February 26, 2005 Too bizzy for blogging the last few days. But, O, the things I consider to write, the fully formed messages written in my mind. Some pieces in the News that gripped my attention, but really, not much worth repeating---at all.
As I've been going about the last few days, I've been mulling over many things as one does when one's hands are busy doing tasks that don't require mental attention---until I undertook the cleaning of our bedroom closet which is at once, a clothing closet, a storage closet and has been the baby-clothes/blankets/etc. storage area. Sort of has been the staging area for the next presentation from the LORD. As I gathered things together to give to the thrift store, I became sort of ruthless (for me!) and gave away some things I'm fairly sure I'll never wear/need/use. As I was removing things, I was quickly filling the space of our room and then got tired... it was late, my husband was working and so I just went to sleep... I knew the job would not mysteriously vanish over night and would be there in the morning.
As I faced that "giant" the next day, I realized that I had not diminished the volume the previous day by much at all, so... my determination had to increase as I sorted through years' of accumulation and saving---the last time I cleaned, I was not nearly so thorough, and, as I later discovered, I also would not be so this time, either. As I was looking through boxes of clothing, I came upon 2 sacks of clothes I didn't remember putting on the high shelf... clothes I knew I'd never wear... clothes I knew I'd never fit again... seasonal clothes---clothes for a season that seems to have slowly faded away. As if to have been assaulted, I was struck by the reality that I will never wear the clothes of that season again... the season... so long, so intense, so fruitful, so "normal" has slowly been fading away---so slowly that I've been surprised at its passing.
I walked back into the closet and sat on the floor... slowly composing an as yet un-typed Welcome Home message. The first line I wrote on the table of my thoughts was: good-bye... and then hundreds of scenes played in the theater of my mind... the images of wearing the clothes of that season... the clothes I no longer need and will no longer anticipate wearing. And then, eyes hot with tears, I looked up to another shelf and saw the line of boxes... clothes for 0-3... 3-6... 6-12 months and so on. They're full, they're ready and waiting---much like I have been for the last 26 years ready and waiting... for the next baby; I've been wearing the clothes of that season.
There were many times, while wearing the clothes of that season, that I wondered if I would give birth to that baby ( you know, amid the un-ending: "Are you still here?" or, "Haven't you had that baby yet?" I fretted... if I would ever be back in shape... embarrassed at weight-gain, comparing myself with other women whose shapes were "unmarred" by the labor (pun intended) of the season---or worse, those who'd been through what I had and looked absolutely terrific---like teenagers. I often felt awkward at my physical condition, or of my activities of nursing and changing, nursing and wiping, nursing and rocking---wearing a diaper on my milk-stained shoulder. I thought some days would never pass, trudging through to wipe another spill or pick up another tossed bowl, spoon or cup... all the while wearing the clothes of that season---and probably never thought there'd ever be another season.
I drew the little clothes up to my face---they still had a whisper of the sweet fragrance of the sweet babies who wore them---that wonderful, intoxicating, delightful smell of a newborn. I closed the boxes without looking through them further and put them back on the highest shelf. Then, cinched up the plastic bags that held my clothes from that season and added them to the pile of other sacks of clothes and single shoes, single socks, and single gloves---losing one of pairs of things is something particular to that season, I guess. I got up... wiped my tears... vacuumed the closet and closed the door. I decided not to sort and clean one whole shelf... another time, I'll clean and sort those pictures, cards, and boxes of who-knows-what, and crafts and drawings by those who wore the little clothes... gifts from the children of the one who wore the clothes of that season.
Part of this new season is watching parents pass into the next season as well. My mom experienced a puzzling thing---perhaps a small stroke or TIA---and has been undergoing tests and scans. It's hard to watch the passing of her seasons... as I slowly say good-bye to my last baby, I can't help but wonder if I am slowly saying good bye to my mom. One thing I am really discovering as I enter this season is why older women ---or, some older women--- cry. I've shared this before... and see it more and more clearly as the days pass.
My mom just sent me this.
A true story -
Susie is recouping at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke - all because Sherry saw Susie stumble - -that is the key that isn't mentioned below - and then she asked Susie the 3 questions. So simple - - this literally saved Susie's life. Read and Learn!
SOMETHING WE ALL NEED TO KNOW, IS IT A STROKE?
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
*Ask the individual to SMILE.
*Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
*Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE.
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
After discovering that a group of nonmedical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.
A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved. BE A FRIEND AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH AS MANY FRIENDS AS POSSIBLE. It could save their lives!
February 22, 2005 There is a risk sharing slices of life---or, at least slices of life in an often unknown arena with anonymous readers. Most bloggers probably feel this or have experienced these thoughts. So, what we blog and why we blog is an enigma---mysterious---even to us. Every now and then, we receive a note or a bunch of notes commenting on something written, some link shared, some idea presented and somehow, that riddle is answered---but only for that day. The problem with blogs is (as in most written communication) that only a portion, or a slice if you will, of life is revealed. Important nuances are missed or hidden. True personality or actual behaviour has to be fabricated by the reader---something writers attempt to remedy. So some blog. And blog and blog and blog. And then... we like to read blogs.
I was reading a blog this morning (Simply Church) and decided to click a link to a site spawned from John (Wild at Heart) Eldredge's book, Epic. The site, uniquely enough: Epic Reality. If nothing else, the site's very well done! Living very much in contemporary culture, influenced by books, movies and cultural icons, John Eldredge writes to an audience presupposed to live in the same. In order to grasp his writings, one needs to be in touch with these and familiar with the characters he references. But, at the very same time, his work can touch a heart and life that has not been influenced by these or introduced to the characters he references because in the truest sense, he touches on realities every one faces to one degree or another. If you're one to split hairs theologically, then his work will make you bristle because he seems to dare to walk in opposing theological camps and dares to paint with a broad brush where few even write with chalk. I suppose a danger in following others is the temptation to read them over reading the Word... meditating on their words rather than God's Word.
