Sunday, August 31, 2008

Analyze That

I'm not an optimist. Or a pessimist. I'm an analyst. I like to evaluate how things went and how they could improve. Overall I thought things went well for our day trip with our oldest son yesterday. I'm glad I made that extra trip to the store to stock up on groceries for the three kids left at home. I even put chicken soup in the crock pot for their dinner. Or lunch, as it turned out. I had notes to open at intervals for my seven-year-old, who was sad to be left at home. I left out enough chocolate cake for them but hid the rest of my mother-in-law's awesome cake made in honor of our oldest's return to college. (Don't tell, but it's in the freezer.)

So what could be improved? Take some blankets or pillows in the car (not in the trunk) if you're driving early in the morning. Not for the driver, of course. Take some snacks if you are busy and delay stopping for lunch. We had to get my son checked in before noon or pay an extra fee. We were so hungry by the time we got everything done. And always take a jacket even if you think the weather will warm up.

And don't forget to thank God for His protection and provision before, during, and after the trip.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5 ESV

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Memory Lane Tour

It was familiar territory. We drove through Portland and Tigard en route to my son's college in Newberg. It brought back memories of when my husband and I met, dated, and got married some 23 years ago. There's the exit for the church where we got married. That's the restaurant where we had our first date of strawberry shortcake. There's our favorite Fred Meyer one-stop-shopping store. Even made a stop on the way to our wedding. We visited the car dealer in Newberg where I bought my first car. Today's visit wasn't nostalgic; it was to check out the warning light on our dash. After playing the do-you-know-who-I-know game, we found out everything is fine. We're good to drive home. (FYI, one common link is the son of the car salesman's former pastor went to college with my husband.) My son got settled in his new dorm room, met his Resident adviser, and saw several of his old friends around the campus. Our last stop before heading home was a favorite Chinese restaurant in Portland. We enjoyed the food but missed having the rest of the family with us. Maybe next time we visit we will give the kids a memory lane tour.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. Psalm 143:5 ESV

Friday, August 29, 2008

Moving Right Along

You could call it seamless. Or nuts. We go from one thing to the next without a pause. Summer break--almost gone. Family reunion--last goodbyes today. Back to college for oldest son, tomorrow. I'm proud of him for sticking out his summer job faithfully. He did projects for the local school district. Favorite duty? Painting. Least favorite? Weeding. That and the early mornings. Amen to that. But tomorrow my husband and I will get up early to drive four hours to take him back to school. Maybe we'll make better time because we're missing rush hour. Get him settled and drive back. And prepare for school to start next week for my husband and, get used to saying this, my third grader.

Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. Psalm 31:5 ESV

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Too Soon

Where's the Camp Director when you need him? Or the Counselors? Work and soccer try-outs. And doing battle on the pickleball courts. I did my best to keep the family reunion campers happy. After not much sleep. I made pancakes. The girls carved up bananas and decorated them with lemon juice and sprinkles. They helped me test drive a garage sale card game. Thumbs down for Stampede. The rhinos and hippos look too similar. But our family favorite, Rat-a-Tat Cat was a big hit. The Chef did his thing tonight with The Week in Review. My mom did her thing and rescued my banana bread that was underdone. Just whip out the griddle and toast it up, no problem. My sister and family journey home tomorrow. With a stop at our sister's farm on the way. And so ends the family reunion. Too soon.

Pictured: Nine out of ten cousins. The four-month-old had a pass on this one.

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How Sweet it is

Where has the time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that my family gathered in Seattle? Our first-born was almost one-year-old and met his grandfather (and namesake) for the first time. We took time out for a dip in the pool. My dad ironed the white dress. And my sister got married.

I don't remember much about the ceremony, except that my husband and I managed to light the candles without incident. But I remember the reception. Of course they had good eats at their Chinese church. And the music. I always think of my sister and husband when I hear, "How Sweet It Is (To be Loved By You). Happy 20th Anniversary Ed and Kath!

