Friday, April 30, 2010

dearly beloved, we interrupt this marriage . . .

hans and i are participating in a bible study that is focusing on
fortifying our marriages.  we are working our way through john
and staci eldredge's love & war, which is four parts silly to one
part helpful.  fortunately, the one part has redeemed the rest.

the most helpful suggestions have been to work at keeping some
excitement and a shared sense of purpose in our marriages.  they
have really encouraged us, also, to be vigilant in maintaining good
communication and to be willing to fight for our relationship.

none of this is new information, but we all thought that we should
be able to coast by now.  ha ha!  who ever said that after 30 years
of marriage, we can just recline, put our feet up, and treat each
other with careless disregard?

a healthy, vibrant marriage, like every other force, is subject to the
exponential law of decay.  it  requires loving care and diligent
maintenance to keep the tiny fissures in the dam from widening
and causing a flood of problems.

one thing the eldredges haven't talked about is the life-giving source
of laughter.  i'm convinced that our capacity to laugh together is just
as important our capacity to do . . .  other things.  :)


"love is kind, does not delight in evil,  . . . and is not self-seeking."
1 corinthians 13

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the last child

when was the last time you opened the first page of a book and stepped
onto a roller coaster?

well, it had been too long for me, but john hart's thriller, the last child,
took me for a ride i will not soon forget.

"johnny merrimon was thirteen when his twin sister disappeared.  now,
one year later, she is presumed dead.  his mother is devastated,  his dad
gone, and his life will never be the same.  but johnny has a map, a bike,
and a plan.  he's going to find his sister. . . " (back cover)

this kid is so brave and loyal, he even has the police turning a blind eye
to his underage driving and house breaking.  not only is his story gripping,
with many twists and turns, but it is also laden with raw emotion and
lovely prose.

"when they came . . . into the abandoned fields, the sky opened above
them: high, lonely stars and a trace of moon behind tissue clouds."  i
needed to use those clouds a couple of times to blow my nose.

as a disclaimer, the story is very pg-13 because of strong language and
some gory details.  it seems to support an anti-Christian theme, but things
are not all they appear to be.  unlike many novels that are littered with
unnecessary characters, this one has a purpose for each one.

enjoy the ride,

"be strong and very courageous." (like johnny)  joshua 1:7

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

time savers

when i was homeschooling my five little rugrats, i was always
looking for time saving tools.

the easiest one was to dress them in t-shirts and soft cotton shorts
after their evening baths.  when they awoke the next morning, they
were already dressed and there was not an additional load of night
clothes to wash.

the next idea exacted a toll on the front end but paid a healthy
dividend throughout the month.  i planned my meals by the
month.  it sounds difficult, but after a couple of practice months,
it became a snap.

as you might imagine, the hardest part was the grocery shopping.
one of my friends recently told me that she will never forget the
time she saw me at the check out counter with five kids and two
completely full grocery carts.  we must have looked like an act
from the circus.  i have no doubt that juggling was involved.

after a week of cooking, hans treated me to a date every friday
or saturday evening.  the kids stayed home with pizza, a movie,
and a sitter, while we enjoyed each other's company at a quiet
restaurant with a fine bottle of wine.

"for the worker is worthy of his wages."  luke 10:7


Sunday, April 25, 2010

drugs in rental cars

hans and i were being treated to a sumptuous four course feast at an
extraordinarily beautiful home.  as i took a bite of the delicious veal
saltimbocca, my seating partner recounted a very funny statistic.

he said that once a month rental cars are returned with all sorts of
illicit drugs.  crazy.  what kind of foolish person would be so careless
to forget the contraband?

the story gets better.  apparently, rental car companies are required
to notify the authorities each time.  the police then has the company
call the offender to say that he has left behind valuable property.

do you see where this is going?  i almost choked on the tender breast of
carolina quail.  every single time, the ignorant drug user/leaver returns
to see what he left behind and gets his behind put behind padded doors.

speaking of padding, i enjoyed every delectable bite of my chocolate


"a companion of fools suffers harm."  proverbs 13:20

Friday, April 23, 2010

You Never Let Go - song by Matt Redman

sometimes life is so hard that we don't think we can cope.  this
song reminds me that even if i want to let go, He never does.


ronda roush studios

one of the most precious gifts shelby received before her wedding
was created by my incredibly talented friend, ronda.  she has been
designing and painting limoge china for years and has her treasures
requested by boone pickens, governor's wives, and sororities on
gazillions of campuses.

you can view her gorgeous designs on her web page, ronda roush

after studying shelby's exquisite bernardaud 'au jardin' pattern and
the accompanying adorable anne weatherley polka dot design, ronda
created a china tea set with her new initial to match.  hailey took
these lovely photos, as i am photographically challenged.

ronda is such a treasure!  in addition to her painting and designing
skills, she is also an accomplished pianist and composer, whose
tremendous desire to worship blesses our church every sunday.

sometimes she accompanies me, and we have a blast, though we have
a small hurdle to jump.  she has practically lost all her hearing, and i
have a terrible sense of time, which makes us musically challenged. 
please pray for her, because very soon she is having an experimental
procedure to restore her hearing!  there is no hope for me.  :(

although she creates the most beautiful things, she is really cherished
because she always "displays the incorruptible beauty of  a gentle and
quiet spirit."  1 peter 3:4


Thursday, April 22, 2010

the ten acre wood

hans loves anything of a generational nature and shares moving
messages about fathers passing along blessings to their children,
who then extend them to their own children.

it is no wonder that we built a house on the property that his
grandfather purchased about ninety years ago.  it was then
considered to be farmland, because it was so far south of town.

now, we enjoy ten lovely wooded acres, an oasis in the center
of a thriving, bustling metropolis.  incredible.

our children played in the same spring fed lagoon from which
their great grandfather fished.  their grandfather confangled a
pulley system to the tallest trees from which his five sons flew
and jumped into the water.

thirty four years ago, their own father asked me to marry him
on the pretty little bridge that crosses the lagoon.  he made me
step off the bridge before he put the sparkler on my finger for
fear that we might drop it into the inky abyss.

our little ones liked to call it the 'love bridge.'

i think i'm going to cry.


"for the Lord is good and His love endure forever; His faithfulness
through all generations."  psalm 100:5

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

max lucado

while visiting our son max yesterday, he told us a funny story.
apparently max lucado spoke at his university's chapel and did
such a fine job that our max went forward to thank him.

"hey mr. lucado, awesome message!  i wanted to tell you that
when i was in the fourth grade, i played punchinello from the
book you wrote.  also, i thought you should know that i took
your daughter to a date party last semester.  oh,  and my name
is max, too."

max, the father of the daughter, the author of punchinello, and
the speaker of the chapel, patted the long-winded max on the
back and said, "i like you, young man."

i told max it would have been pretty fun if he could have said,
"well, sir, i like your daughter."  he really needs me to write
his scripts.


"a man who has friends, must show himself friendly."
proverbs 18:24

tag: you're it!

whenever i return from visiting our son max, i am always blue, so i am
grateful to rita for cheering me up with a generous honor.  rita is a sweet
italian lady, who works as a personal assistant to a c. e. o. but dreams
of owning a 'petit french salon'.

i am amazed at the treasures she finds at flea markets.  if i am ever
coerced (bribed) to go to one, i only see other people's old stuff.  she,
however discovers antique silver tea spoons and fine china tea cups.

now, to my defense, she lives in italy, and i live in . . . can't tell you
that, but it ain't italy!

there are rules involved in this tagging scheme:  i am supposed to tell
you ten things about me and then tag ten other blogs that i enjoy.  it
would short circuit my synapses to think of ten remotely interesting
details of my life.

in fact, i wouldn't inflict that on my worst enemy, but i wish i had
thought of it when raising my teenagers.  imagine the effectiveness
of this threat:  "if you are not home by midnight, i am going to sit
you down and tell you TEN things about me!"

here are ten of my favorite blogs in alphabetical order.  (that could be
a scintillating fact, "i can alphabetize.")   i did not include personal
family blogs that might not want the outside attention.

a cottage in the woods

a haven for vee

a scrapbook of inspiration

beth priest

bits and pieces

burnbrae journal

count it all joy

heavenly humor

hospitable pursuits

single and sane

the backs of my eyelids

ha ha!  interesting fact #2:  "i can't count, that's eleven blogs!"

if you have been tagged, you are completely released from following
ANY of the tagging rules.  i checked with the king and queen of

"abraham believed God, and God counted it as righteousness."
romans 4:3


Sunday, April 18, 2010


i wanted to pursue this subject a wee bit longer, because i read some
interesting comments that made me think, ouch.  vee aptly said that we
are liminoids, but in my case it should probably be liminerd.

in stating that once a mom, always a mom, i should have clarified
that the role drastically changes, hence the liminal nature of it.  zuzu
quoted, "mothers hold their children's hands for a while but their
hearts forever."  my mother in law says, "from the womb to the tomb."

it is like a plane flight.  in the beginning, i need to make most of the
decisions.  only i know where i want to go, when i need to be there,
and what airline i am inclined to choose.  once i board that plane,
however, most of my choices are drastically limited.

i have to sit in the seat indicated on my ticket, put on my seatbelt, and
lift or lower the chair back only when ordered.  i cannot make the plane
take off, stay in the air, or land when i choose.  i have to breathe lethal
air, and i may not disembark (disembark???) until given permission.

can you tell how much i HATE to fly?

hans and i made all the decisions at first, but gradually let the kids make
more of them as they matured.  now that they are mostly adults, our role
is to give counsel only when asked, frequent encouragement, and rare
admonition.  mostly, though we just pray, night and day, or all night and
all day.  we are progressing, but only liminally.

thankfully, "His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect
is our weakness."  2 corinthians 12:7


Saturday, April 17, 2010

"help, i need somebody! help, just anybody!"

dear emily,

now that you are so happily anticipating the arrival of precious baby
#5, i want to beg you to consider the possibility of getting some help.

isaac's sophomore year in high school included two basketball teams,
many honors classes, along with loads of school and church activities.
shelby, who was a freshman, enjoyed the pom squad,  even more
honors courses, and every school and church activity.

max, sunday, and hailey (6th, 5th, and 4th grades) were involved in
basketball, cheerleading, ballet,  missions trips, church, etc.

i was in way over my head, couldn't physically transport everyone to
their various activities, prepare healthy meals,  help with honors chem,
pre-ap trig, honors english, science projects,  and then attend all the
basketball games, etc.

enter the calvary in the form of the loveliest, most intelligent, well
rounded young lady, named aubrey!  she was a sophomore at one of
our local universities, and she saved my life by chauffeuring, tutoring,
shooting baskets, giving fashion advice, making the most adorable
valentines, and doing anything legal that i needed.

to say that we adore her is an understatement, and last week, to our
delight, we were able to visit her in germany to see her adorable baby
girls and handsome husband.  while enjoying a yummy german meal,
she exclaimed, "can you believe it was nine years ago i sat in your
kitchen wondering what in the world i had gotten myself into?"

can i remember each anesthesiologist who administered the epidural
before my babies' births?  oh yeah.


"bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law
of Christ."  galatians 6:2

Friday, April 16, 2010

theory of liminality

shelby took a literature class that studied the theory of liminality,
and her description of it transfixed me.  arnold van gennep, a french
anthropologist in this past century, asserted that there is a threshold
between neither "here nor there" that we pass through.

intuitively, i understood it in the many stages of parenting, and it was
an 'eureka' moment.  in this life,  i will never arrive at that ceremony
in which medals are rewarded for gold, silver, and bronze in mothering.
on this side of the grave, i will always just be transitioning from one
stage of mom to another.

how bizarre is that?  and how many times have we heard that our job
is over once we get them through high school?  what a lot of bologna!

girls, and by girls, i mean wimpy, pathetic ME, we will be parenting
until we take our last breath.

hailey remarked in amazement when one of her very young friends
had her baby, "oh my gosh, mom, she is going to be a mom for the
rest of her life!"  yep.

does it sound like i am complaining?  i hope not, because i love my
children more than life itself.  sometimes, though, i get overwhelmed
by the enormity and the consequences of my choices as a mom.

