Monday, July 30, 2012

Forties Top 40, #5-3


#5: Completion of our church building.

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A substantial chunk of my forties was marked by my participation on the leadership team


of our "Faith Builders" project.


It was such a privilege to be a part of the team
that was able to see the project to completion.

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#4:  Foundation Sunday.
(All about that here.)

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This was the highlight for me.
It was the day everyone came with a verse (or two)
that they thought would serve as a good foundation for our church's future.





I loved that my kids each chose two.  It still gives me goosebumps.


#3:  The pastor who shepherded us through these years.

And by pastor, I mean couple.

Stan and Jan came just days before Benjamin was born.  They treasured, TREASURED our kids, giving them more than a decade of warm welcome into life in our church family.  They understood how parenting can bring you to your knees.  Often.  And Stan would more often than not be found right down on his knees too--getting down to their level and learning what made them tick.  Amazing for a guy who schedules his days down to the minute.  I never looked to see if he scheduled in face-to-face time with the kids, but he always managed to find it.  We will have another pastor to shepherd us through the teenage years, I suppose.  But now that we are dealing with Stan's call to move on, we realize that we have never before had to part with a pastoral couple who were our peers, our true friends.  It is hard--but it is a good kind of hard when it leaves room for the activity of God to do a new thing for all involved.  Also?  They will remain our life-long friends.   I'm thanking God today for the gift of more than a decade with this precious couple.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Forties Top 40, #6


#6:  Stability


During my forties
we have lived in one house.


In my thirties I lived in six places
and in my twenties, ten.


I have lived in this place long enough to watch the cleome come back.
To know that if you are patient and look around the garden, 
you might find a flower that has its next ring of petals springing open
right this minute.


This man has sat across from me at the table
(on this particular day, proud of the beautiful plate he has arranged)
with the same silly boy beside him
the whole time.


When it is Sunday afternoon, and the calendar says
we are free for the rest of that day


we know exactly where to look for a relaxing diversion.


Several somewheres like that,


all within a hop, a skip and a jump.


(Or a really quick car ride.)


The rhythm of this life,


both predictable and changing





has been a balm to me.


"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.
Great is Your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Forties Top 40, #7


 #7:  Thoughts provoked.

If you would have told me ten years ago, with babies in tow, having just ended my fifteen year career, that the decade ahead would perhaps be the most intellectually stimulating yet, I might have laughed at you.  Openly.

Because really, what were the chances of that?  I was right there with my little ones waiting for Blue's next clue, hoping I could beat Steve (and later Joe) to the punch of what Blue wanted to do.

Little did I know my forties would be a decade filled with opportunity to study the Bible with other believers, and to be challenged to dig diligently into scripture to deepen and refine my faith. Several years back I wrote a post describing this process this way:  "There is this theological side of me that is under construction right now.  I am very serious about this transformation, and for the first time in many years I have the time to take stock of how it is going.  Are my beliefs well-informed, and have they grown up with me?"  It seems more important than ever now, because in just a few years we will launch our children into a world that will demand that their beliefs and their knowledge mesh with one another in an intellectually honest faith.  I want to make sure I model a faith that stands under scrutiny.


There are many authors and teachers I have enjoyed over these years, including some excellent teachers in my local church.  Getting involved in groups where I have had to come prepared week after week has helped immensely, and is further rewarded by the opportunity to learn from those beside me.  I am especially indebted to Beth Moore, whose studies have left me breathless many times as she illuminates the connections between Old and New Testaments and the covenant relationship they represent between God and his people.  Sometimes you just don't realize how hungry you are until you sit down at a feast. I am deeply grateful for the sense of having been satisfied, and also the sense that God has much, much more in store for the years ahead.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2

Friday, July 20, 2012

Forties Top 40, #10-8


#10:  Summer II.


The part of the summer where we can stay home
and get some things (or nothing) done.
Because we're finished with summer band, flute lessons, VBS, 
baseball clinic, softball, drama camp, and swimming lessons (x2).
Well, there's still a little baseball and Friday night softball left.  But hey.


In prior decades I was always in school, and it was Summer I that I loved.
Summer II meant getting ready to go back.
But not anymore!


#9:  Cheap entertainment.

Because sometimes we want things to do. 
There is seriously so much free stuff around here.
My whole blog is a testament to that.  Spoiled is what we are.


This week?  Indoors at the library with the soaring temps outside.


#8:  People.


OK, so people aren't really a new thing in my 40's.
Specifically, it's seeing people through the eyes
of a mom with impressionable children.


People are so amazing.


Bill the Juggler
(known to many kids as their third grade teacher)
was really working the young crowd.
Telling them how he learned with books from the library.
Telling them how hard it is and you have to work for it
and you won't get it the first time.
And probably not the fiftieth either.
But you have to keep trying.


His audience was appreciative.


Same thing with Dazzling Dave,
the National Yo-Yo Master.


He said, "It's not a trick unless it's spinning!"


And "Parents, PLEASE don't give your 3 year old a yo-yo from the dollar store
and let them swing it around and think they're yo-yoing.
They're not, and they know it, and they will think they can't yo-yo."
Also?  "If you got it free or it cost you less than $5, it's not a real yo-yo."
He showed us how the real ones are made and why they work.
It's so sad my oldest missed that message.  He didn't want to go because
"It will just make me feel bad to watch it because it's something I'm not good at."
In a world that offers a lot of cheap counterfeits for good, old-fashioned, hard work,
I'm so thankful for the many, many people we have encountered in numerous settings
who have made beauty that we can enjoy out of their own patient endurance.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Forties Top 40, #11


#11:  Going up to the lake.


I'm not sure if it's just a Minnesota thing, 
but here in the summer people go up to the lake.
Even if it's south of home.
Usually it's not.


They even shorten it with "Goin' up."
"Ya goin' up this weekend?"
"Ya, you betcha."


We've been blessed with generous friends
who share their cabin with numerous people every summer
and wish there were enough weekends for more.
We're spoiled, to say the least.


I love the rhythm of days at the cabin.


Gorgeous sunrises and loon calls reward the early riser.


Then time to play in the water.


Maybe swim off the pontoon.



Or go canoeing.


Dinner on the grill or fire.



Topped off with s'mores.





Inside for cards.


Or movies.


Or board games.
Whatever floats your boat.


And repeat.
It's always hard to come home.