Friday, April 26, 2013

Praying for a generation of young women

Quick post...



If any of you 'older women' (aka 'past 30' in this case) would consider praying for a young woman in her 20's who is trying to follow Christ in the midst of some pretty tough opposition, please go to Beth's blog here.  There you can read about the really cool way she is linking up older and younger women by asking us to pick a girl from the list of comments to commit to pray for in the next 14 days.  

Many 20-somethings left prayer requests and there are still quite a few who don't have someone signed up to pray for them.  Maybe YOU are the one God would like to stand in the gap!  Scroll down to all the comments at the end of Beth's post to see where these girls have left their prayer requests. Then leave a comment letting her know you will be praying for her!

Here is the request on the Living Proof Ministries blog:

We were shocked and unprepared for that many of our 20-somethings requesting prayer.  We still have a sizable group left needing partners. (A good many of them beginning on page 13 to the end.)  If you would be so kind, reach out to some of your prayer warrior friends that usually aren’t in our community to come alongside these 20′s with us. We are so grateful. Your prayers matter.

I've been praying for my new friend for a couple days now and I'm so excited to know that our God answers prayer and that He is at work in her life in response!

And now, I'm off to see Beth in person!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Always something



thankful

I started a new ‘habit’ last summer and it’s been such a GOOD thing in my life.  It’s nothing new that hasn’t been done by lots of other people.  But it’s become a very important part of my day.  It’s based on this verse:

Rejoice in all the good things
the Lord your God has given
you and your household.
Deuteronomy 26:11

I asked myself if I really do tell God how thankful I am for all He does for me and my family.  Do I rejoice in all the good things He has given us?  Do I even stop to think what those good things are?

So I bought a little spiral notebook and every night when I get into bed, I write down five things I am thankful for.  Pretty simple, right?


I write down all kinds of things…

  • From His perspective on a tough relationship to finding a pair of sandals I wanted. 
  • From hearing His voice in making a decision to being present even when I can’t feel Him there. 
  • From helping me deal with physical pain to enjoying a cup of coffee with someone.
It’s given me the chance to look back over my day and discover the blessings and the gifts I might have missed if I just read my book and fell asleep.

It’s made me look for His purpose in things that were very hard. 

It helps me realize that God is at work even in my failures and that I can thank Him for doing something in me through them that needed to be done.

I am seeing God’s presence in my life in so many ways I would have missed.  There’s something about looking back over the day to find things to thank Him for that changes my perspective.

I want to have a grateful heart but I know it doesn’t just happen.  Being intentional in this simple thing has blessed me SO MUCH! 

I wish I had started doing this long ago.  Do you already end your day this way?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bittersweet {a re-post}

Maybe because it's good to remember there are seasons in life, I'm reposting this from 2010...



Not only is it a new month - and what I love to consider the start of Fall - but our nest emptied out once again today in that now yearly ritual of kids returning to college.  

Two cars loaded beyond what seemed to be their maximum capacity.

Two girls stocked up with school supplies and groceries.

Fluids and tire pressure ok?  Check.
Medical cards and AAA cards?  Yes Mom.
Chargers for every electronic device known to man?  Check.

Sigh. It is a bittersweet time.

But I've come to a peace about it.  I've decided it's really okay to enjoy when they're home and also enjoy when they're living life on their own.  I like both.  A lot, actually!

I love all the talking, cooking meals together, talking, card playing, movie watching, laughing together and talking.

I also love the quiet, not having to plan meals, talking, eating salads while watching the news with my husband, spur-of-the-moment outings and talking (quite often about our girls!). 

We've been laughing about something Lindsey said the other day... "I'm really looking forward to when my kids move out on their own."  The girl hasn't met her husband yet but she's ready to get some good time with him away from those crazy kids of theirs!  I'm hoping it's because she knows her dad and I enjoy being together so much.

It's a new season.  God gives us seasons.  If we hate to see one end, we also need to remember in the difficult times (and there are many) that it is a season too. 

One thing never changes... 

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow...  James 1:17

Maybe you're in a new season too and you need to know God is going to be faithful.

Maybe you like the season you're in and don't really want to let go of it.

Maybe it's a difficult season and you have to know that He hasn't turned away, leaving you in a shadow.

God is the constant.  He is our reference point. 
His plan for us covers every season, every changing circumstance.

I know it covers this empty nest, those two cars heading up to Seattle and my firstborn peanut as well. 
His eye is on the sparrow.


Bittersweet UPDATE:

We may or may not have had this for dinner:


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunshine!




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We’re getting some warm and sunny weather this week - 76° by Wednesday.  That’s downright summer-like!  Time to get that down comforter off the bed, I’m thinkin’. 

And my empty hanging baskets are calling my name. 

hang baskets

These will start out looking pretty homely but you can see the progression from last year in the pics above.  (These empty hanging baskets with holes are from Bloom Master and while they were initially a bit spendy, they are so pretty when they’re full of color!)

I have to be honest… I did succumb to the pull of the garden center but I scaled way back in buying geranium starts.  I think I only bought 16.  You knew all along I would get some, right?   

I’m excited to get to hear Beth Moore this coming weekend with my two best buddies and then we’ll do some shopping/eating out/talking and then some more talking.  Last time we were together we were at Karen’s cabin for two nights and we really only stopped talking to go to the bathroom.  I sure look forward to our weekends together!  If you don’t do a get-away with girl friends at least once a year, consider yourself challenged to plan one.  If you can’t find anyone to go with, call me and I’ll go with you!

Guess what?  After entering The Pioneer Woman’s giveaway for a cookbook, I saw my name on the winner’s list!  Do you enter her giveaways?  Often it’s for things like a Kitchen Aid mixer or a Nikon camera.  It’s not at all unusual for over 25,000 people to enter one giveaway.  Can you imagine how shocked I was to see my name?  I never win anything!  So I contacted PW’s prize person and was told it was a different ‘Becky B’ who won. 
So that was embarrassing.  I guess I really don’t ever win anything. 

In other earth-shattering news, we helped my dear mother-in-law with some email issues yesterday.  She calls us whenever something goes wrong with her computer and it is so much fun to hear her describe what the problem is. 
“My little man isn’t showing up when I click the email.  He’s gone!” 
“The picture of the letter used to be right here but now it’s not.” 
“I don’t know what I did but after I fiddled around with the paperclip thing everything disappeared.”
“On my bill it said everything would be faster but I can’t make anything work since they changed it.”
We got it solved and she’s back to sending those email forwards that bring her so much happiness.  Oh, and playing Solitaire.  Just don’t ask her to do anything else!

I saw that yawn… okay that’s all the breaking news I have for today.  I’d better get outside!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

One small thing



Last week we were searching for something good to watch on Netflix.  Now there's a mind-numbing activity!  We have found a few TV series that we’ve really enjoyed (Call the Midwife - my favorite, Foyle’s War, Poirot, The Murdoch Mysteries) but many many more that we tried watching but quickly decided weren’t for us. I really just stumbled onto the movie I want to tell you about here.

Sometimes those turn out to be the very best!


nnvg244091-f

A Small Act is an Emmy award-winning documentary.  It’s the story of how one woman’s $15/month changed the life of one boy in Kenya and, eventually, a growing group of school children who are getting the opportunity for an education that would have otherwise been an impossibility. 

What I loved about this story was the humble little woman who thought she ought to do something - even if she was only able to do a small something - to help children across the world. 

I loved the young man’s gratitude that led him to pay it forward to other children in his same shoes.

I loved the way we got to share in the lives of these desperate families.  The weight of responsibility that the children carry is unimaginable.

I loved the friendship that has developed between two unlikely people - a Jewish holocaust survivor living in Sweden and a Harvard-educated Kenyan man working at the United Nations.

untitled-small-act-doc2_-16x9

See this movie.  I think you'll love it too.  Then find your small act.




Thursday, April 18, 2013

But honestly



I appreciate bloggers who keep it real.  Any time you put your thoughts/photos/experience out on the www for the whole world to see, it’s tempting to try to appear like you have it together/are super creative/make fabulous meals/do hilarious things.  I’m sure that I’m guilty because let’s be honest… who doesn’t want people to like them?

But it’s past due for us (and I’m really referring to the Church in general and myself in specific) to quit pretending we don’t struggle.  I heard a wonderful message last night by a woman who is dealing with her strong, active husband’s diagnosis of ALS (read her blog here).  Where did we ever get the idea that following Christ means happiness, success and health?  Real life in Christ is about God meeting us in the pain and the struggle – and showing us His presence, His enabling, His peace in the midst.  It’s about how He can use the hard things to bring something beautiful only He could come up with.

Today I’m sharing some posts that keep it real…

cones
Cones & Holes
@shaungroves.com
”This is for anyone who struggles with the tension between law and grace. I sure do.”


Keeping it real in Marriage...
Done: For days when marriage feels impossibly hard
@thestanleyclan
”A string of days and weeks that lead into months have brought us here. Knotted in an endless loop of too many dishes undone, promises broken, words flung from mouths in fits of anger, and too few graces. His eyes speak hurt and mine mirror, flashing with warring emotions of wounded and I-don’t-even-care.”


Keeping it real in Parenting...
Mama
@whatever
"God loves my kids. (and your kids.)  He isn't going to leave me alone is raising them.  He doesn't get mad when i fail.  He doesn't laugh at me when i make mistakes."

You’re Not A Prop
@bring the rain
”I think social media has changed the face of parenting. If we call it anything other than a game-changer, we’re lying to ourselves.”



And on a lighter note:

enhanced-buzz-1290-1353342105-36
17 Pinterest Fails
@buzzfeed.com
”You know that feeling you get when you've successfully completed a Pinterest project? Yeah, me neither.”
(Is that not the BEST photo ever?)


These have been prominent on Facebook and everyone's blogs too but they also reveal what we really know about ourselves if we are honest:







Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Found some treasures



I am slowly going through our basement, gathering stuff that belonged to my parents to donate to S. Army/sell/keep.  Guess which piles are the biggest?

This will probably be a long process because
1) I don’t have a deadline to get it done
2) it’s overwhelming
3) there is so much stuff
4) it’s overwhelming

When we moved here, we had recently moved my dad into a retirement apartment, leaving most everything my parents owned still in the house.  60 years worth of everything.  I’ve thought of my mom so often as I’ve gone through cupboards and boxes… she wasn’t a saver but my dad insisted they keep everything because “it was perfectly good”.  So now I am sorting through things like this:

20130326_135901_resized
Do you remember watching for the water in the percolator to change from clear to dark?  No filters, though, so you usually had some grounds at the bottom of your cup.  Love this burnt orange model from the early 70’s!

20130326_135932_resized
I texted this photo to my brother because he’s the only other person who would remember the camping trips we took this on, dispensing watery lemonade from the edge of the picnic table.


IMG_7340
Along with the hair dryer with the blow-up cap, we had this beauty – one of the first hand-held models… with Jet Design! 


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There were boxes and boxes of old appliances, toys and my mom’s significant basket collection (including one shaped like a crab that I didn’t take a picture of). 

junk
An antique shop vac with attachments, old fan covers, Christmas decorations (don’t worry – I kept the good ones) and lots of books.

Then I found a box I hadn’t known was in the cupboard. It was full of sheet music – some of mine, some of my mom’s and some of my mom’s mom. 

Romeo & Juliet
I took piano lessons for about four years and this was one of my favorite movies so I had to have the sheet music (along with Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head and Tie A Yellow Ribbon).  I doubt I could actually play this with anything but one or two fingers but this full of such teenaged angst - it was a tear-jerker of a movie.

These were just a few of the ones my mom had.  I never heard her play these but I wish I had!

Bess You Is My Woman
Dill Pickles
The Freckle Song
Have you heard this song? 
She's got freckles on her but she is nice
And when she's in my arms it's paradise
All the sailors give her a chase
'Cause they love her navel base
She's got freckles on her but she is nice

Shortnin' Bread

Most of the sheet music was purchased by my mom during her 20’s and was from the popular radio hits of the late 40’s.

Easter Parade

But some of it was from her childhood when she took lessons.  Here is one of those, from 1939.  Mom was 12.

1939

Then comes the reeeeeally old stuff that my grandmother used.

Home Fires,jpg

Cecelia Fitzpatrick – Sept. 28, 1918. 

Home Fires2,jpg

Gramma was 15 years old then.  I still recognize her handwriting!

I know some of you who know about my unsentimental ways are assuming that I gave away everything but I did keep all of the sheet music and quite a few personal items than mean a lot to me.  I am a purger but I’m not completely heartless

We had the S. Army come to the house to pick up a huge load and we are making trips to the local drop site with additional things we’re finding.  It’s humbling to have the guy who unloads your car of a whole pile of old stuff that I am just glad to be rid of say, “Thank you… and God bless you!”  

This cost me nothing.  And I can’t picture anyone actually using most of it.  But then again, maybe someone with very muscular arms needs a working hairdryer!

IMG_7342

.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Call me GaGa


Surely one of life’s happiest moments is when you find out you’re going to be a grandparent for the first time.   

Yep, it’s true.  Ray and Lisa are expecting a baby.  The due date is Sept. 4th. 

“Shock and awe” wouldn’t be too strong a descriptor.  Shock because after all, they are just children themselves!  Awe because it is mind-blowing to imagine holding my own grandbaby!

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Source:  stock.xchng

We’ve known for a while but I am suddenly noticing women my age in Costco who are obviously taking care of their grandbabies.  Their goofy baby talk and smitten expressions make complete sense!  Yesterday, a grandma and grandpa had a toddler in the cart and had come to a dead stop in the middle of the freeway aisle to ooh and aah over the fact that little Bella had eaten all of the Cheerios in her snack cup.  A few months ago this might have bugged me - “Really?  Don’t you see the hold-up you’re causing?”  But now… adorable!  I wanted to give them all a hug!

So I may be spending time looking at baby items online and I may have a board on Pinterest dedicated to baby stuff and I may have even peeked at the list of top nicknames for grandparents.  Did you know that on that list (with categories including ‘international’, ‘fun’ and ‘trendy’ nicknames for grandma) I can choose from MoMo, Mamey and MeMom? 

Anyway, I wanted to share my wonderful news and let you know I’m open to any and all advice on grandparenting.

BeBop and I couldn’t be more excited!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To do at home


First, thanks to everybody who left a comment on this post the other day – I trust the problem is fixed!  ‘Unknown’ received a lot of money to post his comments.  Not really.  But he should have.

I am almost completely recovered from a really ugly head cold.  I told you how Zicam has been a miracle-worker for me but I’m afraid I thought my early symptoms were allergy-related so I didn’t take my zinc.  Bad decision. 

Anyway, after three days of sneezing, gushing nose, itching eyes and sinus pressure I think I’m on the other side.  I still feel like I’m in a hollow container but I know my ears will eventually unplug.

I have a nice, long list of things to do at work including helping my husband get ready to go back to Ethiopia with Mark, our missions director.  Jeff only goes for 3 or 4 weeks at a time but Mark will be gone 4 whole months!  I cannot imagine not having my husband at home for that long.  I know Liane is grateful for family at home with her but it’s not easy!  I’m already trying to imagine a whole month without my best friend.


On my list of things to do at home are:
  • Make a map of our yard so I remember where things are planted.  We moved a rhododendron early this year and now I see that I have peonies popping up right next to the shrub.  This wouldn’t have happened if I had kept track of where I planted what.  I can see now where I’d like to plant some tulips for next year but in the fall, I won’t remember unless I make a map.
  • Plant perennials instead of so many annuals this spring. Try to avoid the annual sale of geranium starts at Freddies – 60¢ each.  Wish me luck because I will be drawn to the garden center like a magnet this week.
  • Make a video record of everything in the house (can you tell I know someone who lost their home and everything in it in a devastating house fire?).  Doing this will seem incredibly materialistic – filming my wood, hay and stubble.  But I don’t think I’ll regret doing it.
  • Scan all our family photos (same reason as above).  This item has been on the list so long it’s turning yellow, just like some of the pictures.  It’s overwhelming to me so I just need to start.
  • Spend some time to slowly read Richard Foster’s book ‘Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home’.  It is not a book to fly through – after all, he quotes people like Julian of Norwich and Thomas à Kempis.  I’d like to try to apply what I’m reading (what a novel idea!).

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

No Comment


I just read something about blogging that made me hang my head in shame:

“A post without comments is like that abandoned house down the end of your street… creepy and not to be trusted.” 

Well. 

Most all of my posts don’t have comments.  I don’t know why that is – it could be lack of anything to comment about.  It could be my blog readers are like me and read lots of blogs but comment on very few.  (People like us are called ‘lurkers’ in blog jargon.)   Or it might be they can’t leave a comment and I didn’t realize it.

This morning one of my old buddies and faithful blog readers (thanks Nancy!) sent me an email to tell me she’s tried to leave a comment here but can’t. 


cry_woman

So frustrating!  I could be hearing back from all six of you but for some reason Blogger isn’t cooperating.  So I did a little research and found a change I can make in my settings (changing my comment form option from ‘pop-up window’ to the ‘full page’ option).  I don’t know if this will solve it but it’s worth a try!

Several people also suggested that often the problem lies with the comment user’s computer: 
1) using an old version of their browser 
2) using security software that’s blocking/deleting cookies needed to store their login 
3) user has disabled the use of 3rd party cookies or
4) things like pop-up and other blockers are installed.

I don’t think it should be up to the person who wants to leave a comment to have to delve into their settings to do that but perhaps at least being sure you have the latest version of your internet browser will help you in lots of others ways as you use the internet.  I recommend Google Chrome because it’s the fastest and most secure browser out there right now - much better than Internet Explorer in my experience.  Even Mac users like it!

But let’s see if my settings adjustment solves this.  Would you help me out by leaving a comment?  Pretty please? 

Maybe, just maybe, 'Have A Cup' doesn't have to be an old, abandoned house after all!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On my nightstand



earrings
Sparkly Green Earrings
by Melanie Shankle
I’ve read Melanie’s blog (Big Mama) for several years so of course I had to read her first book as soon as it came out.  It’s a very funny look at parenthood.  Now I’m waiting for Sophie’s book (BooMama) to come out!


Mike
Mrs. Mike
by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

This is a novel set in the Canadian wilderness.  It’s a love story about an Irish girl from Boston who goes to live with her uncle and falls in love with a Canadian Mounted policeman.  Not my kind of story.  I’m trying to stick with it but may not make it through.


safety
Crossing to Safety
by Wallace Stegner
This is a novel chronicling the friendship of two couples, from early marriage through careers, children, illness and aging.  An interesting story – it was a bit sad to me.


galaxy
My Galaxy SIII
by Steve Schwartz
How’s that for a nerdy selection?  But I hate the thought of my phone being able to do tons of things that I have no idea about.  So now I know how to take a screen shot by swiping the side of my hand across the screen or how to sync my calendars.  I still don’t know how to share something with my husband by clicking our phones together though.  I need to look that up.


I think I’ve said before that I start reading quite a lot of books (checking them out at the library) but don’t finish most of them. I’ve learned that so many books that others like I just don’t. Plus I am trying to be more selective. Reading is something I can get lost in and I‘ve been convicted about ‘Whatever is good, lovely, admirable…’ in this area of my life. For some it might be movies or music.  For me, it’s books.  It’s a little victory for me to say ‘no’ and put a book down when I know it’s not a good one for me to read. 

That said, I absolutely LOVE a well-written story to get caught up in.  I'm always on the hunt!

On my reserve list at the library:
When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer
The Light Between Oceans
Damascus Countdown
Trusting God in a Twisted World

How about you?  Read any good books lately?  Please share in a comment!
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