Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hold On and Let Go

He puts up with a lot. A lot of stuff. Books, papers, projects, things coming, and not so much going. But bless his heart, he is helping us dig out. Instead of telling me to go easy on the books, he makes room for another shelf. I am so loved. And it frees me to let go and simplify.

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; Ecclesiastes 3:5-6 ESV

Monday, March 30, 2009

At the Train station

Try to quit while you are still having fun. And end on a positive note. Did that today. Now it's back to the four of us.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Went Fast

Got clean towels? How about milk? Better put in another load and make a grocery run. What? You're leaving already? One son left this afternoon and and the second catches a train in the morning. It was great to have a full house for one week.

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

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Get Together

It's the timeless good intention. "Let's get together." Timeless is right. It sounds good but hardly happens. Unless you're my friend Nancy, who makes things happen. Game night during the boys' spring break? Bring it. Or rather, just show up and she will have everything ready. I love that.

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

Friday, March 27, 2009

Deep Cuts

I tell my kids to write away. I can edit, shape, and prune anything. Thanks to my sophomore English teacher. Precis anyone? Today I just about met my match. My son miscalculated the word count for an internship application essay. We had a few hours to gut 1000 words down to 500. It was painful. But we did it. We'll see if my son made the cut, so to speak.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 ESV

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Break Time

What do you do when only half the gang is on spring break? My teens know how to redeem the time. They volunteer at their dad and little sister's school. Shoot photos and video. Assist with art projects. Help with science demonstrations. Grade spelling papers. Play soccer at recess. Help with PE.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, Hebrews 10:24 ESV

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

GREAT Grandpa

I didn't make it out to the lake today. But that's okay. My grandpa likes to celebrate his birthday all month. I hope to get out there soon to wish him a happy 88th birthday!

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reduce Your Risk

Eight minutes or bust. Pass or fail. Graduate from high school. Or not. No pressure. My older daughter did her senior project presentation in front of a class of juniors, teachers, and people from the community. She researched diabetes and helped a willing guinea pig make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of getting diabetes. Her senior project changed a life. Mine.

By the way, today is American Diabetes Alert Day.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11 ESV

Monday, March 23, 2009

Within Reach

Some people read the Old Testament and think it is all about rules and regulations. Do's and Don'ts. And genealogies. Sure, you can find those things. I find encouragement. Hope. God is in charge. God is not silent. He has a plan. And God's commandments are within reach. Sounds good to me.

"For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. Deuteronomy 30:11-14 ESV

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Boys are Back

I like having the whole family together on Sunday. The kids are good sports and pose on the rock after church.

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd

I gave all my cash to my driver. I could attend the writer's conference without perusing the book table. That was until I attended a children's book workshop with David and Helen Haidle, an author and illustrator team. I am inspired by their passion for communicating truth to children.

I pulled out my checkbook and bought the beautifully illustrated The Lord is My Shepherd. I love how the book follows Psalm 23 through the seasons. My husband can share it with his first and second graders.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:3 ESV

Pictured: My husband reading The Lord is My Shepherd to his first and second graders. With thanks to my son for taking this picture.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It is a Small Community

I talked to a friend tonight and found out exactly what his job is. He's the parking enforcement guy at a local college. I joked that maybe he gave my daughter a parking citation when she attended a soccer game on that campus for the first time. That was him. He's also the guy who approved her appeal based on it being her first offense. Next time she will know where to park and how to pay to park. It is a small community, after all.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ready or Not

I said it would be different this time. I can be ready when my sons come home from college. Or not. I planned to remove the piles of books and papers from the staging area in the boys' room. But I ran out of time. My younger son got a ride earlier in the day and surprised us. At least I was stocked up on Wheaties cereal and milk. And once again, my son was gracious.

I have one more day to get the top bunk cleared before my older son returns.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Words Fail Me

This only works if you own the book. And it's even better if you got it cheap and it's already damaged. I picked up Words Fail Me by Patricia O'Connor for free because it was water-stained, but still readable.

I wanted to try taking notes in the front of a book noting page numbers. That's what John Piper does, although he's probably reading deeper stuff.

I do recommend this book. It has practical writing tips and gems like, "When an egg is ready to hatch, it'll hatch. In the meantime, sit on it a bit longer."

and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19 ESV

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Race

The race was on. Could I find that one magazine before the assignment was due? I checked and rechecked my usual sources--the library free pile and the local thrift stores. I had my people looking.

Meanwhile, my daughter's art teacher said her color copy would work, even if the colors were a little distorted.

Today I checked the library box one more time. A woman was looking at some National Geographics. Getting warmer. She put them down. Aha! November 2008! Mission accomplished. With one day before the painting is due.

Pictured: A portrait in progress for oil painting class.

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Paint Happy

My daughter knew what the note in her lunch would say. Do I always write Paint Happy on the days when she has her community college oil painting class? She works hard at school and for hours at home. But last night I thought she was cleaning up her palette and supplies after I went to bed. But no, she surprised me by doing all the dishes.

Pictured: The assignment was to paint quickly without letting it dry and experiment with color.

but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4 ESV

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Be Ready

The topic in the check-out line was the crazy weather. Who knew we would wake up to 5 inches of snow this morning? The cashier said that the changing weather patterns may indicate some kind of cataclysmic event in the future. But probably not any time soon. I suggested that no one knows what his or her future holds. We should all be ready to meet our Maker.

