Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On My Plate

I think my Chinese neighbor's love language is food. I gave her some green onions I found on sale. She made onion pancakes and sent me a plate. I regularly help with translation--that includes phone calls, decoding letters from insurance companies, making appointments, working with the children's teachers, and so on. And she regularly brings me food. Last week it was homemade potstickers. Today it was fried rice. And it's always just at the right time. My plan for dinner was to make something to go with leftovers. Fried rice? Perfect.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV

Monday, September 29, 2008

Start the Day

I have been a night person since before I can remember. Just ask my parents. So for years I've done my personal Bible study at night after it's quiet. I'm trying the reverse. I get up with the morning people and help shoo them out the door. The house is quiet and I'm awake, sort of. I might as well do my daily Bible reading. Then I take my morning nap. So far so good.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Almost Letting Go

Someone asked my husband how my organizing efforts were going. My husband gave some gracious answer. The reality? It's going very slowly. What is smaller than a baby step? I'm holding on for dear life and thinking about letting go. I want to let go and be free. Is it fear holding me back? I don't think so. I need to focus. Work smarter. Find my energy rhythm and work with it. I can pick a project to carry through to completion while doing a little bit here and there.

a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; Ecclesiastes 3:6 ESV

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Send Our Love

How do you celebrate a family birthday when you are miles apart?
Step one: Bake his favorite cake before he leaves home.
Step two: Mail a care package to the college.
Step three: Divide up the birthday greeting among the family members at home.
Step four: Have the family members take turns wearing the college mascot hat.
Step five: Take turns jumping on the trampoline and snap pictures.
Step six: Don't forget to include the dog.
Step seven: Put it all together on the computer and send the birthday photo op by email.
We send our love. Happy 19th Birthday, Son!

For more of the photo session: http://saurolophus.blogspot.com/2008/09/happy-birthday-danny.html

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, Colossians 1:3 ESV

Friday, September 26, 2008

In a Jam

I'm always open to trading in or trading up. We're talking thrift store finds, mostly. I picked up a set of measuring cups that included a 3/4-cup and 2/3-cup. Lots of recipes call for those amounts. What doesn't work is if you mistake a 3/4-cup for the one-cup. I had a close call with my blackberry jam that calls for four cups of sugar. Four times 3/4 leaves you ONE CUP short. I caught the mistake in the nick of time. You know what? I think I'll stick to my regular set of measuring cups. I told my sister this story and she sent me a beautiful red one-cup measuring cup. Works for me.

a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; Ecclesiastes 3:6 ESV

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Empty Room

We're all adjusting to our new family size with the boys gone. Good thing we have cell phones and internet. But it isn't the same.

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 1 Thessalonians 1:2 ESV

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Short List

I give myself permission to keep a short list. Today's one main thing on my to-do list was mail a package to my son at college. Done. Should be there in time for his birthday. Of course I do other things in a day, like figure out dinner, field phone calls, and help neighbors in need. It's not on my list, but I have to take time out for a nap each day. I have goals and dreams, but I have to prioritize. I'm grateful for an understanding husband who gives his blessing to my short list.

But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34 NET

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stick Together

I like to divide and conquer. Divvy up the tasks. My older daughter prefers teamwork. As in, work together side by side. We tried it my way at the store. I'll stand in line and do a return. You go get your contact solution. I'll get whale crackers (for little sister's lunches) and you get sticky tack (for brother's dorm room walls). We'll meet in the crackers. I did my part and didn't see her so I went to the office supply section. Maybe I beat her so I grabbed some sticky tack. She had the same thought. We met in the middle of the store--we each had a box of whale crackers and a package of sticky tack. That's divide and multiply! Next time we'll just stick together.

Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NET

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ready to Work

My goal is to have goals. A friend and I are going to start our accountability weigh-ins. I will start my food diary tomorrow. I submit my letter of resignation as food critic for Scones Across America, Western Washington Star bucks division. Tonight a writer friend asked if I was doing any writing. Just my blog for now. But don't give up on me. It's time to get serious. About getting serious.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pull Up a Chair

If your group seems puny, invite someone to join you. Works for us. As our now-family-of-four left church we ran into a friend whose husband and daughter were out of town. After we parted ways, we thought we should have invited her to join us for lunch. I called her cell phone but then I spied her car ahead of us at the gas station. "Meet you there." Then I saw my parents' car in the parking lot. I found them in the store and invited them to join us next door at our favorite bagel shop. Pull up a chair. Have a cup of coffee; share a sandwich. The more the merrier.

