Tuesday, December 29, 2009

saying good-bye

Today is one of those days I wished would never come.
Saying good-bye is not easy for me.
I remember when Matthew left for Japan for 6 months. Wow! Did that ever ache. It was like losing a limb. He was 18 1/2 . Going to the other side of the world. It didn't help that I had lived there and knew he'd be fine. The point was - he wouldn't be here! No "Hi Mom!" in the morning. No hugs. No sports page at the breakfast table. No dates with his sisters. Gone. The six months passed quickly. He was fine. I went over to travel with him and come home together.
And now....
Rachael leaves today.
She'll be away for 2 1/2 years.

No more daily cooking with her.
No more rides and conversations home and back to Biola.
No more editing papers together.

No more saying the liturgy or singing in church with her.
Oh, I know, I know. This is God's Will and we all knew this would happen and she's with Andrew and she's so happy and she'll make friends and have a wonderful life and she'll do wonderful things and she'll grow in many ways and I'll make a few trips there and she'll come back here. Blah, blah, blah. The point is: she won't be here.
It's like losing limb all over again.
It hurts a lot.
I'm going to cry for a few days. I'm going to sit in her room and cry. I'm not going to try to stop. Then one day, I'll gird up my loins, set it in perspective and do the next thing.
But not today. Not yet.
Today and tomorrow and for a long time, I'm going to miss her and I'm going to be very human and be sad.
Her family is going to miss her.
God bless you, Rachael and Andrew.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

They did it!

Well, it's all over and it's only just begun.
Who knew it would be this much fun to watch a daughter marry!
I thought I'd weep at losing her but no such thing happened! There was so much joy at seeing her well suited, well fit, well matched for Andrew.
God is great and God is good.
Now for the next chapter of joy in life!
I just keep learning to trust God, learning to anticipate and not dread the change that is always around the next corner.
As Pastor Garrett says every week - the trajectory is UPWARD!!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

one more week

There are so many thoughts and feelings I have as I approach this last week before Rachael's wedding.
There is the temptation to regret how inadequate an example I have been. There is the tendency to panic over the few details yet to be decided.
There is the desire to have time stand still; the desire not to let her go even though I can't keep her.

But as is true of all of life, it isn't about me.

These weaknesses of mine move to the rear when I realize how God has prepared Rachael for this step in her life. She is not a piece of fluff entering the whirlwind of marriage. She has been pruned, filed, sanded, gouged, fired, buffeted by people and circumstances and consequences God brought her way so that she is strong and capable and as ready anyone can be. The obstacles she has overcome in the past two years astound me.

Was I any more ready at 28 than she is at 21? Less, I would say.

So, it really comes down to God. It always does! He has prepared her for this. Rachael learned how to live in an imperfect family. Imperfect as we are, she loves us. That is preparation for loving others. She, better than the rest of us, I dare say, has learned how to forgive.
She is marrying her best friend. That friendship, already 8+ years old will stand them in good stead. Rachael and Andrew have learned how to talk to each other; they have learned how to talk with each other. They both have a friendship with God that binds them together.

There are many other reasons for a soaring heart on this day that marks a week before my daughter's wedding. I offer them all to God with gratitude for his loving gift to her of Himself as well as giving her as her husband, a very good man.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hell. No!

What is Hell?
Is it a place of eternal damnation, suffering, anguish, torment as medieval art portrays it to be?

Or is a place where its inhabitants get exaclty everything they always wanted? Just like heaven.

Those in Hell have wanted to be free of God. They will get that. Those in Hell have always wanted to be self-directed. I suppose they will get that. But if that is really, really bad for us here, won't that be a really, really bad thing there? And getting that, won't that be what they really, really wanted all along? Yes!

And no.
I may tend to choose anger over forgiveness - and think I like it - but do I want to be angry for eternity? That would be hell's reality for the one whose anger causes them to reject God's forgiveness I may be a selfish, self-centered person, seeing things from my perspective alone, never able to empathize with another. This, then would be my hell. Thoughts of myself would consume me. Perhaps that is what the fires of Hell are - the self-consuming lusts one has - for eternity.
No! I don't really want what I think I want. The things I think I want ultimately don't satisfy me. In the end, I'll do it "for the hell of it".

