Friday, October 31, 2008

Increase My Faith

Do I really mean it? I don't always get to pray this prayer for my children because not every month has 31 days. (I pray through the month using Bob Hostetler's guide.) But today I prayed that my children would develop a heart for missions. Okay, a heart for missions is good. But what if they want to go far away? Somewhere dangerous.

I should be sympathetic. My parents have a heart for missions and they took me across the world when I was six years old. My husband and I spent two years as dorm parents to missionary and business children. But now I'm the parent. I pray that God will "increase my faith" (Luke 17:5) as He leads my children.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Psalm 96:3-5 ESV

Thursday, October 30, 2008

QR

It's not crazy yet. But I know the tempo will pick up shortly with activities, events, and projects. I want to take some time to reflect on what's important as we head into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I can put that on the calendar. Quiet Reflection.

Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Haggai 1:5 ESV

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finally On Track

It's all mental. Assuming you have the physical ability to walk, that is. I'm on track with my treadmill regimen. One: I'm motivated. Two: I have accountability. Three: I've figured out how to keep it simple. I'm motivated because I want to do everything I can to maximize my health while I can. I also want to set a good example for my family. I have accountability with my personal coach--my oldest daughter. Thanks for cheering me on! And I don't have to remember (or debate?) if it's my day to walk to not. Six days a week means I walk every day, except Sunday. Now that works for me.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Senior Moment


We are stepping out. No more senior photos in our own backyard this time. How about a park or two? Let's live it up. Lunch at our favorite bagel shop first. Then drive around to some scenic parks. Colorful fall leaves? Scenic waterfalls? Perfect. Throw some leaves around and make memories while you're at it. Now for the hard part. Selecting one favorite pose.

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 ESV

Monday, October 27, 2008

Field Tripper

On the inside I'm shouting, "I'm going on a field trip!" Outwardly, I'm just another third grade parent riding the wagon out to the pumpkin patch. Camera in hand. I have missed so many field trips over the years because of my health, that I don't take it for granted when I can attend. My older daughter's class schedule allowed her to come too. Too bad my second-born son is away at college, and couldn't make this field trip. This photo op is for you, Son!

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trick or Tract

I almost had a moral quandary the other day. If someone lost their ten dollar bill in the parking lot, do I need to find the owner? But no, it was a tract disguised to look like money. My third grader and I were not impressed. She pointed out that it was littering. So when there was a trail of them in the thrift store, we picked them up. So what's the alternative? I will continue to do acts of kindness to strangers, but maybe I need to do it in Jesus' name.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15 ESV

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Berry Go Round

My mom did it for us. So I did it for my family today. Although I can't take credit for picking the huckleberries. She did that AND cleaned them for my husband's birthday cobbler last night. She gave me some extra berries. I cleaned them and added them to my apple crisp tonight. Those little berries are a lot of work! I have fond memories of picking huckleberries with my grandparents. How many cups of little berries did it take for one pie? I'll have to ask my grandma. And thank her.

She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. Proverbs 31:14-15 ESV

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Good Man

unswervingly puts God first in his life
graciously serves family, friends, and community
joyfully shepherds his flock of first and second graders
champions our children unabashedly
and loves me with panache.

Happy Birthday Husband!

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. Psalm 37:30 ESV

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tofu Love

I love it when things come together. Home-made wontons from my Chinese neighbor in the freezer and tofu in the fridge. Green onions on sale. Put on some brown jasmine rice. Time to make some wonton soup and try my sister's Cold Tofu recipe. Two out of three loved it. I had plenty so I called my neighbor who might appreciate such fare. She had just come home after a long morning and would love a hot lunch. Happy to serve.

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

Ting Family Cold Tofu

1 block silken tofu (15-19 oz.)
2 T. oil
2 T. minced green onions
1 T. garlic, minced
1/2 T. ginger, minced
1/2 t. sesame oil
3 T. soy sauce

Rinse tofu and place on a serving plate.
Add the oil to a hot frying pan. Add green onions, garlic and ginger, and stir fry until soft, about one minute.
Add sesame oil and soy sauce.
Cook together one minute and then quickly pour sizzling mixture over the tofu.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Time

I'm spending time with my virtual friends. I had to drive my daughter to the next town one morning (50 miles round trip) so I caught up with Alistair Begg on the Christian radio. Now that I'm walking on the treadmill again, I can spend time reading. I'm walking with Noel Piper this week. Her book, Treasuring God in our Traditions, is good to think about before Thanksgiving and Christmas, but is valuable any time of year. That's how I redeem the time. Works for me.

making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16 ESV

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just a Step Away

Sometimes God talks to me with a megaphone. "Step away from the project." In this case, the project was a third grade oral report. My daughter wanted to do it herself. She researched, wrote note cards, rewrote note cards, and practiced her speech. I wanted to guide her efforts more than she wanted. Okay. This is her project. She will learn best by doing it herself. I can stay calm when there are nerves and drama going on. I can't worry about how I look as the parent. But I can be proud as can be when she does her best in front of a room of parents and classmates.

