What’s in YOUR toolbox?

carpenters-toolbox-1466467_1920My dad had a shop in the basement, a couple of rooms of the basement in fact. It was pretty awe-inspiring.  His big engineer’s drafting table, from which hung the triangle and T-square, dominated one room, the one in which he built in all the new cabinets himself.  I think that was before he designed and built the beautiful screened-in back porch. 

The actual shop was in an adjacent room.  This housed a myriad of baby food jars filled with screws and washers and all types and sizes of things.  His lathe was in there, and the circle saw, and undoubtedly a host of other things I would have no idea how to use.  (What’s a router??)

Continue reading “What’s in YOUR toolbox?”

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Proper egg placement

IMG_20150103_172451138There’s just something fun about seeing kids hunt for their Easter eggs.  Of course, you sometimes have to separate the different age groups, since the two-year-olds need their eggs right where they can see them easily, and the eight-year-olds need them hidden with somewhat more ingenuity—like in places Mom finds a week later…but not with her eyes.

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I remember doing the coloring egg thing with my kids, although I’m not sure how often that still goes on.  There’s so much fake stuff out there which makes it quite bit easier, plastic eggs and such.  If you trip and drop them, they don’t tend to break as easily, (and they don’t smell if they go unclaimed, a definite plus.) Continue reading “Proper egg placement”

Puzzled

puzzle1I had no idea how much my middle adult daughter loves jigsaw puzzles!  We rarely did any when she was growing up, just not my thing, you know.  She says it’s a stress buster, and just plain fun. 

Now that I know this little tidbit of info this one who lives half a continent away, I’ve decided to give her a year-long birthday present of a puzzle a month.  Only with a little twist: Bob and I will build the puzzle first, turning it over when completed and writing a message on the back. 

She’s all in!

But wait, there’s more.  I’ve sent out an APB to family to get them involved.  Now, when the hub and I finish a puzzle, I (carefully) wrap it up and mail it to different family members for THEM to write/color/draw on the back, send it back to me (postage pre-paid) and then I break it up and send it off to its new coastal home.

They’re all in!

Okay, yeah, this is getting expensive.  Hopefully I’ll have some ready and rolled up when we travel to actually be with family and get a few done in advance that way.  It’ll be worth it though, helping my middle child connect with family in a unique way, dontchaknow?! Continue reading “Puzzled”

Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).

swedish-flag-2432445_1920I’m trying to learn Swedish.  My son-in-law, the family Swede, says that such a project is not terribly practical since only an impressive minority of people on the planet speak his native tongue. 

Since when is the grandmother of the most precious one-year-old in the universe expected to be practical??  So, Duolingo gives me updates on how I’m doing.  Currently, it says I’m around 34% fluent in Swedish.

Clearly, they define “fluency” differently than I do.  For example, if I wanted to say something like, “your dinosaur has a funny nose”, I would be woefully lost for words.

And Duolingo doesn’t teach you any expletives, which probably a good thing when you’re a 58-year-old trying to learn a new language…. Continue reading “Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).”

Whoa, hoss!

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 “Pay attention to this, Job. Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God!”

This passage encourages me to ask God for His miraculous intervention!  What a God we serve!  Creator of the Universe!  Molder of the everything from the Rocky Mountains to the pebble I skip in the lake!  Designer of the intricacies of the human body as well as an amoeba! 

This dove-tails right into what Jesus said about having mustard seed-sized faith and moving those mountains and asking for “whatever you will and it shall be done”—that suits me just fine, thank you!

Then I realize this passage comes from the book of Job…which gives me pause.  More like slamming on the brake…

If anyone had reason to ask for miraculous intervention, it was Job.  By the time this verse shows up in the narrative, we find our ragged hero drowning in disappointment and sitting on an ash heap with pus leaking from his multiple skin sores.  All of his children and most of his servants have been killed in various assaults, his wealth has been stripped from him, his wife has been less than encouraging, and now his erstwhile friends have showed up to accuse him of being guilty before God for who-knows-what. 

It hasn’t been a good week.

I’m all about asking God for miracles; He knows more than anyone how badly we need them down here.  However, God is more concerned with intervening in my character than with intervening in my situation.  If the trial will benefit my intimacy with Him more than the miracle, He’ll choose the trial every time.

Which sounds pretty scary at first, but then God also says this in the book of Job:

“I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
    Here your proud waves must stop!’”

No matter what the circumstance, my Father is still in control.  His plan for my character and my relationship with Him supersedes my immediate comfort, (and not just physical, but emotional, mental, and spiritual as well.) 

Even the secular segment gets the idea that sadness has a crucial place in our proper development:

Of course, I have choices to make in how I process these difficult times—regardless of what’s happening around me, I have decisions about what is happening within me.  And as a Christian, God says I have internal resources not otherwise available.

Part of that processing has to do with interpretation; that is, how I “see” my circumstances.  It’s very, very tempting to fall prey to thoughts such as:

God doesn’t love me like He loves others.

“For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].”

Or, God’s going to do what He wants anyway, so why bother praying?

 “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];”

Then there’s the age-old: God must not exist. 

“For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

The bottom line is the historical reality of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ—when nothing else makes sense, that does.  The splintered, bloodied pieces of wood and the splendidly empty tomb mean there’s more going on behind the scenes that I’m not privy to…yet.  To think otherwise means my arrogance is peeking through, something God addressed with Job in no uncertain terms.

So where does miraculous intervention fit in to all this?  Jesus’ template of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” is a good start, but I don’t think He meant for it to be a spiritually lazy default.  I like His disciples initial request: “teach us to pray.” 

Which is becoming an ongoing request for me: “Holy Spirit, teach me what to pray specifically, give me grace to pray persistently in the face of disappointment, and help me to engage the power of Heaven for the building of Your kingdom in this circumstance.”

quarter-horse-746979_1280Interestingly, I suspect that’s when something quietly miraculous begins to happen…

…in me.

Romans 2:11; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:16  Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Job 37:14; Job 38:11 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

In the interest of threads and knots

I’ve really been having fun developing my crocheting prowess.  I don’t use patterns, I just kind of wing it.  Recently, my oldest daughter challenged me to expand into the stuffed toy market and try my hand at a few from my preschool granddaughter’s favorite Netflix show.

Thankfully, preschoolers are very forgiving when it comes to details… Continue reading “In the interest of threads and knots”

A friend indeed

I don’t quite know what male-bonding looks like, but sister love can go something like this:

A true girlfriend will tell you when something’s amiss that is not showing up in the mirror.

A true girlfriend gives you her last Shout wipe when you spill grape juice on the front of your blouse.

A true girlfriend doesn’t mind (too much) that you snore at the lady’s weekend retreat.

And so it goes…

I like finding true comradeship in the most unlikely places—it’s actually something easily taken for granted. True friends don’t grow on trees; they grow in compost, in the refuse and throw-away parts of our lives.  When it all hits the fan, true friends are at their best.

Here are a few of my favorite examples: Continue reading “A friend indeed”

To eat, or not to eat?

IMG_20150103_172451138Although my cooking prowess (or lack thereof) has not yet reached legendary status, there are nonetheless a few stories that can be told within my family.  Pizza, however, is one of my favorites. Not to cook, but to eat, and so I’ve become quite good at doing both, if I do say so myself (and I do.)

I am, currently at this writing, happily anticipating a brand new kitchen.  The contractor comes tomorrow to go over the final game plan, which includes knocking out a wall, etc.  His wife, who helps run the business, is well-versed in kitchens, and made the comment that even though I don’t like cooking at present, perhaps I will enjoy it when I get a new kitchen environment…. Continue reading “To eat, or not to eat?”

Jericho, and other ruins

IMG_20150103_172451138When I was a teenager, I was part of an organization called Young Life.  We used to sing a song, “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came a-tumbling down, dooby-down, dooby-down, doo-wah”.  (Okay, so it was the 70’s.)

It was a fun song, and planted a little church history in our brains, I suppose.  The account is of the well-known story of the Israelites walking around the walls of this pagan city out of obedience to God, and on the seventh day, with a fair amount of trumpet blowing, the walls came a-tumbling down.  The city was captured and utterly destroyed, except for the family of one woman, a prostitute who had risked everything to help the Israeli spies. Continue reading “Jericho, and other ruins”

Projects take time

IMG_20150103_172451138The most-beautiful-three-and-a-half-year-old on the planet decided to help me do a little crocheting when she and her parents were visiting.  One of her favorite cartoon characters, the brilliant Richard Scarry’s Lowly Worm, was in the process of being recreated in yarn.  Not a terribly difficult project for a 58-year-old grandmother who learned to crochet decades ago (from my grandmother, BTW, only I was a bit older.) Continue reading “Projects take time”