Lent 16: steadfast parenting

28 02 2013

On the winding road of parenting, today almost got me carsick from all the turns. Nothing horrible happened–it was just one of those days. Thankfully, we also had some fun and laughter. But not enough, in my mind.   Lent 16: steadfast

As I peek in on my sleeping daughter, some parental guilt sets in, about the day. “Why didn’t I …. ” or “Ugh.. ! She’s five! It’s kind of her job to be an imp!” Regardless, I am incredibly thankful. Thankful to God. Thankful to her. Thankful for this gift that is our daughter.  And I whisper to her for about the 10th time tonight, and 25th time today (give or take one or two), “I love you SO much, Kajsa!” My love, though a bit carsick today, is steadfast. It is fixed and unmovable–except to grow bigger.  I am reminded of the love God must feel for each one of us–even after we try God’s patience.

I also appreciate how tired and relieved God might feel when we humans finally stop whining, and simply fall asleep.

Lent 15: almond butter

27 02 2013

I took today’s photo before 11 am.

I wrote my post a couple hours ago. (about 8:30 pm)

Saved the post draft.

Did other things for the next hour and a half or so.

Returned to blogging.

Tried to upload the photo to my blog’s media folder.

Tried to upload the photo to my blog’s media folder.

Tried to upload the photo to my blog’s media folder.


I walked away to give the computer time to catch up.

I put my laundry in the dryer.

I returned to the computer. Tried to upload the photo to my blog’s media folder.

I washed my face.

Tried to upload the photo to my blog’s media folder.


Figured I’d write a nice post without a photo. No biggie, even for a blogger trying to post a photo-a-day during Lent.

Edited previously written draft of post. Saved Draft.

Tried to preview. (I always do this.)

Tried to preview.

Tried to preview.

Was asked for my username and password.

Ready to give up.

Signed back in to site.

Lost previous tweaking of aforementioned blog draft.

Jim walked in about then and said he thought I should blog about making almond butter tonight.

I made almond butter tonight in the Vita-Mix. It took me less than 2 minutes. No joke.

The almond butter is awesome.

Maybe I should make almond butter more often and try to upload photos to my media folder less often.

Then again, I still have to clean the Vita-Mix.

Lent 14: Psalm 27

26 02 2013

Psalm 27 has long been one of my favorites. It became a favorite during a challenging season in ministry, when a friend suggested I memorize it. This friend had heard a speaker share his painful ministry struggles, and, as a help to continue putting one foot in front of the other, he memorized Psalm 27. So my friend suggested I try it. Not as a “this will solve your problems” suggestion, but as a way to keep moving forward, despite the struggle. Lent 14: Psalm 27

So I started to memorize the psalm. It was helpful. And by “helpful”, I mean it helped me to stay focused on God throughout that season, and not on what was going on. It helped me to focus on the strength I can draw from God, and not on my own strength. And, it helped me to lean on God as my light, the One who helps me to see when I am tempted to not even look any more!

Somewhere along the way I stopped memorizing it. But I’m going to start again. No, I’m not going through a difficult ministry season. I’m just living life, winding road by winding road. And today, this week, this month… verse 1 especially speaks to me:

“The Lord is my light and salvation –whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life –of whom shall I be afraid?”

Throughout the winding roads, God is my light, my stronghold, my salvation, and my help.

Thank you, God.

Lent 13: driving the curves

25 02 2013

This is where I learned how to drive–in Southern Vermont. There is no lack of curvy, winding roads in my former stomping grounds. And so I approached the learning process with fear, trepidation — and a little excitement. My dad told me, when he first started teaching me to drive, that he wanted to make sure I knew how to drive the curves. And he did. And, I loved it.   Lent 13: driving the curves

I still love to drive the curves–in Vermont. The curvy, winding roads of life, however? Not so much. I’m not wishing for a bunch of perfectly straight roads-that actually sounds boring. But at times, I’d like to have a bit more variety, and not so much curve.

As I write this, I can’t help but think of those in my circle of friends and family who are currently on a stretch of  really hard curves. Illness, medical procedures up the wazoo, loss… lots of loss… death of loved ones, depression, strained relationships, lack of adequate finances, feeling utterly overwhelmed. It all can feel a bit out-of-control, much like driving too fast on a curvy road.

One of the things my dad taught me, about driving in Vermont, is that you don’t put the brakes on very much as you approach a curve. Obviously, if the situation warrants it, brake! But if you’re driving at the normal speed, and it’s a normal curve, keep driving into it. Don’t give it too much gas, don’t give it much brake… keep driving.

Easier on a Vermont road than on the road of life. And yet, I also have learned that–for the most part–one has to drive into the winding roads of life as well. Even when we change direction, even when we pull over at rest stops, even when we have to stop and fix a tire, switch drivers, whatever… we still need to get back into the car and drive into the rest of the trip. It takes more guts and white knuckles than I think I have, most of the time. But thanks be to God for his strength, for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, for the love and grace of Jesus Christ… and for the community of faith, that helps sustain.

Grace & peace & blessed driving.

100th Day & Amelia

24 02 2013

Some pictures to catch you up on two fun things Kajsa did this week:

First, at school this past week, the Kindergarten classes celebrated the 100th day of school.

family project

(This might be a school-wide celebration, I’m not sure.) The kids were each asked to create a project somehow representing the number 100. Kajsa, Jim and I thought up lots of ideas, and finally settled on a photo project–I sent a photo to be made into a poster. A photo of Kajsa’s class, on Beach Day, that I had taken. And, obviously, we cut it up into 100 pieces and glued it onto poster board. Fun.

100th Day of School poster

Second, while I was in York yesterday, Jim and Kajsa got to meet Amelia Bedelia. Sort of.. The Harleysville Book Store hosted an Amelia Bedelia birthday party.  Kajsa LOVES the Amelia Bedelia books, as do I.

Herman Parish with Kajsa

I loved them as a kid, and had no idea, until this past summer, that there is a current series of the books, featuring Amelia Bedelia as a kid. Peggy Parish, the original author of the books, died in 1988. But her nephew Herman Parish took over the writing, and attended the book store event yesterday. So Kajsa got to meet him, get a book signed by him, and get a photo with a girl dressed up as Amelia Bedelia.

Kajsa and "Amelia Bedelia"

Lent 12: Winding Road

24 02 2013

This week’s road sign for our church’s Lent theme of “Signs Along the Way” is “Winding Road”. Lucky for me, on our way home from Chinese school today, we saw this sign. Unlucky for me, it’s a bit blurry. Oh well.

Lent 12: Winding Road

Lent 11: smarter than a GPS?

24 02 2013

Lent 11: smarter than a GPS?Yesterday I drove to York and back again, for a “ONE” workshop, held at St. Paul’s Wolf’s Covenant Church. Great to be with colleagues and their parishioners, great to learn some good revitalization stuff.

The drive is about two hours, give or take. On the way there–no problems. But on the way home, I missed a turn. Or, I should say, I neglected a turn. I saw it… but didn’t believe it. I thought I knew better than the GPS. This isn’t entirely without reason. There have been many times when I have taken a short cut that my GPS doesn’t quite catch up with for several miles… But today, on the way home from York, the GPS was giving me accurate directions. And I was convinced that what I thought was actually the better way.

Not so much. After a mile or two, I realized my mistake, and I then followed the guidance of my GPS. And before long I was back on track.

There are times when God tries to tell me something… and I think I know better. I end up off track, and it usually takes me much longer than one or two miles to turn around. I’m not saying I understand or always agree with the ways God might direct me. But I can always affirm that God’s way still  needs to be my one way.

Lent 10: Love is OXOX

23 02 2013

I know it’s supposed to mean “Hugs and Kisses”, this statement on the Valentine Kajsa brought home for us last week. But it’s rather cute to also think of love as two oxen. Never thought of it that way before. Oxes are supposedly strong animals, right? So, I suppose one could say, that love IS like an ox. Or two. Love IS that strong–or can be. Lent 10: Love is Ox.I don’t always feel that, or act that, and certainly yesterday, (Friday, Day 10), I was neither feeling nor acting that strong love. I was impatient, quickly frustrated, and taking it out on my daughter who was probably equally impatient and frustrated. Sigh. Some days are like that.

But hopefully my love for others will continue to take steps forward, as far as the level of strength. And, by strength, I guess I really mean how strong I actually am, on the days when I feel weak. In love –especially as it reflects my patience level. Because on those “I’m feeling super weak and frustrated” days, I need to rely more on the ONE who makes me strong in spite of myself. The ONE whose love is the strongest. Stronger, even than hugs and kisses and stronger, even, than two OXen.

Love is, among other things, OXOX.

Lent 9: Refuge

22 02 2013

Late, again. Oh well.

Last night Jim, Kajsa and I went to Margarita’s Restaurant, to eat dinner… we went to help support “Relay for Life”, and, specifically, “Cheryl’s Angels”. 5% of last night’s proceeds went towards this team. As we were sitting in the booth waiting for our food, I looked over at Kajsa’s satchel (that’s what she calls it), and her newest stuffed animal–a Beanie Baby named “Hopper” was in it. I snapped this photo, because it immediately made me think about how Kajsa carefully takes care of Hopper. Mostly. Of course, she’s five-and-a-half, so isn’t the world’s most attentive parent, even to a Beanie Baby. But for the most part, she holds it carefully, pets it gently, wraps it up in blankets, sets it down carefully to take a nap. When she goes outside, she likes to shield it a little from the wind and cold. She even wants to strap her stuffed animals in seat belts on car trips.

Obviously, God cares and loves us more than we care for Beanie Babies. And even each other. I hope, at least. Psalm 91 talks about God’s protection, about God being our refuge… of course, Psalm 91 also states some confusing things–things like, “If you say ‘the Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent…” (Psalm 91:9-10). Confusing because, clearly, harm does come, disaster happens all the time. Image

I remain confused and often frustrated by Scriptures such as this, which say that God will protect and rescue people who call on him. But at this point, at least today, I am willing to remain confused and frustrated. This doesn’t always happen–that I’m willing to remain confused. Normally I want the answers, I want to know why, I want to cry out to God. And I’m sure those feelings and thoughts and actions will return to me –maybe even in an hour. But for now, I’m trying to yield to God my need to understand it all. And I’m trying to rest in the reality that God is still God… that God still loves…. and that God is still my refuge.

Lent 8: ?

20 02 2013

?This is sort of cheating. I really want to take a photo every day during Lent, related to the texts, themes, reflections of our Lenten season. But today was just one of those days. So here’s a photo I took on our way back from Midwinter a couple weeks ago. It’s today’s reflection–or lack thereof–of the Luke 4:1-13 text… and, more specifically, the third temptation. At least, that’s what I was hoping to photograph today. But then this photo came to mind.

Feel free to comment your own caption. lol..