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV

Monday, October 20, 2008

God Bless Us All

If you give a hand-out to the person on the street are you perpetuating that way of life? For school my older daughter is researching homelessness and panhandling--which don't necessarily go together. I don't know what the long-term solution is. When the man stops you in the parking lot and says he needs money for gas, how do you respond? Did he really try to go to the Salvation Army to get a gas voucher? That's on his conscience. I had just read 1 John 3:17 the day before. So I gave him a fistful of dollar bills because that's what I had. And God bless you, too.

Yes, I realize there are other ways of handling this, like going to the gas station and pumping the gas.

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18 ESV

Sunday, October 19, 2008

If Looks Could Kill

Nothing gets kids at school more riled up than a cutter. Someone who cuts in line. Or lets others cut. In front of you. Adults don't care for it either. Just try stepping out of line and racing to the first available self-check register at the grocery store. I know because I did that today. Twice. You can ask my seventeen-year-old daughter. She was observing, from a safe distance. I'm not really that rude and impatient. I was just helping her with an assignment for her sociology class: What happens when you break a social norm?

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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Join Me

I can sit anywhere I want. I'm not in high school anymore with a designated lunch table. In case you're wondering, I often sat with international students. Today I could sit with the crafty ones. The ones who order cool fabric and have their Christmas gifts already wrapped up. I read their blogs. And I've quilted. Once or twice. I can dream of being creative. The scrapbookers will let me sit with them, I'm sure. I admire their themes and journaling. I can sit with the moms toting young children because it hasn't been that long since I had our tag along. Has it been eight years, already? I don't have answers but I remember the questions. Like potty-training, sleeping through the night, conflict resolution, and so on. I can mingle with the homeschoolers, public schoolers, and private schoolers. Been there, done all that. Of course there's room at the table of moms of teens and young adults. I'm there. And God knew I needed lots of encouragement because He has given me so many Titus 2 older women who have welcomed me to their tables. Maybe I'll start my own table and invite anyone who needs a place to belong. Young or old, or somewhere inbetween.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5 ESV

Friday, October 17, 2008

Better Get A Move On

I keep hitting the snooze button. Why do I put off getting going with my exercise plan? This week I got the results of my last brain MRI. There is one new lesion. Just one, so no need for alarm. I will continue with the medication in hopes of slowing the development of new lesions. Meanwhile, there are things I can do now to improve my overall health. So today I hopped on the treadmill and walked for thirty minutes. I can do that. Six days a week.

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Round

I can be hard on myself. I want to accomplish so much more than I am doing. It's time for another round of "what am I doing right?" I have been able to spend time in my daughter's third grade class regularly. When my oldest was in grade school I had two more at home and wasn't free. Then when my third child was in grade school my health took a dip. Now I am able to be up and around and involved, to a point. I helped at the school half a day this week but had to take it easy the next day. Today I wanted to get the kitchen and living room all the way cleaned up. I ran out of steam early on, but I did make monster cookies (peanut butter and oatmeal) for my older daughter's away soccer game. I do what I can.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:11-12 ESV

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Change Your Behavior

I had never heard of the three trees metaphor in Jeremiah 17. But I read that passage lately and have thinking about the fruitful tree. Then I went to a Peacemaking woman's blog and found a link to a practical article about, "how a person can look critically at her own behavior, then with the help of the Holy Spirit, change that behavior for the glory of God." The author used Jeremiah 17:5-10 and the three trees metaphor to change the behavior of yelling at her kids. I like how she analyzed the situations that triggered her yelling response, identified the obstacles to changing her behavior patterns, and felt the joy that comes with the fruit of change. With God's help. Sign me up.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Call

When I say, "Can I help you?" I mean it. I might not know what to do, but I will do my best. I filled in for the school secretary today. I was already in the building to help with a reading group when they needed someone to cover the phone for a couple hours. I had a quick refresher on how to work the phone. I missed the part about me hanging up before the call would actually get transferred. I didn't have too many calls and everyone was gracious. I braced myself for two lines ringing at the same time but it never happened. My cell phone vibrated and I jumped out of my chair, but that's normal for me. I'm glad I could help and it was fun to be in the same building as my third grader and my favorite second grade teacher--my husband.

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Timely

I joke that I need a book about organizing books about organization. So I expected tonight's women's meeting at church to be a pep talk. Rah rah, purge. Rah rah, sort. Rah rah, containerize. I enjoyed the mother-daughter team's lively presentation about winning the battle against clutter, chaos and disorder. Sign me up.

I'm going to start with the 5 X 5 X 5 strategy. Five minutes in five rooms five days a week. I'm looking forward to reading my new autographed book, Clutter Busters II, by Pat Calkins. Thank you to my friend who bought me the book!

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Apple Day

Want to make my day? Give me some apples. A friend at church gave me some freshly picked Gravensteins. I wasn't up for making pie but how about apple crisp? And invite the in-laws. I didn't think my parents would want to come to town tonight so I didn't call them. But who's that at my door? My parents on their way through town. Perfect timing. Now that really makes my day.