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
The Piper Quote of the Day: "The Bible is the pastor's vineyard, where he ought to work and toil." No offence to John Piper---but the Bible is the *believer's* vineyard, where he ought to work and toil. Believers will always be content to just sit and "take in" the pastor's toil if that thought continues to be taught, accepted and expected. (And I really like John Piper, by the way)
Interesting... will the words in the latest book by the pope sink down into the ears and spark more than just ire in the world?
It's said that curiosity killed the cat---believe me, it's not true... I am very curious about many, many things every day and we still have too many cats. They do not freeze (O-stop-it! I mean outside!), they do not starve to death, and ours do not play their rightful role in the food chain---eat and be eaten. I, in all these years, have never understood the love of cats. I am moving from disdain to acceptance of the creatures as I see the delight on owners faces as they hold their cats and I've even purchased "cat stuff" for friends who love cats. And, I suppose it's good that some protect the small beasts instead of eating them. Next time you travel to Hawaii you may take comfort in the fact that there is pending legislation to protect the consumption of cats (and dogs).
Well, I need to get going... I have a mess to clean up---well, several messes, really, and they're not getting any smaller with me here reading and typing away. Planes don't fly very far in the hanger.
February 21, 2005 Always encouraging, always informative, and as always, our missionary friends gave much food for thought as we listened intently to accounts of their recent work. They shared of the terrible tragedies resulting from the earthquake/tsunami. They shared of God's miraculous protection and provision. What troubled me were the stories of the torment so many endure because of long-held superstitions and fears of the people (they shared of the Indonesian peoples---but this is not particular to them--it is obviously widespread around the world). In addition to cutting off fingers when a loved one dies or killing one of the two babies when twins are born to a mother---the rationale being that one of the babies was a gift from a god and the other from and evil spirit, sacrifices are common---for the appeasing of evil spirits. The bondage is great and the torment is greater in lives who remain locked in that mindset and religion. It is easy to understand, then, the great joy and freedom experienced when lives are set free from the bondage of sin and death and made alive by the LORD Jesus Christ.
I thought on this quite a bit as I reflected on an article in the Sunday paper. The article entitled, "Feng shui can make a home on the market more inviting," struck me that we, in this country, face similar bondage to what the missionaries described. O, I'm sure many would think I've totally gone over the top with this one... but, really, think about it... as it permeates more of life, the idea of hiring a feng shui master to do consulting regarding selling a home or operating a business, there's becoming a new form of bondage unlike any in this country in the last few centuries, introduced into this so-called judeo-christian culture, will be far more damaging than the new age philosophies because they will bring a level of fear not seen in "popular" religions in this country. When people, who've not known such "religion," begin to hear "success" stories based on 'feng shui' and when it becomes more commonplace to think in those terms, then fear and bondage will be the common result---even though the opposite is sold and seemingly promised. Superstitions will rise, and there will rise more behaviours/formulas to combat negative results. Already, in many ways the destruction is and has been occurring--- for some, it's been subtle while for others, it's been blatant. Look at the attempts to distort God's creation---cuttings, piercings, tattoos and chains and preoccupation with death and destruction. It's bondage---and yet---there is freedom in Jesus.
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. We are not to be given to a spirit of fear but of a sound mind. You know, it's a marvel to me to watch the clever workings of the devil and the subtlety of his ways. So easily little ideas slip in, little lies penetrate and become some form of "truth" to us. So easily we become conditioned to accept a lie... a little here and a little there. Little lies blurring the lines of truth. Little lies eroding understanding. I suppose that this is one of the reasons the LORD has given His Word---for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God... are we listening?
I've written many messages on marriage, for wives, on submission and other areas. Strong, godly homes and strong marriage is probably the key reason this site exists and so, that's why I strive to communicate this passion through various means. Every now and then I read something that rally strikes me as being extremely valuable... I received a great email and it contained an article---or, actually, an open but personal letter I'd like to share with sisters. Due to the nature of the letter, it is obviously for married women. I wrote to the woman who wrote it, a sister in the LORD, and asked for permission to post it as I believe it's not only a powerful testimony, but a powerful teaching on marriage. Because I received permission to post it, you can read it here. My thanks to Sharon for her candid writing and her willingness to share it.
If the Bush tapes were not meant for the public, then why write a book and promo it on national television. Doug Wead, author of "The Raising of a President," probably isn't going to be able to float that one for long. From the article: "Though Wead said he has spoken to the White House since the release of the tapes, he has stayed mum on the president's response. "He's a leader, and he prefers to lead," said Wead of his old friend, adding, "I write history."" Yes, he writes history and... surreptitiously tapes phone conversations.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
February 19, 2005 Dear Mother... your granddaughter is by far one of the finest young women I've ever known, ever read about and surely far more than I could have imagined. And to borrow a line, I would've missed her even if I'd never met her, or as you used to say about Gary, you'd love him even if he weren't your son. But the reason for all this is to tell you about the most incredible Anniversary dinner she prepared for us last evening (yes, belated, two weeks... but so worth the wait!). While we busied ourselves elsewhere in our home, she worked steadily throughout the afternoon to prepare the most magnificent meal we've ever had. Truly, and we've been very fortunate to have some very delicious meals at some very fine restaurants---this topped them all. As we were ushered into our candle lit living room, we could hear the George Winston, Winter, CD playing in the background took in the scent of the candles set all around the living room and dining room which had been transformed for the evening into a quant dining area for two. The elegant table was set with crystal, and candles and a dozen long stem roses in a beautiful vase. The Waterford crystal bowl that Joann gave us for our wedding present 27 years ago was filled with Hot Tamales candy. Do you remember that story about the Hot Tamales Wes bought me on one of our first dates? O, well, remind me to refresh your memory about that sometime. Anyway... it's been a funny story all these years---the children know it very well as they know the story about my stepping on the needles and having to go to the hospital.
