Friday, April 30, 2010
Our garden is filling up. We have: peas, watermelon, lots of lettuce, strawberries & tomatoes. Today I added potatoes. I've never planted them before, but I had a handful of softening potatoes in the pantry with lively-looking eyes, so I thought, "why not?" Julia helped. We put in 25 potato pieces with at least one eye apiece. We'll see what happens with that! If nothing, then I've lost nothing!
Our neighbor lent us the use of his gas-powered wood splitter. Adam has been having fun with it ALL. DAY. LONG. Peter did a little splitting too:
Julia shows off the wood. That long line of split wood is probably only 1/3 of what we'll end up with.
And this? Well, this is Mama's spot, while all this work is going on!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I think that last one is adorable, with the dappled light playing on her dress. It's hard to believe she's 18 and so grown up. She has always been a little, petite princess. It's hard to let them go!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Adam has a brilliant idea for a new diet for us both: whenever one of us feels hungry, we should just kiss the other one, and that will distract us from food! Haha -- typical male idea!
Monday, April 26, 2010
(That's Ron, with Peter, Sandy and Anna.)
An 18 year old girl accidentally banged his back left corner and really smashed it up. Her car was even worse:
Adam says her tie rod must have broken, and this might have actually caused her to run into Ron's car.
Poor girl! She was very distraught! But it gave us a good opportunity to meet our neighbors (they live around the corner), talk with sweet Christian people who love the Lord, show ourselves (well, actually Ron did) to be gentle, kind and forgiving, and all in all, it was some fun neighborly excitement that unfortunately also produced a broken vehicle. Maybe next time we'll meet in happier circumstances!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The man of the house turned 44. Now, for a little while, he's only TWO years younger than I am :)
And tonight Peter is going to his first prom. Here he is with his date.
And here is a great shot of him in front of my rose bush. I wanted to take pictures of the couple here also, but it started to rain before his date arrived here, so we had to use the front porch, as you see above. He's a good-looking young man, if I do say so myself!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Underneath the monkey bars, it's cool and green, a little cave. Julia likes to play in here.
Yellow roses against white azaleas.
Our lettuce is up! We had some last night in our fajitas.
Sandy is enjoying the spring. Isn't she cute with her little white tail-end?
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wasn’t Naomi fortunate to have Ruth? Sometimes we forget about Naomi, in the face of Ruth’s compelling story, her blessing in finding Boaz, her nobility in David’s line. Naomi seems only the vehicle to get Ruth to Judah, a sad older woman who finds unexpected joy in a foreigner.
One-fourth of “Ruth” is devoted to the study of Naomi. She endures, in the span of a little over 10 years, famine, removal from her nation, the deaths of her husband and both her sons. She is left with no protection, no provision, no companionship. Even in her daughters-in-law, she sees young girls who don’t belong with her. She is old, hopeless, Jewish. They are young, fresh, ready to marry again. What do Moabite women have to do with a Jewish widow? Her loneliness consumes her. She returns to Judah only because she hears rumor that God has begun to bless the people there again. This is her last family connection, a broken distant one.
And God? Yes, she knows him. But she describes their relationship like people do who have been tested and broken by struggles. “The hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.” Naomi doesn’t see her trials and losses as random events, nor as punishment for her sin, nor as the natural course of life. She knows that God has designed her trials for her. In a series of deliberative, intentional acts, God afflicts her. He throws oppressive burdens on her back – one, then another, then a few more. She collapses under the weight of her despair. “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me; the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me.” This is her own God, the only one she has. She is returning to her people, the people who belong to this God. She is returning to him, and more than before tying herself to him, in spite of his oppression of her. Why?
This question must be asked, because Ruth does the same thing. Watching Naomi, listening to her describe her God, Ruth volunteers to claim this afflicting Deity as her own. “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” Ruth might as well say, “I’ve watched the horror that is your life for the past decade. You say your God did this to you. Well, I want that God for myself too.”
What kind of lunacy possesses these women?
What kind of God possesses the power to turn your life to ashes and bow you to the ground? The same kind of God who can then reverse all those losses. If he’s powerful enough to do one, he’s powerful enough to do the other. He is the redeeming God – the one who turns losses to gains and reclaims all things of his that seem beyond hope. Naomi’s story is all about redemption, just as Job’s is: how much can God strip from a human, and then return? How much will a human, in his despair, still look to God for redemption, because there is hope nowhere else? Naomi must have thought these thoughts as she dandled little Obed on her knee.
When we suffer, we must acknowledge that God’s hand gives the suffering. We must admit that, without the affliction we would have neglected to think of God. Then we must hold that afflicting hand and trust that it will return to us all that is lost. There is no other way.
Naomi’s friends said of baby Obed, “A son has been born to Naomi!” – a replacement, a redemption, for the sons she lost. She is no longer Mara; she is Naomi again.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Had to insert this one too, b/c there's my tall son, looking on.
Adam watched the professional tree-taker-downers who came to our neighbor's house and removed huge trees in his yard. Then he figured out exactly where he wanted to lay this tree trunk down, in our front yard. He got it within inches -- which is good b/c there were electrical lines/pole beside it, and a street next to it, not to mention our other neighbors' yard and shrubs. I was sitting in our living room and felt the heavy THUD as it hit.
What else is falling? Well, all the glorious pink blossoms from our neighbor's tree! Each year they make a magic carpet. The effect when they fall is like pink, drifting snow. Adam and I stood and kissed each other as they fell yesterday onto our shoulders.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I lifted these pictures from facebook, and they are so small! But hopefully they give a glimpse of the development of a winsome, beautiful, sometimes-sassy young girl who is dearly loved, and lovely:
Happy Birthday, dear!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Of course, coveting doesn't apply only to material possessions. I'm far past desiring my friend's Corvette, or his beach house, or his pool. I can see from watching others that those things aren't making them happy. But what about your friend's job, or his attitude toward life, or his wife -- you know, his life. Have you ever coveted someone's life?
This, I think, is where the rubber meets the road. We pine and complain about our lives; we look at others' seeming happiness; we desire it.
Recently I heard someone bemoan her marital state. After a gruelingly long, sad divorce, she is realizing she spent many years with someone who made her feel terrible. After some heart-to-heart talks with old male friends (now, sadly, unavailable), she realizes there are nicer men in the world, men who would have made her feel affirmed, loved, free, confident. Men who wouldn't have been such "downers." She, perhaps, is coveting men that she can't have, longing for something she hasn't had, doesn't have.
Covetousness is a lying sin. We look at something distant from us and imagine what it would be like if it were in our possession. How can I tell this woman that the man she desires might not be so kind/loving/affirming if he were married to her? That he is so wonderful because of the woman and marriage he chose? How can I tell her that the man she DID marry might have become a different person, if he'd not been married to her?
That desired object could turn to ashes in my hands.
Instead of wishing for things out of our grasp, we should spend our days making sure that the little scraps and rags of life we do hold, are made more beautiful, more good, more precious to us, in our holding them. This will keep coveting at bay.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Pooch protection. There were lots of runners on the beach, but this was the only human/dog combo I saw.
These interesting pals are called Bouviers. Majestic beasts, and also recently trimmed of their long locks.
A pair of Dachshunds, making new friends:
I saw this pair of Huskies several times. Very sweet fellows. Wouldn't you think they'd be uncomfortable out in the sun, with all that coat?
We miss our Sandy, but we know she's having a blast at home with her friend, Penny.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Toes in the sand
Julia has loved her boogie board.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
How I wish I could say such a thing, but I can't. We will move again, and maybe again after that. We will always move in search of employment, because work is hard to find for some people. Not for my friend -- he's a successful businessman with his hand in multiple enterprises. That kind of money security must be very pleasant.
And I wondered about the vocations we value. Who makes the most money, and therefore has (generally) the most job security? We all know the list: doctors, lawyers, bankers, politicians, dentists. We pay people well to come into our broken lives and fix things; mend my sick body, get me out of this legal bind, make my money grow, repeal that horrible law, straighten my kids' teeth.
And I wonder if we value most those occupations that are designated to mitigate the effects of the fall in our lives. I think we pay a lot for that.
Think of it: how much time do we spend trying very hard to make a little heaven, a little Eden, of our lives? The beautiful lawn. The comfortable, welcoming, safe home. The security of never worrying about money. The enjoyment of God's beautiful, pristine creation in places where it's not been soiled. I'm sure I could go on with that list! And this effort is a good thing; it shows that our longings are healthy and alive -- we know little bits of what heaven should be, and we want it. We want it now. We'll pay people quite a bit, just to get a watered-down taste of it.
How DO we lay up treasures for the New Earth? Jesus tells us that trying to lay up those physical treasures here is a mistake. But do we only lay up heavenly treasures with spiritual acts of goodness and kindness? Bible study? Church-going?
What WILL we do in the New Earth, and is it valuable for me to be doing those things now? Are those valuable activities? What does one do in a perfect world? Stitch up torn legs? Sue for divorce? Pull teeth? Clean up vomit from the bathroom floor? Cry about lost employment and look for work? Fear for losing a house and sock away cash? Of course not.
I'm afraid that the vocations we value on this earth, and pay so dearly for, and praise ... and envy ... will be of no value, of no significance, in the New Earth. Is it good to want our lives here to be better? To pay our bankers and doctors? Sure -- they're working hard to reverse a little of the fall in this poor world. But let's not fool ourselves into EVER thinking that their work is laying up treasures in heaven. It doesn't point us to heaven; it reminds us of hell.
I want to remember to value also the cooks, bakers, vintners, singers, dancers, growers of plants, and lovers of beauty in the world. We don't always pay them much, and work can be hard to find. But in their employments they will slip easily into that heavenly life. Perhaps that, too, is "laying up treasure."
*(Here's the poem I referred to above.)
What To Do
The lawyers, doctors, dentists
Loggers, congressmen, firemen,
Butchers, prosecutors, garbage men
Police officers, judges, air traffic controllers,
Crossing guards, wardens, janitors
And social workers, among others,
Will have nothing to do.
The bakers, however, with the painters,
Designers, writers, storytellers,
Librarians, photographers, dancers
Sculptors, musicians of all stripes, farmers,
Glass blowers, hair stylists, and all creators
Of beauty will be very busy there.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Here she is, sitting in front of my in-laws' Christmas tree several years ago. She was such a regal animal, noble and elegant. She was a real lady.
Her full name was Autumn's Dappled Lace Princess.
Here she is with Julia, just before we moved to Statesville.
I have other digital shots of her, but they are backed up and I'll need to access them on a separate drive. I'm hoping to do another post of her with puppy pics too, but I'll need to scan them.
We love you, Lacey!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Here the girls posed on one of the bronze statues that littered the park.
I thought this fellow was so noble-looking. It was harder to get good shots than at some zoos, because they really have large landscape exhibits, with dense foliage between humans and animals. Mr. Zebra obligingly looked up several times.
Julia and Ruth pretend to be baby dinosaurs?
The polar bear was a huge attraction. By this time, our feet were very tired. This is an extra-large zoo, and much trekking about is required to see every last animal. We did not quite make it to the final wolves!
Julia and Ruth have been best friends since early in 2nd grade, and even though they no longer attend the same school, they've maintained a sweet, close friendship.