So. No lake of fire? No pitch forks? No demons tearing at flesh?

I don't think so. I don't know for sure, but I don't think so. I'm just working through some ideas..........

Of course, I won't ever know, because I'm not going there. Hell is not my future.

Praise God!

Can you tell I'm reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce? This work is not a treatise on Hell's real properties; rather, he explores the ontological fitness of its residents through conversations between them and residents of heaven, whom they knew while living on earth. Quite a read.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Brother Lee

My dear Brother Lee.

He lives far away on a mountain in Rutland, Vermont. It is one of the prettiest places I have been in the United States. My header picture is across the road out his front door. We haven't seen each other much since he graduated college - he moved there and I ended up in L.A. Recently, however, circumstances have brought us together several times and each time is special to me.

When I was a little girl, he gave me The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis for my birthday and a whole new world opened - a love for story as well as a love for an author and his friends was born. At this time, Lee was a college man. That and the fact that he was my older brother gave the gift a gravitas. It told me he was sharing something special and thought I could handle it. I remember feeling great love for him and from him.

I also remember one Saturday morning long ago. His job was to mow the lawns. It was warm and he was finishing up his work. He called in to me to make him a fried egg sandwich. I had never made a fried egg before so I was nervous about breaking an egg, turning on flame.... And I didn't want to disappoint my big brother. But I made the sandwich. And when he was washing his plate, having devoured the sandwich, he turned and thanked me. I melted inside with love.

I never forgot either compliment.

From where I sit, his life is one of service. His job serves people in need. He travels and speaks to groups and helps people. He visits sick neighbors. He clears ski trails in the woods so others can ski comfortably. I'm sure there is much I don't know but I deeply admire what I do know.

And one of the best things I know is that we love each other.

Lee just turned 60.

You make it look really good, Lee!

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then?

I cannot say.

J.R.R. Tolkein
one of C.S. Lewis' friends

Friday, October 16, 2009

leaving things behind

My friend Margie and I recently met with some wonderful new homeschooling moms. They are bright, energetic, thoughtful ladies. I am posting summary notes from that evening here.

We wrote a list of 5 things we would want to pass on to our children if we were to die soon. We weren't being morbid. Just reflective! Forward thinking. As we said, if you don't know what it is you want to teach, you'll end up teaching nothing.

Try making your own list. Refine it from time to time. See if you are accomplishing the things you think you want to accomplish. Be open to God adjusting the list. He may give you success!! Cross that one off (or keep adding to it, deepening it, broadening it....) and add more. Adjust your list as time passes. Watch your list mature as you and your children mature.

There were 5 things on Margie's and my list that we discussed:

Love free from idolatry. Idolatry prevents us from loving God and others.

Looking to something/someone other than God to supply our needs and wants is idolatry. (Norm Wakefield) We pondered another of his statements, "Whatever makes us angry is the very thing we idolize." We are angry when someone/something doesn't deliver what we think it should deliver, assuming that we would feel good, feel happy by controlling how our needs should be fulfilled. Hmmm. Scary thought. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Col. 3:5 "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." I John 5:21
Consider this next time you are angry. Watch your children. Observe what makes them angry. What is the idol? Self? Possessions? Being right? Being heard? This issue of idolatry/anger is perhaps where I struggle the most. It is the area that I could most receive finger pointing. It is the area in myself I most want to "veil" (see the Till We Have Faces posts). That means it is the area about which God most cares, where I most need Him, where He most wants to meet meall the while being the one thing I most want to hide from Him.

Choose forgiveness. Reject bitterness.
Forgive quickly. "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." Heb 12:15 The "many" can be your own children. We have to help them not be bitter AND we must guard against it in ourselves lest we teach them bitterness and defile them.