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:6 ESV

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Upside Down

Got that down. No more watching TV last thing at night. We are not replacing the broken television in our bedroom. We still need to work on getting to bed earlier now that school is about to start. I'm thinking about shaking up my regular routines. I like quiet time at night to read and reflect, but is it possible to reform this night owl? This summer I found out that I am capable of waking up at 5:30 AM to make sure my oldest son is on his way to his early morning job. But can I get up and stay up? What if I set the coffee maker timer? And the big question, can I get to bed early enough to make it work? It's worth a try.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 ESV

Monday, August 25, 2008

Long Haul

You've journeyed from Seattle to Port Angeles to Corvallis to Portland to Hong Kong to Shelton to Taiwan to Singapore to Korea to China and back with some zig zagging along the way. You are true partners and friends all the way. And awesome parents and grandparents. Happy 46th anniversary Mom and Dad!

Thanks for making my home town your latest pit stop.

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

Sunday, August 24, 2008

ON THE FLY

I live like the custom license plate I saw the other day: ONTHEFLY. I take each deadline as it comes. I don't recommend it, unless you like the adrenaline rush. I'm happy to report that I have not zipped down to the post office to make a 5 PM postmark lately. There's got to be a better way to get things done. I know, I know. Plan ahead. Be organized. Focus.

I'm working on it.

If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed. Ecclesiastes 10:10 ESV

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Day

I didn't mind staying home to catch up on housework. "You must have been bored." That was my five-year-old niece's response to my report about my day. Maybe it doesn't sound very exciting to wash dishes, bake, wash more dishes, and do laundry. And I really needed that nap. Let the kids and cousins swim and kayak.

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

Friday, August 22, 2008

Follow my Links

Here are a few links if you have time.

I enjoyed reading the sermon notes format of Ray Ortlund's sermon about "Blessed are the pure in heart." Especially since I just heard a sermon about this Beatitude last Sunday. I got there from the blog of Josh Harris.

Several things to ponder in this post on Frugal Hacks. What are the last words ringing in my husband's or children's ears? And how can I turn difficulties into opportunities for special memories?

I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; Psalm 101:2 ESV

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Price-Less

I don't like the pressure. My husband and I were talking about garage sales without prices. "Whatever you would like to donate." These sales are for good causes. But just tell me the price and I'll let you know if I want to buy it. Because it depends. If the price is right, I'll consider it. But if it doesn't have a price, then I don't know. And I don't want to be chintzy.

It's not a big deal to my husband. Either you want the item or you don't. Pay what you think is right or make a donation. So what do you think, fellow garage-salers?

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Glad You're Here

Seventeen years ago I had to tell my husband how to drive. Stop, it's a red light! You can go now. And so on. It was his first time driving me to the hospital for the birth of a baby. His mom took me the first time. Our boss in Taiwan drove us the second time. And now it was up to him. We made it there safely and had plenty of time before our beautiful little daughter was born. Now she's a beautiful young woman and drives me around town. Happy Birthday, Daughter!

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Way We Were

Reliving old memories, isn't that what family reunions are for? My husband and I don't remember setting up the camcorder. But we must have, because we saw the video. The camera was hooked up to the television so you could watch yourself on the screen. And record, evidently.

The boys were seven and five years old. Our daughter was three. They were fresh out of the bath, and dressed, thankfully. They took turns dancing and jumping around. Oh, the energy! My husband sat in our old green vinyl chair and combed their hair when they stopping moving for a minute.

Where was I? On the couch, barely able to sit up. That was one of my down times with MS. Thankfully I've been able to bounce back each time. And have our fourth child.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11 ESV

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sisterhood

So is this what my kids are going to do in 30 years? Laugh, reminisce, eat, snap pictures, compare pictures, and laugh some more? That's what my two sisters and I do when we gather from California, Oregon, and Washington. Works for us.

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

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Then

It's the human predicament. We go our our ways, get into trouble, and then seek God. I read through Psalm 107 and the word "then" jumped out. Why can't we skip the troubles and go straight to God? I guess we have to learn the hard way. I'm thankful that God waits patiently for us to figure it out.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Psalm 107:6 ESV

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bring Her Back

They drove all night. As planned. And arrived safely. Thank You, Lord. That's precious cargo: my sister and husband, three children, and my daughter. And so ends my daughter's journey to Southern California and back. Let the family reunion begin!

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

Friday, August 15, 2008

What Do You Know

At the college orientation for my son, the speaker asked for a show of hands of parents sending their first child to college. And how many parents have done this before? The seasoned parents were invited to share their wisdom with the newbies.

