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!