Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend!

I've been looking all over the www for a really great Memorial Day video to share.  I saw a lot of good ones. 

Then this afternoon I read Ree's blog where she's reposting some highlight photos from the photo assignment she gave last year title "Coming Home."  This is exactly what I was looking for to share here today.  Memorial Day at The Pioneer Woman

Memorial Day was not a big deal in my family when I was growing up.  I really regret that.  It should be a really big deal.  I am so very grateful for the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families to maintain our country's freedom.  They deserve our highest respect and honor!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Moving Off Center

One reason I am so glad that God sent me to Ethiopia and that I am still connected there is because of the perspective it gives me.

If I'm tired of the rain and wish summer (or should I say spring?) would finally get here, I think about the ones who live and work out in the weather.

If I get stressed out about having people over because my carpet needs cleaning or my window coverings are embarrassingly outdated, I remember this woman who opened her little home (hovel?) to complete strangers and felt so honored we would visit. 

(Her coffee cups don't match.)

If I stand in front of my closet crammed with clothes feeling tired of wearing the same thing all the time, it's not unusual for me to think of these children.

When I start feeling sorry for myself in any way, I want to think of our staff in Ethiopia who are serving Christ so joyfully and yet have almost nothing of the world's 'nice' things.  They have dirt floors.  They cook outside.  There are never leftovers.

I didn't have to go to Africa to get this perspective.  I know God's word and I know (in my head) that life's really not all about me.

I know this.

But I'm so grateful to have these faces of 'the least of these' in my heart.  I want to remember them and quickly confess my tendancy to think I am at the center.  To crucify my crown-wearing Self that keeps trying to sit up on the throne and to take my spot at His feet instead.    

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God...  Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 
                                        Colossians 3:1-3,12 NLT

*To read more about the the ministry I work for, be sure to check out our website:   Adoption Ministry of Youth With A Mission Ethiopia   and the other blog that I do (where I posted this same post today):   That We Might Be Adopted... from Ethiopia

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I love about summer

Long days.

Summer sounds... sprinklers, lawn mowers, birds.

Iced lattes.

Hamburgers on the grill.

Late evening walks.

Leaving for vacation.



No school.

Roadside berry stands.

Open windows.

Beach days.

Summer hasn't arrived yet in the Northwest.  I'm not complaining.  Our weather has been mild compared to so much of the nation.  I've only had to water my garden once by hand - God's been doing it for me. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Every Detail

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Romans 8:22-28
The Message

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Are Better

Because my husband tends to keep leaving me to go to Africa, I've been thinking about what happens to me when he's gone.  I wish I could say I branch out, try new hobbies or volunteer all of my free time at the local rescue mission. 


I walk around the house talking to myself.  And no one answers.
I don't eat meals - I graze. 
I don't make the bed all the way.
I get in my jammies really early.
I stay up way too late reading.

This from a person who has always felt pretty independent.  But he leaves and suddenly I'm like a boat with no moorings.  I often feel like I'm not sure what I should be doing.

I may actually be quite busy with work or meeting people or bible study or even getting stuff done around the house but it can feel like I have no accountability without him near.  It's really not a good feeling.

We are far from having a perfect marriage and can drive each other crazy.  You won't find two people wired more differently. 

I am just better with him.  More disciplined.  More careful.  More thoughtful.  His strengths are good for me.  ...Okay, so are his weaknesses.  I hate to think what I'd be like if I never had to put aside my personal preferences.  ('Princess' comes to mind.)  It's good to have someone in the same house to think about other than me. 

I need his perspective.  I like that I ask myself what he's thinking because he thinks UP.  His integrity is a good influence on me.  His desire to please God even in his motives is the iron that sharpens mine.

So I completely get the passage in Ecclesiastes 4...

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.  


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Sunshine?  'So what?' you might think.  But here in the Northwest we haven't seen a lot of it yet this year.  So we're really enjoying wearing sunglasses instead of raincoats and sipping iced latte's on the back patio.  So much of the nation has been hit hard with destructive weather - I pray for those affected (some devastated) by the tornadoes and flooding.

Aren't those sunflowers beautiful?  They were a Mother's Day surprise for me today from my oldest daughter.  Thank you Peanut!  I also got some wonderful cards that each made me feel so blessed to have the girls I do!  I sure missed having them home on Sunday. 

