Kindnesses

Hello all– The flu bug has finally hit here at our house.  How about with you??  (hope not!)  But one benefit of being down is all the kindnesses the come.  Larry making mugs of tea, inquiring phone calls, get well texts…   It’s reminding me of the importance of small kindnesses.

Here’s a few thoughts about kindness I came across:

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” – Mother Teresa

“Kind words produce their own image in men’s souls; and a beautiful image it is. They soothe and quiet and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to be used.” Blaise Pascal

“Nothing,” wrote Tolstoy, “can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.”

“Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15

So true.

P.S.  The photo is of our grand-guy Eero helping his newly walking cousin make her way through the arboretum.

Keeping it Simple

Hello All– After a fine, very full Christmas time, things just got real quiet around here.  I’m ready for simple.  Simpler meals.  The house cleared of Christmas clutter.  A emptier schedule.  Shorter to-do lists.

So while I love the fresh start chance to make those New Years Resolutions, I want to keep it simple.  I have just two resolves.  Love God– think on him, talk to him, love and worship with all my heart, rest in his love for me.  And second, Love People–  Imagine what would make them feel loved, cared for and do all I can for them…

If I can do those two, it’s enough.

“Love the Lord your G0d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbor as yourself.”  –Jesus (Mark 10:30-31)

P.S.  The photo above are two people we truly love, Jac & Jackie, hiking in Wisconsin last summer.

Christmas Hope

Blessed Christmas to you friends–  This has been such a full Christmas season for us–real joy sitting around a beautiful table with our SF family this past week,   cheerful -if not totally melodic- caroling with the lovable neighborhood kids, watching Larry tell the Christmas story as a shepherd in our church’s Bethlehem Walk…

And there’s been deep sadness walking with a with a friend as her husband suffers dearly, our son’s family still evacuated because of the wildfires, a serious eye injury to a close friend and continued legal stress…

Life is complicated.

But these Christmas lyrics have stuck in my mind– “The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”   I’m thankful to know that thrill.  There’s hope and deep joy in walking with God in these days.

Hoping for the thrill of God’s hope and moments of true joy for you and your family this Christmas.

Extraordinary Love

“We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”     —Jean Vanier   (founder of L’Ache)

Hi friends– In these full days of Christmas there are so many ordinary ways to love– preparing a warm breakfast or taking an extra loaf of cranberry bread to a neighbor, reading a Christmas story with a grand-girl at the end of the day or calling a friend who needs to talk about now.  Not grand acts of love, but simple everyday kind of loving.  It’s what we’re here for– ordinary acts of extraordinary love.

“Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.”  —  Ephesians 4:2

P.S.  Thanks to blogjadore..tumblr for the photo.

Rethinking Christmas

Hello Blog-Friends:  If you’re like me, you might have a whole lot of expectations (I prefer to call them “hopes”– it sounds kinder) about Christmas ahead–what the best Christmas should look like to you.  It’s all about lists.  Making them & checking them twice.

But this year we’ve had a shift.  Last Monday, our son called from Ojai.  They were pulling out from home, evacuating because of the wildfires closing in on their small community.  The family finally made their way down to our house, and we spent some days watching blazes on t.v. news and checking Facebook posts detailing damages.

The school where Micah teaches lost the science building (his physics lab & robotics program) and the girls’s dorm burned to the ground.  Their home had some damage, but much was saved by fire fighters.  So thankful.

So our hopes have changed some.  Christmas will look a little different.  The to do lists are shorter.  And things that matter– being together, remembering God’s gift of his son to the world shine brighter.

I’ve been reading a daily Christmas email from my favorite blogger, Shannan Martin.  She writes it so well:

“There in the wonderful, terrible thick of December, the furniture of my heart was shifting. Things that had lurked in the shadows were snapping into focus. As Christmas drew nearer, the new rhythms of my soul were bumping against my old ideas about how to celebrate, why we celebrate, and what a new way of living the “thrill of hope” might look like practically.

Basically, I cleaned out my Christmas closet. I did that thing where you hold up each old shirt and decide if it still fits, and whether or not it’s worth the space it occupies.”

So my Christmas hopes for you (and me) are that we’re able to see that “thrill of hope” and rest in God’s love for us in the middle of all the Christmas storm of activity.  Merry Christmas Blessings to you, dear friends.

P.S. To find Shannan’s blog and the link to her “12 Ways of Christmas Emails” click here.  I think you’ll love her as much as I do.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Hello dear friends–  Our house if full today.  Lulu’s come in the door with her arms full of chocolate cake, stuffing, sweet potatoes and her legendary dinner rolls.  The great grandparents are settled on the sofa and 4 little grand-girls are squealing around the house.  Pretty perfect!

I’m hoping you’re sitting down around the table today with people you hold dear.  I hope there’s hugs and laughs and extravagant thanks for the blessings of this year.

And so truly thankful for you all who read this little blog– it’s a joy to have blog-friends to talk with from near and far.

“Give thanks to the Lord, … Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts. Glory in his name.  Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”                –1 Chronicles 6:8-10

P.S. thank you to pandagun.tumbler.com for the turkey graphic

Walking Each Other Home

Hello all–  Thinking through blessings this November, reasons for thanksgiving.  And what comes to mind are the people around us–friends near and far, who share life with us.

Love what Tim Keller wrote:
“Spiritual friendship is eagerly helping one another know, serve, love and resemble God in deeper and deeper ways.”

It’s Jenni handing me a worthwhile book and some sage advice, Jackie stitching up a “family blanket” for us, Lynn walking with me in the mornings sharing her studies, Jenon texting early morning encouragement. It’s Joanne talking though daunting medical concerns and trusting God in it all and Kim rounding us up to make meals for foster kids.  It’s friends (& family) who trekked to Wisconsin to celebrate our Laurel & John’s wedding.

These are the people I want to spend a life with.  I recently heard a TED talk with Anne Lamott– she told about people “walking each other home.”  That’s it.  So thankful to walk my way home with the people God has given us.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love… Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”   Romans 12:10 & 15

P.S. photo of Wisconsin farmland from last summer.