Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wrap Up

I want to end well. And so today I wrap up loose ends, clear the deck, and wipe the slate clean. Is there anything that needs to be said or done? I made one phone call with that in mind. And I will finish a project that was left dangling. I can do that.

I end 2008 with a quote from John Piper in Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in all of Life.

"What matters is not that we do all we might have done or all we dreamed of doing, but that, while we live, we live by faith in future grace and walk in the path of love."

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Way to Connect

I'm going to hold out as long as I can. I don't know how much longer we can pull off our hard copy (printed with postage or hand-delivered) Christmas letter project. Nothing against email versions. I love the ones we've received. I enjoy writing, editing, and formatting our newsletter. Now the printing and label making, not so much.

So many people have been part of our lives over the years. Relatives and friends near and far, former pastors, high school and college friends, neighbors, past and present co-workers, our children's teachers, and a couple of my teachers from high school, to name a few.

Our Christmas letter is a way to connect. Share our story of what God is doing in our lives. We can do that.

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28 ESV

Monday, December 29, 2008

Plow Away

I could use a few more of those. Snow plows that is. I could use one in my home to clear away the piles of "do-it-laters." I need one in my library to clear away the books that I don't want so I can find the ones I do. How about a snow plow in the garage to clear away the things we don't need anymore or maybe never did? I wish a snow plow could move out my good intentions and give me room to follow-through. But I am thankful for the snow plow God uses in my heart to tear down walls and create a new heart.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Put in Perspective

It shouldn't be about me. Sure, it will be an adjustment when my daughter graduates from high school and goes to college. In a few short months.

No offense boys, but the relationship between a mother and daughter is different. I need to stop thinking about how I'll cope when she leaves. I want to focus on what she needs from me now. How can I help her prepare for life outside the nest?

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

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Call for Back-up

I felt sorry for the guy. The tow truck driver was stuck in front of our house. His rig broke down. And the second tow truck got stuck in the snow.

Some days are like that. So what do you do? Call for back-up. I am learning to ask for help when I need it. My husband is good at stepping in when I'm over my limit. In the meantime, I made some coffee for the tow truck driver.

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV

Friday, December 26, 2008

Super Cut

What it took to let me cut her hair: one ten dollar bribe, I mean incentive. Plus open one Christmas present early. But hearing your 8-year-old daughter say, "This is better than the beauty school!": Priceless!

Pictured: Our youngest with her grandmother.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 ESV

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Past

One of my treasured Christmas memories is when my son was in the Christmas play. With his uncle as a wise man. That was twenty-one years ago.

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" Luke 2:10-14 ESV

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White Christmas at Home

In the end, it didn't matter what our plans were. The weather changed all that. We are staying home for Christmas. Too bad we will miss seeing my sister and family in Oregon and all my husband's family in Oregon. We send our love. And Merry Christmas to our friends and family everywhere.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chilled Out

Have snow, will stay home. And build an igloo. And sleep in it. My older three children and their dad spent hours packing snow blocks and building an igloo. They dug out the snow and put an old rug inside. My oldest can stand inside--and he's over six feet tall. They read online that taller is not better because warm air can get trapped at the top and it can start to melt. So they put in a vent. Meanwhile, the three children and our dog slept in there. My husband checked on them in the night and all was well. Chilly, but secure. That's what memories are made of.

My son's account: http://andflushot.blogspot.com/2008/12/i-iglood.html

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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 4:15-16 ESV

Monday, December 22, 2008

Almost Christmas

It's cold outside and I can't wait until Christmas. So I made a batch of my mom's reduced-fat one-hour cinnamon rolls. I used part whole wheat flour for my own special touch. And I have the recipe for my Great Grammy's cooked frosting.

As long as I can remember, my mom has made cinnamon rolls arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree for Christmas. One for us and some (or lots) to give away. My mom will probably bake some at my sister's house in California.

Maybe I'll make another batch in the shape of a tree for Christmas morning. And add some M&M candies like my mom does.

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. Proverbs 31:15 ESV

One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls (Mary's take on Ruth's recipe)

1 T. yeast (2 T. if in a hurry)
1/4 cup warm water
3 or 4 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups warm buttermilk (or add 2 T. vinegar or lemon juice to milk)
4 1/2 cups flour (I sub 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp. soda
1/3 cup oil

Topping: brown sugar, cinnamon, and I add ground coriander
Oil to brush on dough

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and salt to yeast. Add warm buttermilk. Sift in two cups flour and soda; beat well. Add remaining flour and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rise 10 minutes. Divide into two halves. Roll each half into rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Brush dough with oil to moisten. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and ground coriander on dough. Roll up dough. Cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Arrange rolls in baking dishes with room to expand. Glass pie pans work well. Cover; let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned, emphasis on LIGHTLY. Makes about 3 dozen rolls.

