Sunday, December 23, 2012

what do you treasure?

dear emily,

"an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone
around them, and they were terrified.  but the angel said to them, 'do not
be afraid.  i bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.
today in the town of david a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the
Lord' . . . and mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her
heart."   luke 2:9, 10,19

we choose what to treasure and ponder.

merry Christmas,

ps.   "angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the plains . . . "

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas cantata

dear emily,

the Christmas cantata was the best ever!   we had three packed services
and hardly a wobbly moment in any song.   a few times people were
dancing in the aisles which has to be a first.    hans had recorded  the
passages from luke one and two, and his voice had such resonance that
it sounded like the great and terrible oz of Christmas.

there were so many wonderful moments in the concert, but my favorites
were looking out at the sanctuary filled with families dressed in holiday
red and green.   children stood at the balcony rail on tiptoes bouncing to
the trombones, violins, and drums (a full orchestra is hidden beyond the
choir loft rail.)  

some faces were shining with joy.   others with tears.    most of my joy
is mingled with tears these days.  

merry Christmas,

"for unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

less is more, sometimes

dear emily,

i decorated the house with all my favorite Christmas treasures, but i wasn't
happy with the result.   then i remembered a famous coco chanel quote.

"after accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on."

so,  i removed four calling birds, three french hens, and two turtledoves.   the
partridge wouldn't budge.   'less is more' is usually the best idea with design,
make-up, jewelry, recipe ingredients, words, and most things.

 . . . but not with some things.

"after accessorizing with faith, hope, and love, pour on a lot of generosity,
kindness, and compassion."

merry Christmas,

"o come, o come Immanuel."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

lo, how a rose e'er blooming

dear emily,

i was working at my computer when i noticed a lovely pink hue to the
room.   looking out the kitchen window,  i gasped at the reddish-rosy
glow in the sky.    while taking pictures, i couldn't believe that it was
december 1st, 80 degrees, and my roses were still blooming.

then i thought of one of my favorite Christmas hymns, "lo, how a rose
e'er blooming."

lo, how a rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung?
of jesse's lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
it came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night

isaiah 'twas foretold it, the Rose i have in mind;
mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
to show God's love aright, she bore to us a Saviour,
when half spent was the night . . .


700 years before the birth of Christ, "therefore the Lord himself will
give you a sign:  the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a
Son, and will call him Immanuel."   isaiah 7:14

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

a little competition . . .

dear emily,

yippee!    i love that all the music in the stores is Christmas music.   it's the
only time of the year that i can hear the name of Jesus everywhere i go.

speaking of music, i have started a little competition in choir to help us
memorize the 20 songs we will sing at the Christmas cantata.   the section
with the most people to memorize it all, wins something . . . bigger than a
candy cane but smaller than a mercedes.    the sunday after i put the 'match'
on the blackboard, i found this:

sopranos:        2
altos:              2
tenors:  37, 478
bass:              0

boys never grow up.

google image


"hark, the herald angels sing: glory to the newborn King!"

Friday, November 23, 2012

dear emily,

how do you keep your five kids' activities straight?   i have fleeting
nightmares memories of forgetting my five kids' piano lessons and
basketball practices.   when i went out of town, i color-coded the
calendar (blue: isaac, red: shelby, orange: max, green: sunday, purple:
hailey) for the baby sitterto take them where they needed to be.

now,  i really only have two people's activities to keep straight but
tend to record dates in my calendar on the wrong day, week, or month.  
i had thanksgiving down for november 30th.

i sent sunday lane a message saying, "only two more days until you
come home!"   she replied, "mom, i don't come home for four more
days."  bummer.

oh well, i haven't noticed that the world stopped revolving from my
disorganized issues.    it seems that our five adult children are doing a
better job than their mom, and i always prayed that they would surpass
me in every way.  


"order my steps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me."
psalm 119:133

Sunday, November 18, 2012

my favorite tree and holiday

dear emily,

thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because the only presents are
the homemade dishes prepared by beloved family members.  "all i
want for Christmas" is jenny's sweet potato casserole.

i used to resent that Christmas horned in on thanksgiving, until we
stopped celebrating halloween.   the thanksgiving season now begins
in september.   two lovely months of anticipating turkey and dressing.

my favorite holiday is always ushered in by the bright yellow leaves
of my neighbor's glorious gingko tree.   they turn their brilliant color
and fall off all at once.   i should gather some leaves to brew a gingko
tea which is supposed to enhance memory and concentration.

i love that the 'memory' tree is in its glory as we spend time with our
loved ones, remembering His goodness.

happy thanksgiving,

"serve the Lord with gladness, come into His presence with
thanksgiving."   psalm 100