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

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Learn to Listen

I couldn't find the movie anywhere. Without buying it, that is. A friend rented the 1991 movie, The Doctor, so my older daughter and I could watch it. (Note: there is some bad language.) It is based on the true story of a doctor who becomes the patient. And it was as good as I remembered. I like movies with inspiring lessons. I noticed how people listened to others, or didn't, in the movie. Do I really listen to the heart when people are talking?

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19 ESV

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hither and Yon

My husband asked if I was tired from our long day. Yes, but mostly I'm relieved. Everyone got where they needed to be, and back. My husband took the day off so he could drive me to my neurologist appointment in Portland. My youngest wanted to come with us but we encouraged her to attend school. It was a minor miracle to see her happily hop out of the car early this morning--knowing that her dad would not be teaching down the hall from her. My older daughter needed to get to community college and home--without the car because we had it. We dropped her off, she took two buses back and got a ride on the last leg with Grandma. Her friend gave her a ride to soccer practice. My parents were on-call if anyone needed something.

We took a detour to our older son's college and had lunch and a nice visit with him. We expected heavy traffic on the way home on a Friday afternoon but that carpool lane was smooth sailing.

My appointment went well, by the way. My health is holding steady for now. Hold the course. Carry on.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 ESV

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Always Learning

I'm stuck in the 101s. Faith 101, Peacemaking 101, Parenting 101, and so on. You'd think that I would be a grad student by now. Or a professor. I've been saved for almost forty years. Parent for 21 years. That's okay. It keeps me humble. And on my knees. I don't have the answers. But I know Who does.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 ESV

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Journal Love

My husband knows what I like. So for my birthday this summer he surprised me with a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. I'm not financially literate or investment savvy. I love the articles about politics, culture, education, health, advertising and human interest stories. I read and clip to my heart's content. And feel loved.

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

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Fiddle Sticks

I forgot how difficult I can be. I don't give up my blood very easily. I skipped breakfast and marched off to the lab without a second thought. Until I heard the technician say, "Oh fiddlesticks." He tied up each arm, slapped me a few times, and tried heating pads. One stick, two sticks. No go. I told him that usually I pray up and drink up. I only had one glass of water this morning. By now I was praying hard! He tried one more time and got what he needed. Praise the Lord! I won't forget to pray up next time.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Monday, October 06, 2008

Time of Calm

I put it in writing that I wouldn't drive or sign legal documents for six hours. I think I'm in the clear for posting this blog. I'm under the influence of a mild sedative. I don't know if it helped me cope with the claustrophobic experience of today's brain and spine MRI, but I am feeling very relaxed. I closed my eyes and tried to describe the various sounds. I didn't hear machine guns as much as a group of woodpeckers going at a metal can. That and obnoxious loud alarm clocks going off. And power saws. I meditated on Psalm 1. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked." And so on. I know it helped to talk to my grandma this morning and have coffee and prayer with a good friend just before my appointment. I'm also thankful for my designated driver and companion--my older daughter. I will find out the results on Friday when I see my neurologist. The big question: Are there significant changes from one year ago? That is in God's hands.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2 ESV

Sunday, October 05, 2008

God's Plan

I love good stories. Especially about how God has worked in people's lives. A neighbor stopped by tonight and told me how she has a new teaching job. My husband and I can appreciate her journey of going back to school, subbing, teaching and things not always going according to plan. But then things worked out even better than she hoped for. She is teaching at a community college and loves being able to help adults in real need. It's the perfect fit for her. God provides. In His perfect timing and means.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Psalm 62:8 ESV

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Know When to Quit

I held the family off the vanilla ice cream in the freezer as long as I could. I finally made good on my promise to make apple pies. Some for us, some to share. I ran out of crust for the last pie so I made another batch of oil crust with part whole wheat flour. But then I had extra crust. No problem, bring out the last of the frozen blueberries. I still had more crust. Might as well use up the lonely little can of raspberries. I still had enough crust for one last custard dish. I eyed the large can of pumpkin in the pantry but thought better. A little dab of homemade blackberry jam will do quite nicely.

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

Friday, October 03, 2008

Find a Way

I live by "do what you can when you can." Let go of the rest. And trust that it's enough. I really wanted to get a care package together for my older son and send it with my in-laws, who are traveling to Oregon today. I ran out of time and energy to bake anything, but I put together some fun snacks. Then I was too tired to work out the hand-off early this morning. Bummer. I have to give myself permission to not do everything. But then at late-morning-works-for-me coffee with a friend I saw a student who is home for the weekend. She attends the same college as my son. She returns on Sunday--and can take my care package with her. I better get baking.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
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 4:10-11 ESV

Thursday, October 02, 2008

There For Us

You're all set to have a girls' night. Daughter's choice of dinner and a Disney movie. But the dvd player isn't working. What are you going to do? Call Son at college. He knows what to do. He tells you what connects to what. And you're back in business. Daughter's comment: Brother's always there for us!

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

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Designated Pray-er

I wasn't sure if I could do it. Sure, I'm comfortable being the designated Chinese translator for my neighbors, as long as it doesn't get too technical. But today I wanted to do more than be there with my friend for a medical procedure. I asked God for the courage to offer to pray with my friend. Out loud. In Chinese. God answered my prayers. I prayed and my friend's test went well.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV