Thursday, June 14, 2007

One year ago today

One year ago today, I was in Princeton, NJ. I was there awaiting the arrival of someone very precious to me....Clare Madalyn Bates. She was tardy...supposed to arrive the last day of May, but true to her genetics, she wanted to make her appearance on her terms.

Hers was the first birth besides my children's, that I have been privileged to see. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to watch my daughter work as hard as you must work to do this thing. But, it was extraordinary...she was extraordinary. Jennifer has always been capable of many amazing things, but to my mind, on this day in 2006, she surpassed all the many amazing things done previously.

There's something about giving birth, letting your body completely take you somewhere you've never been before and arriving on the other side that is both exhilarating and very empowering. I watched her let her body do what is was designed to do. I watched her work with it and not against it. It's hard to put into words what I felt when I saw Clare for the very first time. It was profoundly spiritual...and words never do that justice.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who are you and where is my husband?

I turned 52 on May 22nd and my husband surprised me with my very own iPod! I know that is nothing to most of the technologically savvy world, but I have been begging for one for years!

I am so jazzed about it. I never thought he would break down and get me one because it totally is such a frivilous thing, but now, I can at least pretend I'm younger by having these totally cool little earbuds in my ears. And I don't have to worry about hurting my ears because my hearing is already shot anyway!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Still Alive in WA

Hello everyone (all 3 of you),

So, this is the first time I've even looked at my blog since November. Beautiful snow pictures, eh? I'm spending oh so much time in my garden and it is a joy for me every day. I guess I had to get older to re-awaken my love of plants and growing things. I just plain had too many kids and pets in my younger days to spend the time (and money) to garden.

Now, however, it seems that I've come full circle to when I was little. I used to spend a lot of time watching my grandmother tending the plants. I didn't really help her, shame on me, but something about all that peacefulness and devotion went into me I guess.

Now, I find it so comforting to nurture these growing things. And the logical botanist in me is memorizing all the Latin botanical names--without even trying to.

So, all this means is that I will be posting some lovely pictures as my garden grows. It was a huge mess last year and this year we are seeing the fruits of our labors.

I feel really bad that I haven't had any deep theological posts in the past 6 months. School is an absolute joy for me and I'm learning a lot from these little ones that I also am nurturing. In fact, sometimes we even drift into semi-theological yesterday. I told them that although they call me "Miss Pat" (very southern), that I am really "Mrs. Pat". "Why?" they asked.
"Because, you see, I am a married lady. I have a husband and when ladies marry, they become a 'Mrs.' instead of a 'Miss'." They were totally confused about the term "married". They truly didn't understand what that meant. My one little boy in the group was very confused. "What do boys become when they marry?" he asked. A highly logical question, I thought. "Oh," I say, "they just stay a 'Mr.' Only the girls change." (now is when all the feminists will throw tomatoes at their computer screen.)

Then one little girl said, "My mom is a Mrs., I guess. She has a boyfriend."
Uh, oh. What do I say? "Well," I said, "it's not quite the same" and left it at that.

I find it interesting that a group of 6-year-olds were so confused about what those titles mean...and what being married is. But then, I guess a lot of adults are too.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful..."

The first snow of the season. It's always so beautiful. This is what I missed when I lived in the south...the opportunity to see this beauty. Just wanted to share.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


First of all, sorry that I've been away so long. I've been getting into the routine of work again and studying for the class I'm teaching. But something has happened that is too wonderful not to share.

I don't like it when people talk about their kids/grandkids all the time. It seems very self-absorbed. I mean, who really cares when little Jimmy goes potty by himself for the first time?
Think about it. That kind of stuff should stay within the family. But today I must break my own rule for talking about my grandkids because God has answered a long-standing prayer and I want to praise Him and share that happiness with others.

The first grandchild. That's a biggie. If you're a grandparent, you know what I mean. If you're not, Lord willing, you will know what I mean someday. It's overwhelming really. The child you had is now becoming a parent! It made me feel old and it made me feel proud. It made me humble and it made me thankful. It's hard to decribe.