Well, back to last evening... After Kathryn seated us, she served us the non-alc. margaritas and a basket of hot sourdough bread and butter on the side. Well... you know from that point on, any thoughts I'd had about taking it easy as I am attempting to remain on this diet, went by the wayside---but I was only moderately indulgent (at that point). A bit later, she brought us our salad... so delightful it was! Then a while later, she cleared our salad plates and returned with the Rigatoni. So, Wes was sure he'd been ushered straight into heaven! She prepared it perfectly---just the way they make it at Joe's of Westlake---when we lived in SanFrancisco. So... if that weren't enough, she brought us Sparkling Martinelli's---all the while allowing a good length of time between courses.
Well, for the main course, she prepared Chicken Picatta with capers and a wonderful sauce and fresh steamed julienne carrots and green beans. They were perfect and the chicken was by far the best we'd ever had. Occasionally she'd ask us if there was anything we wanted---who could want any other thing? I knew Hannah was in the kitchen helping with all the clean-up as Kathryn was cooking and serving. Later as she cleared our places, she asked if we'd like to have dessert after a while and we agreed that a bit more time would be nice. So, we just chatted... do you know how good it was to just sit quietly and talk? My-o-my----I now understood why the television went upstairs and the videos were saved for the special evening. Only two of the children peeked around the corner from time to time. ;-)
After some time, she brought our coffee and cream in the china set and returned a few minutes later with dessert---three desserts! Crème Brulée, Molten Chocolate with White Chocolate Mousse and Bailey's Irish Cream Mousse with German chocolate dipped wafers and white chocolate she'd piped into heart shapes as garnishes. She served them at the center of the table so we could share. Well, as delicious as it was, I only tasted the Crème Brulée and Wes finished it. You know... it was absolutely perfect! She had made flan the other evening---I should've known she was practicing. Thank you for sharing your containers and glassware with her... and the about the Mousse---really, it was the very best I've tasted! She's quite remarkable! When we finished what we could, she cleared our dishes and poured more coffee. We continued to linger there and I wish to tell you it was because we so longed to continue chatting and gazing into one another's eyes---but truly, we couldn't move for being so full. She was pleased that we enjoyed the meal and our time together---hastily working in the kitchen, she wondered when we wanted to do this again. I was thinking maybe tomorrow. ;-)
Here are a couple of pics... it really was a lovely time... a wonderful 27th anniversary celebration we'll not forget!
So, I was browsing the news and decided there's just a lot of smutty stuff out there these days. One needn't delve into the articles themselves to discern the depth of the depravity---the headlines speak volumes---and it they don't the pics do. Now, it's as if the mess is so great and so convoluted are the decisions being made to clean up messes that it seems nothing short of wiping the slate clean will resolve the troublesome conditions of our government, our economy, and ultimately our society. It's an easy response to just retreat from it all---but as believers, is that our calling? Is that what the LORD would have?
When, in the Word, He says *occupy* (emphasis mine) till I come, I don't think He meant for Christians to run to the hills in retreat---but I can now, more than ever, see why He's give that admonition---because *not* occupying is just what some of us would like to do in the face of current social conditions and trends---in the world and even in the "church." Not occupying is as bad a compromising---and in the face of adversity, or even for the sake of unity, believers compromise---often doing the very opposite thing they ardently opposed previously---just to not be different or to not stand out. The Bible tells us that we are a peculiar people, a chosen generation---essentially, that we will stand out and we do because we can't join in. We were reading in Psalms in our small Bible study we have here on Wednesday nights, and one of the verses was of particular interest where it says that they were mingled with the heathen and learned their ways and it became a snare to them... Interesting. We're to watch for the snares... to not be entangled with the sins that beset us.
That's Hebrews... 12.1-2 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
This is quite a strong admonition to press on, to run the race set before us, to not retreat, but to occupy---to not be ensnared by compromises. And... it's the little compromise that really traps us... isn't it?
The trim is up... the lights are in... the fan is in... and even though there are still a number of details... like tile for the shower room floor and the mirror and vanity lights and the shelves, and then, of course, Tara's final touches----what a wonderful thing it is to see the room nearing completion. And... what a treat to have a shower! I look forward to the next phase!
February 17, 2005 What a day---Yesterday. So late in the day, Kathryn suggested I take a break and have a cuppa coffee and read mails. Well, unbeknownst to me, she'd received mail from family and had posted one of the pictures as my screen saver so that when I came to my desk, I'd see the picture immediately. So... I'm looking at the picture and cousin Bjorn is looking dashing in a tuxedo... and his fiancée is wearing a beautiful white----what? Wedding dress and veil! I squeal---Kathryn, you put this picture on here---where did you get this---what in the world??!!?? They got married! I was amazed... am amazed. God works in mysterious ways as He works all things together for good and provides what's needed. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words... but their picture, the wedding setting of the Oregon coast and the beautiful ocean in the background, could have been summed up in one... maybe two: joy and fulfillment. It was obvious that they both have great peace and comfort in one another and thank the LORD for what He's done in their lives.
We got a later start yesterday as a result of an even later night. In the morning, I'd waited in line for the use of the tub and so I was doing other things and didn't get to the bath till much later. I thought to myself---ohmygoodness, wouldn't you know, the morning I'm scurrying around to make breakfast so late for my children, sweet friends stopped by for a quick visit. One of the friends is a mama so I knew she'd understand the situation and I suppose one would have been uncomfortable with such a situation---but I was so glad to see them that I didn't mind and still hope they didn't either. Oh---so my thought here is: if I stay up too late and get a late start on the day, I ought to not be surprised at the consequences. Ohmy---spoken like a true-blue Ma. I was glad to show the latest progress on the project---these are friends who can see beyond the present condition. I pondered that thought a lot yesterday and this morning. Isn't that what we most hope for in a friend or friends---people we can trust to look beyond the present condition and see the best? Friends who love us just as we are and encourage us to press on. Well, anyway, I sure was happy for their response... Oh, cool! was just what I needed to hear as I am adjusting to the hew/brightness of the colour and am seeking to see the whole picture.
