Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Towards a philosphy of canning...

We have had a bounty of tomatoes this year.  Here was my take at one point, before I spent a month in Houston. 

They became this...
And eventually, they become this: jars of diced tomatoes. 

Canning the produce of the garden is good, hard work, and it feels so fruitful (no pun intended!) There is something so satisfying about storing up, saving the abundance of summer for the time of want in winter.  And in addition, there were lots of tomatoes to eat and share, thus reinforcing the goodness of the labor.

If we all gardened and canned, I believe we would be a wiser people.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Emma's Baptism

We had the great privilege of being in Tucson last weekend for Emma's baptism.  This is a joyous celebration of Emma entering the covenant family of God.

Did you know it takes three women to get a baby ready for her baptism?  Two to get her dressed, and one to take pictures! Her lovely outfit (complete with crocheted gown, headband, slippers and pacifier chord, were made by Brenda Wiersma, her adopted Auntie, and it was gorgeous!

And here is our girl, all dressed and ready for her first trip to church.  Her mamma was a bit nervous about how she would do, but her grandparents have known for some time that she is an exceptional girl, and we weren't worried at all!

Here is the photogenic family after the worship service.  The baptism included all of us standing together with the two pastors as they prayed for Emma, and reminded us all of God's promises to His people.  But it was also a sober time of reflecting on the fact that as we bring Emma into this covenant family, she is obligated to follow God with her whole heart.  If she doesn't do that, she now becomes a covenant breaker. That is a sobering thought!  But Emma slept through the entire thing, just like she is in the photo above.  She did beautifully, and looked adorable the whole time.

Emma had both of her grandmothers and one grandfather standing there along with her parents.  I couldn't help thinking about Tim's baptism, and the vows we took for him when he was a baby.  God has been so gracious to answer those prayers, and to give Tim a heart of flesh to follow after Himself.  And now, that call is both extended and continued in Emma! God is so very good!

We should be seeing Emma (and her parents) again in two weeks in Virginia, when we gather there for a special wedding.  I'm not sure how we can keep coming up with excuses to see her every few weeks, but it has been a delight to see how she's already grown.  And we continue to pray for her to have a heart of flesh, not one of stone, and that she will never know a day when she didn't call Jesus her Savior and Lord.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The intersection of contentment and calling....

As I have continued to ponder the idea of contentment, I have wondered abut the place that contentment and calling intersect.  I wonder if my sense of contentment has to do with my growing sense, after 50 years of wandering in this world, of my vocation before God.  I am called to be His daughter and heir.  I am called to be a wife, mother, and grandmother, daughter and sister.  I am called to be a teacher.  Doing each of those things makes me happy.  Is that because I am following my calling, after all? I also like quilting, gardening, reading and music.  I do all those things in measure as well.  There is something powerful about following one's vocation, because it means going with the grain of our creation.  It is soothing, smooth, unique and beautiful.

But I always find myself wondering, am I feeling so content with these things not because they are my calling, but because I like them and doing them makes me more comfortable?  I mean, who wouldn't want to be well provided for, have a wonderful friend as a husband, enjoy ones family, teach and enjoy watching children learn, sit under excellent teaching in church, and garden and quilt in their spare time?  That is a blessed dream of a life.  Am I just comfortable and complacent, and naming all this my "calling" so I can indulge in all this comfort?

I hope not.  I have seen God move me out of my comfort zone time and again.  So I will be at peace where I am.  He has given me many callings in my life.  I can pursue them with vigor because He has made me to do them.  And I don't need to feel guilty about enjoying my life.  Instead, I can rest in my Lord, knowing He will move me along at the right time and in the right season.  And while I will keep watch for that move, I will live right here, right now, as He desires me to: with joy and peace.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I recently read a thought-provoking quote about contentment, or the lack of it. David Wayne said in a recent post:
I meet so many, too many, Christians who are discontent and dissatisfied with life.  I suppose in many ways I was one before my battle with cancer and I would gladly pray for all of you that you don't have to go through something commensurate to cancer to learn contentment.  But if you find the seeds of discontent in your life would you pray that God opens your eyes to the grace and kindness that surrounds you.  It's there, trust me, you are just blinded to it.
That got me looking at my contentment meter: you know, Gentle Reader, that thing that checks if I am happy, content, grateful, etc. I determined I was all those things.  And I began asking myself why.  The ultimate answer, of course, is that Jesus died for my sins, reconciled me to Himself, and provides every breath I take, along with everything else.  But I started wondering why I have such a sense of contentment right now in my life.  Perhaps my battle with cancer has somemthing to do with it, or my husband's battle with cancer before mine.  Or maybe it is the lack of a battle with cancer right now that makes my heart sing.  But I don't want to give cancer the credit.  Perhaps it is because I am, objectively speaking, incredibly blessed and have a very easy life.  But none of this satisfied me much.

You see, Gentle Reader, I don't want to be a :"fair weather fan" of my Heavenly Father. I don't want to only praise Him in the easy times. I want to be content always.  And while I guess that means in the good times along with the bad, I sometimes worry that in these good times my contentment will lead to complacency.  And I don't want that. Contentment in the bad times is somehow less disconcerting to me, because I know that I am utterly dependent on the Lord.  But these wonderful, good times, make it all so easy.

So on this Lord's Day, I am content, and trying not to be complacent in my contentment. May you, likewise, have peace this day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy 1-month birthday, Miss Emma!