Our first grandchild came to us in a very unusual a surprising way, for God is a God of surprises and delight. Ally and Jarrod had been married, oh about 4 months. Ally was in the midst of adjustments. Adjusting to being married; adjusting to life in a third-world country (Honduras); adjusting to being a missionary; adjusting to running a clinic. A woman came to the clinic with a very sick liitle baby about 3-4 months old. Emaciated, lice-covered, very, very sick, skin and bones. You get the picture. It didn't look good. The baby went to the hospital, the mom left her there. The baby was deserted. She looked up one day at Ally in the midst of all her misery and smiled. A smile that forever bonded us all. From that day forward, I had a granddaughter. My granddaughter Sol.

Sol is now 3, almost 4. She is a gift to us all. Because she is not officially adopted, she cannot leave Honduras, so to see her, we have to go there. We love going there, but it's not a trip we can make very often. I think we've seen her 3 times. The adoption process in Honduras is very complex and hard to navigate. Recently, Ally and Jarrod were able to obtain a birth certificate for her which was a necessary first step. And we have all been praying so hard that she could get a passport which would enable her to travel with the whole family to vist the U.S. When Ally or Jarrod come to the U.S., they have to come separately because Sol cannot leave. It is bittersweet when we see them here because someone is always missing.

So the big news...the very big news is that Sol has her passport and can now come and see all the people who so desperately love her. Please go to Ally's blog and read two entries. One is titled "Energy" and the other is titled "What does it mean?".

The world we live in is filled with pain. There are many needs. As Christians, we are faced with challenges daily as we try to live the Kingdom life here in an antagonistic world. Sometimes I forget God's goodness. I dwell too much on the difficulties and rejoice too little in the blessed life we have here in Christ. Today I am reminded that God is good. He gives good gifts to his children. One of those gifts to me is 3 years old and lives in Honduras. And she's finally going to get to come and visit her family. The family that God gave her in a very unusual way.

It is going to be a very good Christmas.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"...the times they are a'changin'"

Dylan had that one right. Times are different than in Jesus' day. True enough. But is that really the question? Isn't the question about our discipleship in the here and now?

The comment that "but times are different now than then" seems to come up when we consider Jesus' words and/or actions. Especially the difficult words and actions. Just because times are different does that negate or alter his teachings? Does God not have the capacity to communicate something everlasting to humans no matter what time we find ourselves in?

Does the cultural context of Jesus' teachings have bearing on their interpretation and therefore our application of those teachings? I too would like to alter some of those teachings . Especially the turn the other cheek one, or the be reconciled to your brother one. I don't want to do those. But I can't escape that my teacher said them. Was he just teaching those lessons to the Jews who happened to hear him that that those that place?

Or, is he still teaching me today?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What did Jesus do?

We are now into our 3rd week of study in Mere Discipleship. All sorts of thoughts are rolling around in my head. That's why I love this book. It starts me thinking on all sorts of topics that I might not have thought of on my own. One such thought is about that wave of "What would Jesus do" mania that hit a while back. That little slogan was probably chanted in every youth group from sea to shining sea. And I don't think it's a bad thought, but to me, it seems more speculative than I'm comfortable with. Here's what I mean. It's all well and good to ask oneself what would Jesus do. However, that seems very open-ended. Depending on one's point of view, you could answer in lots of different ways. The "what-ifs?" run rampant with that WWJD question. For example, "What would Jesus do if someone was attacking his mother?" "What would Jesus do if someone attacked and robbed him?" What would Jesus do....and on and on we go.

I think the better question, the one that will lead us into less speculative answers is "What did Jesus do?" Let's look and see what he actually did do. How did he respond to living in an occupied nation? How did he respond to torture? How did he respond when he caught someone living contrary to how God would have them live? How did he respond to violence against someone else? These are questions that we can actually find answers to. Answers in scripture. Communications from God to us. Let's take these answers and see if maybe, just maybe, they give us a clue as to how we should live.

Scripture is full of descriptions about "What did Jesus do?". Too often, I just don't trust that God knows what he is doing. And that thought gives me pause.