Full Time Grandma

Well, the two grand girls have been here since mid-June. I can’t believe how the time has passed.

IMG_2473.jpg          I am having a ball with these precious girls. Kaya is almost ten, and very smart. Kira is extra talented in art and can whip up amazing drawing of animals that look as if they could jump off the page.

So far we’ve:

  1. visited beaches and collected shells and sand dollars
  2. collected moss and pine cones
  3. painted bird houses
  4. made hair clips, sculptures, drawings
  5. we’ve written in our journals
  6. read books
  7. visited all sorts of stores and businesses
  8. fed the birds
  9. planted seeds
  10. built a fort
  11. learned how to make french toast, and garlic bread, and mac and cheese. (Tonight we’re learning how to make egg rolls)
  12. Practiced our piano pieces

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We tried to pick blueberries, but Bow Hill Blueberry Farm said that the berries aren’t quite ripe enough.  Instead, we ate blueberry popsicles, which were amazing.

You might be wondering if I been writing during these four weeks. No, no I have not.

I purposely finished my latest novel and sent it in to my editor a week before the girls arrived. The only thing I’ve done with writing is to begin to construct a new novel: a young adult novel set in current times. It’s going to be a thriller, with fascinating teen characters and a dynamite concept.

I always buy a fresh notebook for each new novel. It makes me feel like I used to feel when I returned to school in the fall. I love beginnings. It’s the feeling of possibilities. So, in my new notebook, I draw pictures of my characters, and write descriptions, and write down the basic premise of the story and all the big things that absolutely must happen, and the order of these things.

Then it rained like crazy last night and rain leaked into our basement and we had to call the plumber who looked at it and said it wasn’t a job for a plumber and gave me an invoice for 160 dollars. (It’s almost dried out now, and I really hope we don’t have heavy rain any time soon.)

So life is exciting. The weather is nice, then it’s not. The girls are sweet, then they’re not, then they’re sweet again. Moody or sweet, the girls are absolutely precious and I love them.

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The Summer of the K’s

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(left to right) Kira, Kaya, and Kiri

My daughter, Kiri, and my two lovely granddaughters, Kaya and Kira, are here for the summer.

Kaya is about to turn ten and she’s almost as tall as I am. Which means that she’s going to be way taller that either I or my five foot five daughter. She’s the meticulous sort, who approaches every project we do with studied concern.

Kira is seven and cute, cute cute. And unlike her older sister, she’s the kind who throws herself into arts, crafts, and music, and exercise with abandon.

As a former teacher, empty time reminds me of the old saying: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” So I came up with a schedule for the summer. Our days begins with breakfast, then clean-up, an art or craft, followed by some outdoor activity, then quiet time, reading, followed by writing in their journals. Then Mom comes home from work and plays with them until bedtime.

Yesterday we decided to explore the water and shores around the pier. I took the scenic route which gave us the opportunity to talk about any subject the kids wanted to discuss. Kaya, the serious one, brought up dying. Does it hurt? What do you see after you die?

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I told her that if you love Jesus, He’s right there when you move from this world to the heavenly world.

“But does it hurt?” insists Kaya.

“Sometimes, ” I answered, “but with lots of people, they simply go to sleep, like your grandparents who were very old when they passed on.

We parked in Fairhaven and walked about half a mile to the pier. The next two and a half hours the girls spent getting wet, building rock towers, exploring under the pier, and finding some remnants of a homeless person’s camp, and getting very sandy and dirty.

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Kaya wants to go back soon and explore the homeless person’s place again. Hmm, maybe I can distract her.

In two days, their cousins are going to be here for a whole week. My house will have to accommodate  three more kids and two more adults, ten in all. Pray for me! We’ll go to Whidbey Island and hike around Deception Pass and maybe even climb an old lighthouse. More about that next week.

It’s wonderful to share my life with my precious children and grandchildren. I hope that I leave them a legacy of faith and of love and connectedness.

I remember when I was in labor with my first born and I had found a scripture verse to focus on during those long painful hours. Psalm 127 says,

“Children are a gift from the Lord;

They are a reward from Him.

Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.

How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

I birthed three children, and now I have nine grandchildren.

My quiver is full of arrows from God!

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Seasons

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Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. I set aside my writing and drove down to Boulevard Park  for a stroll around the park and the pier. Then I noticed the brown water in the bay and wondered at it. I noticed the brown water last year about this time. Usually the bay is a beautiful blue.

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On the pier, a nice man with his camera answered my question about the brown water. He said, “When the Nooksack River is high with snowmelt, it stirs up the river mud and sends it all down river and into the bay.”

I thanked him and went on my way down the pier, enjoying the sunshine and smiling at the cute dogs strolling with their owners.

So the river is purging itself of unwanted debris, just like I do when I sift through my own basement junk in the spring and throw away or donate. (“A time to keep and a time to throw away.”)

I thought of those verses in Ecclesiastes (chapter 3) where Solomon is talking about the seasons of life. “For everything there is a season.” God has designed it that way. I love that, in the sometimes unpredictable nature of life, God has ordained a certain predictable order, something we can count on. There will be births and there will be deaths; there will be planting and there will come a time of harvest.

Winter seems barren, but underneath the soil and inside the throat of the sparrow, a new song is waiting to be sung.

I have been young, and now I’m growing old, but there is comfort in knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be in the order of life. And my children are replacing me, and my grandchildren will replace my children. And that, too, is a blessing. God has allowed Bruce and me the honor of living long enough to see our descendants.

And just as sure as the brown water in the bay of Bellingham, I have had times of grieving, which have been  followed by times of laughter.

If I had one piece of wisdom to impart to teenagers, it would be this: Endure. Because life goes on. You will feel differently tomorrow. God has promised seedtime and harvest.

“For everything there is a season, a time for the every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and time to heal. A time to tear down and time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance. 

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.”

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-5 NLT Bible)

The Greatest Story

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With Easter just around the corner, Bruce went to our church’s worship band rehearsal yesterday evening. Yes, he’s still an excellent drummer.

For the first time in at least fifty years, I’m not involved in anything musical. Which feels weird. Being a musician has been a large part of my identity since my teen years. I still practice my guitar and my piano on a daily basis, but now that I’m old, I’m moving on to writing as a form of worship.

Writing has taken over my weekdays. It’s not like I’m some prophet, or a preacher, or anything great, for that matter. I just spin tales that place characters in impossible circumstances and tell how their faith helped them navigate through the sticky webs of danger, deceit, fear or hate.

However, talking about a true story with all the elements of a great suspense: danger, deceit, fear and hate, the Resurrection account of Jesus is the greatest story ever told, one I could have never dreamed up even on my most creative days.

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Who would have thought a Hero would die and thus conquer?

How can death bring life?

Why would the enemy be loved instead of hated?

How can the weak be strong, the last be first, the slave be greatest among us?

Why did the Resurrection transform weak, sissy followers of Jesus into lions of faith, ready to die martyr’s deaths?

Who else but God could have conceived such a plan?

Even Satan, diabolically smart as he is, could never have conceived of a story like this Resurrection story. Maybe because he’s a liar and a hater, he just couldn’t see how love and self-sacrifice could conquer sin and death.

What a story!

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

“He never sinned, nor deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted, not threaten revenge when He suffered.

He left His case in the hands of God, who judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we an be dead to sin and live for what is right.

By His wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the guardian of your souls.”

(1st Peter 2:22-25)

Magic in Ordinary Days

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Today, I woke up.

I woke up being mindful. Do you ever have a wake-up like that?

I woke up being aware that God was watching me.

Actually, it was the sound of the coffee grinder that woke me. It’s a wonderful sound. It means that my husband is home. Thanks, Lord.

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Then I heard happy voices: my husband and my daughter. They were both laughing. Thank you, Lord.

I rolled out of bed and was aware of how good it felt to get up and walk to my window to gaze outside. It’s spring and the tree just outside has beautiful blossoms. Little crystal raindrops are hanging from the blossoms, catching the light, creating tiny  prisms. I almost expect them to jingle in the breeze. How wonderful to see this.

My cat, Link, brushed along my legs and chirped to be noticed. Something about petting an animal makes you feel good, don’t you think? If I could purr, I’d purr when Link’s soft fur caresses my ankle.

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In the bathroom, I turned on the faucet and cold, clean water gushed into my glass. I shouldn’t ever take clean water for granted. I took my morning pills and felt grateful that I can take medication that keeps me from being a sleepy, itchy, puffy, thin-haired, mentally slow, physically sluggish, fat blob. Thank you, Lord.

I decided to skip breakfast because I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t hungry because I ate yesterday. What a blessing to live in a day and age where I can afford to eat anything I want whenever I want.

This is not an extraordinary morning. But it’s magical. Oh, not in the circus magic, or the dark kind of magic. I mean, when something’s ordinary but sweet and you notice it and realize that every second, every breath, every conscious thought, every ordinary thing that surround you, every ordinary action is a gift from your Creator: it’s magic.

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It makes you grateful. and grateful makes you joyful. Not because you just got something you’ve been wanting. But joyful because you recognize that you’re ok even if nothing besides what you already have, ever came to you.

Recognizing that God’s got your back. And your sides and your front and your history and your future.

 

Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts

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