Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Mom

I liked the pregnant young woman who worked at the thrift store. I found out she had her baby girl last week. I didn't have a way to get in touch with her so I've been praying that our paths would cross. I asked the thrift store manager to ask her for permission to share her phone number with me, if she stopped by. "I'm Mary, the woman who gave her a candy bar one day." Today I had to take my daughter to Walmart for a vision appointment. Guess who was coming out of the store, just as I was going in? The new mom and precious baby. Now I have her phone number and will make arrangements to bring her some meals. I can do that.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fill the Gap

I could hug the man. No, not my husband. My husband gets hugs and kisses. And kudos for taking a break from his summer painting jobs to work on our house. New hardwood flooring installed in the office this week, thank you very much. And a clean sweep approach to organizing the office. But back to hugging the man. My husband went to see a guy about an upcoming paint job. The guy noticed the missing window pane in my husband's truck cab. One of the hazards of hauling stuff for people. He offered some new and improved tape. But then he had a better idea. How about cutting a piece of plexi-glass to fit? Done. Just what we needed. No more rain blowing in or bark dust swirling around. I wonder if he likes homemade muffins? I can do that.

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. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Philippians 4:12-14 ESV

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cheap Entertainment

Photo Op: Family fun at the clothing store.

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

Monday, July 28, 2008

Home Improvement

I wasn't thrilled with the idea at first. But now I'm getting the hang of drying clothes outside. I kind of like it. Especially the sheets and kitchen towels. We did get the dryer fixed, but we've hardly used it. I wonder how much we'll save on our gas bill. I am on the look-out for a folding rack to use inside. Hangers on the shower curtain rods work in a pinch, too. Now our little bedroom television is out of order. It swallowed the connector to attach the VCR or cable. No more checking the news at night or flipping on a show. It's quiet. Peaceful. I like it.

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. Psalm 101:3 ESV

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Get Out of My Head

I can't keep it all upstairs. In my head. I have enough trouble keeping track of who's doing what each day and who needs the car when. I need a tickler file. The idea is to have a way to deal with future events and deadlines. For example, one year from now, minus a week or two, I want to remember to get some photos ready to enter the county fair. And remind my friend Carl to do the same. In one year minus a month, or more, I want to perfect whatever recipe I am going to enter in the fair. Next April I want to remember to help my neighbors register for Summer Hummer, our church's big week-long day camp. Enough with the constant mental notes to self.

Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 ESV

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Have a Go

There seems to be a pattern. My purse is so full (everything but cash) that I can't find things. Hey, someone might need a wooden spoon to eat ice cream on the go some day. My dresser drawers are hard to open. I might wear that some day! My bookshelves are at full capacity. I might want to read about that one of these days. The "plastics" shelf in the kitchen is jammed with odds and ends. There's got to be a matching lid in there somewhere! And so on. I suffer from classic "I might need it someday" syndrome. Yep, I'm a saver. That's a nice word for hoarding.

What's the solution? I've read the books. Yes, I have a collection of organizing books. I don't know what will kick in and work for me, but today my husband gave me the gift of space. He offered to put in MORE bookshelves (down the hall, in case someone wonders where we could fit them). I am so touched by his generous, understanding spirit that I feel free to start sorting and letting go of more books. I am going to take another stab at triage. (Triage definition: "A process in which things are ranked in terms of importance or priority.")

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14 ESV

Friday, July 25, 2008

And the Winners Are

Our jam-filled oatmeal bar cookies didn't place, but that's okay. It turns out the county fair judges liked our muffins. My seven-year-old's applesauce muffins took first place in the youth division. My chocolate chocolate chip oatmeal muffins came in third. Not a bad use for leftover oatmeal. I had homemade applesauce in mine too. We had fun and as a bonus, my daughter won $25 and I won $20 for our efforts.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 ESV

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adventurers

They've been on one adventure after another. Together for 49 years. That's something to celebrate! Happy Anniversary to my in-laws!

