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.

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.

Still Point in the Turning World

“When something comes along that hurts us, it drives us more into God and we grow more stable because He becomes our still point in the turning world.”    –Tim Keller (author, pastor)

Some of you know we’ve been walking though difficult circumstances the last few months.  Our hope, our rest, has been in God’s faithfulness and tender care. So thankful.

“Cast all your cares on him, because He cares for you.”  –1 Peter 4:7

P.S.  photo is from our kid’s home in Ojai across the valley.

The Peace of God

Hi friends– I feel like instead of posting another cake or picture of grand-kids, I should tell you these are trying days here at our house.  I can’t really go in to details here, but we are in the most difficult times we’ve faced– and it’s likely to last a while.  We are asking God’s help day by day and remembering the enormity of his merciful, faithful love and his peace in the center of the storm.

“The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  –Philippians 4:5-7

P.S.  photo looking from Sausalito across the bay on from a couple weeks ago in SF.

Friends

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis (1898-1963  British author, broadcaster, academic–Oxford University)

Loved this soon as I read it.  I can survive the day on my own, but sharing it with people I love, true friends (you know who you are!), makes the day all the richer, makes this crazy complicated life into a journey with dear companions.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”  –I John 4:7

On Being A Mom


A cloudy day in the Spanish countryside, about 30 years ago, with little Laurel.

Hi all — I read once, that when a child is born, so is a mother…  It all begins in a haze of long nights, and a steep learning curve that includes diapers, feedings and the most delicious tender snuggles.

Then one day you realize, they’ve turned from toddlers to small kids, with long legs and minds of their own.  And for the next few years, the joy is in watching them grow and learn and stretch into the people they will become.

And finally, one day you shuttle them off to college.  But you can’t help but still be a mom, with care packages and talks about new horizons.  And when they come home to visit, it’s the best to have them at arm’s length again.

The truth is, you never stop being a mom.  My mother is 85 and I still depend on her for a listening ear and her long life perspective.  I still need her near.


With Micah and Aaron on the beach, the year we live in Costa Rica

So for Mothers’ Day, I’m thinking through my “TEN BESTS OF BEING A MOM.”  Here they are:

#1.  Can I start with reading with kids??  In the dim light of bedtime, on road trips as we roll along, snuggled on the couch–sharing a story, talking it through…

#2. Of course, I love cooking together– decorating Christmas cookies or mixing up brownies with a little kitchen dancing thrown in.

#3. Vacations!  Hiking in Sequoia, studying our way through British museums, intrepid touristing from San Francisco to New York– the most vivid memories are of times away together.

#4. Quiet bedtime talks and prayers and songs– sweet times that fill a mother’s heart.

#5. Sitting around the table, talking through the day, insisting kids eat their peas!  (would skip the eating peas part if I were starting over).

#6. Sitting in church together, singing, praying, worshipping.

#7. Walking & talking–  through the park in Seville, along the beach in So Cal, across town to Yogurtland, along the trail at Land’s End– everyday conversations.

#8. And then –there’s a special joy in watching your children become parents to children of their own, with aplomb and grace.  I marvel at what tender, smart, generous, inventive parents they’ve turned out to be!

#9.  Plus grand-kids!!  So much happiness and wonder filling up days spent with those little people.

#10. I’ll end with grown kids coming in the door for a stay–the noise, the hugs, the breakfasts at the kitchen table.   That’s happening here in a couple weeks for some bridal showers and I can’t wait to see their pretty faces!

So that’s it.  Being a Mom– I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


With Ani on her high school graduation trip to NYC.

Open Heart, Open Home


Table ready for friends to sit and eat and talk 
together.

Hi friends– The year we lived in Costa Rica, we attended a small church in a village, a bus ride and then a kilometer walk from our home.  We loved those people, who opened their church doors and their arms to us.

One Sunday Eunice asked us to her house for tea after the church service.  She stopped by a little roadside market for a couple tea bags and a small packet of soda crackers.  We sat in her small home cobbled together from scraps of boards and a tin roof,  talked over the tea from chipped cups– and never felt more cared for, more welcome.

I learned a lot about hospitality from dear Eunice.  And learned how to meet friends at the door with welcoming hugs from our buddy Jenni.  And from Tim and Jill, how to make conversation around the table sparkle. I’ve learned impromptu meals can be the best from Carmen–as we carried the table and chairs up stairs onto the roof on a sweltering summer night in southern Spain, to sit and talk and sing over plates of simple tapas.

I’ve learned from Jen Hatmaker, who wrote in her book, For the Love–

“A shared table is the supreme expression of hospitality every culture on earth.  When your worn-out kitchen table hosts good people and good conversation, when it provides a safe place to break bread and share wine, your house becomes a sanctuary, holy as a cathedral.”   (page 116)

There’s a joy to setting plates around a table, anticipating friends in the door, praying for them and the time you will spend together.  And also there’s chocolate cake–that’s always good too.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.   Romans 12: 12-13