Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Highway

I was thinking about cleaning the house and my daughter wanted to play a game. Okay. What's on the shelf? Happy Highway with question cards to discuss. Like, "If you could have an extra hour a day, what would you do with it?" "What quality is most important in a friend?" My eight-year-old took it upon herself to work ice cream into each of her answers. "What's the best thing about today?" "Going to get ice cream later." "What are you most thankful to God for?" "Ice cream, of course." And so on. We made a memory. The house can wait.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, Philippians 1:9 ESV

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fireproof Night

I'm glad my older daughter and I lingered at the grocery store. Or we might have missed seeing a familiar car in the parking lot. We found my parents and invited them to join us for movie night. Five out of six of us loved Fireproof, the new movie with Kirk Cameron. One abstained. My eight-year-old was in bed and I think that was a good call. It may have been a little intense for her. Plus there is the adult subject matter of marriage and divorce, handled very sensitively, I might add. This is a well-done movie with take-away value. My favorite.

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The New Apprentice

I usually count on my older daughter to be my dinner assistant. But she has tests and projects. Little Sister jumped up, washed her hands, donned an apron and was ready. "What would you like on your calzone?" She did a nice job. Her stuffed bread stick experiment was a hit too. The next night she assembled the lasagna. Might as well bring on the new apprentice now, instead of waiting until my older daughter leaves for college.

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Now That's Fragile

That was educational. I'm talking about my trip down to the Post Office. You can learn a lot while you stand in line. A woman in front of me was mailing eggs. Duck eggs. About 18. She explained that eggs are laid at different times but when the mother hen, or in this case, duck, sits on them they all hatch at once. The recipient will put them in an incubator and they will hatch. Hopefully. When I told my eight-year-old this story she asked if the package said, "Fragile." You betcha.

Pictured: My son and a little chick at my sister's farm this summer.

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4 ESV

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Breathe Free

I don't remember giving class presentations in third grade. I remember the painful ones in 7th and 8th grade. Some mean girls in my class may recall how many times I said "running water" in a speech on that topic since they were keeping track.

It's good to learn how to speak publicly. Might as well learn while you're young and the audience is more forgiving. Today I was very proud of how my third grader did on her oral report. Her topic was the Statue of Liberty and the poem, "The New Colossus." She had the poem basically memorized but opted to read from her note cards instead. She seemed confident and relaxed. We can work on improving eye contact for the next one.

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ten Fingers for God

They said it was good. My grandparents just finished Ten Fingers for God by Dorothy Clarke Wilson--taking turns reading chapters aloud. They passed it along to me. It's about the "Life and Work of Dr. Paul Brand." He's the one who did pioneering research on the disease of leprosy. I don't know how I'm going to get through it. Today I interrupted my treadmill reading to read several sections to my older daughter, who was trying to study for a test. That was just in the foreword by Philip Yancey.

"...Dr. Brand learned at an early age that God wanted from him gratitude and trust--gratitude for those things he could see and appreciate, and trust regarding those things he could not. To his surprise, that attitude in him deepened even as he worked among people least likely to feel gratitude: the poorest of the poor, leprosy victims in India. In many of them, he saw the transformations that the love of God can produce. The immense human problems he lived among did not dissolve, but his faith supplied a confidence and trust that enabled him to serve God with gratitude and even joy."

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10 ESV

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Every Which Way

How did I ever get anything done? Just think back to when the boys were 4 and 2, and I had a new baby girl. It's a different kind of crazy now. I still toggle who needs what when. (Toggling: my modern take on juggling--switching between operations.) The bottom line? I need God's wisdom and strength. Now more than ever. (Seventeen years and one more baby girl later.)