I was disappointed to not be able to talk with our friends who grieve the loss of their son... I went to give them some cookies and a card, but they were not home so I left them there, and I suppose it was just as well. I contemplate what their thoughts might be and perhaps not stopping for a moment was best. I missed them nonetheless and cried for them to and from their home as I recounted some different conversations and as images of days gone by floated in and out of my thoughts---abruptly interrupting my thoughts, I recalled another stop I needed to make and so, after grabbing the milk, I made my way back home again.
Slices of life.
Wes was working out of town---and we planned to have him meet us at Bible study tonight. And so, as is our custom, we talked on the phone late last night as we do to share what's going on, the progress of the project, and about each of the children. Well, what a sweet thrill to be talking on the phone with him---very late---and then to have him drive in the driveway. Samuel came bounding down the stairs to exclaim, Dad's home! I ran to the door---still talking to him and just called out to him----you are here???!!???
Though the bathroom is not finished... Joey took the first shower, the first... and the first hand-washing in the sink. Timothy worked on installing lights, outlets/switches/timer (no power to them yet). Samuel, joining others in bringing things into the bathroom noticed a Nativity set in Wes's office (the "staging area" for the bathroom project and all the tons of stuff) because after Christmas, all the gifts (for the bathroom) and everything went into his office. Well, so, Samuel thought he'd add a contribution to the decor and set up the Nativity set all around the bathroom vanity. Charming boy. We took out the last of the trash/debris and vacuumed again and now that Wes is home, he'll do the trim that needed to be cut and has the air nailer to install the trim pieces. Then, I suppose they'll touch up the holes and any other areas. Wes will tile the shower-room floor and then we're just waiting for the mirror to be cut and for Tara to come "decorate" the room as she has several finishing things she'll be putting in. We are sort of like anxious runners primed on the starting line... waiting... eagerly waiting! It's a good thing we haven't done a whole house remodel... I'm not so sure we've got what it takes-----and I'm not even talking about money. I *know* the answer there.
So... I wonder what today will bring...
February 16, 2005
We remember our friends today as we do each day and pray for God's peace that passes understanding as they walk through this valley and have come to the one year anniversary of the death of their 20 year old son, Justin. As did his life, his death has impacted countless lives. Not a day goes by that I don't consider them and what they might be facing or feeling or dealing with. A tremendous tragedy---but a worse tragedy would be that lives were not changed by the message of the salvation of the LORD Jesus in his life and in his death and now in his memory.
Yes! we have no bananas... we have no bananas today... but we have water...
Yes! We have water...
Where it's supposed to be!
And it's running just fine.
A lot can happen in 6 weeks in a 7.4 x 8.2 foot room!
February 15, 2005 Here goes the month... just marching right along. So, I was driving down the lane yesterday afternoon and I spotted one---no, two---no, three children playing in the yard. As I neared the driveway, I saw a couple more and then a couple more in the sandbox. I smiled at my Valentines. I smiled as I remembered hearing that someone once said, describing our home... you'll know when you get there, there's like a million kids running around in the yard. Well, there weren't a million, but I'll tell you what: their smiles were worth a million as they ran to greet me opening the doors of the van to see what I'd brought home.
I cry unexpectedly these days and now, I know why other older mothers seem to so readily cry over things. They cry over what was. They cry over what might have been. They cry because when it's over, it's so over. They cry because yesterday's that seemed like forever went away like they never happened. They cry over the memories of little boys' exuberance and sloppy kisses and their way of communicating with loud sounds and no words. They cry over memories of little girls' flannel night gowns and pink sponge rollers and bubbles and powder. They cry over the memories of the wonderfully intoxicating scent of newborns and the joy of peering into the little eyes peering back and for the delight of hearing the first words pronounced by toddlers and first words printed by kindergarteners and first words typed by little fingers. They cry because there is nothing they can do to stop the tide from going out and the little ones and memories from slipping away... They cry for all those things and more. They cry for the hopes and all the wonderful accomplishments and the incredible strides their older children make and for the hopes they have for each one. They cry... they cry to the LORD because they know they can only carry them in their prayers and not in their arms any longer. They cry because this is the very thing they want for their children... and one day, their children will know why they cried... and they―will understand.
That's what Valentine's Day does...
Samuel is getting well from pneumonia――he thinks he was well pretty much right away. I'm still insisting on rest and lots of water. He doesn't fret over it all too much. He does drink lots of water but doesn't particularly like the rice water Timothy has been making and drinking since he returned home from Mexico. Seems that in Mexico, he was drinking rice water every day――that, and smoothies, which we haven't really been making since we don't have all the right fruits and our ice maker has not been working.
About the icemaker... the water flows into the tray and cubes form, they just don't get dumped out of the tray into the ice receptacle. This problem was sort of a sudden thing. Wes came home the other evening to discover water all over the floor around the fridge, into the back area of the kitchen... into the bathroom and under the bathtub where water collected in the corner. Instantly, he assumed the water heater had a problem and might've poured the water out all over, but when he moved things to look in the water closet, it (thankfully!!) was dry. So, he located the source, cut the water supply, grabbed the shop vac, in addition to towels and rugs mopping up the water and took care of that part of the problem. Then he pulled out the fridge to see what the trouble was... inside the freezer, water had cascaded down from the ice container and formed frozen sheets and icicles all down the freezer. This was a happy sight to the children as they pulled off icicles to suck on---but you can imagine the disappointment that they were flavourless. One benefit to
February 14, 2005 Happy Valentine's Day! Be a sweet heart today... do something sweet for your family.
What a sweet surprise to receive a bouquet of flowers and the dearest poem this morning. I have no idea who the sender was/is and no idea how the gift was placed on the porch unbeknownst to anyone here this morning. Then to also receive roses from Wes---well, actually, a beautiful Jackson and Perkin's - Whisper Hybrid tea rose that I'll plant in my rose garden. I love that he's always brought me flowers and I especially love the flowers that he brings that become gifts for later spring and summer, too.
