Thursday, September 30, 2010

five times the grace!

dear emily,

last night i lay in bed praying for you and the eminent birth of your sweet #5.
i even awoke from a dream praying for you.  see how much the Lord loves

i have a special affinity for you now that we both will have five children.  it
is the number of grace and redemption in the bible.  here are a few illustrations
of the number five.

historians maintain that the israelites marched out of egypt in ranks of five.

david picked up five smooth stones.  I samuel 17:40

the Lord told abram to sacrifice five animals (heifer, goat, ram, dove, and
pigeon.)  genesis 15:9

when God changed abram's name to abraham, He added the fifth letter.

"five of you will chase 100 . . ." leviticus 26:8

i know my kids have grown fond of pretending you might name this
precious one "nickel." :)  nickel, obviously, stands for five shiny pennies
and is a silvery-white metal.

"and the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace
of clay, purified seven times."  psalm 12:6

no pressure.  :)


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the resurrection of jackie sweeter

we Christians do not all have the exact same beliefs.  even the apostle
paul acknowledged that there are so many differences in the church,
we should just agree on Christ's resurrection and not worry about the

believe it or not, i have a resurrection story that involves our youngest
daughter's hamster, the venerable jackie sweeter.  she  loved that little
guy to death, literally.  he was stone cold dead, on his back, feet in the

until he hopped back up and got back inside that maniacal wheel.
you might call it his wheel of fortune.

unfortunately, a few days later he died again, permanently, and seven
year old hailey was broken hearted.  she wrote a lovely funeral program
including a moving tribute to both his lives and deaths.

as you might imagine, she was very reluctant to let us bury him.


"listen, i tell you a mystery:  we will not all sleep, but we will all be
changed."  1 corinthians 15:51

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"bows and flows of angel hair"

dear emily,

i love the fact that though i am frail, impetuous, and self centered, the Lord
is never disillusioned with me.  as the saying goes, "He never had any
illusions to start with."  i also know that every moment spent with Him
softens and fills in those rough edges and empty spaces.

He might not have had any illusions, but i sure did!  i thought i could be
the perfect wife and mother.  joni mitchell summed it up nicely, "i really
don't know life at all."

i wonder how many of my unrealistic expectations hindered my most
precious relationships?  what made me think i could expect 'that' of him
or her?  "many of the cruel things of life spring from the fact we suffer
from illusions." (oswald chambers)

on the other hand, susan boyle had a dream and now is singing in front
the pope.  joseph of the many colored coat saw each of his dreams
fulfilled but waited years in prison for them.

maybe we should dream our dreams and then offer them to the Lord.  i
imagine the ones that could really 'be' will get offered back.  "God is
most glorified in me when i am satisfied in Him" (john piper) . . .

whether or not all my dreams are realized.


"in the last days, God says, i will pour out my Spirit on all people.  your
sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your
old men will dream dreams."  acts 2:17

Saturday, September 25, 2010

NC-17 for "doubt"

i think there should be an emotional rating for some movies.  take
"doubt", for instance.  that story was laced with so many disturbing
themes, it kept me up for nights.  (i slept like a baby after all the
"final destination" movies.)

here's what ate at me the most.  though we were supposed to hate
the critical sister, she was probably correct with her suspicion that
the catholic priest was a pedophile.  my anguish stemmed from the
witch hunt after his charming and sympathetic character.

the dilemma increased when he displayed some arrogant and
condescending tendencies.  "wait!  i thought i was supposed to
like him!"  the judgmental sister was harsh and conniving, on one
hand, but surprisingly perceptive and sensitive, on the other.

oh, the twists and turns.

when  the poor mother was informed that her son was probably in
an unhealthy relationship with the catholic father,  she thought that
was better than getting a beating from his own father.

aaaaaaargh!  by the end of this movie, i felt as terrible as the old,
mean sister looked.


"therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
matthew 10:16b

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

rain, rain everywhere, and not a cab in sight

hans was desperate to catch a cab out of new york last week.  it was
raining cats and dogs with an added tornado or two but no cabs in which
to take refuge.

google image of times square

the streets were lined with drenched people, hands raised in futility for
a dry ride.  a few others were pushing their 'cart' homes, apparently
indifferent to the downpour.

a lone cabbie inched by carefully ignoring the hoards, so hans took a
chance.  "excuse me, sir, could you take me uptown?"

google image of new york cab

"well, i'll tell you.  i'm in a mood as foul as this weather, but because
you were so polite, yes sir, hop in." he reminded me of the aesop quote,
"no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

what the cabbie didn't know is that hans had spent two intensive days
in denver meetings, hopped a plane to return me home, then caught
another plane to take him on to new york, arriving at one in the morning.
at seven the next morning he presented at a conference for eight hours.

exhausted and soaked to the bone, he was trying to meet his brother
who was recovering from surgery and then to catch his third plane  in
two days to bring him home to me on yet another red eye.

i could just kiss that cabbie. . . but don't tell hans.


"with good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men."
ephesians 6:7

Monday, September 20, 2010

terror by day

dear emily,

janette, vee, and my friend from HHL have all inspired me with their
incredibly vulnerable blogs.  why does it make us feel better when
someone else is struggling?

i think it's because our own battles are somehow validated.  one of my
conflicts is the fear of flying, something i have to do a lot.

google image

this past week we took off from the beautiful denver airport on a
glorious indian summer day.  unfortunately, the warm air combined
with the mountain updrafts created a turbulent 'sit op.'  the pilot
followed a bizarre flight pattern for 20 minutes, flying only 1,000 feet
above the ground.    did i say flying?

i meant bouncing and careening.

on top of that (no pun intended), we were piddling around at 300
miles per hour, half the normal speed.  it felt like riding a bucking
bronco in slow motion . . . endlessly.  the terror smothered me as i
imagine the hood used to stifle the victim before his hanging.

the Lord and i have been in this situation thousands of times and
He knows me so well.  His word comforted my heart, even though
my mind was still a little undone.

"fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you.  I will UPHOLD you with
my righteous right hand."  isaiah 41:10

hans encouraged me with good common sense, "it's only bumpy
air.  close your eyes and imagine an old gravel road.  the plane can
easily handle this."  but could i?

now i feel ashamed of my terror, my weakness, myself.  maybe,
though, it will make you feel a little better about yours.


Friday, September 17, 2010

all for nature

dear emily,

tonight hans and i hosted a fundraiser for the nature conservancy, mainly
for our tall grass prairie, the largest in the world.  hans calls it the reasonable
man's approach to conservation.  we don't throw buckets of paint on anyone.

in the pre-party panic i always experience, i hid in our quiet pantry and sent
the kids a furtive message, "your dad is about to get in a fight with the city
newspaper, because they want us to take a photo outside in the 95 degree

"mom!  are you hiding in the pantry?"

hans won, and we took the picture in our living room.  i'm pretty sure
we will look like the bison of our tall grass prairie, as the photographer
will have his revenge.

one of the most famous nature conservancy photographers gave me
permission to post some of his gorgeous tall grass prairie photos on my
humble blog!  i'll place them by our photo in a few days, and let you
judge who's the scruffiest.

in the same living room, i  happened upon a woman leaning over her
husband who was grey as an old mare and shaking with sweaty palms.
she said, "he's probably fine, but he has really high blood pressure."

after the ambulance left with him, she turned back and said, "thank you
very much for having us.  we had a lovely time."


"did you have to call for the firetrucks, too?"  hans was just curious.

before i could answer, the most adorable 85 year old man (think fred
astaire but imagine the largest land owner in our state) came whistling
out the door.  so cute . . . with a wine bottle hidden behind him.  he had
told me earlier that his wife, who was home with a 'bug', was feeling
much better.

"she felt well enough to go to the beauty parlor."  :)

home, home on the range . . .


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

awkward family photos

dear emily,

i'm probably going to get in trouble with someone, but desperate times
call for desperate measures.  whenever i really need to be cheered up,
 i suspect others might, too.  here are  some of my favorite photos from
"awkward family photos."

"will you marry me, alice?"

"only if we can have our bridal party photo in our favorite tree."

"or if we can use your mom's awesome draperies."

"and if you go to billy ray's barber."


"God has brought me laughter, and everyone who 
hears about this will laugh with me."
genesis 21:6

Monday, September 13, 2010

fried chicken, baby!

i am in such a pickle, because that darling kim from field of dreams
has shared so many endearing stories about her beloved chickens.
they feel like family to me now.

on top of that, her newest batch of chickens is the sweetest one of all.
my dilemma, you ask?

fried chicken is about my favorite food!   i could eat it morning, noon,
and night.  the guilt is killing me.  please don't tell kim about my
'fowlibalistic' tendencies when you visit her.

she thinks i love her precious hens so much i could just eat them up
but doesn't realize i am actually doing that.  :)

the fantastic mrs. fox

ps.  "for everything God created is good (food), and nothing is to
be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving . . ." 1 timothy 4:4

Saturday, September 11, 2010

some day

i'm linking up with the red dress club to write a letter to our younger

dear younger lea,

i know you think you're fat, because there is a tiny jiggle behind
you, but you're NOT.  some day you WILL be, so try to enjoy
that cute little figure while you have it.

it makes you feel prettier to be as tan as a piece of leather, but
some day that's what your skin will look like . . . only worse.
put on sunscreen.

be kind to everyone.  some day you may work for one of them.

think sweet thoughts, and you will say sweet words.  some day
you may have to eat them.

your much older self

"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever
is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable . . . think on
such things."  philippians 4:8

Thursday, September 9, 2010

thank you! and 'friday pretties!'

it seems i always have something for which to be grateful here.
your prayers and encouragement have lifted me above the tide
that would have swept over me at my daughter's departure.   if
you knew how precious she is, you would understand our terrible
loss and brazil's great gain.   the Light seems to find her.

many of you left the kindest comments and prayers after my last 
entreaty, but i received the most input about gwendolyn's eloquent 
one.  if you have time to visit her, you will be comforted and inspired.

friday is the day we look forward to joyce's 'pretties.'  it astounds me to
see the beauty of God's creation presented for us to enjoy at all the lovely
blogs who participate.

my 'pretty' is from our beloved colorado.  the same God who formed
this majestic mountain,

set the seed for a delicate white blossom.

"for the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
in His hand are the depths of the earth, 
and the mountain peaks belong to Him."
psalm 95:3,4


Monday, September 6, 2010

brazilian send off

the plane fare for four, including two trips to the airport
on friday, one more on sunday, and two additional ones 
on monday and tuesday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,000.00

a houseful of "emily's" adorable little ones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $00.00

brazilian feijoada stew for forty, festive decorations, 
samba music, dancing, laughter, and tears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $200.00

the chance for all my children to say "goodbye" to their
baby sister, who is traveling to brazil for three months . . . . .priceless

i would be so grateful if you would remember our daughter, hailey,
in your prayers while she embarks on this mission experience.  she
is so precious to us.

here she is at her beloved big sister's wedding.


"and walk in love, esteeming and delighting in one another . . . 
ephesians 5:2

Saturday, September 4, 2010

good things come in small packages

when you think of the good things that come in small packages,
what do you think of first?

diamond earrings?

keys to a porsche?

a baby in the manger?

a mustard seed?

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it
will move.  nothing will be impossible for you."  matthew 17:20

here's what the mustard seed becomes:

i thought of the diamond earrings, too.  :)


Thursday, September 2, 2010

the perfect day!

my perfect day would begin at 7:30 a.m. when  my eyes would pop
open a few minutes before hans' alarm beeps.  i would hop out of
bed to his surprise saying,

"oh my gosh, i slept nine straight hours and had the sweetest dreams
about my grandma goldie!"

sipping my perfectly brewed vanilla bean latte, i would flip open my
laptop and then close it again and flip open my bible instead to the
psalms.  i would be reminded and then grateful for the Lord's love for
me and, lo and behold, an incredible post would float into my head.

hans kisses me goodbye, and now i begin typing.  oh, the heart stirring
eloquence and funny anecdotes that would drip from my fingers!

time to meet one of my dear friends at the gym to run for 30 minutes,
complete four intervals of 20 reps on every machine, and a cartwheel.
from here i would surrender to my masseuse for an hour followed by
some time with my manicurist and hair stylist.  when i try to pay them,
the owner would say,

"you have been such a long and faithful patron, we want to  'comp'
this today."  sigh

i glide into whole foods with one of my 1,000 memorized recipes in mind
and am able to fit all that i need into two extremely light bags.  when back
home, i am pleasantly surprised to see that it is beautifully decorated by
ralph lauren.  the groceries magically wash, dice, and throw  themselves
into a pot of savory broth to simmer all afternoon.

after exchanging two or three delightful phone calls and emails, i will hit
the shower and put on a favorite lily pulitzer, which is a tiny bit snug in
the  bust and loose through the hips.

hans would then walk back in the door and say,

"why don't we watch all the pbs 'pride and predjudice' episodes back
to back?"

one can dream. :)   what's your perfect day?


ps.  "I will maintain my love to him forever."  psalm 89:28