Sunday, March 3, 2013


The boys are playing somewhere outside. They ran past me moments ago in their swim suits... they're rounding the corner with their boogie boards, now entering the pool. They don't believe the water is too cold, but my opinion is clearly different from theirs. It's OK. Andrew has a low grade fever, and since he has a history of febrile seizures, the cold water is probably good for him. He's resting on the big inflatable shark, casually paddling around the pool.

Olivia and I have our shorts on and sun hats, and we're sitting on the deck getting some sun. She's engrossed in a good book, and since I have a moment while I wait for a first coat of paint to dry, I thought this would be a fine time to start another little miscellany here on my blog. (Click here for past entries.) It's doubtful I'll get very far.

What He Said~

Jacob: "I want to be a pick-pocket when I grow up."
Me: "A pick-pocket?!"
Trader Joe's check-out guy: "Ha, Ha! That's great!"
Jacob: (slightly embarrassed) "Well, I don't want to be a dentist or a barber, so..."

Yeah, I guess a pick-pocket sounds more exciting than the other two careers. Here's Michael's squash guy representing Jacob the criminal...


Regarding My Camera and Thankfulness~

I am ever thankful to Jon for my camera. From the time I was a kid, I have wanted to learn a bit about photography. The summer I turned 14, I spent the last of my summer job earnings to buy a little $140 point-and-shoot of my own. It was special to have my own, but it quickly became apparent that this camera was rather limited in its capabilities, and the cost of regularly developing even the cheapest of film was outside of my budget.

The camera I now have has benefited me in unexpected ways. For one, it has been a discipline in thankfulness. I love how a picture can be composed to cut out the ugly, and how the aperture can be set to focus on one single subject. Learning my camera and studying the art of photography has tuned my eyes to see the world and my surroundings differently. It has helped me to find beauty in ugly places, and, in turn, to see the kindness of God in my life. God's creativity, His graces, and His affections for me are all around. I just need eyes (or a lens!) to see what was there all along.

I came across this quote by John Piper a while ago, and I thought it fit well:

"If you want to be really alert to seeing Jesus' divine beauty, his glory... then make sure you tune your senses to see his grace."

Some days, when I am overwhelmed by dust and laundry, and dirty people and things, I take out my camera and search for the beauty right in front of me. My camera lens become eyes to tune my senses to His graces, and my heart attitude shifts from discontentment to thankfulness. I pray that the Lord would give me eyes to see, and a heart to receive...

The pictures in this post are primarily from this exercise in thankfulness from the previous week.

On Prayer:

When it comes to prayer, I occasionally find myself at a loss of words. In recent years I have found that praying through Scripture has enriched my prayer life immensely. This text from Colossians 1 is a favorite, and perfect as I pray for Jon and myself, for our children. The words can be changed slightly, particularly if the individual is not yet saved.

"...We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin."

That pretty much covers it, yes?


What He Said:

Jacob: "What if you were born on your birthday? What if the whole world was born on their birthday?!"


Reasons to be Thankful This Week:

~New orange trees planted in our yard
~Spring sunshine and swirling cool breezes through warm air
~Husband who comes home unexpectedly and makes us a special lunch
~Patient daughter, example to me
~Clutter that turns out pretty anyway
~Mockingbird songs to delight a boy
~Morning surprise of 12 lizard eggs, and a boy's first business potential
~Illness that subsides without affecting the whole gang
~Fresh made mango-lemon surprise
~Sunlight through paper umbrellas
~Wind-blown hair set ablaze by afternoon sun
~Loving husband, even if he doesn't like my soup
~Backyard freedom for children, indoor quiet for me
~Truth grasped, giving greater freedom to live fully
~Sibling friendships
~Thrifted cruiser, a beach town essential
~Pretty things, even if impractical
~Pretty things that are also practical
~Freshly picked fruit


True Stories:

~ When I was 12 or 13, I was baby-sitting three kids who lived out in secluded country neighborhood. There was a summer rain storm, so the kids and I were down in the basement playroom. I kept hearing faint noises upstairs, but ignored them supposing they were storm noises. Sometime later, I heard a loud pounding at the door. It was the police. They asked if anyone had come around to the house, and then informed me of a local home invasion and assault. They told me they had reason to believe the suspect had been to the house I was in. They told me to keep an eye out for a red car of a certain description (country roads have very little traffic), and handed me a number to call. Shortly after they left, I remembered the noises. Stupidly, I pulled out a frying pan as self defense and searched the house myself in case someone was hiding out. No one was there, but I later took a ride with the police to ID a red car. (I don't remember who stayed with the kids! The police?! Poor kids.) I never did find out if they got their guy, and the folks I was baby-sitting for gave me an extra $5 in addition to their $2.50/hour rate.

