Monday, June 18, 2007

Lessons from my (neighbor's) garden: Appreciation

It never hurts to TELL your neighbor how good she is at something. In this case, roses. (You never know when a vase full of them might show up on your kitchen counter!) :-) Gifts appreciated are more eagerly shared.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Summertime is magical. Granted, it affords extra time for sibling squabbles, but overall it is so good to let them relax and reconnect with each other. It gives me a chance to enjoy my truly favorite pastime: kidwatching. It's amazing to see what they do when given nothing but time. Make newspaper hats. Organize shells while eating popsicles. Pretend to be tigers. Have races with stuffed animals and a deck of cards. Drink out of the sprinkler. Sit on the end of the driveway (read TEST BOUNDARIES) in a wheelbarrow at sunset, waving to the cars that go by. Thank God for time to be kids...and more to the point, thank God for kids!

Stay tuned...the summer is young.

(Originally posted on Tracy's Scrapbook)

God's Tattoos

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." Isaiah 49:16

I came across this verse recently, spoken by the Lord to his people. It occurred to me that you can't "un-engrave" something. It's permanent. And to engrave something on your hands, that would be a tattoo. Now it just so happens that my kids LOVE their tattoos. In fact, I have to admit, they don't wash their hands very well when they have them. After a few days, they just look like they have dirty hands. But they are still loving the memory.

Can't you just imagine God's hands? It's one thing to think of our names being written in the Lamb's book of life, but another thing entirely to picture them engraved on the palms of his hands. Hmmm...right beside the scars.

Now each time the kids put a tattoo on their hands, I remember that I'm God's tattoo. It makes me grin from ear to he loves us!

Friday, June 8, 2007

School's out!

Summer vacation has arrived. This morning at about 8:00 the kids started playing "Risk". Mac and cheese for lunch, playing outside with far so good! The kids have had an AWESOME year at school, with fantastic teachers (who let me volunteer a lot!) and really great friends. We are so blessed, and looking forward to more. But for now, let the games begin!

Oh, by the way, Ben's face still had the remaining face paint from yesterday's school picnic--he was painted as a tiger. Surprise, surprise!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Lessons from my garden: Expectations

It happens every year. I forget what plants I had the year before that should be coming back. And then one appears that I hadn't expected, and I get so excited. Once in awhile, it really is an annual turned perennial. (Bethany has a huge dianthus like that in her container.) I love it when that happens! But if you have any experience in gardening, you know what I'm about to say--it's usually a weed. This year I thought a verbena had come back in one of my containers. It's this gorgeous green plant, complete with scalloped edges, just like a verbena. But the other day I was in a greenhouse, and noticed that those scalloped edges on the verbena leaves really didn't look like mine, and they were much smaller and more delicate. And not in threes. Duped again. So the next morning I went out to take one more look and think about getting it out of there, when WHOA! Here were these gorgeous raindrops painted exquisitely on the tips of those scallops--not at all what I had expected! What a wonderful surprise.

Expectations. You know, our whole attitude towards life really boils down to how we manage our expectations. We are big on teaching our kids that, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) But it is sometimes hard to model. We easily fall into "discontentment thinking". "I can only be happy if..." or "I am not happy because..." or "I should have had..."-- that sort of thing. Weeds in our garden of thoughts, if you will. A recipe for a great loss.

When we find ourselves out of sorts, it's pretty easy to sort out by asking, "What was I expecting?" Often we expect people to meet our expectations, and they don't. But was it a reasonable expectation? Did I communicate the expectation? Did the other person "sign up" to meet it ? And sometimes our circumstances fall in place such that some time or money or other resource or anticipated event we expected to have doesn't materialize. Some of our choices are no longer available. And then one choice remains: will we choose contentment, or discontentment?

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:20-21

What are you expecting?

P.S. The faux verbena is history. But there is one just like it in Benjamin's container. I'm leaving it right there to see what it becomes. And to see if it collects any more raindrops.