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30 April 2009


For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14

That cute little guy to the left?
That's our first grandbaby.
A boy!
He was born just after the clock turned to Saturday last week.

All of us, grandparents, aunts and an uncle, rejoice!
Wonderful are His works!

Home Delivered Meals

I'm a day late for Wordful Wednesday. Alas. Some weeks are like that.

But really, that's OK, because today is Thursday, and on the first, third, and if there's a fifth, Thursday of the month, my family delivers meals for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. Yep- basically we are meals on wheels.

ENOA is preparing to hold its annual fundraiser, "Sharing the Table," and this photo will be part of their "slide show." (are there really slide shows anymore? isn't everything a "multi-media production"?) This photo is missing my middle daughter, she was at basketball practice that day, but other than that, I love this picture. Even if we are all squinting. Even if you can't see that I have eyes.

My family has been delivering meals for a while now, maybe four or five years. I've lost track. It makes us sound much nicer than we are. Delivering meals is really one of the easiest things we do in a week. It takes about an hour, and I am certain we are more blessed by our clients than we are a blessing to them. And I am certain that most of our clients are more happy to see the kids than they are to see the food.

When we started, all 6 of us would go to every door. We quickly got over that! Now, one or two of the kids deliver each meal. We make about 10 stops, several with multiple meals. No- we do not cook the meals! All we do is pick up the meals, and then deliver them to each client on our list.

We all have favorites. We have clients that are cantankerous and grumpy, but soften right up with the kids. We deliver to those with disabilities and dementia. We delivered to a lady who told us the same story every week for three years. And then one day she added, "...but maybe I've told you that." HA! (uh, yeah, maybe, but we understand...)

We delivered to one lady that we knew was old, but we didn't know HOW old until one day I asked her how she was feeling, and she answered, "Pretty good for a lady that is 102." 102! You should have seen my daughter's eyes pop out!

We deliver to one lady who smokes "like a chimney" says my girls, and has me put out food for the stray cats ("you shouldn't take part in an illegal activity" says my son), and gives my girls Tootsie Roll pops but not my son. She must be able to tell he's against the cats...

We delivered to one lady with hoarding behaviors. Honestly, she could barely make it to the front door, she had so much stuff. Boxes and boxes and racks and racks and stacks and stacks of stuff. She was constantly in trouble with her neighbors for the perpetual yard sale filling her driveway. But oh!- did she delight in seeing my daughter!

We delivered to one man, an old gentle soul, who asked me if I'd like to join his chapter of the Hell's Angels. "You don't have to ride a bike," he told me. Me!? A Hell's Angel!? The only bike I know is my mountain bike that has cobwebs on the spokes right now...

So here's an exhortation to you families: if you are looking for a fun, easy, rewarding way to serve, deliver meals! My only caveat- make sure your kids can buckle their own seat belt first! And then, get ready to be blessed.

29 April 2009

You must be there

"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25:36-36, 40 (NIV)

"Andrew was visibly moved as he recited these verses. 'Don't you see,' he told us, 'you cannot give a person something to eat unless you are there. You cannot provide drink or clothes, or visit the sick and imprisoned, unless you are there."

from God's Smuggler, Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill.

24 April 2009

That's My Answer...

Wandering through Blogdom while the kids watch Bedtime Stories. (with Adam Sandler, that goofy guy that makes me laugh. My all-time favorite Adam Sandler? The Hanukkah Song. hands down.)

But I digress...

I just found That's My Answer, which is asking REALLY important questions for us to answer. Questions like:

It's 70's-80's Saturday night. Fantasy Island or The Love Boat?
Definitely The Love Boat. To tell the truth, the only time I really liked Fantasy Island was when there were kids on the show. And, sometimes it was spooky. Just my opinion...

Do read the fineprint on your contracts? What about all those agreements online, do you just click AGREE and carry on, or do you actually read it and then decide?
In real life, I read them, uh, well, I skim them. Online? I click agree and move on. I really hope that I don't regret that someday...

You’ve been put in charge of creating a contest that anyone can play. What is your contest? Where will it take place? What is the prize for first place? Do you think I’m going to win?
Too much thinking. Next question...

Today’s high is supposed to be 81 and the low is 58 (F). What is the forecast for your city?
I am SO glad you asked! Today, oh today. Beeee-you-ti-full!
High 89, but with breeze, sometimes wind, so it wasn't hot. And then a storm came through at game time, and cooled things in minutes. Perfect.
Low 59. That's sleeping weather.
Tomorrow- 60/52. We love you, sun. Come back to visit...

and that's my answer.

23 April 2009

I'll Never Forget...

It has been a few Thursdays since I joined MamaKat and the Writer's Workshop over at Mama's Losin' It. This week's assignment? I chose number three:
Why won't you forget? List six true sentences that begin with the words 'I'll never forget...' Then use all six of your sentences in a paragraph, poem, or longer descriptive piece.(

I’ll never forget…
Four years old,
Hiding under the bed,
Piercing sirens wailing,
TV on.
Tornado in the neighborhood.

I’ll never forget…
Elementary school years.
La Cienega picnic grounds.
Marshmallow roasting on a whittled stick,
Slick rocks across a bubbling stream,
Sticky sap of vanilla scented pines.

I’ll never forget…
17 years old and invincible,
Road trip AZ to CO.
Dusty dry Moab camping,
Dire Straits out the window,
Rocky Mountain air in June.

I’ll never forget…
College summer before senior year.
Train ride Juarez to Mexico City.
Glowing smoking wildfires rage outside,
Closed window musty inferno smolders inside,
Babble of language to be learned.

I’ll never forget…
Eight months pregnant in July.
Unfiltered sunshine on the shadeless Kodak Hula Show.
Strumming ukuleles, swirling grass skirts, beating tribal drums.
Frozen lemonade for sale,
Sweet tart icy cold slushy delight.

I’ll never forget…
The comfort of mid-life friendship.
Dawn of early morning Fridays.
Holding a warm mug of strong coffee,
Trusted confidence,
Prayer and tears mingle sweetly together.

I'll never forget...
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits.
Psalm 103:1-2

And you? What will you never forget?

21 April 2009


Took a little weekend getaway, to get away, to get a way, this last weekend- a road trip up north to Minneapolis. Me and two friends and a new friend. A friendly foursome. A frolicking foursome. A funny foursome!

We stayed here, thanks to a great price on Hotwire divided by 4. It was terrific, except for the absence of a hot tub, which we really would have appreciated after a long day of shopping.

Yes, shopping. As far as shoppers go, I am a rank amateur. I don't have the drive. Stick me in a bookstore, and I'm fine. Surrounded by racks and racks... not so much. I'm cheap. But we were in some prime shopping locales. And my first grandbaby is due any minute. I held my own with the pros.

IKEA. Love IKEA. I showed great restraint and stuck, mostly, to my mental list. Mostly. But how can you pass up 99 cent potholders and the like? Tough.
The Mall of America. 4.2 million square feet of retail acreage. Every store you can think of, and then some.
Factory Outlet Mall. By the time we got there, I lost the edge. The snack samples and truffles at Henry & David helped, however...
And, I found a few new books, besides.

Mostly though, it was just good to get away. Marcelene Cox (who is Marcelene Cox?) said, "The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her." I don't know about that, but I do know that it's not just any ol' girls that I would take a road trip with! Thanks ladies! Fun weekend getaway.

15 April 2009

Naomi and Ruth, part 2

Belinda at Upsidedown Bee has posted her comments on Chapter 9 of Through His Eyes: God's Perspective on Women in the Bible by Jerram Barrs.

This chapter, "Naomi and Ruth: A Portrait of Redemption," examines God's Providence, His compassion and how we can be obedient in the same spirit as Boaz today. As in the chapters previous, I commend it!

(art credit: Ruth Gleaning by Marc Chagall, 1960)

13 April 2009

back to work

Let there be no pride or vanity in the work. The work is God's work, the poor are God's poor. Put yourself competely under the influence of Jesus, so that he may think his thoughts in your mind, do his work through your hands, for you will be all-powerful with him to strengthen you. - Mother Teresa

Which speaks directly to this post, The Day After Easter, by Stephen Nichols, on the Reformation21 blog-
It was after Christ rose from the dead that the work of the church, of beginning and building the church, began in earnest. The euphoria of the Resurrection moment would abate and the grind of routine would set in. The hard work, the daily commitment to love and care for people, the challenge of a hostile world crushing in, all this and more was what the early church, the New Testament church, had to look forward to.

Day after Easter- back to work...

12 April 2009

11 April 2009


The old saying goes, "there's a first time for everything." When Hudson Taylor departed the shores of England for Shanghai, China in 1866, he was among the first Christian missionaries to the country, and the first in his own family to minister abroad. Taylor's great-grandson, James Hudson Taylor III, continued the work of his family, finding ways to take the Gospel to inland and rural China despite obstacles. In the commentary "A Legacy All of Grace," WORLD Magazine writer Mindy Belz tells of the faithfulness of this family. Belz writes, "Hudson Taylor once promised God, 'As for me and my household, we shall surely serve the Lord." And, indeed, they have.

There's a first time for everything in my family, also. We are beginning on the journey to serve as missionaries along the US/Mexico border. Although we're certainly not the first to take the Gospel to the border, we're the first in our family, as far as we know, to serve as missionaries. But our prayer is that we're not the last, and a legacy "all of grace" will continue on from our family for generations to come. Our promise is the same, "as for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord."

10 April 2009

Miscellaneous thoughts on a Friday

It's really rather silly that Friday holds any significance for me as the end of the work week, as my work week never really ends. Nonetheless, I do like getting to Friday. I think part of it is anticipation for work and taking care of tasks on Saturday, in anticipation for worship and rest on Sunday.

Some miscellaneous thoughts on this Friday-

1) Looking back at my week, I think what a wonderful variety of experiences I have had. I took a woman to meet with her probation officer, and we celebrated another week of sobriety. I took another woman to sign a lease on a new apartment, and we rejoiced that she and her son would be moving to an affordable and safe neighborhood. I helped to get supper out in our church kitchen. I was able to sit around a table with a group of home school moms and encourage and exhort one another. I was able to be with my kids and work through the promises and challenges of Ephesians together, examine the events leading up to the Great Depression and ponder many of the same issues we seem to be confronting today. I fell in bed, spent, every night, and woke ready to do it again each morning.
(that's a photo of my oldest and a fellow cook-er, creating a pan of ziti on Wednesday night)

2) Last night our church held a Maundy Thursday service. That service leads us to ponder and meditate on the events of that last day before Jesus' arrest. It reminds us of the humility of a King who would wash his disciples feet. It reminds us the significance of the Lord's Supper, of His body broken, of His blood shed. "You come to the table because you know your hope comes only through His body and through His blood... this is a table for sinners," our pastor reminded us. It reminds us, that like Judas and Peter and the others, we deny Christ, betray Him, daily, and yet, the forgiveness and hope remains. From 1Peter 2:24-25- "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."

3)I love Robin Eggs. I love the crunchy outside. I love the milk chocolate underneath. I love the malty core inside. I love that WalMart sells a bag for $1.77...

4) I was blessed by my friends this week. I have friends that challenge me, to consider old ideas in new ways, to dig deep. I have friends that I would serve with any where in the world. I have friends that love me and my family beyond measure. And I have friends that I laugh with, that cause me to smile, just thinking about time we spend together. When I read the account of the ladies going to visit Jesus' tomb on that first Resurrection morning, taking spices to anoint Him, not knowing how on earth they would roll away the stone but knowing it needed to be done, I am reminded of my friends. They are those kind of ladies. When I think about moving, absolutely the most difficult idea is leaving behind the day to day treasure of being with these ladies.

5) And I have friends with terrific and eclectic musical taste (and ability!). One example is my dear buddy, the blog-ista over at Running the Race, who just updated her sidebar with some new selections. Her blog is pretty much the only exception to my rule of "no music when I click onto a blog." Not to mention, she consistently puts up good and thoughtful stuff, so go visit and wave and say hi and that you "wandered" over. (snort!)

Those are the thoughts that I've come up with this morning, between teaching and driving and cooking and folding clothes and shaking my head at the clutter around our home.

08 April 2009

The Dusty Ones

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever..
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalm 103: 9, 11-14)

"Dust, Haipru, "the dusty ones," the old Egyptian slang word for the Hebrews- God remembers that we are dust. As Moses taught so clearly, evil is unpreventable and punishment is inevitable. But we have a God who consciously forgets our sins and consciously remembers our frailty. We have a God who travels by our side, who tabernacles among us through the vast and dreadful wilderness. We have a God of grace, who loves even the dusty ones- especially the dusty ones."
Philip Yancy, The Bible Jesus Read, ch. 3- Deuteronomy: A Taste of Bittersweet

The theme of today must be dust- we read the above quote in our Bible study this morning, and then in our history studies, moved into the soujourning stories of the Depression-era Dust Bowl migration.
I'm a dusty one, too.
I'm thankful for the God of grace.

(photo credit: Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, 1936)

Winter destroyed

... There was no trace of the fog now. The sky became bluer and bluer and now there were white clouds hurrying across it from time to time. In the wide glades there were primroses. A light breeze sprang up which scattered drops of moisture from the swaying branches and carried cool, delicious scents against the faces of the travellers. The trees began to come fully alive. The larches and birches were covered with green, the laburnums with gold. Soon the beech trees had put forth their delicate, transparent leaves. As the travellers walked under them the light also became green. A bee buzzed across their path.

"This is no thaw," said the Dwarf, suddenly stopping. "This is spring. What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan's doing."

from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, ch. 11

(photo credit: Spring Crocus by Georgio R., on Flickr)

07 April 2009

Final Four- Tarred

A PTW tip o' the hat to the winner of the H Family Bracket Challenge-


He rocked the NCAA bracket this year. He was the only one to pick the champ- UNC (going with logic over loyalty- sorry State!) And he broke a two year run of H girls over boys. Of the over 4.5 million folks that turned played in the ESPN Bracket Challenge, he came in 30,646, which is pretty good.

And if we have a new NCAA Division 1 champion, that also means we have a new One Shining Moment. Love the Moment. My kids roll their collective eyes at me, but I don't care. Love the Moment.

I would love to see a NCAA championship basketball game live and in person- but not in a football stadium!! I'll stick with the College World Series, thanks.

06 April 2009

Naomi and Ruth

Continuing through Through His Eyes: God's Perspective on Women in the Bible by Jerram Barrs- today, Chapter 8, Naomi and Ruth.

Barrs opens this chapter with reflection on the faithfulness of God towards His people throughout history. He writes, "we know that God has promised to build his kingdom. God is always active among those who love him, always seeking a people out to draw them to himself, always committed to caring for them, always eager to safeguard them against all their enemies. He is ceaselessly working to establish his reign in his people's lives and, through them, into all the world." (p.121) Barrs reminds us that the Old Testament "is a missionary book" (p. 122), that from the beginning, the Lord charged His people to be a blessing to the nations. Those are good reminders to me. He has been, is, and will continue to be Sovereign and purposeful in all of His ways.

But onto Naomi and Ruth. Many are familiar with the basics facts of this story. It's a women's Bible study and devotional favorite. However, through this chapter, I was able to consider some of the details in a new light.

First, I have not before really considered the historical context of the book of Ruth- that this time, the end of the 12th century BC, was a time "of unbelief and of idolatry among God's people, of disobedience and rebellion against the Lord and against his commandments." (p. 125) Barrs points out that our own times might be described similarly, a time when "everyone is doing what is right in his or her own eyes." (p. 126) The book of Ruth is a story of faithfulness, "of three people who honored and loved God, who were faithful to him, and who obeyed his word despite the pattern of life in the culture around them." (p. 125) Despite the times, are we, as believers today, described in the same manner?

I have not before considered the story of Naomi and Ruth in the context of immigration. We know that Elimelech and his family leave Bethlehem, cross the Jordan, and move to Moab- perhaps due to famine, drought, pestilence or disaster, perhaps due to political unrest. And then in a span of a few verses, the sons marry, the father dies, the sons die, and two of the widows travel back to Bethlehem. In that context, we witness the graciousness of Boaz in recognizing Ruth's faithfulness to Naomi, and that beautiful blessing he asks of the Lord over her,
All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge! (Ruth 2:11-12)

Barr points out that this is the promise, the blessing, to all who are God's people, no matter what nation they come from, "that the Lord will richly reward us and repay us when we commit ourselves to serve Him." (p. 135)

Finally, I have never considered Naomi's response to grief, her self-described bitterness, as a right response. The key must be not self-wallowing, but indeed, crying out to the Lord in times of absolute despair, and looking only to Him for relief and comfort. Jeremiah describes in his prayer, "You know me, O LORD; You see me; And You examine my heart's attitude toward You." The mourning of Lamentations 3:25-26 acknowledges, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord."

I think it is that faithfulness of Naomi and of Ruth, that we read of in this chapter and will be grown even more in the chapter to follow, which makes the story so sweet. It is my prayer that, as God works through my family, we will be found to hold to and act with the same trust and faithfulness as these two women used so mightily by God.

Don't stop here! The Ch. 9 continues this story to it's beautiful ending. Check in for more from Belinda at Upsidedown Bee soon!

(art credit: The Story of Ruth, by Thomas Matthew Rooke, 1876)

Weather, or not

Two shots of the weather from the Heartland this weekend. On Saturday evening, thunderstorms rolled through, a coldish downpour of rain and wind. We were headed home at dusk, motoring through the storm. I like the blurryness of the lights against the wet windshield and how the lens captures the drama of the clouds much better than our bare eyes did.

The second photo was taken just as the sun was beginning to rise on Sunday, as snow was just beginning to fall. It looks like a winter morning, not a Palm Sunday in early April.

But spring is about hope, right? The forecast for the week ahead? Normal temps. Sunshine. Indeed, it's sunny, though chilly and white, outside today.



I'm a few days late in updating, but over at Half Pint House, Megan has posted commentary on Deborah, from Through His Eyes: God's Perspective on Women in the Bible.
Coming soon- Naomi and Ruth.

(art credit- unknown. But I found it here...)

02 April 2009

Royal Play-list and Such

The Queen definitely got the better deal!

When President and Mrs. Obama took tea and cuke sandwiches with the Queen (& poor, always forgotten, Prince Phillip- look at him cast to the side there...), they exchanged gifts.

The Queen gave the President a photograph in a silver frame, just as she gives every visitor, apparently.
(note: that's not really a bad idea- always give the SAME gift. Although... how many pictures of the family in a silver frame does anyone really want? answer- none!)

The President gave the Queen a silver engraved I-Pod, loaded with "40 popular Broadway show tunes."

The Queen definitely got the better deal!

And on other random thoughts about the visit- apparently it's a faux pas to touch the Queen. What? The Royal Ettiquette is beyond me. NO WONDER I haven't received an invitation to Buckingham Palace yet...

Back to real life...

01 April 2009

Google rules

Stinky, smelly, dirty water at the bottom of the dishwasher. Never good. Never ever good.

Confession- upon first glance of that murky pond, my immediate thought was "maybe it is broken, irreparably broken, and we can get a new dishwasher." I didn't REALLY want that. Well, maybe I want the new dishwasher, but I really do not want the bill.

So, we did what any reasonable family would do when confronted with a non-working dishwasher in the middle of the day...
We shut the door tight and waited for dad to get home.
He takes off his dress shirt, opens the door, gets down on the floor, pulls out the tray, and sticks his hand in the water. EWWW. Our hero! He gets out the shop vac and sucks up the water and starts unscrewing and disassembling various plastic pieces.

I start Googling.

Google. What an amazing thing! I type in "dishwasher won't drain" and go here. Dear handyman husband actually heeds my googly advice and checks the drain line, which happens to be very clogged. He clears the line. Reassembles parts. Tries the dishwasher. Miracle upon miracles, it works!!!

Thinking what a great opportunity, I google "clean dishwasher inside" and go here. One cycle of 1 cup of baking soda and 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar later, the dishwasher is sparkly and no longer stinks.

Google rules. But dear handyman husband is a close second.