Saturday, August 17, 2013

Two weddings, 4 birthdays, and a baby

2:54 p.m. Today's project is to attend the "Meet Baby Desmond" event at his Grandpa and Grandma Love's home. Much of his paternal family hasn't met him yet. As I've written about ( "Battling for Life in the NICU" June 28, 2013 ) Desmond's harrowing two-week stint at Riverside Community Hospital with Viral Spinal Meningitis at 2 weeks of age put a definite crimp in the meet-and-greet events that naturally follow a baby's birth.How we all praise God that our littlest one was healed and is unscathed! My scripture portion for today included Ephesians 3:20, my faith song for his life, with praise...
To Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think.

On Sunday, most of our family--Kruckenberg side--attended the wedding of our niece Kindra to Giancarlo Gladish (directly above) an elegant affair at the San Diego Museum of Art, followed by a reception dinner in a restaurant on Coronado Island.   Thursday, my daughter Heidi and I attended the very intimate, Christ-centered wedding of my sister's daughter Destiny to Daniel Fingleton, on a cliff in La Jolla, overlooking the Pacific ocean on a gorgeous day, with a marvelous catered dinner, attended by her children from her first marriage, Garrett and Ashley. It very much reminded me of Steve's and my wedding, because my oldest son Sean was 5 years old at the time, and because a strong Gospel message was preached at Harvest on July 11, 1981.  The wonderfully fun part of this wedding was getting to visit with the many Fingleton relatives who flew in from Ireland to be with the newlyweds! Psalm 133:1 was very much exemplified:

Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for the brethren to dwell together in unity!

On to the other manifestation of God's creative goodness in our lives, birthdays! While Jesus was a prominent wedding guest in the Gospel of John Chapter 2, we have no evidence of His celebrating His birthday as we do. (Of course, the angelic hosts over Bethlehem staged an eternally unforgettable, not-to- be-repeated, celebration of Jesus' birth, enough said)!

This week, the birthdays in my family come one after another in rapid succession: first up was my dad turned 86 August 13th, on which day I took him a Jack in the Box breakfast platter, followed by chocolate Bundt cake and Neapolitan ice cream. On the 14th, our son Kriss enjoyed a day off with his family and was the recipient of an authentic licensed Angels cap, Jarritos sodas, Mothers frosted animal cookies from me, and an incredibly detailed baseball cake from his wife Marisela. They also went to an Angels game last night. 
Yesterday the 16th was my 62nd birthday, on which I was presented with a fabulous tiramisu/chocolate eclair dessert by Marisela, Starbucks card from my son Sean and his wife Pam, and a hand-decorated card from my clever 17-1/2 month old grandson Clark. My daughter Heidi took me to lunch, and Heather and little Desmond joined us, too. Tomorrow's my "baby" Steven's 25th birthday, which he and his friends celebrated with a skydive today. He lived to tell, so that's what matters! 

My sister-in-law Sharon celebrates her birthday on the 20th, and we will all gather here at my house for our "August Birthdays" party next Sunday the 25th. This party started out as a joke, because family members from cooler San Diego and Orange County were invited to roasting Riverside in August for food, fun and air conditioning cranked high! It hasn't stopped with the exception of weddings held that month or close to it where we all saw one another and partied in a different venue.So this house has been a beehive of activity with workmen getting the yards and house in order. Provisions from the obligatory Costco expedition have restocked the freezers and the fridge. Summer dessert prep stars next week! . 

Guess you can tell that I thrive on celebrations!

We believers have so much to celebrate in Christ that words utterly fail to describe. Sweet friendships that only He could have put together, such as I have with our daughter's mother-in-law. Kathleen's birthday card had a note celebrating the fact that our kids met, and now we are friends. I treasure our church's widows' group, whose leader asked me to share what's happened in my life in the last month, after 2nd service tomorrow. I have a community widows' group that meets tomorrow also, and is a huge source of encouragement, tears and laughter included. We truly comfort one another with the comfort that Christ has given us, as II Corinthians 1:3-4 exhorts us to do. 

My children and their spouses provide emotional and practical assistance, Christian fellowship, daily interaction and good ideas. As for the grand kids, what more entertainment, love, and pure acceptance could a person ask for?  .

