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

Thankful Today

Hi Friends– Here’s my morning yesterday– I walked by those freesias on the table and was surprisingly thankful to see them fresh and bright.  I didn’t plant them.  Someone before us in this house did.  But for 23 years, jugfuls have popped up every spring.  They’re a gift every year.

And it made me thankful– for small things all day.  Sitting in the sunshine eating frozen yogurt with my mom.  Face timing with Lois (and her mom while she folded the laundry).  Green hills and snow on the mountains to the north.  A quiet dinner at the kitchen table with Larry.  Bright funny friends who come in on Monday nights to talk & pray.  And rest at the end of the day knowing God’s great love and mercy.

There’s more. But that’s enough to fill a heart. So thankful.

Evermore the Same

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So thankful that God is always the same–his goodness, love and mercy are never ending.  It’s a comfort.

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
—Psalm 100:5

**photo from a morning walk this week (unusual clouds here in so. California)
**Spurgeon quote from Jesus-is-for-you.tumblr.com –thanks!

Lasting Love

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Helen and Stu with us at Yogurrtland (family hang out!) last spring

Hello friends– I want to slip one more family event into this little blog/scrapbook.  This week we celebrated Larry’s parent’s 68th wedding anniversary!!  They were married on January 9th, 1949– a day remembered here for it’s unheard of snowfall in Long Beach, where they were married.

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Stu & Helen waiting for the start of grandson Adam’s wedding where Stu gave a beautiful blessing to the young couple  

Just one story– Last November I sat with Stu at the hospital waiting for the replacement of Helen’s pacemaker.  When the nurse came to wheel her off to the operating room, I watched Stu bend over to give her the sweetest reassurances and kiss her before she was taken.  His tender care for her in these last years has taught us all the depths of lasting love.

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Stu & Helen meeting new baby Lois this Christmas time

So Happiest Anniversary Stu & Helen.  God bless & keep you.  Here’s to a wonderful year with all the family ahead…  We do love you both!!

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Our Stu & Helen a few years back at their Big Bear Cabin

 

New Years Hope

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“Yet hope returns
when I remember
this one thing:

The Lord’s unfailing
love and mercy
still continue,

fresh as the morning,
as sure as the sunrise.
The Lord is all I have,
so in him
I put my hope
–Lamentations 3:21-24

Hello all–   My only real resolution this year is more of a reflection–to remember these words.  If I wake up in the morning, remembering my hope is in God’s unfailing love and mercy, everything else will make sense.

Like the last three days.  I have been painting the study a pale gray.  And let’s just say it’s not going well.  By the time Larry got home tonight I was pretty grumpy (and paint spattered).  But if I can stop and measure that against the merciful daily love of God– paint’s not such a big deal.   I’m hopeful for all he has ahead for me (even if it’s not a beautiful study).  Thankful.

photo: Wisconsin lake from our trip last summer.