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

do not read if you are under 40, thin, or gorgeous!

dear emily,

i like beautiful clothes.   there, i said it.   why have i tried to deny it or have
i been ashamed of it?

because self-indulgence is repugnant and sinful.   there, i said that.  so, how
do we celebrate something we enjoy without crossing the railroad tracks
into muddy places?   we each have to lay that before the Lord and let Him
lead us.   He gave me a simple plan.   i'd love to hear what yours is.

as a 54 year old woman, i have had a difficult time finding attractive clothes
that are flattering to my not so perfect figure, but  j.jill has some mix and
match pieces that are favorable and not excessively expensive.   when i
first saw them on the hanger, i was skeptical, but every time i wear them, i
get compliments.

google image

google image

 . . . but that's because i'm in sweatpants at all other times.


"the Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty . . . and is armed with strength."  psalm 93:1

Sunday, November 11, 2012

teach for america

dear emily,

hans and i hosted 20 'teach for america' teachers for dinner last week, and
it has taken me that long to recover.   these kids (teachers) are fresh horses
placed in some of the worst stables in our country, and they get worn down
pretty quickly.

after dinner, they shared some of their experiences:

"remember that kid in your school who was always in trouble at the
principal's office (i thought of my husband) . . . that's all thirty of the kids
in my class."

"my kids come to school hungry, without jackets and without hope."

"i walked into my kindergarten classroom to find desks and nothing else
 . . . no paper, no crayons, no blocks,  no nothing."

get the picture?   so, i have been praying and thinking for days.    here's
my best plan:  assign each new teacher to a church who will have people
willing to fill in the 'paper, crayon' gap and encourage the teacher with
prayers and assistance.

do you have any ideas?


"whatever you do unto the least of these, you have done unto Me."
matthew 25:40

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


dear emily,

many people in our great land are disappointed this morning.   they worry
about the rights of the most vulnerable, unborn children.    they have been
called misers, when secretly they give tremendous amounts of their income
to help the poor and needy . . .  before they give a huge chunk to the

many more citizens are ecstatic.   they have a champion for gay marriage,
reproductive rights, and government assistance to the poor and needy.    they
see hope for the underdog and justice for the down trodden.   i understand
their joy.

the community i worry about are the cynics, the ones who believe that we
are all motivated by self interest.    they don't trust our sincerity or our
integrity.   they are suspicious, pessimistic, and fatalistic.    they poke fun at
our hurt and deride our happiness.  "first of all, you must understand that in
the last days scoffers will come . . ."   2 peter 3:3

i would rather have hope.


"hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our
hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."  romans 5:5

Monday, November 5, 2012

how many scrolls?

dear emily,

once upon a time, in a faraway land, people used to read real life books.   we
would lift the tome, feel its leather binding, open the beautiful cover, and
bury ourselves inside.  in those days, someone might say, "david copperfield
is 974 blissful pages long."

but now iPhone/iPad readers say, "the short story is 12 scrolls."

that sort of reminds me of the time Jesus walked into the synagogue in
nazareth and stood up to read the scroll.

google image

"unrolling it, He found the place where it is written:
the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor. . . "  luke 4:18

is there really anything new under the sun?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

to tea or not to tea

dear emily,

i just visited one of my favorite blogs, darcie's special blend, and enjoyed
her ode to tea.   the ritual and decorum of tea drinking is such a soothing
tradition.    heating the water, measuring the tea leaves, adding lemon,
honey, or milk, and gently resting the spoon in the saucer is an act of love
for many.   if you pour the special brew into gorgeous antique china cups,
tea lovers are over the moon.

my mother in law used to host the sweetest tea parties for her grandchildren,
serving apple juice in tiny beatrix potter china.   she made delicious paper
thin  cookies with a giant pecan on top.   it took all my self control not to
gobble them all up.

as tasty as tea is,  i just like coffee better.   give me a heavy mug with a
smooth lip, then fill it with rich, dark joe.   if  you add a dollop of cream,
vanilla paste, and raw sugar, you will have to call the pound to get rid of me.

just make sure they have a strong cage.


"and hope does not disappoint us, because God has POURED out His love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."  romans 5:5

ps.   personalized sketches and my friend ronda roush both won my giveaway!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

my eyes were dry

dear emily,

i was studying the scriptures to encourage a young woman who asked me to
be her titus 2:4 older woman.   when i was young, there were only one or two
older women available for that, and i desperately needed the mentoring.

while flipping the pages of my bible back and forth, the Spirit of God
descended, and i was undone.   that hasn't happened in a while . . .  and that
shows the state of my crusty heart . . .  which demonstrates His mercy.


how long has it been since you felt the Lord's presence wash over you?   it's
better than the sweetest honey on the comb or the finest wine.


