Monday, February 26, 2007

Being Fancy

Some people never tire of playing pretend. (I guess that's alright, as long as you know when you are playing!) At any rate, I think you probably all know that I just might fit into that category of folks.

This Wednesday my three youngest daughters and I will pack up some clothes and cross the border for an overnight in this gracious hotel located in the historic section of downtown Ottawa. We will pretend to be part of another world for a day or two. We will enjoy luxurious surroundings, lounging in our well appointed room with all of its finery. The special winter package offered by the Chateau Laurier includes a breakfast buffet in their elegant restaurant. Nice.

Across the street the Rideau Canal will be humming with activity as young and old alike don their skates for a time on the ice. Mothers will be strolling with toddler sleds in tow and we will join them for a winter afternoon's walk.

But most of all, we plan on reveling in one another's company. No schedule to keep, no expectations to meet other than enjoyment. If we want to lay on the beds just chatting and giggling, we will. If a game is in order, we will play. Perhaps the viewing of a chick flick will push bedtime to late in the night. A trip to a nearby store may also be in the offing (strictly window shopping, however...) As long as we are together.

Why? It was time to make a memory. Time to tie some strings. It doesn't always have to be this elaborate, I know. But hubby and I agreed - it was time. And this would be just right.

And to say the least, this mom is excited!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Buenos dias!"

"Buenos dias!" exclaimed Lourdes' cheerful voice on the other end of the phone line.

Our weekly Spanish radio broadcast had begun. That would be about all the conversation I would clearly understand (maybe someday I will remedy that...) The rest of the show would be translated as we went along.

Hubby and I have been invited to participate in a half hour weekly radio show broadcast in Madrid, Spain from right here in Madrid, NY. Who ever would have imagined? We surely live in an age of world-shrinking technology.

The show centers on family issues. For the past two weeks we've discussed child training and discipline. Before that we addressed the husband/wife relationship.

It all started right there. Four weeks ago we were in Madrid, Spain. Circumstances allowed us to participate in a radio show hosted by Lourdes (I don't even know her last name. Sorry about that.) Asking questions about the traditional Biblical roles of men and women in family, our passion for that topic readily unfolded. Her audience responded quickly with phone calls and e-mails, conveying interest and further questions about such issues. In no time it became obvious - these people were desperate to hear more about this! The Church in Spain needs to know what God's heart is for their marriages and children!

Because of the overwhelming response, Lourdes asked if we could continue where we left off. But how? We were returning to the States the next day! In no time a plan was concocted. Simple enough - a radio show was just a phone call away! So now, every Thursday morning at 7:30 we dial up the station in Madrid, Spain and Lourdes begins the interview. Amazing. I have dubbed it The Madrid Connection.

If you happen to think of us, pray for His help. He so desires that His people become equipped. And we so desire to do our part.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hang On to Your "High Button Shoes"!

I'm afraid it's begun - musical theater season at the Sinclair household, that is. Mom spends hours upon hours on the web, researching unusual topics; topics considered by many to be less than intellectually stimulating.

  • I have bookmarked tons of c.1913 fashion plates (if weight comes into account when working online.)
  • Rutgers University football history has impacted my limited understanding of the evolving of collegiate football. Due to a ruling in 1912 the quarterback became the darling of the team. I always wondered why and now I know. I've also bookmarked plenty of uniform photos of the day.
  • Mack Sennett and his Keystone Cops made films from 1912 - 1920 and were quite the rage. I just rented a collection of slapstick comedy in order to study such stuff - I understand timing is everything in slapstick. Hope we can nail it!
  • The tango swept the American pop culture in1913 in spite of Papal outcries of indecency (hmmm, you have to admit, that will get you thinking a bit.) We'll try to present a decent rendition...
  • Atlantic City Beach boasted a bathhouse, a current phenomenon (c. 1913) in America's newfound culture of leisure. You could rent a locker for the season. Bathing suit were rented per day for a nominal fee. Waterfront establishments were met with severe criticism from the conservative element who prophecied trouble in the years to come if young men and women were to allowed to have such casual interaction apart from adult supervision. In hopes of alleviating criticism - and perhaps even a sincere concern on their part that such prophecy just might come true (perhaps) - the management of such enterprises hired security police to enforce discretion in attire and behavior. It's not hard to see where that got them.
  • I have been unsuccessful in researching bird watching societies of America in the early 1900's. There is a book available, but it focuses on ornithology in Britain. Besides that, it costs money. There must be some free info out there somewhere.
  • The Model T was transforming a nation's mode of travel. Pretty revolutionary in many regards, impacting American society in the realm of both leisure and business.
  • I've also learned a bit about Kokomo, Indiana. Why was that city included in the play? Maybe you'll just have to come and find out!
At any rate, you can see that my mind is swimming (almost literally as I undertake choreography for "A Sunday By the Sea".) Speaking of dance, I'm arranging tango lessons, looking for a polka expert, endeavoring to figure out what a "Cakewalk" might look like, and wondering just who in the crowd might pick up some softshoe quickly.