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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

That's a Plan

We've barely started this new year and already I could use some better planning. Every birthday party I say we are going to get a gift early and be ready. I need to involve my youngest because she will have to approve the gifts for her friends. My little stash of random gifts doesn't quite cut it. And the things she does like, she doesn't want to give away. Likewise, I need to gather my wrapping supplies and cards into one handy location. But hey, I did write the main family birthdays on a perpetual birthday calendar and update this year's calendar. That's a step in the right direction.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27 ESV

Friday, January 23, 2009

Smash and Grab

There was drama. A few tears. Danger. Weapons. Actually only one broom handle. Lots of candy. And a dozen children or so. I'm talking about the pinata at an 8-year-old's birthday party today. There were a few heroes too. The fifteen-year-old relative who organized the hanging of the ladybug pinata. The birthday girl's older sister who blindfolded and guided the party-goers. The grandma who came to the rescue and rehung the pinata after it fell without breaking. One diligent mom helped with crowd control so no one got hurt. "Stay back!" Kudos to the children, including my daughter, for being good sports when the crowd laughed at misplaced swings. And honorable mention to the moms who stood out in the freezing cold for the whole thing. Including me.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Step Away from the Shoes

I try to hold things loosely. But I admit I didn't drop the shoes right away. I mean, the other woman wasn't even close. From down the aisle at the thrift store she asked, "Are you buying those?" It was a pair of Keens (one hundred dollar shoes) and we both knew it. They weren't my size and I wondered if they would fit my brother-in-law. I didn't think he would like the buckle. (Sorry, Ed.) So I let go. She can clean them up and put them on Ebay. I'm still waiting for my Keens, size 38.5 (8). I'm getting closer.

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, January 21, 2009

Hooray for Leftovers

The family didn't eat all the hot cereal this morning. Hooray! I can make some chocolate muffins with the leftover steel-cut oats. I am grateful to Ann Kroeker for getting us started on the overnight steel-cut oats. Put a heat-proof dish in the crockpot with a one to four ratio of cereal to water. (Like one cup cereal plus four cups water.) Put water outside the dish to about the same water level as inside the dish. Cook on low overnight and you're set. Add what you like in the morning. I'm good with plain yogurt but others like milk, frozen berries, or honey. I'm still working on the big bag of oats my parents gave me this summer. Otherwise I buy steel-cut oats in the bulk food section of our local Freddy's. Don't buy it in the cereal section. But if you do, save the beautiful silver can for me. I'd love one!

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

Mary's Chocolate Muffins
(adapted from What's Cooking Chocolate chocolate chip cake recipe)
makes 24 medium muffins

2 cups cooked oatmeal (OR 1 cup quick, not instant, oatmeal plus 1 3/4 cups boiling water)
*note: I've used half leftover oatmeal and half oats plus boiling water with thick oats that are not "quick" with good results.

1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup applesauce (one individual pack of applesauce is the right size)
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 heaping Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
2 eggs
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsifted whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix leftover oatmeal, oil and applesauce until well blended. Add sugars and cocoa and stir well. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, then mix it all together. Stir in the chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. It's done when a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean (unless you hit a melted chocolate chip). Freezes well or makes popular gifts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Add one to the evening prayer list. My youngest and I prayed for our new President tonight. And a blessing on the outgoing President. This is history my daughter will remember.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1 ESV

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good For Me

You never know what you'll find in a box of old papers. Nothing jumped out--that's always good for our garage. No stashes of cash. Didn't expect any. Five 37-cent stamps. Hey, every little bit helps. But I'm encouraged by one of my attempts at organization. I made a chart to help my children, when they were 6, 8, and 10, with the daily routine. I must have done it at least five weeks in a row. I don't remember being that consistent. Good for me.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Day in the Life (1994)

I can't believe I did that. I found some pages from an old journal dated October, 1994. It says I got up at 6:45 a.m. to pray. I'm not a morning person, you know. Maybe that's why it made my journal. But this I can believe. It says I went to Goodwill and found some great books. Oh, and my husband had to take the toilet off to unplug. And the hamster escaped.

Fourteen years later I'm regularly doing my Bible study in the morning (who'd have thought?), still hunting for good books at the thrift stores, thankful for a handy husband (by the way, the sink is plugged, Honey) and we have a pet rat.