We are about to send our second-born son away to college. The longer I parent, the more I feel like it's always something new. I am no expert. One year from now we will be sending (releasing?) our daughter off to college. That will be a whole new learning curve.

So what do I know? I know that I don't know much. I need patience and endurance. And God's protection, leading, and guiding every step of the way.

Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:4-9 ESV

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Pump Me Up"

Talk about a jump-start. Years ago and a couple neurologists ago I tried plasma therapy. It's not a cure for MS but it helped boost my energy. My husband and friends took turns driving me to Portland for the infusions. I thought of that today because I finally had coffee with my good friend. We used to meet once a week for coffee and sometimes breakfast. I miss our talks, prayer times, and opening God's Word together. I am always encouraged by our time together.

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Up and Away

What was I waiting for? After taking it easy this morning, (it is Wednesday, my low day of the week after my Tuesday night M.S. shot) I finally took a stab at Mt. Pilemore on the dining room table. It's not cleared yet, but everyone noticed that there was progress. My neighbor came over and suggested I have a garage sale. Or have one with her. I like the idea but I better just move it out and keep up the momentum. No one else will notice, but I cleaned out one fat file in the office too. Or maybe they will see the stack of papers waiting for the shredder. Onward and upward. And out the door. Little by little.

Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. Exodus 23:30 ESV

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pick up the Pace

I'm emptying the bathtub with a teaspoon. In other words, the decluttering process is advancing at a slug's pace. (You can thank me for NOT including my son's photo of a giant banana slug.) And I admit that sometimes I add a cup of water for every spoonful removed. I did a little matchmaking today. I picked up a few things for my sisters and their kids at the 12th annual dirt cheap clothing sale in town. We're talking 10-cent shoes, 15-cent shirts, and the most expensive item is 25-cent jackets. The sale includes used clothing (all clean and nicely sorted) and scads of donated new items. It goes through Friday August 15th, at the local Middle School if you want to check it out.

Meanwhile, I need a bucket. It's time to get serious about cleaning up!

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

Monday, August 11, 2008

Missing

Speaking of missing people, what about my in-house coffee companion? My steel-cut oats breakfast buddy. My health consultant, my editor, my go-to gal. And close friend disguised as an almost seventeen-year-old daughter. I'm sure my sister enjoys having a good-sport-let's-go pal around. And trustworthy baby-sitter on call. I'm boycotting omelets until my tomato artist returns this weekend.

that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:15 ESV

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Work With It

Is this all there is? Don't get me wrong. I love my life and my family. I am humbled by God's outpouring of blessings in my life. But for now I don't seem to get much done besides take care of my own family. Even then, I'm not operating very efficiently. I could be a smarter family manager. I'm trying to make progress.

I wish I didn't have to rest between fits of activity. But hey, at least I do recuperate and return to action. I could be managing the family from bed.

Where do friends fit in? Besides random encounters at the grocery store? Or the Costco food court? How many we-should-get-togethers do I have stacked up?

I do have four children in five schools. (In case you're wondering, my older daughter is simultaneously enrolled at the community college and high school.)

This is a season. Embrace it.

Photo credit: Second-born Son

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Saturday, August 09, 2008

God Bless Them

If you've attended church very much, or all of your life, you end up with favorite pastors. There are the ones that fed you the Word, taught and inspired you, walked you through tough times, visited when you or family members were sick, provided counsel, or all of the above. And performed your wedding, thanks Pastor Chuck. I saw two of my favorites today. Wedding receptions are good for that kind of thing. Pastor Steve was a youth pastor and then associate pastor. A good man. My husband worked on staff with him. God called him to another church in another state eight years ago. Has it been that long? And it's always good to see our friend Pastor Dick. He's retired and lives in our small town. God bless the shepherds in our lives.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7 ESV

Friday, August 08, 2008

Goin' Nuts

I can't do it all. I can't keep up. And I can't make progress like this. So I'm calling it quits. No more match-making to find perfect homes for things. Until further notice. No more squirreling things away in the closet to sort later. It's time for a fresh start.

Photo credit: Thanks, Son.

