Thursday, October 27, 2011

For posterity's sake

Ben came home the other day and announced that he needed my computer
(which was in use) so he could do his homework.
I asked why he needed it, and he said he needed to use...


...the dictionary.

I told him I had good news.
I told him he wouldn't even have to wait
until I was done with the computer.
We have a dictionary with pages!

Speaking of news, new is a relative term, isn't it?


I mean, it was brand spanking new when I got it.


My mom had one from 1955 or something that I had used all through school.  
I'll admit right up front I thought that thing was ANCIENT.  
Pretty sure it belonged in the Smithsonian.


So it was nice to have a new dictionary of my own to take to college.  
Kind of.
I'm sure I would have been more excited about...well, cash.
But hey.  I didn't foresee that my kids would need it.  In 2011.


I also didn't foresee that they would not have to know 
how to locate a word on an actual page.

So for the sake of my children
and their children


I feel compelled to point out 
that when you use the paper kind of dictionary,
looking up words
(like book, for example)


...can turn into a rather fascinating and sometimes hilarious endeavor.
Especially if you have a middle school sense of humor.


But don't worry, guys.  
I won't buy you a dictionary
as your graduation present.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Moms in Touch Monday: The God of Hope

Moms In Touch Mondays
Join our group in prayer 
for our kids and their schools.

Learn more here.


I couldn't help noticing these colorful paint bottles when my daughter and her friend got them out to work on a project yesterday. Are they not just oozing with potential?  I had already known this verse was to be the focus of our Moms in Touch time today, and the brightness of this scene reminded me of it.  What's on the inside of us is exactly what flows out.

Today we praised God for being the God of hope.

Adoration:  We spent some time in 1Peter 1:3-9 as a springboard for our praise this morning.  

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

We praised him because
  • he has victory over death
  • as our Father he has secured an imperishable and eternal inheritance for us
  • he has character and faith-building purposes for all kinds of trials that we endure
  • he fills us with joy even in difficulty
  • our hope is not only for the future, but also for the here and now
Confession:  Before our prayer time we brainstormed antonyms for hope--despair, cynicism, fatalism, sense of lostness.  We asked God to show us where we are overflowing with any of these instead of hope, peace and joy.  We asked him to show us if we are looking to the world to offer us and our families hope that it can never (without God's intervention) successfully deliver--to government, to our schools, to corporations, material pursuits, other relationships.  We quietly confessed these things to him and asked him to help us allow him to fill us to overflowing with his hope.

Thanksgiving:  We thanked God for providing us with true hope, and for the power of his Spirit within us, filling us from the inside with hope.  We thanked him for answers to prayer and other ways he has cared for our families since we last met.

Supplication (requests):  We prayed Romans 12:12 for our kids, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  We prayed that they would have these types of attitudes, and especially that they would learn that they can have hope and joy in the very midst of affliction.  We prayed that they would see difficulties as an opportunity to go to God for the help they need, and that they would gain the maturity to recognize the value in character-building moments.  We prayed that their teachers, who are preparing for conferences, would overflow with hope for each child, and convey this to parents.  We prayed that God would draw teachers who encounter difficult situations with students who aren't succeeding to turn to him for help and wisdom and perspective in order to teach them effectively.

So what are you overflowing with?  May the God of hope fill YOU with all joy and peace this week as you trust in him, so that YOU may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jack Frost, 1. Me, .824. Game on.


I won't lie to you.
For some people photography is a creative pursuit. 
 For me it is a competitive pursuit.  
NOT against other photographers.  
Against nature.


One could find it a bit sacrilegious to battle against nature.
It's a little like fighting God, after all.


But the same God who created me competitive
is the one who invited Jacob to wrestle.
Why wouldn't he do the same for me?


Last February when I got my new camera
I immediately set out to photograph the perfect ice or snow crystal.


When I looked at my first set of photos, it occurred to me:  it's the lens.
You really need a macro lens for that.
BUT, having much experience with making the most
of what I have, I would not be defeated.


Today Jack Frost returned to start a new round of competition.


I have learned something very important since the last time we dueled.


I've read comments from a lot of photographers about looking for light
and shooting THAT.  See where it's playing, and putting my focus there.


This morning I noticed a lot of light exposing the frost.
I did not capture the perfect crystal.


But I captured a lot of beautiful light.
And I have a whole season of pursuit to look forward to.


