What a Difference a Week Makes

A week ago, friends helped pack and move my dad to our home.
By evening, he was somewhat settled in and woke the next day to attend church with us.
Monday, the professional estate sale personnel began pricing thousands of items left in his home.
Tuesday, we went to check out the progress.
The estate tag sale began on Thursday.
To keep cold symptoms from becoming more serious, Dad stayed here.
We put a jigsaw puzzle together to keep our minds off what was going on "back at the ranch".
 Friday afternoon we checked in and ended the afternoon with all my siblings and their spouses
at a local restaurant.
Returning home, it really FELT like home for him, I believe.
This afternoon I found him sitting at his desk paying bills and doing some paper work.  
Antibiotics have kicked in, and he is feeling more like himself.
 How I love sharing morning devotional times with Gary and Dad!
My zeal for cooking and serving good meals that had waned has been revived.
Table games now are three-way instead of two.
What a difference a week makes!

In Every Change...

This afternoon I thumbed through our hymn book to select songs 
for the ♪Singspiration♪ I'll be leading at church this evening.
I sang through the verses of Be Still, My Soul
and jotted down the page number for reference tonight.
These words stood out to me:
 Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
 There's no denying the changes that surround me--
at home, in my family, in our church, in our country.
How reassuring to know that "in every change, He faithful will remain".
Speaking of changes....
My husband is changing the old door that had been propped up in our shed.
He has removed the inside panel,
sanded down the exterior for a good painting,
and purchased a mirror to place in the opening.
I'm expecting a "joyful end" to this project and have a place in mind for it already!
Minutes after posting this, I changed my mind.
No paint.  Dark stain instead.
(It will match a few dark wood pieces housed in the same room.)


She came yesterday afternoon.  She looked kindly at my clutter and dust and agreed to come next Tuesday (and every two weeks) to clean our house.  Well, the downstairs anyway.  I can't bring myself to expose the upstairs situation to ANYone just yet.  I will ease into it.  I'm determined.

It's a new season of life for me.  One I didn't anticipate as a child, teen, young adult, busy parent or empty-nester.  One I choose with great pleasure and enthusiasm.  There is no way to actually  imagine all the implications of this choice, but my confidence and anticipation is strengthened by the complete support and involvement of my husband.

One week from today, my father will move into our home.  He will have his own room in which to retreat, but we are hopeful he will feel at home in our kitchen and living room as well.  Multiple details have been addressed to make his transition (and ours) as seamless as possible.  It will be interesting to see what we overlooked!

I am thankful that he accepted our invitation and will not be spending the long, dark and cold winter nights alone.  I'm thankful for the privilege of "doing" family up-close-and-personal.  I'm thankful for the growth and challenges that have ALREADY come and are STILL to come with this new adventure.

Oh, and I'm thankful to have a house-cleaner!

Ready and Waiting

 It started as an old blue shelf relegated to a place in the shed
where it housed garden tools and other miscellaneous items.
While looking for something the right size to hold my father's
small television in the dining area of our kitchen,
we remembered it.
My husband fashioned legs to make it stand a little taller.
 Then he painted it white to match the trim in the room.
And here it stands...
ready and waiting.
Completely "reborn" for a specific purpose and time--
to provide a place for the small television
so Dad can watch a favorite show in the morning as he eats his breakfast.
The other shelves will be used to house the games 
we frequently play at the table
and music books I use at the keyboard 
that fits snugly beside the shelf unit.
Sometimes I feel a bit like the shelf--
Reborn for a specific purpose and time.
Ready and waiting.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still. ♪

Numbering My Days

 In years past, September has been the month in which I shop
for a replacement to the calendar that I carry with me most everywhere.
The ones I have been using include the last 3 months of the current year
along with the 12 of the coming year.
For some reason, I had difficulty finding one like them this year.
I settled for this one...a bit wider, minus some note pages
(which I seemed to not use anyway
 thinking I needed to save them for something "important").
My search turned into a comedy of sorts beginning in a Meijer store,
moving into Walmart, and ending in an Office Depot 
which sadly was closing its location nearest us.

In the end, it was THIS feature - two pockets - that sold me on this particular calendar.
I'll just finish out this year in the 2016 version
and wait to begin the new one in January--
which makes sense anyway!
I have been using the calendar on my cell phone more regularly
but can't quite divorce myself from a paper version just yet...

 Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.
Psalm 90:12

 All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. 
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Under Construction

Very MUCH under construction!
(Well, for us at least...)
I expect to emerge out from "under" soon.
Meanwhile, I'm so aware of construction zones
(along with messes, dust, and and a bit of chaos thrown in)
in  many areas of my life - outer AND inner.
I'm thankful for the General Contractor
who has the big picture in mind.
I trust Him.

♪  He's still working on me
To make me what I ought to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
'Cause He's still working on me ♪

(Words as I remember them....)

My Sane, Simple and Sacred Corner

Among the joys of our current remodeling project
is the creation of this corner--
an actual designated Music Corner--
just for me!
With the addition of the stool (a gift from my sister),
I don't need to stand at my keyboard for long periods of time.
By raising the keyboard to the height it is,
I can accommodate the stand beside itwhich stores my music.
If any one area of my house could be summarized
by the words "Sane, Simple and Sacred",
this is it!

In the Shadow of the Cross

I was away from home while my husband applied the first coat of paint
to our "new" old room.
"Send me a picture of it," I texted him.
This is one he sent me.
I saw it immediately--the cross.
The words to an old song came to my mind.
I remember Dick Anthony and Bill Pearce singing it.
(Well, at least I THINK I do!
And I KNOW I remember my mother and dad singing it,,,)
I looked in vain to find it, 
but in the process I found THESE lyrics--unfamiliar to me, but also old and precious.
  1. In the shadow of the cross let me hide,
    There the Savior for my sins bled and died;
    There the precious, cleansing fount
    Flows so free from Calv’ry’s mount,
    In the shadow of the cross let me hide.
  2. In the shadow of the cross, blessed place!
    Living only for the Lord, by His grace;
    What He says I’ll gladly do,
    Ever standing firm and true,
    In the shadow of the cross, blessed place!
  3. In the shadow of the cross, safe retreat,
    Ever sitting lowly at Jesus’ feet;
    While His presence is so near
    I shall never, never fear,
    In the shadow of the cross, safe retreat.
  4. In the shadow of the cross, here I meet,
    In communion with my Lord, oh, how sweet!
    And my soul is borne above,
    While I revel in His love,
    In the shadow of the cross, here I meet!
       In the shadow of the cross I will rest,
        For with everlasting peace I am blest;
       Here I dwell in love unknown,
       Streaming down from heaven’s throne,
       In the shadow of the cross I will rest.
(William J. Henry) 

    I am praying that the occupant of our "new" old room
    WILL find much rest, peace and contentment in this room
as he does in the shadow of the cross.

Project, Preparation, Purpose

 It's messy.
 It's ugly.
 It's disruptive
and inconvenient.
Progress seems slow,
and it gets expensive.
But there is a reason and purpose for it.
We are preparing a place for my father to come and live comfortably with us! 
I can hardly wait for the project to be finished!

And meanwhile, I often think about Jesus' words in John 14:2-3:
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, 
would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come back and take you to be with me 
that you also may be where I am.
Jesus, too, has a "project"!  He's "preparing a place for me"!  
His purpose is that one day I can be where He is.
I can hardly wait.

Saints Everyone

 The rain ended just in time for the party to begin!
A lovely Saturday evening in the company of old friends
from a former ministry.
 Dave grilled the burgers...
Class chairman, Rick, his wife, and a stellar committee
planned a most enjoyable experience.
Carry-in food was delightful, and I tasted endive for (I believe) the first time.
 I was introduced to the card game, Wizard.
 We sang some old songs,
heard testimonies of God's goodness to many of the group members,
 and then my father gave the devotions based on Psalm 32:7.
God is our Hiding Place - including the example of Noah and the ark
(the ark being Noah's hiding place).
Just as the evening was coming to an end, 
a rainbow appeared outside the shelter...
like the smile of God on this group of dear friends.  
Saints everyone!

♪ We're the people of God, 
called by His name 
Called from the dark and delivered from shame
 One holy race, saints everyone 
Because of the blood of Christ Jesus, the Son ♪
(Wayne Watson)

Two Men and a Backseat Driver

It was Sunday afternoon, and to break up our table game routine,
we looked up the Barn Quilt Tour description from the Archbold (OH) Sesquicentennial celebration
and set off--
Two Men and a Backseat Driver!

These are six of the ten barns/quilts on the tour.
Our outing included stopping to see a small herd of longhorn cattle,
waiting for a train,
and a few dead ends.
We returned to play a couple more games
and enjoy a lunch of Indiana cantaloupe, a variety of baby tomatoes,
and curried chicken salad in croissants. 
It was a relaxing way to spend Sunday afternoon and evening.

Functional. Enduring.
Strong. Silent.
Decorated now.
Kissed with simple beauty.
Like royalty.

A Painful Process

a corner in our bedroom...
I'm an advocate of reading; inspired books helped me get out of my muddled-head, like opened windows to the sea. 
-  Patsy Clairmont
Read two old books for every new one. - J.I. Packer

We're busy downsizing, consolidating, organizing and decluttering in preparation for a small remodeling project 
(adding closets to make a general room into a bedroom).
Part of the process means a paring down of the book collection.
It is painful!  
This morning I worked on these shelves.
I came up with one box of books to donate to a local thrift store.
In the process, I found several old, inspired books to re-read...
treasures from Nouwen, Lindbergh, and Stoddard, for example.
The two taller shelves here hold (maybe) 1/5 of our books.
 Note the smaller shelf hugging the wall
and stack of books on the shelf under the lamp.
I'm about halfway through the sorting.
~Did I already say it's a painful process?~

Numbering My Days

Psalm 90:12  Teach us to number our days carefully 
so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. (Holman Christian Standard Version) 
For many years, I've been journaling in this format
in journals purchased at Barnes and Noble.  This one has larger squares than previous ones.
(I prefer the smaller ones.)
As I open the journal, I write on the right side.  
When I get to the end, I flip it over and write on the right again!
I've been dating entries as shown here from this morning.
Date, time, a cross representing my commitment to Jesus,
and an arrow which indicates moving forward.
(Sometimes, I write in a specific goal I'm aiming for
at the arrow's point.)
Today I scribed: "82". 
I'm numbering my days!
Following a doctor appointment 82 days ago,
I recommitted to a lifestyle/food plan that had served me well in the past.
It is doing so today.
The International Standard Version translates Psalm 90:12 this way: 
 ...teach us to keep account of our days so we may develop inner wisdom. 
I'm learning.
I'm keeping account.
I'm numbering my days.
My goal is to develop inner wisdom.
He is teaching me.

The Many Faces of Beauty

The sudden appearance of Resurrection Lilies....
multiple cards with expressions of encouragement and sympathy...
a poem by a new friend...
and a Sunday sky full of clouds of every variety.
These are the faces of beauty that blessed me this week
as we siblings shared special times with our father following 
our mother's home-going.
I am SO blessed.

 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. 
He has planted eternity in the human heart, 
but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11


We "do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." I Thessalonians 4:13
August 1, 2016
Quietly she left us.
Her breathing slowed
and tapered in its depth
until it was no more.
We watched in awe.
It was a holy moment.
Our joy in her release from 
the prison of her deteriorated mind and helpless body
well balances the sadness of realizing 
her physical presence is no longer with us.

The More...The More

Her nails, strong and beautiful. 
Apparently not unlike her heart that continues to beat this afternoon. 
 (And hopefully, not unlike our faith in God's wisdom, loving-kindness and sovereignty...)
The more her self-care diminished,
her sense deserted her,
her speech failed her…
the more helpless 
she becomes,
the more I think I understand her.
How is that possible?
(Or IS it?)
“No,” they tell me
by their silence and 
careful, well-intentioned statements of sympathy. 
I suspect they are correct.

Infinite Possibiities

"But at least it made one realize that life still held infinite possibilities for change."

My kind of book, this one...
Descriptive, well-developed characters, bloodless, believable and gentle.
An old book by an author suggested by one whose taste in books 
runs in the same channels as my own.
Its last line, quoted above, is an example of many
sweet, memorable ones scattered throughout the story.
The title is a reference to the four main characters,
all of whom are in the autumn years of life.
I have another Barbara Pym book lying by my chair ready to be read--
Excellent Women.

Just a "Few"...

Just "a few" photos from our days with our children and grands
in St. Louis.


That's all, folks.

Writing a Song a Week #3

Writing a Song a Week #3
♪ I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning ♪ (Psalm 130:5-6)