Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy 80th!

Kev's mom is 80 today. She threw a party last weekend, and there were 20 of us. We all met at this one Chinese restaurant that she likes in Seattle and then went back to her place for cake and ice cream. She had a table full of snacks, but I think most people were still too full from lunch and then cake to do anything but nibble a few nuts. Kev rearranged the furniture to better seat everyone, so it was comfortable and still intimate.

My sister-in-law, Doreen, ordered the cake, and it was great--vanilla with a Bavarian cream filling. The restaurant let her keep it in their fridge while we were there because it was a warm day, especially for the West side.

Voila, zee cake!

The people always make the event. It was lovely to meet her friend, Ruth Li, who showed such kindness to Brett when he stayed with Mom last December. Her bright blue socks made me happy. It was so good of Kev's cousins to come, one from Gig Harbor and one from Tacoma, especially in light of the traffic from the Husky game. It was just plain wonderful to visit with Kev's aunts, the oldest and youngest sisters of his biological mother. They are the best. Not a minute into any conversation with Aunt Ila, and you're laughing. She lives in Victoria, which I understand has a huge bunny overpopulation problem. No crime, just thousands of wabbits.

Kev and the always adorable Aunt Ila

After her neighbor and walking partner left the party for home, I realized that if I was going to get the group shot I wanted, I had better do it right then. It was a beautiful day, completely defying every forecast we'd seen every day beforehand.

The Partay
L-R: Kevin, Me, Doreen, Dorine, Jo (Mom's cousin), David (Kev's cousin), Ruth Li (can you dig the blue socks? =), Mel (Kev's brother), Birthday Girl, Monica (David's wife), Eleanor & Berlyn Wible, Uncle Gary, Lorene (Kev's cousin), George (Lorene's husband), Aunt Mary Ellen, Jamie, Aunt Ila,
and Jylle

Doreen's face is barely visible in all six of the pictures I took. Rats. But at least we have this memory shot for Mom, minus the one neighbor.

Mom is going to a prayer meeting today on this, her 80th birthday. Then she's going to spend the night with her friend, Dorine. I hope she has the best 80th birthday that anyone has ever had since the world began. She is healthy, takes good care of herself, and did/does the three things the oldest man alive says to do: Stay in school, work as long as you can, and always help others. She's the poster child for that last one down. She is a jewel, a gem, a peach, a rose, the sweetest Proverbs 31 woman ever, and we thank the Lord for her life every single day. Happy birthday, precious lady.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On John the Baptizer

I read in Luke 7:28 that Jesus presents his cousin with tremendous praise, "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John." My mind flashed to their childhoods. What was their relationship like? From within the womb John knew Jesus was God's Son. John’s mother, Elizabeth, knew that it was the Lord Himself in utero Who had walked into her home. There’s all this communion amongst four people, two of whom aren’t even born yet.

John is a few months older than Jesus, and surely they played together at family functions every year. Nazareth and Jerusalem are about 65 miles apart, and I’m sure there was at least the annual occasion of Passover that brought the relatives together as Joseph brought his family to Jerusalem. When Jesus was 12 and stayed behind in Jerusalem, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions, might John have been there too, watching and listening and marveling?

Did John enjoy Jesus’ company? They were both the only child of their parents, at least Jesus was for a little while. At any rate, they were the oldest sons. I have to wonder how they got along. Was John protective of his little cousin? Having no brothers, did he treat Jesus like one? Did he beat up on him in a brotherly way, give him a hard time in fun like brothers do? Was there a mutual respect right from the beginning, an understanding that they were involved in the greatest story ever told?

John’s disciples came to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” After He reassured them, they left to deliver the reply. It was only after they left that Jesus pronounced to the crowd, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.” John's disciples didn’t hear that part, so John most probably never heard it either. But is that how Jesus felt about John all along, all those years growing up together? Did the growing Son of God know the heart of this growing son and go on in their adulthood to proclaim it to the world so we all could consider him—and be challenged to go even further: “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

John must have been a truly wise, humble, and God-honoring man. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Only the most reverent, profound, and respectful things are quoted by him of Jesus: “One more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16). Jesus declared that there was no one greater than John, and yet John readily affirmed his unworthiness when compared to that of Christ’s.

When I have thought of John the Baptizer, I've pictured locusts, honey, an animal skin, and baptism. I have seldom considered his great humility, his boldness and courage, and those heavy days of doubt in Herod’s dungeon when he had to know Are You the One? I thought You were, but I need to know from You for sure. I need You to confirm it. God bless John's disciples who did for him what he couldn’t do for himself in that trial! They brought back the word he so needed to hear: You were right. It is true. He is the One.

Godly. Courageous. Humble. Great. In the end, human. I will consider John the next time I spoon honey into my tea, step on a grasshopper (sorry, PETA, can’t stand ‘em), or hear of a baptism. And I will be challenged upward and onward to decrease day by day, to aspire to the least of these--not in my strength, but in the Person of the One John loved and promoted and honored with his whole life.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

1st Day of Junior Year

"What do I do with my arms?"
Oh, yeah, you're always carrying something.
"All my stuff is in there."

Good and bad stuff about school.

You have to smile--I'm sending this to your grandparents.

*heavy sigh*
Thanks for the "beep beep"--it made me happy.

Father, keep her safe in the snake pit. Remind her of who she is and Whose she is. Don't let her speed. Keep crazies away from her. Sing Your song of love to her friends. Grant her some Christian friends at school who'll stand with her when things get dicey. Keep her pure and honest and focused. Help her to do her best and to listen more than she speaks. Shine out brilliantly in her, and make the people You allow into her life be able to taste and see that You are good. Yes, that You are the Maker of all good and perfect gifts. Help her to be radically saved and to be Jesus on wheels for the Kingdom.

And please remind her to wear her responsibility helmet at all times. *zhooop*