" . . . I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of
flesh . . . they will be My people, and I will be their God."  ezekiel 11:19

Thursday, October 25, 2012

super fun give away

dear emily,

some friends have invented the most ingenious device!   i only wish someone
had invented it when my kiddos were babies.   i bought a dozen to give as
baby presents.   the young inventor has put all "his eggs" in this basket, and it
would be so great to help them out some more.

the super cute little straps keep carseat straps to the side for MUCH easier
placement of the baby.   no hunting around for them!    i love them so much
that i want to give away a pair to YOU.  

if you comment, your name goes in the basket once.  
if you look at the video and comment, you get twice as many chances.  
if you repost this at your blog, you get a FOR SURE 'side kick!'

check out the website and let me know if you're interested!


ps.  heck, i'll probably give away a pair for a funny joke.

Monday, October 22, 2012


dear emily,

ok, back to our trip!   we flew from florence to london, landing just 20
minutes after our youngest and her best friend.   hailey and hunter were
a little wobbly after their transatlantic coach flight.   while i was jabbering
excitedly about italy, hailey closed her eyes for a second and then fell
dead sleep in a nanosecond.

our hotel was beautiful, but the girls' room was not ready, so they crashed
on our bed.   while they were snoozing (snoring), the receptionist called
to say she would like to treat the girls to a penthouse suite, at no extra

hunter & hailey in our normal room

hans put his hand over the phone and asked, "have you ever heard of a girl
named bianca or reanna?"


apparently, she had stayed in the same 'room' a few days before.   if you
don't know who that is, google her.   that's what hans had to do.  :)

hunter and hailey in a rihanna sized room

so, imagine two 20 year old college students, accustomed to yucky dorm
rooms, peeking into the magnificence of a penthouse, accustomed to rihanna.
there was a lot of squealing, i can tell you.   then the doorbell rang, and we
met their personal BUTLER.

here's a little tour.   london will have to wait until next time.

75 white roses in the entry hall

breakfast room

strategizing in the sitting room

hailey claimed the shower

rooftop view of their city for ten weeks

good grief.


"now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask
or imagine . . . "  ephesians 3:20

Thursday, October 18, 2012

grandma goldie

dear emily,

i have written about the precious legacy of my two grandmothers, one was
truth and the other grace.   grandma goldie was grace.   she affirmed every
atom in my being and let me read as long as i wanted.   she never said, "you
need to get outside and get some excercise."

the day of her funeral was one of the loneliest of my life.   i kept looking
for her to comfort me, but she wasn't there.   as a 38 year old woman, i sat
in a sunday school chair by myself and cried myself sick.

fortunately, i get glimpses of her in my daughters from time to time, and i
am grateful to the Lord for "His mercies are new every morning." (lam. 3:23)

in the sleepy colorado town that we love, we dug a large pond and were
told to name it.   so we did:


once i was shopping in aspen and stumbled into a heavenly store:

thank you, Lord, for sweet memories,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

best friends

dear emily,

i read so many facebook posts in which women say, "my husband is my
best friend."  that is wonderful . . .

but mine isn't.   my best friends are female.   they wear make up and bras.
they cry when i cry and laugh at my dorky girl jokes.   they understand
when i get all angsty, jealous, and bloaty.

they tell me when my shoes don't work with that dress and if that dress
makes my backside look BIG.   they want to hear every detail about my
daughter's trip and my son's precious new wife, the insane grocery clerk,
and the next door neighbor's dog.

why do we, as women, want to make our husbands be our best friends?  i
want my husband's best friends to be the ones to hunt, fish, and talk foot
ball with him.  I don't want to do that.  i'm content to "um huh" and nod,
but i'm really thinking about thanksgiving, the election, or whether or not
my last check hit the bank before my last deposit.

my husband is part of my soul.   he is the best side of me.   he protects
every side of me.   he eats my yucky cooking, watches my crazy sci-fi
shows, takes me on bike rides, and sits close beside me in church.   he
fathered my five children, and he sleeps with me.

and i love him,

"be devoted and give preference to one another."  romans 12:10

Friday, October 12, 2012

the intruder

dear emily,

it's been a while since i told you a good 'max' story, and there is no
shortage of them.   he is our 24 year old middle child, the one i used to
tell, "if you weren't so cute, i would kill you!"

when he was seven we were visiting his grandparents at a sleepy resort
of octagenarians.   besides the atlantic ocean, every corner was as safe
as sunday school.   one afternoon, i sent my little dennis the menace up
to our room on the third floor (306) to grab some beach towels while i
waited in the lobby with his two little sisters.

after longer than i would have imagined, he returned white as a sheet.
apparently he had accidentally gone to the second floor (206), barging
into the wrong room.   instead of our mountain of swimsuits and tennis
shoes,  he ran into two elderly ladies.

never doubting himself, he asked, "what are you guys doing in my
room . . . in your slips?"

google image


"do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have
entertained angels without knowing it."  hebrews 13:2

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

dear emily,

how does one describe the beauty of the birthplace of the renaissance?
with better words than mine.   "i saw the angel in the marble and then
carved until i set him free." (michelangelo)

google image

florence, italy is filled with angelic countenances and splendour.   one of our
tour guides said that 90% of the world's greatest art is here.  "paris and
berlin have a few nice pieces, but they are such young cities."  :)

we stayed in a villa that overlooked the city and lovely vineyards:

the roman wall begun in 12 bc

our purpose was to visit the palazzo pitti museum's showing of our
own gilcrease museum's art collection.   it was a shining moment to
be in such glorious  company.

google image

the boboli gardens behind the palace were breathtaking, but this guy
was a little scary:

you better watch out, you better not cry . . . 

i was too overwhelmed by the beauty of the gardens to capture it and
to put that in perspective, i spied this tiny garden on the other side of a
WALL.   it wasn't even mentioned on the tour.   my secret garden.

lea's garden (hee hee)

next time, london!


"He has made everything beautiful in its time."  ecclesiastes 3:11

Saturday, October 6, 2012

washington d.c.

dear emily,

hans and i just returned from a dreamy trip that started in our nation's
capital.   here's the view from our window the first morning.

if you're wondering what's behind the trees . . .

while my poor husband was working from dawn 'til dusk, i was walking
the streets.   not that way.   i got the giggles once i noticed the funny
state of our nation's shoes.    mine were the worst.

but these are NOT mine!

this gentleman met me each day at the park, but i didn't have the nerve
to talk to him.   i wondered where he would go as the weather cooled.

in a few days i will share some photos of our next stop:  florence, italy.


"all nations will be blessed through You."   galatians 3:8

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

dear emily,

while playing bridge with some friends, one asked if any of us had seen any
good movies.  another friend recommended a comedy.   i begged to differ,
mentioning that it had a pretty strong "R" rating.   she countered with the
thought that it was hilarious and really only deserved a mild "R" rating.

i spouted without thinking, "you're either "R", or you "Rn't."


"finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure . . .
think on these things."  philippians 4:8

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

dear emily,

this summer i spent several nights alone in the mountains which was
kind of scary with the bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and all.   sure
enough, one night i was awakened by a squealing cry that chilled me.
some poor animal was certainly being murdered by a predator.

when i flashed my trusty light out the window it reflected off dozens
of eyes.  creepy and not fair to the deer, fox, or chipmunks.

the next morning i heard the same cry and opened the curtains to see
not a corpse but a herd of about 75 elk!   i guess because He made
them so beautiful, the Lord didn't give them lovely voices.

i took a few terrible photos from my window having heard that elk
were skittish.   i even tiptoed onto our porch without disturbing
them, but when i clicked the camera again they stampeded down
the hill.

quite a thrill.

see the baby?

"the Lord is good to all, compassionate to every creature."  psalm 145:9

Friday, September 7, 2012

dear emily,

i have not written a single word here in weeks (i have been writing
many at another place), but three of my blog friends inspired me
today to just DO it.

sonja scolded me into it by saying, "my time was up."    then i read
her review of elaine's new book, which was convicting and uplifting.
after that i sneaked over to janette's blog and marveled at her amazing
home school day.    she accomplished more on a 'bad' day than i ever
did on my 'best' day!   sheesh.

i don't know how these incredible ladies continue to encourage and
motivate me, but i am grateful.

"go to the ant, o sluggard;  consider her ways, and be wise.   without
any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers
her food in harvest."  proverbs 6:6-8

thank you, dear ants.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a number?

dear emily,

i just read a blog post that said, "you are not a number!", and i thought,
"amen!"   i could never be a number.   those alien digits leave me cold.
i wish phone numbers could go back to "hi doris, could you please
dial phyllis for me?"

every evening at dinner, my father would receive multiple calls from
his answering service.   he never recorded a single number but could
hang up the phone and call each patient from memory.   one time i
asked him how he remembered all those telephone numbers.

"anyone ought to be able to remember seven numbers."  gulp.  well,
now it's ten!

i am not a number.   i am a word.   though small, i come from mighty
stock.   my word is as powerful as my time spent with the Word, and
i would rather memorize Him.


"in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God."  john 1:1

Thursday, July 26, 2012

her hawk

she awaits the afternoon storm with growing anticipation.   her heart
leaps at the wind's gentle keening, and she runs to the porch to watch.

google image

her hawk circles gracefully over the verdant pasture then cries possessively,
"this is my valley, and i will do what i want here!"

she knows his fierce eyes are hunting for prey, but she pretends he is calling
to her.   though, what he would say to such a pitiful creature is best left
unsaid.   as the wind increases in might, he heads into it and serfs the perfect

she wants to shout and sing but can only watch, speechless, in awe of the
grace and strength.   and then the rumble of distant thunder speaks for her.


"He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind."
psalm 104:3

Thursday, June 28, 2012

jack, the guard dog

dear emily,

i am in colorado with my dog jack, getting the house ready for hans and
the  kids.    my only rule is that jack is not allowed in the master bedroom.  
(i should say hans' rule that i am trying to support.)  even so, jack sneaks in
everyday with his ears tucked against his head only to be shooed out again.  
his perseverence is remarkable.

yesterday our property manager came to the house while i was running
errands, and he said that our guard dog was remarkable.

"guard dog?"

apparently jack growled and nipped at the poor man's heels, following
him throughout the house, and then ran in front of him to guard my
bedroom door.   he wouldn't let him in.  it seems that if jack isn't allowed
in, nobody else is either.



"the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and
forevermore."  psalm 121:8

ps.   everyone in colorado is desperate and thankful for your prayers
for rain.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


dear emily,

my friend from 'his song to sing' encouraged me to memorize scripture again,
and now i can't imagine why i ever stopped.    well, i can.   my enemy lies to
me and says, "you don't really want to do this, it will take SO much time.
wouldn't you rather think about yourself?  what to wear, how to fix your hair?"

i remind myself of the wicked witch, "mirror, mirror on the wall . . . "

anyway, now that i'm feeding the part of myself that isn't reflected in a
mirror, my soul is growing nice and fat.    if only my body would get lean.

we have a small problem with light sneaking under and around the drapes in
our bedroom.    we've tried adding light inhibiting panels to no avail, so every
morning the light finds a way in.    darkness can not overcome light, but light
certainly can shine into darkness.

i have been feasting on this very passage from john 1 and would add, "in Him
was life, and that life was the light of men."

to Light,

Monday, June 18, 2012

three little pigs

dear emily,

when our five kiddos were growing up, we had lots of fun taking them
exciting places.   staying within our four walls led to restlessness, which
led to broken windows.   it was a nice change of scenery to just get out.

managing five young children outside those four walls, created its own
conundrum.    how to keep them safe and other people safe from them!
sometimes, hans would take the boys, and i would take the girls.

one time he said, "you take the two big kids, and i will take the three
little kids."

the middle kid, max, was perplexed.   "dad, did you just call us the
three little pigs?"

so now we do.


"the demons begged Jesus, 'if You drive us out, send us into the herd
of pigs."   matthew 8:31

Monday, June 11, 2012

do you ever feel like a prune?

dear emily,

my friends and i were bemoaning the recent pruning in our lives.   will we
be pruned until we turn into prunes, wrinkly old ladies in our caskets?

i can live with that.

someone said, "you're pruned if you do and pruned if you don't," which
is better than the alternative (death.)   the vine that isn't pruned, stops
yielding sweet fruit, which is a form of death.

so i want my epitat to say:  "she was old and wrinkly but still a little fruity."


"if a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit."  john 15:5

Monday, May 28, 2012

going to the chapel . . .

dear emily,

my eldest son is getting married a week from saturday, and we are over-
joyed.   over as in "over the moon."  i chose his bride to be, and who gets
to do that anymore?   me.

she is like sunshine.   not the hot, blaring kind.   the warm and dappled
sunny kind.   he is like the rock of gibralter.   steady, dependable, and

they will be a powerful force "in the shadow of the Lord."  (psalm 91)


Monday, May 21, 2012

confusing signs

dear emily,

hailey was six or seven and practicing her reading skills on the billboards
as we drove by.  it was a tad bit annoying to her four older siblings.

"mom!   she's driving us crazy!  make her stop!"

but then we drove past a 'gentlemen's club', and it was hailey's turn to be

"uh!!!  thanks a lot, don't let us girls in!"  :)


"meaningless!  meaningless!"  says the teacher.  "utterly meaningless!
everything is meaningless."   ecclesiastes 1:2

Thursday, May 17, 2012

i was watching an episode of . . . (not telling.)  the young people were in
trouble with their landlord for hiding the fourth roomie, and  it reminded
me of an episode from my own life.

my husband and i had been married for a few years when our firstborn was
. . . born.   a few months after that, the husband enrolled in harvard's
program for management development, the PMD.  not to be confused with
the MD.

it was an intense 12 week abbreviated business program that did not allow
spouses.   period.   we didn't think he could afford to attend the usual two
year business  school, and we were confident we could do anything for 12
weasley weeks.

so, off he went to boston.    and here baby isaac and i stayed . . . until we
were all too miserable to be apart from each other.

