Monday, May 28, 2007

A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon with Rachel and Nathan

Grandpa and I had so much fun Sunday afternoon
when Rachel and Nathan came to visit us!
It had been almost four weeks since
any of our grandchildren had been to our house --
we were lonely!
The weather was perfect!
We got out the water table and our water toys
to see if Nathan would like to sail a boat
or catch some fish!
Nathan played with this for awhile,
but was really more interested in playing in the yard.
Grandpa was throwing the ball way up high
into the trees so that the leaves swooshed
(and some fell down) and then the ball would
come falling down too . . . Nathan seemed enthralled
with how tall the tree was and how high Grandpa could throw the ball . . .
. . . and he wasn't about to be outdone by his old Grandpa either!
Nathan started throwing the ball as high as he could!
Ah, the future Houston Astro player
contemplating his next move . . .
We had a lot of sunshine, so we dug out the sunscreen.
Rachel rubbed it into Nathan's hair to protect his scalp
and he ended up with a little Mohawk hair style . . .

See what I mean?
A very becoming hairdo for NATHAN PAUL!
Nathan wanted to show mommy something --
I'm not sure just what, except he was holding one of the balls
and tried to put it through the fence -- but the ball was too big
to fit . . .

Look at what a little ham Nathan is!
He very much likes to have his picture taken.
Then it was time for some dessert and "juice"
Nathan has real special "juice" for a toddler.
It makes him very happy . . .
But Grandpa had something Nathan REALLY wanted . . .
see that little face imploring Grandpa to give him one?
Ah! Nothing like super duper
ogre-sized peanut-butter M & M's!
That Grandpa sure knows how to bribe the grandkids!
(and yes! this is grandpa's hairy leg in the picture)
We got the bubbles out
and look at Nathan do his bubbles!
I think he liked it very much!
How about if we stir this up a bit and make
something to bake in the oven?
Our dollar store bubble wands make huge
and colorful bubbles . . .
The wind was just right!
I think Rachel liked making bubbles too . . .
Let's play more ball!
Nathan is quite an athlete!
He and Grandpa kicked the ball
all around the yard . . .
I see a little monkey under the table!
Doesn't he have the cutest little face?
What beautiful smiles!
They are saying, "Hi daddy! We miss you!"
We had a happy and relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Thanks for coming over Rachel and Nathan!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Born on a memorable day!

At 4:52 a.m. Memorial Day 1984 Dylan James came into the world!
He was a quick delivery, like his brothers, and caused his mother only minimal pain.
He was named Dylan -- you know, like Bob Dylan or Dylan Thomas --
even though some folk were SURE he would be called DI-LAN his whole life

He was a sweet one -- this is his first birthday
And this is such a typical Dylan face!
Always happy, always smiling, always sweet!
First grade at the Potter's House
Dylan played percussion in "the pit" during Middle School
He had a good sense for rhythm and really loved music
He taught himself to play guitar
He also plays the piano and has written many songs . . .
Dylan with Emma (summer of '06) making BIG bubbles
Shoveling snow this past winter the week he was home from college
at Honors Convocation at Kuyper College
(he was on the Dean's list both semesters --
all A's second semester)
This is just a few weeks ago
he's still happy, still smiling, still sweet . . .

I don't know anyone who calls him Di-Lan and the name
Dylan James just fits him so well!

I am so thankful for you in every way.
I hope this next year is your happiest ever . . .

"Blessed be your glorious name,
and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.
You alone are the LORD.
You made the heavens, even the highest heavens,
and all their starry host,
the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them.
You give life to everything,
and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
NEHEMIAH 9:5(b)-6
(This was the passage of Scripture I chose for his birth announcement)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ode to Joy

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love,
if any fellowship with the Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion,
then make my joy complete
by being like-minded,
having the same love,
being one in spirit and purpose."
Philippians 2:1-2
(This Scripture was on their wedding invitations
and wedding program --)
Encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness,
compassion, uniting in spirit and purpose!
It's been four years since we all flew down to Austin for the wedding of

The ceremony and reception took place
at 6:00 in the evening, May 24, 2003
at The Della Rosa Estate

which boasted "A hint of Tuscan charm amidst the Texas Hill Country"

located on the Northshore of Lake Travis . . .
(actually in Jonestown, Texas -- how appropriate!)

and charming it was!