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fly The Coop

And another one flies solo. He was ready to spread his wings. We stuffed the car with bedding and supplies and drove him to college today. We walked the campus and got drenched together. Sister helped make his bed. And at the end of the day, Little Sister said it best: I wish he was coming home with us! It won't be the same without him.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8 ESV

Friday, September 19, 2008

Off We Go

I've barely got a handle on one. Now it's two. And in a year I'll have three children away at college. Time to get my game face on. Grab a pen. Get serious about writing letters, the old-fashioned way. Put together regular care packages. Perfect some recipes that travel well. And as always, pray away.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10 ESV

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Take a Moment

I have so many things I want to accomplish around my home. Basic things like catching up on filing, pruning the book collection, showing tough love on my closet, or is that boundaries? Meanwhile there is laundry, dishes, and what's for dinner? I want to take a moment and acknowledge what is going well. We established a bedtime routine for my eight-year-old and it's working. I look forward to our chapter (or two if we start early enough) and prayer time. Tonight she asked to go to bed early so we could read some extra chapters. Sounds good to me.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17 ESV

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Redeem the Time

I try to live in the present. Wherever you are, be all there, and all that. But every now and then I have flashbacks. Like at my daughter's soccer game last night. One year ago I was watching from the car because I couldn't walk very well. I'm thankful my MS has stabilized once again. I need my naps and have to pace myself. But am I using my time well now that I am up and around? Lord, teach me to redeem the time.

Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2 ESV

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Party's Over

The party's over. It's time to reflect and review as I clean up. Overall I'd say it was successful. Just what the third grader and her mother wanted. But I say this every event: we need to get the house ready sooner. Nothing like installing a new toilet seat fifteen minutes before the party starts.

I'll have to rethink my party planning strategy for next year. I won't have my staff to help clean house, decorate, and oversee the craft project. (You're the best, Fam!) Maybe they can help me plan the party before they all leave for college. Better put that in the tickler file.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thirteen Year Span

God knew I didn't need one more thing to keep track of. How about one birth date for two children? Thirteen years apart. And so my bookends turned 21 and 8 today. We had cake with sparkler candles with three of our children. We sang to our oldest over the phone. I'm glad my parents were in Oregon and could drop by our son's college with pepperoni pizza. Happy Birthday Big Brother and Little Sister!

Pictured: Our four at Cabela's.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3 ESV

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Called Home

We joined friends in praying for a miracle. The seventeen-year-old son of missionaries was in a diabetic coma. One month of praying, hoping, and waiting. But today God brought him home. How do you say good-bye after seventeen short years? I don't know. But I trust God to provide comfort for the family. And I am reminded to redeem the time I have with my loved ones.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. Job 23:10-12 ESV

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Make Do

The birthday plans are in place. Finally. Monday afternoon it is. A small party with a couple young friends. Why is it so hard for me to plan ahead? Am I just a big fat procrastinator? It's more than that. I am caught between what I want to do and what I can do. I would love to invite all my daughter's fellow third graders. Or at least the dozen girls in her class. But I don't have the energy or resources for that. Meanwhile I brainstorm and try to figure out a way to include everyone. And time slips by. It's time to jump in and make some decisions. And do what I can with what I have.

whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11 ESV

Friday, September 12, 2008

Such a Time

I think we fast forward through much of the Bible. Like the story of Esther. I picture her being scooped up off the street, put in a line-up, and being called out by the king. Not so fast. If I read it right, she went through a year of preparation before she met the king (Esther 2:12). How did she use her time? Between beauty treatments that is? Did she fuss and fret? Or did she use every opportunity to make friends and minister to those around her? And how do I use my time? Am I open to what God has for me in this season of life? Am I ready for my "such a time as this"? (Esther 4:14).

so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:10-11 ESV

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Forward Thinking

How did I get so far behind? I faithfully followed my daily Bible reading plan and checked off the boxes--until August. I didn't stop reading my Bible; I just didn't follow the plan. Here's my catch-up strategy: Don't bog down with discouragement. Move forward with today's reading. And read the missed chapters as I can. I'm good on this month with half of August to go. Keep moving.

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get Moving

That's one way to get moving in the morning. Or gather in the street with your neighbors. Hear the garbage truck rumble down the street and realize your can isn't out there. What's it doing coming at 7:30 in the morning? Never mind. It's just the recycling truck. Way earlier than normal. It's amazing what a little adrenaline can do for you. I am reminded that I need to be prepared for the things I know are coming. Like my daughter's birthday party. I keep talking about plans and brainstorming. I have a few more days left to finalize plans. I don't want to be running around at the last second. In my pajamas.

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27 ESV

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Start Early

I have a new gift for my youngest. The gift of routine. Structure. The challenge is our split household--with three older children, basically all adults, plus one almost-eight-year-old. But my youngest needs more sleep to function at her best. So I am making it a priority to "start the settling down process" (they can all quote me on that one). We read, pray, and then it's lights out around 7:30 PM. Tonight one of us had to stay home and miss our older daughter's debut varsity (you go, girl!) soccer game. Big Brother volunteered. We're going to miss him when he leaves for college in ten days!

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV

Monday, September 08, 2008

Enough is Enough

I saw the telltale signs. No, not again. I called in Pest Control, also known as my husband. He set some traps. The next morning's evidence revealed that we had a hungry and smart mouse in the house. It licked the peanut butter clean off the traps without getting caught. I bought more traps. Would you care for some cheese? He/She liked that. Last night my husband moved the traps around and reset them. I woke up at 6 AM this morning and was tempted to check the traps before anyone got up. No, I just prayed. Lord, give us success! But then I thought that whatever was going to happen had probably already happened. Lord, you know the desires of my heart. Around 6:30 AM my husband, drowsy 7-year-old, and I heard a SNAP! Gotcha!

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 ESV

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Make Someday Happen

How about tomorrow? We wanted to get together with our friends all summer. She left a message inviting us over after church. Just come. Barbecue, pick blackberries, visit. Done. Tonight I called a new friend I've been trying to connect with. How about tomorrow? Just come. The house will be as is. Sometimes you have to jump in and make someday happen.

Pictured: My intrepid berry picker, stickers, spiders and snakes (!) notwithstanding.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:16 ESV

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Little Reminders

I needed a cue to help me remember to pray for a young friend of mine that is a nanny overseas. I considered coffee as a reminder, but I don't drink it every day. Mostly when someone comes to visit or I get away with a coffee buddy. I already have a couple missionaries I pray for when I take a shower. When I wake up in the middle of the night I pray for whoever God puts on my heart or for lost and wandering friends and family. I could add my friend to my daily prayers for my children. But I have a better idea. When I tuck my youngest into bed at night I can also pray for my friend. My friend gave me one of the twin mattresses for my daughters' bunk beds. Sometimes during the day I step in my daughters' room and make the bed or put clothes away. I can seize those moments too.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10 ESV

Friday, September 05, 2008

Easy Parent

I'll take that as a compliment. The office manager at the high school said I was an "easy parent." I'm on my third go as a parent of a high school senior. I often pop in with requests for signatures, paperwork, information etc. But I try to always be courteous. A little appreciation goes a long ways. That and homemade muffins.

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
Ephesians 4:2 ESV

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New Hero

I have a new hero. In addition to my husband and my dad. I'm talking about a Bible hero. A leader. I've been a Nehemiah fan for a long time. Joseph's faith and wisdom inspire me. But I'm reading 2 Chronicles and noticing how Hezekiah took action and got things done. And took time to encourage the people. I can be more like him. In my own home. With God's help.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles." And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 ESV

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Stand Tall

The line is shrinking. We only had one child stand in front of the garage door for the annual first day of school photo. The older children start school at different times in different cities. I have mixed feelings about this day. I am sad to have my children gone all day. But I am proud to see how much they have grown and matured.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4 ESV

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Just in Time

Who leaves packages on your porch? Brand new pencils for the third grader and a tickler file box with cool dividers for me. That's the power of a blog. No, that's love. Thanks Mother-in-law!

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 1 Timothy 6:18 ESV

Monday, September 01, 2008

On My Mind

I should have started earlier! Where's my tickler file? I haven't found a file box I like yet. Better grab something because the mental notes are piling up. Things like buying school supplies before I feel like gearing up for school. Third grade starts in two days. You'd think there would be plenty of #2 pencils at the store. I'll have to try another store tomorrow. Or dig a little deeper in our shelves at home. Maybe I have some tucked away.

I don't want to repeat these thoughts in December. It will be Christmas before I know it.

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. Proverbs 24:27 ESV