Saturday, July 09, 2011


Gary and I both have to change our passwords frequently at work. Many companies' computers are programmed to require new passwords every 30 or 60 or 90 days. But how to remember those passwords that change frequently? (And yes, I know we're supposed to change them at home that frequently too...)

One of my ideas for passwords is using various friends' phone numbers. (Does anybody besides me still memorize phone numbers in this age of speed-dial and cell phones?)

Another idea is using people's names with their birthday attached, or couples' names with their anniversary attached. (Maybe we don't remember people's celebration days anymore either, what with Facebook reminders of birthdays.)

Another idea is to use the name of someone for whom you want to pray. If you have to use your password 3-10 times a day, then each time you type in the person's name, you have a reminder to pray "Lord, have mercy" for this person.

Bear One Another's Burdens

Is there a finite amount of suffering, like there are groceries or library books or moving boxes?

Sometimes it almost seems like someone can take the weight off another person. When there is grief and sorrow and fear, that doesn't seem like it is something that can be shared, that could be divided into separate loads. But sometimes (whether I'm the one weighed down, or the one lifting the burden) it feels like one person can take on part of it for another -- just as much as if I were to offer to carry half your whoppin' stack of library books to your car -- just as much as I dread carrying in 12 heavy bags of groceries and am relieved to have three people run out of the house to help with the lugging.

But grief is not a bag of groceries. Sorrow and worry are not like an apartment full of moving boxes. Nevertheless, there seems to be some weird sort of cosmic reality that one person's load can be lightened and another's weighed down as we bear one another's burdens.

Friday, July 08, 2011

"Take My Yoke Upon You" -- Conformed to His Image

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly of heart,
and you shall find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy,
and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-29)

A yoke is a beam. It goes across the shoulders. The person's hands are usually near the end of the beam.

The shape of a person wearing a yoke is not unlike the shape of somebody attached to a cross.

Later in Matthew, Jesus talks about our taking up our cross and following Him. In chapter 11, Jesus speaks paradoxically about a yoke being easy. And in chapter 16, He talks about finding one's life in losing it.

Let us suffer here with Jesus,
to His image e'er conform.
Heaven's glory soon will please us,
sunshine follow on the storm.
Though we sow in tears of sorrow,
we shall reap celestial joy,
and the fears that now annoy
shall be laughter on the morrow.
Christ, I suffer here with Thee --
there, oh, share Thy joy with me!

Thursday, July 07, 2011


You lug the basket of wet clothes out to back yard. You hang the clothes on the line. When they're dry, you fold them, place them in the basket, pick it up, and carry it indoors.

You know the clothes are dry.
You know that the water has evaporated.

So what is it that is so delightful about picking up the basket and finding it light and airy? No heft, no lugging required to take it back indoors. There is no reason on earth that the change in weight of a basket of laundry should make a person happy. But it does make me smile anyway.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Pillar of Cloud

In Psalm 139, the psalmist says, "The night shall be light about me," and "The darkness and light are both alike to You."

It makes a person think of how the same pillar was light to the Israelites while it was darkness to the Egyptians (Exodus 14).


With symposium, company, and berry-time, I have been lax recently in remembering my vitamins, green drink, and enzymes. Now I'm feeling a temptation to pop some Claritin and Allegra into my mouth. It's utterly amazing to me how eating right and taking my digestive enzymes with meals does as much good for my itchy eyes and stuffy head as does a capsule of chemical concoction. If the diet and enzymes affect my body so that I don't have the allergy symptoms, I wonder what other good effects it has that I'm not aware of.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Conversations with Alia

When she arrived yesterday: "Nanna, you don't have milk in your breasts."

Out in the garden, while she was by the sprinkler and I was in the strawberry bed:
"Come play in the water with me, Nanna."
"No thank you, Alia. I'm picking strawberries right now."
And then I had company!

When she was riding the rocking horse: "I'm riding Bullseye on my way to the Hundred Acre Woods."