(enter fairy godmother)

mr. PMD saw a magical notice for the subleasing of a carriage house on a
gorgeous estate in concord (not too far from harvard.)   he rented it, settled
us in it, and it was lovely.   mr. PMD was able to sneak off campus every
friday night until sunday morning.   we had lots of fun.

(enter rumpelstiltskin)

one day a terrible/horrible man appeared at my door and asked, "WHO are

apparently our fairy godmother was subletting the carriage house without
the owner's permission.   lucky for poor me, i was able to persuade old mr.
rumpelstiltskin into letting us stay for one more month.   just long enough
for my smart mr. PMD to graduate.

at the graduation, a couple of his classmates patted me on the back, because
everyone knew mr. PMD was sneaking off campus every weekend.  they
never imagined it was to see his wife and baby.

what in the world were they thinking?

the end.

i mean, the beginning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

imelda, the excessive vs. mary, the extravagant

dear emily,

you probably are too young to have heard of dear imelda, and you are
certainly not in danger of her compulsion.    she collected shoes the way
my kids used to collect tadpoles.  her shoe excess was a vivid indictment
against her self indulgent life style.   she owned 2,700 pairs!

my kids just wanted to watch tadpoles turn into frogs.

when i first heard of her exorbitance, i made a promise to myself that i
would never accumulate 'stuff'.   this may seem like a small vow, but
there have been a few temptations.  can one really have too much

i devised the simplest formula to never hoard anything besides tadpoles:
if an item comes into my house, a similar item goes out.   easy, peasy.

here is an example:   i am perusing the shoe department at bergdorf's,
drooling over the louboutins*.   if i decide that i NEED a pair, then all
i have to do is give away a pair from my closet.   i usually imagine the
rattiest running shoes.

not all excesses are evil.   can we pour too much love or kindess on
each other?  will we ever be able to express our devotion and gratitude
to the Lord?  one of my heroes is mary, who "took about a pint of pure
nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped His
feet with her hair.   and the house was filled with the fragrance of the
perfume."  john 12:3


*as a colorful illustration only.   my conscience would never let me buy

Thursday, May 10, 2012

dear emily,

twelve years ago, our oldest (eldest?) son began playing on his high school
varsity basketball team.   we didn't realize how that team would shape his
life.   we didn't realize how that team would shape OUR life.

he practiced before school at 6:30 and after school until 6:30.    because he
was technically on the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams, there were
games upon games . . . upon games.

all those hours in the gym provided him with the personal lesson that hard
work pays.  that team became the winningest team in the school's history.
those boys and their coach became our son's best friends for life.   all but
one will be at his wedding this summer.

a side benefit was the dear friends i made sitting on the bleachers.   after
graduation, we began playing basketball bridge to ensure more long hours
sitting together.   sometimes we don't even talk about our sons.  :)

last week, one of the girls said that she was going to throw out all her old,
ugly cards.

life is too short to play with ugly cards.


"therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm . . . give yourselves fully to the work
of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
1 corinthians 15:58

Sunday, May 6, 2012

bad hair day?

my husband and i went to an outdoor party a few evenings ago.   i sort of
hated it and sort of liked it.   the hate part was the hot part.   how in the
world was i supposed to fix my hair to endure a warm and muggy wind?

this led to the like part:  i didn't.  i just let it be curly and didn't try to
tame it, but i saw dozens of women wrestling with their beautifully coiffed
locks.   it was painful to see the grimaces of despair as long manes whipped
across pretty faces, dragging red lipstick in their wake.  the poor ladies
didn't have a chance.

if it had been a basketball game this was the score:
hair    76
ladies   0

i think of my hair like my husband.  i have influence, but it has a mind of
its own.


"a relaxed attitude lengthens a man's (woman's) days."  proverbs 14:30

Thursday, May 3, 2012

the light

google image

"the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."  john 1:5

Saturday, April 28, 2012

couldn't live without . . .

dear emily,

i was hemming through my day, crookedly as always, and thought of
something that i could not live without.


for lent one year i fasted books.   it was excruciating.   take my chocolate,
my desserts, my phone, but give me my books.

sometimes i have three or four books humming through my mind at the same
time.    beautiful or tragic phrases become cadences in my soul like, "sleep
was spooned into her."   other times i remind myself of elf saying interesting
words repeatedly, "francisco, franCISco, F R A N C I S CO!"

i love the silliness of amelia bedelia as much as i adore the heroism of
gentle atticus.   big books, little books, tragedies, comedies, mysteries . . .
the book i've read the most?  the Good Book.

no matter how late the doctor is for my 1:00 appointment or how long the
traffic is piled up at 51st and harvard, i have the means to escape into the
tale i keep with me at all times.   sometimes i look forward to waiting, so i
have another excuse to read.

what thing could you not live without?


