Sunday, April 23, 2017

Having My Say

I am about tired of Pinterest the last couple of days. Here's why. And maybe someone knows why this is. Maybe one of my "followers" or someone I am "following", whatever all that means exactly... it's rather confusing to me, is pinning these a lot lately. But this is not what I want to have my say about. Yes I do. How do I follow when I am being followed? Something isn't quite real about that. Media messes with my mind. Never mind the alliteration. It does.
So each and every time I open Pinterest these last few days there they are again. 10 Ways to Make Your Husband Happy, 20 Cute Texts to Send to Your Husband, 10 Things Your Husband Will Eat Up, 15 Ways A Woman Can Make Her Marriage Stronger or Sizzle or whathaveyou.
 All of these cute lists are on background pictures of awesomely beautiful and perfectly fit couples in each others arms kissing by the lake or the mountains.
It's not balanced by: 10 Ways a Man Can Tell His Wife She's Awesome, 20 Things Every Woman Needs, or 52 New Ways to Make Your Wife Wonderful, Try One a Week for a Year! I'm gonna boycott Pinterest pretty quick if we can't have some reality: 10 Ways To Say I'm Sorry, 5 Things That Strengthen Commitment For Men and Women in Marriage, or how about this: 100 Things to Stop Fussing About Because It Won't Matter 100 Years From Now, Anyway!
  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Weekend 2017


 The maples were at this point at Easter time. A macro lens would let us see this even better. Do you know that the red hue of the budding forests is this, close up.  Clumps of tiny flowers. Leaves coming soon. 






 We had early church this year for Easter. And we enjoyed it. 
I need Easter celebration by the time it rolls around each spring. Everything has gotten tired inside just like the old, dirty snow and cloudy days. So to celebrate Easter is to welcome gladly new life in my heart and outdoors, too.
And to top it all off perfectly, there's a new baby in the family. We welcomed Sawyer William born to Lance and Kristine on Good Friday.  (Pictures to come later.) Of course, every new grandbaby is special. He is our eighth grandboy.

 Sunday evening, those of the family who were not sick with flu or still in the OB ward with a new baby gathered at the Stonehouse for a campfire. 
Angelie is rather photogenic, so I couldn't resist. She is two and full of naughty and nice enough to keep her two brothers and mom and dad hopping. You can see it in her eyes, right? 
Elv let them all pile on the platform and away they went for a ride. Nothing pleases any of them more as you can see by the smiles all around. 


To those of you at home with little ones and the routines of life that threaten to feel stale, know this: You are planting the happy seeds in the  hearts of your children's future today, during all those "mundane" routines. It takes perseverance and prayer and endurance, but it is worth it!  Remember to laugh often at yourself and with them. Celebrate everything conceivably celebratory today. 

I really wish I had thought to take a picture of Jube on Sunday morning, his cupped hands full and dripping of earthworms running around the church parking lot still collecting, Sunday togs notwithstanding. Delighted and dancing, Havilah and Laticia were helping him. It was amazing and fun and happy AND icky! This Marmee did not panic. I told them to please put the worms down now and come in to wash up; that we were almost done getting church ready and about to begin. 
What an awesome experience for the children! I remembered to tell Jube later that when we go fishing this summer that handful of worms will be exactly what we need. As a Marmee, it's so much easier to see that such moments are harmless and important and sweet, than it was when I was the mom.  



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trading In the Spirit of Heaviness

... for the garment of praise. My choice. An option among many, because it's already been appointed to me through Jesus. Isaiah 61:3
I heard a tidbit of gossip about me. I could have gone to straighten it up; but this time I chose to let it go unnoticed knowing that to pick up on it would only give the story undue credence.
It did give me a little lurch at first, threatening to take down my hard won good attitude. I decided that peace through God's grace (prayer) was a much better way to tackle it.
Disarming the perpetrator was as simple as forgiving and forgetting. This disarmed me, too. Bad story turned into no story simply by letting it go.
I have, myself, set in motion a bit of gossip by the recitation of someone's poor choice of words or naive action. How easy it is to misunderstand motive and then to create a story that is untrue. How can we better practice the grace of casting doubt when it is appropriate!
Finally, the question remains. Can we spread kindness and trust? How can I learn from past "hurtings" to pour the oil of healing instead of hurting others?

We need a personal new story to live. Our own Easter event that is worth telling the world. Let's spread the good news of eternal life. Gossip will not have a chance!