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 ESV

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bake-Off

I can't believe we made the deadline, with an hour and a half to spare. Mother and daughter baked all day so we could enter the local fair. I'm glad our muffins are in separate categories so theoretically we could both win. My seven-year-old made applesauce muffins with cinnamon topping. She should get extra credit for making the applesauce herself. I supervised but she did everything else. The local judges (neighbors and family) liked them. I hope the fair judges are in the mood for chocolate when they try my muffins. I used leftover oatmeal for a moist and not too rich chocolate chocolate chip oatmeal muffins. And then we had a joint entry for the parent-child bar cookie competition. I wish we had started our research earlier and fine-tuned a recipe. I tried to recreate a childhood favorite--oatmeal bars with jam filling. I had a jar of wildberry preserves in the pantry so kudos for using what we had on hand. And ribbon or no ribbon, we are winners for spending the day together and making a memory.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23 ESV

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Day to Alliterate

Plays
prays
paints
provides
perseveres
protects.
And paddles pickleballs.
Happy Birthday Father-in-law!

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 ESV


Monday, July 21, 2008

Sounds like a Plan

I like the idea. Plan to be spontaneous. See who you run into and can invite home for a meal. I'm talking about someone you know, not a complete stranger. That would be taking it up a notch. Although we invited a stranger to Easter dinner once. She was house sitting for neighbors and I met her when she got locked out. But that's another story.

I got this idea from a blog, Happy at Home. You can read about it here:

http://athomelaurel.blogspot.com/2008/06/summer-dinner-with-friends-we-are.html

I'd like to try it someday. In the meantime, we asked a young man from our Sunday school class if he wanted to join our family for lunch after church. Our treat. For fine dining at the Costco food court. Who knew he and my husband speak the same languages? (Painting and Bible school). I'm glad he took us up on our spontaneous offer.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13 ESV

Sunday, July 20, 2008

For Here or To Go

When I was growing up my parents had guests in our home all the time. Overnight guests, dinner guests, and endless drop-ins. People from all walks of life. They still live like that. I aspire to hospitality too. But I can change things up if I have to. Recently I tried out a fresh apple cake recipe times two. One for our family and one for the family down the street. It was a hit. Tonight I baked two apple pies. You guessed it: one for us and one for another neighbor family. Now that I think about it, I am like my mom. She made cinnamon rolls to share this weekend. A plate for the plumber, a plate for her parents, a plate for her sister who was visiting, a plate for her brother and family, and a plate for our Sunday breakfast. Hospitality to go.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13 ESV

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wake Up Call

We missed the excitement. We were at my parents' house for dinner when the call came to evacuate our neighborhood. Someone digging on the other side of the loop hit the gas line. I'm glad no one got hurt and the homes are all safe tonight. But it reminds me that we need to have a refresher on family safety plans. It's been a long time since we talked about what to do in an emergency, where to meet, what to grab if we had to evacuate, etc. We can do that.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. Psalm 5:11 ESV

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chicken Feed

I love how my sister takes time to send me photos and let me know how my son is doing. This is one of my favorites. Hint hint: I hope my other sister does this when my daughter visits next month. Too bad my son can't bring any fresh eggs home on the train.

My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. Proverbs 23:15 ESV

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Five Minutes of Fame

I did not get cut in half. I didn't disappear. Except for going off the radar when I turned off my phone. My seven-year-old and I stopped by the library and discovered our favorite magician was about to do a show. Okay, he's my favorite magician. I first saw Jeff Evans at a children's birthday party a couple years ago. He's very skilled at illusions of the "how did he do that?!" variety. He has good rapport with the audience and is witty. It's good, clean fun.

So there I was in a room crammed with children and a few adults. When he needed an adult volunteer he asked me to come forward. He did an updated "pick a card, any card" routine with me. Sure enough, he pulled out my four of clubs with my name written on it. Too bad my older children weren't there for my five minutes of fame. But I got a picture with him afterwards.

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Inspiration Strikes

I admit it. I make it up as I go along. But I often have a plan, even if it's not obvious. As my seven-year-old helped me assemble the lasagna she asked, "Did you know ahead of time you were going to make this?" She was referring to my shopping request of non-fat cottage cheese and ground turkey several days earlier. I don't have a rigid meal plan and I'm always open to inspiration. Like the fresh spinach from my mom's garden. How about turkey lasagna with spinach? Yum. Yesterday someone gave me eggs, milk, and English muffins. I'm thinking French toast (or is that French muffins or English toast?) for dinner. With a little lemon juice and powdered sugar like my sister-in-law makes them. Sounds like a plan.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 ESV

