Monday, October 29, 2007

Mothers and Daughters

Tonight Julia and I will board our plane at 10:45pm. This is the flight known as the "red-eye flight". We will arrive in NYC at 7:05am, a bit bleary-eyed and unsure, no doubt, only to hop on board our 9:50am flight to Syracuse where my wonderful hubby will gather us up with all our luggage (the bags will be bulging and two more will be added to the count - mom has managed to find time for shopping...) at 10:48am and whisk us home to my white house with the red roof on Main Street in smalltown, NY.

Leaving my daughter behind with her husband and baby son is not pleasant. In fact I have contemplated staying here in California a bit longer. The activities here have been hindered by sickness on our part and theirs - Danica is the only one who has been entirely healthy. I would love another week of grocery shopping, cooking, gardening, and all that stuff - with her, of course. Obviously, upon arrival in upstate NY I will find ample opportunity for such things, but not with her.

I miss her. How wrong it seems when a mother leaves her daughter in some far off place. Shouldn't she be near me, sharing everyday stuff? I know I felt that way when Brietta was in Pittsburgh. Mothers like daughters to be nearby. At least this one does.

But life isn't always quite so simple. They were made for Him above all, and wherever He leads, they follow.

I remember the words from a simple lullaby sung on Beginner's Bible by Jodi Benson, a mother's contemplation of time slipping by and babes growing older-

Each step that you take will be further away,
But to stop you is not what I'd choose.

Soon I will fly home to the ones still there. I cherished my time here; I will cherish my time with them, knowing that one day they may be elsewhere, living lives, making choices, cooking and cleaning and making another place home.

So, home I will fly, home to a wonderful man and family. Incredibly blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I don't even bother to check the weather outside upon rising in the morning. It is always the same: sunny, clear, no clouds at all, a slight movement of air, and that is that. Weird.

Julia and I unfortunately have both been struggling with colds and such since we've been here. Jameson is also under the weather (in spite of the sun) due to teething. Consequently we have not been exciting company. Today we will try to pick it up a bit.

Danica will load us all into the family van and take us to some favorite shopping areas full of international decor and knick knacks. From there we will check out boutiques in Palo Alto.

"What's with all the stores? How come all you want to do is shop?" Ryan inquired.

"That's what Sinclair girls do, Ry!" was my instant response.

Actually, we have plans to take in The Mountain Winery as well. Danica tells me it overlooks the entire valley. They have a concert venue there, restaurants, etc. "Pretty smart people, these folks that designed with this place," she says. Rumor is that it will be breath-taking. Sounds good to me.

The sick ones in tow will work hard to keep up. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Day So Far

There was a knock on the front door, and that was just the beginning. Soon five young moms had assembled to enjoy food, fellowship, and encouragement from yours truly. A plethora of children (they all arrived with two children each) ran along brick pathways, climbed the gnarled apple tree, and laughed continually, filling Danica's fairytale backyard with frolic and fun while the ladies settled into the front room. My story was told - From Feminism to This! - and somehow they were inspired. As I told my honey in my e-mailed report of the day, "The moms loved hearing stories from the battlefield and knowing that there has been victory in the end. They were all encouraged."

After a short nap for the little guy in the house, Danica and I buckled him in for a stroll downtown to purchase Cold-eeze for me and something fun for Ryan's birthday celebration tonight. 35 he is. Actually, his birthday was Saturday, but the party is tonight. He's a great guy who loves the Lord and is a super dad and husband. And that's worth celebrating any day!

So off I go to help slice and dice veggies for marinating, soon to be served over Basmati rice with fish fillets. Yum!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Quick Story

Julia played in the final round yesterday. She won third place and we were so very proud and happy! A cash prize, some high accolades, growing connections with people of influence, and most of all, continued building of relationships with peers from all over (in case you hadn't noticed, Julia is great at establishing friendships - she and the girls from China get on wonderfully!)

Following a late afternoon concert, we began the trek to Danica's home in Palo Alto, CA. I had wanted to make the trip in daylight so as to view all of the scenery along the way, but night time presented its own wonders. Long ribbons of red and white, strings of lights, snaking through the valley and up the mountains, stretching forever. There are no empty roads here, I am convinced of it. Already I have experienced the sensation of wanting to run away to an empty place just to breathe, just to exhale without thought, just to find a place for thoughts to begin. The need to always be moving, watching, processing is taxing to me, unaccustomed as I am to such constant presence of humanity.

I understand the desire for solitude - why the retreat accommodated by the MacAller's mountaintop home is wondrous, why I sighed a deep breath of relief every time we passed over the desolate hill separating Jong and Jiwon's home in Chino Hills from LA County, why Danica's whimsical "Secret Garden" backyard is worth its weight in gold. Solitude is precious in these here parts.

So now I am in the Bay area, ready to explore, desirous of seeing places we are currently studying at home as we learn about the Gold Rush of '48. I love new adventures. History, different lands and cultures, mankind here and there - fascinating. God's plan unfolding, human nature seen in a multitude of expression.