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Beginnings


These are the beginnings of the spring growth. Tender, yellow, and fragile. Hopefully nobody steps on them.
   Like new babies. We have three new babies coming soon in our church. Anticipation and celebration. Nurturing day and night.
   Like newborn saints. Clean hearts. New peace and joy. To walk in newness of life.
   Like changes in our ordinary lives. Spring cleaning. Fresh ideas for the gardens. Sparkling, lately washed windows. Tidied yards. Power washed woods machinery. Why? They'll just get old or dirty again. 
    What if because of the huge risks of being stepped on, God gave up on growing up any spring flowers altogether? 
    What if He took away grace ... we just keep needing more ... What if God did not renew His mercy each morning? 
  
  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spring Transformation


 Spring is officially here even though there is no green outside yet to prove it. The lawn appears at this point to be dead. The only evidence of  life are the little daffodil spears showing through the ground. It's enough to comfort my longings for green. 
    It's been harder this spring, to believe, for me. Winter was ho-hum: no blizzards, not even a snow storm, no snow days, not much snow to speak of, no drifts. I felt robbed of my much loved weather drama. Yeah, just sort of flat.
   I'm weary in my soul about other things, too. I could use some Easter celebration inside. Been wandering around in the tomb of despair off and on for a few months. I've had a few expectations go unmet and I'm resentful of that. People are so ... people like, I guess. 
   
  
This week the girls helped me get this project of painting the knotty pine bathroom walls. It was a major transformation project. I had budget Grab N Go paint and an old brush. In the world of paint prowess this is probably one of the worst scenarios you can have along with a water based sealer on the knotty pine in the first place that was more intact that I initially had thought. I decided against sanding it first, as well. Bad idea. Well, actually, I tried a white stain first, which was a fiasco! The Grab N Go was better if that tells you anything. And I had a roller to keep it level. Sort of.
   We began to paint slowly, carefully, coat number one. If you've never tried to paint varnished T and G knotty pine, you are very smart. But I had plenty of grit and determination, so we kept on. The first coat looked pretty terrible. The paint dried very quickly and smeared if you got it too thick. It was just a mess!
   Coat number two went on with a roller and the old brush, too. Coaxing and cajoling paint is quite an act. Just about as bad as coaxing and cajoling messy people. But I was determined to transform this small, dirty bathroom into a pretty, trendy one. 
   I let it dry overnight. I had to switch to a new roller cover because yesterday's wouldn't thaw. Seems like the freezer dried it out which was exactly what it was supposed to prevent. It's weird paint. Budget friendly, too, don't forget that. So new roller, lots of vision, and a goal and I was off to the races again. I figured out that if I painted quickly with as few strokes as possible that it covered more evenly. I had to work quickly and steadily. No doubling back allowed, so I had to be sure about the drips immediately. Going back was too tricky. I could with the roller if I didn't wait too long. 
   This and other events got me to thinking about transformation or change in us grown-ups. Am I as difficult to transform as was my knotty pine bathroom? How many of you in my world are politely not telling me where I need to change because I'm varnished and satisfied with my own way of relating? Are you throwing your hands up and saying, "She has always been that way, why try telling her?" 
    Shouldn't we be ready and willing to make changes in our lives to be kinder and less difficult to live with? Shouldn't we WANT to change? Shouldn't we be willing to admit that we are wrong? I believe that age or position should not allow us to take exception.
     Jesus said that we could change by the same power that raised Him. The Resurrection power is ours.  We must get over ourselves and our prideful self-righteousness and entertain the fact that we NEED to change. It won't hurt us to exert a little effort and learn to speak less ... or more as the case may be. Or practice more self discipline or relax and stop fretting.
    As far as expectations go, I'd say that the bathroom has exceeded those for me. It is really nice. I got over my expectations during the difficulty of getting it painted. So I'm hopeful that by laying aside those pet expectations in my relationships, I will enjoy as lovely a result, eventually, as my new bathroom. I suppose it depends on how much resurrection change I am willing to undergo myself. 
    

Friday, March 24, 2017

Birthdays And Other Scribblings

 Gwen turned seven years old and Myles six this month of March 2017. When March rolls around each year Myles gets to have his birthday a week before Gwen making them seem like they're the same age for a week. 
This birthday bundling helps me as the Marmee to remember, so I like it. And when we happen to go visit them in Nebraska during spring break-up we get in on the party, too.  We took gifts along as well. In July the other two of Jenny's children will have their birthdays.


 Jenny tried her hand at a homemade Angel Food cake for Gwen who had been begging for one.  She was disappointed in its shortness as opposed to the tall foamy rendition her mother-in-law manages to create. I know, there is supposed to be great value on the tallness of said cake, but in this family even the short ones are appreciated, so it becomes only a matter of passing pride or humility. It's just a cake, afterall.

On the other hand, Jenny's humiliation from her Angel Food flop was short-lived having created a three layered chocolate, albeit boxed, cake for Myles, who was feverish and tired last night at cake serving time. He didn't eat any then, but that didn't stop the rest of us from enjoying it. This is one of those times when I think I get the better part of food. I can't have it but I can enjoy it with my camera, and share the picture, and hone my writing craft describing it for you. Anybody hungry for moist chocolate cake? When Amy cut the cake and took out the first wedge the next few wedges kept their shape but gently unfolded, leaning into the serving spatula to be lifted onto a plate, moist and soft, still definitely cake but not a bit powdery. They ate it with vanilla ice cream.

Gwen and Myles are fortunate children. They're being "brought up" in a Christian home with a mom AND a dad and two other siblings. They have all the love and nutrition a normal child requires and then some. How thankful we should be. Gratefulness should be our main voice.

Don't you think we get a little carried away with the moaning and complaining about our bad environment and all the terrible things happening in the news, government, and society? Why not shift our focus and mental energy on what's good for a change?

Focusing on the good might mean being thankful for our children and families when it feels too busy. The seemingly endless rounds of living: messy living rooms, runny noses, running feet, broken door knobs, and the rest are cues to be thankful. Why not put the news to rest, find a fresh cup of something, make a pretty end table, a notebook and pen, and your Bible and start saying "Thank you" to God for our children and our freedoms. We are so very blessed. Noticing it makes all the difference.

Or when it feels like Husby is entirely too preoccupied with other things of life and we could sure use his help or his interest or his love... anyway, that would be a great time to be thankful for commitment and the promises we made back there on the wedding day. I'll break it to you gently right here, that if you haven't discovered that moment yet; you will, where all that seems good about your marriage is the promise itself. This would be the exact moment for which you were tenderly saying "I Do" back there at the wedding about sticking it out and loving each other for better or for worse. Who knew that "for worse" could be so rotten. Yet commitment is what will carry the tide back to "for better" one of these days. And if it doesn't; we are still not off the hook. The for life commitment we made is good for kids and their turn-out. It's good for society and the next generation.  And it isn't really, at all, until it is tested.

 Focusing on the good could be taking time to actually do some spring cleaning this year while thanking God that we have houses ... full of things. And possibly that would be a great time to clear out some of the extra things in our closets and on our shelves that we really don't need, not even for pretty and give them away or land them in file 13. Try a cleared surface for pretty, especially the countertop. And stand back and really see it.

So be thankful, don't fuss, and throw away the superfluous.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty Is God's idea



 We are traveling to Nebraska this afternoon having left right after church. We went to the morning service with the car already packed so we could leave right from there.
I am blogging on the road taking advantage of a huge supply of data that is on our phones by way of tethering to my computer. I used Bluetooth to transfer the pictures I wanted from my phone to the computer like I always do.
At any rate I'm feeling rather virtuous getting my blogging accomplished while the miles sail by.
We get to spend a few days in Nebraska visiting our family there. I brought sewing and other projects and our anticipations of good times along. And a list of things I want to get done including the creation of Kristine's baby shower invitations that must go out by the weekend.


 This past week was full of store work. Monday I had the privilege of helping my bosses, (Hi Ruthie and Rosie) at a buyer's show in the city. We spent the day going from store to store in a huge mall-like place planning and choosing what we want to sell at our little furniture and gift shop in Hayward.
Especially at Will's we spent time memorizing the sights of beautiful things arranged in creative ways. It is at these times and places that I wonder if I should have gone in for home or store design. I really enjoy this job.
So it is fun to visualize these centerpieces and to find a place to enact them. I believe that our work should not only provide and bless us, it should also be shared with others. Perhaps a little thing like a table centerpiece is unimportant and even wasteful to some folks; but I'll bravely say here that beauty is God's idea and I love to make it for the people who will sit at these tables to eat, visit, play, and learn together.

Lately, we at Grace Bible have been learning through a series of videos on how to teach by Howard Hendricks. We sit around the cleared tables after Sunday lunch together learning and discussing ... and laughing. Howard, himself, is a fine teacher.  It's exciting to notice that we are making the education practical ... it is coming out through the preaching on Sunday morning.
It is also fun and exciting to see our little church group growing up and digging in. Church life is good. I'm not bragging, just praising the Lord for His goodness in giving us clear direction and work. No doubt, tests are right around the corner. We'll trust Him.