As she was leaving to go home I said, "See you later, alligator."
She responded, "After while, alligator."
(So, she's got it halfway figured out.)


The strawberries seemed to be done. Now, the drier & warmer days have them producing again. I went out yesterday to fetch in the "last" of the strawberries. Katie and I picked a gallon and a half, and there will be more today or Wednesday. Very nice!

I thought I'd found a van to replace our old one. Superficially it appears to be in perfect shape. But it needs brakes, a battery, and bushings. The sellers don't want to come down enough on the price for us to be willing to buy it. I don't know where we're going to find a van for a better price, but I guess we have to wait. If they don't sell it in another 2-3 weeks, maybe we'd be willing to increase our price a bit, and maybe they'd be willing to come down in their selling price a bit.

Our tradition at our old home was to spend Fourth of July at the parade, then grilling, then fireworks in the evening. The kids went to the fireworks last night, but I was too tired. (That's pretty tired!) Our recent tradition has been getting together with friends. Last year and this year we spent a while singing hymns while some good violinists and Gary joined to play along with the piano music and the voices. I love singing with people!

The cherry tree is bearing nicely. Not only that, but we have hopes for a new tree. The tree is dying. It's not dead yet, but it's in sad and sorry shape. We have let a watershoot grow up next to the tree, growing stronger and thicker each year. It's still tiny, but this year a few flowers appeared. The cherries that grew on this baby tree are identical to the cherries on the big tree. So the big tree isn't a hybrid and it isn't a grafted tree. Hooray! A replacement is slowly on its way.

It's hard to keep dishes done at this time of year. So many big containers! Big bowls to wash lettuce. Big bowls to bring in strawberries. Salad spinner. Colanders being used several times a day. Pitchers of beverages.

Paul came home briefly for the weekend, as a stopping place on his way to a wedding in Indiana. Taking my van, four of my kids and two grandkids headed off to another state, through Chicago. They had a good trip.

The second raised bed is planted in carrots and green beans. It's getting time to harvest the first raised bed (beets, salad greens, cilantro) and maybe put something else out there. I have a LOT of weeding to do in the tomato/pepper garden.

If I have touched a lawnmower this year, it's been only for about 30 minutes. Gary and Andrew (with a little help from Maggie and Philip) have kept the yard looking so neat and tidy this year.

Why are there so many mosquitoes inside my house???

Monday, July 04, 2011

Day Lily Buds

Recently, Karin and EC and I were talking about weeds and pruning raspberries. I teased Karin that she should be eating day lily buds, seeing as how she has way more day lilies than she wants.

I realized last night: it's that time of year. The season for day lily buds is shorter than the season for strawberries or asparagus. If I want to try them, now's the time. So I nabbed about a dozen and a half off the "weeds" and fried 'em up last night. This is not like eating lamb's-quarter (which is okay), or eating pigweed/purslane (which is okay in small doses or when added to a salad of milder greens). Day lily buds are good. Like, good to the extent that I'm tempted to go out and snatch a lot more of the buds. But I keep telling myself that I don't want to eliminate my orange flowers altogether, no matter how yummy the buds taste.

One more batch. When Katie (who very much missed seeing day lilies last summer) is around to try them too. That's all I'm going to permit myself -- one more.


Why does it take 10-15 minutes to turn on the sprinkler? It should take 10-15 seconds. Short of buying a new sprinkler every spring and another new one every July/August, what does a person have to do to have a sprinkler that operates the way it's supposed to? I'd be happy to pay $100 or more for a sprinkler if I knew that it would actually work correctly for 5-10 years or more. I've tried expensive ones, cheap ones, rotating ones, oscillating ones. Nothing seems to work (after the first month, that is) without extensive finagling.

I keep trying to tell myself that the little frustrating machine is a time-saver. If I spend 15 minutes trying to set the sprinkler on a section of garden, and then let it run for 45 minutes, that's still half an hour that I wasn't standing there wielding the hose myself, half an hour of other chores I've done while the machine is watering the garden. That's a good thing, right?