Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
On Saturday, again with Gretchen hosting, we had a bridal shower for Stacia. What fun to be with all the girls of our family! Gretchen's mom joined us too, and she fit right in. She also is part of our family since Gretchen and Damien plan to marry in October.
Girls' Night Out!
The Bride-to-Be with Liana and Lana
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Fred is overwhelmed at work and exhausted because he gets little sleep. He always keeps the garden so neat, never a weed in sight, every row of vegetables so orderly. But he can't keep up and I know it really bothers him that he can't do it all. Since I get up early, I have been going out to weed. Yes, we all enjoy the garden, but it has been mostly Fred's project in the past. The girls and I help to plant and we harvest, but the maintenance has always been Fred's job.
The first day I did the bean rows. The eastern sun rose golden, and the gnats were still asleep. Birds dove and flew from tree to tree, calling out loudly to others. Furry bees visited the lavender. The sound of the woodpeckers echoed through the woods, drowning out the humming of the morning traffic in the distance. The earth was moist from earlier rain and the weeds came out easily. The work calmed my heart. I would like to say I used this time for fervent prayer, but communion with God was not in a verbal sense. I enjoyed just being at this spot in this moment of time.
The next day I did the tomatoes and eggplants and peppers. Blossoms everywhere! Are they early this year or is time flying by? It seems we just planted this garden. I worked until the gnats arrived. A baby rabbit emerged from the hedges and nibbled tentatively at bird seed below the feeder. Hide, baby, hide! Hawks soar nearby. But he is safe for now. Again, peace came to my soul. I am grateful for life, for strength to dig and pull. God also "walked in the garden in the cool of the day." I share that with him.
This morning we met with the evaluator. I couldn't work early but went out at dusk to weed the lettuce and radishes and spinach. No gnats! Just peace...and quiet. The birds returned to their perches in the bamboo, settling in for the night. The lights in our windows came on as my family also settled in after a busy day. Our little plants are strong and healthy, not an insect in sight to plague them. They will produce an abundance of nutritious food for us. Blazing sun in July will threaten to burn them and violent thunderstorms will beat them down. But they will survive.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
The sound of good news and the love of the King,
How beautiful the hands that serve,
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth,
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ.
Do you know that old Twila Paris song? It has been running through my head lately as I grieve for my good friend J who is suffering from ovarian cancer. Less than two months ago doctors discovered a tumor and she had major surgery. In five weeks time the tumor grew back and she is now in hospice care.
Our church was offering a women's Bible study, only six weeks long, on Wednesday mornings. Years ago I was very involved in Bible studies, but with homeschooling my children, it just got to be too much and I retired. One of the classes seemed to be valuable to me at this time though--a video series called "When Life Is Hard" by James MacDonald. This man did a series of teachings while he was suffering from cancer. I thought maybe I could gain insight into how to help J through her suffering. But then I decided not to go. I didn't think I could take the stress of a long morning commute in all that traffic when I was trying to finish school with the girls.
But then someone asked if my girls could help with childcare for the moms during these six-week studies. Then I knew I had to go. It was appointed for me to be there. My friend J had just had surgery or I would have asked her to join me. At the very first meeting, the women went around the table and introduced themselves and said why they were there. Our table leader started. She said several years ago she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was so startled, my mouth flew open. I had randomly chosen that table to sit down and here was this woman who had suffered just as my friend was now.
After J came home, I showed her my books and shared some insight I heard at our first meeting. She said, "I wish I could come." Yes, I wish she could too. But she was very weak and recovering from major surgery. A couple of days later she said again how she wanted to come. I didn't see how she could go out all morning when she was in so much pain and discomfort. So finally she flat out asked if she could go with me. Of course! So for three weeks I picked her up and took her to class. As they are in all the Bible studies I've ever been to, the women were gracious and kind. They listened to J and offered their support. Our table leader especially understood her fear and concerns and made a connection with her.
Then J got bad news. A scan showed her tumor was back, more aggressive than ever. She was admitted to the hospital. J would not return to class. The next week I came without her and these beautiful women, who didn't even know J before this time, prayed heartfelt prayers with tears for her. They wrote precious messages for me to give to her. They offered any kind of help she might need. How tender their hearts are for J. How beautiful! The body of Christ. The class is over now, but the women have not forgotten. They continually ask about J.
"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." I Corinthians 12:26.