Friday, December 31, 2010

lower case letters

dear emily,

after re-reading the grammar rules for capitalization, i realized
that i  have never explained my reason for breaking them.

it's childlike, and i have been chastised for it but will continue to
use only lower case letters for my simple thoughts.  i like the idea
of saving the upper case ones for the One who deserves them,
because this allows me to show Him honor in a 'big' and 'small'

one of my favorite lines is  from harry wormwood to his young
daughter, matilda. "listen you little wise acre, i'm smart; you're
dumb.  i'm big; you're little.  i'm right; you're wrong, and there's
nothing you can do about it."

 google image

it's hilarious, because he is actually the dumb, little, and wrong
one.   i want to be the polar opposite of harry wormwood and
by writing in lower case letters, i have an opportunity to show
what i think about myself.

the Lord is omniscient;  i'm not very smart.  He's BIG;  i'm little.
He's just and true in all His ways; i'm frequently wrong, but there
are many things i can do about that.


"praise our God, all you servants, you who fear Him, both small
and great."  revelation 19:5

Monday, December 27, 2010

paths to take

dear emily,

as i was strolling in the soft, deep sand by the ocean, my calves
began to shout in protest.  it was much easier to turn around and
step into my footprints than to forge on.

unfortunately, attempting to match my own steps took a surprising
amount of concentration.  i was no longer waving at the adorable
babies along the shore or counting the boats on the horizon.  so  i
let my feet resume their aimless wandering,  once again enjoying
the blissful breezes and lapping waves but ignoring my calves.

life is a bit like that.  we decide which path to take, who to
notice, and what to ignore.

i want my children to venture down many enriching and exciting
shores.  some will take the road less traveled, which might be
lonely or dangerous.  others will choose more conventional paths,
that will, at times, be monotonous, but each will have the thrill of
deciding for himself.

my choice will be to love them, pray for them, and welcome them
home.  my comfort will be that "He leads them beside still waters."
psalm 23:2


Sunday, December 19, 2010

home for Christmas

dear emily,

i'm not certain barrett jones will be home for Christmas, but am
happy to say that he has contacted his family and seems to be ok.
thank you for your continued prayers for his family as they sort it
all out.

life is complicated, messy, and painful . . . but so much better than
the alternative, as mark twain used to say.

my favorite early Christmas present is the photo you sent of your
precious #2 and tiny baby bird.  i could hold her for  the rest of
my life and never get my fill.

i'm signing off until after the holidays, because i want to be fully
invested in all the happy moments.   merry Christmas and may
your new year be full of peace and plenty.  (i stole that from
father tim.)


"the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who
came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  john 1:14

Thursday, December 16, 2010

dear emily

i have the family's permission to release a picture and the name
of the precious young man who has been missing for over a
week now.

barrett jones

i could always count on barrett to speak to me very respectfully
and look straight into my eyes.   he traveled with my son on
mission trips and played basketball with him for four years.  the
faculty from his high school selected barrett to be their favorite
student of the year.

this is a special young man, and his lovely parents' hearts are

yesterday, a missing baylor student called his family from a
church in arizona.   my prayer is that today, barrett will call
his family, too.

"to this i will appeal:

the years of the right hand of the Most High.
i will remember the deeds of the Lord;

yes, i will remember Your miracles of long ago.

i will meditate on all Your works and consider
all Your mighty deeds."  psalm 77: 11, 12

your prayers and your generous kindness are such a gift,

Monday, December 13, 2010

o come, all ye faithful!

your faithful prayers and precious words of encouragement have
been such a gift.   it is difficult to express to those who do not
blog that there is such love here.

we have not heard anything from my friend's son, but it appears
that he is 'away' on his own volition.   our prayers are for his
safety and his swift return.

did any of us EVER imagine, when our babies were so sweet
and stayed where we lay them, that someday they would lay
us on our faces?

no one has drawn me to come as "all ye faithful," not always
joyful and triumphant, but "to adore Him" than my children.
thankfully, He "always leads us in triumph in Christ."
(2 corinthians 2:14)


Friday, December 10, 2010

urgent prayer request

dear ones,

it is with such a heavy heart that i request your anointed prayers.
the son of one of my closest friends has been missing for almost
three days.  we are beside ourselves with worry and heartache.

if you would pray for his safe return and leave a word of comfort
for his sweet mom, i would be so thankful.

"suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.
does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country to go after
the lost sheep until he finds it?  and when he finds it, he joyfully
puts it on his shoulders and goes home.

then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'rejoice
with me; i have found my lost sheep.'  i tell you that in the same
way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who
repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not
need to repent."  luke 15:4-7


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

to hear the angels sing

one of the roles i cherish as a mother is the one of rescuer.   we
can't always help our little ones, but when we can, it just doesn't
get any better than than that . . .

"well, "  she said cheerily one afternoon to david, her eight year
old, and two of his friends, "what Christmas songs are you
learning this year?"

looking down at his feet, david answered sadly, "teacher says
we can't sing good enough.  she's only going to let the kids sing
who can carry a tune."

inwardly she broke in a mother's rage.  "so that's what she says,
does she?"

she drew in a deep breath, "well how'd you like to practice your
song with me?  what song is your class to sing?"

"it came upon the midnight clear!",  all three boys, speaking at
once.  she played and sang the first two lines, and they opened
their mouths and sang out lustily.

at the end of the phrase, david's mother stopped abruptly;  her
feelings about the teacher made a right-about turn.

she lifted her head and smiled.  "i tell you what, the way, really,
to learn a tune is just one note after another.  i'll play just the
two first notes on the piano--'it came'--."  full of good will, the
little boys sang with her.

she stopped.  breathed hard.  "i think we better take it one note
at a time."

during the weeks before Christmas, the mother invented games to
teach the boys to hear whether a note was higher or lower,  'up
hill and down hill.'  little by little the boys began to sing the same
notes that she played.

when all three boys sang, "the world in solemn stillness lay-- to
hear the angels sing . . ." with the rest of the class, the mother
enjoyed the soul satisfying pleasure of a sweet reward.

walking home on a cloudless, still night, david lifted his face
towards the stars.  "it's so still." he said in a hushed voice, a
voice she had never heard before.

"all those stars, they shine so bright.  but, they don't make a

then he looked into his mother's face, "do you remember in the
song, 'the world in solemn stillness lay'?"

the starlight showed his clear, honest, little boy eyes wide and
fixed on his mother's, and in them she saw a miracle --- of an
awakening soul.

he had not known that he had an inner sanctuary.  now he stood
in it, awe-struck at his first sight of beauty, and opened the door
to his mother.

"i thought i heard them singing--sort of," he whispered.

(adapted from "the night the stars sang" by dorothy canfield

merry Christmas,

"and suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the
heavenly host, praising God and saying, 'glory to God in the
highest and peace to men on whom His favor rests."
luke 2:14

Sunday, December 5, 2010

what child is this?

dear emily,

how can a mother sing the song, "what child is this?" without
weeping?  we've held our own precious little ones on our laps
and laid them to rest countless times.  to think that mary did
the same with the King of kings bears reflection.

He was heralded by angels but was laid in a manger, and mary
treasured these things in her heart.  no place is it recorded that
she said, "what?  my Son, the Messiah, must have the finest
room in the inn.  don't you know who He is?"

could she see the glory of the Lord on His tiny countenance
as He lay there?

simeon did "and took Him in his arms and praised God saying:
 . . . for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have
prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the
gentiles and for glory to your people israel."  (luke 2:28-32)

and then he said to mary, " . . . and a sword will pierce your
own soul, too."  (luke 2:35)  truer words were never spoken.
when my children were misjudged or treated unfairly it killed
me.  i wanted to strike out and protect them.

she seems to have been submitted to His destiny; "whither thou
goest, i will go . . ." as another handmaiden had said years
before. (ruth 1:16, 17)

i fear that, as a protestant, i have robbed mary her due.  she
was not perfect and even admonished by her Son a couple of
times as He grew in stature before God and man, but she had
qualities i would love to see in myself:


"this, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and
angels sing; haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the
Son of mary."


