Friday, February 29, 2008

My People

I have people. My people pray for me and my family. And for five months they have been praying for restoration of my health. I never doubted that God could bring back the remitting part of my relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis. I just didn't know if that was His plan. A few weeks ago I noticed that my speech was fine. No more stuttering or difficulty getting the words out. My vision is better and I feel up to driving occasionally. About a week ago my balance and strength improved to where I didn't need a cane. Yippee! Is the new medicine helping? It's too soon to tell. But I know that I am loved and prayed for. Tonight I found out that a fourth grader where my husband teaches 2nd grade prays for me every night. God bless the children and their tender hearts. And thank You, Lord, for answering my people's prayers.

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Soft Answer

Last night:
"Why is everyone cranky?" Actually it was mostly me.
"I have a headache, last night's shot is still bothering me, and I don't feel well." A little later my seven-year-old daughter gently said, "I hope you feel better tomorrow, Mom." No lecture. No judgement. Just tender compassion. Thanks, I needed that.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 ESV

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dash of Splash

I can always tell when my daughter cut up the tomatoes or cabbage. They are perfectly diced or shredded. And she doesn't even like tomatoes. She takes pride in her work and service for the family. I am more of a get it done kind of person. Slap dash. Get in, get out. Move on. My gifts are the same way. Wrapped hastily at the last minute or tossed in a gift bag. I can take lessons from my blogger friend Meredith of Like Merchant Ships. She adds the extra bow or splash of color with flair. On a budget, mind you. I can work on that.

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV

http://likemerchantships.blogspot.com/2007/10/elegant-gifts-on-budget.html

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hostess with the Mostest

When I grow up I want to be like my friend Cindy. She knows how to entertain with style and open her home with grace. Once upon a time she put on yearly theme parties with four couples. We did twins, the 50's, cowboys and Indians, to name a few. Then there was the year I was told to come as I was. I did. And the women all donned pillows to look pregnant like me and the men wore scrubs. Good one. We have done Bible studies together, planned women's retreats, and she was my daughter's junior high teacher. Now we don't see each other as much as we used to. Maybe I should follow her lead and host a theme party for our old buddies. Now that I'm feeling better, I just might do that. Happy Birthday Cindy!

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 1 Peter 4:9, 10 ESV

Monday, February 25, 2008

Loved

I wondered if I would ever find a kindred spirit to marry. Mostly I wondered if someone would love me. And God graced me with my best friend now husband. But before that God called me to Himself. I still marvel at the wonder of being loved. My children are growing up. Now they encourage and bless me. Today my sixteen-year-old daughter came home from school earlier than I expected. I was going to start some lunch for us but she offered to make omelets and hashbrowns. Mushrooms and tomatoes for me and just meat and cheese for her. De-lish! My younger daughter knows I love journals. Tonight she made me a notebook with lined paper and a special cover. I am loved.

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 2 Timothy 1:9 ESV

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Not So Temporary

I don't even like cats that much. So why do I have a kitten tattoo on my hand? My seven-year-old gave me a temporary tattoo for Valentine's Day. I thought it would wash off in a day. Ten days later I still have it. How many times have I done something without thinking--with lasting effects? Words come out and can't be removed from the memory very easily. Better to pause and edit first. If not, I can do what Kim Komando, the computer guru suggests. If you have objectionable pictures and web posts from earlier indiscretions floating around in cyberspace, create new sites, posts, and blogs to bump out the old. But I have no plans for more tattoos, dogs, cats, or otherwise.

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. Proverbs 15:28 ESV

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Got Wood?

It was worth the trip. We drove an hour to buy more pre-finished hardwood flooring. The craigslist guy had leftover flooring sitting in his garage--just what we needed for a good price. But the best part was the discussion about what he's learned in twenty years of working with wood. The guy whipped out a carpenter's pencil and drew some diagrams on one of the pieces of birch. The tips on bevelling (cutting an angle to ease the wood into edges) and scribing (using a pencil and a second board to mark cut lines) probably saved my husband hours of fussing in the future. Hopefully my husband won't need the lesson on how to cut out and replace a boo boo board.

