Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Caution: High Winds in the Hodgepodge

Thanks to our friendly, neighborhood hostess, Joyce. we have yet another batch of Hodgepodge questions. By "neighborhood" I mean the world, but it feels rather cozy in Cyberville much of the time.

Pardon my long-winded post, but I must share some really exciting news. Something that most of us don't get the privilege of having in a lifetime, but it happened to me last week.

Since September I've been tutoring two siblings (sister and brother)  who are originally from China. In addition to their academic subjects, I would occasionally add some Bible reading. I gave each one a Bible as a Christmas gift because they didn't have one. In fact, they didn't even know how to pronounce "Jesus."   L said "Jess-iss"--and they didn't know a thing about God, Jesus, the Bible, or anything related to Christianity.   But gradually, over the past nine months, I have been reading with them the story of Creation, Noah and the flood, the birth, ministry, miracles, and gospel of Jesus Christ.  Both kids have been sponges, asking great questions, wanting more stories, more answers.

This past Thursday ,I felt prompted by the Lord to ask the girl if she was ready to accept Christ, and she said, "Yes!"  But then immediately looked sad and said, "But, what if I sin right after I do that?"

Bless her tender heart. I told her I'm 50 years old and still sin many times a day. But the good news,  I said, is simply that if she confesses the sin to God,  repents and asks His forgiveness, He will forgive her because he loves her. She was satisfied with that answer, and then we prayed together for her salvation. We were so happy and I hugged her, welcoming her to the Family of God.

 I am floating on air!!

1. I read here a list of 13 things you should do in June. I'm paraphrasing a little but basically...

Go on a road trip with your best friend, pick fresh strawberries, host a garden party, take a morning run, treat yourself to a flower bouquet, spend a whole day hiking, discover a new coffee shop, try a new ice cream flavor, read at least one book, visit a Farmer's Market, make a swing for your home, and visit a new city. 

Which thing on the list do you most want to do? Of the activities mentioned, which one holds the least appeal? How many on the list will you attempt in June? What's one thing you'd add to the list?

Well, I  did a lot of those things in one road trip to Kentucky at the end of May. Lexington was my "new city" to visit, which really meant seeing it from the road when we got a little lost. 

From the list, I'd most want to check out the newest coffee shop in town. The owner is a 17 year old girl, Jade, who bought the shop from her previous boss, with $6000 inheritance money from her grandmother, and her dad's help.  She had always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur, and now here she is, fresh out of high school, the owner of The Jaded Bean.  Local musicians play live on the weekends, and the reviews are outstanding. Will it happen in June? Quite possibly.

Which thing would I like least? Running. I haven't enjoyed running since I was 9 years old.
What would I add?  Meeting a blogging friend for the first time in person.

2. What's something you could do today to feel more peaceful? 

Pray.  I'm having trouble forgiving someone and I'm dealing with a difficult parenting situation.

3. June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Are you a fan? Swiss mocha, rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate, or a dish of plain chocolate...what's your pleasure? 

My favorite chocolate flavor is Jamocha Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins. It's been my favorite since I waas little. My Granny owned a BR store and we got to try all kinds, of course.   The best was Jamocha Almond Fudge on a sugar cone.  But , as I said earlier, I've given up dairy and sugar because both have been my worst health enemies.

4. If you came with a warning what would it say?

I asked my  8th grade son if my warning would be "CAUTION: EXTREMELY HOT !" He gagged. "Not hardly, Mom. Just the opposite."   

Hmm, 30 years ago  I might have answered, "CAUTION: CURVES,"  but now it's more like "CAUTION: FALLING ROCKS."  

A friend was going to buy me a T-shirt that says, "I'm the Grammarian About Whom Your  Mother Warned" because I do notice poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation everywhere, ad nauseum.

  5.What's the most interesting website you've visited in the last week? .   I'm quite inspired by those quilts.

6. Spring, summer, autumn, winter...which season are you? Why? 

Do you mean which is my favorite?  Autumn.  
Do you mean which "colors" do I wear? Spring.
Do you mean my age and outlook on life? I'd say summer. I'm no spring chicken, but at 50, I think I'm relaxed and kicked back, but am planning for "colder weather," shall we say?

7. "You lose sight of things...and when you travel, everything balances out." ~Daranna Gidel

Would you agree with that sentiment? Explain why or why not.  

Yes ,I would agree indeed. Traveling makes you remember this world is big and you are not. Traveling helps you notice the grandeur of nature, the diversity of cultures. It changes your pace and rhythm a bit.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Last night my new little convert/sister in Christ said, "Guess what, Miss Zoanna? I have decided that I'm going to read the whole Bible this summer!"  

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Hello, Again.

Remember me? Your friendly, neighborhood blogger? I'm still here.  And there's been plenty going on in my corner.

How about a list for old time's sake?

In no particular order:

1. My baby sister is expecting her second baby in just two months. Four days after my birthday, and I really wouldn't mind sharing a birthday. Unless the new one starts getting better toys than mine.

2.  Our second son and his wife just bought a house. Their settlement is the middle of the month and then they plan to paint (he hates it, but I'm sure he'll "recruit" family members to help). They will move, Lord willing, on the 25th.  The new house is only about 15 minutes from their current home, or 25 from us. It's a cute, little, 1950's (60's?) Cape Cod on a darling cul-de-sac with a good sized back yard, brand new everything (the seller flipped it) .

3. Best part is that that our son emailed us to say he is getting a bunch of people from their small group at church to help them moving.  "You and Dad don't have to worry about helping this time." Good thing, because as soon as they move out (of the rental we own), we are going to prep it for sale. That'll keep us busier than we want to be!

4.  Hubby remodeled the upstairs bathroom of the rental. Not too shabby for a guy who just had open heart surgery in January. I'll post pictures when I can.  I love how it turned out.

5.  I took our daughter to her summer internship in Kentucky in May. Had a glorious trip down there, if by glorious you can include steep mountain passages without a shoulder , and no cell reception. The scenery was majestic, so who needs anything else, right?

6.  School is out for my son in 7 days. This coming week is crunch time with finals and projects. Then he will be officially a high schooler.  Is that impossible or what???

7.  I think we can finally say that summer weather is upon us here in Maryland. Or late spring. Or actually early spring because the flowers are blooming. I mean everywhere. Our cold snap and monsoon that lasted for weeks kind of put the kibosh on a "real" spring.

8.  I'm almost finished my current quilt which I will donate to Project Linus in my county. There's a hospital five minutes from us; some dear child would like a quilt in his room, I'm sure, to give him comfort during a long stay.

9.  While in Kentucky, we stayed with my sister in her log cabin. Had a relaxing, do-nothing kind of stay, which was perfect for all of us. Down time. Just the three of us.

10.  My daughter is loving her 4 new housemates in Louisville. She'll be there all summer ministering alongside 22 other interns.  Her first request from home was coffee. Lots of it. All the girls drink it. And she had stocked up but left most of it here. I'm mailing 8 bags tomorrow.

That's about it in the proverbial nutshell.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sophia is with Jesus Now

Many of my readers have been aware of a baby named Sophia, the only child of my friend Lauren and her husband. 

With great sadness I tell you that Sophia lost her battle with brain cancer on Thursday, May 14, 2016. She was 16 months old. 

Today I will gather with family and friends for her graveside memorial service. It's been gray and gloomy literally and figuratively, on and off, for weeks.  I'm praying the sun comes out and that there's even a rainbow at the cemetery at some point. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

What Mothers Do in the Hodgepodge

1. What's something fun you're looking forward to on your May calendar? 

Driving to Kentucky with my daughter to visit my sister in her beautiful log cabin again. I'll stay five days, but my dear girl is staying on for three more before starting her internship with an organization called Scarlet Hope. I'm looking forward to the estrogen fest (I think??) and the change of pace and scenery.

2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother? 

Holding a baby at the breast, getting up at all hours of the night with a fussy infant, maneuvering a stroller full of shopping bags while carrying the child on her hip,  caressing the wispy soft hair of  toddler as she drifts off to sleep, playing ball with little boys in the yard, panicking when a child is lost at a department store or playground, driving kids to soccer/baseball/piano/school/youth group ad nauseum, negotiating and refereeing differences and disputes, lying in bed awake at night dealing with Mom Guilt, drinking more coffee than either Guatemala or Colombia can produce in a year, taking care of the pet that the kids PROMISED to feed/water/walk/bathe/brush/not complain about, praying for good friends for her teenagers, watching the clock from the first moment that teenager drives the family car alone for the first time until he or she is back in the driveway,  cooking umpteen hundred thousand gazillion meals after shopping umpteen hundred thousand bazillion times for food that costs $1008  a week and is gone in two days (or at least the "good stuff around here").... 

I also see images of mothers my age who love to just sit and listen and talk to her grown-up kids about anything and everything, just to be in their presence, adoring their beautiful eyes, the curl of their hair, the lilt of their voices, and wondering where the years went. 

3. What's something beautiful you own or have seen that's made of glass? 

I have a gorgeous handblown glass vase in  hues of fluorescent blues and greens,  that's shaped like a basket with a handle. My mom gave it to me. It's hand-painted with roses.

4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual? 

So far it has not been typical.  My daughter is here, babysitting my niece for my sister whose husband is job hunting.  This little girl is talking up a "blues streak" as they say. She's bossy to our 80 pound golden retriever. Funny how he obeys a  two-and-a-half-year old when she shakes her finger at him and says "Sit, Wally, sit!" (His name is Reilly.)  It's also so cute how little kids pick up on the slightest thing you do. I was reading a book to her and needed to lick my finger to turn the page. Well, wouldn't you know, on the very next page, as I was reading, she licked her finger...

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of?

Will power.

6. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May? 

We need to remodel the kitchen of our rental in order to get top dollar when seeking to sell. So we've been pricing cabinets.  My hubby had planned as of last July when we bought the house to do all the fixer-upper things himself. But that was before he knew he'd be having major heart surgery in January. Can I just say that he has no umph to face the rigors of redoing a kitchen now.  And he hates the thought of losing profit to pay someone to do it. 

Will it happen in May? Don't know.  It's hubby's call on his timeline. 

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult?

I had a LOT of responsibility/jobs/work while growing up. I hated cleaning bathrooms but it sure is helpful that I know how. I also wasn't at all fond of doing the dishes (still am not) but that's been helpful all my adult life. It wasn't until I went to college that I was SHOCKED how many girls didn't know how cook, clean, make a bed properly, groom a horse, weed a garden, set the table, sew a button on, dust furniture, or drive a stick shift. I just grew up assuming that's just what everyone learned from their parents.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Please pray again for the family of baby Sophia, whom I've mentioned on here several times. Her mom's a dear friend of mine.  Sophia is 16 months old and has been fighting brain cancer for 10 of those.  Her doctor believes she is near the end, that she has given up, her body tired out. It has been 13 days since she last opened her eyes. She has been at home for a couple of months because there's nothing more doctors can do. They feed her through a tube, suction her because there's little gag reflex, she doesn't respond to touch or voices any more. Her parents spend their days crying and crying out to God for healing or to take her. They don't want her to suffer any more, but they can't bear the thought of life without her, either.