Saturday, February 28, 2009

Man Down

One of the weekend janitor jobs is done, thanks to my older daughter doing the whole thing herself. She did the mopping, the toilets and the vacuuming. Usually it's a two-person job. My husband is sick with a fever and out of commission. I wish I could strap a vacuum cleaner on my back but that would do me in. So I contributed by being the designated company in an empty school at night. I did put up some chairs and empty the trash cans. Tomorrow I will watch her sweep and mop an office building. My job is to stay well and keep the homemade chicken soup coming. And pray that my husband recovers soon.

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

More Than Animals

Jerry Pinkney's Noah's Ark is my new favorite children's book. He retells the story without watering it down, so to speak. God sent the flood because everyone had rejected God. Except Noah, of course.

But wait until you see the illustrations! The paintings done with pencil, colored pencil, and watercolors are amazing. I love the details like the baskets used for gathering food for the voyage and the underwater view of the ark, including the buildings left behind. It wouldn't be complete without the animals--and they are beautifully done.

With thanks to the bibliophile who gave me this book.

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Hebrews 11:7 ESV

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Caught Up

I will wait to make a special dinner. How about calzone over spring break? A family celebration is in order for our oldest. He's been working hard to catch up on his homework (three math classes and one computer class, mind you) after being sick and missing a week of school. And he's all caught up. Way to go, Son!

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't Have to Think

It's all about the habits. I might as well put on my tennis shoes because I'm going to walk every day, except Sunday. By the time dinner is done, I'm done. But before I go to bed I do the dishes and tidy the kitchen because that is my new habit. I'm drinking water even if it's not shot day when I need to "pump the fluids." I read my Bible in the morning after years of reading at bedtime. These habits are working for me. I don't even have to think about it.

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, February 24, 2009

Children's Book Section

I'll know it when I see it. That was my quick response to being asked what children's books I look for at the thrift stores. On further reflection, there is a pattern to what I buy for my family, friends, and my second-grade-teaching husband. I look for children's art and craft books. I peruse books of poetry to see if they will resonate with my husband's students. I also look for beautiful illustrations. And I admit I'm a sucker for Richard Scarry books--those are for me.

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, February 23, 2009

Grandpa's Stunt

At bedtime my eight-year-old prayed with me. She thanked God that her grandpa's stunt went well. Actually it was a stent for his heart. But God knows. We are thankful that my dad's second stent in two weeks went well. My dad will spend one night in the hospital and go home tomorrow. I am thankful for medical technology and skilled doctors to keep my dad healthy.

And I am reminded to do what I can now to maximize my health. That means keep up with the daily 30 minutes of walking, eat a healthy diet, drink water, and take my vitamins. I can do that.

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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Take Inventory

It's good to take inventory. Retell the stories of how God has provided for our needs. It's the best way I know to deal with worry and stress about current concerns. At lunch today my husband and I made a quick list of ways God has answered our prayers and concerns. We should do that every Sunday. It's a great way to start the week.

Pictured: A guest at our bird feeder

And he said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Luke 12:22-24 ESV

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pump the Veggies

I'd say it was a success. But not the stealth operation I had in mind. They heard me try out my new (to me) food processor. I steamed and pureed some carrots and added it to the sauce for my lasagna. I couldn't tell the difference. And the family ate it up. The layer of spinach is harder to disguise. But that's okay, three out of four love spinach.

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

Friday, February 20, 2009

Alphabetical Order

What book of the Bible comes first alphabetically? Acts. I know because my older daughter is reading through the Bible in alphabetical order this year. I've never tried that. I've read different versions each year, followed plans with two or four places to read each day, or read straight through with about three chapters a day. I like her idea. Way to mix it up and get in the Word daily.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tipping Point

It doesn't take much to tip the balance. I almost didn't go to the women's book discussion meeting tonight. I'm not big on evening events. I like to stay close to home. Plus I barely finished reading the book this afternoon. But one of my friends said she would be there. And so I went. There were almost 20 of us there to discuss Mere Christianity. It was fun and I'm glad I went.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just Right

I'm a Goldilocks shopper. Always looking for the "just right" thing. Like a warm down jacket for my older daughter. We've been checking the racks for the right style, right color, right size, and don't forget the right price. This weekend I found the perfect jacket for her. And it was half off at the Salvation Army with no sales tax in Oregon. That's $3.50 for an Eddie Bauer down jacket that looks brand new. Now she doesn't have to borrow mine any more.

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Well-Traveled

My son did everything but fly on an airplane this weekend. He shared a van ride to the Edmonds ferry terminal. He walked on the ferry and got off in Kingston. A friend gave him a ride home.

He was the designated driver for our overnight trip to Portland, Oregon to visit our older son.

Today we dropped him off at the Olympia train station to head back to college. He rode the train north to Seattle and then took a bus to Bellingham. He walked the last mile and a half to the campus. Just in time for his 5 PM class.

It was great to have him home. I wonder what he'll do over spring break.

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

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mom's Job

How did my mom put me on a plane to go across the ocean to college? And that was before internet and cell phones. It's hard enough with better connections. This weekend I had a taste of sending my daughter away. I'm glad she's home safe and sound from the church snow retreat!

Actually, I know my mom's secret. It's all about prayer and trusting God to handle what we can't. And thanks Mom, for being willing to pick my daughter up if we couldn't get there in time from our trip south.

Pictured: My mom wearing an apron made of my dad's old ties, thanks to a crafty friend of mine.

pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Grill Time

The woman at the restaurant asked how many were in our party.  I had to think.  Start with a family of six, but the two oldest are away at college.  That makes four most days.  My 19-year-old son is home for the weekend.  But my 17-year-old daughter is on a church retreat.   Add one for my 21-year-old son that we're visiting for the day.  That makes five.  For lunch.  Mongolian Grill in Tigard, Oregon.  I did the math in my head and spared her the life story.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!  Psalm 133:1 NIV


Saturday, February 14, 2009

That's Love

There were fireworks when we first talked about getting married. It was July 4th, after all. And yes, love and marriage come highly recommended.

But love is also about the little things. Going to the grocery store together. Or acts of kindness. Brewing a hot cup of tea, or fetching a glass of water, whatever the need of the moment. My husband is very good to me. Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart!

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

Friday, February 13, 2009

By Hand

So much for doing things the way I always do. I was ready to bag my plans for split pea soup because my food processor is out of commission. But wait, I can chop the onions, carrots and celery by hand.

It is a good idea to teach my children to cook without all the handy dandy devices I have at home. Like my trusty Kitchen-Aid stand-mixer. I haven't kneaded dough in ages. I think we'll make calzone this weekend, without the benefit of my dough hook.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thanks to the Heart Maker

We sat in the waiting room of the hospital. I brought the tea and muffins. My mom brought her Bible. Her scheduled Bible reading for the day was perfect. Psalm 33 is just what you need to read before your loved one, in this case my dad, goes in for an angiogram and possible heart surgery.

The good news is that with one stent put in today (add that to the collection), and one more next week, my dad should be good to go. Praise the Lord.

The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds...For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Psalm 33:13-15, 21 ESV.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keep Chopping

I enjoyed learning more about the man behind the pulpit and books. You can read an interview with John Piper on the Sovereign Grace Blog. I think I'll adopt his lingo. Instead of "chipping away" at projects, I am going to "keep chopping." Here is John Piper's response to a question about time management:

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?

A great tree will fall with many small chops. Pray for daily grace to keep chopping.

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

HT: Tim Challies

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cutting it Close

You never know what might happen at the last minute. Like today's scholarship deadline for my daughter. Equipment might fail. Printers are so fickle. Or you can live in a convergence zone. Haven't we had enough snow already? Our area was hit with at least six inches today. My husband and I almost went in the ditch outside our loop and then came close to sliding into a car head on. But we got to the post office with one hour to spare. Again I say, let's leave a little margin next time.

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

Monday, February 09, 2009

My Twenty-Five

I'm not much for doing things just because everyone else is doing them. But if Tim Challies, one of my favorite Christian bloggers, can share 25 random things about himself, maybe I can too.
  1. My family moved to Hong Kong when I was six years old.
  2. I attended a British school from primary 2 to primary 5.
  3. In the process of switching school systems, I missed first grade. (And I didn't know how to read.)
  4. I was 16 when I graduated from high school. (I was caught up by then.)
  5. I am the oldest of three girls.
  6. Even over the age of 40 I still want people to know that I am the oldest.
  7. I love algebra but I'm not very good with numbers. (They dance in my head.)
  8. I get excited about empty cereal bags. (They make great waxed paper for rolling out pizza dough or pie crust.)
  9. I used to catch frogs, snakes, and salamanders for fun. And then let them go.
  10. I startle very easily. (Just ask my children and husband.)
  11. I was a substitute college teacher for one week when I was 19. (Mandarin Chinese, if you want to know.)
  12. I love Good and Plenty candy. But I'm trying to give it up.
  13. I love black tea.
  14. I don't like Earl Grey tea.
  15. People are always giving me Earl Grey tea.
  16. I used to read in bed by the light of the electric blanket light, after "lights out." (Sorry, Mom and Dad.)
  17. I used to read tons of books about horses. (Walter Farley, anyone?)
  18. I'm a little scared of horses up close.
  19. My children think I read the dictionary all day. (It's actually a thesaurus.)
  20. I roller skated down the streets of Victoria, BC. (college days)
  21. I roller skated down the streets of Taipei, Taiwan. (junior high days)
  22. I rode a bike for the first time in years and a basketball hoop blew over and hit me.
  23. I haven't been on a bike since.
  24. I have trouble knowing which is left and which is right. (Even before the bike incident. Just kidding.)
  25. My nickname in high school was "Yuk Balls." (Seriously. It was a term of endearment related to the no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies I liked to make.)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:11-14 ESV

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mom Can Too

I thought memorizing was for kids. My older three children learned verses for AWANA. Now my youngest memorizes scripture as part of the Bible curriculum at her Christian school. Whole passages, even.

Helping my daughter study is putting it in my mind. I can even almost quote the poem she memorized for her oral report. "Not like the brazen giants of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land..." And here's the part that is probably more familiar,"...Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." That was the New Colossus by Emma Lazarus.

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

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Branch Out

I thought all the libraries in our area had their bi-monthly sales on the same day. We made it to one sale and tried another branch. Gotta love those 25-cent children's books! My husband dropped my eight-year-old and I off while he went to his favorite building supply surplus store. But we were a week early for their book sale. With only one cell phone between us. That's okay. We can sit and read children's books aloud while we wait. It was one of the highlights of 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

Friday, February 06, 2009

Please be Seated

I do my job well. Maybe too well. I often clean up the kitchen after meals, and you know how that goes. A dab of leftovers here, a smattering there. And so much for portion control. I have a new rule for myself. Only eat when sitting down. Except for eating a whole grapefruit at the kitchen sink.

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

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Book Launch

My husband has a men's book discussion meeting later this month. The women in my Sunday school class don't want to be left out so we will read the book and meet too. That's why I checked every shelf and stack for Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. That's the office shelves, the boys' room shelves, and the shelves in my room. Oh well. I'm sure my dad and grandfather each own a copy and know where to find it.

Last night my husband was looking for some children's craft books. I had a few on the lower shelf in our room. I pulled the over-sized books out and the load shifted. The shelf dropped onto the books beneath it and a little paperback was ejected from the shelf. Mere Christianity, of course.

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

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Have a Wonderful!

Mornings are not my thing. Unless there is a rummage sale or coffee involved. So when I pack a lunch for my children, it is done with love. Yeah, yeah. I could pack it the night before. But I don't. I hardly ever put notes in the lunches these days. But my husband, that "crazy wonderful man," packed the lunches last night. And included notes. My seventeen-year-old daughter got a kick out of her note that read, "Have a wonderful!" We assume he meant day. Add that one to family lexicon.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 ESV

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pockets Love

Last year my husband read a story to his second graders about fighting boredom. But which issue of Pockets magazine was it in? So I sent an email to the publishers. In a few hours I had a detailed reply. And the offer to send me a copy of the January/February 2008 issue in case I can't find it. I love that magazine. We read it to our older children and now enjoy it with our tag-along. And it's perfect for sharing with my husband's second graders. Keep it coming.

From their website:

Pockets is a fun devotional magazine for children around the ages of 6-12. It comes out 11 times a year (the January/February issue is a combined one), and each issue has a different theme. It has 48 pages and includes stories, games, activities, poems, daily Bible readings, recipes, and more!

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Monday, February 02, 2009

Plan it Forward

I was almost derailed by the flyer in the mailbox with the phone number on a handy refrigerator magnet. How about a hot dinner (pizza) delivered to my door? That would be nice after the unplanned trip to the next town to translate for my Chinese neighbors at the government office. But I was saved by my preliminary work. The chicken was thawed, sliced, and marinating in the fridge. I was commited. Stir fry it is. Put the rice on. Chop some broccoli and cabbage. Grate some carrots. We're good to go. Now that's a hot and healthy dinner.

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

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Baby Steps

I'm going for the small victories. It might not seem like much to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Especially compared to a family of serious runners. But it's doable for a non-athlete like me, and I am feeling better for it.

I am also trying to get the kitchen all way done by the end of the evening. Bare counters and clean sink. (Yes, I've read the Flylady stuff but never followed through.) It helps get the next day off to a good start. And it's contagious. My family is jumping in without being asked.

Little by little. Works for me.

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