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 ESV

Friday, February 22, 2008

Stop Talking

"Mom, you've been saying that for years." No, it wasn't my, "I'm going to get organized" spiel. It wasn't the "I'm ready to get serious about getting in better shape" speech. It could have been the "I'm going to do more with my writing" statement. It was the "We need to plan our menu" suggestion. Only I didn't know I've been saying it that long. It is a good idea. Instead of waiting for some brilliant inspiration and reading more cookbooks, how about rotating through basic favorites? We could start the week with soup and salad on Monday. Go Mexican on Tuesday--burritoes are always popular or Tortilla Soup but not if we had that on Monday. Wednesday is Cook's Choice and that probably won't be me if I am recovering from my shot the night before. Thursday is Chicken Day with lots of possibilities. Friday can be Italian--spaghetti, lasagna, or pizza. Homemade pizza is a crowd pleaser but French bread pizza is a cinch. Saturday is sandwiches. Sunday can be a crock pot special. It's a start. Enough talk. Time to get cooking. In more ways than one.

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23 ESV

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reader's Response

What do you do when you read about someone else's business in the local newspaper? In our town, it could be birth announcements, building permits, traffic violations and much more. Some news stories make me cry. But mostly I pray. I pray for God's grace to cover the parties involved and their families. I don't believe everything I read. I don't presume to know the real story. I won't discuss and compare notes with others. And if I have the opportunity, I will reach out and offer support.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3 ESV

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Noise

I like quiet. I'm not one to turn on the TV or radio to keep me company. Ipod? I don't think so. (Or walkman in my generation.) But I love happy noise. Like today there's banging, pounding, and the compressor going off. My handy husband is installing hardwood floor in our hallway. It's music to my ears.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4 ESV

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's New

I've been gone for a while. Out of the loop. Holed up. But I am on the way back. It will take a while to get back in circulation. Tell me what I've missed. On the way to mailbox today I met my neighbor's new baby. Two months old and I didn't even know he was born until recently. It's okay to ask how I am, and how my MS is going. The weekly shots are getting more bearable. But enough about me. What's new with you? And how can I pray for you?

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

Monday, February 18, 2008

Chip Away

Often there is a saver in a marriage and a tosser. Meet the Saver. But this saver is on a mission to be more discerning. And deal with stuff. I am years behind on organizing papers and projects. I didn't get here overnight. I know I won't get where I want in one day. Little by little. Today I cleaned off the bookshelf by my bed. And while I'm at it, how about ironing and hemming the new (to us) curtains for our bedroom? My husband was impressed when he came in from cleaning the garage. God bless my Tosser. We're a great team.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Proverbs 13:11 ESV

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Here We Go

I am on my own. Walking. No more cane. My husband's arm is always good, or daughter's hand. But wow, it's been five months of difficulty walking and talking. It looks like I am on the other side. On the upswing. I was ready to contemplate the what if. What if this is how it is? And I never get better. But I am better. I still need my naps. Don't overdo, and all that. I wonder what God has for me now. Here we go!

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Brings Us Together

Just yesterday we were talking about cakes, flowers, and mixed nuts. What kind of punch do we want at the reception? Actually it was almost 23 years ago that I was a young bride planning a December wedding. Today's beautiful evening wedding of our friends' daughter brought back the memories. Lord, help me prepare my children to be husbands and wives that honor You. And step up my prayers for my children's future spouses.

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, February 15, 2008

One Thing

He asks good questions. I found a new favorite blog by an author I respect. In today's post, Paul Tripp asks:

What's your one thing?" What's the "one thing" that your heart craves? What's
the "one thing" that you think would change your life? What's the "one thing"
that you look to for satisfaction, contentment, or peace? What's the "one thing"
that you mourn that you've had to live without? What's the "one thing" that
fills your day-dreams and commands your sleepy meditations? What's your one
thing?

I should ask my children what they think my one thing is. It probably has something to do with cleaning the house and getting organized. I talk about it a lot. I hope they have noticed my quest for truth. God's truth. And living like God's truth matters in my life. What's your one thing?