Parent trusting God. Don't parent out of fear/control.
Fear and control are the opposite of trusting God.
"Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment
. " Isaiah 50:10, 11
It is better to sit with God in the unknown, in the darkness than to figure your own way out of the difficulty or suffering you or your child(ren) are experiencing. God is in control. If He chooses pain and sorrow for you, then so be it. It is better to be with Him there than to get out of it. Judgment will come from lighting our own fires.
There are many verses on suffering. To avoid it is to miss so much.

Accept your own weaknesses and those in your children as built in by God.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." II Cor 12:9
It is in our weakness that the strength of God is seen, perfected (worked thoroughly) in us. His grace sustains us while that work is being done. So we get His grace AND His strength. Oh, what we miss when we disdain the way He made us. How would He get the glory in something other than what He made? Accept yourself. Help your children to accept themselves. It is our true selves that can truly love God and that God loves.

Live in hope. Don't live in regret for things done in the past.
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. " Philippians 3:13 Hindsight is helpful as long as we turn forward again. Learning from the past is healthy. Getting stuck looking backwards is harmful. That's when we fall. Look ahead. The past is done. You can't change it. Learn from it but live in the kingdom come and coming. Live in hope.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lewis on Self - Orual revelation

Orual found her real self when she was unmasked. It was painfully uncomfortable and painfully freeing. Facing self requires the unmasking of the soul, the very us-ness we hide from God and others.
Friend Lewis says it so much better in this extended quote from Mere Christianity as found in John Piipo's blog:

""There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. [This reminds me of N.T. Wright's idea that, in Jesus, we see what humanity is. Some say, "Well, I'm only human." If only that were true. The Jesus-idea is that, without God's kingdom-rule in our lives, we're sub-human.] Sameness is to be found most among the most 'natural' men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerers have been; how gloriously different are the saints. But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away 'blindly' so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality; but you must not go to Him for the sake of that.

As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. [This is the Jesus-paradox, recently highlighted by the likes of Dallas Willard and J.P. Moreland, that to live the truly good life one must not focus on living the good life. Or, as Lewis once wrote elsewhere, if one goes into a beautiful garden expecting to be blown away by its beauty, this will not often happen. But go into the same garden to say your prayers, and nine times out of ten the result will be to be stunned by the beauty.] It will come when you are looking for Him...Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in." [Thomas Merton has much to add to these Lewis-ideas in his many meditations that caused him to see the distinctions between the "false self" and the "true self."] "

Will I take the risk to expose my self to God and to others? Will I risk being real?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Some day....

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Orual wasn't totally out of it!!

I have the tendency to think of pre-regenerated Orual as so thoroughly corrupted, so narcissistically imploded that she couldn't possibly think clearly about anything. But I'm wrong.
There may be other moments of clarity for her besides this one, but in this passage in C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces she is sitting with Arnom, the priest, in the house of Ungit as they prepare to observe the next Year's birth. She engages him in conversation about Ungit.

"If she is the mother of all things," said I, "in what way more is she the mother of the god of the Mountain?"
"He is the air and the sky, for we see the clouds coming up from the earth in mists and exhalations."
"Then why do the stories sometimes say he's her husband, too?"
"That means that the sky by its showers makes the earth fruitful."
"If that's all they mean, why do they wrap it up in so strange a fashion?"
"Doubtless," said Arnom (and I could tell that he was yawning inside the mask, being worn out with his vigil), "doubtless to hide it from the vulgar."
I would torment him no more, but I said to myself, "It's very strange that our fathers should first think it worth telling us that rain falls out of the sky, and then, for fear such a notable secret should get out (why not hold their tongues?) wrap it up in a filthy tale so that no one could understand the telling." (p. 271)

This is not the first time she has felt the inadequacy of religion. For her, religion reaches to the gods and then pulls back its hand. The gods are capricious, cruel, consuming of those who worship them. The priests in her life do not proffer adequate answers. She never really discounts the gods, but she is skeptical.
Then the judgment. Unmasked and naked before the gods, she bares her soul as well. She accuses them and condemns herself at the same time. She is guilty of the charge which she levels at the gods - taking possession of people. As does a child, exhausted by the energy consumed in a tantrum, she suddenly ends her tirade when the word "Enough" is called out. (p 292)
Silence falls.
The best part of the story follows but for now, I conclude that Orual , as dissatisfied with religion as she had been, was finally satisfied with the gods.
Is this a distinction we are careful to make today? Do we differentiate between religion and God?