But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13 ESV

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What Every Girl Needs

A dad who loves her mom tenderly. A dad who prays and reads the Bible without fail. A dad who can teach and is teachable. A dad who gets up early and makes breakfast, packs lunches, and fixes hot tea for the night owl mom. A dad who writes notes in lunches signed "Daddio." A dad who can fit tons of stuff into cars, unload it, and repack it ad infinitum all across the country. A dad who hauls overstuffed carry-ons on countless plane trips. A dad who can stay cool in crazy driving situations around the world. (Or teaching someone how to drive.) A dad who loves, prays for, and writes letters to each grandchild, or ten. A dad who will always be a hero to his adult daughter. Or three. That's my dad. Happy 70th birthday, Dad!

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

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not in My Room

I'm not a heavy sleeper. I haven't fallen asleep reading since college. I don't sleep through movies or alarm clocks. I'm sorry, but all that snoring is getting to me. We need to find another place for the dog to sleep now that our sons are back at college.

Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing. Proverbs 27:14 ESV

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas in January

God bless the third grade teacher. She didn't let a little snow storm and missing days of school keep the class from putting on their Christmas program. Today twenty-two boys and girls played Christmas songs on their recorders, donned costumes for the Christmas play, and each read an original story told from an animal's perspective on Christmas morning. And don't forget the brownies, cookies, and punch, served to the parents, grandparents, and siblings by the third graders. Better late than never! I'm glad my Dad (Grandpa) could come too.

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!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:12-16 ESV

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On the Money

I had to run an errand to the next town today, one-hour round trip. I know just how to redeem the time. Listen to the Christian radio. I caught Money Life (part of Crown Financial Ministries) with encouragement to think about what I am teaching my children about money. I like the idea of a family job board of sticky notes with paid jobs available.

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reading Genesis

I have favorite stopping points along the way. I visit recurring themes of faith versus fear, redemption, God's gracious provision, etc. Peacemaking or lack of it. And each time reading through the Bible I notice something new. Today I noticed how the baker waited to see how the cupbearer's interpretation turned out before sharing his own dream (Genesis 40:16). Can't blame the guy. I wonder if Joseph encouraged the baker and prepared him to meet his Maker, knowing it wasn't going to end well for him.

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, "I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, Genesis 40:16 ESV

Monday, January 12, 2009

End Well

Let me stop that train before it goes any further. It's the train of thought going over the things that are undone. That won't get me anywhere tonight. How about ending the day with some thankfulness? I'm thankful I have the energy to do laundry and dishes. One year ago I didn't. I'm thankful that my parents are back in town and had time for a "one-cup stop." (Tea for my mom and coffee for my dad.) I'm thankful they gave me a ride up to the school to get my husband's truck and I was just in time to help my husband's first and second graders with their painting project. I'm amazed that I walked away without any paint on my white sweater. I'm thankful my older daughter took over the dinner preparations tonight. (Creamed tuna and rice with veggies.) Mostly I'm thankful that God's mercies are new every day.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Search Party

That's one little mystery solved. I've been searching the house high and low (or is that deep and wide?) for one slip of paper. I checked the receipt file. My personal file of things to do. And the stack next to the computer. What about the shelf by my bed? And so on. It's a receipt so I can be reimbursed for $32. I've been holding out on ordering the new ESV Study Bible until I can find it. Guess where I found it? Tucked in my Bible for safe-keeping. I love the irony of it. Now to fax it in and wait for a check in the mail. Now where is that fax number? Just kidding.

And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Luke 15:9 ESV

Saturday, January 10, 2009

End of Season

So that's that. We come to the end of a season. The last college boy left town tonight. I was almost hoping the roads wouldn't clear and he would have to stay a little longer. But that's selfish of me. I'm thankful my parents made it back safely today. It was a good Christmas. Full of memories and good times together. Here's to a new year with a fresh start for all of us.