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 ESV

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not Forgotten

Some events go down in family history. This Valentine's Day is one of them. My seven-year-old daughter made cards for her classmates with a photo of herself and her new pet rat. That was last night. This morning her rat was lying on the floor of its cage hardly moving. This afternoon the rat died. Our only guess is that it injured itself on the wheel in its cage. The young rat just learned how to run on the wheel last night. My son helped his little sister dig a grave and make a marker for the backyard. We won't forget the cute little rat that loved Cheerios. God doesn't forget us. I read in Acts about Cornelius. An angel of God appeared to him and said, "Your prayers and your acts of charity have gone up as a memorial before God" (Acts 10:4 NET). Our prayers and actions are heard and noticed. What we do matters to God. And He remembers.

Now there was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was all his household; he did many acts of charity for the people and prayed to God regularly. Acts 10:1-2 NET

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Proud Mary

My son is jumping through the senior hoops. And in one year, my daughter will be doing her senior project, college applications, and letters of recommendation too. I didn't expect to enjoy this process so much. Not the impending separation, but the joy of seeing my children grow up and blossom. When did they become partners, co-laborers, and friends?

with such affection for you we were happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NET

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Toggle That

Maybe I should go back to the driver's licensing office. I could pick up some tips on how to multi-task with grace. I saw how one woman single-handedly deals with customers at the desk, takes photos for drivers licenses, and answers questions on the phone. All while the other employee is out doing drivers' tests. I missed a call on my cell phone today because I didn't know what the beeping meant. Is my battery low or is someone trying to call me while I'm on the phone? By the time I figured it out, it was too late. I do my best but I'm not that smooth. Tonight I toggled back and forth between my teens and their projects. I'm glad my youngest went to sleep early so I only had to deal with two. Not counting the calls from my oldest earlier today. (That would be the missed phone call scenario.) But all's well that ends well.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

Monday, February 11, 2008

Poured Out

It looked like an impossible situation. I wish my hair dresser sister-in-law lived closer. We could have used a house call for my youngest's hair after being in bed for a week. The massive tangles were close to the scalp so cutting was not an option. I gave her a bath and washed her hair. I read online that you want to start combing the ends. Good advice. Slowly comb it out a little at a time. Patiently work your way up. I used detangler spray liberally. What do you know? It worked. Did I mention that I prayed the whole time? The detangler spray reminded me of grace. Poured out. Creating order out of chaos. He can do that.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Better

My sweet little seven-year-old has finally turned the corner. Seven days with a fever makes one weak. Especially if you're not eating. I jumped up and down (on the inside) when I saw a message on our fridge today: I feel better. Then her dad added his: Me too. Praise the Lord. Now to slowly regain strength and put our house back together.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Well Represented

We sent our only delegate to the Republican caucus today. My husband and I were too sick to leave the house. But our 18-year-old son went. And he probably understands the whole primary and caucus thing better than I do. It helps to be taking a college American government class. He didn't just watch from the sidelines. He participated. Debated. Defended his positions. And advocated for his father and the many other teachers he knows and respects. Who would have guessed he would be the ONLY person showing up from our local precinct? He will go to the county caucus. And dreams of making it all the way to the National Convention. We send our best.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 ESV

Friday, February 08, 2008

Times Like These

Some day (year?) we'll talk about the time our family was knocked down by a nasty virus. One at at time. Who called the family meeting at 3 am this morning? Five out of six of us were awake--two kids, two parents and one dog. One son slept through. My seven-year-old has had a fever for six days, but I'm so glad she has been spared the raging headache. My husband was fine until last night. Then the chills set in. And it was downhill from there. He couldn't sleep so he went to his class to get things ready for the sub. Thankfully the Tylenol has helped with the headaches so he has been able to rest during the day. Times like these, you learn to be thankful for the little things. I take that back, sleep is not a small thing. I'm thankful that I was able to get out of bed today and make some more chicken soup, with love.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Shout-Out

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my 18-year-old son for coming when called. Without complaining. There is some kind of virus afoot, and my seven-year-old has had a fever for five days. My older daughter isn't feeling 100% either. And I've been slammed with a headache, aches, and alternate between chills and overheating. I call the cell phone from my bedroom and my son gets what I need. Honey for my tea, no problem. And a refill on my water, from the kettle please, I don't like it too cold. Can you open this bottle of Tylenol for me? He made a store run today. Now he's on his way to the library to get my Columbo dvds that just made it to the top of the waiting list. And of course, I want to thank my dear husband for going to work every day with a good attitude and jumping in at home. I hope he can move back into our bedroom, otherwise known as the infirmary, soon, and quit sleeping on the couch.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Test Day