"do not let this Book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it
day and night . . . "  joshua 1:8

Thursday, April 26, 2012

wow.   blogger just switched me over.
this will only take me about 100 years
to figure out.

-rip van winkle

Saturday, April 21, 2012

dear emily,

do you remember the hilarious movie, lost in america, with albert brooks and
julie hagerty?   it's about the downward spiral of a yuppie couple who sells
everything to take an adventure in an RV.   brooks is dumbfounded to realize
his wife is a compulsive gambler and has, in fact, lost all their money (the
nest egg) in a casino.  

he tells her that she is no longer allowed to even say the phrase, "nest egg."

google image

my husband adores this movie and frequently quotes the funniest lines.   he
has even coined his own for me.   last summer oklahoma endured the longest
string of unbearably hot days in the nation's history.   i only know this
through other people's accounts, because i was in colorado the entire time.

so, i am not allowed to say, "man, did we ever have a hot summer!"  i can't
even say, 'hot' or 'summer' in the same paragraph, which is a small price to
pay, really, for a summer in colorado.  

i hope this summer isn't as hot as last summer (don't tell him i said that.)


"my brothers are as undependable as streams . . . that cease to flow in the
dry season, and in the HEAT vanish from their channels."  job 6:15-17


dear emily,

i received a facebook message from a woman that my grandmother used to
mentor 40 years ago.   she reminded me from whence i came, of my godly
heritage, thereby encouraging me to step it up a little.    after i recovered
from the shame, i re'ass'essed.  (that little word is in the bible.)

it is good to stop and reflect on the state of one's condition.   mine has been
better . . . and worse.   it is harmful to compare oneself with others, though.
as i serf blogland, many seem to be putting on a very good show:   amazing
recipes, breathtaking interior designs, incredibly gifted children, bionic
husbands!   can all these women's lives really be that wonderful?

well, mine's not.   i think more of us are like lucy than bree.

if i sometimes seem flippant, it's because i am more eager to show my warts
than my lashes.  (my warts actually look better than my lashes.)    my prayer
is that when you see my frailties, you will be encouraged to think,  "if that
crazy old coot could raise a family, well then, SO can i!"

and you're doing a much better job than i did.


"let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."  1 corinthians 1:31

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

some like it hot

have you ever noticed how finely we tune the temperature of everything
we touch or eat?   our homes can easily hover around 69 degrees all
year around.   if we want to take that temperature outside, we can chill
the air with water cooled fans in the summer or heat lamps in the winter.

some of us won't drink a glass of water unless it's ice cold or swim in a
pool unless it's as warm as a bath.   my husband likes his coffee and soup
to be scalding hot . . . so hot that i can not even touch the mug or bowl.

thank goodness, that's not how he likes his wife.

i worry, though, that because we have found so many ways to keep ourselves
comfortable and insulated, we will not be prepared for trials ahead.   we are
completely dependent on our electricity, available water, heat and air,
mangos from brazil or tea from china.

our grandparents were better prepared for hardship and more capable of
taking care of themselves.   in some ways, we are like children . . . or sheep.


"all we like sheep have gone astray . . . "  isaiah 53:6

Sunday, April 15, 2012

tornadoes create strange bedfellows

dear emily,

people outside oklahoma are always surpised at our cavalier attitude toward
tornadoes.   we're as accustomed to them whirling about as the azaleas
blooming each spring.  still, they provide some interesting situations.   an
adorable young woman recently told me this tornado story.

she and her husband hired a young man to pull some weeds from  their yard
to help him raise funds for a mission trip.   unfortunately, as he was working,
a three block wide tornado tore through their town, skipping from house to
house.   the sirens sounded, and the little bride urged the young man into
their inner closet.

that is what we do in oklahoma.

after they shut themselves in, the poor girl realized that she had barricaded
herself in a closet with another man.

it could have been worse.    many people dive for the bathtubs.


"but even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed."
1 peter 3:14

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

as i walked by the huge reflective windows of a parked car, i thought,
"can i do it?"   i hate that i'm drawn to want to check my appearance, so
i set my eyes like steel away from the window and walked on by.

these are the kind of neurotic thoughts that float through my wobbly
brain.   beyond that, then i wonderered, "is it worse to look or not to
look?" . . . and then discover hours later that, yes, indeed, my hair was
sticking out all over the place like a dandelion.

google image

i read a hilarious facebook post today.   the zesty writer explained that
she slathered her face with a new sample foundation without a helpful
mirror.   later,  when she did look, her face was as white as a geisha
girl's.   not really the 'look' she was going for.

to look or not to look, that is the question.


