23 August 2008

Every Perfect Gift

Quite some time has elapsed since I last recorded gifts. Yesterday I passed the four hundred mark. By the end of today, many more will stack themselves in line. By tomorrow, after my dear friend's wedding, they will have multiplied even more.

"Every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights..."

278. Birthday roses from coworkers
282. Drivers' license renewed, on the last possible day
283. Children's hands in mine as our feet feel the way up and down a creek
284. Yard sale sewing machine
287. Ladies picnic, complete with dresses and hats
292. Brake warranty
294. Morning thunder storm, afternoon rain
295. Last hug from friend before she moved away
296. Small town living: package delivered to my office in the morning rather than to my house across the street to be found in the evening
302. Birds singing, as well as frogs
305. Peace in sacrifice
309. Time and place to pick blueberries
312. Church family praying together every day
315. Dancing water in ancient Chinese bowl (OMSI)
335. Cool morning breezes in July, worthy of a sweatshirt
338. Ants in my house...in all things give thanks
341. News of a new person
349. Garden cucumbers and tomatoes
360. Letter from my high-school prayer partner
361. Three moments talking to a bird on the ledge outside my window
363. Cayenne pepper in my sliced finger, stopping the bleeding
367. Business meeting hosted by committee members in their lakeside cabin
377. Looming haircut appointment
394. Box--yes, a whole box--of tomatoes
397. Safe city driving (this small-town, country girl finding her way)
399. Weariness meeting mattress and pillow
401. Generous mother
408. Abundance of water, filling bathtub

15 August 2008

Autumn Celebrations

It's the middle of August, and as fall approaches again it's time to remember all the reasons last autumn was, for me, utterly glorious.

1. Picking elderberries. One September afternoon, the weather beckoned. Rather than waste it all on unpacking my friend in her new apartment, we rushed through the necessary duties, packed a picnic, and gallivanted off to the park. For at the park we knew would be a sumptuous supply of elderberries, from which we would make a delightful syrup to go over home-made bread and pancakes. Not to mention one of the worst messes my kitchen had ever seen. We picked so many berries and made so much syrup that I am still enjoying it out of the freezer. Never waste a beautiful autumn afternoon.

2. Apple Day. Make a guest list and the appropriate phone calls. Invite each person to bring ten pounds of apples and their favorite apple recipes. Bake the pies, make the cider, mix up the apple sauce to make the apple butter, and enjoy the feast at the end of the day.

3. Celebration of Morning. Do you, like me, love the early morning, and feel the grief in your heart when the time changes and the sun comes up an hour "later"? The day of the time change, choose some close friends and a prime location to watch the sun come up. While you await the sun in its brightness, read throughout the Bible about the creation of the lights in the sky and the Light of the world. Sing hymns about light, such as "Morning Has Broken" and "All Creatures of Our God and King". If it's warm, have a picnic breakfast after the sunrise. If it's not, gather in your home for a potluck morning feast.

04 August 2008

One Hour a Week

I've begun reading parenting books.

Those who know me will be at least mildly surprised at this, for I am not married, I have no children, and I am not pregnant. But once a week for an hour, I teach other people's children about Jesus, about the Bible, about all the things God created.

With two weeks under my belt, already I see how each child's heart has specific needs for love, attention, and learning. I see how their minds soak up whatever comes their way. I see the gift of their energy and the opportunity to show them ways to channel it wisely. I see that yes, even at two, they can begin to learn responsible choice making.

And at a complete loss at how to guide their developing minds, I picked out some parenting books and commenced my prayerful study.

I have them for one hour only, and I pray that even this one hour may not be wasted time but rather time that God can use to augment the training the parents give their children at home.