Not bad, but not all that I'm after.  I truly love the contest.  
I sense God's delight as I attempt to capture the glory of his creation,
and get a great photo--
only to have to admit, I did not come close to doing it justice.
I will happily spend a lifetime trying.

Bring on the crystals.
I'm ready.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unless a kernel of wheat falls


Fall is so beautiful and full of activity...

but it has a way of bringing on a bit of melancholy.

Yesterday it was time to clean out the garden.


The yard waste container needed to be filled before the truck came, 
and the weather forecast is pretty certain that Jack Frost is on his way
bringing the inevitable barrenness.


Some of that has already come, anyway.


Most of what we put in the dumpster was looking pretty spent.



I look at those beautiful flowers in the yard waste, so proud and defiant, complaining that they don't belong there. They make me laugh, because they remind me of me.  Me on the inside. Wanting to be strong when God says his power is perfected in my weakness. Trying to figure out what it means to be older and maybe a little more vulnerable than the young and invincible me. Seeking my significance by wanting those around me to notice and tend to my needs. I suppose I could hang onto these beauties for another week and baby them just a little more, but they too would succumb to the frosty touch.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me."  John 12:24-26

Lord, help me follow you in such a way that wherever you are, I'll be there joining you in what you are doing. Rather than living my life with the purpose of pleasing myself, may I find the true satisfaction of trusting you. Only in letting go--abandoning myself to serve--can I find true honor.  Help me to let go.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Such a beautiful way to spend a sunny October day.  This gigantic corn maze welcomes visitors by the thousands every year.  This year's theme was outer space.  I love that they have maps for the kids to follow to find fun facts and clues.  Plus other fun activities like the corn cannon, pumpkin chucking and pig races.  I love even more that Bethany won tickets so that we could go for free.

Saturday, October 15, 2011



This is a yummy recipe.  I got it (well, except for several parts I made up) 
off of a package of Swiss cheese.  I have no choice 
but to post it so I can throw the package away.

You need:

400ºF oven
1 pie crust (my favorite recipe here)
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups fresh spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
6 eggs
3/4 cup milk (or half and half or cream)
4 slices cooked bacon broken into pieces
 (or 3 oz. chopped Canadian bacon, ham, whatever floats your boat)
2-3 green onions sliced


Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese into pie crust.  Top with spinach.  
(Leave an empty spot for any family members who won't eat spinach.  
Cleverly mark that piece with a special imprint on the pie crust.)

Beat eggs and milk together and pour into crust.  
(Note:  The recipe on the package called for four eggs,
 but I thought it turned out a little flat, 
so I added to the recipe for next time.)

Sprinkle remaining cheese, bacon and onions over the egg mixture.  
(I had mine in the bottom layer, but it would be prettier with them on top.
Or, you could do half on the bottom and top. Whatever mood you're in.)

Bake 15 minutes.  Cover edge of crust, and reduce heat to 350ºF.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until center is set and top is lightly browned.  
Let stand 10 min. before cutting to serve.


Voila!  Bon appetit!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moms In Touch Monday: His Kingdom is Established

Moms In Touch Mondays
Join our group in prayer 
for our kids and their schools.

Learn more here.


"The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all."
Psalm 103:19

This past week I was thinking about my son, who is brand new in middle school, and knows very few kids in his classes.  He was so well-established among his friends and teachers after six years at the elementary school.  Our whole family is well-established there.  And now he is in a place where he is just like any other kid that nobody knows, with a family nobody knows, starting from scratch to carve a niche for himself.

Then I was thinking about my daughter, who loves her friends, and who struggles with how to, well, "Make new friends, but keep the old...".  She is trying to establish herself as a friend to many, and sometimes finds herself at odds with the fact that not all of them are eager to be one happy family of friends.  She doesn't know how to deal with the dynamics, and sometimes it doesn't go well.

Really, don't we all spend a whole lot of time and mental and emotional energy trying to figure out how to establish ourselves and our family members in one setting or another?  I don't know about you, but the feelings of insecurity can leap to the surface for me at the speed of light when I think about it.

So today our group of Moms in Touch praised God for the fact that he is firmly established, and for the implications that has for us as his children.  I started by doing a keyword search using "establish" in the concordance at  The results were staggering to me because of the vast number of references to God's authority being firmly established, and also to so many of the aspects of the relationship he has established with mankind.  It was a very rich study, and I highly recommend a look at the link to see for yourself.

Adoration (praising God for who he is):  We praised God that...
  • His throne is established from eternity, and he has firmly established his creation (Psalm 93:1-2)
  • He has established his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 89:1-4)
  • He established the Old Covenant with the Hebrew people, to secure his relationship with them forever (Genesis 17:3-8)
  • He established the New Covenant for his people, the Church, through Jesus Christ, a superior covenant depending only on HIS faithfulness (Hebrews 8:6, 10)

Confession:  We confessed that we are often busy establishing our own little kingdoms for ourselves and our families, whether in our homes, in our schools, our churches, our neighborhoods, our sports, our work places.  During our silent time, we each asked him to show us where we might be doing this, and whether there is any area that we need to trust him to establish us and our children as HE sees fit.

Thanksgiving:  We thanked God for his answers to prayer, and for the truth that, "if anyone is (established) in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."  2 Corinthians 5:17-19  

Supplication:  We asked God to help our children be rooted and established in love (Ephesians 3:16-19), and be firmly established in their faith, finding hope and security through their identity in Christ (Colossians 1:23).  We also asked him to guide us wisely, and our kids through our example, to be more concerned with establishing his kingdom than our own, through that ministry of reconciliation.

We prayed that the staff members at our kids' schools would welcome God to establish relationships with them personally.  We prayed that they would take the time to establish rapport as well as authority among their students, enabling the students to feel well-established in a safe and caring learning environment.  

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us--
yes, establish the work of our hands."
Psalm 90:17

Monday, October 3, 2011

Moms In Touch Monday: God is eternal

Moms In Touch Mondays
Join our group in prayer 
for our kids and their schools.
Learn more here.


"The eternal God is your refuge, 
and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deuteronomy  33:27

This week at Moms In Touch we focused on the eternal nature of God, and the difference it makes as we consider life in relationship with him.


"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.
As for man, his days are like grass, 
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, 
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting 
the Lord's love is with those who fear him, 
and his righteousness with their children's children--
with those who keep his covenant 
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all."
Psalm 103:13-19

We praised God for the fact that he always has been, and always will be, that nothing happens without his full knowledge and nothing takes him by surprise.  We praised him for his constant presence, for his compassion for us in our time-bound nature, his faithfulness to every generation, and his ultimate authority.


"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting a way, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

We spent some silent time asking God to show us any areas where our focus is off--where we might be making too big a deal of things that don't matter so much.  Where we are thinking too much about what bugs us and missing the beauty in life.  We asked him to replace our shortsightedness with his eternal perspective.


We thanked God for his daily renewal, and for the fact that our troubles will actually somehow result in eternal glory.  We also thanked him for recent answers to prayers and his provision and blessings in our families' lives.  We thanked him for the teachers and staff members at their schools who have helped them through the transition into a new school year.


"Teach us to number our days aright, so we may gain a heart of wisdom."  Psalm 90:12

We prayed that God would give our children his perspective on their lives:  that they would know they were created for a purpose, that they were made for eternity.  We prayed that when things don't go right God would remind them it's not the end of the world.  We prayed that when they feel like they don't fit in that God would remind them of his complete acceptance and love. We prayed that they would seek things that bring lasting satisfaction rather than things that bring only momentary pleasure but leave them only wanting more. We also prayed that God would give their teachers wisdom in helping our kids understand what is truly important in life.

This week, may you sense God's eternal presence with you, going ahead of you to prepare the way, and walking each step with you, providing what you need.

Saturday, October 1, 2011



One of my favorite childrens' stories is about a little mouse and his friends getting ready for winter.  Of course they were busy gathering food and fluff to make their burrow ready, but not Frederick.  He was soaking in the sun, gathering warmth and color and ideas.


They were not too thrilled with him, finding his preparations all too impractical, but once their supplies had run out and they were losing hope, Frederick saved the day.


I love Frederick.  Today, for a little while I was Frederick.


Autumn is glorious, but it is bittersweet here.
The days are getting short, and winter, even with its beauty
will test our patience.


So today I gathered warmth



and color,



















and light.





Now these are colors


we will recognize
come winter.

I don't know if anyone else will benefit from my stash,
but I feel sure that I will.

Is there a book character that you identify with?