Valentine's Day holds many memories---wonderful, beautiful memories, lovely flowers, pretty Valentines I've received---Valentines I've given, Valentines my children have made for me... O, how I miss my little boys today. I miss the Valentines they made for me... the Valentines with pink and red construction paper hearts cut from the very center of a large piece of red or pink construction paper and then, doilies and red glitter with glue oozing out the sides of the card, sticking all the edges together. I miss the Conversation Hearts they carefully chose to place on the center of the doily with some sentiment indicating their love... then, inside, some picture of them standing with me... with giant hands and long stick fingers and signed with their name plus: " S." in case I forgot which boy was giving me the Valentine. So, I miss my little boys today. There are many sweet faces in our home... and today will be a day to make pretty cards and choose Conversation Hearts with just the right message.
With all these memories I recall today, there are also now some bittersweet memories---memories of sons of two of my friends. There's much to be said and yet nothing to say---do you ever feel like that? So much to say and nothing at all conveys what your heart really wants to communicate so... you shake your head because words muddle up the intended thought and then you begin to wonder if your thought really matters anyway to a person whose heart is deeply etched with sorrow.
So... we are remembering Nolan, 2-14-82 to 9-29-03. How I pray the family is comforted today and knows the peace of Jesus throughout this sorrow. I love them and think of them so often---I so long for a way to convey my sympathy. I pray that the rose I left with them will bloom in their garden and fill their home with flowers over the years.
I was remembering the beautiful poem that Glenys wrote for Kathryn one year ago after one of her surgeries. It is such a beautiful poem
for our precious daughter and becomes more and more special (as does she) with each passing day.
Speaking of feet.... How Smart is Your Right Foot?
This is funny and it will boggle your mind. And then, you'll keep trying this over and over to see if you can beat this one... or that you can outsmart your foot, but you can't.
1. Okay, so while sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles in the air.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction. See, I told you so! And, you know what? This happens to everyone!
We really are coming down the home stretch of the bathroom project. I wasn't going to take a look at the progress until it was complete... but a couple of problems with the paint and questions over the joint compound made me want to take a look. So, I saw the project and then, decided to just go ahead and take some pictures. In the meantime, Timothy has re-sanded and re-coated some of the areas and he and Wes have been working on both the wainscoting and painting. Neil came down on Saturday evening and took the vanity up and installed it. The sinks are not plumbed yet. Wes thought it was wise to wait on plumbing the bathroom until after the wainscoting was installed so that the toilet would not be in the way. We are anxious---but, we don't want our anxiousness to get in the way of doing things properly and in order. We've seen how anxiousness becomes carelessness and so want to learn those lessons well.
So... here you go... these are the latest pics:
the vanity finally goes upstairs
It's a tight squeeze to get it around the turn
Neil is relieved it fits *perfectly!*
taking a peek
Neil cut the holes
for the basins then dropped them in!
Clean up and make another mess!
Putting in the wainscoting and trim!
Timothy doing some patching!
February 10, 2005 So many things in the news that it's hard to sort through---conflicting reports and views on the war in Iraq/the war against terrorism or the war to revamp a nation. When I saw the line regarding a "recount" of ballots in Iraq, I initially thought of the messy recount situation in Washington State and concluded that whoever was doing the recount or whoever controls what is recounted essentially controls the outcome. In Washington State---or, King County, rather, the recount yielded favorable results for one candidate... but only after the third counting of the ballots---but, in reality, some of the ballots introduced in the third count, were not a part of the first two. And so it goes... how will the election results affect the lives of the people there, and how will the military operation be affected... many questions---few answers.
If you haven't been up on Barbara "Megamommy" Curtis's Blog, then I'd recommend reading each day's entry---especially if you're a mom in need of inspiration for the care and training of children. As she's told me, she does target a bit of a different "audience" than I have here---but you know... the longer I live, the more I see that in some things, there are very few differences when it comes to some important basics. I like that she shares different things for different ages---a wonderful gift developed over her 35 years of motherhood---perspective you can't just get from a book or a seminar. Some things in life can only be learned from experience. Her familiarity doesn't come from knowing this material or that method---it comes from years of application. It helps that she's had lots of children... a mother only gets better if she doesn't give up or if her goal is to finish *strong!* (at the end of her life). Trouble is, many moms today seem to---that is, *seem to* have the idea that their job has some sort of time frame or some sort of beginning/ending parameters or that motherhood is finite when it is anything but finite. I love reading her "Montessori" ideas-----------------a name for some things I've always believed about child rearing. children need spaces to be creative, they need to have things at their height and they need to use things they'll have when they're older. Train with glass and they'll know how to treat glass. Well... I could go on and on about this... but she's got a blog that tells it better.
If we're seeking improvement or encouragement, we all love slices of life... to see how others are doing things. I think we like slices or other's stories because innately, we want to see if we're okay---if we're doing things okay. We want to see if things essentially go for others as they go for us. Additionally, I think we want to see if we can glean something we think we might actually apply in our lives---we like slices because we can't tolerate much more than that---especially if we've been on the low end of production. It's when we're on the low end of production that too much information is like an indictment against us and the information is like an avalanche that sends us over the edge or further back down the mountain. Years ago when I thought to gather material for this website, it was with that concept in mind---I thought if I could gather articles and links for families---women, men, wives, husbands, young people... then, they could, from time to time, stop in for a slice. Any more than a slice takes too much time and anything more than a slice actually becomes a wedge. A time/information wedge between reality and application. So... all these years later, I'm still gathering articles, ideas, and links to offer slices of life... slices of encouragement and information. So, grab a slice, and a cup of coffee. I'll run and experience some more life and dish up another slice tomorrow...