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Experiment

I had plans for the day. But all that laundry and other housework filled my day. I am happy with the results of line-drying my sheets and duvet. Much better than the towels disguised as boards. With all that thinking time in the fresh air, I have concocted a new plan. If I can't do my Bible reading and blog before 10 p.m. I am going to call it a day. And skip the blog. Not the Bible reading. I like posting every day because it brings discipline to my writing. And frankly, I like the late evenings when it's quiet so I can read, reflect, and write. But it's time to mix things up and see what happens.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Philippians 4:13-14 ESV

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good News Bad News

The good news is we arrived at the soccer field before the game started. The bad news is we got there ONE minute before kick-off. The good news is we found the soccer field. The bad news is we missed a crucial turn and went WAY out of the way first. Local people might appreciate that we went to Tolmie State Park instead of Yelm. After a detour through Jubilee. And that's after circling various turnabouts and trying EVERY possible option--all on the WRONG side of the freeway. And with the price of gasoline? I don't even want to calculate how many extra miles we traveled. Let's just say that instead of driving for one hour, we drove one hour and 40 minutes, or something like that. The good news is that a man in a parking lot got us turned the right way. The bad news is that the printed internet directions didn't help. The good news is that everyone was a good sport about it, including my older daughter, her friend on the team, and my younger daughter. The best news is that we don't have to play another game over there. The last games of the summer season are only 20 minutes away.

teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20 ESV

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On the Line

I don't have time for this. So what can I be thankful for in this situation? I'm thankful it's our dryer that's broken, not our washing machine. My husband reminded me that we can be glad it's summer and we can dry our clothes outside. And he's thankful we didn't need a plumber to fix the clogged sink last week. Just a repairman later this week.

I'm thankful for the dollar store and one dollar clotheslines and packs of clothespins. I recommend the plastic ones. The wooden ones break easily. I also recommend you use clothespins, unless you enjoy picking up laundry off the ground and shaking them off.

If anyone wants to take a shower, just move the hangers of clothes out of the way. Go easy on the towels, would you? (Note to self: check garage sales for lightweight towels to replace the heavier ones that take longer to dry.) We will see how much we save on our energy bill this week. Our gas dryer is fairly efficient. What about my energy bill? I'm trusting God for that one.

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

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weird Math

Six take away one is weird. There's no other way to describe how the family changes when one member is gone. We sent my 18-year-old son away. No, not to college. That will come soon enough. My sister and husband needed some help on the farm. I heard that they hauled four truck loads of forty bales of hay today. Not bad for a day's work. For a city boy, no less. Not that he isn't used to hard work. He's done his share of demolition, painting, yard work, and other odd jobs, some odder than others. Cleaned his share of toilets too. Or is he the designated mopper for the weekend janitorial job he shares with his sister? I know my son is a big help to my sister and her husband. There's no doubt that his little cousins are thrilled to have him around. And this is good preparation for his mother for when he goes away to college this fall.

from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:16 ESV

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Turn

We take turns. When my mom had lung cancer surgery in China three years ago, my youngest sister traveled to China. My mom is doing great now, praise the Lord. She was in the right place at the right time. Then my dad had a heart attack in Shanghai two years ago. Again we saw how God protected my dad and saved his life. My other sister flew to China and helped them finish up the semester, including their farewell open house. I would have gone in a heartbeat if I could.

Now my parents are retired and in my town. So when my dad had surgery today, it was my turn to listen to my dad joke with the nurses and keep my mom company. I was able to keep my sisters updated during the day. We are all thankful that everything went well today. They wish they were here and send their love and prayers. But today it's my turn to be here.

that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 ESV

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Perfect Timing

It never fails. Our kitchen sink only overflows when we are expecting guests. That's one way to clean the counter and get the floor clean. My husband found the clog and took care of it. I sopped up water. All's well that ends well.

And the day ended with birthday dessert courtesy of my mother-in-law. Gingerbread with yummy lemon sauce. Slow churned ice cream if you prefer, or a little of both. As we dished up, who knocked on the door? My parents of course. Happy Birthday to me!

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 ESV

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fill the Gap

Need to fill a gap? My husband can take care of that. Just caulk, putty, or shim. I have my own one-size-fits-all remedy. If I wake up in the middle of the night and have time to fill--that's my opportunity to pray. Have to wait in the car and don't have a book? I can pray. Works for me.

pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Forks in the Road

Every day there are forks in the road. Go left or go right. Most of the time we don't even think about them or notice them. The other day my seven-year-old daughter and I walked home from a friend's house. We could have gotten a ride home but opted to enjoy the sunshine. We came in our loop and I wanted to go left. My daughter wanted to go right. Sure, either way works. That's how we came across the debit card on the ground next to the mailboxes. We found the owner and she invited us in. She was very thankful, to say the least. I didn't know her husband died last year, leaving her a widow with two young children. I'm so glad we had the chance to visit and catch up.