~ When Jon and I were in college, we were in a department store on a Friday night. When we were leaving the store, we wondered at all the people curiously staring at us. We walked across a large parking lot, up a long flight of stairs, and into another store. Soon the police were on us; they hand cuffed Jon, patted us down, and took his backpack. We were detained for some time because apparently someone had accused Jon of shoplifting. We think it was probably when he reached into his bag to get me some water. We were sett free, and the manager of the department store later gave us a $100 gift certificate.

~When Jon and I were driving down from Canada and across the US, we ran out of gas on the interstate in Michigan at night. (It's totally normal for Jon to drive for miles on empty, but this time the weight of our load depleted the reserve much faster than expected. It must be said, however, that I had been telling him to get gas!) Before cell phones, there was nothing one could do but to get out and start walking. After walking a short distance, we got picked up by the police. They made us put our hands against the car as they patted us down, then kindly gave us a ride to the gas station and back.

~ Once in LA, we quickly became accustomed to gang activity all around us. Several times we witnessed drive by shootings from our second floor apartment kitchen window. It soon became routine: Pop, pop, pop. Wait for the police, give an account... One time the bullets even came through the windows just below us. In that neighborhood, police helicopters hovering overhead at night and shining their light across our bedroom window became normal.

~ One Sunday afternoon, as we were leaving church after a lunch meeting, we watched some guy on his bike shoot another guy on foot. My older kids still remember seeing the guy lay dead on the road. The kids and I waited right there in the car while Jon gave a report to the police. They were so little, and I kept saying, "Turn the other way, don't look."


What He Said:

As we were leaving the local middle school after a couple hours of play (frisbee games and cart wheels), the kids biked ahead leaving Andrew and I behind. Andrew responded, "Good. Now I can tell you all my secrets." My heart melted a bit...


Thoughts on Wrinkles:

My first thought regarding wrinkles is that I don't want them, and I will do whatever is reasonable to avoid them!

Wrinkles, however, are inevitable. They are proof that this sinful world and everything in it is in a constant state of decline. Did you know that a woman's face is at its prime around the age of 18, and after that it begins to age? So basically, as soon as you end childhood you start to disintegrate!

When I look at old ladies, the ones who have aged beautifully, they are not always the ones with the smoothest skin for their age. Women who age well are those who have stayed active and healthy and whose lines show years of happy living.

Wrinkles tell a story. For one, they tell some of your family's genetic story. Family members usually age with the same type of lines and droops. Wrinkles also tell the story of a life lived, whether healthfully and prudently, or abusively (i.e. smoking) and negligently. Finally, wrinkles can reveal the habitual patterns of individuals-- patterns of peace and joy, or worry and anger.

Since I am doomed to wrinkle, I do hope my lines tell of years of joy and that my face will be evidence of a lifelong trust in God's faithfulness.

I think wisdom trumps vanity when it comes to aging gracefully.


Origami Obsession:

It started with paper airplanes, then Chinese throwing stars, then simple origami. Now Andrew spends hours each week learning new designs and creating some of his own. His focus and determination is really impressive.

These tiny books are each made with a single sheet of origami paper. They now sit on an origami bookshelf.
 This tiny thing is just an example of his own creations.
Tiny little boxes.


Another True Story:

Jon and I dated for nearly four years before getting married. Jon says he knew from the very first week that he was going to marry me. Kinda crazy, I know, especially considering I was 16 and he was 17. During our freshman year in college, I actually tried to break up with him. He would have none of it, and informed me that he was on "probation" for a week. We never talked about it again, and to this day he doesn't even remember this event.


More Notes on Thankfulness:

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!"
Ps. 50:23

We must learn thankfulness...

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
 Phil. 4:11-12.

Most things we truly learn come by practice, and the hard work of learning something takes time. But there is joy that comes to those who are truly thankful! And the salvation of God? I want to see that!


Notes on Motherhood:

Engage in the life of your children. Be interested in the things that interest them. Enter into their joys and their sorrows, even when they are young and their issues seem of little importance to reality. Establish this pattern early so that when they are older they will still come to you, knowing that what matters to them matters to you.

This, I admit, is hard. Life is busy and the task faced by sinful parents to raise a brood of little sinners makes it difficult to burrow deep into a child's heart. It takes time and determination. It takes planning and prioritizing (not in a theoretical way, but in a conscious and active way). It takes wisdom.

I am striving. Failing, yes, but still striving. This week I took steps toward better listening, and made an effort to be interested in the things my kids like. Some interests we share, others not so much, but I want each of my kids to know that I value what is important to them.


So this little entry took me over a week to post! I should never have expect to get beyond a paragraph or two last Saturday! I started out planning to write a whole others set of little bits, but I ended up writing these things as the week unfolded.

Now I'm off to the local middle school with my kids and a couple of their friends!


(Thankful for a few blooms in my own yard!)

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