Monday, September 21, 2009

"I was Orual"

In C.S. Lewis' masterpiece "Till We Have Faces", Orual makes the statement early in her first book, "I was Orual (emphasis mine), the eldest daughter of Trom, King of Glome." She hated her father. He called her curd face and unworthy, stated he was barren when indeed, he had three daughters, dared the tutor to teach her and her sisters, punched and kicked her, ridiculed her. The father/daughter relationship in the story is painful and completely dysfunctional. In truth, it is non existent. Or was it? How did this relationship influence/affect her?


I was Orual.....

A careful reading lets us discover that she tries very hard to eradicate Orual and become someone/something else. While this is a fascinating psychological study, it is not my primary interest, nor am I qualified to make observations and conclusions in the matter. Rather, I am interested in who or what she became once she decided "I was Orual..."

There are several incarnations along the way. She very nearly becomes a man. Her voice deepens, she takes up the sword and horseback riding. She fights in many battles with her soldiers and one in particular on her own. She eats and drinks with them.

She states near the end of the book, "I am Ungit", the black stone goddess (p. 279). Here she understands her propensity to confuse being loved with using/consuming people for her own stoney-hearted "blood gorged" purposes (p. 281, 282), calling that "love". She admits to being ugly in soul.

What I didn't see until today was this:

She became her father. How so?

When it is determined that Psyche must be sacrificed, the King is questioned as to how he could allow it to occur. He answers, "No one seems to remember whose girl she is. She's mine, fruit of my own body." (p. 60) Here he reminds me of Ungit!! Blood gorged. A user-up of people.

Toward the end of the book, Orual is called before the gods to read her complaint. She has already admitted to Shadowbrute and her father that she is Ungit - the goddess who represents the human condition. But there is a fascinating passage that until now I didn't connect to anything.

"The girl was mine. What right had you to steal her away into your dreadful heights?...There's no room for you and us in the same world. You're a tree in whose shadow we can't thrive. We want to be our own. I was my own and Psyche was mine and no one else had any right to her. ... What should I care for some horrible, new happiness which I hadn't given her and which separated her from me?.... Did you ever remember whose the girl was? She was MINE! Do you not know what the word means? MINE! You're thieves, seducers (p. 291, 292).

Not only had she become the faceless goddess she didn't understand, wouldn't worship, ridiculed. She had become the father she viscerally hated. She had no compassion for him at any stage of life. And now, because she had killed off Orual, the void left behind had been filled. She had allowed voracious hate, bitterness, envy to fill her. She had become her father.

Instead of spending her life working at forgiveness, instead of rejecting the lies about her unworthiness, she put all her energy into eradicating the very person she was made to be - Orual. She concentrated on hating, consuming, devouring herself and others. Conscious of what she was doing to herself, she was unconscious of what she was doing to others. Consider her relationship with Psyche, Redival, Bardia, even the Fox.

Ungit is religion's expression of the human condition.
The King is the human manifestation of the human condition.
Orual is proof that there is hope for the otherwise hopeless human condition.

There is a regenerative moment for us.
There is forgiveness extended to us.
There is forgiveness we can extend to others.
First, however, we must be face to face, barefaced with God.

She enters judgment as Ungit. But, in the end, Orual becomes Psyche! No, not a physical Psyche. But just as she embodied the awful nature of Ungit, the mind of her father and all her other incarnations, she DOES become Psyche. "(She) became unmade." "(She) became no one."
(p. 307) "Joy at last silenced (her)." (p.306). She, like Psyche, came to know that "You (the gods) are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?...." (p.308)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moses meets Orual

I was reading in Deut. this lovely cool morning. Moses died and was buried by God. Ch. 34:10; "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. "
Consider these other passages on the same theme.
I Cor 3: 12 - 18 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Till We Have Faces;
" "Uncover her," said the judge.
Hands came from behind me and tore off my veil - after it, every rag I had on. The old crone with her Ungit face stood naked before those countless gazers. No thread to cover me.... (p. 289) And the voice I read it in (the complaint against the gods) was strange to my ears. There was given to me a certainty that this, at last, was my real voice....The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered.... I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?" (292, 294)

Orual's outer veil represented her inner veil. She hid her inner self from the gods (so she thought), people and even herself. She tried, throughout the book, to kill off Orual and become someone, something else - a man, a king, a mother, a warrior, a savior. All the while, she was demanding an answer from the gods about suffering, sacrifice, love. They would not answer a veiled face.

What then do I conclude about Moses? He was a veiled man at one time, after all! But unlike Orual, who veiled herself so as to hide her shame, who found power in her veil, Moses veiled himself to protect the people from the overwhelming glory resting on him, having been in the presence of God. His veil came off as the glory faded. But I conclude that he never had the veil that hid his "self" from God. Moses searched for God and found Him. Moses was honest before God. And God met him face to face.

Am I honest with myself? Am I honest with God? Will He meet me face to face? Will I shine in such a way that people will know God meets me face to face?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Longing in Till We Have Faces

If it's not my favorite book, then I'm not sure what is, - aside from the Bible, of course. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis seems to me to be arguably the most profound, most intricately written book in print.

It is hard to choose from the many compelling themes which one stimulates my thoughts most earnestly. Perhaps, as when I read the Bible, where I am emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, has to do with that which I ponder and - to the poor soul who has to listen to me - about which I talk - for days on end.
Right now I am thinking about the whole idea of longing as presented in the book.

"It was when I was happiest that I longed most (ponder that for just a moment!!)...The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from.... It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine...where you couldn't see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me..... I am going, you see, to the Mountain. You remember how we used to look and long? And all the stories of my gold and amber house, up there against the sky, where we thought we should never really go? The greatest King of all was going to build it for me..... - my country, my home the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home! For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. All my life the god of the Mountain has been wooing me...." (p. 74, 75)

I see it. Beauty of the mountain led to her desire to go there and find her beloved. Desire led to Psyche's longing to give herself to what she knew of the unknown to gain that of which she was sure. Her tasks, her anguish, her perseverance from this point on in the story reveal her passion to gain and regain what she knew to be true. What she knew to be truth!!

If I don't have passion - the willingness to endure, suffer, submit to God and to circumstances over which I have no control - perhaps I don't have a clear enough vision of the beauty that is already prepared for me, beauty that should draw me to respond, beauty that awaits me, beauty that is my Savior.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

take away that headache

Those nasty headaches. Nothing seems to touch them.

What to do!!

We've discovered foot massage. Not just rubbing the feet, but massaging in specific places in a certain direction.
The right foot locations differ from the left so you must pay attention!

We've worked on headaches and cramps so far. When massaging, in the right spot for some kind of pain, you will most likely find a really sore spot. Bingo!! You found the place to massage that relates to your ailment.
Amazing stuff.

Aren't we fearfully and wonderfully made!!
Check it out at the Dorling Kindersley website.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

up a road slowly

Larry and I went to Vermont last week for my niece's wedding.

My brother lives up a long and winding mountain road, the kind of road that is full of dappled shade. Trees grow here in abundance. Ferns and all varieties of wild flowers, too.

Queen Anne's lace.
Black-eyed Susan.
Bee Bomb.
So many others.

All these went into bouquets and table flowers and window arrangements to make for a home-made-with-love day. It seemed the whole town was picking flowers and putting them in jars and pots and vases.

We drove the roads where my brother lives to get to the inn where my family was staying, to get to the home where we were staying, to get to the church, my brother's place, the town hall. And if we drove slowly enough, we saw the flowers, wild, free, lovely.

I want to find more roads and drive up those roads slowly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm no Sarah R.

But I can have my own fun!
This was at Como Zoo in St. Paul, MN. - no the bee was not an exhibit!

My camera is not as cool as Sarah's - not as clear, not as many possibilities - but I do what I can.

God's creation looks good no matter the lens through which we see it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Life is a Comedy

"The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man."

G.K. Chesterton

What an intriguing statement. What does he mean?

To understand, I need to know the definition of tragedy and comedy. Webster says this:

tragedy a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.

comedy a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.

Certainly we can agree that Scripture is a comedy.

Disappointment, shame, hurt, betrayal, failure. These are the ingredients of tragedy.

But we see these things subsumed on the cross. Were it not for God and His plan to redeem the tragedy we made of the story He was writing, we would not be able to know the comedy we now enjoy. The Resurrection is the triumph over adverse circumstances of  irreconcilable and otherwise  incomprehensible proportion, bringing us on stage and allowing us to star in His new story - a never ending comedy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

i heart faces week 25 - wedding bells

Do you hear them?

The bells are still ringing one year later.

Happy Anniversary, love bugs!!

check out the other bell ringing photos at http://iheartfaces.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 19, 2009

simple pleasures

What could be simpler than warm fresh bread, sweet juicy cherries and fragrant roses and gardenias!

It was interesting to hear the various responses as the bread baked and cooled, its yeasty goodness filling the house with its tempting aroma.

"OOOO! Mommy's been busy!"

"Can we have some of that soon?"

"I'll get the butter and honey! Who wants marmalade?"

What do you like to put on your bread?

Friday, June 12, 2009

my friend, Margie

Margie has been my friend for many years. She taught piano to my children but more importantly, prays for them still. She is wise, a good listener and thinker. She is dedicated to her family and friends. Her principled approach to life weaves through our time together. She loves the Lord and prays over almost every decision.

We are different in many ways.
I am tall. She is.......not.
I have a little car; she does not.
I am casual; she is fancy.
I don't fast; she does.
I read a lot; she works a lot.
I don't memorize Scripture regularly; she does.
Different in many other ways but united in our love of the Lord, our families and the life of the mind.

Margie is a busy person. If she isn't teaching piano, she's playing with her grandson(s), cleaning, reorganizing something (I say that with respect - there is much I should organize) or ironing. Margie knows my "love language" is spending time one on one in good conversation.
Lately, she has called me in the morning of our mutual day off - Wednesday - to see if I can meet her at Perks for tea and.... So, when she meets with me, I know she is saying she loves me. And I love her back.

When she called me this evening to see if I could meet her at Satrbucks, i was naturally delighted!! We had the usual banter back and forth..... and then the subject for the evening came out. What did I think of this? Back and forth we went, agreeing and disagreeing with each other and ourselves. I think we both changed positions several times. But each time, we swung a bit closer to understanding the real issues, to understanding each other. And in the end, as we usually do, we found consensus. Even when we don't, we have enjoyed the engagement, learned a new point of view, spent valuable time together and strenghtened the bond between us.

How do your friends let you know you are loved?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Don't underestimate..... An American Anthem

Take a few minutes and view this extraordinary video - made by a teen from Alabama.

Monday, June 1, 2009


i feel it forming a soft lump of dough

i smell the yeast and wheat and butter

i see the golden top forming

i taste its nutty wholesomeness as butter runs between my fingers and
honey drips on my chin

i hear the crunch of the crust

i feel its smooth shell and
gently squeeze its tender sides

until another day when i can do it
all over again!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
Matsuo Basho
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

you know you're (getting) old when...

Where to start!

Aches and pains.

Brain like a sieve.

Less sleep.

Less hair.

More chin hair!

More body.

More naps.

Sounds bad?

Married son!

College graduated son!! (Today!)

Engaged daughter!!

College-aged children!!

Successful children!!

25th anniversary!!

Free time!!

God is great.

God is good.

Now I thank Him.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

God's economy

I try to start my day by praying before my feet hit the ground. Sometimes I'm able to pray over many people and issues that are on my heart. Other times, my heart wanders and the morning's first activity forces me from bed....

Today, as I prayed, I was quite moved by the exchanges extant despite how I begin my day. God has exchanged His faithfulness for my faithlessness, His love for my apathy, His sufficiency for my inability, His thoughts for my thoughts, His wisdom for my folly, His Son for my sin, His "omni-s" for my human limitations, His comedy for my tragedy... You get the picture!

My grandmother used to call prayer - "doing business with God"!

I like the exchange rate!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

shake and bake

Today is Sunday.

The Lord's Day.

Everyday belongs to Him but today has special focus.

We worshiped well, sang well, feasted well and "parished" well at "Robertson central" - saying good-bye at the combined parish lunch to yet another fine young man who has been with us for a while .

It was hot today. 100 degrees. We baked.

Then, tonight, while I was talking to Larry who is in Utah on a fishing trip, there was a boom and some shaking. 5.0 earthquake.

Shake and bake.
It brings back Jan. 1994 every time it happens.

Monday, May 11, 2009

week 18 adult - laughter

Our friend Steve. He's a good laugher. He should be laughing here - he made these outfits for his daughter (right) and mine! Usually, when you squeeze a grape, you get a little whine, but in this case - you get a little POP!!!!

Hope you laugh, too!! Join the others at iheartfaces and laugh some more!!

he made me a mother

Matthew. My first born. Dark hair. Tall and handsome. Smart. Funny. Musical. Good memory. Creative. Loving. Recently married. Doing well.

When he was little, he was THE cutest boy I had ever seen. Huge eyes. He was so talkative and interesting and sweet - still is. He wasn't the first one to jump into the action; rather, he stayed back with me or sat on the edge of a group and observed the situation, then moved in where he wanted to be. He knew himself and sensed where he fit in. Still does.

He was a story teller. He could repeat a story or dream up fascinating tales of Snoopy in far away places doing heroic things. Story - whether relating one or watching one is still a pleasure for him.

He was a lap boy. He listened to and then read to me many many books in my lap. As he grew, he'd still plop down on my lap!! Sometimes does!

But mostly, he's my first born. My dear son.

they made me a mother again....and again

My girls. My daughters. They are young women now.
They are so different. Rachael is tall. Lydia is not. Rachael has long hair. Lydia cuts it often and has shaved it once. Rachael is a home body. Lydia is a social bug. Rachael likes to read. Lydia likes to "art". Rachael relaxes in the kitchen. Lydia hyperventilates with fear in the kitchen. Viva la difference!!!

studying in a fort made with sheets - just like the olden days!!

As room mates at college, the sisters live as friends with each other. They both love to laugh and, when home, make each other laugh all the time. They are both disciplined. They both have messy bedrooms. They are both deep thinkers. They both shower every morning. They are both excelling in school. They are both loyal. They are both a joy to know. They both love Jesus.

Such variety from the same womb. Such blessings. Such love. Such dear daughters and friends to me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