O, by the way... the bathroom's primed and ready to go. Timothy did a phenomenal job. Now it's time for all the stuff that looks like a bathroom remodel. Everything to this point has just been preparation for the show. And, like a performance, weeks of grueling work and practice and then a big splash. So, then, the things that no one will ever see (but you have seen them!) are done. That's why I wrote Scriptures and letters to Wes and to the children on all the boards, on the walls and on the sub-flooring, etc., etc. I will always know what's under there. When it's done, like many things in life... much will be forgotten about how it got that way.
February 9, 2005 We're a bit fatigued today... stayed up fairly late (or early, depending on how you look at things) painting and finishing the last coat of the mudding the sheetrock. Only two trips to Lowe's yesterday and we don't plan to go there today. I'm wondering if they're going to call the house today to ask if something's wrong.
This morning's sun revealed a nice smooth job of that final coat---for which we were very thankful. Yesterday's trips to the dentist were thrilling---everyone has a nice clean smile and all came home with *free* toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss and prizes for the youngers who were so "good" for the dental hygienist! It was so exciting for Andrew, especially, who giggled practically the whole time in the chair. And, yes, everyone gets to go back and see the dentist... ;(
Timothy (in the "potty room of the bathroom) has sort of blocked off the room while he does the final sanding.
The rounded "shower room" wall really came out looking nice.
The fan is pulling the dust out of the room. He's already used the vacuum once to try and keep ahead of the fine dust.
Our home looks like someone's been shaking a large bottle of baby powder everywhere.
Before and after 1/4 round was put in place and taped.
They used a quarter of a tube concrete form to form the rounded corner of the "shower room."
I can't figure out how I missed getting a shot of the tube before it was put in place and taped and mudded.
So the rest of this day will be spent sanding and vacuuming and then Timothy will apply the primer coat. Tara plans to come tomorrow to paint the bathroom. It will be good to move on... we've been blowing circuits right and left trying to keep the heaters and fans on. One major victim of the power problems has been this computer... it was locked up tight after *several* power failures! We had cords going all over attempting to space out the use. I keep wondering what Wes would've done had he been here to see the circuit circus.
I'm not sure how many more "in progress" pics I will have after the primer goes on the walls, because it's Tara's hope that I not see the room anymore until the whole project is completed. I'm guessing pics will be taken along the way. I pray that the "final" portion of this little project goes *much* faster than the previous weeks... It could be a loooong time before I can tuck the children into bed if not! Ah... so, while you were out...
February 8, 2005 So here we are... another day, another slice of life, another view from the rose coloured glasses. You know what the deal is with some facets of homemaking, mothering, etc., is that it's so daily. No, I don't mean monotonous---just daily. Daily's not a bad thing, per se, it's just that it's just that: daily. Today is yay-we-get-to-go-to-the-dentist-day. I ask the receptionist for blocks of time so that I can take a few at a time, take them home and bring back a few more. This works best for me---but more importantly, it works best for the children. The waiting is still a factor, but it's easier to wait at home than it is to wait in the office. Waiting at home is just regular dailies with an anticipated trip out in the van. And... the dentist trip is always very rewarding: an toy and a new toothbrush, paste and floss! Some of the children even receive an additional gift... an appointment card for the next visit. That one, they don't look forward to as much. I don't look forward to hearing the report of who most needed the semi-annual reminder to brush and floss more thoroughly. I sort of dread the cavity tally after nine children see the dentist. I always hope for a perfect score and have never yet received one. Thus, when we visit the dentist today, my hopes are set on a "not-too-bad" score. I figure at the very least, we're going to score at least a nine---something for everyone.
Eight years ago, this morning, I was bringing Wes home from the hospital after he had "an incident" with a Skill Saw. After many hours of waiting, then surgery, which took many hours, his hand was repaired and bandaged and then he finally rested until the next morning and then was released from the hospital to begin an eight week journey to healing and using his hand again. Over the many weeks, the pain was great and the healing was slow as he underwent weeks of therapy to use and strengthen his hand again. He lost half of his index finger and had significant damage to the others on the left hand. The surgeon who did the work was on call as the regular doc was out that day. Interesting how the LORD works. The doc happened to be a plastic surgeon of the face and hand. Not only that, he was skilled in microscopic blood vessel and capillary repair and fusion and was concerned with future usability more than simply stitching and amputating the damaged fingers which is, we were told, what the other doc would likely have done. The LORD was merciful and we saw Him once again as our Provider, our health and strength. Many times through the weeks following that accident, we saw incredible provision and incredible kindness.
Samuel and Wes saw the doc again yesterday morning. I'm thinking they were concerned for Samuel and, though they didn't take another x-ray, the doc felt confident that Samuel was on the mend and that the pneumonia had begun clearing up. I hope he'll take the advise to not jump into things to quickly, but to rest and get well. How to explain that to a boy who essentially feels well---"just fine!"--- but is bothered by coughs that, he says, are only painful sometimes. Ahhhh to be that young and full of that energy, enthusiasm and zest for life!
Timothy is a real power-house when it comes to getting that bathroom work done. Like he said when he came home from Mexico... put me to work, I'm not discouraged! He's seen the pics but wasn't into the nitty-gritty of it all. I think he's just anxious for the project to be completed! Actually... everyone is! Now after the first trip to Lowe's weeks ago, I should've known we were going to be back---many times. I think that yesterday was the first time I made the trip twice in a day. So the mudding is essentially finished. Timothy now needs to go back and sand a bit and apply the third and final coat. I'm told that experts can do it in two but that three will be just fine. I am just a spectator at this point... and... a cookie baker. The project has now hit the four-week mark. The buckets of money have been emptied. They are now filled with patience, for patience is the greatest product of this project thus far. We're not long on much else, but patient: we are.
More mud... and more chocolate chip cookies.
February 6, 2005 Do you ever find yourself wondering: am I doing enough for the children? Am I teaching them enough? Are they learning enough? I think, we, as parents, often times tend to over teach, over reach our children and not let them play enough. I think we often think their play is just that: play. But... is it just play? Many years ago, I learned a tough lesson. I was trying to get our oldest son to stop taking things apart and start *doing* something. I would tell him, now, please don't just keep taking that computer apart or taking electronic things apart and putting them together again. I would really stress the academics---you know, the things that were going to land him a very good job so that he could one day provide for his family. Well... I'm glad to say that he did pursue the academics---but I am more glad that he continued day after day, taking things apart, putting things together, learning how they work and why. I am glad that the exploring led to reading and the reading led to more exploring and more learning: solid learning and solid understanding.