And more and more a reminder that someday we will all be in heaven. How hopeful, how promising - how needful.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A News Flash

Julia Sinclair from New York secured a place in the final round of the GFA International Competition along with three other youths in Division I which is comprised of 15-18 yr. olds. She competed this afternoon against 32 other young people from around the globe. The four finalists will compete tomorrow morning at 10:15am PST in the final round. She is the only American represented, playing against young people from Rumania, Chile, and China. Rumor has it that her mom is quite excited. ;)

Friday, October 19, 2007


Burbank hosts the Bob Hope Airport. It is small. Non-intimidating. A bit of a time warp. I felt as though I were in the 50's. We may snicker at the smallness of Syracuse Hancock International, but it sure is easy to get around. And so is the Bob Hope at Burbank. Definitely a friendlier introduction to LA than the LAX, where we landed last year. I will try to arrange flights to Bob Hope from now on.

We are staying with dear friends, Jong and Jiwon. Originally from Korea, they spent several years in Potsdam where they attended CFC. Now a job has brought them here. What a delight to see their smiling faces and share some Korean cuisine.

Yesterday Julia, Danica, Jameson and I set Danica's GPS for White Chapel Place in Thousand Oaks, home of our hosts last year. I couldn't bear to be this close and not say hello to these wonderful folks. Their home is like a private retreat, not because of the beauty and luxury (although the beauty and luxury abounds), but because of their incredible gift of hospitality. I walk in their door and feel like family. Now Danica does, too, and she and Ryan can spend a weekend with them sometime in the future.

Julia plays for the competition tomorrow; she has been diligent to practice several hours since arriving. She anticipates meeting many of the same participants from the last international competition, and for that she is excited. She is building some new relationships. Who knows what the Lord may be doing?


"My mother was going to abortion me," she informed us in her quaint Korean tones, as we sat sharing an American breakfast of biscuits and cheese, "but she happened to go to a Catholic hospital and a nurse there talked to her for two hours and persuaded her that it was murder. Now she knows that she would have missed the blessing of me! That would have been me!"

I responded, of course, with tears in my eyes. How sad. How pitiful. How many blessings have been tossed aside, lost to a hoax, an evil deception that tells them life will be better without that blessing. Or worse yet, the liar whispered that it would not be a blessing at all. Liar. Liar. Liar. I hate Satan, I hate that sin, I hate that lie. I hate it.

Jiwon was amazed to learn that abortion was legal in America. She didn't know. She was appalled and shocked. With a perplexed expression she commented, "It is not legal in Korea." Perhaps we (the church) haven't been as diligent as we should be in informing the new believer about this liberal American atrocity. Perhaps we need to remember regularly the unborn who are tossed away each day - since 1973. The years have dulled our passion. The numbers make us numb, indifferent. 126,000 - every day. But each one might have someday been sitting at a kitchen table declaring that their mother "would have abortioned me but now she knows what a blessing I have been."

What a sad reminder it was.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Up, Up and Away!

"What army are you feeding?" the checkout lady at my friendly grocer's asked incredulously.

"Just my own. I have a large crew at my house. And this Mom is heading out of town for two weeks. I'm trying to make sure they don't run out after just two days."

That's right. I'm on the road again. This time I head to CA with my daughter Julia for an international guitar competition. We land in Burbank tomorrow evening where my California daughter and grandson will greet us at the airport then chauffeur us to some nearby friends (we will stay with Jong and Jiwon, for those who know them!)

Once Julia has finished playing her fingers to the bone, and hopefully earning some accolades (and maybe even some denarii), we will find our way back to Danica's home in Palo Alto, CA near San Francisco in the Menlo Park area. Mom has yet to see her most recent abode, and I have not laid eyes on her dear hubby since last May.

I'm excited about the trip, obviously. Who wouldn't be? Travel with my beautiful seventeen year old, a visit with friends, playing with a precious little guy, special time with my first born, celebrating a wonderful son-in-law's birthday, and seeing the sunshine valley of CA. I hope to hear some fabulous music, spy out some great consignment shops, dig out some local history (this is Gold Rush '48 territory, you know), and enjoy some great food. And on top of all that fun, Danica is hoping to invite several young moms in for a gathering with this "seasoned mother". I chuckle at that title, wonder if I'm deserving of such a noble calling, and rejoice at the privilege of sharing with others the passion of my life: exploring motherhood as He designed it.

Will check in from the other side soon!

*ps: I must credit my daughters at home who will keep the whole show running in my absence. I know they will do a terrific job, as already witnessed through their help in getting this mom ready to depart. Yesterday Carina volunteered her day off to make dinner and feeze bread for the next week while I did necessary projects. Today while out and about running all those last minute errands, Liana whipped up mac & cheese. Looks like all will be in good hands while I'm away!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Serving Children

As moms I think we tend to forget that we are called to serve our children. Oh, I think we have maybe heard and embraced it in grander terms: serving another generation. But boiled down to everyday language and action, it means we must serve our children.

True enough, we do teach our children to serve our home, each other, the local church, and the community at large. But we are the ones training them: that is part of our service to them.

Bottom line is this: it is not about us, but them. The choices you and I make hinge upon their needs.

Do I sit and continue enjoying the catalog I just picked up three minutes ago, or do I put it down and respond to the need of my crying toddler who just scraped his knee? Should I stop the food prep for a few minutes and lend my full attention to the story told by a seven year old who stammers and repeats phrases numerous times, or give only half an ear to him because the apples need peeling? And that young one who always wants a drink at the most inconvenient time - must I always get the cup and fill it? Where is that nanny when I need her most?!!

My daughter recently linked to an article about nursing infants and toddlers. It reminded me of lessons learned so long ago. Motherhood presents abrupt opportunities for serving. Being on call 24/7, 7 days a week, for months on end, is an astounding and exhaustive introduction to absolute servanthood. If you give yourself whole-heartedly to this exercise, there is no doubt that you will learn much about serving and it begins with serving the weakest amongst us. This is the source of the purest of nurturing.

As a young mother I determined to provide comfort as well as nourishment for my nursing babes. The concept of consolation found at mother's breast is referred to by the Lord as assumed knowledge (see Isaiah 66:10-13.) We serve these new babes in many ways, but supplying comfort and meeting emotional needs is most primary. In meeting those needs we are exercised in cheerful giving, prepared for greater acts of service and ministry.

Servanthood: the word, the concept, the notion - once full of glamorous nobility - suddenly gains a more thorough definition and reality. This is work, this is demanding, this is death.

It is not surprising that women long to throw off the shackles of motherhood. It is no wonder that our culture does not esteem such a demeaning existence. Imagine the modern day woman - searching for greatness in serving the least.

Wait! There is something vaguely familiar in such a notion. But the truth cloaked within such a concept will always elude the wisdom of this age. Don't look for it here, in this world. It is wisdom that belongs to Him alone. It will mean veering from the beaten path, striking out a bit on your own, daring to traverse where the multitude will not. You won't look like all the rest. But that is okay.

Give freely to your babes. Discover an eternal truth. Nurturing our children in every way possible provides the care they need, fulfills His plan for them, and allows us to grow in greatness - the greatness of becoming a true servant. Only He could come up with such an amazing plan.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Do you know the song "Stop the World I Want to Get Off!"? I am feeling that way right about now. But I have a husband whose world is even busier. He needs me to lend something stable here at home. How, I do wonder. But I know that He who calls me will equip me. He will meet me here, in my heart, in the midst of it all. He will join me in the quiet recesses of that inner place. It is all that is left to me in this busy season. But it is enough.

The peace of God, even in these times. I know it is mine. So I will retreat somehow in the midst of the whirling activity surrounding me. Books, dishes, cooking, laundry, cleaning, chauffeuring, planning, ordering, conversation, shopping, wrapping, caring, writing, reading - on and on it goes. On and on and on.

But right here - right in the very midst of it - there is a place of retreat. And He waits to meet me there.

I'm coming, Lord. I'm coming! Not once or twice, but many times if I am to make it through this one! And thank You - thank You for always caring, for always joining me here. Thank You.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Young Boy's Insights

"I told Jamie that it's kind of funny how everyone thinks the world is all around them. That's because everyone can only see things from their own eyes."

Dad and Mom's eyes popped on that comment. This boy not only moves constantly, but he is always thinking and questioning. A more inquisitive child I have not met.

We smiled in amazement and, as parents are wont to do, assured one another that he was quite precocious. And you must agree, that is pretty insightful.

Now the task at hand is to help him see as best as he can through others' eyes. That requires a different kind of sight, a certain type of vision. We know he cannot attain new eyes, but through education, experience, and the wisdom that comes from God, he can see what others see and experience.

To have empathy, to grow in compassion, to extend tenderheartedness as a result of feeling what others feel - this is a practice in which all Christians should participate. We must not continue to see only from our own limited vision. It is far too small, too narrow.

The world does not revolve around us. Experiences are seen differently through someone else's eyes. In time, if we allow Him, He shows us that is not about us.

Those fresh insights from young minds are good reminders.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sweet Salvation

As the years go by salvation grows sweeter. My need for mercy and forgiveness does not diminish. Contrarily, the need increases. Failure continues, glaring weaknesses reveal more clearly the frailty of this earthen vessel.

Recollection of His complete cleansing afforded to those who ask is the sole hope for sweet relief from grief over wasted opportunities, lost days. And I still have plenty of those.

For someone my age, who has spent many, many evenings reviewing the day's failure, the promise of new mercies every morning grows more dear.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

As old as I am - as long as I've walked with Him - in all I've experienced with Him - nothing is more amazing than the cleansing His blood brings, the lightness of the burden of sin lifted, the forgiveness given by my Heavenly Father.

Sweet Salvation. I will sing for all eternity.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A Nana-day

You know you've been sleeping with a three year old when you smile, snuggle your pillow, and think to yourself, "I'll just roll over for a couple more blinkey-winks and comfy cuddles."

And by the way, they're home. Home together in the little yellow house down the road. They are such a nice family!