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6 ESV

Thursday, August 07, 2008

To and Fro

Why do they call it rush hour? It took just over three hours to drive there yesterday and over four and a half hours to drive back today. I can't believe I walked all the way across the Western Washington University campus. And back. And again. And slept in a dorm room. That's a mother's love. And a father's love. For their college-bound son. But it wasn't a sacrifice to try the dorm food.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Solo Flight

And away she goes. Big Sister is off to Southern California to see the cousins. And hang with Aunt. And eat Uncle's home-cooking. And hitchhike back home. With their family. Miss her already!

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11 ESV
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Win Some Lose Some

So much for my experiment. The idea was to line dry our clothes all month and see how low our gas bill could go. That part is going well and the family is on board. But then I got up this morning to find the dishwasher still running. That's hot water running ALL NIGHT. Heated with gas. I'm responsible because I cleaned out the dishwasher last night and didn't get it put back together correctly, it turns out. I'm usually up by 5:30 a.m. to get my son up and out the door--but not this morning. My son has jury duty and doesn't have to report until 9 a.m. I didn't go in the kitchen until 7 a.m. At least it's human error not a dishwasher on the way out.

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. Philippians 4:12 ESV

Monday, August 04, 2008

Get There

I need a personal assistant. Someone to keep track of who goes where when. And how. One of the job requirements would be proficiency in math story problems. Problems like how to get everyone across the river in a canoe that seats three but the fox and hen can't go at the same time. Or however those problems went. Our real-life scenarios involve who is in which vehicle and is someone home with the seven-year-old or does she have to ride along? Or if the truck needs repairs, who is going to drive the truck to the shop and who will pick up the first driver? Or if the personal nurse is leaving town, who will give shots to the needlephobic mom? How about a neighbor who doesn't mind a bit? That works. Meanwhile, I better get some rest so I can figure out tomorrow's logistical challenges.

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34 ESV

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Coffee Prayers

I miss my coffee friends. One young friend left the country for a year to be an au pair. I pray she bonds with the children quickly and settles in to her new role. My cousin leaves soon for her third tour in Iraq. I pray for God's protection for her and the 130 Marines under her leadership as their captain. And then there are the moms I hardly see any more. We used to have coffee once a week. Everyone is busy and going separate ways. I pray for perseverance and wisdom, for all of us. This parenting journey doesn't get any easier, just different. Maybe the coffee ladies can get together before summer is over. We can do that. And I won't stop praying for all my coffee friends.

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, Colossians 1:9 ESV

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Left the Station

The Welcoming Committee got tired of waiting. So they left. The plan was to drop off son number one's friend in the nearby town and kill time until son number two's train arrived. Five hours later the Committee got word the train was delayed. Might as well go home and regroup. And make a chocolate cake, the traveler's favorite. But then the son hopped on a earlier train. He arrived and no one was waiting. So the Welcoming Committee chairwoman drove back to town to fetch him. The assistant baker frosted the cake and had it ready when they returned. Welcome Home, Son!

A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1 ESV

Friday, August 01, 2008

Out of the Office

Dear Son,
Heads up that while you were gone we rented out your room. Not really, but your brother's college roommate came today. He was going to be here for a week, but plans changed. He'll be gone before you get back tomorrow.

Be prepared, the dining room table is covered with books and ephemera from the office. Of course, that happens regularly when we play musical projects.

Check out the new hardwood floor in the office! Too bad you weren't here to give your Dad a hand. He was a one-man show doing layout, cutting, and nailing--and missing you the whole time. I wonder how long it will take you to notice our new pet. Never mind, I'll just tell you. Your little sister picked out a cute little gold fish to keep the other one company. So far so good.

You knew our dryer was on the fritz. That's right, we had to dry your clothes at the neighbor's house the night before you left. Well, it's fixed but we aren't using it. I want to see how much money we can save by line-drying. So if you can't find me in the house, I'm probably in the backyard hanging up clothes. When it rains or threatens to rain, I hang clothes in the bathrooms. Just move the hangers when you shower, please.

I think there is still one calzone in the freezer with your name on it. I'm sorry, but I ate the chocolate chip cookie I stashed in the freezer for you.

Three weeks is a long time for you to be gone. I'm glad you could experience farm life and be a help to my sister and her family. About the time we get used to having you back home it will be time for you to leave for college. But I don't want to think about that yet.

But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 1 Thessalonians 2:17 ESV