I've known many children who knew all the right answers but had no logic, no "common sense" understanding. I've known children who had all sorts of knowledge and no wisdom. I think one of the best things we are coming to understand, as parents/grandparents, is the necessity of training children to be wise with what they know and careful about how they learn and what they learn and most of all, eager to gain understanding as they grow in wisdom and virtue. We're learning the inestimable value of instilling in them the *desire* to learn and the desire to grow in grace.
I'm coming to a better understanding of the verse: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" ---Matthew 16.26
And I'm slowly gaining more understanding and great respect to the precise order of the verses in 2nd Peter: "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." ---2Peter 1.5-8
For *if* these things be in you... then you shall "neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." O, that we would desire, earnestly desire: to be rich and fruitful in the knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ.
So what got me thinking on all this in the first place was reading excerpts of a book by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek - Einstein Never Used Flashcards. She says, "Many of those (teaching) toys are toys that give an answer to the child. And then they either: ding, ding, ding, ding if the child gets it right or they do something if the child doesn't get it right. But let's think of the toys that we really remember. Do you remember the boxes that you used to make into taxicabs? Do you remember the forts you used to build out of the couch? These are the wonderful memories that build childhood and they involve a lot of learning. But we tend to forget that and we think, oh my gosh, if my child's going to make it into school then I better start now..."
Now, I *now* I need to spend more time with each child each day teaching academics and proper application of facts learned, but I know, now, more than ever, I will never regret all the "work" they do each day as they build, explore, imagine, dig, run, hunt, climb and search. And, yes, I still allow boys to take stuff apart and put stuff together and I allow them to make muddy messes and strange food concoctions. I also know that I will never regret the many trips to the library each week. Who could have too many books?
February 5, 2005 If you're in need of some homeschooling encouragement, look here: the hope chest. I receive a newsletter from them but haven't "visited" the site in awhile. One of the reasons I like to share links here and also throughout the site is to give some "exposure: to what's out there and what's actually available to families/women/homeschoolers, etc. I can't count the number of times women have commented that they feel "all alone" in their walk or that "no one" agrees with what they're doing or "no one" thinks like they do, etc., etc. Well... contrary to that "feeling," there *are* many who feel much the same as they do and there are *many* who are not walking in step with the *world!* but according to the Word!
So... you know when you think something's never going to happen, never going to change, or whatever? Sometimes the cure or the result or the product is right around the corner! And so it goes with the infamous FBP... family bathroom project or, what I fondly call the: while you were out (of your mind) project. I don't go up there very much as the fine dust from the sheetrock is too much for my lungs and
So thankful for Timothy's return home and the fresh resolve to finish the job!
James cutting in the doorway and shaping the small arch. And Samuel, just coming up to check on the job,
couldn't resist doing a little shaving of the doorway.
Wes is preparing the *small* arch of the doorway---he is not standing on a stool
so you get an idea of the room height!
So, we have Nathan, the expert mudder/taper
in the little potty room! And then, Timothy (right)
in the shower room putting up sheetrock
(that's the small
The operative word for anything in the bathroom is *SMALL!* The once small bathroom will now be three small rooms. In the 8.2 x 7.4' space will is a shower room, a "potty" room and the double sink vanity in the main area. Timothy has completed the sheetrock and when Nathan and James come back over, they'll finish mudding and taping the room. Then the flooring will go in... and then... I guess, it's the home stretch.
Now... in addition to the set backs in the completion of the bathroom work (Wes working out of town), Wes hasn't
been well and both he and Samuel went to the doctor on Friday. They both are taking meds and resting some.
Wes has still has quite a bit of congestion and Samuel has pneumonia. Poor guys!
But Samuel wanted to show me how *GREAT!* he feels today. These pics were taken by *Samuel* (timed pic)
and loaded onto the computer for me to see. Surprise! He is a charming boy. He really is!
I don't even want to know how he managed to hop on top of the fridge to eat an almond filled cinnamon roll.
When he sees the doc next week, you think I oughtta tell him Sam's really been taking it easy?
February 4, 2005
One of my most favourite days ever! February 4, 1978 --- and all the February 4th's since then!
okay... so we don't look quite the same after 27 years... but we *could* look a whole lot different!
We celebrate God's merciful kindness to us, and the eleven children born to us
as we celebrate our twenty seventh wedding anniversary today.
After all these years, we still say "I do" forever.
(Not pictured here are the additional blessings of the LORD: our daughter-in-law, Tara
and our three grandchildren. They are not excluded in the slightest. I'm just showing
what the LORD has done specifically in our marriage... )
February 3, 2005 I missed the President's State of the Union address last evening---and I regret that forgot to tune in. Perhaps it's best, as I would have spent time talking to the radio instead of talking with the children and I would have missed their sweet conversation over dinner. When I listen to the radio, I tend to talk back to it... commenting as if I were actually a guest in the studio---saying things I'd never have courage to say and taking liberties to comment on things I genuinely know I'm truly not competent to attempt to analyze. But that's how it is with rhetoric radio---as my husband calls it, and all the commentary, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Everything's sensational and everything's something to laud or put down. I sometimes think it's like boating... everyone's looking all over the place for what they came to see and the moment one sees it, everyone on board hurries to that side to see it, too, and the boat practically capsizes. There's much need for a steady anchor.