The bride wore a beautiful but simple white gown
and walked to meet her groom
to the music of
"Ode to Joy" and
"God of Wonders"

Andrew and Sabrina were pronounced husband and wife
under a canopy
with their dearest friends and family as witnesses
We all sang, "Come, Now is the Time to Worship"
and one of my very favorite hymns,
"Be Thou My Vision"
The reception was delightful!
Everyone ate, drank and danced the night away . . .
until the sun went down . . .

And then Andrew and Sabrina skipped away
for a full week of honeymoon bliss . . .

It was a special joy to me to be Sabrina's matron of honor (and it was an honor!), and it was very fun to stand up with a pretty little flower girl, Olivia. And I loved the location! We had a great time getting dressed and ready for the ceremony. Sabrina was completely calm and cool -- even though her wedding veil had been left behind in Austin (45 minutes away)! The weather was perfect, even a little bit cool for a hot place like Texas. Sabrina's roomates from Calvin came from all over the U.S. to celebrate with her! Family came from Coshocton, Ohio and Houston. Andrew's mom came from New York City. Nicolas took amazing pictures! The ceremony was simple and quiet and beautiful. I remember being so thankful that everything had come together so nicely . . .
Four years ago! So much can happen in such a little bit of time! What a beautiful family you have become, Andrew and Sabrina. Praying for God's continued blessing on your lives and your marriage!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Nineteenth Psalm

Do you remember how I told you that our LOGOS class at church was committing to memory Psalm 19? They asked me several weeks ago if I could put that Psalm to pictures so that us "old folk" would have a visual to aid us in our memory work. I couldn't wait to get started! I thought and prayed about it for almost two weeks, and then last Saturday I had some free time so I started working on the project. These four pictures are what I used to illustrate the Psalm. In the one that I printed up for each family in our class, the Scripture is printed right on the picture itself -- however, I can't figure out how to do that in this particular setting, so I'm just going to type the verses out near the appropriate picture. I learned so much about this Psalm as I was doing this very fun exercise, and I tell you what I learned after you read it.

The heavens declare
the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.


which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens

and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

I have always loved this Psalm -- much beautiful music has been set to it -- but before I did this pictorial rendition of it, it just never seemed to be completely unified to me -- I couldn't make it come together -- but now it does!

Notice a couple of themes: the spoken word of God, the written word of God, the living Word of God, and finally my words; notice the illustration of the sun in verses 5-6 and then the mention of light in verse 8; take note of the word "hidden" in verse 6 and the word "hidden" in verse 12.

Remember in Genesis chapter one when God speaks everything into being? And which person of the Godhead does that creative work? John chapter one says it was Jesus who spoke everything into being! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men . . . and the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." And in Hebrews chapter one, the writer says, ". . . in these last days he has spoke to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word."

And what did God say after each day of creation? "And God saw that it was good." He was pleased with what he had made! I got to thinking about that. I am a minimally creative person. I enjoy working with my hands, whether I am making a card, doing a work of calligraphy, or even just wrapping up presents -- I like to look at what my hands have done -- and I take pleasure in it. God was pleased with his spoken word. David asks that God be pleased with the words of his mouth; and not only that, but the meditation of his heart. I like how the New English Bible translates this verse: "May all that I say and think be acceptable to you!"

I have always loved being alone outside, worshiping God in his creation. I am glad to know that there is no place on this earth where his creative word cannot be heard! Even on the most remote island, or in a country where people are poor or illiterate -- or have no Bibles! Remember the first chapter of Romans where it says, " . . . the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God." He cares about people everywhere, and so he tells them who he is by what he has made!

I love David's use of the sun as a picture for how the creative word of God goes from one end of the heavens to the other, and "nothing is hidden from its heat!" Isn't that a great picture? And kind of scary too -- I cannot hide anything from him! Psalm 139 says, "I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night -- but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you." (vs 7-12 from The Book) So too, I cannot hide my sin from him -- and he is so awesome, I can even ask him to show me the sins that are "lurking in my heart". I can ask him to forgive those sins that are hidden deep within me.

Look how the written word of God is talked about in vs 7-11. It is described as: perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, sure and altogether righteous, more precious than all the money in the world, more delicious than the sweetest food -- double chocolate devil's food cake even! And what does it do for me? It revives (makes alive again) my soul, it makes me wise (because I am simple), it gives my heart JOY, gives light to my eyes (because I am blind!), it warns me of danger, and great reward is promised for obedience.

The Psalm concludes with the phrase, "O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Who is my Rock and my Redeemer? Jesus is! "He is my strength and my song!" "He is the light of the world!" "In him is no darkness at all!" He has taken the punishment for sin that should have been mine, paid for my life with his very own blood, and promised to "never leave or forsake me!"

When I consider the work I put into designing a card -- editing, cropping and printing off one of my photos, choosing just the right color of paper to mount it on, deciding which Scripture to put with it -- I take a lot of time doing it -- and the entire time I am "creating", I am 100% happy. I look at the finished product and I am (usually) pleased and I am proud of what my hands have made! I am a little jealous over my creation -- I don't want it to get wrinkled in the mail -- I cringe if I am getting ready to put it into the envelope and I see an error somewhere! How puny are my cards compared to the works of His hand? Why am I surpised to find that He is jealous over me? Ephesians 2:8 "God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. FOR WE ARE GOD'S MASTERPIECE. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us to do long ago."

I like to think about being God's masterpiece, don't you? I want to worship him for his spoken word of creation, I want to learn and obey his written word, and I want more and more of Jesus, the Living Word, in my life.

"May all that I say and think be acceptable to you, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer!"

FYI: The first two pictures were taken by me on our trip to Hawaii last fall. The first picture is taken looking out the window of our airplane on the approach to Honolulu National Airport. The second picture was taken on almost the last day of our vacation in Hawaii -- it is the first day it actually did not rain -- the sunrise that morning was amazing! I shot 100 pictures of it and got about a half dozen really good ones. The last two pictures were taken by our friends, Bob and Kay Scott, who went to Israel with us in 2004. The first picture is of Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found (1947-51). The last picture is of Mount Arbel -- we all climbed this very mountain (overlooking the Sea of Galilee), sat down at the top and had an amazing time of prayer and Bible study.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Birthday Greetings for my Firstborn Son


On May 15, 1980 our doorbell rang in the late-afternoon. We were living in an upstairs apartment on the southeast side of Grand Rapids, on the second floor of a very old house, and I was due to give birth in ten days! I hurried to answer the door, tripped on the stairway, fell, and bounced down nine very hard, uncarpeted stairs. OUCH! There was a salesperson at the door and I was not one bit interested in what he was selling. I went back upstairs and called my doctor. I was a little bit worried about that fall down the stairs! He said that I might just give birth a little bit early, so I'd best get ready! I had just stopped working at Ernst & Ernst that week and I had a lot of things left to do . . .

The doctor's warning was correct! A beautiful boy was born 36 hours later, a firstborn son, Jesse Christopher.

I seriously think this is the only time Jesse was ever early!

Jesse blowing out nine candles . . . and then doesn't he look like the cowboy from TOY STORY in this next picture (?). . .
but this is years before the movie.

And here you are two weeks ago -- strong and tall and a soldier! For a mother, time goes by in a strange way. There are times when you wish a little one would grow up and not need you so much . . . but that time always goes by too fast . . . and then they are on their own and so far away . . .

I have a sinking feeling you are "out in the field" and so will not get this birthday greeting. But I want you to know that I'm wishing you a very happy birthday, Jesse. You are loved and very much missed. I looked all over for some good pictures of your younger days, but I was such a terrible photographer -- most of the pictures are terrible quality!

Wherever you are, I am wishing you will have a great day! I know you have the love of Diana, Emma, Chris and Matthew! What a gift that is! We are all really proud of you . . .

I will be praying that this will be your best year ever as you seek the great God who made you, follow in His footsteps and obey His voice . . .

Here is the Scripture I chose for your birth announcement: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth . . . he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else . . . He is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being . . . we are His offspring." (From Acts chapter 17)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Mother's Day Without Children?

This MOTHER'S DAY is the first time in 27 years that I have not had even one of my children here at home, and no grandchildren coming over to visit either! Earlier in the week I was feeling rather "blue" thinking about the celebration of Mother's Day without children or grandchildren at the house, but then I turned those sad thoughts into some creative energy and had a really good time making a tribute post for three special mothers . . .

And then I remembered that I TOO HAVE A MOTHER! What was I going to do to honor her on her special day? I made her a card (always good therapy for me), and I printed out some photographs of her and Roy, wallet-size ones that she could send to her friends who have never met him, and then I talked Mr. Jones into taking us all out for lunch today! So immediately after church service this morning, we all met at The Olive Garden down by River Town Crossing Mall.

Worship service at church this morning was wonderful. The singing, the teaching, the fellowship of friends was so encouraging. Our Logos Class met, and I since had finished doing the pictorial version of Psalm 19, I distributed a copy to each family in the class. We read through it together, committing to memorize the first four verses by next Sunday.
Nana, in her Mother's Day finest
We had a hugely enjoyable meal @ Olive Garden
The men finished their entrees, but see how
Nana and I get to have a tasty lunch tomorrow?

This is the now Mrs. Roy Cook, our own Nana
Have you ever seen her THIS happy?

When Mr. Jones and I returned to our empty house, I checked my e-mail and had received Mother's Day greetings from several of my kiddos (even from a daughter who had already sent a beautiful card via snail mail the day before!). I also received two e-cards! My favorite one was set up so that it instructed me to point and click on the objects in a kitchen, i.e. the kitchen sink -- and suddenly, the empty kitchen sink filled up with dirty dishes; if I clicked on the stove, immediately the pans overflowed with food and smoke started pouring out of the oven (hmm! that has happened to me!); if I clicked on the window, a ball came flying through and glass shattered everywhere; if I clicked on the door to the kitchen, it opened up and muddy footprints (a real pet peeve of mine) appeared all across the kitchen floor! The message of the card was that since it was Mother's Day, the hope was that I wouldn't be stuck in a messy kitchen all day -- that I deserved to be treated special!
I also talked on the phone for a little while with some of my children (with little grandchildren voices in the background) and had an especially nice conversation with one of my sons. I read through a post of my daughter-in-law's and found very kind words spoken about me!
So did I have a nice Mother's Day? Yes! Thank you -- dear children and husband and mom -- for your acts of kindness and your deeds of love!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The MOTHERS of our grandchildren

"Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children."
Charles Swindol - The Strong Family

Depositing good memories . . .

Three young mothers of seven grandchildren --

Sabrina, Diana and Rachel --

We appreciate your labor of love and

we celebrate YOU this Mother's Day!

Listen to how the Apostle Paul described how he served people: "As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you." (I Thess. 2:6-9)













So Grandpa and Grandma wish you a very HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Keep on loving, keep being gentle, continue to work night and day, don't stop delighting in sharing your lives and the Good News of Jesus with our sweet grandchildren!

"Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children"
William Makepeace Thackeray