-mile route. Family is important. Relationships are important. Don't waste any more time. Do what you have to do to make things right.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 ESV

Friday, September 07, 2007

What's What

I don't worry about what a stomach ache means. I know it's not appendicitis because I had mine out when I was 12. When I can't remember something, I don't know if it's due to age, too many things on my mind, or Multiple Sclerosis. For several years I had a diagnosis of MS even though it didn't show up on two MRIs. My latest neurologist wanted confirmation so I had one more MRI of my brain and the spinal tap I had declined for ten years. Sure enough, lesions showed up. After a couple years of steady health, my vision has been bothering me this week. I don't need new glasses. I had my eyes checked recently. I have a few MS symptoms nipping at my heels. It's no mystery what I need to do. It's time to step back and slow down.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8 ESV

Thursday, September 06, 2007

How You Slice It

At birthday parties I count the guests and cut the cake accordingly. That way everyone gets a piece. I need to do the same with my money, time, and energy. There's only so much to go around. I am learning to do the first things first. Just like the birthday boy or girl gets the first slice, we give God our tithes and offerings first. If I run around and do a bunch of little errands, I might not have the energy to make dinner for the family. I ask, "What's the most important thing for me to do today?" Sometimes the important thing is dinner in the crock pot ready to go. I can't do everything, but I can be strategic.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; Proverbs 3:9 ESV

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Day One

I don't have many memories of first grade. I only went for one month before we left the country. I remember the yellow bus, monkey bars, and nap time. I left before I learned how to read. It took time for me to catch up in primary two in a British school in Hong Kong. My first day of high school was cancelled. I waded through the water in my blue pantsuit but the bus never came. I don't remember the name of the typhoon that caused major flooding in Taipei and Taipei American School. I returned to the United States for 11th grade. I was clueless about how to turn on the water in the restroom--someone thought I was a sophomore and showed me how to step on the metal bar on the floor. I didn't understand a lot of American lingo, but that's probably just as well. My Village Baptist Church youth group was a lifesaver that year. The pastor's daughter took me "out for a coke" and gave me a tour of the school before the first day so I could find my classes. My main memories of the first days of college classes were the syllabi. I always felt overwhelmed by the long lists of assignments and tests. Now I'm the Mom with children in school. My oldest is away at college so I depend on email updates about his classes. My youngest started second grade today. She popped up bright and early. She was excited about seeing her friends from first grade and her new school supplies. I miss having her home but I know she's in good hands with her dad as her teacher. My husband's first day went well after he got the photocopier to work. My two teenagers start classes later this month as a high school senior and junior. They are attending a community college as part of the Running Start program. We'll see what Day Two brings.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 ESV

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gone But Not Forgotten

Our loss is my sister's gain. My almost-18-year-old son was a stowaway in their van when they left our house to return to southern California. He has time before his classes start at the community college. He can hang out with his younger cousins, help my brother-in-law with an insulation project, enjoy outings to the beach, eat out and dine in and lots more. We miss having him home. His sister is pulling double duty on their shared office cleaning job. His youngest sister is starting the first day of second grade without his help with her school supplies. She read him her list over the phone. My son is good with power tools. My husband would have enlisted my son's help installing 20 new coat hooks in his classroom. And my son would have had good ideas for maximizing the classroom layout. I miss having an extra driver in the house. I thought of him when I coasted to the stop sign to save gas. It's not all fun and games in southern California. My son is enduring their heat wave. It was 113 degrees when he arrived in Pasadena. He will be ready to fly home in two weeks, just in time for his youngest sister's 7th birthday.

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1:12 ESV

Monday, September 03, 2007

Chance of Precip

I am not a die-hard weather watcher, like some people I know. (Hi, Jim!) But this summer that all changed. My husband paints houses in the summer. He enjoys painting and is good at it. And we need the supplemental income. But if it rains, he can't paint. It's been a crazy summer with more rain than expected and jury duty that went to trial during the sunny days. I check the online weather forecast all day long. The weather forecast called for sun today and rain tomorrow. Now they report rain likely tonight with isolated thunderstorms. It's not isolated, it's overhead! I hear rolling thunder, see flashes of lightning, and am listening to a downpour. There's something refreshing about the skies opening up. Enough of the drizzles and cloudy skies and chance of showers. My husband is tired of the should I or shouldn't I paint today quandries. I feel the same way about answers to prayer. I thank God for clear direction--green lights or stop signs. We are about out of painting days before my husband trades a paint brush for a white board marker and teaches second graders. He can wrap up his projects after school or on weekends, weather-permitting.

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. "For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:10-12 ESV

Sunday, September 02, 2007

No Regrets

I don't mind hopping in the car and giving my daughter a lift. My daughter's friend stopped by and invited her to come hang out with her. But her friend can't give her a ride and didn't even offer. Thanks for NOT asking. She hasn't had her driver's license for 6 months yet. We follow the laws and rules even if they are not convenient. And if my daughter doesn't have her permit with her, she can't drive. Short cuts and cutting corners aren't worth the chance of something going wrong. My philosophy is to live life with no regrets.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7 ESV

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Take Me to Your Printer

My life is like our digital camera. I am full of good ideas but most are waiting to see the light of day. Every now and then I run with something and get it done. I think I am battery-challenged and don't stay charged very long. I need to work in short bursts. And narrow the focus. First things first. Time for back-to-school routines and that first day of school photo in front of the garage door.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV