Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I am really enjoying this Christmas season! I hope you are too. In other years, the holidays have worn me down to the point that it was hard to even feel the joy and peace. It was hard to be worshipful. It was hard to move through my days, even! I was exhausted!
I am not a person who can bake a variety of cookies, and pies, think of beautiful, inexpensive gifts for everyone I know, shop without dropping, send dozens of cards (on time), keep my home company-ready at all times, and plan a wonderful Christmas dinner. Frankly, I don't believe anyone does all that.
How many times over the years have I heard the question, "Do you have your Christmas shopping done yet?" And felt little nag of guilt or inferiority because no, I didn't have it done? In fact I wasn't sure when it was ever going to be done because there always seemed to be one more thing that I needed... or else I would find one more thing that would make the holiday even better, it seemed. And by the way - does shopping for Christmas dinner groceries count as Christmas shopping? What are the rules for this question, anyway?
Here's the thing. That whole concept of getting your shopping done? It's a fantasy! It never happens! In our society, with constant advertising, you will always think of one more thing to buy. Or six. If you were to actually get gifts for everyone, then there are always more people who you can shop for, more decorations to buy, more food, and on it goes.
No one can do everything. We have to make choices. One year I might make a nice dinner, and another year, I might send out a family newsletter. I don't hand make gifts. I buy them. I don't send out cards every year, only when I have the time and energy. Yesterday I addressed about 6 cards. Just 6. Not 50, or 60, or 100. Just six. They might get into the mailbox today. Maybe. We'll see. I just cannot allow the demands of the season to stress away the joy of it. I hope I love on people the rest of the year. If they don't get a card I hope they know I still care, I just can not cover everything that I would like to. This year it mattered to me to bake cookies, which I never do... It's been so much fun!!
I spent an afternoon baking with my daughter. We had good times. Then later, I decorated a few at a time. And we shared them. That was fun. It gave me a chance to get creative. So far, the holidays have been so much fun this year! And yes I am tired and some things are not gettiing done... but I am having a good time and not forgetting what the season is really about:
Worship. Family. Love. Joy. and Peace. (Remember peace?)
I wish you all of these things today. And the restful moments in which to savor them.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I have been thinking about the 1940s a lot lately. I wasn't there, but it seems like those times played a big role in who we have become today. The grief over men lost, the sense of loyalty to a cause, the big band sounds that kept up morale while women stayed home and worried for their men. All that fantastic music and the great dancing were a part of an overall picture that included war!
My parents would have been young adults then. Those times shaped them, and consequently, shaped us. I love to hear the stories and see the pictures from their lives then. I can't imagine the way life must have felt during that war. I wish I could go visit those times, and then come back here. I guess that's why I love old movies and stories from then.
The more I think about it, the more I'm convince that then or now, people are people. We have always had certain things in common. We shop to find the best price on groceries. We worry about bills. Young ones look for fun, find dates, and fall in love. We complain about the weather and politics. People start families and settle in to life. We want the best for our kids. We help them with schoolwork. So many things do not change. Our daily lives contain most of the same tasks, same concerns as ever. There are good neighbors and bad ones everywhere in every time. Friendship always nourishes. Bad things happen and our choices remain pretty much the same in how to respond.
I think maybe we can identify with the generations before us a lot better than we think we can, if we just stop and think about it. Maybe there is less difference than we imagined.
If you have a chance, find someone who lived through the forties and listen to them. Swap stories. Learn what is common to us all, and how individual differences play into the overall picture of life and history. Listen to the stories of their daily life, and write them down if you can... when these people are gone, we won't be able to hear first hand accounts any more. That will be a great loss. We need to savor it while we can. Their history is our history.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
537. roads without curbs, grass growing right up to the pavement
538. horses gathered in a little paddock, having contented horse conversations
539. kids who love me
540. a brand new grand! tiny and pink.
541. Wednesday night suppers at church!
542. getting to know new friends
545. the awesome strength of women giving birth
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Cold, gray, and wet. The leaves are stuck to the ground in the rain, looking discouraged, as if they're too tired to run around, have no energy to fly with the wind.
Maybe it's a good thing that Thanksgiving comes in November. We need it about now. We need to find gratefulness on these days of darkness and soggy, tired leaves. Or we'll turn dark and cold ourselves.
On this day of dark and wet and cold, I am especially thankful for soft slipper-socks hot out of the the dryer, a very tall mug of hot rooibos tea, a big red sweater, and candles. Thankful for work to do in order to get warm and keep my mind off the sad-looking day, and friends that I will see tonight.
It's a great day for coziness and a slower pace.
(joys and thank yous #531 - 536)
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tonight's supper, made from leftovers, went like this...
Hey, I'll use up this cooked chicken and this homemade tomato soup from the other night. Add a small can of black olives that I happened to have, and 1 can of black beans, chop an onion into it, good spoonful of garlic, plenty of fresh cilantro which I happen to have on hand (just bought it -- I thought I was going to try drying it!)... warm and taste...add cumin, little jalapen-yo, black pepper, barest touch of cayenne and a shake or two of hot sauce. This is getting mighty yumful!
Let set to blend flavors and ole!
I will now serve it with cheese and sour cream which I happen to have on hand, and the family will be warmed and filled. I love when a plan comes together, even at the last minute!
So glad I was able to use up some leftovers and that I happened to have on hand so many of just the right things to fill in! Clearly I must be getting some heavenly help on the cooking tonight! (thanks Father!)
Monday, October 24, 2011
What a gorgeous morning! The sun glows in the mist as the dew rises, and the trees, colors deepened by the day's early shadows, look more lush than thy ought to be for this time of year.
The thing to do on a morning like this is stand in the open doorway with a cup of hot coffee, breathe it all in, and just be thankful.
529. October's leaves dressed in autumn's colors
530. moments for standing half in, half out, relishing the warmth and the cool,
the beauty and the comfort.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Hot, steaming gravy runs all over the mound of potatoes, over and around the tender chicken... And I'm thinking this is just the thing on this damp, cold day that scowls sharp with ragged clouds and can't decide whether to actually rain or just make threats.
Crock pots are a gift to cold people with not enough energy to make a meal after sitting in a chilly classroom half the morning. The hot food warms me from inside and feels like comfort. It's the perfect meal for before a nap. And a nap is just the thing for a cold Sunday afternoon.
522. easy gravy = mushroom soup poured over the meat and thickened as needed later
523. Hot food when I'm cold, warming me up from the inside
524. Restful Sundays
525. worship time
526. family time
527. nap time
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
But now that I am here, I want to pick up on my list of joys and thank yous, my gratitude list, right where I left off.
506. adorable grandgirls who light up when they see me, making me feel like a celebrity
507. being loved with an everlasting love, unconditionally, constantly, and lavishly
508. laughing with my kids
509. having kids who show respect and consideration for others
510. dancing to oldies - daughter's favorite choice in music
511. pedicure with custom painted designs on my toes!
513. grape juice
514. frappuccinos, rarely, but yum.
515. jasmine green tea and dark chocolate
516. taking pride in the accomplishment of a grown daughter as she graduates
517. getting to know my kids' strengths and talents as they develop
518. new recipes that turn out well
519. metro cruise, and being there with my kids
520. Vitamin D supplements - they really make the shorter, darker days so much easier
Monday, October 10, 2011
Life piles up sometimes... and I guess hers is.
We will get her to the dentist and it will be better. We will figure out a way to pay for it even though there is no insurance. She will do great on her exam even though she will worry herself to a frenzy, and she will get moved on time.
A friend posted today that we need the wild places, the untamed places, the unsolved mysteries. Even in the middle of Our Town, right downtown, there are places yet not cultivated, places where the trees and weeds grow and the poison ivy creeps bright red up the trunks. There is beauty in the untamed, the unexplored, the unknown.
Life is like that too. As much as I wish to get it all figured out, tame my schedule, and understand everything...weeds and tangles appear. Teeth break and pain shoots right through the place in life where I thought it was all cultivated and smooth. Schedules change and unknowns pop up. Maybe that's ok. Maybe it's ok to do what you can and then let the rest be. Maybe the unknowns and unexpecteds of life are the wild places that we need more than we know. Maybe I need to do what I can to make things right, and then just embrace the rest in all its messy glory. Maybe I need to be more thankful for the uncultivated places in life, the unknown and unplanned, the unsolved mysteries, the "don't knows".
(ps - if you want to read my friend's post about the value of he wild places, go here:
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Thanks to the generosity of one local business, we enjoyed free burgers,
hot dogs, chips, and root beer floats for supper!
What a fun night!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
so i am working at it.
working at bringing some sparkle to the day, which would otherwise be hard and dry.
like a stale biscuit.
step one -
starbucks. something very large, decadent and sweet, with a coupon to make it free. free always makes it even better. settled on a venti, haf caf, soy, java chip mocha frappuccino with a shot of peppermint, afagato. with whipped cream and syrup. i think i pretty much maxed out my freebie coupon with that concoction. it was the perfect thing for this particular morning.
step two -
focus on Truth, like, "there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus..." And "I will never leave you or forsake you." To know that I am loved unconditionally sure drives away discouragement of any kind!! Truth wins, every time, hands down! No matter the circumstances, I can wallow in His love! It's secure and it's always available.
step three -
spend some quality phone time with offspring far away. I love my kids so much! I miss this one and his family so much it hurts! But a chat on the phone makes them feel closer.
step four -
crank up the oldies and dance in the kitchen. made the daughter smile (because she's too polite to full out laugh). tunes from the 60s can really cheer up a day, plus dancing gets the blood flowing and is pure good fun!
so... it's coming along. this day is getting better. we'll see how it ends up. big storms are coming through. maybe they'll cleanse the air.
I hope your day is a good one! if not, tell me what you plan to do about it, please. I can always use more ideas.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
It was a day filled with unusual joys. I savoured a slow, four hour breakfast out with a friend this morning, where we discussed ideas and ideologies and ate healthy, delicious food. It is a rare thing to enjoy an intellectual conversation with someone. It's rare for anyone to have four hours to spend on a meal and conversation. It was a real treat to mind, body and soul. Jen and I have radically different views on a lot of things, yet we can always discuss ideas without the conversation getting tense or heated. What a rare blessing! I'm glad to have friends like that. I disagree with her, but I respect her.
In the afternoon, another friend and I went and got pedicures. Tremendously fun! This is a friend with whom I can be totally honest and know she will hear me without judgement. She has a great sense of humor and we can laugh about things that would not be funny in other conversations. I think she is un-offendable. She knows sides of me noone else does -- things I myself did not even know were there before I spent time with her. She is another rare blessing in my life, a friend I trust with my truest, most real self. I know I grow as a person when I am hanging out with her.
Tonight, I went to a movie with my two kids. The ones who still live at home. We had a great time, and even got those fat juicy movie hot dogs for supper! We laughed together at the movie and enjoyed the time together. We have been extra busy the last couple weeks, each doing good, fun things, but not together. It was good to spend some fun time together tonight.
So the whole day has been one pleasure after another, with people who add significantly to my life. I am blessed.
And then a beautiful sunset.
I have a lot to be thankful for tonight.
This is perfect, for my birthday month!
(ps - I also got to dance with an adorable two year old today. Princess in pink, simply the sweetest thing! We danced in her living room, she with twirls and fluff, me just doing what I do. Such great fun!! I will add that delightful moment to my list of birthday celebrations so far this month!)
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Sometimes the day gets turned up on its head.
You kind of wish you could have stayed in bed.
But you know you've got to do it,
And somehow you do get through it
Though by the end of day you feel half dead.
Today is not, however, going to be that day! I will be out of town half the day - the middle half. It will be a good day. It is a good class and I want to be there. It will be good for me. But I do miss my kids and I hope I get to slow down and hang out with them later today. Life is good. We all need down time. But however this day turns out, I expect to live it fully and enjoy the moments. I just really want some of those moments to be with the kids I didn't get to see much this week. We'll see! :-)
This week has been very busy, and I haven't gotten to see my kids as much as I would have liked. They were busy. I was busy. We weren't home much. And the days got turned upside down one after another. Every day turned out to be good - as it was supposed to be... but I am ready for a day of normal.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
At church we were given roses on Mother's Day. It's a really nice tradition. I love that they value the work that mothers do. Most of the world does not really validate moms in their work. Maybe that's because most of the world is too busy... being moms?
Noone sees it. Noone seems to acknowledge it.
It can be hard, when you are exhausted (and the mothers of small children are exhausted), when noone gives you much positive feedback, to feel like you are making a difference in the world.
We have to - we have no other choice but to - go back to the reality of God's own word and good common sense to realize that without moms, the world would cease to be. We are doing God's work alongside Him. How awesome is that?! Our families depend on us for their very survival when they are small, before they grow into the skills they need to ensure their own survival.
(The skills we teach them.)
We love and nurture them in our hearts and in our arms, only to discover that they way we nurture our children defines how they relate to the rest of the world for the rest of their lives.
The way we care for our children affects their lives, and through that, the lives of the people they touch for years... our influence lasts long after we are gone.
It is no small truth that the hand that rocks the cradle really does rule the world. As moms, we rule!
But a huge part of our task is humility, being willing to set the needs of others before our own when needed. Not mothering for our own satisfaction, but out of love - unconditional love - for the children God has put in our arms.
I felt a little silly carrying around a rose yesterday. It was a nice thought. But the faces of the people I love the most are the best gift ever. When they smile, when they grow up into awesome people - people who love God above all else - people I love having as friends, that is the greatest joy ever!
Prov. 31 says, "they will rise up and call her blessed". It is a long term prospect, this rising up business. It takes years. But if we are faithful in the long haul - not perfect, not getting it all right, but over all faithful, trying to honor Him in our lives - then there will come a day when those little cherub cheeked babies rise up into big people, and they bring you stuff way better than roses. They shine.
Monday, April 18, 2011
My one little daffodil is hanging its head. It looks weary. I think it's discouraged. It tried to bring in spring. It looked so bright and cheery last week, standing all alone alongside the wall. So sunny. Making it clear that spring is here for real. But now...
No, I'm serious. It's snowing. For real.
It's beautiful, I have to give it that. Any time pure white snowflakes drift down from the sky there is a beauty that is undeniable.
But, come on!
It's April 18th. The timing is way off!
Past the middle of April, and flakes have been falling thick and steady since before I got up a couple hours ago. There is a thick layer of snow on everything. Thick, like over an inch deep. Everywhere.
I have seen snow in the first week of April. But I have never seen it this late in the springtime.
I think Spring needs a redo.
Oh, we are so ready for some warmth! The trees have budded and are waiting to leaf out. The grass has been turning ever so gradually greener day by day.
When Husband went downstairs this morning and saw outside, he burst out laughing and said, "Are you kidding me!!?"
Yes, I think we all feel that way.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The sap is running, too. It's been a little cool so we haven't tapped the trees yet, but the sap is running. I heard you can hear it running in the trees with a stethoscope. If I had one, I would try it. But whether I hear it or not, the sap is running.
These are the things nature does when spring is coming, and I feel the change in the air. We've turned a corner, and winter is waning. Birds are singing in the mornings. A little house finch was shopping for a new home outside my window the other day. He's thinking about taking up residence in a nice little mud nest from last year. I'm waiting to see what he decides.
It will snow again. I know it will. Spring comes in fits and starts. It will snow and get cold and act out all that... but it won't stay. At this point, the snows will come less often and melt sooner than they did before. The temperatures will fluctuate. Cold will be less severe and will be interspersed with slightly warmer days, and little by little, spring will edge its way into our lives.
I will be glad. In fact, a lot of people will be glad. Winter has its beauty, but we are ready to be done with it. We are looking forward to warmer days, the greening of the earth, birdsong, and warm breezes. Gardening friends are anxious to get their hands into the soft, fragrant soil to plant food for their families. We are all so ready!
I love spring! I plan to savor every moment and every false start that brings us closer to the real thing.
What do you look forward to at this time of year?
Monday, February 28, 2011
"Praise be to the Lord for my rock, who trains my hands for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me."
Life turns and I wonder what's next. I'm studying new things and meeting new people, taking on new projects. The responsibilities I have owned for years are still with me, and I don't want to neglect them, but something new is coming.
I look at these verses in Psalm 144 and wonder what battles I have ahead, what changes will I help to make in the world? How can I be helpful? How will God use my strengths? How can I help change the world?
He is training my hands even now for something important. I sense it. It's exciting.
I am grown-up enough to know that taking on new things will not always be exciting, though, or fun or easy. There will be days of discouragement as well as days of exhilarating victory. But He is my shield in whom I take refuge. On those unhappy days, you will find me taking refuge in Him, the one who loves me unconditionally, even when I mess up in stupid, messy ways. I will be going to Him for comfort because He is the God of all comfort, and for instruction, so I can clean up the mess and do better next time.
A song says, "Sometimes I feel like I can do anything. Other times I feel like I have nothing good to bring." I so get that. I have had days lately when I felt next best thing to invincible. I feel my strength, and it feels powerful! It feels fantastic! I feel like I am part of something great, something amazing, and I matter, and I can do whatever life brings, whatever God assigns to me.
But other days I feel small. Tired. And I wonder what I was thinking.
That's ok. I can have small days. Over all, I believe God, the Lord my Rock, is training my hands for battles... against untruth, against lies and falsehood, against ideas that do not belong.
I am going to make a difference. Not because I am all that, really, but because God is all that, and he is training me, strengthening me, and assigning me to an important task. If I ever believe it is all about me, I will crash land flat on my face. But as long as i am a servant of the Most High God, maintaining the humility that comes with service and the confidence that comes with not being self-focused, as long as I depend on Him to strengthen me and don't claim that the strength is all mine, then I believe I will be part of something amazing.
I don't know how it is all going to look. It will be scary sometimes, no doubt, and satisfying, and I will be serving others and facing giants of some kind. Sometimes I will be exhausted, and fed up. It But I am saying, "Yes".
Yes to the next great adventure. Let's do this.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
go see the video and listen for yourself.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
We sit in Janice's house, with the snow falling past the window.
Janice is the teacher. She tells stories. Birth stories.
Dressed in soft purple knits, with snow falling thick and gentle behind her, she tells of the small woman giving birth, how Janice went early and traveled through a different snowstorm to get there, about the dad and how he helped his partner, the remedies used, and the wonderful outcome, how she got her warrior woman on and gave birth with power. Great stories.
We talk about remedies and what they do, and we drink tea.
We learn about herbs and birth, and what is normal. We laugh and talk and we laud the strength of birthing women and the partners who love them well.
These gatherings feed my soul. I learn and am nourished. I love these sisters on the path. We are learning together and we will be midwives ourselves someday. Like Janice. Warrior women, serving warrior women.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
We have three drivers, and three vehicles that run, for the most part: a minivan, a Jimmy, and a Buick .
With people going different directions at the same time, we need at least two. The third is a leftover that we keep around for backup.
It's been going through coolant fast. We have to add more about every third time we drive it.
He just got the call from the car place with the "estimate."
"The Buick is toast."
Well, that's just dandy. The van is basically a dead van walking, hanging on with a bad tranny and wheel bearing til we can find a cheap replacement. And now the Buick is toast?
The Buick is the one into which we poured money, to keep it running for a while longer. It's the one with the best body and little rust.
It's the one that's toast.
If we had decided to fix its brakes today, it would have been a thousand just for those. Probably not a good investment for an older vehicle. But the leak in the coolant system in an even bigger issue. This leak goes two ways. There's an outside leak, but the bad news is the inner leak that mixes coolant with oil so neither can do its job.
They told us not to drive it all. Yeah, right. We drove it over there and it's one of two cars we have been depending on.
The van is not safe. We use it only when we seem to have no choice. The Jimmy runs and works well enough. It has four wheel drive, a great thing for the snow. And then there's the Buick, which we shall no longer discuss.
I wish cars were cheaper.
I love that Jimmy more than ever.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Out where the mountains are rocky and covered with snow...
...and provide many opportunities to marvel at their amazing beauty.
(I took this picture from the road somewhere between Denver and Cheyenne, when we had stopped for gas.)
Out West where there are buffaloes and bluffs, and brown landscapes surround.
... and the SUNSETS!! Oh, my goodness, the sunsets!
Yeah, this is what they see from their front door after supper! I don't know what it is about the west that makes such skyscapes, but they are always something special!
My daughter, and her husband, who were having their first baby.
In fact, she is in early labor in this picture. Relaxing at home.
Using my laptop to catch up on Facebook.
I helped them put up their first Christmas Tree!
That was fun.
I cooked a few meals, and I loaded their dishwasher a few times.
And I got to help with this:
(She did most of the work, I just cheered her on to victory.)
They even let me hold her!
(I have a thing about not holding other people's new babies too much until the mama and daddy get to. I think it's important to respect that bonding time and let the new family get to know each other first. But they were willing to share, and after that first day or two, I was fine with getting to cuddle my new grandgirl!)
Yeah, I was very fine with it!
I think they are doing great. I'm glad I got to be there with them for a little bit.