He said that in light of how big the universe is, we are all just grains of sand. With no significance. I told him that he had significance. He mattered. Maybe I can say more next time I'm at that store.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 ESV

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Good to Be Home

I tried to find a ride to the writing conference. Someone had to be traveling from this area. But it didn't come together. My family rallied to make it work. My older daughter offered to drive. My husband gave me his blessing (and probably prayed all day). My younger daughter said she'd help her dad at the science fair. And so we went.

The conference was great. My daughter navigated the unfamiliar big city. Rain and all. My sister drove to meet my daughter and helped her pass the time while I attended workshops. We made a memory. And it's good to be home.

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

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready to Hit the Road

I have maps and directions. Two charged cell phones. Bottled water and fresh-baked chocolate oatmeal muffins. A full tank of gas. Plans and variations of plans. Rendezvous points. Steel-cut oats in the crock pot for a quick early breakfast. Stay tuned for the report about a mother-daughter road trip.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Hero's Welcome

The family gives a collective sigh of relief. We thank God for the safe return of my cousin after her third tour of duty in Iraq. Now the captain in the Marines can adjust to life and duty back in the States. Welcome back!

Pictured: My cousin with her big brother and her mom.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:29 ESV

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Seventeen and a Half

My older daughter can do a lot of things. She can drive. She can attend community college as a high school senior. But since she is not 18 years old, she cannot leave a certain children's pizza party place alone. She joined friends for a birthday party on her lunch break today. But was detained at the door. One of her friends, who is 18, was able to give her "permission" to leave. It's a crazy world we live in.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Degree by Degree

My husband is done tinkering. He can't coax that 10-year-old furnace through any more fits and starts. I put on an extra sweater while I waited for the repair man. I got the house temp to go up one degree by putting split pea soup in the crock pot. The family came home and it went up one more degree. How about my mom's recipe for cooked vanilla pudding? One more degree and very tasty.

The repair man got it going. Just in time for the 20 degree lows forecast the rest of the week. We should be set until the replacement part can be installed next week. Too bad my husband can't be paid for all his house calls.

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

Monday, March 09, 2009

Don't Try This at Home

That's the way we like it. Learning experiences where no one gets hurt. Now my eight-year-old knows what happens when you cook Easy Mac in the microwave without water. It burns and melts the container.

We've all had our share of oops moments. I'm glad my husband didn't get hurt when I turned on the heat while he was working on the furnace fan. Sorry, Hon. You can be sure I will check next time.

Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 4:5 ESV

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My Pace

I need to make a budget for the week. Energy that is. I need to pace myself so I don't run out of steam by the weekend. I'm planning to attend a one day writer's conference in Portland (two hours away) next Saturday. I will make naps a priority. And plan out a week of menus. Crock pot dinners, anyone?

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

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Stuck on Before

I'm good at saying that. After the fact. I told my husband he should have taken before and after photos of a painting project today. It's not too late to take before pictures of our home and the organizational work in progress. But it's too painful. We have a long ways to go.

Meanwhile, I can start where we are. Keep the dishes and laundry going. File the current papers. Move out the donate piles. Little by little, we will get there.

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

Friday, March 06, 2009

Family that Rummages Together

I know the drill. They won't open the door until precisely 9 AM. I am a regular at this annual rummage sale. I love the reasonable unit prices. Fifty-cent shoes, for example. I found a pair of cowboy boots for my husband just in time for spirit week and Western day where he teaches. My favorite find? A dapper hat for my dad. Only 25 cents. Thanks for the ride this morning, Dad.

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

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Bless Her for Sharing

Bless her for sharing her story. I appreciate Molly Piper's vulnerability about dealing with the loss of her baby. It's been 17 months now and she shares some reflections on her blog at:
http://thepipers.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/what-does-grief-look-like-at-17-months/. Molly is the daughter-in-law of pastor and author John Piper.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 ESV

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Better Than Google

Sometimes the thing is not the thing. I called my sister with a cooking question, but she wasn't home. So I talked to my brother-in-law. And he knew the answer. But more than getting information, it was good to catch up a little.

I was reminded of the good times we've had. My brother-in-law takes good care of my sister and their three children. And he has been good to me. I used to visit them in southern California for "warm-weather therapy." I haven't done that in a while. Now it's my older children that spend time there. I'm glad I picked up the phone and called.

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9 ESV

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Blessed are the List Makers

Moses had to be some kind of list maker. How else could he keep straight all the instructions and specs from God? Even the Ten Commandments were written down. I noticed that Moses kept a trip log. "Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the LORD, and these are their stages according to their starting places" Numbers 33:2.

My parents keep organized lists and my mom fills notebooks. And I bet they can find the information as needed. My grandpa carries note cards to record inspirations for his poems.

No more lists in my head and start-and-stop random notebooks. Action step: corral loose papers and notebooks around the house.

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

Monday, March 02, 2009

To the Rescue

I couldn't quite do it all last weekend. I made it to the Friday night portion of the women's retreat at church. But had to skip Saturday. And Sunday was my turn to take snacks for our Sunday School class. Not to worry, my friend offered to bake in my stead and deliver to the class. And it's not even her class. I am blessed.

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

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Made it Through

Please pass the honey and lemon for my hot water. I may be fighting this bug, whatever it is. No fever like my husband, but I sure ache all over. Good thing my husband is on the mend. We made it through the weekend responsibilities, with thanks to my older daughter for taking on extra janitor duties.

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