Pictured: Our igloo in the process of melting

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

Friday, January 09, 2009

One Little Area

It's crazy talk. I regularly tell myself today is the day I organize the whole house. I'll skip my nap, clean every room in the house, and surprise the family. Not going to happen. Get real. Try this: Self, pick one area you can conquer. Get one little area done each day, you will make progress. How about that helter-skelter kitchen drawer that's driving you crazy? Dollar store containers fit quite nicely. Done. One little area. I can do that.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Safe and Dry

I'm getting calls asking if we're okay. Is the record rain after all the snow affecting us? The school where my husband teaches had a roof collapse over Christmas break due to the snow. The 4th graders are temporarily in the preschool building and 5th-8th graders are sharing the building with the K-3rd graders. The contents of the computer lab were saved and repairs to the roof should be completed in a couple weeks. The surrounding areas have been hard hit by floods and mudslides. This morning there was a dramatic rescue of a man whose car was washed away--only a couple miles down the road outside our neighborhood. It made national news. Our oldest can't return to college in Oregon until I-5 reopens. My parents are stuck in Oregon until the water goes down and the highway is clear. Thankfully we are all safe and dry. Our hearts go out to those who are not so fortunate.

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

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Think Long-Term

This year I resolve to not be so quick to pass judgment. It's easy to think I would never do that. Like today I read about the twins, Esau and Jacob. Remember how Esau was so famished he gave away his birthright for a pot of lentil stew? (Genesis 25:29-34). How short-sighted. But wait. Do I ever compromise long-term goals for short-term pleasure? Like eat something not so healthy? Or procrastinate because I don't want to deal with it right now? Guilty. With God's help I can keep goals in mind, and act accordingly.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, Titus 2:11-12 ESV

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Leave the Nest

I'm guessing Mrs. Noah had things arranged the way she liked them. So how did she feel when it was time to get off the ark? By the way, it wasn't just for 40 days. That's how long it rained. They were on the ark more like a year. Face it. Change is hard. We avoid it. But if I never leave my cozy nest I miss out on God's blessings. Am I willing to try new things? Spread my wings a little.

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him, no foreign god was with him. Deuteronomy 32:11-12 ESV

Monday, January 05, 2009

Big Picture Little Picture

I'm looking for two things. The first thing I pay attention to in my daily Bible reading is God. What does the passage reveal about God's character? What does He care about? Then I note what God might be showing me for my life. What can I learn from passage? Big picture first; little picture second.

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might Ephesian 1:17-19 ESV

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Word Games

Did the care of the animals take all their time? Or did Noah and his family play games to pass the time? We had a word game marathon this Christmas break: Boggle, Twenty-five Words Or Less, Bananagrams (a variation of Speed Scrabble and new family favorite), Scrabble, Catch Phrase, and Upwords. Memorable moments: How do you get someone to say "flowchart" with one or two clues? Who knew "fledgy" was a word? (covered in feathers). Our eight-year-old held her own with most of the games, with a few exemptions like proper nouns. And now we go back to work and school. Weather-permitting.

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

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Family Tour

How many relatives can you break bread with in one day? We had breakfast with my brother-in-law and family in Portland, Oregon. We shared lunch with my sister, husband and darling girls at the farm in Sandy, Oregon. We were a little late for dinner with my grandparents, uncle, aunt and cousins in our hometown in Washington. And for a bonus, my aunt and uncle from Vancouver, Canada, and my cousin from San Francisco, California joined us. We have a day to regroup before we return to our regular schedules.

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

Friday, January 02, 2009

Start at the Beginning

I settled on a plan.  Start at the beginning and read three chapters a day.  That will get me through the Bible in one year.  And bring back the daily journal so I can record my reflections. Or questions.   Like, what was Eve doing examining the forbidden fruit?  (Genesis 3:6) Research like that can get you into trouble.  Then and now.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, Titus 2:11-12 ESV

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Grace for Unknown Waters

Tim Challies posted this prayer from the Valley of Vision. It's a great way to start the year.

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

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