thankfully, i have a Father "who knows the number of hairs on their
head and has engraved them in the palm of His hand." (luke 12:7 and
isaiah 49:16)  He has walked with us through many valleys, over vast
mountain peaks, along green pastures, under might ocean waves, up
rocky roads, on terrifying plane trips through turbulent weather . . .
(sorry, got a little carried away)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

april in paris

dear emily,

we just returned from a magical week in europe!  april in paris was the 
highlight, and we saved the eiffel tower for the last night to sear into our 
minds the gorgeous city of lights.  it was the lovely bells ringing through
out the city, though, that captured my heart.

we tried not to plan too much into each day to allow for some sponta-
neity, and truthfully, some of my favorite moments were accidents.  in 
trying to find the jewish district, we stumbled upon the magnificent
notre dame!  

our beloved uncle mat, who lived in paris for a few years,  graciously 
spent hours guiding shelby to the best shops, hotels, restaurants, and local 
bakeries.  i lost count of how many macarons i enjoyed from laduree but 
do know i tried vanilla, caramel, pistachio, chocolate, and raspberry. 

it is impossible to say what our favorite restaurant was, but chez georges
will always be a sweet memory, delighting us with everything from fois 
gras to chautaubriand.  if we hadn't walked miles and miles each day, we 
would have gained ten pounds!

we spent an entire day at the d'orsay and the louvre but could have
revisited each day for a month and not seen all the exquisite art.  hans
wanted to see normandy, and i wanted to see versailles, but that truly
was the dilemma.  so many exquisite places . . . so little time!  guess we
will just have to go back for another visit.  :)


"for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be the
glory forever!"  romans 11: 36

Monday, April 5, 2010

wisteria lane

wisteria is blooming around our fair city like a glorious floral fashion
show.  each stem is heavy with clusters of lavender grapes, whose
intoxicating scent is turning the heads of busy bees . . .  both species.

hans knows a man who divorced his wife because he couldn't stand
her scent.  i had never thought of such a humiliation!  what did he put
on the divorce papers?  irreconcilable smells?

there is no disguising one's breath after eating raw onions or the awful
aroma in the kitchen after cooking broccoli.  a pumpkin pie baking in
the oven, on the other hand, is heavenly.

my girls smell like cotton candy, but my boys are more like wet puppies.

i suspect my individual scent is influenced by many things, but my hope
is that, "i will be the aroma of Christ."  2 corinthians 2:15


Saturday, April 3, 2010

i have never doubted what i believe.  many find it terribly difficult
to trust or yield to something they can't see or touch, and i respect
that, but to me He is as the air i breathe.  i can't see, smell, or feel 
it, but i  know it's there.
that's how simply i believe God's plan for His creation.  He sent 
His Son to earth in the form of a baby, and  i am convinced that 
baby grew into a Man, respected and reviled, who preached the 
kingdom of God.

once He had offended the appropriate people, they crucified Him.  
imagine their surprise when He didn't "stay."

after He arose, He was seen by 500 people according to
st. paul in 1 corinthians.

He is risen!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

mr. z

in our fair city there is a kind and generous 93 year old man,
named mr. z.  he has donated millions of his hard earned dollars
to our impoverished school districts, hospitals, mental health
facilities, and libraries.

my father in law, who is 87, has lunch with him at 11:30 every
wednesday at snow fork restaurant.  their lifelong friendship is
based on mutual respect and affection.  

"well,  mr. z., what are you having today?"

"i'll just have whatever you're having."

and then they will share a steak sandwich.  something about
the contentment in their tradition melts my heart.  the next bit
of conversation goes like this:

"well, mr. z., the kids at the local elementary school need a
new gym floor.  should we help them out?"

"i'll just match whatever you give."

my father in law is a committed Christian, and mr. z. is a
devout jew, but that has never hindered this sweet friendship
one dash.   the disparate countries of the world could learn a
thing or two from these wise men.

yesterday, i was greeted at my front door with a gorgeous
easter lily.  mr. z. sends one every year.

i hope our children catch the spirit of their generosity.


"honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all
your crops . . . " proverbs 3:9