"now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see
face to face."  1 corinthians 13:12

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

jackson at the opera

my family has a sweet, little westie named jackson, who loves to lay beside
our grand piano whenever any of us are singing.   he sleeps peacefully even
when i am vocalizing.  every now and then, he will raise an eyebrow as if to
say, "a little out of your range, don't you think?"

jackson, not under piano  :)

a few years ago, we were asked to host a famous tenor in our living room
for a concert.  i was a bit nervous about the preparations (removing all the
furniture, tuning the piano, valet parkers, etc.)  mostly i was anxious that
hans was going to be out of town.

at least i had jackson for support.   the house sparkled, the candles flickered,
and the flowers smelled lovely.   every seat was filled with expectant opera
lovers.   as the accompanist began the intro, i spied jackson curled up beneath
the piano.   in horror, i trotted up in front of all 100 guests and swooped him
up and out.

the next morning there was a blurb in the paper about the most important
guest not being in attendance.   we thought they meant hans . . . but no, they
wrote, "jackson didn't get to attend the concert."


"make a joyful noise unto the Lord."  psalm 100

Friday, April 6, 2012

resolute: admirably purposeful, determined, unwavering

dear emily,

good friday is a tough thing to say.   my heart wants to change it to
black friday or sad friday.   my mind has to remind it every year that
we are not rejoicing over our Lord's suffering but giving Him its value.

it was good that the Lamb lay His life down for us.    He was "the
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (rev. 13:8)  i just can
not wrap my head around that.   from the beginning?  a sacrifice that
spans time or creation?

before He created the light, separated the waters, made the animals,
vegetation, adam, and eve, " God saw that it was good."  before
that He knew that His Son would be slain for His creation?

He was resolved to die.   i  am resolved to try and understand . . . but
when i still can't, i am resolved to be eternally grateful.

and He is risen and coming again,

Monday, April 2, 2012

the head or the neck

dear emily,

it is not fashionable these days to be submissive to one's husband.  when i
was a young bride, some of us believed that if we honored our mates, and
they loved us as Christ loves His church, we would be very happy.

i was wondering, if i ask hans to lead the way down a path, who is the boss?
him, for leading?  or me, for asking him to lead?  how much does this even
matter?  we're taking a hike through our lives together.

then, i remembered the hilarious scene from my big, fat, greek wedding in
which the mother tells her daughter (aunt nodding in affirmation), "your
father may be the head of the family, but i am the neck that turns the head."

google image

not many people say, "she has a beautiful head," but, i have heard,
"she has such a lovely neck."

not about me, of course.

if i were to give a young bride and groom advice, it would be for them
both to be mutually submissive to each other in love, honor, and trust-


"finally, live in harmony with one another;  be sympathetic, love as
brothers, be compassionate and humble.  do not repay evil with evil
or insult with insult, but with blessing."  1 peter 3:8,9

Thursday, March 29, 2012

spring clean

dear emily,

i just read every word of a blog's spring cleaning steps and promptly went
shoe shopping.   as i walked out with more than one pair,  i passed a young
man looking through his car window at me.   his mouth fell open, and i know
what he was thinking:  "thank the Lord, that is not MY wife!"

for some reason, he didn't think i could see him watching me, and it struck
my funny bone.   so i bent down and said, "ssssh!" . . . like, "don't tell my
husband."  i think he was way more embarrassed than i was about my shoes.

don't believe what they tell you:  it's pretty fun being a middle aged woman,
and spring cleaning isn't so bad, either.


"then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  john 8:32

Monday, March 26, 2012

you're 'ok' and my 'ok' are not the same

dear emily,

before you were even born, i'm ok, you're ok was published to many people's
delight.  i remember being 12 or 13 and listening to my parents discuss the
wonders of the book with my uncle jim.   he especially loved the idea of every-
one being ok.

after more time than i thought was ok,  i also remember thinking, "ok, ok, ok!
can someone please take me to the mall?"

this morning my husband and i were taking a bike ride through our fine city's
beautiful streets.   he would speed through intersections, saying, "you're ok!"
this, of course, meant that i didn't need to slow down but could safely sail
right across the intersecting street.

google image

halfway across, the angel on my right shoulder said, "you can trust him.    he
loves you."

the devil on my left shoulder said, "just take a peek."   sure enough there was
a truck too close for comfort, so i sped up a bit and arrived on the other side
in one piece.

i told him, "you're ok and MY ok are not the same."


"for My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways."
isaiah 55:8