Email if you need more detailed instructions. (widemargins @ gmail.com)

Grammy D's frosting (as recorded by my sister Kathleen):

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 T. corn syrup

Boil until little drops in cold water form balls, about 5 minutes. Take off heat and add:
1 T. margarine/butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat and let cool.
Pour over cinnamon rolls.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And Then Some

Every now and then we catch a glimpse of how God's grace works. Sometimes He pours down all we ask for and then some. Just like the snow.

(We're at 12-14 inches and counting.)

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:19-21 ESV

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Walk in Truth and Grace

Next time you leave my house, look up. Years ago I stenciled, "Walk in truth and grace" over our front door. That's how I want to live.

I recommend Randy Alcorn's little book, The Grace and Truth Paradox. Here's how he talks about Jesus' birth:

"The baby born in a Bethlehem barn was Creator of the universe. He pitched His tent on the humble camping ground of our little planet. God's glory no longer dwelt in a temple of wood and stone, but in Christ. He was the Holy of Holies.
But when He ascended back into the wide blue heavens, He left God's shekinah glory--that visible manifestation of God's presence--on earth. We Christians became His living temples, the new Holy of Holies (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19).
People had only to look at Jesus to see what God is like. People today should only have to look at us to see what Jesus is like."

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

Photo: Mud Bay in Olympia, WA

http://www.epm.org/books/the_grace_and_truth_paradoxDetail.php

Friday, December 19, 2008

Silent Night

There weren't any shepherds out tonight. Or angels, including our youngest. The Christmas program was cancelled due to the snow. The good news is our oldest made it home safely from college. Now we can prepare for the heavy snows predicted for this weekend.

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Might As Well

Yesterday I used my food processor on some onions for baked potato soup. I might as well process some celery, carrots and more onion for the next day's batch of split pea soup. While supervising my youngest's shower, I might as well give the bathroom a quick once-over. Just watch out for the shelf corner next time. I about knocked myself out when I stood up from cleaning the floor. If I'm the first one up in the morning, I let the dog out and feed him. While I'm in the garage I might as well switch the laundry loads. Little by little. It all helps.

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day

Don't worry about me. I'll hold down the fort (and stay warm and dry). You guys go have fun on the hill by the school. Snap some pictures if you can. I'll have some hot baked potato soup waiting when you get home.

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just Say Hi

I missed the first opportunity. But seized the next. I didn't greet the couple sitting next to me in church. So I don't know if they were visitors or regulars. That's not very friendly, sorry. But then I talked to the couple waiting outside my in-laws' Sunday school class. They had parents and in-laws in the same class. Plus it turns out we know some people in common. I'm glad I said hi.

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Colossians 3:12 ESV

Monday, December 15, 2008

Time for Friends

I'm still figuring out this season. Why do I have so little time for my friends? It's not McMommy days anymore--where the little ones played and the moms drank coffee and ate what was left of the happy meals. Some of the moms went back to work. Some care for grandchildren. And we're all just busy, busy, busy. Meanwhile, as soon as the weather clears, I have a coffee date with my good friend Carol. It's her birthday today. Happy Birthday Carol!

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, Colossians 1:3-4 ESV

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Family On Ice

The family that freezes together, sticks together. Or something like that. Five out of six of us braved the elements to attend the final game of The President's Cup soccer tournament in Tukwila, Washington. It was our older daughter's last game of her senior year. It was below freezing and windy. Did I say bone-chilling? Two of us only lasted 15 minutes before taking refuge in the car. We made a memory. Mostly we are thankful for a safe trip home despite icy roads. And her team winning first place in the U-18 division was icing on the cake.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good to See

She's always game. Will go anywhere, do anything with me. Work or play. But not today. She said no to coffee this morning. So only my husband and I met my in-laws at our favorite coffee shop. And my daughter went jogging with her older brother.

Let brotherly love continue. Hebrews 13:1 ESV

Friday, December 12, 2008

Banner Days

I'm not sure when it started. But one of our family traditions is to make banners to commemorate events. There are birthdays, anniversaries, various congratulations, and these days, homecomings. I try to have supplies on hand from the thrift store, like giant rolls of paper. We tape them to the garage door or front window. Or around the house. Tonight my younger daughter and I cranked one out and added ribbon for fun. She can run right under it but the rest of us have to duck. Welcome home, Son!