Thursday, December 2, 2010

o little town of bethlehem

dear emily,

we have a winner of the smallest tree contest . . . the tiny candy
cane goes to margaret for not only entering the contest  but for
doing it with such gusto!  she even wrote a post on her pithy
blog, single and sane.

why did i have this silly idea?   my heart must  have been
pondering the wonder of God's value of humility, smallness.

He "chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised . . .
so that no one may boast before Him." 1 corinthians 1:27, 28

He honored young, humble, and virgin mary, a descendant of
the great king david, to bear His Son, the King of kings.   her

"my soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my
Savior, for He has been mindful of my lowly state . . .He has
brought down rulers . . but has lifted up the humble."
luke 1:46-52

and when the time came for the baby to be born, she gave
birth to her firstborn, a Son.  she wrapped Him in cloths and
placed Him in a manger, for there was no room for them in
the inn.

and where was that inn?

in the little town of bethlehem.  "and you, bethlehem, though
you are small . . . out of you will come . . . the ruler over
israel, whose origins are from ancient times."  micah 5:2

"the hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight."

merry Christmas,

check out the inspirational blogs at spiritual sundays

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the smallest tree

i confess that i started this duel by asking vee if her tree was
really only three feet tall.  she has to admit, though, that she
escalated the battle by revealing her beautiful tree which IS
three feet.

as i passed my kitchen island, i started snickering, because my
tree is only 22 inches tall!

so, i am challenging bloggers everywhere, even in the remote
country of texas, to "the smallest tree" contest.  all you have to
do is post a picture of your tiny tree, give its height, and leave
me a comment, so i will know to verify your tall tale.

the winner of the smallest tree will receive an itty, bitty candy
cane to grace your teeny shrub.

merry Christmas,

"take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle
and humble of heart."  matthew 11:29

Sunday, November 28, 2010

this little light of mine...

dear emily,

don't you love "charlie brown's Christmas?"  charlie is moping
around for the true meaning of Christmas, and linus sums it up
quite nicely.

"there were shepherds abiding in the field . . ."

can you imagine a contemporary cartoon referring to the angel's
visitation of the shepherds?  it makes me very sad that children
have so few encounters with 'the babe' in our world.  the light
has grown very dim here.

that's why i'm so grateful to the hobby lobby and mardel stores
for purchasing an advertisement that still warms my heart.

john 1 says "the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has
not understood it."  we can make our homes illuminators to our
children's hearts by loving them, reading the scriptures to them,
and telling stories of His wonder in our lives.

psalm 104 says, "He wraps Himself in light as with a garment." i
would love to wrap that garment around my children and protect
them from all darkness.

...i'm gonna let it shine,

ps.  go to pj's to see some amazing lights!

Friday, November 26, 2010


i'm a coward, and that's why my heart is so stirred by heroism.
one of my favorite movies, "missing" with cate blanchett and 
tommy lee jones, is chock full of it.  

after her daughter is kidnapped by a depraved man and his gang 
of unmerry men, a desperate mother is forced to beg her 
estranged father for help.  the picture earns its "R" rating in a 
dozen ways but none of them can keep me from loving the 
timeless tale of courage,  devotion, and reconciliation.

when the indian grandfather is left for dead in the desert, he asks 
a hawk to guide him home.  does that seem silly?  

bruce olson, the motilone missionary, tells a story of being 
kidnapped and dragged into a south american jungle.   when he 
felt the most despair, God sent a bird to sing to him the entire 

in the final scene of "missing", the mother fiercely yells at the 
wicked men, "fuera!", which means "leave!" . . .or, "satan, i 
rebuke you in the name of Jesus!"  :)

you will have to watch the movie yourself to see if they do.


"even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for 
herself, where she may have her young--a place near Your altar."  
psalm 84:3

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

make a joyful noise!

my friend, lana from honeysuckle lane, has asked me to do a
guest post at her blog.  i know, what was she thinking?  she is
an incredibly talented artist, and i can't even draw a straight

would you, please, hop over there and say, "hello?"

happy thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

monday's mentoring mommy moment

dear emily,

it is terribly presumptuous of me to give you a thanksgiving craft
idea, since you are the master, but i couldn't resist.  these cards
are just so darn cute!

here's the link.

we also used to read every thanksgiving book i could get my
hands on.  here are a few you will love.

"squanto and the miracle of thanksgiving" by eric metaxas
"thanksgiving, a time to remember" by barbara rainey
"an old fashioned thanksgiving" by louisa may alcott

some great scriptures to memorize as we prepare our hearts for
thanksgiving are psalm 31:19, 95:1-6, and of course, psalm 100.
it's always an encouragement for mom and dad to tell what we
are thankful for, especially our precious children.  if the kids
want to  pipe in, that's even better.

many families forego their own meal to help serve dinner at the
homeless shelter.  i can't imagine anything to make a child's
thanksgiving richer or his heart more grateful than to help those
less fortunate.

i hope some of my friends will leave comments, because they
always have such wonderful ideas.

thankfully yours,

"how great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for
those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in You." psalm 31:19

Friday, November 19, 2010

hear no evil, speak no evil

when my son max was three or four and up to some orneriness, he
would say, "mommy, don't see me."

what a great illustration of how we try to hide our own ugliness.
unfortunately, "there is nothing concealed that will not be dis-
closed, or hidden that will not be made known.  what you have
said in the dark will be heard in the daylight and what you have
heard in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops."
(luke 12:2,3)

not exactly a refrigerator verse.  more of a rooftop one.

a true indicator of the state of our hearts is how we speak to our
husbands and children when no one else is listening . . . how
we talk about our friends when they aren't around . . . and how
we treat the least in the kingdom (the dog!)

Lord, have mercy!

i'm linking to spiritual sundays.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

headache at walmart

my daughter, shelby, gets fussy at me for spending so much money
at my neighborhood grocery store.  "mom, that chicken costs twice
as much as at walmart."  i know, but walmart's garish flourescent
lighting, the hard floors, loud noises, and crowds of people are
such an assault.

google image

monday, however, i mustered my courage to make the thanksgiving
supply run at the local walmart.  shelby would have been so proud
of my great attitude.  "this will be fun.  there will be so many good
deals, etc."

but, 20 steps into the store and i felt like everyone was yelling at
me, the lights hurt my eyes, i couldn't find the stuffing, and my
head was pounding.  i frowned looked at a sweet elderly man,
who said, "well, it's our church singer.  yvonne would be so glad
to see you!  she just thinks you're . . ."

i immediately thought of sonja's post on the dangers of putting
Christian bumper stickers on our cars.  people expect us to act like
Christians, if our cars are saved.  :)  well, the same is true of
sunday singers.  people expect us to be as cheerful on monday,
even at walmart.

speaking of cars, when i approached mine, i saw that the front left
tire had been shredded.

are you kidding me?


"let your gentleness be evident to all.  the Lord is near."  philippians 4:5

Sunday, November 14, 2010

crumbs from the table

when my children were quite young, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, i took
them to hear a famous preacher.  it was important to me that they
be exposed to as many of the Lord's treasures as possible.

unfortunately, upon arrival we were told that the chapel seats
were reserved for the college students.

"we will stand in back, then, and enjoy the crumbs from the

brazilian pastries

the preaching was inspiring, exhilarating really, and we hardly
noticed that we didn't have seats, when the man of God looked
back and said,

"are those children standing in the back?"

my heart dropped, because i thought we were going to be cast
out of the auditorium.  my little ones looked up at me with big

"bring them up here so that i may lay hands on them and  pray
for them."

brazilian prosciutto and cheese wheel

our crumbs turned into a feast.


"let the little children come to Me, and do nothing to hinder
them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
matthew 19:14

Friday, November 12, 2010

trials to glory

after an entire day of tears and pressing into the Lord with my
heartache, i felt like i had been to church.  i almost told someone,
"at church today . . ." but remembered i hadn't actually been in
the building.  why did it feel as if i had?  i think it is because
when we suffer and lean into Him, we feel very near to Him.

jp recently posted an inspiring quote from anne lamott at her
witty blog, seens from the back of my eyelids, which holds an
answer  to my question.  "when God is going to do something
wonderful, He always starts with a hardship; when God is going
to do something amazing, He start with an impossibility."

one of my heroes of the faith, richard wurmbrand, supplies his
perspective.  he was tortured in a communist prison during the
cold war for his faith.  after he was released from prison, he
frequently referred to those days of glory.


"in our darkest hours of torture, the Son of Man came to us,
making the prison walls shine like diamonds and filling the
cells with light."

that surpasses any church service i have attended, but oh, the
cost.  please pray for our brothers and sisters of the faith who
are being persecuted today from azerbaijan to yemen.


"then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to
death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me."
matthew 24:9

i'm linking to spiritual sundays!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

gifts from holland, canada, and texas!

when i returned from brazil, i had an intriguing package all the
way from holland!  sweet saskia sent me a lovely pink necklace
to commemorate breast cancer awareness month.  she also added
precious tiny ribbons and fun stickers.

what she doesn't know is that i have a small collection of delft
from the netherlands.  thank you, saskia!  i hope everyone will
visit her gorgeous blog, join my joy.

yesterday, another package arrived from canada!  i can't describe
how my life has been enriched by this lovely lady.  she has taught
me to see with eyes bent to beauty and to  express the Lord's love
with gracious sensitivity.  her gift is not only a generous gesture
but an expression of love, because  she sent me a treasure that
reminded her of me.

thank you, dear rosie!  you couldn't know that i have the absolute
twin bird roosting beneath the lamp in my powder bath.  i hope
everyone will visit your exquisite blog, roses and rutabagas, which
delights with every visit.

and believe it or not, i have also received another wonderful
gift all the way from the exotic country of texas!  my dear
friend, janette, from janette's sage, has enhanced my life with
her wisdom, inspiring stories, loving comments, . . . and a
spectacular handmade pillow!

when i told her it looked perfect in my kitchen, she said, "i'm not
sure what you will do with it in there."  :)

so i wanted her to know it also looks pretty in my family room!

well, it would if my family room wasn't on its side.


"if you then . . . know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask Him!"  luke 11:13

Monday, November 8, 2010

monday's mommy mentoring moment

dear emily,

i have a sweet younger friend, uncanny colleen, who has written
a precious letter to her five year old son.  how much will he
cherish an entire letter all about him?  i could imagine her reading
this to him at his rehearsal dinner in 20 years, even though he still
thinks he is going to  marry his mommy.

this reminded me that hans' dad wrote him a letter everyday of his
freshman year at college.  those sweet notes of encouragement are
bundled up next to the ones my grandma had written me.  if we
treasure them so, why don't we write more of them ourselves?

i now realize that my email encouragements to our five children
cannot replace a hand written letter.  a beautiful sheet of paper can
be taped to the bathroom mirror or cradled between the pages of
their bible.  emails are too easily deleted and forgotten.

when shelby was seven, we chuckled at a note she wrote hans in
her careful cursive.

"dear pappy,

we are so proud of the way
you  have led us through.


last Christmas, 17 years later,  she hand stitched it onto fabric on
which she had sewn perfectly straight lines to look like notebook


"simon peter, a servant and messenger of Jesus Christ, sends
this letter to  those who have been given a faith as valuable as
yours, in the righteousness of our God . . ." 2 peter 1:1

Thursday, November 4, 2010

autumn with adam and eve

as hans and i strolled beneath glorious autumn leaves, we crunched
the fallen crimson and yellow ones under our feet.   i love these
walks, because we talk about so many interesting subjects,  and
not always our children.  :)

this day we were discussing adam and eve.   hans maintained that
when God asked adam, "where are you?", he might not have been
referring to his location but to the state of his heart.  he might as
well have asked, "who are you now?"

adam replied, "i heard you in the garden, and i was afraid because
i was naked; so i hid."

"who told you that you were naked?"  their nakedness had never
been an issue before their disobedience, and hans wondered if
things might have gone better for them had adam answered, "we
disobeyed and were hiding because we felt ashamed."

instead he revealed that he considered himself unveiled and no
longer covered by God's good favor.  he also demonstrated his
fear of God just like the servant who "knew" Him as the hard
master and hid his talent.  (matthew 25:25)

moreover, adam seemed to consider himself "out", which, of
course, is exactly what the serpent intended.  one strike, and
you're out?


ps.  i am linking to joyce's at "i love pretty things"
      and to ginger and charlotte's at "spiritual sundays."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

a pink bunny

my friend barbie was having her early morning devotions, when
she noticed her three year old granddaughter.  barbie invited her
to come pray with her, and the precious little one said she wanted
to ask God for a pink bunny just like her big sister's.

once they had finished praying, barbie said that they needed to
be still and listen if God had anything to say back to them.   after
a few seconds, her granddaughter tugged on her sleeve.

"He said, 'yes.' "

oh, to have the faith of a little one.


"therefore, whoever welcomes one such child in my name
welcomes me."  matthew 18:4

Monday, November 1, 2010

paul, barnabas, and timothy

dear emily,

i am going to try to harness myself to writing a weekly post
for young moms, "monday's mentoring mommy moment."
how's that for an alliteration?  it's my prayer that other older
moms will also chime in with their two cents  and bless your
socks off.

hans says that everyone needs a paul, barnabas, and timothy
in their life.

the view from my brazilian room
paul is that older, wiser one who has something to teach us.  i
lean on many older women who have set a fine example for me
to "love my husband and  children, to be self-controlled and
pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, etc." (titus 2:4)  they
encourage me, pray for me, and give me great advice.

barnabas is the friend who is basically in the same boat and has
children the same age.  my 'barnabases' have been my best
friends for over twenty years.  their kids call me by my first
name, and i hope their grandkids will too!  these are the ones i
complain to when hans has to go out of town again,  i blow it
with the kids, or i want to strangle a teacher.   

last, but not least, is timothy.  it's so sweet to have a younger
woman to pass along the privilege of raising children and a
husband.  :)  she will force us to really examine ourselves and
our relationships, which is good for us.  how can we tell an over
worked young thing to do something that we have never done?

you, sweet emily, are sandwiched in between me and my girls.
how precious is that?  we are paul, barnabas, and timothy.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

all saints' day

i have never been a big fan of halloween.  when our children were little, we 
bought lots of treats and had a movie night.  i know, it probably sounds like 
cruel and unusual punishment to not let them go trick or treating, but i just
couldn't feel great about sending them out on  a night dedicated to ghouls 
and goblins.  especially, when i believed in them.

brazilian hibiscus
it never bothered me that other people wanted to celebrate this holiday, since 
that wasn't my business, but it sure upset everybody else that i didn't want to 
participate.  sheesh, you would have thought i was abusing my kids!

it seemed better to celebrate something positive on the following day, all
saints' day.  not as thrilling, of course, to the average 10 year old but still
inspiring.  we talked about those who laid down their lives for the sake of
the cross or their loved ones.  we read stories about paul and silas in prison
or stephen, peter, and john.

corrie ten boom and john wesley were heroes and saints worthy of our
remembrance and remember them we did!  

we also had a dress up trunk that the kids repeatedly dipped into for dress
up at all other times of the year.  you might say they tricked and treated
for a different reason most days of the year.


"the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly."  john 10:10

Thursday, October 28, 2010

on our way to the beach

our trip to the beach was like a dream.  it is not possible to adequately describe
the verdant jungle covered mountains, skirted by clouds and mist.

we passed so many thousands of containers at port santos, the  largest
port in south america,  it looked like a container graveyard.  each of the
containers was large enough to store a small house.  in fact, some of the
shacks along the road were much smaller than the containers.

the beauty of the jungle juxtapositioned with the extreme poverty was troubling.
these poor people have to pay the most outrageous prices for basic necessities,
which i will share about more another time.   please pray for them.

i was also disconcerted by the animals.  "their cows look so strange."

"mom, those are yaks."  whatever.

then, we turned a corner and saw the ocean.

the sand was so soft and compact that bikes and vendors abounded.

competing with the grandeur of the ocean were the extraordinary, exotic
flowers.  i didn't know that orchids could grow from the trunks of coconut
trees in a symbiotic fashion.

it all still seems like a dream.


"when the Lord restored the fortunes of zion, we were like those
who dream."  psalm 126:1

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


well, after a week in brazil, the only word i know is "obrigada" . . ."thank
you!"  it expresses what is in my heart to hans for taking me to see our
daughter, hailey, and to the Lord for watching over her.

it's difficult to find the words for the relief i felt at seeing her contentment
and pride in her adopted country.  she was so excited to show us their
lovely home, the precious children she cares for, and the language school
she is attending.

after a gigantic feast at a brazilian churrascaria (steak house), i thought i
could never eat meat again.  we spent our first evening enjoying the warm
early summer breeze from their back porch, listening to the strange wail of
an "X-files" bug and the songs of the parrots above us.

when it started to sprinkle, hailey jumped up to gather in the wash from
the clothes line.  yes, they hang out the laundry, because electricity is so
expensive.  that is something i have never done.  then, we loaded up her
bag and kidnapped her for four glorious days at the beach, which i will
share about in a few days.

"obrigada" to all who visited hailey's blog and left such sweet encourage-
ments for her.


"thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"  2 corinthians 9:15

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ouch! watch what you say to me!!

dear emily,

i approached target, and a wave of grief washed over me.  as i began
sinking under it,  i heard myself say,

"silly woman, what in the world is wrong with you?"

"well, i always come to target with the girls, and i just miss them so

"uh huh, and do you remember why you are here?"  i can be so

"just picking up some things to take to hailey."  i muttered.

"i'm sorry, what did you say?"

"picking up some things to take to hailey, sir!"

"exactly.  you should be rejoicing.  now stop feeling sorry for yourself."


so i feasted on one of target's delicious all beef hot dogs, barely able to
finish it and remembered wishing i could have another just six weeks
ago.  another reason to rejoice.  :)

it made me think about how important it is to encourage my self-talk
every now and then.  "there is a time to weep but also a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance." (ecclesiastes 3:4)  my emotions
get so mixed up that i have to speak to them, too.

yikes!  i'm starting to sound schizophrenic.

i'm going to take a blog break, but it would thrill hailey, who blogs
about her brazilian experiences, if you hopped over there to say,
"hello! or ciao!" in portuguese.   well, really it would just thrill me.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

waitin' for the car wash

when our son max was only three or so, i took him with me to drive through
the car wash, thinking he would get a kick out of the giant scrubbers, multi-
colored rubber strips, and soapy water.

wrong.  it terrified him.  i guess he thought it was attacking us, which is totally
understandable, since he always knew the fourth of july fireworks were aimed
straight at us.  don't even get me started about the circus or the rodeo!

but, i digress from the car wash.  hans has been doing an informal survey and
maintains most women will wait until the car in front pulls completely out
before we enter.  we, apparently don't understand that the wash is set to dry
the first car while foaming the second car.   uh huh.

before he could further explain the brilliant engineering of automatic car washes,
i interrupted.  "i have noticed that most men will practically push my car out
while it's still my turn."

reminds me of little boys who can't wait their turn for the water fountain.  :)


"i am waiting for the Lord, my soul is waiting for Him, and my hope is in
His word."  psalm130:5

Monday, October 11, 2010

health and fitness

dear emily,

a couple of weeks ago, i attempted to share my fitness regime and ended
up talking about cheesecake instead.  this post, however is as serious
as a heart attack.

one month ago, i made a sober self, size, and well being assessment.  i
was still heartbroken at my last child hopping out of the nest all the way
to brazil and tending to my heart with a huge scoop of vanilla haagen
dazs and chocolate syrup every night.

as i stepped away from my calorie laden addiction, i made a firm commit-
ment to myself:
  • no more ice cream fiestas after dinner
  • as many fruits and vegetables as i can stand
  • low carb for dinner
  • drastically smaller portions but every 3-4 hours during the day
  • lots of exercise, weight training, and water 
    at first, it was very uncomfortable.  i made myself stop eating even when
    i still wanted "more, please."  but, amazingly, just one month later i am
    enjoying satisfying and nutritious meals but am no longer able to eat 
    large portions.  my stomach now tells me, "no more, please." 

    i am also adjusting to my new life with hans, which includes bike rides,
    long walks, travel, and very soon a trip to brazil to see our sweet daughter!  

    and yes, my jeans fit quite comfortably again.  no way, i'm telling  the size!


    "on this mountain the Lord will prepare a feast of rich food for all
    people, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest
    of wines."  isaiah 25:6

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    how to cook without a cookbook

    dear emily,

    one of the trickiest parts in raising five children was the 
    cooking.  breakfast alone required a giant skillet, a dozen eggs, 
    an entire package of bacon, 16 ounces of cheese,  one loaf of 
    homemade whole wheat bread, a carton of orange juice, seven 
    knives, forks, spoons, plates and glasses.

    it was tempting to say, "and a partridge in a pear tree."

    dinner could be daunting, and i resorted to a great deal more
    'assembling' than fine cooking.  to make matters worse, i didn't 
    seem to be able to follow a recipe.

    if the book said, "sautee the onion for 15 minutes until sweet
    and tender, i would think, "an onion can't really be all that

    when my friends would say, " don't you just love julia child's
    cookbook?", i would stare blankly at them and wonder, "who in 
    the world is julia child?" 

    forget about that "joy of cooking book."  "for the white cream 
    sauce, go to page 27.  add the sauce to the roasted pheasant on 
    page 1,378."  it gave me carpal tunnel to complete any recipe.

    one evening while hans let our little sinners run all over the local
    mall, i spied the holy grail of cookbooks.  "how to cook without
    a book."  the author preached about a foolproof gospel of saved
    ingredients to usher any soup or pasta sauce into heaven.  it was 
    the answer to all my prayers.

    here's the basic formula:

    sautee one onion.  season, please.
    add one pound of meat
    one pound of vegetables
    one pound of a starch (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.)
    one quart of stock (chicken goes best with chicken, etc.)
    add any spices or seasoning in your cupboard.

    simmer as long as you want but less than one week.  :)
    this wonderful book has easy formulas for many dishes,
    but the soup has saved my life.


    "oh taste and see that the Lord is good!"  psalm 34:8

    ps.  what in the world is going on with the font and
    how do you underline, again?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    the art of simplification

    last night as i went through my mental prayer list i thought, "if i can't
    remember all the people who have requested prayer, then i have let too
    many into my life."

    google image

    i don't even know if i agree with that, but in my exhaustion it made
    sense.  if someone is not important enough to recall them in my
    prayers, then i shouldn't have let them think i would pray.

    the tricky part is that i now have as many friends here, that i have
    never seen, as i do in my day to day life.  last night as we were putting
    groceries away, i heard myself say, "my friend joan posted the most
    beautiful photo of a budding flower that looked just like a candle to
    celebrate her anniversary."

    hans didn't say it, but i know he thought, "does she have a friend
    named joan?"

    "yes!  she lives in australia, and i visit her almost every day."

    i was starting to sound like our daughter hailey, who when three
    had imaginary friends named sarah and ashley.   ashley smoked
    cigarettes!  :)

    my point is that i am going to be more purposeful in my visiting
    and praying . . . and promise of praying.  then i won't feel guilty
    at night for perhaps forgetting someone.  i will just be convicted
    of all the other terrible things i do!


    "let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up
    of my hands as the evening sacrifice."  psalm 141:2

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    a fake and a fraud

    i'm not a party girl, more of a wallflower, but we have hosted three
    parties in as many weeks.  i feel like roadkill.

    before each event, i have great intentions to clean my house from
    top to bottom and bring order to my chaos but always end up
    stuffing papers, shoes, and pillows into my office.

    at the last party, and i mean the very LAST party,  my friend walked
    into my dump office and came back to the table with a challenge to
    my sainthood.  :)

    "you are a fake and a fraud."

    "what?"  i thought she was referring to the fake four carat canary
    diamond on my happy finger.

    "i read the post about your beautifully ordered office, and what i just
    saw is a mess!  you are misleading your gentle readers."

    whew!  the ring is safe for another day.   the office is . . . well,
    just an office.


    "but everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."
    I corinthians 14:40