When I get a little lonely on the inside, wishing I had an "automatic date" for social occasions, fully attentive to me as my husband was; or when I become nervous about growing my business, God reminds me through the wise words of Pastor Alistair Begg, "You take care of God's things, and He'll take care of your things!" Therefore I thank God for the Bible study He has called me to teach, and the research and writing that go into it each week. And I am looking forward to teaching 4th grade in Children's Church on Sundays starting in October!  

Perhaps my Heavenly Father, through the Spirit,  has already given me a theme for tomorrow's sharing: Celebration of Jesus!  

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-7 says,

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed you
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

May we be anointed with the oil of gladness, Father God, just like Your son Jesus, in whom we have placed our eternal hopes!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Well remembered: be a Barzillai

7:01 p.m. Today's project was to get back into home life, after my wonderful and rewarding Mary Kay Seminar in Dallas, with church in the morning, and a lovely baby shower in the afternoon. The honoree is the daughter of my prayer partner Monica. The fellowship and entire atmosphere was just full of the Lord. Additionally,  since it took me a while to find the house, I toured Riverside's "green belt" along the Gage Canal, lined with citrus groves, nurseries, horse properties, estates and small farms on my way.

Most of the attendees were old friends from women's ministry and home Bible study groups based at Harvest Christian Fellowship, our church of 22 years. There was much re-acquainting to do, since our family had changed to Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley 10 years ago so my late husband Steve could make more friends in a smaller fellowship. I consider both my "home church!"

As we were filing our luncheon plates, one guest asked me, after ascertaining that she not only knew me from Harvest, but from my school board tenure, whether a newly-elected member had filled my seat, and I said, "No, because I chose not to run for a fourth term back in 2005, because all of my children had graduated. Let new parents step in, was my thinking."

Later I went shopping with my daughter-in-law, at Von's and Trader Joe's. We only had one mishap, when a bottle of organic lemonade fell out of a hole in a bag and broke and spilled on the driveway..

Funny how the topic of school board came up again as I was rinsing down that spill of lemonade. A long-time neighbor came walking by, so I told how odd it was, and she agreed, that a Von's plastic bag would break.  She then said, "You're not still on the school broad, right?" I said no, much the same as I'd said earlier. Lorraine said, "I didn't think I'd seen any of your signs lately. The current group isn't doing much--you are missed!" I laughed and refrained from commenting on the group's actions, saying, "I don't think they have enough budget to do anything!" I've had no problem whatsoever stepping down so that younger parents can step up to office!

During the week, even while in the frenzied, glamour-packed events in Dallas, I'd been pondering my Bible study's last lesson on II Samuel Chapter 19 (I took my written lesson with me, though I didn't have time to work on it much). We had learned about Barzillai, a wealthy older man who supplied exiled King David and his people with provisions when David was escaping his treasonous son Absalom in an earlier chapter. When invited to come live at court with the restored king, Barzillai turned down the offer, saying in verses 34-37 that he no longer had a taste for life in Jerusalem, was too old at 80 to enjoy it, and wanted to return to his home to die and be buried with his fathers. But he requested that his son Chimham go in his place.

Barzillai was gracious in letting another take his place of honor at the king's table, in the king's service.Why? Because he had served honorably, and distinguished himself, and was ready to step aside for another.

I wrote this  lesson almost 30 years ago. Little did I think that Barzillai would be my role model in righteous behavior! No one ever thinks they'll be over 35 one day. Yet here I am, at 62, a widow retired from public service and employment, but still active in Bible teaching ministry; a business owner enjoying my grown kids, their spouses, and my grand kids. Not to mention that when my fingerprints come back from the Moreno Valley Police Department (and Summer Bible study concludes for 2013) I'll be assigned a classroom to teach during 3rd service Children's Church. I cannot wait!!

My I share with you the verses regarding Barzillai that are part of this week's Bible study?

Proverbs 16:31:
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.

Philippians 4:11,12:
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
How well I know those extremes as a widow!

I Timothy 5:9,10:
Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number (congregation), and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

Titus 2:2-5:
...that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things--that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

And finally, we have the Apostle Paul's valedictory, II Timothy 4:6-8. May we, fellow believers, be able to say this when God calls us home:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

Finally, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but to all who have loved His appearing.