Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Moving Experience . . .

It's October, and you know what that means, don't you?
It's time to move the furniture.
It might start out as something we do to get at the baseboards, but pretty soon moving furniture takes on a life of its own. Wouldn't this chest work better in the basement? Of course, that means the desk down there will need to go out to the garage, and the bed should be moved to the other side of the room. And we haven't even started on the main floor of the house yet.
Which doesn't impress the pastor who lives here. He may not actually utter un-pastorly things, but I'm pretty sure he's thinking them.
Which is why this week-end, when daughter #4 was helping me clean the basement, and we realized we needed the chest from the garage down in the basement, she looked at me and smiled. “Just let me handle dad,” she said.
And she did.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

After the Storm

I love the way the air is so clear after a storm!
Yesterday the trees in our backyard were creaking and swaying in the wind; today a light breeze is ruffling the leaves, and sunlight is dancing through them, making their gold and red and orange glow.
We got through the storm with very little damage -- nothing more than some branches scattered on the roof and driveway -- but others suffered real harm. Trees were uprooted in a small community near here, and just one state away roofs were blown off and trucks blown over.
Today, though, the air is clear and lovely.
I don't like arguments or conflict. When the storm blows through, though, and the air is finally clear, my hope is that left behind, there is nothing worse than branches scattered around.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Always the Season for Real Change . . .

Wanted to take a photograph of a new “political” yard sign we spotted in a local front yard, but it's already been taken down. Here's what it said:


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rain, Rain . . .

We woke up to a grey morning; by the time breakfast was over rain was tapping against the windows, and thunder rumbled in the far-off.
Yesterday morning was one of those sunny autumn days when golden light seemed to come from within the trees, so this morning seems even more grey by comparison, but cozy, too. It's a good day to curl up with a favorite book, or make a pot of soup.
What do you do on a rainy day?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tick, Tock, Tick . . .

Time is a trickster.
It stretches; it shrinks; it evaporates.
And all time really ever does is help us keep track of where we are in this little slice of eternity.
Our bodies age, but our souls mature -- or not. The difference is important.
Fifteen years is long enough for a couple to grow into one another, to find ways to affirm on a daily basis the vows they made to one another about having, holding, and keeping unto one another, but not so long that every adventure has been exhausted.
Eighteen years is long enough for a child to gain both age and maturity, to become responsible and reliable as well as full of joy and purpose, but not so long that youthful exuberance is all used up.
Seventy-seven years is long enough to have gained perspective on what matters most, but not so long that there is no more to learn.
What better use of time, than to gain eternity?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving . . .

The holidays are coming. Christmas, of course, but first -- Thanksgiving.
Each week the temperature steps down a few more degrees. More leaves fall, and each day has a little less daylight than the day before. We've had robins and cardinals at the holly-berry pantry under our living room windows, and the back-yard squirrel family keeps hauling acorns away to their winter hiding places.
We were out with one of the four-year-olds the other night. She was excited to see the moon and the stars. She thought it was funny that God would want night lights.
Sometimes I wonder how much I allow to pass by without notice. Every season, every day offers testimony to God's care and faithfulness. I've seen autumn before, so I don't watch or listen to experience what is unique to this autumn.
I want to have eyes to see and ears to hear what God is doing all around me; I want to pay attention; I want to notice Him at work in His creation. For praise and thanksgiving to be genuine and fresh, I need to be aware of what it is I am praising and thanking God for.
I'm starting to get ready for Thanksgiving and all the rest of the holiday season, and I'm starting by paying attention.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Please Pass the Popcorn

We actually went to a movie this week.
We talk about going to a movie fairly often. We discuss the movies we'd like to see, and when we might go. We talk about the price of popcorn and the pleasures of a plush seat in a dark corner of the theater. We promise ourselves that we're going to go see a movie -- soon.
But this week we actually did it. We went to see Secretariat.
It was worth the wait.
If you like horses, or underdogs, this is your movie. You might be familiar with the story, but that's not quite the same as seeing a version of it play out on-screen.
For one thing, the cinematography is lovely -- one of my favorite scenes (besides the horse scenes, or the race scenes, or the 1960s scenes) is the one of Kentucky Derby Day and the ladies' hats. It's not a perspective you see often, and it was wonderful! But there are so many lovely scenes in this movie, so many exciting, edge-of-the-seat-even-though-you-know-how-it-turns-out scenes, that you might miss it.
The characters are appealing, and the acting is great -- Diane Lane and John Malkovich are fun to watch. And the beginning of the movie moved my heart; I'm not sure I've ever seen a better opening scene.
This is one of those movies we all say we wish they'd make -- great story, good acting, no profanity, sex, or violence -- and if we want moviemakers to make more of this kind of movie, we need to support them when they do.
So, if you're looking for a good movie for the whole family, go see Secretariat.
And please, have some popcorn for me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kindling a Love for Reading

I'd been thinking about getting an e-reader.
I went back and forth pn the “can I adjust to a 'book' that isn't made of paper and ink?” question. Was the tactile experience part of the pleasure of reading? And if so, how much?
Would I miss thumbing through actual pages? Flipping through a book, back and forth, comparing passages? Or would an e-reader simplify my reading experience?
Most importantly, could I still read the end of the book first?
Those questions weren't the only issues I struggled with: I felt a little bewildered by all the e-reading options. Should I just download a reader on my laptop? I'd checked out the Nook -- every time I walked into Barnes and Noble, someone offered to show me everything I needed to know about it. And I'd always been satisfied with everything Sony; maybe their e-reader was the way to go.
Or I could just succumb to the temptation of the Apple and get an Ipad -- as if money were no object.
Speaking of money, would I spend even more money on books if they were only a click away in the Kindle store? Could I exercise discretion and judgment when book-shelf space wasn't a consideration?
My family saved me the trouble of making a decision. For my birthday this year, they all went together and gave me a Kindle.
Initially, the learning curve isn't too steep, although I know there are features on my Kindle I haven't figured out yet.
And I'm liking it. I'm liking it a lot.
With its pebbled leather cover (complete with its own light!), reading is still somewhat tactile, although there are no pages to turn. Late at night, though, when I'm tired, I still forget to hit the page-turning button, and reach up to turn a (non-existent) page.
The Kindle fits into a purse in a way most hard-back books won't. And it keeps track of where I am in a book. It offers variety, convenience, and fun in a very small, very portable package.
There might be a few drawbacks -- it seems as if it will be harder to share a book with someone. I still haven't figured out how to navigate quickly from one part of a book to another. Illustrations and photographs aren't quite as crisp as in a print book. Some books don't seem to be available through Kindle, although perhaps I just haven't found them yet.
And perhaps worst of all, there aren't too many children's books available in Kindle editions.
But overall, I like this new reading experience. I don't think e-readers will replace paper-and-ink books. I think they will just give us more options. And who could argue with that?
So now I'm curious . . . have you tried a Kindle, or another e-reader? What do you think? Are you using it a lot, and enjoying it, or is it sitting quietly by your bedside? And what are you reading?
I'd love to know.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chocolate Chip? Peanut Butter? Sugar?

Today is a perfect example of Indian summer -- warm sunshine splashes over trees wearing bright reds and golds. But later on next week, there's rain in the forecast, with somewhat cooler temperatures. I know what that means: baking cookies!
If you'd like to read more about this fall ritual around our house, check out my article, Baking Cookies, on the Hearts at Home website.
Just keep in mind, it will read better if you have a warm cookie in your hand, and a glass of cold milk nearby.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hello, again . . .

So, what do I say after such a long silence?
“Let me re-introduce myself,” maybe?
Or should I just explain why I haven't checked in for such a long time?
It's been such a year!
Weddings. Babies. Graduations. Holidays, busy days, ordinary time. A part-time job.
Moving home, changing congregations. Facebook and Twitter -- meeting old friends and making new ones.
And always, sorting through the basement -- the never-ending story of my life.
Somehow, every time I thought of blogging, I set the thought aside.
Isn't that the way? Life rushes on and we get distracted; sometimes even important things are set aside on the sidelines.
Eventually, though, we miss the things that matter.
Which brings me back . . . here.
Hello again.
Let's get re-acquainted.