Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grandma's Wisdom

Today, a short post, perhaps the wisest saying I've ever heard attributed to my Grandma:

"Women are mean, and men are stupid."

Knowing that could solve a lot of the world's relationship problems.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

These Aren't Your Grandma's Blueberries (reposted)

I was hoping to do a series of posts about my Grandma this week. I may or may not get many done. But here is one from a couple of years ago. My Grandma's house has the most amazingly prolific blueberry bushes in the backyard. This includes one of my favorite of her many delicious recipes, her blueberry batter pie.

But they are my grandma's blueberries. Aren't they lovely?

We have had a busy few days around here. On Thursday, the boys and I drove the four-hours one way trip to Tennessee just to pick some of these fantastic berries. Of course, we did manage to stay two days to enjoy family and to breathe some of the mountain air, which is significantly less oppressive than the air around here, even if it isn't that much cooler.

I'm not sure how long Grandma has had her blueberry bushes, but they are huge. She gets around 20 gallons each summer, and all of her friends and relatives who want to can take a turn picking. We got there just in time to glean some of the last fruits. In fact, my wonderful Grandma had saved two bushes just for us. Calvin had a blast picking...or eating...the berries with Grandma. Hobbes was more interested in pouring them from one bucket to another, dumping them on the ground, and generally undoing our work. He eventually decided it was more fun to play hide-and-seek in the bushes while we picked.

So now I am home with a gallon of berries, some of which I will freeze for use in oatmeal and pancakes and muffins throughout the year. Many of them we will eat in handfuls of juicy, sweet goodness. The rest will go into Grandma's blueberry batter pie and a batch of these. I am still searching for the perfect blueberry muffin recipe, so if you have a good one, send it my way. For that matter, send me any good blueberry recipes you have. I'd love to know what other people do with them!

Grandma's Blueberry Batter Pie

Melt one stick butter in the bottom of a 3 quart baking dish.

Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, and a dash of salt. Set aside.

Combine 1 quart blueberries, 1 cup sugar, and a little water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on stovetop and remove from heat.

Pour batter over melted butter in baking dish. Spoon blueberry mixture evenly over batter and pour remaining juice on top. Bake at 350 for 3o minutes or until batter rises to top and begins to brown.

Best served warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Eulogy for My Grandma

Today was the worship service celebrating my Grandma's life. All of the grandkids were asked to say something about what we learned from her. This is what I wrote and read.

When (my uncle) asked me to write something about what I learned from Grandma or what she meant to me, I wondered what to write. Should I tell about how she taught me to make her famous chocolate cake, measuring the cocoa so that it was heaped just the right amount in the tablespoon? Or about how I used to love spending the night with her as a kid because we got to have all the candy we wanted, stay up late, and eat chicken noodle soup for lunch? Should I tell about my memories of eating freshly picked blueberries off the bushes in her backyard until my stomach hurt? Or of sitting in her living room stringing beans with her and most of the family helping? Maybe I should tell how her involvement in missions, though she never moved away from these mountains, was one of the influences that led me to follow God’s call to China. Whether big or small, all of these are pieces of her story that have helped to write mine, and I am so very grateful for them. But they are not want I really want to tell.

When I was pregnant with my third child, I wanted more than I even realized to have a girl, and when we found out we were having yet another boy, I was a bit disappointed. How does anyone raise three boys? Then I remembered (I don’t know how I had forgotten) that Grandma did it. Grandma, who had wanted so much to have just one girl and was thrilled when I was finally born into the family, raised three boys and raised them well.

When I asked her how she did it, how she managed to raise three boys who turned out so well and even liked each other, she said, “Well, I guess I just did it.” In this age, when motherhood is such a complicated business, and everyone is telling you the perfect method for childrearing and insisting that you buy their book or take their class or follow their method, my Grandma’s wisdom is the only advice that has really stuck with me. She just did it. She got up every morning and made the meals and mended the clothes and disciplined when needed and didn’t worry too much about self-esteem or cognitive development or anything else. In fact, the only thing she ever told me that she was sure to teach her boys was that church was not optional.

I know that Grandma was able to do what she did because she loved Jesus, and she showed her love for Him and for the people around her by meeting practical needs. Even her most treasured gifts to us were made for the most practical of reasons, to keep us warm. Those beautiful quilts she made for all of her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are pieces of art, but they are not meant to hang on walls. When I tuck my three boys under them at night and crawl under one myself, I remember Grandma’s love for us and her acts of service that allowed her to do more for the Kingdom of God than she might have expected. I am reminded just to finish the next task that God places before me, to care for those He has put around me, to keep our family close and Jesus at the center. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to look back and see three godly sons, loving daughters-in-law, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who love Jesus and their families. Because in all of those years of just doing the next practical thing, those are the works of art Grandma created, more beautiful than any quilt.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Poem

by Calvin and Hobbes (with a little help from Auntie M)

If I went to the moon, I would bring my car
So that I could put it in a star.
The star would burn up the car
And the ashes would be bizarre.
I would also bring my sword
To fight for my lord
Against Count Bleck the Mean
The most dangerous villain you've ever seen.
I would of course win the fight
Unless Count Bleck had stronger might.
And then I would have to leave the moon
And fly back to Earth very soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sending Love to a Friend

My dear friend in real life, Farrah, is remembering the birth and death of her firstborn son this week. She wrote a touching post about her grief and how she has grown over the past six years that I thought was worth sharing. If you have a moment, go and read it and leave her an encouraging comment. She is a beautiful woman and friend, and I have been blessed by her openness through these past six (and more) very difficult years.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Because it's still Easter...

...and I've been thinking about this in the midst of grief and funerals and explaining death and resurrection to my kids. Alleluia! He is risen, indeed!

The Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostem

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My dear, wonderful Grandma passed away this morning. We were praying for God to take her, as she was in much pain and ready to go. Now she is well and whole and with Jesus and all of our family that has gone before, including my daddy. She will be missed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

7 Quick Takes-Spring and New Life

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

Happy sixth day of Easter to you! One of the things that I love about being Anglican is that Easter lasts even longer than Lent. We get to celebrate right up to Pentecost. This blog had a great quotation from N.T. Wright about how Christians should celebrate Easter. I especially like the part about champagne after morning prayers for the first week. I have read this passage before, and I think Wright is spot on. Without the resurrection, Christianity has no meaning. So celebrate! And if you want to read a good article about why the resurrection matters, check out this article by a dear friend of mine that was in this month's Christianity Today.

The plants and trees are celebrating Easter by sending out lots of pollen. If you don't live in a place that has a lot of pine trees, you don't know the joy of walking outside to see everything coated in a layer of sticky yellow-green pollen. Really, you have no idea how horrible this stuff is. Here is a picture from a couple of years ago.

Yes, that is pine pollen coating my son's bum and the slide and our porch and cars and everything inside and out. That was after a good rain, too. This year, it was dry, record heat (90ish) and windy when the green scourge hit full force. Folks said it looked like fires everywhere with the clouds of pollen blowing. Let's just say I am glad we decided to trek over the mountains this week for Spring break. It is much better in Tennessee.

As nature is putting on a show of new life (my favorite right now being the dogwood blooms), it seems many folks are welcoming new lives into their homes. So many of my friends had babies and announced it on Facebook while I was away for Lent, and I am enjoying looking at pictures of their little babes. And this blogger and mother of five boys, whom I discovered just recently, just welcomed her first baby girl. It gives me hope...not that I am planning on trying for a girl or boy any time soon or that I am even sure what I would know what to do with a girl. But I am enjoying reading her stories of life with all those boys.

Speaking of boys, mine are growing like weeds, and I am taking full advantage of the warm weather to watch as they blossom into little boys. Even sweet Linus is working on growing up on me. He is walking so much now, though not all of the time, and becoming very independent. While he keeps his agreeable disposition most of the time, he is not afraid to let us know what he wants. He screams and points and throws a tantrum until someone figures it out, and then he instantly smiles and returns to his normally pleasant self. It is almost like two different babies.

All of this life all around makes it hard to accept the death that our family is facing. We are also in Tennessee because my grandma is nearing her death. Even in the grief, though, we know that she is going to enter new life and to prepare for new creation. She is ready to go and be with her Creator and see the face of Jesus. That is one of the beauties of the created order, isn't it, that nature in her yearly death and rebirth reminds us of the truth of our rebirth that happens even as we die.

I was able to do a bit of a family history interview with my Grandma last month. Now that I am unable to continue it, I am pondering the preserving of memories in the reality of eternity and new creation. There is so much that is lost over the years, and I do think we can learn a lot from the past. At the same time, we have become a culture obsessed with documenting our lives, taking thousands of photos and updating out status every day and tweeting or twittering or whatever it is that people do. I think we obsess so much over documenting and preserving memories that we don't actually make memories or really live in the present. It is like scrapbookers who are thinking about how they will turn an event into a scrapbook page even as they are participating in it and taking photos of it. Anyway, I just think that at some point we have to trust that all of those memories that we lose along the way are being held by God for us to pull up and remember in eternity.

And now, a lighthearted Calvinism to end this Quick Takes:

Nana (to Hobbes, who had just told her about a computer game): "Really? That's interesting!"

Calvin: "You're just pretending to be interested, aren't you?"

Nana: "No, Calvin, I really am interested."

Calvin: "No you're not. That sort of think doesn't strike your fancy."

The turns of phrase that boy picks up from reading. I love it!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Christ is risen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

He Has Done It

Psalm 22 (ESV translation)
To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

12 Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

All of today's daily lectionary readings from the Book of Common Prayer can be found here. They are powerful. I encourage you to read them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stay with me...

...Remain here with me. Watch and pray.

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-43, ESV)