Note: This photo was inspired by Ann Kroeker and her shoes. Only she isn't this corny.

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

Monday, July 07, 2008

Worth Every Drop

How far would you walk for a cup of coffee? It depends on who you're meeting. Like today. I didn't have a car. But it was the last chance to see my sister. She and her husband planned to stop for coffee on their way out of town. They couldn't pick me up because they are maxed out with three car seats.

My older daughter and I trekked over a mile to catch the transit bus. But we missed the bus by a few minutes. If I had a cell phone I might have called a friend and bummed a ride. We decided to walk. And walk. At least it was mostly downhill. An hour and 15 minutes later we were there. It had to be four, maybe five miles by the time we followed the bus route--on foot.

We had water and then coffee. I got to sit with my nieces, hold the baby, chat with my sister and her husband, and even sample a couple bites of baked goods. That's my kind of coffee. Then it worked out for my son and younger daughter to join us. And give us a ride home.

Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25 ESV

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Enough of That

I need to learn a new language. In addition to English and Mandarin. I speak Baked Goods a little too well. You know, things like bagels and cinnamon rolls, and don't forget the muffins. My mom baked a passel of cinnamon rolls for our open house. I offered to take some "not her best work" ones off her hands and out of her freezer. But enough of that. I am happy to report that today I passed up some cinnamon rolls in Sunday school, even if they smelled heavenly. It's time to learn Salad. Or how about Vegetarian? Bring on the lentils!

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

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Taking Turns

I wish I could always alternate dinner at my parents' one night and dinner at my in-laws' the next. One of these days I'm signing up for the potato salad remedial course. That would make my husband happy. And how does my mother-in-law keep her kitchen so clean? She is gracious and says I have six people in the house compared to her two. But she raised five children compared to my four and I know she kept it clean then too. And she worked and volunteered. So who's cooking tomorrow? It might be my turn.

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. Proverbs 31:10-14 ESV

Friday, July 04, 2008

Introductions All Around

Great-Grandpa and Grandma, meet your youngest great-grandbaby. Three months old today. Welcome to my parents' House of Blessing! We had our first meal in the new house tonight. Snow on the mountain with all the toppings and my Mom's trademark cabbage salad, of course. Hello Cousin Don, my Dad's long-lost cousin. Nice to meet you, Bonnie, my parents' classmate from Seattle Pacific University, before it was a university. And always good to see my sister, husband, and darling girls from Oregon.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Here's to Faith and Family

Now that's something to celebrate! Today is my grandparents' 67th wedding anniversary. I've never seen them cross with each other. They are true partners and best friends. They work hard and know how to relax. Rummy-Cube, anyone? They are all about faith and family. Happy Anniversary Grampa and Gramma!

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love...Ecclesiastes 9:9a

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mary Go Round

Where is that white board when I need it? The one coaches use to diagram the plays. In our family the plays are about getting everyone where they need to be. In other words, who gets the car when?

Like today for example. I am waiting for my sons to return home from swimming so I can have the car. Then I will drive to where my daughter is babysitting and relieve her of duty. She can have the car and drive to her soccer game 20 minutes away. The person my daughter is babysitting for will give me a ride home.

If that's not interesting enough, how about throwing my Chinese neighbors in the mix? They would like to go fishing at my grandparents' lake. I may go with them (in their van of course, I won't have a car) after I get home from babysitting or send my sons to the lake with them. If they don't go to the soccer game that is. Did I mention that we need to have the car home before dark because I haven't had time to buy a replacement bulb for the headlight? I think it will all work out. Never a dull moment.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6 ESV

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't Give Up

Have I learned nothing? Don't give up too easily. The guy at my son's job interview said he would call Friday afternoon with news. He didn't call and we thought that was that. Back to the drawing board and jobs ads and asking around. But my friend, who has been on the interviewing side of the table, said the call could still come Monday morning. Sure enough. My son got the summer job with the school district. Put on some paint clothes, pack a lunch, and prepare to become a morning person. God provides. In His perfect timing.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV