Tuesday, November 29, 2011

did you feel the mountains tremble?

dear emily,

in this advent season i pray that my heart will be expectant for His
coming and prepared to stand before Him.   i worry that when i
remember Him as a baby, i forget that those who have seen Him
since His resurrection could not stand before Him.   He was a baby
who we cherish and sing songs about, but He is not now One.


"it is very remarkable that we face the thought that God is coming,
so calmly, whereas previously peoples trembled at the day of God."
(dietrich bonhoeffer)

since our earthquake a few weeks ago, i feel the trembling of after
shocks throughout the day.  it is quite unsettling, and i have begun
keeping a glass of water beside my bed to see if my imagination is
acting up or the earth shaking.   they are a new reality for me, and i
realize i have taken the past stillness of my foundation for granted.

"only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize
the incomparable kindness.   God comes into the very midst of evil
and death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. . . God cleanses
and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love."

the sweet little Jesus boy is deeply rooted in my heart, and i adore
Him,  but how do i rightly worship Him as King of Kings at the same
time?  it takes a miracle, and i believe in them.


Monday, November 28, 2011

saved by the carol (repost)

dear emily,

hans and the boys have teased me a lot through the years, because i
don't really understand sports.  all i have ever known is music and
literature.  imagine my delight at receiving this clandestine phone

"mom?" one of my sons was on the other line and i could barely hear

"honey, are you ok?"

"mom, i don't have much time and may have to hang up on you."

" are you in trouble?"

"how do you finish this line, 'angels we have heard...'?" whispered my son.

" 'on high'...but"

"awesome!  now how about, 'o little town of bethlehem...'?"

" 'how still we see thee lie! ' what is going on?" i was beginning to get a
little frustrated.

"sweet!  what comes after this?   'angels from the realms of glory'?"

"'wing your flight o'er all the earth'...  do you need me to call the

"oh no, i gotta hang up!  stay by the phone!"  now i had visions of
kidnappers with my precious son wrapped up in duct tape.

thankfully the phone rang again.


"oh honey, are you hurt?  where are you?"

"no worries, mom.   mr. mccoy was just walking by and i didn't want
him to see me on the phone."


"just fill in this line:  'what child is this?...' "

"'who laid to rest on mary's lap is sleeping'  will you please tell me
what is going on?"

"thanks, mom!  you're a life saver!  i told my buddies that no one
knew more Christmas songs than you!"

dial tone...

turns out his physics teacher gave the class a bonus pre-Christmas
test, that i helped them cheat their way through.  a better mom
would have made them 'fess up, but i was just so proud...

...that my superior knowledge of Chrismas carols won the game!


"in those days caesar augustus issued a decree that a census 
should be taken of the entire roman world.  this was the first
census that took place while quirinius was the governor of syria.
and everyone went to his own town to register.  so joseph, also, 
went up from the town of nazareth to bethlehem, the town of
david, because he belonged to the house and the line of david.
he went there with mary who was pledged to be married to him
and was expecting a child."  luke 2: 1-5)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


once a week i have lunch with a precious third grader in one of
our city's at risk neighborhoods.   i used to say that i was her
mentor, but it's really the other way around.

i have learned so much from her eagerness to learn and express
herself artistically.  she recently won a poster contest to protest
bullying.  her sunny disposition shone all over it with "love",
"peace," and "kindness" in big letters.   it reminded me of the
fruit of the Spirit.

bullies have been my nemesis, as i seem to attract them like bees
to honey.    people, thankfully not my husband,  just want to boss
me around.   recently i have wondered whether a bully knows he
is a bully.   is it possible that some obscure their boldness with
good intentions?

some may think they need to exert pressure on me, because i am too
wishy-washy.  if they didn't push me,  i might never accomplish
anything.   i just need someone to help me pull my head out of the
sand and 'take a stand.'

when these well meaning 'pushers' apply force to me, i either dig in
my heels or cave in.   the next time it happens, i resolve to say, "you
are pressuring me, or it feels like you are bullying me."  i think they
will be shocked, because they don't realize what they are doing.

i know i will be shocked, if i really have the courage to stand up
for myself.


"but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
galatians 5:22, 23

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


do you remember laboring through dickens' great expectations in
the ninth grade?  honestly, the title threw me off.   after all, i had
heard great things about the author and had pretty big expectations.
i was terribly disappointed.  i think  i enjoyed laboring through my
childrens' births more.

"barkis is willing," is one of my favorite lines, but few know to
what i am referring when i quote it.   i sympathized with him, as
we both had such great expectations.  i can't remember if clara ever
married him, but it would make me feel better to know that one of
us had a happy moment in the story.

google image

on the other hand, i was completely mesmerized by a tale of two
cities.   was it my low expectations or a fine book that brought
me such pleasure?  since "occupy wall street" has taken over so
many of our city parks, i have wondered if guillotines will be
added to the venue.  the guillotine was a huge character in the
tale, but i digress.

back to expectations:    if i expect my husband to "clean" the
kitchen after dinner, i will certainly be disappointed, as  there
will be a sinkful of dishes and crumbs all over the counters.  have
you noticed that "sinkful"and "sinful" are practically the same

if, however,  i do not expect my husband to clean the kitchen, i
will be happily surprised to enjoy his company pattering along
while i clean.  he will bring me dishes from the table and put them
in the sink, saving me many steps.

not expecting,

"for i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
philippians 4:11

Saturday, November 12, 2011

out, out, #@^%! spot!

dear emily,

you are much too young to have to deal with this minor irritation,
but i am plagued by a few pesky brown spots on my cheeks.  it
is my own fault, of course, for basking in the sun as a foolish
young sun worshipper.

i can assure you that all the commercials extolling their miraculous
potions are fictitious.  they don't work.  in the past, i have resorted
to camouflage, which doesn't really work either.  sigh.

then it dawned on me that the spots were located exactly where i
would like to have sculpted cheekbones.  so i applied brown
shading on top of the spots just under my cheekbones and voila'!

hee hee!

even though my spots are here to stay, they serve a purpose by
reminding me of the blemishes on my heart.   i try to hide those,
too, but it's far better to expose them.  "Lord,  i said a terrible
thing today . . . "


"though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow."  isaiah 1:18

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

who are you, really?

when i refer to my blog friends, my kids roll their eyes and say,
"mom, those are not your real friends,"  as if they were imaginary
like the ones my daughter hailey used to have (sarah and ashley.)
i understand that they are not real to them like the friends who
come in and out of my house and have been seen by my children.

sometimes i make the mistake of trying to explain, "no, they are
real.  see this one sent me a gift."

"mom, are you saying she's your friend because she gave you a
present?"  then i just give up.  but i began to wonder, "what if
none of you are who you pretend to be?"

what if, instead of a frumpy middle aged woman, i am really an
NBA star worried about not having a basketball season?

i do not play for the lakers.


"i no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know
his master's business.  instead, i have called you friends . . . "
john 15:15

Sunday, October 30, 2011

how do you teach your children to be thankful?

dear emily,

it was such a thrill to have your five beautiful children this
weekend!  they are kind, respectful, thankful, affectionate,
and joyful.  you are such a loving mommy and have given us the
gift of loving your little ones.

how have you taught your children to be thankful when they have
so much?  their tummies are full of nutritious food, their bodies are
clothed with warm garments, and their hearts are fed with faith,
hope, and love.

most moms admonish their little ones to say, "thank you", which is
a great start,  but there is something more we can do that does not
require a bit of coaching.  it's easy as pie, tastes just as yummy, and
you are already good at it.

we can be grateful and express it to the fullest.  when little max
sees his mommy say "thank you" to the grocery clerk, bankteller,
and milkman (yes, i have a milkman!), little max will pick up the
habit, too.

on the other hand, if little max sees mommy complaining all day
about the terrible service she gets everywhere she goes, he will
pick up that habit even more quickly.  they do what we do more
than what we tell them to do.

i am thankful that my friend meg sent me this cute little zombie
she knit by hand.  she is so creative, and i'm always begging her
to make more of these ornery things . . . wait, he's about to knock
the lid off of my coffee pot!


ps.  "thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"  2 cor. 9:15

Friday, October 21, 2011

tricking halloween

even though i love scary movies, i've never been a fan of
halloween.  one of the many inconsistencies in my life.  my kids
love to dress up and enjoy the holiday to the fullest now that they
are grown up and make their own decisions.

does that make me sad?  not really.  it would break my heart if
they chose to turn their backs on the Lord, not if they want to
have some silly fun.   i've been invited to a party myself and
plan to not wear any make-up.  that should scare everybody!

i will rebel by playing Christmas music all day on halloween.
this year i even have some norwegian Christmas cookies made
by my favorite norwegian, sonja.   look how adorably she
painted the can in which she sent them!

see janette and sonja's unhappy faces?  their beloved UT lost to my
oklahoma  sooners.   janette posed in an OU jersey, but sonja opted
to make me cookies.  both were women of their word and made me
very happy!



ps.  "let your 'yes' be 'yes', and your 'no' be 'no.'"  matthew 5:37

Sunday, October 16, 2011

to dress or not to dress

dear emily,

my son isaac returned from visiting his grandfather in the
hospital with a funny story.  we need all the laughs we can get,
and i bet you do, too.

isaac was wearing a lovely checked, buttoned down, and tucked
in shirt, straight from church.   his grandmother did not think he
was dressed up enough, however.   she has been putting on hose,
high heels and a beautiful suit every sunday for eight weeks . . .
then marching up to the ICU to sit with her beloved husband.

she said, "my mother always taught me that you must dress up
for church, because even if you don't go to church, people will
see you and think you did . . . and that will make them feel bad."

hee hee!


"therefore i tell you, do not worry about your life, . . . what you
will wear.  is not life more important then food, and the body
more important than clothes?"  matthew 6:25

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

and now a word from our sponsor

dear emily,

a year ago my friend patricia shared a definition for being offended:
the bright light hurts.  another friend and i were then talking about
how much angrier we get when our loved ones have been treated
harshly than when we are treated that way.

we're taking up an offense on their behalf, shining a bright light on
behavior we find reprehensible.  and you know who that hurts?  us.

when i was a little girl, my grandmother used to love her 'stories'
which were really soap operas.    i thought they were silly, but
occasionally i would get drawn in when a pretty lady would shout
at a handsome man for something i didn't understand.  right then at
the most interesting part, the program would transition to a boring
commercial, and a voice would say, "and now a word from our

sometimes my family has felt like that soap opera, pretty woman
yelling at handsome man.  :)  when i was terribly discouraged,
then i would hear a word from my Sponsor, "He who began a
good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of
Christ Jesus."  philippians 1:6


ps.  this is an edited post from a couple of years ago.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the sooner nation

thank you, sonja and janette, for having a little fun with our great
football game.  i can't think of a bigger competition, maybe ohio
state and michigan, or the presidential election!

janette has shared an inspiring story about her love for UT, and
she has the temerity to ask, "what is a sooner anyway?"  i'm glad
she asked.

'sooners' is the name given to the settlers who entered the midwest 
in the unassigned territory of oklahoma before the indian appro-
priations act of 1989.  they were denied the right to claim the land 
on which they settled, because they cheated by sneaking in early.   

many 'sooners'  eventually became US marshals, which is ironic
considering they had broken the law themselves.   my husband's
great grandfather was one of those US marshals, which explains
some of my husband's own tendencies.

the 'sooner nation' is exemplified by our colorful, rambunctious,
victorious behavior on the football field.  we occasionally sneak
into the end zone.

class dismissed,

"all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."   romans 3:23

Friday, October 7, 2011


dear janette and sonja,

i never enjoyed football until i had honest to goodness
texan friends.  so here is my challenge to you:

if texas gets closer than this:

OU 37

i will send you each some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

if texas wins (which ain't gonna' happen,)
i will post a picture of myself wearing a
longhorn t shirt and some chaps.  i may
even get on a horse or something.

Now, what are you ladies willing to do when OU wins?


"seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually."
1 chronicles 16:11

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

that's a lie!

as i was sitting beside my father in law's hospital bed, i found a
copy of the "new yorker" magazine.  before i ever read those, i
thumb through to see the hilarious cartoons.  the first one i saw
depicted a "blog pie chart."

google image

i was a little downcast, because i knew just what third i fit in.  i
don't sell anything, and even though i love the movie, conspiracy 
theory, i'm not into writing about them.  my stories clearly fall into
the first group . . . boring, boring, boring.

so i decided to shut down the old blog, but then i read a couple of
the blogs i love.   each one shared an inspiring story that burrowed
into my heart.

why in the world did i let the new yorker influence me in even the
smallest way?  i only read it once every ten years or so.   and why
do i still, at 53, care what other people say?  when am i going to
grow up?  who cares if i'm boring?

boring is the new black.


"we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who
commend themselves.  when they measure themselves by them-
selves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not
wise."  2 corinthians 10:12

Friday, September 30, 2011

broken windows

dear emily,

my father in law has a gorgeous bathroom/dressing room.  his
walls are decorated with gigantic photos of my mother in law
from her movie star days and floor to ceiling mirrors.  no one,
especially grandchildren have been allowed to step onto the
thick, black carpet or into the shrine unless escorted by their

the top of his lovely teak dressing table is graced by favorite
memorabilia like dozens of tiny screwdrivers and caterpillar
tractors.  i used to sneak peaks at the incredible order and beauty
of this special place until a few days ago when one of the giant
mirrors fell from the wall and crashed upon everything.

it reminded me of the 'broken windows' theory coined by james
q.wilson and george kelling.  they believe that crime is attracted
by disorder.  if a neighborhood tolerates panhandling, graffiti,
or broken windows, then worse behavior follows.  one broken
window calls out to another.  on the other hand, if a neighbor-
hood vigilantly watches over its borders and keeps things orderly,
crime goes elsewhere.   (the tipping point, malcom gladwell)

can you believe the broken mirror occurred three weeks after he
broke his hip?  he has been fighting for his health for six weeks
now, but the hip is mending nicely.  we don't want his other limbs
getting any 'broken window' ideas!


ps.  my friend sandra from thistle cove farms, recently reminded
me of a beloved verse:  "see, I have engraved you on the palms
of my hands; your walls are ever before me."  isaiah 49:16

Friday, September 16, 2011

first baby

dear emily,

when our first baby boy was born, my mom gave me some oscar
de la renta lotion.  i remember thinking, "now he will know i'm
his mommy, because i will always smell like this."  i wasn't
allowed to nurse him or hold him.

the NICU nurse told us we must not even touch him, as it could
agitate him and deflate his lungs again.   my heart broke as i stood
beside his pathetic little body, arms and legs splayed out, purple
chest sinking to the mattress, tubes connected in too many places.

i couldn't imagine that his tiny hand holding my baby finger might
upset him; so i disobeyed.   all day long, every day for 12 days, i
stood with my back to the nurses and my finger in his hand.  my
whole life was in that precious hand.

by the 12th day his lungs had strengthened, and  a nurse informed
us that they had been slowly reducing his sedative.  she could tell
he was more alert,  because he grasped her finger for the first
time.  :)

"now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what
we do not see."  hebrews 11:1

that baby boy is the big guy on the right!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

dear emily,

i used to think the best preparation to being a good mother was
a math/science degree or even an elementary education one.  a
nursing degree would have helped tremendously, too!

google image

but now, after watching the mom scene from 'ocean's twelve', i've
changed my mind.

imagine if before having those little urchins, you had been a CIA
agent or a county sheriff?  before asking, "who took a bite out of
your dad's birthday cake?", you would already know the culprit!
you could read all their 'tells' and know how to call the bluffs.

say one of the rugrats decides he doesn't want to pick up his toys
or go to bed, you could say in your robert deniro voice,  "how
would you like me to haul your skinny little self down to the
county jail?"

think how easy it would be to get their finger prints?  they are all
over the place.


ps.  "evil men do not understand justice; but those who seek the
Lord understand it fully."  proverbs 28:5

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

a firm foundation

dear emily,

when i was a little girl my grandmother wore something called a
foundation.  this undergarment made all her dresses smooth and
her figure lovely, but her breathing was labored.   my mother's
generation wore girdles, a hideous name but a vast improvement
on the foundation.  she could take deeper breaths.

google image

now the post virginia slims' generation wears spanx.  i can only
hope that a man named them.  any woman to think of such a
demeaning name should be spanked.   there are dozens of more
suitable ones:  slink, slimmer, shape, even the tried and true girdle
is more dignifying.  

when i was in high school, i wore a 'refining' undergarment,
because i was petrified of jiggling.  how much jiggle could a 110
pound girl generate?  now when i accidentally catch a glimpse
of myself walking by a horror movie mirror, i can see my back
side wobble the opposite direction.

i should not be allowed to sing a favorite old hymn, "how firm a


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

tell me a story

dear emily,

there are few things i love more than a good story.  don't give me
a bunch of dates and battles to memorize; tell me the story of a
great battle, and i will remember every detail.  please don't beat
me over the head with a lesson about repentance from the
pulpit; give me a story about it from someone's life, and i will
be moved to repentance myself.

Jesus was the greatest storyteller of all.  He could have spent
all His time preaching and healing, but He seemed to love to
tell His story.  who could forget the one about the sower and the
seed or the unmerciful servant?  He reels us in about a poor
woman who loses her coin and then we understand how the
kingdom of heaven rejoices over a lost soul who is found.

the easiest way to reach the heart of a child is to tell him a story.
they can't resist a good one, and then their transparent, open
hearts soak in the goodness of the best ones. "the land of a rich
man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, 'what
shall i do, for i have nowhere to store my crops . . ."(luke 12:17)

you can read the rest of the story.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

the prodigal's father

dear emily,

hans was sharing with me his perspective of the prodigal son.  it
was moving to understand the love the father demonstrated by
allowing his son to leave and then squander the fortune he had
worked a lifetime to share with him.

i guess, to a certain extent, every parent has to do that.  we birth
these precious babies, nurture them, and teach them everything
that is important to us.

then they decide what is important to them.

sometimes it feels like they are trampling on our hearts, but usually
it is just their stomping around the corral, hoping to jump the fence
and run their own race.

letting them go is an act of love as surely as rocking them to sleep
was.  believing that they are in the "palm of His hand," is an act
of faith.  rejoicing in the meantime is proof of my faith.


"though the fig tree does not bud and
there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet i will rejoice in the Lord,
i will be joyful in God my Savior."
habakkuk 3: 17-18

ps.  this is a repost from this time last year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

i read like most men

as i was enjoying the company of my extended family, we began
discussing the books we were reading.  to my dismay but not 
surprise, i didn't care much about the books the ladies were 
reading.  i can't name a single nicholas sparks' character.

the men, however, were reading all my favorite living authors.
we were soon debating which hollywood actor could possibly 
fill the shoes of mitch rapp, vince flynn's action hero.   daniel 
craig was my favorite, brad pitt being too feminine, george 
clooney too not sean connery, and liam neeson a little too big.

while we were extolling  the amazing feats of mitch rapp, i was
secretly thinking about jack reacher, lee child's giant hearted and
sized protagonist.  liam neeson, of course!

i have learned a great deal from jack reacher.  as my family was
elevating the eiffel tower, i whispered the "12 ways to identify a
terrorist."  i also know now that it is better to "say nothing," and
if you have to fight more than one bad guy at a time, "identify the
ringleader, the one who does all the talking.  hit him first and
hard.  the others will think twice."
if you're worried that i am fantasizing about a fictional hero, you
are dead wrong.  i want to BE him.

what did you say???


"be strong and courageous.  do not be terrified;   do not be
discouraged, for the Lord thy God is with you."  joshua 1:9

Saturday, July 9, 2011

light and shadow

dear emily,

as  i watch the dark shadows steal across the valley, i'm tempted
to assign them a malignant motive.  their corresponding clouds
might 'rain on' my lupine trail hike.  on the other hand, they could
bring sweet relief from the penetrating sun.  

i can understand God as light but often struggle with the shadow

do you remember baby jessica, the 18 month old who fell into
an eight inch well?  she spent two days in that dark shaft, while
the rest of the world watched in horror.  at one point her only
hope was from a man born without collar bones.  his question
"why was i born like this?" was answered by a baby girl.

were his frameless shoulders light or shadow?

many turn from their Creator, because they cannot reconcile
tragedy with His sovereignty or mercy.   why do bad things
happen to good people?  i certainly don't know, because i wasn't
there when He "laid the earth's foundation. . . while the morning
stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy." (job 38)

i cringe and cower at life's dark moments but have found that
questioning the Lord's motives to be futile.  that approach seems
childlike to philosophers and wise men, but from my baby eyes i
have seen and learned wondrous things.   the shadows are often
my place of refuge.  (psalm 91)


Thursday, June 30, 2011

with what feature do you lead?

i just finished tracy chevalier's remarkable creatures and found it
to be unremarkable but loved the perceptive introduction of her
characters.  she maintains that ones leading feature reveals ones
dominant characteristic.

her protagonist, mary anning, "leads with her eyes. . . that are
button brown and bright, and have a fossil hunter's tendency to
look for something."  her father enters with "his sharp, shapely
nose pinning her to the spot like a dart."

the heart breaker of the book, colonel birch, has such a thick,
wavy head of hair that he is always bowing to show it off.   "i
have never trusted a man who leads with his hair."

i lead with the proverbial big toe, testing the temperature of the
water before i jump in.

when we were newlyweds, we had no idea how many children
we wanted.  we took them one at a time and enjoyed them so
much, they just kept right on coming.  we have been visiting a
rustic colorado mountain town for 25 years and cherish every
visit.  my husband has asked me many times if i would like to
have a home there, but i have declined.

but, four or five years ago, i agreed . . . to a tiny condo on the
side of the mountain to just put in my big toe.  it has been the
most joyful experience since having all those babies, so now we
have built a cabin on the top of a ridge, surrounded by the
mountains we love.  i guess we have jumped in with both feet.

"how lovely on the mountains are the feet of them who bring
good news."   isaiah 52:7

with what feature do you lead?


ps.  this is an edited repost from one year ago.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

in the trenches

dear emily,

there has been no rain for 7 days, and my newly planted trees are
distressed from the sun and wind.  since i have no outside water
source yet, i have been filling a bucket from the nearby pond and
lugging it to each tree.  not a practical way to water, but it might
help my flabby arms.

this morning i dug tiny trenches from the stream to each tree.   it
was lovely watching the water escape its boundary and become  a
new tributary winding its way to my poor dry trees.   also, once i
became good and muddy, i began to have more fun.  my little dog
kept looking up at me as if to say, "does your mom know what
we're doing?"


"for I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.

they will will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams."
isaiah 44:3,4

Monday, June 20, 2011

time flies

my very wise son, isaac, remarked recently that it's not just fun
stuff that makes time fly but activities that consume us.   he was
using the illustration of taking a test that required all his
attention and realizing that four hours passed so quickly.

he wouldn't exactly call that test, 'fun', but the time sure flew.

today i scrubbed, made beds, and organized my home for hours,
but it sped by like minutes.  the back of my hands are sore and
chafed, but i didn't even notice them when it happened.

i feel full, fat, and happy, but none if it was really 'fun'.

why do we seek  'fun' so desperately?  it would be better to 
search for good, hard work that yields satisfying results, i think.  or better yet do what our Lord so beautifully urged, "seek first His kingdom and His 
righteousness, and all these things will be added . . . " mt. 6:33

i always wanted to say "selah",

Saturday, June 11, 2011

in the bag

dear emily,

i love to read what famous women carry in their purses, partly
for ideas to make my life more fabulous :)  but mostly out of

katy perry's bag contains 'diva' nails, sunglasses, la mer face
cream (my favorite), and her own perfume, "katy perry."

jennifer aniston includes bobbi brown cheek tint, chanel lip
gloss, loreal nutrileum serum, and her own perfume, "jennifer

hillary clinton carries chili flakes, a medical kit, and mineral
water mist.  what?  no "hillary clinton" perfume?

my favorite is helen mirren's . . . reading glasses and I.D.  you
gotta' love her.

isn't it revealing, really, what we carry in our bags?  mine
always contains socks for my frigid feet, lip gloss for my dry
lips, moisturizer for my dehydrated wrinkles, and a teeny bible
for my cold, hard heart.   my father in law gave me 50 of these
25 years ago.

so, what's in your wallet?


"as water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man."
proverbs 27:19

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

erasers and platitudes

i admit that i have a long way to go in caring for this beautiful
part of God's earth, but as i drove past a hip boutique, i felt
steam hissing out of my ears.

"man should not make marks in the sand that the wind cannot

this is clearly an ecological statement meant to teach me a deep
lesson  about my 'green' footprint, but my first thought was,
"well that looks ugly.   i wish the wind could erase it."

the wind would have a hard time blowing over this tree that WE planted.

second thought:  "man should try to express his deepest thoughts
in the positive."

my final thought:  "a man who is living in a grass hut in the jungle
has more of a  right to say that to me.  his own footprint can
easily be erased by the wind.  BUT,  the owner of a glass fronted,
brick sided store does not."

only one of our famous tornadoes could erase that footprint.

can you tell i skipped breakfast?  my mom told hans, "my only
advice is that you make sure she eats enough and gets lots of
sleep, or she turns into a bear."


"the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of
eden to work it and take care of it."  genesis 2:15

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

guess who's coming to dinner?

dear emily,

unlike some of my stories, this one is 100% true and kind of funny.

saturday was a a gorgeous evening for a garden party at our local
museum.  the lovely ladies were bedecked in their pretty frocks
and skyscraper heels.  the men wore seersucker suits and dirty
bucks.   some were over-enjoying their cocktails, but that's not
part of this story.

the tables were extravagantly decorated with every shade of
purple flower, from the palest lilac to the deepest magenta lilies.
we were surprised to see two strangers seated at our table, but
found them delightful.

two days later, i received an exquisite bouquet of flowers from
the museum director with a note apologizing for the disappointing
evening.  ???   i couldn't, for the life of me, understand what he
meant, as the garden party had been perfect.   later, i  discovered
that our dinner guests had been party crashers, which hit my funny

you might think they got a free meal, but really they paid a high
price; they had to talk to us all evening.


ps.  "do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing
so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing
it."  hebrews 13:2

Friday, May 6, 2011

crumbs from the table

dear emily,

i would do many things differently, if i had the chance, but there is
one i would love to do over and over again.

when my children were 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, i heard about a great
preacher who was to speak at the local Christian university.   as
i always wanted to expose the kids to inspiring men and women,
i purposed to take them.

unfortunately, as we slipped behind the 12 foot high doors of the
chapel, an usher whispered that the service was reserved for the
college students.  crushed, i  remembered the canaanite woman
who begged help for her daughter.

Jesus told her that he "was sent only to the lost sheep of israel. . .
it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
(matthew 15: 24, 26)

her reply resounded in my ears, "yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat
the crumbs that fall from their master's table."  (mt. 15:27)  with
renewed courage, i heard myself say, "we won't take a seat from
any student but will just stand in the back."

the preacher was as anointed and full of God's power as any i
have ever heard.  as he closed his sermon, he looked to the back
of the auditorium and asked, "are those children back there?"  for
a moment i was afraid that we would be scolded, but instead, he
said, "bring them up here, so i may pray for them."

pretty sweet crumbs.


ps.  it was brought to me attention that i have already told this
story. . . sheesh.   oh well, chalk that up to old age. . . and get
used to it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

dear emily,

a few weeks ago i found a wonderful blogger who shares some
yummy secrets to adapting 'fake' snacks into healthy treats.  her
simple genius has helped me think outside the box, too.  i would
love to send you to her blog, but i've lost it.  dang.

want to know what else is in your mr. redenbacher's microwave
popcorn?  i don't even know what a couple of these substances

palm oil
potassium chloride
natural and artificial flavor
citric acid

here's the ingredients for your just as easy microwave popcorn:

salt, if you want . . .
butter, if you like . . .

pour 1/4 cup popcorn kernels into a paper lunch sack.  fold the
sack over twice, creasing each fold, and set microwave to the
'popcorn' setting.  once your corn has popped, season as you
wish, happy with the knowledge that nothing artificial has been
added to your healthy snack.



ps.  "dear friend, i pray that you may enjoy good health and that
all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."
3 john 2

Monday, April 25, 2011

i blow dry my feet

if you think it strange that i blow dry my feet, then you must not
know my aunt susan.  she can blow a sunflower seed through a
straw and knock a squirrel plumb off its sycamore branch.   that
used to tickle us kids, because that meant meat for dinner.

aunt susan's sister in law, doris, had special powers, too.  one
time i saw her spit a watermelon seed into the eye of a racoon.
she didn't "cotton to his helpin' hisself to her corn cobs." now
that i think about it, neither did we.

doris' son, my friend jimmy, was a might  'tetched'  but we
loved him just the same.  the baker boys on the south 40 were
afraid of him, which kept them from beating up on us.   which
is why i still have both my arms and legs.

which leads me to my feet.  they get freezing cold, so to warm
them up, i turn the blow dryer on them,  which is the only true
part of this story.


"oh God, thou knowest my foolishness."  psalm 69:5

Sunday, April 17, 2011


hosanna!!!!  i love palm sunday almost as much as easter sunday.
the children waving palm branches and singing, "hosanna!" so
perfectly reflect the big hosanna in my heart.   when we had
little ones, i used to get excited to pull out the resurrection eggs.
they were such a fun way to retell the greatest story ever lived.

as long as i can remember, i have awakened at the crack of dawn
on easter sunday to race down to the church by 7:00 am to begin
our marathon of three celebratory services.  the beautiful hymns
declaring His resurrection are frequently cried instead of sung,
because the message of the cross rings so deep that morning.

we are thrilled to spend this easter in a quieter fashion, away
from home with all our children.  no fanfare, no hats, no trumpets
declaring His praises.  just sweet and simple thankfulness for
His death and joy at His resurrection.

He is risen, indeed!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

treasure in a month

dear emily,

it has been one month since i have written a word here, and i am
completely refreshed.  there is an amazing enrichment from rest.
the Lord grafted it into each week, but we seldom take advantage
of it.

the schubert "mass in G" concert went surprisingly well, consi-
dering we were still working out some glitches during our warm
up.   i wanted someone to shoot me right before to put me out of
my misery.  imagine the epitaph:  "her nerves done her in" . . .
or "she died because of the 'mass'. "
it was so fun of you to come.  when i would look up and see you
holding that sweet, precious baby, it made my heart sing sweeter.
as i spied shelby suppressing the wiggles of #3, it brought  the
perfect distraction from my nerves.


"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
exodus 33:14

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

plenty of satisfaction

dear ones,

as i mentioned a few weeks ago, my life is FULL right now, so
i'm taking a blogging break.  but, lest you breathe a big sigh of
relief, i am still watching YOU!

i have been feasting on this passage of scripture, since i've been
eating less sugar.

"satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may
sing for joy and be glad all our days . . . may the favor of the
Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands."
psalm 90:14, 17

i pray that your lives will be filled with this satisfaction and His

Saturday, March 12, 2011

if you have sheryl crow's arms, do not read this.

i just put on the first short sleeve t shirt in a while and these were
not the arms that i saw.

she does take guitar lessons from me, though.

i have enrolled in spring boot camp to try and make myself fit
and presentable.   the daily exercise and healthy diet hasn't  been
too hard.   well, if you think denying myself sugar while craving
it at all times, isn't too hard.

honestly, if scripture were sugar, i would have the entire bible
memorized.  i know His words "are sweeter than honey from
the comb," but I WANT SUGAR!!!!!!!  (psalm 19:10)

desperate times call for desperate measures, so here is my recipe
for a "mock chocolate milkshake."

-one frozen banana cut into small pieces
-1/2 cup milk
-1 T. chocolate syrup
-1 packet of equal (i wanted to put in 5 packets)

mix in a blender until it looks like a milk shake and drink it
really fast.  the cold headache authenticates the experience.

would you please give me your best pretend dessert recipe?

desperately seeking sugar,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


dear emily,

one of my idols is an 80 year old great grandma, who sings like
an angel, looks perfectly beautiful ALL THE TIME, and has
gracious words for everyone.  don't you just hate people like

our choir director wants her to teach classes to the rest of us
'younger' ladies.  i have already gleaned so much by osmosis
but could certainly stand more formal training.

here's what she has tried to teach me so far:

1.   love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength . . .
and your neighbor as yourself.

2.   take a few moments to make yourself presentable.  messy
hair and an unwashed face is not an expression of beauty.

3.   if you think kind thoughts, you will express kind words.
if you consider others before yourself, you will rarely have to
apologize for bad behavior.

4.   stand up nice and straight.

5.   be will prepared for everything you do.

6.   have a sense of humor and never take yourself too
seriously.  looking at your backside in the mirror is helpful.

7.   when uncomfortable at a social function, look for someone
who looks the same.  that person will be grateful for your
attention.   the popular folks will never miss you.

what are your tips?


"do nothing out of vain conceit, but in humility consider others
better than yourselves."  philippians 2:3

ps.  this is an edited repost.  the first time i wrote it, one person
read it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

the death of black

dear emily,

i sang at a funeral for a lovely young woman, and my heart was
broken not just for the devastated family but also for the frail
and hopeless young mourners.  they were slung upon the walls
of the reception area like lifeless tree branches.  their shadowed
eyes were opened in starving hollows.

they were watching us, the middle aged disappointments, and i
could almost hear their accusations. "why are you all acting as
if everything is ok?  where is the adult who can tell us why this
had to happen??   which one of you is going to make us feel

two distinct suffering cultures.  one in black business suits and
black dresses, the other in skinny black jeans and black spiked
hair.  separated as surely as the east is from the west.

but then i found one familiar young face, and as i approached i
saw her beneath her costume.  as she saw me beneath mine, her
sweet face crumpled, and i held her close.


ps.  "but we know that when we see Him, we shall be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is."  1 john 3:2

Friday, February 25, 2011

the queen's speech

dear emily,

after enjoying the excellent movie, the king's speech, i kept
thinking about the positive influence of the queen.  her commit-
ment was inspiring, as she continued to drag her charming but
stammering husband to one speech pathologist after another.
does her loving perseverance  save the king's speech and rally
a nation?  if your history is shaky, you must watch the movie!

when i was a young bride i heard a teaching entitled, 'the power
of a woman to influence for good or evil.'  it stunned me, since i
had never thought much of my influence.  i was more concerned
with my tan in those days.

every woman from eve to deborah and jezebel to mary has
leveraged her influence toward the grievous or the worthy.  my
tally score is not as praiseworthy as i wish.  last night at dinner i
grumbled to my husband against a loved one instead of gently
urging him with kinder speech. . . the queen's speech.


"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, lovely,
and admirable . . . "  philippians 4:8

for the brave of heart:  1 kings 19:2

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday Lane plays the Viper Room Feb 22nd.

Sunday Lane plays the Viper Room Feb 22nd.

if you click on the above site, you can read some reviews sunday
lane is receiving.

yes, i am a proud mama. what other kind of happiness compares
to the one tied to ones children? her big brother max releases
his new cd in april, and he asked sunday to 'open' for him.

happy, happy, happy . . . 


"the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely
i have a delightful inheritance." psalm 16:6

Thursday, February 17, 2011

i am a bad driver

if you quote me, i will deny it, because i will never admit this to
my husband or kids.

i am a bad driver.

i can't drive between the lines, park between the lines, or read
between the lines.  at stop lights, i become distracted with the
woman brushing her hair in the car beside me, and someone
always has to honk to urge me through the green light.

one time i saw a fireman standing at the intersection with one
of his boots.  "sir, did you lose your other boot?"

because i sing at the top of my lungs in the car, ambulances have
to turn up the volume of their sirens to get me to pull over.   i
turned off the cd player yesterday but kept hearing some music.
what in the world?

my cell phone.  hans had called 4 times.  "sorry honey, can't
imagine why i didn't hear my phone."

policemen tip their hats to me, because i have sent so many of
their kids to college through my violations donations.

i try to do my part for the community.


ps.  "give, and it will be given to you. a good measure, pressed
down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into
your lap.  for with the measure you use, it will be measured to
you."  luke 6:38

Sunday, February 13, 2011

thank you!

dear ones,

thank you for your prayers and encouraging comments.  it is one
of the sweet blessings of the blog community that i have grown
to love.

the next few months hold an amazing plethora (shelby!) of happy
events.  i am singing the soprano solo in schubert's 'mass in G' on
april 3rd which will require a great deal of deliberate work.  my
optimistic conductor tends to think i can do more than i am able.

just a few short weeks after that, we will complete our mountain
cabin which will also take lots of attention  . . .  and fun.   right
now there are 12 foot high drifts of snow icing the cabin like an
extravagant wedding cake.

life is full, and i am grateful.


"do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance,
and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you towards
repentance?"  romans 2:4

Sunday, February 6, 2011

time to fight

dear emily,

this will make me late for church, but i feel such an urgency to get
these prayer needs out.   i think it's funny that just a few days ago
i was questioning when to fight and when to yield.   it sure feels
like the Spirit is leading me to fight now.

if you feel led to agree with the prayer below, i know their loved
ones would be grateful.   you can also visit each blog to find more
about each situation.

--baby samuel


--scott (don't let teri's amazingly upbeat personality fool you.
she's dead serious about licking this cancer.)