POV on motherhood

Sarah’s baby shower
May 9

Quite some years ago, I heard a talk, the basis of which was that a happy marriage requires a bloodless martyrdom. Only then do we know happiness.The phrase and the concept have intrigued me ever since that hour aired. I pondered it for some time and realized that this is a very Scriptural idea. I have also tried to view motherhood as a life of bloodless martyrdom. It has lead to happiness but even more, it has lead to knowing Jesus more deeply. I put it out here today for your consideration, Sarah.
Not all of us are called to martyrdom in the classical sense of the word. Not all of us are called to follow the footstep of apostles and the like and acutally shed blood and die. But all of us are called to become consistent witnesses of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Each time we elect life over death it is a bloodless martyrdom. Each time we opt for good over evil, it is a bloodless martyrdom. Each time we practice grace over sin, or choose heaven over hell its also bloodless martyrdom. Each time we choose others over self we choose a bloodless martyrdom.
For some, this may just be a paradigm shift – an adjustment of perspective on life. For some, this may sound a bit melodramatic or extreme. I think not. Martyrdom is defined as suffering and death. OK. That sounds extreme!! But motherhood is an extreme relationship. It requires a certain kind of death. As mothers, to what must we die?? …..
None of us shed blood over the things to which we die. in We die to our need or desire for sleep. Time is not our own. We die to privacy. We die to our ideas of what motherhood will be like! We die to our ideas of what each of our children will be like – and this is a big one! God has His own call on our children’s lives – His plans for them. As mothers, in partnership with our husbands, we need to help them know that. We must not make them “LITTLE US’s”. We die to the kind of freedoms to which we are accustomed. We die to the way we spend money. There are many other deaths to die as a mother.
What is the reason for the martyrdom? It is not to look heroic and inspire others to pity us. It is not to ingratiate our children to us. We do not parade our martyrdom in front of others.
Rather, martyrdom furthers the kingdom. The saying goes – the blood of the saints waters the seed of Scripture. What you will do for Guenivere and her siblings must illustrate Scripture in flesh and blood; you must bring the kingdom of God to them in word, deed and very often, in sacrifice.
How is this concept Scriptural? Romans 12 opens with a discussion of us getting up on the altar and offering ourselves as sacrifices to God – which is our REASONABLE service!! I once heard a speaker on this passage. He said that the failure of the Christian is that we are always crawling OFF the altar. Stay on the altar!! The writer is describing a bloodless martyrdom. In the end, what you are already doing and will continue to do for Guenivere, you are doing for God in real time.
The chapter closes with a series of imperative statements. Each imperative tells us to DO something – by definition, we are also being told NOT to do something else – we are to exchange one attitude in favor of another. In some cases, he even states the opposites. My definition of martyrdom a few minutes is an echo the exchanges we make in these imperatives. I highlight a few – look up the text for the whole idea:

Love one another. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another, Honor one another above yourselves… Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony…. Do not be proud, but …. associate with people of low position. Be humble. ...

Most of these are counter-intuitive. Each of these illustrates an exchange of one attitude, one behavior, for another. Therein lies the martyrdom. You must die to what you think you want now to get what you really want now - and later. You will exchange your life as you know it now for a different life. You have already begun this. You don’t drink “adult beverages” now because little Guenivere depends on you to keep her healthy. You have given up space in the house for her. You already have a different view on how to spend the money you have today and the money you will have in the future. You have already given her your body as her first home. You will continue to give her your body as you feed her, as you hold her when you are tired and she is not. You have already given up hours of sleep and will continue to do so for yet a little while. You have already begun to sacrifice yourself for Guenivere.
You will have the joy of making many other sacrifices for her. YES! There is a joy in sacrifice because it comes from a place of willingness (or it should!), from love. These sacrifices, these deaths will bond you to her. They will cause you to be grateful for your own mother who did much for you. They will illustrate Jesus to all who live in and visit in your home - did He not give His riches to us, give up His home for us, give His body and His very life for us!! These sacrifices, this bloodless martyrdom will draw you deeper and deeper into Himself. Done well, this life of bloodless martyrdom will make you more beautiful.
Don't look to me or anyone in this room or anyone you know as a measure of whether or not this is worth it or whether or not it works..... Look to Jesus. He is where all questions are answered, all doubts are settled. His life well illustrates the point.
Without developing a whole other talk - don’t sacrifice Aaron along the way!! He must remain your focus. It will be tricky but God will give you the grace and creativity you need.
But that is not where my thoughts took me for today. It is, however, part of that martyrdom – to increase the sphere of giving of yourself.
God bless you Sarah.
and thank you for the pictures - again - Sarah R.