Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is the Day (Wisdom from an Egg Carton)

Dear friends,

Yesterday when I opened a carton of eggs to make dinner, I found a curious and delightful thing printed on the inside: “This is the Day which the Lord has made: Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24” What a smile that brought to my face! It’s such an example of glorifying God even in business. Thank you, Dutch Farms Wisconsin! I cut out that little chunk of Styrofoam and hung it above my stove as a reminder.

In honor of the egg carton’s divine advice, I’d like to think of one day that the Lord made -- this past Monday -- and rejoice in it. Join me!

We shall start with the morning, since I am in a chronological mood. You might be tired of hearing about scrapple, but we are not yet tired of eating it, so that makes a good beginning to the day, if not also to my story. I had mixed a huge batch over the weekend and was now frying up the first of it. It turned out well, which is fortuitous since one daughter woke up, smelled it cooking, and said, “YAY!” I would not have liked to disappoint her, and I didn’t. A certain son came out moaning that he did not feel well at all, but declined to spell out the specific symptoms. He perked up considerably upon devouring his scrapple, hovering near the plate where I was flipping the sizzling slices from the griddle. He ate more than his share, which I encouraged, largely in part because he kept patting me on the back, hugging me, thanking me for making scrapple, and telling me what a GOOD MOMMY I was. I definitely go for that sort of boyish affection. The scrapple had also apparently remedied his aforementioned undefined malady.

(Thank you, Lord, for good food that I can prepare for my family!)

Next up on the schedule: swim lessons for Ben and Melody at Cady Way. If you were a thorough blog reader last week, you might have noticed prior mention of this at the bottom of my post, And They Were Strong and Bold. To put it shortly, Melody had been carrying on like a kidnapped princess, screaming and kicking and generally behaving unroyally – until the very end of Thursday’s lesson when she decided that swim lessons were actually fun and that Miss Kendall was not a sea monster. Not surprisingly, Monday morning found her apprehensive again, but I am happy to report that she quickly reclaimed Thursday’s courage and joy. I got to slip away and swim five laps. Someday she will swim laps and thank me that I made her take lessons. I hope.

(Thank you, Lord, for strong bodies and for the opportunity to try new things.)

At home again, I determined to fit in at least one vital facet of our intended summer schedule: morning Bible time. We are still picking our way through Isaiah, this time chapters 35-36. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” (Isaiah 35:1-2)

(Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Word -- your a love letter to mankind – which is illustrated by your beautiful world.)

I read during Melody’s nap time after lunch, lying on my bed next to her. I had seen the Pulitzer prize winning novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, praised by children’s author Kate DiCamillo, as well as by Biblical counselor David Powlison. The plot: John Ames, a dying 76 year old Iowa preacher, writes a memoire for his 7 year old son. With an eye for natural beauty, a heart for humanity, and keen insight into theology, he artfully weaves back and forth between past and present in his tale of life, love, and conflict. A good book, I would say. I am not using “good” as generic faint praise, but in the truest sense of the word: “good” being a virtue, a fruit of the Spirit. (Much as I have referred to the Bible as the Good Book, but I won’t capitalize it in reference to a mortal novel.)

(Thank you, Lord, for authors who understand and take the time to write and rewrite to get it right.)

Later in the afternoon, my friend Ruthann called. This is not a common thing, since she is a missionary to Italy. Happily, the Wells family is on furlough, and she had an extra slice of time to bestow on me, the grateful recipient thereof. In the half hour before she arrived, I cleared the living room of laundry baskets and then sliced peaches and nectarines. (There was no time to bake a cobbler, which would have been rather homey and hospitable, but fresh fruit is still a worthy offering.) Ruthann and I traded small tales of real life and family and education and ministry. I told her about my scrapple experiments, and of my relatives Priscilla and Margaret who have patiently coached me by e-mail on the fine points of concocting this Pennsylvania delicacy. As I walked Ruthann to her van, I noticed a package peeking from my mailbox. It was from Margaret, my scrapple coach, second cousin, and friend. It contained two boxes of Bell’s poultry seasoning, a very thoughtful and practical response to my comment that I hadn’t found any locally for my scrapple. Ruthann smiled to see such a vivid proof of the cousinly kindness I had just been praising only moments before.

(Thank you, Lord, for thoughtful friends, even ones who live so far away.)

By then, dinner time loomed upon me. Monday is one of the three nights of the week that I cook. (Teenage daughters are wonderful in the kitchen!) Fortunately, Thad had browned an extra batch of hamburger while making burritos last weekend, so it was easy enough to add beans, diced tomatoes, and sauce to make a big pot of chili. I also sliced more peaches and nectarines to make cobbler. The recipe in our church cookbook is easy enough that I won’t need to refer to it again: 1 cup each of self-rising flour, sugar, and milk, plus one stick butter, and then the fruit. I doubled it, and we had enough left over for the next day. Hospitality is not for guests only, but a daily opportunity to nurture our families as well.

Just after dinner, Joanna asked if she could meet her friend Cynthia at Starbucks so they could encourage one another about their Bible reading and prayer times. Good enough! (“Good” – as in fruit and virtue again!) I loaded the three younger kids in the van, dropped Joanna off, and then headed to Sam’s Club (just across the street from Starbucks) for milk and such.

(Again, Lord, thank you for family and friends and food! We can never be TOO grateful!)

Before I knew it, the younger kids’ bedtime arrived, but first I wanted to read aloud to them. Mars Needs Moms! by Berkeley Breathed (the cartoonist of Bloom County) was my literary choice. It starts, “Mothers. Milo often wondered what so special about them. Anyone could see that they were giant, summer-stealing, child-working, perfumy garden goblins. There was hardly much special about that.” He changes his mind by the end of the book, thanks to some extraterrestrial intervention. Mars may not really need moms (though it makes for a hilarious book) but earth sure does. I’m glad to be one of them. Tucked into bed, Naomi and Melody asked for their goodnight benedictions: "The Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and give you peace.” Then we sang Psalm 23 together.

(Thank you, Lord, for the motherhood and for goodnight prayers.)

My final task of the night: ordering most of our home school curriculum from Rainbow Resource, a company which has awesome selection and the best prices I’ve seen. For weeks, I had been carefully compiling my list of books needed for our kids’ Providence home school co-op classes, as well as a large order of grammar and literature books for my English students. Fortunately, my husband Thad suggested that we go over my list line by line together, checking to make sure we had all the right stuff. That’s a good thing, because we had to make a few adjustments to the order. So here’s to Thad for being an excellent home school administrator! It’s not exactly a 9 to 5 job – we were up until almost midnight finishing it up.

(Thank you, Lord, for my dear husband, and for the privilege of educating our precious children. And thank you, Lord, for sleep!)

“This is the Day which the Lord has made:
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful day...and a great reminder of how God blesses us in the big and small things~


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