The theater. Gotta love it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Still Considering Giants (not the NY variety with blue jerseys...)

Sometimes a passage in scripture becomes a feasting ground and I find myself grazing there for days and weeks. Deuteronomy 7 & 8 are my current meadowland. Abundant and life-giving, I am finding unending delight and nourishment for my soul in this green pasture.

Let me share just one tidbit.

Deut.7:17-19 "If you should say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?'- you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharoah and to all Egypt: the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid."

Today I remember how mightily He has delivered me from so many enemies; what power He has displayed, what healing He has wrought, and how great His faithfulness to me. I have seen my poisoned and deceived mind delivered from a feminist agenda; my soul, once fragmented, is now restored; wandering feet have been shown the true path. How I need to stir afresh the testimony that is mine! My victory, in part, is contained therein. (Rev. 12:11)

And now I consider the enemy presently at hand, that stubborn lurking iniquity that fails to glorify Him; I see plainly that it is nothing in His sight. Let Him deal with it as He will. My heart will trust in Him and not rely on my own power.

That is, after all, the true work of God - to believe on Him. That is the whole of what we are to do. In John, the disciples ask Jesus what they should do that they might work the works of God. Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6, 28, 29)

We need not be involved in self-effort, flagellations, or any other fleshly exercise. Our striving to win a battle against the foe is futile, devouring books on self-help in order to overcome that sin is fruitless (in case you haven't noticed), and beating ourselves up because we failed once again is a vain attempt to gain cleansing. Our part is to believe. Period. That is the work He calls us to.

So I will nurture my belief by hearing the Word of God, learning to know more clearly who He is so that my faith will be enlarged.

Amazingly simple. Tremendously freeing. Kinda makes me want to shout!

He will do it! He will be faithful to His word! He will transform me into the likeness of His glorious Son!

Pardon me, but I'm finding it good to remember.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Those Crazy Homeschoolers

Prague. A daughter who is schooling in Germany has planned a visit to nearby Prague. "Why Prague?" I wondered, as she interjected that "ever since arriving in Germany" she has searched for a way travel to that city. So I looked it up online, only to discover that it is home to the largest ancient castle existing today. The classical facade of that edifice has remained intact since Maria Theresa's dominion. Interesting. It just so happens that a younger daughter is doing a report on that very woman! So now she is being connected with Prague.

Dixie Chicks. That is a music group I've heard plenty about over the past several years, and even more in the past few days, having recently been awarded 5 grammies. NPR gloated unashamedly over their comeback after being blasted by country music fans in 2003 for making inflammatory comments at a London concert regarding their disapproval of President Bush. Last night my oldest son was composing a paper on issues of free speech, using info and rhetoric from a documentary produced on behalf of the Dixie Chicks. Some of the footage I witnessed was disturbing, to say the least. Mouthy women have never been pleasant (check out Proverbs) and it is no different today. Feminists who brazenly degrade men are like poison. All the same, I am a proponent of free speech. The issue my son was addressing had to do with the Dixie Chicks' notion that people's responses ought not ridicule or attempt to manipulate them - after all, they are free to say whatever they want. Hmmm. Typical feminine logic: all emotion and no logic at all. I apologize for being so hard on feminists, but in all honesty, I've listened to them all my life and find them wanting for reason and rationality. I'll take Jesus' plan for liberation, thank you.

The North Star. As I quizzed him about his science reading I was reminded once again that my seven year old knows more about stars, constellations, and planets then I do. "You don't know much about this stuff, Mom. You ought to read that book that Daddy bought me. It tells what time each constellation is showing in the sky - not just the season, but the time of night. You really ought to learn that stuff." Hmmm. I'm trying to pick it up. Maybe someday I'll even read those charts. Just doesn't seem up my alley, if you know what I mean.

One daughter composes music in the front room (not much progress yet today in that chemistry she is wrestling with...that's not her alley, either.) One is solving for x even as I write (I doubt that she will discover any new truths in the mathematical world today - or ever, for that matter - wrong alley again...) The last one is happily making belated Valentine's cards for dear friends (a right alley!)

One thing is understood by all of them: learning goes on forever. God is infinite. Discovering Him and His creation will take much more than a lifetime, but now is as good a time to start as any.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How He Brought Me Through the Day (see previous entry...)

What to make for dinner ala Valentine's Day? The question nagged at me for only a short minute. Upon examining the freezer's contents I found a half-full bag of smoked bacon ends from Oscar's.

On to the fridge which yielded to me a head of cabbage and plenty of carrots, so I set to work. Trimming the bacon and frying it a bit, I added a generous amount of water. Then I tossed in several pennied carrots, diced potatoes, and chopped onion. A smidgen of fennel seed, salt, and pepper and we were good to go. The family loves this simple pottage. Josh says its smoked flavor is reminscent of re-enactment campfire meals. Julia laughs in hearty agreement. Far from gourmet, but savory nonetheless.

An online search had resulted in a new pumpkin muffin recipe with which Liana experimented, producing some super tasty baked goods. Yum!!!

Fortunately, yesterday we had created a bountiful tray of pink frosted sugar cookies complete with candy hearts. Some aromatic coffee was brewed and our meal was finished off.

Earlier in the day, hubby had picked up candy to fill the pink and red paper cups purchased some time ago. On top we placed a ribbon festooned treat procured from a pasteleria in Alcala, Spain. Index cards decorated with heart-shaped cutouts were emblazoned with the precious names of those who would participate in this festival of love. Next to each placecard was either a pink or red envelope including a card filled with messages of love and appreciation. My spot boasted a pink card tied with satin ribbon. Pretty special, I would say! Some pink candles, charming ceramic lovebirds, raspberry and white soup bowls and the table was complete. Ah! This was starting to look like a proper celebration.

What seemed like an impossibility a few short hours ago had come together beautifully.

He does all things well. Have I mentioned lately that I serve a wonderful God?

Yeah. I do.

Meltdown Lord

Sometimes expectations, our own and others, don't agree with reality. When those around me look to me for the accomplishments of said expectations and I'm not up for the task, meltdowns can happen.

I give myself a peptalk, I step back in an effort to muster up what it takes, then I scrape the bottom of the barrel for creative solutions only to find that the peptalk lacks luster, I am too weak for mustering anything, and the barrel is depleted from yesterday's effort (and the day before and the day before...)

Now what? Too many times sharp words are spoken, revealing frustration and sense of failure. One more demand and tears fill my eyes. Yup. This is a bonafide meltdown.

Life has presented an opportunity to remember something vital: He is all I need. He always has been and always will be.

Whew. Thank You, Lord, for the reminder. I needed that.

Monday, February 12, 2007


A new salon is up and running. It's been a big push but we helped our #3 girl get started in her own business. The place looks great, she is talented and loves her work, and God is for her. Sounds pretty good to me!


My #2 girl has been very sick with strep throat and a new pregnancy to boot. Mom has tried to keep them supplied with chicken soup and goodies. It's such a treat to have them just down the road. She reports that things are looking up. I hope she's back on her feet soon. It's no fun to see her down.


Last night #1 daughter scooted this way with her handy dandy laptop filled with bookmarked pages of chairs, tables, couches, and cabinets. She is decorating one of the church offices and wanted another set of eyes to imagine the outcome of her design ideas. A bit of debating and looking and soon we settled in on some final choices. She is such a sweetie. And, of course, her little buddy, Jameson, escorted her to Nana's house. It's always fun to see the grandkids!


My #1 son was not feeling well yesterday. That is unusual. Sadly for him, he was scheduled to share at the college life group meeting; he had to pass on that opportunity. Still, he was finally able to sleep and this morning is off to his college classes. He loves the Lord with a sincere passion. Gotta love it!


I received an e-mail from Germany where daughter #4 is planning a travel weekend to the British Isles for herself and several other classmates. She needed info from Mennonite Your Way, a hospitality guide for travelers who are content to stay in private homes. It is not only an inexpensive way to travel, but a great deal of fun. You meet all kinds of people and see how their homes function. Over the years I have garnered new recipes, fresh decorating ideas, and management strategies from various hosts. So mom found some names and addresses of families in London and Dublin who house weary travelers for a nominal fee. I sent them off a day or two ago. Wonder what she has planned? Hopefully something will work out for her!


Today we will need to get cracking on Valentine cookie production. How many dozen should it be? Quite a few if I hope to share some and still have a platterful left for my own crew on Wednesday. We also need to plow through a good bit of history and english. And my bedroom... Have I mentioned that it is a war zone? That's also on my "must do" list, along with returns of "salon rejects" purchases (time is ticking away on that deadline).

Always the lists. The never ending, never completely checked off lists. But I don't function well without them. Listing my "things to do" is highly beneficial. I get into a bit of a panic if all those "things" are left floating around my brain. First of all, by transferring my "to dos" to the realm of black and white I remove the stress of having to remember those nagging items, and at my age remembering is a major challenge - in fact, it may be the major challenge. It also allows me to see in a tangible way that accomplishing the list is feasible; for the most part, the necessary things are actually doable. That is always a big relief. What looms as a mountain in my imagination is really just a small mound that can be moved one shovelful at a time. And I can always hand out a few shovels to my daily companions. Together we can move even more than one mound!

So I will leave you all and head to the mounds. I hear my daily companions energetically emerging.

Wait. I retract that statement. They are, save one, dragging themselves into the reality of morning routine. That one, however, is making enough joyful sound to convince me that they are all involved. And that one is being a bit Tigger-ish. You know, bouncing and all.

But I will leave you to imagine just who that one might be.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who? Me?

They accused me of living out my dreams of decor experimentation through my daughter's recent design assignment. Certainly there is a measure of truth to their allegation, but how am I to blame when she asked me to do it?

That's right. In a pinch for time, she looked for someone to make quick decisions and do the necessary searching and running and purchasing and returning and repurchasing.

That's right, too. Decorating, though fun, is demanding. Time and energy are invested. So before you go jumping to the conclusion that life has been a picnic (after all, spending someone else's money to finance your creative ideas is not all bad), remember that I don't have time for extra jobs.

Yes, that's right. Jobs. Some people not only spend other people's hard-earned cash to see their own designs come to life, but they get paid for doing so!

And that's right, too. I am not getting paid. Did you think I would? After all, a lifetime of free haircare from a toprate stylist is a pretty good trade-off, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My New Big Girls

These days I find myself referring to daughters #6 & #7 as the big girls, only to realize that dear hubby assumes I am speaking of #1, #2, #3, or maybe #4. But the time has come to acknowledge that #6 & #7 are little in neither size or age. They have grown up on us. It seems to happen every time.

Consequently I also find myself looking for ways to up the ante: more chores, more responsibility, more challenging school assignments - and more adventure! It is time to sail some unchartered waters, to reach for a distant star, to discover a hidden talent or passion. I know they have both been created by Him for plans and purposes beyond my understanding, but I also know that I am to be a guide in unearthing hidden treasure. They are precious beyond measure in His sight and how I cherish them!

And so, this morning I contemplate their beauty, their gifts, their strengths. But most of all I consider the wonder of who they are, their capacity to love Him and bring Him joy. The joy they bring to me cannot be reckoned. My heart swells with gratitude to Him for these beautiful and wonderful daughters.

And I will seek Him as we forge ahead to new seasons of growth and discovery.

Oh, that they may be blessed!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn

I search for a way to sidestep my heart. It is always so involved with this world.

For instance, even now, it is aching, longing to gather all my loved ones around me, wanting to keep them all here, laughing and loving together always. There is little room for change in my dreamed of scenario. We will just freeze that special moment, linger there forever, basking in the glow of warmth and happiness.

This from a woman who once championed change. I never wanted to get too comfortable, knowing it would be too easy to want to rest there, to - how did I say it? - "...linger there forever." I once was restless, eager to move on, ready to try something new, to experience the unknown, confident that if this was good, than that would be even better. His ways were always worth discovering.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the Light of His glory and grace.

Ah, yes. How could I forget? There is no sidestepping, only a turning. It is time again to gaze upward, to take in His eternal love, to set my affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Then, even a tired woman can be made ready to cast off, move on, and embrace the new.

And then, someday, we'll be together, forever.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


It's Saturday morning. One little guy is watching a video with Daddy, two college guys are off to a performance (at 8:00am?!!), the coffee faithfully drips from my gurgling dispenser of brown liquid morning greeter, and the rest of the house slumbers on. The world is draped in white again; no more frosted olive trees to charm the view.

And I am pleased to be home amidst children and community I cherish. The house is clean, although bombarded with boxes large and small (my daughter is purchasing the entire insides of a hair salon - bet you never thought about how many boxes that would take...)

The family we stayed with for several days in Spain has been knit to our hearts. God is doing something very special there. They have become very like family to me. I mean natural family. Is it her Dutch heritage? The charming New Zealand accent they boast? His endearing Andalucian manner? Perhaps the fact that she could pass as the sister I never had... something has brought them close. I already look forward to a future visit. I hope it is soon.

Ah, hah! I hear the welcome of a new face by others in the family room. I must run and say good morning to yet another member of the clan!

Friday, February 02, 2007



Bed is calling...