March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Favorite Time of Year

Clockwise from upper left:  the little yellow house in the gold wash of late September light;  Heath Aster or perhaps a variety of fleabane; from darkness to light as I walked down the hill above our house; and my bucket of admittedly fake fall flowers, hanging from the old pump that has served as our mailbox mount for 43 years. 
I love late September and early October here on the farm.  John is combining corn and we have a good crop this year, so there is a positive excitement in the air as he bustles to and fro between the elevator and the field with brief stops at home to eat and sleep.  This afternoon our son has taken a half day from his regular job to drive the combine for his dad, and a good friend will be driving one of the semis. Farmer John will be overseeing the festivities, and probably will drive a second truck.

I took a walk this morning and I don't think words can adequately describe the almost spicy scent in the air.  It makes me think of a sweetly crisp apple combined with newly mown hay; the air was brisk and cool but the sun was hot on my skin.  If I could send you the scent in the air around me as I snapped the photo of the hay bales at right,  you'd see what I mean!

For a good portion of this year I've been depressed with grief from having to place my mom into nursing home care, and I've also suffered a variety of minor physical ills.  It's good to count my blessings during this harvest time and remember the ways the Lord has brought us through.

The cooler temperatures have spurred me to make a pot of chili for a family celebration this weekend; you can find the recipe by scrolling to the bottom of the post here. Happy Fall y'all!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Beautiful September 6

Today had the look of late summer but the air felt like early fall.  This morning the thermometer read an unseasonably cool 49 degrees, with highs for this afternoon in the low 80's.  I meandered out about 8:30 this morning and took the photo of the butterfly, and later in the day couldn't resist those white, fluffy clouds against a cerulean sky!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

God Hears Our Prayers for Our Kids

We were at a friend's wedding back in 2010 when I snapped this photo of my son and his date (left). When the festivities were over and I had time to examine the pictures I'd taken, I was pretty certain I was looking at my future daughter-in-law--and I was!  Beautiful Nicole married our son, Jonathan, just a year-and-a-half later.  At right: Jon appears to be gazing steadfastly into the future here--but was actually watching to be sure his garage door raised properly after he'd pressed the remote opener!   

My beautiful son--ok, my handsome son (but my fellow moms of sons will understand that I think of him as beautiful)--is going to turn 30 in just over a month. He is our youngest child and he is going to be THIRTY!  This seems amazing and impossible and yet simultaneously right, just as it is right for roses to bloom in June and apples to ripen in September.

Jonathan has accomplished a lot in his thirty years. He began working for John Deere weekends and summers when he was just 16, and has worked in three different John Deere stores to date. And so, somehow, though he's only 30, he's worked for JD for 14 years, and in his spare time has earned a college degree, married, had a daughter, and helped his wife as she completed her own education and became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  Yes, my mother's heart is blessed.  

The year Jonathan turned 13 though, I spent a lot of time praying for him for a variety of reasons; suffice it to say that junior high can be brutal.  Sports, academics, increasing independence: all these things and more caused me to spend a lot of sleepless nights praying for my son. I wasn't particularly helped by my gift of discernment, because at that point in his life there were dangers all around so that I had to fight constant battles against my fears for him. Only those who have seen a beloved child at risk will understand the depths of emotion with which I cried out to the Lord on Jonathan's behalf.  I confided my worries to a dear friend who joined me in prayer, and then responded with a comforting email:  
I copied my friend's words
 into the front of my Bible. 
I got this mental image as I was praying of your son being a man and being this absolutely "to die for" husband (and grown son).  It was kind of cool to picture him as one of the "rare breed" who was able to support and care for a wife in that special way that seems so hard for men, and to also keep loving his mother."  
My friend's words turned out to be prophetic. When Jonathan got to college, he joined Christian Challenge. He became active in his campus church, and serves as a deacon in his current church.  He cooks, smokes meat, does woodworking, has remodeled two houses, takes care of his daughter while his wife is working, works a full time job himself, and does a whole lot of other stuff-of-life things that I won't try to itemize.

Yes, God answers prayers. The photos above warm my heart because they clearly show that our son  has been gifted with a wife who loves her husband, and daughter who loves her daddy, and isn't it the prayer of every mother's heart that her children will have people who will take care of them and love them when she is gone? Jonathan has grown in stature, his mother has grown in her faith.  I'm more able nowadays to rest in the Lord's assurance that He isn't ever going to let go of my beloved son, because Jonathan belongs to Him. This is the sweetest, greatest blessing.

Our first duty as parents is to pray steadfastly for our children to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Yes, I spent a whole lot of time praying Psalm 91 (keep them safe, Lord) and Psalm 121 (PLEASE keep them safe, Lord) for my children, and my son has had Proverbs 3 quoted to him (sometimes at the top of my lungs) more times than either of us care to remember. But the prayer that yields the best fruit for our children is that they understand the meaning of John 3:16, and accept God's invitation to become children of God.  Once that transaction is complete, we can rest in the assurance that the Lord takes care of His own, though we mustn't stop praying for them so long as we have breath and wits to do so.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
God hears our prayers for our kids.