Saturday, January 2, 2010

Go to my new website

I have moved over to a new website. It's blog and much more. Come see and subscribe.

I won't be posting at this address any more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thinking about Santa

Advent: Waiting for Jesus #6

We have always tried to help our children understand as much about God as they are able at whatever age they are.

So what about Santa? How does he affect the way children understand Christmas? At the Desiring God blog, you can read some of my thoughts.

Monday, December 14, 2009

If not Santa, what?

Advent: Waiting for Jesus #7

Christmas past

My family in 1957. I'm at the top of the "stairsteps."

Jesus Tree

Advent: Waiting for Jesus #5

Over the years, during Advent we've used a Bethlehem Tree, a Jesse Tree, and now what we call a Jesus Tree.

At the Desiring God blog, you can read about them, and how in the world a disco ball is related.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A newish Christmas Eve tradition

We went to see
The Nativity Story in 2006 when it was released in theaters. Since then, it has become a new tradition at our house to watch it together on Christmas Eve.

I agree with Justin Taylor's appreciation of the film:

I thought it was an excellent film—great production values and excellent acting. The reconstructions of the architecture, clothing, and landscape seemed especially well-researched. Of course a movie like this has to take some imaginative liberties, but on the whole it was pretty restrained. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better job of portraying Joseph, an oft-neglected character in nativity plays and movies. is offering the video for only $4.99 for a limited time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Abraham Christian Piper

We met you face to face 30 years ago
on December 12, 1979.

You've come a long way, baby.
And we love you more every year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Looking forward: Preparing to meet Jesus face to face

Advent: waiting for Jesus # 4

The word advent means coming.

Jesus has come and he will come again. The season of Advent is a time of looking back and remembering the first coming.

But it is also a time of looking forward. There will be another advent of Christ; he will come again. This makes Advent a season for introspection. . . .

You can read the rest at the Desiring God Blog.

(This Advent series begins here.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Looking back: Advent Candles

Advent: waiting for Jesus # 3

Advent Candles probably are the most common Advent symbolism of looking back to the days of waiting for the Messiah God had promised. . . .

My advent series continues at the Desiring God blog.

(This series begins here.)

Next: Advent #4

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Taking care of Baby Jesus

"Look, Grandmama. I'm Joseph taking care of Baby Jesus!"

God doesn't leave anything to chance. So when he chose Mary to be the mother of his son, he was also choosing Joseph, her betrothed, as the right man to be Jesus's earthly father.

Joseph was a just man, who wanted to protect Mary from the public shame of being pregnant before she was married. He was obedient to God, apparently without question, even though it would mean sharing her embarrassment (Matthew 1:19-25).

Knowing that Joseph was that sort of man, I wouldn't be surprised if he did actually crawl into the manger to care for their baby.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent: Standing in the Middle

Advent: Waiting for Jesus #2

During Advent, it’s as if we are re-enacting the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus. Then at the end of the four weeks of Advent, Christmas is a heartfelt celebration because that ancient waiting is done.

And yet we are still waiting. . . .

At the Desiring God blog, you can read the rest of this, adapted from my book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions.

(This series begins here.)

Advent: waiting for Jesus #3

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What is Advent?

Advent: Waiting for Jesus #1

Here is the first of some holiday thoughts I'll be posting at the Desiring God Blog during this holiday season.

We are a people of promise. For centuries, God prepared people for the coming of his Son, our only hope for life. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made—that he would give a way to draw near to him.

Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. . . . (Read the rest).

Advent: Waiting for Jesus #2

Friday, November 27, 2009

The thanks goes on -- Talitha

Seems like everything is related to everything. So it's not surprising that Thankgiving blog posts overlap with "Life with Talitha" posts.

I learned long ago with our other children that you often learn more about your children through other people than through your own conversations at home. A few days ago we had a taste of Talitha's growing maturity and thoughtfulness when her friend, Olivia, interviewed her.

I am thankful every day that God added Talitha to our family. I can't imagine us without her.

p.s. One commenter at Olivia's blog says, "Talitha, I love how you sound like your Dad when you use phrases like... 'Being physically adopted is very special, but being spiritually adopted is ten thousand times better!!'"

Well, maybe she sounds like him. Or maybe one of the effects of having a teenaged daughter is that he's starting to sound like her?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The thanks goes on

It's time for bed. The house is very quiet. This is the sort of quietness that lets my mind go back over the noise and busyness of the day and remember even more things that I'm thankful for.

Here's #1 on the list: The Lord is good and his steadfast mercies endure forever.

Giving thanks together

Dinner is soon. Afterward come the apple pie and pecan pie that Talitha baked yesterday. Can't wait.
Soon the table will be filled with family and some friends.
The centerpiece of wild grapes and hydrangea.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving for Mother

Mother's 88th birthday was earlier this month. Here she is (on the left), having a birthday tea with one of her daughters and 2 daughters-in-law and a friend.

Mother and this friend are members of the Gideon Auxiliary. For years, these two have visited the county jail most months to meet with women inmates and give testimony to the gospel. Often when I've been down in Georgia, they have taken me with them.

I thank God for Mother. There are many ways I want to be like her when I'm 88, if the Lord should give me so many years.

Thanksgiving for Mentors

Across the street from our house is the convergence of I-94 and I-35W--many lanes of freeway. On the fence that separates our street from the freeway are vines of tiny wild grapes. At least that's what they look like.

Anyway, I just cut a few lengths of vine to use as the main part of our Thanksgiving centerpiece tomorrow. Walking back into the house, I realized that dried hydrangea blossoms from our border will probably be all I need to complete the arrangement.

So I'm feeling rather Edith Schaeffer-ish this morning.

And that reminds me how thankful I am for all the women who have been my mentors, both the ones I have lived with or known personally and the ones who have mentored me through their writing and speaking.

(I'll post a picture of the table and centerpiece when we see how it works out.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Digging out of Chaos -- Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for the encouragement that so many of you have given me in my efforts to dig out of chaos. I am still working on the 1st main project, making a study for myself out of the junk room that was supposed to be my study.

Here's the status. You saw the room with everything emptied out. Then you saw it with a new desk, carpet, windows, paint, etc. There is still more furniture I hope to get as the budget allows--2 under-desk drawer units and 2 lateral file cabinets that match the desk.

My Christmas wish list includes an armchair for comfortable reading and 2 adjustable-height chairs to pull up to the side of the desk opposite my chair. They will be for homeschool sessions with Talitha and for visiting grandchildren who want to do desk work near me.

In the meantime, I've borrowed a file cabinet from friends. This week I hope to get the files loaded in. I was feeling overwhelmed with the thought of sorting and organizing the files. Then one thought changed that feeling: I don't have to sort the files now. I just need to get them in the drawer where they belong.

At this moment, Johnny and Talitha are hanging the valances I made today. The material is from Turkey and was the inspiration for the paint and carpet colors.

I wouldn't have believed how even this one room freed from chaos has opened my heart to greater feelings of thanksgiving this week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Life with Talitha: How would our families feel?

I promised a series of thoughts and stories about our becoming a multi-racial family. I am going to do that, Lord willing. But the holidays are here. So I'm going to pick up the series in a few weeks.

In the meantime, today I'll combine a bit of the holidays and "Life with Talitha." Today I am filled with thanksgiving for our extended families.

Quite some time before Talitha, I wrote to my father wondering about maybe adopting from Asia. Daddy assured us that he would welcome any child of ours. But he discouraged us because he wasn't sure how some of the extended family of his generation might react. (Daddy hasn't met Talitha yet, because he was already with his Lord when she was born).

When we told Johnny's dad that we were going to adopt an African-American daughter, he was hesitant for several reasons. But he was content to wait and see how God led us.

So how did our families respond to Talitha?

1. I've already written about my Mother's enthusiastic welcome.

2. Our fair-skinned, redheaded, 7-year-old nephew, Luke, was adopted in America and raised in Africa. When he got the news by email, he said, "Cool! We could use a little more color in the family."

3. When Talitha met Johnny's dad, she was in one of those shy-baby-no-strangers stages. Despite that, she lunged from Johnny's arms into her Opa's arms. And Opa just laughed.

4. At my family's reunion--with my siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins by the dozens--the squealing, cooing, caressing, and head-patting was the same as for every new addition to the family. Neither then nor in the years since have I seen a hint that anyone has a problem with our adoption. And considering how sensitive my antennae were back then, I'm pretty sure I would have noticed.

And so I say to God as I have said hundreds of times for thousands of reasons, "Thank you for our families."
Talitha and her Opa (above). Piper reunion (below).