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

SEND ME

My first thought was that the driver of the little pick-up was a courier. Why else would he have the license plate SENDME? I'll probably never know. Those two words remind me of Isaiah's response to a heavenly encounter. "Here am I, send me" (Isaiah 6:8). Am I willing to do whatever God asks of me? More importantly, what is my attitude? Do I serve my family with gladness or out of duty?

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ready to Read

I'm running out of boxes. And that's a good thing. I'm almost done with the daily Bible readings for this year. I need to start thinking about what plan I will follow next year. I know what I'm not going to do--a reading plan with four passages to read each day. I get confused easily. I can handle reading in two places. Or maybe it's time to read through from Genesis to Revelation, with three chapters a day. I've done that at least four times. I could add a chapter from Proverbs each day. Or a Psalm. And it's time to bring back journaling the key thought from each day. I have a few more days to figure it out before the New Year.

I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. Psalm 119:162 ESV

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Face Time

I'm learning how to connect. With my children. Amazing how children born of the same parents can be so different. I am still riding the Facebook curve, but it gets immediate results from my oldest. I enjoy sending photos to my second son with silly captions. We use Skype to talk and see each other. My older daughter and I enjoy our coffee and tea breaks. We'll have to find a replacement when she goes away to college. My younger daughter and I have good chats and prayer time at bedtime. Works for us.

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, December 08, 2008

Walking and Leaping

Now that's an answer to prayer! I saw my friend Bonnie last night. She's the physical therapist who was injured when a mastiff attacked her in remote China. In the year and a half since, she has been in constant pain. Two months ago she could stand for only four minutes. And today? She can use her right hand again, walk, and even hike again. Now she can return to China in January to reach out to others in pain. We praise God for His hand of healing on her.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:11 ESV

http://widemargins.blogspot.com/2008/03/get-perspective.html
http://yakattack.typepad.com/yak_attack/2008/11/ss-grateful.html

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Enjoying Life

Twenty-three years and going strong. Happy Anniversary to us!

Photos: Family Weekend at George Fox University, November 2008 and Engagement photo from August, 1985

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:9 ESV

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Walking through Forgiveness

I'm not done walking through it yet. (On the treadmill.) But I can wholeheartedly recommend the book, Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns. It offers "biblical answers for complex questions and deep wounds." What is forgiveness? Is it ever right to forgive God? What does the Bible have to say? How do you know when to overlook an offense and when to confront? And how do you confront, anyway? This is a great complement to the Peacemaker material by Ken Sande. Check out blogger Tim Challies' review of the book too.

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. Psalm 130:3-6 ESV

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thanks for Your Patience

Have I learned nothing? If you go to a half-off everything sale at the thrift store, get in line BEFORE you are supposed to be somewhere. You might be there a while. And be late. Sorry, Daughter! Then if you drop said daughter at the community college and go to another thrift store and they have half off everything too, make sure you check your cell phone so you will know when to pick up your daughter. Sorry, again. I'm thankful for a gracious, understanding daughter. I can do better.

So what did I buy? Beautiful wrapping paper and ribbons, cool mitten-gloves that the waiting daughter got dibs on, and shh, don't tell, a new(ish) pair of Crocs for the younger daughter. All half price.

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

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Listen to Yourself

Add this one to the list. The list of things I say regularly. "Don't bog down." In other words, keep moving. Don't get distracted. It's not bad advice. Maybe I should preach it to myself. I have my own personal bog in the office.

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

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

And Can It Be

There goes all my work. I gained back all the weight I lost. I got a little off track with Thanksgiving and missed several days on the treadmill. I can resume eating right and walking every day.

No more "research" in the name of perfecting recipes.

So I didn't bake anything today. But my younger daughter made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I am going on record that I did not sample the cookie dough, even if it's my favorite. Because I know what that leads to. More cookie dough. And then seeing how the baked cookies turn out.

I will not give up.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:11 ESV

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Assistant

I had the easy job. All I had to do was blow the whistle at the signal from the assistant PE teacher. The assistant was in charge of 30-some third and fourth graders since the regular PE teacher was gone with illness in the family. The assistant had them run laps and jump rope. Then she divided them into two teams for kick ball. It was fast and furious but no one was seriously hurt. I was impressed with how well-behaved the group was. They were good sports, even when they got tagged out. And I was especially proud of how the 17-year-old assistant managed the group. Nicely done, Daughter!

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 1:10 ESV

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ready Or Not, Here They Come and Go

Where did everybody go? I set the table tonight and only needed four glasses. Is that it? About the time I get used to the boys being gone, they will return for Christmas break. But in the back of mind I am trying to brace myself for the next RIF (reduction in force). My older daughter graduates and goes off to college in six short months. My coping strategy? Stay connected. And always be ready to welcome them home.

as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV