It’s Valentine’s Day as I write. The table is set. Okay, so the plates are plastic from Target. At least they’re red. I finished the runner this week. The menu is planned and everything prepped. My husband and I have been married almost forty years, but he is still my best Valentine.
There is so much that I appreciate about him. He’s much more of a people person than I am. Without him, I could easily become a recluse up here in the Northwoods surrounded by books, the Internet and lots of woods for quiet walks. He kicks me out into the world and opens doors to incredible relationships. He’s always ready to help a stranger, sometimes embarrassingly so for an introvert like me, but I wouldn’t have him any other way.
We arrived in Campo Grande in January 1979—the same month that it became the capitol of the new Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. We lived there three and a half years before returning to the US, but in that short time we made friends that have lasted a lifetime.
Pastor Jonatan de Oliveira was the pastor of Primeira Igreja Batista in our day. He had a heart for missions. Primeira Igreja supported their own missionaries to many small towns in the interior of the state and Mato Grosso to the north where cattle ranches and soybean fields gave way to the great Amazon rainforest.
I am partial to audio books. They allow me to read while driving or doing a boring job. I can even read with my eyes closed at night. One of the books I “read” this summer was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I know, you probably read it a couple years ago, or at least saw the movie, but somehow I missed even that.
When I finally got around to it, I didn’t want the book to end. Some in the African-American community take exception to it—historical liberties, stereotypes and why is it only the blacks who speak with dialect? (Dialect didn’t bother this northerner; in the audio-book they all had accents.)
The last couple blogs have been pre-scheduled. You aren’t supposed to announce on the Internet that you are away from home, your husband off in Africa and your house standing empty waiting to be cleaned out by some unscrupulous reader. But I was in COLORADO for my nephew’s wedding. (CONGRATULATIONS STUART AND EMILY!!!)
For my eleventh birthday I received the bed of my dreams. We were building a new house in the suburbs, and my parents took us downtown Indianapolis to Brown’s Furniture where a good friend and future neighbor was the manager and would give us a good deal. I can still remember sitting at the foot of the white canopy bed with rosebud decals, dreaming that it would be mine while the rest of my family wandered around the store choosing I-don’t-remember-what.
My daughter is a geocacher. This is not a computer game. It is a real world treasure hunt using a GPS device. Katie uses her phone in the urban area where she lives, but here in the Northwoods her phone doesn’t work. We borrowed the Garmin from my car to track our position in the woods while we searched for everything from a magnetic key box stuck to the strut of a metal railing to a recycled ammo box hidden behind a fallen tree deep in the woods. The “treasure” we were seeking was more the interesting or scenic places the caches were hidden than the trinkets that may or may not be found in the water-proof containers. My three-year-old grandson traded a few coins for a miniature car in one cache, only to exchange it for a measuring tape at the next. (After that he insisted that his mother carry him out because he couldn’t measure and walk at the same time.)
That’s my new grandson's name.
He's named after Simeon in the Bible. Simeon appears in Luke 2 as an old man who spends a lot of time with God. When the time came for Mary’s purification after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and she brought the baby to Jerusalem to offer a pair of doves or two young pigeons as it said in the law of the Lord. There was Simeon.
Luke tells us Simeon was righteous and devout. He was waiting for “the consolation of Israel”—the Messiah. The Holy Spirit was upon him. In fact, the Holy Spirit had told him he wouldn’t die before he saw the Lord’s Christ.
After three weeks of hanging out in Tennessee waiting for my new grandson to make his appearance, I think I can be forgiven for having babies on the brain. One of the projects I have been working on is cleaning up old picture files. Here are some cuties I have come up with.
Family members can try their hand at identifying all the babies. Most of the rest of you will have to be content to discover yours truly. Pictures are NOT in birth order and no two are the same child.
Put your guesses in a comment. I'll let you know next week who "wins." Sorry, no prize (at least nothing I have thought of so far), but I hope you have some fun!
The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail of runners. Anyone can sign up to run a 26.2-mile race in Indianapolis or Beaver Island, Michigan, but you have to qualify for Boston.
My son-in-law told me, “The easiest way to qualify is to get old.” That’s because the qualifying time goes up with age.
Dan didn’t wait to get old. He did the distance in less than three hours at Beaver Island earlier this year and promptly went on to do two more Marathons culminating in a personal record of two hours and fifty-four minutes in New York in November.
I'm not big on women's retreats. First off, I'm an introvert who finds small talk stressful. By the time I have had a half dozen getting-to-know-you conversations I can't for the life of me remember which was the woman who had been on a short term missions trip to someplace I know and which has a daughter who went to the same college as mine, much less come up with their names. Multiply this by a couple days and disperse the conversations over several churches full of people I will probably never see again, and I am ready to pull a blanket over my head and turn invisible.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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