Our little pumpkin celebrates a whole month in the world today, and she still hasn't made it to her due date!  She has, however, made it to 6 pounds, 13 ounces.  Way to go Emma!  And way to go Nikki (AKA Milk Machine!)Nikki told me today that even Emma's toes are starting to look pudgy.

Nikki is my hero.  She had a baby 6 weeks early-- her FIRST baby at that-- and had a natural delivery despite the odds.  Emma didn't have the developmental ability to nurse yet, so Nikki pumped every three hours, round the clock, for weeks, so that Emma could benefit from having Mama's milk.  That was so hard, and so courageous!  And now, Nikki can hardly keep up with Emma as she is growing and growing!  I am so proud of BOTH of these girls! And way to go, Tim, for choosing well!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Last Saturday, on my final Saturday in Tucson, Tim and Dave and I ventured to Performance Bike, and purchased a new bike for me. This all happened after hauling the old bike to Tucson for Tim to fix, and having him declare it unfixable.  Therefore, armed with a $50-off coupon, and with my first teaching check in the bank, we headed out on adventure.  We got a great deal on the bike, and it is so very comfortable and easy to ride!  After teaching class this morning, I headed out for my first ride back at altitude, and is was fabulous.  I didn't notice how morning glory-like the blue color was until I set it next to the morning glories.  I am so grateful! Grateful for the bike, yes, but grateful for the God who provides for my needs so abundantly.  Grateful for the son who is both a computer and bike expert, and the one who can speak many languages.  Grateful for the daughters-in-love that treat me like their own mother, and who are as dear to me as daughters could ever be.  Grateful for a husband who is my companion and my comfort in this sometimes-weary world.  Grateful for the little bundle that is Emma Joy, growing and changing every day, and giving us fresh eyes for seeing the wonders of God's creation. Grateful for the students I get to watch grow and learn and mature.  Grateful for the friends who love and support me, no matter how difficult I am. Grateful for the beauty of those morning glories, and the other beauties all around me.

I am just grateful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Tim and Nikki!

Happy anniversary, Tim and Nikki! Two years of marriage have produced a lot of change, and Nikki, you are a wonderful addition to our family, as is Emma Joy.  Life has changed forever with Emma's birth, and may the lord continue to enrich and bless your lives through many more years of marriage!  Have a wonderful anniversary!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Walking in Tucson

It is so hot where Tim and Nikki live, in Tucson, AZ, that unless you are done walking before the sun rises, you can forget about getting any outside exercise.  At least that's how I feel about it.  That has meant lots of early (5:30 am) walks, with the wonderful side benefit of sunrise over the Sonoran desert. Amazingly beautiful, once you get used to the look of a desert..

I think this will be my last walk this morning before returning to New Mexico. My dear husband is here, and we will leave tomorrow to make our way home.  I will miss Emma and Nikki and Tim.  But my own bed, and the cool nights of fall in the Southern Rockies, are calling me.  And it has been hard to spend most of a month away from my best friend and companion. 

All this makes me long for heaven, where we are together for eternity, and where we will enjoy God and His creation without weariness. I have many more ruminations rambling about my mind on this topic, but unless I hit the road, the sun will be up before I hit the homeward trail...

Have a wonderful day, Gentle reader.  And may you be where your heart is at home always.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The broken heart of motherhood...

Having the privilege the last few weeks of being admitted into the family circle of my son and daughter-in-love, where a first child has just been born, has caused me to reflect a great deal on motherhood.  Nikki has become a beautiful and tender mother to Emma, and watching her transformation has been a picture of God's grace and beauty. I have also been reminded of old truths as I see them afresh.

One of the most poignant reminders has been in regards to what I call the broken heart of motherhood.  There is a corollary to this in fatherhood, of course, but I don't have as intimate a knowledge of that.  And by the broken heart of motherhood, I don't mean the times our children break our hearts, though that will surely happen as well.

When it occurs to a mother how very dependent that little one is on her for all sustenance, for all comfort, for care of every kind, the realization that mom can never be sufficient for all that need is heart breaking.  The first time the little one cries inconsolably and mom doesn't have a clue what is wrong or what to do, her heart breaks.  She sees her own lack of ability, and the great need before her, and her heart breaks.  But it breaks for the better.

Motherhood shows us (or should show us) our inability, and leave us more ready to depend on our good Father in heaven for all that our children need.  Our lack reminds us that these children do not belong to us: they belong to Him.  It should drive us to our knees for our children, and for their children. And it makes a new people as mothers.

So these last few weeks I have had the blessing of watching a lovely heart be broken, and seen it held and healed by her heavenly Father.  May each of us as moms turn to Him who holds the things of the heart as we  are remade into broken, more tender-hearted creations.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A new school adventure begins...

This morning I began a new teaching adventure.  I am now an online teacher with Veritas Press Scholar's Academy, and began my composition class this morning. It is going to be a great class, I hope!  I've been planning with my friend and co-teacher, Cindy Marsch, who is teaching the other four sections of the class.  My one section is very small right now (just 4 students!) So if you need a good composition class for a student in 8th grade or up through high school, check it out at the link above.  Classes start in earnest next week.

And my class is bright and early: it is an 8 am class, Eastern time, and so here in Tucson we begin at 5 am.  The view in this photo of the sunrise is what the sky here looks like after my class is over at 6:30 am! That's an adventure of a different kind!