Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Home Shapes Us, So Shape a Happy Home

"A wise woman builds her house..."

For the most part women are to be the keepers of the home. An awesome, demanding, incredibly impactful task. Perhaps one of the most important jobs ever. As keepers of the home we build culture, fashion people, nurture life. We cultivate, manage, designate, govern, design, forge, establish, produce, initiate home.

Home. Place of shelter, refuge. Secure and safe. Greenhouse for nurturing.

We carefully shape home because we know that home, in return, will shape us all.

How critical. Vital. Actually, it is a life altering accomplishment.

What we say in our homes. How we serve and love in our homes. The care we give. The patient gentleness we practice. Whether we respond with mercy and grace. The joy we express to God.

These are all actions. These are also seeds. Seeds planted. They will bear fruit. If they are the seeds mentioned, good fruit is produced. Happy hearts are cultivated. Healthy whole people are shaped.

"A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands." Lean on Him, look to him, and allow Him to build through you. His grace is sufficient.

Take care today and tomorrow, next week and the following months and years, of how you shape your home. Because mark my words, it will shape you and yours in return.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A 1942 Memoir

It is June. Early June. Grass is a lush green, peony bushes sport full buds and a few first blooms, and rhubarb is already gone to seed.

It is morning. Seven a.m. in the morning. Sunlight breaks through tall evergreens and full-bodied deciduous trees in small patches on the mostly-shadowed rolling lawn far in the back. The small white play house trimmed with red is fully encompassed in semi-darkness as branches bow down to cover its tiny shingled roof.

I wonder if the foxes are too full grown to be out to play, or if I sit here long enough watching will I see them tumble and wrestle with one another one more time out in the open yard?

There have been no deer since winter snows at long last melted away. Spring was slow in coming this year. It was kind to give me time to somehow grasp that it truly was due to arrive.

The two ornamental fruit trees near the back window are done blooming; white and pink petals that covered the ground last week and are now blown away or disintegrated. I've watched pairs of house finches and tanagers find respite in their branches, jays and cardinals and others as well. Now the branches seem relatively empty. I'm not sure where the birds are at this point in the season. Not in these two trees.

On Memorial Day everyone gathered save my dearest Julia who is in Europe. We would love to see her, to share this home and these days with her once again, but that doesn't seem to be in the plan yet.

But the rest gathered, 39 of us plus some friends. All 23 grandchildren were here, playing ball and taking turns riding in the red wagon, wandering in and out of the playhouse and the side porch, exploring Nana's garden path and the bit of "wilderness" in the far back, building Playmobil scenes in the front room and playing games in the dining room. Simultaneously the side porch and kitchen and family room and front room housed adult conversation and laughter. We shared a fabulous spread of grilled meats and salads and beautiful desserts. We celebrated Memorial Day with recollection of the debt owed to so many. We drank deeply of the joy of family and home for which we are so thankful. Above all we gave praise to our ever faithful God and Savior.

As the day was coming to an end adults and older children gathered in the side porch for a time of discussing a realization that was in all of our hearts that day - the realization that the season we have all shared and loved here at 1942 is now also coming to an end.

What a season, what a great run it has been. How faithfully this place has served its appointed purpose for this clan, this tribe, this family and so many of our precious friends. Nonetheless it was agreed upon; there was a general consensus: it is right and good to now move on. Such sadness and so bittersweet, but so right.

All thirty-nine of us then gathered on the front porch for a group picture here at 1942, filling the deacons' bench, sitting across the front, and lining up from door to corner post. Smiling and singing "cheese" in crazy tunes for minutes on end, we posed while a friend snapped photo after photo. Will this be the last time? That was the unspoken question that we all wondered. Will this be the last time this group of people is all together here at this home we've loved so well? And we kind of assumed it probably was. We smiled and laughed and enjoyed the moment.

The reality is that we are but pilgrims. Yes, this home was wonderful and precious to us all. Very much so. Nurturing and all it entails (the pain of growing, the thrill of learning, and the joy of loving) happened here, day in and day out, since January of 1984 when it became our own. This home has been shaped by us, and it has shaped us in return. Homes are like that. You reap what you sow.

1942 (previously 46 Main). We love you and the memories of times shared. The people, the experiences - history and lit classes culminating with displays of the Titanic and Mark Twain and medieval times and Civil War and the American Revolution, college barbecues with countless new faces and friendships to be discovered, shared Christmas Eves and Christmas Days and Easters, backyard wedding showers and birthday celebrations, Pumpkin Field football, hours of Playmobil and favorite movie watching by candlelight, Christmas parties all aglow, piano lessons and Dixie Chicks in the music room, shenanigans in bedrooms at bedtimes and all times - this is all part of life at 1942. It will be terribly missed.

And now? Now it is time to shape new homes - other homes, multiplied homes - homes that will in turn continue to shape us and those we love. May Jesus be the center of them all. Always.



Monday, March 05, 2018

Thirty-seven

My firstborn will be thirty-seven soon. 37 years.

What does that even mean? What does thirty-seven years feel like? I wish I was clever enough to put some semblance of understanding into words, but I cannot -- because I do not comprehend such a thing.

But I see the number. It tells me that I've celebrated thirty-seven Christmases as a mother filling stockings with surprises and I've enjoyed thirty-seven springtimes with walks in fragrant air. There have been thirty-seven summers of sandy beaches with babes and toddlers and picnics and swimsuits. And for thirty-seven autumns I've lit candles and bought pumpkins and feasted on cold nights warmed with snuggles under blankets. Thirty-seven times I've anticipated ways to make Easter special, to make clear that His glorious Resurrection is paramount to Christianity and our victorious living.

But what is 37 years? I think I am unable to say that I really get it because I'm pretty sure I don't. If someone told me it would feel this way, I would not have comprehended then, even as I fail today. Without counting, without the black and white calendar sitting before me, I would not have understood that 37 years have passed.

So I come to this. This one thing I do know, I do realize: The grass withers, the flowers fade, but His Word lives forever. This I now comprehend as happening, as experienced truth.

Time is fleeting, memories are truly dim and fading, as is my life.

Sadly at times I have realized that I recollect faces from years gone by only because I look at photographs. Without their prompting, I would not clearly see the curly heads, blonde waves, dimpled fingers and smiles. I tried so faithfully to memorize the precious moments, but the frailty of my recall reigns.

Here is what I know. Of this one thing I am sure. Jesus is the promise and hope of eternity. I will trust in Him who created time and me, and I will trust in Him who holds time and me forever in His hands. I cannot grasp the passing of 37 years. I certainly do not pretend to grasp eternity.

But I know Him. I know His love. And that, I'm learning, is enough.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Proverbs 1 & 2

If...

     you receive my words,

          If...

               you treasure them, storing them up,

         If...

               you incline your ear, making it attentive,

          If...

               you apply your heart, turning it to understanding,

          If...

                you call out,

          If...

                you raise your voice,

          If...

                you seek as one seeks after silver,

          If...

                you search as for hidden treasure,

Then...

     wisdom will enter your heart,

          Then...

                knowledge will fill you with joy,

          Then...

                knowledge will be pleasant,

          Then...

                moral knowledge will be attractive to you.


Today...
     wisdom is calling out.
          In the midst of the busiest of life's concourse,
               she is there lifting her voice.
                    Don't be simple, and do not scorn.

                    Today...
                         turn, incline your ear,
                              take in her words and store them up,
                                   seek her as the treasure she is.


Then...
     she will be a protectress,
          a deliverer,
               a guard and shield,
                    a keeper and preserver.
                         She will be a storehouse against future want...


...If...



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Crystal and Sand

We all but fell into bed, pulling mounds of downy fluff up to our chins, smiling and giggling (I'll let you figure out who was giggling) as we recollected our day.

A fairy tale day. Well, maybe a bit more real than that, but it was delightfully woven with the magical in the midst of ordinary beauty.

A Christmas shopping trip was made to nearby Lake Placid -- a brumal and festive, light-lined and bough-festooned wonderland replete with Adirondack chalets and ski lodges and holiday store fronts designed to pull in the most fatigued of shoppers. We shopped for hours, finding all we needed (and wanted).

We dined on a cushioned and pillowed timber bench near a cavernous stone-fronted fireplace at the Lake Placid Lodge, a gem of Adirondack elegance tucked away in frosted woodlands overlooking the ice-sparkling lake. White Face Mountain dominated the landscape; sun-rays pierced the flocculent sky surrounding the semi-shrouded peak creating streaks of gold on the pink-tinted clouds. Magic. Absolute.

From this winter-wonderland we ferried ourselves away to beautiful homes stunningly dressed for holiday parties boasting wassail and cookie trays and cakes and song and dear dear friends and family. We savored the goodies, reveled in the friendship, and delighted in celebration.

And then we were home. Tired in the best of ways, having given our time and energy to one another and to friends in the best of celebrations: His birth.

And as we recalled the joy and the wonder the reality came, too -- as it is wont to do to those who have seen many days and many months congregate into many years.

"Yes, another grain of sand passed through the hour glass," observes she, matter-of-factly, for she is adjusting to this phenomenon though it is true that once upon a time it was always said with a wistful tear and sigh.

"Oh, such melancholy!" declares he teasingly with twinkling eyes.

"Ah, but so true," says she knowingly, returning the smile.

And so my prayer becomes, "Lord, may we have eyes to see and enjoy the sparkling bits of crystalline chips collecting alongside the ordinary sand. And even more, may we have eyes to see and enjoy them in the making."