Monday Prayer Requests

Going to do the prayer requests for a few weeks and we’ll see what happens after the start of the year. I don’t want it to be forced, but at the same time I like the opportunity to mention some requests.

 

* Riley My friend’s son in Vancouver. He is still in the hospital doing treatments after the last attack. They have somewhat changed the diagnosis, and now it looks like Riley may have a condition that will impact him for life. He is 7 years old. Please pray for Riley and for his mom Nancy as well as the whole family.

*Erunner’s nephew  he is in Afghanistan. Praying for his safety.

*Kevin Another friend from PP who has struggled for a long season with pain and the drs have not been able to come up with solutions or diagnosis.

*Reuben: Needing to close on a house quickly. Praying for it to happen before Thanksgiving!!!

*Noelle: Her husband found work (wonderful, thankful!) but it is far from home and he will be gone long lengths of time.

* Those struggling this holiday season. We all know that there are many around us who struggle during the holiday season. Some have a difficult time expressing this. If you want some insights, please read this article.  Randall Slack was involved in the Phoenix Preacher blog, is a pastor an has personal understanding. It is worth reading…and then praying and keeping our eyes open this season to those around us.

 

So very thankful for a good trip to NM. Maddie is the wonder-girl, which I already knew, but she is also a wonder-traveler. She made friends on every flight. She made Grandma smile lots and has Grandpa firmly wrapped around her finger. It was a delight to be with the NM clan during Thanksgiving, and I found that my sister-in-law Stacy is a fantastic cook and I like red chili sauce on turkey!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I can feel the stress of Christmas sneaking in, and am determined to not be overcome by it. We have lots going on with parties and school performances and school parties…and a trip to the cabins in Gatlinburg! I think we might have been crazy to add that, but I also am hoping it will be a great relaxing time in the midst of the season.

 

Please post any prayer requests you have.

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Finding Places of Silence

This picture was taken on my folks’ place in Colorado. We had seen the deer a ways from the house and Dad told me to jump on the snowmobile an we would go try to get pictures.  I jumped on behind him, holding on to the snowmobile with one hand and the camera with the other. His camera. His nice camera.

I checked the speedometer one time and was surprised to know how quickly we could get up to 50 miles an hour. We found the spot the deer had dodged into the brush by the river and followed them on foot. I felt like a National Geographic photographer. Except my pictures were not completely in focus. Still, I did get this one and I never dropped the camera, so I’m happy.

This place is a place of peace. The deer come through and graze, even coming up to the house to munch on the apples from the apple tree. Dad has buried a few of his beloved pets under the apple trees. There is a river that runs through the property and the sunsets are wonderful. For the most part the place is quiet. It is easy to steal away to the river, or even just out to the porch, and collect your thoughts.

My house isn’t quite like this. There are, I believe, 17 children and youth under the age of 17 on our cul-de-sac. There are lots of neighborhood dogs. Who like to bark. There are x-box games and computer games and soccer games and glorious games played only in the mud. There is noise. Lots of noise. There is no river to sit beside and no easy access to quiet.

And yet sometimes I am very aware of that need for a moment of silence. Madeleine L’Engle (yes, her again!) tells it this way:

“Vacuum cleaners are simply something more for me to trip over; and a kitchen floor, no matter how grubby, looks better before I wax it. The sight of a meal’s worth of dirty dishes, pots, and pans makes me want to run in the other direction. Every so often I need OUT; something will throw me into total disproportion, and I have to get away from everybody – away from all these people I love most in the world – in order to regain a sense of proportion.”

I have those moments.  I can’t explain them, but I need the space and I need the time to simply be, without any requirements. To regain a sense of proportion.

Jesus did this, yes? He knew the need to be alone with His Father. He knew the need to protect Himself from being completely depleted. When we don’t protect ourselves from that, we become useless.

When I am not selfish for that time, I find that I become irritable and frustrated and tend to bark rather than speak. I’m useless.

I wish that I had the river my parents have in the backyard. Or the creek that L’Engle goes on to describe as her place to get away from everything. I do have a greenway and a creek that is within walking distance. I also have a back porch with the same sky L’Engle gazed at and that overlooks my parents’ river. I have to be a little more creative…but the silence and places of re-proportioning are there.

How about you? How do we find these touchstones in our world today….in the busyness and noise of our lives? In the cul-de-sacs that are filled with noisy children and barking dogs and lack of peaceful rivers? And how do we teach our children that this is as important as finishing the next level on the x-box?

Guardians of our heritage

I just picked up the new biography on Bonhoeffer, hoping to read it as I go to New Mexico for Thanksgiving. I sat down at Barnes and Noble with my coffee and thought I would get through the first couple chapters.

I didn’t make it past the quotation that begins chapter 1.