So instead of a big family meal, we had dinner here for Jeff's mom.  Jeff had been fishing with his good friend Dave, who caught this little minnow and shared it with us...

We enjoyed salmon, pasta salad, focaccia bread and these lemon tarts for dessert.

I remember my grandmother's lemon tarts - with homemade lemon curd, of course.  These were made with Tr*der Joe's lemon curd and the tart cups were made with store-bought sugar cookie dough.  So easy and so good!  It almost looks like an English tea dessert, doesn't it?  I think Pillsb*ry and Tr*der Joe came across on the Mayflower.

It feels like Spring is finally here.  Geraniums are in, nasturtiums are coming up, peas are leafing... tomatoes may be going in soon.  I still have to find something to wear to an important wedding in July and just a few things to do between now and then.  

But everything seems a bit rosier when the sun is shining, right?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lots of Gifts

Today I am so thankful for the three beautiful young women God gave to Jeff and I. 

Making a decision to have a child--it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
~Elizabeth Stone

Oh yes.  It's true. 

Here I am, before my heart left my body, standing with Jeff and his parents at 8 months pregnant with our first.  Apparently it was really cool to wear an awning when you were pregnant in 1986.

I had no idea what becoming a mother would mean.

Again with the stripes!  Here I think I was beginning to get an idea that I was in way over my head.  I remember thinking "I don't think I can do this!"  And so I started praying.  A lot.

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
~Abraham Lincoln

I prayed they would know how much we loved them.  I prayed they would learn to love God's word and depend on it.  I prayed they would like each other.  I prayed they would be wise, admit their own sin and be quick to ask for forgiveness.  I prayed they would survive my mistakes as a mother.

Now I pray all the time that my girls will increasingly know the love God has for them and the deep fulfillment of life lived for Him.  That they see what a liar the world is.  They are always on my mind, in my prayers...

They're three very unique and gifted women...

Creative, smart, loving.

Compassionate, kind, funny.

Generous, tender-hearted, strong.

Three amazing gifts.

"I asked the Lord to give me these children and He has granted my request. Now I am giving them to the Lord, and they will belong to the Lord their whole lives."  1 Sam. 1:27

Happy Mother's Day!

P.S.  This summer I'm getting a son!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Learned from my mom...

Coming up on my fifth Mother's Day without my mom, I am thinking about her often.  Wishing I could talk to her and tell her so many things.  Sigh.  It's another reminder to me to appreciate those we love while we have them near. 

I always loved my mom's hands.

There are many things I learned from my mom - mostly by example rather than words.  I've spent the last few days trying to make a list (in no particular order of importance) of some of these bits of her legacy to me.

* Always remember to lift the water tank lid on your coffee pot to let it dry out - it's a warm, damp potential-for-mold kind of spot.
* Friendships are made to treasure.  "Have a cup with me" is more than just a blog title - it's a recipe for friendship!

*An organized drawer makes you happy.

*Several prunes each day can also make you happy.  Keep them handy.

*Family first.

*Carry a band-aid, Shout wipe and gum with you at all times

*If you shake out your clothes when you take them out of the washing machine before you put them in the dryer, you'll have way less wrinkles.

*Serve quietly, behind the scenes where you're not likely to be acknowledged.

*If you have too many zucchini in your garden and you don't know how to get rid of them, fill a wheelbarrow, put on a pair of overalls and go door to door to the neighbors begging them to take a few.  Even though it's guaranteed to completely embarrass your children.

*Don't be afraid to try to learn something new, no matter your age. Mom bought and learned to play the banjo when I was in junior high.  Of course at the time, I was mortified that my mother was a hillbilly.  But now I think it's hysterical.  I'm trying to decide which instrument I should take up... fiddle?

*Hand-written letters in the mail - even if you only talk about the weather - are a wonderful way to stay in touch across the miles.

*Homemade is the best.  Especially when it comes to chocolate chip cookies.

*Do it now.  You'll be glad you didn't procrastinate.

*Pray.  About everything.

*Find the funny in as many situations as you can.

*Say 'I love you.'  Touch a face.  Squeeze a hand. 

Happy Mother's Day!
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