We had one positive and two negatives. My 16-year-old passed her drive test on the first time out of the gate. Last week's attempt with the burned out window brake light didn't count. I'm proud of her! She has good car handling skills and thankfully she doesn't suffer from my spatial challenges. Maybe she can teach me how to parallel park. I took my seven-year-old to the doctor today. She is on her fourth day with a fever and little food. The quick strep test was negative. I had my older daughter come in and get swabbed because she's had a bad sore throat. Negative. My youngest is perking up a little tonight and ate some dinner. I'm thankful she has been able to keep fluids down most of the past four days. The bad news is that I don't feel well tonight. I pray for a good night's sleep and a quick recovery. And protection for my husband as he teaches a room full of second graders with lots of fevers going around.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

With Love

I ditto my friend's prayer for her husband. And add my children. "Lord, help me love [insert name of husband and children] more, and help me not grumble (even to myself) when I do things for him/them." I love her story of making cookies and having her husband say, "These are the best cookies I've ever had...Maybe there's more love in these cookies." My husband raved about my chicken soup tonight. Nothing fancy, just chicken cooked in the crock pot all day with frozen broccoli and mixed veggies thrown in. But it was made with love. And the buttermilk biscuits weren't bad either. I also do household tasks with love. I washed the dishes today even if it's not my designated chore. I love my son and know he would do it if he could. I did the laundry even though it's my daughter's job. I pray for my family as I sort and fold clothes. I can do that.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11 ESV

Monday, February 04, 2008

What's Holding Me Back

I love Mondays. That's when Meredith of Like Merchant Ships posts on the Frugal Hacks blog. Today she asked, "What's holding me back from cheerful frugality?" And then shared some solutions. She also has a post on the Christian Woman's Page: From Clinging Vine To Welcoming Arch: Pruning Your Fear Of Hospitality. She's always practical and honest. And inspiring. I'm asking myself, "What is holding me back from being fruitful and productive?" I want to use my time and energy well.

I suffer from:
lack of focus
dearth of personal discipline
distraction
vague goals
tyranny of the urgent

I pray for God's discernment as I clear the clutter from my home and my mind. I can set measurable goals for my writing. One step at a time in the right direction.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. Proverbs 4:25-27 ESV

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wrong Message

There's something wrong with this picture. I came home from church and went straight to the office to check my email. This was before I went to see how my husband was doing. He stayed home because he wasn't feeling well. I knew from our phone conversation that he was better, not worse. Even so, that's not how I want to be. Sorry, Hon. First things first. And people always come first. I can do better.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 ESV

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Looking for Treasure

Now where were we? I missed checking off the boxes for my daily Bible reading. My reading plan only has 28 days each month. That might come in handy if I get behind down the road. I'm back in Exodus with Moses. I know how the story goes. They cross the Red Sea, start grumbling soon after, and so on. But I'm excited about seeing what new things God has for me. Today I noticed God's promise in Genesis 19:4-5: "...I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for the earth is mine;" God led the Israelites and cared for them. And God cares for me.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:2-8 ESV

Friday, February 01, 2008

Driving Lessons

My daughter's lesson for the day: Pay attention to the small things in life. Like brake lights in the window. Today was supposed to be her big day. She was all set to take her driver's test in preparation for getting her license. She completed driver's ed and is a couple weeks shy of having her permit for six months.

She backed into the parking spot in front of the car licensing place and waited. I sat inside and waited. Like I have two times before. Once for each son. I prayed for peace for mother and daughter. But it was not to be. The pre-drive safely inspection revealed a burned out brake light in the rear window. Since when?! A panicked call to my mechanic/handyman who moonlights as a second grade teacher, five bucks at the auto supply, and an act of kindness by a helpful guy at a Tire Shop later, we were good to go. But not today. How about next Wednesday?

I hope my daughter heeds the other lesson of the day. Don't cut it close. We arrived at exactly 9:00 AM sharp, the time of her appointment. But one minute later and we would have been bumped off the schedule for today. Then we would have missed the whole brake light dance and postponed her driver's test even longer. Live and learn.

to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth-- Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, Proverbs 1:4-5 ESV