“The rich world of his ancestors set the standards for Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s own life. It gave him a certainty of judgment and manner that cannot be acquired in a single generation. He grew up in a family that believed the essence of learning lay not in a formal education but in the deeply rooted obligation to be guardians of a great historical heritage and intellectual tradition.” Eberhard Bethge

This resonated so deeply with me. I’ve been a little frustrated with education with the boys, and although they are in a great little Christian school where they are cared for and taught, there is a depth missing and haven’t been able to put my finger on. It is nothing against the school…this is it. To approach education not as an obligation to whiz through the elementary learning and find what we like so we can be somewhat happy in a career…but to approach learning as an obligation to our heritage.

Bonhoeffer had some pretty great heritage, apparently.

Well. So do we.  In our family, our youngest boy Samuel takes his middle name Howard from his great-great grandfather, Howard Beacham. He was a lawman and judge and prohibitionist in New Mexico. He was a larger-than-life personality. I’ve grown up with the stories. We are also somehow related to William the Conqueror and Sir Francis Bacon. Yep.

My father’s family came from Switzerland. They were hard working and smart. And fun. Barn dances and flying planes, skating on frozen ponds.

FMM-40

So do you, I bet. The grandfather who fought in the WWII. The uncle who loved history and can tell you about the intricacies of your lineage. The great-great-grandfather who changed the course of your family.

It’s more than that, though. I was so struck by this approach to learning as being an obligation to our heritage, and that means our spiritual heritage.

That means Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

That means J.I. Packer.

That means Madeleine L’Engle.

That means C.S. Lewis and Spurgeon and Luther and Calvin.

That means knowing about grand people who lived deeply and thought deeply and invested. Not wasting that investment.

So, we are thinking seriously of homeschooling this coming year, mainly because it is becoming more and more difficult to pay for three kids in a private school. I’m starting to feel those stirrings, though, of something deeper to this homeschooling. Something to do with being a guardian of an investment, a guardian of a heritage.

Knowing who we are and why we are.  Knowing more than the abc’s and math.

Knowing our stories.  Back to stories….back to dinner tables and conversations and being aware.

I’ll be listening maybe a little more closely to the conversations around the table tomorrow, because I’m sure there will be a few stories shared.  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. Look around you while you are in the midst of your world. What investment has been made that you can become a guardian of your heritage?

Monday Prayer Requests

Well, for a few years I’ve been involved with a blog called The Phoenix Preacher, mainly helping with the prayer thread. That blog has gone quiet for a season, and one of the things I miss is being able to post prayer requests there.

So, we’ll see. This week I’m going to post some prayer requests, and if you have one, feel free to post as well. We’ll start the list fresh each week, and if there is enough comments I’ll keep it going for the PP here. You can also post prayer requests at Dusty’s.

For today, a few pretty significant prayer requests:

* Michael N.  as he starts his first full week back at work after a long season unemployed. Praying for all the details of transitions with that, very great, new chapter.

*Riley. This is the son of a friend back in Canada. Back in early July one morning they woke up hearing Riley fall drop a cup of water. They went to find him crying, unable to talk in more than a slur and paralyzed on his left side. This started 17 days in Children’s Hospital, then going home and seeming to be okay only to go back to the hospital two weeks later with Riley in extreme pain. He was in for over two weeks again and diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis or (ADEM).  It is basically an autoimmune reaction to a virus or infection that instead of fighting that, the body turned on itself causing an intense attack on his Central Nervous System. They’ve been home most of November. Well, yesterday morning he started feeling dizzy, headache and weak. They watched through the night hoping for flu, but are headed back to the hospital this morning. I think Riley is 8…he’s close to the age of my Nate.

*Maddie and me..traveling to NM on Thanksgiving day. Early. Have to be at the airport by about 5:45. Ugh.

*Nonnie praying for this friend from the PP blog who is in the US visiting her mom and daughter. Nonnie is a missionary in England and her mom is fighting cancer and her daughter, who is a mom herself, is still recovering from a badly broken leg.

*Erunner’s nephew  he is in Afghanistan. Praying for his safety.

*Kevin Another friend from PP who has struggled for a long season with pain and the drs have not been able to come up with solutions or diagnosis.

*Reuben: Needing to close on a house quickly. Praying for it to happen before Thanksgiving!!!

*Noelle: Her husband found work (wonderful, thankful!) but it is far from home and he will be gone long lengths of time. Praying for them, especially this week with Thanksgiving, for the time to pass quickly and for Noelle’s strength as a single parent for this time.

How about you? Any requests to add?

Sunday Morning Pancakes

We had a tradition going for awhile around our house. Saturday morning pancakes or waffles, made by dad and enjoyed on the coffee table while watching cartoons.

 

Well, hockey season has begun and Zach has had games at 7am the last few weeks. So, Saturday morning tradition has been on hold. This morning, a Sunday, I thought I would do the unthinkable.

 

Make pancakes on a Sunday.

 

See this is a big deal because our church now has an 8:30am service, which we usually get there by 8:35. We have to leave the house by 7:45, but we usually leave at 8. So pancakes are somewhat unheard of.

 

And I didn’t just make Bisquick pancakes. I made real ones. With chocolate chips.

 

 

I, of course, found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen. She even gives instructions on the best way to cook pancakes, and how much better pancakes are from scratch.  And I have to admit, they are way better.

 

Although my pictures are not as fantastic as SK’s…the pancakes were grand.  Some with blueberry syrup, and chocolate chips.

 

It was a splurge. It woke the boys up in a slightly better mood and the house smelled good.

 

We still were five minutes late to church, but it was okay. It’s a rainy day here today, a good day for special pancakes with chocolate chips, worship that had a bluegrass edge and a sermon that told about God’s grace through Jesus and how generous our God is. And how we aren’t.

 

We’re home now, warm and toasty and ready for reading and X-box and more coffee. A good Sunday around here. My friend Phil’s blog is called “What color is the sky in their world?“.  Here it looks like this:

 

So, what’s Sunday like around your place?

She’s off!!!!

Okay, life around here is about to change.

Dramatically.

For the last four years we have lived without baby gates, without having to keep the floor clear of little legos and toys, without having to be diligent.  Almost six months ago Miss Madeleine made her appearance and slowly things have changed. Although, it has been gradual….we were able to keep her in the middle of the floor and make dinner without worry. We could put her on her mat with her toys and she was content.

Not any more.
She has figured out how to lift that body…

She can get up and you can see daylight under her. We are in serious trouble!  I mean, now she is mobile…

and nothing is off limits….

So, I’m off to buy a baby gate and train the boys to keep small toys out of reach. It’s a blast to watch her growing, but it sure goes fast.

By the way, if you are interested in a discussion on Calvanism, check out this on my friend Phil’s blog

And, my remarkably creative middle boy now has his own blog as well….Nate’s stories.

The Art of Cooking…and Eating

I have to admit that I have been for a few months, well, less than inspired in my cooking.  We get in a rut easily and cook the few things that come quickly to mind.

Then I will read something or hear something that sparks my imagination….even for, wait for it…..yes…..cooking.

I begin to think of making a meal as something more than just feeding the family. Something that could nourish more than just bodies.

That sounds a little pompous when I actually write about it. Still, when I read just about anything from www.smittenkitchen.com I get inspired.

Her pictures make me want to cook! That added to hearing Andi Ashworth again at our women’s retreat, and reading her article Learning to Cook, and Why it Matters  that desire to cook increased.  (By the way, if you are looking for that small-rainish refreshment, grab a cup of coffee and spend some time slowly reading the articles at arthouseamerica.com.  Wonderful nourishment there).

So, I started trying some new things, or some different takes on old favorites. And….I started taking pictures of the food. How silly is that?!

Pictures of bell peppers that became part of a pretty good black bean soup. Oh and…

Carnitas! The black bean soup  is in the mug. The Carnitas were fall-apart tender after cooking for 2 hours in orange juice and lime juice. Topped with just a slice of avodaco, a bit of pickled red onion and some lime juice…oh my!
Last night I tried another black bean soup for Biblestudy…

This one had pumpkin in it. I never would have attempted that without the encouragement of the Smitten Kitchen. It turned out warm and wonderful on a rainy Fall evening.

We finished it off with a pear custard pie. This one came from Shutterbean.com and reading what she did while the pie was cooking is worth clicking over.  Although the pie was not my favorite (it falls apart a bit without a crust), I finished it off on the drive home, nibbling little pieces of custard and pear…

So, I’m looking at cooking a little differently. We still had pizza once this week, and I’m not sure what we’ll have tonight. Maybe cereal.

We’ll have that cereal at the table, all sitting and talking and listening. Because the cooking is just part of the equation….the eating is art as well. Edith Schaeffer inspired Andi Ashworth, as you’ll see in the next paragraph. Andi inspires me….

One of the most life-giving authors I discovered in those early days was Edith Schaeffer. Fireworks went off in my brain when I read her books. Edith saw family life and caring for other people as an artwork. The details of caring for human life were the playground of creativity and the place where our choices were significant in communicating love. Her language captured my imagination and I began to long for good stories in our household, and to value the work that might bring them about. 

My boys are little, but the stories already begin to flow. And when we are able to be with my family in New Mexico the stories flow even more because my mother already placed a foundation of meals and stories. I’m just continuing the story…