--my friend bizy, whose 23 year old daughter was killed in a car

"out of the depths i cry to you, o Lord;
o Lord hear my voice.
let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy . . .

praise the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits
towards baby samuel, dave, scott, and bizy--
who forgives all their sins and heals all their diseases,

who redeems their lives from the pit
and crowns them with love and compassion,

who satisfies their desires with good things
so that their youth is renewed like the eagle's."
(psalm 130:1 and 103:1-5)

in Jesus' sweet and powerful name,

Friday, February 4, 2011


they say that admitting it is the first step.  so here goes.  "i am a

i have not stepped outside my home in four days and feel no
urgency to do so.  because i feel guilty about this, i will invite a
couple to dinner and make myself go to the gym.

this is not the same as agoraphobia, because i'm not afraid or
anxious to go outside.   i just have no desire to do that.  instead,
i'm content to stay inside with my God, my dog, my music, my
books, my blog, and of course, my husband.

i can never remember having experienced cabin fever.  what a
great frontier woman i would have made!  well, except for the
farming, churning butter, making our clothes, and feeding the

anyone else have this social disfunction?


"come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
mark 6:31

Sunday, January 30, 2011

dear emily,

i asked my friend dawn to write a guest post, because she is
chock full of wisdom, wit, and encouragement.  she graciously
agreed, and so will you!

I have no idea anymore why my husband's shirt was hanging there. But it was, completing the picture for me of the family we had just become. This little clothing family was the view to my left after my son took much of my blood with him when he left the confines of my body and the doctor confined me to the bed. If I had been feeling up to it, I would have been scared of that little package of DNA.  After all, those eight pounds three ounces would, in fifteen short years, become a 185-pound teenager whom I would have to look up to when I said yet again, "Is that understood, Young Man?!"

He still doesn't know my two little secrets. He won't, can't, until the moment he lays eyes on his own little bundle of great adventure someday. One disqualifies parents from parenting completely. The other overrides the first, and the job falls to moms and dads the world over.

1. We parents have no idea what we are doing. Little do our offspring know, we continually wonder if all we're doing will pay off in the end. We hold our breath with a straight, poker face, compare notes with friends, and remember how our parents handled us, then bluff our whole way through.

2. Secret number two that cancels out secret number one: Love. Only a parent's patience can overlook flaws and shortcomings to see a mature, responsible, amazing adult in the making. Growing up can be messy business, and nobody in the world loves your teenager more than you do. So trust your instincts and never underestimate the power of your love. It gives you more influence over your teenager than (s)he lets on.

And a word of advice? Don't get used to seeing clothes hung in closets. They will most assuredly be thrown on the floor.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you [ think (s)he] may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing . James 1:4

Dawn C. Gonzalez

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

my friend annie and i try to walk every week, and while we do,
we have some lively conversations.  it's really too bad that the
four presidents inaugurated in our walking lifetime have never
sought our sagacious advice.

here's what we would say to :

george bush . . . excellent wife!

bill clinton . . . tsk, tsk

george W bush . . . we adore your wife!

obama . . . lovely wife . . . and those amazing arms!

we think that the man is only as esteemed as the woman beside
him.  we believe that our husbands should be able to trust us to
speak the truth to them in grace.  we hope that they will only
find happiness in OUR arms.

as to matters of state, we emphatically agree with the psalmist.

"my heart is not proud, o Lord.
my eyes are not haughty;

i do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

but i have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

o israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore."
psalm 131


Monday, January 24, 2011

monday's mommy mentoring moment-guest post by janette!

one of my favorite treasures in blogland is janette's sage.  her
deeply inspiring spiritual saga frequently collides with hilarious
anecdotes that make my day.  enjoy!

Bubbles - What Works for One Doesn't for Another

google image

After 27 years of parenting six children and absorbing countless parenting seminars and books, the one thing I can say that has held true is, “what works for one doesn’t work for another.”

Each of my children went through what I call the “potty mouth” stage of early childhood.  To discourage this talk, I would march them to the bathroom, while instructing on what should and should not come from their mouths. Each time, I would put a dot of soap on their tongue.  They were not allowed to spit it out and I would explain, “if you are going to  have dirty words come out of your mouth then we need to wash your mouth out.”  This was very effective on the first two....but I must add one of those is in his twenties now and probably could use a trip back to the bathroom.

Our third child entered the world quiet, gentle and passive, yet wanting the admiration of his two older brothers.   He had an eager audience when he entered the “potty mouth” stage, who would encourage him with giggles and applauds for his new vocabulary.  I, again, started down the hall, marching him to the bathroom, repeating the same past instructions given to his siblings.  The siblings followed, anticipating the nasty taste in his mouth that they had experienced AND delighting in the correction of their sibling. (I know THEY had heart issues also...we live in a fallen world.)

Instead of the repentance of a lesson learned, my mild-mannered, non-strong-willed son (most of my kids are), stepped out of the bathroom to put on a show...which was very uncharacteristic of him.  
HE STARTED BLOWING BUBBLES OUT OF HIS MOUTH!!!  His older brothers hit the floor, rolling in laughter....and I have to admit I joined them.  He learned his lesson, but it wasn’t from my method of teaching... it was from a change in his heart.  He still at times will shock us all by doing something so out of character to bring his family a smile.

Lesson learned - What works for one doesn’t always work for the others.

“Train up a child in the way HE should go....” - learning what is right for each child is a challenge, but God made them individuals and He will instruct the parents on the way to train each one.