The Helmet

“Where’s my helmet?”
Those are the first words this little guy says when he comes to our house.

He wears it for walks in the woods.

He wears it while watching TV with Opa.

He wears it while riding in the boat with his sissy.

It’s a good idea to wear a helmet these days.

Lord,
protect the minds of our little ones.
Help them to seek truth and goodness and beauty.
Help them to walk in Your ways and think Your thoughts.
Guard them from hollow and deceptive philosophy.
May the helmet of salvation keep them safe.
Amen.

“Put on the full armor of God.
Take the helmet of salvation.”
Ephesians 6

I Like You

PB and I exchange cards on Valentine’s Day.
That’s it.
No flowers, no candy, no fancy dinner out.

Even buying a card seems extravagant these days. Next year, I’m going to take my love to Walmart and peruse the valentine section, pick out a card, have him read it, then put it back on the rack. I may even give him a kiss right there in aisle three. We might hold hands as we walk out to the parking lot. With the money we saved, we could pick up a burger and fries and eat it in the car on the way home. Sounds perfect.

This year, however, we did splurge on cards
and PB found just the right one for me.

Forty-two and a half years ago,
we promised to love and cherish each other.
I’ve never once doubted PB’s love for me since that day.
We never promised to like each other though.

And there have been many days since August 25, 1979 that I’m pretty sure he didn’t like me too much. I know that because there were some days I didn’t like him either. But we loved each other still.

Love is a given.
We vowed to love each other
and every day we choose to make good on that promise.

But to be liked?
That’s different.

It means he would choose me for a friend even if we weren’t a couple.
It means he appreciates my quirky ways, even finding delight in them.
It means he’s genuinely interested in what I’m doing and where I’m going.
It means he would rather have me along than go somewhere alone.

He doesn’t just put up with me.
He likes me.

I think it’s possible that my Valentine card is a reflection of Divine Love.
Sure, God loves us. He has to. He promised He would.
But I also think He really, really likes us.
He chooses us,
delights in us,
is interested in us,
desires us to join Him.

“This is what the Lord says… You are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

How sweet it is to be liked by You. ❤️

Presto! 41 Years!

PB and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary this week.img_0755

Also this week, the electric knife we got as a wedding present bit the dust.
“The Cutup” made by Presto was a darn good product.
It carved many a Thanksgiving turkey,
sliced heaps of warm bread loaves,
and de-kerneled cobs of corn for the freezer.
Sure, we had to wrap it with electrician’s tape to hold it together.
And the label had to be glued on a few times over the years.
But forty-one years of slicing is nothing to sneeze at.

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The key to a good electric knife is the smooth motion of the two blades.
They have to go back and forth in sync,
while staying firmly attached to each other.
One goes forward, the other one moves back.
Then the other one slides up as the one slips back.
It happens so fast, you might not even notice all the slipping and sliding.
All you see is the whirring teamwork of the blades working in tandem.

That old knife is a little like PB and me.
We’re a good team.
We keep each other sharp.
We’ve cut through a lot together.
We’ve patched up a few cracks.
We haven’t gotten too bent out of shape.
We’ve stayed attached to God and each other.
Of course, PB is quite a “cut-up”.
But he’s also been a faithful, reliable partner.
There’s no one I’d rather slice through life with.

Seems like yesterday when we unwrapped that wedding present.
Presto! Forty-one years!

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This, Too

Over 450 times the Bible says,
“And it came to pass.”
Zero times the Bible says,
“And it came to stay.”

Covid-19 has come.
Covid-19 will pass.

It has not come to stay.
This, too, shall pass.
(That’s not in the Bible.)

There is a story being written right now.
It’s the story that you will tell when you look back on this strange time.
How did you weather the crisis?
How did you respond in love to others?
What did God teach you?
How were you shaped by the experience?
You are the author of that story.
Make it a good one.

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Two Thumbs Down

thumb

I didn’t think my thumbs would be the first to go.
The doctor said it comes from wear and tear over time.

The pain I’m feeling in my thumb joints
is a result of years and years of
playing the piano and playing catch
holding a pencil and filling up journals
pulling weeds and pushing grocery carts
scooping cookie dough and unscrewing pickle jar lids
stitching quilts and sewing on patches
squeezing out dishrags and kneading bread
snapping beans and peeling potatoes
putting in ponytails and hanging out laundry
scrubbing floors and washing windows
prying apart Legos and picking flowers
wiping noses and tying shoes.

I have not appreciate these two digits enough.
They have been silent laborers, unsung heroes, strong assistants.
Take a good look at your thumbs today and bless them.

thumbs up

Five Shirts

When PB saw the Six Dresses I made for our granddaughters,
the pressure was on to come up with something special for our grandsons.
Opa did not disappoint.
He designed five T-shirts for the boys.

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What in the world does “Barnebarn” mean, you ask?
“Grandchild”, of course.
In Norwegian.
Perfect.

Six Dresses

This summer I pulled out my sewing machine.
It’s been a while.
I thought about the dresses I made for my girls when they were little.
Then I thought about my little granddaughters.
So I made six dresses.

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As I sewed, I prayed for their six little hearts.
“Help them to pin their hopes and dreams to You.”
“When things are coming apart at the seams, help them turn to You.”
Hem them in by Your love, before and behind.”
“Give them the desire to gather together with other believers.”
Finish off their rough edges so they don’t unravel.”
“Help them not be afraid to go against the grain of culture.”
“Protect them from developing unfair biases.”
“Help them give grace to people who needle them.”
“May they live according to the pattern set in scripture.”
“Give them Your strength to iron out their problems.”

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May the Word that is sown (sewn?) into their hearts
take root and produce fruit (and pink flowers!).
Amen.

The Eleven

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PB and I have enough grands for a football team.
I think the red-head standing in the back is vying for quarterback.
She’s got a decent offensive line in front of her.
That chubby little guy may develop into a solid center.
They are quite a team of talented, silly, lovable little people.

Happy 4th!

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Roast some hot dogs.
Have a picnic.
Spread out a blanket.
Look up toward the heavens.
Oo and ah.
Give thanks to God.
Hug your kids.
Pray for America.
Happy 4th of July!

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Foiled Again

They’re on to me.
They must have been eavesdropping as I boasted.
Either that or our resident chipmunks read my blog.
One day after I declared war on the rascals, they stormed back.

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Last year, I sprinkled garlic around the edges of the pots.
Then I placed moth balls around the blooms.
Even that didn’t stop the critters
but it did make the front porch stink.
I thought I outsmarted them this year.
But my fork fortified fortress didn’t stand its ground.
A lot of ground was scattered across my porch.
I’m sad to report one casualty.

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I should have known the chipmunks would challenge me.
The gaps between the tines were too tempting.

I’m considering a counter-attack.
Perhaps stainless steel forks
with sharpened tips
connected to an electric current
and sprayed with rodent poison.

Game on.