I'd make a very poor single mother. Hmmm---literally! but, that's another story and beside the point. No, I truly pondered this over the last couple of days as Wes has been away working on a job and we've been here holding down the fort, so to speak. The more things I accomplish on my own motivates me or spurs me on. But I'm not so sure my preference to be alone is a genuine preference or simply a "need" from time to time---and not something I'd actually want for any length of time---and certainly, I have this great ache for my husband's presence and companionship and all. Well, were this to be a regular occurrence, I suppose I would learn to do things better, be more orderly about schedules and such, and certainly, we'd have to eat more varied meals. We (minus Wes) could live on beans/rice/tortillas/cheese/salsa in any combination. We (again, minus Wes) could live on cereal---and chips and salsa. We (yes, again, minus Wes) could do this everyday and be content with an occasional bagel and cream-cheese. We'd probably round out the days with smoothies and fruit. And... all this would happen standing at the counters in our kitchen---but we've guarded against that---beginning with Kathryn making breakfast and serving each one at the table. I thought last night that we ought to not eat meals standing in the kitchen---but it's a real temptation.
So as we made our way about the days, we determined to produce a good report and I'd say we're doing pretty well. I have this strong inclination to accomplish things while my husband is away and to work hard at keeping things done, but I recognize that the actual schedule is still lacking. We don't have the daily marker of his presence. This is something that demonstrates to me that we're really in need of our daddy and more grateful than ever for him. Absence, indeed, makes the heart grow fonder. My love will be home just in time for our anniversary... and of course I said, yes, when he asked me out on a date! I told him, I said yes twenty seven years ago and I'll be saying yes into eternity.
Then, in addition to an anniversary date on Friday, Kathryn is planning for the next day, a special dinner for us here again this year. She's such a wonderful blessing to us... an amazing sweet daughter. I'm wondering what she's up to. More on that later, I'm sure.
The while-you-were-out (of your mind) bathroom project continues... v-e-r-y slowly at this point. Timothy shared (with Wes on the phone) that he's raring to go, is not discouraged and will be anxious to get right to the project on Friday when Wes is home. I imagine that was music to Wes's ears as he is anxious to get back to work on the project and get the sheetrock up. For now, the wiring is complete, the fans are in place and ductwork is complete, the insulation has just been put in and so barring any complications with how the work was done (when Wes can take a look at it) they'll get to the sheet-rocking. I'm told that things will move rather quickly from that point.
I smile and wonder what it will be like to have two bathrooms once again, to not have a bathroom vanity sitting in the kitchen, to not vacuum each day with a large shop-vac, to not make "just one more" trip to the hardware store. I wonder what it will be like to have that hallway clear and perhaps even clean. It is truly shocking to me what a huge mess such a tiny room has produced and I surely have a new appreciation for what goes into the building of a home. So... this project, the while-you-were-out bathroom project, has been quite something. And, regarding the mess and length of time it's taking, well, I say... no matter... this project has been a real education. Education is something we receive that we had no idea we needed. What I've learned in and through this project has been thoroughly instructive and enlightening. Most testings are.
February 2, 2005 I love the month of February! I love that my husband wanted to get married in this month and I love that it's been such a thrill all these years! When we met, nearly thirty years ago, I would never have imagined that God would do all He's done and never would have imagined the great blessings He's bestowed on us---on our whole family. It's only of the LORD that all this has come to pass. He has been very merciful and very gracious to us.
Our Timoteo did arrive home safely yesterday afternoon... looking wonderful and tan and worn out! As the hours have passed, we're hearing more and more of what the work, study and ministry in Mexico entailed. He brought little gifts for us and many pictures---but his face was worth a thousand words as we could easily see, even through the fatigue, that the LORD had done a work and part of his heart was still there. As I drove us all home (thankful for our "van-pool" van and the carpool lane!), all the children were asking him two hundred questions and recounting for him everything that's transpired while he's been away, I pondered that this would, indeed, just be one of many such rides as the reality of the call on his life is made more and more evident. Yes... there'll likely be many such trips. He has a heart for---first, the LORD, but for the Mexican people. He has a heart to share with them, the gospel of the saving Life of Christ. His heart is to go wherever God will desire him to go and to be ready. I love that about him---in everything he does... he is ready. He always has been. So... we wash his clothes and I guess we don't pack that duffel bag too deeply in the closet, for I am sure it will soon be needed and he will be ready to go. From the day he was born, I knew there was something very unique about that one. I know it more, now. Even through my tears, I see what he sees---I know what he knows. He can't stay... he's gotta go, and I know it. God is good---all the time.
Timothy painting... and napping... a little child... and the sun setting in Mexico.
I received the February newsletter from M & M's Bright Ideas and immediately, I realized I was lacking! Now, mind you, when I sat down to the desk, I didn't know what I was lacking. So I read a portion of the newsletter and immediately my eyes landed on the words: "What You Need" (in reference to the preparation of a Chocolate Bouquet). The first thing I "need," according to this recipe is 1 bag (emphasis mine) of DOVE® Brand Dark or Milk Chocolate Hearts. Well, this certainly grabbed my attention---for, what I need and what I want are not/cannot be synonymous---especially when it comes to anything produced by the M&M/Mars company. Well, when the next ingredient for this Chocolate Bouquet is: 1 bag SNICKERS® MINIS® for Valentine's Day, you know I am over the edge and decide that *the children* must make this treat for Valentine's Day! Maybe sooner! I mean, you know... the children need fun things to do. It's all about the children, after all. ;-) So then, I read further... see what else is called for in the recipe... I decide that perhaps we won't make these entirely the way they've suggested... but perhaps will make a version of the recipe. Then I decide maybe we'll just skip making the recipe and divvy up a bag of dove hearts between us all... and maybe pick up that bag of Snickers Mini's, too. See... that's a benefit of a large family... a bag doesn't go a long way so, the guilt trip is brief. ;-)
February 1, 2005 O, happy day! Our Timothy comes home from Mexico today... we celebrate God's great blessing in Timothy and His provision for this young man. I am finding it difficult to look past today as I believe this will be one of many welcome home's for this son... meaning, there will likely also be many, many: see you soon's. But for today... we smile and rejoice! He told me he needed to come home and do laundry. ;-)